Monday, October 31, 2011

Trying To Act Like A Skinny Eater


This morning, I weight 230. Down 14 pounds from when I started blogging in the middle of September.

Tonight, in my boycott of Halloween, I had dinner with Barb at Chili's. I was feeling pretty cocky (that is SO not a word to describe a female) about my weight loss and the fact that I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. I'd been saving my calories because I knew I wanted a drink.

I wanted to try something new in the drink department so I ordered a pomegranate martini. It was my first martini ever. Yuck! Tasted like perfume. AND it had over 200 calories!! The positive thing about it was that it tasted so much like alcohol that I only had one.

Chili's has good deals because you can get two meals for twenty bucks. The problem with that is that it includes an appetizer. And their guacamole is great! I ate my share.

Barb and I both ordered chicken fajitas. That's always a good choice for me because I just eat the chicken and veggies (and ketchup). I can do without the tortillas, cheese, and sour cream.

Now, Barb is my friend who always gets a to-go container before she starts eating, divides her food in half, and takes the other half to her husband.

I did that, too.

Unfortunately, I don't have a husband.

So, I decided I better eat mine -

Right out of the container -


Oh, well.... it was Halloween after all. And at least I didn't break my elbow.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Life As A Saint Christopher's Medal

I'm blogidealess (new word - soon to be in your local dictionary) right now, so Donna has suggested that I write about my uncanny sense of direction.

Now...... let's see......... is 'uncanny' the right word?............

Oh, no........................ I meant..... NONEXISTENT!

Donna, my adopted sister, has lived in the same house in the next door town since I moved here in 1983. I STILL, to this day, frequently pass her house when I'm trying to go to it.

You know, a lot of being able to find something is knowing in your body when you should be there. You know what I mean? It's nearly like an internal timing thing. Even if the house you were going to looked different, you'd somehow know you were there by your internal clock or intuition or whatever.

I don't have that. I pass Donna's house all the time. I pass the turnoff to my own house. I turn the wrong way off the Santa Fe relief route and go TOWARD Santa Fe and AWAY from Los Alamos, where I'm trying to get to.

And trying to take Donna to her mom's house in the foothills of Albuquerque? Its a new and different adventure every. single. time. Even with Donna guiding me.....
Jenny: Wowwwwwwwwww, I've never seen this before.
Donna: Yes, you have. We pass it every time we go this way.
Jenny: But, last time, this house was on the other side of the road.
Donna: That's because you were going the wrong way the last time.
Jenny: ????????????????????

Now, part of this is because....


Those of you who are from Lubbock know exactly what I'm talking about.

Even a moron can find where they need to get to in Lubbock. Especially if you lived there in the 60's, before the city fathers discovered that you could actually steer road machinery and make it TURN and thereby create a CURVE in a road.

Lubbock is built on a north/south, east/west grid and, get this........ nearly everything is in alphabetical or numerical order.
1st Street is on the very north side of town and 119th Street is on the very south of town. (I don't even know what the numbers go up to now!) Ave A is on the very east side of town. After the alphabetical avenues, the alphabet starts over with names of cities. Twenty six streets later, the alphabet starts over again - with names of different cities. The east/west grid goes through the alphabet four or five times. (It HAS been 29 years since I've lived there.)

Of course, over the years, Lubbock has had to stick Martin Luther King Blvd in there where it's totally out of place, change College Street to University Avenue after Texas Tech became one, put in a traffic CIRCLE just to be cool, build a loop around the outside of the city that's now on the inside, and build a bizzarro freeway across town called the Marsha Sharp Freeway after the girls' basketball coach.
If Lubbock was a face, the Marsha Sharp Freeway would be a slash mark across it's chin and cheek. (Well, at least in the way I'm looking at it here in Jennyland.)

But, when I grew up there, I lived on 29th and Memphis.
I can say that and anyone from Lubbock knows exactly where I'm talking about. Right?

That's my kind of town. You don't have to have a PhD in rocket science to find your way back home.

Now, there's another reason my sense of direction is so ...... skewed.

As an emotionally disturbed child (read: adolescent lunatic) of an alcoholic, I thought I was a Saint Christopher's medal. I thought if I was in the car with my mother - just somewhere 'on board' - I could keep her safe.

And believe me, in those days, there was a need to keep her safe.

When I was growing up, in addition to being the straightest town in regard to its streets, Lubbock was also the driest town. One couldn't buy alcohol within the city limits so there was "the strip" right outside of town - truly a long line of liquor stores and good BBQ places.
When my drunk mother would pour the last of her vodka in her coffee cup and get in the car to drive out to the strip, I would FREAK.

I was not going to lose another parent - not without going down with the ship myself!!!

So, I would hide in the backseat floorboard - sometimes under a blanket - just in case I needed to jump over the seat and take the wheel before we had an imminent crash.

It was definitely a case of lunatic logic. All I could see out of the window were street lights and the tops of telephone poles and I had NO IDEA HOW TO DRIVE.

But, it was the principle of the matter. I was going to save my mom.

Sometimes I would come out from under the blanket when we got to the Strip so the man at the Pinkie's drive-though window would give me a piece of bubble gum.
Sometimes I'd stay hidden until we were back in our driveway.

But my momma never had a wreck, so....... that means that my job as a Saint Christopher's medal worked, right?

On some ancient, core, little girl level, I still believe that, I think.

It's the part of me that worries about Tyler this weekend as he is being WILD AND CRAZY (ok, drunk and stoned) in Florida. I'm not there to jump over the seat and take the wheel of his life.

It's the part of me that will not be completely at peace until I know that Nina has gotten safely back to her house in Albuquerque after her visit home this weekend.

The adult Jenny KNOWS that its all magical thinking bullshit, but the little Jenny has such a hard time letting go.

They fight over that damn Saint Christopher's Medal.

And Donna thinks, on top of that, spending my childhood hiding under blankets in the backseat floorboard has eternally damaged my sense of direction.

It could be that I'm actually a better driver and could find my way to her house more easily from the backseat floorboard.

It's just.... no one will ever let me try.

Saint Chris (aka Jenny)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Safety Plan

Wow! I just looked up 'FOOD' in the thesaurus.

aliment, board, cheer, chow, comestible, cuisine, diet, eats, entrée, fare, feed, fodder*, foodstuff, goodies, grit, groceries, grub, handout, keep, larder, menu, mess*, moveable feast, nourishment, nutriment, pabulum, provision, ration, refreshment, slop, snack, store, subsistence, support, sustenance, table, take out, tuck, viand, victual, vittles

Do you think if I start to use some of these terms, it will have less calories??????

Anyway, I'm concerned about my intake of pabulum over this coming weekend. There is going to be a lot of viand at the MainStreet Halloween activity in my little town tonight. Then, I'm going to go with friends to Hill Diner for some tuck. Afterwards, I'm meeting other friends at DeColores for wine and probably some more comestible.

I don't think I will gain any weight because I don't even know what I'm saying!!

No really, I do think it's time for a Halloween plan. Today, my Boo Buddy at work gave me candy. And not just any candy (which I've told you I can turn down), but my favorite LITTLE PUMPKIN SHAPED REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS!!
This is after I gave most of them away. And then, I gave these four away. Thank you, Marlene, for taking the last four off my hands.

Not a single one of them touched my lips.

However, I don't if I can keep this up.

So, here's my plan:

Tonight at MainStreet Halloween: NOTHING!!!! I have to remember that I CAN TURN DOWN CANDY!!!!! If there is some fruit, I can have that. I can have hot tea at Starbucks.

Tonight at Hill Diner: Cup of Texas chili. Side salad. I don't even need to look at the menu. I shouldn't look at the menu. Please, no one even GIVE me a menu. I really want a bowl of Texas chili instead of a cup. I will stop at a cup.

Tonight at DeColores: Two glasses of wine. Salsa. No chips. I eat there so often they know to bring me salsa with a spoon rather than chips. So that part is safe.

Tomorrow, Nina is coming home. She is the ultimate skinny eater. Her favorite meal is salad and she stops when she gets full! She's one of those people who forgets to eat! She would also love it if we took a walk or did some kind of exercise. She is my #1 supporter for weight loss.

