Health And Wellness: Realistic Update

So the teen and I were going to the gym 3 times a week when I first joined Planet Fitness. Summer came. My husband moved out. I got a promotion. Teen started marching band.

Now we’re lucky if we go 4 times a month.

I was ready to cancel and work out at home.

The teen stopped me.

We both did killer workouts last night.

But will it last?

It’s like when I promise the dentist I will floss daily. Sometimes I make it three whole months of flossing daily and then something happens and I break the habit.

Last night I worked out hard and now my arms are sore but tonight, I had Wawa macaroni and cheese for dinner.

Why can’t I stay more disciplined?

Coming Home

Not only was it Monday.

But a Monday after a holiday.

During a winter storm.

And I don’t have proper winter shoes.

I’m in a new position at work, one I’ve held for three months, in an area where I have no experience. I’m trying to learn everything I can, but sometimes, or most of the time, I’m at a rodeo holding onto the bull and sometimes I’m getting my teeth knocked out.

I came home today with a pile of file folders in case the weather gets worse.

My teen daughter had painted more of the living room, did a bunch of chores of the variety I know she doesn’t like, and then, knowing my spirits were crushed, she made me dinner.

And asked her father to bring me a bottle of whiskey.

We had Pillsbury cinnamon buns and Jim Beam Honey for dessert.

I felt like it was 1952 and I was coming home from my fancy career. My daughter was my cute little 1950s housewife pouring me a drink.

Of course if I were keeping up with the analogy, we’d need two kids, a picket fence and a dog.

If you know my daughter, you know the thing she wants most in the world is a dog.

She’s so close and yet so far.

Failure

I want to talk for a minute about failure.

Sometimes I think we, as Americans in the 21st Century, stress too much and obsess too much about failure.

In the last six months, perhaps even the last year, I’ve hedged a lot of bets on new things. Some are simple things, like buying a car. Others are more complex, like accepting a new job and later a promotion into a position where I have no experience, only passion and my wits.

I enjoy new experiences, not everyone does. I love learning. I love challenges. I love some competition.

But with that comes failure. And sometimes we spend so much time on the failure that we don’t see how much progress we made before we failed.

It’s not even 9 a.m. on the last day of a long weekend. Probably my first relaxing long weekend since I started my new job in April. My time off prior to this was filled with parental duties or medical appointments.

Of course, I’ve slept in until 7 a.m. every day so the alarm tomorrow is going to be brutal. I have some very important projects on my desk and some meetings this week that also give me some concern.

The living room is completely dismantled, unpainted, and the furniture will arrive by the end of the week.

The teenager has a holiday concert on the same night I agreed to attend a party with my CEO. (In my defense, I thought she had her interior design class, which she does so she’s double-booked, too.)

Etc.

But this post is about failure.

If you look a few posts back, you’ll see that a good friend inspired me to buy The Whole 30. I read most of it, even did some grocery shopping, but never implemented it. It did force me to think more about what I was eating. I started tracking my macronutrients again and reducing my carbohydrates. Not in a low carb way. In a balanced way.

I am debating canceling my Planet Fitness membership. It’s been seven months and since school started, my teen and I have only gone 2-4 times a month. We both need it, but we’re not going. And I have free weights and the tools I need to get started again here at home. I joined the gym to motivate her and have more options since I’d maxed out at home.

So right now the gym is a failure, but at the same time fitness is very much on my mind and I wish I had it in me to resume my disciplined body building. (I did two or three home workouts this week. My goal is to break my bad habits before considering “New Year’s resolutions.”)

And finally, for the first time since I started making homemade bone broth a decade or so ago, I failed at that. For two days, I’ve had chicken bones from my freezer and the Thanksgiving turkey carcass in my crock pot. Somehow, overnight, ALL the liquid boiled off. ALL of it.

My “waste not, want not” attitude kicked in and mourned this tragedy. Then I remembered: I don’t like poultry broth. My daughter used to love chicken soup. But she doesn’t so much anymore. And I don’t really have room in the freezer. So maybe we didn’t need homemade soup right now.

Failure isn’t always bad. Sometimes it keeps you from expending energy in the wrong direction.

The Christmas Season has launched

So today has been a rather surreal day, culminating in a unexpectedly joyous moment where my daughter is curled up in my bed beside me reading Ted Morgan’s memoir My Battle of Algiers, a favorite of mine, with the neighbor’s dog at her feet.

Today Easton hosted small business Saturday and my daughter had to work at her very part-time gig downtown. Amid various entertainment, a sale at Book and Puppet Company, and horse-drawn carriage rides, I ran into an old friend.

The Grinch and I toured the downtown. A horse snotted on him. Everyone asked for photos–including my old friend Marishka who tells me every time I see her that I keep getting more beautiful.

After our visit to Easton Public Market, Grinch and I met up with my daughter. We had coffee at Dunkin where several people commented on my “G” Alphabooks journal. A very small child even stole it.

Next, my teen and I went to retrieve her euphonium from the car. She had registered to participate in Tuba Christmas. She had heard about the event in school and as a low brass player (with a mom who loves Christmas carols) how could we resist the chance to play in a band of only euphoniums, baritones, tubas and sousaphones?

Tuba Christmas

The group met for the first time about 90 minutes before the performance. They practiced at the Sigal Museum, filling the entire building with bold horn music.

I ran into another old colleague there who couldn’t quite figure out why I was there, especially since I didn’t have an instrument. Apparently he hadn’t seen my daughter since she was a preschooler.

