Sleepy Cozy Cool

I still haven’t left the house since Saturday. Yesterday I intended to but then felt it best if I stayed in and accomplished some paperwerk-esque items including making the above business cards! I’ve been trying to launch a side business all year long; going so far as to create an LLC and a tax ID, to do the early stage items to start an Etsy shop, claim social handles, and create a blog. I’ve started making some jewelry and buying fabric to make some things. I was offered the opportunity recently to read tarot cards at a cancer charity event in the next town over; benefitting cancer patients in that town and my hometown. I’m choosing not to get paid for that because it’s a) an awesome cause and b) I don’t want to/can’t earn money on medical leave. I created those cards at the suggestion of the gal who is giving me this opportunity. It felt great to make them but I already can see that I made an error. I got licensed to do Reiki this year so I should have put it next to tarot.

Oh and THIS was why a psychic medium came to my house the other day. I did a practice run read on her. I’ve been reading tarot (or trying to learn to) since I was a teenager. Within the last two years I have gotten pretty good at it (in comparison to how I used to do). There are a few main thoughts about tarot: 1) when you are reading someone’s cards, you are “fortune telling” or gleaning information from a higher source, 2) when you are reading someone’s cards, you are interpreting the art on the cards in relation to each other as a point of conversation and making sense of a chaotic world, and 3) when you are reading someone’s cards, you are both interpreting the art/archetypes AND if you’re good enough, you’re also using your intuition. Personally, I started with interpreting the art and now there’s room for intuition. I’ll report back on how it goes.

So also, today I had some other weird paperwork to take care of but then I decided to take advantage of the cold, windy, rainy day. Mid-afternoon, just as the storm started, I got cozy in my armchair with the wind blowing in on me. Listening to the rain, I put on something spooky (that Haunted show on Netflix) and then took a long nap. It was excellent. When I woke up, I ate something and then got comfortable again so we could watch Stranger Things, season 2 on Netflix. I got REAL bored with it when it came out (even though I loved Season 1). Kristyn wants to watch season 3 so now we’re watching it. I just remembered that part of why I didn’t watch this season is that Charles died right after it was released. He was really into this show and binge-watched it right before he died so I didn’t have the heart to watch it. Forgot about that grim factoid. Happy Halloween!

Speaking of Halloween, all the witchy Instagram accounts I follow keep reminding me that the “veil is thinning”. I believe it. I have been thinking of Charles, Nana (maternal grandma), and Gram (maternal great-grandma) a lot lately. I had a weird dream about Charles recently where we were hanging out at a party and he was probably a pre-teen. Even though we were at a party, he was pretty serious and so was I. I remember that I kept thinking that I wanted to hold off on telling him that his brother died until the party was over so as not to spoil his time. It wasn’t until I woke up that I realized that I was the one I was protecting from finding out her brother died so as not to spoil the party. Weird.

I also cried the other morning to the Mary Tyler Moore Show. It was the episode in the final season where Mr. Grant helps Mary get of sleeping pills that she’s been taking for her insomnia. He comes over her house and stays the night to stop her from taking pills. He sits her down on the couch and sings her the lullaby “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral (That’s an Irish Lullaby)”. My Grandparents used to sing that to me as a kid and also other songs like it. It made me sob, LOL. I just miss them and also my hormones are all over the place since this surgery. 99% of the time, I am in a great mood; calm and peaceful. But that 1% has got me sobbing suddenly and it happens every few days. That 1% doesn’t have me worried. I’m not SAD SAD or depressed, just grieving and it honestly feels really good to let it out. However, I’m on the last two episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore Show and I’ve never seen them before so I DID avoid watching them today because I know I’m going to cry and don’t feel like doing it haha.

Okay, signing off fer today, boos! I just felt like tippy-typing and saying hullo!

Alright

This week I’m feeling a bit better. I haven’t been nauseous so far. I think perhaps the nausea was that I was eating too fast and perhaps the exhaustion was that I was doing too much too fast and wearing myself out. Still, after talking to my surgeon, we agreed that I need more time to acclimate to this new life. I’m really glad to have done that because this whole thing is like patting your head and rubbing your belly. It’s re-learning how to be a person, essentially. Because I’m healing well and feeling good (mostly), I tend to overdo it when I am feeling good which takes me down.

I haven’t been out of the house since Saturday when I got my hair fixed. Having never really dyed my hair before, I’m shocked SHOCKED at how close she got the color to my natural hair! The only indicator that it’s dyed (or ever was) is that she forgot a little boop of pink in me bangs. It’s okay by me! She did a great job. I might do a weird color again soon but she wanted me to get to an even base before we did that. Aye aye cap’n.

After I got my hurrs did, it was so nice out that we took Shirley to the dog park and she really made a looliebird of herself. She’s…not great with other dogs. She’s GREAT with people in that she loves them and trusts them and wants to be their friend. Actually though, she has no manners whatsoever with people and tends to jump relentlessly on them. We’re permissive mothers, what can I say? But we don’t take her to the dog park often because when we do, she inevitably gets into a kerfuffle with another doggy and everyone looks at us like we brought a goofy murderer into their little doggy heaven. What happened was a little white doggy and her parents were getting ready to GTFO and the owners had put that doggy’s lead and leash on. WELL, little miss Shirley went up to the Mom and Dad for pets and accidentally got in between the little white dog and her parents. So then that dog was sniffing Shirley’s doodle station and Shirley was submitting to that when the other dog started to growl a little. Shirley don’t take no shit from anyone so she let the growling happen for a min or two and then was like “Oh fuck me? No fuck you!” and FLIPPED the little white dog onto her back! (This is a maneuver that she is REAL good at and she’s employed it with our cats as well.) Once she’s on top, she starts snarling and growling and snapping and although she doesn’t actually bite, it LOOKS like she is. It scared the shit out of all of us and I can’t bend down OR lift her in my “delicate condition” (aka bariatric surgery not bebe). I had to holler “Kristyn, get her!” and she got Shirley off the other doggy. Man of la mancha was that a drama. The other parents and baby left and literally like within five minutes, every other dog and dog parent left. Gurlfriend cleared out the entire dog park. She was RADIOACTIVE. Well, one little doggy and her Mom stayed and then unsuspecting people arrive. And then Shirley looked like a wee basketcase because, by that time, she was a nervous wreck and DROOLING heavily out of both sides of her mouth. The legit only time she ever does this is at the dog park OR one time when she licked a bottle of RV antifreeze and almost succumbed. She was flinging drool everywhere and then running up to people who were like “Okay who brought the nerd?” We decided to take her for a solitary walk in the park which she behaved much better for haha. I keep telling Kristyn we need to get Shirley a Chihuahua because the only dog she loves consistently is her friend Chloe (whose Momma is our friend Amanda). I don’t think she’s ever had a fight with Chloe although she’s definitely gotten a little too in her face when playing and Chloe’s given her a piece of her mind.

