Monday, December 31, 2007

Post-holidays thoughts

There's a lot I want to write about, but I'm not sure where to start. Maybe I'll start with post-holiday thoughts. Both my parents called me on or after Christmas. My mom said they were all having a good time at my dad's house. My parents are divorced, but every year go to my dad's house. Surprisingly, this year, both my closest in age step-siblings were also there. S. is three or so years younger than me I think and currently lives with my dad and his wife. S. is recently engaged and said how this year has been the best year of his life. His fiance who is six years his younger was also there. My mom and her husband both say how cute she is and how she and S. make a good match. I'm happy for both of them but still hold my reservations.

M. is five years younger than me. She and I have a little more in common than S., but we are not incredibly close. I think I had wished we were since we are both Asian and adopted, but it just didn't happen that way. We occasionally leave messages for each other on facebook, but that's about it. I hear what's going on in her life from my mom and her husband. My dad said how pretty M. has become and had changed. Then he asked when the last time it was I saw her. I replied with a couple of years, but honestly I am not sure.

Somehow that got me feeling guilty. It was compounded by my physical therapist asking me about my holidays. She knew my mom was here right after Thanksgiving, and I had mentioned to her my dad was coming to visit after Christmas. I also said how they were all at my dad's house but me. She asked why. All I could think of to say was that it was complicated and that I normally was not there. She asked how long or something to that effect. I think it's been four or so years, I really don't remember.

My mom and my dad's wife understand why I am not keen on being there for the holidays. The last ones I spent with my family were filled with stress and tension. If I remember correctly, that was the year that one of my dogs and one of my dad's dogs did not get along at all. I was annoyed by the fact that no one listened to me about how the two dogs should meet, and it ended unfavorably. The whole holiday was spent making sure the dogs were apart and my dog was left in a crate the majority of the time because he was quiet and the other one was not. It's old news I know, but I still get upset about it, especially since they miraculously think the dogs will be okay again.

Anyway, in the same conversation above I had with my dad, he also said how great it was to see my mom and her husband. And how my mom's husband has gained weight, looks rounder, and how they both kept eating fudge. I told him how it was the holidays, and they normally do not eat fudge. He just replied back with that they got fudge every time they passed it. These are not out of the ordinary comments by my father, but who wants to be around anyone who is surveying your every meal, snack, bite to eat?

My dad also said that he would really like me there next year, etc. and how I need to make more of an effort. I reply with yeah, I'll see. In reality though, and if I think hard about it, subconsciously I really do not want to be there. Besides being out of my own routine. the food, my father's comments, it's the whole seeing of everyone. There's a huge awkwardness and feeling of disappointment, when the topic gets to me and my life. Every time it is addressed, my dad makes some derogatory comment and how I need to be doing this, this, and this. If there was ever a "black sheep" in the family, I'm beginning to feel like I'm it. I already get hounded by it enough on the phone, so imagine being in person.

As far as the effort thing goes, I hate admitting that it's probably true I could make a better effort for the holidays for the sake of "family." I think for a long time I kept thinking how I was somehow missing out on something here at work. I actually hate coming into work not knowing what is going on, and that would happen when I was gone. In regards to my father's comment about not seeing M. in awhile, well, I guess I look at it as both sides of the coin. She doesn't make an effort to see me either. I tend to get a little defensive on this issue, because I feel like it's always up to me to make that effort when no one else has to.

I'm not sure how to end this post other than I'm left feeling guilty which I know is a useless emotion.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!

This past week I've been busy doing Christmas shopping and felt exhausted every night when I came home. I was proud of myself for getting all the shopping done on Saturday. Saturday night I ended up making dog biscuits for the kennel dogs which took about 6 1/2 hours making the treats and packaging them. I have a few more batches to make, but that can be done later.

I must admit I'm glad that at least Christmas is over. I just keep reminding myself just New Year's, and then my dad's visit, and then I can finally relax. Even though I no longer feel all the pressures of going home like I used to in college, I still feel a sense of all my routines changing which just throws off my whole schedule. I guess I'm a bit of a creature of habit.

Although the last few days, I have tried to be somewhat social. On Sunday night, I had dinner with my boss and few others. That went better than expected, though I still felt a bit awkward. Yesterday, I visited a good friend of mine. We exchanged gifts and had dinner. It was nice to just chat. I'm hoping to visit another friend of mine in January. I think we're planning on a movie and dinner. Today, I didn't do much. I did get all the wrapping of gifts for my family done. I'll send my mom's tomorrow and my dad will get his when he comes.

So that's kind of a catch up for now. Here are a few photos of my crew. As you can see in the first one, they were not being that cooperative, however, they do look cute in their Christmas bandanas. The others are of them opening their gifts. I think they enjoy getting the treat in wrapped in the toy more than the toy itself.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Perhaps sensing loss

Last night,I did not sleep well. I once again woke up in a cold sweat, having to take covers off of me. This has been going on for several weeks, so I'm not really sure what it is about.

I had this bizarre dream. I dreamt I was in some Dr.'s office for some breast procedure (nothing cosmetic) but something that needed to be done. I had scheduled the appointment for the end the following week since it was apparently a Friday. Another Dr. was checking my breast and then said to me alarmingly, "you really need to come back on Monday, so we can do a biopsy." I was a bit flabbergasted and trying to figure out what she thought was wrong. I overheard this Dr. talking to another Dr. saying something like she thought it could be cancer, and the other Dr. saying, "but she's so young."

I came back that Monday, had the biopsy done which confirmed breast cancer. I don't remember much else of the dream other than thinking "but I am so young, it can't possibly be cancer."

I've read or heard somewhere that cancer dreams are about a sense of loss of something. It's not the first time I've dreamt something similar. I think dreams are often contextual to what is going on in life, not necessarily completely symbolic per se as Freud would have you think. I think this dream was a sense of loss due to my therapy appointment.

The appointment did not go well. It was evident I should not have wasted her time. Essentially, she's left the door open for me and wants me to think about what I really want. That's it though, I don't know honestly. I think about things that would be nice here and there, a hint of this, a splash of that, but it's never something I possibly truly think I can have, despite what other people may tell me. Perhaps, it's the negativity there or that low self esteem, low grade depression, or lack of self worth. It just doesn't seem like I'm meant to have any of that .

My therapist made some very true points. I've been seeing her off and on for the past five years. The first two in a half, I saw her on a regular basis. That was when she accepted my insurance. After that, it's been sporadic and I did try a few other therapists who did not work well for me. So I went back to my original therapist, telling her upfront that I could not see her on a regular basis anymore. She was okay with that and said she would be there for me.

I know logically the choices are all up to me, that I have to do the work, etc. Sometimes I think outpatient on no kind of regular basis is hard. You have to really take initiative and want to kick ED butt. I left feeling like she said, "you need to want recovery completely, solely, and be willing to do all the work." Maybe, that's it, I've just gotten too complacent. I told her how I finally made a commitment to not purge through vomiting. After my last horrible toothache, I got sick of it. I don't want teeth problems anymore. I miss the perfect teeth which I'll never have anymore.

To me, this is a lot. To say, I'm going to sit here with whatever those feelings are and nut hurl them away seems like a big accomplishment. However, the exercising is an issue. I still can't see it as a real problem. She begged to differ and just couldn't sit there and say ethically that was better. She said "so you want a pat on the back, a badge." This reminded me of the scene from the movie Running with Scissors where Alec Baldwin says to his wife, Annette Benning, something to the effect of, "I've stopped drinking and have been sober for three years." And her reply was, "so you want a badge for that?"

I know she is right, but my head is just saying it's the lesser of two evils. So untrue again. I don't know, I'm frustrated beyond belief with myself, with her, with just everything. I even told her things I have only mentioned in passing to a few people, and there was no reaction. I don't know why I expected anything, I should know better by now.

I really understand where my therapist is coming from. If I were her client, I'd be frustrated with me as well. I keep thinking it's like I have a big label on my head that says "Non-compliant," or as another friend said, "no, not non-compliant, more like 'resistant.'"

