Friday, January 30, 2009
It is absolutely necessary that I scream about this.
MY NEW GODDAMN PANTS ARE A SIZE 8!!!
Ok, you can go about your business, citizens. The only thing to see here is one seriously fine ass!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Immediately upon reading the article, I did the following things:
- Made a doctor's appointment for Darcy that I'd meant to do for a while
- Sent out an email to a friend that I almost never see anymore, and who is a notorious slacker when it comes to returning emails or phone calls. I actually hear from this guy about once every 2-3 years. Which is stupid, since I consider him one of my better friends. (His bad habits of not keeping in touch knocked him out of the best friend category...)
- Set up an appointment to donate blood.
I felt better. I really did.
See, this is the thing. I firmly believe that, in order to establish good self-esteem, it does NOT MATTER how many times I tell myself I am worthwhile, nor does it particularly help when my husband tells me I am a worthwhile person. Or my friends. The only way I feel worthwhile is to act worthwhile. All the "You're okay, I'm okay" bullshit is just that. Bullshit. Words are cheap. It might give me a boost for a few minutes when a perfect stranger tells me they enjoyed my blog, and believe me, I do appreciate it.
But when I feel best about myself is when I honestly feel like I am being the best me I can be.
Which isn't nearly as often as I'd like.
Part of it is because I have a serious negativity bias.
I have a hard time recognizing my own accomplishments. I'm more apt to say, for instance, "I still have 30 pounds to lose" when someone compliments my weight loss than I am to say "thanks! I've worked hard to lose these 65 pounds..." When I clean my house, I'm more likely to notice what's still dirty than to laud the work that I've done. I can spend all day cleaning, and when I wake up the next morning, I'm more likely to see there are fingerprints on the door than to notice how shiny my sink is.
The curse of being a writer is the inescapable knowledge that I will never write as well as I should like.
It seems to be my curse in general.
If I'm being nice and helpful to someone, I feel like I could be better. I could stop snarking in my head, or behind their back about it. If I'm cleaning my house, I either feel like my husband and child are teamed up against me to mess it up just as fast as I clean (and sometimes faster) or that no one notices or cares if my house is clean, except me, and it's never going to be as clean as my father's house. When I write, it's not as good as it sounded in my head. When I cook, presentation isn't as nice as I'd like, or it doesn't taste as good as it should, or the points are too high, or my side dish didn't come out of the oven until the main dish was cold...
It doesn't seem to matter what I do, it's never good enough to satisfy the inner critic.
My inner critic is a big time jackass. Like, major league.
I bookmarked the article and moved on... a few days later, looking up something else, I stumbled on this post... same woman, slightly different topic.
First came the self-esteem movement. Then came the backlash to the self-esteem movement.
It’s pretty clear that repeating “I’m the greatest” or winning a trophy along with every other participant isn’t a good way to build self-esteem.
At the same time, it’s a rare person who isn’t sometimes – or often – plagued with painful self-doubt.
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
Wow. I was impressed to see we had the same views about self-esteem. For the last month, I've been fighting the sarcastic eyeroll about everything I was doing, remembering my Guidance Counsilor and his freaking IALAC statements.
Having now come across Gretchen's materials twice in my attempts to improve my overall happiness and self-esteem, I ended up diving into her archives.
This was a huge mistake.
Gretchen's been working on her Happiness project for three years. I read everything she's ever written in about a month.
Have you ever stood in the doorway of your messy closet, looked at all the crap you'd have to dig out and look through, and close the door and walk away? There's just too much. The task is so huge that suddenly a house fire seems like the perfect solution.
[She picks at a few glasses on a table, then drops the trash bag in exasperation]
Marilyn Lovell: I can't deal with cleaning up, let's sell the house.
Jim Lovell: All right, we'll sell the house.Apollo 13
I read too much. I couldn't even absorb it all. It was too much. I haven't even decided what parts of her project I agree with and what parts I think won't work for me. I like the idea of 12 commandments (or however many I need...) but I haven't been able to find the time to start my own list.
The last few days, I've been in a terminally bad mood.
There are times when I just want to scream. Why does everything have to be so hard?
Seriously. Losing weight. Kicking a bad habit. Becoming happier. Gaining self esteem. Cleaning the house. Working out. Writing a book. Editing a book.
I don't have a job, and yet I feel completely overwhelmed by everything I'm trying to do.
You know, being a Stay-at-Home-Mom can be the most stressful job out there. I don't get vacation. Or sick leave. I don't even get to go home at the end of the day. I'm on call 24/7. Even when I have a "day off", I don't really take a day off. I still have to cook dinner, watch the kid, do the dishes, fix the husband's lunch for the next day at work, get milk/juice/lunch. There are really, weeks at a time when I resent the hell out of this fact.
Everyone says to me "so take a day off, jeez, lady..."
If only it was that simple. I don't have anything else to DO. If I actually want a day off, I need to leave the house. (Which would require preparing for a day off by making sure my husband and child were going to be ok, and that, say, there was food that my husband could fix for him and her that wouldn't require him torching any more of my expensive cookware... seriously, the man is a kitchen hazzard!) So, where am I going to go? I have nowhere to go. I could take a day off, spend $75 for a hotel room for the day, and be bored? Since my computer would obviously be here...
It's a problem for which the solution is "life sucks, get a helmet."
(Actually, right now, I'm clinging to this vacation idea I'm going to do with My Evil Twin. She's going to come visit sometime this spring and we're going to get a hotel at the Beach and hang out together for a day or so... I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it...)
So, I have problems. I'm working on solutions. But my tendency to look at How Much is Left To Go is really wearing me out.
I'm taking a deep breath and backing out of this messy closet, so to speak. I need to start small, recognize my accomplishments, and then move on to the next step.
One thing at a time...
Rome wasn't built in a day...
Sunday, January 25, 2009
So... tomorrow starts week three of my experimental "Can Lynn finally kick this freaking soda habit?"
Let's be clear, here. My objection to soda isn't the caffeine, or the chemicals or whatever it is that everyone seems to think is so horrible about soda.
