Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Focus

I totally skipped over 2016, there was not a single blog post. I realize in looking back that in a lot of ways 2016 was a whirlwind, but in terms of blogging, I derailed again on food and exercise and that left me feeling like didn't have anything to talk about here.

So I'm beginning again, but this time with new focus. I've spent a lot of the last year working on self-care, dumping old bad habits (hey, codependency), and trying to modify my behaviors and actions in relation to how I function in the world. Reduce my anxiety. It's getting better.

Last night I had friends over for NYE, a couple, T and P, and we were talking about new year's resolutions and T has always had the practice of giving her year a theme instead of making a single resolution and I just love that. I did it last year and my theme was art every day, which I was largely successful at, only a few missed days here and there and I can see how it elevated my skill. In the process, I fell in love with watercolor and have spent countless hours on that.

This year's theme is going to be about making space. I have been slowly purging my physical space (home) and holy crap, have purged a ton and still have so much more. I don't think a truly minimalist lifestyle is for me, but I do want to have fewer things to care for so I can increase the time I have in my schedule for things I love. That's what making space is going to be about for me. Whether it's relationships that are no longer relevant or working, things taking up too much space and time, or whatever it is I need to let go or move out of the way to make space, that's where my focus will be. I want more time for art, family, friends, and pet projects.

This year I also plan to make space for job hunting. I've been in the same job for 8+ years and I'm ready for a new challenge. I plan to stay at the same place, just look outside my division for a better fit. Job hunting feels like this monumental task right now, but I know it will be a worthwhile endeavor and hopefully will make way for new challenges and a more fulfilling role. I've been beating my head against the wall in my current division trying to redefine my role and adjust perceptions to something that more accurately reflects my skills, but the reality is that I've been pigeon-holed and the culture of our department is not to promote from within. Time to quit hitting my head with a hammer, embrace the fear of a new place, and give it a whirl. I won't know if I don't try.

So going forward this space will be a journal of sorts, a place to record the teeny victories along the way toward making space and whatever else is going on.

This morning I hung three pictures and removed several nails in the wall that had nothing hanging on them -- the result of rearranging furniture. It took five minutes and this teeny little task has been on my to-list for months. What is it about humans that we tend to avoid or procrastinate about the silliest things, or is it just me?


Monday, July 14, 2014


Somehow six months went by without me writing a darn thing. I blame Netflix and HuluPlus. I have become a full-blown addict. I have watched every episode of Six Feet Under, Parks & Rec, Scandal, The Mindy Project, New Girl, and about 1.5 seasons of The L Word. Enough is enough. Time for a TV fast. Today is day 2 of 7. I might go longer. I only missed it for a few minutes last night and then I was over it. I'm pretty sure my sleep will improve because I'm certain that falling asleep watching TV cannot be good if one hopes to get quality sleep, plus I easily convince myself to stay awake a few minutes longer so I can finish an episode. It's a slippery slope! I used to not spend so much time watching TV. I'm not sure what happened. Since I didn't spend my down time glued in front of the TV yesterday I got a ton of stuff done. In fact, I was so tired I went to bed at 10. That's pretty unheard of for me. Usually I'm pushing it to midnight or so to watch whatever I'm currently hooked on.

Over the past few months I've been working on eating habits and increasing my exercise. I've been cooking more, eating more veg, and have developed an insatiable appetite for spicy and sour food.  I recently made picked red onion and it was THE BOMB.
Lentil salad, turkey burger with Swiss, and pickled red onion.
I've been also been faithfully logging on MyFitnessPal for 90+ days and it's definitely helping my awareness. I don't have a very good sense of what I'm eating unless I track but I think that's getting better, too. Initially I was always hungry and trying to figure out how to squeeze out a few extra calories. Now, many days I leave calories on the table. I go over now and again too, but usually nothing major. I think the overall picture looks good. I'm also working on being OK with imperfections in this area. In the past I would chastise myself for not achieving 100% success and soon I would find myself discouraged and give up. Now I try to think something more along the lines of "pretty good day" or "meh, not your best day, there's always tomorrow." I am trying to give myself the same freedom to be a human as I would my friends. I would never scold a friend for a night's indulgence or one too many trips for froyo. I would tell them to dust off and try again. So far I've lost about 20 pounds. Same goes for the scale. I had a couple weigh-ins where I had gained a few. Instead of freaking out about what a loser I am I told myself, "oh well, try to be a bit more conscientious next week and see what happens. The most important thing is being healthy, not what the scale says." Inevitably, the couple pounds disappeared without me being a total bitch to myself. Usually the only thing I needed to adjust was increasing my water intake. I tend to be bloaty by nature and not drink enough water. Easy enough fix.

