Friday, January 29

"Wet" Dreams. (This is so not what you think...)

I am not going to write a lengthy blog post today. I gained 4 pounds (last time I looked anyway) and was back up to 174. Ug. I am so not proud.

And I am pathetically tired this week. I haven't slept well, but all I can think about is sleep. I'm pooped! So I am going to curl up on the couch till the munchkins get home from school and maybe shortly after they get home from school and SLEEP. I can hardly keep my eyes open right now! (I just made a pot of coffee too, but I'm going to leave it alone till after my nap.)

But this morning, as the kids woke me up at 7am to get them ready (which is later than I like, but it wasn't crazy late) I sat on the couch in a stupor, trying to get my body to wake up. It wasn't happening, but I was trying. And I realized I had to pee like a race horse.

So I got up and tried to hurry to the bathroom, and 2 things happened,

A. I realized that I had already dribbled in my pants while sleeping cause I was THAT tired, and was having dreams about being stuck in Noah's ark


B. I KEPT dribbling in my pants with every single step to the bathroom. By the time I got in there, it was pretty much pointless for me to sit down.

It was a fantastic way for me to wake up, jah?

So after a frantic morning, and taking my Grandma to the doctor, and having her ask me if I was preggers (which she was more than happy to suggest cause she's a comedianne like me and she likes to get my goat) and me declaring that it was impossible unless it was a miracle growing back together of my fallopian tubes, I am anything but energetic. I'm down right spent.

I'm going to take a nap.

But- it got me to thinking- have any of you ever had anyone ask you when your baby was due when you weren't pregnant? Just wondering if I was the only one... how did you respond to them?

I'll read your comments when I wake up.


Wednesday, January 27

Charlie VS The Abdominal XL1400

You all know I am neurotic. But ‘ya love me anyway. Thank heavens.

Because after torturing myself exercising at the YMCA yesterday morning, I think that I should address some of my deepest fears, and I can only do that knowing full well that you love me unconditionally. And that maybe you might be a little neurotic too. That helps soften the blow. Ok, so the fears. They are, in no particular order…

1. The sound of knocking on doors. It freaks me out and makes me want to toss my cookies.

2. I am not afraid of spiders or mice. I am terrified of rats and dogs.

3. I am afraid of my bra straps breaking in public and needing liability insurance to cover the damage. (Don’t look at me like I’m crazy. I almost lost an eye once to a snapping strap. It’s a serious fear!)

4. I am afraid of scary exercise machines. Big ones that pinch body parts.

5. I am afraid of other women judging me. (again, a completely justified fear)

6. I am afraid of pain.

One of the wonderful things about this blog is that I have learned not to care so much about the whole “other women” aspect. In fact, I have gained much ground in this department! I am learning that conversations with one or 2 other girls is a blessing for me. I get to practice my “Charlie being normal” skills, and create deep friendships that hopefully will last a life time. In fact, when we finally do get to move out of our teeny crappy house, my goal is to open up times when women can drop in to talk. About weight, about life, about fears… whatever they need. No appointment necessary, just come on in and talk to me. That’s the plan, and I will let you know as soon as I get to that point. It will be my less than glamorous gift to society and to the greater Vermillion County area.

But till then, my goal is to meet women out and about. And yesterday I had that opportunity when I met an old friend Micky and good ‘ole Lee Ann at the YMCA for a Tuesday morning of working out. Micky has been one of those people in my life that I have never NOT known. She and I grew up together in a small country church. We always got into all kinds of trouble- I was the one with a plan, and she was the one with the guts to do it. Or the sensibility to know if we got caught and it was a spanking worthy crime- she would talk me into doing it. Some of my most adventurous childhood memories are with her. And she fits right into our little group.

And of course- Lee Ann. My solid rock, the one who you can always count on to be there cheering for you. And doing things right next to you. She faces fear head on- even if it’s not pleasant at first- but she gets the thang done.

So, we started off on the treadmills, talking and walking. I wasn’t showing off, but I figured if I was there, I was going to work my body. I know not everyone can do the things that I do, cause I have a year of weight loss and **cough* * exercise experience under my belt, which is questionable at best. I bumped the speed up to 4mph and power walked. It did get me warmed up all right, and pretty soon I was huffin and puffin. So I turned the speed down to a reasonable 3 mph (a good walking pace- about what we do at the mall) and cranked the incline up to 11. No, really, I did. It actually goes up to 12.

After we walked and talked for about a half hour, we decided to hit the “easy, girl” machines. Those are the ones that are very simple to use, where you don’t actually see the weight you are working. It just has a pin that you push in to increase the weight. Again, with Micky and Lee Ann there, I felt compelled to push myself. Mostly because it did feel good to know I could still pull off a good workout. So I really tested my strength with the machines. I even got the shoulder and back machine on the highest weight setting for about 8 reps. I couldn’t do it after that, so I eased it up a bit and kept repeating the movement. And I did the all the machines.

Except for the sit up bench. I HATE SIT UPS. Although, we all know how I feel about my tummy. So sit ups should be my best friend.

But hey! There’s a machine for that!

And now, I would like to introduce you to the Abdominal XL1400.

She’s a beast, ain’t she?

So I walked over bravely to the ab machine, and once Micky was done with it, I hopped on. And I thought about my icky tummy, and decided I wasn’t going to cheat on this machine.

Now- machines are not built specifically to people with certain body types. They are built to serve the average build of the population. I am anything but average when it comes to my body style. Here’s the run down of my body:

I am aerodynamically incorrect because of the huge ta-tas.

I have shorter arms than most people.

Because of the size of the ta-tas, much of my abdominal section is devoted to mammary glands, and I have very little actual length in the torso.

I have short legs.

So you are supposed to sit on the Abdominal XL1400 and put your chest against a cylinder of foam while holding it from underneath with your arms, hook your feet under the foot rests, and push forward, like you are sitting forward, or in essence, doing a sneaky sit up.

Problem is, the free rolling foam that you are supposed to push your chest against was hitting right where the bulk of my boobs were. And between the gravity induced pliability and flexibility of the boobs (even harnessed as they were), they kept rolling right off the foam cylinder and I couldn’t get it comfortable. Or stable. If I wanted to hold it from underneath, it would have required an extra 8 inches in arm length. And about 5 less cup sizes. There was no way I could reach around and get a tight hold.

Add to that the fact my stubby little legs didn’t quite reach the place I was supposed to brace my feet. So I would try to push forward and my legs ended up losing their hold and slipped out and flew upward.

I know it sounds confusing, so picture it this way. Charlie is sitting on a bench holding a 70 pound slippery fish trying to push it forward and her knees kept jumping up to her eyebrows.

That’s pretty much how it looked.

After rolling around on the foam part, I finally realized that the only way I would ever get this machine done was if I scooted to the very edge of the seat, with my butt on only an inch of the intended place, threw my arms OVER the foam roller thing, and hiked my bra up so my boobs were sitting on top of my shoulders.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Sitting there in the middle of a packed gym, I adjusted my bra to the highest setting, and laid them on top of the roller thing. All the old man working out next to me could see were my eyeballs and the butt of my cleavage shoved between my trembling arms.

I got my feet close enough under the foot brace that if I hung on with my toes, the legs would stay put. It was awkward and uncomfortable, but it was still better than conventional sit ups.

And I pushed forward like there was no tomorrow. Once I finally got the placement of all body parts right, I figured out I could do a whopping 80 pounds on that machine! And it impressed me. Of course, most of that was the sheer force of the boobs pitching me forward, but I didn’t care. I had bested that machine, and I was proud of myself.

Today, I can’t move. Not really. I can keep my elbows at my side, but it hurts to lift my coffee cup to my mouth. And walk. And breathe. And be productive.

But we can say it loud and proud! We worked out yesterday!!!!

Sunday, January 24

How to go from Glamour Queen to Poop Princess in 24 Hours or Less

So Saturday night, Matt and I got to attend a surprise birthday party for a dear friend of ours, Greg. He was turning 50, and that calls for a celebration!!!

Celebrations- in my mind, anyway- are a reason to get hussied gussied up and go for broke. ’Cause it drives Matt out of his mind when I do that, and that makes us even.

I made a random stop by Fashion Bug on Friday, and found the little black dress that every girl wants but can never find. Even more important was the cut of the dress, which so wonderfully camouflaged the tummy that no girdle was necessary! Normally I wouldn’t wear a sleeveless dress, but I had a great sweater that my dear friend Cross had given me a few months back that covered the arms and still showed the cleavage. Which Matt appreciated. He’s quite the boob man. And I am totally fine with that. Cause my butt isn’t exactly lovely. So the dress accentuated the positive, and eliminated the negative torture of lycra. Gotta love it when the planets align like that and you hit the perfect storm of a dress.

