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Where Have I Been?

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 25, 2013 in Family Stuff

So much has changed since my last post – has it really been THREE YEARS since I’ve posted here?  Life gets in the way of things sometimes and before you know it, time has flown by.

I’d like to try to start posting here again on a regular basis – not that I believe that anyone is reading, but it is helpful for just for me to look back and remember where I’ve been and to map out where I want to go.

And remarkably, I still get comments from time-to-time on my Married…With Asperger’s post from 2008.  It is amazing that my post affected so many people – even almost 5 years later!

I’m not going to try to catch up in one single post, but here’s a synopsis of where I am today:

  • I am still happily married to my Asperger’s husband (for almost 15 years now)
  • I am employed full-time as a Federal employee with the FAA
  • I am currently enrolled in a 9-month Executive Leadership Program
  • My oldest son is a freshman in college (yes – COLLEGE)
  • My middle son (also with Asperger’s Syndrome) is about starts high school next year and has decided to leave Pitman schools for dual entry into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Fine Arts program at a high school associated with a local university (he plays the bassoon and the clarinet)
  • I have become a “Dance Mom” supporting my daughter during dance competitions and recitals – oh…and she starts MIDDLE SCHOOL next year (yikes!!!)
  • My family has experienced some major health issues that have had a huge impact on our lives
  • And I have, unfortunately, gained back most of the weight I lost and documented here on my blog – but I am trying to get back on track

I’ll try to write some posts over the next few weeks to expand on all of these issues…

Here we were in the late fall of 2012 at one of Matthew’s band competitions in Annapolis, MD.  Andrew is missing from the photo because he was away at college.

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Here is one with me and all three kids at Christmastime:

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I have really missed writing and am looking forward to catching up!

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Feeling Out of Sorts

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Oct 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

The last few weeks have been really strange – I just haven’t felt like myself.  No major changes, just lots of little things have me out of my normal routine.  And I’m such a creature of habit – I LIKE routines.  Routines are comforting to me – at least to a point.  There are times in my life where I like to shake it up a little bit (and during the entire transition, I second guess myself and wonder why I didn’t just stay in my comfort zone where i belonged).  But for the most part, I like to get up at the same time, have the same breakfast, go to work at the same time, drive the same way…you get the idea.  If I have to even take a detour that takes me down a different road, I sometimes have a little panic attack. 

Anyway, the last few weeks have definitely had me out of my routine.  Two weeks ago, I spent the first part of the week on travel in Washington, DC for work.  And for a woman who doesn’t like change or surprises (I should mention here that I also don’t like surprises.  That includes gifts, surprise parties, unexpected visitors…I even wanted to know the sexes of all of my children before they were born.), I do like to travel.  Well…I like traveling once I get wherever I’m going.  And I like planning a trip.  I just don’t like packing or getting to the airport/train station – that part REALLY stresses me out.  Part of the control freak in me, I guess.  This trip, I took the train to DC by myself – something I’ve never done before.  I did enjoy the train much more than driving and I do like Washington.  It’s such an amazing city – everyone there seems to have a purpose – a place to be and a job to do.  I stayed in a really nice hotel and got to catch up with some friends while I was there, too.  Wish I had some money to spend – there were some fantastic stores near my hotel…but I’m sticking to the budget.

The day after I got back from DC, I went on an amazing 3 day Christian retreat called the Walk to Emmaus.  I can’t begin to describe what a wonderful spiritual experience I had – I felt surrounded by God’s unconditional love in a way that is unlike anything I have ever felt before.  I didn’t know anyone going in to the retreat, but came out feeling so close to the women I met there.  I’d like to volunteer to assist others in the future with their walks and hope that I can make their experiences as wonderful as I found my own.

But as incredible as my spiritual experience was, the actual physical experience was not as incredible.  After staying at that fabulous 5 star hotel in DC, the accommodations at the retreat were much more…rustic.  And during the weekend, we experienced a “double nor’easter” (whatever that is) – it basically amounted to temperatures in the 40’s and driving rain for 4 straight days.  Oh…and did I mention that the buildings were only heated with space heaters?  And that we had to move outside from building to building to eat, sleep, worship and even go to the bathroom? 

So after a weekend of very little sleep in a confined area with lots of other women while spending time outside in the cold, driving rain and no heat…surprisingly, I got very sick with the flu when I got home.

