Update on the Other Half of My Bio-Family

It's been....interesting trying to process this intrusion of sorts on my psyche. To bring you up to speed and understanding, here's the cast of players:

Bio-Dad - died in 2005 from alcoholism. He was about 58 years old if I did the math right. No other kids. One other ex-wife.

Uncle T - died in 2005 8 months after bio-Dad from alcoholism. No kids?

Uncle B - He's the one who called me back in the spring of 2017 at work and exploded my world. No kids, not married.

Uncle J - His wife Aunt L is the one who searched for me and my brother and she found our info. They have one son who has 2 kids about the same ages as mine.  

I finally screwed up the courage to call Aunt L, because Uncle B gave me her cell phone number. She was over the moon excited to hear me and we had a pretty good conversation. Pretty good for me learning that my Uncle J is now battling a life threatening heart disease for which there's no treatment and it's only a matter of time. He's somewhere between 65-70 years old? I also learned that there's more extended family members on that side who have died from alcoholism. 

Do you know what this does? I literally was found, and now am actively losing family. If I don't get out to visit Aunt L and Uncle J, I'll probably never get a real account of the family. Out of the brothers, Uncle J is the one who managed to have a career and a family and not succumb to the disease that apparently rampages through that bloodline. I'm not ready. I was barely ready to call her, and now I feel like the clock is ticking and if Uncle J dies before I travel, I'll regret not meeting him. While I'll probably keep in some kind of contact with Aunt L, it won't be the same. He's my chance to get a first hand account of what it was like growing up in that family and what he did to avoid going down the same path as his brothers.

I can't process. I keep pushing it away.

The Anti-Resolution

I've been thinking a lot about how to approach nutrition and habits given that it's the new year. I always feel like I SHOULD be tracking on MFP. I SHOULD be making sure I eat 120g Protein a day. I SHOULD try a dry month....

SHOULDS make me crazy and feel like a failure. So, for this year, I'm working on changing that mindset more than anything. I've decided to stay the course focusing on eating well, fueling for workouts, and not stressing out about the drinking thing. A couple of recent revelations have steered me in this direction:

1) I've learned that most of my family on my bio dad's side are alcoholics. I am not. I drink more than most people, I guess...but not to excess. I've never felt like I needed to drink in the morning, and I've never been late/missed work/got a DUI because of alcohol. Yeah. I'm fine. I need to stop beating myself up about it.

2) I spent the back half of last year not really tracking, and when I completely fell off the wagon (ahem, Christmas cookies), it was noticeable how crappy I felt. My body tells me when I've had enough, and I need to learn how to listen to it. Obsessive tracking doesn't make me pay attention to how my body feels or is reacting to whatever I'm putting into it.

There you have it. The Anti-Resolution. 

0.5 #NaBloMoPo - Body Image


I started this last night...does it still count? 😉


It’s hard to be a former dancer and not have body image issues. I obsess over where I carry weight (stomach) and where I don’t (boobs). I obsess over my profile or how plump my cheeks look in pictures. I’ve been doing this since I gained my first 15 lbs in college. Since then I’m up another 15. 

When I gained the initial 15 it wasn’t a big deal because I was underweight to begin with. Over the years after college I gained another 15, then lost it before my wedding and kept it off for a long time. The recent 15 has come from a combination of taking medication that causes weight gain, getting older, not tracking food as closely as I should and muscle development. What I’ve found the past 5 years or so is that it’s really difficult for me to lose weight anymore without being super strict about my diet and instead of doing that, I’ve been trying to focus on the positives. I’m not in a place now where I have the energy to tackle the eating part and I’m already a relatively healthy eater. When I’m ready, it’ll be a long and slow haul as I don’t think I’ll be stopping the cele.xa anytime soon. 

