I joined a gym…

I never thought I would, but here I am. Well, that’s not entirely true, I thought I would join a gym after I lost 20 lbs at home.

“But Stasia, that doesn’t make any sense!”

Well, I wanted to lose some weight first so that I wouldn’t be judged as harshly by the people there. I’m already self-conscious about the way I look, I don’t need to hear that I’m a jiggling sea cow from other people. I own mirrors, I know I’m fat.

Bear had gotten me a Fitbit for Mother’s Day, and I had been doing alright with that. I was making some better choices when I ate, and was definitely more active, but was only down 10 lbs from May until October. Pathetic.

A friend of mine has been going to this gym for a while and would try to talk me into coming, and I always made excuses. I saw her Facebook posts. Those people did hardcore workouts, and I needed fat-lazy girl workouts. No way I could keep up with them; I would die from embarrassment if I didn’t die from the exercise!

Then my bestie/sister-in-law joined. I noticed the results she was getting, and she kept telling me how great it was (which meant a lot coming from someone who proclaimed to hate exercising!) She finally convinced me to give it a try.

She told me no one was judgy, and that you can scale the exercises until you can do them. I half-believed her, but I was so sick of hating who I saw in the mirror, and progress was slow on my own, so I was willing to try.

The trainer gives you eating guidelines, and let me just say, this is the first time I’ve changed my eating habits and not felt deprived. There are days when I have a hard time eating enough calories because I feel full. I don’t miss the carbs like I thought I would, like I have with all the fad diets I’ve tried in the past. For whatever reason, this is different.

And I’m definitely the biggest girl in my class, but no one has ever made me feel bad about it. The trainer has built and encouraged this environment where everyone pushes each other to do their best, they all cheer each other on, and they celebrate each other’s victories.

Today was especially inspiring for me. We did a “Spartan Challenge,” which consisted of 120 burpees and a one mile run (split into 1/4 mile run, then 30 burpees, 4 times). It was hard and exhausting for even the most fit people in my class. I didn’t think I would finish it, and had I been on my own I definitely would have quit, but I wasn’t on my own. When I started my last quarter mile run two of the women that had already finished made the loop with me, even though they were tired, they cared enough to make sure I didn’t give up, even though that was an extra quarter mile for them. When I felt like I could barely lift my feet they encouraged me to keep moving.

And I didn’t give up! I made that loop and then finished my burpees, and I managed to stop shaking enough to write my time on the wall. It wasn’t the best time by a long shot, but it’s my best time, and next time will be better.

I’ve lost over 10 lbs since I started, but I care about that so much less than I thought I would. Now I care more about the way I feel, the muscles I’m building, the strength and the energy I have. I always thought people that loved to exercise were a little off (sorry!) but I get it now.

I look forward to going every day, and I miss it on the off days. I swear my muscles twitch with excitement when I think about exercising on days where in the past I’d have been sedentary. I still struggle with the depression, but this gets me out of bed and moving for the day, which is a huge step for me.

I’m getting stronger every day, I’m setting new goals for myself, and I can’t wait to bore you all with the before and afters!

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Sherbert

In 2003 my ex and I were stationed in NY. I started feeding the cats that were left behind when other military families moved to their next duty station. I was TNR-ing them as I got the money (I didn’t even know it was a thing when I started, I was still a baby without any rescue experience.)

Some cats were more friendly than others, and I had my favorites. There was an orange tabby I named Sherbert who was the most friendly. (Yes, I spelled his name wrong, fight me!) He was the first to let me pet him, and eventually would even tolerate me picking him up to snuggle.

One day while bringing in groceries Sherbert snuck in the propped open kitchen door to eat our cat’s food. My ex wanted to put him back out immediately, but I said to just leave him, he’d go back out once he finished. Sure enough, by the time we were done unloading groceries Sherbert was nowhere to be seen.

We had dinner and watched TV for a few hours, then I decided I was going to put on my pajamas. When I came to the top of the stairs and looked in my bedroom, there in the middle of the bed was a stripey, orange ball of fur.

“What are you doing up here?! X is going to be so mad!” I whispered as I walked closer. Sherby just stretched his little paws out and purred so loudly!

I giggled quietly and stroked his back which made him stretch out again. This time I noticed something off about his paws.

I called X to come upstairs to see something. He came up and said, “What’s he doing in here? He can’t stay, we can’t have another cat.”

I replied, “Look at this,” as I gently squeezed Sherbert’s paw, “he’s declawed.*”

“Why do people do that? Ugh. Well, we can’t put him back outside, he doesn’t have any way to defend himself.” Despite his roughness, X had a soft spot for animals, and especially cats.

I took Sherby to the vet where he received vaccines and a microchip, he was officially ours. He refused to be an indoor only car after being out so long, but always came inside in the evenings, and was never far from the yard during the day.

