Thursday, January 26, 2012

How It's Been

Well I think I've been doing quite well lately.  After the near death experience it seems like I've had a new outlook on life and my relationship and I think Snackers has felt the same way.  We had a rather interesting and unexpected chat over a plate of chips and salsa at Denny's the other day that really brought us closer together, I think.

My parents were here for a visit last weekend.  They arrived late Friday morning and hung out with us around the house until I got off work.  Snackers introduced them to the wonders of Netflix on the 51" flatscreen and I think my dad was in love.  When I got done with work we took them to Sam's Town where we walked around the Casino, killed some time, and my mom and I shared a virgin margarita while we waited for the light and water show that they have there.  They played a variety of tunes but finished it up with "Proud to Be an American" which got us all a little choked up.  After that we went to dinner at the East-side Cannery ... which wasn't great, I'll admit.  Their breakfasts there are much better but dinner was a bit of a let-down.

From there my mom wanted to do some quick shopping at Target because, being a diabetic, my dad has some special dietary needs.  I had some sugar free items that I'd picked up for him and a huge bag of snacks designed specifically to help diabetics regulate their blood sugar that our friends sent over for him but I forgot the simple things like skim milk and whole wheat bread.  After that we came home and watched Storage Wars, also on Netflix until bed.  We had fun on Saturday as well, though Snackers had to work and dad wasn't feeling great so we lazied around in my living room through most of the morning while mom and I talked and dad watched the news in HD ... I think I saw little heart shaped bubbles floating out of the top of his head. lol  Around noon the three of us went to lunch at Coyotes (yummy authentic Mexican food) and then picked Snackers up from work.  We stopped in briefly at Kohl's and Old Navy because my dad wanted to buy my mom some new clothes for her birthday that's coming up but instead of her finding anything for herself Snackers ended up finding two jackets for me.  One is a joggers jacket so it's snug, long sleeved with thumb holes in the cuffs, and high collared.  It has interior and exterior pockets for an ipod, cell phone etc. and is made from that material that wicks away sweat.  The other is a long grey knit sweater like the one the ghost wears on Being Human.  I love them!

From there we headed to Caesar's Palace and the Miracle Mile shops where we browsed stores that we could never even hope to afford anything from and watched a few minutes of the water fountain show but it was LAME so we left for the main attraction.  FREEMONT STREET!  My dad has always wanted to see the experience since it opened so that had to be on our to-do list.  You can zip-line the experience now, from one end to the half-way point but the downer is they require ID and my dad didn't have his on him so that got shot down.  We did a lot of walking though and I even sprinted about a block-and-a-half and back again to check on the tickets for the zip-line before we found out you needed ID to ride it.  After that my parents did something I never thought they'd ever do in Vegas.  My dad had a psychic read his palm.  Even more surprisingly was that he was pretty impressed by her, and that's especially shocking because my dad is the biggest skeptic I know when it comes to psychics but he seemed impressed enough that he and my mom both thought Snackers should get his done ... so we did.  I was impressed and I think Snackers was too but he was kind of blowing it off a little.

After that mom had her first-ever KrispyCreme donut (and dad had a taste).  Snackers had a chocolate milk shake made from pure butter fat (and mom had a taste).  I abstained from both.  By then the experience had started and it was the one we went specifically to see: American Pie by Don McLean.  It was awesome!  I've seen a few different shows at the experience and this one was the best.  Dad and I were both singing along and at one point a rocket ship blasted from one end of the experience to the other.  My dad worked on rockets when he was a design engineer so he especially loved that part.

From there we continued to make our way from one end to the other, stopping to get our pictures taken with Elmo and the Cookie Monster because my mom thought my sister's kids would get a kick out of it.  Then I taught dad how to play penny slots while Snackers and Mom sampled the 99 cent deep fried twinkies and oreos.  They also got a frozen, chocolate covered banana on a stick but they didn't eat it so I picked the chocolate off and snacked on the banana on our way back to the car.

