Monday, December 29, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Being Enough

We went on vacation to an all inclusive resort in Jamaica for the Christmas holiday, and the resort we stayed in offered "Kids Camp." Camp included structured activities for the kids to do every day - glass bottom boatadventure, swimming, crafts, baking/pizza making in the kitchens, tea parties, singing, dancing, games, treasure hunts, visiting with Sesame Street Characters in real life, etc etc etc.  The first full day we were there, we didn't do it, but we ran into a camp counselor the second day who enticed Sofie to try it.  She LOVED it.  We did it during the day for 3 days in a row, dropping her off around 9:30 and picking her up around 3:30 so we could still do some swimming.

I have to say that it was the best thing ever.  My husband was sick with the flu, so having her attend let him sleep.   Also, doing the mom/adventure coordinator thing on vacation was a lot of work by my self.  I had booked the trip to Jamaica with a vision of some alone time/beach time to recuperate from this year (see previous posts about the 3 different jobs & broken/twisted ankles).  Kids Camp allowed us to have some alone time during the day, and we picked up Sofie mid-afternoon so we could swim/make sand castles/etc.

On the last full day in Jamaica, I dropped Sofie off again for kids camp, and one of the counselors made the comment that "most parents don't drop their kid off on the last day - we weren't expecting you."  I felt judged big time.  It felt like she was implying I didn't love Sofie enough to spend the day with her.  Sofie had woken up at 6 that morning and had been pleasant for awhile but metamorphosed into a screaming, temper tantrum, walking nightmare from 7-8:30. She had been sneaking candy, and when she eats it before breakfast, it doesn't do nice things to her disposition.  I know that I didn't need to justify my decision to drop Sofie off to Kids Camp.  I just expected that they would do their job, take my kid, and let me have a couple hours of peace.  Why did I feel so judged?  I should have just told her to "F OFF"

I have had some time to think about it in the last day, and it rubbed me the wrong way because...

I am the single breadwinner in our family (full time middle manager in a technical industry), and sometimes I have a hard time accepting that I am enough and give enough to every stakeholder in my life.  My husband is a full time homemaker.

It feels like most of my colleagues spend the 10-14 hours a day in the office. Why? I can only imagine that they 1) like to work, 2) are hiding from their significant others, 3) are really playing "worlds of Warcraft" or some other computer game, or 4) they are shopping/reading news/on eBay, etc.  I spend 8 hours a day at work, working.  I am there to get in, get work done, and get out.  I also have about 90 minutes of commute on top of the 8 hours, plus an hour lunch.  That means I spend at least 10 hours a day on work related activities, on a good day when I actually get out of work on time.  and I am a person who used to be defined by my work.  I love working.  It makes it tough to not spend all my time at work.  I feel guilt because I am not at work.  Also, it is a highly political, tumultuous time in my industry, and people are being let go.  I feel guilty that I am not doing enough.

Then, when I get home, I feel guilt about not being the best mom.  Many other moms at my daughter's school are full time moms.  They have time to make their daughter fancy dresses, go to the park, drop them off at school, pick them up at school, make dinner, go shopping, do soccer practice, do homework and volunteer at school. I am lucky to make Sofie breakfast, sometimes get her dressed, and have dinner with her.  I also help with the bedtime routine, but a lot of the time, when I get home, I am worn out. I feel guilty I am not doing enough and giving enough.

Then, I look in the mirror and I see that I am 100 pounds overweight.  I see the flaws - where I blew my knee out twice, where I broke my leg, where I broke my ankle this year, the scars, the flab.  I feel guilt about not taking care of myself, not having self control and not respecting myself enough to not overeat.

I keep meaning to do things - schedule extracurricular activities for my daughter and myself, but it hasn't happened yet.  Other moms seem to be arranging and facilitating activities for their kids.  They supplement the existing school with languages and physical activities.  Why am I not doing that?

At the end of the day, I need to tell the negative, nagging voice in my head to shut the fuck up.  I have prioritized taking care of my family financially, and I need self care for myself too.  I have provided amazing opportunities for my daughter that she never would have gotten if she had remained in China.  She got her cleft palate fixed as much as possible for her age. She has gotten speech therapy and is up to age appropriate sounds (she could only do vowels and "m" and "n" when we got her).  She takes piano lessons and dance lessons.  I am teaching her to bake. I sing with her. We dance together. I helped provide an amazing opportunity to go on vacation to Jamaica.  She has learned to swim.  She is learning to read.  I am a great mom, and I don't need to feel guilty about giving her to Kids camp for a few hours on our final day in Jamaica.  I deserve rest and relaxation too.

