Monday, December 14, 2009

Exhausted, Wish I had a Wife

You may laugh, but after our son was born my husband and I joked about taking in another wife. We were so overwhelmed, we weren’t entirely joking. We talked about someone that would care for the kid while we caught up on sleep, clean up the house, cook us dinner, etc. Now that he’s four-and-a-half we don’t so much need help getting enough sleep, but I’m feeling the pinch lately of being at work full time, in a job that just started getting a little busier, wanting to have enough time to be a mom, especially since the newly non-napper needs to go to bed even earlier, having a side business with new clients, having a modest social life and personal activities, keeping the household going, and God help me now doing all the stuff that has to happen in December! I am the one who puts together the gifts for the school teachers, for the cleaning lady, needs to bake stuff for both of those, gets the decorations in and out of our “jenga”-style overstuffed decorations closet, making or buying the Christmas cards including updating addresses, thinking of, buying, and wrapping pretty much all gifts except my own, and generally taking care of most of the stuff that needs to be taken care of.

I feel exhausted just thinking about it!

Maybe it’s time to revisit that second wife idea. Any takers?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Things to be Thankful for:

30 Things I’m Thankful for in 2009

I’ve been feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed in my life lately. Work is not a problem in itself, but having a busy full time workload to try to focus on mixed with raising a four-year old who is going through the typical (but exhausting) changes of amazing explosive learning and striving for independence that turns into exasperating (and sometimes heart-breaking) episodes of defiance leaves my life nothing short of a train wreck. I literally feel like I’m walking on eggshells emotionally at times, and I’m usually tired on some level regardless of how much sleep I get. Losing daylight to the time change doesn’t help, either. Getting the home organization front back under control is helping a little, but I think I need a little extra boost.

To counter the cycle of negativity, as we head into the holiday season which is kicked off by my very FAVORITE day of the year next week (!!!), I am going to follow the trend I’m seeing from other friends online in listing out some of the things I’m thankful for. A number of people have been posting one thing a day for the month of November. I don’t have that kind of focus to post one each day, but how about if I list a month’s worth all at once? That seems like a lot, but despite the problems I have both externally driven and generated from within, I do have a number of people and relationships I value very deeply, and a comfortable life to be grateful for. I’m going to call them out here!

1. My husband. I am exceptionally grateful to have met, be sharing a life with, and be raising a child with such a wonderful man. He shares many of my views on life, enjoys some of my same interests, indulges my sense of humor, and even shares a lot of my aesthetic preferences. He is a kind person with a warm smile who I love to be with. He works hard, values his family, and makes me very happy. I am lucky enough to have had him wait for me to enter his life and be willing to give up his adorable kitties and some food freedoms to keep me in his life. As he told a cab driver in Vegas, we are soulmates.

2. My son. The birth of my son, OUR son, is the single greatest joy that I have ever experienced. He is the light of my life, and was worth every single second of hardship during pregnancy and the early days. He is a beautiful, precious person that my husband and I still marvel about having created, and he charms us daily and everybody he meets.

3-4. My parents. I am extremely lucky to have two unbelievably amazing parents who provide unlimited help and support, love, and have always been there for me. It is a credit to them for raising me to believe in the inherent goodness of people and the importance of doing the right thing. They have worked hard to achieve the things they have and have always set an outstanding example by being amazing people outside of their role as parents and now grandparents. It is a bonus that I never take for granted to have them living nearby and be actively involved in our lives.

5. My aunt and uncle. I have a number of relatives who I value, but in particular I do have one aunt and uncle who are a bigger part of our lives, and I am grateful for them. We get together several times throughout the year, and they are a pleasure to hang out with, very thoughtful, fun, and love our boy as though he were their own. I wish we saw them even more, but I am glad we work to keep it frequent.

6. My grandparents. I was blessed with some amazing grandparents. My mom’s dad died when I was very young, but he served his country proudly and set an excellent example for my mother to become the amazing person she is. My Grammy (mom’s mom) was a true pioneer and an amazing lady. She played sports young and continued to love them later, served as a nurse in the military during wartime, raised a large family partially alone after my grandfather died (my mom was the oldest), and was just an all around impressive person with a passion for life and her family. I am grateful she was able to be with us long enough to see me marry my honey. Likewise, my Grandpop (dad’s dad) also served his country in several wars, and then went on to pursue other fascinating interests like flying and sailing. My Grandmom (dad’s mom) is the only grandparent I still have around, and although her mind is starting to fail her a little, she is a sweet lady with a warm heart.

7. My extended family. I have loads of other family members who, although I don’t see very often, have a place in my heart and left a positive impression on me growing up. My mom is the oldest of six, and mixed with several spouses and kids I fondly remember huge chaotic Thanksgiving gatherings, summers with my aunt, uncle, and cousins, and occasional visits to my mom’s aunts/uncles/cousins up further north. I have reconnected with some through Facebook, and miss them all.

8. My mother-in-law. I think the cliché about nobody getting along with their mother-in-law is sad, and I’m glad it doesn’t apply to me. My mother-in-law is sweet, wonderful, and awesome. I wish we got to spend more time with her, and look forward to her upcoming visit.

9. My “second” mom. Not everybody is lucky enough to have a second mother growing up, but I did. As my mom was a trailblazer in the world of working moms, I had a second one to watch me before and after school, and a whole family to fill in until mine got home. She is missed by all of her family will always hold a special place in my heart.

10. God. I am not outwardly religious, but I was raised catholic, and I do believe firmly in God. That being said, I am grateful to God for being so tolerant of me, and filling my life with happiness despite my lack of dedication to visiting him anywhere other than in my own head more than once or twice a year.

11. The United States of America. I am grateful to happen to be born in this great country. It is not perfect, but I feel very lucky and I am a proud patriot. ‘Nuff said.

12-15. Four dear girlfriends. I consider myself very lucky to have four close friends, each met at different times in my life, with whom I frequently talk, regularly get together, and can bear my heart to and let it all hang out with. One is a college sorority sister who no longer lives in the area but who is never far from my heart and life. One I met shortly after getting married through her now husband; with them we share a lot of common interests and our kids are now sandwiched in age. Another I met through my son, she is more like me than anyone I’ve ever met and became a dear friend in a short period of time. Last but not least is my “newest” close friend, who I met through my husband’s work, and we found ourselves instantly compatible. I would be happy to spend any of my time with each of these awesome ladies, and I am grateful to have them in my life.

16. Other good friends. I do have a lot of other worthy friends to be grateful for. Some are the boys associated with the ladies listed above. Some are friends from my husband’s office. Other college, high school, and childhood friends are in the mix, too. All are worth knowing and hanging out with.

17. My husband’s company. He is lucky enough to work for a great company, which is small enough to be a close-knit group of people, but big enough to keep going through the tough times, and it has always been there for us. He has grown into his career there and it keeps him on his toes but also gives him fulfillment.

18. Fairfax County, Virginia. It was a great place to grow up, and it is a great place to work. I’ve grown and flourished in my career there, and they provide well.

19. The nursing staff and one NICU doctor at Fairfax Hospital. While listed above as the greatest joy ever, the birth of our son and the couple weeks after were also some of the most stressful and difficult times I’ve ever felt. There were some amazing staff who attended to me as well as to our son during his time there who surely had wings tucked under their scrubs. And to one doctor who spent an entire afternoon studying our boy’s confusing chart to make some sense of his health to give us some much-needed answers I will always be thankful.

20. Our son’s school. I am grateful to have our son enrolled in a preschool/care program with warm, talented, and trustworthy teachers and staff, and which has a healthy, pleasant environment and a beneficial curriculum.

21. Our home. Our home is modest, but I am grateful for its shelter, security, and its housing of us, our things, and our good times and memories created here.

22. Our neighborhood. I am grateful that our home is located in a neighborhood filled with nature trails, wildlife, and beautiful scenery. I am also thankful for the wonderful amenities we have such as 3 pools, numerous playgrounds, easy access to shopping, and a duck pond filled with fish and turtles.

23. My education. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to get a higher education, so that I may pursue my chosen career, but also so that I am able to think and learn independently.

24. My health. Although I have a myriad of “issues” as anyone does, I am grateful to have my general health. No terminal diseases, no physical disabilities, and I have use of all my senses.

25. My mental health. This one is arguable at times, but I am grateful for a clear and productive mind.

26. My eyes. Already mentioned the senses above, but I am particularly grateful to have clear unassisted vision, and with some decent looking eyes to peer out of.

27. My business. I am happy that I have accomplished starting a business for myself, and whatever level it remains at in my life I will always feel that pride.

28. Hobbies and interests to be passionate about. I am grateful to have a lot of things that I like to do and that make me tick, and others waiting in the wings for when there are more than 24 hours in a day. Some are physical, like ice hockey, pole dancing, and running/triathlon, others are more creative, like scrapbooking and photography, still others more passive like reading.

29. My parent’s beach house. I am grateful that my parents have the means to own a home at the beach where I spent summer vacations growing up that is easy to get to and often available for a getaway. My son shares my passion for the beach and I am grateful he has access to this beloved resource.

