Monday, November 9, 2015
By all blog appearances, it would seem that I dropped from the face of the planet, yes?
I've been trying to figure out some things in my life, and the black hole of cyberspace was not the ally I needed. I can't seem to shake the journalling bug though, scribbling notes in a little notebook. There is something deeply satisfying in taking a pen to paper at the end of the day...technology be damned. I kept diaries as a young girl...I did not write in them every day, but every so often I had a fevered emotional purge as the words spilled from my pen. This is not a new form of release for me.
Digitally, I've published my inner monologue in one form or another since 2002. I belonged to a fitness forum then. I met many wonderful women there, and I am still in contact with many of them. They were the return embrace I needed when I was in North Carolina (away from my family) and trying to find my identity during weight loss.
You see, right or wrong, the harsh reality is that people treat an overweight person differently than a fit person. I was struggling then to hold onto that strand of "me" that made me who I was. I was afraid that I would become less authentic, much like I felt others treated me when my appearance started to fit a cultural norm. I did not trust my instincts...I did not believe anything that anyone said, either.
Obviously I made it through that period of my life...a little worse for wear, but in solid possession of my knowledge of self.
I am facing a similar complex now. A year on 24/7 Fentanyl, OxyContin, and Zanaflex left me with a nearly defeating weight gain...I've seen numbers on the scale that I swore I would never see again. I've been feeling like I failed myself, I broke an oath. Feeling sorry for myself, I developed a self-sabotaging victim mentality and all progress halted.
I accept my share of the blame for the pockets of lost time since April when I finally rid myself of the worst of the daily prescription narcotics. Back in the early 2000s when people asked how I lost so much weight, I would say, "Persistence." My redemption cannot be a half-hearted, part-time job. That doesn't work...what's sick is that I know it doesn't work. I've known it for nearly half my life now.
There are always roadblocks when focusing on calorie intake and expenditure. For me, it's physical as much as it is mental, but I need to remind myself that the end justifies the means. I needed a way to make exercise a regular part of my routine.
The end of the day doesn't work for me. My best hours are in the morning...which is why I start work earlier than most. And with that, I would like to share some of the notes I captured on what I cheekily named The Laura Project.
A couple days later, I changed the alarm to 3:15 to give myself a little cushion. Today marks 21 days. I'm down nine pounds.
I'm doing it.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
With the exception of last year, the year I have given the working title of The Living Death, Nick and I have had a longstanding tradition to welcome the unofficial start of summer enthusiastically with a day of biking, a day of hiking, and a day of kayaking (in no particular order). We refer to it as the trifecta, and it's as much a reason to jumpstart our out-of-shape cold weather bodies as it is to embrace the reasons we still live in the midwest despite the long bite of winter.
This year, it doesn't appear that the forecast will allow three dry days to complete the trifecta, but we hit kayaking and hiking with a vengeance while the sun was in session. We both used vacation time on Friday to squeeze in an extra day without rain. We were out on the water just after 9:00 on Friday morning for a smooth, soul-freeing paddle along Mirror Lake.
We had the lake mostly to ourselves until the afternoon matured, and weekend visitors arrived in the Wisconsin Dells area to begin their long weekends. Those hours of solitude were the definition of perfection, but the weight of underused upper body muscles made itself known on the last stretch of our established path as we fought the current rolling toward the dam where we turned around. (We'll save portaging over the dam for a time when the arms don't feel so noodly as we approach.)
When we decided to call it a day, we worked like a well-oiled machine to pack up the boats. It felt good to work in tandem so naturally, like this is who we are—an active couple who likes spending time together...and it is. The seamlessness of our actions was so automatic that I didn't appreciate it until an older couple who parked near the boat launch remarked upon how easy we made it look to transition from paddling to travel-ready.
I felt fine on Saturday. I felt alive. I felt happy. Endorphins are so yummy...I can't believe I forgot the high. Saturday was to be the last pleasant day of the long weekend, so we planned a morning hike at one of my favorite places in Wisconsin: Devil's Lake.
