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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44…..45….close enough

I could have waited a few more days, but with the things that keep popping up at me with great urgency, I figured I better write now while I had a few moments to collect my thoughts. Alone. 

And let me clarify ahead of time, this isn’t just to pat myself on the back. It kind of is. But not just to do that. But let’s start back a few years for context. 

I haven’t been the skinniest girl. Ever. I remember I worked with a guy at the bank eons ago who was a real creep. Like seriously. Eww! I don’t even remember what his name was. But I remember his words ringing in my ears. He was doing his typical male chauvinist pig walk, checking out the girls, making rude and lewd comments. And he stopped at my little cubicle and told me the only thing that would ever be thin about me was my ankles, and he turned and walked away. What a prick. And this was BEFORE I had Rob! Way to crush a 20 year olds soul. But why did I let it bother me? I don’t even remember his name, so why can I still hear his voice in my head? Guess I need to call my shrink for that one. ::Adds another thing to my To Do list::

Through the years my weight had always yo-yo’d. Up 20 pounds. Down 15. Up another 30, Down 10. The down never seemed in line with the up. Never gain 5, lose 5. Or even gain 5, lose 10! Wouldn’t that be something? 

Then a few years ago, I went through a horrible, devastating, soul shattering, “how I am going to ever get through this?”, “I can’t breathe” break up. Not with my husband, but with a friend I had made way back at the same time and place as jerkhead who made the ankle comment. We worked together, became immediate and hard fast friends. A friendship that lasted longer than my first marriage and she was there for me during and after the divorce. Was there for the second marriage. Through thick and thin. Forever and ever amen. Til we weren’t. A few years ago, I didn’t think I could or wanted to come out on the other side because I was to devastated, way too wounded. It was harder than divorce. A huge part of me was gone.  

And in my despair, I turned to comfort food. And I ate. And I cried. And I cried and I ate. (As I side note, please understand, I am not in any way, shape or form blaming anything on anyone but myself. This was MY internal struggle. This was MY self sabotage. This was MY unfortunate way of coping with the void and loss. I am not placing blame on anyone else. I hope we’re clear.) I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t see past what I thought was solid. Grounded. Permanent. But there was always cookies. Or chips. Or Michael’s fabulous chicken alfredo with homemade real cream and cheese alfredo sauce coupled with garlic cheese bread and a salad. And salad is good for you, especially drenched in ranch dressing, right? 

And as the weight piled on, and my clothes got bigger and bigger, and my already severely fractured self-esteem and sense of loss just seemed to grow, I lost myself. I didn’t care that I was the fat mom. I didn’t care that I was clearly obese to everyone who looked at me. I deserved that look of pity. That look of embarrassment. “You have such a pretty face” or “Your personality just *shines* through you!”. Yea, pass the donuts. 

Until. 

Until the donuts don’t work. Until the thought of not being able to fit into the last new pair of pants makes you weep. Until your doctor is cautioning you of diabetes, heart disease, and a range of other symptoms that come along with that bag of Doritos. 

Until.

Until a friend says, hey, let’s go for a walk. It doesn’t matter how slow or how long it will take you. Let’s just go. I’m here with you. Let’s try jogging. Let’s see if we can run *one block*. If we can’t, no big deal. We’ll try. And we do. And we did. 

Until that friend introduces me to yoga and I discover that I can do this and focus solely and exclusively on me and it’s not only ok to do that, but you’re SUPPOSED to do that! Inside the corners of my own mat is all that counts. I didn’t get that at first. I didn’t get that it wasn’t about how I compared to the other people in my class. At how graceful and beautiful they were and I could barely touch my toes. But in the year I’ve been practicing, I have learned that. I have learned I can be stronger than **I** was a week ago, a month ago, a year ago. It’s MY journey. And I have made strides!

As of today, I have lost 44 pounds. I have gone down 6 sizes. I haven’t weighed this in a very very long time. But it’s not just about a number on a scale or the tag inside my shorts. It’s about an attitude shift. I don’t need pasta to fill a void. I don’t need Twizzlers or sitting on the couch feeling sad about how something turned out. I can move more, eat less. I can eyeball a new shirt and know it will fit me. I can wear those little yoga tops with the built in bras instead of the mandatory “hold ‘em down” sports bras. And yea, I’m damn happy about that.

My goal is to lose another 15 pounds. I know I’ll get there very soon. Because I will get myself there. Who says 40something is too old? I’m just beginning! My journey, my success, my set backs, my hurdles. But I’ve learned about myself and what I’m capable of. And I’m so thankful to my friends who didn’t give up on me, who encouraged me, who made me see that I was worth fighting for. THAT is what a girl needs. Not a plate of nachos. 

 

 

nachos

Growing up. And up. And up.

