Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A day to be thoughtful

Today is Giving Tuesday. While Giving Tuesday is only 5 years old, I think it is an excellent antidote to the excesses of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And the entire holiday season, really. It is just as important, however, to be mindful of the organizations to whom you give.

I remember once, when I was at my grandparents' house for lunch, my grandmother received a phone call, and she went and got her purse and started pulling out her credit card. I asked her what she was doing, and she said the "Cerebral Palsy Foundation" needed donations, and they couldn't take them by check, only by credit card. I told her that was bull, and she needed to hang up the phone. She looked concerned, so I took the phone from her, told the woman on the phone that my grandmother only makes donations to organizations by mail, and hung up. The Cerebral Palsy Foundation may have been a legitimate organization for all I know, but anyone who tells you they can only take donations over the phone by credit card is trying to scam you.

We all know there are a lot of crap foundations out there, but there are a lot of amazing organizations doing amazing work, as well, and since I started working for a non-profit, and have become older and more cynical, I have become more mindful about the causes to which I will donate. If you invite me donate to "breast cancer," believe me, I will be asking to which organization you are donating. A lot of people don't know - or they'll figure out after they've raised the money. Breast cancer is by far the most exploited disease, as far as disreputable organizations are concerned, from what I've seen. You may remember in 2014, an organization calling themselves Breast Cancer Society, Inc. allegedly bilked donors out of $187 million in donations. The leader of the organization has since been banned from running a non-profit.

All of this is to say, I am selective about the organizations to which I will contribute, and I thought I would tell you some of those, just in case you were looking for a good cause.

International Rescue Committee: This has been my cause of choice this year. They respond to the worst humanitarian crises, around the world, and here at home. From Syrian refugees to homeless youth in Los Angeles, IRC is a well-run, reputable organization committed to helping with emergency relief and long-term support.

Wildlife Conservation Network: Works to save endangered species. When I'm donating in honor of children, I generally stick to this one. They do good work.

American Cancer Society: Yes, I donate to my own organization. We work hard to fight cancers of all kinds, and I believe in the work we are doing. All of our financials are public record, so nothing is being hidden; your donations are not buying anyone's private jets. I've met a lot of people who have benefitted from what we do here, so I feel good about donating.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation: A 4-star rated organization, they specialize in, you guessed it, breast cancer research.

Want something a little more local? I also donate to:

Friends of the Shelter/SPCA KY - opposes cruelty to animals, promotes humane treatment, promotes spay/neuter programs, supports shelters
Brighton Center - a local organization that provides everything from emergency assistance, to recovery programs, to children's aid, to senior services.
Rob's Kids - helps children suffering from mental illness, suicide prevention
And of course, this bleeding heart liberal donates to her local NPR station.

Giving Tuesday isn't only about donating money - your time is worth so much. Food banks, homeless shelters, Ronald McDonald House, preparing and serving meals, driving cancer patients to treatment (ask me about this one, if you're interested)...there are so many ways you can give your time to people who need it. Or donate supplies to an animal shelter or homeless shelter.

This is a day to remember the world beyond your small space. A good way to start a habit of giving that will hopefully continue throughout the year. Happy #GivingTuesday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy...

I love reading about routines - I often read from MindBodyGreen.com and Greatist.com (both are health blogs,) and my favorite posts are different health and fitness professionals describing their routines. Perhaps I hope if I follow their routines, I too will become healthy and fabulous. Except - my very favorites are morning routines, and very few of these people seem to have realistic routines, at least not to me.

Look at this woman! Still in bed, and it's light outside! Get up, lazy!
Let's ask Tiffany Lester*, functional medicine practitioner, how she begins her day...

"My body is programmed to wake up around 6:30 a.m. no matter what time I went to sleep. I've always been an early bird and enjoy the stillness that morning brings. To get energized, I've recently begun jumping on a rebounder (mini trampoline) for 10 minutes while listening to my favorite cardio playlist. This gets my blood pumping and lymphatic system flowing for the perfect start to my day!"

First of all, "gets my lymphatic system flowing?" Ew.
Second, who considers a person who wakes up every day at 6:30 a.m. an "early bird?"

Ok, while I generally just enjoy these sorts of posts (it doesn't have to be a wellness professional, either, I love reading about anyone's routines,) sometimes I just like to judge a little. And feel really superior. Let's compare here:

Fern Olivia, Thyroid Expert
My alarm is set to wake me up at 7:00 a.m. to Oshuns of Love, a beautiful sound bath with vocals, shamanic healing, and didgeradoo by my dear friends Aya and Tyler.

Missy K, Admin with Ridiculously Long Title
If I wake to an alarm, it's at 4:20 a.m. to whatever is playing on whatever station I've programmed. More commonly, however, I am awoken by my cat sitting on my face and meowing, or jerked awake by some jarring noise emitting from my husband, generally between 3:50 and 4:00 a.m.

Fern Olivia, Thyroid Expert
Once I rise, it's time for herbal tea, lemon water, my daily Thyroid Yoga Practice, and essential oil routine.

Missy K, Expert of Nothing, but Goddess of All
Stumble blearily into workout clothes, probably step on a cat or two. Fill up the water bottle, and if it's earlier than 4, make coffee. Drink some coffee and sit on couch, where cat cuddles up like a sleeping baby and makes me want to go back to sleep. Sometimes I do. This morning, however, I finally convinced my butt out the door, into the car, and to boot camp.

Fern, Crazy woman with more time on her hands than I do, apparently
This ritual is a habit made holy, and I look forward to waking up to luxurious self-care.

Missy, Crazy woman, in general
Get home around 6:10 a.m., wake up the girl, shower and dress, feed the cats, throw my food that I (hopefully) prepped last night into my lunchbox, refill the water bottle and coffee mug, and try to get out the door before 6:45 to beat the worst of the traffic. That short period of time is an insane sprint, but worth it if it means I got a good workout in.

Now you ask, gee, Missy, what does all this have to do with that uber-motivated post you wrote several weeks ago about losing weight and you were going to be posting honest weigh-ins, and really committing, etc...yeah, nothing. And I am aware that I said all that at the beginning of October, and then did not post again, because I didn't do a darn healthy thing, and I may have actually gained a little weight, and I was embarrassed. October is a stupid busy month. Not an excuse, but true. It's Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I work for a health organization, and we work a lot in October. Also, Halloween, and volleyball, and most importantly, my Girl's birthday. She likes scary things now, and it's fun. We went to a haunted house, and she had a lot of fun.

Anyway, no, this has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact that routines and habits make weight loss doable, and we've discussed this before, certainly. I was just having some fun comparing my morning routines with these people. Reading Organize Yourself Skinny, where she discusses the importance of routines and habits. And perhaps considering ways to overhaul my own routines so getting healthy does not feel so freaking hard after a while.

The first change will be getting my butt to boot camp more often. I know, the best way to get myself back into a workout habit is to move every day. I can't boot camp every day, but I can most days. And the days I don't, I can move. I joined a mile a day challenge for November, so that's a start. And I actually have to be accountable to the group.

I've also been wanting to incorporate some mindfulness meditation into my days. A lot of these wellness people do this at the beginning of the day. So, I am going to start with 2 minutes of basic breathing meditation after I go downstairs and fill my water bottle. Perhaps these two steps will bring me a little closer to Fern, Angel of Luxury, and a little further from my current state of Oh Caffeinated Lady of the Eye Bags.

