Friday, October 28, 2005

Well, it's not my face...

You know I still don't show my face on the blog. But, I am giving my "obesity awareness" diversity presentation tomorrow. The title is "Looking Beyond the BMI or Am I More Than What You See?"

To start the presentation, I am going to show a photo of my body prior to the weight loss and ask the audience to gauge their reactions and emotions to the woman in the photo. This is the photo I will show:

Then I will talk about common attitudes towards "the last acceptable prejudice in America". Then I will show a picture of my body after the surgery and ask the audience what reaction they have to this woman:

Finally, I will reveal that both photos are of the same woman, then tell the story of my surgery and 120 pound weight loss. I'll tell about how I am treated now compared to before and will, if I achieve my goal, show that even though I've lost weight, I am no more valuable than I was before the weight loss. I am hopeful that this will be an effective presentation which will make the audience think.

But for you all, even though you still don't see my face, you get to see what all my blogging has been about. This is what I've gone through 2 years and 4 surgeries to achieve. The "fat acceptance" movement would tell me I was wrong to bend to society's dictates and have such a life-threatening surgery. My doctors assure me did the only thing I could given my health.

And after reading LR's post for today (This post is no longer available), I look at Champs and Sweet Girl, and I know that, no matter what the state of obesity awareness in America or if the gastric bypass is a dangerous surgery, I definitely made the right choice.

Here are some comments from this post:
princssis said...
^prayers^ for you and your presentation tomorrow! I'm sure you'll do a great job! BTW- will the audience include people that know you or will they pretty much all be strangers? Just curious how they might react to your personal aspect of your presentation. ?
Oh, and I'm proud of you! You're looking great! You did make the right choice. You didn't go throught all that just to fit in to society. I know your health issues were the main concern. ((HUGS))

Oreo said...
OH MY GOSH!!! You look wonderful!

Heather said...
Sounds like your presentation will be very powerful!

GranDee said...
After reading LR's post, I am sitting here in this big body and bawling like a baby! Many years ago Princssis would beg me to quit smoking. I quit TWO times. The last time was for good, and many years ago. I see her as LR. I don't mean the pleading and such, because she does not do that, but I am sure she would like to see me thin again, esp. with my health issues. I told you, BG, a couple of times that you are my hero. I really really mean it! You went through "h" "e" double toothpicks more than one time and came out on the winning side. God Bless you, sweetie... I pray your presentation went well... you hit the nail on the head here!

trusty getto said...
Wow. I wondered how the progress looked, but this is the first opportunity to actually see.
That's pretty amazing, BG!!! You must be mighty proud of yourself!

Lish said...
I need to lose weight, and I know what I need to do. I just can't seem to stay motivated long enough to accomplish my goal. Hopefully, you can be an inspiration.

Paul said...
Magnificent! And you have a knock-out smile!

utenzi said...
It's an amazing transformation when presented as a before and after, Blond Girl.
While I agree that losing weight doesn't change the real you--it's unrealistic to expect people not to react to your physical appearance. When you see a person that you don't know, appearance is often the only thing you have to go by.
I hope this change allows you to be more healthy--and happy--BG. Good luck!

Shannin said...
Even though I am only a few weeks out, I already feel healthier and happier. Hope the presentation went well - can't wait to hear about it...

Sandy said...
BG, you look great - but that's not what matters. What matters is that you feel great, right. Sounds to me that your health is better today, or at least your future health will be better tomorrow, for having the surgery.
I think the misstep with some in the 'fat acceptance' movement is the notion that wanting to lose is about wanting to fit in. Sometimes it's just about wanting to be healthier. Sometimes it just about wanting to play with a child without feeling you just can't physically keep up.
I've got to drop some weight. Two pregnancies that ended in mild pre-eclampsyia after the 37-week mark put me at higher risk for HBP in the future. For my health, for my children and my husband, I need to eliminate as many *other* factors as possible. That means the extra 40 lbs I'm carting around.
But I digress, my point (I swear there is one!), I hope your presentation went well. This post, brief and to the point, inspired me to regain control of my *health* not just my waistline. Thanks.

Holly said...
What an excellent idea for a presentation. People treat me differently. I've tried reflecting to find out if it's just that I'm easier to be around when i don't hate myself like it did. i was miserable and surely not a lot of fun to be around because that misery can't help but be obvious. now I'm in the middle of everything. curious, part of it all, and happy. my self esteem is way different.
i am so grateful to my family for their support in my decision to have weight loss surgery. i am thankful for my surgeon, the surgery, and the hospital i had it at. I'm thankful that my insurance paid and didn't make me jump through too many hoops to get the surgery i needed to live.
it's a wonderful, wonderful thing. i was super morbidly obese and weight 379 pounds on June 15th of THIS YEAR. less than 5 months later i am no longer morbidly obese (just severely!) LOL and 106 pounds lighter. i am a different person.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Frito Kid

I'm in a story mood tonight. I'm not sure why, but lucky you; you get to hear another story from my youth. When I am done, I have to go work on my obesity sensitivity deck. For now though, I bring you the story of The Frito Kid.

