Friday, March 29, 2013

Making Progress

Starting weight: 151.8
Freakout weight: 145
Today's weight: 147.7
Freakout factor: Optimistic, but concerned about upcoming weekend eating

Today, I'm ten pounds off the weight that makes me most happy. I can get back there again, I'm sure. I definitely feel better than I did at 151.8, so I'm making progress. I do wonder about muscle weight gain and if I'll *EVER* make my real, ultimate weight loss goal, which is to bust into my 120s. Or at least get below 131.5, so I can cross another item off the list to the right. We'll see. Right now I just want to get my butt back below 140, and FAST!

I had a great time with Greg last night. Boy, am I ever stuck in a tough situation. I should say, before I start ruminating all over the place (which can be so messy!): my heart just screams GO FOR IT with Greg. I have not, and will not, have the same sparky-zappy, happy, can I just sit in your lap while we talk? connection with Mr. W that I have always had with Greg. There is more to finding a partner than that, of course, but what I really, really struggle with is that with Mr. W, I have everything *but* that. And I don't think that is enough for me. Sadly, I actually used the analogy recently that if this were an arranged marriage with Mr. W, I would have hit the jackpot. On paper, he is everything I could possible want, and I would grow to love him more and more over the years. Is that enough?

I would not at all presume to say Greg has changed. The best way to describe it, I would say, is that he has been thinking. I am hesitant to post a lot about what he has said - feeling both that I sort of owe it to you guys reading since goodness knows I gave you all the information about our past. And also recognizing that this is purely his process, and he's extremely private.

Anyway. I would have serious misgivings about promises to change, or if he were showing radical departures from past attitudes or behaviors, etc. Fortunately, I'm not getting any of that, haha.

What I am getting is apologies. Plausible explanations for where he was at a year ago. Lots of things I already knew, like it was too soon for him to be dating, especially given all the turmoil with his daughter, etc. What has changed, both in his circumstances and in his attitudes and reflections. Priorities and values. What I mean to him and how he arrived at those conclusions.

Here's what I like. I decided, if I were going to start talking to him again, that this time, I am me and no one else. After we split, I decided I was going to be true to myself no matter what. I don't need a man, and getting one under false pretenses doesn't do me or him any good. So since we have been talking, I've been saying what I want to say. And I gotta tell you - I feel more relaxed around him than I ever did. That feels nice. :)

Well, I am still thinking and I'm not doing anything in a hurry. Thank goodness my children are home the next two weekends and I can use this as an opportunity to hold all men at arm's length.

I feel like a pro/con chart for both men is in order. (Not for the blog, haha.)

Something I did decide: I'm going to church alone tonight. Haha, I'll give you time to let your head snap back from the whiplash on that one! I love the Good Friday tenebrae service, where the church windows are covered in black and the room gets darker and darker throughout the service until you're in total darkness. I thought about inviting Mr. W, whom I haven't seen all week and I know it is driving him nuts. I thought about inviting Greg, who is really wanting to spend more time with me.

Then I thought, "I could probably really use some time sitting quietly by myself in prayer or contemplation." Hahaha. Yes, I could really use that, I think. I invited my daughter, Alli, or gave her the option of staying home and watching her brother(s). Without hesitation, she chose babysitting. Their dad has been making them go to a church they hate, and as I pointed out to him, all he's really doing is making them religion-averse.

I am not particularly religious, but there are some times that I really enjoy or feel a strong desire to go to church. Good Friday is usually one of them. I am looking forward to the service. When I invited Alli this morning, we did have a good conversation and laugh about one of the mysteries that I have always pondered, how the crucifixion became "Good" Friday. Seems like a very bad day to me, too. She said the church had a keen sense of irony. I love that kid.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

She's Super Freaky

Starting weight: 151.8
Freakout weight: 145
Today's weight: 148.4
Freakout factor: Less freaked, but still irritated

Will I run out of "freaky" blog titles before I get back under the freakout weight? Quite possibly, haha. Yesterday, oops, and today, I didn't do the protein shake diet because the protein shakes are in a cupboard in my kitchen instead of in my fridge at work, where they need to be. So today I redeemed a SBUX reward and got an egg-salad sandwich, of which I have eaten half. Still no jelly beans. Okay, yesterday I had one jelly bean. Sigh. I'm a tough case.

Tonight, Greg is picking me up after work and taking me on Seattle's Great Wheel. Do you remember when Lance Armstrong took me on the Great Wheel? That was a fun night. I still talk to Lance Armstrong sometimes - he is a nice boy who meets none of my perfect man blender criteria except that screaming hot body which I will not talk about any more. :)

Well, Greg does not have LA's hot biker body, but Greg also does not spend all his time on his bike or running around like a hamster on a wheel, either. Tradeoffs. I worry about my own two ADHD sons when I think of Lance Armstrong sometimes, because you just want to say, "FOR GOD'S SAKE, MAN, FOCUS ON SOMETHING!"

