Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Birthdays, Colds, Getting Slimed, Maintenance and Post-Holiday Food Plans

Been fighting a bad cold while attending and hosting Christmas parties. Nyquil has been my friend. I'm going to try to sleep tonight with out it. I may have to form a support group for those getting off the stuff. I think I'll call it Nyquit.

People keep saying their bands get tighter when they're sick. I believe that, but I don't think its the band getting tighter, its the band filling with phlegm. There's no room for food, and when you pb (puke back) it really triggers the drainage. Gives new meaning to the phrase "getting slimed." Also, your tissue swells. Your nose, your sinuses, your throat--probably your esophagus and stomach too.

I've been doing most of my writing these past few days on lapbandtalk. I post mostly on the I'm here to help thread under Mentors. I've been digging into some of the relative issues that I can't talk about here. Writing is amazingly cathartic. And I know the people on lapbandtalk really read my posts and comment on them and appreciate them. We can let our hair down about almost anything--from passing kidney stones to how we like our veggies cooked (Most of us prefer softer-not crisp).

And there are so many things that can drive us into the food. So many saboteurs to our serenity. One woman hasn't posted for some time and regained 40 lbs. She actually had too tight a band. She couldn't eat the healthy foods like meat and vegetables, so was eating all the sliders--the things with high carb and fat content that slide right through the band. So she had some of her fill removed and she's back on the bandwagon, posting and changing her food plan.

I'm approaching maintenance and will have to walk that thin line between having enough restriction but not so much that all I can eat is sliders. I really love meat, though, so I don't think I could stand not being able to eat that.

Now that the holidays and my birthday are over, I can get back on track with the food. I've given myself leeway to eat a lot of things not on my protocol over the holidays and my birthday, which was today. I've gained and lost the same 2-3 lbs and not more, which is surprising because I couldn't exercise this last week due to a heavy head cold. Did I say it was my birthday today? (I got my excercise today at Kohl's spending gift card money. I have to replace almost my entire wardrobe.)

Had to have some sliders for my birthday today, but no parties planned for NYE so far so I'm pretty safe. Also, not any $ left for going out for eats and treats. Not much left in the house either except meat and veggies. Don't do potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, or pastries unless I'm eating out or at parties, and even then I'm very cautious cause they can make me pb.

My downfall is choc or cr. chz. frosting, chocolate candy, ice cream, choc. malts, and chocolate or chocolate/caramelly cookies, fudge etc. Those are definitely sliders I could live on. So I don't keep them in the house. No more parties, so shouldn't be encountering them much except sometimes at school if someone brings a treat. Then I have a small piece so I won't feel deprived.The band definitely limits my portions on meat and veggies although I can manage to eat quite a bit of them at night.

I do drink a lot of decaf coffee throughout the day but they're about a third 1 % milk so I get at least 2 or 3 cups of milk a day. Drink it with Splenda. Sometimes I mix in a pkg of Diet Hot Chocolate for a treat.As I'm moving to maintenance I'm planning to try to eat more fruit, maybe have some plain Kiefer (like yoghurt only better for you) with some concentrated fruit juice like pomegranite and/or some berries in it with Splenda sprinkled in for breakfast instead of my protein shake on some mornings.

I also like the no sugar added little cups of applesauce for an afternoon snack at school. Or I might start taking a bag of Clementines to work and eating one of those in the afternoon. Trouble is, the kids love those and are always begging me to share with them.I do eat small amounts of lightly roasted and salted (shelled) sunflower seeds throughout the day. I often treat the students to a teaspoon of them at the end of each period if they've worked hard and haven't caused any problems. I tell them its brain food, and it actually is very good food for the brain. Keeps my brain going also.

So, that's my basic food plan. I'm not a hot or cold cereal lover, and have never been a big sandwich eater, so I keep protein shakes and small peel-off tins of 3 oz tuna or chicken at school for lunch.Then mostly meat and some veggies for supper.

This is the closest to a food plan that I get. I don't weigh or measure or count anything. With my ADHD that way lies insanity. This is very simple. I just keep the things I can eat in the house and at school, and keep the rest out of the house.

I discourage my husband from taking home any fast food and he doesn't eat junk food around me anymore. If its in the house, its so well hidden I couldn't find it but I don't go looking either.

We rarely eat out, except for Sunday breakfast after church sometimes, and then I stick to 1/3 of a feta and spinach omelette with a couple pieces of bacon and my husband eats the rest.

I'm 6 lbs from goal and should reach that by the end of January. Then I want to lose 5 more as a cushion but I'm not setting a deadline for that. I'll let that merge into maintenance over a number of months. That's my plan, and with the help of God, the band and all you wonderful people, I'm sticking to it.

I still haven't heard back from the school I want to go to--at least not from the Sp. Ed. Dept chair who would determine what courses I need to take. I'm surprised she hasn't checked her phone messages or e-mail. The Reading Specialist chair got right back to me. So I'm on hold right now for enrolling for this next semester. I'm going to try tomorrow again, but being New Year's Eve day, I doubt I'll have much success. Maybe I can find out when classes start and get ahold of someone who will set up an appointment with the person I need to contact. I hate having to do this once I'm back teaching. I have no time to spend during the day on phone calls and I can't get away to run to the school to enroll.

In some ways I'd really like to go the self-employed route if my job ends at RCS. I could get set up to tutor home-schooled kids who are struggling. I could probably get jobs subbing at all kinds of schools. Not my favorite choice. I have a grandson and a niece who would benefit from my tutoring or helping their mothers home-school them. My neice has seizures that have given her learning disabilities and are making it difficult for her to attend school. My grandson has autism and the school system is resisting giving him an IEP and making accommodations for him.

I really love the tutoring/teaching side of special education and, unfortunately, so many special ed teachers spend the majority of their time testing, filling out forms, sitting in meetings, and writing IEPs on kids. Then they advise the teacher how to meet the needs of the students in the regular classroom (which is seldom very effective). Yuck. But the credentials could get me consulting jobs or jobs presenting and training teachers in various materials, methods and techniques. That, I think, I could do and would enjoy.

School starts Monday and it seems so close already. I didn't get to do all I wanted to get done this Christmas but I cleaned out a lot of clothes and drawers and plan to sort my jewelry into the jewelry chest my husband got me for my birthday.

We also got a Wii for Christmas for each other and we have a gift card we'll use to purchase the Wii Activ. Now we'll have a way for us to exercise at night instead of watching the TV. It'll put more variety in my workout as well.

My husband is also very actively looking for a job in the security guard field and there are lots of openings. That relieves a lot of my anxiety about losing my own job next fall.

Slowly things fall into place. God has a plan and, in the long run, that plan is not to harm but to prosper us.

All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Maintenance Fears

Studies have shown that a subset of people with food addictions have an even harder time losing weight and maintaining than other food addicts. After testing, it was determined that these people have ADHD and use food to self-medicate their ADHD. The ADHD also prevents them from doing things like counting pts., calories, protein, carbs or any system out there. They have trouble keeping track of things on paper, or on Blackberries or any other device or system.

They are also much more likely to give in to impulses because the part of the brain that governs impulses is actually less active than in people without ADHD. In fact, brain imaging shows that the harder ADHD people try to focus on something they find difficult to do, the less active that part of the brain becomes.

It's like being a perpetual teenager where possible long term consequences aren't important enough to inhibit short term behavior. We use food to quell our restlessness, give us an outlet for our energy (biting, chewing, swallowing), and to enable us to sit still and concentrate. We have trouble maintaining anything longterm. ADHD is closely tied to almost all addictions, and makes recovery very difficult from any addiction. If you haven't experienced it, its hard to describe it.

I will tell you that my husband has absolutely no doubts about my ADHD. He used to get up and get me chocolate just to settle me down and get me to sit.

However, ADHD people can go into hyper-focus with something that really interests them and can complete a major project in a short period of time. Just like I've lost most of the weight in a short period of time. However, once a project is completed they lose interest and go on to the next thing.

Entrepreneurs are frequently ADHD. Once they've established their company, they need to turn it over to others to manage it or they'll destroy what they've created. That's like me and maintenance. Goal achieved, interest gone.

ADHD people are creative and spontaneous. Those are our gifts. But most of us are not cabable of following even a relatively rigid routine. I know that I have to do some of the work. But I need the band to be pretty tight to check those impulses very quickly. I know better than to think that I can do it myself. Right now, I pb with one or two small bites of dense protein. Especially if I've had no sliders all day long except liquids. But after five minutes I can go ahead and eat a 6-8 oz filet mignon as long as I eat small bites slowly and chew well. I could then keep eating all night long anything I want as long as I eat slowly and chew well.

Right now I'm choosing to stop eating. But that's because I have that short-term goal in mind. Once I reach it, I'll lose that hyper-focus.

Also, my band has loosened as I've lost weight, and 5-7 lbs tends to loosen the band enough so that I need another fill. Since I want to lose more than that in order to build in a cushion, I'm pretty sure I'll need another fill both to get there and then to help me maintain. Even with another fill, I don't expect it to be easy.

I could be wrong. I hope I am. But most people don't outgrow ADHD. They learn to cope with it and to find compensating techniques. Well, my major compensating technique has been food. I'm trying to figure out how to deal with the ADHD without food.

Going back to school will be a major test of that. I don't know how to study without food. I don't know how to get through research without food. I don't even want to think about writing papers and doing footnotes and bibliographies without food.

Initially, I'm hoping that it will be interesting and challenging enough to hold my attention. The school may also have help available for people with an identified learning disability. Don't know if they do at a master's level, however.

I'm also looking into a support group for ADHD. I've got the spiritual support. I've got the lap-bandtalk support. I use my blog and lapbandtalk to supply emotional support and to deal with my issues. I've got a strong 12-step background.