I am enough.  I just need to remind myself most days.

Don't know what #MicroblogMondays is? Check it out here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lazy Days

It's a lazy day in paradise, and I am feeling grateful. We picked a resort with kids camp, and Sofie went immediately after breakfast (chomping at the bit for fun)! The hubby has the flu (son of a gun... Life is not fair. He braved it Sunday, our travel day, and yesterday). I made him go to bed after breakfast in hope that  his fever will break and that he will feel better tomorrow.

Here I am, sitting in paradise on our lovely balcony.

I am thinking about grabbing a drink with rum and having some quality alone time. It is definitely solitude. Beautiful.

Monday, December 15, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Christmas cookies galore

I love the season of Christmas.  Every year, I decorate the house while watching Christmas movies.  The first movie is always "White Christmas."  Phase 2 includes making Christmas food - cookies, fruitcake, chocolate truffles, apple pie - and watching more movies (National Lampoon Christmas vacation, home alone, miracle on 34th st...).  The typical cookie fare includes sugar cookies, Norwegian gingerbread cookies (pepperspisser), Norwegian sand cookies (sandnoetter), toffee bars, candy cane cookies, and sometimes spritz. This year, I discovered the melted snowman cookies which are my new rockstar favorites.  Basic 101 instructions are here.

I used Martha Stewart's perfect sugar cookies and royal icing recipes. So yummy! It will be a tradition for years to come!  My innovation for the snowmen were the tic tacs for nose, googly eyes from the store, and pretzels for the arms.  Using Martha's recipe + marshmallows yielded a taste that was creamier than a typical lemon sandwich cookie.

While we had the dough/frosting, we went crazy with other cutout/decorations.

The decorating was perfect for ages 5+.

What are your favorite Christmas cookies?  Do you have a fun-gotta-try go to?

Don't know what #MicroblogMondays is? Check it out here.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Birth Parents

When I woke Sofie up this morning, she did this cat stretch thing that she does every single day.  I was sitting, watching her, and wondering if it is what her birth mom or dad does every morning when they wake up.  I don't do it. Her dad doesn't do it.  I wonder how many of her gestures, looks, mischievous smiles, sunny personality, stormy moments, voices and characteristics are from her birth parents.

It is funny how I am so grateful to her birth parents and think of them almost every day.  I feel connected to them through her, and I send so much love in my thoughts.  I wonder if Sofie has brothers and sisters in this world. I wonder what they look like and what they do. I imagine that they are gymnasts and performers who found love early.  I imagine they are married and thinking about Sofie every day.  I imagine that they are full of joy and happiness and trusting the universe to take care of their beautiful girl.

For those who don't know, Sofie was left on the doorsteps of an orphanage on what they think is the second day of her birth.  She was both a girl and had a cleft palate.  In her province, only 1 child is allowed per family.  I wonder if her parents had been loving and singing to her every day during the pregnancy.  I wonder about their reactions when they realized that she was a cleft palate kid.  I wonder if they knew she was a girl and planned to give her up for adoption anyway or if the cleft palate was what made it happen?  I wonder what happened to her birth mom and dad.

I wonder when Sofie is going to start asking questions and worry that she isn't enough.  I wonder if she will know in her heart that she has been wanted and loved since before the moment she was conceived, like a thought of a seed in the universe. She has such joy and purpose. She has such abundance of spirit.

How much is from me? my husband? from her? from the universe? from her birth parents and grand parents? Do they think of her every day and cry? Do they know she is loved and thriving and becoming an amazing young woman?

I wish they could hear my call and thoughts.  If they could, I would tell them...

  • We have an amazing child together
  • I am eternally grateful to you for sharing her with me
  • I wish I could send you updates so you could see how your sacrifice of love paid off
  • It is an amazing life and you are part of my family forever if you want it
  • I love you. Truly.
  • Thank you.

Monday, December 8, 2014

#MicroBlogMondays - Magic Moment of the Week

Yesterday, I had one of those "magic moments" that I wish I could experience forever.  When Sofie woke up, she put on this little hot pink, sequined leotard with a skirt. Later in the day, she and I were watching "Whit.e C.hristmas" together (my favorite movie), and although Sofie isn't quite old enough to watch the entire thing - she IS only five - Sofie tuned in when there was singing and dancing.   When the musical number "I'd R.ather See a Mi.nstrel Show" began, she instantly engaged.  By the time "Mandy" came on, she decided to dance with Vera-Ellen and copy everything that Vera did.  I was watching the movie and Sofie together, in similar costumes with similar expressions of joy on their faces and for that moment, time stood still.  I hoped she would love W.hite Chri,stmas, and I experienced everything I could have hoped for in that moment.

