All posts by Princess Dianne

Well, I did say I was a hot MESS…

I have a very busy life. Busier now than before – and, although it’s just Hot Mess Hubby and me at home, I haven’t been able to keep up with a lot of things that seem natural to the other women in my family…and some of my friends. It makes me feel guilty. Less than. And like I’ve failed in some way. Today, more than ever, I feel that way about the mess in my own home.

A few weeks ago, I made the decision to hire a maid service to come and do a deep cleaning on my home. For at least the last few years, I’ve let myself spin in a vicious circle that begins every Friday afternoon:

  • Get motivated that it’s Friday and I have the weekend to myself
  • Decide to use my weekend to catch up on housecleaning
  • Get home from work, throw on some comfy clothes, and get crazy with the cleaning tasks
  • Go to bed tired, but hopeful
  • Wake up motivated and keep pushing
  • Greet hubby when he wakes up, let him enjoy his time off…keep cleaning
  • Take a break and go stitch or do something else
  • Do a bit more housecleaning, get distracted by hubby, feel guilty that I haven’t done more
  • Begrudgingly agree to leave the house with hubby because he wants to have lunch or go somewhere. Feel guilty that I left the house messy
  • Come home too hot or too tired (or both) to think about more cleaning
  • Wake up Sunday promising myself that I’ll clean, but really need a break…go stitch for a bit
  • Accidentally get sucked into the damn Law & Order marathon on tv
  • Do enough laundry to get us through the work week
  • Possibly make dinner…or bake for work…whichever requires that I make a mess in the kitchen
  • Spend the rest of the night feeling guilty and talking to Hot Mess Hubby
  • Wake up in a house that’s not really clean, feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything, and looking forward to the next weekend when I can “get it all done”

Phew. I suck.

So I’ve finally realized that housework is something I’m not great at…and the only time I’m really organized is when I’m at work. My house is never going to look like Pottery Barn. I have a Saint Bernard, a Saint Berdoodle, and a very fat cat…and, less than a year ago, a 21 year old tabby cat that peed pretty much wherever she damn well felt like it. My sweet girl (she really was a sweet girl) went off to Rainbow Bridge, late last year. I imagine she’s probably peeing on it.

As I write this, I feel guilty and disappointed. There are two maids in my house. They’ve been here for three hours…which is the amount of time a deep cleaning is supposed to take. One of them has spent all her time in the master bathroom and the other has spent all her time in the kitchen. When they came in, they went on and on about how my house wasn’t that bad…and yet it’s taken two professional maids three hours to even begin to clean the crud off of the crud that’s on my crud….in only two rooms of my house.

The guest bathroom isn’t done. The blinds aren’t done. Nothing is dusted. I keep feeling like I might hear sobbing coming from the master suite soon. Spray, spray, spray. Sob. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Sob.

I’ll bet right now you’re wondering whether I’m going to finish this blog before they’re done and then you’ll have to go to bed wondering what the hell ever happened. I’m not, don’t worry…but if I don’t sit here and do something while I’m obsessing over what these total strangers think of me as a person, I’ll go crazy. Crazier.

So I guess I’ll leave this here for now and pray these women aren’t ready to poke a Hot Mess Voodoo Doll to death with their cleaning tools…

*Pause while I await my doom…*

Okay, I’m back! Were you wondering what happened? Well…I’m here to tell you.

Although they predicted that 3 hours and 2 maids would be enough to make my house sparkle, it took 2 maids 5 hours to get it to be…presentable. It’s not their fault that my house doesn’t sparkle. It’s the cheap flat paint that needs to be painted over…and the knicked up baseboards from giant doggies running in their sleep…and the horrible carpet that we refused to replace while the 21 year old peeing princess was still alive. Those things must all be dealt with, but for now…

My house smells clean. The kitchen is cleaner than it’s been in 9 years. I know because that’s when my brother and sister in law visited and their house DOES look like Pottery Barn, so HMH and I cleaned for days before they came.

My living room is dusted, everything is wiped down, and the fake plants aren’t dirty anymore (don’t judge me for having plastic plants…I can’t keep anything without a face alive). The carpet under our bed is vacuumed, much to Hemi the cat’s extreme displeasure. She came waddling out from the bedroom with a distinct “What the fuck is going on here!” look on her face. She is now curled up on the bed with her Chewbacca toy…plotting my death.

I still feel guilty. It was $265 well spent, and yet I feel guilty for needing the help. I am not perfect. I can’t do everything myself. And I’m realizing now that life is too short to have such expectations of myself. Going out to lunch with my husband, or curling up in my stitchy chair and enjoying a good storm outside, is worth a lot to me. More than ever.

