Monday, March 31, 2008

Short Story

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mount Fuji - Part 1

Well, instead of receiving my camera back in the mail, I received the following:

A notice from Fuji telling me that my warranty is invalid because there is "impact damage" to the camera. They say that there is a dent in the bottom of the camera and that the top is separated. This on top of the pink screen that I reported. They will still kindly fix it, but will charge me $80 including taxes and shipping to do so.

The only thing is that I did not drop the camera.

I had sent it earlier this year to Fuji's California Service Center for repair. They actually fixed it very quickly, but wanted to charge me an exhorbatant amount to ship it back to me. Since the warranty did not say I had to pay, I protested, had a very emotional lecture from the man on the other end of the phone (he did claim that he had had a bad day before our conversation), and we ended up agreeing that I would only pay them $10 to cover actual shipping charges and packaging. I agreed.

The camera was back in my hands for exactly two weeks before the next issue; had only been used once, and had languished on my desk for the remainder of the time. I was shocked that it, once again, didn't work when it was pressed into service. And so, since it was under warranty, I mailed it off, this time to the main Fuji facility in New Jersey. And thereafter waited and waited and waited. Until now.

Now I will tell you that I am hard on stuff. I do break stuff. And I am perfectly honest and forthright about the stuff that I destroy. I will not allow Eric to buy me nice things because there's no point to it. But I did not drop or break that camera. I would never have asked them to fix it if I had. (I have a long history of not returning items for that very reason.) The camera malfunctioned on it's own.

I unsuccessfully tried to reach Fuji's Customer Service Department today about it; with the time change, they had closed for the day and the weekend. I will try again on Monday, and hopefully resolve the issue in a positive manner.

Meanwhile, I have a feeling - because the warranty was so close to being expired - that Fuji is not going to repair it. We'll see, and I'll report back here. I truly hope that they do the right thing. Especially because I think we're all tired of pictures for this blog that are 'borrowed' from the internet.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Love George

Again, I am reminded of my true love. (Note: he's not my one and only true love.) George Foreman.

I have a bad habit. Although I love cooking, I also find it very easy to go off "just for a minute" to take care of other business and leave whatever is on the burner untended. Then I get distracted and return only when the distinct smell of silverstone burnt to a crisp and flaking off of the side of the pot reaches my nostrils.

In the old days before I accepted myself, I would berate myself and then replace whatever pot was lost with one of equal quality and value (aka cost). Then I got smart. I started going to Target and buying whatever was cheapest of a comperable size, knowing that I was never going to change. I would always, in the end, burn my cookware up. Why throw good money after bad habits?

Earlier this evening, Eric came over for our regular Wednesday evening dinner. I am trying to eat lighter and, keeping Lucy and her five-color-vegetable assignment in mind, decided to grill some vegetables to build a salad around. Corn (yellow), carrots (orange), red bell pepper (red), onion white and purple (white & purple), and mushrooms (I count them as white) were marinated for a short while (separately) in 'Orange Citrus Marinade and Grilling Sauce" then set on my George Foreman grill to cook. While that was going on, I boiled up some corkscrew pasta and we cubed up some previously grilled chicken that was stored just for this purpose. With mixed greens and dressing added, it's the perfect one-bowl meal. I served it up with crusty sourdough bread and watermelon for dessert.

Well, I had so much corn to grill that I ended up not using it all for the salad; electing instead to leave it in it's marinade bowl to grill after Eric left. And threw it on my "George" upon his departure. Then I went to my desk (in bedroom) to give my regular blogs a 'quick read' and forgot all about it.

An hour later, I decided that I needed something in front. As I walked up the hallway, I could smell a sweet odor. "Hmmmmmm" I thought. "Uh oh. Maybe the dishwasher has gone dead again." But no. It occured to me as I saw the tendrils of smoke wafting across my living room that I did it again. I cooked to smithereens.

