Sunday, April 29, 2007

Queen's Day in the Netherlands

It's Queens Day in the Netherlands tomorrow and the city is already geared up to go as we found out on our bike ride this evening. Queens Day is a celebration of the birthday of the former Queen Juliana and is a huge party in the streets all over the country. I can only explain it by saying that Queens Day is a cross between the local church bizarre and Mardi Gras. Two very huge extremes in but the Dutch seem to make them come together and make sense.

The morning of Queens Day those crazy Dutchies get up at the ass crack of dawn and have the hugest country wide garage sale ever known to man. It's freaking crazy. Last year I just went in the neighborhood to have a look around and was blown away at the hoards of people out looking for a bargain. There are street vendors everywhere, little kids playing instruments outside of their parent's "stores" to make some pocket money... it's extremely busy.

The selling continues throughout the day but somewhere in the middle turns into a huge block party. There is drinking, dancing, DJ's, drinking, eating, dancing, Dutching, drinking, boating while drinking, drinking, pissing in the canals while drinking, drinking and drinking. This continues into the wee hours of the morning.

We rode through the city tonight, the night before the action happens, and saw that some people have already marked their territory (not by peeing on them which could be interesting but by drawing in chalk their square of space and writing their name in it or hanging up flags) to do their selling in. Some people even camp out in their desired spot.

We're looking for a cart to attach to our bike to carry our "kid" around in. Scooter doesn't bode well in bike baskets (probably because I dropped him out of the basket about 5 times in as many minutes but nobody knows for sure) so we need one of those little cart things so he can come along on family rides. We went tonight to see if anybody was out selling early.

We didn't come across any puppy cart but we did run into some interesting characters. One drunk man was dancing with his bike in the middle of the road. It was a cross between a two step and an interpretive dance. Mildly interesting but very entertaining.

Another drunk man proclaimed his love for me after I had to ring my bike bell in order to warn him that I was about to run over his drunk butt. "Sorry sweetie! I love you!" he yelled as I swerved past him.

It wasn't the drunkenness that impacted me tonight though so much as the DJ's that were spinning in the city center. The very first place we stopped was AWESOME. The DJ's were up on this really high platform that went across the whole street and the street below was crowded with people. (We also spotted these famous Dutch singers that I just cannot stand, but it was cool there were famous people there). It was a mix of thumping club music but with a live singer and live saxophonist. I LOVED it. It immediately brought me back to the days of ole when I would dance until the ugly lights came on in the clubs.

I wished my friends could have been there. I immediately saw a guy who reminded me of TJ. I saw plenty of people that Keith and I could have judged. There was unlimited amounts of people that Josh could have swore were talking about him.

I would have even joined in and danced had I been dressed more appropriately. I wasn't expecting to run into such a fun place but I just knew my over sized Lisa Loeb T-shirt over my sport carpi's and my flip flops weren't fit for this scene.

So instead of joining in on the fun we watched from the sidelines a bit and then walked away. I hopped on my new bike, complete with basket and rode off with my husband. It was getting late.

And this is the part that impacted me...who is this woman that I've become? It was getting late? It was 9:25 for Pete's Sake! I rode off on my bike with my basket? Where the hell am I living? Mayberry? It just amazes me how much my life has changed in the last 3 years and what a different person I've become. It's not a bad change... just a dramatic one.

It amazes me the power that music has to transport you not only to another place in your life but sometimes to a whole other life altogether.

So much for back in the swing... more like back to bed!

Apologies for no updated posts this week. How boring! But I promise I have a good excuse.

I have been sick since we arrived home from the US. I'm actually still not well today but I'm freaking tired of bring unwell and I'm sooooooo over staying in this house.

It's been a strange illness. In the span of a few hours my head with go from totally stuffed-unable to breathe through my nose, to my nose running like a faucet until I have to stuff tissue in them looking like a walrus, to having itchy ears that can only be cured by sticking my finger in my ear and shaking it forcing me to look like my canine companion Scooter, to a tickle in my throat that just simply cannot be cured, to a sneezing fit (which always seems to happen when I am furthest away from any sort of tissue or paper product forcing me to sprint to the nearest source of paper while making a very pretty face, jumping over the dog/husband/ball/shoes trying to keep that sneeze in just a wee bit longer) to a heavy lead-filled head that pounds, back to the super runny nose and then finally ending with a crescendo of coughing which ends in a loud hocker spitting finale. It's pretty.

