Dr. Pepper, You’re My Hero

Srsly.  I have not had a soda (or pop or Coke depending on where you live) in over 3 months.  Do you know how long 3 months is?  It’s about 18 pounds.  That’s how long it is.  This morning, A2 and I woke up late.  And by late I mean 5 minutes to catch the bus late.  Crap.  I got yelled at by an 11 year old for putting her peanut butter sandwich into the wrong pocket of her book bag.  The day didn’t start well.  Then, I got into the car and headed off to work.  On the radio, the DJ says “XX Parkway is a cluster”.  Guess where I had the car pointed?  Straight down XX Parkway and into the cluster.  And I had a meeting scheduled for 10 minutes before the handy-dandy Garmin on my dash informed me was my arrival time.  At some point in the middle of all of this mess and slow traffic, I realized I had left for work with no food.  No protein snackies for my high protein diet.  Frack.  Double frack.

Two meetings, several emails and a couple of spreadsheets later, I decided to go down to the little café/convenience store to grab some lunch.  A couple of sticks of string cheese and maybe a tub of yogurt.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  But there is was – in the refrigerator – a can of Dr. Pepper.  It called my name.  I heard it.  And I answered its call.  I bought that can of Dr. Pepper.  I took it into the next meeting I had.  And I drank it.  It was sweet and cold and bubbly.  It was everything good that it could be.  When you have something every day, it just loses its luster.  The flavor becomes normal, everyday.  But wait 3 months and open that can.  Amazing what flows out.  Best ever.  So on this crappy Monday where things were going wrong, Dr. Pepper was my hero.

Today’s drawing is Tanglepatterns.com String #020.  I hope you like it.  I do.  Link: http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/09/tanglepatterns-string-020.html

String 20
Oct-2014; tanglepatterns.com String 020

I’m Sensitive

In more ways than one, I am sensitive.  Generally, I am not emotionally sensitive – I don’t get offended by offensive jokes, I can be the butt of a joke, I can (most of the time) take criticism constructively.  But let’s talk about how I am sensitive.

Movies.  Movies kill me.  I cry through them just knowing the direction they are heading.  Like The Imitation Game.  Bawling.  Monument’s Men.  Tears streaming down my face.  I tuned in to the most recent version of Jane Eyre on HBO about half way through and spent the rest of the movie sobbing.  I cry at almost every Sherlock episode – like when he is such an ass to Molly about the Christmas present.  Oh, the tears.  I was choking up last night watching Frontline about the immunization battle.  Really?  How much crying can one person do?

Personal space.  I need a bubble.  I don’t want to get to close to people.  Or, more accurately, I don’t want people to get to close to me.  If I like you, I will put you into my personal space.  But don’t you just go there by yourself.  It’ll full on piss me of.  I even told my mother-in-law once that she cannot hug me.  Ever.  When I had babies I tried nursing, but when it didn’t take, I was grateful.  Because then I could have my body and my space back.  Isn’t that terrible?

But the way I am very sensitive is to people.  I have done a very good job as an adult of surrounding myself with very, very good people.  I remember when I started this mature choice of friends.  I was in my last year of high school and I decided that some of my friends were not people who really supported me and liked me for who I was.  Some were mocking, rude, and soul-sucking drama queens.  So I changed friends.  I bring this up because one of these new and better friends and I have recently been in contact.  And my heart is hurting for him.  He is in a better place now than he used to be, I know that.  But the path he is on is not the one that I envisioned for him.  It is still a hard road.  So many people should be benefitting from his calling to the ministry that recent events have caused him to abandon.  But instead, he works as a bank teller.  Because he is gay.  I don’t understand organized religions and their treatment of entire groups of our population.

And now, the son has a friend in high school who is coming out.  I recognized this in the friend earlier than my son.  And I sat down with him and discussed what was ahead. For both him and his friend.  And I made it clear to him that homosexuality is not contagious, is not bad, is not wrong, and is not a lifestyle choice.  I also made it clear that as a friend of this boy, it is his job to be sensitive, to be open-minded, to not abandon this friend.  Because when you make a choice to surround yourself with good people who love you and accept you for who you are, your obligation is to be that kind of friend in return.  Sensitive to the needs of others.

To all of my friends: I love and accept each of you for who you are.  And I will always be here for you. Always.

Today’s drawing is from http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/09/tanglepatterns-string-019.html  I really, really like this one.  I started to understand that going outside of the lines is okay.

