Wednesday, April 3, 2013

15 Years...

It's been well over a year… and I haven't been compelled to blog. Not sure why… I guess it's just life happening. It's not like I haven't had PLENTY on my mind... plenty of new and wonderful things going on in my life... a few extra craptacular things happened as well... but I figured at some point something would happen to inspire me to mosey on over to this here blog and post something.

Today is April 3. 2013.  Fifteen years ago, my big sister, Deanna, became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  Those who knew Deanna, know that after her family and close friends? ...there was nothing she loved more than her beloved sorority.  I'm not gonna lie… I didn't get it.  I didn't get it when Kimberly pledged in 1992, and I still didn't get it when Deanna pledged in 1998.  My connection to sororities and pledging was largely wrapped up in the memories of seeing Kimberly pledge at Tuskegee. She was tired a lot. I would fill late night requests for panty hose and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches to be left at her house for her when she finally got home from long days and late nights. But the night I got the call that her line was "crossing"… she was so incredibly happy that I forgot about all the pain I perceived her to be in during that time. Deanna's pledging experience was different than Kimberly's. But I was there on April 3, 1998, when she officially crossed over into Delta-Land. I remembered that same happy, tear-stained face that I had witnessed 6 years earlier on Kimberly.

Delta was their thing… Deanna & Kimberly's thing… sometimes I thought maybe I was missing out on some sisterly bonding by not being a Delta as well, but we had our own little sorority… DKD: Deanna Kimberly Darlene. LOL! Very exclusive!

"It's a DKD thang... you wouldn't understand!"

Whenever the Inglewood Alumnae chapter of DST would have a line, Deanna would call me…

Me: Hey, Skleeanna! (that's what I called her)
Dee: Guess whaaaaat? Inglewood Alumnae is having a line!
Me: Oh girl… I told you the day I decide to pledge, you will be the FIRST to know. Hell, you might know before I do! Haaaaa!
Dee: Awww Pookie… Delta NEEDS you!
Me:  Guuuuurl, Delta doesn't need me… because Delta has YOU!

Seriously… we had this conversation ALL THE TIME. But I didn't get it.  And at that point, my idea of a Delta was Deanna (aka "Super Delta"… aka "Delta on Fire"), and I figured I'd need to love Delta like that to pledge.  And I didn't… because I really didn't get it.

You want to know when I "got it" for the first time?

When I walked into New Mercies Christian Church on December 8, 2012… for Deanna's Omega Omega memorial service... When I saw the ocean of Deltas dressed in black to formally say goodbye to their soror… their sister. Easily 400+ women there for my sister… their sister.  Something clicked in my head… "Hmmm... this is more than just a club… these women really, really love my sister."  I sat on the front row of chairs with my dad to the left of me and an empty chair to the right of me that held a box of Kleenex. My mom was next to my dad, and I believe Kimberly was next to her. On the row behind us? Kimberly's line sisters… many of whom had just spent time and money coming to homecoming for their line's 20th anniversary. Falona flew in from Denver. Kimberly's "Big Girls" were there… there to support their line sister… there to say goodbye to their soror… their sister. It was all so eye-opening to me… the one thing that would make me start to understand Deanna & Kimberly's love for Delta was losing the most incredible Delta I knew. Stacey flew in from Cleveland… Jackie Brown came from Philly… Kim Barnette came from DC… Deanna's best friend, Deborah, came from California.  These Deltas… Deanna's friends… Deanna's sorors... Deanna's sisters, came from near and far to say goodbye. 

At one point, someone was singing… and my dad and I kinda lost it. Before I could even reach for a new piece of tissue, Kimberly's line sister, Marrakesha, was by my side with her arm around me. And she never left. You see… MY sisters have all of these "sisters"… who are kind of like my big sisters as well. Since we lost Deanna, I have been in contact with so many of her sorority sisters all across the country.  Wow… these women LOVE my sister. And that makes me feel good.

So today… April 3, 2013… I'm a bit melancholy. Sad that my sister isn't here to celebrate her 15 year anniversary with her beloved Deltas.  Sad that I can't call & wish her well today. Sad that I can't ask her what kind of trouble she and her line sister, Kimberley, are getting into tonight.  Sad that she isn't here to celebrate the centennial all year with her beloved Deltas… she was so looking forward to all of this.  I'm sad right now… but I will celebrate for her… and I will smile, laugh & be happy.  I will celebrate my sister-- line name: Set it Off (how perfect is that name? LOL!) and I will celebrate her line sisters (The 13 Stages of Evolution) as I wish them a happy 15 year Deltaversary.