When I was in 9th grade, I was a pretty miserable kid. I was overweight, out of fashion, too articulate for my classmates tastes and very shy. The shyness was not in my nature; it was defense against all the people who teased me and made my life hell. My friends knew me as a vivacious, original thinker but to everyone else, I was a mouse; a fly on the wall. Only in class did my communicator nature come out and give me away; my need to answer the teacher's questions and excel in class further ostracized me as "a brain" - but one with no personality.

With this gregarious nature hidden away inside of a self-imposed shell of protection, I became an avid people watcher. I would imagine myself in many conversations with them; being a part of the fun instead of watching, all the while hidden behind a book.

One day on the bus going home, I was doing my normal quiet observation of the other kids while I pretended to read my book. There was another kid on the bus who I was watching, amazed at him. He was at least 85 pounds heavier than I was and was sitting across from me eating Fritos. Because I was sensitive to anyone teasing me about my weight, I couldn't imagine eating fattening foods in front of anyone; to do so would give them ammunition against me. Yet here was Warren, eating a big bag of Fritos in full sight of everyone. I made my first mistake; I forgot to conceal myself behind my book.

He caught me looking at him and my face must have conveyed my thoughts, because he snarled, "what are you looking at, BG?" Then I made my second mistake. I said, "I'm not looking at anything at all, Warren". He HATED to be called Warren. He was in the midst of a name change to Jay, but having gone to school together since elementary, Warren was the first name to come to mind. I didn't mean any malice by my response; perhaps I just wanted to convey my amusement at his bravado, eating Fritos out there on the killing fields.

I made my third misktake; I resumed reading my book, ignoring him. Next thing I knew, I felt my face being pelted with warm, wet flecks. I looked up just in time to be splattered with a second mouthful of chewed up Fritos. Warren had spit them all over me. I was in shock. Before I could help it, the tears began to quietly seep out, but I refused to show any reaction other than what I couldn't control. I simply sat back, brushed my face off and ignored him the rest of the ride home (Oh, and those who really know me already know how royally pissed off I was at this point; I only get deadly silent when I am deadly angry).

When I stepped off the bus, I lost my composure. By the time I walked in the door, I was openly sobbing and near vomiting. My mom and brothers (they would have been about 22 and 23 at the time) were in the kitchen and immediately demanded to know what was wrong. It took me a few minutes to get the story out. The whole time my brothers just sat listening. When I was done, they asked only one question: Where does he live? I told them, they said, "let's go" and walked out. I went to take a shower and wash the entire experience off of me.

It wasn't until after dinner that I heard the rest of the story. Paddy and Guitar Man walked over to Warren's house and knocked on the door. They saw a curtain flutter but no one answered. They pounded again and waited. Finally, a man opened the door and asked what they wanted. Guitar Man did all the talking and Paddy just stood next to him looking very mad and very mean (he's good at that). "Yeah", he said, "We want to talk to the Frito Kid". His dad asked what this was about and after they told my story, he called Warren out. Again they related the events of the bus ride and Warren said, "I didn't do nuthin." My brother asked, "then why is my sister covered in Fritos and crying?"

Warren's father demanded the truth and Warren mumbled, "I didn't mean anything by it." At about that point, Warren's dad apologized to my brothers and told them to tell me that I would never be bothered by him again. The door shut and the shouting began. My brothers walked away.

I don't know what happened to Warren. I understand abusive families, so I can imagine. I hope it wasn't too bad. I hope it was only yelling. All I know is, I never saw Warren eating Fritos again and he never so much as said another word to me.

Though to my family he is and will ever be... The Frito Kid.

Here are a few comments from this post:
Suzy said...
Oh BG, my heart broke as I read your story. I'm the eldest of three, and would have done exactly as your brothers did. I took on any and all the over stepped their boundaries with my sister and brother...many, many times. Ughh...that is so like me with my family and friends, and sometimes to my detriment.(sp?)
Was it Oprah that I heard say something about how we all have 5 or 10 life defining moments that we will never forget? I wonder if that was one of yours?

Geekwif said...
I think I remember you telling this story before, but the only part I really remembered was your brothers talking to the kids dad. Kind of makes me wish I'd had a sibling or two to take care of the bullies in my life. Oh well. It seems that I survived anyway. I'm glad they were there to stand up for you.

A paintbrush full of orange

I thought I would tell you a quick story, since I enjoy the trips down memory lane and you all seem to enjoy them as much as I do.

This one is one of mine.

Sweet Girl, as you know, is in kindergarten. She just got her school pictures back the other day and they are so cute! I was amazed, however, at how mature she looks! Her picture looks like I did in my second grade picture. In my kindergarten picture, I look so much younger than she does in hers (which is amazing since, comparatively, I was 6 months older than she was at that time). The wide-eyed wonder with which I am looking out at the world got me to thinking about what I remembered from kindergarten.