Tomorrow breakfast: Yogurt
Tomorrow lunch: Turkey sandwich at Subway. Nina and I like Subway.
Tomorrow dinner: I'm going to let Nina order for me. She will order me something healthy and good.

She could be someone's lifestyle coach.

Sunday, Nina will leave and I will be blue because it's the day before Halloween. Blah, blah, blah.

Sunday breakfast: Sleep through. ;-)
Sunday lunch: Eggs and toast.
Sunday dinner: I'm eating at Hill Diner again. This time with Karen. I'm going to have the chicken breast with broccoli and a salad. And ketchup, of course.

Can I actually plan this far ahead?

I'm going to try.

Monday will be Halloween. I'll be back at work and safe from everything but the candy. I'll have my usual yogurt for breakfast, Lean Cuisine and a veggie for lunch, and..... I don't know about dinner.

Here is a motivator. Right now, I'm wearing new X-Large (Size 16) pants. (With hose on underneath, of course.)

I just need to keep them on all weekend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I've got to STAY ALERT!

And I'm not talking about nodding off. I'm talking about unconscious eating.

Well, I guess that is kind of nodding off, food-wise.

Y'all all know that this week is a "DANGER, WILL ROBINSON" week for me. I don't have all my chicks in the nest. Or ducks in a row. Or children within my motherly reach. I'm fighting sad memories.



Really, I was quite proud of myself because I only ate a few - 21 to be exact. But it was an example of how I ....... fuck up.

I had a "girls' group" for some 7th graders at lunch time, forgot to take my lunch to the group room, and CAME OUT OF A BLACKOUT TO FIND MYSELF PUTTING CHEETOS IN MY MOUTH!

No really, they were there. The girls were eating them. So I did, too.

But this is what I did that was smart. I talked to the girls about it (I mean it IS a therapy group)! I asked them to keep them away from me - after the 21 - and told them I was on a diet.

They were so cute.... saying "Ms. Neil, you're not fat! You don't need to lose weight!"

Ahhh, warms my heart even though I know it's bullshit.

By talking to the girls, I
* Stayed present
* Reminded myself of my goals
* Made them my accountability partners
* Asked for what I needed

And possibly, served as a good role model for them?

I think I did some other smart things today. I logged all my calories on my new-best-friend, My Fitness Pal. At the end of the school day, I realized I only had 350 calories left. So, I took my cat to the vet, went by Subway and got a 6-inch turkey and cheese, came home, put my jammies on, and locked myself in for the night.

I do not overeat at my house - unless I get into the wine.

So, all in all, I'm pretty durn proud of myself. This morning, I weighed 232. I don't remember the last time I weighed that.

And, in spite of hot cheetos, I may weigh the same tomorrow.

Love you,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tactile Defensiveness (Or Why Leggings Are My Friend)

I'm weird. I have weird relationships with inanimate objects. I have a weird relationship with clothing. For as long as I can remember, my clothes have "given me the willies"... "itched".... driven me to do whatever is necessary to GET THEM OFF!!

It's not like I'm a nudist and want to be naked. It's the fact that many materials and textures and seams and tags and dyes DRIVE ME CRAZY.

I can't wear anything with long sleeves unless its slinky material or really, really soft-as-newborn-baby-clothes cotton. So that means no sweaters and jackets. If you see me in a sweater, you can be sure that underneath, I am wearing a soft-as-newborn-baby-clothes cotton (from here on out known as SANBC cotton) long-sleeve undershirt. And I'll be wearing the undershirt wrong-side-out because the seams itch.

I can't wear jackets with short-sleeve blouses (which would make sense because the jacket would then serve as a cover-up for my arms) because most jacket sleeves "itch".

So, if I'm wearing a sweater or jacket, rest assured that I am hot (NOT THAT KIND OF HOT!) because I've got on double layers by necessity.

And that brings up another thing....... the change in temperature increases the willies. So, if I'm wearing an undershirt and a sweater and I get sweaty, or cold with goosebumps, I'm back to square one with wanting to rip off my clothes.

As I write this, I'm aware that there really are no words to describe what I'm talking about. You have to be one to know one. The only way this is going to make any sense to you is if you are tactile defensive, too.

So........... go on, Jenny....... We're so interested.........

Anyway, blouses are the least of my problems.

The biggest offenders are PANTS and BRAS!

I can't tell you how many times I've been late to work because my pants "itched". I usually have to wear hose underneath.

That's right. Hose. I cut the feet off.

And it can only be one brand of hose. All of the others give me the willies.

I go through my pants dance most mornings where I pull my pants up, walk around stiff-legged in an attempt to not bend my knees, push my pants down around my ankles, walk around, pull my pants up... down... up... down. The more wrinkled they get, the less they itch. The dirtier they get, the less they itch. You can make the connection here. Yes. They itch less the second day.

And bras. Why did God make them?

Those of you who know me well know that I went many years without wearing bras because they just weren't worth the discomfort! But a fifty-seven year old school counselor must wear a bra. It's my duty.

So... like with hose.... there is ONE style of ONE brand that I can wear without getting the heebie-jeebies. And, of course, the reason it doesn't give me the heebie-jeebies is because its so soft and so floppy, I might as well not have one on!

Things that I wish I could wear but can't:
*Tee-shirts (only old, worn-out tee-shirts don't itch).
*Jeans (again, only old, worn-out jeans don't itch).
*Sparkly things.
*Frilly pajamas and gowns (even flannel gives me the willies unless it's old and worn).
*Swimming suits once you're out of the water. In the water, most swimming suits are OK. But, once you get out and your skin starts cooling off or heating up, things get dicey. Except swimming suits with cups. They ALWAYS itch.
*Cute bras and panties.
*Cute capris (I have to wear the sweatsuit material form of capris).
*Any lace.
*Cute cotton sundresses.
*Pretty socks. Only utilitarian socks don't itch.
*Some shoes even "itch".

Once a year before school starts, I go buy a big girl bra. You know the pretty ones with the cups! I put it on and walk around my house with my eyes all bugged out and not moving the muscles in my neck or upper body for about three minutes before I have to RIP IT OVER MY HEAD - HAIRSTYLE, BRA, PEOPLE AROUND BE DAMNED!

I've been known to:

Sit naked in the back of my van between Los Alamos and a restaurant in Santa Fe while Donna drove because I got too hot and the sun dress that I was wearing to dinner started to give me the heebie-jeebies.

Have to take a soft pair of jeans off at my job in Espanola and sit in my office with a blanket around me while I try to dry my jeans in a microwave after having a water balloon fight and them getting wet. Two lessons: wet jeans feel HORRIBLE and microwaves don't dry things.

Walk around for hours with my arms inside my blouses because the sleeves have started to give me the willies (usually because of temperature changes).

Have to change shirts with someone WHO IS SMALLER THAN ME because mine started itching.

Have to have Donna sleep in my new tee-shirt that I had to wear because we were at Russian Heritage Camp and we all HAD TO WEAR matching Russian Heritage Camp tee-shirts because her getting it "worn in" made it not itch as bad.

Take my bra off in the car.

Take my pants off in the car.

Weird, huh?

I could be a blind shopper because I totally buy clothes by feel.

So......... you see why I like summer? See why I'm a hot weather girl? Even at my weight, I'm most comfortable in soft cotton shorts, silky blouses (that don't go with shorts), and no bra.

I know many people that have a sensory defensiveness about something. Certain sounds, lights, stickiness .... I even have a friend who works as a teachers' assistant but can't stand the feel of construction paper! It gives her the willies!

Is there anything that you are sensory sensitive to? Please post about it. I want to hear!

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Got Them 'Ole Halloween Blues

I would really love to like Halloween. Or like to love Halloween. I mean, it's very much a Jenny kind of holiday. Dressing up silly, candy, decorating, candy, parties, candy.....

But Halloween and I have a history. We just don't get along.

I think it probably started the Halloween when I was eight. I don't remember that Halloween but it's probably because it was three weeks after my dad died and one week after my grandmother died. She died of a "broken heart" two weeks after my dad, her son, died of a heart attack.

The first Halloween I actually remember was when I was about twelve. My mother was in the worst part of her alcoholism then. I was trick-or-treating with a friend a few blocks from my house. We kept seeing hordes of teenagers rushing in one direction. When we'd ask, they'd say things like, "There is a crazy lady down a few streets who's making everyone do tricks before they can have treats!" or "There's a witch who's taking people into her house one at a time to scare them before she'll give them candy!"

