Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-In

Nothing too far one way or the other this week, I'd say. My eating wasn't great, nor terrible. I got a little exercise, but not much. I did do two miles on the treadmill during Reid's swim lesson on Monday. This was somewhat revolutionary in that I have always told myself I don't have time to work out during his lesson. But really, Reid went to the pool and I went to the cardio room. I was able to watch him, in little glimpses, from the windows overlooking the pool.

Side note: mostly what I saw him doing as he reached the end of the pool (the only part I could see from my vantage) was look around for me. Oops. This was a very spur of the moment work out, and I had dropped him off at the door with his sister before parking. She went up to work out and I thought, "Hey, I can do that!" Not the best parental communication. But, typical of my lone wolf youngest, he just swam his little heart out, got to the end of the pool, looked around for me, and kept swimming. My Alli would have gotten out of the pool and waited for me. My Blake would have gotten out of the pool, searched the building and called 911 when he didn't find me right away. But Reid? "Eh. She'll be back." And about a third of they way through his lesson, I saw him have a moment of "I'm sure she's not upstairs working out - she doesn't do THAT anymore - but I'll look up, anyway..." and he saw me furiously waving at him from the treadmill high above. The Case of the Disappearing Mother: solved.

Okay, so I did two miles in 24 minutes during lessons, a mixture of walking, brisk walking and running. Umm, I should have done more walking, as while the running felt GREAT, I pulled and overstretched all sorts of leg muscles that have been dormant since October or so. I have been paying the price since then, but my plan is to get back on that ole dreadmill tonight during his lesson again. (This time I'll tell him where I'm going.)

Because body image is all about the mental aspect of "if you are being good, you feel good, and if you are being bad, you feel bad..." I liked what I saw when I checked myself out in the locker room mirrors. Hey, good looking! You still got it!

The next day, yesterday, I skipped lunch with friends because my thighs were so fat, it would be a terrible embarrassment to take them out in public.

The lesson I am trying to take from this is that when I am exercising regularly, I feel ridiculously good about my body. It felt GREAT to run on the treadmill - really, much too fast for me, but really great, nonetheless. I was a rock star in my own mind. Immediately after, I saw X's aunt at the drug store - I haven't seen her since the divorce or my weight loss. She said all sorts of nice things about how I looked, and I felt them all.

Twenty-four minutes. That's all it took to make me feel so awesome. I wore the clothes I wore to work. No fancy running shoes, just my tennies. (Oops, don't do that again, I got a blister, too.) But the effects were short-lived! Barely eighteen hours later and I was fat-shaming myself and eating a brownie because I wanted to feel better and I had already destroyed my body, so what does one more brownie hurt?

Julieeeeeee, you are so know all the things about what you need to do know what it feels like to feel good and bad, skinny and fat, healthy and sloth. You know how to eat and exercise. Doooooooooooooooooo iiiiitttttttt.

Oh, here's the scale. Well, I held my own, anyway.

I swear I hold the phone the same way every time,
but it's a mystery what orientation the photos will pop in here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday Weigh - In: Breaking Point

Ugh, I am fighting depression, hard. What happens to me, physiologically, this time of year? The weather in Seattle has been very cold but sunny. I expect I'm not getting enough light, but it doesn't seem like I'm being shortchanged *that* much!

A very tough week at home, and a very overwhelming couple of weeks at work as I've filled in for my boss. For the first time in the longest time at work, I was utterly stymied with how to complete a project. What a bad feeling that was! My eight year old, Reid, has been very uber-challenging lately, while at the same time making huge strides at school. Greg's mom went into the hospital unexpectedly with heart problems and he has been down in Oregon with her all week. He and I are not doing great right now. Well, he and I are fine, but he continues to struggle with some aspects of living with kids, and I am torn between the realities of there being some improvements we can make, but mostly, kids are kids. These are very, very good kids, but they are definitely kids. It's a take or leave situation. (I assured him, though, that if he leaves, I will never take his call again. There will be no Greg v3.0, haha.)

2014 looms ahead, and I wonder what the New Year will bring us?

I had a bad episode of binge eating on Monday night. It was the weirdest thing, although not anything I haven't experienced before. I took a muscle relaxant before bed as I was having a rare occurrence of back pain. The pill kicked in and in a semi-sleeping state, I chowed down on nearly a whole bag of potato chips and I don't remember what else. I used to take ambien and especially back last January when I hurt my jaw, I was taking these muscle relaxants regularly. For whatever reason, both medications (if taken around bed time, in the case of the muscle relaxants) trigger binge eating in me. Night time eating has always been my biggest downfall. It's interesting that with Greg in the house, I rarely, if ever, munch at night. And as soon as he left the house, the beast was unleashed, hahaha.

It's been a very bad eating week, actually. I started off strong, but a night out with the girls to dinner and a movie on Friday, followed by a very bad Sunday at home, followed by Greg being out of town...well, things fell apart quickly. Wheat thins, potato chips (which I *never* crave), Lindt truffles, and pepperoni sticks were my nemeses of choice.

Okay. What needs to be done here is a pulling oneself up by one's boot straps. Soldier on. While I am feeling very whiny about my life, there's not actually much to whine about. It's a combination of my struggles with this time of year, my generally melodramatic ways and overly active imagination, and life. Not a bad life, just life.

Today, I wore fake Uggs (thank you Grocery Outlet for your $9.99 fake Uggs that my daughter was begging me to give her, haha) with my yoga pants and hoodie. Sabrina, whom you may remember is in charge of my regirlification, saw the Uggs and said, "I'm giving you to the end of the year to turn this around. No more yoga pants, no more bedroom slippers. I want to see Pretty Julie again. I have been very patient." Haha, she is right. I have been slumming it more and more. My hair is a mess (growing out those damn bangs, remember). My clothes don't fit. All my beautiful tall boots - won't fit over my fat calves.

Pulling myself out of the slump - without hard work and concentrated effort, I know it only gets worse from here, not better. This isn't something I can just wait for it to pass, unfortunately.

So, all this a long prelude to here's a picture from the ufcking scale this morning:

And just to end things on a positive note, here's a picture of the sunrise out my office window this morning. It was glorious!

You could hear the angels playing their harps, I swear.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Accountability - Food Tracking

Making myself get on the scale and post my weight here each week will do worlds for my accountability. Already, even though I have not seen good results on the scale, haha, I am thinking about that scale photo often during the week.

I've taken another small step toward accountability and hopefully weight loss success. I re-installed that darn MyFitnessPal app on my phone, and I logged in online. Updated my weight, logged my breakfast this morning. Deleted all my "friends" - this was a big part of why I didn't like the app. I hated getting the notifications "so and so hasn't logged in for three days - they might need encouragement." I hated my notifications going out to everyone else. It was NOT motivating for me. Somehow, I was sure I could turn these off, but I never bothered to look. :) I changed my own settings, and by deleting my friend list (none of whom had logged in for months, anyway), I think I've gotten it down to the bare bones "track my food, exercise and weight" that I need it to be.

To successfully lose weight and maintain weight loss, I will probably have to consistently track my eating. I almost wrote "forever," but that gave me an instantly very depressing feeling. :( I hate food tracking with a purple passion. And yet, therein lies success, doesn't it?? Honesty. Acknowledgement of what I'm eating. The pounds slip back on when I allow myself to think "oh, I mostly eat very well." Lies! Damnable lies! :)

I eat tootsie rolls. Peppermint patties. Hershey's Kisses. These are all what's available in my coworker friend's candy jar right now, haha. Mini pretzels. When in my life did I ever eat mini pretzels, and now they are like food from the gods. Deep sigh.

Since Greg and I have been back together, I have gotten into his practical and frugal habit of bringing my lunch nearly every day. The problem? I think I am hungry in the morning, and usually find myself eating my lunch before 10 a.m.! Then I buy lunch! Ack! Counter-productive!! I am eating and spending much more than I otherwise would.

Yesterday, I had the brilliant idea that I cannot bring lunch from home anymore. If the food is not available, I won't eat it, right? And because it takes me a little while to get there, my later thoughts were, "Wait, I could bring lunch and not eat it before lunch time..." which was followed by the argument, "But it's right there, and I am hungry..." to which I countered, "You could put your lunch in the break room fridge and not allow yourself to eat it before lunch." Checkmate. I am soooo smart, sometimes even I am astounded, haha. Yes, usually I keep my lunch right at my desk so anytime my tummy says, "grumble," I am ready and able to stuff my gob.