String 019
10/16/2014; tanglepatterns.com String 019

Eleven Stories

One of the things that I have neglected over the last several years due to the severity of my fibromyalgia is exercise.  I am horribly out of shape.  Which is probably why I resemble the Pillsbury Dough Boy.  The last several years, my energy levels were so low, I could barely get off the sofa to make dinner or do some laundry.  When I had a job, there were times when I had to go to my car and sleep for my lunch hour just to get through the rest of the day.  And even if I did have energy, the pain would stop me from doing anything.  The medications prescribed by the doctor would help sometimes, but other times there was no relief.  I kept watching my weight go up and up and up.  I was at a point where all I could wear were my yoga pants and I was facing having to get another size larger in those.  The men’s XL t-shirts were starting to get too tight.

Around this time last year, I made a half-hearted effort to cut carbs from my diet by cutting out pasta, baked goods, and breads.  I lost about 7 pounds but found that I was only following this regimen when I felt like it.  On the weekends, waffles, coffee cake, pancakes, brownies, cookies – they called my name.  I rationalized how well I was eating during the week to allow myself to eat what I wanted when I was home with the family.  How did that work for me?  Not at all.  I bought new jeans when it started to get cold again.  But I had no clothes to fit.  For my husband’s work Christmas party and for family celebrations, I had to go out and buy new clothes.  I wasn’t working, I had no energy and none of my clothes fit.  No wonder I was horribly depressed!

But today I am a different person.  In early January, I began the Yoli diet.  Now, I am not trying to sell anything or encourage you to try this.  What I am doing is telling you why this is a miracle for me.  I am now down over 17 pounds since the beginning of this year.  My joint pain is almost gone.  I have more energy most days than I have had in years.  I have a new job (today is my 9th work day).  I work on the 11th floor of a building where I can see a panorama of downtown Kansas City.  I fit back into my work clothes and I look nice every day going to work.  I can make it through the day without a nap.  I feel happy and satisfied with myself.

And today, for the third time since I have started this job, I walked down eleven flights of stairs.  And then, for the second time since I started, I turned around and walked back up.  Eleven Stories.  Of Stairs.  No elevator for me.  It damn near killed me.  That’s okay.  It will get easier.  And if I keep up my diet and walk up and down eleven stories a few times a week, maybe I will be able to buy new clothes.  Smaller clothes.  And maybe I will be able to put my wedding ring back on.

Today’s drawing is tanglepatterns.com String 018 – http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/09/tanglepatterns-string-018.html  I really think that this is around the time I was really starting to get the drawing thing down.  I have more consistent liking of my drawings from here on through the sketch book.

String 018
10/14/2014; tanglepatterns.com String 018

Oh Danny Boy

’tis St. Patrick’s Day.  My grandfather, whom I loved more than anyone else as a child, was Irish.  He was born in Chicago after his parents met and married there, both relatively fresh off the boat from Ireland.  I remember him as a happy, smiling antidote to my dour Germanic grandmother.  Theirs was a true love, though, lasting through his death shortly before their 50th wedding anniversary and unto her passing over 20 years later.

He sang.  Always singing – from my earliest days it was Irish lullabies and in my later teens it was Danny Boy.  He would sing along with records of bagpipes and drums he played whenever my grandmother left the house.  No words, just more of a wordless song of the melody.  I cannot, cannot, hear the pipes without crying to this day.  And today I am listening to an Amazon playlist for St. Patrick’s Day.  And thinking of him.

Oh, Danny Boy, we love you so.  And miss him.  Every day, but mostly this day.

Today, I am giving you another drawing from tanglepatterns.com, String 17 – link: http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/09/tanglepatterns-string-017.html

String 017
10/13/2014; tanglepatterns.com, String 017

It’s a Super Exciting Career!

I can just imagine if my kids had Career Day where their parents showed up to give some kind of speech to the impressionable little minds in their class.  The husband and I would put them all to sleep.

What do you do, Husband?  Really, that is a great question.  Every time he tries to explain it to me, my eyes glaze over and I start knitting in my mind.  It has something to do with finance.  And mergers and acquisitions.  And lots of meetings and emails.  I just know that if I want a real vacation with him, I have to take him to an area of the US where there is no cell phone reception or out of the country.  But now, his company has given him international phone access.  This year, I have thwarted them by booking a cabin at the Boundary Waters between Canada and Minnesota.  With spotty cell phone reception.  If he chooses to try to check his email too much, I will (I swear it!  I will!) accidentally drop his phone over the side of the boat.  So what do we know about the husband?  He works for a company that expects too much of his time and he never takes any time off.  Woo Hoo!  There’s a career every kid will want.

And you, WinterZen writer?  What to you do?  I think that every time I try to talk to anyone about my job, their eyes glaze over and they go someplace else.  I am a Business Systems Analyst.  See?  I lost you didn’t I?  But let me tell you what I don’t do for my career… I don’t work after I leave the office.  Nope.  Huh-uh, not me.  Okay, maybe once in a while, but not very often.  I have lucked into a job that doesn’t seem to require evenings and weekends and extra hours.  Need to leave because your kid has to go to work?  See ya!  Dentist appointment? Take care!

