Saturday, October 31

Laugh it interview with Matt and Charlie

Sometimes, it takes a comedian to interview a comedianne. And no matter how much the world loved Lucy, she needed someone just as funny to play the straight lace she could bounce off.

I talk an awful lot about Matt on this blog, and it's because his support is essental to my success. If I couldn't laugh with him through this whole thing, I may not be where I am today.

So, just for fun, and in the throws of being goofy and silly (as is the custom in this house) I had Matt give me an impromptu interview. Of course, being lazy and laying on the couch is NEVER good for camera angles, but you will understand why losing 65 pounds is still not enough for me. Now I need to tone and tighten. (And make sure Matt films me from a better angle next time!)
I almost re-recorded this whole thing, but you know what? We could never reproduce the content that we got on this time. Therefore you all will have to accept that the camera and my poorly posed position adds 20 pounds. Hollywood isn't ready for me yet.

Anyhoo, I hope this interview helps you get to know the real Charlie, nerd that I am (through the eyes and torments of her extremely funny husband) as we discuss the diet and my journey so far, while dabbling in the very awesome topics of everything from floating and aliens to my love of Tom Hanks in "Castaway" and Mary Alice from "Ace of Cakes," and even quantum physics. This interview shows you what I am like all the time. Yes, people, this is who I am. I am a goof.

I hope you will join me in laughing it off!!

Thursday, October 29

Try Your Best

This weekend is going to be hectic. I already know it.

Besides the whole issue of Halloween with 3 kids 10 years old and under, Matt and I have gotten the theatre bug again. (Please note the correct spelling of the word used for live shows and plays, which is theatre. If you go to a movie, it plays at a theater. Big difference. Because knowledge is power! Cue cheesy music and a shooting star.) We are going to see our buddy Bill, who starred in the indy film Matt recently worked on, who will be performing in a show that he wrote called "Coyote". We heart people like that. Talent just oozes from every part of their being.

Along with theatre, if you have been following me on Facebook, you may be aware that I have challenged myself to write lyrics, music and (a wretched) piano part for a new song every day. I must admit, this is WAAAAAAY easier than exercising. And I’ve enjoyed the task thus far. If you aren't a facebooker, look me up on using the name "charliegirl2490". You can see the fruits of my labor.

Apparently songwriting, like inspiration and swine flu, is contagious. I’m not sure when I will be blogging this weekend (maybe not till Sunday) so until then, I would like leave you with an inspirational song that my son wrote tonight. He’s 7 and all boy, therefore I am not showing you the copy of the song where he begins it by going “Hold on Mom” and hocking a loogie onto the last of the summer flowers in front of our house. You will note that he also is not wearing a shirt. I had to fight him to make sure he was wearing pants to record this. (His little belly makes me laugh every time. He’s a hoot, and you will see how strong the tide of the genetic pool is in my family. Foolishness runs deep. And Matt and I are exactly the kind of parents who encourage said foolishness, as you can tell by our commentary in the beginning. We laugh A LOT in this house!)

This is his song, entitled “Try Your Best.”

Have a great weekend, ya’ll, and I’ll be back soon.

Wednesday, October 28

Charlie: A grammatically correct Diva

First of all- 173 baby!!! Whooo-hoo! That gives me a 65 pound loss so far, and still going. It’s a miracle. And proves once again that yes, the ark of promise is my booty. (Thanks for loving that, Hill. It was my favorite analogy too!) OK, onto the gross, ridiculous and funny.

Recently it has come to my attention that there are still many readers who posses a Y chromosome. It shocks, surprises and amuses me greatly.

In light of that recent discovery, I am posting a disclaimer.

Boys: this is not a post for you. Cause I’m gonna talk about cycles. The kind you all freak out about. The kind that women are totally over having. The kind we all know are coming once a month yet still, after all these years act surprised that we get them. Therefore…You have been warned. Get out. Get out while you can. There are words ahead that you will never forget.

Ok, girls. (And the morbidly curious fellas who can’t take a hint) I got grammatically correct the other day when I found my period. I was doing math, and things weren’t adding up.

Finally, it came.

Before I tell you the story about how it came, I am going to tell you about a product I am trying with total commitment this month. A Diva Cup. Ladies, if you are even slightly squeamish, this is not for you. But if you can handle something that is the equivalent of a diaphragm and a tampon rolled into one, you might be just fine with it. A friend of mine had ordered one, and after going to the OBGYN she was told that it wasn’t the best option for her. So she passed the (unused) Diva Cup to me. It’s kind of a hassle, but I am saving money on tampons this month by using this gory snowcone cup of menses, so I’m willing to give it a shot. It’s taken a few months for the Cup to feel comfortable and normal, so this week I am trying it for the duration. The yucky part is you have to keep washing it out. And you see stuff in a new way. After 20 years of periods, this is an eye opening experience for me. I’ll let you know how it goes, and I’ll even make a link to the Diva Cup site, so you can see exactly what I am talking about.

Now, onto how the period at the end of my sentence for being a woman came to be this month.

Like I said, the numbers weren’t adding up, and I was late. Later than I like to be. My usual sign (threatening to pummel anyone who crossed my path) came early last week, but it seemed to be a no flow situation. I carried pads and tampons in my purse, waiting for the great flood of the red sea, but it never came. So I was a bit panicky. I’m terrified I will go into early menopause or something and find out I can’t bear more kids. Because of this neurosis, (and hoping that my tubes will magically grow back together and I will have a miracle baby) I watch my cycle like a hawk.

On Monday night, which is our walking group night, I decided it was a nice evening, so I walked to the mall. Which means no purse. Just my fanny pack with essentials. Because I wasn’t seeing any signs of the eminent, I didn’t think to slip a pad in the fanny pack, plus I needed room for my adorable pink hat from Walgreens for the walk home. Vanity, vanity.

So I hoofed the 2.7 miles to the mall, then walked our usual 2.5 with the gals. We chatted and prattled on and had a good time. It was fantastic. And then it was time to leave.

Lee Ann was going to walk home with me from the mall, because it was late, and we don’t like inviting trouble late at night, so there is saftey in numbers. We stopped in Sears for a quick potty break. This was the conversation from under the stalls.

Charlie: DANG IT!!! NO! WHY RIGHT NOW???

Lee Ann: Uh-oh. What happened? Did you start?

Charlie: YES!!!! DANG IT!!!! DANG IT!!!!!!!!!

Lee Ann: Do you have anything? Cause I sure don’t have stuff on me.

Charlie: Yeah, I think I’ll be ok. I’m covered.

Lee Ann: OK. Good. Poor thing.

See, I had on one of those carefree light days liners, the ones that smell like powder, because I get swampy results from sweat down there, and don’t want to have a funky odor. So I figured that liner would be enough to last me till I could get home in an hour after the walk back.

How wrong I was. With every step, I could feel that the little liner was not build to absorb what my body was throwing at it. I adjusted as we walked when cars weren’t coming, and I didn’t care if Lee Ann saw me digging at my crotch, trying to move that 5 inches of insurance forwards or back, hoping to maneuver it to an unused spot so I wouldn’t have a disaster in my drawers.

Finally, I got to the spot where I drop Lee Ann off at her street, and I continue on alone for a couple of blocks. All I could think about was getting home.

Of course, right about that time, I ran into the stray dog.

