Sunday, October 9, 2011

One Week Down

I am sitting here on the night of the seventh day dieting and posting as I hold my HCG drops under my tongue to allow them to absorb.

Last night was a bit tough. I suffer from both RA and restless leg syndrome and take a pain pill at night to be able to sleep through the night. Last night I attempted to go to bed without one and fell asleep- but then woke up about 2 am and just could not get back to sleep. My back was spasming and my knees were driving me crazy. I also felt very dehydrated and clammy. I truly could not choke down my protein yesterday= so all I had eaten was my apples and tomatoes. So finally about 2:30 am I got up, ate a tomato, poured some ice tea and took a pain pill. All was well for the rest of the night.

This morning the thought of eating any meat was still unappetizing- so I skipped my protein source again. The day was filled with our first good rain in months so Kaity and I worked around the house. We pulled out all of the costume bins and sorted each piece, placing them where they should be and then labeling the bins. During that time I again felt washy, so I ate another tomato and drank more ice tea.

Tonight I made fish for dinner and ate everything that I am supposed to prior to taking my HCG and I can definitely feel a difference eating the amount that I am instructed to. But I honestly just could not choke down any chicken or fish yesterday or this morning.

So tomorrow I work my double shift- Monday at the law office and Tuesday night at the vet clinic. I will be able to weigh myself and I can see what a week on this diet has done. I have to say- I do not know if it is just my imagination- but I honestly feel a bit lighter.

I stare at my clothes and visualize what it will feel like when they fit well. I have a pair of dressage breeches hanging in my bedroom that I look at. I have not worn them in 15 years. But by this time next year I plan to not only be wearing them- but wearing them in the dressage ring on one of my young horses standing in the back yard.

I also look forward to going and judging in Oregon next May. The people there are some of my dearest friends and I know how happy they will be for me when they see that I have finally overcome this terrible problem I have had in eating well and being a healthy weight.

So I usually tell a little story in my blogs to say a bit about my life- so here goes. Tonight it is the story of Jakey at the Pet Fair.

I adopted Jakey from Dogs for the Deaf in 2000. I was training at Petsmart at the time and was looking for an agility dog to learn the sport with. Jakey was a wash out from the hearing dog program. He had been training well but had developed an abnormal fear of being in town and going through doors into shopping areas. He had gone through a couple of foster homes because Jakey was quite active and not a very friendly dog. I agreed to foster him, but after less than an hour I told them to just file the adoption paperwork because he had found his forever home with me.

I had Jakey for probably about a month or two and I was using him as a demo dog at work and had started him in beginner agility. Dogs for the Deaf and our local Humane Society were sponsoring a huge Pet Fair and Jakey and I were there doing demonstrations.

In the afternoon they were having games for the general public and their dogs. Kaity was about 7 years old at the time and she wanted to go play the games. She and Jakey and I headed out to the arena where they were being held. The first two went very well. Kaity and Jakey finished 2nd in fastest sit and they had won the musical mat game. The final game was 'fastest recall'.

Now mind you- when I tell you what the rules were for this game, ALL of my dogs friends will shudder in horror at just how bad a game like this could go. Looking back I realize now that when I heard the rules I should have run as far and as fast away from that arena as we could get.

The idea of the game was that ALL of the dogs would line up across the arena at one end together side by side. You could have a handler hold them if you wanted. Each owner would go to the other end of the arena and line up side by side directly across from your dog. It was probably about 100 feet between handlers and dogs. At the signal everyone was supposed to call their dogs at the same time and whatever dogs made it to the other end first would be the winner. Sound easy to the lay person? Perhaps- but a recipe for horrific disaster according to dog people.

So all of the dogs lined up. I left Jake on the start line (he has always had the very best stay of any dogs i have ever had) and walked to the far end of the ring. Just before the announcer said 'go' a balloon broke and many of the dogs took off running. But Jakey held his stay perfectly= his bright eyes focused directly on me from the other end of the ring.

I was so proud of him. Even the announcer commented on the 'brilliant little sheltie' at the end of the ring while people took dogs back and lined them up.

As soon as they were all lined up, the announcer called for the 'go'- and I dropped my arm and watched as Jake took off like a rocket straight towards me. I could actually feel tears welling up as I realized that I had the best dog in the world.

But then, as he was about half way down the ring I saw his focus shift slightly. I looked down the line of people calling their dogs and I could see a little girl about ten years old running in a circle waving her arms and cheering on her dog. Jake saw her too. And apparently he is of the very strong belief that 'children should be seen and not heard' and he set about to remedy that problem.

