The Little Engine That Could

Friday, June 27, 2008

One Down

One down and one to go. I am so tired. I can't get cell reception out in the country because apparently the sheep take up everyone's minutes. Yup, the sheep. Fields and fields of them. You all know how much I like a good mutton chop, but yeah, sheep in fields. The good news is that it is not outside my door. It's just beyond that part.

I keep feeling I am being talked down to by the londoners. I guess I need to lighten up, but I want to come home and be with the boyfriend, and celebrate Ms. M's birthday with spa treatments and lovely cocktails, and relax on my sofa and watch bad American TV. Because bad American tv is SO MUCH BETTER than anything here. Last night I feel asleep to a show that is a documentary on bouncers. But I think it's called renegade or doormen or something equally as stupid. However, that was the best bit of TV I've seen so far. It was like porn for women who like the burly men-- all sorts of tall, huge shaved goateed men that throw out drunks. It was like a slice of big sweaty heaven, I loved it.

However, as I was flipping around, I landed on the cows and car chases channel. No joke. There were cows that stopped traffic, car chases through little towns, and then more cows.

I don't understand the Brits at all.

I'm tired of being on the road. I want to be home and yet I want to see the world. I might curl up with a book on Sunday and laze away the day. It's been a difficult journey. I miss my Mister. We've been keeping in touch with emails and phone calls but it's so early in the relationship it's hard. Although the I love yous are right there.

Oooh, I didn't share this with you. So, before I left, we were talking and kissing. And I didn't want to be the one that said it first. At all. I wanted to hear him say it. So I took his face in my hands and said "I love you, and it scares me, because I can see who you are, and you can see who I am, and I love you and I don't know how to be this vulnerable." and he cried and I cried and everyone loved each other forever and little birdies flew up into the sky in a heart shaped formation. Well actually, we relaxed into one another and held on. And he said "I love you and I didn't want to say it first." Then I called him a jackass, and he kissed my nose and I said it again and again.

And it didn't feel weird or too soon. And I just talked to him, so maybe I don't actually hate the British. Just their TV programming.

Good night.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Big Big Trip

Sunday night I leave for 23 days. 23 days. On the road in foreign lands.

First, I go to London. Stay a bit then off to Kent for a workshop. I am excited to see the English countryside. I am happy to eat English strawberries and scones and real clotted cream with tea. I am also excited to be out in the fresh air. I'm sure it smells like dirt and cows, but nothing that this city girl can't take.

Then back to London for a couple of days. Work work work from the office, laugh with co-workers, pat each other for a job well done. Maybe I'll even see a show. I think I deserve it.

Then off to Hong Kong with a small stop in Frankfurt. Just the airport, but I get to tick another country off my list. I've never been to Hong Kong. I imagine it's fast and loud and well lit and full of languages I can't understand. And all of me will stand in the middle, towering over everyone and go "Huh?".

Because this is the unimaginable life. Four years ago I was sitting at my uncle's house in Napa surrounded by family and love. I had just started a temp job with a company I had worked for before. I was making nothing per hour, commuting to Jersey every day. I was just getting over the depression of having lost a job I hated, which actually made me feel like no one wanted me.

Poor potato chip eating, sofa dwelling Big Girl, Big City.

And four years later, I am traveling the world. Meeting people and seeing things I never imagined I'd see. Creating great events and working really hard (and smart) for a company I truly respect. I don't get much couch time, and when I do, I love it. I don't stay there for long.

I don't know how I got so lucky. I don't know what the secret is. I mean, my house is still in disarray, I sleep on torn sheets, I have two suitcases that are broken and a whole slew of "throw away piles". I never get all my to-do's done, I forget to call people back. There are still conversations that lurk around that are "I'm (or it's) not enough". I feel guilty for sharing about travels and trips with folks that don't get to do that, and even guiltier sharing my "I'm so lonely" road stories with them.

But, I am out there, living my life. Working, loving, creating my messy messy life.

