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I lost a very dear and close friend the other day. He was like a brother to me. He passed away in an accident. He left us too soon. I will always remember him and miss him for the rest of my days. He brought a lot of brightness to my world and his spirit and memory will continue to do so for always. He loves a lot of people, and a lot of people love him, so I know he’ll be well taken care of. I miss you, brother! 😦

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So as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a product of two people who were very incompatible for a relationship beyond simple dating, but who got pregnant and felt like getting married was the “right thing to do.” My mom and dad had a fun relationship before my mom accidentally got preggers with yours truly. They weren’t serious about starting a family, but once my mom got knocked up, she immediately switched gears and went into responsible parent mode. My dad half-heartedly tried to do that by marrying my mom. Their marriage didn’t last. My mom hated her dress, hated the wedding, hated everything about marrying my dad. She also came to dislike my dad greatly over the 2 years they were married. She divorced his ass because he basically refused to grow up. She had to give up having that young, carefree, early-20’s lifestyle, and he refused to do the same. It was an unbalanced and one-sided relationship. I feel bad for my mom because I experimented with being my dad’s roommate after I graduated high school, and he was a bastard to live with. I was starting college classes at that time, and it’s like no time had passed at all, he was still having that partying lifestyle of going out to the bar with his buddies a few nights a week and coming home late, blaring music late, and keeping me awake so I was all groggy during class. Somehow I put up with living with him for 2 years, though. When I was 20, I moved out, lived with my mom and stepdad again for a summer, then moved into my first apartment with no parental involvement.

My dad would have been fun to hang out with in high school and college if he were my age. But he’s not, he’s my dad. He’s supposed to be responsible. He was around, which is more than I can say for a lot of dads. At least he tried to be semi-involved in me and my sister’s lives (the sister comes from his second marriage, which also dissolved because the woman was tired of his shit). But he still owes both of our moms tons of child support money. My mom just didn’t want the drama of going through a legal battle over it, so she got an affidavit signed saying that since I lived with him for 2 years (by state law here child support has to be paid until the child is 21) she was willing to “call it even.” But my ex-stepmom is a little more bitter about it all, and with good cause. Since my younger sister lives about an hour away from here, my dad wasn’t as involved in her life as he was in mine. Sure, it’s a drive, and it’s gas money, but if he hadn’t spent so much on partying, he’d have had that extra money both to go see her more and to pay child support.

It’s funny how addictions rule our lives and make the lives of others hard to live. Luckily me and sis are both adults now, so we no longer “need” our dad. I do love my dad, but I will confess that I don’t actually “like” him that much. I have the feeling that he was just wanting to rush our childhoods so we’d be old enough to party with him. Confession, I have partied with my dad. It was the only way to really bond with him, it seems. I have wanted a good relationship with him for a long time. I also have a stepdad who I love and admire, who’s been the one to really support me over the years. My mom got lucky with him. He’s cool and loving, but he’s also stable and responsible, all positive elements to form a good, family situation. And they love each other. I don’t think my mom and bio-dad were ever actually in love.

My dad still drinks very frequently (although he claims he’s not an alcoholic because he doesn’t keep booze in the house, just goes out – denial!!) and spends most of his free time with his friends partying. He also brags about me and my sister to his friends, sometimes outright taking the credit for how cool and smart we both turned out. That makes me mad, because we saw him twice a month for most of our lives even though he had many other opportunities to visit with both of us on days separate from our “allotted visitation times.” Both my mom and my sis’s mom were really open to him spending even more time with us during the weekdays after school, etc. He likes to pretend that the courts took time away from him, but it was himself who did so because he couldn’t get loaded around us.

