Friday morning musings

Once I finish this, I will be logging into work. I don’t expect it to be an easy day, but I expect it to be decent. And it’s Friday. I have a meeting tonight with… let’s just say a freelance “client” about some editing I am doing on a key project. A good project. A project that could have a positive impact on my community.

I know my posts lately have been lists and animal updates. I’ve been musing a lot about what parts of life really bring personal contentment— and how that has to mesh with corporate America’s expectation that we are the worker bees. We are judged by our productivity, which is defined not by the benefit to the greater good but as money pocketed by those fortunate enough to stand among the elite.

Coupled with these thoughts of critical theory against the capitalistic machine, I find myself musing over pleasure versus good and its contribution to wellness. Let me explain, if I can.

Yesterday, I had some work stress that I had anticipated. So I ordered a pizza to provide some feel-good endorphins to keep my focus away from the computer screen and the universe that exists there now. I had dressed for the office, thinking that would give me confidence in this stressful time.

Dressing up at the home office

It worked— but I was so cold I soon had to change.

By the end of the day, ALL of the food choices I had made had no real nutritional value.

  • Breakfast: coffee and chocolate chip muffin
  • Lunch: half a Little Caesars Pepperoni Cheeser Cheeser and Coke Zero
  • Dinner: regular size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and a Yuengling
Yes, I’m wearing footy pajamas in May

And now my weight is up. I’m about five pounds above my ideal weight now. But I look in the mirror and I see me. I don’t see five extra pounds.

They don’t lessen who I am.

But if I allow the cycle to continue, the pattern will negatively impact my health. So I need to chose.

Meanwhile today is warmer, but cloudy. I put on one of my favorite summer dresses and a cute cropped quasi-sweatshirt. I finished up the half and half so no more hot coffee. It’s free donut Friday at Dunkin if I leave the house. And the teenager has a fundraiser due today.

We need to clean this weekend, and the kittens gutted my one shelf in my closet (but they are so cute and give good cuddles so all is forgiven).

Maybe I have given you something to ponder. Happy Friday.

Realities of lemons and tandem bikes

Yes, I know the title is nonsense— but the world has turned a tad upside down as the world tends to do as having billions of people and billions of animals on a planet will erupt into some unexpected situations from time to time.

The teenager loves to eat lemons. I love to cook with lemons. For a while, especially when I first discovered Gaz Oakley the Avant Garde Vegan (Check him out on YouTube—amazing falafel, his own recipe for peri-peri sauce) I always kept fresh lemons in the house.

That was also about the time I would have lemon water first thing in the morning. The juice of half a lemon with tap water.

I did that again this morning. First time in probably a year. Or more.

Today was also the first time in a week I haven’t gained weight. The first month of this pandemic, I was eating better but stopped because… Easter… or so I claim. I am a jelly bean addict and once I start eating the jelly beans I launch onto a sugar and caffeine roller coaster.

This was breakfast. Not ALL of them.

So maybe this post should be called “bad habits.” I originally lost about 5 pounds due to stress in the beginning of the pandemic, but between beer, pizza, Easter candy, homemade cookies and triple jalapeño bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy’s they have found their way back.

But look— I got a salad

It’s been rough. More pressure than ever at work. A good friend walked away coldly without even saying goodbye. A work colleague who often made me smile left unexpectedly. Medical bills still coming in.

But in the end, I still feel inside these struggles help us grow and bring us to the next level— as another work colleague likes to say— we don’t age, we gain experience like in a video game. So I’m less than a month away from my 45th Level with the teenager two months away from Level 16 and a drivers license.

Designated Driver AND babysitter, mom friends out there!!!!

Yesterday was a sunny day amidst a forecast of rain. Last week the teenager did not complete her three weekly gym assignments and she told her teacher in her log that she “got lazy” and he wrote back that sometimes he gets lazy, too. This is a great lesson for our (older) kids in communication and work ethic. Those of you with younger kids, God Bless You and Keep You.

I would be screaming every day if the teenager were, say, six. Our brains are wired too differently.

But back to gym. We got out the tandem bike. (Yes, we have a bicycle built for two— it was a gift.) I wanted the teen to “win” gym this week. And she should get extra credit for captaining a bike with her mom, who has cerebral palsy and no real balance skills.

Then her dad came over and brought his famous hot buffalo chicken dip for dinner, at the teen’s request, and included beer for us grown-ups. And he even got on the bike! (He doesn’t ride bikes.)

