Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday 9: Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

1. Where were you when you heard that Michael Jackson died?

I was at my temp job, and I didn't believe the initial report because it was from TMZ.

2. How do you think that he will be remembered?

He was amazingly gifted and made a lot of people happy. I hope he is at peace now, because he did not seem to be during much of his life on Earth.

3. What was your favorite Jackson tune?

"Thriller" and "Off the Wall" were both great albums, and I loved later singles here and there. I really loved the Jackson 5. When I think of MJ, I think of the kid with the huge voice singing "Who's Lovin' You". My favorite songs were that one, "Shake Your Body", "Enjoy Yourself", "Dancing Machine", "Billie Jean", "She's Out of My Life", "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"...

4. Did you watch the original Charlie’s Angels?

I may have as a kid. Farrah was certainly a childhood icon.

5. Did someone you know have that poster of Farrah?

Absolutely, it was everywhere when I was a kid.

6. Did you consider her battle with cancer heroic?

I consider anyone who fights cancer heroic.

7. Were you a fan of The Tonight Show Starring Johnnie Carson?

I didn't watch it.

8. Did you like Ed McMahon on the show?

see above

9. What else will you remember McMahon for?

I wanted him to show up at my house with a check, of course. And I remember him on "Star Search"; I wanted him to narrate while I was a spokesmodel blowing bubbles at the camera. :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The temporary crown popped off my tooth yesterday at the hairdresser's. I indulged in one of her Neapolitan caramels; the universe punished me immediately. Good times. It's not tremendously painful, but it's come off a couple of times since and definitely hurts if I'm not super careful. As a side note, the tooth looks pretty disgusting under there. (How do dentists do it? No wonder they make so much money.)

The real crown is supposed to be put on Wednesday. I'm going to call the dentist's answering service today and see if there's anything else I can or should do but wait until then.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday 9 meme: Never Say Never Again

1. Do you like James Bond films? If yes, what’s your favorite? No. Too much testosterone for me.

2. Are you daring enough to go snorkeling in the water fountain at the mall? I'd do it on a bet that involved money.

3. Do you sometimes hate everything and everyone around you? Absolutely. It's called being human.

4. Do you secretly or openly believe the world revolves around you?I like what Anne Lamott wrote--"I'm the piece of shit the world revolves around". Seriously, though, no. I wouldn't want it to. I just want to go about my business and not be bothered.

5. Would you rather buy a moped or a Harley Davidson? A Harley! VROOOOOM!!!!

6. Do you water ski or ice ski? No, I like my bones unbroken. (I realize this conflicts with the last answer, and I don't care. I like riding motorcycles. Vroom!)

7. Tell us about the last time that you tailgated. I don't really do that, it makes me feel unsafe. I just curse at people who do it to me.

8. What was the last concert that you attended? I think the last big one was Loreena McKennitt, which was a tremendous show. I also saw some bands at What the Heck Fest in Anacortes last year.

9. What’s the most exotic food that you’ve ate? Squid. It was gross.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Insurance authorized the surgery, and it has been scheduled!

I still can't quite believe it! The surgical center called me today. I was at my temp job, and it was a total fluke that I had the cell phone on at all. There are many appointments before it happens, but it's really going to happen. Oh. My. God.

August 3.

I think I'll truly believe it when I get my copy of the letter in the mail.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thursday Thunks meme for June 18

1. Are your ears dirty?

Nope. They get cleaned daily.

2. Would you rather be stung by a scorpion or bit by a snake?

I know snake venom can be sucked out...I'm not sure if a scorpion sting can. So I pick the one with the better odds of my survival.

3. Do loud noises make you snappish? (i.e. A loud restaurant, screaming child next to you, booming stereo from a neighbor's house?)

Definitely. Repetitive noises are even worse.

4. PETA- thoughts on this org.?

I love animals and support animal rights and rescue organizations, always have. However, I have found some of PETA's methods to be ridiculous, throwing blood (or paint meant to look like blood) on people who were wearing fur--and then half the time it was faux fur.

5. Would you rather be the discoverer of the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot?

I think Nessie. Enough people look for Bigfoot.

6. When in a public toilet and it's not flushed: do you flush & use or move on to a clean one?

If there's a clean one empty, move on. If the bathroom's packed, flush and wait.

7. Neighbors are having a noisy, party bonfire, what do you do?

Nothing, unless they're messing with my property in some way. It's a free country.

8. Do you play Monopoly? If so which version of the game?

We have the Looney Tunes version. They have some great ones out, like Monty Python-opoly. It would be a fun thing to collect, different versions of Monopoly. I'm trying not to collect anything anymore...

9. Are you a remote hog?

I don't think so, but I have been known to take it out of Mr. Salted's hand if he can't pick a channel and go with it after half an hour or so.

10. Do you like the smell of paint?

Oddly, I kind of do...

11. My questions obviously suck this week. {I've had a bad week.} So do you think Kimber should have...

I didn't think they were bad at all!

Insomnia again

Last night, there was simply no sleep to be had. I couldn't figure it out. I could have sworn I took my medication, and I was so, so tired. I have been feeling like an old dishrag for the last three days and had an epic case of the drag-ass. It makes sense--I've been sitting here listening to my ass spread for months (I think an old-school term I've heard for this is "woolgathering", but I'm allergic to wool, no wonder I feel a little off)--and suddenly BOOM! I'm temping twenty hours a week, I've got freelance work, and we just finally re-submitted to insurance for surgery, which I'm supposed to hear about within two weeks. The least stressful thing I've done in the past few days is stop writing in the food journal for a while. And it was Mr. Salted's birthday in there as well. So my being a bit wound up definitely makes sense.

