Saturday, February 27, 2010

Week #8 Perfect 10 Challenge

Week #8  for My Goals for the First 10 Weeks of 2010

It's the end of week 6 of Steve's Perfect 10 Challenge, which is a 10 week challenge to make progress on 10 goals.
The Perfect 10 guidelines include updating every Friday on how you're doing.

  1. Plan out my weekly menu in advance and preferably use it to grocery shop (weekly menu comes from new Eating Well Diet cookbook or site, SparkPeople, Weight Watchers, or other healthy meals); meals should equal ~1500 calories a day
    • How I did: SPLAT that's the sound of me hitting bottom on this this weekend. Eating all around was a bad, bad thing. . .
  2. Use one weekend day (or an weekday evening night) to cook ahead--soups for lunches, veggies for the week, and perhaps 1 dinner entree.
    • How I did: SPLAT & SIGH--didn't redeem myself mid week either
  3. Plan 2 nights a week where dinner is easy--like hummus & veggies, a vegggie burger or other quick sandwich
    • How I did: Um. . . did I mention that I didn't plan?
  4. Pack my lunches most days and eat the lunch I packed.
    • How I did: Actually in this area I did Fair. Monday was bad--ate at a conference and not just lunch but 2 snacks that I'd rather not talk about. . . But I brought a Lean Cuisine on Tuesday with a side salad, on Weds. I worked at home and had a grilled ham & cheese; and then on Thurs & Fri I brough leftover Chinese food from an evening of takeout. Normally I would consider that a failure, but in comparison with the rest of the week, considering I contained the amount. . . it was better than some other alternatives.
  5. Get up 4-6 days a week with Hubby to swim at the gym, and keep increasing the intensity each week. [Modified week 2 to be get up to do cardio--but not necessarily swim]
    • How I did: Even this was tough this week. We didn't swim on Tuesday like usual because I had to be at work early, and I felt too busy on Friday AM so we didn't swim them either. However I did swim Friday night. . .
  6. Learn the breast stroke.
    • How I did: Well . . . .I didn't practice the breast stroke. . . but I DID start swimming lessons and got a lot of good feedback on my freestyle stroke (breast stroke to come!)
  7. Work out with Hubby & trainer two times a week
    • How I did: BETTER THAN GOAL! For our 4th week, we did 3 sessions with Trainer Ray: Monday, Thursday, Friday.
  8. Ride the recumbant bike at least 2x a week and increase time at least every two weeks
    • How I did: As I've mentioned before, I've adapted this goal for just regular cario training. This was the worst week we've had all year in terms of fitting in cardio. We didn't stay to do cardio after our training on Monday like usual because I had to be at a conference early. On Tuesday, Hubby went to the gym but I stayed in bed. We did do cardio on Weds. And I did elliptical and some recumbant bike. And I did the elliptical on Friday too.
  9. Start going to church with Hubby and actively look for friends
    • How I did: Same as last week: I had no excuse for not going and Hubby was really upset with me. So help me. . .I WILL set the alarm and get up tomorrow. Hubby needs my presence to help him be confident about talking to others and we need to expand our world.
  10. Make a point to be aware of and challenge negative thinking
    • How I did: This was another tough, tough week. It just seemed to get worse and worse. The bright spot was when I picked up the phone and made the plans for swimming lessons--a huge postive step in the right direction. I also told Hubby on Weds. that I was feeling bad and that helped me get out the dark isolation. And I had a blubbery, but helpful PhD session. The good news is the battery on the scale is dead. . . I highly recommend that after a bad week.
Another Thrilling Secret About Me

I love wildflowers. I love walking in the woods (I'm a path person, though.) and looking for flowers. My favorite are Jack-in-the-Pulpits. I also like seeing spiders (they're fascinating OUTSIDE--I'm not happy about them at all in the house--especially when they are above my head level. . . I don't like the idea of them falling on me!) I also love lily of the valley (and almost any flower that grows in bunches like that) and bleeding hearts. I lean toward the purse-shaped flowers.

