Friday, March 20, 2015

Oh. Hello!

Happy Spring! It was a rainy, dreary first day of spring for us in the Ohio River Valley.
I've been a bit absent this past month, haven't I.  This has been true in so many facets of my life - I was sporadic with my boot camp attendance, eating horribly, messing up work issues, spacey, irritable.  End of winter blues, maybe?

Let's discuss the health stuff, first.  I am about to admit something here, and it is painful, but true.  I gained ten pounds this past month.  TEN!  Drinking pop, eating mass amounts of candy and junk (Ding Dongs were a particular vice.  Not exactly gourmet fare, that.)  I think I may have made it to boot camp 5 times between February and March 15. I stepped on the scale on Monday and almost fell over from the shock.
Some things I've learned (or RElearned) from this past month:

1.  Momentum is key - this is for both exercise and nutrition.  If I go one day, it's easier for me to go the next day, and the next, and the next.  If I stop, it's harder.  Pretty simplistic, but important.
2.  Planning is so important - I know this, I've blogged about this, and I still fall into my own trap of "I don't feel like making a meal plan and prepping my food.  I'll just wing it."  And then I buy Ding Dongs on my way to work.
3.  I am not particularly motivated by money.  This is a new lesson for me.  I entered a challenge at boot camp where we put $5 into a pot at the beginning of the month, and the members with the highest percentages of loss won the pot.  I've also entered a few DietBets.  I thought, because there was money involved, I would be more committed.  Nope.  Good to know.
4.  Pop is BAD!  I know this!  Why is dropping the pop so hard for me?!
5.  White rice seems to have a very nasty effect on me.  Like, serious bloating, horrible, distended belly.  I do not know why.  This really doesn't have anything to do with weight loss, but it's something I've discovered recently.  I realize it's not the most healthy option, but it is a comfort food for me. The last few times I've eaten it, I've had this bloat, and the white rice is the only common factor.
6.  Getting up at 4:30AM and going out in the snow and cold is really hard.

This week I hit my mental reset button (again, I know, but at least I keep hitting it.)  I went to boot camp each morning this week.  Even this morning, when my workout buddy was unable to join me, I went.  I logged every bite I took, even the crap.  Today was particularly bad, but I logged it all.  I made green smoothies the night before, put them in the freezer, and took them out before I left for boot camp so they were melted enough that I could drink them on my way to work.  They're very filling, and I sip on them all morning, so I don't feel hungry again until lunch. I need to do some more meal planning, but I'm feeling better about this.

Other things I learned this past month:
1.  O. M. G. My mind is blown. Seriously, this habit is going to be as hard to break as drinking pop.
2.  My sweet sister R. is getting married!  Very excited.
3.  Tay's "Better Than Sex" tea Best way to spend a Friday evening.
Yes, those are Girl Scout Thin Mints.  I bought 1 box this year, and have been nibbling at them slowly.

I love to read.  You all know that.  I read a lot, and most of it is pretty lightweight, mindless fluff, and I have no problem with that. Once in a while, though, I read something that grabs my heart and squeezes so tightly, I have trouble catching my breath.  I've been slowly savoring I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by the late and wonderful Maya Angelou.  Very slowly, reading a few chapters, then taking a break for some fluff, then a few more chapters.  It is worth the read for the language alone, which lingers on your tongue like a deep, dark chocolate. Each chapter is another part of her childhood (so far, I'm only 60% through), and the stories are entertaining at times, disturbing at others.  They are stories about life for an African American in the south in the 1940's and 50's, so I knew to expect disturbing.  Today, though, I read a chapter that touched me so deeply, I was in tears.  It is graduation day, and the whole community is elated.  Everyone is dressed up, giving gifts, excited about the future.  And then the key speaker, a white gentleman running for election, mounted the stage, and began to speak about the great changes in store - new science equipment, famous art teachers - for the white school.  Then he went on to praise a football player and basketball player who had graduated from their school.  The message was obvious - "The white kids were going to have a chance to become Galileos and Madame Curies and Edisons and Gauguins, and our boys (the girls weren't even in on it) would try to be Jesse Owenses and Joe Louises." The speaker leaves the stage shortly after, the diplomas are handed out, and the valedictorian begins his speech.  The room is hushed, angry, the entire audience stricken by the words of their "esteemed" guest speaker.  The valedictorian then turns to the students and begins to sing "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing", the poem by James Weldon Johnson, set to music by J. Rosamond Johnson, and the entire room joins in, and is empowered.  "We were on top again.  As always, again.  We survived.  The depths had been icy and dark, but now a bright sun spoke to our souls.  I was no longer simply a member of the proud graduating class of 1940; I was a proud member of the wonderful, beautiful Negro race."  Tears running down my face (at my office, no less), I wanted to shout out "Amen!" I am neither an African American woman, nor a religious one, but I was compelled by Maya Angelou's beautiful, powerful words. I've heard her speak on NPR - I think I may have to get this book on audio. If you haven't yet, please read it.
Image result for maya angelou quotes
Have a glorious evening, friends.

