So I chaperoned my first field trip today and survived. Way too many third graders, but all in all a good day though it could have been warmer. I was going to wait to post pictures but honestly, I am so tired tonight that all I can do is post pictures!
These were my three charges for the day, from right to left: Darryl, JJ and Tod.
The pandas were a little shy this morning, so this was the best picture I got. I just love them.
The Brits' favorite dude....
JJ and Tod.
JJ and a very photo-friendly Amazon fish, maybe the equivalent of an algae eater???
My dad's favorite creature in all creation.
The kids informed me that this is a Mexican wolf, but when I asked if it spoke Spanish, they joke was completely missed on their part. Sometimes I just need an older crowd.
In other news, my knees are freaking KILLING me! Between kickboxing and horseback riding...OUCH! Does anyone recommend anything? This cannot go on!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
So the Ronfather goes to the finale in The Biggest Loser, which bites. But whatcha gonna do?
Anyway, kickboxing last night was a kicker! Jack was ruthless and due to the higher temps outside, it was hotter in the workout room, so I was a puddle by the time it was over. The only downside to this class is aching knees for the next 24 hours, but it seems a small price to pay. That is from the all "jump rope" and "boxer's shuffle" commands as I don't think the kicks would cause my knees to be painful after the fact.
I've been trying really hard to educate myself further on weight loss, so I've been investigating my BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. For me, that number is 1667.55. Once I have that, I use the Harris Benedict Equation to figure out my daily caloric need based on my activity level. So for me, I multiply my 1667.55 by 1.55, which gives me 2584.7, which is the number of calories I would need to consume daily to maintain my current weight. From there, I click on the link "Caloric intake to lose weight". It gives the following guidelines:
There are approximately 3500 calories in a pound of stored body fat. So, if you create a 3500-calorie deficit through diet, exercise or a combination of both, you will lose one pound of body weight. (On average 75% of this is fat, 25% lean tissue) If you create a 7000 calorie deficit you will lose two pounds and so on. The calorie deficit can be achieved either by calorie-restriction alone, or by a combination of fewer calories in (diet) and more calories out (exercise). This combination of diet and exercise is best for lasting weight loss. Indeed, sustained weight loss is difficult or impossible without increased regular exercise.
If you want to lose fat, a useful guideline for lowering your calorie intake is to reduce your calories by at least 500, but not more than 1000 below your maintenance level. For people with only a small amount of weight to lose, 1000 calories will be too much of a deficit. As a guide to minimum calorie intake, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that calorie levels never drop below 1200 calories per day for women or 1800 calories per day for men. Even these calorie levels are quite low.
An alternative way of calculating a safe minimum calorie-intake level is by reference to your body weight or current body weight. Reducing calories by 15-20% below your daily calorie maintenance needs is a useful start. You may increase this depending on your weight loss goals.
So what does this mean for me? It probably means I should start food tracking and ya'll know how much I hate doing that. But with 48 pounds left to lose and with losing very little since Christmas, I need to move things to the next level. Calories in versus calories out. Can't really work that to my advantage without knowing my calories in. Ugh.
Oh and the information above can be found here. Now to go find a website I like for food charting. Oh joy.
And a congrats to C&P girl Susan, who is down about 70 pounds since her surgery! Keep on keeping me posted, girl! I love hearing how you're doing! And thanks for the encouragement too!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Dear C&P Girl,
Not too sure what you were thinking this morning other than that you really had it in for yourself. I mean really, who wants to start their day with that number in their head?
Kim, you know that there are certain times during the month when the scale is off limits as the chances are if you are feeling bloated and uggy, then the scale is going to reflect this for at least a handful of days. Female stuff does a number on the body; this is not new information, ya dingbat! So until you are in the clear again, stay the hell away from the scale!
Oh and when you are bloated and uggy, and then get on the scale to see bloated and uggy translated into numbers, do not wear the "jumper jean shorts". Okay? Thanks.
I spent last night really feeling lousy for reasons unbeknownst to me. Just really icky in the tummy kind of stuff. This morning has been better but I am still feeling a little tender from the pouch tantrum last night. I'm hoping there will continue to be feeling normal progress during the course of the day as there is kickboxing tonight with Jack and I really need to hit it hard, despite what I know about that number on the scale this morning. I know that number will vanish in a few days, but geeez. It wasn't exactly encouraging after working on exercise five days a week once again!
My Tuesday night happiness is going to be coming to an end very soon. Two of my very favorite things are "American Idol" and "The Biggest Loser" and both are quickly approaching finales. AI has Adam Lambert, who OMG, is all that and a bag of chips for me. I adored him when he was first introduced because he was a theater kid and as I am a theater person, I felt instant kinship with him. The fact that he has an incredible voice, range and stage presence only added to my infatuation. Then the night he sang "Mad World" the deal was done. He is my American Idol. Whether he wins or not (though I cannot image him not, because he is in a class of talent all by himself. I mean, Simon gave him a standing ovation after "Mad World" and I don't think Simon has ever given a standing ovation, period!) I will be among the first in line to buy his album.
TBL has been another story. Last season, with Colleen and Michelle and Colleen's dad and Renee, it was an amazing season, despite she that Shall Not Be Named. This season there hasn't really been one person who I am cheering for. Tara is amazing, but a little neurotic at times. Felipe makes me want to drink heavily. Ron is like the Godfather, though his son, Mike, is adorable, despite his cockiness at the end of the show last week. I am, however, a huge Jillian fan, despite the fact that she has hated this season and I am hoping they can renegotiate her contract so she sticks around. Some of the game play stuff really got to her this year (making contestants switch trainers all of a sudden and a few of the boys *insert eye roll here* had gotten attached to the Church of Bob and they pretty much refused to want to work with Jillian but then blamed her when they pigged out.) and she has no desire to repeat it. I think she just really cares about changing lives for people and when reality tv dramatics get in the way, it frustrates her. Funny thing is, in reading TBL boards, a lot of the viewers hate the game play stuff too and are more interested and motivated by the transformations. Honestly, not sure if I'll watch it next season if Jill leaves.