They were going toward MY street. My stomach sank.

Sure enough, when Claudia and I got to my street, there was a long line of kids standing in my front yard, waiting to go in my house where my mother, dressed like a witch, was making them sing a song or do a dance - some kind of trick - before she'd give them candy. She was drunk.

If I knew someone like that now, I might actually like them. I'd think they were eccentric and quirky and probably, fun.

But as a twelve-year-old, I was mortified. Embarrassed. Ashamed. The next few Halloweens, I remember begging my mom to not dress up, not invite people in, not do anything.... ........weird.

Fast forward to 1991. I was thirty-seven, Tyler was five. My mother had been sober for twenty-one years and was working as an alcoholism counselor at age seventy. She was my best friend. And she was a WONDERFUL "mima" to Tyler.

In the spring of 1991, Mom had a series of frontal lobe strokes that caused the quick onset of dementia. Tyler and I spent three months in Lubbock taking care of her and then brought her back to Los Alamos to live with Charlie, Josh, Tyler and me.

The strokes and seizures just kept happening and she got more and more demented. By the fall, it had reached the point that Charlie and I were taking turns sleeping on the floor of her bedroom because she kept trying to leave. And Charlie, bless his later-cheating heart, was wiping her bottom because she couldn't remember how to do it.

In October, it reached the point that the only way to keep her safe was to place her in the local nursing home. I spent most days with her, rejoicing when she was cognizant and trying to make peace with the fact that she frequently wasn't.

On the snowy Halloween of 1991, I took Tyler to a Halloween party at the nursing home. My mom had been in the nursing home for seven days. Before the party, the nursing supervisor told me that I needed to let Momma do more on her own because she needed to develop independence.

So.... at the party, I remember listening to her and the other residents sing "I've Been Working On The Railroad" while I focused on putting little Halloween decals on my nails. Momma said, "Let's go back to my house" (meaning her room) and I said, "You go on, Momma. Tyler and I'll be there as soon as they give out the candy."

She left, and Tyler and I followed her no more than five minutes later. She wasn't in her room, she wasn't in the dining room, she wasn't in the other rooms in her hallway. The nurses' aides, Tyler, and I looked all over for her. Finally, Tyler and I went out the front door and walked toward Momma's wing of the nursing home. Tyler went one way around a dumpster and I went the other way. We found Momma on her knees in about twelve inches of snow, with an arterial bleed on her temple. Blood arched out of her temple with each heartbeat.    Literally.

Oh, God. Why am I writing this?

And to be totally honest with a thought I can hardly stand to think, Tyler found her first. I walked around the dumpster to see my Momma on her knees with her arms outstretched toward Tyler, saying "son-hon, son-hon, son-hon". Just nonsense words.

A passerby ran over to staunch the bleeding and I grabbed Tyler and ran inside to get a nurse. By the time I got back outside, Momma was unconscious. I rode in the back of the ambulance with her to Santa Fe for a CT scan. The doctor told us she had had a massive bleed in her brain, was brain dead, and we should let her go.

With her, in the back of the ambulance on the way back to the hospital in Los Alamos, I touched my earlobe and realized that I had had on my long black skeleton earrings. I remember feeling an immediate aversion, and ripping them out of my ears and tossing them across the ambulance floor.

My mom actually died on November 1st. All Saints' Day. She would have laughed about that.

But Halloween is the day that I identify with her death. Like I said, Halloween and I don't get along.

I've tried to like Halloween for the last few years. I've tried to get past identifying such a fun holiday with my mom's death. And I've done a pretty good job - decorating my house, taking my kids trick-or-treating, volunteering at the school carnival...

But my insides have never matched my outsides on Halloween. I've dressed silly and looked happy, but on the inside, I was hypervigilant, sad, scared.

My internal little girl has always been in control on Halloween.

But here's the corker. Last Halloween is when I fell like a candy-filled Homecoming float and broke my elbow. I was actually in the church parking lot that is next door to the nursing home parking lot where I found my mother nineteen years ago. Strange but true. Part of the reason I flipped out when the ambulance came to get me (separate from the fear of being too fat to be picked up and my general fear of anything medical) was that the last time I rode in an ambulance was nineteen years ago with my mom.

And, this Halloween season, my friend Nancy passed away. She was my cancer buddy, someone who had also gone through endometrial cancer. By the Grace of God, my cancer was not as aggressive as hers. I have survived. She didn't.


If I had control over everything, I'd be OK with Halloween. Isn't that the story of my life? And probably yours?

If I had control over everything on Halloween, I'd make Tyler not go to an insane music fest in Florida over Halloween weekend. This year is like the fourth or fifth year that he's gone and I DON'T LIKE IT.

I need all my little chicks in the hen house around Halloween.

If I had control over everything on Halloween, I'd have nothing scary. I like scary stuff but not at Halloween. It's too gruesome and reminds me of my long-gone skeleton earrings and all the blood. It reminds me of death.

If I had control over everything on Halloween, I'd get rid of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I can turn down nearly everything but those.

So.... this Halloween:
Tyler is going to be in Florida from Thursday to Monday so I'll pray a lot.
I'm going to Main Street Halloween with friends this Friday night.
Nina is coming home to spend Saturday night.
I don't know what I'm going to do Monday night but I'll be sure to be with people.
I'm going to try my hardest not to feed my feelings.

I'll smile and laugh and say off-the-wall things, but for the next few days, please keep in mind that little girl Jenny is right under the surface. And she's scared and lonely.

Love you,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Acting Like An Animal

Oh, I would like to write something humorous and entertaining but it's just not in me. So I just have to go with the truth. Sometimes talking about the truth is boring. Please bear with me.

I don't want to get so obsessed with this that I screw it up. I discovered a Droid app on my phone called 'My Fitness'. I can log all my food, water, and exercise. I've been religiously logging my food in for the past three days. I would be logging in exercise if I was actually getting some. (Even I won't stoop to logging in something I didn't really do.)

I am worried about my tendency to go from one end of the continuum to the other in the blink of an eye. I sometimes act like a pea shot out of a slingshot. If I get too bogged down in logging in everything I eat and drink, I may chuck it all and be in a total binge before I even know what I'm doing.

The unconsciousness.
The lack of thought.

I'm scared of that right now.

Today, I got too hungry. I'd reached the point of the shakes. I had Subway for lunch and water on my drive back from Albuquerque. By the time I got to Barb's for a bowl of beans, I was STARVING. I ate two cups of Barb's delicious green chili pinto beans - after logging it in to my phone. Luckily, I just ate beans. I could easily pass on the bread.

But this is how on-the-edge-out-of-control-unconsciously-eating I was:

I STUFFED them in.
My nose started running because of the beans' wonderful spiciness.
I wiped it ON MY SHIRT.
Barb said, "get up and get a tissue".
I said, "No, that's OK."
And then proceeded to repeatedly wipe my nose on my hands.

Gross. Out of control. Animalistic. That's how it felt.
And it was all because of a need to stuff my face.

In hindsight, I was so close to the edge of a binge.

Tonight's mantra...
middle of the road, jenny
middle of the road, jenny
middle of the road, jenny

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I'm hungry.
It feels like it's my tummy but I really think it's my head.

My tummy has had a piece of cheese toast, a banana, and a Diet Coke. (It's a Diet Coke for breakfast kind of day.)

I'm trying to figure out what else in me feels like hunger:

* It might be the Diet Coke. I think that caffeine stimulates my appetite. I've been drastically cutting down on Diet Coke since I figured out it raises my blood pressure. But today, Diet Coke sounded soooooo much better than Crystal Light.

* It might be because I was down another half a pound. I think when I actually lose pounds, I start thinking I'm hungry.



Barb sent me a text on Monday that says "Don't use the term 'lose weight'. To lose something usually implies we hope to find it again. Instead talk about 'releasing weight'. This implies letting go of it forever."

I liked that, I thought "oh, how nice!", but it didn't click until just now!

I am truly amazed by how blogging can help you "see".

And that reminds me of an affirmation I learned a long, long time ago that still pertains to many areas of my life.


