Friday, November 28, 2008

Cruise Day 2

I don't remember when we got to bed on the Sunday night, but Monday morning we woke just in time to have breakfast in the dining room, instead of buffet in the Windjammer Cafe. I am not fond of 'going to' breakfast. I don't like getting dressed right after a shower, I don't like having to navigate even just the one floor up, I don't like making decisions....

We got seated at a table with a young couple, celebrating their 1st anniversary. Actually, I don't think they were that young, but youngish. They were speaking a foreign language. At one point, the man stopped and asked if we were American. Rob said no (I wasn't up to much speaking yet). The man said he wondered because Rob said the coffee was too strong, and he was commenting to his wife that the coffee wasn't strong enough! They serve "Seattle's Best" but for some reason, in the dining rooms, it is quite strong (overcooked, I think). The couple were from Brazil. I commented that their Portuguese sounded different than what our neighbours speak (and we think they're Portuguese). He said there are different accents throughout Brazil, and it is in fact slightly different than Portugal Portuguese. He said only about 3% of Brazilians can speak English (highest in the cities) and that a LOT of Brazilians go to Toronto to study English because it is very cheap for them. I wanted to ask them about the high c-section and plastic surgery rates, but wasn't quite up for it at breakfast, LOL.

This turned out to be the only time we had breakfast in the dining room all week!

Rob wasn't feeling too well so we went back to the cabin and watched TV (really.). Then all of a sudden we realized we had only 15 minutes left to get up two decks and down the length of the ship to get our tickets for the ice show later in the week!

I'm looking at our "Cruise Compass" for that day, and the only thing circled was the 3:30 Crown & Anchor Wine Tasting (too bad we missed the "How to Shave" seminar in the morning!).

So, I assume we had lunch, then a little lie down, then the wine tasting. "Crown & Anchor Society" is the people who are on their second or higher cruise with Royal Caribbean. That's how we got those coupons books. The wine tasting was quite interesting, although it was hard to understand the Filipino waiter who was teaching us. We tried some rose Zindfadels, a Chardonnay, and 3 red wines. I didn't like one of the whites, and two of the reds, but the last red (Cabernet Sauvignon) was okay if I had to drink red. Rob also preferred the rose Zindfadel the most. In fact, he took the filled glasses from the empty seats at our table! LOL.


Then it was back to our room, or maybe we went to the pool. Probably both. In fact, I think I knitted while lounging on the pool deck. It was an overcast day, but when the sun came out, it was quite warm. Once the sun went down though, it got almost cool, considering the winds.
This was the first formal dinner night, so we got dolled up. One thing they do almost every night, is set up mini photo studios outside the dining rooms (it's a 3 story dining room once inside it), and a couple other places. The formal nights they take 'formal' portraits. Other nights, it's really casual type pictures. Every time you leave the ship in port, or when you first got on the ship, there's photographers taking your picture. You can buy them on board. Last year, we liked the formal picture, but didn't buy it because it's $20 for a 5x7 or 8x10, and we took our own picture that turned out quite good, LOL. But after, we regretted not getting it.

(I made that black shawl on the Singer 327 the week before we left!). So this year, it wasn't busy when we passed by so we stopped for 'portraits' with great expectations. We saw the pictures the next night and were terribly disappointed. In one picture, Rob had a goofy look. One picture I had terrible glare on my glasses and lipstick on my teeth (which looked surprisingly yellow!). In two others, we were sitting, and I had terrible love handles! There wasn't one picture that had both of us looking good :(

