So, it’s the end of 2017.  As with every year there was good and bad.  As my grandma, Mary Dailey, said, “Everything happens for a reason”.  2017 was full of losses, some good and some really heartbreaking.

In February, I lost one of my best friends.  He was part of our family and the closest thing to a brother that I ever had.  Greg Clark was someone who I was blessed to have in my life.  He made me laugh on a daily basis.  He told me stories about growing up in Aurora or as he called it, A-town and hunting for naked bunny   He and Rosie will forever be in our hearts.  We see reminders of him all the time and signs that make me think he’s definitely with us in spirit.  We love and miss you Greg and Rosie.

On a positive note, one of the losses in 2017 was good.  I lost over 100 pounds.  I feel healthier for sure.  I do struggle with negative body image and I have more to lose.  I feel like I have made a dent in the pounds that I wish to lose.  In 2018, my short goal is to get under 200 which is 24 pounds away (at my highest weight, I was 333 pounds). I hope to do that by the end of March.  Just a goal I set for myself.  By the end of my weight loss journey, I just want to be healthier with a better view of myself mentally and physically.   I do have a goal weight, but it’s not set in stone.  I have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder so beating that will also be on my list of things to accomplish in 2018.

Another positive in 2017, I published my first book on Amazon.  I sold some copies and it was great to feel so proud and hopeful for my writing career and future endeavors that I am currently writing.  I would like to thank everyone for encouraging me to write.  My family and friends have been very supportive about my writing and my weight loss.  I’m starting to see that I do have a lot of creativity and I’m a unique person.  I’m working on my self-esteem.  I have had many wonderful cheerleaders on my side.

I’m very proud of my children and all that they have done this year.  I believe they are on their way to full, exciting, rich lives.

I’ve repaired many troubled relationships from my past.  I no longer feel scared to return to Montana for visits.  I was there in November and December without issues.  I am thankful that I was able to work through problems and act more like an adult.  I reconnected with old friends who I really missed. I hope to visit more often in 2018.

In May, my daughter and husband and I moved to Oregon.  It’s so beautiful.  Almost every day when I walk outside, I find myself thinking this is what it must feel like to live in a terrarium.  I’m so happy in this environment.  We have been as far south as Gold Beach and as far North as Seaside.  I love the ocean so much.  For the first time in my life, I saw a whale in it’s natural habitat.  We hiked into Devil’s punchbowl and have been through the most amazing forest that I have ever cast my eyes on.

Throughout 2017, I continued to work on repairing my relationship with my dad.  We had some tough times in our past.  We were able to talk openly about our relationship and we both apologized for the way we handled things in our past.  Our relationship grew stronger and I felt closer this year to him than I ever had.  He had a tough year health wise and in November, I was able to sit by his side as he took his last breath and became an angel.  As I write this, my eyes fill with tears and my heart aches.  I wish so much that I could turn back time and start working on our relationship years sooner.  I am grateful for my dad and my mom.  They had me when he was 16 and she was 17.  Considering they were just kids themselves, they did a good job.  I’m sure it was hard and there were struggles that I know nothing about to this day.  I love them both more than I could ever put into words.  In January, I will start a grief support group through Hospice.  I hope it teaches me how to deal with his loss and the whole I feel in my heart.

Here is a text from him along my weight loss journey that I read when I feel like I need some inspiration.  I love you Dad.  dadmessage.jpg

So,  I look forward to 2018 and all that it has to offer.  I hope that good things are in store for my family, my friends, and myself.  There were so many wonderful things that happened this year.  There were things that made me grow and become stronger.  I love the people in my life.  I thank God everyday for another day.  I wish you all the best in the New Year!




My Dad, Max


When I think about my dad, two things stand out.  Music and humor.

