Archive | April 2018

Broken Chairs and Carrot Sticks (Week 1 Day 4)

 

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Last night I broke a chair.  It was a recliner we have had for around for ten years or so, but I have been using it a lot more since September. Because of my leg condition, I have needed to elevate my legs for several hours a day.  This got me into watching TV again, something I had not done much at all in quite a few years, but that is another story.

Anyway, when I tried to get up last night, the chair wobbled and pretty much broke.  Leaning on one of the arms while I also used my cane to get up, not to mention my weight, was too much ongoing stress for it.  I felt terrible and this morning I got mad at Anne when she mentioned that some of our other chairs are also weak.  She did not mean anything by her comment, but it hurt my sensitive feelings.  I knew this journey would be emotional.

It helped when she reminded me that the chair had been moved twice and dropped once in the driveway by the movers.  It was a weak and damaged chair!  The evidence is in the glued together leg.   It needed more gentle treatment than I have been able to give it.  This morning, Anne sort of fixed it, and we moved its twin into the TV room and put the sad chair in the living room where it won’t get as much use.   Whew.  I had never broken a real chair before (cheap camp/beach chairs don’t count), but I have certainly worried about doing so and always try to score the sturdier seats if there is a choice.  Maybe I won’t have to worry about that as much in the future.

On a weirder note.  I have been really craving carrot sticks all week.  I thought I would be craving all the yummy things I have loved to eat, but no.  Carrot sticks.  I don’t even like them much and have always considered carrots as merely convenient spoons for dip, or something to throw in a stew for color.  This must be the behavior modification part of the program working.  After months of not eating real food, carrots will be wonderful – and jicama, snap peas, and cucumbers too.  Don’t they all sound really delish?

When I can eat real food again, I just might binge on raw carrots.

You can tell that I have quite a bit of empathy for the old broken down chair.  We all have our broken places.

 

 

 

 

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Daily Bread (Week 1 Day 2)

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I got through day 1 just fine: an off and on headache and some mild nausea.  The water was the biggest challenge.  I drank almost the recommended gallon of water, but going to the bathroom constantly was not fun.  I swam for 40 minutes.  I wasn’t all that grumpy with Anne, which has been one of my fears.  I remember how horrible I was when quitting smoking and did not want to repeat that behavior.  OK, I was grumpy this morning when she was stressing about something before I had my 2 cups of black coffee.  Then again, I am always grumpy before my coffee.  She may not agree about my relative grumpiness.

Any change involves feelings of loss and of grief.  It is part of why change is so hard.  Part of what I need to keep telling myself that what is changing is my lifestyle – not the essence of who I am.  (And please tell that to the congregants who can freak out with any minor change to their liturgy. )

Two poems from years past about being a large woman:

Taking Up Space (2004)

I am a large woman

And I need some space.

The world is not big enough

Sometimes.

Sharp elbows jutting, jabbing

The smaller people

Push by with impatience.

Their looks of disgust

Try to cut me down to size.

I don’t feel crowded

By other fat people,

Even in a small space.

Our round bodies bump

Pleasantly together

With a jiggling, Jello-pudding ease.

Comfortable.

Earth mother goddess,

Welcoming, warm, and wise.

Ah.

Funny how someone so big

Can feel so invisible.

Yes, EXTRA large

Is way too small.

Really.

I don’t want to feel small

Simply because I am

What someone else thinks is

Way too big.

I am a large woman

And I need some space.

I want to grow larger still

Spirit filling my body  – and more

Flowing out, around.

Free.

Divine spirit,

Larger than all imagination,

Teach us how to bump more gently

Into one another.

May our spirits flow

Around the sharp edges,

Around the rude elbows

That jab us apart.

We are large souls

And we need some space

To be

Together.

 

A Larger Ministry (2014)

I am a large woman

It is a good thing.

As a minister

My shoulders must be wide

When people need them

To absorb their tears.

My arms must open up

To create a safe space

To hold the fearful

Close to my body

In a strong embrace.

If I could only be

Even larger

My giant heart

Might beat a rhythm

Loud enough

Just loud enough

To teach this hurting world

The joy of the dance.

 

No matter what size we are in body, may our spirits be as large as the infinite universe.