Okay, back to work, then nail repair, home, kickboxing. And have I mentioned today that I love Facebook?
Monday, April 27, 2009
So I walked two miles on Saturday and again tonight. Tomorrow is kickboxing and then the plan is walk Wednesday, kickbox Thursday and walk Friday. Trying to get back into exercise five days a week is hard work and makes me want to just bury my face until the habit has magically been reinstated. A bit like this:
But I'm surviving it and enjoying this unseasonably warm weather! In the nineties for three days now but I am not complaining! Over the cold, I will take it any day of the week!
I'm rethinking the blog a bit as there are days I struggle with what to write about. A lot of bloggers have theme days, and though I like that, I don't think I want a theme every day here because if someone doesn't like a certain day's theme each week, then they may not read. Add to that my touch of ADD and the fact that I can't always stick to a theme. But honestly, today I have nothing really to say, so instead I inundate you with cat photos.
I mean seriously. Who sleeps like that?
Sunday, April 26, 2009
We've known for over a week that we were changing our vacation plans for the summer but I couldn't post them because I wanted to call my sister-in-law and my brother in California first to let them know we weren't coming this summer but the plan has changed to going west next summer. It's still a trip we want to take and a trip I need to take as it is has been too long, but in this season of our lives, there are other places calling.
For numerous reasons, we are electing to head to England for two weeks this summer, probably in June. I remember the first year after my dad died and how difficult it was for mom and I lived in the same town with her. The Brit and I do not have that convenience with his father, so we feel we are better off in England for vacation. Add to that the fact that I love it there, love my father in law, Gina and Gareth, not to mention our numerous friends abroad. The kids have never been, plus they will be a big distraction to my FIL (they are a big distraction period). JJ especially, adores his granddad and is really anxious to go over to play with him for awhile.
So, there you have it. I'm looking forward to the trip every bit as much as I was California, only for different reasons. Either would be an adventure and catching up with family is always fun, but the bigger need right now is helping dad to cope and to get used to his new normal. I love spending time with him and now there is a greater need to do so as I want to be able to help in any way I can. Mum's loss has been hard on everyone, but it would have to be especially hard on her spouse as they had been married for 49 years.
The weekend here was good and hot and it made me happy. I so prefer hot to cold, even when it is unseasonably hot like this weekend. But it is supposed to cool down a bit by next weekend; either way, it's all good.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I can't keep straight who I have told ya'll about in my neighbor venting posts. Did I tell you about the one addicted to pain killers due to numerous surgeries, who is married and they have one child (hers from a previous relationship)? We'll call him "Addict", her "Glee" and the child "Pita" (because she is).
Pita is okay, though she is younger than JJ, but for the most part, they play together fairly well most of the time. So today, it was rather warm out, low nineties, so my two kids, plus the CG (cutie girl from across the street, who is a year younger than Aaron and always welcome here) as well as PITA and her friend, TT (tattle tail)were in our backyard playing with the water hose and on the trampoline. All went well for a long time.
Then the doorbell is ringing and JJ shoots in from out back to answer it, saying it is TT. Still outside at the front door, TT informs him she needs to speak to his mother, so The Brit and I both say "Come in." but TT doesn't move. She simply insists she needs to speak to me. We again repeat for her to come in, which JJ also confirms, but this child again insists I need to come to the door. The Brit then loses patience and states, "If TT would like to speak to Mrs. J, she will stop being rude and come in here and speak."
TT finally got the picture and came inside, where she informed us that Glee had sent her down to tell us that Aaron was up at their house and he kept bothering them and had locked her out of the house, but she was back in now. So due to inappropriate behavior, Aaron was sent to his room.
Fast forward a half hour later, when we hear a piercing scream, following by TT racing to our front door and ringing the bell frantically, which we ignored. JJ came in all tearful, stating that PITA had been about to push him, so he had put his foot up and somehow PITA got hurt. So, going out back to do damage control, I find out that Glee has also been jumping on our trampoline, which was why PITA was having such a strong reaction to having her freaking TOE stepped on.
Now, work with me here. Is it just me or does it seem odd to you, that this woman sends a six year old down here to tattle on my oldest son, and then turns around and goes out back to jump on our trampoline? See, I would NEVER just walk into someone's yard and help myself to anything; not as an adult. As a kid, maybe, but this chick is thirty-something years old. Makes me kind of realize how Aaron might be confused of where the boundaries are with this woman. He was obviously just playing around when he locked her out of her house (and until we put the brakes on it, he was up there a lot helping her with her daycare, so he has been inside the house many times) and that was a problem for her. I'm not excusing his behavior, but he is a kid. Then the same woman comes down here to play on our trampoline with children.
Maybe it's just me, but I find it odd.
I walked two miles today, trying to get my mojo back with my exercise and I hope to do the same tomorrow.
Hope ya'll are having a great weekend! And can you believe that Bea Arthur died today? That makes me very sad. I was a huge fan.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Do ya'll have any idea how easy it is to fall in and out of habits?
My life has been a bit of a roller coaster of late and it has caused some good habits in the way of exercise to cease to exist. My gall bladder surgery left me unable to do any lifting for 6 weeks, so I stayed clear of the gym other than kickboxing and my other cardio would be walking around the park. Then between April weather (there is truth to that whole April showers thing) and going to England, my walking fell by the wayside.
Enter in some stress munching and what I discovered last night at kickboxing is that my energy level suddenly stinks! I mean, wow. I could barely keep up last night and this was the easier of the two instructors! So this weekend, I am working on getting my head back on straight. I need to get back to some basics of WLS eating. I'm not gaining but I haven't lost much since before the holidays. Don't get me wrong; I am thrilled to be maintaining a 107 pound weight loss, but I'm not yet where I want to be. I would like to lose close to another 50 pounds to be really happy with myself.