My grill is a new one. I used my old George so often that I actually wore the non stick coating right off of it. After Christmas, Target had them on sale, so I broke down and bought one with the removable plates. And although liking the convenience of being able to throw them in the dishwasher, I wasn't crazy about the heat distribution. They just didn't get as hot or cook as evenly as the old fashioned George. Or, I should say, I didn't like them as much until tonight.

When I got to the grill, I first noted that the light had gone out. That's a good thing. George is temperature controlled. He turns himself off when he reaches a certain temperature and then turns himself on again when he cools down a bit. At least I didn't burn the kitchen down.

Then I braced myself and opened the lid. What was formerly known as corn was a black charred mass all over the bottom plate. I knew I was cooked. But I experimentally took the forkey thing that comes with the grill and scraped it up a little. And got the shock of my evening.

Although the corn was destroyed, the plate was as good as ever. The non stick coating had not burnt itself off. After George cooled completely down to room temperature, I washed his plates and they were perfect. As if nothing had ever happened.

I think I can live with the "less hot" George and promise never to complain again.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Potpourri of Topics

Last Saturday, I bit the bullet and decided to go to my Spinning Guild (Greater Los Angeles Spinning Guild - GLASG) instead of exercise class. This decision was made, based upon three facts:

1.) I missed them and had received a few e-mails from people who missed me.
2.) The lecture-of-the-day was Chris Acosta about Angora Bunnies. Perfect for the day before Easter.
3.) And I did not feel well enough to exercise.

I've addressed the topic of GLASG before in my Blog. The social structure there has changed and somehow I felt left behind. I wasn't sure if the issue was them or me, but I was fearful of confrontation. There were two current members of which I was especially concerned.

Although I was uncomfortable in my attendance yesterday, I'm glad that I went. One of the people of concern seemed genuinely happy to see me. I had been advised that her personal circumstances were coloring her reactions to everything and that I shouldn't take it personally. Whew!

The other? She was there and was as cold as ever; like a stone. I'm not sure what - exactly - that I did to offend her, but she has made a point of giving me a horrible stare and not speaking to me for well over a year now. Her feelings could not be at all misinterpreted... at the end of the meeting when yet another member and I were in the kitchen (I was just passing through to the bathroom although I stopped to chat), she looked at the other gal and asked her if she would like to take the leftover bagels home. When turned down, she gave me a stare full of hostility, then picked the bag up and threw them out.

And you know what? That moment was liberating. I'm glad that it happened. I can place her where she belongs in the order of things and move on. I think I may go back again for next month's meeting.

My camera has finally been acknowledged as "received" by the Fuji repair center and they tell me that it will be fixed within 10 working days. I only hope that it is returned before all the blossoms on my lemon tree have bloomed and fallen off. I only wish you could smell the fragranece.

If each of the flowers turns into fruit, I am going to have a bumper crop next year. All from a tree that I purchased from OSH two-and-a-half years ago because I felt sorry for it. They weren't watering it and it had been reduced to a stalk with two withered leaves that were about to fall off.

Much like my rescue animals, it took a year before it acknowledged me with a single lemon of thanks. Then another year went by and the year's crop was three. And who knows what I will harvest next year?

As I continue to decline healthwise, I am starting to wonder how bad it's going to be this time. It feels a little different than flares past, but there's no getting around the fatigue and lethargy. I hope I don't lose my readership entirely because of sporatic posting.

I am continuing to struggle with slow weight gain. Richard, in his chat yesterday, talked about somebody at Slimmons (I honestly don't have a clue who) who he counseled a few weeks ago to make a list of all of her "hot" foods. She was to post the written list and avoid them.

I thought about it. Not a bad idea. And so I developed my own list of things to be avoided. Surprisingly, it is short and theme related. Dried fruit is an issue. Breads & crackers are an issue. And the Protein Bars from HMR and other sources. Other than that, I really don't have a problem. That's probably why the weight gain has been as slow as it has.

So I have printed out the list and attached it to the front of my refrigerator. Perhaps the constant reminder will help me not bring those items into my home. But it's already helped me in a small way. For the first time in weeks, I've started a food sheet.