Note:  Shall we count how many times I double-spaced after my periods?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thank*full Thursday

It's been a while since I've done one of these, and I miss them.  So, without further ado, today, I am thank*full for:

1.  Snow Days!  Poor me.  I only got to work 1 day this week...Weekends tend to fill up so quickly - sports, errands, catching up on things I can't do during the week.  So this week, with these unexpected days off, I finished a lot of laundry, washed a lot of dishes, and relaxed.

2.  Silicon Valley - my husband watched the 1st season, and then told me I had to watch it, I would love it, and he was right - it is freaking hilarious.
The central story follows a group of techie guys developing a file compression product called Pied Piper, but the fun of it lies in the bizarre quirks of each of the characters.  Jared (Donald), the gentleman pictured above, is their very odd, very pale business-savvy team member.  They all make me laugh, but Jared's extreme awkwardness is endearing.

3.  My feet.
Yes that is a strange thing to say.  But I love my feet.  I realize they are big, and I have been told my big toes are odd, but I love my feet.  My sister and I went for pedicures the other day, and they are all pretty and soft, and I take such immense pleasure in having them rubbed and touched.  Admittedly, when the guy was using the pumice on the ends of my toes, I couldn't help but giggle, but for the most part, I find the foot massage more relaxing than ticklish.  I do love a good foot massage.  Last year I went for an hour long reflexology treatment, and it was amazing.  I would do that again in a heartbeat.

4.  My Monthly challenge group on Facebook - I started doing this plank challenge in January, and some others started doing it with me, and then my friend J suggested we start a Facebook group for the people who wanted to do these monthly fitness challenges with us.  This month we are doing squats.  Today was 110.  My butt and thighs are cursing my existence, but they will thank me in the long run...Anyway, we all cheer each other on, and make it kind of fun.

5.  So this couple I love took me to a concert a couple of weeks ago.  I haven't been to a concert since...I don't know, Jane's Addiction, 2001?  Anyway, my friend M got tickets to see Umphrey's McGee, and he invited me to go with him, his wife, and their friend.  I had never heard their music, but it sounded like fun, so, there you go.  It was fun, way fun, and ...wait, did I write about this already?  I may have.  But I didn't say how thankful I was for these friends.  So there you go - I'm very thankful for them.  They are good fun.  For a long time, I found it very difficult to make friends as an adult.  Do other adults find this to be a challenge?  It's funny, though, as I am getting older, I am finding it easier to make friends.  I think this may be due to my own acceptance of my own quirks, maybe?  I'm a little more comfortable with myself.  That said, other neuroses are raising their freaky, misshapen heads.  Like the whole "fear of crowds" thing.  Which should have made the concert that much more uncomfortable, had I not been imbibing freely.

In honor of the return of the Thank*full Thursday post, I share this guy:

From Office Space.  Has anyone ever rocked a handlebar mustache quite like him?  I think not.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

It sucked, and now it's over.

Oh my goodness.  It's been a rough one this week.  Best laid plans and all that.  I don't even remember what derailed the first two days.  I went to boot camp on Wednesday, and it was good fun, as we did a "balls and bands" workout, with medicine balls and resistance bands.  Thursday I overslept.  Later that day, the crazy happened.
My mom ended up in the emergency room.  Anyone who knows me, or has been reading here for awhile, knows my mother has had heart attacks.  Understandably, we are rather cautious with her.  Thursday, she was on break at work, when she noticed a lump on her calf that was painful to touch.  She did not hit it on anything, bump into anything, etc.  She tried to stand up, and she could not walk.  A coworker's wife had recently had a blood clot in her leg with similar symptoms, so they decided to call an ambulance.  After blood tests and an ultrasound, they determined she did not have a blood clot, and the doctor said she had "just a bruise, go home."  Of course, the swelling has only gotten worse, and it sometimes feels like it is on fire, so she saw her own doctor Friday, who said he thought she might have a burst blood vessel, but he doesn't really know, and if it still bothers her on Monday, she should go back.  As of this afternoon, she was still in pain, although it is not as bad.  I have some issues at work, and craziness with one of my daughter's sports...and I may have let myself get a bit overwhelmed.
Anyway, I ended up not going to boot camp Friday, either, and my eating habits were really bad.  Like, a kid with unlimited access to junk food bad.  All of this is to say that, one month into my Dietbet and Get Fit program, I am actually 3 lbs up from my starting weight.
I am going the wrong way!
Let's take a break from my whining and excuses to discuss a disquieting trend.
I went to visit my mom today, and we were watching House Hunters.  My mother is an avid HGTV watcher.  I used to watch it, too, but I lost interest.  Probably because I simply cannot relate to people with a $1 million budget.  Anyway, they looked at three different houses, and in each one, as they walked into the master bathroom, they would gasp in dismay over how "tiny" the bathroom was.

