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Thursday, November 20, 2014

My 33rd Year

Hey Everyone,

From Feb 10th 2013 to Feb 10th 2014 I attempted to record one second of every day.  I missed a few and experienced a few technical setbacks, but overall I am happy with what I got.  Please enjoy this video, it was one crazy year that's for sure.   And if you would like to make your own you can download the app HERE.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I Wish

Megan has got it all!
Polka-dots, heels, washing machines, nerdy glasses... va-va-va-voom!
Body image is something that most people struggle with.  I suppose ‘the grass is always greener’ is something that applies to people as well as front yards.   In the last year one of the local rock stars I follow online, Meagan James Rogers, has helped me see that no matter how uncomfortable you are with your body, there is probably someone out there that wishes they look like you.  You see, Megan is downright gorgeous.  Yet, she started posting very publicly this year about how she is very uncomfortable with her body image and how she is trying to put herself out there more.  This was shocking to me because every time I saw a picture of Megan the thought would go through my head “I wish I looked like that”.  How could someone that is so beautiful and talented, (she is an amazing photographer, check out Megan Rogers Photographie), how could someone who has so much, ever find themselves lacking.  But there it was, plain as day in text right in front of me.  It makes me think of my own body image.  Which if I was to rate my appearance on a scale of one to ten it would be at about a negative six.  My weight is a major part of that, but add in my crooked teeth, crazy hair, big hands and feet, etc., I feel more like a disheveled Hobbit.  Yet I look back on photos of myself in my early twenties and I am surprised to see that I was actually kind of beautiful.   And at that time I not only felt terrible about how I looked I also had help with the disdain from another party.  I have always been ashamed of my appearance and there have usually been others ready to agree with me on that point.  I was taunted in elementary school as being “Fat Martha” or “Big Bertha” and so on.  Kids can be so cruel.  I had a father who would tell me to go outside and “Run the fat off”, in his own way I know he was trying to help but it was hurtful.   You get my point.  I believed the public opinion of my hideousness, and I saw it too.  I am not tall, thin, blue-eyed, etc.  I’m not a mysterious beauty; I am not any of those portraits of feminine loveliness that you see splashed across your TV screen.  I am just frumpy, chubby, messy me.  I often find myself thinking “I wish I looked like that” when I see people walking down the street.  It’s something I’ve noticed I do and have been working hard to break that habit.  Instead of thinking “I wish” I am starting to say “I will”.  I will get back into shape, I will regain my strength, I will feel better about myself, I will find value in who I am, I will learn to like me.  It’s not easy, and I do not expect to be someone I am not.  I just expect to find the Martha I have been hiding all along.  

And now, my theme song......

Monday, September 29, 2014


And just like that, it is over.

Started in 2008 to get an associates degree then kept pushing through to get a bachelors and now a masters. Here's to six years of no summer breaks, studying on weekends, and having to turn down very fun sounding invitations. It was totally worth it, but now it's time to get out there and enjoy life again!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bye Bye Beardy

The first time I can remember someone pointing it out I think I was around 12 years old and at the swimming
pool in Gage Park.  I had just gotten out of the pool and got in line for the diving board.  Two boys were in line in front of me doing what most boys do.  They were rough housing, laughing and looking at the girls.  One of them turned to me and exclaimed “She has a mustache!”  The other boy quickly joined in and before long I scurried away to avoid the embarrassment.  I looked in the mirror when I got home and I couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about.  Sure I had a few fine hairs on my upper lip but not a full grown mustache.  Over the next year or so I would hear it from time to time from kids; it was becoming clear that I certainly had a facial hair problem.  I went to my mother to see if she knew what I should do, in talking to her about it I noticed what I always thought were large pores on her face were actually whiskers.  So relieved I said “Oh! You have it too!” she in turn started to cry and cover her face and sob “Don’t look at meeeee”.  From that moment on I was very aware that women with facial hair should be ashamed.  First I started using Nair, which worked for a while but left my face bright red where it had been so the next day I walked around with a rash mustache on my face.  Then I started shaving it every now and again and I thought I had it under control.  It wasn’t until I was 21 years old when I noticed in a picture of me, there was a shadow under my chin.  I immediately went to a mirror and sure enough without me noticing, a wispy beard had started to grow.  I smeared Nair on it but the hairs were too strong.  I shaved it, but the beard just grew back darker.   So I did the unthinkable, I started tweezing the hairs.  This painful ritual became a part of my everyday life.  Just about every evening I would sit in front of the mirror and pluck out the thick black hairs growing in through my chin and neck.  This habit resulted in red sores and marks on my skin.  So to cover up those marks and any new growth during the day, I would cake on makeup under my chin in hopes of hiding my secret from the world.  I thought this was how things would go for the rest of my life.  Luckily that was not true.