Friday, March 21, 2008

My Shopping Cart

At my highest weight, despite popular believe to the contrary, I did not love food. I did not even like it. It was the enemy. Rather than enjoing consumption, I was driven to eat. Those demons have not left me, and I struggle to stay somewhat on plan in a world gone crazy for procesed foods. For all of my weight-challenged friends, I know that you know what I am talking about. Sneak eating. Denial of eating. Classifying some food stuffs -candy, colas, etc. - as other than food.

Trips to the market in those days were agony. Candy placed by the front door. Bakery departments where the air flow was specifically designed to waf fragrences of cakes and sugars and chocolates all over the store. Store specials and coupons not for healthy produce, but for Hershey's Miniatures and the like.

I used to alternate my markets so that supposedly the checkers would not know that I was succumbing to those temptations almost every day. Of course they had to know, but I convinced myself that they didn't. But one thing that I could not avoid was the paranoid fear that people were judging me for what was in my shopping cart on a specific trip. And in fact, they were. Silently, but it was all in their eyes.

Frosted Flakes next to Hostess Chocolate Donuts next to cake mix and two cans of icing next to real butter next to bags of candies next to... well, you get the picture.

When I look at my cart during market trips now, it is mostly staples. I buy most of my produce at the weekly farmer's markets so it's a little more based on starches and proteins and dairy, but certainly nothing to be embarassed about. Nobody judges. Nobody pays attention. I had forgotten what it was like to shock others. Until late last week.

I am having some health issues again and I'm not sure what direction that they will ultimately take. In preparation for the worst, though, I've started to stock up on items that I cannot live without should I be too sick to go to the market. The most important thing, in my mind, being dog food. I do not want my boys to go without.

So I was in Ralphs and, to my happiness, discovered that Dog Food was on special. Normally $1.20 a can, it was reduced to 10 cans for $10. $1.00 per can. Seizing on the opportunity, I bought 5 cans of each flavor available. That came to 75 cans.

You cannot imagine how much room 75 cans of dog food takes in one's shopping cart. You doubly cannot imagine how much it weighs. Much like a flywheeled hotwheel car, it was hard to get going, but once in motion, equally as hard to stop. And all those cans glinting silver and orange? They attracted a lot of attention

Unlike when I would shop for processed junk food, people not only looked, but felt free to comment. "Oh my god!" was a prevelant response. "How many dogs do you have?" "How are you going to get all that food into your home?" "Do you have a closet that is lined with nothing except dog food?"

All of which I responded with "It's on special." "My dog's do not approve of 'Old Mother Hubbard'." "It will hold."

It was a weird experience. I have not done anything in a market for a very long time that would attract this kind of attention. But instead of reacting with shame for my own gluttony, I was able to be matter-of-fact about the whole thing. Nobody had to know exactly why I was stocking up in such a dramatic way. I was just a shopper taking advantage of a savings to the extreme.

The bag girl, after loading all of those cans into plastic bags (now don't go all green on me... I recycle them by picking up poop), looked very relieved that I refused her help to take them to my car. I do admit that I gave that decision a second thought as I moved the cans from cart to trunk. And it took a lot of muscle power to carry them all into my condo and put them away.

My pantry looks like the dog food department at the market now. I wish my camera was back so that I could snap a photo for you. I know that I have a month's worth of dog food here, but that if issues of health turn sour, I may need more on hand. Ralphs dog food is still on special.

Do I dare go back for a repeat performance? I think probably so.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Knitters Digest

Between my current lack of camera - yes I've finally sent it off for repair - and issues of heath that are coming to the forefront again, it's been hard for me to post. But I've finally found something that is blog worthy. It's a current topic for me, and there are pictures so that you-all are not lacking for visuals.

Additionally, it's a knitting pattern! Amazing since I originally thought this blog was going to be about my creative endeavours, not the this-and-that-and-the-other-thing that it's turned into.

And so, now that the build up is complete, I present you with a

Knitted Digestive System!

Yes, there are patterns out there for pretty-much whatever you would like to make. I remember a year-or-two ago when E- had a hysterectomy, a friend made her a knitted uterus. She was not released to drive, so I volunteered to take her to her post-surgical doctor's appointment. She popped her new uterus into her knitting bag and off we went.

