Thursday, April 29, 2010

Most Inspiring Post this Week

I'm at it again with announcing the Lollipop award for this week goes to Lonicera for her post on getting inspiration from other bloggers. There were so many passages that rang true and I felt the same way. This blogging community, whether newbies, in-betweeners, S.O.B.'s and caring people, is a support system which has been my lifeline when those close to me just don't get it. Sometimes we have to remember that a post or comment can make a difference in someone's thinking and help them along on our collective journey. 

This week has been an eclectic mix of comments and posts. Some were downright funny and had me LMAO which is sometimes hard when I work in a cubicle farm and I don't wear waterproof mascara. I poured my heart out in a post from a question that Amy asked and then Drazil repeated for BYOC. Tina and Jen posted about the time spent blogging and if it had value. I am missing a few bloggers that have not been able to join in this week because of vacations, work, life in general and hope we will see them again soon. Gen had a wonderful idea to profile an S.O.B. (Superstar of the Band) and Judi was her first victim contributor. Judi showed us all that it can be done and I can't wait for other "veterans" to give us their story. It helped make me see that we can all lose the "Monkey on our Back" (aka fat) and in the process learn a lot more about ourselves and others.

Which leads me to my final comment for today and one which brought a tiny aaawww to my heart—the finger monkey that Jess posted. She said that there wasn't much to post about so put this little picture up. Funny how I was still thinking about it on my way to work. And maybe that is how our "Monkey on the Back" will end up—as a small little finger monkey. I want one so bad.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Got Lucky This Morning

No not that. As I was leaving for work this morning, my DH jumps out of bed and tells me he has something for me. Out of his suitcase he pulls two Coach purses. OMG. I have wanted one for so long. Now I'm cool. Like all the young kids. My usual purse buying experience has been the Walmart boutique so this is big for me.
What is even more surprising is that he actually remembered something I wanted and so much better than some of the strange gifts he has brought home before. After all these years he finally came through. Now I have to decide if I want to let my daughter have one!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Boys are Back in Town

They're back! DH arrived from Manila via Tokyo and Vancouver. DS arrived from South Africa via Zurich. Don't you love it when everyone is home safe and sound.

I've been humming The Boys are Back in Town all day. It was one of my favourite songs way back in '76.  Skinny jeans and big hair (on the band, not me). Those were the days! Before hubby. Before kids. I was 22. Sigh.

But my boys are back...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lightbulb Time.

I had a bit of an awakening this week when Amy asked What do you hide behind? I thought that was easy. I stay fat because… And then I stopped because I couldn’t answer the question. I didn’t know why. So I asked Drazil to add the question to her BYOC. I hoped some of you would come up with my answer. Sort of like writing an essay—gather all the research, quotes, passages and then somehow massage them together in my own words. Please forgive any plagiarism from other posts or comments. But I did finally come up with an answer.

And here it is. I use my fat to protect me and cushion my hurt. And what is it that is really hiding inside of me. I am a kind person and want to be needed, perhaps so I am liked. Since I couldn’t find my own words, I am using this comment from someone which perfectly describes me “Helping others has always been my shield. I guess if I prove to them I’m needed, they won’t notice I’m fat”. I am also torn and become angry when someone else gets the praise and acknowledgement for something I have done (mostly at work). But I figure, I’m fat so I don’t deserve the recognition. I laugh it off and say it doesn’t matter. I now think it does.

I liked Roo’s take on revealing ourselves—pealing the onion. It is always sad when I read how some of you survived physical, sexual and emotional abuse. I applaud your courage to move forward and enjoy this life since it is the only life we have. I’m just discovering that I can’t let the past pull me down for the future. My childhood was fairly uneventful, no abuse, no hidden secrets. In my family I was the funny one. I had lots of friends and would talk to almost anyone with ease. But I was fat. As an adult, I took on the role of fix-it girl, the superwoman who would put all things right with my family and my life. Hey, I was going to cure MS! I thought I was needed. I wanted everyone to be happy and it so royally backfired on me that I was on anti-depressants for 15 years. I stopped trying to fix things. My family kept stuff from me and left me out of decisions. I felt pretty worthless, unneeded and very unhappy. I ate. And ate. And ate. It numbed the pain and hurt. All I wanted was to help and all I got was crap.

I left this comment on Roo’s blog: “I dread losing my sense of humour and not being fun anymore. Maybe that is something we fight too—being fun and happy go lucky is something that the people we meet are afraid of and they send out negative vibes that make us think something is wrong with us. When in actuality, there is nothing wrong with acting crazy sometimes and it is their insecurities that try to bring us down. We'll show them that we can be a great group of people whether we are skinny or not.”

I am working on keeping my sense of humour and trying not to let people close to me bring me down. I have mentioned to a few people that I seldom see the toxic people in my life. I put them in an imaginary box and put it on a shelf. I’m a work-in-progress but as the weight comes off, I gain my confidence back. This quote from Lynda matches me to a tee:
“If you met me in real life, you'd meet someone with a lot of confidence. You'd meet someone who doesn't take any B.S. You'd meet someone who is not afraid to tell the truth, even if it's unpopular (or gets her in trouble at work). You'd meet someone who is tough and can take anything. But, I'm also very sensitive. I CARE what people think of me. I want people to like me and will cry if I think I've hurt someone's feelings. I'm not at all confident. And, I still worry about things that I said to people 15+ years ago. I pretend to be tough, but I'm not”.

