Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hungry + Angry = Hangry

I've lost weight every day for the last week.  I'm happy about that, but depriving myself always makes me grouchy.  Sometimes very, very grouchy.  Especially if I have to watch people eating something I want to be eating.  Normally, my resting grouch level is about a 2, so if something annoying happens, it doesn't raise me above a 5.  But when I'm dieting, my resting grouch level is already at an 8, so minor irritations can push me over the boiling point much faster.  Such as the annoying conversation I had with the pediatrician's office yesterday:

Me: Hello, this is Janel JaNes (I enunciate this carefully, so she won't confuse it with James, which people always do).  I need to schedule an appointment for my son to have a physical with Dr. X [not his real name, obviously].  I know Dr. X is busy, and I'm not in a hurry.  I just need it before the next school year starts, so I can enroll my son in driver's ed. [At this point, I gave her my son's name and date of birth, so she wouldn't ask me].
Office person: Hmmmm, I can't find a Noah James...has he been here before?
Me: [Ticked off beyond reason, forcing myself to be polite] It's JaNes, with an N.
O: Ok...has he been here before?
M: [pushing out a slow breath] Yes.
O: Hmmm...he's not a new patient?
M: [starting to lose it] No. He's been coming there for 14 years.
O: What is his date of birth?
M: [I give it to her again and try to curb the curse words running through my mind].
O: looks like we have him listed under Janes instead of James.
[I had to set the phone down for a couple seconds].
Me: Yes, it is Janes, with an N.
O: Oh, that's him then!  Dr. X's schedule is booked through April, so I'll schedule him with another doctor so you can get him in quicker.

After this phone call, I should have taken a long, long walk before starting my teaching day, but I didn't think I had time.  I didn't even take a deep breath, which would have been advisable.  The poor kids have taken the brunt of my irritation, sad to say.  On top of everything else, Noah has had the most annoying cough this week, which puts my resting grouch level at 9.  When it's this high, I can't even relax enough to sleep, so I was watching an infomercial at 3:30 a.m. (always a bad idea). Of course, by the end of it, I thought, "I have to have this pan. How have I ever cooked anything without this marvel?"  It wasn't very expensive (clue #1), so I bought it.  When it got here, there were no instructions about how to cook all those great things I saw on the infomercial.  Fortunately, the company has a website with a live chat option.  I chatted with them just now:

[15:27] Janel: How do I cook rice in it?
[15:27] Thank you for visiting chat! We will be with you shortly.
[15:38] Dave: Please be informed that we do not have instruction in cooking rice on the pan.
[15:39] Janel: Your ad claims that it will replace my rice cooker. How will it do that if I don't know how to cook rice in it?
[15:43] Dave: As much I want to provide you a recipe for rice, we do not have an available recipe for rice.
[15:44] Janel: Well thanks for wanting to help me at least. Maybe the advertisement shouldn't show a lovely pot of perfectly cooked rice and say that this pan will replace your rice cooker.
[15:44] Dave: Is there anything else I can assist you with?
[15:45] Janel: No, that's all. Thanks.
[15:45] Dave: Thank you for being a loyal customer. To show our appreciation, we are now offering discounts on the majority of our products. I am going to send you a link for our promo codes. Feel free to share with family and friends. Have a Great Day!

Lord, help me.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Here it comes....

Sarah and I were riding our bikes back from the library.  Luke, a boy a couple streets over, was selling lemonade.  Sarah came home, put on lip gloss, checked her face in the microwave, and asked me how her lips looked on her way out to buy lemonade.  I said, "They look good...are you trying to snag Luke?"  She got all indignant and huffed, "No! He's way too young for me! He's, like, 10!  My lips were dry, that's all. Geez, why do you always assume the worst?"  And off she pedaled to snag some lemonade. 

The struggle

I weighed 121 pounds when I got married 20 years ago.  I was in my 20's, and I ate whatever I wanted and was active enough to burn it off without even trying.  Then I turned 30, quit my job, and became a mom.  I was home all day with the kids and the food, and the weight didn't melt off as easily as it used to.  I gradually added 10 pounds without even noticing. In my early 40's, I gained and lost the same 10 pounds several times.  It was much harder to lose than ever before.

A year ago, I was in pretty good shape with a normal weight of about 135. Not ideal, but not overweight.  I was exercising regularly in preparation to do some awesome excursions when we went on a cruise with my family.  On March 22, I broke my arm, and thus began the downward spiral.  A few days later, we left for the cruise.  I couldn't do any of the awesome excursions with the rest of my family, so I sat on the ship and ate and ate and ate.  I ate my physical pain and my emotional discouragement.  I gained at least 5 pounds on the cruise, and when we got home, I just kept eating and doing absolutely no physical activity.  My arm hurt all the time, and the heavy wrist-to-shoulder cast threw off my balance.  I was afraid to do any activity, even walking.  After the cast came off and physical therapy was done, I realized my arm was never going to be the same as it used to be, and I got depressed.  So I ate. 

At some point, I made a conscious decision just to be fat and happy.  I have put on 25 pounds in the last 10 months. Most of my clothes don't fit anymore.  I'm fat, but I'm not happy.  I started exercising regularly again a few months ago, but it didn't make a dent in the fat, because I continued to eat whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted.