In typical extremist Laura fashion, I picked the hardest trail to begin and agreed that we should take the harder of the two trails on the other side of the lake to get back to the car. According to my Fitbit, the first part of the first trail was the equivalent of climbing the stairs of 45 floors without rest—basically a long, continuous, boulder staircase straight to the top of the cliff. By the time we finished the paths on both sides of the lake, Fitbit had me clocked in at 113 floors.
I was proud to have accomplished such a feat because it had been years since we completed a challenging trail on both sides of the lake. By the second side, my right hip (the wonkier of the two) was definitely protesting movement, but I talked her into sticking it out (mainly because we had no choice if we wanted to get back to the car).
The photo of myself at the top of this post was taken before we left the house that morning...fresh-faced and happy. I used to feel like that every weekend, because every weekend meant a new adventure. I want to become fit enough to recapture that spirit. My mom used to have a plaque at her desk (at work) that read, "If it is to be, it is up to me." It's a statement that has stuck with me through some of my tougher times. I decided to put it in play through this journey; I've even added it to the site header.
Today, it's difficult to interpret the results of my enthusiasm. Difficult because, while I am in increased pain, I can't know why. Today is also rainy, and though it's cliché, my [arthritic] lower body joints become real jerks every time it rains. I'm still navigating physical activity on the D-L, so I will have to pay attention and listen to my body (when I figure out what it's trying to tell me).
I dearly hope I don't have to take two steps back after taking such a thrilling step forward this weekend. For the sake of the trifecta, I would love some dry time tomorrow to take the bikes for a spin, but the forced break might be a kindness to a mind that has decided to push through whatever pain may come. For now, I'll post an old photo to help me remember where I want to be again.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Well, hi there!
I've been silenced for the past little while with some technical website server silliness, but I'm back with a lot of updates.
Started April 7, 2013
So, two weekends ago, a lot of really nice friends came to help us move out of the condo. We went with a PODS unit to store the majority of our possessions. I had been working very hard in the weeks working up to this, and everything was packed, labeled (with color-coding), and ready to be lifted. Nick told a few of the men who came to help that if they saw me lifting anything at all, they had strict orders to hit me on my low back (because it would sideline me for the rest of the day). See, about three weeks earlier, I missed most of a week at work recovering from a flare up with my back pain...that, and my back is just a trainwreck in general—honestly, if I were to spell all of the problems out for you, it would sound made-up, because no one's luck is that bad!
Needless to say (such a silly phrase: it always means that you're about to say something that you clearly don't find needless), I was a good girl and lifted nothing, but I felt like crap the whole time when I did little else but manage door opening/closing and direct while everyone else did the gruntwork. I feel incredibly blessed to have met such wonderful people willing to dedicate their time and kindness to this task. Since I had everything packed, the work was done in about two hours, so I felt happy that we didn't eat up anyone's entire Saturday.
The original closing date on the condo was scheduled for March 29th, but rescheduled for April 8th due to financing delays for the buyer. Meanwhile, we have an accepted offer on a pretty lot. Our stress has been on the high side lately. Once we close on both of these properties, my gray hair factory will probably close its doors. We drove by the lot yesterday, and we were happy to finally see indication that someone had staked a claim!
Continued April 14, 2013
So, we're staying with my aunts—back in my subterranean loft where I lived in 2005/2006. Now that life is starting to feel sane, I need to get into an exercise routine. My body feels sluggish and unhealthy...I know part of this is the time I took off when my back was hurting (it's just SO hard to get back into it after a break!), part of it is all the takeout food that we ate the last few weeks of March (because we had packed up the kitchen), and the rest of it is that my tummy has been acting up on me (so I've been turning to more comfort foods that I know will digest properly).