30. The internet. Gore really came through on that one, ha! J Seriously, though, the internet has only been a reality in my life since post college, and it has changed and improved my life and the world in so many ways it is easy to forget. After this many years I am still constantly impressed by new things I learn it can be useful for.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 9, 2009

All Over the Place

That's where me and my head are at. Had a nice, relaxed weekend, with few obligations. Got the house partly back in order. Ate better. Recognized some ways to fend off the eating trigger feelings, and convinced myself I am done buying Chips Ahoy. Exercised out in the sun and fresh air both days. Got a fair amount of thinking done during those walk-jogs. Have decided that in the future, my discussions about my successes/failures with food and exercise will focus on what I have DONE in a particular day or week, and not just blathering on about what I want or claim to want to do. Having lofty aspirations and concrete deadlines didn't seem to do me any good before.

On the reading front, I read a very, VERY light book as a palate cleanser before tackling Dracula. Because, yes, although I'd punch anyone in the face that called me a Twi-hard, after 2500 pages of the Twilight saga, I admit I felt kind of involved in the story and the characters, and it is a letdown to be done with it. I do agree with my critics that the writing is not particularly stellar (and perhaps got even less so after the first one), but it was hard to argue with the plot, I was riveted. I do want to see the movie(s), but I am quite certain that the visual in my head will look comparably dumb onscreen, especially since I hear the acting is as poor as one would expect from a bunch of rookie teenagers. I made the mistake of trying to read the academic analysis of Dracula first, instead of just skipping past and starting the story, and it was boring as hell. Don't get me wrong, I am as academically capable as I ever was, that's just not what I'm in it for at this point in my life. A little entertaining escape is what I seek in my reading, please.

Wish I could focus myself a little better, though, in general. I am having a bit of an attack of the all or nothings, and I wish I could do it all- FINISH getting the house in order down to every last detail, start again and catch up to now in my scrapbook once and for all, throw myself more fully into exercise, etc. But, I am finding those thoughts to be way too much, and distracting from other important things such as work. The real work, the one that pays the bills. It has picked up suddenly, and left me behind a little. So, the moral of this weekend, is, that doing a decent amount in several areas is healthy, and I can't let my brain rage out of control pining for perfection that doesn't fit into the clock. A holiday Wednesday might allow me a little more house progress, must focus again more fully at the 'ole job tomorrow.

And sometime soon, my demon 4-going-on-16 behaving child will return to the sweet self he usually is and stop sucking the life out of us. :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Creeping Back Around to Thoughts About Weight

So, a good friend of mine and I were having a conversation about weight loss shortly before I left for vacation. She had some good questions, and I had some surprising (to me) answers. It has taken me many years (and one pregnancy, long enough ago not to be any excuse) to get me to the weight I am now, but I have actually not been at my ideal weight or fitness level for many years, arguably never. As early as high school I was already larger than my frame required and didn't look or feel my best, and despite a spot of low weight in college due to some emotional issues, I was never "fit". And since then, it's been a gradual climb upward, despite finding, at times, various physical activities to work my body with. So, the really startling question was, "can you actually picture yourself succeeding in weight loss, and picture yourself at your fit, healthy weight?" I've always fantasized about it, had visions about it, certainly have spouted off about it in this blog on multiple occasions, but as time has gone on, especially since having had my kid who is now 4, I've gotten further and further from that place, and it's gotten harder and harder to imagine genuine success. So, when I thought really hard about it, and realized my answer was "no, not really", I was a little disheartened. Any trainer, coach, etc. will tell you that a key aspect to succeeding at a particular activity is visualizing the successful outcome, and "imprinting" in your subconscious the sensation of doing it right, and the feeling of success. So, I realized that to be able to move forward, I really had to picture a success point that seemed achievable. (Rather than supermodels, we decided we could settle for being MiLFs, hahaha.)

-During my vacation, I truly escaped, not only in body, but in mind, and it was a wonderful thing. I was able to spend the whole trip being moderately indulgent with no guilt, and mentally felt completely refreshed afterward.-

After vacation, however, came a second revelation. This one upon looking at the pictures from our trip. Now, as I'm sure anyone who is not happy with their weight has felt at times, pictures do not always reveal the version of ourselves that we would prefer. For this particular trip, however, I felt that I came up with a fairly decent and flattering wardrobe to suit my current physique, and I thought I was pulling it off ok. And in the pictures it's not that I wasn't "pulling it off", per se, it was a little weirder than that. It was like I didn't recognize myself, like the person in the pictures is not who I see in the mirror every day, and that's not the first time in the last couple of years that I've had that sensation. Like I just do not picture -that- as fully my "look", and it seems to surprise me on a fairly regular basis. Is that only a factor of being in denial about what I look like at this weight, or an age thing thrown in too, or what? Either way, it was startling as hell. I like the pictures, they turned out well, and yet I don't feel like that girl in them looks like me. That's messed up!

So, I was pondering today, it seems like I am at two opposing sides of a coin (or coins?) on this weight loss thing, and where I want to be is at the other two opposing sides. On one hand, I am having trouble picturing getting back to where I want to be, on the other hand I can't accurately picture that I am where I am. Not that I am in denial of my weight struggles, obviously I've been blogging about that in complete honesty for over a year now. But it's just that the visual result of that problem and the visual perception of myself, despite knowing I am overweight, don't match. Which makes looking at pictures a little weird, needless to say!

Why, then, can't I flip those two conflicting issues both to serve me for the better? I should USE the vision of how I kind of think I am looking and nudge it along to picturing how I kind of think I can and should be, so it doesn't seem like quite as much of a stretch to get there. And I should also try harder to USE the reality of how I look now to be a more regular reminder of the place where I do not want to remain. I have to be careful, of course, because it can cause or aggravate a negative spiral if I become too disgusted with how I look and perpetuate that into eating to soothe those bad feelings. Rather it should illustrate to me a contrast between my desires and potential. Something to think about.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vegas was Vegas.

What else is there to say about it? It was fun, indulgent, interesting, expensive, varied, beautiful, tacky, unexpected, delicious, intoxicating, and perhaps most of all, it was refreshing to really be outside of one's regular life for a while. And it was especially great to share with my awesome husband and two of our greatest friends. Viva Las Vegas!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Light Reading (Off Topic)

Ok, so what is so bad about doing a little light reading, I ask you, for relaxation and entertainment? When my brain is half-melted at the end of the day with a full workday trying to get ready for an upcoming vacation, a heaping mental plate dealing with an amazing but challenging four year old kid, the rest of the hectic-ness of a busy life, and a tad of recent mid-life crisis thrown in for good measure, do I REALLY have to read something deep and intelligent all the time, if I am going to read at all? I am confident in my own intellect, mind you, but it still raised my hackles a bit when it was insinuated by some of my other (dear and) intelligent friends that I am essentially a dumbass if I can dig a certain book that is fraught with overexposure in popular culture of late. Isn’t reading a book, even if it is a light and easy book, still a step up intellectually from watching TV or reading a magazine, which are also considered perfectly valid ways to unwind? (And I do those things a fair bit, thank you very much!)

When the “Twilight” books came out a while back, I saw how goofy everybody got over them, I even knew people who were posting that they had to drop everything for a couple of days to finish reading them because they couldn’t put them down, and I was inclined not to like the idea of the book(s) myself as a result of such silliness. I really thought it was weird that people I thought of as so normal got so obsessed over them. (I still do.) However, more out of curiosity than anything else, I recently decided to read the first one in the series. In light of the impending protest by several and proclamation by one good friend that people should read Bram Stoker’s Dracula instead, because it is “classic for a reason”, I purchased a copy of that, too, and plan to read it next as an exercise in contrast and comparison. Perhaps I’ll even write a book report of sorts, analyzing the two jointly.

Because I was in the mood for a distinctly lighter read, I chose to read Twilight first. Apparently I have shocked and disappointed the above-mentioned folks in the process! Can ye naysayers not appreciate a light read? Granted, the characters are teenagers, but I’m sorry, the sexual electricity created with this story is fantastic. WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH ENJOYING A LITTLE CHEAP THRILL now and then, come on?! Further, the back story with the vampires and the differences in their characteristics from those we are previously most familiar with is not half bad. I can see, however, that several of the “special” effects described in the book, which are intended to create a picture in your mind, which are fairly cool in the context of MY mind, probably look really lame on a screen, so I don’t intend to see the movies. Likewise, with the way they describe the looks of some of the characters, I fail to see how they can be done justice by any lame angsty teenage actor, such as they who are plastered all over the magazines..

My opinion is that people who are obsessed with the book must be missing a little something in their lives (apologies if this hits home!) But, after almost finishing it I stand firmly by the book as being GOOD. It is not the end-all-be-all of teenage, vampire, or any other books, but it is reasonably good, and fairly entertaining. In conclusion, anyone that thinks I’m a cheesy dumbass for reading and kinda liking Twilight can BITE me. (Pun intended!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Must Exercise Soon!

Ok, so I've come fairly unraveled of late in the health management and weight loss/fitness improvement department (sounds a lot more positive and healthy to put it that way than "diet", right?!), and I can attribute it to several things. The biggest one, I think, is lack of exercise. For 8 sessions now (just over 5 weeks) I've been getting physical therapy to work on my sore hip, and tomorrow is the last visit. Thank God, because as wonderful as it feels to get a body part massaged, stretched, worked out, and electro-treated, it has been killing my work schedule. And, not exercising has been throwing me so far off that now that I'm being asked to return to doing it a little bit, I'm so used to slothing again that I'm not getting it done. Ugh, the all-or-nothing mentality rearing it's ugly head again!

