Monday, March 28, 2011

Fatty fatty four by four and crap like that!

George Lopez called Kirstie Alley a pig, basically, on his show. Referring to her feet as, "hooves" and, "she looked like this little piggy had roast beef for lunch and this little piggy had..."She tweeted back, "I don’t want or need an apology from George Lopez... I want his kidney dude, for his x (whom he divorced after she gave him a kidney) and all the other women he's insulted"!
The fact that that this can still happen on national TV, no less in this day and age,  really bugs me! I honestly think that George Lopez is only on TV because he’s Hispanic and its politcally correct to have him on the network lineup these days, obviously whether he’s funny or not. I have never liked humor that’s at someone else’s expense (unless I personally am dishing it out of course ha!).  But seriously, isn’t the funniest humor the everyday things that we do that someone can turn into a story and we laugh because it’s you’re thinking, “oh yeah been there”! On one hand we try to make progress against bullying and on the other have these "so called entertainers" acting like elementary students with no conscience.
Being fat is the last prejudice that’s still out there and openly tolerated.  Fat jokes been directed at fat girls mostly, and you know why it’s tolerated? Because rather than stand up for ourselves, we believe we have it coming. We have been conditioned to that. I know boys have their own issues with being fat but I was a girl (yes, once upon a time) and have taken a lot of teasing, put downs,  and probably worse discrimination.
I started getting “chunky” during puberty. Not sure why because I’d been a skinny, scrawny, sickly kid. But my parents started having marriage problems when I was about ten and between my tenth and twelfth birthdays my pictures I looked like I was a balloon being inflated. My parents fought over what Kathy and I ate. Mom tried to watch what and how much we ate, and Dad’s stance was, “let them eat”. I was always thinking, “Yeah let us eat”! Every time I poured a glass of orange juice, Mom, like a broken record would say, “that stuff is fattening you know! 

  We ate about six times a day. There was breakfast, morning coffee, dinner, lunch, supper and something before we went to bed.  Yep, that’s six times! That was all fine and good for those who were doing heavy labor on the farm but playing with cats, and pushing doll buggies didn’t really qualify us to eat like that. We didn’t have a lot of fun, and eating was fun… Mom was such a good cook! 
By the sixth grade I was being called, “Pam the ham” in school. Our farmland had gotten annexed into the Blaisdell school district and we were forced to go to Blaisdell School from Palermo. We didn’t want to change schools. There were three or four in each grade and only me and another girl in my grade.  There was a boy a grade ahead of me that had the dirtiest mind I’d ever been exposed to! He harassed us, called us dirty sexual names and was just smart ass puke in general. I would go home and tell Mom the words we heard that day in school…and she was astounded we were hearing such things but our Mom never rocked any boats, and just encouraged us to ignore it…not easy. We had a few good time memories there in Blaisdell School, but mostly I hated it. Because Blaisdell didn’t have a high school you could go to high school wherever you wanted to. Most of the Blaisdell kids opted for Stanley High School but we wanted to go back to Palermo and I’ve always been happy we did.
In high school is where I realized the connection between weight and sexuality. I have always described myself as a “Rosie O’Donnell” type. Chubby who used my humor to cover my insecurity.  I was not hugely fat. I always had boyfriends and friends, held class officer ships in my class, and felt popular but certainly not because of my looks. My weight and my teeth were something I had to overcome. Anyone I ever dated, dated me after hanging out as friends first. I always wanted to be like that Suzanne Somers character in American Graffiti. The smoldering, heart stopping, slam on the breaks, “I wanna go with her”, girl. No such luck! Instead I had a sexy friend Charli in high school that everyone wanted to date. I was her fat friend, that was overlooked, looked past or downright ignored by many guys.
Besides the dating scene and school issues, by then I’d been called a “slob” by one of my in-laws that seared my heart like a branding iron. When I had my appendix out the doctor who came into see me stiff and sore and miserable after surgery said, “We had a little bet before we cut you open about how many layers of fat we’d be cutting through and I won”! He said a number of layers too but I can't remember the number, just the put down. 

