Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Do I need to leave my job?

I'm so ticked off I can't think straight, and so am coming here to write it out.

After two promotions at my current job, I now have the title of Associate.

For the past eight years, I have been handling responsibilities for my division that I knew for a fact were being done by Specialists (one step above me) and in some cases even Assistant Managers (two steps above me) in other divisions.

I have known this for a fact. I have argued the point on multiple occasions. It's one of the reasons I got the two promotions that I have managed to squeeze out of them. But it was a fight both times.

I was just informed that "management's idea" is that there are some things that Specialists have been doing for 15+ years that they have now decided are really more Associate-level work. So they want to train me to do these things.
But not give me a promotion, or raise my pay.

So for over 15 years these responsibilities have been Specialist level, but now, I can do it.

Of course I can do it. I'm damn good.

It does not mean that the job is no longer Specialist level, it means that I am Specialist level.

I argued that they can't just randomly decide this and give me the job so they can get the same activity done for a lower pay rate. I was responded with an eye roll.

I asked that if they have spontaneously decided that Specialists weren't doing Specialist-level work, then why don't they demote those Specialists down to Associates instead.

I got a heavy sigh and something about how I don't understand how things work.

I do understand. I was hired nine years ago to do data entry & filing. My responsibilities have expanded hundred-fold. More than 75% of my job is now Specialist level work. But instead of promoting me to that level, you are exploiting my abilities so you can get the same job down at a lower pay grade.

From what I was told this morning I am pretty convinced that if I ever want to be taken seriously, if I ever want a promotion, I will need to leave my division, if not my company.

And that sucks.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Huge, Bloated Cow

I am so tired of being fat.

I broke down the other night and started bawling.

I will be perfectly honest: I do not eat as well as I should.

I know that, and I am owning that.

But while my weight is holding steady now, the first two months I adjusted (ie. went off) my meds so we could TTC, I gained 25 lbs in just eight weeks. That's just over 3 lbs a week, on average.

I feel like a huge, bloated cow.

I'm scared to try the shakes again, because it is such a drastic diet, and I had a miscarriage last time I was on them. Sure, it's easy to say they were unrelated, but it scares me to death.

The only medically supervised program I qualify for isn't covered by insurance, and is way out of our price range.

So I'm again, still, just trying to do better. I've been reading a lot about clean eating, and have started taking steps to reduce the amount of chemicals we ingest. And for the past week I've been eating a banana for breakfast, salad for lunch, banana for snack, and smaller portions of a "normal" dinner.

So far, it's resulted in zero weight loss.

I'm just miserable. I hate it. I can't stand the way I look and feel. And I can't help but wonder if I'm going to have to be on meds for the rest of my life just to have any sort of chance at being anywhere close to a healthy weight.

Sad.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It will all work out in the end

"It is not a parent's job to entertain their child" -- Susan Yates

Between that quote, circulating on both Facebook and Pinterest, and this article, which states that "...parents are spending more time with their kids than they did two decades ago." this idea has been on my mind a lot lately.

Truthfully, it's something I struggle with. I think (for me) a lot of it stems from working mom guilt. I feel like I miss so much of Jena's time, that I want to be truly present with her at all times. Really be there, quality time, connecting on her level.

And my housework suffers, and meal preparation suffers, and time with my spouse is lost, and time to pursue my own interest is gone.

But I've always been okay with that.

And still am, to a point.

But lately I've been thinking more and more about whether or not this is best for Jena. Just because she's happier, just because I'm at peace with it, doesn't necessarily mean it is what is in her best interests.

And so I've been trying to redirect some of my time, some of my attention, with the thought that maybe on occasion it's good, not bad, for me to tell her 'no, I can't, I'm busy'. Maybe it's okay for me to do the dishes while she's still awake. Maybe it's good for her to see me working around the house, instead of just waking up to chores being done.

Now, this isn't to say I've never done any work with her around. She's certainly helped me fold clothes, do the dishes, put in the laundry, feed the pets, sweep the floors, etc, etc, etc. in the past. But it's never been my priority. I always put my priority on focusing on her and what she wants to do.

And so now I'm working to shift that focus. To appease my working mom's guilt by telling myself that it really is best for her to see me focus on these other items, even if she's begging me to play. At least once in a while.

Similarly, Jason & I have done a pretty good job of keeping date nights and us-only trips since she was born, but when we're together as a family, the focus is almost exclusively on her, not each other. And maybe that needs to start shifting as well.

And me. My interests. I tried to participate in some of "my" activities after Jena was born, but found it to be too much, overwhelming. And so I still find myself anxious at the thought, but I've scheduled a couple of girls' days out with friends, and I'm seriously thinking about joining a community band in the near future. Because I've been really missing performing lately. There's an ache inside me that misses the music. And so maybe it's time that I make time for that part of me. And yes, I do think it would be good for my daughter to see me perform, to see that Mommy can do other things besides mothering and housework.

It's all a balancing act. One that changes and shifts, morphs along with the passing of time. Maybe I feel that I can refocus because Jena is older. Or maybe it's because my years long struggle with depression & anxiety were clouding my focus before. Or maybe it's because I'm becoming more experienced as a parent.