When I close my eyes, and think about my dad, I see him strumming one of his many guitars and singing.  He used to sing Snowflake by Jim Reeves to me when I was little.  I have no idea what that song is about, but I will forever think of him when I hear it.  They usually play it around Christmas time at the department stores and on the radio.   I was always jealous that I couldn’t play the guitar like he could.  One year, for my birthday, he bought me a bright red electric guitar and amp.  I knew for sure that I was going to be the next Joan Jett.  Unfortunately, that didn’t work out any better than the flute he gave me the year before that.  I do, however have an excellent knowledge about music trivia thanks to him teaching and challenging me for years.   He writes songs, and I write poems, stories, and blogs.  He asks me for song ideas which always makes me feel good.  He encouraged me to publish my work, which I recently did.  I truly appreciate his support and encouragement. I remember when he and I went to the Huey Lewis and the News concert.  A woman was able to get on the stage and pick up Huey Lewis and tried to pack him off the stage.  We laughed about that for years.  Music has always been my therapy for tough times in life.  It has gotten me through many difficult days, especially lately.

My dad knows so many jokes, I swear he could write a joke book.  He has a joke for everything.  When I was working as a massage therapist, he said I would do great as long as I didn’t rub someone the wrong way.  I tried being a seamstress and when it didn’t work out he said it was ok because the job was just sew sew.  Another thing that goes along with the jokes are his odd sayings.  More than once I’m sure I’ve given the look of confusion and entertainment after hearing what he had to say.  When I would call and he was busy he would say, “I’m up to my ass in alligators, so I’ll have to call you back”….what?  He used to say knock knock and of course I would say who’s there and he would say chickens butt and I would say chickens butt who and he would say chickens butt, tip it up and take a suck.  Then he would laugh hysterically.  It’s not an uncommon saying.  I actually found it online.  I remember in high school when I was easily embarrassed, he would put his sunglasses on while we were in the mall and pretend to be blind and holler “Janice, where did you go?  Don’t leave me, I can’t see where I’m going” It’s funny now, but then not so much.  He had a contagious laugh and I find myself retelling many of his jokes now that I’m older and they still get laughs.

We had our ups and downs like most people do.  Now, I am faced with the hard job of having to say goodbye to him.  I’m so sad.  I feel so bad for the times that I’ve said mean things or ignored his phone calls.  I am going to make sure when I see him next week to tell him thank you for everything he taught me.  For dealing with me through my rebellious stage.  I’m going to make sure he knows that I love him, and that I know he did the best job he could raising me and my sisters.  I’m sure there were struggles that we as kids knew nothing about.  I’m sure times were tougher than we knew.  I will treasure the time I have left with him.

It’s times like this that I wish I didn’t live so far away from home.


This morning, I weighed in at 229.4.  It has been so many years since I have weighed this little.  Being in the 220’s is something I only dreamed about when I started my journey last November.

You see, when I was 18, I started down a road that was definitely not the best path for me to take.  I didn’t listen to many people who told me not to go that route.  I don’t regret it though, because I know that everything happens a reason and because at the end of that road, I ended up with two awesome, healthy and amazing children.

Recently, my Mom taught me about different growing zones for plants and flowers and today I was thinking about that.

When I was 18, I was alive, excited, and awake, but also naive.  I was like one of those roses that you sometimes see that is about to open and bloom, but seems like it just didn’t have what it needed to make that happen.  It’s beautiful red petals turn dark and start to shrivel up afraid to open and experience life.  I was that rose, not getting what I needed to thrive.  Each bad decision only caused me to decay and lose more of myself.  I wasn’t in the right growing zone and I don’t just mean geographically.  Part of me felt like I would just stay that way until one day I died.  All closed up and shriveled. All of my petals lifelessly blown away by the wind from life’s storms.

On November 28, 2016 that all changed.  I made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery.  I still remember how nervous I was the day of surgery.  I was so worried that I wouldn’t make it through surgery, I must have prayed about a million times that day.  I made it through just fine.  Since then I’ve worked really hard.  Anyone who says that I took the easy way, has never been through it.  I have had an incredible amount of support from friends and family.

I feel like I have been transplanted!  I’m definitely in the right zone now.  I am starting to feel and see new growth.  Mentally and physically I am changing.  Of course I still need work.  A quote by Liberty Hyde Bailey says, “A garden requires patient labor and attention.  Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”  I continue to thrive and try to be patient with myself.  I can tell you one thing though, I’m starting to blossom!

