Posted in bariatric surgery, pop culture, random, weight loss

TOKI THE ADIPOSE (the only fat I plan to keep)

I have many “mascots” that represent certain journeys in my life. I could think of none more fitting for this weight loss journey than an Adipose from the Doctor Who series. The Adipose are aptly created from adipose tissue, aka FAT. 

I named her Toki, which, in Japanese, means, “time of opportunity.” I am ready for this opportunity to turn my life in a radical new direction!

Look for Toki photos from my vacation in Tahoe this Fall.

Posted in lights, random


I was at a friend’s house, attending an event in their backyard, and they had these lights hanging everywhere.  When the sun started to go down, I decided to try and shoot them.  I love the contrast and the extraordinary look of such an ordinary thing.

Then, there was the sun against these paper orbs that I couldn’t resist.

I also shot some other random objects.

This one, though, just seemed to stick out, just in how simple it is.  It reminded me of when I have ideas that I let sit and the cobwebs spring up around it, yet, the idea still glows.

My best photos come from just taking the camera with me everywhere and just seeing what’s around that others see as ordinary, and turning them into something extraordinary, even if it is just for me.
Posted in commentary, femininity, random, Yahweh's fingerprints


I don’t know if they have HEB grocery stores where you live, but it’s my favorite grocery store. One of the primary reasons I shop there is because all their workers are happy, cheerful, and helpful. I’ve yet to find an exception to this observation. At this grocery store, customer service is primary and I believe one of the reasons for its success. (Don’t worry, Whole Foods you are a close second, and your customer service is also excellent!)

I have purposely stopped shopping at certain stores because their customer service is terrible, their clerks (and managers) are so rude and so sour and beyond unhelpful that I’d rather pay $5 more per shopping trip to shop anywhere else. My time is precious to me, and I’d rather enjoy my time doing something I have to do anyway, than leave a store all tense and drained because of someone else’s rudeness.

The actual story of this blog entry started at HEB Wednesday after work. I was in the checkout line and was greeted warmly by M. She’s scanned my groceries before. Always pleasant. The young lady who was bagging my groceries very graciously ran to get me a bigger cart because I’d overstuffed the little one I had. When she came back, M was almost finished scanning my groceries and was scanning my coupons.

That’s when we both noticed him. A very good looking man had come up behind me. I am rarely caught off guard by how good looking a person is. Quite frankly, I rarely make it past a man’s eyes, but this man caught my attention. He was over 6’ tall, muscular, very short blonde hair, well chiseled face, blue-eyed and just generally FINE. The kind of fine that you thank God for making to decorate the Earth even though you could never picture yourself with someone that breathtaking because he’s too pretty and that kind of pretty is usually more high maintenance than I am. He even made the surgical scrubs he was wearing more handsome. A FINE looking man. Dr. Fine.

I could tell M didn’t feel well but she was still working and still smiling and most important, not complaining or smashing my groceries around. She looked at me and almost giggled because this guy was that good looking. Mind you, she looked to be close to my age and not a teenager, so that reaction just amplified his Adonis-ness. Meanwhile, the young lady who was bagging my groceries was called away by her manager to go pick up her till so she could take over for M. M began finishing up where the young lady left off.

Personally, the exit of the young lady didn’t bother me. I try not to be in a hurry most days because usually it’s a waste of energy. Besides, it was a mere second before M began to bag my final items. No. Big. Deal.

Mind you, this was not an express lane, and Dr. Fine only had an armful of items. He watched the young lady walk away and immediately barked, “well, she must work by the hour! She’s so slow!” That’s when I tuned him out. He angrily picked up his five items and stomped off to an actual express lane.

M and I looked at each other and I said,“He was so cute until he opened his mouth.” M agreed with me. She asked me what I thought he meant about working “hourly”, and I told her that someone like that thinks that people who get paid by the hour are beneath him for any number of reasons. She shook her head and finished bagging my groceries. I told her to be glad she’s not him because she’d be wasting that beautiful shell on a dry, shallow well. She smiled and the young lady had returned with her till, all smiles and ready to go, and M could finally go home and get some rest. I hope she’s feeling better today.