What do people want to do in their bathroom, gymnastics routines?  Seriously, what is the deal with the huge bathrooms?  "We have to have separate sinks."  Why?  Have you forgotten how to take turns?  I certainly don't want to go to the bathroom with someone else in the room, and if I'm in the shower, there is plenty of room for the other to brush their teeth.  How much space can you possibly need in your bathroom?  You think this one might be big enough?

Speaking of big bathrooms, do you remember those Calgon commercials in the early '80's?  I remember thinking "why are those women bathing in swimming pools?"  I just looked for a picture, but I couldn't find a clear image.

Ok, back to business.
Today, after dramatically throwing myself to the ground with dismay following my weigh in, I came downstairs and informed my husband I had to get back on track.  We went through the crisper full of veggies I have purchased over the past two weeks and haven't prepared, and cleaned and chopped everything that had not disintegrated into a primordial soup.  I have breakfasts and lunches planned out, as well as dinners for the next 4 nights and snacks.  I have my clothes laid out for boot camp tomorrow morning, and workouts planned for the rest of the week (as well as fallback workouts if the weather misbehaves the way they say it will.)  Watch out people.  I'm about to get fabulous.

Dolvett will keep me motivated, right?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How to win yourself a Missy.

Let's start with a healthy changes check in, and then we'll move on to something fun.

I don't think I shared with you all, but I signed up for the Transformer on Dietbet last month.  You a sum of money each month, and then, at the end of the bet, everyone who loses 10% of their starting weight splits the pot.  I love that you are required to check in each month, and that you have to lose a certain percentage with each check-in, so there are no unhealthy weight loss sprints at the end.  Other than regular exercise, I have not been on top of things - I prepare ahead for breakfasts and lunches, but my dinners have left something to be desired, and I have stopped more than once for junk.  My girl has practices several times a week, and I am rarely home for dinner anymore.  But my first weigh in is next weekend, and I know I gained 2 pounds, so for crying out loud, no more crap in my body.  No more pop, no more stopping for junk.  Ooh, that pop thing is tough for me.  I've talked before about my need for planning - So, here is my plan for the week:

Monday - morning workout at home
Tuesday - 5:30 PM kickboxing class during the Girl's volleyball practice
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday - Boot camp
Saturday - 7:30 walk with Flying Pig team
Sunday - rest (easy walk or yoga)

Breakfasts - green smoothie, steel cut oatmeal, or yogurt and berries
Lunches - ham and tomato sandwich or tortilla soup, bell pepper strips with hummus
Snacks - cottage cheese with pineapple (on volleyball days) or orange and almonds
Dinners have been planned and shopped for, and lucky me, I have a husband willing to do the cooking for the week.  The menu includes chicken "fried" rice, spaghetti and meatballs, Slowcooker chicken verde, salads.

Let's do something fun now.  You all know I love my lists, so I was looking for a fun list to make tonight, and in honor of Valentine's Day being next week, I thought I'd do this one:

"List 5 ways to win your heart." (for all of you who are hoping to, ;)

1.  Talk books with me (duh.)
2.  Rub my feet.  Or my palms.  Or the space between my shoulder blades.  But mostly my feet.  I'm a very tactile person.
3.  Cut the fat off my meat.  That sounds rather childish, but my husband is pretty reserved, affection-wise, but he generally cuts the fat off my steak for me, if we have it.  It makes my heart go pitty-pat.
4.  Make me laugh.  Seriously, it doesn't take much.
5.  Listen without judgement.  I don't need an answer, just an ear.

My list makes me think of Janet in "Singles."  Remember the movie "Singles?"  I loved that movie in college.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I love my weekends.

I do love an empty Sunday morning.  I just get so much done.  Wanna see?