On the exercise front I've been trying new things. Historically I have generally not been a fan of any sort of exercise other than maybe yoga. I just wrapped up an water exercise class that I really enjoyed. I've tried Zumba a few times with the BFF. Tomorrow I'm trying a yoga class at a studio I've not visited before. I'm trying to stay open and see what happens. My friend Kelly even promised to teach me to throw and catch so I can try out softball next year (a friend asked me to play this year). It's unlikely I'll become a hardcore athlete but it feels good to move my body and get around a bit easier. I've noticed that stairs are much easier than they were a few months ago. After knee surgery last summer my knee got very weak and it was really hindering my comfort in doing a lot of activities. Slowly things have started to improve. I've been walking a lot and taking the stairs when it's practical and sometimes just for a few extra steps. Oh! I got a Fit Bit. I <3 it. It's made such a huge difference in being able to gauge my activity for the day. I have a 6k daily goal and being able to see progress throughout the day really helps me plan my day. Since I work on a college campus it's pretty easy to find an excuse to walk somewhere most days. Lately it's been pretty damn hot for lunch time walking but I can still sneak in a few extra steps in the tunnels and by weaving in and out of buildings. Next up, I'm going to dust off my bike and take it for a spin.

What have you been up to this summer?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Oh, Hai

Hi there friend, it's been a while. So much has happened...

The Good:

I got a Kick Ass Award! I am now the proud owner of a very tall trophy of a dude kicking a donkey's ass an was honored to be counted among a lot of really fucking awesome people in St. Louis. I'll be honest, I missed most of my introduction because I was so busy jumping up and down like a Price is Right contestant. Something about others. Who cares! I haven't gotten a trophy since 3rd grade and everyone on the bowling team got one.

There have been foster kitties. 

Tallulah and Blueberry got adopted on xmas eve!
Then this little lady made her way into our Chryssi, the sweetest little bug-eyed kitty you ever did see! At a mere 10 ounces, Chryssi had been living in a hobo's coat in the freezing cold surviving on peanut butter sandwiches and beer. She's got funny eyes, but she's healthy and super snuggly! #beersaaveslives

1 lb. 4 ounces of fluffball love!

Also, Chryssi made it in the Riverfront Times. She's totally famous.

The not-so-good:

I lost two very dear friends this winter. First Judy, then Diane. Both were older and both had long lists of medical problems. Many, many tears were shed.

First, Judy. We have been friends for 17 years. We worked together for about eight of them. She was one of the smartest people I've ever known. I really do think she knew just about everything. Most of all she loved her family, beagle puppies, and the NYT crossword puzzle. She loved me and I loved her. We adopted each other long ago. Bon Voyage, Mama Judy. I miss you every day.

Mama Judy being adorable like always.

Sweet Diane. Truly a gem in so many ways. She was one of the kindest and loveliest people I've ever known. We worked together for several years before she retired and she was loved by staff and students alike. Her legacy is encouragement. Even when her illnesses were seemingly getting the best of her, she always looked forward, encouraged others, and expressed gratitude. Her light still shines bright. 

Diane helped celebrate my Grump Cat themed 40th birthday!

My sweet Mr. Wobbles got ill and I had to make the decision to let him go. He was a good buddy for over a decade and my own personal teddy cat. I miss him constantly.

