Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moving Out

Everything seems to have worked just fine for the feeds, but on the off chance you are still coming here, I invite you over to my new home.

www.ameliasprout.com

I know, so grown up of me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What to wear...

There have already been some great BlogHer posts, but a conversation today on Twitter got me thinking. Does all of us getting excited about what to wear and what we want to do put pressure on people that they don't need to have?

For the record, this is not about pressure. That just isn't me. Last year my excitement about what to wear was all around having lost 20+ pounds and getting new clothes. This year it is about being good and saving up so that I could get some new stuff for work, but wear it to BlogHer first.

First, let me say, that I would be most comfortable, if the weather cooperated, in jeans and a t-shirt. Not a raggy/baggy t-shirt, but something comfortable. Work requires that I dress up, but still be able to crawl under a desk. Yeah, not so easy. For people who live all the time in jeans and t-shirts, I can see how it would be nice to dress up. Me, I want to dress down.

That however does not jive much with me wanting to also be more professional this year. Also, it doesn't work with what I know NYC summer heat to be like. So, here are my suggestions, based on my personal style and choices.

1. If you are a t-shirt person, try to make it look more dressed up. My personal favorites are tiny gauge cotton sweaters with some nice detail like off center buttons or a ruffle. As comfortable and easy to care for as a t-shirt, but they look nicer.

2. Accessorize. At the beginning of the year I set a goal to wear more earring/jewelry. I am happy to say I have succeeded. While I do not understand the Statement Necklace, I am all for some awesome handmade earrings. I would be beyond sad if I lost my favorites, but none are so valuable that I am afraid to travel with them.

3. Dress for the evening. If you wear jeans, bring along a sparkly top for the parties. I'm bringing a sparkly top, to go with jeans, a cute dress, and another cute dress. I think. After a day of running around the conference, I definitely wanted to freshen up and change.

4. If you bring the cute high heels, and you aren't used to wearing them, break them in first. Good way to find out that they perhaps you are not a 12 in that brand like you thought you were, before you can't return them. Not that I would know anything about that... Bring comfy shoes for when you need them (like when you join me to get hotdogs for my birthday, it will be a hike) Also, don't mangle the back of your heel doing a home pedicure the day before you leave. You will spend lots of money trying to find a bandaid to protect yourself so you can wear the cute shoes. Again, not that I would know about that.

5. Bring your favorite most comfy clothes that are still publicly acceptable to travel home in. You will be beat. You will want comfort. I'm sad my favorite pair of traveling pants are too big to wear again this year. I'm on the hunt for something else.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Whatnot and Such

I am knee deep in the middle of unbloggable things. Nothing life shattering, just a stress of work and family things. So instead of just leaving this space blank, I thought I'd blog about my BlogHer prep.

This will be my second year. Right now, it is the only blogging conference I go to, mostly because I have a friend that also goes. Two years ago, I wanted to go, badly, but I had just started more serious blogging (hah! hardly serious now) and everyone I knew was going. So, last year I figured out how to make it work, and I went.

Then I spent a good part of it in my room, totally overwhelmed by the crowds, the swag, and did I mention the crowds? However, I also had one of the best experiences of my life in one of the best sessions ever.

This year, I plan on figuring out some balance. My plan is to seek quieter places to connect with people. Last year I had the most fun just hanging out in quiet suites with people. I also plan on getting out to see the city. It used to be my home, I am comfortable there, and I plan on celebrating my birthday with a little indulgence.

Also on my list, before I go, is a big move. Last year post BlogHer I said I wanted to do this, and I am finally making good on it. I will be moving to ameliasprout.com some time around 8/1. I've committed to it, by putting the new address on my business cards. I've hired someone to do a header for me, and even if they aren't done in time, I have a backup plan in place.

This next year is going to be a big year for me. I am working hard to meet some major goals, and while I can't get in to details yet, this is just the start of it.

Next topic, for tomorrow. Clothes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Little Voices

I have always sort of felt that my body had betrayed me when it came to food. I never seemed to get that whole "you're satisfied, quit eating" thing. I never really heard a damn thing until it got to the "holy, hanah, are we ever stuffed" point. That whole reasonable portion thing never seemed to work for me.

Maybe it was a childhood with a killer metabolism (I could out eat just about anybody, and still was skinny, pre-puberty), maybe it was just my brain's screwy wiring. You know, the stuff that causes depression, and in some in my family, addiction.

Whatever it was, it never seemed to be there.

So, based on a part of the whole "fat acceptance" movement (oh, I could write a lot about that) I've been trying lately to not worry about every little calorie that I take in, and just listen, really good and hard, to what my body is trying to tell me. Eat when I am hungry, not just because it is "lunch time". Stop when I am satisfied, not stuffed. Eat the foods that I crave, trusting that my body knows what it needs.