That day, we also went to Lowe’s to buy some pipe covers. Because we’re working with the state on foster to adopt, we have to have our apartment up to code. They require that you cover pipes because they carry hot water up to the 2nd floor and they don’t want a child to get burned. Reasonable. So we’ve been meaning to do this forever and finally got it done. Now to put the covers on the damn pipes! Shirley was REAL into Lowe’s.

Kristyn’s been having to shoulder the burden of doing some of this cleanup that I can’t because I can’t lift or carry anything heavier than five pounds. Luckily, she’s been doing Crossfit for a year so it’s kind of like she’s been training for this exact moment. The inspector comes to visit on our six year wedding anniversary which is cool. That’s also the day we finally get to go Upstate to Kate’s Lazy Meadow; something we do for our anniversary every year. Since we missed the entire fall season up there because I couldn’t travel, we’re really looking forward to heading up there. The trees have been late to turn this year so hopefully most of the leaves won’t have fallen yet. I love love love being up in the Catskills when the trees are turning. So gorgeous. I love the brisk air too. Today is actually the date that the campground season ends which is kind of a relief because I don’t have to feel sad that I’m not there anymore haha. It’s officially Barr-Scorsone wintertime when the campground closes.

I have to think of what else I want to do today. I bought a ton of supplies to make art and I have a ton of books to read so I have to rip the bandaid off and get started. Funnily enough, a psychic medium came to the house yesterday and told me she was removing blocked energy in my “female creation quadrant” yesterday. I know I’m burying the lede here but more on that later. When she did it, I actually FELT it happen. I’m going to light a creativity candle I bought in LA today and make some shit! Wish me luck!

Oh how the mighty have fallen…

The “mighty” person I am speaking of is me although I have never once described myself as “mighty”. However, all that blather for the past two weeks about feeling “excellent”? Well, that’s over. Since Sunday, I am nauseous every day all day. I’m keeping everything down and haven’t yakked yet but everything is grossing me out during week 3. My stomach constantly feels mixed up. Everything tastes weird. I read these two articles that say it’s a normal and expected part of bariatric surgery. Literally everything is sickening to me. I’ve been laying down a lot to quell the nausea. Weirdly I’ve found that eating sugar-free ice pops seems to work to calm my stomach. I ate four of them the other day; that’s how nauseous I was.

Still, I’m glad I did this. I still have an increased amount of energy. The last two days we were supposed to go out and didn’t end up doing it, partially because of my nausea and partially because we did stuff around the house with the energy I DO have. With me losing weight so quickly, some of my pants are getting really loose so we went through some bags of old clothes to see if there’s anything in there that would fit me. A few months ago, Kristyn and I had gone through our clothes and put stuff that’s too small in bags for donation but then we never took them to donate. We went through those bags again and I found some clothes of both mine and hers that I will keep to the side in case I need them.

We also straightened up our first bedroom and the third; both of which have been a complete hot mess for literally ALL of 2019 so far. The reason for this mess is that we took every single thing out of the first bedroom and put it into the third so that we can repaint the first bedroom and rip up the old carpet. Well, that turned into a shitload of work that probably took us like 8 months and should have taken us a weekend. a) We’re busy and b) We’re so, so tired. My task for today is to do a little more zhuzhing in the 3rd bedroom and then some hanging in the 1st bedroom which now has a desk and chair in it for me, our treadmill with a TV, and a green screen photo backdrop LOL.

Okay, now, I’m going to take a little naparoo while watching the Pawnee Goddesses episode of Parks and Rec. G’day.

More to say

The Addams Family and spooky lights.

It was fun to write before so I’m going to write a bit more:

1) I’m currently listening to The Artist’s Way. I’ve been meaning to read this for such a long time but I keep getting stuck on the workbook-like tasks you have to complete. It’s nice to just LISTEN to it the full way through to start. It’s already sparking my brain.

Me and Morticia.

2) I’ve restarted watching The Addams Family tv series. It started because Kristyn gave me a Morticia Addams doll in the hospital. I’d actually been wanting to re-watch it so I’m glad she re-ignited my interest. I’m glad there’s an animated movie coming out too. In an odd way, The Addams Family is sort of a “queer text” in that they live their lives differently. They’re a loving family who does things a different way than other people do but just as resolutely as everyone else; marching to the beat of their own coffin. I like that and it’s funny and creative too. I like the sets and the humor. Very comforting!

Part of my Halloweenie decor and the scariest thing is that big buffoon yelling “We have the President of Finland here! Ask him a question!” on the screen.

