Thursday, October 30, 2008

For those undecided, or thinking that voting is pointless, read the following

This is from my husband's blog and it is so very well said and so very important. We can't have one party (either of them) in total control of everything: house, senate and white house, especially the Democrats because of the the Freedom of Choice Act and the Fairness Doctrine neither of which is free or fair.

Peace,

School is ruining my life

I hate school and I hate schooling. I am speaking here of school from prek-12th grade. So much of it is complete bullshit. Let me repeat that...BULLSHIT...big stinky hot piles of bull poo poo! (College is not compulsory. You either choose it or you don't. Andrew is loving college.)  You know when people say to homeschoolers (which one rarely hears anymore), "What about your child's socialization?" Well, to be honest, THAT is about the only value I see to schools. I spoke with Andrew recently about high school and asked him for an honest assessment since he's graduated. He told me the only stuff he really got out of high school are 1) friends and the bands he formed 2) the video-broadcasting dept 3) Fencing.  Two out of the 3 things were mostly social. The video stuff was what he always wanted to do. He said he would have been happy to go and learn about the video stuff, play drums and guitar all day, and occasionally Fence... if he had the choice. I asked him if he missed it at all. He said, "No."

I think it would be super cool if there were a place for homeschooled kids to hang out with a variety of friends of different ages, everyday, for a few hours. But not the way school does it, nor even the way many homeschoolers do it. I mean totally unstructured getting together just to hang kinda time. Even homeschoolers often only get together under the auspices of 'doing something schooly' UGH!!! JUST STOP IT ALREADY!!! Why do homeschoolers copy schoolers AT ALL!?! See that is where school has it all wrong. The socialization in schools, for the most part, is artificial. It takes place under the watchful eyes of 'authorities' and kids can't do what they are interested in. I would love to see a cool place with a big video game room with a bunch of geeky kids playing Halo 3 or Gears of War. Then there could be another room where kids were watching movies, one for art, one for reading, one for chatting and board games, a lab for experiments and on and on. Outside there were would be kids exploring the woods and some playing athletic games. A place like this could be staffed by the parents, each lending his or her special talents to helping kids learn and do whatever it is they are interested in doing whether that is accounting skills, knitting a sweater, designing a computer game, building a website, or baking a cake. How cool would that be?  I know it's been done. Summerhill is a good example. So are Sudbury Valley Schools. They are Unschooling schools, but I am thinking more of a learning enrichment center. 

So, Ben is going to his school just when the 'fun stuff' happens. He is attending the latter half of the day for a social skills class, lunch, and a fun elective (alternates between science experiments and indoor/outdoor athletics).  This is a private school that caters to special kids. But they are still freaked out that Ben isn't being 'educated'.  I think he's getting plenty of an education just hanging with these kids and developing friendships while realizing he can be away from the family (esp. ME) and not DIE.  But all the hoops I have to jump through are just making me loathe any school: public or private they are all a pain in my ass!  I thought, mistakenly, that when I started paying for a school that they would be more willing to work with me in the best interests of Ben. Okay, the private school is much better than the public school he went to (and I am NOT blaming teachers, I am BLAMING the administrators and the state/federal gov't for the public school's inflexibility) but the private school still has an agenda and we had to twist some arms to get what we have now.  Let me be clear in saying that the private school administrators have been fabulously accommodating, but they still want it to go 'their way' when all is said and done.

Anyway, school has been ruining my life for years now. I haven't needed school for Ben.  I have needed what I proposed above for Ben.  If I had the money I would open such a 'place' myself. I think a relative would have to die and leave me money first, so I am not counting on opening any such 'place' anytime soon.  

Leonie just sent me a copy of a book that only confirms all of the feelings I have had about schooling, and unschooling, and has me pining for a simpler life. Especially because of all the shit we have had to wade through these last years regarding Ben and school. I am just so tired of it all.  At first things look like they will work, people make promises they can't keep, Ben falls apart and our family life explodes. I hate it and I just want it to stop!!! Yes, Ben can drive me absolutely out of my skull. However, school is driving him nuts so I am even more crazy. The stress is just insane. I am sick to death of all the frickin outside interference into our lives. I bet I could have gotten a homeschooled teenager to come and play video games with Ben a couple times a week for alot cheaper than his darn school costs. (Yes, I am getting about 2/3rd the tuition back in State vouchers, but not until the end of the school year will I recoup it all. So, we had to pay the whole 18K out of pocket up front.) I know I could have paid a teenager less and there would be far more peace in our home. 