Add that to the fact that I was probably still a little jet lagged this week and my sleep schedule is totally out of whack and you have a lovely recipe for being totally screwed up for weeks to come. I've probably slept 16 or 17 hours every day this week with the exception of the past 2 days where I've forced myself to stay awake to try to get into a more normal pattern. I'm still sleeping about 10 hours though give of take an hour. It's crazy.

I guess it's what my body needs but it really threw my plan to get back to the gym right out the window. Of course while I've been home from work the dog still needs to be taken out and walked and played with and he doesn't understand that mommies head feels like it could implode at any given moment. He just wants me to throw the damned ball.

Yesterday I did get out and ride my bike for a little bit. (Oh yeah, I got a new bike since my old bike was stolen from school. It's no longer an omafiets, or grandma bike, but its nothing totally cool either. I have two locks this time though!) The weather here is fantastic, in the 80s, and I just can't stay in any longer. Maybe it's allergies. Maybe it's just a cold. Maybe it's my body playing tricks on me so I can't get a good workout in. Either way I'm pissed off about it but listening to my body. I've given it a good proper rest and now I'm done playing it's little games and I'm reclaiming my body back. Go ahead! Make me cough! I'll just spit out my loogie and keep on going!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Vacation Damage Accessed..surprising results!

Today is Tuesday and now that I'm back at home I have to get back in the swing of things with my weekly weigh-ins. I went pretty crazy on vacation...three weeks is a long time to be taken out of my "safe zone" where my routine is...well routine and I have a "fail proof"environment. Oddly enough it didn't do as much damage as I was imagining.

I weighed in this morning to find that my weight, as of today, is only a measly 3.5 pounds more than I was when I left for the glutenous US of A! I really don't believe it but it's really honest to goodness what the scale says (after checking, verifying and double checking about 10 times) so I guess that's my official post-vacation weight!

Although this is very good news I'm still a far cry from where I want to be. I still have a little less than 40 pounds to lose to be at my first big weight loss goal of 200 pounds.

When I began this whole journey in July 2006 at 301 pounds I said I wanted to lose 100 pounds in one years time. Well July 2007 is just around the corner and it doesn't seem feasible that I'm going to drop the weight in time. To make that goal it would mean that in 3 months I'm going to have to lose about 38-40 pounds. If I take it at the higher number, 40, then that means I have to lose 13.3 pounds a month to make it.

Firstly, that's not a healthy way to lose weight. It's too quick. My doctor's (including Dr. Phil) have always recommended a loss of between 1 and 2 pounds a week for a healthy loss. Secondly... there's no way in hell I'd be able to do it. I'm struggling to get the 8 pounds every month. I don't want to be so number obsessed that I push myself too hard and start on that ever so familiar downward spiral back into my old obsessive ways.

Somewhere along the way I decided that 8 pounds a month was a pretty tough goal to meet and decided I'd be happy to lose anywhere from 6 to 8 pounds a month. Figuring that into my goal of 100 pounds it actually buys me a few extra months before I should be at a steady 200 pounds. An extra 4.6 months to be exact. That pushes my goal date all the way to mid-December which seems like a lifetime away and way too long to wait to see those numbers on the scale.

So instead of being half backwards and re figuring my first goal I'm going to just start a new goal for myself starting today. Let's say I have an even 40 pounds to lose to meet my goal, just to keep it simple. If I keep my goal of losing anywhere from 6 - 8 pounds a month then that means I should be at my goal in 5 months the shortest or 6.6 months at the longest. That means that from anywhere from September to late October-ish I should be a smoking 200 pound woman. (not smoking literally as I've kicked that habit a long time ago and don't wish to return to it anytime soon but smoking as in hot)(not hot as in on fire, but hot as in... well you know).

Last year I wanted to reach -30 pounds by 30 years old and I did it. My birthday is in September (15th, gifts and cards including money, no checks please, are most graciously accepted) so with a ton of super hard diligent sweaty work I could actually be at my final destination by time I reach 31. Amazing.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pictures from vacation

You should be able to click the link to see some pictures of me from vacation. The first 4 pictures are "before" pictures from vacation last year, June 2006 before any of this weight loss business started. These are pictures since I've lost between 50 and 66 pounds! (since I gained some while on vacation and didn't weigh in some of the later pictures are probably less than 66 pounds in the negative, if ya know what I mean).

Geesh all those pictures of me make me look totally conceited! I swear there are more pictures from our vacation that aren't starring SARAH!

