Sunglasses FOUND!

Interrupting today’s training recap to report that while, yes, I am kind of cracking under the wedding pressure deadlines and questions and commitments, today the very nice woman at the lighting store called to say she found my sunglasses and has them at the store. Yahoo! I’ll fetch them at lunch and strike another item on my to-do list.

Shopping, dropping, not again soon-ing

Yesterday was all about wedding shopping. For M. And it was not fun for either of us, but since G and K’s wedding is now less than 2 weeks away, it had to be done.

As in most things, M and I have wildly different tastes. But in this case as well, we had wildly different tolerances for how much we are willing to spend on clothing and shoes for him for this eventful occasion. In suits, everything I liked was at least $600 on sale, which M thought was precisely 3 times more than he wanted to spend. Everything within M’s preferred price range looked and felt exactly awful, so he grudgingly agreed this was not the cheap-out hill he wanted to die on, especially when it’s so close to the wedding and I am starting to crack under the pressure of his procrastination. I suppose it doesn’t help that I was seeking something specific and limiting our choices within the more cost-effective, rarely worn suit styling realm. But I want what I want – medium to dark gray, no pinstripes, no patterns in the weave of the fabric. Had I been willing to wander from my own criteria, there were several suits in M’s budget range that could have worked. But I didn’t like them for this occasion, so I voted with our wallet. The occasions of “I work  hard, I work long hours, I deserve …” rarely occur to me. However, this was the unusual event that I was unwilling to compromise (much) and we were going to drop the cash necessary to make it happen.

At our third stop, the salesman tried a coat on M for size, which finally hammered home for him what I was talking about in fabric. It made him look about 110 years old, like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings. It was also a short, and while I could not put my finger on it at the time, I did not like the fit at all. The guy pulled out a regular in the same suit; better fit, still disliked the fabric. When I explained to salesman in more detail what I was seeking, he pulled out a medium gray that was actually very nice, a touch lighter in color than what mind said I wanted but really nice fabric. Once M tried the jacket on – for once it was a good fit, no further alternations needed – he finally saw what I was talking about with the fabric and drape and such. Third store, second suggestion, done.

The pants – OMG they were huge! But the tailor did his magic chalk marking and they should be perfectly tailored by next Saturday.

Shirt is white, tie is a solid teal that is a pretty close match to the darker teal of the bridesmaid dresses. M was of the opinion that Kayla should weigh in on all this stuff, and while K had no strong opinions on the suit itself while we were shopping – although she did agree some of them did not photograph that well – we had a lengthy text discussion over the various teal-shaded tie choices while M was with the tailor and then trying on the shirt before we decided on the solid. Just to be fair I did show the ties I was considering and he immediately went with the solid, a stripe being a very distant second. So that was good as well. M and I should look appropriately matchy-matchy prom-y in the wedding photos.

K, from the stylist’s chair test driving wedding hair, had a blast shopping with us by text. M and I were certainly not having that much fun in the moments. Now that it’s done, I am both relieved and happy with the choices, but at the time, not fun at all.

From there we stopped for a quick lunch – hence yesterday’s post – and then at home for dress socks to tackle shoes.

Men’s dress shoes are nothing like shopping for women’s shoes. That’s likely why in the big giant shoe warehouses men’s shoes get 2 aisles and women’s get 20. And I apparently have not spent much time actually shopping in a mall recently; I am now feeling the weight of every single one of my years and the accumulated judgment about clothes and fashion. Either that or I was exhausted from the ordeal of shopping with M for M. Shopping with M for me is far more controllable; I can just come back later and try on or purchase what I think I want without him. Shoes especially – multiple stores, multiple pairs of shoes, finally found something that works. And I knew this would be difficult; M lives in running shoes with jaunts into flip flops and has many pairs of both. Dress shoes? Like a foreign country. Multiple stores, multiple pairs of dress shoes, and finally something wearable and if not exactly agreeable at least not offensive to his eye. By that point I did not care what they costed; I just wanted the nightmare shopping to end. Fortunately they too were on a sale – $59.95 and we are done. Except for dress socks; the tan ones M was using yesterday are not going to work.

