It must be January

The gym is really crowded.

The teenager asked to go to the gym and I didn’t want to go but I went. All I did was 10 minutes on the bike. But I came and that is something.

That’s enough for me right now.

As a parent, I told the teenager I would never say no if she wanted to drag me to the gym.

My yellow budgie, Peek-a-Boo (whom we nicknamed Boo-Boo), had an episode of night fright last night and woke me up at 4:30. I had gone to bed shortly after nine, so I had trouble falling back to sleep.

I ended up doing some writing for work. When the house is still and your mind is fresh, it’s amazing how easily ideas flow. Even if it is 5 a.m.

I packed my yogurt, fruit and granola parfait for lunch, substituting some chocolate Fontina brand Christmas cookies for breakfast. Lunch didn’t happen until 1:45 so that didn’t help my fatigue.

NALA

But I got some amusing text messages when my daughter got home from school. I had set Nala up with her new toys, fresh fruit and romaine and Hulu set to hours of Sesame Street.

My daughter went to check on her, which says a lot about how far their bond has come as a week ago my teenager was afraid of Nala and vice versa.

Today I got a text that the teenager planned on offering Nala tea. This photo followed:

And it looks like Nala did not pluck today. Now Nala was also glad to see me when I got home, though we had a disagreement about where Nala was going to sit while I ate dinner.

I think Nala thought my plate was her plate. So I ended up with a pretty pointed beak stab in the middle of my middle finger.

DINNER

The teenager says she’d like to lean toward vegetarianism. So we’ve reduced the amount of meat we buy.

Last night’s dinner was homemade mozzarella that my neighbor received as a Christmas gift, spinach, a Pillsbury flaky buttermilk biscuit, two poached eggs and imitation bacon bits.

Tonight’s dinner was “Greek Night.” I made that up. It’s a mess of stuff from the cupboards. But it doesn’t qualify as vegetarian, only pescatarian.

I made a green salad of chopped romaine lettuce, two kinds of olives, the mozzarella again, and avocado. I added two prepared Greek Salads from Lidl: one a giant white bean salad and the second a tomato-based lentil salad. I also served “calamari fries” from Lidl, which are basically thick chunks of potato somehow mixed with calamari.

The teenager had her salad with light ranch dressing. I had mine with a Whole 30 approved balsamic vinaigrette. I made a salad for lunch tomorrow (but didn’t include the calamari). That’s the featured photo for this entry.

Well, now for the amazing part of this entry.

BEDTIME

Last night I tried to put Nala to bed at 6:30 and sit downstairs so she could sleep. Just like a baby, she screamed for Mommy. I returned to my room, and watched TV on my iPad in the dark just load enough so she knew I was here.

Tonight I put her to bed at 6:30, left my pink night light on, covered her and went to the gym.

When I came back an hour later, she didn’t even rustle. I’m tiptoeing around my room as not to wake her.

Goodnight, Nala.

The joys so easy to miss

If you’ve read some of this blog, you probably know that I have a relatively new job in a brand new field that is giving me tremendous potential to grow as an individual and a professional. It’s challenging and rewarding and it allows me to do some good in the world.

But in any new job there comes a learning curve and change can be exhausting. On top of my career change, my husband and I separated six months ago.

So that’s another part of my life in flux.

Last night, I went to the podiatrist as my toe has been bothering me. It’s the same toe on which I dropped a 15-pound dumbbell almost 2 years ago. I also broke that ankle 4 years ago now.

I was fairly certain I just had a blister in a weird spot that went a little wrong but with my cerebral palsy I didn’t want to take chances.

When I got to the doctor, after waiting a week to get the appointment, I realized I forgot my wallet. Luckily I had ways to pay them and my daughter texted me the information in my wallet but that stressed me.

And then the doctor trimmed my toe nails and removed all the pretty nail polish from my recent pedicure. Now I know that is something he needed to do, but it made me very very sad.

Then he prescribed me an antibiotic because it looked like the toe did have a blister, got infected, and maybe it was going to be fine but why take the chance.

So I had to go home, get my wallet, and go to CVS.

My daughter came with my and as we waited, read this joke book to me:

I laughed at a few, despite my best attempts not to.

When they built the Great Wall of China where did they go for supplies?

Wall-Mart

And then she begged for the book, and the cashier pointed out I had a 30% off coupon on my CVS card so now we own a $3 joke book.

And she’s been reading me jokes ever since.

To stop and view the moon

Life is seldom perfect.

But tonight, stuck in traffic, eating too much of a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips, I had a near perfect moment.

The clouded over full moon turned the wintery night sky gold. For a moment, amid my sea of break lights, I basked in peace.

And then I got home and a cat had puked on the new couch.

But let me start at the beginning…

Two more weeks before the holidays. By January first, I have two grants due, one report due, a third grant and a second report that I would prefer done. I got the annual appeal to the printer yesterday, two or three weeks late depending on your perspective (but WOW did I learn so much about our FundEZ donor and accounting database. Now I have to review the volunteer graphic designer’s sketches for the annual report.