The positives I can see now about my body? I have good muscle development and I’m proportionate upper body to lower body. I can see muscle definition in my shoulders and arms and legs. I’m moving better now than I had been when I was teaching Jazz.ercise. The coaches at the gym know what they’re doing with this program! Mobility in my shoulders, back and hips has improved, which is huge. I haven’t had a major setback for months (also huge), and I can snatch my 30+ lb three year old in one smooth movement to get him on my shoulders. 

That is progress! I work hard getting up early 4 times a week to hit the gym, get my ass handed to me while I’m there and it primes me to make better eating choices throughout the day. I focus on getting enough protein, eating fruits and vegetables (some days better than others) and eating frequently to keep my blood sugar stable throughout the day. 

I’m trying really hard to focus on all the positives at the moment vs. the scale and how I look in the mirror. It’s tough day to day, but I’m getting there.  


0.5 #NaBloPoMo Day 16 - Movies

Both of our kids are finally the age where we can take them to an actual theater for a movie. It's a momentous occasion really, and one I'm excited about. I like going to a movie theater (we hardly ever do) and now I have an excuse to make sure we do every once in a while.

This past weekend we took them to see Co.co. I was excited for this movie because the protagonist looks like my kid and it's all about part of his heritage. (educated guess that he's half Mex.ican and something we'll try find out via genetic testing). I knew there were some trigger-y moments in the film like an overarching thesis that everyone dies and is forgotten. eek. However, I thought that we could work through that.

Helloooo triggers. I estimate I cried for about 1/3-1/2 of the movie, definitely the entire last half hour. The movie is great, I just wasn't prepared for the emotional onslaught of families sticking together no matter what to be so rough. I have my own familial issues, and am struggling with guilt that I cut my parents off emotionally because they'll never be the parents I need them to be. Needless to say, I kind of felt like shit through much of this movie. The other trigger centers around being contacted by my bio-uncle and not knowing how to move forward with that relationship. Six months ago I promised him I'd keep in touch. I have yet to pick up the phone again, although I think about it often. And feel guilty and ashamed that something is stopping me. My immediate family is like the family in the movie where the matriarch runs the show and everyone falls in line. Half of my bio-family is forgotten by order of the matriarch. 

As far as how it affected my kids, I'd say the 3 year old is oblivious and the 6 year old is currently processing. He liked some of it, but it wasn't a rousing LOVED IT even though it's a really good kids movie. X has been curious about other people's stories and we spent a night a couple weeks ago where I told both X and Z their adoption stories and X asked about mine and S's. He's definitely starting to process what "adoption" means. I corrected him when he stated he had been in my tummy (prompting me to pull out a kids adoption book to read), and seemed confused about the situation in general. All we can do is be forthright and talk about it and let him process how he needs to process. 

p.s. totally go see the movie, just bring a box of tissues.


0.5 #NaBloPoMo Day 13 - Holiday Cards

How much time do you spend on your holiday cards? Is it a source of stress, or do you enjoy putting the time and effort into making the so-called perfect card to send to friends and family? I ask because I've now spent approximately 4 hours on our holiday card and wonder if I should have bought boxed cards, signed them and called it a day. I started last night around 9:30 or 10:00pm and went to bed at 12:15am after fighting with myself over whether there are any good pictures to put on the card. I have about 1400 pictures from 2017 and I can't find good ones. Talk about stress.

This morning, after my family let me sleep in (thank you!) I was back at it after breakfast. It's now 11am and I finally hit the order button. 

There went the morning....

0.5 #NaBloPoMo Day 12 - When is the Weekend Over?

I really don't know what to write today. I mean, I have ideas, but not the mental capacity to do it. Do you ever get like that? Part of it is that I'm completely drained by the last few days off, and wishing for the days pre-kid when days off where fucking days OFF. Self care during the holidays is really difficult and I've been putting pressure on myself to do more family activities instead of the divide and conquer technique we've been taking. 

