formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just a Post Before I Go-Go...

I heard that stupid Wake Me Up Before You Go Go song by Wham on the radio a while ago and it’s stuck in my head. Ugh, I hate it when that happens (don’t you dare, Bloggus!). And yes, I know it’s pitiful to listen to a radio station that still (or ever) plays Wham but this is Pigsknuckle, remember? I don’t do country. Or rap. Or Rush Limbaugh. And I’m careful about what Ryan hears. In fact, here’s a funny story about that…

I have that James Blunt CD with the Beautiful song on it. On the CD, he sings about being ‘fucking high.’ Because I never wanted Ryan to hear the f-word, I’d discreetly use the radio controls on my steering wheel to mute that bit (and I made sure never to play it in the house when she was home). So, for a couple of years, she thought there was a skip on the CD. Well, in the version of the song that plays on the radio, he sings, ‘flying high’ (FCC censors, you know). When Ryan heard it, she said, “Ohhhhhhhh, that's the word our CD skips!” I chuckled. Just last week I told her the truth about our CD. We both got a good giggle. And I still mute it (much to her chagrin) because even though she’s nearly 10 and now knows the word exists, it doesn’t mean she’s old enough for the F-Bomb! Damn it.

Anyway, we leave for our camping trip tomorrow, so I thought I’d pop in with some random stuff and to say ‘bye!’

I checked the weather for the lake and found out there’s a chance of thunderstorms every day for the next 10 days. Nice, eh? Good thing we’ll only be gone for 6. Actually, I don’t mind rain when I’m camping, as long as I don’t have to set-up or take down in it. And ‘chance of’ means there’s a good possibility we won’t get squat (as Ryan says, the weatherman lies). Fingers crossed, anyway. We’re going to spend the whole time reading, hiking, swimming in the lake, and star-gazing… I cannot wait. And we’ll spend Ryan’s 10th birthday in the woods, which sounds like a pretty perfect birthday to me. Too bad I was born in February.

The Booby Walk training is going well. I’m now doing between 6 and 8 miles a day, which, truth be told, I’m feeling more than I should. Of course, it’s really hot and humid when I walk (since, you know, I can’t get my ass out of bed early enough to get to the park before the sun’s high in the sky). I have to plan 10, 12, and 15-mile routes around town for August and September weekends (as I don’t have time for really long distances during the week). My Mussolini Heel and crap ankle are still giving me serious grief but they hurt just as much when I do nothing, so I figure I might as well do something if I’m going to be in pain either way.

The training, regardless of how painful, has been great for my weight loss effort! I’m trying not to be one of those annoying people who starts losing weight and then talks about nothing else, but it’s going well. I really like this whole Weight Watchers plan. I’ve been eating healthy – loads of veg and fruit and virtually no cravings - and I’ve lost consistently every week so far. Tomorrow’s weigh-in day and I expect more of my lard-ass will be gone then, too! I was pretty happy when, on Saturday, I got to wear a pair of cropped pants that didn’t fit a few weeks ago… whoo hoo!

And yeah, my boss still sucks. And no, she doesn’t have my blog address. I hope. And no, I don’t want her job (nor could I have it, given that she owns the company). I'll just keep mopping up her slop. What goes around comes around, right? I'm working on a way to benefit from the whole mess in the near future...

That’s about it, I think. And since I've done little packing, I really should go. Have a great week, my bloggy buddies, and I’ll see you when we’re back from the lake! XOXO

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What I Would Give to See That...

This post is dedicated to my boss... for the clusterfucks she consistently creates by being lazy, inept, and uncaring... for the pissed off people I have to calm down... for the situations I have to make right...

Yeah... Boss Lady...? Don't go near the stairs. Just sayin'.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The 'B' Word...

I have an enormous file of photos on my hard drive. I wander around the internet and save pictures I like - pictures that speak to me in some way - figuring I'll use them in posts. And I have... often. But my photo file is growing much more quickly than I'm writing. So tonight, since I couldn't think of a thing to write about, I decided to open the file, pick the first picture my mouse landed on, and write about it.

Here it is...

I saved the picture because that word - believe - is my favorite word. Ever. I like it so much, in fact, that I've decided to have it tattooed on the inside of my left wrist on my next birthday... well, I'm going to get the Chinese symbol for believe, actually. Mostly because I'm a big weenie and the symbol requires fewer needle sticks than a 7-letter word. Also because I want it to be small, so I can cover it up when I want... but I want to be able to see it when I want, too.