I suppose the reason doesn't really matter. Only the outcome. And so I shift again. Refocus. Juggle. And see where the balls fall, where things work, where adjustment is needed. And then shift again.

All the while trusting that it will all work out in the end.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.............

I am still so tired.

Oversleep almost every morning. Taking walks in the afternoon so I don't fall asleep at my desk. Passing out at home by 7pm.

So tired.

I remember being this way during my 1st trimester with Jena, so my assumption is that my hormones are still out of whack despite the miscarriage.

All I know is... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...........................

Friday, April 26, 2013

Packing it up

I decided to see my Ob, to talk things out.

He was able to answer my questions, and gave me some peace of mind.

He said that should we get a positive home pregnancy test in the future, he wants me to come in right away to check my Hcg levels to make sure everything is progressive normally. Then when Hcg reaches 2000, we'll have an ultrasound to make sure it isn't an ectopic pregnancy, and another one at 6-8 weeks to check on the baby.

Other than getting a cold right now, I'm feeling pretty good.

Ready to pack up my pity party and move forward with life.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2

I called to get my results this morning. Down to a "2", so now it's official.

This sucks.

I feel like the nurse kinda shrugged off my questions.

Told her I'm pretty sure I haven't passed anything, she said no worries, that can take a few weeks.

WEEKS?!? Really?!?

Asked when I can resume normal activity, she said whenever I feel up to it.

Really? Because I feel like curling up on the couch under a blanket and staring off into space until I fall asleep. Will you get me a doctor's note for work? Because that's what I feel like doing for the forseeable future.

She offered that they recommend women wait 3 full cycles before trying again. But that's just a precaution. We can start whenever we want to. No reason to think we wouldn't have a healthy pregnancy on the next cycle.

Really? Then why the 3 month guideline? This makes no sense to me.

I'm having a hard enough time dealing with the emotional stuff. Also known as doing my best to put it out of my mind so I can function. Why can't someone just tell me what to do about the medical stuff? I just want someone to tell me what to do, what to expect. All this vagueness and seeming double-talk does nothing to comfort me, make me feel better, give me any sense of reassurance. I need concrete... something.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Firewife T-shirts for West (TX) Volunteer Fire Department

In light of the tragic events in West, Texas, the women of FireWives have started a shirt fundraiser with all proceeds going to the West, Texas Volunteer Fire Department.
source
A minimum of $8 from the sale of each shirt and $6 from each hoodie will be donated to the West, Texas Volunteer Fire Department. The more shirts sold, the higher the donation!

source
If you'd like, you can also select to have a shirt sent to a firefighter wife in West to remind her how strong she is despite all of this chaos. It's a great option for those who want to help but aren't a fire wife themselves or those who don't want another fire t-shirt! Simply order a shirt and select "pick up from seller". 

Follow the link below to order yours today!

http://teespring.com/FireWivesForWestTX

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fake it till ya make it

Virtually no spotting yesterday.

Went for my 2nd blood draw again this morning. Won't have the results until tomorrow.

Had a little spotting this morning, but not much, and no cramping or pain.

This sucks.

I cannot say that enough.

I remember when I was a teenager, my great aunt telling of a miscarriage she had. I don't remember how far along she was. Not terribly important to the story anyway.

What I remember is that she didn't pass everything. Hardly anything, in fact. But they made her wait to see if her body would pass it naturally. Over a week before they finally did a D&C.

And I remember thinking how awful that must be, how horrifying to be walking around knowing your dead baby was still inside you. How absolutely heartbreakingly hard that must have been.

Yeah. It is.

I broke down last night. I just want it to be over. If it's gonna be over, just be over. But walking around, going to work, going thru the motions of living a normal day, all the while knowing that the tiny life inside me has extinguished, but is still there... it's mental & emotional torture.

Why can't it just be over?

But it can't be. Not yet. Tomorrow I will call for my results. And they will tell me it's below a "5". And then maybe we can start moving on.

Moving on. From what?

It's a boy, you know.

I don't know how I know, but I do. I can see him, clear as day.

My blond haired, blue eyed little boy... waiting for me in Heaven.

My heart breaks knowing I will never see him run thru our yard, play with the dogs, rough-house and wrestle and be all boy.

Tears falling again.

I wish I could curl up into a ball, and stay catatonic at home.

But it doesn't work that way.

Life goes on around me, and I am an unwilling participant. Work, and chores, and child care and church... it doesn't stop because your heart is breaking.

And medically speaking, it's "not that bad", so there's no allowance for time off work, no recognition of what your body is going thru, let alone your heart.

There's a little girl to be taken care of, who knows that Mommy's tummy still doesn't feel well, but nothing more.

There are dogs & cats & chickens to feed, dishes & laundry to do, work to be done, life to be lived.

And maybe that's good. Maybe it's a "fake it till ya make it" sort of thing.

Must be. Because I'm not making it right now, but I'm faking it well enough to fool most of the people around me.

Monday, April 22, 2013

6

Called the Ob's office for the results of my first blood draw today.

It doesn't look good. Even the nurse said so.

Hcg was a "6".

