Friday, November 30, 2012

From One Old Bag To Another

I've spend the last hour sitting next to my Christmas tree, reading through our Family Christmas Book about Christmases past.  Good memories.  Bittersweet memories.

In the book, I found one of the most amazing Christmas traditions I have ever known about.  I really think a magazine or newspaper article should be written about this. 

But I'll settle for a blog read by 85 people.

This envelope came to me in December, 1992.  It had obviously been used previously.

In it, was this Christmas card.

My mom, Irene, first sent it to her friend Marion............... 1949.

Marion and momma sent the card back and forth, Christmas after Christmas, until 1990 - the last Christmas that my mother was alive.

I sent it back to Marion in 1991, after my momma's death.

The card's last journey was from Marion to me in 1992.  Marion included a note saying that the Christmas card started in my mom's hands and it should end in mine. 

The card is a testament to a friendship that spanned a lifetime. 

And continues to bring joy.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Angels and Unicorns

I want to share one of my Christmas trees with you.  It's a little tree with some of my favorite ornaments.  They're all either unicorns or angels.  Both mythical creatures.  Both special to me.

At one point in my life, I had a huge unicorn collection (Unicorn ornaments and unicorn pictures - not the real thing, in case you are confused.  Or delusional.)  Over the years, many have broken and have been thrown away.  You know unicorns are fragile with that horn sticking out of their heads.  And, once a unicorn loses it's horn it just becomes a horse.  I have no interest in collecting horses.

My unicorn collection began with a story that I didn't share with people for years.  When I was 18, I had a boyfriend who was frustrated because I wouldn't have sex with him.  (He would have been REALLY frustrated if he'd stuck around because it was five more years because I had sex with anybody.)  For Christmas, he gave me a unicorn ornament and said I was "as rare as a unicorn".   I felt like he was making fun of me.  The gift ended our relationship but begin my collection. 

That was 1973.  Unicorn knick-knacks were not popular.  Owls were the big thing back then.  Finding anything with a unicorn on it was a rare occurrence.

So that became my "thing".  Other people started giving me unicorns - Christmas ornaments, knick-knacks, jewelry, pictures, stationary, calendars, books, cards, stuffed animals, etc.

Unicorns became so popular that my collection started looking like an obsession.  And I wasn't even buying them for myself!

When I moved from Lubbock and married in 1982, people quit giving me unicorns.

And it was years and years before I told anyone about how the collection started!

The angel collection started in 1991 after the death of my mama.  A few days after her death, I dreamed I was decorating my Christmas tree and all the ornaments were angels.  In my dream, they were my mom's angel ornaments that had been left to me.  My mama didn't collect angel ornaments in real life but I still loved the symbolism of that dream.  I started buying angel ornaments to fulfill my actual dream.

In the process, I started collecting angels in general.  Especially pictures of the guardian angel and two children.  You probably know the famous one~~~

But there are sooo many more!  Here's my favorite~~~
And I have them all.

So now, my house is full of angels - pictures, Christmas ornaments, jewelry, statues, knick-knacks, candles, dishes, stationary, cards, wind chimes...........

I love my angel collection and what's left of my unicorn collection.   Both of them have such special meaning to me.

And I want to share some of them with you...
 Horn made of shell.

 Made of paper.

Lion angel.

Angel bear.

One of my favorites.

Baby unicorn in a walnut shell.

Angel made by my dear friend, Carol Turner, the Christmas after my mom died.

Today, with the anxiety I feel about my children, I need to focus on the guardian angel pictures.  I know the guardian angel will protect them from any trains coming.  But what is that in Nina's basket and why is Tyler wearing that silly hat?

Jenn "Always be yourself.  Unless you can be a unicorn.  Then always be a unicorn." Neil

Monday, November 26, 2012

Twelve Steps

I think I need to be a 12-Step junkie.  In my lifetime, I have gone to 12-Step programs for:
*being the child of an alcoholic (Alateens)
*being the older child of an alcoholic (Post-Teens)
*being the adult child of an alcoholic (ACOA - Adult Children Of Alcoholics)
*being co-dependent (CODA - Co-Dependents Anonymous)
*loving alcoholics - my mom, my husband, my relatives (Alanon)
*being fat (OA - Overeaters Anonymous)
and now,
*being alcoholic (AA).

There are answers in 12-Step programs.  There are tools that I need to use daily.

And, as the tools are laid in front of me, I need to pick them up and use them.   They are NOT going to pick themselves up and start doin' my biddin'. 