I heard about electrolysis once on the radio and thought that it was simply too good to be true.  There is no
Gurl let me probe dat follicle
way that you could have permanent hair removal done.   Then I would catch a show about someone going through the transgender surgery process and getting the procedure done.  It always looked very painful and I suspected very expensive.   So I never once considered making a call and to find out more about it.  Since I have known Wunder Hubs, he has encouraged me to look into electrolysis.  Not because he is bothered by the hair, he could really care less, but because how uncomfortable he knows it makes me feel.  Finally a month ago I decided to give it a try.  I called Laurie Guilbault at Electrolysis Clinic of Topeka and scheduled a free consultation.  To say I was nervous to go to the appointment would be an understatement.  But I walked in the door and did it anyways because it is time to be rid of this problem.   I sat down with Laurie and she explained how electrolysis works.  Laurie’s soft spoken manner and willingness to answer my questions quickly put me at ease.  And to show me how it works she zapped a small patch of hair on my chin.  We talked about pricing and I was floored.  I wasn’t floored because of how expensive it was, no I was floored by how affordable the prices are!  We scheduled an appointment for my first session and I went on my way.  A week and a half later I went in for my first session.  Sure the procedure burns a little bit, but no more painful than the daily tweezing had been.  And I know as soon as she’s done, that hair is not very likely to grow back.  I will continue to visit Laurie periodically for the next year until she and I agree that there are no more hairs growing in that area any more. I can tell you with complete confidence that I feel so much better about how I look after just two sessions.  I know it's silly but it is nice to know that I will not have to mess with these hairs for the rest of my life.

During the first consultation Laurie told me something I had not heard before, my problem is a very common one, especially for women with PCOS.  This was the best news ever and honestly why I am sharing this very personal and rather embarrassing information with you.  If you are hiding facial hair and always worried someone will notice, please do yourself a favor and call Laurie at Electrolysis Clinic of Topeka (785) 357-7292.  I took a picture of her prices on my last visit to share with all of you so you can see just how affordable it really is.  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Six Steps to the Birth of Bertha

I feel terrible.

I mean it, I feel just terrible.  

It has taken me several days to get to the point that I can admit this publicly.  It’s not going to be easy but here it goes.  I went to the doctor last week and they weighed me like always.  And the weight on the scale was the highest I have ever seen. I am standing on the edge of a milestone that I do not want to cross.  I weighed 292 pounds and for the first time in my life I can actually see 300 pounds happening. 

'Bertha Venus' by Ken Sampson

How could this happen?  Well there are a six different reasons.

  1. I had a hysterectomy.  From what I read about hysterectomies,  weight gain is a pretty common occurrence afterwards.
  2. I am taking a Lexapro.  Lexapro helps me deal with anxiety which is something I live with due to my fun PTSD issues.  Long story, no I’m not crazy, just have some pretty intense baggage.  Anyway, I went many years without the help of Lexapro but recently I have taken on a lot of high pressure responsibilities and I found myself getting overly stressed.  The meds help me to not get so worked up and to focus.  But it also brings weight gain. 
  3.  Home stretch for school.  I am almost done.  Only eight more weeks of school and I am officially done with my MBA.  I cannot put into words how great that feels.  But it also brings a lot of extra time and work.  It is so much easier to say I don’t have time to exercise because I have homework to do.
  4.  Focusing on comfort food.  It is easy to say I don’t have time to eat right either.  But if I organize and plan ahead, eating healthy would not be a problem.  But I like to treat myself; I say “Hey Martie, you’ve been working for three days in a row from sun up to sun down with no Minecraft time.  You deserve a treat.”  And it will not matter if I had a treat the day before or an hour before.  I can easily justify the junk food.
  5.  Haven’t hit my deadline yet.  I have set this deadline for myself.  And that deadline is for when we move into our house.  Of course, the process of buying a house takes forever, especially when you are going through the TopekaOpportunity To Own program.  And there is a 60 day close, and I know we will need to paint before we can move in.  And of course we can’t start dieting that day; it will be so much easier to order a pizza while we are unpacking. Yadda yadda yadda.
  6.  I really REALLY enjoy food.  It is an addiction.  I can see that clear as day.  And until I get that under control nothing is going to change. 

