Itty Bitty’s Moving

Hello my friends, I am in the process of transfering my blog to my new website – please check out the new website, and register there to continue following me while I’m in this strange time of transition!

With any luck within a week everything here will be there …

Thank you!

The Itty Bitty Boomer

Itchy Fingers and Continuing Sagas – Post Gastric Bypass Regain

Every day I wake up and say – today is the day I get back to blogging regularly – because life is, well, being lived – every day …. and yet I don’t.  And I can’t figure out if it’s because there is so much I want to blog about swirling around in my brain that I can’t focus on one thing or another – or if I just can’t get my head around those swirling things and blog about them.  Some give me joy – some terrify me. The moment defines which direction I want to go – and then I do nothing.  But my fingers are itchy to let the thoughts out …

So the itchy finger issue today is the recurring topic of the annoying fact that since my gastric bypass 8 years ago, in the last 5 and a half years I have regained 30 pounds of the 95 that I so joyfully lost.

Reason?  I stopped doing what works. Got complacent – lazy if you will.  Coincidentally, it was 5 and a half years ago that I met my hubby.   Is that what contentment does? nah.  I just got cocky and lazy.  Returned to old habits – forgot to work my program.

A Facebook page I follow – A Post-Op and A Doc – (here is their website also: Connie Stapleton & A Post-Op And A Doc)  two post-ops:  one PHD specializing in recovery issues of all kinds and a post-op who now does motivational speaking for bariatric afterlife (both incredible, beautiful, amazing women) – posted the following today and it really hit home with me:


Post-Op Here: So, I had this thought…If you’re doing something, and it works…shouldn’t you KEEP doing it? And, if you stop doing it, should you be surprised if it stops working? 

We hear from so many people who say, “Help me! I’m regaining and I can’t stop it! I know I’m eating more carbs now, and working out less, and not journaling my food…and I know I drink sometimes, but still — WHY AM I REGAINING?”

Which of course makes me say, “You DO know why you’re regaining…because you stopped doing what worked!”

The question is: Why don’t you want to do what you know works?

Ahh…..because you’re looking for a softer, easier way, right? 

Well…there’s really only one way to be healthy, and that’s to do healthy things…at least 11 of them (if you’re to believe the Gotta Do ‘Ems!) 

Here’s my challenge to you: If you stopped doing what worked (and started regaining), how about if you start doing what works again, and see if it actually…WORKS?

And then, to further my “ah-hah” moment, I wondered how can I tell my son that age-old recovery adage – you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results + when I am doing the same thing and wondering why things aren’t changing?  Granted our issues are different, but the insanity is just the same.

And what are the “Gotta Do’Em’s”?

1. Make Healthy Food Choices
2. Maintain Portion Control
3. Exercise Regularly 
4. Drink Water All Day.
5. Eat Breakfast
6. Plan Your Meals/Follow Your Plan.
7. Keep a Food Diary.
8. Keep an Exercise Diary.
9. Get Enough Sleep
10. Use a Healthy Support System
11. Get Individual and/or Group Therapy
These are not tips for only weight loss surgery post-ops – but for anyone working to control weight issues.  And today it was an extremely well-timed reminder.
Thank you, Connie Stapleton and Cari De La Cruz for your continuing and loving support of the bariatric community!
Namaste – I honor you both and your unconditional love and support

Of Growing Up a Military Brat

It was 1965 and the end of our time at Vandenberg Air Force Base after eight years. I was fourteen years old and in the last semester of 9th grade.  My whole life was consumed with my friends, school, teen club dances, movies, roller skating, boyfriends, and (non-coed) sleep overs.  My social circle was, as is normal for most kids, fairly tight – and a mix of officer, non-officer and civil service kids … predominately white, a few blacks and Hispanics.  We had this sort of unspoken game of  “going steady” with others in our group for a while, then switching off to someone else.  I’m sure it was all innocent – especially when playing “spin the bottle” was both exciting and terrifying on many levels. Afraid we would be “spun” and afraid we wouldn’t.  Would we really kiss the person who spun us? Or not and say we did?  Were we dying to kiss that person? Oh, the stress.  I’ve actually kept in touch with a few of that circle to this day – and we all agree – our years at VAFB were simply the best.

