Hello again

I have been MIA – again. While I have been pretty busy – because we’re all pretty busy – it’s essentially a lame excuse.

My focus of late has been on my better health, getting my big girl capris out of their twist and bitch-slapping myself back to reality. I’m doing fine. I’m not slacking. I’m not faltering, failing, fucking up. I’m locking down my negative girl and letting reality seep in … which is that things are good and the sky is still up there above me.

It is August and the grand plan has been to visit my daughter and son-in-law in Florida. M and I were thinking after Thanksgiving, but G and K have commitments that make that just about impossible. Since we have the more flexible schedule, we are now looking at the week between Christmas and New Years. K has the week off at her new job, and it’s either insanely busy or completely dead for me. This year, I’m inclined to work it out so it is mostly completely dead.

Next problem is that C and A both have to work that week – it’s kind of a no vacation period for them. From my perspective, it will be fine. Unfortunately, this is where the first big hurdle in family dynamics comes into play: managing expectations.

Between air fare and lodging – it’s going to be expensive. Add in attractions like Disneyworld or Universal Studios – it’s going to be ridiculously expensive. M and I will likely get a rental car, which I will build into the budget. And meals out, etc. – cheap and/or economical is not going to be part of that equation.

I am extremely sensitive to it. We have (mostly) agreed we’re not doing Christmas gift exchanges this year in lieu of the trip. I am withholding my consent for us because we are able to contribute cash toward the trip or whatever else they wish to use it for and call it a Christmas gift.

Then there is the concept of together time. This one is trickier.

For us, if M wants to spend 4 days visiting all 4 Disney parks I’ll suck it up and deal. Timing is imperfect – I am envisioning zillions of people and very long lines everywhere we go – but I do this because M really wants to and I want him to be happy. C and A have annual passes and are happy to spend their days off with us visiting Mouseland. While I know G enjoys theme parks, between the crowds and the waiting and it not really being K’s thing, they have maybe 2 days if we’re lucky.

We are perfectly fine with that. K has 4 very close friends who live in the area and of course she wants to see/spend time with all of them, and the rest of us strongly encourage that. Instead of spending money not having a very pleasant time with us, she and G should accept her friends’ offer of hosting them for several days and perhaps rent a car to meet up with us in Tampa once M has gotten his fill of theme parks in Orlando. C and A will also be back at work and their time is going to be limited to meals out with us during our stay, so we will have to find activities to amuse ourselves. This is a huge part of the tradeoffs that come with planning a trip around the holidays.

I am actually not sure K sees it precisely that way, and there will have to be a lot more conversation and communication about plans as we move forward. In my mind we are all going to be on vacation, except for C and A, who unfortunately have to work, But any time we can spend all together will be irreplaceable and should be celebrated.

This is our first foray into a joint family vacation, and I expect there to be a learning curve as we figure things out. But because we’re family, I expect we will be honest about what we want, how we feel, what is affordable, what is financially out of reach.

Now just to make it happen without anyone getting the wrong message or hurt feelings.

Ahh family. On the scale of family relationships as I hear from others and read about online, we are a pretty simple group that actually gets along well. No real reasons for complaint. Right now, I think it is just a struggle to manage expectations.

Anxiety

We’re packing up and preparing for the drive home, because I have to go to the office and cope with a client with a looming issue that is not easily resolved.

I know it is not my problem. I know I am not the cause of this problem. I know what I advised my client over the course of several months and warned him about this problem coming to pass. I also know that is nothing I can do to “make” a client heed my guidance and even less I can do now that the problem has come to fruition. Yet despite knowing all that, I am the one who tossed and turned and woke up with feelings of anxiety and dread about talking to him this morning.

This is me and my stuff, I know. It’s a near constant battle, one for which I have yet to find an appropriate long-term solution. I disconnect and remain as emotionally impassive as I can, but this is a real person, with real employees, and now with real problems of his own making. There is a codependent inside me that really wants to solve this for him, to make it better, to not let he and his workers suffer.

The healthier, realistic part of me knows and understands the limits of my influence. As a business owner myself, I also understand this is a hard and painful lesson that must be learned.

Except it probably will not be learned. Or accepted. Or embraced.

And it is why I now understand that distancing myself or completely severing ties and communications with some people and entities is sometimes the only healthy solution for me. While I understand and accept I cannot save anyone else, I am also starting to accept that I need not stand by and watch the self-destruction people bring upon themselves. Or that setting a strong boundary that separates me from an emotional vampire is probably appropriate.

