Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year in Review - Heather style.

What a year!

I started off the year gardening a lot, bitching about my side effects, and manic for soynuts. February was a month that changed my life. We had a scary meeting with the plant manager, who considered reopening the deli. I invented some Chipolte pintos that Ron adored. He also loved the fried sausage and onions. More gardening, of course, and Feb 20 I gave all my skinny clothes to the Salvation Army. Feb 26, I had enough:

"Now, I'm fat. Clinically, I'm fat. I weigh about 75 pounds more than my ideal weight. OK? I ate all kinds of bad things when I was sick, making me fat....I need to lose about a foot off my waist. I measured. YUCK." The first couple days were hard, but "It seemed like everytime I was about to give up today, I encountered a massive individual struggling to breathe. God really knows how to motivate me. No. Not if I can help it!"

I started my low-carb blog. Ron helped me by fixing me bacon and planned to build me a compost bin.

March, I lost 19 pounds. I had a nasty depression but I whacked it. Ron and I ate out a lot.

April, Mom and Dad came to visit. We all had a blast. I shrank 3 sizes total from when I'd started Induction in Feb. I began a gentle running and weight lifting program which I continued until August. I got down to a size L tshirt. I learned the importance of weighing and measuring to track weight loss.

May I got kicked with another depression and noticed some hair loss from the low-carb/lithium. Bubba brought me a live frog and left it in the shower, and I learned that lithium and salad don't mix.

June, we went to Galveston for a few days. We had a great time, but I didn't like the way I looked in my photos. My hair made me look tired and old, so I cut it short.

July, we had hurricane Dolly brush past, we donated blood, and we kept eating out.

August Ron mentioned he had a little bump on his jaw, which continued to grow, scaring the crap out of us. We bought some Pearl MP3 players - still have them, still love them. Ron had a violent allergic reaction to Bactrim which caused Peripheral Nerve Disease, Sensory type. For me, that means he's in a lot of pain, barely able to walk a few feet, and more dependent. I battled self-doubt and depression and decided at last to "Be rude to the 'tude"! Hurricane Gustav threatens New Orleans.

September: Ron cancels the hand surgery. I hit my first goal of Walmart size 12. Ron continues to do poorly, losing 30 pounds. Hurricane Ike hits! No power for 4 days, no damage to our home, while houses around us are in terrible shape. I discover the band "Skillet" and battle caregiver burnout. "So, when things are going to hell in a handbasket, don't be suprised to find me eating peanuts, watching a zombie movie, and knitting. It's the best thing I can do! "

Now peanuts give me migraines [Heather cries].

In October, Frosty got into a fight and had a terrible abcess. He still limps to this day. I resolve to make God happy, and decide I am not responsible for Ron's moods. Ron begins taking Neurontin for the neuropathy.

In November, I walked 5 miles to vote (Republican!). I discover that peanuts are triggering my migraines. I go manic for knitting. Ron is formally diagnosed with diabetes.

December my scale died. Ron finds a few foods he can tolerate. Business is incredibly slow. I get "back into" Ebay and discover it's a lot of fun when I'm on my pills.

What a year! Next year's bound to be better.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We shouldn't know this phrase...

"Taking the veil". I read that just now in reference to an article on bras. A woman replied to a man's lewd comment with "Should we take the veil to avoid creeps like you?"

That is horrible! We shouldn't ever consider something like that, even in jest. I've been on a shawl-buying kick recently on Ebay. I've bought some lovely "pashmina" - whatever they are, they're nice, shawls, and some blended fiber shawls. I even ordered a natural cotton one, and a dyed silk one. All well within my internet budget.

But everytime I do a search, the damned veils keep coming up - oh, they call it other things. "Abaya" - the cloak-like "getup" that conceals a woman's entire body, "Hijab" or "Shayla" (that's the head covering) and my personal favorite, the "Niquab". Sounds innocent, huh? Kind of like squab or something? No. It's the face covering. Yeah. The one you'd better be wearing under Sharia law or you're gonna get your ass beat by the "morals police". We call them "ski masks" where I come from.

It's America. I can do nothing about the fact that I regularly see young girls and adult woman wearing their "prison garb" at Walmart. I want to scream at them, "You're in America! You can take that crap off!" But, presumably, they want to wear it. It makes them feel safe, I suppose. I doubt they ever get leered at. Kids are dying in Iraq right now so those women have the right to wear their "Hijab" or a miniskirt to Walmart if they choose.

Frankly, seeing that garb scares the crap out of me. I feel that certain factions would like nothing more than to get us all under Sharia law, worshipping in their mosques, wearing their getup, and paying our taxes to the authorities because we dare to believe in Jesus Christ. See, you can be a Christian in the Middle East. You will be persecuted, and you will pay a hefty tax as well. But you'd better wear the getup, or else. If you're lucky, you get off with a severe beating.

Never. It scares me to see how common it's all becoming, seeing the women in the "getup" - only their eyes exposed. I don't think it's my area, which isn't even that affluent. Seeing all this "Niquab" crap on Ebay and the "Arab Princess" scarves every time I look for a cute accessory.

I doubt many Arabic women feel like a princess. More like an inmate, I'd guess.

I'd never take the veil, or go somewhere that demanded it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"... and I don't want them either."

I'm sorry I've been neglecting this blog, but I've been posting a lot in my low-carb blog. You can always click on the Heather Shrinks thing to see what I've been doing, I update that almost every day.

Well, as Ron would say I pissed them off again. I am tired of hearing "Oh, so and so is pregnant! Isn't it wonderful?" and everyone is supposed to act like it's the best thing that will ever happen to her. I disagree.

I didn't say that but I did cast aspersions on her virtue, which got a lot of heated replies. I'm hiding out for a bit.

I couldn't understand for a bit why the whole pregnancy is wonderful thing had me pissed off. I mean, as far as I know, I am perfectly fertile. My mother had a few miscarriages, but she also brought 4 children to term. My sister has 3 kids. My aunt has 4. Obviously we don't have fertility issues.

I like kids. I think my nephew is the cutest baby ever. He is adorable. I'm glad my brother has him, I always knew Matt would make a great Daddy. My sisters' kids are great, wonderful kids who will contribute tremendously to society. Attractive kids, too. I volunteered in the church nursery for years, helping with the toddlers. I loved them, but I was sure happy to see them leave!

Which leads me to the question that has been pissing me off for 16 years. "Why don't you have kids?" Oh, God, it was horrible when I worked at Target. The thinking among the level one employees seemed to be such that if you were in a stable relationship you had a duty to procreate. I got hassled endlessly for not having kids. One day I took some tylenol on an empty stomach and got spectacularly sick to my stomach on my checkout lane, in front of witnesses. I had some hard questions and looks before they finally believed I was telling the truth.

It made me a very reliable employee. I never had a sick baby or pediatrician appointments. Frankly, we couldn't afford a baby.

Very early on in our relationship, Ron asked me if I wanted children. I said I didn't know. He replied that he'd had surgery and he would not be fathering any children, as his blindness was hereditary. His viewpoint made a lot of sense to me. If I knew my children would have bipolar disorder I would have surgery too. It's horrible, I wouldn't inflict that on anyone.

I repect him for that. One of my most comforting thoughts when Ron was "laid up" in ICU after his accident was the thought that thank God, no children of ours were suffering with me. I was the only one who loved him that much. I can't imagine having to tell your children your father could die at any moment. I mean, how could I have split my time between children and husband? I had to play favorites and I did - with the cats. I still feel bad about that.

I don't regret it, but I had to make decisions. Which brings me to the thing that pisses me off:
Everytime someone finds out I am married, here it comes "Do you have kids".
I tell them no.
They want to know why not, which is pretty insensitive right there. What if I were trying, and had fertility issues?
I tell them a lot of reasons, mainly genetic.
They want detailed explanations. Some of the inquisitors let us off the hook then, deciding the world doesn't need more "cripples". Others insist that we don't know the child will be disabled, getting very insistent that we should have children.

The most disgusting thing to me is the fact that they are looking at my husband at the time. 87 year old ladies have an easier time getting into a minivan! He's blind! He's got hemparesis! He's got nerve disease for God's sake! I don't have enough on my plate, now they want to stick a helpless infant on me!

A baby would just be more stress, emotional torture, and expense. No. Everyone acts like I'm such a mutant for saying No. I don't want children.

16 years of why don't you have kids you don't know what you're missing....why don't you have kids why why why? I'm sick of it.

I don't have to justify myself. I don't have to explain. All I have to do is be polite.

"Do you have kids?"
"No, and I don't want them either." End of conversation.
"Why?" for the pushy ones, whom I encounter on a regular basis. "I have my reasons. What if I can't have kids? I'd be feeling pretty terrible right now. You might want to think about that before you keep asking questions."
Or "I can take care of my husband, or I can take care of a baby. I made my choice."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Resentful and envious

Yes, I am. Thanksgiving, the day to give thanks, and why am I feeling this way?

Well, I hang out on two message boards. One is primarily low-carb, and one is primarily Christian. On both sites recently women have posted about a health problem their husband had, but he's all better now!

I've had to battle a tremendous urge to say something like "Well, good for you." Or "Great, so nice to hear."

A few minutes ago, I went in Ron's room to ask him a question. I won't break his privacy, but it was obvious he was in physical pain and very sad. Why him? Or, why not him? Why can't he be the one who's getting better, instead of the man who gets into a Metrolift slower than an 80 year old woman?

When they see him getting into the vehicle, no one asks why he has the wheelchair. They know he can barely walk at all.

Why does God need him like this? Haven't we both suffered enough? I don't know the answers.

I just tell myself what I tell Ron, if we knew why he needed us like this, we'd probably screw up whatever it is we're supposed to be doing. I just wish I could feel better about it.

