Wednesday, July 12, 2017

30 Day Challenge (and hamburger meat)

I've been doing this since last Friday.  It was easy to do while I was at the Denver conference because eating is normally a social thing I do and I wasn't being social.  The only time blanched at this diet during the conference was the day they served box lunches and mine was a bag of potato chips, a chocolate chip cookie, and a sandwich made of white bread, one piece of lettuce, one piece of cheddar cheese, and a lot of very pink, slimy roast beef.    Yes, pink is my favorite color but not when it comes to meat.  With meat, my favorite color is very dark brown bordering on black.  I hate pink.

Luckily, that evening was my one social activity and I went to a Mexican restaurant with Minor and John.  It was like the old days of DeColores.  The restaurant served me three bowls of salsa with a spoon that I didn't have to share with anyone and a very good taco salad without the taco shell.

Coming home yesterday, I stopped at B's and my favorite restaurant in Alamosa, Colorado - a great Mexican buffet called Cavillo's.  That's a safe restaurant for me because all I want is beans, salad, salsa, and watermelon.  It's unsafe for B because all she wants is Tres Leches cake.  One time, we spent four days in Alamosa, went to Cavillo's every day, and ate exactly the above.  It's good that she wasn't with me this time.  She can no longer eat sugar.

I also haven't had ketchup since last Thursday.  I read this challenge as essentially meaning 'no sugar' and I'm trying to change how I see ketchup.  I want to try looking at it as less of a necessity and more of a sugar.

And I haven't weighed since Friday morning.  Normally I weigh every day because I think that helps me watch my diet.  Hellllllooo, that may have helped in the past but it sure hasn't helped during the last few months.  It been like, "Good Morning Self!  Let's start our day off with a bit of Self-Loathing and Depression....    Now have a GREAT DAY!!!!"

I'll weigh on August 7th.

To change the subject - while sticking to food......  See this picture?

B is making chili today.  It looks like dogs or mice got to this meat before we did, right?  But actually, what ate the meat, styrofoam, plastic wrap - and plastic grocery bag that it was all in - was my ice maker.  My freezer was full so B laid the newly bought bag of hamburger meat on top of the ice in the ice maker.  We didn't realize what had happened until Barb came to get ice and found it mixed with raw hamburger meat.  In fact, Lissa had filled her cup from the ice dispenser in the refrigerator door and didn't notice, until later, that she was drinking water with little pieces of hamburger meat and styrofoam floating around in it.

It was one of those pee dripping down my legs moments for B, Barb, and me when Barb found it.  The funniest thing was the Smith's grocery bag.  It had been chewed up by the ice maker and was now a extremely long, two-inch wide strip of plastic wrapped around and around the ice maker turner-thingy.  I wanted to take a picture of it after I untangled it from the ice maker but B wouldn't let me.

I hope that some of you will do this challenge with me.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I Promised (to myself) Transparency

So, I'll tell you about today.
In 12 Step Programs, there is the slogan HALT.   It means
* don't get too Hungry
* don't get too Angry
* don't get too Lonely
* don't get too Tired

Well, I started today 'too tired'. I hosted a cookout yesterday and spent the day cleaning and preparing, then I was on the road this morning at 6:30 (which is still night time to me) making the first of two trips to Santa Fe.

I didn't have anything in my belly but coffee and by the time of the second trip, I was starving.  So I was "too hungry".  But I had lost my phone and spent an hour backtracking through Santa Fe to find it, so it was nearly 1:00 when B and I went to eat at India Palace.  It's been years since I've eaten there because they have a WONDERFUL Indian food buffet and I know that buffets and me should not hang out together.  But ...... "too tired" and "too hungry" = a set up for me to get in a toxic relationship with a buffet.

I don't understand Indian food, I don't know what's in it - all I know is that I love it two plates worth.   As soon as I stuffed it all in, I had a stomach ache that lasted all afternoon.  I took my first afternoon nap of the summer, then picked up B to go get a drink at Sonic later in the day.  I was still questioning whether I had food poisoning or was going to barf or was still just stuffed when these words came out of my mouth: "I don't know if I'm going to throw up or if I need American food".
B's words were "What in the hell are you talking about?"
My explanation was "My body feels like I ate too much Indian food and now I need a Sonic cheeseburger and fries to feel better."
B (who hates racism as I do) said "THAT IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS THING I'VE EVER HEARD!!!!!"
And I realized that I sounded like I was a food racist.  And I didn't even know there was such a thing!

But you know what??  That was exactly what my tummy needed.  It needed a greasy, fatty Sonic cheeseburger and fries.   Then my body was ok.  Fat, but no longer queasy.



Monday, July 3, 2017

My Body Can Attest To The Fact That I Haven't Blogged In Over A Year

After a fiasco in a lake due to my extra weight (and bad knees), I've decided to lay it all out there again.  I've put off blogging for a looooooonnnngggg time.  The problem with having a weight loss blog is that you set yourself up for advice (99.999999999% of which you already know).  You also set yourself up to be chastised, sometimes shamed, 'given a serious talkin' to', being told that you're being told something 'for your own good', judgement (spoken and unspoken), and a copious amount of eye-rolling that you can actually see across the internet wave lengths.   And to be honest, NONE of that helps.
For me, the reason a weight loss blog helps is not because of what others say, but because of what I say.  What I lay out there.  What helps is me essentially saying "OK, this shit right here is me.  It's all the corners and crevices.  I can no longer hide from you."  And, because of some internal process that obviously is too close to me for me to understand, saying that on a blog (and assuming that people I love will read it) magically makes me be more accountable about how I take care of myself.  It makes me be more aware, more cognizant of what I put it in my mouth - because I know I'm going to tell you about it.  
It's like guilt works for me - IN ALL AREAS OF MY LIFE EXCEPT EATING.  I don't lie, I don't cheat, I try to do what I say and say what I do because I HATE feeling guilty.  Guilt guides my behavior.  It's like bowling ball gutter bumpers - knowing I will feel guilty about something keeps me in the bowling lane - my ball (behavior) doesn't necessarily go straight down the middle of the lane but it doesn't go into the gutter because of my gutter bumpers (knowing my guilt limit).

(Oh my God, you can tell I haven't blogged in awhile because I've forgotten how to make sense to other people!)

Anyway,  my guilt button works in all areas of my life except eating.  I think that's because, if I lie and cheat, I impact other people.  My eating just impacts me (and, yes, I know, the people who love me and want me to live a long time) but mainly just me.

So, that was a very blahblah way to tell you that, what makes me accountable where eating is concerned, is sharing my failures and my successes publicly.  If I 'live out loud', I live better and safer.  True fact.

About six months ago, I knew that I needed to blog but I couldn't figure out how to access my blog.  After the lake fiasco, I knew (again) that I needed to blog so I tried to set it up last night from my phone because I was too lazy to get up and get my computer.

Then today (more about that in a minute) where I "forgot" what I could eat in a restaurant that I've made good choices in many times before - I reached the point where I had to come straight home (still burping up Mexican food) and blog.

But first about the lake:
I was supposed to have knee replacement surgery next week but I cancelled it two months ago.  In Lake Dunlap, outside of New Braunfels, I knew that I DO HAVE TO HAVE knee surgery.  So I'll schedule it for next summer.  However, if I try to tell you that my lake problem was just because of my knee while you are looking at my body, you will know that I'm full of shit.  The truth is, a skinny person with bad knees (or even NO knees) wouldn't have had the problem I had in the lake.

Uhhh,  transparency, Jenny!  My knees probably had little to do with my lake problem.   I know that doesn't give me an excuse not to get knee surgery but my knees just exaggerated my lake problem, they didn't cause it.  (.... and this is the first time I've admitted that even to myself....)

Here is my lake problem in the form of a picture book called Coast Guard Comes To Lake Dunlap.

Jenny and Nina go floating in Lake Dunlap.  Nina is smiling because she doesn't know yet that she will have to haul the float back against the current with her mother in it.  