Unfortunately, sleeplessness is just a fact of life for me, and it often strikes at random. I tried listening to my "sleepy" iPod playlist. Didn't work. Gave up; got online. Put some pictures on my Flickr site, looked at friends' pictures. Edited more pictures. Facebooked a little. Of course, my computer was running one automatic virus and spyware scan one after the other so everything was slow or wouldn't work or kicked me out all night long, but I kept at it for whatever reason--probably because I didn't want to start reading a new book when my brain was at such a low wattage.

I crawled into bed about an hour before the Mr. had to get up and dozed, with him and without. Before he left for work, I woke up more completely and turned on the bedroom light. There on my nightstand sat my lonely Seroquel, lined up sadly like a trio of forgotten soldiers. No wonder, I thought. Shit. I was supposed to go to work today, but fortunately, with the current situation, things are flexible--as long as the hours add up to twenty for the week.

I considered, and certainly could have, gone in on autopilot as I've frequently done--I've almost fallen asleep at the wheel hurtling down the freeway many more times than I feel comfortable 'fessing up to here. But for once, I didn't have to, and I made myself stay home. It seems like a small thing--maybe even a cop-out thing--but for me, it's a self-care thing--and I'll certainly be a more productive (and less irritable) employee tomorrow when I've had some sleep, so everybody wins. The odd thing is--and it truly is a revelation: I am not beating myself up about this. The usual internal continuous-loop tape that says things like, "dammit, what is your pansy-ass problem for needing sleeping pills this bad?" is magically, blessedly silent.

This unfamiliar silence, this calm, feels like nothing short of a gift. I am what I am, that's all I am, I do the best I can, and--at least today--that's just exactly enough for me.

Muscle Milk

One of my readers asked me more about Muscle Milk, so I took some pictures of the packaging to show more nutrition and ingredient information.
Personally, I really like this stuff. I haven't looked everywhere I could for it in terms of stores, but so far I have found it at Target and Costco. The "light" is harder to find than the regular. It is fairly satisfying (pre-WLS) as something to tide you over until a meal or in the late afternoon with the blood sugar goes south, and there are a lot of good things in it--it provides a respectable amount of RDA's. (My nutrition-snob friend--who is not easy to impress--even made some positive comments to this end when I showed her the package, and my nutritionist is the one who steered me toward it in the first place.) Atkins has some similar shakes and so do Premium Nutrition and Bariatric Advantage; I plan to test-drive them all prior to surgery. They're not cheap, but nothing "good for you" ever is. :)


I love anything that incorporates cheesy vintage advertising and sarcastic comments. A friend at my temp job brought me this book called "You Call Me A Bitch Like It's a Bad Thing", and it's chock-a-block full of some real classics.

The folks who made this book have a website at I probably have 50 of their refrigerator magnets as we speak, and may have to incorporate these in the blog every so often, just on GP.

Woman plans, cats laugh

I decided to clear off our table on Mr. Salted's birthday--it had long since become a repository for bills, junk mail, receipts, and general everyday-living crap. I cleaned it all up--and out--so we could actually use our table for eating occasionally (as many civilized people are rumored to do) and, ultimately, so it wouldn't be as depressing to live here; the more cluttered it gets, the more discouraged we both get, and the less motivated we are to clean it.

This is how my cats responded after a full-on organizational effort, opening the windows for fresh air, cleaning the house, and the liberal application of actual Lemon Pledge to the tabletop. Left to right: Nunzio, Mr. Stash, and Floyd. They all get along very well, but they rarely hang out this close together, so I had to snap a picture.

Monday, June 15, 2009

First Forays into Puree

I bought some baby food last week to test my "why can't I just put protein powder in it after surgery?" query. I tried one kind--I think it was some chicken and sweet-potato combo It was, in a word, vile. I could hardly stand to finish the one bite I tried--no wonder babies make horrible faces when they get fed. (I felt a rush of guilt for playing that "here comes the airplane" game with every baby I ever fed when I was babysitting.) Fortunately, I only bought three or four jars because I feared this might be the case; life is one big experiment at the moment.

When I was buying all those yummy soups at Trader Joe's the other day--beef barley, stuff with lentils, etc.--I had a light bulb, ie, why can't I just heat them up and puree them in the blender? I did that for lunch today, and it wasn't bad at all. The consistency is strange after being used to traditional soup with "chunks", but it almost felt more filling and tasted the same. Of course, homemade soup or stew would be better, but my culinary ambitions are slim to none. We'll see how I do. It's hard to make myself eat soup in warm weather, but I can let it get lukewarm. The protein content is adequately high for things with meat and beans in them, and the sugar content didn't look bad, though I will have to keep reading labels as I've trained myself to do now.

I wonder about pureeing fruit. Is it better to steam it or warm it up and then puree it, even if you refrigerate afterward, or just do it at room temperature? (If these questions seem ridiculous to people who have never met me in real life, I am known as "the woman who thinks Hamburger Helper is too much work" and other similar variations on that theme.)

I can't remember if I mentioned this previously while rhapsodizing about the joys of Target the other day, but they have Muscle Milk Light in vanilla flavor, where Costco just has chocolate. Of course, the chocolate is better (IMO), but it's good to switch it up a little sometimes.

How's your love life? Monday crazy questions meme

1: You are driving down the street and you see the person you are dating/married to/living with walking down the street with a member of the opposite sex and it is someone you don't know...What do you think? What do you do?

Ask him about it later.

2: The person you are dating/living with is spending a lot of time at the office these days after normal hours. Do you show up at work or call to see if he/she is there?

