Beginning Day 6

So here I sit, at the car dealer waiting on an oil change. The smell of buttery FREE popcorn lingers in the air mixing with the fat and sugary smell of FREE puffy fluffy doughnuts from a local grocery store. Endless refills of coffee tea and water are at my disposal and I sit tap tap tapping away on my iPad.
Today marks Day Six of what I am in my head labeling my reboot, or reemergence into conrol. Yesterday my wonderful boss bought the whole team lunch, from Chipotle. Yea, Chipotle…. That means free guacamole, yoknow they charge extra for that right?! … Normally I would be beside myself excited for a chance to get my Salad/Bowl on and I wold jump at the chance to have Chipotle,but my lunch was already in the fridge. Just take it home and have it for dinner my coworkers told me. Dinner was already at home in the fridge.
I stood my ground and an ate my pepperjack burger, with sweet potato chili slices, and jicima and drank my water. I avoided eye contact with the guacamole. I won. Do I want Chipotle… yes… will I eat Chipotle again… yes… but did I decide that if I am going to splurge on something off my designated plan right now it should be with y husband.
Free food is EVERYWHERE, and it is a trap. It’s a trap I fall into fom time to time, and I know I have written about before. Whether it is the upsizing of America where for only $.50 more you can get twice as much orthe fact that there is food everywhere. My appointment here at the car dealership this morning I knew was going to be plagued with doughnuts, so I ate before I came, I have my water and coffee with me here at the table, and I have my snack in my bag.
These are habits I have followed all along, but I have fallen away from tracking and measuring. Tracking is SO crucial to success for me… but more than tracking is measuring, and that is where things get so tricky for me. I get so obsessive about things being precise with my measurements. I accelled in science and chemistry because I wanted those things to be SO PRECISE.
I hve been tracking my food intake for six days now, along with food I am working on just rounding measurements. Not grams and quarters of calories and points of grams of fat. I am for the most part trusting nutrition labels to be what they say they are. I am not scooping my Yoplait greek whips yogurt out of the cup to weigh it and make sure it is or isn’t actually the weight and calories it says that it is. (Yes, I am well aware that this is a sign of an eating disorder)
I am working on the very cliche progress not perfection motto right now to get myself back to feeling better. After only just the first, well five full days, I feel like I am already noticing a shift. I am sure that part of this is just the “motivation momentum” and the commitment part will still have to kick in. But I am really afraid that I am going to slide back to where I was back in 2009 if I don’t start to turn things around. I want to be the Kris from 2011 before I made the deision to take the “job from hell” that really led to my fall from grace.

Feedback Because I’m Still #JustTrollin

So… Fitbloggin is over… back to the real world. Work, life, love, relationships, friendships, be them old or new everything in my life falls under the microscope when I return.  Every morsel that enters my field of vision is being scrutinized extra carefully.  THIS is honestly part of what I look forward to coming back from Fitbloggin.

At the conference so many of us talk about having out batteries “charged” or “recharged” I think of it as being supercharged… and with the creation of #justtrollin and #tribelove I hope that it will allow the charge to last just a bit longer.  I know it wont extend the selfie-shelf life or bring the warmth of the amazing hugs along with it but it might just keep the lazer focus.

Focus… something that I need.  I have heard from several people who read the blog in my offline life, that don’t comment (or rarely do so) that they feel the empowerment that is coming from this blog right now.  The trick is going to be keeping up with it.

I am SO THRILLED it seems that those around me that read my last #JustTrollin blog understood what was going on.  They understood that what I am asking for is to be called on the bull that is going on.  I want to be held accountable.  I don’t want to order something healthy then eat the fries off your plate and have you say, oh its okay… a bite wont hurt you.  I don’t want someone telling me you deserve a treat you worked out, or you need to treat yourself… I need someone reminding me that those things aren’t getting me closer to my goals.

It isn’t that I don’t know that the cupcake is not a great choice, even if it fits within the calorie or weight watchers plan for the day… but there are better choices. It isn’t that I can NEVER have the fries, but I need to be responsible for the decision to have them not take them off someone else’s plan. It seems like people are getting on board with this. Those that aren’t understanding this… well… your relationship with me may have to be put on lockdown… just like those treat days.

