Messing with my internal clock

I have been shaving sleep the last week or so and went to be early/on time last night to try and feel more rested today. Yay me!

I woke up at what my brain told me was 6:30 a.m. in a panic because I had somehow slept through my alarms and missed my gym practice window. Mind was racing about whether I could somehow reschedule my workday for a later start and still fit it (practice) in this morning. Springing up and out of bed, grabbed my phone and headed for the bathroom, thinking about the club’s parking lot being repaved and how dark it is …

Then I looked at my phone clock – it WAS 11:57. It was still REALLY dark outside. M, whose alarm goes off at 2:45, was still soundly sleeping. Brain was messing with me.

I am such a doofus for believing it. But I was so relieved. Another 3.75 hours until my alarm went off. Thankfully I am someone who has zero issues falling right back to sleep.

 

Knowledge junkie

I am in a bit of a reading frenzy right now. Work-work is getting back to normal full-time busy (versus the double-time busy it has been the last month) and I have more blocks of minutes available to  pursue my interests.

Yesterday in my recap I mentioned intermittent fasting. Before yesterday, I had never heard the term, although I apparently know quite a few people who practice it in some form or another, M being one of them. Only he just calls it fasting. And it’s pretty much just the way he eats.

But now I have this term for it, and I am partially immersed in it. Okay, okay – taking a header down the rabbit hole of intermittent fasting. Quick internet search lead to articles, and the articles had sources and websites and all this intriguing information. A lot of it it anecdotal or pseudo science or in my judgment wishful thinking bullshit, yet interesting all the same.

Another thing to add to my blog mystique? (I really don’t have any, but one can dream, right?) I am a bit of a quiet, geeky/nerdy person. Before those terms were cool and in vogue, I just thought of myself as a knowledge junkie. I would read things just to read them and learn interesting, obscure things. I still love the dictionary and am especially enamored with the online dictionaries to look up mysterious new words that cross my path everyday.

The intermittent fasting currently has my attention. Before that it was cycle dieting, which is unlikely to ever be something I am even tempted to consider pursuing. Friend J, who is a rock star when it comes to food and fitness, has dabbled and rejected it as a thing for him. As he puts it:

Screenshot 2016-08-23 18.11.46

And he was doing so well with the f-bombs recently. Since my adopted baby bro has way more discipline about this stuff than I ever will, I respect that it is unlikely to be something I would ever consider pursuing even as a lark. And I’m perfectly okay with that, and knew it before he started dabbling with it on his adventure eating. Yet my curiosity was still piqued enough to read about it. Being a huge Scott Abel fan also helps.

I did discuss intermittent fasting very briefly with J and RD, both of whom have tried it and have thoughts to share. Dr. Spencer, my current village elder when it comes to nutrition and overall health, says it is something he would help me pursue if I wish, but we will have to be very careful because I am diabetic, very well controlled or not. I’ve tabled further discussion until next week, because I wanted to do some additional research on the topic.

There is some minor appeal. I like the idea of only having to only eat 2 meals daily, because it would simplify life for me not to have to think about food after I get finished working. Mostly I like the idea of learning about new things, and in this case, alternative ways of fueling my body. Even if I discard this as something workable for me, my body, my life and lifestyle, I still like that I will know more about it when it comes up in conversation.

RD is extremely wary of this pathway for me, and trainer J does not think it is something he can recommend for me either. So I am already influenced against the trial and error experimentation. Still, the knowledge junkie in me wants to know a lot more. And away we go.

These are not the only avenues I am in pursuit of right now to satisfy my knowledge quest. I’m reading and rereading business and other books related to project management, time management, and general good habits and life skills to influence my own work/life balances well as training and working with millennials fresh out of law school and entering the work force via our firm. I have a couple of books on meditation that I must find time to finish and then start practicing what I am learning. Plus just what I am reading for fun – fun books and blogs and forums and such – and I really need work to be a little more full-time normal for awhile.

Learning new things, reading about new things, even if it turns into being judged as crocks of shit, is intriguing to me. As trainer J said to me yesterday:

Screenshot 2016-08-23 18.05.53

Which reminded me of Sun Tzu’s Art of War … now on my virtual nightstand stack of books to read or reread. While I do not see this research as pursuit of an enemy, there is a lot to be said for gaining understanding of what others are thinking.