So after what seems like an enough shopping for one lifetime, the last pressing issue for G & K’s wedding is done. Thankfully.

In other weekend news, I was actually glad to be up and moving around a lot yesterday. One of my yoga postures went awry when I lost my focus and fell out wrong. No lasting damage – just a muscle cramp that sort of slowly worked its way out of my leg through a day of mall walking and standing around or fetching shoes for M while he tried on every single available pair of something the potentially could work. It gave us both something else to talk about other than the misery of buying men’s dress-up clothes.

Today leg is pretty much fine, although I was listening to it during pilates class. Leg was whining to take it easy, that it hurts, and mind was saying “shut the f**k up and deal, you lazy limb.” I took a different class at the other studio location, and it was okay. I definitely prefer the earlier (7:30 versus 9:30) class time. I’m not sure how much longer I will continue with the pilates; my interest in waning now that Sunday’s 7:30 a.m. class seems to have been overtaken by the instructor I like the least. I don’t know – maybe everyone else likes booming, enthusiastic boot camp instructors at 7:30 on a Sunday. I could be in the minority. After the wedding, after our vacation, I may switch up my away-from-they gym day and try something else new. I shall become an exercise adventurer and try something else next.

And despite the zoom-zoom-zoom pacing and having lost 2 different items of significance and no idea where during the course of it, the weekend has been very pleasant. But my absent-mindedness is starting to mildly freak me out. Yesterday it was a credit card. I stopped to get gas on my way to the gym and discovered later in the day that it was missing from my wallet. No problem – probably in my gym bag. Came home and emptied it out, nope, not in my gym bag. Then I thought surely the jacket I was wearing, but nope, not in that pocket either. M and I both looked in my car without any luck there either. I have no idea where I dropped it, but I have reported it as lost and it has been cancelled.

Today it is my sunglasses. I had just yesterday been telling M that I felt like it was time for an eye exam and possibly updating my prescription; today, I have lost my sunglasses somewhere between 2 stores. We stopped to pick up M’s wedding band at Shane Company, then walked across the parking lot to a small, jammed to the rafters lighting store showroom. We checked both places, although honestly if I set them down somewhere in the lighting store they are lost forever. That place was a scrambled mess! We saw a couple of really cool (and expensive) fixtures as potential replacements for our dining room light, but it was beyond inaccessible for a handicapped person. The aisles were so narrow it was barely roomy enough for M and I to get through them single file, and we are not extraordinarily big or wide-bodied people.

Anyway, I’m frustrated with myself for being so forgetful and not paying closer attention to what I am doing. Between the wedding and general workload, I have been pretty busy lately. At least I have a tracker and app for my keys, since I lose them in the house all the time.

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8/28/2016 – Cube tracker for my frequently misplaced keys.

So, a new month starts in a few days, and I had very pleasant surprises this morning from both the scale and the tape measure, both of which I still detest. While I don’t feel particularly tinier, they say yes, it is so. I find not caring that much means not getting overly excited when it says “Janelle, you’re smaller.” I get a much stronger happy zing when my meter says my blood sugar is staying well within the normal range and my carb counting says I’m within 10% either way of my daily budget. This eating thing, despite doing it my whole life, is so much harder than dragging my butt out of bed for the gym every morning.

I am off to finish writing down my weekly meal plan and putting lunch together for tomorrow. Have a great week everyone!

The Honor System

A lot of places I frequent have these boxes labeled “candy for charity.” The idea is you put in your quarter or whatever amount and take a piece of the candy in the box. While I typically see them on counters manned and lightly supervised by a business employee, occasionally the boxes are left somewhere else in a higher traffic but mostly unsupervised area of the business.

Such is the case in a restaurant M and I were in earlier today.

Now, in general I am rather cynical about these charitable efforts; I do not actually believe any of those funds make it to a worthwhile charity. But I am not utilizing a business with intent to judge them on their pseudo-philanthropic endeavors. It’s just one of those things I tend to notice in the places I go, probably because I am still in vast, lifelong sugar withdrawal and my eye is always going to be drawn to candy, even candy I do not particularly want to eat. Once an addict, always an addict.

