Thursday, April 02, 2015

VSG Update - Almost Two Years Out from Surgery and Links

I thought that it was high time I write about my VSG surgery again! I am including links to all of my previous blog posts at the end of this post in case anyone would like to read them. I've been contacted several times over the past two years to talk about my story or to chat  with friend who are considering having weight loss surgery so I feel like my previous blog posts were actually helpful to some people! Yay! That was my goal and if I can help even ONE person with any aspect of examining the pros and cons of weight loss journey and/or surgery, I'm happy I can do that! 


Here's a picture of me today! Happy, more healthy, and while I feel like I could lose some more weight......and I might do that.....I am waaaaaaaay more satisfied than I have EVER been in my whole life with how I'm maintaining. I do have some frustrations and here are a few of them:

- I still have to watch my weight. I knew that I would and the surgery is a tool to help you and a LIFE CHANGE. I knew that too. Sometimes though, I get mad that I still have to watch the scale, but overall, I watch it fewer times and I eat healthier so I did change my lifestyle. 
- Somehow, my eyes are STILL bigger (now much bigger) than my stomach. I still catch myself eating rapidly and sometimes eating too much. I've not thrown up, not even once, from eating, since my surgery. Most people throw up often, at least I think they might, if they overeat. When I know I've eaten too much, I hiccup a bit, feel tight in my esophagus, and feel kind of bad. Bad enough to not eat any more, but I do not feel nauseous. Well, I take that back. Twice in two years, I did feel nauseous from eating one bite too many, but I didn't push it and within minutes that went away.
- I have rediscovered "slider foods" such as chips, cake, and crackers. This is not awful, but isn't too good either because they go down TOO EASY and I can eat a lot more than I originally intended if I'm not careful.
- Drinking while eating: I still can't do this well and technically, most folks are told that you are not supposed to. If I go out after rehearsal and want to have a drink, I drink most of it BEFORE eating some of my meal and I just have to resolve to take home most of my meal.

- I'm a size 14 which is what I was at the end of high school. I have  feeling I could be a 10 or 12, and maybe I'll want to be a 12 at some point, BUT I'M HAPPY so whatever.
- clothes are cooler and more fun to wear
- This is both good and bad......I've noticed that some of my acquaintances / friends, speak to me more, and listen more attentively to me. New people I meet, as long as they don't have the southern "Good ole' boy" syndrome, tend to look me in the eye and actually treat me like I'm present. In the past, I had many MANY incidents of (mostly men) being introduced to me and then immediately carrying on conversation with the person next to me as if I was not there. Damn shame, idiots.
- I CAN have any foods I want and so I do :-) Many folks are not able to eat certain foods.
- My hair has been able to hold curl since the surgery. It began to grow back from the hair loss I experienced so I still have many lengths overall, but it's a lot curlier!
- I don't think about my surgery or weight loss very much. I'm me and have settled into my new way of eating and I like it!

Here are PAST BLOG POSTS on my VSG SURGERY. I hope that some of these will help people. If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me. It can be a pretty lonely place when you're researching WLS and aren't sure of many things!

1. Background,

2. Part II,

3. Part III,

4. Part IV, Surgery Scheduled

5. Endobariatric -

6. A Day and a Half -

7. Journey to Endobariatric -

8. Discharge Day! -

9. Three weeks out from surgery -

10. Experimental Eating -

11. 10-12 weeks out -

12. 5-month update -

13. One year later -

14. Hair Loss -


Episcopal Tenebrae Service

Last night, for the second year in a row, St. Paul's Episcopal had a very moving and lovely Tenebrae liturgy. The service is found in the Book of Occasional Services on p. 75. While a stunningly beautiful service, it's not done in every church. I believe that in 2014, we were the only ones in EDOLA to do one and this year, St. George's Episcopal had a Tenebrae service as well. If you haven't tried it at your church, do it if you can! 
The hearse on the epistle side of the altar             
We used the book In the Shadows of Holy Week: The Office of Tenebrae by Frederick C. Elwood and John L. Hooker, eds. for help with the liturgical format and plainsong. It's actually about 40 pages of plainchant on very similar tones! Since it's rather taxing, I decided to involve several cantors and I also invited any of our choir members to come and join in singing the canticles. I also asked both priests last year to chant and this year, our rector and director of formation chanted. The chants are simple, but they are lengthy. One thing I will say about worship with the potential for length: don't shy away from it. Worship "takes as long as it takes" in my opinion.
Our service was candlelit and absolutely beautiful! I cried at the end. It was just so intense and the times when we sat together in prayer in the darkness of the night - well, it can be overwhelming! We NEED to be overwhelmed, especially during Holy Week. Again, my opinion, but having worship that doesn't stretch us or move us or challenge us to remember, imagine, feel, be moved, to feel God's love or to share God's love.....what is that truly worth?