Sunday morning we got up and went to breakfast as Weiss', an authentic Jewish restaurant with the YUMMIEST homemade bagels and fresh tomato slices EVER!  Then we took dad to get his first ever professional massage and while he was doing that mom, Snackers, and I hung out in a sports bar next door playing video poker and watching the Patriots game.  Mom doubled her $5.  Yeah mom!  Then we headed to Nikki Lee's when dad was done to finish watching the game because it's close to the airport and way more comfortable than the one by the spa.  Mom and I walked a block-and-a-half to the nearest 7-11 because I realized, after we got there, that I needed some girl supplies ... if you catch my drift.  Then we pretty much hung out and watched one of the most intense football games I've seen all year.  By then it was time to take them to the shuttle so Snackers dropped us all off and I walked them to the shuttle pick-up while he did loops.  I said goodby and told the driver to take good care of them, then headed back upstairs to jump in the car.

I think they had a lot of fun but I guess my mom doesn't know that 'what happens in Vegas is supposed to say in Vegas' because she's been sending intermittent pictures to everyone in her cell phone contacts including me all week.  Ah well, I guess that means it's ok for me to share the whole lo-down here on my blog right? :)

I've started my last classes for school before graduation.  My last day of class will be April 1st and my commencement will be on June 9th.  Snackers and I are thinking of getting some Garfield and Odie costumes and becoming street performers on Freemont Street for extra ducats in the evenings once I'm done with classes.  Those peeps make about $100 a night according to an article published in the local paper and you don't have to have special licensing to do it as long as you stay a certain distance from the casino entrances and are respectful of the other street performers.  Not a bad night job if you ask me!

The IUD was starting to worry me that my body was going to reject it.  I've read about a dozen horror stories from women who had issues for months after receiving it and had to have it taken out because their bodies just wouldn't adapt.  If that happens I'm out the $500, no refund ... so I've been pretty concerned.  But yesterday and today seem better.  I haven't had any pain but I was going through more than normal on the girl supplies last week and part of the week before but it looks like it's slowing down now so I just might be alright.  *crosses fingers*. 

And finally, Vladdy turned 1-year old yesterday so Snackers had a little party for him at the park and our friends brought him a doggy ice-cream cup.  I stayed home to work on the latest book which is just about finished (I love dogs ... really I do but having a birthday party for a dog just isn't "me" I guess).  So that's that.  How are all of you doing?  Any new news or developments lately?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Blink of an Eye

Woke up early yesterday morning to the sun shining, birds chirping (well cooing rather because they were pigeons), not a cloud in the sky, and no wind so we thought "Let's go Kayaking!"  Sure it's January but it was beautiful out so why not right?  ...Famous last words.

We loaded up the yaks and gear, grabbed some Subway and a sugar free redbull for me and headed out.  We estimate that we put our boats into the water around 9:45 and we'd left the dogs at home because "We wanted to do some serious rowing" ... thank goodness!  We launched out of Las Vegas Bay on Lake Mead and headed toward Hoover Dam.  Turns out it's a lot farther than you'd think when you're driving it but the water was calm and we were making great time.  By 10:00 a.m. we couldn't even see the marina anymore.

I'm not sure what time it was when the wind started up but we decided that since we're still new to kayaking we should head back and stay close to the car.  We had an experience in our little inflatable boat that we used to have two years ago where we rowed out and couldn't get back because of the current and I had to get out and tow the boat back all along the shoreline.  That was actually a big part of why we sold that boat and bought yaks.  Lighter, easier to maneuver but still ... we're novices and we're not trying to get ourselves killed.  Our original plan was to find a beach and have lunch but there was nothing but cliffs on our side of the lake where we'd rowed to so we decided to row back to the car, have lunch there, and then head out again in the opposite direction.