And I’ve been sick for the last 9 DAYS!!!!  It’s been weeks now since I’ve been in my normal routine – I haven’t been exercising because I’ve been away or I’ve been sick or I was in physical therapy for my hip.  And while I was away, my eating habits were off too.  They fed us SO much while we were on that retreat!  The food was fabulous, but they gave us dessert at EVERY meal!   And I felt so bad wasting the food that they had cooked for us – plus it was SO good…

But so far, so good.  I haven’t gained any weight – I guess I really only ate bad for those 3 days.  I’ve picked back up on the exercise – I’m not sore, so I guess I wasn’t away from it as long as I thought I was. 

I’m looking forward to feeling like myself again. 

Oh…and here are some “before and after” weight loss photos.  Andrew went to homecoming this weekend and when I saw this photo of him and me, I remembered that I had this other photo taken at his 8th grade graduation about a year and a half ago.  Thought they would make an interesting contrast – this was June, 2008:

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And this was last weekend, 50 pounds lighter:

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I got thinner and Andrew got much taller…

 
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Reactions

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Oct 4, 2009 in My Adventures in Dieting

I suppose that’s the theme of all of my posts lately – sorry about that.  Real life gets in the way of blogging, I guess.

I missed wishing a happy birthday to my dear husband Michael last week.  We celebrated with a dinner at Guillermo’s in downtown Pitman.  Pitman is undergoing a resurgence, of sorts – in the last few months, several new restaurants have opened and we’ve been lucky enough to try them all (maybe that’s why I haven’t had to time blog). Funny thing is, since it’s still a small town, we ran into several other people we knew at dinner.  And for days afterward, friends and neighbors stopped us and said, “We saw you eating dinner at Guillermo’s on Friday night.”  I guess they saw us through the window?  Life in a small town – can’t get away with anything.

Speaking of which, I’m sure everyone was concerned with exactly what was on my plate since my weight seems to be the other big topic of conversation in town.  I reached my goal weight last week – I’ve lost a total of 48 pounds since January 1st.  It took a lot of hard work and certainly didn’t happen overnight – if you do the math, I lost about 1 1/2 pounds per week on average. 

I’m finding some very interesting reactions from people…

The first thing people ask is HOW I lost the weight.  They are expecting to hear it was some magic pill or secret diet plan.  When they hear it was eating healthy, counting calories and exercise, they are usually disappointed.  Problem is, there is no secret – we all know how it really works to lose weight, it’s just no fun to do it. 

People are amazed that I have the time to exercise.  They think you need hours of time and an expensive gym membership.  I don’t belong to a gym.  I have 3 kids, work a full time job and commute an hour each way every day.  But I am probably in the best shape I’ve ever been.  I just take about 20-30 minutes each day and try to hit all the major muscle groups plus mix in a little cardio too.  No special equipment – just some videos and a whole lotta sweat.

Some people have taken me aside and asked if I’m ill or depressed.  They make me look them in the eye and swear that I’m okay.  I never expected that reaction.

Other people keep staring at me and tell me that they can’t get used to seeing me this way.  Or that they can barely recognize me.  I have to admit, sometimes when I look in the mirror and catch a glimpse of myself, I feel the same way.  I have two badges at work – one photo was taken 1 1/2 years ago and the other was taken a month ago.  They don’t even look like the same person.

Another very strange reaction that I didn’t expect was the reaction from men.  As much as people try to tell you that weight doesn’t matter in how attractive someone is, the awful truth is that it does.  Even though I am happily married and WAY past my prime (at 41, I’m certainly not a head-turner), all of a sudden, I find that I’m getting cat-calls, those awkward stares and smiles in a way that I didn’t get almost 50 pounds ago.  And the truth is, it makes me uncomfortable.  Maybe I should be flattered, but the other day when a group of men told me to turn around so they could see my rear in my jeans, I was thinking “sexual harassment”, not flattery.

The best part of the whole weight loss thing is going shopping.  I walked into Gap yesterday for some new dress pants, flipped through the sale rack, pulled out a few pairs of size 6 pants, took them into the dressing room and they fit perfectly.  I kept spinning around in the mirror and looking from all angles – I was very proud of myself.  Me – in a size 6.  I NEVER thought that would happen again.  I wanted to say to the sales girl when she asked how the pants fit, “You don’t understand – I just lost ALMOST 50 POUNDS!  I’m not your average size 6!  I’m not like those girls who are naturally skinny!  I had to work really hard to get here!!!!”  But I didn’t.  I just said, “They fit perfectly.”