The 13 Stages of Evolution
#7 Jagged Edge (Kimberley) and #3 Set It Off (Deanna)

Line Sisters: Deanna, Erica & Kimberley

If you're a member of a sorority or a fraternity… or any group/club… spend some time today thinking of how you can recommit yourself to your organization. Deanna would like that.

Happy Deltaversary, Sissy.

I love and miss you more than words can express...

Your baby sis,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hair Chronicles...

Hey Hey Hey... I'm back with a blog! Today's blog is prompted by my recent hair changes. My hair has always been about shoulder length... never much longer since I've been an adult.  I have naturally curly hair. Every other week, I go to the hair salon & have my curly hair washed, blow dried, pressed & flat ironed.

Straight hair look...

For my 40th Birthday bash, I had my stylist of nearly 15 years, Desiree, put a little "extra" hair in just for fun... this look was just glued in tracks that lasted about a week...

40th Birthday Party, July 23, 2011

Not to be confused with last summer's long hair... that look was a full head of sewn in weave... lasted about 3 months... Super easy, and I loved it!

Summer 2010

About a week or so after my 40th birthday party, I had the glued in tracks removed & went back to my normal straight one week, curly the next week cycle...

August 2011

I'm not sure what happened, but for some reason I decided to stop straightening my hair maybe at the end of August or so... perhaps it was my break up... or it could have been turning 40 & just refocusing what was really important.  I decided that straightening my hair was not a priority anymore.  I've never been one to not work out for a few days after I get my hair pressed.  So I'd go to the salon on Thursday, and Friday or Saturday I'd be sweating in that $65 hairdo.  Not only was it a waste of money, it was a waste of time for me AND for Desiree. I know she appreciates the money, but why have her slave away over a head I'm gonna sweat out the next day?

Sept 11, 2011

Sept 27, 2011
I still went to the salon every two weeks for a good wash, condition & usually color for my gray hairline.  But I would have Desiree braid it up all over, put a curler on the end, and I'd sit under the dryer.  The result was the very cute, curly look above... Cute, but a lot of work. My hair doesn't naturally curl up like this. My hair curl is MUCH tighter.

In October, I decided that I didn't want to do the work required for that curly look above, so I needed to cut off the ends of my hair that have been getting straightened for over a decade. Those ends don't curl up quite right due to years of heat damage.  

Oct 23, 2011

It wasn't a big stretch for me... I'm no stranger to short hair. When I was in law school back in 94-95, I cut my hair off (back when it wasn't so popular to have natural hair!) I loved it.  

June 1996

Back to present time, I've cut off a little more in the back, and it's just about to where I like it.  I haven't decided if I'm going to let it grow crazy big, because I like it how it is right now.  I'll see how it goes... I've kept my every other week appointment with Desiree.  I'm loyal to her, and I love her like family. She is 100% on board with my new natural 'do. Sure, I've gone from paying her $70 every other week to $20, but I enjoy her company & she keeps my gray at bay :-)

Me on 11/11/11

I say ALL that to say this... not having to think much about my hair is such a relief.  Being fit & healthy, which means working out hard, which means SWEATING... is my priority.  I didn't go natural because I think perms and presses are bad.  I did it, because straight hair was not working with my lifestyle. Do what works for YOUR hair and YOUR lifestyle! 

Okay, back to my football game... GO TITANS!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Juice Master...

Well, I would start this by saying how I'm going to do better about blogging, blah blah blah... but, I won't even front. I'll blog when I think about it. LOL.

So much has gone on since my last post nearly 2 months ago.  Work is good... been keeping busy with my friends... my relationship ended a month ago, which I'm a lot more okay with than I thought I'd be when it was in the process of ending... And, of course, my workouts are great.  I started this "30 Days of Workouts" thing with some friends back on July 30th.  The 30 days has now extended to 65 days for me... I guess that's what inspired me to blog today.  Every day I have to do at least 30 minutes of DELIBERATE exercise.  Not accidental... not 30 minutes of dancing at a party... deliberate exercise.  It might be a power walk at lunch, or it might be a workout at the gym -- but it's at least 30 minutes of intentionally getting my heart rate up & sweating!

I only weighed in twice since June... I was 138.6 on June 4th and 141.2 on August 13.... I'll take it. 2.6 pounds gained over two summer months... which included my 40th birthday? I can live with that.

