Monthly Archives: July 2012

Psych Review Update

I finished the final doctor and insurance company requirement this weekend.  I had my psych review done.  As I have stated before, it took me forever to find a doctor who accepted my insurance that was near me.  I was not successful and ended up gonig with one of the doctors the surgeon recommended.  That doctor was 26 miles from me.

I picked up a Zipcar Saturday am and made the trek out to Ashburn, VA.  It was far, but absolutely worth it.  The doctor that I met with was really great.  I felt at complete and total ease with her.  We spent about an hour talking.  Then I had to take some tests.

The one test, I had to draw shapes and symbols on a piece of paper while looking at different cards.  Then I had to draw as many as I could from memory.  I struggled with the overlapping 3-D squares and rectangles, but I always have struggled with those.  I did the best I could .  Then, I drew as many of them from memory that I could.

Then I had to take this huge test of true or false questions.  The test had 567 questions, and I had to answer them by filling in little circles on one of those scanable cards.  I thought I might go blind by the end.  It was horrible filling in all those little circles.

The questions were not too bad.  Most of them were questions like, “I feel I am basically a happy person.”  Or “I am aggitated easily.”

My favorite questions related to paranoia.  Statements like, “I often feel like people are watching me.”  Or “I know people often talk behind my back”  Yeah, because I’m just that important or interesting, right?  There were many other examples, but I do not remember them all.  I laughed out loud every time I read one.  Fortunately the doctor was not present for this or I might have tried joking with her about them.

Once the surgeon has the doctor’s review, he will submit to the insurance company.  Once the insurance company approves the surgery, he will schedule a surgery date.

I do not know how long that process takes, but suddenly things are starting to feel very real.

Today I am posting a video that I saw on the Youtubes.  I have watched it twice now and it totally cracked me up.  Dauschaund chasing a crab on the beach.  Too funny!  🙂

 

Let the Purging Begin…

Slowly I open the closet door, trash bags firmly clenched in my fists.  I turn on the light and let out a shriek of horror as I realize the amount of work I have in front of me…

Yes, that’s right, time to clean out my closet.  I have a lot of clothes.  As I put on weight over the years, I bought bigger and bigger clothes.  I also held onto my “skinny” clothes just in case.   Of course, I was already pretty big, so “skinny” is relative.  Nonetheless, I have a ton of clothes starting at my current size of 28/30 down to a size 14.

Now that I am going to have the gastric by-pass surgery, I am glad that I never threw anything away.  I will be needing these clothes over the next few months. 

So, why am I cleaning out my closets now?  Well, partly because after the surgery, I will not be able to do any lifting for quite a while while my stomach heals.  But I also because I want to have my clothes organized for after the surgery. 

I will be at my sister’s for the first month after the surgery.  I will take some smaller clothes with me, but I want the rest to be ready for when I return home.

I know my sister’s will be glad I’m cleaning out my closets.  They are both purgers.  They throw out stuff they no longer use regularly.  I hold onto everything. 

A few months ago when I was sick, my sister Sandy came over to check on me. She helped me hang up some clothes that I had washed.  From my closet I hear her say loudly, “Oh my God!”

“What?” I asked her

She comes out of the closet holding an old tye-dyed t-shirt that I had on a hanger.  She waves it in front of me and repeats, “Oh my God!”

“What? It’s a tye-dyed t-shirt!  You know I love those.”

“Well, let’s start with it’s MINE!” she responded, “And it’s from 1985! Look at it. It’s falling apart.  Throw it away!”

In truth, the t-shirt was not quite that old, maybe from the mid 90s, but I think it illustrates well that I do not like to throw out clothes.

So, here’s the plan.  I am going to start by throwing clothes that have holes or are stained.  Then I will move on to clothes that I simply do not like.  If they are in good shape, I will put them in a bag for Goodwill.  If not, I will pitch them.  Then I will put the clothes in order by size.  As I lose weight, I will either pitch or donate the clothes that I shrink out of.  When I reach the clothes in size 14-16, I will start making plans to buy some new clothes.  I have a long way to go before that happens, but at least by then I will have the space for new clothes.

Today’s cat belongs to one of my co-workers.  After her cat died, she and her husband adopted a new kitten.  This is Mia.  I think she’s two months old, but I could be wrong.  She is the cutest little black kitten and from what I hear, she rules the roost. 

She apparently, came into the house, sat in that chair and the chair has been her throne ever since.  She fetches and plays and drives their other cat nuts.  From what I hear, he is unimpressed by her cuteness and enthusiastic playfullness. 

