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The Week in Review: Six Feet Under

Monday, March 04, 2013

My dad and my brother Brian when he was a toddler. We could not get them plots right next to each other, but my dad was buried in the same row as Brian.

As most of you know, my dad passed away suddenly on February 11th. The past few weeks have been an exhausting emotional roller coaster. I have felt virtually every emotion there is, sometimes simultaneously.

I had finished watching the series "Six Feet Under" a couple of months ago. For those who haven't seen it, the show is about a family that runs a funeral home. The father dies in the first episode and the show revolves around how the family deals with his death (as well as other issues). I found "Six Feet Under" to be life-changing. It changed the way I view end-of-life and made me accepting of death. It isn't that I was in any denial about the fact that everyone dies. After all, one of my early childhood memories is of my brother Brian's death. But the show made me feel matter-of-factly about death. I know that my grandparents and at some point both of my parents will pass away. However, my dad dying was not on my radar. His diabetes had been fairly well-managed and he never had any cardiac events related to his high blood pressure. I was more prepared to hear that something had happened to my mother when I got a call from a hospital, as she has been hospitalized for heart-related events. So, needless to say, my reaction was utter shock. Luckily my best friend rushed right over and took me to the hospital, where I got to see my dad's body and say good-bye to him.

I almost immediately thought of "Six Feet Under" because the show addresses the different reactions to death and grief and that there is no one "right" way to react. One of the main characters says in the first episode, after his father's funeral, "Four days ago I was a relatively happy guy. Now it's like I don't even know who that guy is any more." I can relate to that sentiment. Just 3 weeks ago, I was a joyous woman who came home from a great workout at the gym, took a shower, and then as soon as I stepped out I received a phone call that changed my life. I was clueless that I was about to become a new person. Ever since, I will get waves of emotions that are so extreme, they are almost irrational. It is easy so launch into disaster mode at the drop of a hat. I have felt at times that I have no love or compassion to give to anyone, even though that's not true. During those periods I have also been convinced that I will never feel better again, even though I know that's not true. Although I may not be able to control my emotions (nor do I necessarily want to), I can reflect on them and try to keep things in perspective.

I accept that I will never be the same person. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it I do not mean that I believe I will be a depressed person from now on or anything like that. Grieving is not the same as depression, despite how depressed one may feel while mourning. Grief starts immediately after hearing that someone has died and as much as the emotions can be extremely strong and horrible, I recognize that the feelings are normal. I let the emotions come forth and I process them as they come. If I feel good or happy, I make a point to not feel guilty about it. While I have experienced extreme sadness, anger, and even confusion over the past few weeks, I have also witnessed extreme love and kindness. My best friends, without hesitation, were there for me (and continue to be). I don't know that I have ever felt more cared for in my adult life than I have over the past few weeks.

Nothing tests how much you have changed as a person than dealing with some of the strongest emotions you will ever experience. I was concerned that I would want to eat my way through these strong emotions. Admittedly, I have had a couple of binges over the past 3 weeks, but my inclination has been to continue to eat in a healthful manner. Even in the midst of binging I realized the eating was not helpful, and the overeating was still not near what I would have done in the past. Part of the overeating was out of convenience. I did not feel like cooking for a while, so it was easier to order food or have frozen pizza on hand. I made a point to still eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, but I just did not feel like doing my batch cooking like I usually do. I finally made a big pot of soup and some dishes, and have basically been back on track. I am proud that I haven't had many strong urges to engage in emotional eating. I am not, however, focusing much on weight loss right now. My goal is to eat healthfully and track my food, but I am not worried about the scale.

Jiu Jitsu got a bit sidelined over the past few weeks. I did go to class the subsequent 2 days after my dad died, but then I think the shock set in and I did not feel like going to the gym. I felt like I was being ignored when I did go to the gym, which made me pissed at the guys at the gym because I thought they were alienating me. One day I just up and left before class even started. I decided to join another gym, which I did last week. I went back to the gym where I used to train (and where my brother John still trains); their Jiu Jitsu instructor is a black belt and I missed my old instructor's kick-ass kickboxing classes. Then I went back to my other gym for a class with a black belt guest instructor. I felt at home again. I felt almost embarrassed at how angry I had gotten at those guys for no reason and realized that there is a reason you shouldn't make big decisions when you're grieving; your judgement is just way too clouded. So, for now, I will do classes at both gyms. I am going to afford myself that luxury for a few months and then decide what I would like to do. Like I am giving myself a break from eating specifically for weight loss, I am going to give myself a break from training for competition. I am not going to sign up for any of the upcoming competitions; I will decide how I feel as the day approached, but I am not putting any pressure on myself to compete. I just need my training to be fun and stress-relieving for now.