Anyway, M and I were eating our meal and chatting about our day. You know, usual stuff. This mom and 2 young children came in with an elderly couple that were probably her parents. Mom went up to the counter to order, elderly folks took the booth right behind us. Little boy, probably about 4, dawdled at a display about 10 yards away and right within my line of sight. He had discovered the charitable candy box. As I casually observed he carefully took out several suckers and pieces of candy, unwrapped at least 2 of them, put them into his mouth and then those back into the box (I know – totally gross!), and then walked away with 3 suckers in his hands.

While I could get extraordinarily distracted by the poor parental supervision going on there, I will give that a pass this time. The other child with them was a toddler being carried by grandpa when they walked in, and just as brother sat down at the table with his booty toddler began talking and screeching loudly. Perhaps he wanted his share of what older brother suddenly had? I was curious as to how mom and grandparents would react to this sudden appearance of several suckers, right before dinner.

Next I know grandpa is approaching the candy box and taking several pieces from it, without depositing the donation for the candy. They were speaking in a foreign tongue, so perhaps it’s a cultural thing they did not understand, but I was disappointed. I tend to obey rules and most social conventions that make sense to me, and while I believe the owners of such establishments are likely very lightly padding their own pockets with the candy for charity scam, I do not know that with any certainty. It’s the context of a child being allowed to casually take something that is not provided as a customer courtesy, and the adult in the party participating in this behavior as well. That little boy may not grow up into a spoiled, entitled brat who has zero respect for boundaries or other people’s things, but in principle observing the behaviors disturbed me.

It just seems wrong.

I can justify this in my own head to a degree – the business owner leaves a box of candy unsupervised and within reach of children. Mom is busy, grandparents are obviously not from around here and may not even read english.

It just seems wrong. It is wrong.

Wrong for mom not to investigate where the ill-gotten sugar came from and either make the child return it, or for the stuff in the box that was way past that point, pay for it. Wrong not to explain the process to grandpa if there is a cultural/communication issue, or to quietly pay for his pilfered sweets as well.

In my mind it seems so very black and white, and to probably everyone else it seems like such a small cakes, what-does-it-matter type of event. Maybe it is small cakes. Maybe this is appropriate karma. Maybe it doesn’t matter at all.

Except to someone like me, who is honest and desires others to try to be honest as well. To honor the honor system when it is in play. To teach children it is not appropriate to take things that are not offered to them as a courtesy.

Because maybe, in the great big bigger picture, it is the small cakes events that matter most.

Losing my stuff

Titling this post “Losing my shit” would have been more appropriate, but I am trying to be considerate of those who are not quite as salty as I am in my language habits.

Most of the time, I think I am pretty rational and organized. Then again, most of the time I seem to spend working. In my professional life I am practically a professional organizer.

Personal life, not so much. Nothing like starting your day by frantically searching for your keys at 4:45 in the morning. I looked in all the usual places, checked a half dozen other improbable possibilities, and finally gave up and took M’s key for my car so I could get to the gym and not be supremely annoyed for losing my keys AND missing practice.

While I take ownership of my responsibility for my own stuff, this is partly M’s fault. Last night there was a major miscommunication – totally my fault – that resulted in a short, intense disagreement between us. I freely admit to not handling conflict well and that it takes a toll and sometimes takes a bit of time and/or space to completely purge the negative emotions from my system. What happened is G and K had made arrangements to store wedding beer in one of our refrigerators, and I completely forgot to tell M about it. As in, they arrived unexpectedly (for him – I knew about it) and that’s a big no-no in our house. So that was strike 1. Then M goes into this long, elaborate explanation with the kids of why it’s better to leave the beer in the house (thinking fridges are both sort of half full), only to be told by my son that I have already cleared out the refrigerator to make room. That’s strike 2. Then G and K are purchasing our former vehicle and may be selling G’s car, which was a surprise to M yet should not have been because I told him what I knew about it last weekend. So that’s sort of strike 2.5. So I get home, step out of my car, and M is at the door venting all his pissed-off-ness at the situation I put him into and complaining, loudly, that he seems to not be a resident of our household, that to other people it’s my house.