Frustrated and sad

In 11 days, I will be 47.  My life hasn’t been easy, but who can honestly say their life was all good and always easy?  Not many people.  My parents had me when they were both very young.  I don’t remember us ever being a happy little family.  I have heard stories from both sides that things weren’t good.  My Mom and I started living with my grandparents.  When I was around 5, I had to go live with my dad and his wife.  It was made obvious that I was not wanted there.  I lived with my dad and his wife until I was 13.  I was very happy to get out of that house.  I never felt wanted or loved.  If we lived in a house with a room in the creepy, dark basement, that was my room.  I was told that I was to be seen and not heard.  I was told that I was a “lunatic”.  I was told by my dad’s wife that I was “an ugly little girl that nobody liked or wanted”. I was molested for years by a family member while my dad and his wife were just one room away.  I always felt hated by my dad’s wife.  When I was a teenager, if I called to talk to my dad and she answered, I would just hang up.  My relationship with my dad was troubled for much of my life.  I did not make it easy for him to be a part of my life and he didn’t make it easy for me to be part of his life.  He never hugged me or played with me.  He wasn’t that kind of dad I guess.  As I got older, things got more and more stressed.  I will admit that I was not the perfect child.  I had a bit of a wild side and I did not like to follow the rules.  In high school, I drank and experimented with drugs.  I was a party girl and I didn’t think it was important to spend time with my dad, his wife, or my step-sisters.  I got married when I was 18 and I asked my dad to drive to Idaho to walk me down the aisle.  He said no.  My step-dad did it.  My Mom and I have always been very close.  I often asked her why my dad didn’t love me, she would say that he did, but he just didn’t show it the way some dad’s did.  By the time that I had my son, my dad and I had been through many disagreements, but I wanted him to be proud of me as a mom.  I worked hard on the relationship between myself and his wife and we actually started to get along for the first time in years.  I felt like I was a part of their family.  They loved my son and were always happy to see him.  Then I had my daughter and my dad’s wife treated her differently.  She didn’t treat the kids the same, she made it clear that my son was favored.  I wrote her a letter and told her that she needed to start treating them equally or she wasn’t going to see either one of them.  That of course started a fight.  They didn’t talk to me for several months.  My dad wrote me a letter which I still have saying that he needed me and the kids in his life and that he loved us.  It was the nicest thing he had ever said to me.  I agreed to start spending time with his family again.  The relationship was okay, but tense.  We had family photos at the mall and his wife said for one of the shots she only wanted the “real grandkids” in the picture.  I was hurt and angry and we left.  I’m sure it was difficult for my dad to be in the middle, but anytime I complained to him about things like that situation, he always took his wife’s side.   He never stood up for me.

I think it was 2008, my dad started coming to the day spa where I worked to get regular massages.  He had some health issues that I was addressing along with a co-worker of mine.  One day right as I walked into work for the day, I got a phone call.  It was my dad, he said that he was sick and wanted to apologize for mistakes that he made in the past.  He wanted to know if I could forgive him.  It was very odd to get a phone call like that especially at work.  As it turned out, he was really sick and ended up in the hospital.  I went there to see him and was met by his wife who told me that I wasn’t welcome there.  Her oldest daughter backed her up with rude comments.  They even made it so that I couldn’t go see my dad unless I scheduled an appointment with them.  At one point my dad’s wife tried to punch me in the face at the hospital for wanting to see my dad.  When he got better, I tried to tell him what happened.  He didn’t want to hear about it.