Today's lunch is in the break room fridge. :) I will not starve to death, even though my tummy has already said I will.

As part of my reacquaintance with MyFitnessPal, I updated my profile picture there. Well, sort of updated. I used a cropped version of this picture, from when I felt great about my weight and body. Not about my saggy tummy skin, haha, but I felt great at this size. Everything worked. Incidentally, I also felt great about Greg's weight at that time, hahaha. I emailed him the picture this morning and maybe he will be inspired to remember that weight. I'd say we're both up 20 pounds from this time back in April 2012.

Motivating picture.
This is the other photo I'm using to motivate myself. It's not a great picture of either of us (as you can't tell who it is, haha), but look how TINY I am. It's also from April 2012, I was about 140 pounds.

I reached my goal weight on 7/31/'s a pic. Here's also one from what I want the scale to say again. :)

Goal weight day! 

Alright, I see where I ufcked up. Let's just get this train back on the rails and get moving again. This wasn't that long ago, I can get back here again!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-in: Week Three

When I first got on the scale this morning, I thought my weight held steady this week, but I see that is not the case. Regardless, we're going to call it a win "not loss" because a) it was Thanksgiving Week and I did have two full Thanksgiving dinners, b) the very last thing in the world I wanted to do this morning was get on the scale post a picture of my weight here, but I did it anyway, and c) I have been under a tremendous amount of stress at home with my children and my X (admittedly, some of this stress is self-imposed, haha. Oh, and d) due to this stress and Kim's birthday, I sort of fell into a bottle of wine on Sunday night and drank more than I have in a very long time while we sat on the phone for over an hour laughing and talking. I drank enough that every time I open the fridge and see the remaining wine, my lip spontaneously curls into a sneer, like my old dog Harley did every time you showed him a bottle of Bitter Apple spray. As Greg says, "little people can't drink big bottles of wine." Duly noted, sir.

This is how wine makes me feel. And the scale, too.

Alright, let's just be done with it. Here's my weight for the week:

Apparently, we will always have to turn our heads sideways to see my weight on the blog.
No matter which way I rotate the picture, this is the way it posts, haha.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Weigh-In (Urgh. Blech. Retch.)

Oh fine, whatever. Whatever. Jeez.

In my defense My excuses for the week are that we had early Thanksgiving at my parents' on Sunday. I made three pies. Last night I drank way too much wine and maybe I was bloaty.

Mostly, though, I am not exercising and my eating sucks.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The First Step is the Hardest

Ugh, I made myself get on the scale this morning. With a camera in my hand, even! I have been avoiding the scale for weeks now...months, even. I had weighed myself probably three weeks ago and told myself I would weigh myself again "after I've been eating well for a few days."

Well, you know how that goes. My clothes get more and more uncomfortable, I get more and more sad and frustrated, and wah-lah, the scale grows dusty in the bathroom corner.

I'm also calling to make an appointment with my GYN. I was complaining to a friend that I think I'm pre-menopausal (at 43??). I have been getting my damn period (or "flowers," as I have been thinking of it, since I've been reading a fictional book about the life of Josephine Bonaparte, and that's how they refer to it) every two weeks for months now. Blech. My smart friend suggested that perhaps this was worth checking out with a doctor. I will, but I hope it doesn't rob me of my excuse for sitting at her desk scarfing tootsie rolls out of her candy bowl all afternoon! Mmmm, chocolate... 

You may recall that quite some time ago, I had a uterine ablation to deliver a cease and desist order to my overactive uterine lining. It failed, apparently. :) My periods are quite light, but still there, and ever so frequent.

I'm stalling. Who wants to pull up that nasty a$$ picture and look at that ugly number again, bah.

Okay, here goes. Ufck. Pardon my French.

No amount of file manipulation will let me rotate this picture. 
Shake it off. I'm confronting the problem, and the hardest part was getting back on that damn scale. I'll post weekly weigh-in pictures moving forward. I got this.

Tomorrow I'll write a bit about my plan to turn this around. It goes beyond bitching and moaning, haha.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Accountability - Putting it out there

Ack! Things are falling apart here, and I am facing my own demons, realizing the path I am on is a familiar one when it comes to stress, laziness, boredom, and the onset of winter. :)

Thank you, Sheila at This One Body for checking in on me. I have probably a half dozen "draft" blog entries written that I never finished and thus, never posted. I should just start writing shorter blog entries, haha.

Let's see. I have been gaining a lot of weight. Who would have thought this would be possible for me to allow myself to do this, after going through weight loss surgery and very expensive tummy tuck plastic surgery? I am very disappointed in myself.

- G is a phenomenal cook who has been home from work for awhile, following knee surgery. Every dinner is on par with Thanksgiving dinner, it seems like.
- Have I ever, ever, ever told you how much I hate winter? Cold and wet are insufferable to me. And lady, we're just getting started!
- X and I have been battling a fair amount over joint custody issues. We're not really *battling,* I suppose, but we are both struggling and it is really hard and stressful. This is the first time in the four years since we split that I have consulted an attorney.
- I am lazy. I need to find a winter pasttime, because I do not want to do anything outside (unless it is sunny and I am guaranteed not to get cold).
- I realize, and accept, that for me to be really engaged in activity, I need a "spark plug." When I was with Mr. W, I would have toughed out bike riding in the crummy weather. I have always been sure that if I had a local running buddy, I would get more running done.
- I have all but given up on pushing my daughter to work out. She is busy with her first year in high school, her first regular babysitting gig, her debate club practices, volunteering, etc. And, like me, she doesn't prioritize exercise all that high. She needs a spark plug, too, but I am not that spark plug.

Meh. It will all work out. I am trying to work up the courage to do like one of my other favorite blogs, Runs for Cookies, and post a weekly weigh-in photo. It appears to be the only way I'll get myself on that friggin' scale. I haven't been on it in probably three weeks, and now I am too skeered. My clothes are all so damn tight, too. Bah.

Whine, whine, whine. I am struggling right now, that's not unusual for me this time of year. I will figure it out. :)

On a positive note, a woman in my office is having WLS (bypass) from my surgeon right before Christmas. I like to think that my success has been a big motivator for her, and I am feeling a certain sense of "responsibility" to be a good WLS veteran by working through my struggles.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Age Bracket Winner

Aw, the other day when I was looking at the Seattle Biggest Loser Half Marathon results page, I saw that my Alli was the only "14 and Under" girl to complete the event as a registered "Runner." (There were four girls 14 and Under who completed as registered "Walkers." - whispering: and all of them finished before my runner girl.)

But that is completely beside the point, this proud mama insists.

There are prizes handed out to age group finishers, you know. And in this event, prizes were awarded to both the top three Runners and the top three Walkers, separately.

I emailed the Biggest Loser event website the other day and asked if it would be possible for my daughter to receive her award. The website clearly states that winners must be present for the awards.

Happily, though, they are mailing my daughter her award. :)

Hi Julie,

Please send me your address and I can mail the award. It may take a couple of weeks as our trucks are in route to the next race and have the awards.

Thank you,
She is going to be soooooooooooooo thrilled. Shhhh, don't tell her, it's a secret. :)

And really, isn't it amazing to think that only FIVE girls 14 and Under completed this event? Regardless of time to complete, that is one helluva accomplishment for all of them!

p.s. - thank you all so much for your nice comments and feedback and support on my race re-cap post. I am very, very proud of my girl and we had a wonderful time at the event. It was so fun to be able to share that with you here!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Biggest Loser Seattle Half Marathon Race Re-Cap

Yesterday, my 14-year-old daughter and I completed a huge milestone together. She completed her first half marathon! We signed up for this event months ago, with great aspirations of going into it well-trained and ready to go. Well, that didn't happen. :)

However, we did have a wonderful time and we did complete that bad boy. My daughter feels an amazing sense of accomplishment and pride in her efforts. So much so that today she wore not only her race shirt, but also her medal to school, which cracked me up. I wish I had thought to take a picture!

I did take several pictures, though, including this one at the finish line:

So proud of my Bug.
This was the first year for the Biggest Loser race in Seattle. It was well organized, if more sparse than you would imagine for such a big name. There were a few people from previous Biggest Loser seasons at the start line, but they must have been late, because they weren't introduced until our heat was about to take off, and we were with the 15:00/mile pace group, toward the very end. It was fairly anti-climatic to have one guy from a previous season say he hadn't ever run a half-marathon, but he hoped to one day. And four, three, two, one...GO! Bah. Alli hoped that this one pair would be around after the race for photos but they were not.

