About Me

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I am a writer, a mom, and a friend. In this blog, I explore all of that. Please join me in this conversation by leaving a comment on anything you've read. Or follow me on Facebook @ Beth von Behren (author).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Joy of Christmas

We have a new dog at our house. He looks like he weighs 10 pounds soaking wet and most of that is hair. He likes to hide shoes, pull trash out of the trash cans, and pee in the kitchen. He is our Christmas mutt. Technically we got him in November, but I like to think that he brought the joy of Christmas with him.

It has been a year of upheaval at our house in many ways. For starters, we moved our house. Well, we moved our household into a new house. Biggest kind of upheaval there is. Then our cat died, and my brother was diagnosed with APL (acute promyelocytic leukemia). Lots of other stuff happened too, good stuff aplenty, but it seems as if it's the bad stuff that takes hold of your memory the hardest and refuses to let go.

So our Christmas mutt, Chester, is something of a bright spot in the rear window of 2009. He is cuddly and energetic and leaves little black fuzz balls in his wake. He is full of joy.

And he reminds me that instead of focusing on how much I have yet to get done before the BIG DAY arrives - instead of preparing, always, for the future, I need to live in the present. I need to sit and smell the cookies, cuddle with my kids (and the new pooch), sniff the wood smoke as it wafts through a crisp, cold winter's night, enjoy the sounds of a baby's delight (my new grand-nephew Dylan's will do nicely), and hug the people I love. Because today, this moment, is the only one there is.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Today is Thanksgiving. It is also the 7th anniversary of the day my mother died. In 2002, she died on November 26, two days before the holiday, so each year on this national feast day, I think of her. It is ironic and sad that she didn't make it to Thanksgiving in 2002 because it was her favorite holiday. She loved to cook. She loved to eat. But most of all, she loved to be with her family. She loved cooking for her family. She liked Christmas too, but that was a day of gift-opening and other things. Thanksgiving was about family. Nothing was more important to my mom than her family.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to our mothers for giving birth to us, but my debt is especially huge because of what my mom had to go through to get me here. She was unemployed and unmarried and living with her grandmother when I was born. She had worked until about her sixth month of pregnancy because she was petite, and the pregnancy wasn't obvious until then, but as soon as she started to show, she knew it was time to go. Even married pregnant women didn't get to keep their jobs in 1958. Unmarried women were banished to obscurity and talked about in hushed tones for years afterward.

Appearances were very important to my mother. She taught me a lot of things in our years together, but two that stand out were 1) Get an education ("You're going to college, Beth, so you never have to be dependent on a man"), and 2) Never air your dirty laundry ("We may be poor, but we are middle-class because we have middle-class values"). No matter how bad it gets, she believed, always pretend that you are on top of the world. That's how you get and keep respect.

Knowing this about my mom makes her situation all the more amazing to me. Add to her unwed, pregnant state the fact that she lived in a poor, rural area, and that her father was a southern Baptist preacher ("We read the Old Testament, Beth, but we live by the New Testament"), and you have a situation that says everything you need to know about my mother's resolve.

My mom was a talented artist but did not finish high school and had never really wanted anything more than to have a baby and be a mother. Despite a context that would give most 23-year-olds deep anxiety, my birth gave my mother nothing but joy. She told me many times that having me was the best thing that had ever happened to her. When my own daughter was born 30 years later, I understood exactly what she meant.

So on this day when we dedicate ourselves to giving thanks for life and love and happiness, I give thanks for my mom, who looked her hellfire-and-brimstone father in the eye and told him she was pregnant, who raised me and my brothers on her own after her marriage failed, who pushed me to go to college, who taught us to reject hatred and racism and embrace compassion and forgiveness, and who never, ever expressed any regrets about her life or the path it took. Thanks, Mom.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Traveling Life

Birds have the best view of the earth. Well, birds and God, I guess. And humans who fly in planes. Today, I realized that seeing that long line of snow-capped mountain peaks from a plane, stretching into the horizon, reinforces for me that the Rockies really are a range, something that’s just not as obvious when you drive through them. I was similarly overwhelmecd the first time I noticed the Mississippi-Missouri Confluence from the air (the spot where the two massive rivers come together). It is truly the most amazingly beautiful sight from the sky. Maps don’t do it any justice, and you can‘t really see it from the road.

