Boys v Girls

I had a friend suggest this topic and as I thought about it, it fell right in line with a conversation I was having with a few other friends earlier this week and figured, sure, lets give this a whirl!

As most of my regular readers know, I have 2 boys. I’ve raised them to the best of my ability, with each of them having their own challenges. There are parents who are fortunate to have boys AND girls. My mother was blessed to have me first and then along came my brother. She had a nice balance between the two genders and we each put her through our own version of hell. The fact that she’s still alive and also NOT locked in a loony bin at this point says a lot about her character and strong will. I hope I got that from her. I think I did. My kids will say I did.

But then….

There are the mothers of only girls. They don’t have any additional testosterone flowing the house, unless they get a pet. So here’s how I see it. The doctor announces “It’s a beautiful baby GIRL!!” and the world turns pink. Pink everywhere. Pink rooms, pink clothes, pink ribbons for her hair. And then baby 2 is a girl. And just when you thought you had everything pink, you discover, oh no, there is WAY more stuff to buy! Diaper bags, and little frilly cover ups. Mounds of lace and pink! You can’t watch a Pepto commercial without thinking of the baby.

Then, as they grow up, there may be less pink, but the shopping hasn’t stopped. Dresses and shoes and make up and leggings and bows and cute little decorations for their rooms and bathroom and lockers and cars. There is crying. LOTS of crying and most of the time no one knows why. Some days it’s ok to her why she’s crying. Other days it’s waaaaaaay easier to tip toe all the way out of the house and sit outside til she’s done. Even in the rain. Or 46 below zero. PLUS wind chill.

Dads have to protect their precious little ones from the evil horrible wretched boys that will all too soon come searching for your princess. Lock and load, Dad, lock and load.

My boys have given me challenges, don’t get me wrong, but just in such a different way. They have made stupid, boneheaded decisions that make me question their IQ and their sanity. Or mine. I mean, the oldest went through an Emo phase that I never thought would end. I was starting to wonder if I should just resign myself to the fact that he would be working in some comic book or trying to go on the road with Fall Out Boy. But then, miraculously, he came out of it.

As I was thinking about all of this, I realized that worrying about an Emo phase or any of the stuff I worried about with them is nothing compared to the worries of a mom with more than one girl. She has to worry about the technology of today and what they are doing with it. Worry about boys (especially the “serious” boyfriend who, let’s be honest, only has one thing on his mind no matter how nice, upstanding, good grades, dad is a pastor, drives a BMW and always address you as “Mrs.”) and teen pregnancy, going to the Homecoming Dance or Prom, or the party that she says she’ll be home midnight and isn’t home yet. The heartbreak of the boy who said he loved her, til the next girl came along and she was dumped via text. The pimple that appeared right at the end of her nose on picture day. In the day of the life of a girl, that is traumatizing.

So even on my worst parenting feeling days, when Ryan brings that bad grade home (which so far this years he’s getting GREAT grades…..A’s even!!) or when he tells me his phone is broken AGAIN, that it’s not nearly as bad as raising more than one girl. I have the utmost sympathy and compassion for you. I truly do. God gave me two boys for a reason. Plus, I would be SOOO broke buying yet more clothes. And a mani/pedi session. And that cute bag. And did you see those shoes??????

boys v girls

2 kinds of people in this world

Yea, I stole that from Lindsey Buckingham. So shoot me. Well, don’t. Not yet anyway. You might want to after you read this. And I’ll preface the rest with this. I’m not trying to be mean. I’m trying to understand. Got it??

Something struck me last week and I decided to ponder it, look at it, exam it, and then ponder it some more. Still have no clearer understanding than I did before. So here it goes……Why do certain people seem to just suck the air (ie; joy, happiness, light, love, positivity, good vibes, etc) from everything they touch?

I know several people that rarely (I won’t say never, cuz that’s not fair) have anything good or nice or decent or happy or wonderful or anything to say/post/write about and it’s just flat out draining. It’s almost like they look for something to bitch about instead of looking at the positive side of it. Example: (photo of dinner out at a restaurant) UGH! The waiter brought my plate and it has ASPARAGUS as the side and I HATE asparagus!

REALLY????

Ok, how about being flipping grateful that you could afford to go out to dinner? How about being happy with the company you’re with? How about you eat everything on your plate except the dreaded asparagus? HMMM?????

Of course, that’s just a made up example. The list of complaints are endless. “No one fact checked that article/picture of a puppy/Bill Cosby quote.” “I hate spiders and posting that cute puppy dressed up as a huge spider freaked me right out.” On and on and on and on and ON!