I've been reading "Joining the Thin Club" and so far I have found it very interesting. I differ from the author in one way so far. In the beginning she talks about about that after losing weight, finally being accepted by people; strangers who once would assume we were simply invisible. She remarks on feeling happy but also angry about that, which I get. We are so much more than our bodies! But then she remarks that shamefully, at times, she will see an obese person and pass judgment. That is so not me. I will never forget where I came from or what it felt like. The whole reason I'm reading this book is because I so often still feel like the fat girl because my head refuses to catch up to my body. When I see people of size, I feel immense sadness, because I know what it feels like and unfortunately, the answer for everyone is not "go have surgery".
Lisa asked me to comment a bit on my surgery. She asks:
Tell me more about the surgery you had for weight loss...where did you have it and who was your surgeon? What type of surgery was it and are you happy with it?
Hi Lisa, whose blog I have just started reading! I love WLS blogs because from all the WLS bloggers I've read, we are mostly a bunch of kindred spirits floating around the internets, trying to find our way in our new lives and our new bodies and we are very supportive of one another!
Anyway, I had my gastric bypass done at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, MD. Hopkins is supposed to be one of the best in the world and Dr. Schweitzer came VERY well recommended to me and living in Maryland, it was definitely an option for me!
I am amazingly happy with the results of my surgery. Having been obese all my life, finally knowing something different has been...well, I'm not sure there are really words to describe it. It's like a whole new world has been opened to me. The only real complication I had was losing my gall bladder in February, and some pesky burping that comes and goes, which I can live with. But I feel great!
Lastly, I want to thank all of you who read here and post comments. Though I rarely reply directly to the comments, I read and treasure every single one. It's always nice to know what you all think and to know you're out there!
Enjoy your weekend! It's supposed to be a good one!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The weather, ya'll, has finally warmed up a bit! In fact, by the weekend it is supposed to be in the upper eighties! Can you feel my joy???
But warm weather makes it very hard for me to do the things I have to do. I have no desire to go to praise band rehearsal tonight as it is warm outside. Only one more month of rehearsals and then we are finished for the summer though.
I have been insanely craving milk lately. A half gallon was getting me through a week before as I only really used it for cereal, but I had to switch to a gallon as I'm drinking a glass or two a day of it all of a sudden. I'm thinking that if my body is craving something like calcium, maybe I should give milk to it. Very odd though for it to suddenly be happening.
Okay, I need to get ready to head to kickboxing. Tuesday night nearly killed me. Let's see how it goes tonight. I'll try to think of something brilliant to write tomorrow to get back on track with Healthy Dose Fridays. Anything that anyone is interested in?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Okay, C&P girls, stop it with the books already! If any of you are not familiar with the whole "Cut and Paste Girls" reference, you can read about it here on Jil's blog. Basically, though the original story, it was not meant in a friendly way, we have embraced the title
But anyway....my reading list and the stack of books beside my sofa in the living room is getting insane, so please stop recommending things to me! Here's how it looks:
I started this weeks ago and have yet to finish it. I own this book, so there is no rush to finish it thankfully.
Then of course, I started this on the plane ride to England and am a few chapters into it. It is on loan from Kelly, so hopefully she is not drumming her fingers impatiently waiting for it to be returned:
On the plane ride back from England, I was too raw to continue just yet with "Final Gifts" so I chose my girl crushes' new book instead and have read about two chapters. But this is another one I own, so there is no time limit.
Then not only Jillian on her podcast, but another blogger as well, Laurie, over at Gastric Girl, recommended this book, which I have on loan from the library:
This one was purely an accident. When at the library to get "The Beck Diet" I saw the book of a blogger I used to read and had to have it. He's funny, albeit a bit crude. I started it the day before I left for England and am a few chapters in. I needed something light that day:
Then today, another blogger, and for the life of me, I can't remember which one of you, only that you are in my WLS Blogs sidebar, recommended the following book and as patience is way not a virtue for me, I went to the library today when my horseback riding lesson was HAILED out (yes, literally. Hail, in April. Seriously?) to pick up this little gem:
So that only leaves me with one thought? What on earth am I doing blogging when I need to get reading?
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Susan pointed out something in yesterday's comments that I had nearly forgotten about....
Last week was my one year surgiversary (did I even spell that right? Is it even a real word?). April 15th, I was officially 365 days out of surgery and am 107 pounds down from my starting weight. I am doing kick ass kickboxing, and taking horseback riding lessons. I feel much better about myself, my body and my life. Yes, I need to get my butt completely in gear again to lose these last pesky 48 pounds I'd like to lose (Step away from the carbs!), but I have complete faith that I will. I've hit a rough patch of stress (gall bladder, mum's death, Aaron failing English) which brings back some old habits of nibbling, but I will again rein them in.
I saw the following in an office a few weeks ago and really liked it, so in honor of my one year out, I'm going to share it with you. It kind of says a lot about us C&P girls, I think. And when you are finished reading that, go and read this, which makes me very angry. There is a link to a petition but I think tonight is the deadline to sign it.
ABC's to Success #2
A = Avoid negative sources, people, places, things, and habits
B = Believe in yourself
C = Consider things from every angle
D = Don't give up and don't give in
E = Enjoy life today, yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come
F = Family and friends are hidden treasures, seek them and enjoy their riches
G = Give more than you planned to
H = Have courage to do what needs to be done and consideration for others feelings
I = Ignore those who try to discourage you
J = Just do it!
K = Keep trying no matter how hard it seems, it will get easier
L = Love yourself first and most
M = Make it happen
N = Never lie, cheat or steal, always strike a fair deal
O = Open your eyes and see things as they really are
P = Practice makes perfect
Q = Quitters never win and winners never quit
R = Read, study and learn about everything important in your life
S = Stop procrastinating
T = Take control of your own destiny
U = Understand yourself in order to better understand others
V = Visualize it
W = Want it more than anything
X = Excelerate your efforts
Y = You are unique of all God's creations, nothing can replace YOU!
Z = Zero in on your target and go for it!
Wanda Hope Carter
Monday, April 20, 2009
I am still not keeping normal hours...either that or I am becoming one of those old people who get up at five am every morning...and let's hope it isn't that!