We headed into the dining room to meet our table mates. This is probably the scariest moment of the trip! LOL. It took awhile to figure out the relationship between everyone was. There were two black women with almost shaved heads (one dyed blonde!), a black man, a younger black lady, a white woman, and a younger man who was not black, but sort of olive skinned (ie--he could have been bi-racial). The young man, we learned quickly, was called Dale, and was from Philadelphia. But what was the connection between them all? The two older black ladies didn't seem to know each other but were getting along quite well. We soon realized the 'white blond' somehow knew Dale; and in fact, we later realized she was his mother. It turned out the 'black blond' was married to the black man, they were called Regna and Rudy. Regna was the woman; her name is anger spelled backwards (and woe be the one who messes it up!), and she was one large personality. Anger issues, gambling, tea addiction, LOL. Rudy was quieter; a war veteran who grew up with his godparents in Jamaica, they now lived in NYC and he was the superintendent of two buildings. Never learned was Regna did, except drink a LOT of tea. The young lady was their daughter. A quiet compilation of the best of her parents. Now. The other black lady. She was Dale's mother's best friend and her name was Cheryl (I think.). We never learned the daughter's name or Dale's mother's name. There were interesting conversations all week, although our table was oval shaped, and there were two empty seats, so it was a little hard at times (we played musical chairs each night which was great!). Last year, our table had a young couple from Ireland on their honeymoon, and a single 32 year old woman with her 12 year old son and her best friend. That was also an interesting table, particularly when the conversations were about the differences between all our cultures. Dale was an interesting, LOL, young man. Very fond of drinking, he had a DUI charge about 10 years ago and so had his own breathalyzer, which he brought with him. He was a baseball fan and proud of the World Series win. He mentioned at one point that he finds the best use of people is for entertainment. He was certainly entertaining (in a 'shake your head, you're still so young and immature' sort of way, LOL).

Our waitress was "Huny" although her name tag had such a long ethnic name on it I'm not sure how Huny came from it, LOL. The assistant was Edmond, who quickly became known as Edmond the Bread Man. Huny was great; very friendly, a little too insistent on what we order for dessert, LOL, but a great waitress who offered her opinions freely. She played tricks on Dale, and flirted with him---cutting and feeding him at a few points. Huny's tag said she was from India, but she didn't look, or sound, Indian. She looked more Filipino. On the last night she said she flies to Bombay, and then a four hour flight to her home town. There, she said, they actually have all 4 seasons, which is nicer than Bombay which is too hot. She works 6 months on the boat, and then 4 months at home. The staff work really hard and long. Last year our waiter worked the breakfast slot, and the two dinner seatings (we would leave the dining room at 10:15pm and they'd still be working; breakfast opened around 7:30am). And, they work 7 days a week; there are NO off days during the 6 months!

After dinner, it was a stroll to the other end of the ship for the 'production show'. The shows that Royal Caribbean does are incredible. I was blown away last year! The first show of the week was "Marquee" which was sort of a musical medley of Broadway hits; not a plot/story type show. But still spectacular.....although Rob dozed off a bit; musical theater is not really his top interest, LOL.

The amount of detail RCI puts into its ships is incredible. The stage curtains were heavily beaded, although you can't see in the photo, and quite sparkly. Later on, I'll show some more theater shots. You really feel like you could be in a theater on Broadway!

After the show, we probably walked around, Rob probably got pizza, LOL, we probably went outside to warm up. Maybe went back to the room to change. At 12:15am, in the same theater, was the Late Night Adult Comedy, with Eric Lyden. We'd never heard of him, LOL, but that's not unusual for us. He was pretty funny, although by the end of the week (several different comedians this week), I began to wonder why they put down the audiences so much. LOL.

Finally, it was bed time! We returned to our room and found Fido! We hadn't had a creature on the first night, so we wondered if we'd get one at all. He was quite cute, and thankfully house trained!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cruise, Day 1