The thing about this blog is, since I took the job change that led to my weight gain I did nothing but bitch about what the problem was. I bitched about what I couldn’t get to work. I whined and complained that things were hard and I didn’t have time. Well you know what life is hard and we have changed the situation.

I am no longer in that job, and while I am starting to have progress I am still not giving 100% to what is actually one of my top priorities. I am okay with the fact that one of my priorities is to lose weight. I am okay being selfish in wanting to not be fat anymore… more than not wanting to be fat I just want to feel good. I want to feel “healthy”.

I don’t want my blog to be a reflection of a big whiner that just makes excuses. As Dan pointed out at the welcome mixer, I have a story. I have the confidence to overcome the obstacles that have been placed in my way over and over again. If I can’t go over them I have gone under, or around or even through them.

Why should my weight be any different… well the truth is it isn’t any different. I guess I am again calling myself out in this post for half assing too much of my life. The last two Saturdays I have broken some major walls down in my own active life as far as steps and actual amounts of activity go.

I plan on being active tomorrow, (July 5th) It is going to be hot, and gross, but Sunday (July 6th) is my birthday… I will be 33, and it is time to celebrate another year entering it strong and feeling empowered. The time to feel like a victim for my circumstances has come and gone.

I am leading by example, for myself, for my friends, and for the people who I don’t know. I will not end up a statistic. I will not be someone people have to mourn and miss because I died too young. The time is now.



How I Re-Learned to AFWIW at FitBloggin

Sunrise in Savannah

Sunrise in Savannah

So I am going to skip past a Fitbloggin recap for a bit. I can do what I want, it’s my blog. For those that follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you have already seen photos of me with celebrities like Mickey Mouse, Jeff Galloway, and Arian Foster.  You have seen the never ending stream of selfies with people that mean the world to me. The conference was amazing, I didn’t want to leave. For those outside the FitBloggin Community that want to see my Saturday photos you can check them out on my Flickr Album.  This post isn’t going to be about the fun. This post is about reality.

Fitbloggin Yoga

FitBloggin Yoga with Kia
Photo by CarrieD Photography

So it’s time to get real honest with myself, and you all. At Fitbloggin this year I showed up at the same weight as last year… maybe even a few pounds heavier. So… what gives? You have all heard me talk time and again over the last few years about my job.  Specifically now my former job.  I had gone from nearly 450 pounds to 250 pounds… that was before my first fitbloggin.  During my first Fitbloggin I was already in a slide.  An uncontrolled slide where my job was effecting my eating and exercise.  I had gone from spending hours a day in the gym, eating right and making myself a priority or working 10-12 hours a day, eating whatever I could shove into my mouth between phone calls, and not getting a break.  I would workout when it was convenient.

In March I steered away from the skid, applied the brakes after regaining what I claimed was about 50, but what was actually closer to 70 or 80 pounds of my weight. back.  I was no where near the 450 pounds that I once was but anyone with half a brain could see the writing on the wall. I was unhappy and needed to change.

I started making working out sort-of a priority in my life again, before work I would *try* to get to the gym three days a week.  I would *mostly* eat right, and by mostly I mean about 50/50 not 80/20. My body would hurt and I would let myself use it as an excuse. I just renewed my drivers license… and I what exactly what I did when I renewed it 4 years ago. Talk about a wake up call, I know I wasn’t standing still the last four years, but I sure wasn’t making progress.

FitBloggin TeamLast year when I was at Fitbloggin I was mostly a wallflower.  I didn’t speak to many people.  I was shy when introducing myself.  This year I walked up to people head held high and asked for what I wanted.  Whether it was a photo, or to join a table for lunch I felt more confident.  I was AFWIW (asking for what I wanted).

On Saturday I had a goal for myself… I wanted to hit 200% of my activity goal on my Polar Loop.  I knew my eating was going to be slightly off during the next few days.  I pushed myself through Yoga, which was at 0600, not really early, then through the Tough Love session… which I really needed. It’s what this post is actually about in the end.  Then it was onto Zumba.  I had no lunch plans for the day, and so I wandered along the river.  Right to the candy shop where I was picking up pralines for some friends back home.  I decided that ice cream was the best choice for lunch since I had done so much working out already.  I didn’t give it a second thought as I ordered a single scoop of peanut butter ice cream in a waffle cone.  I wandered along the river eating my ice cream looking at cars.

