Saturday, February 17, 2018

Scary Challenges Ahead!

In Texas last weekend I met a new niece, Stacy Sparkle, who lost 35 pounds in the last year and is now a trainer and motivational fitness person — and she has convinced me to join her challenge: a week of clean eating and ab work, starting Monday. Since I'm already doing my own Challenge, I won't be following hers exactly . . . but I am going to try very hard to abstain from alcohol for a week and to keep up with her workouts. It will be very hurty, my abs are useless. But I'm excited to give it a whirl.

The second challenge . . . well, let me back up for a minute. Remember how I said my new focus on self-love and self-care was spreading to different areas of personal health and well-being, namely my teeth and gums? Alas, this has not been true for all areas — namely, my poor ravaged hands. I continue to tear at my cuticles with savage ferocity, and they remain ragged and inflamed.

SO. This week, while I'm also challenging myself ab-wise (ow), I will challenge myself to love my hands and treat them with only exquisite kindness and care. Challenging!!!! But I am ready to try.

In short:
  • No alcohol
  • No cuticle-picking
  • Extra ab work

Good lord, I am going to need a dri-


Short post tonight — we just watched Dunkirk and I need to go shower in hot, clean water for about a year. And then hug my young son for another year. I don't know how military parents survive.

Lady C

Friday, February 16, 2018

My Last Day to Have a Goal

I should get started on my work, but I'm feeling distracted this morning. Lots going on, and it's only 9:17!
  • Yesterday, Li'l Martini asked me what his blood type is. Isn't that something a mom should know? But I don't. And it's not in his little vaccination record booklet, nor in his baby book anywhere. Nor does his pediatrician know (I just called). Bizarre! But then again, I didn't know my blood type until I was a junior in high school (which he is); I was in a car with my grandpa and somehow the subject came up. Grandpa was a man of action; he pulled into a blood donation center and within 20 minutes I had my answer: B+. This mildly bothered me at first, which I found puzzling  . . . and then realized it was because I was working so hard to be valedictorian and get straight A's; I was conditioned to see a printed "B+" as a sign of failure.
  • (I got my first B+ during my first semester of grad school; I was prepared to go to the dean and fight — that teacher was NUTSO — but Husband gently convinced me that no one fights a B+.)
  • (I never got another one, and I have a master's degree now. Just saying.)
  • Today my dearest Mrs. Cynicletary finishes her last round of chemo, and I am helping her with the Cold Capping, which has worked magnificently. When I tell people about Mrs. C's hair, I always say, "It's like mine, only longer and more abundant," and they go Oooooooohhh. She still has a full mane of hair, she is a walking miracle. Cold Caps are the bomb. I am so proud of my warrior friend!!!!
  • My weight was down by quite a bit! This usually only happens after I've had a bath, but yesterday I did nothing out of the ordinary. I even drank a cocktail! I am quite excited — this feels more like real weight loss. 
  • There are 175 messages in my Inbox. 175!!! How do I even know this many people???? Just opening my e-mail exhausts me.
  • I waited too long to do my stretching yesterday, but I couldn't bear to lose my five points so I stretched on my bed, in my nightgown — and I have to say, it worked a treat. Good to know! I slept the sleep of the just (it helped that I read a book before bed instead of watching TV — I know this, and yet I choose to ignore what I know so very often . . .) and woke up bright-eyed at 7 a.m.
  • Tonight we're going out to dinner to celebrate the beginning of Li'l Martini's school vacation and the end of Mrs. C's chemo! It will be easy to find Compliant food at Not Your Average Joe's, I just have to avoid the good bread and Satan's Garlic Dipping Oil. I can do it! Or not, and I'll take the point, whatever.
  • I've been dreaming of kitties almost every night. I really miss my grouchy sweet Annabel. Are we ready for a new cat? The boy kittens are chill and happy; maybe we should let them be for a while. (Husband is nodding emphatically.) But I continue to dream . . .
It's my last day of Most Important Goals, hurray!!! (Except next week's Well-Being Practice looks equally deadly — but I'll worry about that next week, meaning, tomorrow.)
  • My Most Important Goal is to improve my physical health by eating better foods, increasing my muscle mass, building my stamina, and striving to become more flexible. Why? Because I'm an idiot if I don't.
Ha! Thirty-five points this week, done!!!