Also, he ran himself into a ton of credit card debt over the years because he felt this compulsion to try and buy our love by having a zillion presents under the tree at Christmas and lavishing us with “cool gifts” on our birthdays and going all-out. Even as a little kid I knew the truth, knew his income wasn’t good enough to be doing this. It made me sad to get these presents in the end because I knew what was really going on. Both my sister and I were aware of the child support situation all through our lives. Dad justified being late on the payments in many ways. He mostly blamed the fact that he’s single (although he spent a good 10+ years in various, and yes failed, relationships) and only makes one person’s income. He blamed the economy. He blamed everything except for personal responsibility. If he’d not run up credit card debt for presents for us, or spent a good hundred bucks per week on partying, he’d have been able to make bills, buy food for himself, and pay our child support. It’s simple priorities. Most people can switch off the selfish when they have kids, but he chose not to.

This isn’t whining or saying, “poor me.” I know other kids have it worse than me. Cause at least I know my dad does love me and my sister. But at this point neither side makes much of an effort to keep in touch or hang out more often than the allotted holidays and birthdays. You could compare it to the chicken and the egg…who stopped making an effort first, the dad or the kids? He likes to blame us, and we like to blame him. I know I could call him more often, but I don’t. Because I really, when I truly think about it, don’t like hanging out with my dad for longer than an hour or two at a time. He’s “cool” and all, but that’s not what I ever wanted from a father. I have cool friends, damnit. I mean, I understand when you’re an adult you forge a friendship with your parents instead of it being so parent-child, but since I never got the latter from him, I resent the friendship thing. Plus, he’s kind of dumb, which I suspect is from years of killing his brain cells. He was never a brilliant genius to begin with, but I remember him being way sharper even just 5 years ago, and more willing to discuss things like politics and current events. He now quickly changes the topic when we go there because he “hates politics” which to me means he fails to keep himself informed of what’s going on in the world. He also has the nerve to call himself an “old hippie.” First, he’s more a product of the 70’s “let’s just fucked up until we fall over” culture, not a “hippie.” To me, a hippie cares about world affairs, is well informed about current events, and wants to change the world for the better. He’s more interested in the self-centeredness of getting wasted, and since he has some more liberal points of view I guess that makes him, in his eyes, a “hippie.”

I love my dad, but I don’t love his actions. I also don’t really like him that much. Also, every time he’s seen me and I’ve lost more weight, he goes on about how pretty I look. I want to be like, “so were you ashamed of how I looked before or something?” I know he’s just trying to compliment me, but it kind of pisses me off because while I personally enjoy the vanity aspect of it, it’s not the most important thing. Furthermore, I’ve accomplished way more than losing weight, but the weight loss thing is all he notices these days. My dad has always been self-righteous about weight even though he himself is consistently overweight. Beer = liquid calories and he won’t give it up. He also overeats. He’s never gotten over 250 lbs, but has a signature beer gut. Furthermore, my much healthier uncle had a heart attack in his 50’s, and he was way healthier than my dad then, so if my dad is pretty unhealthy, what are his odds of suffering the same fate, especially with a big belly? And he continues his bad habits with no regard to how my sister and I will have to deal with it if he gets sick or the unthinkable happens. Selfish. But when I was really overweight the first time around, he always made comments about it, told me what I should do, etc. If he had been the perfect picture of health, I’d have taken his words way more seriously. When he finally stopped hounding me about it is when I finally decided to do it for myself the first time around. I wasn’t a child anymore living at home when I gained all the weight back, though, so he didn’t gripe at me about it then. He doesn’t remember hounding me about it the first time. Ha. I mean, it’s one thing to be concerned about an obese or overweight relative, friend, or spouse. And I think it’s okay to bring it up in a loving manner. I like My Fat Spouse for this reason. BUT, the way he always brought it up was tactless, accusatory, and hypocritical. I know a lot of people who are confronted about their weight even in a loving manner often take it as those things, but I can assure you he really was those things. And like I said, if he were a fit person who took care of his health, I’d have taken him way more seriously. Also, I had to confront my own issues myself. It took me a second time (this time around) to learn all the lessons I need. Sometimes people do have to find their own way in their own time. What I find funny is that the first time I lost a lot of weight I was still living with him. He’d come home and see me exercising and make fun of the exercises I was doing…so I got a very conflicting message from him. Argh!!!! fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!!!!