 

 

My Daily Bread (Week 1)

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“Give us this day our daily bread” – or chemically engineered meal substitutes – by Nestle no less.   Even back in the 60’s we knew that Nestle was one of those evil corporations whose products and activities did particularly heinous damage to indigenous populations around the world.  We can only do what we can do, however.  If these products can help me regain some better health, then they are what I will ingest for the next 4+ months, even if it means I have to purchase them from an evil corporation.

The picture above is what I will have today, which includes a GALLON of water.  Calories total 1200 calories and if I space the 7 servings out throughout the day, hunger will be kept at bay – or so they say, anyway.  I did order seven of the pre-mixed juice packs, thinking that for the first week anyway, it would be nice to not have to mix up a powdered ‘shake’ first thing in the morning.  It tasted fine this morning, kind of like a strawberry Yoohoo, but the waste appalled me and I plan to go with the powdered stuff from here on out.

Class was good last night, although it felt rushed.  We did have time for a quick go around with introductions, and it was nice to get a sense of the folks I will be on this journey with for almost the next 2 years.

I am excited to start this, and although some panic set in yesterday afternoon, today I am ready to be calm and methodical about it.  I have had the two 2 cups of black coffee that are allowed, and am now working on guzzling the prescribed water.  L’Chaim! (To Life!)

L’Chaim From Fiddler on the Roof

 

 

Dream – In Memory

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2

It is an old dream

A landscape I have wandered

Many times

While sleeping

It is a wealthy friend’s house

I won’t say her name

You might know her.

Large rooms furnished

In luxury

And when you run out of rooms

As if you ever could

There is a ranch house

You can reach through a tunnel

With even more places

To rest your weary bones.

Last night the house was also

Attached to a church I used to serve

The furniture wasn’t fancy

But was where I chose to sleep

The hospitality of home

Hallowed by the souls

Who worshiped there

Some still living

And some who have gone on

To other rooms.

Sweet dreams, Roxanne

Sweet dreams.

I am so glad you lived,

A blessing to our world

With your love

So fierce, so strong.

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~~in memory of Roxanne Taylor November 05, 1940 – April 19, 2018    Roxanne was active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden, Utah, along with her beloved husband Tom.  With other members of the church, she started the OUTreach Resource Center in the church’s basement to serve Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender youth. 

 

 

 

 

 

Carry That Weight (Week 0)

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We had the first session and ordered the meal replacements which we will get next week.  We had a tasting, kind of like a cocktail party, sipping samples of the shakes, munching on small bites of the bars.  The facilitator went over the ground rules, getting input from the group.  She did not call it a covenant, but that is what it was.  One of the rules (promises) was to avoid politics and religion and to keep the group focused on why we were there.  I understand the need to avoid controversy – and religion as well as politics can be controversial.  It might be tough for me, however, as my faith rests in the very core of my being, and I expect it will be part of what will help me get through this.  We will see, but then the facilitator said not to behave this week like it was the “last supper” which is a religious reference if I have ever heard one.  I chuckled to myself  about it.  Her point was not to overdo it this week and gain weight, making the loss more of an uphill climb.  It makes sense, but the person who wrote down my starting weight subtracted a 100 pounds from what the scale said.  When I saw her mistake, I said, “Maybe I am done with the program already!”  Humor is going to be very important, but then, it always is.

On the Shoreline

 

IMG_1926On the shoreline

It can be hard

To know if the tide

Is coming in or going out

You can check a line

In the sand

That marks wet from dry

And wait, watching

The sand crabs, wondering

If they are prepared

For a sudden drenching

That will flood their home.

Wondering if they can cross

That line and yet survive.

But on the deep sea

In storm, in calm

The ships and boats

Travel beyond the tides.

And wondrous creatures

Swim beneath their hulls.

 

 

 

Balance

I was an awkward child

My short polio leg

Threw my balance off

My knees were always skinned

The scabs barely healing

Before I fell again running

Tripping when my legs

Did not land quite right

My bike was hard to learn to ride

And I never could roller skate

It was a balance thing

But I finally rode my bike

Going fast without a helmet

Free as the wind

I pedaled through the fog.

At college I studied

Tae Kwan Do

The Kata’s were difficult

Balance again.

But the sparring was fun

Even spraining fingers

Strong I was

Doing push-ups on my fists

I had an edge

My body was a well-honed tool

Over the years

That tool has dulled

Harder to do the things

I want and need to do

It is time

To work on it again.

