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Friday, December 9, 2011

Why I don't get along with dogs

As you know, I have a thing for cats. 
they are independent, don't need to be walked, clean themselves
and in some cases, ring door bells, use a laptop or play guitar
But some of you may ask, "Didn't you have a dog for a bit?"
Yes, I did.
But it didn't work out.
not since that fateful day in 1986
My stepfather loved dogs
we had a little one-eyed mutt named Petey, he was a great dog
went everywhere with me, used to chase tadpoles in puddles and would never bark
unfortunately, Petey had some dog sickness, probably DAIDs
and he passed away while I was at school
my stepfather was at work
he received a call about Petey and knew how heartbroken I would be and decided to 
"fix" the issue
so Dad went out to a friend’s house and picked up his dog that he was trying to give away
now for context, I was 7 years old
i was big for my age and Petey was part lab/part heeler, not a small dog but didn't
scare me either
we would wrestle in the yard, in fact it was wrestling with Petey that gave me 
two scars on my leg, I'll show you if you want, four inch crescent shaped scars
he loved chicken bones
but didn't clean up after himself
and chicken bones hurt when you fall on them
so I was used to this, my buddy
my pal
My only friend.
so rushing to get finished before I came home, Dad buried Petey in the alley 
and put this new dog in the yard
unfortunately, we didn't have a real good fence and our new dog got out
*got out
he was very big
in fact, he was a Tawny boxer, you can see a similar animal here
My stepfather didn't know his name, just that he only responded to Spanish instructions
so we decided to call him "Rocoso"
and since he was such a big dog and would get out there was only one solution
god forbid we fix the fence
Dad chained the dog out
now, as you can imagine, 7 years old introvert more comfortable with books 
than people, I was intimidated
Here I go, walking outside to play with my new dog, chained and confined to a 20 foot circle
at first it's fine, he licks my hand
then rolls over
I’m laughing because even though my heart is broken, I can see the future, a bright 
future, me and Rocoso
now, time goes on, me standing at the edge of a well-worn circle, petting, playing 
with Rocoso, but still vigilant
looking back now, I can tell, I was standing at the edge of manhood, deciding if 
it was time to venture forth, to take a risk, to open my heart again
one day I decide it's time
unfortunately it was the day after a large rain
and any of you familiar with Texas know that rain makes mud and mud makes 
the ground soft and soft ground means that posts and poles don't always stay in
but I was young, I never thought about it
I finished my Count Chocula cereal, drank the milk and ran outside, pausing to 
only change from my batman pajamas to jean shorts
i edge up to Rocoso
he's lying down, not at the edge of the circle like always
but in the center
inviting me in
daring me in
i look into his dark, tejano eyes and see nothing
no fear, no anger, no anticipation
I take a step inside the circle
and it seems as if the world has stopped
there are no birds singing, the wind dies, no sounds
my heart hammering in my chest the only thing in the world
another step, and he moves
twitching his stub of a tail
just a fraction of an inch but I see it
What does it mean?
is he wagging his tail to play
is he warning me off
resolved, I know that if I'm ever going to get back to the love I had for Petey, 
I have to do this
two steps, an ear wiggle
another step, his leg twitches
he's not steadying himself to pounce
he's not steeling himself to attack
I convince myself
he's cold
it rained
he's on the ground
i would be cold
there is a quilt next to him
dirty, matted with leaves
and since he's not on it
yet cold, I assumed there is only one plausible solution
Rocoso wants to be covered up with the quilt
What a novel idea.
I will be his hero, his guardian, the bringer of warmth
how could he not love me
grasping this golden truth, I rush forward, in my haste I notice his chain
it barely registers that the pole in the ground, isn't
I grab the quilt and twirl it around my head like a magician!
I know this will work
he raises up on his front paws
and the dirty, wet, stinking quilt
lands on his back
covering him from head to tail
It looks like a pillow under there, how warm he must be!
but then
then I heard it
the growl
the growl that I have heard in my dreams for the last 25 years
the growl that even now, reminds me of cold, still death
the pillow moves
towards me
i take a step back
it moves again, two steps back
then it happens
Rocoso comes flying out from under the quilt
and the only thing I remember about his face is the absurd leaves stuck to his jowls
i laugh
knowing it's the laugh of the dead
I turn and run yet the ground is wet
I know that if I reach the edge of the circle I'm OK
that circle of worn earth that has been my haven for these many months
my protector, my only hope
I fall to one knee
i hear the chain jingling, I'm eight feet from the circle
i jump up
and fall again
face first in the mud I know I have one shot left, the ground is pounding
i hear him
the heavy growl, the breathing, the slap of his paws in the mud
summoning strength and speed I never knew existed I scrambled away
I feel his hot breath on my legs
no no no no no no no no no
a snap
he misses
by the slimmest of margins I make it
I’m lying just over the circle, crying now, unabashedly
somehow the rest of my life will never be this intense
I will never feel as alive and dead at the same time
i roll over, unable to see the clouds for the tears in my eyes
and then
that's when a shadow crossed over my face, blotting out the sky
he's come to save me
i wipe my eyes, look up and all I see is bared fangs of a dog intent on never 
being subjected to my cruelty again
there is no hope
but I have to try
if I can get to the swing set, I can climb the slide
rolling over like a soldier in a bullet ridden trench, I roll over the chain, 
tangling myself in it
the stake pole digging into my back
it's all I can do to bring myself to my knees
and then he hits me
jumping on me from behind, driving me to the ground, the fury of 100lbs of 
canine is no match
I’m screaming, who cares who hears me
I’m dying, who cares who saves me
I am undone
then silence
overshadowed by the sounds of my screams and the blood pounding in my ears, 
was the gunshot
Rocoso lies at my side
staring into my eyes
I see his life draining from him, his vigor disappearing
Why not me!
why this beautiful animal
my stepfather comes quickly to my side
and pries my arms from around this cold dead killer
he gathers me up, a muddy, bloody, crying heap of a boy
and takes me instead
he's gone for a while this time, while I rock myself to sleep
I don't venture outside for days, waiting I suppose for all the dogs in the 
world to leave me alone
And then. Dad
my Dad, the man sworn to protect me,
asks me to go outside
tells me he has something for me
i shake my head
no no
not again
but come on, Tommy, it's OK, no one is going to hurt you
remembering the strength it took to step inside the circle, I know I have to
i step out the door
and there
in the yard
with no chain
nothing between him and me
my dad bought me a goat

