Onmywaytobeauty's Blog

Update

February 7, 2010
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Hello, all! I just wanted to give you an update on my surgery and weight loss. As of yesterday, I have lost a total of 17 pounds since my surgery a week and a half ago. Since my appointment to submit my weight for approval to the insurance company on December 22, 2009, I have lost 26!!! Needless to say, I’m very excited and pleased with my progress!!! Incisions are healing well, and I’ll soon be able to start a vigorous workout regimine. As it is, I can really only walk right now, which isn’t all that exciting for me! I’m looking forward to doing some Turbo Jam! So far, I’ve had people tell me that my face looks thinner, and I’ve been able to fit into some clothes that I haven’t worn in a while. As for food… I’m currently eating “pureed” foods and drinking protein shakes. Scrambled eggs, ricatta cheese, unsweetened apple sauce. Stuff like that. I’ve also made some vegetable soup, put it in the blender and adding a teaspoon of unflavored protein powder. My mom gave me the recipe (minus the powder) from Weight Watchers, and it’s really good. Most foods I’ve been eating still don’t quite mask the taste/smell of the unflavored powder, but this is really savory and seems to do the trick, and it’s so easy to make!! It’s a can of diced tomatoes, a can of green beans, a can of corn, a can of old fashioned veggie soup from Campbell’s, a can of potatoes (drained–I use the already diced ones), a can of mixed veggies (like Veg-All), and 2 cans of Hormel chili–one with beans, and one without. You just dump them all together in the pot and heat them up. It’s so good! And even after it’s been through the blender, and it’s about the consistency of thick cream of wheat (I add some water) and the protein’s been added, it’s STILL good! It amazes me. I had it for dinner last night, lunch and dinner today…
Right now, I’m in the market for some good-tasting protein shakes. I’ve got the GNC brand of chocolate and unflavored, but the chocolate is getting REALLY old. I’ve decided to scoop out a serving of the unflavored stuff and put a little in everything I eat, because I’m afraid I’m not getting enough protein. Yesterday, my hair came out in gobs every time I ran my hands through it…
Any ideas for good-tasting protein drinks would be appreciated! I tried the one my surgeon recommended, and it about made me throw up. So gross!!! I need some variety or I’m going to go crazy…

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1/29/10–diary of an idiot…

January 30, 2010
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Yesterday, 1/29/10, was day 3 after my surgery.  It started out great, since I was finally allowed to drink something a little more substancial than water.  I had an 8 ounce chocolate flavored protein shake for breakfast.  Took me 2 hours to drink it.  I’m not exagerating at all…  for lunch, I had cream of chicken soup, thinned with skim milk.  In about an hour, I’d finished half of it, and couldn’t stomach any more.  Then I had about 4 ounces of chocolate shake, mixed with some peanut butter to give it some flavor and extra protein.  My friend was celebrating her 21st birthday at Olive Garden last night, so my family loaded up the minivan and headed out.  My plan was to just sip on water while we were there, but I looked through the soups to see if there was anything I could have.  I settled for the chicken and gnocci soup, planning to just sip the broth.  Yeah.  I should have had them just bring me the broth, and leave the chicken and gnocci out of it all together!  Those tiny little dumplings were too hard to resist… I broke one up into quarters, and then cut those in half, but it still was too much.  Dumplings are not full liquids!!!  They are flour/bread and swell up in your stomach!  Stupid, stupid, stupid. 

If you’re considering lap-band surgery, stick to the program!!!  Learn from me!  I’m not touching anything but the clear liquids today, in hopes that my body will be able to break down that stupid dumpling (and it was seriously about the size of a nickel, whole, and I cut it into even tinier pieces–SO not worth it!) and then maybe I can go back to the full liquids tomorrow.  No more cheating for me–I’ve so learned my lesson.  I’ve almost polished off a bottle of peach-flavored Fruit2O in the 5 1/2 hours I’ve been awake.  Walked for a little over 30 minutes this afternoon.  Still bloated from the CO2 that they pumped into me from the surgery, and that’s uncomfortable.  But I’ve been limiting the amount of vidodin I let myself take.  Might break down and take one in an hour or so, but it’ll be the first since about 3 am.


Measuring… And today’s food intake.

