Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's almost May...

Last night, Michael and I went to dinner and a movie and had some time to kill before the movie, so we stopped by Dick's Sporting Goods. Michael got to pick out some bait, and I picked out some gym clothes...including gel padded bike shorts! It was pretty funny trying them on...I looked (and felt!) like I was wearing adult diapers. I tried on every style they had since I didn't really know what they were supposed to feel like and how they were supposed to fit. I settled on a pair that you wear under your regular clothes, because, well...I guess I'm a little vain even when working out. What can I say? In any case, they really helped. Melissa and I did a spin class tonight and while it still hurt, it was much more tolerable and I kind of got used to it.

I realized that I definitely had too many goals for this month. I've done a lot of them, but I won't finish all of them and I didn't make any time for Danish learning. I do like the purpose these focii give to my out-of-work hours, but it really can be hard to make them a priority. In any case, in future months, I'll need to limit my goals. Yes, they are all individually do-able, but when there's ten...

Here's where my goals stand as April draws to a close:

Weekly goals for the month:

•Get to the gym 3-4 times per week
•Alternate days of push-ups and sit-ups, doing more each time than the time before (doing this on non-gym days could be a good goal)
•Get out for more walks! Shoot for at least once a week...this can replace a gym visit.
•Use a pedometer (already purchased!) and try to work up to 10,000-12,000 steps a day. (10,000 is considered a healthy "active", while 12,000 initiates and sustains weight loss.)

One-time goals for the month:
•Try the following classes, at least once: Zumba Dance, spinning, Body pump, and Tai Chi
•Get the Try Pack of 3 professional training sessions so I can feel more comfortable with weights especially (maybe then I'll get a small set for home use)
•Read "Body for Life" and "You: On a Diet" so I can return them to the friends that lent them to me.
•Find some guided meditations online to try out.
•Register for the August meditation retreat, even if I can't get anyone else to go with me (I AM DOING THIS!!)

It's time to start thinking about a focus for May.

So here are the months I've done:
1) De-cluttering & organizing
2) Intimacy and connections
3) Learning Danish
4) Exercise and Meditation (sort of--need more meditation)

and the ones that are still to do:
August) Writing
June) Cooking, eating healthy & cleaning
3) Volunteering & helping
4) Being low-tech (especially outside of work hours)
July) Creating (glass, wedding video, print pictures, marriage year photobook)
6) Money: Saving, Budgeting and Investing 101
November?) Being joyful/"me" time
8) Boundaries and Balance (recognizing choices)

I'm thinking either money or being low tech. Being low-tech might free up time to continue with Danish and meditation. But May is the last full month of dorm parenting for a while, so would be a good time to look at budget issues. We're also renewing health care in May, which means figuring out whether we want to do a flex spending account.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Over 11,000 steps!! Woo hoooo!

This was a pretty good weekend for being on duty. Our apartment got cleaned. I got to the gym both days, including a Zumba class with Melissa. Which was pretty crazy. The instructor was a salsa-goddess-on-speed and even though she knew we were new, she didn't offer any instruction so it was a pretty frantic class. I almost became a Zumba class dropout, but Melissa has more perseverance than I do, which is a good influence on me. I think I could like it if the instructor calls out the moves, but I also think I prefer other genres of dance classes. Gina came over last night and went to see our girls in the musical with me. And we got to talk about Eckhart Tolle and the ego all day today, which is always fun. And I got the pedicure I was supposed to get last week. And we had lots of leftover pavlova. AND I've got over 11,000 steps today already--an all-time high for this month. Now if only I could go to sleep early...my head has been killing me today, and I think I might be having some allergy issues. It's making it awfully hard to want to do anything productive.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pavlova Perfection...sorta.

Yesterday had to be a day off from the gym out of necessity--I was still VERY sore from spinning. But that was okay, because it was also my monthly Boston adventure with Erin. We went to the Institute of Contemporary Art, which I've been wanting to go to for a while. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a let-down. I thought it would be similar to MassMOCA, but it was pretty small and the main exhibit was...a tad evil and very pornographic. There were some cool sculpture exhibit, and I'm glad I finally made myself go, but I don't feel a burning need to go again.

We went to dinner at Legal Test Kitchen afterwards, where we had some delicious calamari and delicious salmon and a REALLY delicious raspberry lime ricky. Like always, the time just melted away while we caught up, and I felt for just a moment like I actually had a social life. Sweet. =)

Today, Melissa went spinning again and I actually really wanted to go with her, but I had to have bloodwork done and I'm supposed to do it first thing, before my cortisol levels get messed up from being awake. Plus, I was trying to find time to cook a surprise pavlova for Michael. It's one of his favorite desserts ever, and I've never attempted it before. It's trickier than you'd expect, since it bakes for 1.5 hours and then needs to cool in the oven. I was going to do it last night, while Michael was at his fishing club meeting, but he came home too early. And then I was going to do it this morning, but the bloodwork took too long and I didn't have time to wait for it to be done before going to work. So I gave in and asked my boss if I could take an extra long lunch to make the pavlova. If she thought it was an odd request, she didn't let on.

Kate said it was super easy and there was no way I could screw it up, but it was harder than she implied. To her credit, she only laughed a little bit when I wrote back with 15 questions about the thickness of the pavlova, and the shape and size and how to properly separate egg whites. The recipe itself is pretty easy, but the problem was that it said to beat the egg whites until stiff. It didn't say how long it should take. I beat those suckers for freaking EVER and they weren't very stiff. I nearly called Kate at work to ask her to describe stiff eggs. When my arm started to get really sore, I gave up and stopped the mixer. And, lo and behold, the beaters left a whipped egg mountain peak behind! Stiff!