Jenny is smiling because Nina is pulling the float and because .... Jenny is clueless.  

Jenny not only floats.  She also gloats and throws peace signs.  Again, because she is clueless and has no idea................

................................... that THIS will become the bane of her existence.

 So when it's time to get out of the lake, I just go up the ladder like usual cannot haul myself up the ladder AT ALL.  The rungs are like three feet apart probably at least a foot apart.  After many tries, I finally get my right knee on the second rung but there is NO WAY I can put my weight (PLUS the extra 100 pounds that I carry around for grins) on THAT knee to haul my butt up the ladder.

Here's a blank page in the picture book because there is no way in hell we're going to have pictures of that debacle:

Jenny tried.  And tried and tried.  And tried and tried and tried to come up the ladder.  
She frantically kept saying to Nina, "DON'T TELL ANYBODY!!!".

Nina was getting more and more rattled by the idea of her mother stuck in the lake like the Loch Ness Monster.  (...this could be how that story started out too, ya know!)

Jenny swam from dock to dock trying to find a way out. of. the. fucking. pretty. lake.  

Nina worriedly followed on the shore (going through fences that divided up private properties) trying to stay caught up with her momma in case Jenny decided to drown.

Just when Jenny thought she would have to call the lake-equivalent of the Coast Guard (probably just the drunk guys who kept waterskiing past her),  she found a stranger's dock - on private property, of course - who had a ladder with closer rungs.  

As Nina crawled through another fence, Jenny hauled her butt up the ladder and onto the dock.  

She and Nina vowed to never tell anyone about it.  

But Jenny was left with bruises on her arms that made her look like an abused woman.  

(Which actually is a much more socially acceptable story than that of a fat woman unable to get out of a lake - but Jenny doesn't lie, remember?)  


                                 The End

Story time is over, y'all.

The icing on the cake (is there a non-food-related term for this????) was the fact that I awoke this morning with the commitment to make changes.  I had received two new books about an eating lifestyle change that I wanted to read.   I had fruit and cheese for breakfast and made the commitment to not eat any grains for awhile.

I went to lunch with Gay.  We went to Viola's where I have been A THOUSAND TIMES and stayed on my diet.  All I have to do there is order a bowl of pinto beans and green chile.  It's one of my favorite foods, is good for me, and is something that I allow myself on my Jenny Diet.
Unfortunately, today at Viola's, I looked at the the menu and could find NOTHING for a dieting person to eat.  NOTHING!!!!  So I ordered chips and salsa, a Dallas Burrito (hamburger meat, beans, cheese, sour cream - and named after Texas so I love it), more beans, and a sopapilla with honey.  And ketchup.

After I got home, I thought "BEANS!  THAT'S WHAT I USUALLY ORDER - BEANS!!"  And I decided that I really do need to blog.

Again, I'm not blogging for others to help me.  I'm blogging to help myself.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Back in the Proverbial Saddle

I crashed.  I whined.  You supported.  You chastised.  I rolled my eyes.  You rolled your eyes.
Whatever.  It worked.
Now the adult me is in charge of the little rebellious, unrestrained, unreined me.

I'm trying to focus on three ideas:

1.  One is a statement that Mary Beth Stevens' friend put on his Facebook page a long time ago and I stole.  He said "I am the only person who puts food in my mouth."  I really like that because I frequently find myself looking for someone else to blame.  If I have to take responsibility -- well, maybe I'll rethink it.

2.  Another thing that I'm trying to focus on showed up on Facebook this week.  It's this:

I like that.  I'm trying to burn it into my brain.

3.  And the third thing I'm trying to think about and focus on is a children's book that I use in therapy.  It's written for young elementary students but I recently read it to some middle schoolers.  It's called Don't Feed The Monster On Tuesday and it's about self esteem.
It talks about how everyone has a little tiny monster on the inside - pretty much the same thing as when I talk about Little Jenny.  We feed the monster by what we say to ourselves - and by what we allow other people to say to us or how we let them make us feel.  As the monster grows, it gets more and more hungry and we feed it by telling ourselves more and more horrible things about ourselves.

It's a dance I've done all my life.  And, in my case, I feed the monster REAL FOOD!

So, I've been telling myself "don't feed the monster".

Anyway, I'm better.  And in control.

Love you,

Thursday, April 7, 2016


I don't want to blog.  I especially don't want to write any more about weight loss.  I don't want to be the kind of person that needs to write about weight loss.

But......  I'm not LOSING weight.  I'm GAINING weight.  I lost my motivation at Thanksgiving and I still can't get it back.

I HATE it.  And it makes me hate myself.

So, I have to blog.  This is really the only thing I've ever done that has held me accountable.  I have to start blogging again.

If I don't do something tangible to help me focus on a solution, I just go back into denial that there is a problem.

Usually, I want to be so transparent.  I want to shout out to the world what I weigh, what I struggle with, what I hide under my mask.  But right now - for some reason - my self esteem is so low that I feel like I can't show you who I am.  That's very weird for me.

I don't feel funny.
I don't feel witty.

I feel....... ugh.     UGH.

On Thanksgiving, I weighed 209.  Yep, for you who are new to my world, I know it's big but it's really not big in Jennyland where I once weighed 250.

See?  Ugh.  I write that number and I can feel the weight of self-hate sitting on my chest.

There was something about having gall bladder surgery, B falling in my driveway, breaking her hip and not being able to play with me,  two weeks worth of jury duty - and no telling what else - that just got me TOTALLY off the nice little conscious eating path that I was on.  And that I was actually finding it EASY to be on!

This morning - after a week in Texas where I did my infamous Texas-style eating - I weighed 221.5.


But what is even more ugh-ish is that I pigged out today.
It was the first day of PARCC testing that was actually less stressful that any of the other days this week where I have been uber-focused on preparing for PARCC testing.  So maybe it was the lack of stress that got me going.  And actually, if I'm honest, it was a weird 'less stressful
 day.  It was day of less stressful periods of boredom manning the email to monitor how things were going in the classrooms that were testing - punctuated by periods of frantic anxiety that we had had a "testing irregularity".   (A horrible thing to have in the public school standardized testing world.)

But I think this is the thing that really threw me over the edge - finding myself in this thinking process.
I ate a burrito for breakfast instead of my yogurt.
I ate a donut.
I ate some candy - lots of sour candies.
I ate some chocolate.
I ate a cheese quesadilla for lunch (I wasn't hungry AT ALL).
I ate some of the wonderful homemade things that Lauri made for me to give to the testing teachers.
I left work soooooooooooo tired (and sugar stoned), but I wanted to go to El Parasol and get a green chili cheeseburger with fries BECAUSE I HAD FUCKED UP ON MY EATING ALL DAY!

It's that thinking that I HATE!!!!!!!!!!!  It's like "let me punish myself with food because I punished myself with food because I punished myself with food".  Or like "I hate me because I overate so I'm going to overeat."

It's such a sick thinking process that I can't even get my head around it.

All I know is that I need to be accountable.  To you.  To me.
I need to blog.
If I know that I'm going to "have to report",  I tend to make better choices.

So, please read this.  You don't have to comment.  Just watch me.  Hold me accountable.  I know for some of my friends, that brings out the chastising mother that I feel rebellious towards.  I don't need you to be a chastising mother.  I am chastising myself enough.  More than enough.  Just keep your eye on me.  Make me accountable.

Little Jenny in the flesh.

Friday, March 4, 2016

I Don't Even Want To Talk About It

Whoa........ it's been six months since I blogged.
My bad.
And I really don't want to talk about it.
I just want to post pictures of my meals.  I actually read that was a diet ploy.  If you know that you are going to take a picture of what you eat, you will make better choices.
Sounds like hogwash, huh?
I agree.
But..... I'm kinda into hogwash, I guess.
I've decided that it's really quite gross to take pics of your food.  Well, maybe if you're a food photographer and know how to make it look delicious, it would be different.
My food pictures actually look like shit.
The food resembles...... shit.
But I ate it anyway.
Here's the pictures from the last two days.