The hardest part is the ADHD combined with the addiction center of my brain. I may end up on medication for the ADHD. I will do that before I'll let the food take over my life and my health again.

Meanwhile, the high protein low carb food protocol I'm on is actually recommended for ADHD. But I've successfully done this protocol before and eventually the ADHD has always overpowered it. But I've never had the band before and I'm praying a tight band will make the difference.

Meanwhile, I continue to work on changing my thoughts in order to change my brain in order to change my life. I need to believe that, with God's help, this band will provide me with the appropriate tool to permanantly change my eating habits.

I also need to continue to work on getting my own life and getting what I want from my life and relationships whether others concur or not. I've got to accept people for who they are and where they're at but not let that impede me from doing what I need to do to take care of myself. That, too, is changing those old codependant thoughts that have furrowed such a deep rut in my brain that I'll probably be working on changing them for the rest of my life.

It would be really nice if God let me know very clearly whether or not I should go back to school to get my masters. But it seems he wants me to do the footwork of investigating schools and thinking about the long-term consequences of getting the degree or not getting the degree.

Just like he chose not to remove the food addiction but cleared the way for me to have lapband surgery, I have to go through the process. Just like he hasn't gifted my husband with a job but is making him go through training and job-hunting in the security field. Just like he's not letting me know till next summer whether I'll have a job next year or not, so I've got to prepare just in case I don't.

I have to believe that, with God's help, I can change my life. I can have these epiphanies, these paradigm shifts. And, like anything worthwhile, I'm going to have to work for it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life

Watched a youtube video by Dr. Daniel Amen on changing your thoughts, changing your brain, changing your life.The latest brain research shows that if you deliberately work on changing your thought patterns (you may need counseling and, at least initially, medication to jumpstart the process), you can create new neural pathways in your brain that will supercede the negative thinking ones and will help you change your life.

Your mind is, literally, in a rut. Changing your thought patterns (what some call a paradigm shift) gets you out of the rut.
That's why during a conversion experience (coming to believe in a power greater than yourself, especially one who loves you unconditionally and, for me, one who cared enough about me to become an insignificant baby born in the humblest of mangers, one who's been through everything I've experienced and can walk through it with me) people are able to make significant changes in their lives.

We all have mini-conversions and epiphanies throughout our lives. I think, for most of us, getting the band was a way to jumpstart getting out of the rut our brains have been in regarding food. I truly believe most of us were born with something different in our brains that made us prone to this particular addiction or rut. Life experiences deepened the rut until it became almost impossible to act differently when it came to food.

Thank God for the inspiration and creativity he puts in mankind that allowed for the invention of the LAP-BAND®. Now, when my mind says "Eat more!" the band interrupts that thought and says, "You can't!" Eventually, my brain will say, "I won't!" Down the road, over time, as the rut gets filled in and smoothed out by new paths, my brain will tell me less and less often, "Eat more!"

The 12 steps also work on helping to foster this paradigm shift in our brains. That's why its almost the only successful treatment for recovering from addictions. It creates that conversion experience or paradigm shift in the first three steps which have been summarized as: "I can't. He can. I'll let him." It's a system for cleaning out your old thoughts (stinkin' thinking) and behaviors and, with the help of God and other recovering people, replacing them with healthy thoughts and behaviors.

The Bible told us how to do that 2000 years ago. LOL.

Phillipians 4:8. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mixed Feelings About Christmas

Going through a divorce and changing churches and remarrying and moving really messed me and my kids all up on family holiday traditions. Haven't been able to really get anything consistant going.

I also changed jobs along with the other changes--more than once, so building friendships has been very difficult. Thus, I have few non-family parties to go to.

My husband is also a loner for the most part so haven't been able to build couple's friendships either. One friend from church left the church suddenly. Another is now working 70 hr weeks and I believe I offended her so she ignores any overtures.

I'm also in a very wierd way caught between the black world and the white world. Hanging around black people so much at work and somewhat at church has made me no longer fit the white world very well, yet I'm not fully trusted and accepted in the black one either.

Being ADHD also can get in the way of friendships. I can be too frank and impulsive in what I say and too self-revealing. Scares people away.

I used to have a lot of friends in Alanon and we did fun things together, too. But when I remarried, my new DH didn't drink and making meetings became less of a necessity.I was also in a singles group where I was developing friends and that's where I met my DH which then took me out of the singles scene.

All the things that have gone wrong with my house, as well as having DS and DDIL and baby living in my house before that really put the kabosh on entertaining, though I was part of two church community groups in a row, both of which eventually fell apart. I did have them meet at my house sometimes.

Wierdly, the work I've done on myself in Alanon and in counseling and in reading tons of self-help books, as well as the work I've done bridging the gap between black and white, and the fact that I'm a much more independant thinking and behaving woman than most church women have all combined to make me not really fit in any group and to make it hard to find issues in common with other women. I can get by superficially but I haven't made deep friendships for a long time.

I tend to avoid really needy women because they bring out my own codependency issues and I get angry at them finally for not doing what they need to do to improve their lives. Other women are so busy rescuing the needy women that they have no time for relatively healthy friendships. They let these people suck up all their time and energy. I see so much of that in women in my church.

Also, so many events revolve around food and I think I've avoided those situations in order to keep from weighing even more than I eventually did.

I'm also uncomfortable in big group social settings--and that includes family ones. I invariably stick my foot in my mouth and end up over-eating to medicate my nerves and shut my mouth. When I was a kid I would take a book and read at family events. If kids wanted to play outside or run around inside and play actively, then I participated and had a good time.

I still will frequently find a relatively quiet place and talk to the one or two people who stop by, but I often wish I'd brought a book. So many people have nothing interesting to look at or read in their houses. Or they put it all away to straighten up the house for visitors.

At my daughter's on Christmas Day there is only one room for all the adults to be in, and it'll be crowded. I think I'll play with the kids except for when we're all together opening presents.

Christmas Eve won't be so bad. My sister-in-law's house has a room or two I can wander off to and get away from the crowd for a while. They'll also have booze, and booze, sad to say, does help. However, I never have more than two drinks. I really don't like the feeling of being even the least inebriated.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about the holidays. We were so ultra-religious growing up that we spent a lot of that time in church. Christmas Eve and Christmas morning services. New Year's Eve and New Year's morning. Nobody drank at all but there was always food at family functions which occurred after church, mostly with my mom's family.

We didn't really believe in Santa, but we opened presents on Christmas Eve.So I look forward to but I also dread the holidays. I allow myself more freedom to medicate with food at parties and try to not eat the days before and after. I'm sure I'm not the only one with mixed feelings.

So I'm writing about it to acknowledge and hopefully deal with these issues at this time of year. But I mostly am concentrating on the good things.

Abe Lincoln said, "Most people are as happy as they want to be."

This holiday I'm trying to concentrate on the good things, the noble things, the pure things, the lovely things. There's a lot of brain research that shows if you want to change your life, you have to change your brain. To change your brain and create new ways of thinking you have to deliberately work on changing your thoughts. The Bible got that right 2000 years ago.

Phillipians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Curmudgeons, Stress, and Food

I must be getting to be a regular curmudgeon. There is nothing on TV worth watching, or, if there is, its so buried in the 500+ cable choices I can't find it. My husband keeps recording the wierdest movies on the off chance one of them might actually be good. If they're "good" in the artistic sense, they're usually depressing.

I just can't sustain interest in them. I'm going to have to buy some books or go out every day so I'm not bored out of my mind this whole vacation.

I go on Lapband Talk and Facebook, but I've hidden so many people on Facebook and I never play games on there anymore. Facebook is becoming really boring, too. I still enjoy Lapband talk most of the time.

Christmas is tough. I so look forward to vacation but then I'm bored most of the days. I just want to get out of the house. I'll get some projects done, go see grandchildren, attend a few parties, and wish I had friends and money so I could actually go out and do more. Activities that don't involve food (and are cheap) are few and far between.

Working really makes it hard to have friends. Being a little wierd makes it even harder. The ADHD really interferes with friendship. I can't seem to not put my foot in my mouth. It's like I put the ADHD right out there in front and challenge people to like me anyway. Mostly I just scare them.

I just looked at the courses required to get my masters in reading or even an endorsement in reading. They look horrible. It would take several years to finish it, by which time I'll be 60.

RCS, where I work, is in deep do-do with the IRS due to several years of not paying their employee's social security taxes because they just didn't have the money to pay it. Bad decision. Didn't let people know the financial trouble the school was in. Now, despite the school being very well run by a new administration, and arrangements being made to pay back the IRS, RCS assets have been frozen. Certain funding came in and other funds were quickly raised to keep the school running and the teacher's checks from bouncing, but who knows what will happen next school year, or even second semester.

I know I could teach rings around a lot of teachers with masters degrees, but that degree makes me more hirable in my field. But I really don't want to go back to school. At all, ever again. I'm about ready to forget going back to school after looking at the courses I'd need to take. Maybe I'll do what my husband did and get security guard training. That's an area you can always get a job. Joke. For me anyway. Annie get your gun. For him, though, he can get a better class job maybe working a high rise or becoming a dispatcher, which you still need the security guard training and private detective license. He's about as intimidating as Barney Fife, but for a lot of these jobs you don't need to be intimidating at all. He can supplement social security income or work full-time if things get tough and we need benefits.

The Lord is going to have to provide. I'm giving up. It is just not worth it to get a masters. I'm going to try meeting with the school, but I don't need to be taking on student loans either. God has always made a way for me where there was no way. I'm going to have to trust him.

I had a good food day today--after two days of relative pigging out (not anywhere near like without the band). My stress level has been at its highest in a long time. And food is everywhere. I'm surrounded by all my favorite pig out food.