The tattoo is something I've debated about for a long time. But for the first time in a long time, I feel belief in myself, something I've been sorely lacking of late, creeping back into my psyche. I've been setting goals... and achieving them. Instead of just not trying because the task at hand seems too big, I'm seeing the big picture and breaking the task down into manageable parts. I've started giving myself time to achieve my goals, instead of wanting everything done NOW. I've stopped beating myself up for my failures. Well, OK, I haven't been beating myself up as much as usual. Baby steps, people! Anyway, the tattoo seems like a good way to remind myself how far I've come... and how far I still can go; how much I can still accomplish... if I just believe I can do it.

The word believe has always been important to me... seeing it reminds me to believe that good does prevail; that the world is not just what we see in the news; in my child and the sheer possibility that is her; in love (and that I'll find it again!); and in myself.

It's a good word, don't you think?

So, what's your word?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back! Well, sort of...

Holy crapoly, I'm wiped. This is me, right now...

I'm so glad this weekend is over! It's been non-stop... yesterday was a 12-hour day, spent in a sauna that smelled like chlorine. The meet went well, though, and it marked the end of swim season... well, 'til fall practice starts up... so I'm happy.

Because I was still house-sitting for my brother and sister-in-law, Ryan and I trudged back there (40 minutes away) last night, where we tried to stay awake 'til 9pm. At 3:30 (that would be AM), I woke up when my brother's dog (the one who sits like a bear) knocked on my door (I swear). When I stepped out of the bedroom, I was met with... a mess. I'd left a backpack in the living room... a backpack filled with food. Mind you, I left it in a bigger bag, up on a shelf, so I figured it was safe. Ummm... no. No, it was not safe. Ben, the fat scavenger dog, got it off the shelf, out of the bag, unzipped, and he ate everything in it... including wrappers. We're talking granola bars, candy, a whole tub of strawberries, another tub of watermelon. I was not happy. Not happy at all. I was less happy when he woke me again at 6:00 (AM again) for breakfast. Clearly he has a cast iron stomach.

Have I mentioned that I love my dog? I do. I love my dog.

So, I came home today and unloaded the car, cleaned the house, went to the grocery store, walked 3 miles ('cause I couldn't go one more step), washed, dried, folded, and put away 482 towels (including a new one that says, "Life is Simple. Eat. Sleep. Swim."), washed a load of clothes (so my kid doesn't have to wear her bathing suit all day tomorrow... again), made dinner, and finally took a shower. And before I pass out, I figured I'd say hello.


I'll be back tomorrow to catch up on all my blog reading, I promise! Hope your weekend was wonderful!!! XOXO

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rambling... Diane-style...

First, let me apologize for being a crappy bloggy friend. I haven't read any of your blogs for days and days and likely won't for days and days more. Ummm... more days and days...? Hmmm... until further notice. I'm so tired. I've been going non-stop since last week and won't stop 'til Monday or so. This is Champs Week ('Champs' is the great big swim meet on Saturday), I'm housesitting for my brother and sister-in-law (who live 40 minutes away... which means lots of driving), I've got loads of work in, yadda, yadda, yadda, whinge, whinge, whinge...

Anyway, I wanted to tell you I'm not dead. Dead-tired, maybe. Brain-dead, definitely. But not dead-dead.

An update from the weekend... my mom's surprise party went very well. She was beyond shocked and I scored some good daughter points (of which I was sorely in need). My friend Mel (many of you know her from I'm Not Weird, I'm Gifted... though she is weird... just sayin') came up from NC for the party, which was very cool. You know what it's like to get together with someone you not only love, but you like, with whom you have loads of history? It's so cool. I laugh with Mel like I laugh with no one else... and laugh we did. So even though it was my mother's birthday, I got a present, too!

Our vacation plans to Assateague got all messed up (long story with which I will not bore you), so I re-grouped and planned another trip for us to Smith Mountain Lake State Park... it's gorgeous and half as far away as the coast... but, though it's a large body of water, it's not the sea. Sigh. It'll do, though. We're also going next week and not mid-August, as originally planned, but it's cool.

I know there were other things I was going to ramble about but I can't remember them for the life of me. So I'll just shut up now and get on with my to-do list. I'll be back in a few days... don't forget about me while I'm gone!! XOXO

Oh, and I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from the weekend...

This is Ryan and my niece waiting for my mom to walk into the party... can you believe Elizabeth is 4 months older than Ryan?

My mom arriving at the party... she doesn't look too surprised, does she?

Ryan in the pool, looking all happy and sun-kissed...
Ryan, my godson, and my niece, all looking especially dorky...

My brother's dog, Ben... he sits like this all the time (I think he thinks he's a bear)...

That's all, folks! Have a good week and I'll see you soon!! XOXO

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gains... and Losses...

This is just a quickie post, as I'm running around like an idiot today, trying to get out of here (it's my Mom's surprise 70th birthday party this weekend and I'm heading to my brother's, where we're having it, to help with preparations). But I had to share good news before I left...