Mentally things have been no picnic, either. I've got a host of unproductive and outright negative things going on up there, but I did get over one hurdle that was causing a little bit of angst, my 20 year HS reunion. Mind you, I didn't go to the main (expensive) event, but instead took control of the situation and created my own mini-event as part of the reunion weekend. This allowed me to see a fairly good number of people, primarily the ones I'd want to see, invite a few people from surrounding classes, and have it in a less expensive and more casual venue. This was perfect for me, and I was very pleased with the turnout as well as the enjoyability of the evening. Sure, the pics of the main event make me kinda wish I had gone, but at 100 bucks a head plus cocktail attire (of which I have none) plus cash bar = no thanks, need the money for the Vegas vaca. But I was surprised at how much weirdness this event brought on mentally, and am glad it is over.

I will probably have nothing else good to say on-topic until after the Vegas adventure. The good part is, despite the fact that we will be eating in fabulous restaurants and several all-you-can-eat situations, usually in Vegas I walk my feet off, and usually lose a pound or two as a result, rather than gaining. Either way, I am confident I will return feeling refreshed and re-inspired. Especially since the "pressure" weight loss deadlines have passed, and prove that it is not a good idea for me to have a goal deadline. I weigh a couple of pounds more now than when I started this blog last year, but the reunion is over, I have clothes I'm happy with and revised expectations in that department for the vacation, and a costume that I love despite the lack of weight loss for Halloween. Yes, "starting" during the holiday and cold weather season is brutally tough, but as I will be recommencing the Sugar detox again post vacation, I think it can go much differently this time.

Wish me fun and luck! :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thought Soup

Loving, loving, LOVING all of the pink "stuff" (cap brims, gloves, patches, etc.) in the NFL games today for BC awareness. I mean really, 1 in 9 of half the people on earth are affected, that sucks.

Had an uber BLAST at a pumpkin patch farm festival yesterday with the fam. We closed the place down, it was fantastic. And the weather was the best kind of day to be outside all day.

One of the boy's teachers asked me Friday if I was expecting. AAAAAAHHHHHHHHGH!!! Not a safe question unless the baby is actually crowning out of the woman.

4 years old is a fantastically amazing brain explosion. The complexity of things he says, does, and is learning is fantastic. It's too bad he's also being such a pain in the ass lately.

I need to take better care of myself and get more sleep.

Vegas is in 2 weeks.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dessert Weekend, Biggest Loser Season 8

Ok, so the weekend at my aunt and uncle's house was the bomb. We did fun stuff for my kid, but then spent a lot of time relaxing and eating her fabulous cooking, too. And she brought out the desserts, which, unfortunately, I didn't hold back on, but it was very enjoyable. Peach cobbler, (Honeycrisp) apple pie, applesauce cake, ice cream... I have a lot to atone for. I intend to restart this sugar elimination program again this week, and get to the gym to start lifting weights, until I get the green light to get back to running, biking, pole dancing, and hockey.

Biggest Loser has finally started!!! I have only watched half of the first episode, because I want to try to make sure I get the most out of the workout motivation when I am watching it, and tonight I was just too tired (and I've been too busy to watch it sooner.) I am not going to make my usual challenge/decree to lose major weight upon the start of this show, because I've said it before and not followed through. But I do hope to harness some of the motivation that the show gives me, and not just sit on the couch eating and staying the same weight week after week while these people get thinner, as I have done in past seasons.

I'm off now before bed to clear out the last of my junk food and set up the steel cut oatmeal to cook overnight. Hoping for some success again with the program, although I've written off making much progress before my "deadlines", but I could still look and feel a lot better within 3 weeks before my HS reunion, 4 weeks before my Vegas vacation, and 6 weeks 'til Halloween.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pie in the Sky

And no, this is not going to be a discussion of pie, sorry. Although I'm headed to my aunt's house this weekend, and the Honeycrisp apples are out (if you don't know what they are or don't know why you should be impressed, go try one, the difference is no joke), so there's actually pie in my near future, and she makes a good one! Which is why I want to resume my quest to be free of sugar AFTER the weekend, but I digress...

Here's an idea: if a snapshot in your daily life could look any way you wanted it to, short of sprouting magical powers or winning 15 million dollars in the lottery, how would it look? For some reason today this popped into my head, probably because I'm feeling a tiny bit out of control of my life, as is sometimes the case. If one were to write up an analysis of one's "ideal" day, not having to worry about the confines of time, money, or logistics, what would it look like? And if one were to do that, would it help give some insight as to how to make small "real" changes in one's life to get it closer to that picture?

I figure there might be a couple of different scenarios worth exploring for me. The current daily snapshot, with current employment schedule factored in. Then the "I have enough money not to need that job and doing a different job" scenario. And then there's the "it's the weekend, or vacation, and today is whatever it wants to be" scenario. Interested? I am.

Current Employment Scenario:

Overview: I work for a county government, in Planning and Zoning. I like this subject matter well enough, and I like the people I work with. I've been here almost 10 years (with some minor gaps), and it is my intent to continue through retirement, to take full advantage of the generous pension benefits, which I am eligible for in approximately 2026 (I'll be 55, I'm now 38.) I aspire to and am confident that I will progress from my current position through one or more levels of management along the way.

Ideal Daily Snapshot: I think what I struggle most with is time (mixed with energy). If I had an endless supply of both, here's how my day would look: I'd wake up about 2.5 hours before I needed to leave the house. I'd drink a glass of water, and maybe have a bite or two of a piece of fruit. Then, I'd work out. A half hour workout of moderate intensity, enough to feel fitter, rev the metabolism, and get the energy juices flowing. It would feel good, not exhausting, because I'd be maintaining a healthy figure and fitness level, not straining to create one. Following my workout, I'd shower and dress for the day, taking the full time I actually need to get ready at a leisurely pace, although I would have chosen clothing ahead of time and laid it out, and would have packed a healthy lunch and planned a healthy breakfast in advance. Additionally, I'd really like to spend about 30 minutes on the home computer each morning, checking email, reading blogs, and writing posts, both for my personal and wedding business accounts. During this time I'd like to be eating a healthy breakfast, as well. After this I'd like to wake my son for school, allow him the 30-45 minutes he enjoys to watch a tv show, hang out with us, get dressed, and be ready to go. With a few more minutes added to that he could enjoy breakfast at home rather than having it be portable and eaten in the car.

After dropping him off at school and arriving at work, I'd like to be more focused and efficient than I sometimes am currently, without all the personal life distractions that result from never having enough time for it all. Of the 5 days a week I work and have a lunch hour, I would like 2 of my lunch hours to include walks or workouts of some sort, and 1 or 2 to include accomplishing minor errands.

After picking the boy up and returning home, I'd like to have the time to develop my rudimentary cooking skills to prepare healthy dinners, which I have planned out and shopped for ahead of time, without time pressure and a lack of energy. A family dinner together, followed by play time together. (We do already do this.) Time for a workout before it got to late would be great, too, without missing out on the play time. Following the family bedtime hour, I'd love not to be out of energy! I'd like to spend about 1 hour on the computer for wedding business stuff, and half an hour for more personal computer time. Then, I'd like to watch at least 1 hour of tv with my husband, take a warm bath, read a book for about 30 minutes, then go to bed. The piece de resistance? I'd like to get 8 or more hours of sleep. A lot of people have 6 hour bodies and are good to go, I am not one of those. I can and do short myself regularly, but by the end of the week I am a zombie.

Analysis: Money not a factor in improving this scenario. Sure, having a bigger nicer house to do it all in would be great, but it's not what I wish to improve day in and day out. Energy could be improved dramatically if I was at a healthier weight and fitness level, and got more sleep. The kicker on this one is time. Estimated number of hours in this dream day: 19 hours of awake time + 8-9 hours sleep = 27-28 hours needed in a day... Hey, I'm only like 3-4 hours short, it could be worse, right? ;)

Ideal Employment Scenario: Although I don't mind my current employment, if I had a lifelong reasonable supply of money so as not to need to count on a full size salary or retirement benefits, I'd probably ditch this career except as an interested citizen/advocate for local cases I cared about, and instead take a lot more time and energy working on my wedding planning business. There are several hours worth of things I could do on a daily basis to dramatically improve and expand this now hobby-level company, to pull in at least a part time income and make a name for myself in the business locally.

Same morning, without having to fit in the workout. Substitute having a leisurely breakfast together with the boy before school. Same amount of time to drop off at school and go to the workplace, which would now be home. The difference would be, either part time days and/or some days off. Likewise for the boy and his school. I like the idea of a 3 day a week, 4 hour a day schedule plus additional meetings and appointments as needed. Healthy lunches at home, furthering the cooking skills. Fitting in a workout and shower outdoors, before picking up the boy. More boy/activity time in the afternoon. Same evening schedule, without having to fit in the workout, or the hour of business time. This one I could totally make fit within the day, money is the missing link. On the non working days, we could return to our stay-at-home mommy lifestyle, having playdates, going to the library and other activities, etc. I miss those wonderful times!