Since intermittent fasting is not something I am seriously pursuing, I have not requested any direction from J or RD or even Dr. Spencer about research materials. I’m a dilettante in the intermittent fasting realm. Actually, I am a dilettante in the any/all dieting realms. But my walking associates are weight loss junkies and were intrigued and reading up as well. I have heard all about their experiences on weight watchers, Jenny Craig, whole 30, Atkins, Paleo, and smatterings of Ketogenic and so many others I cannot remember. If I were someone interested in pursuing diet supplements they could tell me what worked and for about how long. In the diet rodeo, these ladies have been round the block a few times. And it’s truly kind of frightening.

This rabbit hole is pretty shallow and is unlikely to retain my interest very long. Still, it’s intriguing all the same.

And now I have something else to discuss with J on Thursday. Our conversation dance card is always overflowing.

My inner nerd girl is giddy with excitement for all the cylinders currently firing. I feel my inner balance leveling out once more in not having to think about or having other people’s problems invading my brain space.

It is truly the littlest things that are making me happy these days. I have loosely planned days for the balance of the work week with a lot of room for flexibility and changing my mind about my daily agenda and pursuits. My morning routines are needing some tweaking, I think. I like getting up early (most of the time), and I like my gym time (almost always), but I would like to find some additional yoga time in my weeks. Maybe. It’s one of those embryonic ideas that I am still batting around inside my head. A couple of my work associates are doing more yoga and stretching and invite me to join them. Work and time constraints limit my ability to add another hobby/activity to my schedule. I am not giving up my daily gym time for yoga, so I have to squeeze any yoga/stretching into my existing schedule, which means evenings or lunch hours.

I’m thinking about it, though. I like the way the stretching and the yoga class makes me feel.

And since I have migrated into feelings … despite yesterday’s long venting lamentation about the old friends who are giving me so much grief this summer, these are not horrible friends who are being really mean to me. Their shortcomings, and my own, are small cakes within our long history, and this too shall pass. Or not. My point is that the things that suck the joy out of my day-to-day life are the things I am actively working to eliminate or at least severely limit the influence of those factors. I like being happy. I like the ebbs and flows of work. I have come to really look forward to the lunch hour walks with my cadre of associates and have high hopes it will continue into the cooler months. Most of all, I really love the woman I am evolving into and the direct and indirect benefits of my better health quest.

Since we don’t have a dog I do not believe I am becoming the person he/she would think I am, but I am finally accepting that I am the person my family and my friends love and appreciate, not the fake poser of negative girl’s projections. I finally have the courage to truly look at myself and see, really see, more clearly now.

And I worked hard to get through my bewilderment and puzzled I-just-don’t-get-it states, and I waited a really long time for that tiniest bit of knowledge to finally find its home in my head.

I am worth the slog, worth the wait; knowing that is the best part of this learning adventure so far.

Training #65 – All that jazz (part 2)

This evolved as I was writing my training session recap into a 2-part post. Part 1 is all about leg day, and this part 2 is epiphany-based venting sparked from conversation with trainer J this morning, an email from friend J last night, and general interaction with M all the time. 

Last night I got a long email from friend J. He’s been out of touch with me much of the week, excepting only the days I reached out with exercise-related questions in order to not bother trainer J on his vacation. But his email was also about various things going on in my life and extended relationships and that I think about, have been thinking about with regard to my own better healthy journey. It just reminds me why he and I remain such close friends after so many years.

I am slowly, surely getting physically stronger as the weeks pass. I no longer freak out about going down in weight moved to and fro, no longer feel like an abysmal failure because I cannot seem to utilize the same weights I did a few days prior. What I have learned and accepted as my reality is that I’m trying my best the vast majority of the time and that there are other circumstances keeping me from 100% focused performance each and every morning. Having jobs, husband, and life outside of exercise is going to have an impact upon my efforts and I need not apologize to myself for not being as productive on the List of the day as I was the last time the current List of the day came up in rotation. Consistency is my biggest success, and getting up, going to the gym, trying and sometimes struggling mightily is just part of the happy life I am pursuing right now.

In his email, friend J was talking about being a mentor, how observing my progress from the sidelines makes him realize different things about himself and his own life and relationship with health and fitness. Friend J is in very good shape, eats clean probably 90% of the time, and has had zero health problems. Being mid-40s now (just buried another birthday last week), he is paying a lot more attention to his annual physical and what it all means in the bigger picture. For him, right now, it means the course he has been pursuing is working out well. That makes me very happy to hear; I love knowing my friends are in good health and caring for themselves adequately.

He has been sort of exploring informal mentoring, what it is like to be that to and for someone outside of work. Because we are practically siblings after all these years, my own recent frustrations with long-time friendships and the struggles we are presently enduring to find common ground indirectly impacts him. Through the years friend J has met my family and close friends on various occasions and has as strong an understanding of that dynamic as M. They both tend to want to “fix” things for me when they perceive that I am being treated poorly. It is truly nothing new; biggest difference is that this year the gloves came off and claws came out. And I am skilled enough in such cat fights with this motley crew to take care of myself.