I have some very specific memories of those years at Vandenberg….

My dad was transferred there in 1957 following a two-year tour in Hawaii, where he had learned to surf.  Going to Vandenberg was probably the best thing that could have happened to him at that time because he then surfed on the Southern California Coast in it’s infancy.  Many, many of my weekends were spent on beaches from San Onofre in San Diego County to Refugio Beach Park in Santa Barbara county.

I went to elementary school in old army buildings built during World War II until new facilities were built.  Those old buildings were the elementary, junior and high schools all connected by, it seemed, miles of hallways painted light army green, and brown linoleum floors.  If you kept going down the miles of halls, you would come to the base hospital.

Because of the huge influx of new AF personnel into the old, decommissioned WWII Army base called Camp Cook, which was recommissioned as the new Strategic Air Command base, Vandenberg Air Force Base, we all eventually got brand new Capart housing (don’t know why it was called that, but every base has it), schools, commissary, exchange, hospital, theater, churches … and some things stayed in renovated old buildings, like the youth center and skating rink.  Living on a military base was probably the safest place for kids to be raised.  We had the run of the base, a free on-base bus system to get anywhere we needed to go and  no one, especially military personnel, bothered us at the risk of being reported to the base commander.

There were expectations to being an officer’s kid (or even an enlisted or NCO’s kid)  in your behavior and activities as well.  Bad behavior was the epitome of unacceptability and could result in demotion, disciplinary action, removal from living on base and/or on-base privileges, or immediate transfer for the military parent.  I was the consummate description  of a military brat respectful and well-behaved.  Actually, I was too afraid to do anything that might cause problems for my dad – I had older siblings who were already well-versed in doing that.

Those of us who were there at that time in the ’60’s grew up “a lot” together – Vandenberg was the Pacific missile test range.  We witnessed missile launches almost daily – successful ones and unsuccessful ones.  Nothing compares to an off-course Atlas or Titan ICBM being destroyed and having debris falling back on base!  Every time there was a launch, regardless of the time of day, wherever we were, everyone ran outside to watch.  Night launches were even more spectacular and  it never got old.  We grew up together – in 1962 during the Bay of Pigs invasion and subsequent Cuban Missile Crisis all of our fathers were on red alert and at their job stations 24/7 for almost two weeks.days.  It was the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war. We did nuclear attack drills instead of fire drills.  We all had evacuation and meet up plans coordinated with our parents in the event of attack.  We knew where the nearest bomb shelters were.

We all grew up together … the day John F Kennedy was assassinated.  November 22, 1963.  2nd period.  Teachers crying.  School closing early and us being sent home.  We grew up – faster than many.  The later assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., when we were older, I am sure, opened up the wounds of that first epic event in our lives.

We grew up together – and watched the Ed Sullivan Show that February evening in 1964 when those gorgeous boys from Liverpool made their debut on TV and in America.  In spite of the reality of the work our dads did, it was a remarkable time to be young and growing up.  We were happy.   I was lucky that my parents embraced my growing up and things we did – they willingly took me and friends to Los Angeles (2 hours away) to the infamous Teen Fair at the Hollywood Palladium.  They took us camping at the beach, tolerated and joined in on enjoying our music and being involved in our activities.  How excited my folks were to come home from the Officer’s Club and teach us kids the new dance they learned … Chubby Checker’s Twist..

Then in 1965 we were transferred from Vandenberg to McClellan AFB in Sacramento.  For a year life was pretty status quo – we get used to starting over and making new friends, us military brats …. At least I started high school with 300 other high school “newbies” – and began a new era – Flower Power, the Summer of Love, my first concerts, serious boyfriends … and Viet Nam.

