Oh, this and that…

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!

Hands off, it's going to be ours

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:

Clem

Walking, Love, Ultram, and HGTV

Yep, you guessed it: another melting pot of a post.

In Training

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:

Walk Wisconsin Finish Line 2012

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.

Valentine’s Day

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:

New Coffee Mug

I like laughing, and this makes me laugh: I actually take chill pills—DAILY!

Homeless

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.

Sophie

Cottoning on to Dry Weave

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.

Just…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.

Roxbury Rural Run

Walk Wisconsin

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!

Stevens Point
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.

I’m hooked.

Completely Scattered

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.

  • Since today is Memorial Day, I want to take a moment to thank the soldiers who risk their lives to protect my freedom. I’m awed by your bravery and conviction, and I respect the burdens that you carry on your shoulders.
  • As we head into June, I find myself terribly excited for the breadth of warm days ahead. My body feels great, and I want to do everything—every activity that I love but have had to modulate to accommodate various physical shortcomings of the past few years.The back pain that mysteriously disappeared after my surgery did eventually return (must have been on holiday), but it is nothing that I really even notice most of the time; it’s just there. Maybe I’ve finally learned how to compromise with it, and we’re both bending to make it work. I want to focus all this wondrous energy into rebuilding my strength.
  • The 17-mile Syttende Mai walk was exhilarating. The event was my first long-distance walk, but it will not be my last. I thought my concession to stop high-impact activities was a limitation, but it has been a gateway to showing myself everything that I can do. I was very satisfied with the pace I maintained (read: forced on my companions…hee!). My feet were sore as expected, but I came through relatively unscathed. My only boo-boo was a water blister that formed under a callus on the ball of one foot. I was braced for much more extensive damage from so many consecutive hours of impact. The next day, I signed up for a walking half-marathon…the event takes place next Saturday, and I would have signed up for the full walking marathon if I thought that I would have had enough time to build up my mileage.
  • I restarted my P90X cycle last week so Nick could join me from the top. I first restarted (that reads awkwardly, I know) the program several weeks ago, but I did have to skip some of the leg workouts while preparing for the Syttende Mai walk. I had such a severe case of DOMS after the first week’s leg workout that my coworkers could smell the Biofreeze a few minutes before I actually entered the room. Oh, and the guttural noises I made every time I had to transition between standing and sitting were positively barbaric.
  • I read somewhere (years ago) that food cravings could be your body telling you what nutrients it needs. This is within reason, naturally: your body doesn’t actually need anything under the golden arches…that’s your brain muddying the waters. Anyway, just like in times past, I crave—no, yearn for—protein. When P90X collects dust on my shelf, I struggle to get enough of that macro-nutrient…I tend to be powered by complex carbs. After a workout last week, I was almost blind with need as I walked up the stairs to the refrigerator where I knew the protein shakes chilled. My vision didn’t clear until half the shake was gone. Obviously all this muscle-building is taking its toll.
  • The cat is a little fussy with me that I missed the last two weeks of Sophie Sunday, but she gets too much press as it is. Besides, her head was getting too big, and she needs to be able to get it through the kitty door for access to her litter box in the basement.
  • We are finishing up our crazy Memorial Day weekend schedule. We use this weekend as the coronation of Summer. Our three main warm weather activities are hiking, biking, and kayaking…we figure out a way to squeeze in all three during the last weekend of May. I am absolutely exhausted, but it’s the good kind of tired. Most of my fatigue is from yesterday, the first kayak trip of the year. We were on the water for about five hours, and we had highs in the mid-90s. I used nearly an entire can of sunscreen, and stayed protected…mostly. Apparently I missed a patch of skin over my right knee as that splotch is, at this very moment, on fire. A few weeks ago, during one of our long distance training walks, I burned my scalp. Needless to say, since I’m not overly fond of hats (I feel like I cannot cool down as effectively when I wear hats), I made sure to spray my head as well. My hair was SO NASTY at the end of the day with a few coats of sunscreen with a drizzle of insect repellent between. I could have washed and rewashed my hair all night and still not feel clean.
  • For work, I had to come up with a photo and a fun fact about myself to present my newly-structured team to my division. I did clarify with the requester that it had to be a picture of me since he did not specify, and because my cat is very photogenic. Anyway, I struggled for awhile with the fun fact. In the end, it was that my idea of roughing it is a motel…though my cousin thought it would be funny if I proclaimed that I had a double hysterectomy to give people pause. Oh, Michelle. You’ve found some ironic humor in all this to make it easier for me—for which I am grateful—but people just don’t get black humor until they’ve had to use it (fortunately, the majority have not).
  • Since I’ve veered into slightly heavier thoughts, I was taking a bath one night last week when I experienced the sensation that my mother had entered the room—I mean, even her perfume (which I hated) tickled my nose. The moment was so fleeting and intense that I burst into tears immediately. I stayed in the bath until my tears dried, but that handful of seconds was shattering. I used to work with a lady whose mother had also fallen to Cancer. She described moments like this as a lost loved one paying a visit. I’m not really sure if that’s what it was…but just in case, I requested aloud to the empty room, “Next time, could you pop in when I’m not naked!?” The logical part of me says that my mind was just playing tricks.

    I am reminded of a passage from Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The main character asks if his supernatural experience is real or just happening inside his head. The second character in the scene afirms that it is happening in his head, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

  • As a final thought, we saw a momma duck and a bunch of ducklings while kayaking yesterday. I counted eight ducklings…what a handful! (Wingful?) My first thought was “Mom and Drake plus Eight.”

    Go ahead and groan. I did too.