I have now been working with trainer J for over a year. I have made progress and am a lot more competent in the gym. I am using bigger, heavier weights. I am better at a lot of stuff that was so very hard at first. Most importantly, I have such an amazingly improved outlook and confidence going forward.

But I am not a born-again gym zealot, preaching to my family and my friends about how they too should get on the bandwagon and follow me down this particular health and wellness pathway. I talk about it a lot here on the blog and to a lesser degree in real life, because let’s face it – anything we prioritize to perform routinely for a couple of hours every day has some face of work assigned to it and is going to come up frequently in conversation. Just because I have always worked at jobs does not mean I believe everyone should have that priority if their circumstances allow other choices, like staying at home to raise children.

When I think about my better health quest, I think primarily about the better health part of it. No more insulin. No more diabetes medications, period. Nothing for blood pressure or cholesterol. Still have to take Vitamin D and I choose to get a B12 shots each week; I am still using hormone matching creams and just started taking the very lowest (1 mg) dose of melatonin every day to bring that up to normal levels and not to help me sleep. According to my Fitbit, I sleep very soundly within very few instances of restless sleep over the course of a night.

Over the course of the last year, I have come to like the way I feel inside my own skin, about my own body. There are parts of body that I am kind of crazy about right now – shoulders and upper arms with the emerging faint creases and definition, forearms because they look nice, wrists because they seem normal size and shape once more. Weight is weight and it goes up, down, all around, but for the most part it is slowly and steadily decreasing. While I am rarely bursting into tears of frustration over exercise anymore, I believe it is only because my understanding has expanded and it’s less that I can’t do something so much as mind is still learning, absorbing, processing, and that understanding will come with practice and patience.

Until this morning when I was thinking over recent unsatisfactory conversations I could not put my finger on precisely what seems to be the struggle with these long-time friends. Yes, I get frustrated with the whining about their lives and health problems. Yes, I understand all too well how hard lifestyle change is to make and make it stick. Yes, I know going from couch potato to being at any level of gym competency is nearly impossible. And yes, I grow very weary of hearing “I can’t ….” when I am living proof that anyone who is not physically impaired or disabled – and many who probably are – damn well can make strides toward feeling better.

What no one ever hears from me and should never infer is that I feel superior for being this far away from where they are right now. Because I don’t. A big factor that motivates me to keep at it is the thought of how slippery and easy that slope into not exercising and reveling in the taste and emotional zing I get from consuming junk food.

I  have had to work damn hard to get here and it has not been easy. I have whined and complained plenty along the way, and many times I have had to force myself to stick with it.

I am not looking upon my friends or anyone else with pity and showering them with motivational platitudes to try and make the reality seem more fairy tale happy ending and me appear better quality of character and ability for being here while they are there.

I truly want everyone around me to be happy and healthy, to feel successful in their lives. That they are unhappy, that they have anxiety and fear, I can and do completely understand those feelings.

What remains this big, huge mystery is how trying to hold me back, drag me back or make me feel badly about stepping up and moving ahead with improving my health makes life better for them. There is a lot of unhappiness and dissatisfaction in the world; I am quite sure there are others willing to listen if they feel the need to complain about their unwillingness or inability to change course.

I feel sad that a few long friendships are in a rocky spot right now. However, I maintain it is not because I am not still eating shitloads of crap food or sitting on the couch with an insulin needle at the ready. My judgment muscle is only flexing in response to their increased lamentations about dying younger or being incapable of hiking or walking far or finding cute clothes in your present dress size and being unwilling to even try a different way that could change much of that for each of them. My judgment muscle is twitching and contracting because the passive-aggressive digs about how I am now the one leaving them behind and consorting with the gym bunny class.

Gym bunny class, huh? Too funny. I don’t think I even know anyone who I would perceive as a gym bunny.

M is a retired champion ultra marathon runner who still runs 20 miles daily and will be turning 60 in January. M took a header off a curb and brushed off my concerns and ran/walked the 10 miles home. Most of M’s close friends are active runners as well. Why are you not giving me shit about being married to someone who is tough and fit like this?

We are not superior and do not manifest or talk up our own accomplishments or talk down our friends who are depressed or sad, out of shape, or hating on exercise. M has been married to that woman who hates exercise for a lot longer than he has been married to me under the influence of regular, consistent exercise. If M talks up anything it’s gratitude that I have found my niche and sticking with it.

