Thursday, October 31, 2013

I Know Famous People!

They may not be quite famous yet but I bet they will be some day! 

First up, my good friend Chrystal Vaughan. She's written a book called Sideshow that you can now purchase! Woot!! I met Chrystal when I had the pleasure of training her at JELD-WEN Windows and Doors. We worked together for about three years and I knew she was destined for greatness:) We were instant friends - how could I not love a woman who knew random crazy trivia about nothing at all, had eccentric tastes, and shared a wicked sense of humor and a desire for crazy adventure. She's a little bit crazy and I expect when she's old and her kids are gone, we will enjoy coffee in some far off place and act like crazy little old ladies together. Check Chrystal's book out online and you could win a copy

And then there's Gordon - I've known Gordon R. Ross for about five years. He's written many books and has for years. He's an author and an illustrator. He has some horror stories he's about to finish up and he also has a Private Detective series. Gordon is 81 years old. I've been helping him with his Facebook page (dedicated to the Matt Jagger series) and his Linkedin page. Plus I helped get his books up on Goodreads. Gordon was kind enough to autograph a couple of books for me to give Dad for Christmas. So excited!

If you read any of their books, let me know what you thought! And congrats Chrystal and Gordon!  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Socks on the Floor Kind of Love

"There are things that I canna tell you, at least not yet. And I'll ask nothing of ye that ye canna give me. But what I would ask of ye---when you do tell me something, let it be the truth. And I'll promise ye the same. We have nothing now between us, save---respect, perhaps. And I think that respect has maybe room for secrets, but not for lies. Do ye agree?" 

That, my friends, is one of my favorite quotes from the 2nd great love story ever told.  I'm a sucker for a good love story. Give me a strong hero who can make a girl laugh, blush, and challenge her and I'm sunk...hook, line, and sinker. I'm old school...I like a man who is a man, chivalrous, masculine, stubborn, challenging and totally, madly in love with his heroine. A man like Jamie Fraser. Don't know him? Well then you haven't read the book. He could fight a battle, win a war, be a man's man, and then melt in Claire's arms reciting poetry and saying the perfect words. His strong facade disappeared with Claire. And when she made him angry, he grabbed her, kissed her, said something utterly wonderful, and then let it go. To say I have a small crush on Jamie would be an understatement. Besides, he's scottish and do you have any idea what an accent does to a girl??

Obviously, I've got enough experience to know that this is schoolgirl and foolish. So let me tell you the
1st greatest love story ever told:

Many of us at Thanksgiving last year on
Grandma and Grandpa's porch
My grandparents recently celebrated 65 years of marriage. I didn't use the term celebrated on accident. It wasn't that they "made it to 65 years" or that they "hung in there" for 65 was a celebration! 3 children, 6 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren - all because two people fell in love.

Me with my grandparents three years ago at hunting camp
My grandparents are the most wonderful people. I used to spend a month with them every summer. Grandma would drive down and pick me up, bring me back to Oregon, and we'd have picnics, movie dates, shopping trips, and my favorite...a trip to the mill where my grandpa was foreman. I've watched over the years as my grandpa helps lifelong friends brand cattle, rope calves, and mend fences. My grandma feeds everyone - weddings, funerals, births, celebrations, mournings - my grandma cooks for them all. They are really good people.

Our family hunts together, drinks together, eats together, laughs and cries together, and are all pretty dang close. Like most great families, we fight sometimes but at the end of the day, don't mess with one of ours:)

My handsome grandpa
But this is a love story. I have a favorite picture of my grandparents when they weren't married yet. It's of course black and white. They're on the ranch. Grandma sits behind grandpa on the horse, her arms wrapped around him with the cutest, mischievous, young girl in love smile on her face. She's glowing - even in black and white you can see the flush of her cheeks and the glow that comes from a girl in love. Grandpa looks handsome, strong, and a little like a show off. Dang, I wish I had the picture to show you!!

My grandma is beautiful. Her warm heart shows through her smile. I remember Marcus telling me one time when he was about five that grandma was beautiful because of the "crinkles at her eyes" - I know it's from a lifetime of smiling. I hope when I'm 80, I look as good as my grandma.

Me and Grandma
My grandpa is one of the most handsome men I know. I know from stories that he had brown hair at one time but it's been completely white as long as I can remember. And it's always in a crew cut.