Swimming Lesson #1: Freestyle Deconstructed


Thanks to Stacia at Swimming It Off, I decided to take swimming lessons. That was her advice when I asked her how to gain endurance so I could swim laps. I thought doing this would add some spice and excitement back into my workouts. Not that they are bad, but the new romance just isn't as strong and energizing as it was at the beginning. So I wanted to refresh that.

So last night was my first lesson. In 1/2 hour I learned all these things that I am doing wrong with my freestyle:

  1. Kicking under the water instead of making a splash
  2. Kicking from the knee sometimes instead of kicking from the hip
  3. Taking 3 strokes, then 4 strokes to breathe (this alone could wreck havoc with my endurance)--I was doing this so I only breathed from my right side
  4. Only breathing from one side
  5. Lifting my head forward after taking a breath (so I've been turning my head to breathe then facing forward)
  6. Not looking straight down while swimming
  7. Not rolling enough to breathe--using my neck more (my instructor didn't tell me this, but hubby did as he watched me practing all my new techniques this AM)
Despite the fact that it looks like I was doing lots of things wrong, he said I had a good foundation and balance and positoning. And, I'm encouraged because once I correct and master these elements, I should have a way more effiecient stroke that helps me breathe more properly and move more properly--thus expanding my endurance!

But I will tell you, he ran through the above pretty quickly and had me trying to make all the corrections at once! It was like rubbing my head and patting my tummy. I found myself gulping in water and spitting and sputtering in ways I haven't done in years!

I have to say I feel like I can tell the difference in kicking already--not only speeding me up in the water but with a mile soreness on the outside of my thighs. And laying in bed this AM as goofy as it sounds, I felt a bit longer.

I'm looking forward to having all these things get engrained. I think swimming laps could feel meditative. . .

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Need Some Sugar in My Bowl--I Ain't Fooling


If you have the sound on on your computer, you're hearing Nina Simone singing Little Sugar in My Bowl.

Right now this song is  metaphor for my life. I am just not getting fed enough from any angle. . .

I need some sugar in my bowl at work in terms of more recognition.
I need some sugar in my bowl at home with more loving kindness and just plain ole loving from Hubby.
I need some sugar in my bowl at the gym--more of those initial high feelings and more recognizable results.
I need some sugar in my bowl literally--just craving those darn sweets!
I need some sugar in my bowl in terms of self-care and self-love and knowing how to keep myself boosted and less needing the attention, feedback, and love from others.

I feel so funny; I feel so sad.

But I'm sure this too shall pass.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Week #7: Perfect 10 Goals Update


Week #7 for My Goals for the First 10 Weeks of 2010

It's the end of week 6 of Steve's Perfect 10 Challenge, which is a 10 week challenge to make progress on 10 goals.
The Perfect 10 guidelines include updating every Friday on how you're doing.

  1. Plan out my weekly menu in advance and preferably use it to grocery shop (weekly menu comes from new Eating Well Diet cookbook or site, SparkPeople, Weight Watchers, or other healthy meals); meals should equal ~1500 calories a day
    • How I did: Well. . . I made the effort to PLAN it and post it on the fridge and that was as far as I got! Dinner plans tanked again. . . but i managed to stay mostly in check anyway.

