Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Not Much for a Big Woman

11 or 12 years ago, Hubby and I were on our first date. We had gone to a Chinese buffet because he loves (I have since found out) buffets.

We both went and got a plate of food. I slowly ate and we talked and he went and got a second plate of food.

He finished that second plate and headed out for the third plate full. I meandered over toward the dessert section and got a couple coconut macaroons and a small dish of soft serve chocolate ice cream.

I was slowly eating my dessert and he finished his 3rd plate then went to the desserts himself. I finished my cookies and ice cream and pushed my plate back.

"You can go get more - you can eat as much as you want" he informed me.

"Yes, I know. I'm full"

He looked amazed. "Really?? You're kidding! You don't eat much for a big woman!"

There it was. I sat in stunned silence - there was about 75 pounds less of me than there is now days - and I wasn't quite sure how to respond.

I was fully aware of his plane crash and the resulting injuries, and I was aware of the personality changes that can result. But then, I hadn't known him before the crash so I had no yardstick with which to measure.

So I sat back and thought this through before answering. Do I reach across the table and smack him them run out? Or say something snide?

Well, I am (even then) a Big Woman so I decided I would just own it. After all - he was being honest and if there was one big thing missing from my past relationships, honesty would have to lead the list.

"Yeah, I guess maybe I don't eat much for a big woman. Just imagine how big I would be if I ate a lot!" Then I laughed and he laughed too.

I have never regretted the decision to handle it that way - he's a great guy.

But past experience had demonstrated to me I don't eat much. I can gain weight on 1200 calories a day - I know, I've tried. 1000 calories and I will just maintain.

Increase my activity? At that time I was a nurse in a very busy clinic - on my feet walking 8 - 9 hours a day.

SO I'm a big woman. I will be the first to admit it.

Will ever weigh 120 again? I doubt it. In my early-mid 20's I got down to 120 and kept it off for a few years. I ate breakfast then drank coffee for the rest of the day. I went those years never having a candy bar or ice cream. Is life really worth living if you can't have a Snickers or a Turtle sundae? Not really, to me at least.

One day I decided I was hungry so I started eating. oh, glorious FOOD! Baked potatoes, Snickers bars, M&M's, Hershey's with almonds, Hot Fudge Brownie Delights from DQ (back in the days when I fit in their booths!) and all of the other goodies I had missed.

Even when I started "eating" again, I didn't overdo it - I just don't want much food at a time. I refuse to be guilty about leaving food on my plate if someone else has served it to me. In a restaurant I will often order 1/2 of my meal put into a to go container before it even makes it to the table.

Yes, my thyroid has been checked. All is normal.

I just don't eat much for a big woman. Get over it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Is it KIDDING???

I had been thinking I really needed - in the worst way - to be healthier.

This was somewhat influenced by my recent trip to AZ to visit Sis. With the new direct flights between Springfield and Phoenix-Mesa, we are now only 2 hours apart.

That's great but with the recent controversies about obese passengers on planes I was a bit apprehensive. So I searched the subject and found.... Not much specific info. Well, except for the fact there is a certain percentage of the population who doesn't think obese passengers should fly at all.

They should, at this time, adjourn to the celery stick bar and not bother to read the rest of this.

All I could find was this: If you weigh over 250 pounds and cannot fit into a seat - using a seat belt extender - and/or cannot put both armrests down, you should buy 2 seats. It seems, if there is room on the flight, most airlines will seat you in a double seat for no additional charge, and some - again, according to space available - will refund the price of the second seat.

I could find no specifics about the airline we were using (Allegiant) so I just prayed it would be okay.

At 290 pounds, I was a tad skeptical. After all, the last several times I had flown I had been able to just get the seat belt around me with no extender so here I go.....

The outbound flight we were assigned seats on the side of the plane where there were 2 seats. I got my belt snapped without an extender - and I put down the armrest with no problems.

Coming home, I was really worried... After all, not only had I eaten a Thanksgiving dinner, but also ate more than I usually did overall. (But, oh! Was it good!!) But again, I fit into the seat belt. Phew!!!

With the exception of the seats not reclining on either flight it was a great. But then, those airplane seats don't really recline anyway so that minor detail was no loss.

However.... Before we left I had ordered a scale that analyzes body fat percentage and hydration levels along with weight. It was waiting at the post office when we returned.

So I unpacked it, put in batteries, read the instructions and tried it out.

Bear in mind... The last time I had stepped on one of these I was working as a temp in the office of a bariatric doctor and at that time I weighed around 200 pounds and according to their scale I was 58% body fat. So this time I was expecting a reading of 80 or 90%. Maybe even more.