Work has been very challenging, and not in a good way. Doing poison control already tries one's patience and is very taxing. I have had almost zero patience over the past couple of weeks. I struggled to provide even the most basic kindness to my callers. Then I took a call from a guy whose dog and 2 cats ingested a supplement. I started talking to the guy, and several minutes into the call, he told me that he found one of his cats was dead when he got home. His dog was already sick. He started choking up telling me about his cat. I wanted to reach through the phone and fix everything for this man. I remembered that I'm not the only one who has problems. My compassion returned quite a bit after that phone call. I can deal with my emotions while also helping others. Actually, extending compassion is helpful to me; it helps me remember that I do have something to offer.

Part of how I am coping with all of this is rewatching "Six Feet Under" (I bought it this time). It is really help me process my emotions and recognize that my dad being gone is a reality. If you have never seen "Six Feet Under", I would strongly recommend it. Be forewarned that the show can be crass and raunchy, but the show is beautiful (albeit the story lines are outlandish). I honestly don't think I would be handling my dad's death as well as I am had I not watched it.

I don't mean for this to be a "poor little me" post. As always, I will be honest about my feelings. I am grieving right now, I will have my ups and downs, but I will get through. After all, my dad would want me to continue to pursue my goals and he wanted me to be happy. Knowing that helps me work through the ugly feelings that bubble up with grief. I may be heart-broken, but I think my heart is also building up from the love I had from my father and from family and friends since his death. I hope to eventually emerge as an even better person than I was before.

Old family picture (my dad, brother Brian, my mom, me, and brother John as a baby).

Picture of my brother John, my dad, and me at his rehearsal dinner a few years ago.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 3/6/2013 3:48PM

    Thank goodness for gems such as 6 Feet Under to come to the rescue!

Looks like you are doing a great job to avoid having YOU get sidelined too.

Your SparkFamily is with you every step of the way!


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DOODIE59 3/5/2013 10:56PM

    What a clear view you have of your situation. You are remarkable. Thank you for writing your feelings down and articulating the grief you're working through. You are a wise soul:) Sending hugs to you,

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LIVE_AMAZINGLY 3/5/2013 10:44PM

    I never seen the show, but your blog makes me want to.

Wishing you the best in your journey to continual growth.

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LIBBYL1 3/5/2013 10:38PM

  I loved six feet under when I watched it when it first came out.... Brilliant and challenging in so so many ways.
Isn't it amazing though how life prepares us in odd ways for what is to come? Like you watching this series at this time? My father died many many years ago when I was 13 and there is no formula for dealing with grief. But you will some time be able to remember/talk/think about him without crying.

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SUSIEMT 3/5/2013 10:24PM

    You are very strong. Keep up the good work tracking your food. Good luck with both gyms!

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    I know you'll get through this. I admire you because you're such a strong, confident person.

Also, I'm glad I got filled in on the gym thing. I think it will be fun getting to go to two different gyms and maybe you'll meet some new people and have some fun.

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MARTY728 3/5/2013 12:50PM


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    I can relate as I lost my mother years ago. I always say that you never truly grow up until you lose a parent. It does change you forever but not necessarily in a bad way. You are handing your grief well and doing what is right for you at the time. It is a long process. Allow yourself the time to experience it.

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HIPPICHICK1 3/5/2013 12:22PM

    This is so far from a "poor little me" post, my dear. I think you are a rock star at processing your thoughts and feelings and putting it all down in a blog.
All traumatic events change us to a certain extent. Take care and be well and continue to heal.
I think you're doing an emoticon job of it.

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 3/5/2013 11:37AM

    P.S. Love the pictures!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 3/5/2013 11:36AM

    You do write so well, Erin! And your journey is viewed with great insight!
I plan to watch 6 Feet Under...and I will keep you in my thoughts! You are truly doing a good job with the grieving process and letting it happen!
Love & Higs,

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SMILINGTREE 3/5/2013 10:25AM

    It seems like I learn something from each of your posts. You have much to offer, including compassion. No one really handles grief well - I don't think we are supposed to - but you are dealing with it in a logical and healthy way. I think about you everyday, and am sure that many others do as well.

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TRAVELGRRL 3/5/2013 7:44AM

    I think you are doing a beautiful and HEALTHY job of dealing with this devastating loss. Continue to do so. Life goes on, and things DO get better. You are fortunate to have had such a wonderful man in your life for as many years as you did. emoticon

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JSALERNO 3/5/2013 5:35AM


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JILLYBEAN25 3/5/2013 2:23AM

    As always, you articulate things so beautifully. I'm glad to hear your update and that you're still plugging along. It sounds like you've got a healthy handle on everything that's happened within the last few weeks. Keep on keeping on!