When I got back to the hotel all I could think was how glad I was no one saw me eating ice cream! This was a wake up call to myself… I wished I hadn’t eaten that ice cream… not only because the dairy made me all stuffy, but because it was  something that wasn’t a good choice for my goals.  My results are a direct correlation of my choices.  I brushed it off… but wished I had been the recipient of some #ToughLove from some friends there.

Polar Loop InterfaceWell the numbers don’t lie, this is a screenshot from my Polar Loop iPhone interface. The truth is you can’t out exercise your bad diet choices right?  I weigh in on Saturday morning to see how my trip went.  I have NEVER in my life had exercise look like that before.  In all honesty there is a part of me that knows I am going to have a gain coming out of vacation… not because I ate badly while at Fitbloggin… in fact the ice cream, and a few handfuls of popcorn late at night are probably the worst of any of my indulgences.

Why am I expecting a gain this week then?  Because I am now back home… and I can’t get back into my routine! I am sick, I caught the crud that Edith had during our time rooming together.  I just want to eat junk, like chicken fingers and fries, and rest.  My lung capacity is near nothing right now.  I mean, I am puffing albuterol every few hours right now, that’s legit… but the food. c’mon… fries, chicken fingers… NO. Just no.

How long is reasonable to nurse this sickness? …

AFWIW… Help me with a battleplan here! I need to fight! I need to be on track and stay on track… So Kris no more fucking around… no more, got it?! It has to stop unless you want to be 350,400,450 pounds again and feel like you are going to die. Remember how scared you were that no one would be able to carry your casket? Remember being afraid they would have to cut the house open to get you out? Remember having to crawl across the floor because you were in so much pain from everything being wrong with you… because if you want to go back to that, then by all means just give up… and go hit KFC, DQ, and BK and make yourself sick by making yourself sick. The eating out, has got to stop, the Starbucks trips for anything other than a black Americano, the bed time snacks, the skipping the gym it all has to stop.  Times are tough, but you are tougher… you  know what you want, it is time to go after it, and stick with it. Lead by example. Friends, I need you not to be enablers. Call me on things you see going wrong! You see what I post to instagram or facebook, if you see me heading off the rails, it is okay to speak up! I am asking this of you! Be a friend, not an enabler!



Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the mirror I find myself wondering if what I see is real. I have sat looking at myself in the mirror and asked our loud who the person looking back at me is. I have reached out to touch the mirror to see if I am living a lie. What in the world has happened to me?

On one side, I look at my life as it is now with a new job, that I adore. A job that challenges me, allows me to learn and expand my boundaries but doesn’t completely intimidate me.  A job, the piece of the puzzle that I longed for when I lost the near 180 pounds before that would let me keep my new life in order and keep my life moving in the right direction.

My previous job, the one that was supposed to give me a more normal life, has left me almost a shell of who I had become. My relationships have suffered, my health suffered.  When I would look in the mirror while at that job I didn’t want to look myself in the eye.  I felt like I was a disappointment to myself, like I had made a bad decision.

I look at my experience at my last job with a lot of sadness. As I was leaving there I could see only all the bad in what had happened there.  I gained back a significant amount of weight despite my best efforts to keep it off.  (Upside I have maintained over 100 pounds lost.)  I sat down with Robb towards the end of my time there and was so upset over all the positive momentum I had lost.  I felt like I was back at square one and that I had wasted so much of my life spinning my tires.

Robb helped me see the good in taking the job I did over two years ago. It showed me that I can do hard things.  Taking that job, and being thrown in to a sink or swim environment where I had to figure things out on my own, and make my own way was a real life lesson. I learned a lot while I was on the job there, about myself, about how I feel a business should be run, about the right way to do things, and not do things.

After the long talk with Robb, and a long look at myself and where I am in my life and that I can do hard things… much harder than I ever thought I could do.  I am reminded that I have done hard things, and I can do hard things… I look myself in the eyes again.

Do you know what it is like to see a part of you die? When I was so big I felt like there was a part of me that was dead. As I lost weight I felt my life come back, it was if I was being reborn, awakening, it was amazing. Working my 55 hour weeks I watched the death creep back into my life. The rebound after reducing my hours to 15 for my last week there, was like night and day.  It was like a rebirth.  Now that I have been free of what I can only deem as the soul suck for almost a month it is as though a weight has been lifted.