 Every family picnic was a dreaded event on my part...I didn't know which of my Aunts or Uncles on my Dad's side of the family was going to deliver the crushing blow that day. Every picnic it was a different one in that family. "You've gained alot of weight since I saw you last", "you better watch out our you're going to end up as fat as Lavina", "I really thought you were smarter than this". I remember being a married mother and climbing into my Mom's bed after one of these family picnics and sobbing to her about how fat I was. I remember telling her,  I'm so tired of being the biggest, the fattest and the uglist of my sisters".
                          An attempt at losing weight
I had a boyfriend, a crazy one.... but that’s another story, and probably the most redeeming thing about being fat that I can think of in this stage of my life, is that my self-esteem was so low it kept me from even thinking about doing anything sexual!  Are you kidding me? Take my clothes off in front of anyone?  Anytime my boyfriend even put his hand where I had a roll of fat, I'd move it! There was a lot of that moving the hand,  because there were a lot of rolls, both real and imagined! I was absolutely obsessed with how fat I was! Everywhere we went I’d see overweight girls(like when your pregnamt and see all pregnant people).  I'd ask my Mom, “Am I as fat as her?”  Mom would always say, "well your shaped different"…silently I knew I had a weird shape on top of being fat. I did too, that wasn’t imagined.

 I wore a long line girdle under my skin tight jeans that I had to lay on the bed to button. Of course then I had a huge roll OVER my jeans so I had to wear a sweatshirt and stretch it out just right so it would blouse over the fat roll, and not cling to it.
                                   Back up
I started my yoyo dieting career between my sophomore and junior year in high school, when I lost thirty pounds for the first time.  All of a sudden I had upper classmen and boys from other schools wanting to date me. I really didn’t get it; I was the same person after all. I still felt fat and I still didn’t like myself much. That part never changed throughout my life until now.
                                   Thin when Brendon was in Tball
I met Kerry when I was eighteen and totally loved him from the first time I saw him. He thought I was a tomboy and saw me more in the friend category unless he was drunk . I always think of this when Larry the Cable guy does his …”the cop pulls me over, asks me if I’m drunk, and I say, “why have a got a fat girl in the backseat”? Funny, funny stuff those fat jokes!  Unless you’re fat. Unless you’ve been fat. I think I won Kerry over by being there for him, cooking for him, mothering him so well… and he longed for that. Kerry loves me too I’m not saying that,  but what I’m saying is we loved each other for different reasons and like every other person I dated it wasn’t for my knockout body or looks.
                                        Fat when Syd was young
 Over the years, I was always on my way up the scale or down. I always said, “I’m not an addicted eater”, and I stand by that still today, I just am not active enough to burn off what I eat. I had a metabolism test last year and it was barely off the low end on a bar graph. I was like, “yeah, see there, I’m not a closet eater”!  Kerry never said anything about my weight going up or down all these years but was always more attracted to me going down.
                        REALLY FAT when Mom was in the home
After Sydney was born, and I had a miscarriage a year or so after that, I just sort of stopped trying to manage my weight. I didn’t even get up the energy to yo…ha.  Like I have said, it’s not that I eat so much I’m just not very active. There’s a fix for that, except I hate HAVING to do anything and I’m lazy. I do things like clean house and paint and decorate because I like the result.
Thinner for SHelbeys wedding

I didn’t know when I started the sparkle campaign that I’d have these health issues come up and HAVE to do the exercise but whatever it is, I need to do for the end result.  I’m trying to switch my thinking over to working towards the end result of better health, regaining things in my life that I’d given up because of weight, and having more energy and mobility. Yesterday at the Tempe Art Fest I walked all day which I wouldn’t have done a few months ago.
                                       Really really fat (fattest ever) again!!
If I could go back to those young years I’d say to myself… life is precious, and short. Enjoy today in spite of the ignorance that’s out there from people who don’t understand the plight of being overweight, or underweight or drug addicted or mentally ill, or suicidal, or ….. The list is endless. We can’t change stupid or ignorant; we can only change how we react. I finally know my value, and its not about looks or what somebody else thinks its about what you think.  Have compassion for their ignorance because we are all ignorant in different ways. Compassion, however, doesn’t mean we accept it, instead step up and take the chance to educate in a polite but matter of fact way.

 I remember the first time I did that, educate someone,  and it wasn't for me it was for my brother who had had a drinking problem. One of those same relatives I talked about up further, approached me in church no less and said Sonny,  "was a nice guy if he just didnt have that drinking "fault". First of all, of course my Brother is a nice guy, hes my brother so don't give me your opinion of him, unless its a good one. I would and will protect who he was till the end of my life.  Second, Sonny was dead, and the word  fault, sizzled my temper so badly, I dared to come back with "that wasnt  a fault, he had an illness"!  It was easier for me to defend him than it was myself for all my weight comments that family had piled on me. Too bad they have passed away,  most of them because I can defend myself today!

