What I Was Thankful For

As Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end, and the start of the Christmas season is now beginning, I thought I would take some time to reflect on my weekend.

I generally hate family functions. I've told you in previous posts about the aunts. They stress me out. When they're together, someone usually ends up in tears. (This year was no exception.) But while there was a lull in the chaos, something hit me and I took a moment to reflect on it...

My granddaddy (my mom's dad) is one of the most wonderful men I have ever had the priviledge of knowing. Since losing 60 lbs, every time he sees me, he tells me how good I look. When some in my family start to try to make me feel bad for still being single, he says, "April's the smartest one of all of you, if you ask me." Then he'll wink at me. One of my favorite things to do is to sit and watch science fictions shows and movies with him. And if you walk into my house, you'll see that a lot of my furniture doesn't match. I have a lot of wooden furniture mixed with the more contemporary things that tends to reflect my style. Most of the wooden furniture in my house was handmade by him. I can remember watching each piece being made. I can remember bringing each piece home. Each piece of that I have is a work of art. Made from love by a man who loves his family so much. I will treasure each piece forever.

Granddaddy is in the end stages of emphysema. He's been on oxygen for at least ten years now. (It's actually more than that, but I can't remember exactly what year he went on oxygen.) The color in his cheeks has been gone for a few years now. He can't walk ten feet without getting out of breath. A few days before Thanksgiving he came down with bronchitis. Each time he has to fight bronchitis, it weakens his lungs even more. At one point on Thursday my granny said to the aunts, my mom, and I, "He's never going to get better." We all know this, yet every time we hear it, it breaks our hearts just a little bit more.

At one point, we were all in the den. My granny was in her chair, my mom and the older aunt were on the couch, and I was in my granddaddy's Hoveround. (Hey, don't judge. That thing is a freaking blast to play with, and Granddaddy gets a kick out of us playing with it.) I looked over and my grandfather was lying back in his recliner asleep.

I wish I could say that he looked so peaceful, but he didn't. Even in his sleep he was struggling to breathe.

For a few minute, while sitting in his Hoveround, I checked out of the conversation that was going on between my grandmother, mom, and aunt, and watched my grandfather sleep. In those few minutes, I remembered what it was like to watch him make those pieces of furniture. I thought he was such a strong man then, but I realize now how strong he really is. Each day is a battle for him, and we all know that he is fighting a losing battle. Yet each day, he fights. Each day, he's thankful he is still here.

So, this Thanksgiving I was thankful for my granddaddy. Thankful he still fights. Thankful that he is still here.

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The Boy Who Never Smiles

This is my cousin's son, HL. He's a quiet child, and rather than be mean about it (because he's only two), we'll just say he's not a people person. Most conversations with HL go like this:

Me: Hi HL!

HL: No.

My aunt had been saying how all week she tried to get him to smile for the camera. And while it's true that when you say, "Hey, HL, smile!" You get this:

I decided that I was going to get him to smile for the camera. For a couple of reasons. One, I knew I could do it, and two, I knew it'd make the aunt green with envy. (I know I'm mean.) What my aunt failed to understand is that you have to make it a game. So, I played peek-a-boo with him and made silly faces at him, and this is what I got:

Ain't he cute? ;o)

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The Sisterhood Turns 1!!

Dear Christy, Melissa, Lisa, Brian, Crooked Eyebrow, Beth, Thea, Christie, and Heather,

Christy, Melissa, CE, Brian, and Beth, a year ago you brainstormed and planned and brainstormed some more. You had a vision. A vision to help people (as well as yourself) to be successful in their weight loss journeys.

There are just some things in this world that you know from the beginning that they are extraordinary. Special. Great.

There are some things in this world that you know that so much care and love has been put into it that there is no way that it can NOT be great.

The first time I ever explored around The Sisterhood, I could tell that you all put a lot of love and care into sharing information. I could tell that you loved what you were doing. I could tell that the only thing you wanted to do was to help people in their journeys as well as share your journeys yourselves. I could tell that you wanted it to be something great.

