Saturday, December 26, 2015


I feel like chatting about books tonight.
It's been awhile since we talked about books, and books are my favorite.
As you can see from my sidebar over there > I'm on Goodreads, and we may even friends there. Goodreads gives you a challenge every year - pick a number of books to read in the year, and then read them. Last year I chose 80 and surpassed that number, easily, so this year I chose 100, and darn it if I'm not still only at 95 with only 4 days left to go. There is no way I can read 5 books in 4 days! Agh!
But let's converse about some of those recent choices...

I finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn today. I have this friend L, with whom I work out, and we like to talk about books, a lot. She has been at me to read this book for as long as we've discussed books, as it is her favorite, and she reads it every year. For her part, she did end up reading A Handmaid's Tale this year, and she loved it as much as I told her she would. Anyway, I loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - what an amazing portrait of youth in the tenements of early 1900's New York. I love a strong and intelligent female character, and Francie is both of those, and a reader to boot.

Last week, I read The Martian by Andy Weir. I may be the last person to read that book, but it did not disappoint. Mark Watney is such a likable character, you don't mind spending a year and a half on a desert planet with him. Mad engineering skills and a great sense of humor - Mark Watney is my fictional character crush of the year.

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews - a happy book with a happy ending. Greer is a location scout, looking for a "classic beach town" atmosphere in Florida for a big-budget, action-adventure movie. Mary Kay Andrews' books are a bit formulaic - girl meets boy, boy and girl are irritated by each other, but secretly attracted to each other, other quirky characters are involved, nasty characters want opposite things from nice characters, craziness ensues, happy ending. But the protagonists are always likable, the female characters are intelligent and strong, and I love a good happy ending. Not a brain busting book, but fun and fluffy.

Just so you don't think I love every book I read (although, let's face it, I'm pretty easy to please,) I didn't love The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman. This was my chicklit book club selection for January (chicklit book club being a bit of a misnomer, as several of the books we have read have not exactly fit that description.) Anyway, the premise is decent - the protagonist, Brett, is a young woman who has lost her beloved mother. The mother, who was a successful cosmetics company founder and CEO, leaves her children large inheritances, but Brett will not receive her portion until she completes a list of goals she wrote when she was a child. She has a year to complete the list, and the list is so far outside the scope of the life she is currently leading, that she has no idea how to begin. The relationship between Brett and her mother is heartwarming, and Brett definitely grows as a person, but honestly, the story is predictable, and the outcomes rather unlikely. The relationships form too quickly for reality, and it is pretty difficult to relate to most of the characters. I didn't dislike the book, and I did finish it, but it was really only ok.

I love lists of books, and there are a lot of "Books you should read before you die" lists out there. One book that shows up again and again on these lists is If On A Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino. It kind of reminds me of a David Lynch movie - purposefully obtuse with its novel within a novel within a novel nauseum. At the end, however, I honestly did not feel like it was really all that hard to understand, and it was kind of silly. Again, I did not really dislike the book, but I doubt I will be on my deathbed thinking, "Thank the gods I read If On a Winter's Night A Traveler."

My son is watching "The Matrix." I haven't watched this movie in ages. Keanu Reeves was so adorable in this movie. In his silly, stoned, surferboy kind of way.

We'll chat about health, and goals, and all the other fun stuff I want to focus on next time. For now, only try to realize the truth.
What truth?
There is no spoon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


I have a 150,000 things to say when I get home in the morning, but no time to write. Unfortunately, as the day goes on, my brain gets scattier, which makes it very difficult to write anything interesting. Which is why I tend to write in lists and weird, rambling babblings.

So, how are things? Did you enjoy your Thanksgiving? Are you preparing for whatever fun December holiday you celebrate? Remember, when the kids were littler, how I tried to celebrate all the winter holidays? All the ones I knew how to celebrate, anyway. We put out our shoes for St. Nick, lit a fire for the Solstice, lit a menorah and played dreidel for Hanukkah, read a story about Kwanzaa, etc. My people are so busy, though, and they stopped getting excited about the celebrations, and honestly, I really haven't had any holiday spirit over the past few years. Imagine my surprise when I woke up Sunday all ready to put up our Christmas tree. And the spirit continues - today I put up decorations at work. So much shopping...and I've been really wishing for snow (flinches - don't hurt me!)

Ha! My husband is watching The Flash and a snowy blast just blew out a window. It's like they heard me...type...

All this happy holiday spirit could be due to the great fun I had at MOMS Club party I went to last week. Yes, I am still doing MOMS Club stuff, well, as much as I can, anyway. I do work all day, but when they have evening activities, I am all over them. Anyway, every year we get together and drink and eat and be merry, and then we exchange white elephant gifts which range from really surprisingly nice to bizarre to just horrible (big, plastic butt, open bag of nursing pads.) This year, I got a peacock made from wire and a rock, a package of beer bottle tags, and a package of  Christmas themed cocktail napkins. Hey, family, we'll have real napkins at Christmas dinner this year!

Also, though, I've been working out - a lot. I joined one of the groups at boot camp, and I have to get 20 classes in this month - but there are no classes on Christmas, and I'll be out of town the last week, so I have had to go as much as I can. I worked out 6 days last week, and I am planning on doing 6 days this week, and I feel so freaking good. Of course, I know that - I know how good I feel when I exercise and eat right, and then I stop, but right now I am on, and I am going to be happy about that.

Sore. But happy.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Updates and a happy list, because I need it. And so do you.

There's a lot of bad stuff happening in the world right now. And I have a lot of strong feelings about these bad things. I wish I could come on here and write about it and sound intelligent, and change the world. I was on Facebook today (you know, being social), and one of my compassionate friends posted something lovely about accepting refugees into their home. Because, happily (and apparently, unusually), all my vocal friends are full of compassion and love, and they enjoy facts. Go figure. Anyway, unfortunately, those lovely friends have not-so-lovely friends, and those friends comment on their lovely, compassionate posts, with ignorant rants full of fear and hatred, and I get angry, and I want so badly to comment, but I hate getting into arguments without having actual, factual evidence to back me up. So I went scouting the internet (not Wikipedia), looking for evidence to back up my claims (294 mass shootings in the US in 2015, 45 in schools, only 1 of those was perpetrated by someone of Islamic background, and they were not refugees. Fires, shootings, bombings at churches in the south and in New Mexico. None of those were refugees.) Anyway, by the time I was done researching and getting actual numbers, the idiot was put in his place by a much smarter friend - over an hour ago. My help was not needed, and I was feeling angry and impotent.

Look! Puppy and kitten napping together!
My point to all this is that I do not feel qualified to write eloquently and intelligently about this subject. I am affected by everything that is going on, and yes, I like to think if I find that refugees are moving into my neighborhood, I will organize a collection of clothes and food and toothpaste, and anything else needed. But there are some amazing people out there writing amazing things about these issues, and I would prefer to let them write, and share when I find them. And maybe share some happy.

Admittedly, I am still not feeling totally normal, and I'm still having some trouble getting my rear back into the swing of things, which adds to my desire to make lists of happy things.

So, here we are - 5 things that are making me happy, right now:

1.  Instagram. Yes, I am terribly late coming to the party, but how much fun it is to look at lovely pictures others take. I have read all the studies about people feeling depressed looking at other's "highlight reel", but I like looking at pretty pictures, and since I am aware that people don't live like that all the time, I feel like I can handle this. I've also come late to the Twitter world, which I don't love nearly as much, as I feel like I am stuck in a really crowded room with everyone talking at once. Instagram is much quieter.

2.  Jessica Jones. Ooh, this is a good show. My husband and I binge-watched the first half of the season tonight, and it is pretty wicked. Jessica Jones is an ex-superhero, working as a PI, dealing with PTSD. David Tennant is the villain, and he is always brilliant, but the rest of the cast has been pretty fantastic, as well.

3.  The website, Simple Green Smoothies. I like smoothies, but I do not do well making them without a recipe, and they have a whole bunch. This week, I made the Beginner's Luck smoothie, and it was good, and I felt really good all morning. They published a book recently, as well.

