Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ballet Hurray!

Do you guys remember my cousin Megan the competitive slot machine-punching ballerina?

This is her in a music video.  She's the next Blind Melon Bee Girl, for sure.

I am posting this because I am very proud of her and also to show my cousin Timmy that I listened to his tutorial on how to post videos on Thanksgiving.  See, you're not talking to a brick wall after all!

EDIT:  And of course somehow the video size is all messed up.  Way to go, Timmy, this ones on you.

EDIT:  If you can't see it, try this link. I am certainly a computer whiz kid.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dough Re Mi Revenge

I was walking with Kate through the maze of sponsor displays at BlogHer when I saw him, my mother's sworn enemy.  It stopped me in my tracks, as I had been warned about him since I was a little girl.  He looked decidedly non-threatening from afar, although he was tall and looming and definitely had a sort of presence about him.  His smile looked forced, now that I think about it, and there was something sinister about his blank and unblinking eyes.  I am talking, of course, about the Pillsbury Doughboy.

My mother is terrified of him.  When a Pillsbury commercial comes on, she visibly shudders and shuts her eyes.  Apparently she used to have nightmares that he was chasing her and then hugging her close, his doughy body seeping into her nose and mouth and suffocating her, all while he laughed his inane and unchanging little laugh.  It's a serious phobia with her, one that I am sure kept me from enjoying crescent rolls when I was a child.  We all have our crosses to bear.

Anyway, the Doughboy had a gift for all of us conference attendees, and as soon as I saw it, a plan was hatched in my brain.

I took three of these.  I knew that if I gave one to my mom, she'd have to hold back her screams and that she'd either destroy it or give it away immediately.  That's where the back-ups came in.  I planned on hiding one under her pillow, imagining that she'd see it and think, "Hmmm, I thought I threw that thing into the fireplace but I must have been mistaken."  She might believe that, but several days later when she found the third Doughboy, sitting in the middle of her shower, I was pretty sure she'd be convinced that the doll was a minion of Satan and was following her in order to murder her and take her soul back to Pillsbury Land, probably to bake inside some delicious buttery biscuit.  

It was a brilliant plan.  Did I mention the sound the Doughboy made when it was squeezed?


She would have had to have been institutionalized.  It would have been marvelous.

Unfortunately, and this will come as a shock to people who know me, I had an attack of my damn conscience and ended up telling her about my plan this weekend.  Yes, I had waited to put the gears in motion since August in order to add suspense.  I'm dramatic, what can I say?  Anyway, I told her about it and showed her one of the Doughboys.  She screeched and held back tears (this might have been my imagination) and immediately got rid of the little hell hound.

I apologized to her for not being sensitive to her fears.  It was then that she reminded me of a little incident I like to call Squirrel Gate 1994.

We had an above-ground pool in our backyard when I was a teenager, and I was in charge of doing the chemicals for it and vacuuming for several years.  One night, I left the hose in the pool and went to bed, planning on finishing in the morning.  The next day, I reached into the pool for the vacuum hose without looking and my hand closed around something cold, wet and bushy.  I lifted it out of the pool, turned my head and saw a squirrel, in full rigor mortis, dripping pool water out of its dead open mouth.

I screamed and threw it back in the pool and ran inside crying.  I was convinced I had killed the poor thing by leaving the hose in the pool.  For months, I'd imagine that little animal going about its business, running across the vacuum hose, slipping into the pool and slowly drowning all by itself.  It haunted me, no lie.

It also got me out of pool duty, which wasn't a bad thing, but I digress.

Months later, at Christmastime, I opened up a gift from my mom. It was a t-shirt with squirrels airbrushed all over it along with the phrase "Squirrels Just Wanna Have Fun."  I opened another box and it was a stuffed squirrel.  At that point, I was raging (blame the teenage hormones) and I looked over at her and she had tears running down her face because she was laughing so hard.  My mother was hysterically laughing because she triggered my post traumatic stress disorder about the squirrel I had practically murdered.  I think that proves she is not a nice person. 

So now I wish I hadn't wussed out on Project Doughboy Stalker because that kind of behavior deserves revenge, even sixteen years later.  Lucky for me, I have an active imagination and two more Doughboy dolls.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Jerky

I went to my cousin's house for Thanksgiving along with 26 other people. When your family is as gigantic as mine, it's hard having the entire family get together without renting a restaurant or a stadium. An intimate gathering of thirty people is just about a third of my mom's brothers and sisters and their kids.

First of all, the decorations were marvelous.