(If anybody out there is brilliant enough to tell me how to add pictures as a slide show to my blog I would be forever grateful. I would love to have a constant showing of before and after pictures flipping through as you read. If you are brilliant enough to tell me how to do it please talk to me like I'm a 4 year old idiot. It's really the only way to make me fully understand. email me the directions if you'd like at Thanks!)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

We've landed safe and sound!

Hey everybody! Just a really quick note to let you all know we've arrived safely back in Amsterdam. The flight was great, everything went smooth and on time. We're jet-lagged once again but usually on the way home it doesn't last nearly as long as it does when we go backwards in time.

I'm fairly certain I've blown my 5 pound weight limit out of the water that I set for myself. I'm assuming I've gained about 15 pounds back which actually doesn't bother me as much as it probably should. I'll have the official weigh in on Tuesday. I'm retaining water like a sponge right now as I always swell up when I fly. Hopefully by my weigh in I'll have an accurate weigh in and see what kind of damage was done and where I need to go from here.

We went shopping today and I'm back in the swing of things already. It's like being in an alternate universe here. I go to the store, chose healthy foods and get outta there. I'm not even half tempted to buy crap I shouldn't be eating. I guess that's the beauty of vacation, you do things you wouldn't normally do, like eat cheesecake! (my one true weakness that I just can never ever in a million years pass up).

I have tons of pictures that I'll share a link to in the next couple of days so you can see some updated shots of me (and my family!).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Today is the wedding!

The rehearsal was last night and went without incident. I was already choked up at my brother saying his practice vows so I'm sure I'll be a mess today. I think everybody is excited and maybe just the slightest case of nerves for J.O. and Jill (the bride and groom).

On a weight-related note, Angela got my dress taken in and it looks fabulous! It fits like a glove. I've taken tons of pictures and will share some updated photo's of me (and probably tons of everybody else too) as soon as we're back in Amsterdam and settled a bit.

We worked out with my friend Liz at her gym on Thursday and I'm a little sore, especially in my shoulders. I guess that's what happens when you go from working out three times a week to a real body testing workout once every other week. I think the break from the gym was really what I needed though. If you remember, before we left Amsterdam I was a little burnt out and dreading my workouts. Well I'm already looking forward to getting back home and getting into my routine again and most of all tackling this last 35 pounds! (which is probably more like 45 pounds now since I've been on vacation, UGH!)

(I promise once I get back I'll write MUCH better entries I know these have been boring!)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Holy hangover what a weekend!

What a crazy busy fun weekend! We packed the car up early Friday morning, dropped Scooter off at my brother's house so he could play with his cousins all weekend (and so we could actually have some time that wasn't revolved around Mr. Puppy Pant's play schedule) and headed up to Springfield for "Sarah and Marco's Weekend of Fun".

We made our first stop at my friend Teena's house in Chatham. We got to hang out and play with her and her two gorgeous little girls Gabbie and Bella. It only took them a little bit of warming up before they had Marco wrapped around their little princess fingers and he was down on the floor playing puzzles. It was so nice to sit and catch up with all the gossip but it just makes it that much harder to leave when it's time to go. Sometimes it's easy not to think how much you miss somebody when you're away and to just push everything to the back of your mind and keep yourself busy with life. Vacation makes all those little thoughts creep back up to the front of your head and expose themselves, full on frontal exposure. We said our "see ya's" and headed off to our next destination.

We landed at Keith and Josh's house where we unpacked our bags and made ourselves at home. We went to their gym to get in a workout. The equipment was very different than what we're used to at our gym but we still managed to get in a pretty decent workout. I was nice and sweaty by time we left which is always good.

Like the party animals we are, we spent Friday night like any other 30 something couple... at the local BINGO hall! It's a tradition with my little group of friends that began a few years back and it's something we always look forward to when we're back home. Unfortunately we went home empty handed but we still had a pretty fun time.

Saturday we shopped. Then we shopped. Then we shopped a little. Then we had some lunch. Then we shopped some more. When we were done shopping we went shopping. It was every girls dream! I discovered that my sizes vary from store to store but I am definitely in the range of 18/20/22. I'm mostly 18 and 20 for shirts (mostly 18, YAY!) but more 20/22 for my pants which is still pretty good. I got 3 pair of jeans, some dress pants for work and a super cute shirt (and probably some other items that are currently slipping my mind).

Saturday night we decided we needed to go out. I was itching to do some booty shaking and that itch didn't go unscratched! We started drinking at the restaurant where we had dinner and it set the stage for a fun Captain Morgan filled evening.