Although I have many memories (the day I vomited on my teacher's shoes is a highlight), perhaps the one that holds the most significance is the day I created ORANGE. It was painting time. I was standing before the easel and I had painted a tall building. A building on fire. I needed just the right color for the flames shooting out of the windows. After a certain amount of consideration, I mixed up just the right shade of orange for the flames and swept them in with broad, sweeping strokes of my brush.

Now, you may not realize this, but up until the day I got the brilliant idea to combine red and yellow, orange existed only in natural forms (such as oranges, leaves and monarch butterflies). No other human before me had ever created orange, so I knew right then and there that I was, in fact, an artistic genius.

Now, I don't know why I was painting a burning highrise; I wasn't a violent or scarred child. I probably saw something on TV the day before. Too, I have since figured out that, while I am very creative, I am no artistic genius (for that, you will need to visit Sharon). What makes this memory significant to me is what I learned about myself that day and which I have retained some 35 years later. I am a solution maker. I look at the problem objectively ("hmmm... How do I make this building look like it is on fire?") and find a solution ("I know! Orange will make it look right") and apply it with broad, sweeping strokes. This personality trait of mine often gets me in trouble when people say (with that wrinkled-nose mewl of distaste) "she has such a strong personality". But it also gets me ahead when they call me in and say "I've got a problem. Can you help me?"

And I grab my paintbrush, load it up with orange and start painting.

You know the funniest thing about all this? Visually, I hate orange. It's only in my emotional memory that the color appeals to me.

And here are some comments from this post:
princssis said...
You better get to love orange - remember, we bleed orange here in Another State!
As for kindergarten, you already know I don't remember school until the fourth grade. I so wish sometimes I had those memories, but then I believe there is a reason for that part of my life to be blocked out. It was an extremely stressful time as my parents divorced. It funny, though, cuz I remember home stuff and going to and from school during that time period, but I don't remember school or my teachers and classmates. ????????????

Geekwif said...
I never thought I would see a post of yours with the word "orange" in the title, unless it was "Death to Orange" or something like that. You have yourself pegged. You are definitely a problem solver.

Russ said...
Blond AND strong personality?? Thank God in heaven that there are some of you left. You have two of my top ten most requested female traits.
Lucky girl...
Oh yeah, lucky husband!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Adventures in Underwear

Warning: This is the post that the Geekwif didn't think I would have the nerve to write. Or maybe she just hoped that I would have the good sense not to post it. Not a chance! This has been brewing since August and baby, it demands to be written! This may be TMI; if you don't want to read about my underwear, turn back! Turn back now!

As you know (if you are a loyal reader or captive family member), I have lost 120 pounds by gastric bypass (it was 2 years ago on October 16) and I had a mother-of-all-tummy-tucks this last July 29. From a size 26-28, I am now a size 10-12. And, for the first time since I was 13 years old, I have a flat tummy. A gloriously, wondrously, mostly flat tummy (no, don't think Kate Hudson; think Renee' Zelwiger in "Bridget Jones' Diary"). To someone who has been trim all their life, I am nothing special. As someone who has found herself for the first time in years, I am a marvel, I think. (Sidebar: I was explaining this to Smoothie at work today. I am not full of pride, I am just in amazement, pure and simple. She's given me a month to get over this. She says if I continue feeling this way by then, it will be pride.)

Now, the interesting thing about this new tummy and new shape of mine is that suddenly, fantastically, a whole new world has opened up to me: The world of underwear.

As a child, I wore cotton briefs. Prior to the gastric bypass, I wore cotton briefs. After the gastric bypass, the briefs got smaller, but still, I wore briefs. I had no choice. Without providing too nasty of a mental picture, just realize that there was a reason I had the tummy tuck: extra fat and skin. LOTS OF SKIN! All that skin had to be covered and that meant briefs. For me, the only "spice" to my underwear was what pattern I wore on any given day.

A few weeks after the grand tummy tuck, however, I had a dilemma. All of my underwear (and I do mean all of it), was too big! My "Just My Size" wasn't just my size anymore. I would pull up my pants and extra underwear would "pooch" out the waistband in the back. Ever seen anyone make the "tucking in" motion and it wasn't a shirt they were tucking? That's picking the Fruit O' the Loom, baby.

Not only that, but the smaller pants I was buying were hitting me lower on my body. Instead of raising 2-3 inches above my natural waist like size 26 pants did, the size 12 pants were hitting about an inch below. All of a sudden, if I wasn't careful, people were getting a commercial every time I lifted my arms; "Oh, look, it's Hanes Her Way! Are those comfortable, dearie?"

The kicker was the pink sweats I bought to recover in. Tied at the waist, they only reached to my lower-calf. Dropped down and tied at mid-hip, however, they reached my ankles and looked pretty cute, too. However, that extra two-inch band of briefs sitting above the sweats was not what you would call fetching.

Yes, clearly it was time to go underwear shopping.