In 2005 my marriage to X had ended and we split up the animals. I couldn’t afford them all, I couldn’t even afford the slum I would be living in with Heidi, my German Shepherd and soulmate, so the cats went to live with X.

Sherbert wasn’t happy with the arrangement and began urinating on the countertops and in the kitchen sink. I suggested a vet visit to check for urinary issues, but then Sherby peed on X’s knapsack right in front of him… While making direct eye contact. X was livid and told me I needed to take him (among some other not so nice words).

I was working at a boarding kennel at the time, and asked the owner if I could bring Sherby there. She was nervous at first, she didn’t want the kennel smelling like cat urine, but I assured her he would be a good boy, and I’d already scheduled a check up for him to make sure it wasn’t a health issue.

Sherbert was issued a clean bill of health, and was such a happy, easy going cat that he moved up to the office and was loved by everyone. I had hoped that eventually I’d be able to find an apartment that would allow me to have him home with me again, but that was at least several years away.

An animal rescue boarded their dogs and cats at this kennel, and the volunteers came in every weekend to show the animals for adoption. One of their long time volunteers, Joan, also brought her own dogs during the week for daycare, so we got to know each other pretty well, and she got to know Sherby really well since they hung out at the desk together every weekend.

She loved orange tabby cats, but hadn’t had a cat since her Tigger had passed, it was just too painful. But she always admired Sherb and made sure to say hello to him whenever she came in.

Sherby had been living there for at least 3-4 months when one morning Joan stopped to talk to me as she dropped off her dogs for daycare. I remember that conversation so well.

“Stasia, would you ever consider adopting out Sherbet?”

“Oh, Joan, it would have to be a really good home. They would have to be the perfect adopter for me to be able to let him go. Did you have someone asking about him this weekend?”

“Well, I was thinking maybe I could adopt him…”

“Oh Joan, I would love for you to have him! Of course!” I threw my arms around her in a big hug, and I remember her laughing and being near tears.

My heart was breaking knowing that Sherbert wouldn’t be mine, but I also knew that he would be so much happier in a home, where he could curl up in someone’s bed like he’d always done on mine. I was so happy knowing that he was going to live with Joan, because I knew she would give him the life I wanted to and love him like I did.

This morning Joan sent me a message that Sherby had passed in his sleep. He was at least 15 years old, but may have been older. It was a good long life for a cat that had been put out like the trash.

I’ve been crying since she told me. But I will forever be grateful to Joan for giving Sherbert the happily ever after he deserved.

*Declawing is not just removing the claws, it’s removing the end of the toe. Although I’m strongly opposed to this practice, I’d rather see a cat declawed and in a loving home than homeless. Please don’t tell me your opinion on this, this blog entry is for Sherby.

My Girl

Back in the year 2000 this girl and I, if asked about the other, would have said, “She seems like a bitch.” (We weren’t wrong)

We had been on the dance team with each other, played softball, done chorus and musicals together, and had been going to the same school since 6th grade, even having quite a few friends in common… We just never connected. 

Then in 2001, at Jay’s graduation party, we were sitting at a picnic table with mutual friends and we clicked. I don’t know why, or how, or what changed, but it did and it was such a strong connection almost immediately. It was like two puzzle pieces that you know must go together, but you couldn’t get them to until you stepped back and looked at it from a different angle, then with just a little turn they fit perfectly, and you wonder why it took you so long to figure it out. 

That summer after graduation we bonded like crazy. I was upset and afraid she’d be hurt that it was too late to include her in my wedding that September (yes, I was young and stupid), but she said she was glad she didn’t have to wear pink.

She came to see me off at the Pittsburgh airport when I moved to Florida, and called me at least once a week to check on me and update me on life back home. 

When my (now ex) husband went over seas and I moved back home we became even closer. I was at her family’s second home nearly every weekend, unless she couldn’t make it up, then I drove down to stay in Pittsburgh. When she moved up to that home more permanently, I practically lived there too. 

We went shopping together, haunted houses, doctor appointments, she even got me drunk for the first time (and helped take care of me for my 3 day hangover). We were just about inseparable. When we weren’t together physically we’d watch TV shows, especially dog shows on holidays, while on the phone so we could laugh at each other’s commentary.

When my ex’s tour was over and I was moving to NY we were heartbroken at having to be separated, but she still called me to check in like before. I listened to her problems, and she helped me through so much, including the messy heartbreak that was the end of my marriage. She wanted me to come home after that, but still supported my stubborn ass when I told her I had to prove that I could do it on my own, even if that meant living in the ghetto. 

When Barry came around she was happy for me, even though she was worried he’d break my heart. And now she loves him, and our children, too. 

She knows me to the core, gets my twisted sense of humor, and loves me for saying what other people feel guilty for thinking.

