Friday, April 23, 2010

Clowns to the left, jokers to the right. Here I am...

...stuck in the middle.

(Ha. Now you get to have that running through your head all day.)

Seriously, though. I feel sort of stuck in the middle right now. I'm not what I used to be, but I'm not yet where I want to be. Most of you know that I started a weight loss effort last July. (No, I'm not calling it a "weight loss journey" because it's overused and trite at this point.) I set out to lose 75 pounds. Not because I could, but because I needed to lose 75 pounds. As of this morning, I'm still hanging out in the mid-40s. I've lost between 43-45 lbs, depending on when I weigh in. I won't deny that it's an accomplishment; quite the contrary. If you'd told me a year ago I'd be 45 lbs lighter and that most of my clothes would be too big, I'd have scoffed at you and given you a "WHATEVER!", most likely while holding up my thumbs and index fingers in the shape of a 'W'. However, I did do it. So, that's where I'm stuck in the middle.

I am stuck in the middle because of another factor. While doing my workouts at the YMCA, I see lots of people. I see different women who are different shapes and sizes. I see women who are much larger than I am and who probably resemble my own shape just a year ago. I also see the ones who are obviously very fit and trim and muscular. I am neither. I'm okay with being in the middle for the time being, though, because seeing both "classes" of women reminds me and motivates me to keep pressing on towards my goal. I see the larger women and it reminds me that I do not want to go back to where I was. I see the smaller, more fit women and it reminds me and motivates me to keep going. There's one lady in particular that I watch. She's rather petite, but she is fit and trim and muscular. She will get on the treadmill and R U N like a gazelle for an hour without ever slowing down or breaking her stride. She gets on the elliptical and pedals as if she's providing power for the entire building. I used to sort of look up to her and admire her. I nicknamed her "The Overachiever" in my head. Recently, though, I saw her doing one of her marathon elliptical sessions and watched her chug a Red Bull while doing so. My "hero" fell in my eyes and suddenly I realized that I want to do things the right way. The healthy way. I don't want to have to drink a Red Bull to buzz me through my workout. To help me clean the house, yes. But not to make me go longer on the treadmill.

For the time being, I am stuck in the middle. But, I'll keep pressing on until I lose this last 25 pounds. I'm more than halfway there and if I've made it this far, I can make it the rest of the way and not be stuck in the middle any longer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Settling in...after 18 months.

I've been quite the social butterfly this week.

And I have to say that it's about dang time.

We moved here to The 'Ham back in November 2008. That's nearly 18 months ago. I know it takes a while to get to know people and to finally begin calling a place "home", but I was beginning to get a little discouraged. A lot of times, if you didn't grow up in a certain community, or if your granddaddy isn't on the city council, then you just don't have an ice cube's chance in hell of ever fitting in or having people bother to get to know you. We've lived in a couple of places where I felt like this. Where people were smiley and welcoming on the exterior but they never made any effort to spend any time getting to know you and your family. I seem to have finally found some sort of pinhole in the space-time continuum here and I am starting to get to know some lovely people and their families.

Recently (in an effort to further my own cause) I coordinated a dinner outing for my fellow Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) members. I'll shamelessly admit that my initial motive was to make a new friend for myself, but also hoping it would foster budding relationships between other members. This past Tuesday was our third outing. I believe that, as a result of these outings, I've started making a new buddy.

Then, all of a sudden, I've been inundated with invitations. Wow. I gotta say that I'm a little blown over.

Tuesday was Mom's Night Out at Mellow Mushroom with the fine ladies of my MOPS group. I laughed and giggled and he-heed and ha-haed until my cheeks ached. I believe that as we spend more time together where we can laugh and cut up and share stories, we'll grow and develop friendships that will go with us no matter where life takes us.

Friday night, I went to a different sort of gathering. The volunteer coordinator for Poodle and Slick's school organized a get-together for a new Bunco group. There was yummy, munchy-style food (ohmyword, the buffalo chicken dip and the baked potato casserole were positively to. die. for.) and there were several tons of laughs. It was almost as if we were tapping into that long-lost teenager that still dwells deep within the recesses of our memory. There was giggling and snickering and peals of laughter that can only happen when there is mutual level of comfort that's shared by all present. It didn't hurt to have us all dressed up like white trash (on purpose, mind you) to serve as a sort of ice-breaker for our initial meetup, either.