I want to tell you about last night's salmon and rice bowl dinner, which was, in a word:


We all loved it and scarfed it up!!! And it was so easy to make! Except it used a lot of skillets; I might do it a little differently next time. But anyway, I am so thrilled to have something new in my repertoire and am already thinking about ways to tweak it and add different things. (Poached egg! Avocado! Toasted sesame seeds! Edamame! Yum yummy yum.)

OK. Have I sufficiently cleared my mind enough to concentrate on work now? We shall see.

Lady C

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Getting a Jump on My 5 Points


I went grocery shopping after I dropped off Li'l Martini (which was even more fun than usual; a theater pal of his was at the bus stop, so we gave him a ride too and had a rollicking conversation — I like to imagine that as the boys exited my car, Theater Pal gushed, "Your mom is so fun! And surprisingly attractive in an appropriate way!" A girl can dream) and had a small epiphany: I walk much faster now, I take bigger strides, returning the cart is no big deal no matter how far away I've parked, and I no longer dread the multiple trips up and down my front steps to bring in the groceries.

In short: I feel much better and have more energy.

Making healthier choices is a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more times I choose to be healthy, the better I feel, which makes me more inclined to continue making healthy choices.

A side note: Even though taking care of my teeth and gums is not part of the Whole Life Challenge, I have been extremely dedicated with my electric toothbrush, floss, and proxy brush, much more so than usual. And I think it's because — even though I haven't formally stated this — I am treating my body with more kindness and reverence, and this has flowed into other areas.

So that's how I'm reshaping my Most Important Goal today:
  • I want to continue to make healthy choices because the more I do it, the easier and more natural it will be.
One of my teammates (I love her, she was Vice President back in my PTO President days) just wrote:
Observation: I had a small valentines dessert tonight and my palate for sugar has been recalibrated. Tooooo sweet! Fruit is preferable. What is going on here?!?! Who am I???
I laughed and responded, "Freak," but I totally get it. Avoiding sweets (except for doughnuts, which are Satan's Siren Sweets) has not been that hard. Fruit and Greek yogurt have been very satisfying. And of course I'm on the kind 'n' gentle beginner level, I'm actually allowed to add sugar to my oatmeal, and that's been a lovely breakfast.

But today I'm having that new Greek yogurt from Chobani ("just a hint of...") with strawberries, blueberries, and a banana, and for lunch I'm having a big salad with beans and an avocado, and tonight is my magnificent salmon-and-rice-bowl dinner!!! I bought baby spinach and shiitake mushrooms, oh, I cannot wait to see how this turns out.

Other plans for today: pull my tax documents together, take Mimosa to Kohl's for some new sneakers, move the eight bags of cat litter that were delivered yesterday to the basement (this will involve much heavy lifting and stair climbing, I think it will be today's 10 minutes of exercise), and, if time allows, get back to the book I'm editing for the math people, which I haven't touched in weeks (I'm not being a bad slacker editor, they've told me this book is a low priority). Busy day, full of good food! 

How glad I am to have a goal.

Lady C

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dying of Happy!

What a great day this has been! Even though I'd blown my perfect 5's by 8 a.m., when I succumbed to the lures of a doughnut.

(I needed an oil change, and my car guys have a great coffee machine, positioned next to an open box of Linda's Doughnuts. I go wild for a good honey-dip, what could I do. It's just –1 point, though, I'm batting a thousand otherwise.)

Before that, Husband surprised me with gorgeous Valentine's Day roses, which was very sweet. I love getting flowers!

Then after the car place, Mimosa and I had a great workout with Fit-Bit (oh, man, did she push us — we did 90 different core things, and I was quietly sobbing by #43), then went to our good doughnut place to get Valentine treats for the boys, and then went to Whole Foods to pick up lunch (I had Compliant sushi — yum!!) and some supplies for a dinner I'm planning.

Which is: One of the women on my Whole Life Challenge team told me about a quinoa bowl she made, which sounded so good, and then I started thinking about what I have in my cupboards, and for tomorrow night's dinner I'm planning to make everyone a "bowl" comprising the following:
  • perfectly cooked salmon
  • brown rice
  • sautéed greens
  • sauteed baby portabella mushrooms
  • caramelized onions
  • maybe some grated raw carrot for crunch?
I bought two sauces at Whole Foods — Thai Ginger Marinade (which Fit-Bit told me about) and Chimichurri (which I had at a restaurant with Nurse Kathy and went wild for) — and I'll offer those on the side for people to dribble over their bowls.
Doesn't that all sound delicious?? I am very excited!