Thing is it’s getting out of hand. I get depression manifests in somewhat predictable ways, but their issues with me are unrealistic and impractical. I am not going to stop my exercise, not going to quit training with J, not going to persist in trying to break the final barriers in better eating. In short, I set aside the couch potato diabetic in favor of a healthy, happier woman emerging these days.

I do not understand why ladies who have known me since our teens would not be happier that I am pursuing better health. And in so many ways I am glad I cannot fathom or understand it.

Part of me feels as if I have enabled these unhealthy feelings and relationship dynamics through years of my own codependent, insecure behaviors. However, my genuine affection for the ladies involved is real, and their escalating and poor attitudes and behaviors toward me is extremely hurtful. Admittedly we are at an impasse, and it truly breaks my heart.

And all this realization was triggered by trainer J innocently remarking upon my frustration with those in my tribe who are whining yet unwilling, not yet ready to take steps to change. Yes, it can be very frustrating – a feeling he’s probably more familiar with than I am. For the most part I am not judgmental. However, if you want permission to whine continuously you need to be prepared for the  sympathy to evaporate and the hard truths to be spoke out loud.

The worst part of all this is that both M and friend J are getting protective hackles raised and wanting to step up and speak their minds in my defense. M gets the ringside seat – he was home when my entire posse was over last week – and of course he and friend J gossip like little old ladies.

But anyway.

I purchased my next block of J training this morning and it’s off my list of things to think about until next year. Funny how comfort and joy comes from spending my accumulated chunk of training cash, bringing color and pizzaz to my world and overall outlook. So no plans to stop, no worries about regressing, no thoughts of falling off the training wagon and sliding back into the diabetes. My yellow brick road goes forward, and I am so much better, feel more interesting, and actually more compassionate than I was before getting started and ultimately falling madly in love with exercise.

Because really, life began to change and improve when I crossed that invisible line between dreading my daily sweat fest and embracing it as the part of my life that makes for very good days and everything else make sense.

Old friends I love and adore, but I cannot go back to where I was, who I was to make them feel more comfortable or as if nothing within me has changed.

Because let’s be completely honest: from my perspective, everything has changed and everything is different now. While they see me as different in negative ways, I see me as a much more interesting and better human being in the truly beautiful ways that are meaningful to me.

And maybe that’s the most poignant point in all this – our viewpoints have split in opposing directions. But I am committed to not turning back or looking over my shoulder with regret. My old friends may stand still if they must, but I like the momentum and have no plans to slow down or stop. My yellow brick road is calling out for me, and the way it spools out into infinity right before my very eyes is impossible to resist. Onward we go; let the learning continue.

End of vent. I feel so much better now.

Training #65 – All that jazz (part 1)

So this has evolved as I was writing the recap into a 2-part post – while this part 1 is all about leg day, part 2 has a fair amount of epiphany-based venting sparked from conversation with trainer J this morning, an email from friend J last night, and general interaction with M all the time. What has been gradually building about my ongoing better health and wellness quest has come to another state of fruition today. It deserves its own stand-alone post, and many will find that type of navel gazing a big huge yawn. It’s coming later today. 

Monday morning, training with J. So nice to be back in the groove of a normal week, normal cycle. Plus I got to hear more about his vacation adventures, and it’s gratifying to know he had a great, rewarding, relaxing time away.

Today was leg day. We did a new variation of legs with the following:

A1. 1-legged Leg Press (140 lbs., 4 sets, 4
A2. 3 Point Toe Touch Reaches or  Mini-band Triplets (kickback, lateral, knee raise) (10-20 each)

B1. Hip Extension (glute pushback machine) (3 sets, 12-20/side)

C1. Abductor (130 lbs., 3 sets, 12-20 reps)
C2. Adductor (110 lbs., 3 sets, 12-20 reps)
C3. Anterior Reach (3 sets, 8-10/side)

D1. Seated Hamstring Curl (3 sets, 12-20 reps)
D2. Alt. Reverse Lunges (DBs = progression) (3 sets, 8-12/side)

E1. Leg Extension (3 sets, 12-20)
E2. BW Squat or Squat Pop/Jump (3 sets, 8-15 reps)