As expected, Alli really got caught up in the energy and spirit of the event and went into her full athletic warrior mode. :) Ear buds in, determined look on face, We were not fast, but I have to say we were probably pretty consistent for most of the race. Incredibly, the longest she's ever gone is *maybe* five miles - she says five or six, but I am with her most all the time and I cannot think when she's exceeded a 5K.

We started off shortly after 8:00 a.m. as they released us in heats. They had a lot of pacers, which was great. It was a crisp and cold morning but it was totally bearable. Both of us decided to skip the gloves we had brought along.

At the starting line. I had tried to forewarn Alli exactly how long 13.1 miles is, haha.
For reference, I told Alli we were 14.2 miles from home to Gas Works Park in Seattle, where the race was held. That did give her a little pause: hey, this is long. She didn't let it get to her, though, and even by mile four, she was feeling pretty fresh.

This was a beautiful course. See the UW crew practicing in the background?
I had warned her that around mile 7 or 8 was when I have always mentally crumbled. It's so far, and you're barely halfway done. She was pretty chipper the whole way (well, until later...) and later admitted that at mile six she teared up because she was so tired and she wasn't even half way. I feel ya, sister.

She was getting a little tired of my pictures, but was a good sport.
By mile ten, she was pretty excited to finish, and the end was in sight. This part of the course was a looooooonggggg out and back, starting somewhere around mile nine and going until past mile 12. Myself, I like the out and backs because I am a people-watcher. :) I like to watch people running by, seeing all the different outfits, the different levels of fitness, etc. Watching runners and running styles is interesting, there's so much variety!

I tried to console her by saying now we only needed to run a 5K to finish, haha.
Alli really did so awesome. A half marathon is a long, long way. And her resolve never crumbled at all. If she teared up at mile six, I didn't know it. She said a couple times that she felt fine except her feet hurting so badly. My favorite was somewhere toward the end when she said that physically she felt great and could keep going, if only her body didn't hurt so much. I took this to mean that the spirit was willing, if the body was not.

We had a minor drama brewing throughout the race, in that Alli really hoped her dad would be at the finish line to cheer for her. She had talked to him about this for weeks and the best she could get out of him was that "he would try." He is a complicated person to describe, in that he is not an absent father, but he is awfully flaky. It is hard to get a commitment out of him until the last possible minute. On race day, I didn't say a word about him being there or not, and neither did she. At mile six or seven, I floated a balloon out to him by saying we were at mile six and she was going strong. His response, "Awesome." I didn't ask him if he'd be at the finish line because I knew I would be angry if he said no. Later, at mile ten, I texted him a status and again, his response was "Awesome."

I asked her to let me retake this picture and she said "No way," and took off.
Sometime after mile twelve, he texted, "We didn't miss you did we?" Sigh. Oh good, he is there. No, we were on our way. I told Alli he was at the finish line. She was happy. She would have loved for everyone we knew to be there, haha. I let him know when we entered the park so they could be ready.

Hilariously, my sweet Bug, who was so exhausted, kicked it in to high gear as soon as she saw the finish line. I would not have guessed she had it in her! She left me in the dust as I was texting and fussing with my earbuds.

It was cool to see my older son at the finish line, too (although there was a bit of me that bristled at why he didn't bring my younger son, too, who was just sitting at home with Greg waiting for us). I let it go. I think ex-husbands just irritate you, most times. They (X and the GF) were great sports, cheering for both of us and high-fiving us. Plus, I got to be elevated to super star athlete status in my son's eyes, who marveled, "You aren't even sweating!" Yes, son, I routinely blast out half-marathons without even breaking a sweat, haha.

Finish line. I cropped out the time clock. :)
Super proud of my girl, who says she does want to do more half marathons. When I have done them, I enjoy it so much and tell myself to do more, do more! I shall have to make myself capitalize on that desire. It is fun, and although it took us 3:57 to finish, it is a heck of a work out! I am feeling it in my hips today.

I was very pleased that Alli was already up and at 'em getting ready for school this morning. I was afraid she'd be super, super sore, but I guess she has youth on her side. :) She said she'll move slowly, and that if they are told to run in PE today, she will sit on the floor and cry until her teacher leaves her alone. I told her to tell him it's her recovery day.

Couple things from the race:
- On the last long out and back, we stopped for water on the out, but on the back, the water and gatorade, as well as all the volunteers, were GONE. Alli was bummed, and I had no alternatives for her. I felt sooooo badly for the people who hadn't reached the station for the first time yet....ugh. You can imagine at the tail end of this race, there were some people who really needed some water. Fortunately, there was one more water stop before the end of the race.
- The shirts and medals are very cute. I will have to post a picture later. The ribbon of the medal is a tape measure, haha.
- I expected more of a Biggest Loser type crowd there. There were surprisingly few kids or teenagers, I thought. Alli said it was because most kids were too smart to agree to run thirteen miles (this was somewhere between mile 11 and 12, haha). Most of the runners were, well, runners. A smattering of bigger people, but no more than I've seen at other events.
- It was very nice to see Lindsay and Stacie at the race. Lindsay came up to us before the race and wished us well and gave Alli a pep talk. On the first out and back, she was a great cheering section as she passed by, as well as on facebook later. :) We had registered on Stacie's team for the event but hadn't found each other before the event. We saw each other on the second out and back and she cheered us on, as well. It is fun to see people you know out there!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

This Just Happened.

I did the stairs (all 62 flights for me!) with my good ole friend Barb for the second day in a row. We are recommitting without recommitting. You know, it's just like when you've been married (and divorced) before, and you're totally committing to someone without committing. Because you don't want to jinx it. Or because you've been burned too badly before. Or because you *like* stairclimbing, but you also like biking and running, and you just can't be tied down to one activity, it's so much pressure!

I saw this on facebook, and I was so motivated by it that I thought it would be life-altering from that very moment onward. But that was a few days ago, and I am still eating goldfish crackers until my tummy hurts. And then I remembered it, and I am newly renewed and committed. I shall endeavor to make sure I don't forget about it again!
Here's the picture that motivated me today. I have no idea who took it (well, I have a pretty good idea who took it, haha, my daughter). I just found it on my phone. I did not know my phone could take pictures like this! But I looked at this picture and I was so puzzled:

Who is that?

Uh-oh, I am not liking the shape of my body right now. To the point that I didn't even recognize myself standing in my own kitchen. :) Mental block, maybe? Ignore the kitchen and dining room, ugh, that kitchen hasn't been touched since the house was built in 1960. Remember, with real estate, it's location, location, location. Or at least that's what they tell you to justify the sky-high prices and 50 year old kitchens. :)

Firstly, I am making what I affectionately call my "carp face." Sigh. I should be nicer to me, but MUST I always look like a fish out of water?? Disclaimer for my benefit, I had just come from Blake's football game. It was hot. I was tired. :)

I hesitate to post this picture or comment on it, but really, I am hoping to use it to motivate myself just like that saying, above.

I just woke up one day and decided I didn't want to feel like that anymore, or ever again. So I changed. Just like that.

For my part, I did take an almost two-mile angry walk at lunch time today. And the stairs the last couple days, and a four mile run the day before yesterday.

I am trying, anyway.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's the Mantra with You?

What a discouraging time this is for me. I am trying not to wallow, but it isn't easy. This morning I was checking out my reflection in the bathroom at work - I am not blessed with an unobscured full-length mirror in my own home, haha. Thanks to the miracles of combined households, it seems like every wall and floor surface is stacked high with stuff. I long-since gave up unobstructed view of my bedroom full-length mirror to Greg's nightstand. Deep sigh. Oh, pity me, single woman who longed for love and companionship, only to find it meant blocked mirrors and extra towels in the laundry. Mine is a tale of travesty and woe.

I have always used that line on my kids, too. Poor waifs, whenever something doesn't meet their liking, I comfort them with "Yours is a tale of travesty and woe..." They do not like it. They also do not like it when I make them sing the "I Love Mommy"* song whenever they are mad at me.

