Thursday, December 27, 2012

Oh, Snap! And Some Thursday Things

I had a bit of a validating moment last week served up with a side of BOOYAH. Out of the blue, I got a text from Greg...I'm sure it was a single-at-Christmas loneliness thing. He asked how I was doing and we wished each other a merry Christmas. He said that his daughter has been living f/t with her mom since school started.  He said he "wanted to say hi to a person that seemed to care so much for me. I miss everything we shared together. I'm doing ok but I think I've made a few bad choices this year."

I said it was okay, we all do, it's part of the learning and growing process. It's difficult to find your feet after a divorce.

He said, "thanks for being an understanding and caring person. Maybe chat with you again soon?"

Wait for it...

"Oh, that's not necessary - I'm seeing an awesome guy who loves me for who I am and makes me feel great about myself. That was the lesson I needed to learn from you - love builds you up, not tears you down. You and I cared about each other but all you could see were my flaws and it made me feel so sad. It's crazy fun to be with someone who enjoys me for all my good qualities! I had my plastic surgery and am living on top of the world right now. You'll get there, too, because next time you'll try to love and accept people for who they are, if you care about them enough. I hope for and want that for you. Be well, Greg! I keep an eye out for you on the streets, will say hi if I see you. :) Give M. a hug for me, I have missed her."

Booyah. It felt good to say, for sure. And hearing from him has caused me to reflect on how much nicer it feels to be with someone who just likes me for me. With Greg, I didn't realize how much I pussy-footed around him, keeping my smart-assy comments to myself because I knew he didn't get my humor, etc. (I am not entirely sure Mr. W gets my humor, either, but at least he's game to try, haha. More and more, I think I am either getting weirder with age...or giving less of a isht what people think.

Anyway, that was nice closure. I'll admit - I miss him sometimes. We had fun. I liked to climb him like a tree, and he was the best.kisser.ever. Not worth the many trade-offs, though.

Kim and I have joked that my caliber of men continues to improve every time I go to the well. Mr. Wonderful, is, well, wonderful. We had a great time together over Christmas. He is incredibly thoughtful: he bought me a fancy new bike helmet (he texted later, "Designed to return you home safe after every ride, to keep your head cool on a long summer ride with extra ventilation match your bike." Hahaha. He also bought me a stuff bag for my bike, and he put gingerbread and pumpkin pie Clif bars in it.

For the family, he had left a gift under the tree early, and the kids were excited to open it. This one was actually pretty's a hummingbird feeder. Which *I* am so excited about! I had noticed his tree in the front yard had several hummingbirds, and I said that I thought they went away in summer. Nope, he said, there are species that stick around all year, if you feed them. I said that our next door neighbors have feeders and the birds are so familiar they have named them.

Um, the boys were much less excited than I was about the hummingbird feeder. Alli rallied a bit better but the look on the boys' faces when they opened was priceless, hahaha. A little bit of horror, a little bit of disappointment and a little bit of polite brave face. Welcome to the world of children, Mr. W.

He had said I was easy to shop for, because when it comes to biking, I need *everything.* Ha! True dat. Still, he totally spoiled me. And he's lent me a bunch of stuff - waterproof pants and gloves, arm warmers, a balaclava (I struggle so hard with this word, haha, always wanting to say baklava. And then eat some.). He has one of everything, and c'mon, we haven't been seeing each other very long...I didn't know what the heck to get him! Besides biking, you know, we're still getting to know each other. And I think this year he said he biked 3500+ you know, that's a whole lot of biking. I ended up getting him a screaming yellow helmet rain cover...he said one day he had bought black but should have bought yellow for visibility. Well, there you go! Now he has one. :)

I'm enjoying him very much. :)

In other news, I did go on my second post-op bike ride last night...our standard Wednesday night ride that's a little hilly and a little long. O.M.G. I thought I was gonna die. It's amazing how quickly you get out of shape. Wow. On one hill I seriously wanted to get off my bike and rest. The rain was blowing sideways, it was dark and super windy. I had a blast. :) But wow, I've got some ground to regain when it comes to my fitness.

I wanted to stay home and watch Top Chef Seattle.
But I knew I'd feel better if I went out riding. :)

On Sunday, I ran a couple miles with my daughter. Well, we ran one, walked one. That also felt good, but was tiring. Baby steps. I'll get there again!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Six Weeks Post-Op and Happy Holidays!

Wow, I'm already six weeks post-op! Very exciting stuff. I am officially released from wearing my compression garment. I actually didn't wear it yesterday, when I ran a mile for the first time post-op. Ran one, walked one. It felt good - great, even - to run, but I swelled up like a blowfish afterward. Today, at work (yes, on Christmas Eve, bah humbug), I am again swelled up with a hard little Buddha belly. I may put that nasty old binder back on when I get home this afternoon.

Anyway, here are my six week post-op pics. Woohoo! I probably won't give you (m)any more nekked lady ones, because I don't know how much more things will change. Well, maybe at six months post-op we should do more nekked lady pictures, because the doctor said that's about how long it takes to see the final results. I am still definitely swollen some, which I can tell more by feeling than seeing. The nerves on my tummy are still a little odd - rubbing my belly feels a bit like rubbing someone else's belly! But that may not actually change...I knew that going into it. Also, I had that big scar on my tummy before the plastic surgery, and the feeling in that had never really been quite "right" since my spinal fusion back in 2004.

Six weeks post-op
Looking good, yes? I feel great. I still get a little tired. Last week was super busy, and admittedly, I spent a lot of time with Mr. W. Staying up a little later than I should, too. But just in general, my body feels like it's not quite recovered and I am pushing it just a little too hard. 'Tis the season! Other than that, everything is awesome.

I went on a 16-mile ride (flat) with Mr. W on Sunday and we made good time and while I was exhausted, I loved it. The running yesterday didn't physically hurt or bother me at all, but I was sore-ish in the afternoon. All in all, I feel confident that I can get back out there.

Laugh, I am going to wrap this post up as even I am a bit tired of looking at my naked torso. But I am super pleased with the results and thus far it is everything I hoped for!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

Those poor babies. I can't even begin to fathom what all those parents and the community are feeling. 
As a mom, it's just too horrific to consider.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Number of Thursday Things

Some bloggers do "Three Things Thursday," some do "Ten Things Thursday." I find that I generally have more than three things to say and not as many as ten things. So I will just say today is Thursday, and I'm going to tell you some things. :)

- Oh, hello, flat tummy complete with hints of ab muscles! It is fun to see things changing as I continue to heal. The doctor said I can stop wearing the binder/corset thing, first at night, then during the day. The compression garment goes away Christmas morning. They are an annoyance but really not any major concern of mine. Most of my clothes fit over them and I don't think I'll want to wear jeans over the scars right away, anyway. That might be a little tender!

- Hrm, hello, flabby boobs. You're still here, eh? Okay, I can COMPLETELY see how people become addicted to plastic surgery! If money were no object, well, I'd become the touch-up queen, haha. I just wanna fix this and this and this and this and...

If you knew how much I hate Carrot Top, you'd be shocked that I'd put a picture of it here.
- Thank you, scale, for reading 137.1 this morning. I know at this point all the extra weight is gone and I am all about maintenance and building a kick-ass athletic machine. But I cannot tell you how much it irritates me to have weighed more coming out of the plastic surgery to have skin removed than I did going into it. Logically, I knew to let it go, but emotionally, it was a slap in the face.

- I had another date with Mr. Wonderful last night (whom I have decided to abbreviate to Mr. W, or possibly simply "W," which I am undecided on, because "W" makes me think of George Bush, which does not create a positive mental association, but "W" also makes me think of the University of Washington, which is a very positive association. But I am a very lazy typist, and I sort of think the whole Mr. Wonderful nickname creates unrealistic expectations, yes?

(- SQUIRREL!) I sometimes think reading my blog must be like this:

- ANYWAY - I had a date last night with Mr. W. He very artfully wrangled his way into that one, first by telling me on Tuesday he was not going on Wednesday's bike ride, as he would normally do. He felt a cold coming on, maybe, but might have energy to shop. I had already said I couldn't go, but had to go buy gingerbread houses and other such materials. The kids and I are getting together with a friend and her family to do them this next Friday. I ask him what he's shopping for - he says, "gingerbread?" Well played, sir. We had a very fun evening and he didn't seem like he was getting a cold to me. :)

- And so, we are dating like high school. I like it. We haven't even held hands, haha. He stayed until midnight last night, which was all well and good for him, as he has today off, but I had to be up at 5 a.m. I told him I might just shoot him a wake up call when my alarm went off. He says that's fine, because his phone's on silent mode and he'll see it sometime late morning. So you know at 5:15 this morning I texted, "GOOD MORNING!!" And you know he shot back a response in a heartbeat - he was waiting on that one, haha. Asked me over to his place for dinner on Friday.