So what do I do?  Will I get up tomorrow and just start making the right decisions?  I hope so.

My goal weight is 175 pounds, that is what I weighed in high school and that was a very comfortable weight for me.  So if you think about it I am carrying nearly 125 pounds of extra weight on my body.  That my dear bloggy friends is a whole additional person.  No wonder my back is killing me, no wonder my knees scream out in agony when I look at stairs, no wonder I snore like a wilder beast.  There is another human in my body and they are crushing me!  So if they are going to occupy my body I should at least name them.  So I am naming that person Bertha and she will no longer be welcome in my body.  I am ready to say “Bertha don't you come around here anymore!”  It’s going to be a hard road but it is time.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Angles (For Science)

Behold, my favorite camera angle.  Why you ask?  Let's take the camera down a bit......

Aaaaaand this is how I look when someone else gets a picture of me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Let me sing you the song of my people

I hate mornings

Much like Garfield the cat, I would prefer to stay up late and sleep in till noon if the opportunity presented itself.  But here I am, its 5:30am and I’m wide awake.  Did I change my sleeping pattern?  No.  Unfortunately the reason I am up so early is because I had a terrible night.  I was waking up all night long and this morning I just feel kind of awful.  And the reason for all of this is horribly embarrassing, I snore like a wildebeest. 

I haven’t always snored like this.  Sure if I was extremely tired I would possibly snore, but normally snoring is not an issue for me.  But within the last year it is becoming a real problem.   Poor Wunder Hubs has to sleep with ear buds in just so he can get some rest.  And it doesn't matter if I am sitting up or lying down, the snores they come in full force. 

This happens when I get too heavy.  I’m guessing it is just one of the many signs that my body just can’t take all of this weight.  And no, I have not been good lately.  You can pretty much tell by the frequency of posts how I am doing.  If I am posting, I’m trying to improve my health.  If I’m not posting, I've likely ordered at the drive thru and am in a burger coma.  

I found this lovely illustration here.

As always, I say to myself “I will start dieting                                        “ This usually is some magical date that will bring an event that is so glorious that I will no longer be addicted to food.   Typically it is a holiday.  This time it is moving.  You see we are in the process of buying our first house (YIPPEE!!!) and we have decided we will improve our lifestyle dramatically when we move in.  The plan is to eat at home or pack food for every meal, work out at least 30 minutes a day, and never be addicted to food again.  In many ways this change is not an option, we will need to watch our budget, we are putting the work out equipment in the living room, and we both need to get lighter for our health.   Will this work?  I have no idea, but man I really hope it will.  I suppose real change would not be connected to some special event or time but instead would just start to happen.  Or maybe it has already happened.  While I continue to fail I also continue to try again.  So maybe the frequencies of these two will start to switch and I will be more successful and less of a failure.  All I k now for sure is that there is a beautiful sunrise out the window, I am enjoying some apple cinnamon oatmeal with black coffee, and in an hour we will go walk through our new home with an inspector getting one step closer to moving in.  So I am going to focus on the good things and be thankful that we are all still here.   

Sunday, June 22, 2014

And Just Like That, It's Gone.

Two weeks.

I made it two weeks.  Lost 12 pounds.  It was awesome, I was proud of my self.  I was doing it.

And then this

Why?  The easiest answer is that I lost control.  I had missed breakfast one morning because of a change in my schedule.  Ended up eating my oatmeal for lunch, by the time dinner came around I was so hungry I couldn't stand it.  The Wunder Hubs and I decided to go out to eat and treat ourselves.  We ordered food, instead of a salad or grilled chicken and veggies, I went for the chicken tenders. And what the hey, we ordered fried pickles too.  It was glorious, I ate until I couldn't stand it any more.  I was so disappointed in myself, then the next day came.  I had lost my drive, I did OK, but not great.  I stopped tracking my progress in MyFitnessPal and stopped trying.  Thankfully Wunder Hubs has maintained and is keeping up his progress, I am very proud of him.

I find I tell myself that "Once we get the house, we will have the treadmill and a tighter budget. That will help me stay on track" Yeah right Martie, that will work.  Who knows, that might just be the change I need to get set on the right path again.   I hope so.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Touch of Grey

So last weekend we stayed in Kansas City, or just outside ofit, and had a lovely time.  But there is one thing that happened that I have not been able to get out of my head.  It was a horrible reality check, a shock to the senses; it was a big, blinking sign in my face that flashed “YOU’RE GETTING OLD”.  Here’s what happened…..