My dad and I have gotten a lot closer since then, we have talked often and about our past.  He said things shouldn’t have been the way they were.  Now that I am a parent, I see how easy it is to disappoint your children even if you think you’re doing the right thing.  He has been calling several times a week and sending texts and Facebook messages.  A little over a month ago, he got sick again and has been hospitalized.  It’s like deja vu.  The only way I can talk to my dad is by phone, but only when nobody else is at the hospital.  If it wasn’t for my youngest sister, I wouldn’t be able to Facetime him or have any contact with him.  I asked if I could go see him this Saturday, I was told no, because his other daughter will be there and I can’t be there if she is because she doesn’t like me.  I wasn’t going to see her, I want to see my dad.  I tried talking to his case worker only to find out that his wife has a power of attorney so she has a legal right to keep me from seeing him.  I was told that he is dying and I am not even going to get to say goodbye in person to my dad.  I’m so hurt and angry.  I wasn’t a perfect child and I’m not a perfect person.  I’ve made many mistakes in life, but what have I done that’s so bad that the right to say goodbye to my dying father has been taken away from me? I was told yesterday that I can see him, but only on their terms.  I work and I just moved to a new state.  I have limitations on when I can drive to see him, but they simply don’t care.  I hope he knows that I love him and that I understand that it’s hard to be a parent.  I have decided to remove myself from having any contact with his wife or his daughters.  Trying for the past 47 years to be included in a family where I am not wanted or accepted is exhausting and I just cannot do it anymore.  I’m not the type to give up on anything, but I don’t see any other option.  I will continue to pray for my dad.  I hope that he’s not in pain and that he’s not scared.  Most of all I pray that he knows that I love him and I tried to be able to tell him that in person.


In August of 2013, my family and I pulled up in front of the apartment that we rented off Craigslist.  We had been living in North Carolina and moved back to Denver.  When we pulled up, I noticed a happy little black and white dog running around in the grass and a man who I assumed was her owner reading his cell phone.  As we got out of the car, the dog ran over to us and we gave her a quick pet and said hi to the man who at that time was a stranger but would eventually become one of my best friends and the closest thing I ever had to a brother.  We didn’t become friends instantly, anytime I saw the dog, Rosie, I would go out of my way to pet her.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I love animals, especially dogs.  One day the man, Greg and Rosie were in the elevator as I got in.  I noticed he had a t-shirt on with one of my favorite bands, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, on it.  I said, “is that a Big Head Todd shirt?” He looked surprised and said “Yes, I love them.  Do you like them?”  So we started talking about music and found out we had a lot of common music interests.  He seemed nice so I invited him to come hang out with my husband, daughter, and myself.  One afternoon there was a knock on the door and I opened it and there was Greg and Rosie.  They hung out with us and we all got to know each other.  We learned that he grew up in Aurora and we told him about growing up in Montana and Alaska.  Our friendship started to grow.

Eventually he told us that anytime we wanted to hang out to come over and that anytime we wanted to play with Rosie we could go get her.  He didn’t have to tell me that twice…lol.  At that time, we didn’t have a dog.  We would go get Rosie often, we would take her to the dog park, to dairy queen, to Petco to get her favorite carob cookies, or just hang out with her at our house down the hall from Greg’s.  My daughter would bake her special treats and send them home with her.  She always knew when he would get home, so she enjoyed hanging out with us, but the second he was home, she was ready to go back.

Greg liked to have fun.  He would always invite us to go float the river, hang out with him at a cabin in Bailey, watch the Broncos win, or whatever.  He was always happy and I don’t think I can remember very many times that I saw him that he wasn’t smiling.  If anyone of us had a problem, we could talk to Greg without judgement.  He was a great listener.  One night, my husband was on call and had to go in to work, we had a gaming console on Craigslist and a man wanted to come look at it.  Since it was just my daughter and I home, I sent Greg a text and explained what was going on.  I asked him if I was feeling uncomfortable could I ask him to come over.  He just came over right away and he and Rosie waited with us.

I have so many memories of Greg and Rosie. (that’s actually how they are saved in my phone contacts lol)  Greg always made us laugh.  They would come over almost every weekend and became such a big part of our lives.  We considered them family.  Here are some of my favorite memories of Greg:

The night we were playing cards against humanity and he “made it rain” with the cards.