My problem is how expensive it's gotten recently.
When the grocery stores are offering 2 for $11 as the SALE price, that's too much. Especially when, given a choice between pouring myself a bottle of water, mixing in a flavor packet, and drinking it or grabbing a soda, I'll grab the soda every time.
If it's in the house, I will drink it.
Even if it's Root Beer or Dr. Pepper or something else vile that I don't really like.
Keeping in mind that I'm still a caffiend and I like coffee, I've switched over to that as a source to keep my headaches from blinding me. The thing is, while I'll drink soda all day long, I generally WON'T make more than one pot of coffee (we have a small coffee pot. One pot is actually only 2 cups) in a single day.
I'm not hard-core giving up soda, will never have soda again... but I won't have it in the house.
So far, I'm doing good.
In the last two weeks, I had one Diet Coke when we were out to lunch with my dad, one when we were out dancing/playing pool with friends, and one and a half with pizza.
Four sodas in 2 weeks.
When my normal soda intake is more along the lines of... erm... five or six a day
I'm fairly impressed with myself; I'm not usually very good (or gracious) about going without my precious carbonation...
And bonus points: While I was at the gym today, I got to feel mildly smug about the girl who came in to work out... and put a diet coke in the drink holder on the elliptical...
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I was talking with a friend about how much better I felt these days. I feel strong, doing push ups. I feel enduring, being able to run or walk or bike for half an hour. My skin feels more supple, looks clearer, is silky to the touch. I can breathe. I can run. I can walk up and down several flights of stairs.
"Guess it's true, what they say," she says. "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything."
Cue explosion. Mt. Saint Lynn is blowing her top. Better evacuate.
Obviously, I'm better now, but I've been sick. And not like "oh, I have a cold," sick, but "I am going to die from this" sick.
Go ahead, look up COPD. I'll wait.
Sick. Every day of my life, for the better part of the years between 1992 and 2003. Eleven years. Eleven years where I spent a lot of time in emergency rooms. Wracked up tens of thousands of dollars of hospital bills. Ended up in ICU a few times. One time was so bad, we were pretty convinced that I was never going home again.
I learned not to laugh, because laughing could trigger a bad spell. I barely exercised, if I could possibly manage to avoid it. Cleaning my house was a major exertion, and tended to stir up dust that just aggravated my condition.
I was mildly terrified, all the time. I couldn't be more than 10 feet away from my inhaler or I got nervous, and when I got nervous, my breathing got worse. (As a note, an inhaler is supposed to contain enough doses to last for a month. I rarely lasted ten days before I needed a new one.)
And yet... in all that time; I had good friends. I got married. I had a life. I wrote two novels.
In 2002, I met a man who saved my life. My pulminologist. He took me and my disease seriously. He helped me control it, instead of it controlling me. And he didn't just treat me as an extension of my disease. He treated all parts of my life; everything from job and marriage-related stress to supporting my weight loss efforts to minimizing environmental effects.
I'm better. Healthy. My lung capacity is normal.
Yes, I still have an inhaler, and unfortunately, I still use it (generally when I'm working out) but he believes that will get better in time.
And yet, I still remember, acutely, what being seriously ill is like.
Yes, being ill takes a lot of time. Yes, being ill colors every part of your life.
But it wasn't nothing.
And damn, I hate it when people act like everything that happened during that period was worthless. Because I wasn't healthy.
Yeah, bite me.
(And just for your viewing pleasure, here's one of the best pictures of me I've seen in a long time... Yes, I know it's the back of my head, but still... I really like it.)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I didn't actually go over my points... but I did eat total crap this week. Pizza. Fried Southwestern Spring Rolls. Beer. Heath Bar covered cheesecake. Which means I was short on oils, vegetables, didn't really chose whole grains... ya know. Crap. Oh, but my my, it was tasty.
I still haven't become that crazy woman who doesn't think that cake is very good. I enjoy the hell out of most of the high fat, high calorie food that I eat. (Well, except for the pizza. I sort of ate that without really thinking much about it... by the time I ate, I was starving and had been playing pool and dancing and whatnot all evening, so I wasn't thinking, just eating. Kinda sad. I like pizza.)
On the plus side, I'm still working out three days a week. I'm still doing the push up challenge.
And really, I don't feel too bad about my gain. It was 1.6 pounds, which is sort of annoying because it's more than I lost last week, which means my net over the last two weeks is... still a gain. Yuck. However, I'm not that distressed. Having the push up challenge gives me something with which to feel successful. I'm now doing 48 push ups in a session. A few weeks ago, I could only do three in a set before collapsing.
Today, I restarted the C25K program.
I didn't have a problem with the running (although I did have problems with my hair staying up... I must have retwisted and pinned it at least four times because it kept falling down.) Running on the treadmill helped a lot with the jolting that I got in my legs in previous attempts. Not to mention my breathe control and endurance has increased... I could not only breathe easily while running, but actually managed a short conversation with a fellow exerciser.
Despite my gain, it's been a good week...
Thursday, January 15, 2009
But throughout this whole ordeal, I kept apologizing.I do this, too. I'm constantly saying, "Oh, I'm sorry." Had a bad day? I'm sorry. You didn't get that promotion you wanted? So sorry. You made a mistake, and I'm the one who's sorry. We have a joke with some friends that everything is always Chris's fault, but Ed will apologize.
For what? I'm not sure.
Maybe for being a bother to the waitress and manager? That makes no sense, because it wasn't like I was making outrageous demands. These were simple requests that were not out of the ordinary because they were right (the coupon and the ticket).
It was like I was apologizing for my existence. Why say you're sorry when you're not the one at fault? Unless you're just used to apologizing all the time.
Which I am.
Maybe it's just because, through the years of being fat, I've come to always apologize simple for existing, for getting in the way, for causing any sort of problem.Yeah, I know that feeling. Anyway, in her comments, I talked about some of my favorite books, The Liaden series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I'd mangled my way around one of the things someone says, trying to explain my point. Unfortunately, I both misremembered the quote, and actually mashed together two separate conversations, so I'll repeat them here for your benefit.