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh Happy Day

It's been a good day.  It started with getting to work super early and getting some work done that I normally leave for the afternoon.  It was nice to be able to focus on something without alot of distractions.  I haven't been hungry today so I will now list for you my meals:  pop-tart, banana, cheese stick (2), celery, trail mix, tilapia, corn, peas.  About 1200 calories, and I feel great!  And you know what else?  This evening I walked for a full half hour, over two miles!

And to top it all off:  it doesn't even stop there.  I have been invited to publish my blog on www.truthinchange.com, a site created and maintained by James Garrison from ABC's Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.  This is amazing; I have been posting for just a few days and he wants me to help build the community of bloggers, helping and supporting each other and I cannot wait.  Not only will I have the opportunity to share my journey with more people, I will have the unique honor of inspiring them, perhaps someday I can change someone's life like James has changed mine.  I'll let everyone know the new link when established but go ahead and head over there now to join the site and register.  He has forums, a Q&A and some great recipes!

Monday, September 5, 2011


This weekend, I went to North Texas.  Spent time with the in-laws at their farm/ranch.  I helped feed cattle a couple of times, hauling 50lb sacks of feed from truck to trough.  It wasn't far but it made me feel good, that I could do that.  I saw the me I could be, the me I want to be.  I know I'm doing the right thing, I just wish it wasn't so hard.  I guess that's my problem, I spent too much time wishing for things to change rather than working for it.  No more, I have to do this right. 

When I got home and checked the mail, I got a reminder of this.  I received a wristband from James Garrison@ http://truthinchange.com/ This wristband is going to serve as two things:  1) daily reminder of what I'm doing and 2) of how I got this; a contest where 7+ of my friends posted for me, proving that they do care about me.  I'm going to wear this everyday, and someday it will fit.  As I lose, hopefully my wrist shrinks too ;)  

On payday this week, I'm going to pick up some cardio stuff I can do at home, things that will raise my heart rate even when I can't walk.  I'm thinking a shake weight, thoughts? 


My life is upside down yet upside is the only thing I have left
I have scoured the depths of despair and come back wanting
Without a silver lining, the clouds bring respite not
Even as it glitters, the gold in front of me has betrayed itself
I sample the fruits of my labor yet cannot be succored
Heaven's mercies rain upon the unwilling

Sunday, September 4, 2011

First time dining out on new diet

Since I began this journey, I have eaten every meal either carefully bought at the store with an eye towards the label or prepared at home by me.  Due to the holiday we are visiting family and not only ate lunch on the road, we went to my favorite restaurant for supper. (And yes, for all you Northerners, it's "supper"; dinner is ate at noon!)

So I don't think I'm ready for this this, I have not been able to prove my self control yet, this will be a new temptation for me.  We pull up at Sonic and I hungrily eye the double meat, double cheese with bacon burger and chili fries.  Oh, and how about a milkshake to wash it down?  Yum!  I push the little red button with glee and to my surprise, this is one of the new Sonic's, where the button lights up to indicate it's been pressed and all I can see is a big red stop light, telling myself to STOP!

