Airing Dirty Laundry

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Goodbye, Grandma April 23, 2008

Filed under: family — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:09 am


My grandmother, Doris Jean Dreyer, passed away yesterday morning in her sleep.  Although she was 80 and in failing health, it was still a shock. 

I’ll be away from the world of blogging for a few days while I make the trip home and grieve with my family.

I know it hasn’t truly hit me yet.  Even though I cried for a long time after my Dad called me yesterday, I know there are many more tears to be shed.

Grandma was a good woman. A strong woman.  Hopefully I inherited more from her than my wide hips and short legs.  Hopefully a little bit of her strength is residing somewhere within me and helps me get through the next few days, the next few weeks, the next few years without her.  It better show up soon. Because right now I’m not feeling strong.

She lost so many people in her life, and yet she didn’t wallow in it.  If anything, it made her love her remaining family even more.  She outlived both of her parents.  Two brothers. A sister.  Her husband, my grandfather died in 1996.  Her daughter-in-law, my mother, died in 2001.  And just 10 weeks ago, she buried her oldest child, my aunt.

She battled so much in her life from a medical standpoint.  Diabetes, arthritis, glaucoma, congestive heart failure, cancer.  She fought them all.  Some she was able to fend off at points, some she lived with every day.  As she got older, she complained more and more about her ailments.  God, please forgive my mother and I for mocking her with “My this hurts and my thathurts.” We thought we were being funny at the time, but now I just can’t see the humor in it.  She lived with pain the entire time that I have been on this earth, and longer.  And yet she never failed to make my brother and I hot dogs and beans when we stayed at her house.  Or cut up extra carrots and celery for me because she knew that I would devour the whole tray myself when she set it out on the table for dinner.  And even this past Christmas, she had a supply of wintergreen Canada mints on hand for me to take home.  She always sat with me while I paged through the JC Penney catalog around Christmas time, and listened to me tell her which toys I wanted Santa to bring me.  She never failed to tell me how proud she was of me, whether it was for a good report card, going to college, getting married, buying a house.

I’m thankful that she passed in her sleep.  Hopefully without pain.  Quietly. Calmly. Peacefully.  I’m thankful that she was able to keep living in the house she had shared with my grandfather after his death 12 years ago.  That meant a lot to her–to be HOME.

Goodbye, Grandma.  We’ll miss you.


Updates from the land of AiringDirtyLaundryville April 20, 2008

Filed under: family — airingdirtylaundry @ 11:06 am


The deck?  Will be done on Tuesday or Wednesday.  In the three days they were here this week, great progress was made.

Day 1:

deack day 1

Day 2:

deck day 2

Day 3:

deck day 3

Giz gives it her seal of approval so far:

giz on deck


What did I do on Saturday instead of a long run in preparation for the half marathon that is 2 weeks away?  I went to boot camp class in the morning, then to get my hair cut.  While out and about, I had a few errands to run–a stop at the AT&T store (which wasn’t as painful as it normally is), and a stop at Babies R Us for a gift for a co-worker that we’re having a baby shower for this week.  After that, home for a quick nap, and then off to get a pedicure, which was wonderful.  I have gross nasty feet (I know, you’re thinking “thanks for sharing”), and I was always leery of getting a pedicure because I didn’t think I could stand the embarrassment.  But when I was out in Arizona at that swanky spa back in January, a pedicure was part of the package deal, and I realized that it wasn’t that bad.  Spending most of my day in 3-inch or higher heels and the balance in sneakers, well, it was time for another pedicure.  After that, I made a quick trip to Sam’s Club and then headed home.


My sister-in-law, Mike’s baby sister JLo, got engaged yesterday.  It wasn’t necessarily a surprise, since they had picked out the ring together a month or so ago, but yesterday was the day he actually did it. 


They look really young (especially in the picture), but they’re just about the same age that Mike and I were when we got engaged, almost 10 years ago.  Maybe they just seem really young because Mike and I are getting old–gulp!

Anyhow, the newly-engaged couple came over to our house last night for dinner (steaks, green beans, and corn on the cob), and I had fun running around beforehand getting them 2 dozen roses, champagne, and–most importantly–a cheesecake, just to make their day a little more special. 


Depsite the fact that a few pieces of cheesecake are sitting in our fridge, I’ve was able to resist all temptation and stuck to my diet last night. I had a few glasses of champagne, (it was a celebration after all) but no cheesecake, no alcohol, no late night snack of any sort.  Just meat, veggies, water, and Crystal Light.  I stayed within my range for calories, carbs, protein, and fat.  Whew.  Now today I’m looking forward to my one cheat meal for the week, although I haven’t decided yet what it will be.  I’m thinking that the tortilla soup at Max & Erma’s is calling my name . . .