Some things I can't talk about on my blog, like family difficulties--because some relatives read this blog or talk to others about it. I hesitate to even talk about Roseland's difficulties. But these have been high stress points in my life right now. My financial situation, the problems with my house, these I can talk about. Myself, my ADHD,and my own psychological and personal issues I can talk about. But going "nekkid" about my family is another thing.

I've been able to write about those things on LapbandTalk where anything that could make us eat is fair game. But its been a long time since I had a good personal friend with whom it was safe to talk about anything and who also knows how to have fun. When I was in Alanon I had those kind of friends. When I was part of a singles group I also found some women with whom I became quite close. We, of course, had a major interest in common-in the first case, having been married to or impacted by a relative's drinking-in the second case having gone through divorce and now cautiously putting our feet in the water in the dating scene.

Now, I resort to the internet to find people with the same interest (the lapband and dealing with food) as me. I write in my blog to deal with many of my issues. But I really miss having a friend. Or two. Or three. I have work friends. But we don't socialize outside of work. At least I don't. We don't live close. We're all busy. Some of the young teachers have formed friendships, but most of them leave after a few years. It's also been difficult to make friends at church for various reasons--which again, I can't talk about on this blog.

So I can be surrounded by people and yet feel very alone. It could be that I'm really a loner. I've been thinking about that lately. I seem very social but am I? I'm very nervous in social settings and take refuge in food. I do well around just one or two people. So I'm not a loner, I just prefer more in-depth conversations where you actually get to know people. I just don't have much opportunity for that.

So, this is me being a curmudgeon. Exasperated by the current limits on my life, stressed by the personal, financial, family, and job related problems, and I can't even find a TV show to hold my interest.

But choir sounded good today. We sang twice. My husband now has the training to get a decent job. I'm still getting lots of compliments on my weight loss.

So God is good, even to curmudgeons. And he loves ADHD semi-loners who don't want to go back to school. He holds me in the palm of his hand. He's my Daddy. My Abba, Father. And he has plans for me.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Ate a wonderful dinner at a Hibachi steakhouse. Ate slowly. Drank with the meal to help it slide through. Didn't feel pain. Drove home. Ow!

It just let up now. Delayed reaction? I wish my band had let me know sooner. I really need to get one more fill because I can eat too much at night. I mostly don't but I can. I was waiting because I didn't want problems with pbing over Christmas, and figured I'd really need the fill for maintenance stage which is only 8 lbs away.

As I lose the last eight lbs over this month and next the fat pad will shrink and I'll really need the fill. I found out my Dr. moved to California. Never did get to make a 3-month check up with him. He never did my fills. Now I know why.

I never got called back by the university I contacted to finish getting my M.A. I need to get ahold of a university that will work with me on getting my master's in reading. Unfortunately, I work when their offices work. I've got about 20 hours post-grad and tons of experience that ought to count for something.

I'm off next week but I supect the people I need to talk to will be off too. I wanted to start next semester but that might be asking too much of myself. I hate this stuff. So many forms, so many phone calls. All the stuff at which I'm no good.

However, those simple initials behind my name will give me more options if RCS goes under or the vendor hired to handle NCLB for Chicago Public Schools chooses not to hire me to work there.

I'm doing so well at my job. The weight loss has given me unbelievable energy. Now that its hard to walk outside I've been waking up early and going in to work where I walk the stairways (47 to the top floor), hallways, and around the gym. Got in 45 minutes this morning.

I'll need to go in early tomorrow to make up for tonight's dinner with colleagues. Also, I didn't eat much Monday, although I was at another party on Sunday night. Right now I'm kind of hoping to just lose a few lbs this month and not worry too much if I don't lose much else. January is another month.

Even though I'm working longer hours I have smaller classes and I feel like I'm at the top of my game teaching. I have built such good relationships with the kids. I have one good sized 7th grader who is frequently seized with intestinal issues just before lunch time. I always tell him, "Don't fall in."

Once he replied, "Don't worry, I know how to swim."

I once started laughing when I looked at one of my eighth graders who'd decided to shave stripes in his eyebrows. He'd been bragging to one of the other boys that "the chicks dig it." So I looked at him, started laughing, and said, "Chaka, I just can't take you seriously with those eyebrows." It was the first time I'd ever seen him speechless, while the other boys fell on the floor laughing. One of them came and gave me a hug after class and I understand it was the topic of lunch conversation that day. Nobody'll ever forget the day Mrs. Flory finally gave Chaka a dose of his own medicine.

My three eighth grade boys try to find more time to come to see me before they have a math test. One will show up before school. They'll eat lunch with me so I can go through stuff with them.

I have so much fun with these kids. To have to leave them would break my heart. I went to hear them play band or sing in choir at the Christmas program last Thursday. They'd been asking and asking me if I was going to come see them and hear them. I skipped my own church choir practice to do it. They were so proud of themselves. Amazingly, even the beginning band wasn't bad.

And I ended up having to get up in front at the last minute and help lead the audience in Christmas songs while the band members were changing into choir outfits and getting ready to sing. Didn't expect that. Had kids coming up to me and telling me how well I'd done. The whole thing was impromptu but fun.

God is good all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

As A Woman Thinks, So She Is

I got a shock when my husband took my picture today. I wanted a new picture for Facebook and for Lapbandtalk. I thought I'd look pretty good because I'm 10 lbs from goal and I'm exercising like a demon. I forgot the power of age and the fact that photos add 10 lbs as does camera angle and lighting.

I looked top heavy. With all my excercise my waist still does not curve in significantly and my upper tummy still is rounded. I can hide the sagging but flatter lower tummy but not the upper tummy. My hips seemed narrow, my thighs skinny, but my boobs, on the other hand, seemed huge. When I was younger I always wanted big boobs. Well, be careful what you wish for. I have been this weight before, but I have never been this shape. I used to be pear shaped. Now I think I'm what they used to call pigeon-breasted.

So now I have to adjust my attitude. I was, I admit, somewhat dismayed. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. I really do look a lot better and I feel fantastic compared to before. I'll never be young and svelte again. And that's OK. Every time I lost weight in the past it was never good enough and I never felt perfect. Bad body image can sabotage weight loss and maintenance so quickly. You'd think that by the ripe old age of 58 (the 30th of this month) I'd be past the whole body image and beauty thing. My husband certainly doesn't seem to notice or care.

Part of the confidence with which women carry themselves is based on their sense of body image and the way men look at them and treat them. Even more important, I think sometimes, is the way other women look at them. Most heterosexual males don't really care about the details as long as the main parts are present and available. Look at Prince Charles and Camilla vs. Diana. Look at today's headlines about Tiger Woods and check out the skanky looking mistress he had.

We think if we're physically perfect our mates will remain attracted to us and will adore us. Doesn't happen. And we learn not to rely on the opinions of our mates. We look to other women and their comments on how we dress and ornament ourselves and to compliment us as we lose weight. Sometimes we get more of our confidence or lack thereof from the other women in our lives.

Why can't I get my confidence from being a great teacher, a loving grandparent, a caring person, a beloved child of God? In fact, why do I focus on myself so much or even at all?

The fact is, I'm always going to see the world from my own perspective and experience. That's also how I'll express it to others. I am important to myself. I don't think I'll ever not care about how I look or think that my opinions aren't valuable.

So, I'll have to keep working on attitude and on changing my thinking. I'm a positive thinker most of the time. I have to look at the reality of my age and of what fat has done to my body and accept and love my body the way it is. I'll never knock Hugh Jackson off his feet but I do sense men looking my way.

The trick is to love myself yet in humility to consider others better than myself and to keep a servant's heart. I had a little lesson in humility when I saw my pictures today.

I'm finding that to keep the focus off myself it helps to keep myself open to all the incredible beauty around me. I'm still basking in the beauty of the Tennessee mountains. Last night my husband was flipping channels between Celtic Women-Songs from the Heart and So You Think You Can Dance. Some of the voices and some of the dances were so overwhelmingly lovely, they gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes.

I stay away from people who are ranters. I never listen to the political pundits for example. I listen to candidates, but never those whose ranting, hating voices fill the air waves as they pour out vitriol and hazardous waste. I don't care what side they're on. They create ugliness as they twist facts to suit their purposes and try to prove themselves superior through insults and smears. I don't need that kind of ugliness in my life or the anger it raises in me.

I notice, but do not dwell on the horrors that occur in our world. Yes, four police officers were shot. Yes, 30,000 more troops are being sent to Afghanistan. Yes, there was a massacre at Fort Hood by a crazy man. And yes, children and young people are slaughtering each other on the streets of Chicago.

But I thank God for the beauty in this world; for laughter and children's smiles and beautiful voices and haunting performances and incredible scenery and a Father's perfect love.

Phillipians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving, Tennessee, Teaching

Thanksgiving was wonderful. Went ahead and ate some extra but walked the hills of Tennessee and came out even. I love Tennessee. Even in November. Saw snow up close on the mountaintops, came down to pleasant weather. Walking was a workout but what a way to go. Gorgeous stars at night, mist on the lake in the morning, sunset glow behind Bay's Mountain. That's what I'm talkin' about.

Saw my sister and her husband. He's very ill and I wanted to spend time with him. Got to talk to my sister. I'm not a phone person so that was great. We also went to Ashville and got to see a lot of arts and crafts, but did most of my shopping at Mast General Store where they have everything. Got almost all my Christmas shopping done there.

This was a major holiday, normally an absolute stuffed to the gills holiday. I did eat stuffing (my favorite) but I was not stuffed. I enjoyed my food and all the leftovers over the weekend. The band definitely helped me walk away. I had to watch the quantities of slider food. But taking lots of walks and not just sitting around my sister's house helped a lot.

