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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mommy...Please make it gone!

In the last few weeks since Wes brought sweet, little Kiva into his world, Life, in all aspects, has gone topsy-turvy. He brings her to the shop everyday, so I get lots of Kiva kisses and happily, she loves her Auntie Pua. However, these last couple of weeks, when I get home from work, I get a little bit of the cold shoulder treatment from Ellie. She greets me enthusiastically when I walk through the door at the end of the day; dancing with tail wagging...until I bend down to give her loves. Then she smells "It". The proof of my infidelity. With that, she turns her nose up at me, walks away, and goes to find her Daddy and tell him of her general unhappiness with her Mommy. It takes a good hour before she decides I'm worthy of her attention again.

Last night, horror of horrors, I brought "It" home with me because Wes had to work late. The picture says it all. Nope, Ellie's still not speaking to me. I think my Mommy License has been revoked.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Easy Way Out

I'm pissed. So now is as good a time as any to get this out.

In the time I was away from blogging; a year or so, give or take a post or two, much has transpired, as life is prone to do. Graduations, layoffs, new jobs, moving stores to new locations, marriages, births, and sadly, deaths...so many deaths. I felt, sometimes, a little overwhelmed, as many do, and I didn't have the energy or desire to write.

Frankly, it's been a rough couple of years. My way to cope, my "drug" of choice, has always been food. I eat my way through situations, only to throw myself deeper into a pit of despair and depression. I have shared in this blog over the years my struggle with weight and the feeling of hopelessness. This blog brought me friends who, because of this medium, could only see my heart, my soul, the person I am inside. Mostly, I have struggled, because of where we live in the Babylon of Orange County, the feeling that I am "invisible". People here are shallow and honestly, if you are a female who doesn't have a whistle-thin waist, big boobs, and perfect Dr. 90210 features, you do not exist. Of course, there is no discrimination when it comes to guys...they're fair game when it comes to invisibility as well. But I'm speaking only from my experience as a woman. I have been looked "through" while standing in line at a department store, to have the girl behind the register ask the woman behind me to step up as if she were next. I have been so much as transparent at a take-away counter when the guy behind the register asked the hot girl next to me for her order even though he knew I was there first.

It goes on and on. On my last visit home to Hawai'i this summer to visit my ailing mom, my seatbelt on the plane could reach, but uncomfortably. Most of the time, they fit fine, but this time, I had to discretely ask the flight attendant to bring me an extender. This is already humiliating, but even more humiliating was the fact that she waited until the plane was fully loaded, we were already moving on the tarmac, and instead of being discrete herself, in her haste, she handed it to a guy three rows in front of us and asked him to hand it back. Mortified, I watched as all eyes followed the passing of the belt extender, now completely unrolled, and once finding its target, the looks of disgust from other passengers. To add insult to injury, my daughter was with me, and I felt that I had to apologize for perhaps embarrassing her. When she asked why I was apologizing, and I mentioned the looks from the other passengers, she said.."Oh Mommy, fuck them and their Louis Vuitton luggage. Who cares what they think." And such has always been the support from my husband and kids. I should know better. They love me unconditionally.

I have always had to worry about whether the lap tray will come down because most of my girth is in my belly..it won't. I have always had to think about chairs I sit in and worry whether they will support my weight..they do, but leave marks on the outsides of my thighs. I have been self-conscious to eat anything in public for fear that people are watching me and judging me..they do. If we ride rides at Disneyland, I always make sure that I'm in a seat alone because the lap bar stops short, again because of my belly, and leaves a gap which would make it unsafe for a smaller passenger next to me..namely, my svelte children. Turnstyles in stores, subways, and sporting event venues are hurdles that I must pass through sideways, if at all. If we go to a restaurant, we ask for a table instead of a booth because sometimes the space between table and seat are a little snug. These things I think of. They are always on my mind. Some things are a daily reminder that I'm different and society is not geared for people like me.