I think she’s adorable!

FINALLY:Update on Psychological Review

So, I had the worst time finding a doctor to do the psychological review in my area.  What an oddessey. 

Yes, the surgeon did make a couple of recommendations to me.  I have no objections to the doctors he recommended save one.  Distance.  Well, that and one of doctors he recommended did not take my insurance, so that one was definitely off the list.  All of the doctors he recommended are about 25 miles from where I live and since I’ve already mentioned in previous posts that I do not have a car (crazy city-girl), that is a problem. 

I spent two solid weeks calling every psychiatrist in my area to see if they would do the review.  I finally found one doctor, who accepted my insurance and was very close to me.  In addition to being a psychiatrist, she is a certified nutrionist.  She does the whole mind-body healing thing.  I think that might be just what I need.  The only problem is she will do the review only if I have been a patient for six months.  I do not want to wait another six months, so I had to cross her off of my list.  I may, however, hold on to her number.  I think I would still like to get some counseling regarding food, body-image issues as I lose weight and I think she will be a great resource in the near future.

In the end, I made an appointment with one of the doctors the surgeon recommended.  My friend who suggested that I use this surgeon saw this doctor and she liked him.  Yes, it is far from me, but I will figure it out.  I will probably rent a Zipcar for a few hours. 

The appointment is this Saturday.   Once that is complete, the surgeon’s office can submit to the insurance company for approval.  Once they have the approval, the surgery will be scheduled.   I hope to have a surgery date very soon. (ominous organ music indicating trouble ahead!)

So, today I am going to take a break from cat pictures in favor of pictures from my hometown. 

I went to Pittsburgh this weekend with my sister to see my mom for her birthday.   I took gave her a book, she gave me new sheets, new flatware, some books, soap, and juice glasses.  Yes, she gave me presents on her birthday. 

I usually only get to see my mom once sometimes twice a year.  I do miss her.  Apparently, she misses me as well.  She spends her time picking up little things here and there for all of her kids and grandkids.  When I go to visit her, I usually come home with a bag or box of goodies that she’s been saving up.

I have a great mom!

I also had the chance to visit my step-mom.  My dad died in ’96.  My step-mother is a very good woman and she took very good care of my dad.   The four of us, Ruby, my sister and her husband and me, shared a bottle of peach wine and had a great visit. 

We also went to this restaurant called Eat’n Park.  Way back when in the olden days…so olden it was before my time, Eat’n Park used to be a drive in restaurant.  You know, the kind you see in 1950s movies where people drive up to the restaurant and and a girl on roller skates brings you your food.  Thus the name.  Now it is a family-style restaurant.   They are also home to these wonderful smiley cookies.  Yum!

I love that place.  I wanted to have one last meal there before my surgery.  They have a great breakfast buffet.  Only in Pittsburgh can you get sauted pierogies on a breakfast bar.   I know, breakfast bar food is not the greatest for you, but I just had to have some of it one last time.  I did make sure I ate the fresh fruit first and vegetables first, but I did indulge on some of my favorites.

Anyway, here are some pics of my hometown:

 

I did not make it to the world famous Primati Brother’s.  They have the best sandwiches that are famous for putting everything, coleslaw, fries, everthing, on their sandwiches.  They are so good!

For more wonderful pictures of Pittsburgh, please see my cousin’s website.  He has a great photo webpage and our hometown is  featured prominently.  He is a great photographer and has some wonderful shots.  The last two shots above are his.

It was nice to go home!

Doctor Update

Yesterday, I had a follow-up with my primary care doctor to review the results of my physical, to review my high blood pressure meds, and to get a referral letter for the gastric by-pass surgeon.

First a note on my bp meds.  I take three medicines for my blood pressure.  The one pill, Norvasc, is great a lowering bp, but it can cause you to retain water and cause swelling in your extremities.  I did really great on Norvasc for a long time.  The past couple of months though, my feet and ankles have been swelling up out of control.

Now, I have had my feet swell as a reaction of eating something I’m allergic too.  That can sometimes be much worse than what I have been experiencing the last few months.  The pain from anaphylactic shock is extreme to say the least.  The tops of my feet would swell.  The bottom of my feet would swell.  Ankles. Legs.  It is terrible and very painful.

