The Sound of Music

As I was leaving work yesterday a harmless little song popped in to my head. And stayed there. For hours...and hours.

So, you say? Happens all the time, you say. Yes. Yes, I know. But this particular ditty (no longer considered harmless after thirty minutes of repetition) is one I've not heard (at least that I know of) in over 30 years. Although 30 years ago I am most certain I heard it hundreds and hundreds of times. But isn't really a song. At least not one that would make the Billboard charts...

Take a listen....

Apparently the fragrance is not the only thing that is here to stay...can you say Earworm children? I knew you could.

So tell me, what is the worst ear worm (definition #2) you've ever had?

On Being 12

A size 12! Thank you very much.

Well, I promised a weight-loss update so, true to my word, here you go my adoring fans. I must insert the usual "be forewarned" disclaimer that I've merely got a camera phone and my photographer is usually my daughter who forgets to tell me "when". So, with that said, some of the pictures are less than good. Dude, what can I say? I'm no Stan Kwan.

Just to refresh your memory let's begin with where else? Uh, the beginning, duh.

A 315 lb me Nov. 2007

That bears repeating, 315 lbs!


1 month after surgery.

3 months after surgery.

And now for the latest photos...

Me...almost 7 months post-surgery. 133 lbs lighter and a size 12.

Shut up! A size 12...Can I just tell you I giggled when I tried these pants on?
I just did.

Me. Again....oh yeah, it is my update.
What's with the funky face?
(That would be the NO warning I referred to earlier.)

Alas me lovies, that's all the blurry, poorly lit, horribly posed, same old kitchen for a background photos I have. For now.

Where from here? Not sure. If the weight loss gods* have forsaken me and left me for greener pastures, then I am just hunky-dory with that. I consider this weight loss surgery journey a success so far.

Considering that I've gone from 2 diabetes injections, 2 to 4 blood sugar finger tests, 2 blood pressure meds, a handful of pain meds A DAY to none of the above a day. I've gone from a size 26/28 to a size 12. From 315 lbs. to 182 lbs. From 165 pounds to goal, to 33 pounds to goal. I've gone from not being able to sit in a chair comfortably (without my hips hanging out the sides and over the edge)'s still not comfortable but it's now because I have very little cushion between my tail-bone and the chair...I've gone from wanting to sleep all the time to, oh wait, ha, that's still true. From not being active with my family to being active....Any way, you get the picture. If not, scroll up and start over.

So, that's it for now. I will update again at 9 months. The same amount of time of a full term pregnancy. Except by then it will be as if I've given birth to a full grown man.

*(please do not take offense. I am a Jesus loving, scripture believing, Holy Spirit filled girl...I would never be so silly as to truly think that the weight loss gods have forsaken there.)

A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. . . .

The lines have been drawn and the city has been divided. There are those with and those without. No matter where you are or what you are doing the mutual concern sounds and common question rings in everyone's conversation, "Do you have power?" The ones who have seem almost apologetic to answer yes to those who have not. Those who are without are merely seeking a fellow sufferer to commiserate with.

And it has been suffering. True, we still have a home. True, we can now go to the store without a two hour wait in line. And true, we can run to the nearest fast food place for a quick bite to eat and a breath of fresh air conditioning. But then we must return to our muggy, dark and eerily quiet homes to rummage in the blackness for our belongings and lay in our bed praying for the slightest breeze.

Time has been divided as well. There is Before the Storm and After the Storm. Or perhaps you go by Before Ike and After Ike. The novelty of it all (if there ever was any) has certainly lost its shine. The first week After the Storm was filled with busyness and gratefulness and sheer determination to be strong in the face of whatever may come. The second week has been filled with deep sighs at yet another day of hurricane hair, showering by flashlight and eating cheap fast food. Also the petty envy and the childish whining that fills my heart while longingly looking out my window at the porch lights of my neighbor across the street. Wah.

One thread runs common through all of us, whether in a season of light or a season of darkness, we are all very tired. I've decided we are all suffering from P.I.T. Post Ike Trauma or P.I.S.T. Post Ike Severe (or Stress &) Trauma. Symptoms include: Crying/laughing or cussing at the sight of a porch light (not yours), a bag of ice, a gas can, a grill or the sound of a generator. Exhaustion. The appearance of having chicken pox (from the hawk-sized mosquitoes biting you while you sit outside at night trying to catch a cool breeze while staring plotting ways to run electricity from your neighbors house to yours). Scratches, bruises, blisters, sunburn, heatstroke and callouses from hauling the forest from your backyard to your curb. Exhaustion. Forgetfulness. Repeating the following Do you have power yet? Is that the microwave? Is that a power line truck? Who has ice? Do you have power yet? and exhaustion.