Weekend/Vacation Scenario: Energy might be the only missing link here. If I were able to live my daily working life in one of the two above scenarios, the weekend would consist of minimal errands, some working out, a lot of family time, and some social time. And plenty of sleep. Totally doable, if the rest of the life was on track as preferred above. I'd have at least one major family outing planned, and plenty of time to play outside and relax at home built in.

Did this exercise generate any ideas for how to make my life closer to those scenarios in a realistic fashion? Yes and no. I plan to noodle that one for a bit and come back to it... Tell me if you try it and it does something for you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm Back.

Ok, I’m back now, I think. I just haven’t taken the time to write in the last few weeks, but I swear my mind works in terms of blog posts now, and I narrate them in my head all the time. Want to know what you’ve been missing? Let’s see, health-wise, since having the swine flu knock me down a couple of notches, I’ve still continued to keep the cough going, and it has ramped back up to where my doc put me on an antibiotic again. I start physical therapy for the hip issue tomorrow (for “bursitis”, which is an inflammation of muscle rubbing over the bone.) I am VERY, VERY eager to gradually return to exercise, as I am especially missing my DivaFit class badly! I am still sporting the braces and sick to death of them. My orthodontist has assured me that they will still be on through next month and beyond, for my class reunion, trip to Vegas, and Halloween, unfortunately. Sigh… My wedding planning business is back in full swing with a bridal showcase last weekend that went smashingly well. My display kicked butt, and I got a ton of brides who actually gave me their info to contact them, without the guise of giving away a prize. Plus many more who seemed serious about contacting me, one of whom already has. I hope I get a good amount of business for next year, and then I hope I can handle it with my full time work schedule and not missing out too much on my kid! My honey was miserably sick over our Labor Day family beach weekend, but he’s fine now. My little pumpkin is having some adjustment issues to his new preschool class, so I’m bumming out for him. I know he’ll be fine, but I hate to see him anything less than ecstatically happy, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the subject of where I leave him for so much of the time. I’m taking him to see Thomas the Tank Engine in person next weekend, which should blow his mind if last year’s reaction is repeated. J

Oh, but you read this because you want to hear and talk about WEIGHT LOSS and stuff, right? Well, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you. Or it. I just haven’t been keeping up with it lately. Again. But I did have a fantastic initial experience with the Total Sugar Addict’s Recovery Program (developed by Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D.), until I chose to take a break from it and voluntarily jump off the wagon. The problem is, when you do that, the wagon seems to drive away, for me at least, making it a lot tougher to get back on. Traveling this weekend makes it too tough a time to start over, but I vow to myself to reenter the steps again next week (there are 7 in all.) Do you want to know why? Because I DID learn a lot in the process, including the fact that I am a full-blown, hard core sugar addict, as I’ve always suspected. There is no way in hell I would confess to exactly how much of certain bad things I can and do eat in a given “off” day, but suffice it to say it’s pretty creepy. (And expensive, too!) So, a quick run-down of the steps (which are to be conquered one at a time she says, no all or nothing mentality here):

Step 1: eat a good breakfast centered on protein every day, within an hour of waking up. That seems sorta basic and obvious, but when I really think about what and how I eat breakfast, it was actually a lot harder to establish, and easier to fall out of, than I expected. Since I can’t eat eggs (allergy), don’t love sausage, and bacon is way more fat than protein, the only way I could figure out to get enough is by including either Greek yogurt (which has 3x more protein than regular) or adding protein powder to my breakfast. How much protein is enough? Well, according to Kathleen, an amount recommended on this program is only slightly more than the average recommended daily, and can be estimated by cutting your weight in half, and then dividing it by 3, giving you the suggested protein grams for breakfast (and eventually per meal.) So, a 200 pound person should be getting like 33 grams of protein at breakfast. Not very easy, people, but makes a HUGE difference in not getting hungry soon after! (People over 250 pounds are just supposed to use 250 to make this calculation.)

Step 2: learn how to journal your food and the associated feelings about it. Very tough. Not so hard for the Weight Watchers types, but even with my history of that, I’m still lazy about writing it down. And I enjoy the concept of documenting how I feel, as evidenced by this blog, but I’m poor at making a frequent enough practice of it.

Step 3: here’s where we get into the meat of it, and this one was tough at first but enormously beneficial- consolidate all eating into three meals without snacks in between, and those meals must be centered around protein (in the amounts described above) and also include a complex carb. Huh? Most diets tell us to eat more frequent, smaller meals, which is better for keeping a more even blood sugar. However, Kathleen points out, we sugar addicts tend to graze to a point of forgetting to stop, pretty much eating all the time. (Raising hand.) This is to teach us to consciously start and stop eating, and wait a reasonable length of time before eating again. The protein and complex carb combo actually managed to hold me between meals, much to my surprise, and at this stage you don’t even have to give up the sugars yet if you’re not ready, nor do you have to focus too much on portion control. No lie she says you can still eat your cookies or (insert your nemesis here) as long as you have it WITH your meal. I didn’t, when I was doing it, but I sure liked the idea of being able to.

Step 4: this is the one I raised so many questions with when I mentioned it before- the nightly potato. You are supposed to eat a potato near to bedtime at least 3 hours after your dinner meal. You must eat the skin, you can cook it any way you like and have it with fats (like butter, oil, etc.) but with no protein. What the F, right? I thought it was a little quacky at first, even though I’ve got a friend who swears by this program from past experience, but the scientific explanation makes it pretty logical. Apparently Kathleen has discovered that typically sugar addicted people have three components contributing to it, one of which is chronically low serotonin levels. Long story short: eating the proteinless carb allows the body to release a rush of insulin which chemically aids in the body in raising its serotonin levels, but by doing it while you’re asleep it avoids some of the other pitfalls of going on a carb rush, like craving sugar shortly after. If you still think I’m crazy, go read the book, I swear it makes sense. And, although initially the idea of a potato at bedtime seemed kinda unappealing, when I wasn’t snacking like I was accustomed to it was a MUCH welcomed yummy tv snack. I cut ‘em up and roasted them in olive oil, so they were like a plate of French fries. Fantastic.

That’s as far as I got in the program before opting out, but after that you begin shifting away from any “white foods” (like non-whole grain bread, white rice, etc.) to “brown” foods (complex and whole grain carbs), and ultimately away from any form of sugar or unrefined carb.

I know I am filled with empty promises to myself, but as stated above I’d like to plan to restart this program again next week, with the understanding of how badly I need it, and knowing that I’ve been spinning my wheels about weight loss for over a year now. I still weigh the same, I still eat handfuls of cookies anytime I want, and I haven’t lost a thing other than a tiny bit of my confidence that I can really lose the weight. So this program is going to change that.

Oh, yea, and Biggest Loser starts up again tonight. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Lose-A-Palooza is a one-day online social networking event taking place on September 15, 2009 to help raise awareness for the Lose For Good™ campaign!For every accepted mention or acknowledgment of “Lose For Good” made on September 15 via blogs, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, Weight Watchers will make an additional donation - up to $25,000* - for just one day of social media activity. This donation is on top of the $1 million** Weight Watchers is hoping to donate to Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger as part of the 2009 Lose For Good campaign!

Go check it out at

I'll be back soon!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

6 weeks, 8 weeks, and 10 weeks...

... is all I have left until what were my "deadline" goal events. Instead of lamenting the fact that I've not succeeded and am out of time, I am going to use it, and the fact that I've just been surprised by how I look in a lot of recent pictures, as an opportunity (pictures are WAY more telling than the mirror or scale!)

Since I've been sidelined from the workouts for a bit, I've turned my focus back to the food. My current discovery and hopeful path to success is a book called "The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program". It's a 7-step plan to "detox" from sugar. I've talked before about the fact that my compulsive at times eating of chocolate and sugar is not that of a normal person. She gets it, and has both an explanation and a program to help.

Step 1 is having a very protein-centric breakfast, within an hour of waking up. (Not as easy as it sounds when you are allergic to eggs!) Step 2 is to start a food journal. I've been trying to master these two for almost a week now. Thankfully, she says NOT to try to achieve the steps all at once. Step 3, which I'm about to start fooling with, is apparently one of the tougher, and is called "Three Meals a Day with Protein." It includes limiting food to three meals a day, with protein and a complex carb, and with no snacks between breakfast and lunch.

The 4th step is when you'll think I've gone coo-coo. More on that when the time comes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Swine SUCK and are keeping me off topic!

No sooner did the glory (and mild soreness) wear off from my triumphant triathlon moment than my body ate it and life caved a little around me.  My mother-in-law who's company I enjoy arrived Sunday afternoon, to spend the week with us leading into my son's birthday party weekend.  I had some fun explaining the permanent marker numbers that wouldn't quite wash off my arms and legs to inquisitive people at work, who were impressed considering I don't have the outward physique of a triathlete, and then Wednesday night was the return to my DivaFit class.  It was fun, but I wasn't able to pull off the inversion move without a spotter yet.  I'm the last in the class needing to be "certified" to be able to do so, a crucial component of completing this level and moving on. 

