Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 15th

A day late, I give you Stuff I Love...since Valentine's Day was this week and everything.

Full Moons. This one was the Wolf Moon, last week. I can't help but grin when I look up, or out the car window, and see that silvery orb...for me, it's a reminder of how small I am, how infinite this universe we live in truly is. [The sometimes unfortunate side effect of a full moon is that people are a bit, well, crazy each month. I've seen it; the weirdos are out in full force when the night sky is bright as day, wreaking havoc.]
My napkins. I'd like to say that I love these because they're eco-conscious, but that's just a happy side benefit. I love them because they're beautiful, and because using cloth napkins makes everyday meals feel like Events. I used to skip a lot of lunches at work, and strangely enough the one thing that helped in terms of slowing my days down for just a brief time was bringing a real napkin and utensils. Does that seem odd? Maybe it is. But it works, and I don't skip lunch anymore. Plus...some were made especially for me, and I love them best of all.
Baking bread. There is so much to love about's a different experience each week, and I look forward to it for so many reasons. How will the yeast behave today? Will the rise take forever, like it did this past Sunday? I am eager to get my hands into the mixture of flours and yeast and water, to bring the shaggy bits into a smooth, cohesive, beautiful ball of potential. Often, I find that I have to restrain myself where the kneading is concerned- I can get carried away with the soothing repetitive motions and overaerate the dough before I know it. And the smell......let's just all stay home and bake today, okay?
My weekly whiteboard. I bought this right after the new year, because I felt like our weekday life was disorganized and spinning out of control. New year, new organization. Right? Well...yes. My house is still a mess. You'll still find piles of books, magazines and drawings all over the coffee table. The kitchen table despite my best efforts is still a catch-all for god only knows what that needs to be cleared every time anyone other than the three of us has dinner here. Charlotte still hangs on to every shred of paper that comes home from school with a tenacity that can only be inherited (thanks, Dad!). But! We know who is going where, and when...when Kaity will be here with Charlotte after school...what's coming the next weekend...I still feel like the Monday through Friday moves too fast, but at least I know which direction the Tilt-a-Whirl is headed.

More tomorrow, hopefully....I've had this post, and a few others, puttering around in my head for a while.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The battle of the bulge, redux (don't call it a comeback)

I'm back, and am prepared for full less than two months I will be 37 years old. I am 5 feet, 4 inches tall, and weigh 180 pounds. And I am 35 (40?) pounds overweight. I've had so many epiphanies about my health in the past two years that they can hardly be called epiphanies. I've had false starts with exercise, eliminated carbs, stopped drinking, and so on and so on. There are reasons and reasons for this, but I'm focused on looking forward at this point.

I really feel as though I am poised on the brink of something. There are changes for the better lurking around the corner, hiding shyly in the shadows, and I just need to be brave enough to meet them, to introduce myself. I want to record it all- every trip to the gym I don't want to make, the sore knees, the soul-searching, the job hunting, the ways in which I push back against the hamster wheel to carve out what *I* want out of this life of mine.

To begin....I started out on a good stretch of exercise, for me. Last Wednesday and Thursday, I did 1/2 hour of cardio (elliptical on Wed., treadmill on Thurs.) right after work. I slept well, drank lots of water, and avoided the scale. (Let's not torture ourselves any more than we're due, right? Right.) Took a day off on Friday, and figured I'd take a couple of classes over the weekend.

Was the beginner level step class fun? Absolutely. And honestly, rather than feeling defeated by the fact that women 20 years older than me were rocking it while I struggled, I let that buoy me up: they can do it! they try! I can try too! Afterwards, I got a high five from one of them and felt amazing, although sore. I accomplished something....then I went for a swim and lounged by the pool for a bit.

Then there was Sunday. Two thoughts about the Bosu class:
  1. I am carrying around wayyyyy too much weight. I wish I could temporarily remove it while I work out, then put it back on like the lead apron it is.
  2. Bosu might not be the best idea for people who have problems with their knees.
Ouch. By Monday, I was hobbling. I persevered- cardio Monday before picking Charlotte up at afterschool, and I actually felt better- but by Tuesday I was just worn out.