So I baked it for an hour (less than Kate's recipe called for, but I was already 90 minutes into my 60 minute lunch break), and turned the oven off to cool. When I came home at the end of the day, it didn't look too bad... (it's supposed to have cracks in it)...but it's hard to tell if you did it right until you get ready to eat it, since the inside is the important part!

Then I wrapped it up and hid it. In Michael's dresser drawer. Which is pretty freaking hysterical, if you ask me, since there was no CHANCE he'd look there. And it was empty. hahaha. Good one.

This is what it looks like once decorated:

In case you've never had it, pavlova is the National Dessert of New Zealand. Why don't we have a national dessert?! Anyway, it's crisp on the outside and sort of...marshmallowy/merengue-y on the inside, and you top it with fruit and whipped cream. It's SO GOOD. And while I think Kate's was a little better, Michael was kind enough to make a big deal out of my attempt. =)

On a side note, I got my new sheets today...the ones I ordered after getting my massage last weekend. They are AMAZING. I can't wait to go to sleep. They are so soft and inviting. Sadly, we are on duty so I can go to bed until well after midnight. sigh. At least I have something to look forward to! (sad, I know.)

On another side note, Erin sent me an article about "America's Funniest Small Town Names" which, of course, includes Uncertain, Texas! Now we have another 7 places to add to our "must visit" list. I've driven through Truth and Consequences before, and Michael and I were near Carefree when we went hot air ballooning last November, but we didn't stop and take a picture by the sign, so we might as well re-do it. =) Thanks, Erin.

Well, I didn't exercise today. But I made heart shaped pavlova, my house is CLEAN, and I have new, super-cozy sheets on the bed. So that's some kind of perfection right there.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Spin Factor

Yeah, so yesterday was a real red letter day. Here's the quick recap: I had to go off campus with the Head of School to a site visit and be all mingly for half the day. We got back JUST in time for a meeting with the Head and the communications team about our new viewbook, which was engaging and interesting but created a bit more work, as per usual. Then a conference call re: the viewbook which ended 10 minutes AFTER the workday was supposed to end, leaving me 5 minutes to get up to the dorm to be on duty. 4:15 to 5:30 was filled with doorbells ringing at the same time as the phone and a few smallish disciplinary things. And I SWEAR God is playing some cosmic joke on me because EVERY SINGLE time I sit down on the toilet, the dammed doorbell rings. EVERY TIME. At 5:30 I had the dorm parent meeting, which went until 7:30. Michael got home at 7:45 and I went to the gym with Melissa soon after scarfing down takeout burger king. Awesome. Got home in time to do a project for the dorm, which I finished just before the ten o'clock meeting. As I was starting the meeting, a mom called me with a signficant concern about her daughter. From the time the dorm meeting finished until 1 am, I was working through that whole thing and then I called the mom back and then of course was too wired to fall asleep.

Of course that made it that much harder to get up when my alarm went off at 5:35 am this morning to go to spinning with Melissa. BUT WE DID IT!!!

If I could have, I would have cancelled but I couldn't exactly call her at 1 am so I figured why not? So with four hours of sleep, I made my way to the gym. Five minutes in I knew I was in trouble. Ten minutes in, I started "cheating"...reaching down and pretending to ramp up the resistance. 20 minutes in I remembered Eckhart Tolle and Susan Piver and told myself to drop the "story" I was telling myself about how I couldn't do this. I reminded myself that this is what my body was built to do. 30 minutes in, I started planning my escape. I was out of water and figured I could waste 5+ minutes getting refilled. Kind of like in middle school. By 40 minutes, though, I had talked myself into sticking it out because I noticed that I already had 2500 steps in and I wanted to see how many I could get.

At the 45 minute mark, I nearly threw up, which caught me off guard. I had to admit that I was overdoing it and should probably throw in the towel. Preferably at that instructor that cheerily kept insisting we push it harder now.

And just when I decided to stop before my body revolted, it was over. WHAT? I made it? Yes, she stopped early to cool down and stretch. I felt accomplished. And very, very alive.

In fact, whereas exercising in the morning last week had me crashing by 10 am, this was different. I was on FIRE today. Kind of like I imagine speed makes you feel...I was super productive and on top of things and crossed things off my to-do list like crazy. I felt in control and just...buzzy. In a good way. It lasted until early afternoon, when I began to crash as per usual. But the productivity and sense of livliness was very nearly worth it. I think I actually did quite like it...just need some practice. It might have been a good idea to ease into it since it's a MUCH more intense workout than I'm used to. But it made me feel like maybe my 30 mins on the elliptical isn't really doing what it's supposed to for my body.
Actually, I think maybe what happened was that my body went into panic/survival mode due to impending death and kicked into adrenaline overdrive.

So yeah, I would do it again. If Melissa comes with me. Just have to make it to BodyPump and Zumba before the end of the month now!

Today was another busy day, going from meeting to meeting (including a dorm roommate mediation meeting). I got home around 5 and crashed until Michael got home at 8 and made dinner while I did some more work. At 9, we dragged ourselves to the grocery store out of pure necessity.

Now it's somehow gotten to be midnight. I'm thinking tomorrow might be a day off from the gym because I am very, very sore in places that don't deserve to be sore.
What? No one's ever thought of memory foam bike seats? Seriously?

Monday, April 19, 2010

But that's where my Day Off Mojo ended.

