Thursday, August 28, 2014

I hate my professor.

No, that's too strong. I thoroughly dislike my professor.

No...he's a nice guy, he teaches well, and he's funny.

Final slide of his lecture last week.

My professor, though he's a nice, funny, good teacher, makes me want to cry.

I've made it to the Dependency and Addictions class in my masters degree program for Mental Health Counseling. Our professor announced last week that we would all need to choose a personal addiction, write a treatment plan for our own recovery, follow it throughout the course, and then reflect on it as part of our final papers.

I should have chosen Facebook. I'm REALLY addicted to Facebook. Why didn't I choose Facebook? (Because I'm REALLY addicted to it. Duh.)

I just sent him a private message letting him know my chosen addiction is carbohydrates and that my criterion for "sobriety" would by my doctor-recommended carb limit of 150 grams per day.

And this is me now.

I now have to choose a theoretical orientation for my personal treatment and lay out the treatment process based on that orientation. Here are some possible theories and their treatment steps.

Moral theory
I'm not going to choose this one because if there is a God, then God made carbs, so carbs can't be immoral. And if God is love, then God is cheesecake. Amen. (Willful misrepresentation of moral theory? Why, yes! And I'm very proud of it, too!)

Disease theory:
-Initial detox: Maybe going a few days with zero carbs (NOOOOOO!) or doing a cleanse. (NOOOOO!)
- Finding a 12 step group or other support meeting. (Do they have those at Krispie Kreme? I'd go to meetings at Krispie Kreme.)
- Finding a sponsor. (Debbie. I'm definitely going to ask Debbie. Little Debbie. Or my friend Betty...Crocker.)

Genetic theory:
Woot woot! It's all your fault, MOM!
I've done most of the treatment options for this one with my doctor already. I could write a treatment plan that addresses my anxiety AND my carb addiction, but that just sounds like more work AND no ice cream. (NEXT!)

Behavioral theory:
- Aversion therapy: Every time I eat carbs, institute an unappealing consequence. (When I eat a tasty cookie, I then have to eat a less tasty cookie. Yes, I can do that.)
- Desensitization: Practice handling my anxiety or desire for carbs while surrounded by carbs or viewing carb-heavy entertainment. (Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka!)
- Nondestructive reward system: When I avoid carbs, I'll reward myself with a non-carb reward like a hobby or some exercise. (This is like the dufus on my yoga DVD telling me to reward myself with a nice, big glass of water.)


Sociocultural theory:
Woot woot! It's all your fault, UTAH!

Integrative theory:
A little bit of what's good about all the other theories. (Like the dessert buffet at Golden Corral. No need to restrict yourself to one genre.)

Of course, I kid. I'm actually excited to do this project because a) I've been comfortable at 220 pounds for too long and it's time to progress again; and b) I like good grades, and I cannot lie.

Yes, it will be hard to get serious about my raging carb addiction, but I'll ultimately learn a bit about myself, I'll learn about my future clients, and maybe I'll get a little healthier in the process.

And I can completely ignore my Facebook addiction.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Clicking around on The Facebook, and this meme shows up in my feed, posted by someone younger than I am.


Yes, they did.

And yes, we were.

I see a lot of nostalgia related memes float around my feed, and I can't help but think that nostalgia is a big, fat lying liar. When I was a kid, kids did stupid stuff all the time. Kids played with matches and jumped off roofs and did back flips into the shallow end of the pool. There was always a kid in every school who would eat the red berries off the bush on a dare, and we thought he was cool.

Because we were morons.

Really, it's because we were kids and the frontal lobes of our brains, our judgment and impulse control centers, were still forming. Kids today? Same deal. They do dumb things the same way we did dumb things.

Except when they don't, by which I mean, except when they're smarter and more tech savvy than adults were as kids. We have a whole other collection of memes for that phenomenon. In this case, nostalgia is pouty. If a lot of the "When I was a kid..." memes are to be believed, we somehow think the inventions we didn't have as kids are the worst thing that ever happened to society because kids today have them...even though we happily use them as adults.

I call sour grapes on this one. We would have LOVED to have smart technology as kids. But we didn't have it, so we poo-poo the kids of today as if our childhoods were so much better.  And we conveniently gloss over the VCR, Atari, Nintendo, Sega, television, know...all those things we chose to do instead of play outside every waking moment.

Let's see. What else? Aha. "Our music was better than your music" memes.