I tell myself, it's normal to be upset, angry, sad, and a little bitter when I hear those happy ending stories I'm growing to hate. I'll just choke down my human impulses and say nothing, or something bland.

I would hate for other people to feel like I do.

Ron's calling.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If you'd like to help...

Many times, I approach a door, pushing my blind husband in his wheelchair. If nobody's around, or they don't feel helpful, I'll do a 180 and back up to the door. I open the door, and hold it with one arm as I back the wheelchair into the doorway. When I've gotten Ron far enough into the door, I'll let the door slam into the side of the chair and continue to slide it backwards until "we're" through.

Assuming the door swings inward, I will simply back up and shove with my butt until the door opens. It works well, I call it "Mighty Butt". Then I stick my arm out to the side to catch the door until Ron's through.

If you ever see us approaching, PLEASE do not stand IN FRONT of the door, holding it open for us. There's no way I can get him through the door without running over your feet or having to duck down under your arm. We'll all be very uncomfortable.

Please stand BEHIND the door as you hold it open. Either way, I'll say thank you and mean it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

On Crying

It's funny how things change on my medication. When I cry now, it's not for long, not a lot of tears, but very intense. I'm clear-headed, just very, very sad. I also feel vaguely guilty. I don't know why, I'm the only one who knows I'm crying. I'm very quiet.

Before, it would be for a while, buckets of tears, blowing my nose, and generally pretty hysterical. Sometimes I didn't even know why I was crying (because I have a mood disorder). I'd be pretty loud.

I was watching a video to one of my favorite songs and I just lost it crying. Basically the singer is crying out to God, and affirming his faith that God will save him. There go the waterworks.

I had an old rag - if I'm going to cry I love my old rags. I cried for a couple minutes. I can't honestly say I feel better because my situation is the same.

My husband is really messed up. I'm shouldering his work and mine, caring for him, and caring for myself. All done by someone who was supposed to be unable to live independently. I'm carrying a big load for anyone, not just an FAS, bipolar chick.

I keep my music on random shuffle, and when I started typing ELO's "Don't bring me down" started playing. I'm not going to dwell on it, but I realize it is OK to be sad sometimes.

Today, it's about knitting.

Yes, today, it's about knitting.

I finished the Fall Colors shawl. It looks fantastic and I love wearing it whenever it gets chilly. I actually hope it's a colder winter now. I had enough photos taken, that one of them will come out. :) Then I'll upload it and the pattern.

I also finished the fingerless gloves. I used Elizabeth Lavold Chunky Al - a 50/50 alpaca/wool blend. They are very warm, non-itchy, and durable enough that I can push the wheelchair while wearing them. Again, pattern and pictures coming soon.

Last but not least, I finished my 3 color hat. I make everyone else hats, but last year I wore an Army Surplus wool hat. It was very warm, and basic, but it's just wrong. I should have something that expressed my personality.

This year, I dug some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted out of my stash. I had one skein each of turquoise, magenta, and orange. I made stripes. It's fun, cute, and original. I like it a lot. I have to confess, though, that my Army hat is warmer. {laughing}

My latest project involves some using lace knitting yarn and a crochet hook to produce a fun, delicate lace. I have a few stitch dictionaries, but only about 50 patterns. On the other hand, I have literally over a thousand knitting stitch patterns. Say what?

I bookmarked some interesting-looking crochet stitch dictionaries so I can remedy the situation. Just because I love knitting doesn't mean I can't crochet, too. :)

Oh, and I need to get a photo of Ron wearing his hat. It's hysterical.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Prescription: "Listen to your wife"

Ron's impatient. Who can blame him? Becoming hemiparetic was bad enough after his accident. He asked me about it as he recovered. I did some reasearch and told him "Well, if you don't see it by 6 months you probably never will". He didn't like it but 6 months came and went over 6 years ago. I figured it was far better for him to know his prognosis than to have a horrible crash a few years later.

I've treated the whole "Sensory Peripheral Nerve Disease" thing pretty much the same. When Ron asks me when he'll get better, I tell him "We don't know, you may recover, you might not. Nerves are funny and don't have a whole lot of capacity to regenerate. I think it'll be a longer process than you'd like at best."

He hasn't liked hearing that, and has requested that I do more research, but everything comes up the same. He might get better, he might not.

Recently he'd been asking me to find him a new doctor, one who could give him a pill or something and help him recover. "What if I only have a limited window of recovery and I'm missing it!" he fretted. I told him, all his tests have been rule-out, we know his diagnosis (PND) and it's going to take a while to see results.

Last night he got frustrated and called the hospital. He began by saying he'd been in and out of the hospital after a toxic reaction to Bactrim (in Bactrim's defense, he took the generic), had many expensive tests, all he had was a diagnosis of "PND" and he wanted a doctor who could fix him. He added my comments, that I say either the nerves will get better or they won't, but there's nothing a doctor could do that hasn't been done.

After a few gasps and a few transfers, Ron spoke to the "Head Nurse". She listened thoughtfully to him and gave him a priceless reply.

"Sir, you need to listen to your wife. I hate to say it, but she's right."

Can I get that on a prescription? :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No more peanuts or Slim-fast low carb!

Waking up everyday with a horrible headache was bad enough, but today's, my OFF day, morphed into a hideous puking migraine. I didn't go to Social Security. I didn't go to the craft store! [Heather cries]

The only "fun trips" I'm going to have are ones I do on the bus. Tomorrow I have to get to bed at 6. Friday I get up at 2.

Poor Ron wore himself out going to Walmart and getting me my medicine. I'm not telling him this: but by the time the prescription was ready I was feeling better.

Thankfully my migraines "Only" last about 12 hours. I suspect peanuts or Slimfast low carb are my triggers, so I won't consume any for at least a month. I can slowly add them in and see if they trigger headaches.

I'm still not hungry, so I'm not eating. :(

You win some, you lose some.

Well. I'm happy that McCain got Texas at least, and I'm glad I voted for him.

I am very disappointed that Sheila Jackson-Lee will be representing me in Congress. I feel she is embarrassing. Only 25% of the other voters agreed with me, though.

The good-guy candidate for Sheriff won. I was impressed by the fact that an obviously off-duty police officer asked for my vote (well outside the polling grounds). As I read the list of supporters, my choice was obvious.

I voted pretty strongly Republican on the other issues. I'm not so concerned with who won or not. The major ones, I won some, I lost some.

I just hope our new president can live up to everyone's expectations.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I walked 5 miles to vote today

I thought my polling place would be the local elementary school. I was wrong. I was redirected to the "real" place about 3 miles away. I walked.

I didn't have to wait at all. I just walked up to the appropriate letter range and handed over my ID card, signed, and voted.

It was an interesting experience. I voted for McCain. I think he'll do a better job. I feel he's already been tested and he did well. I have a very bad feeling about Obama AND his VP. I don't like or trust either of them.

I don't feel Michelle Obama will do a good job of "representing" all that is gracious about America. It has nothing to do with race - it says "Negro" on my husband's birth certificate. She doesn't have a good poker face. I don't feel she is "gracious". I keep coming back to her obviously annoyed expression during the speech Hilary Clinton gave, endorsing Obama.

It's my choice, I made it, and I'm proud I voted. I actually met one man I voted for - Chad Khan. I met him, liked him, I like his platform, and he lives nearby. I feel he'll do a good job standing for me in Austin.

I feel Sheila Jackson-Lee is an embarrassment to her constituents. I would have voted for a chicken if it ran against her. I hope he wins.

Other than that, I voted pretty much a Republican ticket. I liked Ed Emmett, I feel he did a great job managing Harris County during TWO hurricanes. He has a very difficult job but he does it well. Way to go, Ed. :)

We'll see who our new leader is tomorrow. It ought to be interesting.

I find it sad that I had such a short wait to vote. I brought my knitting bag, expecting to wait for hours.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And all I've got is a link

It sounds like a bad country music song: "I spent all that time at the doctor's and all I've got is a link." http://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-peripheral-neuropathy-basics

Sad but true. We had been eagerly awaiting a call from the neurologist. Nothing. Ron "reminded" him a few times and the doctor's receptionist called today. "Sorry, all your tests came back normal. There's nothing the doctor can do". Have a nice life, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Ron was crushed. Me too. The only information we have? A diagnosis "Peripheral Neuropathy". I can tell from my research Ron has the "Sensory" type.

He's hardly eating at all. I put his statistics into a BMR (basal metabolic rate) calculator and he needs at least 1500. He isn't getting anywhere near that.

Now I have the fun and enviable task of getting a very stubborn man to eat. Nothing tastes right, and he's "not hungry". Fun, fun, fun.

Oh, Frosty got in a fight, so I have two injured creatures in my house. We took Frosty to the vet (if only Ron could get the same quality medical care as the cat!) and he was treated. He's already begging for treats and hopping around on his 3 good legs. He takes after his father. Except for the begging for treats. I wish Ron would beg for treats. Then I wouldn't worry about feeding him!

Ack. I am so glad I see my psychiatrist in a few days. I am ready for a tune up. Amazingly, I'm holding up pretty well.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My pants are falling off!

About a month ago, I bought some blue jeans at Walmart. Eased fit, bootcut. Size 12.

Today I noticed they are baggy in both the butt and the crotch, and I had a lot of extra room in the waist. I have a test to see if I need new jeans. I try to pull them off when they're still fastened.

On my way out of work, I used the bathroom. Sure enough, I could pull them off without unfastening them! Not only that, I could get them on again, too.

Time to go to Walmart! I hope ALL 12's fit me now, not just the "eased".

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The gutter nearly hit my house; but I've let the bushes grow. If I'd trimmed them I'd have had some serious damage - 3 windows on the other side of the bushes!

Hurricane Photos

Our roof, below - totally fine.




These were all taken within a block of my home.