This is why I don’t hound the people in my life about their weight. If they ask me what I do, I will tell them. I will live by example. I will share things if I’m asked. But I will never, ever be the way my dad was to me to other people in my life. I feel hurt when a relative chooses their love of food (or alcohol, or anything self-destructive) over their love for their family, but in the end it’s really up to them to change. That’s how I feel with my dad’s drinking and unhealthy lifestyle. If that’s what he wants to do to himself, it’s his business, but I’m not going to necessarily clean up his mess either. I’m not endowed with a lot of money myself, so if he needs special care over the years, he’s probably not going to get the best available. I’ll definitely make sure he’s taken care of as an old person, and I’ll visit him regularly enough to assure that he’s being taken care of. But when he mentions things like me or my sister taking him in as an old man to keep him out of the nursing home, I’m like, “no, I’m never living with your crazy ass again.” And I don’t think I’m a bad kid for this, and neither is my sister. I’ll do my part to make sure he’s in good conditions wherever he stays as an old person, but I will not let his guilt trips play upon my mind. I really don’t owe this man a thing, including grandchildren. He’s always going on about how he wants grandchildren. I cannot guarantee at this point in my life that I plan on even having kids, and neither can my sister. I don’t feel like it’s fair for him to pressure us to procreate in such a fucked up, scary, unstable world. I haven’t found a stable enough life partner to consider doing this, and I also don’t really like kids enough to want any of my own. I like them, but I like to take them back. I feel like I’m better off being honest about this than forcing myself to say I’ll have kids. My sister is a lesbian. While the tides may turn and allow her and a partner to adopt more easily, or conceive through artificial insemination, she’s in her very early 20’s, in college, and has not even thought about that yet as she’s focused on her career goals and putting a life together for herself. I feel like that sort of pressure is very unfair.

All that being said, both my sister and myself have a guilt complex about it and always feel a compulsion to say, “I love him, but…” But here’s the thing, it’s already a given that we love our dad, but we are not obligated to like him, nor are we obligated to support his bad behaviors. We are also not obligated to go out of our way to support him as an elderly person when he seemed to go out of his way to avoid his parental obligations when we were children. I do feel obligated to make sure he doesn’t suffer any abuse in a retirement home situation, the nurses are kind to him, his hygiene and nutritional needs are met, he has decent entertainment options, and I will visit him as frequently as possible. But honestly he seems to want to dig his grave with beer bottles and cigarettes and bad food. He may live a long time despite these habits, and he may not. I really do want him to stay around longer, honestly, because as much as I go on about how much I dislike him, I hold some small amount of hope that he’ll get his head out of his ass one day and listen to me long enough to try and repair our relationship, and that one day I will actually like my dad again.

I did this post on this blog because only one person from my real life reads this, and I like the anonymous sounding board this blog creates. People who know me well hold biases, and people who don’t, do not. Thanks for reading if you got this far. I don’t really want sympathy or anything, I’ll just be happy if people listened so I know I’m not in the wrong for feeling this way.

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My poor roommate – he’s been laid off for a month! The blessing is he’s only laid off til March. He works for a small business and things have been really bad for them, so they can only afford to pay one employee right now. They promised that people could come back in March to work, however. It made him really sad, and worried. The local ads in our paper offer almost no job listings right now. There are a very few openings for people in professional environments which he doesn’t have the college degree to get. Without his income, we can’t afford to make all our bills, rent, and this doesn’t even count food or other expenses. He’s going to try his best to find something though, even if it’s just washing dishes or something at a restaurant, to make some income unless this blows over. What’s crazy is that the local strip joints aren’t even hiring right now. You know times are tough when the tittie bars aren’t even hiring!

