Monday, February 29, 2016


It was the summer of 1999. A warm evening and Marc and I decided to take the dogs for a walk. Marc was walking B’Elanna, our German Shepherd, and I was in charge of our new Rottweiler puppy, Riker.

We started out and in the field across from our house was an intact cardboard box. Marc said that he wanted to see what was in it. Looking down the road, I saw one of our neighbors walking towards us. “No, Marc!” I said - “Our neighbors will think we’re garbage pickers!!”

We continued our walk. On the way back, Marc looked around and veered over to the field, determined to see what was in the box. It was sealed up and I watched him pull it apart. Suddenly he had a shocked look on his face and without a word threw B’Elenna’s leash at me and took off marching towards our house carrying the box. I yelled after him asking him what was wrong and he ignored me.

I hurried after him and when we got in the house, I saw what had upset him so much. Inside was a tiny and half dead orange kitten. The poor thing could barely lift his head up. We looked him over and I could see a handful of open sores and his throat was swollen with a respiratory infection.

I called the vet’s office and I can so clearly remember the vet tech telling me that they would be glad to see him, but that kittens that bad don’t usually survive, so she understood if we didn’t want to come in and spend the money to try to save him. She also told me that the open sores were probably parasites that burrow into kittens when they are sick and immobile. She told me how we could tell and get rid of them.

That night we fed him some food and water through an eye dropper. Marc got up several times during the night sure that he would find the little kitten had passed away.

The next day we did what the vet tech had told me - poured hydrogen peroxide into the wounds and held a hot compress over the hole. Sure enough a fucking disgusting large white parasite peeked it’s head out. Marc and I both were screaming like little girls as he pulled the thing out with tweezers! We had to do that with 2-3 more spots. It was clearly distressing to the little kitten and I wondered if we were torturing him for nothing.

The next few days were filled with hand feeding and Marc giving him pieces of moist food and hotdogs which he started to eat on his own. We could tell he was getting stronger and was no longer dehydrated. We thought he was going to make it so we made a trip to the vet’s to get any medicine and shots and we named him Crusher - for Wesley Crusher of Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Crusher not only survived but flourished. He was a strong-willed and stubborn little shit. Cats are generally less eager to please their masters than dogs are, but Crusher took this to a whole new level. He was determined to do things his way no matter what. This applied to us, the dogs and the other cats in the household. He was incredibly affectionate, though, and you couldn’t stay mad at him long.

And so time passed and he became the patriarch of our cat family. He ruled over the other cats and would wrestle with our ferrets.


In 2005, we built an addition on the house and I made several pillows for our new master bedroom. One was gold fabric which I had leftover from making curtains and I placed it our bed. Crusher immediately claimed it as his own. He would go to bed most nights before us and curl up on the pillow which was between Marc’s and my head. When he got cold in the night he would paw at Marc and he would lift up the covers and Crusher would snuggle with him.

Time began to take its toll a couple of years ago. Crusher started avoiding the other cats and spent less time with us. He began to lose weight. However, he was still jumping up on the sink to beg for water and was eating and drinking well. We feed our cats dry food, but Marc started giving him moist food twice per day to try to keep his weight up.


He knew when it was time for the food and would run into the kitchen just yowling - demanding to get his “special” food. And god forbid we came home late - he would let us know his disapproval.

A couple of months ago, we noticed he was really deteriorating. We didn’t know if he was getting a little senile or was losing his hearing or both, but he would seem disoriented - not all the time, but sometimes, and wouldn’t always come when Marc yelled for him. Sometimes he was curled up sound asleep when it was time for him to be fed and Marc wouldn’t attempt to wake him.

He seemed quite bad this last week and Friday when I got home from work Marc told me that Crusher was in very bad shape. He was laying in his favorite place in our guest bathroom next to a forced air vent. His breathing was shallow and he didn’t really seem to know that I was there.

I thought he wouldn’t make it through the night, and hoped that he would pass away peacefully. Even when you know that it’s the best thing, there is a huge measure of guilt - at least for me - to hope a cherished member of a family dies.

Saturday came about and he was still with us. Marc and I couldn’t bear to see him suffer any longer, but we debated if we should put him through the trauma of loading him into the carrier and taking him to the vet’s. We finally made the hard decision and went to the vet’s where he was quickly and painlessly led to the Rainbow Bridge.

