"Which of my all important nothings should I tell you first?" ~ Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I am not really the "working-out" type

I hate to sweat. Like seriously. I hate to get over-heated. And I hate it when my fingers swell.

I absolutely loathed P.E. class in jr. high and high school and was happy when I didn't have to bother with it anymore for my junior & senior years. (Plus my jr. high P.E. teacher, Mrs. Phillips, was a royal witch with a capital "B.")

BUT. Big ole BUT. 

I had been thinking about it for a while. Thinking about how so many women I know run and do marathons and just absolutely get that bug and then they get all skinny and then I have to hate them. AND I HATE THAT. Having to hate them, that is. So I thought, hey, could I do that? 

Then I said shut up, you're not a runner. You hate running. You hate sweating. What's wrong with you? 

Then I said, no, YOU shut up. Because I could totally do that. I just need to shift my paradigm.
 (par·a·digm  n. 3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.)
So I did. Or have been. It's an on-going battle. I decided to start on my first full day back from vacation - July 10. So for the past three weeks I have been doing it.

I've mostly been working-out on our elliptical machine. I like it. I like being inside. I do intervals on the elliptical too - I'll go really fast for a bit and then go back to a more moderate pace. I have a bit of a routine - I definitely work-out every Monday night. That's when I watch my guilty pleasure TV and working out at the same time balances that nicely, I think. I've been doing 3.1 miles consistently on the elliptical on Monday nights. Then I try 2-3 more workouts during the week as well.

When I work-out outside I try to do run/walk intervals. More walk than run because I know I need to start conditioning before I run too much or I will literally fall-down dead.  Other things make working-out outside less desirable - like my own insecurities. I don't want people to SEE me working-out. I'm sure I just look ridiculous.  

This morning I was determined to work-out outside. It didn't go as well as it could have due to a sore left heel, I forgot my water, my nose closed up due to allergies, and it was 89 flippin' degrees and I was roasty-toasty. I came home early and took a COLD shower. All in all, I did just about 2 miles today. 

But, HEY, if it was 5 weeks ago then I wouldn't have done that at all, would I?

Conclusion: I still don't like running or sweating but I love the feeling I have after doing it. I feel like I really accomplished something. And I just feel better about myself. Like I'm actively doing something to better myself. I feel SEXIER already. That feeling just absolutely rocks. 

Two people have told me that I look thinner. I've only lost about 4 lbs so far. We'll see. 

Now I think I need to invest in a better sports bra - because these girls CANNOT be contained - and new trainers (Britishism). My current tennies give me blisters on the inside of my arch, just before my heel. Odd.

So there's my first work-out update. I'll try to post anytime I have something worthwhile to say. Please keep the support and encouragement coming - I will definitely need it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Losing Faith: Politics & Madmen

It would be quite easy to chalk up the events in Norway this weekend to the work of a madman (comforting because no "normal" person would commit such an atrocity) but I fear that isn't the case. Maybe he IS mad - who am I to judge - but his rampage wasn't random. It has the appearance of being politically motivated and this sickens me to no end.

How is it possible that someone can feel so strongly about a political party that they would execute, SLAUGHTER, the children and young adults affiliated with that party? HOW? Tell me how because my brain can't process it.

The U.S. government in Washington, D.C. has stalled in debt ceiling talks. Normally this is a routine piece of legislation, however this time some members of the political parties seem to think this is a win or lose situation for them rather than *simply* the financial fate of our country.

I don't usually get political on my blog - because I'm not interested in debating my beliefs with anyone - but I have to say that I'm simply aghast that with a financial catastrophe absolutely breathing down our necks our representatives are not doing more to work together. Compromise, people. Work towards the greater good.

Have they forgotten that they work for the citizens of the U.S.? Their decisions impact our collective futures.

Silent Majority. I saw that term in a headline over the weekend and immediately reacted to it. The headline was something like, "The U.S. Moderate Silent Majority is Fed-Up with Washington." 

To which I say: YOU ARE DAMN WELL RIGHT, I AM.

