Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I am shutting this baby blog down and for a full explanation, please see me my old/new blog, I appreciate all the love you have shown me here and hope you will follow me over to my new home.


Always and forever,
Your Princess of Whales

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


What is the difference between Catholics and Mormons?.......The temperature of their caffeine.

I learned the true meaning of this joke after moving from Southern California to Utah when I was ten. Back in the day (ah, yes, I've reached that age...) when you were a Mormon in Southern California, you would drink vinegar before you would let Coke or Pepsi cross your lips. Drinking alcohol was almost more acceptable. Almost. We were constantly reminded that we were examples to others with regards to how we lived the tenets of our religion and though few outside the Mormon church knew much about our belief in Christ, everybody knew Mormons don't drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or caffeinated drinks. We felt like we were always being watched, so we took our beverages very seriously.

Shortly after I turned twelve, I went to my first Young Men/Young Women (church youth) activity, a boating trip to the lake. It was July, it was hot, and I was not a lake swimmer, so while hanging out on the beach I was happy to see that cold drinks were being provided. I'm not sure you can fully appreciate my horror when I opened the cooler to find that the only drinks inside were...(dramatic pause)...Coke and Pepsi! I frantically dug through the ice, desperate to find the root beer or 7-Up I knew had to be in there. Surely someone was testing us by putting the alcoholic stuff on top just to see if we would indulge. But that was not  the case. There really was nothing else to drink. I chose to go without that day, confident that if I were to be seen drinking either of the caffeinated sodas, I would surely lead someone to he** by my example, or end up there myself.

It took me two more years before they broke me down. I can distinctly remember the very first time I knowingly tasted liquid caffeine. It was in the library at North Ogden Junior High School. Looking back, I have no idea why there was soda in the library, but I crumbled under peer pressure from the hot library aide and I had my very first taste of Coca-Cola. Ahhhh.....he** tasted yummy, but I'm embarrassed that I caved so easily when now, after all these years and for all of his hotness, I can't even remember the name of the aide. I sold my soul for nothing. The Coca-Cola led to Dr. Pepper, then Diet Dr. Pepper, then Diet Pepsi, and now Diet Cherry Pepsi. But no hot library aide.

It is amazing the lightning speed with which I went from never having had a taste of the stuff and abhorring the very thought of drinking it, to accepting it as an option. I guess that's the slippery slope I keep hearing about.

However, over the last several years, I have noticed a marked change in how I feel if I drink carbonated beverages. I get particularly sluggish and achy. I like to tell people that I'm not fat, it's just carbonation bloat. I had hoped it was just carbonated beverages with caffeine, but even non-caffeinated drinks have an effect on me. I have heard all of the horror stories about what carbonation does to your body, how it saps the calcium out of your bones and eats your innards. My youngest daughter did a science fair project titled "Meating Liquids" where she soaked pieces of meat in different liquids to see how the meat reacted. The Coke meat was just plain gross. I've read many, many articles on the PH/acid balance of your body and how carbonation affects that. But when all is said and done, most of the articles end with the same conclusion - that an occasional soda won't kill you. Occasional. Moderation. Hmmm...there are those words again.

I would love to give it up completely, but there is something I always really miss when I stop drinking soda. I'm not sure how to put this delicately or lady-like, but since neither of those words particularly apply to me, I'll just say it - there is NOTHING like the burp a good soda provides. That rolling, roiling burp that starts at your toes, travels through your entire body bringing up every possible gas trapped inside you and delivers itself in a grand operatic pronouncement - yeah, it's the (as they would say about five years ago).

Truth be told, I love ice water, evidenced by the 100 oz. Maverik Monster Mug that is an extension of me and that holds nothing but ice water. I have an obsession with ice quality, favoring the pellet ice (aka cute ice, rabbit poop ice, Cap'n Crunch ice, happy ice...) we have at the high school and the flake ice we have at the airline. Put ice with water and it's my favorite drink. I can drink water out of virtually any tap. I am not a water snob and I refuse to pay someone to drink water out of a bottle when God gave them the water for free. But it doesn't make me burp.

