Tag Archives: friends

A Reason & A Season… I Guess

There have been lots of moments this past month where I’ve thought “Oooh, I’ll blog about that!” but nothing ever comes to fruition. I’ve been hitting the gym hard when I go, and I feel good about that. I’ve started working on a really awesome project at work that could pan out to be sometime even more awesome. I’ve got a trip coming up soon to Las Vegas, somewhere I’ve never been, and I’m excited to see all of Nate’s family when we go. I’m starting a fun personal project that I can’t wait to share with everyone. But no, I just don’t feel like writing about any of those things. Each time I think I should write I just don’t.

There has been something on my mind for about 3 months now, and I’m guessing maybe I just need to write about it. I brush it off as something that just happened, but then it comes back into my mind all the time. As often as I’ve brought it up “in passing,” and have gotten confused looks from my family and friends… I think I just need to get it out as best as I can.

Have you ever heard the term “Vaguebooking?” If not, this will be similar to it, but on a larger scale, I guess, since this is my blog.

About three months ago I got my feelings hurt by a good friend. I’ve been working for a long time on being more honest, less timid, and on addressing things that need to be addressed, even though it’s painful for me. Instead of stewing about it, I mentioned it to my friend. Now, three months later I’m down one friend. I don’t understand what happened, and it wasn’t until recently that I realize how much this has effected me.

I try to remind myself that people come into our lives for a wide variety of reasons and for all lengths of time. I try to remind myself that all friends can successfully be “easy” friendships, made up of times where you visit and see each other often and times where it doesn’t work out, but it is still okay. I remind myself that people have lots of things going on in their lives, and that sometimes there just isn’t enough time for people to be present for all of their friends. I guess it just doesn’t feel like any of these things are applicable in this situation.

When I was a teen I remember crying to my dad about my personality and how awful it is. I got tired of not being able to be what people wanted me to be. I clearly remember him telling me a memory he has of me standing at the end of our driveway just watching a group of kids walk by with this look of longing. I remember doing that. I’ve never forgotten that moment or his recalling that moment, because it perfectly sums up the way I feel. I’m always looking on, waiting for friends to come to me, or waiting for friendships to get better, wanting to be liked and appreciated by everyone.

I think about that defining memory a lot, especially when I’m having a day like I’ve been having for the last few days. I don’t have to wait around for people to be my friend: if I want someone to be my friend I have to first be a friend to them. I have to give what I want to be able to take. I feel like I’m pretty good at doing that with my friends, and when I’m not being a good friend, I enjoy that my friends feel okay telling me so.

It is HARD to tell people how you feel, especially hard to tell friends. What if that friend doesn’t take it well and gets upset? Or worse, what if that friend apologizes… then disappears from your life? The life cycle of a friendship is something I’ll never understand. I’m trying, though.

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I Challenge You… To LOSE!

A month ago I found out I was much more overweight than I had previously thought. It jolted me into deciding to do something, and since then I’ve been paying more attention to what I eat and trying to be more active. In the past month I’ve lost just under 8 pounds, though I’ve fluctuated and am right in the middle of that now.

One of the things that has really helped has been the support of my friends and family and the support of a special group of mom friends I have online. My mom group started a weight loss challenge that ends this coming Monday… we all contributed some money and whoever loses the highest percent of their body weight wins the pot. What a motivator that was!! I was determined to win.

What a great motivator friends and money can be! I’m not ready for the group support to end, so I’ve decided to start a DietBet. And I’d love for you to join me!

It’s simple…

  1. Visit my DietBet page and consider signing up
  2. “Bet” $10 that you’ll be able to lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks
  3. Lose that 4%!
  4. Split the money pot with all the other winners losers

The challenge will begin Monday, October 20 and will go through Monday, November 17. Please consider joining me. The weigh-ins are completely private, and the DietBet Referees appear to take our privacy very seriously. The Rules can be viewed here.

This is my new beginning

Please bear with me, as this is really hard to write. My life is going to change, starting now. 

On Monday I had my yearly doctor’s appointment. I stepped on the scale, as I always do, and couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to die. 