I have not had that in a very, very long time because I am very careful about not eating allergens.  Occasionally, stuff slips through, especially if I eat at a restaurant or eat something someone else cooked.  A good example is the night my company took us to Fogo de Chao for a Christmas party.  OMG FdC is totally awesome.  It is a glutton paradise.  They literally bring you endless amounts of food, most of it in the form of some kind of really yummy meat.  Oh they do have an endless salad bar as well, lest you miss you veggies or not get enough steak.  But I digress.

When we arrived at the table they put baskets and baskets of rolls on the table.  I immediately started eating them.  I was like maybe on my second roll and I turned to one of my co-workers and said, “These rolls taste kind of yeasty, don’t you think?  I wonder if they cooked them all the way?”

At which point my co-worker, who knows of my milk allergy, said, “OMG Colleen you cannot eat that!  They have cheese inside!”

Yes, it had been so long since the last time I had cheese, I forgot what it tasted like when placed in bread.  Fortunately, my feet didn’t swell up that night, I just had an upset stomach.  But that also could have been from the vast quantities of meat I ate.

But back to my meds…My doctor decided to take me off the Norvasc for a while.  Just a month.  I also have to take my bp every day to make sure it does not spike back up.

The other thing we discussed was my cholesterol.  My cholesterol normally runs between 199-206.  That is a borderline high number.  Doctors have been bugging me for years to try to bring that number down.  As  I have discussed, I have been seeing a nutritionist.  I have made some changes in what I have been eating, how I have been eating it, and paying attention to my hunger levels.  I have not really lost any weight as a result, so I was pretty sure my numbers would be pretty much the same.  Are you ready for this?  My cholesterol was 155!  You heard me, (or read) 155!  Nope that is not a typo, 155!  I am so excited.

I have not made big changes.  I’ve added fruit to my cereal at breakfast.  I’ve included fruit or a veggie in snacks.  I have added more veggies at lunch and dinner.  And I have very nearly cut out all forms of junk food.  I say nearly, because I still eat a small amount of chocolate and the very rare small bag of chips or pretzels.  Those are not every day snacks, but very rarely, I will still indulge.  I have also cut back on my restaurant food intake.

That was the good news.  Now for the bad.  My triglycerides were 239.  Really, not good.  Yes, it could have been worse, but considering my family’s history of heart disease, this is not a good number.  So, my doctor and I talked about things I can do right now to improve that number.  I apparently have to bring it down below 155.

So, the last thing I discussed with my doctor was the letter she needed to send to the surgeon.  Done.

I also had the last counseling appointment with the nutritionist.  We went over the things I need to maintain doing.  We talked about my recent obsession with margaritas.  And she gave me information about the supplements and protein shakes that I will need for after the surgery.

I will still have pre-op sessions with both my doctor and the nutritionist, so this is not the last time I will see them before the surgery, but things are getting really close.  I am still working on getting the psych evaluation.  I thought I found a psychiatrist in my area, who accepts my insurance to do this, but we have been playing phone tag and the meeting has not happened yet.  I hope to get that done in the next two weeks.  After that, the surgeon can actually submit to the insurance company for approval.  Once they have the approval, they will schedule the surgery.  The office told me they are thinking late August, early September, which is what I am thinking as well.  OMG it is getting very close!

Today’s kitty pic is from my friend Wendy.  She is in both of the writer groups that I belong to.  This is her cat Kowi.  Kowi is a tough, resilient little cat.  They found her in the Florida everglades where I’m sure she took on many alligators.  She is smart as well because she can fetch.    So, here are several pictures Kowi, warrior kitty alligator slayer!

 

A Matter of Great Concern, etc

Today I want to talk about two things.  One is an update on Last Supper Syndrome.  The other is a very serious matter that has been weighing heavily on my mind recently.  Underwear.

I do not know why, but I have been inordinately preoccupied with the underwear supply I will need as I quickly lose weight after the surgery.   I am very worried about this.  I know it is silly.  I mean, it is simply underwear, but still I cannot stop thinking about it.

I have been the same size for so long, that I have built up quite a stock of panties.  I do a regular purge of old ones.  But I regularly buy a bunch of panties at a time.  Usually several packages of Haines Her Way at one time.  I generally have a pretty good stock of 2 months worth on hand so that no matter what the laundry situation may be, I always have clean undies.

Now I am looking down the road a couple of months ahead and there is a very real possibility that I may be throwing out the old and replenishing in rapid succession in smaller and smaller sizes.

I know it seems silly, but the doctor’s office has me making all kinds of preparaations and buying things in advance.  Vitamins, food, smaller sizes of clothes.