Lunch yesterday at Bob's BBQ.  Pulled pork.  And ketchup.

Dinner last night.  Some frozen vegetable thing that had pinto beans, sweet potatoes, kale, chipotle, and pumpkin seeds.   It was actually pretty good.  And string cheese.

A couple of mornings a week, Barb and I go to McDonald's on our way to work and this is what we get.  Barb eats her's with her hand on the way to school.  I can't eat mine with my hands because I have to put strawberry jam all over my eggs.  But this morning, I dropped my fork on the floor of Barb's car so I ate mine with my knife.
Confession time.
(Oh, and I do want to mention that McDonald's cheated us this morning on bacon.  They usually give us two pieces each.  We were a little whiney.)

Lunch today at work.  I was in such a rush today and I had to eat during group so this is what I ended up with from the cafeteria.  Two weinies.  Jalapenos.  Ketchup, of course.  And a salad without dressing.  (Because I couldn't find the dressing.)

And tonight I made this delicious (for reals) steak that I bought (like this) at the butcher's.  It's flank steak stuffed with provolone cheese and spinach and rolled into what looks to me like a pumpkin roll.  (Having my steak resemble a pumpkin roll was a little bit of a turn off but it didn't deter me.)   And those are frozen, and then sauteed, veggies - zucchini, carrots, and onions.
This was before the ketchup made it to my plate.

About 9/10's of this looks pretty horrible, doesn't it?  Maybe this actually could help me.  Unfortunately, I've already stuffed it into my mouth before I look at the pictures.  


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Long Time No Blog

I figured it's about time for a weight blog.

Let me just say - I'm back on top of it.  I'm making good choices after a summer of The Diet vs. The Texas Eating - with The Texas Eating winning 9 times out of 10.

Right before summer started, I had one day of weighing 201.  Only one day.  Most of May was spent fluctuating between 202 and 204.

Summer came.  And really........ I fought it all summer.  I didn't JUST do Texas Eating.  I had good days and bad days.

Today, I weighed 213.5 - down from 216.5 last week.  So I'm going in the right direction after months of slowly gaining.

Here's photos of the graph from the weight log app I use called Happy Scale.  Green means how much weight I've lost in the previous 30 days.  Red means how much weight I've gained in the previous 30 days.

It pains me to see the red.  It's been hard to keep weighing knowing that's what I'm going to see.  But I know that if I don't weigh, I quickly go into denial that I even have a weight problem and happily stuff my face.

I need to find a way to get back to exercising.  I haven't walked much since last Spring.  And I'm very bummed that my knee has gotten worse.  Last year, I could walk my 10,000 steps a day and my knee would hurt but it would be bearable.  It only interfered with my sleep if I did "Black Friday" walking - much more than 10,000 steps.

This fall, when I try to walk 10,000 steps, my knee doesn't hurt a whole lot once I get started walking. But during the night, it aches so much that it keeps me awake.

So I need to find an alternative.  There are many.  I just need to choose one and do it.

And I will.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Yesterday was my 61st birthday.  I weighed 202.5 yesterday morning.  I was pretty proud of myself because I'm on vacation and have been holding on by a thread.

Yesterday, I C.E.L.E.B.R.A.T.E.D!!!

It was amazing!
It was wonderful!
It was stupendous!

But it needs to be over.

I didn't even weigh this morning - out of fear.  And  --  obviously, I am a person who really does need to weigh every day (contrary to popular opinion) because if I don't, I do what I did today ------- which was continue to CELEBRATE.

And it got ugly after lunch.

Standing at Shawnna's refrigerator door, double dipping, by eating banana pudding straight from the serving bowl.  Nina finally said, "You want me to take that away from you?"  I said ''no'' but luckily, she did it anyway.

Wanting Whataburger for dinner.  And forcing the issue.  I AM in Texas so it was important that I go to Whataburger.         NOT.

Getting frozen yogurt after dinner.   We went to one of those places where you fill your bowl and the price is contingent on the weight.

My bowl cost $6.97.

Now it's after midnight and I'm still up because I'm too full and sugar-wired to sleep.  As I was last night.

So............. this blog post is for accountability.  

I will weigh in the morning.
I will get back on the wagon.
I will go out to lunch with a friend.
And I will make good choices.
And most importantly, I will accept and love myself no matter what I weigh tomorrow.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Another Little Check-in From My Home State of Big Eatin'

This morning I was 205.  But I'm OK with it.

Instead of eating my anger and shame yesterday, I cut my hair.  Probably lost some ounces rather than gained.

No, the reason I'm OK with my weight is because I AM on vacation.  I AM with people that I celebrate by eating with.  I AM in close proximity to restaurants I love and that I'm going to go to - diet or not.    And I have been making good choices.

Yesterday, I ate at Babe's.  Babe's is a popular family style restaurant where you choose your entree out of five choices - chicken fried steak, fried chicken, chicken fingers, hickory-smoked baked chicken, or fried catfish.  They bring you a huge serving of your entree along with five sides that come in large bowls for everyone at the table to share (like family dining).  The sides are mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, biscuits (with either honey or sorghum syrup), and "salad".  I put salad in quotation marks because it's really lettuce with a dressing of oil and vinegar and sugar.  It's like sweet lettuce.  Sound weird but it is delicious!  The sides and biscuits are all you can eat - they keep filling those bowls.

I need to say that NOTHING at Babe's is actually healthy but it is oh-so-good.  The green beans are cooked with bacon fat.  The gravy...... well, I could just drink a vat of that gravy.  The corn is sweet and cooked in such a way that it ends up somewhere between fresh corn and creamed corn.
Amazing.  The biscuits and sorghum syrup makes me feel my grandma in my mouth.

Ooooo.  My bad  That doesn't sound right.  You know what I mean - a mouth memory.

I ate too much - as I always do at Babe's - but I made better than normal choices.  Instead of my favorite chicken fried steak, I chose hickory-smoked baked chicken and ate one piece out of the four they gave me.  I ate two serving each of salad, mashed potatoes, and gravy, and corn.  I didn't eat any biscuits.

Not eating the biscuits made me feel virtuous and feeling virtuous is good for me.  For me, when it comes to eating, "virtuous" is the opposite of "oh-hell-let's-just-blow-this-off-and-pig-out" - whatever the word for that is.  Hopeless?  Gluttonous?

So.... I didn't do great but I didn't totally give in to my desires.

For dinner, Nina and I took the fixings for taco salad over to Shawnna's - meat, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, avocado, chips, salsa, and sour cream.  And a watermelon.

Again, I ate too much.  I ate two helpings of taco salad.  But afterwards, I had a choice of having Butter Pecan Ice Cream or watermelon for dessert.  I wanted ice cream.  I chose watermelon.

And again, I felt virtuous, not hopeless.

So, I think that may be the key (or A key - I'm finding that the door to weight loss has many, many keys that need to be used) - for me to make it through vacation.  Make at least one choice per meal that makes me feel virtuous.

I'm not going to eat frozen Lean Cuisine dinners on vacation like I do at home.
I'm not going to go to a deli and ask for a lettuce sandwich like I do at home.
But I can make one decision at each meal that makes me feel good about myself so my internal Adult Jenn can say "See?  We've got this" rather than Little Jenny stomping her foot and yelling "I TOLD YOU SO!!!".

Ummmm, you'd need to be in my head to understand that.  Suffice it to say that today, right now, I feel in control.  Even though I'm enjoying what I'm putting into my mouth.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Just A Little Check-in From Texas

Whoa, is this ever a dangerous state for me!!

I fight the urge to eat beginning when I cross the state line....

I could do a lot of analytical mumbo jumbo but suffice it to say, I've got to be REALLY CAREFUL!!!!

Here is my daily weight logbook for the last week.