Actually the evening was quite sedate compared to how we used to whoop it up in the olden days but for a quite "settled" married couple who drinks a grand total of about 3 times a year, we managed to suck down the alcohol in mass quantities.

We headed out to some of our old stomping grounds just to see if there would be any familiar faces or blasts from the pasts. I've been going out with Keith and Josh for years so there's been quite a few people come in and out of our lives, some we hoped to see and other's we had hoped to avoid. We lucked out for the most part and really had a fun time.

We did end up seeing quite a few people that I hadn't seen for a while and the reception I got was a total ego boost. Compliments on my weight loss were flying left and right and I totally felt great about my accomplishments thus far. There were two people who didn't recognize me at all! Maybe that was partly due to inebriation but I'd like to think otherwise, so I will.

It was retro night at the bar and we boogied until the ugly lights came on. So dancing totally justifies and cancels out all the empty calories in the gallons of alcohol we consumed doesn't it? It does if you're on vacation!

Sunday morning we dragged our hung over arses to T.J.'s house for a lovely Easter brunch. He really went all out and had quite the little buffet of breakfast items. We're now back at "home" and looking forward to a busy week.

I've done pretty okay with my food intake so far I think. I've made much better choices that I would have in the past but I think I still can use improvement in portion control. Yes, I can eat a skinny cow ice cream bar but no I shouldn't eat the whole pack in 2 days.

I know I've gained weight. I can see it in my body and feel it in my clothing. How much weight I've put back on is a mystery that I think I'll keep a mystery until I get back to Amsterdam. I do think that 5 pound limit I set for myself has come and gone though which is a bit disappointing. I still have almost 2 full weeks here so I need to tighten my reins a little more and maybe do a little bit more cardio. I'm not going to beat myself up over it but I'm not going to totally blow it off like it doesn't matter at all. Getting the balance between being obsessive and too relaxed is proving to be more difficult than I anticipated.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Successful day shopping!

I found my dress for my brother's wedding! It's a beautiful lavender A-line halter dress and fits awesome. I have to admit, I feel pretty hot in it. I got totally cute shoes too so the whole outfit is complete.

I ended up being a size 20 on my bottom but size 18 on top (which is 5 whole sizes smaller than my pre-weight loss size) so I got the 20 to fit my ample rear and have to have the top tailored. Thank God my friend Liz's sister in law is a seamstress (she actually took in my wedding dress for me) and has made time to squeeze me in in time for the wedding.

Today we're going shopping for some jeans, shirts and just every day wear. YAY!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The official pre-vacation weigh-in

So I'm up at 5:00, still a little jet lagged but slept much better than the first night. I forgot to add to my post yesterday that my "official" signed-stamped and sealed pre-vacation weigh in had me at 66.66 pounds in the negative!

We had a family bbq yesterday at my Uncle Rob's house and looks like the whole family is in a forward motion on the weight loss train. My Uncle Chuck has lost a whopping 51 pounds, my sister Jill 30-something pounds, my mom has gone down 1 or 2 sizes (she refuses to buy a scale, which is fine, and probably an easier way to be less number obsessed). My dad says his weight is on a downward slope after putting on a little when he quit smoking.

I think the happiest part for me though was actually being able to talk about my weight loss with my family. Weight has always been a sort of taboo subject, at least for me. It was kind of like ignoring the big pink elephant in the room. It was something everybody obviously saw but just kind of walked around like it wasn't there. I didn't ever want to talk about my weight for obvious reasons. But yesterday was very different, we all sat around and told a story or two about our approaches to losing weight, diet and exercise. There was even some recipe swapping going on. It was really great to be able to do that with my family, people I really love fiercely and I'm so glad they were open enough to share a struggle that really has plagued all of us for most of our lives.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hoi from the US of A!!!!!

Just wanted to write to say our flight went off without a hitch and we landed in Chicago an hour ahead of schedule! When does THAT ever happen? We rented our car with no hassle and made it home in under 4 hours even with the rain! (is it really considered speeding if you don't get caught? kind of like the "if a tree falls in the forrest" thing)

The kids LOVED their gifts and so did my parents. We're jet lagged as hell (including Scooter) and I slept for about a total of 4 hours last night. I'm pretty sure I'll collapse sometime today during the family BBQ.

I'm so excited to be home. Our schedule is filling up with places to go and people to see and I just can't wait to see everybody so on that note...

I'm outie!