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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Here Comes Peter Cottontail!

Hoppin' down the bunny trail! Hippity hoppity...

If you celebrate it, Happy Easter! If you don't, Happy Sunday! And if you just like chocolate and fluffy bunnies, well who doesn't?!



My son's bunny, Smoke, helps me work. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Little Color

I'm feeling a bit better today. As I said yesterday, that tantrum helped for some odd reason. I know going for a run would have helped more, but that's simply not an option. Anyway, my head feels like it's back in the right place once again to start making more progress down the scales. I feel ready to really buckle down, and I need to. I back-slid after the diet-bet thing I did. I'm DONE with the 180's. Over them.

Anyway, I'm well on my way to feeling normal once again. That's a pretty good feeling. I also got word that on Monday we should hear "something". I'm not sure what that means exactly, but something is better than nothing. So, I'm hopeful.

In the midst of all my complaining, I probably sounded like I was plopped on the couch face down in my ice cream and broccoli while angst ridden Lifetime movies played on and on (now there's an image, right?!) However, I was actually working hard because I had a magazine deadline.

I managed to finish up my pieces for Thrice Fiction Magazine's upcoming issue. I was sent four stories to make something for, but I kinda copped out with an older work for one of them. So, these are the three I actually put more effort into (usually, I do my surreal work for the magazine, and they make a bit more sense with the stories others have written. Well, usually.)

"The Window" 9x9inch watercolor/acrylic on hot-pressed paper, for Thrice Fiction Magazine's upcoming April 2014 issue. Available in my Etsy shop.

"Fill It Up" 5x6 watercolor & acrylic on 140lbs hot-pressed professional watercolor paper.
Available in my Etsy Shop



"In The Dark" 6x6 inches, watercolor on hot-pressed 140lbs watercolor paper.
Available in my Etsy Shop


And then I did one for an online auction on Facebook (starts Monday) so that I could transition back to my Alice in Wonderland paintings:

"Blue" 5x7 inches, watercolor and acrylic on 140lbs hot-pressed professional watercolor paper. Iridescent paint on her hair, eyes, tattoos, and the moon. For The Rabbit Hole Artist Collective auction at the end of this month.

I know it seems unrelated to fitness and health, but I really need to lose myself in my work again. My Alice in Wonderland series did that for a while, and then I sort of wandered off my path. Kind of like what I did with healthy eating. I keep struggling to get back on it, but then get distracted (or rationalize procrastination) and I lose ground with myself personally. Same thing with the food. It's sort of like I'm bleeding from both ends of my soul (going for the drama here, anyone play the violin?) and on one end I have my physical state, and the other my artistic.

I'm going to make a concerted effort to pour my energy back into losing myself in the actions that create positive results, even if I'm stuck in so many other areas. That's my new goal. I'm hoping that one makes the other easier and vice versa. I'm hoping they start feeding on one another, boosting me up.


I'm also hoping she stops glaring at me. Seriously. It's creepy. 



Friday, April 18, 2014

Food Tantrum

When someone reaches their breaking point we often see them act out. Some people start drinking, while others lash out and yell and scream at whomever happens to be in their path. The common theme is generally acting in a childish or destructive way in reaction to the stresses they've been under.

I reached my breaking point this week. Rather than act like most people do, I threw a food tantrum.

Of course, the really sad thing is that there isn't much in my house that's really worth throwing a tantrum with (because I generally don't buy the junk, and I'm too lazy to go out and buy it. I'm probably lucky there's no food delivery of any sort in my area. Then again, I find calling and ordering and opening the door to people rather unnerving, so I probably wouldn't do that anyway. I'm the person who makes my husband call and order something if it comes to that. I'm weird, I'm aware.) So, my food tantrum was a bit more embarrassing, I suppose. It didn't involve pizzas and hamburgers and what have you. Instead, over a period of three days I over did it on the chicken, squash, and barley soup, ate twice the amount of broccoli I should have, and when my children made tuna-melt sandwiches, I ate two of them. There was some left over ice cream from my husband's birthday, that was my best attempt at being completely stupid. Pretty pitiful for a food tantrum, but the calories are plenty over the top and it was a tantrum nonetheless.