Like a heat seeking missile he focused in on his new target. I realized what was about to happen and set off towards the little girl to intercept my flying dog. When he was about 20 feet from her, the little girl spotted the sheltie heading towards her and took off running and screaming. Jakey realized that he had managed to get his prey moving and he set about attempting to herd her to a place that only he knew.

People were tryng to get the little girl to stop screaming, running and waving her arms, myself, along with several trainers from Dogs for The Deaf were attempting to catch Jakey (who was locked on target and not about to give up) and the announcer just kept yelling for people to catch their own dogs and not to add to the chase. Finally after about a minute or so I managed to tackle Jakey and after looking around at the trainers who were there we all very sheepishly retired out of the ring.

So that was the end of Jakey's games that day. To this day- even after all of his piles of agility and freestyle titles- I know he would do the same thing. He is 14 years old now, and his eyesight and hearing has begin the inevitable deterioration process. But he still feels that there is nothing more satisfying than training children to be quiet and well behaved.

Laura
7 days down- no idea what I weigh

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Not Much New.....

Tonight (Saturday night) marks my 6th day on my diet. I am using HCG drops (sublingually under the tongue) and the first three days lets you eat as much as you want- so in reality it is day three....... :)
The drops have caused me to lose my appetite and I am having problems even eating the small amount of food that the diet calls for. It is a strict 500 calorie a day protocol for 60 days. Then you go off the drops for a month or two and then start again. I am presuming that it will take three rounds to get to a good weight. That is 180 days of dieting.
But.....if I could ride and run and feel good about how I look again it would be worth the 180 days. I have been overweight significantly since Kaity was about three years old. She is 18 now. That is 15 years....I sure wish that I would have found 180 days somewhere in that 15 years to get it together...
It is funny but in these past few days of dieting I think that my weight has been bothering me more than it ever has. I work at a day job where I could wear fun and fashionable clothes. And I do- I LOVE my wardrobe. But on Friday I put together an outfit that while I would certainly always would have known how much better it would have looked if I was thinner really bothered me to see when I looked in a mirror. It is as if I am actually realizing for the first time what i have done to myself.
Now understand- I have always realized how heavy and overweight I had become. But just in these past few days it has really hit me hard.
But in one month I will be going to South Carolina to play in a freestyle competition. I know that when I get there and put on my pirate and my phantom costumes that they will fit at least somewhat looser. And next March when we host our big competition there should be a visible difference from last March when I compete.
At this point I realize that it will be at least 40 or 50 pounds before anyone else notices a change. But hopefully I will start to feel the difference.
I am setting up a small private email group of diet buddies to help me cope. I want them to encourage me and to hold me accountable- and want to do the same for others.
Finally had rain today.......fall is really here. Soon it will be sweater and jacket weather. By spring when cropped pants and tee shirts come back out I hope that they will be a smaller size.
I hesitate to post my weight- I gained everything back and more...but I have always promised myself that it would something I would be upfront about. Last week when I weighed at work I was 298 pounds. A few more days without starting the diet and I probably would have headed right over the milestone of being a three hundred pound woman.

How did I do this to myself?

Laura

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hello Again

Where do I even start? It has been months since I posted and while I have not lost even one ounce of weight my life has changed for the better in other ways.

I have a new job. A new career. A new reason for going to work in the mornings.

To clarify- I still work at my night job. I enjoy it and it helps pay the bills. But last month I began working as a legal assistant to an attorney in Edmond, Oklahoma. My new boss is passionate about her clients and is a wonderful lawyer. It is so nice to work for someone who cares so much about the people that she represents. She is an ethical, hard working and brilliant woman and I feel blessed every single day that I was given this amazing opportunity to begin a new career at this stage of my life.

I never thought that I would be lucky enough to find a job that I was truly inspired by at my age. Every day when I drive to work I thank God that he showed me the ad for the position and that he gave me the right words and timing to apply for the job.

I started the Monday after I got back from South Africa.... and I am amazed at how much I have learned in the six weeks that I have been there. But time to back track a bit.....

No posts since May makes for a lot of things that have happened.... in June we went to a freestyle competition and Tilly and I paired with friends Kris and Roxie to add two more legs to our Pairs total so that now we are within one qualifying score of our first Championship together. We are traveling to South Carolina in November where we may be able to finish that title. Tilly and I also won high herding dog and our routine won high artistic at the event. Kris was kind enough to let us bring home the award for that and so now I have some great musical note art hanging on the bedroom wall to remember the weekend by.