So far, it seems to be working. Well, sort of. I hear it. There are however some conflicting voices in there. Namely the one saying, "you're stressed, you deserve the candy". I'm pleased that the good voice is really there. I don't feel like I'm quite so broken anymore. I just wish the other voice wasn't winning out so much.

Going in to BlogHer, to go along with my commitment to running, I'm going to try to let the good voice win out. Perhaps while imagining it as a cartoon dog dressed as an angel on my shoulder. Just to help it out, I'm going to do my best to keep healthier snacks available. If the stress does win out, at least I can give it something better than a Twix for it's trouble.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I would run 100 miles...

... and I would run 100 more. Just to be the one who ran 100 miles to fall down at your door...

Since I started tracking my mileage on Daily Mile, I've run 100 miles.

I swear, just check out the nifty widget over there on the right.

If that isn't motivating, I don't know what is.

*Apologies to the Proclaimers for changing the lyrics to their song. They put on what was by far one of the best concerts I've ever seen. Only thing that would have made it better was not having the creepy blind date along... Good thing Scottish accents make up for most everything.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Localvore

Every so often I'll get a #FollowFriday on Twitter for being a resource for local foods. I'm even in the feed on the side of Simple Good & Tasty even though I am writing about my weight more than I am writing about food. Well, sort of related. Honestly, I don't really understand it, until I take the time to look in the other shopping carts at the grocery store.

My trips to the grocery store this time of year are incredibly short. There is lactose free milk for the husband, yogurt (Greek for me, easily digestible for him, poor lactose intolerant guy), sandwich fixings, soup for lunches, cheese, some fruit (cheaper at the grocery stores, and most comes from the States this time of year), paper products, cleaning supplies, and occasionally meat. If I look in others there are processed food products, lots of meat, canned veggies and fruits, frozen meals, and a variety of things that are in season locally.

To me, there just isn't another way to eat. I forget that not everyone grew up on an organic veggie farm. If it is available locally, and I have any inkling how to cook it, I buy it at the farmer's market. This morning I bought potatoes, carrots, green, yellow & purple beans, tomatoes (mine aren't ripe just yet), locally made brats (tasty) and some locally made pastries for breakfast. I have in my fridge from the last week, garlic, onions, cauliflower & beats. I also picked out of our garden peas, green beans (half a meal's worth), two jalepenos and more cucumbers than I know just what to do with.

This week well have those brats, burgers made from ground beef from our meat share, and lots of veggies at every meal.

This is my time of year. This is the time of year when I lose the most weight. I feed my sweet tooth with in season fruits like watermelon, berries, and tomatoes. I feel free to eat as much as I can of my favorite foods, because they are in season and priced right.

If you are not shopping at your local Farmer's Market, I'm wondering why. They are all over the place, on nearly every day of the week. It doesn't require a trip to Minneapolis to find one any more. They are all over the burbs. If you are in the city however, every neighborhood has them. Even North Minneapolis where I live.

When I am at the market, I focus on locally grown food. I also try to support the minority farmers whenever possible. (for a good piece on that, see this) I know that there are some that avoid them, and their sometimes foreign offerings, but I know that they often have the best food, and the best price.

If you're in MN and would like to find good local food, try here. If you are not local, find your own local market and explore. Bring cash, some reusable bags, and an open mind. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Long and the Short of It

I have an odd body of sorts. It is the body of someone who once weighed over 300 pounds (while pregnant), the body of a mom and the body of somebody who while getting healthier, still loves cookies and ice cream perhaps a bit too much. I carry my weight relatively evenly, with a concentration of excess skin and some fat around my mid section. (I believe the semi technical term is "apron" but I find that moderately annoying) I also carrying some excess skin and flabbyness in my inner thighs. My upper thighs, even at my skinniest, have always rubbed together. I also have some serious calves. I have ever since I was a swimmer.

It is not your average runner's body, and it likely never will be.

Finding clothes that work for me is hard. Finding running clothes that work for me is near impossible. I need something that fits my body, but doesn't really show much of it. I also need something that is wicking, since I sweat like a... well, lets just say I'll need a towel after the BlogHer 5K more than I'll need breakfast.

For shirts I wear a XXL singlet from Champion's Target line. It is a little short for my comfort, but it does the job. I can't imagine sleeves in weather like this. After having seen what my husband got for himself, I may hit the men's section next time to get a longer singlet.

For shorts so far the only things I've liked is the REI OXT Fleet Short 6" inseam women's running short. They are roomy, but not too baggy, long enough not to ride up, they cover the parts that rub, they have a drawstring so I can cinch them in, and they have a long enough rise. They also have the built in undies, which are nice, believe it or not. You just have to wash them every time you wear them.