I excused myself to work on some more chapters of Bill’s novel Debauchery (and reached the first sex scene— those characters are so in love it hurts). Please don’t be scared by the violence and BDSM in this novel/series. The real theme here is the beauty of acceptance no matter who you are.

And the first of several pet related packages came. So here is a Petco unboxing and some animal videos:

Petco unboxing
Nala eating pretzels with the teen

Let’s see what adventures today brings! Stay well, friends! Let’s crush this day!

Boxing

When the teenager was a wee thing, she idolized Buffy The Vampire Slayer. So much so that as a seven year old she named her kitten Oz after Seth Green’s werewolf character.

Shortly thereafter— I can’t remember if it were a birthday or a Christmas present—but we got her a real Everlast punching bag and boxing gloves.

So she could train for her superhero career.

Today, my boss asked me to work late. And I had a library board meeting at 7. At 4:45 pm, since I had no lunch, I clocked out on my 30-minute meal break and went to the garage with the teenager.

Slamming on that punching bag released a lot of tension from my shoulders.

And the teen has another unorthodox gym class to add to her log for her phys-ed teacher.

I logged back into work at 5:15 and worked until 6:30. I’m beat. But I’m glad I took the time to box a bit.

Sweet sleep

It’s 6:25 a.m. and I just poured a mug of my favorite coffee—Archer Farms Cafe Mosaica from Target. I haven’t made any in days. As part of my quest to lower my stress, fix my blood pressure and start sleeping better.

Before recent stress and life changes, I knew the routines of my body. I need at least eight hours sleep. As I get closer to my menstrual cycle, I may need more. It is typical for me to get so tired I sleep ten hours without moving in my bed. Usually only one day a month. But that hasn’t happened in a while.

For counterpoint, I usually have three days around the middle of my cycle where I’m high energy and extraordinarily confident. That hasn’t happened for a while either.

Both can probably be attributed to stress and hormone changes now that I am in my mid-forties.

There was a period for a year or so when I had insomnia once a month.

But now most of my issue is life. I think that’s how you know you’re getting older. More things disturb your sleep,

The garbage man arrives at 5:15. The cat has a hairball. The kittens decide to ricochet off my bedroom door. My personal favorite this week— the cockatoo has nightmares and calls out gently in her sleep.

So my typical sleep pattern is to collapse in bed between 9 and 10:30 pm, sleep like the dead for about 90 minutes, take about twenty minutes to fall back to sleep, get several hours good sleep before waking up briefly in the wee hours, drifting off again, and waking up when something else happens or one minute before the alarm.

(My superpower is innate time sense so I don’t often need my alarm.)

Thanks to the cockatoo’s rough night coupled with a 5:15 am visit front the garbage man, I got about six hours interrupted sleep Wednesday night. So yesterday—a long work day on top of it—I reneged on my caffeine abstention especially when I discovered my blood pressure had jumped to 153/98.

I had two cups at the office and a diet soda with dinner (that I used to wash down half a pizza) and I slept 7.5 hours last night and, according to the scale, lost a pound.

So today I am enjoying my favorite coffee and back to aiming for moderation.

Welcome 2020

Oh, God. I gained five pounds (and when you’re on the small side like me, five pounds is a lot). It’s cookie and alcohol and greasy food weight. It’s not going to the gym weight. It’s stress weight.

But the actual New Year Celebration was nice. I went to a local pub/pizzeria with someone I hope I can now call a friend. Apparently a large group of them (maybe connected from high school) just know to go to this pub on New Year’s Eve. Really informal but really comfortable and welcoming.

I drank more than I usually do, and was pleasantly surprised that I can still hold my booze. For most of the night I was drinking Fireball and diet. (See above note about being small.)

Yesterday the teen and I played Uno and ate too many of those cookies. I love UNO and I’m pretty good at it.

The teen and I even went to the gym today. We did primarily weights, but we went, I hit hard.

And perhaps one day soon I’ll open up about my adventures with Tinder and now apparently Facebook has a dating arm.

Interesting. I had a conversation with someone about the prospect of dating. I know I’m going to be extremely picky and have a lot of rules. So maybe I should focus on a basic social life and strengthening my emotional fortitude.

I think it’s going to be a wild winter.

Stamina and challenges

My daughter has rediscovered her love of the treadmill.

She has rekindled a dream of running in the spring with her very own dog by her side.

“Hey, Mom,” she calls to me after an afternoon with her grandparents, “I want to go to the gym.”