The disembodied voice comes across, the voice that expanded a thousand waists, "May I help you?"  And rolling off my tongue is "Grilled Chicken Sandwich, please".  I am stunned!  I did it!  While I know you purists out there are going to give me grief about eating anything prepared by the devil, I honestly think I made due with the best choice available (I mean, I could have had a salad, but have you ever tried eating a salad and driving?  Not gonna happen.)  I'm claiming this as a victory, because I am watching what I eat, I am recording my meals, paying attention to my intake.  Bite a hard one, I won.

Now we spend the day with friends and it's time to go out with family for supper.  I'm thinking they will pick a place I'm not crazy about, somewhere it will be easy to eat light and build on the success from lunch.  Maybe a Chinese place where I can get a lot of veggies, or even a sammich shop for a few slices of turkey.  Do they do that?  NO!  We end up at TEXAS ROADHOUSE!  Have you ever been to this place?  They herd you in like cattle, peanut shells litter the floor, a glass case is presented with 10 cuts of steaks you can choose from and at your table, before you even sit down there is a can of peanuts and a basket of rolls with cinnamon butter.  I'M GONNA DIE!

Slowly I turn from the dinner party and hit the bathroom, suddenly sick to my stomach, thinking of how much damage I'm about to do to myself when I realize, I mean, really say out loud:  "It's not over."  I wash my face, head to the table and engage in the conversation.  I do eat one roll, maybe out of nerves, maybe habit, probably lack of will power and look at the menu.  Longingly I gaze at the 16 ounce rib-eyes, the loaded baked potatoes, barbecue baby back ribs.  The waitress appears and I ask to go last, I'd rather not go at all, SKIP ME, SKIP ME!  I order a crispy chicken salad, a paltry 670 calories compared to the 2200 from what I would normally consume at such a place.

The best part?  I didn't even eat the whole salad, I have half left for breakfast!  And the moral of the story?  Don't go out to eat!  No seriously, that was the most stressful thing I've done all week and that includes making decisions about other people's employment future.  Today's total:  2,800 calories, the fourth highest of the week (but also the fourth lowest!)  I know I haven't been doing this long, not nearly as long as some of my new friends at www.sparkpeople.com but I think I can do this.  It's going to take a long time.  It took me 32 years to get this way, and I'm going to fix it, even if it takes another 32!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

What do you miss?

In celebration of losing 11 pounds this week, I have decided to share with you one of my proudest moments.  Please see the below IM conversation and let me know what you think,.  I may write a book...  

Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
oops there was bacon on my keyboard
Thomas says:
I'm trying to think of something to say in response that couldn't be construed as possibly offensive.  damn that I'm your boss
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
And why now would u behave?
a piece of bacon fell off my breakfast sandwich
but since ur in love with bacon I had to share
Thomas says:
and i appreciate it!
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
Well u and Chandler put it out there
Thomas says:
oh yeah
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
becca wants u to get bacon therapy
Thomas says:
i used to raise pigs
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
Thomas says:
and would pet them like dogs
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
Thomas says:
my three favorite were named "Bacon, Sausage, and pork chop"
i raised them for a year
fed them table scraps
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
then u had them for breakfast
Thomas says:
bought feed
cleaned their pens like you would a cat box, except with a shovel instead of a scooper
put down fresh hay
they would come up to me like puppies,
I would scratch their bellies
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
Jesus, what movie is this from
Thomas says:
and sometimes, we would even go for walks in the woods, I would tie some rope around their necks and just go enjoy the sunshine
i actually enjoyed spending time with them, they became like my kids
then, one day, in early fall, I brought a pickup load of corn home
like deer corn, you know?
I began adding a bucket of corn to their feed a day
slowly, the pure corn made them bulk up
you could see them getting fatter, putting on weight in the shoulders and rump
their bellies began drooping a little,
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
urkilling me
Thomas says:
and every time I looked at them, they seemed to look back with a knowing smile
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
No one believes the IM convos you and Chandler trap me in!
Thomas says:
as if, as if. as if they KNEW what was going on
in the mornings, they no longer jumped up on the fence when I came out, they just sat back and stared at me
I began having trouble getting in the pens with them
they were getting big, and were acting rough
slowly, I think they began to resent me
like intuition sparked something in them
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
Thomas says:
then one day, when they reached about 200 pounds, I backed the trailer to the pen
I tried to lure "bacon" inside with a plate of potato peelings and apple cores, her favorite
but she refused to go
then I tried chasing them inside
they wouldn't budge
Since I knew it was time, i resorted to harsher measures
I hit them
I used a stick, slapped them across the withers, and on the rump
it made me cry a little
and I can tell, it made them cry too
slowly, one by one, they walked up the ramp
bacon last of all, and right before crossing the threshold, she turned her head back to look at me, and I swear, there was a little piggy tear in the corner of her eye
like I was a traitor, I had betrayed them
with a heavy heart, I swung the gate closed.  the sound it made on that cold morning as it shut was like a prison door
it made all of us jump
I latched it securely, and walked towards the front
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
wtf is with u
Thomas says:
trailing my hand across the backs of my best friends on the way
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
Mark is enjoying his lil bedtime story
he is crying a bit for poor lil bacon
Thomas says:
I got behind the wheel of the truck, hesitating before starting it up
"Was I doing the right thing?"
"Do I have to do this?"
finally, I steeled my nerves, started the pickup and turned the radio on full blast, to try and drown the screaming and crying
my own screaming and crying
the place I was taking them too was about an hour away
that's a long time to think about something this final
10 times, I wanted to stop and turn around
10 times, I made myself not
every time I looked in the mirror, i saw my little ones
but they weren't sad
they had resigned themselves to this eventuality
they knew it was unavoidable
that made me smile
that if they could accept it, so could I
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
your going to therapy!
Thomas says:
I began whistling to myself, trying to lift my spirits
and it began to work, I was daydreaming, of me and the pigs
running thru the woods, digging up mushrooms, splashing in the creek
just laying on the warm grass, looking up at the clouds
it was at that moment that I knew, there was no going back

Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene just sent you a nudge.

Thomas says:
that everything had come down to this
it was time
I reached our destination and backed up to the unloading dock
I was prepared for another fight when unloading but to my surprise, everyone trotted out with no problem
Pork Chop even nuzzled my hand when I reached in to pet him
as if to say, "It's OK, you're not to blame"
once inside, i couldn't bear to watch, I had to watch, I couldn't, I did.
I began to cry, huge racking sobs shook my body, and then it was over
then I was driving home
looking in the mirror, wanting to see three pink little faces
only seeing blue igloo coolers...
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
Thomas says:
and that was the moment
that was the moment that I truly knew
that moment, that with such clarity, made me realize,
bacon is never gone
everything is about bacon. 
Amanda-MC/WFM Abilene says:
I hate you

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Decided to make a post prior to the end of the day.  Went to the doctor this morning and the scale was "missing".  They literally couldn't find it so they will call me back later.  I'll post my updated weight when I get that out of the way.  In the meantime, I discussed the past week and some of my obstacles.  We're going to try something to help with my nerve damage, an anti-depressant called "Cymbalta" which is used to treat pain and tingling caused by diabetic neuropathy.  It works by increasing the amounts of serotonin and norepinephrine, natural substances in the brain that help maintain mental balance and stop the movement of pain signals in the brain.  So that's good.  

Side effects include: nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, stomach pain, decreased appetite, dry mouth, increased urination, difficulty urinating, sweating or night sweats, dizziness, headache, tiredness, weakness, drowsiness, muscle pain or cramps, changes in sexual desire or ability, uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, unusual bruising or bleeding, pain in the upper right part of the stomach, swelling of the abdomen, itching, yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark colored urine, loss of appetite, extreme tiredness or weakness, confusion, flu-like symptoms, fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness, blurred vision, fever, blisters or peeling skin, rash, hives, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, and hoarseness.

So I'm really looking forward to it.  I think.  Those that interact with me on a daily basis, you're either going to start seeing a happier me or witness my deterioration.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One Week Update

Hard to believe a week has already passed.
  • In that time I have reduced my caloric intake by 50%
  • In the last three days I have walked 3.8 miles
  • I have left work every day by 6pm
Tomorrow morning I visit my doctor for a three month checkup and while this past week has been great, he won't be impressed since I had such a good head start way back when.  We'll see how it goes.  

I don't have alot of things on my mind tonight, just bragging.  I don't like to toot my own horn but..Beep Beep!   More charts and graphs because I'm an uber nerd.  

Weekly Progress

Calories:2,000 - 2,5004,2062,3383,4563,0502,3212,6281,966
Fat:103 - 18014011114716511712199
Carbohydrates:521 - 752444220278188204261159
Protein:116 - 4051941538814278136118
Potassium, K:4,500 - 6,0005931,7811,8091,4812,1871,9631,368
Sodium, Na:0 - 2,30013,0675,2166,0265,3232,6705,2331,581

Anyway, the validation I've received has been great, it makes me happy that I did this, glad that I opened up and shared my life.  As I mentioned to someone very dear to my heart: if I'm going to change my life, I need to change all of it.  I've tried the diet without anyone knowing or helping and it was a failure.  And while some of you might think I'm trying to be a drama queen or attention whore, you're right.  But if I don't I'll be the first person to arrive at my funeral and that shit ain't going down like that.  Here's my new long term goal:  My 20-year high school reunion (2017) - you won't even recognize me, and I'm going to be wearing a tux, without having it specially made like at my wedding.   Put that in your pipe and smoke it!!!!!

And since everyone loved the earrings, here's me with my stunna shades!