Have you had any magic moments lately?

Don't know what #MicroblogMondays is? Check it out here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Advent Traditions

It's December 1st, and the race to Christmas is underway.  We started this morning with our annual-manual-made Advent calendar that my mother-in-law made for us when we got Sofie all those years ago.  I went on a hunt and plunder adventure at Target and the first gift of the season was Christmas Hel.lo K.itty socks.  A crowd-pleaser for me and a snoozer to her. The tree is up. The outside lights are up.  I bought Christmas aromatherapy candles yesterday.  And we remembered to light our single Advent candle (thank you BBB).  We started a new tradition of saying the Norwegian Advent Poem (in Norwegian and English) and then what we are grateful in our lives.

What are your advent traditions?

Don't know what #MicroblogMondays is? Check it out here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

More Uncertainty

I went back to work full time last week, and I was actually able to drive myself to the office, sit at my desk all day, and drive myself home! All week! Yay! Progress!!!

I expected everyone to be as happy as I was that I was back.  I did get a lot of "Welcome Back's," but I am no longer the Project Manager on my project, and they are looking for another project for me lead.  Meanwhile, I am the new project managers "helper," (official title as told by the program manager) and I get to watch him change everything I planned.  Also, he talks about the "terrible" decisions I made a lot, has a very different communication style and his sense of urgency seems to be less than mine was. 

I have a very hard time sitting on the bleachers.  There are long stretches of time where there really isn't a lot for me to do, and I am at the point I am fantasizing about bringing in books from my reading list until something is decided.  I have sent the message up the chain about the status & my availability to work... I am hoping someone will jump soon.  My CV is updated but I am not ready to pull the trigger yet.

Meanwhile at home, Sofie is in denial about going back to school.  We had her stay home a couple weeks for "summer vacation" so she got a break from pre-school/day camp before she started real school for the next 13 years of her life.  She also isn't very happy that I am back to work either (she hid my lunch cooler this morning so that I couldn't pack my lunch & therefore couldn't go to work ).. There are many periods with a lot of crying and screeching about me leaving her.  Fun times!

She is also very health minded recently.  She asks if everything she is putting in her mouth is healthy, and then argues with us about the validity of our claims - "No, half a Hostess cupcake is not good for you, Sweetie" I say.  And then the hubby says, "But if you eat it in moderation, everything will be ok" (which I disagree with).  Afterwards, he asked me what is in a hostess cupcake, and I estimated the recipe with the worst things I could think of (bleached flour, sugar, hydrogenated oil, palm oil, etc.) and was surprised it was even worse than I thought (forgot the corn syrup & high fructose corn syrup & more). I am trying to push veggies, fruit, whole grains, small amounts of nuts and beans as healthy food.  The hubby adds in fish (I slightly disagree based on his suggested frequency), meat (disagree), poultry (disagree), dairy (disagree).  It is tricky being in a relationship where we have such different feelings about food - but he did have kidney stones (caused by excessive animal protein consumption & dairy), and he is rethinking his whole stance on nutrition... if only I could get him to read some books and stop buying salami.

This weekend, I was able to work on my garden for the first time in forever.  I am sure the neighbors threw a party (no HOA in my neighborhood) because the 3 ft. high grass was removed...

It was so fun to get out my hatchet and start whacking down the jungle.  I should have taken before/after photos.  I trimmed the tree (looked like a whole tree in the garbage can), weed-whacked the grass, pulled out dozens of ruellia vines that have spread across the yard (hundreds left), trimmed up the palm tree, reshaped the plumbago, and yanked all the weeds that I could see.  I ran out of steam after about 45 minutes, and took the remaining 15 to sweep it up (despite the wind's interference).  I realized that the wild morning glory that passed over the fence to our yard has infiltrated the ruellia so fiercely, I need another plan of attack to remove it.  Beware, little ones...

Sunday, August 3, 2014


My sister is a survivor of workplace violence.  This week at her office, a Columbine situation occurred in which 2 of her good friends were shot.  She works at a small company, and everyone knows one another.  She has been there for seven years - through the good times and challenging times.  This company  has been branded a top workplace in the city for several years in a row.  The people who work there go out for drinks after work at least once a week. People voluntarily hang out together in her company.

On Thursday, my sister's colleague/boss had a meeting with her in the morning where they joked, talked about upcoming plans, and had a nice time.  Allegedly, immediately afterwards, he then went shot the CEO in the stomach and head, and then himself in the head.  We haven't heard if there were a suicide note.  The CEO may survive.  He might be a vegetable.  We don't know at this point.