Meanwhile, Thursday brings the usual amount of muscle soreness, but by midday I was starting to feel miserable.  Like I needed to crawl under my desk and sleep, and like walking around was a big challenge.  We had a family dinner out, and I honestly had to muster enough energy both to sit upright in the restaurant, and to consider the seemingly "challenging" 10 minute drive home, wherein a fever joined the mix.  Friday morning I made a Dr. appt., after first attending my staff meeting.  Deep, extended coughing made an entry by that point, and I had to take a nap in the car outside my Dr.'s office while waiting for it to be my appointment time.

What do I have?  Swine flu.  FREAKING SWINE FLU!!  H1N1 is apparently still an issue, and has a strain that is apparently going around this area.  I was upset at first, but she told me that it is not as bad as the regular flu, which is something to be grateful for.  The regular flu I have only gotten once, about 6 years ago, but it nearly killed me, and disabled me for about 3 weeks.  This version I am on my 6th day of, and I am finishing the cycle of Tamiflu they give you this evening.  At this point the fevers have stopped, the body aches have eased up quite a bit, and I am just left with the coughing and STILL being tired, even after many days of much extra sleep.  That, and raw hands from all the Purell.  She said it is mostly spread by the cough, so I've been coughing into paper towels, throwing them away, and then cleaning my hands and nearby surfaces.  I've scarcely handled my son up close (which actually upset him a bit and had him peeing the bed 2 nights in a row, which has never happened before, but once I started tucking him in again he settled out of it), and he was a real trooper when learning that his much awaited Blue's Clues birthday party with a bunch of friends had to be downgraded to just a themed dinner with us and the local grandparents (the mother-in-law bolted for home within 30 minutes of my news...)  He's a sweet kid.  My also sweet husband has had to pick up a lot of slack for me, and is stuck sleeping in a different room.  

So, tomorrow I plan to drag myself back into work (although I'm sure that will horrify some people, but I think I'm basically at the end of most of any contagious time), and I'm not sure how long it will be before I'm back up to exercising speed.  Cranky and bitter about it!

(And yes, I KNOW swine are barely involved in the makeup of swine flu, but as I know not a soul who has been sick, never mind really sick, I've got no one to blame and nowhere else constructive to direct my bitterness toward!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tri Results Posted

The tri results from Sunday are posted:

20th out of 22 women in my age group (35-39), 68th out of 72 women overall (but last 2 dnf). Not fabulous but not last.

Swim in 10 min. 33 sec. (I had estimated 10 minutes, and we didn't get to wear wetsuits which are an advantage),
5 min. 27 sec. in the first transition, which seems bad except the time started leaving the gate of the pool, you did have to run to the way back of the bike rack first, and then had to walk or run your bike pretty far out before being allowed to get on it...,
53 min. 18 sec. on the bike, not too bad considering it had an extra piece of hill I didn't realize in training,
2 min. 33 sec. in the second transition, not bad, could have been shorter but I was basically resting and psyching myself up, and
43 min. 34 sec. on the run/walk. That was my weakness. Although I ran a lot, I did have to walk some here and there, which slowed me down.

Overall time therefore was 1 hr., 55 min., 25 seconds, so I DID meet my sub 2 hours goal. (If I had also met my no walking goal I would have obliterated it, though, so better goals for next year!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Even though that phrase has been ruined by a certain modern politician, it describes my weekend perfectly.  I started and finished the tri, despite the hip injury, the recent training horrors and reductions, and despite it being the very first day we've had this summer of miserable, typical August humidity and heat.  But it was still great.  I did not meet my goal of under 2 hours, and I did not meet my goal of not walking any of the run.  Nor did I lose the weight I had planned to beforehand.  (On the contrary, sidelined a bit and frustrated, I actually gained those 5 pounds back again...)  The swim had to be without a wetsuit due to temps, which helped with the breathing but meant you had to work a little harder, plus it was in the 50 long lap lanes instead of 25, which I'm not used to.  Yet I fit in just fine with my 10 minute prediction and didn't have people piling up behind me.  

The hills on that bike ride sucked as badly as ever, but I got up them without having to stand and grind, now that I figured out the right seat height.  Low gear a lot, check.  Loving and feeding off the support of fans, both mine and some of the random volunteers and spectators? Check.  I got through it not in danger of being last, plus getting to pass and be passed by my new next door neighbors a bunch of times made it a little bit fun.  After each of the first two legs, I was able to catch my breath fairly quickly, and didn't feel too awful, which was surprising.  I was glad my friend Chuck and I had practiced a "brick", because your legs really do feel like lead after getting off the bike.  But between having practiced that initial running shuffle and knowing it would get easier, plus leaving at the same time as a girl who looked twice as fit as me but was no faster at all made it better.  The very best part was getting to see my dear friends and family up close, cheering me on wildly with signs, kids, and the whole bit, despite having to stand around in the heat.  It also warmed my heart to see how happy my kid was each time I went by.  I did have to walk some here and there, but I was always running past my fans, and I kept the walks short.  The finish line volunteers met me with popsicles and smiles, and there was a table of free Dunkin' Doughnuts, which I am allergic to but appreciated the thought.  After collecting myself and my stuff, I had enough gas in the tank to pedal the bike back home, and not feel like I was going to die.  It was a wonderful day. 

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Better Excuse

I've been completely bummed out all day about my fitness situation, which I will explain further below, and shortly before getting ready to write about it, I was struck with a realization: having a young child to care for and focus on (amid all of the other responsibilities I have such as holding down a full time job, running a business, running a household, wanting to have some semblance of a social life, hobbies, etc., and everything else that goes along with modern family life) is NOT the source of my not being able to do/be everything I want to do/be. It's just a better excuse. In my cloud of feeling sorry for myself thoughts, I went through the only too typical thought process: "if only I had freedom from such taxing responsibilities, I could have ____, or I would be so much more ____, or I would have time for ____." You know what I'm talking about. And it doesn't have to be parenthood that is the excuse- fill in your own blanks. What is keeping you from having the perfect life- is it stressful job with long hours? Horrifying commute? Too many obligations? Not enough money? Health problems? Relationship challenges? I literally was in the process of telling myself that I would have been further along in my fitness if I wasn't so busy being a mom and everything else. But then it dawned on me that it's not like I was uber fabulous before, I've always struggled with living up to my own expectations and aspirations.

My sprint triathlon is 2 weeks from today. Friday evening, I FINALLY broke my spell and gave the swim a try. Back a few years ago, I had trained for an Olympic distance tri, which consists of a mile swim. In practice I used to swim a mile in about an hour, under event adrenaline I did it in about 50 min. SO, I was guessing that a quarter of a mile wouldn't be so tough, even after such time away, and I was expecting that I could swim it in about 15 minutes. Good and bad news there. The bad news is, even though I seem to remember a lot of the proper technique, it is still more tiring than I had hoped. Obviously I should have been swimming regularly much sooner. In addition, I'm wearing a shortie wetsuit, and it makes it ever so slightly tougher to breathe when tired and gasping for air. The good news? It went by fast, I did my quarter mile in only 10 minutes, and I seemed to recover from the gasping fairly quickly. I began to feel a sense of cautious confidence that I really would be able to do this thing without too much agony, despite my training shortcomings!

Saturday was the bike route again. I had my friend Chuck with me again, the weather was warm but with a comfortable breeze (which at times became a frustrating headwind.) I figured hammering out this hilly route repeatedly would make it get progressively easier. However, I've had an on again, off again nagging sore hip for the last several weeks, and combined with the leadlike legs I seem to be left with every Saturday following my earlier in the week pole dance class, the first second on the bike felt like a drag. And although he looked like it was getting easier each time for him, Chuck was not able to drag my ass up that last hill. As they say in the world of marathon training, I "bonked". With no plans to even consider quitting my legs just pulled themselves out of the pedals and I jumped off. After some Gatorade and arguing with myself I got back on, ground out a couple of more strokes (this being the steepest part of the steepest hill), and involuntarily jumped off again. I walked it to the top, and bailed on the last long gradual hill. What a disappointment.

Sunday I went out in the morning before it got hot for a run, to preview the course. One block of just walking and my hip was aching me badly enough not to be able to run at all, and although I walked for about 45 minutes I probably shouldn't have. Feeling dejected, I made a plan for the next two weeks to get to and through the tri: wear no heels (they seem to flare it up), keep workouts spaced out and minimal, do my dance class barefoot this week and not at all next week (make it up later), don't climb the pole, as I think that's what is putting so much pressure/torque on the hip in the first place, and hope like hell that the hip feels better enough at the beginning of the tri to make a go of it. Even though I feel I have failed myself in my plans for training and weight loss to make this race a more pleasant experience, doing it and finishing it will still be rewarding. I just have a better excuse now than I did. Sigh...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Slogging Through; Commencing Diva Level 4!

So, I'm moving through my workouts, plodding along to the big tri in 2.5 weeks. I know I can do it, but it will definitely be tougher than I had planned/hoped. Put in another ride on the bike course on Tuesday eve (yesterday). Did I mention that those hills suck royal ass? I definitely do NOT aspire to achieve the red polka dots, green all the way, baby! My legs started out feeling even more lead-like than the previous time, I guess there's just less gas left in the tank after a workday. Luckily I had my new workout buddy to prevent me from changing the course to a more flat route. Thank you, Chuck! :) I did raise my seat and figured out how to stand to climb, so even though it felt a lot worse than before, I think we went faster. I keep forgetting to time it.