3) This whole impeachment inquiry. Jeezus. It’s like this guy WANTS to get impeached. I don’t really think that but how ham-fisted can one turd (and all his co-conspirators) be?! What irks me (besides all of it) is that this is taking up this time I have to myself. I’ve been following what’s going on with this administration from the start but a little while before my surgery, I decided to take somewhat of a break from it. I’m mad now that all of this is going on because it has me glued to my phone and raising my anxiety when I could be reading a book, watching a movie, or making art. This fucker ruins everything and takes us down with him. I turned off CNN a few minutes ago. I have to limit myself to only the top of the headlines for the rest of my time on medical leave. It’s not worth it for me to be anxious when nothing is personally happening to warrant it.

Kristyn and Shirley doing some work yesterday. Dont mind our ripped up armchair. That’s the cats’ work. They did a good job!

4) I am going to participate in Inktober. We’re already three days in so I have three drawings to do today. I’ve always wanted to participate but never got on board quick enough. I’m going to catch up today with three quick ones. I’ve been wanting to make art while I’ve been off but I’ve been too wrapped up in this “healing” business to do it. Now that the house is clean and I’ve procrastinated in every other way, I need to just do it. I’m going to be posting it on Instagram (@buberella).

This photo is from when we went out for the first time last Saturday to Michael’s, AC Moore, and the movies.

5) Tomorrow I’m going to go get a haircut. I legit just got one one a few days before my birthday but the gal listened to me and didn’t take any length off. I said that to limit the amount of length taken off because people usually take too much. For the first time a hairdresser listened to me and now I need to get another haircut because it doesn’t look like I’ve had one (other than the addition of bangs). I’m also going to do a consultation about how to fix the color of my hair. I like it the light pink but I think I want it to go back to blonde. I am also watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show and finding myself jealous of normal-colored hair. Ideally, I’d want to go back to blonde and then do Overtone to add color when I want to. I am a firm lover of washing my hair every day. This whole deal about not washing it to keep the color in is nuts which is why it’s come out so fast. It’s even more faded now than it was in that photo above.

Babbies.

6) Tonight we’re going to the opening of an exhibit that Kristyn and her colleagues have been working on. It’s been nice to get out of the house so that’ll be fun. I also have to stop at the grocery store on the way home to get some more soft, high protein, low carb foods I can eat because if I eat another scrambled egg, I think I might ralph (and it’s only my third day of soft foods). I just choked one down about an hour ago. At the end of the month, it’s mine and Kristyn’s sixth wedding anniversary and we made a reservation to go to Kate’s Lazy Meadow again. I’m looking so forward to a) getting out of this house and b) getting to go upstate and see the (end of the) fall leaves. I’m bummed that we had to cut our trailer season so short but it was for a good reason. I’m glad I got this surgery and I’m glad I got it when I did. If I’d put it off, I would have talked myself out of it. Instead, I’m healing, I’m feeling good, have lots of energy, and looking forward to starting school in the Spring. Oh, one thing I don’t know if I mentioned is that I got accepted to the New School’s Media Studies Masters program! I’m glad it didn’t work out to start this Fall because I have so much going on right now. Happy to start fresh in the Spring.

Okay, I’m going to GTFO for now so that I can get up and move my body around. Later.

How I’m doing

Positive energy drink.

Hi pals. Interesting note: I wrote the last post just as I took my pain medication right before bed. I wrapped up writing it because my eyes were closing and then immediately fell asleep at the kitchen table after I hit “publish”. GUUUUURRRRL. So that’s how I WAS doing, here’s how I AM doing.

It’s been over a week since the surgery and I’m completely off all pain meds; including Tylenol. I’ve lost at least 1″ all over my body. I have lost 20+ pounds overall; about 10 prior to surgery and about 10 following it. I’ve moved onto the soft foods stage and had the best scrambled egg I’ve ever had in my LIFE the other day. I’ve also had an incredible amount of energy. I asked a friend who’s also had gastric sleeve surgery if she also felt like this and she said “Yes I had a disco ball of energy”. That’s me, pals; a “disco ball of energy”. I used to be a disco ball and I am now a disco ball once more. That makes this all worth it.

Us out for a walkydoodle the other day.

I’ve been exercising every day; just dancing around to The Mary Tyler Moore Show and some light stretching. I’ve also been going for some 15 minute walks around the block (not as many as I should be doing) but I feel like that’s okay because I’ve been up on my feet all day moving around. We’ve gotten out of the house a few times since the surgery. Last Saturday we walked around Michael’s and AC Moore looking at the Halloweenie decorations and then went to see Judy. Last Sunday, we relaxed all day and then went to Target. This Tuesday, we went to see Team Dresch in Jersey City. We had tickets for last night also but skipped it. I needed the rest and it was at Le Poisson Rouge in the city. I REALLY didn’t feel like doing that although I’m sorry I missed it.

Us at Team Dresch in JC. Kristyn ended up buying an entire outfit; a tshirt and sweatpants.

I’ve had a visiting nurse come twice and another one is coming this morning. The nurse I’ve seen so far is Scottish and her family lives in town which means our families probably know each other at least a little. That was comforting. She told me I’m doing well. I see my surgeon on 10/9 and then I’ll find out if I’m cleared to go back to work for 10/14. The only reason why I think I might not be would be because I’m starting on solid food that week which could bring about some gastrointestinal acclimation which could be awkward to experience in the office. I guess we’ll see.

Yesterday I felt good enough to spend the day cleaning the house. Well, it was more like straightening up rather than cleaning. I can’t bend or lift for a while so I just made order and decorated. The house had slid into straight fuckery since my surgery because I’ve acquired a lot of paperwork, medications, birthday cards, get well cards, gifties, and lots and lots of mail that’s stacked up. Somehow I spread this ephemera all over the house and therefore had to endeavor to put it all in it’s correct place yesterday. I straightened up two bedrooms (one moreso than the other), the living room, and kitchen. I decorated for Fall and Halloween. I went through the mail and separated trash from actionable items. I hung up all my cards, and put everything else away or on display as should be. AND THEN I CRASHED.