I realize now that by blogging, I am discovering a me that would have taken many months or years of counselling. I once went to a psychiatrist and talked about all these “perceived problems” in my life and his response was that I had a severe form of PMS and he could cure me with a few vitamins. The PMS got better but mentally it didn’t help. I figured he was a professional and maybe I really didn’t have any deep underlying problems. He also put me on an anti-depressant and within 3 months I had gained back the 30 pounds I had spent years trying to lose! I see now that there were things I had to face. Blogging and your support has been much more effective and quicker and it has saved me a bundle. But please don’t send me any invoices for services rendered—I’m not paying. Maybe a drink when I get to Chicago.

There is a lot of excitement about the Chicago weekend. I can’t wait to meet everyone but there’s that little nagging fear in me that others too have mentioned. I worry that I will arrive at the hotel and be all alone because no one told me the trip was off. I worry that no one will like me. I worry that my roommate will take one look at me and ask for a private room. I worry that if there is a game I will be picked last. I worry that you will think I am old and doddery .

If that were to happen, I will smile, put on a brave face and say, “that’s ok”, because that is what I always say when people are mean to me. And then I will go and eat. And eat. And eat. But I know all of you are different because some of you feel the same as me. I know there will be lots of friends to meet in person, no one will be left out, my roommate will love me, no one will be picked last and just to confirm I am not doddery. We will all enjoy each other just as we do in our blogs. And there will be no un-Following a blog.

But if we have a game where teams have to be picked, I volunteer to be the last pick, because that is where I have always been and I don’t mind anymore.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Just a Rant and This and That

I'm a little peeved right now. Just got back from my nephew's confirmation, where I might add, I ate reasonably well. NO ONE noticed I had lost 25 pounds. What gives about that. I also had this cute haircut, mineral makeup which took a few years off my face and NO ONE made one comment. This little get together was with my DH's family. He is one of 6 boys and when we get together there are lots of us. My DH is thin (and he works hard to keep it that way) but his brothers are heavy, two at least over 300 pounds. The last time I saw them was Christmas at my place, 25 pounds ago. Did I and do I still look so fat to them that they can't say I look good!

Just looking to rant a bit and it feels good to get it off my chest. I have noticed in some blogs the same rant. People don't notice. I know a few years ago, my sister told me that people don't like to comment because I always gain the weight back. And my daughter did tell me that I should get some better fitting clothes but is everyone an idiot. I'll show them. I'll be a skinny biatch and strut my stuff!

I am proud that I got out this morning cleaning up my front gardens for hours. Worked some muscles that have lay dormant over the winter. I love to garden and am finding it easier to do the heavier stuff like pulling weeds, cutting the lawn, transplanting bushes, washing windows (just for you Draz) and filling in the groundhog hole under our front porch for the thousandth time! I'm waiting for the gym membership to arrive in the mail but I can't use it til June 1st, since I missed the cut-off date for the corporate rate. I'll have to get back to my 4km walks now that the weather is nice.

And who knew. So many of you talk about Greek yogourt so I bought some last week for a recipe. There it sat, almost a full tub of the plain and since I'm not a big yogourt fan I thought lets make a dip. Threw in some vege seasoning, garlic powder, Mrs. Dash and then dipped a bunch of Potato Chips into it. Whoda thunk it would make the best chip dip in the world. I'm making another batch but this time I'll dip veges. Much healthier.

So here it is Another Saturday Night and I ain't got Nobody. Damn volcano keeping my man on the other side of the world. Working on a really good post to answer the question about what I hide behind. Still processing a light bulb moment. So many thoughts, so little time.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Doing this just because I have a few minutes before I go and watch AVATAR!!!!
1. Name a career you would NOT want to do and tell why.
Accountant. My DH is a Chartered Accountant (I think it is called a CPA in the US). I haven’t done a tax return in 30 years (but he hasn’t cooked much either—evens out). Guess what, it is tax season when all those people you never, ever hear from, call and ask stupid tax questions. Come on—pay an accountant to do your tax return and don’t try to get free professional advice. OK, most of these people are family and a few do give him a wad of cash every once in a while (or a bottle of 18 year old Scotch) but why don’t you care about us during the rest of the year. The laugh's on you this year—he’s stuck in the Philippines so I hope you don’t owe any money. I already got my money back. Ha Ha Ha Ha! Plus accountants go bald and I want my hair.

2. What’s the best present you ever received for your birthday?
I got my tonsils out on my 8th birthday. I got a bunch of presents and lots of ice cream and time off school. Don’t remember any other gifts or birthdays.

3. What do you hide behind?
This will take a post in itself. Working on it, but can’t quite put it into words just yet. Wasn't really thinking about answering when I asked Draz to put in on the list. Do I get a passing grade on answering 4 out of 5 questions? I'll hand in the other homework in a few days.

