Sunday, November 2, 2014

Help! I have fallen off of the no sugar wagon and I can't get back on!

I'm not sure when exactly I veered off course, but somewhere in the last couple of weeks I started making exceptions and before I knew it, I was on a tear. I blame the sourdough bread. I have learned that I simply cannot have it in the house, because I find it irresistible. Before I knew it, I was making my old favorite tuna melts, day after day. And that then led to giving in to some of the candy that was hanging around the house in anticipation of Halloween, such that by the 31st I was completely off the no-sugar wagon, so to speak. Anyone who doesn't think sugar is addictive should go off of it for a few months and then start eating just a bit and watch what happens.

I'm kind of depressed about it. Sigh. Because it was kind of brutal when I first went off sugar and refined carbs, and brutal again when I went low-carb. I'm not looking forward to going through those initial weeks again. But it has to be done. I definitely feel worse, and I fear I've reversed some of the progress I've made in improving my health. I know I should start immediately. But... there are peanut butter cups in the house! Those little individually-wrapped ones, in fall foil colors! I can resist the other candies, no problem. But those little pots of peanut buttery scrumptiousness have me in their grips right now. I'm sure that I'm not the only one. Gah.

The good news is that I know I can get off the devil sugar again, and soon enough I won't even crave it. It was amazing to discover that it completely lost its appeal within just a few weeks. Same with the gluten and carbs. But getting off of them can be a bitch initially, I won't lie. I'll allow one or two nights more of the "treats" (not a great description for them, given what I know about the damage they do internally), and then I'll call it quits once more and get back to the project of working toward better health and well-being.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dipping a Toe Back in the Blogging Waters...

It's been over five years since I last wrote here. Many things have changed in Casa de Kaza. We moved to a new house closer to our jobs. My beloved father died, and I was lost in grief for a long while. The husband and I both changed career paths, so the rhythm of university semesters no longer regulates our time. Our little preschooler is now 9 years old and in the fourth grade, and I can report that it really is true that parenting gets better and better (if not easier). My passion these days is to achieve optimal health and well-being. After my dad died, I knew I had to make some changes. He had diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, and ultimately died of multiple organ failure after what I think was about 9 years on dialysis. We were witness to the way his life became increasingly medicalized even before dialysis, as heart disease and kidney failure led him through a long, slow decline. It isn't a unique story. After losing him, I started reading up on nutrition, and came across the competing paradigms concerning how to eat for optimal health. Ultimately I decided that the primal/paleo pathway made the most sense, and began working toward transitioning my own eating. I expect that I'll write a good deal about that transition, which is ongoing. But health and wellness aren't only about what we eat, and so I've also been on a spiritual quest of sorts, and I might write about some of that as well. I'm an avid viewer and fan of Super Soul Sunday, I'm trying to make meditation a new habit (mostly unsuccessfully thus far), and I intend to give yoga another shot soon. I'm 47 now, and on my birthday I decided that this will be the year that I'm going to make the changes to get my health in order, in the holistic sense of body-mind-spirit. Perhaps blogging about it will bring me some inspiration, accountability, and encouragement.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beyond Irritated by Town Hall Disruptions

I have lost my patience with the behavior of certain individuals at the recent town halls. These disruptions are blatant attempts to shut down discourse. And these actions are performed by people who are either stupid enough to believe that a public health care option would include something as ridiculous as "death panels" or unethical enough to spread these lies because they believe that anything is justified in their goal of derailing health care reform. But what really gets under my skin is the silence of the allegedly rational individuals on the right who should be coming forward to lay the smack down on those in their party who excuse, advocate, or (worst of all) organize these actions.

It's about a public health care OPTION, folks. If you don't have health insurance, you will have the OPTION to select the public plan. If you have insurance, you will be able to keep it. There will NOT be anything like a "death panel." Anyone telling you that this will happen is lying to you. As for concerns of how to pay for it, you're already paying (in many ways) for everyone who doesn't have health insurance, and it's only going to get worse. We taxpayers will be paying either way. I would rather pay for every citizen to have health insurance coverage and be proud of my country's public option than pay for the consequences of failing to provide our citizens with this basic right and continue to feel ashamed of our lack of such an option. And by the way, a public option is NOT socialism. As much as we would benefit from a more socialist approach to many social problems, we will be no closer to socialism with a public health care option than we are now with the Medicare option for senior citizens. So let's stop the nonsense and get down to the business of figuring out HOW, not if, we should do this.

If you haven't seen this yet, check out Jon Stewart Vs. Town Hall Crazies on The Huffington Post. Awesome.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Secret to Productivity

Shhh... I have discovered the secret to productivity. And because I am your bloggy friend, I am going to share it with you. (Warning: you're not going to like it!)

Step 1:  Drink coffee. (However much you need.)

Step 2:  Plant your butt in your seat (desk, reading chair, whichever seat the task calls for).

Step 3:  Start working. DO NOT check email accounts, Twitter, your blog, or any other site on the internet that is not directly related to the work at hand!

Step 4:  Keep working. 

Step 5:  Break for lunch. 