4.  Time with good friends. I have the privilege of knowing some wonderful people. I read a lot, so I belong to three book clubs, and I love the people in those book clubs. This past week, my Classics group watched "The Thin Man" (we watch a classic movie every other month), and it was interesting. I'm not sure I've ever watched a movie that old (1934), and the slang was bizarre.

Last night I had people over, and tomorrow I get to spend more time with my many pregnant friends (see, I'm not freaking old, I have friends having babies!) It warms my heart that I know so many lovely, silly, intelligent, interesting people.

5.  Oh, books. So many lovely books. The one I am reading right now is odd, to say the least. It has been listed on several of those "what to read before you die" lists, including this one from Powells, a well-known bookstore in Portland, OR, which is the city we all know I should have been living in. Right now I'm reading If On a Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino, which contain several books within books, and this crazy, convoluted plot, and I am not entirely sure where we are going to end up, but I am fascinated to find out.

So. There we are. Some of the happy things in my life right now. Please, share some happiness of your own, or book recommendations, which really are the same thing.

Monday, November 2, 2015

What the heck is that noise!?

Today has been such a Monday. Woke up at 3AM, stayed awake for 45 minutes, dozed off on the couch, woke up again an hour later, decided to get off my butt and go to boot camp, made it to boot camp just in time for a workout (my thighs are killing me, but I needed that.) Traffic into work was crazy, and it took me 20 minutes longer than usual to get here - and the power was out at the office. For three hours. I have struggled the rest of the day trying to keep my eyes open, and I finally gave in and got some of our not-so-good coffee from the break room. 
That said, it's really quite lovely outside. See?
This is my view. I work at the reception desk, so I am not exactly next to the window, but I can see most of this from my desk. The tree is nice. It's a little sad; this is one of the prettiest buildings in the city, and the church across the street is gorgeous, but we are in a rather nasty neighborhood, and our neighbors are parking lots, check cashing stores, KFC...and taking a walk is ill-advised. 

So, I wrote to you all last week about how crappy I had been feeling, and things are going better. I did go back to my original dosage, and I think that helped a great deal. No real energy, though. That's what happens, apparently, when you go back to your old eating, not moving habits. Ugh. Last week was off week at boot camp, and we are supposed to assess our own needs and figure out if we need to take it easy for the week, or if we need to find alternate fitness opportunities. Many of the members and some of the instructors even offer classes. I do not do well with the off weeks. And in this case, momentum certainly worked against me - I continued to not do anything. 

Okay, but today is a new day, and I did wake up and work out. And yesterday I spent hours planning and shopping and cooking so I would have healthy options for this week. See, here is my fridge...
What you see here is a very full fridge, but 3/4 of what is there is healthy, I swear. The sour cream is something I use, yes, but I only use a tablespoon, and I use it to temper the heat of the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that flavor my very favorite soup, which is what is in the mason jars, all ready for lunch. One of the containers on the middle shelf contains roasted broccoli and cauliflower, and the two containers under the big bowl are full of washed and dried salad greens. The drawers below have cut up pepper strips and grapes. There are also Greek yogurt, apples, and nuts for snacking. I don't really know that you all wanted to see my fridge, but it seemed the thing to do, especially since I did spend an awful lot of time in the kitchen yesterday (also made potato salad for dinner and two loaves of banana bread, which I hate, but I hate wasting bananas even more, and other family members love it.) So, darn it, I am ready to take the world by its antlers and shake it about in a rage of...yeah. I mentioned I didn't get enough sleep, right?

I told you I got to meet Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess last weekend, right? She wrote a new book, Furiously Happy, about her own hilarious struggles with depression, anxiety, and other mental illness. Sound offensive and horrible? You probably should not read this book. Sound just about right? Run out and pick it up. She makes it her goal to remind all of us that depression lies, we are not alone, and she has a wicked sense of humor. My cousin met me in Dayton for one of her signings. This place was packed. Apparently, her signing in Chicago was so big, they had to use a church, which is hilarious since she swears like a sailor, and uses the word "vagina" more often than a gynecologist. It was a lovely evening - Jenny read two chapters of her book, signed our books. We were numbers 12 and 13, respectively. I was not going to wait in line for 3 hours to have the book signed. So I got there at 4PM and waited 3 hours at that point - but I sat and chatted with other odd-bird readers, and listened to stories, and my cousin and I were able to have our books signed early and go out for dinner after, which was very nice, since we don't get to see nearly enough of each other. I had to work the next morning (Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Cincinnati started at 9AM, and I had to be there by 5AM for the set up,) so we were unable to party hard. Anyway, Jenny was super nice and lovely, and I was a big nerd, but I got to have a picture taken with her. Yay!

My daughter's birthday was on Wednesday, and she turned...gulp...13! We went to Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, as per tradition, even though it meant leaving the house at 6:15AM. I drank much coffee. We had her family birthday dinner on the Saturday before, and went out to Olive Garden Tuesday night (since her uncle was in town,) so Wednesday was all low-key with sushi for her and I bought her a pint of her favorite Graeter's Raspberry Chocolate Chip. She will be celebrating with her friends this coming Saturday night. There will be crafting and slumber partying, and very likely a great deal of giggling. You may want to stay away. I kind of do.

I went to a Halloween party on Friday night. It was good fun, as it always is. I went as Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter, which I thought was all clever, until nobody knew who I was, even after I told them. I do love Halloween, though. I miss my A terribly on Halloween, as we spent it together every year since she and her family moved into the house near me, and she loves Halloween even more than I do. I make do, though, and this year, I asked my friend and my mom to come over and hang out with me while we handed out candy and had a fire (which was seriously pathetic - I am not good at fire making, and I only lots of cardboard and dry brush, with a few thicker sticks, so I would get things burning well and it would be huge, and parents would not want to bring their kids around, so I would have to go to them, or I would toss on some of the brush and smoke them all away. Probably should have made sure I had actual wood.) It ended up being much nicer this year - not too terribly cold, and no rain, and we had plenty of kids come around.

There is now this horribly scrapey-ringy sound coming from down the street, and it won't go away. I've gotten used to the constant sirens - we are near a number of hospitals, so the sirens are nonstop, but this is a new and particularly annoying noise. I don't want to jinx anything, but it seems to have stopped all of a sudden. Oh. Oh, how lovely!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

My brain can be a big mean butthole.

Phew. I was doing so well there for a bit. I've just been going through a less than chatty period. That sounds funny, and any of you who speak to me regularly know that doesn't pertain to face-to-face encounters. Just here. Not feeling like much of what is going on is worth talking about. Not feeling so proud of my lack of healthy habits. You are probably capturing my basic mood as of late - a bit down and out, if you will. I want to check in, though, maybe dump a little of my brain in your laps and let you sort it out for me?

First off, if this is your first time visiting my particular rodeo, you should know that my rodeo has scary, crazy clowns. The sad ones, who are afraid of ruining everything. Okay, this analogy really isn't working for me - I have depression and generalized anxiety disorder. I have been taking some kind of medication or another for 12 years, and for the most part, did fine. Three years ago, even with the medication, things started becoming difficult - I simply was not responding well to the medication, my insurance dropped the therapist I had been seeing, and things kind of sucked. One of my friends dragged me to a local boot camp a little over a year ago, and I started exercising a few times a week, eating better, drinking more water, losing some weight...(oh yeah, also have been obese for 20 years.) The regular exercise really helped me straighten out my brain, and I haven't had a panic attack or a major depressive episode in over a year. It was awesome, and, while I know better than to say, "hey, I feel great, I'm dropping the meds!" (that never works, people!), I did decide it was time to lessen the dosage a bit. I am on a rather high dosage of a strong medication, and, while I am not ashamed of it, well, I don't love being on it. I told my doctor, and he told me that was great, but he was not going to cut my prescription back, as he knew I would need to increase again. Give it a few months, he said. If I was still feeling great, he would cut it back.

I have too many people in my life who are right. Last weekend, some family stuff happened (nothing traumatic, just stressful to me,) and my response was less than healthy. Loud sobbing, lots of shaking anxiety, wanting to crawl under the table and hide. You know, the way everyone should respond to stress. Could you imagine how much Congress would accomplish if they handled stress the way I do? Oh, wait...