Now, one thing that I have been toying around with is my hair. OK, not MY hair, but I purchased it fair and square. I got these great hairpieces a few weeks ago, and have been trying them on in different situations. I don’t have the patience to grow my hair out long, so the pieces have all the benefits of long hair without waiting 3 years for it. I like instant gratification, if you haven’t guessed already. And if you can’t wear extensions to a party with a gaggle of theatre people, where can ya wear one???

(And I already know the answer to that. You can wear wigs to a dinner with old high school girlfriends. Not to a funeral a few days later- where my friend Abby asked me, “Where did all of your hair go?” and I smiled and said, “I left it at home…”)

OK, so I got all “Dolly-ed” up, and even managed to pull off a nice set of hooker Smokey eyes with the makeup. Complete with falsies. (C’mon, not THOSE kinds of falsies. I don’t need those. I’m talking “you gotta bat your eyes, like dis” kinda falsies. Eyelashes!) Add those to the makeup to the hair and the dress- Matt was in heaven. I love driving that man wild! It wasn’t like I could have gone on the street and made a buck, but if I had met Richard Gere, I could have attended an opera with him… as long as it was dark…

There’s something to be said for feeling beautiful on the inside AND the outside. I don’t normally get those nights when I feel like a million bucks. But I was a pretty good Target imitation of what I was aiming for. In the immortal words of my hero Dolly Parton in her book My Life and Other Unfinished Business- “I must have looked like a Cadillac some hillbilly had fixed up with mud flaps and spinners and pimp wheels. In my own mind, I was dressed to kill, or at least seriously injure.” Yeah, that was definitely me on Saturday night. And I felt like the bell of the ball. Totally overdressed for the occasion, but the looks I kept getting from Matt reminded me that I was all his, and he was just fine with that, and he enjoyed the view.

We arrived home about midnight, and settled in for a few episodes of one of our favorite shows, Dr. Katz. And then we called it a night. I will NOT discuss my sex life on this blog. That is a commitment I made long ago because I am keeping our marriage bed pure. It’s for Charlie n’ Matt to enjoy alone. But I WILL say that he has earned his nickname of PC (Prince Charming) because he gives me butterflies galore. And those butterflies were flapping like mad Saturday night.

So, fast forward to this morning. Being in the afterglow of a wonderful evening when I felt glamorous and fabulous, the coffee tasted 10 times sweeter this morning. But MAN, that kitty litter was reeking! The kitchen smelled awful!

Until I realized- it was NOT the kitty litter. The sewer had once again backed up into our basement.

We have had this issue about 10 times in our current house. It’s a crappy rental, in more ways than one. I am very much looking forward to the day we move, when we will have more than one pot to poop in, and it won’t go straight onto my basement floor.

This is a hard issue for me, because when we first moved into this house, I was depressed. It’s TINY. We are talking 700 square feet of actual living space, and no closets. With 5 people, a cat, and a woman who has had to change her entire wardrobe this last year more than times than Cher during a concert. Not to mention that I keep stuff that I don’t need. I’m working on that and have made huge strides in that area so far in 2010. But there’s still a ton of stuff I need to pitch. That being said, one of the things God asked of me was to be content with this house. To be thankful. To remember that I am blessed to have a house at all. Because lots of people don’t.

And I admit that when the sewer backs up repeatedly into the basement, I tend to forget that I am supposed to be content and thankful. In fact, I get rather snippy. But today, I remembered that I was a glamour queen last night. I was a vision of loveliness- at least to Matt. I was unencumbered with the usual par for the course body issues and felt like a queen.

So assuming the role of Poop Princess this afternoon, I went downstairs and started to shovel, despite the slight promotion from Queenie. I shoveled the crap out of that basement, and smiled big with my mouth closed. I didn’t want anything splashing back up on me into my mouth. Yuck.

Because attitude is everything. I could complain about the fact that I had yuckiness to deal with, or I could take heart that I was down there shoveling away at the problem. You all know that my cups always runneth over, but today that couldn’t be more true.

My friend Ajon recently asked a stirring question on his Facebook profile.

“What is Character?”

Knowing full well that I am IN FACT a character, I said this- Character is the part of us that comes out when the fit hits the shan. Good or bad, it's there for ALL to see. I prefer to be a lively character and be a woman of action.

And a woman of action I was! See, I could have ignored the poop floating in my basement. I could have lit candles and stayed upstairs in our teeny living space. But eventually I was going to have to deal with it. One day. If I ever wanted needed to do laundry again. So I figured there’s no time like the present to get in there and get dirty!

(And I can’t tell you how many times I wrote the letter in my head to the producers and host of Dirty Jobs on Discovery while I was shoveling up poo. Dear Mike Rowe- about once every 6-8 weeks the sewer backs up in our basement and we have to deal with the mess. Can you please come keep me company and make me laugh while I am removing crap? I’ve been wanting to meet you for years…)

I had to take heart in the fact I wasn’t ignoring the problem, or letting Matt deal with it. I was facing it head on. With my eyes fully open and my mouth completely shut.

OK, so let’s look at my diet life and the Queen/Princess phenomenon.

Glamour Queen- I have lost a crap ton of weight! Hooray!

Poop Princess- I have utterly and completely stalled out and have not lost a single pound more for months. Boo!

Glamour Queen- I was up to walking 10 miles in a 3 hour period, 3 times a week. WOW!

Poop Princess- I am struggling to keep up with 5 miles 2 times a week at walking group. Oh NO!

Glamour Queen- I did not give up, even when it was hard! Friggin AWESOME!

Poop Princess- I have not given up, even though it has been hard lately! Really Friggin AWESOME!

There are advantages to being both queen and princess in “our” dieting world. You have got to be willing to play both parts.

Queens can look back over the whole picture and take credit for the accomplishments.

Princesses get into situations that require some rescue. Sometimes we can rescue ourselves, sometimes we need help.

Queens sit with the crown and look pretty.

Princesses go through princess school and learn how to be a proper queen. They learn how to eat, when to eat, and how to be Queen-like when temptation arises.

(Temptation like individual Red Velvet cakes with Cream Cheese icing. And I didn’t have a one at the surprise party!!!)

Here’s what I’m thinking about my own plateau that has extended far beyond what I would care to admit. I was acting like a Queen. “Look what I did! I feel so good! I’m a new person!” But deep down, I was still a princess. “You are still learning, and there is a lot you don’t yet know. Keep training yourself! Keep improving yourself! You’ll get there soon, but you aren’t there yet!”

SO- once again, I am going to RE-SIGN up for Weight Watchers. I know, I did this a while back, but Christmas was coming up and I wanted to use the money elsewhere. I’m fickle like that. But you all know how desperately I need the accountability. And to be honest, I don’t think I’m eating enough of the right stuff. I’m eating little bits of the wrong stuff, and it’s not working. I know that when I fussed and cried over the Weight Watcher points, it sucked big time, but it worked. So I think I better go back to what works. Slow and steady, learning how to be a Queen one pound at a time.

You and I are blessed beyond measurements. We have the opportunity to change things right now- to make a difference. Put on our Princess crowns and get to work.

And with another "Clean Slate Monday", I think we can and should do that together!

Friday, January 22

Ho-Hum Day

There is nothing funny to share today.
I haven’t peed my pants. I’m not having intestinal disasters with broccoli. I’m not terrorizing our town with gas or “that time of the month” accidents. I haven’t gained 4 pounds from binging on forbidden fruit, and I haven’t lost that magical 4 or 5 pounds either.
Nope. It’s been pretty calm around here.
Which is a nice change.
I don’t know how long it will last, but what I do know is that while the winds of change are calm, I’m going to enjoy the cool breeze. It’s wonderful that life isn’t blowing up the back of my skirt, like usual.
I don’t expect anyone to comment on this post, because there’s nothing to comment on. I am utterly and completely out of words today. And I am totally ok with that. I think it’s awfully egotistical of me to think that I have all the answers all the time. Some days, it’s just fine for me to feel- for lack of a better term- silenced in the heart and mouth.
Today is a good day for reflection.
And that’s exactly what I am going to do. And I promise that if something happens to shake things up, I’ll keep ya posted.
Till then….. I’ll give you a funny calorie chart I found online to make you giggle!

Type of Exercise and Calories Burned

Passing the buck

Hitting the nail on the head

Swallowing your pride

Bending over backwards

Beating around the bush

Jumping to conclusions

Dragging your heels

Pulling out the stops

Climbing the walls

Jumping on the bandwagon

Eating crow

Pushing your luck

Putting your foot in your mouth

Pulling your foot out of your mouth

Throwing your weight around (depending on your weight, of course)
50 - 300

Making mountains out of molehills

Picking up the pieces

Wednesday, January 20

Tummy Trouble

So here we are. It’s almost the end of January.


