Post Vacation Blues

For the first time ever, the hubs and I went on a vacation together. Don’t be too shocked, we have only been married 4 years and have done long weekends away. With the responsibilities of “adulting”, choosing new puppies and  buying a new house, we haven’t had the extra money to fly away someplace. I know for some that is unheard of, they can’t live without that annual vacation to tropical location, but for me I would much rather have my dogs and my house. I guess I am more of a homebody than most would assume. I like traveling, experiencing new places and adventures, but often I have to push myself to commit to a trip. One of the big bonuses of my recent travels  has been I have met folks in real life that I have met via the internet in various groups of common interests. I’m happy that,  to date, with one exception, all  of the meetings have been better than I could have hoped for. I told my husband that I would love to plan travel around meeting with more “friends”, I’m lucky he is open to that and doesn’t think me crazy for wanting to do so.

Along with being away from the dogs, the hardest part of vacation is coming back. For us, this trip was in a warm, sunny location with picture perfect weather every second of every day. While at home, there was non-stop rain and flooding, to the point we sat  poolside having breakfast while watching footage of flooding at home on the Weather Channel. We came back to the same cold, rainy weather we left the week before. And with that, for me, the aches and pains of my arthritis.

Then you have the work factor. That reality is the hardest to come back to. From facing the alarm after sleeping in, if you choose, morning traffic and  the dreaded backlog of emails there is nothing good about the post-vacation days at work. Each day I have felt out of sorts, overwhelmed and exhausted. And today, COLD! It’s freezing in my office, just a cruel reminder that time last week I was sipping a fruity drink by the pool.

Another downfall of vacation is the vacation from the diet & exercise routine. I was really worried about stepping on the scale when I got back, but I’m happy to report that with all the yummy food and amazing adult beverages, I only gained one pound! I guess all the walking we did helped keep me in check more than I realized. But I’m back on the plan, drinking my water instead of rum runners, eating healthy choices vs. decadent gourmet meals and working out on schedule. I will get that pound and then some off this week!!!

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When Distance Saves a Life

Seriously, there are people who are alive solely because of the actual distance between myself and their face. OK, maybe that was a bit harsh, but certainly friendships have been saved because I can’t get in my car and show up at someone’s house to tell them EXACTLY how I feel. Today was a bad day and I swear, I felt like I was getting it from every side.

The internet is a wonderful invention. It allows us to learn about topics we wouldn’t have access to the past. We can meet people we never would have the opportunity to if we had to rely on a casual meeting or being the same area code. Through the internet we have expanded social networks in ways generations before us never dreamed. But as is always the case, with good also comes the bad. Today my internet friends, was a bad day in the interwebs.

I am part of a group on the internet that prides itself on working together for the greater good, not only for ourselves, but for the lives of many animals we help via rescue awareness and education. The platform we use is great,  we have grown our group many times over in the past year, but the suggestion was made to expand to other platforms to expand  awareness, especially with a fundraising opportunity we are working on to benefit our rescue of choice. As an admin of the group I know the “rules” and any big decisions about the group are discussed and voted on. Last week I brought this suggestion to the table, yes, I took the extra step of securing an account name closely tied to the existing group, but nothing more before the discussion. With minimal questions, I got a ‘thumbs up’, which I took to mean agreement, silly me. One admin was MIA so yes, she was not part of this, but I proceed with what I thought was buy-in from the others.

All seems happy on the internet, members from one platform were connecting on the new platform, everyone seemed excited and I was monitoring to make sure no internet drama (aka trolls) invaded our new space, as that is a big deal with the original group. This morning I was smacked with  accusations that I had gone behind the backs of my fellow admin, being compared to a horrid drama queen former admin that we had to ban from the group. Nothing I said seemed to matter, I accepted responsibility for the new platform, so no additional work be put on them. I did tell them, up front and again today, I was accepting the help of a group member who was a content expert in the new platform, but we could change passwords to restrict access if/when we felt we needed to. I also left it open if it became too much drama or negatively affected the original group, I would shut it down. I was made to feel I had hurt something I put a lot of heart and work into and felt attacked by people I truly feel are friends. Finally a truce of sorts was reached, I had fucked up, but it was done and it was on me to make sure it didn’t go south.