I can just imagine the instructions given for this one. "Kids, draw a Thanksgiving poster." Will do!

My three year old cousin Timmy's Indian name is apparently Running Dinosaur. I had absolutely no idea he was a closet Creationist. Timmy also took our friend Tesh on a tour of his house, opened the door to his room and exclaimed, "Behold!" Running Dinosaur is quite the character.

Nothing like a child's drawing of the poultry you're about to consume begging you to perhaps reconsider your dinner menu.

Please note the dead and frowning turkey on the table. Thanksgiving is not a fun holiday for turkeys, but it does seem like they're fun to draw.

They really were ridiculously well-behaved. When I was a kid, my cousins and I would mix concoctions out of two-liter bottles of pop in an effort to make each other throw up. We would hit each other with wiffle bats, break ceiling fans and purposely throw sand in each other's eyes. At one memorable family wedding, my cousin Tim, the host of this Thanksgiving celebration, downed a record 27 kiddie cocktails and celebrated by vomiting all over his parents' Chevy on the way home. We were terrible, terrible children, and my cousins are lucky that their own offspring have magically turned out angelic and sweet and perfect. (Admittedly I may be a teeny bit biased)

All in all, it was a wonderful loud, boisterous, happy day, especially if you weren't a turkey. Well, who am I kidding, every single person in my family is a turkey, but we still enjoyed ourselves.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Thanks Tank is Full

I'm at my mom's house listening to her complain about the labor-intensive chore of making ready-bake cookies.

She's alternating that with saying things to the dog like "Have you ever seen a hammer, Coopie?" and "Get back here, shoe."

We spent twenty minutes this morning chasing the dog around the house.

Now she is talking about how pet birds self-mutilate.

I'm thankful for being in this family, no matter what insanity I inherited in my DNA.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It Gets Better

Last weekend, I opened the Chicago Tribune and read about a student from my old college who killed herself in her dorm room.

Immediately I felt like I was back there, in McCandless Hall, staring out the window at a campus full of people and feeling desperately alone and frightened and hopeless. I wanted to go home but was scared to tell my family that I couldn't handle being away. I was afraid to be by myself but I didn't want my friends around me because it was getting harder and harder to pretend that everything was normal and happy and funny and a-okay. I know what it's like to try to get help and to feel humiliated in admitting there is a problem and still not be any closer to solving it when outside sources stepped in.

I know how it feels to decide that the world would be better off without me in it and to look out a window of McCandless Hall and feel the strange, terrible, intoxicating peace of knowing it will all be over soon.

Every year when autumn rolls around, the memory of what rock bottom was like comes back in full force. I wake up at night terrified after having dreams that I'm back there, desperate and alone, making a decision that I'm so thankful I didn't stick to.

College is not easy. and depression becomes increasingly common as teenagers reach that age group. It breaks my heart that there are so many young people sitting in dorm rooms across the country, feeling alone while surrounded by friends and thinking of options that will destroy them. The fact that anyone has to feel like I felt and not see the light at the end of the tunnel is just crushing to me.

If you're depressed at college and you're reading this, please believe me when I tell you that things will get better. When I had to leave school and withdraw from classes, it felt like the end of the world. I was embarrassed packing up my stuff and leaving in the middle of the year, and I felt like a colossal failure and that I had let down everyone who had so many expectations for my life. Now I know that leaving and getting help was the best decision I ever made. A lower GPA and a couple more years before getting a degree is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. That's something you can recover from, but suicide is not.

It will take time, but one day you'll laugh and it won't feel like you're faking it. The emptiness you feel will fade. The idea of going out and having fun will seem like a good thing again and getting up in the morning will one day not be a struggle.

One day, you'll look back and you'll cry remembering how you felt, because it will be so different than the way you feel now. You'll cry with sympathy for the sad college kid you were and the way your sick brain made you think there was only one way out. You'll read stories about others who have gone through it and it will make your stomach turn knowing someone else suffered the way you did. Your life will be better. I promise that it will.

Please, get help. It was the best thing I ever did. There are hotlines and support groups and if all else fails, call the police. If nothing else, my email address is on this page and you can contact me and I'll help you.

You're not alone and you're not at your end. Ten years down the road, you'll look back and marvel at how much things have gotten better. Please just stick around to realize that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Win Loser Draw

Well, thanks to random.org, we have the winner for the Amazon gift certificate.

