Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Priorities

Last summer I made it my mission to connect with a lot of people. Basically at the beginning of the summer I wrote a list of people that I wanted to see in person, and then I took the lead in making a "date" with each of them. I had envisioned that I would spend my entire summer stalking people, but surprisingly everyone I had on my list was far easier to schedule some time with than I had expected.

This summer, in contrast, I made it my mission to do stuff. I did stuff last summer as well, after all we had to do something on these "dates." But this summer I really focused on pushing myself to DO. I have gone to the amusement park twice. I did an aerial cable/hanging thing. I ziplined. I went to a concert. I went to a few parties/socials/outings that I would have preferred not to go on if left to my own devices. We took J to the kiddie amusement park. We geocached. I went on a four mile hike in the forest. I got a day pass to the fitness center. We had some nice playdates. We have volunteered as a family almost weekly. We took the in-laws out to a nice dinner. Sure, I could have done more. I could have scheduled something every day instead of two "big" events per week. At that kind of pace, I would have burned out quickly. The pace I chose was decent to experience some old things, new things, and have some downtime or just veg out reading a book.

The downside to the summer of DOing things is that I haven't been able to connect with as many people as I wanted to. I've seen some friends, and we did some of these activities together. But last year it seemed like I had much more in the way of interactions.

I suppose you can't achieve everything when you have a limited amount of time. You just have to identify your priorities and shovel time and resources into their directions.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Almost the end of the month

The in-laws in town, and I'm majorly stress eating. I was up 3 lbs for the month last Friday, and that was before the cheesecake the size of my kitchen island appeared. I have no willpower, so that's why I try to not bring the gooey food home.

On the upside, I've been exercising. However, as I've learned, the more I exercise the more I gain. When I actually have a low exercise month, I tend to lose weight.

August is going to be the Month of Discipline, and hopefully I can get back on track!

Friday, July 19, 2013


Every summer, particularly when we have torrential downpours and lightning storms here in Washington State, I think of my summers on the east coast. Every summer when I was 8 years old - 17 years old (I think I missed the year I was 15 years old  due to college classes), I went to Pittsburgh to visit my dad and grandparents. Every year there was always at least one horrible storm while I was there--sticky heat, lightning, thunder, incessant rain. I loved those storms.

During those years that my mom and I moved so very often, my grandparents' house was like a home. It was an anchor in my chaotic life. Every time I arrived I'd go through the house and notice the small, and sometimes large, changes that occurred since the previous summer. Mostly it was sigh-worthy DIY projects that my grandfather attempted. Occasionally the change was a new piece of furniture. I would always find my library card at its spot on the fireplace, and I'd blow off the year's worth of dust that had accumulated on it. My dad's family wasn't into reading. They were so not into reading that they didn't even read trashy magazines.

While my grandparents and father technically lived at the house, my grandparents kept grandparent hours (awake from what seemed like 5am - 8pm), my dad was rarely home (who knows what he was doing), so I was by myself a lot. My grandparents were in the house, but they were sleeping while I stayed up until 3 or 4am and slept in until noon.

I spent a lot of time alone those summers. I had a friend next door until her parents got divorced, and she moved away. There weren't many other kids in the neighborhood. My grandmother was quite ill. My grandfather was curmudgeonly. My father--who knows where he was. Like I said, it was usually just me. I'd ride my bike by myself around the neighborhood. I'd watch MTV. I read. I'd take walks.

My grandparents didn't even believe that kids should have chores, so I really had NOTHING that I had to do. And you know what? I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Most other kids would probably HATE being away from their friends, stuck with their grandparents, and pretty much nothing to do. I wasn't like that. I loved every minute. I savored just being. During those torrential downpours, I'd put my nose to the window screen and breathe in as much of that acrid smell as I could. On clear nights, I'd try to find Orion and the Big/Little Dipper. I'd go into scary walk-in closets and see what I could find. I'd snuggle in bed and read by flashlight. I'd think. I'd put my ear to the air vent on the second floor and listen to a conversation that was happening in the basement. I'd play Munchman (poor person's version of PacMan) on the TI-99.

Sometimes I wish I had that metaphorical anchor to go back to each summer. My uncle sold the house after my grandfather got senile (he outlived both my grandmother and father), and the new owners completely renovated it. It no longer looks like the same house on the outside or inside. Different owners, practically different house, it's true that I could never go back. But it's not the house I want. It's the feeling that I want. I want to feel that anchor.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The runner's nod and cargo shorts

Occasionally I run. I hate to run. Maybe it's not "hate" exactly, maybe it's more like "I really don't like it." I'm trying to like it more. It's not really working, but I am trying.

One of my many running problems is that I didn't have that iPod arm thingy that holds your music while you run. So...I've had to wear shorts with pockets when I run. This means wearing denim shorts because, as of last week, I've only had 2 pairs of shorts with pockets and they were both denim. And I don't really like one of the pairs, which meant I've basically had 1 pair of shorts with pockets and several days of 80+ degree weather in a row. Do you know how much of a fool you are to run in denim shorts? Suffice it to say, I only do it in the dark, and it's not dark here until 11pm or so...

I went to Target last week to buy 2 new pairs of shorts: 1 pair of denim shorts to replace the inferior pair I've had and a khaki pair of shorts. I found the denim pair without too much problem, but I was having a problem finding the khaki pair. I did find a few pairs, but they were REALLY short or not my size. I was bummed and went to the men's department and found this really cute pair of khaki cargo shorts. They are so AH-mazing! They are this incredibly soft--but sturdy--fabric. There are oodles of pockets, like if I have 8 cell phones, 2 cameras & 2 wallets, this pair of shorts will fit it all. They fit well too. I am in LOVE! Why has no one ever told me that men's khaki cargo shorts are the most AH-mazing piece of clothing ever???? AH-mazing.