First, I hit my Booby Walk fundraising goal!!! Whoo hoo!!! Actually, as of right this minute, I'm $100 over the $2,300 target!! I'm planning to raise the goal to $3,000 now, as I'm sure it's do-able. Thank you, thank you to everyone who has donated (some people even donated twice) and/or passed the information on. Your support is appreciated beyond measure! As I said, though, I'm not finished... so if you'd still like to donate, please feel free :). The link to my page on the Susan G Komen site is on my sidebar. Just click on it and then click on the 'Donate to Diane' button on top of the thermometer... easy peasy!

Second, I thought I'd update you on my Weight Watcher's progress. I just finished my second full week on the program and I'm happy to say that I'm just shy of 10 pounds down! 9.6 is my total so far. Of course, it doesn't hurt that my joining coincided with my Booby Walk training! But the program has been easy for me so far (and dare I say it... fun!). I feel great about how it's going and I'm confident I can keep it up.

Last, regarding our late-night viewing of Harry Potter 6... the movie was really good! I'm not sure it was good enough to keep me awake, though... I think I dozed off at one point (shut it, Alan! It was 2am!). We got to theater to find about 1200 people in the parking lot (and that's not an exaggeration). But we got in and seated (with good seats) pretty quickly. However, some nimrod down front accidentally let off pepper spray in the theater and within minutes, the entire place was coughing uncontrollably (though we didn't know what had happened, so it all seemed very bizarre). This was about a half-hour before movie was supposed to start, so they evacuated and relocated us to another theater. Luckily we got good seats again, but the delay caused the movie to start late... at nearly 1am. It was 3:15 when we walked out and 3:30 before we fell into bed. And because I was beyond tired, I couldn't sleep! Needless to say, I was a zombie yesterday. Ryan, on the other hand, was wide awake through the whole movie and quite fine yesterday. Oh, to be young again :). So, was it worth it? Hmmmmm... well, let's just say it's the last midnight showing we'll go to. And I totally don't care if I have to forfeit my 'cool mom' status as a result!

I'm out of here in minutes and won't be back 'til Sunday, so you guys have a wonderful weekend!!! XOXO

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Worth It... Totally

So, it's Tuesday night... 10:30 on Tuesday night... and we've just come in from our last 'pre-Champs' swim meet. I'm tired. My voice is nearly gone. My throat hurts. But instead of getting into my jammies and making myself a cuppa, I'm killing a half-hour. What's that? You want to know what I'm doing in a half-hour? Well, thanks for asking. I'm going out. Not just 'out' (you know, the place you used to go when you didn't want to tell your mother where you were really going... or if you didn't know where you were really going). No. I know where I'm going. I'm going somewhere very specific.

I'm going to the movies. With my 9-year-old. Because guess what movie starts in 1 1/2 hours, at 12:01 AM...

Harry Potter 6

Yes. I, crazy mother that I am, agreed to get tickets (days ago, lest they were sold out tonight) to HP6 for Ryan and me. The guy at the theatre told me to get there at 11:00 in order to get a good seat.

We'd seriously better get good seats. I seriously better not have to sit 2 rows back from the screen, with my head positioned at a peculiar angle, which will be sure to cause me great pain tomorrow and likely cause me to fall asleep tonight.

I expect the Dementors will be enough to keep me awake. I expect that if they're not, my uber-excited child will do it. And honestly? How happy and excited she is right now, over an hour past her bedtime, after an exhausting meet, is totally worth the late night, the lack of sleep, the $1,402.76 it cost me for 2 movie tickets, and the $1,672.40 it'll cost for popcorn and soda.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy Sunday!

Happy Sunday, everyone! Hope you’ve all had a great weekend. Ours was good but I’m worn out tonight. I think part of it is the heat… we’ve been spoiled by cool temps this past week (lovely during the day but shiver-inducing at night when I have to get in the pool) but it's been hotter than a steaming pile of crap today. I hate hot weather unless I’m at the beach. And unfortunately, Pigsknuckle is nowhere near the beach. Sigh. But it was a good weekend nonetheless…

I have to tell you guys, as of today, I’m only $125 shy of my $2300 Breast Cancer Walk fundraising goal! Whoo hoo! Thanks again to everyone who has donated thus far! You guys have been beyond generous and I appreciate it more than you know. If you haven't donated but you'd like to, you'll see the link to my donation page on my sidebar. Training for the 60-mile event is going fairly well. I’m still struggling with my heel and ankle but I’ve found some pretty good shoes (Asics) and I discovered that Aleve helps with the pain when it’s really bad. So I expect to be good to go in October!