I really became aware once more of how much I need to move and be busy. With the weather going to be getting worse around here I know I won't be able to walk outside as frequently and some weeks (months?) not at all. Plus the walking doesn't work the same muscles as climbing all those hills in Tennessee and that definitely upped my workout. So I'm going to get to school early most mornings and do the stairs there for half an hour. Did that this morning. Didn't even break a sweat. Sixty lbs ago I'd have been covered in sweat after one or two rounds.

I'm also doing a hundred ab crunches on our ab cruncher my husband picked up at a garage sale. Don't really feel that either. My cardiovascular system has to be vastly improved.

I am having such a good year at work. My groups are all manageable, and remarkably well-behaved. They're making great strides in learning that I can almost touch. I have fewer kids whom I see more often in many cases allowing me to really tackle remediating their weak areas while strengthening their strengths. I'm better at using Love & Logic to manage classroom behavior. I'm getting better and better at teaching, period.

I love teaching. I feel so good when I'm teaching. I can't wait to get to my job in the morning. Seeing these kids faces when the light of comprehension dawns, watching them decide to take learning seriously, the enthusiasm for the novels they read and the new math techniques they learn just inspire me. The kids can't wait to get to my classroom. Even the 6th-8th graders are buckling down in ways that are amazing me.

I think there's been a sea change at the school. We lost many students when we cracked down on those not paying tuition, but the kids we're left with are coming from families determined to make the most of the dollars they're spending. I think its making a difference. Now we need to attract more of those families and students. With the Lord's help, I think we will.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Am Not Lazy

I think about my motivation to work. ADHD makes a lot of things difficult for me. Organization and focusing issues, procrastination, needing the pressure of urgency, a deadline, a self-imposed goal and time-line to get things done. I've been accused of being lazy. Maybe I am. But its more a matter of there being a great need for something to be done to keep me focused and on task.

One of the reasons I'm afraid of reaching my weight goal is that the urgency that keeps me on task with my food will be gone. Whenever, I have trouble getting at things that overwhelm me (like cleaning and organizing closets and getting rid of old clothes), I remind myself that I am not lazy. I am ADHD. I work very hard at Roseland Christian School, going well beyond what I'm paid or expected to do.

I love my job. I love teaching. I love the school I teach at. I put in very full hours teaching. On Tuesdays, I have no breaks. My assistant is there and that helps, but its a long day. I have kids in my room before and after school. They love to be in my room. They love to learn. They're safe at our school and they are loved and they know it.

Three blocks from our school a young man was beaten to death with a 2 by 4. Footage made it to TV sets around the world. I always feel a sense of urgency to reach these kids and give them the tools to not be seduced by the street culture that destroys so many of these young lives.

Pray that Roseland Christian School will make it. Finances are precarious. Most people with money just don't see the importance of our work. I'd love to see us expand and keep tuition cheap enough that more children could come here. Places like this are the hope for these urban areas. We make a difference where it counts, one child at a time.

Thank God for what you've got. In some ways this is like a war zone. A third world country. Inside the USA.

Pray that I'll be able to keep working here. I've built relationships with these kids over the years I've had them. The relationships are a huge part of why I'm so effective. For them, I will work my a$$ off.

Not just for myself, not just for my grandchildren, but for this job and this school, I want to keep the weight off. I have so much more energy for the children. I think I actually have more patience because I'm not so wiped out.

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Food, Fat, Focus, Falls, Finances, and Floods

Lost 2 more lbs. I'm at 178 lbs, 11 lbs from goal. I just bought a few tops that are size large. I'm aftraid by the time I reach goal they may be too loose. I bought a pair of jeans that are low cut in a size 12. They fit my butt and thighs really nice but now they're a little loose. I'm hoping they all shrink in the wash. I'm going to end up having to buy more clothes if they don't shrink. I'm going to pick up some pants my sister-in-law sent me that are size 14's. She lost weight and most pants that fit me now are 14's. The size 12 jeans only fit because they're so low cut and all the walking has really trimmed my butt and thighs

Its somewhat disconcerting to see my change in shape. I don't mean the weight loss. I mean that since the last time I was thin, my shape has changed. The combination of having had a hysterectomy and age makes you thicken at the waist and more weight goes on the upper abdomen. Makes getting pants that fit and flatter difficult.

I've started doing crunches on an abcruncher my husband picked up at a garage sale. We'll see if that helps reshape me a little. I did a hundred crunchesthis morning.

I'm still scared about maintenance. It's getting closer everyday. I've lost so many times in the past but could never maintain. It's the loss of focus once I reach goal that's part of the problem. This is a disease that will never leave me. It will never leave me alone. I'm really praying that the band will make the difference between this time and all the other times I've lost weight.

I feel so good and have so much energy. I'm really afraid of injury, especially injury from falling. In the past, injury has really sabotaged my maintenance. Herniated discs have been a major contributor. Severe unrelenting pain, the inability to move freely, bad neck, bad back, bad knees, bad shoulders, all these things have sabotaged me in the past. As I get back in shape I have to be very careful not to injure myself. But if I do, I now have a band to tide me over through physical recovery and keep me from comforting myself and medicating my pain with food.

My basement is not smelling nearly as much and that is a mood lifter for me. Repairing the damage after all the flooding has been almost beyond my ability to comprehend. Now that the drain tiles are in, I think the walls may be drying out for the first time in a long time. My husband is preparing the basement so he can spray it to kill the remaining mold on all surfaces. Then I'm going to get an electrician in to take all the extra BX that was put in and organize it into straight bundles that run along the main beam and then branch out to the light fixtures.

Once all the electric and waterpipes are secure and neat we can spray paint the rafters of the basement and all the pipes will be painted and will be less visible. After that we'll tackle the floor. It will need some scraping and perhaps some fresh concrete in certain areas. Then we'll spray paint that. Hopefully, by next summer we can put up insulation behind the wooden framework we left up and drywall over that. We need a new toilet and shower and sink and cabinets (not to mention walls) in the bathroom, and then we'll be in business.

I also hope to put in a new roof and fix its leak in the spring. My husband is going for training as a security guard and already has an offer of employment at a factory. If I still have a job next fall that is, then the extra money will help us get this place where I'll either be a lot happier living here, or I'll sell it and downsize.

Those are my plans and I can at least see an end to my house problems. There are also car problems as both our cars are aging and neither one of us is good with cars. We are very easily ripped off by mechanics. Just had a $300 repair on a car and I really needed new glasses. My insurance for glasses is very poor and I absolutely need progressives so with the eye exam, that was another $500. It never ends.

Thank God my husband has stepped up to the plate. The past 5 years his employment has been spotty and low-paying until he finally went on social security at 62. Don't let anyone tell you there's no age discrimination in this country. Security jobs are available to older men and pay $12-18/hr. He can supplement his social security or go full time for benefits if by next fall I have no job.

I am so aware that unforseen events can completely sabotage all these plans and that God may have a different idea in mind, but it helps me psychologically to have a plan and to see an end to this particular set of troubles. Looking that far ahead is difficult, but keeping in mind that, with God's help, we can get through these financial difficulties, is what sustains me.

Meanwhile I keep working on remaining content, knowing that I can do (or get through) all things through him that strengthens me--food, falls, finances, and floods.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Focus and Food

I'm sick of Facebook, Mafia Wars, Farmtown, e-mail, etc. They were great for a long time because they kept me busy instead of eating. But they've lost their ability to hold my attention. All my creative energy and attention are going into my teaching. I come home and I want to do something fun, but there's nothing fun to do.

TV shows can start out interesting but eventually I lose interest. The characters start behaving so foolishly and sabotaging themselves so badly I can't deep watching. I lose interest. The plots become thinner. They follow the same basic pattern each time. It would be interesting to see House figure out what's wrong with someone right away, but then I guess there'd be no suspense.

The undermining power of ADHD when it comes to sustaining attention to something I'm really interested in or devoted to or need to stick with is unbelievable. I'm struggling to keep posting because I can't focus on it anymore. But I also want to stay focused not just on continuing to lose, but on maintenance, and it scares me that, once again, as in my past, I'll lose my focus and I won't be able to maintain.

I am down to 180. My 16 pants and XL shirts are getting pretty loose on me. I actually purchased a size 12 pair of jeans that fit me. I've got 13 lbs to goal. The weight is dropping slower. Sometimes I can feel my band limiting me and sometimes I can't.On the other hand I'm walking for an hour almost every day and I figure I'm covering at least 3 miles, closer to 4.

Tonight I had some Long John Silver's fish and chicken. Removed most of the breading. Didn't taste too good without it and I pb'd a little. Wasn't much meat left under the breading. I was quickly hungry later. I hate it when the food I eat doesn't satisfy me physically or tastefully. I hate to waste the little I eat on unsatisfying food.

I've been posting on FB almost every day the things I'm thankful for. I think its helping with my food. Its the idea of a gratitude list. Where your focus is, there your mind and body will follow. I'm also learning choir music and listening to that to and from work. I'm singing every other Sunday and so have wonderful songs going through my head day and night. (I wake up with music going through my head and it keeps playing through my head throughout the day.

I'm going to my sister's for Thanksgiving. She lives in Tennessee. Even in November it's beautiful around her house. All the hills and vistas. Her home is also beautiful and very peaceful. I'm actually not going to be with any family other than hers. I think I've only ever been to her house once without my kids or my parents or even more extended family.

I'm trying to start to fill my life with things that make me feel good. I actually am taking a personal day to travel to Tennessee. I've joined a new community group at church that I'm finding quite stimulating. I'm working extra time at work because I really do love teaching kids.