So, super-exciting careers?  Nope.  Neither of us are going to walk the red carpet, orbit the moon, do open heart surgery, or wrangle snakes.  But we both seem to like what we do.  And our kids seem to be relatively intelligent, well-balanced kids.  But they agree with me about throwing the husband’s phone into the lake.  At the end of our lives, hopefully we will be remembered for something other than the time we gave to corporate American.  We laugh, we cry, we play games with our kids.  We eat good food that we grow ourselves.  We have cats and a dog, a trampoline, a rope swing, a go-kart and the land to have all of that.  And when we take a vacation this summer, we are going fishing.  Because that is what the kids asked to do.  Instead of Disney World.  And they asked for their grandparents to come with us because fishing with Grandpa is the best, and nobody cooks fish like Granny.

And there… there is my super-exciting career.  Raising my kids right.  With the right values.  That is what I want to be remembered for.  Not a career that no one but me understands.

1, 2, 3… Go Friday!

We’ll call today a day of counting.  Low number (mostly) counting.

  1. Today is the first day of the kids’ spring break.  One whole week plus one day of sleeping in and doing nothing.  Of course, they have big plans – at least A2 and the boy do.  A1 really just likes to be at home.  Such a homebody – she takes after me.  A2 wants to spend the days and nights with her friends who live around us, but she needs someone to run her around.  Too bad.  No one is around that can do that.  The boy has big plans with his friends who are not off to sunnier climates for break.  However, he has been told that certain jobs must be done first.  He may be sitting at home for the break waiting for those jobs to get done.
  2. Today is the boy and the husband’s second college visit.  They are going to the University of Kansas, which I am certain is a very good school.  However, I cringe at the thought of him being a Jayhawk.  On the other hand, it might make it easier for us to find basketball tickets for when Iowa State comes to town…  Speaking of Iowa State, they will be playing their second game in the Big 12 conference championship tonight against a very good Oklahoma team.  They squeaked out a win in the last possible second against Texas last night.  Texas played the best I have seen them play all season.  If ISU is going to continue on, they has better change their game plan of coming from behind to win in the 2nd half.
  3. And 3.  Today is my third day at my new job.  I am finding it to be a very interesting workplace.  The people I meet are such stereotypes.  To describe people to the husband, I have only to name a person that we both know from the past.  There is the hoarder who has been at the job for about 20 years and has so much stuff in her cube that it spills out into the aisle.  There is the ambiguously gay man who is married (to a woman), but he welcomed me by bringing me a couple of necessary supplies – a box of Kleenex and a bottle of hand sanitizer.  That’s it.  No pens or paper.  I almost burst out laughing at the poor guy.  But I like it here.  The people are very nice.  The environment is very casual and easy-going.  And the views of the city from the office windows?  Amazing!!

Today’s photo is of the latest yarn I have spun.  It is much less hideous than I originally thought it would be, but the husband calls it Halloween Barf.  And that name has stuck.  It has every color in the rainbow in it except for red.  To be honest, it didn’t look this bad in the fiber bag when I received it.  Thank goodness it was free!

Ugly Yarn
Halloween Barf

Ready to Rumble

In more ways than one, I am ready to rumble.  I just started a new job yesterday after 6 months of unemployment.  This is bringing on many changes in my household because the kids have become so used to having me home to run them to wherever it is that they want to go.  It has really accelerated the timeline for the boy to get his driver’s license because I will be working much farther away from home than I ever have before.  All three kids will have to step up and help out with housework like cooking, cleaning the kitchen and laundry.  About this, they are not happy.  But they are all happy that mom has a job again.  Money coming in is a good thing.  To them, it means new clothes and new phones – two things that were not necessities that have been on hold for a while.  They don’t understand why we couldn’t go shopping last night.  The concept of ‘payday’ being separate from ‘work day’ is foreign to the girls.  The boy gets it, though.  He has his own job.

I am trying to work out the premium time to leave home in the morning and to leave work in the evening to hit traffic in the ideal way.  In the morning both yesterday and today, I left home around 8 because I waited to make sure A2 was ready to get on the bus before I took off.  This puts me on the back side of rush hour going into downtown KC.  But it really hasn’t been bad.  I expected it to be so much worse than it has been.  And then on the way home last night, I actually took a bit of a longer route going north of the city.  According to my Map app on my phone, though, it saved a bunch of time.