"I'll never live it down." [Priscilla] sighed. "Will it help if I say I'm sorry?"
"Are you sorry? You might ask me to forgive it, if you think I'm offended. But Liadens don't in general say that they're sorry. It's an admission of guilt, you see. Asking forgiveness acknowledges the other person's right to feel slighted, hurt, or offended without endagering your right to act as you find necessary."Conflict of Honors, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
"... Liadens are very formal. Very--structured. There are six ways to ask forgiveness--six different postures, six distinct phrases, and six seperate bows--and none of the six are what a Terran would call an apology. Apologies are--very rare."Plan B, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Sometimes I wish we had a High Liaden (the formal speach, used for speaking with all but the closest of friends and relatives) and a Low Liaden. High Liaden has several different modes (Adult to Adult, Pilot to Pilot, Younger Sibling to Elder, to a Delm Not One's Own, and even such obscurities as Parents of One's Most Valued Mentor...) which allows people to express themselves in relation to the status of the other speaker, to give honor where honor is due, and of course, to very subtly insult someone. (Sticking to Low Liaden when someone else is speaking High is considered VERY rude. But some people can get away with it.)
In any case, the comments that Allison made on her blog reminded me very much of these scenes. Do we (fat women) apologize too much, because we think we are at fault? That our existence is causing a problem for someone else?
Is is also a little bit of self-martyrdom. By apologizing - for the lousy day - am I taking on a burden that isn't mine, for the purposes of making the other person acknowledge me?
"God, it's been a tough day at work today."
"You didn't do anything! You're fine. Perfect, even. It's just..."
Am I secretly asking to be reassured that it's not my fault? That I'm not the reason the other person is upset or angry?
It's a little reminder to myself. I don't need to apologize for being here. I don't need to apologize for taking up space, for being human, or for the weather. I can express sympathy without accepting, or offering, any blame.
Apologies should be rare.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
As I've mentioned before, one of them is to improve my self-esteem by working on the way I talk to myself, about myself, and think about myself. Seems selfish, on the one hand, but on the other, loving myself more will give me more time, since I'll be focused more on what I can do better and less time on what I haven't/can't/won't/aren't capable of doing. Or, more exactly, I will spend more time doing and less time whining. Always an improvement.
In one area, I'd particularly like to improve is this: ICBM statements. Not InterContinental Ballistic Missile (although it does often have the same sort of devastating effects on one's mental landscape) but I Can't Because My...
I Can't (get more exercise/lose weight/be happier/get out of debt) Because My (life is too busy/body type is predisposed towards being fat/life sucks/paycheck is shoddy)...
About two-three months back, while deep in the middle of "god, I hate that word" plateau, my Weight Watcher's leader, Beth, suggested that I might have better results if I tried the Flore Plan (now called Momentum, hehe...) Basically, when I'm on the straight Flex plan, I tend to eat 2 point crap with too much sodium, so I don't lose weight, but was the Core plan really helping anymore? Did I still know what a portion size was? Was I still listening to my body's signals? By trying the Flore plan, Beth was suggesting that I stick mainly/entirely to Core foods, but to limit myself to the number of Flex points I would get in a day.
Without hesitation, I said, "Oh, I can't do that." I had a huge pack of reasons, too. I hated tracking, I was afraid of my points and tended to horde them like some giant OCD dragon, it was such a hassel. In fact, I kept making excuses for the better part of four minutes.
Beth, who I love to pieces, looked at me. "So what you're saying is, you can't even try it." Ouch.
My first response to just about any suggestion or criticism is to deny the feasibility of that suggestion. "I can't because..." Which is, in the end, just a fancy way of saying "I'm not going to do this because I don't want to."
Changing what I say has helped me change what I think.
Instead of saying, "I can't do the Couch to 5K program because my legs hurt too much," I have altered it to "I find it difficult to manage the C25K program. How can I make it easier for myself? Or get the same amount of exercise in a different program?"
My daughter is a big fan of Blue's Clues (I think every 3-5 year old must go through this phase) and I find that I enjoy Steve and his Handy Dandy Notebook... Rather than immediately dismiss a problem as having no solution, Steve and Blue look for clues, write them down, and think of a solution.
(I'm having flashbacks to one of my favorite books; Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarden.)
I pull out my notebook (I love notebooks, love them, love them, love them. A computer is all good and well, but there's something just extra satisfying about the physical act of writing something down...) and wrote down "C25K". And then I wrote up all the reasons I was having problems with this idea. I was getting shin-splints. I don't like being cold. I felt weird and uncomfortable running around with all my fat-girl bits jiggling. So... how could I make it better? Get better shoes? Run on a treadmill? Don't run at all, but instead do very fast walking? Start with a week .5 (instead of at week one, which alternates 60 seconds of running with 3 minutes of walking, I could start even slower; run 30 seconds and walk 2 minutes, run 30 seconds and walk 2 minutes?) In the end, I came up with a combination of solutions that have worked out pretty well for me. I am no longer trying to do C25K, but I am doing H.I.I.T. work on the treadmill, altering walking at 2.5 mph (with an incline of 6) with walking at 3.5 mph with an incline of 3. Sometimes, if I'm feeling particularly peppy about my workouts, I'll add in 60 seconds of running at 4 mph. I also started the 100 push up challenge, which gives me something different to focus on. Both of these things, I've found, I enjoy more than I did trying to do the C25K, which leads me to be less likely to give them up.
I still find myself launching an ICBM whenever someone gives me a solution to a problem; however, I find that if I let the idea simmer for a day or so, it might just be that other people do know what they're talking about...
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Recently, I was having a conversation with my step-mom about something completely unrelated to weight-loss. I had my hair pinned up in a Chinese braid (which has become my favorite way to wear my hair... it looks sophisticated and complicated and takes me a whopping three minutes to do...) and was looking out the window while we were chatting. (My dad and step-mom have about 30 bird feeders in their yard, so there's always a flock of avian leeches hanging around their backyard.)
