We’re just carrying on a Family Tradition

So don’t ask me
Hank, why do you drink? (To get drunk)
Hank why do you roll smoke? (To get high)
Why must you live out
The songs that you wrote? (To get laid)

Hank Williams Jr.

I understand the lyrics mentioned above don’t really pair well with a wedding story. If you knew my family you’d completely understand though.  We’re a little redneck, a little country, a little flannel. As Rog and I were preparing and baking Czech pastry on Friday night, it brought back memories of the preparation for our wedding. The realization that I was marrying into a great family. A big Czech family that didn’t stand much on ceremony. They include everyone. No matter if you’re blood or not.

For our wedding 23 years ago, we made pastry, stuffed cabbage, drank shots and beer, had parties to celebrate the impending wedding day. Cooked lots and lots of sauerkraut and sausage. Food and drink matter greatly in this family. It brings us closer. Gives us reason to celebrate. EVERYTHING! I digress. This story is actually about Travis and Alyssa. They’re young. They’re just starting their lives together. But I’ve never seen two people love each other as much as they do. I wish and pray for their marriage to be a successful one.

The ceremony was beautiful. A little long for a Presbyterian church. They did the sand ceremony. Of course Tete Nan and Uncle Jack had to help. The young couple were getting married on their grandparents 61st wedding anniversary. It was only appropriate that they include them. Tete had tears in her eyes. Uncle Jack beamed. Such happiness and good vibes bounced off every wall and every person in the church.

Then we get to the reception hall. It was good to see everyone dressed up. Shiny, happy. Warmed by the sun and a bit of alcohol. Of course the food was spectacular. The groom’s uncle is a chef. He definitely brought his A game where the food was concerned. With dinner finished, it was time to start the party.

In our family, it is tradition that the first song played after the typical wedding songs, is Family Tradition. By Hank Williams Jr. We stand arm in arm. All of us. We sing the lyrics. Loudly and proudly. We bring the new bride or groom into the fold. We sing the song to prove that we ARE in deed a family that stands on tradition. But we are not pretentious. We are rednecks, but we are progressive. We party. We are loud. We’ll embarrass the hell out of you. But above all we are a family.

We danced our asses off. Laughed and talked. Took pictures like crazy. Just enjoyed each others company. It was a great night. Good luck my dear Travis and Alyssa. May the marriage be as carefree and easy as the special day we shared with you.

So I sent a letter to the menopause fairy, obviously she hasn’t received it yet!

Yep today I’m going to talk about periods. Don’t worry I’m not going to get disgusting or anything. I’m just going to pitch a bitch, because well, I’m fucking cranky! And I need cake with lots of whipped frosting and sprinkles! Purple sprinkles, for the love of God!

When I was extremely obese I couldn’t have periods. Seems my body created too much estrogen. I know what you’re all thinking… I bet that I was super great to live with. Well, let’s see that would be a big fat NO! I still had the crazy cycle of hormones but no period. AWESOME! NOT! It was even better when I had to take synthetic progesterone for 10 days to then force my body to basically, um, hemorrage for like 5 days. You would have thought that I would have wanted to lose weight just so I could have a normal period. Nope. I wanted to keep stuffing my unhappiness down with some pasta and gravy.

For eight years I did this crazy roller coaster of hormones, no periods, drinking alcohol and weight gain. There were hot flashes, cold sweats, periods of uncontrolled bitchiness, fits of crying. The list goes on, and on, and on. Wait, some of that still goes on today and I’m healthy! 

When the big weight loss journey began over a year ago, the hot flashes subsided. So did the cold sweats. The general bitchiness went away along with my big ass and my sadness. But SURPRISE, the hormones and stars realigned and I felt like I was 12 years old again. I was standing in the bathroom, staring at the package of pads. Strangely elated and disgusted that I had to start this whole damn process all over again. It had been eight years after all. I was kinda hoping I was done with it. Still it was nice to feel like a normal woman again. Though I wouldn’t say I’m exactly the most normal female specimen….