The colleague was a really nice guy who has been with the company 25 years.  He was staunchly publicly against guns, did not own guns, nor have a license for guns.  He was married and had 3 grown up children.  He was the developer and creator of the software the company sells & held Master degrees in psychology and computer science. He was a funny, sweet, nice, thoughtful guy.  In fact, when my sister talked about work, his name often came up in our conversations because he was a lot of fun & a reason she stayed there.

It has been a few days, and the same questions keep racing through my head throughout the day and especially in the wee hours of the morning.

What happened??? What would cause someone to completely derail like this? Where would he get the illegal gun?  Who was he?  How could he go from being Mr Jokey with my sister to a killer a few minutes later? How did this happen?  How did they miss the signs?  Was he in his right mind?  Could it have been the CEOs gun?  They supposedly struggled... how would the police know?

Then my thoughts descend further into bigger questions - Do we ever really know people? Do we know what people are capable of? Can I trust anyone?  Could I do something like this in the right situation?

I know I am not the most logical person in the world, being the INFJ that I am.  Sure, I usually make good decisions (J) but the NF is a dominant personality trait.  I look at Sofie in the midst of temper tantrums, and she is definitely NOT logical in those moments. Sofie will lash out, kick, scream, hit, scratch, bite, twist, spit, and act like a maniac if she doesn't get her way.  Do we ever lose that urge?  Is my perception of society really veiled with violence that I choose to believe doesn't exist?  On tough days at work, when I was going to cross fit, the trainers would bring out the lead pipes and tires so we could beat them until we are tired.  Is that the same urge that affected my sister's boss in his last moment?

Is it that guns make death too easily accessible in our insane moments?  If the guy had the option to bring a lead pipe to work instead, would he have beat him senseless?  Or would he use a knife in the workplace?

I am feeling haunted by these questions.  There is no real answer.

Of course we are at very low risk of having a life altering event occur at work.  Downsizing the organization always leaves an opening for retaliation.  As a manager within my organization, there have been a few times in which I was worried about the possible domino effect of making changes & possible outcomes by changing people around.  Luckily nothing ever happened to me (besides death threat phone calls and people stealing my hub caps).

So as I head into the next work week, I am sending many prayers for all the families affected by the tragic shooting.  For the CEO who might not live, his family, the shooter who will be remembered for this heinous act, his family, and all the staff at my sister's company who have to go back into the office and deal with the fact that the office was filled with blood and someone died an ugly death down the hall.  I hope they will survive, keep their jobs, and that no one will fall into the pit of despair.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Looking up

My ankle has been doing much better lately, and once I remembered the basic pain management protocol (don't let the pain get away from you) (thanks mom), I medicated, got it under control, and things are under control now.

I have been able to walk around with the boot more easily, and I even started being able to ride a stationary bike.  That part is really exciting.

Lately, Sofie has been struggling.  She has had a few changes to her life this summer - me breaking my ankles, changing from preschool to day camp, taking swimming lessons, having her Dad pay a lot of attention to me, her friends not being available like they were.  I think it is a lot to process, and the outcome is that she has a very short fuse & is quick to get angry in a second.  She has been overreacting to tiny things, and the tantrums seem to span days.  She also refuses to get out of bed, go to camp, talk... They are tough time.

Once she gets out of her dark place, she will talk to us about what is going on with her, but we don't seem to be able to temper her reaction with our discussions.  I hope that as I regain mobility & her life stabilizes with kindergarten that things will calm down.

Meanwhile, her tantrums are pretty amazing to experience.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Slow going

I am feeling blue today. My ankle has been hurting like crazy since the doctor released me to walk in the boot. Every step is agony in the joint and when I sit down, the pain doesn't lesson for hours. Painkillers don't make much of a dent in it, and I am beyond wits with what to so.

I called the doctor when it was so bad earlier this week, and they claimed it was normal. My physical therapist was kind of shocked & speechless with the swelling, but then said you should just ice it more.

I am afraid that something is really wrong. I am afraid that I will never walk again or run or dance. I will call again on Monday to discuss with the doctor's nurse - and it is just another 2 weeks away until I see the surgeon again.  I saw the X-rays. My bones looked like the were healed but then why does it hurt so bad?

Meanwhile, the hubby and Sofie are running around town without me and I feel so alone. My family is tired of talking to me on the phone every day (with me having so little changed from day to day) and my friends are busy running around.

I booked some trips for later this year to look forward to, but what if I can't walk?  Disaster.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Personal growth?

A couple months off work is a long time.

I would like to say that I spent my time well doing my non-moving hobbies like painting, playing music, reading, writing, meditating, planning for the future, etc.