Today is Patriot's Day/Marathon Day in Massachusetts, and since I work in an independent school, I got the day off. Yay for me! I started off thinking of all the things I could get done before going on duty at 4:15...grocery shopping, cleaning the house, finishing installing programs on the new computer...the list was endless. But then I thought that it didn't seem like the greatest use of a day off. So I decided to unplan those things. Instead, I planned to sleep in, get to the gym, and get a pedicure. Much better.

The day started off well, since I slept until my body woke up naturally--at 10:30. Yeah, if only I could get 10 hours of sleep every night, I'd be a different woman. I made some oatmeal while watching the season finale of Life Unexpected (which I already miss. It's my new Gilmore Girls). But that's where my day off mojo ended. I convinced myself to get dressed and get to the gym for an Intro to Spinning class, thinking it was the best way to ease into meeting that goal, since I am still SO intimidated by the idea of spinning. I really can't even explain why. So I get there and, of course, the instructor doesn't show. They tell me to wait, because she just finished teaching another class and maybe she just took a quick break. But she still doesn't show. So I was feeling pretty defeated, since I had really worked myself up for this and had planned the rest of my day around going to this class. So I asked the head instructor guy to at least show me how to set up the bike and get started, so he gave me a 5 minute intro to spinning class. Which nearly killed me.

I'm not kidding. After getting to the gym SEVEN times last week, and doing a half hour of cardio on the elliptical on most days, I thought I was getting to be in pretty good shape.

Um, wrong. Wow. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to make it through a whole spinning class. But I do think if I can, it will be an exhilarating workout. And, on the plus side--in only 5 minutes of spinning, I logged nearly 1000 steps on my pedometer. So maybe I'll actually hit 10k if I start spinning.

So I thought about staying and working out, but I really wanted to have enough time to get that pedicure before having to be on duty, so I headed home to shower. I can usually just walk in to my favorite pedicure place, but I decided not to risk it and called to make an appointment, only to find that they didn't have an opening until 3:30, which would not leave me enough time to get back before coming on duty at 4:15. Grrr.

So I was basically left with my to-do list after all, and with only two hours of free time left. I took a bath (with my Eckhart Tolle book), dyed my hair, and cleaned roughly half the house before I had to head to dinner in the dining hall. I will say that after lighting my eucalyptus mint candle and putting on some Norah Jones, the cleaning was much more enjoyable that I would have predicted. And I always feel better starting a week with a clean house. I wish I had gotten to finish, but the rooms where we spend the most time are done, at least.

And tonight I am babysitting for a friend, thanks to Michael being kind enough to be on duty by himself for a few hours. My friend was really excited to get to a movie with her husband, and I was happy to help. But when I got to their apartment, I found myself feeling like I was on vacation again. The kids were both already in bed. What high ceilings they have! And how QUIET it is. I can hear crickets. If I close my eyes, I could be back in Uncertain, TX, in Lakeside Cabin #2.

I meant to bring my Eckhart Tolle book with me, but I forgot to grab it, since I was wrapped up in a mini crisis with one of the girls just before leaving. So I brought just my laptop, and I've actually enjoyed the time to write a bit and might even have a little time left for Danish learning before they get home. I wanted to tell you all about Eckhart Tolle, but I'm not in the right mood anymore, so it'll have to wait.

In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't exercise this weekend. Ironically, though, I logged more steps while shopping than I usually log on a good day with exercise. So. Hmmmm. Yeah, I am definitely leading too sedentary a lifestyle. But, I have hit my goal of 4 times per week for each week in April. I've only hit 10k steps once, but I can usually get to 7k-8k. I'm up to 17 push-ups and 65 sit-ups. And I've read a LOT about meditation and how my body works. So April is going pretty well so far.

And all the stuff I'm reading is making me think maybe I want to do the choices/boundaries/balance month. I haven't gotten to do any meditation this month yet, either, other than reading about it...so I still need to do that at some point.

Alright, I think I'll go try to find a short-ish meditation exercise on you tube...

Good Things Come to Those Who Bait

Well, this was a joyful weekend. Friday will mark two years of wedded bliss (no, seriously) and we'll be on duty, so we took the chance to run away together while we could. Michael is supposed to have a fishing tournament near Plymouth on Saturday, and he was supposed to meet a fishing buddy to scope out the good fishing spots. Of course I figured we should turn it into a hotel weekend. Michael was afraid I'd be bored. Please.

Sadly (for Michael) his fishing buddy wimped out when he heard the cold and rainy weather report. Which meant no bass boat either. Which meant no checking out the good fishing holes. awwww.

But we persevered. We threw the boat on top of our car (how great is it that our boat is small enough for that?!) and started the short, hour-long drive away from our life in the dorm. We stopped at a sushi place I found online and were excited to find some pretty creative rolls, which cheered Michael up quite a bit. But he was still sad about the impending, unfriendly weather.

Rosie (my GPS) directed us to our hotel...or tried to. Apparently GOOGLE (of all places) had the wrong address for our hotel. It wasn't Rosie's fault--she took us right to where Google said the hotel was. But when we called the hotel to try to figure it out, it turned out that we were about 25 minutes away...and that we had actually been only a few minutes from the hotel when we stopped for dinner. Argh. Not the best start to our weekend. To Michael's credit, he really took it in stride. I was driving though, and it made me very cranky. It's good that we balance each other out that way a lot.

We (finally) checked into our hotel--a Hampton, of course--and found that it was within walking distance to lots of restaurants and shopping, which was good since I'd be stranded without a car if Michael went fishing.

On Saturday, we slept in and had a leisurely hotel breakfast before Michael decided to set out and see if he could find some fish before the weather turned bad. This left me quite happily stranded in the hotel, where I proceeded to read TWO magazines, take a bath, and continue setting up my new laptop. Which I'm happy to report has a battery life of over 6 hours. Awesome. I had some sour skittles and some Dr. Pepper and before I knew it, Michael was back to take me to lunch.