  2. Use one weekend day (or an weekday evening night) to cook ahead--soups for lunches, veggies for the week, and perhaps 1 dinner entree.
    • How I did: I made chili over the weekend so I had that leftover for lunch one day. And another day I brought cabbage roll casserole that I had frozne frozen from another week.
  3. Plan 2 nights a week where dinner is easy--like hummus & veggies, a vegggie burger or other quick sandwich
    • How I did: Already talked about how my planning tanked. This week I will WRITE down what I eat on my calendar on the nights I divert from my plans.
  4. Pack my lunches most days and eat the lunch I packed.
    • How I did: Excellent! On Tuesday I took an employee to lunch, but I did good--ordering a salad with shrimp and a side of asparagus. Talked about lunches for 2 other days under #2 and on the other 2 days  I was at home for lunch.
  5. Get up 4-6 days a week with Hubby to swim at the gym, and keep increasing the intensity each week. [Modified week 2 to be get up to do cardio--but not necessarily swim]
    • How I did: Fantastic! Monday was a holidaybut Hubby & I got up to meet with our trainer at 6:30, then did 25 minutes of cardio (I did elliptical and recumbant bike) and 30 minutes of swimming. On Tuesday we did cardio & swimming.  And today (Sat.) we swam.
  6. Learn the breast stroke.
    • How I did: I don't feel like I'm getting much forward motion with my current approach. . I'm going to look at the videos I have again and will at least check out adult swimming lessons per advice from Mid Life Swimmer. I wonder if I could get someone to meet me at my gym?
  7. Work out with Hubby & trainer two times a week
    • How I did: BETTER THAN GOAL! For our 4th week, we did 3 sessions with Trainer Ray: Monday, Thursday, Friday.
  8. Ride the recumbant bike at least 2x a week and increase time at least every two weeks
    • How I did: As I've mentioned before, I've adapted this goal for just regular cario training. I did cardio every day but Thursday. The BIG success was that Hubby had a doc's appt on Weds AM but I got up anyway and went the gym alone and had my first 30 min session on the elliptical. I ROCK.
  9. Start going to church with Hubby and actively look for friends
    • How I did: Same as last week: I had no excuse for not going last week--Hubby even went without me. The plan is to go tomorrow.
  10. Make a point to be aware of and challenge negative thinking
    • How I did: Had a tough week. Had a nasty run-in with a colleague at work on Tuesday which frankly knocked me on my ass so much that I chose to work at home on Weds. Managed to pull myself together after my PhD appt on Weds. evening and reinforced the positive energies by talking with my boss about it.
Another Thrilling Secret About Me


I couldn't pronounce the letter "r" when I was a kid. I'd say my favorite color was "puwple," Easter had "wabbits," we had a yellow "caw." My parents thought it was cute and would make me say things in front of their friends and I'd cry from embarrassment. I was in speech therapy through school in second grade with a nasty woman who would push my cheeks together. It seems like I was in it again somewhere I don't quite recall. Then, I was in speech therapy again in 4th grade. I remember the humiliation of going throught the tests and getting chosen, and I remember the embarrassment of having to leave class to go to the therapy.

But luckily for me the speech therapist that time was superb. She had all these clever games that she used to encourage us to say our sounds. And she explained how our sounds were made--how we had to hold our tongues to make them--instead of poking as us or pinching us. I was the first to graduate from her group. I wept at having to leave her. And it turned out to be the first major success I had as a student. . . my first major sense of standing out and succeeeding.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Are You De-Evolving From Exercise?

You know how sometimes people say it's going to get worse before it gets better? Well sometimes I think that might be true when it comes to exercise.

Tell me, doesn't this seem like some kind of reverse evolution?

First, there's the nocturnal stirring--arising before sunrise. Followed by the crude AM workout apparel--definitely not the cutting-edge fashion and style of a modern woman--clothes that you normally would never leave the house in--a low-hanging crotch but high on the ankle. . .don't you think flood pants make your arms look longer. . . even chimplike perhaps? And don't forget the unruly bed head that no amount of brushing helps.

Next,  there's the sweat. . . what sophisticated woman creates a bib of sweat ? Not to mention the soaking wet bra and the dampened band around the underwear and leaving wet head marks on each machine she climbs on, swinging her legs over, or under, pulling herself up for the next machine--not unlike swinging from vine to vine.


And the chugging of a bottle of water in 4 desperate gulps. . .