People see my shell. They decide that I am lazy because I've "allowed" myself to get this way. They don't see the years I have tried and tried, they don't see the money I've spent on diets, diet centers, and therapy. They don't see the pain, the absolute pain this struggle brings. They do not see my own disgust at myself, the names I silently call myself, the grief over my inability to be "normal". I have lost more weight and gained it back, then sat with a counselor who wants to tell me WHY I am the way I am and then charge me $150 for 55 minutes once a week. Then I leave his office and EAT over the finances and how I just spent $150 that we just don't have.

Ironically, there was a time that I blamed my body structure on the fact that I am Polynesian. It was comforting for awhile. Until 2004 when I found my birth ohana and discovered that of the 6 women of my 13 siblings, I am the "fat girl". My sisters would dispute this, but it's true. It matters not to them of course, they're just happy that I found them and of the blessings of my life, this is a big one. I am grateful. Still, it gnawed at me that I lost the "excuse of genetics" to fall back on. What now Pua?

Upon my return from Hawai'i, and with all the new information I gathered about my birth family's health issues, I decided it was probably a good time to have a physical. Of course my weight was at its highest, my blood pressure, for the first time since my last pregnancy 19 years ago was up, and I was not yet diabetic, but insulin resistent. Now I'm scared. Now my doctor, knowing my struggle and what I've been through, suggests I consider bariatric surgery. He says because of my insulin resistence, I can diet and diet and diet and I can lose weight, but it will come back. At this point, it's time for a tool. Unfortunately, because I don't have a diagnosis of diabetes, my insurance company will not cover it.

I go home and Charlie and I dicuss options. My van is 15 this year. It has 200,000 miles on it. It's tired, but it keeps plugging along (just like me). We had discussed looking at a used car soon, but now I tell him that I would rather make a payment on getting myself healthy. So we take out a medical loan and after more counseling, testing, and two weeks of a liquid only diet to shrink my fatty liver, I find myself in the hospital on September 8th, my 48th birthday, getting Lap Band surgery. The nurses, upon finding out it's my birthday, put stickers of birthday cake on my IV bottle, and decorate my bed. They tell me this is the best birthday present I can give myself...a new, healthy self. For the first time in a long, long time, I feel hopeful.

It's been 10 weeks since my surgery. The days and weeks after surgery were arduous; two more weeks of liquid only, another two weeks of soft, baby-type foods. Trying to figure out the time span between when my brain gets the message from my tummy that my six ounce stomach pouch is full. Remembering not to go even one bite further so as not to regurgitate..which can be a lot of fun in public. Knowing that I can only drink fluids 30 minutes before a meal, or 30 minutes after, but NEVER with a meal. No more soda because the carbonation causes gas or reflux. Avoid bread because it soaks up liquid and expands in the pouch, avoid popcorn (I LOVE popcorn!), avoid hard meats like dry salami and beef jerky. There is a learning process that goes with this and I'm taking baby steps. But the difference is, I don't obsess over food anymore. It is not on my mind every waking moment like the proverbial monkey on my back. I am not Food's slave any longer. I have been liberated.

When I walked into the doctor's office, my pre-surgery weight was 277 pounds. I have never shared that here. I have never had the courage to put that out there. Today I weigh 233 pounds. Forty-four pounds in 10 weeks. I've never had that kind of success. More importantly, if I have lost a block of weight like that before, I never felt it would last, and certainly, it never did.

I can honestly say out loud that this weight is gone forever, and mean it. For the first time in my life, I feel what I always thought "normal" people must feel about eating. That it is meant to sustain a healthy life and body, to enjoy in moderation, and not an olympic event. I was a gold medalist. I woke up with food on my mind, wondered about lunch while I ate breakfast, wondered about dinner while I ate lunch, and wondered if there were any chips or cookies after dinner, and the last thought on my mind before falling asleep was breakfast tomorrow. It was vicious and unending.

Before I went in for surgery, I told only those closest to me; Charlie, the kids, my sister (who is my best friend), her husband, and my boss/friend, Wes. I asked for their confidence. I didn't want to tell anyone else. I didn't want to hear people's opinions on how I should try harder to diet and exercise. I only wanted positive thoughts around me and the full support of the people in my life who matter. After last week, I was right to do so.