I have gained about 25 pounds in the past year. I am heavier than I ever have been (and I’ve been through two pregnancies). I surpassed the 200 lbs mark.

I’ve never been satisfied with my appearance. I’ve had moments where I think I look great, moments where I don’t care what I look like or what others think, moments where I’m comfortable… but none of those feelings come naturally to me. I’m not a confident person, and I’m not typically content with myself. 

In high school I hated my body. I wore a size 9, weighed about 125-135, and was (still am) 5′ tall. I did marching band (and don’t you dare tell me that isn’t considered a strenuous workout) and ate poorly, but I maintained my weight, mostly, though I wished I had been about 110. In college I was closer to 140, and after I got married I was around 160. I don’t remember what I gained while pregnant with Trent. With Atticus I got to 199. After I had Atticus I lost more than I had gained while pregnant… so I was around 180. That means that in the last 18 months I’ve gained 35 pounds.

Here is a picture of me a year ago, about 25 pounds lighter. I can’t wait to get back to that, and eventually even past it.

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My weight isn’t a surprise to me. It winds me to walk up my stairs. It hurts my feet to stand up and take the first few steps after sitting for awhile. My knees pop more than they used to. My boobs choke me when I lay down, and it’s a workout to clip my toenails.

It’s depressing when I realize that the reason I rarely take my kids to the pool is because I’m humiliated to be in my suit. It sucks to have to avoid skirts and dresses because my thighs rub together. It’s embarrassing to walk up the stairs with someone at work and be noticeably breathless. And worst of all, I hate that I’m not as active as I could be with my children. I want to sleep better, feel happier, play harder and look sexier.

And I’m going to. Starting now. This is my new beginning.

I have an appointment in three months to get back with my doctor and evaluate things. My goal is to have lost 15 pounds by the time I see him. That’s 5 pounds a month, and just about 1 pound a week. I can so do this! Once I reach that goal I’ll set another. For now I want to take small, reasonable steps by creating realistic and attainable goals. I’ve started using the My Fitness Pal app and have also begun using the Pacer app. Pacer will track my steps and link the info with My Fitness Pal. I’ll log what I eat and my exercise in My Fitness Pal and keep track of my progress there.

Yesterday was day one. I stayed under my calories for the day and did some activity. I plan on eating healthier meals and smaller portions while being realistic so I don’t get discouraged. I’m hoping to start walking for 15-30 minutes at work as I’m able via my breaks, and I’d like to walk with the boys when I get home in the evenings also. I think I’ll get the wii fit out again and try using it to keep it fun.

I want to look at gym memberships and see if I can make something work with my schedule and the fact that I am basically operating as a single parent most of the week.

I’ve talked to some of my closest friends and to Nate and I already feel very confident that I’ll have ample support. I’ll be tracking some of my progress here. I can’t wait to see what the next few months holds for me and my health.

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Pickling day! Plus a little about my Mary

That’s right! Between my own garden, my grandma’s and my parents’ it’s time to start pickling cucumbers. My friend Mary taught me how to pickle a few years ago, probably with the intent of teaching me so I’ll go out on my own.

But I won’t go out on my own. I puppy dog her, and it won’t stop anytime soon. OK, MARY??!

I’ll say all this before the pickling because otherwise she won’t read it and neither will you because it’s not nearly as exciting as the pickling. Well it is to me, but maybe not to you.

Mary and I met at work. She’s a librarian, I’m a librarian. While I was in school for my masters she gave me advice on projects. When we got smooshed together in the information services department and stuck on the desk 10% of our working hours we meshed really well. We didn’t really have a choice… So we realized how alike we are in weird quirky ways (like watching shitty reality tv, eating, reading the quirky stuff, etc.) and we just clicked. Or maybe I [desperately] didn’t give her a chance not to be my friend. My best friend. Is this creepy yet?

Anyway, yesterday we pickled cucumbers and garlic. So good! I have 5 or 6 pickling cucumber plants, and my parents and grandma have a few, too. I harvested a nice sized box of cucumbers and a few onions from our gardens and set out to Mary’s house.