Fuck that. The kids did the right thing, made the arrangements with me, and it is 100% my fault that I forgot to tell him. Do not play that “the kids are shit because they treat me like I do not exist here” bullshit. Had I told him the kids were going to be dropping by with the beer, he would have asked what time, I would have said I don’t know, why don’t you text them and ask? And all would have been fine. But I’ve been busy with other things – like making a living – and simply forgot to tell him. Trying to lay blame on the kids does not fly well with me and I told him so very tersely, so it was not a pleasant get home from a busy, stressful, crazy day at the office.

Somehow in that tense discussion I tossed my keys on the desk and they flew off the edge without my noticing. They were  hidden in plain sight on the floor in the office. After getting home from the gym and frantically tearing through the house looking for them (and thus harshing my post-shoulder practice buzz), I happened to bend down to pick up a piece of paper off the floor and spotted them.

Thing is, the whole lost and found search for my keys has this domino effect of setting me up and into a pretty foul mood. Then I forgot to leave the gate unlocked for the pest control people … who were supposed to come yesterday, except I forgot the gate then as well and M was gone much of the day, but they were running behind and pushed us to today, and I forgot again. Fortunately they are running behind again today and M just got home to unlock the gates.

Kind of a sucky start to a Friday. It’s working out, but still. I feel like such a drama princess right now.

So, in order to hopefully save me from myself and this sort of bad feeling, I have bitten the bullet and ordered one of those key finder tag apps. I actually ordered 2 of them, so I can keep track of my work keys as well. Maybe my angsty drama at 4 in the morning can be avoided in the future.

And finally, in my when undelightful things happen, Monday trainer J showed me how to use the hamstring curl machine. Wednesday when I went to try it on my own, it was out of service. Bummer. Last week (I think) he showed me how to use a shoulder machine upstairs. Today when I went to use it, it was out of service.

If the dip machine I learned yesterday is out of service tomorrow, I am going to take it as a sign of something. Bad luck? Poor timing? Coincidence? Black clouds around me when it comes to machinery?

Still freezing in my office, so we are closing up at noon and all working from home. I cannot wait for hot yoga at 5 so I can warm up. And I am looking forward to getting home and getting back to baseline emotional normal while being mindful of where I leave my blasted keys.

Happy Friday everyone!

Training #66 – Too much Heaven

Thursday morning, training with J. And it was some new things, remix of things I already know, and in its way completely knocked my socks off. You’re tired of me writing this, but DAMN I love training days!

So today was a review/revamp of the chest and back routine. We did:

A1. DB Bench Press (25 lb. DBs, 4 sets, 8-12 reps)
A2. Stability Ball “Reach Up” Crunch (3 sets, 10-15 reps)
B1. TRX Pushups (4 sets, 8-15 reps)
B2. Bench “Step Out” or “Glute Kickback” (3 sets, 8-10/side)
C1. Leaned Forward Seated Dip Machine (4 sets, 8-12/reps)
C2. Band Archer Rows (3 sets, max reps/side)
D1. Triceps Rope Pushdown with Split @ Bottom (3 sets, 8-15 reps)
D2. Bench “Step Throughs” or Plank-to-Pushup (2 sets, 8-10/side)
E1. Easy Seated Cable Rows (long bar overhand) (2 sets, 12-15 reps)
E2. Rope Facepull (2 sets, 12-20)

I am such a creature of habit. We were starting today with chest presses, and somehow mind translated that as rows. In mind’s defense, there were several months where rows always preceded chest presses. This body part splits is still new in the whole training curve of activities. But I really do like it a lot. The way it progresses seems so much simpler and in weird ways easier.

On the dumbbell chest presses, nothing new to see here except the kinda/sorta fun way we conducted the warm-up today. Only I would probably phrase it that way, but it’s little things that make me happy. Once I realized we were doing presses and not rows, we did a set with 20 lb. DBs. Then put those away and did a set with 25 lb. DBs. Then put those away and got out the 30 lb. DBs. And honest to Pete I could barely get through 8 reps my arms felt so tired and weakened. But by set 4 with the 30 lb. DBs I was pretty much over it and feeling a lot stronger and fluid. What’s up with that? It was exciting nonetheless. I get very excited when things go better than expected later on into my exercise period.