I pushed my big cart through the lanes and as I was leaving, I saw Dr. Fine still waiting in line in the express lane, looking all sour and angry. He was no longer handsome. He was no longer desirable. He was no longer Dr. Fine.

People have bad days and are sometimes short or terse with others. I know that happens. I’m guilty of that myself. It’s what came out of his mouth, however, that was most offensive. That’s when he turned into the handsomest jerk I’d ever seen.

Dr. No Longer Fine saw me as I passed his lane and I hope my eyes communicated what I was thinking: What’s inside of a person really is more important than what’s on the outside… but he probably thought I was in awe of him. From afar, he may get away with being pretty and he probably gets stared at a lot, but I wonder how many women he’s turned off with what’s underneath that well-chisled exterior.

Then I went home and in between putting my groceries away and looking out the window to see what my Green Onion was up to with my car repair (actually he was hanging upside down looking under my dash, but that’s another story), I looked in the mirror and faced the ugliness that sometimes lurks inside of me. Part of my makeover has to be an examination of my interior to make sure what’s inside is more beautiful and lovely than what covers it.

I wonder if Dr. No Longer Fine will ever realize that instead of looking in a mirror, he was the mirror.

Posted in random


So I noticed a big crack in my tire this morning and decided to get it taken care of sooner than later. I won’t mention the cost, but I feel as if at times I will never achieve financial victory in my life. Yes, I am faithful with my finances, which, by the way, had I not been, I could have bought a new car by now. With all my other recent money drains it is difficult to keep perspective.

So this morning I’m sitting here waiting for my new tires with a room full of fellow hard workers with tire issues. One in particular, Al (not his real name but we all sure know what it is by now) is hungover and passed out in a chair in the corner. They have called his name several times but he hasn’t moved. The lady next to me knows he’s alive because he snorted fifteen minutes ago. The Discount Tire clerk agreed Al needed to sleep off his weekend a little longer…that and because Al is so large if he touches him he might hurt him in his current condition.

Al woke up a couple of minutes ago, still fairly incoherent and in disbelief that anyone had called his name and he didn’t hear it. He went into the bathroom and screamed loudly, which is funny if you’d been watching him sleep the last half hour. He just drove off, and I hope he goes straight home and goes to sleep.

Meanwhile people are gawking at the wonder that is my HTC Evo (either that or I have spinach in my teeth). The only issue I have with it is battery life. The phone should at least stay charged all day and not have to be charged two or three times with minimal use…or not so minimal use.

Well my car is in the back now. Hopefully I will be on my way to work soon. It’s not nearly as much fun in here without Al.

Posted in creativity, random


I tend to go at life at an all or nothing pace.  Either I am running along, full steam ahead, or I am at a complete standstill, most likely because I had too much full steam ahead.  Balancing my busy schedule the past three months was so impossible, I stopped trying. Three weddings in six weeks, two of which I was very involved in, left little time for “nothing” time. 

I call it “nothing” time, but in reality, doing nothing actually means emptying my head of all its creative, insane thoughts, while doing laundry, cleaning, editing pics or whatever else needs done.  So really, I’m not all that good at doing “nothing,” and as a result I’ve written nothing in two months.

Don’t get me wrong.  The last few months, helping brides and grooms prepare for weddings has been a lot of fun (and a learning experience that maybe one day I will find time to write about) but free time was not usually a luxury I had.  In fact, on more than one occasion, I found myself faced with more than one bridal shower in a very short amount of time on a Saturday.  Juggling feelings and expectations isn’t something I do well normally, and under pressure sometimes my own expectations of how I handle all that is met with a big, fat, fail.  Double that with my lack of down time and yes, there are some things I wish I could do over.  I do believe, however, I came out on the other side of wedding season better than I was before.

I don’t download my brain easily.  There’s a certain combination that must happen before my thoughts come flowing out.  The first requirement of the combination is uninterrupted time.  The second is the desire to face whatever is being stored in my head.  The third is usually a combination in and of itself that can be vary between whether or not I’ve had enough sleep, to what I’ve eaten or what I’ve done that day, but the first two are a must.

I hope to start downloading all my thoughts soon, but I at least need to find a way to pause more often in my all or nothing schedule so that the gaps are not this long again!

