Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"When it's Christmas in Carolina ..."

" ... it's Christmas all over the place."

Ah ... Squirrel Nut Zippers. Can't hardly beat that one.


This time tomorrow, I'll be living it up with a new IV in my hand. Woo! I have to be at the hospital at 5:30 AM, so there'd better be drugs waiting on me when I get there.


I've done some professional procrastinating over the cleaning chores around here. In other words, I haven't done any. I guess I'll do some today. (sigh) Depends on how much fun I have getting through the (whispering) bowel prep. Sorry kids.

I had a pedicure yesterday, so my toes will look nice when I'm snoring in the operating room. And I did another big trip to the grocery store. Hopefully, I'll just have to make one more trip (or send someone) on the 19th before our Christmas guests arrive.


The problem with doing all my Christmas shopping early is that now I keep thinking of OTHER things I want to buy for everybody.


The hall ceiling is hole-free. It ain't pretty, but you can't see the attic rafters anymore. He says he'll call someone professional to make it look right, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. And the fresh paint in Adam's old room has officially begun. Well, the patching of the nail holes has. Surely that will lead to paint soon.


No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list


This concludes Dawn's Tuesday Stream Of Consciousness.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"Christmas is here, bringing good cheer ..."

A Christmas Meme:

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate. This year, it’ll be sugar-free. Bah.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? When my kids were little, I followed the same tradition my Mom and Dad did when I was growing up. The gifts from Santa were never wrapped, but displayed under and around the tree. Gifts from Mom and Dad were wrapped. As we got older, all our gifts were wrapped. My grownup kids still get their stockings filled, and they know those are from Santa!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White, although I have been known to mix the two on a few trees over the years. Now we have a pre-lit artificial tree with all white lights. The lights on the mantle garland, the mini outdoor trees and the lights we string on the back deck are all white, too.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Yes. It never works for me though. Bah, again.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually by the time the first week in December is here, our decorations are up.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Daddy’s “Stuff”. Too much will make you pay, but it’s positively addictive.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? When I was a kid, the whole season was simply magical. The older I get, the less magic there is. I do remember one Christmas Eve, I had to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and I was terrified I would interrupt Santa as he left our gifts under the tree. I called my father into my room, explained my predicament, and he lovingly walked with me and guided me to the bathroom … all the while, my eyes were squeezed tightly shut and covered with my hand.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don’t remember how, or who spoiled it all for me, but I remember being so worried about letting my Mom know that I knew the truth. I pulled her aside one night, and as gently as I could, I said, “Please don’t be mad at me, Mama. I know there is no Santa. But I PROMISE you I won’t tell Kay and Laura.” I wish she had told me that I was WRONG. I probably would have believed for another Christmas.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? I don't. Sometimes when the kids would beg, we’d let them open one small gift on Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
There’s no theme … it’s all the ornaments the kids made through the years at school, mixed with things I’ve had for years. I still buy something new every once in awhile. Lights, ornaments, gold and white “filler” (silk flowers and sparkly stuff), and candy canes. No garland and no icicles.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? We get it so rarely here, that I always love it. I hate to drive in though, and I hate to worry about my kids driving in it.

12. Can you ice skate? No, but I remember a winter trip to Minneapolis to visit my Dad’s family when I was little. My Dad went ice skating, and I was fascinated and totally impressed … I had no idea he could do that!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? There have been a few! I loved getting my Barbie doll in 1963 or 1964. And then the Mystery Date game a couple of years later made me feel like a teenager … so grown up!

I also loved getting my red and white Adidas shoes when I was 17.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? FAMILY.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Divinity! Give me egg whites and sugar, and I’m a happy camper. I will have to take the divinity madness slow and easy this year though, or I will be a sick-as-a-dog camper.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Cooking. I love to make all the goodies and cakes. And I love to be in the kitchen, with family all over the house. To me, that’s Christmas.

17. What tops your tree? A totally boring ivory colored bow with gold trim. I’d love to find the perfect star one of these days.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? No doubt about it, I love to give. I love shopping for loved ones, trying to find something that will make them smile on Christmas morning.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? I’ve always loved “Carol Of The Bells”, and I will cry just about every time I hear “Little Drummer Boy’. “Oh Holy Night” is another favorite.

20. Candy canes? Don’t really like them, unless they are the soft, melt-in-your-mouth sugar canes made by Bob’s. I hang the regular ones on the tree, and toss them out when Christmas is over.

21. Favorite Christmas movie? “Christmas Vacation” with Chevy Chase or “The Christmas Story” ("Oh, fuuuuuuuudge!").

22. What do you leave for Santa? Santa can eat any of the goodies off the dining room table.


Went to dinner at Adam and Brandy's last night. The tree was decorated and the house looked sooooo pretty!


I loved my new hairdresser! She lightened my hair, and cut it quite a bit. She was going to cut it way short, but decided to save that for next time. She said the lighter hair would be enough to get used to, with everything else that's going on this time of year. I'm almost disappointed, as I am SO ready for a change. Jimmy doesn't like it, of course. (sigh)


A lot to do today ... gonna make zucchini bread and freeze it so we can have it for a breakfast or snack choice when family's here for Christmas, laundry awaits, there's cleaning to be started (and finished tomorrow), and I will work for an hour today on the phone.

Happy Sunday, everybody.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I'll just have an Earl Grey tea ..."

Once I got rolling yesterday, there was no stopping. Good grief.

In addition to the 2 appointments, which took HOURS ... we exchanged a Christmas gift on Woodruff Road. One word: TRAFFICFROMHELL. We ate lunch at Strossner's (yum). We went to an auto parts store so that Jimmy could get a new trailer hitch ball thingie for his truck. He's going to borrow the neightbor's trailer to get all of Em's stuff home in one trip today. We bought paint for Adam's old room at the Sherwin-Williams store. And we ended up at Sam's Club to get a few supplies and Christmas food for the masses. (Few Things From Sam's = over $200. Every time.) We got home at dinnertime, unloaded the car, ate leftovers, and stopped for the day.

Today I am seeing yet another new hairstylist. In my never-ending quest to have hair that looks "normal", I am trusting another stranger to do the right thing. The anxiety has already set in.

Before I go, I will work for an hour at my new job. I'm now working at home, answering phone calls for a national teleservices company. Right now I'm taking orders for just about everything you might see on TV that's offered with a 1-800 number, including Tempur-pedic mattresses, AARP health and auto insurance info, Natural Cures books, and Wild Party Girls dvds, to name just a few. Oh, the humanity. After the holidays, I'lll train for another project ... maybe Sears Home Repair or Pro Flowers. I love the abilty to work when I want to, and while I'm wearing my PJ pants. And I'm sitting down the whole time! Whoo.


Almost time for the weekly phone call to my Mom. And the day begins. Y'all have a good one.

Friday, December 08, 2006

"There's something wrong with the world today ..."

... I don't know what it is. (Amen, Aerosmith.)

I understand that a lot of Americans are totally focused on "Celebrity News", whatever that is. Magazines like People and Us Weekly are packed with fascinating peeks into the lives of role models (ahem) like Nicole Richey, Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and her new best friend who needs panties for Christmas. I will even admit to reading a little bit of the stuff every day online from my favorite Hollywood gossip site. (That's how I knew Britney needed panties. And a swift kick in the ass.)

But y'all. Damn. The other night, I had the local 6pm news on in the background while I finished up wrapping gifts. I stopped, mid-wrap, when I heard our local "journalist" announce the breaking news that .............. are you sitting down? ...............


Please, someone explain to me how this is "news". They are 2 very ordinary actors who have dated each other for a few years ... and their breakup is announced on the Greenville, SC local news hour? As I listened to the news anchor give the heartbreaking details to the people in Greenville County, I started to wonder if our celebrity obsession had gone a couple of steps too far. I mean, come ON. They weren't married, they didn't have kids, they've done nothing newsworthy ... they broke up.

The moment when I KNEW it had gone 'round the bend ... the anchorwoman used the term "Vaughn-iston". God save us.


Sorry for the incredibly long breaks between updates around here. I've been trying to get a lot accomplished before my surgery next week. I've done all my gift-shopping, I've decorated the castle, and I've done a lot of "getting rid of". I've donated a ton of stuff to local charity, and organized drawers and closets. Feels really good!

Jimmy has taken on the job of painting ... gotta save those dollars for motorcycle stuff, ya know. So, 2 months later, one bedroom is done. He hasn't realized it yet, but he'll finish a 2nd one before our Christmas guests arrive. It took awhile, but I think I've resigned myself to the fact that this will take forever, and I won't get my new carpet for another 5 years or so, if things continue at this rate. But he does do a really good job with the painting. He's just slower than molasses on a winter day.

He also complicates things for himself. The other night, he was in the attic, putting the insulation over the attic fan. And then all of a sudden, there was a huge hole in the ceiling with his ass (or some other body part, I don't know) sticking through. I wanted to cry ... it feels like our house will NEVER look they way I want it to, and now the ceiling in the hallway is gone. But I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and accepted the fact that, even though it will take MONTHS, he WILL repair it. (I've made myself get tears in my eyes now, just typing that. ARRRRGHHHHHH I want a nice house!!!!)