No. We'd talk about it face to face like real people when he was home.

3: How would you handle it if they are not at the office where they said they would be?

I'd ask him why he felt the need to lie about where he was.

4: Someone keeps calling and hanging up when you answer the phone while you are at home with your mate or at a date's house. Do you get suspicious?

With mate, no. With date, maybe.

5: You have been hinting around for a little fun in the bedroom but the person you are dating or living with is obviously ignoring the hints. It's been a LONG time. How do you handle that?

Ask him point-blank if something is up and go from there.

6: You're having a relationship with someone who disappears for a few days and is just not around when you call them at times with no real explanation. You have agreed that you will not date others. What do you think is going on?

I think he's dogging me and I get to the bottom of it PDQ.

7: You are at a party with a date/mate, and a member of the opposite sex is quite obviously interested in you and keeps giving you the "look". Do you look back?
What do you do?

I look back at least once because I'm not dead, and that's all I do. I might give my Mr. a couple of extra hugs.

8: Describe your dream mate of the opposite sex. Use a photo if you wish.

I like the mate I have quite well. :) I wouldn't change him.

The devil

I have seen the devil, and its name is Mallo Cup. Marshmallow, coconut and milk chocolate. How you haunt my dreams. Damn you, Mallo Cup! Damn you!!

That is all.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


1. What was your favorite active game as a child?

I wasn't big into active games. I liked to sit around, read, and draw. (Not much has changed.) One game I vividly remember playing with Erick when we were neighbors as kids was called Journey--that was long before the band Journey was known to us. We would get a big cardboard box, pretend it was our ship, and the big patch of grass in the middle of our apartment complex was the vast, infinite ocean. We pretended the only food we had was those purple flowers--I want to call them clover, but I don't know much about plants--that had some kind of nectar in them.

2. What was your favorite board game as a child?

I always liked Monopoly and Life.

3. Tell us about a friend you played these games with in your youth.

I'm still friends with most of them, and they're probably reading this right now. :)

4. What is your favorite card game?

I don't really play cards. People try to teach me and I forget how. It just doesn't hold my interest.

5. What board games do you enjoy now?

Scrabble. Apples to Apples is fun, and so is Cranium.

6. Do you play video games? Which ones?

I don't play video games at all. Bore the bejesus out of me and always have.

7. Tell us about the friends you play games with now.

it's just random people who get out the games when I'm at their house. I played Apples to Apples with Dena's family, and Cranium with Clea's. Scrabble with Dena's, too, and also on Facebook with JD, which is fun.

8. Do you play any sports now?

Does volleying back and forth with the insurance company count?

9. What’s your favorite sport to watch?

Figure skating. I also like to watch gymnastics, and to a lesser extent, diving, swimming and tennis.

Thoughts after contributing to the tax base of my community

Mr. Salted got a bonus on this week's paycheck for not calling in sick (which is sick, but the money is quite welcome), so it was almost twice as much as usual. I have kept myself busy today by spending a chunk of it. I raced to Trader Joe's this morning to get there within 15 minutes of its doors opening--but it was still absolutely SLAMMED. I love the products they carry and their philosophies there, but a handful of my fellow shoppers were tap-dancing on my last good nerve--particularly one woman in the freezer section with no concept of anyone else's personal space. I thought of asking her if it was time to take our relationship to the next level--either that, or flat-out decking her. (No wonder so many people are on anti-anxiety meds.) I was also mightily amused by the amount of huge SUVs parked near the handicapped spaces. I did a cursory visual scan of the first adjacent row of parked vehicles, but there were no Hummers--this time.

An hour or so later, I hit Target. Can I just say, I adore Target??!?!? Again, not so much the fellow shoppers, just the store's merchandise and prices. It can be an extremely dangerous store for me to be in, especially when I know we have money in the checking account. I had a grand old time meandering along and scouring the clearance racks in a leisurely fashion with a nice sugar-free, nonfat iced mocha. Mr. Salted's birthday is tomorrow, so I picked him up a few extra things to go with the presents I'd already gotten him. (One of my vices is buying myself and everyone else little things too, when I can afford to. I reveled in that vice today.) For example, they had these adorable hippie-inspired hobo bags for $8 that I fell in love with--I bought two different ones. (I love hobo bags and I love the "boho" styles--one was even paisley, and paisley just makes me plain ol' happy.) The hippie flourish was in full swing all over the store--the 40th anniversary of Woodstock is this year, so they had the DVD and some great glasses, mugs, and picture frames, as well as T-shirts. I happened to be wearing an old rainbow tie-dyed shirt today and, coming out of the store, a woman I'd never seen before in my life told me she loved it--"it's gorgeous". (I am not ashamed to say that I truly, truly enjoy what I perceive to be the damn near Olympic-caliber irony of being a 270-pound woman who gets complimented on her clothes (jewelry, shoes, purses, hats) on a regular basis, most often by total strangers. (It's pretty cool, especially when you look at a lot of the "plus-size" clothing available out there. It's the many the catalog I have received and thrown across the room, sputtering, "Fat does NOT mean blind!" I also admit I enjoy it--and sometimes can't even believe it--because I grew up wearing clothes we sometimes stole from the Salvation Army bin in the dead of night, and I never heard the end of that from my peers at the time.)

SO--Target had a lot of mondo good deals on clearance today, especially men's shirts. Mr. Salted wears a Medium, so I can *always* find cool things for him at good prices, but today they had some XXLs and some XLs on the sale racks, too--three of them were only $1.74! I made an immediate executive decision to buy myself a couple of things for post-WLS--nothing over $15, or smaller than an XL. (I think it might take an actual act of God--in whom I'm not quite certain that I believe in the first place--to get me under an XL again. Frankly, I can't even imagine being an XXL again.) So I have a couple of shirts in the next three or four sizes down that I paid very little for. I figured it was a good investment, and on some level shows actual positive thinking and good intentions on my part.