I am feeling the need for a TM tune-up. Work life, personal life, boundary life are all starting to converge and to get a little blurred. I am not yet strong enough or healthy enough to be anyone’s role model, guide, or leader. My experiences are my own, and my expectations of personal responsibility seem to be too overwhelming for many. I do not see them as weak so much as needing a lot more hand-holding and coddling that I am willing or able to provide.

Having expectations, for myself and for others, has always seemed like a harsh and judgmental line, something to be ashamed of or never openly revealed. I have failed myself and my own aspirations seemingly more times than I have succeeded, and the standards I set for myself are much harder than those I have for others in my realm. But I am not a professional or even an amature life coach; I have a whole village to help me figure out what I am doing and how I can be better at doing it to move forward toward my objectives. And I also know it’s a huge luxury for me, one that I work hard at my jobs to earn and enjoy.

Yet I’m feeling cramped and crowded by responsibilities and expectations, both real and imagined. I blog because it’s a way to keep me focused and accountable and on track with my personal “be better” quest in life. Better health. Better career professional. Better friend. Better family and tribe member. If my efforts and journey are helpful to others, that’s a huge win for me. If not, there are literally thousands of other blogs out there, probably something for everyone; my feelings will not be hurt if you go elsewhere seeking what you want to enhance your own life’s journey.

Mine is a very small, very ordinary life. M and I are probably among the more boring people in our vicinity, and we’re okay with that. Our is not a life lived with a lot of drama and salacious events that make for titillating blog reading. I had been contemplating a new, separate blog for my health and wellness pursuits, but since I am so not in this for monetary benefit or blog fame and glory, I think having the whole enchilada of my experiences and musings contained in one space works for me.

I dislike feeling the way I do right now, about work, about the telephone conversation I will soon be having with my client on the drive home. But it’s part of being a grown up and a business owner, to have to deliver an “I told you so” without coming out and saying it in those words. This is his problem to resolve; my role today is simply as a sounding board and advisor to try and minimize the long-term damage. But it will be unpleasant. I so dislike unpleasant.

And to top that off – I was feeling a little jealous this morning at 6 a.m., wondering if some other member was in my usual training time slot. How silly is that? Mostly I am sure the feeling comes from the discomfort and anxiety of this work-related problem and longing to return to my standard, day-to-day routines and not that I have bunny-boiler tendencies toward my usual training appointments. Vacation was nice, relaxing, and good to get away, if only because it makes me really appreciate all I have in my regular life.

M is FINALLY ready. Off to hit the road home.

On the final day of air races

Today was the last official day of our vacation, tomorrow morning we head back home. It was a good time, relaxing, and M enjoyed himself enormously. As for me, I got to read quite a bit, got to meet new people and make a few new friends. It was also not unbearably hot this time, both because the weather here was pretty mild and where we sat was shaded most of the day. I did, however, manage to get a sun burn on my hand today. There are a few hours each morning where the sun shines directly down on my right side, and I had not thought about putting sunscreen on the backs of my hands. The rest of me was pretty well covered – long sleeved shirts, long pants, hat – and facial sunscreen, always. I just hate using sunscreen; it feels utterly gross on my skin, especially when it’s blisteringly hot and it sort of melts into the skin in a really icky way.

All in all, it was actually a spectacular vacation. The air races, while pretty far from my first choice, has enough interesting things in the racing itself to retain my attention for at least part of the time. The air show part of the program? Not so much. Once is plenty for me to see the blue angels program as well as the other arial stunt demonstrations. I enjoyed seeing the unusual planes and the static displays, but it was significantly smaller than prior years. Chatting with the new section people we met this year was great. The family in front of us with very young, very quickly bored children? Not so much.

There was some drama on the field today, but again, thankfully no one was hurt. There were 2 separate mishaps where planes had the equivalent of fender benders while on the ground. There were several maydays, but again, the planes landed safely and the pilots escaped without injury.

I took the day off from exercise, and finished off the week with yet another chicken caesar salad at yet another restaurant. Other than a sugar-free coffee drink, I also avoided all venue food in favor of snacking on an apple and some almonds.