Anyway, we sold our treadmill and elliptical trainer so that we wouldn't have to move them...and I foolishly allowed all my dumbbells and exercise DVDs to be packed into the POD. Once Wisconsin finally warms up, I will walk outside for exercise. Unfortunately, spring is taking forever to, well, spring this year. A guy who I work with wrote on his whiteboard calendar during the last week of March "January 85 - January 89" because he was certain January never ended. I think we've finally turned a corner as far as the likelihood of blizzards go, but it still doesn't meet my standards.
What I would really love to do is join a gym again. I never belonged to a gym before 2005 when I first moved back to Wisconsin, and even I was surprised at how much I loved it. My little gym is no longer there, but there are other gyms in the area. I need to figure out if I can work the expense into my budget.
Speaking of exercise, my cousin has finally become a runner. She was one of those people who spoke so negatively about running to me (at the time, a runner) when she had never really tried it before. Those people really irk me, but I'm humored that those same people do a 180 when they decide to give running a chance.
Of course, I am no longer running (which I am convinced was the right decision for me), but I remember how superhuman it felt to run 10+ miles. I miss that feeling. I don't miss the swollen joints or the nightly icing. Besides, by the end of my relationship with running, I felt more like a helpless victim than a superhero. My cousin told me that she hurts a lot since becoming a runner, looking to me as if I had the answer for her. I shrugged, which wasn't the reassurance she wanted. There is a price for everything...it's all about what you are willing to pay.
She just returned from a trip to India. I'm very happy that her travel-bug took her to India instead of North Korea! Anyway, she has lost so much weight and looks terrific...I'm sure vacation was all the more enjoyable as a physically fit person.
I'll wrap this up since I'm all over the place (that's what happens when you take weeks to compile a single post), but I wanted to note that I'm once again reacquainted with a certain orange cat who used to steal my stuff:
Friday, February 15, 2013
Yep, you guessed it: another melting pot of a post.
Did you know that June 1 is just over 15 weeks away? No? Well, why would you—unless you have a walking marathon to complete that day like I do. I fell into LDW (long-distance walking) last year. This was after I decided to think with my head instead of my heart when it came to high-impact exercise and the structural issues with my spine. The doctors had been suggesting it for years, but I was too proud to admit my body wasn't the well-oiled machine that it used to be. And in true human fashion, I focused on what I couldn't do instead of what I could. That all changed when I discovered long distance walking.
Anyway, Nick and I completed the Walk Wisconsin half-marathon last year. We made it into a local newspaper when we kissed at the finish line on stage:
We made a pact to complete the full marathon this year, and our [self led] 16 week training program commenced on Monday. We can use the walking track at the rec center until the weather is a little nicer (16 laps to a mile), but we need to find an outdoor venue this weekend to complete the scheduled 10-mile walk because I'm pretty sure that I'll go insane during one of those 160 laps.
I suck at romance—seriously do. Nick is the romantic one of our pair. I admitted my failings yesterday as I sat in the salon with foils in my hair. When I approached the chair with my request for highlights (since my hair keeps going back to blonde anyway, might as well go with it), Jean (my hairdresser of the last eight years) looked upset. "You can't do that! Not yet! It's still fun season with your hair!" she cried. I couldn't tell if she was joking, so I just stared. "Do you trust me?" she asked at last. Since I do, she waved her magic wand and gave me pretty, copper-kissed lowlights instead. I'm getting the feeling that my brunette stylist is bored by my blonde.
Anyway, I told her of my unromantic tendencies and she started going on about ideas from Facebook and Pinterest and blah, blah, blah. Finally, she got to the point and suggested a trick with hard-boiled eggs to make them look like hearts. "You could give that to Nick!"
I couldn't stop the snort. Happy Valentine's Day, honey! Here's an egg to show you how much I care! "Or you could just go home and be yourself, I guess. He's probably used to you by now anyway," she finished sarcastically when I finished laughing.