- Mind you, this is a college-educated professional man with no children and he is terribly taken with me, I can tell. Plus he talks to and engages my kids like they are people, which sometimes I even forget to do! (He really snuck past the whole separate-from-children rule with his "let me work on your bike" and "if you don't mind I'll just do all these other handy things for you." Tricked me.) Anyway, given his status and the fact he's interested in me, you just know he's criminally insane or something. Time will tell. :) If I were his best friend I'd be telling him "RUUUUNNNN!!!"  Seriously, good job, no kids? You couldn't NAIL me down.

- There is no small part of me saying "Thank God, he has no kids," hahaha. Sorry, I'm at capacity. :)

- On Sunday, I will finally be back on my bike! Come hell or high water. I miss it terribly. Mr. W. and I are going on a 30-something mile flat ride. I expect to do just fine. I hope to ride my Wednesday night ride next week with my bright and shiny new bike light.

- I have a 2013 calendar going on my desk with my events starting to flesh out. My dance card is filling up quickly! Alli wants to do a 5K a month, I want to do all sorts of biking events, I'm still trying to shove a couple sprint triathlons in there (I am a little nervous as people keep saying "ground support" to me and I have no ground support people. Perhaps Alli and Blake can be taught to be my support crew?). And then there's the big half marathon question! Yes, I want to do more - I really do. I planned to do See Jane Run again in July, but my new highly organized 2013 calendar tells me that it is in conflict with the Seattle to Portland ride. I will pick biking over running, just like I will pick a white cupcake with chocolate frosting over any other cupcake.

- I did a flash mob dance thing for our department's annual service award presentation on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Pictures to follow - I've heard they are coming. I assure you that old Julie would have never in a million years got up and shook my ass for the department. Now I'll do it for the mere privilege of being early in the cheese and crackers line. I was actually utterly destroyed with nerves, though...eek! But I survived.

- Umm, I think that's about everything. Tummy tuck report - check. Romance report - check. Biking report - check. 2013 event scheduling - check.

- OH!! We did our first family 5K this weekend! We're just considering Jen part of the family now. :) Perhaps I'll do a full race report later, but suffice to say Reid and I walked the whole thing, without one single complaint from him. Blake was going to walk with us, but as soon as the starting whistle went off, the competitive spirit took over and he bolted away, saying, "See you at the finish line." Jen saved the day, as usual, by being Alli's running partner and keeping her motivated and finishing strong. Alli wanted to finish in 46 minutes and she nailed it! Seriously, without Jen there it would have been a shambles because I could only walk, Alli was nervous about running alone and afraid she wouldn't keep herself motivated to run instead of walk, etc. Our household was in FULL DITHER MODE all morning with everyone strategizing what would happen if Jen didn't come along. But she did, and I am eternally grateful. :)

I love this picture. Absolutely cracks me up.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Freedom! One-Month Tummy Tuck Post-Op Appt

Yay, I just had my one-month post-op appointment and all is well. Doctor said everything looks fantastic and I don't have to come back for a couple months. My abdomen is still *slightly* uneven on the left side from the fluid build-up complication, but he said it will go down on its own within a few months. Actually, with the whole procedure, he has said all along you won't see the full results for a few months. I'm not worried about it - I don't think it's anything you can see unless you are me, looking straight down at my belly, or my doctor, looking at it specifically. And certainly you can't see it with my clothes on!

Worst case scenario, if it's still uneven at six months' post-op he said he will go back in there and do a little lipo. Let's hope it doesn't come to that! I want to heal and be healed. But it wouldn't cost me anything. Today they did ultrasound on it for ten minutes, which actually did a lot to soften that area up.

Happily, I have been released for full activity! He told me I'm like a race horse chomping at the bit at the starting line. Well, I don't know about that, but I am excited to do SOMETHING! It's funny how your body just gets used to all the exercise. Then when you stop - well, I don't know about you, but I'm nearly *vibrating* with excess energy all the time, just wanting to MOVE!

And now I can. He just said not to overdo it. And he said if I do overdo it, my body will tell me and I'll pay closer attention the next time, haha. He also said in two weeks I can start doing ab crunches and other ab exercises. Hrm, I'll take that one under advisement, hahaha.

And sooooooo...I'm doing a bike ride on Sunday. A nice flat route. My bikey-bikey friend, oh crap - let's give him a nickname right now, shall we?? Hmm. I'll tell you - so far, without so much as a kiss, this guy has driven me and my bike home, bought and installed fenders on my bike, changed all the light bulbs in my garage, brought me a box-load of CFL light bulbs (hahaha this one cracked me up - he works for the power company and I am perhaps one of their biggest abusers), remembers all my children's names (even I can't do that most times) and speaks to them like people, and my favorite, when he said, "You're moving around great - what kind of surgery did you have?" and I looked him square in the eye and said, "I lost a lot of weight. I had a tummy tuck." His response was, "Awesome! And you're already keeping up with the fast riders!" Big points earned on that one, and a sideways F-you to Greg, wherever he is. (Side bar: I'm a bit surprised I haven't seen Greg, as I walk the streets (woohoo!) at lunch and he works the streets. Doesn't that make us both sound naughty? Seriously, I go walking almost daily at lunch and he's on the electrical crews for the bus lines. When we were dating, I saw him on the street quite frequently without pre-arranging. Haven't run into him in awhile, but when I do you can bet I'm going to flash him. First the abs, then the finger, haha.

Oh, back to the nickname for my bikey-bikey friend as he's earned one. In the "Five Love Languages," I am a total "Acts of Service" girl. So changing my garage light bulbs? Purrrrr. Doesn't get much sexier than that, baybee. We'll call him Mr. Wonderful.

Anyway, I went out with Mr. Wonderful yesterday and he invited me to ride on Sunday...a nice perfectly flat route he is well-familiar with. He said we can go as fast or slow as I want, stop whenever I want, whatever it takes. I think I'll be just fine, actually. In this regard, I really am  a race horse chomping at the bit. :)

Now, back to Mr. Wonderful. Oh, we had fun! He's a nice boy. Do you remember the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High? The girl fools around with the bad boy, gets pregnant, gets her heart broke, etc. Then ends up with the nice guy at the end and the movie closes saying they are "Having a passionate love affair. But still haven't gone all the way."

Perfect. Post-divorce, I have myself plenty of little flashes in the pan and I still have one or two of them kicking around for my occasional amusement. :) But Mr. Wonderful is all like, wanting to spend time with me. Fun. Different. I do not see Lance Armstrong changing any light bulbs for me, haha. We're just going to go with this one, very slowly, and see what happens.

He invited me to play badminton on Thursday. Um, no. I do not think I should be jumping around badmintoning already. Plus, I would horrifically suck at that, and I told him so. I'm the one who got  a "D" in tennis in college, donchaknow. (That was a technicality, but still, a D is a D.)

He's only been divorced since May and with the biking training stuff coming up early next year, I think it's the perfect reason to just chill and get to know each other. We certainly have had lots to talk about. I can't say I feel fireworks flying between us, but I am very much enjoying spending time with him. I can say that of the men I have felt fireworks flying from the start...well, it has generally been a flash fire. :)

Duh - did I even say what we did? We went downtown Seattle and walked around window shopping. Saw the James Bond movie "Skyfall" at my most favoritest theater in the world, the Cinerama. Had dinner at the Chinese restaurant by my house (bahaha, I think I have a reputation there, coming in on a new man's arm every time. What can I say, it's good food!). He dropped me back off home and said hello to the kids - asked Alli how her orchestra concert went last week, chatted with the boys (see, he's just nice!). Gave me a hug and a quick kiss goodbye - hmmm, interesting.

Regardless, I think I'm done online dating. It is much more fun to hang around with someone like this, who already knows I swear like a sailor and drink like a fish. :) Whom I didn't have to hang my head in shame and say that I have three kids. ;) And he asked me out anyway. So much less pressure. Plus, right from the start he's seen me a sweaty, helmet-haired mess so anywhere I go from there is up! Yesterday he said he feels underdressed when he's with me: I told him with all this binder stuff I'm wearing my options are sweat pants or skirts and I thought he'd appreciate the skirt more. He wholeheartedly agreed. So he's not not interested in me, I think he's just like all gentlemanly and stuff. Cuh-razy!