Ok, back to the love story. I remember about 20 years ago, all of us grandkids were getting married in the same year (I'm the only one that hasn't lasted). Grandma was excited to get four new dresses that year. As the final wedding of the year came around, Grandpa couldn't help but tell us all excitedly how beautiful grandma was and how this last dress "showed a little leg." It was like he was a teenager as he spoke about it. Grandma arrived at the wedding in a blue dress that showed her ankles. Grandpa beamed as he lead her around the dance floor. It's not uncommon for all of us to be together and look over to find grandma sitting on grandpa's lap. They laugh together and smile often.

So at their recent wedding anniversary, I asked grandma how they did it. Two divorces and I have to admit I don't know how anyone makes it work. I'm cynical and don't have a lot of faith in forever. Except when you look at Grandma and Grandpa - you could blame it on their generation. But only if you didn't know them. If you know them, you'll understand they're still in love 65 years later.

Grandma looked at me and said, "It's all about perspective." Then she told me that she used to get so frustrated with Grandpa. He'd get home and take his shoes and socks off in the living room, usually tracking in mud or dirt. And he'd sit down to watch tv while she made dinner, usually falling asleep for a minute in his recliner with the tv turned up too loud. And she'd get mad or frustrated. And then she'd put it in perspective.
Grandma and Grandpa at their 60th anniversary

She told me that if socks on the floor were the worst thing she ever had to deal with, she'd take it every day for the rest of her life. She said while her friends had been cheated on, while their friends drank too much, while other husbands couldn't keep a job, her man was home at night, not out drinking, and always had a job. He supported his family, loved her wholeheartedly, accepted her faults, loved their kids, was a wonderful dad, a fantastic husband and just all around a good man.

She pointed out they had their struggles. Recessions, tough times, growing pains - but they had made a commitment to eachother and loved eachother more than they could bear the thought of being apart.

She said they've yelled at eachother. Fought. And loved. Often.

She said she lucked out...handsome, intelligent, caring, and everything she could have asked for.

She said after she put it in perspective, she picked up the socks, gave him a kiss, and smiled inside.

That, my friends, is what it's all about.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

As a fat girl, I was willing to accept less than what I deserve.

Less happiness, less love, less success. 

When I started this weight loss journey, I knew my waist size would change, I didn't realize how much my life would change with it. 

I remember when I learned I was fat. I was 11 or 12 at Girl Scout Camp. I had long blonde hair, great grades, the best of friends, a huge crush on Josh (dreamy dimples), and hadn't given much thought to the way I look. The first night at Girl Scout camp, we had to choose our own nicknames. I couldn't decide....I still to this day have a hard time describing myself. I wanted the right nickname, the perfect one. I wanted it to be one I'd be happy to wear on our little necklaces around our neck. We all sat around helping eachother. My mom and the leaders helped - they suggested heart breaker, cutie pie, etc for my sis. When it turned to me, they suggested Chubby, Chubby Buns, and later I remember a joke about Fatty Fatty Two by Four, Can't Fit Through the Kitchen Door. I love my mom - she was being funny and trying to help in her own way. After that, she used to tell me to "suck in my gut." I realized I was bigger than the other girls my age. 

Fast forward a few years and my parents were divorcing. By now, I was interested in boys for real and "knew" I was too fat for most of them. We'd meet my mom's friends and they'd say "Oh Tara, we've heard so much about you. You're beautiful. You'll be a heart breaker for sure!" Nothing about me. I knew it was because I was overweight, listened to obnoxious loud music (everyone else listened to country), and you wouldn't catch me on the back of a horse for anything (you guessed it, I grew up in cowboy-ville). 

Of course, now I'm older so I know that's a very adolescent look at things. 

But as an adult, I've struggled with my image and things I've convinced myself are truths:
  • I'm shy.
  • I've got big bones and so will never be really small.
  • I'm not athletic.
  • I'm physically challenged (won't run, not really into 'exercise')
Of course, there are also the things I don't say but I show through my actions:

Primarily, I'm not worthy of a good relationship. I'll take what I can get. I "learned" a long time ago that men always leave because of the way you look. That's all changing now. 

But I'm smarter, older, wiser, and of course slimmer and things are changing - rapidly. 

My waist size is getting smaller while my outlook is getting bigger, brighter. 

