Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Words I Don't Say

I talk a lot.
I get nervous and uncomfortable and the words are out of my mouth before I can stop them. I will tell a silly joke. A lame story. I'll talk about a TV show or a movie or a book. A song I happen to think about. I can't shut myself up.

I say stupid things because, for whatever reason, I need to keep talking. I need to fill the empty space.

There are those--some that matter, some that don't--that hate this quality. This quirk. This flaw. So often, I grimace at my own voice, willing it to quiet, rolling my eyes at this incessant need I seem to have for communication.

Maybe I'm trying to quiet the words I don't say.

I complain more lately.  I don't like it. Negativity is so "not me." But I hate lying even more and I'm not good at it. The words, "I'm fine" aren't so believable when my blue eyes are filled with fresh tears and my fair skin betrays red, angry blotches.

I'm easy to read. I can't hide my feelings so I know the words I don't say are plainly evident, even as I try to drown them out.

But I still wish that I could say them.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Reunited (And it feels so Good!)

Guess what I did tonight? (Yes, I'm writing, but that's not the answer I'm looking for...)

I've been having a rough day. (Or few days. Week. Month. Year. Life. You know. Well, you don't, because I haven't been writing, but you might know bits and pieces. Anyway.) When my eyes filled with tears for the hundredth time today (in the middle of Costco and for no good reason,) I wondered if maybe it was my time of the month. I had to check my calendar--I no longer have the plumbing, just the hormones, so it's harder to keep track of. I had a boyfriend in high school who used to track my period. When I'd get upset, he'd pat my hand and tell me sweetly, "It's okay. I know you're having your..." Want to guess what I thought of that at sixteen? That guy would be pretty handy to have around now, especially if he came prepared with wine and chocolate. Alas, I make due with a dot in my datebook. Not until next week. Hm.

Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I decided to try to change my mood. I mentioned to a friend tonight that I miss Turbo Kick so after the kids were in bed tonight, I dug out a Fan DVD that I ordered ages ago. I have 3 of them, but it's been so long, I can't remember which rounds I like or don't like. Round 36 sounded vaguely like one I remembered liking, so I went for it. (Note to future self: Yes, you like Round 36.)

The familiar warmup put a smile on my face almost immediately.  I was surprised how quickly everything came back to me. The punches and kicks, the form drilled into my head from hours and hours of Turbo Jennie yelling, "Keep your guard up! Hands by your face!" I even remembered the "twist" that took me weeks and weeks to even figure out what was going on when she called it out.

It was fun. Not, of course, as fun as clapping and hollering in a sweaty studio. Not as fun as facing off with Jennie. Or the time Sara Rrrrr got up in my business and I whispered,  "I think I just saw your IUD." But still fun.

And I feel amazing. I probably won't feel so great tomorrow since I can't settle down, so I'll be tired, and I'm sure my body will rebel at some point, but for now, I feel great. This picture doesn't do justice to how pink and sweaty I was, but my smile captured the exhilaration I was feeling pretty well. 

No more tears...for tonight,  anyway. 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

A Whole lot of Whole30

I’ve been wanting to blog for a while, but I didn’t want to just pop back in and pretend I haven’t been missing for months. Doing it anyway, though, so I can share some awesome info.

Around three months ago, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was starting another Whole30 if anyone wanted to join in. I had never heard of it before, so I turned to Google and discovered this:

Nope. Uh-uh. No way. Not doing it.

But I kept reading.
Great for migraines. (I have those.)
Allergies. (I have those!)
Depression. (Yep, that, too!)
Change your relationship with food.

Change my relationship with food? I need that.

I told my friend that I wanted to try, but I was NOT prepared to join her the next day. I had just gone grocery shopping and had a fridge and pantry full of crap to eat, first. She recommended I read the book, “It Starts with Food.” Of course, I hopped on Amazon and bought it for my Kindle.

I wish I had read it years ago. It’s not a diet “rule” book. It doesn’t say, “Don’t eat this. Don’t eat that.” It gives the science behind how different foods affect the digestive system and the body. It made so much sense. Even if you’re not interested in trying the Whole30, I still highly recommend this book. The Whole9 and Whole30 websites and their Facebook pages are full of great resources and fantastic information and people who have survived it. Have a question about an ingredient? Google [ingredient] Whole30 and I can almost guarantee you’ll find the answer.