However, I gorged on all the TV that I missed over the last 15 years - Firefly (ok rewatched), Freaks and Geeks, House of Cards, Fringe, New Girl, Orphan Black, Hot in Cleveland, Tree House masters ... And rejected a lot of the mainstream TV that people recommended - Breaking Bad (too violent & didn't like the characters), Orange is the new black (didn't like the characters), Once upon a time (wouldn't stream), dexter (too violent), Sherlock (just wasn't interesting to me), lilyhammer (didn't like the characters), and more ...  Oh, and I watched the World Cup with an avid football lover.

I also read a lot of books, both old and new to me, and did a lot of sleeping. I am not sure it was the most productive use of time, but it took me away from my troubles.

Yesterday I was finally released to start walking with a boot, and now that I started, I am in terrible pain again. I migrated back to the wheel chair & crutches this afternoon. Transitions are tricky.

The World Cup is wrapping up and I am set to start working from home again.  I guess this journey is wrapping up to a certain degree in the next few weeks.

I discovered some spirituality in this journey. I reconnected with my husband and daughter by living in the living room for 2 months. I discovered I have great friends who were amazingly supportive. I reconnected with old friends too.

I was forced to be more vulnerable than I have been since I was a child. I had a glimpse of what handicap and elderly people experience. It isn't pretty.

I still don't know what I want to do with my life (except be a wife and mom and friend). I do know I want to be healthy. And that is enough for now.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Healing & reason

Well, it's been about four weeks since I had the tragic fall. I am still not walking, and I am still not working. The days span for endless hours every day, and I am waiting for the enlightenment. Why have I gotten hurt? What was I supposed to learn? Why won't the pain stop? I just do not understand.

I usually think that things happen for the best. Maybe I don't understand the reason why now, but the reason will show itself to me later. The universe is supposed to be unfolding with perfect order and truth. And here I sit unenlightened. Alone. A burden on my family. Needy. It kills me. Everyone I know is working. Everyone I know has a life. And here I sit.

At the beginning, my friends  were very available to me. And one by one that interest has waned. It's not much fun to hang out with a cripple. I won't be able to drive for several months. We just finally got a handicap parking sticker for the car so that when my husband drives me to different appointments, we can park in the handicapped spaces and be able to get me on my wheelchair. We've been trying to park in normal spaces and it has been very challenging when people park next to the car. Anyway I'm getting off subject.

I am healing. My ankles are much stronger than They were a month ago. Resting all day is supposed to be good for me.

It's just hard to be vulnerable. It's hard to put myself out there. It's hard to know I'm not invincible. It's hard to know I can't do it all. That there are limits. Maybe that's what I was supposed to learn. Time will tell.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The misstep

I don't know if you heard what happened to me as I was standing on a street corner going out to dinner with my husband and Sofie. It was a beautiful evening, about 76° and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We were waiting for the crosswalk to turn green and my heel slept on a little bump on the wheelchair ramp, and my foot folded and cracked. I try to save myself with the other foot but crashed to the ground. I made a noise and felt pain. I knew something was very very wrong and people rushed to my aid - both strangers and the couple who were supposed to meet for the first time.

When I got to the hospital, I learned I fractured one ankle in three places and sprained the other ankle tearing the ligaments from the bone. It was a disaster. I was hospitalized for a week (and has surgery). I came home a few days ago to a changed world.

I am unable to walk on either leg. I will be in a wheelchair for the next 3 to 4 months. I'm living on the first floor of our house with a porta potty, a wheelchair and a hospital bed. I've been told that I won't be able to drive for at least four months so I will be housebound for quite a while. It's unbelievable.

Sofie seems to have taken it in her stride. She accepts that mommy has a broken leg and she gives me extra special hugs and kisses. My husband has resigned himself to the fact that I need assistance for everything from going to the bathroom to changing where I sit. We have a half bath on the ground floor and I will not be showering/bathing for 4 months. He will pick up the shopping, cooks clean and arrange our day-to-day activities, and I feel so guilty that I'm unable to achieve anything.  The days with a sponge bath are the exciting ones. Actually, moving from bed pan to porta potty was my biggest achievement to date. It is a new world.

My friends have been outstanding. I am so incredibly grateful to those who have provided words of encouragement, who have come to visit me, who have sent their love and prayers across the world. I wouldn't be able to make it through without you. I found out that you can pay for nurses to come and visit your house, or physical therapists, or friends, and I think it must be so incredibly sad for people who don't have the incredible infrastructure that I have. I say a little prayer for these people now each evening knowing how hard it to survive.