I lean left most of the time. Sometimes I swerve right. Sometimes I can be undecided. Other times I'm steadfast. I listen. I observe. I listen to their words and I watch their actions. Then, at the polls, I vote my conscience - on the issue AND on the person. 

I AM the Silent Majority.

As I watched my Twitter feed this weekend I saw a lot of Norway tweets mingled with newsy tweets about the failed debt ceiling talks. President Obama is angry. House Speaker Boehner is apparently trying to appease the fringe Tea Partiers. He left the meetings. They held dueling press conferences. They don't agree on anything. Blah, blah, blah. 

All I can think is MY GAWD, have you NOT seen the news about Norway? About what happens when a (likely) political extremist takes his views too far? Is your damn hubris so all important that you can't bridge the gap and come to a resolution for the GREATER GOOD of our country? Please, for the love of Maude, stop the polarizing rhetoric and political posturing. You are making me mad. And sad. And just plain scared for our future.

The constant hate-filled political rhetoric and the negative-loving media beast is perpetuating the creation of extremist viewpoints. No good can come of this.

We are on a path of political, financial and cultural destruction. We are slowly committing suicide as a country. Our patriotism, or belief in our political system and our leaders, are all dying a slow death that we are bringing upon ourselves. We are killing everything that we love about our country.

I just want something to believe in. I want to believe my leaders are representing the best interests of my family. Even if I disagree with specific pieces of legislation I want to have that trust, that assurance, that they are looking ahead to the future and protecting the interests of all Americans. That they are listening when smart people tell them what the impacts of their decisions will be and that they are then taking the BEST (non-biased, non-partisan) option for our collective futures.

Our similarities are greater than our differences. 

Mend those fences, compromise, please, before my children's financial futures, not to mention their hope and faith in their country's leaders, are decimated.

We have the judicial, legislative and executive branches of our government for a reason. Checks and balances. Oversight. The prevention of anarchy, chaos & tyranny. 

Memo to Congress: please see beyond your own self-interest. This is my country too.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Kids are really obnoxious

Okay, y'all know that I love my kids. They are a part of me - why I live and breathe every day. 

But, seriously, they are so LOUD. Loud, obnoxious and unrestrained. 

Things were so quiet when they were in California. I often talked out loud to myself when I was home alone. Just because it was so dang quiet. Not anymore! We're lucky to get a word in with each other.

Last night we were in the car and my mom was sitting in the backseat between the boys and she was plugging her years because she was getting it from both sides. Bickering and playing with each other - in just about equal parts. 

On one hand, I'm happy my kids don't feel inhibited or restrained. I want them to be able to speak freely to me, my husband and our immediate family - especially my parents. I want them to be kids and act like kids and let the creativity flow and if that means having competitions about which of them can sound more like a girl when they scream then so be it. (However, not in the freaking-ass car).

On the other hand, when they are being loud it makes it really hard to hear their parents or grandparents, it makes it impossible for us to talk to each other, and there comes a point where we cross from creative outlet to just plain ole bad manners. It's a balance. Right now I feel like we are teetering a little over on the bad manners side - maybe because they are just home from a 3 week vacation and need to figure out their boundaries at home again? I'm guessing that's it. 

In any case, I LOVE my children but they just might be the death of me this weekend until they get back in the groove. The grandparents are staying through Sunday morning and then we can get back to our normal lives.

Speaking of normal lives, we seem to have gotten into a bad sleeping pattern/night time habit with the kids. It doesn't get dark here until 10 pm. Often we don't make the kids to go to bed until 10 pm. It's summer, it's fine. But they stay up in their room screwing around, talking, playing, getting in each others beds for at least another 2 hours. It drives us crazy. At 10 pm, and definitely by 11 pm, we are ready for some adult quiet time. No obnoxious kids. 

Last night was particularly frustrating. I started getting them ready for bed at 9:30. At midnight I made one of them go sleep on our bed and, later after he had fallen asleep, my husband moved him back to his bed. But before that we had to interrupt the movie we were watching about 6 times to tell them to settle down. It was just flat-out outrageous behavior. 

