Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcome to My Lap

So kiddos, this would be my first post being performed on my new laptop...woohoo!! Yep, my desktop was a minute away from non-functional, so I knew a new PC was on the horizon.

I have always been a desktop girl myself. I like a big old keyboard I can move around, a monitor I can adjust, a desk I can sit at. But at the last minute, I opted for a laptop anyway. I figure I can still use my archaic desktop if need be, and I'd have a laptop to cart around and look cool with at Starbucks. Nothing like an angry-looking hipster sitting at Starbucks with a skinny extra, extra hot, no foam latte staring at his laptop as if it were the 8th Wonder of the World.

So Mr. Laptop arrived today in a neat little package with a convenient handle. One little box! Not the three huge bulky boxes I'm used to with a desktop version. And all I had to do was open it up and it was pretty much set up. Yep, i'm easily impressed.

So here I am, 20 minutes away from The Golden Girls, laptop..well, in my lap, me all happy about hurdling into the 21st century finally.

Now I just have to keep this thing hidden from the Little Girlfriend. She already wanted to know, "Mommy, what that?" I told her it was "something for the house." Sigh, I lie to my kid, what can I say.

Who knows what's next? Will I jump into the world of ipods? (I still have no mp3 player.) Surrender to the DVR? Hmm...we shall see!

Monday, June 28, 2010


"All that I know is I'm breathing, All I can do is keep breathing..." Ingrid Michaelson

I don't like interpersonal conflicts. I do, however, like songs with violins.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Love is Golden

These two crazy kids have been married for 50 years as of today. They're pretty cool. That guy can fix anything and knows everything about the stock market. That chick likes Taye Diggs and referees all Steelers games from the comfort of her couch. They decided to get hitched back in 1960, and 50 years later, they've got three kids, six grandkids, and a bunch of bunny rabbits. This is Jay and Jan. I like to call them Mom and Dad. And they are the best parents a child could ever dream of. Happy Anniversary to my Heroes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Message to Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, et al.

Dear Ann Taylor and Related Retail Chains:

As a consumer and woman in the workforce, I do my best to present myself in both a professional and attractive way on a daily basis. In today's marketplace, a plethera of ladies' fashion is offered at all price points and styles.

What is lacking? The plus-size market. True, there are stores dedicated to the plus-size consumer. However, for those of us who prefer the styles carried by stores such as yours, we are given no options.

Over the years, you have expanded your lines to include tall, petite, and more recently in the case of Ann Taylor, maternity wear. But plus size remains untouched.

I'm sure the obvious data indicating that the average size of the American woman is now 14 has not escaped your research? So what stops you from creating this line? Do you think larger women don't have money to spend? Lane Bryant is still in business, so that negates that theory. Or is it the more likely but unspoken reality...you don't want your clothes on fat women.

This is the common reality...look at the fashion industry in general. Fashion models are never bigger than a size 0 or 2, with a height of over 5'8''. PLUS-SIZE fashion models are between a size 10 and a size 12. OK, except that those sizes ARE NOT considered plus size!

I've sent you letters before. I receive the standard form letter back explaining nothing really. So I'm left with the conclusion that Ann Taylor and the like are also among the supporters of the only acceptable discrimination left in this country...the prejudice of body size.

I hope that one day in the near future, your buyers and research departments will consider that a woman's desire to be fashionable and attractive does not diminish with a larger dress size. Until that time, I regret to inform you that your earnings potential is not nearly what it could be due to your narrowminded attitude.

Kara Barrick, plus-sized consumer

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Once upon a time, about five years ago, I was blessed with meeting a bunch of fantastic, gorgeous, eclectic, wonderful gals. A job brought them my way, and now five years later, not a one of us is still at the company. But we are still together.

We are varied in ages...with me being the oldest (grrrrrr). But as fate will have it, we all had babies at just about the same time. So now we're moms together. And for me, someone who hadn't ever planned on children, being able to share this with my gals has been a Godsend.

Pre-babies, our meetups were usually dinners together after work. Post-babies, it has been events that we must plan for waaaaay in advance. Getting schedules coordinated is tough in Momville!

So last night, we had our much-anticipated Sex and the City 2 girls night! I believe I sent Evite Save-the-Dates out for this LAST YEAR...hahaha! Yep, I'd be the planner of the group. It's a sickness, I know.

It is a rare gift for us all to be together, so I was ecstatic when yesterday finally arrived. Two years ago, we all did cocktail dresses in honor of the first Sex and the City. This time around, we opted for more casual. But in true Kara style, I can never go out on the town without a pair of fantastic but HORRENDOUSLY PAINFUL heels...

But foot pain aside, this was a wonderful night. All my girls know me. They don't flinch at the things that pop out of my mouth. They make me feel beautiful at a time when that has proven tough. I love remembering the incidents that made us laugh, brought us together, joined us as friends. And I also love the mom stories. Oh, who would have thought we'd all be sitting around talking about tantrums and preschools and potty training. What a tremendous gift to share that with these ladies!

I'm a single mom down here in Baltimore...but I know that one phone call away there is someone to listen, to help, to share play dates with, to support my chai latte addiction. I believe wholeheartedly that these angels were very purposely sent to my life. Whenever I start to slip into a funk, I must remember the gift of these friendships, because it truly IS a gift, and I know I am loved by these women.