Since the threshold on my second pregnancy test was 20 (meaning Hcg levels had to be at least 20 for it to show up as positive), then we know my Hcg has already dropped significantly.

But they won't call it unless my levels drop below a 5, so I still have to go back tomorrow for another blood draw, "to make sure".

Stupid doctors.

I'm at work today. But completely useless. Obviously.

This sucks.

I'm still very tired. No cramping today, and my spotting has all but stopped.

This waiting sucks. I really just want it to be over with.

This sucks.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I already know

I still haven't stopped spotting.

Other than the mild cramps yesterday morning, and some mild cramps late last night, I've had no pain.

Called my Ob this morning, and the nurse tried to reassure me that spotting can be normal and happens in one-third to one-half of all pregnancies.

But I already know.

Then she tells me that the only way they can tell for sure is for me to come in for a blood test. Test my Hcg levels this morning, and again in 48 hours. If they're rising normally, then yay. If they're dropping, then boo.

I won't know the answer for four days.

I lose it when she tells me that. Four days. Why can't they just tell me what I already know? Why do I have to go thru this for four days without being told for sure?

This sucks.

I go in for a blood draw. Stay home from work. Rest.

So tired.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

So happy

So happy.

Jena was staying with my parents yesterday, so Jason & I enjoyed a mini-date. Dinner at a local restaurant, followed by walking the mall and window shopping.

Such a great day.

We talked about how we would tell Jena. How she's gonna be so over-the-moon excited about having a "Little BruverSister", as she calls her pretend siblings.

Discussed how & when to tell our families. Approximated a due date, discussed my leave from work.

As we were walking the mall, we ducked into every children's store there, hoping to find a "Big Sister" t-shirt.

And then, still walking the mall, upper deck... I felt something.

I told Jason I needed to go to the bathroom.

"Again?" he teased. Then seeing the look on my face, he said "What's wrong?"

"I'm leaking"

We took the escalator down to the lower level, the nearest bathroom.

I pulled down my pants, and there it was. Blood. Just a spot, but... too much.

I sobbed. Because the minute I felt the wetness in my pants, I knew. And there it was. Proof.

I stuffed toilet paper in my pants, found Jason waiting for me, and told him we needed to go home.

And I cried.

****************

I didn't have any cramps last night, but I've had some mild ones this morning. And the spotting hasn't stopped. Not enough for me to call it "bleeding", but... enough. Too much.

According to Dr. Google, unless there's a lot of blood or I'm in a lot of pain, I should wait until office hours to call the doctor. Because it's either normal spotting, or a miscarriage, and there's nothing they can do either way.

And so... I wait. And spot. And sometimes cry.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Just as we are

First, follow the link below. Watch the video. Maybe shed a tear. Then come back. Okay? Now, go!

http://www.godvine.com/Meet-the-Scared-Dog-That-Only-Wanted-a-Hug-1087.html

My apologies. I tried to imbed it, but unless I'm missing something you can only embed a video if it's on YouTube. Whatever.

When I watched that video, I couldn't think how much that dog was like all of us. At some point in time, we all find ourselves huddled in a corner, feeling alone, we feel like the world is out to get us. We cry, we yell, sometimes we snap at people, and every great once in a while, we lose our poop.

It happens. We all have these terrifying moments on our journey where we feel abandoned, hopeless, lost. Where we've been hurt so many times that we snap at those who venture in, we do our best to shut them out, convinced that letting them in will only lead to more pain.

And the truth is, all we're waiting for, whether we realize it or not, is for someone to drag us into a place of safety, hug us, and tell us it will all be okay. We're looking for that friend who will love us even in our scared, snappy, I-pooped-myself state, who will meet us there, still covered in poop, and who will say "I don't care. Sit in my lap anyway."

The truth is, we're all looking to be loved, just as we are, in spite of our faults baggage poop, just as we are.

We're hoping that someone will come to us, in the moments before our death, literal or figurative, hours before we're over the edge, and pull us into the safety zone. It's just that sometimes, we're too scared to ask. We need to be dragged into loving arms, held tightly, bathed free of our issues poop, and given another chance to live this life we have to the fullest.

We just want need Love.

*************************

"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."  -- Hebrews 13:5b

"for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."  -- Deuteronomy 31:6b

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."  -- I Peter 5:7

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee:"  -- Psalm 55:22a

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tested again this morning

Read on the internet that eating / drinking junk intentionally can concentrate your urine to increase your chances of a clear result on a pregnancy test.

I'm thinking intentionally mildly dehydrate yourself. That's what they're saying, right?

Oh well, I tried it.

Salty foods & only pop to drink for the rest of yesterday. Bought a more sensitive pregnancy test.

Tested again this morning.



Eeeek!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Peed on a stick.

Peed on a stick this morning.

Yep, can't read it. I mean I think there's a line there, but if there is it's so faint it could totally be my imagination.

Yes, I am admitting that my eyes could be deceiving me.

But I also would much rather have a clearer answer, either way.

So tomorrow I'm gonna buy a test with a lower Hcg threshhold (the one I used has a threshold of 50) and try again.

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ouch!

Ugh.

Had sharp pain in my extreme lower abdomen (right above groin area) again today. An hour later, bleeding again.