I guess I’d mostly flown westward from St. Louis prior to my first sighting of the Confluence or had never seen it or noticed it previously, but on a flight home from New Jersey we went right over it, just before landing. When I was a kid, when we were returning from a car trip and saw the Gateway Arch from the car, we knew we were home. It was both a peaceful feeling and an excited one. (And sometimes we even had contests to see who would spot it first.) When I see the Confluence from a plane, it’s a similar feeling. I love to travel, but I love to come home.

Of course, travel during my childhood was pretty much limited to car trips to my grandparents’ home in Sikeston, in southeast Missouri. Today, that drive is about a two and a half hour trip, but before Interstate 55 was finished between St. Louis and Memphis, it was more like a four or five hour trip along winding, two-lane highways with top speed limits of 45 mph.

For many of those years, we drove it in our baby blue 1962 Chevy station wagon, although I have a vague memory of taking the train once when I was very young. The car trip itself was never that much fun, and I often slept through it to avoid the motion sickness that plagued me in those years (and that still prevents me from enjoying carnival rides), but arriving on my grandmother’s doorstep vanquished the nausea and headaches the way a nice chocolate souffle after dinner will make a bad day better. I loved those weeks I spent with her, sitting in her lap (even when I was too big to do so, really), rocking in her rocking chairs (she always had a couple), watching her “stories” with her, and playing with my cousins. Leaving was always hard to do.

Today, travel is easier and more comfortable, even by car - better seats, sometimes with lumbar support, high-quality stereo options, air-conditioning, sun roof, working seat belts, better fuel economy, and cup holders. Oh my God, how did we ever survive without cup holders? Air travel is somewhat easier too, even in this era of high security.

I often wonder what my grandmother, who picked cotton, raised five kids during the depression, grew her own food, never saw an ocean, and certainly never flew on a plane, would have thought of seeing the Confluence from the sky. I imagine she would have thought that she had seen the face of God.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Smoking Issue We Can't Ignore

My mother was a life-time smoker. She started when she was about 15 and was probably completed addicted by the age of 18, so much so that she lit up in her parents' house without even thinking about it when she visited them after being out on her own for some time. This freaked her out so much that she jumped up and ran outside to put it out.

As far as I know, the only times in her life that my mother stopped smoking were during the periods when she was pregnant with me and my brothers (thanks Mom). We used to tease her that she would die with a cigarette between her fingers, and that is very close to what happened.

She was heavily addicted. She had bypass surgery in 1995 and came to live with me during her recovery period, which was, well, hairy. "Hairy' is a word I have heard soldiers use in movies about Vietnam, when they want you to understand that death may be imminent but you really shouldn't panic. She had to be taken back to the hospital three times in the first two weeks, once by ambulance when her blood sugar dropped so precipitously that it was obvious, in retrospect, that the nurse practitioner who called for the ambulance was not convinced she would survive the ambulance ride. He realized he had been too calm with me in his description of the problem, bless his heart, when I said I could drive her and he said, well, yes you could, but I really think she needs oxygen and someone to administer it. Oh, I said. So, its kind of serious. Yes, he said, it is.

During the time she lived with me following her surgery, she acquired a staph infection that required Vancomycin, a serious anti-biotic that at the time was the drug of last resort. There was nothing else available. The drug was given to her via IV, and we won't get into a healthcare debate here by drudging up the fight I had with the Medicaid folks who wanted me, a writer, NOT a nurse, NOT a doctor, NOT even a technician, to administer the IV. In any event, the Medicaid folks relented (after I refused). At the time, I lived in a house where the only bathroom was on the 2nd floor, and since she couldn't make that trip (she slept on the couch on the 1st floor), we had to have a portable toilet brought in for her. The Vanco killed the staph but along with it pretty much all the good bacteria in her intestinal tract. Needless to say, the stench was almost unbearable, and we, my now ex-husband and I, had to take that toilet upstairs and dump it every day.

I also had to cleanse her wound. I will never forget, as long as I live, putting on the sterile apparel, standing in the shower with her, she naked, cleansing her wound, toweling her off, and re-bandaging (using sterile techniques), all while my two-year-old son howled outside the bathroom door. The wound was so infectious, I had to lock him out of the bathroom for his own safety.