After I started running a few months ago the monthly cycles stopped again. Which was kind of convenient. Who the hell wants to be running a race and have to deal with tampons, pads, ibuprofen and all that other lovely crap??? Of course because I am a bit neurotic, I convinced myself I was pregnant. That had to be it because I was back to normal. I should have my period. Or maybe I was, cue the angels singing, starting menopause!

Roger Darling kept reassuring me that I wasn’t pregnant. He kept saying, Honey you’ve gotten the Essure procedure, you’re fine (Google it. I’m not going to explain it here!). Last week I’d finally had enough. I went to Walgreen’s, bought a damn test and peed on the stick. Roger walked into the bathroom, smacked himself on the forehead and said, I knew that’s what you were doing in here! Two minutes later we looked at each other and just laughed. The test came out negative, of course! Thank the good Lord, because I’m 44. I was a terrible pregnant woman when I was young. I did not want to go through that again.

So now that the first race has been run my training is over and I’m getting back to normal with my exercise, and the dreaded curse has returned. Whew! So off I go to find some good vegan chocolate thingy to eat. Gotta take some ibuprofen too. I might just have to get some neon gummi worms to round out the lovely craving I have for sweets. Or maybe a sucker, or some sweet tarts. Ahhhhh, the pure joys of being a woman. Ain’t it great?????? NOT!

Tooting the Horn for My BFF Lo Lo

I want to tell you all about my BFF of 30 years, Lo Lo. That’s not her real name but I’ve called her Lo Lo for as long as we’ve been friends. The girl doesn’t like to toot her own horn so I’m going to do it for her. Toot, toot, tooty, tooty, toot, toot. TOOOT!

Lo and I have had the same problem with obesity. When I started my journey over a year ago to shed the pounds and get healthy she decided to do the same thing. The girl has quite literally worked her ass off. We have kept each other motivated and have held each other up when we’ve faltered. She is so kick ass and amazing and I just love her!

She not only has lost weight she has gotten into incredible shape. She has a personal trainer that whips her ass. She takes what he gives her and she says thank you sir, may I have another. I couldn’t do that. I’d punch the fucker in the throat and tell him I could do it just fine on my own. Which by God I do. I admire her strength and her willingness to give her will over to someone else. She ran her first 5K this last weekend and finished 13th in her division. The woman has never run before in her life. She just started doing that in the last year.

She just graduated with a Master’s Degree in Nursing on Sunday. This woman, this stellar, amazing, smart, beautiful, funny, warm, witty woman has done so much. I’m so proud to call her my best friend, and my sister. We were there for each other when we were kids, when we were new wives and mommas, and now that we are healthy, middle aged women. She has held my hair when I puked from too much alcohol when we teenagers and gotten me out of more jams than I can count. She’s the girlfriend that never judged me when everyone else did. And I love her so much. I am so incredibly PROUD OF HER.

Love you forever, your Nae Nae

44 and fabulous!!!!

ImageToday was just an incredibly, wonderful, fabulous day. I turned 44 today. I never knew I could feel this good, really. I never knew that at this age I would change my life as drastically as I have in the last year. I never knew there was so much more for me to do. To feel. To be. I have been so blessed by all the well wishes, by the love, by the kind words, and by the sweetness that has been shown to me. I feel like a child in so many ways. I feel like every day when I wake up I see the world as if it is brand new. Everything I do I do with exuberance. I smile so much my face hurts sometimes. Hell even a trip to the dentist was kinda cool today. My dentist saw the tat on my leg and got this look on his face and then a devilish grin as he was talking to me about it. I do believe he was thinking dirty thoughts about me. Which I’m totally fine with. Ha!

It was fun wearing a short dress to work even though it was kinda chilly out. I was just willing Spring to present herself to me today. And eventually she did. I also got a thunderstorm, which are my favorite. I didn’t go out in the middle of it because I didn’t want to mess up my hair. But I did stand by the window in my office, touch my hand to the glass and watch the light show… It was beautiful, chaotic and peaceful. Just like me. Well I think that’s like me. I have heard from a dear friend that I’m a force to be reckoned with.