Ugh.  It was the most wonderful banana bread - EVER.

But today, I had myself back in check.  And hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.

And the ONLY reason I'm blogging and telling you this is because, if I don't, I'll be giving myself permission to eat whatever I want.

YOU are my touchstone.  YOU keep me honest.

It's very important that I remain transparent.  No matter how ugly it gets.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Everyone Complains About Plateaus but................

Day 3 of Reining It In.  ("It" being Little Jenny).

This morning I was back to 201.5 - a weight that I've considered a "plateau" since the end of April.

Never again will I pooh-pooh a plateau.  My weight never stops moving.  I gain easily, I lose pretty easily.  (Except if I lost weight really easily, I wouldn't be fat.)   When I am at a plateau, it's just a resting point for my body to get used to it's new weight.  But I'm going to go either up.  Or down.

I think I get bored/depressed/irritated when my weight has plateaued and that makes me less motivated to continue to make good choices.  And when a period of being less motivated comes at a time of high stress - Little Jenny comes out and whines "I'm BOREDDDDDDDDDD! This is toooooooo HARDDDDDDD!  Let's just shake this all up!" And I get off my plateau - in a way that I don't want to.

So today, I am grateful for 201.5.
It's not 199.
It's sure not 175.
But it's not 246.
And it's not even 207 like it was this weekend.

201.5 is good for today.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Irene Branch Theory of Doing Something Different

My mom was a recovering alcoholic, a strong member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and basically a self-taught counselor.  She was actually employed as a counselor for many years by the Texas Tech School of Medicine but didn't have a college degree and had never taken a counseling or psychology class in her life, except for workshops.  She believed strongly in a book called Becoming Naturally Therapeutic by Jacquelyn Small.  And that's what she was - naturally therapeutic.  At least to some people.  To others, she was known as the Big Book Bitch because she called it like she saw it, didn't mince words, and called alcoholics on their denial all the time.

Not being educated in clinical counseling gave her ability to not get stuck in a box about how a counselor was supposed to do things.  I think many of the ideas that she came up with to help people were placed in her head by her Higher Power - since they weren't things that she had been taught in class or had read in theoretical tomes.  Or else she made it all up.

My mom talked about "doing something different" a long time before it became a popular solution-focused therapy strategy.  In fact, my memories of my adolescence are that any time I complained, struggled, feared, felt........ she told me to 'do something different'.  I'm sure she didn't tell me that often, but in my head, it was one of those sayings that my adolescence and young adulthood were peppered with.  Along with....

"Chances are if you're bored, you're boring."
"Don't give a problem to God then take it back."
"Modulate your voice."
"You can tell someone to go to Hell in such a way that they'll want to hurry up and get there."

My mom believed that if one wanted to make a BIG change in their life, one should start out with little changes in their daily routine.  She taught that these little changes would:
(1) serve as a constant reminder of the big change one was trying to make
(2) keep one in a state of awareness of their goal
(3) make "change" less uncomfortable

And she had odd creative ideas about what these little daily changes could be.  I heard her tell people (including myself) to start brushing their teeth with their non-dominant hand, to sleep on a significantly different pillow,  to wear their watch on their other arm,  to dress up everyday/dress down everyday/dress differently every day..............   She had many ideas.

I imagine I sneered every time she told me to do something different.  I think I was pretty much a sneering adolescent and young adult.  And I DEFINITELY didn't do what she suggested.

Until I grew up.  Then, thank God, a lot of my mom's wisdom returned to me.  However, I frequently wonder what helpful hints to navigate life she gave me that never made in far enough in my brain for me to later remember.

Yesterday, on Day One of trying to get my eating (and life) under control again, I took off the rings I wear everyday and put some on that I never wear.  They feel uncomfortable on my fingers and get my attention every time I happen to see my hands.  They remind me of what I'm trying to do.  These rings are like little road signs pointing me in the right direction.

I miss my regular rings.  But I will wear these until I feel more grounded, more centered, and/or weigh 199 pounds.

They are a symbol of how I can do something different in all sorts of ways.  I can choose to not put something in my mouth.  I can choose to get up and move when I want to sit down and veg.  I can choose to blog rather than watch tv.

I have lots of choices and, today, I choose to do something different.

Weight today: 204

Saturday, May 30, 2015

This is Jenn. Little Jenny has been a bad girl. A very bad girl.

This is Jenn.  Little crazy Jenny is been on the loose for the last few days and has made a mess of things.  I now have her stuffed back down inside, sucking her thumb.  It is calorie-free.

All day I've known I needed to write a blog in order to save myself.
Well, that's a little dramatic but there IS a time and place for drama.

I haven't blogged since September.  Since the last time I was here, I've lost over 40 pounds.

However, my goal was to weigh 199 by ------------------------ yesterday, the last day of school.  I actually got down to 200 a couple of weeks ago.  But by this morning, I was back up to 207.

That's not a good sign.  Summer is my hard time of the year.  Most people I know, especially people who work in education, talk about how the school year is difficult for them.  Once summer comes, they are able to make better choices, eat more grilled food and fresh fruit, get more exercise, experience less stress.... and lose weight.

I'm just the opposite.  The predictability and structure of the school year helps me.  I get into a routine.  I stay in town.  I choose one out of three or four breakfast choices all year long.  I take low calorie frozen dinners and fruit for lunch.  Sure, the teachers' lounge can be a dangerous place for me, but for the most part, the school year is easy.

Summer comes and it's "Katy, bar the door"!  I travel, I play, I entertain, I party,  I eat the size of Texas, I have BIG fun, BIG laughs, BIG playtime... and I get BIG.  Its Little Jenny Run Wild.

So, in hopes of keeping things together and not just gaining the weight back - like I have many times before - I need to blog.  I need to be calm, professional, rational, vigilant Jenn.   I need to think.  And analyze.  Little Jenny doesn't analyze.  Or even think, for that matter.  She feels, lives, and plays.  That's about all.

I've learned lessons this year.
1.  I've learned that I really DON'T enjoy eating out of control.  I've actually gotten to where I can be vigilant and conscious enough while I'm out of control to recognize that I'm not having fun or liking myself.  Sometimes - just sometimes - that enables me to stop.  For example, I recently had a Pampered Chef party.  I am an extrovert until I am in a position of actively entertaining others.  Then I shut down and want to go lock myself in my room.  That makes having parties uncomfortable.  And, of course, the discomfort makes me eat.  I sat at the Pampered Chef party with my arm moving between the cheese platter and my mouth like an oil field pump.
And I was VERY conscious that I wasn't liking my behavior.   So conscious that when Barb asked for the cheese and cracker tray (because she KNEW what I was doing), I easily gave it up.

But, I don't always catch myself.  A few days later, I was in charge of a large going away party for my boss.  It was a lot of work and stress.  As an extrovert, I took it on and had fun planning it.  But as I sat in the party surrounded by over 80 people, I turned into my introverted self and started eating.

I ATE EIGHT DESSERTS.  This is after MONTHS of basically NO desserts.  I don't even really LIKE desserts.  But in the space of an hour and a half, I ate three pieces of Baked Alaska (if you've never had it, it's basically cake, ice cream, pie, and cookies all together), two brownies, Key Lime pie, a slice of cheese cake, and a lemon square.

And I didn't feel the self-hate until I got home.

2.  I can delude myself into thinking I'm making OK choices when I'm really screwing up.  Barb and I spent a night last weekend in Albuquerque to relax and shop.  We took healthy snacks to eat in the car.  There was a certain restaurant that we wanted to go to and I made good choices there.  But.... on the way home....... First, I ate the healthy snacks.  That fixed my physical hunger.  We stopped at Sonic because Barb was hungry and I wanted a drink.  I happen to be one of those people who LOVES fast food so Sonic is a dangerous place for me.  (And speaking of that, I know it is cool and trendy to talk about how much one hates fast food.  But if everyone who says they hated fast food REALLY hated it, there wouldn't be a fast food restaurant on every corner.  So I admit that I love it.)