When we went to the Cape last year, we ate lunch at Yarmouth House and Michael had an AMAZING lobster club sandwich (with BACON!) that we've both been craving ever since. So I had found a menu for the Blue-Eyed Crab in Plymouth, which is the #1 restaurant in Plymouth according to Trip Advisor. It was TINY without the outdoor seating available in summer, and we were lucky enough to get the last table. We decided to be adventurous with our appetizer and skipped the seared tuna (which we love but always get) and went for these really fancy sounding swordfish skewers instead. They were DELICIOUS...and very pretty, too. Then we both had lobster clubs, which were also pretty delicious--even though they took forever to come out of the kitchen and they had cheese on them, which they weren't supposed to. But they were still great. Not quite great enough to satisfy our Yarmouth House craving, but good enough to put it off for a while. =)

After lunch, Michael dropped me off at my spa appointment and went out fishing again. The spa was BEAUTIFUL. I know, they're meant to be. But even the bathroom/changing room was amazing. I could have lounged around in there all day. The ceilings had silvery glitter dust in them. It was magical. The massage was pretty great too, especially since I've been exercising so much lately, and my arm has been bothering me for weeks. Afterwards, I walked into town to do a little window shopping. Michael's a good sport about coming with me, but he doesn't enjoy it like I do. I can wander in and out of 15 stores and not buy anything and still have fun. While I was wandering around, I found the shirt pictured above (Good Things Come to Those Who Bait) which is just so perfect for Michael on so many levels, but they didn't have it in his size.
When he was done fishing, he picked me up and we went to an early dinner, so we could rent a movie at the hotel. There's something so fun (and so expensive) about climbing into a fluffy white cloud of duvet with an armload of snacks and watching a movie. *contented sigh* We watched "The Invention of Lying" which was actually pretty good. Not the best movie ever, but a really interesting concept.

The weather looked better than expected on Sunday, so Michael dropped me off at a mall and went to do some more fishing. I know what you're thinking--that we didn't spend that much time together on this weekend, but it was actually perfect. We love spending time together, and we even love fishing together. But there was something just really satisfying about me getting to do EXACTLY what I wanted to do, at my own pace while he got to do the same. And I would have been cold and whiny after an hour or two of fishing, and he would have been bored and whiny after an hour or two of shopping or meandering. With all the time we spend on duty, it's also just nice to have some time to ourselves. Both Michael and I actually like spending time alone and don't get to very often. And it was so nice to come together for meals and movies and hotel time.

There was a movie theater at the mall, so I went to see "The Bounty Hunter" which wasn't quite as good as "Date Night" but was pretty entertaining nonetheless. I shopped for a while after that, but didn't find anything to buy so I wound up in Borders. I settled down in the cookbook aisle, of all places, and found some great looking cookbooks. I'm definitely getting inspired for cooking month, which I think will happen in June. The one I decided on had stains on it thought, so I didn't buy it and figured I can probably find it online cheaper. It was a Cooking Light book filled with 15 minute recipes with only 5 ingredients...AND it included a shopping list for each recipe. Nice.

I have plenty of books right now (gasp) since I'm slower at reading meditation and diet books than I am at reading fiction, so I decided not to let myself buy anymore and instead settled into an armchair with my Eckert Tolle book "New Earth" which Tiff had gotten me for Christmas. It was a little hard to get into, but it's actually pretty amazing. More on that later.

Michael picked me up from Borders after having a VERY successful fishing day, so we were both in a good mood. We were planning to go to Finz for dinner--we've gone the last two years, but when we got there it was closed so we had to come up with a plan B. There was a Legal Sefood C Bar nearby, so we went there. I had declared the weekend "lobster weekend" so we figured we could still get lobster there. It was really different than most Legal Seafood locations, and we were seated on this second floor loft that was kind of industrial and dark but kind of cool because it was quieter and less crowded and we could watch everyone in the restaurant.

We had these amazing little lambchop appetizers and then Michael had tuna and I had a stuffed lobster. Which was great except they hadn't cleaned all that green gunk out of the middle. eewwwwww. Michael had a good laugh at that. We noticed the table next to us was getting way better service than us (including free fried pickles!) and we were guessing at the possible reasons. We finally figured out that the guy was Glen Davis, who plays for the Celtics. Haha. When we were leaving dinner, they were in front of us so I made Michael pose for a picture with him in the background. But you can't really tell that it's him, because it's a far away cell phone picture. But still, it was a little exciting. Even if I really don't follow basketball.

So that was our weekend. Overall, a great getaway. We felt like we got a whole vacation in, and we actually got some good relaxing time, which is rare on our weekends. We're usually traveling or on duty or fitting in all the stuff we can't get to when we're on duty.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Points of Elation

1) While at the gym for the SECOND time today--in a pilates class with Melissa--I caught sight of myself in the mirror and found myself thinking wow. I look kind of good, actually. Which doesn't happen very often. And almost never while at the gym. Obviously.

2) Push-ups were part of the pilates routine today and I COULD DO THEM. Which is awesome, because two weeks ago I couldn't. Go me.