I have a fear of dogs. I mentioned that a long time ago, but it is worth re-telling. I'm terrified of dogs. Not to mention I see those shows on Animal Planet called “I survived” about animal attacks. In fact, Matt and I had just watched one the night before about a cougar (or some kind of big cat) that attacked a woman because it was attracted to the smell of her cycle. And we had joked about the little bit from the movie “Anchorman” when they are talking about bears, and they said that bears would come into the office and attack when a woman was on her period. (It’s a hilarious stretch of dialogue and one of our favorite movies. We watch it like once a month and can quote the entire movie)

Back to the stray dog. All I could think about as this dog looked at me from across the street was “It can smell my period!!!” and I was frozen to the ground. I couldn’t move. No, that’s not true. I had my hands down my pants, trying frantically somehow to revive the fresh powder sent from my dying pantyliner to disguise the smell that the animal kingdom can pick up from a mile away.

The dog started barking. AT ME. And I panicked some more. Breathe, Charlie, breathe. But I couldn’t. I just stood there and prayed “GOD!!! Please don’t let me get attacked by this dog because I didn’t pack pads in my fanny pack! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

As the dog started across the street (and I think it was a Rottweiler or a Great Dane. Maybe a spaniel or terrier, but in the dark of night, whatever it was- it looked HUGE) I really started to freak out. About the time it had walked slowly and menacingly across half the street, a few cars started to drive by. They began honking and one yelled out “Hey, get that dog on a leash, lady! It’s gonna get hit!” I yelled back “It’s not my dog! HIT IT!!!!” Not my most humane moment, but I really thought this dog was gonna eat me alive.

Finally 2 cars later, a woman seemed to understand my plight. (Maybe not the dog smelling my period part, but that I was scared of the dog.) So she started backing the dog away WITH HER CAR by driving close and honking until the dog ran off. I could have kissed whoever she was for rescuing me. I moved on quickly after thanking her with a hand wave and jogged the rest of the way home.

When I got back, I told Matt the story, and he laughed because I was acting so overdramatic about it. But I really was convinced it was because of my period. I have never had a problem before tonight, and I start my cycle and the hounds come running. He said that I was overreacting. But he had a good laugh at my expense.

I think from now on. I will walk with a big stick in my hand. Everytime.


Monday, October 26

The Last Waltz for Dixie

What a weekend!

First of all, you are the most ahhhmazing readers that a blog could have. If you don’t believe me, look at the comments after my last post, Before meets Almost After. Your tender and heartfelt responses make me cry. I have them printed off because reading them lifts my spirits and pushes me forward. A blogger couldn’t ask for better readers.

Some exciting news on the diet front…this weekend was Matt’s show (Civil War the Musical. It turned out to be a beautiful and heart wrenching show, and the title of this post was one catchy tune that I can't stop singing today. My dahling hubby, who sang a song called "Sarah" made women cry by the hundreds) and it could not have gone better. Local theaters may have their moments of defeat, but this weekend proved that when people come together to tell a beautiful story- magic can happen. And I got to see the whole thing on Saturday night wearing size 10 jeans. I even had Belinda, a wonderful friend of mine, look IN MY PANTS to show off the tag. You all know that my pride only stems from the massive work that has been endured, so it’s not out of vanity that I shared the underside of my jeans.

It was more out of showing myself and others that miracles DO HAPPEN. Every day. It’s our choice if we see them as miracles or simply wonderful coincidences. I choose to believe that God worked mightily in my life and I am now reaping the rewards of the strength He gave me to do this. It’s like I built an Ark when people said it couldn’t be done and there was no purpose. This is the ark of promise that I wore on my booty. My rear end is living proof that God still works. That’s no sacrilege, people. It’s the butt of the truth.

One of the most fun things for me during the show, besides watching my husband play onstage the kind of husband he really is, (except for the Yankee killing Johnny Reb his character was. We tend to be Union minded in this house. But the tender and passionate husband? My baby Matt is totally that kind of man!) was the fun of seeing people I hadn’t seen for several months. I look totally different. And back stage, Matt kept walking around grabbing my rear and asking people “Isn’t my wife hot? I love her! She’s sooooo fine!” I can’t deny that it was probably sickening to other people after the 2nd day of that, but Matt really is proud of all I have gone through to work for this, and he was determined to make sure I knew just how proud he is. It totally worked. Flirting is a pastime for both of us, and we got our fill this weekend.

In front of the house (which is the audience, for those of you who don’t speak theatre) I got to mingle with some of my very favorite people that I don’t see very often. The theatre world is rather funny. We call it having theatre friends. You see them every week for 2 months, then after a show is over, you don’t see them for 6 months. Or a year. Sometimes 2. So lots of folks who had seen me last theatre season had no idea that I had shrunk so much. And it was fun listening to the ones that have followed the blog (thank you ladies!) and got to see me in the flesh. The difference they saw and gushed over reminded me that every food choice I make, every mile I walk- it all makes a difference. Not only in my life, but in the ones around me. Inspiration is a powerful thing, and it’s nothing short of contagious. More contagious than swine flu. I am determined to work very hard this week to gain as much ground as I can to keep my momentum going.

Finally, I had an article in our local newspaper this weekend. I wrote it as a letter to the editor, but it was printed as its own article. Which is extremely flattering! Maybe I have a knack for this writing thing after all. Maybe one day, I’ll figure out how to get paid for it too!

OK, lots to catch up on after a busy weekend. Now that you are caught up, the house is next. But I need more coffee for that.

Cuppa Joe, I’m your baby now.

Thursday, October 22

Before meets Almost Finished

My dear wonderful readers…

Today is a big day for me. No, I’m not sharing my “big news” yet. What I am going to share with you is a very special picture.

Last year about this time, knowing full well that my doctor considered me “morbidly obese,” (because he wrote it on my chart. In front of me. LEGIBLY. Jerk.) I felt defeated. I felt like no matter how many pounds I lost in a week, or even a month, I would never get close to my goal weight. Or anything resembling a respectable weight.

What really depressed me is that I have to have surgery before I can have kids again. (My tubes were tied in my previous marriage. A decision I was NOT happy about.) I had to have a body mass index (BMI) of under 35 before I could ever be considered safe to have a tubal ligation reversal, and I was kissing a BMI of 41. I was going to HAVE to lose weight if I wanted the surgery to get pregnant again. (Before you ask-No, I’m not pregnant. I took a test last night and it was a no-go. Crazy to take a test, because I am sterile at the moment, yet I am ever optimistic and believe in miracles!) But if surgery is the route for us to get pregnant, I was never going to have a baby again, because I couldn’t lose weight. I tried, but other than a few pounds of what I am sure was water weight, I couldn’t do it. I was a big fat failure.

You all know that I weighed 238 at my heaviest documented weight. You know that I have been working for a little over 10 months seriously to get this weight off. And now, my fantastic supportive friends who love me and cheer me on…it is time for you all to see “THE ONE” picture that changed my life. After I saw this picture, taken last Christmas morning, I spent the next 3 days crying, screaming, and beating myself up. It is awful. And on the 4th day, when I looked at it, I decided to do something about it. I decided to get serious about losing weight and exercising. I found a tiny sliver of determination (which I am sure was the very last of what I had squandered for 10 years prior) and made a choice. I was going to lose weight.

And now…presenting for the first time in public view… is the worst picture of me EVER TAKEN. Quite possibly the worst picture taken of anyone- ever. I am swallowing my pride to show you the very bottom depths of my weight loss journey. This, my darling sisters in dieting, is where I started.

I am so thankful for this picture. Well, now I am. I hated it for several months. I never wanted to see how low I had gone (or count how many of my chins were hanging out) and wished it would disappear off our computer. I almost deleted it several times. But every time I tried, something inside me cried out “NO!!!!” I have learned to listen to that voice, so I never finished the deed.

