Monday, August 31, 2009

Yay! It's Time for My Physical!

UPDATE: The doctor was a little freaked out that I had lost 10 pounds in less than six weeks, but was willing let it go, for the time being, since I was happy about it and obviously had no other issues. However. If I lose another 5-10 in the next month I have to go back. Something about a scope to look at the lining of my stomach. If ever there were an incentive to eat . . . Sadly, I had to spit out a lovely salmon and avocado roll lost night because my stomach said, "Uh, no. I'm done for the night." Oh and, I didn't get out of having another mammogram Bah.

"Seriously?" you ask, "YAY?"

Yes! For the first time in waay too long, I'm going to hear a doctor say "You've lost a bit of weight since the last time you were here. Which was . . . not that long ago."

Nothing to explain. Nothing to test for. I'm not sick. I just inadvertently stumbled upon what a friend recently told me was the "ELF Diet (Eat Less Food)."

Sometime around the middle of July I just stopped wanting to eat. Even when I was hungry, I'd only be able to manage a few bites before feeling as though one morsel more would be throwing a gauntlet at the feet of the Vomit God.

People keep asking "Are you stressed?" to which I am forced to reply, "Do you even know me?"

I am a medium-beige skin suit wrapped around a compressed, person-shaped mound of stress, nerves, anxiety and irritation. Oh, and caffeine receptors.

In other words, yes. Yes I am stressed. But probably not out of my normal range.

This not eating went on for three weeks or so. I wasn't ever faint from hunger--well, maybe once or twice--so my body was obviously OK with the amount of food it was getting. And I was OK with the amount of extra room I found in my jeans.

And then, one day, the feeling sick part of it just went away and I discovered the truth in the saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit (look, Ma! 14 million results--it must be true! Now go and Bing it instead so you can whittle it down to a more manageable eight million). I eat smaller meals. I don't snack between meals. And in what some might see as a sign that I am seriously ill, I turned down chocolate cake at Pamplemousse.

But here's where the whole thing gets weird, though "obsessive" might be the better word choice.

I caught myself planning the outfit to wear to the doctor's office. Not to look hot or anything--I like my doctor but she's not really my type--but I was doing a mental weight comparison of certain pieces of clothing. And rather than simply tossing this idea and putting myself in time out, I changed clothes three times and weighed myself in each outfit. Yes. I. Did.

You know how the nurse always says it's OK to leave on the sweater, just take off the shoes because it doesn't make that much of a difference anyway? It's so not true. The jeans and t-shirt weighed 1.2 pounds more than the sundress. And when you have two kids and don't get to the gym as often as you should and the last nurse you saw said that no one liked the weigh-in, especially when they didn't feel good about themselves anyway, that 1.2 pounds is huge. I don't care that the number difference is all smoke and mirrors--I care that the number on the "permanent record" is as close as possible to what I actually weigh.

And once I cross that little psychological finish line I've set for myself, I'll probably have to stop by Pamplemousse for a slice of Chocolate Chocolate cake.

I only hope that the doctor won't make me get a mammogram this year. Little known (at least to men) secret of weight loss: The boobs are usually the first to go, making it that much harder to get a pretty picture in the Boob Smasher 3000. Details to come!

Lucky, lucky you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Because It Wouldn't Be a Vacation Without an Odd Sort of Adventure

Thomas had a conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a couple of weeks ago and the girls and I decided to tag along.

We arrived at the Jackson Lodge in Grand Tetons National Park on Thursday evening, after a day spent exploring Yellowstone.

Evening at the Lodge

The admonishment of the day, "Drink more water. I don't care--drink more anyway." The admonishment of the evening, "Give me another glass of wine! Er, please."

Friday morning, Charlotte slept way late, even factoring in the one hour time difference.

At 10:30, she sat up and immediately threw up. Once it was cleaned up, she announced in a perfectly normal, happy voice that she felt better. Unfortunately we took her at her word. On a short walk to the stables to see the horses, she ate a bit of banana, promptly throwing it up.

Hannah on Smokey the next day.

Back to the cottage, where she once again, she announced, "Me feel better!" Forty minutes passed with no vomiting, no fever, no real change in her usual behavior. So we again took her at her word and hopped in the car to explore Jackson. Fortunately I grabbed a towel from the bathroom first.