By the time the wind started it was already too late.  It went from no wind to gales in a single gust.  It took us approximately 20 minutes to get out to where we couldn't see the marina and we spent over an hour with the marina in view trying to get back to it but going virtually nowhere.  Then I glanced behind me and saw that not only had Snackers fallen about 150 yards behind ... but his yak was upside down and I couldn't see him anywhere.  At first I wasn't worried.  We practiced getting back on our yaks in the event of a flip right after we got them so I just watched and waited ... and waited.  Then I started to panic.  I could see his oar floating in one direction and our cooler, which had been on his yak, floating in the other direction and I realized that he and I were in two different currents that were pushing us away from each other.  He was just coming around the corner of a hill where the current was pushing north and I had made it half way along a parallel course to the hill where the current was pushing west ... so we were screwed.  I saw a speed boat going right past Snackers so I thought if I could signal the boat to go help him we'd be fine.  I started screaming and waving my paddle in the air but the boat went right past first Snackers, and then me, without seeing us at all.  So I grabbed the cell phone out of the dry box, sealed it back up, and called 911 because I couldn't see him, I couldn't hear him, and I knew it would take me forever to get to him and that might be too late.  But while I'm on the phone with dispatch Shawn finally starts screaming.

Every horror film you've ever seen where a guy is screaming for help because someone is cutting his legs off or whatever ... is pretty realistic.  It is a completely bone chilling sound, especially when it's coming from someone you love and I STILL couldn't see him and his yak was STILL upside down.  So I remember telling the dispatch "I can't talk he's screaming and I have to row, I have to help him, please send someone to get us" and then I put the phone in my mouth and started to row.  Two strokes later I was in the water.

It's weird because I hadn't even felt remotely unstable prior to flipping.  There hadn't been "almost" moments where I thought I was going to flip but managed to stable it out ... nothing.  I was completely secure and wondering "How in the hell did he flip" one second and the next second I was in the water.  As it turns out Snackers had been able to keep a hold on his yak but couldn't flip it back over to get back in it, but when he saw me go over he abandoned his yak and started swimming as hard as he could toward me.

I was able to flip my yak over but I couldn't get back in it, the water was 54 degrees and I was instantly so cold and numb that I couldn't get my limbs to work properly.  I put the phone back in the dry box while clinging to the yak and the paddle and then started swimming for Snackers, whom I could finally see now.

We were both wearing hoodies under our life jackets and the instant they got wet they got HEAVY!  I could see Snackers' vest was clear up over his head and the only thing keeping it on him was his arms and that scared the hell out of me.  About 10-15 feet away he said he wanted to take his life vest off so that he could take his hoodie off.  I've tried to put a life vest on in deep water before and I KNOW it's almost impossible so I started screaming "NO! LEAVE IT ON AND SWIM!"  I figured, at the very least he needed to get to the yak first so he'd have something to hang on to if he couldn't get his vest back on.

He made it to me and together we started swimming toward the cliffs while clinging to the yak but it didn't take us long to realize we were going in the opposite direction.  Another boat passed and we screamed and screamed and it just kept going.  We realized we were heading kind of in the general direction of this big rock sticking up out of the water so we decided to go with the current, instead of against it, and try to get to the rock.  I couldn't get back in the yak.  I'd already tried but Snackers insisted that I keep trying to get in.  I finally told him it made more sense for him to get in.  He'd been in the water the longest, he was the strongest, and he stood the best change of rowing us both to the rock so he did.  I saw another boat so he got on the yak and tried to signal and it passed.  He checked the cell but it was dead because it had been on when I flipped and it went into the water ... so back to plan A - row for the rock.

I held on to the back of the yak and kicked my legs as hard as I could and Snackers rowed.  He kept trying to talk to me but I had swells over a foot high crashing over my head and the yak paddle was blasting water into my face with every stroke but I didn't want Snackers to know because I didn't want him to stop rowing with everything he had so I just kept my mouth shut, did my best to inhale between waves, and kicked.  I swallowed and inhaled a LOT of water.

The next thing I know I hear him saying that we're going to miss the rock because the current is going to push us right past the tip of it.  I looked around him and realized we needed to turn about 30 degrees to the left so I grabbed the back of the yak and yanked it to the right and screamed "ROW!"  I started to get too cold at that point.  There were these little white streaks of light that were kind of dancing around in my vision and everything behind them looked much darker than it should have - like I was looking through a microscope or something and I kept just telling myself in my head "Don't pass out, be strong.  You can do this.  Keep it together, keep going."