I looked longingly at all the cute summer dresses and pajamas they had for "normal" (ha) women and thought to myself, Wow...maybe next year I will be able to fit into some of those things and actually be able to buy cute stuff for affordable prices--in other words, get out from under the dreaded FAT TAX. There are a very few stores--such as Catherine's and Fashion Bug--that have reasonably-priced, basic clothing of decent quality for plus-size women up to size 5X (30/32), but they are so few and far between--and I read online not too long ago that the mother company of those two stores was in financial trouble, which is distressing. (I just found the perfect bra at Fashion Bug a couple of months ago, and every woman reading this knows how impossible that is--and how once you do find the perfect bra, it is immediately discontinued. But I digress.) I really WANT TO KNOW: what is it LIKE to be able to walk into Target and buy something presentable (and fashionable) to wear for only $25-40? Or LESS? The fact that the first place I go to look for anything for myself is the men's department is telling in and of itself. (I "outgrew" the women's section years ago.) For basics like T-shirts, men's tend to be sturdier, cheaper, and come in better colors anyway--I have no problem there--but if I really need something, like a pair of shorts, I have to hope the men's section has something in my waist size that doesn't look overly masculine. It's rather depressing to contemplate the more I think about it. No wonder I became the Queen of Mail Order/Online among my acquaintances before I was even out of my teens. And I have some really nice clothes, but let me tell you, they were NOT cheap. A decent bathing suit for me in my current size is at least $120. A bra can be as much as $70. (Who has that kind of money? No wonder my VISA is maxed out.) Ironically, Ebay has been a godsend, particularly for professional or designer clothes, and many of the listings included: "I had gastric bypass surgery! My loss is your gain!"

Lenticular clouds over Mt. Rainier

I got an email today with photos taken by various people and in various places around the region of these lenticular clouds over Mt. Rainier recently. This one was my favorite. It was taken by Peter Murray of Vashon Island.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Six months ended today.

My day began auspiciously by discovering I had been "friended" by an old high school classmate on Facebook first thing this morning. I no sooner hit "confirm" than he IMed me and said, "Hey honey! You are so beautiful!" Let's just say that is never, ever a bad thing to hear from a charming gentleman--even if he is going by the well-lit, Photoshopped, cropped version of what you allow the world at large to view, and physically recalling you with your skin (and weight) of 20+ years past.

At 10 a.m., I had my six-month nutritionist appointment. In summary: in the last six months, I lost seven pounds. Without consistent exercise, that is not bad at all. (Interestingly, it was 2-1/2 pounds less than I weighed in on Wednesday; I think irritation makes me retain water.) I like my nutritionist. She is nice, knowledgeable, and she listens. (Why is that such a hunted-to-extinction quality in medical professionals?) My low-carb jail immediately prior to surgery will be 40g per day, not 30. (It's still less than the average coleus plant can live on and not bust a cap in a neighboring plant's ass, but whatever. It's only a couple of weeks. I asked how much my liver was really going to shrink, and she laughed and said they could definitely tell. I mumbled some Yosemite Sam phrases and moved on in the conversation.)

We chatted about various protein shakes and powders. I can do the baby food, but only the chicken and meat-based ones--the rest have too much sugar. She gave me some samples of Bariatric Advantage protein powders to test-drive and wrote down what I'd eaten in the last couple of days. She was very positive about my food journal, my consistent protein and fiber intake amounts, and the fact that I speak up and tell people, "it's hard for me to be around that food" (to coworkers) or "we can't have cookies in the house anymore" (to spouse).

She started to comment about my exercise routine not being up to par and then stopped herself, saying, "Oh, that's right! You have that foot thing!" Lo and behold, some single-spaced typed chart notes about "that foot thing" were in my file. I asked if the exercise physiologist had seen them, because he hadn't as of Wednesday, and she said she thought he would have gotten them because she was just cc'ed and he was the main recipient. I thanked her for sharing that with me--"one less doctor I have to bitch out today".

Coming out of the parking garage area under the building so I could cross the parking lot to the surgery center, a nice couple was down there with no less than four button-cute Charles King Cavalier spaniels. They were so cute, and so sweet! It was a wonderful random canine encounter that would have pleased any dog lover. I chatted with their people--the dogs were two pups, their mother, and an older, deaf one--the aunt, I think their person said--and I stroked all of their velvety ears, told them how pretty they were, and felt like I'd had some much-needed therapy after doing so. The effect animals can have is amazing.

I went over to the surgical center and handed my contact there the blessing letter and the-decade-of-BMI-charting letter from my primary care doctor. And now--I wait. Stick a fork in me, I am so DONE with that blankety-blanking food diary until the carb counting starts. I wrote, "I'm done with this bullshit until further notice" on today's page.

I stopped at Big Lots on the way home--my nutritionist thought she had heard they might have Muscle Milk--but they didn't. I did find some good low-carb broth and some baby cereal--I'm stocking up on that type of food for when the time comes, especially when it is at a good price. I looked over their jars of baby food, and it all looked positively vile. The "spaghetti dinner" had that orange-looking sauce. (Is it Chef Boyardee, or just botulism in bloom? You make the call.) They didn't have any meat-based baby food there at all. They did have some Jell-O sugar-free chocolate pudding mixes for a buck, and I bought several, knowing I can add protein powder to them post-op.