So, like everything else, the challenge is to find the balance, to find a way to have an occasional soda without throwing my PH levels off, sapping all of the calcium out of my bones, dehydrating myself, or destroying my innards. Moderation with soda - a goal with a burpose (pun completely intentional).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Tribute to Queen

Did you know that the songs "Bicycle Race" and "Fat-Bottomed Girls" by Queen are the A and B sides of the same 7" vinyl record (Google it, young 'uns who don't know life before MP3) released in 1978, the year I graduated from high school? Coincidence? I think not. I LOVE to ride my bicycle, I love to ride my bike, and fat-bottomed girls, they make the rockin' world go round! Talk about cosmic destiny.

This knowledge makes me that much more excited to be back on a REAL bicycle (the stationery bike at the gym doesn't count). I took it for a spin around the block and it is nothing short of awesome! Oh, the places I'll go! I felt like I was twelve again, except it was painfully obvious to me that I might be creating a safety hazard because my fat bottom has a tendency to block the view of those coming up behind me. I have too much pride to wear a "wide load" sign on my back, although I probably should take some measurements and make sure there isn't a federal mandate that requires me to do so. At the very least, I should wear yellow so people will at least yield. Fortunately, this bike is more of a cruiser and does not require me to bend over the handlebars quite as much. Those bikes force a "moon" of eclipse proportions. And we all know crack kills.

My husband was thoughtful enough to put lights on the front and back so that I could give fair warning when I ride at night when it is much cooler in this fiery desert. Today I was reading outside in the sunshine when my iPad overheated. Seriously. It sent me a warning message to turn it off until it cooled down. This is a first-generation iPad, not the new ones that are known to do that sort of thing with normal use. My "book" was too hot to handle and there aren't any nasty parts in this book (yet, anyway...a girl can hope...). So as much as I would love to ride my bike to work, it's too dang hot to ride it home. Nighttime it is.

I'm excited to get moving again. My knee was really giving me grief and making it impossible to walk or move much, but I was able to get a cortisone shot that has helped immensely. I did discuss moving up my knee-replacement surgery with my ortho. The thought of being the cart lady at Walmart is much less appealing in my early 50's than it would be in my late 60's. And like I told him, I really don't want to limp around for ten or fifteen years and then get hit by a bus. Besides, medical science is improving with technology so quickly that I'm banking on the hope that some bright person will soon invent knee parts that don't wear out. My ortho is willing to do the surgery any time I want (his college-aged kids could use the money) but we agreed that a 100 pound weight loss would make the surgery that much more successful. I can lose 100 pounds in a month, can't I?

So while this fat-bottomed girl won't be entering any bicycle races anytime soon, I will be listening to Queen for inspiration because, after all, they are from England and I am the Princess of Whales. We're practically related. Coincidence? I think not.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Getting the Joke

First, I need to make a couple of changes and clarifications to my last post, both brought to my attention by my ever watchful and caring daughters. The quote at the top of the post was not found by my younger daughter on Pinterest but rather was heard on that TV show known for its wealth of quotable quotes and life-affirming inspiration, "How I Met Your Mother." ( awful, and yet....wait for it....awesome...)

The second point of concern is my parting remark declaring myself a female canine that has returned. My older daughter expressed reservations about the use of that particular word, but since I was talking about teaching an old dog new tricks, I felt it was highly appropriate. If you are offended, it was not intended, but then if you are offended, you should probably stop reading this blog. I have a tendency to unintentionally offend because it takes a lot to offend me. That's why I think fat jokes are mostly funny. For example:

This is VERY funny. My younger daughter posted this on my Facebook wall (who knows where she finds all of her funnies, but she has lots of work-approved time on her job to search for this sort of stuff).

This is what I look like in an airplane seat. Notice the effort to keep the arms and legs close together so as not to encroach on the personal space of the passengers on either side of me. Traveling next to my husband makes it somewhat easier, but then again, he's no small guy, either, so there is a considerable amount of smooshing going on when we are together. This is also insanely appropriate because my husband is a twelve-year-old who still hasn't forgiven me for not providing him with an opportunity to go on the water slide on the cruise ship when we went out of Miami. I didn't make it a priority because, quite frankly, I feared becoming wedged on the slide. My plan is to lose enough weight by June so that we can go to Atlantis in the Bahamas for our anniversary and he can water slide to his heart's content. If I grease my hips, I might make it down a couple of them, too.