I hope this doesn't come across as whiny and negative. As I said before there are pockets of joy we've been able to delve our little hands in to and grab hold of some semblance of peace. We have learned much about ourselves and one another. Found reserves of strength deep within that would not have been discovered if not for the current situation.

For instance I have learned that it is possible to cook pasta, make coffee and even bake a pie on a grill as well as a variety of dishes only thought possible with the modern miracles known as KitchenAid, Cuisinart and General Electric.

I've found it is possible to live without tv, radio, internet and sometimes air conditioning, but NOT Starbucks. You can have serious, even life threatening withdrawals from Starbucks. And I don't even drink the fancy stuff. Just straight coffee ma'am, thank you very much. You would have thought they were giving away the store the day I found they were open again. I squealed with the delight of a preteen viewing the Jonas Brothers when I saw the Open sign finally return to my crack dealer Java Love Distributor. Sigh.

I now know I am still able to do my own pedicure. (dangit) I have become quite the spoiled little brat regarding my feet and was at the point where I refused to even think about touching them myself. I must say, they aren't as pretty nor is it as relaxing as having My Le, sorry Tammy give me a pedicure, but nonetheless still possible. At least I can reach them now...(small weight loss surgery update: I've lost 133 pounds and have 32 to go. I have gone from a size 26/28 to a 12/14. I am at almost 7 months post surgery and will post pictures soon barring another hurricane of course.)

I have discovered it is possible to be in the close proximity of two teenagers and one husband for 24 hours a day and 14 days straight without committing murder. Although I must say I've not been happier in the past two weeks than the day the kids went back to school and I was able to spend 8 child-free hours - even if it was at work.

Tomorrow marks 14 days without for our family. Oh but weep not for me for there is hope...yesterday as we entered our neighborhood the sight of huge orange and white trucks filled my heart with joy and my eyes with tears. When we got home there were 4 large, smelly, filthy and sweaty men in my backyard fixing the the power lines and I've never wanted to hug a stranger more. While we are still without and others around us may have light, we have each other, we have the love of fa...oh who am I kidding? I WANT MY LIGHTS ON NOW!!!!

I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long long to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.


Well, Ike is gone. We are safe. The world around me looks like one big lawn cleaning party. Piles and piles of limbs and cut down trees line the streets and neighborhoods.

Everywhere we go the strain of the past few days is etched deeply on the faces of the people we talk to. No lights. No water. No phones. No place you can go without waiting for hours and hours in lines of people or cars for, what would be in a normal world, everyday conveniences acquired hastily and without pause. Gas, bread, water and ice seem such precious commodities now.

We have survived. No damage to our home. No damage to our bodies. And, as the past few days have proved, no damage to our spirits. If anything, this storm has fortified our will to carry on and make do with what we have.

You've seen it on the news, neighbors helping neighbors. People reaching out to one another extending support and exhibiting selflessness. It's the same story in our area. No one will go without necessities if we can help it.

We came up to the church to check on things. My husband has come here to work for the past few days. Repairing things around the building. Cutting down fallen trees. Hauling off trash. I took a moment to check emails and post this little note.

It feels kind of strange to see pictures on websites of all that has been going on since I have been long without communication to the outside world. As my neighbor said, you can only watch the news after hurricane if it doesn't strike you. I am sure the devastation is far reaching and incredibly depressing to watch. At least it has been whenever I've seen the aftermath on the news.

But this post is to let you know, that the news is not all bad. There are pockets of joy. There are areas of blessing.

If you are here in Houston, then this post is to let you know I am fervently praying you are okay. Hoping all is well and asking you to let me know if you need anything.

If you are not in Houston, then this post is to let you know what is happening here in my stretch of land. Asking you to pray fervently for those of us who have lost so much that we would hold dear to what we have left. Each other.

I will check back soon I hope.