So, road trip for 23 days. I am not sure if I will be able to write all that often, but I will try. I will have no access to a scale. I think this is important for me. 3 weeks without weighing myself, I'll have no idea where I am in relationship to where I was. Or am right now.

Oh, interesting factoid. Purchased clothes from the plus department of old navy. 1x and XL. They fit. What the fuck, they fit? Yup, they fit. I'm going to do a little shopping in London, and in Hong Kong. Have a dress or a coat made, have some shoes made. Send postcards to family and loved ones. And have lots of conversations with people who also love what they do. Drink tea, work out, walk in the fresh air (applicable to Kent only), discover new places. Etc. Etc.

I will have lots of catching up to do when I get back. I can't wait!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

And the real reason

And the real reason I wrote this morning was to say I am in uncharted waters. I don't remember being this weight ever. I have dropped to 264 which is absolutely unheard of for me.

I remember being 216 in 8th grade, and exercising to heavy metal tapes and then jumping back on the scale to see if I had lost anything. The next weight I remember was about 280-ish in high school, more in the sophomore/junior year. Senior year I topped out at 302 the first time I was at Jenny Craig and then lost 30+ pounds.

But this weight I don't remember. I am completely in uncharted territory and am making it up as I go along..... I'd like to come back from the very very long trip at about 255, because I will take the TIME to WORK OUT.

Sugar makes me dump. Crampy, blech dumping. But not in the bathroom way, only in the "I think I am going to pass out way". I'm both happy and sad, I like birthday cake (well really, I like frosting) but I like feeling good much better. My body has changed in the last couple days and it's reacting to heavy meals, sugar and some meats. I am eating much lighter and feel better.

Ahh, unchartered waters....I like the view.....

Beyond Expectations

So there is a new boy. Man. In my life. Let me recount last night for you.

I made dinner. He said he likes pasta, I made pasta. Good high protein kamut spirals with low fat cheese and my own sauce with turkey sausage. Low in fat, high in flavor. As I was making it I kept wondering "I hope he hasn't eaten yet, I hope he likes this." It was a little past the time when he should have arrived, and I though, "I hope he didn't get into an accident, what would happen-- would anyone call me?"

I started thinking about how great this relationship has been going. That its dreamy and solid, and its gentle and kind. And no drama. We both agree that we weren't experiencing fireworks on the first date, and good for that, because we got to know each other. And then I thought about how it could all be taken away from me with a bad car accident. I said a silent prayer, "please keep him safe". I couldn't sit still. Up from the computer, stir the sauce, calm down, up from the couch, do the dishes, sit down.

He arrived. I was worried about you, was there traffic? "Yes, a lot and I left late. " I calmed down considerably. He ate dinner and then some of mine. He liked it-- I didn't tell him it was good for him, he'll just have to live with the fact that things taste different over here.

We sat and smooched on the couch, listening to music. Eva Cassidy came on, and I told him the story of Mills and San Fernando mission and how much I miss him and it's not fair that people are taken away suddenly. Then Over the Rainbow came on and I told him it was my favorite song of hers, and my mom has requested it to be played when she passes on, and again I don't want to think about it ever and I promised her it would be. And with his head in my lap, he looked up at me. Tears were in his eyes. "Are you tired?" "No, my eyes are just watery".

Eventually, we made our way to the bedroom for some pillow talk. Gazing into each other's eyes, kissing, holding. He starts talking. Telling me how lucky he is and he wants this part to last. And that he wants me to be happy, he wants to make me happy like it's his job to do, and he's so excited for this adventure of me losing weight because he knows what it's like to be a fat kid and not want to take his shirt off at the pool and not fit in. I start crying. He tells me I am beautiful and a real woman and strong and kind. And he holds me closer and I weep into his shoulder.

He understands.

I tell him that it's odd to be with someone that has limited drama. I tell him about crazy dates I had and how since our first date, I am only thinking of him. I tell him that he is completely normal, and he takes it like its the best thing in the world, and it is. I tell him that I am still scared that there is something in the background that might scare me, and he says there's nothing. Looking into those pools of brown green, he repeats it. Then I say and mean "I trust you."