*Fern and Tiffany shared their routines in this post.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Ups and downs

I said a few years ago that I would like to use this space to help me lose weight by providing a virtual accountability partner, or several, as it were. Of course, I have described different things I have done, and it's been fun and all, but weight loss is an elusive bastard, and I'm pretty much starting over. This is going to be a rather long post, with lots of personal details (like numbers and whatnot,) so if you are uninterested, you may want to stop reading now. Also, don't make fun of me. I am fairly certain anyone who is taking the time to come here is not here to be mean, but just in case...I can delete with the best of them.

We're not going back all the way to the beginning; anyone who knows me knows I have struggled with my weight pretty much my entire life, except for a few brief years doing track in high school, and then the Army. It's really hard to be fat when you're at basic training. 

Anyway, we're going back 3 years, October of 2013. I hit my all time high weight of 295. It was one of those "holy crap!" moments - awfully close to a whole other century. I started walking more often - and I really noticed the extra weight...my shins would burn, like they were on fire, when I walked, the bottoms of my feet hurt terribly when I stood up after being sedentary, my knees were aching. But I walked, some. Then came the most effective weight loss strategy - my anxiety was ramping up again, and I started having panic attacks occasionally. That's 10 lbs gone in no time - it's amazing how intense anxiety destroys your appetite. 

No, I am not hoping I start having attacks again. I will stay happily fat.

Anywho, I started going to boot camp in April of 2014, lost some weight, gained some weight, lost some more. I've stayed mostly active since then, with a month here and there of lazy. All in all, I've only lost, in total, 25 lbs. 

And I've almost gained all of it back. Since March. Why is gaining so easy? They say, "You didn't put it on overnight..." They LIE! 

A few weeks ago, I realized my clothes were starting to fit kind of tightly, my knees were starting to ache again, my shins are burning when I walk. I stepped on the scale, which I actually hadn't done since June. I was up at 294.3 lbs. Well, crap!

Have I mentioned how much I hate my scale? It talks. And it is creepy. And sometimes, if we have lightening, or one of the cats jumps from the sink onto it, it will talk at night. "Hello. Are you ready?" Yeah, creepy as hell. 

That week, I started journaling my food intake again. I am following along with that Joyful Eating class, trying to really understand my hunger and fullness cues, because food is my downfall. And I refuse to treat it as an enemy. But I have a tendency to eat past fullness to stuffed, just because I'm bored, or I like the taste, or I am eating mindlessly. I've also stopped drinking pop, almost entirely. I'm not keeping it in the house, and I am not eating out often. I had some on Friday. It was good. I don't feel desperate to drink more. I may have kicked that particular addiction, so that's nice.  I've been working out 4 times a week, and trying to move more on the other days. 

Today, creepy scale chick told me I weigh 288.6. OK! That was motivating.

So. I know I've tried this before, but I am going to start again. I need to be accountable. So I'm going to start weighing in here again. I am going to keep up what I've started, and continue adding good habits. I am going to invite others to use me as an accountability partner, 'cuz I know I could use the kick in the butt. I am going to post this to Facebook, even though it is terribly uncomfortable, because more of you come here from there than anywhere else. 

That was awkward.

I know the scale is not the most important factor in health, and health is my foremost focus here, but here's the deal - I am more than twice the healthy weight for my height. There are simply too many problems that come from that much excess weight. I'm lucky - I'm still able to function and move and work out, but how much longer am I going to be able to keep that up? I already have problems with blood pressure and cholesterol, and I can only stave off the doctor for so long before he makes me start taking cholesterol meds. My allergies cause breathing issues, and those are much worse with the extra weight. And then there are the joints. Every so often they like to remind me that I am not getting any younger. Stupid joints. 

Anyway, I appreciate you cheering me on, and bearing with me as I do this. I promise, I will post other stuff, too, but I'm thinking Monday posts will be health stuff and weigh ins. 

A couple of years ago, I promised myself a new tattoo when I lose 100 lbs from my highest weight. (I allowed myself the semi-colon this year, even without the weight loss, because I felt strongly about the cause, but my next one has to be earned.) It's kind of a bummer, I was a lot closer earlier this year, but I guess I'm starting again. I want something involving a fairy reading a book under a tree. I can't draw to save my life, so someone else will have to help. So, once I hit 195, I get my tattoo. You guys should come with. It will be fantastic.

I may add in other rewards. I like presents. My first one will be when I hit 270, since that's where I climbed from. I don't know what. I'll ponder. Let me know if you have some good ideas - no food. 

Alrighty, thanks for hanging in there with me. We'll chat later. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ach...my head!

Monday night I was really tired and went to bed without taking my antidepressant. Yesterday did horrible things to my brain. Horrible. Starts with a feeling like your head is wrapped in something suffocating. Like that itchy insulation in the attic. Then come the icepick above the left eye headaches...for hours.  Then, and this is a blast, the brain zaps. Live wire, inside your brain. I felt a lot like this:

My point? This was after ONE missed dose. By accident. Do not go cold turkey, people.I went home last night, took my meds, and went to bed. I was asleep by 8PM, and slept until 4AM. I feel much better today, thank you.

What was good fun is that I spent the entire first half of the day running meetings with my head wrapped in insulation. I couldn't remember simple words, and my thoughts were like a bag of Scrabble tiles. I probably sounded like an idiot.

On to the good stuff...this is obviously me blogging, since one of my goals is to blog at least once a week during this 30 days. If you follow me on Instagram, I have posted a few of my checked off goals - got my mammogram on Friday. I put it off for over a year, basically out of fear - fear of pain, and fear of results. The pain was negligible, the results good. I did not take a picture, obvs, but I did take a pic of the certificate in the department, just so I had something to put on Instagram. I also walked with my friend Laura, who is lovely, and always an excellent person to chat with. Her dog is precious as well, and we got a great shot of ourselves with his tongue.

So many of my goals on here are ongoing things - journal all 30 days, complete Joyful eating program, meal plan and prep each week, no pop all 30 days...I am working on a number of these. Pop free 6 days now, I've been journaling:
These are part of my Joyful eating, and I feel I shouldn't post a clearer picture of them, as they are proprietary. I don't know that the developers of the program would care, but I do. But I have been using them every day.
 Sunday I planned meals for the week, made two weeks of green smoothies, and roasted veggies for lunches.
These are the Beginner's Luck smoothie from Simple Green Smoothies. They are not enough calories or protein for a meal, but they are tasty, and get a good, hefty serving of spinach into my day. I have them for breakfast with a piece of bread with peanut butter, or a bowl of cheerios.
I have been at boot camp 3 days this week thus far, and I will go the next 3 to get my 6 in a row. I have planned an excellent day for my friend Alison and me. I have drunk 100 oz of water every day this week; I really just need to record it. I have more than one day with 10,000 steps, but I'll save that for later.

The two I'm having the most trouble with are planning a weekend away with my husband and read Daring Greatly. Every time I come up with something for a specific weekend, I something else comes up. And I really can't get into Daring Greatly. I feel like I have the gist of it, and I only started it on Monday. And there are so many good books to read. My desire to accomplish a goal I've written down is warring with my "Life is to short to read bad books" mindset. Not that it is a bad book, but I feel like vulnerability is not an issue for me. I mean, I come on here and blab about my issues to my thousands (heehee) of readers. What could be more vulnerable than that? Of course, as Ms. Brown posits, oversharing can actually be a camouflage for putting one's true self out there. Perhaps, if I was to continue reading this book, I would discover what it is I am keeping hidden. Who knows?