3) Don't tell my boss, but I had free time at work today. For, like, the first time in 3 years. Well, I MADE free time. There was work I could have been doing, but it wasn't as pressing as what we've been doing lately. So I went baby name searching instead. Don't judge. Here's what I found: Zalina, Naima, Anikka, and Aleksia. All of which were supposedly supposed to be from the Danish culture, but Michael says only the last two are. For some reason, I am drawn to names with K's in the middle. I really like Mikkel (you have to hear it with Michael's accent) but I think it's too close to Michael. (In case you are wondering--no, I am not pregnant. This is just my favorite way to procrastinate.) Also in my free time, I went shopping on amazon and bought: crystal light white peach green tea packets (green tea is SUPER good for you, according to Dr. Oz's book), 48 packs of orange tic tacs, the book Devotion by Dani Shapiro (which relates to this month's meditation theme), new key toppers (because all of my monsters have disintegrated and I can no longer tell my keys apart, and a beautiful (hopefully) new laptop sleeve which hopefully will get here tomorrow so I can safely pack up my laptop for what will hopefully be a weekend hotel retreat.

4) I was totally zen about the fact that Michael still doesn't know what his fishing plans are this weekend, which are at the center of my hotel plans. Thus, I haven't yet booked anything and am flying by the seat of my pants. If he gets to fish, we'll be in plymouth. Otherwise, we'll be in yarmouth or amherst. yay hotel weekends!!

5) I got to have a hot bath and read my new Oprah magazine, which is an especially good issue, as it's their 10th anniversary. Lots of good stuff to soak up.
6) Right now, I am burning my eucalyptus spearmint "stress relief" candle and it is filling our home with the BEST smell EVER. aaaaaah. I am reveling in it.

If only I could go to bed right now, it'd be the perfect night. I probably could if i hadn't left Michael on duty alone for most of the night.

BREATHING ROOM: Success on Days 3 & 4

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I got distracted spending 5 hours setting up my shiny, new laptop. I am irrationally excited about the laptop. And, as Michael pointed out, irrationally anxious/stressed about getting it all set up the way I want it. Why the big rush? I have no looming project deadline and I can certainly meet my internet/word processing needs without making it have exactly the same software as my old computer. (Though installing Rosetta Stone will have to happen before this weekend, so I can get back on the Danish train.)

As soon as he pointed out that my lack of apparent excitement for my new laptop was making him cranky, I adjusted. (go, Michael!) Partly because I didn't want him to be cranky--and it hadn't occurred to me that my mood would affect him. But once I paused to think about how it was a significant investment of our money, meant to relieve the stress of my old (failing) laptop, I realized how my stress was misplaced and unnecessary. So I stopped and went to bed...leaving the laptop setup UNFINISHED.


See? I do have the capacity to learn and change...with a little help from my friends.

In other news, the exercise focus has been going well. I've been every day this week, waking at 6 and getting back by 7:15 for a leisurely and healthy oatmeal and fruit breakfast before actually getting to work ON TIME.

I wanted to try this for a week to note the effects on my energy levels and carve out time in my day to allow for more regular exercise. I have mixed feelings about the results as the week draws to a close. On the down side: I'm only getting about 6 hours of sleep a night, which is not enough. And even though I feel fine by the time I'm done exercising, a few hours later I start to crash. Unfortunately, I haven't noticed any increase in energy. And, as the week went on, it got harder and harder to make myself get out of bed because I felt more and more tired. (Maybe if I went to sleep earlier, I could change that.) More importantly, I miss my gym time with my friend, Melissa. The time we spend chatting is the shiny part of my gym experience, and I haven't gotten to see her at all this week, so it feels like a double-loss.

On the up-side: I'm getting a healthier, fiber-rich breakfast, which supposedly makes me less prone to snacking later on (jury's still out on that one). I get to read, which is one thing that really turns my brain "off"--in a good way. (And while I find my Dr. Oz book interesting and useful, I find that when I bring a fiction book or magazine, it actually makes me look forward to that time--almost as much as looking forward to my Melissa time.) I do seem to fall asleep faster at night and to sleep more deeply...not sure if it's really related. I'm getting to work on time. Since I don't have to fit the gym into my evening routine, I have more "free" time to do other things and I'm more likely to hit my target 4x per week. I like the routine, oddly--going the same time each day. And, even though I am TIRED when I get up, I am no MORE (or less) tired during my 4:00 afternoon slump. So, even if I need a nap, at least I'm not sacrificing exercise to indulge in the nap.

But here's my FAVORITE thing about the new schedule: leaving the gym. Not because the workout is over, but because I feel alive and awake and alone (in a good way.) The world (outside the gym) is still quiet and peaceful and expansive. I've come to realize that the idea of expansive anything makes my heart and mind pretty happy. I come back into the dark and quiet dorm, to my dark and quiet house. There is breathing room there.

I am starting to realize that all of my to-do lists and commitments and reminders to myself have taken on a tangible weight. They crowd my breathing room. And just as I dislike being in a crowded restaurant or movie theater on a Saturday night, I feel the same about being in my cluttered house or to-do list ridden mind. Mid-week date nights are more relaxing--there is more room for chatting, for leisure, for love. Clean, uncluttered homes are aesthetically pleasing and invite relaxation and relief. Being awake and alive and unhurried for an hour before my day starts has the same effect.

I think this would be made greater by the addition of morning meditation, but that hasn't happened yet. I just haven't taken the time to find a meditation exercise I really like. But I will soon! Really!

The other thing that hasn't happened is hitting 10k steps per day, even when I went to the gym TWICE in one day. This leads me to believe that the goal is not a universal one. Maybe mine should be different based on weight/age/height/stride length? I don't know, but I've only hit it once in 14 days so far--on the day I was running all over campus for my event. It's hard to know if the goal is wrong or if my life (aside from my half hour of exercise) is really far too sedentary. If that's the case, I presume it will be less so once I have kids...so I might be okay with just meeting the exercise goal for now.