There are so many things I'm not good at. But I am good at teaching kids. I go into a different zone when I'm teaching. I'm focused, hyperfocused really, on getting into that child's brain and getting them to understand and remember what I'm trying to teach them. When I'm teaching I don't think about food.

That tells me whenever I'm focused on a task I love, when I'm doing things that take care of me and make me happy, my cravings go way down. Walking as soon as I get home from work makes me feel good. And the endorphins it releases tend to help me get through the night without overeating or craving.

If I go back to school next semester that will also give me brain stimulation. I've always loved listening to really good professors. I like the give and take of the classroom. I hate reading textbooks. I'm not sure I have the eyes or the focus for that anymore. I don't mind writing papers but I hate research, bibliographies and footnotes, though I've been told you can find programs on the internet that will put them together for you. I'm great at original thinking but I hate cobbling together other people's research to support what I'm saying. I read about studies, I don't read studies. If you've ever struggled through a research study you'll know what I'm talking about. Most boring reading in the world.

As usual, procrastination is keeping me from exploring and enrolling for next semester. I have all kinds of trouble actually believing I might not be teaching at Roseland next year. I'm so good at what I do. My room is set up so perfectly. I work so well with my assistant. She does everything I hate doing and am not good at. I'm left free to do what I do so well. Teach. I've built a relationship over time with so many of my students. It's part of what makes me so effective with them.

Everytime a child "gets" it, I feel so good. That usually only happens over time. And I've had years of time with most of these kids. I really love my job. The thought of losing it makes me even more aware of how much I love it. Yes it can be stressful, but its good stress. There are always challenges that trigger my creativity and when I'm creative, I focus and I'm happy. And that helps me not eat.

Lord, Roseland needs you, I need you, I need my students, they need me. Please work it out. But if there's another plan you have for me, make me ready. Give me a clue. Use my gifts, and my weaknesses to do your will.


Monday, November 9, 2009

A Meaningful Life

I like Mondays. I look forward to going to work. I am a problem solver and these kids and this school have many problems. I love my kids. Also, my personal motto is from Micah 6 and says, "Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God."

Roseland Christian School allows me to practice justice (equal education for students who wouldn't get it in the public schools and historically haven't ever gotten it), love mercy (everytime a student needs encouragement or a boundary enforced and then relationship restored), and I couldn't do this job without God. Anyone who lacks humility will not survive in this place.

I have had to look at myself--my hidden prejudices, my reactions and behaviors, my way of handling children, my anger, my need to be in control, my need to be liked, the way I raised my own children. So much I've had to work on. I've had to work on emotional consistency even when I want to tear a child's head off. I'm not always successful at not being cranky and crabby, but most days I am.

I've immersed myself in Love & Logic, an incredibly effective set of disciplinary principles and practical set of suggestions. As a result, when a child does something I immediately pause and hear in my head, "No anger, lectures, threats, or warnings." Initially, I used a lot of Love & Logic one-liners like "I like you too much to argue."

Eventually I came up with my own lines, often incorporating my own sense of humor. The impression I try to give is that I can handle anything they throw at me with ease. I try to be that charismatic adult in their life who can inspire them to become more than they ever thought they could be, to overcome barriers and difficulties they thought were insurmountable.

I feel free to be myself with these kids probably more than I am with adults.

I've learned a lot teaching. I learned I am a glass half full kind of person. I'm also an every crisis is an opportunity kind of person. When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade, etc. The fact is, life is hard. When you accept that and don't whine about it, it gets a lot better. Doesn't mean we shouldn't vent once in a while. Doesn't mean we don't despair at times. But even in my toughest times, I was always aware that joy from the Lord lay just under the surface. Weeping may last for a day, but joy comes in the morning. (Ecclesiastes)

That joy bubbles up when I teach. It bubbles up even more without the weight on me. My spirits become almost irrepressible and the kids sense it and respond.

One of my favorite old hymns is: When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, "It is well, it is well with my soul."

Christianity is not about pie in the sky when you die bye and bye. We have a God who cared enough about us to become human. A God who has gone through and experienced everything we've gone through. A God who experienced such a horrifying death that he sweated blood anticipating that death.

This God walks with us through everything that life throws at us. He is the source of my joy, of my growth, of my goals, of the peace that attends my way. Living with Him eternally is a bonus. It's for this life that I need Him.

A song that I wrote last spring goes like this (based on Phillipians 4)

I could've been a superstar
but that wouldn't take me very far
I am content.
I could've had a mansion
and worn the latest fashion
but I am content.
I am content
no matter what the circumstance.
I am content
no matter what my lot.
I know what it means
to live in want or have plenty.
I know the meaning of being content...
Is I can do all thingsthrough Him who strengthens me.
Yes, I can do all things
through Him who strengthens me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My grandson, Josh, is doing a little better today. Still in pain and very cranky. I just hope he hasn't given himself the start of some major neck problems.

I had a good food day and walked very briskly for an hour again. I lost my Halloween weight but I've been struggling with that 2 or 3 lbs for awhile. I found it really hard to get back on my food protocol this time. I had a lot of sugar and chocolate for a few days--less than in the past but it still probably whacked out my insulin because the cravings have been bad.

In addition people are hinting that my weight is now about just right for my build and age. I'm 183 lbs., 5'9", 57 yrs old. I'm looking really good. I feel great. I've upped the intensity of my walkout. Can't believe how fast I can walk now and how much ground I can cover.

My Dr. suggested 170 lbs as my goal. I settled on 167 lbs because that's exactly 70 lbs. off. It's very tempting to stop losing now. I'm thin enough to look good in my clothes and I'll never look good without them so I'm suddenly not sure I want to keep losing weight. However, every lb. off is more weight off my back and hips and knees and feet.

I still struggle with arthritis. I have to sit a long time after a walk and I never stop really hurting. It's better and I'm moving much more freely, but I'd like to be even free-er. Hanging upside down on my inversion table helps.

I miss the sun. I can see the sunlight from m window during the day but by the time I leave the school the sun is gone. I'm still able to walk outside but I'm not looking forward to moving indoors. My treadmill is in my stinky basement and walking round and round a track at the community center doesn't offer much of a view. Being outside exercising helps me so much with both depression and ADHD which helps me deal with the food. Indoor exercise is just not the same.

Ah well. I'll survive.

I've lost this much weight before but I've always gained it back. Eventually, the thought of trying to lose weight, only to face the prospect of gaining it all back was so discouraging I didn't even want to try. I'm getting close to the maintenance point. I'd like to make it a sticking point. In the past I didn't have the band as a tool. Now I do.

The part of my brain that's missing when it comes to knowing when to stop eating now has the assistance of my band.

Thank God for my band. Eating triggers my addiction, yet I have to eat to live. For whatever reason, God has chosen not to take away this thorn in the flesh. But he has allowed me to acquire a tool in my battle.

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mixed Bag

Came home from school and walked for over an hour today in the twilight. Had a good food day after a very Halloween chocolate weekend. But then I looked at Facebook and found my grandson Joshua had fallen on his head from a bunk bed and was in significant pain with his head and neck though the CT scans show nothing. He won't move his neck. I hope my daughter gets him to a specialist tomorrow. I don't trust small local rural hospitals. Josh would not lie still for the CT scans or the x-rays so something could have been missed. I love that little booger and he loves his grandma.

Please pray for him.

I'm seeing some great progress from some of my kids at work. I've also been able to increase the number of contacts with the kids so my program will hopefully bring in more funds. Next year is still very much up in the air as far as my employment is concerned. I've been working with the promotions committee to try to bring in more funds and more students. I'm just praying that these things will work out. People need to open their hearts and their pocketbooks.

Three or four city blocks from the school a young man was killed a few weeks ago. You may have seen it on the news. It made national headlines and Obama sent representatives to the high school the young man and his attackers attended. He was killed with a two by four. Meanwhile the children attending our school were safe inside in our afterschool program. I believe Roseland Christian School saves lives.

God uses us to give these kids hope and a future.

Please pray for my future and for the future of RCS and its students.

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans not to harm you but to give you hope and a future."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

October--Tricks and Treats

Halloween. Tricks and treats.
My daughter had a party for a few couples before they and their kids all went trick or treating. My husband and I also attended. I came early to take my grandson David to his indoor soccer game first. David has just turned 5 and just still makes this age group for soccer. He stands a head taller than everyone else. Hysterical. David kicking the ball the wrong way. David, laying down and refusing to get up. David wanting to leave to get a drink of water in the middle of the game--which I could tell by his cheeks he really needed. David refusing to leave the floor when it was his turn to sit out. David looking everywhere but at the ball. David pushing the other kids.

David is mildly autistic and I'm sure most parents had no idea why this big tall kid was being such a pain. I had to walk out onto the floor several times to say to him quietly that he might not get to go trick or treating. Last year my daughter had the coaches permission to stay on the floor with him all the time.

He needs the exposure to these situations and the exercise is good for him, but you could just see the processing delays on verbal instructions. Poor kid.

However, when he got home his friends came over and then he got to be a police officer while his little brother was according to David, "Octopus Prime" (aka Optimus Prime from Transformers) and go trick or treating.

He handled being with his friends and trick or treating just fine. But the number of people and the noise level and activity of the soccer game were too much for him.

His "Octopus" Prime reminded me of a kindergartner I heard singing at school Friday (to the tune of Michael Jackson's Thriller) "Gorilla! Gorilla night!" Picture Gorillas dancing like the zombies in the video.

I have to admit I ate several small chocolate candy bars at my daughter's. She had a lot of slider appetizers and I ate some of that without putting it on crackers or tortilla chips and didn't pig out. But I couldn't resist the chocolate bars. I haven't had chocolate bars in months.