When will I ever be able to step in with two feet into complete recovery rather than having a foot in and a foot out? It's like the metaphor of the functioning alcoholic but rather the functioning ED person. As a friend pointed out to me, "since you've never had some major medical crisis, it's harder for you to see how sick you are. Sometimes I fear for you moreso, because it's people like you who drop dead with no warning." Those are some pretty blunt, very real words--ones that make you think, that's for sure.

So where does this leave me? I honestly don't know. I know I need to decide on something rather than just flailing.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another Monday and holiday woes

I have a lot planned for the next two days and am hoping I can get it done. I know I say that just about every week, and sometimes I'm successful, sometimes not.

It's a week before Christmas, and I dread going out to shop. The crowds, the lines, the parking, ugh, why do I wait so long to do this every year? A few gifts are not in need of rushing, and I'll probably do that online. Others, not so much. This year, I've just been so out of it in regards to the holidays. They are not my favorite and have not been for many years. Normally, the one thing I enjoy is gift wrapping, however, this year, I can't even seem to get excited about that.

Maybe it's just all hitting me this week. I had a couple of moments of break down this weekend. Just those thoughts of feeling a huge sadness, emptiness, and loneliness. Sometimes I wonder why those feelings hit harder around the holidays. I guess it's like a time of reflection--where you've been, what you've done, what you have, what you don't have, what you hope for, all those types of thoughts.

I have an appointment with my therapist today. It'll be a brief one. I'm not even sure what to say, and now question why I even made it. I guess I'm hoping that maybe I'll leave feeling straightened out or something. Don't we all wish that sometimes? That someone will say just the right proverbial thing and boom, that lightbulb goes off? Logically, knowing everything is up to me, I can only wish sometimes.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cat news and genetic modifications

Normally, I talk about dogs since those are just the things I see and work with everyday. However, I have a special place in my heart for cats too. If I could have a cat, ie, Hank and Daphne wouldn't decide it was lunch, then I'd probably own one. I've always wanted to literally clicker train a cat from a kitten to adulthood. I think just like other animals, they can do amazing things.

Anyway, recently, cats have been in the news. This just came out about a cloned red fluorescent cat

I have to admit when I first saw this, I was kind of in shock as to why. The Korean researchers say this research will help with diseases in both humans and animals, including rare animals that are on the brink of extinction.

I did a little researching, and it's quite interesting about the spectral array of fluorescent proteins. Apparently, they can quantify many different cellular processes in the body, are nontoxic and very stable. I'm not a biologist, so I do not know enough about all the implications of this type of research. What I do know however, is that in general, the investigation of genes, gene therapy, personalized medicine, etc. are all moving at alarmingly fast rates. It's kind of exciting really to know that there is so much going on in this field of study, but at the same time, it reveals just how much we don't know either. That's when the ethical debate can come out on whether this is the right or wrong thing to do. My feeling is that if these types of studies can help further education, medicine, and treatments, then it can be worth it.

However, I do not think it is necessarily right to genetically alter animals who were meant to have certain characteristics. For example, I read awhile back about the new "exotic" pet being bred which was a hairless guinea pig. Though kind of cute, it just doesn't sit well with me. They were meant to have hair and fur. Okay, that's my spiel on genetic modifications.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Just some rambling

Monday and Tuesday were good days overall. I went into town on Monday and ran a few errands. I got a new aquatic belt. I tried it out that evening after I did some biking. One thing I'm reminded of about gym type places is why I have never liked them. It's that whole self conscious factor. Though logically, I know people are doing their own thing, I still somehow think they are watching me or thinking about why that girl is pedaling so fast or on some piece of exercise equipment too long, etc. I think it was also ironic, because they had the food network set on one of the tvs.

The bike went well overall, and I had a good workout. I'm still unsure of what constitutes high mileage. I tried the vertical stationary bike instead of the reclining one. It was more comfortable, but my butt was sore afterwards. After that, I headed to the pool to try the new water belt. I was not sure how it would go. First, I have major issues with being in any type of swimsuit, though I can at least seem appear more normal in a one piece. I tried hard not to focus on that, realizing that once I was in the pool, it's not like people would be seeing my bathing suit. The other thing I was worried about was getting bored. However, that didn't happen since apparently the local high school's swim team was practicing. It ended up being a bit loud, but I just concentrated on what I was doing. I'm not sure if I did it correctly. I know the basic concept is to mimic how you run on land, but still, it's tougher since you have resistancy with water. It is a good workout, nonetheless, and I think I'll probably be doing more of that.

Tuesday was an absolutely beautiful day here. It was such a welcome break from all the rain. I had a PT appointment in the morning. That went well overall, and I did ask for her to give me some guidelines in terms of running mileage. She gave me some leeway, so I'm trying hard to stick by those numbers, although it feels like nothing. Because yesterday was such a gorgeous day, I couldn't resist passing up a rub. I know there won't be many if any of 60+ degree weather going into the winter season. My run went really well. It was interesting, because it felt different. I don't know if it was from being in the pool or what, but it just felt more fluid.

After I got home and expected to just retire for the evening, three of the four of my landlord's horses were in my driveway. I soon figured out the gate to the back fell down. This is where you definitely have to think on your feet. Though I've met these horses, I could not for the life of me remember their names--something to do with star and blazing. Anyway, two of the three are skittish, so that did not help matters.

I quickly ran into my place and grabbed some carrots, apples and a dog leash. I guess it was a good thing I had those carrots and apples. None of them had halters, so the one who wasn't as skittish, I was able to put my dog leash on and lead him to the back. However, he then decided to halt. Pulling on him wasn't going to do anything. I finally got him to go in by moving the gate a bit, so she could go around. The other two who did follow this horse but were reluctant in everything else. So I had to do some big time luring with apples and carrots. I eventually got both of them to go to the back and put the gate back up. So far, they have stayed there, and when I got home at noon, they were all hanging out by the gate. Probably looking for my food or something. Anyway, that was quite a surprise.

Another cool surprise the other night was that I saw a baby owl. I literally almost ran over it leaving work. I checked to see if it was okay, and then flew away. I had never seen an owl like that close up without it being for some educational purpose, that was very neat.

Well, I'm hoping the rest of the week will be uneventful. I still need to shop or at least get some ideas of things to get people. I just feel very blaise about Christmas this year.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rain, rain, and more rain

I don't mind a little rain and yes, over the summer we definitely needed it. However, I can only stand about two consecutive days of rain before I just about scream. It wouldn't be so bad if things just got wet and could easily be dried off. It's the mud I can't stand, especially having to dry off my dogs every time they come in and out of the rain. They are good about it, but it wears on them as well. I noticed that parts of my yard are also becoming mud puddles. Hay and rocks only last for so long until they become impounded into the ground by my yours truly dogs who decide to create even more craters.

Heavy rain also disturbs my running outdoor schedule, although I have run in pouring down rain, usually, it's that I get caught in it more than I deliberately go out in it. You'd be amazed too at how many dogs are actually out in the heavy rain. I feel quite sorry for them.

Despite the rain, the rest of the weekend has been okay, kind of uneventful really. I joined a center here in town that is part of the parks and recreation. It's like a YMCA. There are a number of classes there, a weight/fitness room, a pool, basketball courts, a small walking track, etc. I figure I'd try 20 sessions and see what I thought before committing to anything else. Even though I'm into exercise, I have never been what I'd call a "gym junkie." I'm just not the type to drive somewhere to go workout (well, I think there are some other issues too), however, I figured that this might be a good alternative to when the weather is crappy. Plus, I got the okay from my physical therapist about aquatic therapy. Her face just lit up when I asked her about it. She essentially said that the amount I was running (even though I do not perceive this as a lot), was in her words "killing my hamstring." It was so obvious she wanted to say something to me, and I pointed this out to her. However, she understood telling a runner to stop was pretty difficult since she, herself, was a runner.

I'm hoping today to go into town and see about an aquatic belt. I'd really like to try this whole running in water thing. I'm still a little unsure about it and wish I had some kind of manual. It shouldn't take rocket science to figure out, right? I'll let you know how it goes.