So, as a result of all this, I'm considering dismantling my office, my girl sanctum, and making separate rooms for the kids. It's no longer so important to have a guest room (since my parents bought a travel trailer and will use that when they visit). The trade-off would be that I would take a room that has been traditionally a playroom/pets room and I would clean it up and re-organize my office space there. 

Con: it doesn't have a door. It's just one end of a long room. The other side of the room has the stairs up to my husband's loft office and the door to the dog run. Oh, and I wouldn't have a window facing the front of my house anymore when I'm sitting at my work station. I would have to keep a tortoise's habitat in my office.

Pro: none for me personally. The benefit of peace and quiet that would come from the boys having separate rooms is a win for the whole family though.  Oh, yeah, and I would have a tortoise in my office.

The boys are 9 & 7 years old. What do you think about giving them their own rooms? Will it be a good thing or can this be seen as giving in to their tyranny? I think the alone time would be a benefit to them. They each kind of re-group when they are alone. But would it hamper their closeness? I want them to grow up close to one another. 

Help. Please. Thank you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Too Much Good Stuff

I am indeed very thankful today. For many reasons:
  • Last night my boys came home after being with their grandparents in California for 12 days. I'm so thankful they came home safely to me. It felt weird having half my heart beating from another state. The two halves belong together just like my babies belong with me.
  • I'm thankful for having a mom & stepdad who would take my children for 12 days just so they can be with them and take them to do fun things. They went to the mountains, they kayaked, they swam a lot (and are still learning and getting better), they went to the Jelly Belly Factory, they helped my parents buy a travel trailer - okay, so not always fun for the kids. But my kids will get the benefit of that travel trailer (we're already planning a trip for the 6 of us to Yellowstone next year) and how awesome are those grandparents? 

 



  •  I'm thankful for the time I had with my husband over the past weekend. We NEEDED to reconnect romantically without kids, parents and stressors and we did just that. And I was spoiled. He was spoiled. It was GOOD. After 12 years together (11 married) we don't expect heart-shaped explosions all the time, but respect, understanding, caring, and a teacup or two of passion will put us in good stead for a while.
Date night. Downtown Boise. We saw BUCK and it was SO GOOD.
  • I'm thankful for the time I had alone. My husband had shows or rehearsals every evening so I had my house to myself. WOW. I didn't know what to do with myself. I was paralyzed in indecision from the options. Do I want to write a blog? Make dinner for MYSELF only? Clean house? Watch a chick flick? Pay bills? Work out? Paint the hallway? WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY SHOULD I DO? In the end, to be honest, I didn't do much. I did the dishes some days. I watched some girl TV (we don't need details. moving on.) I worked out. I watered plants. I did (some) laundry. I did NOT bake a darn thing. One night all I ate for dinner was Zucchini. It was awesome.
  • I'm thankful for friends who are like family. 'Nuff said. 
  • Last, but not least, I'm thankful for my renewed work-out ethic. I came back from vacation with the intention of beginning my work-out regimen. That Sunday I got out mid-day and started day 1, week 1, of the Couch-to-5K program using the C25K iPhone app. I didn't finish it. I ended up walking half the "runs". Because, hello, I'm not in the best of shape. But I'm going to persevere. I'm going to get it done. I've been hitting my elliptical at night. I'm very proud of myself. Very proud of the effort I have been making and I hope to keep it up. In the last 12 days I've done 3.1 miles on the elliptical a couple times, and then about 1 to 1 1/2 miles a few other times. I'm using a Pedometer app on my iPhone to track the elliptical work-outs. This is good for me. Baby steps. I will get there. But first I need new shoes. :) 

 What are you thankful for today? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Vacation, Part 3: The party's over already?

Last Thursday morning when we woke up we knew we had less than 48 hours left in California. At least me and the hubby did. Time to cram EVERYTHING IN that we hadn't done yet. Oh, wait, that's not possible? Okay, let's go to the coast instead.