Here are a few things I'm learning:
  • I like me. Seriously, some people can annoy me but I'm the one person I can count on. I'm funny and I have some good conversations in my head when I'm alone! 
  • I'd rather be alone than unhappy. 
  • It's time for someone to work hard to be in my life
  • I'm not really all that shy. I'm an introvert and like my time alone but I'm not exactly shy. 
  • I want adventure. Not bungee jumping, skydiving (although that may turn up on next year's list hee hee) - but travel, experiences. 
  • I am capable of managing my finances (this is huge, I'm usually a wreck when it comes to money matters). 
  • I'm not challenged physically - I've just never tried! 
  • I still have a lot of life left! Honestly, I've spent a few years wondering what's left and wondering if I've wasted my best years!
  • I've let fear dominate too much! I'm worried I won't succeed so why try? I don't try if I don't think I'll be at the top. 
Of course it helps that I now have the energy and confidence to try things! 

It's for these reasons that I'm really enjoying being a health coach. It's so fun to watch people post photos and talk about fitting into smaller clothes but then I start hearing stories like mine, or people coming off medications, or leaving bad situations. It's amazing how a small change can make a big difference! 

I'm sure I'll learn more as I go along. I have 60 more pounds to lose so I'm sure there will be more and more that I discover about myself. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Therapy (because I don't know where else to share it)

"Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation." Graham Greene
As Marc approaches 18, he asks more questions....questions I'd rather avoid. He's always been curious about his biological father - he has great memories of Roy. I've been rather proud of the way I've handled it. Answering appropriately for Marc's age, giving respect to Marc's relationship with my ex-husband, and so on and so forth. I think I've done alright. And of course, I've known the day would come when he'd ask me to help him find Roy. I've braced myself for it. Prepared myself for it. Determined how I'd handle it when it happened. 

And here it is. The day has come and I'm not ready. Marc wants to find Roy in the next year and I'm torn in pieces. 

On one hand, I thank God Marc and I have the kind of relationship that he's asked me to be part of the search and be there with him. I thank God that I'll be there to manage what is sure to be a very emotional reunion. 

Then on the other hand, I've kept that wound wrapped up tightly with no air to breathe. That bandage has remained on that wound for the past 18 years. It's been buried so deep that I don't even think of's just a part of me. It's the annoying little irritation that starts once in a while - I make myself busy and forget it exists. I'd even tell you it's all healed up. 

Then when Marc came to me, it became painfully clear....It's still there - oozing, festering, broken. 

And it has nothing to do with Marc - but has everything to do with me.

Let's go back 18 years and I'll tell you a story I haven't shared ever before (at least not in its entirety). 

I had left small town Oregon for Albuquerque, attending college, working, and of course, partying. I remember the first time I saw Roy across the room. He was drinking a beer and smiling at me. He caught me off guard. I remember panicking as he walked toward me. Is he really headed straight for me? 

He walked up and told me I was out of place here. That I should go back to mom and dad's house. I called him an a$$hole and left him standing there as I went to find my friends. I avoided him the rest of the night but was always aware he was there. Two nights later at yet another party he arrived with my best friend. She had bragged on this guy that she was dating and I was surprised to find it was him. She begged me to go to dinner with them. I scowled at him throughout our meal, hating him, despising him. He was a smart a$$. He was cocky.  He thought he was "all that." He was the guy who had never given me the time of day, the one that made me feel ugly, dumb, and unworthy. I felt stupid, naive, and slow-witted around him. No guy had ever made me feel so off kilter and so much like a bumbling idiot. 

I hated him and yet, he's all I could think about which frustrated me more. 

Two weeks later, I arrived at a party to find him there. I'd had just enough to drink that my wall was down. He walked over to me and I found myself laughing, flirting, and enjoying his company. He was playful. Dangerous. Hot! 

Truth be told, I was enjoying the way he looked. I was used to country boys and he was definitely NOT. Dark, brooding, tattooed, motorcycle-riding, muscled bad boy and I wanted him. A few shots of tequila, take my inhibitions away and we left the party together. I'll spare you the details here but the result was one pregnant, scared girl. 

Of course, for the first few weeks I had no idea I'd be a momma in nine months. I just knew that I really liked this guy. We spent every waking minute together. He was fun, witty, and damn good-looking. He made
I snapped this picture one of our first nights together
me think, he made me laugh, he made me feel. Riding his motorcycle, holding his arm as we walked in the club and everyone knew we were together, laying in his was right and wrong all at the same time. He was a bad boy, I was a good girl (or not so much after all). 