So I guess I have something else to do now: accept the gift that I’ve given myself and stop worrying about what these strangers must have thought of my disgusting floors…and my skeezy shower. And maybe put my damn laundry away for once.

 

Happy 2018…let’s go!

Y’all, 2017 was an interesting year. In fact, everything after 2013 has been amazing. I lost 119 pounds, too many clothing sizes to count, so many inches I don’t even know. Through this blog, I shared all the changes I was going through in all of that. Y’all came with me every step of the way.

If you’re following me on Facebook (and you should be), you know that I have the travel bug. Travel is hard on the human body whether you weigh 150 or 350 or are somewhere in between like me. As much as I love going new places, it’s hard on me physically. Usually, at the end of a day of exploring, I find myself waddling or limping back to my hotel room and collapsing in a happy heap…wondering if I couldn’t have done even more if I was in better shape.

As I’ve gone through this process, I’ve also changed. Things that used to motivate me…don’t. Mostly, that number on the scale. I am not interested in focusing on a number.  I don’t give a crap about dropping another marble in the “Pounds Lost” jar. It’s hard to explain, but it feels like I’m looking at it all from the wrong angle.

So what do I care about now? I care about how my butt fits in an airplane seat (and they’re all different). I care about how much walking I can do when my sneaks hit the pavement in London. I care about how well I sleep…and how dehydrated I still get. I care about not getting old before I get old, and about making sure my eyes and my hands work for years to come…because doing needlework gives me joy.

You’ll hear more from me here on the blog than you did in 2017. We’re going to talk about a lot of things, including weight loss, healthy living, travel, and yes…NEEDLEWORK. And a million other topics I can’t even think of. Anything that comes up.

For now, let’s talk about travel. I know I have many readers who don’t travel because of weight. You’ve read horror stories about people being removed from airplanes because they’re too fat, or people being charged for a second seat that they can’t afford. Travel is an amazing gift to give yourselves, peeps. Amazing. I want to help you get past the fear and get out there.

So…let’s talk about travel. In the comments below, give me your travel questions. You can ask me anything, including how big my butt is and whether it fits in the seat. 🙂 I want you to be able to get out there in the world.

If you have a question for me but you’re embarrassed to ask it, just give me a fake name in the comments below. I can’t tell who you are, so make it a fun name and ask the question.

Let’s see those comments!

The party’s on Facebook, peeps!

Hi everyone!

Well, I’ve tried and tried…and I can’t seem to get back into the rhythm of writing blog posts. As if you’re sending not-so-subliminal messages, my readers tend to not comment on the blog posts anyway. LOL. If I share a link to a new blog post on my Facebook fan page, everyone just comments on Facebook anyway…so why do I need to bring everyone over here?

I’m not saying I’ll never write another blog post, but I didn’t want to leave my website hanging…so if you’re wondering what the hell is going on with me, head over to Facebook. And if you’re one of those folks who doesn’t want to put their personal info on Facebook, that’s okay. Make up a name. Like…Beulah Jones or Vagina Reynolds. No one will ever know. #Genius

Click here to head over to my Facebook fan page. It’s totally action-packed.


http://amzn.to/2rg1r3J

Guilt. It’s what’s for dinner. And it’s eff’in tasty!

I’ve been dealing with a lot of family drama lately. The drama is centered around two members of my otherwise peaceful family. If you follow my Facebook fan page, you know one as the Drama Llama. I never talk about the other one, but I’ll call him the Drama Moose. Because I can.

Over the past few weeks I’ve become more and more in touch with the fact that it’s normal again to have potato chip bags around the house. Trips to the vending machine at work have become more and more “necessary” in the afternoons. And I’ve had this nagging, guilty feeling I can’t shake.

I hate guilt. It’s a shitty feeling, whether it’s deserved or not. And when there’s family drama going on it can be hard to identify whether you’re down in the dumps because the Drama Llama or the Drama Moose is acting up or because you’re slipping back into your old, horrible habits and your new self defense mechanisms are kicking in.

The real wake up moment happened on Friday when I had my hair done (because it was time to cover those “wisdom highlights” that Mother Nature has bestowed upon me). It’s never fun to look in the mirror when you’re in the chair at the salon. Does anyone ever look pretty in that damn chair?

I think I've made my point.
I think I’ve made my point.

Anyway, I looked in the mirror and my first thought was “Holy shit, how did my face get that huge?” There was a lot more face on my face than there used to be. And then, to kick the guilt machine into overdrive, I was looking through my phone for a picture to show my hair stylist and this popped up:

hmp2015

This was taken in 2015 when I ran into my pal during a follow up with our surgeon. Yeah, I still have that shirt…and I can still wear it…but it doesn’t look like that on me anymore. And my face is definitely smaller here. A lot smaller, actually.