Nothing went according to plan Tuesday. I got to the gym after work, and in the cardio room I managed to pick a wonky treadmill. Although I tried to focus on the running/walking and the music, I kept getting distracted by the TVs, and paying more attention to the utterly ridiculous Michelle Bachman than my workout. And I kept getting static electricity zaps. AND one of the gym employees was washing equipment down with a bucket of what smelled like Murphy's Oil Soap right next to me.

By the time I got home, I was in tears, and couldn't really explain why. I had a bowl of cereal and some water and went sadly to bed.

I did some thinking before heading to work Wednesday, and remembered reading Anne Lamott's description in one of her books (Plan B? Grace (Eventually)?) of how she began to evolve her perceptions and opinion of her own body...she writes about treating her thighs, a least favorite area, as revered old "aunties" instead of cursing them for what they are not. I thought about that a lot, about having reverence for my own physical self, and working to make that self stronger out of that reverence and not some weird self-loathing. I talked to a friend midday who reminded me of how hard I work, and that there is time, time, always time. Time to work on it, time to take for myself. Time, the one thing I never feel I have enough of. She's a wise woman, my friend, and I am lucky to have her.

I need to be as patient with myself as I am with everyone and everything else.

I've taken some time off from the gym at the end of this week. Instead, I went to a Daisy parent meeting with Charlotte, did some shopping, and spent some time catching up with friends at a party last night. I scrapped the plan to hit step class in favor of sleep and vegging out this morning, and for once I don't feel guilty. There is tomorrow.

Soon: my adventures in personal training, gluten-free baking, and trying not to hate on pictures of myself.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bird bones

Despite Sunday, I got back on the treadmill yesterday. It's never going to get easier if I don't keep trying, right? And it was definitely much better than the last time, although I still needed to elevate and ice my shins, ankles and right knee afterward. I have some persisting soreness/achiness, similar to Sunday.

I was talking to Beth about the "bad run", and it occurred to me: I have these teeny little bird bones. There are children with bigger wrists than mine! So the bird bones are supporting all this extra weight, poor things. No wonder they hurt. I will help them by eating more cheese. Wait, no....

Today is a day off, which is a relief. I'm starting to think that the amount of ibuprofen that I consume cannot be a good thing, so I'm going to try to muddle through without it today. Tomorrow I'm going to brace my knee and see if that helps- maybe my gait is off because I'm protecting the knee.

In other news, I'm currently procrastinating. I have an immense list of Stuff To Do today, both on the homefront and at work. I should be getting dressed. Guess where I am instead? Here's a hint: it begins with a C and ends with an H, and there's coffee. Those beautiful days last week really got me excited for spring....and now there is cold and wet snow and that chilly damp that gets into your bird bones.

I did laugh, watching it snow sideways out my office window the other day. Flipping New England.

Friday: lunch and downtown with the girl....and playing outside

Yesterday, waiting for the bus

Sunday, March 20, 2011 which I face off against the extra 25 and my rut in the couch

I've started that couch-to-5K program. Well, I've started it twice. My first attempt was fine until I sidelined myself for a week with some weird leg swelling thing. After babying my ankle for a couple of days and realizing that I didn't feel better, and after talking to some runners, I figured I was dealing with shin splints.

Okay, so this was discouraging on a couple of levels. First, I had to take some time off. Had to. I had swelling in my calf the likes of which I haven't seen since I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with Charlotte (not 9 months; I was much more swollen than that then). AND it hurt to walk.

Here's the other thing: has it really been so long since I've run regularly that I don't recognize shin splints? Damn.

A week (maybe more like 10 days?) off. Friday on the treadmill was painful, but just because I was sort out of practice...the first week of this plan is intervals of 60 seconds jogging and 90 seconds walking. Now, I hate the treadmill. I had convinced myself that the treadmill was to blame for the leg, that if I could just get off the revolving belt of DOOM, it would be easier.

I woke up this morning at my usual spoiled-girl-weekend hour of 8:00. The sky is that brilliant blue that you only get when the sun is shining, and it's the first day of spring! Why not get outside?

Because pavement is evil, that's why.

I decided to do the loop, which is about 2 miles. I figured that once I got through my 20 minutes of intervals I could walk the rest of the way home. It would be great! I would see birds, feel the sunshine on my face and breathe fresh air....