Like Fat Albert at an Old Country Buffet, I descended on the Target lingerie department. Forget the kid in the candy shop; I was in heaven! I bought my first EVER bikinis! In pink, my signature color! I never even had these when I was a kid. When I got home and put them on, I was amazed; they didn't show above the waist of my pants. They covered the scar I have running from hip to hip and they showcased my new $25,000.000 belly button (which I fought the insurance company for 6 months to cover as a justifiable medical expense, thank you very much)! How could one scrap of pink cotton make me so happy?

Next I got sporty banded hi-cuts. These are just plain fun! No more worrying about where they cut across the tummy; just dress and run. You never had it so good when wearing a skirt or pair of shorts.

When I went to Walmart for some school clothes for Sweet Girl, I had to stop at the underwear aisle, of course. There I found something so amazing, so cute, so unexpected that I had to try them: Boxer Briefs for girls! Now, I've been buying boxer briefs for Champs for years. As he says, "they have the comfort of a boxer with the security of a brief. They're the best of both worlds!" However, when I saw them for girls, I nearly made a noise. An out-loud happy noise! I don't do that (well, not in public when I'm alone, anyway)! Well, of course, I had to buy them. I was required to buy them. It would have been criminal to walk away from those cute underwear. I took them home, and let me just say that Champs doesn't look like that in his boxer-briefs (Thank God)! They're the best for no panty lines and are oh-so comfortable for sleeping.

Next up, I think, will be the hip huggers or maybe I'll even get wild and try some string bikinis. I might even splurge and buy the department store varieties like Jockey and Maidenform, instead of just Hanes and Fruit of the Loom. Although I am a cotton-loyal customer, I think I will try some lace and silk along the way. I've turned into an underwear junkie; the cuter, the better. There's nothing I won't try.

Except a thong. Or animal prints. The Blond Girl doesn't go there, at any weight!

And here are some comments from that post:
Russ said...
This story is AWESOME!! I had no idea that you have gone down this path. Good for you and your new cute figure.
But I have two words for you... Victoria's Secret
The man in your life will thank me.

MissMeliss said...
This whole story is so cool, but what I really want to know is: how did you PAY for gastric bypass?

Holly said...
so far i've lost 99 pounds. still another hundred or more to go. I need new undies though. mine look horrible.
one day i'll have the TT and the flat belly. and i'm gonna get it PIERCED. and wear pretty panties too.
love seeing other people's journeys turning out like i hope mine will...

yellojkt said...
I think we need pictures. Not necessarily with you in them. Just spread them around on the bed and take a few shots. We'll pick the best ones. ;b

Suzy said...
I totally agree with you on can girls wear those? I was in my daughter's room picking up towels to throw in the washer...walked out of the room and down the hallway...but something was stuck to my little toe. What was it? One of her THONGS!!! LOL =)

Oreo said...
Go for the thong chicky!!! You'll love them. Even if you only put it on for 10 minutes as you're going to bed......

Shannin said...
I can hardly wait to lose enough weight to get new cute undies. I did OK with the microfiber ones from LB - not too granny looking...

Thumper said...
I am so much NOt the giry girl...If manage to lose the weight I want, I highly suspect my new undies will look just like my old ones. I'm too old for sexy LOL

GranDee said...
In this new world.... you can now get matching.... ahhhhh let's just say "tops and bottoms" now, huh? :-)

kenju said...
What has happened to you? Did all your clones rise up and smite you??

Alisha said...
How wonderful for you! Undies are so much fun...when I was about 21 I discovered the Victoria's Secret is that she's not just for skinny-minny's. I'm a size 18 right now and the x-large's fit perfect. Have fun with your new tummy, I applaud you!

Smiley said...
Congrats on the new you!!!!! go for the VS undies they are very pretty....makes wallyworld and target undies look like bargain basement

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Even a husband; even a wife.

Today is Champ’s and my 7th wedding anniversary! Since I’ve told you part one on Friday and part two yesterday, today I will tell you about our wedding.

Champs and I didn’t have a lot of money to put toward a wedding, but we did want to have a nice, big celebration. In order to achieve this, we cut some creative corners. First and foremost, we had our wedding on a Friday night. Everything cost less on Friday! Since it was an evening wedding, we decided on a candlelight service with a dinner and dance after.

Because Champ’s family lived 550 miles away, we planned our reception at a hotel that gave us a deal on a block of rooms for the wedding party and family. Champ’s father, who had ALS, made the trip with his wife and mother. Having him at the wedding was very special to us and we were so honored that they made the effort to come.

We wanted to have a celebration of all that was important to us. Doing all this made a ceremony that was more than an hour long. Here are a few of the highlights:

* Champs had said that he didn’t want to see me on the day of our wedding until I was coming down the aisle. He stayed at my brother’s house the night before the wedding. During the day I called to talk to him. The turkey wouldn’t come to the phone! I was so mad and told my brother to tell Champs he was in trouble. When we got to the church, as I was walking past the men’s dressing room, I called out “Champs, if you can hear me, I LOVE YOU!” That was the closest we got before the ceremony.

* We showed a video of pictures of our childhood and courtship. It was a touching video, and Champ’s dad sat with tears in his eyes through the whole show.