4. Where were you born?
In a hospital. (Southern Ontario, Canada)

5. What blog spoke to you the most, stuck with you, had the most effect on you this week?
Got this one: see yesterday’s post. (Hint: Sherry & Amandakiska)

Extra: Since I still have a few minutes. My hair is falling out so I bought some Biotin. Everyone says it works so we'll see. My hairdresser (got a cute cut and style today) also mentioned Omega 3 and 6—the oil you find in fish and flax seeds (or supplements). My DH is still stuck in Manila and will try to get a flight back next Tuesday. My DS is attempting the flight back on Sunday to Frankfurt so hope the backlog is cleared so he gets back here. I miss them both. Adios, amigos. Off to watch AVATAR! Too bad I didn't have one of those big 3D screens.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Most Inspiring Post this Week

Well it was a toss up as to whose post really hit me in the gut this week. But by a slight advantage (she posted first) I have to go with Sherry from Two Sticks or a Lighter and her post about Taking a Stand. In her post she mentioned about going to a wedding and enjoying that moment when the doors open and the bride is standing there: "How many times will we have everyone in a room STAND to recognize and honor our presence? ... When we feel like a star."  She posted some awesome pictures from her honeymoon and I hope to do the same. My pictures need to be scanned first because most were pre-digital! I want to remember how it was to be a star.

But I will give honourable mention to Amanda and her Don't Worry-"every little thing is gonna be alright!". Having lived so long :-), I can honestly say that everything does work out, maybe not how we always want but we get through the bad times and enjoy the good times. They will happen. Some we can avoid, others we can't. But we can change how we react to them.

These posts (and lots of others) inspired me to write my post "It's a Journey...Not a Race". But I can only link one post to the Lollipop Award for most Inspiring post, so click on Shirley to the right and read Sherry's post. Please feel free to post your own inspirations (and use the Shirley picture if you like).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's a Journey...Not a Race

I read this in a comment and got to thinking about the true meaning when we say "Losing weight is a journey...not a race". Some background now but I will get to my point. My hubby and I drive to a lot of places with some trips taking hours. I love to drive but there are times when I have to let him in the driver's seat.

DH Driving: Get in the car. Don't stop under any circumstances til we get to our destination except for gas. Speed along the highway because we have to get there. Arrive cranky, tired and angry that I have to debate every single bathroom break. DH flops on the couch and has a nap. I'm buzzed from all the angst and take two days to relax.

Me Driving: Get in the car with my water, coffee, snacks. Turn on the music. Stop every two hours or so to stretch, pee, grab a coffee (and pre-band a donut!), shop at the mall. Enjoy the scenery. Arrive in a good mood, relaxed for the rest of the trip.

Which leads me to realize with the lapband I don't need to race to the finish (lose all my weight as fast as I can) but enjoy the journey of living with the band. One of those Tortoise and the Hare stories. I will still get to my goal but does it really matter how long it takes—OK, before I die would be nice. I need to stop and enjoy the changes that are happening physically, emotionally and mentally along the way. Eventually I will get there. But since I'm driving, I want to arrive in a good mood, relaxed and happy with how I got there. And maybe a little shopping won't hurt.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Second First Fill

On Monday I had a small 0.5 cc fill. Since my unfill and topup last week back to 3 cc (which is what I had at surgery over two months ago), I now have 3.5 cc in a 10 cc band so I guess this is really my second first fill. I think I have a bit of restriction as I am not crazy eating like I was on the weekend. So far today I have only had a protein shake around 8:30 and then 1 cup of chili at 11:30 and I feel satisfied. I hope this helps knock off a few pounds since I have been stuck at the same weight for the past month. I feel Gen's pain of being in plateauland. Since I had so many problems when I had 4 cc in the band, we will only go up in small increments each time (like 0.25 cc). 
I am trying to figure out if I should just book a fill in two weeks or wait to see if this fill works. What do you do? Pre-book your fill appointments or just play it by ear and book when you think you need one. I am so confused. Hurry up BG and get that book written.

On another note, 2/3 of my family is stuck on the other side of the world. DH is in Manila and my DS is stuck in South Africa. They were both supposed to fly back this coming weekend so I am hoping the flights get back on schedule. My DS flies through Frankfurt which is still reduced and the flights from the far east are jammed with people taking alternate flights back to North America. They'll get here, but I miss them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Let This be a Quiet Week

This is my wish for everyone this week. Have a calm and relaxing week. I don’t think I can take much more excitement! Lets all take a break and …
I have a fill on Monday afternoon and hope it will kickstart my weight loss which has stalled. So far I am still eating lots and need some help in getting the scales to move. I have to be skinny when I get to Chicago in 5 months!

I am also really happy today because my daughter just brought her cat, Elliot, over for me to keep for a few months until she moves to her new house. My DH is allergic so we will have to deal with that. Maybe he’ll have to move out? Hmmm. Not! The cat lived with us for two years so it shouldn’t be too bad. I am also a bit perturbed about losing some of my hair. I know, I read this on many a post but when you see the clump of hair in the drain it is pretty darn hard. Oh well, it'll grow again. And one last thing—I found it interesting that there are many mentions of wanting to be with George Clooney. Well I think my brother looks just like George Clooney. You be the judge?

         George C.              George Too?

P.S. I'm supposed to add that my brother is happily married to one of the sweetest girls in the world and they have two beautiful young boys. He is currently renovating his house and has just developed those lovely grey hairs. Oh, and I look just like him. LOL.

Friday, April 16, 2010

BYOC – Bring Your Own Craziness!