There are no cheat days during the Whole30. You have to follow ALL the rules, and for good reason. There is a great metaphor in the book--if you owned 10 cats and discovered you were allergic to them, you wouldn’t get rid of 9 cats and expect to be completely better--you’d have to get rid of all of them. You can’t cut out only some of the bad stuff and expect to be “cured.” It all has to go. At the end of 30 days, (or 60, or 90, or however many you want to do it for,) you can start reintroducing foods and examining how they affect your body. And if it’s worth it to you to keep eating it or not.

So, let’s get real.

Grocery shopping is HARD. It is very hard to find things with no added sugar. Sugar is in the most bizarre, random things, and masquerades under so many different aliases, it’s ridiculous. WHY is sugar in everything? It’s totally unnecessary! Soy is something else food companies sneak into the ingredient list. Even “natural” foods are guilty. (Looking at you, Applegate, with your extremely overpriced lunch meat.)

Going out to eat is HARD, too. I went twice and I was riddled with anxiety both times. (Both times, I managed to arrange eating at a salad bar, which made it a million times easier. If you have to eat out during the Whole30, go to a salad bar.) I also went on a roadtrip and to four potlucks. (One of which, I was only able to eat the salad I’d brought with me. If you go to a potluck during the Whole30, bring something you can eat. For a roadtrip, try to make sure your hotel has a fridge or buy a good cooler and eat lots of snacks and drink lots of water!)

Explaining it to people is NOT fun. No added sugar really means no sweeteners of any kind. No honey or maple syrup or molasses. Yes, I understand that all that stuff is natural, but I can’t eat it. No beans. I know they’re good fiber and protein. They can also be inflammatory. Yes, that dessert looks delicious, I’m sure it tastes really good, but I’m not eating sweets right now. My grandma tried to force-feed me a piece of toffee just last weekend. I told her I wasn’t throwing away 27 days of hard work for a piece of toffee. Yes, I realize I sound like an alcoholic.

We weren’t perfect. Around day 8, I discovered that the garlic salt I’d used in just about every meal had sugar AND soy in it. Towards the end of week 2, we sampled and purchased some fancy salts at Costco, only to get home and find we couldn’t eat ANY of them--the ingredients on the jar didn’t match the ingredients on the packaging. Boo! On day 15, I made my dad a drink and took a sip without even thinking about it. As soon as the whiskey was in my mouth, I realized what I’d done and spit it out--but I was shocked that it was such an unconscious thing for me to do. On day 31--yes, the day after we “finished,” I realized the tuna we’d been eating contained soy. Bah. For the most part, though, we made conscious efforts to eat real, whole food and avoid anything on the “do not eat” list.

We ate beautiful, delicious food like this:
Adapted from this recipe, but I nixed the sweet potatoes and added spinach. This was my favorite meal!

And this:
Carnitas with cilantro-lime cauliflower "rice," guacamole, and tomatoes

And this:
Burgers with veggies, coleslaw made with homemade olive oil mayo, roasted asparagus, and watermelon

And this:

Simply Balanced Garlic and Spinach chicken sausage with roasted spaghetti squash, spinach, onions, and mushrooms. Even the kids loved this!

We ate not-so-beautiful, but still delicious food, like this:
Adapted from this recipe, these "meatballs" were DELICIOUS. I yelled at J for eating the leftovers because I wanted to take them for lunch the next day. 

And this:
 Stirfry I threw together with chicken and spinach and other veggies. Tumeric gives everything that lovely yellow color.

And we ate beautiful food that was NOT delicious, like this:

This was absolutely the most disappointing meal we ate this past month. The turkey burger was dry and NOT good, the watermelon was funky, and the sweet potatoes and avocado were still too hard. The mushrooms and onions were good. Everyone else who tried this recipe loved it, so I’m sure I just did something wrong. Not sure if I’ll try again, though.

We ate new and different foods and discovered new favorites, and the kids did, too. Little Sister loves asparagus. Baby Sister loves mango. Little three and alternates between eating anything and everything and eating nothing, almost on a daily (hourly?) basis. I rekindled my love of avocados. And HOW did I live for 33 years and no one told me I could put guacamole on fish? To die for. (Guac is my Frank's. I put that $*&% on everything!)

The Whole30 takes commitment. 90% of the time, the only clean room in my house was my kitchen because I was constantly cleaning it. Meal planning and prepping things ahead of time was essential for us. There is no ordering a pizza when you don’t have anything thawed for dinner. (No cereal or PB&J, either!)

How do we FEEL, though? Was it really worth it?

Yes. Yes. Yes! A hundred thousand times--YES!