I digress. Thank you all so much for your comments on yesterday's post. What a bunch of smart women I have reading my brain dumps! TZ, I'll admit, I laughed all afternoon about your perhaps inadvertent reference to your "current husband" of almost 21 years. :) If he's been around that long, he's the only one that counts! Unless you meant he's on his way out? :) It reminded me of when I would jokingly call X "my first husband." Oops. That is less funny than "current husband," haha. 

I have been thinking about people changing (and I meant Greg, not me, haha). I don't believe he has changed, but I am willing to concede that he has possibly realized his stupidity. ;) He, at least, listened to me and has thought a lot about what I said back in the day. He brought up the other day, "You told me once that you wished we had met a year later. Well, it's a year later - you were absolutely right." (That's a link to my recap of our first date, by the way.)

Just now, I decided that I will make myself go back and read the whole Greg saga on this blog, in order to make sure I remember both the wonderful things and the really, really crappy things. There were a lot of both, haha. You know.

Okay. So I don't think Greg has changed, but he is right about me being right, about it being too early in his post-divorce life to date. He was in a lot of turmoil. An ex who had knowingly claimed the new home buyer's credit even though it was not their first home - so he had just been hit with a $12K tax bill, in addition to all the hidden credit cards he had just found out about, etc. A teenage daughter who moved back in full-time but was playing with his heart strings a bit with "if I'm not happy, I'll move back to mom's", a very strained relationship with his teenage son...etc etc. I *did* say that it was too soon for him to be dating. Because it was.

In other words: I told you so. And I was right and you were wrong. I try not to say these things, but I will say them here, in the privacy of the internet.

So, I am sure he has not changed, but I do know his life has calmed down. And I do know that we were awfully compatible and it's not surprising that he would realize that now - I know I have thought about it, too. We have sparks in a really good way. I have learned from dating that this is certainly not always the case.

Things that will not have changed do concern me. Smoking. He is honest in that he will probably not stop. Oddly, I wouldn't care about this so much unless I had not battled quitting smoking my entire adult life. He's not a "bad" smoker: doesn't do it often, is meticulous about cleaning up afterward, etc. Doesn't generally taste or smell like cigarettes. But he's a smoker, and I am a reformed (and still struggling sometimes) non-smoker. This is very, very nearly a deal-breaker. It should be, I suppose. 

Physical activity/health in general. Here, Mr. W wins hands down, because not only is he very active, he is also one of those people who only eats healthy and then takes lots of weird herbs and supplements on top of it. I will not gloat that when I was so sick, oh, ALL WINTER LONG, he was a little sanctimonious about herbal treatments and preventatives, and now he is home sicker than a dog for days now. Heh. Even herbal people can get sick, what do you know?

Greg and I have spoken about both smoking and physical activity. He admits he will not likely join me on 50+ mile bike rides, but says he'll go to the gym with me. Importantly, he says he will support me and stay out of my way on pursuing these myself. Here, I'm more concerned about *me.* While I have been expressing to Mr. W that I am not sure I want EVERY FREE MINUTE of my summer scheduled into bicycle training rides up to and in excess of 100 miles...I don't want to give it up, either. It's that spectrum again. Mr. W and I went on a very fun 30+ mile ride last weekend and one of the things that sort of spoils it for me is I said, halfway through our ride, "My parents live at the top of that big ass hill (pointing)" and he said, "We can do that as a training ride, from your house to your parents', that will be about an 80-mile loop." I struggle with always training. I'm interested, and not interested. I dunno.

Matt is an active life full of vacations and travel, and love, love, love. Greg is a sleepy life full of home and family and certainly not uncontested compliance with my will and whims. Greg loves recreation, too, but it will be the local weekend getaways to the coast (fishing) or the mountains (fishing), haha. I can bring my bike. :)

Here's the thing. I lament the fact that Greg's world is as big as he is willing to drive and Matt has traveled the world and lived in Prague for several years and wants to take me to Europe this fall. 

But I wonder...SHOULD I lament this fact? After all, the last time I got on an airplane was 1996, to Hawaii. It was my second flight, the first being to Disneyland. I am not exactly a world traveler, and for all I know, I never will be. It is certainly not a priority of mine, to date, anyway. And when Matt says he wants to take me to Europe, most of me is SO EXCITED and ALL IN, but the rest of me is like, "Well, the odds of me saving up vacation time with these kids sucking off it all the time, plus the money - even spending money, etc..." I don't know how fair it is to mourn something I don't have, anyway. And who knows, when I am finally free to travel, maybe Greg would be ON IT. Besides, his big dream is to retire to the Oregon Coast, and WHERE have I been saying I will retire to, since I was in high school?? You got it. And Greg makes his dreams happen (while I tend to procrastinate on mine), so if I wanna retire to the Oregon Coast, well, there's my ticket to a beautiful home on the Oregon Coast with a man I adore.