What condition?
My fat.
My anxiety.
My lack of money.
My out-of-shape body.
My aloneness.
My lack of trust in men.
My indecision about where to live, what to do.
My health.
My fear of doctors, cancer, death.
My fear of loss of my children.
My hunger.

Using that affirmation would really work for any of my "conditions".
Because, somewhere in me.... there is a need for all of them.
Otherwise, I wouldn't have them.

At least, that's the way I believe.

I release the need in me that has created my fatness.
I release the need in me that has created my indecision.
I release the need in me that has created my poorness.
I release the need in me that has created my fear of relationships.

See? It fits for all of them. And I don't have to figure out what the need is. Which is my first inclination.

As a therapist, I'm inclined to probe and analyze trying to figure out the "whys". Why do I have this need for fat? What is the need? Why do I need to not have money at this time in my life? Why am I setting myself up this way?

But really, analyzing and going into an intellectual place about these needs just wastes time.

The only thing that will work is to go into my "heart place" and just breathe in the words, and pray for willingness and courage to set the needs free.

Much easier to say than to do. But I'm gonna try. And try. And try. And try.

And I also going to work on I release the need in me that has created chronic knee pain.

Think that might work? Worth a try, huh?


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trying To Live The Serenity Prayer

A few days after I turned fifteen, my mother had alcoholic convulsions and was placed in a psychiatric ward. (There wasn't such a thing as "alcoholism treatment center" back then.)

I was thunder-struck, emotionally devastated, with my world thrown off it's axis. I remember sitting on my cousin, Samantha's, bed that night, lost and scared, and her handing me a little coin with AA written on one side and the Serenity Prayer written on the other side. The "hand of Alcoholics Anonymous" had already reached out while Samantha was admitting my mom to the hospital.

God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change
Courage to Change the Things I Can
And the Wisdom to Know the Difference.

That was the first time I ever read the Serenity Prayer and it's been a constant beacon in my life ever since. It constantly reminds me to look at what I have control over - and what I don't.

I fight this a lot. It's the part of me that would like to live in Opposite World where I have no control over my weight or what I put in my mouth, so I might as well stuff as much in as possible!

In Opposite World, I would also have TOTAL CONTROL over other people.

But, no...... I know that ain't so....

Today, I've found myself focusing on the Serenity Prayer over and over. Thank God I have it as a tool.

God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change...
* The physical, emotional, and spiritual health of my children. I have to remember they are all adults now. Any control I ever thought I had is long gone now and it would be inappropriate and enmeshed to try to recreate it.
* My regular oncologist appointment coming up in three weeks. (I get an early start on the dreading.) I can't control a recurrence of cancer. I can just pray for the strength to deal with it if it happens. And it's stupid to get my worry on this early!
* Tyler's safety on his trip to Florida over Halloween, my most dreaded holiday. Again, he's twenty-five, not eight.
* The fact that my dog, Mo, is old and his eyesight and hearing are going. My job is just to love him and nurture him for the rest of his time.

...the Courage to Change the Things I Can....
* What I put in my mouth.
* What I put in my brain.
* The pile of paperwork at work that I keep trying to escape from rather than go through.
* Whether I spend the day as a sitter, or a mover. Today, I chose to be a sitter.
* How and when I reach out to other people.
* My missing tooth.

For some reason this missing tooth has been bothering me terribly today. It's been this way since I was 38! I COULD go to the dentist and have it fixed rather than planning and scheming about smiling with my mouth closed so no one will see.

...And the Wisdom to Know the Difference.
Sometimes this is the hard one. But today it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what I can fix and what I can't fix. Now, I just have to put legs on my prayers.

Love you,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life As A Sprint Runner Doesn't Work

Today, I weigh 10 pounds less than I did when I started blogging.

It doesn't feel like much of a weight loss because I'm still in the weight range where I've vacillated for a long time now. For years now, I've hovered in the 230's and 240's.

Hovered. Like I could get my feet off the ground.

Today, I weighed 234. When I get to 229, I will feel like I'm really making progress because, honestly, I can't remember the last time I weighed under 230.

There is a wonderful blog called Escape From Obesity. The author has lost a lot of weight and is therefore, my hero.

Today, her blog title was Unstuck. Two of her statements that I so identify with are:

"I always used to be in a whirlwind before, unless I was at a dead standstill. I alternated between rushing, busy, frantic exhausted days and crash-and-burn, sit-home-and-binge days."

"My life felt like I was sitting in a topless Jeep in a giant mud slick, alternating between gassing it so hard I was flinging mud all over myself, and just shutting off the ignition completely and sitting there staring at the mud and giving up."

Sigh..... That is so ME. And I love the image of sitting in a topless Jeep either revving it up or staring glumly at the mud. Been there, done that, have the mud stains - both figuratively and literally.

In talking about how "all or nothing" my thinking is, Donna once described me as living life like a sprint runner. Either running as fast and furious through life as I can or laying on the couch in my jammies wanting someone else to go pee for me.

This personality trait has had such an impact on my struggle with weight. I've been ON A DIET or NOT ON A DIET.

In the past, ON A DIET meant eating Jenny Craig food, counting points, or not letting myself have the things I really love like chips and salsa, ketchup, cheese, Mexican food, potatoes, eating out, etc.

Being NOT ON A DIET meant eating how-ever-much-of-whatever-I-wanted-whenever.

I've never identified with binge eating because I think of it as eating HUGE, HUMONGOUS, GINORMOUS amounts of food. I used to work with some developmentally delayed people who had Prader-Willi Syndrome. They couldn't eat enough food and would do anything to get more, including going through garbage cans or eating spoiled food. They would truly eat until they were sick. At the group home, we had to keep locks on the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets.

That is what I thought of as binge eating.

It never dawned on me until this exact moment (Really! Right here blogging! I knew this was good for me!) that, when people talk about binge eating, they are talking about how I eat, not people with Prader-Willi. Talk about denial!

Binge eating:
* Getting two chicken sandwiches at McDonald's because they're little.
* Eating dinner in the DeColores bar with Kara, Cindy, and Becky and two hours
later, eating dinner in the DeColores restaurant with Donna.
* Getting an order of Sonic tacos as an after-school snack.
* Eating my food, then half of Natalie's food.
* Ordering two entrees because I can't make up my mind which I want more.
........ And these are just RECENT examples!

My NOT ON A DIET really is binge eating. It's not "normal people not on a diet".

It's the opposite of dieting.

It's all or nothing.

It's the sprint run of eating.

Since I started blogging, I really haven't been doing that. Well, except for eating mine AND Natalie's dinners last Friday night.

I've been much more present. Much more just walking the track.

I really want to learn to live my life like a cross-country runner - in eating, in spending, in playing, in working, in cleaning, in joining, in volunteering, in saying "yes"........... in every aspect of my life.

I want to learn to "go the distance".

Monday, October 17, 2011


Have you ever tried to make a list of the fun activities that just bring you joy? Activities that make you smile - both on the outside and the inside?

It's much harder than you think. In fact, off the top of my head, I could only think of 15 activities in 15 minutes.

Do this with me and make your Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy list. But do it quickly - off the top of your head - and don't try to get too intellectual or too goody-goody.

I KNOW how much being with your family brings you joy. (All the time, right?)
I KNOW how much you love to cuddle with your pets.
I KNOW how much internal joy you feel from being in touch with your personal Higher Power.....

I'm talking FUN STUFF. Guilty pleasures.

NO!!!!! NOT THAT GUILTY PLEASURE!! G-rated only here on my blog!

Here's my "off the top of my head" Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy list:
1. Being in a swimming pool - bouncing, somersaulting.
2. Driving around looking at Christmas lights and decorations.
3. Being with my cousins.
4. Being on boats on lakes, on cruise ships, on house boats, etc.
5. Being around streams and rivers.
6. Being in hot tubs.
7. Having my house all decorated for Christmas and waiting for people to arrive.
8. Four-wheeling (but not out of control four-wheeling).
9. Meeting friends for coffee, lunch, dinner, drinks.
10. Open Houses.
11. Afternoon naps.
12. Visiting funky roadside attractions.
13. Going to restaurants.
14. Being anywhere in Texas.
15. Exploring (which sometimes includes being in places I'm not supposed to be).