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AUNTHELEN 3/5/2013 12:27AM

    I too, lost my Dad suddenly a few years ago. You are so right about life changing. We are so lucky to have had a Dad who meant so much to us. Treasure the memories and live to make him(and yourself) proud. Absolutely love your blog. Hugs and prayers for you and your family emoticon emoticon

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SASSISPRING 3/5/2013 12:01AM

    This was definitely not a "poor me" blog. I feel this is the most honest, strong blog I've read about the personal journey through grief. I felt your personal strength come through, and am humbled by your honest open sharing about the journey through grief. Thank-you for sharing photos of your family.

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PHOENIX1949 3/4/2013 11:07PM

    Roll with the emotions on this emotional rollercoaster. Take care of you.

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KRISKECK 3/4/2013 11:05PM

    Oh honey...sending love and prayers. Your pictures are beautiful, your family's love shines through. And your blog is so real and true. I can relate to so much of what you are saying...I lost my dad too and yes, we will never be the same again. And I watched Six Feet Under too and while I watched it after, I agree with your assessment, strange and sad, matter-of-fact and beautiful, so much like life itself. We are lucky to have had fathers who loved us so much. Sending love, sending prayers.

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In Memory of My Dad

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My dad in his early 20s.

As many of you know, my dad passed away suddenly on Monday, February 11th. I buried my dad a week ago today. This has been an overwhelmingly emotion time; I will address that in a later blog. I wanted to post a quick blog in memory of my dad. A single blog cannot, of course, encompass our relationship. But I feel the more that is written about him, the more his memory will live on.

I have had a hard time deciding what to write, so I wanted to share the speech I made at his funeral. I really wanted to speak at his funeral, although I had a hard time writing the speech and getting the words together. I knew I did not want to just get up there and wing it. I wanted to incorporate a reading from the book "The Prophet," but otherwise I was having difficulty deciding what to say. I did some writing to try to get the speech together, but the words would not come. It was not until I was sitting alone with my dad before the funeral that the speech came to me all at once. Here is the speech:

I have been struggling over the past few days in deciding what words to say today. Words just seem so insufficient to encompass such a brilliant and kind man whose life touched so many others. So, I turned to the best source of inspiration I could think of. I watched the movie that my dad and I watched so often, I can recite, and so could he. A movie that shaped the very woman I am today..."Spaceballs." There was rarely a time that my dad and I got together where we didn't quote "Spaceballs." The quote that stands out today is, "When will then be now?" from when Dark Helmet is looking in the desert. As much as I would like to go back to "then," a week ago when life was normal and I had plans to meet my dad for lunch tomorrow, I can't. We've passed "then."

I spoke to my dad for the last time last Sunday when we talked on the phone. Our last words to each other were "I love you." These were always the last words we said to each other. It didn't matter whether it was "I love you" during an embrace, a quick "Love ya" before hanging up the phone, or even "Love, dad" at the end of an e-mail, I knew how much he deeply meant it. I do feel a deep sense of loss with my dad dying, but as his daughter who is able to look back with knowing that nothing was left unsaid and knowing how proud he was of my brother and I, I feel joy in having had such a special relationship with my dad. He had no expectations of my brother and I other than that we were doing something that made us happy. He also encouraged us to be passionate about learning, as anyone who knew him knows that he always sought to learn something new.

Rather than focusing on the loss of my dad, I have been focusing on his life and the joy I had in my relationship with him. One of my favorite books is "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran, and there was a passage that spoke to me during this time, which I would like to share:

“On Joy and Sorrow”:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

My dad's death was very sudden for us, but I take comfort that my dad got to live with joy until his last moment. While there is, of course, sorrow from his loss, he did not experience any sorrow at the end of his life. He was one who had taken the sorrow from his own life and created joy. My dad took joy in his family and told my brother and I how he was proud of us. I am overjoyed to look back on his life, his love, and his achievements and feel so deeply proud of him. He was surrounded by so many people who loved him, and now my family is surrounded by loving people. In the end, the best we can hope for is to be surrounded by joy and love.

The joy I feel when I think of my dad cuts through the sorrow, although the feelings are deeply intertwined. I will miss my dad more than words are able to express, but I am glad he knew how much he meant to me, even without getting to say "good-bye.” I love you, Dad, so, so much.

I was happy to have made it all the way through the speech. I was so close to him that I felt a little like he spoke through me. He was always proud of me as long as I was doing my best, so that is what I did. The best way for me to memorialize my dad is to keep learning new things and exploring all of life's possibilities, like he did.

Recent picture of my dad.

