At least I know I’m not alone

Fair warning, this post is political.

While I should no longer be surprised or amazed by the daily dose of stupid that comes out the White House, both from Trump and his merry band of idiots, I am still SHOCKED at the level of mind-numbing stupidity that is reported and the equally (if not worse) acceptance and even PRAISE for these actions.

Once again this week we saw the Toddler in Chief get free of his leash and hold a rambling press conference for the sole purpose of hearing himself speak. It is so obvious that these performance pieces are to stroke his ego, as they lack the carefully crafted talking points and measured tone that makes it obvious he is reading or repeating what is being fed to him via an ear piece. When Trump is speaking his mind, the trait so many claim is why they voted for him, his tone is far more animated. His vocabulary is that of a 4th grader at best and he jumps from topic to topic. When pushed for details, of which he has none or simply could not be bothered to retain them, he goes for his comfort zone: blaming/insulting Barack Obama.

Where to start….let’s go with health care. Trump’s single-minded goal, even with a repel and/or replace plan  failing repeated, is to kill ACA, better known as Obamacare. Trump and other morons claim it is “essentially dead”, when the fact is he is killing it. This week he did away with subsidies for insurance providers to offset the cost to provide reasonably priced coverage for those Americanss “on the bubble”- they work, so they make too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet do not have insurance through their employer or the cost is too great and plans on the exchange also exceed their budget. Trump and his cohorts think these funds are a “bail out” for the insurance companies, when the reality is they will not suffer one bit. They will be their money, either from the Federal government or the consumers, not just the low-income folks, but ALL of us. So the GOP/Trump plan is to fuck with the ACA, striping it of anything they can by executive order in order to make it an unusable product for those who it was intended to help. Way to govern “for all Anericans” douche bags.  If you are taking the money from the insurance companies, why not make the subsides to the low income consumers greater? Why not raise the income requirement to all more to quality for Medicaid? Oh no, they aren’t going to HELP anyone, only hurt everyone. And another question I,  have if they make it so many Americans can’t afford coverage, will they do away with the requirement to have insurance or will these people, low income mind you, be penalized with tax time comes around?

Then, after making this stand and removing the subsides, within 24 hours Trump encouraged and then publicly praised  and backed a bi-partisan bill to re-establish said subsides. WTF. If you are OK with them, WHY DID YOU GET RID OF THEM? Then, in typical Trump fashion, when some of the assholes that don’t like the ideas whined and cried, he once again said no subsides for dying Obamacare. Wonder how many more times this moron will flip-flop on this issue. And let’s not forget open enrollment is quickly approaching, so why not do this months ago when there was time to negotiate and work with lawmakers and insurers to find a happy medium?

That takes me to my next point, the reason why they waited until the 11th hour is just another way to sabotage the system. They have decreased the open enrollment period for ACA from 12 weeks to 6. They cut the advertising budget to next to nothing so there is virtually no way to even inform people about the ACA enrollment. The budget for a navigation program to assist users in finding a plan on the ACA exchange was cut by 90%!!! All of this makes it painfully clear that if the GOP couldn’t repel the ACA, they are doing to systematically destroy it by making it impossible for people to sign up.

As I said… mind numbing. Yet, the Trump faithful are still singing his praises. I don’t get it. Many of them are in the low-income position that would most be affected by these changes. They will once again be without coverage. He hasn’t brought back those high paying factory or coal jobs that along with high hourly wages also came with full benefit, often very good ones. These people are perfectly fine without having insurance not only for themselves, but their families, just to back the shallow promises of a man who could care less about them.