So ladies, thank you for being exactly who you are, and though our geography may someday change, you will always be my heart's next-door neighbor. Love you all...and can't wait until our next adventure, which I will boldly move forward into with COMFORTABLE SHOES!!!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Alone with My Thoughts on a Friday Night

Have gotten into that uninspired mode again where I just can't think of anything interesting enough to blog about. But I'm alone here tonight...Fuzz is with her Daddy...and all the random thoughts buzz around my head so that the quiet really just isn't.

I'm disgusted with myself. I have let myself slip into a terrible funk with regard to my appearance. I've always had self-esteem issues, but at the same time, I was incredibly vain. I was always aiming for good hair, kept my eyebrows groomed, nails done, could rock a smoky eye and a killer pair of 3-inch heels.

Now? Oy. Eyebrows that haven't been plucked since Christmas. No haircut since before the blizzards, and no style to it to speak of. My nails are bare, half of them broken, and I still won't wear sandals or flip flops because my feet look inhuman. None of my clothes fit, and I just throw on random stuff that doesn't really even work together.

This all goes to the core issue of my weight, which has been something that has consumed me since the age of 10. Up until the age of 10, I was the exact same weight as my friend, Missy Yanity. But at age 10, and my induction into the fourth grade, changed that. Suddenly, I wasn't scoring straight A's with no effort. Suddenly things became more challenging. I was feeling something that wasn't familiar and not at all good. At age 10, I had no idea that feeling was anxiety. I didn't know there were healthy ways to handle it. What helped was a Little Debbie. No, actually what helped was a box of Little Debbies. And so began the emotional eating.

Miraculously, I had a good metabolism and through high school, I never was what you would even call overweight. Of course, I thought I was a cow. Looking back, would you call this girl a cow?

I gained a bit of weight my first year of college, and I went on a fairly successful diet and lost over 20 pounds and was at my best adult weight ever. But you know what? I still felt like a cow. All I could see were the friends who surrounded me...tall, lanky. I was never getting beyond 5'3'', and my body was thicker, curvier. I hated it. This was pre-JLo. This was the Kate Moss, heroin chic era. So at a healthy weight, I continued hating myself.

I had lost a bit of weight again right after college, and then that August I was diagnosed with cancer. There would be some trauma. How do I handle any trauma? Eating. There's a drug called Zofran that was a lifesaver while I took my chemo treatments. It took away almost all nausea. So I was able to eat. And did I ever eat. I binged my way through fear and depression. I hit remission and came out of chemo 40 pounds heavier. And I have never really recovered since that time.

I have managed to lose weight here and there, but I fall back into binging. I had just lost some weight and was really in a good momentum when I found out I was pregnant. I quickly was struck with "morning sickness" (in quotes because it was allllll day), and my eating and exercise program fell to the wayside. I did manage to limit my pregnancy weight gain to 18 pounds, and quickly dropped it once Claire was born. But my body was completely different after the pregnancy. And the stresses came one after the other. The end of the relationship with her dad, struggling as a single mom, not being able to really put myself first, just like all the other moms I know.

Soooo, with that in mind, I have packed on what I believe to be about 50 pounds on top of the mess I was already in. I won't get on a scale, so I can't say for sure, but I have my reasons to believe that is a fair assumption. I honestly don't recognize myself. My face looks so different with all the extra weight. I only look in the mirror long enough to brush my hair and teeth and put what little makeup on that I do wear. This is the longest I've gone without at least trying to diet. I feel really, really defeated.

I so want to change. I do. But I'm quite terrified there's no turning back. I know you have to start somewhere, but it's such a monumental undertaking. What I keep focusing on is Claire. I want to be a role model for her. I want to be able to run and play at the park with her. I get winded so easily. My knees hurt all the time now. I'm always tired from lack of movement and from very poor food choices.

So I don't know. Even after all of this, I still feel too weak to overcome. But I'm going to really, really "noodle" on it, as my boss would say, and I'm going to seek the strength I need.

I really didn't intend for this to be a "weight" blog, but when I think of myself, I don't think of anything...anything at all...but weight. I define myself just by that. It has been a focus of my life for almost 30 years. I need it out of my head. I need it off of my body.

While I ponder all of this, I also do fun stuff, like scour Etsy for artwork for my new place. I have a few pieces picked out, and once that freelance check comes, I may treat myself to one of them.

I watch Hoarders, and it helps motivate me to keep this place clean. I've been doing a pretty good job, except for my bedroom, which never got properly unpacked. I am going to give it another go tomorrow. I would like to have my friends over soon. That would be nice.

I continue to work on my parenting. Claire is certainly no shrinking violet, and I have every confidence that she will challenge me her whole life. She has a strong personality...it brings dazzling highs and absolute chaos. I love the person she is. But some of the behaviors aren't so desirable. But I'm catching on to what works...diversion especially. And giving Claire tasks is another good one...she wants to help with everything, and I know it raises her self-esteem, which is at the forefront of my goals. The enrichment teacher from KinderCare called today and wants to assess Claire for the Phonics class. I'm all for it...I'll find the extra money; I want her to have every opportunity to learn and grow. We continue our after-school "playground tour," and visit different spots every day that isn't raining. I study her like she's my thesis, and I hug and kiss her every minute so she is absolutely wrapped in the security of my love. Claire was meant to be in this world...it wasn't even a choice, it was a necessity...her existence was meant to be.

So my friends, that is where this Friday evening has taken me. I'm glad to tell you I'm smiling now. I think good things are ahead. I'm ready for them.