I trust you.

Then he starts crying a little bit, and I realize I have met my match, a man that can cry like me. As hard as he can look, with that voice of intimidation, he tells me that he sometimes forgets what I look like, the way my mouth moves when I talk, the way I play with my hair and that every time he sees me it's like meeting me again and again for the first time. And that he wants to hear me talk about how I am feeling, although there will come a day when he doesn't (Jackass), and I responded that "on those occasions I'll make sure the Mets are on so you'll have something to do..." We tease each other..... we both wrestle with how ticklish we are..... we both sing along with the music.....He's a total softie, and he's sentimental. And he's just choked up by me trusting him, because I am telling him that he does know me very well and I am uncomfortable being so vulnerable to another human, and he sees me, really sees me for who I am.

And we are laying in bed, fully clothed, holding one another and crying because our hearts have opened up to each other.

He tells me that he was crying earlier, because Over the Rainbow was the most beautiful song he's heard. But he didn't want to let me know he was sentimental because that's not guy behavior. I told him that I love the soft part of him. And that I know and "you'd tell me in due time".

I asked him if I could call him my boyfriend. He said yes on the caveat that he could call me his girlfriend. I agreed. More kissing, and then goodbye.

He makes me so very happy. I trust him. He's a good man. I'm not letting this one go.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

On 35

I am one year out from having made a decision to have Gastric Bypass. I made the decision the morning of my 34th birthday, although I had for months been saying, well maybe--- but that morning I knew. I knew I didn't want to spend another year trying to loose weight, trying to get to the gym, trying to date as a super plus sized woman, trying to fit into airplane seats, trying to just fit in.

I remember waking up and quietly deciding. I began to tell friends, my family was almost all aware. I saw my mom go through a blossoming of sorts, becoming more active, more healthy, more vibrant. I wanted that.

Today is the beginning of 35. What has changed?

1) Travel: I pack less. Partially because I have less and partially because my clothes are smaller. I fit in airplane seats with the arm rest down. No extenders, except when I am bloated like the trip back from Chicago and I don't want anything toughing my tummy.

2) Meals: I still want the burger with all the fixings, or the entire meal. Last night I had a cup of coffee and 10 bites of a salmon, cream cheese omelette. I was full, but not to uncomfortable. I don't dump on sugar like I had anticipated, so I can have a bite of chocolate or sweet, but I don't need to.

3) Meals on the Road: I enjoy having soup. I enjoy eating yogurt. I don't drink juice or have more than 2 cocktails in a 6 hour period. The only bubbly thing I've had is flat diet coke with rum or jack and the glass of champagne at Cassie's wedding. I try to stick with not drinking and eating together. I have learned to experiment with food-- I eat appetizers and pull things apart. I have shucked more cheese sticks from their fried goodness than most people ever will, I have eaten the goo out of dumplings. I have yet to eat a bread sandwich-- I have had a crossaint but it took me two meals to eat the sandwich. I eat protein bars and lots of nuts and jerky.

4) Clothes: I am a size 18 pant and a size 12 or 14 top. My shoes are too big, and I now don't have to get the 12w but instead 12 or 11w, depending. I have blown through one pair of trainers. I received hand me downs from Christine and am wearing some of them. I have a wardrobe of pieces that work for now, and everything is compacted on one rod, not three. Thank god it's summer, because I will need new coats in the fall and winter. I do not wear loud clothes like I used to, but instead jeans and nice tops. My bra size is now 40B down from 48 C. My underwear size is down to 14-16-- I have no idea what that translates to outside of Lane Bryant.

5) Fashion and Shopping: I can shop at Kohl's in the non-plus department. I haven't yet tried out the other shops in the non-plus range, because I don't want to be disappointed. I like having a monochromatic wardrobe of black, white, green and pink. I still love the polka dots, but the wild and crazy makeup has gone. I can't remember the last time I wore red lipstick.

I purchased a beautiful sliver choker in Mexico. It fit perfectly around my neck. I couldn't believe it.