January 30, 2010
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Well, that was depressing!  Getting on the scale and seeing a big number is one thing, and far more than bad enough.  Taking out the measuring tape and measuring your neck, your chest, your arms, waist, hips and thighs is just begging for suicidal tendencies!!!  One good thing about it, I guess, is that you fully realize where all of your problem areas are–EVERYWHERE.  Blech.  Next week, I’m going to do it first thing in the morning.  Yes, next week.  Every week.  Forever.  Hopefully, it wont take too awful long for me to get to non-suicide inducing numbers…

So, on to what I ate today.  After last night’s debacle with the chicken & gnocci soup, I had decided to keep with clear fluids today, instead of the full fluids and protein drinks.  That worked out really well until it got to be close to dinner time.  I’d only had one 16.9 ounce bottle of Fruit2O bottled water (which I love–the peach flavored one), and I’d walked for about 35 minutes, while talking on the phone with my sister.  So, it’s about 4:30, and my stomach is growling for the first time since Tuesday night, the night before my surgery.  So, I went through my book that I got from my surgeon’s office on things to do to break up the monotony of the protein shakes.  One of the suggestions was to mix 2 scoops of the protein powder in dry pudding mix, and then follow the directions on the box.  So, that’s what I did.  While I waited for the pudding to set, I made dinner for my family, and prayed that the pudding would taste good.  My daughter Emma wanted waffles for dinner–something they don’t get very often.  They’ve both been so good this week, not climbing all over me or pitching fits when I can’t pick them up and carry them somewhere, that I gave in and made them waffles.  Emma had 2 4-inch square waffles, Victoria, just barely 25 months old, had almost as much.  Their daddy barely finished 2.  Cracks me up.  I sat there at the table with them with my 1/2 cup of protein fortified chocolate pudding and a baby spoon.  Of course, the girls were very interested in the food I was eating, because it was quite obvious it was chocolate.  It was very good, too, by the way.  WalMart brand sugar-free chocolate pudding with GNC”s Chocolate-flavored 100% Whey Protein powder mixed in (2 scoops), then 2 cups of skim milk, whisked for 2 minutes, separated into individual 1/2 cup servings and refrigerated until it sets.  Took a little longer than the box said it would, but whatever, it was different.  Very rich and chocolatey. 

I’m still regretting the chicken & gnocci soup from last night.  I feel like that tiny piece of dumpling is still stuck somewhere between my throat and my stomach.  The CO2 that I thought would have dissipated by this morning is still causing me pain in my chest.  My stomach is still bloated and hard, but the incisions are healing nicely.  Hopefully, it will be back to normal soon.  Maybe then I’ll feel a little better about my waist measurments!


Day One

January 28, 2010
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This morning was the Big Day!  I was up by 5 am, and ready to leave for the sugery center.  Got there aroud 6:30.  Signed some papers and sat down to wait.  When I finally got called back to be prepped for surgery, it still hadn’t sunk in… My blood pressure was lower than usual, which surprised me.  104/50.  You’d think, given the nerves and stress and excitement that someone in my position would have, that it’d be spiking, and not dropping… oh, well.  I did feel pretty relaxed.  Until the anesthesiologist came in…  Dr. Monash came in, too, and discussed pain meds options.  He usually gives either Percoset or Vicodin.  I told him I already have both at home from when I got my wisdom teeth out, but he said he’d give me some more, anyway.  And then he went on to tell us that Vicodin has a street value of aboug $5/pill!  That’s a nice piece of information for a doctor to give his patients!  Oh, well.  I’m pretty sure he just filled us in on that to lighten the mood a bit.  He’s a nice guy.  When he left the room, Danny looked at me and said, “You never told me he was good looking…”  I laughed, and then he said, “NOW I know why you kept going back and were trying so hard to get this sugery!”  Yes, folks, he’s that good looking.  haha
A little after 7:30 they wheeled my bed out of the pre-op room and down to the operating room, where I had to get on another bed… getting strapped down is the last thing I remember.  And then I woke up, and the first cohearant thought in my head was “dear God, what did I do to myself?”  I felt like I was choking… they must have just barely taken the tube out of my throat.  It’s still a little sore.  My stomach dind’t hurt much at the time, but I had (and have) a horrible pain in my shoulder/back and chest from where they injected gas (CO2) into me.  Aparently, it will take 24 hours to get absorbed into my system, and I’ll just have to suffer until then. 

We stopped to pick up our kids on the way home from the surgery center.  They had such a blast with Shelli and Jennifer last night.  I was so excited to see them and hug them.  I wont be able to pick them up for a month.  It’ll be hard enough for me, but they wont understand.  And I don’t know how to explain it. 

I got home and climbed the stairs to my bedroom.  Slowly.  Danny got me some water and a Vicodin, and I fell asleep for a couple of hours.  When I woke up, I called to Danny to come and help me out of the bed and back down the stairs so that I could be around people.  And I wanted to call my mom.  So, then the girls woke up from their nap, and Emma was running a muck around the house, and slammed into the couch where I was laying.  Danny cautioned her to be gentle because I have “boo-boos” on my belly.  So, then she wanted to see!  I lifted my shirt and let her look at my incisions and told her not to touch.  Looking at the 5 incisions, I wondered to myself if they are going to leave big scars.  Emma wanted to look at them several times during the course of the afternoon and evening. 