The weirdest thing is that I actually feel better today.  I was sort of struggling with it the two prior days with a half-trying sort of thing going, and then last night I said "Screw It" and cracked a bottle of wine to boot. I finished the ice cream, and ranted a bit to my husband.

I know what's wrong, I just can't do a darn thing about it. My life is hogtied. No, it really is! I was talking this over with my husband and I realize we have never been in this sort of situation. Worse, the only time I can think of that anyone would be in a situation like this (outside of an identical work one) would be if someone had a serious event happen like a heart attack, stroke, accident, etc. You know, where your partner is in the hospital and you don't know if you will be able to move back on course in a month or two, or if everything is going to change and major steps need to be taken, and you can't take any steps currently because if they're wrong you have too much to lose.

That's precisely where I am at right now. We still have no word on the move. We have a "It's most likely" from the company, but we don't know fore sure. We know there are things we need to do to the house, but the question is do we fix or replace? If we're moving, we fix. If we're staying, we replace... so we can't do anything! The kids need their school situation changed, but there is a lot of work and meetings and paperwork in order to make that happen. Yet, if we're moving, it's unnecessary. On my own business, I literally can't do anything I need to be doing. I can't sign up for any events I need to be at, because it's all non-refundable, and yet they fill up fast so if we stay I'll be left out on that. I even have to be careful with how much work I create because the insurance will NOT pay for any damaged artwork in the move that wasn't purchased (that's how the art world works with the insurance companies: it has no value until it's sold. So even if you have an established record, they'll pay at most a couple of dollars for a painting you could have sold for thousands if it's damaged. Once it's sold, they insure it just fine. *grumble*)

And then, yes, my ankle. I woke up with it swollen. Stupid thing is going to take at least another month to heal. I'm going to try to start doing what exercise I can now, but even riding the bike tweaks it far too much. I can't even do a push-up, unless I keep it in the air. Yes, there is a pool, but I'm not paying $80 a month to swim in it. So, I'm on my own and I can't figure out how to get my heart rate up high enough to be of any benefit.

So, I'm paralyzed. I have all sorts of issues I desperately need to make decisions on for the well being of my family, and I can't make any of them or do anything. On a professional level, I'm completely frozen and standing to lose a great deal of money and opportunities. On a  physical level, I need to get moving. Somehow. The only thing not paralyzed are my emotions and my fork. Not a good combination.

I have never been at a point where decisions cannot be made, where everything is put on hold. At least, not for longer than a day or two. It's been six weeks. Six weeks, and time is marching on and we're held hostage not knowing what direction to go. I can't continue to live like this, something has to happen. One way or another, I don't even care anymore, but we cannot continue on pause.

And I'm so ANGRY. Really, I could spit nails at this point.

So, I ate. Usually, I regret this sort of action. I'll wake in the morning with a hand on one of my fat rolls or my huge thigh, and I'll lament my choices. I'll scold myself on how it's so simple, so EASY to not over-eat, to eat the right things, and then this horrible stuff would actually go away. It's so simple, and I can't freaking do it? How weak and selfish!

But this morning? Nope. Nothing. Nada.

I don't feel like eating junk anymore either, thank goodness. I'm still angry as heck though. I can't say I did the right thing, throwing my food tantrum, but I find I am oddly more relaxed this morning. Less frantic and wanting to bawl my eyes out. It's as if I burned off everything else, and I'm left with me again. A very ticked off me, but ME.

So, tantrum over. Hopefully, permanently. Nothing else has been solved, but I did make it clear to my husband this week that things are breaking down for us as a family. Everyone's tempers are frayed. Emotions are high, patience is low, and there are lots of tears on all fronts. We can't continue on like this. We're fast approaching the point where if we don't get an answer, I don't know what we're going to do.