Went to Clemson yesterday to help Em get her stuff packed up. We worked all afternoon, and ended up with a couple garbage bags full of trash, 4 garbage bags for charity donation, and my car loaded down with the stuff she's moving back home with. The only belongings left in her apartment are a bed, a bookshelf, 2 TV stands, a bedside table, and a floor lamp. We'll go down at some point on Saturday to get that.

After we worked, we went to dinner with Jud in Anderson and had a quick, but very nice visit. I got to meet Allie, the cutest puppy EVER. She even showed me the tricks she's learned ... she can play dead, roll over, and shake already! She's precious.


So anyway ... today I have 2 pre-op appointments ... one at the hospital, and one with the gynecologist. Surgery is set for Wednesday at 8 AM. I've got a trillion things to do between now and then. Wish me luck.


Rest in peace, little Beamer. Thanks for all the smiles you brought to my face over the last several years, buddy. Laura and Melody, I love you both ... and wish I could ease your pain.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Oops, I did it again ..."

I had a surprise visit on Saturday night from a most handsome young man. I'm talking heart-meltingly handsome. I told him I wanted him to move in, but I don't think he'll go for it.


I went and forgot Rule # 463 in the Mom Handbook: "Never do for one child, unless you do the same or its equivalent, for each other child."

In other words, I took a real shortcut when I made Em's birthday entry on Saturday. I knew I was doing it. I just didn't know she would!

So here for you today, a belated Birthday Entry for my youngest and only daughter ...

Emilie lives in Clemson, but is going to move back home in a few weeks to look for a job. (Of course she's not looking forward to that, but I'm hoping there will be some good parts to the whole thing for her. Homecooked dinners! No lonely, dark apartment to come home to! Maggie-lovin'! Bubba lives 15 minutes away! I know, I know.) Emilie has a degree in Psychology from Clemson University. She's absolutely happy-happy in her relationship with her best friend, Jud. She loves Green Day, and has done so since she was in middle school. She dreams of travel and a bright future. She has beautiful, thick brown hair, and mesmerizing green eyes.

There you have the facts about one Emilie Elizabeth. Here are some lesser-known tidbits:

~ Her name was going to be Elizabeth Joy. At the very last minute ... seriously, it might even have been in the delivery room, I decided on Emilie Elizabeth.

~ She was born a week late.

~ She was the 2nd baby born in the hospital's new-fangled "Birthing Room". It was decorated to look more like a bedroom at home, than a hospital room. All the rage in the early 80's.

~ She weighed almost 10 pounds at birth ... the doctor came into my room and told me Emilie was beating up the other babies in the nursery. Har har.

~ On Christmas Eve, 1983, she had a febrile seizure. This was caused by a fever that went too high, too fast ... and literally scared me to tears.

~ When she was 2, she had plastic surgery. Not really, but a plastic surgeon was called in to put stitches into her upper lip. She had fallen onto a low brick wall, and gashed it wide open.

~ At 3 years old, she and Adam were running in the house ... Emilie slid into a wall and ended up with a broken arm.

~ She didn't sleep through the night until she was about 2 years old. Oy.

~ She was a very picky eatin' baby ... she would eat grated Cheddar cheese. And Cool Whip. Period. If it wasn't for Mama's Milk, she would have starved to death.

~ She worshipped and adored her big brother from Day One.

~ She called him "Eenah" when she was almost 2 years old. She couldn't pronounce the letter "L" until she was almost 4 years old. I will never forget the day she came to me and said, with so much pride on her face, "Mama! Mama! Wisten. 'I Love you.'" I wanted to cry, because I knew I'd never again hear her precious little voice say, "I wuv you".

~ Another pronunciation memory: She called a tricycle, a "pie pickle" when she was between 2 and 3 years old.

~ She was a "Brownie" in Kindergarten.

~ She sang in the elementary school chorus for two years.

~ In middle school, she learned to play the viola. She hated it.

~ In high school, she switched to the trumpet. She loved being in the marching band.

~ She is, without a doubt, a cat person. She has loved just about every kitty that's crossed her path since she was a baby. (She's now learning to be a dog person, too.)

~ My favorite thing about her is her perseverance. Life has presented her with challenge after challenge, and it seems that nothing comes easy to this daughter of mine. But she faces it all, and deals with each obstacle in her path.

~ My other favorite thing about her is her ability to love. Her heart is big, and she loves even bigger.

~ My other favorite thing about her is her smile ... it lights up my life.

~ She is, and always will be, my Baby Girl.

Emilie, we so enjoyed spending your 24th Birthday with you and Jud. The meal was delicious, and the laughter during the games we played afterwards was needed and WONDERFUL. I hope you had a beautiful day ... because you deserve it! I am so proud of the way you have lived your life, and dealt with the challenges that OCD has placed in your path. You've tripped and fallen many times, but you get back up and walk on ... every single time. You are my inspiration. I am one lucky Mom. And forever, if you need me, I am here for you. I love you. xoxo Mom

Saturday, November 04, 2006

"We're gonna love you in every way ..."

Happy 24th Birthday to my BABY GIRL!
Love, Mom

Here's my favorite Stewie scene ever, to make you smile on your birthday ...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"I'm not here for your entertainment ..."

Whoa. Long time, no see. No excuse, except that time is literally flying for me. The day feels like it's just getting started, then I look up and it's time to cook dinner.


Still working Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. My "team leader" just had a baby, so she's been gone for the last few weeks. I let the assistant team leader know about my upcoming surgery (more on that later). I knew it wouldn't go over very well ... all the talk lately is about how incredibly busy they expect November and December to be. She was nice about it, but I know it's something they wish I could put off a few months. But I'm not. The insurance deductible is high, and it's MET until December. It makes financial sense to take advantage of that!

So anyway. I'm having a hysterectomy and bladder repositioning ... hopefully November 1st or 8th. I'll find out the exact date later on. I won't go into all the "female details", since making people uncomfortable isn't my goal here. :-) Bottom line: it's something I've needed for a while now, and it looks as though the stars are aligning for it to finally happen.

Standing all day on the weekends isn't helping matters. (TMI? Sorry.)

I hate to admit it, but there are parts of my little part-time job that I enjoy. I don't really want to quit, and I hope they don't let me go because I'll need four to six weeks recovery time, right in the middle of the big holiday rush. (Note: this was written on a Thursday, while my feet feel normal. Thoughts may change on Friday night.)


I'm gathering quotes from painters this week and next week. My goal is to have the entire upstairs repainted and refloored before Christmas. Whooo! I can't wait!!! After the holidays, we'll tackle the lower level and see about those elusive hardwood floors. YES.

First quote from today: They'll strip the wallpaper from the hall and 2 bathrooms; re-do those walls so they're nice and smooth; prime Emilie's room, the stairwell, and hall (where the exsisting paint is dark); paint all the trim and walls in both baths, 3 bedrooms, and the hall; and redo the master bath ceiling ... all for $2,700. Seems like a reputable and dependable company too.

Jimmy said maybe he'd take a week off work and do it himself. That'll be an option, I guess. All I know is, I don't wanna paint. Done that. Hated it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"My heart going boom-boom-boom ..."

It's not really my heart ... it's the blasting being done behind our house. For many days now, I hear the warning siren, and I tense ... waiting for the ceiling to fall. BOOM. Today I heard the windows rattle, but no damage seen yet. BOOM.


So I got this new job. I applied on a whim, and got an interview the next day. Then I got hired, and started before I realized what I was doing. I'm such an idiot. It's "part-time", but it's all squished up into 3 days ... two 8-hour days, and one 6-hour day. At least that's the way it's gone for 3 weeks now. Probably wouldn't be a big deal, if I was sitting for some or most of those hours. But it's all standing. Let me just get my groaning out of the way now:




I'm a fr0nt-end team member (cashier, in the real world) for Wh0le F00dz Church ... uh, I mean Market. (Spelled that way so I can't be googled by the Man) I'm here to tell you, I don't adapt well to change, people. I am pretty much set in my ways of "housewife extraordinaire" after spending 98% of my life at home since 1978. So add that to the whole "standing for 8 hours" thing, and maybe you will understand why I'm calling myself an idiot.

Then add how I have to memorize all the codes for the produce.

THEN add how I have to miss ALL the Clemson football games, since I work on the weekends.

Arrrrrrrghhh, again.

I get a 20% discount on groceries, so last week I bought $100 worth, for ONLY $80. It must be a side effect of growing up on McDonald's cheeseburgers and Piggly Wiggly groceries, but can I say? ... I'm not impressed. The prepared foods I bought ... some salsa, some layered Mexican dip, some roasted veggies, and some macaroni salad ... were "eh" in taste. And everything else is just plain overpriced. Organic and natural, yes. Tasty and affordable, not so much. The majority of shoppers who come through my line are ... pardon my judgemental attitude ... snobby yuppies who shop there because it's trendy, NOT because they care a hoot about preservatives. It must be good, because it costs so damn much ... right?