Today wound up hectic with playing catch-up at work, then finding out that Aaron is flunking English for lack of doing a book report to amount to anything. I worked at putting my house back in order a bit after work but still have a ways to go.
I also have no idea how it happened that I lost a pound in England. I'm convinced the scale is mistaken because it doesn't seem possible. Because I ate the likes of:
chocolate (not gobs of it, but a mini bar of Cadburys a day)
fish and chips (only a few of the "chips" and I didn't eat the fried batter)
Too much wine on two occasions
Now granted, my pouch is not big, so I couldn't eat a lot of any of this, but still....I ate terrible things! I did do some walking, but again, not tons of it, so how on earth could I have lost a pound? So odd. I was totally prepared for a gain.
Milk? WLS surgery people, how much milk do you all drink? I have calcium concerns. Yes, I take my supplements, but I still worry about the one thing they can't test for. I haven't been drinking any milk other than in my cereal, but now am trying to get a glass or two in a day of 1% milk. What do you girls do?
I'm still struggling a bit with mum's passing, which I know is normal. I was cleaning out my jewelry box today and I found a note from her she had given me with a necklace once that had belonged to her mother. She said she knew her mother would have wanted me to have it as much as she wanted me to have it and she thanked me for making The Brit so happy. It was a bittersweet moment for me as I had forgotten all about the note, but I had kept it as I'm sentimental that way.
I still have this weird rash. It is on my arms and legs and tops of my feet. Really weird. I'm giving it another day or so before calling a doctor.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I made it last night until 9:45 and then I had to go to bed. Of course, my body was telling me that it was really 2:45 in the morning as it had woken up on England time. So with the early to bed, came an early to rise this morning, about 7:00. We skipped church as neither of us had a desire to rush about, and I spent a chunk of the day working in the backyard as the weather was warm, getting ready for my soon to be garden. Then about five this afternoon, exhaustion hit again and I have been dragging since then, and of course, it is back to work tomorrow and I have a house that needs a good cleaning.
I still have stuff to write about, once my head is more clear with my body being back on track; both with sleep and with food and exercise, as the two latter have been sadly lacking the last week. I also have some strange rash I woke up with this morning. It's doesn't itch and is barely raised, but very odd. I'm not a rash person really, so this one is a puzzle. We'll see what tomorrow shows. I guess it is possible that the clothes I wore home on the plane yesterday, which were washed in England with my FIL's detergent might have given me a reaction. Hard to say.
My hair needs cut and my nails need done. My house needs cleaned and I need to exercise.
It could be a long and busy week.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
This is going to be short, but I wanted to give Laura the night off and I also want to thank her for helping me keep track of this little blog while I was in England. It was very much appreciated!
I am struggling to keep my eyes open at 8:32pm after a really long day and a new time difference. The flight home was good and we even got in earlier than expected. I have pictures to post here and on Facebook, but it may take me a day or two to download them.
I inherited yesterday mum's charm bracelet, a ring and a necklace she always wore. It was bittersweet; on one hand, so grateful that she thought enough of me to leave them to me, but yet wishing they were not mine yet as she was still here.
So that's it for tonight. We're home safe and sound and tired. I'm going to try to make it till 10:00 but it is a questionable situation....
Friday, April 17, 2009
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars, the house, or the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard:
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our loves
Like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy's being read
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Funeral customs in England are pretty different from America's in several ways. First there are the flowers. You don't have a vase of flowers sent to the funeral home. It is either a spray or a wreath period. The flowers here however are gorgeous (in fact a goal when I get home is to map out a place for my new flower garden out back).
A car from the funeral home and the hearse arrive at the house to pick up the immediate family. The flowers are not at the church, but in the hearse on top of and surrounding the coffin. Unlike our hearses, the windows of those in England are see through, so while following in the car to the church, the family has a clear view of the casket and the flowers in the church. The funeral director, due to some of the narrow streets in the country, at times walks ahead of the hearse to make sure the way is clear. Where in America, cars yield to a funeral procession, here they do no such thing, which I find sad, especially considering we are talking about two vehicles.
Once arriving at the church, the pall bearers, which are not friends, but employees of the funeral home, carry the casket into the church and the immediate family walks behind it. The family files into the first row while the casket is placed up front with only the flower spray that was made for the casket itself.
The service is pretty standard, as directed by the family members. We sang a lovely song called "Lord of the Dance." which is a Christian camp song (my in-laws were both heavy into scouting years ago). Check out the lyrics and find a version to listen to if you get the chance. I loved it.
From there, the Vicar gave a ten minute biography of mum's life, and that was followed by the two readings, mine being one of them. Then there was a brief sermon, closing hymn (Kum Bah Yah) and then the blessing. From there the family follows the casket and the pall bearers back out to the hearse and car and it is off to the crematorium. We arrive there for another VERY brief service. Again, the family follows the casket into the chapel and it is placed up on a platform (for lack of a better description, it looks a bit like a rounded, carpeted stage, complete with an open curtain around it). The Vicar gives a very brief reading, and just before he is finished, he says "Just to warn you, the curtain will be closing shortly." Sure enough, with his last few words, the curtain mechanically closes around the casket, symbolizing the end of the service and of the funeral journey. I found that part a bit wretched, but it is the custom.
We went to pub for a catered meal and as is also the custom, many drank and there was laughter and discussion about mum's life. When we left there, a handful of close friends and family came back to the house where we spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening.
Tomorrow, we'll be picking up the ashes and taking them someplace to scatter.
All in all, a hard day, but yet not a completely unpleasant one. Having friends, family and memories so close helped there to be much laughter, even if at times through tears.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I thought I'd give Laura a break today as I think she'll have the blog the next three days.