It turns out that mirror I was looking into was a reflective coated window.  A window I could open and walk through.  A bad decision can be undone.  Failure is not fatal, failure is not final.  I  was unhappy with where I had gone.  The path I had gone down, took a left turn and led in a direction I didn’t like.  It may have taken some time to stop the skid and get life heading in the right direction again but I did it.

So keep that in mind… no matter where life is leading you, you have the power to steer into the skid so to speak.  Ultimately only you will get to decide if you end up in the dark woods, in the green grassy flower filled meadow, on the beach, or under a rock.


So, 2014 is underway… I look at my blog and I have FOUR blogs that I started, and never got back to… Do I lack focus on my blog? Possibly… more specifically I have been reaching out microblogging with my instagram account (Do you follow me over there? my name is KrisGetsHealthy) 2014 the year of Honor, honoring myself, my choices… making sure I am focusing on what I need to do to set my lifestyle up for those sustainable changes we need to make to have a lifestyle stick.

Since I took my new job back at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012 I have had an increase in my bottom line… meaning my rear end… not cool! My focus has been to try and make my life, that WAS working to get my weight down, work with my new 10 hour days of high stress near non-stop desk work.

I found that looking at the big picture was SO overwhelming, in as much as it wasn’t working. You can’t manage everything at once. There is too much to control! I have taken to breaking it down into more manageable parts and I have been trying to establish each part into it’s own manageable little bubble.

The first thing I worked on was to establish a bedtime routine… in my job I need to be sharp, I need to look at the bigger picture, visualize traffic patterns for the time of day, cross reference with the general layout of the state/city in my mind, estimate recovery times from airports, think critically etc etc etc… Dealing with brain fog from fibromyalgia is bad enough some days, add a lack of sleep and my goodness a lack of sleep spirals my brain into a VERY messy place!

I have a fairly strict bedtime that I keep. I am slightly more flexible on the weekend, but not every weekend… and if I do it one day I try to keep the regular bedtime the next. (for example if I am up Friday night, then Saturday night I don’t usually stay up). I sleep with headphones on, (sleepphones actually) that I can pull down over my eyes and use as a blackout mask. This is not to say that I don’t have insomnia come visit me on occasion… I have melatonin and a few herbal sleep support things I can take. There is this awesome thing called Sleep Water that I drink on occasion that helps too. My sleep routine is, I would say, pretty well established, it is a habit. A healthy living lifestyle habit. People that tell me they get 4 hours or 5 hours a night on a regular basis and can’t figure out why they aren’t feeling well, or can’t do X (whether that is focus, or be on time, or lose weight, or whatever) I just want to grab and shake… sleep is a foundational element.

So now that I have that habit well established I am looking at what are the bigger holes in my life… what are the things that are SO IMPORTANT to health, and wellness and well being, that I just don’t have a handle on. One of the things that happens with my job being so busy is that I forget to drink..not just water, but anything… So many night I would come home from work and find that I had only had a cup of coffee in the morning, and then whatever I was drinking with dinner! How horrible for my body!! I took to taking a 3 liter bottle of water with me to work, and I’d work to drink that during the day. I did pretty good with that, since it was in my line of sight most of the day. Having something visually there means I can’t avoid it, I can’t ignore it. However ambient water gets old… it started cold in the morning but by the end of my 10 hour shift it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. What is a girl to do… if I don’t see it I wont drink it.

The last few weeks I have been having great success at monitoring my water intake with an app from the iPhone marketplace called Plant Nanny… it lets you set reminders to “water your plant and water yourself.” You set your weight, your activity level and it tells you how much water your body needs. I am set to sedentary since I have a desk job, and since even when I hit the gym it isn’t much activity… it would put me at normal at most. The default reminders you can set are every 2 hours between 8am and 10pm, I have mine set to start at 0400 and run till 0500 reminding me every hour to drink. Even if I don’t go get a drink right away when the little alert pops up it at least puts the idea in my head that I need to be hydrating my body. I need to make drinking a routine that comes as naturally to me as going to bed. I need to focus on hydrating my cells, pushing toxins out of my body, and helping my body learn that perhaps what I felt as hunger is thirst, or a combination of both.