Now, I have been accused of being the opposite. Too “Pollyanna-ish” for most people. I get that. I like to look at the bright side of the equation if I can. I try to look for the positive, find my inner zen. It’s not always possible because sometimes the avalanche of people who try to take me down can be overwhelming at times. But I try. And if laughter and positive attitudes and lifting up instead of tearing down is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. (Please read that last sentence like Arsenio Hall from Coming to America because that’s totally how it sounded in my head)

So why do certain people go through life like that? Do they love the attention the get when people ask what’s wrong when they post nothing but “UGH!” or how crappy their day was? Is it easier for them to be bleak than happy? I don’t mean fake happiness either. I have dear dear friends who suffer true depression. Even in that state, they don’t look for the bad. It might be harder to see the good, but they are actively looking for bad.

I will proudly go around trying to see the positive in a world that sometimes feel like it’s crumbling at my feet. Because life is better laughing than finding the bad. There’s enough bad. The good needs highlighting too. And laughter fixes almost everything. If it doesn’t fix it, it at least can make it tolerable. So I’ll sing my song, and go insane, like I always do. But I’ll be ignoring your whiny, sad, depressing posts. Cuz I’m not like you.

Lindsey buckingham

Another goal….accomplished!

So this morning I hit another milestone in my weight loss journey. I had hit a dreaded plateau where I was stuck for a few weeks. I hadn’t altered my diet, and in fact, I had added my twice weekly barre class thinking I would see even faster results. Instead, I was just maintaining. It was frustrating but I persevered.

This morning I jumped on the scale and there it was! I have officially lost 60 pounds! (60.5 to be exact!) Wooo hoooo!!!!I was so excited I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone I saw! Instead, I enjoyed the moment to myself. I slipped on my workout clothes and headed to barre with determination and a little extra joy in my heart.

Doing barre this morning was KILLER! I was a sweaty, shaky, oh-my-God-I-don’t-think-I-can-do-one-more-rep mess. My face was red. My muscles were quivering uncontrollably. There wasn’t enough water my Venti size Starbucks water glass by a long shot. Thank God they provide towels or I might have had to use toilet paper to sop up the streams running down my face. But I did it!!

Now, the old me would seriously consider celebrating this moment with food. I know. Sabotage and counter-productive, but I still would’ve done it. A nice plate of nachos anyone? At the very least some chocolate. I was thinking about that as I was drip drying on my drive home. And how it honestly, honestly, HONESTLY just doesn’t even sound appealing to me in the least. I’ve come to that place in my journey where food doesn’t have to be the comforter, the consoler, the celebration, the momentary fix. I have become hyper-aware of what I put in my body. I log EVERYTHING! One M&M gets logged. Really. It keeps me focused and accountable to no one but myself.

And that, I think, is one of the biggest lessons learned and I believe I’ve blogged about it before, is that this is for ME! No one would know if I did eat a candy bar. But **I** would know. And as the pounds came on, I could lie to myself very easily. My family still loved me, my friends still loved me, my kids, my dog, it didn’t matter what the scale said. But I didn’t love me enough to see what I was doing to myself. Not to anyone else. I wasn’t hurting anyone with my extra large Blizzard. But I was hurting ME. I didn’t like being the fat friend, the fat wife, the fat mom. Call me what you will. But I didn’t like it. And who could fix that? No one but me.

So with the help, encouragement, support and endless praise, that same husband, children, friends and my dog (hee hee!) I was able to start this process. And look where I am today! Woooo flipping hoooooo!!!!! I have gone from “obese” to “normal” on the BMI chart. Well into normal. (Me?? Normal?? Never!!) I know a lot can be said about all those charts and graphs, both positive and negative, but it was still nice to see.

So what did I do instead of coming home to food? I cut the grass in the sweltering midday heat. I drank more water. I showered. And now, I’m going to plot out my next set of goals and have a homemade recovery smoothie. Because THAT, I deserve!

weightloss scale

High (or low) expectations

As usual, last night my beloved yogi had some words of inspiration for us as we laid in savasana. I love her words as we lay there. Always thought provoking. Sometimes they speak directly into my life, others just make me think. Last night was the latter.

She was discussing expectations and it made me think how often we have an expectation of how a situation will go, a movie will end, a conversation will be started, a day will turn out. We all have such expectations, but what happens when things don’t turn out as we thought they would? The situation went horribly wrong, the movie took an unexpected twist. How do you handle such things? (Ok, the movie isn’t exactly a life altering example, but I think you get my point.)

