Jan 30, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Before I get to my Wordless Wednesday, I would like to call your attention to a series that is being written by my brother, Kevin, who is guest blogging on my sister-in-law's (his wife) blog at 28 Celcius . He is chronicling his battle with drug addiction and his eventual triumph over it. In conjunction with him, my Mom is writing her side of the story. It promises to be a very sad, heart-breaking and eventual triumphant story. Now to my Wordless Wednesday....

Grandma: The Reading Lady

(Left to right: Blondie 1, Care Bear, Anakin, Feisty)

Celebrity News by Kristen--Issue 3

Volume 1: Issue 3
Doing My Part to Keep Bloggy World Informed

**Disclaimer: I have nothing personally against any celebrities mentioned in "Celebrity News by Kristen". It is only for fun and only opinions. Please do not sue me.

Pari$ Hilton
Pari$ Hilton is suing the owner of a website that charges $39.97 a month to view all the Pari$ goodness you can imagine. The owner of the website obtained Pari$' personal belongings after her items were auctioned off by a storage company after she refused to pay her $208 rental bill. Let me get this straight; Pari$ Hilton, heiress to the largest hotel chain in the world and probably richer than the Queen of England refused to pay her rental bill for her storage facility?! Might want to get someone in your entourage to start managing your financial affairs. I'm guessing that $208 would have set you back one or two of those expensive cocktails you've been throwing back with your new BFF: Britney $pears. Priorities, Pari$. It's all about priorities. Pari$ was quoted as saying that she fears that these items could be used "to steal my identity, or even worse, to harass or stalk me." I highly doubt that anyone would be stupid enough to walk around trying to assume your identity. If someone wants to steal an identity, they're going to pick the average millionaire Joe. Not someone whose face appears in every rag on newstands on a weekly basis.
Kevin Federl1ne

Supa-star rapper/actor/gold-digger/father of the year K-FED will be debuting a commercial during the Super Bowl in which he portrays a fast-food worker dreaming of stardom. Naturally, fast-food workers across the country are taking great offense to this ad which has caused K-FED to defend himself by saying that it's a play on his image as an aspiring actor. What? Aspiring actor? What happened to becoming the next Eminem?? You go around the country spouting off how ridiculously phat your new rap album is going to be, relentlessly reminding everyone in every forum what day the album drops and now all of a sudden your an actor?? Oh, yeah. Maybe it's because your album sold, what...I think it was 10 copies? Hey, Kev....one guest spot on CSI does not an actor make. Maybe you oughta just wait to see what kind of financial settlement you get from your wife and then just crawl back under that hole you came from. I think you'd be a lot better off there. And probably safer, too.
Jennifer Ani$ton

Jennifer is mad. At Brad? Nope. At Angelina? Nope. At Vince Vaughn? Nope. She's mad at her plastic surgeon. She likes her new nose job, but she's mad that the good doc talked to a fanzine about rhinoplasty in an article about Jennifer.

Poor Jen. Don't you think that people will notice that your nose looks different...yet again? I mean, the normal every day person typically has the same looking nose throughout their life. People tend to notice when someone shows up at every red carpet event with a different looking nose, huge boobs or lifted eyebrows. We may not be famous, but stupid we are not. So, maybe instead of being mad at your doc, you should be mad at yourself for throwing down thousands of dollars for another new nose instead of keeping the one the good Lord gave ya! NEWSFLASH: A new nose won't bring Brad back!! Sorry!

Thus concludes this weeks issue of Celebrity News by Kristen. There is a poll on the sidebar. Vote. If you want, that is.

Jan 29, 2007

The One Where I Give Credit Where Credit Is Due!

Like my new header? Yee-haw. I wish I could say that I put that in there, but I musn't lie. I arranged the picture, Mom took the picture, Yellow Mama cartoonized the picture for me, and wonderful Beth put it in my template for me. Yeah, I thought I had templates all figured out...until I switched to new blogger. Now I'm clueless again. Oh, well. So, thanks to my peeps for making the new header a possibility. You all rock!

Jan 28, 2007

The One That's #200!

Before I commence with the nonesenseness that will be my 200th post, I wanted to thank everyone who may have thought of me or prayed for me or crossed their fingers for me this morning when I made my big solo debut. Although I probably looked like something akin to a deer caught in the headlights and felt like I was in a bubble shielding myself from any tomatoes that may have flown my way, I guess it went pretty well. When someone who typically doesn't care to give me the time of day went out of her way to tell me she enjoyed my song, I guess it wasn't a total failure.
This is my 200th post. In about two weeks, it's my blogaversary. Big stuff happenin' here. I'm not going to do 200 things about me, or ask for 200 comments, or even try to use my brain today to come up with something clever. I'm clevered out right now, not to mention tired, so I'm going to post some complete and utter nonsense that has run through my head or happened to me within the last couple of weeks or so that I've been saving up for a random post. Let the randomness begin.
My mom got me a gift card to Cost Cutters for Christmas. It was her not so subtle way of forcing my hand to cut my hair to her liking again. I will admit; I needed something done to my hair. It had been quite awhile since I even had a trim. But after a lot of thought, I decided I was unwilling to part with my luscious, long locks. OK...maybe not luscious....but for sure long. On my lunch break one day last week, I went and got it cut: alittlebit.

This is what she was hoping I'd come
home with.

And this is what I actually came home with. Except with bangs. Sorry, Mom. I know you're disappointed. Maybe when I'm 40 I'll cut my hair short again. Or when I finally get sick of my hair ending up with toothpaste spit and food all over it. That gets kinda gross.


What do you do when your four year old daughter approaches you with her latest "masterpiece" after practicing her pre-school like culinary skills? I was approached by Care Bear yesterday afternoon to try a sample of her deliciousness. What I saw in the bowl looked like something the neighbors cat might have puked up. I smiled and took a pretend bite. "Mmmmm....delicious.", I said. "No mommy. Take a real bite." "Uhhhh....What's in it Care Bear?" "Smooshed up Teddy Grahams, apple juice and string cheese." Ohhh....so that's what those chunks are. "Umm...sorry, Care Bear. I'm really not hungry right now. Maybe I'll try it later." She was disappointed, but I was grateful to her that she didn't push the issue. I'm hoping I didn't end up squashing the future Rachel Ray. Next thing you know, I'll see Care Bear's exact recipe in Good Housekeeping.


Last week, I went to Chipotle for lunch. What am I talking about? I always go to Chipotle for lunch. All the employees know me there. Except last week there was a new girl running the cash register. She didn't know me. I was sporting my ultra cool Broncos jacket with my name embroidered on it compliments of my dear MIL.

"Are you a Broncos cheerleader?!" she said.

"Why, yes, actually, I am". I said. But not really. I told her no, I'm not. She thought my jacket looked "official" therefore thought I was a cheerleader.

I love her. She got a tip. And a recommendation from me for a raise. She's my new favorite person.


Care Bear likes pillow talk. Well, truth be told, the kid likes to talk whenever about whatever at all times of the day. But after night-night prayers, she really likes to talk. Last night her talk was revolved around how much she loves me. And then she told me a secret. "Mommy, I love you so much I'm going to ess-plode!" Take note: According to Care Bear, the correct pronunciation for the word is not "explode" or "eggs-plode" but "ess-plode". See, some people say it "egg-splode", but that is wrong. It doesn't really matter how you say the first part of the word, but when you hear Care Bear say it, it will always be "ess-plode". Just so you know.


I start my new work schedule tomorrow. My boss came into my work area yesterday (you know; my third work area in three months) and told me, "OK. How about you move back over to where you were last week when you start your new schedule."