Recent picture of my dad and stepmom.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEWHENRYSMAMA 2/28/2013 11:18PM

I know you hurt and I know you smile and feel joy over your father!
Time will mellow out the real lows and even out to a comfortable feeling!
Thinking of you!
P.S. The Prophet has been in my life for so many years! So has a book called "Das Energi" by Paul Williams. I think you would enjoy it! I would be happy to send you a copy! Send me a private message with your address and I will send it right away! Hugs!

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JLITT62 2/28/2013 7:48AM

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful poem - thank you for sharing it with us.

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DDOORN 2/27/2013 1:58PM

    Your father was WAY TOO YOUNG to pass away! OMG, so sorry not to catch up with your news sooner! Sharing your heartache and loss, but also high-fives to your resolve: "The best way for me to memorialize my dad is to keep learning new things and exploring all of life's possibilities, like he did."

That's the ticket! I'm positive he is looking over you with smiles, hugs and all the love & caring he always shared throughout your life!


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SASSISPRING 2/25/2013 11:55AM

    Thank-you for sharing photos of your father and for sharing your speech. You have a very close relationship with your father and his spirit will remain in your heart. Your speech was beautiful and respectful, full of love. Many hugs.

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SUSIEMT 2/24/2013 7:41PM

    Thank you that was lovely!

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DOODIE59 2/24/2013 4:33PM

    Lovely words from you and Kahlil Gibran:) You will have no trouble honouring your father's wishes of moving forward with learning and exploration. Every one of your blogs reflects your curiousity about the world around you and your focus on improving and expanding your path to good health, as well as your life path. Hugs for your sadness and to support your plans for the future.

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HIPPICHICK1 2/24/2013 12:00PM

    What a lovely tribute to your Dad.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JSALERNO 2/24/2013 8:20AM


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PHOENIX1949 2/24/2013 5:04AM

    Beautiful tribute.

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JILLYBEAN25 2/24/2013 1:20AM

    This was a wonderful and beautiful tribute. You are such a wonderful writer and I'm sure your dad would have been beaming with all the things you said. I'm sorry for your loss, but I'm so glad you had such a wonderful father in your life.

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CRABADA 2/24/2013 12:33AM


Your eulogy is so beautiful, and truly moving. I think we can all learn something from your words (which would make your dad happy, right?).

Thank you for sharing this very personal moment.


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LIBBYL1 2/23/2013 11:23PM

  lovely tribute...

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APED7969 2/23/2013 10:49PM

    What a wonderful tribute to your dad.

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CANNIE50 2/23/2013 10:43PM

    So beautiful, Erin. You did your father very proud.
"Joy and sorrow are sisters".

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NSTARSMITH 2/23/2013 10:17PM

    Even though it brought tears to my eyes to read your beautiful speech, I found it so wonderful that you truly know that you are filled with all your dad gave you during his life. He left a loving legacy in you! Bless you and your family.

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LIVINHEALTHY9 2/23/2013 10:02PM

    A lovely post and a beautiful tribute to your Dad.
I am sorry for your loss.


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THOMS1 2/23/2013 9:32PM

    emoticon emoticon

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    You gave a truly wonderful remembrance of him and I'm so glad you included his pictures so I could put a face to the person you introduced me to in my mind. emoticon

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NANNER2121 2/23/2013 8:08PM

    I am so truly sorry for your loss. I lost my brother to a horrifying brain tumor on Dec 22. We had his Life Celebration Feb 16. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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TRAVELGRRL 2/23/2013 8:05PM

    There is no doubt in my mind that your father is very proud of you and considers the relationship you two shared as one of the prized accomplishments of his life. The fact that you know what he stood for and cherish those qualities says volumes. Your speech was beautiful, and I hope it helps you heal from the terrible loss of your beloved dad. Take care. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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My father passed away tonight.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I am in a little bit of shock right now. I went to the gym tonight, came home and showered, got out, and the phone rang almost immediately. It was a nurse at a hospital telling me my father had passed away and that I needed to come to the hospital immediately. Needless to say, I was pretty hysterical. I am very fortunate that I have close friends, and my best friend came right over and drove me to the hospital.

My poor stepmom had been with him the whole time. He collapsed suddenly at home and she immediately called 911. The paramedics tried to resuscitate him at home and while en route to the hospital. He had probably died long before getting to the hospital. The medical examiner said the cause of death was a heart attack.

I got to see my father and held his hand for the last time. I thanked him and told him I loved him.

I was supposed to see my dad yesterday, but between bad weather and him not feeling well (he had been feeling tired for a few days), we decided to reschedule. We talked on the phone, though. I am glad that our last words to each other were, "I love you." I am glad that we were always open and honest--there is nothing that I feel was left unsaid. If nothing else, I am glad to not have regrets about my relationship with my dad. When he left our family when I was very young, there was a good chance that I would not really know my dad. After my brother died, though, he realized that being a father was the most important duty he had. We became very close and have always lived near each other. We saw each other frequently.