In many ways, returning to professional life has felt like emerging from hibernation. I have lived in the same house the entire time I worked retail, but it is mind-boggling how I feel like I have been more absent from life than I realized.

Now, how do I say what I want to say next? Ummm… let’s just say the act before Tuba Christmas included “Dominic the Donkey” and his ability to impersonate a donkey was amusing but perhaps not in a good way.

After an hour outside in frigid weather, and seeing an elf on stilts:

The teen and I jacked the heat up in the car and stopped at Dunkin, again. This time for hot drinks.

And that is how I say hello to the holiday season!

Scenes from the paint store

My daughter is taking a non-credit interior design certificate program at the local community college. I think that’s a fun and practical thing for a high schooler to do.

I’ve suggested from the get-go that she keep our house in mind.

A few months ago, I switched the living room and the dining room. It was something I always wanted to do, because the bright space by the windows seemed better for hanging out at the table. And the glare from the windows didn’t impact the television in the middle room.

I finally got rid of our 25 year old wicker furniture on the sun porch (an enclosed room facing south) and put our couch out there. The couch is too big to be in the “new” living room. And since my husband and I split up, I feel my house seems more and more like a 20-year-old’s first apartment.

I’ve been watching various retailers for reasonable furniture and I’m partial to Target.com because with the RedCard I can get free shipping and good deals. I asked my daughter if I could take advantage of the Black Friday online only furniture sale to buy an emerald green Chesterfield love seat.

She said I could ONLY if we painted.

So today we first went to Home Depot, but the store was very crowded and the shoppers were a tad obnoxious. Then we tried the Gleco Paint Store nearby. I start picking all the bold colors. She starts pulling me toward the pastels. I’m not fond of pastels.

She folds all the paint chips so I can’t see the bold colors.

We find a compromise.

She’s right that I shouldn’t put a bold color in that room because it doesn’t get enough light.

I’m excited to see how it looks.

Ford v Ferrari and my obsession with history

I once had a stranger walk up to me and ask if I felt out of place. She specifically asked me if I felt as if I were in the wrong time.

She continued to tell me that she saw an air of an earlier era about me, circa the 1950s, which struck me as odd because my specialty in my academic work was 20th Century colonial/post-colonial Francophone Africa.

I gravitate toward post-World War II history and have to feign interest in anything 19th Century or earlier (though I can handle specific topics like the Industrial Revolution and Early French secularism because of their direct impact on the areas I enjoy) and have equal distaste for things that happened during my lifetime.

I love movies based on real events, and the rise of cinema celebrating real people and their achievements (like First Man, for example) and even historical settings (like the Downton Abbey feature film) are likely to get me into the theater.

Ford v. Ferrari had been on my calendar since I saw the trailer months ago.

In addition to “liking” the mid-Twentieth Century and, of course, how can you not look at Ford v Ferrari and not see a nod to American Industrial Complex v European Artisan Mindset… I also really like cars.

I can recite most of the Nicolas Cage version of Gone in 60 Seconds. My initial thought when I say the Ford v Ferrari trailer was “oh, they made a biopic for Eleanor.”

So last night my teen daughter and I saw Ford v Ferrari. We laughed. She cried. She jumped from her seat at every spin the car made. And squealed with every race lap.

And it was also interesting to see Lehigh Valley native Lee Iococca represented on the big screen.

But I left the film with a sense of homesickness, or maybe heartsickness. Perhaps a piece of my soul belonged to someone perhaps my dad’s age, born in the late 40s or maybe 50s, and perhaps they died young. Maybe these yearnings I have for the past are desires to finish a life someone else didn’t have the chance to complete.

Maybe they died in a car accident… who knows?

First 36 hours thinking about committing to Whole30

September 14: Reading the book I bought about Whole30 and trying to get the teenager into it. I really think it will help the fluid levels in her head.

She’s miserable with her ear infection— now that she’s taking Augmentin, the ear gunk, as I like to call it, is pouring down her nose and throat and making her cough. She went to rehearsal for marching band before today’s home game and she was stumbling and off balance.

She didn’t really have the lung capacity to play, and the clogged ears make blowing hard so she came home and slept through the game.

I bought some eggs at the farm, organic raisins and ginger crystal drink at one natural food store, and ginger chews, liquid smoke and Whole30 approved coffee creamer at another.

The ginger is for the girl’s throat.

I came home and cooked three chicken breasts— some to top my garden salad for lunch and the rest to make a chicken broccoli cold salad for lunches early in the week.

For dinner, we had chicken and some spaghetti squash served like spaghetti and sprinkled with bacon cheddar cheese.

I’m making an effort to plan meals that are Whole30 compliant and testing the waters with individual meals. But I’m also not buying anything not compliant, so by the time we are ready to commit we have the house ready.

September 15:

She had ice cream last night, claiming its necessity due to her throat. I had a “Philadelphia cream cheese cheesecake cup.”

I woke hungry, but I also slept in until 7:30. I also had a headache. Read about the part of Whole30 where you can’t have coffee until after breakfast. I wake very bumbling. And I usually get hungry around 9– even if I have breakfast at 6 or 7 I get hungry around 9.

I had some herbal tea, unsweetened, and it fixed my headache. Tried Whole30’s method of poaching eggs in the skillet— I think I liked mine better. I made a slice of Dave’s Killer Organic Seeded Bread as toast. I know two emotional assumptions about eggs I will have to break if I commit to Whole30: poached eggs go with toast (they suggest salmon, I can do that) and omelettes need cheese. That I will need to overcome.

So I ate my farm fresh poached eggs, about to have a golden kiwi for dessert.

And then finally coffee.