At Sonic, I started to get a dry, grilled chicken sandwich - remember, I wasn't even physically hungry - but I ended up getting a cheeseburger.  Granted, it was a "deluxe Junior burger", but........ I WASN'T HUNGRY!!

That was in Bernalillo.  Those of you who live here know that lunch in Bernalillo does not warrant dinner in Santa Fe.  And guess what we chose in Santa Fe.   Taco Bell.  Barb explained that they have smaller versions of their regular items now.  That's good if you just get one.  One mini burrito is less caloric that one regular size burrito.   But there is a math issue here.

I am very good at adding.  And adding.

But the funny part about being at Taco Bell is how I lied to myself.  Barb and I sat there eating and wondering what a "stuffed nacho" was.   "What do you think that is?"  "Why, I have no idea!"

Oh, come on.  Give me a break, Little Jenny.

Barb:  "If we get one, will you help eat it?"
Me:  "I'll take a bite."

Then, of course, I'm the one who hopped up and went and ordered it.  It's not like I was looking forward to this or anything....

And then I proceeded to tear this HUGE thing called a stuffed nacho in half and stick the whole piece in my mouth all at once.  It was a BIG bite.

We then proceeded to talk about how it wasn't that good and analyze it like we were food critics rather than overeaters.


It wasn't until I got home that I realized that I had been playing games with myself all afternoon - pretending that I was in control and making conscious choices when really I was trying to pull a fast one.    On myself.

I have also developed a theory that Taco Bell puts crack into their soymeat that makes me want to stuff my face and literally roll around in a vat of the stuff.  It's addictive to me.

This last week at school was crazy busy and crazy fun.  In hindsight, I realize I got myself into a pseudo-manic state where I stayed emotionally and physically rev'ed up.

Mind FULL.  Not mindful.     Very different.

Today, I got a hold of myself.  And stuffed busy Little Jenny back down inside.  What I know is that I need to slow down.  Sleep late, lay at the pool, feel the sun, feed my soul rather than feed my self.

That's what I did today.  I cuddled with my dogs until after noon.  I drank water and ate watermelon.  I had a very special senses-filled moment at the pool while I was laying on a bench drying off, listening to the water trickle off the slide like a little waterfall and feeling the sun on my body.  I laid there with my eyes closed and just basked in the feeling.  The only other sound was the sound of children laughing and playing.  When I opened my eyes, all I saw was the sun glistening off the blue water.  It was a perfect moment.  A healing moment.

I need more of those and only I can make sure that I place myself in a position to experience more of those moments.

I'm going to have a great summer.  I'm going to go to Texas, visit friends and relatives, float the river, laugh and play.

But this week before I go, I'm going to rest.  Go slow.  Be quiet.  Do nothing.  Live in the moment.

I think I can get myself back on track if I do that.

Thanks for listening with your eyes.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Suicidal Threats and Cupcakes

Sometimes being a middle school student sucks.

So sometimes my job is emotionally difficult.

But, I have to say, my job is never as emotionally difficult as it is to be a middle schooler.

I have it easy.

Middle schoolers are dealing with hormones, social ineptitude, the expectation to "act like an adult" when they aren't, individuating from their parents, interest in (and it's evil sister, rejection by) the opposite sex, academic performance expectations (by others AND by self), loads of homework, daily extracurricular activities (sometimes by choice, sometimes not), "bullies", "mean girls", peer pressure, changes in their bodies and minds, self-disappointment and hate, and ambivalent friendships full of love, betrayal, and never knowing where they stand.

Don't you remember how painful it was?????????

Middle schoolers feel emotional pain with their whole body and soul.  They haven't yet developed the capacity to compartmentalize, analyze, ignore, or self-reassure.

So the pain of betrayal and rejection are monumental, life-sucking, THE-WORST-DAY-OF-YOUR-LIFE-bad.

It was that kind of day.

And then it passed.  The day started looking better.  The unsurmountable emotional mountain became passable.

The tears stopped.  Laughter came along with a sense of hope in tomorrow.

But watching someone in pain, trying to do what I could to take the pain away was soooooooooooo tiring..................................
Afterwards, I was wiped out.  Wiiiiiiiiiiiippppped out.

And there was a cupcake.

It's amazing how wonderful an orange-colored, store-bought cupcake can look when your internal emotional strength bucket is empty.

That cupcake looked like heaven.

But I left it.  I knew it wasn't really heaven.  It wouldn't taste like heaven.  And I definitely knew that it wouldn't make me feel heavenly.

If I had eaten that cupcake, I would have taken a huge step towards placing myself in the same level of emotional pain as a middle schooler on a sucky day.  Self-hate, disappointment, betrayal (by self) would take over.

SO.       I.       LEFT.         IT.  

Every time I am able to do that, I WIN!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pink Tits In My Hair


I'll tell that story in a minute....

But first I need to admit that my inner fat child has been an untamed, roaring beast for the last 24 hours. I now have her in isolation.

Last night, my cousin visited and we went to one of my favorite restaurants, Gabriel's.  Now, y'all all know how much I lovvvvvvvvve Mexican food.  But one thing I've learned is that you can take me to a Mexican restaurant, give me salsa with a spoon and a bowl of beans and ketchup and I'll be just fine.
I'll eat it and feel satiated - like I had, literally, the "whole enchilada".

But there was something about Roci telling me that she was buying my dinner that made me have an attitude like "SCORE!", "Katie, bar the door, because I'm gonna eat everything!"

My inner fat child reared her head and essentially took over.  Like possession.  By a fat, immature spirit.

I ate chips and chips and chips and salsa and guacamole and pretend beer and a cheese enchilada and a bean burrito and more chips and a chicken taco and refried beans and a sopapilla  -  with honey AND butter.  I have NEVER eaten butter on a sopapilla but Roci said it was good and ...........  she's older than me?                                                       Does that work?

And like an alcoholic, I said I was just treating myself for one meal and that I'd "stop tomorrow".

Well, today (that was tomorrow then) came and Roci said she would buy my breakfast.  For the last three Saturday breakfast parties, I've ordered scrambled eggs and bacon.  No toast, no hashbrowns.  It's become MY THING.  But, again being a free food whore, Roci said she'd buy so I ordered huevos rancheros AND a side of bacon.  So that's cheese, tortilla, eggs, bacon, chili, hashbrowns, and ketchup.  But here's where my little fat Jenny stood up and yelled "MINE!!!!!!!!! ALLLLLLLL MINE!!!!!!!!!"
I also ate a piece of Judy's toast.  And jelly.  And to top it off, when Roci and Rose left to go to Taos, I shamelessly pulled Roci's only halfway finished plate of pancakes over to my side of the table, slathered them in syrup and crammed them in my mouth.

One more step into debauchery and I would have been going around to the other tables and cleaning up like a human vacuum cleaner.

Not pretty.

So.... after an afternoon at the pool, I decided that Little Jenny needed to be forced back inside by being sent to her room with only watermelon for dinner.   And so far, it's worked.   I love watermelon - so I feel satisfied, and I've been ensconced in my bedroom since 6:12.   Saturday night and waaaaayyyy before dark.  But I think this will get me back in control.

What I know about myself is that, though to others the concept of "treating oneself" may be a dietary tool, to me it is a slippery slope.  A common, but unsafe, occurrence.  It's like me saying "I'm going to treat myself to just one cigarette" or "I'm just going to drink wine for this one night".  In other words, for me, STUPID.   I would NEVER think that I could smoke one cigarette or drink wine for just one night.  But, for some reason, I can't get to that place of self-control with food.

But what I CAN do is recognize that when I get on that slippery slope by "treating" myself (which I'm going to do because I am me), I'm going to have to make a conscious effort to pull myself back to safety.  One way I can do that is by isolating myself in my bedroom with my computer to blog and a big ole hunk of watermelon to eat.  Safety.  Grounding.  Regrouping.