On Saturday, Ryan and I went on a long hike with the Pigsknuckle Hiking Club… and our new friends came with us! It was a lot of fun. You know how there are times when someone comes into your life at what seems to be just the right time? Well, I think this might be one of those times, both for Ryan and me. My new friend has been dubbed (for the sake of this blog), Ironwoman. She’s a personal trainer by trade and she does Ironman competitions. Do you guys know what an Ironman competition is? Let me tell you…

A 2.4 mile swim
A 112 mile bike ride
A full marathon (26 miles)
One right after the other.
In the same day.

She does them for fun. Let me repeat. For fun. Yes, she is amazing (and a little crazy methinks). She told me the winners finish them in 8 (yes, I said eight) hours (!!) but she finishes in 14. I said it would take me 14 days to finish something like that (probably longer!). Anyway, she is full of great fitness advice and encouragement. How lucky am I to have made a friend like that at this very point in my life, when I’m trying to rediscover the athlete in me? I’ll say it again – I’m a happy camper!

Hope your weekend was good (though less hot than ours)!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Clearly They Took the HypoCRITIC Oath...

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I’m opinionated. I can’t help it. I was raised by opinionated people; people who had/have no trouble voicing their opinions (even if they’re based in crap and propaganda). I’ve learned over the years, though, that if I’m going to say what I think, I really need to have my ducks in a row. I’ve learned to keep my big mouth shut if I don’t know what I’m talking about… or if I’m not willing to walk the walk. I’m also learning that it’s really not necessary to spout off every time I disagree with someone; that sometimes it’s enough just to know I’m comfortable with what’s in my own head and heart.

But sometimes… sometimes I have to say what I think. Sometimes people disagree, which is fine. Sometimes they’re nasty about it, which is not so fine (remember our dear Former Reader? He still sends me emails, which I don’t even bother opening, of course, as he’s probably still singing Rush Limbaugh’s praises).

Today is one of those times when I’m going to say what I think.

I’m sure everyone (in the US, anyway) has heard about, if not followed, the stories of SC Governor, Mark Sanford and Nevada Senator, John Ensign. They’ve been all over the news lately. Both conservative, Republican, Christian politicians, they are known for their strong stances on ‘Christian and family values’ and ‘traditional marriage’.

They are also both known for having extra-marital affairs while in office and, in Sanford’s case, for going AWOL to visit his mistress out of the country, while on state time, without divulging his whereabouts to his family or constituents, and using state funds.

OK, we all know I have deep personal issues and biases regarding infidelity. I think it’s wrong on so many levels. But it happens. People cheat on their spouses. Sanford and Ensign are certainly not the first or only politicians to do it. When Bill Clinton finally admitted to his sordid little fling with Monica Lewinski, Sanford was one of the Republicans clamoring for his impeachment. I was disgusted by Clinton’s behavior – the affair and the lying about it. It changed the way I saw him as a man and as the President. But did I think he should have been impeached? No. Do I think Sanford should be impeached? No.

But do I think he should step down as Governor as SC? Yes. And here’s why.

Sanford introduced himself as an officer of the Morality Police when Clinton’s affair was made public. Both men, in fact, have flashed their badges on numerous occasions. And I completely believe that if you are going to take the moral high road, you damn well have to follow the traffic laws. You can’t just talk the talk; you can’t judge others or claim to represent a moral position if you’re not willing to live that position.

Mark Sanford and John Ensign took the moral high road and then they sped off in their little red mid-life crisis sports cars, screaming ‘fuck you’ at the law.

And that’s not right.

I think they need to practice what they preach. I think they need to stop being ‘do as I say, not as I do’ leaders. I think they need to stop thinking they know what’s best for the rest of us and sort out their own damned lives. They are absolute crap examples of strong 'Christian and family values' and 'traditional marriage'. They are perfect examples, however, of the hypocritical, immoral, lying, judgmental, critical, reprehensible people running our government. And before anyone thinks I’m attacking the Republicans, I’m not. While they happen to be the focus of this particular bit of smarm, I’m fully aware that dishonesty and hypocrisy in government is not solely a Republican issue… it’s rampant in both parties.

I don’t expect politicians to be perfect. I know they’re human. I know they will make mistakes – sometimes big ones – just like I do. But for all my screw ups; for all my shortcomings and flaws, I try hard not to be a hypocrite. Maybe that’s my high road. I know I’m willing to overlook and forgive a lot… but not this… not such blatant hypocrisy. I am so damned sick of the Morality Police – the 'new and improved' branch of the Moral Majority – telling the rest of us how we should live and acting like their shit doesn’t stink. It does stink. It stinks big. We know it because time after time, we get their shit thrown on us and we have to shovel out from under it. Well, I'm getting friggin' tired of shoveling. How about the rest of you?