So, let me tell you what I’ve ingested today.  It’s not much.  The first couple of days are all clear liquids, so I had a glass of water (about 16 ounces, total), about a tablespoon of jello that I mixed with some liquid protein when I made it, about 3 sips of chicken broth, and about a third of a diet green tea snapple.  I’m trying to avoid the vicodin, so I’m taking some extra-strength tylenol.  It doesn’t seem to quite do the job.  My abs feel like I did an extensive ab workout, then did it again–super sore.  My back and neck and chest are what hurt the most, though.  So much pressure and a burning feeling.  But I don’t have any regrets.  I’m glad I did it, and I know it’ll be worth the pain and frustration and the work in the end.  So, now I’m ready for bed.  Sleep is so welcome, and I hope it comes! 


The Big Day

January 27, 2010
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So, tomorrow is the big day.  I go in for my surgery at 6:30 in the morning, surgery is at 7:30, and I should be home by 9:30 in the morning.  My kids are spending the night at the pastor’s house.  His wife, Shelli, and their daughter are camping out on the living room floor with them.  I hope they’re able to get some sleep!  It’s weird not having the girls in the house, quiet.  I spent the majority of the evening trying to relax and mentally prepare myself for tomorrow. 

I’m a little nervous, but mostly I think it just hasn’t sunk in yet.  I spent a year trying to get approved and jumping through all the hoops to get to this point, fighting and trying and agonizing; then, I suddenly get approved and scheduled for surgery within a week.  It’s a bit shocking!  But I’m ready.  Ready to get rid of the weight and move on with my life; ready to start living and feeling comfortable in my own skin.  I went out and got all the food I’ll need for the first several days: protein shake mix and unflavored powder, protein drinks, “clear fluids”, eggs, jello, pudding mix, etc.  It’s not going to be easy, but I believe it will be so worth it!  So, here we go. 

Before pictures… I can’t believe I’m posting these on the internet for the world to see… 


Restoration

January 25, 2010
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I’m so glad that my God is in the restoration business!!  No matter what kind of a mess we make of our lives, He can always tear down our mistakes and make something new.  He makes all things new.  And that’s not always an easy process, sometimes it’s painful.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  But no matter what you’ve done, where you’ve been, what you’ve been through, my Savior WANTS to make things new.  He wants to heal your broken heart; He wants to restore your marriage  He wants to wash away your past, your failures, your regrets.  He wants to restore your life and make it new!!

You spoke and made the sunrise, to light up the very first day
You breathed across the water, and started the very first wave
It was You
You intoduced Your glory, to every living creature on earth
And they started singing, the first song to ever be heard
They sang for You

You make all things new
You make all things new

Then the world was broken, fallen and battered and scarred
You took the hopeless, the life, wasted, ruined and marred
And made it new

You make all things new
You make all things new
You redeem and You transform
You renew and You restore
You make all things new
You make all things new
And forever we will watch and worship You

You turn winter into spring
You take every living thing
And You breathe Your breath of life into it over and over again

You made the sunrise, day after day after day
But there’s a morning coming, when old things will all pass away
And everyone will see

You make all things new
You make all things new
Come redeem and come transform
Come renew and come restore
You make all things new
You make all things new
And forever we will watch and worship You

Now and forever You are making all things new
You’re making all things new

Hallelujah…

~Steven Curtis Chapman, All Things New 


Another snippet from my book…

January 24, 2010
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Chapter Six… 

 For once, the screams that woke me were not my own. I lay in my bed and listened for a moment, eyes wide, trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. There were two voices, one low and deadly, the other truly terrified.

 “She’s gone,” the man’s low voice said, “You can’t bring her back, and that girl cannot replace her!” I heard a slap, and then a soft gasp. “If I’d wanted another child, we’d have had one by now!” 

“Please,” I heard her soft whimper.

 I climbed out of my bed and opened my door to find the Clark’s door open, their light on. I tip toed down the hall and peered around the corner, scared of what I might find. Mr. Clark’s back was to the door, Jessica’s terror-stricken face was streaked with tears, and a bruise was already forming on her left cheek bone. He started screaming at her when she interrupted him, and I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He hit her again, and she slammed into the wall by their window and slumped down to the floor. My mouth fell open, making a small popping sound that caught their attention. I took one look at his face as he turned to face me, and then flew down the stairs as fast as my legs would carry me. His eyes were so much like the man’s in my nightmare, and I was instantly afraid for my life.