I don’t know about you, but this month has flown past me. I’ve been working on lines, walking, trying desperately to get back on track with dieting, cleaning….all the things I should have been doing all along!

And I have exactly 23 days left before Matt and I step on stage and do our show.


And not that I am obsessive or anything, but I never did have the heart to throw away the old scale. I have it setting next to the new scale. And I use both of them every morning, because it turns out the new scale is more Eeeee-Vil than the old one. Darn technology.

Here I sit, holding at 170 yet again, wondering why in the world my body is stuck.

In the beginning, it was pretty easy. My body wanted to lose the weight, but my head didn’t. Now it has flip flopped, and my head REALLY wants to lose the weight and the body won’t cooperate. Which is frustrating.

I have heard the expression that “the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

So dieting is stupid. It’s a confirmed fact.

It’s not like I don’t already know this. The whole blog is devoted to the stupid things I have done during the diet, and my severe lack of bladder and bowel control. And periods. We can’t forget those. (No matter how hard we try…)

The question remains today: Am I really investing in the diet to lose weight, or am I simply playing along with the bare minimum to maintain the work I have done?

The victim part of me screams “It’s not my fault! I’m trying! I’m trying!”

But the Real Charlie that’s in there has another thought…

“You aren’t pushing yourself. A mother bird throws her babies out of the nest so they will be forced to fly. You need a push, Charlie. A big PUSH.”

It’s all come down to this. I know of no other way to push this draggin’ her feet girl than by exposing her deepest fears. And using photographic proof.

So. Here’s my big push.

That’s right. I’m showing you a picture of my "had 3 kids, got fat, lost weight and now it’s super flabby and striped and ugly" tummy. Ironically enough, they- the stretch marks- camoflouge well with my zebra PJ pants.

Brace yourselves.

(Isn’t Matt a lucky guy to have ALL THIS???? He also gets boobs that are 3 feet long!)

Why am I showing you this? This- disgusting photo of my personal shame?

That’s exactly why. It’s my personal shame. The part that never gets exposed. Like the tops of my arms used to be. They are still flabby too, but not as bad as the tummy. It’s the reason I treat my girdles like close friends. Cause of all this yuckiness. This is the part of me that never sees the light. (For good reason, obviously…I even make Matt turn off the lights when we get to know each other in a Biblical sense!) But, I have learned when I share parts of me with you that I don’t want to share with anyone else, something changes. Something happens. A light switch gets turned on, and I feel the fire of desire to change.

And it's proof positive that I need to- must!!!!!- change what I am doing so I can get rid of this tummy. I need to work harder, diet smarter, exercise more often, and even (big gulp) do situps.

You can’t change things about you that you don’t like until you fully understand what has to happen to change them. Showing you this picture is humbling, to say the least. And humility gives me courage. Courage to face my tummy, and work harder. Courage to change.

I have a favor to ask of you. I know lots of you are Blurking. Lurking out there on my blog, reading often, but not leaving comments. I have taken a step towards change by posting an intimate piece of myself for you to see, so you know you aren’t alone. Won’t you please, today, in honor of my terrible tummy, leave a comment or become a follower? So I can read that having to endure taking pictures of my stomach wasn’t for nothing?

Give yourself a push, and leave a comment or follow the blog. Let me know you are out there working towards change too. I need it after this. 'Cause this was worse than going to the OB/GYN.

Sunday, January 17

Scaling Back

Dear Scale-

I think we got off on the wrong foot this morning, and it compelled me to take a step back and start over with you. Good morning! How are you??? I’m doing, ok, I think, but to be honest, you have left me in a state of confusion. Which, I admit , is not all that hard to do, because I live in a constant state of chaos, not ever knowing what life is going to throw at me. However, what you are doing to me is down right EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-vil. Jillian Michaels evil. And we need to get past this in order for us to go back to the usual love/hate relationship we have.

Ever since Thursday morning, you have been telling me something. 172.4. Every day for the past 4 days. I know my body well enough to know that I do NOT EVER weigh the exact same thing 4 days in a row. Not down to the ounce. I have been on this dieting kick long enough to know that. I should be heading down, down in numbers. Cause I have been behaving. Mostly. But enough to know that I cannot possibly weigh 172.4 every dang day.

Here’s the thing. Ever since I finally got the correct battery for you and gave you some fresh juice, you have been acting funny. I put the new batteries in, calibrated you, and then you told me 172.4 and I accepted it. Didn’t LIKE it, but I accepted it.

But I am smart. Really smart. Could have done anything I wanted to in life according to my IQ test. Could have been a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher…anything except my original 5 year plan of a ballerina who sells ice cream on her bike. I was smart enough to see that a career like that would never happen. Anyhoo, because I am supposed to be smart, I decided that I must check your manual to see if there is something else I was supposed to do after putting in new batteries to make you tell the truth. (For the record here, I have to tell you that I am one of those people who is so smart they are stupid. I can tell you lots of useless information that would help you should you be in a rousing game of Trivial pursuit, but I don’t have a clue how to actually get the checkbook to balance. Or how to hold an office job. Or to remember to put new insurance cards in my vehicles. So it’s not like being "smart" has ever been an advantage. Having a smart mouth? Completely different story!)

Of course, this threw me into a frenzy because I could not remember where I put the manual, and had to search high and low before discovering it in the “Major Purchases” file of 2009. I consider you to be a great comrade, scale. You are a big deal to me.

But to you- I am just big. And it’s downright insulting.

After conferring with your instructions, and translating the Chinese to see if the English left anything out (just kidding. I don’t speak Chinese. Although let it be known that I can ask someone to marry me in Japanese…which has come in handy exactly nada times. It’s much more useful to be able to ask someone where the bathroom is.) I discovered that I had done everything right to put you back in order. And you still insult me like this.

SO today, I am going to the store to purchase a NEW scale. You are not above reproach, and in times of a sluggish economy, everyone has been forced to make tough decisions and cutbacks. I am going to get a less experienced scale for less money that is smart enough to do what you couldn’t. One that is morally and ethically grey. In otherwords, I’m going to find a scale that is not above LYING to me. Telling me what I want to hear.

And today, I wanted to hear anything but 172.4.

Scale- you suck. And now, you are going out of my life. You need to hand over your recently changed batteries and I will escort you to the trash can. I wish you the very best in your new endeavors, but please don’t have your next client call me for a reference. After the last 4 days of torture, I just might have to throw my weight around.

Thank you for your time-

Thursday, January 14

99.7% Approved for Waist Management Support

It was 2003 in the middle of July. I had spent the entire day before crying rivers of tears. 24 hours of nothing but solid sorrow. I cried till I had no tears left, and then I cried some more.

Where was I? In the local women’s shelter with my 3 babies, who were 3, 2, and 1. My emotionally and physically abusive marriage had finally come to its very bitter end, and I moved out while the ex was spending his weekend in jail. To say I was upset and grieving would be extremely underwhelming. I was lost. Completely lost.

Because I felt like I had failed. Failed my marriage, as if the abuse was somehow all my fault. If I had been a better wife, he wouldn’t have treated me like that. After all, he had been telling me that for years. I felt like I had failed God. You weren’t supposed to get divorced, according to the Bible, and my family had told me the truth. If you don’t leave, he will kill you. And then he will have the kids and you won’t be there to protect them. The only option was divorce or a cemetery plot. But most of all, I just felt like I had failed myself. If I hadn’t desired to please people as much as I had- and remained true to the real Charlie inside- I never would have allowed things to get as far gone as they had. I should have stood up for myself, gotten out before the situation reared its ugly head and landed me there.

On my second day in the shelter, I sat in silence. Nothing would really come out of my mouth, but my mind was ablaze with a firing squad of thoughts that pierced my heart in a way it had never been hurt before. I struggled to do anything, except for taking care of the 3 little ones who were joyfully playing in the toy room at “Miss Linda’s house.” They kept me breathing in and out that second day.

By the 3rd day, I needed to feel human. I needed something to make me feel alive, something to remind me that the world was still going to turn as it always seems to do in the wake of a tragedy. I realized that it had been a good week since I had last shaved my legs. Leave it to a set of hairy gams to snap a girl back to reality. But I hadn’t thought to pack razors when I was grabbing things to get out of the house. At the shelter, they had supplies you could use, but the razors were locked up. Apparently, women in my position before had tried to take their own lives, and the thought of that was chilling.

I went to office desk and asked if I could have a razor. Jan, a wonderful woman who took a deep interest in me, looked up and said, “I’m sorry I have to ask this, Charlie, but what are your intentions with the razor?”

And this was a wake up call for me. It was as if she was asking me- are you going to choose life or death?

It took me a moment to answer her, because I was so jarred back into the certainty of what I was really after. I wanted to live- the best kind of living- the best way I knew how.