I can already feel it working.  My inner fat child is settling down.

And isn't the concept of "treating myself" better than its synonym (at least in my case) of "screwing up"?   It feels much less painful and unforgiving.....

OK.  If you've muddled through this, you definitely deserve to hear the story of the pink tits in my hair.

My hard-of-hearing friend, B, hears about half of what's said in a noisy room and makes up the rest. And what she makes up is usually pretty off the wall because................ well, she's B.

This morning at the breakfast party, I was telling everyone about this wonderful blog I found called Lipstick, Margaritas, and Hairspray ( and how I want to put pink tips in my hair like the blog writer.  B yelled out "you're gonna put pink tits in your hair?"  And from there, the conversation spiraled downward to a place of wondering if I have pink hair on my tits.  I assure you, I don't.

But it gave me a good blog post title, don't you think?

But really, check out this woman's hair and her blog.  I think she may be my twin - along with Bev Briggle, my twin who hasn't gone gray yet.  I really am going to get pink tits tips in my hair.  As soon as it grows out some from my last hair adventure.

Isn't her hair cool?  Subtle  But cool.
I love it.

And I love you guys.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Missing My Neener

I'm sitting in a Dallas airport waiting to travel home alone.  I came here this weekend with my beautiful 21-year-old daughter, Nina.  She's staying, I'm going.
It's not the first time Nina has moved away from home.   She's attended college for three years in Albuquerque, close to two hours from home.   And to be totally honest, the first time she left for college, I was ready.   She was 18.  We spent a lot of time at each other's throats.  It was time for a break.  Plus.... and this is hard to admit ..... that was when I was still drinking and her presence kind of rained on my "party parade".

For the three years Nina was in college in Albuquerque, we saw each other on most long weekends and any time I went to Albuquerque.

During the last three years, Nina has grown and matured so much.  And I've quit drinking and have become more like the person I want to be.  Nina and I now fit together like a pair of gloves and normally enjoy each other.  The angst that we both experienced during her adolescence is gone and a nice mother-daughter camaraderie has taken it's place.      Nina has been home since her spring semester ended during the second week of last May.  We've spent the summer together traveling and hanging out together.  She's a great companion and roommate and brings joy to my life every day.

But kids need to grow.  They need to fly the coop.  I know that.  But I still feel so sad leaving her in Dallas.

Nina has an amazing opportunity before her.  She is going to do a year of service work for Habitat for   Humanity.  She has a natural talent for building and creating and she is going to learn to support her talent with the actual skills needed to build a home!  They've even told her that she will learn to drive a forklift!

I have a gratitude list and it is full.
I'm grateful for Nina's and my healed relationship.  Things were bad after her dad left and, to be honest, I doubted that she and I would ever be able to find our way to each other.  We've always loved each other but I think we found each other very convenient to take our anger and frustration out on.
I'm grateful for this fun summer when neither of us had the need to escape from being with the other.
I'm grateful that Nina is JUST IN DALLAS.  She's in my home state!  She's in my town!  She's not in Africa or Europe or even New Jersey.  It's just Dallas.
I'm grateful that until she is ready for the next step, Nina is living with my oldest and dearest friend, Shawnna.  Shawnna and Melvin are "family".  They will value Nina and treat her with love and respect.
I'm grateful that my cousin Rosie is less than three hours away.  And cousins Kathryn and JTom, and Samantha - they're all close and will reach out to my baby girl if needed.
I'm grateful that Nina is literally surrounded by people - relatives and friends - some she doesn't even know - who love me. And therefore, love her.
I'm grateful that we both have iPhones and can FaceTime any time we want.

So why am I so sad?  Why am I sitting here in the airport with tears rolling down my face?

Because it hurts to let go. Even when you know that the future is going to be filled with treasures and joy.

My house is going to feel so empty.   I'm going to miss Nina's smile and hugs.  I'm going to miss the silly thing that she intentionally does to drive me crazy - kitty, kitty, kitty and er's on every word.  I'm going to miss ALL the things that Nina does for me - feeding the dogs, mowing the yard, being her amazingly helpful self (she truly is so helpful that some of my friends are jealous and say they wish they had a Nina).

But I'm going to spend this year continuing to work towards being the best me I can be.  That's also the "me" Nina wants me to be.  Sober, healthy, balanced.

That's what I can do for my daughter.

Nina's momma.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I Treated Myself Tonight.....

...... and now I need to get back on the proverbial horse.

I've lost five and a half pounds since the last time I blogged.

* I've tried to be conscious about what I eat.
* I've tried to pay at least minimal attention to portions (my downfall).
* I've not had any intentional artificial sweeteners - no diet cokes, no pink/yellow/blue things.
* I've learned to drink my iced tea unsweetened and my coffee with sweetened creamer only (not
  sweetened creamer AND artificial sweetener).
* I've mainly had water to drink with some iced tea and some coffee and a couple of pretend beers.
* I've not had any desserts.
* I've walked a tiny bit more - mainly because I've had to because of road construction.


Which is good ----------- because those are the kind of set-ups that I always fail at.

I found an iphone app that I like called Happy Scale.  It's made for people like me who have the compulsion to weigh every day.  It focuses on trends, rather than gains and losses.
In the picture below, the little dots show how my weight goes up and down nearly every day.  It's easy for me to focus on the gains, get depressed, blow it all off and eat.
The line shows the trend rather than the jerky ups and downs that daily weighing shows.  It's very helpful to look at it this way.

Tonight we went to the rodeo barbeque and had smoked prime rib, smoked salmon, baked potatoes, "cowboy beans" (red beans with hamburger meat - somewhat sweet), and peach cobbler.  I had a huge piece of prime rib and a huge piece of salmon, along with a unbuttered potato and the beans.

I would have been fine (emotionally) with that - even though it was a lot of calories.  However, I also ate the peach cobbler.  It was actually a small serving but I feel somewhat frustrated with myself for eating it.

It wasn't even that good.  And sweets are something that I don't HAVE to have.

So, I'm a tiny bit bummed.
But I need to focus on looking at tonight as a TREAT - not a mistake.  And I need to get back on track tomorrow.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Gonna Try To Stop Putting So Many Chemicals In My Bod...

I've been reading about aspartame and other artificial sweeteners.  You can find research that says artificial sweeteners are HORRIBLE  and must be stopped.  But you can also find research that says, though they may bother some people, artificial sweeteners aren't bad in general.

Because I know not to set myself up for failure by saying 'I AM NEVER GOING TO DRINK DIET COKE AGAIN!' or 'I'M NEVER GOING TO USE ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS AGAIN!', I'm just going to try to cut down.

Or even better, I'm just going to try to be vigilant and conscious of the artificial sweeteners that I use.

Isn't vigilance and consciousness what I'm trying to develop in general?

This is what I know:
I've used artificial sweeteners for as far back as I can remember.  My grandma used those tiny little saccharin tablets.

Look familiar to anyone?

I have a confession to make.  I present that I grew up on sweet tea like any 'bless your heart' Southern girl should, but I really grew up with iced tea - each glass sweetened with three of these little pills.  I LOVED them!
They were just so cute and I loved to put them in my tea and stir and stir until you couldn't see them anymore.

And also because of my grandma (who was so cool because she had all this unusual diet stuff), the first cokes (sodas) I remember were Tab and Fresca.  And I just transferred my love for coke (I mean soda) from those to Diet Coke when I got older.  

And I wasn't even overweight back then!

Now, I'm aware that I go days and days only drinking stuff with artificial sweeteners.  Tea, coffee, Diet Coke, and Crystal Light (which is as close as I usually get to water) are my favorites.  I also use artificial sweeteners on cereal, frozen fruit, refrigerator oatmeal, NutriBullet smoothies, and many other things.

I'm not a sugar substitute snob.  I'll use any that are convenient but my preferences are....

(Those of you who use artificial sweeteners will know what I'm talking about.)