Here is the thing about the internet, be careful where and what you type. After the dust settled, one of the others mistakenly commented  in a group chat that “she” (i.e. ME) had run to the person who offered help and told them they were mad. Of course I  did, I was being honest and making sure this person knew that the others weren’t happy and we needed to proceed less aggressively as to make them feel comfortable with the this new phase. I’m not sure what hurt most, the original attacks and name calling or knowing my friends were talking behind my back among themselves and telling others an altered version of the facts to make them look better. We are all women of a certain age, well past high school and the petty cliques and name calling.

So now, something I was proud of has turned ugly and more than anything I just want a do-over. We don’t get do-overs in life, so the best I can hope for is the new platform is a huge success and my misdeeds will one day be forgiven. Wish me luck internet…I need it!

Pain that never really goes away

I have psoriatic arthritis. I was diagnosed 24 years ago, so at this point it has been my constant, unwelcome companion for half my life. Over the years I have been on over fifty medications to relieve the joint pain, swelling and extreme fatigue that are hallmarks of PsA. I have periods of drug induced remission, where I had no symptoms at all and lived a nice, normal, pain-free life. But having a chronic condition is all about give and take, for those pain-free times, you have the times you can barely stand the pain and want to give up. Sadly…I am in a painful phase.

I am lucky that my family, close friends and co-workers (including my boss) understand my condition and the limitations it comes with at times. What may be the hardest part is when people who don’t really know or who are fortunate enough to not have experience with something like this think that I am weak or giving in to “a little pain”, as I work so hard not to allow my condition to overtake my life. I don’t wear a sign that says “Psoriatic Arthritis On Board”, I quietly go through my days, smile through the pain, walk as normally as I can and breakdown behind closed doors when it becomes too much.

Part of my commitment to my weight loss journey was to help with my condition. I am at the point that my knees are completely shot and I am needing to get both replaced this year. I wanted to be in the best shape I could be in prior, so my recovery was as easy as possible. I have lost right at 30 pounds in the past 5 months and have increased my activity level with daily walks and weekly yoga classes. My current treatment plan had been working very well and until a few weeks ago I was feeling great, knee pain aside. But the familiar downhill slide started and within the past week to ten days the pain has increased, in joints I’ve never had issues with before, and the extreme fatigue makes doing anything torture. I have no been able to do my daily walks this week and had to skip yoga. I can’t help but fear how this arthritis setback will derail my weight loss. My last flare was nearly four years ago and it took almost two years to get under control. I don’t have two years and I will not  back slide,  I will continue to do all I can to stay on track. I told my doctor it was NOT fair, I did what she suggested, but I’m still struggling. She understood my frustration, as nothing about a chronic disease is fair.

I have added a new medication to my treatment plan, but refused to add steroids, even short-term. I’m hoping, like I do anytime we try something new, that this will help and I will in less pain soon. If not, we move on to the next thing, and in the meantime, I keep smiling and doing what I can to not given in and give up!

Blatant acts of rudeness

As mentioned in a previous blog I am attending a fundraiser this weekend that the hubby will not attending due to it being Ursula’s event, so it was to be a girls night. I will start by saying, my friend who has come down with the flu gets a pass for canceling, completely understandable. However, another “friend” who not only said she wanted to attend, but also asked if there was a seat for another friend of hers has canceled. This is a blatant act of rudeness and one I feel is unforgivable. Now I have three empty seats to fill the day before the event, which is likely not going to happen. Why do people accept invitations when they have no intention of showing up?

I should have known better. This same person has been invited to our home for various get-togethers and only showed for our Super Bowl party last week. Literally every week of football season, and then some, she was invited, said she was doing to make it and then canceled with one excuse after another. But those were casual parties at our home, not $500 a seat formal event that were being offered free of charge, along with all the food and drink as well as top-notch entertainment. It’s just so frustrating, but I swear, this is becoming more and more acceptable in our society. Why are people so afraid to just decline an invitation?