A couple of nights ago, I was making a video of a song I wrote for a musician friend who is writing guitar for it (it being The Official Shrink Charlie’s Big Butt Theme Song…it’s a hoot, and we are recording it next week. I PROMISE I will post it as soon as we finish!) and when I watched the playback of the video, I noticed something. My face looked really weird. I didn’t look like myself anymore. It’s tough to notice change when you look at yourself in a mirror every day. But when you have a video and are looking directly at yourself, and it doesn’t look like you at all, you take notice.

So I snapped a couple of pictures of me mugging for the camera, and this was what I saw…

I have no idea who this girl is. She looks…well…she looks thin! What I would consider thin, anyway. Before anyone squawks about anything- let me say this. My body doesn’t look like the face. Not yet. But all of a sudden I realized that I had changed somewhere between the blisters and peeing on my mattress this morning. Because 4 weeks ago- I DID NOT LOOK LIKE THIS.

The reason I am rambling on and on about this is for one reason. I was the girl who couldn’t diet. I couldn’t lose weight. Never have. And I am guessing that some of you out there can relate to that. I bet some of you have said to yourself “I am just going to have to accept myself like this because I will never change.”

And I am here to tell you I know for a fact that YOU ARE WRONG.

You can do this. I’m not going to tell you that it will be easy, or that weight will come off quickly, but I will tell you that if you are determined enough to give it everything you have got…YOU CAN DO THIS.

As I was thinking about this strange girl invading my pictures and singing on the video, I remembered that very first awful, horrific picture. And I decided to put them side by side. I like having motivational pictures of myself floating around the house, taped on the fridge door, on the bathroom mirror…anywhere I walk by. As I was putting the pictures on the same page, I had some left over space on the paper. I decided to think of a phrase that would keep me working on my goal. I couldn't come up with one I already knew, so I made one myself. This was what I came up with:

When you believe in your dreams and face your fears,
You can change the things you face in mirrors.

Catchy, huh? But it speaks volumes to my weight loss story so far. I believed, just a teeny bit at first, that I might be able to do this. I faced my fears of exercise, yoga, sweat, and broccoli. I faced the emotional issues that have come up head on, and you have supported me through all of it.

Then one day, after thinking that I was stalled out and nothing was happening on the diet front- WHAM! That girl showed up, and my mirror was showing me someone that I had never met before. This woman, who was once the one who shied away from cameras and only wore black clothing hoping it would slim her, the woman who used to make power point projects to show while she sang on Sunday mornings so no one would look at how fat she was…this woman, who thought she would never change- she finally changed.

I am crying right now as I write this, because I wish I could show you how ripped open my heart is at the moment. I am proud of what has happened over the last year, but am lying flat out on the floor in humility because this journey would not have happened without 2 important things.

1. The grace and mercy of a God who decided to let me fall so far down by my own hand that I could only look to Him for help in losing weight. When I gave Him control over this area in my life and concentrated on one day at a time, He slowly and lovingly brought me up out of the pit- showing me unreasonable grace every single day of this uphill journey.

2. The faithful friends who have read my blog, commented, emailed, called, and generally loved the stuffings out of me through the whole thing. I MEAN YOU.

OK, I gotta get some Kleenex, because I am bawling at the moment. But you all have no idea how amazing this is for me. I want so badly to put into words what my heart is crying out, but I’m not sure how to word it. So, instead, I will say this.

"If you are in a pit caused by weight at the moment, let me love you like I have been loved. Let me cheer you on like hundreds of people have done for me on this blog. Let me cry with you, celebrate with you, and even eat with you. I want more than anything to pass on this gift to every single one of you. When you get to your finish line, I want to be the one there to give you cups of cold water and hang a medal around your sweet swan-like neck.

I am in the final stretches of my own race now, and I see you standing ahead, waiting for me to cross the finish line. I’m on my way, and soon we will REALLY celebrate. But for now, I’m running side by side with you, every step of the way. I am here for you."

I love you all, and you are more precious to me than all the gold, silver and Krispy Kremes in the world.

Keep running, my sweet sisters, keep running.

A Fish out of Water: Tales of the Morning After the Mile

I have to tell you about my morning. Because it will make you feel better. No matter where you are physically on your own weight loss journey, I promise this will help. But before I can tell you about my morning, I have to tell you about what happened Wednesday.

Yesterday I took the kids swimming at the YMCA. And I took their cousin with us, so my kids would be entertained in the pool and I could swim. It worked, and I had the opportunity to swim laps. Which is great for toning your body. And burning calories. And increasing your spending on Advil.

About a week ago, I managed to squeak out a half mile by swimming 18 laps. It didn’t wear me out, or make me hurt or anything. So yesterday, I figured “Charlie, you can walk 8 miles and not fall over. I bet you can swim one measly mile!" (36 laps) And therefore, mentally challenging myself to the gills (and boy is THAT a loaded statement) I took off like a shot in the water.

To clarify, I need to purchase goggles very soon, because I am a contact wearer. I am terrified that I will lose one of my precious eyepieces in the water, so I don’t swim like a swimmer should. I do a combination of “keeping my head above the surface Breaststroke” and a back stroke. The backstroke has always been my favorite way to swim, because I am fast. And the breaststroke opens my body up to stretch, much like the calming positions of Fat Girl Yoga, so I can extend my body and really work the muscles without harm.

Or so I thought.

I also have a huge problem keeping track of how many laps I have done. Any of you who have been to the Danville walking group will attest to that. I am constantly asking “What number are we on?” And we only do 5 laps at the mall. So as I am swimming, working very hard to remember what lap I am on, I figured out a solution. I started naming all the foods I could think of with a weight watcher point value of the lap I was on. (To quote Weird Al Yankovic, “Look at me, I’m white and nerdy!”) Once I got stumped on that, I started giving myself harder things like “name 15 kids from your 3rd grade class” and “what was your high school schedule when you were 17?” - tough stuff like that.

Once I finally got into my 20’s, I began thinking about each year of my life and thanking God for all the blessings I received that year. For example, when I was 22, I had my daughter, Amy. So I began to pray for her, for her future, for her husband who is growing up right now too, and things like that. Then I went on for each kid (which took care of 22 through 24) and then 25 through 32 were praying for my extended family, my marriage, friends, all of you who read my blog, and the book I am currently writing. (Dancing from Fat to Freedom. Shameless Plug.)

33 through 36 were nothing more than positive self talk. Stuff like “You can do this! You won’t sink because of your God-given flotation devices on your chest, so just move your legs and arms.” I finally got it done, and I was hungry and exhausted. (BTW- why DOES swimming make you hungry? I’ve always wondered that.) I shamefully admit that I wanted to brag to my friend Kent Nelson that I survived a mile. He is famous in Danville for his family’s elite pool club, and is high up on the national swim team board. He and I like to poke fun at each other, and I really wanted to make him proud.

And when it was all said and done, the adrenaline kicked in. I was elated that I had accomplished such a feat, and although I was tired, I felt great.

So great, in fact, that I decided to wear high heels to church later that night. I needed to see if they caused any blisters before Saturday night (when I attend my husband’s stirring and riveting performance in “Civil War: the Musical” and I’ll be dressing to the nines) and since my friend Jamie DeVore insists on the wonderment and captivating power of HIGH heels (not the little ones. We are talking make-you-as-tall-as-your-hubby high) I must give a shot at the highest ones I have got. Which means I need a trial run so I can still walk on Sunday morning. I wore the heels, no blisters appeared, and all was well with the world.

About 11pm last night, after much tom-foolery on facebook, I started to feel the pangs of a Charlie-horse. I took 3 advil and a Tylenol PM and went to bed.

Which brings us to this morning.

