Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas from my family to yours! Dad and I rocked the themed sweaters this year.

I kind of felt like I was dressed up in a costume as my mom. I even was wearing some of her old jewelry to add to the feeling.

Looking back at old photos I’m still astounded at how big Dad and I were in comparison to now. When I was that big, it felt completely normal to me, completely fine. There wasn’t anything wrong. Yeah I couldn’t really keep up with my kids, but who could? They have never ending energy! I was in such denial really. I love what my tool has given to me. That’s the true Christmas gift. Just yesterday I was rolling around on the floor with my girls practicing and teaching them gymnastics. I wasn’t winded, hurting, or self conscious at all! Here’s a comparison from last year to this year:

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Christmas eve I wore some kick-ass leggings that I’ve fallen in love with:

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Aren’t those awesome?! I got them 75% at Joann Fabrics of all places. Only $5! They’re super soft too. I love being able to buy clothes wherever and not having to worry about if they’ll be big enough for me.

To add to that love, I recently discovered that I could fit into the “normal” sized lead aprons at work. In the past I’d always had to hunt down one of the two aprons intended for those of the fluffier persuasion. Often times I wouldn’t be able to find them or they’d be in use. At those times I’d have to resort to wearing a normal one and tying the straps in the back since they wouldn’t fit around me to Velcro in the front like intended. Now not only do I fit in the normal lead, but I fit in the two piece lead! This is huge. Not only are they more comfortable but they’re easier on the back if you have to wear them the whole day. Yay non-scale victories!

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Happy Chrismakkah!

Happy Chrismakkah and Happy Birthday to me! We actually celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our house, hence Chrismakkah. The girls basically have none stop gifts and parties from Halloween through New Year’s: Halloween, their birthday, Thanksgiving, my birthday, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s. It’s a never ending party up in the Greenberg house!

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Saturday was my Dad’s company Christmas party. I was his date per usual since Mom’s no longer able. I talked him into wearing an awesome ugly Christmas sweater. He was adorable. I was going to get an ugly sweater dress but couldn’t decide on one so I ended up just borrowing a Christmas-esque dress from a friend. My necklace lit up and blinked though, so there was that. Below are some comparison photos from last year’s party and this year. At last year’s party we were on month 2 of the 6 month preop diet. I think we’d both maybe lost 5 pounds at that point? We look just a tad different.

There was an open bar at the party. I learned I couldn’t get my usual! I usually get a Dirty Shirley, basically an alcoholic Shirley Temple. Sprite, grenadine, cherries, and vodka. It’s the sprite that got me, the carbonation. I hadn’t really thought about that before. No worries though. I figured out an alternative 😉 I also talked Dad into doing a shot of Fireball with me! He hasn’t drank hard liquor in probably 30 years or more. His reaction was hilarious! I think I’ve also managed to talked him into getting a tattoo with me for father’s day/our 1 year surgeriversary next year.

Last Monday was my 33rd birthday. My husband and I both took a stay-cation for the week, though I did work Monday to cover for a coworker. It was a really nice week and a very much needed break. I also had to get a new driver’s license this year.

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This was the first time, ever, that I put my actual weight on my license. When I got my original at 16 I lied even then. I have had 130lbs listed for my entire driving career. This year I put my actual current weight and felt really proud of that fact!

While at work on Monday I had a bittersweet victory moment. A surgeon that I haven’t worked with in a really long time didn’t recognize me! He then ruined the victorious moment by telling me that I cheated by getting the surgery when I explained how I’ve lost the weight. -_-  Gee, thanks Doctor…. -_-

Tuesday I had my tattoo as planned 🙂 I was there for a total of 8 hours, with 6.5 hours of it being active tattooing time. The longest I’ve even been under the needle for a tattoo was maybe an hour, if that. This by far tested my endurance and pain tolerance. I would have been happy stopping at 5 hours and calling it a day. The last 30-45 minutes I literally couldn’t hold still. My leg was twitching all over the place. My face was buried in a pillow and I was saying some not nice words. The husband came and hung out with me for a good 4 hours. Entertained me and the tattoo artist. Helped make small talk since I suck at it. Even got me food at a nearby restaurant and brought it back for me. He’s awesome 🙂

After we stopped for the day/night I then was “forced” to stand for what felt like endless pictures. Lindsey, the tattoo artist, is a self admitted obsessive picture taker. I can relate 🙂 She was trying really hard to get the colors and details to come out in a picture to post on the shop’s website at some point. After laying so long my left hip surprisingly was really sore. Lack of padding combined with a not so comfy bed/chair/bed thing equaled a left sore hip for almost 2 days.  While waiting for Lindsey to get the perfect picture I actually got pretty light headed and had to sit down. Hadn’t felt like that in a really long time. I think all my adrenaline was spent, plus limited food/drink and getting up too fast. I have to go back in January for her to finish up the tattoo. I still have 2-3 hours worth of coloring to do on it. I learned from this experience to ask for more breaks next time for sure.