Whew. I feel better. I needed to get that out. And hey, dear Former Reader? Yeah, you. Shut up, OK? I don’t want or need you spouting moral shite from your little red sports car.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Writer's Workshop: If I'd Known I Was Going To Pick This Prompt, I Wouldn't Have Called Yesterday's Post 'Happy Camper'

It's 'Writer's Workshop' time... check out Kathy's prompts over at Mama's Losin' It. This week I chose:

List 5 places you'd like to go camping

But, feeling wordy tonight (no, I haven't been drinking, thank you very much), I figured I'd tell you why I like to camp in addition to giving you my list. If you're not in the mood to read, though, just skip to the end!

The only family vacations we took when I was a kid were camping vacations. It was the cheapest way for a family of five to get away for two weeks, see the country, and have fun. In fact, I didn’t even stay in a hotel until I was a teenager. My dad, a history buff, showed us every battlefield up and down the east coast… we stayed in places like Cape Cod, the Finger Lakes area of NY, and all over Virginia. We saw all the historical and kid-oriented sights; we swam in the ocean and in lakes; we hiked in the woods, spent whole evenings star-gazing, and toasted more marshmallows than was probably sane (or healthy). One summer, my parents rented a campsite at a campground in south Jersey for two months. My mom actually chose to live in a tent with the three of us kids for most of the summer, while my dad worked at home during the week and came down to stay with us on the weekends. It was the best summer of my childhood.

I knew that when I had kids, I wanted to camp with them; to share one of the best experiences of my life. My ex and I took Ryan for the first time when she was two. She took to it immediately… never afraid of bugs or the woods or the dark, she was a natural. My ex, however, wasn’t. He never really wanted to go but he also didn’t like the idea of me taking Ryan on my own, as he didn’t feel it was safe. Pffffttttt.

For the last several years, Ryan and I have been camping by ourselves from spring through fall. We go to state or national parks (always), as ‘amenities’ like swimming pools (or, in some cases, hot showers) aren’t important to us. We’ve camped in freezing temperatures (when we had to sleep in parkas and hats) and in monsoons (when I forgot to seal the tent seams… something she’s never let me forget). We’ve gone for weekends with the dog and for full weeks without him. Sometimes we stick close to home; sometimes we drive long distances (last year we spent a week at Acadia in Maine). We’ve gone whitewater rafting, kayaking, and whale-watching. We swim and hike and star-gaze and toast marshmallows. And we do it all on our own.

(Acadia National Park, Maine - Summer 2008)

Camping, for me, isn’t just an inexpensive vacation or a way to make wonderful memories. It isn’t just a way to experience nature fully and show my daughter how to ‘leave no trace’. It’s a way to teach her one of the most important lessons I believe she’ll ever learn. I want her to understand she can do anything she sets her mind to and that she’s not limited in any way because she’s a girl. I want her to understand that she has to venture out into the world in order to learn about it and that she absolutely cannot be afraid to do so (even if she has to do it alone), no matter what anyone says. And you’d be amazed at how many people are shocked that we camp on our own, and say so. But, to my great pleasure, Ryan simply can’t understand why it’s surprising to them. It’s normal and natural to her to throw the tent and camp stove into the car and just go. And I love it - that attitude. I hope it’s something we’ll always be able to do together and something she’ll do with her kids, if she has them.

This summer we’re going to Assateague Island on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We’re staying at the national park, just over the dunes from the ocean, and the wild ponies wander through the campground. We’re beyond excited. The Grand Canyon was on the agenda for this summer… unfortunately it wasn’t in the budget. So it’s number one on our list of places to camp…

1. The Grand Canyon
2. Yellowstone
3. Big Sur
4. Denali
5. The Canadian Rockies (added to my list after seeing my friend Todd’s pictures from his recent trip)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Camper...

I'm a happy camper tonight. Ask me why. What's that? Oh, well, thank you for asking! Let me tell you...

I made a friend!

OK, so that made me sound a little pitiful, didn't it? I generally don't find it difficult to make friends but I have to admit, since moving back to Pigsknuckle, it hasn't been a piece of cake. I don't know why, really. I guess maybe, because I work from home and spend most of my spare time with Ryan, I haven't exactly put myself in places where potential new friends are abundant. And I never really feel like I completely fit in when I do meet people here. I dunno.

Anyway... about tonight... here's a bit of back story...

I don't know if I told you guys this, but Ryan's switching schools this fall. She's moving from the county system to the Pigsknuckle city system and that means middle school (in the 5th grade!). I'm more nervous about it than she is. She's leaving all her friends behind but we figured she would meet some kids on the swim team who will be going to her school. It's turned out, though, that most of them are at the other middle school in town or in private schools. Frustrating. Then, last night, one of the swim moms told me that a new family had just joined and they have a daughter Ryan's age... who would be going to her middle school! I was so excited! So I introduced myself to the mom and we chatted for a bit. Then tonight, at the swim meet, we introduced the girls and they totally hit it off. They have all kinds of things in common, interest and personality-wise, and though they both normally take a while to warm up to new people, they were hanging out within minutes!