I tried a Moving Comfort plus size short, but the rise was too short, and it didn't cover the tummy skin. I want to try some of the options from Athleta, since they have a some non cotton Bermuda length shorts. I also think I may try tights at some point, or spandex shorts. That would be when a longer shirt would be nice. Or maybe a skirt without anything underneath. I am also looking at this skirt from REI. In fact, the whole OXT line looks good. I'm especially fond of the fact that they have extended sizes. Not that I need them now, but I know how hard finding good fitness clothing can be when you don't fit the norm. I am beyond frustrated that a number of women's fitness clothing companies stop all of the serious gear at size 14. I'm looking at you Title 9.

What do you like? I am always open to suggestions.

Disclosure: The only connection to anything mentioned is that I am an REI Coop member. I get a dividend, but only for money I actually spend.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

16,368 feet, 4,988 meters (for you Canadians)

Due to rain, and visits to the in-laws for the best fireworks in town, and romantic dinner dates with my awesome husband, I hadn't run since last Saturday. Today was my last day with no kiddo for the foreseeable future so I made the most of it...

...and ran 3.1 miles (fine maybe just three when you figure in the half a block to and from the parkway)

I ran three miles.

I don't think I've ever run three miles in my life. Seriously, like never. Well, until today.

The best part is, it will not be the last time I do it. I may even do something crazy, like run four or even five miles.

I still need to add another half a mile to get to what I am have committed to do for BlogHer, but I'm trying not to think about that right now. Right now it is all about the three miles.

Three hard fought, delicious, take your breath away, make you sweat in the 80% humidity miles.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

And How Have You Been?

Me, I've been just enjoying. Three days last week, two days this week, of no M. I miss her sure, but I also have enjoyed working late, swearing whenever I want, and sleeping in. The lack of whining has been... pleasant.

However, when she has been here, I realized how much she makes me smile. How much joy she brings to each day. How absolutely silly she is.

She has the same birthday as David Letterman (things you learn when you labor late at night), and from the very beginning she has been a ham. She could turn her little cries off an on, always knowing just how to work her parents. Thankfully, while she can still work us (and her grandparents, oh her poor grandparents), she is learning she gets more when she works us for laughs.

I have been successful in my career, in building and maintaining relationships, because I know when to make people laugh. There is a time and a place for serious, but more often than not, sometimes you just have to make people laugh, so they can get to a place where they can find solutions and resolutions. In my personal life, I find it far harder to have a sense of humor. She is teaching me to let go.

She will be home tomorrow night, in time for bedtime and snuggle and tucking in. My mom will be back through briefly on her way home to Colorado, and then she will be all ours again. I am sure we will celebrate by picking (and devouring) cucumbers, and perhaps this weekend (if this heat keeps up) our first cherry tomatoes.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Heart is Home

My baby is home! I will admit it, I really really enjoyed having a break. With work being so nuts, I enjoyed being able to just zone out when I got home. I didn't have to switch from bad day at work to dealing with a defiant three year old.

However, I am so happy to have her home. She barely wanted to hug and kiss A and I, but when it was time for bed, she saved hugging me for last, then asked for lullabies. Something she hardly ever does.

So I sang and snuggled and let her know silently that it was OK, even if she said she didn't miss me, I knew she did. I missed her too.

It starts now doesn't it, the growing up and away from us? She doesn't need for everything any more. She tests her boundaries and goes her own way more than she listens to me. She is exceptionally independent. My mother says more so than I ever was. (I was a late bloomer stubbornness wise, that happened as an adult)

I haven't written about it because I was afraid of being judged, but we've been having some behavior issues at school. I think she is getting bored. She's wanting to start learning how to sound out words, and do more with numbers, and as one of the oldest in class, she is struggling with the boredom. At least that is what I hope it is. She can be such a good kid, but she has never been one to do what was expected. 18 months of nursing using a nipple shield because she wouldn't have it any other way. Not even crawling until after she was a year old, then taking off. Walking just in time to be able to take the spot in a better daycare.

I am so screwed once we hit the teen years.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Banjo!

I have absolutely no idea what to write about. Well, I mean, I have things I want to write about but I can't write about. So instead, a banjo.

I have a secret love of banjos. They are a guilty pleasure. I grew up listening to folk music, and it will always be my first musical love. Banjos, mandolins, fiddles and all.