Three weeks later, a blood test confirmed that Roy and I would be parents. He suggested he be the one to tell my dad. My heart soared - he was facing this with me instead of running away. 

Roy and I were married shortly after that. He was a good dad and a loving husband. 

He was so good to Marc. Patient, gentle, kind and would do anything for him. He loved Marc so much and worried non-stop about Marc's future and whether he was worthy.
 But then, he'd have an off day. The stress would get to him and he'd disappear. A day would go by with just a phone call and then he'd be back. He'd start using and then drop it again.

He didn't know how to be a dad. Or a husband. His own mom had passed from a heroin overdose. His life spent in foster homes and later as a runaway and later in prison and/or jail.

He struggled with the desire to be a great dad and the ability to hold it together and make it happen.

He was gentle with me. Kind hearted. Made me laugh. Ours was a passionate love too and he made me enjoy life. We could really talk, about anything, anywhere, any time. 

Yes, I was the stereotypical woman...I thought I could change him.

He was my best friend and I could forgive him drinking and driving, quitting jobs, being in and out of jail. Using. 

I couldn't forgive betrayal. 

I remember with extreme clarity the sound my heart made as it broke. 

I remember distinctly the pain as my heart ripped from my chest.  

I remember panicking as I fell into the realization that I wasn't enough. 

I wasn't enough to hold him. I wasn't pretty enough, smart enough, and most importantly, strong enough. 

It wasn't long and we were divorced. I loved Roy with everything in me and we were no more. 

I did what I do best....lifted that rug and swept it under. Built the wall and fortified it like a pro. Slapped a bandage on it and carried on. Drove away and didn't look back. Found someone who was his EXACT opposite, got married, had Nate, got divorced again. 

Now before you think I'm reminiscing...I do not want Roy back. This is not one of those "the bad memories fade over time yadda yadda bs"

No part of me wants to go back to that life. One thing I've learned is that love is never enough. I loved him, I think in his weird, messed up, dysfunctional way - he loved me.

I know without a doubt that he loved Marc with all his heart.

He made poor decisions, he couldn't stay clean, and I don't want that around my kids. He loved Marc enough to finally just leave. 

I made the right decision to protect us and keep Marc from growing up just like Roy. 

I did the right thing by leaving and I have no regrets.

But the pain is here and it's real and it's raw. 

It leaves me wondering why 18 years later it makes me cry.


Because I never dealt with it.
Because I'd rather believe it wasn't love.
Because I put up walls that prevent me from ever falling that hard ever again.
Because I've created ways to keep from being that vulnerable ever again.
Because I can't let myself open up again.
Because I ran from it. 

Because it still hurts that I wasn't enough.
Because I still struggle with my own self-worth.

Because he's making the same dumb choices.
Because I'll have to face him.
Because I worry about Marc.

Because our story makes me sounds like a stupid girl.
Because I'm embarrassed to say it hurts.
Because I feel like a fool.
Because you the reader will misunderstand my whole point of this blog.

Because he gave me Marc.
Because I feel guilty that I'm happy.
Because I feel guilty I'm in a good place.

Because this weekend I found him in the place I was afraid to look for fear he'd be there. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

38 by 38 - An Update

I'm in a great mood lately. Feeling lighthearted. Happy. Jovial. Accomplished. Beautiful and appreciated.

Truth be told, I'm also feeling a little overwhelmed with juggling school, work, parenting, losing weight, and the fun stuff I'd really like be spending my time on.

First, you know I have to start with a football update. Nate's ducks took on the #1 team this weekend. Lost River was (notice I said was!!) undefeated. By the 3rd quarter, we were losing 12 to 6. Our boys rallied and scored with 3 minutes left in the 4th. At this point we were tied at 12 but then an amazing thing...we scored the extra point!! We were ahead 13 to 12 and there were three minutes eternity in football. And our boys rallied and held them! We won!!!
Nate and I after the game
Wow, as a treat I took Nate for dinner and ice cream. He literally cried with joy after winning. It was an awesome/proud momma moment!

I realized this weekend it's less than two months until my birthday. (Funny thing, I spent the first half of the year thinking I'm turning 39 and ha, my mom reminded me I'll only be 38.)

This weekend also marked the surprise party for my good friend Stacy. Her husband surprised her with the party - two months before her birthday (which happens to be the same day as mine). I have no pictures but I'm sure she'll post some soon. It was a fun start to my weekend.