WhatEVER. I'm getting dizzy and confused from so much moving. I keep going to the wrong desk after lunch and in the morning because I can't remember from one day to the next where I'm sitting. And it's not over. OH NO. Big changes and stuff happening in the office. The head honcho wants our area when the change occurs. Us peons will be moving. That makes the tally by the time it's all over : 5 moves for Kristen in as many months. But I'm not complaining. I'm not bitter. Color me happy.


And that's all the randomness floating through my brain for now. Enjoy your Monday (tomorrow that is. Today is Sunday).

Jan 26, 2007

The One Where You Pray For Me; Cross Your Fingers; Generally, Wish Me Luck

I'm singing a solo in church on Sunday.

I'm not typically a soloist.

I'm wondering now why I volunteered.

I heard a song on the radio that I liked that fit my range.

They (the band) jumped right on that opportunity.

I haven't sung a solo in church since I was Care Bear's age.

When I sung that solo, I kept looking back at the piano thinking someone was going to accompany me, but to my surprise, no-one was.

I sang acapella.

Sunday, I have my band backing me (thankfully).

My husband will be playing drums directly behind me.

I'm nervous.

I think I might be sick that day.

J.M. (my band-mate, fellow singer, friend, and general sweetheart) e-mailed me the other day and told me "You Rock!"

I hope she's right.

I wish my blogging friends and family were able to be in the audience cheering me on.

Wish me luck.

I'm up in a little over 36 hours.

Jan 25, 2007

And I Said She Wasn't a Cuddler

Feisty is a lover girl. She hugs like a champ, kisses like a butterfly and the "I love you's" flow like honey from her lips. But when it comes to going to sleep, she needs her space. She takes after her mama in that aspect.

Feisty is not a good sleeper. I've alluded to that in several previous posts. The child has just recently begun sleeping 8-10 hour stretches at a time. But getting her to sleep is a challenge every single night. I do every little thing that has been suggested in every parenting book, every Sunday School class and from "pro parents", but not a whole lot works with her. Tonight was nothing new.

She and I were laying down together watching Boz and was making every effort to calm her down. She would wiggle one way, then wiggle the other. She would ask for milk; ask for cereal; try to persuade me to put together puzzles. I finally got her to settle down enough to lay down and concentrate on Boz and relaxing. Every now and then I would coax her to close her eyes. Eventually she cuddled up right next to me, touched my face, told me, "I love you, Mommy" and closed her eyes. After a few short moments, her little arm cradled my neck and within minutes she was asleep.

My neck is still warm from her sweet little arm resting on it. She's now softly and sweetly sleeping in her room and I can go to sleep happy because my baby, who is no longer a baby, treated me to a sleepy time cuddle tonight.

Sleep well, my love.

Jan 24, 2007

The One Where I Enroll Anakin in "Women of The 21st Century--101"

The conversation:

Anakin: Do you want to play Checkers, Kristen?

Me: Sure. I need to do the dishes first, though.

Anakin: You always do the dishes, don't you?

Me: Not always, but usually.

Anakin: Oh, I know why. Because that's a woman's job, isn't it?

I promptly dropped the dishes. Daddy will be doing them tonight.

Jan 23, 2007

The One Where I Have to Adjust---Again

Not too long ago, my Mom approached me with the idea of switching our schedules around. For those of you who may not know, my mom watches my kids when I work, which is 2.5 days a week. She asked me if there was a chance we could switch to doing half days every day saying that she feels it would be easier on her to watch them 5 half days a week as opposed to 2 full days and a half day. Initially, I didn't think this was going to fly with my office; part time jobs are few and far between and we had just arranged schedules with a fairly new person in the office, which was the reason I was uprooted not too long ago.

Surprise, surprise, my boss said she thought we could make it work. The catch being: I'll probably have to switch desks--again. No biggie....I'm used to it by now.

By the time my Mom got the go ahead from her peeps, I had plenty of time to think about this change. It's going to be a big adjustment, and if it weren't for my mom's "mental health" (no, my kids aren't insane....they haven't turned her schizo....but they are a handful), I think I would be backing out of this deal. Here are the cons:
  • I will no longer...never again (after Thursday)....get an entire day alone with my daughters.
  • I will no longer get to take Care Bear to pre-school.
  • I will have to drive to my office (15 miles away) every day.
  • I will no longer have the afternoon to myself with Feisty while Care Bear and Anakin are at school.
  • I will no longer get to lounge in my jammies and fluffy socks til mid-afternoon or whenever the urge hits me to practice some personal hygiene.
  • I can no longer procrastinate on doing laundry or dishes until mid-afternoon or whenever the urge hits me to practice good housekeeping skills.

I love taking Care Bear to school. I love seeing her go in to her classroom with excitement and anticipation of what the day is going to hold for her. I love watching her turn her name over on the "Who's Here" board. I love her excited face and ginormous hug when I come to pick her up. I like seeing the other moms.

I love having the afternoon with Feisty. She thrives on alone time with mama. It's rare that it happens and she takes full advantage of it...or rather me....and Care Bear's toys.

I love just being there two days a week with them. I wish I could be a full time stay at home mom and this will make me feel more like a part time mom.

This is by no means an effort to make my mom feel bad for desiring to change the schedule and it is be no means a guilt trip. My mom watches them for me out of the goodness of her heart...for free...and for that I am indebted to her indefinitely. I understand her need for good mental health. I'm just processing my thoughts on the whole thing and trying to make peace with this newest of changes in my life before it occurs next Monday. So in light of that, here are the "pros" of the change:

  • I will get some adult time and conversation every day.
  • When Care Bear goes to Kindergarten next year (*sob* this will be the subject of a very sappy post in the near future) I will get to take her every morning which with the current schedule would not have been possible.
  • I don't have to witness their teary faces and death grips on my neck and legs when I leave them at the crack of dawn anymore (on those two full days).
  • I will no longer have to set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. (just cuz I don't set the electronic alarm, however doesn't mean that my human alarms won't awake me at that time.)
  • I will get to see them some of the day every day.
  • I will get to take them to story time at the library on Fridays, which my mom has always done and I have always wanted to do but couldn't because I work(ed) on Friday mornings.

So starting next Monday, I will be reporting to duty every day at 12:30 sharp. Or 12:32 or 12:35 in some anonymous desk that is yet to be determined.....and in the meantime, I will enjoy my one (1) remaining full day with them on Thursday. Feel sorry for me; feel happy for my mom.

Jan 22, 2007

Celebrity News by Kristen--Issue 2

Doing My Small Part to keep Bloggy-World Informed
Volume 1: Issue 2
Justin and Alyssa
Justin Timberlake (who I will non-affectionately refer to as J.T. from here on out) made the news this week again. So I guess Scarlett didn't float his boat, so to say. He was seen "courting" ex-flame Alyssa Milano this week and also hanging out with Eva Longoria. Wait a minute...isn't Eva engaged? I thought so. Hey, J.T....you got something against women your own age? If you really wanna hang with women who were graduating high school long before you were an 'N Syncer, how about giving Reese Witherspoon a look? Now, there's a sweetheart and a half if I ever saw one. And she's classy. A classy lady could really bring your sexy back. But I suppose a girl who refuses to show her belly and generally keeps her hair the same color all of the time is too un-interesting for you, eh? Maybe if she got her nose pierced....

Next thing you know, we'll be hearing that you're "courting" Lance Bass. I do hear that he is single again. Maybe you should give going solo a try for awhile.