I have no idea which is the best and which is the worse for you.

The funny thing is that I would NEVER think of ordering a regular coke or putting regular sugar in my tea.  But, most of the other foods that I stuff in my mouth are full of REAL sugar - including my well-loved, copious amounts of ketchup.

I'm a sugar/sugar substitute hypocrite.

So....... I'm going to try to be vigilant.  Conscious.  For the last two days, I've been drinking sun tea with blueberries or mangos in it.  It sweetens it somewhat.  I'm also trying to drink water.  I just got back from two weeks in Texas and I don't remember drinking any plain water the whole time I was gone - except maybe the stuff I swallowed in the Comal River.

I haven't had a diet coke in the last two days but I. am. not. going. to. give. them. up.

If I say I'm going to give up diet coke, I'll immediately be pulling out my hair until I get some.

But I'd like to see if I could make it a treat.

And you know the cool thing?  Tonight, I was eating a Lean Cuisine frozen dinner with mashed potatoes - and I noticed that they tasted sweet!  I had never noticed - I assume because my tastebuds are usually overloaded with the sweetness of pretend sugar.

And now for a survey.....
What's your favorite?  Pink    or     Blue     or     Yellow??


Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Prayer For Today Is....

God, please help me find my...
self discipline
common sense
self control
sense of physical satisfaction

.... whatever it is that is needed to stop this.

I haven't blogged in 3 months and 17 days.  Instead I've been on an eating heyday.  Three months of being out of control.

So, I've got to explain some things:
1.  I (obvious to those of you who know me well) think in terms of Transactional Analysis - or my version made up in Jennyland.  I think of my behavior and attitude as being influenced by three distinct parts of me.
* Little Jenny who has the self discipline of a two-year-old and wants what she wants when she wants it.  She is fat and she doesn't care.  She is in control A LOT of the time and is notorious for going overboard about basically everything - food, money, fun, fear, shopping, vegging, you name it.  If a balanced amount of something is @@@@@@, Little Jenny is going to do/eat/spend the amount of @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@.  
Little Jenny is a spoiled brat, a little princess, and the most fearful inner child you will ever meet.
* The adult me - Big Jenn - who is actually in real life - a counselor (I know, hard to fathom).  Big Jenn has a confused look on her face lots of the time and mumbles WTF?  Huh?  Where does she get off?  How did I get this inside of me??????????
* The harsh parent in me who is always yelling "Jennifer Jean!"  "That's not good enough!"  "You screwed up again??"  "Why can't you get it together?" "You are worthless."  "You're weak." "You matter less that one tiny goat turd."  "You S.U.C.K.!"
I refer to this obnoxious parental part of me as "Jennifer" even though that doesn't make much sense because she calls me Jennifer and blah, blah, blah - it's pretty incestuous here....

Anyway, all that mumbo jumbo to tell you why I changed the name of my blog.  I need to tame Little Jenny.  And not just with food.  I need to tame her desire to do everything BIG/LOUD/MOST/FIRST.

And it is taming that is needed.  I don't want to destroy her.  She is also where I carry my fun.  But she needs to tone it down.

So, just know that when I talk in third person, I'm not schizophrenic, I don't have multiple personalities, you don't need to call the authorities.  It's just how I make sense of me and my world.  Really.  Don't worry.

2.  I have to come clean and be transparent.
This morning, I weighed 245.5 pounds.  That's 14.5 pounds since the beginning of the summer.  It's 41.5 pounds since I lost weight two years ago.  It's 127.5 pounds more than when I got married in 1982!   A whole 'nother person.  (I know that pisses off you grammar Nazis.)  Suffice to say that I'm divorced now.  Both of me.

3.  Right now I don't need pity, advice, understanding, chastising, tough love, soft love, or any "well, bless your hearts".   I just need to pull up my big girl panties, start blogging, and do the things that I already know help me.

I love you.  More tomorrow.

Big Jenn

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lessons From My Mothers

For many years after my mom's death, I absolutely hated Mother's Day.  I walked around town feeling jealous of my friends (and strangers) who had mothers.  To be honest, I still find myself sometimes feeling that way.

I have friends who are definitely caught in the "sandwich generation".    They have busy lives themselves but still have to regularly go to their moms' homes to do the daily activities - cooking, cleaning, errands - that their moms can no longer do.

It is a burden - an extra job - to take care of an elderly momma, but it is a burden that I would give my eye teeth to have.

I can get into a really pissy mood over this.  I can focus on the fact that my mom didn't even make it to "elderly".  I can feel sorry for my kids who don't remember ever having a grandma.   I can have a pity party that by the time I was 37, I didn't have parents or siblings.

And you ain't been to a pity party 'til you've been to one of mine........

I hurt for some of my friends who have recently lost their moms.  I know the pain that tomorrow will bring.  When I was in the middle of that pain, I didn't think it would ever get any better.  But it does.
For years after my mom died, I couldn't pull myself out of the special grief that comes on this day that we (with the help of Hallmark marketing) have set aside to honor mothers.  But it's been 23 years.   It's been long enough that now I don't hurt.  I miss my mom but I can say that without pain, without grief, without the need to cry.

I wish she had been around longer.  I wish Tyler hadn't had to experience her fairly ugly death when he was five.  I wish Nina had known the person that she is named after.  I would have liked to show my mom that I survived Charlie leaving me.  I would have liked to have an opportunity to take care of her in her old age - like she took care of me when I was a child.   I would like to be able to talk to my mom about Tyler and have her give me advice about how to help him.  I would like to be sitting here writing a blog about how I'm celebrating Mother's Day with my mom.

But none of that was meant to be.

So...... right now I want to focus on some of the other mothers in my life.  "Mothering" is a verb that isn't exclusive to the woman who raised you.  The word isn't even exclusive to a woman older than you.  I have been mothered by many women - and some men.  And I'd like to honor them on this Mother's Day.

Here's a list of some of the mothers in my life and some of the lessons that they taught me:

Aunt Sissy - Aunt Sissy taught me the importance of singing in the mornings.

Billie Jean - Aunt Billie Jean teaches me that you can really and truly make lemonade when life gives you lemons.

Carol Jean - Carol Jean taught me a lot about how to live - and how to die.

Donna - Donna teaches me to be my children's champion - even when I don't agree.

Karen - Karen reminds me of the lessons learned by working the Twelve Steps - just like my momma used to.

Charlie - Charlie (when he was the man I was married to - before he morphed into another person) was able to hold me like a mom.  I know that sounds weird but he was able to hold me in an intimate, but nonsexual, way.   When I am in pain and need physical nurturing, my friends can hug me but not hold me.  You know the difference?  Charlie had that gift.

Nina - My daughter, Nina, continues to teach me right from wrong.  And she knows more about boundaries that anybody I know.

I thank God for continuing to give me people in my life to 'mother' me.  And I hope that I'm able to fulfill that role in the lives of those who need me.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

If A Little Is Good, A Lot Must Be STUPENDOUS!

This has been a week of being faced with character flaws.  I guess that's good because without seeing them, I have no chance of changing them.

Earlier in the week, I was faced with my fear of conflict.  Yesterday, I was faced with my faulty thinking of "if a little is good, a lot must be better".

I am aware that I carry this idea in all areas of my life.  I think it's part of my 'sprint or stand still' mentality - doing all or nothing.  It affects my eating, my spending, my exercising, my sleeping, my creating, my parenting, my emoting, my planning, my cooking, my cleaning, my Facebook posting, my picture taking, my bang cutting, my lipstick putting on, my drinking ....... everything.

Here's some examples:

Yesterday, I decided to paint some vines in my guest bathroom.  I am a seasoned vine painter.  I painted vines in my kitchen in a house I used to live in.  Nina and Donna were with me at the time.  Donna finally said "STOP!  You're making it look like Jumanji!"