I had to take Ryan to the pediatrician today for his 6 month check. He gets checked every 6 months for his medication and also for his height and weight. And wow, was today an eye opening visit.

Ever since Ryan came into this world, he was tiny and fragile. He almost didn’t make it and those first few minutes were extremely scary and nerve wracking. The cord had wrapped so tightly around his little neck that he was not breathing, not moving, not crying. He was still a little ball that refused to unwind and stretch out. But as the doctors quickly worked on him, they freed the cord and did some chest compression’s and color started flooding into his little body and screams started coming from those tiny lungs.

He grew much slowly than the other kids, stayed small but feisty. As he went into elementary school, he was the smallest in his class each year. And with each passing year, the taunting and teasing became harsher and more direct. Tears would flow as he came home to say that this boy made fun of him all day because he was short. This girl teased him because everyone was taller.

At doctor visits, going to specialists was discussed. Growth hormones. Pros and cons. We decided to wait. It seemed so extreme and I wasn’t sure the potential side effects would outweigh the possibility of a few scant inches. Yes, we would wait.

Middle school was worse. Everyone seemed to hit the pubescent growth spurt, except Ry. Girls towered over him. Boys started towering too. Most poked fun at how he was the smallest kid in the entire grade. We told him to make friends with the tallest kid and have them protect him from the bullies. Three years in a row he was the smallest.  He was in front for every picture, he was in the front middle in every school choir concert.

He also learned to be sneaky because he could get away undetected. The taller kids would be spotted. Ry could bob and weave and no one would ever notice. He still has the ability to walk in a room and be completely silent. Great for sneaking out, sneaking food from the kitchen into his room, sneaking into the basement for marathon XBox sessions. We used to joke that we needed an alarm system to track movement inside the house when Rob was in high school. I’m not sure it’s a joke with Ryan. I keep envisioning him with Ninja like moves sneaking around the indoor laser beams, spraying an old bottle of Axe to detect where they are and still making it out of the house in 30 seconds.

But then high school started and the miraculous happened. He started growing. By the start of Freshman year, he had grown a few inches. By the end of that school year, pants no longer fit him. He grew more. And more. And MORE. Pants and shoes weren’t lasting more than a few months. People started saying he was almost as tall as me.

Last October for his six month check, he was 5’7″. He was THRILLED!! That was a height we didn’t think he would ever be and tried to brace him for the fact that he would never be considered tall, but he was very very average. It was fine. He was fine. Until today.

Today, just over 6 months later, they weighed and measured. I won’t divulge his weight but I was happily surprised. Then the height. She checked it twice. We went back into the exam room and she plotted it on the graph. He is now 5’9.5″!! He has grown 2.5″ in SIX months! Ry looked at me and smiled and actually had tears in his eyes. (He’s going to kill me for saying so!) She finished up the rest of the usual stuff; went over medications, blood pressure (which was prefect by the way) and then left and we waited for the doctor to come in.

The doctor asked Ry what was going on, how were things, and like he just couldn’t hold back, he blurted out, “I grew 2 and a half inches since last time!!” And he beamed. And the doctor beamed. And so did I.

And apparently, the new goal is 6 feet.   

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Snooping or Stalking Pt. 2

One of the fun things about my blog is how it tracks hits. It shows me which posts have been read, on which day, how often, etc. I can pull up any post and see how many times it has been read, commented on, emailed, that kind of thing. 

My “Snooping or Stalking” post seems to be getting quite a bit of press time lately. Any time I log on to do something lately, that post has had several hits. 

Now, a more paranoid person would think the, um, people, who have been snooping and stalking were indeed, back at it. I am not that paranoid person. There is one thing this blog shows, I throw it all out there. I’m not someone secretly hiding behind my monitor and keyboard like some do. You pretty much know what is going on with me and ya know what? I’m beyond fine with that. If I wasn’t, my Facebook and my blog would be non-existent. I’m an open book. 

But as open as I am on here, I’ve tried to not be mean. I’ve discussed personal topics and things that make me go “Hmmmmm”. I’ve discussed trials and joys. Happy and scared. Angry and devastated. Deep hurt and sorrow. Loss. I may seem to put it all out there, but those who know me well know there is much I don’t throw out there. Because I don’t want to be mean. There are opinions I hold off from writing down for all to see. Because I don’t want to be mean. Not one thing that I have written about, ever, has not been done without permission from the person I was writing about. Because I don’t want to be mean.

I’m not a mean person, although that is seen as weakness and some have tried to take advantage of my kindness. And cross or harm my kids, and there is serious Mama Bear stuff here just under the surface. I’ve not written about the ecstatic joy I felt when a certain, um, person, didn’t make a certain team. Because that would be mean. THAT would be mean.

And I don’t want to be mean.   

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