So here I am bringing my #Focus to one thing at a time. I can’t do everything, I am spread so thin at work trying to control everything that I am glad to be finding a balance and being able to pick and choose one healthy goal to focus on here in my everyday healthy life. Finding the focus and determination not to give up. Honoring my body by making sure that I am establishing some kind of healthy routine, and making sure that I am putting it into place. The more you do something the more ingrained it becomes.

Do you track your water or do you find it’s just one more thing to try and keep track of? How much sleep do you get a night? Do you try to get 8 hours? What kinds of healthy living routines do you focus on in your life?

Hop on the Big Train.

So lately I have been struggling with food.  This should not be a surprise.  One has to struggle with one component or another right?  Things are never easy going in the land of health and wellness.  I love to cook, I find it so fulfilling, extravagant dinners, thousands of calories, food is love right? … yeah… I thought so. I don’t even mind healthy cooking, grilling, stir-frys, broiled seafood, YUM! However I live in a tiny little apartment… the only grilling I do is on a Cuisine Art griddle thing, my stove is a disaster, I don’t have tons of counter space, and I am fairly certain that one of these days my fridge is going to die.  I miss having a huge kitchen like where I grew up, I hate having to decide what to make day after day.  So many things look so good, but I just lack energy most of the time.  Worse than any of that is the dishes! I hate doing dishes.

So for now I am hopping on the Big Train… shake wagon that is.  No this isn’t a paid advertisement, heck I don’t even know what it is going to do for the scale since I haven’t weighed in in at least a month.

I have had a lot on my mind.  I have been consulting my various options, I had a WLS surgery consult before I went to fitbloggin.  I am undecided what I want to do with that road.  I opened the door, and it’s there.  A place to be explored, a tool, one I may need as my hunger is often uncontrollable.  The surgeon looked at my files, found my highest weight was actually closer to 450 than 430.  :/ Either way, my expected outcome if I had WLS would land me in the 200-250 range… which is where I was before I took my current job.  But I was barely there… 245-250 starving, working out like a maniac, scale not budging, trying sooo hard… If nothing else that consult was a wake up call that I have unrealistic expectations of getting below 200 pounds because of how big I was.  It doesn’t mean I can or will give up.

I met with a nutritionist just before that consult, she said my eating looks like it is spot on, my exercise when I do it is great, things will be slow but I will get to where I was.  So right now I am working on my 1200-1500 calories a day goal where I was before, working on getting in my water, and vitamins.  Focusing on protein and fiber and getting exercise, and finding balance.  I wish things were easier, I am trying to listen to my body, learn the signals for hunger, learn the difference between hunger and thirst, learn where my limits are physically again.  I want to get back to having my life in my control instead of feeling like I am floating along or being pushed.

So for right now my meal planning feels a lot like Slim Fast, :/ not that I am loving that but it makes things easy.  I have an 8oz Big Train first thing in the morning, my faves are the Big Train Campfire Mocha (made with Sugarfree Smores Syrup) but I also have Raspberry & Coconut syrups that rock in the Mocha shakes as well.  I have a 3lb bag of the Vanilla that just arrived yesterday, right now I am sipping on a Vanilla raspberry hazelnut shake.

I have a morning snack, somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 calories, give or take… sometimes a granola bar, or a greek yogurt, today 2 hardboiled eggs.  Lunch is another shake, this one is a 16 oz, more of the same, powder, syrup, water, ice.  I try and finish 2 liters of water during the day, usually carbonated, flavored if it needs to be.

Dinner, well… you know that meme where breakfast and lunch are all normal and dinner is out of control… that’s sort of what my life is like… but having my day mostly under control lets dinner be a bit more relaxed if need be.  I don’t stress too much over dinner I have 800-900 calories available to me for dinner/dessert I have been known to go over at dinner but usually I am in control.  We are working on planning meals a few days ahead of time, this week there is shredded chicken in the fridge, Chicken topped salads, stir frys, salsa chicken I’ll figure something out for the week.  Trick is veggies with everything… and water… lots of water.

Back to basics… We can do this. The scale… well it can stay hidden I don’t need that stress.


Day from Hell in Survival Mode.

So Last week I had a day from hell… if I had to pick a day where I was on a path for a disaster of derailment, Thursday would have been it.  I was swamped at work all day.  I had a workout scheduled on the books.  I was tired by the end of the day.  Worn out, and just so ready to call it a day.  I got in my car and headed the opposite direction from my house.