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We started by washing the cucumbers and onions, then we stuck the boys with the slicing job. Both Nate and Steve work in the food industry so they’re always good helpers :-). They cut the cucumbers longways and sometimes in half if they were big, scraping the mushy seedy part out on the bigger spears. They took some of the skinnier cucumbers and sliced them chip-style so we’d be able to make both types of pickles.

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While Nate and Steve chopped Mary and I washed jars, found kids and rings to match, the set the jars in the steam canner to boil. We also started boiling the brine, a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water.

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Mary also bought a big bag of peeled garlic which we planned to pickle. This stuff is like crack! The guys chopped the woody ends off and we had the cucumber chunks, chips, and garlic in separate bowls, plus a smaller bowl with a little bit of garlic and the onion slivers.

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Once the jars and brine were boiling we got started adding the spices to the jars. We put some dill (fresh is always best, but we only had fried this time), mustard seed, red pepper flakes, and pickling salt, then we add some chopped onion and a few garlic cloves (although we forgot that part on our first batch this time). We’ve added grape leaves in the past to keep the pickles crunchy, but this time I think we used something called pickle crisp along with the seasonings.

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Next we packed the jars with the sliced cucumbers. This part can be surprisingly tricky; it’s like a puzzle. You want to use slices that fit well with each other so that they’re packed tight. When the jars get nearly full we break chunks off and top them off. Next, we poured the brine in to about half an inch from the top of the jar.

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After the jars are packed we wiped the rims with a clean cloth, the. Set the lid on top and put a ring on, just finger tight. We put the jars onto the rack of the steam canner, then put the lid on and let it boil for about 15 minutes.

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Once the steam canner has boiled at least 15 minutes we pop her open and gently lift the jars out, letting them rest, cool, and *pop* on a kitchen towel on the counter.

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And onto the next batch….

This weekend Mary and I did two batches of pickles (spears and chips), and one batch of pickled garlic. Yum! Our results look amazing… And I can’t wait to eat them. But not so fast! They need to sit and get really pickly, at least 4-6 weeks if I remember correctly.

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I always have such a good time and learn so much when I pickle with Mary. When I’m going through it Mary is always there. When I think I’m going through it but really I’m just being sensitive or over analytic Mary shakes me sane. She’s a good no-nonsense friend, but don’t let the no-nonsense fool you, she’s one who actually cares. At work when we have to talk on the phone I often quickly and loudly tell her I love her before she can hang up, for three reasons: (1) because it makes her laugh awkwardly, (2) it makes others around either of us laugh too, and (3) because I mean it.

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Suffering is Optional

I finished a book today (that hardly ever happens anymore) and I really want to review it here, but I just can’t do it right now.

I’m having a hard time lately. I’m less than happy in some aspects of my life and my anxiety is through the roof. I’ve always had depression and anxiety and they both come and go. Actually, that’s a lie; they never completely go. They are present and they’re really present. Right now both seem to be really present.

I try to remind myself that my happiness is defined by me. A wise woman (I wonder if she’ll read this?) once told me that suffering is optional. I am not suffering. I have a lot to be happy about.

  • I have amazing kids. They are funny, charming, and inspiring people.
  • My entire family is caring and supportive. Kids, husband, parents, sister, grandparents, in-laws, extended family… all wonderful.
  • I have a job I love in which I receive the respect I deserve. It allows me to practice my current skills, build new ones, and work my creativity.
  • My coworkers are fun and quirky and I love working with all of them.
  • I own my own wonderful home and it keeps us all warm and happy and we have plenty of space.
  • My dogs are hilarious. They’re currently alternating chasing each other and resting on their beanbags.
  • I have several really close friends in all areas of my life that make me feel good about myself, my decisions, and even about my mistakes.
  • I’m not sick or unhealthy, and neither is anyone close to me.

Life is good. What more could I ask for? I just need to repeat that until it feels real.

There’s No One Else Like Lindsay

I remember how I met my friend Sara; we both loved the foo fighters and everlong and the rest is history. I remember how I met Erin. We both played sax, I was new to the school, and she made me be friends with her. I remember befriending
Joanna… slowly and then all at once. And Courtney… awkwardly and awesomely. I remember becoming friends with my other Sara… We worked together and bonded over good and bad customers and, well, drinking.