So now the challenge is, how do I stay here without gaining any weight?  I also don’t want to lose too much more either – I want to be healthy, not gaunt. 

This week has been particularly hard for me because I have been having some issues with my sacroiliac joint and have been instructed to stop all exercise for at least 2 weeks while I’m in physical therapy.  I don’t want to get out of the good habits I’ve formed and I don’t want to put on weight from extra calories not burned.  So I’ve been cutting back a bit this week – no dinners at Guillermo’s for me.  This is going to be a real game of balance while I try to settle in at this weight…wish me luck.

 
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Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

July is certainly a busy birthday month for our family – today is Andrew’s 15th birthday!  I can’t believe it – he’s 15 already. 

We were going over his class schedule for the fall (he’ll be a sophomore in high school this year) and mixed in with his regular classes he mentioned that he’ll be taking driver’s ed.  Wait…back up…what did you say????  Driver’s what????  It just seems crazy to me.  Isn’t this the same little boy who was just playing with Power Rangers and loved watching Barney and now he’s talking about driving a car?  When they say it goes by so fast, they are not kidding.

Enjoy every moment – I know I did.  I love you Andrew (hope that doesn’t embarass you too much), but no – you are still not driving my car for a VERY long time. 😉

Happy Birthday!

andrew

 
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Happy Birthday, Matthew!!!!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 12, 2009 in Family Stuff

Happy 10th Birthday to my wonderful son Matt!  Your birthday was actually yesterday, but since we had such a busy day catching up from vacation, hanging out at the lake, enjoying your birthday cake and playing a never-ending family game of dominos, I haven’t had time to post my birthday wish until this morning. 

You are the sweetest, kindest, most sensitive boy and I love you – I hope you always stay exactly the way you are today.

 

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Summer’s Here!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jun 25, 2009 in Family Stuff, My Adventures in Dieting

Seems like I was just posting that spring was here – now it’s summer already.   I can’t believe it! 

I’ve dropped a few more pounds for a total of 37 pounds lost so far – not too shabby!  My original goal was to lose 40 and now that I’m just a few pounds away, I was on the Internet (uh-oh – you know this can’t be good) and found a height-weight chart which told me that for my height, I should actually be about 10 pounds lighter than I am right now.  I guess that 40 pounds ago, where I am now seemed like such an impossible goal, but now that I’m here, 10 more pounds should be easy, right?  So with a minor adjustment, I’ll be at my ultimate (and surprisingly achievable) goal by the fall. 

The kids started a fabulous summer camp program at Rowan University this week called Kids Rule.  It teaches them a new sport every week and has them running, swimming, and playing hard every day – Emily even fell asleep on the couch last night!  It’s good to see them having so much fun – makes me feel less guilty for working all day.

Matt has joined the summer youth Hobo Band playing the clarinet and he’s also taking lessons this summer from a very talented teenage girl as well.  He’s surprisingly good – I think music is going to be his thing.

Emily just had her spring dance recital as well as her gymnastics ‘expo’ too.  And Andrew will be pitching at his last Little League game on Saturday night – he is going to be too old to play Little League next year.

We’re getting ready to go on vacation in a few weeks – back to our favorite campground, FrontierTown in Ocean City, Maryland.  I’m really looking forward to it – I could use some time away to just relax and spend some time with the kids without a hectic schedule…

 
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So now that I’m on Facebook…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jun 19, 2009 in Family Stuff

I find myself posting less and less here on my blog.  Facebook lets me post quick little updates – just a sentence or two at a time – and I find myself updating my “status” over there once or twice a day.  Plus I love reading everyone else’s updates – I guess that’s the voyeur in me?  And now I’ve also started to get hooked on Twitter too.  I don’t “tweet” much over there – I mostly read tweets from others (especially celebrities – there’s that voyeurism again).

I have started to post longer posts here several times and find myself editing them to the point where I just scrap the whole topic.  I don’t know how people write tell-all books or appear on talk shows to vent their dirty laundry in front of the world.  I find that I have to do a lot of self-editing – and end up saying not much of anything at all sometimes. 

But what I can share with you is an update on my diet – I have now lost 35 pounds!  Not too bad, I think. 

By the way, if you’d like to see my Facebook status updates, they show up in the upper right corner of my blog page here – you’ll also see photos that I post over there.