I have come across a speed bump in life.  Actually, a week of speed bumps:  the loss of a student, the realization that I need to quit drinking before it causes more problems in my life, and a very hefty dose of anxiety about one of my children. 
  • I need to be at school, emotionally present, for my students who are grieving the loss of one peer and the serious injuries of another.
  • I need to be physically present at play rehearsals.  It's something I enjoy.  It's something I'm committed to.  
  • I need to go to AA meetings for myself.  To remind me that the ONLY person I can fix is me.  
  • I need to go to Alanon meetings to be with other people who are learning that they are powerless to change others.  
  • I need to sleep.
  • I need to eat.
  • I need to remember the word B.A.L.A.N.C.E.
I hate the anxiety diet.  My goal of weighing 209 tomorrow?  This morning, I weighed 206.

I would so rather be fatter than have this kind of anxiety.

I have lots of choices.
I can choose to stick my head in the sand and deny all that's happening around me.
I can choose to lay in my bed and cry.
I can choose to deal with my fears by drinking.
I can choose to deal with what's in front of me.
I can choose to recognize that life is never all happy, all sad, all good, all bad.  Every day carries it's gifts and it's pains.  I can choose to focus on the pains or I can choose to focus on the gifts.

I'm really trying to focus on the gifts, while acknowledging, and being honest, about the pains.

My favorite part of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book talks about acceptance.  It says Unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy.   The next sentence is just as important to me - I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

OOOOKKaaaay.  I know you want to hear the whole passage that these sentences came out of.  Here it is.   

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.  When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.  

Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake.  Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy.  I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.  

For me, serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not.  When I admitted that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me.  I learned that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgement, or assistance!  

The key to my serenity is acceptance.  But "acceptance" does not mean that I have to like it, condone it, or even ignore it.  What it does mean is I am powerless to do anything about it....... and I have to accept that fact. 

Nor does it mean that I have to accept "unacceptable behavior".  Today I have choices.  I no longer have to accept abuse in any form.  I can choose to walk away, even if it means stepping out into the unknown.  I no longer have to fear "change" or the unknown.  I can merely accept it as part of the journey.

I spent years trying to change things in my life over which I was powerless, but did not know it.  I threatened, scolded, manipulated, coerced, pleaded, begged, pouted, bribed, and generally tried everything I could to make the situation better - only to watch as things always got progressively worse.  

I spend so much time trying to change the things I could not change, it never once occurred to me to simply accept them as they were.

Now when things in my life are not going the way I planned them, or downright bad things happen, I can remind myself that whatever is going on is not happening by accident.  There's a reason for it and it is not always meant for me to know what that reason is.  

That change in attitude has been the key to happiness for me. 

I know that doesn't work for everyone.  Many people that I love and respect believe differently.  That's OK.  That passage has just always worked for me.  

Thanks for listening.  Thanks for being there.  Please pray for us.  And I'll pray for you.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Alcohol and Me

Last night, I decided that I need to be "done" with alcohol.  I've known the time was coming for quite some time but I've hidden that information from everyone - but myself.  I never was able to get into a place of self-denial.  I know too much about alcoholism.

I didn't want to mention my concerns about my drinking because ........  then I'd have to stop.  And I wasn't ready to stop.

Now, I am.  Here's the things in my mind.

I truly believe that alcoholism is a continuum.
I don't think I'm down at THE bottom.  In fact, I think I'm in the stage of "harmful drinking".  But it feels like MY bottom.

By growing up in an alcoholic home and around AA, Alanon, and Alateen beginning at the age of 15 - I don't think I need to go all.  the.  way.  down.

My mom always said that alcoholism was like an elevator.  You can ride it all the way to the bottom floor or you can get off on any floor you want.

I want off on THIS floor.

I don't really know what floor it is but I know that it's the floor I'm supposed to get off on.  It's MY floor.

I believe that when my drinking starts causing problems for OTHER people - it's time to stop.
I believe that when my drinking makes me do things that fill me with self-hate, shame, and guilt - it's time to stop.
I believe that when my insides, my heart of hearts, says "Jenny, you're done." - it's time to stop.

My heart of hearts said it loud and clear last night.  As I said above, it's been strongly hinting at that truth for awhile but I'm chosen to ignore the inner voice.

I don't drink every day.   But, for the 20 years that I was married to Charlie, I didn't drink at all.

Let me begin at the beginning.

My mother's alcoholism was one of the defining aspects of my childhood.  So was her recovery - beginning when I was 15.

