Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Ok, I promised that I would do a Jenny Craig expose on the costs of the program at the end of the month.

JC expenditures for the month of January 2006:

Program sign-up fee: $59
1st week of food: $99.84
2nd week of food: $90.84
3rd week of food: $98.28
4th week of food: $37.89

Total for Jenny Craig food: $385.63

Supplemental fruits, vegetables and fresh dairy products:

Total for the month: $174.42

Other food and hygiene products for Zac and I: $209.12

This is one of those times that I wish this blog wasn't as frightfully honest as it is. My whopping grand total for food and hygiene for the month is $769.17. Yeah, ummm....yeah. If we put that into perspective for a moment, I'll just say that's more than I spent on rent this month.

Let's go to some of the better news. I will need to be weighed in on Saturday for the "official" weightloss total, but it's somewhere between 10-12 pounds in five weeks. I lost six pounds the first week and was starving the entire time. In week two, I lost another two pounds. Then I entered into the maelstorm of stress and hormones. In week three, I lost .2 pounds. In week four, I gained that back and then a little bit more. My emotional affect was so flat at my consultation that my Jenny Craig counselor told me that she was worried about me. She said that I should call her anytime I wanted, just to talk. Not even about food, just about my life.

Even though I had purchased Jenny Craig food for week two and three, I had hardly eaten any of it. I was too busy binging on pizza and nachos to bother heating up my pre-packaged, two-bites of nothing. Crying while hungry has to be the worst thing that someone could do, so I didn't. I comforted and congratulated myself for submitting my the federal proposal with food. My negative food habits reamined intact, regarless of the amount of money I spent on healthy food and nutritional counseling.

It's only in the last week or so that I started to re-evaluate what I've been doing with food. Since I had so much Jenny Craig food leftover, I only had to buy $38 worth of meals the last week. I spent $30 to purchase a motivational CD and DVD called, "Touchstones to Success". Before you roll your eyes, just know that it is actually good. It has helped me at least notice the cycle of binging, even though I haven't been able to completely end it. I'm not sure I'll ever really be able to think of food as something other than a way to soothe and comfort myself.

That's my ultimate goal and I'm working towards it. Did I mention that my double chin is more of a chin-and-a-half now? :)


Babies...yes, let's talk about babies....

We all like babies, right?

It's a mommyblog afterall. The key criteria for writing one is that you actually ARE a mommy, although looking through the archives for January, someone might think that I gave Zac away to a maurading hoarde of oil and gas workers that were intent on driving my utility bills through the roof during this month. Rest assured, I didn't give him away. He's still around.

His ear has been leaking the most horrible green mucus since the weekend. My Dad took him to the doctor yesterday (lack of sick time on my part), and the doctor confirmed that Zac had a sinus infection (and this is the kicker) that was leaking out his ear.

That green mucus coming out his ear?

It's the same stuff that I wipe off his nose on a regular basis, just mixed with some ear wax.

Can you say, "EWWWWWWW"? I can. That is just nasty and it makes me a little lightheaded if I think about it too long. I mean, I knew that the ear and nasal canals were all connected back there. I just didn't need a walking science experiment to demonstrate that point to me.

Ahh...speaking of walking. Watching Zac walk is one of the greatest joys for me. Little kids walk in such a different way from adults. Little kids pick up their legs, bent at the knee, and their whole foot comes off the ground with each step. They rock back and forth, side to side, when they meander over to the toy box or into the kitchen to whine for another, "Cacka" (For those of you that don't speak toddler, that means "cracker". You all will be happy to know that I'm apparently raising a child with a Boston accent. He hasn't said a single "r" yet and doesn't appear particularly inclined to do so.) Toddlers stand, almost perfectly upright, and often use their hands to express their joy while walking. It's just amazing.

Unfortunately, my guy won't (absolutely f'ing refuses to) walk outdoors. He won't even cross a threshold. I open the door to our apartment and he looks outside, then promptly sits down. If I've convinced him just to take a couple steps outdoors, he'll sit down and start to cry within two feet from the house. I still have to carry him to and from the car and in and out of daycare. According to the doctor yesterday, my bundle of joy weighs over 27 pounds. If he keeps this up, I'm going to start practicing the firefighter's carry on him and throwing him over my shoulder, while balancing my work bag, lunch bag and his daycare bag in my arms.

At least his Uncle K and Aunt Jen will appreciate that.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Sometimes I like to look at people, on television or on the street, even the people at the grocery store or working as a bank teller, and I like to imagine the details of their life. I wonder if they go home to someone special. If there is someone there to hold their hand, to smile when they look at them, to make them laugh.

Then I wonder if their parents loved them and told them how special and unique they were. I wonder if their hearts ache and if they watch television at night and feel lonely.

It's always nights that are the hardest. It's nighttime that makes me want to crawl out of my skin. My heart pounds and I start to feel so scared. So scared by absolute phrases that bounce around in my head and the convey absolute futility. Phrases like start with a pronoun and words like "always," "never" and "forever".

I'll always be alone.
I never believe that I am a strong enough to stand up for myself.
You will never understand.
He always hurts me because I let him.
She has stopped talking to me forever.
I hurt, always and I can't make it stop.

I wish I had an uplifting post in me tonight. I just don't right now. Forever is a long time and there is nothing as certain as always and never. Part of me knows that. Sometimes, the part that makes me so scared doesn't.