* Princssis and a friend of mine were our candle-bearers. As a friend of the family, Jim, sang “How Great Thou Art”, they lit all the candles for the ceremony (and there were a lot of them!). Jim was a diabetic who had just gotten out of the hospital that afternoon. We offered him the chance to back out, but he insisted on singing. He was wonderful. I stood off the to side, waiting to go in, and goose pimples broke out on my arms at how beautifully he sang.

* Champs escorted his father, my mother, his mother and his step-mom to their seats. This was a nice honor, but he felt a bit like a yo-yo, going up and down the aisle.

* My mom, who used to be a florist, designed a lovely (and complicated) processional for our wedding party. I had 4 bridesmaids, 2 junior bridesmaids and a flower girl, along with the attending gentleman. I didn’t think I had a large wedding until I saw them all together. Oh my!

* My dad walked me down the aisle. As we walked down, I kept seeing the faces of all these people who were there to celebrate with us. Suddenly, I remembered Champs and looked up to the front. After that, I didn’t have eyes for anything else. He looked so handsome in his tuxedo!

* The pastor had instructed Dad to turn and kiss me and present me to Champs. He forgot, though, and I had to remind him, “Daddy, kiss me! KISS ME!” Sigh.

* Geekwif, who was one of my bridesmaids, had helped me write a song for Champs, called “The Sweetest Part of Me”. I sang it right away at the beginning of the ceremony so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it for very long! I still remember looking in his eyes as I sang; he hadn’t wanted to hear the song before the wedding, so he was intently listening to each word. He didn’t cry until the pastor did and it was lost after that. The whole wedding party was wiping their eyes. Thank God I made it through!

* The pastor started his sermon by saying, “They met on the net. From the first click of romance, they were set apart. It seems you can find anything on the Internet these days. Even a husband; even a wife.” Now, we hadn’t told most of my extended family how we had met. I could only shake my head at this unexpected revelation. My family still talks about it to this day.

* We wanted our mothers to have an important role in the wedding, so we had them read scriptures. My mom gave us a huge family bible as a gift, so they read from that bible.

* We recited vows that we had written together. After the vows, we had the rings. Our ring bearer carried the rings down the aisle on a pillow I had made (that is still on our bed). Everyone wanted to know why we didn’t use fake rings on the pillow and give the real ones to our best man. We said it was because our little guy was so earnest and wanted to do such a good job that we knew the rings were safe. He was so proud of himself!

* We served each other communion as a friend of mine sang “How Beautiful”. Then we had the unity candle lighting as Jim sang “Love Moves in Mysterious Ways.” During this time, I showed Champs the wreath that hung at the front of the church. I had made it for him as a wedding gift and it hangs in our living room today.

* The best part of the ceremony was probably the kiss. Geekwif still teases us about it. Champs decided that he didn’t want an ordinary simple kiss. He wanted to make this worth his time and worth the drive. He dipped me back and gave me a long, Hollywood worthy kiss! The pastor wiped his brow and said, “Phew! Is it hot in here?”

* After the ceremony, we came back into the sanctuary and released our guests row by row in lieu of a receiving line. Then, while the guests made their way to the reception, we had our photos taken. It was a big rush!

The reception was so much fun! I could write another 5 pages about this alone, but I won’t (aren’t you glad?). A few highlights are:

* My brother, Paddy, is a chef. His gift to us was a huge ice carving of a swan. It was lovely! Along with the edible orchids, this gave our reception an extra dose of elegance.

* The first dance was “From This Moment”. It was delightful. I remember looking into Champs’ eyes and singing to him as we danced. I took Champs’ bowtie off him and put it around my neck, where it stayed for the rest of the night. That bowtie now resides on the Winnie-the-Pooh bear that Champs gave to me the day he proposed.

* Geekwif walked down the aisle with Princssis’s husband, AR. Naturally, they danced together during the wedding party dance. The Geek was NOT happy about this and couldn’t wait for the dance to be over! At the last note, he stalked unto the dance floor to whisk away the wif. That was fine with AR, he went to find his Princssis and everyone was happy.

* At one point they played “I Swear”. Champs doesn’t sing and doesn’t like people to hear him sing. However, he sang that song to me as we danced and it is one of my sweetest memories ever.

* During the dollar dance, the bartender came to dance with me. Apparently he paid well. He was so drunk! He rubbed his beard against my face and sang along to “The Unchained Melody” as he danced. Behind his back I kept making motions to my sister-in-law (who was my maid of honor) to get rid of him. She just smiled and laughed. Finally she took pity on me and sent in the next dancer. I used to love that song but all it took to ruin it for me was one drunken bartender.

* My aunt and uncle, at different times, asked me “So you met Champs on the internet, huh? You’ll have to teach Paul (my cousin) how to do that. He’s still single, you know.” Poor Paul!

* Near the end of the evening, our best man requested the song “I’m Too Sexy”. I can still see Champs dancing and being silly. It was so fun!