I got my weight - 289 pounds, then "Err3". Hmmm...... I looked up "Err3" and it said my "body fat percentage was outside readable levels". It didn't give me a hydration level. Back to the book. After all, I had to be something less than 100%, right?? (Yeah, I know - but not by much - LOL!!)

As I was scouring the book looking for the problem Hubby came through the kitchen and his eyes lit on a new gadget.

"Here," I said "take off your shoes and try this."

"Do I HAVE to take off my shoes?" Now, before you all accuse me of husband abuse - he was wearing house slippers...

"Yes, you have to take off your shoes and socks and stand on here barefoot or it can't do a reading".

After just a bit of whining he took off shoes and socks and (after I played with the settings) stepped on the scale.172.4 pounds, 78% body fat, 48% water.

So, okay. This told me the scale does, indeed, work.

Here I was, proud of finally working myself up to 2 minutes a day (from 15 seconds!) and I find out my body fat percentage is "above readable levels".

I took hubby's advice. I made us some chocolate malts and we sat and watched TV a while to think it over.

Now my goal is to get to the point where my body fat is down to "readable" levels. Then I'll work on the rest of it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good (EARLY!) Morning!

I got up at 3 am because I woke up about 2 am and couldn't get back to sleep. Partly because I am hurting and partly because my heart rate decided to hang out around 190 and I could hear the "thump-thump-thump-thump" in my ears no matter which way I turned so I knew I would have to get up and sit a while to distract myself from it.

This morning I go to Springfield for a pacemaker check - this is the yearly one where they download it and check buttery level and such. This particular visit adds further to my frustration with the whole situation. I only have the pacemaker check this time - the doctor visit has now been pushed to April. I remember the frustrating months leading up to my diagnosis, thinking that when I had a diagnosis I could be treated and resume my life. I was wrong.

We will make our trip to Springfield this morning, probably eat lunch somewhere down there then come home and collapse and watch TV.

In our shape, we love satellite TV and DVR's.

But I'd still love to see a magic pill.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh, What a Bargain!

Hubby was out and about a couple days ago and he came home with great news - he had found an elliptical exercise machine at a yard sale - the tag on it said "make offer" but he figured it would still be more than we could afford so he started to walk away when the lady yelled, "How about $5?" So, of course, he returned with a larger vehicle and we brought it home.

The thing weighs - according to the online info he found - 125 pounds. So it was a bit of a struggle getting it in and out of the car, but once we did the little wheels on the front were great! We managed to wrestle the thing to the kitchen.

In the meantime, Hector the cat escaped to the Great Outdoors.

We discovered it an elliptical trainer takes up roughly the same floor footprint as a kitchen island. (I threw in that tidbit just in case you are considering installing one of these in your kitchen)

So Hubby stepped on it and did... 20 seconds! Whew! What a workout! I lasted 10.

By later that afternoon, Hubby had found an online owner's manual to our new Weslo 710 Elliptical Trainer - we now could use the pulse counting feature on this machine... Which really did not do me much good since I apparently couldn't stay ON the machine long enough for the pulse counter to kick in.

So Monday morning, as my coffee was brewing I again stepped on the machine with a goal in mind. 20 seconds... I managed to do 15. But it was long enough to watch my pulse track - I went from 64 resting to 147 to 192.

Okay - I expected this, after all, I have Sick Sinus Syndrome. No, it doesn't mean my nose is stopped up.

The Sino-Atrial node is a bundle of nerves in the middle of your heart - the "coordination center" if you will... Kind of like a 4-way traffic light. It tells each chamber of your heart when to beat to keep things in rhythm. Mine does not work properly - in other words, I have "electrical problems".

I know from several multi-day heart monitors my heart rate frequently runs up into the 190's several times a day without the activity of the shiny new elliptical trainer.
Just think, a lot of people pay money for someone to help them exercise to raise their heart rate. I can do it just sitting and reading.

But I know I still need the physical activity - and this morning? I did a whole minute on the elliptical!

Oh - we turned the machine around where we can now watch the living room TV while exercising.

Maybe having an elliptical in the kitchen will become a style - is there a better way to remind us to watch what we eat?

BTW - the 2 pounds I put back on this week? I'm certain it is newly-gained muscle weight from all the exercise!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Size Matters

The neighbor came knocking on the door a few days ago. He needed me to take digital photos of a booth he was building for a local pizza place.

I took the photos then he asked "Would you sit there and eat pizza?"

"No".... Then I tried to fit into the booth - it was a tight squeeze. "I'm not the largest person around."

Somehow, in his calculations, he had forgotten that not everyone is the same size he is. Fortunately, he had constructed the booth in such a way it was easily dismantled and adjusted.