I have work to do, so I must get back to it. I will continue sharing this with you. I am enjoying my list, and although I had a rather shockingly disappointing weigh-in this morning, I am trying to remind myself that it is an initial weigh in. Again. Ah, the pleasure of being an obese woman, trying to get healthy. It's a struggle my friends, but luckily I have all of you along with me for the ride.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Another month and a new challenge

Well, hey there hot stuff!
Yeah, another month down. I have a bad habit of not liking to admit when I am failing at something, and so I don't post at all, which really kind of defeats the purpose of blogging for accountability, doesn't it? But, it has been a month of not being so well-behaved. And while we all know that the brilliant Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once said "Well-behaved women seldom make history," I don't think she was referring to health and wellness. And eating mass amounts of ice cream, and skipping boot camp classes, and drinking pop, and just being gross. These behaviors are less likely to help me make history, and more likely to give me a heart attack, or, at the very least, land me on cholesterol medication.
So, another month, another challenge - and this one is kind of fun as it combines a list and my favorite social media, Instagram - #TheGoal30

I think the original idea, by @ariellesays, was 30 days, 30 non-scale goals, 1 goal per day - since September has 30 days, at least that's what I assume, but I read about it at roninoone.com, and she is applying her whole What You Can, When You Can philosophy, and I have some goals I'd really like to be cumulative, so there we are. Particularly the no pop, the journaling, and the Joyful Eating class, which I still haven't completed, and I want to. A lot of people made pretty lists - my handwriting is not fabulous, but I still decided to add it to my bullet journal, which I'm still using and loving, since I carry it with me. The goofy doodling is what I do when I can't come up with another item for the list, and I wanted to intersperse some of the health related goals with some other things, like do something with my Girl but not shopping, since that's always what she wants to do. Which is funny, since all she wants to do when we shop is buy more black shirts. Occasionally maroon.
You'll notice I added blog more and take more pictures, and I'm supposed to document this whole thing on instagram, so if you'd like to follow along, I'm @_missy_koeppel
I love my Instagramming. Much more than then Twittering, which is way too loud for my sensitive brain.
Speaking of Twittering, I just read Felicia Day's book, You're Never Weird On the Internet (Almost), and she is truly adorable and fun, and her poor anxious brain makes me want to hug her and tell her she's not alone, although she seems anxious like a type A personality, perfectionist, smart person anxious, instead of my anxiety, which stems more from...I have no idea what, low self-esteem, I guess.
Apparently I had more babbling to do that I thought, but I have to start working now, so we'll chat later. Make sure to kick me in the butt and remind me to keep updating these goals. Phew, it's warm in here...

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Almost a month later, and I'm feeling a bit better

Hi. It's been a busy three weeks, as summers often are. When my kids were smaller, and I was home with them, we used to have lists of fun things to do, and days where we didn't leave the house, and I really miss those days. I also had bucket lists - hikes I wanted to take them on and camping trips, and day trips...and now they are teenagers and have very little interest in waking up before noon, let alone going on a hike with me. I feel like I really missed the ball on that one, and uh-oh, here comes the mommy-guilt.

Anyway, busy, so I will condense the past 3 weeks into a brief list of of snippets to catch you all up. Far be it for me to allow you to miss out on even an instant of my life - that would be cruel!

1. Family - Reds games with A (don't get the hat o' nachos! They taste like sweaty socks!), family reunion in Columbus (so sweaty), birthday party for my twinlets, snuggles, visit with my dad and stepmom, shopping with my girl, and my boy is becoming a very decent cook!

2. Softball. Lots of it. Also volleyball. This is the last softball tournament of the season, and tryouts for next year are next week. Volleyball started 2 weeks ago, and she's happy to be back.

Here's a picture of the girl pitching. I didn't take it. 
3. Work. My boss left. This was heartbreaking, as she was the best boss I've ever had. I interviewed for her job, but only because I felt that was the next logical step. They did not hire me for the position, and I am...uncertain...about their selection.

4. With softball tournaments comes lots of reading...I have finished a lot of books this summer. Hey! I watch when she is up! Anyway, check my Goodreads page if you're interested. I am currently listening to 10% Happier by Dan Harris in the car, and I'm really liking it. (Reading other stuff, but I felt like this deserved an extra mention.)

5. Health - Started the August challenge this week. Boot camp twice, and I mowed the lawn yesterday. I also started over with the mindful eating class - the material is good, but I lost my focus the first time through - luckily, the material is mine to keep, and so is the Facebook group. I have had good days and bad days this past week, but I'm working it. I'm planning for boot camp 3 days next week, plus a walk. Also, my biceps are killing me today.

I think that sums it up nicely. It doesn't look like much, but between work and softball, that was a lot of time. Throw in a few book clubs...

Gotta get dressed. Softball tournament...Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hello anxiety. It's been awhile.

Can't say I've missed you.
The anxiety, not you, dear readers.
It has been, what, 2 1/2 years since I felt this bad. So, let's examine...

I know my worst triggers - the people I love the most and who live with me, my family, and my thoughts on how I have failed them. I don't want to be more specific, as they would probably not appreciate it. I don't believe I can actually fix this, but my first, and most desired response is to run away and hide, which is not my most mature way to respond.

Ok, this has not exactly changed, but I've dealt with it more effectively over the past 2 years than I am right now.

I haven't been working out this summer. Barely at all. Like, 4 times since June 1. Maybe 5.
My caffeine intake has been astronomical.
I've been eating junk, and not sleeping well, at all.

That's not to say "I haven't been focusing on me." I certainly have. Probably more so than I should - book clubs and nights out, and fun with friends. Mayhaps I need to focus less on my fun and more on my health? The two certainly need not be exclusive - but perhaps a few less ice cream cones and a few more early morning workouts would be helpful.

this morning I woke up full fledge anxiety attack, shaking and nauseous. My ensuing conversation with one of my family members did not help that. I cut back the coffee to one cup to try to take the edge off the shake (cold turkey hurts too much.) Kept the breakfast small.

I still have this desperate desire to bolt out the door and run for the next two months.

I will work on it.

Sorry to be such a downer. Lots going on the past month - family in town, and lots of twin snuggles make me happy. Softball tournaments most weekends, and the girl is pretty awesome at it. Renn Faire last weekend, which is always fun, and I threw knives. New tattoo last week - it's a semi-colon, with style. I'm pleased with how it came out.

I got it with my book club. We told our server at the bar we went to after, and she was like, "oh, are they literary tattoos?" No, we just got them together. As my friend J says, the book club who gets tattooed together, stays together.

Alright, I need to get back to work. There is a lot going on here, too, but nothing concrete, so nothing to share. Although, the mourning doves are nesting again in the light fixture outside my door. Baby birds are exciting.

Wish me luck with the whole freaking out thing.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Quick thoughts before my road trip.

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed this morning, and came across a girl posing in her 10 year old prom dress, and telling one of those truly sad prom stories, something to the effect that she was asked to prom by her current boyfriend, Mr. Popular, she bought the dress, was all excited, and then heard that the guy intended to dump her and ditch her at prom for another girl. And that she had been hanging on to the dress all this time, with this dream that she would meet Mr. Right and they would dance the night away, and life would be sweet. She didn't talk about the fact that she looked damn good in the dress, that she has thousands of Instagram followers who she empowers and lifts up everyday, that the guy from that long ago prom could kiss her curvy white ass.

Now, I understand this may have been an instance of "see, I have those sad, I wish I was a princess with a prince" moments, too", but it didn't read that way to me. I read feelings of unworthiness and dejection in that post, and I wanted to wrap this 28 year old girl in my arms and tell her, "dude! wake up! you are fabulous! and you don't need any man to tell you that!" Phew, I'm glad I'm not 28 anymore.