Wobbz had the best fur, so soft and velvety!

All in all it's been a crazy few months. This last week or so has been consumed with homeless winter outreach. It's a regular winter gig for me, but we had some really severe winter weather and it's been more challenging than usual. It continues to be rewarding, but also very cold and super exhausting. To add some fun to the mix a pipe burst and my heat went out in the same 24 hours resulting a big soggy mess in the basement and no water for 48 hours. Mercifully, the heat was fixed the same day. Oh, the drama.

So some shit has happened, people. Grief and challenges aside, things are still relatively "good." I have an awesome kid, lovely friends, a warm bed to sleep in (with a fancy new electric blanket, thanks Santa!), a roof over my head, a job I mostly like, and lots of sweet furry animals to snuggle. Really, things are pretty ok. My therapist lady says I should journal so I'm going to bring this blog back from the dead and make a more regular appearance. The focus is changing though. I'm just going to see where the mood takes me and not worry about focusing on any particular topic. That's just where I'm at today -- a little all over the place.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Teeny Trainer Kicks My Arse

Yesterday was a definite teeny victory, perhaps even a biggish one. I had my first post-surgery workout last week and my first trainer meeting yesterday with Gretchen. Gretchen is the cutest darn pocket-size ball of fitness fire and boy did she ever kick my ass. I'm embarrassingly out of shape after a summer of Percocet and laying on the couch recovering. Gretchen is having none of that. For the next two weeks (until we meet again) I have the plan pictured below to master. For you fitter folks who aren't pathetically out of shape, you will probably snicker at my list, but let me tell you, I was sweating my ass off and I can barely walk today. Gretchen says I can whine all I want as long as I do it. No mercy! :P

The two items at the top were the killers. My knee is still really weak and it's going to take some time to improve my strength, I think. The bench squat is meant to be done by squatting to hover over the bench, but my knees are still too weak and I have to sit on the bench and get up again. The slow step ups are using a wooden box that's about a foot or so high and I have to step up and step down. Stairs are still really hard for me so this is a definite challenge. My knee just doesn't want to cooperate sometimes. I'm looking forward to when this becomes an easy task. I did finish

Anyhoo, otherwise, things are going ok. I counted calories all week last week and gained three pounds. I can only assume water weight is responsible and I have not been drinking enough for sure. Today I have challenged myself to get all eight glasses in. Again, this probably seems easy-peasy for most folks, but it's one of those things I haven't been able to make a habit of. Coffee just always seems like a better idea. There's no time like the present, right?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Calm and Relaxed

Well, hello again.

I'm on the upswing now, but there were a few weeks in there where I was eating my feelings. The end of a relationship, that was in many ways like trying to cram a square peg into a round hole, took it's toll more than I realized. As of late, I've been doing a lot of thinking about how I want to be healthier in general in every area -- emotional and physically. In relation to food, I'm hoping that this new sense of awareness will be the key I need to keep things under control. I'm not a big binge eater, or a jumbo portions person, but I will go straight for carby comfort foods and sugary treats when I'm looking for an emotional pick me up. I also realized I was sleeping WAY too much. I thought at first I was sick, but then realized later it's my easy escape from feeling anxious. If I get too anxious, then I get overwhelmed and just sort of shut down.

Realizing this pattern was not really good for me overall, I decided it was time to get a new therapist (and some better coping skills) and I love her, YAY! My previous therapist and I were together for 8 years and she recently moved to Austin. Even though I didn't see her often it gave me a sense of stability to know she was there if I needed her. I guess I sort of dreaded starting over again, but I got lucky and hit the jackpot. I'm hoping to get some of this stuff sorted out a bit more for the long haul. One thing that she's doing that's new to me is hypnosis. I'm not 100% convinced it's working yet, but I'm working on being a believer. I have a recording of the hypnosis/guided meditation we did last time I was in her office and I've been listening to it a few times a day and it does seem to be helping. I'm not sure if it's the dedicated time to just sit and be quiet and relax (but not sleep) or the actual words that are being suggested, but oh well, I kinda don't care -- I'm feeling better and that matters more. The gist of the mantra is "calm and relaxed" so I made myself a little poster to hang up in my office as a visual reminder.