I'm glad Halloween is over. Next big temptation--Thanksgiving. I have several weeks to recover from October, which contained a 125th Anniversary celebration for Roseland Christian School where I teach, a 40th high school reunion, my college's 50th anniversary celebration at Navy Pier in downtown Chicago, 2 two-day conferences, 2 retreats, David's 5th birthday party at Chucky Cheese, and Halloween. I'm happy and consider it somewhat of a miracle to have lost 4 lbs this past month.

My fill seems to work well to limit all foods except slider foods. So hopefully November will be mostly slider free.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Things That Make Me Feel Good.

It was supposed to be 65 and sunny today. I was so looking forward to coming home and walking outside. Well, the sun never showed up and it never quite reached 65. I came home and got dressed for my walk, walked out the door and was met with a steady drizzle. This has been an incredibly wet autumn. So I changed coats, put on a hat, and went walking anyway. It was still light enough to see the golden colors of the remaining leaves. But I would have loved to have seen them lit by the sun. I think I do have a little more restriction. Which is good because I'm really craving food. Especially carbs.

Ahh Vicodin. Used after surgeries and for all types of pain. Kept me up all night in addition to constipating me. Puts some people to sleep. Me, it kept awake. Made my heart race. Hated it. Don't understand how people get addicted to it.

Love Miralax. Its my friend. Veggies and salads have never helped with my constipation. Took tons of fiber. Worked, but gave me gas. Course, so does the band. Or the Miralax. Or the protein shakes. Or the Kashi bar. Or all the protein. After the band I made up a new saying, "Feel free to fart frequently."

Lot of Dr.s telling people to take Vitamin D. Sometimes put them on megadoses to get their levels up. But some people don't feel well on the megadoses. You know, I take over the counter Vitamin D with no side effects. No megadoses. I probably get about 2-4000 IU per day. I'm increasing it because of the lack of sunshine this fall. I think its really helped with my Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I need to share a tidbit about the cerebellum and exercise. It used to be thought that the cerebellum, at the bottom back of your brain, only controlled movement. Now it is known that it is the source of sequencing which is the basis of logic, higher level thinking skills and math. When you excercise you burn neural pathways that increase your sequencing skills, thereby making you smarter. A school whose students ran for half an hour before school every morning not only saw obesity almost eliminated, they saw dramatic increases in test scores.

So, get moving ladies. Maybe we should make all politicians, business leaders, insurance CEOs, and pundits go out and run every morning. They could use some logic skills.

I also read yesterday that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise increases one's sense of well-being for up to 12 hours. I walked over an hour today. In the rain. And I felt good.

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Retreats, Conferences, and Food

Been in recovery this week from a retreat last Wednesday from which I drove a couple hours to a hotel for a 2 night stay while attending the Christian Educators Association convention. When done I drove to another overnight retreat for my church. This time I stayed in my sister's cottage on the grounds where the retreat was held. That was great because the previous 2 nights I'd been in a hotel room with 2 other women. We had a great time, but 3 women and one bathroom and sharing a bed with someone not my husband does not lend itself to great sleep. I tried using a roll-away. Made every joint hurt.

So I basically retreated into myself after the first session and slept like a log all by myself in a very comfortable bed. Had a washroom to myself. Those who slept in the dorm complained of extreme heat.

I actually did not gain on the retreat. I lost 1 lb and another one the day after I got back. I didn't eat perfectly. Had some treats. But I must have really limited my amounts, so I survived quite well.

I was really not looking forward to all the sectionals and main speakers, but everything I attended was very good. Don't remember much but it was all good. Some of its coming back to me.

I attended a sectional about the brain-friendly classroom. One of the most interesting things to me was the importance of the cerebellum. It used to be thought that the cerebellum only coordinated movement. But its been found that it controls sequencing which is the basis for logic, math, and all higher level thinking skills.

A study was done where all the students at a school ran before school and charted their physical progress with blood pressure, heart rate, mileage and all that. At the end of the year only one child remained obese. But amazingly, test scores soared. Excercise stimulates the cerebellum, stimulating sequencing skills.

I also read today that excercising for a half an hour creates psychological benefits for up to 12 hours.

I wish I could excercise in the morning. There's just not enough time. I think it would help me concentrate more throughout the day.

Without my food to medicate my ADHD, I really could use the exercise to help with focus and concentration throughout the day.

I do exercise at night but I feel really unfocused lately during the day.

17 lbs to go.

I look pretty much within the normal range for my age now, but I'm hoping these last lbs will come off my stomach. I'll have a BMI of 25 which is what I'm supposed to have. My blood sugar was 101 on my last test, down from 126. I'd like it around 90. Then I know I won't have to worry about it anymore.

I'm on lapbandtalk with a lot of women who are single and working or who are married and stay at home. Its not that they don't work but they sure seem to have time to post a lot more than me.

I think I really need to finish my masters. If my job doesn't make it to next year, it'll give me more options. Not just in teaching but it will also give me as possible consultant or presenter for some of the educational programs I believe in. Or it would give me the credentials to start my own tutoring business.

Whatever I do I'd have to make up for losing health insurance. That's the down side. Sure hope the government comes up with a plan soon. What we have now is so unjust and government should be about promoting justice. Not insuring us themselves necessarily, but making insurance companies provide equal coverage without penalties for pre-existings and keeping premiums reasonable both for individuals and businesses and for the unemployed and unemployable.

If it weren't for Jesus telling me not to worry about what I will eat, or what I will wear, or any of those things, I might be going crazy. At least I'll be going into my future much more healthy, the Lord willing.

So, I am content, no matter what my circumstance.
I am content, no matter what my lot.
I know what it means to live in want or have plenty.
I know the meaning of being content
Is I can do all things, through him who strengthens me.
Yes. I can do all things. Through him who strengthens me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Taking a Break, Getting Back on Track.

Catch up post. I'm going to be gone for four days at 2 retreats as well as 2 days of conferences. I was at conferences 2 days last week and I've already been at one long meeting after school this week.

My food was off last week but I'm getting it back on track. Almost a month of gray skies, cold weather and off and on rain do not help me cope with food. I still managed to get out and excercise but it was hard. I made it through to my reunions and the 125th anniversary celebration for Roseland Christian School at the weight I wanted to reach, but then it was like I needed a break. If I can get back on track, that will make a change from past periods of weight loss.

Also trying to velcro my butt to the seat at those conferences was really hard, too. Food usually helps me do that. Candy all over, difficult meals to deal with, Halloween candy at home.

However, I'm getting some extraordinary compliments. Fifty pounds off and long hair flipped up in a new style had my stepdaughter, one of my pastors, and some co-workers telling me I looked incredible. My stepdaughter kept repeating, "You're beautiful. Just Beautiful."

Good incentive to get back on track with the food.

Conferences, Retreats, ADHD, and Food

Sun broke out when I got home tonight and its warmer so I had a nice walk. But I'm aching. I really prefer walking in the morning, I don't hurt nearly as much as I do when I walk after work. Gotta do my laundry. Didn't get to it last night and I need it for my retreat tomorrow, my conferences Thurs. and Fri., and my retreat Friday night and Saturday.Aargh.

Sleeping in hotels, sitting through long presentations. I'm going to have to velcro my butt to the seat to get thru some of this. I get a fill next Tues. I can really tell I need one again. I can eat dense meats in much larger quantities and no trouble eating anything else except bread.

I need more clothes but am in between a 16 and a 14. Don't want to spend till I'm down.
Shopping--I'm a Kohls and thrift store shopper. I know Kohls well and they've always got deals going. I don't like thrift store shopping but I can afford it. I pretty much dislike shopping. I also hate manicures and purses. I never get my hair done. I cut and style it myself. I dislike shopping for Christmas, too. Shopping overwhelms me. Online seems like an unbelievable hassle to me. Everytime I've ever ordered something from a catelog I've ended up returning it. That's more work than I care to do.

I buy one practical leather purse, as small as I can get away with, and use it till it falls apart. I only wear the most comfortable shoes, stuff like sketchers. I've never been fond of heels, pointed toes, or boots (unless they're for walking thru snow).

I think it has a lot to do with ADHD. I have no patience for shopping, or watching a hairdresser butcher my hair while I'm stuck in a seat, or not doing anything for hours while waiting for a manicure that will only be good for a day to dry. Forget pedicures. Not relaxing. Make me unbelievably tense. I feel totally trapped with all those things. Feeling trapped makes me want to eat.

I am also no domestic goddess. I avoid crafts like the plague. My closets overflow. I seldom cook, or entertain, or clean. I crave being outdoors. Teaching is a great occupation for me because I don't have to sit still and I'm constantly changing what I'm doing. Food helps me sit and get through stuff. It quite literally drugs me.

I've got 4 days of sitting ahead of me and I've got to try to do it without food. My band is no longer providing much restriction. So this will not be easy--4 days of sitting. I'd actually rather be teaching.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Celebration! Fun Without Fighting Fat and Food!

Went to 125th Anniversary celebration of Roseland Christian School yesterday. Sang in the gospel choir and led the congregation in a song as an alto in a women's trio. Great speaker, great music. The 5th grade girls did a praise dance that was beautiful.

I had to wear a black bottom and bright top for the choir. I wore form fitting low rise charcoal pants and a form fitting sweet-heart necked top. I couldn't believe it fit and I looked good. I had to wear an old strapless bra I never thought I'd fit in again.

Then I went straight to my 40th class reunion. Fun in a different sort of way. However, hardly anybody I ever hung out with was there. I was not exactly Miss Popularity back in high school. However, three people I'm friends with on Facebook (though I never hung out with them in high school) did come up and mention how much they enjoy my blog. One of them is having LAP-BAND®® himself in December. His wife had a band which had to be removed and now she has a sleeve. She looked great. Like me, it was only 70 lbs but it was killing her emotionally as well as physically.