I have been helping a friend who is a wedding coordinator and  I can’t tell you how many times we have had the discussion with brides and grooms about the lack of returned RSVP cards for their weddings. This is so easy, just write your name and check a box and mail it, the stamp is on it, it is costing you NOTHING. In this case your RSVP or lack of one is money out of their budget. Worst of all are those to commit to attending only to not show. The couple pays for your meal, you are costing a couple just starting their lives together money that could be used for something better than your empty seat at the reception. One wedding had and ENTIRE table that was empty. This was no simple affair, so this cost the complete roughly $800- that is shameful and rude. And it wasn’t just the money, the venue was small so this couple had to leave off people who would have loved to share their day; so the rudeness was magnified.

Declining an invitation is perfectly acceptable. People have their own lives and likes, not everything you do is going to appeal to everyone or fit their schedule.  And if you aren’t sure, it’s better to decline and miss out on something rather than accept and leave the host scrambling to fill your space if you cancel last-minute or worse, sit at a half empty table looking like you have no friends who wanted to spend the evening with you in front of your husband’s EX-WIFE!!!

Ugh.

One of those weeks

I never, not for one second, thought losing weight at my age would be easy. It’s been 18 years since I took on a serious challenge to shed significant weight, I’m older and more limited thanks to my arthritis. As hard as I knew this journey would be, I have to do it and I’m not giving up, but if I were, a week like this would be why.

First, its been a  really long week. We had a Super Bowl party on Sunday, which is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. Being a prime time game, that means we had people at the house later than we could normally on a Sunday evening.  I haven’t been sleeping well, so I was exhausted all day Monday after only getting about four house of real sleep. I ended up going to be super early Monday as I needed to be at work by 7am Tuesday. Being extremely tired makes me crave comfort foods like nothing else. Luckily we have very little to choose from in our house, so at least I had that going for me. I wasn’t able to walk on Tuesday due to the all day meeting, so I didn’t even get an energy boost from that.

Second,  to top Tuesday off, I started my period….the day before weigh-in! Ugh…its like the trifecta of weight loss obstacles!!! I’m too old for this, I should be done with it as I’m not having any kids. I’m not saying I am praying for menopause with its own list of horrible side effects, but I’m over having a period. It’s so unfair that women go from one body torturing phase of their lives to the next, while men have nothing like that to deal with. Maybe a little hair loss, but for the post part anything they get we get (wrinkles, gray hair, unflattering changes in our bodies, etc) AND menopause. Just one of those cosmic jokes that is proof that if there is a god, he is a man, for sure!

You would think all this build up was to justify a gain this week, but no, I was down slightly, VERY slightly, but down all the same. I’m hoping next week will be better, both physically and mentally. My next milestone is so close, I really want to check it off before the end of February…. so I have 21 days. It won’t be easy, but again, it will be worth it!!!

 

The moment hell froze over

Do you feel it, the unexplained chill in the air. Yes, it’s still winter, since the ground-hog saw his shadow and we are looking at six more weeks of winter, but the chill I’m talking about is not weather related, my friends, hell has frozen over! For the past six and a half years, I have co-existed with Ursula, “The Girl”‘s mom, usually doing all I can to avoid her. She has always been that “fake nice” for show when we are in public, but 1:1 dealings have been short, judgmental and  self-serving, at that is the nicest way I can put it. As “The Girl” has gotten older, things have eased some, mostly because contact with Ursula is less frequent and when it happens it has an actual purpose, not just a way to maintain her control over my now husband and our lives.

However, over the past week thing have taken a rare turn in the blended family world. First Ursula was at my office meeting with a group completely unrelated to me, I actually had no idea she was here. She sent me a text, upfront admitted it was shameless and asked if I could validate parking for and a few co-workers. I told her sure, they work for a non-profit, I didn’t consider it a favor to her as much as a good deed for a good cause. Plus, when I meet her in the lobby, she was very kind in noticing and complimenting my weight loss, which was very nice to hear, especially from her given her history with struggling with her own weight issues.