My daughter bought a quite unusual painting at a yard sale.  Greg really didn’t like it, he said it was creepy.  She would place it all around our apartment complex to bug Greg.  She even hung it outside his apartment.  He was a good sport, but he eventually hid in the corner behind the elevator thinking she wouldn’t find it.  She did lol and it still hangs in our house today but now with special meaning.

My Mom painted a styrofoam witch head for Halloween, it sits in our art corner by the couch were Greg always sat when he came over.  He would turn it around so it wasn’t looking at him.

He always, always wanted us to watch The Cabin in The Woods

One day, some mormon boys brought cookies over to our house and asked us to listen to them talk about their religion.  When they left, Greg said he saw them delivering cookies and thought that maybe they were part of my daughters fan club lol.  She told him she was offended that he thought there would only be two guys.

Greg loved animals.  Our little dog, Dobby was no exception.  He loved Dobby.  Dobby has a strange habit of licking people’s ears.  We all laugh about it and tell him to knock it off.  Not Greg, Greg would let him and in fact would say, “go ahead Dobby, get ya some ear wax” lol

One night he was talking about this crazy lady who always seemed to be at the mailboxes when he and Rosie were there.  He said she just loved Rosie.  I said are you talking about me, and he laughed and said yes.

One of my favorite memories, was the night that Greg, my husband, Craig and I went to dinner at Outback Steakhouse.  Greg had a few drinks before we went out and then at dinner too.  He was acting pretty silly like we all do after a few drinks.  He asked the waiter for a box to take his leftovers home to Rosie.  They way he said it though was, “can I please have you wrap up this steak so I can take it home to my lady.  She will be so happy with this gift that I bring home to her”  my husband said, “are you talking about your dog?” and Greg said, “Craig, be quiet”  I laughed hysterically and the waiter just rolled his eyes at us and left.  By the time we left, after a few more drinks, we were all laughing pretty hard because Greg was telling us about growing up in Aurora or A town as he called it.  He said he would go outside to play with his friends in the morning and not come back until night.  They would play all day.  The funny part was that he said that they would often have to hunt for their lunch in the fields of A town.  I knew it was the drinks talking and that he probably didn’t really hunt for his lunch.  I asked him what did you hunt?  He said they hunted for “naked bunny nests”.  I will never forget that.  It was the silliest thing and I still to this day wonder what a naked bunny nest is.

There are so many fun memories of Greg and Rosie that I could just write for hours.  They made us laugh and recently made us cry.  They were here last Saturday night.  Greg was sitting in his usual spot on the couch and Rosie was getting pet and spoiled with treats while Dobby followed her all around our apartment like her little shadow.  If I would have know that was the last time I would see him, I would have hugged him.  I would have thanked him for being my friend and being like a brother to me.  I would have done so many things different. It’s not often that you find people like Greg anymore.  He was so kind, funny, giving, and just a good guy.  He stopped by Tuesday to get the Westword.  I was working so I asked my daughter to give it to him.  The last text I sent him was Tuesday at 9:15 pm.  Several sirens were going off in front of our complex, not that uncommon.  I sent a text saying, “are you guys ok?”  I expected him to say “yep, what’s going on?”  When he didn’t text back, I asked my husband to go check on him, but by then he was already gone.

Our lives will never be the same.  It’s hard to walk out our door and not see him and Rosie coming down the hall.  He won’t be sitting in his spot on our couch. Losing Greg has been very difficult for my family and I and I can’t even imagine how hard it is on his family and Rosie.

We miss you Greg and we will always have you in our hearts and our memories.  Rest in peace.  We love you.