During this time, I was also battling a tenacious case of head lice on my seven-year-old daughter's head (and eventually, of course, on my two-year-old as well). I spent mornings taking care of my very ill mother and evenings wearing out my already-bad eyesight with hours of nit picking. Literally. That year was one of the worst the CDC had ever seen for resistant lice infections. The school kept sending her home, and I kept insisting there was nothing I could do. I read the literature. I read a lot of the literature. I knew more than the school knew, including that while lice are disgusting, they do not carry disease, but in the long run, the only course of action was to simply cut her hair off very short. She lucked out (i.e., she got to keep some of her hair). Her brother got a head shave. To this day I can still hear him telling people "the bugs got my hair."

So, visualize all this, and imagine my consternation when, in the middle of it all, just as I had re-entered the workforce part-time, and only three months after her near-fatal surgery (her lungs collapsed twice during recovery), I discovered her smoking on my back porch. Her lungs had collapsed because the doctors did not completely comprehend the extent of her habit. They preferred to believe her (oh, I dont even smoke a full pack a day) over me (uh, more like almost three packs a day). That was the last time I allowed doctors to not to listen to me.

So she resumed smoking. She had been a non-smoker for three months. She had almost lost her life. She had survived withdrawal. She had placed a burden on me for her caregiving that was threatening my marriage and my very health. And here she was smoking again. I called my brother that day and told him to come pick her up. I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't speak to her for months.

Smoking did eventually kill her. The average survival rate for bypass patients at the time of her surgery was five years, and with good medicine, great doctors, and extremely supportive children who made sure she took her meds and got to the doctor, she made that milestone plus two more. She was a fighter and a tough old broad. She had a great will to live. If she had not resumed smoking, she might be alive today. She has missed so much in the last seven years.

This is all coming back to me today because in the next two weeks I have a decision to make, as do all St. Louis County voters who actually vote. On the November 3 ballot is a question about smoking in public places. Should we allow smokers to continue to smoke in restaurants where it is allowed by the owners, or should we take the decision out of the owners' hands and make it unlawful everywhere with just a few exceptions (casinos, bars where 75% of the revenue is not from the sale of food, tobacco shops, etc.).

This is a very hard question for me. I believe completely in personal freedom. If you want to smoke yourself into an early grave, I believe it is your prerogative, as long as you don't take me with you. I believe restaurant owners should make the decisions for their restaurants. Same for bar owners.

On the other hand, I have had meals ruined by smoke. The older I get, the less I find that I can tolerate smoke. Maybe it was all those years of living with two smoking parents, but today I find that I am as sensitive to cigarette smoke as I am to heavy cologne. They both make me sneeze and make it hard for me to breathe.

And then there is my mom. I saw cigarettes take her life away. In the end, she didn't care if she had food in the house, as long as she had cigarettes. My loving, gregarious mother became so demented by her habit that she once called me on the phone and left a voice message, after discovering that I had paid her bills and left her not enough money to buy a full carton of cigarettes, that said "You lying, thieving bitch. You better give me my money back." She thought I had stolen her money. She sounded the way I imagine a crack addict might sound. To this day, the memory is fresh and brutal.

So how am I to make this decision? How am I supposed to separate my personal family experience from the broader cultural issue? The personal and the political have never been closer for me. I just wish it would go away. For the first time in my life, I feel the burden of my responsibility as a citizen as if it were a knife in my gut. I have about a week to make a decision, and I'm not sure that I can. I'm not sure it's enough time.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Good Hair Days

I was born with curly hair. It runs in my family. My mother had it. My daughter has it. It has been both the bane of my existence and the object of admiration from complete strangers. I sometimes feel the way pregnant women must feel when strangers walk up to them and rub their extended bellies, as if a pregnant woman's belly is somehow publicly owned. Total strangers will walk up to me and tell me how wonderful my hair is and ask if they can touch it. (On good hair days only, of course.) During college, I once had it cut at a beauty school for $3, and the student who cut it couldn't stop playing with it and exclaiming over it. They asked if they could keep the shorn hair and use it to demonstrate to students how to work with "virgin" (at that time it had never been colored) curly hair.

About two years ago, just before I turned 50, I finally learned the secrets of other curly-haired girls who have managed to straighten their locks. Jennifer Aniston reportedly has extremely curly hair, but Jennifer Aniston probably has a full-time hair stylist on her payroll. One might wonder why it took so long for me to figure out how to straighten my hair, but the answer would lie in my lack of patience with all things, especially those involving my appearance.