As I was thinking about all of this, two examples came to mind. Very high expectation and low(er) ones. When I was in high school, my best friend and I made a pact, which in hindsight was very stupid and set us both up for failure. We didn’t know it then though. We thought we were smart. (Don’t all high school kids do stupid things thinking they’re smart?) We said we going to set our expectations low. Very low. That way we would never be disappointed when it didn’t turn out as bad as we thought it would. Like we were cheating the system or something. Oh, we’re soooooooo smart.

The problem with that was, we found things that didn’t even meet up with our low expectations, so we lowered them even farther. Does he have a pulse? Check. Does he have his own car? No. Ok, well, can he at least drive? Yep, check. We both made some pretty bad choices that way. Instead of setting our expectations high and waiting for those to be met, we were impatient. Impulsive. And too damned proud to admit we were making huge mistakes. How many high school girls ADMIT to making a mistake with her choices? Not many I don’t think. I certainly wasn’t.

On the other hand though, raising them too high is almost unattainable. I’ll use my wonderful dad as this example. (Sorry Dad! I love you!!) I compare my dad to Clark Griswold all the time. This is going to be the best birthday/Christmas/picnic/whatever EVER! And it never turns out that way.

We go to our beach house every summer for vacation. It’s combining three families under one roof for an extended amount of time. There are kids running around, alcohol flowing (with an alcoholic thrown into the mix….not good), and with everyone’s best intentions, something (almost daily) doesn’t turn out the way everyone thought it would. And I don’t mean it is something huge or anything of the sort. Just a change. A storm blows in while we’re in the middle of a bocce tournament. Dinner reservations can’t be made on the night we planned to go out. The rum is gone. But the expectation of what we were going to do is altered. It can really bum my dad out who has this Clark Griswold vacation from beginning to end planned out in his head.

We had our own expectation this year of going deep sea fishing. We had talked about it for years, it’s expensive, but this year we were like YES! We’re going to do it no matter what. We called the Captain (no, not Captain Morgan!) and booked our date. We were very excited. Then my aunt got sick and my mom had to leave suddenly to go to her side. My dad was finishing his last round of treatment for his cancer. My brother and sister in law were in Florida looking at houses and 2 of their 3 kids were home with us. Do we cancel our trip? Do we still go? Dad insisted we go and he would be back from treatment before we had to leave. So we went. We cast off, and went flying out past some of the other smaller barrier islands. We were having a blast. After fishing in one spot for about 30 minutes, the Captain (Yes, I called him Captain Ron. I don’t think he appreciated it), he went to pull anchor so we could move to a different spot, and the damnest thing happened. The anchor chain broke and fell into the ocean. I’m not even kidding. Plop. Down it went. Captain Ron just stood there staring in disbelief. He says that has never ever happened before. And just like that, our trip was over. He wasn’t allowed to have us out there without an anchor. Plop. Over. Done.

So is it better to have low expectations or high ones? And what do you do when they aren’t met? Can you roll with it? Do you crumble to the ground? Do you brood and pout? I can say for me, I do all of those mentioned at one time or another. But I am honestly trying to roll with it more. I might not have control over the situation, but I have control over how I react to it. I can choose to let it devastate me or I can choose to take a moment, breathe, and move on. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. I just have to listen more.

Beach savasana

Missed Opportunities

The past few days I’ve noticed more than others how I’ve had things I wanted to say, but no opportunity to say them. I don’t mean huge conversations I wish I had, but more in passing comments. Comments to compliment someone, acknowledge what they were doing was great or just asking someone how they’re doing.

These comments have the ability to make someone feel better, or show them that what they are doing is appreciated, but the timing is just wrong. And I’m struggling with how I could do better in this.

Have you ever been to a wedding and the complete stranger in the row in front of you has a beautiful dress on? Or been in church and you see someone who has her hair looking like it should be in a magazine? Or even someone doing something that seems menial but is doing such a great job? We had a waitress over the weekend who was so busy. She had many customers and was running around non stop, filling drinks, replacing dropped silverware and offering suggestions but not one time did she make any of her customers feel that she was in a hurry or they were slowing her down.

The last example is easier because you can leave a nice tip, maybe even a note on a napkin and let her know what a great job she did. But the other examples aren’t so easy to remedy. Obviously during a wedding ceremony, it’s not appropriate to lean forward and compliment someone on her dress choice. But after the ceremony, when she is no where to be found, it feels like a missed opportunity.