Well, yesterday I was home alone.  In hindsight, I shouldn't be left unattended when I have paints and stamps in my hand.  I started out with a plan to make one long, brown vine stem that started at the floor on one wall and crossed the bathroom door to the other wall, ending close to the bathroom ceiling.

However, once I started with the brown paint, I couldn't stop.  I ended up with probably 100 vine stems that started nowhere, ended nowhere, and were connected to nothing.

Then I got the green leaf stamp and started frantically, compulsively putting leaves everywhere.  I say 'frantically' because once I started, I became obsessed with finishing it before Nina came home and told me to stop.  (Actually, when she came home she yelled "HOLY SHIT" but that's just her way of saying 'stop'.)

Once I covered the vines with leaves, I needed to put little flowers on them.  The problem was that I had more than one flower stamp and more than one favorite color to use.  So my vines have two totally different kinds of flowers in two colors on them.  It crossed my mind that that wasn't very realistic.  But then I reminded myself that neither are vines floating in space not connected to anything.

By the time I got to the flowers, Nina found herself actually enjoying the project - as much as one can enjoy something while ridiculing it.  She found a stamp of a little lady bug that she started using on the wall, all the while calling the little creature "Simon".   (The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, you know.)

I ended up with this.

Prepare yourself, we're going in.....

We're shutting the door...

Take a deep breath and sit on the toilet and see .....



I obviously went on a vine bender.

Which brings up another example of my faulty "If a little is good, a lot must be better" thinking --- my drinking.

When I was drinking wine, I would start out with a wine glass.  However, I would fill it to the brim with red wine.  I was 57 before I learned that those big ole red wine glasses are not supposed to be filled to the top.   I just always thought fancy restaurants were being stingy and cheating me out of a whole glass of wine.  With my "........ a lot must be better" thinking, I gradually started drinking my wine out of water glasses.

The day I quit drinking, Donna had made me a drink of cranberry juice and vodka.  It was tasty but it had just a little tiny bit of vodka in it.  I made my 2nd one - and my 3rd one - and the 4th - with the thinking of "If a little bit of vodka is good, a lot of vodka will be wonderful!"  I did that until I threw up all over Donna's house, Donna, my daughter, my foster daughter, and myself.

So, I went from being a "sprinting" drinker to a "standing still" drinker - meaning not drinking at all.
Life is much better this way.

And, of course, I do this with eating.  After making good choices around food last week, this week is Teachers Appreciation Week.  There has been food everywhere, every day.  I have partaken in it all - even though I'm the counselor, not a teacher.  We don't get food on School Counselor Day.

I'm making light of this but it really is a serious thinking flaw.  I need to change my thinking from "If a little is good, a lot will be better" to "A little is enough".

A little is enough.
A little is enough.
A little is enough.

A little bit of vines is enough.
A little bit of facebooking is enough.
A little bit of bangs cut off is enough.
A little bit of ketchup is enough.
A little bit of guilt is enough.
A little bit of spending money on myself is enough.
A little bit of calling Tyler to check on him is enough.
A little bit of 60th birthday party plans is enough.
A little bit of cheesecake is enough.
A little bit of enchilada is enough.
A little bit of lipstick is enough.

A little really is GOOD enough.

This is what the Universe has put in front of me to work on right now.  A little bit is enough.  I don't need to obsess on it.  I need to sit with the idea and observe how it impacts my life.
Then, a little bit of change will probably be enough.

Now, to repaint my bathroom..........


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Weenie Woman (And This Has To Do With Conflict, Not Skinniness Or Penile Things)

I pride myself in being a peacemaker.
I'm big on compromise.
I'm a fan of negotiation.
I'm good at mediating other people's arguments.
I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion.
I strive to be nonjudgemental.
I believe that I can't know what the world feels and looks like to another person because I have never walked in anyone else's shoes.
I try to turn the other cheek.

In other words, I am a weenie.

Isn't it funny how our strengths can also be our weaknesses??

Today, someone pissed me off.  Through an email, she made me feel that she questioned my professional abilities and that she thought she knew better about something that is really and truly "my business".  In her email, she squashed a treatment team decision made by a treatment team that she is not a part of.  And possibly, she vetoed a plan that might have been in the best interest of a child.

And I caved.
Because (my words this morning) "I don't want to make waves".

Because she has a PhD.  Because she knows more.  Because she has the ear of the important people.

Because she's scary.

Being a peacemaker, being good at compromise, teaching negotiation, mediating............... all of that is just one side of the coin.  The other side is my fear of conflict.

I hate conflict.  I will literally run from it.  Well, not literally.......        But I avoid it at all costs UNLESS it is with my children, then katie, bar the door..... I'm all for it.

With anyone beside my kids, I am a mouse.

How can I be a hero if I'm scared to stand up for anybody?
Screw 'hero'.............  how can I even be a social worker if I'm a weenie?

Whoever heard of a weenie social worker???

And this character strength/flaw impacts other areas of my life, too.

There is someone very important to me who is angry at me because I haven't been what she needs me to be in her life.   As with all stories, there are two sides:
My side is that I have done everything I can to meet her needs but her emotional 'hole' is unfillable.  It will never be enough.
However, her side is that I have abandoned her.

She is a fighter.  Not a fighter like a cancer fighter but a..... an..... arguer.  She has a need for us to get together in person and HASH THIS OUT.  We've already tried that and, to me, it felt like having knives thrown at me.  I felt wounded and bleeding after the 'talk'.


I want to 'talk' through email and text - at least initially - until some of her rage is gone.  She sees that as me "playing games".

So we are at a standstill.  When I wished her "Happy Easter " through text, she responded with "Please don't text me if you won't even talk to me.  I don't want to play these games".

I NEED to woman-up and be willing to be in the same room with her rage and abandonment.
She needs me.  She may not realize that she does, but she does.  She needs me to love her when she's unlovable.  She needs me to stand next to her when she is in her unfillable hole.  She needs me not to be afraid of conflict.

Because, some people ARE conflict.  It's under their skin, in their blood...... it's how they deal with life.  I don't think she made herself this way.  And I think it might, unfortunately, be impossible for her to make herself any other way.

Ugh.   I HATE conflict!

I'd love to blame it on being an only child.  I don't know how to fight.
One of my mom's favorite stories was how, when I was twelve and playing outside with a neighbor girl,  I ran into the house and cried "Barbara hit me!".  My mom (who grew up with six siblings) sardonically said, "Well, go hit her back".  A few minutes later, I ran back in and blubbered "But she won't stand still!"

When am I supposed to fight and when am I supposed to remain peaceful (cave)?

Let's see if I can answer my own question:

In my first situation where someone is squashing a treatment team decision based on the (assumed) perception that they know better than me .......
* I need to ask myself what is in the best interest of the child.  Not what is in the best interest of my ego.
* My job is to ALWAYS go after what is in the best interest of the child.  My job is to be an advocate, a champion, a hero.  Not a professional scaredy-cat who doesn't want to 'make waves' with my coworkers.

In this particular case, I believe that the child will not be affected by the the plan being squashed.
I think it's about six of one, half a dozen of another.  It won't make a difference.
In this particular case, it was primarily my ego that was hurt.
So........ my response will be to     l.e.t.   i.t.   g.o.
I don't need to react in a way that will damage professional relationships.

But I ALWAYS need to make sure that I'm truly looking at what is in the best interest of the child and not justifying things just so I won't have to face a conflict.  For that, I need the opinions of others in the know.  I've gotten that today.

In my second situation with one of my people being angry at me.....
* I need to call her and set up a time to meet in person.
* I need to be willing to, once again, hear her complaints and hurts.
* I don't need to be a doormat and take all the blame.
* I don't need to point fingers at her.
* I need to remember that while she is pointing her finger at me, she has her other nine fingers pointing at herself.  She's smart.  I think she knows that she's being unreasonable.  I don't need to add to her guilt and self-hate.

I need to embrace the conflict with faith that it will lead to a peaceful resolution.  Sometimes we have to go through the fire to reach the stream.