We both had our various meltdowns about it yesterday, and today is all about moving forward and trying to be solution-oriented. I have no lease at my apartment and honestly I don’t want to because my landlord is a total slum lord and this place has a lot of problems. I don’t want to be stuck here in case something cheaper, better, or both may come along. You have to have a lease w/ your landlord to qualify for food stamps. Getting food isn’t really the problem, though. I already eat on very little money because I eat a lot of healthful staples and I barely ever go out to eat. I keep a good store of spices so I can always make even really simple food taste good. I’m more worried about the utility bills and making rent. With our landlord being a total slum lord, he doesn’t often hassle us if we pay our rent late. It’s just that it’s winter time and the utilities run higher this time of year. Bleh.

I’m trying to be optimistic. I think it’s a major blow to his self-esteem though. Most people don’t like being unemployed. And he can’t collect unemployment because his boss can’t afford it, so he’d rather forego it for now and allow the business to recover so he can eventually get back to working there. So he has to find a temporary job and those aren’t plentiful. This guy is like a brother to me, I respect and love him dearly. He is my best friend, too. I feel awful for him because he’s put a lot of love and energy into this job. 😦

I can at least pick up a few hours at work. Right now I only work about 32 hours a week or so, so I can fit in an extra 8 hours a week if I can get coworkers to leave early on some days and let me come in a couple hours early. They don’t let us do overtime, but adding an extra 8 hours will make it all possible. My boss is really cool and said he’ll try to work on something for me. I like my job enough that taking on extra hours doesn’t make me stressed. I will sign up for sub shifts on the weekends as they come up as well. This may cut down time I can spend at the gym, which bums me out, but hey, I gotta do what I gotta do.

Sorry to post about my poorness on my weight loss blog. I have never used lack of money as an excuse to eat junk food, and I never will. 🙂 I know that we’ll get through this tough spot. It’s also semi-comforting to know we’re not the only ones right now. 11 million people are unemployed. I’m sticking to my job like glue…

I do have something fun to look forward to this weekend. A dear friend of mine is having a small wedding ceremony on Saturday with dinner to follow after. My roomie and I are 2 of 5 people who will be attending, so I feel very special to have been invited. Also, she said to wear pajamas, which will be really fun. Having something fun and positive to look forward to will boost me and my housemate’s morales tenfold. Also he has a date on Sunday with this girl he’s seeming to really hit it off with, so hopefully that will cheer him up. I’m not a fan of making people who are unemployed through no fault of their own feel bad or guilty about it, and I’m also not a fan of said people going through such things feel like they aren’t allowed to have fun.

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Hey everyone…I’m thinking now that I’ve gotten back into music, I’m not going to have a lot of spare time to post to this blog. Between making myself practice for an hour a day and making time to hit the gym, along with work and a social life that seems to be developing more for me recently, I’m not going to be focusing as much of my thought on weight loss. Also, I have to admit that weight loss had become somewhat of an obsession to me as of late, and while it’s always good to be focused on your goals, there is a line you can cross where it becomes unhealthy. While I still want to lose those last 30-odd pounds and become very physically fit and stick to a healthy diet, I feel like I’ve said all I need to say for now. Weekends will be easier for me to post, so from time to time I will still probably have something I want to say. I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth or anything, just busy with life is all.