Staring at a clock so intently that a bystander would think you'd never seen such an innovation. . .

Finally, there's the post workout stiffness. After sitting a bit, the muscles and joints cramp up so that standing results in hardly more than a stoop, made more crude by an accompanying gorilla's grunt. . .

The turnaround comes as you take the modern miracle--NSAIDS--and drop your weary body into bed early, to rejuveate . .  .so  the next morning you can arise, stand upright, and start it all again!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wild & Wacky Wednesday


A few random things that have struck me as silly recently. . . some of them have obviously been around for awhile. . . but they are all new to me.

#1 Wackiness: Bee Efficiency Beats Vee Effiency
If you compare how well a bee uses its fuel--honey--compared to how well a car (and specifically a Volkswagon) uses gas, there is obviously no comparison. According to a scientist who actually gets paid to do this this work, in a comparitive framework, a bee would get 4,704,280 miles/gallon. Now tell me, aren't you just dying to know how they calculated this? Here's the scoop from the NPR story :
"Experimenters take a bee, give it all the honey it can eat and then tether it to a pole. (This neither harms nor seems to disturb the bee.) It then flies round and round until, basically, it runs out of fuel. The pole measures the distance flown by the rotating bee. Because the experimenter now knows how far a bee can travel on a bee-belly of fuel, you scale up to imagine how far it would go if it had a gallon-sized belly. That's how you calculate Bee Miles Per Gallon. "
If you want to hear the full story, with a great "bee" song by none other than Muddy Waters, you can listen to the How Bees Humiliate Humans--click the listen link at the top. Then, you can hear my favorite line from the story: "Ummmm, if you could introduce me as the International Coordinator for the Pollinator Partnership." If that job doesn't excite you perhaps you want to be the person who tethers bees?

Perhaps my mom should apply. . . my mom tethered a praying mantis once--I kid you not--it was our pet and she thought it looked sickly so she tied it to the porch so it could eat grass (sadly, they are carnivores)--my sister and I ran outside to retrieve and found a red thread tied to the porch and dangling in the wind. . .

#2 Wackiness: Kids Get a Lift at Mardi Gras Parades
A friend of mine went to Mardi Gras last weekend. I've never been so I did not know of the prolific ladder lifting devices they use to raise children to the heights of tossed beads. Various homemade devices have some kind of "box" at the top, with attahed wheels, I suppose for easier toting to the parade site. I had no trouble finding pictures online once I knew these things existed.


Seems a little teetering to me. . . but then again I broke my wrist falling off a little one step stool. . . shouldn't these kids be wearing helmets? At the least catcher's masks?? And wouldn't this make you nuts if you were suddenly standing behind an 8 ft tall 2 year old??

#3 Wackiness: Pet Rapture Insurance
No, I don't mean insurance for prehistoric pet rapTORS. . .I refer instead to insurance for those Christians waiting for THE rapture and who also happen to have pets. According to Christian sources, pets have no souls and therefore will not be taken to heaven at the time of judgement.

So what is a pet loving Christian to do?

The answer: get rapture insurance. For a mere $110, and only $15  for additional pets, Christians can leave this earth feeling assured that Fluffy and Spot will be taken care of after their departure.

Oh, did we mention they'll be leaving their beloved dears with a SINNER--not just ANY sinner but the sinner of the worst kind--a nonbelieving SINNER--a self-declared atheist. I am not making this up. 
"He (the insurance broker) must reassure the Rapture crowd that his pet rescuers are wicked enough to be left behind but good enough to take proper care of the abandoned pets. Rescuers must sign an affidavit to affirm their disbelief in God—and they must also clear a criminal background check."
I saw the story in the Atlanta Journal & Constitution just yesterday, though apparently it's been around for a at least a year--maybe that's why the sinking AJC didn't post the story online yesterday. . . I had to find it on a Businessweek site.  

The last line of the story is priceless:

"If we thought the Rapture was really going to happen," Centre says, "obviously our rate structure would be much higher."