Progress pictures!

Here I am at my favorite Walmart, getting my picture taken. Walmart employees take excellent photos.

Here's Ron under Happy the afghan, which I finally finished. Notice how he's admiring the stitches (feeling it with his hand).
Is that my butt? I still need to lose 30 pounds but it's a lot better!

Heather's day off

Well, today was better. Ron and I are making each other a priority. He apologized for yesterday and of course I forgave him.

People who've just met us are always surprised to find out we're married. I don't know why - because we love each other? I couldn't tell you.

We just went to Walmart and home. Since Ron left the wheelchair at home, he collapsed onto the bench outside the door. Just getting to and from the bench to the vehicle totally wiped him out; he's sleeping now.

I'll be glad when we have a diagnosis and treatment. I hate to see him hurting.

But, like I always tell myself, one day this'll all be a horrible memory.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ham Spread - Make God Happy

Today was raw. Waking up was fine. Going to Sam's Club was fine. Not fun to push the wheelchair in the pouring rain. Not fun trying to find a place to "park" him.

Getting the supplies we needed, fine. By the time we had our pickup to work my increased lithium doses had caught up with me. I think I mentioned I'd increased my dose, had to, because I was getting hyper and that will end with me freaking out, paranoid, suicidal, and unable to sleep. I want to forget I'm sick if at all possible.


Today I was "sick" [I]and[/I] brain damaged. I couldn't think and I kept making mistakes. Example, I left a case of milk out on the loading dock. Ron got really agggravated and yelled at me. I yelled back. I was nice to him, doing everything he asked and offering plenty of help when he looked like he needed it. I felt very unappreciated.

I felt like I was pouring all my love down and black hole of unappreciation and disrespect for Heather. That I had one purpose - a "toilet" for all his negative emotions. Feeling bad? Dump on Heather! I told him I never, ever made him feel bad when he needed [I]my[/I] help. I'd appreciate it if he tried to do the same for me.

In response, he screamed "I wouldn't have picked [I]you[/I]!" and rolled himself off into a wall. I wish I were making this up, but I don't have the imagination. I turned on my MP3 player because I didn't want to hear any more.

So. I went off into the stockroom and had a good cry. It got better. Ron banged on the wall and needed help in the middle of it, so I stopped, mopped up helped him, and went back to crying. Then my alarm went off. Pill time. Because we were supposed to go out to lunch today, I hadn't brought a lunch. I had 2 choices: Ham spread in a can, or a bag of peanuts. I had plenty of other choices but I'm not eating them.

I have to take my medication with food of I'll get sick to my stomach. Without a doubt, the most depressing part of my day was opening up that can of ham spread. Zero carbs, smells awful. Plenty of fat and protien, though. I gagged it down and took my medication. Oh. It was horrible. I am buying some Slimfast Low Carbs and taking them to work. I'd rather eat a slipper than another can of [I]ham spread[/I]. Ghastly.

After work, I realized the bus stop bench was covered in fire ants. They didn't bite me, thank God. I sat on the curb near Ron. He called maintenance about the ants, and offered me to sit in his lap. I took him up. He couldn't do it for long, obviously, but I sat on the curb when he got tired.
Our driver went past us 3 times before he saw me waving. And I'm riding with this man. On the freeway. Scary. We had a decent trip home.

Ron staggered into bed and collapsed. I had a diet soda to get the taste out of my mouth. I checked in on him before I took my nap and he asked me to fix him some lunch.

I was walking towards the kitchen, thinking "I give and give and nothing makes Ron happy. I can only give 100%!" I then had a thought I'm convinced came from God: "Don't make Ron happy. Make God happy." Good advice!

I knew God would want me to fix Ron a wholesome meal with a smile, and be cheerful about giving to him. Ron hates it when people are resentful about helping him (his family). I fixed Ron a nice lunch and even put a bottle of milk into an ice bucket for him.

He loved it and was very grateful. I went to check the mail and saw my Bubba! I sure love him. He was very sweet, rubbing against my legs, meowing, and purring. I sat down and petted him for a while, until he got bored and left. He is just full of love. I adore him.

I went inside and Frosty was already in my bed, waiting for me. I gave him some treats and dropped right off to sleep. I had my usual creepy nightmares, woke up, and came here.
I did eat smart today, but I'm exhausted.

Friday, October 3, 2008

No means NO

Ron and I had a long hellish day. It involved hours at work, an MRI, a bladder infection, and trying for over an hour to give a specimen for the doctor. That's before we had to wait over and hour to go to Walmart to fill a prescription.

I got him some AZO and a snack. He was pretty hungry. Found out we'd have to wait 3 hours for the 'script so we decided to wait and get it tomorrow. That still meant waiting over another hour for our ride.

Needless to say, when we saw our driver we were very, very happy. When we got on, though, I recognized the other passenger. She is an elderly, partially blind, diabetic woman. She is very lonely and highly addicted to sugar.

The last time we rode with her, I'd gone to Sam's Club and bought a 48-count case of Snickers. She asked me to give her one. No. I don't hand out candy to diabetics, especially not type ones with talking blood sugar meters sitting in their laps. Personally, I think it's akin to assisted suicide.

She got very upset and said I was a horrible person. Because I wouldn't give her candy that I needed for the business. That's fine. She's entitled to her opinion. I found her both offensive and pathetic, a dire reminder of why I need to stick to low-carb living. It could very easily be me sitting there in 40 years if I'm not diligent about my eating.

We ended that ride with her thinking I'm a monster. So I knew it would be an interesting ride. She told us how she spent over $200 to stay in a hotel during a hurricane because she didn't want to stay alone in her apartment. She didn't say anything until right before Ron and I got off. We bring home cases of Coke, Dr Pepper, and bottled water for the drivers. When we have a to/from home trip, we always offer the driver a drink. Ron started it and I love it.

I asked the driver "Coke, Dr Pepper, or a bottle of water?" He was thrilled and said he'd like a Dr Pepper. Ms. Pushy chimed in "I want a soda too!"

We told her no. "But I want a soda!" We can't afford to do it. "I'd give you a soda!" I told her, well, I guess that makes you a better person than me but the answer is still NO.

When we got off, she was still complaining bitterly about our "cruelty".

Right.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hell in a handbasket

This last month, I've faced a very ill husband, increased job duties, a hurricane, and most recently a vicious cold/sinus infection. How do I do it?

Well, I have a bad habit of the martyr syndrome. Drop everything; don't take any time for myself, gee, why am I getting depressed?

It's a classic setup for caregiver burnout (http://women.webmd.com/caregiver-recognizing-burnout). I'm trying to be vigilant in preventing it, but Ron has no one but me. I have to prevent burnout because Ron has no one but me.

What am I doing?
  • I have a small, easy knitting project by the bed. I love the colors of the varegated yarn. I do one row every time I go to bed.
  • MP3 player. Right now I'm listening to "Blessed be the Name of the Lord" - I've also cranked a lot of Skillet too.
  • I'm working on a large knitting project for myself. The last time I did that was 1994. I take it everywhere. It's nearly done. It makes me happy.
  • I've been craving beef recently, not canned but fresh cooked beef. I bought a pound of stew meat. I'll cook it in the crock-pot tonight and have delicious simmered beef. Ron can't eat it, it'll probably depress him somewhat, but I need to eat nourishing foods. I won't feel sorry for it, either.
  • I have the weekend off, I'm doing things I love, not things "I have to do".
  • Don't feel responsible for Ron's moods/conditions. He's sick. It's awful. I let him vent and tell him I wish I could help, but I don't allow myself to feel responsible.
  • Talk to family and friends. If I try to do the Atlas thing and carry all this on my own, I will drop it in a spectacular and unforgettable manner.
  • Take my medication faithfully, along with vitamins and supplements as needed.
  • Try to rest every day if possible - nap.

So, when things are going to hell in a handbasket, don't be suprised to find me eating peanuts, watching a zombie movie, and knitting. It's the best thing I can do!

Skillet

One of the things I'm doing is listening to music. Specifically,Skillet. http://www.skillet.com/home. I have "Comatose" on repeat right now.

Here are the lyrics:
I hate feeling like this
I'm so tired of trying to fight this
I'm asleep and all I dream of
Is waking to You
Tell me that You will listen
You're touch is what i'm missing
And the more I hide I realize I'm slowly losing You
ComatoseI'll never wake up without an overdose of You
I don't wanna live,
I dont wanna breathe
'Les I feel you next to me
You take the pain I feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
I don't wanna sleep,
I don't wanna dream
'Cause my dreams don't comfort me
The way You make me feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
I hate living without You
Dead wrong to ever doubt You
But my demons lay in waiting
Tempting me away
Oh how I adore YouOh how I thirst for You
Oh how I need You
Comatose
I'll never wake up without an overdose of You
I don't wanna live, I dont wanna breathe
'Les I feel You next to me
You take the pain I feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
I don't wanna sleep,
I don't wanna dream
'Cause my dreams don't comfort me
The way you make me feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
Breathing life
Waking up
My eyes open up
Comatose
I'll never wake up without an overdose of You
I don't wanna live,
I dont wanna breathe
'Les I feel You next to me
You take the pain I feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
I don't wanna sleep, I don't wanna dream
'Cause my dreams don't comfort me
The way You make me feel
Waking up to You never felt so real
Oh how I adore You
Waking up to You never felt so real
Oh how I thirst for You
Waking up to You never felt so real
Oh how I adore You
The way You make me feel
Waking up to You never felt so real

Saturday, September 20, 2008

POD envy

I wondered what I'd write about after going through a big, bad, category 2 hurricane. Not much to say about the storm, really. Big gusts of wind, rain, no flooding thank you Jesus, all done. Wait for utilities and transportation to come back online.