I have clothes, t-shirt, shorts, pants, blouses, that I can wear down to size 14.  After that, I will have to buy some clothes.  Vitamins will keep.  Most of the food I can buy right before the surgery, but I am buying things like chicken stock and sugar free jello now.  But I just don’t know how to prepare for the potential panty problem.

My sister and I had a discussion about this recently.  She has lost a little bit of weight herself (like maybe 10 pounds…I know…that skinny b%#ch!) and had to renew her own stock.   So, I shared with her my anxiety of buying new and tossing out the old.  We had a good chuckle.  OK, in truth, she laughed at me.  But she also made some suggestions of what I could do with them:

  • Use the old ones for cleaning rags.
  • Give them to Goodwill.
  • Make t-shirts out of them.
  • Make a quilt.
  • Donate them to a kite making factory.

 

When I told her these options were unrealistic and btw ewwww, she responded with, “Well, I guess we’ll just have to throw them away and buy new ones, crazy girl.”

If only it were that simple.

Now for the update on Last Supper Syndrome:

Recently, I had this crazy craving for margaritas.  I’m not a huge drinker.  On occasion, I will have one or two glasses of wine, but it is usually on a special occasion or when I go out to dinner with someone.  Mostly though, I’m happy to drink water.  I know, I’m boring.

I do not know what brought this current margarita craze, but I just had to have them.  I probably saw a movie or TV show where someone was drinking margaritas and I immediately thought, “OMG I have to drink margaritas before my surgery!”  Now, I haven’t had margaritas in at least three years.  In fact, it has been so long that I do not even know when was the last time I had them.

I contacted a friend of mine and we went out for happy hour last night.  There is a Mexican restaurant around the corner that has $3.00 margaritas at happy hour during the week.  That was pretty much perfect.

Now, Mexican restaurants are problematic for me.  I am allergic to milk, tomatoes, and corn.  Harry thought Sally was high maintenance because of the way she ordered food with everything on the side?  That’s nothing.  I go into a mexican restaurant and everything I order I have to say,  “I’ll have the (fill in mexican dish), no tomatoes, no salsa, no pico de gallo, no cheese, no sour cream, flour tortillas not corn, does your guacamole have sour cream or tomatoes in it? And white rice not spanish.  Pinto beans on the side no cheese on top. Thanks!”

Finally, my friend says, “She’s allergic to these things, please do not put them on the plate.”

The whole time the waitress is looking at me like I have three heads and I can see her thoughts scroll across her forehead as she thinks, “You realize of course, those are the ingredients in oh EVERYTHING we serve?  WTF are you doing at a mexican restaurant if you cannot eat the food here?”

Duh, $3.00 margaritas!  And I tip well, so shut up and bring me my plain steak fajitas.

Seriously, though, the waitress was great and we had a good laugh.  She brought me just what I wanted and many, many margaritas.  Well, 3 actually.  And now I’m good for margaritas for a while.

So now it is time for the obligatory cat photo.  Tonight I am featuring a cat that belongs to my partner in margarita crime, Andy.  Grady is his cat.

I went to high school with Andy.  He and my brother were/are friends and so me and Andy were/are friends.  We lost touch with Andy after high school when we attended different colleges.  Then we were reunited with him via Facebook a couple of years ago.  And as fate would have it, Andy and I live around the corner from one another.  Literally.  We grew up and attended high school in Pittsburgh.  Our lives went in different directions, and now Andy and I both live in the same town in Virginia.  I know, so strange.  I am glad that we are friends again.  My brother also lives in VA, but he lives like 25 miles from here.

Thank goodness for Facebook!  For all of Facebook’s flaws, I’ve reunited with several friends and this makes me happy.

So, thanks for the margaritas, Andy!  Here’s to Grady:

MMMMMM COOOOOKKKKIIIIEEEEEE! AKA My biggest weakness

 

I had to share this video.  It features two of my favorite things.  Cookies Monster and his favorite food group and mine, cookies.

I love cookies.  All kinds of cookies.  If I had a choice between cake and cookies, cookies would win out every single time.  I will miss cookies after the surgery.  Apparently, sugary foods can be problematic after gastric bypass.  Oh well.  I’ve had ample cookies in my life.  Obviously.  So, I will simply have to enjoy Cookie chowing down.

Facing the Harsh Reality

By now I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone with a TV, computer, or radio, that the country has been suffering from a horrible heat wave and many people have gone without electrical power  My apartment was lucky.  I only lost electricity for 36 hours, however, it was enough to wreak havoc on on the contests of my refrigerator.