Man, I am an idiot. Will I ever learn what God has been trying to teach me for so long....to let Go and Trust. And to think I have the AUDACITY to get pissed at my kids for not "listening to me" when I tell them to do something a hundred times. How flipping long has God been telling me to stop trusting 'so called experts with my kids and start trusting my kids and myself. I am the best expert on my kids.  I think God's been at this with me for 19 years. How wonderfully patient he is with me and how horribly impatient I am with my kids. Jeez, I really suck.

 UGH!!!!



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How I did it. (Lost weight, that is)

So, a few of my Cyberpals have asked how I lost the weight...wanting specifics. Before I tell you how I did it, I need to tell you why I did it. A person can't lose weight for anyone other than themselves. It will NEVER work until you really want it. And I mean REALLY WANT IT. For me, it was my size 14 jeans getting so tight that I knew I was going to have to get 16's. I just couldn't do it. I knew I wasn't physically the person I was physically becoming. I was almost 42 and I realized I wanted to look more like I did when I was 24 and that the only thing standing in the way of that reality was me, my appetite, and my pathetic lack of activity. I had made excuses ever since my mom had died and my weight started climbing. I realized, that after 7 years, I had run out of excuses (the one's I told myself) and it was time to 'just do it'.

In one sentence 'how I did it' can be summed up like this: I KEPT MY BODY(METABOLISM) GUESSING.

Now to break down that one sentence.

I did reduce my caloric intake and cycled my calories.
I reduced my calories using this calculator at Free Dieting. At the bottom of the calculator one can click '7 Day Calorie Zig Zag' and that will keep one's weekly calories the same but altering the cals daily to keep one's metabolism revved up. A body gets used to the amount of calories a person feeds it when dieting. So, a steady does of 1400 cals, after about a month or so, slows a metabolism down. A body doesn't want to lose weight. It feels like it is starving. So, it will go into starvation mode. In real life people eat different amounts of calories daily. Calorie reduction done the same way helps keep a body out of starvation mode and feeds one's metabolism to keep it burning efficiently.

 I did track all my food & exercise using Spark People. I can't say enough about how awesome, helpful, and instrumental Spark was for me losing the weight I wanted to. I really don't think I could have done it without everything I learned and all the support I got from Spark. It's free and better than any dieting site a person could pay for. I know, I joined Weight Watchers for a month and their online site can't touch Spark People. I do, however, love Weight Watchers' cookbooks and motivational books.

I did eat (and still do) Low fat, Low Protein, High Complex Carbs, High Fiber foods about 80% of the time and 20% was the so- called 'bad' stuff. I am not a vegetarian. I did not cut ANYTHING out of my diet. I just found that, for me, that combo worked best. I ate mostly veggies, fruits, whole wheat breads, I used cheeses as condiments in lieu of slathering them on everything. I switched to light butter.  I learned to make favorite dishes low in calories by simple substitutions. If I screwed up during the week and went a little nuts eating something I shouldn't I just jumped back in the saddle and kept on going. I did NOT let a screw up give me license to just gorge on everything in sight because I'd blown it. That kind of thinking is LETHAL to weight loss. If you go overboard on some food, just make the next day a lighter day and maybe walk an extra mile. It will all work out in the end...kwim? 

I did not drink 8 glasses of water a day (see article here). I drank when I was thirsty. I did switch from regular Coke to caffeine free diet coke. (I like being thin, so if I go nuts from the artificial sweetener, at least I will be thin and nuts....but wait....I *AM* already nuts....so never mind.) I drank my coffee with cream in it too.