I will probably be doing a lot of the funeral planning this week. I want to plan a celebration worthy of such a generous, amazing, and brilliant man. My dad pushed me, inspired me, and loved me. I am glad he knew that.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 2/20/2013 11:02PM

    Oh, Erin, I am so very sorry that you are grieving the loss of your father. Your blog, as always, was beautiful. It was poignant and is a lovely tribute to your father, but also to your loving heart. You must be exhausted at this point, after all the arrangements on top of the grief and loss. I wish you peace of mind.

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TRAVELGRRL 2/18/2013 7:57PM

    I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I'm glad you had a good relationship and "nothing was left unsaid." Take care of yourself during this difficult time. emoticon

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    I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. emoticon

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NEVERGIVEUP 2/14/2013 10:51AM

    So sorry to hear of your loss. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

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TINAJANE76 2/13/2013 6:26AM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I hope that you can find some comfort in the many happy memories you had together.

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CRABADA 2/12/2013 9:40PM

    I'm heartbroken for you - just so very sorry.


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DOODIE59 2/12/2013 9:02PM

    Oh, Erin, I am so very sorry to hear this. Hugs to you.
I would also like to say, as others have said, that is is fantastic that you were able to say good-bye without regrets, and that you had a strong and loving relationship with him. That is a rich blessing.

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 2/12/2013 3:25PM

    I am very sorry to hear about your loss. How very sad for you. It's never easy to lose a parent. When my mother died, I wrote her a fantastic obituary that I knew she would have liked.

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SUSIEMT 2/12/2013 3:22PM

    I am so sorry for your loss! Thank you for writing this blog. It made me feel good. Why I don't know but for some reason it just plain made me feel good. Thank you!

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MARTY728 2/12/2013 12:26PM

    Sorry for your loss. emoticon emoticon

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ARCHIMEDESII 2/12/2013 11:56AM


I am so sorry to hear of the sudden loss of your father. My condolences to you and your family.

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SASSISPRING 2/12/2013 11:47AM

    emoticon My deepest condolences on the passing of your father. He sounded like a great man. Those memories you'll cherish forever in your heart. His spirit will surround you with love. My sympathy to you and your family.

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BECKYSRN 2/12/2013 10:55AM

    Erin, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I'm glad that the last time you spoke you were able to tell him you love him.
I lost my grandma on Saturday, and the last time I talked to her on New Year's Day I told her I love her....
Your dad died knowing that he was loved very much, and I hope that gives you some comfort. Hold on to the good memories and know that he will keep you wrapped in his love.
Blessings to you....

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SIRIRADHA1 2/12/2013 10:50AM

    This may sound a little weird, but...
I loved your blog. I am glad that your last words were kind and loving. I am grateful that you had him in your life and that you cared for one another. Every bit of love and beauty in this lifetime are treasures.

My FIL, a wonderful, wonderful man died about a year ago. It gave me a great appreciation for the nobility of gentle goodness.

Peace be with you and with your family.

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SPOONGIRLDEB 2/12/2013 10:49AM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Know that all your SparkFriends are thinking of you!
emoticon mm emoticon

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KSCHRAUT 2/12/2013 10:47AM


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BRIDGIEEE 2/12/2013 10:20AM


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VERONICAVW_140 2/12/2013 10:14AM

    Praying for you and your family. emoticon

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PHOENIX1949 2/12/2013 9:59AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHLOE453 2/12/2013 9:54AM

    I am so very sorry about the loss of your father, you are in my thoughts and prayers. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUSAN727 2/12/2013 9:49AM

    emoticon emoticon

My sincerest sympathy!


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THOMS1 2/12/2013 9:43AM

    emoticon emoticon

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EVERSTEPH 2/12/2013 9:21AM

    So sorry to hear that. Thinking of you. emoticon

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BROOKLYN_BORN 2/12/2013 9:17AM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Hang on to the last words you shared.

I lost my Dad 15 years ago at Christmas. When I feel sad, I remember the last words we shared and it helps.

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BEACHBUM4LIFE 2/12/2013 9:01AM

    So sorry to hear about your father!

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BAZOOKABOBCAT 2/12/2013 8:28AM

    Oh lady, I am so sorry. You're in my thoughts today.

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PUPPYWHISPERS 2/12/2013 8:18AM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathies to your family during this difficult time.

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HIPPICHICK1 2/12/2013 7:53AM

    My sincerest condolences to you, my dear. I'm so very happy that you have no regrets and that your relationship with him was good and strong. That's a beautiful thing. Sending you love and healing vibes.