 The door was locked, but it didn’t stop me for long. I left it open behind me as I flew down the porch steps and across the front lawn. I didn’t know where I was headed until I got to the stable door. I flung it open, glanced back at the house to make sure I wasn’t being followed, then slid it shut behind me. I was engulfed in darkness. I could hear the soft snickering of the horses as I interrupted their sleep, and reached toward the closest one, feeling my way down the row of stalls toward the end as my eyes adjusted to the darkness.

 Annabell’s head was reaching out over the door to her stall before I reached it, her body blacker than the darkness. I put my hand on her neck as I slid the deadbolt on the door, opened it, and went inside. Annabell nudged my pocket with her nose, looking for the ever-present treat. My pocket was empty. I’m sorry, I thought at her. I trailed my hand down the length of her strong body, keeping my bearing in the darkness, and also trying to not startle her. When I found the back corner of the stall, there was a heavy blanket hanging from a hook on the wall, right where I knew it would be. I tugged on it until it came free, then settled myself onto the floor in the corner. I wrapped the blanket around my shoulders and pulled my knees up to my chest.

 I was shaking, but not from cold. The images from the nightmare I couldn’t forget kept playing in my mind, and part of me wanted to go back and help Jessica. But what could I do? Call the police? They wouldn’t come if I couldn’t get words out of my mouth to tell them that they needed to. And so, I squeezed myself as far back into the corner as I could, comforted by the huge animal with me, and the sweet smell of the stable.

 Eventually, I drifted into fitfull sleep. The horses started waking and getting restless as the sun came up. The sound of their soft whinies and snorts woke me, but I didn’t move. Long after I heard the limousine come and pick up Mr. Clark, I stayed where I was.

 I was half asleep again when I heard the stable door slide open.

 “Lizzy?” Jessica called out timidly, “Are you in here?” I heard her gentle steps coming toward my hiding place, but I still didn’t move. Annabell’s head peered over her door at Jessica and bobbed up and down impatiently.

 Traitor, I thought.

 “Lizzy, please come out. Everything is fine, I promise.” I pulled the blanket over my head and held my legs tighter to myself. Her voice was so close to me now, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I could see her face, and I didn’t want to look at what he’d done to her. The door creaked open and then closed. “Lizzy,” she pleaded. “Please, come in and get some breakfast, at least.” I shook my head. “Lizzy…” She pulled the blanket away from my face, and I shut my eyes tighter. I felt her hand on my hair as she knelt beside me.

 “I’m so sorry, Lizzy. I’m so sorry.” She cried softly. Slowly, I lifted my head and looked into her eyes. Agony. Bruises covered most of the left side of her face, her eye was swollen almost completely shut. I threw myself into her arms, almost knocking her over, and clung to her with all my strength. I hated Mr. Clark so much my tiny body could hardly contain it. My body shook with rage at the very thought of him. How could anyone hurt someone as sweet as his wife?

 Jessica hugged me close, stood up, and carried me back to the house, stroking my hair and trying to soothe my sobs the whole way. When we reached the house, she sat me on my breakfast stool and set to work making my breakfast. While I ate, she went to the freezer and pulled out a bag of frozen veggetables, placing it gingerly on her left eye. My eyes filled with tears again, and I found that I couldn’t eat anymore. Even the bacon sat untouched on my plate.

 At dinner that night, I ate as fast as I could and then exiled myself to the stables and Annabell. I refused to be in the same room as Mr. Clark for any longer than absolutely necessary.

 The next day was Saturday, and Mr. Clark was home from work. I spent every moment except for meals with Annabell. She seemed to be able to sense that something was wrong, and she laid her head gently on my shoulder as I stood on my crate in front of her. It felt like a hug. I grabbed her around her silky black neck, trying to hold back my tears.

 Jessica came out to me after lunch, carrying my new riding pants, boots, gloves and helmet.

 “Shall we?” she asked with a half smile. She seemed to try not to move the left side of her face much, as it was still bruised. I didn’t move. “Don’t you want to learn to ride Annabell?” she asked. I looked at Annabell, and then the clothes draped over her arm, and then pointedly at the left side of her face. It was my fault. All my fault. I shook my head.

 “Lizzy… Come on, I’ll show you where you can change out here. There’s a little bathroom over in the corner.” She held out her hand to me, but I didn’t take it. I just shook my head again. There was no way I was going to give him an excuse to ruin her beautiful face again. She knelt in front of me and looked me in the eyes. “Please?” She asked. I put my right hand gently on her left cheek and shook my head again.

 “Lizzy, look at me. This”–she pointed to her face– “is not your fault!” I shook my head again, and then moved my hand from her face and wrapped my arms around her neck. The sobs shook me, and she stroked my hair and tried to soothe me. “Okay, okay,” she said after a moment. “No riding today. Maybe tomorrow.” She patted my back and released me. I thought I saw her wipe tears from her eyes as she walked away from me.