Also? It’s a lot of work to get through just following my doctor’s orders every day; taking my meds on time, vitamins, drinking the correct amount of fluids I should be, getting the exercise I need to, and the right amount of protein. That doesn’t sound like a lot but because I’m healing it is. I keep wishing I was more “productive” during this time but my nurse was like “You just had major abdominal surgery, gurl. Take it EASY and DO NOT OVERDO IT.” Taking heed, I have let myself read a book and take a nap sometimes. It’s this energy though; it wants me up and doing. Doing what, I don’t exactly know but I’ve been on my feet from the second I shoot out of bed to the time I force myself into bed at night. I hope I keep this energy. It’s the whole reason I did this heinous thing in the first place.

Today, I’m going to work on the bedroom that I didn’t finish yesterday. It’s not a lot of work. I just need to have Kristyn put away some paint cans (from when we painted rooms before the surgery). I need to organize a desk. I need Kristyn to move a few boxes to the other side of the room. Then together, we need to set up this photo backdrop I bought a few weeks ago. I have always wanted to try my hand at portrait and studio photography so I bought a backdrop, some photo lights, and a new tripod. We figured that we can both use it to take full body progress photos; me for my surgery and Kristyn for Crossfit as well as something she has coming up. Also, when I bought the kit, it came with a white, a black, and a GREENSCREEN backdrop. I’m tickled about the greenscreen. Back in the day, I learned a little bit about how to do greenscreen and I’d love to learn play with that.

Okay, time to go eat an egg. I can tell already that I’m going to get over eggs REAL soon. I ate a reheated one last night and almost yakked. Not looking forward to this one right now.

I done did it!

Boos, I have lots of news for ya:

  1. I turned 40 last week. People always expect you to feel downtrodden about a milestone birthday like that but I didn’t whatsoever. I love my birthday and I love celebrating it. You only get to be a certain age one time in your life so why not enjoy it? Also, I kind of like looking at decades in my life as chapters in a book. I was excited to end the chapter of “30s” and start on a fresh new decade for my 40s. When I was turning 30, I decided that I wanted to do something HUGE to commemorate it. I was either going to go skydiving OR move to LA. Those who have been following this blog for a while will know that we chose LA. It was a really good choice even though sometimes it was hard. For my 40’s I wanted to something equally drastic but didn’t want to move SO that brings me to the next things:
  2. I dyed my hair pink! Actually, I had Kristyn bleach and then dye my hair pink. To be frank, she did a great job but also it does not look good haha. I took the bleach off too soon and then we used a really weak Manic Panic lilac-y color that wouldn’t absorb. So we just threw hot pink over it. It’s coming right out so now it’s all streaked with blonde. Next week, if I’m feeling better, I’ll go have someone re-do it professionally. Which leads me to:
  3. I got gastric sleeve surgery yesterday, 9/23. It was also the Autumnal Equinox/Mabon so that felt special to me. Honestly, pals, if I didn’t know that I’d had surgery, I wouldn’t really know I’d had it. It doesn’t hurt at all. I’m drinking liquids and moving around as much as possible which feels good. The hospital staff at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ were fantastic. I’ve never stayed overnight in a hospital before except to do a sleep test. I think they’ve set a pretty high bar.

So, I want to talk a bit about WHY I did these things. For the pink hair, IDK, it’s just something I have been feeling like doing lately. In the 90’s, I didn’t do it because all my friends were and I didn’t want to blindly follow the pack. Plus, I liked the color of my hair as is. PLUS I saw how much stupid effort went into dying their hair those colors and was like “Nope, too much work for something so silly.” But I decided to do it because “Why the hell not?” Basically, I wanted to look back at photos of this significant time in my life and see that I’d taken a chance. I’m glad I did it even if the results are straight fuckery.

Now re: the gastric sleeve. I want to talk about what my body felt like before this surgery and what it feels like now. So my reasons for getting this surgery are health and fertility-related. But honestly, I just want stamina and endurance. I want to get my strength back. I feel so earthbound and heavy all the time. When I was younger and weighed like 150 lbs less, I felt so light on my feet that I was sure that if I really wanted to, I could fly. I had so much energy back then. I couldn’t understand how people could just sit on a couch and watch a FULL MOVIE let alone binge watching TV shows. I wanted to be dancing, stretching, talking, doing gymnastics, making art, or anything other than sitting still and staring at a screen (like I am right now lol). But it turned out that I got a sedentary job and when I come home, I just want to crash into the couch after eating a shitty takeout meal. This has made me gain approximately 10 lbs a year which doesn’t sound like much but has added up to 70 lbs since we moved back from LA. I don’t recognize myself when I look in the mirror lately. I ESPECIALLY don’t recognize myself when I look at myself in photos. I researched this surgery, talked to people who had it, read articles, followed people who’d had the surgery on Instagram, and found support groups on Facebook. It seems like 9/10 people have a great experience and 1/10 have a terrible experience. I’m only a day out but so far, so good. Not really any pain whatsoever. I just have a lot of gas (because they pump your abdomen up with air to do the surgery and then you have to “release it”). I also have to watch how much I eat and drink because if I overdo it, I can get really ill. The worst part of deciding to get this surgery is trying to re-envision your life where food doesn’t play such a strong emotional centerpiece to everything. Like after 4 weeks, I will be able to eat normal food but I need to have smaller portions. Also, apparently I’ll need to learn which foods trigger bad reactions and which ones are good for my new stomach. I’m actually kind of excited about this. It feels like a craft project and I’m the craft.

Well, anyway, I should GTFO for now because I haven’t slept all day and I am starting to get groggy. I’ll write more tomorrow. I don’t even think I posted about DragCon here! Such a travesty!

P.S. One other travesty is that we had to close up our trailer for the season an entire month early! I can’t travel for more than one hour in a car for the next four weeks because I have an elevated risk of blood clotting. The trailer is two hours from home. I asked if I couldn’t just drive an hour then pause and go shopping or whatever and then do the next hour-long leg. She said no because if something goes wrong with me, she wants me to be near where she can help me. Makes sense. I’ll just go up there a shitload next year. Waaaaaah!