The stability ball “reach up” crunches have become a favorite exercise. I love the way it makes my back feel to be draped over the ball for a period, and I’m not someone with back issues. This is an exercise I can feel working where it is supposed to be working, does not make my lower back feel poorly, and they overall feel better than sit-ups on the floor or just about everything else abs available to me.

We went back to the original nemesis – TRX push-ups. I would love to say I am rock star amazing at these by now, but truth is I am so not. They are probably permanent residents in my nemesis stable. Not precisely sure what my problem is with these despised bad boys – maybe it is my piss-poor attitude toward them? I will try again on Saturday. Or go back to doing a few every day until my competency improves (I plan to live at least another 15 to 20 years, so that is a lot of days available to hope for improvement). With my love of geometry when it comes to exercise, I suspect it is an angles thing and the floppy availability of movement with the straps. The bench version seems more friendly, probably because the bench is in a fixed position.

Then there is the bench “step-out” or “glute kick-back” – the planky things. I forgot to ask J about this while going through it, but we have done them from the push-up position on the bench (arms straight, shoulders over hands) and planky position (elbows bent on the bench, shoulders over elbows), and from the floor with both straight arms and bent elbow planky position. I have actually forgotten which is the upgrade/harder version, but I think going from bench to floor is a natural progression.

J introduced me to the dip machine today and taught me a “lean forward” positioning and to ensure my form stays good and the shoulder work gets done correctly. I think I am crazy, madly, deeply in love with the dip machine. It’s satisfying in so many ways, and I am pretty excited about trying it again. Sometimes when I kinda/sorta get how it is supposed to work and feel on the first run it becomes my new favorite thing.

The band archer rows in the main room was fun. These are my absolute favorite of the band rows and paired with my new favorite machine makes for a very fun block for me. My oh my how things have changed – describing a block of exercises as a “very fun block” of exercises.

Today’s triceps rope pushdown with split at bottom was a very subtle variation on the basic triceps cable motion I have learned and mostly mastered. (I say “mostly” because I seriously doubt I will ever be perfectly perfect at any of this stuff.) It still shocks me how one very subtle tweak makes such an amazing difference in how an exercise feels and how much work is suddenly being done.

We did bench plank-to-pushups today and no bench step-throughs today. Bench got slippery with sweat on the plank-to-push-ups, so in the future I will put my towel down on the bench. Periodically I believe myself to be getting better at these. They were not terrible today, but they will be better in the future.

We have done the seated cable rows with the narrow attachment, and today we used the long overhead bar attachment for a different, more typical (for me) rowing experience. After so many years o rowing on my indoor rower, I have to train myself not to lean back from the waist and with my back but to use arms and shoulders to pull back. I will just continue to be thinking “don’t lean, don’t lean, don’t lean” every time I use this machine.

The rope facepull is the same as it has always been, only today was a different cable machine. These were another of those mysterious exercises that I did not quite understand, until one day we were doing them and J said something and the lightbulb went off. Sometimes I think the gym could be powered for my training sessions by the breakthroughs I have in understanding what is supposed to be going on when I learn these new Lists.

I think on these I may test limits on J’s counsel on number of sets. Anymore, I think I like doing a minimum of 3 sets of everything. Of course, we may have been running out of time today in our session, and my time and energy management in my own practices may vary as well.

While we are working, I am also quizzing J about various topics of interest. Today it was intermittent fasting. Completely not something for me for a lot of reasons, most of which revolve around I do not see any benefit for me personally and the point of it completely eludes me as well. Still, I am always curious. And my lunch time walking associates are all a-buzz about it, so I like to see if they are basing their decisions on the marketing or if this is something they have actually researched as a potential thing.

RD … gosh I love and miss RD. When I brought it up with him in an email earlier this week, I was predicting and could practically feel and hear his sigh coming and suspected he would be strongly against the idea. Sometimes I think I ask these diet and nutrition things just to see how far RD’s head will spin completely around on his shoulders. While he knows I am mostly sensible about my diet, he also knows the ledge of mainstream diet information is right there and normally sensible people fall off routinely. What he forgets – I am tethered to my village. I mostly ask because I am curious, but if there’s some potential there I should explore, so be it. But there will be no falling off the edge for me.