I just spent most of a week traveling with my sisters, we stayed at 3 different motels, 3 different chains. Only the last one, Super 8, had chairs that comfortably fit me.

Even doctor's offices have a lack of seating that will comfortable fit a plus-size person. I'm well aware the decorators that purchase the furniture are not connected to the doctors, but they need to be more aware of this issue.

Okay, I realize that earlier in this blog I went off on Dairy Queen.... Now I'm picking on motels and doctors offices. But the problem is everywhere.

Maybe we need a "Be Kind To The Fluffy" week to raise awareness?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Decoration Day

That's what I grew up hearing - "Decoration Day". I asked Daddy what Memorial Day was and he explained it was what people called Decoration Day.

Decoration Day was the day the cemeteries should all be mowed, trimmed, old flowers cleaned off of the graves and replaced with new ones.

It is - Springtime in the cemetery. Time for renewal (which might sound silly to some) and a general "spruce up" of the burial grounds.

I know, it started out as a day to decorate the graves of Confederate veterans - and now as "Memorial Day" it is considered a day to honor all veterans. But I'm a bit Southern; and as a Southern woman, I reserve the right to fuss over cemeteries.

Some may ask why anyone would bother with cemetery maintenance.

We humans have an innate need to connect to our past - to know where we came from. Perhaps to give us a more grounded feel for where we are going.

Some may think me morbid, but others, I know, will understand what I am saying.

Many years ago, in the early 1980's, I went for a walk every evening. My first husband and I lived in Memphis, TN and I followed a street back to a long-deserted cul de sac and followed the broken sidewalk around the loop back home. I began to smell gas on my walk so I called the appropriate city office to report it. The next day the road was closed - a major gas leak was found and during the excavation an old cemetery was also re-discovered.

It makes you stop and think. Did the people there have no descendants? How, exactly, is one "lost" to time?

I know, people move and don't bother (or maybe they are/were unable) to write back to loved ones and tell of their whereabouts. Many things happen in this world that separate loved ones. I've been known to drop off of the face of the Earth myself.

The cemetery at our church has 2 "mystery" graves - one headstone simply says "Little Girl", the other says "The Stranger"...

They were both unknown to us until last year when a lady in the community died and her husband ordered a double headstone for them, and smaller ones for Little Girl and Stranger.

It seems that back in the 1880's a wagon train was moving through this area and the people were sick - one little girl died and she was buried in our church cemetery. Her name has been lost to time and once in a while I search out and read historical notes - hoping to perhaps read an account from this wagon train and maybe find out a name for this little girl. I know that her momma and daddy undoubtedly mourned her passing - for as long as they lived. In their honor, and in honor of the sacrifices these early pioneers made to explore and open this great country we live in, we keep her grave neat and this year we planted some daffodils on her grave.

The Stranger has a different story. In the 1920's, here in Dallas County, MO, there were several "squatters' shacks" in the area. Stranger was found dead in one of these shacks - searches of the man and his shack turned up absolutely nothing in the way of identification. He was wrapped in a sheet and laid to rest next to Little Girl. This spring, we also planted daffodils on his grave.

I'm positive that somewhere Stranger also had family - maybe he was a husband and father who came to this area to make enough money to send for his family. Perhaps he was a brother of a family who came here looking for a way to help his parents and siblings.

We will probably never know. But they were living, breathing people whoever they were. Lost souls? Maybe. But they are being remembered. Their final resting places are now marked and we can only hope future generations will do the same.

I know I do my best to make sure others are aware of the stories, such as they are, will be handed down.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Times Are Tough ALL Over

I can especially see it in the thrift stores the last few times we have been in them.

Usually when we got to Springfield we visit a few. Sometimes looking for something specific, sometimes just to see what they have.

Yesterday we were in one of our favorites for Hubby to look at some jeans. I wandered around to see what they had - I'm nosy...

I spotted a great-looking Targus laptop case - black leather, many compartments - it was marked $2.59 and I was opening each compartment to check it out. As I opened one of the Velcro compartments with a "RRRIIIPPPP!!" this elderly gentleman (I use that term loosely!) stepped around the corner and announced "THAT is MINE!! I SAW IT!!" and he grabbed it out of my hands. "MY projector fits right here and my laptop goes right here!" And off he went. Proudly carrying the wonderful bag.

Well, perhaps I should have stood my ground. On the other hand, if he wanted it bad enough to snatch it from my hands I would have felt pretty stupid wrestling an old man to the floor right in the Thrift Store For The Blind.

And I probably had 175 pounds on the guy.

Okay - maybe he wasn't too sharp...

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's a Spring Thing

Insomnia. Yes, I get it at other times of the year, but this year the allergies are really starting to get me. I lie down and my head hurts from congestion. I get out of bed and sit up for a while, either drinking hot tea or maybe just writing for a while, and it improves.