I did my 2 protein shakes and nothing else so that I could eat normally at the banquet. By which I do not mean I ate the way I used to. But I ate some of everything served that I liked and went ahead and drank punch, water, and coffee while I ate, took tiny bites, and thoroughly enjoyed my food. No weight gain this morning so I must have done well. However, I will walk again today (once it warms up, brrrr) and will really watch my food as well.

I'm going to tell the Dr. on my next fill that I want it filled to point where the food squeaks on its way through. I have no desire to ever go back to the old me.

Celebration! What fun when you're not fighting fat and food!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Taking the Good with the Bad

I spent a lot of time this week feeling somewhat depressed. That's the bad news. The good news is I didn't eat. In fact I'm down to a 50 lb. weight loss. Twenty to go.

I still have some restriction, as long as I follow the food protocol. I have my protein shake in the morning, usually 3oz of tuna or chicken for lunch, and various meats and a veggie for supper. I have a Kashie bar (choc. and cherry) for a snack at night. Sometimes I have applesauce and/or a small V8 for an afternoon snack. If there's a treat at school I take a small portion.

I seem to have a special event almost every weekend and I eat 2 protein shakes that day and go ahead and eat everything at the event. I just don't pig out.

I'm walking as much as the weather permits. I'm going to have to clean off the treadmill which currently is full of cement and other dust down in our stripped to bare bones, newly drain-tiled basement. I can't say I'm looking forword to walking on it when the weather gets even worse, but it's cheap excercise.

The depression was caused by news about the financial condition of Roseland Christian School. The other teachers are depressed over the expansion of their responsibilities in order to help the school financially. The school board is depressed because previous boards allowed the mess to happen and now they have to clean it up.

I think its doable and I'm working with the promotions committee to bring in the financial support we need. The school does great work with the kids. Seven or eight blocks from the school a young man was recently beaten to death, which made a change from all the children shot to death, and therefore made the news all over the world. RCS gives kids a safe environment, an excellent education, and a Christian foundation that gives them hope and stability and a good chance to make a better life for themselves that doesn't involve violence.

I have kids who've shown me scars of bullet wounds they received as young children in drivebys. I have students who have fathers shot dead or in prison. I have students who were born crack addicted.

I have students whose parents are dead because of poverty--poor access to timely health care.

I have students whose instincts and brain development have been geared to survival, and not to academics.

I work hard to make my room a safe, loving, nurturing environment, where students can make progress academically, discover their strengths, and begin to visualize a future that goes beyond mere survival.

So do the other teachers at Roseland.

Pray for us, support us.

Tomorrow we have our final celebration of our 125th year. It's a worship service at a church near Roseland. I'm singing in the gospel choir and in a trio.

Then I'm going to my 40th high school reunion at a Christian high school a half hour's journey from where I teach. It will be like traveling from one country to another. I expect to experience culture shock walking back into my all Dutch highly traditional conservative roots.

I walk between two worlds, each with their strengths and weaknesses, not really belonging to either one of them. This makes it very difficult to form deep, lasting friendships.

This is partly caused by my ADHD, as I let slip things better left unsaid, or I avoid deep friendship in order to avoid saying things that might be hurtful or misinterpreted. I've always had to fight recurring bouts of foot-in-mouth disease.

But I will open my mouth and fight for my kids, my Roseland kids. I love them fiercely. During the time I have them, they become my kids. I pour myself into teaching them, guiding them, seeking to improve the school environment and the academic skills and materials available to all the teachers teaching them, and to use my writing and storytelling skills to help bring in fianancial support.

I don't have a whole lot of time for much else besides seeing my own chidren and grandchildren. Singing in the church choir spiritually sustains me. My husband and I try to do some fun things together that don't cost much on weekends.

But Roseland Christian School has become my cause, my passion. Please pray that I will still find myself working there next year and in the years to come.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I danced for an hour and a half last night and barely sat down! I didn't get winded either. I'm sore but my joints held together, my muscles had no problems, and I breathed easily. I'm 2 lbs away from a 50 lb weight loss. I've got 22 lbs to go. I'm amazed at how much the weight loss has already accomplished.

Last night was great. I attended the 50th anniversary of Trinity Christian College held in the Grand Ballroom of Navy Pier in downtown Chicago--one of my favorite places in Chicago.

I wore the designer winter pantsuit I got married in 10 years ago come February. Let's call it vintage. The suitcoat is very uniquely styled, very clean, modern, elegant, shoulder pads, nipped in at the waist, draped long over the hips, wide leg pants, and its a dusty pale rose or pink. Stood out like a sore thumb in a room of mostly black-clad middle-aged and elderly women. Lacy, subdued print, boxy jackets, or shawls, over black or dark dresses. Most of the college age girls wore shortened length, halter top, shiny, former(maybe) bridesmaids dresses in dark greens and golds and purples.

But I felt great in my suit. I looked great in my suit. I sang in a combo alumni and student choir, I ate delicious food (for which I'd prepared by having only 2 protein shakes that day), I greeted a lot of people I hadn't seen for a while, I saw a great 10 minute fireworks display shivering outside on the pier in the unseasonably cold weather, and danced my heart out with my huband.

This coming Saturday I'll be attending my 40th high school reunion. I don't think anyone I actually hung out with will be there but I'm going anyway. Can't say I really fit in in high school among any of the groups. So it should be interesting. I can't believe its been 40 years. I was only 17 years old, one of the youngest in my class. I was just coming into my own as a senior, but I really blossomed in college at Trinity. Being a little different was an asset. My off-beat way of looking at things gave me a perspective the professors appreciated. I was in top physical shape, my hair was down to my waist (like Cher who was big at the time). I performed in plays, enjoyed intramural sports, stayed up late in the dorm, went home weekends with my laundry, which my mother (bless her heart) did.

Various boys were definitely showing an interest in me but my former husband had kind of cut me out of the crowd before I ever got to Trinity. We were not exclusive but he had a tendancy to be hanging around when other boys took me to informal events on campus. I had dated a little in high school when I became a lifeguard during the summers. Public school boys appreciated me a whole lot more than the boys from my own Christian high school.

But I never did get much chance to experience the whole teenage dating thing. After my divorce, when I started going to a Christian "Helpmates" singles group, I had some of that experience but in my late 40's. I had a blast having men hanging around me and dancing with all of them. I had lost weight after the divorce and my hysterectomy and was looking quite good. In fact, I was down to my current goal weight. Then, once again, I got cut out of the crowd by my current husband, whom I met on the dance floor.

Onc thing about being free from men. I seemed to better be able to ignore food and have fun and stay in shape. Something about being tied down, even willingly, by another human being--and I think that includes my children, is not healthy for me. I stop taking care of myself when I start taking care of others. I am mildly claustrophobic. I need physical space where I live. I love being outdoors walking where I want. I love dancing where I can physically release and shed all confinement. I suspect this is related to my ADHD.

I work in a culture very different from the one I was raised in. I feel much more free to be myself there than when I'm with the more rigid, highly conservative, tradition based Dutch Christian community I was raised in. I attend a church that's multi-cultural that's much less rigid in its worship as well as its preaching and general attitude. I feel like I can breathe there.

Sometimes I think I encased myself in fat in order to help me remain and survive in confining situations. It will be interesting to see how I do without the fat. My personality tends to leak out more strongly and I'm less likely to keep my opinions to myself. I get a little more boisterous and make people laugh but also step on more toes.

Hopefully, maturity will take the place of fat in giving me judgement. I want the freedom to be myself but I don't want trouble either. I'll make mistakes, say the wrong thing, apologize and hope people don't hold grudges and give me the benefit of the doubt, since my intentions are never to hurt anyone.

I think it was Abe Lincoln who said that most people are as happy as they want to be. I'm choosing happiness. Being myself makes me happy. Not letting other's ideas of who I should be dictate my behavior and cause me to eat makes me happy. I want to dance inside even when I can't dance outside.

Bit by bit, I'm becoming more and more the person God meant me to be. Somedays more than others. I'm planning on having a good time at my reunion, just like I had at the Trinity event last night. I'm planning on being me, dancing on the inside.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I am really tied down teaching this year. By which I mean I have to stay in my seat period after period working intensively with some very needy kids who can't be left to work independantly. Many of my groups are smaller, but I only have an assistant two days a week, so I'm having to take the iron bladder option the other three days.

This is where the limits of the NCLB program for my school become more obvious. I am supposed to be a supplemental program for reading and math, remedial not special ed. But many of my kids are probably special ed level though Chicago Public Schools would do their best to make sure they get no services. One child I have is actually from a special ed setting but was getting bullied in his school so the mother sent him to us, knowing we can't provide him with the intensive services he qualifies for, but also knowing that he won't make that much progress anyway. He's functioning at a first grade level though age-wise he's a fifth grader. I see him every chance I can get, but he's usually with a fairly large group of kids which makes the one on one teaching he needs impossible.

I have a number of students who test below the 10th percentile, meaning they need intense remediation and close to one on one teaching. Especially since several are in the first and second grades and are not yet reading, they have to sound out almost every word of every work page out loud to me. Incredibly time consuming. Having two of these children together totally ties me down.

My older groups have students who are also really low. It's hard to get to them and give them the extra time they need. I have one break period everyday except Tuesday but I'm working with kids before school and after school. So its straight sit-down-next-to-the-child teaching from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m.

Since I see these kids year after year I do see progress over time. In fact, the average increase in test scores over the years I see the children is @15%.