Another thing I splurged on was that armband thingy.

Now I can run in my running shorts, and I look all official with my armband. Today I even got up super early, donned my running shorts and armband, and went outside to run. I looked like one of those runners I give the stink eye to on my way to work for their holier-than-thou commitment to running, except I'm the much fatter version. So I'm huffing and puffing doing my 2 miles (and cursing the whole time because I have PTSD memories of my 9th grade gym teacher calling me by my last name and telling me to "hustle"), and I see a REAL runner coming toward me with her springy ponytail, coordinated running clothes (in size 0, of course) and perma-tan --note that I was running in the Stepford Wives neighborhood because it's flat & homey doesn't do running uphill yet-- and she gave me that runner's nod.

Like I was one of them.

And suddenly I could hear the birds chirping through Tupac blasting in my ears, my PE teacher's "hustle" faded, and I ran. Not like Forrest Gump, but I huffed and puffed with a little less disdain and a little bit more perseverance.

I ran...kind of like the Flock of Seagulls but with less oomph in my bangs.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Let the zaniness begin

Two nights where I came home after midnight and in-laws arrived on Wednesday for 2-3 weeks.

I am tired.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ignorance is bliss and other vacation learnings

My week-long vacation has come to an end. Boo.

It wasn't that interesting of a vacation since I went...nowhere. Except if you count the SIX doctor's appointments I had.

2 acupuncture
2 chiropractor
eye doctor

Four of these appointments were on the same day. Do you know how exhausting four doctor's appointments in one day are? Not. A. Vacation.

Remember my flexible spending account woes? No? Quick refresher. I requested more than I could use to be put into the account, and as the school year comes to a close, I'm frantically trying to spend the money. I've been going to acupuncture because it's multiple times a week, and it uses up some of the money.

My logic for going to the chiropractor is the same as acupuncture. They want you to go multiple times per week, and they charge a copay each time.

My stated reason for going to the chiropractor (that I told them) was that I had a desk job and my back sometimes hurt. True if you define "sometimes" as a few times per year, and I've never taken so much as Tylenol for the pain. I felt like such an idiot for going, believe me. But the acupuncturist was going to put me on 1x per week instead of 2x per week, and that won't use up all the money.

First world problems. Please, I know.

So I went to the chiropractor. The medical assistant guy started out by giving me a tour of the place, like I'm moving in or something. (First warning sign) Then he asked me a litany of questions, mostly revolving around my back pain, which is pretty much non-existent but I inflated a tiny bit. Then the doctor came in and gave me a range of motion test. I sailed through that since 1) I exercise regularly and 2) I've never noticed anything wrong with my back. Then the doctor says I need X-rays to see what's going on with my back. (Second warning sign)

I just want them to sign me up for 2x per week back adjustments for a few weeks. But, no, they want X-rays. Then I realize this is a blessing in disguise because it will eat up a lot of my money, and perhaps I won't have to go for these 2x per week visits. I can just get the X-rays and call it a day on both acupuncture and the chiropractor.

After the X-rays, I get sent to a room, and the chiropractor comes in looking all dour. We start with back X-rays. Good news! I have no degeneration (which I didn't think I have because I am a sturdy girl). So-so news is that one of my vertebrae is tilting a little.  Then comes the neck X-rays.

I should be thankful to be alive. My neck curves the opposite way that it should. I have mangled it, and it will never be the way it should. How did I mangle it so, you ask? Stomach sleeping. Over 30 years of stomach sleeping will mess up your neck. He forbid me to ever sleep on my stomach again. And I need to go to a chiropractor until I die.

Mind you, I've never had any neck pain. I have neck tension, like we all do. But I had no clue I was such a freak of nature.

I got adjusted twice last week. It's basically having your neck and back cracked. I like the process, but I guess I'm kind of a masochist. It helps when the chiropractor who does the adjusting is the most gorgeous guy I've seen in months. However, my back hurt like the dickens afterward. Like something got twisted out of joint.

And now I feel guilt about how I sleep. I tried tried tried to sleep on my back for the past week. But I always wake up on my stomach, and I feel like I was sleeping most of the night on my stomach. I need an electric shock every time I move onto my stomach.

Soooo, in conclusion:

- I've finally used my flexible spending account money.
- Acupuncture doesn't help me at all.
- My neck is beyond messed up, which I had no idea about.
- Having a chiropractor adjust me hurts my back.
- I feel good ol' Catholic guilt about my sleeping position.
- Ignorance is bliss.

Monday, July 1, 2013

June by the Numbers

Time to report on June. Overall, an okay month. 

The good: I took a lot of time to read. I ate clean for 4 days. Not great, but I had several almost-clean days, which I didn't count in the 4. I started the Couch to 5k program, which I did back in 2009. Somehow I lost 1.6 pounds in June.  

The bad: It was hot this month. As I write this, it's 86 degrees in my bedroom. When it's hot, I don't like to exercise. I only averaged 27 minutes of exercise per day, which really isn't bad--especially considering that a lot of it was running. Work smarter, not harder, right? I fell short of my goal, though, which is to average 30 min per day. I would have liked more clean days too. 

I have lost 3 pounds since January 1st. Ugh. Most people can lose that in a week, and I lose that much in 26 weeks. Let's hope I find some sort of groove in the second half of the year.