A woman came into the store, and after not seeing me since before surgery, made a comment about how great I look, how much weight I'd lost, and how I did it. Being this far along, I felt okay in sharing and I told her that I'd gotten banded. Her instant reaction.."Oh, you took the easy way out."

WHO, I ask you, but a fucking Orange County housewife would utter a shallow, unthinking, piece of bullshit like that? I was insensed. I've never been a confrontational person. I've always been pretty shy, in fact, painfully shy in person. But now, I'm just livid.

"Easy?" I said. "You think this has been easy? You think struggling your whole life with weight is easy? You think living here in Orange County among "the beautiful people" is easy when you're fat? You think one diet after another is easy? You think going to the gym and listening to the Barbie on the treadmill next to you talk about her pasta lunch is easy?

"Oh," She says. "I didn't mean it that way."

"Well, what way did you mean it?"

"Um, can I just pay for this lotion now?"

"Sure..that'll be $12.50"

"I hope I didn't offend you Pua."

"You did. Ignorance offends me."

"I'm sorry. And I meant what I said, you do look great and I'm so happy for you."

"Thank you. I just wish you'd left it at that. This is not the Easy Way Out. It's been a long, hard road."

"I stand corrected."

Then she went on to tell me that Oprah had made that comment on one of her shows. I don't even want to get into that. All I know is for me, this is working. And it's still not easy. But at least I know that I have a chance at loving myself the way my family loves me.

There, I feel so much better. And I didn't even have to pay $150 to a counselor. As I said to my dear blog friend Tuna Girl, I should never have forgotten what good therapy blogging can be.

Pua...44 pounds later, and not running away from the camera.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

San Diego Rocks!

I got home from Vegas to find an email from my friend Rick. Well, okay, he and his husband are my sister and brother-in-law's best friends...but I claim them as family by osmosis. These are from the rally in San Diego on Saturday. The numbers are staggering. Yay San Diego! Thanks for sharing Ricky.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh To Be 21!

So we had a little Girl's Weekend. Averie, Caris, myself, and Caris' BFF Caitlyn. My sister was supposed to go, but she went and got all responsible without asking me and got a damn job. Sigh. I'm tired, but happy. There's something about spending time with people who have energy. It's contagious. We left home in our AWESOME rental car (my 14 year old, 200,000 mile van just wasn't fit to drive across the desert) on Thursday night and arrived in Sin City at 2am Friday morning. The drive seemed short, not at all the 4 hour drive it would normally be. It felt like one giggle and a few laughs and BAM! we were there. So much catching up to do since Averie now lives and works in LA and we don't see her as much. She helped pass the hours with stories of the crazy people in the movie industry she works with and now of her new offer of a job at NBC. She got the call only the day before we left and so she was in a great mood and so happy.

I'd been planning this trip for nearly 6 months; saving up for shows and entertainment. Got a comped room at Flamingo and they threw in a massage at the spa for the Birthday Girl. Our room was, of course, PINK, which is Caris' signature color. I told her that they designed the rooms with her in mind ::wink::

I got word that Jason Mraz was doing a one-night gig there and mentioned it to Caris, wondering if she'd like to see him. She reminded me that Averie was the BIG Jason Mraz fan and wouldn't it be great to surprise her. So she asked me to get the tix, but not tell Averie. I thought it was pretty generous of her considering this was HER birthday weekend and she wanted to do something nice for her sister. "Well, she's had such a sucky year, working for sucky people. I think this would cheer her up." So, for MONTHS we, Caris and I, kept the secret from Averie, telling her only at dinner before the concert. The look on Caris's face when we told Averie was gift enough. She glowed with pride at surprising her sister. Averie was beside herself. The concert was amazing. He's honestly incredible and now I'm a fan.

Went to see Tony N'Tina's Wedding at the Rio and of course, they couldn't wait to make my three girls a part of the festivities. The Best Man working them over to come join "Amateur Night" at "The Animal Kingdom" dance club. "Look at'chew Girls! Holy Shit! You're already workin' it!" Great fun.