So I'm thinking that I might need some kind of middle ground with the exercise routine...maybe I should go in the morning on the days I'm on duty and go with Melissa on other days? And maybe still wake up early (but not AS early) on the non-exercise mornings to allow for that breathing room with breakfast? The pros of the morning routine definitely outweigh the cons, but I also suspect it's not really sustainable, as I'm getting more and more tired and less able to propel out of bed in the morning...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 2: Success

I don't want to brag, but I actually made it to the gym twice yesterday. Whoa. I know. I went to the 5:30 Tai Chi class even though I didn't really have the energy. (Sidenote: if I was hoping the change in schedule would boost my day time energy, it didn't. But I was no less energetic, either, and I did have more time, so I guess it's worthwhile in that regard.) I made myself go because I knew I couldn't put it off until next week, when I'll be on duty on Monday.

To be honest, it wasn't that great of a class. The instructor was good and it wasn't too hard to jump in and catch on. But...well...it's not aerobic...it's not stretchy or muscle-building...and it wasn't really meditative either. Maybe it becomes more so with practice. I can imagine the allure of doing it on a mountaintop or hillside at sunset. But in a tiny, dark room with a spinning class next door...it just didn't really do anything for me. But I'm glad I tried it. At least now I know.

Michael and I had time for a Date Night last night...and it was even his suggestion. We went to The Met for a delicious dinner (crab cake and seared scallops) and then went to the movie Date Night (apropos). I wasn't particularly excited to see it, but holy crap was it funny. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. I actually snorted a few times. Good thing movie theaters are dark and anonymous. lol. I was in a great mood afterward, but by the time we got home, I was dead tired. It was such a sharp contrast. Weird. I was in bed and asleep by 11:30. DEAD asleep. I was shocked when my alarm went off at 6:00 this morning.

I turned it off and re-set it for 6:15. But then I knew it was a dangerous, slippery slope, so I just got up and went. It was cold out. I was still REALLY tired. But I went. All of my ellipticals were in use, so I had to use a different kind, but I got in nearly 3000 steps in my half-hour workout, so that was great. And I learned a lot more in my book...here's today's nugget: your waistline is an indicator of the amount of stress in your life, and how well you cope with it. There's complicated reasons behind that which I don't remember, but that really stood out to me. Chronic, low-level stress is really bad for your health. The authors went on and on about that for a lot of pages, so it really stuck with me. I can take a hint. I also learned that you are more inclined towards a heavier weight the older your mother was when she gave birth to you. Interesting. And, I'm just starting to learn about how bad french fries really are for you. It's a lot worse than just empty calories. But you probably already knew that. And, I did a few reps on the arms machine to get ready for my push-up test tonight. =)

I had oatmeal and blackberries for breakfast--very healthy start to the day.

But I'm still tired.

I'm just saying.

PS...I still only made it to 8500 steps yesterday...there's only been one day so far that I've hit the elusive 10k. Who knew how hard it would be?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 1 Operation Early Exercise: Success!

So I've decided to try to go to the gym before work each day this week, to see if my body adjusts and to see the effects it has on my energy levels and ability to feel rested after sleeping. I wasn't sure I was even going to post about it, in case I couldn't do it. And I wasn't hopeful last night. After being on duty and getting to bed around midnight, I couldn't fall asleep for some reason. Even though I had been tired all day. But I awoke before my alarm this morning and was at the gym by the ungodly hour of 6:15. (My apologies to all the early risers out there who think that time is a normal time to be awake. It isn't.)

I was slow getting started, because I'm reading my "You: On a Diet" book, which is not nearly as interesting as "Local News", which I finished last night. But once I got going, the time passed fairly quickly. I rode home with the window opening, belting out Melissa Etheridge and actually wishing my ride home was longer than 4 minutes. After showering and getting dressed (bumping in the dark, trying not to wake Michael) I had time for a healthy bowl of oatmeal and more book time. In the coming days, I hope to use that time for meditation...but I didn't find the exercise I liked this weekend like I was supposed to.

I might still go to a Tai Chi class this afternoon if I can make it. I'm skeptical though. It's weird--when I work out at night, I'm wired for hours. But even though I felt great immediately after working out this morning, I feel like I'm crashing only two hours later. I'll try to get engaged in my work and see if that helps.

And here's the tip I learned from my book today: eat 6 walnuts 20 minutes before a meal and it will trigger the "full" feeling much faster so you won't feel the need to eat as much.

As for this weekend, it wasn't a total success. I made it to the gym both days, which was good--it meant I made it five times last week. But I only got to about 8k steps on Saturday and 5k on Sunday. And I didn't even try push-ups or sit-ups. But I'm moving on. Today's a new day. And I'm already 3600 steps into it at 8:53. =)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I am sitting here contemplating that Symphony creamy chocolate bar as a consolation prize.

Today's recap:
  • I did 8 push-ups. In the interest of full disclosure, I only got about halfway to the floor, so it might only count as 4. But I did work on arms at the gym today, so I'll try again tomorrow.
  • I did 65 sit-ups. Not bad, though it felt a lot harder than it did last time, when I did 60.
  • I took 6688 steps today (2.3 miles), 2277 of which were "aerobic" steps.
  • I did the elliptical, and several expressline weight machines at the gym.
  • I got to talk through some meditation stuff with Gina and set a goal of finding an exercise I like by this weekend. That way, I can meditate for 5-10 minutes each day for the 3 weeks left in April.

Not bad, eh? I haven't touched the Danish lessons in April though. Maybe I'll get time this weekend, or now that the events are over.