New Coffee Mug
I take a lot of pills. I don't like it, but…
I take Ultram four times daily for chronic pain. This doesn't have a huge effect on me, but it definitely takes the edge off and allows me to function fairly normally. Since all this fell into my lap in August 2006, I am a little afraid of anything that totally takes the pain away because that's such a nice, addicting feeling. I have heavier narcotics and muscle relaxers in my arsenal for when the hurt is way out of my pain tolerance (I refer to them as my "escalation drugs"). The point is that doctors have stopped trying to find a fix, so they try to make me as comfortable as I can be (i.e. medication). I'm hoping to see a doctor in a couple months who will give me another option, but it is what it is for now.
Anyway, I try to make light of it as much as I can. As such, I couldn't resist purchasing this coffee cup when I saw it:
I like laughing, and this makes me laugh: I actually take chill pills—DAILY!
Since all this moving madness started, Nick and I, for the first time ever I think, started watching Home and Garden Television. Apparently we've had the channel all along! Anyway, HGTV has approximately a bajillion shows on real estate…it's a new obsession for us. Property Brothers in particular is very nice to watch.
Bonus Dose of Cuteness
Sophie doesn't know how to be anything but adorable. It stinks when you really want to be angry with her.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
It's been well over a decade now, but when I first became a regular exerciser, I didn't have exercise-specific clothing. I had jogging pants and tee shirts, so what else did I need? Exercise was HARD in the beginning, and everything felt miserable. I exercised in cotton for years not realizing things could be a whole lot more comfortable.
Nick was on me for years to start investing in moisture-wicking exercise clothing. Nick can be a snob about some things, and I was compelled to resist him on principle. Then I was given a couple of Nike Dri-FIT shirts for my birthday one year. The shirts were from Nick's parents, and I'm pretty sure that Nick gave them the idea (and most likely even picked out the shirts for them to wrap and give to me).
Ever the manipulator, he knew that I would come around as soon as I exercised just once in dry weave. I was played masterfully, and now I cannot stand the idea of sweating in cotton ever again.
[Shivers in repulsion.] Gross.
So my cousin started exercising regularly in 2010. She came over a couple days a week during the Spring and Summer of 2011 to go on power walks with me. Nick was on her almost immediately for her cotton attire. I should have jumped to her side to ward off his snobbishness, but by that time I had been shown the light. I fully agreed (silently) with everything he was saying.
This year, she started running. This was difficult for me at first because I was so darn jealous, but I swallowed that back to be supportive. Particularly with running though, the right clothing can completely change the experience. Still, she's like me in how she responds to Nick…RESIST!
A couple of weeks ago, I bought her a cold weather running shirt from Nike for a just-because gift. After thanking me, her first reaction was defensive. "I have plenty of sweatshirts to run in when it's cold, you know."
Yes, I knew…and I couldn't stop imagining sweat-drenched, cold, heavy, chaffing material rubbing against my skin on a two-hour run. I shrugged and told her that now she has one more option. "Just try it," I requested.
A day later, she sent me a text message:
Just ran wearing the Nike shirt...OMG you and Nick are awesome and I love you!!! I need more of these. Go shopping with me?
Did I just pull a Nick? Crap.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
So I walked that half marathon last weekend, and I was pretty happy with my pace. I finished in three hours and five minutes, and that included two stops (once to rid my shoe of stones and once at the half way point to refill my water bottle). Nick and I were passed by a few people when we first hit the trail, but I felt like I was on fire once I was through my warmup mile. I don't think we were passed again until around mile 12 (while walking uphill) when one man powered by…good for you, whoever you were!
Not my first post race souvenir (I did run regularly for a few years there, after all),
but somehow this one represented more.
During the opening speeches, the speaker shared what Walk Wisconsin is all about. I didn't really know…I just craved another long distance walking event after completing the Syttende Mai walk, and this was the first one I found. The goal of the event is simply to champion healthy living, which is certainly a good enough cause for me.
At the finish line, we climbed a set of stairs to walk across a stage where Suzy Favor-Hamilton placed a medal over my head. As I descended the stairs on the other side of the stage, my smile widened. I felt strong and indescribably happy…even though a sharp stone in my shoe had made my heel a bloody mess somewhere around mile two. I am grateful to the organizers for putting together such an empowering event and spreading such an important message, and I am already looking for the next event.