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    So very sorry for your loss. So glad you were in a good place with him before he passed.

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CAT609 2/12/2013 7:05AM

    I am truly very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this sad time~

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HEALTHYL1 2/12/2013 6:59AM

    So very sorry for your loss. emoticon

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EMFRAPPIER 2/12/2013 6:46AM

    So sorry for your loss. Thinking of you.

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JSALERNO 2/12/2013 6:27AM


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PHEBESS 2/12/2013 6:18AM

    Big hugs, sweetie. And I'm so sorry for your loss. It will take a while for life to seem real again - just surround yourself with loved ones, and be good to yourself.

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NCSUE0514 2/12/2013 5:08AM

    I'm so very sorry for your loss. May God bless and strengthen you in the days to come.

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SHOSHANA192 2/12/2013 5:05AM

    I am so sorry for your loss. emoticon

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NEEDTOBESLIM3 2/12/2013 4:59AM

    Very sorry that your Dad has passed. Very, very glad that you were so close and showed such love for each other, blessings, Dee. XX

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APED7969 2/12/2013 4:42AM

    So sorry to hear about your dad. Sending hugs your way emoticon

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ARNETTELEE 2/12/2013 3:58AM

  Sorry for your loss. It's never easy to lose a loved one!

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JILLYBEAN25 2/12/2013 3:55AM

    emoticon emoticon My heart is breaking for you. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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SYZYGY922 2/12/2013 3:51AM

    I'm so sorry about your family's loss. I'll be thinking of you.

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Article Addressing Weight Loss Resistance

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Just wanted to share an article from Cathe Friedrich that addresses "weight loss resistance," or lack of weight loss despite doing "all the right things." I am glad that research is starting to address the fact that people can eat right and exercise and still not lose weight. Every body is different, so it is a matter of experimenting until the right balance is struck.

Here is the article:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Thank you for sharing the link to this informative article. I'm surprised she did not mention menopause among the causes - that's the "hormonal imbalance" to end all imbalances!

Be well!

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KANOE10 1/28/2013 6:32AM

    That was a very helpful article. There are many good ideas on what could cause weight loss resistance. Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 1/17/2013 12:38PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LIBBYL1 1/16/2013 11:19PM


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SUSIEMT 1/16/2013 6:27PM

    Very Interesting

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 1/16/2013 5:41PM

    Thank you for the link to this fascinating article! I'll keep it in mind.

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JILLYBEAN25 1/16/2013 4:51PM

    I find this really interesting, especially as I continue to delve into the wide world of nutrition. I know at some point in my practice, I'll come across someone like that. And I had the same thoughts as SMILINGTREE. Why is this becoming more prevalent? Very interesting indeed.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/16/2013 3:13PM

    A lot of tracking can be really off the mark, too, especially if people aren't using a scale and weighing everything.
Here is a video illustrating that...

Unfortunately even when you're doing your best at measuring accurately (with a scale), there is still room for some error (although usually not enough to offset a deficit of 500+ calories:

And then there are the effects of water loss and retention which can throw things off too...

The above things have to be ruled out first before considering weight loss resistance. Once they ARE ruled out, however, people might be wise to seek the advice of an endocrinologist directly. A real one. Not just a GP.


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THOMS1 1/16/2013 3:10PM


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LOVESTOWALK49 1/16/2013 1:06PM

    Makes sense. It feels like losing weight is just beyond my control. I only lose weight when my body wants to. Other times, I can do everything right and my weight doesn't move or I can even gain. Thanks for posting this. emoticon

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SMILINGTREE 1/16/2013 12:51PM

    Interesting stuff. It makes me wonder: Why? Why is this more prevalent? There are so many things to think about, from pesticides and processing of food to sitting too much, and every single thing in between.

Part of the reason I like to do dietary "experiments" is that I'm still looking for my own magical combination. No set of guidelines is right for every person, it's all a matter of finding what works on an individual level.

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CHRISTINA791 1/16/2013 12:38PM

    Interesting stuff - especially the points about sleep and cortisol. I think that was a major factor in my own issues for many years (and, of course, it fed on itself. My poor health made my sleep disorder worse, and my lack of sleep caused my health to tank).

The things I've done to lose weight aren't any different than what I'd tried in the past, but this time when I started I had my sleep issues mostly under control, much less stress in my life (my cortisol had always been elevated enough that it was a concern for my doctor) and my blood sugar was in normal ranges (even if I had to go on insulin to do it). It was like as soon as those underlying issues were addressed, the formula suddenly worked. Up until that point, exercise and a healthy diet did nothing but make me tired.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 1/16/2013 12:36PM

    Loved the article and it was really beneficial to me. Thanks!