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I love how it turned out! At our next session she’s going to color in the kimono, umbrella, and background. My pictures aren’t as good as the ones she took. When she eventually posts them I’ll repost them here. If you’re ever in need of an awesome tattoo artist you need to go to Studio 85, specifically Lindsey. All of the artists there are super talented though, so you’d be in good hands with any of them. (https://www.studio85tattoo.com/)

The last picture of the above collage is from the next morning. They had put a clear dressing on that was supposed to stay on for 3 days. Unfortunately for my sheets it leaked at some point in the night. All that lovely fluid is just extra ink, sweat, and natural inflammation response that normally would cause my leg to swell if it hadn’t escaped through the now very pretty open wound on my leg.

A week later it’s still sore but nearly as much. Right now I’m dealing with my scrub pants rubbing it. I know, first world problems. I managed to go a whole week without wearing long pants. My legs were very cold when we went out.

Oh! and an adorable thing that happened: my daughters gave me their tooth fairy money towards the tattoo. They usually choose to put it in the tzedakah box (charity) at Sunday school, but they randomly decided they wanted to contribute to my savings money jar. Now they feel they have a bit of ownership in it I think 🙂

 

 

 

 

“Just like a tattoo…”

Next Monday is my 33rd birthday. If you’ve read any number of my previous posts you know I’ve been talking about getting a new tattoo. Well I officially have an appointment Tuesday afternoon/evening to get it done. This way it’ll have time to heal during my stay-cation. The tattoo has 3-fold celebratory reasoning: to celebrate my birthday, to celebrate losing 100 lbs (not quite there though. at 93 lbs right now), and to honor my mom (who loves all things panda and geisha).

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I’d like to get a Panda Geisha. It’s a tad more complicated than that though, because I can’t just be easy. I want a maiko, which is an apprentice geisha. They’re characterized by longer obi, longer kimono with longer sleeves, red under-collar, taller okobo (shoes), and red silk in the center of their hair bun. When a geisha graduates, so to speak, she becomes a geiko.

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It is said that geisha inhabit a separate reality which they call the karyūkai or “the flower and willow world”. Before they disappeared, the courtesans were the colorful “flowers” and the geisha the “willows” because of their subtlety, strength, and grace.

Their jobs consist of performing songs, dances, and playing the shamisen or the koto (traditional Japanese instruments) for visitors during feasts. They emulate culture and grace.

World War II brought a huge decline to the geisha arts because most women had to go to factories or other places to work for Japan. The geisha name also lost some status during this time because prostitutes began referring to themselves as “geisha girls” to American military men. Since the war though they’ve gone through a resurgence and modernization.

 

On the obi tail, instead of the normal geometric or flower pattern, I’ve requested a lotus unalome.

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The Unalome is originally a hindu symbol that graphically recalls Shiva´s third eye and it represents wisdom and the path to perfection. The spiral shows the beginning of the path, without knowledge or a given direction, that leads to discovering the world through inevitable errors (the knots along the line, or yak), each being a teaching moment, and finally becoming a straight line leading to enlightenment, often represented by a dot or a circle (the sun).

In the Buddhist tradition, Unalome represents the path each person takes throughout their life. That road can be straight, circular, or winding. It might be filled with anxiety, fear, terror, happiness, or love. This path begins at the center of a spiral, which represents the way we’re trapped in our own weakness, fear, and uncertainty. As the path unfolds, the mind finds clarity, eventually freeing itself from the cycles of suffering. When you learn to see yourself from a more objective standpoint, you’ll realize you’re attached to a web of emotions that cloud your mind. However, since we are merely human beings who tend to commit the same mistakes over and over again, it is not easy to abandon that cycle. That’s what the spiral represents, that inability of letting ourselves go completely. The pursuit of enlightenment is what straightens the line of the spiral. This symbol is a visual metaphor of that journey: the ultimate goal and culmination of our search for awareness. Finally, the dot that appears far away from the rest of the Unalome represents the uncertainty of life. We ignore the final truth. And even if we can’t perceive it, it does exist. This is the ultimate reward life can give us.

The lotus flower symbolizes overcoming adversities towards perfection, thus perfectly integrating the meaning of the Unalome.

The lotus has been a symbol of purity since before the time of the Buddha, and it blooms profusely in Buddhist art and literature. Its roots are in muddy water, but the lotus flower rises above the mud to bloom, clean and fragrant.