During my later teenage years - when my peers were heavily drinking (the legal age to drink in Texas was 18) - my best friend, Shawnna, and I were doing crazy stuff like rinsing our mouths out with Boons Farm Strawberry Hill wine, sprinkling some of it on our shirts - and then going into parties acting like we were tipsy. 

While majoring in Anthropology at Tech, I drank sporadically.  But most of the times I drank became memorable.  Like on an Anthropology field trip to Mexico where there are a bunch of pictures of me either pulling my shirt up nearly to my boobs or pulling my shirt down nearly to my boobs.  Or losing my virginity - with a CO-WORKER - while drunk.

Even back then, alcohol did not bring out the best in me.

Somewhere in my mid-20's, I got worried about my drinking.  Mainly because I used alcohol to deal with a specific problem that I was experiencing.  I saw too much of my mom in me at that point.  So I stopped.  And I started going to Alanon meetings - for people who love alcoholics.  I thought I wouldn't "fit" into AA then because I hadn't drank long enough or bad enough.

But I've ALWAYS known that any drinking was very risky behavior for me.  If a child has one alcoholic parent, they have a 50% chance of developing alcoholism.  I was one of those.

And then there is the concept of the "addictive personality". 

Yes, uh-huh, that's me for sure.  I am an all or nothing kind of gal.

While going to Alanon in my mid-twenties, I met Charlie at an open AA meeting.  For the next twenty-one years, I drank so infrequently, it really shouldn't even count as drinking.  Here's an example of how my yearly physicals with Dr. Church would go:
Dr. Church:  Do you drink alcohol?
Me: Yes.
Dr. Church:  How frequently?  Daily?  Weekly?
Me:  No.......  yearly.  I usually have a glass of wine at Christmas.

And that's really how it was!  At Christmas, I'd buy a bottle of wine and have maybe one glass with Donna.  Then sometime during the spring, I'd throw the bottle away - still half full.

I've been divorced for ten and a half years now.  I started drinking more regularly soon after the divorce - but still mainly on special occasions.

Just during the last four years has alcohol become a more important part of my life.  It started out with going to happy hour weekly with friends.  Then, lots of weeks, it was happy hour two or three days a week.  Initially, drinking was only something I liked to do "out" - I didn't even like going over to people's houses to drink.  It was a social thing - have some drinks and watch the people.  It was boring to do it at someone's house.  I'd rather have Diet Coke.

Sometime in the last two years - since I've been an empty-nester - I've started drinking at home.  Always just wine.  Sometimes with guests, frequently by myself.

  • Alcohol has begun to be something I look forward to.
  • Alcohol has become something that I weigh in when deciding what restaurant to go to.  I've only wanted to go to restaurants where alcohol was served.
  • Alcohol has become something that I think about when I'm not drinking.
  • Alcohol has become something that I've used to deal with anger, sadness, loneliness, insomnia.
  • Alcohol has become something that I've actually saved my Weight Watcher points for!
When I first got divorced, I remember having dinner and drinks with Donna at DeColores.  Having a drink with dinner was kind of a new thing for me.  I told Donna then to "watch me" and to tell me if she got concerned about my drinking because I knew my risk level.

In the last couple of years, Donna has expressed concern about my drinking on more than one occasion.  I've pretty much just shushed her.

Less than two months ago, I threw up all over my living room after having people over for a party.  Before I hurled, I participated in a big crying jag with two friends and Tyler.  Three out of the four of us were crying.  Drunk behavior.

That is not the first time I've thrown up because of drinking.  Here's the pattern:
  1. 1976 - threw up while my ex-boyfriend, Russ, was trying to cop a feel of my boobs.  Threw up on his hands.
  2. 2011 - threw up in a local bar and had to be cleaned off by a Kindergarten teacher.
  3. 2012 - threw up in my bathroom (luckily, I made it there).
  4. 2012 - threw up in my livingroom, entry hall, kitchen.
  5. 2012 - And then there was last night.  More about that in a minute.
But do you see the pattern?  Do you see the escalation?  Now, I know many people who throw up from alcohol much more frequently than me. But that doesn't matter.

It is a bad, bad sign for me - who hates throwing up more than anything in the world - to throw up from drinking on three separate occasions in the last eleven months.  

For the last few months, I've drank wine on more nights than not.  Not to the point of drunkenness, but to the tipsy point.

Alcoholic thinking:  If you're going to drink, drink enough for the effect.  Otherwise stick to Diet Coke. 