The advil wore off about 5am, and I (stupidly) tried to sleep through it. I love sleep. I love sleep more than being awake. But I had a really good reason for being so tired. I swam a mile! From 5am till the alarm started singing at 6am, I tossed and turned, trying to ignore the aches and catch “just 9 more minutes of sleep.”

At 6, I finally gave up and decided the need for more advil outweighed the need for more sleep. Plus, I really had to pee. I put my legs over the side of the bed and stood up.

Which was exactly when the Charlie-horse hit me full force.

Crippling cramps convulsed through my calf, curling my toes and catching me off guard. Because I also had to pee, and was taken by surprise by the cramp, I stood there unable to walk the 10 feet to my toilet, and peed right there on the side of the mattress and the floor. After using my robe as a roll of Charmin, I sat back down on my soggy side of the mattress and rubbed my poor leg. When the cramp finally passed, I tenderly walked to the bathroom to see if there was anything left in my bladder. It was in vain, because it was all on my bed and the floor.

I spent the next 20 minutes taking a towel to the bed and floor, attempting to minimize the damage. WHY, OH WHY didn’t I put the mattress protecting pad back on when I changed the sheets last week? “Because I am an adult and I don’t pee the bed.” (Those were my exact mental words at the time. Figures.)

And remember the whole issue of keeping the head above water? I couldn't kneel to wipe up the floor very well (lest I send my leg back into the vice of the Charlie-horse) so I was kind of gently bending from the waist. Which reminded my neck that it was also irritated. I couldn't look at the floor and move my neck, so I had to work sight unseen. (It was still dark anyway, because I was not going to wake up Matt and let him laugh at me. He would be allowed to laugh later.) My awkward position became something like blind maid doing the hokey pokey- keep your right leg straight, don't try to hang your head down, wipe the puddle to the left, now you shake it all about....

I then put the robe, pee soaked towel and my pride in a garbage bag so Matt wouldn’t notice it, laid another towel on my side of the mattress, and covered it with the comforter. I would deal with it later.

When it was all said and done, the kids missed the bus, I didn’t get their lunches packed, and I had to drive them to school. I also created enough work for myself to last me the whole morning.

But hey! I swam a mile yesterday!

Monday, October 19

Monday, Monday

Well, I gotta tell you. This weekend was full of surprises.

Like the surprise of figuring out it is possible to eat Pizza Hut on your diet if you don’t overdo it. And feeling the thrill of tackling 10 loads of laundry yesterday afternoon. Granted, they are sitting folded in towering stacks on the dining room table, but they are folded and clean!

And Saturday. The day that changed my life. I got some really exciting news (which you will be filled in on soon enough) that made me jump for joy and pee my pants. I only peed because of the jumping, or at least that’s the story I’m sticking to. But this news is big enough that it has rekindled some real fires in me to get things going again on the diet front.

Because let’s just say that I will be needing a new head shot soon. And I want it to look good. Really good. God has blessed me with an opportunity that I am still floored over, but am graciously and humbly accepting. Guys, this is the kind of “good thing” that Martha Stewart only dreams of.

So I’m going to give you the short list of some things I will be doing over the next few months in anticipation of this huge opportunity. PLEASE HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE! Email me, call me, whatever you need to do. Just make sure you remind me of this huge blessing that has dropped in my lap, and remind me not to sit on my laurels.

1. I am going to get a fitness assessment at the YMCA. This is crazy scary for me, but they make you do running and sit-ups and measure your body fat in a public room and all that jazz. I promise you will hear the results shortly after I do. But I figure not only will this help me figure out what I need to do for some maximum results, but it will also show me how far I have come. If I am still breathing at the end of it. Which is just a theory at this point!

2. I am going to work on keeping my chin zit free. This has nothing to do with dieting, but I gotta tell you. After I bragged about things being chintastic, God gave me a slice of humble pie with the most monstrous double hitter zits possible on my loverly new chin. It was a set of those undergrounders that have their own heartbeats. That’s what I get for showing off. (Maybe I’ll see if I brag about how huge my waist is if that works in my favor!) Any suggestions at how to do that would be greatly appreciated. I already have some Preparation H on it this morning, and have been putting Germ-X on it. It stings like a mother scratcher, but at least it helps dry it up and minimizes scarring. Anyhoo, it would be nice not to have to photoshop out a huge thing on my chin.

3. Arms!!!! I am going to focus on how to get the arms to firm up. My legs are looking great (wait, did I learn nothing from the chin fiasco?) -let me rephrase. The legs are toning up as to be expected, but the arms are not getting the workout the legs are. So I am going to be focusing on those wiggly jiggly jello arms of mine and see what can be done. As long as I keep burning fat, I should be able to tone them eventually.

4. GROW OUT MY HAIR. This is a toughie for me, because I tend to start hacking away when it gets to an annoying length. However, I want the hair to grow as much as possible over the next 4 months (which is about how long I have) so I can take a good headshot.

5. Finally, April Showers Blog Design is going to be revamping the blog in the next couple of weeks, so watch for some changes. They will probably just be there one day, but I’m not sure when yet. But OSCBB is going to undergo a new transformation, and I can’t wait for the changes to get here! Poor April has been up to her eyeballs in bloggy design and a job and a marriage and trying to lose weight, so it’s taken longer than I’d hoped. But trust me, she is totally worth the wait, however long it is. I’m patient. If it takes me another year to lose this last 35 pounds, I can handle that. Cause I am going to have a totally tricked out blog to keep me amused and enthused, thanks to April!!!

And there you have it folks! A list of my dieting to-do’s for the next few months. I am still working on 100 miles in October, and am half way there at 50 miles so far. But walking group will have to wait for a week, because my darling husband has tech week for a show he is in. That means I am stuck home with kids. So I’ll have to hit the treadmill instead of walking with the girls. But I’ll walk. I can do this, and I need this. Just 50 more miles to go!!!

So- what would you like to accomplish over the next few months?

Saturday, October 17

Charlie decides to CHILL OUT

So after much soul searching and frustration, I think that I just need a fresh start. I need to pretend like I haven’t lost a bunch of weight, and work it like I did in the very beginning. Also, I hear your sweet and thoughtful comments. I will lay off the salt and try not to weigh myself every day before I brush my teeth both times. Thanks for being there for me on a low day, and for understanding. You guys are the best!!!

OK, so a fresh start on dieting is in order. Which means once again ridding out all the crap food in my house and making sure that my cupboards are sparkly clean and filled with diet friendly food.

While preparing my shopping list for a huge trip to Wally-world, I opened the fridge to see what I needed.

For the record, I now only open the fridge 3 times a day, so it is slightly neglected. But this morning I realized that somebody (under 4 ft tall and not legally an adult yet) had put a pear, which was half eaten, on the top shelf of the fridge. It had since died, and thankfully the yuck smell wasn’t too bad. However- the pile of juice it was laying in was thicker than syrup and disgusting. I was not about to go through the drama of Walmart on a Friday only to put good food in a gross fridge.

Therefore I spent this evening cleaning it out.

Call me weird and crazy (wouldn’t be the first time for either) but cleaning out the fridge is not a simple job for me, mostly because I feel the need to inspect everything that’s in there. If it’s not dying or multiplying, I am compelled to keep it. If it still smells ok, it stays. If it’s the right color, chances are pretty good it will be served for lunch the next day. All of which mean that the process of ridding out food takes a while.

But the horror I found in the depths of the drawers and shelves caused me to react in a manner very much like this:

I could just feel the H1N1 breeding underneath the clear plastic drawers full of lonely carrot sticks from yesteryear and a home grown zucchini that had given up all forms of hope and succumbed to being a science experiment. Sad thing was, I couldn’t remember who had given it to us or more importantly- WHEN?