* When everyone left, our best man escorted us to our bridal room, where he showed us the champagne he had on ice and the gifts he had prepared for us. He explained how he had made sure no one pulled any pranks on us and how he had protected us and then he took pictures of us and then we said, “thank you. We love you. Goodbye now.” It took twice, but he finally got the hint.

I could write so much more. To anyone else, our wedding was probably the same familiar string of events that comprise so many marriage ceremonies. But it was ours and it was beautiful. I hope as you’ve read this that it has stirred in you memories of your wonderful day and if you’re single, I hope this gives you ideas for things you might want to make a part of your day. As for me, I am off to spend the day with my family.

Here's some comments from this post:
Chatty said...
Happy Anniversary!
We celebrated our tenth yesterday.

Maria said...
I enjoyed reading and plan to come back to visit because Minneapolis is my home town. I haven't been there in years and sentimentally, I miss it.

ribbiticus said...
sounds like it was a wonderful event! wish you could have posted some pictures.

trusty getto said...
That's really sweet. Happy anniversary. I hope you have many, many more! :)

princssis said...

Happy Anniversary!
So, what exactly was the Geek upset about? Cuz someone other that him was dancing with his wif? I hope he wasn't upset personally with AR! Please tell me the truth. I can handle it. It's been 7 years, anyway.
Hope you had a wonderful day!

Geekwif said...
Hi Princssis. I can answer that personally!
The Geek just didn't like that anyone else was dancing with me. It didn't matter who it was. Of course, your hubby was a perfect gentleman so he wasn't upset with him personally. He just didn't want anyone else dancing with me. A little silly, maybe, but I kind of like that my hubby is a little bit jealous. :)
Blond Girl, it's a lovely story about what was an even lovelier wedding, but I can't believe you left out the part about Mr. S's kiss! That's one of the best stories there is about your wedding day! It still makes me laugh out loud, even 7 years later!

YellowRose said...
Happy Anniversary may you have many more happy years together! Your wedding sounded beautiful and the reception, a blast!

Paul said...
Happy Anniversary. Blessings. Nice story.

Lis said...
Happy Anniversary Blond Girl (and Champs!) Thanks for sharing your love story and memories of your special day! It gives us single/divorced folk hope :)

Russ said...
Hey Blondy... happy anniversary! Seven years is practically a milestone these days.
By the way, The Princssis tagged me with one of those thingies that she caught from you... so of course I lay all blame at your feet. *grin*
Anyway, congrats again.

Suzy said...
Hi Blond Girl!
Ahhh finally I got to read part two and the wedding day story as well. Brought back so many memories for me!! Your right, October 9th is a GREAT day for a wedding. Thanks for visiting my blog today! =o)
I wish you and Champs many, many more happy Anniversaries!

Saturday, October 8, 2005

From the First Click of Romance...

Yesterday, I told you part one of Champ’s and my story. When I left off, Champs and I had just met. The next day, when I got home from church, Champs had sent me an email telling me how glad he was to have met me and asking me to meet him online in the chat room again at 4:00 that day. We met and spoke online for a couple of hours. Eventually, we decided to talk again on the phone. This quickly set the pattern for us; meet online and talk for a while then call one another on the phone. The more we talked, the more I learned how much we had in common. Our values and goals were the same. As we discussed our lives, we found that we had been through the same fires, trod some of the same emotional ground. Although my parents were married and Champ’s dad was on his third wife, we had the same intentions and values around fidelity and marriage.

Two weeks after we met, it was Valentine’s Day. I sent Champs a homemade valentine and a bunch of pictures of me. He sent me a package with a card and some photos of himself. If I thought I was infatuated before, I was gone when I saw his cute face. Those dimples got me!

In addition to the package, Champs also sent me 6 roses: 3 white and 3 red. Up until then, I had not yet told anyone other than my sister-in-law about him. However, I wasn’t home when the roses arrived. My dad took delivery of them and, as they say, the gig was up. My dad, who was the greatest stoic in the world, didn’t say anything to me about them, but I knew he would tell my mom, though, so I left them out where she could see them. When she got home that evening and saw the roses, I told her about Champs (I brought up the subject rather than wait for the inquisition). Understandably, she was thrilled. She had a 32-year-old single daughter, after all! She asked me, “does this mean that we’ll be hearing wedding bells soon?” “I don’t know, MOM! I’ve only known him for two weeks!” I replied. Thankfully, she let me off the hook for awhile, but continued to watch closely.

Two weeks later, my mom and dad went off on their yearly 6-week trip to Phoenix to see my sister. The day after they left, Champs arrived at our home. My co-workers, who had been hearing the story, were convinced that I was inviting an ax murderer to my home. One friend left me with strict instructions to contact her twice a day and let her know that I was still alive. I told her there was nothing to be worried about. We had spoken too many hours for him to be lying about who he was, Internet urban legends aside. I was so looking forward to meeting him! After nearly a month of talking 3 to 4 hours a day, I was pretty sure I loved the man; I just needed to meet him to confirm it. When he arrived, he was wearing a long leather jacket. As he walked around the corner of our house, I saw him for the first time: Tall, handsome, jacket swinging - I lost my heart right there. He came in and I (for the only time in my life) shyly greeted him and showed him around the house and then we hugged. Heaven. We went to dinner at TGI Friday’s and held hands for most of the evening. Since we had a phone courtship, based on conversation, I was a little surprised to find out that Champs was actually a pretty quiet guy. Even with his quiet and my talkative nature, we got along great! That weekend, Champs met my brother and his wife and kids, as well as a couple of my friends.