The guilt is coming from the best place possible. I’ve been turning towards unhealthy eating as a mechanism for coping with a shit ton of stress. Before my surgery and the amazing experience I’ve had since then, I would have turned that guilt against myself. You’re lazy. You’re fat. You’re a horrible person. These are the things I said to myself with horrifying regularity. And then I’d eat again. It was a destructive cycle that lasted 25 years.

The guilt is waking me up from my complacency. The guilt is nudging at me, reminding me of how hard I worked to lose 118 pounds and drop 8 sizes. I’m grateful for it, really. But all day today I’ve been trying to give it a hug and send it on its way. You can’t hold onto guilt for too long or you start to believe you’re just a shitty person.

This is why I announced on Facebook this morning that I’ve started the “pouch reset” that my surgeon’s office talked about in their latest newsletter. Yes, more than three years later I’m still getting support from these amazing people. Just another reason why it’s important to pick a great doctor if you decide the surgical route is the way you want to go.

A pouch reset is basically a mini bootcamp course that takes you back to the weeks after your surgery, forcing your body to burn the fuel it already has and helping you to gain control over any carb cravings you might have. It’s not even a bootcamp, really. It’s more like a trip down a dietary memory lane. You take yourself back to the basics. Back when you were only allowed to drink everything and were petrified to eat a cracker for fear of ripping your stomach open. I was, anyway.

So today through Wednesday I will be drinking protein shakes to get my nutrition in and (hold onto your asses) I’ll get unlimited amounts of sugar free jello and sugar free popsicles. You’re jealous, aren’t you? Actually, to sweeten the sugar free pot even more, I can even eat red and purple jello and popsicles…because I’m not having surgery next week! Yay me!! (Red and purple shows up on a video screen as blood and it freaks the hell out of the surgeons…that’s why pre-op patients aren’t allowed to eat those colors.)

On Thursday I’ll be allowed Greek yogurt as well. Actually, I’m allowed a bunch of other shit…but it’s all disgusting. Chicken salad. Tuna. I could go on, but I might barf up my last protein shake. I’m happy with the Greek yogurt. On Friday, I can go back to my regular high protein foods…and then I’m done!

There are a ton of other “pouch reset” plans out there. There’s no right way to do this. The intention is to bring the patient back to basics. I’m…12 hours in as I write this, and I can honestly say I’m well on my way back. I really needed this.

This morning I read through some of the posts I made right after surgery. I relived the morning of my surgery:

  • The long drive to the hospital in the icy cold weather
  • Crying repeatedly as I worried in the pre-op area, overthinking and obsessing like crazy
  • Waking up and making an ass out of myself in front of the recovery room nurse

I remembered, with a smile on my face:

Before I knew it, I was smiling ear to ear. Guilt leads to smiling. Who is this woman???

Today has been a challenge, but it hasn’t been hard. When you start heading back to your old habits of eating crunchy things when you’re stressed…and making yourself feel better with some chocolate after a stressful day…you can look at this kind of thing in one of two ways: a wake up call or something to feel guilty over. I’m so happy that I’ve grown to a place where I know when to kick the guilt to the curb.

I’d asked Hot Mess Hubby to throw all the chips out before I got home, which he did. But he didn’t see the bag on the coffee table, so it was waiting for me when I got home. I didn’t eat any. I picked it up, walked straight to the kitchen, and threw it out. Buh-bye. I don’t want you in my life right now, chips.

Something else: I’ve been looking forward to going to the gym all day. WHAT?? Who the hell is this person? Even though I’ve made some great progress towards working out, I still have the very strong urge to throw up any excuse not to go. Yet when I got home today I reminded myself not to get too comfortable, because my plan has been to head to the gym in time to swim for 30 minutes, shower and get ready for bed before I head home. But not in jammies. My gym is kinda classy, actually, and I’m pretty sure that schlepping through the lobby in my Star Wars jammies would be frowned upon.

If I do this right I’ll have about a half hour to stitch and relax before bed. What a lovely way to end the day, right? Swimming. Pampering. Stitching. Bed. Hell yeah!

Some of you may be wondering if I haven’t been hungry all day. My protein intake requirement is 90 – 100 grams a day, and just one of my protein shakes has 30 grams in it. It only takes me 3 protein shakes to hit that goal and I don’t get anything else but sugar free jello. The answer? No. Not a bit. I haven’t been hungry at all. I’ve felt a little empty here and there, but no hunger like I did before surgery.

Have I had the munchies? HELL YES! My brain wants me to eat. The professional worrier inside me wants me to eat. Ultimately, though, I wanted to continue with the pouch reset. It’s comforting to me to wander down memory lane. It feels good to take care of myself. And it definitely felt good (and surreal) to toss out those chips. Who is this woman????