Which corresponds to this comment:

Now I babysat for a lot of children when I was growing up, but only one child invented a dance in which he urinated on the ground, took off his clothes and frolicked around while singing, "Do the naked dance, la la la." I'm assuming this child, now a grown up, is the winner, so please email me so I can get your gift certificate to you ASAP.

I would like points for my subtlety in not announcing his name so that every girl he ever goes on a date with who Googles him would find out that little tidbit of information.

Oh, I should also say that the kid was 14 when he invented this dance. Just kidding, he was 4, but 14 makes for a much more interesting story.

Speaking of interesting, Cooper was laying on the ground this weekend and I called him over to me. He signed dramatically, ran over to my sister Annie and did the following:

He is not kind to me, and I buy him bones on a regular basis.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Monday

First of all, thank you guys for the great comments on my last post!  I know I am bribing you with the chance to win a big prize, but still!  My weekend was made.

Sometimes it's embarrassing to write this blog.  I was sort of mortified at BlogHer when it finally dawned on me that I was going to have to introduce myself to people as "Inner Fat Girl."  Honestly, though, connecting with so many of you people has really made this exercise in self-humiliation worth it.  Obviously, I knew before I wrote this that I wasn't the only person to struggle with weight issues or depression or a deep fear of demon-possession movies, but reading your stories and rah-rah comments makes it so much easier to see that all the issues I battle aren't unique and aren't insurmountable.  Thank you for that.

Plus, you have to know that I love that every my mom turns on "that internet," she holds her breath for what I'm going to say next.

Really, these people make it woefully easy to mock them.  

Also, a certain young fellow who I babysat for a dozen years or so has baited me in the comments of my last post.  He sure grew up to sound intelligent but to not be too bright!  I think he's forgetting about the pictures I have taken over the years.  This took me about five minutes to find, little friend.  

But now that he's given me permission, you can look forward to open season on stories of all the hell spawn I babysat for over the years.  Yay, just what you wanted from a weight loss blog!

Oh yeah, about that weight loss thing.  Your comments really motivated me to start caring about that again.  I'm still pretty immobile from my hip ridiculousness, but I am going to rev up cooking for myself, eating better and exercising, so look forward to that in the future too.  If nothing else, it's cheaper than Ambien and should induce ZZZ's.  

I will pick the big winner of the Amazon gift certificate tomorrow at noon, so if you haven't entered yet, leave a comment on this post.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

One Year Giveaway

Well, I realized this morning that yesterday was the one year anniversary of the day I started this blog!  How crazy is that?  Time really flies when you're humiliating yourself in front of an audience.

In the year I've been writing this blog:

  • I came out to all of my friends and family as someone with a weight problem.  I am sure all of them needed medical care to survive the shock. 
  • MSNBC featured me in a story on their website.  No, it wasn't about diet success stories or the Fifty Most Beautiful Bloggers.  It was about people who can't work equipment at the gym.  Nothing like telling the world I fell off a treadmill.  Several times.
  • I went to New York for BlogHer10, made some friends and came home with ninety pounds of free stuff.  Incidentally, the only things I brought home that I actually use are a toothbrush and several reusable grocery bags.  And I never did win a Tempurpedic Mattress, but I'll never forget getting my picture taken with Marmaduke.

  • Embarrassingly enough, have not lost a single pound.  Eek.  In my defense, I've dealt with a lot of issues that I didn't expect, but if I am writing a two-year anniversary post and saying that I am really going to feel like a hypocrite.  
  • Made great friends in my comments section.  Seriously, thank you guys for sticking with me and prodding me along this year.  Mary G, Darlene, Kim, Kim, Kate, Stacia, Jess, Patty, Melisa, Bluestreak, and my family, among a lot of other people.  It's been wonderful to know that people are reading and I've really appreciated the cheerleading.
SOOOO, in celebration of my attention span actually keeping me in a project for an entire year, I am having a giveaway.  If you leave a comment on this post either telling me what I should write about in the next year or telling me what your favorite post of the last year has been, you'll be entered to win a $25 gift certificate from Amazon.com! 

Note to all federal organizations:  I bought this gift certificate myself and no one gave it to me, so don't sue me.  Thanks.  

I will pick a winner on Tuesday morning, so you'll have to keep your fingers crossed for a while.  

Again, thanks for reading here.  It helps me keep my mom on her toes.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Dispatch From Dullsville

When I was a kid and I'd complain to my mom that I was bored, she'd tell me that only boring people get bored.  Exciting, vibrant, intelligent and wonderful people could always think of something to do.  Well, after two weeks of "taking it easy" for my stupid hip injury, I am ready to confess that I am a boring person.  Tediously, mind-numbingly boring.  I can barely stand to look at myself in the mirror, I'm so boring.  If this keeps up, I might start talking to the walls, I'm so boring.

