Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Response

A post in response to several comments I got from my post on body image (several were via email instead of posting comments on Blogger). Of course I know the weight and body image is not the real issue...I watch Oprah, you know.

But, the deeper image still focuses on my physical body. Trust me when I say I am confident with the person I am, despite how others may feel about my personality "challenges," I am happy about who I have become and recognize those very things others may find offensive, worrisome, etc. are the same personality traits that make me determined, successful, creative, and passionate.

Now, that doesn't mean I am always proud of my behavior or think I always act the way I should--not so. I do get embarrassed about some of my choices, stressful moments, snaps, and grumbles (examples of this will be found in upcoming posts about our recent vacation). I am happy with me. I am still working on many things, and always will be, but I like me. What I don't always like is my body. Why? Because early in adolescence, I was quite the short and fat kid, and quite frankly, a late bloomer. I remember 7th grade as the worst year for this and I believe that much of my body image issues relate to this time in my life--coupled with choices later in my early years to confuse sex for love (have we had that conversation yet? Maybe dad reads this blog).

In 7th grade, I started to like boys. But, one boy (who I didn't like) was particularly cruel to me. Andrew Cassis, I am sure he is a loser today, but at the time, he was one of the ring leaders of the popular group of athletic boys (I grew up in a very sports focused town). 7th grade is the first time I wore a bra. One day, Andrew Cassis went to snap my bra strap (a favorite past-time of junior high boys) and there wasn't anything there. He took that and ran with it. I finally convinced my mother I needed a bra (even though I really didn't) and she bought me one.

I remember the first day I wore it as I spent probably almost an hour picking out the perfect shirt to wear with it (it was a pink oversized oxford with printing on the back--hey, it was the 80's). I wanted it to show a little, I really did--this was a big moment--but I didn't want it to look like I wanted it to show. I waited for Andrew to see it and he did, and I couldn't wait for him to snap it, hoping I would meet the threshold of acceptance and the taunting would stop. He snapped...and then, taunted me for weeks that I was wearing a bra.

Meanwhile, (on the homefront, I was watching my horny teenage brother treat women like meat and focus on their physical appearance. I would hear him and his friends talk about girls, bodies, boobs, and football--that was it (until one day he became a serious Christian...yet another story for another day). I wanted so bad to have that level of acceptance that the popular kids did and I thought for sure if I was just taller and skinnier, I would. But, I was always on the fringe of the popular group, never right in it. We lived in a very middle to upper class community and competition for material things was steep. I often had many of my schoolmates beat in that department, but somehow got made fun of for it instead of accepted for it.

For example, Jordache jeans were the thing...everyone wore them very tight and cut off with scissors (fringy) on the bottom. My mom wouldn't buy them for me. Instead, I wore Guess jeans, which at the time we had to drive to Chicago to buy. And, the result...they made fun of my jeans. I swear. One day, my dad picked me up at school in his car and an Andrew Cassis groupy happened to see it and guess what? They teased me because my dad's car was an expensive foreign car.

Things continued to get worse during 8th and 9th grade, until I resolved that I couldn't go to the big public high school with these dicks. I didn't play sports, wasn't a cheerleader, had become a terrible student and feared the social pressures of the high school. My parents were very supportive and we investigated several alternatives. Found one and I went. But, some of the same problems persisted (at least in my head). The small private school had a much different culture, but I still was stuck with the mindset that I needed to look a certain way to be popular. While this time I was more in the popular group, I was still a bit fringy because I joined late (these folks had been schooled together at private schools for years). To me, it was most likely my physical appearance that kept me on the fringe.

This sort of started my path during my late adolescence and early twenties of confusing sex for love and acceptance. Not to say I didn't have any successful relationships with guys before getting married, they were not often rooted in love, but rather gaining acceptance. I am sure by now, you get the point and further details forward won't be possible at this point or on this blog because my dad reads this. Maybe one day I can share more about this challenging journey I embarked on from this point forward, which still leaves me concerned about the appearance of my body as a measure of acceptance--and quite frankly, as a means to separate myself from other women in the room, who I have always felt less than accepted by.

P.S. I thought Nicole Richie looked good, but in a recent photo, she now looks horrible and far, far too skinny even for me!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New Post, but Old News

I posted my previous entry that I had drafted and hated. But, because I saved it as a post, it was sort of archived and you will need to scroll down past the two most recent entries to find it. I titled it Old News (which, at this point is exactly what it is).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Celebrity Weight Loss Secrets

I must find them out.

Remember the first time you heard your own voice on the telephone…maybe you listened to a message you left on an answering machine (back in the day), or tape recorded your voice with a cassette recorder (that is really back in the day). I remember. And, I remember thinking that is not me. No way, that is not my voice. I hear my voice differently than everyone else.