Trainer J was telling me about his experience with intermittent fasting, in that he would essentially not eat all day long and then have some massive, pig-out feast in the evenings. He does these things because of clients like me, who will periodically get some wild hair and ask him about his experiences, so I suppose I feel kind of good about keeping him on his toes about stuff. That alone is enough to make me sure intermittent fasting is not for me – I truly hate it when I overeat and have that super-stuffed feeling in my stomach. That alone is enough to turn me off the idea.

Our discussion went past intermittent fasting, though, as is typical. I get a lot of interesting insight from conversations with J about fitness and nutrition trends, things I do not typically think about or notice. For example, he was telling me how in the fitness industry its been noted we have gotten away from talking about actual food we are consuming, instead talking about fat, carbs, protein. And it’s absolutely true. I tend to eat the same foods over and over and over again, so I pretty much know when something is carb- or protein-heavy. Because I have looked it up once and feel not urgency to do so again and again for the same answers.

The biggest issue for me is how food impacts my blood sugar, and my blood sugar has been pretty much rock solid for awhile now with occasional trends toward overnight lows, and I have learned and adapted in managing that with small snacks before bed. My struggles with food and healthy eating are not unique; I love my sugar and junk foods. However, what I am noticing lately is that I almost reflexively reach for the crap food in response to something completely unrelated to hunger. I can pretty much handle being hungry, but I apparently have a much lower tolerance for being uncomfortable. As in bored, upset, angry, unhappy, stressed and overwhelmed. And being uncomfortable is not necessarily limited to negative emotions. I’ve been known to reflexively reach for the soda or the chocolate when I am feeling happy, triumphant, victorious, or generally excited about something. You know, all the things that come with a working person’s life and lifestyle. Hell, all the things that come with the average person’s life and lifestyle, working or not.

I have been experimenting with curbing those impulses by eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. The season for summer fruit is extremely small in my estimation, so I tend to eat a lot of fresh berries and things I love while it is still available. It’s been a minor concern, but not enough that I had any plans to stop eating them anytime soon. I still test my sugar 4 times daily, because I am paranoid mindful of what could happen if I wander too far astray from the healthy nutrition standard I have set for myself. In my reading and conversations with doctors and others I trust, I have never been told to not eat as much as I presently consume, only to monitor my sugar to ensure it’s not being negatively impacted. And the fruit seems to be fine.

The starchy carbs (pasta, noodles, breads, etc.), however, do have a longer, less desirable impact. So I tend to save those for special occasions and always pair them with a protein. I’m fine eating a sandwich with actual bread assuming I have it with meat. Or oatmeal with protein powder mixed in (my breakfast staple). I’m gravitating back to a lot of salad and a lot of chicken with said salads. Or sometimes just the salad and a protein shake. Or some new combination of the staple foods I eat all the time, day after day, week after week.

A step I am exploring is a food journal, something RD tried to get me to adopt and I strongly resisted. I am still kind of strongly resisting; tracking is bad enough. However, I have now gotten to the point of eating so repetitively I have most of my meals preprogrammed and merely have to cut and paste to make 80% of a weekly meal plan. It is on my agenda to explore next month, after the wedding and after I return from vacation. I really want to simplify my life, not complicate it more by jotting food for future thought about food.

 

I just renewed for the next batch of sessions, and as is my custom, I wrote him a short thank you note. Sometimes I try for something cute, but this time was just a simple card. But every time I have renewed, I have thought about all the exercises and the training sessions we went through the previous 20 weeks. I think about the things we do week after week, session after session, practice after practice, and all those hours in the gym and what I have to show for it.

I have more mass to my ass, definitely. But it’s not jiggly fat mass, more like compacted muscle. And it sits differently. Unless you’re someone who has never really had much of a butt, it is kind of difficult to articulate the difference. I feel it, and I notice it. Perhaps an unexpected benefit that no one talks about when you start to exercise and do all those squats and such.