My initial thought was, again, implantation. But... twice in 3 days? Not likely, right?

I tried googling it, and came with everything from pregnant, pregnant with twins, ectopic pregnancy, to cancer.

Clearly, I'm dying.

This is why you shouldn't google your symptoms. Really.

All I know is the pain was bad enough for me to double over and nearly fall off my chair. But it only last a second. And then the bleeding about an hour later.

Maybe some mild cramping for a few hours as well, but nothing of note really.

All I know is... ouch!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Well, it's working

Well, one week after starting the Vi Shakes, and I'm down three pounds!

I want to make sure I mention that I'm not following the plan completely. I substitute a shake for breakfast & lunch, but only Monday thru Friday. In the evenings and on weekends I eat pretty much whatever I want.

For anyone else doing them, I have to be honest. The powder you use to make the shakes? Tastes yucky. And some ingredients mask the taste more than others.

Pineapple does pretty well. Banana, as long as you use at least two. Tropical fruit.

My least favorite was probably apple cinnamon. It's the apple. Gave it a mushy texture. I'm guessing would probably be better with apple juice instead of an actual apple.

Well, that's all for now. Thanks for checking in!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Implantation?

This morning I coughed, and felt a sharp pain in my extreme lower abdomen. Like almost in my groin area. Awful. Horrible. Try not to move so it doesn't happen again.

The rest of the day I had some very mild cramps. A few more sharp pains, though not nearly as bad.

Then around 8pm I had some bleeding when I went to the bathroom. Brown. Quite a bit, but only the one time.

No more bleeding. The next day I had a few very light cramps, but that's it.

My period is supposed to start in exactly one week.

I just wanted to document it in case it's implantation cramping / bleeding or something.

Thanks for checking in!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I had a moment

After we passed the second cycle trying without getting pregnant, I had a moment.

Okay, more like a series of moments that culminated into a thing, but still...

I know, for many out there, second cycle is not very long to be trying to conceive. Indeed, it isn't. But for me it was significant because that is the number of cycles it took to conceive Jena.

I think for the first two cycles I was in this constant sense of anticipatory stress... always waiting, wondering, watching, waiting, preparing, waiting, expecting, waiting...

But once that second cycle passed, there was something significant about knowing it wasn't going to happen as fast this time. I mean, I've known, since forever, in my head, but really getting past that date... something happened.

And I came to this place where I really grasped that we might get pregnant tomorrow, or next month, or next year, or 5 years from now, or... never.

And any one of those is okay.

I've truly reached a place where I am at peace with my child bearing future.

Whether we conceive shortly, or never, or any time in between... I know it's in God's hands and His plan is infinitely more perfect than anything I could imagine.

It's not a place I could have imagined before, to be honest. I don't know how to describe to you what it is like as a woman to not be on any form of birth control, yet not be anxiously waiting for that test date each month, either because we are so wanting a child, or so concerned that this isn't the right time.

It's very freeing, I can tell you that.

Friday, April 12, 2013

I have very few clothes that fit

I know my doctors say it's "normal" and if will probably go down on its own over the next few months.

I can't wait that long. I'm sick of it.

Also - I have very few clothes that fit.

So today I started Visalius Shakes. So, to be clear, I'm doing a modified verson. Basically I don't eat breakfast before I leave the house, then I take two shakes to work for breakfast & lunch during the work week.

I eat a normal dinner & eat normally on the weekends.

This is spurred mostly by my desire for my daughter to not see me drinking my meals. I just feel (and I have no scientific basis for this, this is just my momma gut) that at such a young age if she sees me on such a strict diet it will mess with her head & her body image. Does that make sense?

The truth is I really wanted to check out our local hospital's medically supervised weight loss program. The same hospital my endocrinologist works out of. The same hospital that has all of my medical records. But the first step is a mandatory informational session, and the next one I can attend isn't for six weeks. And I refuse to wait that long to do something. So I scheduled for the info session, and started this in the mean time.

I just had to do something. I've gained so much weight in such a short time. And I feel bloated all the time, and I'm miserable. I can't just wait for my body to normalize it's hormones. With my history, and not being able to take meds while I'm trying, that may never happen.

BTW - I did go ahead & take some "before" pics, but I'm not posting them unless this works, so... we'll see :)

Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sick of the Fat

Okay, I'm over it. I'm sick of the fat.

Not doing bad comparied to last time, but I also started at a higher weight.

And maybe I'm just wearing it worse, but I can't fit into most of my clothes, and I feel disgusting all the time.

I know this is quite the change since my last post, but it's how I feel, it's where I am right now.

I'm sick of the fat.

Just over a week until my next test date. If it's a positive, yay. If it's negative, I'm focusing on weight loss.

I think my hormones should start settling down by then, and... I'm sick of the fat. Did I mention that?

I understand how birth control (or going off of it) can effect your body, so I'm trying to cut myself some slack.

I prefer to focus on the eating healthy, try to do better, and let the weight fall where it may kinda viewpoint. And that's what I've been doing.

But I'm sick of the fat.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why we don't call names in our house

Recently I was describing a scene at our house in which Jena had a meltdown. A friend responded by yelling "SPOILED BRAT!".