At the end of June we demoed each day at the Summer Classic Dog show in Oklahoma City. Flag and Tilly were both great- and it was so much fun to spend 5 days immersed in dog stuff with dog friends.

In July I went on my whirlwind trip to South Africa. There and back in less than a week! It was amazing. I loved the culture and came home with wonderful gifts of art from the group. Judging each day was such a pleasure and teaching the seminars were inspiring from so many directions. One of the highlights of the event was seeing one of my early heroes of freestyle- the amazing dog Quincy- compete in perhaps her last competition at the South African Championships. Watching her work with such a zest and love for dancing was an emotional experience, and one that I will never forget.

One good thing about working weird hours is that I did not experience even a moment of jet lag. I got on the airplane on Wednesday at 8 am and I arrived in South Africa about 30 hours later. I did not sleep on the plane (much to the dismay of the man sitting between me and the plane aisle) and I made myself get up every two hours for a jaunt around the plane. Lots of water and fruit juices kept my energy level up and I got off the plane at 9 pm Thursday night SA time. I was picked up by Gavin who is the husband of Liz, who arranged the entire event. We went to dinner and I met the club members- all of whom I immediately fell in love with. I was good for about two hours when I hit the wall. And so home we went where I fell fast asleep until I woke up in the morning- refreshed and not feeling any affects of a 30 hour trip in the least!

The event was at a huge pet fair and dog/cat show. There was obedience, agility, rally, flyball and dozens of vendors. It was so great walking around meeting people. I found it funny that the moment I opened my mouth, each vendor asked me what part of the states I was from. I had no trouble figuring out the exchange rate and discovered right away that our money goes a very long way when shopping in South Africa. I picked up a few things from the dog show, including hand stamped gold dog tags shaped like a dog bone. I had Tilly and Jake put on one (one on each side) and Tango and Flag put on the other. When I was at the dog show in June there were several vendors who were selling small dog collars as bracelets for people. I had loved the idea (but not the $25 price tag) and right afterwards ordered a $3 one off of ebay that is brown leather and has rhinestones on it. So now I added my new dog tags to it and I get compliments on it all of the time. Plus I get to have a piece of my dogs with me all of the time......

But back to South Africa. The show lasted for three days and I was inspired by the amazing and creative freestyle I was allowed to watch and judge each day. What a great group of dog trainers and talented dogs are competing over there. I cannot wait to go back some day and spend more time with them. Before I left I was not sure how I would feel being there- but given the choice I would go back to visit any time!

Sunday morning before the event, my wonderful host Liz took me shopping at the rooftop outdoor mall. There are a couple of hundred vendors there that would otherwise not be able to showcase their handcrafted wares due to financial restrictions and you could spend days up there going through all of the booths. I found a couple of amazing handpainted canvases (for the astronomical price of about $8 US funds each), a hand beaded cross for Kaity ($2 US) and a beautiful silver cross with pink CZs embedded for $12 US. While I was there I saw an amazing hand carved wooden doll with beading. I decided that I just could not afford to buy it, but Liz saw my face while I was looking at it and at the end of the show I was given it as my judges gift from the club. It is now hanging in the center of my 'Africa wall' and I will cherish it forever. There was also an Afrikan woman selling hand knitted winter caps for just a few US dollars and one for myself and one for Kaity went into the shopping bag.

When I was growing up my father collected Asian art and I always wondered what made him feel drawn to a s specific culture that way. I do not wonder any longer since I have most certainly felt a very strong pull towards the culture and art of South Africa and will most likely add other elements to my small collection as time goes on.

I taught four seminars on Monday and Tuesday and the room was packed each time. I hope that I was able to give them as much as I got in return. Working with such talented and dedicated dog people is such a blessing for those of us who love this sport. It was two days that I will never forget and I am so grateful that I was given the chance to experience it.

On Wednesday, another fellow freestyle judge Gaby came over and she and Liz and myself headed out to sight see. After hiking to the highest point in the area that over looks all of Johannesburg we went down town for a drive around. People were walking everywhere and it is not easy to drive around. Vendors line each side of the street with all sorts of wares and the atmosphere is electric and filled with energy. Unfortunately it is also a very dangerous area of the country and so we needed to stay in the car with doors locked. But at one point I spotted someone walking with a great shopping bag with an elephant on the side. I realized that many people had these bags and I mentioned I would love to bring some home for people. We started looking for them and finally we spotted vendor that had them. Gaby triple parked the car with the motor running and Liz and I ran to the vendor and negotiated for several of them. I love my Africa bag- I use it to carry my clothes for my night job and it is the best bag in the world. It is a mid weight plastic and zippers shut and I am so glad that we stopped for them!