Step 6:  Return to your work. Again, DO NOT do any of the forbidden activities listed in Step 3!

Step 7:  In the late afternoon (around 4:00 or 5:00), you then may check your email, blog, etc.

See? I told you that you weren't going to like it. But, dude? It totally WORKS! I have been more productive in the last week of practicing this discipline than I've been in months.  

Now, this of course won't work for you quite as well if your work requires that you check email or other websites regularly. But if you limit yourself to only the absolutely necessary internet activity, and develop some rules for when/how long you will deal with email at a time, it still might work for you. 

It isn't nearly as much fun as twittering the day away, but it's much better for actually getting something accomplished. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Trying a Bullet Post

Everyone seems to apologize for bullet posts, yet I enjoy reading them, so why not give it a try? I’m not sure how the formatting works, so I’m trying a cut & paste from a Word document.

* I have a cold.
* It’s not that bad, but I still whine a lot about it.
* Only on my blog and Twitter though. I don’t whine much at home.
* The Little One is interrupting me about every 20 minutes this afternoon.
* It’s making me crazy. I’m not a jack-in-the-box. I’m a mommy.
* It’s 3:00 again. How did this happen? Another day ran away from me.
* Bullet lists are easier than writing a real post.
* Maybe bullet lists are responsible for Twitter?
* It makes sense. Short bursts of thoughts and all.
* Little One is playing “computer” w/ an old keyboard and a Build-A-Bear box.
* She’s acting like me, getting impatient with her stuffed animal “child.”
* I'm so busted.
* Nothing like your kid imitating you to make you feel like a crap mom.
* But seriously, no one can do anything if interrupted every 20 minutes.
* Except maybe a bullet post.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not That You Asked...

But I feel compelled to explain, nonetheless, why I have not posted much, in spite of my assurances that I was "back" now that the university teaching year is over. I have thought about posting many times. I even started a post yesterday, a long one, but managed to bore myself so thoroughly that I stopped and deleted every word (saving the blank post so that even the draft was gone for good).

I'm having a bit of a "blogdentity crisis," or at least that's the (non-)word that comes to mind. My life has changed in some simple yet profound ways in the last year, and I am uncertain as to the purpose of this blog (or even if I want to write in this way just now). When I started I thought of myself as a "mommyblogger," though my (mis)adventures as a mama of a small child were certainly the focus of many posts. I needed a virtual space that was all mine, where I could vent and rant and let it all hang out. I had a few things to say and a place in which to say them.

But now? I don't seem to have much to say here these days. Part of it is the easygoing nature of our days this summer: we do our writing in the mornings in our offices, leave by noon to pick up the Little One from her summer preschool program, come home to eat lunch together, and then we each spend the afternoon enjoying the pursuit of our own choice. Obviously this leaves a lot of room for blogging. And yet I can't seem to blog. What on earth would I write about? What we ate for lunch? Which book I might read that afternoon? What we might eat & drink for dinner? There are many of you out there who can make such small details come alive on the page, but I am not like you. When I try to write about something like that? Zzzzzzz...

So. I don't know if I will write that much this summer after all. And I'm going to release myself from the obligation. I'm going to read all of your blogs for awhile. Maybe I'll find inspiration. Or maybe I'll just enjoy the reading but still have nothing I want to write here. Maybe I'll just link you all to the good stuff I find. Maybe I'll actually try writing the mundane details of our summer. Maybe I'll just write about the food and wine we're enjoying. The possibilities are like these summer days, so many still stretched out before me, making me smile with the luxury of doing just as I please for much of every day. I haven't been this relaxed for years.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

SO Glad I Don't Have Eight Kids! (But Wish I Already Had Two.)

Or seven, or six, or five, or four, or three. And quite honestly, I'm deeply ambivalent about whether I even want two. I'm truly happy with my one amazing daughter. I used to want two or three. I even thought maybe four. But then I became a mother, and parenting was no longer theoretical, it was my life, and it was SO much harder than I had expected. I quickly revised my ideal number to two.

About a year after the Little One was born, I very suddenly and desperately wanted another one. This is apparently very common. Something about surviving that first year with your firstborn and becoming incredibly nostalgic and wanting to do it all over again. And I thought it would be good if my kids were close in age. Good for us, to get through the tough stages faster, and good for them, to improve the chances that they could be friends as well as siblings.

When she was about 20 months old, we had an "oops" moment and conceived. It was a welcome "oops" pregnancy, as we were planning to try for another child soon thereafter. We were excited, and I was determined not to be as anxious this time around. Our first pregnancy had ended quickly in an early miscarriage, and though this is very common (not to mention something we might not have even known about in the days before the early home pregnancy tests), it was devastating for us. From the moment we knew we had conceived the Little One we became exceedingly anxious. And though I enjoyed the pregnancy overall, the anxiety definitely put a damper on the whole experience. So this time, I wasn't going to give in.

As the first weeks went on, the Hubster was doing pretty well in keeping the anxiety at bay as well. He was calm and supportive and reassuring that all would be well. As for me, my only concession to worry was to occasionally say "I only want to see that little heartbeat and then I'll be fine." We were out of town around week 8, so our second appointment was pushed ahead to somewhere between weeks 9 and 10. My wonderfully understanding OB had promised an ultrasound at this appointment, to help reassure us, so we knew we would be able to see our little peanut. I was excited about the appointment, eager to receive that reassurance.

