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."

The squares

I woke up in the middle of the night, to the sound of Ron coughing, again and again.  And again.  And again.  I finally got up to offer him ...