Wednesday evening it was all over and I headed back to the airport. I had about 100 rand left (about $14 US) and there was no place at any of the airports to exchange it so a wooden salad spoon and fork, an African mask and a scarf ended up in my carry on bag as my last souvenirs from my trip.

32 hours later I was sitting in Lisa's car as she brought me home. An amazing week......and I am so grateful that I was able to experience it.

That Monday morning I started my new job aka new career and once again, in case you did not hear me= I LOVE MY NEW JOB!!!!!!

So life is good, life is great and I am happy. I still have about a million pounds to lose- but maybe, finally I will start to look at myself as deserving of all things that are good. It almost seems unfair to ask for more. I have an amazing daughter, loving and dear friends, an inspiring hobby, animals that I love more than can be put into words and a job that causes me to want to work harder each and every day. Do I deserve to also be thin? Maybe not....but I need to be healthy to fully enjoy all that I have. So maybe that is how I need to look at it. Not thin, certainly not young and beautiful (ship sailed a really long time ago) but at least healthy and fit to best serve all that I have been given. So we will try that.......

Next weekend I am volunteering a horse show to benefit ex Thoroughbred race horses and then volunteering with the dogs on Sunday at another benefit to help rescue dogs. In November we head for South Carolina. Then in March is our HUGE freestyle week with banquet to benefit the Greyhound rescue. Life is busy and fast moving. Maybe it is time that I do what needs to be done to keep up with it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

End of the World??

Here it is, Friday night on May 20th....There are people who are sure that tonight is our last night in our world as we know it. You may have heard that there is a Christian group who believes that tomorrow night at 6 pm the rapture will occur and nothing will ever be the same.

Now I happen to be a full fledged, Jesus loving God worshipping Christian. I know in my heart and soul that God exists and that He created all that there is. I believe that he is responsible for our dreams and our accomplishments and that we will all be together again in eternity as He has promised.

But do I believe that tomorrow night will actually be the beginning of the end times? I have no idea. I do believe that all of this has been planned and is unfolding exactly as God has planned for us and perhaps tomorrow we will get to go home....... and perhaps tomorrow I will just be getting ready for bed.

But if nothing else, it has made me think about what I am grateful for in this world today. And the list is very...very...long. There are things that have made me angry and sad and at times very helpless...and yes, a little hopeless. But there is no doubt that the good has vastly outweighed the bad, and that I am grateful for so many things.

And what better time than tonight to write at least a few of them down.....

1) I am most grateful in this world for the gift of my amazing daughter Kaity. When I think about the fact that I have been entrusted with this child it causes me to wonder what I did that was so right to have earned this incredible gift from God.
When Kaity was three days old and had been diagnosed with multiple birth defects that affected both the possible short term outlook at living another day and also the long term outlook of what we ususally view as a normal life, the doctors asked me if I had any questions for them.

I asked just one.....WHY?

I did not drink or do drugs or even color my hair during my pregnancy. I went to bed and stayed there upon doctor's orders in my fourth month of pregnancy. I ate a perfect diet and I took all of my prenatal vitamins. And yet here I was with a child that needed open heart surgery (a couple of times) right off the bat, had no thyroid gland and was most likely going to be severely mentally disabled...and that was IF she lived beyond a few days of life. A team of doctors from UC Davis in California told me that they did not have an answer for me except to say that 'these things happen without explanation'.

But then, after most everyone had left the room, one young pediatrician stayed behind to talk to me. He said that he had an idea as to why this had happened. Anxious to hear any reason that I could use to make sense of the past 24 hours I was ready to listen.

And what he said was very simple. He said that he believed that Kaity was meant to be here in this world at that particular time. And that God had given her to me because he knew that I would take good care of her.

And that was all I needed to hear. I understood completely. And I have never questioned my gift of her again.

But as an aside......I think that God gave her to me because he knew we would take care of each other.

So...most important...I am grateful for Kaity.

Next up....my friends....my dog friends, horse friends, work friends, racetrack friends, high school friends, facebook friends, agility friends, freestyle friends and all the others. I have been blessed in my life with amazing friends. And I have to say a big fat thank you to facebook for allowing me to be back in touch with many of those friends that I had lost touch with.

My friends have sat with me while I cried, laughed with me in joy, celebrated my successes, comisserated my failures, picked me up when I was down and brought me back to earth when I was flying too high.

Thank you to all of my friends.