(*The lyrics and tune of the "I Love Mommy" song are at the child's discretion, as long as they are not derogatory or menacing toward their mommy, haha. This started when Alli was just a toddler and she would spontaneously burst out in song, "Mommy, is my mommy, and I love her, yes, I love her!" Little did she know what she was getting herself into, now, at 14, having to sing the I Love Mommy song when she really wants to poke me with pins.)

I was thinking about mantras and the I Love Mommy song this morning. I was waking my 8 year old up for school, and I was cooing over him the way I always do. I think I have mantras for each kid when we have a quiet moment like that alone, but I couldn't tell you what they are, really. Just words that automatically come out of my mouth at that time. Reid's includes, "My son, mama's sweet boy, mama loves you so much. I am so proud of you..." and Alli's, "What a wonderful Bug you are. Mama loves you so much, you are such a wonderful girl..." and Blake's "Oh, my wonderful son. You are such a good boy, mama loves you so much."

Anyway, this is all a very long (and personal) preamble to say that this morning,  I was waking up my 8 yo, Reid. I realize I must automatically coo the same words each morning and he lays there quietly, still mostly asleep. Because this morning when I called him a "handsome character," as in, "What a handsome character you are," his eyes flew open.

"What??" he said, bewildered.

"A handsome character," I said. "It means you're good-looking and interesting."

"Oh," he said, "just tell me the regular parts, please." And he closed his eyes and curled up against my legs.

There is a point to all this, besides the fact that I have pretty cool kids. I was thinking about these little mantras and how Alli has a toddler in her life (X's GF's sister's kid, if you can sort that out) that she loves and adores. And Alli has her own mantra for her, a modified version taken from The Help: "You is smart, You is kind, You is important."

I have my own little mantras for myself, but I don't build myself up the way I do my kids. No, most of mine are little're going to regain all this weight you've lost, you are blowing all the hard work and expense of the tummy tuck surgery (and, for that matter, the weight loss surgery), etc.

Wow, for as loving as I am to my kids, I am downright mean to myself! I am working on this, trying to reprogram some of these subconscious mean-spirited mantras I play as my internal soundtrack.

Cut me some slack, Jack!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lazy Bones

Too lazy to exercise, too lazy to blog, too lazy, too lazy! How about a nice little brain dump post while I eat an early lunch? (Fresh salsa and chips courtesy of my man, yummm...)

  • Back to school this week. I've got a high schooler, a middle schooler and an elementary schooler. My daughter is loving high school so far! Although there was a fair amount of angst today about the "Friday Freshman Block" in which seniors purportedly block the hallways so freshmen can't get by. Plus, it's spirit wear Friday and her school sweatshirt and sweats have not been delivered yet. Nothing to wear to show her colors! She painted her fingernails in the school colors and hoped that the seniors didn't kill her. As a freshman, I remember being afraid of the seniors. As a senior, I remember being way too caught up in my own life to even notice there were freshmen at the school. :)
  • Speaking of high school; I am (re-)reading Henry James "The Turn of the Screw." I purportedly read it in Junior or Senior year honors lit. I have no memory of it except my classmate titled her paper on the book "In Need of a Screw," which must have struck me as so HILARIOUS that I still remember it 5 10 15 20 25+ years later. Anyway, I am HOOKED on this story and again, do not remember it, so I only know that there is a shocking twist to the plot, but I am gleefully unaware of what it will be. My cluelessness reminds me that although I was a solid straight A student in high school, I think I was largely just going through the motions. College, too. Very little actual book learning seems to have stuck with me over the years. 
  • My half-time kids are now full-time kids. X and I discussed it over the last several weeks. The decision was two-pronged: our boys, who need structure and consistency at home to hopefully improve their at best, mediocre, and at worst, abysmal, school performance. Plus, X is in deep financial straits due largely to a struggling small business he and his GF bought a few years ago (despite my many admonitions against the purchase, citing three identical businesses we knew of over the years that failed. I will say I told you so here, but not to X, who really is sad and overwhelmed right now). Anyway, he's broke, which puts untold extra financial pressure on me, which is straining our co-parenting, which makes everyone's existence a little harder. I pointed out that his financial struggles mean I have to pick up the financial slack, which I can only do because Greg is sharing expenses with me, which puts a strain on me and Greg because he wants me to be putting my own financial house in order for our own future. Me using Greg's money to effectively raise my children effectively means Greg is supporting X's kids, which is not a position that I, X or Greg want to be in. So, for now, the kids are with me full-time while X seeks gainful employment to get back on solid ground. It's a hard time for everyone. The worst part of it is that X is moving to GF's house, which is rather far away...too far for joint custody while the kids are in school. That, in itself, has rather telling implications toward the permanency of this arrangement. I have decided not to overthink right now.
  • I'm glad to have the kids around f/t, and admit that joint-custody is a crutch that I've used to not be as good of a parent as I should when it comes to the boys' school work. It's hard to get a good, consistent routine with kids when you know they're just leaving again in a couple days. It's hard to track homework through to completion, etc. I will be sooooooooooooooo tired from all this parenting but everyone will be better for it.
  • F/T parenting sort of kills bike commuting. My 8yo is a complicating factor for both the morning ride in (because I have to leave so early) and the afternoon ride home (mainly because of daycare pickup and not wanting to push Alli or Greg into what I consider my responsibility). Eh. I'm a bit stuck right now on the work outs. I know if I want it badly enough, I'll figure it out. Problem is, right now, I don't want it. 
  • Which brings me to my always fun change of season blues. Where would I be without you, depression? Here, in Seattle, we have had the most GLORIOUS summer! It has been sunny and dry for months now. I have basked in the sun nearly every day. And then, throw in a couple rainy days, and some chemical switch flips immediately in my head and I am blue. Not depressed, just blah. And blue. After this beautiful summer, spent largely outdoors, I have to say, body chemistry, it seems ungrateful. :)
  • Holy smokes, could anyone hate their hair more than I do mine right now? Ugh. I'm at an in-between stage growing out my bangs, and it is all out war against this one awful cowlick. 
It's really awful. Plus, the humidity doesn't help.
  • I had another awful plastic surgery appointment this week. I think it's mainly the culprit for my funk. This was the other doctor in the practice, who took my pictures, made me get on the scale, and recommended about a bazillion dollars worth of additional work I should have done on my face and breasts. I should stop going to plastic surgeons. I love *mine,* but hearing about facelifts and treatments I'll never be able to pay for...well, it's hard. Plus, I've gained fourteen pounds since my tummy tuck in November 2012. He was like, "What are you doing??" Ah. What am I doing??
  • Ugh, bummer of a way to end a post. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Get back on that horse, if you've fallen off like me! :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Snohomish River Run - Part Deux

Last year, I ran the inaugural year of the Snohomish River Run Half Marathon. I am looking forward to doing it again this year, although I am in worse better worse better shape than I was in last fall. Truth be told, I don't know what kind of shape I'm in right now. :) I was running more then, and I felt stronger and more confident in running. Last week I ran 3.1 miles on the treadmill - really ran - and I felt it for days afterward. Biking translates loosely to running, I would say. As far as cardio goes, I would say I'm in great shape, running or biking. My legs are obviously very strong. But I was surprised at how really opening it up on the treadmill* (*bahaha, this is a VERY subjective term!), while feeling AWESOME, definitely made me pay a price in terms of overstretched, sore muscles. I really need to follow a training plan. To do this, I feel I need to quit my job and move to a desert island with no children, or dare I say, significant other.

Anyway! I like the Snohomish River Run. It is very, very flat, which makes me happy. It had a couple long out and backs, which I don't mind. I think I may actually like them?? It somehow makes me feel like I am closer to finishing.

Happy finisher from 2012.
I am anticipating, nay, EXPECTING, that they will have more potties along the route this year. That was my chief complaint last year, but I chalk it up to rookie mistake. I know they got a lot of feedback about it from me and other runners. The race organizers are super-responsive, as I have learned from their facebook page and the emails I get about the design of this year's t-shirts, etc. I am finding myself getting excited about the event, if not as prepared as I would like to be.

Which I should really get on the stick about. :) The event is 10/27, and besides that, Alli and I are doing the Biggest Loser Half Marathon on 10/13 in Seattle. I am feeling ill-prepared, haha.

HEY! If you want to join me at the Snohomish River Run, here's a discount code for you to use, too: TRIING_SRR13

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Just Think About How Much You've Changed Your Life

A coworker said that to me yesterday. I was talking to him about the locker room facility I use daily now after my ride in. We were mid-discussion about these locker rooms, which are available to all employees. And right in the middle of it, he paused and smiled and said, "Just think about how much you've changed your life over the last couple years."

