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!!"

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Blargh. I am not feeling well. I am eating way too much (as I sit here and snack on Sun Chips) and I am not exercising. I feel like a giant stuffed sausage! My clothes are too tight. It is hot outside.

I am not complaining about it being hot, though! My policy as a sun-lover is to never complain when we get it, here is dark, rainy, dreary Seattle. When it's nice in Seattle, this has to be the most beautiful place on earth. When it's nine months of "winter," it is insufferable. So, even in 90+ degree weather, well, I just keep my dang mouth shut.

Except I'm telling you because my clothes are so friggin hot and tight and uncomfortable. I had to *remind* myself that it is 90+ degrees outside and EVERYONE's clothes are hot and tight and uncomfortable! Well, mine is heat related, but mostly sloth-related, I'm afraid.

My friend Sabrina looks amazing - she has been doing fitness boot camp for months now and it has done incredible things for her physique. A coworker here had lost a lot of weight and regained 10 pounds, which she has recently taken off again and looks amazing. I've been reading Kim's blog and I am jealous at how successful her training plan is going.

I am wearing the world's most beat-up hoodie and t-shirt at work. And yoga pants.

This, my friends, is the bottom of the barrel. Rock bottom.

Next week, I am hoping to ride my bike to work again. It genuinely is too hot for me to ride right now, but also we're going camping for a few days so it's not feasible. Next week.

Did I tell you my daughter and I are doing the Seattle Biggest Loser Half Marathon in October? Yes, we are! This will be her first half marathon, and thankfully, she is taking training more seriously than me. She gave me a stern lecture about needing to get on the training program.

We've just been so stinking busy! Greg is all moved in, but we are wall to wall furniture and duplicates of everything. It is uncomfortably crowded at home. I'm pretty minimalistic, anyway, but all the extra stuff has me in claustrophobic fits. Thankfully, with Greg, who is awesome at cleaning and organizing, it won't be this way for long, I'm sure.

He's better than me: I *need* to live in a clean, organized environment or I am in fits, but I lack any skills whatsoever to clean or organized. So, basically, I live in fits.

I'll turn this around; I have to. I am so uncomfortable and yucked right now, it is really weighing me down. No pun intended, haha.