They have really good deals on DVD's at Big Lots. I bought a $3 one about Frida Kahlo's life called "The Ribbon That Ties the Bomb". For $6 each, I picked up "Blades of Glory", "The Queen", "The Darjeeling Limited", "The Pursuit of Happyness", "Into the Wild", "Stop-Loss", and "The Holiday". I loves me a good bargain.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday Thunks meme for June 11

1. What is your least favorite candy bar?

I don't care for PayDays.

2. If I were to call you, what would you say?


3. What is your favorite type of leaf?

A brightly colored autumn kind, or one that has been eaten by bugs in an interesting fashion.

When was the last time you...

- swam in a lake?

Probably 15 years ago or more, up at Whistle or Trafton Lake with Dena and the girls.

- went barefoot outside?

Probably within the last week, but it was only from the car to the house.

- ate peas?

Maybe a month or two.

5. Since Father's Day is right around the corner, tell us about the person that you are celebrating.

I celebrate my former father-in-law, who is still a good friend. He is funny, kind, loving, and smart. He loves to garden; his yard looks like a state park. When I call on the phone, he always sounds glad to hear my voice. He has been the closest thing to a real father that I've ever had in my life, something I never thought I would get to experience this time around on planet Earth. I feel very fortunate to know him.

6. Were you dropped on your head as a child?

No, but I think damn near everyone around me had been a few too many times.

7. How often do you clean your toilet?

When it needs it.

8. Have you ever been sunburned? Tell us about it.

It was the '70s and no one seemed to bother with sunscreen, so I had several severe sunburns as a child. The worst one was when I was about 10 or 11. I literally couldn't wear clothes for a couple of weeks and had to stay in bed. It was awful. To this day, I burn in a few minutes, even with sunscreen, so I try to stay in the shade, under an umbrella, or just stay inside. It's not worth it.

9. On average, how many hours a sleep do you get a night?

If I have the right medication, 8.

10. How many hours did you get last night?

I'd say 8. I was exhausted.

11. Take a picture of something. Post it.

I took this picture of the neighbor kid's toy truck outside in the yard today and Photoshopped it.

12. Are the bottom of your feet dirty?

No. I took a shower two hours ago.

13. Do you know the names of every member of the family who lives next door to you?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Office temptation

What a crazy week. I went back to work for a former employer and hit the ground running--I'm only going to be doing twenty hours a week, per their budget and my availability, but I have three major medical appointments this week and a time-sensitive copywriting job just popped up at the same time. It's also Mr. Salted's birthday on Sunday. I'm *extremely* grateful for the work, but it would have been preferable to have some of it materialize during these interminable months I've been sitting here on my keester, writing down everything I eat and drink, and at times feeling as though I'm losing my mind.

The dentist appointment was Monday. The staff and dentist were great, but it was quite the ordeal. (Try to avoid having a crown cut off if you can--I don't recommend it.) It was about four hours in the chair for me--I had two fillings at the same appointment--and in the middle of it, high as a kite on nitrous oxide, I had to have more shots because they were grilling so deep. It hurt for a couple of days afterward. (On the other hand, "Wildfire" is a really pretty song on nitrous oxide. I had my iPod and my soft comforting blankie and my sunglasses, and I was watching the wild horses run past in the sunshine in my mind, just like that .38 Special video from the '80s.)

I saw the exercise physiologist today, don't have to see him again for months--I told him there was really no point until my ankle got repaired. I don't think he appreciated my bluntness (frankly, it's a rare man who does, and reader, I married him). Believe me when I say--and I can pretty much always say this and have it be true--I could have been a damn sight more blunt. I toyed with saying something more along the lines of, "Do you realize I could have just gotten a Bic and some twenties and had approximately the same outcome?" But, you know, I didn't want to be hurtful...wink.

Friday is the Queen Mama, the six-month nutritionist appointment, after which I visit the surgical center and we start to really hammer out some concrete details regarding the surgery--I HOPE. I fear we have to wait for insurance approval before we do a consarned thing. That's probably better--I won't have to be in 30-carb-a-day jail until I have an actual date to work with; I'm certainly not going to try to achieve that without a designated end in sight. My eating is going to be restrictive enough without THAT. (I must admit that I fear what I'm going to be like, living on that !@#$%&* organic chicken broth and very little else!)

Working in an office again has felt pretty good for the most part--I am lucky in that I don't have to answer the phone or deal with people other than coworkers. (Those were included in my terms when I agreed to help them out.) I am auditing files and doing paperwork--and I'm one of those weird people who would love to be locked in a room without other people and a bunch of papers all day, so everybody wins in the current scenario. I've felt more appreciated and competent in the last three days of temping than I did in more than two years actually working there as a full-time employee. Being there also reminds me of everything that made me quit; in terms of my continued health and sanity, it was definitely the best decision. It forces me to admit that the hardest decisions for me to make are the ones where I have to admit something is not for me--that I have somehow fallen short by not possessing the proper aptitude--and ultimately, any decision that involves self-care.

The hardest thing about temping hasn't been the teeny space I'm crammed into or getting up at oh-dark-thirty and being pleasant when I don't want to. The hardest thing about working in an office again? FOOD. I forgot about all the damn food! Two days back has already proven that my environment has a great deal to do with me being on or off track when it comes to eating properly. I think most of the women who work there are on some kind of diet, or trying to eat fairly healthy, but someone always has some evil-looking treat or some other food that smells absolutely amazing while I'm sitting there with my Muscle Milk Light, my raw carrots, my water, and my almonds. Today I finally broke down and ate one of those big frosted cookies from because it was just looking at me and I couldn't stand it another second. I asked the gal who brought it in to please hide them from me if she had any more, and I've told a couple of other people it is really hard for me to be around food that I can't have, so I usually don't eat lunch with everyone else. Someone brought in a huge bag of pretzels today, and I had no problem leaving those alone--it's always, always, ALWAYS the blankety-blanking-blank SUGAR!