In particular I am grateful to my best friends in the world- my oldest and closest friend Lisa who has been there for me since the fourth grade. She is more of a sister than someone who shared my bloodlines. I will never be able to thank her enough for all that she has done for me.

And Shari- my dearest dog friend that I could ever imagine having. We share a soul in many ways and I am grateful beyond words that I was judging in Tulsa three years ago when we met. She makes me laugh and she inspires me to be better and better in both my real world and my dog world. I love her dearly.

And my dear friend Pam. Pammy and I were inseparable for many years. I could never describe what a close friendship we had with each other. God took Pam from us at way to young of an age after a brave and courageous fight with cancer and I miss her every single day. It has been several years since she left us and still not a day goes by that I do not think about her and wish I could talk to her.

Anybody in this world would be lucky beyond words to have had even one friend as good as any of these wonderful women and I have been blessed to have all three in my life.

There are dozens of other people I could mention that have also been important, invaluable and blessed to have been a part of my life, but these three women- sisters to me- have meant more to me than I could ever put into words.

I have also been blessed with really good horses.

Among them Moose, my youth horse, show horse, pony horse and companion. He will never be able to be replaced. He was there in my teenage years and was still there two decades later. He taught me how to win and only sometimes how to lose. He never let me down and he spoiled me for all others that came after him.

There was Flash, my outriding horse who gave me thrills and chills and some amazing catches. I can still feel him lower himself further towards the ground and several times come from behind to catch a racehorse that was trying to outrun us. He never missed a horse and an amazing year was made even better by riding him.

And Splash who carried many children and amateur adults that I taught to their first blue ribbon. She was an angel horse who lived for 32 years and never once made even one tiny mistake. I still have our dressage medal that she won when judge Hilda Gurney called us an 'elegant pair'. And then she turned around and a few days later paced a six year old around the ring in a walk trot class. A true gift mare that I was graced to own.

There are dozens others that I could list- but also especially special was Cyrena. Cyrena was a little Arabian mare who was in her late twenties when I bought her as a school horse. She was a cranky little thing but would really work if a youth rider truly worked at it. But her claim to saintness was the fact that she also packed Kaity around while I taught classes. No matter what Kaity did....drop the reins, turn around in the saddle, kick her, wave her arms, yell for my attention, Cyrena never broke out of her steady walk. When Kaity led her around and stopped right in front of her to look at something, Cyrena froze in place until Kaity started moving again. She was the perfect horse and a perfect babysitter. Thank You God for giving us Cyrena. We were blessed to have her until she was 35 years old and there will never be another like her.

So I have expressed gratitude for my daughter, my friends and my horses. But the list would not even start to be complete without my dogs.

My dogs. Such a simple phrase. I am a mother, a horse women and a friend.
But somewhere along the way I also became a dog person.

I had always had dogs. I grew up with two or three dogs always in the family and I adored them. My dog in my teenage years and on through my twenties was the amazing Henry Gondorff. Henry did dozens of tricks, traveled on the racetrack and was my constant companion. At the racetracks where she was not allowed I always snuck her in (in some very creative ways) and we never got caught. She was my confidant and my shoulder to cry on. I loved her more than anything....but I was not a 'dog person' yet.

That came many years later. Somewhere along the way I became a true dog person.
A dog person is someone who knows that the very core of their existence comes from their dogs. They know that their very soul is made up of part human, but mostly dog.
That if you were to look into our hearts, life and breath that we were mostly dog.
A dog person knows that they truly could not live in a world that did not have dogs.
A dog person thinks in terms of dog.
And a dog person knows that you would never question the existence of God....because who else could give us such a gift as the gift of the dog?

I wish that I had owned Henry when I was a real dog person. What things we could have accomplished!
But, a few of my amazing dogs that I am grateful for since becoming a real dog person are-

Jakey who taught me patience in learning to train. Jake was a hard headed, enthusiastic, athletic, brilliant and talented performer. The great Canadian freestyler Ray Underwood told me that Jake was a once in a lifetime dog the first time he saw us perform. Many years later I know this to be true. Whie Jakey was as quick to put his teeth on me as work for me, he and I earned titles as long as my arm in agility and freestyle. He taught me how to train. And he taught me how to compete. And now, at the age of 14 he has lost his hearing and much of his sight. He has also become my shadow around the house and perhaps his greatest gift is that now he shows me each day that he loves me. He wants to be as close to me as possible and what used to be aloofness has been replaced by snuggling. As I write this he has maneuvered himself under my head as a pillow. I love him more today than when we were in the competition ring together.