Note to self: Never, ever underestimate the effectiveness of new variations of Lists, especially leg day Lists. We did not do everything on the List because of time (skipped the alternating reverse lunges and bodyweight squat or squat pop/jump) and I walked out of the gym feeling really good and happy with my effort, yet I did not feel especially fatigued or overworked once we were finished. However, 90 minutes later … holy moly, I am feeling each and every muscle touched by this morning’s routine. In really good, satisfying ways. Muscle soreness to me anymore means “oh, I worked that today” and is neither alarming nor especially gratifying; it just is the way my day progresses that day. While it is absolutely fabulous to be back to normal week of training on Mondays and Thursdays – especially since I renewed today for another 40 sessions (yay me!) and do not have to think about it again for another 5 months – it has been an odd summer on so many other levels. A few of my long friendships with other women have experienced some lumpy-bumpy patches, M has made new running friends (yay M!) with non-running spouses that require some assimilation and getting-to-know meetings and such, and a couple of couples we know have experience nuclear explosion and slow-motion fallout raining down upon everyone who knows them. Into this we have G and K’s wedding in a few weeks and its built-in bridesmaid and family drama that does not impact me directly, but I love that the family ties are such that we talk openly about trials and tribulations.

So first, let’s talk legs.

I typically love leg day. Most of the exercises and machines are at least familiar enough to me that I feel competent and confident that going through them on my own will not be big drama for me. There are different versions of machines – downstairs machines are different manufacturers than upstairs machines – and I have my own strong preferences. But for the most part, I can go through my Lists with minimal anxiety at worst. Today was no exception.

Single leg leg presses have not been in the rotation for a few weeks or Lists. Not precisely sure why; perhaps I have been skipping them, or they did not make the cut for recent Lists J has been writing for me. Irregardless, they were back today. It could be familiarity, but the machine we used today is the one I like best. I know how to set it, I know what it’s going to feel like once I get myself situated in the sled chair thing, and I know precisely how I like my foot to be situated against the plate. Plus I can keep an eye on the mirror and watch the weights descending and know whether or not I’m getting to the right place with my knee bend. All too often I believe I am not getting every last bit of work out of that leg, and if I keep an eye on the weight plates I get a much better sense of what I should be doing.

A genuine first for me – I broke one of J’s minibands on the miniband triplets. I have always imagined what that might be like, and I must say the reality was not nearly as traumatic or dramatic as in my imagination. Yep, it snapped against my calf and kind of smarted, but it was not session-ending or even yelp worthy. I was more startled and apologetic – so sorry, I did not mean to break your miniband! But it didn’t hurt or leave some sort of big red welt on my leg or even fly across the gym floor. While J ran off to get a replacement band, I switched legs and to the 3 point toe touch reaches. Had we done things differently, had I not been acclimated to doing something other than rest pausing between sets of exercises, I occasionally wonder how the time between sets would pass. Moot point, though; I am habituated to doing something between sets so I just get busy doing it.

The hip extension (glute pushback machine) has potential for being a new favorite. I did not note the weight used, but it made me feel good, sweaty and gross, and primarily very powerful. This is a new machine for me. The majority of members I have observed using it were doing calf raises off the platform. But from what J showed me today and described as options for this machine, I can see it being quite useful in the longer haul.

These abductor and adductor machines are tricky. I have known since we started with them that today’s downstairs abductor and adductor machines are different than the pair upstairs. J explained to me about the difference in the hip angles (and we all know how much I love talking geometry and angles when it comes to training and exercise). Tomorrow I will probably go upstairs and try those again, then come back downstairs and do a quick set on today’s set, just so I can feel the difference myself. I like knowing these things.

The between exercise was the anterior reach, always a toss between challenging and exhilarating because balance has improved over the course of a year. I know we were running out of time for these, so I think we only did 2 sets, and even then I am pretty sure I might have been light on counts. I lose track so easily when I am actually working with J on training days; it is simpler to keep track when I am by myself and only distracted by whatever is going on inside my own head.

Before today, the only things I have not especially enjoyed about leg Lists are the hamstring curl and leg extension machines; both upstairs and downstairs models have tended to intimidate me and I have not actually used them on my own. Ever. I have tried, but the couple of occasions when I felt brave and bolstered to give it a whirl at least one of the moving parts had not been set correctly for me and I could not figure out how to make the necessary adjustments. With my own crazy brain broadcasting messages of fear and anxiety, it was just simpler to go back to skip these machines in favor of hamstring curls on the instability ball or anterior reaches or Romanian dead lifts rather than trying to get over myself.

But today I watched carefully and figured out how to make the necessary adjustments. Wednesday I’ll make myself do it again so I burn it into mind and do not forget it into the future. I also learned the lying down hamstring machine is not for me. With my body height and proportion it simply does not seem to work all that well … or so pronounced J in steering me toward the sitting version instead. If I should feel poorly about that outcome I am apparently missing a memo, because I do not. I am not invested at all in the lying down versus sitting machines, feel no desperation to make it work out better for me, and happily release it forever from my thinking. The sitting down hamstring curl machine is plenty tough, especially those last couple of inches of the movement.