So, healthcare was attach number 1 of the week again Obama, as Trump sees ACA as Obama’s pet project that must be destroyed. Number two, and more direct and moronic, the claim that Obama and other past Presidents did not call the families of fallen service men and women. This came about in the shitshow press conference when a reporter asked about the lack of response from the White House on the 4 Green Berets who died in an attack in Niger. Valid question, which means Trump was in a corner- a scary place. First he made a claim he didn’t have all the details about the attack that happened nearly two weeks ago, so that was why nothing has been said. Hmmmmmm….this is coming from a guy that will spout off with no or fake information without missing a beat, but he can’t send a single tweet about 4 fallen service men? Seems odd. He is all over wanting NFL players fired for not standing for the National Anthem, but as President he has been silent on men who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

That bullshit wasn’t enough, he went on to say that he has called ALL the families of fallen service men and women who have died in active duty since he took office. He dialed it back a few moments later saying he as called or written letters to “most if not all”. He then claimed that Obama did not nor did other past Presidents in recent history. He went on to say NO President has connected with the families like he has. Typical Trump, he is the best at everything, always. Of course within in hours representatives for the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations call out these lies, detailing how each had contacted families.

But it doesn’t stop there. To save face he called the families of the 4 Green Berets. Now, one would think one of those staff members who writes the statements that almost come off as presidential would have been called upon to help him, as given the spotlight Trump has placed on himself, NOT the fallen, he really needed this to go off without a hitch. Nope, Trump knows best and he once again was off this leash (and perhaps meds) when he made the calls. One was taken by speakerphone in a car and was witnessed, in part, by a Democratic congresswoman. She went to the press and said he was insensitive to the families loss in the call, stating their son & husband “knew what he was signing up for”.  Seriously dude. Of course the immediate reaction  by Trump and his team was to lie. That never happened. He never said that. He was the best and the families were happy to hear from him.  Once again the blame game, saying the Congresswoman was using this call as a political tactic and she was lower than low for doing so. And then the family spoke up. The woman who raised the man who was on the entire call said yes, he did say that and it was taken by the family as insensitive, along with Trump not seeming to know their loved one’s name, repeatedly referring to him as “your boy”.

I would like to say this nightmare was limited to this family or the families of just those 4 men, but no. Due to Trump’s wild claims, media were contacting gold star families who have had loved ones dies since Trump took office to see if they had been contacted and how those interactions went. Many hadn’t been contacted at all, some had received calls, others letters and one gentleman claimed Trump promised to send him a check for $25,000, yet he had not gotten said check. Again, WTF. Is the media to blame for intruding on these grieving families and reopening wounds, yes. But to be fair, Trump is the cause. Had he not made wild claims to make himself look good in an attempt to make Obama look bad, this would have never happened. If he would have just answered the question about the lack of public response to the deaths in Niger, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. Just answer the question asked or admit you don’t know….stop with the deflection.

This was all in the past 4 days. FOUR DAYS…. how many more days can we survive this administration?

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Meaner than a junkyard dog

Having a chat with a work friend about the various types of office drama queens we have around us. What we noticed is the drama queens thrive when they can share their drama with someone and usually they have  their go to minion who is at the ready to listen and agree with whatever the drama queen’s issue of the day happens to be.

My friend asked if two of the most notable drama queens in the office were buddy-buddy at the moment, a tactic in the drama queen world is to keep your fellow queens closer in order to be the one to control the daily drama….it’s exhausting. My reply was the worst of the bunch, due to her negativity towards everything and everyone was like a junkyard dog. Your best bet was to toss her a few treats as you walk by otherwise she will lunge from her yard and attempt to take your arm off as you try to escape. I go out of my way to avoid her office, just because I don’t want to be sucked into her drama. We were friends at one time, are no longer and I truly have zero interest in her, her life or whatever is bothering her. I don’t even want to share about my life, even things that are public knowledge. But like everyone, once in a while you have to give her a treat (your precious time) and listen as if you give a damn in hopes of buying peace for a few weeks.

So, there is my Southern Belle witty observation of the day. Hope you can avoid the junkyard dogs in your world today!