"You know," she interrupts me to say, "I was just noticing, with your hair up like that, in profile, now that you've lost all that weight... you're really sort-of pretty."
Wow, I thought. Did she really need to qualify her compliment that much? Not that I object to being called pretty... and not that I don't qualify everything I think about myself... but my goodness... so, I have to be thin, with my hair up, and turned to the side to be sort-of pretty? And what does "really sort of" mean? Really sort of pretty? Really, only sort of pretty? Sort of really pretty?
Advice: If you're giving me a compliment, please don't qualify it. (Trust me... I will qualify, disbelieve, and worry over the compliment enough as it is...)
(Not that I think Rosie meant to get me all in a dither... but by the time she said it, I'd spent the last two days being raved over by my assorted not-quite-relatives about how good I looked, and I was starting to feel a little... weird about it. Like, I look so great now, which correlates nicely to how TERRIBLE I must have looked before! I found myself, after about sixty of these comments, really wanting someone to say something like "My goodness, Lynn, you're just so smart!" Something. Please, god, people. I know I lost a lot of weight, but being thin is NOT the only good thing about me, I promise. At least some of the "spotlight" got swiped by my cousin's wife, who's finally pregnant - finally? she's only been married for like 18 months - and everyone got sidetracked in talking about that instead. Which was fine with me. Being fussed over that much was a little... awkward.)
We went to weigh in last night, and once again, Thomas shows me up. I wish I could get over this, but it frustrates me so much... He's on maintenance, and because he's a guy, he gets 8 more points a day over me anyway, so that's 12 points he gets, then 17 for his weight, then three or four for his height, and another two for his age... some 35 points to my 21. Last week he ate (that I saw) three cupcakes from the deli (the kind with the two inch layer of frosting that looks like a dinosaur on them!) all of his dinner at the "would you like a side order of cheese with your cheese?" restaurant, and half a piece of chocolate cake... and he lost 2.4 pounds.... I worked my ass off at the gym three times last week for about 90 minutes a session, abstained from the cupcakes, and only ate half my dinner when we went out... to lose 1.4. It's just. Not. Fair.
Thomas weighs less than 20 pounds more than I do. Without putting much effort into it, he's kicking my ass on the stationary bike, he lifts more, he does more push ups... he eats more and he's losing more weight. He looks like 10 times better than I do... I'm only 11 pounds from being classified as "normal weight" according to the BMI charts and yet I still look like a fat, middle-aged housewife (the more frustrating part about this is that I am a fat, middle-aged housewife...) Because he works and I stay home, we have to keep on top of his wardrobe, because he cannot look like a rag-bag at work. He works with client teams and customers, and he needs to look well-groomed and put together. I'm a mother. As soon as anyone sees a young child with me, they immediately file me in the "walmart shopper" catagory and it doesn't really matter what I'm wearing, no one cares. So, his clothes fit and mine... not so much. He looks nice and I... don't.
And I know that it's not his fault, and that, actually, he's trying to maintain his weight, and he's having a lot of trouble finding the good balance between wanting to be fit and what he can eat, and I positively refuse to cook two different meals in order to put full fat cheese and meats into his dinner. Not to mention, I don't want Little Debbie cakes in the house. I don't want to put my weight loss in jepordy because he can't be bothered to eat breakfast.
On the other hand, if I'm not mad at him about it, the only other person that I can legitimately be mad at is myself.
And believe me, I am. I'm mad that I must not be working hard enough, that I could do better. And at the same time, I know I'm being completely ridiculous and unbearable and insufferable. I know that weight loss is not Zero-sum DKP, that Thomas losing weight doesn't mean that I'm not also losing weight. I also know that I'm not being a good partner because I'm constantly harping on this theme of "why do you always have to show me up?"
And yet... while I know... I just can't help but be disappointed.
Friday, January 9, 2009
(as a note, the happiness project web site is some really great reading, if you're looking at ways to make your life better... not that I agree with everything Gretchen says, obviously, but the general attitude. What works for her might not work for me, or for you. Nothing is ever as easy as a step-by-step instruction book might make it seem... the important thing, in weight loss, in happiness, in life, is to find what works best for YOU!)
So, this is a list in progress (I'm working on some site redesign too, and I'll have a tab at the top of the page with things like a FAQ and About Me and My Progress Pics and stuff in easy to find links... so if you have a question I can use on my FAQ, please ask me! Otherwise I have to make up some questions, and wow, that's just silly!!) and may be updated or not, as I have time and inclination...
43 Things I'd like to Do in my Life (in no particular order)
- Publish a novel
- Sign a book for a fan
- Visit England, specifically Oxford, Hampshire, and Somerset
- Visit Italy, specifically Pompeii
- Make a souffle
Do one-handed push-ups
- Run in a 5k, even if I come in last.
- Take a dance class
- Learn to play backgammon
- Go skiing, even if I spend most of the trip in the lodge
- Be able to make a high enough donation to a charity of my choice to get on a special list
- Meet a politician
- Visit the San Diego zoo
- Learn Latin
- Learn Japanese
- Learn to knit, even if I hate it and never, ever do it again
- Actually spend an entire day in bed (without being sick) including having someone else bring me meals...
- Go to the Smithsonian and not spend the entire time I'm there mooning over the Hope Diamond.
- Look at other planets through a powerful enough telescope so that they look like something else other than stars
- Go para sailing or hang gliding
- Go scuba-diving
- Visit the pyramids in Egypt
- Watch several movies that I've always "meant" to see (including 2001, Dr. Zhivago, Dr. Strangelove, The Maltese Falcon, The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Frantic, The Manchurian Candidate, Schindler's List, Les Miserables, and Way of the Dragon... this is not a comprehensive list, just the ones off the top of my head...)
- Apologize to Erin Gray.*
- See an actual martial arts tournament so that I can get ideas of Karate Kid and Kung Fu Panda out of my head.
- Discover a convincing answer to the question, "Why?"