I will beat myself up if I don't get to the pool tomorrow!!!

Despite still eating like a maniac, I've taken back off 2 of the 5 pounds I had lost then regained. Sigh...

My DivaFit class (pole dance) "Level 4" starts tonight. My very favorite workout of the week! :) Sometime in the next couple of weeks we start to learn "inversions", which means hanging upside down from the pole. Surely that is a joke! I look forward immensely to the Level 6 graduation performance opportunity, but I fear I may get stuck at Level 4 for a while. With some extra pounds and weak shoulders and abs, I may not make it through these moves quite yet. We'll see!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Training, Head in a Muddle

Tri training is going reasonably well, although I'm getting to the point of really pushing it by not having given the swimming a go yet. For the inexperienced, the swim seems by far the most intimidating. It definitely was for me the first time (which was an open water, one mile swim.) Why start small, right? But, with my training for that tri focusing heavily on the swim (I went like 3 times a week and took stroke improvement classes), I learned that it is a lot more technique oriented than anything else. Sure, swimming training helps build up the cardio too, but so do running and biking. Someone who is improving their cardio stamina through run and bike, and knows the proper technique to swim most efficiently, should, in theory, be fine on the swim even if a little rusty. HOWEVER, that's assuming I have the body memory to translate what I know the swim is supposed to be like back into an actual stroke, as it's been a few years since I focused on it.

Now, that aside, I have still been running here and there, and this weekend was my best run yet- 40 minutes nonstop, with a big heavy stroller on the flat, went 2.9 miles. That comes out to a snailey 13.8 minutes per mile, but I'd like to see how I do on the same route sans stroller boy. Additionally, I need to try the race route soon! :)

Plodding along on the bike, which is all I can do there. It's a horribly hilly leg grinding course, and all I can do is keep repeating it until I'm more used to it. I did it a second time this weekend with a friend, and let me tell you two things about that. One, it is a lot easier to suffer when you've got a distraction, such as checking up on and/or not wanting to look bad in front of someone else. Two, however, I do not recommend riding 12 miles up hills the morning after having a bunch of wine and 4 hours sleep! Enough said about that. :) I am planning to go pound it out again tonight, hopefully accompanied by the same friend.

Don't quite know what to say about the head muddle. Obviously, someone who chronically overeats and struggles with achievable weight loss goals is not in an ideal place mentally, anyway, but I feel weirder than usual the last week or two. I'm not even sure what I can say about it. I have not had anything significant change in my life, but I feel slightly less happy than I was bursting with a few months ago. I'll mull it over and write about it soon if it clarifies itself.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Month 'Til Triathlon

Oops, I wrote this Saturday night, but it took me so long to finish it posted Sunday morning.

Oops, I've been absent from my blog again.

Oops, I've been eating like the famine is coming. And no, not vegetables.

Oops, I think I put those 5 pounds I lost back on. After my monthly friend leaves I'll let you know if it was permanent or not. I'm thinking yes, as the calories ingested usually don't lie.

Alas, I've had so much to say recently, but as I'd compose so many posts in my head I realized they were the same old story, and I was mildly embarrassed. If you've been with me for any length of time, you've already heard me whine about hormones, about food addictions and restrictions, about my desire to achieve healthy greatness not translating into action. So, I blogged in my head for a bit until I had something new to say. I would have liked to make some workout entries, but time got away from me too, out of habit, out of mind.

But now, I am one month from my sprint triathlon. Not my first, but my first in a very long time, and my first that I won't be focused only on finishing, but rather have some modest goals for myself, too. I have been exercising, including running some, but I don't know that I would use the word "training" with a straight face, and with one month left, I took a "moment of truth" step today- I got on the bike.

Before I tell more, a not-so-quick synopsis for those not in the know on my fitness history:

Childhood- ballet, ballet, ballet. Earliest childhood through sophomore year of high school, I was into progressively more serious ballet. I had a teacher who had been pro in an eastern bloc country, and she bred a couple of pros here. So, as one aged and blossomed, one was chastised for not having a ballerina's body. I practiced 3 times a week and was in the performing group, but was always solidly average. Eventually she told me (and a few of my friends) that if we weren't headed down the path of becoming professional then we were wasting her time and ours. So, not having the physique or the desire, rather than $hitting, I got off the pot.

Middle school through early college- horseback riding. I only figured out how cool riding would be when I met another friend who was doing it. Went to a very proper (kinda snotty) riding school, learned a lot, worked the stables to "train" to work there for about two years before figuring out they weren't going to pay me. Never had a shot of having a horse myself because of money and lack of experience by me or anyone in my family. It's not just a pet and a hobby, it's a whole lifestyle. Freshman year in college I was on the riding team, competing at the lowest level, and then the following year budget cuts resulted in sale of the school's team horses. After that only those who could bring their own mounts to school with them could ride.

My only other school activities through college were singing, theatre, and other non-physical pursuits. That's it. No soccer, no nothing.

Post college, I got into playing volleyball, competitively. I played for several years and wasn't half bad. For a time, I went through a phase of running. Got up to regularly doing 3 miles, didn't keep track of my speed. Then, following the debut of women's hockey in the Olympics, a light bulb went off and I took that up. While I was helping my best friend prepare for entering the FBI Academy and coinciding with turning 30 and feeling weird about it, I entered a 10K. (Should have started with 5!) I swindled another friend into doing it with me, and we walked a lot of it. Felt like dying afterward because when I saw the finish line it looked a lot closer than it was and I sorta sprinted a hideously long way. At 32 I really fell off my rock and entered an Olympic distance tri, and really actually trained, but I trained to be able to start and finish, starting from zero. My goal was to survive, and to finish. I accomplished that, finishing very last, walking the entire 10K, with the course closing around me. But it felt absolutely amazing to accomplish that, one of my best moments. A year or two later prior to having a kid I wanted to do another one, so I did a sprint distance, and barely trained at all. I finished, but it wasn't very fun.

That's it. I'm 38 years old, I have a kid now who is almost 4, I've never taken off the baby weight and accompanying post-baby stress weight, which is why I am writing this blog to work through, and my main forms of exercise now are playing hockey and pole dancing. So, naturally when I found out there was a tri IN MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD I couldn't help myself.

So, back to the bike. Last weekend at the beach, my butt touched a bike for the first time in 5+ years, and I rode it approx. 12 miles to verify I could deal with that distance. I could, but it was a poor test, because it was a big 'ole beach cruiser bike, and I rode it up and down the boardwalk where I was braking and weaving among other bikes and pedestrians the whole time. Took me an eternity, and my butt and legs were horribly sore upon dismounting. But, I did the "brick" thing and jogged a couple of blocks after to get accustomed to how badly that feels. So today, I climbed on my mountain bike which is outfitted with road tires, and rode it the exact 12 mile course of the tri. The run leg, happily, is advertised as "flat and fast." The bike leg, however, is not. For those familiar with this neighborhood, a good portion of it is hilly. They managed to put it downhill for the very longest and steepest hill, but other than that it is a lot of freakin' uphill. I did the whole thing in 51 minutes. Snail city! But, the cool thing was twofold. First, I had run earlier this morning, so my legs were not fresh, as they won't be after the swim, and second, as awful as I felt DURING the ride, after when I got off I didn't feel half bad, like a run wouldn't have killed me.

So, looks like I will be riding those hills a lot over the next month in an attempt to diminish them. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Perfectionism Sucks

Thursday I'm leaving work early to go to the beach to rejoin my pumpkin, who has been there with various family without me or his daddy while his school was on break. I can not wait to get there and hug him, I have missed him dearly.

I've learned a couple of things about myself this week while he's been away. One- separation anxiety from one's child can be managed. Which is a good and healthy thing. Leaving him was tough but I enjoyed the freedom immensely. Two- indulgence and rebellion from responsibility can feel as good as getting one's life in order would have. And three- I'm pretty imperfect, and I'm going to work harder at being ok with that. I know this, obviously, and everyone is imperfect in their own ways, but it's pretty hard for me to accept about myself most of the time. I always feel like everything will be just as it should be and I will be able to relax when... Always something. When the house is all cleaned up and organized to the Nth degree, when I get "caught up" in everything, be it the boy's scrapbook, or my business stuff, or personal paperwork/filing. But the reality is, no one ever catches up, because life is always moving on, recreating chores, using up time, and causing more messes and more items to be entered on the to do list. Time to get over the sensation of trying to catch up all the time and just do what needs doing the most while living in the moment. And feeling the burden of things needing to be ALL done and never achieving it is a negative stress that drains energy.

This translates to care for one's self, too. I'm always starting over on diet and fitness plans, and if I'm not quite there yet it's because I'm waiting for the right time. After this busy week, or after this social event, etc. Perfectionism is what kills the diet once I start, too, because I messed up a little so I'll just eat whatever I want or relax and "start" again at a better time. I think people who don't struggle with their weight and/or are successful at managing it just do the best they can most of the time. That's all I should be asking of myself.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bob Harper, Part 1

So, I'm going to delve into the book written by fitness trainer Bob Harper, titled "Are You Ready!" (I think it is weird to have an exclamation point instead of a question mark, but I'm not his editor so what do I know?!) He is the trainer along with Jillian Michael on the Biggest Loser. Happily, his blog says they started filming Season 8 immediately following the finale of Season 7, so I have that to look forward to. DAMMIT I HOPE I AM ALREADY SUCCESSFUL BY THEN INSTEAD OF JUST TRYING TO GET STARTED! Oh, sorry, did I say that out loud? I've watched several seasons of that show now in hopes that the inspiration would actually translate into some kind of success for me, and it sucks as they get later in the season and the still fat but getting smaller people start weighing less than me, and then I'm still at my same weight at the finale. No more, please!