Last night was my first trip to the gym since knee surgery. That felt good, too. I know that if I increase my activity, my energy and mood improves, so it's a definite step in the right direction. I didn't do anything crazy, just a little warm up (8 minutes) on the bike to get my knee loosened up, some free weights, leg presses and squats, then 15 minutes on the elliptical. It was a little uncomfortable since I've been essentially inactive all summer. Nothing I can't tolerate though. Next Wednesday is my first trainer appointment. Way back when I met with Gretchen once to do a fitness test (which is when I probably injured it -- not her fault, just dumb luck) so I'm looking forward to seeing her again. I've already paid for three hour sessions and I really need accountability to stay on track until I make habits. 

One decision I have made is to cut way back on carbs, specifically wheat. God do I love anything with wheat in it, but boy does it make me bloaty and miserable. Soft pretzels might as well just go ahead and be crack. This weekend I'm going to take advantage of the long holiday and do some planning. The kiddo is coming home from college and we'll be spending the day at Carlyle Lake, but other than that I have zero big plans. I'm kinda excited about that, actually. Gym, garden, and some freezer cooking. 

Enjoy the holiday!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Well, it's been a wacky few days, I got hit hard by carb cravings, but I'm committed to writing down the good, the bad, and the ugly. I figure even if it doesn't stop me from indulging every time, knowing I'm going to write it down does deter me from total pandemonium most days. I haven't gotten brave enough to publish my food diary from MyFitnessPal just yet, but I'm working on it.

I seem to derail mid-afternoon and I suspect boredom is the culprit not real hunger since I'm a later luncher. Something about 3:30 just makes me hungry. Maybe I should try taking a short walk instead of stuffing my face with snacks. I'm still making some teeny victories along the way, making better choices over all even on the "bad days." Monday, I got half way to the vending machine when I turned around and marched to my bag full of veggies instead. Veggies and hummus is way yummier than anything in the vending machine. I also find that I like crunchy foods. It almost doesn't even matter what it is, as long as there is some crunch to it. Crunchy or sweet. Yep, that pretty much describes my two favorite food groups!

Here are two of my favorite snacks:
Snack veg. Usually there's hummus, not Ranch.

At least 3 days a week this is my breakfast and often an afternoon snack.

What do you love to snack on?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It Happened...

So it happened. I turned 40.

It was so much fun! For my birthday, instead of a somber event I decided to combine my graduation party and birthday party for one big silly bash with a Grumpy Cat theme. Grumpy Cat is so much better than an over-the-hill theme. Ptooey on that.

The invitation

Me practicing being grumpy for the "photo booth".

The photo booth was a huge success in that lots of people took photos with grumpy cat, but the construction was seriously lacking. I forgot about wind. Oh the elements, you are a harsh mistress! Oh well, fun was had! 
The super awesome cake thanks to my buddy, Sira.
People, a Grumpy Cat Cake? Come on, so awesome. Ask and you shall receive.

Some of not very grumpy friends.
This is what you get when you meet people on the internet.
Reddit, specifically. Aren't they adorbs?

That last photo represented the Reddit section of my party. Those yahoos are all about ten years younger than me and mostly don't make fun of my age too much. They are still fairly new to me and already adored.

This is my friend Diane. She's really sick, like the kind I don't want to talk about and she took time to come to my party. Keep your fingers, eyes, and toes crossed that she's feeling better soon. Her lungs are being jerks and I love her so much. She is an amazing person who deserves to have every one of the days she has left pain-free and full of joy.

So basically, my day was super awesome. I think people had fun and I know I did. There were presents (I got a coloring book of unicorns and lots of other cool stuff), cake, snacks galore, and lots of laughter. I couldn't have asked for anything better. Thanks to every one of you who came to celebrate with me.