This is getting a little long, but I'll tell you what my mom said the other day about "SVS"  when I was growing up. He and his family were friends with my parents. I babysat for him, and I had the world's hugest crush on him from the time I was probably nine or ten...until, oh, probably the day I got married. I haven't seen him in years, but safe bet that I'd still have a crush on him. He raced cars, he fished, he hunted, he was tall and handsome, he could do/build/make anything in the world. He rode a motorcycle and had a big truck and a boat, and, and, and...As Reid, my youngest, would say, my heart "beeped" for him.

Hmm, Greg raced cars, rides a motorcycle, has a big truck and a boat and hunts and fishes and is tall and handsome (in that very ruddy outdoorsy way - he's not classically handsome, maybe, but does have bright blue eyes and a dimple in his chin), hunts, fishes, and, and, and. 

So I'm probably still chasing my childhood crush. When I first read "The World According to Garp," I envied the babysitter that got the older man, haha. Dirty Thirty.

Well, my poor mom brought up SVS to dissuade me from seeing Greg again. (Not because she thinks I could go after SVS now, hahahaha). She said that women always love the bad boys, but SVS had a lot of girlfriends after his divorce and Greg will, too. Greg did say he dated a couple women after we split (and I made sure he knows I have, too) and it only made him realize how much he had blown it with me. What a smart thing to say. Poor mom. You shouldn't have made me think about SVS after all these years, now I just feel like I'd be fulfilling my life's destiny.

I have to show you this picture, but I'll probably take it down pretty quickly. I am nearly *positive* this must be a dating profile picture. I told Kim it's his "mail order bride" picture: big, strong man with race car and house and truck = PROVIDER. If it were anyone else, I would be laughing at him, that cocky, arrogant pose and all his wealth spread out behind him. But he gives me butterflies so I just think it's cute. And very silly. Men. They are like young children. He texted this to me as a means of seduction. White picket fence included.

Boys and toys.
It's interesting that you would reference in the comments, Linda and TZ, my concerns about "being loved more than" vs "loving someone more than." I've seen Greg briefly a couple times in this last week (coffee on Sunday and yes, a ride home on the motorcycle Tuesday - Greg
 knows which buttons to push for the desired reaction). There's always been sparks flying between us, but if I were to go down that path again, it's not the same. I think this is what is happening with Mr. W, too. It's his first time dating since the divorce, and he wants so much to be loved and in love again. I *know* this. I know exactly how it feels. And now I also know how it felt for Greg to be hit with that when I locked my sights on him. It is good, and flattering, and it's "well, everything would be great, except," and a whole mixed bags of feelings. I think in many ways, the Mr. W of today would not be the Mr. W of a year from now, but I can't be sure. Can't I keep telling these men to come back a year after their divorce??

We'll see.

Finally, I feel obliged to say something that is weight loss surgery, running and cycling related, in order to not lose my "credentials" as a blogger in anything but matters of my heart! Let's see. It is much easier to be on a liquid diet if you have a teeny-tiny sleeve tummy. I have been running on the treadmill at the Y, and I loved the HOPE OF SPRING on my ride with Mr. W last Saturday. This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous and even though it is action-packed with the kids, I will make sure to get in some cycling.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Deja Vu All Over Again

Starting weight: 151.8
Freakout weight: 145
Today's weight: 149.5
Freakout factor: Irritated, seeking instant gratification for enduring protein shakes for two days

Do you believe people can change? I don't, really. I know that fundamentally I have simply not changed who I am my whole life. I am less judgmental about parenting than I was many years ago. :) But even that, true to my nature, didn't change until after I had experienced it myself. I'm not a terribly empathetic person, I'm afraid. I have a hard time putting myself in someone else's shoes. But once I've been there - I am understanding.

Anyway, I don't put a lot of stock in people changing. I do, however, know when I am being true to myself and when I am not. I know when I am offering up "unvarnished Julie" and when I am, for whatever reason, stifling myself. With my friends and family, I am the real deal. Julie Unmasked, haha.

When I went out with Greg, I was not myself. It wasn't a conscious decision, but it was something I had acknowledged to myself. I had my reasons. Greg was my first post-divorce real boyfriend (not just these onesy-twosy dates I had been on so many of) and I wanted to keep him. I fell for him hard and fast. He represented so much of what I want in a partner: smoking hot chemistry, security, stability, capability (Greg is the most *capable* man I have ever met, perhaps second only to my daddy, haha. No issues there. Nope, not here.)

Anyway, I had a tenuous on Greg from the start and I wanted to keep it. I was not skilled at dating, nor was I used to being considered attractive by men since my marriage ended and I had lost all that weight. I did not feel good about my body, and frankly, I still do find my past obesity a bit embarrassing and shameful. We all have our baggage.