Every Friday I say to myself—I am not going to answer questions but something drives me to answer. Don’t know why, so here they are:

1. If you ever won the lottery – what’s the very first thing you’d do? I’d give the entire amount to Drazil. OMG, there must be something hidden in this message making me say that! But really, I guess I’d give her a few bucks and then do the following:
    ~Quit my job
    ~Travel around the world (maybe on one of those round the world ships—although I get seasick)
    ~Buy an all expense paid weekend to Chicago for all my followers.
    ~Buy a new SUV and an RV to be a nomad travelling North America.
    ~Lose weight (oh right don't need money for that!)

2. What is your favorite curse word? (This one is from Joey)
Why the fuck would you want to know that. The guy who works for me calls me potty mouth so pick any word. I can be prim and proper when I need to be. My kids are also potty mouths. I learned all these words when I was in the militia during university. I loved saying FUBAR but it fell out of use a long time ago. That basically sums up my work though.

3. What is your favorite holiday and why? Christmas. Why? Presents, food, chocolate, candles, family, more food, more chocolate. And wine, lots of wine.

4. What turns you on? (another suggestion from Joey) After all these years (30), my DH. It’s just knowing that I’m not alone and can depend on someone to be there for me. A lot of people find our relationship strange and many said it wouldn't last. We fight like cats and dogs sometimes but overall he is just there by my side. We have gone through a lot of ups and downs together, financially, emotionally, family issues but I miss him when he’s away. Everyone say Awww together. Wait a minute was this a sex question?

5. Whose blog spoke to you, stayed with you, meant the most to you, stands out to you this week and why? Already did this one yesterday—see my Thursday Lollipop Award post.

~~ Side note ~~
My sister is visiting this weekend and she likes to talk, so I might not get much time to read many blogs or post. I talk too much anyway. We are going to cook together and restock my frozen dinners.  Have a lovely weekend—it is going to rain and be cold (yes Jess, a high of 6C (42F) on Saturday). Sucks.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Whatever You Do, Don't Diet by Gen

Thursday means I nominate the blog post that spoke most to me this week. And the winner of the Shirley Temple Lollipop Award for most Inspiring Weekly Post is Gen (i heart the band) for:

(you can also click on the Shirley picture in my sidebar to link to the post)

Why: Well, it was posted on the second day of my self-imposed low carb diet which turned out to be a disaster of major proportions. Not only was I not able to actually stay on the liquid protein "diet" for more than 36 hours, I rebounded and ate Cadbury Eggs, a plethora of mini bran muffins topped with icing (yes I mixed up a batch of icing because the muffins weren't sweet enough) and was basically a demon searching for sweets. What was I thinking—I got the band so I would forget about all this crapola and "dieting". As I munched my icing covered muffins sinking into a guilt trip of "You're such a loser", Gen's post popped up around 8:00 pm. It saved me—well, it reinforced that having a band is not the same as dieting. Thanks Gen for giving me the slap in the face.

The one line that I pulled out of the post, (from Geneen Roth):
"Diets are like having a mean, abusive parent inside your head. Diets keep you stuck being a cowering child."

There were many posts that really clicked this week with me. I went through a huge wave of emotions and watershed moments—crying, laughing, lightbulb moments. It forced me to think about what I want to do and how to get there. I still have a lot of work to do brain-wise but each week gets a little better and each and every post I read brings a little glimmer that I am not perfect and I don't have to do this alone. And no more diets!

Because I read so many blogs, I started tracking some memorable posts and created a sub-page in my blog to remember them. I try to find one post each day that speaks to me. It reminds me to go back and re-read them when I have more time to think. If you look on my sidebar you will see the Memorable Posts This Week with links to the blogs.

One last thing. I hope you have all seen Sisterhood of the Traveling Bandits Blog (BOOBS for short). Come for our first Bandit party in Chicago in September if you can. My first thought when it was suggested by Jen was HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN I LOSE BEFORE I SEE OTHER BANDITS! Come on, I'm sure that was in everyone's mind too. Will we ever learn?

Update: I am now guilty of making some bloggers fall into a rash of carb eating this week. I won't mention names Amanda but I think it is the same weird pull of the earth that others have mentioned. Last week it was weight gain, this week it is pasta and carbs. What will next week bring?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Have Sinned

I so want to be like all of you and have this band working for me. Right now I think about food all the time but have to wait until next Monday for a fill. I've been at the same weight for 4 weeks now and yesterday decided do low carb to see if I could get some movement. Just like childbirth you forget the pain of drinking those protein drinks. 

I was doing great—remember that first day of pre-op, all the singing and dancing and thinking "it’s not so bad". Then remember day two? Well this is day two and as I was walking by the store these wretched Cadbury Easter Cream Eggs just jumped out at me. I thought you guys had eaten them all but nooooo… They are on clearance—2 for a dollar. I was like a zombie, picking them up, paying for them and then scarfing one down as I rode the escalator to catch my taxi.

I am now back at my regular office and I just locked the second one in my drawer to take home later. Will I eat it or not? My hubby left for China a few hours ago which means I am all alone in the house tonight. Just me and that friggin egg. Why didn’t you eat them all?