Things here are plowing forward. Tomorrow is the day everyone is dreading; mum's funeral. It's necessary and needed but at the same time we know it will be wretched. The car will be picking us up here at the house at 9:40 AM and most of you Americans will still be sleeping as that is 4:40 AM to you. We go to the church which is literally a stone's throw from here. The Brit and I had our vows blessed at St. Michaels, and Gareth and Gina were married there, as well as Daphne and Allen. Now this church will do a memorial service for one of its members.
Allen asked me today if I would be able to read for the service and I agreed. Whatever he needs me to do so he doesn't have to worry about it; those are the things I wanted to be here to do. Today I went with him to view Mum. Very hard, but as The Brit, Gareth and Gina did not want to go, I offered to go so dad would not have to go alone. It's a very individual thing and it would not generally be something I would want to do either, but if it was something he needed to do, I can willingly support him and allow the other members of the immediate family to not worry about his going alone.
Anyway, I'll be reading this and it is quite beautiful. Hopefully, I can get through it without crying.
After the service, we are back in the car to escort mum's remains to the crematorium, where there will be another brief service with the family. Then the curtain will close and it will be the end, other than the eternal memories and knowledge that we will all see her again someday.
They have had a meal catered somewhere for after this where everyone will gather. It's going to be a long, hard day, probably intermingled with laughter and tears.
Friday, we return to the crematorium to pick up the ashes and from there, I'm not sure of what the plan is. We fly home early Saturday morning.
There are other things currently being considered, which I will speak more about later. Sometimes, life calls us to put off things we would like to do, to do things we need to do for someone else as well as for ourselves. The first year for dad is going to be hard. Though the loss of mum affects everyone, he has lost his spouse, the one he shared his life with. We need to do all we can to help him through all the horrible "firsts" that he is going to encounter in the next 365 days. One of the beauties of this life is that we are not sent down here to walk it alone; God gives us people to love and to help us during this part of our journey. Sometimes we are ones being helped and sometimes we are called to be ones helping.
In weight loss news it is fairly safe to say there isn't much of that going on this week. I'm not eating often, but ya'll, can we just discuss English things like cheese, bread, wine...and even a taste of chocolate here and there? I may have to persuade Jack McFarland to give me a three days non-stop kickboxing butt kicking when I get home.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I have to admit, I've been a cat person my whole life. Then about 3 years ago, I insisted on a dog. Hubby was against it - he didn't want a dog. He didn't even want to discuss it - no dog. But one day I decided to go to a rescue and get a dog; I asked him if he were coming. He did - and that's how Toby came to be.
I will admit, dogs aren't self-sufficient like a cat is. They require a lot of care. The first few weeks with Toby were a nightmare - I decided I didn't want a dog after all. But after awhile things worked out, so it was no surprise that a year ago we went back to the rescue and came home with Keyser. Having Keyser made me realize that Toby wasn't a hard adjustment at all...we're still going through a Keyser adjustment. But we love him anyway.
There are allot of dogs out there in need of homes. Nothing can be better than giving a home to a dog that for some reason or another has been given up, abandoned or neglected in a previous home. Check your local SPCA or if you have a breed in mind, look for a nearby rescue. Remember, it isn't always necessary to start with a little puppy - as a matter of fact, if you don't have the time, don't get a puppy. They are like having babies around.
Kim has an interest in a golden retriever. Very good dogs for kids. Here's a nearby rescue: http://www.goldheart.org/ . Now I know Kim won't be me and just go out the door and say she's going to get a dog....she'll want Chris to agree. But I truly believe that that time is coming soon!
Monday, April 13, 2009
My flight was thankfully uneventful, though I didn't sleep more than an hour or two. I was surprisingly wide awake when I finally came through customs and found The Brit and his dad. Words cannot express how good it was to see them both and to finally feel like I was where I was supposed to be.
The flip side of that is that reality set in with me relatively quickly. Where back at home, my mind would not accept Daphne's passing, here there is no choice but to realize it is indeed true. Spending most of the day here at the house in England, remembering the last time I was here back in 2002, and I feel as if she is around every corner. But she isn't.
As soon as I entered the house, my mind's memory could hear her voice.
"Cuppa tea, Kim?"
I have wandered around the house, seeing undoubtedly many things, exactly where she left them. Part of me wants to speak of her continuously, but I try to take my cues from my FIL. It's funny how quickly the small but sweet memories spin through my mind. Small conversations, the way she would sing to herself, simply looking outside at her lovely flower garden; it all makes it feel like I should turn around and find her standing right there behind me.
The reality seems cruel and unfair. Death is a natural thing; I know that, but the grieving process of those who remain behind is also natural. It's hard and painful and difficult. It's the difference between having two years to prepare like we did with my dad, and being side-swiped by something you never saw coming. It causes grief to come in completely different ways; to manifest itself in the most simplest of situations.
I know that Daphne is well where she is now. She is catching up with Nan and her father and others who have gone before. She is no longer having any pain caused by hips or knees or cancer. She is well and safe and whole.
And eventually, with time, we will be too.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Some may be horrified to know that Easter began as a pagen festival. I say horrified because I know quite a few churches have banned Halloween due to it's pagen background, but they tend to overlook the fact that both Christmas and Easter were pagen festival time at some point.
The ancient Saxons celebrated the coming of Spring with a festival for the goddess of offspring and springtime - Eostre. This festival just happened to be at the same time of the Christian observance of Christ's resurrection; so they just kind of altered the festival and the holiday eventually took a more modern spelling - Easter.
The Easter Bunny is not an invention of modern times. It began with the pagen festival of Eastre - her earthly spirit was a rabbit.
It was the Germans who brought the Easter Bunny to America. Easter was not widely spread until after the Civil War.
The Easter Egg also predates the Christian Holiday. It was custom to exchange eggs in the springtime as the egg was a symbol of rebirth. They were often wrapped in gold leaves or colored by boiling them with certain flower petals.
And that's about all I could find on the internet......
But I'll leave you with my very favorite Easter Commercial:
Saturday, April 11, 2009
So with all the rushing around this week, trying to get my ducks in a row, now that things are at a complete standstill, it is making me nuts. I'm restless and carb nibbling just trying to pass the time. Ironically, a normal Saturday would fly by; this one, not so much.