I did not eat breakfast. Okay, this is strange. I know everyone says to eat breakfast, but when I do, I am hungry all day. When I don't my appetite is more stable. What is even weirder is that breakfast food is my favorite food. I secretly would love to be a short order cook. I love eggs, bacon, waffles, pancakes, ham, scones, muffins, bowls of fresh fruit etc...So, I would make lighter versions of breakfast foods for dinner, on occasion, and just have my breakfast at night. I did switch from my beloved real maple syrup to the sugar free kind. Or I will use all fruit jam on pancakes. (My kids LOVE breakfast for dinner.)

I did realize there are foods that I can't resist and will overeat. Oreos and homemade chocolate chip cookies are good examples. Therefore, I didn't buy them or make them. They were INO...it's not an option. I have other foods that are INO (though not so much now that I am at goal. Now it's more AIM... anything in moderation.) I also learned the best calorie bargains. So, if I wanted fries and a burger, I knew the best size at the best place for the lowest calories. 

 I did (and still do) walk, but I varied it, so my body couldn't get used to what I was doing. This worked really well too. I didn't read about it anywhere, though. Every book and website says to do exercise consistently. Well, I was consistent with the fact that I made sure I exercised, but intensity and length of time varied according to my schedule. Also, I never did weight training. I lift and carry stuff all day...including a 40lb/5 mos old Siberian Husky. I didn't have the time or money. All my money is being spent on food or the kids. So, I walked. I wanted to run, but I can't. Why? I wet my pants. I have total bladder control EXCEPT for jumping, sneezing, and RUNNING. So, I settled on walking. Some days I walked 5 or 6 miles really fast. Other days I walk 1.5 miles fast or maybe leisurely. The fact is that I walked (aerobic exercise) almost everyday.  Then there were times I couldn't walk for a few days and when I finally got back out there I busted my butt on a long walk. That was always the way I broke through a plateu...(that and upping my cals a bit).

 I did have a weigh in day which was also my pig-out (free) day. I picked Friday's to weigh in. I always weighed in on Friday morning, totally naked, after peeing. Sorry to be gross but I wanted the most empty true weight I could get. That way I got a double bonus. The first being seeing the scale go down (and I was happy even to see a 4 oz shift) and the second to know I could go out to dinner with Robert and/or friends and not worry about food. Fridays gave me something to look forward to that made the sacrifices of the previous 6 days worth it. The extra calories stoked my metabolism, and mentally I stopped myself from sabotage because I knew once a week I would get my fun food day. Also, I knew I had until the next Friday to adjust my calories and/or exercise to keep the weight loss going. Also, even if the scale didn't move one week, I still had my free day. Pretty much everytime I was stuck at a weight I would lose a pound or two the following week. 

I did (and still do) choose to live much healthier. I made losing weight about a permanent healthy lifestyle change, in diet and exercise, instead of just a way to get skinny and then go back to my old bad habits. 

At goal I started weighing myself daily. It helps me to keep inside my "weight box" and helps me to see the effect of how pigging out at a big party, or just having a salad and soup day, has on my weight. It also helps me to know when I need to eat lighter or if I am low enough in my weight box to feel free to eat what I want on a given day. 

At goal I started tracking my calories less. I barely track my calories now, online or on paper. I was OCD about it while losing the weight. What was good about that was that I learned the caloric value of pretty much everything I eat. So, now I keep a loose tally in my head. I have been able to increase my calories, due to the calorie cycling, so that I can maintain my 33lb loss while eating close to 2200 cals a day. That is darn good! (Let's face it, it means more yummy goodies!) I have been maintaining between 135 and 138 for a month now. A few days ago, after pigging out big time at a parish party, I weighed 138.6 lbs. Today, after some extra walking and watching my eating I am back to 135.6 

At goal I realized I will ALWAYS have to be aware of my weight and activity levels. A big mistake
that so many make, who lose weight and then regain it, is to get to one's goal and then abandon all the good habits one formed during the time one was losing the weight. 

Last, but not least, PRAYER. I was tempted many times to just give in and give up. God helped me continue to fight the fight for my health. Yeah God!!!

I think that's about it.

Peace,


Another look alike

Here's my Ben at 12 (I was 13 below), note the resemblance?  Spooky, huh? We even had the same haircut. Yikes! Autumn, however, has my personality but Robert's family's features. 