About 10 minutes in, the pain in my legs was just awful. My right knee, the one I sprained in high school track, ached with every step. I pushed further, egging myself on...childbirth hurts worse than this...nothing worth doing is can totally do this...listening to one of my high-energy iPod playlists.

Finally, cursing Ian Astbury for mocking me and cursing me for putting Fire Woman on the iPod in the first place, I figured I shouldn't hurt myself again. I could just walk! yeah. I'd be home in no time. What's a mile, really?

By the time I made it back here (wishing that there was a way I could crawl on my hands and knees), there were five things I needed. I couldn't decide which to go after first:
  • the bathroom
  • ice
  • water
  • advil
  • stretching
I got all the things on my list, plus a banana, and felt a bit better. I made breakfast, and as I ate my homemade toast, I thought about the things I do that are challenging, and that I haven't always been able to do. Things like baking bread, and knitting, and writing.

I might not be ready for the road yet, but I'll be back on the hamster wheel the day after tomorrow. And maybe I'll be ready to run a 5K by May 7th, and maybe I won't. But trying is far better than hiding under my blanket on the couch and wishing I felt better.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Two bridges, two days

Yesterday I was driving to work and thinking about the state of things and my situation there. I was on the Little Bay Bridge, and glanced out the window toward where men and equipment are dismantling the old bridge. There are the old supports, rusty and oxidized, the beaten and broken-down pavement, and then......nothing. Open space. A drop to the river below. It struck me that that is exactly where I'm headed at work, that there's really no way to the other side from here.

I have no interest in building an Acme Ramp Kit and trying to sail across the gap like some harried old Wile E. Coyote. I have no confidence that it would be worth it. It's absolutely time to move on.

On my good days, I'm angry and motivated. On my bad days I only want to curl up in a ball and drink wine because I am terrified- TERRIFIED- of finally making some decisions.

No one ever said that what we want and what we need are easy things to attain.

But today....having crossed the big bridge, Charlotte and I made our way home on Route 4. Driving over the Scammell, the sky fiery orange and deep blue, the crescent moon smiling at us, Charlotte singing "Happy Christmas" along with John Lennon...things were just right.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More 5 Random Things!

  • I was in the car at 10:10 am, and at 10:10 pm.
  • My counterparts at the other sites and I have been summoned to the college president's office tomorrow. I've been imagining walking through the halls on our way there while the Imperial March plays.
  • New fuzzy pajama pants, a blueberry muffin from the Gingerbread Construction Company and chamomile tea have made me very happy in the last hour.
  • Weezer is in Boston in two weeks. That would have been fun...
  • It's very late again. Silly mind, go to sleep!

Monday, November 29, 2010

November, I thought we were friends

Pete: I brought you a bottle of wine.....

Me (holding an open beer): Oh, good, thank you. (*thinks*: oh good, I will drink that too.)

Turns out that "what tomorrow will bring" can only be described as a flaming bag of no-THANK-you. Boss gives notice + heightened fight or flight + situation where I should have kept my fool mouth shut = ughhhhh. No permanent damage done, but I see the writing on the wall. It just appears to be giving me the finger, that's all.

This has been quite a month. Lots of great moments, but kind of a cosmic kick in the head in some respects. I say that because as I've navigated the stressful stuff and upheld the balancing act, I've had the overwhelming feeling that I'm being shaken. "Hey! Psst! Hey YOU! You're on the wrong path, kid..." This might sound like I think the universe is punishing me for roads not taken, and I really really don't mean that. It's just that I feel nudged to look around me, to look within.

Anyway. Here are some things that lifted my spirits a bit today:

Joy the Baker
. I love the beautiful kale and sweet potato soup pics, and the teeny kitten! There are also some beautiful aprons under her November giveaway, at least today there are. (PamWares on etsy).

The Bloggess
. She writes. She's funny. When I go where the bad people go, and am sitting front row center with certain of my friends, I bet she'll be up on stage. Ha.

This post
on Food Network Humor. I could absolutely be a Shredded Cheese Authority. I'm going to look for that job, as soon as I dust off my sadly outdated resume.

And this little person, who was so sweet to Bad Day Mama, didn't mind grilled cheese for dinner, and gave cuddles on the couch and during story time.