The next day I got a call from her on my cell, which NEVER happens unless The Girl is with her and her phone is not handy. Also, The Girl was in school, so there was no reason to be calling me, but I answered thinking maybe it was an emergency of some sort and she couldn’t contact my husband. To my surprise, it was a very nice and civil heads up. The organization she works for is having a fundraising event and when The Girl was with Ursula at a planning meeting she mentioned to her mom that the work they were doing for the vent was right up my alley and that I was very good with the creative parts they need to finish. She asked Ursula if she could invite me to join the team or if that would be too awkward. Ursula, who for all her faults has always acknowledged how much her daughter loves me and the nice things I do for her, she said that was fine. The call was to let me know The Girl would be inviting me and that she had no issues at all, they would welcome my help.

I agreed to go. One, for The Girl, she was very excited I accepted and also thanked me for being so nice in helping with the parking. Second, I need to volunteer for a cause for my company’s wellness program, so this was an easy way to do that. Last night I picked the The Girl up after school and headed to her mom’s office. Ursula as very nice, made me feel welcomed and that my assistance was appreciated. Then, just when she thought I had let my guard down or become numb due to hell freezing over, she hit me with a zinger, her backhand way of insulting others with a sugar sweet spin or in a joking manner thinking people don’t notice. Some may not, I do. After complimenting my input, she added “too bad you have horrible taste in men”- a very obvious dig as my husband. I did not miss a beat, two belles can play this game, I smiled with a slight tilt of my head and said “Just following your lead Ursula”. We both gave a fake laugh and moved on. The rest of the evening was productive and dare I say, pleasant. I enjoyed the project and would do it again if asked.

When I got home I shared with my husband how the night went, horrible taste in men and all. I told him I really hope this is the new path we are on, for The Girl mostly, as it has to be nice to have your blended family together peacefully, and for the adult. Six years of tension is a lot to deal with and sometimes you just have to LET IT GO!  Yes, the song from Frozen is running through my head, guess it just goes with the icy territory.

Back on Track…BIG TIME!

As mentioned in my last blog, I had gained a few pounds while enjoying an amazing weekend at a friend’s wedding. I am happy to report that I am back on track, BIG TIME, and with eating right, walking daily and going to yoga  and drinking my million gallons (at least that is how it feels) of water each day, I was down 4.6 pounds this week!  While I hadn’t fallen completely off the wagon, seeing those kinds of results is a huge motivator!!

I am sure much of my motivation comes from the changes I see when I look in the mirror and the comments others makes about my progress. I can see without that I would struggle like I see many of my friends doing. I am starting to think our weight loss group needs staff therapist. Its been 18 years since I’ve been on a strict weight loss plan. I’ve gained and lost during that time, but I have never been one to go jump from one diet to another. I guess being older, the issues around body image and weight are much harder to shake.

One member of the group lost nearly eight pounds this week following a nasty bout of the flu. For me this would thrill me and motivate me to maintain and add to the loss, but her head is in a very different place and my guess is she will have a gain of nearly that much next week. The last few years have not been easy for her, so I get that why she struggles, but I think the biggest question I have is why sign up for a challenge where others will know if you are failing if you had no real intention of trying? She had gained each week prior to this. Maybe she thought being in the group would motivate her, but that hasn’t seemed to be the case.

The friend I spoke about last week, who is so down on herself, she gained less than half a pound and I was actually worried about telling her as I knew it would crush her. I’m just so sad for them, like I want to somehow make them see that they are wonderful just as they are, if they never lost another pound, they are perfect. But I’m no therapist and I can’t get inside their heads and help break the cycle that have both so down on themselves, not just about their weight.

I hope I stay on track, well, at least until we go on a mini vacation in a few weeks. My next milestone is 9 pounds away… I can do this, but if I fall off the wagon a bit, I know what to do to get back on track and I will, as my ultimate goal is in sight.