This is the hardest part of owning and loving pets. Their lives are just too short and it is heart-breaking when they leave us. But considering that Crusher started his life with someone throwing him out like he was trash and it was no short of amazing that we would find him and that he would survive against the odds - he had a pretty good 16+ years on this earth!

RIP Crusher - run free and happy at the Bridge!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A memorable day…

Wednesday, February 10, 2010. Exactly 6 years ago today. It’s funny that sometimes the most life changing days start out so mundane.

I remember what I was wearing that day. It was a skirt/shirt set - burnt orange in color. I LOVED that set. It had large buttons that went down the front. Best of all, this 3X bought online FIT.

I got up as I always did with just enough time to get ready and head out to work. I didn’t eat breakfast - back then I never did.

I worked throughout the morning, but I had a slight headache and felt a little nauseous. Around mid morning I went back to the staff area and snagged a Little Debbie brownie and devoured it. When lunch came I headed up to Target where I ate at their café. A soft pretzel with cheese to dip it in, a yogurt and granola parfait and their largest glass of Mountain Dew - which I refilled.

I still didn’t feel quite right and was a little dizzy. I got back to work and chatted briefly with a co-worker and then headed into my office. During lunch, UPS had delivered a package of drug testing supplies, which I pulled over to my desk and unsuccessfully attempted to pry open. I grabbed an old pair of scissors from my desk and used one side to try to peel up the tape. The metal blade actually broke and so I jerked my head back as the rest of the scissors came flying at me.

As soon as I threw my head back it was as if I had been walloped with a baseball bat. Not in terms of pain, the headache was still there but it was not an intense pain - but instantly the room began spinning, I was completely disoriented, felt horrifically sick and lost all control of my body as I slid off the chair and onto the floor.

Laying on the floor I was trying to process what was happening but my brain was completely fuzzy. After a couple of minutes I managed to get to my knees and type a short message “Need 911" to a co-worker using our internal instant message program. A minute later she and security came running in. They were asking me what was wrong, but I could barely think and all words coming out of my mouth felt thick and heavy.

The next several minutes were a blur with people yelling and the ambulance crew arriving and questioning me. They set up the stretcher and looked at each other asking if I could stand up. In the midst of my fear and disorientation, I was embarrassed because I knew they didn’t want to try to lift me up onto the stretcher. I managed with their assistance to get onto the stretcher and was wheeled down the hall to the elevator.

I knew I had to throw up and told the crew that. They begged me to wait until we were outside. I made it just outside the small carpeted elevator before I let loose all of what I had eaten at Target all over the tiled entryway.

We made it to the ER where I was rushed in. Everything was a blur. I heard the doctor say the word “stroke” while another commented that I was “too young” and the first doctor mentioned my “risk factors”.

Several hours later after various tests, medications and a CT scan, the diagnosis of labyrinthitis was made. That’s an inner ear problem - not entirely understood, but surprisingly not related to my weight.

That weekend SUCKED as it took several days for the symptoms to go away. When you find yourself laying on the couch for hours at a time, sick as hell, you have a lot of time to think. And even though this event was not because of my obesity, it made me start thinking - about what my future might hold.

It was the next week when I went to my primary doctor and stood on the scale. It was an older model that had to have the little weight things manually moved and the nurse CLUNKED and CLUCKED it higher and higher until she said - quite cheerfully - “344 pounds”. I sat in the room waiting for the doctor and thought some more. When he came in, I waited for him to mention my weight, but he didn’t.

That weekend I sat on the couch watching football. During the game a large linebacker nailed the quarterback and the commentators laughed and referred to him as a “big boy” and put up his stats - 6'2" and 323 pounds. I was over 20 pounds heavier that a football linebacker - I remember thinking. The denial I had surrounded myself with began to crumble.

I didn’t resolve right there and then to change my life. But I think that 6 years ago today set into motion my start of making small life decision and implementing small changes that eventually led to a total life change.

I sat in the same office today and thought about that day. How different I am as a person than the woman that collapsed a mere 6 years ago. It’s hard for me to even believe that she and I are the same person. It does show how someone can have something happen that makes them think and what life changes can result from that....

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Picture = 1,000 words!

Check out this picture:


I’m sure you can tell what it is. It is a picture of a Happy Meal from McDonald’s. But it’s not just ANY picture. It is a picture of a Happy Meal purchased 6 - yes 6 - YEARS AGO!