It seems like today was a rough day in England; just a feeling I got after talking to my FIL and The Brit. It's to be expected, but again, so hard to be here and not there to offer support or a memory to make them laugh. I'll be there soon.
I called Virgin Atlantic today in a small panic (as this week, that is simply what I do) because they state on their website that the name on your boarding pass and the name on your passport have to match exactly and as this whole passport thing was such a joy, I worried about the fact that my middle name is on the passport but not on the boarding pass. From what he said, that is not an issue. As much as I hate to fly, it will be a relief to be on the plane.
Actually, I'm not afraid of flying. I'm afraid of crashing, which is the reason for the Diazepam my doctor gave me. I've never flown alone before, yet alone overseas. Though I don't feel overly stressed about it now (I mean, after the passport incident, this seems like cake) tomorrow when I get to the airport, anxiety may kick in. But I have my ipod in my travel bag as well as these two books:
And this one that Kelly wanted to loan me for the plane. She recently lost her step-father to cancer and like Daphne, it was a fast death that knocked the wind out of everyone. She said this book has helped her a lot:
So by this time tomorrow, I will be wandering around Dulles Airport, trying to kill time until I can board. Tomorrow morning in church, Aaron is getting confirmed and though The Brit will be absent, a few of our friends as well as Aaron's great-grandparents are coming.
I can't help but to think in light of the recent events, just how joyous Easter should be. Those we love and have lost are in the hands of the Father, because of the sacrifice made by Jesus. There is no better place to be.
Friday, April 10, 2009
So after getting to DC with the kids around noon and waiting in ANOTHER line for 45 minutes, the passport that was supposed to be ready at 11:30, had just been completed upstairs, so they had me take a seat for "a few minutes." 45 minutes later, I approached the window again (no line this time) and asked her if it had come down and she said no. I politely but literally asked her if they were waiting for it to grow legs and walk itself down. She elected to call upstairs and about ten minutes later, I had my new passport in my hands.
So the biggest hurdle, other than flying solo on Sunday, is over. My plan for tomorrow is hoping for a miracle of being able to sleep in a little...after this week, anything past five am would be an improvement. Then I have laundry to finish, the sheets on our bed to wash, cat food to buy, another little thing to take to England to pick up, and then packing. My plan for Easter morning is to load up my car with my suitcase and a change of clothing, go to church, then straight to my mother's to change clothes and have an Easter lunch. The kid's grandma will pick them up at my mother's before 3:00 and then at three my brother is taking me to the airport.
The Brit seems to think we can manage the blog from England. So, the immediate hurdle is Easter Sunday as I honestly have no time. So if either Laura or The Brit takes Easter, I'll give it a whirl.
And my doctor gave me drugs for the plane.
My bloggy friends? Obviously I have not read a single blog in days, but I will get caught up soon. I still adore you all but you know life has been crazy here lately. Have patience with me.
Oh and one more thing....Robyn, Kelly, and Paula (though Paula doesn't read blogs or even the internet for the most part) I cannot thank you girls enough for stepping up for me next week with the kids. Without you, I would not be able to be where my heart wants to be. Anything you ever need, just name it.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
When I finally got around to relaxing last night, The Brit called to ask me when my passport expired. It expired the end of February. The fun never ends around here, I tell ya!
So after a near meltdown, and a phone call to an after hours officer at the passport office, I went into the church at ten pm in my pajamas to finish up the bulletin which the church lady runs Thursday mornings. Then after about five hours sleep, I got up, went to Walmart (kids were thankfully with grandma) to have passport photos taken and then drove to the metro station (about an hour), got on the metro and went to DC (about 45 minutes) then walked the four blocks to the office (15 minutes...DC blocks are long and there is traffic!). Then I waited in huge line for about 45 minutes, filled out a form, was finally called to a window to be told it would be ready TOMORROW at 11:30. I begged, pleaded, bargained etc to get it today to save myself yet another trip to DC tomorrow beings I'm totally sleep deprived and stressed to the max (my palms sweated all day today...even in church and that never happens to me!), but they refused to see the light, so tomorrow I get to do it all over again. It doesn't even seem real. I think my mother in law, who enjoyed adventures, is just taking a piss at me.
I am contemplating shutting the blog down from Easter Sunday until we return from England the following Saturday. I am not going to have any time at all to blog on Easter...none, nada...and I'm not sure I want the stress of having to keep up with it over the pond. So either, I have volunteers for guest bloggers out the Wazoo after this entry, or as much as it pains me, I'll be taking a hiatus after blogging every day since January 1, 2008. Wow. Blows my mind that I (with some help from a few of you from time to time) have blogged constantly for that long.
So let me know what you think. Another insanely busy day tomorrow and then I have nothing on the agenda for Saturday other than two errands, thank GOD...and I mean that!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I wasn't going to go to my riding lesson today, but then changed my mind, thinking Friendly the elderly horse was exactly what I needed and it did help for awhile. I love the farm. The house is surrounded by fields of horses and as soon as I get there, a few members of the canine greeting committee show up to welcome me. In the stable where we saddle up, it is not at all unusual for a cat or kitten to make his or her presence known as well. Add to that the fact that it is spring, and the snorts and whinnies of bothered stallions fills the room. The place isn't fancy; it's homey and I like it.
I have my e-ticket and will leave for England Sunday evening, returning next Saturday with The Brit. Tonight, I am completely alone for the first time since Daphne's passing as the kids are with grandma for two nights. I'm not sure if being alone is a good thing or not. My original intent was to just relax as I'm either not sleeping well or not sleeping long, depending on what night it is, so I am still feeling rather exhausted. But since the kids left, I have found myself constantly in motion, needing to do things. I went Easter shopping for the kids as well as picked up some food staples they would need for next week. I came home and put everything away, cleaned up my suitcase (it had been lying in the closet and Alex the cat had apparently been using it for a bed), selected my outfit for the funeral and packed it, vacuumed (imagine that), cleaned the bathroom and then put the Easter baskets together. Now I just need to find a place to hide them until Saturday night.