Before I had kids, I prided myself on being able to get up, eat breakfast, shower, get dressed, and get out of the house in 30 minutes. I don't iron if I can help it. I used to wear skirts a lot but at some point switched to pants because I got tired of dealing with stockings. When I was younger, I wore no makeup at all, and today I only apply three things because anything more would require getting up much earlier.

One of those items, mascara, I only started wearing about six months ago when I finally accepted that I am my mother's daugher in the eyelash department. By the time she hit 50, the loss of pigment in her eyelashes had left her looking like a burn victim on the days when she didn't apply the black stuff. So I began the ritual of adding mascara to my otherwise-invisible eyelashes, and immediately my impatient nature erupted. Make no mistake, mascara is crap. It is hard to apply evenly. It cakes up. It sticks to everything, including the area under your eyes if you blink before it dries. I had lunch once with an otherwise lovely woman who had clearly applied her mascara in such a rush that it looked about to slide down her eyelash and drop into her soup. It took all my willpower not to reach up and slide it the rest of the way off. I hate mascara. It's a good day when I only have to wipe it off and start over once, which tries my already-in-short-supply patience. Ah, but the topic here is hair.

Everybody loves curly hair. Men, especially, love long curly hair, and if they try to tell you otherwise, well, then YOU explain Farrah Fawcett. But it's not just men. Most of the people who walk up to me to exclaim over my curls are women. "Oh, I'd give anything to have your hair" and "Is that natural? I get perms to make my hair look like that" are the most common comments. I have only had one woman in my whole life tell me that she loved her straight hair and didn't envy me my mess of a head at all. I hugged her.

The problem with curly hair that most people do not appreciate is that it has a mind of its own. It never looks the same way twice, it is NEVER symmerical (something my particular, chaotic mind seeks out), and it frizzes way more than straight hair. There are days when I arrive at my office looking like Phyllis Diller. I keep the barrette companies in business.

Most people also don't realize how much the arrival of graying affects curly hair. Gray curls become wiry. I found myself at 40 battling gray hairs that stuck straight out. I'm not exaggerating that I was starting to look like Albert Einstein. So I started coloring it, which took care of the wiriness but added a whole new component to my life. Did I mention I have little patience for this kind of thing?

It occurred to me when I was younger that my unruly hair fit my temperament. My grandfather had curly hair too, and he was a hellfire and brimstone southern Baptist preacher. In my younger days, I was known for, ah, having opinions and, ah, well, not keeping them to myself. I am my grandfather's granddaughter, in other words. As I approached 50, however, I learned to moderate myself better, and so, I figured, my hair should get with the program, right? Yeah, right. Short hair seemed the only solution.

Just as my half-century birthday was starting to really get to me, and just as I was giving serious thought to chopping it all off and going with that 80s punker cropped look, I noticed that the actress Holly Hunter - who is my age - wore her hair long and wavy down her back. She even braided small sections of it sometimes. All I could think of was - wow, my hair could look like that. Longer hair is heavier so the curl becomes more relaxed. The problem with the whole process, of course, lie in that little problem I have with patience.

Because, after 50 it becomes increasingly difficult to grow your hair that long. Holly has had long hair for years - since before she made "The Piano" in 1993. And who knows? She may be using extensions - AND, she probably also has her own full-time hair dresser. So I knew I needed to be realistic about this. And yet, there are men and women who run their first marathons after the age of 60, and somebody told me a couple of years ago that a friend of hers had finished medical school at 50. So I decided to try.

At first, I continued with the straightening. Then I got tired of it and cut off three inches. Then I started growing it out again and, well, cycled back and forth for a while, losing my resolve and then getting it back, telling myself that women in their 50s don't wear their hair long and then asking myself, well, why not? Finally, I persevered. It is now down to my shoulder blades and I've stopped straightening it.

There are still days when it looks like crap and when I envy my brother Michael who started shaving off his curls years ago, but those days are what scrunchies are for. And there are days when I see attractive women with short curly hair that looks great and I think - ah, there, I could do that. But then I think about how much time I've invested in getting it to this length, and I think, no, no, not just yet. Let's see where this goes. Let's see where this takes me. I should try to be patient.

So, enough writing for now. I need to get my butt into the bathroom and open that box of hair color. Albert would be proud.

An Invitation to Share: Hey, all you women out there - post your favorite hair stories here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Physical Life

Pain gets your attention. Doctors are fond of telling you that if it hurts, something is wrong, and you should not ignore it. Pain is the body's way of telling you something. Of getting your attention.