Paula Abdul
Paula Abdul has a chronic pain condition. She's on pain killers. This is why she acts like she just came off of a three-day bender when she's in interviews and judging on "American Idol"....or so say her reps. I think I can help ya Paula. First off....only take the amount prescribed to you. Not the whole bottle. Secondly, don't add a fifth of Jack to your coca-cola cup that is ever present on your judging table. Chasing pain killers with liquor will probably tend to exacerbate that "loopy" condition. And if you don't like nasty rumors being spread around about you and your "fraternizing" with the young male contestants on the show, my advice is this: "Don't look so dreamy with drool spilling down your cheek this year if there is an Ace or Corey look a like....even if they do come down to your table and croon in your ear. People will talk." ...or maybe that drool is a result of your drugs and Jack...I don't know.

Beyonce Knowles

Hey, Beyonce.....Ariel called....she wants her dress back. This is no "Dream Girl" dress. Unless she plans on taking a flying leap into the great blue to chase after her dream mer-man. Bleh.

Passions--the soap opera
NBC has just announced plans to cancel the eight year soap opera after adding an extra hour to the Today Show in the morning. The soap debuted in 1999 and is infamous for its supernatural storylines (i.e. a doll that comes to life, a 300 year old witch with a 4 year old daughter) and for its pathetic damsels in distress who pine after the same man all their live-long days. I must admit, I am guilty on occasion of tuning into this show, but only because it follows the best soap evah--Days of Our Lives.

There is talk of possibly moving the show to another network (MY Network TV or Soap Net), or even making it an internet based soap opera. The kicker? The current cast must all be on board. Tell ya what I'd say 'bout that: "Take your minimum wage internet based soap opera paycheck and shove it. I'd sooner work at McDonald's." Soap opera stars are already the lowest on the totem pole of actors. Move it to the internet and what you've got there is career suicide.

Tune in next week for another edition of Kristen's Celebrity News. Until then, keep your eyes and ears open.

**There is a new poll on the sidebar related to this post.

My Life Monday

Rachelle has brought back My Life Monday. Yipeeee!! The subject this week is "Where I Live and How I Got Here."

I've lived in the same state my entire life, save a year or two away at school and a few months stay in Arizona. Other than that, I've remained close to home.

When I finally moved out of my parents house for good at age 22, I lived in various different apartments with various roommates in the same state, but in a different town than where I grew up. After I met my husband, we initially lived in a town-home in the city where I work, but once Feisty was born we decided that with three kids we simply had to find a place to live that ideally had a backyard and a garage and was in a family friendly neighborhood. So, the search began.

Shortly after we began looking, we were down visiting my parents one evening when lo and behold....we discovered a house on their street was available for rent. My husband jumped right on it and contacted the landlord. Before I knew it, the lease was signed and we were moving in. The house was just what we envisioned for ourselves: Three bedrooms, a nice yard--fenced backyard--in a cul-de-sac and with a garage. What's more? It is three doors down from where my parents live.

We have lived here for 2.5 years now and our children love it. They have friends in the neighborhood, they pop on down to grandma and grandpa's when ever the urge hits them and they feel at home; which is the most important thing of all.

There are downfalls to living 3 doors down from your parents, but in my opinion, the good far outweighs the negative. My kids are walking in the same footsteps I did as a kid; playing in the same parks and going to the same schools. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Jan 21, 2007

Invasion of the Husband Snatchers

I've been married for very close to five (5) years now. In that amount of time, I can count on one hand the number of weekend mornings that I have been able to sleep in, and the number of times my husband has gotten up in the middle of the night to help me with sleepless children.

Yesterday morning, as usual, my darling girls were up before the sun, and as usual I dragged myself out of bed to start the morning with them and brew a way too strong cup of coffee. I don't even attempt to wake him up anymore on weekend mornings because then I have a grumpy spouse to deal with all day.

On this day, to my utter and complete surprise, he woke up and told me, "Why don't you go ahead and go back to sleep." Uh.....whaaaaaat??? I think the look of shock on my face must have been pretty obvious and all I could utter in response was, "For real?" And when he confirmed that,yes, that is what he said, I bounded up those steps as fast as my tired legs could carry me and got two more hours of priceless and wonderful sleep.

Last night, in the middle of the night, I heard Feisty wake up. I laid there for awhile hoping by hope that she would go back to sleep because my tired ole bones had no desire to get up and go attend to her. To my surprise, I heard my husband get up and go take care of the situation. I didn't hear another thing until morning.

So, all I have to say to this strange creature that seems to have inhabited my husbands body is, "Who are you and what have you done with my husband?!?!"

Jan 20, 2007

Bloglines Issues

So, apparently I've dropped off a lot of people's bloglines. I don't know how this happened, and it's rather frustrating. I do know that when you subscribe to someone's blog on bloglines that you have to choose a feed. I believe my feed is atom. So, maybe if you re-subscribe to me and choose atom feed, that will help. I have no clue. But if I'm not on your bloglines anymore, you probably won't even read this post to know to fix it. *sigh*. How annoying.

Also, there are two blogs hosting awards. Nominations and voting are coming up soon for both. Everyday Mommy is hosting the first ever "Hidden Treasure" blog awards. And One Woman's World is hosting the 2nd annual "Share The Love Awards". Go visit, nominate and vote. Should be fun.

Jan 18, 2007

A Blogger Type Get Together Of Sorts

Mountain Bloggy Fun

So, here's the thing. My Mom and I were discussing the other day. We do that on occasion. Sometimes more successfully than others. But the topic of this discussion was the definite need for a blogger get together. We've met so many people and made so many great friends and we thought it would be oh-so-cool and more than necessary to meet you all....you know, IRL.

Colorado is pretty central, and if you are willing to travel to our part of the country, we will make the arrangements....do all the dirty work....and all you have to do is show up...and, well, pay (i'm not rich, yo). But we need to know if there is any interest.

If you are interested, or if it's something that you can possibly conceive doing in the near future...say the next 3 or 4 months....do this:
  • email me at coffeemama249 at yahoo dot com or
  • leave a comment here
  • give an estimated time/month/week whatever that would work for you.
  • if you feel comfortable doing so, tell me a price range that is acceptable

If enough interested is generated, and I can coordinate a time that works for everyone, then, we'll, we'll get going on figuring out the details. As details emerge, I will keep those interested parties apprised as to what is goin' on.

I think it would be great fun and would thoroughly love meeting all you wonderful peeps.

Celebrity News by Kristen

Alright, I'll admit it. I'm a celebrity gossip junkie. Now that I've admitted it, you can too. It's alright. Come on out of that closet and face the facts. There's something about reading about these "divorce after three months, let a nanny take care of our kids, pretend we're philanthropists" lives that makes me feel great about my own life.

After a series of very serious posts, I've decided to do something a little more fluffy today. I'm going to discuss some of the latest celebrity news that has caught my eye or ear this week.
Jessica Simpson
So, the word is, after months of denial, that Jess and John Mayer are indeed a couple. They were seen heavily making out on New Years Eve by many people.

Browsing through magazines earlier this week while waiting in line at 7-11 I saw a very heartfelt article about Jess on the cover of a tabloid-ish type magazine. Title of the article? "How Jessica Got Thin For Her Man". Awesome Jess. Let's just go right out there and tell all those impressionable teenagers how important it is to get skinny for their men. Cuz that's why a man would fall for a woman right? And for only that reason. Gotta make sure you still fit into those Daisy Dukes, right??

Justin and Cameron

Justin and Cameron broke up. After over three years together. They were seen arguing heatedly at a post Golden Globes party. Supposedly J.T. is now dating Scarlett Johannsen.

Britney Spears

Word is she has a new man, too. Never heard of the guy, but they've been seen hanging around town together. Brit-Brit has also gained between 15-20 lbs since the New Year. She skipped dinner one night at a bar so that she could consume her calories in alcohol instead of food. Now that is logical. Hey Brit--that margarita you're drinking? Probably more calories than a chicken breast.