But none of this is why I'm so HAPPPPPPPYY!!!!

Husband and I have been thinking about our May trip to the Pacific Northwest for a while now, but today I hunkered down and got serious and started booking things. Well, all I actually did was purchase play tickets, but I told our travel agent that she could start booking things. And we're off!!!
  • We'll see four plays in Ashland, Oregon: Sense and Sensibility, Othello, Henry V, and — the one I'm most excited about — Oklahoma!, with same-sex leads!!!!
  • We'll spend a night at the Betty MacDonald Farm on Vashon Island!! Betty MacDonald is one of my all-time favorite authors, this is beyond thrilling to me.
  • Best of all: I get to spend three nights with Mrs. Fog Dog, one of my oldest and dearest friends!!! (As well as her lovely husband Mr. Fog Dog, whom I've actually known even longer; we were pals first, then we brought her into the fold. You're welcome, Mrs.!)
We're also spending some time in Seattle, which will be awesome — it is such a great city — and we hope to get over to Vancouver and explore a bit. It will all be so much fun, Husband is a very agreeable travel partner, and I am out of my mind with happiness and excitement!!!!

But now I need to earn my 5 Well-Being points:
  • My Most Important Goal is to be healthier for all the reasons I've already mentioned, but also because one of my nieces, a new Facebook friend, lost 35 pounds last year and is now working as a personal trainer; she inspires me, and I love her, and I want her to be proud of her favorite aunt.
Woo-hoo! Five points are MINE!

I'd also planned to pull together all the documents for our taxes today, but I have run out of today. Instead I think I'll put my feet up and drink some more water. These Fit-Bit workout days . . . I am one tuckered tootsie by 5 p.m.

Happy happy happy happy happy!!!!!

Lady C

p.s. Fit-Bit also had us weigh in today; I've lost 3.5 pounds since my last weigh-in! And 10 pounds total since I started working with her! All good.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Time to Earn Five Points!
Argh. I've been editing all day and still need to do my 10 minutes each of exercise and stretching. Though it's also time to fix supper — what to do, what to do.

But I've had four big glasses of water already (only two to go! Easy-peasy) and ate Compliantly (oatmeal for breakfast, hummus with veggies and Pop-Chips for lunch), yay me!


OK, I must earn my Well-Being 5 by focusing on my Most Important Goal of HEALTH. Why do I want to be more healthy?
  • I will feel better
  • I will live longer, maybe
  • I will look prettier
  • I will fit into the black pants I took in when I lost 40 pounds; I don't want to buy new clothes
  • I might be a good role model for the rest of my family
Well, goodness — doesn't that all sound compelling! I guess I will put on a tank top and then pedal my bike or walk on the treadmill, neither of entice me at all. But I gotta do it.

Don't play the victim
   to circumstances  
     you created.    

Stupid me. Waiting till the end of the day to do this crap is really dumb. But when I have work on my plate, I cannot do anything else. Stupid, stupid healthy me.

Lady C, determined to score perfect 5's today!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Goals, Ugh


This week's Well-Being Practice — Most Important Goals — is way less fun than the others. Here's what I have to do:
  1. At the beginning of the week, write a list of several of your most important goals, along with why each one is important to you.
  2. Each day, rewrite your list and remove one goal until you have a single, most-important one remaining.
  3. Continue to rewrite your most-important goal and its “why” each day for the remainder of the week.

But I wrote 'em:
  1. Lose weight. Why? Carrying 150 extra pounds wears me (and my knees) out. 
  2. Increase my stamina and endurance. Why? I am too young to be this tired climbing a tiny hill!
  3. Increase my strength. Why? It's useful to be strong enough to lift and carry things, and increased muscle mass will help my body burn fuel more efficiently.
  4. Finish Novel 2 or revise Novel 1 and then actively work to get one of them published until it happens. Why? This has been a life goal of mine for as long as I can remember.
  5. Renew my vows with Husband. Why? I want to celebrate and acknowledge our commitment to the work of staying married, and I also want to wear a wedding dress that I like. (Mine fit and it was cheap, and at the time that was what I cared most about. But it would be nice to wear a beautiful dress that I actively love.)
  6. Redo my bedroom. Why? Because all our bedroom stuff is kinda old and shabby, and I'd like it to be more of a grown-up sanctuary.
OK, easy enough. And I don't even have to go through the exercise of daily whittling, because the real Most Important Goal seems pretty clear: improve my physical health.