There is also Joey. I adopted Joey at a pet fair on a Saturday. Took him home with me that night and brought him back the next day and did demos with him. On that Monday I had him neutered and on Tuesday got a call from a theater looking for a dog to play Sandy in Annie. For the next six months I lived a fairytale 7 shows a week as Joey's owner and trainer. I will never forget that magical time in the theater and Joey made it all possible. These days Joey still loves to perform, but most of all just loves to be my dog.

TillyBelle came to me when she was about a year and a half old. Completely unsocialized up to that point she was scared, high strung and difficult to live with. I had retired Jake due to his soundness problems a year earlier and was waiting for the right dog to come along. Tilly was just supposed to be an 'interim' dog. Something to train until I found my perfect partner. But somewhere along the way, after three years of training and being together through some very difficult issues, I realized that I had already found my perfect match. She is a brave girl. I know how scared she still is- but her trust and love for me overcomes her fear and she has taken me places that I never would have thought possible. God gave me a very special gift that I cherish. Tilly lives deep within and surrounding my very soul and she is my heart dog.

So there you have it.....one cherished daughter, three great friends, four amazing horses and three gifted dogs.

I remember that I was once told that you got one good dog, one good horse and one great love.

How blessed have I been? Beyond words.

Will the world end tomorrow night?

That is something that none of us can know with any degree of certainty.

But I can tell you one thing...... I have had more than my share of gifts for an entire lifetime.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Night

Child is asleep, dogs are asleep, horses are grazing......finally it is peaceful. Tomorrow we will be demoing and I finished cutting music a couple of hours ago. I tend to like to do demos a bit 'on the fly' without a great deal of planning when it comes to choreography. More fun for the dogs and more fun for me...
Tilly and Flaggy will be going with us to dance.
A few updates on how they are doing. At our event in March I chose to not compete with Flag. I decided he needed more seasoning and training before I shoved him out in the ring....but I did dance with him at the benefit banquet. He was very good and I enjoyed him but was very glad that I had waited to compete with him. A few weeks later I did compete with him in Denver and he won his HTM class the first day with a qualifying score and was second the next day without qualifying but I knew that he still needs a lot of training before i want to go back into the ring with him. he is just too nice of a pup to rush.

Tilly has really started to come into her own while competing. At our event she won her division each day and was high scoring herding dog and high scoring artistic dog each day. Best of all she really has started enjoying being in the ring competing. It has been a long road- but I am am relieved that all of the positive training that she has received has finally started to really pay off. Next month we travel to Tulsa try and finish her first Championship- a pairs routine in which we get to be pirates....

Tango has just been allowed to be a puppy. Playing and running wild, he is confident, brave and afraid of nothing. What an amazing performance dog he will be!

We are starting to do a lot more demos now. It was time to cut back a bit on competing and focus on giving back to the community and various non profit groups. We have several lined up over the next few weeks.

In July I will be traveling to South Africa to judge their Championships. It would be fun to really explore and sight see while I am there- but I really did not want to be away from home for too long and my job requires me back as soon as possible- so I will spend about 24 hours getting there, stay for about a week and then head home, traveling another 24 hours to get back.

So once again, when asked about how I am doing, I focus on how the animals around me are doing. It makes sense I guess....they give me strength and purpose. But one of these days I am going to have to dig even deeper...

???????????

The last time that I posted it was snowing. The last time I posted I was just starting my new job. The last time that I posted we were looking forward to our big March event. The last time I posted I was still making excuses about taking care of my own health concerns.

Well now we have had 90+ degree days. I am still working at my new (and my old) job. We had our March event and it was a roaring success- and we are now planning next year's event. And of course I am still ignoring my own health issues.

It is Saturday afternoon. I was exhausted after a week of working at my regular day job and then spending two nights mare staring at my night job. Mare staring is self explanatory- I literally stare at a mare or mares all night because they are getting ready to foal. I take this part of my job very seriously. I watch very expensive mares that are carrying very expensive babies inside of them. Mares can be very sneaky- they will foal after you have been watching them for 11 hours when you leave to use the restroom for a moment.

In the many years that I have been working I have yet to miss a baby. I set up my chair outside their stalls and I read to them, play quiet music, feed them treats and make friends with my mares. So most of them are pretty happy to let me be there while they are foaling.

But I digress....

So I spent today cleaning the sun porch. One thing I cleaned off of the sun porch was our pony (Woody) who likes to come inside and eat cat food crunchies. The dogs used to bark at Woody- now they ignore him. But the cats do not like Woody eating their food and the sun porch is really small so Woody had to go while I was cleaning.