206 April 16, 2008

Filed under: hungryhungryhippo,secrets,Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 8:49 am

Just an update on my weight issue, for all of you who care.  I’ve lost 4 pounds since Friday.  I know I’ll drop a lot of weight at first and then it will taper off, but damn did it feel good to step on the scale and see a LOWER number instead of a HIGHER one.

I had my first personal training session last night, and Andi kicked my ass.  But it’s a GOOD kind of ass-kicking.  I’m a little sore today, but it’s manageable and not nearly as bad as I expected.  She started off by having me warm up on the elliptical for a few minutes, and then had me do as many push-ups as I could before my arms gave out (30) and as many sit-ups as I could do in a minute (35).  Then I did the sit-and-reach to get an idea of where my flexibility was.  Years ago, prior to boobs and gut, I could just flop my upper body down on top of my legs and reach waaaayyy past my heels.  Boobs, gut, and a few hundred Chicken McNuggets later and I could barely get a few centimeters past.  I joked with Andi that this was just like the President’s Physical Fitness test from school eons ago and that I expected a certificate signed by Ronald Reagan.

After the initial evaluation, Andi measured me and weighed me.  I then wrote down my goals so that we can measure my progress as time goes on.  My goals included losing weight (duh)–35 to possibly 50 lbs; being able to run 3 miles non-stop; increasing flexibility by 2cm on the sit-and-reach; and losing a total of 5 inches off of the various measurements she took (shoulders, chest, waist, hips, arms, thighs).  Please don’t let all 5 inches come off of my chest.  I’ll look even more like a bowling pin than I do now.

Next we worked out a schedule so that Andi can get an idea of what I’m doing when.  I’m currently using the elliptical Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings for an hour, running on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for 30-45 minutes, and am taking her boot camp classes on Monday night and Saturday morning.  For the next couple of weeks until the mini-marathon, I also need to fit a longer run in on either Saturday or Sunday, although I’ll ditch that after the mini is over.  Add in personal training on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and my week is full.  That gives me Wednesday night to rest go to the grocery store and run errands. 

I’ve also been very strict on my nutrition.  I ended up getting frustrated with FitDay.  I spent 15 minutes searching for one food item on Saturday and ended up looking it up on Calorie King anyhow.  That website rocks.  I’ve used it for years just to look up nutritional info, but had never used their diet and exercise software because you have to pay for it.  I signed up for the 7-day free trial and will definitely be buying the software.  It’s so user-friendly and the nutritional information is available for so many brand names that you’re able to get a more accurate idea of what you’re eating instead of using averages.   You can also add in your exercise for the day with estimates of how many caloreis you burned.  At the end of a day/week/month/etc. you can look at pie charts and graphs of your progress and also get an idea of what you need to do to adjust your diet.

Seriously, I’m not gunning to be the Calorie King spokesperson.  I just get so excited over their program that I can hardly contain myself. 

I allowed myself one “cheat meal” this weekend.  A delicious Primanti’s sandwich.  Mike had to take a trip down to the South Side on Sunday and I talked him into getting sandwiches to bring home.  As soggy as it was by the time he got home, that sandwich was fantastic.  I logged the components of the sandwich in on Calorie King and it came up to about 1000 calories, but that one cheat meal was sooo worth it.  I’m already looking forward to my options for my cheat meal this weekend and the thought of it has allowed me to forgo the never-ending birthday cakes circulating at work (it’s like the Seinfeld episode).  I don’t even really like cake.  But I used to eat it just because it was there.  Now I can say “no” because I don’t want to waste my cheat meal on a piece of cake. 

Thta’s all for now.  Bear with me during my long rambling posts about what I eat and my workouts.  One day when I’m a size 10 (or 8!) I’ll need these to look back on to motivate me to stay that way!

In other news, our deck is being started today!  We’re supposed to have beautiful weather until the weekend, so they should be able to get most of it done this week and finish up on Monday and Tuesday.


210 April 11, 2008

Filed under: hungryhungryhippo,life lessons — airingdirtylaundry @ 3:50 pm

Remember boot camp?  Did you think I gave it up by now?  Hell, no!  I love it!  I go twice a week–Monday nights and Saturday mornings.  I have missed some classes here and there for various reasons, but lately I’ve been there pretty regularly. 