6) Hair: Some fell out. Not noticeable, but out it came and I remedied the situation with an awesome new cut. And upped the protein. And used the special shampoo.

7) Dating: Currently dating a kind and gentle and generous man. Previously dating a lot of men that were okay but not great. Dated more this year than ever. I think I might be in a relationship. He asked: Are you going to always eat like a bird, and I said yes. And it's true, I will.

8) Habits: Sleeping well. Saying what's there for me. Smoking again, but with the caveat that it stops before the next trip. Gym time-- never enough but more than ever. Still wearing sleeveless clothes regardless of the gobble gobble of my upper arms.

9) Celebrations: I look in the mirror and see the person I always saw. But I am no longer fooling myself with angles and whatnot. I look good in most pictures, I feel good about my body. I enjoy being active and walking a lot. As I ran to the train the other day with my 25 pound bag, I realized I was tired because I was lugging all that extra weight. My knees hurt, my feet hurt. And then realized that I have carried 120 pounds of that for a long time. Sometime I miss that, when I want to do destructive things like eat a pie or complete an entire meal. I miss that part of me. But then I can feel my hip bones. And my collar bones. And fit into clothing that was once never considered. And I can believe it when people say I look good and healthy and rested.

I spend less time worrying about what others think. I spend more time thinking about what I want.

Here are some stats.
pre-diet 7/6/07 6/14/2008
Head 24 23
Neck 18.75 15.5
Shoulders 22 16
Right Upper 19 15
Right Lower 14 12
Rigth Wrist 7.5 7
Left Upper 19 14.75
Left Lower 13 11
Left Wrist 7.5 7
above bra 48 40
bust 53.5 43
below bust 48 39
waist 50 41
hips 63 49
Thighs 58.5 51
right thigh 40 30
right knee 20 15.5
right calf 21.25 19
right ankle 11 9.5
left thigh 38.5 31
left knee 20.5 17
left calf 23.25 19.5
left ankle 11 10.25
shoe 12ww 12/11w depending
weight 385.1 267.1

Happy birthday to me. The best gift ever.

Friday, June 13, 2008


On Tuesday, while in Chicago on business, I got the ouch. All of a sudden, my stomach was in pain, searing owwy, oww, oww pain. I thought "This is why I don't drink coffee and have an iron pill in the morning, I need more." So I had lunch. Four bites of salad and salmon and a bread stick, still owwww.

I went back and laid down for hours. Felt a little better. It's solid food that hurts. After a round at the surgeon's yesterday with a CT scan, nothing showed. Dinner last night was soup and then snack was chicken. Owww. This morning yogurt. No oww yet.

I'm going back in for an ultra-sound later today to see if it's gallstones. Yuck.

In better news, the man I am dating came over and we watched a movie and he just rubbed my head and shoulders. And we talked a lot. He is so nice, so good to me. I kept looking at him and saying "Where the fuck have you been?" because he is just so good to me. I never thought a relationship could start like this. So gentle and kind. He tames the wild side, the dramatic, and just wants to hold me.

Life is pretty good. Tomorrow is happy birthday to me. 80s have been replaced by the Beer Garden. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and want grandiose things.... but instead I get the coolest of the cool friends and lovely times with them. And kisses from a man who makes my toes tingle.

Ahh. Life is good.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Good Decisions

Lately, I have been making good decisions:

1) Eating until satisfied, not full
2) Drinking lots of water or sports drinks with no calories (Costco brand is best!)
3) Meeting new people
4) Going to therapy
5) Working hours that work for me
6) Getting proper sleep

I met a man. It's going well. He's very very nice and simple and extremely kind. He likes me, and I like him.

He's a good decision. He stopped by yesterday just to hang out and watch a movie. We napped together. That's all, just napping. And it was really glorious.