Charlotte and I spent the rest of the day at the cottage, where she alternated sleeping with vomiting. After awhile, she couldn't even swallow the water before throwing up. I sent Thomas to the conference's opening night reception with Hannah and waited for Charlotte to wake up from a three hour nap.

At 7:30, after Thomas dropped Hannah off at the cottage and went back for the opening session, Charlotte said she had to go potty and went to the bathroom.

"Yay," I thought. "Still peeing = not dehydrated!"

But why is she vomiting blood?

The on-site clinic had already closed for the day, so the front desk sent over one of the rangers, who, upon hearing the words "child vomiting blood," immediately called the EMT, who took her vitals, noticed that she was moving between very alert and very sleepy, and immediately called for an ambulance.

After taking her vitals for the second time, Gary (the ranger/paramedic) recommended that Charlotte go to the hospital. Right away. In the ambulance. Hannah was excited that she got to ride in the jump seat and look out the window and talk the ears off the driver and Lou, the EMT, who decided to come along. (He may have regretted that after the 52nd question of Hannah's version of Twenty Questions.) She also got to see a bull elk and a herd of buffalo along the way.

(This was taken a couple of days later--not from the ambulance.)

As for Charlotte, she was sitting on my lap, glucose level dropping, still alternating between sleepy and chatty. Until she vomited blood once more. I apologize--again--to the lodge for taking another of their towels. I didn't think you'd want it back, but it did help the doctor with the diagnosis: altitude sickness and a small esophageal tear caused by throwing up all day. The nurse brought in one tiny pill for the nausea, because, as the doctor put it, sometimes vomiting begets vomiting.

And sometimes putting a pill under the tongue of a four-year-old begets vomiting, as well.

The nurse brought a second pill. I had to pry Charlotte's jaws open, stuff the pill in and hold her mouth shut until the pill dissolved, all the while trying to explain that I was doing it to help her.

Half an hour and two grape popsicles later, good as new.

Conducting the choir as they sing an original composition, "Me Feel Better!"

You'd never know Charlotte was the one there to see the doctor--Hannah passed out in Charlotte's bed well before we were released.

Poor Hannah, sound asleep in her new cowboy boots.

Many thanks to the National Park Service, St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, WY, Lou the EMT, the driver whose name I didn't get, and especially to Gary. Charlotte thinks of you every time she hugs the teddy bear you gave her.

I'm sorry to say she also adds, "Me throw up."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Dammit

Dammit #1
In certain situations, a back pocket is not a good place to carry an iPhone:
1) You’re in the park, on a swing
2) You’re going to be sitting on the tiny little kids chairs in preschool
3) You have to go to the bathroom in a hurry

Dammit #2
Speaking of iPhones: I fell asleep on mine and accidentally took a photo of my boobs.

Dammit #3
Insomnia. Today I
1) Left my credit card on the counter to pay the maid instead of cash. Er, check.
2) Tried to hang the ladder to Hannah’s bunk bed in the kitchen rather than putting it back on her bed.
3) Drove past the exit for Charlotte’s school.
4) Took the clothes from the dryer and put them in the washer.

Dammit #4
I'm kinda hungry, but eating induces nausea. I've lost 10 pounds in a month. Not REALLY complaining about the weight loss, but it can’t be good that it's happened this way. I get hungry, try to eat and then, after a few bites, feel like I’m going to be sick if I continue.

NO!! I am NOT pregnant.

Dammit #5
The Chevy Volt. 230 MPG. Really?? For how many years were we told that it would be hard to meet the 2020 deadline for 35 MPG? And now we’re supposed to believe that, seemingly overnight, they were able to manage 230 MPG?

Dammit #6
Still a little ticked that someone suggested (to put it politely) that I was PMS-ing when I wrote my Dammit re: California’s Prop 8. Especially as that “someone” was a woman. However Thomas may have been right in telling me to let it go. Still working on that.

Dammit #7
Sarah Effing P A L I N. Just that. I’ll waste more time on that later.