I’ve known Andi since college, and maybe it’s the comfort level I have with her and the others that take the class too (one is also a friend from college and one is a friend from our neighborhood) that keep me interested in going.  It’s fun–we gossip, talk about hairstyles and clothes, bitch about whatever’s bothering us–but we also get a good workout.  It’s like therapy with some added health benefits.

I’m ready to take it one step further.  Tuesday starts my twice-weekly personal training sessions with Andi.  So in addition to my 45-60 minutes of cardio in the morning and boot camp twice a week, I’ll have 2 hours of intense one-on-one training.  Also, I’ve been concentrating on my nutrition and tracking what I eat each day on FitDay so that I have an accurate picture of what’s going into my body.

I’m tired of being fat.  I’m tired of continually buying bigger clothes.  I’m tired of putting something on that I fit into just a few months ago and having it not even come close to fitting now.  I’m tired of feeling self-conscious.  I’m tired of being the “big girl”.

I’ve been reading a fertility book that I borrowed from a friend, and there was just a passing mention that some women who are obese have more trouble conceiving, more trouble during pregnancy, more trouble during childbirth, and are slow to bounce back afterwards.  All of this, combined with concerns for my health in general, are forcing me to make some big changes.  I have to.

I still struggle with the word “obese”, since what comes to mind is 400+ lbs, but I think I need to finally recognize that I am technically an obese person.  Wow, is that depressing.

I am 5’6″ tall and 210 lbs.  Did I just type that?  On my blog?  For the whole freakin’ world to see?  Deep breath.  In. Out. In. Out.

I am a size 16 (although sometimes a 14!).  I recently bought clothes at Lane Bryant, a store I had never set foot in previously.  Because I always thought it was for fat people.  Hello, now I am one of those fat people.

It hurts to reveal my weight.  I’m ashamed of it.  But if I have to be shamed into dropping some of it, then so be it.

I had created a FitDay account in the past, but never really used it.  When I logged in earlier this week to start tracking my nutrition, I saw that my weight was listed as 178.  I went back in time and found that 178 was my weight when I originally created my account–2 1/2 years ago.  I’m now 32 lbs heavier (for those of you that are too lazy to do the math).  Even if I could get back to 178 , it would be a drastic improvement.  According to my internet research, 150 would be my ideal weight.  Sixty pounds.  SIXTY. 

WHAT have I done to my body over the years?  Take-out, fast food, mounds and mounds of pasta, cookies, chocolate, alcohol.  What took me minutes to eat is going to take me hours to take off.  It’s going to be quite a battle–that I assure you.

I sent Mike an email this morning once Andi and I worked out the timing for my personal training sessions.  I told him how excited I am to do this, but my only concern is that I’m going to have to be really organized in planning meals ahead of time.  I get up at 4:45-5:00 each morning to get on the elliptical or the treadmill, then eat breakfast and pack my lunch, jump in the shower, get ready for work, play “beat the clock” on my way there, get home at 5:30-5:45 (if I don’t have any errands to run), and THEN figure out what we’re having for dinner.  With boot camp on Mondays, dinner doesn’t happen until 7:30-7:45, and only if Mike called in an order to the pizza place down the street while I was gone.  Now with Tuesdays and Thursdays added in to the mix, it’s even more important that I figure out what we’re having for dinner in advance.  Thank goodness summer is coming and we can use the grill a lot for quick-but-healthy meals–I’m sure that will help.

Mike’s response to my email was that he’s here to support me in any way and I just need to let him know what help I need.  THAT right there is my motivation.  His support means the world to me.


Perspective April 3, 2008

Filed under: family,life lessons — airingdirtylaundry @ 8:15 am

My mother would have turned 55 today.  Even though the anniversary of her death is a sad time, I’ve always struggled more with her birthday.

My mother died on September 10, 2001 after a year-long battle with cancer.   The US was in turmoil 12 hours after she passed.  Each year as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I don’t allow myself to wallow in self-pity that my mother is gone.  So many people lost loved ones–suddenly, tragically, without warning.  I was at least fortunate to have the time to say goodbye to my mother.  I realize that that was a luxury that those who lost their loved ones because of 9/11 didn’t have.

But her birthday hasn’t failed to jolt me each of the past 7 years.  It’s almost spring.  The days are a little longer, the weather’s a little nicer.  Some years it’s almost Easter.  It’s a time of birth and re-birth.  And the woman that gave birth to me is not here.

When she was the age that I am now, she had a bratty 13 year-old and a troubled 7 year-old.  When she was the age that I am now, her life was almost three-quarters of the way complete.

It’s thoughts like that that give me perspective.