Greg was probably the *worst* person for me to date. I felt he brought a lot to the table, and while, intellectually, I know I do, too, I also overemphasize my "baggage." He was also newly divorced and he is not a very flexible person. Plus, he is very direct, or blunt, even. I figured out after some time and thought that he sort of offers a running narrative of his thoughts. He lacks filters, I'd say. I cannot condemn this in him because I have almost no filters myself.

Where I blew it is that my desire to keep him at all costs made me stifle myself and my own thoughts. I pulled my very dusty and unused filters off the shelf and implemented them. I let Greg's narrative about my body and weight history go without a lot of righteous indignation. I wanted *him* more than I wanted *me,* I think. I wanted a boyfriend. I wanted to feel loved again. I still struggled with feelings of regret from my marriage and things I did not do to preserve it, and I wanted a chance to show that I wouldn't blow it again. I overshot.

I pandered to him, in other words. If you knew me (I think you probably have a pretty good sense of me from this blog, haha) in person, you would know that this is utterly unlike me. And I suffered for it. Especially when he dumped me and then I was pissed about being dumped and pissed about not being myself with him.

What has changed since then is that I am comfortable, if not happy (okay, not happy, per se), being single. I have dated enough men now to know that it's a mixed bag. If I could take Greg and Mr. W and put them in a man-blender, I'd come up with the perfect concoction. I trust myself to walk away from bad connections: remember  the Navy guy who was rich and fell for me so fast? I walked away, and it's hard to walk away from rich, haha.

I've learned from Mr. W, because he is as crazy about me as I was about Greg. It's suffocating and can be annoying. It's hard to remember what a good person he is sometimes, because I feel like I can't breathe.

Well, you might have guessed by now that Greg is back in the picture. He contacted me around Christmas - did I blog about that? Oh yes, I did. Oh BOY, did I have some choice words for him. He contacted me again in February (I ignored) and then again last week. I'm not sure why I responded to him this time.

I guess I know why I responded to him. I had just told a friend the week before that part of the reason I'm struggling with Mr. W. is because I'm not over Greg. On March 14th I texted with a friend in order to keep MYSELF from texting Greg out of the blue after all these months.

I don't know where this will go. He has said everything you would expect him to say: he's sorry, he loves me, he wants me back, he was a fool, etc. No point in elaborating because he's saying exactly what you would say if you wanted someone to take you back. :)

I've met him a couple times, briefly. I am mourning the fact that Mr. W. and I have never had (on my end) the crazy electric chemistry that I have always had with Greg. Even just sitting with him, I couldn't look him in the eye and say I didn't have feelings for him anymore. (I did not say that I did have feelings, haha.)

We've talked a lot. Do I believe him? I believe he believes he is telling the truth. I told him I still have three young kids (his two are nearly grown). That he is still a neat freak and I am still a slob. That my body is my body and my past is my past.

Yesterday he paid me a compliment and I told him the only thing he gets to say about my body from now on is, "Damn, you are HOT!" or similar things. He very much agreed.

Right now I'm in a holding pattern. I don't want to make a move with either man. I am sort of exhausted with Mr. W, which I had already conveyed to him before Greg contacted me. He is very sweetly and very appropriately cooling his jets a little (a lot) which I appreciate. I had a revelation last night or this morning in that sort of sleeping-but-awake time. Being with Mr. W would be a decision that I would make with my head. Being with Greg would be a decision that I would make with my heart. Both are great men who bring a lot of the same things to a relationship. They are on opposite ends of the spectrum on some stuff: Mr. W loving me unconditionally and Greg having a lot of issues wrapped up in whatever he's wrapped up in. You can believe me when I say we're discussing this a lot.

Anyway, no sudden moves. I am seeing Greg tomorrow and Mr. W tonight and on Saturday and I am keeping them both on the back burner, sort of in a holding pattern with each of them for various reasons.

It's also "funny" in that with Mr. W, I am consumed by not wanting to hurt him, and with Greg, I am wary of him hurting me. I'm not terribly concerned about that, though, because I am looking at him with a completely different set of lenses. I'm excited to be around him, but I'm not blindly chasing after him like I did, either.

Edited to add: I know long-time readers are saying "WTF ARE YOU THINKING??" and I can own that, no problem. First, I haven't made any decisions. Second, I promise not to be one of "those women" that goes back into a bad relationship, or stays in a bad relationship. I'm smart. I'm not desperate. I won't do anything stupid, I promise. More on the pros and cons next time, when I hopefully also get to update you that my freakout weight is dropping, not raising, as it did today. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Get Your Freak On

Freak-out Weight: 145
Starting Weight: 151.8
Today's Weight: 148.9
Freak Status: Still Freaked

Mmmm, yum, protein shakes. Lurve them. Well, you can't say they don't work, anyway! I had protein shakes all day followed by "a sensible dinner" (I am imitating the Slim Fast commercials here, haha). Then I followed that with some popcorn, because well, I can't seem to go to bed without snacking. Sheesh.