 When I was getting ready for bed that night, I found the riding gear on a shelf in the closet. I picked it up, careful not to mess anything up, and took it to her room. I put it on the corner of her bed and went back to my own room. Climbing into my bed, I curled up into a tight ball with my back to the door. My heart ached to learn how to ride Annabell and to make Jessica happy, but I couldn’t bear to see her hurting again. Thinking of what had happened to her, I was filled with rage again toward Mr. Clark. Next time, I decided, I would find a way to stop him and save her. Somehow. I would not let her be like the woman in my dream. I drifted into restless sleep.

 ****

 “Lizzy?” I groaned and slowly opened my eyes, only to find that the blackness didn’t fade. No light came in through the window, and none from the hallway on the other side of the door. What time was it?

 “Lizzy, can I come in?” It was Jessica; I could barely make out the shape of her face in the darkness as she peered around the door into my room. I sat up in answer, propping myself up on my pillows. I reached over and turned on the small lamp on the end table, squinting my eyes at the sudden brightness. Jessica opened the door enough to come into my room, then closed it behind her.

 There were fresh tears on her cheeks as she walked slowly to my bed and sat down. In her arms, she held my riding gear.

 “Please, Lizzy… please ride with me. It’s been so long since I’ve even had the desire to get on one of the horses, and now that you’re here…” her voice faded to a whisper as she spoke, and then she stopped. She was quiet for a moment, then took a deep breath. “Did I ever tell you about my daughter Jane?” I thought of my first day here, seeing the picture on the porch. After finding out that she wasn’t here anymore, I didn’t think twice about the pretty little girl in the photograph.

 “Jane wasn’t much older than you when she died.” Died? My eyes popped open and I started paying closer attention to what she was saying about the girl. “Jane loved the horses like you do, and she would come to the stables and brush them and feed them apples and carrots and sugar cubes. We would ride together almost every day. Her favorite was a speckled gelding named Pepper. He was young and energetic, and Jane spent as much time with him as you do with Annabell.” Jessica smiled wistfully for a moment, and then her eyes filled with tears. Her voice was thick with emotion as she told the rest. “One day, when Jane and I were out for a ride in the fields, Pepper got spooked by a snake in the grass and took off like a flash. Jane was a good rider, but Pepper was out of control. He ran for miles, and I tried to keep up. I could see Jane, her head low, her feet tight in the stirrups. She was holding on for dear life, but I imagined that she was having a bit too much fun, considering the situation. I called to her, telling her to try to turn Pepper around, but when she pulled on the reins, he reared up and knocked her off. That’s the moment he finally decided to turn around and come back home. He turned while he was still on his hind legs, and when his front hooves came down, they landed on her chest.” Her voice cracked, and she bowed her head and sobbed quietly. I wondered why she would want to ride again at all…

 “I haven’t been on one of the horses since, but seeing you with Annabell, how much you both seem to love each other… it reminds me of how happy we were when we were riding together. I want to feel that again. And I love to watch your face when you’re with Annabell and the other horses, how happy you are. And when you sit on Annabell’s back… it’s always so exciting for you. Can you imagine how it would feel to have her moving under you, following your every command? It’s so amazing, and I want to share it with you, like I did with Jane.” She smiled sadly and curled her hand around my cheek, “Would you try, just once? For me?”

 I reached up and put my small hand on her battered face, and she covered it with her own. After a moment, she reached over and pulled me onto her lap.

 “This has nothing to do with you, Lizzy,” she said gently, “When Jane was killed, James took it even harder than I did. She was his little girl, and they were always very close. He became very angry and started drinking. I think he blames me for Jane’s death, though he would never say it; he shows it in other ways.” She sighed. “This is probably more than you need to know, so I wont tell you anymore… Will you please just think about learning how to ride Annabell? It would make both of us so happy.” She smiled and squeezed me gently. I wanted to make her happy, so I nodded my agreement. Her smile widened and she squeezed me again before sliding me off of her lap and standing from the bed. Setting my riding gear on the corner of my bed, she walked quickly to the door, stopping to smile at me again before she closed it silently behind her.

 I reached over and turned out my light, suddenly excited and extremly terrified at the prospect of riding Annabell. I wondered if I’d be able to fall back to sleep, but my eye lids were heavy, and it didn’t take long. I was awake and waiting impatiently for Mr. Clark to leave for work in the morning, and as soon as I heard the fancy limo pull away from the house, I hurried to the bathroom to take my shower and put on my riding gear. When Jessica came in to see me, I was waiting on my bed with my towel around my head, and the hair brush and ties on the bed beside me. She smiled broadly at my apparent impatience and came into the room. Her face was carefully covered with make-up, and I could barely see the dark bruises around her eye and cheek. There wasn’t much she could do to hide the swelling on her lower lip, so I tried not to look at it. I smiled back at her as she crossed the room and sat behind me on the bed to put my hair in the braids that curved around my ears. When she was finished, I hopped off the bed, grabbing my riding helmet and heading for the door, impatient to have breakfast and get to the stables. I ate in a hurry, then grabbed an apple from the fridge, bringing it to Jessica at the sink, where she cut it into quarters that would fit into my jacket pockets. I bounced up and down impatiently while she finished up the dishes and put them away. She laughed.

