Thursday, May 28, 2009

Note to Self:

You can set the alarm on your cellphone as early and as often as you'd like, but it won't do any good if you don't turn the ringer on first.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


If you're up for a good laugh visit Awkward Family Photos.

If you want to skip right to the photo that inspired me to post the address, go here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Appreciating What I Have

The best part of camping is campfires and the warmth that comes from them, the conversations that can be had around them, and the irresistible food that can be cooked on them.

The second best part of camping is finally coming home to my own shower where the hot water is abundant and I don’t have to worry about whether or not someone can catch a glimpse of my butt through the tiny crack between the cinder block wall and plastic curtain.

Jon and I went camping with a few friends over Memorial Day Weekend. We drank beer, played Cornhole, ate s’mores, walked around the lake, and slept through a thunderstorm. It was probably the best time I have ever had while camping and it was a much-needed retreat from the stress and uncertainty of the last few months.

The weekend also marked the one-year anniversary of the beginning of my weight loss. I made exercise a priority after our Memorial Day Camping Trip 2008 and I started learning about nutrition and viewing my body as a calorie-burning machine as opposed to a nuisance shortly thereafter. Since then I’ve lost a total of 66 pounds. I weighed a staggering 242 pounds last May and I’m now down to 176 pounds. One year ago my favorite pair of jeans were a size 22 and I now fit into a size 12. I started off as morbidly obese and now I’m simply overweight. I used to look in the mirror and see a girl who had given up over a decade ago. Now I look in the mirror and see a woman who loves food but does her best to keep it in check.

I constantly have to do a double take when I look at those numbers because I can’t believe I—the queen of giving up long before trying—actually did this. I think my saving grace was that I actually found it all fun and interesting. Somehow I turned fitness and nutrition into a hobby so I wouldn’t see it as a chore. If I had done this before I was ready or without reading every nutrition-based book I could get my hands on I wouldn’t be where I am, and I certainly wouldn’t be so adamant and eager to continue on to my goal or sustain this new lifestyle. My moment was right and I can’t put into words how proud I am of myself for taking advantage of that moment and making the most of it.

The biggest surprise of the weekend came on Saturday night while we were all congregating around the grill. Our friends presented me with a small green envelope with “Congratulations Kate!” printed in cursive font on the cover. Inside the envelope was a card congratulating me on my weight loss, a personal, hand-written message from each friend, and a Target gift card to aid me in replacing my now defunct wardrobe.

It was one of the sweetest things anyone had ever done for me, and it was hard not to cry from the sheer surprise, kindness, and overwhelming excitement I felt running through me as I realized what had happened.

Thirteen long years ago I entered a bout of depression. The depression helped me convince myself that I didn’t have any friends and it packed on pounds faster than I knew possible. I was able to convince myself that nothing about me mattered. But here I am, thirteen years later, shedding weight by convincing myself that I do matter and receiving wonderful encouragement through friends I didn’t believe could exist. I can't help but be moved by the realization that they think I matter too.

Thanks, guys! What probably seems like a small gesture to you means more to me than I could ever say. I think I said it best with my initial reaction when opening the card--You all ROCK!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Black Ugly

Jon and I set out for an evening walk with the dogs last night but only made it barely past the end of our street before we were confronted by a ferocious black horse.

No, you didn't read that wrong, I meant to write HORSE, although Jon keeps swearing up and down that it was dog. This horse, I mean dog, had the head of a Rottweiler, the body of a Mastiff, the legs of a Great Dane, and the teeth of Jaws. On all fours, its head came up to my waste and I have no doubt that if standing upright, this dog and I would have been face to face, at least until it used its giant hooves to knock me over. I've tried using the internet to find the breed but I've been unsuccessful and am now stuck with describing this thing as a massive black dog that tried to eat us.

It came running out from between two houses on the next street over. It was barking wildly and gunning right for Jack and I. My first thought was I'm going down. My second thought was there goes my throat, and then I thought for sure Jack would be eaten alive trying to save me, and finally, I figured Jon was going to at least lose an arm in this fight.

Jon and I have talked countless times before about what to do if a loose dog ever came up to us on a walk, and my responsibility is to quickly pick up whichever dog I'm walking the moment Jon says to. So I stood there, almost paralyzed, repeating OhmyGodOhmyGod, and waited for Jon to give me instructions, but he never did.

Everything happened so fast that I remember it all as a blur. What I do know is that Jon pivoted in such a way that the beast would have to get through him before it could reach me or either of our dogs, and then he went all Cesar Milan in front of us and cupped the top of the beast's head and pushed it towards the ground, forcing it to recognize who was in charge. The dog yelped and backed away. He stared us down for a few seconds and growled at Jack who had suddenly decided he was taking over this fight by stepping forward and growling, but then the massive black dog who tried to eat us quickly retreated back behind the house he came from.

After the dog disappeared, Jon turned to me and said, "Let's go home, but be ready to pick Jack up if I tell you to."

I nodded to let him know that I understood but I was shaking so badly right then that every time I looked down at Jack I saw three of him and I wasn't sure I'd know exactly which one to pick up should Jon give me orders to do so.

We made the two minute walk back home and started searching the phone book for a number to Animal Control but we gave up after dialing three different numbers, talking to six different people, and no one wanted to help us. I have a feeling the dog actually lives in one of the houses it ran out from behind, mostly because the long, deep bark sounded very familiar from previous times we've walked past that area. We weren't so much looking to get anyone in trouble as we were set on getting the dog's owner to realize a better form of restraint--be it a taller fence or stronger chain--is needed so it can't come out and scare the living shit out of innocent people walking by, but that's hard to do when you don't know who the owners are.