As it would so happen, we must have looked pretty suspicious. The guard in the parking lot approached us and I suggested that Elena show him her uterus. She did.

He was a bit surprised. Flumoxed. He asked her "And so you have two?"

"No." she answered seriously, looking him right in the eye. "I only have one." Then we laughed and went on to her appointment.

Well, my issue is not one of uterui, but of colon. Wouldn't you know it, I happened upon a knitting pattern for the digestive tract. Now I will need to check out my yarns and see if I have the appropriate colors. For I know what the project-of-choice will be if things don't get better soon.

Thursday, March 13, 2008



That would be Pi to the 30th decimal point. If you asked Ian to recite it, he could, and then he would explain to you that Pi is a calculation to determine the circumference of a circle and that it is equal to the area of the circle divided by the radius of the same, squared. Ian has understood both the concept and been able to recite it to the 30th point since he was 6 years old. He's currently 8.

Pie to me is something entirely different. Growing up in a household where cooking was considered something hateful and little that was presented at the table would actually resemble real food, when Grandma Ida would bake us a pie, it was an event to be celebrated. Even today as I cook my oft-desired meals, nothing quite equals a pie made in Grandma's style. Very few have been afforded the opportunity to try one, and I have not gotten any complaints from those who have tasted it.

Adele contacted me yesterday. She was looking for an old recipe of Grandma's for "Cottage Cheese Pie." She was hoping that I had a copy. I did, I scanned it, and forwarded to her immediately. She needed it in a timely manner, but the reason gave me a little pause. She wanted to bake a pie for "Pi Day."

"Pi Day?" I thought. "Huh." So I decided to look it up on line.

Apparently, Pi Day was invented in 1988 by the San Francisco Exploratorium. They celebrated it by marching in circles and then eating fruit pies. They later added Pizza Pies to the assortment on the buffet.

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 (3-14) and Pie Minute is noted as March 14th at 1:59 pm. (3-14 1:59) I suppose it could be celebrated at 1:59 am, but personally, I think it's a bad idea because most of us would be sleeping.

Coincidentally, Pi Day is also Albert Einstein's birthday.

The official Pi Day Website, as well as others, lists suggested activites to be engaged in on Pi Day including eating pie (of course), reading stories such as “Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi” by Cindy Neuschwander, or having a contest to see who can recite the most digits of Pi. I would suggest that in lieu of a trophy, the winner win the flavor pie of his or her choice.

I would opt for Grandma's Cheese Pie.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Interacting with Others

Today was a day of medical pursuit. Where normally I might see one practicioner in a day, I was scheduled for Physical Therapy this morning and then a couple of hours at
Cedars Sinai's Procedure Center later in the afternoon.

I was actually quite dubious about starting PT again. In the past, I've gone there and although I've received good and appropriate care, sometimes felt like I was left to fend for myself. But this go-around, I've received more attention than I could ever deserve. The Therapists and the Assistants are at my side constantly, rooting me on and helping me to physically achieve a better experience and result.

At the Procedure Center, I received IV fluids to rehydrate me. Again, I got more attention there than I was used to. The treatment I endured today was nothing that required any great monitoring, yet the nurse and the receptionist and many of the other nurses were quite interested in me. Animated as they talked and relayed stories of their own lives.

At the same time as all this is going on, I've met a very nice man at Slimmons named Larry Myers. I would normally not let out a full name on this blog, but the fact is that as of tomorrow, he will be known nationally anyway. You see, last week Inside Edition came to Slimmons to tape a segment about his 500 pound weight loss and current struggle to get some of his excess skin removed. Unlike in my case where the skin is unsightly and a small nuisance, his poses a real health threat and needs to be addressed. The sooner the better. The segment is scheduled to air maybe tomorrow, maybe Wednesday, but I think it may be a two parter and will be on both days. I'm sorry that I don't know for sure.