I made up a batch of my favorite chicken tortilla soup (with no chicken, and I added spinach today.)  I used my rice cooker to make steel-cut oatmeal today, and it worked brilliantly.  I roasted some veggies I had sitting in my refrigerator that had to be cooked.  I made two batches of brownies (Superbowl night.)  I've washed, dried and folded 4000 loads of laundry, done squats and planks for a new challenge, and done the grocery shopping.  Of course, after all the cooking, you end up with this:

I'll trade you a jar of soup if you'll do my dishes...

I went to see a new band the other night - Umphrey's McGee.  The music was decent, and I loved everyone, and stroked a lot of people's hair.  There may have been alcohol involved.  Young hippie-ish people who may or may not have been using herbal refreshment are very receptive to having their hair played with.  Of course, I am receptive to having my hair played with all the time, and I don't need to be influenced by anything.  I just like having people play with my hair.  Yes, I know this is weird, I accept this and go with it.  After, we went back to my friends' house and hung out, watching Key and Peele and eating grilled cheese.  Then something magical happened - we decided to watch The Neverending Story.  I haven't seen this movie in years, and it did not disappoint.  The imagery is so trippy - no wonder it has stuck with me all these years.  

I never noticed the nipples on those Oracle statues as a kid.  There may have been jokes about them being "as hard as rocks" at the third gate.  There may have been thumb wars fought.  I may regress to a 12 year-old boy when drunk.  It was a good night - I should probably have more like it.

Softball time, and then off to a superbowl party.  Go Sports!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Another day spent on the gym floor...

What do you do when you have just written 4 paragraphs, and they delete themselves.  Just like that.  This freaking tracker pad on my laptop...I want to kick something.  so hard.  And I liked what I wrote, but I'm not feeling it anymore.


My daughter plays softball, and has been participating in the NKU Winter Softball Academy.  I've spent the last 3 Sundays sitting on a gym floor, finding ways to occupy myself.  This campus tends to be cold, even when the weather is rather temperate, and I don't want to spend money.  This is pretty well par for the course for those of us with kids in sports, especially when they are really into their sport.  So you get a picture of the gym floor on which I have been sitting for the past 2 1/2 hours,

My butt hurts.  I've edited a few documents, I've played some Trivia Crack, and now I'm going to read Catch-22.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Sunday Post on a Monday

I love starting the week with a day off, don't you?  An extra day off to get the laundry done, have lunch with my kids, read my book...I took a later class this morning, and it was kickboxing on the bags, which is my favorite.  I split one of my knuckles today, which always makes me feel kind of bad-ass, but the knuckle I split tells me I was hitting the bag in the wrong place - I'll have to practice hitting things more.  Watch out.

I was going to start the week with a Morning - Noon - Evening post, inspired by Beauty That Moves, but I had things to chat about tonight, so maybe I'll start tomorrow.  My work days are so rigidly scheduled, the idea of taking a minute to see the peace in a regular moment appeals to me.  
Sure, I'll share my average workday with you:

4:20AM - Wake up, dress, water bottle, out the door
5:00-6:00AM - Boot Camp class
6:15-7:00AM -make COFFEE, pack meals and snacks for the day, shower, ready for work
7:00-8:00AM - commute, eat breakfast, drink COFFEE
8:00AM-4:30AM - working like a dog

Here's where things open up a bit - the Girl has volleyball twice a week and pitching once a week, and she starts a 3rd volleyball practice the end of the month.  Softball games start in April. Sometimes I have a book club or something.  I generally take rest days from Boot Camp the day after those.  If there is nothing going on, I go home, make dinner, get stuff prepped for tomorrow, clean the kitchen, etc.  I try to be in bed by 8:30PM, if possible. Reading will often happen.  My kids call me an old woman, since I'm rarely awake when they go to bed.  This does not bother me, although I did stay up past midnight on Saturday night, binge watching Criminal Minds, and enjoyed it immensely.  Because that's what an exciting individual like myself does on a Saturday night.
Ooh, here's one of my cats:

This is Bug.  She is the most cat-like of our cats - the other two are really dogs, I think.  She is the one who will only give you time if she feels like it, and she really hates to be picked up, as you can see here.  She is also diabetic, but she has been doing very well.  She has the prettiest blue eyes, and she's actually quite sweet.  Especially at 4:20AM, on a morning I don't have to wake up, when she jumps up on my chest and purrs in my face.  Her favorite things are beef jerky, the green plastic glasses from a Mr. Potato Head, ponytail holders, and racing me to the bathroom.

I have some tea, some gingersnaps, and a darn spooky book to read (NOS4A2 by Joe Hill), so I am going to take advantage of an unusually quiet living room.