I was surprised to see that Averie, now having lived on her own for awhile, can really put away the tequila (Ahhh, a chip off the old block). Especially when it's free. She figured out that if you sit at a penny machine and bet one line, one credit (which amounts to 1 cent), they'll just keep bringing you drinks. Tips, of course, are compulsory, but still, a great deal on a fixed budget.

We decided to have breakfast one morning at Margaritaville. Big mistake for me, ParrotHead that I am. My ringtone IS Margaritaville, so I spent a lot of time digging through my purse thinking that my phone was ringing everytime I heard Jimmy singing. It was a bit surreal to be sitting with my daughters and seeing them order drinks. We toasted birthdays, and new jobs, and good times to come. As strange as it was, it was good. I reflected on how fast the time passed between milk and cookies, and tequila and salt. I smiled. Charlie and I did a great job.

Saturday morning, I decided to go downstairs early before the girls woke and gamble a little. That plan went awry when the elevator decided to get stuck between floors. With me and a good'ole'boy from Texas inside. He was tooooo drunk to notice, and SO entertaining, that I didn't panic. I just watched. It took him about five minutes to realize we weren't moving, then he decided to push EVERY button. We were on the 20th floor. "Darlin'" he says to me. "I thank we're schtuck. Well, fuck." I waited. The show was just too good and he was just too darn funny, telling me not to worry, that he would take care of everything. He would be my knight in shining armor. It took 15 minutes, but they finally got us out. My "knight" staggered off without so much as an adieu. It wasn't the first show I got in an elevator, and it certainly wasn't the last. As I shared my stories of stuck elevators and elevator hookups (no, they didn't care I was in there with them) with the girls, they wondered if they should let me go out alone anymore.

Caris was fascinated that you could walk around on the strip carrying drinks. And so she did. After all, who DOESN'T want a 20 ounce Statue of Liberty cup full of strawberry margarita? Buzzed by 11 am. Luckily, there was lots of walking (and shopping) time between New York New York and Ceasar's.

Sunday came too soon. After looking forward to this trip for so long, it went by in a whisper. Okay, not a whisper. More like lots of giggles. But it did fly by. On the way home, I smiled when both my daughters talked about how they wished their daddy could have come. How he would have loved the concert, the show, the tequila. I loved being the one to spend the time with them. But I loved it even more that they have good and happy FAMILY memories. When we got home, I told Charlie that I'm glad that our kids like us. He smiled and said.."Hasn't that always been our goal?"


Monday, November 17, 2008


3 Days in Vegas +
3 girls ready to party +
1 Show at Rio +
1 Jason Mraz Concert +
1 Newly 21-year-old daughter +
1 Daughter celebrating a new job offer +
Unlimited Alcohol =
1 Tired Mom.

Gimme a day to recover. I'll write tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Going Postal

Last week, I saw a notice from our insurance company that our auto insurance was a couple of days overdue. So I mentioned it to Charlie, who said to me that he would pay the bill when he got home. That was Monday.

On Tuesday, I asked Charlie if he had paid the car insurance bill. Any other bill, I might not bother him so much about, but the fact is, there are FIVE cars on our insurance. Yes, FIVE. That's another story. His response was that he would call from work and pay the bill by phone.

On Wednesday, I asked Charlie if he had paid the car insurance bill, and oh by the way, the mortgage is due. He said he would take care of it when he got home. Because I've been with this man for 28 years, and I know him THAT well, I just went ahead and paid the bill myself. Done.

On Thursday, BEFORE I had a chance to ask him, my darling husband announced that he would SIT DOWN and pay ALL the bills this weekend. Thank you, Honey.

The weekend passed without a checkbook being opened, and on Monday night, I asked the inevitable question, knowing full-well the answer would have a "twinge" of procrastination to it. "I'll get up early tomorrow morning, and pay the bills before I go to work." Says he. Again, I just say "Thank you, Honey."

On Tuesday morning, I got up to the smell of coffee brewing. It was 5:00. I went down the hall, and there was Charlie, sitting at his desk, writing checks. I smiled, kissed his head, and I turned around and went back to bed. Before he left for work, he asked if I would mail the bills. "Of course," I said. And off he went.