Well, my body got my attention this week. It told me on Friday that it didn't want me to move much. No walking, no standing. Even sitting was somewhat painful. Going to the bathroom, well, we won't go there. The pain seemed to be emanating from my low, low back, and when I did manage to get up to move from my desk, my waddle resembled the walk of a very pregnant woman, hand on lower back, grimace in place.

Pain pretty much makes you forget everything else in your life. It obliterates all other thoughts. All that remains is how do I get this to stop. Please, just make it stop. Give me something. Give me anything.

Serious pain stops regular, everyday activity in its tracks. At work, I couldn't pick up the magazine I dropped near the secretary's desk as I passed by. "Sorry," I said. "I can't get it - can you pick it up next time you're on this side of your desk?" Yes, I actually said that to her.

I was in so much pain Friday that I was a little afraid to make a Facebook post or even send an email. When you're in pain, there's no telling what you'll say.

It quickly became obvious that leaving work and going home to cry in private was the best option I had, but I was also very hungry at that point, and I knew I wouldn't be able to stand long enough to make lunch for myself. So in the car on the drive home I tried to think of a drive-thru restaurant that would have something I could eat that would keep me on my diet, but you know what? Pain pretty much says screw it when it comes to your diet or your good intentions. Healthy food? Sorry, buddy, but that's just not gonna happen today. Any kind of calories will do. Just eat and sit, ok?

I could write down all the boring details about what I did to myself that got me into this situation, but, really, does it matter? Pain is pain, and who really cares how it started. The point is to MAKE IT GO AWAY. Nothing else is important. Need to pass health care legislation this week? Who cares? Got a nuclear weapon pointed at New York? Ah well.

It's two days later, and I am feeling better. Some ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant, a night of TV with no movement, plus some heat and several jiggers of single-malt whiskey Friday night, and I was feeling up to walking on Saturday, although I didn't venture off the couch very often or very far. By this morning, I could walk well enough to do some grocery shopping, although not without a cart to lean on.

The other thing about pain is that once it subsides, it's kinda hard to remember how bad it was. I think that's why women can go on to have a second baby after the first. Unlike the memories of wonderful or pleasant experiences, the memory of pain fades amazingly well. I remember telling anyone who would listen after my daughter was born that I was NEVER doing that again, and yet today, the memory of how she looked and smelled in the moments after birth are as heady and rich for me today as they were 21 years ago, but the pain I endured to bring her into the world is really just a shadow of a memory. I remember it only because I made such a big deal of it at the time. I remember the memory.

And so it is this morning. I am stiff and my gait is still a little rough, but even as I write this, I have no real memory of the pain that has now subsided, only the way I felt about it at the time (MAKE IT STOP!!). The human brain is an amazing thing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Driving Life

I have always loved cars, even though for most of my adult life I've pretty much not been able to drive the cars I really wanted to drive, mostly due to affordability issues. But I read about cars. I follow the trends. I pay attention and can tell you the difference, for example, between the newest Mustang body style and its predecessor (mostly it's in the grille). And although I admit to being the girliest of girls, I can change a tire and spark plugs, thanks to dear old dad, and I know when a mechanic is trying to upsell me. I know what a solenoid is.

I'm now at middle age and at that time of life when I am suddenly not the only driver in the family. I have a 16-year-old driver and a 21-year-old driver in my household, with all the attendant insurance costs and "can I borrow the car" issues that that entails. A friend of the family has loaned us a 1992 Buick for the older child, and the younger child drives a 1988 Toyota Corolla handed down to him from his father. I drive a 2001 Hyundai Elantra hatchback, or at least I did up until two months ago when, on impulse, I told the 21-year-old she could take my car back to college with her and I would drive the Buick until winter break.

To understand the extent of that sacrifice, you have to know how much I like my car. It has leather upholstery, a sunroof, a great stereo, cruise control, and a rear fold-down seat that transforms it from a sporty sedan to a sporty station-wagon in minutes. I have always loved hatchbacks for this very reason. How do you get a Christmas tree home in a Buick Century sedan? In any event, it is very likely my favorite car ever. Or at least so far. I see an Audi TT convertible in my future.