I like this new life. A lot.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Time Well Spent

This weekend I headed out to Ma and Pa's for a couple days of sun and relaxation. It was very nice to hang out with them. After the obligatory costco and kohl's runs, and a few trips to the grocery, mom made my favorite meal, el pollo. It's like the homemade version of El Pollo Loco chicken, grilled on the BBQ, lime marinade, and then guacamole, ranch beans (ummm, yumm!) homemade salsa and all the fixings for soft tacos.

I don't think I've had this meal since weightloss surgery. And it was still as yummy as ever. AND she made sugar free banana pudding for dessert. Double yum. Although I did get really sleepy after eating it, so dumping just a bit, but overall, A++.

Part of the reason to go home was to get ready for the giant 80's birthday bash I am having in two weekends. Why 80's you ask? Well, in an effort to clean out all the closets to make way for central air, mom and pop found piles of boxes in the room they call mine, and in there was a trip down memory lane. And a couple of prom dresses.

When I was in my senior year of high school, I was about a size 24. And at that time, no major retailer carried formal dresses in that size. Also, remember, I loved in Southern California, and above a size 10 was a hard sell. We didn't have the money for a dress to be made, but I figured mom and I would at some point head to the fabric store and get something that she could make for me. I used to go to the House of Fabrics and touch all the burned out velvet, sparkly taffeta, silks and satins and know she would do something extra ordinary with it. But the year of my senior prom she didn't need to.

Near to the house was a small boutique that had some interesting plus sized clothes, along with baby shoes, track pants, in essence, a general "I don't know what to do with this" store. One day after waiting for me at drama practice, she headed over to see if she could find something for herself (she never ever buys anything for herself) and found three gorgeous prom dresses in my size. Each, for $10! Yes, I said ten dollars. My mom being the wise woman, bought all three.

I chose the green one. It's poufy sleeved, with a couple of rosettes on the bodice, princess waist to a t-length skirt. And it had crinoline underneath. Although I didn't feel like a princess in it, I did feel very pretty, and went off to my prom. And forgot about the dress.

This weekend, I tried it on. It's 3 sizes too big. The poufy sleeves still hold their shape, the fabric didn't rip or stain. I may have to wear this for the party. I'm not sure, because I also found a pair of leopard print STIRRUP pants that I bought for my job at the LB in college. Yes, I wore stirrup pants, and owned the ugliest ones ever. Those too are a little big, but I think I have to break those out.

I realized that I wear clothes like a uniform. My peach and black flowered dress with the black leggings and combat boots was my "fancy" outfit in college, my multicolored gauze top with pink stirrup pants in high school was my "will he notice me". My striped ensembles and LB tops with jean shorts was 'hey, I'm big but sporty". For a while I was wearing costumes-- more on the "who do I want to be today" and would dress like a 50's pin-up (fishnets, kitten heels, party dress), a moody Parisian (black turtleneck, black pants, black flats), Donna Reed (full skirt, colored sweater and a neck scarf), or the all American (white oxford, rolled jeans, loafers). For not many choices, I had a lot of clothes and lots of outfits.

Losing weight has me realize that the clothes don't make the person. I did think that the louder I dressed, the more fashionable I was, the better/funnier/smarter I became. Depending on the outfit. When you lose your entire wardrobe over the course of 10 months, things shift.

Now, I am slowly building a wardrobe of classics. I still wear a lot of black, but with punches of color. I would like to be the woman that has a couple of great pieces, maybe one or two trendy things (gold lame top), shoes that are not always black. It's interesting and difficult to break away from what I am so used to wearing. I like to look professional and fun, a little bit flirty, but no longer hiding behind the outfit, or making a statement with my clothes.

I think I am giving up the costumes in my life. I don't have to be "wear the loudest thing you own" or show the little cleavage I have, or do the red lips everyday. I don't have to be a character or play a part. Finding out that I am more than just my clothes is a pretty big step in the right direction.

As a reminder to myself, I was one year ago wearing a size 30-32 top (or a stretch 26-28) and a 30 pant last year this time. And what size am I now? I'm wearing an XL top (or 1X depending) and an 20W or 18W pant.

This is smaller than I was upon entering high school.

No wonder I feel like returning to the 80s.