Posted in random, technical difficulties


I remember visiting my parents’ home during a college break and asking my parents how long they were going to make me suffer with a rotary dial phone in the hallway.  Then, after moving to Texas, I swore I’d never call them unless they invested the $3 a month for call waiting because they were either always on the phone or the computer and every time I tried to call them I got a busy signal.
Fast forward to 2010, and I’ve reached another telecommunications growth spurt.

Recently, I changed car insurance companies.  On their bill, website and every other form of advertising and information, is an 800 number that includes the word CLAIM.  On their bill, website and every other place I looked, they did not have the alternative (the actual numbers) listed anywhere.

Because I was in the middle of entering the number in my contacts I decided to go to the internet and Google traditional phone pad to get the letters corresponding numbers to put in my phone in case I ever had to call in for a claim.

I have not had a traditional house phone for nearly three years now.  I have a traditional phone I can plug in the wall somewhere (and by somewhere I mean it’s probably in a box in my closet), but my cell phone’s keypad is a combination number/qwerty keyboard – so the letters would not match the numbers CLAIM represents. 
I can access a traditional keypad on the touch screen on my phone, but to be honest, I hardly use it.  I either use the readily accessible keypad or just choose a contact and push to dial.  Besides, to have to look up what number corresponds to a number is one of those tedious things I shouldn’t have to do if the company would just print the full number in addtion to their “easy to remember” CLAIM. 
I have been cell phone shopping recently and have seen many cell phones that do not have a traditional phone keypad readily accessible.  People speak, “Call John” and the phone obeys or they have speed dial, or they access and dial in many other ways. Even at work I hardly dial more than four or five numbers at a time and most of the time I use shortcuts the phone provides for me.  People rarely traditionally dial these days if they are out and about with their cell phone in hand, and almost no one uses a traditional keypad to text from these days, either.
Heaven forbid my phone gets smashed in the accident and I have to use some random cell phone that has a traditional keypad that’s more difficult to access or in a lot of cases, not even there.  In times of crisis, I might remember 800 CLAIM** but might not want to work that out in numbers in the middle of the chaos that would cause me to have to remember it in the first place.
I searched all over their website and couldn’t find CLAIM translated anywhere and this amused me somewhat, so I called the insurance company and had a nice chat with a lady named Anne.  I told Anne I was not calling for a claim but to ask (since their website had no way to contact except by phone) whom I should talk to about this.  She pulled out her own cell phone and started laughing because she, too, had a phone with a combo number/qwerty keyboard and said that if she had a traditional phone keypad on her phone, she’d never seen it.  Anne is my age and we both agreed that as traditional phones faded into the sunset, their website’s information should keep up with the times.
I wonder what stories I will tell kids when they complain about using a hand-me-down phone that is “so far behind the times.”  I will tell them, once upon a time, we even dialed seven numbers instead of ten and see how they marvel at that.  Or, perhaps, when I left the house, if my car broke down and I had to make a phone call, I had to knock on someone’s door or find (gasp) the soon to be extinct pay phone.
This experience brought to mind one of Bill Cosby’s routines where he said he asked his father for a nickel and he would get the old man’s life story, including, “when I was your age, I walked to school uphill, both ways.”  I find that story even moreso amusing now, because I find myself telling those same kind of stories!  With technology changing every few months, however, this doesn’t make me feel old, it makes me feel fortunate to appreciate what the new gives me in convenience… except when I need the numbers that correspond with CLAIM…
Posted in random, Yahweh's fingerprints


I don’t know where this statement came from tonight, but it pulsed through me like an electric current:  Your misery no longer has my company.

Misery has loved my company for years.  I’m not talking about, “curse God and die,” misery, nor am I talking about intense, miserable pain.  I’m talking about “stuck in a funk” misery… misery’s next-door neighbor, so to speak.

Call it, “blah,” or that heavy sigh you might hear after someone gets to the point of exasperation that if you poke them one more time, you will regret it…or the boiling cauldron of unreleased energy that ripples below your surface of nice… call it whatever you want.  It’s miserable to live in “blah,” when you’ve experienced “WAH HOO!” and the sigh of satisfaction kind of life.