So, the shuttle left the hotel around 11am, Sunday Nov. 9 (I forgot to mention that the interesting couple sitting in front of us had a luggage tag from a forensics conference; Rob was hoping we'd see them some more). It's an interesting ride to the port (seen on a billboard: http://www.whocanisue.com/), then we had to drop other people off at the different boats (2 Norwegian, 2 Carnival), and then it was our turn. The porters take your luggage and it goes off to security, and you go in the terminal to join the line up. Last year it was a bit quicker, but it was still reasonable. Did the check in, got our dining table number (404, 2nd seating. Last year we were at 401, so it was pretty much the same spot), and headed onto the ship. Since we knew where to go, what to do, we headed straight up to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. Last year we had the "OMG this ship is huge and beautiful and I don't know where we are or what to do except somehow find the Windjammer" look on our faces). It wasn't as busy as last year, and I got to really enjoy the food this time!
We popped into the specialty restaurant "Portofino's" and tried to book a dinner there. A couple of nights before we had left, I tried to do it online, but realized that we had misinterpreted when to do it. Instead of "Do it before 10 days before you leave" we thought we had to "Do it within 10 days of leaving". We found out the nights we wanted were special event nights, and also that the cruise was being reversed.

Hurricane Paloma, you see, had just gone through Haiti---our first stop. So, instead, we were heading westwards to miss the storm that was still heading northwards. Not a big deal, but just two more little things not going as smoothly or as planned.
After we booked at "Chops" instead, for that night, we headed out for a stroll; you can't go to your room till 2pm. The ship looked identical (except for the artwork) to the Liberty of the Seas that we were on last year:We actually didn't do mini-golf this time. We did it a few times last year and it was actually a challenging course. This time, it was too hot out, too busy, too windy, too close to the time to do something else...We went and checked out The Wall. Again, we never got around to doing this either! Last year, we really wanted to do it a few times, and got to it only once, on the last sea day. I was pretty darn proud of myself for getting to the top considering how sick I was. This year, I was, to be honest, afraid that I wouldn't make it again. I had slacked off on the weight lifting exercises, I knew this time that climbing the Wall was actually harder than it looks, and I just didn't have the confidence to try again. Last year I had no expectations, no fears; this time....At 2pm we headed deep down into the bottom of the ship to find our room. This year it was easy to find, easy to get to the stairs and elevator (although, on day 5, I suddenly started taking wrong turns!). Last year it was in an inner corridor and it took several days to figure it all out. We got our "Gold Member" coupon books, but were a little disappointed! Many coupons for things/services we were unlikely to use, or the saving value was so little it didn't offer incentive to try those things. We did use a few coupons--Johnny Rockets', BOGO free drink...but there were a lot of coupons left at the end of the cruise.

What else did we do until Muster Drill.....oh yeah ;) LOL! Once the door is shut, your cabin could be anywhere on the ship, and inside cabins are quit dark and quiet and soundproof....

Soon it was time for the "Muster Drill" or Lifeboat Lecture. We were planning to go swimming so I put on my newly finished cover-up, but then realized it was time to ....muster. LOL. For more on my knitted cover up, I'll be writing about it on my knitting blog. It was a long process, and I am very thankful that the designer is such a great lady who practically held my hand over the Internet while I worked on this. Every time I wore it, Rob commented on how good it was!!


We easily found our station. They are all on deck 4 (didn't know this last year), and we were already on deck two, near the stairs; and I heard that odd numbers were on the right when facing the front, which happened to be 'our' side too. Last year, we had no clue how to get there, and on the way back, ended up following a parade of life jacket wearing guests through the dining room! It wasn't as hot as last year, and I wasn't dehydrated this time, so I could take it in and not feel like I was about to pass out. Last year, we were lined up a little more orderly, but would that matter if we were sinking?


One comedian commented that the instructions over the PA system were in 5 different languages and how terrible it would be to be fluent in language number 5 only! Yikes! There were people as far as you could see down the deck. Rob took these two photos from his viewpoint.

This year's Life jacket Portrait. Does it look much different than last year's photo? LOL.What you can't tell in the picture is how close I was to passing out last year! The "7485" was our cabin number (so they can identify you when they pluck your body out of the shark's mouth) and the D27 was the Muster Station. I thought it was funny the instructions on the life jacket say not to dry clean! LOL.

Rob's picture was also very similar!
We watched the ship leave the Port of Miami.