Monday, April 12, 2010

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

I spent a lot of time reading very poignant posts this weekend and felt almost helpless that I couldn’t do more to ease the pain I saw. I wanted to reach through cyberspace and hug everyone. I made a lot of comments and a few direct e-mails and hope those few words bring a bit of sunshine to someone who might be having a rough time or just to say, you are not alone in this world. I want to think I am making a difference and wonder why do we have to suffer? Years ago after my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and I was going through a particulary bad period of time, I picked up this paperback book written by Rabbi Kushner because I wanted to know why this was happening to little old me. The Rabbi wrote this after his son died at age 14. I am not a religious person but it actually helped me see that there are good people in this world and sometimes bad things happen. And it wasn’t because God (or another higher being) was getting back at us for something we had done—bad things just happen. He also stresses that it was not something that we did, a mistake, a failing that caused the bad thing to happen. This was what I took away from this book the most.

I created a sub-page within my blog to post some of the main points of the book but if you Google it, you will find a wealth of links.

The last part of the book questions what is our purpose in this world. To make money, to live in a big house, to buy lots of things, to travel, to … Not really. I have a lot of these things but to be really fulfilled is knowing that we can make a difference to how our world unfolds. I posted on Saturday, that my son had met a 10 year old boy in Africa whose mother had died from AIDS. The young boy was taking care of his sick grandmother and two younger siblings. My son left a few clothing items, some food and a few dollars. It might not have been much but it changed this little boys life for a short time and let him know that someone cared. When we do unto others we show others that they are not alone.

But bad things keep happening to good people and will continue to happen—the child abuse, sexual and emotional abuse, the car accidents, the cancers, the diseases, the deaths, murders and suicides—9/11, plane crashes, hurricanes, tsunamis, wars and genocide. We can never turn back the clock and change these things, nor how we or others reacted. But we can listen and we can help make a difference no matter how slight to the way someone feels. Ten years ago, Blogging and other types of social networking weren’t available. Now we can reach out into cyberspace and in seconds connect and make others aware that they are not facing their problems alone. I think if we knew the tiny little ripple-effect we have on each other we would be astounded.

So I want to encourage all, if you are looking for some reason to exist in this world, reach out to others. Leave a comment, send an e-mail (ok even pick up the phone and call them). Because your heart and your life will be much richer for it, knowing that you may have started that little ripple that will help someone else move forward. If you find some of this blogging overwhelming, post a message to let us know you are still around and are swamped with work, with kids, with life. We just want to know that you are still out there and will be waiting to hear how you are and if you need us for anything. Because "It takes a Village..."

I hope I haven't brought a downer to your Monday. I promise things will get better as the week goes by. And I wasn’t even going to post today!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sale on Fills and Missing My Boys

I thought I would post about my second “first” fill. A little summary first. I was banded on February 10th and had 3 cc in my band. I had my first fill on March 9th, when Dr. Doug put it up to 4 cc. On March 22nd, after many days of PBing and vomiting I went sobbing back to his office and he took out fluid (Click here to read about that). Two weeks of letting my stomach heal and I was back for a refill last Wednesday (at 8 weeks post-op). I am now back to 3 cc, the same amount I had at surgery. It sucks. I have a bit of restriction again but am getting hungry every 2-3 hours. So I don’t know if I’ve even had a first fill—I failed my first and gained a couple of pounds—that d*mn gravity pull thing everyone was talking about last week—hex on it.

I am taking it slow. Next time I see him I will ask for just 0.5 cc. I think it best to take it gradual given my problems the last time. Dr. Doug also told me that there are a few who will hit their “sweet spot” with only a few little fills. I will gauge what I need by looking at my weight loss. I have basically been stuck at the same weight for the last two weeks but am down a smidgen of weight (0.4 lbs) today. I’ll see if this refill will help. The good news is Dr. Doug has dropped his fill charge from $75 to $50. A 33% off sale. I love sales. Just so you know, I use a local doctor for my fills as it is a 5 hours drive to the surgical clinic where they are free. I think my doc here is giving me a break because I also see his nurses for nutrition counselling and pay for those visits ($15 every few weeks).

Missing My Boy #1
My son is one of the wonders I created (along with his older sister). I’ll give some credit to DH because I did need his “input” for those few seconds. If you take the “S” off my name, you can guess his name. He’s always been called by this short name unlike my male follower in UAE (did you guess the name yet?—please don’t put it in any comments). Anyway, Little A is now 24 and left for South Africa two weeks ago. He and a friend (who is originally from South Africa) are having a bit of a vacation and doing some mission work in Durban this week so I haven’t heard from him—I’m sure there aren’t many wireless networks around the area. LOL. My son is very involved with the Pentecostal church. In his teens, he began with the youth group and just embraced the church as his second family. Neither my husband nor I attend church so it is a with a bit of amazement that we raised this pretty cool kid.

He was in South Africa three years ago with his youth group for some mission work in Swaziland. They helped a village build a well for clean water and other odd jobs needed by the communities. It wasn’t a “go in and take over” but a “we can help with what you need done with this little bit of money”. They had raised a few thousand dollars from garage sales—I donated a ton of stuff and it helped me clear out my clutter. I felt good that it was going to a good cause but it also de-cluttered my life in the process. Only a few hundred dollars brought clean water to a small village. Suitcases of clothes and some medical supplies were also taken on the trip. My son told me what a great experience Africa was to him. We sometimes forget the size of this world and feel helpless. But it only takes one act of kindness to change a life. The little boy in the first picture smiling from ear to ear. For a few hours he had some visitors who cared and they left him with some warm clothes, food and a few dollars. And a village has clean water to drink. That is what mission work is--there is no bible thumping or sermonizing. It is the simple acts of kindness that people do for each other.