Believe it or not, a woman who works for a doctor’s office, bought it one day, laid it out, and waited to see what happened. It looks, as you can tell, almost no different than a fresh out of the shop Happy Meal doesn’t it? Astoundingly it has not decomposed or even shrunk.

In a world that offers fad diets and terms like Paleo, clean eating, vegan, gluten-free, macros, bulking, cutting, etc., it can be a challenge to know what to eat and what is the best for a person to lose weight and be healthy.

But you certainly don’t have to be a nutritionist or a genius to take a look at this cardboard like food that has not rotted in 6 years to know that it cannot possibly be good for you! Imagine the types of preservatives that this has to be COATED in in order to maintain itself for this amount of time. And millions of people put it in their bodies - in their children’s bodies - every day!!

Disgusting, right?

We are definitely killing our collective selves with our society’s obsession with plowing through tons of processed and unhealthy foods.

You guys know that I am struggling and that in some ways I consider myself a maintenance failure. I am a person who can and does eat massive amounts of food - I swear I can gain 3 pounds just in a night from broccoli and carrots. Yes, I still have not mastered portion control! And yet, eating this type of food is infinitely more healthy than having a small amount of fast food!!

If there is one way I can consider myself a massive success it is in the realm of what I have eliminated from my life. I can happily say that I have not had a burger, fries, taco, chicken burger, or anything of the like since 2010! If in this journey we are more concerned about our health and well being instead of just a number on the scale - a place that I am desperately trying to get to mentally - then what we are consuming is - by far - the most important thing.

By and large I stick to the outside of the grocery store isles - eating fresh veggies, dairy, fresh meats, and all the other things that the body recognizes as being good for you! Doritos, Oreos, soda - all of those horrifically processed things are not a part of a healthy diet.

The “experts” say that once you get used to eating healthy that your body stops wanting those things. If I am any indicator, I’m sorry to say, they are LIARS. It get easier, but it does not get easy. As I watched the Superbowl, the commercial for Doritos came on and I remembered how much I LOVED Doritos - I could almost taste that overpowering fake cheesy goodness - and I allowed myself a small mental fantasy about immediately heading out the door driving to the store, buying 3 bags and pounding them down.

But the struggle is hard enough, and I can’t make it even more difficult on myself by wading back in to those addictively processed waters! How about you guys? How have you done with eliminating processed foods and help us out here - HOW DO YOU DO IT?


Monday, February 8, 2016

This wasn’t the plan!!!

I haven’t been posting a lot lately - I guess I feel like I don’t have that much to say. The battle rages and I fully acknowledge that most of the battle is in my own head.  And I am decidedly not winning the battle!

I watched the Superbowl last night. I don’t know if most of you are football fans or not, but I love watching the game every year. I was extremely happy for Peyton Manning who likely played his last game in his historic career and will be leaving on a spectacular high note.

After the game, as any of you who follow football knows, Cam Newton, the young brash quarterback of the Carolina Panthers got major flack for how he handled himself after the game. He gave one word answers at a press conference and then got up and walked out. Walked out - not “stormed” as some media outlets and Cam-haters have alleged - I saw the footage.

Gleefully today people have been calling this guy a “cry-baby” and a “poor loser” and all kinds of other names. You will not see me be one of the people piling on to his misery.

I think back to when I was 26 years old - some of the things that I said and did at that young age. Some times when I opened my mouth and really stupid things fell out. How I handled things when they didn’t go my way. And I was LUCKY! I didn’t have MILLIONS of people watching me! I didn’t have members of the press lined up, just waiting like vultures to revel in my stupidity.

In fact, I can empathize with what Cam Newton is going through. He has spent the last 2 weeks hearing what an amazing quarterback he is. How Carolina is SUCH a better team. How they will take the victory easily.

I know that Cam envisioned what it would look like after he won. How he would be a hero to so many. I know he had his victory speech in his head - what he would say as confetti rained down on him after the game as he was handed the trophy and asked to say a few words.  What the victory parade would look like…

Who can blame him for being broken-hearted? For not handling himself perfectly when he is forced at the time of his most crushing defeat to sit down in front of dozens of people with microphones shoved in his face and people taking all kinds pictures of him. Not me.


How do I know this? Because I have thought this. Can you compare losing weight with losing a football game? No, they are not remotely the same thing. Except I know what it is like to have a rock solid idea of how things should be and life doesn’t follow the script!

