Another Year – or two – Gone

I’ve been on this endless cycle of trying to lose weight, watching what I eat, and then letting life get the best of me. I don’t see fast enough results or I feel like I’m working for nothing. I give up and depression takes hold. I had the same problem quitting smoking, but I did, and even now – two years later, I still think about smoking and I miss it but I won’t do it again. When I did quit smoking I gained a lot of weight and with a major move and family issues, I’ve sunk into a new depression cycle. Late last year, I started taking vitamins and some herbal remedies to help with the depression. Everything I read said that exercise was one of the best treatments for depression and I knew it certainly couldn’t hurt.  We have a treadmill we bought on Craigslist for $25 several years ago and my son has a weight bench. It’s all in the garage and it’s cold out there but it’s dry and it’s private. I’ve walked and run on the treadmill sporadically since we bought it.

Last summer, my legs started swelling up. I knew I’d gained a lot of weight. Then, I developed a severe pain along my left side. My blood pressure was up for the first time in my life. My iron was too low and I was anemic. The doctor told me that walking would help me more than anything. He said I was the perfect candidate to relieve some of these health issues by just walking. I walked outside after work every day with my daughter, then it got colder and darker earlier, and I stopped. Again.

Two weeks ago, I was sick of nothing fitting, my legs still swelling, and the feeling of depression. I came home from work and changed my agenda. Instead of kicking of my shoes and settling in to the typical watching tv and writing on my laptop, I left my shoes on and after dinner, I went to the garage. Maybe those herbals were starting to kick in.

I walked for about 30 minutes at about 2 mph. It felt good. It was quiet and peaceful. I had headphones on and music I like blocking out all of the noise.

I did it again the next day. And the day after. And every day, I felt better. I added more speed a little at a time. This week, I was up to 3 mph.

Last week, I came back to calorie counter. I’d been here before. I didn’t realize it was in 2008 before I quit smoking. And I’ve gained 40 lbs since then. If I’d stuck with it then, I would’ve lost all of the weight by now and I wouldn’t be here now.

I’ve exercised every day except one now for almost 3 weeks. The first day, I felt better and I slept better. It eases my mind. I do it at the same time every night. I used to think I had to change my clothes, change my shoes, live up to some exercise plan online or someone else’s goals. I really don’t. If I’m cold, I go out there wearing my coat. If I want to walk wearing my jeans and sweater from work, then what difference does it make? My “walking” tends to be a lot of dancing as I walk with my steps and rhythm changing with the songs on the Ipod. Who cares? No one can see me. And even if they did, it can’t look any worse seeing this fat woman walking and moving all silly than it did to see me going shopping and being disappointed at the size of pants I have to wear now.

So I started moving more. And I started watching what I eat. Two days ago, I got out a little postal scale and started measuring how much food I was really eating.


Okay, so I’ve always known that there is no magic pill or quickfix to losing weight. I know the treatment is to move more and consume less. And I’ve always known that our culture has completely ruined any concept of true portion control, but my god, do you know how small an ounce or a teaspoon truly is?

My husband made chicken legs roasted in the oven with a very light breading, mashed potatoes, and baked beans. A nice healthy dinner and I appreciated it. Then, we measured each item before we put it on my plate.

I nearly cried when I realized the chicken was 10 oz and about 700 calories. I started to put them back when my son reminded me that they have bones.

Thank God.

I ate the chicken meat and then measured the scraps and bones. I only ate 3 oz of chicken.  That was okay.

This morning, I made a cup of coffee, and instead of just pouring the cream into the cup, I got out a measuring spoon and measured a tsp.


I may stop drinking coffee. It’s not good for me anyway.

There are all of these… things… in my yard. Help!

I’ve been working 12 hour days and I get home after dark so I hadn’t noticed my yard lately. I came home in the middle of the day this week and saw my front yard for the first time in weeks.

It’s pink.

My front yard in Arizona was dirt and my back yard was rock.

Now, I have this:

The Backyard

The front yard

What do I kill first? What’s supposed to be there? What am I supposed to mow? Anybody got a lawnmower I can borrow? And will you show me how to use it?

Barnhill’s – I made it!

I’m back! I have a bit of a different look and a new address:

And My name’s different since my professional and writing life are now one in the same. (Claire Collins is a pseudonym for Tracy) But it’s still me. I hope you guys will have a chance to come visit!


Where have I been and Where am I going?

People often ask me where my stories come from.

Actually, anyone who knows me knows exactly what my life is like and where my stories come from.

Here’s an example and it will explain what’s been going on.

On January 11, 2010, I gave my resignation at my job so I could move from my home in Arizona to my new home in North Carolina. I don’t really have a new home there, but I would be staying with friends until I could find a new home. My family was going to join me in May once the kids were out of school for the summer.

I gave my notice and I was moving to North Carolina to open our bookstore, Barnhill’s.

Did you really click that link? I’m not there yet! Save it for later. I’ll tell you when. Now pay attention.

Within an hour of giving my notice, my husband arrived home to discover we had been robbed. My first concern was the saftey of my fifteen-year-old son, Joey. He hadn’t felt well that morning and stayed home from school. My husband leaves before me in the morning and didn’t know my son was home sick.

He was still in bed, sleeping.

However, earlier in the day, he woke to discover the kid who lives behind us coming in the back door. They scared each other with Joey yelling, “What the hell are you doing in my house,” and the kid taking off running and jumping back over the fence. Joey went through the house. The living room looked fine and my bedroom door was still closed so he went back to bed.