Beautiful smile! This child (about 10 yrs old) was raising his two younger brothers and caring for his sick grandmother. His mother had died of AIDS.

Here are some of the villagers.

Water source for the Village. Villagers would fetch this water, boil it, and then drink it. The animals also drank directly from this pond.
The end result. With a few dollars and help from all the villagers a nice stone path was built to get to the plastic barrel serving as a well to hold filtered spring water and keep it separated.

 To the left is my son with the grandson of the lady where they stayed.

The trip wasn't just work and no play for the group. They also had some fun sightseeing in Kruger National Park and along the southern coast around Capetown. I’ve included these pictures as I think they are beautiful and I am so proud of my little baby. He is making a difference in this world, one tiny bit at a time. He’ll be back home at the end of April but mom’s have the right to miss their babies no matter how old they get.

The coast of South Africa where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean.

Missing My Boy #2
My DH is leaving on Tuesday for a business trip to China and the Philippines. So Boy #2 will be gone for two weeks and I will have no one around to tempt me with lovely dinners. Right, LOL. My DH is much better at pouring wine than he is at cooking. When we first met he made me Coquille St. Jacques (scallops in cream sauce with mashed potatoes). Amazing. It wasn’t until we married that I found out it was his only recipe. Oh well, he’s good in bed!  I’ll miss him too but will sleep like a baby!

So for the next while I’ll have to depend on my blogger friends to keep me company. I mentioned in a comment that reading the blogs is like following a soap opera. I can’t wait to find out what the next episode will be. This past week had many revealing posts and it helped me see further into everyone’s lives and my own. I feel like a voyeur at times. I guess we should all get ready for our summer hiatus and a cliff hanger post (Noooooo!). I also love that I have gotten to know a bit of your lives. But for those who find it hard to post revealing parts of themselves, it doesn’t matter. We are a community that accepts everyone—tell as much or as little as you want. Someone mentioned a worry about being judged—never! You have become my kids, my sisters/brothers but mostly my friends. I hope you let the old lady hang around and enjoy this ride a bit more.

And one more request. If you are following me, please leave me a comment with a link to your blog if you have one. I can't find the link in your profile and would love to follow you.

Friday, April 9, 2010

BYOC for Friday

BYOC–Bring your own Craziness
1. If you could have lunch with a famous person who would it be and what would you order?
Shirley Temple because she was so cute and I watched all her movies. Any of you remember the Good Ship Lollipop (Bright Eye's) where her mother is killed? My favourite was Poor Little Rich Girl where she was treated like dirt but came out on top in the end, still smiling and singing. I even created the Lollipop inspiration award with her picture for my blog. And I'd order candy!
2. Where’s the furthest place you’ve traveled to?
Plenty of places—China, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Australia, New Zealand. Mile wise, not sure which one is the furthest. The longest flight hour wise was to Oz. I think my best trip was to Munich during Oktoberfest.
3. If you could describe yourself in 4 words – what would they be?
Loyal, caring, stubborn and a pain in the a** (sometimes).
4. What’s one interesting thing about you we don’t know?
I create Digital scrapbooks with pictures from my travels and family. I love photography but stick to a little digital camera I can carry in my pocket because I like to point and shoot and not have to adjust too many dials.
5. Finally – whose blog spoke to you, stuck with you, stayed in your mind, resonated with you – this week – and why?
There were a lot of soul-searching blogs this week—as Joey put it a real Barbra Wawa Week! A few weeks ago, I started adding interesting posts to a page in my blog so I could go back and read them again. I pick one each day and on Thursday post the best one of the week. This week, the recipient of the Lollipop Award for most inspiring post went to Barbara and her New Life Rules. Because I want to be just like her.
And did everyone read how Gilly saved Joey's life!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Dad

A few posts yesterday got me reminiscing and thinking back to my childhood. Then as I looked at the date I realized my Dad died 10 years ago today, on April 7th, 2000. He was 72. This is just a walk down memory lane for me so feel free to skip this post.
1958: My dad (30 yrs old) and me (4 yrs old) playing checkers.
(He quit smoking cold turkey shortly after this picture was taken)
My Dad came from a large family—he was the whoops kid, born 10 years after his closest sibling. He had a Grade 10 education, sailed on the tankers on the Great Lakes and quit for a land job at an oil company when I was born. He worked shift work all his life and made sure we all got through University—all five of us! When we were young my parents packed us up every summer to go camping. Later we got a trailer, then a cottage. I don’t remember much of my childhood other than being the fat one in the family but I do know I didn’t block out any terrible incidents. My dad was just there. He taught me to use tools, to change a tire and how to drive—with all the yelling and screaming. I build things like him. I fix things like him. As I get older, I also look like him. He was there to reassure us in 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis when we all thought we were going to die in a nuclear war. He worked two jobs to support 5 kids and my mom. He loved Oh Henry bars and so do I. Sometimes when he worked afternoons, he would call my mom and have her keep us awake until midnight because he was bringing home Kentucky Fried Chicken (now KFC). A bucket with all the trimmings cost $4.99 (ok, it was the 60’s). He didn’t drink much but had a beer or three and loved hockey—the Detroit Red Wings were his team until Bobby Orr became the star of the Boston Bruin’s. He watched old war movies on Sunday’s and hunted deer and moose in the fall.