We were very lucky to get a room, it was Memorial Day weekend and every place Wunder Hubs called was completely booked.  We were just about to give up when he got a room at the Super 8 in Bonner Springs.  They had just gotten a cancellation and gave us the room.  We were very pleased, the trip was back on.  We packed our bags for an overnight stay and headed out.  We decided to check in before we headed to Pizza West for dinner.  We unloaded the Kia, walked to the elevator and waited for what seemed an eternity for it to arrive.  We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, we were to the point of going to the front desk to see if there is a problem with their elevator.  But just as we started to walk away we heard the “BEEP” signaling the elevators arrival. 

This is pretty much exactly what they had on
We turned and froze.  It was the Kiddo’s face I noticed first.  His eyes bulged, he blushed and looked at me then back at the elevator, then all around not sure where to look.  Out of the elevator came a shirtless man in leather pants, a bow tie and a fur scarf.  He was trailed by two girls in neon bikinis.  We all paused and looked at each other, then continued on our way.  But in that moment, the moment in which we all stopped and took in the presence of one another, the harsh realization hit me. 

I think what triggered the realization was not the clothing of the elevator skin tribe (or lack thereof).  But it was the way they looked at me.  I was able to see myself from their point of view.  And their point of view took my mental image of myself which looks something like this…..

Behold the thinnest I have ever been in my adult life!  This is 2006 Martie and how I often find my perception of myself mentally to look.  (if that makes any sense at all.)

And turned it into something like this…..
Hello children!  May I bake you a pie?
As we boarded the elevator, Wunder Hubs chuckled and said “Oh to be 20 again”. I gave a snort of a laugh in agreeance.  But my mind wondered, I was never that young.  Nope, not ever.  I went from child to housewife (you see my first marriage started when I was 17).  I cannot relate to these people in any way.  

And that felt strange.

Later we learned that the hotel was booked because of a Skrillex concert.  Thus the wildly funky cast of characters we continued to encounter at the Super 8.  Maybe he wouldn't see me as so old and lame if we met.....

"Hey Baby, I think your career development plan is HAWT!  Tell me more about your phat 401(k)"
So am I upset about being old?  No, not really.  Sure it would be great to be as fat as I thought I was in my 20’s.  And sure it would be nice to not have the aches and pains that I have now in my joints.  But I love my life, I love my Wunder Hubs and my Kiddo.  Life is more manageable now that I am nearing my *gasp* mid 30’s.  So I am not hep and trendy as the kids, that’s OK, I've got swagger.  

OK, maybe not, but I am comfortable with my place in this world and that has to count for something.  I will get by......

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Vacation Rules

Tonight I am writing you from Kansas City, well, just outside of it in Bonner Springs.  We are enjoying a mini-vacation this Memorial Day weekend.  We started the journey at one of our favorite places on Earth,
Can we just move in please?  We wouldn't be any trouble, we promise!
Pizza West.  What????  You have not been to Pizza West?  Crazy Talk!  Let me tell you about it.   Simply put, Pizza West is the bomb-diggity.  They have SEVEN pinball machines to play!  That alone is enough to get us to make a trip to Shawnee, Kansas.  But in addition to pinball goodness, they have quality pizza.  It’s rather delish.  Is it a family place?  Sure!  Every table is covered with white paper which begs to be colored with the complimentary crayons provided.   Is it a good place to go and watch sports?  You bet your sweet bippy!  Little televisions at each table invite you to tune in and watch the game while their beer selection is ready to meet your needs.   The place is decorated in a fun and energetic fashion, with upside-down lamps as lighting and a train that runs up above.   We are such big fans of this place that Gavin had to buy a shirt from them.  He wore it when he participated in Camp Gizmo a few months back, they created a Harlem Shake video and we sent the owners of Pizza West the link.  Now whenever we come into the place they yell "Hey Harlem Shake Kid!" and give him quarters to play pinball.   As you can tell, I am a fan of this place, it’s pretty awesome.

Now normally when we go to Pizza West, we get a couple of pizzas, cheesy garlic bread, and a big ol’ desert.  We eat as much as we can possibly stand, take the rest home, and probably have more of the left-overs for an evening snack.    I’m not proud of this, but it is what it is.  Add to that the fact that we are on vacation (normally a free-for-all junk food spree and second dinner extravaganza), the odds are that we are going to make this visit to Pizza West one for the record books.  Well it was, but in a much different way.   You see we have been good this week, I mean REALLY good.  Brandon has dropped 14 pounds and has had to tighten his belt two notches this week.  I am a bit behind him at 9 pounds but I am very happy with that.   Before we got to Pizza West tonight, Brandon looked up their menu and planed out our order.  Instead of ordering two pizzas, we got one, and that one was a medium.   We split the pizza up between the three of us and we had salads from the salad bar before we ate the pizza.  It was delicious, it was worth the wait (been planning this trip for most of the week), and the best part, we weren't miserable after we ate.  We didn't stuff ourselves so full that we were in pain.  Instead we got just enough and were able to go on with our evening. 