Now, these days, I am thinking about biking, and weight fluctuations, and I-really-need-to-be-running-in-preparation-for-two-half-marathons-this-fall, and that sort of thing. I don't think much about Fat Julie anymore. It was kind of a nice reflection when he said it, this guy that I've known a little for several years but we're not close or anything.

You go, girl. I may be stressing over "seriously, what happens if you're fall cycling jacket doesn't fit this year?" but in the grand scheme of things...way to go. I'm a hundred-something pounds lighter, I don't smoke anymore, I don't take anti-depressants, I don't take narcotics for pain, I'm active nearly every day. The differences are amazing.

On a different, but related note, I'm going to claim credit now for biking to work every day this week. :) That's premature, but I was tired on my ride in this morning, and I think if I claim it now I'll have to do it, haha. Although I am also contemplating taking a vacation day tomorrow...hmm...well, if I come to work, I will come via bike. How's that? 

This will actually be my first time I've commuted in every day! I've done three days, I may have done four days. I'm a little bit cheating here, because it's also the first time that I've ridden in and thrown the bike on the bus home. I'm trying to become a full-time bike commuter, but here's the thing. It's EXHAUSTING! By Thursday morning, I've been spent. It's been hot here in Seattle, and those commutes home were tiring me out. Okay, that last mile home (straight uphill) was tiring me out, and I am too stubborn or proud to throw my bike on the bus for just that last mile, although I certainly have the opportunity.

Anyway, so my strategy for this week was to ride in every morning. That in itself will give me a happy feeling of accomplishment. I actually enjoy the morning ride more than the afternoon commute, anyway. I'm happy and refreshed when I get to work, I feel sharp and physically fit. Those afternoon commutes, when I arrive home hot, sweaty and tired, facing three kids who have been waitingallday to "air their grievances," as I think of it...well, it can be a bit much. And now, I might as well throw in that besides three kids, I also have a neatnik boyfriend who is pretty much also waiting to air his grievances about my messy children, as well. Oy. You need your strength to walk into that house, let me tell you.

Go back to school, kids. I'm actually taking off a fair amount of time next week to accomplish just that: getting ready to ship everyone back to school. I got my daughter's high school packet in the mail yesterday. DO YOU KNOW IT WILL COST ME $350 JUST TO GET HER ADMITTED INTO HIGH SCHOOL?? ASB card, year book, orchestra fees, cross-country fees, PE fees, etc etc etc. Criminy. The boys will be expensive, too, but thankfully less so.

I better keep riding in, all that exercise keeps my head clear and wards off depression. Yikes.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kickin' it off Right (the Week, that is)

Yay, bike commuter! I did it! Rode in Monday and Tuesday, and here's the thing: I was excited about doing it, too! Sunday night, G asked if I was riding in: unequivocally, immediately, my answer was "YES." There ya go. That's what I'm looking for.

I am really glad I started using the shower at work. When I first started riding in, it sounded like a real PITA to me. But very quickly after I tried it...oh yes, that feels good. Long, hard ride followed by a nice hot shower and I'm good to go for the day.

Unfortunately, I had a couple hard PM commutes home already this week. Monday afternoon, I got a flat rear tire. Pancake flat, with a big ole gash in the tire. Not sure what I hit! Well, I have a flat repair kit, and I have a replacement tube, but I broke down in a terrible place. A trail under the freeway with bad visibility and a ton of cyclists zooming through quickly. I walked it out of there and ended up pushing it quite a ways. I called G and asked him for a ride home. Of course it was rush hour traffic and he was at the north end of town, and he's unfamiliar with the area, and, and, and. Well, he did come get me but the whole thing was a pain in the butt. I won't whine too much about how he didn't want to come get me in his brand new car to dirty it up with my filthy bike. WHINE. But he did. :) There's love for ya.

Anyway, I rode off Tuesday morning with brand new tires on the bike (yay!) and had a glorious commute in. On the way home, though, it was blazing hot. My commute is about 12 miles, which isn't bad, but the last mile is straight up hill. What a stupid place to put a hill.

At the bottom of the hill, I was already exhausted. I simply had no gas in the tank. Before the red light, I had changed gears, but didn't have time to cycle through the complete gear change. When the light turned green, I forgot that the bike was mid-change. I put all my weight on the pedal to take off, and WHAM! the chain fell off. I didn't fall, really, but somehow I banged around enough that I got a nasty contusion above one ankle and a bleeding gash above my knee on the other. What the heck? Well, I still had that stupid hill ahead of me, too!

The hill is a hairpin curve at the base that quickly turns into a 12% grade. Normally, it's hard, but doable. Yesterday, though, I think I was just not mentally there anymore. I hit the hill in the wrong gear, so busy trying to build some momentum at the base of the hill, I didn't downshift for the steep change in grade. Hit that 12% and physically could not push the pedals. Oops, off the bike. I didn't even try to get back on it, I just walked it a couple hundred feet and then got back on.

I was soooooooo glad to get home. I think it might be too hot for me to ride home right now. I stay awfully well-hydrated and eat plenty. I think the sun and heat just got to me. Anyway, I didn't even attempt to ride in today. :( I was so bummed because I wanted this to be the week that I did all ten commutes on the bike!

But hey - I'm thinking like a bike commuter! Yesterday, I stopped at a bakery in the International District to get my son some hum baos. He has been dying for them. Unfortunately, they were closed on Tuesday. So this afternoon I was planning my stop there on the way home - I can probably fit six easily in my backpack, etc.

Hey. I took the bus this morning! The bus takes me nowhere near the hum bao bakery. It's interesting to me the mindshift change I'm making toward riding my bike in. Now to strategize for those real crap days where biking is the last thing I want to do! That doesn't really count for this week - I was enjoying both rides home, right up until the minute I wasn't. :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

I Don't Know How Else to Convince You

Silly girl, there are just not many other ways I can say it. You feel so great when you ride your bike to work. Don't you? Isn't it fun? Don't you just feel so ALIVE when you get to work? Aren't all your concerns about the numbers on the scale and tight jeans shoved to the back of your mind, even for just a little while?

Doesn't it feel great to SWEAT?

And didn't you just love getting that whole locker room to yourself this morning? Who else is tough enough to ride to work on the first rainy(-ish) morning in over a month? No one, that's who! You got to play your radio station out loud, strut around naked, take your time and not share the little benches.

So, why, why is it so hard for you to commit to riding in? Every day, it's the same old thing. Are you masking not wanting to go to work with not wanting to ride your bike to work? You need to get a handle on this, lady.

Remember, your ultimate goal is that bike commuting is just how you get to work. Period. Some people drive, some people take the bus, some people bike. You bike. With some exception, at the most one or two days a week, you can pretty much ride every day. Yeah, it's harder when you have appointments before or after work, but I'll bet you could solidly ride in at least 3-4 days a week. At 12-ish miles and 50-ish minutes each way, that's a hell of a work out program. You've got your long, fast flats, you've got your brutal hill climbs, you've got your screaming fast downhills that make you nervous and happy.

You can do this. You DID this, this morning. Yay, you! You didn't wanna. G didn't go to work today, and you thought it wasn't fair that in order to ride, you didn't just have to get up, you had to get up SOON, and leave QUICKLY.

Perhaps you could have prepared a little better for this morning. That's sort of an ongoing theme with you, isn't it?