Now, what's yours?

While making my list, I was aware that #9 and #13 are the only two activities on my list that I do on a regular basis. I don't think that's very emotionally healthy. I think we should be doing something on our HHJJ list every day - or at least, every week.

No wonder I eat!

If I found the time and opportunities to more frequently participate in the activities that bring me happiness and joy, would I overeat?

Is that the hole I'm filling?

I can also work on expanding my HHJJ list. Like, I know from my past life as a married person, that I love to go camping in a camper. I haven't figured out how to have a camper or go camping since I became a single person. Maybe I can work on that.

I can also work at changing my attitude and outlook on life so I feel joyful more on a daily basis. Can I find the feeling of HHJJ from my daily activities? Cleaning the cat box? Brushing my teeth?

That, I don't know.

P.S. Reading over my list, I realize I need to live by a stream that feeds into a lake, with my own swimming pool and hot tub, close to all my friends and cousins, within easy proximity to restaurants and fun attractions, in Texas. Then, I'd definitely feel HHJJ!!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Momma Didn't Teach Me No Manners

I KNOW I have few boundaries.
I KNOW I have a faulty internal filter.

But, I never thought how that affected my manners until yesterday.

Boundaries... Manners... Filters... They're all very connected.

I went to a beautiful memorial service yesterday for a friend's father. The family and friends who stood up and shared about him made me really wish that I had known him. But I know his daughter, and if she takes after her father at all, I can imagine what a loving, giving person he was.

But, back to manners.......

DeColores was serving food at the memorial service. They're one of my favorite restaurants, you know. I did a very good job on portion control but did eat a tamale, some brie, olives, and guacamole. Then, I started thinking about Donna who I had left at my house working on her computer while I went to the memorial service. I mean, MY house where there's nothing to eat.

So, (tacky, tacky, tacky).... I filled a plate and asked for foil to cover it so I wouldn't go home to Donna empty-handed.

Essentially, I asked for take-out at a funeral.
Let's have a mass eye-rolling. One... two.... three.... ROLL!

And really, if I try to analyze that convoluted place in my brain where I justify, rationalize, and ponder.... I think what I was really doing was trying not to be AHEAD of Donna in the competition of who ate the most yesterday.

Did Donna know that we were having a competition? Noooooooo, of course not. I compete with people who don't even know they're in the race. I have a better chance of winning then.

My take-out for Donna has THREE tamales, pineapple, brie, and a massive amount of guacamole. You can look at it either as I was being very generous or as I had to make sure she ate more than me.

I started feeling ashamed of myself after I got home for taking food from the funeral. The mean ole shaming Jenny in Jennyland was saying, "Didn't your mother teach you any better?"

And the answer is NO! I think my mother would have taken take-out from a funeral, too! She would have done like I did and made some elaborately confusing explanation to the host about why she was walking out with a foil doggy-bag, but she would have done it.

My mom didn't have much of a filter or boundaries either, I don't think. And I'm talking about even after she got sober. She was quirky and I think she assumed that other people were just like her on the inside but maybe not comfortable expressing it on the outside. That's how I think.

As my friend, Tippy, once said to me: "Jenny, you are how I've always been afraid of being. But watching you, I've realized that it would be OK if I was that way."

Well.......... I choose to take that as some form of compliment....

I'm interested in hearing from family members who knew my mom. Do you agree that she had flaky filters and boundaries and would have taken a doggy-bag?

I Cooked.

I cooked! All by myself.

I know it looks like some kind of squash casserole but it's really green chili chicken enchiladas.

And people like it.

Look at how proud Tyler looks of his momma.

It's pitifully obvious how infrequently I cook. Ty served some to Marissa. He served some to Dave. He put some in a tupperware container to take to Eric.

If he was nine, he'd be gleefully yelling, "LOOK! MY MOM MADE SOMETHING IN THE KITCHEN!"

Poor boy....

(But, I'm a little proud of myself, too. Better late than never.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Eating Or Oblivion. That Is The Question.

I never knew how much enjoyment I got out of food until I ate consciously.

That statement sounds like I get more enjoyment out of food when I eat consciously - savoring every bite, taking my time, blah, blah, blah, blah. That's "diet talk".

I mean "consciously" defined as "not in oblivion". It's not near as much fun.

Last night at the birthday party, as I ate my little bowl of spaghetti sauce and salad, I just felt....... unhappy? bored? unsatisfied? not fulfilled?
Yes, not fulfilled.

I think it goes back to that wild abandon thing again. And I think that's the same as being in oblivion.

I realize that how I like to eat is with gusto, without thought, joyfully. (Isn't it funny that I'm somehow connecting "without thought" with "joyfully"?)

At the party, I had to be ON GUARD. ON GUARD is not really comfortable or relaxed. ON GUARD is tiring. ON GUARD is work!

I had to physically remove myself from the appetizers.

And.... here's something I've only admitted to one person today...... when I was cleaning off the table between the appetizers and the meal, there were about fifteen (sorry, Gay, I told you ten) chips that people had dropped on the table. I cleaned them up by EATING them. AND I DUNKED EACH ONE OF THEM IN FRENCH ONION DIP BEFORE PUTTING THEM IN MY MOUTH!


Then, while everyone filled TWO plates each (one with spaghetti, one with salad), I filled my little bowl.

Only another overeater would understand how that was work.

And then, I physically removed myself again from the table and sat alone in the living room, feeling sorry for myself because I wasn't getting to stuff my face.

Huh.. Sounds pretty sick when I type it.

Today, I went out to brunch with my friend, Gay. I ordered the egg breakfast (two over medium, four pieces of bacon, two pieces of toast, and TOMATO SLICES rather than hashbrowns). Because that was all that was in front of me (except for Gay's that I've been known to take) and I couldn't get anymore without getting up and ordering and paying for it, I was able to relax and enjoy eating. I didn't feel like I was working. I felt joyful oblivion.

So, what are the lessons for me here?

1. I don't do good with parties, pot lucks, or being able to serve myself. It's very hard and not fun. Not fun is not good. But I've got to learn how to do these activities because I'm a very social person and I'm going to be EVEN MORE CRABBY if I can't go to parties, pot lucks, and all the other fun P words.

2. I can relax and enjoy my food if I'm sure that all I'm going to get is what is in front of me. And it's too hard to get more. I need to remember Elissa's words, "YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU DON'T THROW A FIT!"

3. Yes, I am going to have to choose "eating as work" over joyfully stuffing my face if I want to change my life.

I can only stuff my face joyfully and with abandon if I set the stage appropriately - both with the kind of food and the amount of food. If I do it right, then... no worries!

So, yeah... it's going to take work. I think that's why I don't ever do it. I work at my job that I love, then I play. I'm not good at doing things I don't want to do or doing things that require work.

That's got to change.

I've got to focus on WHY I want this. WHY it's worth it.

That'll be my next conversation with myself.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Do YOU Want The Next Poll To Be?

Poll results (honestly)...

1. Most people call a scarf a scarf. Does anyone else call it a muffler? Is that just in Jennyland? Is that just a McAuley family trait? Did I just make that up?

2. Most people think "interesting" has 4 syllables.

3. 10 out of 19 people pronounce "interesting" with 3 syllables instead of 4. Now, I just don't believe that. The ONLY person I've ever heard say in-ter-est-ting on a regular basis is Barb Barber. You other guys are just covering for her. ;-)

Give me some fun poll ideas! I LOVE polls!!


Today's Nuts and Bolts (besides me)

GGGRRRRR! I'm still so mad at myself!

I weighed more this morning.

So, I've got to take a deep breath and plan out today. It's going to be a hard day to plan because I'm going to a spaghetti dinner birthday party tonight. There will be chips and dips (I'm in charge of bringing them). There will be alcohol. There will be spaghetti and bread and salad and cake.

My Plan For The Party:
1. I can do without chips and dip. I'll just eat salsa with a spoon.
2. I will have one two glasses of wine. And I'll make sure I take Diet Coke.
3. I'll have a skinny person fill my plate. I can have lots of salad and a skinny person's idea of a serving of spaghetti. (A skinny person's idea of a serving is MUCH different than mine.)
4. I can do without bread or cake.