Will we always have that kind of self control?  Probably not.  But tonight we did and that was a major accomplishment.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Embracing the Hunger

Here I am on day three of getting with it.  Things feel different this time, I really feel like it is going to happen.  At least, I can hold out for a while.  Usually I make all kinds of plans, make it one day, then the smallest obstacle comes up and I am back to my old habits.  Not this time.  This time I am feeling pretty darn good. 
Today they are having birthday treats at the office.  The third Wednesday of every month we bring in birthday treats for the office.  First the email goes out, and then I see people walking by my office with donuts, crackers, dip and more.  This has been a test for me today.  The first day was easier; I was excited about the change.  I was able to turn down ice cream and margaritas.  Yesterday was a bit harder; the evening snack time was more tempting.  Today I am struggling.  I had oatmeal for breakfast; it was filling until about 15 minutes ago.  Now my tummy is growling and I want to eat.

How I feel sitting next to the normal-sized folk

I’ve always loved the feeling of hunger, mostly because it was a signal that I could eat some more.  Yes I love to eat.  It is a beautiful moment in my day where I get to indulge, I get to enjoy, and I am in control.  I can choose what I feed my body, and I can choose what sounds the most pleasurable.  And I can always convince myself that the least nutritious choice is the best.    I think about ways I have “earned” this treat, either by referencing some accomplishment, or by consoling myself after a disappointment.  Yes the reason to indulge in a poor diet is easy to find.  The reason to be steadfast and properly feed my body is never as attractive as melty cheese and crispy crust. 

Edited to protect your delicate sensibilities.

The last few days I have noticed the feeling of hunger more as it is growing more deeply within me.  I know I need to have a few healthy snacks between meals to keep my metabolism going, but I haven’t found my go-to snack just yet.  But I will.  For now I am embracing the feeling of hunger.  My stomach growls and I close my eyes, take a deep breath and focus on the feeling.  I focus on the intensity of it.  I think about how this feeling is a helpful sign and not a green flag to binge.  I do not allow myself to simply react to the feeling by grabbing whatever is closest.  I stop and I think about what I have eaten and what I should eat, or if I should eat.  I focus on the beauty of the hunger, and how selfish I have been all of these years. 

This post is running long; I will expand on it next time.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

More Than My Frame Can Take

I weighed myself this morning, something that I rarely do anymore.  I weighed in at 280 pounds.  Honestly I expected it to be more, here’s why.  Two years ago, when I was blogging regularly and really working to lose weight, I could jog for an hour at least.  Now, a simple walk around the grocery store is near agony.  The muscles in my legs cramp up, I get this massive ball of pain in my lower back, and I am out of breath after a walk from one side of my apartment to the other.  This is a complete and total failure.  Because not only did I gain back the weight I had lost, I added to that weight.  I have never been this heavy in my life, even when I was pregnant with the kiddo I didn't weigh this much.

So it got me thinking, this is way more than my tiny skeleton is meant to carry.  My height is five feet and
This is a good representation of how I feel all the time
nearly two inches (I’m claiming that second inch!).  The kiddo, who will be turning 11 in a couple of months, is nearly the same height as I am.  Other kids in his class are now taller than me.  If you go by that scale that estimates ideal weight for height, I should be 100-110 pounds.  So that means I am carrying an extra 180 pounds with me wherever I go.  That is a full grown adult.  That my friends is insane.  No wonder I am exhausted all the time, no wonder none of my clothes fit right any more, no wonder my shoes are destroyed on a regular basis.  If I were Atlas it would be impressive, but since I am just me, not so much.

Hubs is in the same boat, we are morbidly obese and we are miserable.  Together we have set the date, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives.  Yes I know we have done this before, but it has to work this time.  If not I worry we will not be around much longer.  Today we are moving a treadmill to the book store.  We are hoping to buy a house this summer, once we do that the treadmill will once again be where we live and that will be a big help.  We have vowed that there will no longer be fast food lunches, no more fatty/sugary snacks in the house, and we will be drinking a lot more water. 

Here we go,