Back to Publix with my grocery money, 20% discount or not. Maybe I'll use the discount for red wine on sale, and the occasional bowl of chili for my lunch at work.


Sunday will mark 4 months since my surgery. (I was thinking I had lost enough weight that the job might not be a very big deal ... but my feet and ankles say otherwise.) It looks like I'll be right around the "60 pounds lost since May 24th" mark on Sunday ... 81 pounds since I started the whole thing in March. Can't really wrap my head around those numbers. I still feel exactly as I've always felt, physically and mentally. I wonder how long it takes for your brain to catch up.

I've been eating more carbs than the nutritionist at Dr. Bour's would like me to be eating. Still not getting in as much protein as I should, either. My hair is thinning like you wouldn't believe. Every day, after I wash it, I am horrified at the number of strands that come out onto my hands. I'm surprised I don't have huge bald spots. It's reallllly thin on top. The doctor said it will likely continue until about 8 months post-op. YIKES! I'll be wearing a wig for the holidays.


I love you too, Beth!

Amy, I'm glad y'all had such a great vacation at the beach ... we should plan an "all girls" trip one of these days! I wish I could take credit for the way Adam turned out, but I'm pretty sure that's just the way he was made. Doesn't keep me from being terribly proud of him, though!

Somehow, both my children survived my immature parenting and went on to become fine human beings.


I miss my kids.

I miss my weekends.

Call 1-800-Waa Waa Waa-Waa Waa Waa Waa.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Go shorty, it's your birthday ..."

Today is my only son's birthday. He's 26 years old.

He lives in Simpsonville. He has a college education and a good job. The one-year anniversary of his marriage to Brandy is in less than a month. He dreams of learning to pilot airplanes. He also wants very badly to build his own plane. He has brown hair and freckles ... and a scar on his left elbow from having it wired back together after he shattered it in a biking accident.

Those are the facts.

Here are a few lesser-known facts about Adam J. Ford:

~ His name is Adam. Most people know him as "AJ", a nickname that got stuck when he was 10 or 11.

~ He was born 2 weeks early.

~ He had jaundice when he came home from the hospital. The doctor told me to lay him in a sunny spot (with no clothes or diaper on) to make it better.

~ As a baby, he couldn't turn himself from his back to his stomach until WELL after all the books said he should have.

~ His favorite food, as an infant, was mashed banana.

~ He had a doll named "Josh" when he was two years old.

~ When we made car trips, he would sing "On The Road Again" by Willie Nelson. I can still hear it in my head. :-)

~ He did a killer PeeWee Herman impression when he was in the 1st grade.

~ He took horseback riding lessons in the 2nd grade.

~ He was on the Tinikling Team in the 5th grade. (An explanation of tinikling can be found here.)

~ He loved taking Martial Arts lessons in middle school. He stopped before he earned that black belt though.

~ My favorite thing about him is the way his face lights up when he talks about things he's interested in ... whether it's Tool or Kevin Smith, computers or airplanes.

~ My other favorite thing about him is his levelheadedness ... a trait he obviously did NOT get from his Mama.

~ My other favorite thing about him is his ability to make me laugh.

~ He was unconditionally adored by his Grandpa (my dad), until the day he died in 1994. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that majority of Daddy's time in Heaven is spent watching over his "A'm James".

~ He is a truly talented percussionist.

~ He likes to cook, and he does it well.


Happy Birthday, Adam. I'm so glad you're my son. You are a young man of good character, good humor, and good heart. I am proud of the man you've become.
May your "Year of 26" be the BEST one so far!
I love you ... always!
xoxo Mom

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"I guess there's got to be a break in the monotony ..."

Went to GA for the weekend, and didn't get home until late late late on Sunday night. The worst part was riding in Jimmy's truck for over 4 hours. Oh, my butt.

The trip's purpose was to provide support and love to Michael and Patti, deliver Adam's old queen-size bed to our niece Beth, and to try to help my mother-in-law (Nena) understand why she can't go "home" when she leaves the nursing home next week. Saturday was a nightmare as she cried and ranted and name-called ... and in every way, proved exactly WHY she shouldn't go home. But on Sunday, she seemed more accepting of her reality. I really hope that behavior continues.

Don't know how successful we were at the providing support and love part ... there is never enough damn time when we go for the weekend.

The plan is to make the trip again this coming weekend. We'll be helping get her moved into her new "independent living studio apartment", and taking Emilie's old full-size mattress and box springs for Nena to use. Not looking forward to another trip so soon (see above: Oh, my butt.).


My favorite moment of the weekend:

We took my Mom to eat dinner at the restaurant where my niece and nephew work. Beth was hostessing that night, so I walked up to her, smiling and expecting a hug. I stood right in front of her, she looked up -- and I could tell by looking into her eyes that she really and truly DID NOT RECOGNIZE ME!!! How freakin' surreal was that?! It took only a few seconds before she realized, and I did get my hug, but WOW, that was weird.


Have y'all seen that Ok Go video on the treadmills ... "Here It Goes Again"? I love that! Talk about making me feel uncoordinated though.


Note for Amy:

Girl, I ain't no grammar or typo police! :-)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"There's many things I wish I didn't do ..."

At this time, three months ago today, I was in the recovery room ... recovering, I guess. A lot has happened, and a lot has changed in the last 12 weeks!

I'm trying to exercise every day, not always successful. Yesterday was skipped because I spent the morning at the hospital, having an Upper GI test, done to check on the status of the gastro-gastric fistula. After I got home from that, I lazed around with a slightly upset tummy from the lovely crap I had to drink for the X-rays. So I just never got around to sweating on the treadmill. But today I was back at it. (I'll know the results from the Upper GI tomorrow when I go for my "3 Month" office visit with Dr. Bour.)

On my home scale, I've lost 50 pounds since surgery. I like to add in the 21 I lost before surgery, for a total of 71 since March of this year.


To my faithful commenter, Amy:

I have a Beth Hart CD ... "Screamin' For My Supper", or something like that ... I'll have to listen to see if I can walk to it. (Marching band is so deeply ingrained in my brain, if I can't walk EXACTLY to the beat, I get all tripped up and distracted.) Haven't heard any of Garth's rock alter-ego, but I'll look for that.

After I wrote my last entry, Jimmy got all into making me a CD to walk to, so we went through some of my favorite CD's to find some with the right beats. That night, we went to Adam and Brandy's house for dinner and Canasta ... and Adam and Jimmy worked on it for about an hour with Adam's educated computer skillz, and now I have my very own 45-minute Walking CD! Adam made it so that it the "beats per minute" increase with each song, until midway through ... then they decrease again. So I can warm up, work hard, and cool down ... all without thinking about changing tracks on the CD player. I'm so spoiled now! Don't know if it would be too slow for your liking, but for my 5'10" self, it's perfect for the shape I'm in right now. (I bet he'd burn you a copy if you make him a cocktail at the beach!)

I hear ya on the Chilltown guys ... they are REALLY good at what they are doing though. I can't help but laugh at them when they get all tickled with themselves.


Final Thought For Today:

For those of you who are working hard to change bad habits into healthier ones (WITHOUT the extra help of having your digestive system rearranged surgically) ... and I think you know who you are ... I am SO PROUD of you!!! I know it's hard, and I know it gets tedious and boring, but it WILL pay off. I want you to live long and healthy lives and I don't want you to have to do what I had to do. So don't give in, and don't get discouraged. You're changing your lives, and your futures look GOOD from here! You will build lean muscle with exercise, and lose fat with your healthier diet ... and if the scale doesn't move every week, then forget about weighing for month or so. The changes you are making ARE worth it!!! If you have a slip-up (or a week at the beach) just get right back to making those healthy choices. As long as you NEVER give up, you CAN'T fail.

You make me so very proud. :-)


I'm not a perfect person
There's many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you

I'm sorry that I hurt you
It's something I must live with everyday
And all the pain I put you through
I wish that I could take it all away
And be the one who catches all your tears
Thats why I need you to hear

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you

Friday, August 11, 2006

"I think you're crazy - just like me ..."


The summer drags on. And on. We are looking forward to some rain tonight, and lower temps (mid 70's! Whoooo!) tomorrow. Back in the 90's by next week. What'd you think, I live in Seattle?


I want to go see the new Will Ferrell movie, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Every clip I see makes me snort. I love Will Ferrell.

In other couch potato news, I'm making it through the LONG LONG summer by watching Big Brother on CBS three times a week. That's right ... THREE. Jimmy comes in every night, asking if it's a "Big Brother night".

I'm also reading regularly again. Not getting through the books as fast as I'd like (see: Big Brother THREE nights a week, above), but it's enjoyable. I finished a good chick lit paperback last week, The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc by Loraine Despres. It was ... scandalous! This week I started the more serious Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. This is an "Oprah's Book Club" pick, so you know it's just riviting. So far, so good though.

Lastly, I'm spending a little time every day, getting in some exercise. I know ... I'll give you time to let that one sink in and become real ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yes, me! I'm on the treadmill every day for at least half an hour ... working my way up, though. Next week, I'll aim for 40 minutes.