Wackiness #4: iPod, iPhone, IPad. . . iTit

Ok, I got this in an e-mail just yesterday too, though apparently it's also been around for awhile. . . I found reference to it since 2007!

Apple Computer announced today that it has developed a computer chip that can store and play high fidelity music in women’s breast implants.

The iTit will cost $499 or $599 depending on speaker size . This is considered to be a major breakthrough because women have always complained about men staring at their breasts and not listening to them.
If this were true, all those waitresses in Tilted Kilt & Hooters would have theirs tuned to sports radio . . . bring on the tips!











Monday, February 15, 2010

Three Types of Bucket Lists


You know what a bucket list is, right? One of those lists you make of things you want to do before you die.

The thing is when you read about creating one or hear people talking about it. They often will put these 3 suggestions together as tips for creating one:
  1. Think of things you want to do before you die
  2. Think of things that you'd feel disappointed about if you died before you got to do them,  and
  3. Think of what you'd do if you were going to die tomorrow or soon
Well, I'm sorry. But to me these would lead to 3 entirely different types of lists. The first one feels plush with time. You can put all kinds of things there--see New Zealand, snorkle off the Great Barrier Reef. . . get to a healthy weight and stay there, wear a strapless dress someplace fancy, grow really tasty tomatoes.

And the 2nd leads me to think of dreams you have--potentials yet unclaimed--like publishing fiction or helping fat kids feel OK about themselves. It also makes me think of people I love and who I can't get enough of--helping my hubby meet his dreams. Spending more time with a favorite Aunt and Uncle. Learning to play the guitar so I could play with him. Regret that I didn't have more friends to spend time with and enjoy--laugh with, help out when they are busy or down, play games with, share in their kids' lives.

Lucky for me, I don't harbor resentments nor am I estranged from anyone so I don't need resolve issues like that. I am close to both my parents and my sister and my in-laws.

The 2nd list--feeling disappointed--also makes me think of more immediate plans I'd want to fllow through on--like my goal of going to Acadia & biking & canoeing. Seeing if I can get promoted at work. . .:)

But the third one's sense of urgency leads to a whole different kind of list. If I KNEW I was dying in a few days, I'd think to hell with the goal weight thing. I'd make myself the most decadently delicious hot fudge sundae loaded with all kinds of roasted nuts and homemade whipped cream and extra cherries. And then I'd think about the things that would give me comfort and intensify my feelings about life and living before I left it. I certainly wouldn't spend that time on a crowded airplane to go to New Zealand.

When  I think about that, I think of things like this to fit into a the limited time left: hold more babies, especially as they fall asleep and are sleeping, they feel so warm and soft against your chest and the rhythm of their breath is so soothing; play with more puppies, letting them romp around and climb on me and feeling their puppy bloated bellies; swim in more ponds or lakes--feeling the naturally heated and cool areas, looking up at trees, hearing birds sing; make love more with my husband, losing myself in the moment, focusing on our breathing, transcending to new level of connection; spending more time outside, feeling the breeze, hearing birds, smelling dirt and flowers, and waving at people as they come by to add a little smile to their day.

What about you?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Quiet Corner of the World


There are so many exciting things happening the world right now.

Vancouver has the olympics.

New Orleans has Mardi gras


There's Chinese New Year



And of course, Valentine's Day


But in my neck of the woods, it's been more like this:

I just moved from one napping place to another. . . hope that doesn't mean I'll be up all night.

(Jo: I picked the 2 kitties for you  & your big heart.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Week #6: My Goals for the First 10 Weeks of 2010 Perfect 10 Challenge


Week #6  for My Goals for the First 10 Weeks of 2010

It's the end of week 6 of Steve's Perfect 10 Challenge, which is a 10 week challenge to make progress on 10 goals. Sadly, Steve's father died this week. Please keep he and his family in your thoughts during this time of loss.