A long explanation to a little question:

Since I was first officially diagnosed with depression in late 2003, I have seen both psychiatrists and psychologists.

I've told the story of post-Peace Corps time before (severe depression, some post traumatic stress anxiety, brief hospitalization and then intensive out-patient treatment), but I don't usually tell the story of how I got there. In early October winter was about to hit full force in Mongolia. It had already snowed twice and I was sitting in my ger in Telmen (a small village in the Altai Mountains in the Westernish region of the country) and I knew that I couldn't continue living like I was. I had stopped taking care of myself. Stopped trying to get water, stopped chopping wood, started letting my best friend's family take care of me. Some days, I didn't stop crying. The one year relationship that I had been in had recently ended and I couldn't muster up any reason to continue putting one foot in front of each other.

I broke.

I went into the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and talked to a very kind Peace Corps Medical Officer from China, who made me dinner and told me that I was young and resilient. She didn't understand why all of the volunteers fought so hard to stay in a country where they were so obviously struggling on a daily basis. She said that life was long and that I would have many, many more opportunities to volunteer and many more adventures. I couldn't comprehend anything that she was saying. All I felt like was a giant failure and a fool. She convinced me that I should go to America for counseling and medication. I was told that if my treatment went well, that I could go back to my village and continue the work that I had started over the last 18 months.

On the plane ride, in the business class section, the head Medical Officer that traveled with me told me that I wouldn't be coming back to Mongolia with Peace Corps. He said that I was considered a risk to myself and others - an unacceptable risk to the U.S. government. When I landed in Washington D.C., I found out that I wouldn't be staying in a hotel. They forced me to check myself into a nearby hospital, in a locked and controlled Psychiatric Unit.

I spent six of my longest days there. I tried to re-adjust to hearing English spoken all around me by watching daytime television and countless movies. I didn't sleep and barely ate. My anxiety was the highest it has ever been and all the rounded spoons and bolted light fixtures made me want to cram something into my eye socket, just to prove that I could. They gave me an EKG and a chest X-ray, saying that it was standard procedure, even though I didn't have any physical problems with my heart or lungs. I was crying so hard when they took me down to be x-rayed (after cautioning me that if I tried to escape, they would call the police) that a nurse cruelly informed me that: "If you can't manage your emotions, we will sedate you." They gave me both an external and internal ultrasound (hello long tube with a camera and a condom!) for some bleeding and pain in my uterus. I had constant headaches and the tell-tale dry mouth associated with starting an anti-depressant.

After discharging me from the hospital, I spent three weeks going to daily therapy sessions with a psychiatrist in Bethesda, Maryland. At the end of our time, he ultimately did recommend me for further Peace Corps service. The Powers-That-Be, however, said that I had lied on my pre-service medical questionaire about previous problems with depression. They told me that if I didn't accept a "medical discharge", that they would possibly pursue legal action against me. I had to drop my fight to go back to my village and it was told to me in hushed tones that I should keep quiet about the deal I was offered. I was never able to say good bye to the people that I had grown so close to.

With a medical termination, I was able to apply for a Worker's Compensation Claim through the government. Basically, I was classified as a "federal employee injured on the job". My claim was accepted, with the restriction that I could only seek psychological counseling from a Ph.D. psychologist or medical psychiatrist. I began seeing a therapist in New Hampshire, who helped me through some of my worst times. She helped me see that even though I had to leave unexpectedly, that I stayed longer than most people would have and had given 18 months of my time and heart to improving the lives of others, even if just a little.

Fast forward four years to present day. I still have a lot of guilt and shame. I don't wake up anymore wondering what country I'm in and how I got there. I don't have as many panic attacks during movies or while reading books. I don't think that I'm in immediate danger all the time, like I used to. I got pregnant, had a child, moved to Texas, the rest...well, you all basically know the rest.

So, yesterday I talked to a psychiatrist who agreed that I was most likely having an interaction between the two medications that I'm on (my seasonal birth control and Z*oloft). She agreed that in addition to therapy, a psychiatrist should oversee my medication managment (to use the correct buzz phrase) as part of an integrated treatment plan. She's supposed to call me today to verify her schedule and finalize our appointment time. Yes, though, you were all right in that it is VERY DIFFICULT to find a psychiatrist that will (A) accept new patients (B) do more than just prescribe pills and leave the 'talking cure' to a therapist and (C) accept Worker's Compensation insurance.

I've been down a long road. This is a curve along the way, not a cliff that my car is creening towards. I can see that. For once, I can actually see that and that feels good.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


This weekend, I realized that I have no coping skills left. Everything (and nothing) makes me cry and hollows me out. A song on the radio, a memory, a look, a phone call. I've lost all sense of perspective and ability to say, "Well, these things happen."

Do they really just happen? Are there people out there that can say things like that (and mean it)?

Zac was at my parents' house all weekend. My Dad picked him up from daycare on Friday and cursed his way through rush hour traffic. It took him almost two hours to get less than 25 miles. It took him so long that I once again question whether I should move down south to brave the daily commute to and from downtown Houston.

On Saturday, I had a five hour strategic planning meeting for an organization that I volunteer with. It was an incredibly long meeting that left me drained and not sure that I could even make it home before falling asleep. I fell asleep almost instantly and woke up 4 hours later, still childless and even more disconcerted.

