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Posted on Aug 14, 2012 in Dear Diary | 27 comments


So. Maybe this borders a little too heavily on the whole “TMI” side of things (though let’s be honest, when have I ever been really one to stray away from a good TMI scenario?) but I have got to say: I have raging PMS right now. My 2.8 male readers can promptly close their browsers now. Really, it’s okay guys. 😉

PMS is one of those things that is incredibly inconsistent for me. Some months, things just chug along like normal. Maybe I end up with a couple more french-fry cravings than normal, but it’s never anything noticeable enough for me to be like, “Oh, I must be PMS-ing!” It’s usually just more like, huh, I want some french fries.

Other months, however, it hits me like a freight train. I do recognize that I’m pretty lucky in that I don’t often get hit with major bloating, death-inducing headaches, or the like. No, the worst thing for me is the emotional damage that my hormones have on me. It’s not so much mood swings as a general rise in my emotional sensitivity. And considering I’m not the most emotionally stable person on a regular day… oooooh man.

Case in point:

Yep. Twilight made me cry. And it wasn’t even during like, a sad scene (to be fair though, is there such a thing in Twilight?). You might think that would be the height of my PMS-related patheticness, but you’d be wrong. I still vividly remember the time I started crying while watching High School Musical.

As Sean can attest, there’s also not a small amount of general moping and doldrum-dwelling for no real reason:

“What’s wrong?”

I know, I know. I’m that girl. I’m sorry. (Not really.)

Because I don’t really experience many other signs other than my inappropriate allocation of emotions, I do sometimes find that my diet goes through a bit of an unconscious rebellion at a certain point each month. Like with the aforementioned french fry craving, I know that my willpower to resist (or perhaps limit would be a better word, since you know I’m not a fan of totally ignoring a craving) my inhalation of fries is definitely lower. Sometimes I feel like I should start tracking these things better so I know when I’ll need to mentally equip myself against the pull of a junk food rage, haha.

Does PMS hit you hard? In what ways?

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Posted on Nov 30, 2011 in Dear Diary, Giveaway, Pup Posts | 40 comments

Homecoming (Giveaway!)

Look who’s back!!


Daxter is back home after his stay at the hospital and is on the road to recovery!

He’s still sleepy and having some, er, backend issues, but it’s nowhere near as bad as before. In fact, the doctor said that it is normal, and the main thing is to make sure he can eat, drink, and keep his meds down. He actually has a really good appetite, which I am beyond thrilled about since he had lost 2 whole pounds! And while two pounds is not generally a lot for someone like me, to a 17 pound dog it is a big effing deal. As long as that’s the case — and so far so good (knock on wood) — he is definitely on the up and up. $1,800 well spent, and I really do say that without a trace of irony (and luckily, thanks to pet insurance I’ll be getting a large chunk of it back.)


All I can really say is this: you know that emotional roller coaster I am constantly referencing was talking about? Well, hopefully this is the last loop-de-loop on that ride. I am SO ready to get off. And I’m sure that you are all ready to move on to happier things too! Can you tell how much my mood has already improved?

Now, due to the many hours that were spent at the emergency vet clinic, lack of sleep, and dehydration due to crying (don’t bother acting as though you’re shocked), I don’t really have much to talk about today. So for now, let’s just revel in the fact that it looks like Daxy is going to pull through. In fact, let’s revisit all the things that I said I’m thankful for last week, and put Daxter’s recovery as number one with a bullet.

While today’s post might not have too much going on, be forewarned/get excited for all the festiveness that is about to come. It is officially CHRISTMAS SEASON (slash whichever holiday you’ll be celebrating: Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus, etc.) and that means cookies will be baked, decorations will be hung, and dogs will be clothed. What, you think a little life-threatening sickness was going to get Daxter out of sweater season? Ha! Think again.


Oh, and don’t think you’re being spared of this fate either, Harry.

What you looking at, fella?

And okay, so I lied about there being absolutely nothing of interest in this post for you. In fact, if you’ve made it this far there’s something fun, festive, and most importantly (as always) FREE! In order to celebrate Daxter’s momentous-ish homecoming, the impending holiday, and just because I like you, I have a giveaway for you!

My awesome graphic designer Bailey (who designed my logo, header, and sweet business cards!) just launched her new business, think pretty, ink. She has a line of adorable, personalized holiday card designs, and is offering a free holiday card design to one lucky winner!

Ways to enter (leave a separate comment back here for each thing!):

1. Check out think pretty, ink.‘s Etsy page and comment on which design is your favorite (and don’t let the models in the example above bias you, hehe.)

2. Like think pretty, ink. on Facebook!

3. Blog/tweet/facebook about this giveaway! Make sure to reference @shrinkinggretch (Twitter) or my fan page (Facebook) and link back to this post! (Short link: http://bit.ly/sFe0Fu)

I will be randomly drawing a winner on Friday, December 2nd, so get your entries in and your list of holiday-card-worthy recipients ready! It’s going to be a grrrrreat day!

