Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby Fever

I can not stop feeling totally tripped out by all of the people my age who are having babies. More specifically, people I knew from elementary and high school. It was weird when everyone started getting married, but reproducing is taking it to a whole new level. Maybe it is just me. Maybe it is because I am a late bloomer who didn't get married until the age of 30. Or maybe because I don't want kids myself, I am overly fascinated by people who do. Maybe I am just a super creeper for even really thinking about this so much that I decided blog about it.

In any case, the fact remains the same: there are tiny people coming out of my former classmates' (or their wives') vaginas! I am still trying to wrap my, um - head around it. It is so wild. I think back to memories I have of these people at football games, school dances, in class, extra curricular activities and in the hallways. Back then, the thought of any single one of them having babies never entered into my mind. Now, on a daily basis, I see pictures of someones kids on Facebook. I have to admit, I actually really like it. I love seeing how those little stinkers look like their parents and thinking about how that kid has no idea the kind of shit their parents did back in the day.

I think about the quiet girl from French class who now has an adorable little one who looks like her husband. Then there is the a couple of the class-clowns who have kids that are the definition of a "mini-me." A former crush now has two children and of course, it would make sense that one of the nicest guys from high school has the most beautiful baby ever. Former theater-mates and gymnastics teammates have also graduated to parenthood. Old friends, the siblings of friends and the list continues on.

I have actually had the fortune of reconnecting with a few of my childhood friends from elementary school through Facebook. I have not seen any of them since I was about 12 years old, when my family moved to Saint Paul. That was 20 years ago! Until the magic of Facebook reminded me, they were all still 12 years old in my mind. Imagine my shock when seeing not only are they all grown up now, but they are married and having babies too! These are girls I used sit up at late-night slumber parties with and giggle about what it would be like to kiss boys. Now they are making human beings with their genitals. Just when I thought I'd seen it all... Is this what it feels like to get old?

What is even more crazy, is experiencing this in person! I have had the chance to see quite a few of my former classmates interacting with their children. Talk about a wacky, time-warp experience! It is so strange to watch the same people who fell over doing a keg-stands at parties being called "mom" and "dad." And, it is completely unreal how some of the children's facial expressions are exact duplicates of their parents'.

I know that my shock and disbelief is only destined to continue. The friends that I am still close to from high school have only just started to dabble in the baby making business. I have yet to actually experience that as a reality. I can only imagine what that will be like, seeing my friends holding their offspring and becoming parents. I hope that I can hold back my inability to reconcile the situation and refrain from screaming, "Holy shit, Dude! What the hell did you just do? Don't you know we are only like seventeen years old?!?!" In all reality, they are all going to make spectacular parents. Kick-ass people generally do.

I would like to thank all of you folks who share your kiddos with me on the Facebook. I really do enjoy how tripped out it makes me feel at times. I also love to see and hear about what beautiful little buggers you are introducing to the world. I wish you all the very best in one of the most crazy-amazing adventures of your lives!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Friends Are Amazing!

When I first went to the Emily Program to pursue treatment for my eating disorder, I was scared and had no idea what I was getting myself into. Luckily, it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life and I have not regretted it for one moment. As a matter of fact, I am pretty much their number one fan: enthusiastic and excited about the opportunities they provide. I like to think of myself as the Emily Program's very own Richard Simmons - minus the poodle cut and totally fabulous, shiny tank-top/short-shorts combo.

Since starting at the Emily Program over four years ago, three of my friends have also made the choice to peruse their own journey of making peace with food and their bodies. One of them has been going for nearly two years and the other two are well into their first year. The beauty of the Emily Program is that they offer several levels of care so that you can really personalize it to meet what you want and need from your treatment. I choose to see my therapist about once a week but that is really just the beginning of what EP offers. They have everything from a residential program to intensive outpatient programs that meet several days a week. They have dietitians, support groups, free support groups for friends and family, couples and family therapy, psychiatrists and medical doctors. They also offer a variety of classes such as body image based yoga as well as a workshops and recovery support. Because my friends are total rockstars, they make use of the opportunities at EP far more than me. Between the three of them, they not only see therapists regularly but they also see diatitians, go to support groups and one of them has even participates in intensive outpatient therapy!