That morning, I went to the post office on my way to the shop. I had forgotten that it was a holiday, and having a few packages from work that I had to mail, I just drove right out of the parking lot. I figured that I'd come back tomorrow when they were open and do everything all at once.

That evening, when Charlie got home, he asked me if I had mailed the bills.

Me: No. I went to the post office, but it was a holiday today, so they were closed. Since I had other packages to mail, I thought I'd wait til tomorrow.

He: (sarcastically) So you couldn't just drop them into a mailbox?

Me: (pretending not to hear the tone in his voice) What?

He: If I had known that you weren't going to drop the bills off, I would have taken them myself.

Me: (blinking) Are you kidding me right now?

He: (COMPLETELY oblivious) Huh?

Me: ::sigh:: Nevermind.

I adore this man. But when I go to the post office, I'm gonna see if they have a box big enough for me to fold him into. Then, I'll procrastinate and I may or may not mail him for a few days. Or a week.

Monday, November 10, 2008

And Then I Blinked...

I'm not one of those mothers who spent a great deal of time putting together baby books which chronicled the growth and events of my kids lives. Instead, when they were born, I just kept a camera close and decided that until some time passed after their births and I KNEW their personality a little better, I would write something that had more meaning than charting how much they weighed, how long or how tall they were, how much they ate or how often they pooped. Fact is, babies are poop factories, and mine were 21 months apart, so how much time did I have to put together baby books? That's how I justify it. Work with me.

When they were each a year old, I wrote a little "blurb" that I felt, at that time, captured who this little creature was, and I framed that with a collage of pictures. The blurb for Caris is as follows:


It means "grace" this little word. This name as minute as the child that owns it.
This small, second gift, sent just when we thought we had this parenting thing down to a science.

She was received in great surprise, and brought surprises with her when she made her entrance; kicking and screaming.

We stand amazed at her physical prowess. In awe, with pending heart failure, we watch this tiny dynamo leapfrog from one piece of life to another, giggling all the way. And in spite of ourselves, we giggle too.

We delight as much in our folly of attaching a delicate name to one so spirited, as in our great fortune of being the parents of this precious elf.

As her small arms wrap tightly around your neck, the fullness of her love takes captive your heart. We give our hearts freely, knowing full well, we will never get them back.

Yesterday, Caris turned 21. Twenty-one. It's difficult for us to fathom. She was born. Then we blinked. And now she's twenty-one. I stood in the hallway, looking at her collage and reading her blurb and I smiled. Because all those years ago, I pegged her. She still leapfrogs through life. She still kicks and screams with passion (figuratively). She still brings surprises and we still, quite often, feel a sense of pending heart failure where she's involved. But she still makes us giggle, and when she hugs you, you KNOW she means it.

Her personality has, from Day One, been the complete opposite of the literal translation of "grace". But twenty-one years later, she has completely grown into the definition of her name. I couldn't be more proud to be her mom.

Happy Birthday Bunny. I love you.

Now get out your I.D. and let's go to Vegas!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Empty Arms

My niece gave birth to her first child on Saturday; a beautiful baby girl; 9 lbs. A much anticipated new grandbaby for my brother. On Sunday morning, sweet little J inexplicably stopped breathing and could not be revived. I wept at the news. I wept for my brother. I wept for my ohana. But most of all, I wept for my niece. I can understand the sadness of miscarriage by experience. I have been there. But, there are no words of comfort for a young woman who carried a perfectly healthy baby to full-term, labored and delivered, took her, in joyous pink wonder, home, only to lose her and go back home with empty arms, to make funeral arrangements.

I am without words and my heart is broken for her. I could only say "I love you".

Friday, November 07, 2008

So Disappointed

My head hurts today. I think it's from clenching my teeth last night while I listened to people say stupid things. I'm disappointed in them for their myopic views. But I'm more disappointed in myself for letting them make me angry and not saying anything for fear of starting a war of words that could hurt our friendship. And I promised myself that I would never do that again at our weekly gatherings. I love my friends. But I really hate people's inability to listen with reason. And right now, I'm hating myself for not standing up and saying so.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


While I'm overjoyed that Obama won, I've been so sad today over Prop 8. It makes me feel ashamed of my state. Happy-sad is a weird feeling and it has interfered a little with my ability to concentrate and stay on task. I keep running scenarios through my head; wishing that what has happened hasn't happened.