Monday, May 28, 2012
My husband has pointed out that I haven't posted in awhile. Goodness, is it that obvious? I suppose so…let's rectify that right now. Since my mind is still traveling in a thousand directions at once, I think another unordered list is, well, in order.
Friday, May 18, 2012
So, I've started at least a dozen posts, but I seem to lose my focus before I finish. When I try to wrap them up, I can't get into it again. I suppose this is a sort of manifestation of the unsettled thoughts I've been trying to reason through. I am just going to let them float up in my mental stratosphere for awhile until they're ready to come back down. Let's just see if I can get through a list of blurbs for the time being.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
I haven't cared for running for several months now. Earlier this year it was from terrible pelvic pain…then it was because it felt like my insides were shifting with each step…then it was because it made me realize my back was feeling great (because I felt the ache only when I ran). I have valid reasons that no one can really argue with, least of all myself.
But argue, I do. I am fit enough to run, and I vowed after my mother died that I would use my health to benefit those who do not have theirs. When I received the email for this year's Gilda's Run, I knew that I would sign up. I told Nick that I would do the walk, but as the day grew closer and I read more about little Grace, I felt like I was supposed to run this one. I know better than anyone that Cancer affects more than just the physical, and Gilda's Club nurtures the emotional.
The run starts in about two hours, and my stomach is in knots. I keep asking myself why I just can't stay away from these, why I just can't give it up all the way. This is probably the classic definition of addiction: being compelled to do something long after it stops being enjoyable.
Friday, October 7, 2011
A few weeks ago, we replaced the television in the living room. The last television was a rear-projection model, and the bulb simply wore out. The bulb is affordable and easy to replace at home (you just have your husband do it, duh). I will admit that I wanted a new television, and have for awhile, but I needed a reason. I am rather (make that VERY) particular about images, and I thought the television was a little lacking.
I mean, the picture was vibrant and displayed such high-definition that I could count eyelashes and see dust motes on sitcom sets…but I was disappointed in the blacks. They just weren't…black enough. I love the "true black" of an image. It isn't the absence of light that intrigues me, but the prominence that the contrast gives to the rest of the picture.
Anyway, I saw the bulb burning out as a big thumbs up from above to bring a new television home. (And it's beautiful, but that's not for this post.)
So now we were left with an extra 42-inch, rear-projection, high definition television that would be operational with minimal effort. (There are pictures of the TV in this old post.) What to do with it? It's hard finding random places for a 42-inch television. In the hallway next to the shoe tray? In the kitchen sharing the same outlet with the toaster? In the bathroom under the towel rack? The darn thing did not work anywhere.
Anywhere, that is, until I thought of my revived love affair with exercise DVDs. The big rear-projection beast would totally kick the 19-inch tube's butt. I wasn't concerned with my frustration on the "true black" thing because I know that sweat mellows me…or is it that I am concentrating so hard on just surviving that I can't find the energy to care about inadequate contrast?
I used the new resident in our home gym area last night. I kept debating between Billy and Jillian. I told Nick, "I'd burn a lot more calories with Jillian, but I'd have a lot more fun with Billy." Since I told Nick earlier that I felt a twinge in my low back, he piped in that I should go with Billy.
Ta da! Decision made: I grabbed Jillian's DVD.
Immediately, it was obvious that the DVD was not formatted for a wide screen. When she appeared on the screen, I had to say aloud, "Oh, Jill…you don't look so good." I will admit that I got a kick out of her stretched image for a handful of seconds. This is the woman, after all, that brings me to complete muscle failure every time. Once, she even made me cry because I was just at the end of all the energy I had…no more to give. She could stand a little good-natured distortion. You know what they say: a widescreen TV adds 30 pounds! (I did update the view eventually).
It took me extra long to all asleep last night. I am going to have to get used to life-sized Jillian in my basement, that's all I can say right now.
I still have chills.
(Page 1 of 4, totaling 38 entries) » next page