So this was a decent amount of leg work today. I walked away thinking it was another fun session and that I am/was looking forward to trying it out on my own. Then I got to work and realized that I had been working my legs. Yowza! Good things, good feelings, good yowza.

I have (well, technically had by the time this post goes up) a couple of appointments this afternoon about diet and healthy eating. But before I could get to those appointments, I had a brush with intermittent fasting, so it plopped into my mind like this big chunk of brain real estate that has had me thinking about it off and on throughout the day.

Anything with the word “fasting” in the title immediately has me thinking fad diet and unlikely for me. But conversation with my walking buddies this afternoon has us all doing our own research on the subject. I haven’t had opportunity to talk with RD about it – his head is likely to spin completely around when I ask – and after I do a little cursory reading I’ll get trainer J’s thoughts on the topic, probably friend J and a couple of others as well. I always feel way behind the curve on diets and eating patterns, so there are a wealth of resources to consult.

The last 6 months or so have been kind of an adventure with food experimentation. I have given up dairy (other than my whey protein) for the most part. This weekend I had ice cream, and while it tasted amazing, I felt like absolute shit the next day. Maybe it was the sugar, but I have had sugar off and on and it’s not hit me like that ice cream did. On the other hand, lack of dairy for the most part has not made me feel as if I were missing anything. When I gave up cereal it was pretty easy to give up milk. Other than my meat and cheese sandwiches, I rarely eat cheese. Not a big fan of yogurt and cannot stand cottage cheese, and we have already discussed the downfall of ice cream, so not a lot of dairy that I am consuming.

Things are not bad on the eating front, but being the knowledge junkie that I am, Dr. Spencer has experience with other diabetics pursuing this method of eating and stated it is something we could implement and try, but it would require us to be very careful. My plan is to do some reading about intermittent fasting, talk to RD, talk to trainer J about his experiences in more detail, pick friend J’s brain about what he knows, and then decide if this is something workable for me and worthy of another experiment.

In the meantime, my most adventurous food plan for this week is salad in a jar, assuming I can find an appropriately sized jar.

I got (almost) nothing today

Kind of a low-key, uneventful for blog fodder day.

I ran into another training tribe member this morning I have not seen in a few months. This was a rare Sunday gym visit for me, because I missed on Wednesday and am still relatively obsessive about my 6 days gym time schedule. But it was good to see her, catch up on all her milestones and continuing good health efforts. I so love that. I love seeing others make their own incremental forward progress and know that I’m not so isolated in my own nemesis stable of exercises. Sunday mornings can also be busy! I had no idea.

M and I went out for lunch today. Nearly every weekend we eat a meal out, typically Saturday dinner, but that didn’t work yesterday so it was lunch today. Nothing fancy – Islands for a burger for him, a chicken caesar salad for me. Food was good, service was crap. Our order was taken, drinks (tea for M, water for me) was delivered, food came promptly … and we did not see our server or any other for the rest of the meal. I finished my water, M his tea, and I really would have enjoyed my meal more with more water, M with more tea. And then she finally comes by to take our plates and ask if we’d like dessert (ummm … no thank you), no questions about refills, another 15 minutes waiting for our check, and then another 10 minutes after that to get my credit card back and he the receipt to sign.

It’s rare for us to eat out and tip less than 20%. I waited tables right after high school and in my first year of college and know how difficult the job can be. Plus we are in general pretty generous souls. So for me to leave less than usual tip means I am genuinely annoyed by and unhappy with the service received. Yet here I am, feeling guilty about a measly 10% tip. For lousy service. What other people do is none of my business; what we typically do is the source of my mildly guilty conscience. Perhaps she will learn something from it. Perhaps she just figures we’re some cheap-ass middle aged couple. Perhaps she was overwhelmed and unable to do more for us. In the bigger picture of my life and times, probably our paths are unlikely to cross again and even if they did, how likely is it she would remember us? Probably we were completely forgotten within minutes of walking out of the restaurant.

Small comfort. But not enough to have me driving back and leaving a better tip. Yes, I have done that in the past, when I felt like I stiffed our service for some random, truly unintentional reason.