It also made me think it's a good time to revisit my 38 by 38 list and see what I can knock off. I'm pleasantly surprised to see I only have 15 things left to do. Not too shabby, Heather!

Let's take a look at the things I HAVEN'T done:

First the things I am likely to make happen....

  • Visit Burney Falls - There's still time. I could make this a day trip once we get past football season. 
  • Plan a sister day away - I think I'll make this a shopping day in Bend. Kill two birds with one stone.
  • Host a favorite things party - this WILL happen. I'm working on the invitations now! 
  • Take a class on photoshop - I'll sign up for an online training and make this happen.
  • Take a knitting class
  • Let the boys plan a staycation - Of course, it's supposed to be their idea but I think I'll gently "nudge" them in the direction of some snow fun at Diamond Lake. I need a second job for fun money haha
And the things that are a big giant "probably not but maybe
  • Go to a play in Ashland - I don't know when I'm going to make this happen. There's only a few weeks left in the season and finances are a little tight heading in to the Christmas season!
  • Decorate my bedroom - I'm having an identify crisis and can't decide. Do I want muted and calming or warm and passionate colors? I thought muted and calming but lately I've been feeling a little more warm and passionate...decisions decisions! 
  • Learn to flyfish with Marc - The season is nearly over although I could technically sign up for a 'casting' clinic and mark it done. haha

And the things that I will not accomplish:
  • Grow Tomatoes - The seasons over. Oh sure, I could buy grow lights and all that jazz but I just don't care:) 
  • Go backpacking/camp overnight - I waited too long and don't have all the equipment. This will go on next years list. I've been unable to make it happen three years - next year is my year!!
  • Go on the Linkville Halloween Tour - They did it at Forth Klamath this year and I didn't make it. Boo!
  • Sign up for a bazaar and sell my handmade items - Stacy and I decided to skip it. Too much pressure and it takes all the fun out of it. 
  • Craft enough throughout the year to sell at bazaar - See above. It zaps the joy out of crafting
  • Buy a new car - I'm upside down in my car so it appears I'm stuck for now. I'm looking on the bright side, Marc's almost 18 which means my needs will change a bit. I can get a cute little car I've always wanted. 
So it looks like there will be six things I won't get to do. Not too bad! 

Time to get planning for the other nine things. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Perhaps a Little Vain

 I have two things to write about and I can't decide which I'm more excited about. I decided to start with me...yep, all about me. Because guess what....I've lost 60 lbs!!

60 pounds!!

wait, did you catch that? 

I've lost 60 (six-zero), 60 pounds!!

Let's take a look back. 

Above are photos of me when I started this new program with Take Shape for Life. I had little energy and was pretty unhappy. I had lost my love of fashion years ago and was starting to avoid certain functions or events for fear I'd be the biggest person. 

Now, I've lost 60 lbs and I'm going to brag a little. While I have 60 more I want to lose, I feel dang good! Just take a look:

I'm loving the way I feel. Full of energy, full of life, and fashion is fun again!! 

I'm loving being a health coach. Right now, I'm coaching about 10 people to reach their optimal health. I love being their cheerleader and watch them make healthy choices and reach their weight!!

Now let's talk about the kids....

Now about Nate....Nate is starting center on his football team. He's the youngest and worked hard to earn that position. He's had an awesome year!! We've teased him about his bright, neon colors. He's doing a fantastic job and I'm so proud of him playing with so much heart!!

Upper left: nate plays center (see his arm), Nate's crazy colors, Zach in the middle as homecoming prince, Emily in her game, Zach and I after they beat Phoenix, and Nate and I before his game where they killed the Beavers!!

Now to Marc - He decided to not play football. At first, it broke my heart but I have to respect his decision. He's 17 after all. But here's where I brag....Marcus has ALWAYS struggled with grades, barely squeaking by with d's. I just got his first semester report card and he has c's and better. He even has two a's and a b!!!! So proud of this kid. Two weeks ago, being the cool mom I am hehehe, I took him out hunting and within two hours he had his tag filled. We took his good friend Alec and boy was I glad!!

These boys cracked me up. I had a really good time out with them!

So you could say we've been a little busy around my house. 

Oh, one more celebrate my 60 lbs, I bought those red high heels that were on my annual bucket list:

I'll be rocking these red heels with my red lipstick and my new size 14 (yikes, 14!!!) gray slacks.