So I looked her straight in the eye and said “I… am going to …”

Jan looked at me with pensive yet hopeful eyes, waiting for those next words that would show her my intentions.

“…going to…

shave off my eyebrows.”

Jan took a second, then grinned and flipped through a big book.

“Well, Charlie, there’s nothing in the manual that says you can’t do that. Here’s your razor!”

And we laughed. We laughed until out stomachs hurt. We laughed until I remembered that I was very much still alive. Charlie was still in there. Somewhere. I just needed to find her again.

That was when I began the "Quest for the Real Charlie." I never anticipated it would take so long to figure this crazy woman out! There were countless missteps, mistakes, 60 pounds of grief weight to be gained, and the realization that I am not called to be a singer/songwriter before I would start really scratching the surface of who I am.

It took forgiving the same things over and over, dropping the weight, and sequestering the need to please people. It took finding the art form of blogging for me to realize who I am- both as Charlie… and a daughter of the King.

See, if you are a Christian, then we are a part of the body of Christ. Romans 12:4-6 says: Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.

So someone out there may be the eyes. Someone else may be the fingers. And I bet you are thinking that I am the unofficial mouth. Wrong!!!

I am the butt of Christ.


Here’s how I figured it out. I am the one who takes the all the stuff we shovel inside of our body- the pain, the bitterness, the sadness- and I process it so the body can excrete it. Technically, I suppose, that makes me the butt and the colon. Nevertheless, what I do is an important part of a Christian woman's life. Every woman's life, really. I help manage all those negative things that happen in our lives so we can get rid of it once and for all. Those things may include- fat, frustration, fear, failures, and faults- and together you and I are able to achieve freedom.

No one likes to admit that they poop. But everyone does. (But not everyone does it behind their stepdad’s SUV in the snow- that one is all mine!) The head doesn’t want to think about it, but the butt- it embraces all the crap and takes care of it. It has to go through some groaning, but pretty soon all the toxins and bacteria that could harm this beautiful body land where they belong.


And that, folks, is who I am as a daughter of the King. I’m His butt. The butt of all the jokes, the one part no one likes to embrace but everyone needs.

Which explains a whole bunch about why I am the way I am.

Yesterday, I tried to repost a link to Big Game Day with Charlie on Facebook, and made a shocking discovery. Someone had reported the link as containing abusive content. (1 out of 10,337 means I am 99.7% approved!) But- knowing what I know about my intentions, and remembering that girl who had spent weeks in the women’s shelter recovering from real abuse, I was hurt. Deeply hurt that someone would find my words out of line.

For the record, I am going to draw that line right now in the preverbal sand. This blog is used as an outlet for 4 important things.

A. To make women everywhere realize that the things that happen to them- in life, both public and private- happen to other women too. Even if they don’t talk about it.

B. To help those who struggle with weight in a way that I needed myself but could never find out there. With honesty and love and support- and a wicked funny story.

C. To make people throw back their heads in laughter. This is essential, because when our heads are thrown back in laughter- we can see the face of God like we never have before.

D. To show the world that not every Christian is a total stick in the judgmental mud, and that we can be kind, humorous, and REAL.

I want others to know that I only have lost the weight- and dealt with an often crappy life, for that matter- because I was clinging to Jesus. Clinging, because it wasn’t good enough to hold His hand only on Sundays and Wednesdays or at the church potluck. I had to have Him every moment of every day. Still do, in fact, so I cling.

I took off the mask that everyone wears- Christian or not- and showed the world what real living was like. I have shown them above all that God has a sense of humor. We were made in His image so that means He has a sense of humor. And a butt. We get through the awful things in life when we can laugh about them. And if my crazy “black, white, and red all over” story did the job (and in my opinion it did), then I’m totally fine with that.

To the person who reported my link as abusive- I’m sorry that you were offended. But I have been set on this path because no one else would touch people’s hearts in this manner (which is the real Charlie living life forgiven, free, and full of hope). It’s exactly what they need. Life with a refreshing joy. Joy that can’t be contained. Joy that explodes like a bad case of the trots. Joy that may be messy, but it sure is fun!

I hope that you find that joy in your life, because I don’t know if you have it. Yet I will remind you that joy is not optional. It’s a Biblical command. 1st Thessalonians 5:16 is a short verse. It says “Be joyful always.” Not TRY to be joyful, but BE joyful. I’m just following the commands set before me day after day, and feel compelled to share it here on this blog. It is optional, however, for you to read my blog. Thank you for being the sound voice of reason, but don't be offended if I don't change a thing to try to please you. I'm worried about pleasing my King, and doing what He has gifted me to do- so kindly let me do my job and be the butt. I don’t mind, really! I kinda like it down here.

It’s never lonely at the bottom!


Tuesday, January 12

Big Game Day with Charlie


Clueless as to what she weighs today.

Soaking her pants.

Waiting for Midol to kick in.

Trying to type on her keyboard without knocking over the mountains of paperwork piled on the desk.

Getting ready to bring her husband’s license plate inside.

Writing “PUT ON DEODORANT" and "TAMPONS IN PURSE!” on her hand with a Sharpie Marker.

Wondering why this day was so crazy, and it’s not even noon.

Dan the Superhero has a saying.

“Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an automatic emergency on my part.”

I have been muttering that all morning, trying to remind myself that my agony is not anyone else’s fault. I got myself into this mess. It’s all on me.

What happened to bring me to the above list? Well, it all started last Friday when Matt was coming home from work…

He got pulled over because our license plate had expired (which happened right during the holidays. How in the heck am I supposed to remember that when all the fun stuff is going on??? "OK, kids, Santa is coming tonight. Hope Mommy gets back from the DMV in time to watch you open your presents…") and got a ticket. He also got a ticket for not having proper documentation for our car insurance. (Charlie says an aside to Margaret the Saint- “No, Mom, we are not driving without insurance. The card expired over Thanksgiving, and I forgot to put the new one in the glove box. Is your daughter’s natural blonde hair so adorable now?”) So that all happened on Friday night. And guess what? We get to go to court to show a judge our insurance card and prove that we DID have insurance! Oh, the joy! It’s just like jury duty, except that we get to GIVE THEM money!

But the license plate was totally my fault. I got the notice before Halloween that it would soon be time to buy a new sticker, and put it in my filing cabinet so I wouldn’t lose the paperwork, and then promptly forgot about it. Till Matt got his ticket, that is. The DMV takes Mondays off, so I had to wait till Tuesday (today) before I could go get the new sticker. Which meant that I had to drop kids off at school, take Matt to work (cause we aren’t risking another ticket till it’s fixed), go to the bank, and go to the DMV.

Add on top of that whole schedule that Aunt Flow is in full force, I need to wash my hair, and I woke up an hour late this morning. Yep. We had to leave the house by 7:38 and I woke up at 7:15. The kids were still sleeping and needed breakfast, uniforms, hair done, and all that good stuff. The whole morning was a flurry of frantic activity, racing to beat the clock and get everyone to their proper destinations on time.

I dropped everyone off, headed to the bank, and then stopped by home. I had to grab the current insurance card and the paperwork for the sticker. I couldn’t find either. After calling to get proof of insurance emailed to me, I looked everywhere. I then searched my ENTIRE filing cabinet to see where the paper was. I then remembered Friday night I had Matt stick the stupid paper in my purse so I would remember.

I stepped on the scale, and the battery was too low to weigh me. So I added that to my mental list. New battery for scale.

Printed off the new insurance cards (for both vehicles. The one in the van was old too!) and headed to the DMV. Turns out they have a drive up window for stickers and the whole process took me 3 minutes. A world record. The lady there reminded me that you can't adhere the sticker in the cold, so we'd have to bring the license plate inside and let it warm up first. Which was a good tip. If only the rest of my day could have gone so smoothly...

I figured since I had 6 hours suddenly open up on my schedule, I would go get the battery for my scale and some other things I needed.

I headed to the Dollar store first, where I picked up 14 toothbrushes, in every color known to man, so the kids wouldn’t fight about having similar colors. I picked up Triple A batteries while I was there. Then I decided I better get Double A batteries too. Tim uses them for his Xbox controllers and steals them from our remotes, and there are never enough to go around. If the scale took either one of those, I’d be prepared.

Then I was off to look for a thermos for Matt, since his travel mug leaks all over the place. Went to Menard’s, because I knew Walmart didn’t have one that would work. I then realized that the tampon I had used that morning was not going to last. Mentally playing the game of "Period Chicken" with myself, I figured I could last long enough to look through the store and find a thermos. That was about the same time I realized I had on a sweatshirt with no bra and my pajama pants. The pajama pants are black and white zebra striped. Obviously, I was thinking clearly about dressing appropriately for the day. And being the good girl that I am, I didn’t take time to pack tampons in my purse (as I stated I would YESTERDAY) so I either had to buy more or brave it out. I decided to brave it out. I walked every square inch of Menards and couldn’t find the thermos I needed. Figures.