I found this graphic during week one and braced myself.

But days 2-7 it never happened. I felt so good, I worried I was doing it wrong.

Part of the Whole30 is not weighing or measuring during the 30 days. It’s not a “diet.” It’s not about how much weight you lose--it really is about changing your relationship with food. That said, I absolutely couldn’t wait to get on the scale yesterday. I knew I’d been losing because I could see and feel changes and people have been making comments, but I wanted to know how much!

My Results:

I lost 17 lbs.
I lost 17 inches.
I haven’t had a migraine in over a month.

I did this with some friends and we all took "before" pictures in our underwear. Around day two or three, someone said we should take pictures with our clothes on, too, so we could actually share our results. I thought it was a great idea...but I never did it. I do have a clothed picture that was taken on my birthday a couple of days before we started, but I haven't taken an "after," yet.

J’s Results:

He lost 9 lbs.
He reports that he has more energy during his runs and bike rides.
Mentally, he feels more clear.

Overall, we FEEL great.

And did it change my relationship with food? I think so. In the beginning, I can’t even say how many times I started at a bag of popcorn or a box of cereal and wondered, “Did I just eat some of that? My breath doesn’t smell like popcorn, but did I just eat some?” Even just last weekend, I was pulling a chicken finger apart for Baby Sister and licked my fingers when I was done. WHAT? Why did I do that? I can’t imagine how much I used to eat without even a conscious thought. I even dreamed about eating “no” foods--not that I wanted them, but that I ate them by accident and was really upset about it. It was disturbing. (Happy to say most of those thoughts went away during the second week or so.)

Food is nourishment. Fuel for our bodies. That’s all we really need. For the first time in my life, I GET that.

One thing I will say--that I’m SURE is not the program’s intent--is that I am a little afraid of food now. I feel so good that I’m afraid to add foods back in that might be harmful to my body. Why on earth would I WANT to give myself a migraine? Or make myself sick? The problem is...if I don’t reintroduce things, I’ll never know what to avoid forever. And really, there’s no sense to NOT eat peanut butter if I don’t have any problem with it.

We’re doing it for another 30 days, making it a Whole60. We’re kind of on a roll, we’ve discovered some great recipes, and we really like eating this way. I thought I could never give up cheese or yogurt or tortillas...but, to be honest, I haven’t even missed them. I’m not saying I’ll never eat cheese again, but I’ll definitely eat it differently. I won’t sprinkle it in every dish...I’ll eat cheese. Good cheese. (Okay, I’ll stop thinking about cheese now. Now.

I promise to check back in and update on how it’s going. I miss writing. Do you miss me?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Say Something

Say something, I’m giving up on you.

Turbo Jennie sent out the video to this song, sung by  A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera. I . watched it one time and I fell in love.

I’ll be the one, if you want me to.

I watched it over and over again, crying each time

Anywhere, I would have followed you

During their AMA performance, I whispered, “I love this song” even as tears stung my eyes. I couldn’t breathe.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.

I shared the video with a friend at work. “It’s missing a word,” she said. “Shouldn’t it be ‘Say something OR I’m giving up on you.’?”

And I am feeling so small

“No,” I told her. “There's desperation without it. ‘Say something. HURRY. Say it right now.’”

It was over my head


I know nothing at all.

“There’s just something about it. It just calls to me,” I said. “I don’t know what it is.”

And I will stumble and fall

I felt stupid. I watched again alone that night.

I’m still learning to love

And I cried and I cried and I cried

Just starting to crawl.

The next morning, it hit me.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.

It’s me.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.

With everything going on in my life lately, I haven’t been taking very good care of myself.

Anywhere, I would’ve followed you.

Not eating well. Not sleeping well. Not doing anything for ME.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.

Maybe I’m giving up. On me.

And I will swallow pride

It was quite the “aha” moment.

You’re the one that I love

There were more tears, of course.

And I’m saying goodbye

But relief, too.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.

Maybe it is stupid.

And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.

But I feel like my mind has been trying to tell me something.

And anywhere,  would’ve followed you.

And I’m just now understanding.

Oh, say something, I’m giving up on you.


Say something I’m giving up on you.

I’m finally listening.

Say something.

Monday, June 10, 2013


"I've been reading your blog."

The words were innocent, but the admission from my uncle shocked me.

I'm not really in hiding, but I was surprised to learn he took the time to read the things I'd written.

In that moment, I tried to remember the last thing I'd written about. "Oh," I think I said. Then, "OH."