Down, but not out

This week was rough. On Tuesday I strained my Achilles on my left foot, talk about painful. That same day, possibly related, maybe not, my back went out or rather, it felt like a sharp knife in my lower back. No matter the position: sitting, standing, laying down, I was in horrific pain. Back pain is what sent me to physical therapy to start with, so this sudden and more severe return of the pain caught me off guard. I had an MRI on Thursday, which showed nothing. While I’m glad that I didn’t require surgery or worse, there was an issue that could not be corrected, I hate not knowing why I’m in pain or what can be done to help. I wasn’t able to work out after Monday and with resting my back is feeling better and I am having a dry needle treatment this afternoon. Fingers crossed.

While at my doctor as a result of the pain, I was weighed. I was shocked to see the number of the scale SIX pounds MORE than when I weighed two days prior. WTH!!! I had not cheated. I had not used food to comfort me. So, before I panicked (too much), I figured it was the different scale. When I got to work, I had to check, so I hit the gym and the “official” weigh in scale and there it was, FIVE pounds more than two days prior. I won’t lie, it was a bit defeating. I stayed on track with my diet, although my water intake was a bit down for a few days. With the pain and bed rest, I didn’t get my steps in, not to mention no workouts. I feared stepping on the scale today.

Our usual weigh-in time is noon. I have my routine. Breakfast and then 24 oz of water, then no more until after weigh in. That allows my body to process and eliminate (aka pee) any excess prior to weigh in. With a 20 minute heads up, we moved weigh in to 10:00am. Ugh. I had just downed my water. Seems like a no big deal, but motivation is key to staying on track for me. I held my breath, stepped on the scale and was relieved to see the five pounds from last Wednesday was a fluke and I was down 1.6 lbs. Just shy of my weekly 2 pound goal, but still down.

But wait…there is MORE. I opted to recheck at noon, sticking to my normal routine and I was down 8 additional ounces!! So I did meet (and exceed) my 2 pound goal and over all I am down 12 pounds in 3 weeks!!!

 

Challenges make me stronger

Week 2 and I am down another 3 lbs!!! Total thus far, 9.6. Last week was pretty easy, this week is going to be a bit more of a challenge. First up, we added a new family member, an 8 week old frenchie puppy, Archer, to the family. He’s adorable and I love him to the moon and beyond, but boy have a new “baby” is tough! First two nights were easy peasy, but now that Archer has come out of his shell, he is a wild man and my entire body is feeling the lack of sleep. So I need to force myself to workout vs. being a lump because I’m exhausted.

Another challenge this week is ‘the girl” is with us, which is challenging on many levels. One, meal planning is a bit harder as I need to account for her as well, I will not make two meals, I may not eat everything I make (like the mac & cheese the other night), but planning needs to be inclusive. Having her home also means more snacks and crap in the house that can be tempting. Usually I have zero interest in her guilty pleasure foods, but being on a “diet” everything with fat and sugar sounds amazing. While I love her and she is being VERY supportive of my fitness and weight-loss goals, just having her in the house is added stress, which doesn’t help. You add that with the new puppy and I have had times the past few days I felt I was going to snap…AND I’M FACING IT WITHOUT A COCKTAIL!!!! That said, I can do this, she returns to Ursula on next Monday, as mommy dearest is in Europe with the boyfriend, hence the extended stay with us.

This week we are also celebrating a friend’s birthday at work and I have touched on the buffets we have at the office. Everything I love and nothing I can have, at least not if I want to see another big week on Monday. To make it harder on myself, I am bringing in her favorite (as well as mine) cake from an amazing bakery. Thank goodness the buffet is across the floor where I have no need to pass unless I make the effort.

These challenges just make my resolve stronger. I want to succeed, I want to feel better and looking better is a nice bonus.

Week 1, consider your ass kicked!

Yesterday was my first official “weigh in” … I’m down 6.6 lbs! Now, while I’m sure a bit of that is due to different scales (however the scale from yesterday will by official scale going forward) and water weight, it’s still very motivating to see a drop after working so hard to stay on track. I also know from years of trying every plan on the planet it seems, the first week is not an indication of how much you will lose each week. My goal is 2 lbs a week. More would be awesome, but that is my reasonable plan.