I don’t remember meeting Lindsay. At all.

And I probably know her better than anyone else, as she knows me better than anyone else. There isn’t much we don’t know about each other. I love her and she loves me. I’ve fought hard and dirty with her. She’s seen me at my worst (I’m not kidding.) and at my best, and she loves me the same, if not more for it. I’ve seen her worst and best, too, and it makes her who she is to me. Have I said we love each other?

I’ve definitely known Lindsay for about 20 years (has it really been that long?) because I know we met in middle school. I remember her wearing an ant farm shirt and other funny quirky t-shirts, and she’s told me that at the time she thought I was “totally grunge.” I remember so many little bits and pieces throughout middle and high school. I’ll never forget the diagram she drew for me. Or her laying down in the middle of the road. We lived sort of close to each other, and I laugh every time I think about a story that involved an exchange student and dewy grass. I’m sorry I was out of the classroom in CHAP when she got caught making a comment about Mr. Sweeney’s red face. I remember her singing “On My Own” in the talent show, and I still randomly ask her to sing it to me. Of course she does.

Lindsay had her daughter before we were done having our early-20s fun. Clear as day I remember driving to her apartment and hanging out, waiting patiently while she nursed the baby and put her to bed. Then we’d hang out some more. Watch tv, sit on the patio and have deep talks. Or read… yeah, read. We would be in the same room eating terrible junk food and reading fluff magazines or books. That’s how cool our friendship was; we didn’t have to fill the gaps. I’ll never forget seeing Chris Thile with her. Or that guy riding in her carseat afterward. Weird.

When I met Nate I told her I wasn’t sure about him and she rationally told me what was great about him but also helped me work out what issues I had with him. I still went to her house several evenings a week to just chill, telling Nate, “be back later, it’s Lindsay time.” When Nate and I were getting close to marriage I understand that he and Lindsay had a talk. She wanted to be sure we would be as happy together as she thought I deserved. She was the only non-family member to visit us in the hospital after Atticus was born. In fact, she came to the hospital for both boys’ births.

There have been periods of time in my life when I saw Lindsay daily, for several hours. There have been periods of time where we don’t see each other for months. I hate admitting there are even times where we just don’t take the time to speak for weeks or months. Every time we talk or see each other it’s like we are picking right back up where we left off, the most natural friendship ever.

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We always told each other everything, and we still do. I love her dearly, and really can’t imagine my life without her. I frequently recall the time she told me about her grandma’s best friend dying. Her grandma, one of the kindest and wisest women I’ve ever known was so sad and it really depressed me. Lindsay said “That’s like us, Laura. They’ve been friends their whole lives. Can you imagine how awful it would be for us to lose each other?” No. I can’t imagine it and I hope I never have to.

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.
~A.A. Milne

Friends: Natural Confidence Boosters

It’s good to have friends. I’m lucky to have several friends I consider close.

The Plainfield Arts Gala Starlight Reception is this Friday. Friday! I can hardly believe it. I’ve been so excited except for one dreadful thing… I have to wear something nice.

Anyone who knows me has definitely seen my entire wardrobe. At least the entirety of what I wear. Just met me yesterday? You’ve seen 25% of the clothes I own. I save money on clothing purchases easily: I buy one pair of jeans and wear them until there’s a huge rip in the thighs. Then I buy another pair. I typically purchase one pair of jeans a year. I own several (meaning 5) maternity t-shirts and 2 nursing shirts, and those all get the rotation weekly. It’s awful.

If I’m honest with myself, the reason I own no clothes that I actually wear is because I keep thinking that one day I’ll fit into everything that’s hanging dusty in my closet from my better, fitter, pre-pregnancy days. I wear the cruddy worn-out clothes that do fit because I don’t feel like I deserve to wear nicer things. I hate shopping. I hate trying on the 23rd pair of pants and crying because they still don’t fit. I’m short. Seriously short. I have wide hips, large thighs, a huge butt, cankles and enormous boobs. Clothes are depressing. I’m depressed with my appearance.