We know that we were in the water for a MINIMUM of 30 minutes based on the time of the call to 911 but we finally made it to the rock.  I climbed around the yak and managed to get up onto the rock but I couldn't feel my legs AT ALL.  They were so dark purple that I was instantly terrified.  I've had frost bite on my toes before and I've never seen my skin that purple, ever.  Snackers kept telling me to keep climbing up higher so that he could get out and I wanted to but I literally couldn't feel my legs so I'd try to pick them up and put them down and I couldn't feel if I was standing on a sharp rock or a flat rock or if the rock was stable or moving.  I knew I was getting cut up on my hands and legs because I could see the scrapes and blood but I couldn't feel them.  We finally managed to both get up on the rock and drag the yak up onto it with us, then we took off our vest and hoodies because they were soaking wet and freezing.  The wind was GUSTING so hard.  I took the oar apart into two pieces and started waving them over my head hoping someone would see them but two more boats went past us and one guy even waved as he drove by.  WTH?!

Then we saw a boat that looked like it was headed for us but it did a big loop first so we weren't totally sure.  Turns out he had seen Snackers's paddle and our cooler floating on the water and he was picking them up - then he saw us on the rock.  He couldn't get us where we were at though because the wake was crashing against the rocks too hard so he told us that we needed to go around to the other side.  We put our vests back on and started to go up and over this rock but I was having such a hard time because my legs were so numb.  I fell into a cactus but it didn't hurt and I knew then that I was in serious trouble ... not only that but I wasn't shivering anymore which is a very bad sign.  I looked at the water and thought 'I can swim better than I can hike these rocks right now' so I jumped back in and started swimming around the rock to the boat while Snackers continued his up-and-over.

The guy on the boat started putting on flippers and I could tell he was thinking he was going to have to jump in and get me but the water felt good and I was cruising (so deceptive, hypothermia).  When I got into the boat I saw our cooler and was like "Dude, no way!".  Turns out our knights in shining armor were the Lake Mead Technical Dive Team so once we were in the boat one of the guys put his flippers and mask on and was able to swim out and retrieve our yak, jackets, and gear.  Funny enough - I had taken our dry box off of the yak and kept it with me when I swam to get into the boat because it had our car keys on it and, at that point, I was prepared to completely abandon both yaks but I wanted my damn car keys! lol

One thing that I remember thinking is that I thought we were being rescued by the Lake Mead park service so I kept wondering why they weren't giving us any first aid.  We were EXTREMELY hypothermic and it was like "get in the boat and sit down" and that was it.  I realized later it's because they were just a random passing group of divers.  They weren't trained or equipped for rescuing idiot novice kayakers stranded on jagged rocks in freezing cold water.

They did, however, save all of our gear.  All of it.  They found Snackers' yak on the opposite side of the lake in a place they called Wreck Row (presumably the name alone should speak to how they knew where to find the yak).  Once we had both yaks in the boat they took us right back to where we parked our car.  Other members of there team were there waiting and helped us off the boat and unload the yaks.  One of them was female and I grabbed her and hugged her and wouldn't let go.  I'm sure she was like "ok lady you're freezing and soaking wet and I'm dry, get off me" but I was just so grateful.  Snackers and I both had individual moments in all of that where we really truly thought we were going to die.  When I was in my yak and hearing him scream I thought he was going to drown right in front of me and there wasn't going to be a damn thing that I could do to help him.  When he was rowing and he heard me coughing and sputtering he thought I was going to drown and he wasn't going to get me to safety in time.  It was horrifying.

We finally started to shiver while in the rescue boat, YAY!, and it was VIOLENT!!!!  My whole body was jumping and I finally started to clench my jaw to keep my teeth from clacking together but I thought they were going to break.  We got to the marina and just left the yaks on the dock.  I always pack a dry bag with spare clothes when we go yaking so we changed into those immediately and then climbed into the car with the heater blasting to get warm.  Our rescuers were just gone in a flash.  They unloaded us and our boats and then POOF.  Probably because they wanted to get out of there before the weather got much worse too and they were parked at a completely different bay so I got the impression that they were in a hurry to unload us and get moving.  They did offer to help us load the yaks on the car but we just wanted to get in the car and sit for a minute so we told them to go ahead and go.