I went shopping and found a skirt on the clearance rack at Anthropologie. It was so short that I'm not sure I could even wear it out by myself in public. I found a top on clearance at Macy's and congratulated myself for the fine clearance shopping and financial acumen. I went home and got dressed, then waited. I waited until 10:30pm and even started putting on my makeup and zipped my knee high boots up the side of my calf. At 11pm, I took everything off, knowing that I had to stop waiting and too afraid to go out by myself. I cried and went to bed.

On Sunday, I couldn't stop crying. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, what happened. A second friend called me and told me that he doesn't want to be friends with me anymore. I lost it. I feel so rejected and so disgusting.

I haven't cried this much since Zac was born. It's been almost every day for the last two weeks. I don't even really want to publish this post, but I feel better after writing it. Zac is in bed, asleep, so peaceful and happy. I, on the other hand, am losing my mind.

Edited to note: The friend that I was supposed to go out with on Saturday night was in contact with me this morning. I found out that he had to go to the hospital Saturday night for difficulties breathing. He apologized profusely for not contacting me sooner and for making me cry. Honestly, I just wish that someone from his family had called me so I could have been there to help him and his kids. It's the kind of thing that always goes through my mind when someone doesn't follow through with something that they say they are going to...that wandering thought, "I wonder if something happened..." It's awful when it really is something that happened.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Federal proposal - submitted

Life - moving on

Zac- still not sleeping worth a damn and stands, mesmerized, when the face of Elmo appears on the TV screen and starts talking to him during, "Seaseme Street".

Elmo - oddly talks in third person. "Elmo's happy today. Are you happy today? Elmo is veeeerrry happy today because Elmo is going to go see his friend."

Me - doing better, thanks. Still just so unbelievably tired. My apartment looks like I've been letting Zac run around unfettered for two or three weeks (not true) and not picking up after him (true). Earlier in the week, I had to say to my friend Lars, "Don't worry about that mess on the couch. It's just dried banana. It won't get on your pants or anything." Lars, who has no kids of his own, looked at me like I just grew a second head. I followed up with, " also shouldn't get too close to Zac because I think he just pooped and I'm waiting for an e-mail from my boss before I go and give him a bath."

After I got him out of the bath, he sat down on the living room rug and pooped (again). Then stood up and quickly moved away from the offending mess, laughing, while I groaned inside and went into the kitchen for paper towels.

Nothing says, "Thanks for being the friend of a single Mom" like a fresh pile of shit.

Friends, Family, Bloggers, Commenters, and Lurkers - all and all: amazing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


In the background of all this noise, behind the computer screens and late night phone calls, you would see a woman with her finger pads aching, frantically typing the last paragraphs on a 25 page proposal or playing with the budget numbers one final time.

While all of this has been going on, I'm trying to complete the biggest project of my (very short-lived) professional writing career. My organization, in collaboration with two other non-profit organizations in the county, are applying for a federal grant program to support legal assistance and representation for victims of domestic abuse. The current budget for the project is in excess of $850,000.

Right now in southeast Texas, funding restrictions prohibit undocumented immigrants and working-poor victims from receiving pro bono legal representation. Even though undocumented victims are eligble for U visas through the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act, they can't receive application assistance or even legal advocacy at the Social Security Office or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Houston. Legal aid funding prohibits the legal representation of any non-U.S. citizens or U.S. citizens above 125% of the poverty line.

Basically, all of those threats that an abuser makes, the ones that sound something like: "If you call the police, they will deport you...You will never see your children again....If you ever tell anyone what I did to you, I will take the kids away from you...You can never get away from me...I'll find are still legally mine," are essentially true for these victims that can't access legal services.

For working-poor women, it's a tough line between "makes too much to qualify for services," but, "still can't afford a private attorney". Very, very few women can come up with a $2,000 retainer for a private attorney, especially when her annual household income is just over $12,000.

That is what I've been working on and why the noises around me sound more like static and less like a cacophonous orchestra. I haven't slept uninterrupted in more than three weeks. The medical mystery has been solved: Zac is getting all four of his molars in at once. He wakes up sometimes 2 or 3 times a night, even while lying next to me. I'm so tired that the numbers start merging in my brain and I end up trying to budget the salary of a paralegal at the same rate that I'm budgeting for a client advocate and counselor.

The enormity of what I'm doing and the amount of people we could serve if our proposal is accepted is enough to keep my head up and my eyes clear. There are many, many women in worse positions than I am. A bruised ego and a hurting heart will heal, even though some moments are harder than others.

Right now, I'm just trying to honor the 143 women and children that died last year in Texas at the hands of the abuser.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007




That really does feel better.

It's like I'm living in my own trainwreck. For those of you wondering about yesterday's comment section, he's not talking about getting back together with me romantically. He's talking about waiting for me to be his friend (remember? I was taking space). He's seeing someone right now and told me that she is the most important person to him. "As," he said, "you were when we were dating." I found that out when I had a panic attack last night and I called him. He asked if I could wait 30 minutes because he had to call her back. I couldn't.