In other news, I finally saw Frozen last night. I don't quite get the whole obsession with it. It was okay, but if I have to hear Let It Go one more time, I'm going to break something. *wink*
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sleep Wars

Two days ago, it was almost 80 degrees outside. It was lovely, and warm! The breezes were blowing, the birds were singing... Last night, as I let the dogs out one last time I heard the frogs peeping loudly and it was snowing.

I was up early... well, really I was up all night because of my husband's snoring. As usual.

I snapped this photo with my phone of the full moon setting over the mountain:

5:45AM, moonset this morning

It looked a lot cooler in person, and the moon was HUGE! I hate how cameras never really capture what we see (but then, our eyes focus on something and make it seem bigger than it truly is... but still! It was so pretty!)

This morning, we have about four inches of snow. It was a heavy, clingy snow and it was so very lovely, and I would have really appreciated it if it had come in... ya know, JANUARY or something. Winter months, back when I wanted snow and was waiting for it, and I watched as storm after storm just hopped right over Vermont. Now? I want warm breezes and butterflies. I want freakin' butterflies, dagnabbit!


At least it's sunny!


So, back to this whole sleep-thing; I feel like I am at war. I'm embarrassed to say that I have started looking forward to my husband's business trips, because I actually get sleep. When he's gone, I maybe wake up once during the night. When he's home? I don't know if I even get an hour straight of uninterrupted sleep.

He's always snored. When we first married, it was a light sort of snoring. If I could just get to sleep before he did, I generally slept through it. Over the years, it has deepened and changed. It's grown far more obnoxious, and he's added apnea type of noises to the mix just to spice things up. I spend most of the night dozing for a bit, then pushing his shoulder and trying to get him to stop, or roll onto his side. I've built complete medieval compounds out of pillows in an effort to keep him on his side and block the sound waves rippling from his gaping mouth. On a normal night I have to wake, poke, push, or smack him at least 10 times. If he has a single alcoholic drink anytime after 6PM: at least 20 times.

I would like to take this moment to nominate myself for a medal because I haven't smothered him, and this year will be our 19th wedding anniversary. Ok, moving on.

He needs a sleep study. I've mentioned it before, but there simply hasn't been time with his schedule being so insane. However, I actually found myself googling being married and having separate bedrooms last night. For the record; the experts seem split on whether this is a good move or the kiss of death to the marriage. I don't want a separate bedroom, but his snoring has gotten so progressively worse.

Why now? Well, over the past month he's had two week-long business trips. I realized with him gone one week, back the next, then gone again how dramatically my sleep was affected. I knew it was bad, but wow, talk about an eyeopener! Usually I have trouble sleeping if he's not there, but I'm at such a point of exhaustion that it was sleeping-bliss! I actually had morning-after guilt because I slept so much better.

Last night he had a drink right before bed (he likes to sip a whiskey and watch some soccer.) I saw it. I wanted to punch him in the shoulder so badly, knowing what that would mean for my evening, so I actually went to bed angry. My mood did not improve with being woken every 15-45 minutes through the rest of the night. I gave  up at 5:30, and just got up. Started googling separate bedrooms, which I suppose is better than a divorce attorney!

Maybe I'll try sleeping on the couch and see how that goes. It feels like that should be the result of a fight, however. Whiskey last night aside, I'm actually not angry at my husband. I'm angry with his evil twin that shows up while he's sleeping. (He's the same jerk who slept through the babies crying when they were young too. I know his tricks well.) I feel like I am at war, but because it's not with an actual conscious entity, just my husband's evil subconscious twin, I'm sort of in it all by myself.