I ran today. Did my entire 5k. I don’t know why but there’s something so exhilarating about it, even though I hate it. There’s something about getting to the end of 3.1 miles, with the sweat pouring off me. I feel so damn kick ass, like Wonder Woman. And because I ran, I ate me a cupcake. A wonderful Snickers and caramel cupcake. It was ecstasy. I love this new life that I’ve made. I love this new world that I see. I never, ever, ever want to lose this exuberance, this zest, this force. I hope that I never do.

Does the Family that Cooks Together Stay Together? Why, Yes I Think So

No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”
Laurie Colwin

The first meal I ever cooked for Roger Darling was hamburgers. I had never really cooked before and was afraid to disappoint him with my lack of culinary skills. I stood in the kitchen and cried. He walked in, saw me and started chuckling. He then wrapped his arms around me and said, “Honey it’s okay to not be perfect. It is only hamburgers for God sake.” That comment just made me cry harder. I was young and had no idea how this whole making a man happy by way of his stomach thing worked.

Flash forward a few years, with kids running around, a full time job for both of us, and all kinds of other things going on. I was getting the hang to this cooking thing and actually found that I loved to bake. When the kids were little, I would bake because we really didn’t get out too much. Roger worked midnights and had to sleep during the day so the kids and I kept busy, cleaning and baking. And playing and yelling. When Roger got up we would cook together. It was kinda nice being with him in the kitchen, getting him a cup of coffee, checking on how he slept with two kids goofing off and a wife yelling at them to shut up, because Daddy was asleep.

I remember one time being so proud of this wonderful rice dish that I made all on my own. I loaded up Roger’s plate first, he tried it and said he liked it. I fixed my plate, took a bite and immediately grimaced. It was HORRIBLE! I grabbed his plate and mine, threw the food out and said let’s go out to dinner.

It really is quite a bonding experience for us. There’s nothing like making a meal together. Darling husband is such a wonderful cook. He has taught me so much. I can make a pot roast and root vegetables that are to die for, a potato salad that will make your head spin, and don’t even get me going on my Hawaiian Wedding Cake…. Even with this healthy lifestyle we lead now, you can still find us in the kitchen, drinking coffee, talking about our day. And roasting vegetables, making a kick ass chicken breast that is moist and tender or ground turkey meat loaf that melts in your mouth.

I like the cooking process, and the thought that what I’m making is giving nourishment to my family and friends. I like the fact that it is something my dear husband has taught me. I always ask him the question, what would I do without you? And he will always say probably die… He’s kinda right, part of me would. But I sure would have wonderful memories of the times we’ve had and the meals we’ve made in our kitchen……

What a difference a year makes (part 8…..)

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” –Unknown

So I didn’t make my goal of 150 lbs of weight loss after 52 weeks, yet…. I made it to 140 lbs of weight loss. Oh gee, I think I can handle that! I do need a good sports bra though, because when I run, it kills what’s left of my boobies…. I eat like a vegan most of the time, but I’m still an active carnivore so I’ll eat me a big steak a couple times a month. Yuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmm steak…. Cheating in this new lifestyle is eating a big steak with a baked potato with real butter and sour cream and grilled vegetables. And maybe a couple bites of garlic bread. I’m not saying that I’m not going to eat a piece of cheesecake, or something with caramel in it (my favorite flavor), or suckers, or pasta or any of that stuff. I just don’t want to make my life about food. I want to make my life about, well, my life….. There’s so much to do, to be, to love…. I’m going to run up the steps of a Mayan Temple in December for God sake! Oh and I got another tat, just to get under my husband’s skin a bit. Har!

I’m running my first 5K on April 15 at the Big House. What a thrill it will be to cross the finish on the 50 yard line. Roger told me I may not be able to run the whole thing, but he knows I’ll finish. He knows I’m stubborn that way, that I finish what I start. He’ll be there to cheer me on. And my BFF Becky will be running with me, and hopefully my Adam Boy. I’m hoping that this 5K won’t be my last….

Roger Darling says I look marvelous, and I think he does too. Meggie and Adam Boy love that I’m happy, that we’re happy. That we’re the fun mom and dad still, just without all the fat. We’re the loud family, we discuss things fervently, fight it out to get our points across, we hug and then the conversation ends with declarations of love. I like that we’re still like that….