Yeah. No kidding. Unfortunately, I can't separate my head from my self.
Anyway, I started thinking about how little I have been exercising lately. Boot camp once a week, if I'm doing well, a few walks here and there, but very little.

Healthy habits are difficult to maintain for the best of us, but when you have depression, you're heaping a big, sad, pile of crap on top of it. It feels like it, anyway...getting out of bed early sucks, but getting out of bed, talking to people, not huddling under a blanket in the corner, rocking, with your head in your really hard. Is, like, the hardest thing in the world. Which leads me to think that maybe reducing my meds lately was not the best idea, at least reducing my meds when my routines were thrown off. Looking back over the past few months, I realize I have been feeling a kind of low grade depression - nothing I couldn't handle, but just a general sadness, that was making it harder and harder to get myself moving, make healthy food, getting off my butt to refill my water...

Here's the big, glinty, double-edged sword, friends. When you're depressed, you don't want to get up and move. Like, something is heaped on top of you, and every move you make is like swimming through molasses in sub-zero weather. But moving is what helps fight the depression. Kind of a fun little irony there, amiright?

So, what works? How do you deal?

Honestly, I find there are only two things that really work. A friend of mine was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a few years ago. Her tendency was to withdraw, so her doctor told her to do the exact opposite of what her brain told her to do (in that case,) and I find that to be a great help when I am dealing with a depressive episode. Because, once you have pushed yourself beyond that comfort zone, it is easier to keep moving. The other thing that helps is routines. Honestly, nothing is more important when you have issues with mental illness than routines. I don't know if the disordered brain just needs the structure, or if being able to just "go through the motions" makes it easier to function with depression, but when I have routines in place, and I have been sticking to them, I feel calm and put together in a way I never can otherwise.

I realize this may sound like common sense to many of you, but some will understand where I am coming from, and those who don't have the same problems, may be able to understand the struggle a little more.

My sister showed this to me and it is my new favorite.
Ok, so my point to all of this is that I have been struggling. I've let my routines fall apart, stopped moving, started eating more garbage, and it is feeling a lot more like my old depression is interfering with my life again. So, it's time to force myself to do the opposite of what I am compelled to do (crawl back in bed, hide my head under my covers, curl up and cry.) Work hard to reestablish that exercise habit. I've felt so good this past year - I need to get back to that point.

I have other things to share - yesterday I got to meet the Bloggess, which was very cool, and spend some time with my prima, but I wanted to finish this first. Please, if you suffer depression and/or anxiety, or any other mental illness, you are not alone. There are many of us, and we are here for you. Maybe we can encourage and support each other.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Aversion therapy and my cursed mouth

(Read the word "cursed" with two syllables, please, as that is how I am thinking it. It is so much more ominous that way.)

I just took a walk with a friend this morning, which got the ol' brain juices flowing. If I don't post it now, I'll lose it, and that would just be so very sad.

Last night I went out to dinner with some of my favorite people. Admittedly, I have a lot of favorite people, most of whom are females. Isn't that funny? When I was younger, I always considered myself a "one of the guys" girls, and proud of it, but now, most of my favorite friends are female. I said most, Michael, shoosh, you are one of my favorites, and you are invited to my Golden Girls house, too. Anyway, so I went to dinner with these favorite women, and they really are probably 3 of my Golden Girls (this house had better be big, I have a list, and 9 of them really must live there. What a lucky ducky I am, to have so many wonderful people to love!)

Seriously, now, it's time to get to the point. Two of the women are pregnant right now. This is very exciting, for several reasons, but mainly because they have had to overcome some pretty difficult obstacles to becoming pregnant, and I am so very happy for them. Obviously, the pregnant girls should get the floor when we are chatting. So why, oh sweet readers, do I still feel the need to dominate the conversations? Adding my own little stories to everything? I love these people, and truly, I want to hear what they have to say. Why can't I be a better listener?

I am reading Night Shift by Stephen King right now. It is a book of short stories, written when he was much younger and a lot more disgusting, to tell the truth. The Grey Matter story - just, ew. Anyway, one of the stories I read yesterday described a gentleman who was trying to quit smoking. The program he went to used a rather extreme form of aversion therapy to help people quit. I won't say anything more about the story, but since this habit I have of trying to contribute my own anecdotes to every topic has bothered me for a long time. Perhaps a shock collar, delivering shocks of increasing intensity the more I babble, would help? I will give the remote to S, who is very level-headed, and will keep me honest.

So, why do I do this? Again, I swear it's not because I believe I am so interesting. I think the answer is two-fold (says the queen of self-analysis.) First, I was not exactly in the popular crowd in school. I have some self-esteem issues. Perhaps, my need to share something of myself for every topic discussed stems back to a need to belong: "See? I understand! I'm like you! Please let me join your club!" As many wonderful people as I have in my life right now, I still have dreams at night where people I love are conspiring to leave me behind. These dreams occur at least once a week. Seriously, why did I quit therapy? Anyway, so this is a likely reason. I just got used to trying to belong (never really worked), and it became deeply ingrained habit.

Second reason? I really just like to talk. This is not news. I have a blog so I can talk whenever I want. Every time someone indicates that they read this blog, I get a fresh jolt of excitement, "people are reading what I have to say! No matter how inane!"

So people I love? I am fairly certain you all know this, or you would not continue to hang out with me, but I really don't think my stories are more interesting than your's. And you can tell me to shut up while you finish your freaking story. I really just want to remind you that I get you. And I really just love to talk. Also, S, be careful with my shock collar.

So, health-wise, I don't really have much to add - last week, I gained a horrible amount of weight because I ate everything. Also, I went out to dinner with another group from my Golden Girls house on Friday night, the night before I weighed in, and I ate pretty much everything the restaurant served, plus beer. This week, I've done some better (last night aside), and I have worked out twice thus far, including a lovely, very brisk walk this morning. I feel fairly certain I'll have a loss this week, but I'll check in this weekend to tell you.

Now I have to go to work. I have 13 freshman girls coming in to my office this morning, for whom I am responsible. I ran out of half and half for my coffee, and I had to use milk, which is just not satisfying. But the weather is fall-like, and I have a very good audio book going, and an exciting volleyball game to look forward to, so Happy Thursday!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Craving Solitude

I moved into my own apartment when I was 20. It was a one bedroom, low rent place on the 3rd floor of my mom's building. I lived alone for about 1 month, and I spent the whole time trying to go out with other people. The few times I ended up staying alone, I was miserable and lonely, and ended up going downstairs to hang out with my family. After a month, my roommate moved in, and I haven't been alone since. I've been trying to find time alone for the past 20 years.

Which is kind of funny, really. I'm really chatty and social, and I think about being alone all the time. I am reading Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer, and one of the characters is a wildlife monitor living in a cabin up on a mountain, and she goes months without speaking to anyone. In the beginning of the book, she is speaking to another character, and is trying to remember how to have a conversation, and all I can think about is how lovely that sounds - living in a tiny place with just your books and animals for company. And then I start to think about how much I like flush toilets, and she only has an outhouse, and that would be a serious problem. Also, I am married, and I do actually like the guy I married, and the children we produced, so I guess I'd have to bring them along, and there goes the whole idea.

But I have a Pinterest board devoted to my little cabin in the woods, and I really want to live there. I can have indoor plumbing in a cabin in the woods, right? And internet service.

I am kind of obsessed with Bilbo Baggins' house, as imagined by Peter Jackson. Which I thought was kind of weird, but I am not the only one! You can Google blueprints! But, every time I saw the inside of his house on the Lord of the Rings movies, I pictured myself there, in a comfy chair, in front of the fire, with a book...

A friend of mine lived in the woods at the top of a hill in Bardstown, KY when I first met her, and I loved her house. Of course, they had a small child, and they were, like, 2 hours from a decent hospital, but it was so cozy and dark and lovely there.