I tried my Believe CD (Cher) ... mostly too fast, and my GHV2 CD by Madonna ... almost right -- but I think I'll go back to my old standby from my 1994 treadmill time: Immaculate Collection by Madonna. Most of the songs on that one are perfect for my slightly-slower-than-most-people walking tempo, with some even slower ones for warm-ups and cool-downs. If I was intelligent enough, I'd burn my own CD with the songs in the right order. Instead, I walk with the remote in my left cup holder ... and change the order my own self. I have never burned a CD, that's right.

I'm also doing a stretching and strengthening deal with a DVD I bought at the doctor's office. It seems so incredibly easy, but my upper arms have been talking back to me all week.


So I was sitting here today waiting for the guy to come and do a "Pre-Blast Survey" of our house. Seems there's gonna be some detonating of some explosives behind our house in the near future, and the company asked us to have our house "surveyed" beforehand, so we can claim the damages when the ceilings all fall in, I guess. I knew we should have moved YEARS ago!

Anyway, the guy just called ... said he lived in Knoxville, and was heading home. He said, "They scheduled me to work from 7 AM to 6:30 PM today, PLUS I have to drive 3 hours to get home. Could you call the company and re-schedule for next week? I'm ready to go home." While I shook my head, made a bitchy face, and wondered where "MY" convenience was hiding in this equation ... I told him, "No problem, have a safe drive!" I'm wayyyy too easy.


I think Jimmy and I are going to see Vienna Teng at The Handlebar a week from Wednesday night (the 23rd). The tickets are only $11 ... a steal. She is a very talented singer/songwriter! If you'd like to go too, let me know.


Have a very nice weekend.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"Wish we were kids again ... my sister, my friend ..."

Good news via the telephone just now -- my sister doesn't have cancer! (Insert big sigh of relief here, maybe a few grateful tears, too.) She does have Sarcoidosis in her lungs, but knowing that there is no malignancy there is the best thing I've heard in a long long time. I'll be reading up on Sarcoidosis, and I'm sure it'll be a struggle for her to deal with ... but no chemo or radiation treatments. So relieved.


Emilie is still in Upstate NY with her friend, Jud. Haven't heard from her since her plane landed on Friday night. I'm trusting that all is well, and she is probably dreading having to come home to the real world again in a few days. Her Dad, on the other hand, is obsessing over WHY we haven't heard from her. I'm figuring she's happy and enjoying every minute ... he's figuring she's bound with duct tape and wandering the woods alone somewhere. *sigh* There is no cell phone service at the lake house, so I truly didn't expect to hear from her, but I did tell her to please call home collect if she needed to. It feels really weird to be the "NOT WORRIED" one, while Jimmy frets.


Not much to write about lately. It's hot as hay-ull outside, and just the thought of it makes me cranky. I don't know how Adam drives home from work every day in his un-air conditioned truck. I know it could be worse ... as I sit here, in cool comfort, with ceiling fans in every room. But I really do hate summer, if I can't be near the ocean, or a nice, private swimming pool. And really, when's THAT gonna happen?? Grrrrr.


Eye doctor tomorrow, then Dr. Bour on Friday. I've been having a sharp pain in my left side for about a week ... hopefully Dr. Bour will tell me it's residual muscle pain from the chest tube. It just seems odd that it would be this painful over a month after I had the chest tube in. It's in that spot, and feels sharp and uncomfortable when I take a deep breath in ... especially when sneezing or yawning. Roseanne Roseannadanna was right. "It's always somethin'."

Monday, July 24, 2006

"Strong inside, but you don't know it ..."

Dear Anonymous Commenter/Tool Lyric Person: That's a really good song, lyric-wise. I want to live my life like that. Do I know you? ;-)


Nice weekend --- Jimmy went boating on Lake Keowee with a neighbor on Saturday morning. He came back happy and sunburned. All the kids came for dinner on Saturday night, and a good game of Canasta followed. Sunday, Jimmy cleaned his truck and the motorcycle ... alllll dayyyyy longgggg. I read and did laundry.


Today is my 2 Month "Surgiversary". I will weigh when I go to the support group meeting tonight, and hopefully I won't still be stuck at the same weight I've been for the last two weeks. I don't care whether a person has had weight loss surgery or not, it SUCKS to see the same number on the scale for weeks when you're doing everything right. Grrr.


Sister Kay had her appointment with the surgeon ... her outpatient surgery will be on Wednesday, the 26th. The surgeon even told her that she will likely get the results by Friday this week. It's a relief to know that SOON we will know what's going on.


Still adjusting to my new glasses. One of these days, maybe I'll post a picture of me in my new "Old Lady" look. The distance vision is great ... still not an expert at finding the spot I'm supposed to be able to read through. Ah well, the problems of the elderly ... *sigh*


Emilie's leaving for her week in upstate NY on Friday. She's counting the hours. And hating her job with a passion. I pray every day that she can find something soon that won't cause physical pain and emotional upset. Keep on keeping on, Em ... bad times always give way to good, if you can wait it out. That's life, actually ... treading water through the bad stuff until the good stufff comes back around. I love you. :-)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"Spiral out ... keep going ..."

Ahhh ... so it's just me and Amy here these days. Oh well, two's company!

Amy, thank you so much for the sweet comment you left me. I, too, wish I could have had this surgery (or lost the damn weight!) when my kids were young. I missed out on so much fun with them, either because I couldn't physically take part in it, or because I let my fear of being ridiculed take over and I just stayed home. I would LOVE to spend some time talking with your Mom ... I have a feeling we would have a LOT to talk about, not just gastric bypass! I hope you stop by here again soon, Amy. :-)


Jimmy and I made a trip to GA over the weekend. I was a little nervous about how I'd handle everything (eating, not eating, feeling tired, etc.), but I did alright. Jimmy and Michael spent Saturday in the country, working hard at trying to straighten out their Mama's house. My mother-in-law had a major stroke at the end of June, and is now in a rehab facility in Phenix City, Alabama. I went to see her on Saturday with Patti, and on Sunday, all four of us spent a couple of hours with her. She still has little to no use of her left leg, but her left arm and hand have improved a lot. Still no clue what will happen when she is released from rehab in about 10 days. Nobody wants her to go back to the way she was living ... except her.


In other stress-related news, Sister Kay is still waiting to learn whether she's going to be dealing with Sarcoidosis or Lymphoma. The first biopsy was inconclusive, so she's seeing a surgeon on Thursday to set up another type of biopsy.


Went to a post-op support group last night ... but got way more "support" from our "Upstate Ladies" group that met at McAlister's Deli afterwards. I even ordered food! I got a baked potato with grilled chicken and cheese on top. I ended up just eating the chicken and some cheese, but it stayed where I put it, and tasted good.


It's too damn hot!!! I crave November.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

"Everything in its own time ..."

Are you still out there? I'd be shocked if you were. Apologies for the long break, but it's been a rough few weeks for me. I've been procrastinating about getting back in here to update, (ME! Procrastinating. I know it's a shock to you.) mainly because I want to tell you what happened to me, but I'm too lazy to type it all out.

So I've decided to cut and paste (with some slight editing) what I've written in my journal over at the weight loss surgery website. Maybe then I will feel "caught up" and can start fresh here, updating more often. Ya think?

So here we go ...


6/19/06 ~ I was admitted to the hospital on Friday, June 9th. I was having so much nausea, I could hardly function at all. And when my temp reached 101 on Friday morning, I knew it meant trouble.

On Thursday, the 8th I had my "drain removal" appointment at Dr. Bour's office. Only nothing was removed. Katie and Dr. Bour took my nausea seriously, and said the drain would remain in place until whatever problem I was having was resolved. Their best guess on Thursday was dehydration, so I was given 2 bags of IV fluid in the office. I did feel better for a bit, and hoped that would be the end of it. But then Friday, the fever happened. So I called Katie, and she said, "See ya at the hospital!"

Dr. Bour started talking about a CT scan on Friday, but said he was afraid my nausea would prevent me from drinking the "jug" of contrast medium I would have to get down before the scan. At this point, we had started to suspect a leak, and most definitely an infection. I was getting IV fluids, antibiotics, and anti-nausea drugs pumped into my arm. And I was feeling pretty awful. I had a chest x-ray on Friday that showed some cloudiness in the bottom of my left lung, so I started having respiratory therapy for pneumonia.

On Saturday, the talk of the CT scan increased on Dr. Bour's part. He was wanting to get a better look at what was going on inside me, but THANK GOD he saw surgery as a last resort. He said that I would be so sick for so long if I had to go through another surgery in the weakened, sick state I was in.

And so, late on Saturday afternoon, the contrast medium arrived in my room. They told me I had to drink all of it, and if I vomited, I would have to have more. I cried like a baby. The bottle held about 1 liter of fluid, and was flavored with Crystal Light Peach Tea. Ever since my surgery, I can NOT tolerate sweet things, fruity things ... and everything tastes TOO strong. But I had no control and no choice. It took almost 2 hours, but I drank it. Oh, my belly.