This is the Royal Caribbean where you go through security and walk down endless miles of aisle ways. The RCI terminal is ALL the white 'sails' you can see. It's huge.The next terminal is the new Carnival Cruise Line terminal. Their two ships had already left, as had one of the NCL ships.


The NCL ships are nicely painted, and have this new "Freestyle Dining" option (most cruise lines assign you a table with other people, at a certain time ("Seating"); NCL I think lets you eat dinner whenever you want, with whomever, in the dining room. RCI has something similar that they were offering; plus you can always go to the buffet for dinner).

The sun was already setting as we sailed off, at about 5pm. That's about an hour earlier than the month prior, last year. I was surprised that the sun sets so early even down south. I thought they would get more daylight, but I guess they ARE still north of the equator, LOL. My artistic shots of the day, LOL. Not much artistic about the industrial end of the Port of Miami!

We did see however, an area that I think was shown on CSI: Miami; the episode about the done-up cars, where they put on shows showing off their hydraulics and gizmos, and in the episode, one guy is standing and driving with his feet, when he gets decapitated. There were also giant yachts and cruisers and big houses.

After the sail off, it was time to get ready for our special dinner at "Chops". Most of our luggage had arrived at our room---except one suitcase that had a lot of my stuff, and Rob's good shoes. So he went for dinner in the elegant steakhouse wearing pants with sandals and socks, LOL.


They had these great heavy duty steak knives, but the food was so awesome (OMG, look at that cleavage! Oh, rather, don't look! LOL) that you didn't need the knives! I had lamb tenderloin. Last year I tried to have lamb there, but they didn't have it available at that time. I've never had lamb tenderloin, despite having had just about every cut of lamb, I thought (my aunt and uncle had a sheep farm!). It was really good. Not as 'sheepy' as a chop, and not as fatty. I wish it had been bigger! Rob had some sort of steak that was also awesome. His came with a peppercorn sauce that was divine, and I had them bring me some for my lamb, LOL. Desert though, while very good, was too big! It was a very rich chocolate torte style cake. This restaurant (like Portofino's, but a little cheaper), had a $20 per person charge (plus, they add 15% gratuity to all food/drink orders on the ship), so it was about $55, but SO worth it!
We had dinner at 6pm, and they were a little slow getting going. The ship sets the time of the evening shows to coincide with the dining times---sometimes you go before your dinner, sometimes after, but it's set up so that you can't go to both shows (usually there's two) unless you miss the dining room dinner. The first night's show was actually for all guests, at 7:45, and we just made it down there in time. We missed the "Welcome Aboard Show" last time due to our dinner at Chops, ignorance, and illness. We just didn't realize what the show was about then. It's just a little preview of what's going on during the week, but it really gets you excited.
After the show I suggested we head to the dining room to meet our table mates, maybe have a little more to eat, LOL, but Rob wouldn't go for it actually! Instead, we headed upstairs and out onto the pool decks.

This is the Adult Pool area, however, there's no stopping kids from walking through. And, it's exactly the same as the other ship. I thought they'd at least have things be different colours or themes. The artwork however, is all different.
This is one of the staircases. The back wall is stone, and the flower and butterfly are engraved. There were similar type pictures on other landings, while some had more traditional 'framed' artwork. The boxes were shadow boxes with real butterflies. I think I forgot to take a picture of our favourite landing; there were some life size wood carvings; one of a hanging coat, one of a pair of boots.
On the way back to our cabin, we looked at the parade down the Royal Promenade, and watched the rest in our room on the TV. We weren't too thrilled with the parades, they seem to appeal to the newbies though. We were pretty tired by now, 11:30pm, but it was a great day!





Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Trip Part One

First off, just one more little thing. I know I said I felt like a failure for not being able to lose weight when I did try really hard, but I wasn't really feeling that I was a failure. I'm pretty good at separating my self-image with my body image. I meant that I was a failure at losing weight. I am a chronic under-achiever, LOL, so I don't expect much, but when I do the work I do expect the results! But it's not ME that's a failure :)

Okay. On to our trip. I wanted to do this last year, but the little giardia incident over shadowed everything! Not to mention I think we still had the old computer then. So, let's go to the start. In the summer, I got to thinking that for our anniversary, it would be nice to totally surprise Rob with another cruise. I was going to do all the planning--including getting him the time off and that was, I thought, my biggest hurdle--and most of the paying, LOL. On Labour Day weekend, I asked my first choice if they could/would consider babysitting for a week. The answer was a definitive no. I was quite disenheartened. So much so, that I actually told Rob what I had been wanting to do and the unfortunate roadblock. We didn't want to ask his parents again, but it was the only option. A little reluctantly, they agreed, depending on when we could get the cruise.


We picked out a couple options and consulted our travel agent--about 8 weeks before the cruise. We made the decision to book a western Caribbean cruise on Freedom of the Seas leaving Nov. 9 from Miami. Last year, we booked about 5 weeks in advance and got great flights (although very early!) and a good room. This time, we could either pay more and get a room on deck 9, or go in a 'lottery' and get a room on decks 2-6. Now....deck 3 had only 6 inside cabins, there are no cabins on decks 4 or 5, so our odds were really on deck 6 or 2. We were hoping for deck 6, but got deck 2.

In the course of a week of making final decisions, our choices of flights went from decent to almost non-existent at a reasonable price. We ended up having to fly out late afternoon of November 8 and go to Chicago, wait a bit and change planes to Miami, and come back very late on Nov. 16 (the day the cruise ended). Rob was extremely unhappy about going to Chicago, he says nothing good ever comes out of O'Hare Int'l Airport, LOL. He says it's big, busy, a long way between terminals...We had been able to go standby last year on the return flight and got home earlier than expected, and hoped to do that this time. We got a hotel booked with a free shuttle from the airport.

So, the planning of the cruise did not go too well. We hoped that things would get better! On Nov. 8, Rob's parents arrived, and shortly after Meg melted down for quite awhile. But then she was suddenly better and when it was time for us to leave, she calmly waved bye and went back to playing! Before leaving town we had to make a stop at the drug store for a forgotten tooth brush, but we were off! It's a slow trip down Airport Rd on a Saturday afternoon---making for Rob's anxiety to skyrocket! We had a long wait in the cold for the parking shuttle---guess who got more anxious.....No problem checking in though (a worker mentioned that Saturdays are always very empty at the airport) and before long we were through security and hunting down Tim Horton's. While waiting in the security line, we had a brief chat with an older lady holding a bra in her hand who said she had been married three times and the man going through the booth was her boyfriend, and a cute, even older couple who had been married for almost 57 years. We ran into that lady later, and found out she had 'married late' because she was in the Army (she sounded German or Dutch), then met her husband and came to Canada, and she was 86!

(Our plane to Chicago--turned out to be the smallest commercial plane I've been in!)


Our flight got delayed (bad weather in Chicago) and guess who got more anxious....(esp. since he didn't realize Chicago's local time--the time on the ticket--is an hour earlier than our time). We got in our seats and I got out my knitting. The attendant came by, reached over and took my knitting and said she "Had to check the tips" "For what?" I said. "Some are really sharp and pointy and long". I said, according to the TSA website, there is no qualifiers---it just says knitting needles are allowed. She "approved" the needles and I said that last year I was using tiny, pointy, sharp needles to make socks while we flied! Then, we got out our vintage Canada 3000 earphones and plugged them in--nothing coming over the headsets yet. That same attendant came by and said we had to take them off for take off---"TSA rules". Uh---your plane's onboard entertainment system does not broadcast during take off, so what was the problem? LOL. I just wanted to dim the noise of the plane--I knew I couldn't use the MP3, and I thought maybe the safety lecture would be on the headset system.
Made it to Chicago in great time, and even got to see this Lego display that I had read about on Knitspot (Scroll down to Oct. 28). She hadn't said what terminal it was in, so I was happy when it just happened to be on our route. The airport was practically empty and our terminals were next to each other; it was an easy walk, and we didn't even have to get our luggage (Rob wouldn't let me take more pictures because he was a little...anxious).