A couple weeks ago, my friend, Eva invited me to Friends and Family Night for the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) as her support person. Naturally, I was totally honored and jumped at the chance to support all the amazing work she has been doing. To give you an idea of the level of committment, she attends 3 evenings a week for 3 hours each night. This is on top of the normal hour with an individual therapist and half an hour a week with her dietitian. She has been doing this for over six months already - on top of a fulltime job!

Eva and my other gal-pals are such an inspiration to me. I know how hard it was to take that first step and commit to weekly therapy. These women have jumped into it with both feet and are doing everything they can to make their lives the best they can be. They are bravely doing something that so many people are much too afraid to do: taking a truly honest look at the very difficult things preventing them from being their best, most authentic selves. Not only that, they are tackling them head on. I am so proud that I could squeal out loud!

I also have a handful of other friends and family members who have also begun addressing their issuses with therapists from other places as well. These gals are TOTAL divas too. I am so in awe of all these dear people of mine. They are incredibly courageous, strong, amazing people who refuse to settle for a sub-par existence. I think that anyone who makes the choice to better themselves by facing difficult emotions is very courageous. It isn't an easy thing - you know this if you have ever done it. You will also know that it is completely worth it. It has been for me!

"I hope in my lifetime we can all continue to laugh at ourselves and not put down anyone for what they weigh." - Richard Simmons

“Never, never! ... I get tired of negativity in our country. I get tired of people who only want to know dirt. I get tired of people who don't believe in themselves.” Richard Simmons

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Warm-Fuzzy of the Day!

I am probably one of the luckiest people in existance. I have heard so many horror stories about people who have complete nightmare in-laws. I've hear everything from crazy, jealous mother-in-laws who can't seem to accept their son is a full grown adult. I've heard about cold, ambivelant sibling-in-laws who don't give the new spouse the time of day. Unfortunately, we have all heard these stories or have had in-law trouble of our own. I, however, am very happy to say that my in-laws are incredible!

Simon's family is totally awesome. His brother, wife and their kids are very loving, kind people. His mom is an absolute dream. Not only is his immediate family great, but his extended family always made me feel welcome, accepted and cared about as well. Knowing how difficult it can be for new spouses and in-laws to blend in a healthy, meaningful way, I counted my blessings over and over with Simon's family. Even after Simon's passing, his family has continued to show their support and love in so many ways. I am incredibly lucky and I am very aware of it!

When I think back on it, I realize that meeting Clark's family for the first time had the potential to go very wrong. They were kind enough to let me crash their family's Disney World vacation this past fall. I had a few days off work and decided last minute to fly down and spend a couple of days with Clark. As excited as I was to see Clark, I was really nervous to meet his family. What if they didn't like me or they were total meanies? I would be stuck in a different state with a bunch of people who don't like me - awkward. However, my fears were put at ease the second I met his parents. His sweet, darling mother gave me the warmest hug ever upon meeting me. For some reason, his dad reminded me a lot of my own dad. A bit stoic initally but has a great sense of humor and a giant heart. I knew that if I just joked with him (and gave him just the right amount of grief) that everything would be OK.

Next, I met his brother, sister, their spouses and children. They were all incredibly friendly and welcoming. Even inspite of the fact that I was a recent widow, I feel like they never judged me or my situation. They have been nothing but completely amazing to me and I feel so much gratitiude for that.

Clark's family has been taking trips to Disney World since he and his siblings were very young. It is a very special tradition that has contiuned on and evolved into yearly trips with the whole family - spouses, their kids and all. Clark's sister had special shirts made for everyone to wear during the trips. The front of the shirt depicts each person in the family in silhouette, walking together in front of the Disney castle. It looks like this:

I thought that was a really cute idea! Not only is it a neat way to represent the family, but it allows everyone to keep track of each other when we are walking around together as a group. Of course, the shirts were made long before I entered the picture, so I just wore regular clothes when I was with them.