So far the water is the hardest part. I have to drink a lot of water and after a while plain water is just gross. I have been infusing my water with fresh or frozen fruit, which helps. My bladder is still not used to all this and I’ve noticed if I go over my usual 120 oz, I will be up every hour during the night. My plan is to consume 96 oz before dinner then the remaining 24 oz after to keep me feeling full so I’m tempted to snack before bed. This plan seems to keep the bathroom trips to once a night, which is reasonable.

Meal planning has been easier than it has on previous plans. I think the structure of this program is ideal for me and the hubby, as it allows for a wider range of food choices. I am not doing the shakes everyday, although I did find having one for breakfast on the weekends is ideal, as I am full until lunch or later, so I can run errands without feeling I need to snack. We had our weekly NFL watch party on Sunday and I made some yummy options for me that everyone enjoyed and I still had full fat party food for others.

I got a Fitbit over the weekend and it has helped keep me moving, literally, it tells me to MOVE! I’m maintaining my daily steps and using it to track calories with planning meals based on my program portion guide. I’m mixing program workouts with walking and my physical therapy workouts, adding up to at least 4 days a week. Added bonus is I can connect with friends and we are supporting and challenging each other.

So, week one down and I’m feeling good… will be interesting to see how I do week 2… stay tuned!!

 

Waiting for the crazy

When last we checked in my friends Dick and Jane, his daughter, Mary and Sue, had finally pushed him to give them what they both had been saying they wanted, to rid of him, his home, Jane and to live with their mother, Medusa, full-time. Not only did they want to live with mom, neither seemed to have any intention of communicating with their father at all. Medusa, begrudgingly, agreed to allow the girls to stay with her full-time for a “trial period”. She wanted him to commit to a specific end date, which he would not do as it depended on the girls, their attitude and their willingness to go to family therapy with him (and eventually Jane), something that has been ordered by the court but had been put aside (with the therapists approval) to allow the girls to each have their own personal therapist to work out their individual issues (of which there are MANY).

The girls have been with Medusa three weeks now. Given they are on an every other week visitation schedule, that is only one additional week Medusa has had them (trust me, that will factor in later). In that time the younger, Sue, has refused to see her father, who has made attempts to spend time with them on weekend and for dinners during the week. She will not answer texts or calls. She is under the impression that she is owed (yes, OWED) and apology from Dick and Jane and until she receives that, this 13 wants nothing to do with her father. Mary, who had been the more distant of two for the better part of the past year, has been more open. She had gone to dinner with Dick and hung out with him on the weekends. They have been communicating frequently via phone and text.

The three-week mark Medusa feel is her deadline is this Sunday. Given Sue’s continues hostility and Mary’s finally opening up to her father after a year, Dick feels the consistency of  staying in one home environment would be best. For how long, who knows, but forcing Sue to come to his home now will make matters worse with her and Mary may once again retreat into her shell. The differing rules and parent styles in each home has been the primary cause of tension with the girls for the past ten years since Medusa and Dick divorced, so it seems logical that one home environment is best for both girls given the extreme behavioral issues both have exhibited. Or at least that is what one would think.  Medusa sends Dick an email earlier this week stating he MUST take the girls back, she needs a “break” and she has been doing all of the parenting alone for going on three week. Again, as stated before… IT’S ONE EXTRA WEEK!

The other shoe in this case: money. Dick and Jane have been in contact with their lawyer for direction on everything these past few weeks. Early on Medusa mentioned that having HER kids an additional WEEK was a strain on her time, energy and resources (aka $$$). She gets almost as much in child support as  her salary, under employed by choice mind you, and actually more in additional benefits with Dick paying every penny for the girls’ education (tuition and fees at private schools, tutoring and arts classes) and medical (insurance and ALL costs: co-pays, specialists, prescriptions). The only expense to having her own children in her home is food, as she would have to pay for basic necessities like utilities if they were there or not. She has no mortgage or car payment thanks to her divorce settlement. Sue attends school where Medusa works, so she is literally going there everyday and Mary’s school is not far. What mother is more worried about her free time and how much more money she can get vs. what is best for her obviously troubled kids? Kids, by the way, who are 16 and 13, so they don’t require constant supervision, so she could still have a social life.

