I only dropped 0.2 pounds but that’s good, considering I had 2 small bowls of chips last night when we got home from the eye doctor.  (I also had a really light meal.  Who knew a 1/2 cup of spaghetti squash was 25 calories?  It may be the perfect food!) 

Holy geez, no one warned me that an eye checkup could take 2 hours!  But the bottom line is, I’m getting reading glasses.  I can see the computer screen just fine, but when I try to read something in front of me, it takes some time for my eyes to adjust.  Small print is impossible to see.  My new glasses are really cute, too, so I’m almost looking forward to getting them. 

My brother decided to write his autobio on his blog, http://owlpete.blogspot.com/, and part of his plan was to write a chapter on the people in his life.  I was set to be chapter 3 until I destroyed his plans by confessing to all my transgressions against him.  (I poured Comet on his hair when he was a kid; I hid his D&D dice; and I told him that Dristan was chewable.  Hey, he asked me if you could chew it; sure, you can, but you probably won’t want to.)  That aside, he had to find nicer things to say about me.  It was pretty neat because like I told him, when we look in the mirror, more often than not we see our failures and flaws; we don’t see what the rest of the world sees in us until someone else comes out and tells us.  Personally, I still think I’m the least smart of the three Kempert siblings, but it’s still fun for all of us to watch Jeopardy together. 

John’s job is driving him insane, and when he gets frustrated enough, he dumps it on me.  Fortunately it’s all just words–if it were ever anything more than that, once I finished blackening his eye, I’d file papers–but sometimes words are worse because it’s hard to make them stop.  I think it’s part of why I had that throat spasm thing the other day, and after a while I want to say, “My life’s not fun either; suck it up and get on with it”, but men don’t want to hear that.  At least, none of the ones I’ve dated do.  They want a good, solid “poor baby” and whatever other kind words we can give them to assure their egos that they’ve been wronged.  Personally I’m losing patience with it.  If he hates his job so much, maybe he should’ve thought of that before he quit college; then he wouldn’t be stuck in a dead-end job with limited prospects.  But instead of furthering his education, he chased the dollar Kodak offered him and then swiped out from under him when they laid him off.  It’s called long-term planning, and he failed to do it.  I guess it’s normal, in a way.  At the time, no one envisioned big businesses downsizing en masse the way it’s common now.  We all thought the good life would go on forever. 

Welcome to reality.

Moving On

No, I’m not going anywhere.  I just lost track of what day my diet was on, and I didn’t work out last night anyway and I gained back a pound.  Chalk it up to PMS and salty potato chips.  I’m still in the negative, and that’s good, and I’m being good today because I brought spinach salad for lunch.  That’s part of what worked so well for me on Tuesday.  (That and a lot of walking and sweating.)

I had a Schatzki Ring episode yesterday.  Two, in fact.  For those who don’t know, there’s a ring of cartilege in the throat that, in my case, narrows when I get tense.  John’s been so wired up at work that I couldn’t eat breakfast for 1/2 an hour yesterday, and last night again, my fish dinner wouldn’t go down.  By the time I could finally swallow–even water won’t go down–my dinner was ice cold and I tossed out what was left.  Why couldn’t this have happened before I had that small bowl of low-fat potato chips?  🙂  On the other hand, those don’t get cold and taste like poo.

I’ve read 2 Alison DuBois books and she mentions that sometimes things aren’t coincidental, that we have spirits (usually loved ones on the other side) that try to send us messages.  I wrote about it in Alpha State; Luke is Kate’s spirit guide, sending her messages electronically until she’s able to recognize him.  When she’s in a lousy mood, he sets it up so she switches radio stations (you know what that’s like; you hear commercial after commercial, like there isn’t a station on the dial that’s playing any music) until she lands on a song that reminds her of him.  Once in a while it happens to me so I call my spirit guide Luke.  He can be a pain in the butt sometimes because he knows what I need to hear and when, whether I like it or not.

This morning I wasn’t feeling all that great; between yesterday’s two throat-spasm experiences, a lousy day at work, and all the rain, I just didn’t have the energy.  I contemplated staying home but that would’ve just left me sitting alone to wallow in self-pity, and I do enough of that anyway.  Besides, I wasn’t really sick, I was just tired.  I got the boys in the car and we dragged ourselves to camp, and I turned on the radio instead of putting on my iPod.  B101 played Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” and some of the lyrics stood out to me: 

“Hold on for one more day”

“You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness; you got yourself into your own mess”

“Let your worries pass you by”

“No one can change your life except for you”