Bread, cake, chips, dip ---- I like all that stuff but I really can pass on it.

It's the portion size of spaghetti that will get me. And the wine.

My Plan For The Rest Of Today:
1. I don't want to go to the Y because my knee hurts but I'm going to anyway. I will walk one mile. That's all. No weights.
2. I'm going to start stuffing water down me now. To fill me up and flush me out.
3. I have a Lean Cuisine for lunch and I've had yogurt and coffee for breakfast.
4. I'll go home early from the party and crawl in bed with Mad Men on the computer.

I'm really trying to focus on what I'm WILLING to do - not what I SHOULD do.
I SHOULD just not go to the party. That would be safest. But am I willing? No.
I SHOULD just drink Diet Coke. That would be best. But am I willing? No.
I SHOULD just have salad. That would have least calories. But am I willing? No.
I SHOULD do an extra workout at the Y. That would help. But am I willing? No.

I think really trying to be honest with myself about what I'm willing to do - and then praying for willingness - is a key for me.

Thou shalt not should on thyself.

Any other ideas?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011



I don't know what happened! Maybe it was blogging about being oppositional and defiant.

I went out with Barb, Ron, and Natalie to the Day of the Dead Art Show and dinner. First of all, I had two beers. Then, I had my usual DeColores dinner of a bowl of beans with green chili and ketchup. And three bowls of salsa. That was OK.

Then (here's the unconscious part), I had HALF of Natalie's veggie burger. The half that she was planning to take home and eat for lunch tomorrow. I ate it while she was waiting for the take-out box. AND..... I ate it while Natalie was in the bathroom!

I wasn't hungry. It just tasted so damn good.

I've been pretty good at reminding myself - when I want something really bad (like pizza) - that I can have it "later" - after I've lost weight.

You'd have thought there was NEVER going to be another veggie burger ever made in the world!

And I'd never even eaten a veggie burger until about a month ago. This was just the third time I'd tried eaten one.

The half of veggie burger, in and of itself, is not the problem. The problem is the fact that THIS COULD BE JUST THE BEGINNING.

I have to remember:
1. That's it's OK to screw up.
2. I can do something different that my usual response of "Oh, fuck it!"
3. I don't have to punish myself by giving up.
3. I can start again right now.

This... THIS EXACT EXPERIENCE.... is my #1 problem. This is what keeps me fat. THIS is why I'm blogging. To make it past these speed bumps in the road.

That's all it is - a speed bump. I don't have to wreck the damn car.

Think good thoughts - pray - send positive vibes. I need all the help I can get.

Thank you.

Oppositional and Defiant Disorder

This morning, I weighed 236. That's down from 244 when I started to try to eat consciously and blog.
I do feel like I'm being much more conscious in my eating. And the good thing is that doesn't mean that I'm dieting! I'm still eating what I want - just not as much of it.

If I tell myself that I can't go out to eat - I'll blow it.
If I tell myself that I can't eat potatoes, beans, corn, and ketchup - I'll blow it.
If I tell myself I have to drink 8 glasses of water a day - I'll blow it.
If I tell myself I can't have chips and salsa - I'll blow it.
If I tell myself that I HAVE to exercise - I'll blow it.
If I tell myself I can't go out on Ladies' Night - I'll blow it.

I have Oppositional-Defiant Disorder.

I was not an oppositional or defiant child. As an only child with an only parent, I was much too enmeshed with my mom to oppose or defy her.

So, I have grown up to be an oppositional and defiant adult. Not to other people - I'm way to Southern and nice for that. Just oppositional and defiant to myself.

I need to play the opposite game with myself.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hello, My Name Is Jenn and I Am An Ex-Restaurant Phobic

I was just talking to someone about how much I love going out to eat. I LOVE going to restaurants. I think it's the social aspect. Not only of visiting with the friend or friends that I'm with, but also watching all the other people. I love to people-watch as much as I love going to restaurants.

But I wasn't always this way.

When I was eight, my dad and I were driving to my grandmother's house about two and a half hours from our home. My mom had just started to attend college (as a forty-year-old) so she was going to come to grandma's the next day.

My dad and I stopped at a restaurant in the little town of Dickens, Texas. I ordered my favorite soda - a root beer. He asked if there was a doctor in town. The waitress told him the closest doctor was in a town about 30 miles away. So my dad ordered Alka-Seltzer. Before our orders came, he fell backwards off the counter stool onto the floor. They say he was dead before he hit the ground.

I was rushed out of the restaurant and taken to the Sheriff's house to spend the afternoon with his daughter (who was home sick from school) while they tried to locate my mom. No cell phones back then. They reached mom by telephone four hours after dad died when she returned home from class.

I spent the afternoon watching The Three Stoogies and eating little wax "cokes".
.........................................Remember those?.....................

It's funny. I haven't drank root beer or watched the Three Stoogies since that day - October 12, 1962. Wow, just realized its 49 years tomorrow. Long time to go without root beer. Or The Three Stoogies. Or a dad.

I suffered from LOTS of phobic symptoms after dad's death. And it was 1962! People didn't think kids needed counseling. They'd "grow" out of it.

The truth of the matter is that children don't grow out of it but they do grow into being therapists! Chew on that for awhile!!

I was scared of restaurants. I was scared of eating. I was scared of drinking. I was scared of sleeping. I was scared of The Three Stoogies. I was scared of root beer. I was scared of Dickens, Texas.

I HATED restaurants. If I had to go into one and was forced to order, there was no way I could choke anything down.

I would tentatively swallow.

Do you know what happens if you tentatively swallow? The food only goes part way down. It's like tentatively throwing a bowling ball. You can't make it to the pins. Or the stomach.

So then I would feel the sensation of food in my throat and frantically grab my drink to try to wash it down. When I finally completed a swallow, I would have the relief of someone who had been in a major anxiety attack. And then have to do the whole thing over again with the second bite.

You would think that my dad choked to death by my response, wouldn't you? But he never even got his order of Alka-Seltzer. Its just the association I made with R.E.S.T.A.U.R.A.N.T.S.

This went on for years. In junior high, I reached the point where I loved going out to eat but it was an ordeal. My tentative swallowing, panic-stricken looks, and frantically grabbing my drink was noticeable to others. Talk about people-watching. I'm sure I was watched!

I don't really know when or why I stopped being panicked by eating in public places. Maybe it was due to therapy, maybe it was due to growing up.....maybe the phobia just transformed into compulsive overeating and loving restaurants!

Whatever it was, it doesn't bother me now.. I'm on my way to meet Cathy at Hill Diner!

Rest In Peace, Daddy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

9 Lessons I Have Learned That I'm Going To Share With You So You Won't Make An Ass Out Of Yourself, Too

1. Don't bathe your skunked dog in Spicy Hot V8 Juice thinking its the same thing as tomato juice.

2. Don't bathe with your skunked dog in Spicy Hot V8 Juice. It burns your ya-ya.

3. Don't shave your ya-ya.

4. Don't repeatedly hold a back vibrator up to your nose EVEN THOUGH it feels really cool when it makes you sneeze. It will leave a bright red scab on the tip of your nose for which you will have no plausible explanation.

5. Don't check to see if your baby has stopped having diarrhea by sticking your hand in his diaper.

6. Don't put red lipstick on your lips before you go to bed because you've run out of vaseline. You will look like this---
---and have a very hard time getting it off.

7. Don't confuse nail glue with tooth whitener and smear the nail glue all over your front teeth and then stick your bra to them trying to wipe it off.

8. Don't buy aerosol spray that is supposed to help you stop snoring.

9. Don't spray hairspray down your throat thinking it is the aerosol spray that is supposed to help you stop snoring.

(And #9 was Barb, not me.)


Sunday, October 9, 2011

NEW POLL! I Think People Were Confused By The Last One!

Please vote!!!!!

I need to show up Barb!

Mild Wild Abandon

I am not a wild abandon girl. I am not interested in dangerous sports, living on the wild side, drug use, or slutty behavior. In fact, I'm pretty much a scaredy cat about high risk behavior or anything that could be construed as illegal.

I'm scared of heights so that closes the door on many "wild abandon" activities. I'm scared of bugs and birds and ducks - so no wild abandon with them. I'm even scared of most rides at amusement parks - a place were wild abandon runs rampant for most people, but not for me.