Update: And the winner is…

Sara L.! Congratulations! Email me and I’ll put you in touch with Bailey. Happy Holidays!

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Posted on Nov 28, 2011 in Dear Diary, Pup Posts | 25 comments

Highs and Lows

Happy (?) Monday, everyone! I hope everybody survived their holiday weekend unscathed and with only an extra 10 or 12 pounds around their waists (heh.) Surprisingly, I’m actually glad to get into a bit of normalcy over the next week or so. Until the craziness of the next holiday settles in, that is. Not that this unusual for me, as you are all painfully aware, but even with all of the Thanksgiving festiveness, the past week has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. Ups and downs, highs and lows, it’s been a trip. Here are just some examples of each:


High: The socially accepted binge that is Thanksgiving Dinner.


Low: Not getting to spend Thanksgiving with my family (fur-family excluded).


High: Completing 7.02 miles in preparation for the 15K coming up on Saturday (!!!)


Low: How sore I already am, less than 24-hours later. And I only actually ran for half of it. Also a low? Seeing the race course and elevation map:

WHY SO HILLY?! Just kill me now. Ow.

High: The amazingness that is The Muppets Movie. Seriously, go see it right now. Mah-na mah-na.


Low: Coming home post-movie to a sick puppy. Not that you need the specifics, but let’s just say my night — and day — included more than one messy clean-up. 🙁


Extra Low: My sick puppy continuing to be sick, waking up every half-hour Saturday night to check for anything that may have spewed from either end, and, after 24+ hours of vomiting and diarrhea, finally making the decision to take him to the emergency vet at 10 PM last night. Prognosis? Undetermined, of course. It could be any number of things: upset stomach, parasites, blockage, gastrosomethingitis… They wanted to keep him overnight and IV-this and X-ray-that but even with my awesome pet insurance my monetary situation forced me to stay on the conservative side here. Which makes me feel like a horrible pet parent just saying so, but you know me: any sign of worsening or further trouble and I’ll be speeding (literally!) straight back to the Hope Center. But for now, at least my $585.00 procured a few meds and instructions for taking care of my little guy. Therefore, I’ll be playing the roll of Doggy Nurse today and hopefully things will go smoothly… for both of us.


So, yeah… with all that, I’ve been doing some (more) emotional yo-yoing. And while mentally I know that Daxter is going to be okay, it’s still very worrisome. Oh, plus there’s the fact that I’m running on approximately 85 minutes hours of sleep thanks to getting home at 1:45 AM from the Doggy ER and Daxter’s frequent trips outside. I’m sure that my emotional instability will only continue to worsen as time goes on… and as I get closer and closer to Saturday’s race. For the latter, I know I just need to keep telling myself that I just need to FINISH the race: time be damned, pace be damned, other people’s opinions be damned. Right?


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Posted on Nov 8, 2011 in Dear Diary | 78 comments

Post Mortem

It’s about to get serious up in hurr, so I offer the following picture to ease you into it. You’re welcome.


What with all the hair dyeing, binge drinking, cupcake face-stuffery, and vague allusions, you may have surmised that things have been a little off with me lately. Well, you would be correct. I’ve been trying to wait, take a breath, and let my most volatile feelings about the situation subside before tackling it on the interwebs, but in the end I figure, hey, it’s my blog and I can cry if I want to.

You are probably well-aware of the fact that I am a rather, er, emotionally charged person. I just have a lot of feelings. And while I don’t want to rant, rave, or divulge too much for fear of any libelous/slanderous/true accusations I’ve put forth on the interwebs coming back to bite me in the ass, this blog is about my life. And this has been a significant part of it, so here it is.

A week ago, my relationship with my boyfriend of almost three years ended. I wasn’t blindsided. We both knew that things hadn’t been great for a while. But for whatever reason, call it optimism or merely naïveté, I still had hope. I thought we were worth saving, and I still wanted to try. Unfortunately, as many cliché sayings and rom-coms have taught me, it takes two to tango. And ultimately it just wasn’t enough.

I have a lot of mixed emotions wrapped up in this breakup. After all, three years is a substantial chunk of my life! Right at this moment, it’s difficult for me not to feel like it’s time that’s been wasted. Objectively, I know that’s not true. I know that I’ve grown because of this relationship, that I’ve learned things about myself that I might not have otherwise. Objectively, I understand what’s happened. I even get why it had to happen. But the thing is — and it may shock you to learn this — I’m really not a very objective person. So I’m hurt, and I’m sad, and most of all I am angry. Not so much at why it ended (I know that there is plenty of blame to go on both our shoulders), but I’m angry at HOW it ended. At the way it was handled, at what’s happened since.