It does pay to have a sense of humor about this stuff. It has prevented me from doing unspeakable things to my unloved body. My challenge.....find humor in jokes about turkey necks when I get back to that saggy stage.

I'll sign off for now so that I can clean something in my hoarder office and then head out for a maiden spin on my new bicycle. My coccyx will report back tomorrow.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


"The future is scary. You can't just keep running back to the past because it's familiar."
(My daughter's Facebook status, no doubt gleaned from Pinterest, and spot-on for what I'm experiencing.)

Just a quick affirmation that I am, indeed, alive. However, I have not been living an inspirational existence and therefore I have not blogged. When I have any measure of success with weight loss, I have a tendency to frantically sabotage myself so that I can get back to my comfort zone, and that is pretty much what I have been busy doing.

Losing weight, while something I desire very much for my health and for my travel comfort, is really quite frightening for me. My weight is such a "big" part of who I am that I get incredibly uncomfortable moving forward beyond a certain point. In this case, people were starting to notice my weight loss through my face, I could see that my neck skin was getting saggier (gross...thought I'd be hot and sexy, not saggy...) and I received stellar lab results for my blood sugar and cholesterol. All the good news freaked me out, so how did I handle it? I sabotaged myself with whatever holiday/event I could use as an excuse, in this case - Easter. Ah, the pagan chocolate eggs and the (not-related-to-Easter-but-a-favorite) Cheetos. Make those ChEAtos. All thoughts of moderation flew out the window and I have successfully (unsuccessfully?) put myself back closer to where I started.

Like the quote at the top says - the future is scary! What if I make all of these sacrifices and my life is no better than it is right now? Having a saggier neck didn't make me happier. I know on "The Biggest Loser" everyone talks about how meaningless their lives are being heavy and they think all of their problems will be solved when they lose weight. And then it doesn't really happen and a good percentage of them gain back all of the weight they lost because the way they lost it was completely unrealistic (yeah, I HATE that show!). While my life certainly isn't sunshine and roses (unlike almost everyone else on Facebook and Pinterest, it would seem) I do know that all of my problems are NOT going to be solved simply because I am healthier. But I don't REALLY know that, because that's the future. And it's scary. What if I'm uglier and unhealthier? It could happen...

I do know that I can't keep running back to the past just because it's familiar. I also know that making such huge changes and adopting new habits is incredibly difficult for this old dog, but new tricks are definitely in order and they are doable, even at my age. I'm not sure if I thought writing a blog would negate all of the previous experiences of trying to achieve this goal of mine, but blogging is a new trick and I'm going to work it to my full advantage.

The new plan - stop reading inspirational quotes on Pinterest about flat stomachs and rock-hard muscles and get back to making better food choices. I'm lightening my commitment load until I can get this back under control so that I can get into the gym again, and the thing I am most excited about at this point is the purchase of a new bike for me yesterday. Hopefully this one fits better and will leave my tailbone intact. I also made another purchase online that I'll write about after I actually get it and try it out. 

New tricks? Woof! This "bitch" is back!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Break Into Spring

I don't know if anyone has noticed or not, but I haven't blogged for several weeks. Originally that was due to an incredibly hectic schedule between my two jobs, and then a quick trip over spring break. After that it was a panic attack over my successful weight loss, but that's an entirely different blog post. Let me start with spring break...

From a food and health standpoint, spring break was a smashing success, despite some early disappointment and some stressful incidents largely unique to the non-rev style of travel.

Our original plan was to fly to Sydney, Australia and hope for first class so that we could experience the new pods in the Airbus planes. Non-revvers don't always make their planned flights, but sometimes when they do, and especially on international flights, they get to do it first class. Don't hate. It's the payoff for accepting a lower hourly rate than the competitive market. And if it makes you feel better, the Australia plans fell through due to high tax rates on the flights and incredibly overpriced hotels in Sydney. We deemed it too expensive for a four day trip, with two of those days spent in the air, with only a very slim possibility that we would see either a kangaroo or a koala bear. And what's the point of going to Australia if you can't see either of those?! Besides, the exchange rate is bleak, to say the least, so we decided to travel within the United States, land that we love.