My friend, we'll call her Jennifer, because I have 100 Jennifers in my life, and let's face it, Jennifers are some of the smartest people in the world; so, Jennifer says something wonderful every time I start to get down on myself about something - I'm a bad mom, I failed yet another diet, I missed boot camp last week, I'm lazy, blah blah blah. She has said it here, she has commented on Facebook, and, my favorite, she has grabbed my arm and yelled it at me in person, "Hey! Be nice to my friend!"

I love that. Because, I really try to be a good friend. I love my friends; they lift me up, make me want to be a better person, let me be me, even when I think I'm being annoying. And I try to say good things, and caring things to my friends. And, as I've reached my 4th decade, I've (finally) started to realize, these amazing, caring people wouldn't love an asshole.

Maybe I'm not thin and gorgeous, maybe I'm not as healthy as I want to be (although, I'm working), maybe I am not the mom I wish I was, and yes, I really wish I had finished my degree and maybe was writing a book or doing something amazing and world-changing right now.

Part of my job involves reading obituaries - I process memorial donations, and I pair the appropriate obituaries with the donations to make sure they are acknowledged correctly. It can be a little sad, of course, but often it makes me smile. I've read a lot of obituaries for people who lived long, beautiful, lives full of love and laughter. Their obituaries talk about their humor and their generosity of spirit, never how much money they had, or beautiful house, or their highest degree. They are people I wish I had the privilege of knowing. It makes me realize, even if I don't finish that degree, I can be that person that, at the end of my life, inspires someone to write about the fact that I made them smile. That I was full of love and kindness, with a bawdy sense of humor, and a huge "Read" list on Goodreads.

Your mission today? Go out and do a kindness for someone. And then,turn around and do a kindness for yourself. Tell yourself the things you tell your friends. Treat yourself like your best friend. And know, if I catch you saying something bad about yourself, I am going to yell at you, "Be nice to my friend!" Because I love you, and I don't love assholes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Remember my dirty little secret?

You know, the dirty little secret right in front of my house, in plain sight of all, that I published here on the blog, and on Facebook?

You know, the beds in front of my house?
This is the first house I've lived in, since I was old enough to know anything about living in a house. I was pretty freaking excited to do stuff outside when I moved in here, and I did lots of stuff - but my thumb is not so green. In fact, it's pretty freaking brown - I can make it grow...and then it dies.
Then, I started working full time, and I really have never figured out how to make time work for me. 

I'm also rather lazy.

So things got out of hand. My brother and I (with a small amount of help from my son) started pulling weeds and digging up the beds about a month ago. I had a mountain of mulch delivered today, expecting to work on it this week...and just take a look at what I came home to:

heeheeheeheeheeheehee! I'm so happy!
My brother even got my kids to help! I came home from work and happily finished spreading to the dulcet tones of Licensed to Ill (the music any self-respecting landscaping homeowner landscapes to.) I'm fairly certain there was something horrible growing in there, as all of us have some itchy spots. The burning bushes and the lilac need trimming, and there is still a pear stump in the ground at the end, but...it looks so nice!
Here, just in case you need to do any gangsta landscapin'...

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Happy birthday to me!

I love my birthday. I've told you all before, I'm sure. Every birthday is a chance to celebrate the fact that I survived another year. And this past year has been a great one - full of wonderful friends and family, a job that I continue to grow into, celebrations, great books and amazing conversations. So, yes, I love my birthday, and I spend the day before telling people it's going to be my birthday, to ensure happy birthday wishes. I know it's silly, but I occasionally like to have a fuss made over me. I love presents and people actually going out of their way to make me happy.

Today I worked with my favorite work people. I brought mounds of birthday treats and forced my coworkers to celebrate with me. I got fun cards, a birthday donut, and a birthday SHRUBBERY!

This evening, my people and I went to City BBQ for some delightful brisket. I love brisket! I do not love skinny boys and their guitars and trucker caps playing country music. Loudly. At the City BBQ. City BBQ is not a place for live music. Specifically loud, poorly performed country music. He played Devil Went Down to Georgia. How can you even play that without a fiddle and keep your self-respect, for crying out loud?

Something interesting - my brother and I spent many hours on the front beds on Monday, and they are almost completely free of weeds. I planted another shrubbery(!) and a lavender plant. I just need to break up all the massive clay clumps, and smooth out the beds, and spread mulch...and that is making me tired just typing that. If you are feeling the need to destroy big clumps of clay, please come on over. You can use my tools. You can even use my gloves. Apparently, there was something growing in those beds that caused some sort of contact dermatitis, as I have itchy spots on my arms. It's awesomely sexy.

On a serious note - do you have any songs that you love so much they make your heart hurt? There are several for me - but this one, always:

Someday I would really love to learn to play this on the guitar. You know, once I learn to play the guitar.

Other than my birthday(!), this week has not been awesome, as I cannot seem to sleep, and that's just not fun. I do not boot camp on 4 hours of sleep. So I haven't been boot camping, either. Don't judge me, guys, I will be back, I just need to get some sleep. In fact, I'm going to finish this tea and then I'm going to bed.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Some Favorites on a Friday

Forgive me, my loves. It has been a whole month again. I have such valid excuses, really! Softball, a wedding, work has been insane, and I'm taking a management course for work. I love school, and have a true "teacher's pet" streak going, so I am loving this course, even if the material is rather dry. I have skipped more boot camps than I've attended, and my eating has gotten crazy again. Which has led me to more soul-searching, because nobody is better equipped to analyze my crazy than my own crazy brain, right? I'll address this briefly a little later, as it pertains to one of my favorites, and further over the next month.

It's been awhile since I wrote a good list. Let's go over some of my favorite things from the last few months:

1. Emily McDowell The most excellent cards and gifts. I've posted pictures of my favorite work mug on Instagram, but I've also bought the best cards here. They just say such fantastic things. If you follow her on Instagram, you often get lovely discounts. Who doesn't love discounts?

2. J.P. Sears and his hilarious YouTube videos, Ultra Spiritual Life. As a person who actually loves to look at yoga Instagram pictures, this video is my favorite:
He also does serious, life-coaching-like videos, but who wants serious?

3.  Instagram. Yeah, I'm late to the party. I don't care, I really love it. At times inspiring, amusing, and friendly, I feel comfortable there. Unlike Twitter. Dumb Twitter. I got an account to follow my sweet pumpkin, Jenny Lawson, but it's like a crowded room in there, and I have trouble keeping my head above the fray. So I stay out. Stick to the Instagram.

4.  Essencha Tea House, and their Valerian Dream tea. It is the only way I get to sleep early enough on Sunday nights to get to 5AM boot camp on Monday mornings. It smells like butt, but it tastes fine, and helps me calm my brain. No easy feat, that.

5.  New blog I'm following: fANNEtastic Food. She is a registered dietitian specializing in whole foods and intuitive eating, and she has some excellent recipes. She and two other RD bloggers I follow, Avocado a Day and Delish Knowledge are running a course on Intuitive Eating, and I have signed up for the course - happy early birthday to me! I have been intrigued by the concept of intuitive eating for some time, mainly because I have problems with binging, and I lost touch with my hunger cues years and years ago. The Whole30 was definitely effective for me in February, but it was so restrictive, and as soon as the 30 days were up, I binged like I would never see ice cream again. Maybe taking away choices isn't the answer, but understanding my body better is (there was also the whole "beans and whole grains are unhealthy" bit that really irritated the logical side of me.) The course is called Joyful Eating, Nourished Life, and I am excited to get started, for three reasons: I am interested in intuitive eating and learning about it and my own body, I'm a big nerd and I enjoy taking classes, and I am more and more convinced that health and wellness is the field I should go into (yeah, I'm 40, obese, and thinking I want to go into the health and wellness field, so what of it? Others have faced bigger challenges...), and this is a step in the right direction. I will keep you all up to date.