        Down a little and dang it...going down for good i pray!
Our reaction to all the George Lopez’s out there should be to just shut him off, don’t waste your time trying to figure out how someone who already has all he has, can stoop that low for some more green paper. I say, Kirstie Alley is right - who is George Lopez to her happiness?   Have you seen how many tabloids she has endured over the years. I'd be a recluse in her position, so I hope his comments spur her on and she continues to do well on Dancing With The Stars.  Just enjoy your own life; fat or thin, wherever you are, and be your best self!
Ps.  If you’re a Mom with kids, I encourage you, to encourage them, to accept all people, dont make fat jokes or talk negatively about people with weight problems. It matters more how you conduct yourself than how you tell them to conduct themselves. Karma has made some of the skinniest people fat. Put the kabosh on any kind of cruelty or rude comments about other people, when kids say them.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Be Careful What You Promise

       This post is a sad one for me and my family. As many of my Berthold friends especially remember, my Mom was with me almost all the time. She lost our Dad when she was only 48, so her kids and grandkids really became her life! She loved to cheer Brendons tball, baseball, basketball and football teams on over the years. She never missed any games Shelbey cheered at or any of her music concerts in high school or college. Sydneys dance recitals, pagents and talent shows all had Mom sitting proudly right beside me. She just loved being part of our family. Not just my family, but all of our families (she took turns).

            Blowing out her cake with Brendon watching

      When Mom passed away from Alzheimers Disease, I really wanted to be able to give her Eulogy even though I have panic sometimes. I really wanted to be able to tell everyone how blessed we had been.  I had written a paper shortly before for an English class, titled My Greatest Blessing - so I added what Marcy Kathy and Sonnys kids wanted to say to that, and managed to read it at her funeral and stay in one piece too. I'm going to share it on this blog because sometime I'm going to bind all these blogs for the kids and this is something I want them to remember. Its not a sparkle or shine uplifting post so you may want to skip this one, it but its what I wrote and read at my Mothers funeral.

         Grief is a funny thing, I hardly spoke of her or cried about it or anything thing for a long time. Shelbey used to say Mom, I think something is weird about that....but I had promised Mom in a lucid (well I thought I was) conversation with her that I would be ok. I was the fragile child, the nervous one who she had to mother the most. I told her one day that I would be ok, that all of us kids would be ok somehow with our families to help us through it, and she should worry about her. So I think i felt obligated to be ok, cuz I promiced I would. At first I kept busy with Brendon's surgury and Shelbeys wedding, but then once I got to Phoenix and was dealing with what happened to Sydney, and peoples opinions about where I should or shouldnt be, I just shut down. I would sit on the computer and travel the information highway all day every day just going from subject to subject. Or I would play my Ipod in my ears even while I was on the computer.  I did that for about four years; I never paid the bills, I never answered the phone. Then the dam burst and the floods came! Inside I felt like that tusunami looks these days on tv. I felt like i was broken and battered and in ruins. Any little thing overwhelmed me. I don't know how Sydney and Marcy put up with me somedays. 
       I got my sandbags out finally, and shored up my edges while I worked on my insides.  The water is calmer and the debri and ugly sludge I have from sitting here like a stump for so long is getting manageable. There's green poking out, signs of happiness and spring. 
       I'm not gonna lie that was probably the dumbest, impulsive, promise I ever made...and the hardest one I had to keep. But I know there is nothing Mom would want more, than me getting healthier... she hated that I was overweight all my life. She would want me to be happy and take life as it don't have to be fearless you just have to keep going. She did that well and I can too.

       My Mom passed away March 14,2003. I wanted you to know my Mom if you didnt; or remember her with a pleasant smile if you did.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Quick Update

My sparkle campaign is going well for the most part. My enthusiasm was dampened for a little bit when I got the news that I had kidney failure, but after seeing the specialist...he said if we can get you to the end of your life with fifty percent and you die with fifty percent, that’s as good as a hundred! Couple that with the slap in the face about what’s going on in Japan and I snapped back in the thankful mode.

My gfr number had gone up from 39 to 49 with a low salt diet and changing my blood pressure medication from a diuretic to an ace inhibitor and stopping any use of naiads. I was happy it was better, but wish it was not there at all, I'm not gonna lie.

My family has been so concerned and good to me. I am continuing to read uplifting books, and think positively most of the time.  Last Sunday in church we sang, It Is Well With My Soul.... it spoke directly to me that day, especially this verse. 

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
                When sorrows like sea billows roll;
                Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
                It is well; it is well with my soul.