The sadness, I can deal with. I’m handling the hurt, the blows dealt to my self-esteem, the loss of a friend. But the anger? I don’t really know how to deal with this. I’m not asking for a justification or rationalization of my feelings. I know I’m allowed to–no, entitled to feel this way. But it’s still just a lot to handle, even for someone who runs the gamut of her emotions as frequently as I do.

In the meantime, I’m trying to keep busy. I’m attempting to divert the self-pity and rage with a full schedule, and it does help. I have plenty of emo songs queued up on Spotify, and that helps too. I’m also taking solace in the fact that for once in my life, I’m not turning to food to soften the blow (wine, on the other hand…)

I know this isn’t the end of the world. I know that I’m young, that I have lots of life left to live and plenty more heartbreak to endure (oh, goody.) But this was my first real, serious, committed relationship, and it’s over. That sucks. The fact of the matter is that breakups are hard. I don’t know if some of you are questioning my decision to broadcast this so openly on the blog, but I needed to. This is me, after all. I needed to chronicle this chapter of my life coming to a close.


So we mourn, and eventually, we move on.

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Posted on Sep 16, 2011 in Dear Diary | 40 comments

My name is Gretchen, and I Used to be Fat.

Since starting my new job roughly 6 weeks ago (JEEBUS, has it really been that long already?), I’ve found myself in an interesting “predicament” (I use that term very loosely here.)

See, to my new coworkers, I look like this:


Or sometimes this:

There may or may not have been a robot dancing through the cubes the other day…

But either way, I am (usually) dressed appropriately for work, haha. Actually, I suppose that technically I now look like this:

And while I may not be “skinny” by anyone’s definition, I’m, you know, normal. Most decidedly NOT obese. Soft, cuddly, with a little bit of extra fluff, but nothing to gawk at and certainly nothing to pity (at least not for my weight, hahaha.) So when I started working here, my coworkers had absolutely no idea that I used to look like this:

Or this:

Please excuse the nerd factor of forcing my brother to take a portrait of me with my dogs.

And while some of them have since been turned onto this little ol’ blog (hi guys!) and have probably figured it out by now, most of the people I meet have no idea that I’m a former fatty. And yes, just typing out those words brings a whole mess of self-esteem-bashing thoughts to mind (“Well, I really shouldn’t be saying I’m NOT fat, since I still need to lose more weight…”) but I’m going to try to drown those out with more incessant babbling… starting now.


See, for over, hmm, at least 13 of my 23 years (I’m ancient, I know), I have struggled with my weight. I wasn’t a chubby child, but I was a pudgy pre-teen, a thickset teenager, and an ample adult, topping off at (to my knowledge) 246 pounds. And while I am aware that my figure will always stray to the zaftig side, there is absolutely no question that I was unhealthy AND unhappy at that weight. No bueno.

But I’ve come a long way in the past year! I’ve lost almost 60 pounds so far, revamped my look (many times over, haha) and my life, and couldn’t be happier for it. I’m obviously still Gretchen, still the same person that I’ve always been, but in some ways I’m not. I’ve changed, I’ve grown, and I’ve evolved. So why is it that I constantly feel the need to tell people about the fact that I, you know, used to be fat?


It feels like, whether intentional or not, one of the first conversations I have with a new person somehow involves my weight loss. Why do I feel the need to let them make them know this? Let’s be honest, it’s a pretty awkward thing to bring up to someone you don’t really know. Do I really need the validation that much? For them to know this one big accomplishment of my life so far? People don’t go walking around and starting off conversations with “Hi, my name is Dr. Blah Blah and I won the Nobel Prize.” or “Hey there, I’m Yada Yada and I make $350,000 a year.” (I mean, okay, perhaps speed-dating participants might do that, but let’s just say they’re the exception, haha.)

Maybe it’s that I’m just not ready to let go of the person I used to be. I keep reminding you with pictures and stories and reiterations of the same facts, because I want to remind myself. I used to think that once I lost weight, I would never want to look back on myself as an obese person. I would want to forget the past and start anew — as a new person entirely. I guess that just isn’t the case. I don’t want to forget because hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t want to lose the part of me that literally transformed. I don’t want to forget because I don’t want to get back to that place, ever.

I know that this is kind of heavy for a Friday, but it’s just another one of those self-reflection things that seems to hit from time to time. It’s just confusing. Am I supposed to let go of the past so I don’t get down on myself for letting me get that way? So I can move forward? Or am I supposed to keep it constant and present in my life so I don’t ever forget? I know these are not mutually-exclusive things, but it’s just something to think about before announcing my weight to the next stranger I meet, haha.

Do you ever find yourself in a similar predicament? Torn between wanting to forget yourself as the fat/unhealthy/depressed/whatever person, but also wanting to hold onto it?

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