A number of the fourth graders I see are making great progress. Several have graduated from the reading program and are coming only for math. They are eager beavers and a pleasure to work with. They have sweet natures and are very loving. They absolutely love me and love to come to my classroom. All the fourth grade girls I see are in after school care and I made my after school class out of this group of girls. I figured they'd be the easiest and most rewarding group I could teach when I'm starting to run out of teaching gas. I was right.

It is dfficult to come home and not eat a lot and get my excercise, too. I'm getting home later, I'm really hungry by then and mentally tired. Writing in this blog is becoming more difficult.

Plus my son and his 3 year old have been coming over almost every night to shower and bathe respectively since their bathroom has been dismantled. I can't ignore my granddaughter. So the blog is taking a back seat for a while. I am still doing well with the food, though I can't exercise as much as during the summer.

I've also got a few conventions to go to and a couple of reunions.

Life is busy. Life is difficult. Life is good.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

47 Lbs Down, 23 to Go

My body has changed so much since the last time I weighed this much. I've totally lost my butt and now have the typical Dutch flat wide back end of a bus hind end.I also had a fat abdomen but not a tummy. Now I've got 2 rolls and the bigger one is on top My waist is thicker, my hips are thinner and so are my thighs. If it fits my waist it bags on my butt and thighs. So what suits me is not currently in the stores. LOL. But I still look better in clothes than before, and want more of them.

A week ago I went shopping. I'm in between an XL and an L. Neither looked right. The mirrors and lighting in the fitting rooms are absolutely unforgiving. My body's fat distribution has changed so much from the last time I lost weight. My upper stomach sticks out more than my abdomen, but the abdomen has the hanging skin. My thighs are thinner but unbelievably flabby and flappy. My legs are full of varicose veins. My butt has become the typical Dutch butt--wide and flat like the back end of a bus. Once upon a time my figure was hourglass. That was depressing. I left the store and didn't buy anything.

Makes me want plastic surgery but I'll never be able to afford it. And I'm scared of the pain. Sounds worse than my knee surgeries, neck surgery, and my hysterectomy combined..Gettin' old is a real bitch.

My hysterectomy 10 years ago is partially responsible for the redistribution of my weight. Pregnancies, nursing, age and weight loss have warped the rest.

I went back a few days later. Bought some XLs and hope they shrink a little when I wash them so they'll fit a while. Today I used my cash back bucks to buy a really great pair of pants. My guess is nobody my age except the very rich looks very good without their clothes. I feel like I'm starting to look good in my clothes. That's a good thing.

My goal is to reach goal by my birthday, Dec. 30. Forty-seven lbs. down, 23 to go.

In my quest to remain thin and fight my food addiction I used and did a lot of things.

Weight Watchers
Jenny Craig
Thyroid with an unknown appetite suppressant
Overeaters Anonymous
exercising like a maniac
a religious group (lasted 2 meetings, too many rules, too much talk about gluttony, figured Jesus would not have attended either)
various supplements which I believe had extreme amounts of caffeine and who knows what in them.

I've lived 57 years. I don't even remember all the things I did and tried.

But I'm looking much better. 47 lbs off, 23 to go. Whoo hoo! Not there yet. This is the weight I was at the end of my pregnancies.

But my health is so much better. No more blood pressure meds or supplements. No more reflux meds since the Dr. fixed my hiatal hernia when he put in the lapband. I'm thinking soon no more cholesterol meds.

I've discovered Miralax and am no longer eating fiber like a madwoman to counteract the constipation I've suffered since a baby.

I walk 2-3 mi/day at least 5 days a week. Its the only exercise I can really do. Walk outside as much as possible to enjoy the view, fresh air and the sunshine when available. I do have a treadmill I picked up at a garage sale for $35 that I use when the weather gets bad. I can also go to the community center and walk for free on their walking track.

I have a lot more energy, which I need to keep up with the kids I teach and my grandkids. I have some issues, but with the help of the band, they're not driving me into the food.

God is good, all the time,
All the time, God is good.

And I can do all things, through him who strengthens me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trimming the Fat

Well, what can I say. I'm back at work full blast. I see kids before school and a large number of kids after school in order to bring up the number of contacts with the kids, both for their sake and for mine. If they qualify, I can see them 5x a week for math, 5x for reading. But fitting that many contacts into the school day is extremely difficult, especially with a lot of the scheduling changes to accommodate the smaller population at RCS. But my program brings in money based on the number of contacts I have with the kids. Also, the kids really need the extra help.

I'm really glad I have the weight off, or I would never be able to handle that many straight periods of teaching. I think I teach for 10 or 11 periods a day. Then I go home and eat and then try over the next 2 hours to get out and walk for at least an hour. I check out Facebook and Lapbandtalk, play a little Mafia Wars while I watch a little TV. I think about writing in my blog--and sometimes I still do--then I go to bed.

Food is going well despite loss of restriction. I can't get in to get a fill until Oct. 27. So I'm back dieting until then. That's a royal pain. It was so nice knowing the band wasn't going to let me overeat. Now its hanging on by my fingernails time again.

One thing thats actually helping right now is the fact that I've divested myself of all church commitments except for choir. I spend time with my grandchildren, but other than that I haven't much of a life. I'm not a phone person, so spend very little time talking to people. The lack of things to do, instead of always running, actually allows me some structure and predictability in my life--especially my evenings, which is a friend to dealing with food. My days have never been that much of a problem because work has a routine. It's always been evenings and weekends that the food gets out of control because there are no routines to act a external controls.

I feel like God is preparing me for something. I just don't know what. I think about getting involved with certain things and then I think--do I really want to? I'm becoming somewhat reclusive, a loner, in my personal life. I think I appear gregarious in public but there's always a certain level of discomfort in a public setting. Will I put my foot in my mouth? Will I talk more than I should? Will I accidentally hurt someone's feelings? Will I get pulled into gossip? Will I express myself poorly and will someone take what I said the wrong way and try to cause trouble for me? Will I unknowingly lose a friendship?

Those are the fears of an ADHD adult woman. Fears founded in reality for all those things have happened to me. Frequently.

I still chat on lapbandtalk. I've poured out a lot of myself into this blog. I respond to other's comments on Facebook, but have very little to say myself. I'm running out of words for this blog. I've been emptied in some ways. As the food takes more of a back seat in my life, and I run out of words, and the committments to all but family have been dropping away, I'm wondering what's going to replace it.

Even my job could end after this year. I can feel myself withdrawing slightly from all the things I did at RCS-letting go of RCS' future. I've planted a lot of seeds, now its in other's hands. I'm seeing the fruit of some of those seeds which makes me feel incredibly humble that God has used and is continuing to use those ideas.

God is changing me. Removing baggage. Trimming the fat (LOL) in more ways than one. I'm waiting for the next great passion to hit. The thing that will grab me and motivate me and give me vision and trigger my problem solving ideas. If I could get paid for having ideas, I'd be rich.

By the way, I'm up to a 44 lb weight loss. That leaves 26 to go.

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sometimes Reality Bites

So, my husband is looking for part time work to supplement his Social Security. Probably Best Buy again. Its crazy that a 62 year old highly competent man can't get full time work--mostly because employers don't want to pay health care for an older worker.

It feels like this is no longer the land of opportunity. So many workers being kept part-time to avoid paying health care. I wonder if all the companies outsourcing to other countries and paying as little as possible to workers in this country realize they've created an underclass of people who can't afford the products and services they're providing? So they cut even more creating a vicious cycle of increasing near-poverty.

I'm so full of arthritis. Even with the weight loss the extra excercise keeps me in constant pain--especially at night when it wakes me up. Mostly its my hip waking me up. I think the steps at work are whats killing the hip. Walking doesn't seem to irritate it much, but add the stairs and its too much. I've adjusted my classroom to accommodate my arthritis. I sit mostly while teaching. I have a flat overhead I use with some materials (it lies only a half inch higher than the table) so I can use it sitting without having to raise my arm to write on it. My assistant does most of the paperwork which relieves me of enormous stress on my neck. But the school is not handicapped accessible and I do climb stairs a lot. I frequently need to speak to a teacher who might be two stories up or go fetch a class that's running late or that the teacher forgot to send.

I wish I could work out more so that when I hit goal I won't have to stay at 1000-1200 calories to maintain but I don't think that's going to happen. Just ate some Cheetos, not a lot, but that tells you what kind of mood I'm in. Haven't had those in months. Not since before surgery.

My job may not exist next year and the thought of finding another teaching job where I can adjust things to accommodate both my arthritis and my ADHD is quite overwhelming. It took me a number of years to get everything running so smoothly.

I've lost jobs before but I wasn't 57. Oh well, the Lord will have to provide if I can't. He's always opened a door for me, but I see all kinds of believers struggling desperately because of the economy and a broken health care system.

Kind of a downer, eh?

I'm not sure I can "10-10-10" this. I'm not sure there's a decision to be made at this point. I really don't want to go back to school which I think I'd need to do to get another teaching job. I probably could do a pros and cons on that. To stay in teaching or not, to go back to school or not, to look at other careers and receive training or try to break into those, or not. Or I may just be buying trouble and the new vendor next year will hire me without making me go back to school or changing my program so it no longer fits me.

For the next 10 minutes it doesn't impact me. In 10 months I'll know and I should have a back up plan in place. In 10 years I'll be retired and the amount of income I'll have depends on my choices now as well as a whole lot of things beyond my control--like the economy, my meager retirement fund, the decreasing value of my house, etc. I have to overcome this inertia that's paralyzing me, but my ADHD works against me. It needs the overwhelming pressure of an immediate crisis to focus on a problem and solve it.

Sorry about that. Once in a while the "what ifs" start to overwhelm me. Life is never easy. But my band is working and I'm working it and the weight is dropping.

Praise God.