The best part of the weekend, though, was on Sunday. At one point, I looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t hold on to this any longer. I love you!” (How said is that?!? Apologizing for saying “I love you”…) He thanked me and said he wanted to say the same thing, but it would be a while. I told him that was fine with me. About 3 hours later, he stopped in mid sentence and said, “you know what? I love you!” I said, “I thought it was going to take awhile. I expected you to wait weeks.” He said, “So did I, but I realized just now that I love you!” That was February 28th.

Champs went back home and we continued to rack up the highest phone bill in history. Every morning before work I called him to say good morning and talk about our day. After work we would meet online and then Champs would call me before bed. Some nights we would fall asleep on the phone and suddenly wake up to a soft buzzing in our ear. Champs came back to visit me again at the end of March. This time he arrived with more fresh roses for me.

We began to discuss our future together. I wasn’t ready to leave Minnesota yet, but I didn’t talk much about it. Champs brought it up one day and told me that if our relationship were going to go anywhere, he would have to move to Minnesota. “Really?!?!” I asked. He agreed. By then, I knew we would be married; it was just a matter of time.

Mom and Dad came home from Phoenix and Mom got to meet Champs by phone. She grilled him as any protective mother would do and declared him good enough. Champs invited me to his Hometown City in Another State and I made plans to go in April. One Friday after work I got in the car and started driving the long 550-mile trip. I didn’t get there until about 2:00 a.m., but Champs was waiting up for me. That week was wonderful. On Saturday morning I went his soccer team’s game, where I got to meet one of his brothers (Tank, who at 13 was really a little cutie!) and his step-mom (Grand nee). He was such a good coach! If I remember correctly, they won their game.

On Sunday, April 19, Champs took me to a walled-off tulip garden at a private estate. While we were there, presented me with a giant Winnie-the-Pooh (my nickname for him was “poohbear”, and he called me “hunny”) and he recited the following poem to me:
The day I met you God said, take her and love her and never let her go
If you love her and me, that love will be returned to you one hundred fold.
I will love you through the good times and the bad
I will love you when you’re happy and when you’re sad
I will be your strength when you are weak.
I will love you for always, that promise I will keep
You are who I’ve always wanted and all I’ll ever need
I can’t believe there is a woman so perfect for me
I will love you until the very moment I pass away.
I have just one more thing to say, as here I am on bended knee
*blond girl (he said my name)*, will you marry me?

He had told me a week earlier that he was writing a poem for me, and when he started reciting, I paid attention to every word. I was so absorbed in what he was saying that I didn’t even realize at first that he was proposing! Believe it or not, he completely caught me by surprise! Well, what could I say to that? Of course, I said yes!

It was so hard to leave him at the end of the week and go home; it nearly broke my heart. During the first week of May, Champs came back to Minnesota to transfer his job and meet my parents. They loved him, of course, especially my mom! We continued to converse by Internet and phone each day until, finally on May 22, he moved permanently to Minnesota and we were together. We gave up talking on the Internet and the phone and concentrated on planning our wedding. He moved into another room in my parent’s home where we lived until we were married on October 9. We went 9 months from meet to marry and it was a wonderful, wild whirlwind.

Here's some comments from this post:

Carmi said...
What a lovely story. What strikes me is how it was all based on long conversations where you got to know each other.
It's a story I know well - it's how I came to realize the woman who would eventually become my wife was, in fact, my soul mate.
Visiting from Michele's tonight. Thanks for the sweet addition to our weekend.

Star said...
Great story so far. I am awaiting the next installment!

princssis said...
My brother is no axe murderer!!
I know you know that by now! :-)

Friday, October 7, 2005

They Met on the Net

Given that Champs and I will celebrate our 7th anniversary this Sunday, I thought it might be time to tell our story. Although our marriage is frightfully normal, our courtship wasn’t.

Our story starts on New Year’s Eve of 1998. I was 32 years old and had spent years thinking I was destined to marry a minister (legacy of Missions Week at my Baptist church when I was 14 years old and very impressionable). I was dumpy and unhappy; I’d spent years being the “buddy” but never the pretty one. The few guys I dated I dropped as soon as I realized there was no “future” in it. This policy protected my heart, but it did leave me lonely.

That New Year’s Eve, I reached the point where I’d had enough. I decided it was time for me to have some fun. I very purposely set aside any plans or hopes to marry a minister and set out to just go on some fun dates and to connect with people. I also did this on my own; rather than going along as my friend’s bodyguard, I put on makeup and went out for my self.