And learn to ride

The waves of aging

With all the balance

I can find.

 

 

 

Praying

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This morning when I woke

I lay abed half dreaming

As I often do

My mind still loose and open

Remembering my dreams

I placed my hands together

Palms facing palms

Fingers closed and aligned

A “This I lay me down to sleep”

Body memory from my childhood

And I thought

Of the many different ways we pray

In this world so in need of prayer

Arms crossed or open wide

Hands resting open on one’s knees

Thumbs touching in a circle

One waving hand reaching up toward the sky

On our knees

Or prostrate upon the ground

Standing, sitting, walking, dancing

Swinging incense  or snakes

We chant, we sing, we moan

We speak the ritual words by rote

We speak in tongues

And in every language

Ever known

We stutter, stumble and lisp

We pray in a silence deeper than our fears.

So many ways, all good

All right

God listens

The Great Mother holds us

The Spirit of Life

Moves within us

Will you pray with me?

 

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Carry That Weight – (Week minus 1)

“Gonna carry that weight a long time.” Yeah sing it to me, Beatles.  I have been carrying weight for a long time, but not much longer if all goes well.  In another week and a half I go off food – completely.  I signed up for Kaiser’s Medical Weight Management Program which involves only ingesting “meal replacements” for 17 weeks.   At 900 calories a day, these meal substitutes, along with exercise, result in relatively large weight loss in a relatively short time.  They are nutritionally balanced and the program is medically supervised, so it is much safer than other rapid weight loss programs. There will be weekly meetings for a full 18 months to help me stay focused and to avoid regaining the lost weight once the program ends.

It isn’t going to be easy, but it is something I need to do, and it is something I need to do now.  I have a fair number of health conditions both related to and exacerbated by my weight, but the most acute is the need for knee replacement surgery.   To have the surgery done I need to lose at least 100 pounds, something that would literally take years to accomplish by simply exercising and eating less.  Right now anyway, I think this program will be easier in some ways than dieting.  No daily decisions to make, just follow the program.   Ah, maybe not easier, but more likely to work I think.

I weighed around 125 pounds until my mid 20’s when I started working at the Social Security Administration.  A desk job and awesome potlucks got me up to about 140.  Trying to quit smoking led to more weight gain.  Giving birth to twins did not help, but most of the weight I have put on is I think because I love the taste of good food.  I have never been a binge eater, and am even somewhat picky about what I will eat, but if something is yummy, how could an extra spoonful hurt?

Those extra spoonfuls have added up over the years, however, and here we are at 325 pounds with a body that is definitely showing major stress from carrying that weight for such a long time.

Let me stop here to say that I am not ashamed of being fat.  It is simply who I have been, a fat woman, with the same inherent worth and dignity that I believe each and every person has regardless of their size and/or abilities, physical or otherwise.  Fat ladies can not only sing – they can dance too.  I have done my share of dancing and I want to dance some more, with a better knee, hopefully at the revolution. (Yay, Emma Goldman.)

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I feel blessed for having so many years of being able to enjoy and savor the foods I find delicious.  And I am also blessed to have been offered this path to improving my health.  I will try to blog about it as I go because this, like life, is about the journey.

 

 

 

Easter Poem

What an effort it must have been

To climb down from that cross

So many centuries ago

They thought you were dead forever

It certainly looked like that

You’d prayed your last prayer

Healed your last leper

Driven out your last demon.

They even buried you.

It must have felt so good

To lay your head down

The funeral cloths were soft.

The darkness was comforting

So weary you were

Tired, hurt, bleeding.

You’d seen so much

Suffered so much

Done so much

What harm could it do

To give into rest

For a few days

It must have been hard

To hear the weeping

Of those who had loved you

Of those who had betrayed you

The stone was heavy

But you had to push it aside

Rolling away defeat

Banishing hopelessness

Overcoming fear.

What an effort it must have taken

To come back not knowing

What people would think

How they would respond

Would they think the miracle

Was only about you?

Thank you for letting us know

That we each have the chance

The opportunity, the responsibility

To be reborn

Resurrected.

Again and again.

Like the earth

Each spring

Each morning

Forever and ever

Amen.

 

(I wrote this a few years ago — but like Spring, it keeps bouncing back)