Gina and I were talking about the idea (mentioned in the audio book we read) that when you are trying to "attain" something, you are filling a void of some sort. The author suggested pausing to acknowledge the feeling--and, perhaps, examining it, turning it over to look at the underside. She suggested that you could just sit with the feeling and that eventually it would pass. This could be applied in many situations. She explained it a lot better than I am.

In any case, on Easter I was feeling a bit wistful for the chocolate bunnies of my childhood. When had I outgrown them? Why? I wanted one. My husband was at the store getting soda and I texted him, suggesting he bring home a chocolate bunny, but he had already left the store.

Fueled by my craving, I ordered a refill for a prescription at CVS for the sole purpose of killing two birds with one stone while getting my chocolate bunny. I figured they'd be half off (since it was Easter night) which was a further justification.

They weren't on sale. And they didn't have the kind I wanted. But I picked one out anyway. Michael suggested we could go to the grocery store next door, but I could tell that would be excessive. So I just settled on one, even though I felt a loss because it wasn't the one I imagined it would be. Then I saw the bag of sour jelly beans. Jelly beans were a big part of Easter too. And then I saw that Symphony chocolate bar with the toffee in it...I had wanted a Dove bunny, because of how creamy the chocolate was, and the Symphony bar might satisfy that creamy craving. And then I saw the bag of Dove peanut butter filled eggs. mmmm. That sounded worth trying.

I'll be honest--I picked out 2 or 3 other things too, but I settled on those four. FOUR. I knew I was being excessive. I knew I did not need all of that junk. It did not fit with my exercise/meditation month focus. It was pretty much a waste of money. It wasn't even on sale!

I don't know what "void" I was trying to fill, but I can imagine there was one, because I was in a bit of a funk that day.

I just can't quite believe that if I had taken a moment to look at my chocolate-filled arms, and to ask myself (compassionately) what was really going on there...and if I just simmered in that for a few minutes...that I would have put it all down, picked up my prescription, and walked out of the store content.

I wanted it so BAD. And when I got home, I wanted it all. I didn't want a few bites of the bunny. I wanted to taste the sour jelly beans, and then the creamy chocolate, etc. I did restrain myself to some jelly beans and some peanut butter eggs.

And when I got to the bunny, I was disappointed. I am, in fact, still craving that chocolate, creamy, Dove bunny in my mind's eye.

But--get this. Today, after getting home from the gym and doing sit-ups, I was hot. And parched. And sore. And I wanted ice cream. I could taste the cold, creamy goodness in the back of my throat. So soothing. Only I finished my ice cream a few days ago. So I told Michael I was going to have some of his. And I went to the freezer and opened it. It wasn't what I wanted. And there wasn't much left...if I had some, there wouldn't be much for him. I just wanted it because it was cold. But it wasn't really what I wanted. And I didn't really need it; I was still full from dinner actually.

I put it back.

I would call it a small step of progress, but I am sitting here contemplating that Symphony creamy chocolate bar as a consolation prize.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I didn't quite make it to 5,000 steps today, surprisingly (considering the event) and I was too tired to go to the gym. Sore, too. And I didn't even do sit-ups. I'd consider today a failure, except for that I made it through the last of the dreaded admissions events and that has to count for something. I cam home from work and fell asleep for 3 hours until Michael came home and woke me. Now I'm going back to sleep. It's just one of those days. Maybe I'll do twice as much at the gym tomorrow to make up for it.

And--good news: all of my college counselees have someplace to go next year, and all but one got into their first choice school.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

FIVE dammit.

I made it to 6397 steps today, which is better than expected, considering I only had 604 by lunchtime! (thanks to Melissa, who inspired me to go to the gym!)

AND...I did FIVE push-ups! FIVE! Did you hear that, Jordan?! Five!! =)

I'll be respectable in no time.

I also had a REALLY good night in the dorm--lots of good connection. That, combined with the gym and push-ups has me a little wired. Which is bad, because I need to be up early again for our event tomorrow.

So...sorry for the non-reflective, not-very-interesting posts. I promise to do better after these freaking events are over.

Kaerlig Hilsen,


Just wanted you to know I can do THREE push-ups now. More if I only have to go halfway down. But I guess that's not really a push-up, then.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I made it to 10,123 steps today!!! woohoo!

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I'll be able to walk tomorrow, as all of those 10k steps were in ridiculous sandals. sigh.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Quick update

Just wanted you to know that I finished my (inspiring) book AND audio book (The Places that Scare You) today. And I got to the gym. And I got in 7, 274 steps. Not quite 10k, but closer!

Tomorrow I have a big event for work, so I bet I'll hit 10k steps if I can hide the little pedometer under my dress-up clothes. =)

No more time to write tonight...have to be up 1.5 hours earlier than usual tomorrow...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

On a Roll

I started reading my new book "How Not to be Afraid of Your Own Life" and I LOVE it. Seriously, I'm one chapter in and already planning the friends that I want to send it to. It just really makes sense. And you know what's interesting? Some of the basic principles of Buddhist meditation (and perhaps Buddhism in general?) relate back to some of the most basic principles of Judaism and the ideas behind celebrating shabbat. I was reading it at the gym today (YES! I went!) and it was hard because I wanted to be underlining the bits that were striking so I could come back to them. I felt like I should be studying it...taking notes so I could review later. But mostly I was just excited because it was striking a chord in me. A chord that I've been wanting to be struck, if that makes any sense.