This is all very amusing to people who know me well, because they all know me as very social and outgoing. Striking up conversations with complete strangers, and stroking people's hair, and shouting out "woo!" during workouts, which is more fun than you know, so don't judge me. I am social and outgoing...for a few hours...and then I am exhausted from all the people, and I need to be by myself again. So, I need my tiny Hobbit house, with my big trees (and indoor plumbing,) and I will spend time with my (small) groups of friends, and spend the rest of the time reading with my cats and my fireplace. And the occasional episode of one of the many excellent shows on television, because you can turn those people off. Right now it is Blacklist, which is excellent. James Spader is invited to come visit my cabin in the woods. Come on over, James. I have indoor plumbing...

Health stuff - not much to report this week. I have been a big, lazy slug, and I drank pop this week (horrors!) But I didn't drink any yesterday, and this morning I woke up early to walk (very quickly) with L, and we are boot camping tomorrow. I need to plan my meals next week and prep ahead - I am having a major problem keeping my calories in check when I am eating off the cuff. I texted goals (yesterday) for the next month to Mel, and I have committed to 3 boot camps and one long walk a week, in addition to planning my meals (still logging all my food, even when it is way too much.) I'll post my weigh in next week, as the last two weeks I've had to go in on weekdays, and I tend to forget my camera then.

How are you doing, healthy-living wise? What are your thoughts on the tiny house trend? (there are shows on HGTV now, which I love, although a lot of them are very expensive for the square footage.) Hobbit houses - yea or nae?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Checking in of a Sunday

Hi everybody!

It's been a busy weekend. The girl played in a local volleyball tournament - their team lost their first match, and I had no idea we would end up spending all day yesterday watching more volleyball, but they ended up winning the tournament. Go them! 

My sister and her husband and my mom came over for dinner last night. I made pork chops marinated in chili powder, orange juice, cumin, and other yummy flavors, mashed potatoes, and edamame. We ended up not having enough pork chops, so I made a small meat loaf to supplement, which must have been pretty good, as that was finished off first. I also drank a few Yoda heads full of wine, and got a bit tipsy, and we played this bizarre game my daughter made up a few years ago called "Picture Dictionary, A Different Kind" which kind of combines Win, Lose, or Draw, Charades, and Apples to Apples, but is not really like any of them. It is a ridiculous game that really has no actual goal, other than to make us laugh hard enough to spit things out, which happened more than once last night.

Also, I weighed in yesterday:
SW (8/4/2015): 281.8
LW:  280.2
CW: 278.6

Which looks good, but I did lose some muscle this week, and I was hormonal and grumpy, so I have planned out the week. Boot camp will be Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and hopefully Saturday (depending on softball schedule.) I had some pop this week, so there will be no more drinking that this week. I made blackberry vanilla smoothies, roasted cruciferous veggies, and some roasted chicken to put in with my lunch salads this week, so I am pretty prepared for the week.

These are my bullet journal pages for this past week - you notice today was very full, and I finished most of it. I did mow the front and side yards - I left the back for Tuesday evening, as I wanted to go for a long walk with my friend L, and I wouldn't have had time otherwise. Dude, I'm at 16,202 steps for today - it's been a very active day. Laundry is still working, and I'm going to fold that as soon as I'm done here.

This morning was pretty interesting - I was drinking my coffee and admiring the deer in my front yard, when my friend J started messaging me. I suggested we actually speak on the phone, so I called her - we haven't spoken in years. She was my first actual, adult (relatively :) friend - our oldest boys were very close friends, and we are Godmothers to each other's youngest. We met and bonded, almost instantly, when we lived in the Chicago suburbs, and then they moved back home to Texas. It was crazy - we didn't talk all that often, but every time we were lucky enough to visit each other, it was like no time had passed. I was so happy to spend time talking with her this morning, and I hope we'll be able to connect a little more often. Both of our boys graduated this year - when we lived near each other, they spent the night at each other's houses, played outside, and played a lot of Starfox. They shared a love for Star Wars and Pokemon. They are adults now, people.

The baskets of laundry are calling my name. I should go fold them. Or, perhaps, finish my book - I'm reading Kim Harrison's Witch With No Name, the last of the Hollows series. That may have to win out. What? The clothes are clean.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Weekend check-in and weigh in, amble through my day.

Well, hey there.
Happy September! I love autumn, and every day is a day closer to autumn, but of course, after a very fall-like August, we have started September with a week of very hot days. Like, humid, 90's, dog days of summer-type heat.
Of course, I spend all day in a climate-controlled office, so I guess I'm not really missing out. It's a little sad - I have a great job, but I spend an awful lot of time wondering what else I could be doing. Yesterday I got off work a little early and treated myself to a pot of hot tea, on a hot day, go figure, at a favorite spot in Oakley, Essencha. I love the smell and ambiance of the place, and I love to go in there and drink tea and read my book, and they are looking for part-time help, and I couldn't help but wonder if I wouldn't love to work there. I worked in the restaurant business briefly, when I was 20, and I really did not love it. There are a lot of people who turn into assholes when other people serve them food. I am the opposite, of course - if you are going to give me food and wait on me, I am going to bend over backwards to make you love me. Anyway, I doubt I'd love it as much as I imagine, but I sat there thinking, "if I was to quit my current job and take on a few part-time gigs, doing different things, maybe I'd figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life?"

Is it possible that, as I grow older, I grow more uncertain as to what I should be doing with my life? What a very disconcerting thought. So many women my age talk about how they are loving their 30's and 40's because they are more confident and they know themselves better. I suppose I do know myself better - I know that I still haven't found something I feel passion for - to a point that I want to make a career out of it. I would like to be outside a lot more than I am, that is for certain. And I desperately want to work closer to home and do away with this traffic, which makes me so angry that I want to beat other drivers over their stupid heads with my daughter's size 13 metal softball cleats - which rules out Essencha, of course.

This is not at all what I planned to talk about today, but it is what is spewing from the churning sea that is my mind today, so it's what you get.

Weigh in time! I weighed in yesterday morning, 6:00AM, after a kickboxing class.

SW (8/4/2015): 281.8
LW:  282.0
CW: 280.2

Ok. So we're going the right direction again. I definitely kept my eye on my calorie intake this week, much more so than I was, and I need to keep that up.

Today I woke up at 5:30 to go to kickboxing. When my girl was a baby, I used to hold her while sitting in my computer chair and my upper back would get stiff. Once, while holding her, I did some twisting stretches to try and get the kinks out, and I moved funnily, and pulled the muscle just between my right shoulder blade and my spine. I have no idea what this is, but it hurt like a mother. And every so often, that spot gets tender again, and I find it difficult to move my arm certain ways, and it hurts really badly when I look to my right. I was pretty freaking uncomfortable yesterday afternoon into the evening, and then again this morning, so I decided punching a bag was not going to work for me today. I decided to stay up and do some cleaning, some light stretching, and hit the grocery store before the Saturday rush. I got there at 6AM, well ahead of the rest of the world, but there were a lot of men there. I was literally the only female shopper I saw in the whole store. Isn't that weird? I have never been the only woman in a grocery store (aside from the employees, of course.)
Anyway, I had to get half and half for my coffee, and fish oil capsules, and the makings for taffy apple salad, which I am making for my baby sister's birthday lunch tomorrow. I ended up having a rather productive rest of my day - I freaking dusted, people! - and then took my girl and her friend shopping because she has "NOTHING to wear!" I want to say to suck it up, girl, and buy your own clothes, but she wants to buy shirts from Hot Topic, which is the kind of place I always wanted to shop when I was a teenager, and I am the weak, pathetic mom trying to live vicariously through her adorably quirky girl. I saw a Chewbacca in the Build-a-Bear Workshop (we used to live in that place when the Girl was little) and squealed loudly, prompting my daughter to kind of freak out and put her hand over my mouth and yell out "Mom! Shh!" which only drew more attention to the situation, while her friend was giggling hysterically and said, "your mom is so funny and cool." So, see people? I have been judged "funny and cool."

I am Madonna. Who kind of looks high in this picture, right?
Anyway, so there we are. I'm going to go read or something. Because that's what we cool moms do on a Saturday night.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


First of all, thank you to those who commented on Facebook with your own righteous anger on my behalf. I am rather sensitive to the idea of being excluded because of my weight, so I was leery of contacting the company or his manager, but I really feel I was on the nose in this case. You know what they say. "It's not paranoia when they are all after you." Something like that.