I wish I could say that things have changed in the last 9 months or so, but they really haven't.

Okay, that's not true. Some things have changed. My grandpa died. Baby Sister turned one and started clapping and saying "mommy" and walking. My dad found a mass on his kidney, and while he hasn't necessarily been diagnosed with cancer, it's still terrifying. In October, our finances took a turn for the worse, but we climbed out of the rubble and things are better than they've been in a long time. Things are happening.

I'm still stressed...between work and school and the kids and the Hubster working two jobs, I feel like nothing ever gets done. My house is a disaster area and I'm trying to breathe through it and activate my tunnel vision until my classes end on Friday.


I wish I could say that I've managed to eat healthy and keep up with exercise even though I had to cancel both Weight Watchers and our gym membership...but I don't really like to lie.

I am, however, trying. And that's the truth.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day One

 After a month long absence, I finally went back to Weight Watchers. I didn't want to go and I had a million and one excuses, but I had promised people, including myself, that I would go. I don't really have the money to spend on it, especially if I'm not even making the effort to go. Pulling into the parking lot, I had to fight the urge to turn around and leave. Thank God my friend was there to walk inside with me.
I squeezed my eyes shut as I stepped on the scale, whispering that I didn't want to know the number, and could she please just hit the "reset" button for me and tell many how many points I get each day? I still can't bring myself look at the little sticker taunting me from the book inside my purse. After weighing in, I wanted to leave, but followed my friend to our usual spot. How can I just pretend that everything is normal? I wondered if everyone was staring at me. Do they know how close I am to losing to it? My hands shaking, I dug my fingernails into my skin, blinking away tears from time to time.
I left right after the meeting, not daring to talk to--or even look at--Leader Pam and barely acknowledging my friends. Deep breaths in the parking lot, and then I drove to Target for some fresh fruit and health(ier) groceries. Unfortunately...I started crying before I made it there and had to sit in my van for a few extra minutes. When the tears wouldn't stop, I just wore my sunglasses inside. Today was one of the miraculous days were I managed to not run into anyone (or everyone) I know while shopping.
Fast forward to tonight, and I'm prepared for tomorrow. Yes, it would be nice if I was going to get more than 6 hours of sleep, but the fact is, I'm not. I don't even know if I remember the last time I did. At least my breakfast and my lunch are made for tomorrow. The Hubster teaches tomorrow night, so dinner is (almost) ready, too. I've even got most of my tracking entered. I'm ready for Day One.
I've made it through Day One before. Day One is actually pretty easy. It's Day Two...Day Ten...Day Seventeen...that are hard.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chest Pain

There are not very many words that will get someone quicker medical care, besides “I can’t breathe,” or “My water just broke!”

I haven’t been feeling well, lately—and no, this won’t turn into another “I’m pregnant!” post…we’re done with those for sure! My tonsils are swollen. Not painful. Not red. Just swollen and making it difficult for me to swallow. I thought, at first, that it might be an allergic reaction, since, you know, I’m allergic to everything. But it didn’t go away.

On top of that, I’ve been having chest pain. A heaviness. The weight of the world crushing me, stealing air from my lungs.

I had an idea of what it might be, but scheduled an appointment, anyway.

Chest pain.

The words bring a controlled panic and an onslaught of tests. Oxygen level: Normal. Chest x-ray: Normal. EKG: Normal. A strep swab, WBC, and mono test for my swollen tonsils: All Normal.

I try to work up the courage to say the words, but she says them for me: “Could it be anxiety?”

My chest tightens more, my swollen throat closes, and tears burn my eyes as I nod, not trusting my voice. She asks what I could be anxious about and I whisper, “Everything.”

The family problems that are boiling over after simmering for 30 years.

The teenager I’ve helped raise for 13 years who suddenly tells me I have no place in her life.

The sick relative.

The husband who refuses to communicate.

The weight I can’t lose.

The time I don’t have.

The house that stays messy and the bank account that stays empty.

The schoolwork I have to excel at. Someone told me yesterday that a C is passing, but I can’t get a C. I have to get an A.

The sleepless nights, partially blamed on my baby, but the fact is that I toss and turn long after she has finally gone to bed.

I can’t breathe.  I am in a constant state of panic. Of waiting for the rug to come flying out from under me.  What’s next?

It’s too much, but it’s too hard to talk about. Even with friends I love, my first instinct is to pretend, “I’m fine.” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.
I’m a terrible liar.

Everything is not okay.

I am not fine.