The second part of the flight was a "Ted" by United Airlines flight. We weren't sitting next to each other at all, and it was hilarious to hear all the things "Ted" wanted to tell us, mainly to keep us safe and happy (Ted is my brother's name!). We got to Miami on time. But couldn't find where to get the shuttle. We found 50cents US and phoned the hotel, but they didn't have much to say. Finally we found where to get the shuttle (it was amazing how well we remembered the Miami airport!) and got to the hotel, checked in, and asked where to get food (it was 1AM).

The desk clerk recommended IHOP. Rob was not familiar with this great American institution so we wondered down the two blocks and enjoyed a very early breakfast. In the morning we enjoyed the hotel's (free) buffet...it was okay....then took the ($$) hotel shuttle to the port of Miami.

Despite the airports being empty, there were FIVE cruise ships at the port! We were chatting with a couple in front of us, who were also big Royal Caribbean fans, and had previously had a bad experience with Norwegian Cruise Line (we have not met anyone yet who has had a good NCL trip).
We were the last drop off at the port, and there she was! We did have quite a bit of a wait for going through security, but finally, we were on our ship!!!!















Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanks!

I'd like to thank everyone who responded to my last post; both here in the comments, through Facebook, and email. It's nice to know others have similiar feelings/experiences. It seems, sometimes, that the 'slightly overweight' are often neglected. TV shows spotlight people who loose 50lb+, weightloss programs/books talk about major changes as if everyone needed to loose a lot of weight. Although those major changes can be tough to do.....a very overweight person usually has a few bad habits that are bad enough that when eliminated, weight loss is inevitable. If you always drink 2L of pop/soda a day, just dropping that one thing will make a big difference. It doesn't work that way with us.

This recent trip has only added to my turmoil. On one hand, I'm just 'a little' overweight. I'm really not bad compared to many, many, many people we saw. And many of them seemed perfectly fine to look like a beached whale in a bikini. I totally applaud that self-confidence!!!!!! I just can't do it. I feel like people think it's worse to be a little overweight. You lack the little bit of initiative; you're just not strong willed enough; you are too lazy to do something about just a little extra weight. But when they look at someone obese, they seem to think the person has given up, or it's hopeless for them, so they don't think about it in relation to their personality (although I see an obese person and think if only they changed one simple thing---jumbo muffin for breakfast--at a time...). It's as if, because I've "let myself go" just a little, I'm really the bigger problem! Does that make sense? When you're so far from perfect, people don't care. When you're almost there but don't make it, people look down on you.

To address a few comments...I asked once about my medications, and the doctor didn't feel they were an issue. I had my old internist test my thyroid, but he actually wouldn't tell me the numbers, just that they were 'fine'. I commented about there being new guidelines/tests, and he poo-pooed me again. I think I had the basic tests done recently again, but obviously nothing came up. I due for a real physical though. Thyroid is a constant thought with me though. I have dry skin, dry hair that falls out easily (but it's not thinning), cold feet and hands. Lately, the cold feet and hands has gotten worse. It would be nice to blame this on something medical! But there truely are a few things I could/should be doing. Like more walking. It's obvious that I need at least 5 miles/day of quick walking to get my weight going down. I just don't have that kind of time! I could do more weight training, but got disheartened with lackluster results. I tried the food diaries and really paying attention to what I ate and eating less, but even with doing all that (less calories in/more calories out) I still didn't lose ANY weight after a month!! I just don't get it. The math showed I should have lost 3/4-1lb a week. My clothes did not feel looser, I did not feel stronger/healthier (although I did sleep better).