I drank lots of wine night before last.  To the point that I was a bit shaky for most of yesterday.  Then, at Thanksgiving lunch yesterday, Donna (who doesn't have an addictive bone in her body) said she was going to put some vodka in her Cran-Ras/Sprite drink.  I thought that was a great idea!  I had one, too.  I watched how much vodka Donna put in.  But, in my thinking, if a little bit is good, more will be better.  So, on my second drink, I put in maybe double the amount of vodka.  And Donna of course, nursed her first drink all evening, while I went all the way through the happy > buzzed > tipsy > stone cold drunk continuum.

On my third drink, I stuck with my increased vodka amount - maybe between a third and a half of the glass was vodka, the rest Sprite and Cran-Ras.

After my third drink, I took the dogs for a walk with Nina.  I was woozy but able to stand on my feet.   I came back in, sat down, and it's like THEN it hit me.  My memory is so hazy but I remember Elisa asking if I was going to get sick.  I told her 'no' and then proceeded to spew all over myself while sitting in the recliner in Donna's living room.    In front of Donna, Elisa, and........ Nina.

Somehow they got me to the bathroom and undressed...   Maybe I took a shower at that point.  I really don't know.  I remember sitting on the toilet and asking Nina to leave the room because I knew I was going to get sick again.  She went out of the bathroom but continued to watch me through the door.  So she, my daughter, saw me puke all over myself again and again and again and again.  I just sat there on the toilet, barfing.  She came back in and was trying to set a trash can in my lap but I kept batting it, and her, away.

I don't EVER want to experience that level of shame and self-hate again.

I am Nina's rock.
I failed soooooooo badly.
It brings tears to my eyes to even sit here and write about it.
How could I do that to her?  Of all people? 
I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive myself.

And Elisa, my beautiful foster daughter, cleaned up after me.  She saw my fat, naked body.  She cleaned up my puke.

That is not the way it is supposed to be.

I never, ever want it to be that way again. 

I threw up so much that I pretty well sobered up.  Enough to know that this had to be the end. 

It has to be the end while I still have enough control to make it the end. 

It is not who I want to be.

Even though I knew that it would make all my friends collectively roll their eyes, I knew that the first thing I had to do was put my decision on Facebook.  Sounds strange,  but it has to do with accountability and transparency.

I seem to not be safe unless I am keeping myself accountable and transparent.

Believe me, I feel even more embarrassment because I put it on Facebook.  But I knew I had to do it.

I sent private messages to my two most special program people.  And I called two other friends who are active in AA.

I'm going to an AA meeting Sunday when I get home.

I think I could do this without AA.  But I don't want to.  For two reasons:  One, even though I know I'm done with drinking right now, I might forget that I'm done with drinking later.  Going to AA will keep that from happening.  And second, the twelve steps of AA have been a part of me for over half my life.  I know the power that the fellowship of AA can offer.  I believe in the promises of the Big Book.  And that's what I am holding on to now.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Skirmish 2012, Day One. Sad, Sad, Sad.

I'm so sad right now.  You probably got that from the title.

Today, a Los Alamos mother has lost her son.  The son was on my caseload last year.  I worked with him and with his mom - who was driving the car.  He was an only child.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.  I don't care who that offends.  A middle school girl was also in the car.   She is in the hospital right now - as well as the mom and driver of the other vehicle.

Why? Why? Why?  This is fucking Thanksgiving.

I know I'm just focused on the horridness of this right now and not on the big picture.  I know that I'm not remembering what I BELIEVE  - even if others disagree with me - that everything, absolutely everything is just the way it is supposed to be right at this moment.  BUT WHY???????

I'm being my mother.  I'm sitting up here in the woods with Donna drinking red wine until my fingers are numb.  (As they are now.)  I'm being my mom because I'm dealing with this by drinking.  I don't care.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Growing up around Alcoholics Anonymous, a person I grew up to respect was a woman named Gert Behanna.   She was one of my mom's heroes.  Gert had written a book called The Late Liz that was made into a movie in the '70's.  She was on the AA speaker circuit and my mom went whenever she could to hear Gert speak.  She was even the speaker one year at our Alateen conference in Brownwood.  I still have a picture of her taken then. 

Anyway, Gert always began (or ended, I don't remember) her talks with this prayer:
Dear God
I ain't what I wanna be,
and I ain't what I'm gonna be,
and I sure ain't what I oughta be.
But thank God I ain't what I used to be!!!

I've thought about that all day.

After writing my blog post about Thanksgiving this morning, I read my blog post from Thanksgiving last year.
Today, I wrote about being grateful to be 210 pounds.
Last year, I wrote about being grateful to be 227 pounds.