So there are some favorites for right now. I am playing in a charity kickball tournament tomorrow, and I am way more excited than I should be. I'm already on the team, guys, so I won't be picked last. And I always liked kickball. And, you know, it's for a good cause.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

R2, D3 Reboot

Fell off that cheerful Whole 30 wagon last week. And I'll tell you why - I was off Monday and Tuesday and thought, "pfft, I don't need to spend all day Sunday prepping when I'm not having to go to work." And then, I didn't prep on Monday or Tuesday, either, and then I just ate all the unhealthy foods.

So I spent Sunday prepping lots of food, and hanging with my brother, and doing a very little bit of yard work. It was busy, and messy, and I took some pictures of my mess. Wanna see?
Food prep =so much chopping + piles of dishes

But it also = a fridge full of meals
Remember last year I told you all about my dirty little (right in the front yard), prairie-like, weed-filled secret?
Yeah, still there.

3 feet of progress. I would like to figure out some lovely, native, easy to care for plants to plant, and also lay mulch. But, so many weeds. 

I've been in a rather irritable mood this week. Heavy work load, not enough sleep, no sugar. I've kept my temper for the most part, but yesterday I worked a late day, then left for my daughter's softball game and the traffic was beyond terrible. Accidents in several different spots, people driving like idiots, sirens everywhere. I figured there was no way I was going to make the game, so I got on the expressway going home. Then my husband told me the game was an hour later, so at the last minute, I got off to go the other direction. Got to the school, the softball field was, like, a mile away from the parking lot, since, you know, it is a girl's sport, and we always get the short end. Ok, so extra steps on my Fitbit, which is a good thing, since I left it at home today (forehead - palm). I get up to the field, and they only have bleachers on the home side. By this point, I had that angry, breathless feeling in my chest, and I said a few stupid, jerky things, although not very loudly, as I just don't tend to express the anger very loudly. I sat on the concrete against a wall and sulked, until a precious Great Dane puppy came by, and licked my hand, and, well, you just can't stay angry when you pet a puppy, can you? Even when you have horrible asthmatic reactions to puppies, you have to giggle and love on a puppy.
The game went very late, and they ended up losing by one in overtime - varsity and JV. I was whining in my head about being tired, but I realized it was almost 10:00PM and my daughter still had homework to do, so I just sucked it up and stayed up with her while she finished it (not her fault - they had to be out there by 4PM, and it's almost an hour away. They get a lot of homework in 7th grade! Today I had terrible cravings, but I was exhausted, and there are monthly reasons, so I figured out the cravings, and the really irritable mood. Which was only exacerbated by my having to take poor Finny to the vet today since his sugar hasn't gone down enough, and having to wait for 35 minutes. I realize that is not particularly terrible, but for them it is, and I had just come from work, so I wasn't happy. Neither was Finny, for that matter, who is not particularly chill when it comes to having blood drawn. Or riding in the car. Or other cats, especially the office cat, Punkin, who brings out the loud, screamy side of Finnegan.

You may have noticed I'm a bit scatty tonight, and I am kind of just typing whatever comes to mind. Now, the idea of drinking tea and eating one of my brownie ball things and then going to bed is coming to mind, so I think I shall do that.

Monday, April 11, 2016

1 week in, random thoughts

Went 7 days on Whole30, and cheated today. I am not giving it up - I'll be back on tomorrow. I didn't binge; just ate very noncompliant foods. I promise, I am not being all, "I slipped up, never mind, I'm done." I actually made a pretty conscious decision to cheat today.

My girl has a minor dental procedure tomorrow, and I decided to treat us both today. We ate deliciously, we shopped a bit, bought some spa-like stuff (masks and nail polish,) and we got pretty pedicures. Now she's watching Daredevil, which leads me to my next thought...

Foggy Nelson's passive-aggressive whining makes me crazy. Matt Murdock's overdramatic martyr attitude makes me crazy. Don't get me wrong, I will watch season 3 of Daredevil (can anyone beat Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk? I think not.) But give me some Luke Cage any day.
Aw yeah.

And speaking of hot guys, I went to work out with my friend M the other day. It was a good workout - I was able to workout with his trainer, and while he wasn't the best trainer I've ever worked with, I broke a sweat, and I tried out a rowing machine, which I've never used. We worked the chest primarily, and today I kind of feel like I was punched in the chest. Over and over. It's a bit painful. To get to the point, the trainer was decent looking, which is always a nice thing, but even better - ok, I will never leave my beloved boot camp. I get a better workout there than anywhere, the support and friendships are wonderful, I love it there. The aesthetic offering of the gym though...they make a girl think. Sorry, guys, I try to be sensitive to your needs for privacy, and I will never interrupt your workout, I promise, but a little objectifying may have been done at the gym that day.

Going to see "Book Of Mormon" last week seems to have rekindled my appetite for theater. I worked late, doing accounting at a high school Relay For Life bank night Friday night, and some of the students were playing the original cast recording from "Hamilton," oh, my, I cannot wait until that gets to Cincinnati. Obviously, I am late to the game with this one, as usual, what with their performances at the Tonys and the White House and all, but it's so good.

I wonder if I would make a good crime boss. I think I would like to try that. Other than the heroin dealing, and the blinding of her "employees," Madame Gao is pretty badass (Daredevil has been on a lot in this house lately. Looking forward to Game of Thrones, though.)

I just finished Rebecca yesterday - it was a good one.

Ok, starting to get a bit scatty. I will not subject you to my brain as it gets ditzier than this.

Good night.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

R2D4 - did you know Jay has a freaking baby?

My husband is watching Comic Book Men (reality show follows the employees at Kevin Smith's comic book store in New Jersey, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash,) and Jason Mewes brings his baby into the store. I'm a little horrified - someone let him carry a baby? Huh.

So, I'm 4 days into my second Whole30. Mild headache the second day, and I've been a bit tired, but apparently 1 month of debauchery was not enough to re-toxify my body, as I'm not feeling nearly as gross as my first round. It's been interesting - I've been doing this with a group online, and several of the other participants are on their first round. And they are complaining (they must not have a sweet supportive group of lovelies such as yourself to whom they rant,) so much. And one, the other day, was going on about how she hated the food she was eating and she doesn't even want to eat, etc. Every time someone suggested something to help, she would shoot it down, and be all, "no, that won't work, I just don't like that." And my judgmental self wanted to respond, "look, you can find all the excuses in the world to quit, or you can suck it up and find something that works."

Yikes. Who is that woman who wanted to judge. Luckily, she did not have control over my fingers, and I kept my comments to myself. Heaven forbid, someone starts getting on me when I miss a boot camp, or drink a pop when I say I quit. Not that I've had any pop this week - as I've said before, I'm an abstainer.

I haven't bothered blogging these first few days - I thought I'd be feeling crappy and boring. And do you really want to know everything I eat every day? Probably not. I figured I'd just share the highlights - I made "the easiest pork roast ever" - a pork roast (I use loin, due to my hatred of fat on my meat), 1/3 cup coconut aminos, and a bunch of the seasoning blend of my choice (I used Onion Onion by Tastefully Simple.) Cook it all day in the slow cooker - tasty. My potato of choice - microwaved red potatoes with a little ghee and crunchy pink salt. The best compliant chili ever from www.greenlitebites.com. Today I got off early and went to Whole Foods for lunch - made a big-ass salad from greens, onions, roasted veggies, turkey, and balsamic vinaigrette. Since I'm not trying to eat stuff I hate, I've been enjoying this much more. I'm focusing more on controlling my snacking urges this time around. The last two days have been great, but I haven't worked out. We'll see how much hungrier I am when I am working out.