Life seemed to be going well for all of us until 1974 when my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She was 45. I was 20. When I married in 1981, she was in a wheelchair and in 1986 we put her in a nursing home because of my dad’s ill health. She was only 58 and so was my dad. By the time they had enough money to travel, my mom was hit by MS and that never happened. They were able to go to Hawaii once with her in the wheelchair. I think that is one reason I have tried to travel so much and have not waited until I am old. You might never reach “old” and even if you do you might not be healthy—my biggest fear.

My dad became ornery as he aged, angry at my mom’s illness, ticked off that all their retirement plans were now gone. He had angina, diabetes and a small stroke by his late 50’s and didn’t take good care of himself. He had a pot belly but wasn’t more than 30 pounds overweight. None of us kids were around much as most of us lived hours away and rarely visited. So the work of taking care of my mom fell to him. We all dealt differently with her illness but mostly avoidance of being with them. He continued to work but found it lonely which led to him having a girlfriend who cooked for him and travelled with him. When my mom found out, we kids were drawn down the deadly slope of choosing sides. Mom never forgave me for wanting to continue to have a relationship with my dad. She has since died but that will be another post.

Diabetes did him in. That year (2000) he returned from a vacation with an infected toe which put him in the hospital. He was there about 2 weeks before anyone knew. He hadn’t even called my mom. In fact no one could get in touch with him to tell him his brother had died. He was devastated when he found out he had missed the funeral. After multiple tests, he had his toe amputated but they also discovered his circulation was so bad from the poorly controlled diabetes, he would have to go home to build his strength and then return for major bypass surgery. The day he was leaving the hospital, he got up, collapsed and died of a blood clot to his lung. Quick. It’s how we all want to go. It was a blessing because I knew in my heart that he would probably not survive the second surgery. I called him in the hospital before his toe was amputated and just before I hung up I said "I love you". I don't think I had ever said that to him before. I didn't get to speak with him again, but in thinking back, I guess I had said everything I needed to say.

As I sit here writing this, I think of what he went through. I used to think, why doesn’t my dad just do something to get healthy. Diabetes is preventable, so is high cholesterol, high BP and heart disease. Why doesn’t he lose weight, exercise and eat right. Well now I’m in the same situation with all the same problems. So I have to say to me: “Why don’t you just lose weight, exercise and eat right”.

I hope that seeing my dad die young from preventable diseases kicks my butt and helps me do this once and for all. I have exercised for years but gave up and just stopped last year. But I’ve started again—4 km walks. I am also going to start weights soon as well. I can’t say if my dad is watching over me right now but I think so. I am a big believer in signs and I’ve had a few since making this decision to have the lapband. The first was that my pre-op diet began on his birthday (January 26th). I am getting a fill today at 4:00 (the anniversary of the day he died). I see pennies on the ground and always say, “Hi Dad”. There have been two sitting on the floor at work for weeks now.

I also believe that we carry a part of those that have died in our hearts. No matter how hard we try not to be like them, it is inevitable that we will, in some small way. They are in the memories and pictures we have, the mementos that they left us and the lessons they taught us. So I leave with a “Hi Dad, I’m working hard to be healthy”. I know you would have understood. And if any of you got this far, spend a moment to think of someone you have lost and just say Hi.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Has anyone been watching this show by Jamie Oliver? He is filming in Huntington, West Virginia, currently called the unhealthiest community in the USA. Jamie did a similar “Revolution” in England and revamped the crappy food served at the schools there. It airs here on Friday night but it also runs on ABC the same night. If you live in the US you can watch full episodes at ABC.

I watched the show on Friday and it showed some of the negative feedback he is getting from the community. One bright moment was when he recruited some students from the local High School to help him figure out how to go about introducing healthier food in the school cafeteria. The nutritionist overseeing the food program at the high school, classed French Fries as a vegetable. It was funny watching her confirm repeatedly that those were the nutrition guidelines they had to follow (1¼ cup of vegetables must be served). He had prepared a stir fry of 8 different vegetables with pasta and chicken and it didn’t meet guidelines—there wasn’t enough vegetable in the meal. The hotdog and French fries served in the other food line did meet the guidelines because French fries were classed as a vegetable and there was an optional salad being served (none of the students added the salad).

At an elementary school, one food worker was sooo negative (see Episode 101). She b!tched and complained about how much more work it was to cook the food Jamie suggested. She wanted to just pop the chicken nuggets and French fries in the oven and not have to prepare any food from scratch. When he spoke with the high school students they were really inspirational. One obese young lady had us all in tears by the end of the show as she was determined to help make some changes and spoke passionately to a huge audience. We’ll see how it develops.