So Dear God,
I ain't what I wanna be (150),
and I ain't what I'm gonna be (180?),
and I sure ain't what I oughta be (125).
But thank God, I ain't what I used to be (250)!!!


Happy Thanksgiving Eve Eve!

I'm very excited and happy because this morning, I weighed 210.  Yeah, I know that's 210 for the second time in the past year but it's good to see it again. 

I really wish I could never see above it again. 

But here it is --- the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  Tonight, I'm going to dinner with friends.  Tomorrow, with a car trunk full of groceries (already!), I'll travel to Donna's cabin in the woods for Thanksgiving.  I'll spend the Thanksgiving holiday with Nina, Elisa, Donna, and hopefully Tyler and Dee.  Then Saturday night, I'll come home.

Here's my commitment.  I'm putting it in writing.  Now, we know that obviously doesn't mean a whole lot to me (or else I'd weigh about 109 now and have exercised every day for the past six years) but - you never know.  I may not be real good at keeping commitments but
you make it a little bit more real.

That's why writing affirmations works.  We create the neuro-pathways in our brain to make our thoughts our reality.

Hah!  That's me pretending that I know what the fuck I'm talking about!

But I do know that there is a strong correlation, in my life, between how I perceive my life and how my life really is. 

I think I'm lucky.
I think I'm blessed.
I think I always land on my feet.
I think I have a happy life.

And I do.  

So, it must follow that I think I will lose weight over Thanksgiving week.

And I will.

Won't I? 

I can if I choose to.

Here is my official plan for Tuesday, November 20, 2012 through Tuesday, November 27, 2012:

Next Tuesday morning, I plan to weigh 209.  
Or less.

This is how I plan to get there:
1.  As best I can, count my WW points over the Thanksgiving holiday.
2.  Wear my pedometer.  On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - strive for 10,000 steps.  Oh, SURELY, I can do that for FIVE FRIGGING DAYS!!!!!!!!!
3.  Donna's cabin is down a fairly short, flat dirt road.  There is one other cabin on the road.  There are no people watching.....

I DARE me to run down that road and back at least twice a day.

Take the dare, Jenny, take the dare!  I know your momma taught you that you didn't have to take any dares but TAKE THE DAMN DARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4.  Our Thanksgiving menu will be:
  • Turkey
  • Donna's stuffing
  • My skinny stuffing made with reduced calorie bread and baked in muffin tins for easy portion control (unless I eat all twelve).
  • Green beans that I haven't figured out how I want to cook.
  • Baked sweet potatoes (eaten with no butter)
  • Teriyaki-cilantro sweet potatoes
  • Mashed potatoes (for others, not me)
  • Homemade sugar-free cranberry sauce
  • Vegetable salad
  • Elisa's pies (that I will stay away from)
  • Elisa's yeast rolls (that I will stay away from)
  • Low-fat, low-sugar pumpkin pie (using the recipe Patti gave me)
5.  The day after Thanksgiving, we will go to the hot springs in Pagosa.   There the fat will melt off like butter.  Snort!  I wish!  But it will be fun and relaxing.  We'll probably go out for Mexican food while in Pagosa.  I will have a bowl of beans and salsa.

Did you hear that, Jenny??  I WILL HAVE A BOWL OF BEANS AND SALSA!!!!!  I'm trying to dig into that neuro-pathway and have little Jenny (who's sound asleep right now somewhere in my belly) HEAR that.  
And remember. 

And we're going to play games.
And maybe I will exercise using Donna's wii. 

My one concern:  wine.
I am going to drink it.  It is empty calories.  But I'm still going to drink it.  I'll just have to plan for those calories with my WW points. 

I hope that YOU eat exactly what you want on Thanksgiving Day.  Not what you impulsively in-the-moment want, but what you really want.  For yourself.  For long-term. 

I'm thankful for you.
 (me and Tammy the Turkey)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

What Emotional Eating Looks Like

I got hit by a Mack truck yesterday.  I was just walking down the road, whistling, enjoying the scenery - when all of a sudden, a monstrous Mack truck ...
 ... came careening out of nowhere and knocked me down to my butt.

I wish..............................................

Getting run over by a actual Mack truck wouldn't have made me fatter.
Getting run over by an symbolic Mack truck did. 

And the symbolic Mack truck wasn't actually Mack truck-size.  It wasn't that big of an emotional hurt.  It was more along the lines of me laying down on the floor and someone laying a little tiny Hot Wheels-size Mack truck on me.  That big of an emotional hurt.

But my reaction........... it was a true picture of emotional eating.