This week, in general, is going to be a little longer for me. Although I don't mind working more and I agreed to it, I am just a little more limited in the evenings. Seeing that I am way behind on Christmas shopping, it's not helpful. I seem to be having a more difficult time in thinking of neat things to get people. Nothing that is major, but more unique. And there's only like what two weeks left! It's kind of scary to think about honestly.

Well better get off to start my day.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Off to a good start

Despite one of my dogs (he shall go unnamed) deciding to wake me up at 4 AM to go out, the morning has started off well. I was super happy to find a great deal on running shoes. My PT pointed out to me that I really needed a new pair yesterday. I already knew this but had been dragging my feet (pun intended) about it.

While I was going my online shopping, I hear lots of clang and bang. I knew one of my dogs (yes, the one who woke me up at 4 AM) was performing his daily job of retrieving the doggie bowls. Well, he brought one to the sliding glass door and just dropped it there. However, a few minutes later, he comes to come with two bowls! I was quite ecstatic over this, especially since I'd only worked with him the other day on getting two bowls at the same time. He got lots of praise and treats for that one. It's quite astonishing sometimes to think just what goes through our four-legged minds. I posted recently about cognitive abilities in dogs, so this is just another one to be impressed at in my book. Now, I'm just waiting for all three bowls! I'm sure he will get it though, he's a smart cookie.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Designer dogs

So have you ever heard of a Cavachon? Or Chiweenie? Or what about a Labmaraner? Yep, these are all designer dogs. The Cavachon is a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel x Bischon Frise. The Chiweenie is a Chihuaha x Dachshuund. The Labmaraner is a Labrador Retriever x Weimeraner.

When I was at the bookstore yesterday, I ran across a book about designer dogs. In it, it listed all the different designer dog,s and oh my, there were a lot.
Most of us are familiar with the influx of "poodle" crosses. There is the Labradoodle, the Goldendoodle, the Schnoodle, the Maltipoo, Cockapoo, etc. Recently, Puggles have become quite popular. Many of the dogs listed in this book, I've never even heard of.

I think the thing that gets to me most about designer dogs is that they are just crossbreeds or hybrids which people are willing to pay quite a lot of money for. As with anything, there is no guarantee the dog is going to have the best traits of each breed.

If anyone wants to take a look at the enormous list of designer dogs, it can be seen at ACHC

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Feeling productive

Well, yesterday and today, I've been feeling pretty productive. I got just about everything done on my list which does make me feel like I have accomplished things. I took a run in the afternoon. Yes, it was bitterly cold. I did see a bunch of wild turkey which was cool. A lot of dogs were out as well. I don't get how people leave out dachshunds and chihuahas in below freezing weather.

After that, I went by the computer store, dropped off the computer and prayed it wouldn't be too expensive to fix. This is my old computer which I'm giving to a friend of mine. I need some more desk space, so I really want to get rid of this computer. Then I went to the bank, stopped by the grocery store. I knew they were still having their $.99 deal on Luna bars, however, the selection was awful. And no peanut butter ones! I got six since I have coupons that will expire at the end of the year. Then I stopped by the bookstore and perused it for awhile. My intention was just to look for boxed Christmas cards. Somehow, I did not see them and wound up going around the entire store. The selection of cards were not very good. Actually, this year, hey haven't been. I was also expecting some discount but maybe it's too early for that or I'm shopping for them earlier that years past. I found one acceptable box. Then I stopped by the natural food store to yes get some more Luna bars. Their selection was much better than the other store, but again no peanut butter ones! I told the cashier this, and she said they would order some more. Literally, twice at both stores, there have been no peanut butter ones. For some reason, this just pisses me off.

After that ordeal, I headed home, however, I could not remember for the life of me where I parked. I must have gone around five or six times looking for my car. I eventually did find it and drove home.

I went home after that, fixed dinner for the dogs and me. I also made some cookies for my mother to send. Next week is her birthday, so U thought she might like some snickerdoodles and some coffee candies I picked up. When I woke up this morning, I packaged everything, then headed to physical therapy. the session was okay, although I got kind of a funny look when my PT asked me how today went (I was with the PTA today). I told her okay except I couldn't do one of the ball exercises which just hurt my leg too much. Somehow I just feel bad about it I guess.

I need to get going. I think the dog dremel is not broken after all. Yeah! I need to go do that, then head to work, then by the bank again, and may take a walk with one of the dogs this evening.


I do not watch the A&E show "Intervention" on a daily basis, but I happened to be flipping through channels and saw it was on last night. I was watching something else, so I ended up staying up until 1:00 AM to catch the encore of it. It was about a severely anorectic young woman named Emily. I actually think for the most part, it was okay-- maybe a few too many shots of her body nude, like in a shower, dressing, etc. which I didn't think were necessary.

I could relate with some of her feelings like unworthiness, not feeling like you deserved pleasure, that you didn't measure up to everyone, etc. With this young woman, to me, there were a lot of factors stemming from the family. Not that they were intentional but as always were major contributors to the development of her eating disorder. Since she had an identical twin sister who seemed to have it all, she always felt in her shadow. As one twin grew more confident and self-assured with life, Emily stood by the sidelines and began shrinking. This whole set up reminds me of Shelly from the documentary "Thin." She had similar issues with being an identical twin. I can definitely see how the whole identity crisis can be difficult.

Also, another key factor into Emily's illness was being date raped. It was never said whether she received any counseling for this. I remember reading an article recently that said how trauma changes the way we view the world. Here's an excerpt from the trauma study at Cornell University:

Cornell researchers report that rapes, sudden deaths of loved ones, life-threatening accidents and other such traumas may result in enduring changes on how an individual views the world.

Since the show is called "Intervention," Emily had one with her family around. She eventually accepted treatment at Casa Palmera for 90 days. The last clip of her shows her being very motivated, saying she really wanted to give recovery a chance, that it was like a lightbulb went off. However, the last screen where they tell the progress of each participant said she had lost 7 pounds while there and was discharged to medical care. The remaining part of treatment, she was tube fed and went to Remuda Ranch.

The show ended up bitter sweet I guess. I still have a lot of issue with treatment and eating disorders. Maybe I am very biased, because I feel like I've never truly had an advocate or a professional say "I won't see you anymore unless you go IP," or something to that effect. The worst ultimatum I had was when my college therapist was about to ditch me, because I refused to get a physical for several months due to fear. She was willing to help me get through the door at least, and in the end, it wound up being one of the best moves I made.

It just seems so hard when you don't look the part and you fall under the radar.
A part of you feels great that you go undetected, but another part of you screams out for someone to notice, to care, to say "this is not okay." I often wonder what my physical therapist thinks. The PT and PTA just keep asking me if I run everyday which I don't. I just run a minimum of X miles.

Then there is my father.
He says I need to stop running for 2-3 months to give my hamstring a chance to heal. Okay, this may be true, but it's not what you say to someone with eating and exercising issues. He's just like "well walk then. You'll be fine, you look great, what's the problem." I just want to shout at him and say "Yeah, I may look great, but it's only due to being very active and probably not eating enough." Oh yeah, that's right, he thinks the average sedentary person really only needs 1200-1500 calories/day and that would solve the obesity problem.

Anyway, I'm going off tangent about this. As I said, it's great that these people on shows like Intervention are getting the help they need, it just feels like the rest of us are left in the dust. Any residential treatment facility is a fortune and most of us do not have that type of money to shell out. It's just a sad reality.

Monday, December 3, 2007

New Brain imaging and Anorexia

In recent years, researchers have been looking at brain images and activity of a variety of illnesses, including eating disorders. Dr. Walter Kaye from University of Pittsburgh and University of California at San Diego has been one of the forerunners in researching the genetics and brain functions of those with eating disorders. In a 2005 study, it was found there was an overactivity of dopamine in the brain in those who had recovered from anorexia. Another study published earlier this fall showed how there were links between starvation and ectasy. This latest one on brain imaging and recovered anorectics using fMRIs is the hot article of the week. What is interesting about this study is that researchers are able to see how anorexia works in the brain in "real time" with the use of fMRI.