When we spoke a little later he told me that he's frustrated because I complicate his life. He wants to move on: be friends, date others, laugh, and enjoy each other's company. He asked that I take more time to resolve my anger because I'm not ready to be his friend.
Thank you, Anne, for listening to me last night and caring for me.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Thoughts in vignette:

Last night I dreamt that I was helping Mr. Tugboat complete an on-line form at an internet cafe. He wasn't able to submit the form and I offered to help him. I spent countless dream hours inserting and reinserting the CD that he had his information on. My Dad walked up to the computer we were at and saw me franticly trying to help Tug. I was stressed because I needed to go somewhere, maybe it was just anywhere off that computer and away from him. I left the cafe and later met up with my Dad in basement, oddly reminicent of the intersecting Lego-land basements at the house I lived in at college. My Dad told me that Tug was dating the woman at the cafe with him, who I knew from high school. He also said that Mr. Tugboat was thankful for the rainy weather because it increased his chances of getting laid because Stacey wouldn't want to drive home in the rain. I told my Dad that it made me want to punch Mr. Tugboat.

Zac has been imitating me in amazing and unbelievable ways. I was sitting on the corner of my bed, with my makeup bag in my lap, putting on makeup - foundation, eye shadow, mascara, and lipstick. Zac stood up next to me and grabbed each item of makeup as I dropped it into my bag. Instead of taking the small piece of foam out of the complicated compact case, he rubbed the entire compact around his smiling cheeks and forehead. The mascara tube was dutifully seized and applied, unopened, to his small eyelashes, while I tried not to laugh. He twisted the lipstick tube over and over, trying to get it open. When he couldn't, and when I eventually took the lipstick away from him to avoid a laundry-catastrophe, he fell onto the floor in a fit of dismay and began crying. I think he wanted the full Mauve Colorstay Lipglide experience. I love him for that.

Depression, by definition, causes people to withdraw into themselves. Even the most outgoing of individuals will seem shut-off and unable to access the love and support around them. I'm essentially an extremely honest, blunt introvert by nature. Even under the best circumstances, I will feel awkward in a social setting and will do better talking to someone one rather than in a group. When I'm dealing with depression, writing on this blog is an act of will. It forces me to continually reevaluate where I am emotionally and what I want to share. There are many days when I just want to write, "AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH" then silence.

My friend in East Texas will think twice before inviting a toddler up to her apartment again. She's in graduate school in a rural town about 3 hours north of Houston. After an evening of whole milk and fabulous Tex-Mex food, Zac threw up all over her queen-size bed. I was able to control his spray to the back wall and her pillow. She handed me the last clean towel she owned (she owns three) and looked perplexed when I asked for clean sheets so I could change the bed for her. She told me that she only owned one set of sheets. I looked at her, in a 4am haze, and tried to remember my life before I had a child. I think even back then, it wouldn't have made sense to only have one set of sheets. That's even before I had a puke-o-matic lying next to me.

Friday, January 19, 2007


I have a medical mystery on my hands. Armchair physicians and advice-givers, get your pens out.

Every night for the past two weeks, Zac has woken up screaming. Trust me when I say that my child can scream! It starts out at as a low whine and increases in pitch and intensity until I go into his room. Once in his room, he stands up and holds his arms out: a clear sign that he wants me to pick him up and take him into my room where he can lay in Momma's bed.

If that were the end of the story, I would understand. The theory would be that he wakes up, realizes his alone, and calls out to me until I go and get him and allow him to sleep next to me.

Except, when I bring him into the "family bed", he doesn't stop screaming. In fact, he just gets more and more angry. He starts kicking furiously, pounding his heels against the mattress, throwing the covers off of him, refusing to hold his bear or take a drink of milk. The tantrums next to me can last anywhere between 20 - 45 minutes. By the end of the screaming, I'm willing to buy Zac a car if he wants it. I'll do anything to make him stop so we can go back to sleep. I try and hold him and he pushes me away with a look of disgust on his face.

Last night, I just let him cry it out in his crib for awhile to see if he would fall back asleep on his own. He cried in his crib from 12:30am - 1:30am until I couldn't stand it anymore. I brought him in with me and he cried for another 30 minutes. At 2am, he finally fell asleep, exhausted. We both were. Between crying and lack of sleep, I can barely keep my eyes open at work. They are swollen and bloodshot.

Does anyone know what in the hell is going on with my son?

Here are some theories that I've been playing with (in no particular order):

1) Night terrors
2) Gas cramps
3) Teething
4) Genetic predisposition of men to reject all forms of love and comfort that I have to offer
5) Allergies to....(?)

I'm open to any and all suggestions that don't involve letting him cry for more than an hour or stand out on a busy freeway during rush hour. I just need to sleep, dammit!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


"And there ain't no talkin to this man...
He's been tryin to tell me so
It took awhile to understand
the beauty of just letting go
Cause it would take an acrobat, I already tried all that
I'm gonna let him fly
Patty Griffin, "Let Him Fly"

Yesterday I stopped communicating with Mr. Tugboat. I cried and cried when I sent him the message that I wouldn't be able to talk to him for a while - that I was too angry, hurt, and upset to do anything beyond taking care of myself and Zac.

The amazing thing was that once I sent him that message, I felt so much better. I didn't have to worry about hiding my anger from him or trying not to make the snide remarks that come out of my mouth before I even realize their potential for pain. I gave myself permission to be angry and, oh damn, it felt so good.

I've spent a better part of my life hiding from anger. I always thought that "nice" girls/women/people/caring individuals didn't get mad at people. I thought that if someone made you angry, that the best thing to do was to go on like nothing happened until the anger passed. And the anger always passes, right? That's the crutch of the whole system of denial: the belief that anger can pass. I found passive aggressive ways of making people regret hurting me. I hurt them back with my words and my cold actions.