From there it was off to Costco. On a Sunday. What were we thinking? M was in search of a specific supplement that he was sure we purchased there as well as a can of mixed nuts that have been gnawing at him, so we dived into the fray that is Costco on a weekend. Any weekend. It was unpleasant. Everyone around us seemed to be suddenly stopping in the middle of aisles as if they were alone in the store rather than shopping cart to shopping cart with everyone else. If that was not stressful enough, the number of children running amok without supervision or attention, falling down, screaming, crying, nearly getting run over by people not expecting to have some 5-year-old dart suddenly dart out in front of her cart. While I am someone who generally likes and enjoys children, I kind of hate their parents. While we did not find the supplement he was seeking we did come home with fresh berries, enough ingredients for salads and fresh vegetables for the week, and my favored protein/nut bar substitutes for candy bars. Crazy town. At least we do not have to return for at least another week, 10 days, and I am already swearing to myself it will be after work during the week or on my work-from-home day.

The new week ahead is looking and feeling better. Mostly. The Wedding is like the theme song from Jaws playing in the background of my mind. I keep imagining all the things I could be missing, all the things that potentially can go wrong. My worst nightmares of people I barely know showing up at my house and leaving hungry because I ran out of food or totally mucked it up is a recurring bad dream most nights. Friends assure me everything is under control and it will be fine. I am not yet to the point of breathing into paperbags over it but it’s early yet; it could still happen, although I do hope my hyper-responsibility gene does not flare up to that degree.

This brief exchange with J confirming our training appointment tomorrow is the encapsulation of how I very, very briefly felt today:

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And to which he replied:

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So true! One of many things I treasure about trainer J, he gets me. Of course, I do not think I’m all that complicated to understand in the first place, being practically a single-celled organism on the interpersonal maintenance scale.

I am anticipating a great week ahead. Nothing on my work horizon that indicates stress or drama, and I have nothing – gloriously NOTHING – social on the calendar after work all week. Well, we are having dinner with C and A on Tuesday night, but family does not count as a social commitment.

A couple of MIA friends have resurfaced which always makes me happy. Those with kids at home always disappear for awhile in August in preparation for the transition to a new school year, so it’s always nice when they return and to hear the tales of day-to-day parenting. Most of my friends, at least when they are talking to me, are realistic about how it is, why it is they feel stressed and stretched thin. There is none of the drama that comes from “feel sorry for me! I’m depended upon to be super parent because no one else can handle the mantle …” that happens far too often for my realistic comfort.

I was reading on a budget forum about salads in a jar. Because I am a non-foodie and such things generally sound both trendy and complicated, I tend to be a late adopter or tester of new things. The salad in a jar thing, once I understood what it entails, sounds like it has real potential to work for me. It definitely sounds simpler than multiple containers of various salad pieces and parts I am hauling into the office on the days I choose salad for lunch. Only I have precisely zero mason jars or anything approaching appropriate jar size needed. On top of which – I have no idea where to buy such a thing in the first place, other than Amazon. Domestic or cooking diva I am most definitely not.

And while on Amazon, I also indulged a recent thought that has taken over in the back of my mind – an apple peeler/corer. Now, I have never in my entire life made an apple pie from scratch and have very limited to no intentions toward trying my hand at pie making one in the future. I mean, Claim Jumper frozen dutch apple pies make M’s eyes cross and have him starting to drool just thinking about it for pie-worthy occasions, so I see no reason to try and do better when a perfectly fine product is available for the few times per year he so strongly desires an apple pie. But I am not immune to the call of apple cake and apple muffins. Anymore I prefer to make my own baked goods because then I control the ingredients and know how much sugar and fat and other stuff goes into it. I actually bought blueberries today because I am in the mood to make some muffins. That’s on my list for Wednesday night to take to the office on Thursday, assuming they turn out well.

Shopping until I about drop over here. But all good, stuff I have thought about to the point of considering it a specific purpose indulgence. I have high hopes for the salad in the jar thing.

And that’s my Sunday recap. As you can clearly read, nothing exciting going on over here today, and I believe both M and I prefer it this way.

Have a great week everyone!

 

Life’s steady drumbeat, with a dash of jazz

Trainer J was back in residence at the gym today, so that was a pleasant surprise. While we did not have an appointment today – ours remain Monday and Thursday – it’s always just nice to know he is around for guilt-free questions and quick consultation when the “what am I doing wrong now because this isn’t working!” wails in my head begin. Admittedly it has been awhile, but still; safety nets, security blankets, and lifelines are characterized that way for good reason.

But we had an opportunity to chat after I was done with my practice and on my way out, so I got caught up on his nice vacation (yay!) and did a quick, off-the-cuff review of my own practice week in the gym.

As I wrote about here as the week progressed, I was fine in the gym on my own. But don’t for a minute think I’m contemplating giving up my training sessions. However, if J leaves for Dubai tomorrow, I know for sure I’ll be fine still getting up and going to the gym each day. Life continues as normal even without the trainer J security blanket for questions or minor freak-outs over Lists. Or rather, life will continue with former trainer J evolving into friend J #2 being peppered with questions or minor freak-outs. The original friend J did a fine job of standing in last week, after all. But I do not think trainer J is bugging out anytime soon. Thankfully. I still have so much I want to learn.