No jelly beans yesterday. Not a single one. And today, I subconsciously almost grabbed an Almond Joy off a coworker's candy dish, but my brain kicked in at the last minute and I saved myself.

I gotta tell you, I'm having a bit of man drama. I can't even formulate a coherent thought on this one. Mr. Wonderful is still wonderful. He is sooooooooooo wonderful. He loves me. He loves me sooooooooooo much. He has continued to propel this new relationship along at rocket speed, and I have been dragging my heels in the dirt, urging him to slow down and relax and enjoy where we're at NOW.

He is supportive to the nth degree.

I know it's not right to compare men, but I have to say that Mr. W is not unlike my X in many ways. Very loving and very supportive. Waiting for direction on how to best serve.

Here's the thing. This is probably a very bad dynamic for me. I am positive it was with my X. He only wanted to love and help, and I am a very strong personality (SAY WHA??). There is a common denominator to the people that I am most close to in life. It's a straight-talking, no bullisht, I don't know, independence, maybe?

Anyway, poor X, he is such a good man and in later years of our marriage, I really had lost all respect for him and really steamrolled him in a lot of ways. He was like another child for me, and well, I'm not the most patient of mothers, anyway. Frequently in over my head with parenting. My children are really being raised like little adults, eep.

Needing to direct X's activities and such exhausted me. Mr. W is really seeming to be this way, too. Waiting for my leadership. I'll tell you, there was a snapping point in my mind recently. We were having dinner and some reference was made to me having three kids. And he said, "well, four, really..." and raised his hand.


Here's the thing. You cannot say a less sexy thing to me than to lump yourself in as one of my kids, even in jest. You simply cannot say it. And the LAST time he made this "joke," I told him, "You must never say that again. I do not find it remotely funny or attractive."

And he said it again.

One time, I was seeing this man, I called him my FB and I will leave it to your grown-up imaginations what that might have meant. It was right at the time of my divorce. We were friends, but only friends. And one time he made some reference to how I could be his sugar mama and take care of him, and he would just keep me happy. I told him, then, over four years ago cannot say a less sexy thing to me than for me to take care of you. I am so maxed out, the very idea of taking care of someone else is appalling.

He had the good wisdom to never say anything like that again. Mr. W. did not. I am looking for a partner, not a child. Not a man-servant (this is something I struggle with, too, as Mr. W seems dedicated to service and pleasing, and I am not a good person for this sort of thing). He loves to say he serves as "ground support" for various friends on events like cycling or running or whatever. I have no use for ground support.

I am stressed. A break up would be very messy and heartbreaking for both of us. But I can't go into a relationship where he's not an equal. I need to have a lot of respect for my partner, and while there are so many things I admire Mr. W for, this subservient thing is not for me at all.

Deep sigh.

Later, I'll tell you about the flip side of my man-conundrum, in which a villainous character has re-emerged from the dusty pages of this blog...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Corrective Measures

Well, you all know I have a freak-out weight of 145. The point at which all things are supposed to shut down, sirens and alarm bells are to ring continuously until my weight drops below the freakout zone again.


I hit that freakout weight awhile back. Yikes, was it really almost two months ago?!? That was 146.2. Ladies and gentleman, I give you today's weight...what is beyond a freakout??



Hi, my name is Julie and I'm a sugar addict. Dammit. Clearly, I didn't pay enough attention to the freakout weight when I passed it by. I pretended it might be related to medication I was taking, rather than my out of control snacking and dramatic drop-off in exercise.

Weight control is *never* going to be easy for me. Boo. Now I'm at full-blown weight management catastrophe, where the old feelings of throwing in the towel have taken over. I'm wearing what I am calling my "jelly bean outfit" today: stretch pants and a hoody. If you eat jelly beans at work all day, you are stuck wearing a jelly bean outfit.

I don't want to get dressed. None of my clothes make me happy. All these cycling clothes I've been buying? Well, the other day, my cycling shirt felt tight on my arms.

Oops. Crap. I can't go back down this road!

Well, I put myself back on a liquid diet today, and as much as I hate it, here I will stay until I get that weight back down. Some of it is probably muscle related, but not much. And interestingly, I've really noticed that post-tummy-tuck, I'm gaining weight in my boobs and butt. Two places where it doesn't hurt to have a bit of extra weight, haha.

However, I don't feel good at this weight. I don't feel sexy, and I feel bulky. Time for corrective measures.

It's the damn sugar. Where did this sweet tooth come from?? It's a monster, I tell you.

Happily, the weather is improving here. Mr. Wonderful and I went for a 30 mile bike ride on Saturday. It is so fun to think that now, a thirty-mile ride really is a quick ride.