I have lost seventeen pounds, and I know it’s not really worth bragging seeing as how it’s been three months and some people lose that in two weeks, but i just keep walking 30 min and eating better. Yesterday I wanted wings in the worst way and finally went to buffalo wild wings and had them. Carb wise they are good to eat, but fat and salt wise... probably not. I'm not perfect at this, but I am doing my best to live a healthier life and still enjoy life. I think of this old timer I knew who when faced with a low salt, low cholesterol diet said, "Basically if it tastes good, DON'T EAT IT!" I’m feeling that one now ha...

I encourage you all to pick up your cross like David Wilkerson wrote, and do your best to get where you have to be with that struggle. Your cross could be cigarette smoking, drinking, overeating, exercise, or a million other things...we all have something. We owe it to ourselves and the people we love to take care of ourselves, which is hard to do sometimes. Keep on sparkling readers!

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Lifetime Reading List

    What is it that would make a creature as fierce, majestic, and powerful as a lion is, subject itself to the intimidation of a man, a whip and a chair? The lion has forgotten who he is.

    That saying opens Iyanla Vanzant’s new book, Peace from Broken Pieces. Her meditation books, titled Faith in the Valley, and Until Today, have always been favorites of mine. She has written many other books too, and I was happy to see her back on Oprah’s final season.

        Books and Music are my “things”. I know the words to so many songs, I surprise myself!  No wonder the hard drive in my brain has no room for other stuff, I really should remember! And books, like music, have saved me from depression and anxiety, and kept me afloat in life more than once.
      I can spend hours in a Barnes and Noble store seaching for a potencial new book. The front cover of the potencial new book is a huge hook for me, as well as the print size, the texture of the page, and how wordy or flowery the story is written. I like an accurate picture painted for me of course, but not overly so.  Part of the fun of reading is what you conjure up in your own mind to fill in where the author leaves off. I have a Kindle and I like it for travel but I prefer the actual book with the color and texture etc.  
     I especially like memoirs and self- help books. I’ll share some book titles that have been my saving grace over the years.  Have You Felt Like Giving Up Lately, by David Wilkerson is a book I think all young people should read. I read it in my twenties and it is about asking questions we all seem to ask at times. He uses biblical scriptures to answer commonly asked questions like why me? He says, everyone has a cross to bear in life, different crosses but it’s our job to pick up our cross and struggle with it if we have to…Jesus did.

     Another of my favorites is Why Am I Crying, by Martha Maughon. I got more from that book than any counselor or doctor could have given me. Her husband worked for the Billy Graham ministries and she was racked with post-partum depression. If you know me you know that I was hospitalized with post-partum depression after Shelbey was born. That book is a really good one for anyone suffering from depression and anxiety. Everyone is different, and I only write from my own perspective but the only thing that made sense to me when I got to the end of my own rope was believing in something stronger that I was, and the bigger picture. This book was my saving grace.

     Sarah Van Breathnoch wrote several books, my favorite being Simple Abundance. I was lucky enough to see her at the Oprah show when I went in 1997 with my friend Toni Evans. We were given the book as audience members. I spent many hours after the kids were in bed, in the bathtub, a candle lit, and reading my daily dose of Simple Abundance.

      My favorite memoir is A Glass Castle. It is the family story of Jennette Walls, who today is a writer for MSNBC. The story is about herself and her three siblings, who lived a neglected, dysfunctional, and nomadic lifestyle. Their father was a brilliant, charismatic alcoholic, who when he was sober was able to capture the imagination of the kids and teach them geology and physics but mostly how to embrace life fearlessly. The mother was an artist and a writer that could care less about tending to a family, when she could be painting. What I loved about this book, is that rather be written from a place of anger, it comes from love.  It’s the epitome of unconditional love and triumph against all odds. Shelbey loves this book too.

 Kerry gave me my New International Version Bible for a gift one Christmas when I was struggling with post-partum depression. He took the time to write in the front cover of it and I cherish that book.

My Mom was never a reader. Sonny and I were the readers in our family, but Mom gave me a book for my birthday one year before she died. It was called a Return to Love. Upon giving me that book, written by Marianne Williamson, Mom said, “I saw her on Oprah and this book sounded like you, so I found it”.  This book is kind of over my head in spots, as her writing is really new age,  and she’s too smart for me ha…but in a nutshell the book is about that God LOVES you, is not out to punish you, and only has your happiness in mind. It’s spiritual, and is about cultivating your mind and thought patterns. I love that book because I got it from Mom more than what I got out of it.
     My love of books started early. Mom was a busy farm wife and we didn’t have lap time to bond with Mom…she never sat down ha! But she always read to us at bed time so it was special time for us. I loved Little Golden Books and Rand McNally Elf Books. I have a collection of them in North Dakota. Some of my favorites are:
      Goldilocks and the Three Bears (A Mattel Music Maker book). This book has a little crank on the right side of the book and you sang along in the story and turned the crank to accompany yourself. Kathy had one too; hers was titled, Oh Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? These were our absolute favorites!!