  • Your handlebars needed re-taped before you could ride again. Did you know that last time you rode? I think you did. Perhaps you could have done it then. Or last night, when you knew you were going to ride this morning. It's how you get to work, remember? It worked to do it this morning, but it sort of added to the chaos, huh?
  • Hey - you like to wear your fingerless gloves every time you ride, don't you? Pretty much? Where are they? Hmm. Maybe you should keep them in the same place every time. Kind of a bummer to use your thin winter gloves this morning, wasn't it? It was the sort of day that would have been perfect for fingerless gloves. Hope you find them!
  • Same thing goes with your glasses. Remember, the expensive cycling ones you bought? Or the cute Kate Spade ones that you actually prefer? Where do you suppose they are? Well, I'm really glad you found your cycling glasses this morning (after finding the empty case on the opposite side of the house). But you just sort of luckily stumbled on them, didn't you? Maybe you could have a box of cycling stuff where this all goes every day. Oh! You already do? That's so funny! Use it!
  • That's cute that you couldn't pull out of the driveway until your Strava GPS time-tracking app finished updating on your iPhone. Next time, plan ahead.
  • Minor details: You wear clothes to work every single day. This can also be thought out in advance. This one doesn't even pertain to cycling that much, as long as your clothes fit in your bike bag.
In short, good job to you for biking to work this morning. It took a bit to convince you to get going, but you did it, and I'm proud of you. You've started off the day so well! And your legs are looking good, too. So toned, and dare I say, even a bit sculpted. What a nice perk that those skirts that are easier to pack in the bike bag than jeans or other bulky bottoms - you get reminders of all your hard work when you check out your own gams in the full-length bathroom mirror. You should stop doing that so much, by the way, your coworkers are starting to talk. It's a little conceited. I know, I know, it's only because G. put his dresser in front of the only full-length mirror in the house, but even that excuse is wearing a little thin, isn't it?

Just like the many excuses you've been able to produce about not riding your bike to work, missy. I'm on to you.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Library Books and Blow Dryers and Aren't You Just Looking for an Excuse, Missy?

I rode my bike home yesterday - it has been a long week of doctor appointments and school appointments and commitments after work that preclude a bike ride. It felt so good! Major detriments that put a damper on the ride home: the six or so block stretch of busy, busy downtown streets between my building and the "relaxed, relieved breath" point of the commute where I am not focused on not being creamed by a bus or an aggressive motorist.

Seriously, people, be nice to bicyclists on the road. It is so hard to ride in busy traffic or even not-so-busy streets. Cars are big and scary. I'll admit, since I started cycling so much, I am much more tolerant and conscientious of bikes on the street. Hey - our dang feet are locked onto the pedals! It's funny how even that can affect your maneuverability on the road...or at least my own perception of it.

Well, cars may be big and scary, but I am a badass scary bicycle commuter and I have the uber-cool backpack to prove it!

Look at my super-strong legs, not my lunch lady arms, por favor.
I had already brought my bike bag home (poor little Carema - my bike - had been left overnight at City Hall for a few nights) but I had stuff I needed to transport. I had coincidentally gone to Old Navy yesterday and bought that backpack for my soon-to-be-8yo. I think I will keep it for myself! Skulls are inappropriate for young children, I've decided. Such a good mommy.

Anyway. This morning, the right thing to do would have been to hop on the bike and ride back into work. I couldn't do it. Greg and I had a not-so-great-isn't-family-blending-fun-no-not-really-at-all evening last night, and I was spent. Wiped out. Biking would have cleared my head, but I wanted a few minutes of our short commute together, alone. I did not want to sweat. I wanted to wear a pretty dress.

And I had library books. A buttload of them to return to the Seattle Public Library, where I almost never partake in their fine book collection. I'm a King County Library System (only the very best library system in the free world, thankyouverymuch) girl. But a few weeks ago the kids and I had come over for the very, very lame See Jane Run expo (long story - my daughter wanted to see a big expo. Last year, it was a good one. This year, it SUCKED). We stopped at the library next door and loaded up.

The SPL is NOT FOOLING AROUND when it comes to overdue fees. A quarter a day, per book. My library system charges $0.10/day and it caps at $3/book. SPL caps at $8/day. Their terroristic ways work: my books are returned on time, every time, haha. With KCLS, I consider overdue books my way of supporting the library system. You're welcome! At $10 in accrued fines, they freeze your account. I pay my library subsidy willingly, but always strive to mend my ways, haha.

Ok, so there were books, and then there was the blow-dryer issue. Sure, I rode in allllllllllll that time without showering before work, but then I did it one time and now I don't wanna ride in without a shower when I get here. Spoiled. And at my desk, I have the blow dryer I brought in, my new padlock, my flip flops, my hair product. All at my desk. Which is not at the locker room, and not even in the same building.

Today, I have committed to carrying all these things over to my locker and settling in. No more excuses.

There was a thunderstorm on my bike commute home last night. A little scary. I decided my tires would ground me, though. It was so bad that my 12yo called me mid-commute to ask if we had just had an earthquake, because the windows rattled so loudly. Yikes.

Blended family. Double yikes. I won't say we are struggling, but I will say that it is not seamless cramming all these personalities together under one roof. Admittedly, I am by nature not a tidy person. I looooove a tidy place, I just don't know how to get it there or keep it there. Since G and I got back together, I have really been trying. It's not that *I* am so messy, per se, it is that I have not done a good job at all teaching my children to clean up after themselves. G is not quite but almost clutter-phobic. He is challenged, daily, by his decision (emphasis "his decision") to move into our busy and messy home. We are all trying. Why, just last night I told my 12yo son, "look, if you are going to repeatedly blatantly disobey my direct orders to not eat on the couch (Greg's brand new couch, oy), then at least have the good sense to clean up the evidence." See? Trying. G would like instantaneously-reformed children (as would I, haha) but he has a fairly solid grasp of reality in this regard and knows that's a pipe dream.

Last night, though, what started about clutter and mess turned to my 8yo. As his mother, I am the first to admit that this kid is HARD. He's always been hard. Always a little more than you expect or are prepared to handle. I have been letting him sleep with his brother, primarily because his room was such a disaster area and I did not have time to clean it, secondarily because of photo opportunities like this:

Did I tell you that my boys were with a boy that drowned, right after school got out in June? I don't remember. It was horrific. An 8yo boy of X's girlfriend's cousin, at a family picnic at someone's lake house. My boys weren't just there, they were there. And since that day, my 12yo, who was always a worried, protective older brother, is now a worriedprotectiveolderbrother. And he has become incredibly tolerant of his little brother, including letting him sleep with him. Anyway, it was time to get R back into his own bed last night and this created a freakout tantrum crying jag of epic proportions. It was awful. It was awful for me, as his mom, it was awful for G as a man who must by now be questioning the wisdom of joining our family.

Ah well. We arrrr what we arrrr. My almost-8yo is lit from within like a beacon: his highs are blindingly bright and vibrant and joyous, his lows are tearful and trying and terrifying. The other day, for example, my 12yo picked him up from day camp. His dad had dropped him off that morning, so he didn't have his bike to ride home, as he normally does. His coping strategy, when faced with this disappointment? Lay down on the ground. Refuse to leave.

Sigh. My 12yo called, "I don't know what to do." Sigh. Me neither. I invoked some sort of threat over the phone via B that got him moving, this time.

Anyway. He's hard. He's epic. He will grow up to be a rich, rich charismatic man: kids love him (because he knows the best ways to get in trouble, perhaps). I fear a throng of girls (hopefully not baby mamas!) one day beating down our door to tousle his hair and beat out their BFFs in the competition to be indifferently treated by him, haha. I see a young man being funded eagerly by venture capitalists who back his latest idea. I see a strong, confident, charismatic leader (oy, for good, for good, I hope and pray! Leader, not ringleader...)

But right now I see a kid who is often a real pain in the ass to be around. And I say that with every cell in my body screaming out how much I love and adore him. Truly. And yet in the midst of his tantrum last night, some primal urge was in my head telling me to eat him, haha.

When I was dating, I was overjoyed when I met a man without children. I have always said my dream was a man who had wanted children, but sadly, had been unable to have them due to childhood mumps, perhaps.

So I get it. Believe me. G's children are older and not around much at all. I do not have any expectation that my brood will drive him away - this was an issue for him last time around (aka v1.0) and G is nothing if not a thoughtful and measured man. He weighed heavily the pros and cons of being with me. The kids are no surprise and he is open that he loves me and wants to be with me, but that the kids wear him out sometimes. I get it.

And so. That's why I didn't ride my bike this morning. Library books and blow dryers and a glass of wine in bed and hey, and a see how nice it is when we're alone commute.

p.s. I am inspired by all these July workout summary posts this morning (Kim and Lindsay) to say that I biked 189.3 miles in June. I didn't run more than a couple times, although I should be well on my way to the Biggest Loser half marathon training program with my daughter. Thankfully, she is doing well on her own in that regard.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Just a list...