So much going on

Sharon Needles!

Lately, Kristyn and I have been burning the candles at both ends plus the middle too. In the first half of this year, we set some things in motion that got stalled because of Pride and then picked up immediately following.

Firstly, I’m talking about my Gastric Sleeve surgery. I’ve now done everything that I know that I have to do. I’m waiting on the results of the Endoscopy I got last week. I should be getting those results mid-week and then I’ll find out if I’m cleared for surgery (with regards to my upper GI). I think that if I am cleared for surgery, that I’ll have to get an EKG and a physical to make sure that I’m actually cleared for surgery health-wise. They said that the soonest I could be scheduled is mid-September which is pretty close. If I have to fix anything about my upper GI (like take medication etc), that could add time. We’ll see. I’m getting excited and I just want to get it done already.

My boo, Sharon.

Secondly, I’m talking about getting licensed for the Foster to Adopt program in the State of NJ. For the past few years, we’ve been working on becoming parents. For at least a year, we were working with a fertility clinic to get approved so that I could get inseminated OR so that we could do IVF. This isn’t because either of us have any known fertility issues but mores just because we’re a same sex couple and apparently OBGYNs will no longer inseminate and instead refer you to a fertility clinic who puts you through the LSATs before they’ll “allow” you to inseminate. That whole process pissed me off. We went in wanting to inseminate but allowed ourselves to get upsold to reciprocal IVF which added on a battery of tests for both of us; genetic testing, mental health counseling, bloodwork, ultrasounds, dietitians, perinatal doctors, etc. But then it never resulted in getting anything done! Because I’d be the one to carry, my BMI was a “problem”. What I didn’t know when I started was that this fertility clinic (ahem RMA ahem) has “high standards” meaning that they make their clients jump through an insane amount of hoops before they’ll allow you to try to conceive a) for your own sake – so that the chance to conceive is the highest b) but also for their own numbers – they don’t want to report no failures.

Late in 2018, I walked out of their clinic after getting a second opinion from a different branch. Until I lost weight and got into the BMI range they wanted, they wouldn’t work with me. Mind you, I wasn’t far from it but wasn’t able to lose the weight. Also, the perinatal doctor they sent me to recommended bariatric surgery as had my GP to treat my sleep apnea. I was pissed.

“Beautiful, spooky, and stupid.”

On the way home from that second opinion, I immediately emailed a friend who works for DCPP to ask for advice and sent a few emails to addresses listed on the site’s Foster to Adopt site. I’ve always been interested in adopting and figured that I would at some point. I’d actually been researching it alongside fertility treatments. I decided to give it a shot. So now since late last year/early this year, we’ve been put through a separate set of hoops for this. We had to do a class that was every weekend for a month; very interesting. We had to get certification from the vet that our pets were inoculated (and had to get them inoculated in some instances). We had to get them registered with the town. We had to get physicals done, bloodwork drawn, drug testing, answer invasive questions about our personal lives, get referrals from our jobs, referrals from people in our lives, mental health referrals, referrals from our doctor, monthly visits from a social worker, give information on our finances, create a family book that shows photos of both sides of our families and the people in our lives, provide information about our car, write up a list of parenting books we intend to read, write up a plan for what happens in an emergency, and the list goes on. We’ve done all the personal things and are SO CLOSE to getting that part signed off on.

I’m adding these photos of Sharon because we’ve been binge-watching Drag Race to keep sane. It resulted in just further scrambling our brains.

NOW we’re in the final stages where we are having to fix our apartment up. We had to get the ceiling in the living room fixed, any cracks or little holes in the plaster walls patched up and painted (this is an old house), hallways cleared out, etc. We have exposed pipes that lead from the basement to the apartment upstairs in every single room so we need to cover them. No extension cords, specific rules about the placement of fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, etc. Honestly, we’re doing more than they’re probably going to ask for. We’re taking the opportunity to paint all the rooms and pull up the old carpet. It’s a slog; slow going and a ton of work that we do not really have the energy for. We keep over-estimating what we can get done in a day which leads to inevitable disappointment but we just have to keep our eye on the prize.

So far, we’ve spackled, primed, painted, and pulled up the carpet in one bedroom. We have a railroad apartment so we have three bedrooms; one leading into the next. This means that we had to empty one room, get it all done, then empty the next room into the first room. So that’s where we are. We had our bedroom in the second room. Now we moved it to the first room and the second room is finally empty, the walls are cleaned, and spackled. Tonight, we will prime the walls at minimum. Hopefully we can get them painted too.

Also, the living room ceiling is currently being worked on. It had an old drop ceiling that started to fall this year. Finally a tile fell last week so the landlord had someone in to come and pull down all the tile and put up a sheetrock ceiling. They have to come back to sand, prime, and paint. Our house is a goddamn mess because of all of this. It’s stressing me out and we haven’t been able to go Upstate to our camper for this entire month because of this stuff. We INSIST on going up this weekend though so that will be fun.

Winner!

Salem and Laurie Cabot

Me and Laurie Cabot

In March, Kristyn and I drove up to Salem for the night. I’d finally pulled the trigger on booking a reading with Laurie Cabot, the “Official Witch of Salem”. In our mid-20’s, we’d gone up to Salem for a weekend and met her in her shop. Since then, I’ve been dying to book a reading with her.

First, I just love Salem so much. I love the witchiness of the area but I also love how cute it is. I love walking around and looking at the shops. I love how cute the area is. I’d legit live there.

Now to the reading. Ms. Cabot does her readings at a shop called Enchanted. They’re pet-friendly and boy did they spoil Shirley. They gave her treats and water, petted her, played with her; so cute. We got there early so we looked around the shop before it was our turn to go in. When we were called in, they said it was okay for both Kristyn and Shirley to sit in on the reading with me.