The Perfect 10 guidelines include updating every Friday on how you're doing.

  1. Plan out my weekly menu in advance and preferably use it to grocery shop (weekly menu comes from new Eating Well Diet cookbook or site, SparkPeople, Weight Watchers, or other healthy meals); meals should equal ~1500 calories a day
    • How I did: Much better this week! We managed to only balk on one dinner that we'd planned because Hubby thought I'd had turkey breast defrosted for too long and wouldn't use it.
  2. Use one weekend day (or an weekday evening night) to cook ahead--soups for lunches, veggies for the week, and perhaps 1 dinner entree.
    • How I did: Really well! Last weekend I cooked ahead these things: baked eggplant for Monday's dinner: Eggplant rounds with sauce and a bit of cheese over pasta; okra succotash and halved a chicken breast on it for 2 lunches; cut up carrots, peppers, & celery and put in baggies to have for lunches; roasted carrots & parsnips.
  3.  Plan 2 nights a week where dinner is easy--like hummus & veggies, a vegggie burger or other quick sandwich
    • How I did: Not bad. . . last night I had planned hummus & veggies and  threw in a grilled ham & cheese; the eggplant dinner above was easy because of the prep; tonight we are having baked potatoes with broccoli & bacon & blue cheese.
  4. Pack my lunches most days and eat the lunch I packed.
    • How I did: Excellent! Had the precooked okra/chicken dish 2 days, brought a frozen Indian dinner one day, and had the chicken sandwich & the apple from a boxed lunch at a meeting one day but gave away the chips and the cookie (brought my own 100 calorie baked cheetos)--I amaze myself1
  5. Get up 4-6 days a week with Hubby to swim at the gym, and keep increasing the intensity each week. [Modified week 2 to be get up to do cardio--but not necessarily swim]
    • How I did: I did not swim at all this week. We usually swim on Tues. AMs but I had a meeting I had to be at work early for so we only did cardio. I could have gone to the pool on Weds. but I kept my lazy butt in bed. Plan to swim this weekend and hopefully Monday too since it's a holiday. . . as long as Atlanta doesn't get much snow!
  6. Learn the breast stroke.
    • How I did: Have not practiced this week, but am feeling pretty good about my progress on this.
  7. Work out with Hubby & trainer two times a week
    • How I did: Our third week with 3 sessions! Worked out with Trainer Ray on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Today's new addition was dribbling the basketball a bit. I do think think I have touched a basketball since about 9th grade. I made about 5 attempts to make a basket. I got one! On Monday, I had a miracle cure workout. I'd been taking Advil all day for my shoulder, but we did a back workout that used my shoulder alot and it miraculously stopped hurting completely!
  8. Ride the recumbant bike at least 2x a week and increase time at least every two weeks
    • How I did: Still am leaning toward the elliptical, but I did ride the recumbant for 10 or 12 minutes one day.
  9. Start going to church with Hubby and actively look for friends
    • How I did: I had no excuse for not going last week--Hubby even went without me.
  10. Make a point to be aware of and challenge negative thinking
    • How I did: Much better than last week. I shared some of my anxieties with Hubby and PhD., which helped. And I am feeling good and energetic, which always helps! It's been a really really busy time at work and I haven't had time to blog much as I've worked from home some evenings, but I'm not beating myself up about it!

Another Thrilling Secret About Me
I'm a big chicken. I do not like being scared at all. I refuse to watch scary movies. I don't even like the previews of scary movies. When I was a kid and they showed previews of The Exorcist on TV, I'd close my eyes, cover my ears, and scream for someone to come turn the channel! The more realistic it is--the more likely it is to happen--like someone breaking in a house or the killer in the basement--the less likely I am to watch it. I can take a monster eating Manhattan. And I'm less scared if there is no sound. The sound effects do me in.