With Sunday looming, Medusa reached out again to confirm that the girls would be returning to Dick’s home on Sunday. He informed her he feels it’s best to leave things as they currently are and offered to help with Mary’s schedule for the week other than school, but given Sue’s hostilities, her mother would need to make sure she to where she needed to be. This was not well received and Medusa replied with what sounds like a veiled  threat the he in violation of original custody agreement. Once again Dick replied, on advice of counsel, that he was not in violation and was doing what he honestly felt was in the best interest of his children. Waiting to see if she serves him with papers taking him back to court for more child support during this time or if she simply drops the girls off at his house on Sunday, as she made it very clear she would not keep them Sunday.

Since I didn’t hit “publish”, I can add that Medusa did not drop the girls off without warning Sunday. Dick planned to spend Sunday with both girls, however when Sue finally took his call it was yell at him that she hated him, she was not going to see him and she never wanted to talk to him again, then hung up. Mary did spend the day with her father and I have to say, it was a good and productive visit. Dick was honest with her daughter of maybe the first time. She is 16, old enough to talk about the reality of the situation. He told her that he feels that she should say with her mom indefinitely, she agreed and said with the exception of the lack of privacy at her mom’s, she is happier living there vs. going back and forth. Then he broach her disrespect and hostile attitude toward Jane. At first she claimed she was not being rude or disrespectful, that Jane didn’t speak to her either and why should she talk to someone she has nothing in common with. Mary has used this excuse before, but was never pushed on it, this time Dick pushed back that she would not treat a stranger the way she treats Jane in own home. Mary pretended she was a toddler living in a cave, “why would an adult want to talk to me?”, seriously? If you are in someones home, the host will speak to you, even if it just to welcome you and say hello, which is pretty much the extent of her interaction with Jane for the past several months. Would she grunt and ignore the host or politely say hello and answer basic questions with full sentences? The latter, of course,  and Dick pointed out that Jane deserved at least that level of respect and until Mary can do that with a level of sincerity, there will not be overnight stays at his house. Mary agreed that was only fair, but wasn’t sure how long it would take her to get to that point. ‘

In Sue news, her personal therapist finally replied to an email Dick sent a few week back when Sue lashed out, looking for advice and input. The doctor explained the reason for his delay was he was waiting until his next appointment with Sue to assess how she was doing, however he has not seen her. Seems in the time she has been with Medusa, all of her sessions have been missed or canceled. Sue has also missed most school days since being in her mother’s care. There is no cost to Medusa, literally all she has to do is get Sue to her appointments, but apparently, that is too much for her. Sue attends school where Medusa works, so there is literally no excuse whatsoever for her to miss school.

Dick and Jane are still waiting for the other shoe to drop by being served with papers to return to court. I don’t think Medusa wants her kids full-time, but I believe she has been telling them that she does for years in an attempt to alienate them from their father and stepmother. Now what she has them, she wants them gone, at least part of the time, but she will not tell them that, she is trying to get Dick to agree to overnight to it looks like he is forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. Medusa thinks asking for more money will stop Dick from standing firm, but what she doesn’t realize that with all she currently gets its highly unlikely the court will give her more money for two teens who need no childcare and the father pays for everything other than their food and clothing, $2000 a month is certainly more an enough to cover that and then some. And even if she were to get more, Dick will not fight that and cave to her demands he take the girls, he is doing what is best for his girls at this time. Medusa is pissed, but these are the consequences to her actions… hope she’s happy.