Last week I said enough is enough.  I refuse to be obese.  So I'm taking control of my eating.  In an effort to be released from my sugar addiction, I gave up bubble gum cold turkey.  I'm not giving up all sugar, but the gum was the obvious first thing to go. I was chewing about 20 pieces a day, just to get a sugar hit, and at 20 calories per piece, I was consuming an extra 400 calories a day.  I'm limiting my calories and continuing the exercise.  I've done well this week, but it's going to be a long road.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My favorite toys

In my favorite class today (English), we analyzed Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken".  We talked about meaning, mood, stanzas, lines, and rhyme scheme.  Then we made up silly poems with different rhyme schemes and played a game with rhyming words.  Words are my favorite playthings.

Noah's poem:
Food is delicious
but comes with a price.
Fat can be vicious;
I think I'll eat rice.

My idea of fun
is loving to run.
Marty sits all day
stalking her prey.


Monday, February 15, 2016

The twin water park shuttles

Sarah is in charge of laundry.  That's her main household job.  For years, Mike and I have been nagging her about leaving the laundry baskets next to the washing machine and letting dirty clothes pile up on the floor.  I've tried letting it go until she notices and takes action, but it has gotten to the point where the laundry is blocking the door, and she still doesn't do anything about it.  It's an ongoing irritation.  A few days ago, I yelled at her about it.  She brought the hamper back and put the dirty clothes in it, but today I stepped over a pile of dirty laundry to get to the shower. While I was showering, I was thinking what to do about this problem, and I thought I would try to reach her through her creative side.  I mentally composed a story that I wrote down when I got out of the shower.  I told her that I written a special story just for her, and I read it to her:

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little dark brown shuttle bus named L.B., or Elbie. His only job was to take passengers to a local water park. He had strict instructions to drop the passengers off and return immediately to his parking spot. He liked his parking spot, because it was just the right size for him, and he was tucked away out of sight of all the traffic that flew by on the busy street. Wild animals also roamed the street, but he felt safe in his cozy parking spot.

Some days, however, after he drove his passengers to the water park, he would get distracted. He would watch them rush into the park, tumbling around, getting all wet, and waving gleefully. He didn't mean to disobey his instructions, but he would just get caught up in the moment and forget to drive right back to his parking spot. It was not his job to bring the passengers home from the park, just to bring them safely there and make sure that none fell out on the way. So when he got distracted and didn't do his job, passengers would line up at his parking spot, waiting for their ride. Eventually, after waiting hours, or even days, wondering where Elbie was, the passengers would get disorderly, and fights would break out. They would punch and kick each other, sprawling all over the parking lot. The tidy, orderly, lovely parking spot would become a mess of confusion and disarray, and the passengers panicked, shouting, “Where is Elbie? Where could he be? He's supposed to be right here! How will we ever get to the water park? We need to get there! Somebody help us! Where is our beloved bus? How could he abandon us like this?”

Sometimes when he was gone for days at a time, someone would realize that Elbie had fallen asleep at the water park after watching his happy passengers play in the water. The water park was closed for the day, but Elbie sat there all alone, sound asleep. Finally someone would come along and say, “Why is there no one enjoying the water park today? Oh dear! Elbie is asleep! No one can get to the water park!” They would shake Elbie, wake him up, and say, “Elbie! You have a very important job to do! Why are you sitting here sleeping?” Elbie would start his engine and rush back to his parking spot, horrified at what he saw there. He would gather up all the tired, grouchy passengers and rush them straight to the water park, where they would tumble out and have a glorious time, happy once again. When Elbie did his job, everyone was happy. When he didn't, chaos reigned.

Elbie had a twin brother named Ham, who liked to be called by his middle name, Purr. Elbie and Purr were not identical twins, for Purr was bigger and pure white. They were both very attractive shuttle buses, and their passengers loved and appreciated them. Purr was the only other bus in the whole city that drove passengers to the water park. He was not quite as distractible and narcoleptic as his brother, but he would occasionally forget to return to his parking spot after dropping the passengers off at the water park. His parking spot was a little more remote, farther from the water park, and not as heavily trafficked. He had a bigger parking space, but he was not as protected from the wild animals as Elbie was. Sometimes a lion or a jaguar would walk right by him, and he had even been scratched by one of them once or twice. But his scratch-resistant finish was not affected, and he was not hurt, just a little frightened.

When he forgot to follow his instructions to return immediately to his parking spot, his passengers reacted in the same way that Elbie's did. They grew impatient standing there all day, and in their boredom, they eventually beat each other up and got knocked all over the parking lot. The wild animals would often attack the defenseless passengers, further scattering them across the parking lot. They would call in vain for their bus, who was parked at the water park and couldn't hear them. People who lived in the city would get angry and the kick the unruly passengers out of the way, and the peace and beauty of the city would be disturbed. As long as the shuttle buses did their jobs, everyone in the city was happy, and the streets were clean and tidy. 