Since I have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I can't drive. I'm incapable of processing the infomation I'd need to drive safely, so I don't drive. My husband is blind, he can't drive. We depend on public transportation.

Normally, I'm fine with that. I meet fascinating people, see interesting sights, and get plenty of motivation to stick to my low-carb diet. So far I've lost just under 46 pounds. That's a lot of lard!

I don't usually see myself as limited or disabled in any way. I've got a good life and I enjoy it. I can provide my husband with the care he needs, help him run his business, and take care of my adorable 2 cats.

However, after the storm. No paratransit service unless you were a dialysis patient, which I'm not, thank you Jesus.

FEMA came along and set up PODS (points of distribution) all over Houston. All you had to do was hop in your car, drive to the location, and they'd give you a case of MRE's, a case of bottled water, and a bag or two of ice. Very nice. If you can drive.

Everytime I'd see those centers on TV, I'd be overcome with a bitter sense of resentment. Why me? Why can't I drive? Why do I have to go and spend a hundred dollars on food that other people are getting for free? I had to bust my butt to go to Walmart, buy the food, bring it home, and make sure the codes are OK to eat.

[I'm going to digress for a moment and mention that eating my low-carb canned foods that I selected and purchased, I lost 4 pounds after the hurricane.] That's worth some money right there.

I saw some MRE's at work. To be honest, they were loaded with carbohydrate. That might be fine for Ron, but I need low-carb foods to function. Would I even want an MRE if someone gave it to me? Probably not, I'd rather get a case of Turkey Spam (another post).

I was smart enough to prepare so I didn't need to go to a POD. I have been disappointed the last few days, very few people have the supplies to go even a week, much less two, without electricity. Today I had a driver ask me if I thought he could get food stamps because he has no food at home. The only other prepared person I know in Houston is my aunt. She's got food.

So, I've still got a mild case of POD envy. But I'm sitting in a remarkably undamaged house, surrounded by other homes that didn't fare as well. I didn't lose anything except some leftovers I had in the fridge. I even SAVED money because I coudln't spend my pay for almost a week after I got paid.

I guess you can say POD envy is the only illness I picked up after the storm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane kit product reviews

OK, I'm back up and running now. I've got running water (and a boil order, but at least I can bathe), electricity (cold food! laundry!), phone and internet.

As I disgustedly tossed out a few items, I thought "Other people should know these items SUCK". Other items were quite useful and bear mentioning

The good
1. RCA Pearl MP3 player. Excellent tunes for the worst of the storm, AND an excellent FM reciever. As I discarded 2 radios that either got lousy reception, or ate batteries for breakfast, I was consistently impressed with the excellent quality of my MP3 player.
2. Rayovac Heavy Duty and Alkaline brand batteries. They lasted forever and were well worth the money spent. I was very impressed with their performance in my LED lantern, I didn't have to change the batteries for 4 days.
3. Discovery brand 1 led lantern. It cost less than $10 at the camping store. It runs on 4 D cell batteries and it was very efficient. I was able to knit by its' light when it was pitch black outside.
4. Dynamo wind up lantern and 2 flashlights. I got these years ago and they performed quite well. It was very handy to use them, just pick it up, wind, and turn it on. Since they run on "elbow grease" I didn't have to worry about using up my batteries. By the time a few days had passed, I was preferentially using these to my battery operated models.
5. Frozen 2 liter bottles of tap water. These worked great! They were still icy 1 day after all my ice cubes melted. Easy and virtually free. Save some empty 2 liter bottles, fill with water, and freeze.
6. Contractor garbage bags. I could have used them in many ways. I had a cracked 5 gallon bucket, for instance. I was able to use a contractor bag to line it, saving 5 gallons of water. Also very handy for debris pickup.
7. Bleach. I need this to sanitize my water, which is not drinkable. I am using it to make a sanitizer bath for the dishes after I wash them. If we'd had flood damage, I'd use it to mop.
8. Extra cat food. Boy, I'd have been screwed if I'd forgotten. It was nice to look at the empty food bowl this morning and know I had plenty more.
9. Ice chest - Rubbermaid, excellent. Kept everything frosty. It has a retractable handle and two wheels. Easy to use and does the job well. I am happy I spent $30 or so on it, it paid off.

The Ugly
It's not the fault of the items, but I just didn't like them.
1. Pretty much any small, battery operated radio (save the one in my MP3 player). They were a huge hassle and ate up batteries at an alarming rate.
2. Dorcy 4 D lamp. It blinded me when I'd turn it on and I could never get the light to fall where I needed it. They ate batteries about twice as fast as my LED lamp. I'm not throwing them out but I'm never buying another one and I don't reccomend them.
3. Battery operated TV. Oh, this was the most annoying. It didn't tune properly. It ate batteries at an alarming rate. Even the FM tuner was lousy. Save your money; or better yet, put it towards an RCA Pearl MP3 player. It has a great tuner.
4. Foam ice chest. Leaked water all over my floor. AGGGH.

I'm Buying These:
1. Plastic egg case for "camping". My paper egg crates began collapsing from the melting ice. Very messy. I am getting some of these egg things. I saw them but I didn't see why they'd be useful. Now, I know.

2. Plastic sheeting. If we'd had roof damage, I'd want this.

That's it for now! I'll do some food reviews later, too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hunker Down

I am getting so sick of this phrase.

"We're all hunkered down now." Poor Ed Emmet. He had no idea the monster he was creating when he first used the phrase a few days ago.

Big gusts now and then. We've lost power once, came back on almost instantly. I lost internet once but it came back in a minute or two.

I'm thirsty and figuring out what to drink. I think I'll get into my disaster kit sodas and have a diet decaf.

Rock you like a Hurricane

It's overcast and the wind is picking up. 12 hours before landfall.

I cleaned out the tub and filled all my empty pop bottles with water. I stuffed as many as possible in the fridge. I'm in the process of cooking up the raw meat and freezing it. Ron asked me to wait on the chicken until later.

I've got 30 gallons, plus 5, plus probably 5 more bottled, plus the whole bathtub. I think we're good in the water department. Oh, yeah, and my 5 gallon mopping the floor bucket is going for "toilet flush" water. Just in case. We did call our utility district and their pumps run on electricity, no backups. Ack.

My hands are shaking, but I'm taking my pills. God knows I have plenty of them! I'm going to try to take a nap.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Something bad WILL happen

That's my motto: Something bad will happen. You can search my blog for "Disaster Kit" entries. Suffice to say, I have a fairly extensive disaster kit, especially given my budget. It's a nice feeling to have when a hurricane's about to make a direct hit on your city.

Ron and I each have a small, battery operated fan. I actually have two. We've got our music players and extra batteries. A battery operated TV. I've got flashlights and battery operated lanterns. Batteries to power all of the above and then some. Hand crank radios and flashlights. Small battery operated radios.

Food: I've got loads of canned food, easily enough for a month. Lidded, 5-gallon buckets for storing water. Ron's got plenty of shakes because I always assume a hurricane's headed our way. I told him on Tuesday, "Assume this will get us, what do you need?" and we went and got it. Plenty of shakes. I needed more pills so we got them.

My computer's playing a steel drum version of "Peanut Vendor". Now it's segued into "Strong Tower"by Kutless. Excellent.

Food, water, medication. Cat food. Did I mention running out to buy cat food even though I had a migraine? Well, I did, and when I went to Walmart I bought more num-nums (canned cat food).

I'm glad I invested all my time and energy into my disaster kit.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Goal 1 - Walmart size 12; 9-6-08

I'm in shock today.

Let me explain. Today was a fairly normal day. Get up, go to work. Worked hard. Went to Walmart, something I never do on a Saturday but Ron needed more shakes. The only palatable foods to him are Atkins Shakes, Strawberry and Dark Chocolate flavors.

He wanted to look at boom boxes. We did. Then I got his shakes and we checked out.

Now it's my turn. I noticed the waistband of my size 14's was getting fairly baggy, and the back pocket turns itself inside out when I take my work keys out. Time to at least try on a pair of 12's. I figured, maybe they won't fit.

I did not expect them to fit in a way where I could wear them in public. I didn't.

The first pair performed as expected. I developed a disgusting "muffin top" of fat pushed over the waistband. YUCK. Discard pile.

Then I tried on the bootcut. Oh. My. They fit like a dream. They have a little bit of stretch, in addition to the 98% cotton. I hate synthetic fibers. Anyway, the wash was cute, I even liked the embroidery on the back pockets.

I bought them, of course. Since I'm in a Walmart 12 now it begged the question of what about the other 30 pounds I have to lose? I'm going to go down more sizes. The bermuda shjorts were on clearance. I love these shorts. So, I bought myself a pair of the 10's and the 8's.

I haven't been an 8 since high school. And I'm seriously considering buying a 6 maybe if they have any left the next time I go back?

Wow. This is a huge reality adjustment. I never thought I'd be wearing a size 12 at 185 pounds. Much less that I'd be wearing one less than 6 months after starting Atkins, and taking 3 medications that cause weight gain. I'm still in shock.

SIZE TWELVE!

Friday, September 5, 2008

What do I want for my birthday?

It's a good question. This is probably one of the only years in my life where I've been properly medicated. I can't think of much.

Here're a few random ideas:
  • Purple 100% cotton tops (no polos, please) in 14-10 size range.
  • Long, 100% cotton nightgowns with short sleeves or sleeveless, in 12-14 size range. I'm not a PJ gal.
  • Gift card for Amazon.com so I can buy tunes (like $10 or so).
  • Rose or Jasmine-y Bubble bath
  • Can't think of anything else except maybe Walmart card for $20 or so - I could use it to buy jeans as I drop sizes.

That's it!

185.5 - Popeye's

I lost another pound! It's great to see that I can still lose weight while under a lot of stress.