We crammed the 6 of us into my stepdad's truck, plus all our junk for an overnight stay, plus snacks - because, helllloooo, ROAD TRIP - and we were off! Then we stopped at 15 places like the bank, the gas station, Rite Aid, etc., before we left town. But then we were off!! Woo-hoo. 

We made it about 45 minutes to Kettleman City. If you don't know, Kettleman is a town that survives for the sole purpose of being a major pit stop for people traveling down the I-5 corridor. Back in a previous lifetime I used to go on patrols in this town with a law enforcement type friend of mine so I got to know the area better than most people who pass through. There's very little to recommend it other than all the country roads, away from the light pollution, and the gorgeous starry skies. Oh, and the In-n-Out Burger. Yep, forget the starry skies - In-n-Out is probably the best thing about Kettleman. 

So, duh, we stopped there. Now I typically order straight off their simple menu - just a cheeseburger (no grilled onions or tomatoes), but In-n-Out has a not-so-secret-menu that they don't advertise. You just have to know what to order. For examples, you can say you want your burger animal style and they will add pickles, extra spread & grilled onions and Mustard fried into the patty. Or a 4x4 is 4 meat patties and 4 pieces of cheese - this is the largest burger they will serve. You can also order a Flying Dutchman - you can Google that one yourself. Or, if you are brave, just order it next time you swing through In-n-Out and find out what it is. But, hey, cool, right? Secret menus FTW. 

Okay, back on the road after our burger fill. Morro Bay or BUST! And my bladder nearly did. But we made it to our hotel/motel place. (Never stayed there before. It wanted to be good but it just didn't quite make it. Sad Panda.) But YAY. Morro Bay. 

Morro Bay. Ah. My heart belongs to Morro Bay. I love Cambria and Cayucos and now Avila Beach as well, but there's just something about Morro. It tugs at me. It's my spiritual home. I want to eventually live there. In my good, long retirement years. (Fingers-crossed).

We drove out to the rock first thing. What rock, you ask? Well, this one:

Confession: I didn't take this pic. I don't know who did, but I do know that I love Google Images. Amen.
Big, right? And awesome too. 

So we went out to the left side of the rock and hung out on a little beach there for a while. I snapped some Instragram pics (duh) while hubby and the boys climbed all over tarnation. (Spell check doesn't recognize "tarnation" as a word. Obviously spell check isn't Okie or Southern at all. It's a word, dang it). 

Boys. Hubby. Tarnation. 
I perched on a rock (not THE rock. a significantly smaller one) and snapped away. This was at the rock (yes, THE rock) looking back at the little coastal village that is Morro Bay:


And then I said, oh, look, there's a boat!! And let's use a different IG filter:


With a boat or without, with an IG filter or not, Morro Bay is gorgeous. It's quaint. It's touristy but not. You get the impression that the locals just go about their business and they don't mind the tourists too much at all. There's the embarcadero for that, but the little downtown area really shouldn't be missed; little book shops, antique stores, unique coffee places, and all with a coastal charm. Love, love, love. 

We stayed at the coast that night and until about 4 pm the next day before jumping back in the car to drive the 2 to 2 1/2 hours back to my hometown. Then the hubby and I packed and fretted about leaving our boys with their Grandma & Papa for "up to two weeks." We had made the decision long ago but that didn't make it any easier. In the end, we got up the next morning at 3:30 AM, kissed our sleeping boys, and drove to the airport. We were back home (via two planes and 3 airports) before they even woke up. 

It's been 5 days since then and they tell me they don't want to come home. They want to stay at Grandma & Papa's where they can swim every day and go kayaking at Shaver Lake and go to the Zoo and go to the movies and go to Adventure Park as well. Well, YEAH. Duh. So apparently Grandma & Papa will return them kicking and screaming at the end of next week. Something to look forward to.

Oh, yeah, one last thing. 11 years ago today this happened:

 
Don't we look ridiculously young? We were. We were leading with our hearts. Happy 11th wedding anniversary to my life partner. Mwah!