Personally, I think this is really helpful in terms of how the brain works with those with eating disorders. Now, this is of course can't be a blank statement until more studies are done are a larger representation sample. Hopefully, more funding will be available for studies like this.

Anxiety hanging by a thread

I had planned a whole "to do" list today. So far I've gotten one item done since 7 AM. Since Mondays are my full day off, I always feel a "need" to get a lot of stuff done. There are a few things I really have to get done today. That requires driving into town which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I just have a tendency to only want to go into when I have multiple things to do.

One thing I'd planned on doing today was dremeling the dogs' nails. I was in a good mood as opposed to yesterday, so I know I would have been more tolerable with them. Most of the time they are pretty good, but there are times when they truly hate that piece of machinery, especially Daphne. So I go to plug the dremel in, but nothing. Hmm, I thought maybe it needed to be charged, so I waited a few minutes. Again nothing. I moved it to another outlet thinking maybe it was the outlet which I know wasn't really the case but decided to humor myself. Nope, no little red light to signify it was on. Ugh! Their nails really need to be done as it's probably the one thing I neglect with them consistently. It's not on purpose, I just forget. If it doesn't work tonight, I'm going to have to buy a new one. That really wasn't what I wanted to spend some of my extra money from dog sitting on. I had planned on buying some new running shoes. It seems like one thing breaks, then just another. Within the two months, my coffee grinder broke, one of my noodle bowls broke, my cell phone got dunked in liquid and fried, several hair bands broke, and now this dremel. Maybe karma is out to get me or something with things I need.

Anyway, I sit here with this whole long laundry list of things to do, and yes that includes laundry too. If I'm right about my calculations, I really have until tomorrow too, I just hope to get the bulk of it done today. Running is on my to do list today. I did not run yesterday as it was pouring rain, and I didn't want to get my shoes wet again. Right now, I only have one pair, hence wanting to get a new pair, so it takes about a day in a half for them to dry out. Someone mentioned to me about some kind of fan or something you could get for your dryer to air shoes. Anyone know about this?

I'm contemplating the running today. The weather is a mere 28 degrees with 10mph wind. Part of me says you're nuts to go out in this weather, another part of me says, you'll feel better if you go out and run, and yet another part of me says, you ate too much this weekend mindlessly and need to go run. So which voice do I listen to? I hate when I get like this to a point. That's why I like when I'm running almost everyday, and I just don't have to think about it even if it's not that healthy. I think this is part of the reason for the anxiety which I felt this weekend. That and also irritability. I think the possible thought of having to stop running again all together is somehow causing fear once again. I didn't seem to have a problem with it a month ago, so why now? Maybe the motivation factor is up, or the sense of wanting to be on a "schedule," not have to think or feel too much.

I was talking to my dad about this hamstring injury asking him his opinion on how long it could take. He didn't give me a straight answer, just saying it all depended on the severity. Then he said, "you know don't have to run as far unless that is your goal." I just replied with I know. Part of my thinking is that it is stupid to get all bundled up to run in less than 40 degree weather and be out for only ten minutes. What's the use of that? Do I just not see the logic in that?

This is the time when I think i need to buy a treadmill, a bike, something for indoor, cold, rainy weather. Maybe that'll be on one of my future to do lists.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Today, I had my second physical therapy appointment. The first thing I did was show her a picture of the dog bite bruise. I figured you can say so much but a picture gives it more justice. After seeing it, she could tell how it definitely caused some damage.

After that, my PT asked how my hamstring was and whether I went running this week, how much, and whether I was planning to run this weekend. I was honest with her. I did scale back a little, however, the look on her face said she was disappointed. Or maybe it wasn't disappointment but rather just being unhappy with me. I told her I hoped she wasn't going to say I couldn't run. She said that she wasn't but never really finished the thought. Darn, my feelings of doing everything else right kind of went out the door. I had been very vigilant about doing all my pt exercises, stretching a lot, icing, etc. this week.

I did some exercises today and had someone do deep tissue massage. My PT asked how I felt afterwards. Nothing really changed. I felt the same, my leg still hurt, etc. All I said was I was a little sore, but I'd get a better idea after doing things. Apparently, my PT had planned to do a lot more things today but since I was so sore, she decided to just keep everything the same. My next appointment is on Tuesday and Thursday next week.

This got me thinking. I feel really conflicted. Part of me knows there is always a chance of completely tearing or rupturing the hamstring. However, another part of me still wants to run my usual amount of mileage. I've been in positions like this before. It's not easy. I usually push myself to the breaking point. I know my pain tolerance is high, so it's easy to just keep pushing ahead.

I think this is also tied into eating. Running gives me a sense of "control" in a way. I don't know if it is that when I run, it's okay for me to eat or it just feels more on schedule or what. I know I don't need to "earn" food, I deserve it, but by exercising, I just feel like I'm not thinking about it so much. I know this is all warped. I need to let go of this feeling. I'm just not sure how right now.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dogs and Cognition

Moving to a different topic. Dogs and cognition. Intelligence has always been a difficult area of research when it comes to animals. Besides animals like a chimp and a parrot who have speaking capabilities, others in the animal realm have to find other ways to show their cognitive abilities. Researchers at the University of Vienna have been looking at the cognitive abilities in dogs. Their most recent study looked at how well dogs could categorize pictures and transfer them to new situations. The dogs were shown photographs of landscapes and dogs on a computer screen. When they nose-touched the dog, they received a reward. They did this with new photos as well. The dogs aced the tests. The researchers also placed photos of dogs within the landscape and again the dogs accurately chose the dog. The conclusion to the study is that the dogs formed a concept of "dog."

I think this is really cool. I've always thought dogs recognize dogs and their own breed. This is just more validation in that. Some may remember that this group of researchers the University of Vienna also had a study on dogs and imitation back in the summer. It's another fascinating study.

It's pretty amazing what these four-legged creatures can do. Everyday, we learn something new.

Stricter salt regulations may be on the horizon

Personally, I am not a big salt fan. With the exception of a few foods (kimchi, asian noodles, wheat thins), my salt intake in a day is fairly low. I remember once asking my dad what the rationale behind eating a lot of foods with salt in them. He said that the idea is that you will consume enough liquids to pass the salt through your body. Hmmm, okay. So I guess if you don't consume enough liquids, you just retain the salt.

Out today, an article about possible new regulations for salt intake. I definitely think in general most people consume more salt than they really need. Some of those pre-packaged meals are just loaded with unnecessary sodium. The bad thing is that it is virtually impossible to not consume salt products. Everything has salt. I think even those who monitor their salt intake could easily go over the recommended amount of 1 1/2 tsp. It'll be interesting whether this takes into effect and if so, whether there will be a change in Americans and their diseases. For now, stay tuned and keep your salt intake within recommended amounts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nutrition labels will get revamped

Here's an interesting article on the new nutritional labeling happening next year. Although it's a good thing, people have a hard time reading nutrition labels as it is. Plus, half of them are incorrect when you do the actual mathematical calculations. Perhaps, it will be helpful, but I am not holding my breath on it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Retail therapy and Monday

After the dental appt., my mom and I did a little shopping in town. She had brought down a full size bed for me on Friday. Ever since I've lived here, I've always had a twin size bed. Well, when you have three large dogs, that can be tough to find space for yourself. Actually, Baxter and Hank are usually the only one that sleep consistently with me. Daphne sleeps on the sofa but I do catch her on the bed in the mornings when one of them is off.

As soon as my mom put the new mattress on the bed, the dogs tested it out immediately and thoroughly enjoyed. Since I did not have the proper size bedspread for it, they have easily been taking off the covers of my bed for the last two days. Needless to say, this does not make me happy as I do not like dog hair in the bed. On the cover on top of the bedspread is okay though. I can live with that.

Today, we found some pretty sheets and bedspread. I got some new pillows to replace my old, raggy ones. Then we just shopped for miscellaneous items I needed or she wanted. In mid afternoon, I had my first physical therapy appt. There, I got scolded, because I was not wearing shorts nor my actual running shoes. The physical therapist assigned to me ended up being the one I had talked to last week wanting information on the physical therapists. It was ironic since I was not fully prepared. Oh well.