Forgetting about my wardrobe and period, and hyperfocusing on my need to get a thermos, I ran into the local farm supply store. They had a great selection of them, and found one that would work. I then decided to pick up a 9V battery, just in case the scale used those. While there, I walked past someone and thought “Boy, that farmer stinks!” and quickly realized it was me. I had not only forgotten tampons and a bra. I’d also forgotten deodorant. Fabulous. At that point, I knew I needed Advil and Midol for oh so many reasons.

Now, last time I was at this store, I had an issue. A big issue. And it wasn’t pleasant. But I was determined this trip would go off without a hitch… until I realized the back of my pants were sticking to me.


Always says “Have a happy period.” I say “Wear black, stay home and wait it out.”

Needless to say, the same lady who was so kind to me before was at the register. And she noticed me squirming and trying to move my coat and hide my backside. Because the pants were not period approved. But she thought I was shoplifting. She eyed me up one side and down the other, and asked if there was anything else I needed to buy. Like I was going to whip something out from under my coat and say “I was going to steal this, but your sense of morality has made me seen the error of my ways. I’ll buy it outright.”

Of course, being in total panic mode about my zebra pants looking like they had been hunted and shot, I started looking even more suspicious. Stammering, wiggling and worming around like a kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar, I’m sure I looked like a zebra in the headlights. What I needed at that moment was to get back into the safety of my van. Throwing cash on the counter and heading to the door, I didn't even bother to wait for my change. (17 cents. Who would wait at a time like this for 17 cents?)

She started to follow me out, but when she did that she figured out the reason I was looking so weird at the counter. Her eyes got real big, she send me this apologetic look, and went back to her post. THANK HEAVENS! A strip search would have been humiliating, but this was humiliating enough for today.

I finally got home, changed all necessary things, took Advil and Midol, got my pj pants soaking, and opened the back of my scale to change the battery and weigh myself at last.

And wouldn’t you know it- the darn thing takes C batteries and I don’t have a ONE in the house!

I think I will weigh myself tomorrow, because I don’t care about it anymore today.

Sunday, January 10

The Healing and Restorative Powers of a Clean Slate Monday

This is a special posting for any (or all) of you who blew the diet over the weekend.

Myself included. I’m not too ashamed to admit. I blew it BIG TIME.

So welcome to the club!!!

It was just one of those weekends when I didn’t care two hoots about the diet. And I ate the things that sounded great: even though I just did that the days between September and January Christmas and New Year’s.

I know this is right about the time that we all get frustrated with ourselves and think “I may as well give up on this. I cannot diet long enough for this to work. UNCLE!”

Those words, however, are completely incorrect. Because this weekend’s events have NOTHING to do with your ability to diet. And I can prove it. Don’t believe me? Well, I’ll show you. Don’t cancel that subscription to Weight Watchers online just yet.

I am going to set up some scenarios that you can pick from. I want you to decide which one best fits your weekend.

A. You decided that French fries (or insert other non-diet food here) sounded a lot better than the stuff you have been eating for the last solid week, and went for it.

B. You had something happen this weekend that made you – pick your poison- angry, frustrated, annoyed, sad, irritated, or some other feeling- and you felt the need to eat.

C. You were genuinely hungry and ate. Maybe more than you should have, but you were STARVING!
D. You were on a horror-moan roller coaster and were a bottomless pit of hunger.

E. There is no excuse for what I ate this weekend, Charlie, and you can’t convince me otherwise.

Ok, did you pick one? Now, let’s get our hands dirty.


You decided that French fries (or insert other non-diet food here) sounded a lot better than the stuff you have been eating for the last solid week, and went for it.

I am happy to tell you this doesn’t mean you are a failure at dieting at all! It means you need more variety. Have you been eating the same foods (or even the same meals) over and over this last week? Your body is adjusting to the same ole stuff, and you need to mix it up a little. Craving junk is your body’s way of telling you it’s bored and need more variety. Lots of us gals live on Lean Cuisines and Smart Ones for a few weeks because we don’t have to think about them- just heat and consume. Imagine what would happen if you wore the same clothes day in and day out, again and again. Would the people at your office think there is something wrong? Would your family contact “What Not to Wear” on your behalf? Well your body doesn’t want the same foods over and over either. Don’t give up. Get some variety in your diet!


You had something happen this weekend that made you – pick your poison here- angry, frustrated, annoyed, sad, irritated, or some other feeling- and you felt the need to eat.

Once again, this has nothing to do with your inability to diet. It has everything to do with associating emotions with hunger. I won’t lie and tell you this is an easy fix, but it is fixable. I found out the weirdest thing the other day. Our cat (named Puppy) does not eat until I go into the kitchen. When I go into the kitchen to make coffee first thing in the morning, that’s when I feed her. She chows down. Then I go back in to make the kids’ breakfast. Puppy eats a few more bites. I go in for a glass of water to swallow some advil (for a well intended exercise gone wrong the day before) and Puppy eats. All day long she associates me entering the kitchen with eating. Emotional eating is the same way. We often have a trigger emotion that sends us straight to the cheesecake. Stop and think for a moment. What is the emotion that you associate with eating? Get a piece of paper and write it out, then stick it at eye level on your fridge and/or cabinets- wherever your food of choice resides. Look at that emotion on paper BEFORE you eat and ask yourself…am I eating because I am hungry or because I am feeling this emotion? Don’t beat yourself over the head because you cheated! Teach yourself to be aware of your emotional triggers and learn to outsmart them! And don’t give up!


You were genuinely hungry and ate. Maybe more than you should have, but you were STARVING!

Your body is going to take a while to adjust to a change of diet. Most of us associate dieting with LESS food- so we drastically cut our calories and the body goes into starvation mode. Therefore, we are hungrier than a bear waking up from hibernation in spring. One of the tricky things about diet foods (and this is where they get me too…) – all those 100 calorie packs DON’T PROVIDE NUTRITION OR FILL YOU UP. In fact, they are so full of carbohydrates and lacking in nutrition that our bodies actually burn those faster than they would something that seems less healthy, like a yogurt! Are you going to take a hit on the calorie content with a yogurt? Yes, to some degree. Will it keep you fuller longer than that 100 calorie pack of Oreo Thins? Most likely! Start looking in depth at the foods you are eating. What value do they add to your body’s ability to run smoothly? Do they provide vitamins? Nutrients? Fiber? Healthy oils? Like nuts. Pecans and almonds. (NOTE: PECAN PIE DOES NOT COUNT FOR THIS EXAMPLE…) They are higher in fat and calories than any of us would like. But an ounce of nuts will hold your hunger at bay longer than a cookie. Because they are better for your body. So start filling up on things like that. Nuts. Low fat cheeses. Even (big gulp) broccoli. Your tummy won’t be screaming at you to eat, which leads to a healthy relationship between you and your scale. You haven’t failed. You just need more fiber. Sorry if I sound like your mother!

IF YOU PICKED D (this one is me!)

You were on a horror-moan roller coaster and were a bottomless pit of hunger.

You are getting ready to start your period. Pack your purse with Tampax and take a midol, because the flood is coming. Notice should also be given for family members and close coworkers to seek immediate shelter. (And I hope my husband reads this...consider this your warning, Babe!)


There is no excuse for what I ate this weekend, Charlie, and you can’t convince me otherwise.

The classic case of “no excuses.” I have had plenty of those days myself. And the blog readers who comment on my lamenting have reminded me that we all have bad days. Bad weeks. Bad months. It happens. You aren’t a disappointment to the diet. What you are is NORMAL. Whatever normal is… (although Patsy Clairmont said it best: "Normal is just a setting on your dryer.”) Yep. You blew it. There’s no denying that, and I won’t try to tell you it was a minor setback. Because in your mind it is a huge setback, and I completely understand. Us control freaks management types like to have all our ducks in a row. Or roasted to perfection. If we behave one way, we expect our consequences to be swift and sharp. And we take responsibility for it by kicking ourselves over and over and over (which I will remind you- DOES count as exercise!) until we have all but given up. If this is you, and you think you are the worst type of dieter, I would like to suggest something radical. It’s quite the opposite. You are the BEST kind of dieter! You and I are better suited to OWN THIS DIET than we think is possible. We don’t like messing up, it’s true, but when you start things fresh this morning, you will be more determined than ever to succeed! And that drive is going to push you across the finish line!!! I promise! So don’t even think that you can get away with quitting! It isn’t going to happen. You are going to do this thing!