Losing weight was supposed to be hard. But once it was lost, everything was supposed to be easy! Maintaining would be a breeze. Everyone would be supportive of me. I would be happy every minute of every day. I would be motivated all the time. I wouldn’t ever get injured and life would just be perfect! BZZTTTTT!! Thank you for playing!

Apparently life didn’t get the memo. Not in my case and not in Cam Newton’s. So we both have to learn to suck it up. To realize that fantasies don’t always become realities. That you win some you lose some and you fight on. That my friends is how it works. But kicking a man when he’s down? I’ve had that happen, and it fucking sucks.  People who seem to LOVE watching others fail.

So no, I’ll just wish Cam well and tell him that brighter days are ahead.... I hope they are anyway!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Don’t STEW about it…

On Tuesday, Marc was taking his father in to get some groceries. He asked me if I wanted him to pick up something and he would make a beef stew for today.

Nice, right?

So this was great - I am decidedly NOT someone who likes cooking and I really do not enjoy the whole meal planning thing. Marc helps out with the cooking, but because of my control issues, I usually plan each dinner in order to know EXACTLY what’s being made and the amounts and in turn - of course - the calories.

So today as I was leaving for work Marc was getting all the stuff together to place in the crockpot so that it could cook all day. And I was excited. There is nothing better than coming home on a cold February day to have the house smelling of stew and sitting down to a hearty bowl.

I asked him what he was putting in it and he was describing the ingredients - beef, potatoes, onion, a bag of mixed vegetables and a flavoring packet that he found for crockpot meals. And as he was happily describing what he was making, I felt my heart sink.

I started thinking “Well, did he weigh the potatoes so we know exactly how much is in there?” And “What is this flavoring packet - how many calories does it have??!!” “Did he get the right amount of beef so we know how many calories of meat is in there??”

YUCK! I mean seriously! This is what my life has come to. I can’t even appreciate and enjoy my husband cooking us a nice - and healthy - dinner because I have to be obsessed and controlled by calorie counts and knowing exactly what I am putting in my body.

Of course, this type of living is necessary because the part of me that is broken. The part of me that cannot and does not feel full even after eating a “normal” amount of calories. If that part of me worked - like it does in many people, I would just scoop out a bowl and eat it - knowing that I would stop when my body had enough to eat. Unfortunately, I don’t have that “off button”. I could and would eat a ridiculous amount of calories if it was available and still be up for eating more. Consequently if I don’t want to become obese again, being at a minimum calories AWARE is an absolute requirement. At every freaking meal!

Having said that, I think that this is yet another example of where I have to find balance in my life. If I know more days than not how many calories I’m putting into my body and days like today - when I might not know exactly how many calories I’m having for dinner, but I DO know exactly how many I’m eating for breakfast (120) and lunch (360) AND if I do what I am still trying to do - which is eat slllooowwwwly and pay attention to my body and any cues that I’m done and feel a sense of fullness, that’s going to have to be good enough!

So hopefully after we finish tonight’s yoga practice I will put on my PJ’s and sit down to dinner, I’ll just enjoy the meal!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Have a heart…

How about a rant for Wednesday? I want to talk/rant about heart disease and how we approach it in this country. This is an issue that is - no pun intended - very close to my heart and when I had an opportunity this week to look at some stats I was pretty shocked.

Now before I start, let me first say that I know that there are many other diseases out there, including multiple types of cancer, that take the lives of people. It is sad and horrific and I hope that they find a cure to all of these in the future! But today I’ve going to focus specifically on heart disease and I’m going to rant a little.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease KILLS 610,000 people every year. That’s 1 in 4 deaths and is LARGER than all forms of cancer COMBINED!! I knew it was high, but I didn’t know it was that high! While many people tend to think of this as a more man-related problem, in actuality it’s about 50% men and 50% women.

What are the key factors in being at risk of dying from heart disease?

  • High Blood Pressure

  • High Cholesterol

  • Diabetes

  • Overweight and obesity

  • Poor diet

  • Physical inactivity

  • Excessive alcohol use

Notice a theme here? Every single one of these is primarily derived from a behavioral issue. And they can be prevented and changed!!

We pour millions and millions of dollars into research on how to FIX the heart once it is “broken”. We pay scientists BILLIONS and invest BILLIONS MORE into complex lab equipment and testing trying to find cures for rare diseases and yet...