As a scaredy cat, I experience mild wild abandon. Wild abandon with what most adults are supposed to have under control.

I experience wild abandon with silliness.
I experience wild abandon with anxiety.
I experience wild abandon with laughter.
I experience wild abandon with saying things that I shouldn't.
I experience wild abandon in the swimming pool.
I experience wild abandon with eating.
I experience wild abandon with drinking.
I experience wild abandon with spending.

Risky behaviors in their own way.

I've known for a long time that if I didn't release my inner wild abandon in one way, it would pop out in another way. Kind of like a pressure cooker with more than one pressure release valve.

I think my friend, Donna, was the first person to call my attention to this. She observed (being the observant psychologist that she is) that if I was on a diet, I binged by spending. If I was on a budget, I binged by eating. If I unfortunately was on a diet and a budget, I binged by letting my car and my house become total pig sties. It was like there HAD to be some area of my life that was out of control.

Wild abandon = no self control???

I like the term wild abandon SO MUCH MORE.

Anyway, I experienced this yesterday. Nina, Elisa, Barb, and I were out shopping and I just felt out of sorts, unfulfilled, not having fun, emotionally shut down. (And I personally hate emotionally shut down.)

At Hobby Lobby, I spent an hour looking over all the beads and pendants and tools and books. I wanted to buy them all. But I remembered that I know nothing about beading and kept myself to one purchase - a $2.99 case to put beads in for storage. (This is because the first thing I'm going to do is take all my single earrings - where I've lost the match - and take them apart to make into something different. Speaking of which: if you want to donate single earrings or other broken beaded jewelry, please do!)

At Shoes On A Shoestring, I walked around with three pairs of shoes in my basket. Now, I truly need shoes. Buying a pair of shoes would not be wild abandon. The problem is, I don't really like shoes. I found myself unwilling to use my weekend money on something that I really don't like. Just make sure I don't ever take my shoes off in your presence unless you have a serious head cold and have lost the sense of smell. I left Shoes On A Shoestring empty handed and basically morose.

I LOVE TJ Maxx! I love it because it has all sorts of happy crap that I like to surround myself with - cute MUFFLERS, pretty plus size tops, purses, soft bedding, various dinner plates for my collection, smell good stuff, jewelry, lots of brown and pink and lime green stuff...... I wandered around, tried on two tops, then carelessly left them in the wrong department. (I am a department store employee's nightmare.) Again, I just didn't want anything bad enough to spend my weekend money.

Now, if I had been using my credit/debit card, I would have spent with wild abandon because............well.......its not really money. Right? No?

So, I did good with my budget (thanks, Barb!) but I was still left with the feeling of unfulfillment. I still had a need to feel the sense of wild abandon.

That left dinner. We went to my favorite restaurant. In honor of my diet, I told the waiter that I was allergic to corn so I'd like my own bowl of salsa with a spoon. I SHARED a chicken and bean burrito with Nina. I did good on food. No wild abandon.

But I also SHARED a PITCHER of margaritas with Elisa. Here's where the pressure valve got released. A pitcher is a big thing. My cheeks got numb. I felt happy. I FELT WILD ABANDON.

This is a danger zone for me. There's way too much alcoholism in my family for me to identify drinking as a safe outlet for wild abandon. Every once in a while is OK, but it's not all right for drinking to be my new wild abandon outlet since I'm trying to control my eating and spending.

Reason #1: Drinking and CONSCIOUS EATING don't go together because drinking is consuming calories. (Well, not in Jennyland, but in real life.)
Reason #2: Drinking and CONSCIOUS SPENDING don't go together because drinking is spending money. (Again, not in Jennyland, but in real life.)
Reason #3: My family history!!!! Many of my relatives have already tried using alcohol with wild abandon and IT DIDN'T WORK!

I need to start being a slob again and let my car and house get trashed and be my outlet for wild abandon. But that's just not as much fun.

I'm going to look at my need for wild abandon closely and try to develop some new outlets for it. Can I develop a feeling of wild abandon from walking? Can I develop a feeling of wild abandon from volunteering? Can I develop a feeling of wild abandon from blogging? Can I develop a feeling of wild abandon from learning crafts?

If all else fails, I can go stand in the street and dodge cars.

To be continued................ (when I figure it out)............


Thank you to all who voted on the correct term for the thing that you wear around your neck in the winter.

The winner was MUFFLER so we must all remember that MUFFLER is the correct term and call it that from now on.


I knew I was right.


New poll coming today! Make sure you vote because, remember, YOUR votes counts~

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm On A Money Diet, Too!

Barb is helping me manage my money. I think she thought it was a choice of either helping me manage it or supporting me. She came up with a wonderful idea that I LOVE! And its worked for the last two weeks!

Barb ordered these really cute coupon holders. One for herself and one for me. I got the beautiful brown and pink one - my favorite color combination.

Inside, we labeled a divider for each day of the week, a separate one for "weekend", and then dividers for gas, groceries, savings, receipts, lists, coupons, cards, driver's license, and miscellanous.

In Barb's, I snuck in an extra divider that says "gifts for Jenn".

At the beginning of the week, I withdraw a certain amount for the week and divide it evenly throughout the days, with the same amount for the "weekend" (in addition to what's there for Saturday and Sunday). I also put enough for one fill-up per week in the gas section and a little extra in the groceries section.

It all comes up to $250 per week. I really SHOULD be able to live on that. When I have it, I usually spend much more - on doo-dads and thingamajigs and chi-chis and happy crap (insert whatever word your family happens to call that shit that you don't need but buy anyway).

If I can do this, I should not run out of money between paychecks as I tend to do.

Its another opportunity to practice "living consciously" and "self-control". Aren't those nice words?

Awwww, who am I kidding, its a DAMN BUDGET!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I LOVE potlucks. They are an overeater's dream.

Today, there was ham, chicken, green chili with beef, Texas chili, casseroles, tossed salad, fruit salad with marshmallows, corn and black bean salad, cheeses, crackers, hummus, brownies, cake, soup, three different kinds of bread, olives, and grapes.

And that was just the stuff that I could see as I quickly walked by with my eyes all squinted shut.

I was REALLY TRYING! I marched right through the food to the refrigerator and got my healthy green chili/turnip green chicken stew. But being the social person I am, I had to sit with the potluck people.

I ate my low calorie stew.
But then I got up and got a few pieces of cheese.
And then I got up and got a little bowl full of green olives.
And then I got up and got a tossed salad.

But I conquered the potluck and went back to my office!!!!!

But then I snuck back in the teachers' lounge and got more pieces of cheese.
And then I snuck in AGAIN and got MORE cheese and grapes.

Finally some kind person put the food up and made it more difficult for me to graze.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


See? There on the right.

That's all I have to report.

One Bead At A Time

I am a beader. I make beautiful earrings and necklaces. I'm going to give Lene Hessner and Becky Steritz a run for their money!


I really want to learn how to make my own jewelry. But, as usual, I got the cart before the horse last Saturday and decided to buy some beads. I actually decided to buy ONE bead for "my collection". (My collection of zero.)

Donna thought I had gone insane. We went to the bead store where I soon learned that it's difficult to buy one bead, so THE-NEW-ME-WHO-TRIES-TO-THINK-BEFORE-ACTING didn't buy any.

It was a watershed moment. A turning point in my personality development. A miracle.

Of course, I did have Donna, one of my rocks, with me. She's seen the spontaneous I-want-to-do-this-and-I-want-to-do-it-now behavior before. In fact, though she won't admit it, she's been an active participant.

A few years ago, Donna and I saw a friend's set of beautiful wine glasses decorated with thick wire and flat marbles.

.................................Kind of like this......................

That night, we went to Hobby Lobby and bought wine glasses, flat marbles, wire, and wire cutters.

Approximately three years later, I threw the flat marbles into my rock garden and just pulled the wine glasses out of the box and started using them. The wire and wire cutters went to wherever lost single socks, my grandmother's wedding ring, and my Cinderella watch from when I was five live.

Last Christmas, I decided to crochet mufflers for Tyler and Donna. (Now, I have to stop at this point and ask you, do you call the long crocheted or knitted things you put around your neck in the winter a muffler or a scarf? I grew up calling it a muffler. Barb Barber won't quit correcting me and giving me grief about it.)