Girls, if I had quit every time I failed, it would have been over before I finished typing the Yoga Incident a year ago. There have been at least 100 times I could have quit in 2009, but didn’t. I don’t know WHY I didn’t quit, but the point is that quitting was never an option for me. Failure? Most definitely, that was an option from the first “diet” meal I ever ate. But quitting isn’t allowed. Not for me, and not for you. We all need a “Clean Slate Monday” (think I should trademark that?) and we are in this together!!!

So let’s try this again this week and give ourselves some breathing room! Pretty soon our jeans will give us breathing room too!

Thursday, January 7

Self Prescribed Snow Day

Last night, I walked 5 miles. Which is way more than I planned on. But 5 miles were had, and it felt great.

Except if you saw me, I was walking around the mall for the first 4 laps like a crazy person.
When Lee Ann showed up (and that woman is totally earning her stripes, I tell you!) I settled down. A little. But not much. I carried on and talked the entire time, as a socially stunted housewife is prone to do.

What was the reason for your craziness, Charlie? Other than the obvious of course?

I have lots and lots of lines to memorize, and my husband Matt is way ahead of me. I refuse to let him win the game of memory.

But Charlie, how did walking at the mall help you learn your lines?

Ah, that’s easy. Matt and I used my iPhone and recorded a soundtrack of the entire show. Then we uploaded the tracks onto our MP3 players and listen to them constantly. Well, he listens to them constantly. I would rather listen to the 1940’s crooning ladies songs that I found on amazon and get in the mood for a show about World War 2. And that means that I am behind him in the memorization game. So I walked and listen to our script. And wound up walking 5 miles before I left the mall.

OK. Moving on. Today is a snow day. Well, technically it isn’t, as our schools didn’t cancel for today. But I figured that the kids were safer where I could see them than riding a big yellow torpedo on ice. So home they stayed. We are going to play games and have fun. I am very careful in weather like this. I had a bad experience once during a snow storm, and it makes me overly cautious when it’s snowing like mad, as it is today.

Wanna hear the story?

I had just started a new job as a sales manager at a craft supply distributor. We were living in the middle of the country, and it was snowing pretty good. Schools had been canceled, and at that time Matt was a stay at home dad and I was his Sugar Mama. He told me, “I don’t think you should try driving in this weather. It looks pretty bad.”

“No, no, it will be fine. I’ll head out early and be back by 5:30 this evening.”

It took me an hour and fifteen minutes to get to work (which I got reamed out for) and to top it off not ONE of my sales staff came in. They all called and said they were stuck at home.

About noon, the weather watches and warning systems were going crazy, and I figured I better get home. Thankfully, the place I worked closed for the day (5 people were there out of 50. We got nothing done, except for chewing me out for being late) and I headed home. I got stuck and had to have good Samaritans help me 3 times during a 4 mile stretch. I ended up at my brother and sister’s house, crying because I couldn’t get our van to stay on the road.

Enter Dan, the superhero. He’s my stepdad. Filled to the brim with what can only be described as an “English” sense of humor. Real dry, but in a good way. You never know what the man is going to say. So he heard that I was stuck at Todd and Julia’s (bro and SIL/BFF) and decided to come rescue me. He’s good about stuff like that. Anytime we have moved from house to house, Dan is always there to help out and tell us how to pack the moving truck efficiently. You can count on him to take care of manly stuff.

So Dan the Superhero decided to get me home. Driving in the snow makes me a nervous wreck, so the tummy was a little upset already. As we started out from Todd and Julia’s place, he was very excited to try out the 4X4 option on his new Olds Bravada. Then he decided that we could take the scenic route home. Cause his new SUV could take it.

What neither one of us anticipated was the severe drifting on the country roads. And wouldn’t you know it, about ¾ of a mile from any houses in sight- we got stuck. Poor Dan got out and started to dig the tires out. When he got done, we could only move a few feet and then got stuck again. Thankfully, because he is the manly type of guy, he insisted I stay in the SUV and let him try and get us out.

That was when a real “country boy” (stifling the urge to use the term redneck) and his buddy (also a Country Boy) with a pick up truck came along. He offered to help us get out of the embankment of snow. He was overconfident in his truck and you could tell. His truck was filled with gun racks and hunting gear and stuff straight out of Deliverance. But we were needing help, so Dan took him up on it.

The truck pulled up in front of us with Country Boy proudly coming to our rescue, and wouldn’t you know it! HE GOT STUCK TOO!

This was right about the time I realized that my tummy and intestines were working against me.

I started squirming. I started cinching. And even though I was freezing cold, I got the sweats. But I was bound and determined I would wait till I got home to explode.

Enter the 3rd vehicle. A farmer was watching all of this from his house up the road. And he decided to come down and help. So driving his BIG HONKING TRUCK, he came down and offered to help get all of us unstuck.

Meanwhile, Country Boy was freaking out that his truck had failed him, and was ranting in disbelief at the turn of events. It was like someone had shot his best hunting dog. Needless to say, he was freaking. And he was going to get his truck out first.

I started scoping the distance between me and the closest house, because I realized if the fellows dug Country Boy’s truck out first, I would not be getting home by the time I needed too. I already had on sweat pants, the legs were soaking wet from all the snow. The cold wet pants were not helping the situation. Every sensation was adding another piece of straw to the sinking camel’s back. Soon, I gave in to the inevitable truth.

I was going to have to bite the bullet and go outside. In the snow.
Nothing more humiliating than having to poop outside, but even worse is when you have one Kleenex and a used napkin to help you. Not one leaf in sight. Everything was under the frozen tundra of farmland.

Going outside, I stealthily snuck behind Dan’s SUV, squatted down, dropped the drawers, and let my intestines relax at last. There was no stopping it. It was kind of like the scene in Dumb and Dumber. This one…

Everything is accurate about that, especially the facial expressions. I'm sure I made those. Except MY cheeks were in the snow. And I had no toilet paper. So I tried to use the snow to clean off my rear (with 4 guys trying to chain a truck and needing to come over my direction to admire their handywork, till they realized what I was doing and they quickly got back to work…) and when I couldn’t get it any more without causing frostbite to my rump, I gave up and pulled the sweatpants back up. I then tried to cover the mess I had made in the snow with more snow, but the temperature difference between the snow and the OTHER STUFF made it impossible. It kept melting and spreading out even worse. I had a huge brown hole behind the SUV, and there was nothing I could do. Admitting defeat, I headed back into the SUV to try and warm up.

Eventually we got unstuck and headed to my house. Carefully avoiding the snowed over country roads this time.

The rest of the way home, Dan the Superhero kept sniffing the air, as if to say “What is that peculiar odor my nose is detecting?” But to his credit, he didn’t say a word about it. Just cracked the window and focused on the road.

And that, my friends, was the worst snow day I have ever had. And I have not one intention of repeating it. So today I am staying inside no matter what. Close to my kids. And a toilet. No way am I going out.

Snow way.

Tuesday, January 5

These Arms of Mine....

If Mary hadn’t been such a trooper yesterday, and I weren't so competitive, I probably would have called the whole thing off because it was so durn cold.

Hind sight, right?

Walking group: One of the greatest joys of the dieting career. I love getting together with other women and solving the world’s problems while pounding the pavement. And much to my surprise, Lee Ann was back in full force last night! (You may recall she has been out for a while because of a hurt foot.)

After hugs and screaming with joy, (which is pretty funny cause I just saw her new years eve, but I couldn’t contain myself!) I said “C’mon, we have to go to the sporting goods store. I couldn’t get my hand weights out of Matt’s car because the hatch was frozen.”

So off we fly to the sports store in the mall, one of the remaining places of business left in our trainwreck of a shopping center, to fetch me some wrist weights. Because I told ya’ll that I was going to carry weights. I have done enough sitting on the pot. It was time for me to poop or get off. Therefore, I decided that I would go for broke.

At the sports store, there were 3 pairs of weights I could attach to my wrists. (I love my hand held weights, but A. They were hopelessly stuck inside Zippy the Wonder car, and B. I have arthritis in my fingers. Have had it for years. I always forget about it till winter comes around. Once the temperature gets freezing, I am given a vivid reminder of the fact my fingers get stuck in a position for hours. Which means I can’t type well. And that is like giving me laryngitis for a year. Cause I write all the time. It’s my link to sanity.) I figured that if I got wrist weights I could still have the benefit of the weights for my flabby arms without my hands hurting from carrying them. It was a win win situation.

We looked at the different weights (or tried to, anyway. Me and my impatience!) but the Nike pair looked like something from the wardrobe department of the movie “Blade.” They were bulky and cumbersome with the possibilities of massive destruction should I start talking erratically with my hands flying for added dramatics. The other set were rather flat, seemed to fit the contour of my wrists better, and were the same price as the Nike ones, so I grabbed them and we took off for the counter to pay for them. Granted, Lee Ann wanted to open the box and really check them out. I, in my haste, went completely by the picture presented on the box and thought to myself “that’ll do, pig.” (Not calling myself a pig, but quoting a movie. My life is a series of movie quotes. Do you know what that quote is from?)