As for the rest of me, I’m trimmer, leaner than when I started. I have interesting little wrinkles and creases where there were none before, and I shamelessly admire them in the mirror when they catch my attention and endlessly quiz my husband about whether or not they are new or have always been there.

My strength and endurance have increased; I do not feel as weak or as powerless. It’s exciting to look back and think what weights I was using then, what I am pushing and pulling and moving to and fro now. Progress for me is not the weight I am moving, but the learning to do so safely and without injury.

Surprisingly, I have been at this for over a year now with minimal aches and pains. My habit has been to go slowly and carefully, be conservative with the weights, and try very hard to keep myself (and others) from injury. I enjoy the challenges of the exercise and stay awake enough to the Very Bad Things that can happen if I am not paying attention.

I have more fun in the gym by myself than I ever thought possible. Every now and again I think it might be nice to have a buddy to work out with, but in truth I am happy with my solo practices and crossing paths with the friends I have made there and the other tribe members I know. It’s nice seeing the same faces most days as they move along through their own workouts; being this level of creature of habit, there is a lot comforting in that familiarity.

In the card this time, I wrote “knowledge junkie met exercise and the learning began; knowledge junkie fell in love with exercise and the learning never ends.”

Among the truest words I have ever written. And I am so lucky, and really shocked, to feel that way. It’s not easy, and definitely it is not always fun. The emotional response to exercise is petulant and resentful as well as exhilarating and triumphant. When I have looked examined the way my feelings and instincts have evolved, I think the exercise and the path I am on is like a primal response to something my soul has needed for a very long time.

I never thought this change would enhance, expand, and impact my heart and my head as much as it has. Happiness, joy, contentment, peace, even love – these are words and concepts and terms bandied about and discussed endlessly across all forums of human communication. There was nothing especially new or exceptional about today, or this week, yet I feel all those things in abundance. The inside changes that no one actually sees are far more profound than the mass to my ass or the lower sugar and fat streaming through my veins. Body is changing and improving every day, every training session, every practice, but those enhancements are far more subtle.

And I have developed enough confidence to be happy and patience as that reality unfolds.

Before my regularly scheduled Thursday post …

My office is f**king FREEZING!

The last few days, our thermostat has been stuck on 65. We move it up to a more reasonable 74, and it’s still blowing snowflakes. Call building maintenance, they try pointless somethings and it’s still blowing snowflakes. Finally, they figure out there’s something broken (ya think?) and order up the broken part. Replacement part ETA: next Thursday. WTF?

In the meantime, we have 2 choices – turn off the air and fan completely, or live with the arctic temperatures. Turning of the air and fan makes this office stifling and even worse than the A/C blowing continuously, so we are mostly living with the arctic temperatures. We have outlawed (by the building) space heaters running in our offices, with frequent step-outside-to-warm-up breaks. Seriously, I am wearing a long-sleeved top and tights, keeping whatever jacket on all day. I have noted a couple of the attorney’s with beanies on their heads in their offices and lots of long sleeves and winter sweaters are turning up everywhere.

Yes, it’s the middle of August in northern California. And I understand that I cannot really blame our building’s management for this current debacle, but I am doing it anyway. Honestly annual HVAC maintenance cannot be so costly that it’s better to skip it year after year and wait until something breaks and causes great inconvenience and strife with your tenants.

Days like today, weeks like this one – I cannot wait to move from this building.

Structure, flexibility, change

My part-time gig with the law firm is wonderful. I feel as if my skills, experience, and personality traits are well-matched with the firm’s owners and staff and have been told directly and in reviews that they feel the same way toward me. If there is an issue, it is simply that they would could envision me as a full-time staffer. With my own little side business, balancing the needs of a fairly demanding part-time job versus the commitments I have to my self-employment clients is at times a juggling act. A good juggling act to have, but it makes me recognize the need to define and identify some objectives with regard to the remaining years of my career.

