Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Me, in a friend's wedding in 1984.  It cracks me up that we all had sort of the same mullety hairstyle - gotta love an early 80's perm.

Young women never truly appreciate their own beauty... I actually thought I was fat and dreaded standing in front of everyone.  I guess if I could teach girls anything, it would be to appreciate every single stage of their beauty.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?

I've been thinking about his a lot lately...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Update About Nothing Much

Honestly, that's how I'm feeling these days.  Life is just ticking along and not too much exciting or new is happening.  I'm fairly well settled into my part time job and my next challenge will be when the mall extends its hours for the holidays.  That starts the first full week of December and the hours get longer and longer until the days right before Christmas when I won't be getting home until around 11 p.m.

I've already learned that I can't get home at 9:30 p.m. and expect to get to bed and be asleep in time to wake up for 4 am.  Yes, I can function on 6 hours of sleep but like many middle aged women, I don't actually sleep the whole time I'm in bed - on those nights I figure I'm getting somewhere around 4 hours of real sleep even when I set my alarm for 6 am which is my drop dead you have to get up time.  You can understand why I'm dreading the extended holiday hours, right?  Thankfully it will be only a couple weeks and be done.

Much to my disgust, this mall is opening at 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day and will stay open until 1 am then close and reopen at 6 am to 10 pm for Black Friday.  I will not work that.  I refuse to support Thanksgiving Day greed shopping, especially since this is not a particularly religious holiday and people of all beliefs and ethnicity's celebrate it.  In my opinion, there is just no need at all for this.

I'm still doing the Neila Rey 90 Days of Strength Program and at this point, I don't even have to do it every day.  I've gotten strong enough that if I need to, I can do 2 workouts together.  That has come in handy now that I often take a weekday morning off after working at night.

I'm also seeing the signs of strength in my running. I have a treadmill interval run that I like to do where I walk for 1 minute, jog 1 minute, run 2 minutes and sprint 1 minute - repeat for time or miles or whatever I'm feeling that day.  When I started doing that my sprinting pace was 6.0 (10 minute mile).  This morning as I did it I was doing the sprints at 7.0 (8:34 min. mile) with a 2% incline.  That's a huge improvement!  The strength is translating to outside walking and running as well.  I  now often walk at 13:15-13:30/minute pace (for shorter walks) and have finally gotten my running pace down below 12 minutes when I do an all running workout.  Never thought I would be happy with that but I am.

By the way, if you've ever been on a treadmill and wondered how the miles per hour translate to minutes per mile, here is a handy dandy Treadmill Cheat Sheet!

There's a hill near my house that is about 3/4 of a mile steady incline.  Often I've had to walk on that hill but the other day I did a workout I've named Telephone Pole Sprints.  As I approach the hill at the first telephone pole, I run as fast as I can to the next pole.  Then I walk a pole, then I sprint.  Repeat until I'm all the way up the hill.  Imagine my delight when I saw that my overall running pace was better than when I just try to run then walk if I need to.  That means my sprint sections were fast!

Ya'll know I cook a lot but with working the new job nearly every Sunday, I finally hit the wall and couldn't batch cook because I'm really left with only 1 day off per week to get all the rest of it done - leftover housework, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping and miscellaneous chores.  I was so tired this past weekend I decided I just didn't care and we could have sandwiches for Sunday "dinner."  As I was getting in my car to go home Sunday night at 6:30, I got a text from Mr. Helen: "I'm putting hamburgers on the grill, what time are you leaving there?"  WOOT!  I was delighted and shocked because he also works every Sunday. Guess who is feeling a heck of a lot less pressure to get the cooking done?

I mean, when I'm home, I don't mind cooking at all but I'm not going to pressure myself any more over it. On Saturday night, I actually managed to throw together a pizza and a Greek salad.  Mr. Helen loves pizza and is appreciative that I'll make it.  In fact I'm pretty sure he prefers my homemade pizzas to ones we could buy.

And I  was home on Tuesday night so I planned a treat for Mr. Helen - I made plantains and Johnny Cakes like we get in St. Martin to go along with our barbequed chicken and coleslaw.  He was so excited when he saw the Johnny Cakes that he grabbed one and devoured it.  But when I asked him how it was he said, "Not bad."  Believe me he got a lesson the the difference between "not bad" and "pretty good" after that lol.  But he ate 4 of them so I think they were pretty good.  I ate one and thought they were nearly identical to the ones we get in the Caribbean, but I don't get the same delight and satisfaction as he does out of them so maybe I don't know anything about a Johnny Cake.  Anyway, here's a picture of them.