I’ve known some pretty miserable people in my time.  These people walk around under a cloud of permanent rainstorm when it’s sunny all around them.  Their glass isn’t half empty, it’s broken, and nobody is ever going to be able to fix it or understand the significance of its brokenness except them.  They keep that broken glass under the cloud of their permanent rainstorm so their collected tears will run through the cracks and everyone will see how life has beaten them down and feel sorry for them.

I can throw stones at that broken glass because I used to be one of those people.  I decided one Lent, however, to move out of misery’s room.  Unfortunately, I only moved down the hall, but not quite out of the building.  These miserable self-pity party pros will do anything to keep someone around who will moan and lament with them because, if a pity-party happens unattended, does it really have any significance?

My problem is, since I have emerged from misery’s doorstep, I have found I want to turn around, go back down the hall and help people move out of Misery.  I’ve discovered that, while it’s good to try and help people, most people that live in Misery don’t want help. They don’t want to leave their familiar, miserable darkness. Misery is a quicksand that will swallow you whole if you allow one grain of sand in the gears of your new attitude, so you have to follow your new road out of misery.

Though I now consider myself a fairly optimistic, positive person, I can easily find myself knocking on Misery’s door to ask what’s wrong and can I borrow some bitterness?   I think it’s because I didn’t put enough distance between me and the landlord of misery and all these little grains of misery are messing with the gears of change within.  I’m still somewhat connected to their miserable lives and with that connection they trip me up sometimes, and goodness knows I can wallow with the best of them.

Tonight, I just wanted to serve notice to the landlord of Misery:  I’m leaving the building, and God help me, this depressing, life-sucking neighborhood, too.  Sometimes misery is a place, sometimes it’s a person, sometimes it’s an attitude, but whatever makes me miserable has to GO. 

The thing about Misery is that it not only loves company, it sticks like tar.  Misery doesn’t move.  It stays stuck in the same place forever, and people choose to stay stuck there because being happy and satisfied and optimistic and grateful takes a lot more work sometimes, and goodness knows miserable people are already miserable because of work and a hundred thousand other things they choose to be miserable about.

So sorry, Misery, I’m moving out tonight.  I’m sure this isn’t enough notice for you.  Did you know this building is slated for demolition?  We weren’t intended to live like this. I hope you get out before it all crumbles around you so you don’t have to be…miserable… in its rubble.  The saddest part is, you will always have company, because miserable people seem to attract each other like moths to flames.  At first, it’s great to be with people that “understand,” and then ZAP! 

Don’t worry, Misery, the place is just like I found it.  Empty…but full of bad memories.  Dark.  Too cold.  Too hot.  Drippy faucet.  Dead flowers on the balcony.  Oh, but please, Misery, I do not want my deposit back.  You can keep it and be miserable that it’s not nearly enough for all the pain you’ve endured. 

And…um…sorry about the self-loathing I left in the refrigerator. 

Posted in lists, random


I am too tired to finish the thoughts I had rolling around in my brain this evening.  I had jury duty Wednesday and my brain has been fatigued ever since.  I will write about that later this weekend.

Before I try and sleep, however, I must empty my brain of all the random thoughts so it can rest. 

– It’s interesting how we’ll let someone go free because of reasonable doubt or burden of proof, and crucify others with no proof at all.

– People will use rules, regulations, peer pressure, superstitions, and so many other conquerable obstacles to keep themselves separated from real love and friendship… “safe” from loving and being loved in return for so many silly reasons that may even seem logical at the time.  It makes me so sad and angry to watch people do this to each other, yet, I am guilty of this… and I’m guilty of allowing others to be reckless with my heart because of this.  Shame on you.  Shame on me.

– Yes, I did buy coffee at the store this week.

– That “knower” inside of me… I can still hear the Voice.  I can’t explain what a relief that is.

– My niece reminded me tonight that life is short and flies by and suddenly that little girl is almost a woman… and getting her learner’s permit. 

– If that activity/person/thing sucks every creative instinct/urge out of me, and that creative instinct/urge is what keeps me sane… I have some changes to make.