When I was a full-time employee for this organization, I was a stress hog 24/7. I've written about it on this blog previously, how I used to come home and just lie in a darkened room every day and a lot of weekends because I simply had nothing left to give. I didn't want to talk on the phone or go anywhere or even get on the computer, and I was always sick or just wanted/needed more sleep. Being there again has really brought home to me exactly how much I used food to cope when I worked there. I always made an attempt to have healthy things like fruit and nuts around for snacks, but I also drank Jet Tea smoothies almost daily, along with iced mochas and Diet Coke (practically by the barrel). There were always cookies, doughnuts and cakes around, and lots of heart-attack-on-a-plate potlucks. Several of us in the office also had a habit/ritual where we would go and buy candy in the afternoons, when our blood sugar, patience, and compassion were waning the most. Just physically being there in those four walls this week actually made my brain believe it needed chocolate, and I had to really work to talk myself out of it. We also used to get fast food a lot on the fly, just to get out of the office for a few minutes--and because it was quick and easy. Tonight on the way home, I got dinner at Jack in the Box for the Mr. and I. I know in my logical mind I can't do that anymore post-op, but it is really hard to make sure there is enough produce and good fresh food around when you have about 2 milligrams of energy, knowing you have a long night ahead, and a long day before you the next day. Making time to go to the store all the time--and not just any store, but a "natural" store with the right kind of food--is going to be really tough to schedule in in real life.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Price-gouging dentist: the sequel

On May 17, I blogged about this crook of a dentist that tried to get me to come in for deep cleanings every 3 months and told me I needed 12 fillings and to take out a loan to pay for them, among other things.

My friend reminded me that her friend is a hygienist at a different dentist's office--it's an hour and a half away but I didn't care. I had a great experience with this practice and plan to recommend them to all my friends who are in that area. The dentist actually sat with me and took a health history, which I have never, ever had a dentist do. They gave me the nitrous without charging and were ready with dark glasses, blankets, whatever made their patients more comfortable. They explained everything that was going on as they were doing it.

So, the crooks told me I needed 12 fillings. I NEED TWO. The worst problem in my mouth--a crown that has to be cut off and replaced and which is causing me some discomfort--was not even noticed or diagnosed by the other maroons.

The moral of the story is--if you think you are at the hands of a price-gouging dentist--FIRE THEM!

Eckhart Tolle philosophy

"Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.

You are withholding it because deep down you think you are small and that you have nothing to give.

Try this for a couple of weeks and see how it changes your reality: Whatever you think people are withholding from you - praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on - give it to them.

You don't have it? Just act as if you had it, and it will come. Then, soon after you start giving, you will start receiving. You cannot receive what you don't give."

--Eckhart Tolle, from his book A New Earth.

Thursday Thunks meme

1. How many golf balls can fit inside a full sized school bus?


2. Who decided the alphabet order?

Some control freak.

3. Why doesn't McDonald's sell hotdogs?

I think it would put them in the "snack bar" category and they are in denial enough to want to resist that.

4. You go to a nice restaurant and they are offering free samples of cheese. You take a bite and it's delicious. Then they tell you the cheese is processed with maggots in it which make the great texture and flavor. Do you vomit at the thought of maggots, think "oh well but no more", or just ask for another sample?

I throw a fit until they comp my meal. Then I'll think about the vomiting.

5. Would you rather ride on a cloud or slide down a rainbow?

Ride. Sliding can lead to bad landings, riding sounds nice and mellow.

6. Do you know/care who Heidi & Spencer are?

Some reality show couple. And no, I don't care. :)

7. Have you ever used Butt Paste?

No, and I'm a bit afraid to ask what it is.

8. Pie or cake?


9. Do you remember when MTV used to play music videos?

I do. I used to stay up all night and watch them because they played the good stuff in the middle of the night. Vh1 Classic is a lot like MTV used to be.

Stupid random survey stolen from Through Thick and Thin

Do you answer the phones at your job?

Not working at the moment, but I try to avoid answering phones whenever possible.

What's your ring tone?

I have different songs for just about everyone.

What did you do this weekend?

I started it today by seeing "Pop Star On Ice", a film about Johnny Weir, the figure skater. It was the first time I've been to a Seattle International Film Festival movie; I hope to go to many more in the future. The Mr. and I are thinking of going to the EMP to see the Jim Henson exhibit tomorrow.

What were you doing at 12am last night?


Do you want to fix anything with anyone?

I've been doing a lot of that this past year or so. It's been good.

Do you get annoyed when you see someone you don't like?

I bristle inwardly.

Do you have trust issues?

About as many as TIME magazine.

Who was the last person to have a deep conversation with?


Do you believe everything happens for a reason?

Sometimes there is just plain bad luck, but if you learn from it, I guess that's the reason it happened.

Who was the last person to give you a hug?

Mr. Salted

Are you mean?

No, but I don't take crap, either.

Do you feel like you're a good person?

Yes. I work on being one.

Who was the last person to have their arms around you?

Mr. Salted

Are you going to have a good night?


Have you ever given up on someone and then went back to them?

Yes, because I was young and stupid. (Never again.)

Whose hoodie did you last wear?


Did you wake up in the middle of the night last night?

I always wake up at least once. Tonight I think I forgot my sleeping pill, because I've been up for hours.

When's the last time you went to the beach?