As you can see he isn't really suffering as he's getting things he loves when I do cook.  It won't hurt him to wing it sometimes, right?

Speaking of food, 'tis the little bite sized candy season, and it's all on sale.  As I explained to someone, I can't just choose to not have it in my house because Mr. Helen likes it and eats it reasonably.  My way of dealing in the past was to not have it sitting out, or to put a couple pieces in my calorie count.  Of course, I'm not counting calories anymore so I was a bit apprehensive when the first candy came home (sometimes it's him that buys it.) I am joyfully telling you I am not having a bit of problem with it.  I'm not eating it just because it's there and when I have had some, the amount has been reasonable!  Very exciting for this long-time dieter to know food can just "be" and I don't have to let it control me emotionally one way or the other!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday Ten

1.  I did my very first box jumps during my workout yesterday morning.  Granted I don't have an "official" box so I had to use an old Reebok step (remember step aerobics?) but it worked fine.  I did 5 sets of 10 jumps, which is harder than it sounds, especially when combined with other exercises.  I'm proud of myself!

2.  The kiddies were with Grandma Helen this weekend so went over to see them.  Our buddy Jacob has turned into a pre-teen - he's already zoning us out lol! Gracie talked us into going outside where she proceeded to show us her ability to jump her razor scooter over the curb and then got Mr. Helen to push her in the swing.  Nothing like Uncle love.

3.  I did my first full 8 hour shift at my part-time job on Sunday. In the I can't believe people category, I must have answered the phone 25 times throughout the day where the question was, "What time does the mall close today?"  I'm amazed by that because somehow they had to look up the mall phone number.  My guess is the internet which means the mall hours were probably right in front of their face.

4.  We are having a spectacular foliage season around here.  Mr. Helen and I have not had a chance to do our annual foliage drive and now I'm worried that the storms at the end of the week are going to mess up our chances by knocking the leaves off the trees.  Doesn't Mother Nature understand that I  need to go get my apple cider donut and the foliage run is my excuse?!!

5.  I took these photos when we went to the Harvest Festival at our local winery last weekend.  Once again the weather was gorgeous and we had a really fun day with friends eating snacks, sampling wines and listening to good music.  One of our friends reached under the mesh and ate a couple of the grapes which he declared delicious and sweet.  Going to be some good wine soon!

6. I was looking at a recent photo of myself the other day and realized I'm getting the old person spread.  Did you know that as you age your nose spreads out on your face and your ears get bigger. Yeah, that's happening.

7.  Had some really good luck with warranty returns lately.  Both my headlamp (that I run with) and my wireless printer died within the last month.  Finally had time to call the companies involved and because I registered the warranty, I didn't even have to provide proof of purchase.  Brand new items coming my way.

8.  You know why I need my headlamp?  Because even though I'm an "urban" runner and there are streetlights, sometimes the lights are burned out.  Sometimes there just are no lights.  And, back to that aging thing, my eyesight just isn't what is used to be in the dark.  This morning I was chugging along a one way street and thankfully a car came and illuminated a dark area for me because this is what was there:

In case you can't tell, that is the broken off metal stub of a street sign of some sort.  Thankfully crews working in the area putting in new sidewalks noticed it and tried to flag it.  But do you realize how easy it would be to trip on that thing?

9.  Speaking of running, yesterday it was 39 degrees when I went out. I ran in long pants, long sleeved shirt, vest, and light gloves.  This morning it was 62 degrees and crazily humid.  I ran in shorts and a short sleeved shirt.  Schizo weather.

10. Little Helen turns 35 today.  It's really weird when your child turns the age that you feel you are!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

I did this workout on Wednesday:

5 pushups - 5 squats
5 pushups - 10 squats
5 pushups - 15 squats
5 pushups - 20 squats
5 pushups - 15 squats
5 pushups - 10 squats

Repeat five times with up to 2 minutes of rest in between rounds.  I decided instead of resting by doing nothing between rounds, I would hop on my treadmill and walk for 2 minutes between rounds. When all the rounds were finished, I ran to make my total distance 2 miles.  The entire workout took me 50 minutes.