(And, yes, there was nothing in the champagne flutes. They were/are awesome, and engraved (thank you Auntie) but at the time the photographer wanted to snap the pic we didn't have an champagne or sparkling cider available. C'est la vie, I always say.)

Things I love in this blog post? At least 3: Morro Bay, vacation, and my guy. (In no particular order).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On Vacation, part 2: Partying like Rock Stars

We are having a little too much fun at my mom & stepdad's house in California. Just a smidge.

Sunday, July 3rd, we had our annual Independence Day BBQ/Swim Party. 45 people, and it went for about 10 hours. Marathon party. 13 people slept at the house that night.

Yo, our parties are off the chain (or hook. either one, really) . Slammin'. Bangin'. Totally ballin'. The bomb. Badass and whack. Like yo.

Okay. Forgive me. Sometimes my thiry-something self reverts back to a 21 year old. A 21 year old that was nothing like ME at 21. In any case, WE HAD FUN.

We swam. A lot:
It was really freakin' hot (seriously, like 106 degrees Fahrenheit. No lie.(that's about 41 degrees celsius for you people from across the pond.))


And we lit about a bazillion fireworks in front of the house:
As you can imagine, we were a little overheated and peopled-out the next day. The guests left and we kept out of the sun at the movies in the afternoon (Kung Fu Panda 2. Cute.), then went down to my old high school for a community fireworks show.

We waited for the sun to go down:
And took some pics:

We had snow cones:
And the boys played with bubbles: 
Then we had fireworks:

IT.WAS.AWESOME.

That night we all died from exhaustion and heatstroke.

Then we got up the next morning and went to breakfast with the best grandma ever. Like, in the world. I couldn't love her more. We hung out at Grammy's house and did a whole lot of nothing, which, at Grammy's, consists of putting together puzzles, playing dominoes, and eating Taffy cookies. Sometimes stale. Oh, and sucking on butterscotch candies. The boys played in her "playroom," sometimes affectionately referred to as a "junk room." Toys from the 1960's & 70's hide there among aging avocado green lampshades, lodge robes and memorabilia from kids and grandkids alike.
My mom & gram. Puzzle making.
Have I mentioned how much I adore my Grammy? She's going through radiation right now for a very deep melanoma that was removed from her temple a few weeks ago. She'll be 84 next Saturday. I heart her with my whole heart.

*moment of reverence*

Moving on -

That night we partied AGAIN. See what I mean about being rock stars? It's like every night with us. No stopping us. Somebody better hold an intervention.

So, y'all know Joni, right? She came over, with her brood (husband, baby Ella, and 3 big kids) and her old friend (and my old acquaintance), Staci, and her big kid daughter, and we all hung out in the heat gulping water, laughing, and sharing stories. Oh, and we ate some sumptious BBQ fare, cotton candy ice cream and Joni's delectable chocolate, chocolate cupcakes.

Photo courtesy of Staci. :) (I realize my boobs appear to be missing. It's the swimsuit that I had on under my dress. It has failed me terribly in the support category. Not that a blame it, per se. The job is onerous.)
I'm very sad to say we only have two days left of vacation in California. We're heading to the beach tomorrow for the last two days so you can all wait for a third, and final, installment of our on-vacation antics.

Mwah!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

On Vacation, part 1: the U.S.S. Hornet

Saturday we got up early and caught a flight to San Jose. This was the first time the boys have flown since they were babies and they LOVED it. My oldest was a little afraid when we were taking off, and that's naturally his way, but he relaxed really well after that.

My mom & stepdad picked us up and we drove up to Alameda to tour the U.S.S. Hornet. This is the ship my grandpa was on in WWII, circa '43-'44. It was surreal to walk in areas where he may have been as a young man. Incredible.

Here are some pics we took there:

A friend told me my husband looks a little like Richard Branson. What do you think?
Stay tuned for the next chapter of our vacation travels. Happy Independance Day everyone!