Anyway, I weighed in this morning. I didn't take pictures, and I am kind of fine with that. Except that I promised I would. So I'll just tell the truth. I gained. Ugh.

SW:  281.8
LW: 279.8 (this is different from the weight in the picture, but this is what I have written down by Mel, so it's what I'm using.
CW: 282.0

Yeah. I worked out a LOT this week - some serious sweat - but wow, my eating. People, this is a problem. It's not a matter of tweaking a few calories here, a few calories there. I just eat a lot of stuff I shouldn't. I start out great - do really well through 2:30PM, and then I am tired and bored, and driving alone, and trying not to fall asleep, and I stop for ice cream. Ice cream. Not exactly an every day food, people.

So many of my fellow boot campers are having trouble with their numbers because they eat too little, or they're talking about needing to eat more protein, less fat. Those of you reading this are probably thinking, "dude, what is wrong with you?! You are trying to lose weight, you don't eat ice cream or chips or whatever! Treats are for treat time, not every day! That's a no brainer!"

I know. I really do, and I feel horrible when I do it. Since starting this past session, I have logged all my food. But logging all my food does nothing if I just look at the enormous number at the end and think, yikes, better tomorrow, but...well, my brain needs the tweaking, not my protein portions.

It goes like this: I am driving home after a particularly crappy day at work, the number of which have been increasing lately. I am tired, I am beyond bored. I worked out that morning, and I know I have to go home to a messy house, people asking "what's for dinner," and a kid who has to go to volleyball. And I'm a lucky one - my husband pitches in with sports and dinner, and I realize a lot of women do not have that. Anyway, I have to drop off my FedEx, and Graeter's is just across the street from the FedEx drop, so darn it, I'm going to stop for ice cream, because I have been working so hard (that day.) And I am not stopping at 1 scoop either, because I will NEVER get ice cream again! Until the next day, of course.

A group of boot campers and I were discussing this today - that mindset of entitlement, combined with a feast or famine mindset - let's add the fact that I tend to binge. Do you do that? Say, I'll just have a handful of white cheddar popcorn, but then you look down and realize the entire bag is gone. You eat and eat, trying to get emotional fulfillment. It doesn't work! The popcorn just doesn't care about me. But at the moment, it is my only friend.

Janet teaches me that I need a little control. Which involves changing my mindset. But, how do you change a mindset you've had for decades? Most of my friends who have lost a large amount of weight, and kept it off, have certain traits that may be described as "control freak." This is a case of using the "control freak" for the good, not evil. I'm talking about those of you who have worked hard to lose weight, controlling your numbers and your intake and your output, not those who have gone too far the other direction into anorexia land, by the way. I understand that can be a slippery slope. But there are times that my easy going, laid back, non-obsessive personality bites me in the ass. Wait, did I say non-obsessive? But, there have been times, more than are healthy, where I have found myself thinking obsessively about the ice cream, or the pizza, or the freaking white cheddar popcorn, until I couldn't think of anything else. I couldn't even get back to sleep at 2AM. So, finally, I get up, and I go downstairs, and I eat a whole bag. Or I finally get back to sleep, only to wake up thinking about it, and go to the store for it.

Yeah, I need help.

So, this week's plan:

1. Keep the last few habits going - working out, all the water, logging the food.
2. Plan the meals, and plan for the commute - keep something low-calorie in the car on which to snack.
3. Use a different FedEx box (simple solution here.)
4. Find someone to walk with during volleyball (being alone in the car is dangerous for me.) Who's game!?
5. Move my daily Mel-text to later in the day, after I get home. I tend to be pretty accountable to her, and I don't lie. If I decide I'm going to confess, I am less likely to do what I may have to confess. I think, this is a theory. I think it may work, though.

Phew. I could use some help here, my friends. If any of you have any thoughts on "changing my mindset" please let me know.

In other news, our sweet new kitty Dutch is settling in relatively well, but she has an upper respiratory infection. Apparently, Siamese are prone to them. She's still hiding a lot, but she likes to be petted, and she allowed Finnegan to lick her head yesterday, although it was a rather awkward moment for both of them.

The girl made a new softball team, and will be playing for the Xplosion this year. She's excited about the opportunity. My girl is so into her sports. It's so cool - and foreign.

The boy has gotten through his first week of college. For those of you waiting on news from him, he says he is "fine." He is a man of eloquence and refinement. He did text me this week asking me to send him his TI-84. It's good to be needed.

That is about it for me today. We have a softball meeting, and then the girl is going out with volleyball friends and the husband and I have the house to ourselves. I don't know what we will do, but you can bet it will be a party. I have been wanting to watch Blacklist...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A little righteous anger

This is a post about prejudice.
I'm not asking for pity or outrage, just a little understanding. Maybe someone to listen to my own anger, because I feel I am right to be angry in this instance. And because sometimes you have to vent that anger so your family doesn't want to kill you at the end of the day.
Sporting goods stores are slim pickings in this area. Oh, we have the Bass Pro, the REI, and the Field & Stream, but if you're looking for baseball bats and yoga mats, you have Play It Again, and you have Dick's Sporting Goods. With two kids who, between them, have played 20 years of ball and bat-type sports, 12 years of soccer, plus assorted years of volleyball and basketball, Dick's has gotten more than their fair share of my time and money.
Today, I visited Dick's fitness area in search of adjustable dumbbells for my brother, the truckdriver, who, understandably, does not want 12 sets of dumbbells rolling around his truck. I could have ordered them off Amazon, but I wanted to give them to him today, and I have a gift card, and I prefer the occasional physical store. I tried Play It Again yesterday, my preference, as it is smaller and far cheaper, but they didn't have any. I found what I was looking for, but I had a few questions. I waited out the couple who was there ahead of me with 200 Crossfit equipment questions. I waited out the gentleman who arrived after me, asking 200 weightlifting glove questions. Then the young, superfit male associate looked right at me, looked me up and down, turned his back and started to walk away. I called out, "excuse me" and he responds with, "Oh, Do you want something?"

No. I'm just standing there staring at you because you are so darn hot.

What I actually say is, "Yes, I was wondering if you have anything else like this. If not, do you have more of these in stock?"
He responds, "Oh, this isn't my department."

Really? Look, I realize that with my history and self esteem issues, I may be quick to assume that people are judging me on my size. But, this one felt like a pretty obvious "the fat girl couldn't possibly plan to purchase anything in the fitness department" moment.

Dick's Sporting Goods, here's the thing. You probably want to hire athletic people to work in your store. People who actually play sports or work out regularly. You probably want them to look that way, and you likely pay them crap. But - and this is more a good business suggestion than just a sensitivity issue - people who want to lose weight and get fit are going to want to buy fitness equipment. They very likely will shop in the fitness department of your store. Don't you think it would benefit everyone involved to teach your employees who work in that department to work with these people, and not to just write them off as a fat woman who will never use her weights?

Because this fat woman does use her weights, and will need newer, heavier weights sooner rather than later. And this fat woman really wants a standing bag of her own for kickboxing on days she can't get to a class.

And guess what, Mr. Superfit Dick's Associate. This freaking fat woman probably worked out harder than you did at 5:00 this morning.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday is weigh in day

I know. You're wondering about this picture. Because you would really like this underwear.
I'm down 4.8 lbs. from last weigh in, 1 lb from last week. I went to boot camp M-Th this week, and I am sore. Very, hover, saying owowowowow, then drop onto the toilet, like sore. Did not drink any pop this week. Would probably have dropped more than 1 lb, if I had managed to freaking keep my calories in check.

I log every bite I take - all of it. The two days I stayed within 100 calories of my allotted number, I was STARVING! Which tells me a couple of things:

  1. I have some serious portion distortion, and I'm so used to eating big portions, that my body thinks it needs more than it does.
  2. I may be one of those people who needs to eat small amounts every couple of hours instead of 3 meals.
  3. I need to pay better attention to my nutrients and spread my protein out so I have some at every meal.