For the past week I've replaced one meal a day with juice.... actually, Naked Juice Green Machine.  Depending on how the day is going, I either replace lunch or dinner with juicing.  Nothing else changed. I eat my nonfat Greek yogurt for breakfast, a decent lunch (I don't even run from carbs, but I do choose whole wheat stuff if I do have carbs), and then I drink juice the rest of the day.  So far, it's only been Naked Juice, but actual "juiced" juice would also be fine. My dad has become the Juice Master with his new Breville juicer, so I may get some juice from him.

Yummy! And I really mean that!

My latest Costco run... Naked Juice, marina sauce & FAGE Greek Yogurt...
Whole wheat pasta with chicken sausage, marinara & broccoli... a typical lunch or dinner.

I weighed myself at home on the trusty Wi scale last Saturday, Sept 24.  My weight was 142.5 lbs.

When I weighed myself Saturday morning I weighed.... drumroll please....... 138.3.  Down 4.2 pounds in one week.

I did go to Weight Watchers & weigh in... my official WW weight is 138.4... lowest I've ever been on WW... :-)

Sept. 27, 2011

Everything is going well... we'll see what happens next! Think I'll go get some juice...


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

10 Years Ago...

I know I was supposed to report on my weigh in, but interestingly enough, I didn't weigh in on Saturday... couldn't get up on time.  I did weigh myself, and I'll tell you, it wasn't good.  BUT, this week I have been ON FIRE with my eating and workouts.  From Saturday morning to now, I've lost 4 pounds. Go figure.  When I'm on it, I'm on it.

But that's not really what I want to talk about in this post.  The title of the post is "10 Years Ago..."

Ten Years Ago at this very time, I was recovering from major surgery.  MAJOR surgery... on August 3, 2001, I had my colon removed.  I've mentioned before that I had ulcerative colitis (technically, I still do have it.. more on that later.) Let me give you a little bit of background...

When I was in my last semester of law school (Spring 1996), I started losing weight.  I thought it was stress, not eating, exercising a lot.  I got downright skinny.  Of course, I was thrilled.  I graduated and moved back home to start my first "real job" at Hughes on July 22.  I went to work on that Monday & Tuesday... and I actually took a sick day on Wednesday (yes, my 3rd day on my real job!) I worked on Thursday & Friday... that Friday, July 26, 1996, just so happened to be my 25th birthday... the day I was conveniently booted off my parents' medical insurance.  I hadn't gotten around to picking my own plan, because I figured I had some time to figure it out.  That weekend, I was a wreck.  I remember my dad asking me, "Do you want me to take you to the ER?"  I said, "Yeeeeesssssss!"  He took me to Daniel Freeman Hospital (which is now closed)... I was admitted.... and I stayed there for about 7 or 8 weeks.  They figured out that I had ulcerative colitis, but they couldn't figure out how to fix it.  My main symptom was bloody stool (aka, blood in my poop.)  The first course of action is to give the patient prednisone, a steroid.  Not only was I on steroids, I couldn't eat.  ANYTHING.  Have you ever gone 8 weeks with no food? I was sometimes permitted to suck on ice chips, but every time they tried to upgrade me to broth or a creamy soup, my diseased colon couldn't take it.  So I'm in the hospital... on steroids, lipids, and your basic banana bag of nutrients all through a central line in my chest... and I'm GAINING WEIGHT! If I'm gonna gain weight, at least give me some pizza, bread, rice... something! I was miserable...

The short version of the 1996 hospital stay is that after a series of setbacks, blood transfusions, tears, and frustration, my sister, Dr. Kimberly Manning (aka The Grady Doctor) got on the phone and told our dad to raise hell until they sent me to UCLA.  She said the only way I'd get better was to move to a teaching hospital.  Well, our dad happens to be a professional hell raiser... he did it, and I was moved to UCLA.  Interesting side story is that I had eye surgery at UCLA as a toddler... I was STILL in the system at 25 years old... same patient number and everything. That's what I call record keeping! LOL!

I was at UCLA for about 8 days.  My new UCLA gastroenterologist, Dr. Kevin Horgan, put me on an experimental drug, it started working, and they sent me home.  I was taking about 24 pills a day, but I was home.