I’ll try to post here more often – just with a filter…

 
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Catching Up

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Apr 24, 2009 in Family Stuff, My Adventures in Dieting, Today's Photo

Working full-time certainly has affected the amount of time I have to update my blog!  Today is my day off, and I have about 5 minutes before I go and try to cram every weekday errand that needs to be done for the next 2 weeks into one day (can you say the DMV, optometrist, bank, etc…), so here’s an abbreviated synopsis of what’s going on with the Torrences (in bullet form – can you tell that I’ve been putting together a lot of presentations at work lately? – but not necessarily in sequential order):

  • I turned 41 and had a GREAT birthday which included a massage and a camping trip to Cape May (not at the same time)
  • Easter Sunday came and went – we had brunch with my parents at Cracker Barrel this year
  • I’ve been keeping up with my diet and exercise ‘plan’ (not really a plan – just trying to eat less and move more) and have lost a total of 26 pounds as of today
  • My mystery headaches were diagnosed by a neurologist as an ‘extended migraine’ – they lasted over a month and are being treated with a medication called Topamax.  The medication is helping – and as an added bonus, weight loss is a side effect! :)

Here are a few quick photos too:

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That’s all I have time for right now…time to move on to the next errand…

 
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Spring is here!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Apr 4, 2009 in Family Stuff

I’m happy that we’re well into the month of April and that winter is behind us.  I always get a spiritual lift in the springtime.  I don’t know if it’s the promise of Easter or the warmer weather or watching things come back to life again…I guess it’s a little bit of all of those things.

It’s also an uplifting time for me because I feel like as I’m shedding my heavy winter clothes, I’m also shedding parts of myself at the same time.  I’ve now lost 23 pounds and have gone down 3 pants sizes since the beginning of the year. 

March was a slow month for me for weight loss and I’m not sure why.  I think when I began seriously working out, I started to build up some muscle and while I continued to lose inches, my weight didn’t drop as fast.  But it still dropped…which is a good thing!  I feel like I’m in a good place and am happy with my exercise routine and diet – I don’t feel deprived at all and am enjoying the feeling of accomplishment that comes after a good workout.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to workout as intensely as I’d like lately thanks to some sort of mystery headaches I’ve been having.  They started about 3 weeks ago and will not let up – not even with pain medication.  And I’ve tried everything from Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, Sudafed and Excedrin to prescription migraine medicine, antibiotics, muscle relaxants, nasal spray and most recently, prescription steroids (the steroids are awful – they keep me awake at night and make my heart race – AND I still have the headache!). 

The good news is that I’ve had a CT scan of my head and sinuses that both came back normal.  I’ve started seeing a neurologist who is requesting a few more tests which are scheduled for this week.  Hopefully, they’re able to find the source and provide me some relief.  Or I’d be just as happy to wake up one day with the headache gone and never find the reason – I just want it to stop.

It’s extremely frustrating for me – I’ve found myself unable to focus well at work because of the pain – and I have to force myself to exercise and continue with my other normal everyday life stuff.  But as a mom, you just have to keep going and push through it, you know.  And I don’t want to slide backwards on my weight loss and exercise progress – I’ve just started to get into shape!

And as usual, of course, I’ve been all over the Internet trying to self-diagnose.  There’s some SCARY stuff out there!  I need to just back off, wait for the test results and assume that it’s nothing serious. 

I’ll post an update when I get some relief…hopefully soon.

So enough whining – spring is here!  We’re going to take our first camping trip of the year this month and I’ll be turning 41 in a few weeks.  I booked myself a “Stress Buster” spa treatment at a Red Door salon for my birthday – and also got myself a new pair of running shoes this morning as a gift to myself.

And just look at this cute photo of Emily I took this afternoon:

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I can’t help but feel upbeat when spring arrives!

Oh – and we didn’t win the contest with our cupcakes from my last post – we came in second place.  But that’s okay – I thought they were adorable!

 
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Burger Cupcake Idea

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 26, 2009 in Crafts, Other items, Today's Photo

I needed a cute cupcake idea for my daughter’s bake sale at school and saw these “slider” cupcakes online – I decided to try my own.

Mine aren’t quite as professional-looking, mind you – but I think they turned out pretty cute:

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The buns are vanilla cupcakes, the burgers are chocolate cupcakes, the ketchup and mustard are icing and the lettuce is colored coconut.

Will we win for originality?

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