One of my friends asked me about winning/losing in this gambling town. I was honest – we have no even considered gambling while we have been here. If I am going to waste money, I am sure Amazon is happy to take my money in exchange for books or goods. As entertainment I suppose it’s okay, but just walking through the casinos going about our business it’s the weird, glazed over expressions that I find so disturbing. I do not believe in the concept of easy money, and gambling just seems like a big black hole waiting for me to fall in and become truly untethered and lost.

Back to work tomorrow afternoon, as I have to go in to do payroll and write a few checks. Then training with J, and of course laundry and catching up on mundane domestic matters like laundry and mail.

I will say I feel a lot more relaxed than when I arrived, and now looking forward to getting back into my day-to-day structure and routine.

On the fourth day of air races

Every year, the crowds start on Friday and very quickly become nearly unbearable on Saturday and Sunday. Our tickets are in the reserved grandstands, but we have people coming in from all over the place and sitting in the more desirable row just above us. Then the guys who actually purchased those seats arrive or return and there is this whole musical bleachers going on all around us.

Being such a pollyanna about following the rules I find it annoying. Being crammed into bleachers by people who do not have seats in the area is really annoying. But oh well. M and I get there early – we are typically the first folks in our section – and affix our seats to the bleachers and leave them there. We have no issues with squatters, but they are climbing all over us or we have to stand/move our stuff for them to climb in and out.

The weather warmed up today, but our seats are pretty well shaded and it was not as nearly as uncomfortable as it has been in prior years. Outside of the aforementioned crowds and standing up, moving our stuff, sitting down again it was another really nice day. The worse is the Blue Angels hour long show, when everyone seems to be glued to their seats. But then it’s nice because they all seem to get up and to leave immediately afterward, making the hike down to utilize the facilities so much easier.

And speaking of facilities – I was totally traumatized by them yesterday. The outhouses all have locking doors that say occupied (red) when in use or vacant (green) when available. At a glance one should be able to see if the room is in use. Or so I (and any other normal person) would think. Except yesterday, twice in a row, I pulled on doors that said vacant only to capture a glimpse of a naked leg before the door was yanked closed. Twice. In a row. What was seen cannot be unseen, and I feel completely traumatized by the event. Today I employed a new strategy and only used facilities where a woman exited immediately before I went in, therefore assuring myself it was empty. Silly, I know. But it was awful.

Today’s racing was eventful. No injuries, thankfully, but one plane made an emergency landing and then caught fire, and 2 others had to pull out of races and make emergency landings. The fire was the worst, but the pilot jumped out before the fire engulfed the plane.

The second de Havilland vampire jet also won its race today very decisively, so that was exciting to watch. The pilot who crashed landed yesterday was providing color commentary on the jet races and explaining the details of what had happened to the plane. Why the engine failed is still undetermined.

No reading today, with all the race excitement of planes pulling out and emergency landings, but still a great day. Per my fitbit, 17,883 steps today, 32 flights of stairs. I ran through a quick upper body workout this morning, a mini band fest down the hallway and did make my way to the fitness center to investigate its offerings. It’s very nice, but I skipped equipment and used a bench to do planky stuff and the floor for planks. I’m way off the reservation as far as Lists go, but I’m on vacation and at least doing something every day. Except tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m sleeping until 5:45 and calling my hiking at the airport adequate exercise for the day.

The fitness center scale is my new best friend, though. I weighed in last at home on Tuesday, and as of this morning the scale here says 3.3 lbs. lighter.

Eating has been pretty unremarkable. Again today it was an apple and some almonds for lunch, lots of water and unsweetened iced tea, chicken caesar salad at yet another restaurant for dinner. My sinuses are all stuffed up (although I feel fine otherwise) and that could be the culprit.

Tomorrow is the final day of air races, then home on Monday. It’s been a very pleasant week.

 

 

On the third day of air races

The weather this year has been extremely mild and pleasant. Of course, we are also sitting almost at the top of the bleachers and the parties sitting at the top have put a tarp over the back fence that keeps us as well as them comfortably shaded all day long. So shaded that I was putting on my sweatshirt at 3 p.m. when the wind kicked up.

Our favorite jet went down in one of the last races of the day. Thankfully the pilot walked away and is fine, but the plane will not be competing this weekend. The de Havilland Vampire is a world war 2 era jet that is rather rare these days, yet there were 2 running in today’s jet race heat. I think this was our last opportunity to see a vampire fly this year.