As I tried to explain the situation further, this friend just kept interrupting me, repeating "Spoiled brat! She's a spoiled brat! Brat!" I never did get to finish my story.

In fact, I stopped talking until someone changed the subject. By "someone" I mean one of the 15+ people in the vicinity, including my daughter, who was in earshot.

I should have said something. Sadly, I was too stunned. I know that this person loves my daughter very much, wouldn't doubt that they would lay down their life for her. So why call her names in such a manner?
 I should have called her on it.

The sad thing is I've heard them speak to their own children in the same manner. To other loved ones. It's how they speak.

Not in my house.

Yuou see, the problem with calling names, is that you are attaching an identity to that person.

Instead of telling me that you think my actions are causing behavior problems in my child, you are telling my child she is a "spoiled brat". You have assigned her an identity.

Does that make sense?

Instead of addressing one action, one behavior, both of which can change, you are essentially saying "this is who you are, it's part of your identity"

To you get the difference?

Instead of yelling 'SPOILED BRAT!', my friend could just have easily said "I think you're spoiling her!". The latter statement not only sounds nicer, it's more accurate. It places the blame squarely where it belongs - on my actions as Jena's parent, instead of giving a four-year-old the identity of being a brat because she had a one meltdown.

So we don't do name calling in our house. But it honestly took this episode for me to really think about why we made that decision. We don't call names, because it isn't nice. But it really goes deeper than that, doesn't it? It speaks to assigning resposibility on someone's actions instead of their character as a person, on giving them the ability to change, rather than assessing their identity as being negative in & of itself.

So we don't do name calling in our house.

We do nicknames - Punkinbutt, Love, and Beautiful are probably the three I use most often with Jena.

We address behavior - stop whining, you need to calm down, you get what you get and you don't throw a fit, etc.

But we do not call names in our house.

And next time, I will be better prepared to rebutt anyone who does call my child a name. Promise.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Working Women, Appearance, and Discrimination

This morning as I dressed for work, I selected a work-issued polo shirt, khaki pants, and my steel-toed shoes. I may work in an office, but it's in a Lab, and steel-toes are acceptable work attire.

Nothing unusual about my outfit, but for some reason it led me to recall a day several years ago, when I was wearing a similar outfit, and was pulled aside by my then supervisor, and told that I needed to "work on my appearance".

I was a bit taken aback. Other than the weight I had gained post-pregnancy, my appearance had not changed. I was well within our employee dress code, and dressed similar to the rest of the (male) team members in the office.

The truth is, I felt discriminated against. Nothing in my job requires me to "dress up" or "look good". I do not interact with the public or customers. I sit in my desk in the corner, and do my work. I was dressed well within our corporate policy. My then-long hair was pulled back into a low ponytail. I wasn't wearing makeup, but well, I don't. Never have.

So what changed? After all these years, why was I being told to work on my appearance?

See, I couldn't decide if I felt like I was being discriminated against because I was a woman, or because I'd gotten fat. Maybe both.

But that wasn't the most disturbing part to me.

The most disturbing part was when I took the issue to a working moms message board to ask for advice. And there, among other working women, I was chastised.

It was my fault, they said. As a working woman, I should know that I have to present myself better than the men around me, and should have already done so. I should know how important appearance is in the working world, and should just follow my boss's direction.

Don't I know that a polo and khakis just look better on a man, and even if it's within dress code, I shouldn't wear it, because it just tends to look sloppier on women then on men?

I should dress up, slacks & heels, if not an actual business suit, and fix my hair & wear makeup every day. This is what I need to do to be respected in the work place. It's just how it is.

I still have not forgotten their comments. The feeling of being chastised by the people you went to for support.

I'm not going to argue the world isn't that way, that - particularly in male dominated workplaces, like mine - it's harder for women. Because it is I see it regularly. It is more difficult to get recognition & respect for the work you do. You do have to work harder, and yes, maybe it would help me get noticed if I put on some heels more often than I do.

But I still can't get over it. I can't get over the idea that women - professional, career women - have just accepted this as fact, and instead of standing up and saying "no, this isn't fair, you have to treat me the same as a man dressed the same way", they just give in and slap on some lipstick so they can play the game.

I can't get over other women saying it was okay for me to be told that even though I am dressed well within dress code, dressed similarly to the men in the office, that yes, it was okay for my male boss to tell me to work on my appearance.

I can't get over them chastising me for not knowing that it was okay for me to be treated differently in the workplace based on my appearance and/or gender.

I still can't figure out why they think women in polo & khakis look "sloppy" compared to men in the same outfit. Is it the curves that bother you? Do breasts ruin the clean line you see on men? Do full hips and buttocks not fit in with what you see as professional?

Isn't that your problem, not mine?

I have forgiven the male boss I had at the time. I never did change my appearance, and he apparently got over it. I've never heard a word since, from him or anyone else at my workplace.

But the words of those women haunt me. Women so accustomed to being discriminated against based on their looks and their gender, that it has become the norm to them, a rule that other women should be chastised for breaking.

This is 2013. And I find it ridiculous that a group of professional women have not only accepted, but are perpetuating the idea that it is okay to judge someone in the workplace based on their appearance and / or gender, instead of judging them based on their actual work, on their output. What are we doing to each other? Why are we supporting the idea that this is okay?