I can't remember! That means it's been way too long.

What shows do you watch?

Intervention, Breaking Bad, Big Love, United States of Tara, reruns of Roseanne, Reno 911!, The Daily Show

What's wrong with you right now?

Can't sleep

Would you go back in time if you were given the chance?

no, once was enough

What's your relationship with the person you last texted?


Will your next kiss be a mistake?

None of my kisses are ever mistakes :)

Are you looking forward to anything?

Lots of stuff. Life.

Have you ever broken someone's heart?


Has anyone ever told you that you have pretty eyes?

That's what I get complimented on the most, and what I like the most about the way I look.

Does anyone disgust you?


Did you enjoy your weekend?

Ask me tomorrow.

Who was your last received call from?


Have you argued with anyone today?


Your enemy is at your doorstep begging for forgiveness, what would you do?

Let him in, excuse myself to the bathroom, call the cops on my cell, smile evilly, and wait.

Has someone had their arms around you in the past 7 days?

In the past seven hours

Dare you to detail why you kissed the last person you kissed?

Because I love him, and I like to. :)

Are you afraid of losing the last person you talked to?


Is there someone that makes you happy every time you see them?

Yes, more than one

When, where, and with who was your last kiss?

Last night, in my bedroom, with my husband

Is anyone else in the room with you?


Who was the last person you had a conversation with on the phone?


Does anyone call you babe?

No, that's a cheesy Styx song.

Is there anything you are craving right now?

Baked goods

What was the first thing you thought of this morning?


Go to the last text in your inbox, what does it say?


What were you doing at 7:00 am?


What's the last thing you ate?

String cheese

How many hours of sleep did you get last night?


Do you know anyone who has been arrested?

Several people

Think back to the last person you kissed, how many times have you laughed with them?

More times than I can count

How do you feel about your hair right now?

It's okay

What's something you really want right now, be honest?


When you were in elementary school, did you change best friends a lot?

No, I just had a few good friends, and most of them are still my good friends.

Last thing you touched not computer-related?

Ipod, water bottle

Have you ever suspected anyone of cheating on you?


Does the song you're currently listening to remind you of anyone specific?

I'm listening to Black Crowes' "She Talks to Angels". It reminds me of myself, actually.

Who was the last person to give you a ride somewhere?


Saturday 9: It's My Party

1. Do you prefer to host or be a guest at a party?

Definitely a guest. I've never really hosted a party. They're not my favorite thing as a general rule.

2. Would you rather go to a large party or a small dinner party?
Small...and informal!

3. What is your worst flaw?

I'm impatient and I don't suffer fools gladly.

4. What is your best character trait?

I'm a good friend, and I'm pretty funny.

5. What habit in others annoys you?

Inability to empathize, sense of entitlement.

6. What qualities in others do you admire?

Ability to laugh at oneself.

7. If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?

I'd be better at Working For the Man.

8. Do you tend to be shy with strangers?

Yes. I try not to be.

9. Do you prefer to lead or follow in a group of people?

I like a group discussion where we all come to a consensus. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

No Scars: New Obesity Surgery Goes Through Mouth

By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer

CHICAGO – Doctors are testing a new kind of obesity surgery without any cuts through the abdomen, snaking a tube as thick as a garden hose down the throat to snap staples into the stomach. The experimental, scar-free procedure creates a narrow passage that slows the food as it moves from the upper stomach into the lower stomach, helping patients feel full more quickly and eat less.

Doctors say preliminary results from about 200 U.S. patients and 100 in Europe look promising.

After about 18 months, obese European patients have lost an average of about 45 percent of their body weight, said Dr. Gregg Nishi, a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He discussed the European and U.S. studies during a Chicago conference this week for digestive disease specialists.

The procedure is only being done in the studies, which recently ended enrollment. Makers of the device used in the operation plan to seek federal approval if the research continues to go as planned.

While the two studies are still under way and only brief details are being released, Nishi said results so far are slightly better than typical results from with conventional stomach stapling.

Risks include perforating the esophagus, as Nishi said happened to a patient at another center, but otherwise, he said, there have been no major complications.

Some study patients have lost weight after unknowingly undergoing fake procedures — sedation and the tube, but no stapling. Results comparing them with the real thing aren't yet available.

Liliana Gomez, an administrative coordinator at Cedars-Sinai, was among the first Americans to have the scarless obesity surgery last year, as a test case for the U.S. study. She had planned on more invasive conventional surgery until learning that doctors at her hospital were studying the scarless stapling technique.

"When I found out it was going to be oral, through your mouth, I was like, 'Wow, that's kind of different,'" she said.

Since her operation in August, Gomez has lost about 40 pounds and dropped from size 22 to size 16.

The 35-year-old mother of three has a long way to go — she's still obese according to body mass index standards. But Gomez says she has cut her meal portions by more than half and still feels full, and is optimistic she'll continue to lose weight.

The new method is part of a medical movement to perform surgery through body openings such as the nose, mouth and vagina instead of making cuts. The idea is to reduce chances of infection and pain, and speed recovery. With no scars, there are cosmetic advantages, too.

Gomez had considered a gastric bypass operation, a more complex kind of stomach stapling, but worried about risks from that surgery. It reduces the stomach to the size of a golf ball and reroutes the digestive tract.

Whether done through one large abdominal incision or several tiny ones, gastric bypass is far more invasive and increases chances for malnutrition because it repositions how the stomach attaches to the intestines to restrict calorie absorption.

Another popular weight-loss surgery option involves putting an adjustable band around the top part of the stomach to create a small pouch.