Yesterday was a good day.  I enjoyed spending the day at the elementary school where I used to work. I went for a glass of wine with friends after work. Nina came home for the weekend. We ate dinner in my Christmasy living room where I could just. sit. forever.  (It's unusual for me to feel that way about my house.)  While eating, Nina talked to me about her feelings.  It was the kind of talk that makes a parent feel hopefulguiltycompassionateworriedheartbrokenfineproudjoyful.  You know that kind of conversation, don't you?

Anyway, no biggee.

I went to work on stage crew while Nina went to pick up medication and have dinner with a friend.  I took six little tangerines to eat during the play so I wouldn't eat the candy that I know is backstage.

I left the tangerines in Nina's car.

So........ (and here is where the Mack truck careened out of nowhere), without knowing that I was feeling emotional, I sat backstage during the two hour play and ate.......

*probably 15 miniature Snickers candy bars
*5 or 6 miniature Twix
*4 or 5 miniature candy bars that I can't even remember the name
*probably 15 hard butterscotch candies (enough that the inside of my cheeks got all wrinkly)
*two fruit pastries
and I drank...
*6 glasses of orange punch

There was something in my mouth for the whole two hours.

Toward the end of the second act, while moving a chair off stage, I got the vision of what was really happening.  I saw myself toddling around the stage with a baby bottle hanging out of my mouth like a two-year-old having a bad day.

Wellllll, with that visual stuck in my brain, I immediately stopped stuffing my mouth and tried to rein in little Jenny and get ahold of myself.  My big girl self.

Big Jenn was able to maintain control of the situation until after the play when I got into Nina's car and found a "to go" box sitting on the seat.  Nina's leftover vegetable tempura.

Keep in mind, Nina's skinny.  She doesn't eat a lot.
"Leftover" tempura meant two large slices of tempura potato, a big onion ring, a slice of sweet potato, and three slices of squash.  Wouldn't be bad except it was all fried

Lucky for me, we came home and went to bed.  The ONE place I never eat.  My safe place.
The moral of this story is that sometimes you don't even know that you have feelings that you're feeding until you've eaten enough to feed an army of feelings.  I didn't think I was "emotional" about my conversation with Nina, though I was aware that I felt hopefulguiltycompassionateworriedheartbrokenfineproudjoyful.

I'm a therapist.  I can tell you at any given time what I am feeling.  But, in the vernacular of my Texas background, that don't mean shit.   Apparently, I'm not too on top of how my feelings are affecting me. 

The good thing is that today is a new day and I've gone all day without feeding any feelings.
The bad thing is that tonight is a new night and I'm about to leave for the last showing of the play.  I'm taking the tangerines and I WILL actually take them into the theater.  I'll try to stay away from the candy.  But I can't make any promises about the cast party after tonight's show.

I'll figure it out.


Many thanks to my son, Tyler, for unknowingly allowing me to use his baby pictures.  He had a fine relationship with his bottle.
Thank goodness he doesn't read my blog and won't know he unknowingly allowed me to do anything.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nuts and Dolts

WARNING:  This post actually has nothing to do with nuts and bolts.  In fact, all I know about nuts and bolts is that they are used in construction and we also use that term to mean ----------

Well, what do we use that term to mean?  Not the trivial minutia of life---

Whoa, I looked it up.  Nuts and bolts means the practical part of life.  So this post IS about the nuts and bolts of my weight loss journey. 

But, I like to call it nuts and dolts because, being a social worker and working with nuts ---  and dolts -------  it seems more PRACTICAL.


Plus, I fit into that category.  

I want to talk about weigh-in day.  It's tomorrow.   

Of course, I weigh every day but now that I've started Weight Watchers, only Wednesday's weight counts (in my little dolty head).  

I still feel put out with myself for the copious amount of calories and Weight Watcher points I used on Sunday.  I don' think I have lost much this week.

But here's what I'm going to focus on:
1.  I'm sure I didn't gain this week.   And, for that, I am so grateful because I really was on my way back UP before I decided to try Weight Watchers again.
2.  The cool thing about Wednesdays is that it is a new start.  A brand new page with a full week's worth of points and all sorts of little places to make check marks and fill in the boxes.
3.  Wednesdays offer lots of new opportunities - the opportunity to stay on program, the opportunity to commit to drinking all my water every day, the opportunity to be able to log that I exercised, the opportunity to join online challenges.  It's like opening a new box of Valentine candy and having all those different chocolates to choose from.

Shiii-attt!  Why did I go to THAT visualization?????  I don't even like Valentine's Day or Valentine candy (though I must admit, I will eat it).  