Did I ever mention he's Asian? Chinese descent, I think - although we haven't talked about it. Although we talked about my background because I could not remember if Larsen's Bakery in Seattle was Swedish or Norwegian, and I said could feel my grandpa rolling in his grave as it was on my tongue to say "Same difference," haha. It's Danish, by the way. I'm an odd mix, 1/4 Swedish, 1/4 Eskimo and 1/2 whatever European muddling my dad's side threw together. Anyway - I have dated men from all colors of the rainbow, but never an Asian guy so this is uncharted territory for me.

Anyway, Mr. Wonderful said he'd swap out my bike pedals for me (purrrrrrrr) before Sunday's ride if I want him to, but I think a flat ride at my own pace ought to be fine. It's the hilly stuff I worry about!

And finally, back to the flat belly wrap up. Wow! Tummy is looking awesome. I'm so pleased! I still have to wear the compression garment for a couple weeks but I can stop wearing the corset-y binder. He's sent me off to buy some new silicon strips for scar healing/fading, so I'll be researching those, as well. I'll keep ya posted.

Friday, December 7, 2012

End of a Long Week

Whew! I've just finished the first week back to work and back to having the kids at home. They were even around a couple extra days this week, as X and I had horse-traded some days to accommodate my surgery recovery.

I'm doing great - surgery results are awesome! My only complaint right now, and it is a minor one, is that wearing a crotchless bodysuit for six weeks is NOT AS SEXY AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE! Hahaha. That part I am tired of, for sure. It rides up on my thighs. It gives me wedgies. It annoys me to no end.

However. That's a pretty small complaint. I am guessing when I go back to the doctor on Monday I will be given a clean bill of health. Originally, he had said no running for three weeks after surgery, no biking for four. Then when I had my fluidy-complication, he said all bets were off.

Well, I'll show him - I ran for the bus yesterday morning without even thinking about it and it didn't bother me one bit. I stopped when I remembered I wasn't supposed to be running. Well, okay, I stopped when I got on the bus, but I chastised myself for running.

I did willfully run for the bus again this morning, but that was serious business, as if I missed it, it was really going to throw the day off-kilter. Again, no apparent problems with running. Although I do think of some horrible horror book I read when I was a young kid babysitting, I think it was called "Funhouse." Anyway, someone got gutted, and their final thoughts were they would be okay if they "just didn't fall down." Well, of course he fell down. With all this incision work on me, there's a little bit of "Wow, I hope I don't bust open like a Jiffy Pop."

Kinda looks like me right now.
Alright, more later. Tomorrow I'm either walking a 5K or bailing on a 5K because of the weather. I will talk to the most motivated 5K'er in my house, Alli, tonight about it. I registered the whole family (kids were free) so I'm trying to gauge a) if I feel like walking a 5K; b) if I feel like dragging two grumbling boys through a 5K.

Date on Sunday with bikey-bikey friend. (Seriously, I'm getting worse and worse at nicknames, if that were possible.) I'll have to take Kim's suggestion she cribbed from some book and just start calling them "Ex-boyfriend Number xx," bahahaha. I have been laughing at that for days. We're going to see uhhh, the James Bond movie. I don't care what movie we see, it's at my favorite theater so thass' why I chose it. 

They don't make 'em like this anymore. 
He's never been there. Prepare to be wowed, sir. It's gorgeous. It's one of Paul Allen's pet projects.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Back to the Real World!

I'm returning to work tomorrow after taking three weeks off following my tummy tuck surgery, instead of the two weeks I originally planned. I just needed a bit of extra recouperation time, nothing serious. I did have a minor complication arise: I was building up fluid on one side of my belly where fluid ought not build up.

That was a bit of a bummer because it required, and will require, a bit more attention from the doctor. On Monday, he said that on Friday he would have to re-install a surgical drain if the fluid didn't go away on its own. It didn't seem to be happening, so I was pretty sure I'd need the drain. In fact, on Thursday, based on our phone conversation, he said I would need the drain.

Happily, on Friday, he poked and prodded me with needles and decided no drain was required. I was still building up fluid, but not enough that a drain would help. He re-opened the incision about 1.5 cm and some fluid drained on its own. Likewise, he stuck the needle directly into my belly in a few places and drew out some fluid. I was numbed up, of course. :)

Tomorrow I'm back to work full-time and I'm pretty sure it will be fine. I'll do a bit of schedule re-arranging and take my shower at night for awhile. I am still trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey under my clothes! Compression garment, silicone strips over the scars held in place with elastic binder around my waist...ooooo, mama feeling sexy, haha. N-O-T.

Although I did see Lance Armstrong after my doctor appointment on Friday - he lives close by my doctor's and we strolled REI together. He's still smoking and biking, and now he's frenetically hiking every nearby mountain on the weekends. Remind me not to see Lance Armstrong in 2013, will you please? He's just so darn cute. Like. to. touch. And as we said about last year's holiday boyfriend, #funbutnottheone. And truthfully, LA isn't even all that fun. He is silly texts and a couple phone conversations a week, and stolen moments when he's not working swing shift or scaling mountains.

I told my daughter this afternoon that I turned myself into an exercise addict and then cut myself off cold turkey with this surgery and now I am depressed. Plus, I live in Seattle. I need to just spring for the $40 and buy the "Happy Light" from Costco. I am as Seasonally-Affected-Disorder as they come. Bah.
Oh, Seattle, how I love thee. And loathe thee.
Let's see...I've been out of the blogging mindset for a bit so how shall I catch up? I am very, very happy with my post-op tummy. The scars are a mess but will fade and they won't bother me. It will definitely be a battle to avoid the "if I could only fix this next" syndrome. However, I bought myself a couple of great bras while I was on leave and look like I got a boob job, too, haha.

I am burned out on the recovery period. Bah. And it's not even that bad. :) I am just a whiner. I'm not in much pain, I am nearly fully-functional, etc. Nothing to complain about. But tired of it. Oh! I'll see the doctor next Monday and he will start ultra-sound treatments on my belly to soften the scar tissue. This is extra-special treatment stemming from the fluid build-up, which he says will make my belly much harder than it ought be.

My bikey-bikey friend asked me out via text today, followed up by a phone call. I knew he was going to sometime. And I am happy, but also...hmm, don't fruck up my biking time, buddy. He leads a lot of the rides, and will likely lead the training group I'm in next spring for the Seattle to Portland ride, or the one I'm actually interested in, the Seattle to Vancouver BC ride. So this is dicey territory we're stepping into here.

He's very cool. Last week he came over and put fenders on my bike, as well as installing my new super-bright light. I had him bring the bike into the living room and he sat and worked on it and hung out with me and the kids. I made us a lame dinner (I had stocked up on frozen foods in preparation for my surgery) and he sat and ate and chatted with all of us for hours. Very nice man. My age - actually a year or so younger, he graduated high school a year behind me. No kids of his own, but he wished he had. Divorced. He was great, the way he chatted up the kids comfortably but without being weird or overly interested, if you know what I mean.

So let's see, so far he's carpooled me home, did all sorts of tinkering and such on my bike, replaced a couple light bulbs in the garage (oops - see, I was thinking we'd have to work on the bike in the garage, but it was soooooo cold, I decided there was no reason not to bring it inside. Hardwood floors. So it was cute when he texted me today. When he was over last, Alli was reading The Outsiders. I said that I had seen the movie 100+ times when it came out in 1983, when I was her age. Bikey-bikey (he'll get a nickname soon) said he had missed this phenomenom. I told him I'd have him over when we watched the movie. However, last night Alli and I found it On Demand and watched it.

He said, "I thought you were going to let me watch the Outsiders with you - maybe next time? What's our next adventure? I can install a bunch of CFL bulbs [oops, I had regular ole incandescents in the garage], or will you let me take you to a movie instead?"

I said yes, but that I wanted to get back to work and see how I did with long full big-girl grownup days. We'll have fun. Just please don't screw up my biking. :) It's like dating someone you work with, so fraught with peril, except I like biking so much more than work, haha.

First Holiday Cards in Several Years :)

Joy And Family Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This Tummy Tuck Surgery

is not for wimps. I'm just sayin'. I'm glad I'm taking another week off work to drive down to Oregon (ignore that part) and veg on Kim's couch. It's Saturday, and the thought of going to work on Monday makes me want to cry. Ouch!!

It's not that I'm in so much pain - I'm really not. I'm very uncomfortable. My belly is swollen. There's a lot of bruising from my mid-section to my upper thighs. You may think wearing a crotchless compression garment for six weeks is sexy: I assure you it is not.

This morning my belly swelling is lopsided, which probably just means I slept funny. But of course you have to run through all the frightening possibilities. Thankfully, since it doesn't hurt or look especially awful, it only took me a moment to dismiss my fears.