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So I’ve been getting out more lately. I don’t usually touch on my social life in this blog, but to make a long story short, for a few years, especially during my most obese of times, my social life was scant. I would hang out with whoever I was living with at the time, and workmates. That was about it. I had a core group of friends who kind of scattered to the four corners of the globe as what often happens in the years following high school graduation, and thus my little social enclave was disbanded. This was before Facebook became an everyday thing for most people, mind you. I would also argue that Facebook actually can be used to decrease your face to face social interaction because it’s easy to pretend to have a social life on there and not make any effort to see people in person. Anyway, because of a wedding in the summer of ’08, I was reunited with an old friend who is rather active in the local music scene in my town. I am an intense lover of music, and have an affinity for independent musicians. I myself am a musically-inclined person. I played viola through childhood and have always liked singing. When most little kids were picking tunes off the top 40 radio that they liked only because everyone else did and the radio dj’s told them to, I was listening to my parents’ records from their teens and early 20’s. I grew up on the Dead, Neil Young, the Beatles, Janis Joplin, and a never ending assortment of the blues, Motown, and obscure folk artists that my uncle had the privilege to know during an era where the counterculture was referred to as “Beatniks” (very condescendingly by the mainstream media I might add). As I’ve gotten older, my musical tastes have developed to include an eclectic and diverse assortment. I tend to thrive more on the obscure. I will always love my classics, my very early influences. And I love classical music, as my instrument of choice as a kid is a stringed, classical instrument. I’ve always been able to sing well without much practice, but as I get older I find I have to warm up more to keep the voice going strong. Outside of school structured things, I never really performed, and I’m sort of afraid to. Meeting up with this old friend at that wedding was a catalyst for me in regaining my interest in performing music again. I’ve always wanted to play guitar, but I never really committed myself to sticking to it. I realized yesterday as I had an impromptu jam session with 2 people I’d just met on the street at a local coffee shop that I am fully capable, and I’m surrounded to the brim by musically-minded people in this town. My city has a great underground of local musicians, and something clicked in my mind, “I have so many people to ask for pointers surrounding me everywhere I go here. I have no excuse not to pick up a guitar and start practicing.” So it goes, I picked up one of the many guitars we have lying around this apartment (musicians flock together and usually live together) and started playing some chords and strumming. It was nice. I plan to structure some lessons for myself and get my technique to where I’m comfortable singing and playing in public again. I’m an absolute beginner on the guitar, but it’s such a universal instrument, I think everyone can learn to play, and should.

Not only did me and the people I met randomly yesterday have an awesome, Neil Young covering jam session, we also bonded over a lot of other stuff and became new friends. I’ve been trying to push my comfort zone of being somewhat of a hermit and get out more. My friend I mentioned above at said wedding is in several musical collaborations around town, one band in particular is of pretty promising talent as far as songwriting and sound, and I’ve been to a few of their shows. It’s a standard practice for Bohemian kids around my town to have shows at people’s houses so that money is not really an object as far as hearing some good music (although small donations for touring bands are often asked so that things like gas and food along the way are less of a burden, and often the touring bands will be hosted by a local musician so they don’t have to pay for a hotel). It’s been fun for me going to these shows and meeting some like-minded friends. Not only do a lot of them share my healthy food and exercise interests (I’ve already got a confirmed lap-swimming buddy and others who want to taste my healthy cooking sometime!), they also share my love for music, and books, and boardgames, and, well you get it. Social interaction and bonding with others outside of my comfort zone is something I needed in order to grow as a person. It’s part of my “life makeover” so to speak, just as losing weight and getting fit is.

One of the boys I jammed with yesterday is in one of my other, long-established favorite local bands, which I had never seen live before but they’ve been around for nearly a decade. He hasn’t been with them for the whole duration, but is part of the current lineup. It was fun and happy to sing with someone in one of my favorite bands. I’m going to keep being more social. I of course can’t stay out late at too many parties since I work and also need to make time to devote to health-practices for myself (exercise), and I still want to have a positive balance of time to myself to read and do my thing. But I can see my weekends from now on becoming a lot more interesting and fulfilling. 🙂

One thing I wanted to say about my weight loss in relation to this is that I do feel like my weight limited my social life. Many people would say that this doesn’t have to be true, and no, it doesn’t. I know plenty of obese individuals who are outright social butterflies. But I was not one of them. I withdrew more and I think psychologically the fat was there to put up a wall in a way. I never lost touch with my dearest friends, but as far as meeting new people I didn’t initiate it, and I used my weight as an excuse to stay home and hide from that. Also, being that fat made me get tired faster, made me more sluggish, made my body ache and hurt to where I just didn’t feel like exuberant and social. I just wanted to go home and lie down. Being more physically well in general makes it easier to be more comfortable socializing for me. Also, to put a bit of a vanity spin on it, I feel prettier. Not everyone who hangs out in this group of friends is stereotypically hot, but I think the majority of these kids are comfortable in their own skin, and it shows. Since I feel more comfortable in my skin, I think it makes me more attractive to others for friendship and other things (hehe). I’m not really looking for a dating experience at present, but at the same time I’m not entirely closed off to the idea.