Storm Report

The word hurricane strikes a chord of fear in most people's hearts. And reasonably so. As my boss said, we not only live in a post-9/11 world, we also live in a post-Katrina world. No longer can we stare down the throat of a storm of any magnitude with the nonchalance and bravado of a circus lion-tamer.

Being born and raised here in Houston, I must say that hurricanes are simply part and parcel of life on the Gulf Coast. Although I am too young to have seen the destruction of Carla, I do remember well Hurricane Alicia and Tropical Storm Allison as well as a slew of other storms whose names I can't remember. I remember being afraid but we were always prepared, ready to "hunker down" and bear the brunt of whatever devastation and destruction the storm might bring.

With Ike barreling down on the Texas shore, those fears of destruction and devastation begin rising up in our minds like the storm surge, crashing against our sensibilities way before we even face the actual storm.

Hurricane Ike rides in on the tail of several other storms that have wrought their own destruction in one way or another in our life as well as the lives of others in my life.

For me the word teenager strikes more fear in my heart than any old hurricane ever could. A hurricane's path is somewhat predictable and blows over pretty quickly. In comparison to a teenager it is a breeze, pun very much intended.

My youngest son is 15. That alone would make the most seasoned parent shudder. Add to that he has some factors that augment what is already - in my opinion - a category 5 situation. Some would label these factors as disabilities, I would rather see them as challenges or opportunities to rise above the waves that would drag you down and toss you about like a a flimsy piece of driftwood.

As I've said before, I foolishly thought we would somehow escape the onslaught of hormones and teenage angst because I had a very close relationship with my son. My hopes were soon dashed upon the rocks and lay strewn like so much garbage waiting for the vultures to pick it apart. Oh. Woe. Is. I.

I've waited and waited for the return of the son I once recognized as my own. I have sent out my pleas to the alien beings who, I believe, abducted him about a year ago and replaced him with the venom spitting, surly tempered, Tasmanian devil that closely resembles the churning swirl of color looming ever near us in the Gulf.

This school year my son has decided he will no longer go to school. He just wants to stay home and sleep all day. Well don't we all silly boy, but sadly this is not an option the real world offers. Well, not unless you are Warren Buffet. And he didn't get there without an education and lots of hard work.

On Tuesday we got a call from the school that he was receiving in school suspension for one day because he refused to wake up and do his class work. On Tuesday evening we came home from work to discuss the matter with him. During this discussion is when we were informed we had not a clue what he meant about anything and that he simply was not going to school and if he could not stay in the house he would leave and become a (eh, hem) vagabond.

We truly thought when he walked out the door, that he would be back within an hour after having walked the block and come to his senses. We spent the next 4 hours and 45 minutes in agony. It was every parents worst nightmare and every teenagers attempt at independence.

I cannot tell you the amount of tears I shed nor the number of times that I begged God he be returned to me safe. I cannot describe the places my mind went to for they were dark, vile and void of hope, places that a parent's imagination should never have to roam.

I remembered every news story of every child who went missing. I remembered every parents interview. I remembered thinking I hope that is never me. I remember thinking oh God, don't let it be.

When it became obvious he was not coming home soon, and we had searched the entire area. I texted friends that I couldn't talk, but to pray because he was missing. Our neighbors set out and searched surrounding areas as well. My friends texted every few minutes "praying" and "love you" and "is he home?". One even showed up at my door because she just couldn't take it anymore. What would I have done without them? These loved ones surrounded us, anchored us and shored us up against the storm. They were our life lines when we would have otherwise drowned.

When he walked in the door I began to wail as if I'd been told the worst. He began to weep as we hugged and I repeated over and over "thank you God!". For as many times as I had pleaded for his return, I thanked Him. For every tear that was shed, I matched it with thanks and praise.

We talked that night and for now the storm has abated somewhat. But I know from my own teen years that were fraught with drama that the storms return quite quickly, that perhaps this is merely the eye and we've yet to get through the other side.

Some might think we simply ignored all the news flashes and flag warnings posted. That we must have turned a blind eye to the obvious signs and symptoms of an impending storm. This however, is not the case. We have all we could. The advent of teenagedom was, after all, inescapable.

Ours is not the only storm that has blown it's course.

One of my closest friends who I've known for over 30 years, recently faced the very real threat of cancer. Cancer comes more in the form of a tornado than a hurricane. Coming at you out of nowhere and striking with ferocity and vengeance. Taking with it anything that may be solid or firm in its path - everything you've built - wrenching it away. Behind it no trace is left of anything you knew. Mere shambles and rubble left where you once felt secure.