*sigh*

Before anyone jumps on me and says to wear earplugs; that isn't EVER going to happen. First, I'm the only person who hears fire alarms, sick children, busted pipes, and more. It has actually happened more times than I can count, and I fear for everyone's safety as well as my own if I were to block that ability to hear. It's not that I don't want to, either, because I think I hear more than I ever did. Although, that could be a side effect of never actually being asleep thanks to my husband.

In the end, his own health has got to be suffering from this sort of sleep apnea and me pushing at him all night long too. I just need to figure out a way to kidnap him and make that sleep study happen. It's either that, or I'm going to buy myself a nerf gun and just start shooting him with it as needed throughout the night. I won't get any more sleep than I do now, but at least I'll get some sort of satisfaction from being woken up.
Monday, April 14, 2014

Taller

When I first went in to see the new doctor last fall, they measured my height and clocked me in at 5'8. Which was ridiculous. I hadn't been 5'8 since junior high. At the time, I argued with the nurse who looked at me like I was completely nuts.

I told my mother about the 5'8-thing, and she was shocked. SHE has measured in at 5'8 at the same doctor and I'm a couple inches taller than her, so that didn't make any sense! She theorized that maybe they measured everyone as 5'8.

I knew better, too. I have fluctuated from 5'10.25 to 5'9 depending on my weight (I was 5'9 when I was 230lbs), which makes sense. Weight can compress the softer tissues between the bones, and make you shrink. But still, 5'8 NOW? Yeah, I don't think so.

Yet, as the months ticked by, I started to get worried. If I was 5'8, that meant I needed to lose more weight than if I was 5'10 for the doctors to stop yelling at me. Seriously, it's like a 10 lbs difference as far as the weight range goes. Not that the top is where I want to stop anyway, and my healthy happy weight of 150 lbs is fine for all of those heights... but what if I've really been 5'8 all this time? Could all those other measurements have been wrong over the years or was I slowly and mysteriously shrinking down and turning into an oompa loompa? Was I going to turn orange?

I didn't realize how much it had been bothering me until my last doctor's visit when they remeasured me. The nurse was totally puzzled, as I clocked in at about 5'9.5. How does a patient grow 1 1/2 inches in a few months? I spoke up and explained how I told the nurse last time that there was no way I was 5'8, but they hadn't believed me.

The nurse shrugged, because it was no big deal to her. But to me? HA! Vindicated! *snoopy dance* I am NOT CRAZY! (oh, hush.) I am NOT shrinking, well anymore than is normal. I knew it! I knew that it was wrong.

*whew*

It's not that I don't wish I was about 5'7 and able to wear normal clothing (sleeves are too short, pants are too short unless I buy talls, and shorts are scary short along with skirts for the same reason. What looks like a cute lower-thigh summer skirt to you turns into a mini-skirt on me. NOT good.) It's just that nothing would have made sense if I had been wrong. More, I guess it's become part of my identity in a way I didn't realize was important even if it is frustrating at times.

I did find out a few things during my short-crisis, however. Did you know that you can make yourself taller by stretching? It makes sense if you think about it. If you can compress your softer tissues and be shorter, stretching them back out again and regaining height just follows logically. If you google stretching to make yourself taller, you'll get a slew of results.

Now, I haven't been stretching. That 5'8 read on my height was truly a mistake on the nurse's part, and the just over 5'9 was more accurate. However, I think I'm going to do more stretching in general and see if I can't get back my 1/2 an inch or so that's gone missing. It'd be good for me anyway, as I loathe yoga but always benefited from being more limber from it. Stretching may be easier to face than yoga for me. Also, as I can't do any cardio right now, it gives me something to do.

It makes you think about those weight BMI charts though. If it's based on height, and people can affect their height by up to 2 inches or more (based on some accounts I've read), what does that really mean about our weight? You know what I think it means? That those charts are just a load of bunk. In general, they tend to help define risk categories for people, yet it takes in no account for muscle verses fat. Bone density. Other stuff. It's math and statistics and very little science. I've known this for a long time, but I didn't add in the malleable height idea until now.