Monday, August 10, 2009

When an "A" Isn't Ideal

This past weekend, I went on a quest for a bra that doesn't double as a chin rest. As my sister-in-law noted, it seems very 14-ish to wear a bra that has that much padding--but at least now it isn't actually tissues.

I'd like to say that I never stuffed my bra when I was a teenager, but my older sister, seemingly overnight, joined my mother in D-cup land, while my younger sister hit a C-cup while I was pleading nightly with the universe for at least an A-cup. Instead I had to endure eighth grade boys and their silly “joke that would knock my tits off." The punch line, of course, was that I had obviously already heard it.

Following many years of bras that padded, pushed up and were generally untruthful in all possible ways, I've finally reached a place where the letter on the bra isn't that important anymore. Besides, after two kids, I'm finally up to a B-cup, and over the hugely padded bras available everywhere. But.

Victoria's Secret, the Wonder Bra and Miracle Bra still rule the planet. Bras that don't come with heavy padding are difficult to find. Or, more accurately, attractive—sexy, even—bras without the heavy padding are hard to find.

So on Saturday afternoon, I set off for the mall, determined to find the bra AND to get measured. Just to make sure the 34 was the correct size. Has anyone else ever noticed that Macy's is always having a sale? I figured that would be a good place to start.

I love lingerie departments. The profusion of silk, satin, lace and ribbons. Colors that range from elegant pinks, icy blues and shimmering silvers to sophisticated blacks, eye-popping reds and bold animal prints (not on my list). Demi-cup. Full coverage. Convertible. Strapless. Corset. Thong. G-string. Brief. Hipster. Bikini. Thigh-high stockings, to be worn with or without a garter belt.

I wandered through the entire department, beginning to feel a bit of the perv as I squeezed the cups on every bra that caught my eye, and even felt up the occasional mannequin. After a couple of tours, I'd collected half a dozen bra and panty sets and headed for the changing room before I remembered part two of the plan: I had to ask to be wrapped with the measuring tape to be sure that I had been buying the correct size.

Dutifully I followed Greta into the dressing area so we could keep my impending humiliation as private as possible.

"Hmmm. 34."

("Yay! I got it right!")
I began to walk to the changing room when Greta stopped me.

"Wait--I need to check ze cup size."

I waited.

"Hmmm. You are an A."

"What? No--I'm a B!"

Greta misunderstood me. I almost felt bad that her valiant attempt to choke back the laugh brought tears to her eyes.

This might be a good time to mention that I was wearing a halter dress, sans bra.

She stared pointedly at my chest.

"No. Definitely not a C."

"What?? No, no! I know I'm not a C. I said "B." I thought I was a B."

Greta looked skeptical.

"You can try zem, of course but zey will probably be too loose."

I came home with a bag full of very expensive lingerie, lovely enough to almost make up for the fact that it took me another half an hour to find something in a 34A that wasn't beige or white or unadorned black. In addition to being back to an A-cup, I’m also, apparently, one of those unusual sizes that they don’t stock much of. It’s also a size that typically comes with more than a bit of padding as the designers automatically assume that the wearer would be thankful for at least the appearance a little more boobage.

I’m going to think back to my 14-year old self and just be happy that I don’t have to worry about those eighth grade boys “mistaking” me for my non-existent twin brother. I’ll also be proud of myself for not tightening Greta’s bra straps to hoist her boobs back up to a more natural level. Because that would just have been petty.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Lesson for the Day

Never come between a four-year old chocoholic and chocolate cake.

I took the girls to Pamplemousse this morning. Delectable treats in many different flavors: mango, passion fruit, chocolate mint, triple chocolate mousse, pamplemousse (grapefruit) and of course, a lovely, lovely Chocolate Chocolate cake. Charlotte generally prefers the triple chocolate mousse, but as they were already out of it (at 10:33!) and I told the girls they had to share a little cake and that it was Hannah's turn to choose. Hannah chose the Chocolate, Chocolate.

Charlotte was not amused. Until she tasted one of the chocolate triagles that adorned the top of the cake. Before Hannah had finished one of these triangles, Charlotte had inhaled the remaining four. Hannah was forced to stop mid-way through a horrified gasp that was tinged with laughter as Charlotte grabbed the fork and dove in. A race ensued, which Charlotte won by employing two of her favorite tactics: First: take advantage of the fact that Hannah talks from the moment she gets up in the morning until 12 minutes after she falls asleep; and second: steal my fork and shovel with both hands.