I hated that I was afraid when I was a kid because my dad & sister watched all those Sat. night horror shows (What were they called? Chiller? Tales from the Crypt?) together and I was jeolous and wanted to be with them. . . but too afraid to join their circle!

Along with this fear. . . I'm still not overly keen on being alone--especially overnight. I have to work really hard to keep my imagination in check.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Week #5: My Goals for the First 10 Weeks of 2010


Week #5 for My Goals for the First 10 Weeks of 2010

Wow! I realize we are half way through the timespan on Steve's Perfect 10 Challenge, which is a 10 week challenge to make progress on 10 goals. The guidelines include updating every Friday on how you're doing. I'm late this week. . . but here are my goals and my status.


  1. Plan out my weekly menu in advance and preferably use it to grocery shop (weekly menu comes from new Eating Well Diet cookbook or site, SparkPeople, Weight Watchers, or other healthy meals); meals should equal ~1500 calories a day
    • How I did: I failed to plan this week in advance. Didn't shop until Tuesday and was left floundering. It led to my epiphany about how necessary meal plans are to me.

  2. Use one weekend day (or an weekday evening night) to cook ahead--soups for lunches, veggies for the week, and perhaps 1 dinner entree.
    • How I did: Early in the week I did make a cabbage roll casserole (no rolls just the ingredient). It was good and provided dinner one night and 2 lunches. 
  3.  Plan 2 nights a week where dinner is easy--like hummus & veggies, a vegggie burger or other quick sandwich
    • How I did: As mentioned the planning was close to the event. We did have baked potatoes with steamed broccoli and a slice of Swiss cheese torn to melt on it. Tasty! Our stand by fast meal has been whole wheat pasta with jarred sauce--some mushrooms thrown in. Another night we boiled some froze perogies and ate them with sauteed mushrooms, onions, & spinach.
  4. Pack my lunches most days and eat the lunch I packed.
    • How I did: I'm proud to say I made this work despite my lack of initial planning. One day I even ate my back up emergency can of soup on my desk..
  5. Get up 4-6 days a week with Hubby to swim at the gym, and keep increasing the intensity each week. [Modified week 2 to be get up to do cardio--but not necessarily swim]
    • How I did: We swam on Tuesday AM after doing an elliptcal workout (Treadmill for Hubby). It felt divine. That was the only day we swam. (Plan to get to the pool tomorrow). But we were at the gym every morning except Weds.
  6. Learn the breast stroke.
    • How I did: Practiced on this this week--on Sat. & Tues.
  7. Work out with Hubby & trainer two times a week
    • How I did: Our second week with 3 sessions. Worked out with Trainer Ray on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. (The woman who trained with us last week and who was supposed to keep joining us was MIA all this week.)
  8. Ride the recumbant bike at least 2x a week and increase time at least every two weeks
    • How I did: No bike this week since the elliptical burns more calories.
  9. Start going to church with Hubby and actively look for friends
    • How I did: Didn't go to church last Sunday but looked at start times and made a plan to go tomorrw.
  10. Make a point to be aware of and challenge negative thinking
    • How I did: Not a good week for me. Had a rough hormonal time that didn't ease up until about Thursday. Still, made the decision to only weigh every other week (which was in response to very negative thinking about the scale) and redirected my focus about meal planning. So I think this is good.
Another Thrilling Secret About Me

Until I stayed at a friend's house in Cape Cod, my only experience with outdoor showers was with showers on the beach in Pensacola. Those showers were thin poles erected in about a 5 x 5 block of concrete, covered with a layer of wet sand. Their purpose was to attempt to wash the sand off you before going to your car. That was practically impossible, given that you had to walk through sand (or sand covered sidewalks) directly after showering. And I remember my mom wanting me and my sister to go ahead and strip to get the sand off us and step into clean shorts--long after I had the innocent obliviousness about being naked in public. Given that experience, I didn't understand all the hoo ha of the New Englanders/Cape Cod lovers who went on and on about outdoor showers on the Cape. Until I took one.