I just don't get it, and probably never will.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Easy Crockpot Green Beans (enough to share)

I made some easy & yummy green beans for our Easter potluck, so I thought I'd share with ya'll. Definitely enough to share. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:Lots of beans (5 regular cans or one giant can)
Ham shank
Italian seasoning
Water

Directions:1) Drain beans and put into crock pot

2) Add water to fill to the top of the bean level. I know this sounds ridiculous, since you just drained all the beans, but all my cooking advisors swear it helps them taste more fresh and less canned.

3) Add ham shank.Or ham hock. I hear ham hock is better, but I can never find it in my grocery, so I use ham shank and I've gotten no complaints.

4) Add Italian seasoning. Stir. Add more Italian seasoning. Stir. Add more Italian seasoning. Stir. Add more Italian seasoning. Stir.

5) Cook on low for 8-10 hours. After about four hours I like to go in and "shred" the ham shank as much as it will let me. Do that again at six and eight hour marks. Spread the ham love. Or just wait till their done. No harm, no foul.
6) Don't forget your serving spoon with the slat-thingies so water can drain thru.

7) Serve & enjoy!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Colonoscopies aren't that bad. Honest.

Originally posted in 2011. This topic has been on my mind lately, due to several loved ones succombing to and / or battling different forms of cancer. This post is personal, and describes things we don't normally discuss openly. But I've also had two readers tell me that they scheduled their first (and overdue) colonoscopy because of what they read in my post. And for that reason, I believe the benefit outweighs any risk of "over-sharing". So I'm re-posting. Because colon cancer is a hateful, fear-mongering murderer, and every time someone getes a colonoscopy, I picture them punching colon cancer in the throat.

Background (for those who don't know / remember my story):
Back in 2011 I was having some serious gastro-intestinal (GI) issues - think the symptoms of food poisoning... for five months - when my family doctor was unable to find the cause, he sent me to a GI specialist.

My GI doc came up with four possible causes, one of which was colon cancer. He also said with my family history of colon cancer (my grandfather passed away as a result of the disease), I should have been having colonoscopies regularly for years now (not one of my other doctors ever suggested it, even though my family history was complete in their records).

One of the reasons colon cancer is such a jerk, is that by the time you have symptoms, you are almost always at stage 3 or stage 4. In other words, if you don't have preventative colonoscopies, and wait until you have a problem, you are on for the fight of your life. For your life. Literally.

Preventative screenings, like colonoscopies (and mammograms, and PAP smears, and skin checks, etc) save lives.

So read this. Find out what it's really like to have a colonoscopy. Then talk to your doctor about your family history and when you should schedule your first. Or if you insurance covers it, just go get one.

Original post:
********************************************

** warning: this post contains descriptions of bodily functions & body parts. Some readers may find it uncomfortable to read further **

Well... ends up, among the very few IRL folks who knew I was having this procedure done, most of them had a lot of questions. I suppose being a thirty-something year old woman having a procedure that most of them apparently thought was more well-suited for elderly men made me something of an oddity.

And the object of their curiosity.

So... I thought some of ya'll might be wondering too.

And... I'm hoping it might ease some fears out there, and maybe get someone to the doctor for this early-detection test, before it's too late.

So, what's my take?

It ain't that bad.

Honestly, the worst part was drinking the prep solution. Yuck! I honestly think that was the worst part of the whole thing.

My tests were on a Monday afternoon, so all day Sunday I was on a clear liquid diet*. That evening I took the prep. It took me 15 minutes to get it down. Sixteen ounces of nasty I tell ya.

And then... I waited.

The first time I felt something, I ran for the bathroom. It was gas.

Second time.... gas again.

Third time... still just gas.

But the fourth time? Jackpot.

I was on the toilet for 55 minutes. No lie.

And I will warn you, what comes out stinks. Like no other.

Have you ever seen those infomercials, trying to sell you a colon cleanse, telling you how that stuff has been sitting in your body for months?

I might believe it after that smell. Seriously. So bad. But only the first few times. Then it's practically odorless. Which is interesting, in & of itself.

Anywho... I exhausted the supply of reading material in our bathroom in no time, and asked Jason to bring me my laptop.

He complied, and I propped my feet on Jena's training potty, and proceeded to Facebook (I swear, it's the only time I've laptopped from the bathroom, promise).

But... my legs soon fell asleep being in that position, so... the laptop had to go.

The worst part about being stuck on the toilet? Besides, you know, being stuck on the toilet? Well, that and my legs falling asleep because I tried to laptop in there? I was B-O-R-E-D. I highly recommed stocking up on reading materials beforehand. I was not prepared.

But honestly... the, ahem,  action... itself, wasn't bad at all.

It's not like when you're sick. You don't feel bad in your stomach, there's no cramping, no pain... it just comes out.

I was very relieved at how easy it was.

Seriously.

Maybe I'm a little biased because I've been dealing with severe bouts of diarrhea for the past five months (you know, why I was having the procedure in the first place), but this was a piece of cake. It's not like being sick at all. It's just boring.