Ideally, I would like to work at least another 12 years, until full retirement age with regard to social security. While finances and retirement planning are always a consideration when talking about work, I do happen to really love what I do to make a living. Improvement for me will come with a more balanced approach toward it, like perhaps taking more regular vacations or breaking away more routinely to pursue other interests. The past year has been all about lifestyle changes – my better health quest and its strong commitment to consistent exercise and healthier food choices – with little room for things like going somewhere fun on vacation. For M and I, vacation means eating different food and trying new restaurants, and for both of us as well that tends to derail our efforts with regard to new habits. Add to that both kids getting married in the same year, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions and stuff going on in our lives. But we knew that going into this year. We planned accordingly and do not feel as if we are being deprived of anything. I suppose we are bigger-picture thinkers; this is one year out of the (hopefully) many we have left ahead of us.

Between now and the end of those 12 years, though, a lot can and will happen.

The law firm and I have been talking, talking, talking about my future and my role within the firm. To a greater degree than I have imagined, they are understanding and supportive of my other interests. More likely, though, is they are very smart guys who know that pressing their own agenda would likely have them in the market for another business manager. For my part, I like them and more than 95% of the rest of the staff, the work I do here and the clients we serve. I have no desire to sever ties or to make unreasonable demands upon them.

But there is change in the wind.

My new receptionist is doing very well, but she has a young child who is starting kindergarten this year. Because of her desire to start and end her day a little later, I may have to adjust my days to be a little earlier. The 4 days I am actually scheduled to be in the office I am typically there between 9 and 11 a.m. and stay until at least 5 or 6 or 7 in the evenings. Depends a lot on the workload. I am considering a change in schedule so Thursday becomes my work from home day and I get to the office by 8 a.m. Except on Mondays, training days, at which time I will retain my later arrival status. I could still make it to work by 8 on training days, but I like to have the flexibility for later training appointments or to simply dawdle afterwards if I want.

To their credit, the only expressed desire for change in my schedule is to switch to another day for working from home. Almost by default there are standard meetings that typically happen on Tuesdays, and I like to be present as much as they would prefer me to be present. The rest of it is partly just me thinking long-term, bigger picture with the growth of our firm, and I recognize that sometime in the next few months I will be hiring at least another part-time administrative person.

Between the office relocation logistics and planning and just my own lifestyle objectives, I may have to start my workday earlier anyway. I don’t think I have an issue about getting to and leaving the gym earlier than I do right now – going from 5:15-ish to 7 exit to 4:45-ish to 6:30 exit schedule. If I subtract my pre- and post-gym dawdle time I should be fine.

I briefly – very briefly – entertained the idea of going to work on office days even earlier and switching to mid-afternoons for exercise. But I can’t. I just can’t. I have evolved into an early morning exerciser and to change that habit now holds zero appeal or any real benefit for me. While getting up in the middle of the night (which is what my present 3:45 seems like to me, and the 3:30 a.m. a few days every week seems even worse) is not fun, it is my best option to making myself include exercise in my days. The idea of a power nap after leaving the office holds a lot more appeal than going to work earlier and then the gym immediately afterwards.

Leaving the office at 2 or 3 daily would be swell, too, giving M and I more opportunities for productive time together during the week than we presently have. Plus I could perhaps squeeze in a yoga class during the week. Presently I think about it every Tuesday, but it has not worked out that well with office and work-related commitments. And dawdle time; there is a lot of dawdle time in my days.

Balance, I am always chasing that elusive work-life balance. Now that I am 99% sure that I can and will drag my sorry butt out of bed and to the gym each morning, I can make some additional tweaks to make me even more successful at it. When I think about it, the even earlier schedule is only 3 days per week; training days at 6 a.m Mondays and 7 a.m. Thursdays, so I still get to sleep a little longer those nights. Weekends the gym does not even open until 7, so I have the luxury of even longer sleep then as well.

I am a creature of habit; I like to plan my weeks and have a good idea of what I can and will accomplish. These changes I’m contemplating will not go into effective until after our vacation week next month and possibly pushed back to October 1. But I am pretty flexible and accommodating about changing up my schedule, as long as I understand the reasons why and they mostly make sense to me. And in this case it does.

I’ll just be a little more bleary-eyed and doing less dawdling when I have to get serious about full, official implementation of this change. I have a plan for that.