So, I'm not yet two weeks out and already I feel very much like it was worth it. That's gonna be one tiny belly when this is all said and done! But it's not something to enter into lightly either! Wow, my belly is rock hard, and not in a muscular way. So very many incisions, too. :)

I'm allowed to get out of the brace every day for a shower and even long enough to wash and dry the garment. Yesterday I did exactly that, but I was pretty pokey about getting back into it, I'll admit. Well, after a few hours, my body was SCREAMING for the comfort and confinement of the compression garment. Even though as I was putting that sucker on - no small act of patience in itself - my body was also whining about not wanting to wear it.

Luckily (?) I've endured similar before. In late 2004 I had a spinal fusion and had to wear a soft back brace similar to this for months (without the fun of the crotchless bodysuit aspect, luckily).

I give up the suit on either Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, depending on my interpretation of six weeks. :) Either way, it will be a very happy day!

Oh, speaking of Christmas: oops. I was so excited about the timing of the Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving holidays to minimize my time off work. So excited about the minimal impact on my cycling since I'd be laid up during the bad weather.

I forgot what a hole this would shoot in the Christmas season. Normally this weekend I'd get the tree and decorations up. (I bought a fake tree after the divorce, which I will tolerate one more year - I miss the real trees!)

Hauling in decorations will be tough. Shopping will be a grind. Generally, I just want to lay in bed right now. (I miss my bike terribly, though!)

This all sounds whiney-hiney, it's not. :) This is just the first weekend the kids have been home and I'm beat. It's been my first opportunity to realize how tough the surgery is and how much longer of a recovery I have ahead! It will continue to get easier, though, and honestly, I will just scale back the Christmas festivities to match my ability level (and especially my older two are getting really super helpful in so many regards!)

In other happy news, my 13yo daughter had me plot out a mile-long route from our house on the odometer. This morning she was up and at 'em early and walked it once and ran it once. Proud of my baby.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 9 Post-Op

Oh, maybe someday I'll regret posting these pics but I say if you were going to vote for me for public office you'd do it whether it not you'd seem my BEAUTIFUL FRANKEN-BELLY! Today is the best day, for sure. The swelling continues to go down. And look, those are gonna be ABS! My own abs!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Finally! A Few Minutes Alone at the Computer

Seriously, though, seem to have become the world's worst typist, so I'm not sure the full sized keyboard will present any new advantage to me.

I had my 6-day post-op check up today and my surgeon says I'm perfectly perfect. No longer do I need to walk in a hunched-over 'L-shape' to protect my stitches, and it's a good gawd-damned thing, too, as I completely suck at it. This morning, in fact, I actually threw a tantrum at my father over it.

I needed help. Jeez, I'm really terribly at asking for help, but I needed it. I wanted someone to help make my bed, throw a load of laundry in and bring the clean stuff up for me to fold. Now, my parents would do anything for me, but for some reason, they opted to come over and watch SpongeBob while I got ready. So I was already pretty pissed. :) Then I come downstairs and my dad hollers, "Bend you back!" and I very nearly lost my shit on him.


Well, I don't need to do that anymore anyway. I can stand straight as an arrow, thank you very much. And no, no one helped me make my friggin' bed.

The hard part is behind me though. Sleep in whatever position I'm comfortable, take drugs if/when I need them, drive myself wherever as long as I'm not stoned. I'll go back in for a re-check on Monday, sans parents, and see about returning to work Tuesday.

Oh gosh, I wish I could sit more comfortably and write, but I do think the drugs have my brain scrambled because it is just a million typos and it's driving me nuts. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Back soon!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh yeah, I can't post from the blogger site

Instead, I have to email in my posts, which means no formatting and no spell-check. So you know how bored I must be if I'm trying anyway, right?

Donkey balls? Diminishing. I might actually have a normal va-jay-jay someday. Not that ill need it. I was supposed to play with Lance Armstrong Sunday and didn't hear from him. "Umm, Lance," I said, "where did you go?" You were supposed to come over after hiking. Yes, but I got tickets to the Seahawks game, he said. Yes , but it would have taken you two seconds to text me that. Yes, he's sorry - he's not really the boyfriend type - he's all about him. Umm, have I noticed this?? No Lance, you are not the boyfriend type. You are the fun to play with sometimes type. Plus, your body is quite remarkable. We are done, sir, even your biker body is not worth the headache (plus you are smoking freely now and it stinks). Plus your body is very beautiful but your tattoos are really stupid abs I think you are a bit scrawny for my tastes, as long as I'm putting in an order.

The Clint Eastwood squinty eyed motorcyclist has checked in with me a couple times this week, but nice as he is, that man is just flat. Ugh.

My MTB friend has kept me highly entertained and seems to project actual concern for my welfare, as does my sugar daddy. This is the aisle I need to shop from, I tell you. (Not the gay aisle.)

My new cycling friend has called and emailed three times this week. Is my picker that broken?? I didn't answer either call today, but I have been hallucinating and such and probably good not to involve strangers. You don't know how long I waited for my daughter to bring me a Popsicle before I remembered she wasn't home, hahaha. And I told my invisible X to cuddle me until I remembered how STOOPID of an idea that was, and I told him so. Again, not here. Probably time to kill the drugs tomorrow. It just hurts. Have you seen franken-belly? Argh!! I would love to stare at it constantly but I am trying to honor the spirit of wearing the suit 24/7 and I can't tell you how much I hate to put it on. Tomorrow ill bet ill get to skip the poise pads on the scars as in I'm not draining, and that will make me much less whiny. Neosporin plus silicone strips plus poise pads plus snaps and zippers has me feeling like the hot spinster who's cats are waiting for her to fall so they can eat her eyeballs.

Other than that, all is well!! Feeling much better today!! Dr appt at 1:30, mom and dad are taking me. There will be SBUX, if I have to hold them at gunpoint to get it. I come from non-SBUX people. :)

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Howdy from La-La Land

Well, I do wish this were one of those blog that would be simply life-alerting to read as you live through my tummy tuck blow-by-blow with me, gleaning all sorts of usual information. Sadly, I have opted for lots of painkillers and sleep instead, so you get what you get.  I am thinking of you, though, and will have coherent and cogent thoughts to share one day again, it is just not today. :)

I am feeling pretty darn good. Lots of drugs, though, and I'm taking them liberally. I am also taking showers! And eating people food!

I rented a recliner on the advice of many tummy tuck blogs, and this was a good thing. I could have easily done without, but I am also enjoying it, so I'm glad to have it.

SRSLY the typos are making me insane. I thought they'd be better on the computer than my phone but they are not so I give up. Back to bed with me! :)

Will update more later. All is well.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Skin puddling

You may recall me posting a pic awhile back of my skin puddling when I laid down. There is no more skin puddling :). Right now it feels like skin stretched taut over a bowling bawl. And I have to get back in this thigh-length compression suit right after I wash and dry, but I am allowed the daily luxury of washing and drying it and showering. Today I walked around the block and again up to the gas station, so I'm getting out there. I'm also staying heavily drugged, as I am out to impress no one with my toughness at this point in my life. :)

He is the shakiest photographer

And I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed a slather myself in neosporin. :)

So not ready for street clothes yet

I made poor Blake take a couple pics of me in street clothes today. I am still so swollen, I have no business in anything but my compression garment and nightie. In fact, I woke up so swollen in the suit I had to yank it off. Sigh. It's a long recovery. :)

Nonetheless here I am in a shirt I would never wear because of my muffin top, and my favorite jeans which were waaaay too tight. Surgery weight was 139, yesterday was 146.6 and today 143.3 so I am still battling a lot of swelling.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Whee! Still on the mend

No pictures for you today, but they look look like yesterday's anyway. A little swollen, a lot carved up. I got to take a shower this morning, which was way cool. Still have one drain, which ill yank tomorrow. I'm still poppin drugs and am not in much pain.

Today's "what they'll never tell you" story is about my va-jayjay. Lots of lipo there, remember? Well, they don't tell you you swell up like horse's balls Dow there. It's horrific. If I should you a pic, it would be unrecognizable as a part of human anatomy. Doesn't hurt, just. Really. Ufcks. With. Your. Head. Something about the gravity and blood settling and what not, believe me it is the stuff of nightmares. :)

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pain Pump

When I booked the surgery, I was given an option of a $500 pain pump that bathed your ravaged muscles in lidocaine or some other numbing med for three days after surgery.

Optional, but recommended. Yeah, I think I woke up at 4a when it emptied out today. By my 11 am appt I was like, so couldn't we just refill it? By 6:30 tonight I am drugged and missing my pain pump. :(

If you are ever in a position to choose, get the pain pump! I have a feeling this would be a very different week without it, haha.

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It's hard to blog from my phone

I'm a little cross-eyed from the meds, for one thing! So I'm making lots of typos. I had another recheck appt with the doctor: he says I'm doing awesomely. He and the nurses are always grinning at my ear from ear, so that must be a good sign!