Now I'm sitting here at the computer, at a time when I would usually be out walking the neighborhood with my dogs, and I'm pissed because I don't feel safe enough to walk any further than the end of my street. I'm probably overreacting and it's probably perfectly safe out there and free of ferocious black horses, but I'm afraid to take that chance without Jon and he's working tonight. I also understand that mistakes happen and dogs get loose--it's happened with Macy a few times--but extra care should be taken, especially when you opt to own a man-eating beast.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lost in Thailand

I went easy on the mascara this morning in preparation for the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy tonight. I don’t usually cry easily over television but something strange happened while watching last week’s episode of The Biggest Loser and I started crying like a baby as I watched the final four contestants run a full marathon only a few months after beginning the show as twice the person I ever was. Witnessing something so inspirational must have cracked my shields because I’ve cried at almost everything I’ve watched since then, including The Amazing Race, Prince Caspian, Bridget Jones’s Diary, those commercials showing various NBA players working with charity, and Lost. (Although, Lost wasn’t so much about what happened in Lost as it was realizing that, yet again, they were going to leave me with a painful cliffhanger and say, “See You in 2010!” Do they not realize how far away 2010 is? I know I should be used to it, but seriously, have they no decency? Come back in September like everyone else and I’ll love you more.)

The only excuse I have for my recently overactive tear ducts goes a little something like this: now that I’ve flat out cried over something on television in front of my husband and he didn’t fall over laughing or call me names, I have no reservations and cry freely when the moment strikes, and I have this sinking feeling that the moment will strike often during Grey’s tonight. I’ll be ready and waiting with a box of tissues.

In other news, the company has been showing their appreciation for all of our hard work by buying us lunch once a week. Today it was Thai cuisine from Sweet Mango, and let me tell you, I’ve heard awesome things about Thai food. I’ve heard such awesome things that I was actually excited to try something new. And considering I’m a creature of old habits, I generally do not like to try something new, but for this I was making an exception.

The problem here is I know nothing about Thai cuisine and had to order from the menu based on the descriptions and a lot of them had sides and seasonings I’d never heard of before. I ended up going with the Pine Nut Chicken stir-fry, which is chicken sautéed with pine nuts and vegetables in a ginger sauce and served with a side of jasmine rice. I thought, Stir-fry! I love stir-fry, and chicken, and pine nuts, and vegetables, and rice! This lunch is going to rock! But when the food arrived and I took a bite of chicken and a little bit of rice I realized I must not like any of these things when covered in a ginger sauce. I tried a few more bites of zucchini and squash and came away with the same reaction. The food I had pumped myself up for was inedible, at least to me.

I didn’t want to, but I wound up driving to McDonald’s for a snack wrap and Diet Coke. I scarfed it all down in the car so as not to offend anyone, or draw questioning looks for why I needed two lunches (or three if they saw me walk in with my lunch sack, but the apple, carrots, and yogurt I packed as snacks weren’t going to cut it for the entire work day).

I started off annoyed, because seriously, why can’t we just order Subway? I know what I like from there. But more than anything, I was annoyed with myself. Thai was supposed to rock, but I either have faulty taste buds or a really horrible knack for choosing food by the description.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back at Square One

I’ve been mostly focused on my fitness and nutrition goals lately. I think I hit rock bottom sometime in late April when I realized I had lost a whopping 3 pounds for the entire month, and while any progress is good, 3 pounds in 5 weeks is embarrassing. I have done and can do better than that. It was also in late April that I realized The Year of Great Weight Loss was nearing an end and I want to get as close to a 70-pound loss as possible. I don’t think I can quite reach 70—not in a healthy way at least—but I should be able to get pretty damn close.

I stopped in at Target last Saturday to see if I could finally fit into a size 12 jeans. I was disappointed that the only size 12 I could find were distinctly labeled as “skinny jeans” but I tried anyway. I was nearly out of breath by the time I got the jeans over my calves (the most muscular part of my body) but the rest was a breeze. They looked good in the thighs, butt, and yes, finally, my waist. Despite losing a quarter of my original body weight I am still the ashamed owner of the world’s largest muffin top and even the slightest pinch at my waist can magnify the muffin top by a thousand. That means I’ve spent the last 3 months wearing an extremely loose fitting size 14 because a size 12 made it look like my circulation was getting cut off at the waist. I contemplated buying the skinny jeans for sentimental reasons, but then I vetoed the idea after a moment panic and nearly calling the dressing room attendant to help me pull the jeans off of my calves. I guess I’ll have to wait until I can find them in boot cut.

During the same shopping trip I realized I don’t know how clothes are supposed to fit. I’m constantly afraid that I’m missing some unspoken rule about how much “fitted” is acceptable. For example, I found a very basic, black, fitted shirt that I felt truly showed my weight loss and that’s saying something because it’s still a rarity for me to notice the change in my body shape. The only problem I found was there was still the faintest hint of muffin top and love handles down around the waist. I felt perfectly comfortable in the top, but there was this tiny voice in my head that said if I wore it in public I would be pointed out and laughed at for being the fat girl in a little shirt.

So I ask you, dear reader, where do you draw the line? Is the outline of a few small, visible chubs and curves acceptable, or am I doomed to where tent like t-shirts down to my knees for another year?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Reaction to the Swine Flu

Cringing and taking cover every time the temp sounds like she's about to hack up a lung.

Singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat when I wash my hands and snickering at the Life Is But a Dream part.

Ignoring the constant queasy feeling in my stomach.

Fighting the urge to bitch slap the co-worker who uses a paper towel to open the restroom door and then uses the same paper towel to open every other door on the way back to her desk.

Do not touch face.

Still ignoring that queasy feeling in my stomach.

Wondering how they can claim an epidemic is declining and admit there are new cases popping up all in one sentence.

Disinfectant everywhere.