As I sit here I really am wondering what I should be doing with this extra time. In a way it's a gift. I was wishing that I had more time to spend with my husband and Sofie, and I was wishing I had time to read books and spend more time on me. I never would've imagined that I could hurt myself so badly so easily and that I would be off for such a long period of time.

Should I be meditating? Should I be painting? Should I be playing music?or organizing my life? Should I be working on adopting another child? Writing a book? Scouting for jobs?

I really don't know the answer. I've gotten a lot of suggestions and none of them ring true. I have a vast blank canvas with multimedia and paints and brushes standing at attention. The light is perfect. The view is perfect. And I am blocked.

The answer should be clear and yet I find myself paralyzed on the edge of the abyss.

It is hard to really say what impact this is going to have in my life. I hope I'll keep my job. I hope I have the means to pay for this accident.

It is very hard to understand why did I get so hurt and why I'm having these issues. It's really astounding that such a minor fall could produce such extravagant results.

What am I projecting to the world that would reflect the collapse of my body?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Well meaning "friends"

I am fat.  Obese.  Twice the size that I ever would have imagined myself.

"How did this happen????" is what I ask myself when I see candid pictures of me that people take and post on Facebook.  When I look in the mirror, I don't see that girl. Ever.  I don't know if it is the lighting in the room, or the angle in which I view my face in the mirror every day.  Or denial.  Yes, it could be that.

Why am I talking about this?

I had an epiphany at lunch today, and I realized that people who know me professionally just think of me as the fat lady.  One of the ladies at lunch showed a picture of herself 20 years ago during college.  I had a couple pictures of me from that time, and they couldn't connect the picture of a healthy person to the person I have become.  They saw a thin girl and a fat girl and decided I must be the fat person.

I wasn't always fat.  I remember being 9 years old, and I did 2.5 hours of ballet 4 days a week.  I was a perfectly average little girl.  I was not slim, but I wasn't chunky either.  When I wasn't dancing, I was playing outside.  On holidays, my  uncle would see me each a piece of candy and tell me that I better not touch it because I would get fat like my mom.  I ignored him and ate the candy.

Then, the sickness of 1987-1989 occurred. I had pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma and allergies all rolled into one.  I was in and out of the hospital and on steroids for 3 years.  My face got really round, and I wasn't fat, but I definitely was puffy.  This is when my obsession with not getting fat started.  My family would make well-meaning comments about how I should watch what I ate.  I was definitely conscious as a tween that I was bigger than my fellow classmates.  Heck, I started to develop in 4th grade and was always conscious... but I made sure that I didn't gain too much weight... until high school, when my mom would say, "if only you could weigh...". I had a BMI of 23.  I did weight watchers. I did slim fast.  I ate rice cakes all day.  Eventually I got down to a BMI of 20.  But it was hard.  And I felt disgusted with myself for being so fat.

I went to college and gained the freshman 15.  I also blew out my knee completely and wasn't real mobile.  Not an excuse, but a definite challenge.  By the time I graduated I was back to a reasonable weight.  Since then my weight has oscillated back and forth like a pendulum, gaining more, losing less, gaining more, losing less.  I have also had long bouts of health issues & continue to have joint issues which sideline me for months.  I lived in a few places and tried Lean Bodies, Weight Watchers, Atkins, Southbeach, counting calories...

When I lived in Denver, I had a great trainer & was also blessed with good knee status.  I lost 60 pounds and was able to maintain an amazing life.  What was different? I was able to ride my bike a lot on trails.  I had a good personal trainer.  I didn't get injured.  I was relatively healthy.  I counted calories for that portion of my journey again.

Then I moved cities again, and immediately I blew out my already reconstructed knee with a new trainer.  I also had personal issues around that time and the weight packed back on immediately. Then I went on a Dr sponsored weight loss program. It was awful.  They had us eating 800 calories a day, and my entire system failed.  I couldn't go to the bathroom, I was tired and shaky all the time, I turned grey. I couldn't think. And I only lost 15 pounds over the 6 month period.  I was exercising 90 minutes a day and had severe calorie restriction, and it was so disappointing.

When we got Sofie, I was able to maintain the weight loss because we had an active lifestyle while I was on maternity leave.  Within a month of coming back to work, I had gained back 20 pounds...  And since then, I had another major illness with ~6 months of steroids/inability to breathe.

When I recovered, I started working out & dieting again.  Small portions.  Paleo.  Primal.  Looking at meat made me want to throw up.  Over 6 months I gained 80 lbs of muscle. Yes muscle.  The scale did not move.  At all.  Then I tore the cartilage in my good knee.  Then I injured my shoulder.  Then I injured my bad knee.  Then I got sick again. I am not making any excuses for myself.  But, bad stuff happened.  I gained about 10 pounds over the holidays.