My husband came home, opened the bedroom door, saw the blinds askew, the window open, and my laptop gone. Apparently, when Joey surprised him, the kid was coming back in the house after taking his first load of stolen goods out.

Word quickly spread through the neighborhood and reports of seeing him carrying my laptop began to circulate. The police came and took a report. Word from the grapevine got back to us that the kid was trying to trade my laptop for a gun or enough money to buy a gun and he was coming back.

Everything that was gone was just stuff. Sure… my laptop had my latest book on it and some personal stuff like our Christmas pictures, but I have most of my book on backup and the pictures are just pictures and video.

The scary thought was that if this little punk had a gun when he broke into my house, he probably would have shot Joey. And if not at my house, he wouldn’t stop breaking into people’s houses and someone would die.

This was supposed to be a happy week for me. After a lot of planning, it was time for me to take the next big step in my life. I was packing and planning my trip.

On Tuesday, my husband remained home in case our visitor returned as promised. He was seen several times and the police were called but they didn’t come out.

On Wednesday, I was coming down the street from work when a neighbor tried to squeeze between me and parked cars. He hit the mirror on my truck and it folded. His broke. He called the police and said I hit him. Hours later, when the police came out, they stopped by just to let me know that he wasn’t pressing charges but he did have witnesses. The “witnesses” didn’t mention they spent every Friday drinking with the “victim” or that they weren’t actually outside or in view of the accident.

After that, we changed our plans. We’re all  moving. I’ve been packing. This neighborhood has gone downhill and I don’t feel it’s safe for my children. Yesterday, they arrested the kid, but he will probably be released today. He had one of my rings in his possession and the police impounded it. It’s now being held as evidence. The kid confessed. They’re still going to let him out.

Welcome to my world. I’m leaving.

Wish List

I know, I know, I know. You guys were wishing I would create a new blog.

Your wish has been granted.


Now you have to answer three questions for me since I updated my blog for you:


1) What do you want for Christmas?


2) Tell me the nicest thing you did this year so Santa knows if you deserve to get what you want.


3) Tell me the naughtiest thing you did this year so I know if you get what you deserve!

Cat Burglar

The other day, my daughter ran into my room wearing a long black cape and her brother’s skeleton halloween mask.

She said, “I’m a cat burglar!”

Then she grabbed the fluffy sleeping cat off of my bed, tucked him under her arm, and ran out of the room.

Updating at Warp Speed

Several things have happened since I last saw you. So without further ado, here’s an update:

Halloween came and went.

I added a new bear to my collection and he promptly took over my favorite place to hang out:

Picture 001

My oldest son turned 19. He still doesn’t have a job.

My next oldest son was promoted from freshman football to varsity football and he got to play in the last two varsity games. He would have played in the final varsity game, but he was sick all week and missed two practices so he couldnt play. We can’t wait for next year. He will be the only Sophomore on the varsity team.

Everyone got sick with some weird stomach bug. I hope it was H1N1 because if so, we all had it and survived and should be good to go for the rest of the year. Right?

My kitchen cabinets have three shelves. Well, one cabinet now only has two shelves, but that’s ok because I don’t have nearly as many glasses as I used to since that one shelf decided it was tired of holding up all of those glasses.

At least 3 times in the last two weeks, I haven’t had more than three hours of sleep because my husband snores and when the weather changes, his snoring gets worse. As soon as I drift off, he wakes me up. Poor guy, he doesn’t do it on purpose, but one of these mornings, he’s going to wake up with tampons shoved up each nostril and a sock in his mouth.

Most nights, I only sleep about 6 hours anyway.

We had record heat. It was ni the 90’s all week. It’s November.

We had our fiscal year end at work and that inculded taking inventory. I worked 12 hour days and weekends.

Somewhere in all of that, I worked, slept, ate, cleaned, laughed, cried, lived life, made decisions and talked to my family.

At least I assumed I did all of that. I don’t remember much of it in the blur of my life.

So, I’m back now, but quite frankly, next week doesn’t look much better.

Finally, do you guys miss my posts or me coming to visit you and leave comments?


Say What?

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A friend of mine made a reference to an Electra Complex  so I looked it up. Wikipedia says:

According to Freud, a girl, like a boy, is originally attached to the mother figure. However, during the phallic stage, when she discovers that she lacks a penis, she becomes libidinally attached to the father figure, and imagines that she will become pregnant by him, all the while becoming more hostile toward her mother. Freud attributes the character of this developmental stage in girls to the idea of “penis envy“, where a girl is envious of the male penis. According to the theory, this penis envy leads to resentment towards the mother figure, who is believed to have caused the girl’s “castration.” The hostility towards the mother is then later revoked for fear of losing the mother’s love, and the mother becomes internalized, much the same as the Oedipus complex.

So I questioned my friend who has more training in this area than I do, and they told me:

In a nutshell: a woman with an “electra complex” is a person who has real resentment issues with certain other woman going back to an emotionally imprinted idea that her father was stolen from her by her mother.

So to you my dear blog readers, I say:

Come, lay on my couch and tell me: How does this make you feel?



Lost and Found then Missing Again

I’ve been working.

I swear.

So, I really miss everyone and I hope you haven’t forgotten me.

I will be making the rounds soon to say hi.

Until then, Please feel free to hop over to my sister’s blog and help her make fun of me. Or maybe she’s making fun of Molly Ringwald. I can’t be sure.

Suzette Vaughn

 What are sisters for? No really, because I’ve been trying to figure that one out for decades.

~ CC

Guilty Pleasures


If you happen to pull up next to me in traffic, when you glance over, I will be singing.