While I was at the Bunco thing on Friday night, a guy from our Sunday school class called me (twice) and wanted to know if my family would like to join his family in an afternoon of grilling out and watching the A-Day game. He called first thing Saturday morning to make sure I'd gotten his message and to see if we were going to head their way. Sure enough, I grabbed some lettuce, a few tomatoes and a gallon of tea from Publix and headed over there early Saturday afternoon. We made hamburgers and homemade dip and cookies and watched the football game. All in all, it was a lovely day and I was glad to spend it with adults rather than sitting here in The Yellow House.

Today, we got to go to church as a family. King Waffle had a (rare) Sunday off. I was glad to have him sitting beside me in Sunday school and in worship service this morning. That was unusual in and of itself so it made the day seem a little more special. We capped it off with yet another social interaction: after-church lunch with a different couple from Sunday school. It was totally impromptu and unplanned; King Waffle just ran over to their truck as they were getting their kids loaded and said, "Hey, wanna grab a quick bite?" They obliged and we had yet another chance to get to know our peers just a little better.

I am exceedingly grateful for all the opportunities I've had this week. I could only dream about this type of schedule in some of the other places we've lived. Like I said earlier, some places were just "closed" and didn't appear to want/need any new social members, some were just plain snooty and stuck-up, some places seemed to be filled with people just like us who wanted to meet new people but just didn't know where to start. I'm glad we're now in a community where people are willing to reach out to others and to not only make them feel welcome, but to include them in their plans and in the inner workings of their day to day lives. It's how friends are made. I'm hoping any one of these new relationships will blossom into deep and lasting friendship(s).

After 18 months, it's about time. I'm ready to include people in my life and have them include me in theirs. If I've spent any time with you this week, and you know who you are, I'd like to offer you a very heartfelt and sincere "thank you" for making an effort to include me/us. I really, really appreciate your efforts.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bless you!

The following occurred between the hours of 3:00 AM and 4:00 AM.
(It sounds more dramatic if you read it like Keifer Sutherland does at the opening of the hit show "24".)

The Noob: Mooooommmmmy...I neeeeee cuh-vers. (covers)

Me, quite groggily I might add: Huh? What do you want?

Noob: I need mah cuh-vers.

Me: Well, reach down and pull them up and over you.

Noob: No, Mommy. I want you do it.

I can see this is all leading up to me having to get out of bed whether I want to or not. I oblige and throw my own covers off and take the three steps over to the crib. I cover her back up and get back in bed.

Five minutes later, the conversation begins again with the same subject matter.

Another ten minutes go by and I'm up for the third time getting her "cuh-vers". I also grab my flashlight to find her obviously missing Binky. If that hole were plugged up then maybe she'd shut up and go to sleep.

I located the Binky on the other side of her crib and plugged her up. I made sure Bunny was snuggled in tight and that her "cuh-vers" were covering All Parts That Might Get Cold.

The next thing I heard was not a plea to be covered up again, but a series of three sneezes. *pa-chew*.....*ka-cue*......*ah...ah...ah...aaaahhhhhhhh-CHOO!*

I thought, "Man, I gotta get some Zyrtec in her when we get up."

The next thing I heard sent me into a silent giggle fit at 3:47 AM.

She blessed herself. That tiny voice said, "Bless you!"

I'm glad I didn't wake King Waffle. He might have wanted to have me committed for lying in bed giggling at ten minutes 'til four in the morning.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


April 15, 1912.

April 15, 1997.

Both days hold special meaning for me. Today's blog is broken into two very distinct events that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. I'll start with the earlier of the two.

On April 14, 1912, late at night, the largest ocean-going vessel ever constructed by the hands of man struck an iceberg. The ship, as you well know, was called the Titanic. You know the whole story by now. It hit an iceberg, faltered and eventually succumbed to the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. It was deemed "unsinkable". It was a modern marvel. It was the height of luxury at the time. A first-class stateroom was priced somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000. By today's standards, it equates to somewhere around $50K. *low whistle* Dang. That's fancy.

I can't really tell you why I hold such a strong fascination for the Titanic. If there's a documentary-style show on The Discovery Channel or TLC, I'm almost guaranteed to drop what I'm doing and sit down and watch it. Even if I've seen it before and even if there's only five minutes left in the program. It just fascinates me.