I feel like blogging but don't have anything cogent to say, so I'll just throw some stuff out there. :)

  • I really like the show "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix. Plus, there is enough girl-on-girl prison action to interest Greg, who only likes to watch "Deadliest Catch." I think we've found the key to harmonious TV watching in our house! Hahaha
  • Speaking of Netflix, I am the biggest Arrested Development fan, but I was so uninterested in the season four added to Netflix, I haven't even finished watching it. Sigh. It's true, you can't go home again. I am glad they made the season, for nostalgia's sake, but it wasn't the same at all.
  • My daughter (14yo) applied and interviewed for a volunteer position with the Y. We expected her to be folding towels at the front desk. She told them she wanted to work in the aquatics section because she wants to get her lifeguard/swim instructor certification as soon as she is old enough. She said by that time, she will have been volunteering for two years and expects to be able to get a job easily, so she can have a good high school and college job. The director was super impressed with her plan and "hired" her on the spot! She worked one day this week, and will work M/W at the start of the new swim lesson session. Love that kid - she has a detailed plan in place from entering high school to graduating law school. 
  • I got a different sort of call from the YMCA about a different sort of child of mine, too, haha. My 7yo got in a fight with a boy at day camp. He has also been reprimanded several times in the last couple weeks for swearing. When the counselor called about the fight, I naively asked, "Is this the same boy he fought with on Monday?" Nope, different boy. Hmm, I think I'll start calling my son "The Common Denominator."
  • Hehe, this reminds me that when he was younger, we used to call him "Copay" because of all the random doctor/ER copays he incurred, like when he got a plastic bead stuck over his tooth.
  • Reflecting on my three kids, I can only say to other parents, don't feel smug if your kid is wonderfully-super-awesomely behaved. It has nothing to do with you and your parenting. Kids are who they are. Mine run the full gamut in a thousand different ways. My new motto is, I accept no credit or blame, haha.
  • Along those lines, I was telling a friend that it is imperative to me that we stay living in my overly-expensive neighborhood I had no business moving to when I got divorced because it would destroy my 14yo if she had to change schools. My 12yo son would be upset because he is so involved in sports, and the boys he plays with now are the boys he'll play with in high school. My 7yo? Ha - he wouldn't care. Of the three, he is the only one who has never given a second thought about new schools, new daycare, new parks, new whatever. A stranger is just a friend he hasn't met yet, that's how that boy operates!
  • Which makes me think that my number one fear with that particular boy is him falling prey to a stranger. Eek. Where is the bubble wrap for these kids when you need it??
  • My X is financially in waaaaayyyyy over his head these days, I gather from bills I've received and other ways information trickles down to me (not the least of which the gobs he owes me). Being divorced is hard. Single parenting* is hard. (*even with - and sometimes especially with - a Greg!) I feel like it is merely a matter of time before I am wholly financially supporting the kids and I am stressed and resentful. For the first time in my adult life, I am not gasping and hyperventilating with stress over my own finances, and now I am being called upon to use my tiny bit of breathing room to fill the gap. It is not fair. 
  • HA! I was thinking about how sometimes single parenting with a Greg is especially hard. Example: Blake (12yo) constantly leaves the lid to the peanut butter unscrewed, despite multiple threats of physical harm. Why does this cause Greg a near heart attack every time he discovers it? I don't know. Why does Blake always leave the peanut butter lid unscrewed? I don't know. Oh wait, actually, I do! Yesterday, I called Blake into the kitchen and demanded that he do "lid on/lid off" ten times to "teach him" how to put on the lid. Watching him, Greg and I were ROLLING LAUGHING - it turns out, most times, he turned the lid the wrong way to tighten it! Hahaha. Here Greg and I had been joking that one of my parental failings was not teaching the kids how to tighten lids. Turns out it was the truth. In Blake's defense, as a fellow lefty, I told Greg that the lid-industry, like everything else, is inherently biased in favor of so-called "righties."

  • I believe the SBUX manager in my building red-carded me this morning. Yes, I do indulge liberally in their free refill policy (like many others in my building!). This morning I bought my usual hot tea. A short time later, I took yesterday's plastic cup down and got a passion tea (lemonade). The manager grimaced at me and when I got my drink, I saw he had written "7/26" in big letters (numbers?) on it. Did he think I didn't buy a drink this morning? I did! I feel like I've been branded. Me and Hester Prynne, baby.
  • Speaking of passive aggressive, a project manager I work with for with complained to my boss this week about how long I had taken with her project. Did not say a word about it to me about it first, mind you. Then yesterday she emailed me thanking me for all my hard work on the project. Um. You're welcome. It reminded me of the great Vince Lombardi, who said, "Praise in public, criticize in private." Actually, it reminded me of what may be one of the few things I remember from college, when a professor told us "Praise in public, criticize in private." I do not recall any mention of Vince Lombardi, but Google attributes the quote to him.
  • I also remember, in my one thing I remember from grad school, when applying a name tag, always apply it to your right side. This way it is an easy eye connection for people when they shake your hand, thus increasing the likelihood they will remember your name, as they get a visual cue along with the auditory cue of hearing your name and the physical handshake. Try it, it works. 
  • I have $100K in unpaid student loan debt along with my associates, bachelor and master degrees and I believe this may be all I learned. The DOE recently told me they could strip me of my degrees if I don't pay the loans. I asked them where to mail the diplomas. :) 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Derailer (or Dérailleur, for the Francophiles Among Us)

Newsflash - I always have to keep telling myself this, so I might as well blog it, too - I feel better when I exercise. Ta-da! Not sure why this one is so hard for me to remember during all those times I jus' wanna lay around.

So I've been riding my bike to and from work quite regularly, my commitment is at least three times a week, my goal is four times a week. Usually, there is something during the week that prevents me from biking in at least once or twice. Biking days are good workout days - it's 24 miles round trip and I am working out, not leisure cycling. I arrive at my destination winded, fatigued and feeling like my body has put in a good ole workout.

Plus, I feel better about my health and body when I exercise. Like how I felt like isht this morning when I finally dragged my ass back onto the scale and it said 155.3 pounds. Whatever. Grr. This is not a happy feeling at all.

I keep getting derailed by my own...hmm...sloth? Laziness? Ego? I'm not sure. Something has changed about my weight loss efforts over the course of 2013. I'll admit, I stopped trying to get to my "final" goal of 131.5 pounds (so I can brag that I lost half my weight!) a long time ago. I don't think my body likes me to be 131.5 pounds. The lowest I ever touched was 136, and that was just one day. I was maintaining fairly easily at 137-141 for quite awhile...until...what? I got cocky about my weight and eating? I got lazy about taking care of myself? I fell in love? I don't think I can pin this one on Greg - I had noticed even with Mr. W I was creeping up in weight, although it has gone largely unchecked with Greg and I was definitely cycling more with Mr. W, of course. I think mostly I got sloppy. For whatever reason, I will always have trouble with food. A-L-W-A-Y-S. It is a mistake to let myself forget that simple fact, I think.

After riding in, hard, I felt better about the scale. It's just a number. Clearly I've lost control of something, and it isn't too hard to figure out what it is. Blackberry cobbler my son made this week, the full batch of cookie bars the family pounded down over the course of the weekend, the package of Hot Tamales I munched at my desk the other day. Add in the fact that Greg is super-organized about meals (*NEVER* in my life have I known what I am making for dinner before I start making dinner, haha. Now I know before leaving the house in the morning what I am having for dinner. It's cool. And weird. Definitely an adjustment.). Besides being organized, he's so much more traditional about meals. We eat at the table every night. I actually started doing this with the kids the last time Greg and I dated - they love it. All those public service messages about the family dinner true! Who knew?? Kids like family dinners. So do I. But with Greg, it's a main dish and a side dish or two...good or bad, dinner is bigger with Greg in the family.

I'm not blaming dinner. :) Or Greg. My sweet tooth has been raging and I do not know why. It's just true, the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you want. Sigh. I am not depressed, I am not stressed, I am not anything other than a junkie, haha.

I think my weight would be okay even with the larger dinners if I would stop snacking so much. I eat a small breakfast (today: hard boiled egg and string cheese). A small-ish lunch, and a biggish dinner that is nowhere NEAR the size of my old 263-pound dinners. Dessert a couple/few times a week. Hot Tamales, frozen yogurt, gobs of mini-pretzels, or whatever sugar I can find - pretty much every afternoon. It's at least the first reasonable thing to cut out of my diet and see what happens, yes?