Still crying, and with a barf bag in my lap, they wheeled me to X-ray for my CT scan. It didn't take too very long, and soon I was back in my room ... on the toilet. Ugh. That stuff went straight through me. (TMI)

Dr. Bour said the scan showed pockets of infection all around my drain and pouch, and there was no massive amount of contrast medium floating around freely in my belly. It was all contained within my digestive system. He said IF I had leak, it was small, and would heal on its own. He said the drain was doing its job. It really was ... my bandage needed changing every hour over the weekend. There was still talk of surgery at this point, but I could really tell he would only do that if he felt there was no other option. We decided to continue on with the drain doing what it could, and with antibiotics in my IV.

There were some very low moments for me while I was in the hospital. I was regretting having the gastric bypass BIG TIME. I couldn't imagine myself feeling better ... or normal ever again. I cried a lot.

Dr. Bour let me come home again on Thursday, June 15th. He sent me home on full liquids, and I am eating mostly yogurt, with some strained cream soup. I get so very full. I am getting in a little over 60 oz. of water in every day, and managing about 50 grams of protein. Also taking my vitamins. I see Dr. Bour again on Thursday this week ... and he said maybe my drain can come out. It looks to me as if one side of the drain stitch has already separated from my skin, so I'm hoping it'll stay put until then. I'm sure I'd end up in a dead faint if it came out here at home!

My nausea has diminished to a a faint queasy, and every once in a while that even disappears. My main complaint these days is the overwhelming fatigue and complete lack of stamina. Once I climb the stairs to go to my bedroom, I have to rest to get my heart to slow down and catch my breath. And taking a shower is so tiring, I have to nap afterwards! I am most definitely ready to feel like "my old self" again, in the energy department.

6/22/06 ~ I had my re-scheduled One Month Checkup this afternoon. It was supposed to be next week, but Dr. Bour wanted to see me a week after my last hospital release. I have only lost 20 pounds in the 4 weeks since surgery, but considering the 1,735 bags of IV fluid I had last week, I suppose I should feel pretty good.

After telling Katie and Dr. Bour my latest dramas: still with the nausea, pain in the middle of my breastbone area, pressure in the same area when I bend over, shortness of breath when I stand or move around, and rapid heartbeat when I stand up, fatigue beyond anything I've ever known -- well, I should have known that darned drain wasn't going anywhere today. He said he was --> <-- that close to admitting me to the hospital again, but he said I looked better than I did 2 weeks ago. So the decision was made for me to have an Upper GI first thing in the morning at Hillcrest. If all looks normal, I'll get a call from Dr. Bour to come into the office, and he will "advance" my drain out a few inches. Oh Lord, the thought of it all just makes me retch.

I did tell him I thought all my problems were caused by having this darn drain tube in place for a MONTH. He doesn't agree, and says that's his only access to whatever's going wrong inside me. If I didn't have the drain, I'd have to go back to surgery no matter what. So I'm trying to love my drain. So far, I am not successful.

7/6/06 ~ I had my Upper GI on June 23rd, and was sent straight to Dr. Bour's office. (The test was torturous for me, I was so nauseous, and I had to keep sipping the stuff ... they say it's "better tasting" than the stuff they used to use, but it tasted like nail polish remover to me. I cried and sipped, cried and sipped, and after a break I had to do it all over again. Waaa!) At Dr. Bour's office, he told me that my leak had formed a fistula, which joined my new pouch with the rest of my old stomach, and the fluid I swallowed in the Upper GI was following the fistula path ... instead of leaving the pouch the right way, it was flowing into my stomach. Dr. Bour's plan for me was to go back to the hospital for IV nutrition (TPN), which would give my digestive tract a break, hopefully allowing the fistula to close on its own. Soooo ...

First stop was Greenville Memorial Hospital to have a PICC line inserted. This is a long, flexible tube that was put into a vein in my arm just above my elbow and threaded up into a large vein just above my heart. This was another upsetting time for me, as the first vein the Dr. (NOT Dr. Bour) tried ended up being too small, and he kept trying to push the tube on through anyway. He finally gave up and succeeded on the 2nd vein he tried. Sadistic SOB never said a word to me.

Off to Hillcrest Hospital, where I was greeted like family. Even though the hospital is a crappy place to spend even one night, I have to say it was a comfort to me to know so many of my caregivers. Not many folks get the experience of being hugged by their nurses!

I was being fed through my arm, but I was still so sick at my stomach. I can't remember what day it happened, but Dr. Bour decided I needed a chest tube inserted to drain the fluid that had accumulated around my left lung. This fluid had come from my initial infection after the leak formed. He's such a wonderful doctor ... he did it in the OR instead of my room, so that I could have more sedation and less pain. He told me later that when the tube was inserted, over 3 liters of fluid came out of my chest cavity. No wonder I couldn't breathe.

Seemed like how I felt changed by the hour when I was in the hospital ... I felt great for a while, then the nausea would come back. Immediately after the chest tube was put in, I spent about 24 hours in a wonderful Dilaudid haze ... and ended up semi-freaking out when I lost a day. I thought it was late afternoon, and instead it was before 10 AM ... hard to explain, but that's when I knew the Dilaudid fun had to end!

I was allowed to try some food on Saturday, July 1st. I ate a few bites of scrambled egg, some potato, and a bite of canned pears. Hospital food is the worst. Dr. Bour sent me home on Sunday, July 2nd. I had some nausea that day ... but I have had practically NONE since that day!!!

I saw the nutritionist yesterday and was put on a Soft Foods diet. All week, I've been eating and getting in all my water and vitamins. I'm sleeping well, and feeling pretty close to how I expected to feel after my surgery. Only it's 6 weeks after my surgery, and in that 6 weeks I spent 22 days in the hospital. Whatever it takes, right?!

I see Dr. Bour tomorrow morning, hopefully to have my chest tube stitches removed, my PICC line removed, and my DRAIN FINALLY REMOVED! Whoooooo!!!


So there you have it. I have had almost a week of feeling pretty good. I have lost 48 pounds ... 16 on my pre-surgery diet, and and 32 since surgery. My clothes are getting baggy.

I did go yesterday and get all my "stuff" removed. Feels great to be free of things hanging out of me. :-/ I'll see the Dr. again the first week of August, and he said he'd schedule another Upper GI then to see how the fistula looks then.

I'm eating lots of cheeeeeese. Yum. And also some soft fruit, refried beans, and eggs. I'm supposed to have 5 tiny meals a day, and I'm finding it very hard to do that. *burp*


Let me know if you're still out there.

Monday, June 05, 2006

"Any little thing to just feel better ..."

Just a quick update so you'll know I can still move my fingers.

Long story ... too unfocused and tired to type out details, but maybe one day. My surgery went just fine. But about 12 hours later, a nurse gave me dose of Ativan (which I have tolerated in the past), which caused me to become unconscious. Apparently I was barely breathing. So I ended up in ICU for 3 days. Good times.

I came home on Sunday, May 28th. I wish I could say it's been great since then, but I cannot tell a lie. (Well, actually I'm a pretty good liar, but not when it comes to how I feel.) I have a drain in my left side that is both painful and a royal pain. It'll come out on Thursday though, and I'm told that will make a world of difference. I thought I was feeling better on Saturday, only to spend yesterday in a fog of nausea, dizzy, yuck yuck yuck. I have Phenergan to take for nausea, but the only thing I feel from it is sleepy. I'm supposed to be having six "feedings" a day ... 1/4 cup of full liquids, which means fat-free artificially sweetened yogurt, low-fat creamed soups (strained), low-fat small curd cottage cheese, or fat-free artificially sweetened pudding. I haven't done the pudding ... probably won't. Sweet things make me so sick. (This is the woman who loved cake frosting better than the cake, y'all.) I'm also supposed to supplement with 60 grams of protein a day. That is turning out to be the hardest part. I'm having a difficult time finding a protein I can use without gagging.

Sooooo .... the nausea seems to be in the background so far today. Keep your toes crossed. I've had my first "feeding" of cottage cheese and the first of four vitamins. Maybe today'll be better.

Yup, I chose this path. Hopefully it won't be long before I can remember WHY.


My heart goes out to the family of Tiffany Souers, the girl who was strangled in Clemson a little over a week ago. I can't even imagine the pain her parents must be enduring. I perk up for every news report, hoping some new development will lead the police closer to catching the person who did it. Emilie lived in the same apartment complex in 2003 and 2004, and it felt really safe and secure. There are security systems in each apartment, and even a panic button in each bedroom.

I'll sleep better when the sicko is behind bars. :-(

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Drink a hope to happy years ..."

I'm ready?? I'm ready!!

I went tonight and yakked away 3 hours with nine other women who live in and around Greenville. They've all had, or are waiting to have, gastric bypass. Laughed until my face hurt. Got lots of hugs and good wishes for my journey. I'm glad I went.

Just so everyone knows ... I love my family more than anything in the world. My children are the very center of my heart. I am doing this so I can more fully embrace the time we have together. I love you.

So I'll be back. Hold my place, will you?

Monday, May 22, 2006

"Hold this thread as I walk away ..."