Once I could feel all of the bruises and cuts on my feet we got out and loaded all the gear in/on the car then got back in and booked it home, thankful to be alive.  We both broke down on the way home - me more of course as it sunk in what we had just been through.  It was surreal that one moment we could think we were going to die and the next minute we were in our car headed home.  I'd mentioned to our rescuers that I'd called 911 so they'd called the lake service and let them know they'd picked us up and we were safe so we never saw a single ranger.  We probably should have had professional medical attention but there was nothing.

We got home, unloaded everything and just dumped it in the garage, then together we got straight into the hottest shower that we could stand and we stayed there until the water ran out.  We put on warm, dry clothes, climbed into bed, pulled the blankets over us and just crashed for about two hours before we got up and realized we were hungry.

We'd both eaten 6" breakfast sandwiches from Subway before we went yaking at around 8:30 a.m.  We probably burned several thousand calories from yaking, swimming, treading water, and then shivering (shivering takes a LOT of calories, believe it or not) and we didn't eat anything else until we finally made some ramen noodles at around 6 p.m.  And even then neither of us were hungry but I knew we needed something to hot to help us warm up from the inside so I made us both drink a 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper in warm chicken broth, some MSM to prevent giardia from swallowing/inhaling so much lake water, and then the hot noodles.  We were both coughing up lake water and had it coming out of our noses all night and we're both hoarse this morning from screaming for help.  I'm worried about pneumonia because we both inhaled so much water but my legs are a normal color again (where they're not bruised that is) and we're both doing ok this morning.  We both look like hell though.  We have cuts and bruises all over our hands, legs, feet, arms, and even some on our faces.  We look like we've been in a mild car accident but we're alive.

Even talking about it now it seems like it happened weeks ago instead of just yesterday.  It's strange how being in survival mode makes everything so clear and sharp as it's happening and then it all instantly gets foggy and surreal as soon as the adrenaline levels start to drop.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Still alive and kicking.  Working on the new book today and don't have anything specific to report so I thought I'd post a snippet from the book that I published last year just for shits and giggles.  This is the prolog from Dhampiri.

I remember the darkness and the cold more than anything else. I remember them because I have never seen darkness nor felt cold again since that night. It was the thick, heavy kind of darkness that forces your mind to invent phantasm shapes and movements for the sheer purpose of stimulating your starving eyes as you stare into it. It was the subtle, cunning kind of cold that will never make you shiver but will soak in to your bones like water in a sponge and torment you until you find some glorious way to drive it out. The only thing I didn't expect to find in the cold darkness was the sound of it all. Did you know that cold has a sound? I am not referring to the sound of things becoming cold, such as the crackle of ice crystals forming, the howl of a cold wind or the rattle of shivering bodies; I am talking about a sound you've probably never heard before, not unless you're damned like me.

Now the truly discomforting part is how comfortable I felt there in the dark and cold, like my body and my subconscious knew that whatever was waiting for me on the other side of the night was far, far worse. I suppose in some ways it has its benefits … if you're willing to part with your sense of good, honest, Christian faith. I wondered, often in those days, why God, in all his infinite wisdom, never warned his children about beings like me. Oh sure He talked about demons and minions of hell, the seven headed beast of the book of Revelations and the four horsemen of the apocalypse. But nowhere, in The Good Book, will you find a single instance of the word given to my kind …


Sunday, January 8, 2012


I mentioned awhile back that, despite the fact that I haven't been getting along with my scale lately, I still felt like I was making progress on how I looked ... somehow.  As I was brushing my hair in front of the mirror this morning I looked at my budding hour-glass and thought again ... I think I'm looking thinner.  But that can't be if the scale doesn't say it right?  So I had Snackers take some pictures.  I went with three different poses because I wanted to see if the weight is just moving from one area to the other making me look thinner, perhaps, from the front but larger from the side or something.  You be the judge.