Ron still says all his food tastes terrible. He can, at least, drink some of the Atkins Shakes. He says the dark chocolate and strawberry flavors are "good". That's HUGE for him. Everything else tastes so horrible he can barely gag down a bite or two.

Yesterday I realized - yet again - how horribly this antibiotic has affected him. He could barely pull his cart, much less load it (so I loaded and pulled the cart). He seems 20 years older. It's scary for me, I had hoped he'd be more vigorous by now. He's so weak. We can't even walk as fast as we used to. He can only move pretty slowly, gripping my elbow as I support him.

But I tell myself it's a matter of time. I'm still going to love him, no matter what. Heck, he came back from the dead for me! When he died at the scene of the accident, God showed him a scene that happened 2.5 years later. I was sitting in an examining room and my doctor was telling me I had to be put in a mental hospital because I was depressed. I was begging her not to do it. Ron said it made him very angry and he was yelling "She's not that bad! Leave her alone!" God told him, "This will happen to Heather. Do you want to stay here or go back (to living)?"

Ron elected to return. How can I show him any less love and devotion? Oh, and the doctor didn't hospitalize me. I was diagnosed, that day, with the bipolar disorder. I got an awesome doctor and the medication I need to have a good life and marriage. Ron takes care of me. I never worry about the utilities, my cell phone, or the mortgage payment. He's a wonderful boss - the best I've ever had, and a fantastic husband. He's a good father to the cats.

I'm going to be there for him. He's debilitated, but he's not beaten. Neither am I.

We're planning his celebration meal for when he can taste his food properly again. He wants to go to Popeyes and get their beans and rice. You got it, hun. I even told him I'll go anytime, in a taxi, if he'd like.

It's the least I can do.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Newest Downloads

I bought Ron "Still the One" by Orleans and downloaded it to his MP3 player. It's kind of our song.

These aren't in order, just the order they went to my MP3 player:
1. "Whiskey You're the Devil" - Clancy Brothers - great song for someone with FAS
2. "Wherever we Go" - Newsboys (Christian)
3. "Praise you in this storm" - Casting Crowns - also Christian
4. "Newsboys Mega Mix" - Christian
5. "Savior" - Skillet (Christian Metal)
6. "Never Alone" - Barlow Girl
7. "Paradise City" - Gun's N Roses - not Christian
8. "Strong Tower" - Kutless - Christian
9. "Cheri Desis Potpourri Congo" - by Spirit of the Serengeti - lots of happy native music
10. "Ainda Que" - Afro - cool steel drum percussion and flute
11. "Sofa" by Spirit of the Serengeti - lots of cool percussion, singing, flute.

That's it for today!

Make it a good one.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Heather Cleans

I'm about to start picking up around the house. I thought it might be fun to share as I go along.

11:02 - began hunt for large plastic garbage bags.
11:03 - not under sink. Lint rolled some white cat hair on black sofa
11:04 - found contractor bags by back sliding glass door.
11:05-11:13 - updated blog, emptied trash can by my chair, found lunch-box cooler by my chair - returned to top of fridge, replaced cold packs in freezer. Collected several empty aluminum cans, placed into recycling bag.
11:14 - found 5 more cans in computer room, placed into "can bag".
11:15-18 - Found dirty dish under couch, put in sink. Picked up several empty Walmart bags and placed in "bag-bag" inside pantry. Discovered "Bathroom Cleaner"/Roach killer under couch. Returned to bathroom. Began to lint-roll cat hair off of couch.
11:19 - updated blog
11:20-11:24 - Lint-rolled white cat hair off black couch. Used 14 sheets. Returned lint-roller to "home" in organizer pocket. Took lunch out of freezer to thaw. Thirsty, got soda.
11:25 - updated blog
11:26-11:31 - Discovered bag of mail on floor. Sorted and placed "Ron's mail" in ever-growing tote bag.
11:32 - updated blog.
11:33 - 11:39 - Husband woke up. Discussed possibility of shaving cat.
11:40-11:49 - continued talking to husband while sweeping front entryway and kitchen.
11:50-11:58 - picked up 6 "cat plates" off floor (disposable plates I use for feeding wet food), swept the remaining tiled areas (hall, dining area). Cleaned off dusty soles of feet.
11:59-12:06 - Identified song for husband, chatted with husband, hunted up Pinalen cleanser (behind bathroom trash can) and mop (located in bedroom closet).
12:07 - 12:38- - Cooked and ate lunch. 7 strips of crispy bacon, 2 ounces cream cheese, salad. Ate while watching "The Closer".
12:39- 12:52 - Mopped tile floors. White cat came home, saw mop in action, fled in terror.

That's it for today.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why should be rebuild New Orleans - AGAIN?

Well, we've got a nasty hurricane headed for New Orleans. Again. It's a bowl, below sea level. Of course it's a hurricane magnet.

My question - why keep rebuilding it? If it's so flood-prone, so costly to repair, why not just write it off? The government could buy out all those affected and they could move somewhere safer. No more worries about hurricanes and no more evacuations. It would probably be a lot cheaper.

It seems incredibly wasteful to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to repair homes and business that in all likelihood, will be severely damaged by the end of the week. Three years. That's how long it's been since the last one. Is it really worth it?

Are we going to perpetually "bail out" New Orleans every hurricane? Or will we finally stop and cut our losses? We have enough national debt as it is.

It's not worth it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Taste perversion

"Taste Perversion". Sounds harmless, huh?

Well, when you're blind, can't hear that well, and eating is one of your only joys in life it's hell. Yeah. My husband is suffering "Taste Perversion" as a side effect of God Knows What, probably the Bactrim.

But Bactrim, that's harmless! I had a family member tell me it is "safe". Here's a link to "safe's" side effects: http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic/bactrimiv_ad.htm

The ones that got Ron: Stomatitis, nausea, abdominal pain, vertigo, hallucinations, "taste perversion" and he had a horrible psoriasis flare up. I mean, look at that link! Kidney failure! Horrible, horrible, stuff.

I may be able to help a little with the Taste Perversion - I read another link that suggests that zinc supplementation may help. It can't hurt!

We are definitely reporting it to the FDA - I found the https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/medwatch-online.htm Medwatch link.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

GO AWAY!

It looks like Hurricane Gustav is going after New Orleans.

What does Houston think?

"Finally, some plain old common sense prevails.......i.e. No vacancy at the Dome for hurricane evacuees."

"I know that not all of the Katrina evacuees are thugs, gov leeches, etc---but if you live in the Houston area, you know that this type does make up the majority of the refugee group. "

"Another 3 to 4 year vacation for the new orleans people. I think they need to tatoo the prisoners now, so we can tell them from the rest of the people coming. We did our duty with the people from Katrina. Let another state help now. Do you think mother nature is telling someone something. Wasn't a statement made that new orleans would be a chocolate new orleans.
8/28/2008 7:35:38 AM "

"Direct the evacuees EAST this time - share the devistation with the rest of the country. We did our bit LAST TIME and we're STILL paying for it. Schools overloaded with disrespectful children and parents. No tax base for these 'guests" so WE have to pick up their education tab.It's someone else's turn! "

"Being one of the Katrina evacuees myself, The ones that decided to stay in New Orleans were mainly the ones that lived of the government anyway. They weren't productive citizens at all in New Orleans. So I can understand the sentiment of some of the posters on this thread. The crime was unmanageable then and is worse now. At least in Texas, a homeowner, renter or property owner is able to do something about a little bit of the crime. That aspect rocks!! "

"Hope it goes away. Houston can not afford another hit on New Orleans." I coudn't agree more.

Scroll down to the bottom of this link and look at the comments: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/hurricane/5971278.html

We will never, ever take them in again. We got burned very badly, people mooching off the city and taxpayers forever. It was very common to see an article on the news, someone had free housing for 2 years, going to be evicted. "I have nowhere to go. I've been working on getting a job..." For 2 years? You couldn't get a job doing anything for 2 years?

One woman, in a recent case, moved in with a woman named Rhonda after Hurricane Katrina and left her five children for Rhonda to raise. The children looked great, two little girls wearing glasses, happy grins all around. The birth mother came back and said she needed the kids to pass a housing inspection. They argued, and a knife was pulled on Rhonda. She took the kids and ran. It's now in the courts. Oh, and by the way, the mother's new boyfreind raped one of Rhonda's daughters! What a nice guy! We want them to come back for sure! I want to carry them on my back!

Every single evacuee I rode with on Metrolift - who mentioned it - was a royal PITA (pain in the ass). Very demanding, ugly, attitudes. One demanded the driver to buy her lunch. They'd pitch a fit if it wasn't a straight trip and it seemed like all they did was complain.

Once the foodstamps and free rent dried up, a lot of them went back. Good riddance.

I'm referring to the evacuees now. Even someone who moved here from New Orleans agreed that they were trouble.

I just watched the news. NO EVACUEES.

We learned a hard lesson 3 years ago about being the "nice guy". Never again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Be Rude to the 'Tude

When I took my nap today, I was feeling very discouraged and inadequate.

When I woke up, I had a phrase in my head "Be rude to the 'tude". It really resonated. Don't respect the bad thoughts. They're not worth it.

All they'll do is drag me down.

Hostage/Doubt

My husband's moving like an old man. His voice is weak. He's tired. It's awful to watch. Loving someone who's hurting is very difficult. You've got a hostage.

I care so much for him, and things are so uncertain. It looks like he'll be getting the hand surgery next week. I'm not worried about what happens afterward - I do his job and mine for 6 weeks. That's easy. I assume he will not be in a lot of pain after the first few days. I may have to help him eat; which I don't mind. Ron's not the clingy, dependent type. He'll do whatever he can for himself.

When he's in really bad shape, I don't worry so much about anesthesia and procedures. If he's in obvious pain or trouble, they've got to do what they've got to do. I just sign off and say "God's will, not mine". God's wanted him to live so far.