- Come up with a clever retort to the answer, "Because I said so."
- For no other reason than because I want to, smash an entire box of china plates.**
- Squeeze all the toothpaste out of a tube in one go.
- Take an art class.
- Have a water-balloon fight.
- Surrender my regrets.
- Walk on a battle-site with someone who knows all about the war and who fought where and not listen to a word they're saying.
- Actually go to a Mardi Gras parade. Earn beads.
- Go to a Weird Al concert.
- Be a heckler for a dunking booth. What fun! Get to yell insults at people for charity! (Obviously, this will be more fun in the summer... )
- Get a raincoat (never owned one) and rainboots (never had a pair) and go jump in puddles. (I never did this as a child; I've always been a little wonky about personal cleanliness...)
- Paint something enormous. (When I was younger, I really, really wanted to paint billboards... I saw a special on it once, I think on Sesame Street? Anyway, they don't do that now that printers are capable of large-scale production, so I'd have to paint something like an advertisement on the side of a barn, or something. Once, in college, I painted the Lorax on the wall in my dorm, which covered the wall where the elevator used to be, and that was loads of fun. Like that. Only bigger.)
- Take a tour of a submarine, aircraft carrier, and/or battleship. (My dad used to be a submariner... he has a little saying, "Any day above ground is a good day." I used to think he was being profound about life and death, and then I remembered he spent several years of his life under water... "Any day of not being in the Navy is a good day.")
- Ride an elephant.
- Make a piece of Machinima.
- Be carried across a threshold. (involves weighing a little less than 20 pounds less than my husband, I rather expect...)
- Go on an extended road trip.
I also tried to avoid things that seemed a money-only problem. Like owning my own home. (And then, subsequently, redecorating my own home.) I would, actually, really like that. But I do believe that's something I will do, not just something I want to do. We just need to get out from under some inherited family debt, and wait until this market crash thing stops happening. It'll happen, eventually.
I was talking the other day with a friend of mine about this list and she said "I can't imagine doing something like that, I mean formalizing it and all." I don't really think of it as a "formal" list. I'm not making a project plan, or setting a time schedule or anything. I don't think of it as a to-do list, but more like a small slice of my personality on display. You can tell a lot about a person by looking at the sorts of things they think are they'd like to do...
Anyway, hope you like the list.
*My Evil Twin asked me, "And I'm dying to know why you need to apologize to Erin Gray?" I was actually sort of hoping someone would ask, because it's a funny story and I wanted to tell it, but doing so in the actual body of the list seemed rather distracting.
Ok, I love Buck Rogers. Just so you know that. I. Love. It. I don't actually own the series on DVD because I'm afraid of what would happen if I could just watch it whenever I wanted to. I might never get off the sofa again. When I was a kid, I was desperately, desperately in love with Buck. (Ok, I still am...) Even today, if the sci-fi channel is showing Buck Rogers' reruns, I end up being unable to do anything else but stare at the screen. Especially that episode where Buck's running around in the tight black leather pants and vest. With those lovely biceps and... ok, stopping now...
Anyway, several years ago, Thomas and I took a trip out to California for a Babylon 5 convention. We spent three days in L.A. and got to meet most of the cast and crew of the show. (Billy Mumy, very nice guy. With the super-power "look at camera and smile." No, seriously. I don't have a single picture of him where he's NOT looking at my camera. Even if there was no possible way that he could have known I was pointing the camera at him. Walter Koenig? Not so nice. Rather rude, actually.) Anyway, we were doing the lines for autographs on Saturday, making our way down the table. Towards the further end of the tables were people who were either in bit parts, or from other science fiction shows altogether. Some Star Wars extras. A few Star Trek people (bit parts, not like Spock or Kirk.)
I wasn't even looking ahead, so I didn't expect this at all, but suddenly, I looked up where we were in the line.
And there was Gil Gerard. I mean, GIL GERARD! (Ok, so he actually looked more like this when I met him, but it didn't matter...)
I turned into a complete, blithering idiot.
I blushed, gushed, and generally acted like I would immediately fall to the floor, become his slave, and happily spend the rest of my life serving his needs.
I also got his autograph. It's one of my prized possessions. If my apartment is burning down, I'm rescueing that autograph!
And, much, much later, my husband informed me that Erin Grey was sitting beside him the whole time.
I never even saw her. Years later, and I cannot remember seeing her. I didn't get her autograph. I didn't express any admiration for her. I didn't even notice her.
Which really sucks, because in addition to thinking that Buck Rogers was a paragon of all things masculine and cool, I thought Wilma Deering was a great role model. She was pretty. She was brave. She was intelligent. She didn't get all melty about Buck Rogers. She didn't generally need to be rescued. She did her fair share of saving the day. She never shrieked like the idiot love-interest in so many sci-fi movies and tv shows. I wanted to grow up to be Wilma Deering. Even if I would have gotten all melty about Buck Rogers.
It bothers me that I completely ignored her in favor of Gil Gerard.
Although, I must admit, it makes a hell of a funny story.
** Thanks to a kind reader who asked not to be named for pointing me at that web site. Guess I need to add "Visit California" to my list...
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Seven things that people don't really know about me
1. I always claim to hate my middle name, but I don't. As a matter of fact, if I could figure out a way to ditch the nickname that everyone currently calls me, I would swap it out for my middle name. As it is, I've been called Lynn since 5th grade and my parents still call me by my first name (No, I won't tell you what it is...) My middle name is a boy's name. To be specific, my grandfather's name, and his grandfather's name and his, etc etc until you get back to my first ancestor in the states' surname. He was lynched in Jamaica for being a religious zealot and his sister (who survived by marrying a ship's captain) named her son after her idiot brother. It also happens to be my least favorite cousin's first name and my second least favorite cousin's middle name. However, I think it would be cool to be called Chandler, and I do like it. (Lynn is the second half of my first name, which is one of those annoyingly southern compound names like Betty-Rae, Nina-Fay, and Nancy-Hope. Yes, I really know all those people. No, I won't tell you what the first half of my stupid compound name is.)