Okay, so I will take these things into consideration this week while I plan.

By the way, favorite snack for this week - I roasted a bunch of cauliflower, broccoli, and brussel sprouts and took a cup of them to work every day. I eat them cold, and they are delightful. The do not smell delightful, but they tasted fantastic.

In other news, I took my firstborn to college today. He lives on the 7th floor - if moving him in wasn't a workout, nothing is. All these kids had tubs and suitcases and carts full of stuff, and my kid had a duffel bag, a tub, two backpacks, and a few grocery bags. Oh, and his hamper with his bedding. Hopefully he didn't underpack. Anyway, I'm excited for him - I truly hope he is happy there. My boy is not exactly an outgoing, friendly, joiner kind of guy - I told him not to let his tendency to be annoyed by everything get in the way of his enjoyment.
Send him happy thoughts, please.
I spent the later part of the afternoon cleaning bathrooms, mopping, organizing stuff, cleaning cat boxes. I am going to spend these last few minutes of quiet (volleyball game) with my book (Storm of Swords, 3rd Game of Thrones book.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

I've woken up at 4:24AM and gone to 5AM boot camp the last two days. It's been way humid, even at 5AM, so they have been good, sweaty workouts. Anyway, I get home around 6:15, hop in the shower, get ready, make coffee and lunch, and I really don't have time to sit down for breakfast, but dude, I've been up for 2 hours and I am starving. Nothing quite like a smoothie for commute-friendly meal. I've been trying my darndest to make them green - an extra serving of veggies, and green is my favorite color, after all.

My messy desk - don't judge me.
This is Just Peachy Green Smoothie With Chia Seeds from Organize Yourself Skinny. So far it is my favorite of the green smoothies.
Some changes - I use spinach instead of kale in all my smoothies. The taste is a bit milder, and I like keeping spinach on hand, anyway. I used almond milk this time instead of coconut milk, because that is what I had on hand. I prefer the coconut milk, though, so I'll have to pick some up next time I'm at the store. Really not loving the almond milk. A bit of cinnamon is a nice addition to this one.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Updates of the healthy kind...

Oh my gosh, you guys! Check out this haul! Why Missy, where on earth did you get all of this cool stuff? Well, my friends, one of my favorite health and fitness websites, Fit Bottomed Girls, changed their look recently. I love the website, but it was slow to load, and a little busy. Their new look is much cleaner, and loads more quickly. I shared my opinion on their Facebook page, and I was picked to receive a prize package. They asked me to email them with workouts I enjoy or want to try and any allergies I might have. I said I love surprises, so they sent me a big surprise pack - several workout DVD's (including a yoga DVD I've wanted to try,) a few different books, jump rope, some teas, Guroo Sleeves for arm balances, a scarf, tattoos, coffee...I really do love surprises. It was like a big box of presents.

Let's chat a bit about how the healthy habits are coming.
Last week (first week of August), I did really well. Went to boot camp 3 times, added a few walks, tracked all my food, made good choices, no pop. This past week was not so good. I had to work early, husband went out of town, lots of running. Big difference between the two weeks? Planning. I planned for the first week, did not plan for the second. Went to bed too late, ate dinner on the fly.
I did, however, track every unhealthy bite. So that is a step in the right direction.
I also did lose a pound, but I keep forgetting to bring my camera in for the weigh ins. I will add it to my list for this week.

Plans for this week:

1.  Boot camp, every day. This is not my long term plan, but I need to get back in the habit of waking up for the 5AM class, and I find it is easier to form the habit when I do it every day for a few weeks.
2.  Plan my meals for the week. I will do this tomorrow.
3.  Continue to track all the food and drink all the water.
4.  No pop.
5.  Weigh in on Friday - bring the camera!

Ooh, we tried a new (to me) restaurant tonight. It is called Sea, and it is a sushi/Japanese restaurant, opened in an old Dunkin' Donuts building. It was quite lovely, and the food is really good. Two of the best restaurants (in my opinion) in Northern Kentucky are in old fast food/donut places. Mai Thai (for those not from here) is an old Long John Silvers. If you enjoy sushi or other Japanese food, I highly recommend Sea. My own dislike of sushi is a disappointment to me - I really want to like it, but I just don't. I also don't like sweet potato fries. I tried. My palate is just not metropolitan enough for sushi and sweet potato fries. It is a sad thing.

On that tragic note, I need to get to bed. Sunday is mowing day.

Friday, August 14, 2015


I have a ton of health stuff to catch up on here, but I wanted to check in, and I enjoy a good list meme from time to time. This one is based on scrapbook journaling prompts.


Watching:  a SciFi channel show called Defiance. Post-alien invasion, terraformed earth and it's inhabitants learn to survive in their new world. I just finished watching season 2.

Reading:  "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I don't have much to share about it yet, but I am enjoying it. It is very different than you'd think by the title.

Listening: Right this minute, a YouTube video by GentleWhispering, which I find terribly relaxing. In the car, audio book "The Liar" by Nora Roberts. And, when I'm in the mood for music I've been listening to Arctic Monkeys or a CD I found in my brother's stuff of MP3's from the late '90s. I love finding these mix CDs after many years - I forget what's on them, and it's like a surprise every new song. I am easily amused.

Making:  Not much, lately. It's pretty sad, I haven't done anything creative in a long time.

Feeling:  Disorganized and a little overwhelmed. This past week my life has consisted of running the Girl from place to place and dealing with craziness at work. Add in the fact that my son is going to college next week, and we are not prepared, and I am feeling I am in way over my head.

Planning: My workouts and meals for the next week. I did not do this last week, and my eating habits were crap.

Loving:  My bullet journal. Oh yes, I have totally jumped on the bandwagon and started a bullet journal in place of my old planner. I have been using it for over a month now, and I really like it. The night before, I check my next day, add any tasks I need to add, plus jot down any quotes I heard, new words, notes, etc. If you are intrigued, check out Pinterest - there are pages and pages of posts on bullet journaling.

Enjoying: The weather lately. It has been warm, not hot, and lovely.

This weekend is looking nutty - tomorrow morning, I am going to my boot camp open house, then the Girl's volleyball tournament. If they play as well as they did this evening, they will be playing until tomorrow night. Sunday I have to catch up on some chores around the house, and softball tryouts for the Girl. Busy busy busy...

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Babbling mindlessly about the movies and music of my youth...

Hey there, ho there. I really need to go to bed, but I was just typing a Facebook update, and it was getting really long, and really became a blog post all by itself,so I decided to just come here. 

Today I have traveled back in time. My commute was spent rocking out to the music of my youth. How much did I love the soundtrack to the movie "Singles." Ok, except for the Paul Westerberg songs, which were lame, and the horrid cover of Led Zeppelin's "Battle of Evermore." That movie sparked my love for Alice in Chains, and I could listen to Pearl Jam's "State of Love and Trust" on an everlasting loop.

"Singles" was one of those movies I watched 100 times and never got bored. I wanted, desperately, to be Kyra Sedgwick, but I really identified more with Debbie, the bizarre redhead who babbled incessantly. Or maybe with Campbell Scott's best friend. Yeah, I was definitely Campbell Scott's best friend. Anyway, I loved that movie, but I never did get to Seattle, I never got to see Alice in Chains play live in some smoky dive club in an abandoned warehouse (or anywhere else, for that matter), and I certainly never wanted to find the "perfect combination of Mel Gibson and Holden Caulfield" because, let's face it, they are both big tools.

Know what other movie I loved when I was in college? "Dazed and Confused." Dude, did you see that movie? How many popular actors got their start with that movie? Jason London as Randall "Pink" Floyd taking a stand against "the man" because he doesn't want to sign a form promising not to smoke marijuana - wasn't marijuana illegal in the '70's? Even as an idealistic college student, I found his rant to be juvenile. Anyway, he was just the straight man to all everyone else - Matthew McConoughy's creepy older guy character was classic in that movie. Another excellent soundtrack.

I have lots of good healthy stuff to share, but I need to go to bed if I'm to get up for boot camp. My kids are watching "Return of the Jedi" right now. Can you imagine how bad Jabba's palace must have smelled?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Brain dump on the subject of an "All Talk, No Game" post I read on a blog today...