Personally, I think the break-ups between Cam and J.T. and Brit and K-Fed happened a little conveniently close together. I think the new relationships are a facade....and I give it a year...maybe less...before J.T. and Brit-Brit are once again the pop prince/princess couple.


Trouble in Paradise? That's the word. The honeymoon appears to be over, or so they say. Tom is too controlling of Katie. Uh...ya think? Katie, you used to be Catholic. Now you're a Scientologist. Rather radical change wouldn't you say? Now he's controlling the projects you do, the friends you talk to and where and when you go. I know you used to have pics of Tom on your wall when you were a kid. What girl didn't? But marry the guy? That's a whole 'nother story. Should have taken a clue when Tom was jumping on couches on national TV and when he got fired from his company. Another celebrity marriage fatality? Only time will tell....my guess is a short time.

Lindsay Lohan

Going into Re-hab. It's about time. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, Linds. Hope it works for you.

And thus ends the first edition of Kristen's Celebrity News.

And for kicks...I put a poll in my sidebar related to this post. Vote, and if you would like, leave your comment in the comments section. Happy voting!

Jan 17, 2007

Better Late Than Never....

That's what I always say. I guess I say that. Anyway, remember this post? Where I divulged that nasty habit that I have? That I've had off and on for 11 years now? And then remember when I invited you all to my blog on January 2, 2007 to help me ring in the New Year cigarette free? Well, when I realized that I was not yet quite mentally prepared for that, I deleted that post with the invitation. On January 2nd, I noticed my numbers on Site Meter were pretty high for the day. "Why?", I said to myself. And then, "Oh yeah....they think I'm quitting today. My bad." And then I figured you were probably all mad at me. Big talk, Kristen. Yeah, I know. Never post something like that for all of bloggity-ville to read unless you're truly prepared to follow through. Ugh.

So, here I am. It's January 17th, 2007. I just ran out of cigarettes. I don't have any cash on me. I have an entire day to go through here at work. I have the patch sitting in my desk drawer. I suppose I should, as they say, just bite the bullet. I haven't really mentally prepared myself for this today, but I suppose there's no time like the present; especially since I don't really want to borrow money from anyone to go buy more cigarettes. That's just tacky.

I'm not quite sure how this is going to go. So, here's what I'm going to do:
  • Dig that patch out of my desk drawer
  • Put it on my arm
  • Take lots of deep breaths
  • Think of my childrens' beautiful faces
  • Chew gum
  • Eat munchies
  • Take walks
  • Play a game of Candy Land with my kids if the urge to smoke strikes
  • Think of my childrens' beautiful faces
  • Think of my childrens' beautiful faces
  • Think of my childrens' beautiful faces

And we'll see how it goes. One step at a time. Hey, if I can beat anorexia, surely I can beat this, right? I hope.

So, here goes. Wish me luck. And the patch is on....

Jan 16, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Glamour Shot
Age 20
When I was in Chandler, Arizona

Could I BE more excited?!

Oh, yeah, baby! Those of you who have followed me for a long while will once again have to endure my commentary, moans and groans and "yee-haws" at least once a week. TV life is about to improve for moi....t-minus 6.5 hours. Daddy duty will commence in 6.5 hours....oh, wait....nope. I have praise band practice tonight. It's a two hour special tonight. Looks like I'll be up until at least midnight. Priorities y'know.

A Trip To Where The Healing Began

Hubby and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary on March 15. We've been talking for several months now about what we would like to do to celebrate the momentous occasion. (Short of buying me a new diamond, of course). For our honeymoon and for all subsequent anniversaries, we have gone to a little mountain town about 30 miles west of where we live. We're tired of little mountain town. We love little mountain town, but in March (the off season), everything in little mountain town shuts down by about 8 or 9 p.m. Anniversary #2 was spent in our little room eating licorice....because the grocery store was closed...it was 9:00 p.m.

This event has to be planned quite a ways into the future because, well, while the grandparents love their kids, for some reason they seem to like to have some advance notice when they are going to be keeping our kids for four or five days. Go figure.

Long before the idea was born to write My Story on my blog, hubby and I had been discussing taking a trip out to Arizona to visit this important part of my history. Not only do I think it would be great for him to see where I spent the most important 3 or 4 months of my life, but I'd like to take a walk down memory lane; see if there is anyone there remaining that was there when I was.

Of course, we couldn't go to Arizona without also taking in the Grand Canyon; Lake Powell; other great sights in Arizona. (Also, the thought of escaping this winter waste-land in which I live and being able to wear short sleeves and light jackets is rather appealing.)

So, if all goes well and as planned, we'll be heading to Arizona a little over a month. Looking forward to it with great anticipation.

Jan 15, 2007

Aspiring Beautician She Is

Care Bear got ahold of scissors at Grandma's house Saturday whilst Mommy and Daddy were at praise band practice. Feisty was the victim.

I think she may have been going for the raver look. What do you think?

So, Grandma took her to a more "seasoned" hairstylist. You know, one who's been through an apprenticeship and has the right to take a pair of scissors to the hair.

The front view

The back view.

Please make me feel better and tell me my adorable daughter doesn't look like a boy.

Grandma must have been busy watching Dr. Phil. It's all good Grandma. Just hide the scissors better, eh?

Jan 12, 2007

The Final Chapter

If you missed the first four installments of this series and are interested in reading it, I have added them to my sidebar under the heading "My Story". Also, if you haven't already, please head over to my Mom's blog and read the story from a Mother's point of view.
My stay in the "residential living" facility in Chandler, Arizona was not quite as a positive experience as my stay at the Ranch had been. It was a pilot program and I was among the first five residents. There were a lot of quirks to be worked out and those of us that were staying there fell victim to the quirks. Staff came and went; the therapy sessions were un-organized and not very helpful. The nutritionist left a lot to be desired. We basically kind of just lived there for three months co-existing and doing a whole lot of nothing. I got a job at the photo lab at Wal-Mart since one of the requirements was to either go to school or get a job. Since the program was only supposed to last three months, I didn't see any use in going to school.

I experienced a few difficulties at this facility and before the three months was up, I ended up going home. I hadn't relapsed; I wasn't back into my unhealthy eating habits, but it hadn't ended up being what I really needed. I could have gone home straight after the Ranch and been as in good of shape as I was when I went to Chandler. However, it did afford me a few more months of time before I had to truly get back into the "real world" and test my new found knowledge of myself and my illness. (I must qualify all of this by saying that I'm sure that with 11 years under it's belt that this Residential treatment facility is now flourishing and every bit as wonderful and helpful as the Ranch itself for assisting those just leaving the Ranch.)

By this point in time, I was a healthy 115 pounds. The plan was to head back home for a couple of weeks and then head back to Kansas to go to school again. It was only October by this time, so until the fall semester ended, I would stay with the woman who had given my mom the connection to Remuda Ranch; who I had worked with at the Orthopedic Surgeons Office. I went out there to live with them, rent free, and find a job until school started in the spring.

I got a pretty good job out there working as a customer service representative for a credit card company. I enjoyed the job and it was good to be back in Kansas where my friend and roomate lived. She was now married, and I had found three other girls to room with when school started again in the spring.

However, once again, things on the school front were not to work out for me. I went home that Christmas to be with my family and while I was on the plane on my way home, the woman I lived with called my mom and told her that I wouldn't be able to return and continue living with them. One of her reasons? I left dishes in the sink rather than washing them and putting them away. They were rather OCD. I was devastated and once again felt like a failure. It was only two weeks until the semester was to begin; yet they weren't willing to let me come back for two weeks so I could go to school. I ended up quitting my job and dropping out of school for that semester, once again. Looking back on it now, I'm sure I could have found someone to stay with for those two weeks. Or I could have remained at home for those two weeks and gone back when school started. But I had taken a giant step backwards in my confidence level and felt the need to be back at home; in my familiar surroundings. Having had that blow to my self-esteem and being away from home, I could have easily slipped back into my behaviors. So I came back home. Again. I have never again heard from or spoken to the woman that I lived with and worked with and was so good to me for so long.