101 Optifasts down, 4 to go.

I am so good at denial. I have not yet fully realized that tomorrow I will have only clear liquids, and the next day I will be under anesthesia. I guess it'll hit me when I smell the hospital.


Quiet weekend ... you? Jimmy spent all his time with his new love. When he wasn't out riding the motorcycle, he was tinkering on it, washing it, sitting on it, or looking at it. Then he would come inside, sit with his laptop, and READ about it.

Oh, and he made 23 burritos out of leftovers for next week.

I cleaned the house on Saturday. On Sunday, I lazed around. Enjoyed "The Sopranos" so much last night ... when Carmela was in Paris, I knew exactly how she felt and what she was thinking. I've been to the same place in my head before. And then you have to wake up and do the laundry. (It's just a TV show, Dawn!)

I made Ricotta-stuffed shells and salad for dinner last night, but I ate 4 ounces of leftover steak and salad. It's hard for me to believe that I stuck to the pre-op diet for 3 weeks with not ONE cheat. As of last week, I had lost 11 pounds. I don't feel as if I've lost anymore this week, for some reason ... but I'll be officially weighed tomorrow when I go for my last Nutrition class.


The hippies won "The Amazing Race", Aras won "Survivor ... so who will win "American Idol"? I can't decide if Taylor is retarded or sexy ... but I think he's got it in the bag. Now I have to wait until July until "Big Brother" begins. "Hi, my name is Dawn and I'm a reality TV-aholic."


Big, happy congratulations to our nephew, Paul. He graduated from high school last Friday! Whoo hooo!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"I have become comfortably numb ..."

At least that's what I was singing yesterday. An IV full of Versed and Demoral will do that to ya. My nurse gave me the very helpful hint that if I wouldn't try to talk while the scope was down my throat, that I wouldn't have a sore throat after it was all over. She was right! Not a hint of a sore throat anywhere. I'll have to share that with my friend Melony (who told me she had a sore throat for 2 days after her EGD) when I see her later today.

Jimmy dropped me off at home after it was over, and I slept like a baby all afternoon. Drugged sleep is good sleep.

This morning I went back to the hospital to square things away in the business office and bleed into tubes for the lab people. I found out that my surgery will be at 8:00 AM on Wednesday ... which means I have to be there at 6:15 AM. Ouch.

Weird Dawn Fact For Thursday: Every time I've had my blood pressure taken in the last few months ... and it's been a lot ... it's been running a bit high, 150/90, or something close to that. Today, the nurse took it twice to be sure: 98/65. WTF? She didn't seem too concerned, making some comment about how relaxed I was. What do I know? Maybe the Versed was still working.


I have got so much to do between now and next Tuesday. I wonder if I'll stop procrastinating long enough to actually do any of it.

I'll have to get back to you on that. Hope you're all having a good Thursday. :-)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Letting the days go by ..."

Miss me?

I went to Georgia on Thursday afternoon. 'Twas good to see the family, but good to get back home again too. I spent time with my Mom, Kay and Beth, Laura and Melody, Michael and Patti ... even got to spend a little time with Paul and Hallie, too. There is never enough time when I get down there, and this visit was no exception.

I got home on Mother's Day, and got a visit by my own kiddos. Emilie brought me a dozen roses, all different colors ... so pretty! Adam and Brandy brought me a flat of bud-filled impatiens to fill all my pots (gonna plant them today). We ate dinner together, and then watched the finale of Survivor. Great Mother's Day!

Adam's back to Philly again this week, Brandy's in NC for a few days, and Em's gone back to Clemson. The world's still spinning, I guess. "Same as it ever was ..."


Jimmy shocked me by actually shopping while I was gone. I came home to find an incredible new treadmill in my house! I love it. Now there is no excuse ... daily exercise! It has a fan, TWO cupholders, a magazine rack, several pre-programmed routines, and you can make your own too. Too cool!

Turns out Adam and Brandy bought a treadmill on the same day ... not knowing Jimmy was buying one. Great minds think alike?


Nothing to eat or drink after midnight for me ... at 1:30 PM tomorrow, I will have an endoscopy. Dr. Bour will look to make sure there are no ulcers and other scary things in my esophagus and stomach. I've stocked up on sugar-free frozen Snapple pops for the sore throat I've been told I'll have afterwards. Wish me luck.

Monday, May 08, 2006

"Monday, Monday - can't trust that day ... "

The weekend was over in a flash, was it not?

Saturday, we had the most gorgeous weather known to man. The sky was bluest blue, the air was clear, and the temps were perfect. We spent a couple of hours at the storage building, going through Grandma F's things. Adam came to help, and we ended up filling both trucks with things for Goodwill. We left some things we want to go through, and some things we don't want to get rid of, and called it done for now.

Jimmy had a major itch to get on the road to NC ... a motorcycle was calling his name. He ended up buying it, and I guess I'll have to drive him up there tomorrow so he can bring the darn thing home. It really is a pretty bike, and he seems almost like a kid ... he's so excited and happy with his purchase.

We actually took a walk after dinner on Saturday. And the world didn't end!

On Sunday, the Weather God said, "Forget that!" We woke to dark skies, falling temps, wind, and rain. Actually, another variety of perfect weather in my book. Perfect, in that you don't feel guilty for snuggling in bed, or on the couch, and watching Lifetime movies all day. We watched a Netflix movie, and sat side by side, with our laptops, under the comforter for most of the day. Ahhhh ... two geeks on a loveseat.

Adam flew off to Philadelphia for the week ... hope all is well there!

Brandy came over Sunday evening, and brought "Brokeback Mountain". Jimmy ran upstairs so as not to accidentally see or hear even a second of the movie. It was actually good ... not as spectacular as I've heard some say ... but good. The scenery was gorgeous, the music was beautiful, and Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhoweveryouspellit were gorgeous AND beautiful.

Emilie is doing well ... she sounds happier than ever when she calls to say hi. :-)

And now you're updated! Don't you feel better?

Oh! And I'm not as miserably hungry as I was the last time I wrote. I'm getting this whole "drink all day, only one meal" thing under control! I dreamed last night I binged on candy, and Jimmy came home and found all the wrappers ... he was so mad at me. Bad dream. But I had a beautiful bathroom ... where I ran to hide in embarrassment ... which proves it WAS a dream after all.

Friday, May 05, 2006

"Stronger than yesterday ... "

Good Lord, I'm hungry. I'm not complaining, really I'm not. Just hungry. :-)

At 9 AM every day, I have a delicious and nutritious 6-oz. chocolate Optifast.

At 11 AM, I change things up and have the strawberry flavor.

At 1 PM, back to chocolate.

At 3 PM, it's time for vanilla!

At 5 PM, I close the Optifast experience with another chocolate drink.

At 7 PM, I eat "THE MEAL" ... 4 oz. of protein, 1 cup of cooked vegetables, 1 teaspoon of fat, and 1 piece of fruit.

In between everything, I'm getting in at least 100 ounces of water. And anytime I damn well please, I can have a sugar-free popsicle.

This is what my surgeon requires for 3 to 4 weeks before the surgery happens. He says it will build up the protein and vitamin stores in my body to make recovery faster, and it will shrink my liver ... which will make the operation easier for both of us.

I never did get around to eating those last dinners everyone talks about ... you know, all those foods you know you won't eat again, at least for a very long time. I thought about Krystal cheeseburgers, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, BBQ ribs, fried shrimp, fried chicken ... well, I thought about a lot of food! Hey y'all, I didn't get to be a fat girl by eating vegetables at every meal! But I never did make it to any of those. I did have my favorite Pasta Milano on my birthday weekend. And the night before I started the Optifast, Jimmy and I went out and had a steak and baked potato at Logan's. One day, in the far distant future, I may have another taste of a Krystal cheeseburger, but I'll never again sit down to a bag full. (And feel like dying after eating them. And taste the fake onions for two days.)

I'm OK with it. Eating the way I've eaten for years is what got me to this place. Even still, I'm feeling some sadness ... last night I was seasoning my "4 oz. portion of protein", and saw my Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt in the cabinet. Immediately I got all pouty-faced, thinking of my special popcorn ... with the melted butter, Parmesan cheese, and Jane's. Man, that tasted good with a "real" Coke over ice. My old friend Leslie and I used to pig out on that stuff every Thursday night while we watched "Knot's Landing" together. She taught me some really BAD snacking habits, that girl.

But I'm on another road now ... or the same road, just farther along. If I continue to eat whatever I want, as much as I want, I will never live to enjoy grandchildren. I will sink deeper in the depression that being overweight causes in me. I've already wasted so much time.


On my birthday in March, I made a list ... or the beginnings of a list ... of some things I'm looking forward to ...