I've been reading a new blog, Roni is the woman who started Blog to Lose and Fitbloggin'; she started her blog to keep her accountable, has inspired many to do the same, including me. I read one of her posts today, and so related to it, I had to sit down and write about this right now.

Are You All Talk, No Game?

Yikes. Is that so me, or what? How often do I get on here and say, "this is what I'm going to do." And this doesn't only relate to my health, although that has been a primary focus for me lately. It makes my husband, who is most certainly a doer (if it's something he really wants to do,) crazy. He will decide he really wants something, he will gather all available information, somehow keep it all straight in his head, and make a sound decision, make a plan, and follow through. Not me. I said I wanted to take a vacation this year. We haven't taken a real vacation (one that didn't involve staying at a relative's house) in 7 years. I felt our kids deserved a trip, and so did I. My daughter suggested Maine, and I loved the idea - it is a place I have always wanted to visit. I took the time off work, and got excited about going to Maine. But, and here's the kicker, I never actually planned anything. I knew what I wanted to do, but I never really took the time to make any concrete plans or book anything. I blamed it on my husband and kids, and they do hold some of the blame, as none of them gave me any freaking ideas for what they wanted to do, and it's not like they are small children, having to go along with everything we do. But it really all comes down to me. So, now I am missing out on hiking Acadia National Park, a place I have dreamed of visiting, because I never did what needed doing.
Sigh. Isn't that beautiful? Someday, my love.
What I loved reading, though, were the comments. Which is interesting, because you know usually the comments are the worst part of an interesting article. But these were interesting. Some were just like her - doers. They decided they were going to do something, and they made a plan, and they did it. But others were talkers, dreamers, and they had some interesting thoughts on why. And it didn't feel like these were just excuses, either. Some suggested that some who are just talking and not doing are just not ready. I understand that, change is hard, and it is comfortable to just stay the same course. Large changes, like a major weight loss, take a serious commitment, a good, solid plan, and steady follow-through. A related comment suggested the concept of the subconscious mind sabotaging the conscious mind. "They say then want to lose weight, but then they turn around and binge on all the food they are not suppose to be eating….. why do they do this? They do it because there is a subconscious part of them that is more comfortable with being fat." The problem with this, however, is that you can't just focus on your health when you are "ready" or when your "subconscious mind agrees with your conscious mind." There is too much at risk. I've been obese for almost 20 years. Each of these years has increased my risk for diabetes, heart disease, a whole buttful of different cancers, not to mention major stress on my joints and injuries. Then, there are the wasted years. 20 years of not being active, being able to do things I really would like to do, but I'm held back by my own physical limitations, or my perception of my own limitations. 20 years of feeling "less than" because of my size. Unfortunately, low self-esteem is not necessarily going to change with weight loss, but it can't hurt. 

Another commenter suggested that distraction keeps her from achieving her goals. This feels a little closer to my situation. I have a heck of a time focusing. Which seems funny, seeing as health changes are not exactly small work. I've worked with children with ADD in the school district, helping them to stay on task and complete their work. When I think of people having trouble focusing, that is what comes to mind. But consider - so much goes in to a healthy lifestyle. It can be overwhelming. And I am very good at buckling down for 6 hours or so - working out, packing my lunch, drinking my water, and then - ooh, something shiny! - and I am drinking a soda while chatting with a friend. Or my weekend fills up with a thousand things, and I don't take the time to plan for meals, and we go out to eat, which leads to bigger portions, which leads to shame, which leads to me not logging my meals, etc. And who wants to go to boot camp in the morning with the lump of City BBQ in their stomach. It spirals out of control, and you stop focusing on any of it for a few weeks, until you blog again, and then you recommit, and then you stop at the Speedway on your way in to work for a 44 oz Pepsi because you woke up at 4:30AM after not going to sleep until 10PM, and you are trying to keep your eyes open on your way to work.

Phew, you didn't know you were settling in for the long haul through my brain today, did you?

This week has been complicated. My son will be going off to college in a few weeks, and we have not finished dealing with all the financials. My husband is frustrated with my inaction on this, "why haven't you gathered all the information?" "Why start the conversation when you don't have all the information?" "The Boy should be taking care of this, why haven't you made sure he did it?" But. There is so much information out there, and I honestly wasn't sure where to start. I didn't even know who to ask. It's complicated, and scary, and I've always coddled my kid too much, and I'm afraid to make mistakes, and I'm afraid to put him in a place to make a mistake that might make things horrible for school, and...holy crap, I'm overwhelmed, and so - inaction. 

Which is, I think, the key to all of this. My "all talk, no game" problem. I become don't know where to start, I'm overwhelmed, I freak out, I become paralyzed. My way to deal with that is to talk through it...which is how we end up here - at my blog - all talk. 

So, here is where we are for this week's health goals - I've been stressing, not sleeping well, eating crap, drinking pop. I have, however, been logging the crap. I've also been to boot camp once, and I'll go on Friday and Saturday. I've been drinking a ton of water, although I have not hit the gallon mark every day, but I've been close. I have "technically" been completing my action steps for each day. I will weigh in tomorrow, although I am not expecting great results. I will take the picture, though, own the weight, and move on, working on better habits for the next week. 

I appreciate having the ability to unload here. It helps clear my mind. 

Are you a talker or a doer? Do you have any advice for those of us who have trouble following through (besides "just do it", Nike already said that.) Do you want to pay the balance on my son's education? 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Back to the grind

I've decided to really make an effort to add more of a weight loss/healthy living aspect to this blog, mainly to keep myself accountable, and, if there are some here who are looking for a buddy on their own journey, or who have good advice to give, etc (please, no sales, gimmicks, unproven tricks, silly tips you've picked up from the hack at the mall, etc. I'm not buying your stuff, so don't try to sell it here. I will eat fruit after 2PM, I am not dropping all carbs, I don't want your pills or vitamins or wraps, and neither do my readers.) Whew. Can you tell I get a little bitter about these things? It bothers me, so much. I read a lot of very good blogs about healthy living, and there are always commenters looking to sell their stuff. A lot of us who have been working on improving our health for a long time have read ALL OF THE books, research, magazines, etc. We know the difference between the science and the pseudoscience, and we don't want you plugging your wares or your "vague medical-sounding person has proven" techniques on our blogs. Start your own freaking blog, if you want to sell your stuff.
That said, if you have something real to say, please contribute. You tried a new way of journaling, a great new workout, a yummy, healthy snack? Suggest away!
Heh. You like how I am writing this like I have hundreds of thousands of readers? I like to pretend I am very popular.
Anyway - I'll still post my goofy little stories and thoughts, and I will never stop talking about books, but I want to focus so much more on my health. I was driving the other day (to Crossville, TN, home of the ISA World Series of Softball, Go Bandits!), and as I drove I had a thought, as I so often do when I drive.

I had been reading a blog post on time management by a woman who had 3 kids, ran two businesses from home, served on several different committees, took a class, wrote a blog, and played on a women's football team. This is a woman whose color-coded FiloFax uses ALL of the colors. Anyway, I was reading this entry and thinking, I used to have such a busy life. PTA, Relay For Life, MOMS Club, volunteering in the classrooms, team mom, making dinners for new moms, Girl Scout leader, driving the kids to every activity...and now? I work, a few book clubs, the Girl's sports. My guilty subconscious mind is telling me I should add a few more committees to the list, but I will continue ignoring that, and really buckle down and focus on my health. And you lucky duckies, should you choose to read these posts, get to come along for the ride.

You like this? The hills of southern Kentucky. Why upside down? I have no freaking idea - I can't seem to flip it.
But, Missy! You've said all of this before, for crying out loud.
I know. And I will probably sabotage myself again. But...ooh, and here's the kicker...I'm putting it all out there this time. I weighed myself, and took a picture, and I am posting it here for all to see. My starting weight for all intents and purposes.