My therapist in New Hampshire once told me that depression is a form of anger directed at yourself. Usually in the course of treating someone for depression, they find the some of the sources of their anger, let it out, and eventually forgive. Suddenly, I felt lighter and began working towards happiness.

Old patterns are hard to break, though. I was talking to MNS last night about triggers, or things that can set off any kind of emotion, action, thought, or behavior. In my case, my trigger caused a depressive episode. Mr. Tugboats behavior and actions towards me triggered the worst kind of self-loathing that quickly tumbled into full-blown, "I don't want to get out of bed and see any kind of humanity and, Oh God, why am I having another anxiety attack?" depression.

Mr. Tugboat moved on, with Ramona (and thank you, again, MNS, for being like me and immediately thinking of Miss Quimby instead of these guys who put out a song with the lyrics, "Sweet sweet little Ramona, she always wants to come over, Sweet sweet little Ramona, I think I'll try and phone her")

*pardon me while I gag for just one moment......Ok, that's better*

So, just as I had been keeping our relationship a secret from the Internet, he had been keeping it a secret from the women that he was dating. A day after he was with me, he met Ramona. He was with Ramona. Now he's dating Ramona. He said that he wanted to be friends and didn't understand why I was hurt so much. He answered her phone call the morning after, while I was still in his apartment and I had to listen to him talk to her. "After all," he reasoned, "you said that we were going to be just friends. You've moved on (I hadn't). I did the same thing (clearly). I think we should all try to hang out together. I think you would really like her."

Really, Mr. Tugboat? You think so, huh?

Enter stage left: my insecurities of being a stupid, pathetic idiot that constantly gets used by the people I care for (who don't return my feelings). I felt like I had fallen for the biggest emotional con of all times.

I did everything for him that I could think of doing: listen to him talk about his soon-to-be-ex-wife for hours and everything she ever did to him, helped him work through the pain of her finding a new boyfriend, dealing with the frustration of her not letting him spend time with his son, and getting an emergency babysitter for Zac so I could help him move into his new apartment when his other friends didn't show up. I even found him the lawyer that is litigating his divorce for less than $500. The lawyer used to work with me and took on Mr. Tugboat's case as a personal favor for me.

A friend should do those things for another friend. It's just that we were more than friends. To have him start dating someone else after everything I had done for him made me feel used and angry.

In fact, I'm still angry, just able to handle it a little better.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I apologize for all of you that got late night phone calls from me last night. I had a headache and couldn't sleep. Then I started crying.

Tears are my Achilles heal. Some people cry and feel better. I cry and feel like I'm staring down rabbit hole. I'm so scared that I'm going to fall into the hole and never find my way back out. I apologize constantly if I'm on the phone with someone while I'm crying, even though I know that the only thing more annoying is someone who apologizes while drunk. Don't even get me started on drunk crying. I've done that recently and it's the worst because I can't stop it. The tears just keep coming then, in embarassingly strong heaves and whimpers.

Do me a favor: if you know me on here, or even if you only know me from here, e-mail me. and let me know who the insomniacs or the, "I don't mind being woken up at 1am" folks are.

It's not easy for me to ask for support.


Sunday, January 14, 2007


Dear Mr. Tugboat,

This hurts. I feel like I wasn't prepared for how much this was going to hurt, regardless of my own mistakes. The good Lord knows that I've made plenty of mistakes along the way. Mistakes that hurt myself and others.

I never meant to hurt anyone else, especially those that I care the most about.

Yet, we keep repeating the same mistakes with each other. As I said on the phone, I'm angry at myself. I'm angry at you. I'm angry at how vulnerable that night made me and how I've been trying to recover ever since.

Maybe I should have written the, "Five Things You Don't Know About Me:" meme so you would learn a little bit more about what I was hiding. There is so much that I hide, even from those closest to me.

I guess there is no time like the present, here is my, "Five Things that Someone That is Dating Me Wouldn't Know" meme:

1) I'm looking for the grand romance. Sometimes, when I'm in the middle of getting to know someone, when I smile when they call, when I feel so special, when they make me laugh, I feel like I'm the best version of myself. One day, I want to be able to find that version of myself without the interest of someone else. I'm working on that. Until then, sometimes when I start dating someone, I think, "Is this it? Is this the romance that I've been waiting for because, good Lord, I've been waiting. I'm trying to be patient. I'm trying not to force it. I'm trying. Oh shit, this isn't working. I am forcing it. I suck. I'm pathetic and I suck."

2) I wish with all of my being that I was perfect. I will never be and everyday I think about what I could have done better.

3) It's not just that I like to be held. I like someone to reach out to hold me, to tell me with their actions that I'm the person that they want closest to their being.

4) I'm scared that I won't find anyone that will truly love me.

5) When I'm feeling insecure, I'm ten times more likely to spend time with someone that will find me interesting, appealing, and wonderful, even when I'm not. It's my greatest, most embarassing flaw: my need to be liked.

So, that is it. Here is my heart, laid bare. So unbelievably lame. I wish I were different. I wish that I could not care about anyone. I wish I wasn't crying right now. I hope that in the morning, I'll forget that I even wrote this.


Thursday, January 11, 2007


I'm living with a 3-foot tall tyrant.