*Buying clothes because I love them, not just because they fit.
*Sitting anywhere I please, instead of looking for the sturdiest chair in the room.
*Having my picture taken, instead of avoiding it like the plague.
*Getting weighed at the doctor's office without shame.
*Hugging someone without cringing with the thought, "Is my fat creeping them out?"
*Improving my health!
*Going to the movies without physical pain.
*Less snoring at night.
*Hopefully having a jawline again. And cheekbones!
*Taking up less space in my car, on my couch, everywhere.
*Crossing my legs like a lady.
*Sweating LESS.
*Wearing pretty shoes.
*Finding out what I look like as a "normal" adult!
*Making my family proud of me.
*Traveling without all the ISSUES I carry with me everywhere now.
*Climbing stairs without my heart racing and being out of breath.
*Having people I haven't seen lately not recognize me.
*Fitting into ANY booth in ANY restaurant.
*Walking through a turnstile without having to turn sideways and squeeeeeze through on my tiptoes.
*Being "present" for every special moment in my life ... grandbabies, my daughter's wedding, time with extended family, etc ... instead of feeling misery inside because I'm so fat.
*Knowing that I finally did something for ME.


Here's my schedule for the next 3 weeks:

**May 8 - Pre-op Support Group
**May 9 - Nutrition Class
**May 11 - Pre-Surgery Group (where we are told (again) of the possible complications and what to expect in the hospital.)
**May 16 - Nutrition Class
**May 17 - EGD at Hillcrest Hospital
**May 18 - Pre-op appointment at Hillcrest Hospital
**May 22 - Pre-op Support Group
**May 23 - Nutrition Class
**May 24 - Surgery at Hillcrest Hospital


Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"I've got a sky full of angels watching over me ..."

Cover your ears.

I'VE GOT A SURGERY DATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry about that. Hee.

Kim from Dr. Bour's office called at 10 AM today. She said, "I've got your pre-authorization from your insurance here ... want to have surgery?" I said, "GET. OUT."

She asked if I wanted May the freakin' 24th as my date ... well, she didn't say the "freakin" part ... and I said, "Yessssssssss!" I hung up the phone and burst into tears. My fingers went numb, and I cried and laughed and cried some more. I can't even wrap my head around it yet.

I have to start on the Optifast diet, and will go and get all my stuff at 4 PM today.

May 24th, people. Can you believe it??!!

Friday, April 28, 2006

"How far is heaven? ..."

Every single time that I scoop the litter box, Maggie comes to watch ... and before I'm finished, she has climbed INTO the box and is using it. I guess she isn't much for the whole "privacy" thing.

Speaking of the cat ... last night was the first night in a loooooong time that I wasn't awakened 47 times by cat breath in my face. Maybe the night before when I lovingly showed her the way to the floor ... over and OVER again ... had something to do with it!


Jimmy is home today, and is working in the yard this morning. Wow, what absolutely perfect weather we've had lately.

There was some celebrity golf thing in town yesterday ... I saw Kevin Costner and ummm ... well, Kevin Costner on the news last night at some red carpet thing they were all attending downtown. I can't remember if it was Costner or some other "celebrity" that said it, but someone said something like, "The city of Greenville is amazing ... good people, perfect weather ... blah blah blah." Yep, we get perfect weather every year ... for about 7 days. The the humidity arrives. But you have to agree that the weather had great timing this year ... perfection on the very day Kevin Costner came to town.


I got a call from Grandma's oncologist yesterday. He asked how she was feeling. He seemed genuinely sad to hear she had passed away. That led to lots of thinking about Grandma for me ... it was this time last year that we were making plans to bring her up here from Georgia. We were so worried about her money running out, it seemed vital that we get her to an assisted living place that would accept Medicaid when the time came that she needed it. As it turned out, she never needed it.

I'm really glad we did get her up here, for my sake. She was unhappy, and wanted to go back to Georgia even before she got here ... but I'm happy I had the time with her. If we had known ... I guess we would have left her where she was, so she wouldn't have had to spend so many hours thinking about how to get back home again. But I cherish every memory I have of the past 11 months with her ... even the times she had me gritting my teeth and rolling my eyes.

She always greeted me with a smile and a hug when I walked in the door. And man, she could tell some good stories about her life when she felt like it. She loved Hershey Bars ... "You know now they say that some chocolate is good for you!" She kept them in her room at the assisted living place, but in the nursing home, I would just keep one in my purse for her ... we felt that if we kept them in her drawer, they would disappear when a CNA needed a snack. One day in March, I woke her up when I got there, and she gave me a big smile and said, "Ohhhh good! It's my candy man!" If nothing else, she liked seeing me because I brought her chocolate. :-)

I still haven't gone through her belongings that we brought home from the nursing home. It makes me sad to even think of it.


Yesterday, I gave in and called the damn insurance company again. I tell myself I did good because it's been over a week since I called before. The first person I spoke to said, "Oh you don't need approval for this surgery ... it's a covered benefit. After you pay your deductible, we pay 100%." I knew that, but what the hell? I don't need approval? What am I waiting on then? He told me to call the Care Coordination department ... I said, "I thought I did!" He gave me the number, and I called ... and waded through the damn menu ("If you'd like to hear the alphabet in Russian, press or say 2"), and then waited on hold forEVER. Then I was disconnected.

I smiled politely, took a deep breath ... and redialed. The Lexapro might be working, folks ... ya think?

This time, I got a snippy bitch, who told me that she couldn't tell me anything about "my file" since it was in NeverNeverLand. Actually she said it was in "Clinical Review", whatever that means. I asked how long it might be there ... she said anywhere from 1 or 2 days to weeks. Oh, so helpful.

Anyway, she said as soon as it was out of clinical review, a decision would be made, and I would get a letter informing me of the decision. I didn't even ask her why the first guy I spoke to gave me such an off-the-wall response. Every time I call there, I get a different version of what's going on.

*deep sigh*

I guess maybe I'll hear something in 2 weeks. Thanks for putting up with me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Don't wanna be an American idiot ..."

My dreams came true on Fox TV tonight. (It doesn't take much for me, folks!) Andrea Bocelli sang ... if that's what you want to call the miracle that comes out of his mouth when he opens it. His voice is straight from heaven. Guess what CD I'll be listening to all day tomorrow?

AND ... best of all, Kellie "Too Dumb For Words" Pickler was sent packing. Thank GOD. "What's a ballsy?" I can't stand her.


From the comments:

This isn't an arena for me to just randomly type.... I should be commenting on your "blog"

Sister, you can type whatever you darn well please in my comments. But you don't need a 17th dog. Really, you don't.

And ...

Don't worry - the date will be here soon enough. Then we'll all be jealous of you!

I love you Brandy. :-) I don't want you to be jealous of me though. Promise you won't!!!


So I'm still waiting on the phone to ring. At my pre-op group sessions, I record my weight each time. At the 2nd one, I had gained a little over a pound from the 1st meeting. Then, after Grandma F passed away, at the 3rd meeting I was down 5 pounds. And this week, I was down again ... almost 2 more pounds. I have no idea why ... except for the week or so leading up to the funeral when I was forgetting to eat, I've been eating nothing but junk and sugar.

Anyway, tomorrow I'm trying something new. I'm going to eat basically as I ate on Weight Watchers. Anything I lose before surgery just makes it that much easier in the operating room ... and I'll be that much closer to where I dream of being. So. There.


Jimmy just came in from his monthly Texas Hold 'Em game. God, I hope he didn't win. Then we'll have to have all those engineer-types in OUR house next month.

Monday, April 24, 2006

"These days seem like years ..."

It was a quiet weekend here at the castle. Jimmy got some of his firewood chopped and stacked, and I finished up the thank-you cards from Grandma's funeral. I burned dinner last night. (Grr.) Then I watched The Sopranos and went to bed. The End.


Still nothing to report on the topic of INSURANCE. Other than to say it's on my mind 24/7. One of the girls in my support group who was gearing up to fight a denial by her insurance suddenly just got approved last week. And while I'm happy for her, I'm evil too. I'm jealous. Don't hate me because I'm honest about how I feel. Her surgery date is May 17th. Yay.

Needless to say, every time the phone rings, my heart jumps ... it's Kim calling with my approval and a date! Only it's never Kim. It's my mother-in-law.


Y'all have a great week, will ya?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Reality runs up your spine ..."

It has been a week since my last confession.

Maybe because I have nothing to confess. Ya think?


Finally spoke to Kim in Dr. Bour's office yesterday. I called on Tuesday, and got her voice mail. When she didn't call back, I tried again yesterday ... voice mail again. She called in the afternoon and said, "I called you yesterday on your cell phone and left a message. I sent your paperwork to insurance on the Friday before last ... April 7th. They will take about 30 days to respond."

I thanked her and then went to listen to the message she left on my cell. (Unless I'm sitting near my purse, I don't hear my cell phone ring ... but in this case, the darn battery was dead. I had to use the house phone to listen to the cell voice mail!)

The cell voice mail (left on Tuesday) said, "Just wanted to tell you that your paperwork was sent to your insurance a few days ago, and they have 45 days to respond ... so you have, ummm, about 40 days to go."

Hmm. A few days ago, or April 7th? 30, 40, or 45? Oh well.

Just to be as pesty as I could possibly be yesterday, I called the insurance company to see if they'd admit to having my paperwork. The girl said, "Yes, your paperwork was received yesterday, April 18th, and we have 30 days to give a reply to your surgeon."