I have more than 20 years experience in communications, and a whole lot of confidence and creativity, but this nonprofit development stuff is a roller coaster! I love it, especially since I adore the agency’s mission and my coworkers but it’s been a few months of trail by fire.

So that was work.

I laugh a lot at work, or at least I try. Sometimes we all get a little too tense and afraid of making mistakes.

As the type of person who has no issue asking forgiveness instead of permission, I don’t have trouble admitting I did something wrong.

I tell my colleagues, don’t worry I don’t throw people under the bus.

I step right out in front of it.

After work I came home and took my daughter for sandwiches before I drove her to her interior design class at the local community college.

Park Avenue Market

The marching band, the local library, and probably every other fundraising entity around sell hoagie coupons for Park Avenue Market. They have _the best_ sandwiches.

Tonight I got Santa Fe turkey and bacon ranch cheddar. The teen got Lebanon bologna.

But then she saw the A-Treat display.

Everything from pumpkin to sasparilla to cranberry ginger ale. She got “Big Blue.” I got diet orange creamsicle.

We started to eat them in the car, which is why the photos are so dark. And I unwrapped my sandwich upside down and spilled it all over my lap. And a tomato shot right out of my sandwich into the crack between my seat and my console.

“This is why we don’t eat in the car,” I said.

“No,” she said.

“This is why you don’t eat in the car.”

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.

Christmas Traditions

My daughter and I are rapidly approaching the six-month-mark of being our own household. The strangeness of being the only parent in the house and the absence of another adult is starting to feel normal.

My feelings about Christmas

(Cultural Appropriation)

I can’t remember a time that I’ve been a fan of Christmas. It’s a holiday that emphasizes Christian hypocrisy in my mind, especially since most Christians don’t understand the manufactured nature of the holiday as stolen from pagan traditions to convert the masses into Christianity when the religion was new.

Most Christians I’ve been exposed to don’t understand the symbolic nature of Christmas and truly believe Jesus was born on December 25. They also don’t see the mixed message of celebrating a man they revere as an example of how to treat others and to behave in a ethically and morally decent way by saying a different mythically being breaks into your house to give you presents in an ostentatious display of hedonistic greed.

Christmas was always, to me, a blatant display of society’s preference toward the socio-economically privileged.

But I digress…

Making new Christmas traditions

This is my first Christmas in ten years not working retail. This is my first Christmas in my life where I have decided to build my own traditions and consider what I want instead of meeting family expectations.

So I’m working on it.

And after all these years of being a Christmas curmudgeon, it feels good.

I’ve always loved Christmas music. I already enjoyed Tuba Christmas and Small Business Saturday in downtown Easton.

(See more about that day and my visit with my friend Grinch here: The Christmas Season has launched.)

I also dug my Christmas socks and sweaters from storage. They were a mainstay of my Target career.

Three Christmas sweaters.

I wore the first of my Christmas sweaters yesterday. Meowy Christmas: worn with my colleague in mind. She has three cats.

As I hoped, she loved it.

On Wednesday I wore my Grinch shirt with my blazer to a holiday mixer of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce (at Stoke in Downtown Easton). I ended up posing with Chamber officers in front of the Christmas tree.

I love my Christmas socks.

But I still digress…

This was supposed to talk about Christmas and my daughter…

Advent Calendar

Neither my daughter nor I ever had an advent calendar so we bought one at Lidl today.

But hey, I’ve babbled enough… I’ll just share the video:

Advent Excitement

Not so Whole30

It’s hard to believe that in two more weeks I will be celebrating my six-month anniversary in my new job in the development office at ProJeCt of Easton.

Three months in, my husband and I separated. Four months in my boss gave notice. Almost five months in, I received a promotion. Last week, I asked my agency to hire an old acquaintance as a temporary event planner. Our signature fundraiser is six weeks away!

This summer I have written four grants, worked on two collaborative grants, and wrote a letter of interest for a grant. I have three more grants due in the next three weeks.

But in the midst of everything, I’ve had some amazing work adventures but I’ve noticed my natural energy and trips to the gym and being replaced by doughnuts and coffee.

It’s also Marching Band Season with my teenager in her third year in low brass. She’s struggling with a hectic schedule, her fitness waning and her old ear infections coming back. She has a raging one now according to the doctor at Patient First.

She has an appointment with her ENT practice on Thursday. I think she needs tubes. She had them about eight years ago. She needs them again.

My daughter and I both love carbohydrates. I have been weight training now for almost six years consistently and the only thing that keeps me from looking like a totally ripped badass is my weakness for sugar.

I consider myself a lazy bodybuilding princess. I don’t have the hard core discipline to work out daily, but I like to lift. I like results. I like to be strong. But I also like to be lazy.

So food plays into that too.

When my daughter was little, I heavily restricted her dairy hoping it would help clear her head of fluid.

Maybe I need to do that again.

My friend Bill Prystauk (of Crash Palace Productions, author of Bloodletting and Punishment) recommended the Whole30 for my daughter.

I can’t stop thinking about it so I bought the book.

But can we do it?

More to come…

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.