This year, Clark's sister hosted Easter. Unfortunately, I had to work and was unable to go. However, when I got home from work, there was a special Easter present waiting for me from his family. Upon opening it up, I discovered that I had been given a family Disney shirt. I was totally touched! Then I looked a bit closer and noticed something different about the shirts: there was a new silhouette in the group that represented me! My heart contracted several times in my chest as warm fuzzies spread throughout my body. This is the new, revised version of the shirt:

I extend the biggest hug possible to my future sister-in-law who executed this incredibly thoughtful gift. I am so blessed to be a part of such a totally awesome family and I can't wait to crash many more family vacations. Except this time, I will be an identifiable part of the group :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Smart AND Fancy!

So, it is true. I had been carrying around an ancient piece of technology in my purse/pocket for the past three years or more. It was a cute, purple flip phone that has allowed me to make phone calls and text message. Pretty much, the fanciest thing it did was guide me to the wrong places when ever I attempted to use the GPS feature. Honestly, I couldn't even check my email on the thing. It was certainly more of "dumb phone" than a smart phone but I loved it anyway. It was purple and little and pretty. It was simple, familiar and it did everything I needed it to. In all reality, I could have probably bought the "smartest" phone in the world if I had a dime for every time Simon tried to talk me into getting an iphone. I firmly resisted every single time though. I wasn't glamoured by the pretty, colorful, touch-screen display. I wasn't impressed with all the cute little applications you can get to help you find the best local restaurants or play games where you  launch pissed-off fowl at strange, sea-sick looking swine. I persisted and I remained strong. Well, I did until the other day.

Over the past few months, I have found myself becoming more and more aware of the conveniences of having a smart phone. I have to say that my friend's smart phone was very helpful when we were at the store and she forgot a coupon she needed at home. *Click, swipe, tap* BAM! There it was staring back at her on her smart phone. What a lifesaver that would have been for me numerous times. Then, I witnessed my friend being able to wait for an important email while sitting at the bar. It would simply show up on the phone in her hand as soon as it was received. These little events started to pile up in my mind - as the battery life and other important things started to decline with the pretty purple phone. Sadly, the combination of old age and me dropping it constantly, had taken its toll and I could no longer deny that it was time to let that phone go on to the great Sprint store in the sky.

Since Clark's current phone has never really worked well to begin with and the reception with Verizon at his house is sketchy at best, we decided it was time to just merge accounts and be done with it. So, off to the store we went. Sam's Club had the specific phone we wanted at the lowest price. However, they were out of stock by the time we got there. So, we drove over to Best Buy to see what their deals might be. We discovered that our desired phones there were a hundred bucks more at Best Buy, but we asked and they price matched Sam's Club!!!

An hour later, I left with a brand new smart phone and new phone number too. The latter is something that I don't know if I will ever be OK with. I had that number for eleven years - since I got my very first cell phone! I am not gonna lie, I felt grief. I felt teary and a bit lost when I found out that, because of unimportant technical issues, I had to change my number. My heart did a tiny spasm of loss as I was issued my new number. Just like that. All ties between me and that number were forever cut. Done. Just like that. Sigh. Anyway, moving on...

I began to regret this whole thing as I sat in the car, staring at this, this thing in my hand. I felt positively elderly as I attempted to hobble my way though the phone's interface and features. My swipes/taps were extra slow and I found myself now squinting at a screen that is four times larger than my old one. In the midst of all the tapping and swiping, I found myself constantly wondering, "Now, how the hell did I just do that?!"