Leaving the box at the counter and strapping those babies on before I got my change back, I was prepared to walk. Except that the pockets of my jacket are shallow, and I needed to stick the change in my bra. I should have done it before I put the weights on. Cause they were bulkier than I thought. The weights, not my boobs. I already KNOW those are bulky. The thought crossed my mind to have Lee Ann do it, but I wisely let that thought go. I awkwardly shoved an envelope of money and coins into my bra. I looked like I had a very cold 3rd nipple, but that was fine. It was time to walk!

Leaving the store, we checked for anymore who would be joining our throng, met up with Theresa, and started our laps. We have all been slacking. On the exercise part, anyway. So maybe at first we were walking a teensy bit slower than normal. But as we warmed up, we definitely picked up speed. And just as I had envisioned, I was swinging my arms, that weighed 5 pounds more each, with gusto. I didn’t knock anyone out with them, just kept moving them. And my fingers weren’t hurting at all!

But those crazy wrist weights were making me feel it in the back of my arm. Remember yesterday when I said (and I quote): “For tonight, though, I am back to carrying weights when I walk. I probably have to go back to the little fellers, cause there is no way my arms would handle carrying the 5 pounders. YET. So there's a goal.” Those words came back to taunt me as I realized I was in fact carrying 5 pounds of baggage on my arms. Not in a good way, like “yay, you are pushing yourself and working towards your goal” but more like “What in the H-E-double hockey sticks were you thinking???”

Weights are tricky. With the hand held boogers, I remember that I am carrying weights and my body adjusts the center of gravity accordingly. But with the wrist weights, my body thought, since I wasn’t carrying anything, that things were status quo. Which they were most certainly not. The whole night I kept having to pull back my steps because my arms were leading me forward. I felt as though I was walking like this…

(that’s my adorable nephew, by the way. He’s a hoot!)

So that was causing me to work extra hard (single soap opera tear and violins for poor Charlie) while walking. Finally, we got on our last lap, and the end was near. THANK GOODNESS!!! Those 5 laps were tougher than I thought they would be.

I left Lee Ann and Theresa by the bathrooms because I had to pee. (Big surprise, right?) As I got into the stall, I realized I didn’t have time to unstrap the weights on my wrists, and I had to go soooooo bad that I was left with no choice but to work around them. As I started to pull down my pants, the hook and loop on the weights became enamored with the attractive side of my sweat pants. And it got stuck. I’m trying to fight very hard to unstuck myself so I can drop the drawers and pee. I’m clenching my muscles, doing “bagels” as we call them, to hold in the result of my drinking 40 ounces of water before I left the house. And I couldn’t get my pants down!

Finally, I gave one good downward shove of my sweat pants and unders (as Hillary likes to call them) and got myself exposed to the air. Immediately I sat down (I am sincerely hoping that the bathroom had just been cleaned and there was cleaner on the seat, otherwise I sat in someone else’s pee. But it was too late to care at that point.) and let ‘er rip.

Relief at last!

Sitting in the afterglow of finally being able to pee, I grabbed toilet paper and headed down to wipe. Which is exactly when I punched myself right in the babymaker with a 5 pound wrist weight.

Seriously, I hit my goodie patch, or my (for lack of a better less graphic term) pubic bone, about the place that all my hair has decided to start going grey where I can see it but it isn’t safe to color so I ignore it as long as I can till I get my husband’s clippers out and buzz cut the little suckers…. because I was so lost in the thrill of finally peeing that I forgot I had a HUGE bulky mass on the arm and it hit me in just the right spot.

So today my arms hurt, my knees hurt, and I couldn’t ride a horse if I wanted too. But I got in 10,000 steps yesterday. And my pedometer loves me.

So do the makers of Advil.

Monday, January 4


OK, we are starting this off with a big congrats to two of my sweetest bloggy friends!

First of all, Hillary at The Other Mama is growing more than dust bunnies at her house! She made a BIG OLE announcement on her blog today, and I couldn't be happier for her family!

Second, I'm sending out a big KUDO to my emerging partner in crime, Mary. She went out this morning and did water aerobics!!! In the freezing midwest cold! 'Cause she's making this her year. And here at the Triple B- Big Butt Blog- we applaud efforts like that. I like to virtually clap for girls that don't let a thing like below freezing temperatures (or even perhaps forgetting an essential part of her wardrobe for after swimming that made the wet ride home interesting...) stop them from busting it out. WAY TO GO MARY!!!!

Yeah, stuff like that makes me pretty excited.

So what have I done lately? (nervous laughter and shifty eyes- trying to concoct a believable story about my lack of physical activity over the past few days...)

I started using a pedometer... and it's showing me how I don't get as much walking in as I used too...

But nevertheless, tonight is the resuming of my walking group- (Village Mall in Danville IL- 8pm if you are local) so that will help. I will be ready to push some limits this year with my distance. And speed. For tonight, though, I am back to carrying weights when I walk. I probably have to go back to the little fellers, cause there is no way my arms would handle carrying the 5 pounders. YET. So there's a goal.

To be quite honest with you, I haven't worried about exercise because I have been working on my house.

"Sheesh, Charlie- it's the 4th of January! How long can cleaning your house take?"

HAHAHAHA! You have no freaking idea. I started Saturday and I'm not done yet. Right now I have 4 out of 5 rooms presentable. I still have one major room left. MINE. And to say it is a shambles would be a gross understatement. It's pathetic. I have 8 sizes of wardrobes (covering my carpet) stashed in there, a wedding dress- that I had to pull out and then got irritated because I look better now than when Matt and I got married, and I may have thrown a teeny fit about wanting to get new wedding photos which Matt narrowly talked me out of- and who knows what else is in there?

Needless to say, my arms have been getting a workout. I have made it my policy that I throw one thing away at a time, in another room, so I can get extra credit with my pedometer. It takes longer to get finished, but I feel it's worth the effort. It will be nice to have the option of making my bed in the mornings and having a spotless room at 6am. That would be a feat in itself!

Maybe it's that whole attitude of fearlessness I adopted shortly after realizing how much my past was holding me back. I don't know. But something inside me thinks that it's time to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. Like dusting. And push ups. So I have been working like a mad woman to clean the house from top to bottom. I haven't cleaned this much since I was nesting with my son in my belly 7 years ago!

So tonight will be walking 2.5 miles with weights, spending a solid hour cleaning my room, and not giving in to temptations like pasta with grilled onions and hollindaise sauce with a heath covered Klondike bar for dessert. (Not that I did that last night! Oooooh, no. NOT ME!)

Today is all about healthy choices, looking toward the future, and walking myself there. (With teeny tiny steps so the pedometer isn't dissapointed with me!)

Sunday, January 3

People say I'm a dreamer- Am I the only one?

Dreams. Dreams can be big. They can be tiny. They can be our escape. They can be our courage. They can be our downfall. They can even become our obsession.

Say what you like about dreaming, but I believe there are wonderful things we don’t want to miss about dreaming. Especially when it comes to dieting.

I know, I know, I promised to tell you about the YMCA 3 hour torture session. But we had a family emergency Friday night, and I didn’t get to bed until 3am. I was not prepared to work out 5 hours later. So I turned off the alarm and gave in to resting instead. And the inevitable story of how Charlie made a fool of herself will have to wait. Don’t worry, I’ll pee my pants doing exercises eventually and tell you about it first thing. But for today, we are going to talk about dreams.

My brother said something interesting tonight. He was telling us about the wonderful aid fabric softener was to his project of removing wallpaper from his house. And that was about the time his pure genius kicked in.

“I wonder who the first person was who said ‘Hey, I am going to see if something I use to make my clothes soft and smell good would help me remove a bunch of glue gunk on the walls?’”

He then made a ridiculous remark about trying to use asparagus on his head to see what that might do… but the question remained that he asked. And I kept thinking about that question the entire night.

Maybe it’s because I don’t live life the way many would want to. Matt and I choose to drive crappy cars, live in a crappy house, spending less on stuff, and more on things like music lessons for our family and fresh vegetables. We don’t even begin to keep up with the Joneses, don’t invite the Joneses over for that matter, and have couches that smell like we’ve had one too many peanut butter and banana sandwiches stuck on them. Our house isn’t ever spotless in all 5 rooms at the same time, and there is always a mountain of laundry lurking in a corner or 3 at any given time (taunting me, I might add) and our beds are NEVER made.

What in the world does this have to do with dieting? Hold on, I’m on a roll, and I promise I will get to it.