I ended up going to the community college for the next couple of semesters and remained at home until January of the following year when I took a giant leap and moved into my own apartment with a roommate in the town north of my parents. I haven't lived at home since.

That was ten years ago. The same month I moved in with my new roommate, I got my job where I currently work. I have not once slipped back into my anorexic behavior. That is not to say that life has been all roses since that time. Hardly. I've had a lot of things I've dealt with since that time; but happily, none of them have caused me to go back. I've had boyfriends; I've had plenty of heart-break. I've had more than one (count them four) bad roommate situations, several more apartments; financial difficulty; a "sowing my wild oats" period of my life where I decided I was tired of being the "good girl" that never did anything wrong. But through it all, I can honestly say that I have never again looked at a fat gram; or a calorie; or counted how many servings of carbs or protein or "optional calories" I've eaten. I can't remember the last time I worked out. My favorite foods are nothing you would consider exactly "healthy". I eat fries; I eat pizza; I eat ice cream; I eat chips; I eat cookies. I eat all the things that I used to consider my "fear foods" without a moments thought. Something changed in my metabolism after I went through this because I still get an occasional glance or look or "concerned question" from people who wonder if I still have that "eating problem". And all I have to say to this is: "Hey. I eat...and I eat what I want. That's all I can do". So to those people who still think I have an eating problem I say, "Phooey on you. I know where I am. And I know I eat fine. You don't believe me? It's your problem". Nothing ticks me off more to this day when people comment about my weight. Leave me alone already!! I'm not what a doctor might consider my "ideal weight". Probably about ten pounds under. But I'm fine. It's been 11.5 years since I left the Ranch.

So, where am I now? I'm 32 years old. I have a husband of almost five years and three beautiful children who I am extremely blessed to have. Not all women who come through an eating disorder are ever able to have children. I live in a nice home in a nice neighborhood. I have a job in which I just celebrated my 10 year anniversary on Monday. I have friends.

My life is by no means perfect. Whose is? But I feel blessed to be where I am today. Blessed to have what I have. Blessed for all the people who got me through this ordeal that now seems light years away. Blessed to have found Remuda Ranch. Blessed to have life. It's been quite a ride thus far.

To end this series, I would like to post an essay or story of sorts that I wrote shortly after returning from Arizona entitled "The Metamorphisis". I posted this almost a year ago when I first started blogging regularly, but thought it would be a good way to end My Story:


Imagine for amoment with me that you are in your backyard. As you wander through the grass, admiring the crisp fall air, the beautiful leaves turning colors of gold and ash and red, you begin to imagine.

The air smells sweet and has a touch of winter to it. You can picture yourself very soon sitting by the fire, popping popcorn and enjoying being with yourl oved ones at Christmas as you share fond memories of holidays past. As you begin to come out of your reverie, your eyes come face to face with a cocoon, balancing itself onone of the leaves of a tree. You admire it, and you revel at the amazement of the transformation that is happening within that little haven.

An unattractive, rejected creature is going through a metamorphosis that will result in one of the most beautiful creatures God has ever created.....a butterfly. It is completely unique to itself, and unlike any other ever created. Its wings consist of almost every color in the rainbow. Its shape allows it to soar over the earth. It is gentle and humble, un-harming, yet able to take care of itself. You smile to yourself, thank God for smal lwonders, and walk back into your house where Mom has prepared a wonderful meal that your whole family will undoubtedly gorge itself on. The cocoon slips out of your mind, to be un-thought of again until you happen to run across another. You are completely unaware of what is happening within the cocoon....

Outside, the wind begins to blow, rocking the fragile leaf that houses the precious creature inside. Inside the cocoon sits the creature, in a precarious state. Will it make it? Or will the stormy weathers outside its safe shell wreak havoc on the process it is undergoing? It shivers. It can see outside, but it's very foggy. It is completely aware of its surroundings, but unable to attach emotion to it. After all, it's between worlds. It's in a shell, unable to love, live, or communicate until that shell is broken. Until it can spread it's wings and fly and show its beauty to the world. But will it get that chance? Not if the cruel world with its stormy weather and unpredictable circumstances have anything to do with it. No, this creature must rely on a greater force. One that can withstand all the trials and tribulations that it must go through to get there. But it's unable to see, and understand. It must rely on trust. It tries to see out, to understand what's going on in the outside world. It wants to relate, to commune with nature and all of God's creatures. But it's stuck. Bound by a greater force. A hard wall that is strong enough to keep it locked in, but not strong enough to keep out the knowledge that the world is out there. With great effort the creature struggles, and eventually gets enough strength up to push. But to no avail. The wall is as solid as a rock. It tries again. Still no luck. With several more efforts, the creature resigns to the fact that it is stuck there, sighs, and leans against the wall of its prison. "Will I ever get out of here?"it wonders. "Will I ever be able to see the world as everyone else sees it?" It feels alone, lost, scared and unsure. It only longs to be like everyone else, like all the other creatures out there that have already completed their METAMORPHISIS. But alas, it must wait. Hoping it lives through all the obstacles it must live through. It's tired of being on the outside looking in. It's tired of being in a body it feels uncomfortable in. It's tired of being trapped, knowing there's better things out there, but they're so far out of reach, and it has no idea how to bring them within reach. It's just tired. Out of place. Alone.

This scenario describes just as I felt while enduring an eating disorder. It may also be the way many others feel while going through many other types of issues. I was trapped. I knew what was happening, but there wasn't a thing I could do about it. I had no way out. I was an outsider looking in, but unable to be a part of the life I was observing. Like the caterpillar hovering in its cocoon, I was trapped in my own private hell. I watched the world around me, enjoying all the beauty, and everyday activities, but I was completely unable to be a participant. I became withdrawn, preventing myself from being hurt by outside forces. I distanced myself from my family and friends, and became a person that I myself didn't even recognize. What was this strange and unfamiliar creature that was living within me; this disease that had overtaken my body? I tried over and over but to no avail, to try to break that wall, free myself of the prison that I had put myself in. I was lonely, tired, out of place and alone. "What is the purpose of this?", I questioned to myself and to God every single day of my life. Why me, God? Why am I going through this hell? No answer that I got ever satisfied me. And I knew I was stuck. The knowledge of what I was doing to myself superseded the fear of getting fat, of losing control and being unable to regain it. I couldn't let that happen. So I continued to harm myself. I was in danger of not completing the METAMORPHISIS that God was trying to achieve. The outside forces of the world that rocked my safe little haven were threatening to win. Would I make it? Luckily, I did. But not without months of in-patient treatment, and the love and support of my family and friends, and most importantly my final resignation to put my faith, trust, and life in the hands of my creator.....the one who would indeed complete that transformation. It's not an easy thing to overcome, in fact, it's the hardest task I've ever had to accomplish in my whole life. But the end result is amazing......

After what seems forever, the creature begins to stir. It had given up the fight, admitted to the fact that it wasn't its fight in the first place, and placed its well-being in the capable hands of it's creator. It was a terribly hard thing to do, but when that stubborn wall refused to break on its own, and when that fog that clouded its vision refused to lift, it decided it had no choice but to wait....and wait....and wait....and trust that that greater force knew what it was doing. Not that the creature didn't work....Oh, no....it worked with all it's might. For, you see, once it put it's faith and trust in its creator, things began to happen. And the work became a mission to become all it could be and free itself of that horrible prison. And eventually it did....it didn't happen all at once, but day by day, the wall became softer, and the fog became thinner, and the terribly strong strings that had bound it began to unravel. And one day,without even realizing it, they were gone. It had been such a slow subtle process, that it didn't even realize that it was at this very moment soaring over the earth, the wind through its wings, with more freedom than it had ever imagined. Beautiful in its own right, because it was unique.