Thankfully, the Clorox wipes were bountiful, and the Mr. Clean cleanser was appropriately not watered down as I scrubbed the fridge till is sparkled. I even took a pipe cleaner to the corners and got the hard to reach places I have never gotten to before. I also soaked the shelves in the bathtub in hot soapy water until I was sure that any swine flu critters (or any other kind of virus breeding there) were totally washed away.


Cleaning out the fridge for me is pretty darn cathartic. Almost like church. After I spend hours washing away the grime and sludge of the food world, I put the food into a fridge that has been freshly baptized and made new again. It compels me to avoid the juices and corn syrup infused junk that will muck it up again, and stick with fresh fruits and veggies, and brand new gallons of skim milk. That still have their pink lids on them! (If you are wondering about that last one, my son never puts the lid back on, but always gets it into the fridge. I found 14 pink milk lids during tonight’s session. A new record. I am thinking of turning them into a necklace for him to wear…)

And it got me to thinking, (yes, yes, dangerous business…thinking.) maybe you all, for some reason, might be interested in seeing the foods that I purchase on a regular basis. OK, not the fruits and veggies, because those are a given. But the yummy diet foods that I wouldn’t want to live without. The stuff that I won’t let kids or husband TOUCH without threat of harm, lest I run out. (Just kidding. I don’t threaten them. Well, I do tell them that I won’t do the grocery shopping anymore. That usually straightens them up.)

So here are some pictures of my pantry, cupboards, and fridge foods I don’t wanna diet without.
First of all…

Special K Protein Drinks. These are great for those moments when I need to eat but don't really feel like it. (I can't believe I am saying that! Who would have thunk it?) I don't care for the French Vanilla flavor, because it reminds me of baby formula. But the Strawberry and Milk Chocolate are fantastic! I try to use these sparingly, because of the cost (like only 4 a week tops), but they are worth every penny!

Next is starting the smorgasbord. Special K Protein Meal Bars, and good old Orville and his 94% fat free popcorn. OK, the meal bars first. Since I started walking across my lovely town of D-Vegas (a name we natives have dubbed it), I found that these work fantastic for the nights that I don't want to feel stuffed, but still need energy. They aren't going to make you feel full, but they will give you what you need.

And Orville... I buy these because I still get hankerins for popcorn. This is a substitute for popcorn, to be sure, but after many bags, I don't think I could ever eat movie theater popcorn again and not feel yucky. The kettle corn version is tastier than the butter, but either works in a pinch.

I admit that I purchased Laughing Cow by merit of their commercials in the beginning. What I found was an extraordinary cheese spread that is FANTASTIC on reduced fat Wheat Thins. As you can see, I keep them stocked up. I would love to tell you that it's because they were on sale, (and they were) but I just can't get enough of this happy company's products! The French Onion is hands down the taste winner, and it's worth buying in bulk. Have YOU laughed today? hee hee

Another smorgasbord grouping. Low fat Honey Maid graham crackers is up first. They are just delicious. Need I say more? Next is Walmart's version of Special K Strawberry cereal. As good as the original, but cheaper! (I do love a good deal!) Yummy and filling. And finally, Spam Lite. OK, I know that this is odd, but it is very good warmed up with some lite syrup canned pineapple and a little BBQ sauce. It's a quick fix for an old fave and I make no apologies.

What you see before you is the beginning of my heavy hitters on the diet front. Quaker High Fiber oatmeal - Maple and Brown Sugar. Needs no extra sweetner, tastes grand (especially when I put a splash of my French Vanilla coffee creamer in it!) and holds off the hunger for 5 hours, easy. GET SOME. Also, a new find from Sam's, Arnold's Sandwich Thins. These are Multi Grain, and work well for a little lunch meat and a kiss of Hellman's Lite. It's not Cracker Barrel Sourdough, but that was just a pipe dream of mine. These are wonderful and will suit this calorie pincher just fine.

Smart Squeeze. There are 6 bottles of it in my fridge. This product, which we fondly refer to as "Pretend Butter," has it all. Or maybe I should say has nothing! No fat, very few calories, and still maintains a taste of butter that keeps this butter lover churning for more. (get it? I'm so punny!) If you haven't tried this yet, you must. I use it on my bags of Steamer Veggies with a little minced garlic for a vitamin rich meal even Richard Simmons would approve of! (for the rest of the family, I buy Country Crock Lite. Because I love them and their arteries.)

And finally, the only diet food I have thrown a fit for when Matt uses it all up- my favorite coffee creamer. I put this on bowls of fresh fruits with a little strawberry yogurt to make a yummy dip, use it in my oatmeal, and the cups and cups and cups of coffee...let's just say I am a bear when I don't get my coffee, and I will not drink coffee without this. I even pack the powdered version on trips so I won't be without it. It's that important.

So, I hope this helps some of you who are just starting out, or maybe stuck in a rut and want to try something new. It certainly helps me focus on the cores of my diet and helped me weed out the unnecessary junk I had laying around.

Now, I wanna know- what's in your pantry and fridge?

Thursday, October 15

Dieting through Disappointment

Well, I have to tell you that this has been one of the highest AND lowest weeks of my diet so far. I did something miraculous early on Monday- I actually weighed 175.6 and was 3 pounds less than Matt.

Then, the Olive Garden happened.

My Mom, Margaret the saint, had the best of intentions as she took me and the 3 kids on Tuesday afternoon to the Garden, and I didn’t over do it at all. Or so I thought, till I weighed myself later on that day.


Ug! Right back up there where I don’t need to be. And it seemed to hold me there for the rest of this week. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get back down to that 175 I had been aching for.
I know you all love me to pieces, and that is the only reason why I am about to share the next statement.

Prepare for Ugly Truths ahead.

I struggle with the thought of diet pills.

Whether it’s Dexatrim, Slimquick, or even the pills I got last year off the internet in desperation, I want so badly to take them.

But I don’t.

I dream that I will take a week’s worth of capsules and be past this plateau that keeps haunting me.

But I won’t.

Maybe it’s the commercials I see every day for a quick answer. Maybe it’s just lazyness and the fact that walking leaves me sore every night. Or maybe it’s just that I am sick of broccoli.

But I resist, every day.

I made a commitment in the beginning that if I was going to do this crazy diet thing, just one more time, I would do it only by my own sheer will. (And the help of God, cause I couldn’t have done it without Him.) But that means no pills, no gimmicks, no cheating by way of science or nutrition. No surgeries, no throwing up (although to be honest, I’ve had to fight that urge too, especially after a particularly crap meal), no starving myself.

That means facing food and exercise head on, and not ever taking a short cut. (I admit, the colon cleanse was interesting, but I really don’t consider that a dieting ploy. That’s just good health, people.)

So today, as I looked at the scale in disgust after walking 18 miles so far this week with no response from the scale, I once again had to fight the urge… “It sure would be easy if I could just take some pills.”

Yep. It sure would be. It would be great if I could just down some drugs and move on with the weight loss. It would be great if I could bypass all the self-doubt and disappointment I face every day as I struggle through this rough time of being stuck. If I could just throw it up, if I could just not eat at all…these are the things I am beginning to really fight.

At this point in the game, I wonder how much more I can lose. And I really want to know. But am I willing to do it with the assistance of chemicals and completely resign to my “need it now” attitude?

No. I won’t. Because the questions would remain: “Could I have done it all on my own? Would it feel better knowing I had done it without taking the short cut? If I hadn’t given in, what could I have accomplished?”

I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but I think that we need to talk about the raw emotional truths that everyone goes through. I know I am not the first person to struggle with these thoughts, and I want to know that this is an open forum to discuss these things.