And on October 25, 1966 my world changed again as my mom and I stood and hugged each other and cried as my dad boarded a military transit flight from Travis AFB bound for Saigon and there began the longest year of my young life.

We were lucky .. he came home … and I loved growing up a military brat …. I’m proud of it!

PS … My dad retired in 1971 – from 28 years of active duty.  He became a surfing instructor at the Sheraton Waikiki and lived the life of a beach boy for fifteen years.  When he and my mom moved back to Northern California to be near the grandkids, he took up downhill skiing at 70 years old.  A year later he was doing timed downhill racing … undaunted … in the Senior division.  When he started running into trees, he took up computers, taught himself, and then volunteered at CalState University, Sacramento, to teach senior citizens how to use computers.  Always a leader … and teacher. He passed away 12 years ago – I still miss him terribly …

Recovering From The Hurts Of Morbid Obesity– Lessons from Cari …

I read with deep interest the blog of a fellow “WLS’er” – or weight loss surgery post op friend – this last week regarding healing from our hurts.  Any of our hurts … and how it isn’t an easy process … but a process it is.

My biggest life-long battle has been with morbid obesity.  I was, though overweight, not obese as a child or a teenager.  Morbid obesity became a part of my adult life.  We married in 1969 at the wise old ages of 18 (me) and 20 (him) and started our little family two years later in 1971 – the perfect little adorable family.  A year and a half later, he  initiated an affair with our 18 year old babysitter (who had been our neighbor at one time) that was to last 10 years.  Throughout his repeated promises that “it” was over, and my wanting to believe him, to threatening to leave him if it wasn’t over (I was not strong enough then to actually do it), my self esteem bottomed out and the weight gain started.  I knew (because he told me) I couldn’t compete with this little size 2 Filipina and gave up trying.  And yet when I would threaten to leave him, he would tell me that I was so fat no one else would want me. I weighted 180 lbs … was he right?  Or he would tell me that he couldn’t live without me, that we (the kids and I) meant more than anything in the world.  Retrospectively, we are sure he was likely bi-polar or manic/depressive …. it just wasn’t diagnosed as such then. We were together for 23 years … the last 20 filled with periods of esteem-killing verbal and psychological abuse … I stayed because I thought it was best for our family.  And I continued to gain weight. He died in 1992 of a massive heart attack … a friend, in a late night check-in call that night to see how I was doing, asked me if it wasn’t in some way a relief that the abuse was finally over.  I knew he was right –

I remarried in 1997 – to a man who had a history of substance abuse (pot & alcohol).   My justification was that I was desperately tired of being alone and desperately wanting to be part of a couple again but there is no earthly reason why I should have married #2.   His self esteem was lower than mine and his way of dealing with life was fight or flight. Our years together alternated between fighting and his threats to “split the sheets” and him blaming me for all the things that were wrong in his life . When I told him maybe we should “split the sheets”, because he obviously wasn’t happy, he said me, “You’re so fat, who else would want you”.    I weighed 225 lbs (and I’m  5’1” on a good day) – was he right?  Another co-dependent relationship built around verbal and emotional abuse.

I had gastric bypass surgery  in June of 2005 and lost 90 lbs.  I did it for me and me alone. I went from a size 22 to a size 8.  The abuse didn’t stop, the fights did’t stop – but I knew the situation had to change for me to stay sane.  When his friends told him (because they knew the way he was) he better shape up or he was going to lose me, my successful weight loss became the reason our marriage wasn’t working – that I’d changed.  Maybe that’s right … maybe I just finally got tired of being the victim.  Life changed.