I don't even fear the what-if's of surgery. Either he'll make it or not. It's a simple procedure so I am certain he'll be fine.

My biggest fear? I won't be up for the job. I will fail him in some way because I'm not "normal". I can't drive. The last time we went in to the doctor's office they spoke of "Heading over to the hospital." I mentioned I can't drive. "Oh, you can just walk". Can we? Will it be safe for Ron? From what I remember last time, it's not safe. I get stressed out trying to keep him safe and navigate at the same time.

If I were normal, this wouldn't even be an issue, I think. I'd be driving and Ron would just get in the car and we'd drive. But I'm not normal, I can't drive, and Ron has to suffer as a result.

It's not fair to him. He didn't force my mother to drink during her pregnancy or pass on her bipolar disorder in my DNA. Why does he have to suffer because I'm disabled? It's not fair for him to depend on a "crazy" person to be his caregiver. I'm only as good as my medication. That's a hard fact to accept.

He'd probably say, my differences make me "better" than the average person. Average would have run screaming from him after his accident and certainly wouldn't have stuck around during his delusions. I can't fathom leaving him, no matter how bad things get. It's not in my makeup. Does that make me "better than average" or just an idiot? I don't know.

Days like today, I think I'm an idiot. Not because I refuse to abandon Ron, but I'm an idiot for thinking I can take care of him, "better" than the average person.

But God wants me here, doing this, right now. I know I'll give Ron 110% of what I've got to give during and after his surgery, but I really wonder if God knows what He's doing.

I hate that my husband has to suffer. I'd much rather hurt than watch someone I love hurting. Thank God I've got my own illness well-managed. I just wish we could be done with all the medical problems. Permanently.

He'll be needy. He'll be impatient. He'll get frustrated. I'll do my best to be patient, loving and kind. I'll do his job and my own and try to make it look easy. I'll eat the right things and take care of myself to the best of my ability. I'll probably schedule a bubble bath or two every week while I'm doing laundry. I'll do my best. Sometimes I'll fail. I'll get a sharp tone of voice with Ron, a sigh, I'll forget things I should have done or do them wrong.

We'll manage, but I often wonder why God put the two of us together? I wouldn't trade him for anyone in the world but I really wonder at His wisdom in putting together someone with brain damage, with another person with brain damage who's also blind.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Stigma

Today, on a message board, someone told me I shouldn't joke about having mental illness. Excuse me?

Yes, she went on to say, because someone she knew got stabbed by someone with mental illness. I'm sorry, but to my mind, it's not surprising. I've gone into this before: it's nearly impossible to get treatment for a mental illness in America.

If I became delusional and locked myself in a closet, I'd get a quickie "shot in the butt" treatment and they'd throw me back out on the street before I woke up again, doing nothing to treat the underlying cause. I've seen it. God, the paperwork alone would kill a normal person, much less someone who isn't in reality!

Why is it so easy for my husband to go to an emergency room and get treatment for physical pain, yet, when I went to the same hospital suicidal they gave me a pat on the head, a few names and numbers, and best wishes? The hospital asked detailed questions about my husband's living situation, nutrition, etc. Me? "Did I have a plan?" No? OK, see ya! Don't let that door hit'cha on the way out, Heather!

I'm not bitter, I'm just resigned. Everyone seems so shocked when someone with mental illness commits a crime. It's inevitable, people. When psych meds, assuming you can find a doctor like my aunt did, costing hundreds to thousands a month, and many people with mental illness basically unemployable, what do you expect? Who's going to bring proof of residence and all the other crap when you're convinced the government is out to get you?

In all honesty, I am probably only one week away from living under a bridge. If I stopped my meds, I would crash in a rapid and dramatic fashion. I always remember I'm only a few missed doses away from the Bad Times.

And why is it so shameful to say I have bipolar disorder? This same woman, who claims an unspecified "mental illness, but I don't talk about it all the time like Heather does". Hm.

We, Americans, Society as a whole, have this attitude that a mental illness is akin to a bowel movement. You have to hide it very, very, well, and never, ever talk about it?

WHY, DAMNIT? I can help people! I have!

I shared my experiences with a friend as I began my medication routine. How wonderful it was not to be suicidal! Really, he asked? I was suicidal? Yes. I told him, all I'd think about day in and day out was killing myself. Now I don't.

He mentioned very offhandedly that he got a little depressed sometimes and wondered if "something" would help. I encouraged him to try something, and told him "It's a brain thing, it's not you. You're fine. You would take medicine for your heart, wouldn't you?" Put that way, he did.

"I'm a whole new man, Heather."

Many times, when I mention my illness, I get questions. What is it, exactly? I tell them. Oh, OK. I'm educating. And when my aunt's friend's daughter got diagnosed, I told her "You have to get Mom the Bipolar Survival Guide." Now Mom has tools, information, and someone to call if she has questions.

If we with mental illness were more evangelistic about it, we'd eliminate the stigma. Sure, we'll always have weasels who tell us to shove our ligth under a bushel, don't make noise, don't talk about it.

But guess what, my husband pays my check. Not them.

I guess I should look into joining http://nami.org . Huh?

Home Again.

Ron's doing better today. He was actually able to put in a few hours at work without collapsing in exhaustion. We came home so he could take a nap before I go to Walmart.

I need more Lithium (!) and groceries. I need to do dishes, wash my bedding, housework, etc., but right now I'm blogging because it's fun. I need to take care of myself, too. To quote a very wise woman "I'm no good to him if I'm no good to me".

I did ask Ron if he liked having me there when he was in the hospital. What if he'd said "Oh, it didn't matter either way, you could have gone home"? Well, I'd know not to stay next time! Anyway, I asked and he said "Definitely". Good. It's nice to know he wants me around.

Does that mean I want a clingy, dependent husband? God, no! One of the sexiest things I find about Ron is his fierce independence and self-determination. He won't let anything stop him. Not even being hit by a pickup truck. I laugh when I recall the shock and disbelief that greeted my statement "Even in a wheelchair, he'll be back at work stocking his vending machines." He was. But not for long, oh, no, as soon as he could he retired the wheelchair. His walking isn't pretty but he's walking. Again, I find that immensely appealing. How lazy are we, the average Americans? We'd do anything to avoid walking a couple hundred yards and he's walking as much as he can. He hates it but he realizes he's got to "Use it or Lose it". He keeps me accountable, I don't take shortcuts anymore and I stay as fit as I can. I truly respect him.

When he's tired and weary, cold, and can't find the call button on the remote, it's good to know I'm there to push it for him. To ask for more pain medication, or just to ask a question. He loves the way I tuck him in, wrapping him up like a burrito. He's suffering enough, why add loneliness to the equation? There's something profoundly lonely about a hospital bed.

It's not so bad, I guess, when I'm there to gossip about the weight limits on the hospital beds and rattle off his medical history to anyone who asks. He doesn't like to think about all the damage he sustained in the accident, he'd rather focus on what he can do. I admire him for that but someone needs to know why he's got that huge scar on his chest and 5 chest tube drain scars. We wondered what God-forsaken things the cats were bringing home through the cat door and I ranted bitterly about the limited low-carb options in the cafeteria.

Thank God for Vanilla Cream Slim-Fast Low-Carb Diet Shakes. And peanuts. Since I ran out of groceries, we were supposed to go the day Ron went to the hospital, I've been eating a lot of peanuts.

I'm getting a little sick of them, honestly. I can hardly wait to get something else.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bug out bag

When we left for the hospital, I brought a small (next time, large) cooler filled with low-carb snacks, my purse, and my bug out bag.

What the heck is that? Well, in my life I've found it handy to have a bag packed and ready to go at all times, because you just don't know what life's going to throw at you. One thing I'm working on now - loading all my digital photos and music onto a flashdrive. I can throw that in there too. I need to evacuate? Road trip? So what? I've got what I need.

So, what did I have?

  • Clothes. One time Ron was in the hospital and I had one change of underwear. I didn't get home for days and then my period started! YUCK. I brought a couple of t-shirts, a nice comfy pair of knit pants (drawstring waist, kind of scrub-like). I wore them to sleep and when I was awake. A fresh bra, 3-4 changes of underwear, t-shirts, and comfy pants and shorts.
  • A blanket for Ron, who's always cold. Everyone remarked on my wrapping technique. Ron kind of likes to be swaddled when he's sick.
  • Medication - a week's worth and extra lithium. Obvious.
  • Tunes. Both Ron and I brought our MP3 players. We loved having them. Extra batteries. I killed a battery while I was there.
  • Snacks - they went into my cooler.
  • Hygiene stuff - obvious for a woman of childbearing age.
  • Toiletries. I have them all set up in their own bag. Soap, lotion, q-tips (I need my q-tips), shampoo, etc. It was nice to use my stuff. Ron's room had a shower. Yay!
  • Entertainment. I brought a black and white knitting project. It was easy and fun. I should have brought more yarn, though. I almost ran out.
  • I also brought painkillers and pepto - which I use fairly often.
  • Next time I will bring some benadryl to help me sleep.

That's basically it. If it were a true bug out bag you would also add your ID documents, Deed to the house, credit cards, etc.

For my purposes, my current bag works great. I was so glad I could just grab it and go.

In Sickness

In addition to the hand arthritis and the facial abcess, Ron developed agonizing stomach pains and nausea. I had to take him to the hospital. Good thing I had the bag packed. Next time, I'll bring more food and yarn.

The hospital's selection of low-carb foods was DISMAL once you got past breakfast. If I eat another cup of tuna salad I'll scream. I was already burned out on tuna salad because I'd made batch after batch for Ron this last week.

No, I don't think my tuna salad put him in the hospital!