Woody came to us about three years ago. I had rescued Gussy, my old white gelding and he was being treated terribly by my horses. I thought Gus could use a friend and someone told me about Woody. I was told that he was a 19 year old mini horse gelding. But when we got out there to pick him up I saw right away that he was still a stallion. The lady giving him up said that if I did not take him she would send him down to Lion Country to be used for food. So Woody ended up coming home with me.

Too old to geld safely, he was good with Gussy, but Gus still likes being with the other horses in the pasture. And while I could turn everyone- including Woody- out together, Woody decided that he loved my mare Splash and went crazy when anyone else got near 'his' mare. And he would just run himself into a terrible state when they were out together. So now he and Splash live together in the front pasture and it is a great deal more peaceful around here.

But even this is digressing. Cleaning the sun porch, editing music for a demo tomorrow and taking a short nap helped get me over having worked two 30 hour shifts this week (day to night to day). Tomorrow we (me, TillyB and Flaggy) will be demoing at an event here in Edmond that raises money for hurt and injured animals.

So the big question- when will I start to address my health? When will I feel it is time to start taking care of myself as well as I enjoy taking care of others? When will I feel I am worthy of living my life to the fullest?

Who knows......

But if I can just keep writing maybe I will figure it out.

Monday, February 21, 2011

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

I wish I was one of these people who get up in the morning, go to their 9-5 job, are home every night and take their weekends off. But as a single Mom who has lots of activities with her dogs and horses, that is just not a possibility.
We really only can get by financially if I work two jobs, so last month I started working part time during the day at a small animal clinic. Small- because the animals are smaller than the horses that I care for at night while at the large animal clinic, but small also because it is a one doctor smallish in nature hospital. Clear as mud?
Working two jobs means I need to be more organized and on top of things at home since I am not there as much to be able to do things. Weekends are spent cleaning, straightening, doing yardwork and training dogs. I have to make my time count for more things.
Starting this week I flip my jobs. I was full time at night and part time during the day, but then I was asked to start fulltime days so I changed to part time nights. Still clear?
And in less than a month we have our big event here in Oklahoma City. TillyB and I will be competing, Flag will be performing each day (but not competing) and Tango and Lilly will be along for the ride.
Working 60 hours a week means that I have less time to get ready for the event. I tend to do things like work on the program and running order at 3 in the morning. Sometimes this makes for interesting copy that I write. I always make sure that I have the competitors check their entries- because, as I said, I did it at 3 in the morning- so you never know.
My day job will be 8-6 with a two hour lunch and I will be using this time to go back into the gym and work out. I belong to the Y but never seem to have the time to get there. When I get off work I just want to go home. And before work I am just busy doing other things. So I am hoping (today is the first day of the new schedule) that I can make this work. The gym bag is packed and in the truck- so I have no excuses as of right now.
But as you may have gathered by now- when it comes to my own health I am the Queen of excuses. There is always a dog needing trained, a child needing time, a nap needing to be taken, a house needing cleaned that takes precedence over my own health needs.
I watch the Biggest Loser on tv and I am so envious- being able to take days, weeks and even months for some contestants just to focus on themselves and their health issues. That is beyond what I can imagine.
But today perhaps my schedule will adjust so that there is a block of time where the gym makes the most sense.
I also watch the Amazing Race and imagine being healthy enough to participate. I keep thinking that when I lose my weight and can run for a couple of miles without stopping (HAH! at this point I can run about 50 feet) then I want to be on the show.
But for now I need to go back to the baby steps that I have been looking at.
So this particular post is even boring me now- so I guess I will get ready for work.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Thoughts

I just cannot bring myself to post one more time on my fasting blogpost. To summarize- I used to be thin. I used to be able to eat anything that I wanted to. I could get out of speeding tickets. Men were attracted to me. I could show horses and look good in breeches. I was a cheerleader. My family was alive and while we had our issues I could go home for the holidays. I had a job that I loved and a home that I was proud of.

Fast forward to now.....To summarize- I have none of these things anymore. But that is just the way that life works. Life changes and sometimes you can control it and sometimes you cannot. Life changes for all of us and we can deal with it or not.

For the past several years I have not dealt with it very well. I have appeared to take most of it in stride- but inside I was dying a bit every single day. And eventually the dead Laura took over the old Laurie and finally I just did not see how things were ever going to work out.