Stomach looks AWESOME! Very flat, very tight. I have been tasked with pooping today :). This corset is tight, gets tighter over the course of the day and he said ill be sorry if I don't poop.

I can shower tomorrow, and if my one remaining drain is dry, I can yank the remaining tube (oh and I will too!!)

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Post-op pic day three

Post-op pic day three

Post-op pic day three

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Now That's a Skinny Belly

Don't know how to forewarn you that it's a gnarly picture, haha, but here's my first view of my new belly. LOVE IT!!!

Right now it's all big swollen up, but look at that beauty! The scars...well, they'll fade. :) I'm over the moon excited about the results!

Post-Op Day Two Recovery

Things are going quite well here! I am keeping myself pretty darned stoned and will continue to do so. I got the optional "pain pump," which administers a constant flow of a numbing drug directly to my ab muscles. I'll bet that's what's keeping me sane, because that is supposed to be what hurts the most, and it's not chief among my post-op complaints!

I feel primarily the incision across my hips, and I gotta say the two drains and the pain pump hanging off me are making me crazy. I have such weird claustrophobia issues anyway.

Ummm, how much am I going to hate wearing this crotchless body suit for the next six weeks? A LOT!

I grouse all these things because as far as surgery results go, I can see nothing so far. :) I'm all bulked up in layers and haven't gotten so much as a peek at anything! I am sooooooo excited! I have my first re-check at 4:45 this afternoon and I'm hoping to see me, or some pics, or something. The surgeon said the surgery went awesome and I will be thrilled with the results.

I know they took off 2.5 or 3.5 pounds of skin (I was awfully fuzzy when we talked) and 350 cc of lipo'd fat. He said, as expected, there just wasn't anything but skin there. Awesome. :)

My mom stayed with me last night and both my parents are here right now: mon cooking up a bunch of chicken tenders for me to munch this week and dad is re-wiring outlets and hanging pictures. :) I am sleeping, waking, and sleeping.

The surgery itself went well. I was, frankly, nervous about the surgery and doing it in an office park instead of a hospital (very common, however). Although I spent Sunday weepy and nervous, by Monday my mood was excited and I was chanting "I get a brand new belly!" under my breath, haha. I adored my surgeon, whom I think I told you did his residency with my weight loss surgeon. They are both awesome guys. The anesthesiologist was very funny, the nurses were great. I remember a calming drug in my IV then waking up after surgery and my doctor being in the room saying if I came out of the anesthesthia smiling, it must have gone pretty well. :) My brain likes anesthesthia: I have always come out of it laughing! I have the funniest freaking dreams!

Well, I'll update after my appointment and post pictures if there's anything to see. I do have to say this compression garment is TIGHT though and I envision getting it on and off over all these incisions will probably s-u-c-k!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Home from Surgery!

I'm really too tired and drugged up to post but I wanted to let you know I am home from surgery and it went fantastic. Doctor and staff were very excited about results and I can wait to see!! He said I will love it, very trim now.

Recovery is going to suck, I can tell. But totally bearable and worth it. Thank you for thinking of me. :)

A real update to follow when I'm not so stoned and tired. :)

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Test 3

Third test of blogging via email.

Ohhhhhhhhh....the Nerves!

I am so excited and nervous. I skipped my ride today, I decided it would wipe me out way too much to finish the many chores I needed to get done around here in preparation for the surgery.

Right now I swear to God I'm on my way to Wal-Mart to buy a couple house dresses that zip or button up the front. I had planned on just wearing nightgowns, but I read on a couple old tummy tuck blogs that things that zip or button are much more comfy with the drains, etc. Yuck on both counts: Wal-Mart and house dresses. (Wal-Mart makes me claustrophobic: everything is spaced much too closely together for me. Before I lost weight, I had wondered if being small would make me less claustrophobic. Not really.)

I had a fantastic ride yesterday afternoon: 42 miles in the sunshine and bitter cold. It was a blast! I really wanted to go today, but made a big girl decision last night to skip it.

Well, I am truly excited for the big day, but I have to say I am super nervous. I suspect this is due to the financial end of things more than anything else. I have had a ton of surgeries in my life and am never terribly bothered by them, but this one has me in fits. I guess I just have a lot of hopes and expectations riding on the results, too.

Regardless, I am heading to Wal-Mart and maybe the aquarium store. My aquarium has been taken over with algae bloom and I cannot get the upper hand on it. Poor fish. I practically drained it this morning and refilled: you know this is not great for the fish. I dreamed of just flushing those suckers and taking down the tank. There are only three left, but they are darn hardy fish who keep hanging in there. Even with 80% new water, it is bright green and you can't even see the darn fish. GRRR!!!

Finally, I am planning a ridiculous "why not, I'm bored" run to Sea-Tac by the airport. One of the women riders I follow on Strava puts in large chunks of miles in giant squiggly lines on the GPS tracker. It's a very, very small area and I am dying to see what it is. :) Nervous, much? Killing time, much?

I'd appreciate your good thoughts tomorrow morning bright and early. I'll post as soon as I can but I'm sure I'll be posting from my phone so it won't be much. :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pre-Op Jitters and Nerve-Related Utter Silliness

I'm all confirmed for my surgery on Monday morning. Check in time is 7:45 AM Pacific Daylight Standard Daylight Standard Whatever Time. My original check-in time was 1:45 PM, but I called and threw a holy isht fit about it and they re-arranged to make me first appointment of the day. (Better to get the crazy lady out of the clinic as soon as possible, I suppose!) Nah, the reason I whined was because this is an outpatient surgery and I'll be heading straight home with my mother, who is a non-driver. The 1:45 start time would put me on I-405 right in the middle of stinking Monday night's commute. Ugh. Me in pain and strung out on pain meds, my mother a basket case driver. No thank you. I had been begging all along for the first appointment of the day, so I was a little vexed when not only was I not first, but was instead last.

I spoke to the doctor, though, and he was very cool. They moved me to the first appointment. Mom's happy, I'm happy, everybody's happy.

I am soooooooooo nervous. I'm having a recliner delivered by Rent A Center tomorrow. Ew. But it's supposed to be brand new. Sabrina said when she was a realtor, she used them to stage homes all the time, with great success. Everything I've read online about tummy tuck recovery says that you are much more comfortable in a recliner after the surgery. I was going to borrow my parents' but it was turning into a logistical headache, so I like that these guys deliver, set up and come back for it in a month.

Speaking of Sabrina, I had her take some before/after pictures for me today to prep you for the big day:

I am a crazy woman at work trying to get it all caught up before I go. And I have sooo much stuff to do at home this weekend to prepare, not the least of which is bracing myself for my mother to come stay with me overnight the night of the surgery. Thank God for valium and pain pills. I am such a crotchety patient, I really just crave being alone in a cave.

I decided not to go on a mountain bike ride tomorrow. I was excited about it, but then I got to thinking how inexperienced I am, and what if I skid on a muddy trail and gore myself with a tree branch? And then I can't have surgery because they are worried about a staph infection? Or something. Better skip that one. I'll do a road bike ride instead. The surgeon told me it's actually good for me to go out and exhaust my body this weekend before surgery.

They also said my labs came back with low protein. I have been tasked with chugging protein shakes and other protein this weekend before the surgery. Plus I'm supposed to stay super-hydrated. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SBUX is Still My Boyfriend and Other Important Stuff

I (Heart) SBUX

I know you have been hanging on the edge of your seat, wondering how I've been braving my breakup with SBUX that was due to take place on 10/16, when they changed some of their refill policies. As you may recall, I drink tons of Earl Grey tea with cold soy, all day at work. I buy one in the morning and my very most favoritest SBUX location in the world gives free refills all day. I was told it was switching to a one-for-one refill policy, which would roughly triple my tea addiction cost. Plus, they charge for soy now.

A lot of worry for nothing. :) Still getting free refills all day, and you don't get charged for soy if it's less than four ounces, and mine is really just a splash. So we are still BFFs, and the boxes of soy milk and Earl Grey I brought in to work to...gasp...make myself still sit at my desk, unopened. I am terribly spoiled, I know. But don't you fret, SBUX still makes gobs of money off me and all my buddies here in the building.

I am NERVOUS about the upcoming surgery on Monday! But excited. But nervous. I think I'll just do a brain dump list here rather than try to write organized paragraphs (which is never much of a concern of mine).