I love Queen. I love Queen Bey. No need for conflict between the two. And seriously, the generation that swooned to Milli Vanilli and New Kids on the Block has little room to talk about the music of today. And it didn't take a genius to write the following:

It's gonna take time
A whole lot of precious time
It's gonna take patience and time, ummm
To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it,
To do it right child

I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you
I got my mind set on you

And then there are the "Hey, we survived!" essays that get shared with a resounding, "Hell yeah! Kids today are pampered babies who aren't allowed to live!"  In this case, nostalgia is dangerously ignorant of history. Here's an excerpt of one popular share:

To all the kids who survived the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking. 
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

Ah, the good old days of lead poisoning, accidental drug overdose, traumatic brain injury, and forceful ejection from moving vehicles. Makes me want to snuggle a Cabbage Patch doll and watch Rainbow Bright. Squeeeeee! Death! 80s!

The thing about saying, "Well, we all survived," is that all the dead kids aren't around to say they didn't. Because they didn't.

Do I think some warnings and regulations go overboard? Sure. Am I pining for the days when kids felt jumping into the car of a potential human trafficker was a perfectly appropriate activity. Yeah, no. Not my idea of nostalgic bliss.

There are sociological studies that say every aging generation thinks the younger one is worse/stupid/responsible for the complete downfall of society (a society they think is worse than the one they remember...). I could link to those, but I'm lazy (maybe because I wasn't raised in the 60s?).

It's a thing a lot of humans do, but a lot of humans do a lot of dumb things, so maybe we can lay off the kids a bit. They're okay, really, even when they're acting like morons.

At least when they become adults they'll have no memory of it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Warning: I'm not a crafty person, nor am I a talented photographer. I'm sharing this post because I'm proud of my achievement AND my half-assery. No promises of quality work here, but feel free to do what I did a lot better than I did it. (It'll be a backwards "Nailed it!")

Okay, so like all things trendy and popular, I jumped on the bandwagon of Pinterest kind of late and I hardly ever do anything with it because it scares me. (It was the same with capri pants. No lie.)  I know how to use Pinterest and have even done a craft I found on it (badly). Most of the time, though, I stay far away and cock my head at the occasional emails that tell me someone is following my non-activity there.

Today, though, I made something completely on my own. And it is GOING on my Pinterest page! Oh, it is GOING, BUT GOOD!

A couple of weekends ago, we were cleaning out the garage and headed down to the dump to get rid of some dumpy stuff. The landfill in our town has a little covered section where people can leave/take items like electronics or furniture or plumbing fixtures that are still in good condition. We check it out every time we're there in case we find something useful (because we're cheap).

While we were there this time, a man kindly offered us his barely used sun room couch, direct from the back of his truck to the back of our van. It took us a few minutes to decide we wanted it, but once we remembered a) our current family room couch is about 150 years old, b) free couch, we decided to snap it up.

Only problem was it didn't match our dark brown toned decor.

At all.

We bought a solid blue rug to match the trimming and moved the brown stuff upstairs (where it actually looks better..), but that was all the decorating I'd done thus far.

New (to us) front room

I've been itching to put together some kind of flower arrangement for the family room that would tie in the red elements from the couch and add another accent color to the room, but silk flowers and pretty vases are pricey (and I'm cheap). So I decided I would only do it if everything came from the dollar store (did I mention I'm cheap?).

Finding the right flowers wasn't hard at all. It's like they were waiting just for me.

Or the other lady eyeing them. Snooze, you lose, sister.

Finding a container to act as my vase was another story. I needed something tall and somewhat narrow. Regular stores have lovely tall ceramic vases for $40-$90, but NO (see also: cheap). I knew I could find something that would work to hold the flowers and something else that could make it pretty. My faith was rewarded pretty quickly.

Behold, thy vase.

Behold, they vase cover.

I bought some raffia for good measure without any real idea what I'd be doing with it. (Raffia frightens me.)

Spooooooooooky, no?

Once it was time to assemble my flower arrangement, I realized very quickly that gallon size plastic storage containers are not so much built for holding tall plastic flowers. My "vase" toppled over a few times until I could spread the flowers out for balance. This wouldn't do, of course, because I have children, cats, and a family that breathes regularly, so I improvised on my improvised vase and added some weight to the bottom.

I'll make hummus some other time.

Now, all I had to do was put the thing together. The pillow cover went on easily, though it was over-sized. If you go to a real store, you could get one of those cylindrical pillow covers and avoid this problem. Of course, if you go to a real store, you could also just get a real vase.

But where's the fun in that?

Here's where my major half-assery comes into play. My logic has always been, "If no one's going to see the back, it doesn't have to be perfect."  (Or even well put together.)  I used safety pins to tighten up the top and bottom of the pillow cover and secured the flaps of leftover fabric with hot glue.

This is how Sarah sews.

Because it works!