But.... you know what I mean.... Wednesdays are like opening a brand new book, starting a new journal.....  It's a new beginning.

And beginning tomorrow, here's my goals for the week:
1.  I've been wearing my pedometer and walking at least 5,000 steps a day.  I'm increasing that to 7,500 beginning tomorrow.  
2.  I don't have a DVD player or a VCR anymore so I've asked for one on Freecycle.  If I can get one, I want to do an exercise tape JUST TWO times during the next week.   
3.  Next Tuesday I'm going to a cabin in the woods outside of Chama for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I want to walk on the dirt roads while I'm there.  

And my major goal is:  I want to LOSE one pound over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I'm just planning to leave it out there in the woods to be eaten by the deer and the bears.  

Well, that's all my nuts and dolts tonight!


Monday, November 12, 2012


It's the morning after. 

I was doing so good staying on my Weight Watchers program.  Yesterday, I weighed 211. 

Last night, I had some friends over for a "leftovers" party.  People just bring whatever they have in their frig.  It's my kind of party because I don't have to cook. 

We ended up with salmon, chicken, black beans and rice, french bread, and grapes.  I didn't eat any of the french bread.

Sounds pretty healthy, right?

Well, last night it wasn't a case of what I ate, but of how much I ate. 

I ate..........................  lots. 

And the wine.  Totally empty (but fun) calories. 

Today, I made myself add up the Weight Watchers points for yesterday.  The way I figure it, it was a 70 POINT DAY

I'm allotted 27 per day.   That's two and a half days of points!

It was all my daily points (27) and most of my weekly points (48). 

It was a 3 pound gain.

Today, I weigh 214. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wanna See My Panties????? (For reals. I'm not shy, you know.)

I bought a pair of purple jeans when I was visiting Artesia with Donna.  I've never had purple jeans.  I told Donna that they fit because she is used to getting all the clothes that are too little for me.   And I was feeling a little bit quite selfish.  MY jeans!  Like a two-year-old.  (And this was the same weekend that Donna let me have a really soft sweater that she had brought to wear because she felt it was too "pilly" for her to wear to work.)

She was generous.  I was two.  MY JEANS!  IT DOESN'T MATTER IF THEY DON'T FIT!  THEY ARE PURPLE AND THEY ARE MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now they are hanging in a place of honor on the outside of my closet door so I can see them anytime I'm in my bedroom.  Every few days I try them on.

I have a ways to go.

But, if I grit my teeth, squint my eyes, stick out my tongue, and pull both sides of the waistband towards my middle with all the hand and arm strength I have ------- I can get the button about an inch and a half away from the buttonhole.  But I can't take a picture doing that.

And you know me.  I have to take a picture. 

So ....... what do you think?        Christmas?  No, probably not.                Spring break?  Maybe, if I'm willing to give up breathing.             Summer?  Yeah.  Maybe summer. 


Not unless I find out they're too itchy - once I'm able to get them on. 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'M The Boss Of Me!

It feels so good to feel back in control again.  Big Jenn has got Little Jenny all sqwushed down.  I am IN. CONTROL.  VIGILANT.  CONSCIOUS.  AWARE. 

I also know that getting a big head about it is not going to get me anywhere.

Three days on Weight Watchers.
Three Christmas ornaments on my weightlossadvent calendar.
FIVE pounds down from Sunday.
To be fair, I'm really only down a pound and a half from where I had been for the past month.  But there at the end of last week, when I was taking the Green Coffee Bean Extract and stuffing my face, I went from 214.5 up to 218.  That was what got my attention - seeing myself at nearly 220 again.  Today, I was 213.

I'm not criticizing Green Coffee Bean Extract.  I have a friend who is actually being helped by it.  She is less hungry, more energetic, and has lost about five pounds since she began taking it.

I.....  well, I had an emotional adverse reaction to it, I think.  I took it three times a day for a week and proceeded to stuff myself with food --- I believe in an attempt to make sure that it didn't work. 

It was just too easy for me to sabotage.  And why I sabotage things that actually might help, I don't know.  But I know I do.

It's that rebellious part of me.   Why couldn't I have been rebellious like normal people and, as a teenager, sneak out of my house and drink and sneak boys in through my bedroom window????

But noooooooo.  When my friends were being rebellious, I was still sleeping with my mom and pouring out her alcohol.

I choose now, as an old fat lady, as the time to be rebellious.  And I get rebellious about things that could help me.  Talk about sabotage!!