Just like my voice, I see my body differently than others. When I was growing up, my two best friends were A) a girl who was a bean-pole and B) a girl who was almost a tiny doll. Here I was short and chubby. I remember being in the doctor’s office and him telling my mom that she had to cut the Pepsi (which was the one junkie thing we were allowed to have). I also remember it helped. So did growing four inches my freshman year in college.

But still, I had body issues as an adult. Then came pregnancy and child birth. I have weighed within ten pounds of the same weight since high school (obviously not while pregnant, but I always lose the weight). But, the parts of my body that bothered me then, still bother me now: my Jewish booty, my birthing hips, and my thunder thighs. I hate them, or at least am obsessed with stewing over them.

Every day is a constant battle for me not to eat everything I want to—which would be any kind of baked good and a daily maybe pint or so of ice cream. I don’t eat fast food—that is not a struggle for me—and I don’t eat candy, unless you count chocolate. If it involves chocolate, I love it. I have had periods where I eat everything I want, and even still I gain about 10 pounds when I should be a whale. But, being a whale isn’t really in my genes (on either side); I am blessed with a high metabolism, a strong need to stay busy, and a family who wouldn’t tolerate of a fat person (literally, my grandpa used to have a license plate cover that said “Weaver Rules: No Fat Chics,” my grandpa!)

I keep a daily food journal that shows how much water I drink (at least 100 ounces a day), how much coffee I drink, what I eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I skip at least one meal a day, with one meal being pittance and the third meal (usually family dinner) being my only real caloric intake. I did institute the food journal for other reasons too, like to track what foods or how much coffee leads to have heartburn and the other digestive upsets creeping in with age.

But, the bottom line is that I have a huge problem with portion control. Despite the fact that I made the meal, I have a hard time, while eating the food, convincing myself that this yummy food (or even sometimes not so yummy food) will be here tomorrow or that I can make the dish again another time. I often just cannot get enough food at a sit down meal. I am trying to work on that, but my mom will tell you I had a love affair with food even as a baby. I love everything about food—the smells, the textures, the tastes. I love preparing it, cooking it, sharing it with friend and family. For me, there is nothing in the world like a good meal. Food is love.

I weigh myself at least once a day. I track my daily weight in my journal. I am struggling to lose the 7 pounds I gained when I finally stopped nursing Andrew in the spring. I really want to weight 128, but I know my body likes to weigh 130. But, 130 doesn’t seems skinny enough for me. I want to be skinny. So, maybe I am warped on this one. I know whenever I see a picture of myself I am studying my body—do I look fat? Maybe my perception is a bit skewed. I stand in line at the grocery store and read the trashy magazines to try and find out how these celebrities do it because I think they all look great (well, some really are skin and bones).

I love it when people use words like tiny and skinny to describe me; I replay that in my head over and over…often while I am having a conversation with myself about whether or not to eat a giant bowl of ice cream. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But, it is a constant struggle and a constant conversation in my mind. “I really want ice cream. Yeah, but don’t you want to be skinny more than you want ice cream? Not today…today I deserve ice cream.” I have lots of conversations with myself about food. On the way to the fridge in the morning when I am starving, I say to myself over and over, “…protein, protein, protein” to ensure I end up with a small piece of whole grain bread with a bit of almond butter on it instead of strawberry preserves, which I would then have to write down in the sugar column.

Okay, enough…you get it, right? I am obsessed with my weight and my body and I have serious food issues. I am Oprah! In fact, I think I even know where my food issues come from…but that is a whole other blog entry. Wish me luck on accepting 130 when I hit it (about three pounds to go) and the ability to maintain it and let go of all of this craziness associated with my body. Really, I thought I had a positive body image, but post-babies, I realized I am nuts.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blame it on the Rain

I don't know what it was, maybe it was the rain, but yesterday was a day that just couldn't end fast enough for me. I know, every day is a gift from God, blah, blah, and should be cherished, blah, blah, and watch my kids discover, blah, blah.

The day actually started as a carry-over from the night before. We had an adventurous Sunday and spent most of the day away from home. We got back home at 8:15, way past bedtime. We rushed Sam and Andy through bath (PJ was spending the night at my cousin's house), read stories and tucked them in. Now, sometimes when we do a rush bedtime job like that, it takes the kids a little longer to settle down and fall asleep. Understandable. Sam finally drifted off after about an hour or so, which would mean he was up past 9:30.

Andrew, my dear baby-or I am not such a baby anymore, more like a full-fledged terrible-twos, couldn't pull it together and fall asleep. Talking and whining turned into screaming and crying. And 9:30 turned into 10:30 in to 11:30 into 12:30 and so on. I brought him in my bed and he was so restless, he couldn't sleep--and neither could I. Jeff came to bed around 10:30 and I had him take him back to his bed. He didn't sleep, neither could I.