The older child goes to school and lives in a small college-town in the east, where transportation to even the most common and necessary of places, such as Target or the grocery store, involves walking for miles or hitching a ride with someone, because there is very little mass transit, if any. She also periodically works on student films in a production capacity, so having a car has made her life easier in multiple ways. We didn't think the Buick would make it across the country, and I wasn't particularly looking forward to driving both to and from Connecticut this year. I guess I'm getting old, but cross-country road trips are less fun than they used to be, so a one-way driving trip with a three-hour flight home was exceptionally appealing. Plus, she plans to spend a semester in Europe beginning in early 2010, so I knew she'd only have my car for four months. Thus the switch.

The situation that now confronts us is one of both necessity and desire. I would love to have a new car, and both kids will continue to need reliable transportation (i.e., there is no going back). The younger child is in love with his first car, but having owned several old clunkers myself, I can see the writing on the wall. If this car holds up for even a year, I will be exuberant.

So by next summer, we could find ourselves in the position of needing to buy one, two, or three cars, depending on how things go. The Buick goes back to its owner. The Hyundai either goes back to school with older child in Fall 2010 and I get a new or newer car, or older child buys a used car and I keep the Hyundai chugging along. And younger child may need to buy a newer car. Complicating all this are a variety of issues. Will younger child choose a college that doesn't allow freshmen to drive cars (and, if so, what do we do with the third car)? If older child takes Hyundai back to school, and I buy a car for myself, should it be brand new or slightly used, and should it have cargo space (for taking younger child off to college the following year), or should I indulge my desire to own a convertible? And how much in debt do I or all of us want to be for all of these various transportation needs? How much do we need to save? Should we switch to bicycling?

Most likely, it will be May or June before any of these issues gets resolved, but for me it's the thrill of the hunt. I'm eying new car lots, talking to people who've bought cars recently, walking into showrooms to feel the soft leather upholstery and discuss options (GPS built into the dash? Really?). I'm keeping an eye on everything coming out of Consumer Reports these days, but I'm also thinking seriously of subscribing to Car and Driver. So much fun. So much trouble.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Dieting Life

I am nearing the end of my second week following the Weight Watchers' diet. I've done WW a few times before. Each time I left "the program," I did so on the assumption that I could continue to lose weight on my own. I was wrong.

I went back this time because I realized I needed help and that a structured format probably works best for me. A structured format, that is, with some flexibility. I am determined to succeed so in addition to counting all those holy points, I'm journaling on my laptop and, now, blogging as well.

The first week I lost 3.6 pounds. The first week I had no problems sticking to the regimen, weighing my food when necessary, tracking my points using the online tools, drinking the kool-aid, I mean water, and generally being a pretty good little dieter. Second week, I got annoyed and depressed. At first, I realized, it was just hormonal. Then I had some kind of virus that resulted in a sustained headache for days, along with two days of intestinal distress. Diets are hard under the best conditions, but they're almost impossible if you have the least little thing going on in your life that even slightly resembles stress. Worse, they're extremely hard to resume once you've fallen off the wagon.

So I fell off. Too many meals out, too many glasses of wine, and too little exercise, for about four days. Part of that time I also spent helping my former live-in boyfriend relocate to a new apartment. During his move, I relocated the rest of my belongings from the house we had shared, and which he was leaving, to my new house. Breaking up is never harder to do than when you don't really know if you're broken up. Yes, we no longer live together, but, no, we don't know if we are still in a relationship. That's not exactly correct. We're in some kind of relationship. We just don't know what it is or how to describe it. My brothers and son helped me help former LIBF move, which just reinforced everyone's confusion. I can't very well answer their questions about our relationship when I don't know the answers myself.

This is important because it causes the afore-mentioned stress, which affects the dieting efforts. So, in conclusion for today, I took a day of vacation from my job this week to 1) make up for the time I spent moving everybody's stuff this weekend (i.e., to catch up on laundry and grocery shopping), and 2) re-assess and reinvigorate the dieting efforts. After a good breakfast and an on-target lunch, I chopped up some grape tomatoes, which I LOVE, added salt and pepper (the southern way), and ate them along with my afternoon coffee. Yes, I'm weird, but also yes, I am back in the swing. It's Monday. I weigh in on Wednesday. My goal for the week is to simply not gain back anything I lost the first week and to accept that the diet, the no-longer-live-in BF status, and my attitude, are all a work in progress.

Update on Thursday, 10/15/09: Yesterday's weigh-in revealed an additional 2.2 pound loss, for a total of 5.8 pounds. Yay for me.