My personal 101 things to do besides eat

So yesterday, I had my first appointment to see the dietitian to make sure that I’m getting enough protein and doing everything the way I should be after surgery.  I’m doing great. While I was in the waiting room, I was reading some handouts and one of them was titled, “101 Thing to Do Besides Eat”.  I was reading it and thought, I should make my own version of it.  So here it is:

  1. Take Dobby for a walk
  2. Create a visionary board of my fitness/health goals
  3. Pray
  4. Play with Bob Quillan
  5. Watch The Flintstones, (I won’t want a brontosaurus burger since I’m eating a vegetarian diet)
  6. Find new coupons and check the weekly ad match-ups
  7. Send someone a random thank you note
  8. Zumba
  9. Make a list of things that I am proud of (the kids, staying away from Voodoo donuts, etc.)
  10. Look online for new jokes, then share them with others.
  11. Find new healthy recipes
  12. Write poetry
  13. Art therapy, and ignore Brandon and Kaelin when they say all of my pictures have a hidden penis in them.
  14. Yoga
  15. Watch hoarders, then clean the house
  16. do Just Dance on the Wii U, ignore the downstairs neighbor pounding on the wall, who gave his brat kid a drum set for Christmas
  17. Listen to Pink Floyd
  18. Look at old photos
  19. D.I.Y. projects
  20. Make a goals list
  21. Study things to do in Oregon and Washington
  22. Clean and organize my closet, I’ll be able to wear those clothes very soon, neon spandex is still in style right?
  23. Snapchat
  24. Make up tutorials from Kaelin or YouTube, I still have some blue eye shadow from the 80’s it should be good
  26. Write my feelings in my “get better book”
  27. Color
  28. Write a story about Toilet Wolf
  29. Give a massage
  30. Organize my stock pile
  31. Photo session with Dobby, Rosie, and Bob
  32. Clean the car and Jeep
  33. Notice my inner conversations
  34. Practice breathing techniques
  35. Listen to George Michael
  36. Drink some tea, Kaelin only has about 50 types for me to choose from
  37. Quiz myself on the state capitals
  38. Smudge the house
  39. Get caught up on school
  40. Run up and down the steps
  41. Pack things to get ready for our move
  42. Blog
  43. Learn more about photography
  44. Defeat the terror monster
  45. Practice letting go of the past
  46. Think about all of the things that I ate in the past that were bad for me and be thankful that I don’t do that anymore.  I actually put mayo on pepperoni pizza and ate it.  Yuck!
  47. Call my Mom
  48. Make healthy snacks a.k.a. hide kale in food so Craig can’t see it
  49. Spotify (I have some pretty awesome playlists on there)
  50. Read a book
  51. Make a top ten list of reasons to get healthy
  52. Get a massage
  53. Fitbit app
  54. Volunteer to help someone
  55. Read about being a part of OAC (Obesity Action Coalition)
  56. Sit ups
  57. Watch a movie
  58. Brush my teeth and use the water pik
  59. Get a facial
  60. Buy some fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs
  61. Mini golf
  62. Build something
  63. Count my blessings
  64. Meditate
  65. Play cards, I kick ass at Go Fish
  66. Learn about the stock market
  67. Try a new relaxation technique
  68. Stretch, maybe I’ll get taller
  69. Picture a stop sign in my head
  70. Do something for someone anonymously
  71. Vacuum
  72. Play Scrabble
  73. Clean the fridge
  74. Play Trivia games on my phone
  75. Look into publishing my poems and stories
  76. Make a visionary board for my future
  77. Take Dobby and Rosie to the dog park
  78. Take a nap, sleep is very good for you
  79. Re-arrange our bedroom
  80. Go somewhere to people watch (not like a stalker though)
  81. Go to the zoo, but never again on free day
  82. Go to the Denver art museum
  83. Go to the U.S. Mint, I wonder what kind of mints they have there
  84. Clean the carpets
  85. Wash the windows
  86. Explore new hairstyles
  87. Get a manicure (it’s not football season for us Broncos fans, so I have nails)
  88. Learn more about aromatherapy
  89. Pray for people
  90. Lift weights while working at my desk all day
  91. Continue learning Spanish
  92. Look for places to hike
  93. Go for a drive in the mountains, love it there!
  94. Study alternative health news and discuss with Kaelin
  95. Plan a date night
  96. Clean the spice cupboard, you can never have too much garlic
  97. SING
  98. Study motocross and discuss with Brandon
  99. Look for festivals, especially those with a hippie theme
  100. Feel my feelings
  101. Practice food prep./storage for tiny meals.