Thank goodness Cate owns a glue gun. I'll ask her permission later.

And that's what we call "good enough!"

Kitten approved and everything. (Oh...and meet Claude, our kitten.)

Because I didn't want an ugly zipper showing at the top of the fabric, I knew it was time to face the raffia. I realized the blue raffia would tie the flowers to the rug and the couch lining, so blue it was.

Not that I knew what to do with it.

Claude did. (Why do I think he's going to leave these flowers alone? Because I'm dumb.)

I ended up just wrapping the whole skein or ribbon egg or kit n caboodle or whatever it's called around the neck of my vase.  When it came time to tie a bow, I had my usual reaction.

Tears and indigestion.

So I Good-Enoughed it.  And lo, it was good enough.

Yea, verily.

The whole project cost between $20 and $22 (counting the beans).

I added some dollar store art to the walls to the tune of another $4.  And the family room, she is beautigorgimous and budgetlicious.

If nothing else, the family room is cheap.

And that's good enough for me!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Well, hello, blog world! I'm up from hibernation (translation: got through a heavy/intense/stressful set of classes in my masters program and am officially up for air) with a Mother Unload post.

First, because you might be wondering, my weight loss since January 21 is now up to 35 pounds! Couch to 5K is still going, but I may or may not be stuck in week 5...or 6.  Or 3.  One of those. The point is I'm still on the wagon, still moving forward, still working hard and cheating harder on my cheat days.

This was me about a month ago getting ready to leave a romantic hotel room after a night away for our anniversary. (I'd like the record to show that I spent every waking moment strutting around that room thinking, "Damn! I'm sexy!" It's very important for the record to show this because, Damn! I was sexy!)

Even that belly was sexy. 

So today.

Today we went to the Willard Bay reservoir and spent about five hours having a ridiculous amount of fun swimming, acting like complete goofballs in the water, and hanging out in the shade. This picture of the kids (sans Aaron who's not a fan of water sports) perfectly encapsulates the pure joy of the day.

So much joy.

I felt this same crazy, happy abandon the entire time we were at the lake, despite the fact that I also spent my entire time there as a 220 pound woman in a swimsuit and short swim shorts. I frolicked and laughed and smiled and played. And I didn't give two thoughts to who saw me doing it or what they thought of my body.

This is a huge departure from the older, less body confident me.

I went more than a decade, maybe even a decade and a half hardly ever swimming because I didn't want to be seen in a bathing suit. I didn't want to be seen in my imperfect state and didn't want to "make" others have to see me either. Baring my body in a typical swimsuit would be an insult to the senses of the other swimmers, right? I had no business wearing a swimsuit at my weight, right?

When I did swim, I'd get as close to the water as I could possibly get in my fully clothed state, then peel off my extra clothes and race into the water as fast as humanly (and fat-personly) possible to HIDE myself. I'd spend most of my time in water up to my neck because no one should have to see my fat arms, my fat belly, my fat legs.  At the end of the outing, I'd do the same race-and-hide maneuver in reverse.

And I'd hate myself.

I'm sad for that woman who didn't swim, for the peace she lost and the fun times she missed. I'm sad for the body hate and the hiding.  I'm sad to think of her hyper-focused on societal expectations, the incessant cacophony of "beach body" beauty articles, Hollywood infused comedic body shame, and an internet full of "weird" flat stomach tricks and cringe-inducing modesty blog posts.

Today, there was none of that. I'm nowhere near my goal weight, and I'll never be offered a modeling job for a beauty magazine, but I walked around that beach and through the holiday crowds, and I just smiled because I was happy to be there too. Happy to be swimming. Happy with my body and my life and my family.
Happy happy, joy joy.

I took the requisite momly number of kid pictures throughout the day, because moms gonna mom.

And kids gonna kid.

When I handed my phone to Richard and asked him to take a couple of pictures of me, I knew something very real had changed. When I uploaded them onto Facebook and Instagram, I knew it was here to stay.  Never in my life, not even as a well-proportioned 120 pound teenager, have I wanted anyone to see a picture of my whole body in a bathing suit.

Today, I welcomed the chance, asked for it, NEEDED it. These pictures are part of our family story, and I am a part of it. I was there at the beach today. I want to look back and see myself in the pictures, and not just in strategically angled selfies, but the real, living, breathing me who was in that lake feeling like she could conquer EVERYTHING.

If you think you don't have the body for bathing suit season, if you think you have no business in the costume of the swimmer, if you spend family swim days racing and hiding, just know that I get it. I was there. That was me.

But this is me today, and today's me lives more fully and more richly than I ever have. Today's me smiles big. I'm keeping her.