Normal Front View
September 2011
January 2012

Front View, Arms Out

January 2012

Side View Comparison

March 2011
January 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Ok, yes - this is yet another post about my medical issues so if you're a guy (brother) and don't want to hear about it stop reading now.

I've been on Depo Provera for the last 10 years.  That's a hormone-based birth control shot that is injected once every 3 months.  The only side-effects of Depo that I was informed of when I first started getting it were that it would mean no monthly cycles and could cause weight gain.  Little did I know at that time, Depo is pure progesterone, which is a hormone naturally produced by the body but Depo increases that hormone's levels in the body which, with prolonged use, can lead to other side-effects such as moodiness, trouble sleeping, night sweats, hot flashes, hair loss or thinning, hair growth in other places where women don't want hair like the face, etc.  Basically, increasing progesterone for a long period of time can make the body think it's going through menopause.  Hum, interesting!

So early last year when I talked to my OB-GYN about all of my odd symptoms and she announced that I was menopausal - it could have just been the Depo.  July of last year the OB changed at my local Planned Parenthood and the new one said "Well you've been on depo for 10 years.  You're probably not really menopausal, you're just too high in progesterone and too low in estrogen."  So she put me on an estrogen supplement and said "Most women LOSE weight on estrogen."

YAY right?  Except that we all know July of last year is about the time that I started to have a really hard time losing weight.  I started craving food constantly and, most of the time, not even knowing what I was craving so I would stand in front of the fridge or pantry for several minutes at a time staring blankly.

In November I mentioned this to, yet another new OB at the PP and she said "Well yeah estrogen can do that.  Just like pregnant women who crave strange foods and eat a lot.  Estrogen can make your body think you're pregnant and, therefore, you feel the need to gain weight to support the fetus."  Can we please get some cohesion here people?!

So the Newest OB suggested that instead of another Depo shot this month, I should get an IUD which lasts for 12 years and has zero hormones of any kind.  Last night was the big night.  No depo, no progesterone, no estrogen.  Back to having monthly's and, hopefully, feeling more like myself again.  I'm not sure if being off hormones of all kinds will effect my ability to lose weight or make me less likely to be a peeping-tom in the pantry but I'm hoping.

However ... THEY NEVER MENTIONED THAT IT WAS GOING TO FEEL LIKE HAVING A FREAKIN' ROOT CANAL IN PLACES THAT I CAN'T MENTION HERE!  Holy crap on toast Tinkerbell!!!!  They told me to take 800 mg of Ibuprofin when I made the appointment and I said "So this is gonna hurt huh?" and the reply was "You'll have some moderate cramping for a few days afterward."  Well that's fine - thinks I - I can handle moderate cramping.  MODERATE MY ASS!

First of all, I've never had kids.  So the location where they put this IUD is something I didn't even know I could feel until the doc said "You're going to feel a slight pinch" and the next thing I knew I was clinging to the ceiling by fingers and toenails like a cat at a coyote convention!  Then she says "Ok that was the instrument going in, are you going to be able to handle that again while I put the device in?"  I'm sorry ... effing what?!  We're not done?!  Can you like ... give me some chloroform or just hit me on the head with a clip board or something to knock me out please?!  And THEN the doc says "Well yeah you've never had kids so that's why it hurts so much".  Oh ... ok THANKS FOR THE INFO YOU SADISTIC SPAWN OF SATAN!

And then ... get this.  They get done and say "Ok just have a seat out in the waiting room and we'll call you when we're ready for you to pay the bill".  YOU WANT ME TO SIT DOWN?!  ARE YOU INSANE?!  The pain was so bad that it actually made me throw up, twice.  They left me sitting in the waiting room for another 20 minutes just waiting to pay the bill so I could go home.