Jamie Oliver may be abrasive and not well liked when he speaks out. But his mantra is to help make people healthy and sometimes it takes a loud-mouth to tell it like it is and wake us up. He isn’t about getting everyone to lose weight, but to get people thinking about what goes in their mouth. He is also trying to take into consideration the cost of food. For some it is cheaper to buy food at a drive thru, than to buy fruits and vegetables. Tough audience. We’ll see if he has any success or will he be driven out of town. What did I get out of this show?
    *Cooking from scratch is a healthier way to go, those nuggets and frozen dinners are not the best way to eat.
    *French Fries are not a vegetable.
    *Kids are pretty smart and are like sponges when we teach them right.
    *We have so much and yet many of us are unhealthy.

Here are links to the show: Jamie's Food Revolution

And since I am off work today, I am surfing through the talk shows. Oprah showed a lady who had lost and gained and lost 175 pounds. Dr. Phil is talking about how we are making our kids fat. And Dr. Oz is speaking out on how DNA is responsible for how we eat and how our genes affect our weight and which foods we should eat. Maybe I'll just go for a walk. And to let everyone know, I am working on my post about raising my kids. I hope to have it posted sometime this week.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


To all you non-believers. Yes in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada today (and yesterday), we are breaking temperature records thanks to a stream of hot air pushing up from the Gulf of Mexico. We have never been this warm at this time of year, ever. This was not an April Fool's joke, although our radio station tried to make us think we would be having a blizzard.

We are HOT, HOT, HOT and loving it. I'm in my capris and T-shirt, windows open, sun shining down and we had a high of 29C (85F) on Good Friday and a repeat today of 27C (80) with a humidex making it feel like 30C (86F). We have the patio furniture out and plan to fire up the Barbie tonight and enjoy this early treat. Oh and the wine and beer are cooling in the fridge. Yeah for global warming and El Nino! 

Let us northerners be happy for a few days until it turns cool again. But summer is on its way. We can feel it.

Sunday, April 4th: Yes, I caught what I thought was the Easter bunny (see picture). I want to keep him! So cute.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Question(s)

I’m going to be a rebel here and not answer all of Drazil’s questions. I think I used up my post time last night. So… I chose #6. Whose blog hit home for you this week or whose blog made you think the most this week?

And the winner on both points is (drumroll!!!): Amanda for posting Fat is a Family Affair last Monday. It has intrigued me to write a future post (hopefully soon).

I answered #5 (What do you do for a living?) a few days ago, so here is a link to that post: How I earn my Crust.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Not sure why I am writing in my blog tonight, but I just finished catching up on everyone's April Fool Day truths and it got me thinking. I was amazed by the food that was eaten (Band Babe), the kiddies who are in sugar hazes (Camille), the tricks that were played (Joey), the pounds that were lost/gained (Band Groupie, Dinnerland) and the pregnancies that were announced. Yes, I counted a bunch of preggies amongst my blogger friends (I won't tell since you want to surprise your hubbies). Congrats to all. I am not blond, but I am a sucker and believe almost anything I am told. I also just finished off the last of a lovely bottle of Riesling which gets my brain pumping. My DH had a glass so let's calculate... Oh lets see, I've have 4 glasses and DH had 1 and the bottle is empty. DH is the accountant so can probably figure it out for me but he's doing my taxes right now and I get money back! Sorry, I'm easily distracted.

Today started out miserable when the radio station announced that the weather forecast had changed and we would be getting freezing rain tonight and 45 centimetres of blowing snow (I think that is about 18") over the next couple of days. Last night we were supposed to have temps of 25 C (Jess that's 77 F). No matter what, it was supposed to be hot! You have to remember that here in Ottawa, at this time of the year we usually still have 4 feet of snow and it is freezing. I could feel the tears forming.

So they got me. I switched stations and started to replan my weekend of pulling out the patio furniture and sipping some cool ones. It finally dawned on me that it was April 1st. It was all a lie! I told you I was gullible Which led me to finishing work early (actually giving the finger to my computer), going for my nutrition counselling appointment, booking my fill for next Wednesday and promptly finding this lovely bottle of wine in the fridge.

I hope ya'll don't think me an alcoholic. I get "southern" when I drink. A lot of my posts mention the merits of wine. My drink of choice is actually beer but I haven't attempted a cold one yet. Thus I am stuck on wine. I am now off work for four days and it is actually and truly going to be hot (yes Jess 77F is hot to me). Yeah! We have no snow and yes the patio furniture will be coming outside. I want to get a sun burn. I need the Vitamin D.

Before I go, I wanted to give another award to Gilly (since she looooves awards). It is the Fluevog award. She doesn't realize that since I saw one of her early posts about her dream shoes that I see Fluevogs everywhere. It is like they are multiplying everywhere. I check out the shoes of all the people I see looking for the Fluevog label. A magazine last weekend had a few pages of Fluevog's. I think they are so cool, but alas cannot wear heels, so I will live through all of you. My feet are a wreck and high heel pointy things seem so foreign to me. I love my Nike's. So I hope you all get your dream shoes. And let me live through your shoes.

I hope ya'll (or is it y'all) have a lovely weekend. Watch those d@mn chocolate bunnies (Drazil). And thanks to all of you for bringing some sunshine into my life today with your funny posts. I still can't believe how gullible I am at my age. You would think I'd learn. Maybe I'll tell my DH I'm preggers. Whoops, he had the Big V so maybe not!
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