While sitting at my desk on Wednesday afternoon, I started feeling achey in both legs just above my knees. Wondered why that was and then realized it was probably the squats.  So I added everything up and saw I'd done 150 pushups and 375 squats over the course of the 5 rounds!!!

Surprisingly, though they felt worked out, my legs were not all that sore today which proves to me I am definitely getting stronger.  I've been doing various Neila Rey programs for 68 days now and I'm thrilled with the results I'm getting, especially with my upper body.  It's really starting to shape up.

I'm also seeing some new definition in my ab area.  I told Mr. Helen that if I can just get the fat off my mid-section, there are real abs under there.

Having said that, I'm frustrated with the fact that my clothing size isn't changing.  As I am staying off a scale and not on a hard core diet, that really is the only way I'll know if I'm losing weight.  I continue to eat healthy and just feel like I should be getting much better results in this area than I am.  I suppose the only thing that doesn't drive me right back into a diet/calorie counting/tracking mode is that every time I think about doing that it makes me feel a bit crazed.

Also making me feel edgy is an acquaintance who started a locally well known but very, very strict diet program.  She asked me if I wanted to join with her and even as I was explaining to her that I have no intention of ever doing that sort of dieting again in my life, I was thinking I "What the hell?!!! Do I look fat to you? Are you telling me I need to diet?"  Asking someone to support your own efforts is one thing but this was another altogether. I just don't think, unless you are BFF's with someone, that you should be asking them to diet.  To add insult to injury after her first weigh-in she let me know that she lost 8 pounds her first week and then asked me how much I'd lost.  Jeepers!  I just calmly told her I'm not getting on a scale right now.  Maybe I should have asked her if she thinks I should.

This is a person whose daily eating went something like this: a Nutrigrain bar and a Coke for breakfast, takeout of some sort every single day for lunch, a bag of chips, candy bar and another Coke for snack and then at least 4-5 days more takeout for dinner.  So, even as my brain reasoned that OF COURSE she lost 8 pounds eating healthier (and around 1100 calories a day), I was a teensy bit jealous.  Not to mention that she doesn't exercise regularly!

Yeah, it all makes me feel a bit wonky.  Even though I know I'm doing the right things, it gets harder and harder to even want to do that when the results just aren't coming yet.  Even as I try to just love and accept myself and my hardworking body exactly as I am right this minute, I don't want to be fat and fit, I want to be two sizes smaller and fit dammit!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


September is the cruelest month for me.  It almost feels like a big let down after a big event (summer).  The darkness comes on so quickly and I don't get to see my beautiful sunrises as I run in the morning.  The weather is schizophrenic fluctuating from 50 to 80 degrees at any given time which makes my closet look like an explosion has gone off as I have to keep out summery stuff but dig into the fall/winter stuff too.

I have an acquaintance who absolutely hates autumn because all she sees is death.  Even the beautiful colors of the leaves changing before they fall off the trees does not sway her opinion.  While I don't feel quite that strongly about it, I recently realized that each year around this time I feel a sort of melancholy.  Of course it also doesn't help when we have a string of grey, grey days (no sunshine) like we've had this week.

Add all of that into starting a new part time job, dealing with Little Helen's upcoming wedding, and some flux going on at my full time job and I feel like my focus has suddenly gotten fuzzy.  It's like when I take my contacts out or glasses off at the end of the day - I can still see some things and shapes but nothing is clear.

Fuzziness around my health and well-being is not good for me.  That's a state where I find it too easy to veer away from good choices and that can be a slippery slope.  Planning to "sleep in" and not get up at 4 am to exercise after working 3 straight 16 hour days is probably a wise choice.  But getting to bed at a decent hour and then hitting the snooze over and over until it's too late to exercise is not.  I say that because, for me personally, exercise is not generally an issue in my healthiness quest - it's food that generally gets me.  Not wanting to exercise is a definite red flag.

Over the last week I have been craving carbohydrate heavy items.  One day it took nearly all my willpower to not make a huge pot of spaghetti, put butter, salt and Parmesan on it and inhale it.  At least I was able to reason with myself on that front.  But the very fact that I am craving carbs like that tells me that the September melancholy has gotten in deeper than I'd realized.

I'm actually proud that I've recognized this before it has gotten too far.  I guess I need to find my glasses and refocus.