Now here is the shocking part!  800 mg of Ibuprofin is about as helpful as a one legged man in a three legged race.  And once you take that 800 you can't take more for another 6 hours which, for me, would have been midnight and I had NO intention of staying awake long enough to wait for that.  BUT some of you may remember my old friend for muscle cramps and charlie horses - tonic water with quinine.  No shit - it worked.  First I tried a heating pad, it did nothing.  Next I tried a hot bath - no good.  I tried laying on my back, stomach, side, with a pillow under my knees, and even with my legs hanging off the edge of the bed.  Nope nope nope.  Two mouth fulls of tonic and I was asleep in less than 20 minutes.  Now I did wake up about 15 times in the middle of the night to go potty and I had to take some midol and more tonic this morning.

I planned on hiking in Red Rock or kayaking or both this weekend but they told me last night that these cramps can continue for up-to a week because my body is trying to fight the IUD which it considers a foreign object.  Oh nice.  Lovely.

We'll see what happens.  Right now I'm thinking I'd rather have another wisdom tooth pulled without anesthetic than go through another IUD insertion.  That's just not right.  To all of the mothers in the world - I salute you.  I knew childbirth was painful but if a little 1/2 gram spring loaded copper thing-a-ma-jig going in hurts that bad, I don't even want to know what it feels like to have a 10 lb baby coming out.  Good heavens!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Year in Review

Yes, I am going to jump on the bandwagon and do a 2011, year in review post just like almost everyone else is doing, but I'm going to do mine in pictures ... so here goes.

January 2011: Lost 15 lbs - Walked 3 consecutive miles for the first time
Bought a new mattress and made my own leather headboard from scratch

February 2011: Lost 7.5 lbs
Got creative with my work-outs!
Completed the largest crocheting project I've ever attempted.
Shot some hoops.
March 2011: Lost 5 lbs - Walked 5 consecutive miles for the first time!
Pulled the old 18's out of the drawer and put them on for the first time in YEARS!
Rediscovered my old, very unique, sense of style.
 April 2011: Lost 4 lbs

Started to really notice a difference in my pictures!
Welcomed Kody Joe into the family!
Welcomed Vladimir Loki into the family!
May 2011: Lost 7.5 lbs! - Opened negotiations on the new house
Hanging out with the family at the dog park.

Reached 50 cumulative pounds lost!

June 2011: Lost 5.5 lbs - Finally started classes in my major

July 2011: Lost 1 lb - And the struggles begin
Closed on, and started painting / moving into the new house!
August 2011: Gained half-a-pound :(
I did, however, accomplish one of my goals and got BACK on a horse for the first time in YEARS!
 September 2011: Gained and lost 6 lbs
Changed my look / self-esteem
Published my first book!
Discovered Kayaking!!!
 October 2011: Fluctuated but essentially ended up right where I started on weight
Went to the renaissance fair
Went all-out for Halloween
Learned how to clean carpets with Snackers
November 2011: Gained half-a-pound ... again
Went hiking in Red Rock with the doggies
Turned 29
 December 2011:  Lost 3 lbs - Walked 10.2 consecutive miles for the first time!
Published my second book

So here I begin 2012 at 225.5 lbs and I've learned a few things while writing this post.  First - I didn't take nearly enough pictures in December.  Second, as much as I've beat myself up over the last few months, all-in-all I had a relatively productive and successful year.  So I didn't lose us much weight as I thought I would when the year started out - but reviewing what I DID accomplish has reminded me that 60 lbs is a success!  Not a failure!  Maybe I set my goals a little too high and then when I realized I wasn't going to reach the bar I started to get overly discouraged and adopted a defeatist mentality.  I've overcome a lot of obstacles this year - from the stress of buying my first house and going back to college to the medical issues that I've been struggling with.  But those things are only going to stand in my way for as long as I allow them to.  Ultimately, my success (or lack thereof) rides entirely on my shoulders and what I think I'm capable of.  This time last year I thought I could do anything if I put my mind to it and somewhere along the way I stopped having that kind of essential faith in myself.  THAT, above all else, was my greatest challenge but I can still overcome it.  If I can lose 36 lbs in 2011 there isn't any reason that I can't lose 60 in 2012!  I just have to want it bad enough and be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it.

So here's to a new year.  May we all have an excellent one!

January 2011: 262.0 lbs
September 2011: 226.0 lbs