What about the frazzled mom in the grocery store with her young children crying, demanding the box of cereal because of the toy inside? Any mom (or dad) has been there before. Do you offer a sympathetic smile? Do you avoid eye contact? Are you annoyed the kids are crying? Or can you simply say as you pass by “We’ve all been there. Hang in there. You’re doing great.” and keep walking by? If you are that frazzled mom, would you be insulted someone said that you or would you take it for what it was, a type of encouragement and acknowledgement?

I know I have been in situations lately where I’ve wanted to say “Wow, your purse is perfect for summer! I love it!” or encourage a friend going through a rough time with just a little “I’m here for you, whenever you need me, and you don’t have to be strong or put on a brave face for me.” Wouldn’t we all like to hear that when we feel our world is crumbling around us and beyond our control?

But when the circumstance isn’t the right time, what do you do? I like to think I could make a mental note of such a thing and tell that person at a later more appropriate time. First of all, I can barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning, so the chances of me remembering what someone was wearing, or their hair/handbag/sandals is slim to none. Second, and this is what I’m struggling with, is the universe trying to tell me to keep my mouth shut? I’m afraid that could be the case.

The stranger with the gorgeous hair is not going to know, or care, if I don’t say something. But what if it would make her day? Her daily journey could alter it’s course with a compliment from a unknown face who isn’t just giving her lip service. What about the friend who needs to hear “I love you and I’m here for you.” but finding the right time seems difficult?

I have a family member who was given a scary life threatening diagnosis. It makes me think about how blurting it out, not holding back, might be the better course. You never know when the opportunity, once missed, will ever present itself again. Why wait? Tapping someone on the shoulder in front of you and telling her that her dress is gorgeous, telling the mom to hang in there, letting your friends know you’ll be there even if they aren’t ready to hear from anyone yet, is a window I don’t want to close before I say something.

So I hope my compliment in the middle of the store, or at a wake, or when you’re having a horribly bad day, is taken for what it is. It’s just me trying to not let a moment escape that I might not get back.

Plus…..I might forget by the time I see you again.

missed opportunities

Getting there

Today I hit a major milestone. A journey of a few years that started slowly but has picked up in pace and payoff. And lessons! Oh boy, the lessons I’ve learned along the way. 

Today marks the day I have officially lost 50 pounds. FIFTY. That’s such a huge number! I’m not even sure I could lift fifty pounds and to think I was carrying that weight around with me daily. It’s almost hard to describe the feeling. Almost. But you know I’m not one that’s for a loss of words for long. 

(And now for my red carpet Emmy speech. Please don’t start the wrap up music yet!) 

I have so many people that have helped me along my way and I wanted to take a moment to thank them because I don’t know if they realize how important they were to me. (So, yea, just bear with me as I go through my list.) First and foremost I want to thank Tammy for encouraging me to just do it. Just try. And for never ever EVER making me feel like she was annoyed or I was holding her back. Just try to run. Just try yoga. Just try. Trying to do something, even a little bit, was better than sitting on the couch not doing anything while eating Oreos. It’s so cliche (but aren’t cliches there for a reason?) but going slow is better than not going at all. Right? She has been my constant encourager, has seen me at my worst and still loves me anyway. What more can you ask for in a friend? I love you more than you’ll ever know. 

I want to thank Tracy because even though we’re miles and miles apart, we’re never farther than a phone call or a text and your example and your constant love and support over 2 decades of varying stages in my life is something that doesn’t come along often. I cherish you and our friendship and how no matter what comes out of my mouth, I’ve never shocked you into a coma. (Not yet anyway!) 

I want to thank Julie, Sandy, and Yolanda for not only making a very unbendy girl much much more bendy, but for the friendships and encouragement you have shown to me over the past one and a half years. Through my sweating, heavy breathing and modified poses, I have come to not only “doing” yoga but to truly, deeply love yoga. I feel stronger, leaner, and yes, even more bendy than I ever have in my entire life. 

Yolanda shared a story in yoga Monday that has stayed with me (yea, yea, I know it’s only Wednesday, but seriously, for something to still be in my brain after 20 minutes is something to be cheered!) about how someone asked Michelangelo how he carved David out of a solid piece. He replied that David was always in there and just needed to come out. So he chipped away what wasn’t needed. Isn’t that what we all need and strive for? To let our true selves out from whatever it is that has shrouded us? Mentally or physically. To let go of what is holding us back. Those damn inner voices that speak too loud or the past that can’t be changed or thousands of other inner problems that hold us back. 