True Hell…. A Dieter’s Story

I have never been “skinny”. I developed early and have had curves for as long as I can remember. I never had a problem with my weight growing up it was my mid to late twenties before my weight inched  into the “overweight” category. No matter my size I have always been comfortable in my own skin. I have been on various diets over the year, at one point after reaching my heaviest point after a prolonged period on steroids to control my arthritis, I lost over 80 pounds. That was 17 years ago and I have gained most of that weight back over the years. Last week a few things were like a sign that once again I need to make an effort to drop some weight, not for vanity, but for health reasons.

Sign #1: I have been having heartburn more frequently and it had gotten to a point that pretty much anything I ate would be followed by a dessert of Tums. OTC meds were long cutting it, so I made an appointment with my doctor. In addition to yet another prescription, my diet needed to change to avoid trigger foods. While at the office I made the mistake of looking at the BMI chart. I really have no idea who came up with these “normal” weight ranges, because I’m here to tell you, if I got down to 120 lbs, which is mid-range for my height, I would look like I had a disease worse than arthritis or GERD. But it was a wake up call that by medical standards I am in the unflattering category of the “morbidly obese”. Ugh.

Sign #2: A friend who had gastric bypass weight-loss surgery several months ago posted her 100 lost photos on Facebook. I am so happy for her and know the decision to have surgery was not an easy one nor  the easy way out. The sign was, for the first time I realized that her starting weight at the time of her surgery is my current weight. Now, she is shorter than me by 4 inches, which when figuring BMI is significant, but I never thought of myself of “gastric bypass” weight. I really made me think and I decided it was time to use her milestone as my motivation.

Sign #3: Thanks to physical therapy I am feeling better and able to exercise, which has not been the case for some time. Yes I can make changes to my diet, but without getting out and moving, I will not be successful in the hell that is life on a diet. We all want to see results of our hard work, so now I feel I can do both sides, the diet and exercise.

So, as of Monday I have started my new fitness routine. For me, when I spend money on something I am far more apt to commit, as I don’t want to waste my hard-earned cash. I signed up for the Beachbody program. Let me just say, that name is really stupid. To me, “beach body”, is a bikini body and no matter how much I lose, that will never be me. I see desiring a beach body to be vanity and that is not what this journey is for me. However, even with my dislike of  the name, the options for meal plans and workouts was the best fit for me. I have a coach, not a 30 something stay-at-home mom who works out non-stop and raves about how the program helped her lose 20 lbs and now she looks like a supermodel, my coach started the program at 57  and lost 127 lbs. I don’t need or want to lose that much, but I love having someone who was more my age and weight, she knows the struggle.

Right now the hardest part for me is the water. I need to drink A LOT of water! I thought I drank a fair amount of water before, but no, I was not, not even close. Along with the added water intake, you have the opposite and the many trips to the little girl’s room must count towards my daily steps, so win/win there. I gave up sugary drinks almost two years ago, so it’s not like I will see drastic effect of the water, but I’m sure it all works out somehow,  I can’t say I understand all the science, but I paid good money to be told to drink 4 liters of water a day, so by golly, I’m going to drink up.

The food, so far, hasn’t been too much of a challenge,  but I’m only 3 days in. The program gives you lots of options so it’s not like I’m being forced to each things I don’t like. One thing I have noticed, while I’m eating more during the day in addition to all the water, I’m hungry. I was never hungry before, even without eating breakfast most mornings. The plan I am on is you eat 5 small meals a day,  so I should NEVER be hungry, yet I am. I’m sure when my body adjusts that won’t be the case, but its hellish.  And eating healthy is expensive. Leaner cuts of meat are more expensive than the fatter ones. Fresh fruits and veggies add up quick. I was trying to find a lower carb whole grain cracker, the only one I found was cost five times what a regular box of crackers cost and was about 1/3  the quantity.  It’s crazy, but I’m going to do it!!

I am sure there will be many blogs in the coming months about my weight loss journey, maybe putting it out in the universe will add another level of accountability and keep me one track. Or maybe I just like having a place to bitch about being water-logged while eating my expensive, yet tasteless crackers and feeling hungry all the time.  Stay tuned….