There are several ways I can go to get to the gym from my office and I knew if I went past my house, I would be on auto-pilot and just go home.  Looking back at the day, the self care involved in going to the pool was likely the best thing for me after the day I had already had… but I would have liked the events that followed to have not occurred.

I completed my workout, which included a little bit of jogging with the current in the pool.  I am after-all slowly training to walk a 5k, and I would love to not be last! Anyway the workouts are going ok, although I need to think about saving for some kind of waterproof mp3 player.  I got to the parking lot, approached my car and started slipping on the ice.   I fell most of the way to the ground grabbed the handle to my car-door to stop me from completely slamming into the ground full-impact, my phone bounced out of my pocket and fell to the ground and you guessed it. Shattered the screen.  I wasn’t far from Best Buy, who I have my phone protection plan from, so I went there, which meant I wasn’t on schedule for dinner and bed.  After waiting at Best Buy they told me if I needed the data (the 180+ photos off my phone) I would have to go home and back it up.  So i sadly walked to my car, grumpy hormonal and emotional.  I got to my car, being extra careful not to slip again… I look at my tire and see something shiny.

There was a screw in my tire.  FUCK! I pushed on the tire it was still, as far as I could tell, fully inflated.  I drove the opposite direction from home to Costco where I bought the tires.  They told me it would be 1.5 to 2 hours to get my tire fixed.  At this point I was in toddler-meltdown mode.  I said fine, just fix it.  I grabbed a cart and started wandering the store hungry and crying.

Sample ladies… sampling bananas foster trifle.  Oh lord help me.  I walked past, and I walked past again.  She was just across from the cuties.  I grabbed a bag, and a cooked chicken, and a container of blueberries.  I cried as I walked.  I put the chicken back knowing I wouldn’t eat the whole thing before it went bad this late in the week.  I grabbed some cooked shrimp with cocktail sauce you get an insane amount of shrimp for a low number of points on Weight Watchers.  I was trying to keep my head about me.  I sampled a small cube of Tillamook cheddar cheese and my phone rang.  More bad news, the tire center has now broken the stud on my wheel. FUCK ME! They tell me about 10 more mins and my car will be ready to go.  I just start crying again.

I don’t even want to check out at this point.  I just want to leave my cart and go home.  I grab some allergy meds, and a box of the Fiber One chocolate chip cookie brownies that they finally started carrying (they carried the brownies, but not the chocolate chip cookie kind before) and headed for the registers.  Small talk with the cashier ended with him being extremely happy his day was better than mine.  I was to the point where my small talk gene was just shot.

I went and got my car and wanted nothing more than junk food.  I had not really had that much to eat during the day, I could have grabbed a burger or something.  I drove home, passing a crap-ton of fast food places.   Including on the last few blocks, just before my house, a Burger King and a McDonald’s.  I kept telling myself You do not really want those things, you are working toward being healthy, this is stress induced.  You do not need to eat a burger just because it is quick.  You owe it to yourself to take the time to sit and eat your food.

I got home and sat down on my bed and cried.  Took my medicine for the pain that was growing in my neck and back, and I went to the kitchen.  I weighed out my shrimp, 6 ounces worth, I grabbed some fruit, and a skinny cow chocolate bar.  I sat quietly, and just wallowed in all the bad shit that had happened.  I wallowed in the jury duty notice I had gotten the day before.  I cried over all the shitty stuff that happened that day, and then I tried to find the good things that happened.

1.) The day was over, I was about to crawl into my warm bed

2.) I had insurance on my cellphone, even though I had broken it, it would not cost me anything to get it fixed.

3.)The tire that had a screw in it was not flat when I found it, however if I had not found it, it could have/would have been flat at 3:30 am the next morning when I went to go to work and I’d have been late and had to change it in the snow.

4.)I stayed in control of what I ate despite a bad situation where I would have and could have easily just grabbed a pizza or burger before.

5.)I stuck to my plans to workout.

So I slept through the night, mostly.  I woke up Friday, and greeted the new day for what it was a new day.  I tried singing to my coffee syrup.  I went into the day with a positive attitude, it was a rough day too, but it was one day.  I continue to babystep my way along.  Proud that I survived a shitty day.