So, I don't know what to do next. Rob said a couple years ago I could join a gym, but I have to go during the day, and it couldn't cost more than $300 a YEAR. Well, nothing exists here for that amount! Not to mention that childcare costs are additional! Can't afford programs like WW or JC. There are prescription medications, but I know for one, the side effects are similiar to what i went through with Giardia---it prohibits the absorption of fat, so you're supposed to cut down on fat to avoid that happening and that's how you lose the weight. My fat consumption is within guidelines.

If you have any tips on what to do next, I'd love to hear!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Complaining

This is going to be an unusual post for me. I'm going to get personal. And I'm going to complain. Now, I'm sure you've heard me complain before, but I've made it a personal life rule that I don't waste time complaining about things I can't/won't change. I may comment about my displeasure, but I don't dwell. I abhor listening to people complain or whine about things they either can't affect, or won't try to affect. I never want to be that person. I don't want pity about my neck....I can't do much about it, and neither can the listener, so what's the point? Some empathy is nice though, and I clearly remember last year, when I went to my family doctor for the third time during the Giardia crisis, she commented that I'd had a really rough time lately. That acknowledgement meant a ton to me! Same with when my old family doctor (a young man who died way too soon) called me at home after my miscarriage.

Anyway. Onwards to my complaint. It's about........my weight. Sigh.

I have never, ever, thought of myself as skinny. Not even 'normal'. Even 25lbs ago, as a teen, I wanted to be thinner. Well, not so much thinner---I just wanted a smaller belly. It's always been out of proportion. My weight slowly crept up during university, and as long as I was walking 5 miles a day, it wasn't too bad. Then I moved to North Bay and had to rely on the buses, and put on quite a bit of weight quickly. I finally felt totally terrible about my weight. I felt fat. That was about 5lbs more than now....but my clothing sizes were quite a bit bigger then. Then I got suddenly dumped from what was supposed to be the 'it' relationship, and I was home for teaching placement so I could walk 5 miles/day again, and that plus the depression made me lose weight quite quickly for the first time ever, but I was still 13lbs above high school graduation weight (which is the weight many experts say you should maintain!). I felt really good though (except for the belly, and my boobs which didn't manage to shrink). This is when I met Rob. Over the next two years, I put on about 7lbs, but still felt good. I was very active; walking alot, generally eating well.

When I got pregnant with Lucy and went for the first apt. at 12 weeks, I was a little shocked at how much weight I MUST have put on in those 12 weeks, LOL. But without trying, I barely put anymore weight on during the pregnancy. But she was born in November, and it took awhile before I needed to acknowledge the weight. A new family doctor poked me in the belly and commented on still having 'winter weight' now that it was spring. OMG. I finally bought a scale, and stepped up the walking and it slowly came down to wedding weight, and I've pretty much maintained that, even dipping a couple pounds lower.

Then I got sick last fall. At first I didn't lose weight due to the bloating. But once the little buggers were out of my system, suddenly I had lost 8lbs! I felt great. Back to the weight I was when we met! But it was Christmas/winter! Argh. The weight didn't stay off. Continually, I kept saying 'it's going to happen now'. I visualized a slimmer me by summer time. I did some food diaries. I tried to get more active. I thought I was doing what I needed to. I eat well, I'm pretty active. However, it's not enough. Near the end of school, I went to a website www.myhealthyweight.ca (I think) and re-checked my BMI. It showed exactly what I knew. I snack too much, but otherwise eat very well, and I could use more intense exercise. I bought Jim Karas' "The Cardio-Free Diet". I did some self-exploring.

Obviously, I wasn't upset enough about my weight to do the hard work I needed to do to lose the 8lbs the BMI says I need to lose to be at the top of the healthy range for my height. The number on my clothing tags is okay with me--it's below 'average'. My health issues have remained unchanged from when discovered 20lbs ago.....for some they might be weight related, but obviously, not for me. I doubt losing 8lb could improve the arthritis in my neck, LOL. Actually, my blood pressure is awesome lately, and I'm on less meds than 3 years ago! Generally, when I get dressed, I feel fine about myself (except for the belly, LOL, and my boobs weren't reduced as much as I would have liked). I have noticed some back rolls I don't like too much, LOL, but obviously they don't bother me too much. Rob doesn't complain about my weight (usually). I'm not way overweight. Just a little. And THAT is what sucks.