So, although I am disappointed with the end of the week’s results on the scale, I’m going to continue to push through this, keep walking, and most of all-

I’m going to keep believing that I can do this. I can achieve this weight loss if I work hard, stay motivated through the rough times, and keep walking forward.

What are some struggles you guys are having with dieting? How do you keep yourselves from getting discouraged? What gets you through the disappointment?

Tuesday, October 13

The Adventures of Stop It and Quit It

(Hillary reminded me that this month is breast cancer awareness month. Sure, OK, we will go with that as the reason for this post!)

Well, my last post caused quite a stir, and I had no intention of doing that. It was the mere mention of my right breast, Quit It, that caused the ruckus. Not the boob part. You every day readers are used to my rantings and ravings about the boobs. It was the fact I have named her that seemed to get the giggles.

So, today, in honor of my friend Hillary and her Mr. Linky blog hop (I had no idea what that was either till I looked it up.) I was challenged to post something really crazy. That’s the theme of the blog hop today. So crazy you are gonna get. After all, you regular readers know that your old pal Charlie here is the queen of crazy. I wear my crown proudly.

And in my humble estimation, there is nothing crazier than a man’s fascination with boobs. After all, as women we have lost our allure of the idea of a boob. It serves as 3 basic functions in a woman’s life.

Those functions are as follows-

1. A source of humiliation in high school. They are either too big or too small. Or maybe they are too pointy. Whatever your problem was, you figured out exactly what it was in high school. Am I right?

2. A source of nourishment for those of us with natural born children.

3. Something resembling cat toys for the men in our life.

Yep, that’s about it. Sure there are temporary functions for the girls- purse, napkin, leaky faucet, etc., but pretty much the 3 above mentioned jobs are the mainstay role of our girls.
What weirds me out is every man in the world (with a lick of horrormoans left in him, anyway) seems to be drawn without reproach to the mounds of droopy flesh- I mean God given gifts on our chest. They stare, stalk, and even once in a while manage the courage to reach out and touch them. Hence the names of my breasts.

I spent the majority of high school career was smacking the eager hands of young boys, crying out “Stop it! Quit it!” until they knocked it off. The names just stuck.

Recently, Stop It and Quit It took a trip south. Partly because of the weight I have lost, partly because of breastfeeding 3 greedy babies, but mostly due to gravity. Gravity is a cruel mistress, as many of you know. My boobs once pointed to Canada. Now, they are kissing South America. And striving for Antarctica. Which would be my feet. They ARE always cold. Coincidence? I think not.

Yet my sweet husband seems to be endlessly entertained by Stop It and Quit It. In fact, lately, with the emergence of my slightly new and improved body, he has a new hobby. Everytime he passes me going from one room to another, he has to touch one. Just for a second. If the kids are in the room, it’s just a “bump” into one. But if the kids are in bed, heaven help me, I get mauled to death by happy hands and a dumb grin on his face.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for the attention. But sometimes, it just gets annoying. You know? I have things to do, and if I am carrying a laundry basket of clothes to my scary basement, I really don’t want to take 2 minutes to let him play. I am seriously considering carrying around a set of pink water balloons and telling him, “I’m going shopping. Have fun!” He would never notice I was gone.

But to be honest, I love my boobs and would be lost without them. I wouldn’t know how to dress, or how to flirt with my fella. I’d spend a lot more money on pedicures if I could actually see my toes in their absence, I suppose. I just wish they didn’t look like a leg of a pair of suntan panty hose with a cantelope shoved in the bottom. If they just looked me in the eyes once again, I’d be happy.

In summary, and to be honest, I can’t remember if I have shared this story on the blog before or not, I had one of those great “my kid just kicked me in the teeth with reality” moments.
I had clean laundry in the living room, and Tim, who was 6 at the time, was sitting watching TV in there. So I streaked, topless, to the clean clothes basket. Tim didn’t give me a second glance. Until I went back in the bedroom with a clean bra and shirt and began dressing. He called from the living room, “Hey, Mom? Why did God give women long boobs?”

Sometimes, you just can’t argue with the truth.

Monday, October 12

On the Heels of a Hipster

Well, it’s nice to report some exciting news here at the Big Butt home office. First of all, after a long week, I was able to clock in 24 miles for 7 days. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself! Apparently, now that I am lighter, I need more concentrated exercise to get the pounds off.

Which leads me to exciting thing #2. We got a membership back to the YMCA! The Executive Director was on my plea for a membership like a hawk, and we got things worked out so my family can afford it. Mostly. We will figure it all out, but it is certainly much more affordable.

Onto exciting thing 3. Yesterday, I walked an amazing 7 miles! It was awesome, and when I got home I was stinky and thrilled. (For some reason, Matt asked me to shower before a congratulatory hug. I wonder why?) The walk itself went very smooth. Except when I had to pee on mile 2 ½. I figured I would be able to hold it until I got to the mall, but that didn’t happen. So I had to find somewhere to pee quickly. My choices were Wendy’s, a liquor store (and they don’t have a public bathroom, just in case you need to pee and are in the area), Dairy Queen (Please shout in unison “EVIL!”) and FINALLY, when I was about to burst- Subway. The only store in a 3 mile radius that doesn’t serve fries. Yeah, I am that susceptible to fast food. I admit it. It’s an addiction. Other than that, the walk was great, and I even managed to jog about every 10 blocks or so.

Then we got to go to a real grown up party. My husband worked on an indie film called “Revolting” and last night was the premiere of the “rough cut.” There were still a few things that had to be added, and over all, the film was incredibly funny.

(A special kudo to the star of the film Bill. You were freaking awesome, my friend. I thought your subtleties were amazing, and I was snorting with laughter. Which was awkward, since we were sitting next to each other. Thank heavens you realized I was laughing and not trying to play off a cold! Now get caught up Project Runway, you slacker!)

(By the way, if ANY pictures of me surface from the party- I was sober, I was posing, and there was absolutely no hanky panky going on. I am a woman who enjoys being silly, and if you see the pictures, my husband and his buddy Eric were goofing off. They were both uh, not so sober, and it was cracking me up. So I played along, for the fun of it. I’m not uptight, so you can’t be either!)

But in my vanity, I re-wore the shoes from last weekend. The blistery shoes, as you may recall. Even though the blisters were gone, I have to admit that I should never have worn the dumb things. Fabulous as I looked, they weren’t worth the pain. Especially after that long walk.

So today all my grandiose plans to get whipped into shape were thwarted by a bum hip. I must have pushed it out of alignment with all the heel action I had going last night. And taking advantage of a less than slightly schnokered Matt. Hee hee…

The majority of my day was spent in a mental game of chess with myself. Should I walk? Should I stay home with a heating pad on my hip? Should I try a mile on the treadmill? Should I reheat the left over Chinese food in the fridge? Unfortunately, that last one won, so I ate horribly fattening food to compensate for the hip. I ought to know better by now.

Which is frustrating, because this morning, I saw 176.4 AGAIN on the scale. I am still officially off the plateau, but even so, I shouldn’t be touching Pork Lo Mein with a 10 foot chop stick, and I know it. I need to stay away from it.

I finally, after eating a good portion of the left over Chinese, decided I should try to do a Yoga DVD. Which made my hip feel better. Dang it. Now I feel obligated to walk.