At this point, our flight selection was based solely on our options on direct flights out of SLC. Connecting hubs were booked to the max and so that pretty much ruled out anything tropical. In the end we decided on Baltimore as a central location for visits to Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Washington DC. God Bless America.

Flying out of SGU I experienced the best news of the day - despite requesting my seat belt extender (as usual), I found that I didn't need one! Oh, the joy! I didn't breathe for 48 minutes, but I did it! It was a proud moment when I handed the extender back to the flight attendant, informing her I didn't need it, as if she could see that I was far too slim to even have asked for one in the first place and she had given me one just to humor me. People, that was a moment!!!

That moment was short-lived, however, as we raced to make our connection to Baltimore. As usually happens when you have a tight connection, our SGU plane landed at the very last gate in the "E" gates and our Baltimore gate was the very last gate in the "C" gates. We raced as quickly as we could with my gimpy knee and I plopped down, sweaty and exhausted, to wait for boarding, only to see the tiny little hand-written note that said the Baltimore flight was delayed for two-and-a-half hours and would put us into Baltimore at 1:40 a.m. I remembered there was a Philadelphia flight scheduled close to the same time as the Baltimore flight so we then raced from that very end gate in "C" up and over to the very last gate (of course) in the "D" gates.

I wanted to give up and stop to rest several times, but my adrenalin was still pumping from the whole seat belt extender experience and we got to the Philly gate just in time to walk on the plane. I immediately got on the phone to change our hotel and car plans since we were now going to a different destination (all the time feeling really bad that I would not get to sing "Good Morning, Baltimore" when I woke up the next day). I got it all changed and then settled into my seat, so glad that I didn't need to ask for an extender because the "big planes" usually have longer seat belts.


My bubble of excitement blew up and deflated when despite my best squirming, adjusting, and inhaling, I had to ask for an extender. Crap. I had just run the equivalent of an ultra-airport-marathon and should have lost an additional fifty pounds since landing and I was STILL too big for the seat belt. I humbly asked for an extender, and despite wanting to eat my way through the flight, I just strapped myself in and went to sleep.

The disadvantage of changing your hotel plans over the phone while sitting on a plane is that you don't have any control over the quality of the hotel you are being changed to, so we woke in the morning to the ghetto that is the neighborhood surround the PHL airport. We quickly showered and headed out for a day of historical adventures. Having been born on July 2, I have an almost unnatural devotion to my country. I have long wanted to see the Liberty Bell and the Pennsylvania State House (the correct name for Independence Hall, as we learned from paying close attention to our tour guide whose voice was a dead ringer for Chris Farley when he was living in a van down by the river). I punched in "Liberty Bell" on my smart phone GPS and through the miracle of satellites, the phone took us straight there. Specifically, it took us to the street named "Liberty Bell" on which is a convenient shopping center. After slapping myself for being so stupid, we recognized it as divine intervention and stopped by the Walmart for refreshing beverages. We then turned around and backtracked for over twenty minutes until we reached the "real" Liberty Bell.

Philadelphia, like Boston and many other historical east coast cities, is a walking city and my legs aren't made for walking, so we looked into a Segway tour. Segway tours are all the rage in tourist towns and look to be a great way for my bad knee to conquer the streets. Until you read the small print and I exceed the weight limit. Really?! *&#^&$* I can understand not wanting me to kill a mule by riding on its back down steep cliffs to the old leper colony in Hawaii, but a sturdy piece of machinery? That's just wrong.

So, I survived downtown Philly on my own two, fat, legs after which we headed for the classic of Philly foods, the Philly Cheesesteak. After seeking the opinions of several locals, and getting several different answers, we headed to the original - Pat's. Winding through the narrow streets took us through the Italian/Asian outdoor market and a look into a life completely different than ours. It also took us through several detours as we happened to be there on the same day as the St. Patrick's Day parade and this is truly a city that takes its Irish celebrations seriously.