Hannah finally admitted defeat. When asked if she was ever full when there was still chocolate cake to be had, Charlotte answered with a curt "No, " as she finished up the last curls of dark chocolate scattered around the plate.

I should also add that she once stabbed me with a fork when I got too close to her half of the triple chocolate mousse cake that we were sharing for my birthday.

Now repeat after me:
Never come between a four-year old chocoholic and chocolate cake.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

BlogHer '09 a Few Belated and Brief Observations

Whilst strolling the halls of the BlogHer '09 Expo, I kept hearing comments about the sheer volume of vendors targeting the so-called (and somewhat controversial) "Mommy Bloggers." These are the group who blog about their kids and their families. Many of them toss in additional stuff, but by and large it is, well, Mommy Blogging.

In a couple of the sessions I attended, there was also a bit of barely suppressed venom and not a little bitterness about the perceived attention the Mommy Bloggers were receiving, not only from the vendors, but in the actual agenda, as well.

There were questions, occasionally in voices quavering with anger, about how and why the Mommy Bloggers were getting tons of ad revenue and requests for product reviews and so many dedicated BlogHer sessions, and even observations that the non-MBs felt left out, second-class citizens of the blogosphere, in fact.

Many of the vendors did cater more to the family-oriented blogger:

  • Tide
  • Bounce
  • Walmart
  • Ragu
  • all
  • Bertolli
  • Bissell
  • Disney
  • McDonalds
  • Playskool
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Jump Start
  • Sprout
  • Safe Kids
  • Safety 1st
  • Leap Frog
  • Family Fun Night
  • PBS Parents
But then there were also:

  • Pepsico
  • Chevy
  • Liverty Mutual
  • Microsoft Office
  • Bing
  • Bill Me Later (a PayPal Company)
  • Brother
  • HP
  • T-Mobile
  • Wiley
  • Geek Squad
  • Nikon
  • Nokia
  • eos
  • Intel
  • Intelius
  • Frontline/PBS/digital_nation
  • Orbitz
  • she's geeky
  • Engage Her

This isn't a comprehensive list for either side, of course, but it seems to be, if not perfectly, then pretty well balanced between the two camps. And of the actual sessions, only six were specifically labeled as "MommyBlogger" with another two that could have been. There was also a nod to the growing number of male participants, with a session entitled " Vaginally Challenged Bloggers--the Men of BlogHer."

There were 24 sessions devoted to the "geek" aspects of blogging, everything from blogging 101 for newbies to using HTML to making your blog more accessible to how and why to use Twitter, to CSS, CMS tools and SEO. There were also sessions on using social media to promote your blog and video blogging tutorials.

So I'm not sure where the bile came from. In one instance it seemed to be solely for the amusement of one blogher's friends as they had to sit and listen as she bitched about the whole thing to someone on the other end of her phone call. All. The. Way. Through. Lunch. Trust me. I was sitting right next to them. She complained about the Mommy Bloggers. She complained about the swag (perhaps she missed the vibrators in room 704?). She said that no one came to BlogHer to learn anything--it was all about "Mom's gone wild in Chicago." (In her defense, there were a lot of cocktail parties.)

So for Whiny Phone Girl and all the others complaining about it, don't go to BlogHer in New York next summer. Don't worry about the fact that you can actually learn a few useful things. Skip the opportunity to make a few new connections and meet some of the women whose blogs you do read. BlogHer '09 sold out four months early. There was a waiting list. A lot of people who wanted to be there couldn't be there. So stay home. Let these other women come instead and have an opportunity to learn some of the things you mocked.

I didn't go to a lot of sessions this year. The geek stuff scares me (I know, it shouldn't), and some of the others just weren't up my alley--and yes, that includes some of the Mommy Blogger sessions. I had almost convinced myself that I wasn't going to go next year, until the last session I attended. And if BlogHer announces that Neil Kramer and Amy Turn Sharp are going to be on a panel again, I'll book the tickets just for that.