I don’t. But I’m stubborn and a lazy bodybuilding princess so I go. Because if she wants to go that’s a challenge to me.

I like challenges.

I even do the treadmill with her. I hate the treadmill. I hate the treadmill because with my cerebral palsy, the treadmill requires all my concentration.

But today, as she did walk/run intervals on her treadmill, I had a realization.

I’m not sure I know how to run.

I set my treadmill to intervals, too. My intervals were 3.5 miles per hour and 4 miles per hour. But that difference was enough that I had to run on the higher setting. It was hard to stand upright, run, and not use my arms against the handles to keep my balance as I ran.

That was interesting to learn.

I’ve always wanted to run a 5k, and the last time I tried I did all my training and the actual race with a broken toe.

So who knows.

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?

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.

I just met her… but I think Sarah wants me dead

I am currently sitting in the Planet Fitness lounge waiting for my daughter to finish her workout.

Every muscle in my body hurts and I just had a hydro massage so I’m also very relaxed.

How did I get here?

I have been a black card member of Planet Fitness for 4 days. And I have spent a lot of time in the gym since then.

You see, I am on vacation. I am between jobs, my new professional non-profit development and marketing position starts Monday and I worked my last long shift in retail food service last Saturday. I will still keep my Target gig on Saturdays for a while, I’ve got a lot of vacation to use and I do love my “Target family.”

But that is another story.

This is a story about getting my daughter access to the gym she needs, and it turns out maybe the gym I need, too.

We visited and toured Planet Fitness on Tuesday afternoon because their $21.99/month no contract Black Card membership allows my teen to work out with me. Or a friend. Every single time. I joined. Because we have no contract, I really couldn’t lose.

The teen insists all she needs to lose the weight her doctor wants to see her shed is the right gym.

So we played around on Tuesday and signed up for design your own program on Wednesday. Or was it Monday and Tuesday? Sarah, the trainer, customized a program for me, the member, but also one for my daughter, a guest.

We didn’t get through all of it so we returned to finish the next day. The teen seems to be enthusiastic.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been taking two 30 minute classes a day with Sarah, not because I’m a masochistic (though I suppose I am) but because I want to learn as much as I can about this gym while I have the time.

That said, I think Sarah wants me dead. Just kidding. She’s a trainer. She’s supposed to push you hard.

I’ve taken back and triceps, PF 360 strength, core (twice) and the 30-minute circuit. Sadly, she took Thursday off as part of the hiring process for a new job so I wasn’t able to take classes with her Thursday. And she’ll be leaving very soon.

But I’ve noticed as she’s learned what I am capable of, she’s expected more of me. And even though I haven’t done any of her bicep classes, my arms are killing me. And I haven’t done any of her cardio classes, but I sweat until my hair is drenched as soon as she enters the vicinity.

Yup. She will be missed.

A new fitness journey

Five years ago, I broke my right hand in an accident at work.

I had never broken a bone before, so while a cast was interesting (and rather pungent) I learned a lot about muscle atrophy.

After a mere three weeks in a cast, my right hand was damn weak.

Now, I had had some experience with weight training and gyms on and off since college. I always liked weight training. So, i started working out at home.

I had also gained weight, about ten pounds on my small frame. I had never tried to lose weight before and when I decided to lose weight, I lost 30 pounds in less than six weeks. I became a pretty ripped little skeleton.

Circa 2016 (Not my lowest weight)

My daughter teased me that I didn’t need a bra because I didn’t have boobs anymore. 112 is grossly thin for me.

I became the first person on earth to need a Fitbit to make sure I ate enough.

And through healthy eating and weight training I gained back 20 pounds. I have been every size from a zero to a twelve in my lifetime.

Tonight I weigh 133.

My daughter, on the other hand, has struggled with her weight. And finding activities she enjoys is part of the problem.

I belong to the gym where my husband works, but she can’t use the weight room there until she’s 16. She’s 14 and three-quarters.

She went to the pediatrician today to follow-up on an urgent care visit for a sprained ankle. She has grown to almost five-foot-three. That means she has less than an inch to catch me!

But her pediatrician says she should weigh between 100-115 pounds.

That is too thin, in my opinion.

But it needs to be addressed. So we decided to explore Planet Fitness.

Why Planet Fitness?

Because their Black Card membership is $22/month. No money down, no contract. It allows me to bring a guest every time AND that guest can be my teen daughter.

More on that next time….