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Well, today I’m glad I don’t have to be at work til 4 pm, because that means I can be home to watch the first Inaugural ceremony I’ve ever been actually excited to watch in my lifetime. I’m hopeful and optimistic about Barack Obama’s potential to help lead our country in a new direction.

As far as fitness goes today, I’m definitely getting the sick. I find that natural remedies help me feel more relief from the symptoms than the over-the-counter Nyquil/Dayquil crap. Coughing is a very important function of the immune system, and most modern medicines suppress coughs, which can make your illness last longer. I tend to try and heal myself with rest, good food, tea, and a few supplements. I find elderberry, zinc, oil of oregano, garlic, ginger and goldenseal to be very helpful whenever I’m sick. Those, along with a little bit of ibuprofen and and antihistamine usually help me better than nyquil or dayquil (or their other counterparts). I also really love spicy food and I like it even spicier when I have a stuffy nose and sore throat. As far as exercise goes today, I’m still feeling up for a little bit. Yesterday when I did the aerobic tape I still had to do the moves faster than they did on the tape, and it felt good to get my heartrate up. Today I’m feeling more groggy, headachy, etc. so I’m thinking a walk is more my speed. I’m going to suit up and go do that before the Inauguration starts. It’s a bit warmer out today than it’s been, and the sun is shining. And I’m happy today.

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Well, I woke up with a head full-o-snot and a sore, scratchy throat. So much for not getting sick. I have decided if I have something infectious, I’m not going to be a jerk and go to the gym and spread it around. But that doesn’t mean I get to slack off! I have a bunch of chores I should have done yesterday that I’m going to do this morning. I’ve already got the garbage and recycling out, and I have a kitchen that needs to be gotten into shape, as well as laundry going. And that aerobics tape that’s normally too easy for me? I’m going to do that today. I still want to exercise even though I’ve gotten the yuck, just take it down a notch so my body can still heal. Since I don’t feel any lung congestion, I feel like some cardio will still be safe to do today. I’m still optimistic that I won’t get as sick as others around me since I’ve been taking good care of myself lately, so I shouldn’t be absent from the gym too long. I just don’t want to spread my illness to others.

Yesterday I had a “cheat day” of sorts, but I still ordered one of the healthiest things on the menu where I went to eat w/ my folks. My parents like Jimmy Buffet (I don’t, haha) and recently one of his chain restaurants opened up in my city. They wanted to eat there. Most of the menu consisted of, well, cheeseburgers (“Cheeseburger in Paradise…” is one of his songs and the name of the chain). But they had some healthy stuff on the menu. I ordered the “chicken satay” skewers with terriyaki broccoli on the side. It wasn’t too bad. The chicken was the white meat marinated and grilled on skewers kabob style, and the broccoli was steamed w/ garlic and such. I couldn’t eat all the chicken, there was just too much for one meal (obviously) so I only ate 2 of the skewers and saved the other 4 for later (yep, there were SIX skewers of chicken, probably amounting to about 24 oz. of meat for one entree!). I plan on using the rest of the chicken in some sort of stir fry dish later. Anyway, I was proud that even though I was allowed to “cheat” I went for the healthier option anyway. The real “cheat” was the ice cream I had, which I couldn’t even finish because it was so sweet.

OK, I have 2 hours and 20 minutes til I have to leave for work, so I’m going to finish up the kitchen, do my exercise, prepare food, and get cleaned up for work. I hope everyone has a great, productive day!

In other news….I am a little worried. My housemate works for a small business which is suffering due to the poor state of our economy. He’s one of the upper managers, so I’m hopeful that his job isn’t in jeopardy, but it still worries me. If he’s out of a job, we won’t be able to afford our apartment – I can’t make enough money at my job to float both of us without some kind of assistance. So if everyone out there in blogland could think happy, positive thoughts for his business to stay alive, I’d really, truly appreciate it ever so much. Thanks, all! Peace and love!

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