She was interested in the story and said she liked it, but no meaning dawned on her.  I said, "Do you know what L.B. stands for?" She didn't.  I said, "Laundry Basket.  And do you remember what his brother's name is?" She said, "Purr."  I said, "Do you remember his first name?  Put them together." She said, "Ham...Ham Purr...Oh! Hamper! Is that whole thing about the laundry?  And the wild animals are the cats?"  Now that she understood it, she wanted to hear it again.  I was surprised by how thrilled she was that I had written a story just for her.  She loved it!  I took her to the washing machine and said sadly, "Oh look.  There are Elbie and Purr, just sitting there looking at the empty water park."  She grabbed them up and actually rushed off to pick up the passengers!

She said, "Don't worry, passengers!  Elbie is here to take you to the water park!"  
She happily tossed them into the water park and returned both Elbie and Purr to their parking spots.
Purr's parking spot.
Wild jaguar attacking Ham Purr.

I don't pretend to believe that this has solved the problem, but next time instead of yelling and complaining and nagging, I can say something like, "The passengers are getting unruly...where's their shuttle?"

She asked me to print off her story and was even inspired to write one of her own:

The Selfish Little Cats
by Sarah Janes

There once was a cat with beautiful black shiny fur that her owners made her wash every day. The owners also had another cat, but that cat did not get washed as much, so the back of his tail was a little unruly. The two cats got along in harmony until one decided not to share his toy with the other. That cat got very sad, so she left the other cat to sit on the cat gym all alone so she could go to sleep. And it went on for years and years. The cats did not get along at all and started to growl and hiss at each other. They started to fight with each other until their owners shut them up in their own kennels and yelled at the cats for being rude. So the cats apologized and all was well.

The moral of the story is not to fight with anyone, but repay evil with goodness.

The end.

She explained that the beautiful cat was her, and the less hygienic one was Noah.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Do you know your name?

Noah said, "Did you know that the number of observable stars in the universe is ten to the twenty-second power? It says that in my math book. And Psalm 147:4 says that God named each star.  Does that mean that when astronomers named them, they actually renamed them?"  

I said, "Maybe....or maybe God revealed the stars' names to the astronomers."

Noah replied, "I doubt that, because some of them are named after Greek gods.  I can't picture God saying to the astronomers, 'Hey, why don't you name this star that I created after one your made-up gods?'"

I had to agree with that.  Then he said, "So it's like when we got Marty and we were planning to rename her Jasmine, but we couldn't because she already knew her name."

I said, "Right.  We could have called her Jasmine, but she would always know her real name was Marty.  Maybe the stars know their names, even though we've given them the wrong ones?"

I was enjoying thinking about that, but Noah said, "No, they're not like living, thinking beings, Mom.  They don't know their names."

He's a literal thinker. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

The moment passed.

I was driving Sarah to gymnastics.  I caught a glimpse of her in the rearview mirror, looking so cute and sweet and innocent.  I started thinking about how much I love her and what a blessing it is to have her for a daughter.  I just wanted to pet her, so I reached behind me and groped around, trying to find her knee, and then realized my arm was too short, so I pulled it back.  She piped up, "What ARE you doing, Mother?  Why are you flailing your hand around by me in a creepy way?" 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dependably honest

We were doing a paper on the character quality of dependability.  One of the scenarios was, "What do you do if you know you missed second base in a baseball game but nobody else notices?"  I remarked that it seemed more like an honesty issue than a dependability one.  Sarah said, "No, it's dependability.  The players are depending on you to be honest."  Noah said, "I'm depending on the umpire to do his job."

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Dog vomit or back on the horse?

My ten minutes of Wii boxing went very quickly this morning, because I was distracted by a ridiculous argument with Noah that lasted the whole time.  Here's the gist of it:

Me: Remember when we first got the Wii and I fell off the board during boxing?

N: Yeah, didn't you hurt your toe really bad?
M: Yes.

N: Well you probably shouldn't be doing it then.
M: That was years ago. 
N: [mumbles some obscure Bible verse about a dog returning to its vomit]
M: No, it's called "getting back on the horse".
N:  You call it getting back on the horse; I call it returning to your dog vomit.  It all means the same thing.
M: It has a different connotation.  The dog vomit verse is about doing the same foolish thing over and over without learning from it.  Getting back on the horse is overcoming your fears and doing the thing that hurt you in the first place.  
N: Either way, you're doing the same foolish thing again. 
M: This isn't foolishness, or even something I want to do. It's exercise.  I'm only doing it because it's good for me.  
N: Well ok then, but you're just going to get hurt again.  
M: I reject that.
N: It's just statistics.
M: What does that mean?
N: Just that you're more prone to injury than someone who hasn't gotten injured boxing in the past.

M: I disagree.  In fact, I believe I'm LESS prone, because I'm now more careful than someone who hasn't gotten injured doing it.
N: I'm just saying that a certain person might be more likely to get hurt doing a certain sport if that person has a proven history of getting injured doing it.
M: Well, long as that certain person isn't me. 

You get the idea. We went back and forth for the entire ten minutes.  The verbal boxing made the physical boxing go much faster.  Maybe I can get him to argue with me again tomorrow.