I know I have challenges.  When I feel sad or stressed, I want to eat.  Most days I resist but some days I don't.  And I know I have to change.  I have read all the diet books.  I pour over all the nutrition articles I can find.  I have tried so many things.  All the different sources tend to contradict one another and it is hard to know what to eat (except for white food).

Getting back to my story .... so I was sitting at lunch today, and I have been inspired to try Dr Joel Furhman's "How to live for life" plan.  This morning, I brought this amazing, large salad with navy beans, beets, red pepper, a carrot, greens... It was beautiful, and I mentioned to my friend that I was doing the program for at least the next 4 weeks.

She says to me,
"Yes, you should really lose weight"
"Why eat so much salad? You are setting yourself up for failure"
"You know, you should try to reduce your portions"... "why not eat [friend chicken and tomatoes] that I am eating"
"You know, you shouldn't try to follow this plan..."
"You know, you need to exercise..."
"Why do you limit yourself?"
"If you had a reasonable plan, then I could do it with you"
"It's too hard for women to lose weight"
"If you had more will power you would do better"...

and it goes on and on and on and on.  I sat there in silence eating my vegetables knowing if I said one thing, this lady would no longer be in my life ever again.  Maybe that would be better.  I haven't decided yet.

Hello.  Yes.  I know I am fat.  Yes.  I have read the fricking books.  All of them.  I subscribe to so many blogs about nutrition and fitness and health.  I have worked with nutritionists.  I have tried behavior modification.  I have tried small portions. I have tried group therapy.  I know I need to work out.  I also know that due to my shoulder injury I can't lift anything, and I am struggling to walk because of my knee. I would love love love to work out.  My favorite thing in the world is working out.    I love feel of wind against my cheek when I am riding my bike.  I love to watch the birds dart through the trees and telephone wires while I walk.  I love the sound of my feet hitting the trail.  I love the smell of the gym and the anticipation of starting that first set.  I love doing core day and pushups and attempting pullups and feeling strong.  I love pushing a heavy sled and knowing I can do it.

I also know what I have been doing hasn't been working.  Somehow at the end of the day, I am completely unable to restructure my body.  I have read about what the constant yo-yo-ing does to your body, and I am there.

I need a body-reset & super-detoxfy to strip out the years worth of drugs I have consumed trying to get better.  I need to care for myself and give myself tools to heal.  I need to support myself and love myself and appreciate that I am who I am, no matter how much I weigh.  And I need to believe that I can do it.

I don't need you telling me I am fat.  Ever.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


It has been a crazy year so far with 2 jobs, 2 bouts of food poisoning, a cold, blowing out my knee and everything in between.  This month, my job really went into high gear, and I am working way more hours (about 4 extra per day) than I have in a long time.  It coincides with hurting my knee and not being able to work out like I was, so there really hasn't been a lot of stress relief going on throughout my days. I did get a steroid injection which made me feel like superman for about 45 minutes... Until I went for a long walk and limped back.  So, physical therapy ho.

Lately, I find myself dealing with feelings of guilt - why can't I give more to my job (even though I am already giving them more hours than they really deserve... But when I compared myself to my peers, they work about 4 more hours per day (yes, 16 hours per day plus weekends)... And I just don't have that in me.  And I feel resentful that I have to work that much anyway.  I enjoy my work, but it adds up to an enormous amount of time each week.

I also guilt myself about seeing Sofie enough ... I wake up at 5:30 and see her between 6:40-7:05 every morning. Then, I get home at 7:30 pm and see her until 8:15ish. And usually I haven't actually had a second to myself all day by the time I get home (I HATE driving, it isn't special me-time), so the last thing I want to do is spend 45 minutes doing the night night time routine, and I feel guilty about that too. Her dad usually does the routine most days lately, and I do appreciate it.  I just need a few minutes for me to breathe and be.

Then, when I do sit in those moments, I feel disgusted by myself for not working out (even though my shoulder and knee are broken) and chastise myself for not eating healthily all day. Once Sofie goes to bed, the hubby and I have a few minutes before bed... And then I am starting all over again.

I know I need to out the boundaries back in with work. I know I need to get off my ass when I get home and move. I know it isn't normal for a 30-something lady to want to nap all weekend, but I am struggling for the balance within my life.

This morning, I was feeling proud because I made chocolate chip banana pancakes with Sofie and had painted her nails in rainbow sparkly colors before 10... And by noon I cleaned the bathroom ... But after lunch, I just needed a break. The hubby has come in and saved the day by going on a bike ride with her and working on the yard outside while I read a book, do laundry, and do weekly stuff.