The mud nourishing the roots represents our messy human lives. It is within our human experiences and our suffering that we seek to break free and bloom. But while the flower rises above the mud, the roots and stem remain in the mud, where we live our lives. This plant is known to be associated with rebirth. This is a consequence of it supposedly retracting into the water at night, and emerging afresh in the Sun the next day. The breaking of the surface every morning is also suggestive of desire. This leads to it being associated with spiritual enlightenment.

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And finally, why a panda you ask? Because my Mommy loves them. Growing up our house was covered in panda figurines, pictures, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. When she went into the nursing home after her stroke 5 years ago, you seriously don’t even want to know how much panda stuff we had to find a new home for. Also, the panda is kind of my (and hers) spirit animal, or Patronus if you will.

The panda is a powerful spirit animal inspiring tranquil strength and determination. Under its soft and fuzzy appearances, this animal totem brings forth the importance of strong personal boundaries to feel safe and grounded in life. Symbolic of the ability to find a balanced and nurturing path through life, it will encourage those who have it as totem or power animal to integrate different aspects of their personality in an harmonious whole.

The panda is a symbol of gentleness and strength. The general meanings associated with this animal are:

  • Gentle strength
  • Peace
  • Good luck, positive outlook on life
  • Connection with Eastern wisdom

The symbolism of the panda also encompasses personal and spiritual qualities, such as:

  • Integration of polarized aspects of yourself, such as feminine and masculine energies
  • Heart-centered energy, nurturing ability
  • Importance of emotions
  • Calm determination, ability to take time to reach your goals
  • Importance of private space and personal boundaries

This animal is characterized by its very high sensitivity to its surroundings and can quickly become stressed when there is too much movement or noise around. If you identify with the panda totem, you’re likely very aware of your environment and the energies around you.

The totem of the panda has affinities with bear energy. Despite its gentle appearances, it is a strong animal with an unstoppable determination. Like the bear, it provides powerful support for those who need courage and steadiness in their endeavors. Those with the panda totem tend to be able to be firm and gentle at the same time and demonstrate a gentle strength in any circumstance. The wisdom of the panda teaches us to move through life calmly and with determination. You can call this spirit animal to help you maintain a steady pace and direction. In the Eastern culture, this animal is symbol of peace and harmonious resolution of conflict.

So basically, after that very long winded, detailed description of my future tattoo, there’s multiple hidden meanings in it for me. It represents that, like a maiko,  I’m still learning, constantly learning, not only in life but on my weight loss journey. That I’ll hit bumps along the way but with determination I’ll eventually get there. I need to have grace, courage, patience, and perseverance to rise above any obstacles. This is my story of rebirth, into the person I’m becoming. I’m not only changing physically, but mentally as well. Finally, it’s also to honor my mother. At an early age she instilled a love of learning, and a love of reading, in me. She taught me to always want to know more, and gave me the strength and courage to seek it out.

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I won’t see the tattoo artist’s actual design till I physically go to the appointment. She’ll be working on it right up until then. I went in and talked with her last week, told her all my wants and desire, and she measured my leg. After that I just had to leave it in her capable hands to interpret my spew of information overload into something amazing. There’s time built into the appointment if we need to tweak her design at all though.

I’ll, of course, do a post chronically the whole thing. As of right now my loving husband is going to go with me and entertain me/feed me. I could be there upwards of 6 hours, depending on how fast she works. Since there’s going to be a fair amount of detail and color work I fully anticipate being there the whole time. My previous 3 tattoos are just small things that took less than 45 minutes. I’m hoping I can last as long as I need to before tapping out.

 

Run Daddy Run!

 

An amazing thing happened yesterday! Dad ran for the first time in 35+ years! We were doing the track mixed with cardio circuit intervals with our group exercise class. Instead of walking between the cardio exercises he chose to run with me. Then at the end he even suggested we run 1 full lap around without stopping! Truly amazing! Our trainer said we (he) were an inspiration to the newbies in the group that were just starting out exercising.

In the afterglow of his first 5K he’s asked me to do the Mercy Mini-Heart 5K walk with him in March. Add that to the Flying Pig Marathon we were already planning on in May and I think it’s official that we’re starting to like this whole exercise thing.

The Flying Pig has a timer cut-off, even in the 5K. You have to average a 16 minute mile. They can only have the streets downtown closed down for so long. They open them back up behind the runners. If you’re too slow they have you move over to the sidewalk when they open them back up. Not a big deal really. I think that’s what put a fire under his butt though. He’s determined to shave off some of his time to get closer to the 16 minutes. Right now he averages 20-23 minutes a mile.