She’s me. And she’s awesome. Guilt doesn’t suck if you learn from it. Just make sure you wrestle the bitch out the door after you’re done.

Want this awesome unicorn pillow? You know you do. It’s right here.

Lady of the Flag

Those of you who follow my Facebook fan page are well acquainted with my 2016 stitchy project, Lady of the Flag. I entered it in the State Fair of Texas Creative Arts competition and received second place, which was a HUGE compliment. It’s the highest award I’ve ever won at the State Fair and I was unbearably dorky when I got the great news.

Some of you are also aware that I am a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, having joined as a tribute to my late father. He was a decorated World War II vet who never lived to see the memorial built in tribute to him and the amazing men and women like him. While my sass and humor came from my mother’s side of the family (they’re all bloody crazy), my father raised me with a solid love for my country and a sense of patriotism that feels rare today.

A friend, and fellow Daughter, asked me to submit Lady of the Flag in the Daughters of the American Revolution American Heritage contest. It’s an annual contest showcasing the talent of all the amazing ladies in this organization, encompassing a wide variety of arts like writing, sculpting, quilting, needlepoint, and my favorite…cross stitch. Of course, I said yes.

I’ve shared some of the steps I’ve had to take on Facebook, including the fact that I had to write a page explaining why I stitched her…and who I stitched her for. One of y’all asked me to share it, but I can’t remember who. I’ve slept since then. 🙂 For what it’s worth, though, here I am to share what I wrote to accompany the high resolution photographs of Lady of the Flag.

Like many young men of the Greatest Generation, my father went to war to defend our country during World War II. He was just 18 years old when he entered the US Army, emerging several years later with a Purple Heart and several other medals, including the Bronze Star.

He lived his entire life never speaking of the war, even to my mother. I remember playing beside his chair and asking him about the angry scars that ran up his legs. He would always reply “That’s something that Daddies don’t talk to their little girls about, sweetheart.”

As it was for so many of our brave soldiers, and still is today, the war didn’t just leave scars on his legs. He came home a broken and battered old man in a young man’s body, unsure of how to handle the grief and terror of the battles he fought. He pushed on, though, as so many did in those days.

He and my mother raised six children, never letting us take for granted the wonderful freedoms we enjoy as Americans. My father showed us that our country’s history and heritage were to be honored and protected. While the battles raged on inside his head, his patriotism and his sense of duty to his country never wavered. Although I always longed to be closer with my Dad, I will never forget the lessons he taught me about patriotism, love for our country, and how very deserving our veterans and active military are of honor and respect.

His mother was a needleworker. Although I didn’t know her, I always felt a kinship with her because of that. Even as a child, I was drawn to needlework. My own mother loved to sew as well. During the most trying times of my life, it’s been needlework that has calmed my mind and given me focus. I wish my dad had found a craft that did the same for him. I know it would make him smile to see that I’ve carried on his mother’s tradition, and her mother’s as well, of keeping needle arts in the family.

Dad would have been incredibly proud to learn that he was a direct descendant of a Revolutionary War patriot. My membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution was the beginning of my lifelong tribute to my father’s memory. Stitching this beautiful piece is also part of that tribute.

My father taught me to respect and cherish our flag, so naturally this piece was something that called to me. I chose the hand-dyed, stormy gray linen as a foundation for the beautiful lady in the gilded dress, holding our flag in her arms. To me, it parallels the stormy turmoil of war that my father braved in order to help secure a beautiful future for our country.

To me, the 2016-17 theme of “Moving Family Traditions Forward with the Arts”, is represented on many levels in Lady of the Flag. As many of the Elwood women who came before me, I’ve used a needle and thread to create a one-of-a-kind heirloom for my family. She hangs proudly in our home, and every time I look at the rich colors of the flag and the beaded finery of her dress, I imagine what Dad would say if he could see her. I know he would be touched and incredibly proud, and I dare say that my grandmother would even be impressed at the work I’ve done…which will be around long after I’m gone. A loving, beautiful tribute to my father and all the heroes in our ancestry who came before him.

I mail the entry packet off to the State Chair this evening. 🙂

Lady of the Flag faced some very stiff competition at the 2016 State Fair of Texas and she won a very deserving 2nd place ribbon. Taking that into account, I highly doubt that she’ll make it into the national finals. For me, it’s not about winning…it’s about the stitching. It’s about what stitching does for me, what it means to me to be able to do it, and the beautiful things I’m able to have (or give away as gifts) when I’m done. And, as always, I feel Dad smiling down at me from Heaven…with tears in his eyes. Proud.

Thank you all for being such great fans, and for always supporting me by listening to my crazy rants, my nutty ideas, and my obsessing over details. ♥

lof-a