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JSALERNO 1/16/2013 12:35PM


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SUECHRIS50 1/16/2013 12:12PM


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ALICIA214 1/16/2013 11:59AM


Thank you.!! emoticon

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The Week In Review: Trip to Los Angeles (with pics)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

TapouT Training Center, downtown Los Angeles.

I am not the same person I was a week ago.

I knew that my trip to Los Angeles to do Jiu Jitsu training would be pretty exciting: I would be training at the TapouT gym, meeting and training with Jiu Jitsu master Eddie Bravo, probably meeting some famous people, seeing a taping of Conan O'Brien, walking by the ocean, and hanging out with the guys from the gym. My Jiu Jitsu instructors arranged the trip to train with Eddie Bravo, who is the head of our branch of Jiu Jitsu (10th Planet Jiu Jitsu). I was very excited to have the opportunity to train with him so early on in my Jiu Jitsu journey. While I knew this past week would be very exciting, I guess I was not expecting it to be life-changing.

Eddie Bravo. (Image from

We got in to San Diego late in the afternoon on Monday the 9th, picked up our rental cars, and drove to Los Angeles. We got there just in time for class. I thought I would be nervous meeting Eddie Bravo, but he was very laid back and easy to talk to. The way he explained things made a lot of sense, and he also made it clear that it is okay to feel and look foolish during Jiu Jitsu. I have struggled with feeling stupid when in practice, especially learning something new. Sometimes other guys at my gym act like people are idiots if they don't understand a new move within a few tries. I have come to understand that this is actually a problem for them, not for me. In order to really understand moves in Jiu Jitsu, they must be drilled over and over again. There is absolutely no way to know every nuance of every move with a couple of tries. In any case, I was happy to have my feelings validated by someone who has been practicing a long time.

After technique, we started rolling (rolling is the Jiu Jitsu term for sparring). I rolled first with an experienced guy who gave me some good tips on performing takedowns. The second person I rolled with was Victor Webster from "Days of Our Lives", "Continuum", and "Castle" (amongst other things), although I did not know he was famous when I rolled with him. He is a brown belt (next belt level down from a black belt) and is highly skilled. I knew that I might be training with him, but I did not connect that it was him when he invited me to roll with him. Anyways, he gave me a very thorough ass-kicking. I had never rolled with anyone at such a high level before and it was very eye-opening. When we were done rolling, he told me I should consider only rolling with other small people. I wanted to laugh because no one in my entire life has considered me to be a "small person." I think he realized he was a little rough with me because I saw that he toned it down with our other guys.

I had a great time with the TapouT gym members. A lot of them have been practicing for at least 5 years. I got some excellent tips from everyone I rolled with. When we were practicing techniques, the more experienced people were extremely helpful. It was also funny to me, because a few other TapouT members mentioned that I was a "smaller person." I finally told one of the guys that I probably outweighed him by a lot. He asked how much I weighed and I told him a little over 220 pounds. He told me he thought I weighed way less than that. In any case, I guess my exercise program is really reshaping my body, because I feel the most "shrunk" that I have thus far in my weight loss journey.

When class was over, we grabbed some food and went back to the hotel and crashed after our long day.

Victor Webster from "Days of Our Lives"--this guy really whooped my ass. (Image from

On Tuesday, we had both a morning and evening training session (2 hours each). I felt fantastic in the morning class. The atmosphere and energy of the gym was rejuvenating. We grabbed some lunch after class and then napped for a little bit. Then it was back to the gym in the evening for our second class. It was again, totally amazing. Eddie wanted us all to go to Hooters afterwards to get to know each other. I sat near him and he asked me how I got started in Jiu Jitsu and we chatted for a bit about that. We stayed out way too late and had too many drinks.

Wednesday was an especially exciting and emotional day. I was going to Burbank to Warner Bros. Studios to watch taping of Conan O'Brien with one of friends from the gym. We also decided to go check out Santa Monica Pier beforehand since we had some time. I hadn't seen the ocean in several years, so I couldn't wait to walk the beach. We walked around for about an hour, and I gathered some rocks on the beach. Afterwards, we headed to Burbank to watch Conan.

At Santa Monica Beach on Wednesday:

I was lucky enough to happen to be going to Los Angeles because I was considering a trip there just to watch a Conan O'Brien taping; I looked into getting tickets to watch Conan O'Brien film the second I heard about our trip to Los Angeles. Conan is one of my favorite people on this planet and I was giddy with excitement to see him live again. I have been watching Conan almost since he started hosting late night, and I had an opportunity to see him live on a trip to New York about 15 years ago. I was very much looking forward to seeing him again.