Anyway, I'm so sorry to have gained the weight but I am at least glad to be exercising. I feel good about the biking, which is super fun and easy because it is enjoyable. There are a few bitch hills involved both ways of the commute that really can serve to talk me out of riding in. And let's face it: riding in is just kind of a pain in the butt. It takes a lot of preparation. Effort. Strategy.

Ooo, but I'm getting better. Or maybe I'm just moving in to my office. I now have a variety of shoes available at my desk, and am starting to collect some clothes here. And you know what I did today? I showered at City Hall! I park my bike there every day and there is a very nice locker room with showers. I've never used it. It's hard to leave the house earlier than I do. But today I did it, and I am glad. Go-go-super-cyclist! I'm going to bring in a blow dryer (I had to borrow someone's today) and some toiletries. Getting out of the house when the kids are home will take some work. I normally wake up my youngest before I go and get him dressed and eating breakfast. Then one of my older two walks him to day camp later in the morning. I don't know how I'll handle it when school starts back up again - I am working on a plan. Also, it will be challenging when it is dark for my commutes: right now it is just gloriously sunny and light and I am loving it.

I think by cycling in, I have taken the bull by the horns, anyway. It's good exercise and even though I can't let the eating destroy my efforts, it helps to maintain balance. I have to accept that I will always trend toward the "well, I've blown it now so I might as well give up" mentality. I have had to really think about what happens if I continue to allow my weight to trend upward. What happens when all these fancy cycling clothes don't fit? There are already cycling clothes that I admittedly bought too small - too vain and excited about my new body - that I don't wear now. But my fancy cycling jackets? How much would it suck to have to replace them already?? There are clothes in my wardrobe, maybe things that are so small I shouldn't obsess with fitting and wearing, that I avoid like the plague.

I don't know what size I'll end up permanently, but I'm not happy at this size. I feel bulky. I am trying to own it and turn things around - something "Old Julie" never made a lasting effort to do.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Little Engine that Could

This morning, I didn't want to ride my bike to work. And I had lots of reasons not to:

  • My daughter was not home to walk my 7yo to day camp. Day camp opens a little too late for me to ride into work without adjusting my work schedule.
  • My 12yo, who had VOLUNTEERED to walk my 7yo this morning, pulled the blankets over his head and begged me to bring him, instead. He said he couldn't sleep last night and was too tired.
  • I was sooooo tired. One of us in the bed is a bad sleeper who tosses and turns and wakes up and gets up frequently and is generally not terribly quiet about it. Hint: it is not me. I sleep like a rock, if unmolested.
  • There was a tiny splash of hot rain on the ride home last night, and a brief thunder storm after we got into bed. (p.s. this morning I said "I love thunder after I go to bed," as I was referencing not wanting to ride in a thunderstorm - G., however, took this as a big compliment to his manly prowess. I think I will start calling him Thunder, haha. Or Thor. Side note: My paternal grandpa was Swedish, and one of my first boyfriends was named Thor Gunderson. Do you have any idea how happy he was about that? haha
  • It was hot and muggy and starting to sprinkle and the news said a thunderstorm could roll in late morning. (But be sunny and clear this afternoon.)
  • I can't find my other pair of bike shorts.
  • I woke up with a giant crick in my neck. Yesterday on the ride home, my neck was bothering me, but this morning it was HURTING me.
  • After days of riding, my legs are tired and sore. There's a few substantial hill climbs on my commute each way - they do have a way of wearing you down.
  • Oh, the list goes on. :) Suffice to say, I didn't wanna ride my bike. I wanted to ride the motorcycle with G.
But. I am a cycling warrior. I dragged my ass out of the shower and into my cycling gear. I told my 12yo he made a commitment and I relied on that commitment, and he could go back to bed as soon as he dropped off the little guy.

And. I rode that bike in. I didn't just ride it, I TORE UP a hill that vexes me every morning. I put every bit of steam into I had, and I shattered my previous times, as tracked on the Strava GPS app I use on my phone. A full minute off of my time from March, 40 seconds off my time from a week ago. Roarrrrrr!!

All that and I am wearing new earrings, make up, a cute outfit and sassy sandals. I should pass Sabrina's inspection later today, too, haha.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

(Note to) Selfie

Here's a selfie for you - I took this one to show Kim that I was dressed so casually at work, I was surprised my friend Sabrina would let me stay (she's my personal stylist, nutritionist and life coach, as you may recall).

No earrings, even. Sheesh.
Haha I was thinking about this blog entry because I had a "Note to Self" moment regarding exercise. Drumroll, please...

(this is revolutionary, by the way...)

I feel better when I exercise.

I've ridden my bike to and from work five of the last six work days. Three days last week, both days this week, for a total of 104 miles so far. I feel so much better! Actually, my legs feel tiiiiiirrred, but I am happy and satisfied that I am getting in a good workout every day.

I had been feeling like crap for the last month or so. I checked my Strava app on my phone, where I track my bike rides and runs (hahaha) with GPS. The last time I had ridden was June 4th. Oh - about the time I started feeling like crap. Now, I'm no rocket scientist (my friend N. actually dated a rocket scientist, by the way, she said it was as exciting as you might imagine. Rocket scientist, not astronaut, haha!), but I am seeing a connection there.

We're gonna let that slide, though, as I really did need some time to recover from my scar revision surgery. Such a seemingly minor thing that really was pretty painful! I'm all healed up now, and using strategery to keep myself rolling along. Right now it's easy-ish to commute to work. I have sufficiently threatened and bribed my 14yo into walking her 7yo brother to day camp every morning so I can leave for work on time. It will get hairy, though, when school starts up again. My 14yo is now a high schooler (I am a single mom* with one in high school, one in middle school, one in elementary school. I have become one of *those* people, hahaha) and she won't be able to walk him to school. My 12yo son and 7yo cannot be trusted to walk together, sigh. One block. We live one stinking block from the school. My 12yo catches the bus at the corner of the elementary school. The timing is perfect, but the boys are not. :)

(Edited to add: As Kim correctly points out, I am a single mom with a Greg. And I had a happy moment with this yesterday, when I arrived home exhausted after a long, hot bike ride. I had less than an hour to pick up the youngest from daycare, take the oldest to HER FIRST JOB INTERVIEW - more later- and get the middle child to football conditioning practice. My head was spinning. And Greg said, "Why don't I just take Blake to practice and you take care of Alli and Reid?" Boggle. You mean, someone to help me? Ooooo, this takes some getting used to, but I like it, I like it! Also, last night he laid out the plan for us to go away together alone this weekend...ah, love. Love.)

Anyway. I'll figure it out. My goal is for bike commuting to become simply, "how I get to work."

Things are going really great these days. Greg and the kids are doing awesome, and doing super well together. Last night, my 7yo was curled up against him on the couch watching TV. It's amazing to me how much of a family we're becoming. Last Friday, Kim came up from Oregon for her daughter's basketball tournament. I took a half-day vacation and met Kim for a leisurely lunch, then we went to the game, then to drinks while we waited for her daughter to shower and get her gear from the hotel. We all went back to my house, where we found Greg in the kitchen making pizza from scratch for my children. I'll tell you, that is about the sexiest thing ever to come home to!

Speaking of Kim, she had a brilliant idea to take a picture of our daughters, who share the same name and are a little more than a year apart. Kim and I went to high school together and I considered her my academic rival and she considered me no threat, haha. We lost touch for years, reconnected over facebook years ago when I was getting divorced, and at that time she said one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. "I'm on your side. I don't care who's fault it was, I don't care what you did or he did, I am your friend and I am on your side." Isn't that wonderful? Totally true, too. I sort of went off the deep end when I was getting divorced and she stood right beside me (figuratively), not afraid to tell me what she thought, but always having my back.

So this picture is especially meaningful to me, too. These are both really, really great girls, our Al(l)is. And great moms.

Genetics at work. :)
Edited to add, too, that Sabrina had a serious heart to heart talk with me yesterday about biking to work and my obligations toward looking good. She said since I started biking to work and got back together with Greg, there are too many days with no makeup, earrings and cute clothes. This morning I told her I did my best for her - biked to work and put a little thought into my appearance. I told her I would think of her, too, when I rolled back into my driveway after work looking like a sweaty raccoon with all this makeup smeared all over my face. That'll impress the boyfriend, won't it? I don't think she cares, haha.

After she took the first picture, of me standing there woodenly, she said,
"HAVEN'T I TAUGHT YOU ANYTHING?? Put some sass in it!!"