This was my experience with the Philly Cheesesteak:

Yeah, I dumped it all down the front of me and ended up throwing away the shirt because it smelled so nasty. It was a favorite shirt because it actually covered my gut, and the cheesesteak was just not that good. But as you can see, the weather was beautiful for the outdoor fine dining. (On a health note, I refrained from getting fries or other greasy accessories.)

The next most important place for me to see was the Rocky statue located at the bottom of the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the stairs  Rocky (aka Sylvester Stallone) ran up when training for his fight with Apollo Creed. Don't judge me, but I had a major crush on Sly when I was 16 and the movie first came out. I still dream of my husband battling it out in the ring and then calling out my name, even though it's not Adrian. My wonderful smart phone GPS led us astray once again, but the bigger problem was battling the St. Paddy's traffic and diversions. We finally found a place to park behind the museum that was available for the bargain price of $30.00. I want to say Sly was worth it, but I'm still debating.

This is me after gimping up the stairs (my husband did run them) and nearly dying (and yes, I had changed into a clean shirt in the car without flashing anyone...hopefully). As you can see, there was a big VanGogh exhibit at the museum but no, we were there to see Rocky. I'm sure the museum people are mortified by rednecks like us, but we paid their $30 parking fee so they can eat it.

Surprisingly, there are so many other stories about our day in Philly I haven't shared, but I'll just say that after spending almost $80 in parking fees and toll charges, I was done with big cities and all plans to go to DC went out the window. Instead, we spent two days in Gettysburg (again, too large for the Segway tour) and then headed to Hershey, PA for an afternoon of chocolate (in limited quantities) and a kiss with NO calories:

Cheesy & staged...perhaps. But still non-fattening. We got to design and make our own candy bars, attend Hershey U, and tour the city of kiss-shaped street lamps in the trolley. I miss my kids when doing things like this, but I have to admit it was nice being able to do everything because we didn't have to pay for seven people to do it.

That night we slept in a steamboat-shaped hotel (ah, the Americana experience) in Lancaster, PA, home of the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish, and saw many buggies and scooters navigating the intersections right along with our motorized contraptions. The next morning we had an Amish breakfast in Intercourse (insert your own joke here) and did a little shopping in the quaint downtown area. I'm pretty sure scrapple (fried pork parts) aren't on any "diets" but I did have a bite of my husband's to taste the local flavor. Not bad. Better than cheesesteak, for sure. The weather could not have been more perfect as we drove through the countryside (you know you're old when driving through the countryside is a major trip highlight) and watched as the Amish boys plowed the fields with horses. My husband was ready to move there right then, but we drove on to Valley Forge and then back to the ghetto of PHL so we could catch our early flight.

I'm quite proud of myself for handling the food options and snack challenges with maturity and thoughtfulness and was rewarded when I weighed in and had not gained a single pound. Walking through some of America's most historical sights filled me up enough with the pride I have in my country so that I didn't feel the need to do it with chocolate. That moment when we paid $23 at the toll gate because we didn't know how it worked nearly drove me to a Dunkin' Donuts, but in the end I said no, despite my thoughtful husband's offer.

I still had to use seat belt extenders on the way home, but I found new inspiration for eating healthy and working out - the promise of many Segway tours in the future (and that mule ride in Hawaii I still dream about).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Baby Weight

It's been a salty, sordid week so I did myself a huge favor by staying off of the scale today because I knew it would have been painful. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. Knowing it was a 50/50 on restraint this week, I want to believe that if I don't weigh myself, then no harm, no foul. I've been weighing myself long enough to know that you can have a really focused week and not lose a thing, but eat one cashew during the week and you gain five pounds (and maybe it was more than just ONE cashew...).

One of the big emotional food bombs for me this week was that my oldest "baby" turned thirty. Besides the fact that I am celebrating how successful my son is despite his upbringing, I'm reflecting on all of the baby weight I acquired over the years and wondering if I really do have any regrets about being as big as I am if it was all in the name of childbirth. For thirty years, I have been able to believe that my weight has less to do with chocolate than it has to do with the fact that I bore six children in ten years (during the first ten years of my marriage), and I got toxemia (preeclampsia) with every one of them AND our second child died of SIDS when she was three months old, AND our next son, born nine months later, had a coarctation of the aorta that required that he be flown to Primary Children's Medical Center when he was five days old and had open-heart surgery when he was a week old. Just writing about it makes me wish Baskin-Robbins was still open.