That... and tiring. Having not eaten all day, and then voiding yourself of whatever might have been left in your digestive system... my body was worn out. No energy at all.

If you have children, I highly recommend finding a sitter for the night (thanks Mom & Dad!). I also recommend no plans other than lounging on the couch in front of the boob tube.

Honestly, after the first round of... emptying... I didn't even have the energy to get on the laptop. I sat on the couch, catching up on my Netflix, pausing it about every 15 min or so for a potty break. Sometimes more frequently, sometimes less, gradually less... and less...

That went on for about three hours.

It is exhausting. But really... not bad. Not as bad as you'd think.

Went to bed about five hours after taking the prep. By then what was coming out was clear, and it was about 45 min between episodes. So I went to bed.

I usually get up at least once during the night to pee anyway, and when I did that, I had to do something else too. Other than that, I slept the entire night.

I had to set my alarm the next morning, to make sure I was up in time to take my 2nd dose of the prep.

Yep, they make you drink that yucky stuff twice.

This time, the resulting "action" is even easier. There's just not much left in there, you know? Although... surprisingly more than I thought there'd be...

Still trying to figure out how you go from clear at night, to brown in the morning....

Anywho... still on a clear liquid diet, but rested from my night of sleep, I managed to fold one load of laundry before running out of energy. And so I resumed my position on the couch. I could've fallen asleep, if I weren't running for the potty every so often.

About an hour before I had to leave I started getting an itsy bitsy hemorrhoid, but to be fair, I had just had one the week prior from all the pooping I was doing from my illness (or whatever), so... that may or may not be normal.

Time to head out for my appointment, and I decide to take the advice I was given and put one of Jena's diapers in my undies.

Since we had to be there at 1:45pm for a 2:45pm appointment, Jason wanted to hit McDonald's up for his lunch, so we stopped there. He got his food to go, while I visited the bathroom.

If it weren't for that pit stop, I probably would've needed the diaper.

Mental note - borrow a diaper from someone, buy some Depends, or stuff an old towel in your shorts for the drive to the doctor. I got that advice from three different people, and it's the best advice ever. Seriously.

Got to the office, signed in, went to the bathroom. Came back out & waited for them to call me up. They got my info, gave us some after-care instructions, and we waited for the nurse.

Now, since I was having a colonscopy, EGD, and multiple biopsies, mine might get a little different from the routine colonscopy here, but not by much.

They called me back, weighed me (seriously, liquid diet for 2 days & pooping my brains out, and only lost 2 lbs?!? are you kidding me?!?), and I went to the bathroom. Again. They put me in a hospital gown & booties, I got two hospital-y bracelets, they took my vitals, started my IV, and brought me a blanket. Then they brought Jason back.

Somewhere in there, I had to poop. Bad. Couldn't find my nurse, so I ended up pulling the call string. A different nurse came running. I felt kinda bad when I told her I just had to poop, but had my IV in, and she just smiled and said that they hear that a lot there, before grabbing my IV bag & helping me to the bathroom.

I pooped one last time.

Got back to my bed and after just a few more minutes they wheeled me in to the procedure room.

The nurse took all my vitals again, had me roll onto my left side, then the doctor came in. We chatted for a second, then they started the anesthesia.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Next thing I know I'm back in my bed and they're telling me to wake up and I'm yelling at them that I'm tired. Well, I was trying to yell at them, but Jason said it was barely a mumble because I kept falling back asleep.

I do a little too well on the anesthesia, I think.

Apparently Jason got me into the car & drove me home, because I slept on the couch until... sometime later, when I remember my parents bringing Jena home. I ate some Arby's in there somewhere too, but I don't really remember it, I just saw the empty bag sitting there. And then I fell asleep again.

I slept for about four hours at home in the afternoon, then nine hours overnight, and still had a hard time waking up the next morning, was groggy the entire day at work, and ready to fall asleep at any moment even into the evening.

Seriously, I do really well on anesthesia.

My throat hurt a bit from the EGD, but just minor discomfort that went away by evening.

And... to answer the question asked most frequently... no, my butt did not hurt. Not one bit. Honestly, would never know they'd been in there, if they didn't tell me. And I have a funny feeling they don't lie about stuff like that.

I'd like to repeat that: my butt did not hurt.
It did not feel weird. I did not feel violated in any way.

My annual gyno visit is way more invasive. Seriously.

Now, if you happen to be age 50 or older, and have not yet had a colonoscopy, or it has been more than 10 years since your last: GO! It's not that bad. My butt didn't even hurt.

If, like I do, you have a family history of colorectal cancer and/or colon polyps, and have never had a colonoscopy, talk to your family doctor about when to start, and how frequently to get them.

I'm good for another five years.

GO! It's not that bad. My butt didn't even hurt.

Sorry. I was asked so many times if my butt hurt, that now I just think it sounds funny to say that.

My butt didn't hurt!

Now, go!



* instructions vary per each specific test given, follow your doctor's instructions exactly


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As for my results, it was none of the bad possibilities. Ends up I was having a severe reaction to one of my medications, even though I had been on it for nearly six months before the symptoms started, which is why both my family doctor & GI specialist had ruled it out. Which is why I also tell people if they're having medical problems that they can't figure out, to look at their medications, even if they've already been on them for a while. You just never know.