I think the two pictures above nicely show the excitement that's been happening around here.

I am the type of person who thinks that when a doctor says I will be better in four days, he really means two.  Because of this, I have three times now gone to Target and walked around and ended up in agonizing pain after declaring myself "all better."  My mother has now confined me to the house for another week, mostly because I'm sure she's sick of the phone calls where I'm absolutely shocked I am still in pain after walking a half a block to Walgreens and browsing for half an hour.  

I'm willing to admit that the doctors are right and this stupid thing will take another week to heal.  Please prepare yourself for more exciting updates. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bird Brainstorm

I've been staying at my mom and dad's house in the suburbs while I rest up my sore hip and back. This is because, after two days alone in my condo, I started to die slowly of boredom. Apparently one can't live on reality television and 'Nilla Wafers alone.

My mom moved a twin bed into the family room. This was not only comfortable for me but also an excellent decorating idea. Nothing says suburban chic like a convalescing adult child with her legs propped up on pillows. The neighbors are very jealous and looking to duplicate the idea in 2011.

So life here at my parents' is never boring. My sister and I watched "Child's Play," so I'll have nightmares about murderous My Buddy dolls until Christmas. Beautiful Goddaughter Jamie came and we watched the Bears and then six hours of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

(Wow, "Kardashians" is in my phone's dictionary. These are interesting times).

But really it's the little things that hold my attention at my parents' house. For instance, I happened to glance in at my sister's 20 year old cockatiel and I saw the following:

The bird apparently has some sort of blister and he picks at it. The vet is amazed Cody has lived as long as he has, and it's all due to Kerry's unique care. She designed this bird sock so Cody can't pick at his wound but can still fly. This is something you don't see every day, and I had to rub my eyes once or twice to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.

I'm just hoping the murderous doll standing in the corner over there is just an illusion.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Seven Year Itch

Seven years ago today, I met a little dog named Cooper at the Animal Control Shelter and he became my roommate.  I picked him because out of the 300 dogs at the shelter, he was the only one who wasn't barking.  That turned out to be a smart move, because although has more issues than National Geographic, excessive barking is not one of them.

Coop has definitely been my most successful live-in relationship with the opposite sex, by far.  I mean, come on, we're at 49 years in dog years.  That's heading into congratulations-from-Willard-Scott territory.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mommy Dearest

You know how every child hits developmental milestones at different times?  One child might be an early walker but won't read until he is seven and another might use a pacifier until she is five but walk at seven months.  Well, I was kind of a late-bloomer with one milestone:  I was unable to make it to the toilet while throwing up until I was 17 years old.

I was grossed out by sitting in the bathroom and waiting to be sick, so I'd wait in my bedroom until the last possible second.  Inevitably, I would puke all over the wall in the hallway, on the rug in the bathroom or even in the middle of my bed.  Once I threw up all over the back of the toilet, and that felt like a victory of some sort.  Progress is progress, I suppose.

My mom would rarely occasionally only sometimes never complain, and she'd bend over backwards to make me feel better, buying me 7-Up and 64 boxes of crayons and making a bed for me out of sheets on the couch.  I puked all over that a few times too.  Such a charming child.

The other night, my mom stayed with me in the hospital until 5 AM.  Then she stopped at Walgreens to get my pills (my new best friends.  I am sure I will enjoy rehab a lot, especially if I get to meet Lindsay Lohan!)  She bought me ice cream and macaroni and Diet Coke and took my annoying little dog home with her.  She's so good to me and it blows me away, especially considering she's been doing this whole mothering thing for 32 years, and that I haven't always been the easiest daughter, as my little puking problem illustrates.

I'm a lucky lady to have her, and that's not just the narcotics talking.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hips Don't Lie

First of all, internet people, I want to start out by assuring you that I don't have Munchausen's Syndrome.  Before 2010, I had not been sick in five years, and I can't even remember the last time I was in the emergency room.  You may doubt me on this because in the year(!!!) that I have been doing this whole blog thing, I've had three mouth surgeries and have been to the ER after smashing my fingers in a garbage chute.  This new little incident takes the pain cake, though, I can promise you that.