2. I am naturally left-handed, but was aversion-trained into being right-handed in kindergarten. As such, I have a really, really hard time with rights and lefts. For years, the only way I could tell right from left is that I have a freckle on my left index finger. After a bad sunburn in college, the freckle went away. Now, in order to clue my brain in, I only wear jewelry on my left hand. I partially reverted to left-handedness after breaking my right arm in a traffic accident and being in a cast for 3 months. I use a mouse left-handed and actually cannot function with a right-handed mouse. (My daughter is left-handed, and so is my husband. I am prepared to KILL anyone who tries to aversion-train Darcy into being right-handed.)
3. I never remember the date of my dad's birthday. I always have to call my mother and ask her. My parents have been divorced for 16 years. My mother always remembers.
4. I hate the feeling of water on my face. Whether it's in the shower, being splashed in a pool, being squirted with a water-gun, or whatever. I can manage it in certain situations where I'm in complete control of the water (such as swimming underwater, although I always want to dry my face off the INSTANT I come up for air) but I'm not the kind of person who can wash my face by cupping water in my hands. It just completely freaks me out. I have no idea why.
5. The first boy I ever kissed was Johnny Rayburn. I was thirteen and we ended up kissing under a pine tree across the street from my house, halfway down the hill. I remember the smell of pine needles and the look of his face in the moonlight. The first girl I ever kissed was Jonni Reynolds. We kissed near a cedar tree, walking back from seeing Thelma and Louis. Something about the symetry there pleases me.
6. Three people in my life have written me poetry. The first was my high school sweetheart, whose poetry was sincere, and sincerely awful... reminiscent of New Kids on the Block lyrics without the catchy backbeat... the third was a girl I loved very much in college, but was possessive, paranoid, and a man-hater, to the point where she didn't like me to have guy friends... the second one, however, touched me the most. I barely knew the guy. His name was Nathan Burbank and he was in one of my Gifted classes with me, despite being two years my senior. Nice guy, kinda quiet. Kinda cute in a - what would later be called - "emo" sort of way. Moody. That he harbored anything for me, I never knew until after he died. His sister Rhonda brought me a packet of letters about a month after he died from a drug-overdose... it was a collection of poetry and sketches he'd done, of and about, me. I still have them.
7. I have a thing about death. I've known entirely too many people who've died, and I don't like - and won't attend - funerals. While I understand the purpose of a funeral and accept that they are helpful to other people, I can't... what ends up happening to me at a funeral is that the emotions are so strong that I can't let go. I end up remembering the funeral much more clearly than I remember the person who died. I know it's supposed to be a show of respect to attend, and I further know and understand that I have massively offended several living relations and not less than a few friends by refusing to attend funerals, but I cannot bring myself to do it again. I'd much rather remember Richard stealing pennies from me while we're playing penny-ante poker, or my grandfather complaining about the rabbits in his garden than everyone crying and trying to "be strong" and long eulogies delivered by people I don't like, misrepresenting the lives of people I did... Sorry. Funerals suck. And I won't go. Ever. Again. This is horrifically compounded by the fact that I have an absolute screaming phobia about dead things. And unfortuantely, once a person crosses into the land of "dead thing" for me, I just... yergh. It's bad, and I won't do that to myself or to anyone I love.
So, those are my 7 things that most people don't know... I'm also working on another list... 43 things I'd like to do before I die... but I sort of ran out of time today, so I didn't get to that. Maybe tomorrow. I expect that'll take me more than an hour or so to write, anyway...
As with all memes, I'm supposed to tag other people for it, but... pfft. If you want to do this, do it, and if not, don't feel obligated. You can let me know in the comments and I'll go look at your list...
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I confess, I'm not looking forward to the Fitness Center being more utilized by our residents... right now, there's not usually more than one or two people in the Center, which has meant no waiting...
There are a couple people, however, that I've seen more than once.
The first one, and I've seen him three out of the four times I've been there, is this huge African-American guy. HUGE. Six and a half feet tall. With bronky, muscle-builder arms and slabs of steel instead of legs. He uses the full amount of weight on the lifting machine (which I think is 200 pounds, but I'm not positive) and runs for about 40 minutes on the elliptical. And by running, I mean running. Flat out, sprinting like a lion was after him, running. It's scary to watch and highly impressive.
And here's the real kicker, at least to me.
Fat. Muscular around the arms and legs, but he has this enormous belly hanging out in front of him.
I'm astonished how he can run like that and still be fat. I wonder if he started out a lot more fat than I'm currently seeing him. I wonder if he used to be an athlete, and sort of went to seed. I wonder if he drinks entirely too much beer. And I wonder if he'd actually slap me if I voiced any of those things. So I just watch him out of the corner of my eye and am secretly impressed.
I think of him as FM, or sometimes, FbM. (Fat Man, or Fat, but Muscular.) I wish I knew his name. Thinking of him as FM seems a little rude, somehow.
The other person I've also seen three times. Once she was arriving as I was leaving, once she came in mid-way during my workout, and this last time I saw her, she brought her husband, and her two homeschooled kids in when I was nearing the end of my HIIT walk.
The first time I saw her (and I admit, I probably imagined this) she gave me that look. You know the one... the "YOU are going to work out? Aren't you a little FAT to be thinking about being in a gym where actual serious people work out? I bet you won't be around in three weeks..."
She is tiny. She has no hips or breasts to speak of, and her waist is somewhat moving on towards barbie proportions. She's blonde with a chic haircut that frames her tiny, perfect face, and she looks as if she's never even thought about eating a cookie.
Of course, I immediately dub her SB (Skinny Bitch).
I spend a while berating myself for doing that, too. I mean, I have no idea where she started in her fitness program. Maybe she's always been thin. Maybe she has to work out every day for three hours a day to support her Ding-Dong habit. Maybe she was once 80 pounds overweight and now she looks and feels great in her body. I can't tell that, just from looking at her in her red and white workout clothes.