It was fabulous!

So the mom and dad and I sat together and talked all. night. long. Turns out they grew up here, too, and moved away a long time ago, just like I did. They just moved back last week. We went to the same high school (and I graduated with the dad's older brother). They're both very liberal-minded, funny, and so easy to talk to. The mom mentioned this group, Girls on the Run (a running club for girls from 8-15)... I said I looked into starting a branch here but I couldn't find any other moms interested enough to help me with the really in-depth non-profit stuff... she said she'd been involved in their old town for the past couple of years and she is going to start one up here. I actually squealed! I will be helping with that!

So we have loads in common, we talked non-stop for hours, we live less than a mile from each other, and our kids like each other. How cool is that?!

I made a new friend. And I'm a happy camper! :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Weighting... Watching...

OK, show of hands, please… how many of you have your self-esteem all wrapped up in your body-image or weight?

Come on… hands up.

Wow, that’s a lot of you.

I feel your pain.

Remember how I said I have a love-hate relationship with my hair? Yeah… I have the same sort of relationship with my body. Actually, there’s little love involved. I have a couple of parts that are pretty good (and have received some critical acclaim ;), but overall? Nope. No love. All the love has, in fact, been extended to the food in my life.

Like many women, I’m an emotional eater. And I know exactly why. I can trace it back to when I was pretty young… when my ‘safe place’ was my Aunt Jean. She was, and remains, one of my most favorite people on the planet. All my happiest childhood memories center around her and her house. She has three sons, all near my age, so when I (the only girl in the family) visited, I was spoiled rotten. She always made sure to stock up on my favorite treats (and designated them ‘hands-off’ to the boys) and, a great cook, she prepared all my favorite meals. Because my cousins have always been big guys, athletes, and big eaters, there was no such thing as portion control. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted it. Life was so good at my Aunt Jean’s. I was almost always incredibly happy there. And when I was sad, there was a lot of love and a lot of food for comfort. So, for the rest of my life, when I was unhappy or stressed or worried (or happy or feeling celebratory, etc), I went to my safe place – figuratively, anyway – and I ate.

Sound familiar? I’m sure it does for a lot of people.

When I was younger, it didn’t matter. My metabolism was fast and my knees didn’t hurt when I ran. But as I got older, weight crept on. Then I’d realize my jeans didn’t fit anymore and I’d do something about it. Then the weight came back… then I’d do something about it. Then it came back again. Then I just bought new jeans. And the weight stayed. And my self-esteem took a nosedive... a deep, deep nosedive.

But I made a decision last week. I decided that since I know why I eat too much, there is no excuse for doing it anymore. I decided I wasn’t living up to my goal not to be a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ parent and that my daughter deserves a better role model. I decided I was tired of my ass needing its own zip code. I decided that since my baby now weighs 75 pounds, it’s time to (finally) take off the baby weight.

I decided to join Weight Watchers.

I was reluctant to seek out any sort of help or support. I really thought I could do it on my own and when I couldn’t, I felt like a failure. But then I realized I’d really be a failure if I had the resources to fix my problem at my disposal and didn’t use them. So I sucked it up, put on my fat pants, and on Thursday afternoon I stood on a scale in front of another human being. Ugh. But amazingly, and no pun intended, when I got on the scale I felt a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders (though it would have been much better had it been lifted off my ass!).

The program is sensible and smart. I knew I couldn’t do a ‘diet’ or a plan where I had to buy special food or cut out entire food groups. That just doesn’t make any sense to me. I know myself. I have to live in the real world… I have to be able to eat out and splurge every now and then. This plan isn’t a diet and I can eat whatever I want… but to make it work, I have to make some choices… choices I should have been making all along. And if I make the wrong ones, getting on that scale every week will be twice as hard. I’m just not up for that, so I think the right choices will be much easier to make than they’ve been in the past. The program also focuses on working out, which isn’t an issue for me. I’m already active and don’t find it hard (though I could stand to push myself more than I do).

The way it works is that all foods are assigned a point-value and you get a certain number of points to eat each day. They’re adequate but certainly not abundant (duh). However, you get 35 extra points every week, which you can spend any way you’d like. And can I just tell you, a beer is only worth three points!! How cool is that?! A glass of wine is only two points, but, as far as Weight Watchers is concerned, a glass is four ounces. Pffffftttttt. That’s not a glass, that’s a swig. Still, I can drink more than a bottle a week and not go over my points.