Anyway, after the part asking questions about whether you are really ready to put yourself first or not, he starts with three points to focus on: relax, respect, and reinforce. Relax in your daily life and as often as you can think of it, respect yourself and your body enough not to put awful things into it, taking care of it as it needs, and reinforcing the better thoughts and habits that come from the first two. I'm going to ponder that for a while, but I think it is fairly insightful...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Think I Am Being Punished for Something...

So, I dragged my still half-sick self to my DivaFit class tonight, refusing to miss a second week in a row, and had the workout of my life. A couple of hours later and already I am having trouble moving my shoulders. My instructor has an injured knee, and for whatever reason decided to punish us for it. Instead of the usual fun, hard work but dancing workout segment, she turned it into a spinning boot camp hell. Basically repetitive drills, over and over on 10 poles in a row across the room, quickly, again and again, with wall sits in between while waiting. I'm pretty sure I have whiplash, too! A fantastic workout, but sexy? Not so much this time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June is Half Over...

...So it's really time for me to get back on the horse. I fell away for a bit, to rest, regroup, and recover. What from? Well, my life, I guess. The timing of my checking out electronically coincided with my 4th of 4 spring weddings, but it was probably a lot more than that. I had 4 brides in May and June get hitched without a hitch, and I felt quite successful with all of them. Each wedding under the belt made me feel progressively more experienced and confident for the next one, too, which is great. Especially since I feel like my fees were a little low for the level of time and effort involved, so now I'll feel like I can justify a less rookie price structure for the next season. I think the weirdest phenomenon from the weddings was that at 3 of the 4 receptions, people took my bathroom guest supplies as personal party favors to keep, and instead of using the items provided for all to benefit from, took them home. The only one that even made a tiny bit of sense was the one held at a hotel, because they are known for free toiletries, but the other ones were just reflective of a modern, selfish society, I guess. The non-stealing crowd was a tad more civilized. The restocking cost alone is justification to jack my rates a little!

Shortly after that last wedding, I fell into a "work hard at work, come home and be with the family, and crash like a rock right after small boy goes to bed" routine for a couple of days. I felt a deep tiredness, mentally and physically. (I missed most of the Stanley Cup finals, too, but the last game was at least an exciting and well matched finish.) I think I went to bed between 8:30 and 9:30 for three days in a row, followed by coming down with being sick. I'm slowly on the mend now. I could feel it coming, because over the years I've grown to be able to tell when I am at maximum capacity, and that was definitely it.

In the meantime, I realized that I had been wandering pretty far off topic at times on this blog, and my posts had become rather cyclical. Want to do well, fresh start, fall off, talk about other things. Get up, want to do well, fresh start, etc. Except that they probably sounded pretty disingenuous because the fresh starts rarely lasted more than a couple of days, followed by a couple of weeks of wallowing in the "I'm stressed and I feel out of control of my eating" mode. Worse yet, I was frequently identifying ways to improve and help myself forward, but I'd write about them and not do them at all. Not very motivational if you're reading this for weight loss motivation! If you're reading about it just to learn more about me and how I think, then cool, I hope I haven't disappointed.

The funny thing is, despite not having posted any blog entries, Facebook updates, or much else for a couple of weeks, I still found myself thinking that way a lot of the time. On walks/runs I usually do a lot of thinking, and lately it seems to take the form of a blog-like narrative in my head. Likewise, numerous times during or after doing something enjoyable or noticing something interesting, I find myself composing a status update appropriate to the situation in my head. Technology really does shape the way we live I guess!

Over the next three weeks, I believe will have some opportunity for reflection and hopefully some personal improvement. The next two weekends will be spent coming and going from the beach, and will afford me half a week with the responsibility of caring for a small boy being in someone else's hands. Culminating in a long family-centric weekend over the 4th of July, the height of the summer and the longest days are here. Car rides, ferry boat rides, time spent walking or jogging on the boardwalk and/or lounging on the beach are all great for straightening one's head. Especially in the company of good family and friends. And time at home sans boy is a prime time to enjoy one's self as well as get a little more done than usual. The time available to achieve my weight loss and fitness goals before my preferred deadlines in mid-October is getting used up quickly, so if I don't start now I can't even get close enough to see and feel the dramatic effects as fully as I'd like. My goal is still 50-60 pounds, but now I have to be more realistic about the time frame. In the 4 months between now and mid-October, I'd like to have been able to lose as much as 35-40 pounds of it. Can I do it? Geez, I hope so!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hello June! More Soon.

After managing all parts of a manic weekend successfully, including the third of four spring weddings, my brain is full of things both on topic (questions about the weight loss mindset, new beginnings, etc.) and off (various personal stuff). However, I am fresh out of energy to write about it at the moment. But thoughts can't rattle around up in the head forever, so I'll be back soon for more self analysis.

Tonight I took the kid to the pool, which was cold but wonderful. I wait all year for the 3 months and change it is open, and I was willing to be cold to enjoy it with him! I also practiced my pole dancing to get in a workout, making use of the new "mood" lighting my husband added to the garage. Very cool.

Because I was so beat tired today that I took a nap instead of a walk at lunchtime, and I still feel tired, I'm off to sleep. Rare that the clock doesn't say 11 yet!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

To Do Today

So, in addition to working 8 hours that need to be super-productive at my job today (Thursday, but I think it has turned Friday by the time I am posting this), I need to make a couple of wedding calls, bake cookies and deliver them to our new next door neighbors, and fit in a workout. Tonight and/or tomorrow night after another 8 hour workday I also need to clean up our main level and put up the decorations for a luau-themed poker night, figure out how to set up a wedding aisle runner that is in the package on a roll (does it need to be measured and cut, how to finish the edges (?), and I don't even know what dimensions I'll need- she didn't tell me I was doing this part!) Plus for the end of aisle reserved bows, all she handed me was a roll of ribbon, so I need to look up how to tie them. Also need to check the progress of the flower crystals soaking in water and decide if I need to prepare more of them, buy and wrap a kid's birthday gift for Saturday, and start major laundry because everything I need to wear this weekend is dirty. And I need to try to clean out the lint trap with a vacuum hose because our dryer doesn't seem to be working right. And write up the wedding schedule and my to do list for the setup part. Such is my life this week, aack!@@%#@!!!!!

PLUS I need to pick up my Dad's van Friday night, and fill out the registration forms that are already due for the kid's coming school year. And mail a check we owe for playoff tickets.

Later footnote upon posting: had moderate productivity (could have been better), soaked the flower crystals which took up the water nicely and look great, didn't make the calls yet, didn't bake the cookies yet (not clear if they were home until too late), and didn't work out. Did buy the birthday present, put up a few luau decorations, and participated in a joint effort to diagnose and fix the dryer. Results are pending with partially started laundry. I'm exhausted, but as has been my way this week I am still staying up late to "escape" on the computer...

So, be honest, with posts like this, is this just too much totally boring personal information, or what? I know this blog started as a weight loss journey, and after about 10 months I haven't travelled very far in that regard, but babbling to a real source is somehow therapeutic for me. I try to include the aspects of weight loss progress or not with such postings. Apologies if it is not particularly intriguing for you! As much as I'd like to, I can't talk about spinning around a pole and writhing on the floor every day. ;)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

One Week Seems Like Half a Lifetime.

It has been one week since my last post, and I feel like a lifetime has gone by in that time! So much going on... Last I wrote, I had gotten my hair cut (loving it more than ever) and had our Level 2 Graduation at DivaFit. Then that Thursday I worked my ass off at work in preparation for being away for the weekend.

Enter bliss.

We left at the crack of dawn on Friday morning to get to the beach by early lunchtime, and I had the most wonderful, refreshing, relaxing, warm, sunny weekend. It was way better than the usual Memorial Day visits, truly beach weather, but with a pleasant breeze. Enjoyed the company of my family, enjoyed activities with the boy, played golf after a year long hiatus and didn't suck as horribly as I expected (still pretty bad though!) Got some working out in, got some drinking wine in, got some shopping in. To top it off, it was raining when we left Tuesday morning to ease the departure blues. All in all pretty sweet!

On the workout front, my most notable one was a 2.3 mile powerwalk in 34 minutes (good pace), followed by the 2.3 mile return trip jogged without stopping in 28 minutes. That is a pretty damn slow jog, but I was still very happy with it and it gave me energy for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, I decided to ignore the whole diet situation for the weekend and pretty much eat whatever I wanted, which resulted in a backslide in progress. I'll leave it at that.

Then returned to a bit of a hectic house and a very hectic schedule- the next two weekends contain my remaining two client weddings, work is back to relatively busy, and next weekend we have a couple of social things to weave into the rehearsal and wedding schedule.