Here's Tivo, Autumn, me, and Ben.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hair Horror Stories

Okay, I only have 2 real stories. The first is when my mom's sisters would take me every Summer (in Southampton, NY) to get my hair cut (OFF) because they thought I was sooooo cute with short hair. Well, that all came to a screeching halt the Summer I was 12 and after getting my hair cut (OFF) my dad took me for ice cream and the guy behind the counter said, "And what does your son want?" I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE SON!!! I was a late developer okay!!! As you can see in the pic below (at 13 years old), I would have been a very pretty boy.
Proof that I have always had the same haircut (except for the shearing my aunts did to me) behold my baby bob below:

Oh, I almost forgot the 2nd horror story. I had had my hair highlighted. It looked really great. So, when it was time to get it redone I went and my stylist was gone. So, they stuck me with a new guy who left it on too long and the top layer of my head was blonde and underneath was brown...lovely!  That was about 7 years ago...never had my hair highlighted since.

Peace,

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Muse B Side...FURY


Why another Muse video? Well, because it's been a long time and there flippin' awesome, that's why.

It's Clark Kent...no...it's Tivo!


He's just adorable, isn't he? He is wearing Ben's new glasses and we couldn't decide if both Ben and Tivo (in the glasses) looked like Clark Kent, Dr. Who, or Austin Powers. Thinking about it, I could see Tivo saying, "Do I make you randy?" "Yeah, Baby, Yeah!"

Below is a picture of Tivo about 1-2 weeks old. And now at 18wks. He is huge!



Peace,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Andrew!


I can't believe you are 19 YEARS old. It's seems like moments ago you were just 19 months old. . Each day you become an even more amazing human being. I am so honored and proud that God picked me to be your mom. I will love you forever and always, my sweet boy.

Mom

Thank you, God, for giving me such a wonderful child. He is a continued gift and I am so grateful he's mine.

Rachel

Friday, October 17, 2008

Urgent prayers needed!

Please pray for Michael Summerville. He is only 21 months old and was revived from drowning ( Oct 15th) but is currently in an induced coma. Here is his Caring Bridge website: LoveMichael. Pray for him and put him on your church's prayer chain too, if you have one.  Oh, they are a Catholic family so all you Catholics out there, offer a Mass (0r more) for little Michael. 

Thanks!
Rachel

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finally! The official Quantum of Solace music video.


Jack White and Alicia Keys being AWESOME!

Cool unschooling site

I think this site originates from England. It is called The Parenting Pit. I found it at the Motheringdotcom forum. So far, I really like it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

8 Years

(Mom & Me 1967)
Today it's been 8 years without
your voice,
your face,
your hugs,
your kisses,
your sense of humor,
your laughter,
your friendship,
your counsel,
your mothering,
your love,
You!
Today it's been 8 years without YOU, Mom!
I miss
our conversations,
crying in your arms.
your consolation,
snuggling up to you at 34, as if I were only 4,
how much you loved the kids
and how much they loved you,
the kids growing up without you,
me getting older without you,
hearing your laugh or just your voice,
I miss YOU, Mom.
God, how I miss you, Mom.
My heart aches like it wasn't 8 years ago, but 8 seconds ago
that you left us, me.
You were too young. The world lost an angel.
The kids lost their Mima,
Dad lost his wife,
Jon lost his mom,
And so did I.
I'll miss you always.
I love you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Move over McCain & Obama

Your result for The Presidential Capacity Test...

Presidential Success!

68% Values, 100% Charisma and 76% Judgment!


"In America, anyone can become president. That's one of the risks you take." -Adlai E. Stevenson


Congratulations! You encapsulate everything that a successful candidate should encapsulate.


Crack open the whiskey and break out the celebratory cigar. You are destined for success in the Presidential Campaign. You exude confidence and charisma. You exhibit true leadership abilities and demonstrate the ability to make snap judgement calls if the need arises. You are well-respected for your strong values and your steadfast stance on honesty and loyalty.


The USA needs a President like you. You are one of a select few deserving of the influence and recognition commanded by the Presidential title. Congrats!



Other possibilities:


13404520640117068549.png___1_500_1_2000_7fa54554_.jpg

Take The Presidential Capacity Test at HelloQuizzy

Expelliarmus


Well, Ben didn't have a wand ejected from his hand but he was ejected from his private school today. According to them, and I have to admit they really tried, Ben is beyond their scope of support.