Over the next 5 years, I would randomly have flare ups with my colitis. Surgery was discussed here and there, but I had NO INTEREST whatsoever in letting someone open my belly & remove my colon. No way.  I was good popping pills.  However, in 2001, it got much worse... I'd spend a week in the hospital, two weeks back at work... a week in the hospital, a week at work... it got to the point where it was miserable for me.  I hated missing work.  I hated being sick.  I talked to my parents & my sister, and I decided it was time to meet with a surgeon to discuss my options.

Enter: Dr. Jonathan Sack.  One of the best surgeons in the business.  Highly recommended.  Basically, The Man.  We scheduled a consultation with him on a Friday afternoon. I think the appointment was around 2 or 3pm... I remember it was May or June, because the Lakers had a playoff game that day.  My parents and I went to UCLA Medical Center for our consultation with Dr. Sack... he was late.  In fact, he never showed up.  He got stuck in the hospital with a surgery emergency.  I was not happy.  My dad was downright pissed.  I think the combination of Dr. Sack not showing up & the fact that we would be on the 405 South at 5pm on a Friday was more than he could handle.  On the way home he told me there was no way in hell he'd let that guy perform my surgery. NO WAY.

The next morning, I'm at home.  It's Saturday... my phone rings.  It's Dr. Sack.  Not Dr. Sack's nurse.  Not someone from his office.  Him.  THEE Dr. Sack.  He apologized for missing our appointment.  He explained why he wasn't there.  He told me about the surgery & answered any questions I asked.  I knew right then and there that I wanted him to perform my surgery.  I called my dad & told him about the phone call.  Boy, was he impressed!  Dr. Sack was our guy!  We eventually had the face to face meeting (on June 25th -- I know, because I was writing in a journal at the time), and scheduled the surgery for August 3rd.

Me... on HEAVY steroids... preparing for my surgery... 30 and not a happy camper!

Between that time, I celebrated my 30th birthday... and my mom moved to Atlanta a couple of days later (with my blessing, of course! She did not want to leave before my surgery!)  Lord knows a girl needs her mommy in tough times, but she left me in good hands with Daddy & my T'Renee.

My journal entry for August 3rd at 12:30am:  "I'm nervous about the surgery, but I'm ready to get it over with and get to the next phase."

Right before my surgery, Dr. Sack told me: "I have to tell you... if I get in there & you don't have enough small intestine to make the pouch, when you wake up I'll tell you that your colostomy bag is permanent."  SAY WHAAAAAAAT??? Awww helllll naw! LOL! ..... Everything worked out fine. But I sure did hate that bag for the two months I had to wear it! I was allergic to the adhesive that kept the bag connected to my body over my stoma... it was not fun.  FYI, the stoma is the opening in my abdomen where my small intestine was dumping out my waste. I know... gross.  The weirdest part was that I didn't poop between the surgeries, because everything I ate came out in the bag.  Yes, it's as strange as you're imagining it right now.

I had the second surgery (the take-down) on October 5, 2001.  Other than a flare up here & there on the tiny bit of colon they left at my rectum or a bout of pouchitis, all has been well.  I am still susceptible to colon cancer, because I do have that little bit of colon left, but so far, so good! 

The surgery was the best decision I ever made.  It changed my life.  It changed the quality of my life.  Ten years later... I am happier & healthier than ever.

Me... 10 years later.... at 40!  Happy & Healthy!

Thanks for letting me reflect....

Friday, July 29, 2011

No Excuses.... (okay, maybe one or two...)

CLEARLY I haven't blogged in nearly two months... I could give you a rundown of excuses like... I was busy getting ready for my best friend's wedding... I have a new boyfriend.... or I was prepping for my big 40th birthday bash... but those would just be excuses.  The real reason is that I haven't gone to weigh in since the beginning of June, and I just didn't have any great (or bad) weight news to share....

But that will all change tomorrow morning when I go weigh in for the first time since June 4th... Yes, June 4th. I KNOW the scale will register an increase, and I'm mentally preparing myself for it.  I'm trying not to kick myself about the looming 14X number that will show up... I was so happy to get out of those darn 140's, but I am surely back there now.  Part of it is serious weight training the past couple of months & really hitting my workouts HARD at the Santa Monica Stairs & with my trainer.  My body has gotten smaller & I've gained some muscle mass.... and let's face it... part of it is drinking and eating good food the past two weeks in honor of my 40th birthday! LOL!  All I can do is start from where I am now and work my way down towards my goal of eventually weighing about 130.

I have the tools, and more importantly, I have the desire to do it... so I'll be back on track in no time!

I'll post more about my big party soon... in the meantime, here's a sneak peek:

I'll let you know how it goes at Weight Watchers tomorrow....