Jailbird and Why-Don't-I-Just-Plan-Ahead-A-Little-Organization-Would-Be-A-Good-Thing
Someone called me four times collect from jail last night while I was on my group bike ride. WHO? I received four short voice mails from an automated system telling me to "press one to accept the call from this inmate," but said inmate's name was cut off on the recording. I queried the VINE system (a tidbit of knowledge from my police volunteer program) but none of the people I tried were in jail. Hey, that's kind of a fun party game! Question: Someone is calling you from jail, but you don't know who it is. Who do you think of first? For me, it was my X (not that I think he'd be in jail, but I wanted to make sure someone had the kids), then my sister (ohhhh, for no particular reason, haha). Then I ran that guy's name that actually did go to jail...then Lance Armstrong (having no particular reason to think he'd be in jail, unless cycling and smoking is now a crime, not just a stupidity). Nope, all clear. Color me stumped.

At the time, I didn't know the calls were coming from a jail, but I did know they were coming while I was racing one of my new bike buddies up a very steep hill and getting my ass kicked, so the phone was ANNOYING THE SNOT OUT OF ME. But I needed to leave it on, so the Strava app could record the trip and shower me with medals. Very gold-star oriented. Super shallow. :) Don't care. I would have turned the ringer off but a) I was racing and b) those bicycling jackets are pretty slick with their pocket in the back and all, but I had become the joke of the evening because every time I got in that pocket I was dumping my emergency cash on the ground. Um, the group actually had to stop once for that, on our way out of the P&R, because I had forgotten to turn on Strava. And the big diesel truck also had to stop while I picked up my cash from all over the middle of the lane. And then I had to ride up the first steep hill out of the P&R with my phone in my mouth because I couldn't get it back into my pocket AND pedal with my feet clipped in AND not fall over AND not drop my money again. And the "sweep" (e.g. person riding in back to make sure that dumbasses who drop money and can't find their own coat pocket don't get left behind) who was my new bikey friend that carpools me and brings me fenders was having a fun time teasing me about the phone in my mouth. What is it with men? Let's just say it all sounded dirty and I was busy making sure I didn't choke on my phone or fall over.

It was not my most organized evening. But it was very fun. There were some real slowpokes in our group, though. At the P&R, we split into two groups from the outset, the fast people I rode with last week and a slower group. I stayed with the slower group because I am still getting used to these pedals and I didn't know how much I'd be falling, haha. Also, I hadn't eaten yesterday (oops) and I had remembered this on the bus home and chugged a protein shake, but I didn't think passing out on the ride would be so good. And I had forgotten a water bottle (DOH!) and had to grab one that I found in the trunk of my car with old Crystal Light in it and I really didn't want to drink it if I didn't have to. PLUS I had to pee super badly starting on the bus ride on the way home and I had to pee super badly every minute of the 20 mile ride. It was a very, very disorganized ride. I left the office too late and did not prepare well for it, clearly. When will I learn?

Afterward, four of us went out for dinner and drinks. Very fun. I was in an interesting man position, in that two of them were fawning over me (seriously, at one point I had a man playing with each earring that I was wearing - Sabrina's fancy leather Danglez, I can't wait to tell her). And I'm not particularly interested in either of them, and I was telling my MTB friend yesterday, my bikey friend had better not ask me out because I am having the TIME OF MY LIFE and no one better screw it up. MTB friend says that there aren't enough women cyclists to go around, and men cyclists who both want a woman and want to ride their bikes all the time are looking.

The new guy was nice enough and I had chatted with him on the ride a fair amount (since we were riding at a snail's pace, it seemed - I really need to be in that fast group. I am not super fast but I am faster than that and I am ridiculously competitive for someone with no skills. This is an ongoing theme in my life, hahaha. So "leisurely social" rides are really not my thing. I want to feel like I'm dying. At one point last night I actually told the group leader to shut up and pedal, hahahaha). Anyway, new guy was nice enough and get this, he is a doctor and an engineer (wow. Some biotech something or 'nother) but when we got to the restaurant it was four of us: me, bikey friend, Dr. Engineer and his friend, e.g. the woman who made us ride so freaking slow all night long. Anyway, they are friends and they are talking about a Halloween party they went to together and the long and the short of it is I get to see the pictures of him in his Halloween costume...which was him dressed in drag, complete with feather boa and fishnet stockings.

This is never, ever, ever a way for a man to impress me. Lower on the scale than mustaches. :)

A Tale of Two Almas
I'm new to the interconnected bloggy world of real life people you know blogging about the same sorts of topics. Sure, I've been blogging awhile, and yes, I have lots of WLS bloggy friends. But now I'm meeting all these real life running bloggers! Exciting! Fun! A little confusing. So, some time ago, I met up with my longtime IRL friend Kim for ten nano-seconds while she was in town visiting her imaginary friend Alma. I ran down on my lunch break, said a very quick hello and parted ways. Kim talks lots about Alma because she is a super cool chick, so I already feel like I know her. Know her well enough, in fact, that at some point I see her on facebook and befriend her. Find out things like Alma is a Latina musician who plays some pretty big Seattle bars. She loves sushi. I love sushi, too!

Then it gets confusing because awhile back, I know that Kim and Alma are back east running half marathons. I even text Kim one night, "how is Alma checking in at a Seattle sushi restaurant?" There was context to this as Facebook Alma posted a picture of a sushi dish that had raw eggs on it and I told Kim in a hundred years I couldn't imagine her (Kim) eating it. Kim was understandably confused. Me, not making the perhaps most intuitive conclusion that we were talking about two different Almas, decides that facebook is "glitchy." Sigh. Sometimes even I don't understand me.

Later, Kim tags me on facebook in a post with the real Alma. I'm still not getting it. I say to her, "in my whole life I have never met an Alma and you know TWO??" Kim patiently says no, there is only one Alma. I realize that I've befriended a total stranger.

(Coming back to add: Ummm, I'm no dope. But I should mention that Facebook Alma doesn't have a picture of herself on her profile. And somewhere there was an overlap of these two groups, because there was a REASON I befriended this particular Facebook Alma. I am thinking there may be overlap with the Women Runners of King County Group or something. I promise I didn't just go trolling facebook for Almas, haha.)

However, now the two Almas are hopelessly jumbled in my mind, so at the Snohomish River Run last month, it was right on the tip of my tongue to ask Alma how her concert had gone the night before, and how cool that she does these shows! I believe it was only a discussion of Wonder Woman socks that diverted my attention from Alma's musical pursuits.

Oy. I've got to unfriend the sushi-eating musician, because she has me utterly confused. But she lives such a fun life. :) I'll get it. Kim tells me this morning that the Real Alma and I are very much alike and that for non-gay people, she is surprised at how passionate we both are for gay marriage rights in Washington. Oh, Kim, you small-town Oregon Republican, you. Bless your heart. :) Here in Seattle, especially working for Seattle, well, I've got more gay friends than I can shake at stick at.

Two more calls from the jail this morning! The first one - I cannot even understand the inmate's name. I decline. Oh, also, it's a FREE call, not a collect call. The second call - I accept. I ask, "Who is this??"


Um, I have no idea who you are.

Is Amber there?

You have the wrong number.

Is this xxx-xxx-xxxx? (he didn't say x's)

Yes. But I've had this number for years. You've got the wrong number.

Poor guy. In jail and Amber gave him a fake number. I wonder why?

He was very polite, though.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tipping Cows (and Cyclists). And Maybe I Need a Team.

Fun group ride today! This was the biggest group I've ridden with - we started with eighteen people, I think. A few people turned back along the way. There was one woman, very nice, who you just knew was not going to be able to keep up with the group. She had only had this particular bike a couple days, she was used to riding a big "cruiser" or "comfort" type bike (like my old bike, below). The new bike, sort of a hybrid road/comfort bike, made her nervous. She was wearing a HUGE backpack. It didn't bode well for her, I thought. She ended up turning back later in the ride, she was super upbeat about it, but we had all gotten to a park and waited for about fifteen minutes for her and the guy who was "sweeping" her, so I was glad she turned back. We were only twenty miles or so into what would be a 48+ mile ride, and you both didn't want to wait for her and didn't want her to feel badly about being waited for (which, if you may recall were my exact fears about starting group rides!).  I totally empathized with her, but she was sweet.

My original bike: the comfort bike. Do not try lifting: very heavy.
Today's ride was a blast and it brought me into a couple areas I have been eager to try: riding in Seattle (we went to Ivar's on Lake Union) and most especially, riding the south end of Lake Washington. Now I can expand my own "home" ride to include the south end of the lake, rather than just riding back and forth across the bridge because I don't know where else to go. My confidence is increasing: I'll be branching out more and more on my rides now that I know I'm a total biking badass and I can conquer the big hills and such. But these pieces of real estate I've picked up on the group rides: those are important for confidence building! If I weren't feeling so lazy, I'd give you a pictorial of the routes.