There are a lot of things that I still cannot control. My family is gone now and there is nothing that I can do about that. I will probably never get out of a speeding ticket again- but then I drive really slow now so I guess I have figured out how to control that. I work hard at my job and while it is not as much fun as my old job it pays the bills and I am grateful to have it and proud to do it the best that I can. I will never again be able to eat anything that I want...Well...I can- but the results are not very good. I do not know if I really care if men are attracted to me anymore- at my age that ship may have sailed no matter what- but I do know that I am ready to be a healthy weight for a lot of different reasons.

I am 12 days into the Daniel Fast. It ends at 21 days and I am only going to add a few things back in to my diet. Healthy eating needs to become my lifestyle for a lot of reasons and I need to find an eating program that gives me the chance to lose weight and that I feel I can live with for a lifetime. I think that I am now on my way.

I went on a binge during the holidays. 2009 was the first Christmas since I had lost both my parents and my younger brother and I think that I was still in a bit of shock that everyone was gone but me. But this year it really hit home. I did not want Kaity to know how I was feeling so I hid it really well by celebrating with her, putting up the tree and the decorations and pretending that everything was fine. But I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate.

Thankfully our church was starting this fast right after the first of the year. It has afforded me to getting back on track. And I feel a lot better today than I did 13 days ago. Imagine- just 12 days of healthy eating and you can actually feel physically better.

It is funny- just the other day I was looking at myself in the mirror and it was as if I was looking at a stranger. It was a shock to see what I have allowed to let myself deteriorate to over these years. I would never ever ever have expected that I would become this person physically. How could this be?

But I can fix this. It will take a long time- but it took a longer time to get here. A year from now I hope to look into the mirror and once again recognize the person looking back.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Day of the Fast

Today is the first day of a 21 day Daniel fast that has been requested by our church. All of the members have been asked to join in. It is primarily fruits and veggies with a few other items (such as brown rice and whole wheat tortillas) also allowed. Mostly just water to drink, along with fruit juices. I will probably just add a splash of fruit juice to my water.
today's food journal-

4 tangerines
1 apple
2 bananas
2 cups brown rice
2 small russet potatoes

Lots of water w/about 1/2 cup orange juice included

Second Day of fast- not too bad so far, I picked up some cashews (and actually felt a bit guilty eating them because I like them so much). A bit of a headache tonight- but that could easily be sugar withdrawal...... I do feel less full than normal...

today's food journal-

2 small baked potatoes w/salsa
3 bananas (will probably eat one more later)
1 cup brown rice with peas added
1/3 cup cashews

Lots of water today w/o fruit juice added.

Hopefully the rest of the days will be this easy and then I will be kick started into a new healthy way of eating. Using food for fuel instead of for pleasure!

Third day complete. A bit of a low grade headache today. I have been looking for a part time day job to supplement my income and I have had two interviews this week. I was worried a bit because this headache started the second day and so both of the interviews were (very) slightly compromised by the (very) slight pain in the front of my head. I am sure that this is the detox phase from sugar that I have heard about and it is not wonder with all of the poison that I regularly put into my body that it is responding with physical symptoms. Last night I went over to my friend Lisa's house for dinner and afterwards sat and talked with her mom and aunt whom I adore. Was yawning by ten pm and came home but then could not get to sleep until almost 3 am. No matter what time I go to sleep I still have to be up by six for Kaity and to let the puppers out- so hopefully I can catch a nap before I go back to work tonight. Then I have the weekend to regroup and by then this detox phase should be complete. I do have to say that I am not very hungry at this point though. Much much easier for me than a strict low carb diet that focuses on proteins like meat, eggs and cheeses.

Today's food journal-

3 bananas
3 tangerines
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup brown rice w/peas
2 wheat tortillas
1 cup sauteed veggies (over at Lisa's).

Missed a couple of days posting- but stayed true to the diet. Lots of withdrawals going on, I would guess from refined sugar and flour and fried food. Probably also from filet o fish and french fries and pizza too- but those are more emotional than physical.
Low grade headache for the past couple of days and just a sort of light headed feeling. Also- I have noticed that my face appears a bit flushed- perhaps that is just another way of flushing the toxins, or perhaps it is increased circulation.
Going to dog training today and then for some grocery shopping. Cashews are my downfall right now!

Yesterday's food journal-

1 cup cashews
2 medium baked potatoes w/salsa
2 tangerines
1 apple
lots of water

It is now Sunday night. I have made it through the first week and the withdrawal symptoms all seem to be gone. Mixed some jalapeno juice with refried beans and brown rice today, smashed up an avocado to add to it and ate two burritos. Not exactly Taco Cabana quality- but they really were not too bad. Feeling pretty good about the next two weeks!

Todays food journal-

3 bananas
1 apple
2 burritos
Lots of water