Also, today, I went by a friend's house to snuggle her 3 month old. I have visited this child 3 times, and every time, she sleeps the whole visit. I cannot get her to wake up. I am going to have to work on my material. Baby snuggles two days this week - I am a lucky lucky girl.

K, night!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Is it April already?

Oh, my sweet potatoes, what a glorious weekend it has been...Friday night I attended our New Year Get Fit session's finale party (for my beloved boot camp.) It was catered by one of the members of the boot camp, and the food was best. party food. Ever!

Ok, funny story...I tend to speak what I write in my mind, and that whole paragraph I spoke in my head in a Scottish accent, as I am writing this as I listen to a recording of The Graham Norton Show (from several years ago) with Gerard Butler, Karen Gillan, and Martin Freeman. My Scottish accent is fantastic in my head.

Anyway, Yesterday I saw Book of Mormon with some friends - oh, such fun! I haven't seen a show in ages, and this one was so irreverent and funny - Loved it! It was probably even better as my 7th grade best friend was Mormon, and I worked with several Elders a few years ago. Wouldn't it be so underwhelming to find out your mission was going to be in...Covington, KY! Woohoo!

Anyway, it was such fun, and I really would love to see it again and take my friend A, who would  love it so very much. Afterwards, I went back to my friends' house and snuggled their precious pumpkin baby, and that was a lovely way to end a lovely afternoon. I closed out the evening watching the rest of the 2nd season of Daredevil with my daughter.

Today, my Dutchy-cat woke me up at 5AM, you know, because she felt 5 hours was plenty of sleep, and we had stuff to do. And I did - so very much food prep:
The jars contain my favorite breakfast soup (chicken, potatoes, spinach,), the plastic containers in the middle contain roasted broccoli, cauliflower, chicken, white and sweet potatoes, baggies of grapes, a jar of dump ranch, and my lunches for the next two days (roast beef, crudites, olives, and ranch.) I have dinners for the week planned. I am pretty well as prepared as I can be. I will be going to boot camp tomorrow. I have to get 480,000 steps by the end of May, which is pretty tough working my job, so.
Let's get this party started.

I am a bit scattered tonight, so I believe I shall be going to bed now. Sleep well, my pumpkins.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I wish one of my book clubs would pick this book...

Have you gotten around to reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin yet? She wrote The Happiness Project, which I truly enjoyed, and Happier at Home, which I enjoyed slightly less. Better Than Before delves into the science and experience of habits, and I found this book to be exceedingly enlightening. I've been wanting to talk to you about this for the past month, and have just not gotten around to it...

Since I have chosen to really focus on health and wellness this year, I read this book at the perfect time. Rubin contends that habits save time and energy.
In other words, if waking up and going to boot camp, choosing veggies over popcorn, and water over soda are habits, they eliminate the time and energy that goes into those particular decisions...

She also says you have to understand your motivation, so that you may determine how you make and break your habits. There are four motivations, dependent upon how you might wish to meet expectations - she calls them the Four Tendencies: Upholder (meets outer and inner expectations,) Questioner (meets inner expectations, questions outer,) Rebel (eschews all expectations,) and Obliger (wants to meet outer expectations, doesn't care about inner expectations.) Guess which one I am.
fb_ObligerHeck yeah, I'm an obliger. One time I opened one of those Dove Promises (dark chocolate, duh,) and the wrapper read, "Keep the promises you make to yourself." I really liked that, and kept it as a quote on my computer at work, but my guess is I kept the saying because I knew it would never apply to me. Sadly, I do not keep the promises I make to myself. If I decide I'm going to boot camp in the morning, there's a 50/50 chance I will turn the alarm off and go back to sleep. But if I make plans to meet a friend there, let Mel know I'll be there, or even just put a Facebook message that I will be there, I will freaking show, because someone may be looking for me, and I don't want to let them down. I didn't keep up with the Whole 30 because I promised myself, I kept it up because I was talking to all of you about it. That really helped. And I'm starting another one on Monday, and you all will be coming along for the ride, because, holy crap, did I just fall off and eat all of the things. Back to all my old, stinky, sugary habits.

Which leads me to the next habit fact from Better Than Before that really resonated: people generally identify as moderators or abstainers, and if you are one, the other tactic generally will not work for you.

Let's explore this a bit, shall we? We've all heard the phrase "everything in moderation," right? You can keep something you enjoy, say, ice cream, in the house, have a small serving every few days, and be happy, and not gain weight...if you are a moderator. But then there are those of us for whom a small serving only whets our appetite for more, and the next thing we know, half the container is gone, and we feel like that ice cream may be showing its not-so-delicious self the way out the in-door. That is why, I think, the Whole 30, with all its strict "I could never stick to that" rules, worked for me. I couldn't eat any of the things I tend to binge on, so I didn't even try to moderate, which more than likely would have led to a binge. I abstained. And that worked. It's the same reason I will not get on the computer for 20 minutes, or watch just one show. I am not a moderator, I am an abstainer. Which makes it easy for me to go for months without alcohol, certainly, but very difficult for me to do anything in moderation.

I may have to read this again, so if you choose to read it, please let me know so we can discuss it. You can find out what your tendency is (my tendency is to want to spell tendency, tendancy...) by taking the quiz here. Although, my tendency was so obvious to me, I did not need any quiz.

So. Yup. Starting another Whole 30 on Monday. I may go a bit longer than 30, and then I will (and I promise to all of you) do a slow, steady reintroduction. I lost 18 lbs on that freaking plan, and I gained back more than half. That was a lot of work to undo, and no Pepsi is worth that. So I will be checking in everyday again - hope you all don't mind. My Obliger self needs you...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

May you be happy.

I had a rather extraordinary spiritual experience tonight, and I'd like to talk about it, if you don't mind.

I don't meditate much. I have this idea of myself as a spiritual person who meditates, but I really don't - at least not in the traditional, seated meditation. I have friends who say they don't meditate because they can't sit still, or they can't shut their brains off, etc. That's not my issue. It is, like anything else, a discipline, and not one I make time for regularly. As a woman who suffers anxiety and depression, regular meditation would be a useful tool in my kit of healing. When I fit it into my day, specifically my morning, I find myself so much more clear-headed, and calmer.

Regular meditation also fits my happy little hodge-podge spirituality I have developed for myself. Anyone who has read here long enough, or knows me well in real life, knows my spiritual story, mainly because I find spirituality a lovely part of life to discuss, when discussed with open-minded individuals, and some of my friends are kind enough to oblige my desire to discuss. I grew up in the Lutheran church, among some of the kindest and loveliest people I've ever known. The minister was open-minded and compassionate, and the people at church were family. I miss my confirmation friends to this day, and Facebook has been a blessing in that I've been able to catch up on their lives.

What I'm saying here is that nothing drove me from the church. As one with, shall we say, non-traditional beliefs, I meet so many people who have had horrible experiences with church and the people they meet there. That is not the case with me. I taught Sunday School and VBS, sang in the choir, volunteered on committees. And I realized, as I had children and put them in VBS and Sunday School, that I didn't actually believe what I was teaching. I went to church to be social, to belong, because my friends and family were there, because I liked being useful to someone. But when my children would ask me questions about God or heaven, or anything else to do with Christianity, away from church, I didn't want to tell them things I didn't believe. Shortly after I came to this realization, we found out we were moving out of state, and I didn't have to Leave the church in which I grew up. I just moved away, and began my own spiritual journey.