Numbers today: new record of 20,295 for steps today and 54 floors today. It was a busy walking day – I toured the static displays with M and since I am determined to drink enough water, I was up and down the bleachers many, many times. The long hallway has become this source of challenge and contemplation for me, and I was again mini banding my way down and back this morning. Unfortunately that’s all I had time to do today; sleeping until 5 is my luxury item during this vacation period. I finished book 2 and began book 3, but racing was kind of exciting today and I did not get as much reading done as previous days. Oh well. I have no goals for this vacation other than to relax and enjoy my non-working time.

My carby indulgences of a bagel and coffee (at least with protein powder) continues. At the venue today I stuck to my apple and almonds for lunch supplemented with iced tea. The concession stands hold little appeal for me, and I am happy to come back to the hotel feeling hungry for dinner. My caesar salad tour of Reno restaurants continues, and I am hopeful to get home without gaining any weight. It’s not that I am trying to only eat salad; overwhelmed with choices that are either going to send my blood sugar up or potentially make me feel lethargic and crappy in the morning, I stick with my trusty go-to meal.

This vacation thing is odd, because I keep forgetting it’s Friday. Only a couple of days left, but it has been very enjoyable this year. And M is having a ton of fun and making a lot of new friends. That M has fun is very important to me, so I would say vacation is going very well for us thus far.

Hope you all had a great week!

On the second day of air races

It’s Thursday, and since I am away on vacay no training with J this morning. *sad face* Hopefully he has not permanently given away my slot(supremely doubtful, but flittered quickly through my mind along with a little laugh as I was boarding the shuttle bus this morning). I had my own red shirt on today in recognition of playing hookey from training.

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9/15/2016 – From my perch at the top of the bleachers. I truly suck at selfies.

While I was absent from the gym, the allure of the long hallway is proving difficult to resist. Today I mini banded my way forward, backward, sideways down and back. Partly to stretch out my legs that were in surprisingly good shape after yesterday’s leg-apalooza. At 5 a.m. no one on my floor is coming out of their room and wondering what I am doing going up and down the hall with a mini band around my ankles.

The weather at Stead has been nearly perfect. I am sitting with a sweatshirt on through much of the day, but that, dear friends, is far preferable to melting in the sunshine. Sunscreen on the face is so much more pleasant when it does not melt to the skin. There have been no mishaps involving injuries, although a couple of planes have had issues and had to land unexpectedly and very safely.

M is having a blast. Between watching the flying events and time in the pits socializing with aviation friends he is having a fantastic time. Today was all about the Blue Angels – setting up and practicing, then going through a practice performance – but the racing was excellent to watch as well. The exhibition flying is not that interesting to me, but I do enjoy the actual planes racing, particularly the jets. Between heats and race flying, I’m reading or chatting with people around me or hiking up and down the stairs to use the facilities.

Still being a numbers gal, fitbit tells me today is 17,518 steps and 46 flights of stairs. Being high up in the bleachers has some definite cardio benefits. I am also almost finished with my second book and have a few to load up on my Kindle if I run out of stuff to read this week. Emails were limited, texts were sporadic bursts throughout the day.

On the eating front, I brought an apple and a bag of almonds with me today for snacking, and found that food-food held no appeal. M brought back this lovely potato chip block thing that was surprisingly easy to resist. Bagel and cream cheese for breakfast, an apple and some almonds at the races, and then a nice chicken caesar salad and some watermelon for dinner and am calling it a good eating day.

The thing I am really having to watch is the fluid intake. Since it was not skin melting hot, I have been drinking fluids but perhaps not quite enough. Weird feeling in my back when I climbed down and then back up today, and M suggested it was dehydration even thought I felt pretty much fine. I took him at his word and got busy pouring iced tea down my throat. M paid $15 for this huge jug thing on Wednesday and we can get refills for $3, which is an absolute bargain since a 16.9 oz. bottle of water is $3.25. We bring in 4 bottles each (that we bought at the grocery store last night for $4 for a 24 pack) and then refill our iced tea bucket in between. Those 46 flights of stairs? I absolutely believe it.

Anyway, I am very much enjoying the time to kick back and read books that have inspired a gazelle-intense type interest for me at this moment … which is probably a whole other series of posts sometime in the future. Suffice to say most of my vacation thus far has been spent thinking about work, but for me this is a very good exercise and use of my time. If planes and their motors and pieces and parts fascinated me the way they do M it might be a different story. But we both know this trip is his thing, not mine, and I do what I do to have fun and feel disconnected from regular life stressures and relaxing while here with him. It works for us.