I have to say that it was crazy to walk into the room and see Laurie Cabot sitting there. For some reason, I felt like I had tunnel vision suddenly. Maybe it was just because she’s so distinctive-looking. Maybe it’s her power. I don’t know but I was glad there was a chair for me to sit down in because i needed it.

Ultimately, she put me at ease. She is…unexpected. I don’t know what I was expecting at all but she put me totally at ease after that first weird shock of recognition. She must be aware that she has that affect on people I’d imagine. She was very kind and “normal” but damn if she didn’t know every single thing going through my head.

Some background: Kristyn and I were supposed to drive up to Connecticut two days prior to go to a convention. Kristyn got a full-body rash that we thought might be the measles or some other communicable disease. We’d taken her to the ER and cancelled all our obligations because we didn’t want to infect anyone else if it was. Turns out that it was an allergic reaction to medication but by the time we knew that, people had already stepped in to cover for us. I was sad that I was going to miss my appointment with Laurie Cabot and I’d already put down half of the payment so I’d be not only missing the appointment but losing my money too. Bummer. On that Saturday though, Kristyn’s medication to counteract the allergic reaction was making her feel (and look) a bit better. I offered to drive the full way there and back if we could go. She agreed so long as she didn’t have to be on her feet too much. On that Saturday (the day of the appointment), we drove six hours to Salem for a 2pm appointment and arrived with about an hour to spare. On the ENTIRE 6 hour drive, we talked on the phone with our friend Amanda about careers, creating art, starting a side business, different types of jobs we might be interested in, etc.

YOU GUYS. There is no way that Laurie Cabot could have known any of that but the reading was basically a complete rehashing of every single thing I’d said to Kristyn and Amanda on the ride up. I was flabbergasted. This morning I re-listened to the reading and basically she said:

  1. That she’s glad I didn’t become a nurse or I would have poisoned someone after a year. (My Mom is a nurse and wanted me to become one. I considered becoming a midwife but never followed through on it.)
  2. That I could be a good psychologist because I have good insight and the gift of gab but it’s better that I use that gift in business. (In the last year, I’ve considered going to grad school to become a counselor.)
  3. She said that she can see that I had an interest in working in TV as a young person, that I’d tried it, am not doing it now, and that it’s not too late. This is 100% accurate. When we moved to LA, I worked in film and then TV. Then I got laid off and came back to the publishing industry. She said that I should create my own “public access” show. What I think is maybe I could create something on YouTube or a podcast or something. I’ve always wanted to do something like that; have a public access TV show. She’s right on the money there.
  4. She said that I have an artistic mind and that I should put it to good use by starting a business. She said that I could make paintings that people would buy, I could take vintage furniture and repaint it to sell, or that I could buy vintage items, clean them up, learn the history, and sell them. Literally, I talked about all of these things on the car ride up to Salem. These are all things I’ve done or have considered doing in my life.

Basically, she said that I should create a business for myself just after my birthday so long as Mercury is not in retrograde and that if I do, the business will last for a long time. She said I’m more cut out to work for myself than for someone else. I think my boss might agree on that haha.

One thing I do feel bad about is the selfie above. I feel like she and I had a good rapport and then I mucked it up by asking for a selfie. She said she usually doesn’t but allowed me to. I should probably not share it but the experience was meaningful to me so I can’t help myself. Whatever you think of psychic readings, this was very spot on and gave me a lot of chew on. Basically, she just spoke my own words back to me and I’ve been thinking about them a lot since then. I have been, little by little, gathering items that I can use to create a business; supplies, equipment to take good photos, I registered a business name and LLC, etc. I haven’t quite taken the plunge yet but I’m kind of circling the wagons. My birthday is next month! If I’m going to do it, I’m going to have to get going on it now.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this experience. I still have the audio but I’m not going to post it here because she goes into some other personal stuff that I don’t want to share. Still, it was an awesome experience and one that I highly recommend to anyone who is curious.

Below are some photos of the rest of the day. After we met with Laurie, we drove to find a place to have dinner. We found this outdoor place that allows dogs and is actually famous for offering meals on their menu for pets. However, they don’t start doing it until it’s warm out so we just ordered Shirley some ice cream (which she loves). We went into one or two shops but Kristyn was tired and achey and we’d already gotten what we came for so we went back to the hotel.

Kristyn dining on fried pickles and beer.
Shirley dining on vanilla ice cream.

Here’s a thing that happened though (below). We arrived at the hotel and were walking to go check in when Kristyn realized she forgot a bag in the car. I turned around to get it for her so she wouldn’t have to walk extra and stepped in below crater-sized pothole (which doesn’t look so huge in the photo but IS). I ended up twisting my ankle, falling on the ground scraping my knees and hands, my backpack flew up and hit me on the back of the head forcing me to land face-down on a bag of popcorn that burst and flew all over the ground. I thought I was dead. A car pulled a U-ey and was like “Jesus Christ, are you okay?!” Kristyn, meanwhile, had been facing the opposite direction and saw nothing. It was dark when this happened so she just heard a grunt and then saw me face-down on the ground. Literally, my knees were bleeding. My hands were alright but my ankle was REAL twisted. I didn’t go to the doctor or anything; remember we’d already been to the ER that week. I took the below photo as a reminder in case something worsened and I told the hotel too who wrote a report. Nothing came of anything and all was well.

Pothole.

One weird thing though was that when we were in the hotel at breakfast, I was wearing a sweatshirt that said “Wizard Activist” on it. It was a sweatshirt from the Harry Potter Alliance conference we’d been to a few years ago. A woman approached me and said “Wait, why do you have that sweatshirt on?!” I explained and she said “Well, it’s the craziest thing. You walked into this breakfast room wearing that sweatshirt in a room FULL of Wizards.” Basically, there was a convention there for Vortex Healing which is something I’d had done last summer at the Crystal Connection in Wurstboro, NY. AND THEN? The guy who’d done my Vortex Healing (and is now my FB friend) was actually THERE in the breakfast room with me! I didn’t have the courage to say anything to him. I should have. Still, so interesting. AND THEN, the waitress came up and said she liked my shoes which were slides that Kristyn bought at DragCon. I was wearing them because my multiple maladies from “the fall” made it hard to put shoes on. I was the most popular gal in the breakfast room!