WHY OH WHY are we not spending more of this pot of money on PREVENTION??!! Rather than trying to CURE diabetes, why are we not more focused on keeping people from getting it in the first place? Where are the programs to introduce nutritional programs into poor neighborhoods? How about investing in community centers so that kids have a place to go after school to exercise and eat fresh fruits instead of going home, playing video games and eating Doritos?

No, instead we are waiting until the young kids become fat, unfit adults with a myriad of health problems and then try to fix what is wrong with them. Wouldn’t it make more sense to instill healthy choices when our youth are young so that they never end up with the health issues in the first place?

How much is the annual salary of a heart surgeon compared to the director of a local center for youth? They aren’t even close I am guessing. How much is Medicare paying for a month’s supply of cholesterol lowering drugs compared to the cost of supplying fresh fruits and vegetables to those families that can’t afford to buy those items themselves? What is the cost of incarcerating a drug addict compared to paying for a group of kids to go on a camping trip into the mountains for a weekend?

It seems to me very backwards.

As I well know, you can’t force anyone into a healthy lifestyle if they don’t want it. However, if you implement programs that start children off being both educated about what a healthy life is and giving them the means and opportunity to pursue it won’t a vast majority choose to follow that path?

And it’s not just the kids.  Educating adults on choices and what is good for them and increases their life expectancy is bound to make a change in the behavior of at least SOME – especially if you give them incentives to do so!

Doesn’t that benefit not just individual families but our society as a whole?


Monday, February 1, 2016

Keep on keeping on!

On Facebook today there are a lot of people posting - half tongue in cheek - about their failures at keeping their New Year’s Resolutions and that January was a “trial month” and that they MEAN it starting today, February 1st.

While many people snicker at this, there is a certain reality and benefit to this line of thought.

How many people who try to lose weight, stop smoking, get their finances in order, go to the gym, etc etc etc, make a commitment to that life change and then DO IT the first time they try and never have any setbacks?

I imagine there are people out there like this, but their numbers must be minuscule!!

No, for the VAST majority of people, we try and have some success, then we fail, we give up, we try again, we abandon our goals, we revise them, and the list goes on and on.

For most people our goals are ever changing. We learn what works for us and what doesn’t. What is realistic, what is not. Times and places where we succeed and times and places we fail.

So if you made certain resolutions or goals in January and they didn’t stick, instead of seeing that as a failure, how about analyzing what worked and what didn’t and making a new start. January 1 is not magic! A new start can come at any time.

Let’s say that you have never been a morning person. BUT you resolved to get up at 5:30 EVERY MORNING and do a workout video. Maybe that lasted 3 times. And you’ve berated yourself - about what a failure you are. Maybe morning workouts just aren’t going to work for you! You say that’s the only time you have? FIND ANOTHER TIME. It’s better than giving up altogether or trying to fight your very nature. Find what you can do when you can do it.

Maybe you heard that an excellent way to lose weight is to have smoothies for lunch. But you were hungry or didn’t have time to make the smoothie the night before so you gave that up and went back to eating fast food at lunch. Ok, so maybe smoothies aren’t working for you! What can you keep at work that will work for you? A healthy choice frozen lunch? No fridge? How about a healthy choice soup? Or go for fast food - it’s not the best choice, but get a SALAD instead of hamburger and fries.

Did you resolve to stop drinking all soda, but couldn’t resist and now you’re back to 2-3 per day? Maybe giving it up all at once doesn’t work for you. It took me 3 months to give up Mountain Dew. I went from 2-3 per day to 2-3 per WEEK and gradually eliminated it from my life.

If you are like me, you tend to think in ABSOLUTES - you either are PERFECTLY on plan, or you have FAILED. And believing you failed can lead to saying “Fuck it!” and just giving up completely.

But, as I try to remind myself DAILY, the world is actually a great array of GREYS. Working out 3 days a week is better than not working out at all. Smoking 5 cigarettes a day is better than a PACK a day. Eating right 4 days a week is better than 1.

So let’s not abandon our goals! In AA, they say some things are an AFGO (Another Fucking Growth Opportunity). Where did you grow, what did you learn? Put that all to work TODAY - February 1st. The worst thing you can do is not screw up - the worst thing you can do is GIVE UP...