I was pretty worn out last night so I did very little.  I did watch the Big 12 opening round and loved watching TCU spank Kansas State.  I love rooting for the underdog (unless they are playing my team!).  I fell asleep about half way through the second half of Texas-Texas Tech.  It was nowhere near as exciting.  The husband did come home with a surprise – two very good tickets to Round 3 which is tonight.  So we get to go see our team (Iowa State) hopefully whomp on Texas and then stay for Oklahoma-Oklahoma State.  I am READY TO RUMBLE!!!  Since I work about 2 miles from the Sprint Center, I will just meet the husband there and hopefully have a great time.  And hopefully be able to get up to make it to work tomorrow!


Mentioned in Passing

Something I have mentioned in passing in my recent posts has been Fibromyalgia.  I haven’t done a lot of complaining or whining or explanation of the what’s, why’s and how’s of my Fibro journey.  And I am not going to today.  What I am going to do is celebrate some of the changes I have made and their effects on how I feel.  But first a couple of song lyrics because of the title of this blog post.

It’s so nice to meet an old friend and pass the time of day
And talk about the home town a million miles away
Is the ice still on the river, are the old folks still the same
And by the way, did she mention my name
Did she mention my name just in passing

Gordon Lightfoot – Did She Mention My Name

Now I have this song stuck in my head.  Great.  Anyway… This is how I feel right now about Fibromyalgia.  For the last 2 years, every day has centered around Fibro – the pain, the exhaustion, the brain fog.  In the past 6 months or so, I had dabbled in going gluten free in my diet, having heard that it may have some effect.  And just after the beginning of the year, I was encouraged by some friends to try their diet plan.  It is called Yoli and is based on balancing the alkalinity in your body and then eating a high protein, low carb diet supplemented by their patented protein shakes, energy/metabolism boosting drinks, and dietary supplement capsules.  It is gluten free and mostly sugar free (natural sugars). Now, I am not one for paying a lot of money for a diet, but this one was rumored to help with Fibro symptoms.  And if it could help those symptoms then the results would be priceless.

So, two months in, the results are priceless.  Absolutely and unbelievably priceless.  I am almost completely pain free.  I don’t sleep all day.  I have energy to do things (in moderation).  I can bend and move in ways I haven’t for years.  I don’t need two cups of coffee every morning to wake up.  And I have lost 15 pounds in 2 months.  My face is slimmer, my double chin is gone, I have a waist again.  My jeans are sagging and I can get them off without unbuttoning them if I want.

Today, I am celebrating this success.  I am going to fill out paperwork to start a new job.  I am going to go meet with friends from an old job to keep in touch.  I am going to do things that healthy, normal people do.  And I am going to celebrate feeling like a healthy/normal person.  Maybe in a few months I will stop the daily Yoli plan and go into maintenance.  I want to hit my target weight first.  And then maybe, just maybe I will be a healthy/normal person.  Every day.  And I can then mention Fibro in passing… a memory of an old acquaintance that was once more than that.

What a Nightmare!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Just a Dream.”

You’re having a nightmare, and have to choose between three doors. Pick one, and tell us about what you find on the other side.

I don’t really dream.  All of the medications for Fibromyalgia that I take seem to have stopped the dreaming.  I’m sure it is there, but I don’t remember it.  At least I am sleeping now.  Before I started seeing the Rheumatologist, I wasn’t sleeping enough or deeply enough to dream.  I did have certain times in my past when I did dream extremely vividly and had horrifying nightmares – when I was pregnant.  By my third pregnancy, I figured out that I was pregnant because of the screaming nightmares I was having nightly.  Hormones much? 🙂  The nightmares were so horrifying that I actually taught myself to wake up before anything too bad happened.  The trigger that I taught myself is to say “I see that this is not going in a direction I want to go, and I want out of this now.”  And then I wake up, knowing that I was at the start of a nightmare that I controlled my way out of.

Now, on to the challenge… Three doors in the middle of a nightmare.  The nightmare is generally that of a home invasion – no husband home and all of the children there.  My door of choice is not out of the house.  My choice is to hide the children or shove them out of the door out of the house.  And then the door I go for is the door to the gun cabinet.  And I seem to be very capable of using whatever arsenal I find there.  For some reason in my nightmare, I cannot walk away, but I must stand my ground, defend myself, my life, my children and my home.  My nightmare is one I have dreamed in many ways, in many different houses.  But before I taught myself to escape the nightmare, I always choose the door to defend myself and my own.

I know what this means.  It’s not a hard dream to interpret.  I will protect my children from danger of any kind with any means necessary.  I would go to the extreme of putting myself into the eye of the hurricane to protect them.  They are my life and my world.  As they grow, they need my protection less and less.  I wonder if I dreamed now, would my nightmares be different?  The kids need less physical protection now, but more emotional guidance as they are journeying through their teen years and into adulthood.

Today’s drawing from tanglepatterns.com is String 016 – link: http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/09/tanglepatterns-string-016.html

String 016
9/29/2014; tanglepatterns.com String 016