Okay, Luke, I get the point.  🙂

Day…oh heck, I forget

Don’t ask me how I did it but I lost 2.4 pounds.  Maybe it was eating as little as possible, and having so much to do during the day that eating was an afterthought.  Maybe it was having discovered spaghetti squash, easily the best thing that grows on this planet since the hops that make beer.  (It looks like spaghetti but it tastes like sweet potatoes, not to mention one small squash yields a family-size portion or several leftovers for families where only one person likes it.  I’m in love!)  My total loss now is 6 pounds, which is up since we went away for 4th of July–I got a little stupid on s’mores and chips–but I’m back on track and determined to keep going.  Last night after showing my parents the 2 houses on our Top Two list, running out for a haircut, and cleaning up the boys’ bathroom before my parents got there, by the end of the afternoon I just wanted to bag the workout and take a nap, but I pushed myself to work out anyway.  I told myself I’d feel proud of myself if I did it, and I did. 

The house-hunting is wearing us thin.  John’s tired of looking and he thinks we’re running out of affordable houses we would like.  I’m not ready to give up yet, but I showed my parents Powell Street and Caroline Drive.  Caroline needs a lot less maintenance, both now and in the long run, but it doesn’t have a lot of charm; it’s on a block where every house around for half a mile looks exactly the same, except for the gardens and some minor affectations.  It’s like living in blue-collar low-income housing.  Powell Street is oozing with charm but it may also ooze from the sewer connection in the basement or the poorly aimed downpouts or the gaps in the siding that lead directly to the foundation.  (All stuff I didn’t notice when I was falling in love with the place.) 

I had an interesting experience at Powell Street.  We checked out the koi pond and I noticed one had gotten over the mesh that covers the surface of the pond (to protect it from predators, I suppose) and it couldn’t get back down to where the food was.  Poor thing was thrashing around trying to get back but it couldn’t.  I have no idea how it got up there in the first place or how long it had been there, but I went around to the other side of the pond and managed to get it back where it needed to be.  Now I feel like I should go back and check on it to make sure it’s okay and it didn’t get back over the mesh again.  (I pulled the edge of the mesh up, under the tree, to try to keep that from happening.)  I have this proprietary feeling about them, that I may have adopted someone else’s fish.  🙂  But it made me feel better knowing that pretty little red fish won’t be some cat’s meal or won’t die and rot on top of the koi pond. 

Ah, well.  Off to keep looking.  And keep writing.  Writer’s block is a b*tch.

Vote for Pat!

I’m back in time to start the drive to Vote Pat Burrell into the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on July 14th, 2008!  Come on, folks, there’s 2 Phillies already going to the game; Pat’s stats are phenomenal this year and aside from that, he’s adorable and a REALLY nice guy!  How many other ball players would’ve taken the time to show me how to shoot Bottlecap Baseball during our photo session at last year’s Phillies Phestival for ALS?  

There should be a widget showing up somewhere along the line but I’ve never posted one so we’ll see how it goes.  In the mean time, enjoy this pic from a few years back.  Let’s just say this man REALLY knows how to swing a bat.  🙂 

Man or Machine?
Man or Machine?

And just to prove that yes, I’ve met the man, check this out.  That’s me and Ryan last July.

Day Ten

Weight gained, 0.8 pounds; total weight lost, 6.2 pounds.  It still feels better than it looks, but that’s partly because I took a vent-your-frustrations walk yesterday at lunch time.  John didn’t go to work so I stayed in and got some unpleasant news just before lunch, so I strapped on my sneakers, turned the iPod up loud (so as not to hear the voices in my head), and stormed across the neighborhood.  I probably came in smelling like a wet dog but I felt better for having excised my demons.  On the other hand, I put on a little weight because John took me out for an early dinner (lots of Early Birds in Applebee’s at 4 in the afternoon) and by 9 when he opened the tray of fruit he bought for the trip, those cantalope slices and red grapes tasted SO good.  My bad, but I’ll work it off today. 

Forgive me but I’m taking the 4th of July holiday off in every respect.  I have 2 more JR Ward books to read, lots of crochet, and I’m turning the computer and my brain off.  Gonna be a lot of family time in my future.  If I survive, I’ll check in on Sunday afternoon.  Have a safe and happy 4th of July! 


I had to post this because I’m just so excited!  From PA House Speaker Dennis O’Brien, via the ASA Loop:

I am proud to report that the House of Representatives today made a several small but fundamental improvements to House Bill 1150 that will strengthen its scope of mandated coverage for autism services.  I can now say in confidence that House Bill 1150 is the best autism insurance reform bill in the country.

This success was made possible by the tireless efforts of hundreds of autism advocates from across the state and beyond who made their voices heard here in Harrisburg.