 “Why don’t you go ahead down to the stables, I’ll be there in a minute. I’m sure Annabell would like a snack before breakfast.” She winked at me, and I hugged her around the leg quickly before taking off out the door.

 When I got to the stable, Annabell was waiting for me. She seemed excited, too, her head stretched toward me, her foot pawing at the ground, her black eyes wide and shining. As I got closer, she bobbed her head up and down impatiently, and pawed the ground some more. I smiled at her and reached into my pocket, pulling out one of the apple pieces and holding it out to her before I was even at the stall. She stretched her head out even further, impatient. I ran the last few steps and she took the apple gently from my hand, chewing and bobbing her head, content. I rubbed her nose gently, then scratched the star between her eyes.

 Annabell’s ears twitched and turned toward the door; I looked up to see Jessica opening it and coming in. I grinned at her, then turned back to Annabell.

 “Do you want to help me feed the horses? Then I’ll show you how to get Annabell ready for riding.” I patted Annabell’s neck one more time, then hopped down off of my crate and skipped over to where Jessica was scooping oats into a big bucket. She shoveled some more, dropped the big scoop in the bucket, and then lugged it to the first stall. She held the bucket, and I scooped the oats from the big bucket into the individual buckets in the stalls. By this time, all of the horses were hanging their heads over their stall doors, bobbing their heads and pawing impatiently. After we made our rounds with the oats, we filled the water buckets.

 I watched her carefully as she put the bit and bridle on first her horse, Jasper, a golden-brown Arabian, and then Annabell. When it came time to buckle the saddle, Jasper pushed out his gut stubbornly, not letting her get it tightened around him it wouldn’t slide sideways later. Jessica turned her back to him, hand still on the buckle, pretending that she’d given up. The moment he relaxed, she tugged on the belt and latched it in place. Annabell was more willing for the saddle, excited and anxious as I was. When she was finished, Jessica moved my crate close to Annabell’s side and instructed me on how to climb on, giving me a little boost when I wasn’t quite tall enough to step up on the stirrup and swing my right leg over Annabell’s huge body. Jessica adjusted the stirrups to fit my short legs, showed me how to point my toes downward to keep my feet locked in, then taught me how to hold the reins.

 The first few times around the field, Jessica led Annabell by the reins, giving me tips on how to pull on the reins to slow her down, and kick her in the side with my heel to speed her up. That was difficult for me to do, not wanting to inflict any pain on Annabell. It took several tries and lots of encouragement and promises that I wasn’t hurting her from Jessica before I kicked her with enough force to get her to move from a walk to a slow trot. After a while, she gave me the reins and walked beside me, one hand still on Annabell’s shoulder, close enough to grab the reins if needed. The feeling of Annabell’s huge body moving under me was exhilerating, but I wanted to go faster, wanted more excitement. We walked back to where she’d left Jasper tied to the fence, and she climbed up on him. Jessica smiled at me, and I beamed back at her.

 “Ready?” I nodded enthusiastically, and she took off on Jasper, trotting in front of me. I loosened Annabell’s reins, and she followed close to his tail as Jessica led him out of the open gate and down one of the trails that led into the back fields of the property. I’d been here for two months, and I had no idea that all this land was theirs.

 The afternoon passed quickly, Annabell seeming to feel as invigorated and excited as I did, and the sun was starting to sink into the western sky before I realized it. Jessica and I were walking the horses slowly for a moment when my stomach growled. Jessica glanced at me and I giggled. I hadn’t realized I was hungry until just then.

 “How about we head back to the house, get the horses brushed down a little bit, and then have some dinner?” Jessica asked. “Mr. Clark will be home soon, and he’ll be hungry, too.” The sound of his name sent me into a panic. We stayed out too long; what if dinner wasn’t ready when he got home? Would he be angry? Angry enough to hurt Jessica? I kicked Annabell into a trot, then kicked her again, not wanting to waste any time.