I've always kind of blown off the BMI chart, yet in the back of my head I still wanted to have "good" numbers. It's just one more thing to not have to worry about if you're in the correct range, right? But it appears that you can affect your range by about 10 lbs (or more) in either direction based on height fluctuations, which makes it even more loosey-goosey!

Just something to think about, I suppose. In the end, I just want to feel good about me. It's not going to come down to a number on the scale (but I do know what I'm aiming for, because that's where I felt best.) It's going to come down to healthy.

On the height front; technically, affecting your height by stretching can help distribute the weight a little more nicely making you look a bit more svelte too. So, I figure it's worth the time either way to start stretching and seeing what can happen. That being said, I'll admit that my desire to start stretching and seeing if this works has little to do with my weight. I want to go back in and reclaim my normal height that I have always had until recently.

Who knew that I was so sensitive about my height? All this time, being upset I am tall, and the moment I start clocking in shorter I freak out? Maybe it really is a case of she doth protest too much!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Found One!

On Friday, I went in and had a full physical done. I haven't had one in, well... maybe since I was a kid? I'm not sure. The truth is, as a girl, we kind of leave that whole thing with the OBGYN visit. I mean, checking under the hood should cover everything so people can just leave me alone, right? Well, anyway, my new doctor wanted to do a normal full physical since I didn't really have them done and I'm not "young" anymore.

*grumble*

I called in and moved my appointment in January, then had to call in and move my rescheduled appointment a month or two later because I got sick (I called in sick to a doctor! Ha!) And then I finally made it to this one, a mere four months after I was supposed to. That's pretty good for someone like me who avoids the doctor like it's a game of cat and mouse.

The truth is, I haven't had much luck with medical care. I had a great doctor when I was growing up. I'm pretty sure he stepped right out of Little House On The Prairie, or something. If he had told me that he drove a horse and buggy to his little office that was in a sweet little cottage covered with flowers and fluffy green trees, I totally would have bought it. He was the storybook family doctor, right down to his kindly eyes and curled steel gray hair. He saw every person in my family for everything, and even stitched up my hand when a frog decided to dissect me back in science (My team wanted to see the brain, the scalpel wanted to see the inside of my hand. We never did see that brain...)

After I grew up and moved on, I did the normal 20-something thing where you run through all sorts of doctors, insurance hoops where you just have to see whomever will take you, walk-in clinics... I never developed a relationship with any provider because I only went when I was at death's door, and I managed to keep that to a minimum. Ah, the carefree days of strep throat being your biggest worry. *wistful sigh*

When you get pregnant, you are forced into a relationship with a provider, and rightfully so. I called my insurance and was referred to a doctor, and I tried... It seemed a bit off. For example, I was so sick I was bedridden the first five months with my daughter, and the doctor did nothing. I thought I was stuck. Finally, as my daughter was still breech and my doctor broke her arm, she confessed she wasn't actually an OBGYN but a general practitioner, and had just listed herself as an OB on the insurance papers, but now I needed to go somewhere else and get actual informed care.

My jaw was on the floor. You mean I wasn't going to someone who, I don't know, could actually have helped me with some of the non-standard problems I was having? I found a new doctor, found out that there were all sorts of things that could have been done, and that this new doctor was angry with me for being so far along and coming into her practice. The next time I saw my doctor was in the hospital operating room (c-section because of a bad breech and my water had broken) as my daughter came five weeks early. I'd bet she's still ticked at me to this day.

With my son, I thought it would be better. I would pick a doctor I would feel comfortable asking questions and know before the delivery! Except there were NO female doctors here within a 50 minute radius, and only two male doctors in town nearby in the same practice. Male doctors who weren't all that nice and had a reputation for being jerks. In the delivery room, my doctor yelled at me to "Get over it, childbirth doesn't hurt that bad" after lying to me that the hospital had epidurals (it didn't, and STILL doesn't to this day because they don't want to employ an anesthesiologist full time. Welcome to the boonies. If I had known, I would have driven the hour up into town, believe me.) He was so angry with me for ruining his Thanksgiving dinner by going into labor. This doctor insulted me all the time, and was just a miserable human being.