And something great it is.

Now there are more of us (Hi guys!!). I can't tell you how humbled and privileged I feel to be a part of something so great. All I've wanted to do since figuring this whole weight loss thing out is to help others. To find SOMEONE and help change his or her life as mine has been changed.

For a long time, I didn't know how to go about that or even where to start. Then I was lucky enough to find you. And we are helping people change their lives, and I love it.

Not only have I found a place to support me in the last pounds of my journey, but I have found friends. So many friends.

We laugh together, we've cried together, we have definitely shrunk together. We're sisters. Fabulous shrinking sisters. And together we are strong.

A year ago today something great began. Ladies, Happy 1st Anniversary!! Let's cheers with our water....here's to many many more!

I love you all so much,

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My Thoughts While at the Eye Doctor

Thirty minutes past my appointment time. Why am I still in the waiting room?

I really could pee, but I'll hold it and just go after I get home.

FINALLY. She called my name. Shit. Now she's going to blow in my eye when that stupid machine.

And of COURSE she doesn't remember that I have a hard time not blinking.

Sure she says that this thing won't poke my eye, but what if she slips and it pokes my eye out. And she wants me not to blink. Right.

And you would know that my nose would just to stop up right now at this moment. Because earlier when I wasn't going to have an eye doctor in my face looking at my eyes was a much better time for the ability to breathe from my nose.

Yeah, I fucked that line all up.

My eye doctor reminds me of a kindergarten teacher.

Okay, yeah. I do know the words for "up and down" and "sideways".

NO NO NO NO. I do not want to dilate my eyes, but you obviously do, so do I have a choice?

Why does it take 15 minutes for your eyes to dilate, but 3 years for it to go away?

It cannot be healthy to be shining this bright light into my wide open pupil.

Oh no, what is that contraption she just placed on my face? It's pressing against my sinuses. PLEASE, nose, do not drip snot and embarrass us. I will cut you off my face if you do.

I totally shouldn't have had onions on my salad at lunch.

She's still looking inside my pupil. I wonder what she'd say if I asked if she could just make sure my brain is in there.

It can't be good that I'm now seeing blood vessels or nerves or both in the reflection of the light. Can it?

Okay, now I REALLY have to pee.

Finally time to go home...whoa, why do all the car lights look like giant orbs?

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The Gift That Will Never Be

I realized on Sunday that this coming week unofficially begins the holiday season for me. And I'm really dreading this Thanksgiving for one reason: my aunt.

My mom has two sisters. One a few years older; the other 16 years younger. I refer to them as "the aunts" when I have to be around both of them at the same time. They both drive me insane. The younger aunt is very unhealthy and extremely jealous that I've been successful with weight loss, but instead of fixing her problem, she insists on trying to make me feel bad. I've learned recently to "not engage the aunt". But that is a whole other story.

The older aunt and her family are visiting from Louisiana. They'll be at my grandparents' house this coming weekend through Thanksgiving. My mom and I will be going for visit #1 this weekend. I'm really annoyed with with my aunt. A few months ago, I was outright angry, but now, I'm just annoyed. Really annoyed.

Let me first pose a question to you: If someone gives you an heirloom as a gift, but gives it with the stipulation that you have to one day pass it on to the next girl born in the immediate family, does the original giver then have the right to ask for the gift back?

Now let me explain: My aunt had a daughter who passed away as a toddler from leukemia. When I was born, she gave me a baby bracelet and told my mom that it would be my job one day to pass it onto the next girl.

I remember from a very young age asking my mom to look at "my bracelet". I was so proud to own something that was my cousin's. I knew that my cousin had been special, and it made me feel special to have that bracelet. I couldn't wait for the next girl to be born so that I could give it to her. From the time I was a kid, I have been planning just the perfect way to pass this bracelet on.