I reached out to Larry since I, to a small degree, have some experience being highlighted on a national TV program. (Entertainment Tonight, 2005, Walgreens Health Corner, 2007, and an upcoming segment on HGTV's "That's Clever," date TBA.) It's an honor to be profiled by these shows, but with the honor also comes responsibility. Although I am not a celebrity of any kind, there are a lot of people who know about my profiles (friends that I know, friends that I have never met) and they expect me to behave and succeed in a certain way. They make no bones about letting me know if I disappoint them.

Larry reminds me of myself from a few years ago. Eager to move on with his life. Stunned at the possibilities after moving a mountain. Terrified of taking his next step. I've talked to him several times, both at Slimmons and privately. Although I believe that he is genuinely happy to hear from me, I also think he's afraid to reach out and connect. I know that feeling well. Being so afraid of being slapped down (or doing the wrong thing, causing people to reject me) that isolation is preferable to the fear.

With these three experiences under my belt in the last week, I really have to think, again, about my progress. I am still scared to move forward. Still so afraid of what others think that I sometimes don't take advantage of opportunities that are right there for the taking. My Spinning Guild is a perfect example. A couple of people have not been so nice to me in the past year for I-don't-know what reason, but most of them are wonderful. Many have (finally) noticed that I haven't been coming around and sent me e-mails of encouragement, asking me to return.

And on the other hand, having so much help in the Physical Therapy and Proceedure Center venues makes me think too. The last time(s) I was at each of those locations, I looked not that dissimilar to what I look like now. So I can't necessarily say that my different-and-better treatment is just one of cosmetics or appearance.

Perhaps my attitude has shifted more than I was aware. Perhaps I was off-putting in appointments past and and now have finally become accepting of help. And because of the change in my attitude, their attitude has changed too. Or maybe their's didn't. Maybe they always wanted to help me to a greater degree than I realized and allowed. Maybe I've learned to interact. Maybe.

Now I'm considering my Spinning Guild and other fiber venues again. Have my fears been over nothing? If I was to show up at the next meeting(s), would I experience a not-horrible or maybe even a pleasant reception?

And would this apply to other activities, events, classes, and venues that I have never been brave enough to try?

I need to think.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Horse Theif!

Last Thursday night while I was hurridly getting ready to go to exercise class, I received a phone call from Adele. I tried to tell her that I'd call her back later, but she quickly explained that her call had a special purpose. It seems that Ian had received a homework assignment from his teacher. He was to ask Mommy to tell him a story from when she was a kid. Then he needed to write it down and turn it in.

Well, Adele had a little trouble with that one. We don't have all that many happy stories about growing up, and many of the ones that make us laugh would not be approriate for an eight-year-old. She thought about it, and decided to tell him a story about how she had kept a secret for me for a whole year... a really big secret.

Ian didn't quite believe her. He's a "Rules Man," and to hear that she and I had been decietful to our Mommy and Daddy, especially for that long, was a little more than he was willing to accept. So Adele decided that the two of them should call me and he could hear the same thing right from my mouth.

I was horse crazy. The first horse we owned - Rose - was shared between the siblings, but at some point, I was the only one left that was interested. I aspired to excel in horse shows, and was a regular on the Tri Valley Horse Show Association circuit. I wasn't a big time winner by any means, but I loved my horse and I loved getting out.

Rose was quite old when we got her, and at some point, I realized that she was just unable to do the kind of things that I wanted her to do. Faye - a friend - allowed me to ride her horse Shammy and we did the Hunter-Jumper thing.
I eventually saved all my money and bought another horse for myself, but she was a health disaster and ended up dying. So I was without a horse and without funds. I was, I think, either 18 or 19 years old, working a job as a Gift Wrapper at David Orgell's, Northridge, and going to school.

Mom and Dad were very against me continuing with my horse passion and made no bones about it. They extracted a promise from me that I would not buy another horse. It was a promise I made under great pressure, and I never thought I would be able to keep it. But I had no choice but to agree to their demands.

