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.