She’s been such a constant in my life, like the sister I never had, even when I’m shitty at keeping in touch, I know she’s there. So, I hope she knows that I will be there for her no matter what, and that I appreciate everything she’s done for me, and that she gives some of the best hugs, and I love her so very, very much, and I hope her birthday today brings her every happiness.

She’s my person, and my favorite bitch. 

Taking it back Tuesday?

That’s a thing, right? No? Well, it is now. I just watched a really cute video of two little boys who had emptied the contents of a bean bag chair so that their dinosaurs could frolic. In the video their mum asks how she’ll clean it and I thought, “at least it’s not Desitin…” 

The “whoops” at the end kills me every time. Watch the video here!

This leads me to share a blog post I made nearly 5 years ago. I’m no longer active on that blog, but here’s the text for your enjoyment:

In the past week the east coast has survived a 5.8 earthquake and hurricane Irene. I have survived the twinadoes and the Desitin massacre of 2011.

We were having a quiet day lazing around the house Sunday while the wind and the rains howled outside. It was around 1:30, 2:00 when the babes started to fall, fuss, fight, and become all around cranky. I suggested we put them down for a nap. They screamed and cried for a couple minutes, then became quiet. We falsely assumed they had gone to sleep.

Recently the two have become proficient at opening drawers and such, but the worst they’ve done is to empty out a clothes drawer or remove all the baby wipes from the container. Today was different. 

Barry and I were relaxing in the living room, I reading, he watching tv, when we heard Devi’s bloodcurdling scream. 

Barry made it to the room before me, I had tripped on the dogs. Before I reached the hallway I heard Barry yell, “What the hell did you do?!?!” I figured they had rearranged their furniture again, or maybe emptied out their diaper pail (again); my wildest imaginings couldn’t have prepared me for what I saw.

“Hi Mommy!” Kayleigh exclaimed when she saw me. Barry had already pushed his way into the room to get to Devi. If Barry hadn’t been so upset, worked up, and worried about it, I would have been in hysterics laughing. And I certainly would have gotten pictures, for not having taken any, I apologize.

I had just bought the tub, not tube, tub, of Desitin two days before. It was completely empty, cleaned out better than the container I had just thrown away. It was smeared on the changing table, the door, up and down the floor lamp, Devin’s crib-on every slat, and all over his sheets and blankets. For some reason they had not touched Kayleigh’s bed; thank God for small blessings. 

Kayleigh looked like one of the warriors from “Braveheart,” only in white paint instead of blue. It streaked up her nose following the lines of her eyebrows, and covering her forehead. She had a few “highlights” in her hair, of course her hands were covered too, but that was not all. She had also lifted up her pant legs and thoroughly rubbed her feet and legs. She paid special attention to her belly. Her clothes were covered as well, but nothing could compare to Devin. 

He looked like “Powder.” He was balling, probably because some of the Desitin had gotten in his eyes. His entire head, save the very top, was covered. It was up his nose, in his ears, and down his neck. His hands and feet were covered, but he had the decency not to lift his shirt. The sweatsuit he was wearing was well coated in a layer of the creamy spackle from hell.

I didn’t even know where to start with clean up. Barry had taken off his own shirt to wipe away Devin’s eyes, but Devi kept trying to rub them with his hands (which were still covered) and was reapplying the cream. Barry was now sporting a nice coating of white. I didn’t want to be in the same predicament, it’s such a pain to clean off.

I stripped Kayleigh’s shirt and pants off, lifted her at arm’s length and placed her into the tub. I hooked up the spray hose that I use to bathe the dogs and attempted to hose her off, to no avail. The Desitin, made to repel moisture, was doing its job.

I grabbed a washcloth and began to wipe away the cream, starting from her head down. I had to rinse the cloth frequently as it was getting clogged with the greasy ointment. Johnson and Johnson hadn’t prepared their shampoo to handle such a mess, so I had to use my shampoo to get her hair clean.

We went through two more washcloths with Devi. With as well as he had rubbed it into his hair, not even my shampoo could wash it out, even after 3 tries. Barry ended up using his bar of Irish Springs to clean poor Devi’s head.

We wiped and rinsed, and scrubbed and fought as his patience (and Barry’s) wore thin. Finally, we had him mostly clean, save what we had to get with a Q-tip from his ears and nose.

The was no need to put lotion on them post bath, as their skin was well lubricated. They both still had creases of white around their cuticles, hands, and feet, but overall were fairly clean.

I sent them out to the living room with their frustrated father while I set to work cleaning their room. It took probably an hour to clean the furniture, walls, etc. The clothes on the other hand….. If you ever have such a nightmare, I hope you can just pitch the clothing. These were brand new outfits, so I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead I’ve washed them 5 or 6 times, the last few times in hot water with Dawn dish detergent, which seems to have done the trick.

Devin still has a bit of Desitin in his eyelashes. You can’t really see it unless you’re looking closely, but it’s there.