I had been out on my own for quite awhile, but a few months before I’d moved back with my parents for a variety of reasons. They had recently gotten hooked up on the Internet and I discovered the bulletin board of our local newspaper. Through this, I met a few people. I can’t remember their names now; the important part is that I set out on my own for the first time. I went to a few gatherings of folks and had a few dates. Nothing came of them, except to make me feel, for the first time, as though I might have something to offer other than protecting the pretty girls.

Along with the bulletin board, I discovered chat rooms. On January 31, a Saturday night, I was home and bored, so I logged on to Excite! chat, to the “Midwest” room where I would go to hang out and talk to people. This night, I went in and looked around at the other people there. I read their profiles and looked at the avatars they had posted as I talked in the general room. I noticed one avatar; it was a soccer ball with a foot on it. It caught my eye, so I read the profile. According to the profile, here was a guy, nicknamed Champs, who was a soccer coach and assistant manager. Unlike others I saw, his quote was something about living a positive life (instead of some come-on about how he was hard and ready, like every other guy out there). My interest was piqued, so I clicked into IM mode and asked him if he was a good soccer player. He indicated that he was and that he enjoyed lots of sports. His light flirtation showed me that he had some spunk. We talked online for about 2 hours.

We told each other where we lived; me in Minnesota and him 550 miles away in Illinois. All I knew about Illinois was Chicago, and he told me about how he didn’t like Chicago. At one point, I asked him how old he was. He told me he was 25 years old… 7 years my junior. I almost hung it up right there, but since we were just flirting innocently, I shrugged and filed the information away and kept talking. After awhile, though, I had to get off the computer. My mom was hanging around, wanting the computer so she could play solitaire. I didn’t want to stop talking, so I did something that shocked even me. I typed out “you want to do something crazy?” He typed back, “Um, … ok. What?” “You want to call me? I have to get off the computer.” He typed back, “Um, … ok. When?” We arranged to talk in 10 minutes. I ran to brush my teeth and get back to my room before he called. I didn’t know for sure if he would call, but he did!

Right away, I could tell that this guy had a sweetness that I’d never encountered before. We talked about everything; what we did for a living, our hobbies. Champs asked me what kind of music I liked to listen to. I looked over at my CD collection and started naming styles; contemporary Christian, pop, light rock, some classical. Immediately Champs told me he was impressed by the fact that I listed to Christian music. I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary, but in his experience, it was.

We continued talking for hours! I can’t remember everything we talked about, only that we talked until 5:00 in the morning. I found out years later that Champs had been on the wireless phone in his room, but the battery warned him that it was dying. He went to the kitchen where the phone was mounted on the wall and sat on the floor talking to me for the rest of the night.

When we finally hung up, I got a couple hours of sleep and then went to church with my sister-in-law. I told her that I was sure I had met someone special. I didn’t know for sure what would come of it, but I knew he was someone really, really special. This was confirmed when I got home from church and he had sent me an e-mail. Yeup, he was special, all right.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Happy Birthday Blond Girl!

Warning: A truly narcissistic post will now ensue: Happy Birthday to me! I am 40 years old today. I can hardly believe it. Funny; I feel younger now than I ever did when I turned 30. Here's some reasons why:

10 years ago I:

* was single and thought I'd never find anyone.
* had no children and thought I'd never have any.
* lived with my parents and thought I'd never own my own home.
* was answering phones for a living and hating it.
* wondering if I had heard God right years before about marrying a minister.
* was convinced that once a woman turned 30, she had to cut her hair off because only "loose" women over 30 had long hair (man, was I messed up or what?!?).
* Weighed around 260 pounds and hated getting dressed up.
* Looked about 40 years old.

Today I:

* Am married to a wonderful man who loves me almost as much as I love him. We will celebrate our 7th anniversary in 10 days.
* Have a lovely 5 year-old daughter who never ceases to amaze me with her love, good humor and sweetness.
* Own my own home and, interestingly enough, my mother now lives with me (and yes, that is different than living with your parents!)
* Have a fulfilling career as a Communication Specialist with a world of opportunity before me. I love what I do. (Though it does get stressfull now and again, but what job doesn't?)
* Know that I heard absolutely correctly that I was NOT supposed to marry a minister, but rather a quiet man who knows more about serving and selflessness than any minister I ever met.
* Am absolutely convinced that I can have my hair any length I want. And right now, it is long. And this does not mean I am "loose".
* Weigh about 150 pounds and love finding reasons to dress up.
* Look about 32 years old.

My birthday statement to everyone I see today is "this is where you tell me I don't look 40!" I guess you'll have to take my word for it.

And now for the truly narcissistic part: if you want to leave me a happy birthday comment, please do. I will love it. And if you want to give me a great birthday present, tell your friends to come and wish me a happy birthday. I'll cherish each one as testimony to the blessings God has given me in love, family, friends and life.

It is time now for Champs and me to take Sweet Girl to the Mall of America to celebrate my birthday. And then Champs is taking me out tonight. And then Geekwif and Curly Girl and I are going out tomorrow.

Isn't life sweet?