And while I missed my training session today – something I did not even think about when I was on a couple of different vacations last year – I am reaping the benefits of an improved physical condition. I go up and down those stairs feeling really happy and excited, marveling at my new-found ability. It’s one thing to feel competent and powerful in the gym and quite another to be out living my life and find out how much strength and ability I have achieved in the last year. It’s been a genuine make-me-say-WOW! type experience.

And honestly, it truly is the little things in life that make me feel this happy and free.

On the first day of air races

So this is our fourth year of 5 days at the Reno national championship air races. M seems to live for these aviation adventures and I, being a reasonable partner, go along for the ride. Mostly. I sit in the stands and read. Talk to the people who sit nearby that we see year after year. Drink more coffee than any other time of the year. Watch planes go round and round several times per day. Relax. Blog.

Let’s talk numbers again, since I am a numbers kind of girl. There are 26 steps from the ground up to the second level leading to our seats on row 31 (we are at 13 when we emerge from the stairs). It’s another 18 rows or 35 steps (they are small, half-steps between bleacher rows) from start to our row. According to the fancy-smancy fitbit on my wrist, I climbed 38 flights of stairs today and completed 16,428 steps. But I think the walking lunge-apalooza and mini band sideways down the very long hallway are included in those counts. Books completed – 1. Emails written – 6. Text messages sent – too many to count. Selfies taken – I lost count after my first 6 tries, and seriously, how do people who thrive on selfies do it? Selfies transmitted – 1. Other reading (blogs, Facebook, articles, etc.) – a lot.

It was actually quite a productive and relaxing day. Between all that I watched a bunch of qualifying heats, the actual races, and a few demonstration practices. More of the same for the next 4 days. Good thing I really do love M or I might actually be on a beach somewhere doing all my reading and such.

But we are here and there are things I do enjoy about the experience. There are recurring themes each year. Will the elderly veterans seated near us be here again this year? Yes, all still in good and stable health, 2 new great grands born in the last year. Will the Europeans be back? Yep, even more of them this year. As I said, we see many of the same people year after year and have made air race friendships. M also spends a lot of time in the pits talking aviation with aviation friends actually racing this week.

The darker side of this particular vacay destination – I hate using the outhouses and every year I waffle between bringing my backpack in there or just leaving my phone and stuff in the stands. Because I always imagine the worst – dropping my phone or wallet into the depths of blue goo. I’d be getting another phone, canceling and requesting new credit cards and drivers license, and calling any cash therein lost. No way would I ever want that stuff back. Ewwww.

The food is also the equivalent of fair food – deep fried, salty, too much sugar, or all of the above. We stopped at a local grocery so I will not starve to death tomorrow, because no way can I subsist on bbq beef brisket meat (salty, dry), french fries (OMG – so yummy but so greasy and made me feel awful after just a few bites), and mini donuts (yummy in a greasy with too much sugar sort of way). M, who runs 20 miles daily and has “tapered” to a mere 5 miles while we are out of town can eat that kind of crap without much consequence. I, on the other hand, imagine fat cells swelling just walking by concession stands. We can bring our own snack food into the venue, so I got some low sodium almonds and apples to tide me over until I can have a reasonable dinner.

Legs are screaming after this morning’s work, so I am taking some aleve tonight before bed. But honestly, all the mountain goating up and down the bleachers  helped enormously with any lingering stiff soreness. Tomorrow I shall stick with simple upper body stuff or zombie waking up and down the endless hallway.

Speaking of year-to-year … this is far and away my best year ever at this event. I was able to go up and down from our seats to the icky outhouses without even breathing very hard and with absolute confidence. Before I would have a death-grip on any available railings going up and especially coming down. Today I went up and down the stairs without thinking much about it, other than watching for others traveling in the opposite direction. Same thing for climbing up the bleacher seats, something I never used to do. Wednesdays are typically pretty spare on spectators, so I could climb up and down the bleacher seats with impunity. So I did. Even M was impressed; I have always been way too much of a scaredy cat to even try it on my own.

It was cold in the shade and with the wind blowing. Walking around on the pavement it got warm, but sitting where we are is in the shade and brings a chill. It was fine; we had jackets and gloves and such. So pleasantly strange, though. We always expect it to be sweltering hot.

It was a really fun day.