We now keep the jar of Desitin up on the shelf, and I would ask for prayers that they catch on to the potty training soon.

Good times! My biggest regret in life is that I didn’t take pictures that day. I had to use baby wipes to clean it off the walls and furniture, my normal cleaning cloths were just getting clogged and smearing it around. I had to use a bucket of hot soapy water and a bristled brush to get the Desitin out of the woodgrain on the door. I remember scrubbing my hands raw afterward and still having Desitin around my cuticles and under my nails. It was all I could smell when I ate.

Although I reported that I thought I’d saved the clothing and sheets, it only fully came out of Devin’s sweats and the sheets, I think because they were cotton? Kayleigh’s pink, Baby Phat velour refused to release the Desitin and had to be thrown out. I was so upset.

This was posted in August of 2011 just after their second birthday, and they were fully potty trained by the beginning of the following January. I was motivated! 

Here they are the following Halloween; you can assume their expressions were similar when we saw the mess they’d made! (Couldn’t you just eat them up? I miss them being that age!!!)

The smell of Desitin still makes me ill, leading me to assume I have a mild form of PTSD, and Barry can now almost laugh about it. So don’t worry parents everywhere! All of our kids make a terrible mess (or many messess) at some point. Even though you may want to scream/cry/die/sell your children on the black market at that moment, that moment will pass. It doesn’t make you an awful parent, and one day (hopefully sooner than later!) you’ll be able to look back on it and laugh. (So take a moment and take the pictures!)

Giving UpĀ 

I’m tired. All the time. If you’ve been following you know it’s because I had hurtle cell carcinoma in my thyroid, so I had a complete thyroidectomy. Your thyroid produces all kinds of hormones and without those your body basically just slowly dies. 

They make replacement hormones to help with that, but apparently my body doesn’t think the synthetics are good enough. And so far none of my doctors have wanted to prescribe a naturally desiccated thyroid medicine. 

The last doctor I saw in May refused to believe the synthetics weren’t working, accused me of being noncompliant, and then sent me for celiac testing (it was negative!) I was sick of not being listened to, and then being told I was wrong about the naturally desiccated thyroid and being accused of noncompliance… I rage quit. Yep, I just stopped going. I felt like garbage anyway, so what was the difference? The difference is being more tired, more depressed, more achy, gaining more weight, and losing the feeling in my fingers or having them feel like they’re on fire. Good times.

I started to not be able to hold my embroidery needles or crochet hooks. The only reason I was getting up in the mornings was because it was easier to get kids on the bus and have them at school than to have them home all day. And I even debated that with myself. I called a new doctor when one morning I didn’t even have the energy to get them off to school. They didn’t mind having a movie and snuggle day with Mama, but I minded the reasons for it.  They deserve better. 

The new endocrinologist couldn’t get me in until February, but I could see his Nurse Practitioner in December, so I took it. I saw the NP, and after talking to me about my symptoms and history she spoke with him and he’s seeing me next Friday. Hooray. 

I’m hoping this is the doctor that can help me feel like a person again. I’m tired and I hurt, but I’m not giving up; I have too many that need me still.

Strange thoughts…

So I saw a picture of a little boy holding a guinea pig and thought, “I wonder how animals like that really feel about us? ”

Guinea pig 1: What’s up with the human always picking us up and smooshing their lips on us? 

Guinea pig 2: I don’t know, it’s weird, but sometimes they give us celery and scratch that spot I can’t reach, so I guess it’s OK.

I bet most people don’t even consider how weird it is. 

Then I thought, “Can you imagine if an animal tried to do that with a human?” And then I remembered Harambe. He was probably just like an unsupervised toddler with a kitten. He didn’t mean to hurt that little boy, he was just never taught appropriate handling of a human, and he died for it. 

I’m sorry for making you think about this…and for being a freak…..but not sorry enough to change.

No one cares about my breakfast…

I was going to post on Facebook that I was making myself a ham and cheese sandwich for breakfast. Then I thought, maybe I should clarify that I’m making it on a bagel, so it sounds more breakfasty… but then I thought, why? 

Why would I have to justify what I’m eating for breakfast? We eat pancakes and bacon for dinner and everyone thinks it’s a fantastic thing. Woo, brinner! But mention you’re having fried spaghetti for breakfast and some people look at you weird. 

It doesn’t make sense. If that’s what you’re hungry for and you’re eating it at breakfast, it’s a breakfast food! I say, eat what you want, when you want! Unless it’s babies, please don’t eat babies. 

So after my internal rant about breakfast foods I thought, why would I even post this on Facebook? No one cares that I’m eating a ham and cheese sandwich. No one cares about my breakfast, period. How do I know? Because I don’t care about anyone else’s breakfast… unless it’s babies. Seriously, please don’t eat babies.