He is a homeschooler...for now. I really don't know what we are going to do....PRAYERS PLEASE!

Oh....and I forgot to mention that unless we can work something out with the school, we may be out 17K and during this crappy economy that is not something we can handle. Please pray, too, that the school is merciful and refunds the prorated amount of Ben's tuition back to us.

THANK YOU!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Stole this from Rob's blog because it is so darn funny!

My new favorite site is

Despair.com. Here are a couple of favorites that speak directly to what has been going on in my life lately. :-)






I knew it!

Drinking water alone does not aid weight loss

Drinking eight glasses of water a day does not help dieters keep weight off, scientists have found.

 

Instead those wishing to lose weight should try eating more foods which contain water, like fruit, vegetables, rice and soups.

In a study the weight and waistlines of more than 1,000 young women were compared with the amount of water they consumed each day from both food and drink.

Women who ate more water-rich food tended to have a slightly smaller waist size and lower body mass index, meaning they were healthier weights for their heights.

The study showed that drinking water alone had no effect on the women's weights, the science journal Nutrition reported.

"These studies suggest that when water is consumed as an integral component of a food, it promotes satiety and decreases subsequent dietary intake, thus possibly working to prevent obesity," researchers from the University of Tokyo said.

They said it could be due to the fact that foods that contain water are also high in fibre and so make people feel more full after eating them.

Earlier studies had suggested that people needed to drink eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy, keep slim and maintain good skin.

But the American scientists said there was no evidence to support this and most people get all the fluids they need from food and other drinks like tea and coffee.

article from Telegragh.co.uk

(I knew this just because this whole time I have been losing weight, I have always felt guilty that I wasn't drinking enough water. Yet, here I am 33 pounds thinner and I never got my 8 glasses in a day. I love coffee, and caffeine free diet coke, milk and yes I have water, but maybe 2 big glasses. LIke the article says though, I love soup, fruit, veggies...lots of high fiber high water content foods.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How could I forget

to thank My Hunny, most of all, for loving me, sticking by me, praying for me, and getting me through (even though I did not want his help) my recent crash. I had sunk to a place where I couldn't show him I love him (and I am not talking about *that*) I mean just a kiss goodbye on his way to work or a kiss goodnight, or an I love you at the end of a phone call. This may not seem like much to some, but I am a hugely affectionate person. I hug and kiss my friends and tell them I love them, and am even more loving to my kids and husband. Our little family is huge on saying, "I love you" to each other. We can even get Andrew to say it on occasion. :-) Heck, I kiss and hug my cats and dog. I love loving people, so when that all goes away, you know something is VERY WRONG!  So, My Hunny, with enough crap going on in his life as sole provider and father, had to deal with not having his usually supportive wife through it all. Like I said, I just wanted to disappear. I didn't want to care about anyone or anything and I didn't want anyone to care about me. But, in keeping with the sacramentality of our marriage, he loved me through a dark time when I was difficult to love (or like) and, despite my protests to intervening,  still talked to Rick (Dr.C) and got him to convince me to take the Lamictal and ( along with Robert) go and see him to work through all the stuff in my head. 

So, My sweet Hunny. I love you. Thank you for loving me. I don't feel like I deserve it, but I figure God knows better than I do, so he must love me alot to have given me you. 

Forever,

Better living through chemistry & a concert

The Lamictal has literally changed my life in the last 72 hours. I owe my life (and I am not kidding) to Rick and his amazing knowledge and judicious use of pyschopharmacology. 

I am feeling like the person I feel I really am.  Which is a very good thing. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of my blogging and IRL friends who have been praying for me. I love you all for it. 

Tonight, Robert, Andrew and I went to see The Raconteurs.  They are an amazing band fronted by White Stripes' singer/guitarist Jack White. The show was AMAZING! We were 15 feet away from the stage. It was so incredibly awesome! Jack White is one of favorite guitarists. I was blown away by how totally fabulous he and the whole band was. Andrew took pics and video and I will get them on my blog ASAP.

Peace,