Yow. That is scarily close to my highest weight of all time - the weight I promised I would never see again. You see why I am a little freaked out? Putting this out there in public, and I will weigh in again next week, and every week from now on, because for some weird reason, I think this might help. I will also talk about my boot camp and workouts and food plans and everything else I'm working on. I will be using My Fitness Pal to track my food intake, because you all know food that piece of the puzzle I just keep turning the wrong way. I get it almost angled correctly, and then I turn it just a quarter cm the other direction...and this analogy is taking off in my head, let's move on.

A month or so ago, I posted a list of "picture a day" ideas, and day 1 was goals. You've seen these goals before, but I may as well start with something that works. So my goals for the rest of July are (I'm just typing these in, but I did write them in my journal and everything):

1. Exercise (moving on purpose), at least 3 times a week
2. Gallon of water, every day
3. Track all food in My Fitness Pal

Ooh, how pretty. I'll track it all in my journal so you all can see I'm really, truly, following through. 
I have actually been to boot camp, twice this week. I've been drinking my water. Have not been tracking the food. Tomorrow morning, it is on.

In other news, there is a family of mourning doves outside my office - two adults and two babies. Did you know mourning doves will often return to the same nesting site more than once a year to lay eggs? And the male sits the nest during the day and the female during the night. You knew you would learn something here, didn't you?

Okay, onward and forward.  Thank you so much, to all of you who commented so sweetly to my post about my Eddy. My kids are on me about getting another cat already, and I will, as I am not a one cat girl, and my one cat does not like being lonely. Not yet, I'm still grieving, but soon. Prepare yourselves for new kitty pictures - they will be coming, and they will be precious.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A sad day, so please be gentle.

I said good-bye to my first baby today.
 I got Eddy when he was 6 weeks old and I was 20. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and I wanted a friend. This little orange furball crawled into my lap, and I fell in love. He has been a wonderful friend, ever since.
He got sick this past weekend, and at 20 years old, there was nothing they could do for him. 
This has been a very rough year for our sweet pets.  First Buggy, and now my guy.
 I have a lot of other things to share, but today's post is for my Eddy. 
I'll miss you, my orange guy. I wish for you a kitty heaven, full of Pounce and milk rings, Taco Bell wrappers and all the KFC biscuits you can steal.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

My rather public shame

 We moved from a condo in the Chicago suburbs to a house in Kentucky 10 years ago. This is the first house I've lived in since I was 5 years old, and I love my house.

 It's a fine size - big enough to house a family of 4 (with the addition of a family member or two here and there,) but small enough to clean (when I feel like it.) It is mostly brick, which is nice, and the shutters are green, and we all know that green is my favorite color. We haven't done a whole lot to the house, and there are definitely some bits of maintenance that really should be done, but all in all, I love my house. And my favorite part is the yard. We have a 1/2 acre, mostly flat (which is unusual in the Ohio River valley,) and I would rather be outside mowing the lawn or doing other outside-y things than cleaning inside. Unfortunately, I have some problems.

Here it is, my not so secret shame. Considering that it is in front of my house, it can't be much of a secret. I am a mess when it comes to time management and landscaping - hence, the jungle of my front yard. Let's add the fact that I tend to kill things - I prune over-enthusiastically, or I plant a bizarre assortment of things, or I just ignore everything, which is what has happened over the past 2 years.
This was a Bradford pear tree planted by the builder. Yes, you'll see that it was planted approximately 2 feet from the house. Bradford pears grow to upwards of 26 feet tall, with a large canopy, so our pear spent most of it's life with the back half pruned off to keep it from rubbing destructively against the gutters. Bradford pears also tend to be structurally weak, since their canopies are too large to be supported by their trunks, and they grow so quickly.

Last September, a freak storm tore down 1/3 of the tree. We had wanted to get rid of it for years and never bothered, so Mother Nature took care of it for us. My brother-in-law came over and took down the rest of the tree using his chainsaw, and carted off the wood, which was lovely. Do you know what happens when you cut down a Bradford pear without taking out the stump? It doesn't freaking die, oh no. It just starts shooting off all these little baby branches. So, I guess dealing with the stump of my nemesis, the old pear, is #1 issue with my front garden area.
Then there is the fact that I never prune the holly bushes, or any of the other bushes, for that matter. They grow like crazy, and grow together, and it's all crazy. There used to be 4 holly bushes, I appear to have killed 2 of them, I don't know how. Last year I pruned most of the burning bushes, but I couldn't reach the top, and I asked my husband to do the rest, and he never did, and I never got around to finishing them, and now they are these insanely overgrown, monster shrubs. And the weeds. Good Lord, the weeds. It's gotten to the point that I think nothing short of a flame thrower will deal with the weeds.
When I was staying home with the kids, I was still not a fantastic landscaper, but it didn't look like an Amazonian jungle. I kept it "sort of" in check, although I still always managed to kill things. But now - I've been back to work for years, and I still haven't figured out time management. Admittedly, I do read books, and I do like to go out from time to time, but I can't seem to figure out how to finish much more than dishes and laundry.
All this is to say, I have let this get out of hand, and now it is so overwhelming. I'd like to take out the stump (and all its pesky babies,) Put in something appropriately sized, get all the weeds cleaned up, trim the shrubs to a manageable level, and make everything lovely.  I'm not sure how to do that, or how not to kill everything, or how to find the time to do it, or what to plant, although the people who lived there before had some carpet phlox that I absolutely loved, when I weeded enough to let it grow. My neighbors have been awfully patient with me, but they can't love living near this insanity.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Back to life, Back to reality...

I have pretty much taken the last month off. I did not trip up, mess up, oopsy-daisy. I did not miss a step and fall face-first into a vat of ice cream, as delicious as that sounds. I, quite frankly, completely sabotaged all my months of hard work and ate crap and stopped working out. 

Sabotage. Undermining a cause. I have undermined my own cause - that of my health - over and over. And I know I am not alone. How many of you have a goal you have worked toward - months of energy and planning and buttloads of hard work - and then, for one reason or another, taken time away and completely undone all of that work? And for what?

Last week, Boot Camp Guru texted a bunch of us, asking what we felt was our biggest struggle this summer. She was donating a quarter to a local charity for every answer. I really pondered that particular query - I really could only come up with one answer, and that answer was laziness. Sheer, unadulterated, laziness. We are discouraged from using that word as a reason - you're not lazy, the laziness is just a symptom of depression, or exhaustion, or some deep down emotion you must explore. But what if laziness really is the answer? I've felt pretty freaking good over the past year, emotionally - depression is not the answer here. Sure I'm tired at 4:30 AM, who the heck isn't? But exhausted? No. I didn't feel like getting out of bed and working out - after finishing the Pig in May, I felt I needed a break. Taking a couple of days off would have been fine, but not the next two months. I didn't feel like taking the time to prepare my food for the week, cooking healthy foods. I wanted to sit up and watch television with my husband every night instead of going to bed early so I could wake up early. Chopping veggies is annoying.

I've let sheer laziness sabotage my months of boot camp, my emerging biceps, my renewed energy.
No more.

Check my sexy new Asics - out for their inaugural workout this morning.
One of my favorite new things I've tried implementing with this whole "healthier me" thing is to jump in where I am. If I eat poorly or skip a workout, get back to it next meal, or next chance to get to a workout. It eliminates the whole "I've ruined the whole thing" mentality that can completely derail a new lifestyle. 

There is something powerful about a Monday, though, isn't there?

Yesterday, as we were driving home from Chicago (another post, another time), I received a text from said guru, "See you at 5AM. No excuses." Just the kick in the rear I needed. I didn't get enough sleep - it's hard, after a month of 10PM bedtimes, to go to sleep at 8:30 (I don't think I'll have a problem today.) I got up, and sweated through a Monday boot camp. It was way hard - I could barely hold a plank for 30 seconds, and I had been up past a minute. But I'll be back tomorrow.
This week's goals:
Attend at least 3 boot camps
Log every bite on My Fitness Pal
Drink 100 oz of water each day.

If you want to give me a kick in the butt, please feel free to do so. I need all the accountability I can find. I am happy to do the same for anyone who needs it.

Next post I will share my happy vacation fun, but today I was feeling motivated and wanted to share. Happy Monday!