All of this started shortly after I got married when I was two weeks shy of my twenty-first birthday. I got pregnant immediately because we only briefly discussed the timeline for children, and because I had several friends experiencing infertility issues, we opted out of birth control. This is the part where ignorance was less than bliss.

Our oldest son was born ten days before our nine month wedding anniversary. Before you judge our worthiness for temple recommends, I was induced three weeks prior to my due date because of the severity of the toxemia. I retained so much water that my own mother didn't recognize me when I was standing right next to my husband. I also didn't lose all of it after the baby was born. At my post-natal check-up, the nurse seemed concerned when she commented on how much weight I had lost. I told her I had delivered three months prior. Her response? "Oh!" Apparently she thought I was still pregnant. Not encouraging.

Before I lost much more weight, I became pregnant again and our oldest daughter was born eighteen months after our son. She was a beautiful, healthy baby girl who, because God lives by natural laws, died suddenly at three months old. That was a tough one for a twenty-two-year-old mom with Fairy Tale Syndrome to take, but we moved forward with faith and nine months after she passed away, we had our second son.

We brought him home as a healthy baby but five days later his breathing and coloring became erratic and it was determined he had a congenital heart defect that required surgery when he was a week old.  That still didn't temper our faith (or our youthful stupidity) as we had our second daughter eighteen months later. On our fifth wedding anniversary, at the age of twenty-five, I had given birth to four children. I was also grossly overweight and incredibly worn down physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Fortunately I had youth on my side and as my father always said, "You do what you have to do." We did what we had to do to get through all of it and somehow we kept moving forward.

Through it all, we were very, very well fed. Neighbors brought dinners over with each life event and we're talking really good dinners. When you live in Huntsville among cattle ranchers and dairy farmers, you get roasts, potatoes, and some of the best home-made rolls ever produced. I maintain I had my last three children just for the quality and quantity of food the neighbors would bring. Add to that all of the celebrations and family gatherings that children create and we were beyond well fed. It is during this time that I think I unknowingly sealed my fate with food. But I survive(d).

We did finally figure out what was causing some of what was happening and I stopped allowing my husband to put his pants on any bed where I might possibly be sleeping. It worked for four years during which time I bought a bike and started those daily rides around the lake. It was awesome. It was also productive and I lost almost all of my weight before I got pregnant again with our third son and then two years later our third daughter. You can probably guess what happened with the weight. That was almost twenty years ago and I'm still calling it baby weight. I think I have that right, even if it's not true.

After my last delivery, my doctor told me that I had pretty much thrashed my metabolism. My thyroid was messed up (and isn't it every fat girl's dream to be told it's her thyroid that's the problem, even if it ultimately turns out that isn't the problem), my blood pressure wouldn't come down, and I simply didn't have the time, energy, or desire to take control. I think that was all the excuse I needed to accept myself at whatever size I was and relinquish myself of personal responsibility for trying to lose weight.

My advice - DON'T DO THAT!!!

In any case, that was thirty years ago and realistically, I could have another thirty years. Although neither my husband nor I have been surgically altered, I'm pretty sure the next thirty years will not bring any more births for us. Make that extremely sure. Not everybody gains excessive weight when they have children (especially if you live in the areas of Los Angeles and St. George). I'm not one of them. But every pound I carry is worth it, if that's what it took for me to have the amazing, brilliant, and complex children that I have (and even better, the grandchildren!). Regrets? Not so much.

Our last "child" living at home is set to move away for school in two months. Since I am now too far removed from childbirth to keep blaming that for my weight, at least I will soon have "empty nest" to blame it on. Blaming others sure beats the heck out of taking personal responsibility (but that's another, more politically charged, post for another time...)

I guess I'll go put away the cashews and do a couple of leg lifts. If not, it's my own fault.