I want to thank Julie for walking with me and going even when she didn’t feel like going. I know some days were a struggle and the fact that you set aside time for me and we had such fun walking and talking that the time and the miles flew by. There were days I didn’t feel like going, but you gently encouraged me to go and I’ve never come back regretting it. Thank you for that and being such a friend. 

My goals have now been readjusted. I have a new weight goal, but beyond that number, I want to be stronger! Fitter!! Leaner!! That’s my new focus. Because now I know that nothing can hold me back. I’ve quashed those inner voices and shushed the naysayers. I’ve had people who have known me for years and are shocked when they see me. I have to admit that’s an AWESOME feeling! To be able to go shopping and buy something off the rack and know it will fit is not a feeling I have known in a very long time. 

So am I boasting? HELL YES I AM! I have worked hard and am proud of myself. But my work is not done. I’m still chipping away. And I hope to always be chipping away because none of us is perfect. Some people like to think they are and look at others and think they are better. All of us are walking a path that contains struggle and pain. (Another cliche?) Encouraging everyone to continue that path, and maybe make a turn they wouldn’t have made, is the best kind of friendship and love I can think of. And in that regard, I am truly, humbly blessed. 

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Odontophobia or Why I hate the dentist.

I didn’t used to have a fear of the dentist. I went every six month for my cleaning. I closed my eyes tight when that ginormous needle with the 2 round metal handles and plunger came toward my mouth. I gripped the arms of the chair while that “little moment of discomfort” sent chills and panic up my spine and through the top of my head. But I wouldn’t have called it a phobia. It wasn’t fun, but it was one of those things that had to be done, right?

Well somewhere in my years of watching that needle, having more and more pain each time, I developed what I would now classify as a full blown phobia. I’m terrified. And what do most of us do when we’re terrified of the dentist? We don’t go. The end. There’s nothing really to discuss. Don’t make the appointment and don’t go. Boom.

Until something is wrong and forces you to go. Ugh!

I can’t remember how many years it’s been since I was last at the dentist. But I vividly remember why I stopped going there. First, he wanted to drill out all of my old fillings that were silver mercury and replace them new white fillings. “How much would that cost and is it covered by my insurance?” All I remember is “No, not covered under any insurance but you really need to get that mercury out of your mouth.” Um, ok. Maybe I do, but I’ve had this mercury for years and years and until it starts going bad or allows me to pick up the BBC through my mouth, I’m ok. But thanks for trying to bilk me out of some money. 

And that’s all I felt like it was. A big painful money grabbing scheme. We NEED to have Xrays, but no they aren’t covered 100%. You NEED to have a filling but it’s going to cost $XX after insurance. Oh yes, we can make you more comfortable with some Xanax and  nitrous oxide, but you don’t want to see the bill afterwards. I feel like it’s going to the doctor but being charged for the weight, blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature……all separately! If I **NEED** X-rays, shouldn’t it be covered as part of my office visit?

Anyway, it’s not just about the money. Or crappy insurance coverage. It’s about the whole damn thing.

I know, I know, I KNOW I’ve been told I have a big mouth. Yea, yea, yea. But I actually had some dentist along the way chastise me because he thought I should be able to open my mouth farther than I was. Really dude?? It’s open as far as I can make it go. My lips are NOT like Mick Jagger. So he made some snide comment about needing to get the childrens size instruments. Yea, I never went back to him either. So the thought of laying in a chair, with a bright light shining directly in your eyes, with your mouth clamped open and people coming at you with needles, drills, and a little tiny pick ax, is not my way of spending a Monday morning.

Plus, have you ever seen the Seinfeld episode where Whatley is getting dressed after the Jerry’s procedure? And so is the hygienist? I swear if this dentist asks for a “schtickle of flouride”….I’m outta there!! And I’m going to be making sure if my shirt is tucked or untucked before I hit that chair!

 

And yet, here I go. I have some spot on my tooth. I don’t know what the heck it is. It’s weird and it bothers me. Not painfully bothers, but bothers because it’s on one of my front teeth and I do way too much smiling and I’m self conscience about it. I have no idea what in the world it could be. It’s actually ON my tooth, not my gums. No amount of brushing, flossing, whitening, peroxiding or oil pulling will make it go away. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s there.

So I’m off to the dentist to see how many times I’m charged for something “extra”, and to see what this damn spot is! (Can it be tooth cancer? I’m sure that’s what it is. Tooth cancer. Yep.)

Hopefully I survive in one piece. And still have enough money to go on vacation.  

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