Interestingly enough, with all the aspects of my life which worry me incessantly, my spirituality never did. I have enjoyed this journey. I am fascinated by studying different world religions - the more ancient, the better. I've become close friends with people who practice Buddhism, Judaism, Paganism, Hinduism, and many who practice nothing at all. My own beliefs and practices are informed by a little big of all of it, along with a small dose of my own childhood Christianity, and overall informed by my knowledge that I really know nothing, and that I am okay with that. Such an odd peace to achieve, when I fret about so much else. I, who always worries what others might be saying about me; I, who has a seriously hearty case of paranoia when it comes to even my closest friends; I have had no trouble responding to people who accused me of being a bad mother because I was not raising my children in the church. "How will they know right from wrong, good from bad, if they don't know God?" they ask. My response: a person who does good only because they fear the wrath of God, does not truly know right from wrong. A good person does good for the sake of good. Because it is the right thing to do. That is my belief.

Anyway, if you've made it this far, I appreciate it. I'm not talking about this to start a debate, or for you to save my soul (please don't try to save my soul. I'm ok.) I brought this up because A. I'm feeling introspective, and B. I found myself compelled to light candles tonight.

A photo posted by Missy Schueman Koeppel (@missy_koeppel_) on

This was a ritual I started close to 10 years ago, when we first moved here, and most of my family was out of town. It was inspired by a good and wise friend, who, when someone would talk about something bad happening, would light a candle for them. I took that bit and added in a little of the candle meditation (a very simple and gentle meditation where you focus on the flame of the candle, imagining that you are breathing the light of the candle in and out of you. It strengthens concentration, and sometimes, meditating on a focus object like this can help quiet the mind more effectively.) I haven't done this in 6 years. Life, you know. But yesterday, a coworker spent the day at the hospital with her grandmother. Last night, a good friend had to take her grandmother to chemo. The cashier at lunch today told me she was carrying malachite in her pocket because her grandmother was going through radiation treatments. And each time someone told me something like this, I said, "I will keep you and your family in my thoughts." And today of all days, those weren't just words, and I thought about all these people, and so many others, all day, and when I got home, and I didn't want to go to dinner with my family (no reason, just not hungry,) I saw it as a chance to perform the candle-lighting ritual. So I did, and with each candle I lit, I spoke what I knew of the person who is ill, and the person who is caring for that person, and their family. And then I started saying the names of others who are having some stress in their lives right now - my friend and coworker who is having to control a monster of a workload, and hurt her foot this morning; a friend who had minor surgery last week; my mother, always; a friend from boot camp who got hurt recently and I haven't seen in way too long; another coworker who lost her grandmother recently; another boot camp friend who has the flu...and then those with happy changes made their way into my, now silent, meditation...the families I love who have new babies; the friend with the new job; the friend with new responsibilities at her job; my children, for every reason; divorces, illnesses, deaths, new babies, new jobs, new houses, new coffee mugs...and soon the whole thing coalesced into one recurring thought, "May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful, and at ease."

This is the Metta meditation - the Buddhist meditation of loving-kindness. It was extremely appropriate, but I didn't light my first candle this evening intending to practice the Metta meditation. It happened organically and spontaneously, and it was rather extraordinary.

I feel at peace and very connected to you all this evening.
May we be happy.
May we be well.
May we be safe.
May we be peaceful, and at ease.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

When you're down...and troubled...

It's been a full week since I blogged, which is crazy, since I posted at least every other day last month. I feel like I have so much to tell you all! What with the life-saving research, diplomatically maintaining international relations, and the star-studded premieres, it's amazing I have time at all for the usual job, sports, workouts, books, etc. It's a delicate balance, people.

Let's start with food - oh, I have fallen off the wagon and fallen hard. I have some serious thoughts about that, and it is a blog post all its own. Let's just say, I think I need to stick with a modified Whole 30, and we'll talk further about it tomorrow.

This past weekend was lovely. Our regional Odyssey of the Mind tournament was on Saturday. The Girl is no longer involved in OM, I volunteered to judge the regionals as a favor to a friend, and it was great fun. First of all, I was put in the position of timekeeper - who is also the announcer. These people who assigned jobs did not even know me, and yet, they put me in the perfect job. There are so few people who actually enjoy public speaking so much as I do, even when it simply consists of announcing the next group of 3rd graders to their own parents. This went on from 8AM until about 4PM. After that, I went home and hung out with my husband and did my taxes. Because a truly wild Saturday night includes taxes and a 9PM bedtime.

Sunday was even better - made a grocery list, handed it to my husband and washed my hands of it, as I did not have to do the shopping, huzzah! No, Sunday was for my "I finished the Whole 30!" pedicure with my friend, S, about whom I have been wanting to write for the past few days. Which I will do in a minute, as I want to finish out my lovely day - a visit to my mom, and then out to my friend J's, where we drank wine, ate tiny, delicious cheesecakes, laughed hysterically, and dumped sugar all over her stuff - I mean unpacked boxes. It was way too much fun to have been "helping."

Remember, about two years ago, instead of the whole "I am thankful for" November posts, I decided to pick an actual person to laud? I don't know that I ever described S, and perhaps that is because I am trying to hide her from all of you and keep her for myself. We met pretty soon after I moved to KY - we joined the same book club, and you know that is enough to make me love her. She is relatively quiet and reserved, which led me to think, "Oh, she won't like me..." But...she was one of the few in the book club who actually read, and wanted to discuss, the books. And we started chatting more, and then one day she invited me to lunch to discuss interesting spiritual matters, and I love a good spiritual discussion, which led to the birth of a rather short-lived spiritual discussion group...but not because we had nothing to discuss (people kept moving.) She has introduced me to some of my other favorite people, we still talk books all the time, and she is one of the few people with whom I always want to spend time.

S is smart - wicked smart, but she doesn't shove it down your throat, and she lets me babble incessantly, whether I know of which I speak or not, and does not try to make me out to be an idiot (sort of like you guys! Aww, thanks!) She also reads this blog, in addition to some awesome books. She is one of the people whose book suggestions almost always pan out (I am still slightly leery of the creepy smiley pastor, S, but I'll give him a try.) She has a very dry sense of humor, she is strong and independent, and she is an amazing mom. S is one of the reasons I am so thankful we moved to Kentucky, and I am one lucky ducky to call her friend.

Yesterday was International Women's Day, but every day is a great day to celebrate strong, beautiful women. Tell me about some of your favorite females.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Whole 30 Results and Day 1 Reintroduction

Oh! Hello!I'm Missy. You may remember me from such places as...this blog. Facebook. And the drunk chick at last year's Halloween party.

So, you're probably wondering how I did over the past 30 days. I should probably have something slightly more interesting that just weights, but that is what I have. This is rather insane, as I am about to post my actual weight on a public space, but let's face it - nobody who knows me is under any impression that I am a slender woman, so, why not be honest here.

Starting weight (January 2): 288.0 lbs.
Whole 30 start (January 30): 282.6 lbs.
Whole 30 end (March 1): 271.4

Today was day 1, reintroduction. I added black beans to my breakfast soup, and I had hummus and veggies at lunch. But then.