I continued to go to the stable and ride other's horses. My friends knew of my plight but didn't have an answer. Until one day when a fateful call came down from University of California, Davis. Chris, yet another friend who atttended Davis as a Veterinary Student, was about to come back to Los Angeles on holiday. He knew of a horse he thought that I might be interested in. It was a colt... maybe six months old. It's mother had died shortly after it was born, and it had been used as an experimental project for the students. Davis's policy was (and maybe still is... I just don't know) to destroy the horses that they worked on at the end of each semester. Chris didn't think that the little guy deserved to be killed and he knew of my desire. If I was willing to pay for the shipment down south, he would bring him to me.

I suppose that this was my first foray into animal rescue although I didn't realize it at the time. All I knew was that Chris was presenting me with a horse that I didn't have to buy - so technically I wasn't breaking my promise. The colt was purportedly one of the very last grandson's of Man O War, and he was potentially the great show horse that I had always wanted. So the colt was delivered to my stable and I was a horse owner again. Never mind that Chris had to steal him in the dead of night and I was an accessory after the fact. Nobody was looking for him.

The baby was a mess. He had not been handled by people at all except when they were going to cause him pain. He was not even halter-broken and was very frightened. His baby coat was still attached via mud to his grown-up coat; there were bugs eating into his stomach. He had to be shaved. He was skinny and scrawny and gangly. He was the sorriest looking thing that I ever did see, so his name became "Sorry."

I spent weeks sitting in his corral and talking to him before he finally became brave enough to come over and sniff me. Then let me put a halter on him. Then let me lead him around. All the while, Mom & Dad were none-the-wiser. But this was a big secret to keep and I was bursting with the news. I went to Adele and asked her if she could keep a secret, and then I told her.

Adele CAN keep a secret. She and I spent time with Sorry, and she brought her friends by to "see the horse that Mom & Dad didn't know about." They didn't realize anything was up. I had spent a lot of time at the barn anyway and they were too involved in their own problems to realize that there was a difference in my behavior. And all the while, Sorry grew and matured, and became a stallion. A damned mean stallion. Hot as all get-out.

It was inevidable that he should be gelded. Even if I had his papers, which I didn't, I had no intention of breeding him. As a show horse, he would be safer and better as a gelding. He was also becomming impossible to handle. In fact, I was victim of some pretty hard kicks and bites in that time frame.

The vet was scheduled to come out and take care of business the day before Thanksgiving. It came off without issue except for the part that he forgot to bring his receipt book with him. He would have to bill me. I reminded him to send the bill to the barn. He agreed. But of course, that's not what happened.

Once the vet got home, he forgot about my instructions and sent the bill to the address of record. The one that he would send his bills to when I owned horses that were not a secret. To Mom & Dad's home.

Working in retail, Thanksgiving weekend was required time. On Saturday, I got home to find everyone in an uproar. The vet's bill had come; Mom had opened it. "WHY ARE YOU PAYING VET BILLS ON SOMEBODY ELSES HORSE?" she demanded. I knew the gig was up, and the horse, so to speak, came out of the closet.

Yes there was hell to pay. It was worth it. With 30 years having gone by, I'm still glad that I snuck that horse into my life.

Ian was both full of giggles and horrifed by my story. I confirmed everything that Mommy had told him. He could hardly believe that Mommy & I would be less than truthful with our Mommy & Daddy. He doesn't understand that family dynamics are not always as nice as he experiences them, and he's young enough that he has no need to be enlightened. But after hearing it from my mouth, he did accept that it happened.

Later that night on the way home from exercise, I called Adele on the phone. Did Ian need pictures for his homework? I was pretty sure that I knew where the pics of Sorry were. She called him and asked. No, he didn't need them. But then she had him read the first line of his report to me.

"When Mommy was young, she and Aunt Laura kept a secret for a whole year about a horse that Aunt Laura stole."

I think if I lived in the old west, I would be hung right about now.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Question of Paperwork

Today was my second visit to Physical Therapy and, as it inevidably happens where ever I go, I ended up in the bathroom. It was a comforting experience for me as, the rest of their facilitly has been redecorated and upgraded since the last time I was a patient, but the "other facility" looked exactly the same.