The butterfly never forgot those days that it spent in that cocoon. While it was a trying and difficult time, and it would never want to repeat it, the experience taught it strength, perseverance, character, and the ability to put its total trust and faith in something it couldn't see, touch, or hear. And the result....total METAMORPHISIS.

By Kristen P.
October 1995

Thanks for taking time to read my story. If it has helped, inspired, or encouraged even one person, then I'm happy that I took the time to write it. It's been quite an experience re-living it all, and I thank you for reading it.


Where I Was Then....Remuda Ranch

So, I wasn't planning on having this series be quite so long. I originally had planned for a total of three posts, but I guess I'm a little more long-winded than I realize. I think I should be wrapping it up in the next couple of posts. We'll see. If it's getting just too long....let me know.
I don't remember much at all about the drive to the airport or the flight out to Arizona. I only remember getting to the check-in counter at the airport and being asked by the person checking me in if I needed assistance in the plane from a flight attendant. She thought I was twelve years old. I indignantly informed her that, "No. I do not need assistance. I'm 20 years old!" Needless to say, I think she was quite embarrassed.

When arriving in Arizona, a representative from Remuda Ranch was standing at the gate holding a sign up with my name. The drive from the airport to the ranch was about 1.5 hours. It was a long ride for me. I didn't talk much to my "chauffer" and stared out the window most of the time taking in the sights of this state that I had not visited before. The highway was lined with cactuses. The land was dry. It was more than just a little hot and arid. I wasn't sure quite what to expect from this new adventure I was about to embark on. What I did know was that I was tired of being in the situation I was in. I was tired of being tired; tired of feeling like I was on the outside looking in. Tired of the constant struggle and battle that I was having with myself. Logically, I knew I needed to eat to live, but that struggle within myself and the fear of losing control was still there. The help I had received up to that point from my parents, from my nutritionist and from other people who cared about me, although appreciated, was not quite enough.

Trust was an issue for me at that point. Not trust in that I didn't trust the people that were helping me, but trust that the people who were trying to help me were trying to change me somehow. I was scared to leave this control I had established for myself; even though I knew at this point that the control was gone. But I was so exhausted that I was ready to be helped. I had established a relationship with the admissions counselor who admitted me to the Ranch and I felt safe going there, even though I had never met her in person. Somehow I knew and trusted that where I was going that I was going to be OK there. I felt less scared going there than I did to any college I had attempted up to that point. I know that part of that had to do with the fact that I was going to be taken care of. I had obviously not reached a point in my life where I felt confident enough in myself to be on my own; to be independent; and to feel like an adult who could manage life on her own.

One thing that I have learned throughout my experience and through watching the other people at the Ranch is that in order to really truly successfully beat the Anorexia/Bulimia/eating disordered monster, a person must want the help and be ready to accept it. Without that, truly trying to get someone help for it is useless. Sure, they can go to the hospital and get tubes put in them to force them to physically gain weight. They can go to all the therapists in the world, but until the person is ready for help and realizes that there is a problem, it won't truly be solved. I was ready for the help. I longed for the person I used to be; the happy-go-lucky, not a care in the world young woman I had left behind only two short years before.

When I arrived at the Ranch, I was in awe. The beauty of my surroundings was breath-taking. The Ranch sat on top of a hill in the foothills of a little town called Wickenburg, Arizona. From the highest point, I could look down and see the town and the beauty below me. There was a "main house" that housed the dining room, a large sitting room with a large screen TV and couches, and two or three residents rooms. Outside there was a beautiful porch and sitting area with a swing for relaxing. Below the main house was a housing area that consisted of about 10 rooms for more residents and below that were two small houses; one consisting of four more rooms and another that had two more bedrooms and the art room. There was a boarding house that housed about a dozen horses and a ring for riding the horses. There were two dogs that lived on the Ranch; one whom I remember was named "Ugly" because he was truly, well....ugly.

After I took my tour of the Ranch, I was introduced to my "big sister" Rachelle. Each new resident is given another resident to act as their "big sister" throughout their early days. Rachelle was very outgoing and very kind and made me feel at ease right away. Lucky for me, (tongue in cheek), I arrived just as the residents were getting ready to eat lunch. My first meal was pizza. As a new resident "enjoying" my first meal, I was given lee-way and was not forced to eat it and there were no penalties if I didn't. After that, all bets were off. At meal times, there are about four to a table and the table is monitored by a staff person. You are required to eat everything on your plate in the allotted time (1/2 hour) and if your meal is not completed within that time, then they give you a huge glass of Ensure to drink to suppliement the calores you did not consume with your meal. After meals, bathroom visits were also monitored by a staff person. (for obvious reasons).

There were four levels that you could achieve as a resident. With the graduation to each level, you were granted more priveleges. Very few people ever reached level four. As a new resident, you are automatically on Level 1. This level granted literally no privileges and you were monitored very closely. Level 4 allowed "free-reign" of the Ranch; the ability to walk around with no staff present and a seat at the "family style" table at meals where you were able to serve yourself food. Prior to sitting at the "family style" table your meals (which were custom made to each individuals needs) was sitting on a counter to be picked up as you enter the cafeteria.

My first few days at the Ranch were difficult. I had to complete all sorts of surveys, tests, visits with the staff doctor, psychiatrist and nutritionist. It wasn't until I was there for about three days before I got to get involved in the every day life of the Ranch. I also was not allowed to call my parents.

My feelings the first few days after observing the other residents made me feel like perhaps I didn't belong there. There were others there who were so obviously worse off than I was. I entered the Ranch right at 100 lbs. But there were girls there with feeding tubes up their noses, girls who were literal skeletons and sometimes I felt as I was walking around there being looked at like, "What is she doing here?!" I can honestly say that I was one of the "heavier" girls there. One girl, who ended up being my best friend at the Ranch was a mere 85 lbs. One girl took up to 200 laxatives a day. One girl had already been there for 3 months (the typical stay at the Ranch is six weeks). Some had been suffering with the disorder for the large majority of their lives. I was a "newbie" having only been in it for two years.

I soon became immersed in my life at the Ranch. Activities throughout the day included group therapy sessions, individual therapy, Equine therapy (we got our own horse and got to ride it twice a week; once in the ring, once throughout the hills surrounding the Ranch), Art Therapy, chapel, nutrition, and various others. We got weighed every single morning before breakfast. I began to slowly gain weight.

As time went by, I made some wonderful friends there. These girls were kindred spirits. They were going through the same thing I was and we understood eachother. I felt myself coming alive again. The unconditional love, acceptance and friendship I felt from every person I encountered at the Ranch was un-matched. I started to not care when I saw the numbers going up on the scale. I moved up in the various levels and when I was moved up to level 3, I got elected as "mayor" of the residents. This wasn't a huge responsibility, but a new mayor is elected every two weeks, and I got my turn. I made announcements at meals; I was in charge of finding big sisters for new incoming residents. I became one of the residents that the "new girls" looked up to when they arrived at the Ranch.

By the end of my six weeks at the Ranch, I felt like a new person. I felt loved, accepted, confident and more sure of myself. However, I didn't want to leave. I experienced some of my friends leaving and I was wishing I could just stay at this safe haven forever. But I couldn't. My therapist recommended that I move onto the new "half-way house" program they had started in Chandler, Arizona. This would be an additional 3 month program in which I lived in a neighborhood with several other residents; we continued with therapy programs, a nutritionist and could either get a job or go to school. It seemed like the perfect transition for me...