Here's how I first started riding on my own. It's an 18-mile out and back.

Here's my Wednesday night typical ride now. See how I added in circling the island? This is about 22 miles.

And here's today's route. See how we went both across the bridge, as I started out; then around the island, then around the south end of the lake? This experience gives me versatility in where I can ride by myself (because I am a self-acknowledged chicken). This was 48+ miles (it was the first time this group ride had been done, we went a few miles off course, haha.)

SO FUN!! Oh my goodness, do I ever love cycling. You know, it's a wonder why you ever stop these things. When I was a kid, I was so in love with my ten-speed, and I was zipping around our block like it was a velodrome. :) That is exactly how it makes me feel now, although I keep my hands on the handlebars, haha.

I think I need a team, though. Or, if I don't need one now, I will next spring. I really like riding a lot, and I want to ride fast and consistently. I want to get really good at group riding. These group rides, they'll let any schmo, like me, into them. You've got your slower-downers, like the girl who turned back today. You've got your weavers, like the guy on his first group ride who DID NOT want me in front of him but couldn't pedal a straight line to save his life.

And...the callouts. I am not experienced enough with cycling to know if the teams do this, but I suspect they do it much less. "HOLE!" "CAR BACK!" "RUNNER RIGHT!" "CAR RIGHT!" "CAR UP!" "LEAVES!" "GRATE!" "CRACKS!" "SLOWING!" "STOPPING!" "ROLLING!" "GLASS!" "BIKER UP!" "CAR PASSING!"

So noisy. Now, granted, I got 50 miles of it today with a big group. Up and down the line, everyone yelling. And granted, this was the second "mentorship" ride for a woman who wants to be a group leader, so shit was being done per the rules. And granted, there were a LOT of group leaders on this ride, so this is just what they're used to doing, perhaps (although my other group rides have not been like this).

Shhhhhhhhhhhh. It's supposed to be a peaceful sport.

I think if I had a team, I could learn to ride face, ride well, and be a good group rider with other skilled riders. And I think we could prioritize when we yell. For instance, on a 12-foot wide bike path, I do not care if another biker is heading toward me unless he is wielding a machete. At red lights, I expect to first SLOW and then STOP, followed intuitively by ROLLING at the green light.

But I had a stinking blast! :)

Also, this was the first time I rode with clipless pedals, e.g. my feet locked to the pedals. I was scared! But I did great, and it really does make the hills easier, as everyone had told me. It is a little claustrophobic. I'll get used to it. And I wouldn't really say that I fell, exactly, but cow-toppled. Twice, both at the top of very steep short hills. Both times, the (inexperienced) rider in front of me balked at the top. Nice buddy, I'm glad YOU made it up the monster hill but I am still behind you on said hill and you should get the FREAK OUT OF MY WAY. (topple)

A very slow-motion, low-impact fall.
Here is the group, they were wonderful:

And here's me with my new clipless pedals:

You've come a long way, baby.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Group Rides are Fun and Really Hurt

I went on another group ride with Cascade Bike Club last night after work. I'm actually planning to ride with them every Wednesday night, but of course, with my tummy tuck surgery date coming up, that only means I plan to ride with them *next* Wednesday night.

So fun, though. There were eight of us, and the ride leader had mucked with the course a bit and added in an extra five miles or so. The other sneaky thing she did was add in some really tough hills. Short hills, but very steep. The exact sort of thing that I avoid on my own, haha. They were a grind, and my post-half legs were none too pleased about it. But I was having a blast!

The group was faster than last week's. Last week a couple people had come along who couldn't keep up, so we stopped a lot and our pace was slower. This week, it was the fast group plus a few of us "moderate" riders. We agreed to ride at their fast pace until it became too much. Game on, baby!

Perfect workout. I was exhausted, but kept up no problem. It was exactly the kind of workout I've been wanting from these rides: feeling like I'm pushing myself hard but not holding anyone back. I got pretty worn out from those steep, short hills, but recovered quickly. I panted like a porn star the whole ride. :)

And when I got home, I was soaking wet and freezing my butt off. I hit the shower and took possibly the longest, hottest shower I've taken in years. The ride was only 23 miles, but it was the most challenging ride I've done.

I'm on the books for group rides on each of the next two Saturdays and Sundays, then it's surgery day. The ride on my day before surgery will be my longest to date: 58 miles. My surgeon said to get out there and exercise myself stupid before the surgery, since I'll be cooped up for awhile. I am doing my best to follow doctor's orders, haha.

Tonight, I am going on a group hike with that group I hooked up with a couple weeks ago. I am taking a step up from my tennis shoes that I wore last time and am wearing my motorcycle boots, haha. There are many things on my outdoor sports wish list, and I guess boots are on that list. But the biking list is about 100 items and they are the priority.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cycling Blog and Happy Movember Eve

Well, I have tons of weight loss surgery blogs and now running blogs that I read and enjoy, but it turns out there aren't a whole lot of cycling blogs out there. Correction: there are a lot of blogs about bicycles, mechanical whoosies and whatsies and what's available and buy this and rate that, etc.

Maybe someday that will interest me. But it doesn't right now. I'm still all about "ooo, how I will I make rent this month and feed the children?*" No $5K bikes for me!

*I promise, as I'm paying for the plastic surgery, I will continue to feed and house my children. Maybe in a cardboard box whilst eating Top Ramen, but I will at least meet the spirit of my obligations.

No, when I am looking for cycling blogs, I want something like this: cool people talking about how cool it is to ride a bike. Anecdotal stuff, personal stuff. The kind of fluff I write, in other words.

I found a couple one: Jess Cutler. She lives in Seattle and races bikes. Alma also bikes and throws in little biking tidbits along with all her running, too. It's a start! Anyway, I'm looking for more, so if you know of any. I get sleepy when there are too many technical details about bikes, though. :)

God Watches Over Drunks, Children and Girls on Bikes Who Have No Sense
Now, for my own little biking tidbit this morning, I rode my bike to the P&R before work. Just a short little ride designed to put my bike in the right place after work so I can go on my now-standing Wednesday night group ride. Umm, standing ride for this week and next, anyway, haha. Then I'll be in recovery mode for awhile.

I opted to go down the very steep hill by my house, even though it was dark and rainy, because I was being lazy. There is a back route that is not much farther at all. On the very steep hill, there isn't really room for cars to pass, and it is the main thoroughfare out of my neighborhood. When I drive it in the morning, bicyclists irritate me make me wish they had taken the back route for their safety. Well, it was dark, and rainy, and I didn't want to hold up any cars (and really, there's so much traffic that the cars are certainly going slower than a bike can, jeez). But I was going fast, and at the bottom of the hill there is a hairpin-ish turn that also has a road divider in place. I always get on the sidewalk for that part, just so no cars get to run me over and say they had no choice but to squish me.

Well. I was going too fast to brake and move onto the sidewalk, and my bike started fishtailing like crazy, and PLUS it is garbage day in my neighborhood so the sidewalks are full of garbage, yard waste and recycling bins. I was very lucky to have not fallen, and it would have been at high speed into a curb line and maybe the garbage bins would have saved me from sliding into the road at the narrow hairpin turn, where, as I've said, cars have no choice but to squish you should you enter their path.

Oops. Lesson learned. I think God picked up my bike, with me yowling in shock and surprise, and set me on the sidewalk and told me to stop being dumb. I can still take the short route, but perhaps I should remember what a super-speedy cyclist I am now. :)

On another biking note: I stink. I rode in the rain and I don't have fenders on my bike (maybe I should read some of those techy-buy-this-for-your-bike blogs, after all). I am pretty darn wet at work, and I was okay with that because I will dry. But I think mud puddles must stink. Oh well. I'll have to continue to refine the process here, packing clothes or something. Honestly, it seems like much work. My mornings are already busy with "find your backpack, eat your breakfast, put your contacts in, don't forget to have me sign your agenda, are you bringing lunch or buying" etc. Not a lot of slush time available to get to work and take a shower, etc.

Plus, I hate this sling backpack I bought. Hate it. Maybe they have cycling blogs about cool bike stuff you can buy without wasting your money on things you'll end up hating, hahahaha.

Blogger's Remorse
Oh, I'm not sorry I did the Huff Post interview, but I am a little surprised at how surprised I am that people IRL would stumble on it. Oops. Thass okay. I can't really complain about them knowing about my weight loss woes when in a very short time I will GO TO THE MAT with HR to defend my right to wear a bikini to work, haha. Still, it's kind of weird, and kind of skeeves me out. It's a bit like in my old blogging days when I was blogging about my divorce and I found out X's family was reading it, haha. Not a bad thing, per se, just an "Oh, really?" sort of thing.