Finally, last order of business from the Big Butt office, is that tonight, I am altering my navy bathing suit AGAIN! Seems that the body has really started shifting, and my right breast, commonly known as “Quit it” since high school, decided to shift right out of the dumb suit while swimming at the Y on Friday. The life guard- young, cute, and probably 19, got a show. Quit it was floating out on the water like a life raft 3 feet long. He couldn’t miss it. It’s his job to stare at the water, and stare he did. Till I shot him a look like “Will you please turn your head?” He did, but slowly. I couldn’t tell if it was out of shock or horror. It’s funny, I know. You all laugh at my escapades, but I have to live through them!!!

So let me know what your plans are for this week. What are you going to do to get healthy? What changes are you going to make to improve your life this week? What will you attempt to do?

And check back later this week to find out the winner of the Sentsy contest. I’ll be picking the winner sometime this week.

As for the moment, I’m going to jump on the treadmill before the hip starts hurting again. Work off a little more tonight. Cause it says it in Hewey Lewis and the News song-
It’s Hip to be Sore!

Wednesday, October 7

Little pig, little pig, let me in!

Tonight I was doing the usual check yourself out in the mirror game. I love watching the body change as it goes from fat to less fat. And I noticed that the chin has gone through some dramatic transitions.

Here’s me (with no makeup on and feeling quite pathetic) in January of this year.

Now, here’s me, on October 7th, looking somewhat different. Albeit still no makeup.

I was so surprised at what has happened over the last 10 months! I actually had a jaw line under there! Who knew?

Until, I realized on the first picture taken tonight (not shown here) that a long black hair had mysteriously grown on my chin. Like a proud whisker attempting to get other hairs to join in the fun and drive me to madness.

Now, I have accepted the fact that I am getting older. No problem. I am more than a year past my 20’s, and it’s all right.

(Brace yourself. Unfiltered Charlie thoughts to follow. You have been warned.)

But why is it that now I have to add insult to injury with random pubic hairs on my chin?

At least I understand the path they take. It starts on the goodie patch. The constituents residing there take a vote.

“All in favor of turning white and seeing how bad she freaks out tomorrow morning, say aye!”

92% are in favor.

“All those opposed, say nay!”

And the poor 8% who are unyielding to change are sent abroad.

Abroad being my belly button. Which is where they stay until they can find a more permanent place to reside. Or I get the tweezers out while I’m on the pot and pluck them out. (DO NOT EVER SHAVE YOUR BELLYBUTTON. EVER.)


Once they realize that the belly button is no longer the safe haven it once was, they start to migrate up, maintaining their dark mysterious appearance. They also straighten up along the way. I have found them on my shoulders, my tummy, and even once on my boob. But they are all migrating solo, and once I find each brave little lonely hair, the tweezers attack.

Finally, 4 lucky ones wind up on my face. I have 2 that persistently grow front and center on my chin every 3-4 weeks, in the exact same spot, like a Howard Johnson for wayward hairs. Yeah, apparently I left the light on.

The other 2 are placed exactly where I cannot see them or notice them until I am somewhere in the sunshine. It also seems to always be in a crowded area filled with people I know. Now, one is directly on the left side of my face. What I can’t understand is how did I apply my makeup without noticing that inch long rouge? Did it grow immediately after I walked away from the mirror that morning? Was there something in my Oil of Olay that resembles Miracle Grow?

The other one is about 3 inches below the hair on the left side of my face. I’m actually happy about this, because 10 months ago, it was on my face/double plus chin. Lately, it grows on the underside of my chin/neck. So I’m not going to gripe about that one. It’s fun to see how far onto my neck the dumb thing grows now.

But the worst part of all is that these hairs, wherever they land, are impossible to pull out with your fingers. You can’t yank on them, because they are jammed in the follicle with the body’s equivalent of super glue. The only way to attack these pesky boogers is with a tweezer, which I never seem to have with me at the moment of discovery. I keep telling myself to leave a set in the car, so when the sunshine hits and that black beauty starts sparkling on the side of my face like a diamond, I can remove it before anyone else notices. But that hasn’t happened yet. SO instead, I pull and yank and claw at the thing until I have a huge red spot on the spot that further highlights the location of said pube on the face.

All of this to tell you that I retook the pictures of my chin tonight, once the hair was plucked out. I just wanted you to know, in case it has happened to you, that you are not alone. I wanted to let you in on my secret.

‘Bout the hair on my chinny chin chin.

Tuesday, October 6

Busting at the seams

Well, it’s about time I shared some good weight news with you all, huh?

This morning, after 2 months of my crybaby dieting, I FINALLY busted through the plateau I have been on since the beginning of August.

Yep, I reached the magical number of 176.4, and I gotta tell you- it feels fantastic!

In spite of yet another Butter Burger from Steak ‘n Shake, a piece of birthday cake, an entire can of French Fried Onions, and a whole mess of other crap foods in the last 7 days, I managed to pull myself out of my slump by the boot straps and work through it.

But I’ll be honest with you. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.

In fact, I was trying to figure out a way to gracefully bow out of the blog, because I was feeling like a horrible example for you all to watch. I was almost ready to chuck it all, when I made one last final ditch effort to change the scale. And that effort was exactly what I needed.

What in the world did I do?

Besides going back to food journaling (if I bite it, I write it. Food choices look much more shocking on paper) I started pushing myself after walking group to walk home from the mall, giving me an additional 2.8 miles after we cruise through 2.5 miles at the mall.

Yeah, I forced myself to walk 5.3 miles 3 times a week. And you know what? It was just the kick in the stretchy pants this girl needed. Now, I don’t recommend that you do the same, as poor Lee Ann and Kara discovered last night. I’m sure after our jaunt home that they are hurting like holy heck this morning. Sweet kids. Advil makes it all better, I promise!

But for me, I needed to give that extra push to get things moving. Plus now I can say that I am officially at a 62 pound loss. And still going. Because now that I have hit that number, ain’t nothing gonna stop me now. I feel totally refreshed and restored. (Well, more like re-sored. I hurt a bit too.)

So the Lotte Berk experiment was a total bust. And the couch to 5K didn’t work out either. I’m just not a runner. It doesn’t feel good to me, and after weeks of hanging on to the frail skills I had for week one, I finally gave up.

But walking- that is something I can do. And I enjoy it. A lot. I even enjoyed going a full 6 miles!

So instead of giving myself a ridiculous goal that I can’t do and don’t enjoy, I am going to stick with walking. In fact, I am going to try to get in 100 miles of walking in the month of October.

Which I know, sounds like one of my crazy hairbrained Lucy schemes. But walking is easy. And if I can plow out 5 miles 5 times a week, then I can do it. And I already have 11.3 miles under my belt. Which means I am over one tenth of the way there.

On the days when I don’t feel like walking (like today, when it’s cold and rainy outside) I will just hop on the treadmill and do it one mile at a time. There’s nothing that says it has to be in one big swoop. It’s kinda like the scale. You can’t expect to drop 10 pounds over night. You have to do it one pound at a time. Sometimes one ounce at a time. And other days, you just can't give up, no matter what the scale says.

So that’s the word, bird. I’m on my way to the land of 160’s. And I can’t wait to get there.

It’s nice to be busting at the seams because of shrinkage instead of the alternative!

Sunday, October 4


It all started with my favorite pair of shoes. I love these dumb things, and I only wear them on special occasions. And my nephew’s 3rd birthday bash was just such an occasion.

It also meant that I was going to have to get a different outfit. I am slowly slipping out of the clothes I have, and I needed something with style. Fashion bug had this great deal that you could get clothes for $4, and that is most definitely in my price range. And I just happen to find a pair of jeans that made me look long and lean, and a vest to match. I had this cute black and white stripe shirt that I had purchased a month back at Family Dollar for $2 that would be perfect under the vest. But the jeans were a touch too long, because they didn’t have the petite length I needed. So I had to wear heels or the whole long and lean look would be bunched together at my ankles. And if I’m wearing black and white, then my favorite homemade decoupaged shoes were the only choice that would be the wow statement I was looking for.