Then even when I sat down to blog this, I got the first two paragraphs finished and Robyn stopped over and went to run more errands with me. I am incredibly tired but am having great difficulty stopping. I guess it is helping to keep my mind occupied.
I still am having very intense moments where I am very much struggling with this whole situation. Maybe it because I'm here, and in a normal circumstance, my in-laws would not generally be here, other than for a visit maybe once a year, so there is nothing here that is different. Being over there is going to help me accept it; to wrap my head around it as I'm having so much trouble. Yes, I know that death is very normal and I have mentioned before that I lost my own father to cancer. But we had two years to get used to the idea. We knew were in a holding pattern with him.
With Daphne, it happened so fast and so suddenly, my head doesn't want to accept the reality. Over in England, they have no choice. They are there. She isn't. As much as I don't want it, I need the closure on this as much as I need to be close to those over there I love. It's hard grieving and supporting from 3000 miles away.
I remembered something today that a very wise man once told me. Pastor Phil and I were talking about death once during the time he was our interim pastor and he explained it in a way that made so much sense to me. Death is much like birth. We don't remember being in the womb, yet we were there. It was a part of our life in another place before we passed into our life here on earth. Death is much the same. We move from this place, much as we moved out of our mother's womb, into the next part of the journey. It's not over. We're still here, only in another place.
There is comfort in knowing that.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I never thought it would be so hard to be at home. But there is something to be said about being together in grief and the past few days I have felt very alone.
I had a complete meltdown last night after the kids went to bed as my grief finally started to catch up to me. I did sleep better thankfully for about six hours, though once the first alarm went off and I made sure Aaron was awake, my mind wouldn't shut back down for me to catch that last hour.
At work, I was totally struggling and then The Brit called. The funeral will definitely not be until next Thursday. He made mention of wishing we had worked this out differently as he wished I was there and meltdown numero two happened. I tried to explain how I didn't know it would be so hard to be here with him and the rest of my British family 3000 miles away. I miss them all and my heart aches with them and for them.
So with things being pushed back a week, we decided he would look at flights for me and I would see what I could arrange for the kids if I were to cross the pond after Easter. I felt like it was the first time I had breathed since that horrible phone call Sunday morning. The kids are arranged already because I have amazing people in my life; now I just have to wait to hear if the flight will be a decent price.
Did do kickboxing tonight as I needed a diversion and Brit, Jack told me to tell you how sorry he was and that he had a similar situation when he lost his dad. Then we chatted about England for awhile as he had been there too. I like him; he's a bully in class, but a compassionate human being in real life.
I'll know tomorrow if I'll be flying solo soon. Thank you all for your prayers and keep 'em coming.
Monday, April 6, 2009
For as tired as I was last night, I only slept for a few sporadic hours. I was back up at 1:30am to wait for word on The Brit's arrival to England. Why is it that when tragedy strikes, your paranoia level shoots through the roof? Concerns about his safety, both on the plane and on the car journey to his father's house and I also couldn't bring myself to turn off the hall light last night when I went to bed. It's almost like when death touches us, we are somehow afraid it is still right around the corner.
I sat up until I spoke to The Brit right around 3:00AM. He was in the car with Lee, on his way to his dad's place. I then tossed and turned until 6:00 before beginning the day. Hopefully tonight, there will be sleep.
I spoke to The Brit and family this afternoon and so far everyone seems to be holding up fairly well. Of course, this is the mechanical part of things; the arrangements and what has to be done. I found out a few more details about how things happened and there was really no warning that things were going to go downhill as quickly as they did. When I spoke to Allen I told him how I felt Saturday, her really good day before she died, was such a blessing for him. She had been so bad on Friday that he feared her not living through the night, so for her to be so much of her old self on Saturday was a gift that I'm so thankful he had.
It's always ironic how things work out when we look at them after the fact. British Mother's Day is not the same as ours; theirs is in March, but for my own ease and to keep me from being confused, I always celebrated both Mum and my mother for our Mother's Day. This year, for the first time ever, I talked to The Brit about sending his mum some flowers for the British Mother's Day and we did. I can't begin to tell you how it makes me feel now knowing she would not have been around for the American one this year.
I also spoke with Gina, my sister in law for awhile today. I love this woman like my own sister and I miss her so much. From over a year ago when we were finally able to really spend some time together when she and Gareth came here for a visit, she became a kindred spirit for me. I so hope we get a chance to visit again one day soon. I miss her.
It's looking like The Brit will not be home until after the 15th. Due to the holiday weekend, funeral plans are being pushed to next week as of right now. There's nothing they can do about it and I know he needs to stay there until it is finished.
Though today has been a bit better than yesterday, the shock is still with me over losing Daphne.
I simply cannot imagine this world without her.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I want to write up something nicer when I am feeling more coherent and not quite so numb, but a few of you have asked about what happened with Chris' mum, so I'll give you what I know here.
Yesterday, Daphne was doing very well as my Father in Law told us. She was kidding with the nurses, had a sponge bath and Allen was able to brush her hair for her (my FIL). When Allen told me this, the thought of her rallying crossed my mind ever so briefly, because my dad rallied before he died and if he hadn't been in a bed, no one would have ever thought he was ill, yet alone terminally ill. But I dismissed it immediately because it didn't make sense. We barely had any information; they had removed a mass that was carried over to her liver, but didn't even have the results back from pathology. She was going to be seeing a cancer specialist. She was teasing with the nurses. It just didn't seem possible.
This morning at five am, the phone rang and it was The Brit's brother, Gareth, who immediately handed the phone to his wife, Gina. Daphne's heart had stopped and they were trying to revive her. The Brit needed to come home.
Twenty minutes later, Gareth called back. They had gotten her heart going again, but Gareth said the cancer was all through her (this was new news for us and possibly for them as well) and he didn't think she was going to have much time.
The Brit booked a flight home.
Just around 8:00 this morning, Gareth called back. Daphne was gone.