The origins of Tenebrae are below, shared as an excerpt from In the Shadows of Holy Week: The Office of Tenebrae

The Origins of Tenebrae
The liturgy offered this night is the full, ancient form of Tenebrae. Tenebrae is a Latin word signifying “darkness,” “shadows,” and “obscurity.” It is a word that pointedly calls our attention to the scriptural accounts of our Lord’s crucifixion: The name of this service is taken from the opening words of the fifth responsory: “Tenebrae factae sunt”—“darkness came over the whole land” (Mark 15:33; also, Matthew 27:45; Luke 23:44).
It is a moving descent into the darkest days of the church year as we descend into darkness and await the ascension into light at The Great Vigil of Easter. The Medieval offices of Matins and Lauds which were combined to create Tenebrae were the usual morning offices recited by the monastic communities ministering in the Roman basilicas and collegiate churches of Europe. At Matins the morning is greeted with prayer even before the sun rises and they developed out of the nocturnal times of prayer and watchfulness (vigiliae) that were common in the early church. Matins traditionally included three distinct sections called Nocturns (meaning “divisions of the night”)The office of Lauds, which in Tenebrae follows the Third Nocturn of Matins, is the traditional morning prayer of the church in the western world. The word “laud” means “to sing or speak the praises of” and originally implied a formal act of worship.
The union of the two liturgies produced a ritual greater than the sum of its parts. Through their correlation with the systematic extinguishing of candles unique to Tenebrae, those who originated the ceremony gave a new and greater interpretive task to the psalms and canticles. As noted, in their new liturgical context these poignant scriptural laments serve as commentary upon the darkness that gradually enshrouds the church and ominously envelops Jesus’ life during Holy Week.

An Afternoon in NOLA City Park

Sometimes in the winter and often in the spring, I LOVE to take some time out and go to City Park (New Orleans) to chill amongst the beauty! 

I semi-regularly go to the walking track near the NOLA Museum of Art and actually exercise, but avoid it like the plague in summertime because it's approximately one billion degrees and a million percent humidity here. If that sounds like it's an exaggeration, it's's completely true.
Anyway, before I moved to NOLA, apparently most of City Park was comprised of golf courses and while there has only been one in the almost ten years I've lived here, post-Katrina, they are now being re-developed. So, a giant swath of the park will no longer be the lovely, natural, and free area I've known it to be. 
It always makes me so happy to drive through the Harrison Avenue cut-through and see people out playing with their dogs or kids. On some Tuesdays after my St. Paul's staff mtg and in my way to UNO, I stop and sit for a little while with my morning coffee. I haven't been able to in a while since I have lessons now on Tuesdays, but I do still steal some Friday afternoon time or weekend time to go and read in some of my favorite spots! 
I've been soooooooooo happy over the years to see the lovely Spanish moss returning to the trees! Though I was a new resident after hurricane Katrina, I noticed its absence and it struck me as rather odd for this Savannah / sub-tropical climate area. 

City Park helps me relax. It gives me (and countless others) a place to be out "in the wild" without driving outside city limits and while being relatively (and arguably) safe because roads are nearby, it's reasonably populated, and one still probably has cell phone service. 

I love the place. While it's exciting (and brings the city tons of revenue and glitz, I'm sad to have seen the start of rebuilding the golf courses. I have no idea how many of them they're planning to rebuild, but I surely hope there will be some of my favorite places left when it's all said and done!
PS. Two weeks ago, a whole field was covered in giant, beautiful thistle! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

i thank You God for most this amazing

                                   I THANK YOU GOD FOR MOST THIS AMAZING

City Park, NOLA in March 2015

                                        i thank You God for most this amazing

                                        day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
                                        and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
                                        which is natural which is infinite which is yes

                                        (i who have died am alive again today,
                                        and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
                                        day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
                                        great happening illimitably earth)

                                        how should tasting touching hearing seeing
                                        breathing any–lifted from the no
                                        of all nothing–human merely being
                                        doubt unimaginable You?

                                        (now the ears of my ears awake and
                                        now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

                                                                   -- e.e. cummings (1894-1962)
                                        #poetry #gratitude #thanks #Nature #nola #Episcopal

Poem found at: 
And here is a GORGEOUS choral composition written by Eric Whitacre (b. 1970) sung by The Stanford Chamber Chorale and the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, under the direction of Stephen Layton. *
butterfly I saw at UNO on a pretty purple flowering bush
Thistle at NOLA City Park, March 2015

Our Moon 3/28/15

Here's my photo of our moon from Saturday, march 28, 2015. I'll probably update this with the hi-res image later today (3/30). Canon Powershot (50X)
CCarson 3.28.2015