– We have this red, white, and black duck in the pond at work we can’t identify, but until we know what kind of duck he is, we are going to call him Joaquin.

– It’s a sad day when people feel that they can’t express themselves because people don’t understand them or their ideas, and so they hide their ideas away instead.  Can you feel the loss of something you were unaware of?  I believe I do, because, even if I don’t agree with you or your ideas or beliefs, I miss the challenge of working out the surety of my own ideas and beliefs.

– I need to learn to fight harder for what I know is right, for the people I love, and for my sanity.

– Your eyes betray you as much as mine betray me.  The first one that blinks… yeah, I don’t know what the heck that means right now either.

– I have to keep my mind and heart open… because the narrower my mind gets, the harder and colder my heart gets. 

– “Well, that’s just who I am,” only cuts it for God.  The rest of us have to change and grow, or we’ll never be anything like Him.  We will simply become irrelevant and fade away or just be a thorn in somebody else’s flesh.  I think, even as humans, we can be better than that.

– New ideas aren’t the enemy.  Being complacent enough to believe the old ideas are as good as it gets…is.

– The tension of tradition and a fresh direction is worth the pain.

– Listening to the Voice and doing the right thing is its own reward.

– I could do this all night, but I think I’ve siphoned enough off my brain to sleep.  We’ll see.

Posted in Lent, random, Yahweh's fingerprints


I’ve been sick for almost two weeks now and have been confined to my couch when I’m not at work (or at prepaid, planned events). I’ve watched quite a bit of basketball (sorry, Baylor, Purdue), edited many photos, slept, and had many thoughts sloshing around in my head.  Unfortunately, most of those thoughts are still sloshing, which has made sleep elusive (that, and the coughing).  I hope to start downloading my brain again, but I apologize if to you, the reader, this all seems a little random.

For some reason this just popped into my head:  How to get rid of weeds without all the chemicals? How about the old fashioned way? PULL THEM.  I think it’s all the Lowe’s commercials I’ve seen the past two days where the couple goes to the Garden Center and gets bags and bottles of chemicals so their flowerbeds will be prettier and more productive that led that thought to pop into my head.  Perhaps it was all the time I spent as a kid helping the older folks in my church plant their gardens and flowers in the spring (without chemicals) that has made me wonder why people reach for the quick, man-made solution that could kill everything that’s healthy around the weed, too, and burn holes in their clothes rather than working up a little sweat and just pulling the weed out down to the root, which is usually more eco-friendly and permanent.

This is my brain on decongestants and no sleep.

So, of course, after all the sloshing around in my brain, I began to think about how I’ve been trying to treat this current sinus infection.  Instead of reaching for a Zpack or other antibiotic, I have struggled an extra week trying to combat this menace with Ricola cough drops, Sudafed, oregano oil, my neti pot and Puffs (with lotion).  Granted, I could have gone to the doctor, gotten the Zpack, and been back to my optimum speed in three or four days, but I’m committed to treating my body with as few chemicals as possible. 

Suffice it to say, I’m feeling better, and I’ve managed not to run to the quick fix again, which is a victory and confirmation that, for me, this method is what works.

I used to be the Quick Fix Queen, but often, the problem/illness/character trait would just spring up again, this time bigger and meaner and more resistant to treatment than before.  The circle of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, so I’ve tried to walk off the beaten path and see how that works.  So far, so good.

Yes, sometimes I still want to run to the quick fix, but experience tells me waiting, working through the problem/illness/whatever to the root/core is what will lead to the most growth.  Pulling weeds takes longer, stains your fingers, and sometimes makes the back ache, but in the long run, the soil remains uncontaminated, ready for something new and healthy to grow in its place.  Spraying chemicals might kill the weed, but often, all that’s left is a hole where nothing can grow, at least for a while.

If I want a change in health/life/everything to last, I have to go about it in the way that will yield that result.  I’m in a season of weeding, of trying to pull out of my life whatever keeps me small, fearful, stuck… by the root.  Once and for all. 

Be patient with me.  Change is difficult, and slow, but if I get to the root of the whatever the current weed in my life is and pull it, I won’t have to go back and repeat this process.  The quickest fix of all is to do something right the first time.