After that, the only relationships I had with doctors are through my kids for their pediatric care. For my own, I went back to the 20-something game of only going when I was dying. If I didn't go that often, it didn't matter that I couldn't find a good doctor. I've had exhaustion issues since I was a teen, and no doctor ever listened to me. I always mention it, but it always gets blown off (You just need to exercise and lose weight, it's because you need to exercise less and eat a bit more, it's just because you're a mom, everyone is tired and you're no different. Etc.) But people do not get tired like I do, and they never have. It's simply not the same. It's become my test, to see if the doctor is even willing to entertain the idea that maybe they can help me.

Well, last year I found one that paid attention. I have only seen her twice, but at the physical I had on Friday I didn't say anything and she looked at my hands and said that they looked a bit arthritic (I KNOW! Geeze, I've been trying to talk to someone about that for years, and the fact that I have problems opening things and so on. Everyone blew me off because of my age.) I also have some other symptoms, like the exhaustion, that made her want to test for a few things when they took blood for the normal physical check-up tests. I didn't ask, didn't elaborate or anything, she was simply paying attention. I don't want anything to be wrong, I'd rather be told I just need to suck it up - but with evidence of that, not because the doctor is a bully.

So, that's new! First time since Little House on the Prairie! Not that I want to see her that often, but it's nice to know that if I have a problem I can actually get an answer. I didn't realize how much I had secretly been wishing for a doctor I could simply ask a question of. For example, when I sprained my ankle - I could have actually gone in, go figure! I didn't because I'm used to doctors being angry with me or annoyed with my sports injuries. She looked over my ankle and scolded me for not coming in. She thinks I probably fractured it because of where the pain was and still is, but that it's not worth casting and unless it continues to be an issue, no x-rays until then. (Although this means I really won't be running in the April 5K. She said based on what she sees, to expect at least another month or even three of not being able to run. BOO! Hiss!)

Well, anyhow, if you made it this far, I'm impressed! I don't usually talk about medical stuff because it's less than entertaining (and it's ALL my mother talks about. Seriously. She needs a hobby. Or a soap opera. Something!) I am just shocked I found a doctor that doesn't think I need abuse heaped on me immediately, and tests are being run that have the potential to answer some major questions for me. Pretty cool, eh?

Alright, maybe not. Which is why I snuck this in on a Sunday.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Comedic Relief

Life has a way of throwing in some distractions that you just can't help but laugh at. Well, I'll be laughing... my husband? Not so much.

Tonight, my husband (in the interest of "helping out") decided to bypass all the recent tubs of leftovers in the refrigerator from last night and the night before and eat from a container way in the back. The three-week-old container of leftover pot roast. Why was it in there? Because I want to throw it out on trash-day, since we're on a septic system, rather than have it rot in the garage garbage bin.

My husband - the rocket scientist - felt that if it was in the fridge, it must be fine. Never mind that it was so long ago that he didn't even remember me cooking the roast to begin with.

I didn't find out until it was too late. Now, I'm on gastric-deathwatch 2014. He's drinking beer and contemplating whiskey to "counteract" any ill effects, all while trying to blame me (as if.) In his words, "it didn't really smell and nothing was green," so he's pretty sure it was fine.

Oh, for the love of all the pink-toed cross-eyed bullfrogs! Are you kidding me?!!!

Did I mention tomorrow is his birthday?

My hope is that he has that iron stomach most guys seem blessed with and he survives this scrape with the pot roast of doom to go on and enjoy his birthday tomorrow.

But in the meantime? I just can't help but laugh over this. I hope I'm still laughing later!