With your full support, I offered an amendment to include in this legislation precise definitions of mandated care.  These definitions ensure than the bill will cover essential autism services, including those to prevent regression.

The House heard your voices, and accepted my amendment unanimously.  In accordance with my agreement with Senate leaders, the Senate is expected to concur with my amendment and send the bill to the Governor Rendell for his signature in the next few days.  Thank you all – this bill was a long time in coming, and we could not have done it without your support


Day Nine

Day nine weight loss:  3.8 pounds?  Total weight loss:  7.0 pounds.  All it took was a crazy day at the office.  I didn’t even have time to think about snacking, and I only ate the nuts I brought for snack because it was 4:00 and I didn’t want to be hungry when I got home.   I skipped the 10:00 snack altogether and didn’t even leave the building; John got us salads and brought mine back for me.  I have to do that more often.  (The not snacking part, not the crazy day at work part, but unfortunately that kind of thing happens at the start of every month.  Still, it could be worse.  Our accounting department was told they have to come in tomorrow, which is supposed to be a company holiday.  John talked to one lady who’s coming in tomorrow, working remote on Friday (4th of July!) and coming in Saturday and for a short time on Sunday.  There are days I tell myself I’m in the wrong line of work, but I’m also glad I’m not in that one.)

Mentally I’m either better or I’m burying it again.  One thing that surprised me was that when John left for the gym, I walked away from the computer and went to work out.  I didn’t really want to but I didn’t slow down, either; I put the DVD on and got to work.  When I was done, I grabbed my JR Ward book and over the course of the night I devoured almost 200 pages.  I want to have the first in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series done before we start our July 4th plans so I can grab the 2nd one and start fresh.  Laura was right, it’s book crack.  I SO hope we got into the JR Ward presentation at the NJ conference in October, but no one’s told us yet.  I’m going to be really pissed if we don’t find out ’til we get there.  The presentation is at 8 in the morning, and I hate waking up early for no good reason.

John’s not coming to work today so I hope I can get a walk in at lunch and clear my head.  I worked on Jake’s story yesterday (the guy romance writer); he needs a stronger motivation, but that may just be my judgment clouded by the Black Dagger series.  With them, it’s life or death.  With Jake, it’s just major embarrassment and a possible change of employers.  Sounds wimpy by comparison, doesn’t it?  JR Ward makes me not want to write romantic comedy, she’s that good.  If anyone asks, Steph got me into this, darnit.  🙂 

Day Eight

Day eight weight lost:  0.8 pounds; total weight lost, 3.6.  It feels better than it looks, but that could be the workouts. 

The state house voted 49-1 on Sunday in favor of revised HB 1150, originally sponsored by the speaker, Dennis O’Brien.  The problem is that some ass-clown out there dismembered the bill from what it was originally intended to do, mandate insurance companies to cover autism services within the state of PA.  Instead it was reworded to require that families prove “medical necessity” for autism treatment before PA insurance companies are required to pay for it.  They have that problem now; why waste time and money writing a bill for it?  The changes to the bill would only make it harder because now not just private insurance companies would demand proof of “medical necessity”, but PA Medical Assistance would have that option too.  The changes to HB1150 effectively close the door to services that autistic children in the state need if they’re going to have a chance at breaking out of the prison of autism.

Susan Rzucidlo came out on the ASA email loop and said she asked Autism Speaks to remove her from their mailing lists because (get this) Autism Speaks came out IN FAVOR of the revised bill!  I thought, “Damn, that’s a good idea!” so I did the same thing, and it made me feel SO much better to get angry.  I didn’t realize until then just how much I’d been bottling up my emotions, for so many reasons, most of which even I don’t know.  It’d be nice if I could start feeling an emotion other than anger, but for now, I’ll take it.  I walked out of the office yesterday smiling.  I noticed the cool in the breeze, and the colors around me seemed so much brighter than they’d been in a long, long time. 

It’s like I’ve been standing in a dark room for so long only I didn’t know it, and all of a sudden someone put on the light and I can see (and feel) again.  Then John came home pissed because of some stuff at work (yesterday was the end of the 2nd quarter, and Unisys was told they didn’t get the multi-billion $ TSA contract, which for us was a make-or-break deal; our jobs may be on the line before year’s end; just what we need when we’re house-shopping) and then the internet connection didn’t work and he called Verizon and yelled at someone in Bangalore and he was mad all night, and then over dinner I couldn’t make him understand my point of view in a conversation (he kept insisting I was wrong) and I shut up and focused on just swallowing my damn dinner, and I felt the room around me get dark all over again, and that’s where I am now. 

But at least now I know where I am and why I’m there, and even though the room is dark, knowing there’s a room is half the battle.