The experimental method Gomez had is the oral version of a different kind of stomach surgery, which reduces the size of the stomach with staples but doesn't reroute the digestive system.

Surgery is generally considered a last-resort treatment for obesity, which affects more than 15 million Americans. Still, demand is high. More than 200,000 Americans are expected to have conventional forms of obesity surgery this year, according to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

Dr. Scott Shikora, the society's president, called the oral procedure exciting and innovative, but said, "It is too early for us to say this is going to be a breakthrough."

Shikora said many U.S. obesity surgeons prefer the rerouting surgery or flexible bands, and that it remains to be seen whether the oral method has the same drawbacks as more outmoded stapling procedures.

The U.S. study is taking place at 10 centers. Patients will be followed for at least one year, with final results expected in 2010. They are randomly selected to undergo either the operation or a sham procedure.

Nishi said of 25 patients enrolled at his hospital, 17 got the real treatment, with no complications.

"I'm very impressed with it," Nishi said. So far, it looks like "a viable alternative," he said.

Satiety Inc., a California company that created the medical devices used in the technique, is paying for the research. Nishi said he has no financial ties to the company.

At Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where the first U.S. procedure was done last summer, about 30 patients have undergone the treatment. Side effects have been minimal, including sore throats, nausea and some abdominal pain lasting less than a week, said Dr. J. Christopher Eagon. He said weight loss results from his center aren't yet available.


On the Net:

American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery:

Satiety, Inc.:

From Yahoo News! 6/3/09

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I wonder if all, or most, overweight people dislike summer, or at least hot weather. I know I do--it's a combo pack of being heavy, very pale, and allergic to bees. I am also heroin for mosquitoes. I have to have an air conditioner unit in the window to live comfortably from May or June through to about October. (I love Ron White's stand-up routine where he explains one of his divorces: "We had a thermostat"--that's the whole joke.) Summer also means more shaving, more sunscreen, more skin breakouts, and more hat hair. The best thing about summer and me is that I love to drink water and I don't want to eat heavy food in the summer, so fruit and veggies are pretty much all I want, with the occasional longing for sorbet or ice cream. Goodbye, old friends...

Right now I am especially uncomfortable because of all those factors added to the current ankle thing. Last weekend Mr. Salted and I were at a party, and I had to have him basically wait on me so that I didn't walk too much. (I hate having to be waited on like fire.) If I have to go to the store or walk much at all, I pop Advil first and put a brace on it before I go. I'm also tiring more easily just from concentrating on never bending the ankle wrong when I walk and coping with the discomfort in general. (I would have the ankle done before the bariatric surgery, but I have lived the last six months precisely as insurance requires to the nth degree, and we are afraid they will change the requirements or find some other reason to deny it if we delay it at all. The ankle doctor even put in his $0.02 and said to get the bypass done first.)

Yesterday the ankle hurt particularly badly and I needed to go to Costco. I really didn't want to go--it was hot and I was afraid the ankle would give out--but we really needed things. I put on the brace, went and survived. I looked into my cart as I unloaded it onto the checkout belt and was gobsmacked by the sheer healthiness of its contents. Any buttheaded fellow shoppers playing Look What's in the Fat Woman's Cart (I am making a conscious effort not to notice them these days) must have been completely amazed. The only "bad" thing in it was beer, and that's for Mr. Salted. (It won't tempt me--I also hate beer like fire.) Organic spinach leaves, snack bags of raw carrots, asparagus, apples, pineapple (my "splurge"--I adore the stuff and they were out of mango), Muscle Milk Light, organic free-range chicken broth, boneless skinless salmon fillets...

I'm thinking about food a lot lately, which is inevitable given this process I am in. I don't really care that much about potato chips or fast food--my main reason for eating fast food has always been that it's cheap and easy, not that it's so very delectable. I love bread and rice and will always miss them, but I'm getting used to not having them already. We're still eating a few things we have in the house that I won't be able to have, but there's not much of any of it left now. I will definitely miss the occasional mocha, diet soda, or margarita. I am used to drinking diet ginger ale frequently for my stomach issues, but that's already become a thing of the past. Ginger candy also works well, but I have yet to find a sugar-free version.

I have also been thinking--happily--that this could be the last summer that I feel this uncomfortable. I really hope so. Having a fully functioning ankle will also be tremendous, and something I will not take for granted. I've never been truly comfortable during the summer, even as a child, but I was never anywhere near as physically miserable as I am today. I will certainly be glad to see that end, and the notion that it is even possible gives me hope, motivates me, and gives me one more thing to look forward to.

One of my favorite things, ever.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saturday 9 meme: Uninvited

1. Do you mind people to show up uninvited?

I do. A LOT. It isn't so much about being not invited, it's just that I want a call first.

2. Last person you talked to on the phone? I think it was Dena a day or two ago.

3. Last person on your missed call list? Beck

4. Who calls you the most? Beck and Dena

5. What is your favorite song about breaking up? I have a whole list--I want to do an Imix on Itunes and haven't gotten around to it. It would include "Silver Springs" by Fleetwood Mac, "Rest in Pieces" by Saliva, "Angie" by the Rolling Stones, "Sail On" by the Commodores...

6. If someone sent you an unexpected gift, what would you like it to be? Bookstore gift card

7. Your classic rock station plays the top songs of all time. What is number one? Something by Led Zeppelin, probably, although Motley Crue passes for classic rock in some universes, so you just never know.

8. Do you live for today or tomorrow? I'm kind of living for tomorrow at his moment, but enjoying today as much as humanly possible.

9. What movie villain scared you as a kid? Jack Nicholson in "The Shining"

About Me

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Seattle, WA, United States
This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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