She did a lot of strength assessments for my legs. I was really surprised, because my legs were really weak. There was a significant difference in my right leg which is where the hamstring strain is. She made the comment to me that she couldn't believe I was a runner, because my legs were so weak. It was truly bizarre as I've always thought I had strong legs, but they did feel very weak in general today. Hmmm. She had me do some exercises and showed me ones to do at home. There are like six or seven of them to do everyday. Yippee! But I think of it this way, it's better to be able to strengthen some muscles around my leg than face having a hamstring tear. She also said I could not run hills. This is a toughie as I am surrounded by hills here. I told her I'd try to do the flattest route possible. I also promised to wear my shorts and my running shoes at the next appt. which is on Friday. Overall, I liked her though.

After that, my mom and I came home to check on the dogs. It rained off and on all day. That means that all the dogs had to be wiped off, including their paws which is just my rule to any dog who lives in my house even if only as a guest. Jake, my friend's American Eskimo dog, however, was not thrilled with that one.

Later, we went into town and dropped off Jake and Foxy. They were happy to see their dad and vice versa. My mom and I went to a few stores. It was weird, because when I was trying on some running gear, my cell phone rang a few times. First, it was a friend of mine. I called her on Sat. when I was in excruciating tooth pain asking her if she knew how much medication I could take without causing an overdose. She felt bad for not calling back, but I was just glad to hear from her. We basically agreed that yes, I took a lot of medication and could possibly be in trouble. All day, I had waves of upper right quadrant pain, aka liver pain presumably. I did think acute liver failure but I wasn't having those type of symptoms, so I think I just inflamed and enlarged my liver a bit. The second call was my dad just checking up on me. I do admit, it was a little difficult trying on clothes and talking to them at the same time, but I did manage to do so.

After all that, my mom and I headed back home, and went out to eat at an Asian Buffet place where we had take out two nights ago. It was nice overall, though I still had my waves of pain. Hopefully, that will clear up as the pain medications all go out of my system. My tooth, however, is still sore, especially since it's been over 12 hours since I've had any pain medications at all. I hope the antibiotic kicks in soon and nips this infection in the bud. I really hate being on antibiotics, and it seems like I've been on them a lot the last two years. But at the same time, I don't really have a choice here. Out of all the various ailments I've had, tooth pain is the worst. I guess maybe I'm a wimp, but I just can't deal with it well as it effects everything. This also means that I have not run since Thursday due to the tooth pain and my mom's visit. I'm itching to go run tomorrow even if the temperatures are cold. I hope my tooth just holds up.

Okay, so that's the nutshell of the weekend. I hate feeling like I'm complaining, but I was pretty miserable with this tooth pain. The one good thing out of all this is that I did continue to eat. I could have easily not, but I did make sure I ate okay, still not enough but decent.

I hope the rest of the week goes off without a hitch. Heading off to bed now.

Tooth misery saga

Now, it's Monday (well technically Tuesday). The pain was a little better today overall. I saw my dentist in the morning. She did an x-ray and looked at the tooth which confirmed the infection yet again. I had a similar infection in this same tooth a little over a year ago. Basically, she said I had to have it extracted. Otherwise, it would just be a continuous cycle of infection, getting better wit antibiotics, infection again, etc. On top of that, the infections would be more frequent. I was so not happy to hear this. This side of my mouth (upper left jaw) already has a bridge there which I'm still paying for. I almost regret getting it now and feel suckered into it even though it was the only option at the time.

My dentist wants me to have his done soon, but my problem is my dental insurance won't kick in for any major work until after the first of a the year. I already have another crown that needs to be done as well. I know my insurance is not going to cover the extraction. One of the dental assistants asked me why I don't get the extraction done now? Well, basically because I was in a huge amount of pain afterwards with no pain medication that worked and it's very expensive. My mom paid my last one, and it's just the whole guilt thing there. She spent a lot of money on me this weekend. It was her choice of course, but still I just feel undeserving of it. She told me it was a part of Christmas, so I hope she sticks by that.

Anyway, I will now have three holes in my mouth when I get that extraction done--one hole from my previous extraction, the second from the new extraction, the third from the missing half of my tooth that needs a crown. This is all in conjunction with also needing to redo my bridge on the right upper side of my mouth. This is when I just think ripping out all my teeth and having dentures is the way to go. I mean it would be a lot less costly then.

I tell my parents this news. Neither are happy of course and feel badly for me. My dad replies with "geez, you're not going to have any teeth left. I'm glad you're over that "problem" (meaning bulimia). I'm just sad you have to go through all this tooth trouble." My mom's reply was, "I knew the eating disorder caused some problems. I wonder why you're having such problems?" Does anyone not see how neither connect the dots or something? My reply to my mom was "well, yes, eating disorders cause damage to teeth. It's individualistic with some not having many teeth problems, while others do. I was unlucky I guess."

In the end, it just sucks how much damage can be produced on your teeth due to an eating disorder. Even without consistent damage, the effects can be devastating and continuous. I'm proof of that.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving and killer toothache

The tooth pain started around Thanksgiving day sometime. It really didn't bother me that much. I just noticed there was some soreness when I'd chew on my left side, so I stopped chewing on that side. However, there were several instances when I accidentally chomped on that side and had shooting pain in my tooth. Crap, I knew this was bad.

On Friday, the pain progressed. Again, not excruciating but definitely painful. By that evening, it was really beginning to hurt. I tried taking some tylenol which helped some. I also began the etodolac for my leg which also seemed to provide some comfort.

By that night and the following morning, I was in absolute excruciating pain. The pain would not stop. I took more meds. That Saturday, I have no clue how much medication I took, but it seemed like nothing would stop the tooth pain. I have had pain in that same area before, but no matter what, the pain is always worse than I anticipate.

On Saturday evening, I called my dentist on her cell phone. I felt horribly bad calling her on a weekend, let alone a holiday weekend, but I was in some serious pain. I took more medication which was very short lived. I remember waking up at like 3:15 AM in horrible pain. The dogs at that point thought it was time to get up. I ended up letting them out but trying to go back to sleep until my alarm went off.

On Sunday, the pain was not much better. My dentist finally called back that afternoon. We agreed it was probably and infection. She ordered an antibiotic and a pain reliever. This is where it gets tricky. I have bad side effects with many pain medications. She decided to try a vicodin-like one, thinking maybe the combination of hydrocodone and ibuprofen would be okay. Well, it wasn't, and i had similar side effects as I normally did. So as of now, codeine, hydrocodone, darvocet, lortab, and tramadol are all scratched off my list for pain medications.

I started the antibiotic on Sunday after my mom went to the pharmacist basically posing as me. She was very afraid they would not give her the meds, so she said my birthdate. That led to a very funny. Plus, if she had the same pharmacist I had from a previous few days who knows me by name, that woman must have really looked at her funny.

By this time, I had really wished, my dentist would have prescribed something that would have knocked me out rather than me feeling desperate to making this damn tooth pain go away!

Thanksgiving Day

I haven't written in about a week due to being busy. I'm going to write different posts rather than one long one.

Thanksgiving Day was okay. Nothing special really. I had the day off of work. I spent the day home with the dogs. I took a long run in the afternoon which was really nice but very cold. It was one of those moments where I tried to repeatedly tell myself the weather was really Hawaiian- like and not 40 degrees with gusty breezes. For the most part, something must have worked, because I was able to do a very long run. It was cool seeing a rainbow too. I wonder if other people saw it or it was just me?

However, this nice run was interrupted by someone honking their horn at me. Ugh! I really hate that. I can't figure out why they do that since I'm clearly on the shoulder of the far side of the road. The other day I also had a guy whistle at me.

After I got back, showered, and fed the dogs, I just settled into reading and watching tv. I had my own version of Thanksgiving dinner which consisted of stuffing, mashed potatoes, a small sweet potato, and a veggie burger. Okay, a little untraditional, but I enjoyed it.

So things I'm thankful for:

Always my parents who do give me unconditional love when I probably don't deserve it. I know they care a lot.
My dogs who give me faithful companionship and bring a lot of joy into my life.
For making it another year and not losing my sanity.
My friends who stick by me through all the ups and downs of my life.