In a way, though intellectually I knew it didn't work like this, I felt that if I didn't worry, everything would be fine. Magical thinking, I guess. So I worked hard at keeping the anxiety at bay, and I was certain that everything would be fine. When the OB couldn't find the heartbeat with the Doppler, something he said he could usually do with someone as slender as I was at the time, I didn't feel any panic or dread. I completely believed him when he said everything was probably just fine. And he had promised an ultrasound to check things out anyway, and I didn't want to miss out on that. So in a way I was absurdly relieved that he couldn't find it, because I was afraid that if he did, he wouldn't order the ultrasound. Can you believe that? I was RELIEVED. I didn't WANT him to find it. I wanted to see the peanut. It didn't even occur to me to begin to get nervous.

We went down the hall to the room where they do the ultrasounds, and the tech soon had me ready to go. She soon found the peanut, and began pointing out the features of the "sac" and "fetal pole," all familiar to us as second-time expectant parents. I still didn't see anything wrong. I was just waiting for her to find the little pulsing light that would signify the peanut's heartbeat. I knew it would be there somewhere. It had to be. But then she suddenly said, "I'm sorry, I don't see a heartbeat," and began to shut off the equipment. Just. like. that.

I stared at her, stunned, as the Hubster squeezed my hand. My eyes sprouted tears before I even knew I would cry. I wanted to yell at her, to shout, "KEEP LOOKING! It has to be there! Keep looking, please!!!" She had to be wrong. The moment had become surreal.

(Ultrasound techs out there? Do us a favor. Take the moments to KEEP LOOKING. You know it's over, you know you're not going to find it. But the patient is not the image, the patient is a woman on the table, with her partner or other loved one by her side, and she needs you to at least pretend to keep looking. Let her see that it isn't there. Don't stop so abruptly. Because it will take us a few moments to catch up with you, and we need to see it for ourselves.)

We went back to the exam room, where the OB expressed condolences for the loss and talked to us about how to proceed. The evidence showed that the peanut had probably died around seven and a half to eight weeks, which meant that my body wasn't miscarrying as it should have. I didn't even know how to process that information. I was sort of relieved that I hadn't begun to bleed at home, for I knew how awful that was, but I felt sick to think that I had been walking around for possibly as long as two weeks without knowing what had happened inside of me. How did I not know? The OB offered two options: wait a bit to see if my the miscarriage would happen naturally, or have a D&C. I chose the latter.

Before they wheeled me in for the procedure I asked my OB one more time if he was sure it was over. We wanted to believe that they had been wrong. He took a moment to sit and explain everything, detailing the evidence from the ultrasound. He also told me that he was a man of faith and that there was no way he would be doing this if he had any doubt. I'm not a religious person, so my physician's faith had never been of concern to me in my medical care (and to tell you the truth, I don't really want my physician relying too much on God's will, just in case it makes him/her not fight as fiercely for my life in a critical moment!), but I did find this reassuring in this moment.

Physically, I recovered quickly (the whole D&C was a breeze actually), but emotionally it took me some time to feel better, as it does for everyone. Some days were tougher than expected. My birthday was bad (the baby's due date), Christmas was slightly melancholy (we "should" have had two kids), and when my birthday came around again I felt a little blue realizing that the baby would have been a year old already.

We had put pregnancy plans on hold for awhile after the D&C, but tried again last summer, trying to time it for early this summer. We're now debating whether to try this summer. The Hubster wants another child, the Little One keeps talking about a baby sister, but I'm feeling more ambivalent than ever. Things are finally falling into place. My career is about to be properly launched. The Little One is entering her final year of preschool. We're out of diapers, pull-ups, and even those nighttime underpants. The sippy cups are gone. We sold the stroller, high chair, and pack-n-play months ago. I'm turning 42. I'm feeling beyond this stage of having babies and taking care of an infant, a toddler, a three-year-old. I had a ROUGH postpartum period, for months, and really don't want to experience that kind of thing ever again. It took two years to really feel like myself again, and three years to completely recover my mental sharpness. And above all, we are a happy little family. Why mess with perfection?

And yet... I'm feeling a little bit of melancholy to realize that this will be the last year of preschool, that a year from now I won't be the mommy of a very small child anymore. I can't yet part with the baby and toddler clothes stored in my garage. I'm old enough that I can't really change my mind in a few years. (Yes, I know that maybe I physically COULD, but I have no interest in pregnancy after a certain point. I barely have interest in it now.)

I didn't really intend to tell this whole story today. I was sitting here trying to think of something to write, staring at an episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8 on the t.v. (big marathon this weekend in preparation for the juicy season premiere tomorrow night ... stop judging me, you KNOW you're gonna watch it), taking in yet another scene of a roomful of screaming children and feeling intensely grateful that my house is never filled with such a cacophony, so I started to write about that. Posts sometimes have a mind of their own.