Then, my friend Wes showed up tonight with a "baby bump". When the baby popped her fuzzy little head out from inside his sweatshirt, I forgot all about how stupid California voters are for a minute. Nothing better than a new puppy to make you smile. Especially when Wes told us she was a rescue puppy like our Ellie (who doesn't like all the attention the new kid is getting!) I'm an Auntie and Wes is absolutely sure that I'm going to spoil her rotten. He's right. Because you can't spank Aunties. E Komo Mai, little Keeva. Welcome to our world.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Lone NO in the Neighborhood

Because the signs we bought from the No on 8 campaign have twice been stolen or damaged by ignorant idiots...I made my own. I've had to take them in at night to keep them safe. In our tract of 100 homes, there are 22 McCain/Palin signs and 29 Yes on 8 signs. We are the lone Obama/No on 8 people in this little corner of the OC. I'm proud that we say so, but I'm not so happy that we have to fight to protect our right to say so. Go Vote.

And Those Guys..

Averie, ever the Tina Fey fan, could not possibly be anything else...

So she convinced Ryan to be McGeezer to her Dingbat. The guy in the middle is "some guy" who was "W" and wanted his pic taken with them. Trifecta, she says.


International Hops and Barley

On Halloween night, before all the goblins and ghoulies arrived, I was sitting at my desk writing, when outside the window, I heard a car pull up out front, and then I heard the unmistakeable, familiar laughter of mischief. I ignore it at first because I know it's The Grommet and his buds. But then I hear; "Shhhhhh, I want to sneak up on my mom." Oh no he didn't. So I get up and walk to the door, and this is what walks into my living room:

Perfectly gleeful in their cerveza creativity, I asked them WHERE they got the material for their group costume (notice that Corona Man is anatomically correct). "Easy," says Bry. "Jon's dorm room." Nice. This is where our tuition money goes.

Down the hall, Caris is busily becoming St. Pauli Girl:

From Mexico to Germany...we've got the beer world covered.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Is That It?

Once saying all the parent-like things you say to kids who are old enough to go to Halloween parties on their own; "Have fun, be careful, be smart, call if you've played too much Beer Pong and I'll come and get you..." Charlie and I turned on the porch light and waited for the parade of goblins.

Fortunately, we have no need for a doorbell; we have Ellie. She "announces" everyone's arrival, thus scaring the crap out of poor, unsuspecting Spidermen and Peas in Pods. Whom we then have to coax to the front door with candy bait. Sounds a little pervy and predator-ish. Such a big, snarly bark for a dog with absolutely no backbone. Another drama queen in the family.

At one point, a group of around 5 kids come up to the door and deliver their well-worn Halloween line. One girl, probably 14 or 15, instead of saying "Trick or Treat," holds up a hand to Charlie and says "Yeah, Obama, High-Five!" to which he responds with a high-handed return and a box of Hot Tamales (we're the ONLY house in the tract of around 100 homes with OBAMA/BIDEN and NO on 8 signs and have already had them destroyed or stolen twice.) Charlie finishes giving candy to the rest of the group and at the last is one little Batman-boy, around 7, holding up his pillowcase. Charlie drops a box of Mike & Ikes in his bag. The mini Superhero looks down into his stash, lifts his head, looks at Charlie and says; "Is that it?"

Charlie: Yep, that's it.
Batkid: You don't got no chocolate?
Charlie: Nope. I have Hot Tamales. You want that instead?
Batkid: I like chocolate.
Charlie: Sorry. No chocolate.
Batkid: Okay.

As he walks away, no thank you delivered and without turning around, he says to his mother; "They don't know how to play this game." She looks up at us apologetically while simultaneously bending down to talk to her son about the etiquette of Trick or Treating.

Charlie and I closed the door momentarily and ran to the back of the house to laugh our asses off.

I'm STILL laughing. We were "served" by Batman.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Go Ahead...Drop the Puck!

I'm on HER team...