She has, however, no endurance whatsoever. I discovered this yesterday at my workout. I was doing my HIIT when she walked in... she gave me a slight, cheery smile and I worked on revising my opinion of her. (Thus leading me to wonder if I imagined that LOOK she gave me last time...) She did some stretches, got her kids organized in the corner with some workbooks, then got on the elliptical. I'm chugging along at a good clip on the treadmill, 3.5 miles an hour on a 3 incline, sweating and bouncing along...
She gets off the eliptical in six. minutes. Sweating and gasping for breath.
She goes back to doing stretches while her husband lifts weights and she stops stretching from time to time to spot for him.
I continue my walking. The biking was lots harder, but I'm still getting a heck of a workout on the treadmill... and then, near the end of my 35 minutes, I was starting to feel really tired, in that warm, achy sort of tired... and then suddenly... I just didn't.
It was amazing.... like that gentle downglide after an orgasm... my breathing stopped being so ragged and my back suddenly stopped hurting and... I felt absurdly happy. Like I could walk a million miles... like I was on top of the world.
I'd always thought Runner's High was one of those... crystal twinkie lies. Like "I conquored a cookie craving with a walk around the block." Like "After a while, those high fatty desserts just didn't taste as good."
I was absurdly disappointed when my cooldown cycle started, but went ahead and got off the treadmill and started my stretching.
"You look like you had a good workout," SB said, grinning at me.
"Yeah, yeah, I did," I said.
"I wish I had that kind of endurance," she said, wistful. "You're in great shape."
I blinked. "Thank you. I've worked pretty hard at it..."
"I can tell."
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
He started Jan 3, 2007, weighing in at 253.2 pounds.
Here's a picture of him in July of '06. At the time, he was wearing 44 x 32 pants and a size XXL t-shirt.
I never really thought we'd stick with this weight loss program. I tried not to talk about it too much because I didn't want to be discouraging, nor did I want to talk my way into quitting becoming reality.
I have often taken my husband's sloth-like tendencies for granted. He's not a really changeable sort of guy. Once he settles into his routine, it takes an act of god to get him moving again.
I would say he's decidedly shown me that he can be more than I expected.
I'm very proud.
(And truth be told, a tiny bit jealous, but you know, we're not going there...)
Here's what he looks like now:
81.8 pounds later, he weighs in at a lean 171.4 pounds.
He's wearing 32 x 34 jeans (no, I don't really know where the extra 2 inches came from in the leg...) and a Medium shirt.
It's pretty amazing...
Despite being amazing, I must say I'm a little put out with Weight Watchers... apparently while Thomas now getting meetings for free, the Online eTools (should he chose to continue to use them) will cost him $16 a month. Given that eTools was free with the Monthly pass ($40 a month), is weight watchers really saying that meetings are worth ~$24 a month (or $6 per meeting?)... really, I don't see the servers that eTools being WORTH $16 a month...
Ah well... it's not like Thomas likes tracking anyway... this week upcoming, we're supposed to get the coaching on how to go back to Core (Simply Filling...) and I rather suspect he'll go back to that.
My own weight loss was somewhat less than impressive this week, only down .2 pounds. But you know, that's ok... when I look back through my food journal for the past week, I don't think I was eating enough for the amount of activity I added in. Part of it is the new tracking system. I'd gotten used to the way they did it before, which is to say, APs were used first, and then WPAs...
I had determined, through trial and error, that I needed to eat at least 3/4 of all APs and no FEWER than 12 WPS but no MORE than 25 for the best weight loss.
Last week, I earned 28 APs and ate... 17 flex points.
So, this week's goals are to keep up with the workouts (did one today, 35 minutes on the bike, 5.4 miles and 35 minutes High Intensity Interval Training on the treadmill, varied back and forth between 2.5 mph at 5 incline and 3.5 mph at 2 incline, did 40 crunches, benched 50 pounds for 7 reps, did 20 pound bicep curls and tricep extensions, stretched, and walked back and forth to the gym which is about a quarter of a mile each way...) and to remember to eat enough to keep my body burning fuel efficiently and effectively.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Our apartment complex, after years of being completely lame, and last year the pool didn't even open (much to my disgust, which was seconded only by the guy who had been hired to be the lifeguard. They wouldn't let him out of his contract, so he ended up spending the summer sweeping the sidewalks, and brushing cobwebs off the sides of the buildings...) decided to open a Fitness Center.
This makes me happy, since both
So, the Fitness Center really could not have come at a better time for our finances. A Gym Membership for family is like $75 a month, and that's just not feasible at this time. I don't care how many salsa classes they offer.
My Fitness Center key is attached to my Shiny New Australia keychain and has a green star "Bravo!" sticker attached to it. Since getting my key, I've been to the gym three times.
The first time I went, I did 15 minutes on the stationary bike and 15 minutes of walking, as well as some weights and some stretches. Nothing big, I was just familiarizing myself with the equipment and trying out a few things. The bike seems a little odd to me, since the pedals are in a seated, flat leg position, rather than what I think of as being an actual biking-position, which is to say 'standing, with an uncomfortable seat under your butt." That was Tuesday, last week.
Then I went again on Friday because it was cold and rainy and I didn't want to drag Darcy on the long walk... not to mention not really wanting to be outside in the cold and wet myself. That time, I did an hour on the treadmill and some crunches and weights. I really like the treadmill... I slowly increased the speed and incline of the machine and worked my way up to a really good sweat.
And I went again yesterday (Sunday)... got in 30 minutes of biking and 30 minutes of walking. Used the sit-up bench to do crunches, did bicep curls and tricep lifts, stretched, and then walked home. While I was there, another resident came in to the gym. By that time, I'd been working out for a good 40 minutes, so I was hot, sweaty, and probably looked a bit like a gym bunny if you don't have much experience with gyms or gym bunnies. He looked at me. Then he crossed the room to the weights. And looked at me. And fiddled with the settings. And looked at me. And did a few half-hearted bicep curls. And looked at me. And then he left.