Yesterday. Now I'm not saying anyone's making things up, but I got three different answers from two different people.

Oh well, bottom line is that my insurance FINALLY has my paperwork, and some time in the next 30 to 40 days, maybe I'll hear from Kim again with, "You've been approved!"

Not even gonna go to the "What if I'm denied?" place in my head just yet.


Adam and Brandy's new house is looking so pretty. We ate Easter dinner there, Emilie included ... Adam grilled yummy steaks on their new gas grill. Not your typical Easter dinner, but it worked for us.


That's all I got.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Tell me that you want the same things as me ..."

This has truly been The Week Of Procrastination. It's like my brain is on vacation, and I'm barely functioning. I need to do paperwork and get the desk cleaned off. The bathrooms are growing fuzzy things. I need to add more money to the IRA before the end of the week. I need to EXERCISE. I haven't cooked a meal in more than two weeks. Ugh. I hate feeling like this.

I did get caught up on the laundry yesterday, so that's a good thing. And I made another call the the insurance company, only to find out they STILL don't have any requests for approval. (When Kim gets back from vacation, I'm letting her know - in no uncertain terms - that she can't take another day off until AFTER my surgery.

Instead of cleaning bathrooms, I choose now to spend time doing a useless, silly, middle school survey I yanked off someone else's website:

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought? “My hair is so damn thin, it’s ridiculous.”

2. When is the next time you will have sex? Is that any of your bidness? I didn't think so.

3. What’s a word that rhymes with “DOOR”? Shore

4. Favorite planet? Venus. I guess.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your mobile? Jimmy. Sometimes I don’t hear my cell phone ringing, it’s at the bottom of my purse, or I’m in another room altogether.

6. What is your favorite ring on your phone? My phone’s rings are all very lame and boring. The ring I use is the sound of a phone ringing.

7. What shirt are you wearing? A navy blue shirt that I bought a few weeks ago, because I have NO clothes for warm weather.

9. Name the brand of shoes you’re currently wearing? No shoes at all, but later I will be wearing the ever present Birkenstocks.

10. Bright or Dark Room? Bright, unless I’m trying to watch a movie or go to sleep.

12. What were you doing at midnight last night? Reading on the Internet, in bed of course.

13. What did your last text message you received on your mobile say? It was years ago, but I think it was a Happy Birthday message from Sister Laura.

14. Where is your letter box? I’m assuming this means my mailbox, and it’s at the end of the driveway, next to the street.

15. What’s a word that you say a lot? “Great.”

16. Who told you he/she loved you last? Emilie

17. Last furry thing you touched? Maggie Belle’s stomach. We had a smooch-fest in the middle of the night last night, when I woke and found her sleeping so sweetly with her head on my outstretched arm. Aww.

18. How many drugs have you done in the last three days? Just one Lexapro a day.

19. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed? None. I hardly ever take pictures. We are the only people in the USA that still use a film camera, aren’t we?

20 Favorite age you have been so far? I liked 35, but I hope the best is yet to come.

21. Your worst enemy? Myself.

22. What is your current desktop picture? I don’t use a desktop picture. The last time I did was years and years ago, and I think it was a picture of the beach. I don’t really remember.

23. What was the last thing you said to someone? “Ouch, damnittohell.” That was last night, when Jimmy jabbed his toenails into my ankle in bed. He was sound asleep, and never heard a thing.

24. If you had to choose between a million dollars, able to fly, which would you choose? The money. Duh.

25. The last song you listened to? “The Real Thing” by Bo Bice

26. If the last person you spoke to was getting shot at, would you jump in front of the bullet? I hope so – I’m wider than anybody I know, so I’d stand a good chance of shielding them … and maybe my fat would stop the bullet before it hit any of my vital organs. Sounds like a plan.

27. If you could punch 1 person in the face who’s in your life right now, who would it be? Tom Cruise. Granted, he’s not so much “in my life”, but he’s the one person on earth I’d like to punch in the face, because he’s an IDIOT ASSHOLE.

28. What is the closest object to your left foot? My right thigh, I’m sitting Indian-style.

Yikes, that was a stupid waste of time and typing, was it not?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"We all falter, but does it matter? ..."

Wow. Our non-English-speaking neighbor just kicked his wife out the back door ... in English, no less. Complete with a spit in her general direction.

We're under the impression that she cheated on him, based on the sounds traveling in our open bathroom window. So much for privacy.


Speaking of privacy ... Jimmy's goal for the night is to complete our tax return, and he's about to open an artery in there, attempting to remember the freaking PASSWORD with which he locked the incomplete return a few weeks ago. Why, you might ask, would he bother to password it, when it's on our home hard drive? Turns out that's exactly what he's yelling at this very moment in time. Gonna be a long night. *sigh*


Last night was my third pre-op support group meeting. The psychologist talked to us about relaxation techniques to relieve stress. Were you aware that if you can roll your eyes up so that only the whites of your eyes show, it's a good sign that you can be easily hypnotized? I learn something new every day. I am not easily hypnotized, but I did enjoy the 15-minute relaxation session he talked us through.

After that, one of the nutritionists on staff talked about the different phases our diets will go through after surgery.

For me, the best part of the meeting was FINALLY meeting a girl I've been e-mailing with for the last month. Her name is Melissa, and her surgery is a week from today. (I'm jealous.) She is as sweet in person as she is in E-mail. We swapped phone numbers, and I'm planning to go by and see her at the hospital next Wednesday.

I called the insurance company last Thursday, and found out that my pre-determination packet had not been submitted. I then called Kim at Dr. Bour's office. (Kim is the program coordinator/insurance guru.) She said they were STILL waiting on Dr. Russell's dictation to come back from his transcriptionist. She said it would probably be back to them this week. Then last night, I found out that Kim is on vacation this week ... so I'm probably hoping in vain that my packet will go anywhere this week. Aaaarrrghhhh!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

"It's hard to say it, time to say it -- goodbye, goodbye ..."

Here I sit, a normal Monday morning ... and I don't know what to do with myself. It feels totally foreign to NOT be going to see Grandma F today.

The funeral was Saturday morning, in her hometown in south Georgia. The flowers were pretty, the stormy weather held off until we were ready to head back home again, and the time with family and friends was needed and treasured. Grandma had planned everything before she got sick, and we didn't have to make any decisions about her funeral. She had even chosen the songs to be sung. All we really had to do was show up.

On the afternoon of her death, I was there. I do have the assurance that she went peacefully and with no pain, because I saw it with my own eyes. We had all told her in our own ways that it was alright for her to go. But in the last moments of her life, there I was ... tears flowing onto her hands, and begging her not to go yet. I thought I would feel only relief when her death came ... relief for her, and for us. But instead all I feel is loss. It's really hard to say goodbye.

Gone From My Sight

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says;
"There, she is gone!"

"Gone where?"
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, "There, she is gone!"
There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad
shout; "Here she comes!"
And that is dying.

We are all better people for having known her.

Thank you, Grandma.


Sunday, Jimmy and I went to check out the kids' brand new house. We helped a bit ... Jimmy helped hang a ceiling fan in the bedroom, and install the washer and dryer. I went shopping with Brandy for a few things they needed, and then unpacked a box or two. The house is oh, so nice. Spacious, clean, and beautiful. Even the things they had in the apartment look new all over again in the larger rooms. I'm very happy for my kiddos, and proud of them, too.


Speaking of kiddos ... Emilie, you are enough. Don't ever forget that. I love you.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"She's an angel, let her fly ..."

Annie Geraldine
"Grandma F"
November 22, 1912 - April 4, 2006

I know your life on earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
Were no stranger to the rain

Go rest high on that mountain
Your work on earth is done
Go to heaven a-shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
Gathered round your grave to grieve
Wish I could see the angels' faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

Go rest high on that mountain
Your work on earth is done
Go to heaven a-shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son.

Go to heaven a-shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"It's something unpredictable ..."

Another short update:

Grandma spent the day yesterday unresponsive and breathing fairly evenly. There were a few short episodes of apnea, but the time spent not breathing was short, 3 or 4 seconds each time. From what I've read, apnea in a dying person can sometimes mean longer stretches... up to 20 seconds or so ... with no breath taken, and then breathing resumes. She also got a lot warmer as the day went by ... when I first went in, her hands were like ice, but by mid-afternoon they were warm again. Her hands and wrists are very swollen ... you can see the fluid move just under the skin in her hands. They don't even look like Grandma's hands anymore.

She opened her eyes off and on throughout the day, but only once did I feel as though she saw me and knew who I was ... I got a sweet smile.

I kept her mouth moisturized with water on a tiny sponge, and spoonfuls of thickened water when the nurse gave her meds ... and kept Blistex on her lips. Everyone at the nursing home is being very nice, asking me if I need anything, etc.

The wind blew like crazy yesterday afternoon, and the temperature was near perfect, so I opened the windows and let the breeze blow through the room ... hoping she could feel it and enjoy it. Also hoped she could hear the birds singing over the hum of her oxygen.

Heading back over to sit with her shortly.