 “Lizzy, slow down! You haven’t been riding long enough to go this fast!” She was right beside me, one hand reaching toward me, as if she could slow me down my sheer will. She was right, though, I didn’t feel in control of Annabell at this speed. I pulled lightly on her reins and she slowed immediately, reacting to my slightest touch. I walked her up to my crate, then swung myself off of her back, landing squarely on my feet on top of the crate. I felt pride and terror mixed together. Pride at how well Jessica seemed to think I did for my first day out riding, and terror at the though of Mr. Clark coming home. I refused to let him ruin this most perfect day, and determined to get the horses in their stalls and dinner on the table in record time.

Jessica didn’t seem to be as anxious as I was. She took her time taking the saddles off the horses and hanging them over the stall door leading into the tack room. The horses stood lazily as she took the bits from their mouths and the harnesses from over their heads and ears. They walked into their stalls without the slightest bit of encouragement. Jessica walked out of the stable and came back a moment later with my crate, placing it gently on the floor of Annabell’s stall.

 “Here,” she said, handing me a big brush. “I’ll show you how to brush her, and then I’ll go over and brush Jasper.” She smiled at me as I took the brush and climbed onto my crate. She placed one hand on Annabell’s back, just behind her front shoulder, then rubbed down the length of her body, following it with her own brush. She moved her free hand back over and repeated the motion in another area. “Just keep one hand on her at all times, and she wont be startled. You try.” I repeated Jessica’s movements, but my arms were so much shorter; it was going to take me twice as long to brush Annabell as it would Jessica to brush Jasper. I didn’t care. I’d much rather spend the night in the stable with Annabell than in the house with Mr. Clark.

 “Good job, Lizzy! That’s perfect.” Jessica seemed so pleased to be out here, showing me how to take care of the animals she so clearly loved. I smiled at her brightly. She patted my shoulder and left me to my work.

Again, any comments and constructive criticism would be appreciated!  Thanks so much!


Approval

January 22, 2010
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Yesterday, I received notice from my surgeon’s office that I got APPROVED for ajustable gastric banding surgery!!!  They scheduled me right then for my pre-op appointment AND my surgery.  Guess when they are??  Go ahead, guess.  Oh, forget it.  You wont guess right, anyway!  The pre-op appointment was TODAY, this morning, actually.  I got weighed and got a 3-ringed binder full of pertinent information.  I was also given scripts for blood work and a chest xray.  FUN!  Not… 

Being that today is the 3rd Thursday of the month, the medical clinic on base was closed.  So I had to find somewhere else to go and get all this stuff done.  Of course, I’m used to being spoiled by the convenience of having the majority of my medical needs met on base, so I had no idea where to go.  I called the surgeon’s office and they gave me two different places to go… took a while both to find them and to get things done.  The blood work–wow–I really felt like I’d gone to visit with Vampires.  Several vials of blood, one of which was huge.  Felt like I was giving a pint and not just vials for lab work! 

All things considered, I would say that it all went well.  Even if it did take all day.  But I had to get it all done today because my surgery is WEDNESDAY!!!  So excited!!!  I have to be at the surgery center at 6:30 in the morning, but the staff at the surgeon’s office worked it out so that it’s outpatient, and I’ll start surgery at 7:30 and should be heading home by 9:30.  I’ll be posting before pics sometime next week, and I’ll post progress reports as frequently as I can.  I doubt I’ll be on the computer at all for a few days after the surgery.  I’ll be posting pictures and maybe measurments once a month.


My Book…

January 20, 2010
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I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a novel since I was a little girl, and in the past few weeks, I’ve finally sat down and taken some notes and written out a plot and have made some pretty good progress.  It’s about a little girl who gets put into a group home after her father brutally kills her mother.  She doesn’t speak.  She gets put into the foster care system for several years before she finds the right family that wants to love her forever.  This is a segment from the book, more accurately a dream that the 5-year old main character has.