I hope anyone reading this also had a nice Thanksgiving and enjoyed their day. Before we all know it will be Christmas and New Year. I kind of feel like the holidays have been thrown upon us. It's always a hard time for me in general just due to stress and anxiety. I'm trying hard not to be a downer and being compliant with my family in terms of "wish" lists and such. I know the thing they'd be happiest for is if I'd figure out my life, at least that's how it feels to me at times. Heck, I'd be happy with that too!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another model dies

I just saw this article today about an Israeli model who died this past week. Her story isn't like many others who have fought anorexia for many years and was in and out of hospitals. Eventually, she died of heart failure. It's just another sad model story. You begin to wonder if as much as things do change, things stay the same. Although some countries have made regulations, I think for some models it's already too late as the illness has entrenched them. The only hope is for the new models coming into the industry.

Hila Elmalich

Productive day

I knew today was going to be a busyday, but it ended up being fairly productive. In the early morning, I had a dermatology appt. Nothing major, just a check up on things. The verdict for my cracked, dry hands is to change my hand washing habits. Hmm, that's a hard one. I do not consider myself OCD about hand washing, however, I am really weird about not liking things on my hands. I know it seems weird being around dogs all day and being that way. I *tolerate* a lot in my job, including dog kisses and slobber. Really though, it's not my favorite at all. Even my own dogs know not to lick me. The worse is coming in after a run and Baxter wanting to lick my sweat. I give him a leave it and let him air lick instead which seems to suffice for him.

Anyway, my dermatologist gave me suggestions to try to help alleviate t his problem as well as some steroid topical for when my hands get severely cracked and dry. Last winter, there were a few times like that, and they just felt like they were on fire if anything touched them. I used to think it was a water consumption problem, but I've learned no matter how much water I drink, I still get this tendency. The one great thing about my dermatologist is that she gives me lots of samples. I got a whole box of samples of this other med to try on my face.

After that, my original plan was to go buy some dog treats and then pick up the house guests for this week, aka my friend's dogs. Instead, I decided to see if I could make an appt. with my physiatrist about my leg problem which I'm positive stemmed from the last dog bite. I walked in and told the receptionist/nurse what happened. She asked if I had time today since I'd have to wait 2-3 weeks otherwise. My Dr. walks in from the back and gets the info. from the receptionist/nurse and then tells me "we just need to get you some kevlar to run in." I chuckled since it does seem true at times. I had her take a look, write a diagnosis and go with a treatment plan. Since she knows I'm not big into medications, she suggested trying some physical therapy for a short time to at least see if I can get that hamstring stretched out. The one thing I do not want is a hamstring tear. I've heard horror stories on that. A groin pull ten years ago was bad enough, so I don't want to have to go through a similar problem. I'll start PT next week, see my doctor in about six weeks and then go from there.

After that, I picked up some dog treats and went to my friend's apartment. We talked for a good bit of time which was really nice. Then I headed back in the late afternoon. The rest of the day spent with just the usual of feeding the dogs, eating something for dinner, then watching some tv and falling asleep while watching tv.

Tomorrow, the weather here is supposed to be crazy at like 70+ degrees at the end of November! Then it'll drop 20-25 degrees. I hate how nature does that sometimes and tempts you with such nice weather. No real plans for tomorrow other than to go by the bank and stop at the store in the evening. On Wed., I need to go by the postal office to send my father his malted pancaked mix. I'll have to stop by the library by Thurs. to drop off a book as well. My mom comes in on Friday. Hopefully, she'll be in a good mood.

All right, going to head to bed now. I think I have my game plan for the week.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Week in Review

I've actually had a lot on my mind that I wanted to blog about and then just didn't get around to it. I had yesterday off of work and have today off, so I'm finally sitting down and writing about it.

First off, I talked to my good friend last week. This was the one whom I'd been playing phone tag with. It was nice to catch up on stuff. She asked me if I could take care of two of her dogs who were supposed to stay with her ex-husband over Thanksgiving. They share custody of the dogs. Apparently, he had arrangements which fell through, so I was the only one she thought of to take care of them. I agreed and called her ex to let her know. Not sure why he couldn't call me himself. Supposedly it was something to do with I was his ex wife's friend. Okay, whatever. It's not a big problem, and I do get paid for it. I know these dogs but I've never taken care of them before. They are older. One has some incontinence issues, and the other barks. I pick them up tomorrow, so it should be an interesting week.

I think I mentioned that I bought a ticket for an event and was hoping not to back out of going. Well, I can report back saying that I DID NOT back out. Yeah for me! This was to the Postsecret vs. Found event. I really had to convince myself to just go. It wasn't that I didn't want to go but rather that whole sociability factor. I had asked some of my friends to go, but none of them could. I knew if at least one of them went, it would have been harder for me to back out of it. I guess you could say I fought those negative voices and went. It was a good event, for a good cause, and I enjoyed it. It was very cool to meet Frank and see him in person. Some of the postcards he shared, I remembered from the website. The Found people from "Found" magazine were very entertaining too. This was the first time I'd been aware of what "found" was about. It's basically things that people send in that they've found from various places. These are things like photos, letters, receipts, to do lists, etc. There's something cool about getting a glimpse into someone else's life for a moment. Ialso found out that one of the contributors to NPR's "This American Life" is one of the "Found" founders.

The rest of the week was uneventful other than a dog that went home from her board and train. I was really worried this dog would lose it when she got home. Plus, I was afraid I didn't do a good enough job of explaining to the owner what she learned. I later realized I had forgotten to show the owner some hand signals. I was both surprised and happy when the owner called the next day saying that the dog was doing well and doing the things asked of her. Whew, a definite relief. I told my boss about this since she asked about it, and she asked me why I felt nervous. I think she may have gotten confused but oh well. It's one of those things where you really want everything to work out. Even when you know you did your best, you still kind of feel like you have failed if it doesn't work out. I think I also am a bit weary about Board and trains after one that happened a year or so ago. I won't go into details but the situation should have been handled differently. In the end, it left everyone upset.

I also had some sad news about a potential service dog in training. He bit the owner's husband severely. I only know details from second hand, but it is just such a shame. I never saw any signs o threat from this dog at all. This dog had loads of potential. Some people don't quite understand why you can't give a second chance or train it out, etc. It's a difficult situation, but trying to elicit that type of behavior, you're putting yourself in danger. Plus, being an SD, SDIT, dogs are trained to withstand out of the normal type behaviors, stressful situations, etc. I'm not sure what will happen to this dog, and it is likely he could not be adopted with having this bite record.

Other news. I'm still waiting on lab tests done about three weeks ago. I hate when they take this long, but that's what happens when the labs have to be sent out. I'm not worried about it since these are just standard labs I have done every year. I just like knowing the results.

I took a little time off of running to see if it would make any difference with pain I'd been having. Unfortunately, it did not. I'm going to try the capazain patch first before deciding to head back to the physiatrist I saw last year. I doubt there is much she can do anyway. It's not hampering my daily life, it just gets really sore bending down, walking, exercising, and stretching. That doesn't leave much but sleeping.

So overall, this week had some positives and negatives. I try to remind myself of the positives no matter how small they are. To end this post, here's a pretty picture of a sunset from yesterday. It's a little dark but you get the idea.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another diet scam uncovered

I read this article today and was aghast. Granted, we've all heard about the latest diet before, but I was unaware of this one called the "Kimkins Diet," essentially a take off of an old version of Atkins but to an extreme. It was apparently on the cover of Woman's World with the headline "Better than Gastric Bypass" showing a woman who had lost 100 pounds from the diet alone. That woman has now left the Kimkins company and started her own blog here. As a former PR person for this website and the Kimkins Diet, she explains what led to her leaving.