I found out earlier in the week that the guests would be Ricky Gervais, Deepak Chopra, and the band Imagine Dragons. I wasn't too familiar with Ricky Gervais, although I have seen him on Conan before and knew he was hilarious. Ricky surprised Conan with wanting to take a picture to post on Twitter, and that they would both strip down and get in a bathtub to take the picture. I was doubling over with laughter while they were doing the picture. Then Deepak Chopra came on and I loved his dry sense of humor. I think he would be up my alley, so I think I will check out more of his work. Then the band Imagine Dragons played their song "It's Time". They have become one of my new favorite bands.

Conan and Ricky Gervais's bathtub Tweet pic. This was one of the funniest and most absurd things I have witnessed. emoticon You can see the bit here (about 4 minutes long:

The monologue was also hilarious, especially the last couple of minutes:

Music video for "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons: (Totally worth a listen!)

Full episode:

I did not think that Wednesday could get any better. We got to class and I was very ready to get moving. We went through our techniques and then started rolling. After my first roll, Eddie called me over to roll with him. I have barely rolled with any high-level players before, let alone the inventor of an entire branch of Jiu Jitsu. I just tried to relax and learn from the experience. We started rolling and of course he was dominating me. Somewhere in the middle of rolling, he said, "Your fundamentals are excellent." I was so afraid that he would think I totally sucked, and instead he complimented me. When time was up, he said, "Good job. How long have you been practicing, 1 or 2 years?" I told him a little over 1 year. I was extremely flattered that he thought I had the skill level of someone who has been doing Jiu Jitsu for close to 2 years. I was actually a little overwhelmed with emotion after rolling with Eddie. I fought back tears of joy. He had given me the most major compliment of my entire life.

Then, after class, we all partied a little too hard again. emoticon

I didn't feel very well on Thursday. I knew I had not been eating enough throughout the entire trip (I usually have the exact opposite problem with traveling). One of the guys poured very strong drinks and I drank way too much on Wednesday, so I was hungover. I felt nauseated throughout the entire day. I made it through part of Thursday's morning class, but not through the evening class. I went and observed on Thursday night, though. I felt a little better by the time class was over.

And then we went out and partied a little too hard...again (although I did not have any alcohol). emoticon

Another shot of the gym.

Eddie Bravo and I (he wasn't feeling well, so he was trying not to touch us).

Group picture at the end of our week of training (Eddie and all of us from our gym).

Friday we drove back to San Diego for our late afternoon flight back to Minneapolis. One of the guys and I had some time to kill in San Diego, so we walked around and went out for lunch at a cool hole-in-the-wall Mexican place. We got back to the airport and flew home. I was pretty hyper for a few hours after getting home. I unpacked and reflected on everything that happened the past week.

We are going to try to make this an annual trip. I cannot imagine having a more rewarding week than I have the past week, I am sure my life has some more surprises in mind. I have returned home a different and better person. I have a new-found faith in myself and look forward to incorporating my experiences from this trip into my Jiu Jitsu practice and my daily life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPICHICK1 1/15/2013 1:52PM

    What an amazing trip!! What an inspirational blog! Keep it up grrl.

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SUSIEMT 1/14/2013 3:48PM

    How exciting for you! I am so happy for you! Keep up the good work and they were right to tell you that practice make perfect and yes it is their problem and not yours! Great pictures BTW! You rock girl!

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RUBYROOTS4YOU 1/14/2013 5:46AM

  LUCKY!! emoticon

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APED7969 1/14/2013 5:03AM

    Sounds like an awesome trip and some really amazing experiences! Great to hear you got so many compliments. While not necessary to know you're awesome it is great to hear it from someone else, especially in a relatively new skill!

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JILLYBEAN25 1/14/2013 2:08AM

    I am so glad you had such a wonderful time and that it was truly life-changing in positive ways! I enjoyed reading this and hearing about your trip (as well as seeing the photos!). Too awesome!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 1/13/2013 11:03PM

    Loved the pictures and hearing about the trip!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOODIE59 1/13/2013 10:34PM

    This is fabulous:) Thanks for sharing your enlightening, enriching experience. You'll knock them dead next year.
Deirdre emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/13/2013 10:34:56 PM

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DDOORN 1/13/2013 9:40PM

    Thx for sharing...always great to think about building new celebrations and rituals!


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SPOONGIRLDEB 1/13/2013 8:39PM

    Great blog, great pics, and it sounds like a great trip! It's really wonderful that you were able to have such a good experience. And I know we're all supposed to be doing things only for ourselves, but it's always nice to have other people's validation every once in a while, and it sounds like you got a LOT of that this week!

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KATYDID412 1/13/2013 8:29PM

    Sounds like you had a fantastic and rewarding trip!

I just watched that Conan clip tonight -- hilarious! Ricky Gervais is brilliant, I think.

Great pictures, too.


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