I also found out that a half hour at the gym is roughly 2500 steps. Which is good, but makes me think that 10,000 a day is optimistic. From what I read, it seemed like they were saying if you do cardio for 30 mins per day, you'd automatically be right around 10k per day. But my grand total for today is only 5243 at 7pm. Granted, I spent several hours on my couch this morning...after sleeping in until past ten. But still. Well, at least I will do better today than I did yesterday.

I want to try to do more than 2 push-ups tonight too, but my arm is kind of killing me for unknown reasons, so I'm not sure if I really will.

And, in other good news--I got my house cleaned today. All but the laundry and "back room" which is mostly Michael's stuff at this point anyway. It took 2.5 hours but I talked to a friend on the phone the whole time, so it was more enjoyable than you might think. Though in the end I felt a little disappointed in myself for not spending any time outside on this beautiful day. I think tomorrow Michael and I will take the boat out though...after he fixes it! It got plowed into a tree by a snowplow at the school, even though we thought we had stored it far enough away from the parking lot. Now it has two holes in it. =/ Michael bought some liquid welding to fix it, so hopefully that will work.

And, in yet more good news--I ACTUALLY ordered my new computer today, after lots of research (but not as much as I normally do). In fact, it practically felt impulsive. But I just didn't want to continue to torture myself...or Michael...or my facebook friends...with my indecision and "research" and verbal processing. I'm so excited for it to get here...I can't wait. But I'll have to--two weeks, probably. Sigh. I also ALMOST went and bought a whole bunch of accessories--I spent about an hour (maybe more) looking at pretty laptop sleeves and wireless mice. Then I suddenly just stopped and told myself I didn't need it. I don't even have the laptop yet!

I did buy one thing though...a Curly Girl laptop skin...and I am SO FREAKING excited about it. It practically makes up for not being able to get that sparkly chocolate copper laptop I saw. =)

Hey, I'm on such a roll--maybe I'll fit in Danish study tonight! Meanwhile, I can't even find words to tell you how good it feels to have my first, real weekend day at home in...I can't even remember how long. Even if I did spend it inside and cleaning.

Friday, April 2, 2010

That's more like it

Alright, I sort of failed on the exercise front today. BUT--if I go both days this weekend, I will still have met my goal for the week (and it was a short week, since the month started Thursday!)

My pedometer got here this morning, and I've logged about 4300 steps today, but I didn't get it until around 11 am. So I'd guess I log around 5000 on the average day. Which isn't good, but better than I would have guessed. So we'll use that as the baseline and try to double it by month's end. (PS I really like my omron pedometer that can count calories and steps and resets at midnight each night...also you can put it in a purse instead of attaching it to you and it's still accurate.)

I worked until 6 pm and then went to look at computers one last time, which was worthwhile because I found I didn't like the asus after all. I fell in love with a sparkly, copper Sony and nearly got it even though it didn't have the specs I was looking for. I'm a sucker for sparkly, well-designed things.

BUT for the same price as the sony, I can get a toshiba with more features, so I think I'm going to ACTUALLY order one tomorrow. Then I just have to wait 1-2 weeks for it to arrive! (Anyone want my old Toshiba? Once formatted, it would probably be fine for basic internet/word processing or a kid)

I was feeling pretty cranky and figured I'd go to the gym when I got home. REALLY planned on it. But when I got here, Michael was cooking dinner: steak, sweet potatos, and salad. It was so sweet, because he knew I was cranky. So, there went the gym, since we didnt finish until 9 and then I was done.

On the bright side--I listened to more of my audio CD and established my baseline for sit-ups. I'm proud to report a healthy 60 sit-ups. That's healthy, right?

Since I can sleep in tomorrow, I'm seriously considering finally running that hot bath I've been craving for two weeks...

I have high hopes for the weekend: exercise both days, maybe out on the boat with Michael, Danish learning, and cleaning the house. (exciting, I know) But: at the same time, I will try to unattach from the idea that I am striving to reach a certain "resting" place and will try to engage in each activity as it comes, without judgment of good or bad. We'll see how it goes. =)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Um, push-ups? Is that the same as fall-downs?

Yeah, two. TWO. Seriously. I can do TWO "real" push-ups (before collapsing in a heap), and four of the girly on-your-knees types. I would feel worse if Michael could do more than 5.

Well, on the bright side, 2 is a good baseline, right? So I should be able to do 10-15 real ones by the end of the month. I mean, it should be pretty easy to improve on 2, right??!


Good Start!

Well, my pedometer didn't get here today, which was disappointing. I wasn't able to take a baseline step count for the day. I did take a baseline weight and waist measurement--my new book I'm reading says your waist size has more to do with being healthy than weight.

After work, I sat outside and talked to a student until dinner instead of taking a nap. Being outside was so uplifting! (as was connecting with one of my girls) While the students were in study hours, I snuck away to the gym and read my "You: On a Diet" book, which gave me some good tips (about the benefits of eating a cup of oatmeal at breakfast and walnuts throughout the day, for example). Luckily (depending who you ask), Michael had to take the kids on a grocery run tonight, so hopefully he'll come back with some oatmeal and walnuts for me to try.

I also was listening to my meditation CD (I forget what it's called) and was struck by the idea that pain is caused by holding onto something and generosity by letting go of something. I found this really interesting, especially since I am such a control freak, constantly grasping at anything and everything and holding on as tightly as possible.

The other thing I was struck by was the idea that true wisdom and fearlessness (enlightenment) come from realizing there is no attainment; no resting place. Can you imagine the significance of this for me? I take this to mean I'd be much better off without the to-do lists. The journey is more important than the destination, and all that.

I'll be pondering that while I see how many push-ups I can do. I don't imagine it will take very long. I'll guess...3. (Don't laugh! You try it.)