It reminds me of when the doctor gave me that medicine that was supposed to make you leak diarrhea if you ate fatty foods.  Do you remember that?  I remember sitting on the examining table and being so excited as the doctor told me to look at it as a policeman for my mouth.
"Every time you're tempted to eat a potato chip, fried food - anything fatty - just imagine that there is a policeman in your mouth with a big stop sign, saying "STOP".  
When he said "STOP", he raised his hand like a crosswalk guard. 

Initially, I thought the whole idea sounded wonderful.


After a few days, when it was time to take my leaky diarrhea pill, I'd petulantly think "Wellll, maybe I don't want a policeman in my mouth*." And I just wouldn't take it, choosing to stuff myself with fatty food instead. 

Sabotage strikes again.

Jenny is that petulant child.  I think I probably really was petulant as a child.  Ooooh, look at these synonyms:
childishly sulky, bad tempered, testy, peevish, irritable, cantankerous
 Yep.  That was me.  That still is me.  Not normally when I'm with other people.  I'm too much of a pansy people pleaser.  But when it's just me, myself, and I -------- one of us is always a little shit

Right now, that's the part that's sqwushed.  (And that word is not squashed.  It is SQWUSHED.   I've said it all my life but I don't think it actually has a spelling.  Which I guess means it's not a word.)

I know it won't stay sqwushed.  Tonight my friend, B, and I were talking about the fact that both of us have this part of our personality that has to be free/out of control/spontaneous/something.  It's like there always has to be a release valve on our personality.  And of course, neither of us have a healthy release valve.  YET.  (We're gonna get there.)

B's image of it is a little man in her brain that keeps running around trying to get out.  And he always finds a way.

My image of it is ...
................. the old Whack-A-Mole game.  Where, every time you get all your outofcontrolness controlled, another outofcontrolness pops up.   For me, it's trying to get all my "overs" in control.   There is overeating and overspending and overdrinking and overexplaining and overworking and overworrying and overcontrolling and overreading and overexercising and overraging and overplanning and overlaughing and overcussing and overfacebooking and overpacking and overtalking and overorganizing and on and on and on.  In my life, apparently anything worth doing is worth doing in excess.  And no matter how hard I try,  I'm always overing something.

Except for those rare, special days when I, Big Jenn, am IN. CONTROL.  VIGILANT.  CONSCIOUS.  AWARE.

I should just be grateful.  Because, today, I was the boss of me.



Sunday, November 4, 2012


Is it sacrilegious to misuse an Advent calendar? I've been wanting to decorate for Christmas ever since we got Halloween over with.   I even broke down and brought two boxes of decorations in from the shed.  For a couple of days, I has them spread all over both the kitchen and dining room tables and finally talked myself into at least putting them back into the boxes yesterday.   That is, everything except for this new Advent calendar.   This calendar was given to me by Freecycle and it's never been used.   And it's wonderful!  It's a wooden Christmas tree about a foot high.  The stand that the tree is on has 24 little drawers and each drawer contains a tiny wooden ornament.  Of course, children are supposed to be entertained by counting the last 24 days before Christmas morning.  However, I've made up a new use for the Advent calendar.   At the end of today, my first successful day on Weight Watchers, I opened the little drawer labeled "1" and hung an itty bitty rocking horse on my wooden Advent tree.   I figure if letting the child in me open a toy and hang it on a tree motivates me to stay "on program", it's definitely worth a little sacrilege.   24 days of success in Weight Watchers would do so much good to my tummy - and even more good to my self-esteem.
Plus, I get to decorate for the holidays!

Weight Watchers

I've really been having a hard time. 

At this time last year, the weight was falling off.  I was EXTREMELY motivated and able to be conscious and vigilant about everything that went into my mouth.

This year, I keep trying.  And I keep fucking up. 

I'll do OK, then I'll get too hungry and pig out.
I'll do OK, then I'll cook something good and eat it all.
I'll do OK, then I'll drink wine. 

My metabolism seems to have slowed. 
I haven't been exercising.  And I don't want to exercise.

Yesterday, I weighed 218.  That really freaked me out. 


So, last night I joined Weight Watchers Online again.  It's one of many times I've joined Weight Watchers.  Sometimes it's worked.  Sometimes it hasn't.  But... it is the food plan that makes the most sense to me. 

We all know that I don't handle any sort of deprivation well.  We all know that I don't handle "no" well. 

I joined for three months.  Let's see what I can do in three months. 

I joined two challenges.  One is called "Christmas Sale!  10% Off Your Body Weight!" and the other is called "6 Pounds By Thanksgiving". 

Wish me luck. 

Jennifer (we got the big girl in control today)