There are certain moments that replay in your mind over and over again. When we first learned of my father's cancer, the doctor pulled us all into this little room and told us. The words forever imprinted on my memory were my mother's words.
"The love of my life and I'm going to have to watch him die."
This morning, the words were "O God, no." The Brit said them during the first call and every time I think of it, I cry. I loved her too, but the pain of seeing someone I love so much saying words that contained such grief and pain nearly destroys me.
It's hard feeling as if I need to be in two places at one time. The Brit is on a plane to England alone. I'm here with the kids, who have to go to school. I have Easter bulletins to finish. Aaron gets confirmed on Sunday. The Brit won't come back till next Monday. Legistics dictate that I needed to stay here. My heart is in England with my husband and my British family.
Kids are resilient. They grieve for a moment and then move on to play. I try to keep the tears hidden.
Sucks being an adult.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Today was pleasantly busy. Woke up around 8:00 and loved on some kitty (a few of them are all about morning attention after our sleeping all night. The nerve of us!) for awhile. Once everyone was showered and dressed, we went to breakfast and then to Lowes for some torches and a backdoor mat for our deck.
Aaron and I then had a rehearsal at the church for our Good Friday service. We're doing dramatic readings and a play at the end which is very moving and intense. When we got home, The Brit and JJ had gone out to play a round of golf, so I did some work on the front porch and finished up dinner. After dinner, I cleaned out the shed and worked in the yard while The Brit and Aaron installed an electrical outlet for the deck. Once darkness fell, we fired up the pit and relaxed on the deck. It's so wonderful when the weather cooperates!
The Brit's mum is doing fairly well. They believe they got all of the mass, though it seems where was a small spot on her liver. Once she is out of ICU and has regained some strength, she will see the cancer specialist and they will determine what to do next. Technically, they are still waiting for the pathology results, but it sounds to me like cancer is the strong suspicion. My FIL said she was much better today thankfully, so we'll keep praying and hope she continues to improve and that they are able to cure her.
Thanks for the prayers. Keep 'em coming. For prayer purposes, her name is Daphne.
Friday, April 3, 2009
So, we finally have a few vague answers on my mother in law.
They attempted the endoscopy this morning but ran into problems by finding a dead bit of bowel that I think was perforated. She was taken into surgery where they removed a mass (I'm unsure if it is from her stomach or her bowel) and gave her a colostomy bag. They believe the mass could be cancer, but are waiting for pathology. She was taken to the ICU after surgery.
In a nutshell, that is what I know. I'm hoping to get some other answers tomorrow. See, I compare this to the only point of reference I have, which was my dad. When he was diagnosed, we knew immediately that the cancer had spread and that they were unable to get it all during surgery. So, this leaves me wondering if there is cancer, if it is contained to the mass they removed. I'm assuming a doctor knows cancer on sight, right? I also wonder if the colostomy is a temporary thing until she heals up.
It's really hard sitting three thousand miles away with a five hour time difference waiting for news. The Brit internalizes all of it and doesn't much want to talk about it, which really is fruitless, because we know so little. I keep wondering the questions over and over as we awaite some answers.
At any rate, your prayers are appreciated greatly and I'll keep you informed as I have information.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
As a pre-op, the time of the month where Aunt Flo paid her visit were always my worst food times. Fast forward to being a post-op and you will find that is still the case. And I hate it.
Could not eat dinner last night. Why? Because I ate a freaking chocolate covered carmel and had a session of dumping syndrome from it, so there was no eating dinner for me lest I make it worse and I was already feeling lousy enough. So once I felt better, I had some animal crackers and freaking cheez its and then had an apple and peanut butter ala Trader Joes with none of the bad stuff in it. Better than the crackers but sheesh! Of course, Flo already has me feeling bloated, so I'm having one of those days where I'm thinking "OMG, I am on my way back to 315 pounds again! Make it stop!" And no, I haven't gained anything thankfully.
It is so hard to reconcille what I ate before to what I eat now. Now, a handful of crackers makes me feel guilty,but should it? Is it really that bad? Is it going to make me gain weight when I've been exercising? Probably not. At least, I don't think so.
My biggest problem is television time in the afternoon. Why? Because if I get all my chores done, I have a new fetish of adoring The Dog Whisperer and I have taped aka DVR'd a bunch of them (I am such an animal freak and this guy amazes me). When I'm watching television, I want to nibble. I want to nibble something that is going to last awhile. So what should I chose? Right now it is the dreaded animal crackers and Cheez Its but surely there is a better solution. It's head hunger, I'm sure of it, left over from years of smoking while watching television. Then when I quit doing that, it became snacking while watching television. So what do I replace it with now?
I'm also having issues with jellybeans. The church is trying to kill me really. Not only have I had to avoid chocolate eggs in the narthex for weeks now, but now there are jellybeans in the vicinity! Ugh! It's all ugly badness. Christmas candy did not bother me at all. Easter crap? Whole 'nother story. And you know why it is? Because jellybeans are a nibble food; feasibly a food I could nibble while watching Cesar Millan that would last awhile. It's a vicious cycle.
So what do you snack on? What is your nibble food?
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
So today was the first lesson and not only did I ride, but the horse also took me for a jog (meaning he did more than walk) and the amazing thing was that I stayed in the saddle and here it is 6:48 pm and I have no broken bones!
The scariest part for me was getting on and off because Friendly is big. He is also old (24) and very sweet but I feel a kabillion miles from the ground when I am on him! So I need to work out gracefully getting off the horse without having either foot in a stirrup, which is a challenge. Because Kat was there (the trainer) and Friendly is so easy, I could keep my left foot in the stirrup to dismount, but usually for safety purposes, you would not keep either foot in the stirrup.
I also got to groom him and lead him back to his stall; all way cool. I cannot begin to explain how excited and empowered I felt riding him! It was amazing!
Okay, I'm feeling a little crummy tonight, so I'm outta here. Oh and that is not me in the picture! Just some random chick from the internets!