The problem has been that there have been no girls born. With each pregnancy and birth, a boy has been born. But still I held out that I would maybe get to pass the bracelet on. Until...

My aunt called my mom and demanded (not really asked) for the bracelet back. For no particular reason other than the spirits told her she needed it back. (No, I'm not joking.)

Knowing her situation, I suspect that she pawned it. And that really breaks my heart. That bracelet was my prized possession my whole life, and it and my right to pass it on was just ripped from me. If she would just have been up front with me, I would have gladly paid her what the bracelet was worth.

And now I have to go see this aunt and give her a hug and act like nothing is wrong. (Because I refuse to do anything that may upset my grandparents.) Maybe I can "accidentally" step on her toes or something as I walk by? Yeah, maybe I'll do that.

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I'm still visiting Christy in Texas!! On Wednesday we went hiking and she taught me how to take photos of sunflares! I'm still very new to photography, so I was super excited to learn this. So excited that I took A LOT of shots of sunflares. Here are a few I took, I know they're not great, but it's a start! I hope you enjoy!

If you want to see more pics from our hike, go here!

I Captured Love

This week, I'm at Christy's house, and I've been so excited to get to post these captures, so Beth, I'm totally cheating this week. These shots are all ones that I've taken over the course of a few months. It's how I captured love.

Crooked Eyebrow herself said it perfectly when on Twitter she called it the "quilt that blogging love made".

We all chose a fabric, and I took them all to my mom. We put them all together.

And sorted them so they could be washed.

After we chose the quilt pattern, my mom cut the fabric into squares.

Then we arranged the fabric into the pattern and made sure each square had found the perfect home.

After, we organized labeled each row so no square would lose its way.

Each square was sewn...

and hand tied with such care and love.

We may not have all met face to face yet, but we all are friends. We have a bond. And there is love in that bond. As friends, we wanted to do something very special for a very special little girl. So, that's how the quilt that blogging love was made. And that is how I captured love.

Want to see more You Captures? Head on over to I Should Be Folding Laundry!

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Thanks to Twitter

I can't even believe I typed that out. Seriously. Twitter can be such a great big pain in the ass sometimes that I just want to stick a fork in my eye. Like, the "Over Capacity" message? What the hell is that? Or how about the time when like 2,000 of my tweets just disappeared. (They did return about a week later, but still.) And I am so totally over blocking these porn people who follow me just because I use the word "hooker" in some of my tweets. Stupid Twitter.

But then I sit and think, if not for Twitter, I would have never written this post. (Or ones about Butt Growls or funny little poems!) I would have never started writing on my blog again. I certainly never would have gone to Chicago to Blogher because I wouldn't be a blogger. I would have never met any of you.

For those of you who may not know, let me explain...

Ten months ago this week, I was doing a live search on Twitter while watching The Biggest Loser. I noticed this one tweet by this user called @shrinkingjeans that said that she was watching the show for the first time. I clicked on the profile and found a blog called The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. So, I followed @shrinkingjeans on Twitter, and not a minute later, @shrinkingjeans followed me back. We exchanged a few tweets and that was that.

The next day I visited the site again. What a terrific site it was. I wanted to tell these girls (and guy) what a great site they had, but you see, I can be a bit shy at times. And hour later, and many do-overs of my email, I sent the site a message. Within 5 minutes I had responses.

Christy, Melissa, and Crooked Eyebrow all replied, and Christy and I chatted on and off for a lot of the day. (She was the one I was chatting with on Twitter the previous night!) By the end of the week, Christy had convinced me to join them in their challenge and to start writing on my blog again.

As mad as I get at Twitter, I can't hate it. It's because of Twitter, I met Christy, and I joined The Sisterhood, and I became friends with all of you. Some of you I've met face to face already. Some I haven't, but I know we will some day! (Hopefully sooner than later!)

It's all because of Twitter. And because of Twitter, I'm going to visit Christy in Texas this week! Christy, are you ready?! ;o)

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