Since returning to my home after a weekend at my sister’s, I have managed to skillfully avoid contact with my refrigerator for the most part.  I did pick up a couple of staples to get me through the week, but they are now gone.  Today I faced the harsh reality of cleaning out my refrigerator.

I was out of meat with the exception of one package of sausage links before the outage.  But I did have eggs, vegetables, soy milk, and condiments to contend with.  Most of the veggies were rotten.  The recalled Dole salad mix I had no intention of eating anyway.  I had already called Peapod to get a refund on them since they had been recalled due to listeria.  (ewww)  I pitched the sausage links.  I know they are mostly preservatives, but still, why take a chance.  Clearly the eggs hit the trash as well as the mayo.  I kept some  of the condiments, raspberry jam, one thing of mustard.  I keep the rice vinegar chilled, but I’m sure it is just fine.

So, now I am down to a handful of condiments, some spinach, and rice.  Time to shop, obviously.

Fortunately, I was almost to the point of going grocery shopping anyway.  The damage boiled down to one bag of trash and half a bag of recyclable containers.  But I hate throwing food away.  it is such a waste.  I was going to hit the grocery store today, but they are calling for another round of violent thunderstorms again tonight.  I do not want to throw another refrigerator full of groceries away if the power goes out again.  I just cannot afford it.

I find it very difficult to follow a healthy stable diet if I cannot even keep healthy food in the house.  Do I punt today and go to the market downstairs and buy some frozen dinners to get me through until tomorrow or worse yet, order take out?  Or do I go to the grocery store and cross my fingers?  I do have a couple of bags of ice in the freezer that survived the last black out.  I could move them to the cooler and put as much of the food in there as I can.  That could work, but if the blackout lasts a couple of days as it has for many people here, I’m screwed.

It is kind of infuriating that in the 21st century, we cannot seem to find a way to have our power system survive a thunderstorm.  There has to be a better way.

Today’s post will end with an adorable picture of my sister’s cat Oscar.  She kept me great company last weekend.

Things I Will Miss

So, today for lunch I made one of my favorite things.  Wings.  I love wings.  I love all forms of wings.  Hot and spicy, sweet and tangy, plain, etc.  I have not found a wing I do not like.

Honestly, I prefer if I make the wings myself.  There is a store nearby that delivers some really good wings.  It’s called Wingzone.  But even comparing my wings to theirs, I prefer mine.  I can make a darn good wing.  I especially like the sauce I make.

I started making my own sauce several years ago.  One of the things I make very well in general is sauce.  Nearly every kind.  Gravy, pasta sauce, hot sauce, salad dressing, you name it, I can make it.  I also have an uncanny ability to know which flavors mix well together to make wonderfully savory sauces.  I am especially proud of my sweet and spicy habenero sauce.

I stumbled upon it quite by accident.  Well, partly anyway.  I wanted to make my own sauce for wings and I looked up a recipe for a spicy sauce.  I followed the recipe, which took 10 habenero peppers, pretty closely.  I also tossed in some onions and garlic that were not part of the recipe.  After I made the sauce and strained it, I took a taste.  It was like eating liquid fire.

I was supposed to take the sauce and wings to work for a party.  My general rule when serving wings is if I think something is slightly spicy, it is probably too hot for other people.  With smoke coming out of my ears, I knew I could not serve that sauce to my co-workers.  I desperately tried to find some way to tone down the fire.

I took some olive oil and melted down some mayo, raspberry jam, and honey.  I added the molten sauce to this, brought it to a boil then simmered for about 10 minutes.  I tasted it and it was still hot, but not so bad.  I put it into the refrigerator over night and took it to work the next day with my fingers crossed.  I served the sauce on the side.  I had flavored the wings before cooking so they were not totally plain.  Then I issued a warning my co-workers to to be careful with the sauce.

End result, the sweet and spicy sauce was amazing.  Apparently spending the night in the refrigerator after cutting it down with jam and honey did the trick.  It was still spicy, but not so hot anyone needed the emergency room.  But it had this wonderfully sweet and smoky flavor.  OMG it was great.

I have to make that again before the surgery because I sure will miss it after!

At the request of my niece, today I am going to take a day off from posting cats and share a picture of her bearded dragon, Onyxia.  She’s just a baby so she’s still pretty little.  If she grows wings and spits fire, I’m moving.

Happy Independence Day!

Today we celebrate our country’s Declaration of Independence!

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy 4th of July!