Ok, so, let me explain. Today was my first day after 30 days of restriction, and one of the girls in the office, not just any girl, but the resident baking girl, brought in homemade chocolate chip cookies on the first day I was allowed sugar after 30 days...I had 1. I know! I know I said I wouldn't the first day, but it was like...a sign?

So I did have one cookie. But let's reiterate that - I had 1. Cookie. And I sniffed it, and ate it slowly with a very lovely ginger peach green tea, and I enjoyed every bite. And I didn't go get another.

I'm going to count that as a win.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Days 29 and 30!!

That's right, my friends. It's Day 30! 30 Days, no added sugar, no dairy, no gluten, no grains of any kind, no soy, no alcohol. Let's gauge how I'm feeling:

Main reason I tried this - eczema. Nope, still there, still really itchy. Bummer. I guess that one is not food-related.
Phlegmy, coughing, grossness - nope, also still there. I had high hopes for this one; my dad dropped gluten, and his asthma went away. Of course, I did have bronchitis a month ago, so maybe this is just the lingering cough? But, it has lingered an awful long time. I don't have full-blown asthma, either, so I'm hopeful that once I lose enough weight, it will ease.
TigerBlood - I don't know. I definitely have more energy, but is that because of what I've eliminated, or just because I am eating a clean diet of whole foods, and smaller portions?
All of this is eclipsed by the fact that I have lost weight, and a decent amount for such a short time. I don't have exact numbers as of now, so I will weigh myself tomorrow so I can give you those numbers. I didn't do any measuring or pictures or anything, which is kind of silly, but I honestly did not think I would stick to this.
And that is the biggest "go me" thing - this is the first time in 18 years I've actually stuck to dietary changes like this for more than a few days at a time. I proved to myself that I do have discipline.

So, what now? My plans for tomorrow include a morning stop at Dunkin' Donuts, then lunch at 5 Guys with double cheeseburgers and fries, an afternoon snack of white cheddar popcorn, Pepsi, and cupcakes, a stop at Graeters for double-scoops, and then dinner of Mexican?

Noooooo. Too bad for me. Tomorrow, I plan to add beans to my diet. Crazy, right? I think I mentioned in the last blog, I am not confident that I have managed a strong enough change to my habits to be able to just add stuff back in will-nill. So I will be doing a slow reintroduction - tomorrow will be beans, and then I'll wait a few days, then I'll try gluten-free grains (hello, oatmeal my old friend!) I have to ease the sugar, as I do not want to go back to my old sugar-guzzling habits.

Oh, I am so looking forward to adding sugar and cream to my coffee again. Almond milk is ok, but I miss my coffee. Maybe I'll try that creamer my cousin mentioned...

And, I have an appointment for a pedicure on Sunday - huzzah!

Let's have a quick chat about politics. I'm pretty sure I don't know anyone who would ever vote for the Trump. Do you watch John Oliver? He makes me laugh, but he is also pretty good at presenting information we really need to hear (I'm still stewing over the fact that Matt Bevins won the freaking gubernatorial race in KY,) and I checked most of these facts,so if you feel like some learning through a good John Oliver - ish rant, and a few good giggles at the same time, check this out: Drumpf!


Oops, I almost forgot to share the food:

Day 29: chili-lime chicken burger, salad; berries, grapes, broccoli, chicken, potato with ghee and salt; almond crusted chicken, asparagus cooked with prosciuto.

Day 30: chicken, potato, spinach soup; roast with roasted potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, lemon LaraBar; fajita chicken and veggies.

Workouts: yesterday was a long walk with a friend, today was boot camp.

Which is why I am way sleepy. Tomorrow I will share numbers. 'Night!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Days 27 and 28

The Oscars are tomorrow night, and I rarely, if ever, watch the movies nominated for Oscars. Unless forced. Which happens occasionally. I just watched The Martian, though, because I read the book, which was brilliant. Seriously, if you haven't read it, go now. Read it. The character of Mark Watney is a much more likable character in the book, which is saying something, because I adore Matt Damon. But you can't quite get in his head in the movie, since there is so much else going on, and he is a guy with a great sense of humor (Mark Watney, not Matt Damon, although I like to believe Mr. Damon and I would get along just fine, in stitches constantly.) Anyway, I still enjoyed the movie well enough.

If we are friends on Facebook, you know yesterday was a very good day. I went to boot camp in the morning, and we played musical chairs and kickball, and had a blast. I had a lot of energy all day, and my sister and her husband and my mom came over in the evening for a visit, which is always fun. I also had a very good weigh in. I will share results later this week, but it was good. (And yes, I know I'm not supposed to weigh in. I started out the program doing that, but it was such a pain in the arse having the printout in my book and not looking at it. I'm not eating sugar - I'm restricting myself enough. What can I say, I'm a freaking rebel.)
Today I did some kickboxing, and some baby snuggling, and some friend visiting, and some reading, and some napping with Finnegan, which is my favorite thing to do. These were very happy Saturday activities. Tomorrow is for volleyball, and hopefully some food prep. And even more hopefully, some time outside. It's supposed to be beautiful.

Day 27: banana, chicken fried cauliflower rice with spinach (not so good, need to play with that); chicken, carrots, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, plantain chips, salsa; hamburger, salad, fruit, brownie balls.

Day 28: berries, grapes, lemon LaraBar; chicken, more grapes, plantain chips, salsa; steak, potatoes with ghee and salt; brownie balls. Not nearly enough veggies today.

I have chicken in the crockpot right now, and I plan to make soup tomorrow. I have plenty of salad, and I'll have chicken. I would like to reintroduce beans on Tuesday; that is my first reintroduction food. I can't believe Monday is my last day. I have to be strong and do the slow reintroduction, though, I am not confident that my habits are changed enough to go completely off-plan, and I would like to see what foods affect me how. My body is my experiment - what fun!
"In the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option, I'm gonna have to science the s**t out of this"

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Days 25 & 26

You guys. Oh my gosh. I made up a batch of shredded chicken the other day, and last night I ate some with some hot sauce and my dump ranch and a buttload of veggies, while the rest of the family ate it with regular buffalo sauce. I was putting away all the food, and I dropped a small piece of the buffalo chicken, and I picked it up and ate it. I didn't even think about it. Guys, there's butter in that sauce.

I am not starting my 30 days over because of a tiny piece of chicken with an even tinier bit of butter. If I'm going to cheat, it's going to be on something good, darn it. So, I'm just sharing here for full disclosure, and because my husband and brother gave me a very hard time about it. Butter has accidentally been ingested. Other than that, I have now been fully compliant for 26 days. And, yes. It has gotten a lot easier. I was a little bummed this morning, because I was running really late and ended up shoving a banana and lemon LaraBar in my face instead of my beloved soup, and I kind of missed my soup. Also, I don't have any made up. Which I really need to do. I am still missing beans, and peanut butter, oh and cheese. I made up some brownie balls last night with walnuts, dates, and cocoa powder, and they are tasty, and rich enough that 2 with my tea are plenty. Yes, I realize that is a snack, but it is a lovely little snack.


Day 1: Chicken, potato, spinach soup, grapes; chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions, grapes, lemon LaraBar; chicken, potatoes with ghee and salt, carrots, sugar snap peas.

Day 2: Banana, coffee with almond milk, lemon LaraBar; chicken, carrots, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, dump ranch, grapes; salad with chicken, balsamic vinaigrette, 2 brownie bites.

I am eating all of the chicken!

I've been a naughty, lazy girl this week. Feeling really sleepy and gross, and I only made it to boot camp on Monday, but I will be going tomorrow and Saturday. So don't judge me!

Okay, gotta go.