I remember discussing the bathroom with Rocky a number of years ago. I called it a 'five star room.' He was shocked, telling me that his wife did not like it because it wasn't decorated. I responded with the truth. I have IBD. When I really have to go, I couldn't care less about appearances. I just want my bathroom clean and neat and well stocked. Period. Even though JMP's is for co-ed use, it fits my requirements.

There is one thing in there that has intrigued me from the very beginning, though. And that would be the toilet paper.

JMP sports two TP racks side by side. It's a very good idea. Even when one is running low, the other one is there for the consumer's use. It's the rare day that both run out at the same time so, whoever is in charge of maintaining them has plenty of time to restock. But today, years after my last visit, the situation was still the same. Two rolls side by side. One with the paper over the top, and the other one with it coming from underneath.

What does this mean? I once did a survey at work and without fail, all the women liked their paper over the top. All of the men who would answer liked it reversed. Was my limited sample representative of the general population and therefore does JMP look out for our every need? I have to admit that the last time I was a regular visitor, the 'over the top' roll was usually smaller than the 'under the bottom.' That would make sense if women liked top down better.

Is having the rolls go in opposite directions some kind of joke by the staff? Or maybe it's just a question of symetry. One up and one down. Could there be some other symbolism at work here that has gone over my head?

And what of my survey in the first place? Was it accurate, or was the gender preference just a fluke? Inquiring minds - or at least mine - want to know.

So, dear reader, if you're so inclined, I'd love to know what you think about this. Help me resolve my quandry. Do you like your TP over the top? Or from the bottom? And if you want to elaborate on why, that would be interesting too. Not necessary, but interesting.

Monday, March 3, 2008

On Keepin' On

I had my first appointment - this go-around - with Rocky at JMP Rehabilitation (Physical Therapy) today. It was a strange experience. Deja vu. I felt like I had been there before and, in fact, I had. Many times. A lot of the same supportive staff who have helped me over the years still work there and seemed very happy to see me. And in a way, I was happy to see them too. Of course I'd rather have reunited under more social circumstances, but it is what it is.

The immediate burning question on their mind, knowing where I have come from and how I lost weight, was if I still exercised withRichard Simmons... to which I, of course, answered "Yes!" They can see that I've somewhat maintained my 200+ pound weight loss, even with my current struggles in that arena. I've gone to Rocky after orthopedic issues at all of my differing sizes, and they've always been helpful, but with me being of normal BMI, he's more helpful. Probably because I'm more able to help myself.

Everyone looks about the same. Maybe a little older and some a little heavier, but they always were very good looking and athletic and it remains so.

However, my appearance is really different than the last time I visited. That last time, I was so ill that the Paramedics were called after I had collapsed on the way out. They had dismissed me before the appointment was finished because I looked too sick to partipate and apparently they were right. So I really don't know if their attitude today was of concern for my health and the historical consequences or disquiet because I don't look like the same person that they'd known for all these years (25).

One of the fortunate-but-unfotunate issues of weight loss is that you discover just how important appearance really is. More so than I had ever imagined. I wear a lot of make-up now; put a lot of emphasis on hair and clothing. It's something that Richard taught me; a lesson that I resisted for years before I finally aquiesced. People treat me differently at my current weight, and especially with my attention to cosmetic impact. Much better. But it's awkward and disquieting for me.

I've talked about this with my Therapist on many occasions. How the world works so differently than I had thought for those many years. How unfair it is that we're primarily judged on appearance rather than substance. And how I still feel like a fish-out-of-water under most circumstances. Like I don't necessarily deserve the attention that I get.

All the same, discomfort be damned, I'm not going back from where I came. It's not that I like how I look now (I don't), or even that I enjoy the preferential treatment I receive (it makes me feel like a fraud). But what I do enjoy is that I can go anywhere I want to go and do most of the things I would like to do that I used to only get to watch from the sidelines.

The bottom line is that even though I don't fit socially and don't know if I ever will, I fit in much better.


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