 

 

 

 

Support System Pre/Post Surgery and The Biggest Loser

One of the most important things anyone who is considering gastric by-pass surgery is having a good support system for before surgery and especially after the surgery.

Every appoint I have had, whether the surgeon, my doctor, the nutritionist have asked me what kind of support will I have after the surgery.  Do I have a spouse or boyfriend  to help me?  Does my family live nearby?  Where will I stay after the surgery?  Will I be alone?  Will help be available if I need someone?

I have said before, and I will say it again, I am very lucky.  Yes, I live alone.  I do not have a car.  I live about 30 miles from the nearest family member.  I am unmarried and I do not have a partner to help me.  And my mom lives in another city.  That said, I do have a great support system in place.

My sister lives near the hospital where the surgery is taking place.  Her home is going to become support and recovery central.  She has offered her home up to me for when I get done with the surgery.  They have a guest room already set up.  She has offered that I can stay with her for up to a month if I need it, or longer if necessary.

My mother will be coming to town for the surgery.   My sister will probably be hosting her for her stay as well.   My mom may opt for hotel stay for a night or two just to have some space of her own.  But I do know she will be here.

My brother and his wife live one maybe two miles from my sister.  I’m not really certain of the exact distance, but it is only about a ten minute drive from one house to the next.  They have promised to be on hand.

Plus I have a myriad of friends who have promised to be on hand who have promised to be on hand, including the woman who recommended the surgeon to me.  She is very excited for me.

I know that sometimes there is often a gap between promise of support and the follow-through in times of crisis or need.  We have all had a very close friend whom we think we can count on for anything, yet vanishes when a family member dies.

I know that some people deal with stress, pain, hospital stays, death differently and may drop from sight.  And people you barely know will come out of the woodwork to help you through the hardest times.  That’s fine.  I’m prepared for some of that.  I’ve had it happen before.  And still, I say I am lucky.

I know my family is fully in support of my decision.  Many of them actually cheered when I told them.  I know one person has concerns.  I do not want to mention that person as they do not really like being mentioned on the internet, but I do know the concern is out of love.  And I do know that they support my decision and will be there if I need something.

What also makes me feel lucky is the sheer number of people who have come forward with promises of support.  I do know that not everyone can nor will be there, but if almost everyone who has said, “If there’s anything you need…” or “I’m here if you need anything, just call…” just did one supportive thing post surgery, my recovery will be a piece of cake.

One person who has offered me a lot of support, I have not mentioned that much on this blog.  I’ve talked quite a bit about my brother and sister who live here in Virginia.  My baby sister lives in Minnesota (see before picture post – bride).  While she is not here to help me with big stuff, right now, she has been in the past.  I’m going to tell you a story now that is kind of embarrassing and silly.

A couple of years ago, I auditioned for The Biggest Loser  TV Show.  This sounds much more impressive than it actually was, but I did.  My sister lived in Pittsburgh at that time and I was visiting her.  I told her I was thinking of doing that.  In her typical supportive style, she responded, “That would be AWESOME!  Not only would you be thin, you’d be famous and rich!”  Well, since I am neither famous nor rich, nor even thin, I’m sure you can guess that I did not make it to the show.

I told her that there were casting calls in Richmond, VA.  She drove to my apartment in Arlington from Pittsburgh and together we drove to Richmond.  We sat out all night on the streets of Richmond with a bunch of other people.  She did take off and sleep in the car for a couple of hours, but was back in time for them to let us into the building.  She helped me get ready and waited in a room with me with about 500-1,000 other people waiting to meet with people from the show.

I participated in group interviews.  I sat at a table with about 9 other potential contestants and a “judge” from the show.  We all had about 30 seconds to say something to impress the judges.  Or maybe it was 10 seconds, I don’t remember.  Then they dismissed everyone.  I do not know what the next step was supposed to be because I evidently did not make it.

My sister and I checked into a nearby motel and slept for a few hours.  Then got some dinner and drove back to Arlington.  It was crazy and a lot of fun.

Recently, for my current weight-loss project, my baby sister has become one of my biggest cheerleaders (a role she knows something about).  She reads this blog.  She texts me cheerful, supportive texts.  She calls me.  She writes on my Facebook wall how excited she is.  And since she lives in Minnesota, she is already planning the post weight-loss shopping trip at the Mall of America. or Mecca as she calls it.  I probably cannot afford all of the “super-cute” clothes she wants me to buy.

So, in honor of  my baby sis Jen, here are her two cats Sprinkles and Miley.  They are, in her words, “super-cute” if not super-furry.