Part 5 Tomorrow: Beyond Remuda

Jan 11, 2007

Where I Was Then...The Road To Remuda

Before I start this installment, I just wanted to say "thanks" to those for commenting on my "poor me" post just below. I really wasn't trying to sound like I was feeling sorry for myself, although it probably ended up sounding that way. Regardless, thanks for "de-lurking" and for all the nice, re-affirming comments you left. And thanks to Janice at 5 Minutes For Mom for linking to this series and to Diane for letting Janice know about it.
After being given the "OK" by my nutritionist to give college a second shot, we once again packed up my belongings and headed south to Oklahoma. I was filled with fear and trepidation wondering if I would succeed this time, or if I once again would end up coming home with another failed semester under my belt. Yes, I had gained the weight that my nutritionist had required of me; I had spent several months back at home healing and relaxing. But how would I feel once my parents left me again and were hundreds of miles away from me?

I had high hopes for the semester. I had a new roommate; one I had met and become acquainted with in the two weeks I was there before; I had a few friends I had made that were anxious to have me return.

Within about two weeks of being there, I discovered that my new roommate appeared to be using me as a "learning tool" on how to become skinny. She asked me for tips, constantly ate my "safe foods" (I had gotten to the point where I quit obsessively counted the optional calories and would allow myself once in a while to partake in a Snackwells cookie or two without counting the extra clories) and began self-induced vomiting. This obviously was not a healthy environment for me to be in while I was attempting to succeed and become healthy.

I eventually got permission from the school to move out of the dormitories and move in for the remainder of the semester with my grandparents who lived only blocks away from campus. I rarely participated in any of the activities at school and after moving away from campus, found it even more difficult to do so and the motivation to try wasn't there. Although it appeared like I was going to complete the semester, my heart wasn't in it. I began communicating with my life long best friend who was going to the Nazarene College in Olathe, Kansas. I even drove out there by myself for a weekend visit with her and became acquainted with some of her friends and even met a guy. Guys had been the last thing on my mind for quite some time needless to say, so the fact that I felt interest and he seemed to as well made me feel somewhat "alive" again. As well, being with someone who was extremely familiar to me was also a comfort. By the end of my semester, I had decided that I was going to leave my current college and go out to Kansas the following school year to room with my best friend.

I don't recall much about the summer following my freshman year of college, which must be a good thing because it means that I wasn't going through anything terribly memorable. I do know that I continued to see my nutritionist throughout the summer, although with less frequency than I had before.

When the summer was over, and I packed up to go to school in Kansas this time, I had a completely different feeling. It was one of excitement and anticipation. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I would be rooming with someone I knew my whole life. There was familiarity and comfort in that fact for me. She knew me better than anyone else in my life, probably, besides my parents.

We enjoyed a great first semester together. We were inseparable. We went shopping, to Tippins restaurant to eat cornbread and chicken noodle soup; to the St. Louis Bread Factory to eat their bread bowl soup. We loved to go to movies and pick up a bag of Jelly Bellies to eat during the movie. We taped Days Of Our Lives during the day and watched it together in the evening before we retired faithfully every night at 10:00 (we were rather nerdy college students....I mean, who EVER goes to bed at 10:00 pm in college....we did!) One particularly snowy weekend around Christmas, we sat in our beds all day looking at our homey little Christmas decorated room and cross-stitched. I have very great memories of that semester with her.

Over Christmas vacation, my best friend and college roommate got engaged to her long-time boyfriend. The plan was for them to get married in the summer after that school year was over. While I was happy for her, all of a sudden I felt insecure again. This would mean that I would no longer be able to have her as a roommate. While I didn't realize it at the time, my fall back into losing weight and unhealthy eating was due to my uncertainties of the following school year; not having her as my comfort.

Over the course of the 2nd semseter, I began to rapidly lose weight again. I would come home in the evenings from classes and after work and eat half a can of chicken noodle soup. I would save the rest for the next night. I would have a couple of pretzels or animal crackers throughout the day and that was all. I began to rapidly lose weight again. My roommate was unaware of my eating habits because she worked in the evenings at a car dealership. She was, however, noticing the rapid loss of weight. She began asking me what I had for dinner that evening. Sometimes I would tell her I went to the cafeteria, sometimes I would tell her I went out to get something. Other times I would tell the truth. I didn't want to be harassed about how and what I was eating.

Eventually, my employers at the orthopedic surgeons office I worked for began to notice the weight loss as well. Word got back to my parents and they began to research what should be done for me. I don't remember how they found Remuda Ranch , but through their research, they decided this was where I was going to go. I had to go through a lengthy interview process with the admissions staff there; I had to be evaluated by a nutritionist, a doctor and a psychiatrist to determine if Remuda was the right fit for me. And it was. I was set to be a bridesmaid in my roommates wedding on June 10 of that year, and the following Monday, I would be leaving for Arizona and entering into the best thing that ever happened to me....

Part 4: At Remuda Tomorrow

Visit my mom if you are interested in reading this story from a mother's point of view.

Jan 10, 2007

A Little Disheartened

Let me just first say that this in no way is me begging for comments. I don't like it when other people beg for comments, so there is no way I would do it.

I do have to say, though, that for some reason it seems that things I have been writing lately don't seem to be of interest to anyone. The last two days, I have posted something that means a lot to me; it is a part of who I am, it is a difficult journey that I went through and came past. It defines who I am to this day, and I thought it would be a way for people to get to know me better; give more insight to who I am. But it doesn't seem like anyone is really interested in reading it.

Thanks to those that have read it and commented on it. Your comments and kind words mean a lot to me.

Re-living the experience has brought up a lot of memories for me; some good, some not so good. So, before I invest anymore of my time and effort on writing about this, what I want to know is if it's worth it. I'm not asking for people to comment if you really don't want to. But if what I've written has meant anything to you, please let me know. Because I feel like possibly investing any more time on this topic is not worth it.

I'll quit my whining now. I'm really not feeling sorry for myself. I just kind of thought this topic would be of more interest to people.

Thanks for listening.

Oh, and guess what?! I've come into the 21st century and finally have a computer. We're getting our internet hooked up this evening. I can now post from home. Yay for me.

Where I Was Then...Part 2

Part 1 can be read here.

As the summer continued, and the days got closer to packing up and moving hundreds of miles away from the only home I had every known, fear began to set in. At the time, I didn't realize that it was fear. I continued to maintain the illusion of excitement over "flying the coop". Over the course of the summer, I had gone from weighing about 125 lbs (a very healthy weight for someone who is 5 feet 5 inches tall) to weighing around 100 lbs by the end of the summer. My diet consisted of salads with a single tablespoon of fat free Italian dressing (which counted as 5 optional calories) and baby carrots for snack. I would frequent the grocery store almost every day to get a 2 lb bag of baby carrots and munch on those when the need to eat something hit me. After leaving the grocery store, I would go through the Drive-Thru at McDonalds and buy a large Diet Coke. It was the middle of the summer, yet I was cold all of the time. I can specifically remember one instance when I was going to the grocery store where I felt like I was in a daze; I was dressed in very baggy jeans (that two months ago had been too tight) and a sweatshirt and I still felt cold.

My friendships began to suffer. I no longer communicated with any of my friends from high school. Something within me had lost the ability to enjoy life and just be. Every day activities made me nervous and stressed out. I was most comfortable sitting at home watching TV and the clock counting down the hours until the next meal time arrived. Would it be something I could tolerate? Would the meal "calculate" within what I was still allotted for the day? I filled myself up on diet soda because it made me feel "full" yet it wasn't giving me any dreaded calories or fat.