I really thought I would have it all together by now. When I was growing up, everything seemed so structured. I am guilty about it being a tornado with random chunks everywhere. I don't clean the house very often. I never go to the grocery. I haven't been to the kids birthday parties (except my kid).  I only go to the park a couple times a month. They don't know me at my kid's school.

It isn't how I imagined it at all. And I am plagued by guilt about not being the best parent in the world about not being there when she might need me. About not taking care of the stuff I am supposed to take care of.  I know it is probably more me than the world who is judging me, and yet, I can't get it out of my mind that I am not enough.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Year of the Horse is coming ...

Funnily enough, the headline for the "Year of the Horse" today is -- "Conflict, disaster to gallop in with the new Chinese Year of the Horse".

I know the new year doesn't start until Saturday, but this month has been a month of crazy.

The new project I transferred to in September got cancelled on Jan 2.  I was scrambling to find a job within the company before they failed to recognize my value (*phew* - I officially have a job since yesterday).

I had an allergic reaction to allergy shots OR had an undiagnosed reaction to something else which caused me to struggle breathing for a few weeks.  It is getting closer to getting better.  I might attempt another round on Friday, depending on how brave I feel.

Last week...
My husband got a terrible ear infection & his ear exploded with goo.  We are still struggling to get him better.

Someone rear ended me (I am ok. Have some whiplash and the car is scraped), and I was narrowly almost hit again (same day; different potential accident; I wasn't the driver).  I was leaning on the horn for the 2nd one.  The same day a cup spontaneously combusted in my hand and drenched me.  I have a secret suspicion that the commonality in all of these things was the dress I was wearing, but I am not sure about that one.

I got a call that it was the end for my grandma and, oh, btw, we think your dad is dying.  Come home ASAP.  I did go home.  Grandma could be at the end, and Dad has since been diagnosed with something he can recover from (thankfully).

When you read about depression, they always ask about a change (job, illness, accident, etc.). Typically they happen one at a time and not all at once.  I have been a bit of a wreck.  Sofie is a sweetie, and she brings me flowers (or acorns or leaves of grass) every chance she can get.  The hubby has been as supportive as can be expected when you are sick.  I just feel like I am living on the edge of a ravine and things are precarious.

I keep breathing (most of the time).  It has been hard to do anything in a routine way, because every day brings forth new challenges (and crazy).

I had intended to write about the amazing Sofie and chronicle her adventures, and yet here I am documenting a glimpse of my hell week. I gained 8 pounds too.

I guess we just keep functioning and trying to manage the crazy we can manage. I am still looking for the silver lining in everything.

I am glad we have our little girl. She makes us laugh.  She wore glasses, a tiara, a necklace and bracelet made of pipe cleaners this morning to school (Princess Ariel).  That's all I know.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bicycle built for 2

Santa brought the best present ever to our house this Christmas - an attachment to make my bike a tandem bike!  It is called a WeeRide Co-Pilot Bike Trailer, and it is amazing.  I am relatively unskilled with tools, though I can follow assembly instructions pretty well.  I do have a lack of tools in the garage though - I have a couple screw drivers, an adjustable wrench, and a hammer.  Anyway, in about an hour, I was able to transform my bike into a multiple person machine.

Sofie was going absolutely bananas while I was putting it together because she was SO EXCITED to go on a bike ride with mommy!

Once we finally had everything connected & checked by my neighbor, the engineer, Sofie and I went for a test ride.  She got on first (in the back) and then I got ready to get started.  We established our language for "all systems go" confirmation, and we started to move! I got about 75 yards, and Sofie shouted "Stop! Stop! Stop!".  I pulled over, and she told me that she wouldn't go any farther.  She was scared.

We talked it through.  I promised I would take care of her and that it would be ok.  She said she was scared.  I asked her if I had ever let her down & not taken care of her ( I know - risky question for a 4 year old who has temper tantrums still a few times per week), and she said no.  I asked her if she trusted me, and I said yes.  I reassured her we would only go around the block, and she gave me confirmation we could go again.

So... we made it all the way around the block.  Once we were in the driveway, she jumped of the bike, soared into the sky with her hands in the air and whooped "I'M AAAAALLLLIIIIVVVVVVEE".  My neighbor and I had a great laugh.  It was so surprising.  Who knew that she had an idea of life and death?!

Since then, we have gone on many rides on the amazing Houston bike trail system (who knew?!).  It is awesome.  If you like to ride, and you want to bring your pre-schooler, this is the solution.  And it wears them out if you ride long enough!  (and it is an amazing workout for you, because you are carrying an extra 65-80 pounds!).