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Roll With the Punches...

Haven't posted in a while.... life has been pretty crazy, but I'm hanging in there. I DID weigh in for the last two weeks, and here are my results:
May 28th: 139.2 (which was no gain/no loss)
June 4th: 138.6 (down .6)
Not great, but it's better than a gain. Yes, I have been a bit lax on my eating habits, but luckily I have kept up with my workout regimen. Right now I'm pretty steady on 3 days with Claudine, 3 days on my own, and one day to rest.

I've set a goal for myself to get steady under 135 by the end of the month. After that, I will probably try to get to 130 by my 40th birthday. That would be awesome. We'll see how it goes. I don't want to do any kind of crash, high protein/no carb diet just to get to where I want to be.... but I do need to make a few changes in terms of my snacking. I am a cracker/chips snacker... so as long as I keep that stuff out of my house I'll be fine. I have a pair of bright blue skinny jeans that I want to wear to my birthday party... they fit, but I want virtually no muffin top... So I'm working on it!

I'm actually kinda proud of myself for not gaining weight this past month. I've had some intense changes happen in my life that would have totally stressed me out 4-5 years ago. I'm in a better place now in my life to deal with the changes, and I realize everything happens for a reason & in it's own time. I got hit with a whammy, but God had already put some things/people in place to help me absorb the blows. He's pretty good about that kinda stuff! :-)

Have a great Tuesday & I'll post again soon!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fat & Happy??? Try FIT & HAPPY!

Riddle:  Who has two thumbs and didn't weigh in again this Saturday morning??? 
Answer: This girl right here! LOL!

Okay, in my defense, I have had a VERY good reason to not weigh in... I am in a new relationship, and I have been spending the past few weekends with my guy.  Which is actually a good topic for this blog post!  I honestly didn't know what I was going to write about this morning, but weight gain during relationships sounds like a good idea.

We all know people who start dating or get married... and slowly start gaining weight, right?  They're looking at their wedding pictures 2 years later thinking, "What happened to that couple???" It happens.  Wives cook for their husbands... they're all in love... they both have the wife/husband they wanted, so they get lazy. The weight creeps on.  It happens!

I like to work out... obviously.  I am all about getting/staying fit & healthy.  Man or no man, this is all about ME. As I've really gotten into health & fitness I knew that I would not be able to date a man who wasn't interested in his health.  Okay, he doesn't have to be a crazy 5-6 day a week workout fiend, but he has to do SOMETHING.  One: no guy who isn't into keeping in shape will ever understand me.  We would clash.  I'd end up saying some off-handed remark about him being lazy & the relationship would end. Two: people who want to eat all the time & not workout are not the kind of people I like to hang with.  I can't date someone where every date revolves around food.  That's how new couples gain weight together.

Early on, The Guy (as I'll refer to him) and I established that we both like fitness & care about how we look physically.  Maybe it's kinda vain, but it works for us.  When we were "set up" by a mutual friend, one of the selling points she gave me was that he had an "athletic build"... I read that as, "he has a nice body." LOL!  Once we started talking, we immediately clicked on the health & fitness thing.  One thing about him is that he's from Louisiana & he likes to cook.  Oh boy, can he cook! So we do have some meals here and there that I would not normally eat, but that's the exception rather than the rule. His job keeps him in great shape & I have no complaints.  He loves that I work out a lot.  He even trained me through a session once... and it was INTENSE! No joke.  I didn't want to get all sweaty and busted-looking around him, but he didn't mind. LOL.   We have a joke between us that if either one gains a lot of weight (for no medical reason) then the other can leave the relationship with no argument.  I say it's a joke, but I kinda think we both are serious about it.  I know... it's a mess, but it keeps us on our toes.

Our motto:  "Fat & Happy??? Hell no! FIT & HAPPY!"

Here are a few shots from my 4 mile walk/jog when I was visiting The Guy recently...

The weather was PERFECT!

Crossing the bridge at sunset...

A little bunny I met at the park...

Oh, one more thing... Friday night, two friends (Claudine & Nicole) threw a "Bootcamp & Martinis" party. We all met at Nicole's house... Claudine led us in a workout... and we went over to a steep street nearby (Valley Ridge) and climbed it 3 times.  After the workout, we went back to Nicole's house & had healthy salads, veggies & low cal cocktails.  It was SO MUCH FUN!!!

Our "Bootcamp & Martinis" group! Go Girls!