Yesterday, being the athlete that I am, I bent over sideways to pick something up from the floor in my bedroom.  It immediately felt like I pulled a muscle in my lower back, and it got steadily worse all day.  My GP gave me a prescription for Vicodin and muscle relaxers, but after taking four of them in two hours, it became apparent that something more serious was going on, so my beloved and sainted mother took me to the ER at midnight.

After a delightful five hours in which I writhed in pain on a gurney while we listened to a man in the area next to us complain loudly about women, minorities and not being allowed to order a turkey sandwich, it turns out that I sprained a muscle and a joint between my hip and my back.  I have bed-rest for five days (I think- details became a little fuzzy after they gave me Valium and something called Norcos) and have to eventually have physical therapy.  It apparently won't feel better for several weeks.

Well let me tell you, it feels great being 32 and injuring yourself by bending over.  I am guessing a medic alert alarm and a senior living facility are next.  Imagine all the guys I will get, though, when I'm 40 years younger than every eligible lady there.  My social calendar is going to be chock full of dates with guys with pockets full of Werther's Original candies, hip hip hurray!

This whole lovely experience has really made it hit home that I have to start going to the gym again.   When I started losing weight three years ago, my goal was not to be skinny but to be strong.  Somewhere along the way I lost that, and being in intense pain after bending over has reminded me of the importance of not being immobile in a wheelchair at 40 years old.  I really do feel motivated to get back into shape to avoid having this whole frickin thing happen again.

So for the next couple of days, I'm flat on my behind and drugged out of my mind.  On the plus side, my DVR finally taped "Sister Wives" so I am sure this will be time well spent.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fright Nights

When I was six years old, one of our babysitters brought over a nice family-friendly video for us all to watch right before I went to bed: The Amityville Horror 3D.

Just as a side note, we lived on a block with about four hundred children, and for some reason my parents thought allowing teenage boys to babysit was the best idea in the world.  They had parties, jumped from the house roof to the garage roof, and at one point, put our parakeet in the microwave.  They also ate all of our fruit snacks and Teddy Grahams.  In general, I don't think this babysitting corps was my parents' best idea ever.

That night, as my mom tucked me into bed, I'm sure she noticed my wide-eyes as I glanced suspiciously at the windows of our room.  "Hey Mom," I asked casually.  "Do you think we have a pit that leads to Hell in our basement?"  Oddly, she did not, but as I tried to sleep that night, the idea became more and more likely.

It was the first of many sleepless nights.  The next day I woke up crying.  My mom tried to comfort me, but I was convinced we were doomed.  "It's just... it's just that I'm sure that this house has EYES, that's all!"    Eventually, I calmed down and stopped thinking about "Amityville Horror 3D," but I still shudder a little every time I see Meg Ryan or Aunt Becky from "Full House," both who star in that movie that I'm sure will be on the AFI's list of the 100 Greatest 3D Horror Movies.

There weren't too many other scary movies that affected me that strongly.  I spent my life happily watching musicals and comedies and occasional dramas, leaving the scary slashy stuff for my sister Kerry, who is insane.  Then one night in 2008, I watched a little film called "Paranormal Activity."

I didn't even think it was that frightening when I watched it.  I finished the movie, thought, "Well, that was an effective little horror film!  Well done, independent movie makers!"  Then I went to bed.  I had a dream that I woke up to the loud banging sounds that the couple experienced in the movie.  In my dream, I sat up in bed and said out loud, "I am so glad that I don't have any demons in this house!"  Then I looked down at Cooper, who was asleep in the corner of the bed.  He had blood all over his mouth.  "Coop, what happened to you?" I asked.  Then I saw that Cooper had eaten half of my leg during the night.

It sounds so stupid, but I didn't sleep for DAYS.  Yes, I was a thirty year old woman who was afraid to sleep in her own bed because of a dream about a dog eating my leg.  Eventually, I put on my big girl pants and started sleeping again, but even now, when I think about that movie and that dream, it makes me shudder a little.

Last week, I saw "Paranormal Activity 2."  It was okay, frightening but not terror-inducing, and for the first four nights afterward I slept fine.  Then last night, I started thinking about it and remembering the ending and thinking about the creepy basement... and the next thing I knew, I was up all night again, staring out the window and wishing it was morning.

The moral of the story is I should have learned my lesson with "Amityville Horror 3D" and avoided any movie not written for an audience of first-graders.  From here on out, it's musicals and Disney movies.  Except for "The Watcher in the Woods."  I can't even think about that one without shuddering.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't Call PETA, Please

Halloween:  Destroying my dog's dignity since 2003.