Upon her discovery in 1985, I was only 10. I can remember hearing about it on the news and on the radio at the time. Something someone said must have captivated my imagination at the time because it just lit something inside of me. About a month later I can remember being at one of my friend's houses and swimming. We decided to "play" Titanic. We took all the pool furniture and threw it in the pool and then had our own little "shipwreck". We had a hard time getting that cast iron furniture out of the deep end, by the way.

Back in November 2006, I had what I consider to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit a traveling exhibit of artifacts that had been salvaged from the wreck site. It was tastefully done, in my opinion. There were dishes. There were musical instruments. There were very personal artifacts among the relics. Three portions of the display brought me to tears. Truly. (I was pregnant at the time so you can chalk it up to hormones if you like, but I believe I'd react the same way if I saw them this very moment.) The first thing at the very beginning of the exhibit is the bell. THE bell. It was suspended over a small circle of sand, out of reach of nerds like myself. The room was dimly lit and the only thing in the room was the bell. I turned the corner and saw the bell and began sucking my breath in as if I were having an asthma attack. I felt the tears well up and knew it was going to be an emotional journey. Later, a small glass case displayed three bejeweled chokers. One was a small, half-inch wide piece of silk ribbon which had three small diamond slides across it. Seeing that brought on full tears and sniffles. That choker necklace belonged to somebody. Someone packed that in their belongings. Was it a young girl? Perhaps a first-class debutante? Was it a second-class mother and this was among her finer possessions? Only God knows. Seeing relics such as that really bring the human element into the picture and remind you that all these things belonged to living, breathing, REAL people who were all important to somebody else.

My last tear-jerker moment was towards the end of the exhibit. There, in a large room, was a piece of the hull of the once-mighty Titanic. It was resting in sand, just like it did for all those years before discovery. It was suspended by cables to keep it upright. It was a large portion. The nerd in me knew that I positively HAD to touch it. I went around to the back side of the piece and leaned over as far as I could. Crap. I was three inches shy of touching history. I gave a loud "PSST!!!" to my mom and told her to hold my arm so I could lean in far enough. She obliged and I leaned over and felt electrified as soon as I made contact. The piece of history that excites me most was now a part of me, in a way. After running afoul of the law, I made my way around the the front of the piece and saw that there was a smaller piece trapped in a box with a hole in the top of it and it was perfectly legal to touch that piece. *insert sheepish grin here*

Over the years, I've become more enthralled with the human aspect of the whole ordeal. As I mentioned earlier, there were living, breathing people aboard this ship and they all mattered to someone. They were fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, nannies, maids, manservants, butlers, etc. Each person was unique and special.

Out of the 2,228 on board, only 705 survived. Many of them were women and children. 1,523 died. One thousand...five hundred...twenty three. That's about half as many as the number who perished in the WTC attacks on 9/11/01. At the time, it was as big a tragedy as 9/11 is to us today. Take a moment today and remember those who died on this day 98 years ago. Some drowned. Some froze to death from the frigid, 38ºF water temperature.

Today matters to me. Try to not make light of a tragedy, even if it was nearly 100 years ago.

Now, the latter.

April 15, 1997.

I sat in Dr. Bordoni's office and waited for my name to be called. I was put into a recliner and had a blanket over my legs to stay warm because they had to keep that room cold to minimize germs. This day was to be my first of many chemotherapy treatments. I was fine as they drew my labs and got me prepped. I was fine as they inserted my IV. I was fine as they went down a laundry list of things I could expect over the coming days. However, I came unglued (fell apart, broke down sobbing, freaked out for all my non-Southern readers) when the nurse started the machine and I saw the poison slowly creep down the plastic tubing that led to my arm. I saw that clear, potent elixir reach my arm and I positively lost. my. marbles. "OhmywordIamgettingchemo!" kept running through my head, along with, "This is really real. I have cancer." I broke down and started calling, quite loudly I might add, for my "mommy". Now, I hadn't called her mommy since I was about 12 or 13 and at the time I was 22 and had been recently married. I told the nurse that she needed to get my mommy NOW. I think she heard me from the waiting room though and came to my side. She and my husband sat with me as I got the course of drugs. We colored in coloring books. We sat and waited. We sucked on Jolly Ranchers and Lemonheads. Finally, after nearly two hours, we were done. April 15, 1997 was the start of a long, yet miraculous, journey for me and my entire family. It affected different people in different ways. I'm just glad I'm here today to be able to share it with all of you.

April 15 will always be significant to me. Now you know why. I'm a nerd and I'm a survivor. But, best of all, I'm just me.