So just what is exactly is the Kimkins Diet? It's an extreme version of low cal, low carb, low fiber diet and not medically or nutritionally proven whatsoever. The fact that laxatives were promoted is a huge red flag! The "founder" who left herself in disguise for a long time has finally revealed herself as Heidi Kimberley Diaz. She developed a website promoting this diet claiming she has lost 198 pounds in 11 months and kept it off. This was the first fraudulent claim in a series of many. There were also falsified pictures of testimonials of people who'd lost weight from this diet. They turned out to be Russian mail-order bride photos taken from another site. This woman had people pay her in membership fee to join. And there are just a slew of other fraudulent claims and wrongdoings.

It really makes you realize how far people go to lose weight, and I don't just mean those who develop eating disorders, although with this diet, some of these followers were on the verge of it, starving, and malnourished with physical side effects of lethargy, hair loss, dizziness, nausea, etc. We are such a society on "lookism" and wanting that magic pill or that magic diet to provide that. It's just so scary to think how far someone will go. It seems beyond reason just like someone with an eating disorder. Logic goes out the window along with your intuitiveness. You keep reminding yourself of the reward at the end--that the self deprivation will all be worth it in the end. Is it really? I'm sure there are some who followed this diet and feel that way (the website gives a "pro-ana" type feel) but I think there are many who did not and were playing with fire in terms of their health decline.

Back in June, the FDA issued a regulation on dietary supplements to require current good manufacturing practices. This goes along the lines of making sure that what is in the supplement is accurately labeled as such and that it is produced in a quality manner. I wish the same could be said for these type of internet weight loss scams. I'm sure this Kimkin diet will undoubtedly be the last of this type to come about again. Hopefully, this is will be a wake up call to people.

For more information on this diet and its controversy, go to here and here This site has also gotten down to the controversy as well.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A round up of emotions

I think I've had a lot of emotions stored up over the past few weeks which ended up in me kind of losing it this weekend.

The positive:
Happy. Two dog classes graduated this week. Everyone did well for the most part.
Warm, nice feeling. I got a really nice compliment about my dog training skills from my boss whom I respect incredibly.
Sigh of relief. My friend called me back.
Hopeful: Bought a ticket for this week to an event in town.
Excited: Heard from the prosthetic place about finding someone to make me a custom-made glove. Supposed to be getting samples in for me to try soon.

The negative:
Frustrated: Realizing that some dog owners are never going to "get" it and will likely continue to repeat cues. Some of these people have Ph.Ds.
Annoyed: One dog I've been working with for the past eleven days was very loud this weekend.
Guilt: Not going to my friend's party a few weeks ago and not calling her. Did get up the nerve to call her though used cop out I was depressed and isolating (true but still doesn't seem like a very good excuse) She's the one that called back. We're still currently playing phone tag. Still feeling bad about being some below the type person.
Anxiety: Holiday season right around the corner. Found out my mom wants to visit at Thanksgiving. I do better with my mom visiting than my dad as long as my mom doesn't bring up some core issues, like my life plans, what I want to do, etc. It's a very sensitive topic for me and one I'm drilled about weekly from my father.
Pissed off: My therapist send me an e-mail message returning mine. Told her I wasn't doing well and would hopefully get to see her in Nov. One line was sent saying: I'm sorry you're not doing well. Remember to keep journaling." I was expecting more than that which was obviously not a good expectation. I doubt I'll have the money to see her especially since I pay out of pocket.
Confused: Can't figure out what to do with this guy. We've gone on two dates, spoke on the phone but not really feeling a connection. Don't know what to do.

So all this, the emotions exploded. I resorted to ED type behaviors. I ate more this weekend than all week. When I get like this, I want all my food gone, even ones I really like. This normally results in binge type behavior. Saturday, it was just a binge and nothing more, Sunday, ended up binging and purging. The aftermath is always feeling like shit and then guilty for getting rid of all my food when I knowingly know I don't have the money to really spend on food. Then just angry at myself for resorting to this type of behavior even if the purges are only once every two months or so.

Every purge destroys my teeth which causes me even more guilt. Thousands of money have been spent on my teeth the last ten years. I can't even remember how many root canals, crowns put on only to lose again, and teeth cracked I've also had three bridges, one still paying off and several teeth pulled. Currently, I have a hole for where an implant is supposed to be, another that is just a half of a tooth since the temporary fell off a month ago. My dental benefits don't actually begin until Jan. for any major work. It really sucks, but at the same time I keep wondering if it's worth it.

I know this is a new week. It's a short week for me at work too which will be nice overall. There is only one more dog graduation, then I'll have my evenings again. I'm also trying to convince myself to be social and go to this event this week even if I end up going alone.

For now, it's time to get dressed and do some much needed laundry.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Confessions of a Cracker Addict

Keeping with this topic of obesity, I was listening to a podcast the other day about a book called Waistland by Deidre Barrett, a Harvard psychologist in their behavioral medicine department. I have not read the book yet, but only listened to an interview of her about the book. The book looks at the obesity problem from an evolutionary standpoint with scientific research. She also talks about how to "reprogram" your body/mind in terms of biologically. I didn't agree with everything she said in the interview. For example, she believes that there is only a grain of truth in genetics and becoming fat and some others that I can't think off the top of my head. However, there were a few interesting things she did say which I think are in fact true.

One thing she mentioned was that people really need to do more of a radical approach in order to stop their "food addiction." This is in the sense of what they are eating in terms of sugary, fattening foods. Her theory is that if you let's say eliminate a certain food that is high in sugar and fat, essentially over time, your body is going to stop craving it. This is completely opposite of what many health professionals tell you, ie. make small changes. Barrett's thinking is that 1) those small changes are not enough to truly make a difference, 2) that by continuing to "feed" your body this way only throws your body off. An example would be glucose levels or cortisol. I think in some ways this can work for some people. The problem is that many people have a hard time with continuance over time which can lead to the yo-yo dieting.

Her approach is more about breaking the pattern and developing good habits. Supposedly, it takes what 21 days to develop a habit. I decided to try to take on this type of approach and see what happens.

See, even though I've had an eating disorder for many years, mostly eat all natural and organic foods, my one "refined" substance is crackers, mainly wheat thins and animal crackers.
They are my addiction. I've always considered them "safe" foods, and I can eat quite a lot of them. I think it's due to never really feeling "full." I also think besides the psychological value of them, I think there is something biologically driven as well. Even when I was in the hospital for non-epileptic seizures (long story), I remember asking my parents to bring me wheat thins. One thing I can say about wheat thins is that by eating so many of them, it probably kept my iron levels at bay since there is some fortification in them.

I know there could be worse things in life to eat, but I don't know, I guess maybe it just feels really "unbalanced" or something. Literally, if I don't eat them, my caloric intake is drastically reduced. In a sense, it's a good challenge for me to try to eat other things.

I've tried many ways to reduce my cracker consumption--putting them in servings, only buying the small bags, always telling myself this was the last time, etc., you get my drift. The last time I completely eliminated wheat things, it was like three weeks without eating them. That was like a record for me. My parents think it is funny how these crackers have basically become another food group to me and often times when they come, they bring me a whole bunch.

Anyway, what I do notice after eating so many is that my blood sugar takes a nosedive, and I'm often tired in the late afternoon. So I'm trying hard not to buy any crackers even though I know Wal-Mart currently has the 14 oz box of reduced fat wheat thins (I really prefer the low sodium ones) for 2/$5 and the 2 lb. bag of animals crackers priced at 2/$3. Since Sunday, I have not eaten any and actually there is a difference in terms of blood sugar level. I still get a little tired but not the same as before. I know I could easily just add a protein source to the crackers, but then that just messes with my head in terms of calories and fat. I'm hoping to make 21 days and see if I have really developed a "habit" from it. I'll keep you posted.

Can we confuse people anymore?

Recently, new research came out about the causes of mortality at different BMIs and weight. According to Katherine Flegal, the lead researcher of this study, if you're underweight, there is a significant increase in non-cancer and non-cardiovascular related mortality. If you're obese, there is a significant increase in cardiovascular mortality. However, if you're overweight, then you're okay because there could be some extra nutritional reserves. Hmm, okay, whatever.