He has gastritis; his stomach isn't emptying properly, and he may have a gimpy gallbladder. He spent one night in the hospital, in agonizing pain. I stayed with him.

Why? It's what I do. If Ron's in the hospital, I stay with him. Ever since his accident, he's always done better when I'm around. Doctors have actually come to me and told me they've written ordes that I'm to stay with him in his room. Respiratory therapists have demanded I stay because "He be good for you! Your wife here! You be good for your wife! Tell him to breathe in." I'd bellow at him, he'd comply, and the therapist would walk off with a grin. Apparently he was a very bad boy until I showed up.

One day a medication tech brought the wrong medicine for him. I was glad I stayed so I could bold upright in my chair - they always have a chair, and yell "HE'S NOT MR. JONES!" as Ron reached obligingly for the pills (he was pretty foggy for a while).

But it's simple, it always comes down to this: Ron does better when I'm around. Why should I stay at home, worried about transportation, worried about Ron, knowing he forgets his medical history? He'll wake up and kind of peep at me. I'll talk to him and he'll go back to sleep. If the IV pump alarm goes off, he's in pain, or he needs a urinal, I can go get it.

Besides, this time I only stayed one night. I've stayed weeks with him.

This time, I had my medication. Things went fine. I'm sure no one even guessed I'm bipolar.

That's the way it should be.

Next time, more yarn, more peanuts. I just wish it wasn't so surprising that I want to take care of him.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

When Crisis strikes

I'm going to go back in time. January 7, 2003. My husband had just been hit by a pickup truck while walking to work. I'm at the hospital. It's lunchtime.

"Heather, you have to eat." I'm prodded. What do I get? Chocolate ice cream. I did pretty well after that until Ron's dad let slip the fact that the hospital had a bakery. I really did not need that information.

I had lost 20 pounds or so by working out 10 hours a week and adhering to a low-fat diet. I ate so little red meat I was rejected as a blood donor. Needless to say, after I learned about the bakery I gained it all back in a few weeks.

Future reference: If Ron has a health crisis and you know of a bakery nearby - DON'T TELL ME!

We had some very emotional and exhausting "family meetings". I was not feeling the love, very emotional and tearful, I'd head for... the bakery.

Fast forward: 2008. I've broken my sugar addiction. I'm eating low-carb. I'm eating salads and fresh raw veggies every day. I pack lunches and snacks so I'm not tempted at work.

Today at work, in fact, I ate a lovely mini-meal of sharp cheddar cheese stick, 1 cup sugar snap peas - raw, and 1 cup beef sauteed with onions and garlic until just crunchy. Delicious. Only then did I go stock hundreds of candy bars. Candy and low blood sugar is a very bad combination.

I like to think I'm pretty experienced at managing my low-carb life. Ron's got a lump on his face, some kind of sinus infection? He's got hand surgery coming up and his good hand will be immobilized for 6 weeks. I'll have to do his work and mine. I'm worried about him.

Old habits do die hard. It is very tempting to think, "I'll just eat this". Now, to be honest, I did treat myself - a concious choice - to some no sugar added ice cream. I ate a 12 (carbohydrate) gram portion. I put the lid on it, and put it back in the freezer. It's the first time I felt like I was in control of the ice cream instead of the other way around. I bought some Caffeine Free Diet Dr Pepper - I've heard bad things about aspartame but it's sweet and hits the spot.

I'd slipped out of working out - very easy, I had an elbow injury and I couldn't lift much, then I stopped doing the cardio because I was too stressed, too tired (we have to run a business in addition to the health crises), too anything.

"I deserve it". Why? Do I hate myself that much? It isn't sugar to me, it's POISON. I wouldn't put ant bait in the cat food, why would I put sugar in my body? My body serves me well. I'm not going to subject myself to that. It was hell going off the sugar back in February/March. I am not going through that again. I felt so awful, I realized the true extent of my sugar addiction.

I deserve better than that. I deserve healthy, nourishing foods and stress-relieving workouts. I deserve to be at the top of my game so I can support Ron 110%. He deserves a healthy, vibrant, dependable, wife. How can I help him run the business if I'm stricken with a migraine?

I know, however, that I have to do it for MYSELF, first and foremost. It's my body, my health, my mind. As soon as I stopped the workouts I began to get depressed. I had a 45 minute cardio workout tonight and I feel great. My depresssions are always worse at night, but not tonight. Tonight, I'm fine, because I respected myself.

If Ron ends up in the hospital, I've got a bag packed by the door. I'll bring my medication, my MP3 player, my Bible, and a cooler full of "legal" snacks.

I deserve good health.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Playlist

With all the drama and stress the last couple weeks, Ron and I each bought ourselves an inexpensive MP3 player. Mine is a bright red, 1 Gigabyte, and $30 retail.

I thought you might get a kick out of my playlist:
Come Sail Away - Styx
Don't Bring me Down - ELO
Beverly Hills - Weezer
Blessed be Your Name - Tree 63
Carry on My Wayward Son - Kansas
Heart and Soul - T'pau - the first "album" I ever bought
Tubthumping - not even going to try to spell the artist
Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N Roses
Pure Energy (I want to know what you're thinking) - Information Society
When I grow up - Pussycat Dolls
Dadra - Ravi Shankar (Indian music)
It's My Life - No Doubt
Hey Ya - Outkast
Knew you were waiting for me - Aretha Franklin and George Michael
Let's Fall in Love - Diana Krall
Bridge Over Troubled Water - Amen Singers
Jump - Van Halen
Would I Lie To You - Eurthythmics
It's the End of the World - REM
Mirror - Barlow Girl
Don't Ask Why - Step Rideau and the Zydeco Outlaws
Monkey - George Michael
Neutron Dance - The Pointer Sisters
Missionary Man - Eurythmics
Track 8 from "Prince Igor" - Borodin
I can't help falling in love with you - UB40
Love is like Oxygen - Sweet
Rat in de Kitchen - UB40
Flute and Drum Quest - Native Flute Ensemble
Fame - David Bowie I think, Ron didn't label it.
Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
Does anybody really know what time it is? - Chicago
Doing it all for my Baby - Huey Lewis
London Homesick Blues - Jerry Jeff Walker
I Want a New Drug - Huey Lewis
Happy to be stuck with you - ""
Power of Love - ""
Sweet Home Alabama - Lynrd Skynrd
The Craw-dad Man - Step Rideau and the Zydeco Outlaws
Wish you were Here - Pink Floyd
Why you lookin' so sad? - Step Rideau

There you have it. I like it, I think it says a lot about me. [grin] Hopefully, good things.

Take care!

Lumpy

Things were pretty quiet for a while, except for my losing weight. I've lost 8 inches each off my waist and hips, only 4 more inches to go. Working out regularly, eating smart foods.

About a month ago Ron decided that his hand is bothering him enough to have surgery. Here's the press release from The Hand Center about the procedure:
"
THE HAND CENTER’S ARTHROSCOPIC INTERPOSITION ARTHROPLASTY PROCEDURE for treatment of basilar thumb joint arthritis. Continuing with Dr. Brown’s tradition of developing minimally invasive techniques to reduce patient pain, suffering and minimize recovery time (The Brown Procedure endoscopic carpal tunnel technique, Brown Endoscopic Trigger Release, BETR) Randolph Lopez, M.D. and the other Hand Center surgeons have developed a modified minimally invasive arthroscopic technique for treating the very common problem of basilar thumb joint (metacarpal-trapezial) arthritis which commonly causes pain at the base of the thumb.
Using a simple two-portal technique, the joint is resurfaced arthroscopically, and an acellular dermal matrix allograft or a type 1 collagen graft is interposed, acting as a much needed cushion in the joint. This is an outpatient procedure requiring NO stitches. The patient is placed in a removable thumb spica splint avoiding an uncomfortable cast and may resume normal activity in six weeks.
This procedure has revolutionized treatment of basilar joint arthritis, sparing large incisions, painful removal of bone and debilitating bone fusions.
Well, that's not so bad, except for the 6 weeks of me doing Ron's work and mine. He doesn't know about that yet. I'll sure lose weight!
But wait, there's more! About a month ago, Ron showed me a "Pimple". I'm a bit of an acne expert - I had my first pimple when I was about 9 - I still get one or two now and then but it's not bad. I told him we couldn't pop it because it didn't have a head.
Last week he called me over to look at his lump. It was about the size of a teaspoon. Now it's a little bigger than a tablespoon. Our doctor is fairly concerned. She sent him off for stat blood tests, which came back OK. Today was CAT scan and re-exam. Thank God "it" hasn't grown any more.
Since Ron had a similar, large, tumor on his neck as a child, it is most likely a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurofibromatosis Neurofibroma. Odds are very strong (90%) that it's benign, that's the good news. The bad news is these things can grow to be hundreds of pounds.
We have an appointment with an ENT surgeon (only in Houston can such a doctor be found within 10 miles of our home) who actually has an office in the same building as the Hand Surgeon.
I couldn't get all the sleep I needed this week and workouts went out the window, but I'm eating right. My body has rewarded me with a 1/4 inch loss off my waist just last night!
More as it happens.... H.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hello Dolly!

Today we had about as much of a hurricane as I ever hope to see. We had a few rain bands from Hurricane Dolly, but that's it. Good. I hope everyone is safe "Down South".

I saw my doctor today, my psychiatrist, also known as a P-doc. He loved Ron's "I didn't escape, they gave me a day pass" t-shirt and complimented me on my weight loss (the lady who runs the deli mentioned it as soon as she saw me). He was thrilled I've lost it and wanted to know how (I told him). Oh, and he'd dropped his prices. I have $10 more in my pocket. He gave his approval to my medication changes (less!) so we'll save a lot of money on prescriptions and I won't be so foggy-headed.