I'm not sure if he was afraid of me watching him try to figure out what he was doing with the weights, or if he didn't want to groan and strain in front of me, or what. It was certainly odd. I never thought I'd be the sort of person to intimidate someone else with my fitness prowess.
A few hours later, Thomas and I did our short family walk (the 2.2 mile walk, as opposed to the 3.5 mile walk).
"I wonder how long I'll keep being enthusiastic about the gym," I chirped. I was in a fairly good mood, felt productive and if not exactly in the peak of fitness, certainly fitter than I have been in the past.
"Oh, probably until your next weigh-in," Thomas said.
"Eh?" That certainly wasn't what I expected.
"You've kicked your workups up at least 100% over what you normally do," he said. "I doubt that's going to have a good effect on tomorrow's weigh-in. At which point you'll get discouraged..."
"Woah," I said. "What boat did I get on? Let me be the cynic around here, I'm much better at it than you are."
Saturday, January 3, 2009
I'm doing the 100 push up challenge, starting Monday. Except, you know me, and I can't start anything that I don't start Right Now.
So, while I was supposed to do my Initial Test yesterday and start the actual Challenge on Monday, I actually did my initial test three or four days ago.
I can do three good-form, regular push ups, before collapsing onto my carpet and shaking my arms.
Not so grand, really.
On the other hand, giving myself a 30 minute rest, I then tried again, doing my push ups from the knees instead. With knee pushups, I managed 12 knee push ups.
Neither total is particularly impressive, but hey, there's nowhere to go but up, right?
And I can't really decide if I want to start with the knee push ups and the second column, or the full push ups and the first column.
So, today I decided I'd do the first column push ups (for if you've done 0 - 5 push ups on your initial test) as a half-and-half. I did two full push ups, rested for about a minute, did three knee push ups, rested for about a minute, did two full, rested a minute, did two knee push ups, rested for about three minutes (if by "rested", I mean got to my knees and helped the child-thing tear a tag off her new t-shirt and get dressed... ) and then did 1 more full push up and six knee push ups.
My notes, after doing all of this, were threefold.
Point the first: Remember to take my rings off before starting any push ups. Especially since, given that I have some weird thing wrong with my right wrist (as a result of having broken the damn thing several times, I have this... bone spur, for the lack of a more official diagnosis, because you know, I hate doctors, and I don't really want to deal with having something Expensive wrong with my wrist, I haven't had it looked at.) and doing a push up on a bent wrist is excruciatingly painful. Pressing my ring directly into the floor (even through carpeting) is not comfortable.
Point the second: Switching out for kinds of push ups is a real pain in the butt. (also, the knees, back, and toes) So, I need to decide if I'm going to go easy on myself and do the knee push ups, in the second column (which means nearly doubling the amount of push ups...) or if I want to be Bubbles Hard Core and do full push ups, but from the first column. Both options seem to be about equal amounts of effort, when examined fully...
Point the third: They invented sports bras for a reason... and this would be one of them. The bra I have that currently fits is a 38C t-shirt plunge bra... and it's not at all designed to hold the girls in place when gravity is coming at them from such an odd direction.
In other news (that's another blog-trick for doing awkward transitions... maybe next time I'd put some effort into finding a separator bar...) I've been working on my self-esteem for about five days now, so I thought I'd give you a status update on my plans, and my... well, status. (ug, must find more caffiene...)
I've started keeping a cute little notebook. My goal for this notebook are to list things in it, on a daily basis, that I like about myself, or that I've "done good" that day. And then, every day when I start my day, I flip back through my booklet and read a few days worth of positive, self-affirming things. It doesn't matter how small, or how fleeting those things are, if they happen, I write it down.
Part of my issue has been that I can't seem to hold on to good feelings. I'll catch a glimpse of my slimmer self in the mirror and think, for just an instant "wow, I look good..." And then I stop, and look in the mirror more fully, and begin this list of all the other things that are wrong with me. My grey hairs (and, after years of telling my husband that there's nothing WRONG with grey hairs, I have to restrain myself from pulling out my own. Especially with my hair thinning as dangerously as it is, I need all the hairs I can get, grey or otherwise...) or the saggy way my skin looks, or my puffy fish eyes... so, I start out feeling good about myself, and end feeling thoroughly depressed and wonder (for the seven hundred millionth time) how anyone can possibly say I look good.
But I don't want to focus on that. I don't need to make a laundry list of what I don't like... I need to focus more on what I do like.
It's helping. A little bit. I don't expect miracles. I don't expect to love myself overnight, or to wake up and everything is all covered with unicorn spit. But I'd like to take those tiny moments and live in them. To be aware that they exist.
You know, it's evolution, really, the way we focus on the negative. It's how we learn. Our memories of failure, pain, humiliation, are so much more powerful than our ability to recall - accurately - good times. When we were all living in caves with names like Og, Lurg, and Jondalar, and something bad happened to us - like a saber-toothed tiger was living nearby and we stupidly stuck our heads into their caves - and we LIVED through it, we would have very vivid memories of the event. To keep us from doing something that stupid EVER again.
Much like the fight or flight instinct, this doesn't do much good in terms of attending board meetings and figuring out tax credits... It's not socially acceptable to run screaming from the room at a company meeting, nor is it at all good for your social life to beat the tar out of the H&R Block rep... from repressing our instincts in these situations, we get Stress... similiarly, we don't need to learn lessons about keeping an eye out for cave bear spoor, and so, instead, we develop low self-esteem.
Stupid evolutionary traits need to adapt faster.
In the meanwhile... I'll keep on keeping this notebook, and working hard at remembering that I, too, am a worthwhile human being.
Who has an amazingly good hairdo... too bad it was not a planned hairdo. I mean, is that unfair or what? I go to the gym, I speed-walk on an incline of 5, am sweating up a storm and absently chatting with the guy on the elliptical, and decide that I need to get my hair up off my back. While still walking, I upfasten my hair-clip, twist my hair up into a knot, and pin it to my head with the clip.
After my workout, while washing my face, I notice that my hair has never, actually looked better. Ever.