Those Cape showers weren't on the beach. At our friend's, it was a shower in the backyard of a plain little 3 bedroom house ~2 blocks from the beach. It looked simple enough--a shower head coming out of the back of the house. A small concrete pad with a drain. But it was private. The concrete surrounded by wooden walls. A handy soap dish hanging on the inside. You stepped out of the sliding glass doors, walked on some concrete stepping stones to the shower--in your robe.

And then you took your shower--all naked, but sheltered, looking up at the blue sky above and the leaves. And even threads of a spider web in the corner above. The breeze rustled against your skin. It was amazingly refreshing. Once was all I needed to long for an outdoor shower of my own. GA would be the perfect place for one since it's warm so much of the year. Imagine showering outdoors on an August night under the stars, hearing the crickets. Heavenly.

There's a great Bailey White story about her Mama taking a bath on the front porch and trying to stay immobilized so she wouldn't be noticed when hundreds of bikers come out of the woods on a country tour. We don't live in deep enough conntry to have a tub on the porch! (Our Homeowner's Assn would likely freak out!) But the idea always appealed to me. Bathing on the porch with hanging pots nearby and the sound of wind chimes along with birds singing. Doesn't it seem romantic?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Meal Planning Epiphany


One of my goals since the first of the year has been to plan meals for the week over the weekend and shop accordingly. I have this extra large sticky memo pad with a weekly calendar on it that I write my planned meals on and stick it on the fridge. Hi tech.

Last weekend I didn't plan out my meals. It's not the first time I haven't done this when I said I would. But it is the first time this year with my rekindled enthusiasm and focus and time back in the gym working with Trainer Ray and Hubby.

At the beginning of the week I felt the usual self pity and self hatred and annoyance for not planning. I managed to eat my typical lunches and did OK on dinners. .  but I threw in a few random and a tad over-the-top snacks (like I'd make a smoothie--an ok snack--but I'd toss in just a bit of coconut and just a few peanuts and a healthy, unmeasured pour of chocolate malt--to turn it into a not OK snack.)

Then yesterday--Wednesday--it finally hit me. Moving through the week without a meal plan is like me trying to find my way around without my GPS. You may not know this about me, but I am hopeless when it comes to having a natural sense of direction. I just get more and more lost and more and more panicked. I recently got lost--with my GPS on. I knew it was taking me the wrong way because I was heading away from town. But I also knew that eventually it would correct itself and turn me around. I called into work saying I was running late from my appointment. And I said to a colleague, "Do you know the difference between me getting lost with a GPS versus me getting lost without a GPS?"

"What?" she said.

And I said, "With a GPS, I'm not crying."

And so it goes with a meal plan, my map for the week. I feel uncomfortable many times with my size and my eating desires and habits. I feel this discomfort sometimes even when I am trying very hard to eat the healthy way. But a meal plan puts me on track. It's the difference between whirling around corners anchored to the rails of a roller coaster and whirling around the corner in an out-of-control car. In both cases, you might have the same physical reaction--a quick sense of heat, the rise of hair on your arms and neck, an involuntary squeal--but in one instance you feel out of control and in danger, unsure of what will happen next--and fast. And in the other case, you are safely tethered; you know you will follow the rails around the next corner and up and down the upcoming hills, feeling your stomach lurch and the angst rise--and just when you feel afraid, you remind yourself that you're on a track, so you can just relax through the sensations and thrill and experience the ride.

And that is how my meal plan works for me. When I feel out of control or angst ridden, unsure of myself, I can look to my meal plan--the steady path that will lead me to a calm end of the week. So I can exit it delighted, sure footed, and anxious to race to the beginning all over again.

Creating my meal plan isn't a chore, it's a gift, functioning like a safety net, a set of dance steps on the ground, a sheet of music, allowing me to progress gracefully without too many misteps or dischords until I am skilled enough to solo, and finally to improvise.