Today, we decided to visit a state park for a picnic lunch and some hiking followed by going to see the movie Co.co. The state park visit was frustrating considering that we took the kids hiking when we were in the mountains a few weeks ago and they were gung-ho, but today they were whiny on a simple gravel flat path. We liked the movie and it is gratifying that we could take X to a movie where all the characters look like him. Fair warning though, it is chock full of triggers, especially for adoptees. Abandonment is a running theme along with emphasis on families always being there for one another. I had a feeling that the movie was going to be like that after reading pretty in-depth review, and was ready for the themes, but I wasn't ready for it to trigger me. I needed a box of tissues that I didn't have...

Anyway, tomorrow there may or may not be a family bike ride. Or maybe I'll just get on my bike by myself for a couple hours. *sigh*

0.5 #NaBloPoMo Day 11 - Spend Spend Spend

Uh, Happy Belated Thanksgiving! Yeah, I missed yesterday because of the holiday and completely spaced blogging.

I used to eschew the shopping the day after Thanksgiving as being a big pain in the butt and I refused to go out. Well, things have changed, at least this year because there's this house to put big ticket items in. Mostly "want" rather than need, but we are using some $$ from the sale of our old house to indulge ourselves a bit. 

What did that mean?  That meant that I actually contemplated going to a store last night, something I swore I'd never do. I didn't, but it was pretty amazing how easily it crossed my mind as a "good idea". Instead, I stayed up until way too late shopping online. Not for gifts necessarily, well, gifts for the house I guess, as well as some basic items I've been holding off on because of the sales. 

This morning? I was at the consignment store at 7:30am shopping there for some items to donate to a school that needs uniforms and gifts for my kids. After I got home I spent a good 2 hours agonizing over whether to buy the new iPad Pro or if I could live with the plain old iPad. The Pro eventually won, but not after scouring sites for reviews, putting in the store cart, taking it out, putting the iPad in, then changing my mind again. 

I'm kind of exhausted from all this online shopping nonsense....and I'm not looking forward to that bill at the end of the month. (the miles will be amazing however!)

0.5 #NaBloPoMo Day 9 - Not Exactly a Day Off

I took today off, originally because X doesn't have school, but then I found a camp at the zoo he could attend. Yay! That was a great find because this is how my day ended up going:

At 6:30am I woke up and started trying to get Z up and at 'em. He had fallen asleep really late and was not excited about waking up.

At 7:13 am, Z and I left the house so that I could get my body composition measured at the gym. I got there 5 min late for my appointment, and the coaches were gone taking the 6am class turkeys over to the rescue mission for donation. (explanation for that in a minute). I sighed heavily, decided to send an apology e-mail for being late and then packed Z back up to go to daycare.

At 7:50 am, I dropped Z off at daycare. The kid was NOT having it. Now, these days, S normally does drop offs but because X's camp didn't start until 9am and I signed him up too late for before care, we split up. Anytime that I drop Z off, he loses it, and today was no different. In fact, today was ramped up a bit because he sensed something was really different.

At 8:15 am, I hit Starb.ucks for coffee and breakfast.

At 8:25 am, I get to my eye doctor's for an eye checkup that is about.....5 years overdue. 

At 9:30 am, I leave the eye doctor's with blurry vision and a headache (thanks pupil dilation!) and a clean bill of eye-health.

From 9:30 am - 11:15 am, I put gas in my car, decide to run it thru the car wash and then subsequently feed the gas station vacuum approximately $2.50 in loose change. The vacuum doesn't start, I don't feel like dealing with the attendant and I drive home to use my own damn vacuum to clean out my car. Satisfying though, to do all the upholstery spot cleaning, window and vinyl cleaning myself. (normally, I go to the full-service car washes). I also organize our secretary desk aka, the drop zone. 

11:15 am - back in the car and head to the gym with 2 frozen turkeys. My gym does a special class the day before Thanksgiving where all they ask for is donation of turkeys to work out and then they take them to the rescue mission. Their goal is always a lofty 300, but they get less. Whatever, it's still a ton of turkeys. Literally. S meets me at the gym nervous about what I've gotten him into.