Palm Sunday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, NOLA

Here is our album of photos from yesterday's Palm Sunday service and potluck at St. Paul's Episcopal, New Orleans. In the morning, I decided to play with sunlight and got a few photos I really liked :-)
During the week, I'll be adding more to this album and hopefully and few others will as well!
Here is the link:

Above photo: me, Rt. Rev'd Duncan Gray (his 1st day with us as bishop in residence at St. Paul's), Fr. Rob Courtney (our rector), Amelia Arthur (director of formation)
morning sunlight through a palm

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Some lighthearted humor for St. Patrick's Day

Here's an old Gaelic blessing for ye: 

May those who
love us, love us
And those that
don't love us,
May God turn
their hearts;
And if he doesn't
turn their hearts
May he turn
their ankles
So we'll know them
by their limping
~ Gaelic Blessing

Here is a favorite, rather emotional, rendition of the Londonderry Air, "Danny Boy", by the Muppets!

Here is how St. Patrick REALLY drove the snakes out of Ireland! 
and here's the ill-fated blind date....

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pi Day, 2015

Yesterday was Pi Day and Albert Einstein's birthday!

Happy #PiDay 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679821480865132823066470......zzzzz...

Here's some more info about the day itself -

Also, a couple of fun articles:

1. From Slate
2. From NPR

I got myself up and out and down the street to the Cafe Rose Nicaud for a slice of pecan pie. It was really empty when I got there so I decided to stay and have my pie and add some coffee and enjoy the visit. My friend Connie happened to come by so we chatted for a while and by the time I finished my pie, the place was full! :-) It's a terrific cafe and if you're in the Frenchmen Street area of New Orleans, do try to stop by. Their hibiscus iced tea is fantastic, great pecan pie, and they feature a host of sandwiches, wraps, and other croissants and desserts.Since it was 3/14/15 the trick was catching 9:26 and 53 seconds....which I ended up doing both morning and evening :-)


Yawn....oh hai Monday...zzz

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

LMEA adjudication of Large Group Choral Festival

So honored and excited to adjudicate for the LMEA (Louisiana Music Educators Association) Large Ensemble Choral Festival (Tuesday, March 11 - Thursday, March 13). Excellent leadership and organization by Dana Lux and helpers!
They have about 50 choirs abd I'm hearing a wide variety of repertoire ranging from excellent to schlocky! Such royal treatment from District IV! Hot lunches & dinner, accommodations, little snacks, parking, and fun! First Baptist of Baton Rouge is also a SUPERB host! So friendly and helpful too!
Here's to choral music in the schools! 

You Are the Peace

You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm
You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart's eternal spark
You are the door that's open wide
You are the guest who waits inside
You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor
You are my Lord and with me still
You are my love, keep me from ill
You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my Saviour this very day.

Monday, March 09, 2015

This is another day, O Lord

This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.
#Episcopal #prayer #Anglican
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, NOLA. Photo by C. Carson

A Hymn for Daylight Saving Time

DON'T FORGET! Change your clocks! ‪#‎SpringFORWARD‬ Here's a little hymn (to the tune of 'God of Grace & God of Glory') to help you remember! ‪#‎DaylightSavingTime‬
(Thanks to The Choir Project & Marian Dolan for sharing on FB!)

Gregory of Nyssa

Today the church celebrates the life of Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 - c. 395 C.E.)

* A collect for today:
Almighty God, you have revealed to your Church your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like your bishop Gregory of Nyssa, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

* A little history from the Internet School of Philosophy 

" - Gregory was bishop of #Nyssa from 372 to 376 and from 378 until his death. He is venerated as a saint in Roman #Catholicism, Eastern #Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, #Lutheranism, and #Anglicanism. Gregory, his brother Basil of Caesarea, and Gregory of Nazianzus are collectively known as the Cappadocian Fathers."He spent his life in #Cappadocia, a region in central Asia Minor. Together, the Cappadocians are credited with defining Christian orthodoxy in the Eastern Roman Empire, as Augustine (354—430 C.E.) was to do in the West. Gregory was a highly original thinker, drawing inspiration from the pagan Greek philosophical schools, as well as from the Jewish and Eastern Christian traditions, and formulating an original synthesis that was to influence later Byzantine, and possibly even modern European, thought. A central idea in Gregory's writing is the distinction between the transcendent nature and immanent energies of God, and much of his thought is a working out of the implications of that idea in other areas--notably, the world, humanity, history, knowledge, and virtue. This leads him to expand the nature-energies distinction into a general cosmological principle, to apply it particularly to human nature, which he conceives as having been created in God's image, and to rear a theory of unending intellectual and moral perfectibility on the premise that the purpose of human life is literally to become like the infinite nature of God. "

* More information -

#Episcopal #Saints #Anglican #Gregory #philosophy #EDOLA