But I didn't give up. Nope. I just kept working at it, like that little engine that never gave up, or whatever. After learning a bit about the features and using them some, I have to say that I really had no idea what I was been missing out on! In the past, when ever someone has wanted me to do something with their smart phone, I usually tensed up and said something like, "How do I make it go?" while holding it as far away as possible and looking at is suspiciously. But after giving it a fair amount of time (and with a bit lot of help from Clark) I am beginning to warm up to the this whole "smarty pants phone" thing.

I am discovering more and more things I love about my new phone as we get to know each other better. It is light and sleek. The screen is huge and now that I have finished the protective case I custom decorated, my new phone is nearly as pretty as my old one. The text message format is much easier to read and I can check my email, facebook and surf the web. I also love that I have a weather application on my phone so that I will always know what the weather is going to be like. It it fun AND functional at the same time. Now, this phone also has a GPS as well and I will be darned if it doesn't get me right to my destination without any problems - the very first time!

I am sure that I am preaching to the choir about how awesome these fancy smart phones are. I think I could quite possibly be the last person on earth in my age bracket to finally get one. Until recently, I never understood why older folks my grandparents age were always so resistant to new technology. I will admit that I was afraid. I don't like feeling stupid and the older I get, the more technical crap makes me feel that way. Does that mean I am getting old at the age of 32? Yikes! My dad recently got an iPad and I was helping him learn how to use it. At one point, he accidentally hit a button that took him to a whole different screen. He immediately threw his hands up in the air and said "What the hell just happened?? Here, you make it go!" I just had to laugh, hearing those exact words I used when learning to use my new phone. It was like watching an older, much better looking version of myself. I guess I know where my tech savvy (or lack there of) comes from.

I have to say that while it was a bit scary, I am glad that I made the leap. At this point, I think I have the hang of it. I am tapping, clicking and swiping with much more speed and finesse these days. I would even dare to say that I have almost mastered this new phone of mine. The one thing that my new phone will never have, which the purple one did, is the experience of - ummm, lets do I put this tactfully... my old phone got to have the once in a lifetime experience of resting snugly between Simon's bum-cheeks.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Best Kept Secret, EVER!

Clark recently read a study in an online medical journal about the benefits of wearing clothing made exclusively from Llama fur. Yes, Llama fur! I have to say, I was incredibly impressed with the findings of this study. After reading through all the benefits, I can't believe that there isn't more press and media exposure about this. After educating myself and understanding how my life could be better, I have made the decision to wear Llama fur only from here on out. I know it might seem like a huge commitment and drastic lifestyle change but it is worth it to me. You may just have a change of heart too after reading the incredible, life enhancing properties of Llama fur. Here a just a handful of the benefits listed in the study:

* Wearing Llama fur increases your metabolism by 23%! That means you simply burn more calories by wearing Llama fur without changing your diet or activity level!

* Llama fur has special enzymes which interacts with our natural human hormones on our skin to produce pheromones (natural chemicals secreted by the body which are believed to attract others and make you more attractive to them). In a double blind study, it was found that people who wear only Llama fur are six times more likely to have a steady partner than those who wear other materials.

* Llama fur is becoming a huge status symbol. It is quickly catching on in celebrity circles in the LA area. People who are seen wearing Llama fur often times receive free admission to various clubs, movies and attractions. Also, many business have adopted the "Llama Fur Leap" policy which allows those wearing Llama fur to move to the front of lines and receive priority services.

* Llama fur is oxygen producing. Once taken from the animal, Llama fur begins a chemical reaction that basically reverses CO2 emissions from the air. As you wear Llama fur during your daily activities, you are actually releasing a constant stream of oxygen into the air. Not only are you fighting global warming, but improving your own lung oxygen supply too!

* Because Llama fur is one of the most versatile materials, you can use it for virtually everything: bedding, towels, curtains, rugs, carpet, etc. The possibilities are endless! This makes integrating a full, Llama fur lifestyle totally doable!

Pretty amazing, isn't it? I have to say that I am really excited about this whole thing. I hope that you are as inspired as I am to create better living and a better world through Llama fur. I also hope that you have the most spectacular April Fools day ever!