(And I totally sound like I have a drinking problem now, don’t I? In addition to my eating problem. Nice. Seriously, I don’t drink that much. I only drink socially and since my social life is non-existent at the moment, well, you do the math. I just want to know I can drink if I want. Of course, I could use those extra points for actual food, too, which I’m sure will happen on occasion.)

Anyway, as I said, I took the plunge. And so far, so good. I got through the weekend easily, feeling very in control and mindful of what I was putting into my body. I expect to see results and I expect them to be for the long-term. My goal is not to be a size 2 (mostly because that's simply not possible in this lifetime, in this universe). It’s to be fittest and healthiest I can be. It’s to be a good example for my daughter, so that she doesn’t carry on this legacy burden I inherited from my mother, who was very verbal about her own body-image and weight issues (which I am not, by the way… well, not with Ryan, anyway). It’s to find some love for this body that’s got to carry me through the rest of my life. And it's to feel good about myself... about what I can do, about who I am, and about how I look. Because I deserve that… at the very least.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Weekend Update... Flashback... Whatever...

Howdy bloggy people! I'm just back from the park with Sundance... we had a very long, very drippy walk. I love walking in the rain! Oh, and I discovered that if I wear a baseball cap, it eliminates the need for little windshield wipers for my glasses! Too bad it took me 35 years and hundreds of Monet-inspired, watercolor-y walks to figure it out. Yeah, I'm quick.

I hope those of you in the US of A enjoyed your 4th of July! Ours was nice... we had a neighborhood cook-out, which was fun (no politics were discussed!), followed by marshmallows toasted around the firepit. Then we watched the Pigsnuckle fireworks from the front lawn and our neighbor shot off a few of his own, too, which the kids loved. It didn't start to rain until the festivities were just winding down, so all in all, a great day!

OK, so what else has been going on since my last post? Let's see...

Well, my hair and I have reconciled. Sort of. We've called a relatively amicable truce, anyway. I still don't like it but others seem to (or they're lying through their teeth... which is entirely possible because really, how many people are going to say, "Oh Diane, your hair looks like shit!"? Am I right?). Anyway, I can live with it for a while so I've stopped bitching about it. Mostly. OK, now I've stopped.

I went out on Thursday night with that social networking club I told you about. It was fun. We went to 'salsa night' at a little club downtown. I was hoping they meant chips and salsa... but no. You know I don't dance, right? Well, I discovered that an awful lot other of people in Pigsknuckle don't dance either. Lordy. My Mussolini heel was acting up pretty badly, though, so I sat and watched (and by 'watched', I mean 'drank beer and laughed at everyone'). But it was fun and I met a couple of nice people. One of the swim dads, who is also in my man-book club, was there, too, so I didn't feel like I was walking into an intimidating social situation all by myself. I do well once I'm in it, but actually forcing myself to do something like that alone is really, really hard for me. Seeing a familiar face made it a lot easier.

Oh, this was good... We have a small grocery store just on the outskirts of our neighborhood and they let various church and school organizations raise money by selling hotdogs out front, in this little shed they had built. It's nice, really, as every week a different organization signs up to man the shed and they get to keep all the proceeds from the sale of the (very cheap) hot dogs and drinks. Ryan likes to walk down there with her friends every now and then and get a dog for lunch. So, yesterday I had to go to the store for ice. Ryan came with me, and, as it was lunchtime, she asked if she could get a hot dog. We waited in line and when the woman at the counter was giving Ryan her food, she asked if she was from New York. I didn't understand why she would ask such a (seemingly) random question, and neither did Ryan, so I said, "Sorry?" She looked at Ryan and said, "Oh, there are a couple of churches in town sponsoring a bunch of kids from New York this week, so I thought you might be one of them." I just looked at her for a minute and said, "No. She's mine and she lives here."


This is the 5th or 6th time now since Ryan was a baby that someone has assumed she was either adopted or not mine. Even though there are loads of brown-skinned kids running all over Pigsknuckle, I guess this woman is used to seeing them with brown-skinned mothers. Because I'm Casper-the-Ghost white, she made the assumption that Ryan didn't belong to me and was, in fact, a 'fresh-air' kid from the Bronx.

The first time it happened, Ryan was an infant. It was summer then, too, so she was all brown like she is now, and this woman came up to us in the grocery store. She said, "Oh, your baby is just beautiful! Where did you get her?" I didn't understand what she meant. Seeing my completely confused look, she realized what she'd done and apologized for assuming Ryan was adopted. Several months later, when we were out with my friend Rae, who is half-Japanese, a waiter assumed Ryan was Rae's baby and not mine. It's happened several other times since.