I also saw the ads from Atkins Nutritionals that have got everyone on the low-carb message boards so inflammed. LEAN MEAT? You can do it, using our sweet treats? Poor Dr Atkins must be rolling over in his grave. He never, ever said you had to buy special products to lose weight and he NEVER advocated eating lean meats. In fact, he said eating a low fat version of the diet would derail your weight loss. Direct quote, that.

I was pretty tired but I had a good workout last night - I just did 15 minutes of squats for weights. Tomorrow I hope to run, but we'll see. I did pretty well on the exercise bike last night - 20 minutes at 70% HR. Maybe I'm not as weak as I feel.

I get aggravated at my fatigue but that's the price I'm going to pay for sanity. Agggh. I wish I didn't have to choose, just like I wish I were a gorgous size 10.

It's sad. I was posting a little on a bodybuilding message board. I've seen two posts by women screaming about their fat as*es or fat as a pig, things like that. Then they say I'm up to 140. What the heck am I supposed to feel? I'm at 193.5! It's hard not to feel hurt by that, even if it isn't directed at me. I would hate to hear what they'd call me.

I wore some short shorts and a sleeveless top today and had my aunt take some photos. It'll be interesting to see how they turn out. I know I'm going to look 40 pounds overweight, but I hope the progression of weight loss will be visible in my photo collection. I plan to take it with me when people doubt how fat I used to be.

On our ride home, we had a driver who always wants me to be his computer expert. Huh? I'm not. I think he's finally gotten it.

That's it for now. Take care!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Don't whine about side effects, Heather

It always happens. My lithium was really kicking my butt today. I tend to feel dizzy, weak, glue-brained, very sweaty, and slow.

I got frustrated. Snapped at Ron, even.

Came home, ate too much whipped cream, collapsed into bed with the cat. Napped for hours. Woke up, still feel the same. I almost died walking to the mailbox.

OK, you've had enough of my pity party. Then I went to post on a message board and I saw a thread titled "Mentally ill...". Hm. I thought I have some experience in the matter so I opened it up.

Someone's family member is bipolar, type one, psychotic features like me. Except THIS lady ain't taking her medication! She's making life hell for everyone she meets.

Do I want to be her, or me?

I'll suck up my side effects and try not to whine.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dizzy Spells

I wish I knew what was up with my body. Was I stupid to donate blood on Wednesday? Are my new generic (Thank you, Jesus!) Risperdals more potent than the old version? Am I getting so thin I need to cut down on my Risperdal? Is the heat getting to me? Is it PMS?

I don't know... all I know is I'm dizzy! Lightheaded, all the time. It's aggravating. I almost blacked out a few times, too, very embarrassing. It was bad enough that I decreed a WEEK off of working out - unheard of for me.

I'm still busy at work, I lifted plenty of heavy cases of drinks today and moved a couple of vending machines, but I feel very delicate. I don't like it at all.

Eating seems to help so I'm assuming it's low blood sugar. I have a lot of the symptoms and even though I've eaten over 2000 calories today here I am, lightheaded and hungry again.

I plan to cut my Risperdals in half for a few days and see if that helps. Riseperdal has been linked to hypoglycemia and diabetes. I'm guessing that maybe I can get away with a smaller dose.

Yuck!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I've been feeling a little uninspired with regards to my blogs lately so I've just done the low-carb and workout blogs. Even those have been pretty basic.

This morning was a busy day for me, I woke up, ran, came home, did weights in the garage, ate, cleaned up, went to the blood bank and donated blood, and went to the mall with Ron to get a new cell phone. He's got ringtones for me and a good freind, and "Taking Care of Business" for everyone else. I think it's great.

He got the same model I did, but in a different color.

I was worried about donating blood for a couple of reasons: I'm probably fatter than I was the last time I donated. It's harder to get at the veins. I'm taking mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics. Would I get sick? Would I freak out?

No. It was a very easy stick and the Blood Bank did their best to spoil me rotten. The center is only about 5 minutes from the house, it's very easy. Actually, now's the time to mention that Ron donated too. He had a very easy time... I was just barely a little dizzy "directly" afterwards but it wasn't bad. So now they're processing our blood and some lucky trauma victim will get it in the next couple weeks.

I find it cute to think that Ron and I have "opposite" blood types. He is type A and I am type B. We'll go back in a couple months. My uncle needed blood recently - how selfish would it be to say, thanks but we won't give you any?

I got some protein powders too. I orderd 2, Syntrax Nectar Lattes Cappuccino flavor (here's the link http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/syn/lattes.html ) and some Calcium Caseinate. Caseinate is the main protein in milk and cheese, it's slower digesting. The variety I bought is very low carb and a good price. It needs a blender, though, or you will never mix it. I blended some up with some egg white protein powder (also hard to mix) and put it in the fridge. Now I can just pour some and add the good Syntrax. The Syntrax comes in a delicious mocha flavor with no carbs. It is delicious. I mean, seriously, seriously good. I am so glad I have over 2 pounds of the stuff. I also have a lemonade flavor I love. I can add either of them to my "other proteins" and make a good shake. The Syntrax is a fast protien, the others are slower release.

I'm feeling very tired and lazy today. It's understandable. I gave blood, I ran, I lifted weights. I take medication.

Oh, I need more weight plates. I'm lifting so much I'm using up my stash of weights.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

On breasts

A few days ago Ron realized I was short on cash and gave me a small cash "gift". He's a sweetie. Buy yourself something fun, Heather.

I went to the bookstore and looked at the weightlifting books. Nothing really appealed. I paged through all the magazines and found a few that looked interesting. I'm always interested in articles about performance nutrition, protien powder supplementation, etc. I don't care so much for the chemically enhanced bodybuilders but it is nice to clearly see the muscle groups I'm improving in such awesome detail.

I find the women in the magazines both inspiring and pitiful. Let's start with the two girls in the magazine ad for supreme protien bars. They have obviously embarked on an extensive program. They eat clean. They have very little visible bodyfat and they are very sexy. They have obvious curves and nothing to be ashamed of - so why breast implants? They are plenty attractive without the silicon blobs in their chests.

I believe that implants make a woman less sexy, by saying to the world "I'm not happy with my body". Let's be honest, breasts are composed of glands and FATTY tissue. If you have low bodyfat, your breasts will be smaller. So what? They are firm, tight breasts. The sight of a woman who's probably 5'6", 110 pounds, and a D cup is just plain UNNATURAL.

Maybe if we refused to accept models like that as the norm, we would have more realistic standards? When I was a underweight-overfat teen, I was an A cup. Once I got above about 140, I went up to a B cup. Guess what'll happen if I go below 140? I'll shrink again. Sometimes, more often than not, in fact, I think that would be great. They get hot. I have to make sure the bras have enough support. It's a hassle at times. I'd love to wear the sport tops with the built in bra but that won't happen for a while!

I'm fine with that. It's normal. If I'm skinny, I'll be somewhat flat. It's realistic. I'm sure my husband will be fine with it too. If not, I'll eat a few higher carb meals and gain 'em back.

So, we've covered the models in the magazines. What about the competitors? EW! They scare the crap out of me. If I honestly thought I would wake up looking like them, I would never lift a weight in my life! I think they look awful and again, most of them have implants. Obligatory long hair, enough muscles to make me think they're getting shots...I'm not saying they are but it ain't natural! Why don't any of them have short hair, like me? Do they get a memo?

I think they scare 97% of the regular population. I don't want to be scary, just fit and strong.

I'll do it without implants, too.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Onto happier subjects

I finally put up links to my other two blogs. I enjoy them.

Heather's Heavy Metal is my powerlifting blog - all about the weights. If you're not interested in weights you can skip that one. Some of the language is a bit strong.

Heather Shrinks is my low-carb blog. If you want the recipe to the latest thing I created, or a detailed food log, workouts I'm doing, etc, go there.

Everything else goes here. Tonight I plan to cook up some cube steaks and freeze 'em. I'm going to be a horrible person and go shop at Walmart tomorrow. I swore I'd never do that when I worked retail - now I'm becoming the thing I hated! [grin]

I went to the fireworks stand today and bought some. We like "Things where you light the fuse and they go up in the air and go bang" - Ron. We're very fond of Twitter Glitters and Saturn Missles. The artillery shell things make me nervous. Those could do some damage. I got some 36-shot items and some other count items (9,16, etc). We spent a few hours' pay.

Ron's soynuts just arrived. Remember when I was so "into" soynuts a couple months ago? We bought them from here: http://www.soynuts.com

That's it for now. I've got a date with some cube steaks.

Enough about his family

Ron's decided to leave things the way they are. He's made enough attempts at reconciliation. He doesn't want to play games. He has (in my opinion) absolutely nothing to apologize for. "I'm sorry I was seriously injured and it looked like Heather might need some help?" I mean, what do you say? They have our number and address, we're in the book. Ron and Heather ____ . If they want to have a relationship with us, we've offered the olive branch for years.

It is my humble opinion that they don't want a relationship, they are terrified of the idea that one day Ron may have a complication and end up moving in with them. That fear overwhelms all other emotions. My opinion only.

Sure, I wasn't easy. Hell, I was in about the most stressful situation possible! My husband's dying, I got laid off, he got robbed, I had no rent money, I'm looking at eviction... my whole life is in turmoil. Thank God I had a loving family that stepped up when I needed them. They provided everything we needed until things got settled and Ron had a monthly check coming in to cover the bills. If I wasn't sugar, if I got impatient, I'm sorry. They were pretty nasty to me too. They called me horrible names. They lied about me to Ron's doctors. They kidnapped me on one occasion. They deliberately said the most hateful things they could.

I forgive them for that but I have an awful hard time forgiving them for hurting Ron. That's what burns me. I'm still working on that one.

"The perfect combination"

I didn't sleep well last night.  The Claratin was alive and well in my system.  It will probably come as no surprise to you that I would...