However, then this article comes out from Reuters rebutting the above study. I think this could just confuse the public at large even more. I get really tired of using the BMI to gauge your perceived health. There are a lot more factors than weight and height that determine your lifespan. Lifestyle activity is such a big one, as well as what you eat. We really are what we eat.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

More on running

In keeping with the running theme, I'm also very aware of running and eating disorders in general. I did not grow up running but rather a gymnast for many years. In my sophomore year of high school, I retired from competitive gymnastics due to some bad injuries. At that time, I did not have an eating disorder. That didn't happen until after I stopped gymnastics. Then I got into running, actually I think forcing myself, especially since I hated to run. For the rest of my high school and early college years, I consistently ran almost everyday along side of cheerleading and track activities. In the end, there was a lot of toll on my body, and it left me pretty exhausted.

I came across this article yesterday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on eating disorder run rampant in girls cross country. I knew a number of cross country individuals in high school. Some of them were star runners, others just did it for fun. What sticks out to me were the girls who posted stellar times as freshman and sophomores, and then declined as their body changed in weight. I can only imagine how some of them felt to try to reach that best PR time again and feeling like their body betrayed them. It's similar to the gymnast who grows five inches in a year. It's only nature taking its course, but to female adolescents who are athletes, it can feel like torture.

What came across to me in this article was something that could be very controversial for high school athletics. Similar to the ban of the underweight models in Madrid, BMI would be screened for athletes involved in cross country. Currently, any BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight. Runners who are underweight and malnourished are at some serious health risks like osteoporosis, amenorrhea, anemia, and many others.

Apparently this proposal is divided with coaches. Some are for it, while others feel like it would place a lot of emphasis on weight. In my opinion, I think this could backfire. It is well intentioned of course, but at the same time, who's to say such and such isn't naturally thin or a girl with a normal BMI doesn't have an eating disorder? Obviously, outward symptoms of lanugo, emaciation, etc. could be evident, but what about electrolyte imbalances which you can't see unless someone goes into cardiac arrest, blacks out, etc. just for that reason. Even amenorrhea can't be considered a reliable symptom as many with eating disorders continue to have normal or irregular menstrual cycles but still some evidence of a menstrual cycle.

It'll be interesting to see where this goes and whether other high schools will implement something similar. According to the linked article above, a revised weight management program will be instituted this year for the school's wrestling program. I guess only time will tell. I'm reminded of this postcard published at postsecret a little over a year ago. It's my hope we have less of this, so individuals can get the help they need.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Marathon news and "Wannabe ultramarathoner"

Normally, I do not follow marathon news or anything of the sort even though I do run. Apparently, the NYC Marathon was bittersweet. From the NYRR website, Ryan Shay, a hopeful young runner for the Olympics, collapsed and died. It was known that he had enlarged heart but was given clearance to run by medical doctors. It's quite sad, and my condolences go out to his family.

On the brighter side of things, the British female runner, Paula Radcliffe, won after a birth of a child this year, injuries, and a two year absence from the sport. It really reminds you that even after pregnancy, you can be top notch with good training and keeping yourself healthy.

So with reading all about the NYC marathon, I'm wondering why I am even interested. I think in the back of my mind I'm a "wannebe marathoner" or better yet "ultramarathoner." After reading Dean Karnaze's book, Ultramarathon Man: confessions of an all night runner, it peaked my interest in the ability to defy your body's odds and tests its limits. I learned a bit of the inside scoop from JW, another ultramarathoner. Since then, it's kind of goal of mine one day to be able to do one. So what stops me from pursuing his goal?

Firstly, well, in order to run anything like that, you must eat. You have to be able to sustain your body for that amount of energy. Studies show the majority of people do not fuel enough before runs or other endurance activities. I'm in that category unfortunately, although I do eat more in general most days than let's say five years ago.

Secondly, commitment. Do I have what it takes to do that? My therapist tells me I'm afraid of commitment which affects my life daily. Is it commitment or determination? People have always told me I am determined, but since high school, that determination has just dwindled into fears that seem to plague me. How do I tell myself or better yet convince myself that I could really do this?

Thirdly, there is the issue of competitiveness. It's not even about coming in first but rather having a stunning time on the first go around. I think that comes from feeling like I work hard (and I do have a good work ethic) and feeling like it never pays off. Well, I would have to precede that with "at least to my standards."

So for now, it's all up in the air. Maybe it'll be my New Year's Resolution?

Cell phone update

Well, I got my phone from ebay yesterday and got it activated today. I have to admit I really like this other phone better than the Samsung one. It sounds shallow, but this one has way better ringtones. My only issue with this phone is the charge. i'm not sure whether it's battery or the charger, but the charge is not lasting long. I'm hoping the ebay seller can give me answer to this. Ultimately, I may have to get a new battery. Since the unfortunate happening with my original phone, I decided to be on the safe side and pay for the extra warranty.

Hopefully, this will be the last of my cell phone issues. I'm sure the cell phone reps are tired of seeing me especially since I went against their advice of buying one on ebay. Oh well, sometimes you have to take a chance and have faith. That or be incredibly lucky!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Music and Marathons

I was watching part of the "Today show" before I left for work. There was a clip on there about the music ban on marathons. US Track and field apparently made that rule this year to ensure safety. While some marathons did follow the rule and disqualify any runner using such devices, others did not. The NYC marathon this weekend has decided not to follow suit as there are 38,000 runners. Policing that many runners would be very difficult indeed, especially since devices keep getting smaller and smaller.

As a runner, I sit on the fence on this one. When I got my ipod back last March, I originally found it very helpful on my long runs. Since discovering podcasts, I mostly listen to that these days. Although the issue is safety and communication between runner, I've found there is capability of doing both. For me, even though I listen to music on my runs, I still remain very vigilant of my environment. I think for the majority of people, running is for recreation, so if a little pick me up helps, then why not? Ultimately, those who are very competitive will likely not use any music devices and focus more on their bodies, breathing, time, etc. In the end, however, everyone wants to get to the finish line whether its with or without music.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My bad luck with cell phones

Last Thursday, I managed to destroy my cell phone. Nope, I didn't drop it despite the many times that's happened. I somehow managed to flip my phone into the remnants of my bowl of noodles I'd had for dinner that night. By this point, there was only the liquid portion left. I immediately got the phone, tried cleaning and wiping it off. It looked okay, but about 30 minutes later when I checked my phone, there was a voice mail from my father. I tried to check it but heard nothing. I tried all those things like taking the battery out, turning it on/off, etc. Nope, nothing. Then the phone began to read carkit. Hmm, I really didn't know what that meant other than something to do with the car. Then I began hearing crinkly noise which kind of suggested it probably short circuited.

The next day, I turned it on and got about 10 seconds of audio, but then it went back to silence. I took it into the verizon store where they cleaned it, but again to no avail. I was pretty bummed as I really liked that phone. I was ineligible for a new phone since I'd only had that one since June and no insurance. I ended up purchasing a Samsung phone from one of the reps' personal stock. I wasn't happy paying the $115 but knew I needed something. I could just imagine Murphy's Law happening to me since my cell is the only phone access I have.

I've had the new phone since then and hate it. It's perfectly workable, but I miss my speaker phone. Yeah, kind of shallow I know. Who knew I'd be so devoted to my other phone. So against the advice of the reps, I went on ebay yesterday to check out phones. I was amazed at how many there were. I found one I wanted to bid on. There were 0 bids 4 hours before the auction ended. 20 minutes before the auction was over, there were 17 bids! I couldn't believe it. Everyone waited until the last minute. At the end, after 22 bids, someone won the auction with a price of $56 not including s/h. I surfed some more and found a different phone. It wasn't the exact same model or brand new, but looks to be good. I checked the feedback ratings which was overall positive.. I purchased that phone for $26 plus s/h and insurance. I'm hoping it gets here on Thurs., because that's the last day I can return the other phone. I'm taking a gamble here, but I'm hoping luck will be in my favor for once with cell phones. The last 4 years, I've just had crappy luck with them. Everything from dropped calls/bad reception to messages I couldn't erase to corrosion.

So things I've learned from this:
Never have your cell phone near any water or liquid substance.

On the up side of things, I still have the now defunct old phone and can use it as a "dummy" phone to train my dogs to get the phone. No wait a minute, Baxter already does that!