Mustache Dache
As you may recall, I really only think that men are able to grow facial hair in order to screen some of them out as to whether or not I will find them attractive. Don't like it. Although, speaking of X, I did have a startling revelation recently that X had facial hair for probably 90% of the time we were together (uh, only twenty years or so) - and I had completely overlooked this fact. Do you think this gave me weird facial hair issues?? When I was a kid, our cocker spaniel went ballistic any time the UPS man - dressed in brown - came to the door. Other delivery people? No problem. UPS? Those guys was not allowed on the property. Maybe my anti-facial hair stance stems from this in some deep subconscious level.

Jon Hamm can do whatever he wants and still be the most attractive man alive. But I do like stubble. A lot, actually.
I would still do him, but it would be out of pity for him as much as anything.

Anyway, it's Movember Eve, the time when many of my friends and coworkers decide to make themselves as humanly unattractive as possible by growing fur all over their faces. Go, boys! (I guarantee you none of them know this is tied to prostate cancer awareness and fundraising.) It's like puberty all over again...look at me, I can grow hair! My eleven year old son is also asking questions about when he can grow facial hair. (Not as long as you live under this roof, buddy.)

But my very favorite Movember activity is the Mustache Dache in Seattle. I (BIG HEART) their website. It is FUNNY! Go poke around. But better yet, sign up for the 5K! It's November 17th in Magnuson Park. They had a presence at the Snohomish River Run last weekend and they were cute. I saw many fake mustaches and a girl in an outfit like the one on their site:

I won't be able to do the 5K as I'll be just a few days post-op. I am coordinating with Alli's friend's mom to see if the girls, who both did cross-country at school, can go to the race together.

But if you have a strong stomach and are willing to brave a crowd this is concentrated with a higher than norm population of facial hair, go do this 5K! I'll bet it is going to be a ton of fun. If I don't make it there with Alli, I am looking forward to scrolling through the event pictures - they will no doubt be hysterical.

Dork Alert
Coming back to add that I am such a dork. Really, on my best days I am so far from smooth, you wouldn't believe it. I am clumsy, uncoordinated, I say stupid isht and put my foot in my mouth all the time. I don't care. :) But I hit a peak this morning at the park and ride. I was waiting in line for the bus, and I still had on my helmet and this headlamp, which is like a miner's light, not strapped to my helmet. (I really should look for some biking equipment blogs - I wonder if there is such a thing? With reviews? That would be so helpful.) So, this headlamp is COMPLETELY cutting into my forehead and I cannot wait to get it off. Nope, not the ten extra seconds it would take me to get my helmet off. I pull the elastic band of the headlamp and attempt to stretch it over the bike helmet. I fail, and the headlamp springs back and clocks me in the forehead, HARD. I bust out laughing so hard!

The guy in front of me in line? I swear to God he took one look at me and walked further back in line. Which made me laugh so much harder. I was dying. :)

p.s. no costume for me this year, but I told Sabrina that next year this is what I'm wearing:

I'm just sayin.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tummy Tuck Pre-Op Appt and Other Good Stuff

I had my two-week pre-op appointment for the tummy tuck today. Yay! I am very excited. I decided to have the surgeon do both a vertical and a horizontal incision, so I'll be filleted open like a fish. It's actually called a "fleur de lis" incision." This will maximize the amount of skin they can take off and improve the final results of skin tightness and super-awesomeness.

All the skin in the shaded area comes off and is restitched together on the edges.
I get to keep my belly button, though. And if my stomach looked like this illustration, I wouldn't need a tummy tuck.
I am soooooo excited. The surgeon says I can expect excellent results: I'm really just down to extra skin and very little fat. What fat there is will be liposuctioned out (they also lipo that little pooch at my pubic bone, something that is very common with lots of weight loss). Then they'll tighten up all my abdominal muscles, overlap them and stitch them together. Cut off that excess skin and stitch me back up!

He says underneath the extra skin I am a very petite person, so the post-op change will be very dramatic. You'll all get to see that because I'll be running around naked everywhere I go once I'm healed up. ;) Or at least in my jog bra and shorty running shorts.

What do you mean this outfit is inappropriate for work?

I found out that I'll be off my bike for at least four weeks, and not running for at least three. I told him I liked biking more than running and asked to switch the figures. :) He said the leaning forward hunched over on a bike will not be so great for my recovery. Oh, plus, I have to wear a compression garment for six weeks! Ack!! Twenty-four hours a day, ew. I knew this, but I didn't realize I'd be wearing it for so long. Oh well, it's worth it.

To compensate, I am going on two long group rides this weekend: a 42-miler on Saturday and a 34-miler on Sunday. I'm not concerned about these distances - the mid-30s have been no problem whatsoever and I am looking forward to bumping up my distances. There are many, many cool cycling events starting in the spring and I will be participating in as many as I can!

I also have my new Wednesday night riding group, the ones I went out with last week. They do that ride or a variation of it every week, and so will I. I am really looking forward to it tomorrow. I'll be logging as much time on the bike as I can before my surgery!

Switching gears, I should recap the Zoo Dash 5K from Sunday. If I were an organized woman, I would have avoided scheduling a 5K on the weekend of the Snohomish River Run. But my daughter is very into the 5Ks and wants to do one a month, at least. I want to do anything I can to keep her motivated, so away we go. I was very lucky that Jen was willing to do this one with us, because I had a bit of a kid-scheduling snafu: nothing to do with my 7yo except bring him along! Accordingly, I registered my daughter for the race, but not me. Then I brought my 7yo's bike with us and he and I navigated the circular path around Green Lake on the fringes of the event. For awhile, he was really good about staying in my sights, but I guess he was familiar enough with the lake and confident enough in his navigational skills (which, I must say, have always been uncanny) that he frequently started taking off ahead. This left me with little choice but to run after him while Jen stayed with Alli and kept her motivated and moving.

Some of my peeps.
My quads took great umbrage at running again the day after the half marathon. But they did it, and they didn't complain too much! I was shocked pleased. Thus far, except for going down stairs, I have not suffered much post-event.

And here's the cool thing: while running the lake, two coworkers actually separately saw me *running the lake.* So I had some sort of rock star status yesterday at work when some coworkers knew I was doing the half on Saturday and some saw me running on Sunday...they think I am a great athletic beast. :) I played it non-chalant: oh yeah, just another weekend in my life, haha.

In an odd post-Huffington Post event, a coworker saw me on the webpage yesterday and sent me the url. Oops. When I agreed to the interview, I just assumed no one would see it, haha. Silly me. How on earth I would be seen and recognized on the aol page - that's just crazy talk. So I had to threaten him encourage him to keep his mouth shut about it. Then I had to confess the blog's existence to my Sugar Daddy and my MTB friend since I talk about both of them here occasionally. Neither cared. Sugar Daddy said he didn't recall signing a release to have his photo included and MTB friend said my blog looked interesting but seemed to be largely about me. Doof.

It's not that I'm ashamed about who I am or where I've come from or anything like that. And my weight loss has certainly been plenty public. And I am guilty of making selected coworkers look at the same nekky lady pictures in person that I've posted on the blog. You know, it's just one of those world-collide things.

Finally, on the dating front, I'll do a brief update since I haven't in awhile. Boy, do I ever love my bicycle. Things are slow in the romance department - I am still seeing Lance Armstrong from time to time, and possibly the tall Clint Eastwood-eyed motorcyclist. Lance works nights now, plus plenty of side jobs. I have been busy, busy with my group rides and my kids' sports; picking both of those over time with Lance. I really want to get comfy with the group rides and hopefully make some friends, because the big organized events next spring and summer are very, very important to me and I want to hit the ground running. Err, hit the pedals spinning. Something. So, mostly Lance and I talk on the phone and text. He is a big, big cycling cheerleader and full of lots of support and advice. He's a different caliber athlete, though, and has a hard time scaling back, so he's encouraging me to jump a little higher than I'm ready to. Go ride fifty miles, a hundred. I wouldn't know where to begin - I suppose I could do my routes, I'll just wait for the training program I plan to sign up for in January.

Clint Eastwood - well, we make plans but he gets called into work a lot, plus he's recently moved from Oregon and is terribly homesick, I think. He works 4/10's and spends most weekends back home. So, mostly, we just make plans. That's okay - he's a nice guy and very sweet but boring as heck.

See, some mind shift occurred in me over the course of this year. Now, these nice guys who just sort of hang out, the way I always have myself...well, they now don't capture my interest. I wanna go ride my bike. Every weekend, Clint and I talk, and I'm doing the rides or the races or whatever, and he is "just relaxing at home." He is very sweet about cheering me on, but boring as ufck. Pardon my Rfench.

He's a diversion. I am needing diversions like this less and less.