Thanks for checking in, and go take care of yourself!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Bunny Rolls (or Kitties. Whatever)

I decided to try my hand at making bunny rolls for Easter.

They were yummy, but didn't quite look as I'd hoped. But I still think they were cute, so I'm sharing. Enjoy

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1) Buy frozen rolls. The kind that come in little balls.

2) Set them out to rise. This normally takes 2 - 4 hours. Read the bag for better instructions. Being the awesome chef that I am, I had no idea it took so long when I started. At 10pm the night before Easter.

3) Once they have risen sufficiently (usually twice their original size), take kitchen shears (scissors will suffice), and cut bunny ears into the dough. Cut bigger than the pictures I'm showing you or you'll end up with kitty rolls instead of bunny rolls. Trust me.


4) Bake the rolls as per instructions on bag.


5) Take them out & let cool.


6) Poke "eyes" in each roll.


And... you're done!

I'll try another batch and see if I can get the ears sized more appropriately. Will post if I manage it. While I still think they're adorable, I do think these look more like cats than bunnies.

On to try again next time!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It's not about a magic number

I've decided I've been worrying way too much about my weight lately.

Don't get me wrong, I know I have weight to lose, I'd like to lose a few pounds.

But I need to stop focusing on the number on the scale.

We're trying to get pregnant, there will be another life depending on me. I need to shift my focus.

I'm still watching my portions, but I've begun putting greater focus on what I'm eating. More fruits & veggies. More salads & nuts. Lean meats. Fruits. Veggies.

Did I mention fruits & veggies?

In case you weren't aware, I'm ont a big fruits & veggies eater. Or at least, I wasn't.

I am not. More than how much I eat, I need to make sure I am eating things that are good for me.

I still watch my portions, but am not as concerned anymore. The meds my endo put me on some two years ago, well, I see the positive effects it has made on my body. Like how now I can go to a restaurant and order a half-order salad and leave feeling full, whereas before a meal like that would have left me wanting more.

And as far as weight goes, well, I know the last time we were trying I gained 14 lbs the first six weeks off of birth control, due to hormonal changes. So I can't be surprised that this time, despite watching my eating & getting regular exercise, I've already gained nine lbs in five weeks.

I need to stop beating myself up about stuff like this, and just focus on being healthy. It's not just about me anymore. It's not about wanting to see a certain number on a scale, or being able to fit into a certain article of clothing. It's about preparing my body to carry my child.

And if hormonal changes or bloat or whatever leave me a few pounds heavier, half a size bigger, then so be it. As long as I know I am making positive changes to be healthier, then I need to be okay with that.

So that's where I am right now. As always, thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On to try again next month

First cycle = negative

Not surprised. I mean, first cycle, really?

I was wondering though, to be honest. I've had some "symptoms" of pregnancy, except I also know that most of them can also be attributed to the fact that I just suddenly stopped hormonal birth control. So no biggie.

What did have me wondering is the waves of nausea that I've experienced daily for the past week. Like right now as I type this. And the fact that no food ever sounds good. I force myself to eat, but would really be happy living on popsicles, if I could get away with it. So far that's the only thing that doesn't make me want to throw up thinking about it.

Today I'm gonna try Jello, to see if that works as well. I feel like I can get away with Jello moreso than popsicles. I mean, what am I gonna do, put a box of popsicles in the community freezer at work? Eat one for dinner at home when I tell Jena she can't have any until after her dinner? Isn't very practical.

Tomorrow was the worst, and I came very close to leaving work because of it.

But the there's also some sickness going around as well, so maybe I'm trying to get sick? Although you'd think after a week I'd either actually get sick, or feel better.

So here I am, exhausted for no reason, constipated, headaches, and nauseaus, but also with my period and a negative pregnancy test.

Hopefully the longer I'm off birth control the other "symptoms" will settle down, and whatever is causing this nausea will go away as well.

On to try again next month! Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Stupid Hormones

Debated whether or not to post this, because it's kinda personal. But then I realized it's part of the journey that I'm sharing with you, and I know there are others out there with similar experiences, so... here goes:

I have no sex drive.

Ever since I stopped birth control, I have virtually no interest in sex. At all.

This is unusual for me. I normally have (what I have been told is) a very high sex drive (for a woman). Now? Meh.

Not really interested. Not as enjoyable as it used to be. At no fault of my loving hubs.

I was confused for a while, then I realized it must be the hormone changes from stopping birth control.

Kind of ironic, isn't it? Trying to conceive, but no interest in the act needed to conceive.

On another stopping-birth-control note, I've gained three pounds since I stopped it. Despite starting a new exercise routine, cutting down on my portions, eating more fruits & veggies, and taking the meds my endocrinologist has me on for my metabolic disorder.

I shouldn't be surprised. The last time we were TTC I gained 14 lbs in the six weeks from when I stopped birth control to when I got pregnant. I remember my Ob/Gyn telling me it was normal, and I probably would have lost it just as easily over the next few months if I hadn't gotten pregnant so quickly. I guess we'll see, huh?

Ugh.
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