Last night I was curled up in the fetal position on my couch trying not to keep my uterus from turning into a piece of balled-up, paper at the bottom of a trash can when I look over and see Zac frantically walking back and forth across the living room holding a car in each hand. I was IMing my friend, Edrick ben Patrick, about how the Tylenol wasn't even beginning to mask the cramping when I mentioned that Zac didn't even look tired.

He stopped mid-sentence and reminded me who da Momma in the house was. He said that Zac doesn't get to pick his own bedtime and that I needed to put my foot down, put him into bed, and then crawl into my own bed after him.

Can you tell that Patrick doesn't have any kids?

He has an excellent point, though. There are times when dragging him, kicking and screaming everywhere just feels so tiring. There are nights when I want to go to the gym, but I know that Zac isn't up for it, so I don't go. If I take him when he's tired, he starts crying the minute our feet him the padded floor. He knows he's going back in daycare and he wants no part of it. Within 10-15 minutes, I hear, "Will Ms. NSP please return to the Kids Klub area?" I sigh, pick up my towel and gym bag, and over to pick up a kid that has had a complete meltdown in the Kids Klub. Tears are streaming down his face and he buries his head in the crook of my neck, refusing to even look at the child care providers. Guilt doesn't begin to describe what I feel.

I know that I need to set boundaries and stick to them. No one needs to go all Dr. Phil on me. I think I'm a fairly stern parent. I gave my child a timeout on Christmas morning because he wouldn't share his cars with his Grandpa. People may disagree with me about my discpline, but when it comes down to it, he's my child.

It's just that I notice there are times when, to avoid the feeling that unique blend of single-parent guilt and emotional apathy, I wonder if I tend to treat Zac like he's an equal partner in the household. The, "I'm the parent, you're the child" dynamic is quite frankly exhausting. Waiting until he's tired rather than putting him to bed at 8:30pm exactly is sometimes easier than listening to him cry (and vomit - he's learned how to make himself throw up!) for an hour.

I want to do what's best for him by providing him the boundaries that he needs to grow up to be a respectful, empathetic individual. If I don't, my only other option is to deal with a tyrant that throws himself to the ground and cries when he doesn't get his way.

I have to find some way to balance the demands of a tyrannical toddler with the practicality of every day single parenting. Does anyone have some ear plugs that I can use for a couple of years?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Zac and I had an eating contest tonight (because we're crazy like that over here.) I put a Jenny Craig meal in a head to head battle with a Gerber Graduates meal. Both meals were pre-packaged in didn't require refrigeration, which is just a little freaky if you consider that they both included a meat product. Both meals involved some kind of pasta with a tomato-based sauce and both meals needed to be heated up in the microwave to become edible to those not legitimately starving.

Let's meet the contenders! On my right hand, I have a Jenny Craig Chicken Parmasian meal weighing in at 200 calories: On my left hand, I have a Gerber Graduates Microwave, Spaghetti with Mini Meatballs & Sauce, weighing in at a light 80 calories:Just to give the Jenny meal a fighting chance in the beauty and fitness category, I'll show you what she looks like with a side of steamed green beans with 2 tablespoons of margarine:

It's really no suprise that JC recommends that you serve their meals on plates. She looks so much prettier this way.

In the first round, JC went down fast and hard. I was finished in under 10 minutes and hungry again in under an hour-and-a-half. The meal tasted like a more adult version of Spaghetti-O's with the tell-tale smell that accompanies a canned tomato product. Zac on the other hand, enjoyed smearing his meal over every available surface for a good 25 minutes. At the end of the fight, here is what each contender looked like:

Notice the green beans in the bowl that clearly weren't eaten at the end of this very colorful meal. Notice also that he somehow avoided getting spaghetti sauce in his eyes, leaving him looking like some kind of toddler raccoon.

It's clear who the winner of this competition was:

He looks so much happier than I do after eating.


I have a rule about posting while angry. Nothing really productive usually comes from a post written in anger. It hurts and once my anger cools I'm left with the awkward situation of either living with my embarrassing post or deleting it.

This morning, it's not that I'm angry, just unsure where to go emotionally from this point.

Last night Blakken came over and we watched the University of Florida kick the ever living crap out of Ohio State last night in the BCS National Championship Game 41 to 14. It was brutal. Instead of watching the game, we ended up eating most of the pan of nachos I made (ok that was me. Sorry Jenny Craig, I'll make it up to you), drinking a bottle of Arbor Mist White Zinfandel (definitely Blakken) and talking. We watched Zac toddle around, playing with his toys and read him the peek-a-boo book that he kept picking up and bringing to us. I had a great time with a good friend. I cherish Blakken's friendship, specifically because it isn't complicated.

I wish I could say the same about Mr. Tugboat. He's my dirty little secret that I've been keeping from the internet. We've been more than friends ever since he dumped me in early December. He said our relationship was moving too fast and I agree, it was. I was more willing at the time to see where the river would take me if I let it sweep me away. The last time I was in love was 2003 in Mongolia and the feelings weren't returned. The last time someone loved me was my senior year of college in 2002. I felt ready for a romance and jumped in. He saw all the swirling water around his ankles and tensed up, stalking angrily back to the shoreline to dry off his feet. Instead of downshifting to a more casual relationship, we ended things completely in theory. In reality, our relationship moved into the grey, nebulous mist of friends-that-like-each-other-a-little-too-much-to-be-just-friends. I know enough about love to recognize that walking down a path with someone under a heavy shroud of mist will leave you feeling damp all over. Usually a blanket and a cup of tea is required to get over that feeling, once you finally decide to go inside out of the weather.