So I go back to bed. After all, it is only 3AM, why not go back to bed?

I will be back up within a half hour, head still hurting.

I went through this last night and this morning, and was still miserable when I got up this morning.

Thankfully, Hubby slept through most of it. Although, he seemed to think I was up most of the night.

On the other hand, these Ozark hills are blooming and beautiful. You can see the former old homesteads by the lush lilac bushes and Daffodils coming up in otherwise strange places.

We have been here since 2004 and still every spring will bring a surprise or two since this place has been here for so long.

I know that eventually Spring will give way to the long, hot days of Summer and those days will run me into the house and the air conditioner. I know Autumn will come and bring a whole different set of allergens. Then the cold of winter will be here for a while before Spring once more bursts forth.

They all have the good and bad. I am a bit hard put to pick a favorite. But probably I enjoy the feeling of walking through "green kool-aid" I get sometimes when I step into the heavily wooded area around my house. I can smell the lilacs, I can listen to the birds, I can enjoy the sight of the flowers and the buds on the trees, and know there's always more to look forward to around the corner.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

He's Obviously from Washington

Today I got a bill from Aetna for my Medicare Part D plan. $29.10 per month was supposed to be deducted from my Social Security check each month to cover the premium but somehow Aetna missed the boat and now sends me a bill for $116 and change - they thoughtfully, no doubt for my convenience, added on the April premium too.

So I called them to find out why the premium was not being deducted. They said I had not signed up for it and I asked if I could do so. No, not until I have a zero balance; but I was welcome to make a partial payment and the young man let me know how terribly generous they were....

Aetna: We also can deduct from your bank account so it won't come out of your Social Security.

Me: The only income we have in this house is from Social Security, so, ultimately it will come out of my Social Security.

Aetna: You could also put it on your credit card, that way, it won't affect your bank account either!

Me: Well, even if I put it on a credit card, it would still come out of my Social Security.

By now, it was getting a bit entertaining so I carried the phone in to Hubby's computer room so he could enjoy too....

Aetna: Oh, no! No, ma'am... if it was put on a credit card or deducted from your bank account it has absolutely no bearing on any money you get from Social Security.

Me: Okay, Social Security is the only income we have so any way I go about it - it will come from Social Security.

Aetna: No, absolutely not!

Me: You're from Washington, aren't you?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Butter Dilemma

It was a nice morning and I was in need of some onions to put in the 15-bean soup I was making for this evening's HopeKeepers meeting so Hubby and I decided to go out for breakfast, that way I wouldn't be making a trip to "town" for just one item.

We debated where to eat as we drove the 8 miles to town and decided to eat at one of the older, full service places instead of a fast-food establishment. It left us with 3 choices: Breakfast Nook, Simms, and Time Out Cafe.

Breakfast Nook has an omelet Hubby is very fond of, but they have a smoking section... More often than not, the desire for smoke free air outweighs the desire for the omelet - and since they are about 25% pricier than the other places they lose out more often than not.

Time Out Cafe has a great breakfast - and it is breakfast anytime - but they don't seem to have comfortable seating anywhere in the place. Plus trying to pay your check to get out of there is very unhandy. However, they have great carry out service and a lot of times on our way home from church I call in a take out order and we pick it up and bring it home.

So we went to Simms. Sat down in a booth, and looked over the menu. Hubby ordered an omelet, I ordered 2 eggs, scrambled - well done, with hash browns, bacon and whole wheat toast.

There was only one other table occupied when we went in - very unusual - to say the least. Normally at 8:30 AM on any day of the week the place is a bit crowded. Not today.

The waitress brought me a cup of coffee that tasted like they had brewed and re-brewed the same grounds for a few days, the non-dairy creamer I was given didn't do a thing to redeem it - it had a slight taste of diesel fuel. (uhmmm, yeah, I DO know what it tastes like!)

But the hash browns were perfectly crispy, my eggs were nice and done and the bacon was great. Then I took a bite of the toast. They had served me dry toast!

Why, WHY in the world would a restaurant serve dry toast?

Then comes one of those Great Debates....

Do I, as an almost-300 pound woman, ask for butter? Hmmm.....

I didn't.

Monday, January 12, 2009


"Maaammmaaaa!!!!!! The mean goats escaped! They're scaring away all the birdies!!"

"Bad goats... BAAADDDDD GOATS!!"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome 2009!

Mimosa Hill is starting the year of 2009 by celebrating the arrival of Nina - named for the year she was born. (Her Auntie Carolyn came up with the name!)

Nina and her momma Holly are doing well.

Holly, however, says we have admired Nina long enough!