Anyway, I bought nice soft brown yarn for Tyler's muffler, beautiful sparkly black yarn for Donna's muffler, and three different sizes of crochet needles.

Then, I realized that I didn't know how to crochet.

So, in my closet is the Hobby Lobby bag with the yarn and needles. Just waiting for someone who knows what they're doing.

What does this have to do with eating?

I am a starter of things.
I start craft projects.
I start gardens.
I start budgets.
I start diaries.
I start diets.
I start exercise plans.

I am not a follow-througher.

How does one develop the trait of follow-throughism?

I'm going to try to figure that out.

If you've got any ideas, let me know.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Really Should Be Skinny

If one is going to have to be fat, one should at least get to be a good cook. The two traits should go together like two peas in a pod.

People trust fat cooks. We assume their heads are filled with tasty recipes.
Tasty recipes that use butter and cheese and cream.......

Like my grandma. Most of my visual memories of her are in her kitchen, her little round body and big smiling face standing over the stove. She was ALWAYS smiling.

However, come to think of it, I'm not really sure she was a good cook. The only thing I remember her cooking were fried eggs that she would then douse in black pepper. But, I ASSUME she was a good cook because she was round. And lived in her kitchen.

The kitchen to me is a pretty alien place. I feign (uh, yeah....right) stupidity every time I walk in there. It's like there is a sign, visible only to me, that says "LEAVE BRAIN AT DOOR".

Which I do.

My latest culinary catastrophe was supposed to be green chili chicken stew. And, with strong hopes that Rita Sanchez does not read my blog, here's how I made it:
1. Get Barb to halve a roasted chicken with me 'cause all I want is the white meat
and all she likes is the dark.
2. Pour two cans of Rotel tomatoes in a pot, along with the shredded up
chicken breasts.
3. Pull everything out of the freezer looking for frozen vegetables.
4. Decide NOT to put the frozen black-eyed peas or the frozen fried okra in the
5. Throw in a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.
6. Throw in a carton of frozen green chili.
7. Say "What the hell!" and throw in a bag of old, freezer-burned turnip greens.
8. Place a confused look upon face and consider the need for chicken bouillon.
9. Decide NOT to put in powdered turkey gravy.
10. Boil until turnip greens are especially slimy.

And, then... if you can stand the smell in your kitchen... BON APPETIT!

This is not my first kitchen fiasco. There's been countless since I lost my cook (husband) through divorce.

There was the kitchen fire from trying to cook pork chops where Donna and Nina ran around the kitchen like little headless firemen trying to put out the fire while I went into a hysterical fit of helpless laughter because of anxiety.

There was the green chili chicken enchilada dumplings caused by my passive aggressive response to Donna telling me what to do.

Donna: "mix the corn starch in a little bit of warm water before you put it in
the green chili chicken broth".
Jenny (in her head) "What does SHE know?" as I just dumped the cup of corn starch in the broth.

Made for DELICIOUS green chili chicken enchiladas if you could ignore the large corn starch dumplings in the enchiladas!

As I write this, I realize I go to Jennyland when I cook - where I lose thought, cognition, and awareness. Just like I tend to do while eating.

I don't know if its the Gemini in me.. the balloon... the spontaneity... the irresponsibility... but I have this fantasy that I will just throw all this shit together and it will come out FANTASTIC!

Doesn't usually work.

However, I am willing to sell my latest green chili chicken stew recipe to anyone who wants to try it! Then I'll take the money and go out to eat.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Accountability by Blog

Oh, WOW! If you need to find some way to hold yourself accountable, trying blogging. I have reaped so many benefits since I started blogging last month.

I've lost six pounds since September 19th! I'm going to honor my weight loss by buying a five-pound bag of flour for every five pounds (uh, duh). I've already set up a basket in my closet to hold my bags of flour. Notice, I said "bags". I plan to get more than one or two.

I have not been dieting, nor exercising. The key to my beginning weight loss is definitely being accountable to myself - and to whoever reads my blog.

How long can I go on with this? Is it going to be like all the other weight loss techniques I've tried that work for a bit before I give up on them?

I don't know. But, I do know that all I can do is put one foot in front of the other every day on my quest to lose weight. And, to do that, I have to be cognizant and make discerning choices countless times per day. And, NOBODY CAN DO THAT FOR ME BUT ME.

While blogging about all the embarrassing reasons that I want to lose weight, I realized that, since breaking my arm last Halloween, I've been very protective of my body.

I've felt old and breakable. Yuck.

In a previous blog, I said that I had been unable to take a bath since breaking my arm because I couldn't get out of the bathtub.

Well, last night, I thought "SCREW THAT"!

I decided to take a bath even though I was the only one home.
I decided to take a bath even though I left my cell phone downstairs.
It crossed the elderly lady part of my brain (really, a very teeny weeny part) that I wasn't making safe decisions. What if I did get stuck?

But, again, I thought "OH, GIVE ME A BREAK! I SAID 'SCREW THAT'"!

(Freudian slip.)

And I took a bath. Like a normal person. Yay, me!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Winter In Jennyland

It's cool and rainy today in Los Alamos. I'm finding myself "nesting". What that means in my life is cleaning the house while smiling.

Usually, cleaning house is C.L.E.A.N.I.N.G. H.O.U.S.E. - and it is a chore. Here at my house, "nesting" only comes a couple of times a year and its related to some unfamiliar, alien form of domestication.

I think it's because it's getting close to WINTER.

Winter is not my favorite season. In fact, I'm quite aware that I would do best if I lived in a climate where I could get into an outdoor swimming pool eleven months out of the year.

But there is a purpose in my life for winter. I don't want Thanksgiving and Christmas out by the pool. I do need a little bit of cold weather so I can perform my yearly cold weather rituals and traditions.

If I lived in Jennyland all the time, there would be thirty days of winter and this is what it would be like:

Day 1: Clean while smiling (nest) and make the house all snug and cozy. This includes moving my living room furniture closer together. Don't ask me why. Today, I've shrunken my living room by jamming everything a foot closer. I think its some relationship in my head between crowded and cozy.

Day 2: Cook (read: have SOMEONE ELSE cook) my winter foods - stew, chili, stew, french onion soup, stew, pot roast, stew. I love stew.

Day 3: Decorate for Christmas. Really, if I cut to the chase, what I really want is eleven months out by the pool and one month in the living room watching Christmas tree lights.

Day 4: Continue to decorate for Christmas. I have lots of Christmas decorations.

Days 5 - 12: A week-long Thanksgiving holiday. One day for eating food that someone else cooks, six days for traveling, visiting, shopping, and napping.

Day 13: Make fun Christmas cookies and candies. Preferably this would be with Karen Petersen and we would make the same cookies and candies that we did one day 29 years ago. And, no, that isn't the last time I did holiday baking, just the last I remember. I'm sure I've done it since then.

Days 14 - 15: Let it snow. Get snowed in with my friends. Drink hot chocolate, watch old movies, take a walk in the snowy evening. But at the end of Day 15, it must dry up.

Days 16 - 22: Go to holiday parties. Lots of them. I love parties! There should be a variety of white elephant gift parties, drawing names for gifts parties, sober parties, tipsy parties, luncheon parties, evening parties, dress-up parties, and cookie exchanges (as long as Halo Golden gives me homemade cookie dough so I can look like I did the work).

Days 23 - 26: Christmas at my house with my family (including my family of friends). Of course, we're in Jennyland so EVERYONE will get along - no crabbiness, no snottiness, and NO YELLING THE "F" WORD IN THE FRONT YARD LIKE LAST YEAR! (OK, I have to admit it. I was the one who did that.)

Days 27 - 39: Holiday travel. I need to get to Texas to see EVERYBODY. I need to get to Ojo a couple of times, maybe Pagosa. And I'd really like to get up to Idaho during the winter season to sit in Heise Hot Springs.

Day 40: Have someone else take the Christmas tree down and get the house back in order for.....

Days 41 - 365: Hang out at the pool every day.

OK, so I made winter into a 40 day season. I'm still OK as long as I have the other 325 days to lounge in a deck chair, pretend snorkel, and do somersaults in the swimming pool.