Mr. Tugboat and I decided for the fifth or sixth time on Sunday that we needed to "just friends" if I was going to stay sane. He's in the final stages of a divorce with his soon-to-be-ex-wife. I actually referred him to a lawyer that used to work in my office, who took his case at a cut rate. I'm supposed to be focusing on myself and not dating right now. That's what I said in my New Year's Resolution anyways. Regardless of my best intentions, I kept pulling Mr. Tugboat close, wanting his interest in me, giving my time and my heart, then getting angry and pushing him away when he couldn't give me the affection and attention that I wanted from him. I kept pushing and pulling until I got tired.

It was Blakken that reminded me that the person that isn't getting what they want ultimately needs to end the relationship. Mr. Tugboat was getting all of me and I still felt empty and insecure. I can rationally see what needs to happen. I just need to figure out how to get my heart onboard with the plan. Emotionally, physically, and mentally, I'm drawn to someone that just isn't ready for the kind of relationship that I want. I might even say: that I deserve.

What a shame that readiness for love on one side doesn’t equate to a readiness to nurture that loving relationship on the other side.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Ok, I've "officially" been on Jenny Craig now for a week. Here is the honest truth: I'm starving. The 1500 calorie diet is incredibly hard. I find myself to thinking about food all the time and I've succumbed to late-night binging twice this week.

Somtimes I'm just so hungry. When I weighed in on Saturday, I had lost six pounds. My counselor told me that the first week was the "dramatic weight lost" week. I would like to officially rename that week as, "WTF" week. Every day, that is what I kept thinking. Really, "WTF? Is that all the food I get? Is there another course somewhere that I'm missing?" Lunch has been the hardest, going back to my desk still hungry. I've gotten a little panicky, looking around for more food, wondering how I was going to ever make it through the afternoon knowing that an orange and non-fat yogurt for an afternoon snack might meet an ugly end when they are thrown against the wall of my office in frustration. Of course, though, I wouldn't do that because then I would probably roll my eyes, let out a long sigh, and then walk over to the wall to lick it off.

Every Jenny Craig meal is between 190-300 calories, supplemented by fruit, vegetables, and dairy products to average out to 300 calories, five times a day. Go ahead and try to feel full off that amount of food. It's difficult. It can be done, but it's difficult.

The pattern of using food for comfort and protection against my insecurities has intensified by the lack of caloric intake. I've found myself not necessarily hungry, just craving that full feeling, the feeling that everything is alright within my body and within the world. I'm so used to eating when I'm bored or just eating to feel better that I have no idea what my body actually needs. Hunger sets off the, "Good Lord, what I am doing?" feelings that I want to immediately quash with food, preferrably with something salty and a little savory.

Is losing weight really this important to me? I feel like I'm in some kind of shock therapy treatment. After awhile, maybe the ice baths won't hurt so much and I can focus on the bigger picture of achieving a healthy, more active lifestyle. At this very moment, I would take fat and happy over skinny and neurotic.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Mommybloggers tend to get a lot of flack for posting embarassing moments or milestones in their kids' lives. I had read about other women coming into a room to find their child vomitting on the family pet, smearing feces on the wall, or licking their boogers off with their tongue.

No matter how much I read about or even thought about the downright stomach-turning aspects of parenthood, I still wasn't ready for what happened last night.

I drove down to my parents' house around 7pm to pick up some of the items that where left over from Christmas. At 7:30pm, I put Zac in the bathtub and walked into the next room to get his pajamas. When I came back into the bathroom, I found him sitting in the shallow water surrounded by floating brown logs. He wasn't just idly sititng in his own poopy water, he was eating it. It was all over his mouth, up his nose, and on his hands when he realized that it didn't taste good. He was frantically reaching into his mouth to try and take the shit out, but couldn't quite figure out what was wrong.

I almost lost it.

I've seen dogs, horses, sheep, and rodents eat their own poop. I just wasn't ready to see my kid eat his. I'm sure my parents have a story about my sister or I redigesting our bowel movements. I'm sure that hundreds if not thousands of other parents have stories similar to mine. It's not that I think that Zac is too precious or even precocious to NOT eat his own poop, it's just feels like the image of seeing someone I love sporting a shitty brown mustache is burned into my retina.

It makes me wonder what else he's capable of. I suddenly feel like I've entered uncharted territory with my son. It's the land of no boundaries, no inhibitions, and no vomit reflex to digusting images. I wish I was that lucky.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Oh Caroline from Austin....why do you doubt me?


I love that 1976 ABBA song, "Money, Money, Mon-ey!" There is a long-standing joke that when you meet an American outside of our fair country the first thing they will ask you is how much something cost. Example:

Englishman: Good day. Lovely weather were having to-day!
American: Yes, it is. I like your coat. Where did you get it?
Englishman: Uh *stammering a bit* I think I got it at Harrods.
American: Really! I was just at Harrods last week. How much did it cost? Did you get it on sale?
Englishman: *turning red now* Um, well, it was on sale and I don't know, really, my wife does all my shopping for me."
American: Well, they always say that Englishman are a bunch of limp-wristed puffs. Good day. *walks away*"

We are by far the most offensive creatures known to any culturally sensitive population. I personally cherish Americans love of getting a good bargain. It seems like we are always curious about the price someone paid on something; like we are constantly scouting for a better deal by comparing what other sods had to pay for something that we could have got at half the price. We admire someone that consistently gets the best deals for the best products and cheap(ish) gasoline prices let us keep the habit of driving around town looking for a better deal.