Our life isn’t particularly glamorous in any way shape or form, and I am miserable at things like balancing a check book, keeping money in our savings account, and am not above ordering pizza for the family when I am purely feeling lazy and have an aversion to cooking that night.
I wasn’t kidding when I said I was a mess. See? There’s proof.

But in all that stuff, I am holding a powerful weapon in the artillery of life. I am not above dropping everything and praying (not bragging here, just making a point) for someone in need, making silly gag gifts to make someone laugh who really needs it, and stopping whatever I am doing to watch an impromptu dance recital from over zealous kids.

I am not so busy doing “important things” to stop and find the blessing in a crisis. Or am never too far from feeling destitute that we won’t help someone who is feeling the pinch themselves. I am never far enough from 238 that I can’t remember the pain of reality with someone who has weighed themselves for the first time and are losing their courage.

What I have doesn’t define who I am.

What I am is never about the what’s in front of me.

I have learned that Charlie- this unorganized, crisis riddled, basket case, obstinate woman- can be just the person God intended for her to be, and I will NOT apologize for that.

I have been bound in glue before. God has used his own version of fabric softener on my heart, and by bringing me through drama after drama, issue after issue, has made me a woman who is a softer, more loving version of herself than the world would care for her to be. Cause this world can’t stand a dreamer. And that’s exactly what I am.

Yep, I am a sentimental, romantic, nutcase of a dreamer.

I will never be good at a 9-5 job. I will always follow my heart instead of my wallet or my brain. I will always make an exception to the diet when good company can be had while eating junk. I will hug my children in front of their friends, cry in public, and pray with someone no matter where they are or how uncomfortable it may seem.

Ok, you may thing that breaking the diet for company was my point about dieting. HA-HA!

Wrong you are. This is my point.

I dream about being thin. All the time. I can’t wait to get there, and until I do, I’m not above dreaming what it will be like.

I have lived life as a wall with a hideous 1970s orange and brown ugly wall paper stuck to me. It’s not pretty or flattering, but I dream of shedding that paper and becoming a wall with beautiful pictures of all the places I have been hanging from my flat surfaces. But the wallpaper- hideous and blinding- keeps me from placing those pictures on my wall. They don’t match, and it would look odd, to say the least.

Dreaming about where I am going- the land of skinnydom- is like a fabric softener on that ugly paper I have been stuck with. Sure, a couple pieces of the paper came down with no problems, but a lot of it is stuck to me and won’t come off without a fight. And some fabric softener. And lots and lots of elbow grease, as my home renovating brother will attest to.

In order for us to drop the weight, we have to have something soft that counteracts the glue of our fat. That soft thing we need are dreams. Dreams about jogging a mile without needing paramedics. Dreams about clothes with the numbers 5/6 in them instead of 16/18 or 26/28. Dreams of your scale not creaking when you step on it. Dreams are the fabric softener that help us shed that unwanted motif of fat.

That’s my point. I knew I’d get to it eventually.

So there’s your thought for today. What can you dream up about your life changes? Can you see the dreams as a reality? Are you willing to work hard to achieve those dreams?

Tell me, my sweet readers, what are the dreams you have been too afraid to dream up and go after? If you gave yourself the opportunity to achieve them- what would your life be like?

Friday, January 1

7 Habits of Highly Effective Dieting


Here we are. It’s the 1st of the year. And now we have to get down to some serious dieting. Cause I promised we would.

I know this is a really important day for many of you. Today is the day you are searching out those magical ways to lose the poundage, checking out site after site, hoping you will find that ONE diet you can actually live with and finally set out to do what you (and I, for that matter) have said you (we) would do for the last 10 years or so. Maybe 5 years. Maybe 20. What ever the case, you are determined to DO IT for real this year.

And you have stumbled across this blog. Congratulations and welcome! Glad you came!

Except there is one problem. There is no magical answer here. In fact, what you are going to get on this blog- the information, stories, and sometimes less than rational advice- is far from what you want to read. But I can guarantee that this blog will tell you what you NEED to read.

Because the answers you are looking for, the real way to lose weight, is slow and steady. Sometimes it happens at a snails pace. Other weeks, it may not happen at all. But losing weight in small increments is exactly what your body needs to do. Here we do it safe. Healthy. And I don’t mind tooting my own horn to say that it is fun when we do it together. We are a community of fat chicks who rely on our strong wills, the lower calorie diet plans, exercise, and our unbreakable senses of humor to get to our goals.

Yeah, we laugh a lot here. It’s inevitable. I am a mess, and I talk about things that no one else is willing to talk about. I give you the real skinny on dieting.

One of the top questions that people ask me, having lost as much weight as I did last year… which for the record averaged about 1.2 pounds per week- give or take a horrormoanally induced binge or 2… or 20…. Is HOW??? How have I lost weight? How did I do it?

I wish I could give you an easy answer. But there isn’t one. So I will give you the truth.

1. I was desperate. Desperate to change. Desperate to make my life something more than moving from one meal to the next, to become more than a girl and her blubber, to go from the fat chick who was jolly to the girl who is light and fun and undoubtedly off her rocker. Desperation is a powerful tool, and when wielded appropriately, it can make all the difference.

2. I did my homework. I talked to several women, looked at the research, and compared all my dieting options before I settled on the one that would work best for me. That happened to be weight watchers. And the first month, I faithfully logged and was honest about what I had eaten. No matter what it was, or how many points I had blown on stupid (yet delicious) crappy food. I learned everything I could about how the program would work best, and have utilized those principles the whole time. (Except when I cheated a little. But that’s another point entirely.) No low carb quick fixes. Just healthy options for a slow continuous burn.

3. I told EVERYONE I knew I was on a diet. I need a vast amount of accountability to do what I do. I was highly vocal about it with my family, friends, and even on Facebook. I will tell you that I didn’t admit my weight on facebook till I weighed 204, but when I finally did, I was shocked at the amount of support I got from others I had in my circle of friends who were in the same boat. Being overweight is universal (well, in America and other wealthy countries) and I’m guessing 90% of the people you know have the same feelings as you do. I was willing to bear my fat and become a leader in my fight against fluff.

4. I exercised. Oh, the exercise! I didn’t really start it until I was over a month in. I couldn’t handle changing everything about my food habits AND being sore until I had psyched myself up for it. I also began a walking group. Again with the accountability. My best stretches of exercising were with other like-minded women. That way we could vent. And laugh. Those are some of my favorite memories from the last year too. You need to have a buddy or two.

5. I took pictures and measurements. I am not afraid to tell you that the first few months of this VERY IMPORTANT part, I cried like a baby when I saw the visual proof of what my body really looked like and was. It gets easier, but trust me, those pictures will do nothing but spur you on to your goal. OK, they will perhaps depress you a little. BUT, you will soon be able to look back and see how far you have come.

6. I learned to laugh at myself. This, sweet sisters, is more than essential. You will be faced with tough roads up ahead, and it’s going to be one of the hardest journeys you have ever come across. Laughing is key. Aside from the fact that it does count as exercise, (oh yes, my friend, it surely does!) laughing will set you free.

7. And finally, you have got to work through the emotional stuff that comes up. Because you are going to hit plateaus, your will and determination will be tested, and you will find yourself learning things that you didn’t realize about who you are. And this is the only way you will make a life long change instead of a temporary one. The emotional reason for your fat needs to be looked at.

So there you have it. That’s how I’ve lost my weight, so far. I have to tell you that this is kind of a bitter pill for me to swallow, because I need to look at these again myself. Cause I am not done. Remember how I FINALLY hit my 169? And was bound and determined to hit 165 by today? It totally didn’t happen. I got caught up in the thrill of the holidays, and landed myself back in the land of 170’s. 173.8 to be exact. Which means I have a lot of work to do.

OK, let’s see, what else did I need to tell you? Ah! There is a wonderful new button on my blog (thank you April!) that you can copy and paste onto your blog, and let others know what you are doing. (Step 3 in my effective habits, remember?) Be bold and speak out about it. Tell the readers of your blog what you are doing. They will ask you how it’s going at just the right time. You will need it, I promise.

Also, for those of you in the Danville IL area, my walking group at the mall will resume this Monday night, so plan to join if you can. It’s a blast!

I will have some fun things up on Sunday, as a gaggle of us girls will be attending the “YMCA FITNESS EXTRAVAGANZA- a 2.5 hour long torture session of all the exercise classes available to members of the Y” tomorrow morning. I won’t be able to write about it till Sunday, so make sure you come back for that. I’m sure it will be painfully funny, in oh so many ways.

All right, we have company coming over tomorrow night, so I need to clean house. I must get to work. But I’m motivated as ever to make healthy choices today, and I hope you are too!

Here’s to 2010- the year that EVERYTHING changes!!!
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