I also liked Lazy Fox and the Little Red Hen, about a hungry fox that steals the hen but after she gets heavy he decides to rest on the way home. While hes sleeping she takes out her sewing kit in her apron pocket and cuts a whole gets out and puts a rock in the sack and sews it up. He is killed when he dumps the rock in boiling water thinking its the hen!  

Timothy The Little Brown Bear. This was a story about a little bear who didn’t want to go to school. Because he couldn’t read he misunderstood what he tried to read- even a birthday party invitation! He finally decides he needs to go to school after he missed the party.

Helpful Henrietta was a story about Farmer Flinders not wanting to tax his young horse that was pulling the buggy to town on her first trip with the milk and butter. His wife wants to come, then further on down the road they meet the Boobledink family and one by one they get in the buggy. The story ends with Henrietta the horse being able to carry them all.

Me Too was a story Kathy and I loved because there was a dark haired sister and a younger blonde sister like we were. The little sister wanted to do everything the big sister did. I was happy to be the big sister in the story. 


           Fraidy Cat is a story of a kitten that was scared of everything until a Dr. finally gives him a paper heart to wear on his coat. The paper heart gives him courage to do what he couldn’t before.

       My very favorite childrens book these days is My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza. It’s the cutest story about a pig who outsmarts a hungry fox. Just adorable! I give it for a gift a lot.

      My niece Heather is a real reader, she never goes anywhere without a book and her children are the same way. I don’t even fit in that category of readers; I just like to read as one of the things I enjoy in life. I have learned so much from a good book. Books help me be my best self and keep the sparkle campaign going. I have been a little slow with this blog lately as Kerry has been here and we have been running around a lot.
      Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

Friday, March 4, 2011


      Did you ever read the book Little Black Sambo? That little book was a family favorite Mom read to us. We were just talking about the book at Mom’s birthday party last week. All the girls remembered that story! There’s been a lot of talk these last years about the use of “black” in that story. It’s actually been changed to Little Brave Sambo!  A classic example of racism claims gone crazy, the story was first written in 1899 by Helen Bannerman from Scotland. The daughter of a chaplain who was posted to foreign countries; she lived for over thirty years in India.  She wrote the book about a little Indian boy.
      Little Black Sambo is an exciting tale involving Black Jumbo the father, and Black Mumbo the mother, who come home from the market with a beautiful red coat, blue trousers, a green umbrella and a beautiful pair of purple shoes with “crimson soles and crimson linings”( I loved that part, how beautiful they must have been), for little Black Sambo.
      Little Black Sambo runs into a bunch of tigers, who threaten to eat him. He remains calm and brave, but winds up using his beautiful clothes to bargain with the threatening tigers, before reclaiming them while the tigers fight to prove who looks grandest in his clothing. They get in such a fight that they chase each other in a circle around and around a tree! Eventually, they turn into butter. At the end of the book Black Mumbo uses the butter for pancakes.  Black Mumbo ate twenty-seven pancakes, and Black Jumbo ate fifty-five pancakes, but Little Black Sambo ate a hundred and sixty-nine, because he was so hungry after the long day he’d had!

          My Mom was a true pancake lover and baker. She always made animals or whatever we could dream up for her to make. She was very artistic and they always turned out really cute!  Like a short order cook she happily made whatever animal we could dream up.  When Brendon came along and wanted footballs and baseballs, she even put the laces on it. All of our kids have wonderful memories of animal pancakes at Grandmas.
         Our family favorite pancake recipe is

2 cups of flour                      ½ tsp. soda
1 tsp baking powder           1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups of buttermilk          2 Tbsp. melted shortening
2 eggs                                       2 Tbsp. sugar

       Mix in the order given. If you like your pancakes thicker add more flour. If you like them thinner add more buttermilk or milk. Mom used milk if she didn’t have buttermilk. This recipe makes about a fairly big batch, at least 12 small pancakes.
        We always ate hot animal pancakes at breakfast with butter and Log Cabin immitation maple syrup ha.  Over the rest of the day we ate all the plain round leftovers. We enjoyed them cold and rolled up, with butter and sugar trickling down our sleeve. We loved them!  I never got up to polishing off 169 pancakes, like Little Black Sambo, but did eat enough that my stomach felt like I did! Here are some videos of how make some cute shape ones. They have videos these days ha!

<a href=" to make fun and creative pancakes for kids</a>