I'll get this back on track. I'll post daily weigh-ins here until I get back under 140. And I'm staying away from the jelly beans!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chilly Hilly Photo Recap

Since losing all this weight and becoming the super-mega athlete that I am (hahaha), I have made one deep, insightful observation. I make dumb faces when I exert myself.

Remember how happy Barb and I were when we climbed the 62-story building?

Remember how ridiculously happy I was when I was running the See Jane Run half marathon last summer? It looks like I'm singing. :)

Remember when I overexerted my elbow, drinking too much wine at the Pike Place Market last summer, and thought I was a pirate?

Well, now I know I make goofball faces when I ride my bike, too. :) I present my first cycling event photos (from Chilly Hilly last month), hanging tongue included...

Very steep hill. Even my tongue had to help out!

This one makes me look like the leader. Where's my yellow jersey?

This is a picture of me and Mr. W, even though you can't see either of us.

My most badass picture. Sigh. Not very badass.
Plus, look at those snow pants flapping in the wind!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Winter Blues

It's no surprise to me that my mood just utterly tanks this time of year. And why wouldn't? Argh, this weather, this weather! Oppressively gray skies, all day, every day. Already the gorgeousness of last Saturday's ride is a fuzzy memory.

I need to move. I am convinced that people who live in sunnier climates live happier lives. This may or may not be true, but I've only lived here and I need to test the theory myself. My whole life, my grandparents lived in the Seattle area during the summer and then wintered in Yuma, Arizona. I am hoping to do something similar. Not right now, or for the foreseeable future, because for the next eleven years or so I can't even move out of the school district! Plus, God willing, my employer will keep me around for at least another 9.67 years until I'm eligible for full pension. (That's a fresh calculation for this entry, haha, not knowledge I keep stored on the top of my head - I'm not one of THOSE people. Plus, it's really only 8.67 years because my brief foray into the outside world, e.g. another similar agency, counts toward my retirement here.)

(Digression: I just got very excited! Wow, only 8.67 years? I won't be able to actually retire, I'm sure, but how fun to think I could!)

Because I really do love it here. Except for the six or eight months out of the year when I want to claw my eyes out from the suffocation of the gray, drizzly skies. But you know, July, August and September are TOTALLY AWESOME in Seattle!

You think I am speaking in the same old cliche about Seattle. I am not. Whenever it is not strikingly, knock you down because of all the gorgeousness, beautiful is heinous. You are either outdoors reveling in the most amazing and gorgeous place on earth ever created, or you are contemplating eating razor blades to break up the monotony of the long, grey "winter."

Or maybe I'm just tired of it. Every year I seem to hate winter more. Some people - annoying people who should be slapped - love Seattle weather. A couple of my BFF coworkers are like this. Worse: I'm dating one of them. He was born and raised in Long Beach, CA and is presently vacationing in San Diego for a week and a half. If I hear one more dismissive "Oh, you know, California weather," comment about the weather...well, Mr. W may rue the day. Rue the day. (In truth, there is no safe thing for him to say about the weather. Enjoy it? I'm jealous. Dismiss it? I'm peeved at the lack of appreciation of it, haha. Someone's girlfriend is cray-cray, as my daughter says.) I have declared the weather an "unsafe subject" to discuss. Really - is there anything good to talk about every day when someone else is on vacation? How was your day? You got to go to the beach in the sun? Fun! My day? Oh, it rained and I went to work. This is the most boring conversation ever.

And by extension, the most boring blog entry ever, haha.

I have a 48+ mile bike ride planned for Saturday with one of my dear friends. The weather is iffy. But worse, it is my son's 12th birthday tomorrow and he will be with his dad in the morning. I will not be able to make him breakfast in bed, which is how he equates "birthday." (Sweetly, he also makes me breakfast in bed for my birthday.) I will be leaving home very early Saturday morning for the bike ride, which means he will again not get breakfast in bed. :( This is my boy whom because of,  I did not accept Mr. W's invitation to join him in San Diego for a long weekend this week because I could not be in California on his birthday. When asked, Blake says more than anything in the world, he just wants to take a vacation. :( Sorry, kiddo, there's three of you and one of me and I'll never be able to fly you all anywhere.

Anyway. Not sure about the ride. It will eat up a lot of the day Saturday, then he has a lacrosse game late afternoon. I'm planning a special trip sometime this weekend: drive him out to the house where he was born, then get lunch or dinner at the drive-in we stopped at on the way home from his birth. Ha! He was born at 9:38 a.m. and we were *home* by 12:30 p.m. after stopping for lunch. What a day!

Lakeside Birth Center

Local institution on the way home.
Well, this post started on a downer note but sure ended with some happy memories. :)

There's a reason he's still called "Boo." You never saw a kid play peek-a-boo so much, haha.