My point in all of this is that recovering from morbid obesity is as much recovering from the hurts as it is from overeating. Of letting our hurts heal.  I have healed from the hurts I allowed from the men in my life who were so insecure with themselves that trying to control me by verbal and psychological abuse was all they knew how to do.  I have healed from the boss that blatantly told me I was not the image he was looking for to fill a particular position (a promotion I applied for based on my skills) and if he considered me for it would I be willing to spend 1/2 of my first check on new clothes (5 years later after my surgery and weight loss he did not recognize me and actually flirted with me …)  I have healed from the doctor who shamed me to tears for being obese and being an embarassment to my husband.  I am STILL healing from feeling that perhaps I am “not enough” or “good enough” … but I am working on it.  I am always working on knowing and accepting that I am enough … and loving myself and trusting myself and my intuition.

Recovering from obesity is much like recovering from any addiction – the battle is never done or over.  Over the last 3 years I have regained 25 of the 90 pounds that I lost.  I could fall easily into blame and self-hatred and beat myself up for failing again … but I do not think I’ve failed. And the more I keep myself in that mindset … the easier it is for me to keep on track to dump the pounds picked up.

Healing … an ongoing process.

I want to thank Cari De La Cruz for her willingness to share her ongoing journey – and I am pleased to share a link to her blog for you to peruse if you’d like – I know she’d like you to!

Bariatric Afterlife  By Cari

My Before & Afters:

Before Gramaree

February 2005 – Waikiki                                                     March 2006

Grandson’s Birthday Party

MeAndMoNYE Crop

September, 2007                                                        NYE December, 2010

40th Class Reunion w/Daughter                               (sorry not so clear!)

The Loving Spoonful Had It Right ….

Hot town, summer in the city, Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty. Been down, isn’t it a pity,
doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city. All around, people looking half dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head… UGH!

I’ve been visiting my son and daughter-in-law in Brooklyn for the last month as she’s been recovering from being struck by a speeding bicyclist in Prospect Park.  It’s been delightful (other than the initial reason for my visit) helping with whatever I can (chasing down medical records, domestic chores, meals, accompanying her to appointments as a 2nd set of ears, walking the dog-on-prozac, etc) and especially just spending time with them.   Until this last week, even the weather has been delightful!

  Prospect Park – it’s beautiful if you’ve never been there! All 550 acres of it!

Until this last week …. Now, I am a California boomer from the Sacramento Valley and we get our fair share of hot summer weather with stretches of 100+ degree heat waves … dry heat … and then the wonderful delta breezes arrive from San Francisco Bay …. or we can escape the heat by simply going to San Francisco where the temperatures are almost certain to be 30 degrees or more cooler on the ocean.  But this East Coast excessive heat deal?  I have a whole new respect for the people here who have no escape from this truly oppressive heat – and who live with no air conditioning.  I couldn’t do it.  105 degree temperatures with heat indexes of 110 to 115? UGH! again!

Last night my son and I decided to head back into Manhattan to the West Village at about 8:30 – it was still about 90 degrees and truly oppressive.  Thank goodness for air conditioned subways!  We went to Jefferys Grocery  on Waverly Place for some incredible seafood (oysters, clams, shrimp and crab legs) and wine and then onto Highlands Contemporary Gastropub on West 10th for beverages … stout ales and Pimms Cup!  Yum!

I also wondered how many bachelor parties were in progress at the Stonewall Inn in celebration of today’s first 800 legal same-sex marriages!  Kudos to the State of New York for passing this and congratulations to all you wonderful same-sex couples who are finally able to legally celebrate your unions!  Hopefully the State of California will not be far behind you.

I am excited that we are going an hour and a half north to Connecticut today – to my son’s boss’s house for an employee appreciation event – partly because I’ve never been to Connecticut and now with this heat wave that they have a swimming pool!  The though of sitting even partly submerged in a pool is almost overwhelming!  We are also very much looking forward to a day out of the city – away from the claustrophobia of the buildings and added heat of the traffic and into a little more country environment.  Maybe it won’t be so hot? Probably not, but at least a different view!

Stay cool, everyone – and will you do me a favor?  In honor of Leiby Kletzky, the 8-year old senselessly murdered in Kensington last week, and in honor of his parent’s wishes, please do a random act of kindness for someone today …

May your soul find peace ….  Namaste ….