And I'm trying! But what I learned on the labyrinth walk I did a few years ago is that this may be my burning life goal, but on a day-to-day basis there are things I want more. I want to get my work done and continue to be a conscientious and in-demand freelance copy editor. I want to devote some time and attention to my family and friends. I want to cook and eat wonderful meals. I want some time to myself, especially to read. I want all of these things, every day — and sometimes it takes the whole damn day.

I guess the Whole Life Challenge is useful in that the two most fitnessy health practices — exercise and stretching — are only 10 minutes each. And paying attention to what I'm eating has been interesting and, I suspect, valuable in the long run. We'll see what sticks.

Anyway. I'll go through the motions with this Well-Being Practice because I want my points!!! But I'm not loving this one.

Today my breakfast did not agree with me, so I skipped the scheduled workout with Fit-Bit and ran errands instead. But when I got to the gym to pick up Mimosa, I decided to do my 10 minutes, so I rode the bike and got good and sweaty.

Then I came home and threw up and took anti-nausea medicine.
Not sure what's going on, but of the three scrambled-egg breakfasts I've had in the last week, two came right back up (ugh, sorry). I hope this doesn't mean I have to give up eggs!!! I LOVE eggs!!!! We shall see.

Much to report on my glorious weekend in Texas, but I'm in the midst of doing all my Saturday chores (yes, on Monday — up is down!) and should get back to it. I also still need to stretch, drink three more giant water glasses, and call my mom.

By the way, I worked out on Friday and Saturday at the hotel gym and then stretched in my hotel room — which led to a hilarious exchange with Husband as I was lying on the floor stretching my hamstrings and contemplating my Most Important Goals:
  • Me: Honey, is there some stationary or any kind of blank paper?
  • Husband: You mean . . . in this room?
  • Me: No! I mean in the world! Because if not, I have a great idea — I'm going to invent them!!
  • Husband: [shakes with laughter]
  • Me: Hand me a notepad so I can write this down! Oh, wait . . . Crap.
It was pretty funny.

Back to chores. And stretching. And hydrating. Because, you know, health is my Most Important Goal. Jeez.

Lady C

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Heading to the Lone Star State

I got my huge editing job done, yay!!! I just billed 26 hours to that client, plus another 8 to another client, which means a fat lovely paycheck in a week.

Today I get serious about my upcoming vacay — four days in Texas with Husband's family. I haven't seen these folks in ages, and I enjoy them hugely. I'm also looking forward to a hotel with a gym, excellent Mexican food, and some time to read.

Here's what I'm bringing:

Actually, I started my prep last night. I'm heading to a warmer climate, so that means fake-tanned legs and painted toenails! Plus I'm doing Crest White Strips, which I always try to do after a dental cleaning. I'm a vision.

I still need to run a few errands (I feel sure that my children will starve while I'm gone if I don't stock the fridge and freezer with ready-to-eat meals, never mind that [a] they're OLD and [b] they both know how to cook) and then PACK, my most-loathed activity in all of ever — and of course I need to exercise for 10 minutes and stretch for 10 minutes, yada yada yada.

Yesterday Fit-Bit worked me until I was shaking from exhaustion, and yet . . . I recovered so much more quickly than usual from my three laps on the turf (running, ugh), and I kept up a conversation with Mikey, my other favorite trainer, while I did the stair-climbing exercise — my endurance and stamina have definitely increased. And when I stretch my hamstrings I can reach my toes now, whereas before I had to grasp my shins.
It's nice to have some noticeable improvements, because my scale is once again a spitey bitch who refuses to budge.

I also wake up feeling rested and energetic, every day. Is it because of the exercise? the dedication to getting enough sleep? the ENDLESS glasses of water? the total lack of cheese??? Who knows. But it's nice.

OK! Time to Appreciate someone, I've got packing to do. (At some point this week I will officially Appreciate Husband, but not while he continues to cough. Everyone in my house knows that I see coughing as a character flaw.)
  • I appreciate Fit-Bit, whose real name is Iva Caceres. Besides being an enthusiastic and motivating trainer, she is such a delightful person! I saw some of her vacation photos, and her zest for life and sense of adventure shine through every one. I am so appreciative of my time with her, and grateful that she's now part of my life. She truly inspires me. 
  • I appreciate my own sense of humor and the joy I find in absurdity, both of which have gotten me through some hard times. You gotta be able to laugh, man.

Off to dig out capris and flip-flops — I'm bound for Texas!!!!

Lady C