I don't mind if someone asks her ethnicity. I really don't. But I seriously hate it when people assume she's not my kid. But, there are worse things, I guess. She doesn't seem to care and all that really matters to me is how she feels about it.

So... that's about it, I think. Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


OK, so my hair still looks like crap. I spent all day yesterday whinging about it and feeling sorry for myself. See, I'm going out tonight with a bunch of people I've never met (I joined a local social networking club) and the thought of new people seeing me with ugly hair made me feel icky. Then, last night, I read Hebba's post about her new physical therapy patient. It made me cry. Then I read Tabitha's post about her sister and nieces. It made me cry, too. Then I went to my friend Maithri's blog, where he's writing about his time in Swazililand and his work with AIDS patients, and I cried some more.

Then I looked in the mirror and laughed. Because I'm a moron. A big, whingey moron.

Yes, my hair looks like crap. But it will grow out soon enough. Hebba's PT patient can't bring his wife or his dog back to life. Tabitha's sister and nieces can't bring their husband and father back. Maithri can't heal most of the people with whom he'll come into contact (but he will try his damndest).

So, thank you Hebba, Tabitha, and Maithri for some much-needed perspective!

And stop laughing at my hair, damn it! ;)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hair Today, Gone... Well... Today...

I've always had a love-hate relationship with my hair, as do many women, I suppose. When I was very young, my mother kept it cut super-short... so short, in fact, that people often thought she had three sons instead of two boys and me. I hated that. So, when I got a bit older, I grew it... and grew it... and grew it. I was a bit like Rapunzel for a while and could tuck my hair into the back of my jeans. Not that I did that often, or on purpose, but I could.

My dad loved my hair long. Lots of men like long hair, it seems. I've never really understood that. For me, quite frankly, it was a pain in the ass. My hair is incredibly thick and it never fully dried. It was stick straight when I was young, too, and it took ridiculous measures to get it to curl even a little bit (though it was pretty when it was curled, I'll admit). And if it was humid or, God forbid, raining? The curl was gone like George Bush from Washington on January 20th. It was easiest to keep in a ponytail or a (3-inch thick) braid. I even had a hairdresser tell me once that she'd never seen someone with so much hair that did so little. Nice, eh? Yeah. She didn't get a tip.

As I said, my dad loved my hair long. He threatened that if I cut it, he'd cut my college tuition... then he said he'd refuse to pay for my wedding. So about two months after I got married, I cut all my hair off, much to his chagrin. I loved it, though. For about a month. Then, try as she might, my hairdresser could never duplicate the look. And thus began my 15-year yo-yo hair game... I'd keep it short for a while... then I'd try to grow it out... then I'd hate that 'in-between' stage... then I'd cut it... then I'd try to grow it out... and so on.


Then it started to go grey.



Then my marriage fell apart and I decided a needed a whole new look. So I colored it back to it's original blonde (and when I say 'original', I mean 'the color it was when I was a toddler', as it had been a sweet shade of dirty dishwater for years). I grew it out past my shoulders, all one length, and finally - finally - loved it.


Then (as in now) I got tired of it again. I toyed with the idea of changing it... a little bit... drastically... something... anything... I just wanted a change. Then I met a swim mom who has the cutest haircut... a swingy little bob. Adorable. Our faces are shaped similarly, so I thought maybe I could pull it off, too. But I couldn't decide whether or not I really wanted to do it.


Then today I went to get re-blonded. While I was waiting, I was looking at a magazine and lo and behold, there was the cut! It was so cute. The woman in the magazine was my age, had my hair color and texture, and the article said the cut is flattering for all face shapes (I'm always worried that when I find a picture of a haircut in a magazine, it's actually the model's face I want and not her hair). Anyway, I decided to just suck it up and ask for the cut.

I got it. Well, sort of. It was a modified version of the cut because my hairdresser didn't want to shock me with such a drastic change. I looked like Donna Reed. I hated it. She started cutting again. Now it looks a bit more like the picture. But not exactly. Additionally, we decided to go a bit darker with my color, as I was nearly white-blonde in places because of sun and chlorine, and I needed to even out a bit. A bit darker? Turned into a lot darker.

So my hair went from long and blonde to short, dark, and though not Donna Reed-like, not exactly like the picture in the magazine or the cute swim mom either.


I think I want to cry. I know it's only hair. I know it'll grow (and it'll grow fast, too). I know that in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. I'm hoping the (drastic) new look will grow on me. Ryan said she liked it... but I think she was lying. I know my kid. My mother just said, "Oh" and wrinkled up her nose. But my mother is mean and likes Donna Reed, so I don't care what she thinks. But would it have killed her to say, "I like it" even if she didn't? Apparently it would have.

So my love-hate relationship with my hair continues. Maybe tomorrow I'll love it again...? One can hope.