11:45 am-1:00 pm - warm up with frozen turkeys (not kidding, it was hilarious trying to do pushups on a turkey and then pass them around in a circle while lunging or doing Russian twists).  Then, we proceed to get our asses handed to us in two rounds of intervals. S does really well for his first time in this format, and I feel like a badass 'cause I can clean and thrown a 35-lb bag over my head. I meet my MEPS goal for the challenge!  

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm - run home for a shower, grab a sandwich and get back into the car.

2:00pm - 3:15pm - finally get to slow down a bit. Have a facial/chemical peel combo (love my esthetician, she's really keeping my skin looking great). Fall asleep on the table a couple times...yeah.

3:15pm - 4:00pm - back in the car, drive to Z's daycare, stopping for coffee on the way. Pick up a slightly cranky Z (he just woke up from nap), load him up and rush over to the zoo to pick up X. Promise Z we'll hang out at the zoo.

4:00pm - 5:15pm - Well, crap, zoo closes early during zoo lights. Pick up X from camp, decide we at least have a few minutes to walk by the animals that are close to the entrance. Pack up the kids, drive to the library promising we'll check out movies, find out the library is closed then drive home. ugh.

5:15 - 6:00 pm - Get home, start one of our movies for the kids, put things away, start organizing the Christmas gift pile and start making dinner. S gets home.

6:30 - 8:00pm - Sit down to dinner. Finally. It's a homemade pizza. X declares it gross because of the sauce and then has a minor meltdown. Manages to pull it together and starts looking through our photo albums. S puts the kids to bed.

8:30pm - S and I sit down, pop a bottle of champagne and play Scrabble.  :D





p.s. I meant to take pictures at the gym, but I totally forgot to get my phone out. Oh well...




0.5 #NaBloPoMo Day 8 - Working in a Man’s Industry

With all the recent revelations of abuse of power, sexual abuse, and men being pigs, it’s brought up my memories, some recent, some not so recent of men acting like pigs toward me. I’m one of the lucky ones, I can say I’ve never been raped or groped despite being in precarious positions in college. I was a partier, no doubt about it. I had no idea how lucky I am (knocking vigorously on wood) until I saw my friends coming forward with their own stories. 

I have had all the fun trappings that goes with being a woman and an engineer.  In college, a dickhead suggested I was tra.ns——  because I wasn’t interested in him. And then he took great pleasure giving me a wet willy and generally harrassed me the rest of the night. What a charmer. After college, diving into the wild world of construction brought these revelations:

- first woman who was an engineer to be hited a local consulting company (1999) 

- “smile” a constant reminder by laborers on construction sites.  

- leering  and catcalls - also constant  

- being ignored  

- being treated like I needed help doing my job

- tons and tons of oh-so-graphic artwork on the construction site portapotties.  (aside: yeah, i’m not afraid of public toilets after those days!)

Then I got a job at a bigger company where: 

- i ended up being harrassed by a former college classmate. others were harrassed as well, but i got the worst of it. i spent the next several years in fear that i’d run into him considering it’s kind of a small world

- when me and a male colleague both passed the PE at the same time, he got promoted right away and i had to ask for mine

- when I realized I was underpaid and asked for a raise, I was told no  

- when another engineer was supposed to mentor me through my first project working with drawings and when it all went wrong, he threw me under the bus and guess who looked bad?

- when i got the offer to go to my current organization and my salary was a huge jump? yeah. they could suck it

In the current organization i work for:

- it took 3 tries to get promoted because of the golden boys in the office

- a former supervisor made remarks (political, about me being a mother, about me traveling) that i could have reported but i didn’t because i fear retaliation. there is supposed to be no retaliation, but you know how that goes...

- i sit in lots of meetings where my suggestions were ignored until an older, grayer, man repeats them. No shit. That really does happen. 

No matter what, there is always an undercurrent of having to prove myself more than the men i call my colleagues. it doesn’t matter that i’m smarter and can do the work better. i don’t have a very important body part.