Another close friend is dealing with the ugly truth of cancer being fleshed out in her mother. Having faced this very storm once before, they are very aware of everything they have ahead of them. I am not sure if that makes it easier or worse.

Yet another close friend who has struggled with her health for some time now was recently told that her heart is not operating at full capacity and has perhaps suffered a heart attack.

While Ike is doing its worst to tear our world apart and the other events are attempting to take their toll on us as well, we have hunkered down (a very popular phrase right now), sheltered in place, boarded up the weak areas, gathered our supplies and prepared for the worst.

But instead of the worst, I continue to hear awesome reports of faith and friendship coming out of these trials. Reports reminding us we are going to be okay, no matter what.

Life Has Been Life

Deep right? THAT should go on a bumper sticker. Or at least in a fortune cookie...

And while it's an excruciatingly simple statement that explains absolutely nothing, my friends it's so very, very true. For the past few weeks I've done my share of avidly pursuing life, liberty and personal happiness.

I don't think I caught anything but a wretched summer cold.

And so while sniffling my way through the chase I've not stopped long enough to post anything to my beloved blog except for a meme, thank you Ali.

I will say that I started several posts yet I never finished them and as I go back and read them they seem rather uninteresting and so very much yesterday's news.

So rather than drone on about the past, I thought I'd give you a Cliffs Notes version of it all to keep it short and sweet. Okay, maybe just short.

There will be a test later, with a written essay portion so please pay attention. Or...not.

*takes exaggerated deep breath*

Well, we got back from Florida and went back to work and there was plenty of work all around the church like the worship center, which is in it's final days of being renovated here at work/church and some of the work they were doing was producing "non-toxic" fumes which made it impossible to work in some areas in fact for several days the fumes were so strong we had to relocate our office in to the Fellowship Center which made for a good time as I've not had a window in my office in a while so I could look out and see it raining which it hasn't done that in a while even though we've had SEVERAL threats and near misses which is kind of disappointing because even though I don't want the damage and destruction a hurricane can bring I have an odd fascination with, or perhaps better stated, I am obsessed with and love having bad weather and would just like to have one day home with a really blustery thunderstorm or two but that isn't anywhere in our near future for the next week we are only getting hot weather and no surprise there because it's Houston which is not Beijing where the Olympics were and were very exiting indeed especially all the swimming although perhaps not as exciting, momentous or as strenuous (at least on my nerves) as going back to school - that is at least to my children who have moped and whined and complained and murmured every day since it's beginning this year even though we've done hardly a thing during the summer other than Florida to keep them entertained and distracted from the fact that they had nothing to do which led to mostly sleeping and reading and eating all great things in small quantities to be sure but not for three months straight but rather than head back to seeing and spending great gobs of social time with their friends and learning new and exciting things about our world they would rather be at home watching Camp Rock - which has the Jonas Brothers & Naruto - which doesn't have the Jonas Brothers but is apparently just as interesting but not as appealing on a poster or in a Disney movie and speaking of movies since we are in Houston and it has been so endlessly hot we've done our fair share of staying out of the heat and in theaters watching movies like The Dark Knight (amazing - absolutely amazing), The Incredible Hulk (great), Get Smart (funny) Speed Racer (ugh, waste of money, don't get me started but I was a fan as a kid so I wanted to see it and now I wish I had gone to see...) Iron Man (I hear it was fantastic) & Hancock (eh, didn't care for it so much) and I guess that about brings you up to date other than this week is the week before my birthday and I don't have really big plans other than spending more time out of the heat and indoors with my family which includes my brother who is coming to visit from Virginia with his wife, step-daughter and my nephew all of whom (who? that one always gets me along with effect or affect no matter how many times I look it up) I've never met (well, duh I've met my brother) other than in pictures and speaking of pictures along with my brother's visit and my birthday, my 6 month post-surgery anniversary is coming up and I hope to be posting more pictures of the progress along with birthday/family re-union photos.

*takes not exaggerated deep breath and sighs*

There. You are now up to speed and fully informed of all the events of the past few months in the unceasingly exciting lives of the Moya's.

Now, if you will, please take out your #2 pencils....