I tossed and turned and then he reappeared in my bed around 12:30. I snapped at Jeff and told him to get him out of our bed because I couldn't sleep with him being so restless. Now, there are three of us who have "missed our window" for getting to sleep. Laying there troubled with the thought that my alarm will go off in five hours or less, I finally took something to knock me out and it did, and I don't know what happened past 12:45.

I woke up, spent about an hour and a half on a blog entry and then realized I hated it. It is just a bunch of crap about what I did and when. I don't know...doesn't seem like very interesting stuff. Yet, those are my favorite blogs to read. I usually skip over the entries that start like, "Depression has left me a hostage in my own life." Snore. Just as I almost never watch a movie these days that will require me to think (and, I am in luck as there aren't many), I can often not bring myself to read such heavy stuff from a stranger. Just tell me some funny nursing story or about your husband's recent inheritance.

After that, I rushed out the door to an 8:15 meeting way on the north side of Carmel. Have I ever mentioned before how much I hate rush hour traffic? But, it went rather smoothly and I arrived right on time. A good sign, I thought. Finished the meeting, drove home to check in for an hour or so before heading downtown for a lunch meeting with someone from the lieutenant Governor's office for lunch.

I am checking email, when my computer locks up and the screen goes black, then blue with a serious warning/error message. This is the second time this has happened in two days. I call the computer guy, we start discussing. He accesses my system remotely and works for about thirty of my fifty minutes home. We chat briefly by phone, he says he might come by today to look at things. I love this guy, by the way, he is fantastic. I get ready to leave, try to finally check my email and the screen goes blue again. I call, he says he will be over shortly.

Then, Samuel has a total meltdown--and I mean total. With the new nanny still sort of "in training" I felt like I needed to intervene on this one. By now I am going to be ten minutes late to this important meeting. I try to calm Samuel, but with no success. I get frustrated and carry him up to his room and put him on his bed and tell him to wait for his dad, who I just saw drive down the street. I leave. I race downtown, find a perfect parking spot right in front of the restaurant.

I figure God is really trying to turn this day around for me and try to let him. I try to change my disposition and smile, find something to be happy about. I head into the restaurant and they say my party isn't there yet. I think that is weird because I am 15 minutes late. I sit at a table and wait. Maybe it was at noon and not 11:30. I wait some more. I call. I wait some more. I decide to leave, thought maybe something changed and she tried to email me but given my technical state, I didn't get the message.

As I am walking out the restaurant, I see her sitting at another table--with three other people. I approach her (she is one of those people who seems a bit crabby anyway, who I am never quite sure what she is thinking or if she likes me), and inquire about our lunch date. She says it was last Thursday and I didn't show. Of course not, I am showing now! Shit. Way to go. I apologized over and over and asked to reschedule. Sent an email to schedule, but haven't heard back yet.

Then, about two blocks from my house, I hear a horn as I pass these two cars and I see one smack into a telephone pole, flip on its side in a ditch, then back on the ground and heading toward a house. I kept going as several other people stopped and turned around. I wanted to see, but that was all I would be doing at that point was watching. There were enough people already at the scene. Another moment of me thinking God is trying to tell me to snap out of this and quit feeling so sorry and down on myself.

I come home, trying to have a new attitude, but guess what...more technical difficulties. The computer guy is here, at my desk. It is necessary, but frustrating. A few hours later, he instructs me to significantly clean out my email box and teaches me how to save email messages in my client files (fascinating stuff for a techno-idiot like me). He leaves, I spend an hour and a half going through A-D in my emails, filing what I can, deleting the rest.

I start dinner. Much of the fresh corn I bought in the country has grubs, no big deal, I break it off. I go get Andrew up from his nap. His room is a disaster and he is sleeping standing up, folded in half with his torso and head laying on his bed-if that makes any sense. He is a crab. He cries and cries. The other boys are outside and come in and out, whining with various requests. I keep pushing them back outside. It's hot they say, it's summer I say. The final step after a challenging evening is to put dressing on the salad. I grab the bottle, give it a shake in the air and dressing flies everywhere. This is it...this is my day.

I call the computer guy again after dinner, as the computer locks up again and won't even let me in to clean things up and install service packs as he suggested. He hops on again. We get the kids off to bath and in bed early. Once again, an hour later, two are still awake--Andrew and Sam. I am considering suing lawmakers over daylight savings time. It has really screwed our bedtime into a heaping pile of conflict.

I head to bed at about 8:30. Kids still awake, I tell (well, I yelled) Samuel that he will have to take a nap tomorrow because he is up so late. I am going to stick to that, too. He had a horrible day as well and I am certain it is because he is tired. I am ready for school to start, but not for summer weather to be over. I am already dreading winter.