I asked my coworkers friends Joanna and Courtney to help me shop. I needed fashion advice, advice about what’s appropriate to wear to this event I’m not familiar with, moral support when things don’t fit or look awful, and mostly someone to actually make me go shopping. The three of us decided on a day. I alternately dreaded it and looked forward to it all morning and then suddenly it was time. Courtney picked a store for women built like me and made me promise to try on the things she found for me. I promised. We stepped into the store and Joanna “it’s okay”-ed me while I stumbled and bumbled sheepishly and anxiously around while, like a boss, Courtney pulled a few dresses off the racks and handed them to a saleswoman. “These are for Laura. We’d like to set up a dressing room.” These chicks knew what they were doing.

Courtney and Joanna had a rhythm and dance I’m just not familiar with. We went to the fitting rooms and after a few repetitions of “woosah” under my breath I put on a dress and came out. They had me turn and move around. Courtney listed pieces of fabric and Joanna told me to move about. I looked in the mirror and actually… *liked* it.

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I tried another.

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They oohed and ahhed again and I tried on another and another.

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Guy, listen, and listen closely because I never thought I’d say this, ever. I had fun. I had fun and I felt good. About everything. I felt okay about my chubby upper arms. I felt fine about my huge boobs and butt. I felt okay about my post-pregnancy (second pregnancy, mind you!) belly. I looked fine. No. I looked good. I liked it. I felt hopeless before I even face myself a chance to try on the first outfit. By the end I was having a blast.

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I liked shopping and I liked the clothes and I liked myself. And I loved my friends. They made me feel good. They made me happy. They made me realize that there isn’t anything to worry about. Some things look good and some things look bad. There will always be someone thinner, bustier, bigger, prettier. There will always be a dress that flatters and one that looks terrible. I’ll never be perfect to myself but I’m perfect to the people who care about me.

Monday I stopped by Grandma Anderson’s house so she could hem the dress up for me. I put the dress on and Trent looked up and his eyes widened. “Whoa… You look like a princess!” I guess I may not always think so. But someone, some people do. And that is what makes me happy.

Chilling With My Good Friend Sara

My good friend Sara came over today. I had the day off work, partly because I worked this past weekend, partly because PLA starts Thursday, and partly because of Arts Gala insanity next week. This pay period my schedule is all kinda of crazy. Anyway, I posted on Facebook about having a day off today, and Sara texted to see if we could chill.

I met Sara around 10 years ago, when we both worked at Buffalo Wild Wings. We both worked in the bar and we both likes to drink. It wasn’t long after meeting that we became friends and started a once-a-week (or more… usually more…) drinking outing. We would drink and play music on the jukebox and play megatouch or other bar games. Fun times were probably had by all, and they were definitely had by us. Add Lindsay into the mix and were a troublemaking trio. We were party girls, we were drinking buddies, we were bar hoppers. We made sure neither of us got stupid and that we both had fun and we cared for each other.

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Then I met Nate and we got married. Sara and Lindsay and my sister Rebecca (who deserve and will totally get their own posts) were my lovely bridesmaids.

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Then Sara quit working at the bar and so did I and we drifted a little. Then I got pregnant with Trent and we drifted more. Having kids throws a wrench in most friendships, whether you want it to or not. Anyway, Sara had her own baby two years later, and we reconnected. We laughed and joked about what it would be like to be pregnant at the same time… And then it unexpectedly happened. We both just celebrated our second sons’ birthdays, 10 days a part from each other.

Chilling with Sara used to mean meeting up at the bar for some drinks with some cash for the jukebox and megatouch and the unspoken understanding that I may end up crashing at her apartment.

Chilling with Sara means something totally different now.

Dexter, Sara’s oldest son and my godson, and Trent played trains and rode on the dinosaur car together, while Oliver and Atticus toddled around getting into everything in the house. It wasn’t us toddling around anymore. Sara and I talked about parenting and how different our routines are and how similar our expectations are. We talked about our significant others and Red Lion Grog House over a cup of tea, instead of over glasses of beer. We talked about Sara’s and Wally’s upcoming wedding. We held our noses while we changed diapers instead of holding our noses while we threw back shots.

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My, how things have changed. But I still say… chilling with Sara is one of my favorite things to do.