It would be easier to lose weight if I were very overweight. How can that be? Well. If I weighed 200lbs, I'd have a basic basal caloric need of 2000 cal. per day. If I were eating that much, there would obviously be some bad habits that could be easily changed. To lose a pound a week, you need to expend 3500 cal. more than what you take in. You could do this by dropping 500cal/day, or a combination of less food/more exercise. So, just by eliminating 500cal/day (4 pops, or 100g of chips, or 6 cookies), a 200lb person will lose 1lb/week, and it will take them 50 weeks to get to 150lbs--the weight their new diet will support (I know there are probably bigger issues here, I'm just dealing with numbers right now).

I don't have 4 pops or 100g of chips to eliminate every day. I have a basic caloric balance of 1400cal. If I drop 500 cal/day. through food alone, I'd be down to 900cal which is a starvation diet and not maintainable for more than a couple weeks. If I assume the diet of a 130lb person--1300cal--I'd be dropping only 100cal per day.....less than one cup of juice (don't drink juice), or one slice of bread (a huge source of fiber for me), or 1 1/2 cookies. But, by dropping only 100 cal/day, it would take me 35 days to lose ONE pound. To lose the 10lbs, would take 350 days. As long as it takes the 200lb person to lose 50lbs; and we'd both be eating healthy, comparable diets!!

At the start of the summer, I decided I would adopt a brighter outlook on my weight. I would be more accepting of myself. I would try to eat even better, and be more active. Well, the weather sucked, having the kids home was stressful.....I ended up with a couple extra pounds!!!!

At the start of school in September, I decided I needed to get tough with myself. We had decided to go on another cruise, leaving Nov. 9. That gave me nine weeks to lose 8-10lbs, although I wasn't focusing on the number--I wanted a better attitude and a healthier me. I was really good about cutting out the cookies and other snacks. We walked everyday (I'd do a fast one mile walk to the school, and then we'd have a slower walk back). I started circuit weight training. Surely, the combination of fewer calories and more exercise would make a difference. Mathematically, how could it not? I estimated through food diaries that I was consuming about 200-300 cal/day less, and the walking would consumer another 200-300cal.

After a month, I finally got on the scale again. It hadn't moved, not even a smidge. I hadn't noticed any real change, and the scale confirmed it. I felt horrible. Truly, horrible. It wasn't fair. I don't want to be this weight anymore. I want to be able to say I'm at a healthy weight, not that I'm "just a little overweight". This past month I have totally slacked off again. I've kept up the walking though; except for a few days when it was way too windy. I am trying to be mindful of what I eat, but hey, I love food. Just as I was coming to terms with my body image, and then trying to improve it, it all falls apart. Now I feel blubbery. I see my muffin tops every time I pass the mirror. I notice that my clothes are size large. I don't feel "large" inside (or even outside, really), but it all adds up to the undeniable fact that I am overweight.

It feels like one more thing I should be able to fix but can't. I'm tired of being the one who tries to make everyone else feel better and I just want to sit here and cry. I've never felt like this before, regarding my weight--even back 20lbs ago when I tried to lose weight for highschool prom. I do feel good about not being 'terribly' overweight, but if I can't lose a measly 8lbs---hell, I can't even lose 2lbs---then I'm just as bad as someone 200lbs overweight. I feel weak (in a self-control sort of way), petty, self-absorbed, juvenile, embarrassed, and hopeless. On one hand, I am accepting of myself/my weight, but on the other, I'm SO disappointed. I really tried this time and failed. Someone call Dr. Phil; I don't think he'd understand me through my tears.

I am so scared to hit the "Publish Post" button. To send this out into the real world, with people I know. To acknowledge to the great universe what I say only in my head. I don't want to hear "Oh, you look fine". That really doesn't help. I don't know what would make me feel better though. I really don't.