Okay so that was that. What a crazy, interesting time. Oh one other thing that I forgot to mention was that we went to HausWitch in Salem. I bought the owner, Erica Feldman’s, book HausMagick from her. They were also pet friendly and loved Shirley. They put her on their InstaStories. I wish I had the screenshot of it to share. Still, so cute!

Wine Country

Image from AARP.

Since Saturday, I’ve watched this movie 1.5 times; the first time from beginning to end and the second from right around when Jenny (Emily Spivey) tells Naomi (Maya Rudolph) that she’s her Apollonia until the end.

Pals, I love this movie! I’d read some tepid reviews about it which was disappointing because there are so many great people in this movie. To that end, I’d put it off for a while; never really finding the perfect time to sit down and be disappointed by it.

Image from Vulture.

HOW-FUCKING-EVER…I have to say that I really enjoyed this movie. The 1.0 time I watched it, I have to admit that it took a little while to get the hang of it’s whole deal. I was a little confused by the pace of it which seemed a lil’ “wander-y” to me. But then I, like, rilly got into it.

Follow me down a rabbit hole for a sec. A thing you need to know about me is that I’m a Prairie Head aka a Little House on the Prairie fan. (Recently I was legit on a bus with Alison Arngrim but that’s a story for another time.) The reason this is relevant on any level is because when I got back into Lil’ House a few years back, I was shockedSHOCKED at how slow-paced ’twas. At first, it ratcheted up my anxiety. Pingponging between Arrest Development and the prairie had me reeling. But as I relaxed into watching Pa raking hay or Ma sweeping the kitchen floor or Laura a’wandrin’ down a dirt road or Mary blowing out the candle to go to sleep, I realized that the slowness of the show was it’s finest feature for me, a stressed out lunatic.

Image from Country Living.

Squeezing (ass-first) out of the rabbit hole, I’ve learned to cherish a milder pace. I enjoyed being in the hot tub with May and Emily. I reveled in Abby’s/Amy Poehler’s weird bossy energy. I found comfort in Val’s / Paula Pell’s specific brand of over-nice lesbian optimism. I am always a fan of Rachel Dratch. I don’t really know Ana Gasteyer (Catherine) but I loved her friendship with Tina Fey’s character. Also, it was really weird how off-to-the-side and butch Tina’s character, Tammy, was but I read that she had a filming conflict and needed to take a smaller role.

LOOK, to be honest, I keep getting distracted by Schitt’s Creek right now so all I really want to say is that I have been on that trip: the LOLs, the hangover, the simmering tension, getting in trouble at a winery, etc. I feel like overall, they captured that specific feeling in an hour and 20 min movie.

I cannot stop watching this clip.

During the “.5” watching of this cinematic masterpiece (because Kristyn fell asleep to it the first time), I slid into it like an LA Fitness hot tub (aka excited to try it, then worried that it would stress me out, but ultimately warm and bubbly).

Image sourced from this LA Fitness YouTube clip taken in 2010 in Easton, PA by Lynn.

Pals, I recommend. It was a pleasant time all-around. 10/10. Would do it again. Like Lynn says “Great Place to exercise and then unwind.

P.Fng.S. I’m back because I want to take umbrage. When the tarot reader was doing the reading, I appreciated that they showed each card. Even though it was annoying that she’d read only ONE card per person, I was like “Fine, whatever. We don’t have time to read more than one card per person.” But then when they faffed on that weird detail about the snake card?! What kind of fuckery was that? Maybe it was just a different deck or a Lenormand deck? I don’t know anything about Lenormand but that detail was weird especially since it ties back to Naomi getting bitten. Still, apart from that, perfect movie.

I’m making some big decisions

In 2015, I graduated from Rutgers with a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies. This was after going to school on and off for seventeen years while working full-time and living my life. I’d always had “finish school” as the big project that I was driving towards, even when I was taking time off. Once I did it, I was like “WHAT NOW?!” In the past four years (how did that happen), I’ve feverishly researched going to grad school, moving far away (again), working on my career, trying to have kids, etc, etc, etc. I’ve also worked on my health on and off. Basically, when you spend 17 years working all day and going to school all night, you develop some sedentary habits which are so difficult to break. In short, ma dudes, I’m a couch pa-tater.

This bitch with the Scarlet Knight and her cap on backwards.

Ya gurl has gained a LOT OF WEIGHT (50 pounds in 7 years) since she moved back from LA. In fact, after my brother died, I gained about 20 more pounds even though I swore that I was going to CHANGE ALL THE THINGS and GET INTO EXCELLENT SHAPE after he died. So far, it’s been a nonstarter. Grief’ll do that to ya. So that’s like 10 pounds per year which isn’t exactly insane but it’s also not not insane.

One thing about me is that I’m a Fitbit lover and a David Sedaris groupie. The second he published this essay, I dialed up my interwebs and purchased one immediately. Since then, I’ve not gotten to his level (#bless) but I HAVE bought (or have been gifted) six of them for myself. I’ve gifted at least the same to my wife. I’ve bought one for my Father-in-Law and my Mother. I’ve forced my used ones on loved ones. I have interchangeable rubber bracelets popping out of all my junk drawers. I’m not a brand ambassador but something about tracking my steps for the day and uploading it to an app makes me feel productive. I like setting a daily goal and meeting or exceeding it. I’m a to do list person. I like checking off successes. A combination of therapy, Fitbit, and Trintellix has gotten me through this past year.

Image courtesy of The New Yorker.