This is a long winded way of saying that I will tell you what it cost me to join Jenny Craig. I was going to wait until the end of the month, but I am nothing if not accomodating.

Initial Cost: $49 for a 60 trial membership. It was part of the "Lose All the Weight You Want for $49" promotion.

Cost of Jenny Craig Food for First Week: $100.09

Cost of Additional Groceries that I had to Purchase to Stay on the "Plan": $38.24

Total Cost to Date: $197.33

So, there you have it. That's what it cost me so far. The way the program works is that you eat 100% Jenny Craig food until you reach your half-way goal (which for me is roughly 20 pounds less than I currently am). Then you prepare your own food for 1-2 days per week, eventually transitioning into your own meals entirely.

I'm not going to defend my choice here to spend this money on my health. It's an intensive program (much more so than Weight Watchers, which costs $39.95 per month) that includes a nutritional counseling component and a 1-800 help line. I've already called it twice to ask about substituting food because I'd rather jump off a small bridge than eat a grapefruit in the morning.

The-Blogger-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless coincidentally wrote that being thin and healthy is an investment in your body. I drive a five year-old car that won't be paid off for another three years. I live in an apartment that is 10 minutes from where I work because I hated spending all my time and money on a shitty commute. My biggest expense right now is daycare for my son so I can continue to go to work and pay for my priorities. All of the electronic gadgets that I own were purchased circa 1999, when apparently I had an influx of discretionary cash.

I know you can lose weight for little, if no money. I know that I need to control my portions, exercise more, and eat lots of whole grains, fresh vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats. But what do you do if you tried that and it's failed. The numbers on the scale kept creeping up and everyday I started beating myself up a little more. What then?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I've avoided writing any, "End of 2006, Beginning of 2007" posts because I've been too busy trying to figure out why Zac is screaming at the top of his lungs for hours at a time. I've also just never been much of a New Year's Resolution type of person. It might be a lack of optimism on my part or maybe just the knowledge that I'm not very good at following through on things.

That isn't actually true, though. It's just that I have a hard time admitting, out loud, that I want to change something in myself. It feels intensely private and I wrestled with acknowledging my desired changes on this blog. Then I realized that it would be ridiculous for me to write everyday and try to pretend that I wasn't making major changes in my life. It would almost invalidate what I was hoping to accomplish.

So, my New Year's Resolution for 2007 involves taking better care of myself. While Zac was at my parents' house in between Christmas and New Year's, I realized how much time and energy I spend taking care of him, cleaning our apartment, trying to keep the cat from running out the front door, managing our finances, doing the dishes, watering the plants, and basically keeping everything from molding or dying. Taking care of myself, mentally, physically, spiritually, was always the last on the list, if I even managed to make it on the list.

No more.

I realized that I couldn't keep living my life the way I had been. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a woman that was prematurely aging, who looked unhappy and, more importantly, unhealthy. The fear and shame of having to admit that I need more support to reach my health goals kept me from even discussing my desire to move beyond Weight Watchers or casual dieting. Add in the significant cost of the program and the prepackaged foods and you can quickly see why the edict of: I will take better care of myself, feels so huge. I've made a financial and emotional commitment to use my actions to mirror my belief in my own self-worth.

On January 1st, I joined Jenny Craig. On January 2nd, I went to the dermatologist to get the weird bumps on my arms looked at and to get my elbows to stop itching (keratosis and ecsema, respectfully) and walked to the daycare with a stroller to pick up Zac instead of driving. I have an appointment to get new contact lenses next week and need to schedule a follow-up appointment with a dentist to get the permanent crowns put on my three post-root canal teeth. I've stopped dating at the moment and plan to use this time to focus on loving myself and being the best parent that I can be.

I've decided that I'm going to use this blog to track my progress in keeping my resolution. It involves a lot more than just weight loss, but right now (since I'm hungry and I'm not scheduled to eat again for another 30 minutes), the weight loss program is weighing most heavily on my mind (pun intended).

Here are my assumptions about Jenny Craig and my weight loss:

Assumption #1: I will have more time to exercise and be with Zac if I don't have to prepare my own meals every day. (This was the number 1 motivator for me to join).

Assumption #2: It will be easy for me to lose weight on this program, which automatically sets my daily caloric intake to 1500 calories with a combination of prepackaged, frozen and dry, foods and fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

Assumption #3: I will have more energy and more desire to exercise once I lose weight.

Assumption #4: The cost of the program will only be slightly higher than the cost of me shopping and preparing for all my own food.

Assumption #5: I have a history of issues with food that I might be able to resolve with one-on-one counseling and personalized support.

I'll leave it at those five assumptions for now. My decision to join a hugely successful marketing campaign (hi Kirstie Alley! Don't listen to the haters. I loved you on Oprah), is only part of my resolution. I'm focusing on it because it felt the hardest to do and the hardest to admit to my friends and family. I cried on the way home in the car after my counselor gave me the "Before" profile shot of myself. Hopefully, over the coming months, I will be able to finally affirm my final assumption:

My self-worth is not tied to my weight loss. I am not my body, although I need to cherish and respect the body that supports me.