What a lousy day. I am optimistic about today and look forward to starting over. Now, must get to work. I will probably go through the other post I wrote, clean it up and post it soon, it will be out of chronological order--but hey, it includes pictures!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Old News

Here are bits and pieces of the update post I did a few weeks ago after a long absence of posting. I have cut out a lot of meaningless ramblings and excessive details (I am virtually obsessed with details).

The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging for me in recent years. Things are smoothing out as I sail towards vacation (five days on Lake Michigan, four days on Lake Huron, or what I kept saying was Lake Ontario), but some of the recent weeks testing me in new ways.

Jeff had his knee surgery on July 20th and I cared for him after. I also cared for the three kids as he was totally immobile and we had no child care that week. I prepared meals for everyone, bathed everyone, kept the house up, tried to work my normal 50-60 hours (but barely managed 25), did all the errands (Jeff usually does a lot of those) and crawled in bed every night exhausted. Many nights I shared my bed with visitors for various reasons (nose bleed, teething, bad dream), as Jeff was nesting in the guest room as to accommodate his many medical devices and odd sleep schedule.

It was exhausting and I had many days when I could hardly exhale. Those were the days I should have been blogging, but was too busy to even find ten minutes for that. I was often totally overwhelmed, but despite it all, somehow managed to do a pretty good job. I did loose it a few times with the kids, but as to be expected. The boys and I had some good summer fun together and some much needed time spent playing, chatting, running errands and cuddling.

By then end, I really felt a sense of a reconnection with the kids and my parenting skills were refreshed in a good way. This was a good thing because we had a new nanny start on July 31 and it was important that I model the way I want her to communicate with our kids. And, speaking of kids...looks like this is it for our clan. While under the knife with the knee, Jeff also had a vasectomy.

I am not 100% positive I don't want more kids, in fact I do want more--two more. But I am about 95% positive that I cannot do it again. I can do pregnancy again, labor, delivery, newborn babies, etc. But, I don't think I can do another cold/flu season in Indiana with the smallest of children, I don't think I can do another toddler emptying every cabinet in sight (even the ones that are "childproofed"), I don't think I can do another terrible twos or potty training. Jeff and I joked and said if they came out at age five, we would both be all for more...but they don't. And, that journey to five is very special and valuable, but just plain exhausting.

Back to the course of time over the past few, Jeff is on the mend. He sent me flowers thanking me for taking care of him. The new nanny started and seems to be slowly getting it. The first day, I was so disappointed and ready to give up. But, optomistic Jeff said we needed to give it more time and he was right. She is learning, trying and definately succeeding. The good thing is is that she sees how great our style works for our kids. She has helped the boys peacefully resolve conflict and talk things out, she has ended one of Sam's fits, and turned the tables on a bad day. She is open to learning and trying to get the hang of it. Every day is getting better and better. I also think maybe it is a good thing that I am not totally blown away in the first few weeks. I was with our old nanny and then, she pooped out and totally disappointed me.

We have spent a lot of time together as a family over the summer and it has been terrific fun. However, I think everyone is ready to get back into the swing of school, work, etc. Our garden has been tremendously successful. Tomatoes abound. I canned home-made marinara sauce the other day with herbs and tomatoes from the garden. We ate our carrots, have had an endless supply of cucumbers, enjoy watching our pumpkins and watermelon grow and wake up every morning to look out the back window and see our giant sunflowers.

Many new starts recently too. Jeff started a blog at Phillip took a pottery class at the Art Center and just loved it. I had Jeff buy some shelves for our room where I can display the boys' creations and see them everyday. Samuel started Karate, he was in heaven, but as we were all celebrating his success, he decided he didn't want to do it anymore. Stubborn boy. Andrew has started...well, being two as his birthday gets closer and closer.

Yesterday (now a few Sundays ago) we went to my new nephew's dedication at my brother's church (he is a pastor of a church in Carmel) and then out to lunch with family afterward. The night before, Samuel told Jeff we were going to "his cousin's church to see him get advertised." And we did. It was great fun. The boys were great and enjoyed the time with family. They each took their new back packs with a few toys to play with in church, if needed.

In fact, Phillip went to spend the night at my cousin's house last night. His first sleep over at someone's house other than grandparents. Of course, Jeff reminded me, they are still family as it is my cousin. I am not surprised that we didn't get a call last night. He has been dying to spend the night at someone's house. My cousin has lots of kids, lots of land and lots of toys. His son that Phillip spent the night with has, according to Phillip before we left, "lots of Legos with lots of weapons." A slice of heaven for PJ.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Still Looking for a New Post?

Are you checking back only to find the same old post? A new one is coming soon...I promise. Right now, just getting through each day, trying to get caught up with work, etc. I have had many days lately where I have composed great blog entries in my head, but never found the time to transfer those ideas into words on the page. Instead, faithfully plugging away at work in hopes to get caught up or regain a sense of control! More soon, for real. (oh great, and now Blogger's spell check is whacked out and not working).