You’d think that becoming a Fitbit aficionado would translate to a loss of 70 pounds in 7 years but then, you’d be a fool. Alas, even though I’m feverishly tracking my steps daily, I’m not doing any type of exercise that’s sweating off the pounds. Mostly what I’m doing is listlessly dancing every morning in front of my television to sitcoms. I realized that this “exercise routine” will never get me on the Olympic team but it DOES get my heart pumping, stretches me out better than any morning stretching routine ever has, helps my back, and gives me a slight endorphin rush. This morning’s dancing elevated my anxiety a bit because I’m on the last three episodes of Maude and I hate it when a sitcom ends (even though it truly ended 40 years ago and I have it on DVD and can watch it whenever the funk I want). I’m sentimental like that.

Photo courtesy of Bitch Magazine.

So all of this blather above is to say that I’ve made the decision to do Bariatric surgery. Here’s the thing; I haven’t come to this decision lightly. The first time my doctor suggested I do it was about two years ago. I felt reactive and a little “Fuck you” about it. I asked him if he was suggesting this to me because he didn’t have faith in me to do it on my own. He said “Coleen, I don’t have faith in ANYONE to lose weight. It’s just too hard to do.” He also said that some of the creeping health issues that have been popping up would be solved. (FYI, I have always had great health but in the past few years I’ve been diagnosed with Severe Sleep Apnea, cholesterol that’s on the high side of normal, and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver.) I mean, all of these are because of my weight, being sedentary, and my food choices. Also, I’m going to be 40 in September. Basically, my body idles at “good health” but I’ve been working HARD to overcome that and I’m succeeding.

The second time a doctor suggested Bariatric Surgery to me, it was a Perinatal Doctor that I’d been referred to as a part of an IVF checklist. This was also about two years ago. There too, I felt like “Fuck you.” My fertility doc sent me to her for essentially being “fat and old” (my words not hers but you dig). I said “So, in order to get pregnant, you want me to FIRST do a major abdominal surgery?” She was like “Sure.” I walked out of her office muttering about feminism, size-ism, age-ism, etc, etc, etc.

Image from here.

So two years passed and I saw two nutritionists and none of their advice stuck. I Fitbit-danced to 10+ sitcoms. I gained 20 pounds. I lost my brother due to “natural causes” aka “obesity” and an “enlarged heart”. (I had an EKG which showed that I do NOT have an enlarged heart. Obesity, however, yes.)

Last fall, I had a thought, “What if instead of being all fuck you, I was like this is exactly what I want and I’m so excited to do it?” I decided to research Bariatric Surgery with a completely open (and unenlarged) heart. I researched benefits, risks, people who’ve had it done, surgeons, recovery times, long-term effects, what is and isn’t covered by insurance, etc, etc, etc. Once I was done researching it, I talked it over with my wife who was VERY skeptical (aka afraid for me). I found myself working to convince her and kind of realized that I really DID want to do it. I took even more time and tried to then talk myself OUT of it. I finally settled on booking a consultation with a surgeon in NJ who came highly recommended from a bunch of sources. I made the appointment and went to it. She and I had a great discussion going through all the various types of Bariatric Surgeries and the one she ended up recommending was exactly what I’d already been leaning towards through my research; Gastric Sleeve.

Image courtesy of here.

Essentially, they take your healthy (albeit stretched out) stomach and staple a section of it off; removing the rest. This leaves a wee pouch. The purpose of this is threefold: 1) You literally cannot fit a lot of food in there, 2) there’s less surface area of your stomach so nutrients are more easily absorbed, and 3) your body produces less of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. There are basically three different types of Bariatric surgery: the lap band (which is where they literally put a rubber band around your stomach to the same effect), the gastric sleeve (above), and the gastric bypass (which is a whole crazy thing where they sort of attach your pipes directly to your intestines bypassing the stomach entirely – leaving your stomach just listlessly floating in your body). The most research they have (20 years) is about the bypass. It’s the A+ gold standard of bariatric surgery (more on that later). They are really not recommending the lap band anymore because it’s not really effective AND you have to do a minimum of two surgeries: 1) to put it in and 2) to remove it when it inevitably malfunctions (and then you gain ALL of the weight back). The gastric sleeve is the most popular bariatric surgery people are doing now although there is only about 10 years of research on it. Essentially, the reason she recommended gastric sleeve is that if you do the gastric sleeve and have an issue, you can go to a bypass but if you opt for the bypass out of the gate, there’s nowhere really to go. The surgeon said I’d have to fight her if I wanted to do the lap band. I liked the cut of her gib.

So the reality is that insurance WILL cover this surgery but I have to do the following things before they (and the surgeon) will allow it:

  1. Surgical consult – DONE
  2. Six monthly “supervised” visits at the surgeon’s office (and if I miss a month, I have to start all over again)
    1. First visit in March 2019 – DONE
    2. Second visit in April 2019 – DONE
    3. Third visit in May 2019 – DONE
    4. Fourth visit in June 2019 – DONE
    5. Fifth visit in July 2019 – Scheduled
    6. Sixth visit in August 2019 – Scheduled
  3. A visit with their on-staff dietician – Scheduled for July 2019
  4. Bloodwork – Working on it
  5. A note from my therapist – Working on it
  6. A note of medical necessity from my GP – DONE
  7. An endoscopy – Working on scheduling it after some rigamarole from insurance
  8. Losing a bit of weight – Not going well

I know I’m forgetting some things but point being, I’m WERKING on it. I’m hoping that I can get it done by the end of August; which would have been my brother’s 29th birthday. If not, maybe I’ll get it done in September which will be my 40th birthday. For my 30th, I moved to LA. For my 40th, I’m going to get a section of a major bodily organ removed.

Anyway, I really gotta GTFO right this second. I wanted to write this out so I can focus on it because my focus has been all over the place lately. I hope this helps someone to read and if it doesn’t, well, it helped me to write.