Monday, March 11, 2013

54 Miles - Longest Ride to Date

My friend Tina and I went on a 54+ mile ride on Saturday. I had thought that I had done longer distances, but I think I just *think* some rides are longer, haha. Because, you know, I haven't been riding all that long. Remember back on August 16th, when I was THRILLED with a 10-mile bike ride? Then, I said, "I cannot remember the last time I rode a bike." Later that month, I went on a 21-mile ride, what was to become my standard "get out of the house" ride. And then on October 25th, I joined what would become my weekly after-work ride, and aw, this is the night I met Mr. W., too. If you are not strolling down memory lane with me as I write this post, here's a little snippet about him:
So now this is my Wednesday night riding group. They ride every Wednesday after work - and I can't wait to do it again. Such a nice group of people. Several of them were ride leaders, and one of them is a group leader for the training program that I'm doing next spring for the Seattle to Portland ride. He had lots of advice and was very sweet about offering to give me a ride home on Wednesday evenings after our rides if I wanted to ride my bike to the Park & Ride. (For simplicity's sake, I had wanted to just ride my bike to the P&R, but I didn't want to ride it home alone in the dark, dark, dark through the scary woods after the ride.)
I wrote that the group went out for beer after the ride, but I didn't write about what I told my friend the next day. There were maybe eight of us that went out after the ride, and I was new. We got to the bar and there wasn't a lot of seating available, so we were trying to cobble together a booth and a table and grab chairs from nearby, etc. I decided to go to the bathroom and let them sort it out, but I *KNEW* that however it worked out, Mr. W. was going to make sure my empty seat was next to his when I came back. I was correct, haha!

Ooo, I am such an ingenious girl, I just went to the Cascade site and grabbed the picture I remember being taken that night at the bar. Here's the night we met, with my not-coincidentally open seat next to Mr. W, haha.

Seating strategery on Mr. W's part.
Anyway, shortly after that ride on 10/24, I had my surgery on 11/12 and I was out of biking commission for awhile. You'll remember, please, that the point of this post was that although I may *think* I've done longer rides, I really haven't had much time to do so. I need to remember this on days like Saturday when my ass was completely KICKED by the 54 miler. Whew! Dang - Tina and I got back to my place and I laid down on the front lawn. I'm a bit surprised I'm not still there!

We had such fun! It was the most beautiful day - the bluest skies ever. It was windy, and that really worked against us, but we made it.

Here's our route. We spent the day along the lakes. Heaven!
Kim and I had just chatted about my back-pocket plan to try for my first "Century ride" (100 miles) this weekend, when Tina and I go do an event called the McClinchy Mile. Kim said she equated 100 miles to running a marathon. And you know what? She's exactly right, I think. I can tell you that after riding 54 miles, I felt as tired as when I've run half marathons. So yes, I've decided that 100 miles is the equivalent of running a marathon. This is a very scientific process, haha.

I don't think I'll be going for my first Century this weekend. That's a lot. I could do it on the flats, but Western Washington is known for its gabillions of hills, not flats. And I don't know this area at all, so I'm just going to assume it's hilly. I think I'll stick to the 48-mile route we have planned, and maybe add in the 18-mile loop, or, if really ambitious, the 34-miles. (See, it's three loops, which together add up to 100 miles.)

We'll see! It felt really great to finish the ride with Tina, although toward the end I was at the limits of my endurance, and that last stretch is really hilly. Remember the mile long ascent to my house I wrote about last week? Yeah, that's a really hard hill to get up when you're dead tired. But I'm happy to say that I held firm to my stance that "bikes are for pedaling, not pushing," and I made it up. Verrrrrrrry slowly.

(Coming back to add: I am sooo tired of all the anonymous comment spam I've been getting! Although most seem to be caught by the blogger filter, they still send an email notification for all. I've changed the comment settings here to "Registered User - includes OpenID." I have no idea what this means, haha, but we'll give it a try.)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hot Chocolate 5K (ADHD Blogger Version)

On Sunday morning, bright and early, Alli and I ran the Hot Chocolate 5K in Seattle. Alli had been so excited about this one, but because her mom is evil mommy is not made of money, I had nixed this event due to the $45/each entry fee. You know, it's one thing to do an event with a friend, when each of you pays your own way. It's another thing altogether when you're the schmuck paying all the race fees for you and your running buddy!

Anyway, we were super lucky, because Runner Maybe Jen was kind enough to gift her admission to Alli for her 14th birthday last month. I was willing to spring for my own entry fee, haha. *After* I registered, I balked at the 6:45 a.m. (IN THE MORNING!) start time on a Sunday (otherwise known as Mad Men Morning, when I lay in bed and watch the two Mad Men reruns aired on A&E. Even though I have seen them before. Don't judge.)