Finally, the time came to pack up and leave for college. I remember one Sunday morning sitting in church with my mom and a feeling of great anxiety and depression overcame me. I wrote my mom a note that said something like, "I have been excited for college for so long. I feel like I should be excited, but I just feel depressed." I couldn't grasp why I was feeling this way. I wanted to be excited so badly. But all I felt was sa black cloud hanging over my head.

The day arrived to leave for school. The drive was about 12 hours. I don't remember much about the drive out there, except for the fact that when you're on the road, there aren't many options for eating except stopping at fast-food restaurants. Suffice it to say, at this point, fast food was not an option for me. Unless I wanted a salad. But the only type of "safe salads" you can get a fast food restaurant are side salads, and even then, they didn't have the right type of dressing.

When I arrived at school, orientation involved all sorts of "getting to know you" activities. I got right in there and put myself out there and made some friends right away. I was bound and determined to make this work for me. My roommate situation wasn't ideal. I spent most of my time I had made with girls from other floors. I got right in there, and did my best to be brave when my parents left me and headed back home.

The cafeteria at school was not fun for me. I stuck to half sandwiches with tiny amounts of meat, or cereal. I wasn't able to use my scales to see how much meat I was eating, or see the calorie count on the bread I was consuming. So rather than risk that I was eating more than I should, I quit going to the cafeteria.

Within about two weeks of arriving at college, I got very ill. I had no energy and I couldn't concentrate. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. My grandmother, who lived just a few blocks from campus took me to the doctor, and after some blood tests it was determined that I had mono. Arrangements were made for my parents to come back and pick me up and take me home immediately. I was torn. I desperately wanted to go home where I felt safe and secure again, but at the same time, I felt like a failure for not being able to do what all of the other 18 year olds were doing; succeeding and having fun at college. I so badly wanted to stay and feel "normal" again. But I had to go home.

My dad came and picked me up. The day I left school was bittersweet. Even if I did get to come back later, would it be the same? Everyone else will have already made friends. I would be behind. Could I come back recovered and still have the great college experience I so longed for?

The remainder of the semester, I spent most of the time laying on the couch at my parent's house. They began the task of nursing me back to health. They got in touch with a well-known nutritionist in our area and I began seeing her once or twice a week. My mom asked me to trust her and let her prepare things for me to eat and trust that she wouldn't give me anything that made me fat. I told her that I would try, but when the first morning I was home she gave me an English muffin with peanut butter and honey on it, I panicked. That was two breads, two proteins, two fats and my entire allottment of optional calories for the day. That one little breakfast contained everything I allowed myself for the day at that point. How was I going to do this?!

It was difficult being back home for me; not only because of the failure I felt I was, but because it was blatantly obvious that my brother was not thrilled at the prospect. He was a junior in high school and I'm fairly confident was happy to be the only child for awhile. Not to mention that my parents were investing so much of their time and effort on me. I sometimes have blamed myself for the path he went down due to my illness.

As fall and winter came, I began to regain some health. My nutritionist told me that if I was able to gain to 110 lbs by the end of the semester, she would feel comfortable allowing me to go back to school second semester. I actually even got a part time job at TCBY after I had recovered from mono. It was in my plans to go back in January. And I did. But there was more difficulty to come....

Part 3 Tomorrow

Jan 9, 2007

Where I Was Then... Part 1

anorexia nervosa [(an-uh-rek-see-uh nur-voh-suh)]
A psychosomatic disorder in which the sufferer refuses to eat
undertakes activities (such as self-induced vomiting) to bring about
extreme weight loss. Anorexia, which is also characterized by a distorted
self-image, occurs most often in young women aged twelve to twenty-one and may
result in death if medical treatment is not obtained. Treatment for anorexia
often includes extensive counseling to reveal underlying emotional problems.
Medicine and Health
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural
Literacy, Third EditionCopyright © 2005 by
Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

The year was 1993. I was a senior in high school. I had thoroughly enjoyed all four years of my high school career. Throughout high school, I had been involved in cheerleading, swimming, band, choir, and the spring musicals. I had great friends, and although I was far from being one of the most popular kids in school (I was one of those who just sort of walked through the halls un-noticed by most people except for my good friends), we had great times together. I was one of the "good kids". I didn't party, didn't break curfew, had friends who were like me in those aspects. The closest thing we ever did to being considered "bad" was toilet papering our crushes lawns and stalking their houses doing drive-bys over and over again to possibly get a glimpse of the poor unsuspecting schmuck. I was a "comfortable" teenager; greatly looking forward to the upcoming adventure I was to embark on the upcoming fall: college. All my life, I had looked forward to college. My cousins and I used to play college together, turning our houses and bedrooms into dorms and dorm rooms. I had visions of what my life would be like at college; on my own, doing my own thing, carving a future out for myself. The pictures in my mind of what college would be like were painted in large part by my mom who had told me many stories of the time that she spent in college; the great friends she made, the things she did, the activities she was involved in.

The plan was to go to the Nazarene college in Bethany, Oklahoma. I had family there, had spent time there in the summers visiting my cousins; and that is where my mom went to college. I was familiar with the town, familiar with the college campus, and because of the time I spent there in the summers with my cousins, I knew a few people. I knew that I was headed for the adventure of a lifetime. And I couldn't wait. The application was submitted, accepted, and dorm arrangements were made. Now all I had to do was wait....

Second semester of my senior year was in full swing. Rehearsals for the spring musical, "The Music Man" were beginning. Chamber Singers (the choir I was in) were performing up to two times a day at various locations. I was working part time after school at KFC. Needless to say, I was a busy senior. And I was enjoying it. I was also dating someone who I worked with at KFC (much to the chagrin of my parents who were less than pleased about it....ironically, I ended up marrying this guys best friend 10 years later....).

As the semester wore on, and summer was fast approaching, I noticed that my Chamber Singers dress was fitting a little more snugly than it had before. The aforementioned boyfriend also once made a comment about me being "squishy" when he was hugging me. This could be attributed to the fact that I worked at KFC and constantly snacked on the less than healthy, albeit very tasty, food that we made there. Regardless of the reason, I wanted to go to college healthy and aware of my food choices so that I would not fall victim to the dreaded "freshman fifteen".

My mom, being a "chronic weight watcher" had all the stuff necessary for me to learn how to eat; not necessarily lose weight, but just learn how to make smart choices where food is concerned. So, I pulled out all of her old Weight Watchers materials and began to use the program. I learned how many carbs were "OK" per day, how many proteins, veggies, fruits and fats....a word I had truly learned to fear and hate. Also allotted were optional calories which came in the form of salad dressing, candy, gum, etc. Yes....optional calories could be used on gum. No longer would I stick a piece of gum without calculating how many of my precious optional calories I was using.

Within the first week, I had lost seven pounds. It wasn't necessarily my intention, but since it had happened, I wasn't disappointed. My chamber singers dress fit well again, and my snug fitting jeans weren't quite so snug.

Week after week, I continued to lose weight. I could no longer go to restaurants without carrying my precious cheat book that showed me how many carbs, proteins, etc....each potential food item contained. If what I wanted to order was not listed, or I couldn't figure it out with certainty, I wouldn't order it. Eating out became a chore rather than a pleasure. Something to fear, rather than enjoy.

Once I hit a certain weight, my mom told me I needed to start using the tools to maintain my weight, not continue losing. But this meant increasing my daily allotment to which I had become so used to, and also (in my mind) meant gaining weight back, rather than maintaining it. It was a risk I was unwilling to take. In fact, the more pressure I got to increase to maintain, the lower I went in my daily portions. It became something I could control that no one else could....what I didn't realize, was that I was losing control...

Part 2 Tomorrow