I had been smaller, and in a house I didn’t remember ever being in. It wasn’t the illustrous house that I was now staying in, and it wasn’t the old, dilapidated group home that was the first home I ever remembered. I was in the living room of a strange, shabby house, dimly lit and poorly maintained. Fadded floral wall paper was peeling from the walls, and there were water stains on the ceiling, the paint bubbling in places. I was hiding behind a faded yellow couch, and it smelled like stale beer and sweat. I cowered in the darkness behind the couch with my knees pulled up to my chest, my arms wrapped tightly around my legs. I stared at the back of the couch, but I knew what I would see if it weren’t there. He would be standing over her, her body curled up on the floor in the fetal position, and his feet would be delivering blows to her body, her head, her legs. Her hands and arms would be trying to protect her face, and she would be bleeding. I tried to hold back the sobs that tried to break through my lips, but a whimper escaped, and I clamped a hand over my mouth, a new wave of panic overtaking me. His angry shouts were silenced at the sound of my whimper, and I heard his heavy boots crossing the hardwood floor toward my hiding place. The couch disappeared from in front of me, and his massive form cast a new, eerie shadow over my quaking form. I could feel the bruises already beginning to form when his enormous hands gripped the tops of my arms, his fingers wrapping all the way around easily. He picked me up to make me eye-level with him. If they weren’t so angry and bloodshot, he would have had beautiful blue eyes, but they were terrifying in their ferocity. Dark brows pulled down tightly over them. His breath smelled of beer, his clothes of sweat. He glared at me, my body hanging limply from his hands, and I tried not to burst into a new round of tears and sobs. I avoided looking into his eyes; my head was bowed so low, my chin was touching my chest. He shook me so that my head was jerked back and I closed my eyes to keep from looking into his. He was shouting at me, but the words slurred together and I couldn’t understand him. He shook me again, then dropped me to the floor. Pain shot through my leg when I landed, and I held back my scream, seeming to know that it would only make things worse. I watched as his right foot left the ground; it swung back and started coming toward me with alarming speed and force. There was no way I could get out of the way in time. Suddenly, something heavy dropped on top of me, just in time to absorb the blows of his heavy boot. It took me a moment to realize that she’d covered me with her own body. This protection seemed to enrage him even more, and the kicks came harder and faster. She never made a sound, except to try to sooth my whimpers with a quiet “sh”. And then it stopped; first her soothing, and then, after another minute, the earth-shaking kicks. Everything was silent. I heard his heavy boots cross the hardwood floor, then the rickety door creaked open and slammed shut. A truck engine roared to life, and tires squealed out of the driveway. He was gone. I tried to shake her, to get her to let me up. She’d gone limp on top of me and was getting very heavy; it was hard to breath. She didn’t budge. I wriggled and shimmied, the pain in my leg excruciating, unitl I was out from under her heavy body, and then I looked at her face. In the dream, it was the face of Jessica, her light brown eyes staring blankly, the life gone out of them, blood covering her face, dripping from her mouth. More blood from her head puddling on the floor. My subconscious knew that she was my mother. That’s when the screaming started.”

I would love any feedback!  I know it’s just a small portion, but whatever you have for me would be greatly appreciated.  I’m a big fan of imagery, so if it’s too much, let me know!


Jasper

January 13, 2010
2 Comments

Yesterday, we aquired a daschund puppy from a friend from our church on a trial run to see how our boxer, Copper, does with a smaller dog.  When we brought him home, we took him out to the back yard where Copper was.  My husband let him off the chain, and put the little pup down on the ground.  So far, Copper is far to excited to be able to handle not hurting Jasper, which is what I decided to name the pup.  He’s a reddish brown on most of his body, and that color is mixed with black on his back.  He’s got these super long ears that I think he’s going to step on when he gets older!  He’s so adorable.  Anyway, Copper wanted to paw at him and carry him around in his mouth, and we just can’t be having that!  So, poor Jasper was hiding under my husband’s legs as he crouched down to try to control Copper.  So, we took Jasper in the house, and let him play with our girls.  Victoria seems totally unimpressed with him, choosing to ignore him more than anything else.  Emma is totally enamored with him!  She calls him “my puppy”.  When we brought him in the house from his first visit with Copper, Jasper sat on the couch next to Emma, and then curled up behind her.  She ate her dinner, he was right there beside her.  We tried to feed him for the first time in his new home, and he wouldn’t touch the food until Emma took some in her hand and fed it to him.  Last night, when it was time for her to go to bed, she wanted Jasper to sleep with her.  We agreed, thinking, if she didn’t go to sleep, we’d just take the puppy out.  So, we brought him upstairs and laid him in her bed.  He cried and cried when my husband stood up from sitting on the bed, and stopped as soon as he sat back down.  Danny went to leave the room, and Emma started crying when Jasper did.  I asked her if she wanted Jasper to stay with her, and she nodded, so I asked her why she was crying, and she said, “he wants daddy!”  and cried all the harder.  It was so heart wrenching.  So, Daddy stayed with Emma until Jasper when to sleep, and she was just beaming with pride that she had the puppy sleeping in her bed.  When we went to bed, we took Jasper into our room, and I’m glad we did.  At 3:30 this morning, I’m forced awake by something sharp stabbing me in the arm–puppy teeth!  Jasper is chewing on the under-side of my upper arm!  I shooed him away, but he kept coming back.  Finally, I gave up and brought him downstairs to wear his training pad was, and put him down.  That’s exactly what he wanted!  I was so relieved that he is smart enough to wake me up to take him to the potty and he didn’t go in my bed!  Of course, this morning, Emma woke up to an empty bed, and she panicked.  She came into my room and woke me up–“mama, mama, MAMA!!  My puppy is GONE!”  Needless to say, she was very relieved to find him in my bed.


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