Well. Saturday started out nice, and Mr. W and my buddy T and I went for a bike ride. Lucky us, we finished our 28-ish miles JUST as the skies opened up with a rainy fury. (Fury would not be expressed in heat, in my book, anyway, because being warm is nice. Being cold and wet is baaaaaad.)*

*Sidebar: I once played a game on a radio call-in show. Offline, before I started, as part of the deal, win or lose, the DJ told me that after the game, he would ask me how I felt and I had to say, "I'm so happy I could baaaaaaaaa like a sheep!" I did. :)  Plus, I won $150 in gift certificates to Fred Meyer's (non-Northwesterners, think Target.) I think of this whenever I type baaaaaaad, which is more often than you would think.

Oh! Let me derail this little thought train and tell you about the moment I realized Mr. W is not, in fact, wonderful, but evil! Well, maybe not evil. But do you want to know how the geek engineer science brain can  get you in trouble with your girlfriend? Let me tell you.

I live near a rather steep hill. If I tell you that it is 16% grade, that might not mean much to you. I don't fully understand it myself. (I always ask myself if 100% grade is then straight up and down. So wouldn't a 45 degree angle be 50% grade? I don't think so.) So I'll put this picture here and even though you can't see the hill, really, you can see the disappointed look on the cyclist's face, sorta:

Really steep. Not all the way, but most way.

View Larger Map
(if you see the little white arrows on the screen, you can actually navigate up my steep hill!)

Here's a page that sort of explains it, but more importantly talks about "rise over run times 100" which reminds me of something I learned in school. And nope, it says a 45 degree angle is the equivalent of a 100% grade because rise = run.

Anyway. I live near a very steep hill. I have not been able to ride a bike up this hill, it is so steep. The first time I *almost* rode my bike up this hill, minus the very steep part at the bottom, I had my neighbor take this picture to celebrate. Now, because I did not actually ride my bike up the hill, I think my standards for myself are pretty lax, haha.

Steep hill. I hadn't actually tried riding it on my racy new bike (that's my old cruiser style bike), because I was so sure I couldn't get up it, I just didn't try. Well! On Saturday at the end of our ride, I suggested we climb this hill, which is the shortest, but steepest, way home. Mr. W had mentioned he'd like to ride it one day, anyway.

I went into it sure that I'd need to *gasp* get off and push the bike. Even though I just said in my last entry, "Bikes are for riding, not pushing!" (I am nothing if not hypocritical, haha.) But, you know what? I didn't! I was slow, and the riding was hard, but me no pushy. Success! I would have had Mr. W take an updated bike lifting shot, but...

Seriously - as I'm whooping and hollering going up this hill, totally invigorated by my success, Mr. W, who also chugged straight up the hill, much faster and stronger than me, said, "You've got a real gear advantage over me with your bike..." I don't remember what else, if anything, he said, because all the triumphant bike dominator blood turned into roiling angry blood pounding in my ears.

Seriously. I just made a major milestone for me. OMG. Tell me how trivial my success was, please. My bike has a granny gear and yours doesn't? Well, thankyouverymuch, I don't care. Which I told him. When I am riding, or running, I compete against me. Just me! Well, me and Strava, but that's just a formalized way of competing against me. I told him that the science of our bikes doesn't interest me ONE WHIT while I am actively IN THE MOMENT of celebrating what I consider a major win.


Geek. Just absolutely could not suppress the thought that my three-little-gear-wheel bike has an advantage over his two-little-gear-wheel bike. The science must be shared, even while his not-at-all scientific girlfriend is still WHOOPING LOUDLY up the hill. Sigh.

It was not meant to be mean, but it was mean. Likewise, our fellow riding friend who called me out on facebook for missing recent Wednesday night rides and then pooh-poohed me for saying the weather has been too bad for me to want to ride. I told Mr. W that if biking begins to feel like an obligation, I already have plenty of obligations, and if it ceases to be fun to ride with them, I can go back to riding by myself.

He's not mean, he's just (book)smart.
Roar. I was mad. Mr. W is good and kind and thoughtful, though, and said all the right things. It is behind us. (Except for the last bit of boiling blood I am still feeling as I write this, haha.) Oh! I was just so HAPPY to have made it up that hill!

Anyway, shortly after that, the skies opened up with heavy rains. I dreaded the early start time for the 5K, afraid it would still be raining. I told myself, "You will not bail." I told myself Alli loves the super cute sweatshirts that came with the entries, and that there is great pride in being able to wear them, but not if you bailed on the event (even if it was your mom that made you bail). Okay, whatever, we'll go no matter what.

Sunday morning came early, but it was GORGEOUS. Cold, but gorgeous. A perfect winter day. Hope for spring. The event, which I was afraid might be a disorganized fiasco, based on some comments on their facebook page, was beautifully done. Tons of volunteers. Tons of traffic control. Eight thousand or more runners, our first large event. The treats at the end were as good or better than promised. The course was fairly hilly, which we have not encountered on a race. But we did well and had a blast. We will definitely do it again next year.

I sure love my girl.