My haven? DivaFit class again tonight. I still can't get over sometimes how much I look forward to those classes, and what a good workout they are. Level 3 promises to be a lot harder on the abs and shoulder strength work because she says she is "preparing us for Level 4", which is where climbing the pole and inverts come into play. This session's routine is done to two different songs, both of which I love. "Buttons" by Pussycat Dolls is the learning pace, as she put it, very fun and sassy song I've always liked. But to speed it up a bit you can do the same routine to "Dr. Feelgood" by Motley Crue. She made us change places in the room from where we normally are, cranked up the disco ball, and we rocked it out. And I bought a pair of black patent leather platform heeled boots. I can't stop smiling about that class, I swear!

A footnote in closing- a dear friend is having a hard time lately with some pretty unpleasant health issues, and I hope she is able to feel better and get some answers soon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Random Pre-Vacation Wednesday Thoughts

I love my haircut. It is waaaaay shorter than it was, especially in the back. I guess you could describe it as the "Victoria Beckham" -ish look, a short bob that is even shorter in the back (up to my hairline) and curves down slightly longer in the front down to my chin. Nice brightening it up with highlights, too. Sweet husband, after going to the gym and getting back, decided he liked it after all, he had just been a little shocked initially (I had lazily let it grow a little longer than shoulder length.) Naturally, I couldn't style it this morning quite as well as my new chick did, but hopefully I'll get better at it, and it still looks good. No more hiding in a pony tail for a while, because there isn't any hair left to make one! My son even said "Mommy, you cut your pony tail off!" The stylist said it's going to need cutting more often than I'm used to, also, but it'll be worth it to be forced to look half decent all of the time! Also, I pulled the "use 10 times more shampoo than you need for what little hair you have left" move this morning in the shower, and wasted a giant glob of it. Pretty funny.

Hm, guess that was only one random thought...

On the weight/food/exercise front, my eating today has ramped back down to average, not eating amazingly, but not eating so terribly, either. Tonight's workout is the Level 2 class "graduation" at DivaFit, our song to perform to is "Bright Lights" by Matchbox 20. Tough routine, so thank goodness we do it in a bunch, half the class at a time. Definitely a couple of moves I can't really do very well, but I'm hoping to pull it off to at least look good! :)

Footnote- it went great, I had a blast, and we were issued pink thongs. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Early Way is the Only Way- So How Can I Find my Way?

I have come to the conclusion that the single, most important way for me to fit in enough workouts to improve my fitness, shape my body, and reach my goals is going to be by WAKING UP EARLY to do them. I need to be in the shower by 6:00, and wake up the boy at 6:30, and be done getting ready and have us ready to roll out the door at 7:00 sharp, in order to be on time to work/school. This is absolutely an epic struggle for me on a daily basis. But, here's the thing- for the first couple of years or more, the boy used to wake up a lot earlier than he does now. It used to feel early, but it was perfectly doable when you were used to it. (It pains me terribly that he is now inclined to sleep later but schedule necessitates keeping it earlier!) In addition, prior to existence of the boy, I went through a long phase of working out early before work. Ok, it was here and there, and it was a big struggle, but I did it fairly often. And I took an early boot camp class once and I hated getting up but I did it.

I firmly believe from past experience that weight loss is a daily challenge and decision to be made, and I think the way to best ensure that each day starts out in a weight loss frame of mind ready to make the right decisions is by doing a strenuous workout FIRST. (I know, broken record alert!) Working out first means that the time is carved out before other things can get in the way, it gives you energy for the rest of the day, it revs up your metabolism for a good portion of the day, and it lets you work out while your body and mind are still fresh, before the rest of your day beats you down. HAHAHA, I say, my mind and body are beat-ass tired that early in the morning to begin with! But wait- they wouldn't be if I was getting more sleep, now would they?! I think another important thing it would help with is my propensity to stay up unreasonably late, because I will be too damn tired to do so if I had been up since 5:00 am. If you read anything about weight loss it always says you can't do it if you don't get enough sleep. I can personally attest that I use food, particularly sugary food, as a crutch when I'm tired. Maybe if I used caffeine instead and drank myself energetic on diet coke or something (not coffee 'cause I'm one of those teeny percent of the population that thinks coffee tastes vile) I'd have less of a problem. But unfortunately (or fortunately, from a health perspective) I hate caffeine. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I'm pretty sure I took it a little too far in college (I lived and died by Mountain Dew), burned out on it completely, and now I feel like even a teeny tiny bit of it makes me jittery and anxious, so I've been off it for like 15 years now.

Anyway, I think it's the only way. The question remains, when to suck it up and start?

I'm Feeling Super Crabby Today.

My new sandals are too tight to the point I had to take them off (at work), and I hate returning stuff.

My son was home sick yesterday and is still crabby as heck today.

My husband is not feeling well and is also crabby as heck.

I didn't get as much done as I wanted to on my work at home day yesterday (either for work OR around the house!)

My pre and during cycle munchies haven't let up post-cycle like they usually do. I'm alternating between eating things I shouldn't and being crabby I did, and trying not to and being crabby I'm not.

A pair of cute new pants I'm wearing are cut a little too low. They seemingly fit, but I'm looking a little muffin topish, which sucks.

Another cute new shirt I got looked stylish in the store, but looks decidedly maternity shaped on me when I put it on at home.

I would be excited that I'm getting my long overdue hair cut and highlighted today, in time for upcoming events, but it's making my husband crabby that my schedule is so jam packed lately. I guess I don't blame him.

I hate that my feelings can be so roller coasterey from day-to-day. I had a really nice weekend, but I'm crabby already by Tuesday. :(

Footnote: I apologized for being so busy, and dear husband apologized for being so crabby. He's very sweet, and that part is all good. I feel a little bit better, anyway. Hopefully a smiling little boy face at the end of the day will make it go up even a little bit more! I could really stand to jam some dance music into my headphones while I plow through my work, but alas I forgot both the music and the 'phones at home...

Footnote 2: Sweet boy face after work was nice.

Footnote 3: I love my haircut and am going to stick with the new stylist. Closer still to home than where I was, and much cheaper.

Footnote 4: Husband not sure about haircut. Small boy was a miserable beast at bedtime...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pole Position

I finally got to use my pole to practice dancing tonight, and I love it!! Yes, I bought it three weeks ago, and yes, it was hideously expensive, and really only justifiable if it is going to do me some good. But, as you probably know, I've still been struggling to find some balance in my life lately and have been wading through a fairly full schedule and a cluttered, tired mind, so I hadn't gotten any use out of it just yet. Well, tonight I busted it out and really busted a move! I needed the practice because we have to do our "graduation" routine on Wednesday and I've been sucking at it. I've now got two CDs full of perfect music, including the songs for the couple of routines we have learned/are learning. The current Level 2 routine is to "Bright Lights" by Matchbox 20. It was awesomely fun, a great one hour workout, and definitely even more "freeing" than dancing in the group class, since no one else was watching. ;)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Ramblings...

Today, I fell asleep in a training session. It was totally boring, and not even mandatory, but somehow I found out about it through my boss and felt vaguely obligated to go to it. Not sure how many people noticed me sleeping, but someone two seats over told me "nap time is over" in a curt sort of way to wake me up toward the end. It was pretty embarrassing. I frequently have that problem, though, for so many different reasons- dark room, warm room, too full, too hungry, boring material, not enough sleep, endless other things. What can I say, I get tired, especially by the end of the week. Not the end of the world, but not cool, either.

I'm looking forward to a nice weekend. Hoping the weather holds, I plan to be outside for a few of our planned activities. Probably the one I'm most excited about is picking strawberries. I've picked blueberries and blackberries before, and peaches, and apples, but not these. I must also do some research on healthy recipes to make with them that do not include pie. (Dude, my masterpiece is a triple berry pie, but we won't even go there...) I also need to find something to do with goat cheese that I bought at the farmers market (and find out how long it is good for, because it's been a couple weeks and there's not a written expiration date.)

I don't really feel like I've got a whole lot to say today, actually. My run last night made me feel extremely good, and it makes me want to work out all the more. I've picked up a couple of new clothes this week, so I've been feeling vaguely decent about how I'm looking, and finding something to wear each morning isn't quite as difficult. I'm comfortably in size 14 pants now, which is nice. (At my highest weight some of my 16s were getting tight, so it's some moderate progress, anyway.) I have a number of 10s in my closet from back in the day, and I think my body type and frame would support me ultimately fitting into an 8, so I don't think that's an unreasonable thing to be shooting for, but I also have a lot of 12s awaiting the next notch in progress.

A few people here and there that I know have been letting me know that they read this blog, and each time someone tells me, it seems they almost have a sheepish look or sound when they say it, like they are concerned they are spying on me or something. Hello, it's a public blog, that's the whole point! For the record, I really do appreciate knowing that there are people out there reading, whether you know me or not, and comments are warmly welcomed. It helps to write knowing it is to an actual audience, and although it may seem strange to air publicly such personal thoughts about my life and the inner workings of my mind as it relates to weight loss goals and other things, it seemed like a great way to hold myself accountable, a forum to talk and organize my thoughts openly, and I very much appreciate the support (or constructive advice, as the case may be.) To Kate, you are exceptionally kind, and your comment made my day. :)