As I put the finishing touches on getting dressed before our 2 hour car ride, I ran into the kitchen to get another cup of coffee. That was when Matt, with a goofy grin and one eyebrow raised for emphasis, hit me with these words.

“Wow, babe, you look thinner today than the day I met you.”

OK, now most of you know that I am a woman of passion. I get passionate about all kinds of things. But those words were enough to stop this girl dead in her high heeled tracks and made me want to grab him by the face and kiss him into eternity. But we didn’t have time for that, because we had long car trip ahead of us and had to get on the road. Those words would make me sqirm in my seat the entire day.

We got to Indianapolis without a hitch. I haven’t seen a lot of Matt’s family for a good amount of time, which meant that I had lost weight since last time we got together. The heels I was wearing (plus the girdle holding in my tummy) reminded me to stand up straight and proud. Matt and I were flirty all day, coyly holding hands under the table and stealing away in other rooms to sneak kisses. C’mon, people, he told me I looked thinner than he had ever seen me. What would you expect me to do? Ignore a comment like that and act like normal married people? Heck no, the gloves were off, and were dancing the romance dance all day long.

The adorable nephew was highly overstimulated during his party, as any 3 year old hopped up on birthday cake, sugar and chaos will be, and he was beyond funny. He even loved Matt’s gag present to him- a framed picture of the little guy’s “favorite” uncle- my sweet Matt. Here’s the picture. It made the fella dance up and down and scream “Unka Gee, Unka Gee!” (which is what he fondly calls Matt.)

And the entire day was a blast. Until I realized that the shoes weren’t having as much fun as the rest of us were. In fact, the shoes, which I never dared wear for such a long stretch, were complaining by rubbing the balls of my feet, just under the toes.

Have you ever heard the old saying that if you have big problems you want to forget about then put on a pair of shoes that are too tight? Well, that saying couldn’t be more true. By 5 o’clock, my 7th hour into wearing my black and white beauties, my feet were screaming. And no amount of flirting with my husband could make me forget it.

So I started hinting around to Matt that we should be taking off soon. All I could think about was getting those shoes off before I blistered the part of my foot that was so involved in walking 5 miles during exercise time. But Matt, thoroughly having fun talking (yeah, he’s a talker) seemed to not hear me. So I started giving him “the look.”

The look is an art form, to say the least. All of you wives know what the look is, but it also progresses drastically as the husband doesn’t get it. Let me explain.

Charlie’s Look 1- Hey, babe, we probably need to head out to the van soon. It’s about that time for us to go.

Matt’s rebuttal look to Look 1- Aren’t we having fun?

Charlie’s Look 2- Seriously, sweets, we should go soon.

Matt’s Look 2- Ah, this sure is great that we can sit and talk for hours! There’s still so much to say!

Charlie’s Look 3- Matt, my feet hurt and I want to go home!

Matt’s Look 3- I’m sure you are trying to tell me something, but I don’t get it. I’ll keep talking and start another very interesting part of the conversation that wild horses couldn’t drag me out of.

Charlie’s Look 4- Dang it, man, my feet are blistering. I need to take my shoes off so we can go, because if I take them off in the house, I’ll have to walk out in the cold rain barefoot because once they are off they won’t go back on without really hurting me!

Matt’s Look 4- Isn’t this fun?

Charlie’s Look 5- Listen, buster, you aren’t going to reap the rewards of all our flirting if you get a hernia because you have to carry me into the house because my feet fell off in the van. Let’s move.

Matt’s look 5- Charlie, you look weird. Is there something in your eye? Are your contacts drying up?

Charlie’s Look 6- I am going to start crying like a baby if we don’t leave in the next 10 minutes.

Matt’s Look 6- Wait a minute. I've seen that look on you before. Is something wrong?

Charlie’s Look 7- Yes, something is wrong! I WANNA GO HOME!

Matt’s Look 7- Oh, you want to go home? Ok, we will leave in the next hour or so.

Charlie’s Look 8- I can’t stand to be here another hour. I love your family to death, and they are wonderful, but my feet hurt and we need to go NOW!

Matt’s Look 8- Isn’t this fun?

At this point, I realized that non-verbal communication was getting us nowhere. I finally said out loud, “Hey, babe, we really should get a move on. The kids will need to eat soon, and it’s time.”

Once we were finally in the van, 45 minutes later, Matt said, “Hey, what was that all about?”

“Well, my feet hurt, and we have a long drive ahead of us, and I was hoping to walk tonight, and your sister is pregnant and I’m sure she is getting tired because they had a lot to do before the party and we really needed to get out of there so they could wind things down and get some rest. Plus your nephew was getting really sleepy and he missed his afternoon nap and was running on empty.”

Matt looked at me with a sideways glance and said, “Oh, I didn’t think of that. OK, then, we are on our way!”

Apparently, I need to work on my looks. Sitting in the van, I removed my beautiful shoes to reveal a HUGE blister on the side of my foot, right where I try to avoid getting corns, and rubbed the spot with a gentle hand. The sound of the windshield wipers swooshing as the rain outside poured down was comforting.

Matt, being the loving husband he is, said “Well, we better hurry home if you are going to get your 5 mile walk in.”

As I swatted him in the arm, the van swerved to the left a little.

Today, the morning after, the foot is better, but my tennis shoes still not fitting right. The 5 mile walk may be painful tomorrow night.

The price we pay for beauty, huh?

Friday, October 2

Persuased to Perfection

Who is it, exactly, decided that we have to be perfect? That every woman has to be the same kind of thin? That every week you diet you must lose weight or you are doing something wrong?

Whoever it was, I would love to wring their neck.

I have decided today to buck the perfection trap. I am standing firmly against the idea that you must have your hair just so, that makeup has to be applied, and that when you do something it has to be right on.

I am not a piano player, as you will shortly experience. I play chords. That's it. And for today, I'm OK with the ability I currently possess.

I started walking 5 miles 3 times a week. And this week, I didn't lose weight. I'm 178 at the moment. And I'm OK with the fact that I am hanging in there even though I don't see results right this second.

I didn't feel like putting on makeup today. And you know what? I am fine with you seeing my face without the fake eyelashes and concealer. I also didn't fix my hair before this. I'm a mess. And this mess is just fine with bangs that don't stay where they are supposed to.

I look goofy when I sing and play piano. I hesitate when I can't find the chords on the keyboard that is laying on my bed. In fact, I have to start over just when I was getting started. (That is SOOOOOO much like my dieting life!) But the song itself speaks louder than my mistakes.

This song, which I shared the lyrics to earlier this week, is from the deepest parts of my heart. It's to encourage us to take the small steps when it doesn't seem like we are going anywhere. It reminds us to keep working for the things we want, even though those things seem far out of our reach. It tells me to not demand perfection all the time, but to travel on the hard roads that will benefit me better than a quick fix.

I wish I could give you a perfected version of this song, but that would totally defeat the purpose of what I am trying to say. So- you get the real, imperfect, not fancy me playing the best I can and singing from the most personal places that I have. And while it looks like I am staring directly at the camera for part of this song, I am simply keeping my eyes on my music. Cause I suck at remembering what chords to play.

You deserve honesty, and this is as raw as the truth can get. But the point is that we keep moving forward in spite of our lack of perfection.

It almost feels freeing to post this as is, screw ups and all.

Maybe next time, I'll show you all how bad my stretch marks are on my tummy... if there's a chance it will help me accept my imperfections there, count me in!

This Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking Blog Was Designed by April Showers Blog Design