It occurred to me today that daily gym practice or pilates or yoga or some form of cardio are the steady drumbeat of my life these days. The jazz is training. The jazzier jazz is getting to enjoy other things because I have that steady rhythm of regular, consistent exercise going for me now.

Last night M and I had dinner with runner friends passing through town – Chinese food, always a favorite. Blood sugar this morning was running higher than usual, and practice this morning was a bit of a slog for the excess carbs I had consumed and was sweating off. Still, all good. I was still present for it, went through it rather efficiently. I love my practice time, my however many minutes of thinking and processing inside my head. Now I’m finishing up some work and preparing to meet K and her stepmother for K’s dress fitting and lunch afterwards. Tonight I have a client event – more bbq! – which is the fourth such social thing I have had this week with clients. But it has been more fun than obligation, and my swag bags were bursting.

In my head there is more acceptance that my healthier eating is improving even if it is still imperfect. RD tells me frequently that I’m too hard on myself on this front, that I am doing better than many of the clients he sees every week. I do not necessarily disagree, but I see the need to develop some better coping strategies with regard to stress. The degree to which I seem to be an anomaly in the client stable makes is mostly very positive, but it’s still hard to believe I am not Jane Average when it comes to eating, exercise, etc. Actually, I always thought myself Jane Below Average to Jane Lazy Slacker when it comes to diet and exercise. No one like that lives here anymore, and the one who would be so generous in her characterizations has been permanently incarcerated.

So above was a start to this post, and then I just suddenly ran out of time and had to dash off to pick up K and get to her dress fitting appointment. The wedding is now 20 days away and she was worried about fitting into the dress (would not zip her first try). After a 6 lb. weight loss, the dress zipped! Still alterations are needed to make it fit perfectly. And so the drama at the bridal shop begins.

K’s appointment was at 1 p.m. The seamstress comes in, looks at K in the dress, and asks if she can come back tomorrow. Because seamstress wants to let out the dress a bit (walking is important on your wedding day) and the seamstress wanted to let it out a bit before venturing forth on the hemming and other alterations. This woman’s english leaves A LOT to be desired, she spoke fast and not very loudly or clearly, and K was not understanding what the problem was. They had an appointment. Finally K’s associate explained that there was an emergency wedding dress that had come in and was taking a lot more time than expected. Finally understanding what was going on, K and the shop staff agreed that we should go have lunch and come back in an hour, 90 minutes, and seamstress would be ready for us at that time. Complicating matters is that K had another appointment at 4 p.m. and is playing soccer tomorrow, so she was holding firm to the appointment time.

We had a nice lunch and when we returned the seamstress was on the last of the major dress rebuilding for the emergency bride. The dress itself looks beautiful, and it was utterly fascinating to watch seamstress pin and fit the dress to K’s body. At the end of all that, I dropped K off at her appointment and she caught an uber home. It worked out pretty well, one more item ticked off the to-do list.

The wedding preparations definitely add an edge of jazz to my days these days. As do client summer BBQs and socializing. In light of my social anxiety about going places, doing things that make me uncomfortable, it is so easy to lose sight of the fact that I have the best clients. Probably 92% are just genuinely pleasant people to be around, and the other 8% are either bigger organizations without any personality or soul.

Many days I just realize how lucky I am to have the life I lead. May my ego and sense of entitlement stay reasonable and I never think that I deserve more and fail to truly appreciate all I have right now.

It’s been a great Saturday, very satisfying.

 

 

 

M versus asphalt curb

Unfortunately, I think the curb won.

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8/19/2016 – M after tripping and falling into a piece of asphalt curbing on his daily run.

This is the photo I received via text shortly after arriving home from the gym. I thought for sure he would want me to come pick him up, but M is nothing if not tough. He said it was road rash and he’d be fine walking/running the 10 miles back home.

My thought when I saw him when I got home from work? Thank goodness I restocked us on bandaids. We already had plenty of neosporin – I cannot live in a house without a generous supply of neosporin – and now neither of us can live in a house without an abundance of bandaids, gauze, and paper tape as well.

He’s fine tonight, his pride possibly more injured than his face/lip, elbow, hands/wrist, and knee/shin. One of his front teeth now has a tiny chip that will probably have to be looked at and attended to as well. It’s definitely escalated our search for yet another dentist.

I am so grateful the outcome was not worse than cuts and scrapes. And wounded pride, of course.