6 weeks of stabilization scares me a bit. I know that I have to keep up on this, forever. Worried about adding food into my diet that I haven’t eaten in a year. Bacon, beans, cheese, just to name a few. Moderation is the key, but I’ve never been one for moderation. I am an addict after all. I’m hoping that with the removal of the nutritional supplements and adding more oil I’ll be able to poop without having to do a full session of yoga first. Gross I know, but hey it’s been an issue for the last year. Soy supplements are not my friend. Ha!

So my dears if you want change your life, do it. Make that decision, take that first step. I guarantee it is the hardest one to take, but once you find your momentum you won’t want to stop till you achieve your goal. It’ll help you find your spark, your passion, and your happiness. Remember as it radiates from you it will travel to those around you, and it may just create a spark in them……

What a difference a year makes (Part 7)

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson

January 19, 2012.

Look at that face.

Look at that smile.

That smirk.

That knowing.

That it has all been worth it.

This struggle.

Therapy is working wonders.

Questioning people in my life has helped.

Asking for forgiveness has helped.

Knowing what I’m afraid of and overcoming it has helped.

I’ve found my fire.

I’ve found my life.

I’ve found my happiness.

It was ALWAYS within me.

I’m close to my goal.

But I know that I have to keep it just out of reach.

I have to always set a new goal.

Got to keep this fire alive.

So I write.

People read….

Really read.

Who knew anyone would care what I have to say.

I hear I’m an inspiration.

No not really….

You are gentle reader, my friends, my loves….

If you read this and it inspires you, then you are the inspiration.

I was just the kindling that ignited your soul.

You caught fire…..

And with your fire you help keep my soul lit.

What a difference a year makes (Part 6)

“Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.”

November 28, 2011.

Down 118.5 lbs.

HOLY SHIT!

Finally bought a pair of jeans and put them on.

They don’t look great but they look better than I thought they would.

Still unsure about life, but I’m getting better.

Realizing that all the food I was stuffing in my mouth was to make me numb.

Same with the alcohol.

But numb me from what?

Lost youth, lost love, lost passion?

All of that and more?

Feeling some feelings so intensely, all I do is cry.

All the damn time.

Fake a good smile.

Fake a good life.

Fake a good heart……

But my heart isn’t good, or so I think….

Wish I didn’t have to feel for just a day.

So instead I run.

I smile, I fake it, I keep muddling through.

Don’t have control so I control the only thing I can.

Food, and exercise.

Therapy isn’t far away…

What’s my identity without the fat?

Pray all the time…

Beg God for forgiveness, to stop the hurt, the uncertainty.

What a difference a year makes (Part 5)

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s September 22, 2011.

It’s been seven months.

97 lbs. gone.

There’s been some plateaus.

Some struggles.

But I’m getting stronger, every day.

Did a crazy thing.

Got a new tat to celebrate this milestone.

The lovely dead girl, Sally from TNBC.

She is an atypical beauty.

Like me…..

Still dealing with sadness.

Trying to find my niche.

Trying to love this me.

This new skin.

Trying to love this simple little life…

With the weight loss comes new feelings.

Which I’m so scared to feel….

What a difference a year makes (Part 4)

There is a still moment in time, a moment when our addictions no longer are able to hide the truth from us, and reality shows its true face, a point in life when everything breaks down, we are stripped from all our protective walls, we need to rid ourselves of our own destructive behaviors, say good bye to the old ways, the moment when we somehow have to choose between what our life is, and what we deeply want our life to be about…… That is when change begins. ~Will Rivera

August 24, 2011.

Look at that face.

Look at that smile.

Down 82 lbs and 21 inches.

I’m shrinking.

Getting healthy.

Running sprints while walking 4 miles at a time.

Roger and I are rocking it!

We are following the Medical Weight Loss Plan to the letter.

But every once in awhile we add an ear of corn.

There’s nothing like Michigan sweet corn in the summer!

No drinking in 6 weeks.

What a major difference.

Life is better.

Trying to do everything I haven’t in 13 years.

A little manic, but mania can be good. 🙂

What can I do to quiet this tortured and anxious soul????

Write, sing, run?

There are no limitations anymore…..