Getting to see the father of the bride (who is not the banjo player) and many family friends playing at this wedding was a real treat for me. Though not as big of a treat as hearing the bride's brother (who is 15 years younger than me) sing. He's a baritone. He also dropped his pants and peed in my yard at my graduation party. (he was potty training) The two things are not quite matching up in my head just yet.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Going Home

We had a great time this weekend. Well, M and I had a great time. A tolerated being at a "family" wedding where the only people he knew enough to be comfortable around were the people actively involved in the wedding (bride, groom, parents, siblings of all). I got to see all of the people I really like from my home town that still live there. I got to show off my beautiful daughter in her twirling "wedding dress" (thanks to Stefania for sending that at just the right time). She charmed just about everyone.

She especially took to the bride (I think it may have been the stunning dress and the fact that we talked about her wedding for days), and the mother of the bride. The mother of the bride is my second mom. The cool mom (sorry mom). She's the one I could talk to about stuff I couldn't talk to my own mom about. The funny part is, when I was about M's age, I really took to her too. I was the little kid following her around. Apples, trees, you know the rest.

We're back home, but M stayed up North to hang out with Grandma Tere (seen above). She is having a great time being entertained by all kinds of new people. Running around the property where I grew up. Getting in to trouble the bride's cousin's son. (who's dad was the resident troublemaker when I was a kid) Charming everyone she meets.

She has requested to not go home. Instead she would like Grandma to drive her right down to Nana & Grandpa D's. We're sort of hoping by Wednesday she'll miss us enough to come back here.

On the off chance that you ever find yourself in Fergus Falls, I would like to point out to you a couple of things. First, Falls Baking Co. Home of the best bread on the planet. No, not kidding. I've had a lot of bread, and Scott's can't be beat. Second, Stumbeano Coffee. I am a coffee nerd, and I'm here to tell you I had the best latte of my life on Sunday morning, at Cafe 116. Made by Greg Stumbo himself. I would like to bundle both of them up and move them closer to the rest of my life. In the mean time I'll settle for putting and order in with my mom for when she brings M back.

Whole Wheat Sour Dough, Oatmeal & a French Boule. I'd also like a pound of Greg's Espresso Roast. I need it ground, I can't do anything fine enough for my stove top Bialetti at home.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Dog & Her Cucumber

Last year, right before I had finally had it and hacked the thing to pieces, Tess discovered that she really really liked vegetables in the form of my entire summer squash plant. Not just the fruit, all of it. Sure, table scraps and the occasional lost pea were fine, but now she knew where they came from.

I spent the rest of the year trying to keep her from chewing on the remaining parts of the squash and eventually having to beat her off with a Brussels sprout stalk to keep her from eating the stalk, sprouts and all.

I have a weird dog.

This year she's been moderately unaware of the garden's presence. That was until the cucumber.

While taking her out for a potty break right after we got home from work, I wandered over to the cucumbers. I've had a lot of flowers, but nothing looked like it was really taking off. Imagine my surprise when I had a nice perfectly pickable cucumber right there on the vine.

So I picked it. Then Tess went absolutely nuts.

It was all she could focus on. Even after I peeled and sliced it for the other cucumber lover in the house (we planted them at M's request), even after we ate it, she was still looking everywhere for it.

Her obsession with the garden has returned.

My only real concern is that once we have ripe cherry tomatoes, we won't be able to leave her alone in the back yard for a second. They are perfectly sized for small terrier mouths.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Running Haiku

When I run, it is a constant inner dialog reminding me of proper form. Like a haiku playing over and over again in my head

Head up, shoulders back
Eyes on the path, abs sucked in
Don't over pronate

Focus on breathing
Keep moving, you can do it
Watch your foot placement

I repeat it over and over again as the exhaustion kicks in and I have to work that much harder.

Head up, shoulders back
Eyes on the path, abs sucked in
Don't over pronate

Focus on breathing
Keep moving, you can do it
Watch your foot placement

I remember to pace my breathing. I focus on my abs and making sure my core is stable. I pay attention to how my knee feels. I watch the time and push myself to go faster if I need to.

I can feel the muscles in my stomach, my legs, my arms. I can visualize running without the burden of all this extra fat and skin. I keep that in my mind when it gets hard.

There are times, every time I get out there, when I think about not doing it. When I consider just walking instead, like I used to. It is a conscience choice to commit to this. I make the choice every time, because I know the pay off is worth it. I can see the progress I am making. It was small at first. It is becoming more noticeable all the time. I am running under a 15 minute mile. I am adding distance. I am making progress.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Learning Experience: Fat Girl Running Edition

Things I have learned as a fat girl running:

1. Thin fabrics and short lengths do not work in running skirts. I have too much floppy skin/fat on my inner thighs and it just can't hold its own against that part of my body. (but huge kudos to Running Skirts for the amazing customer service)

2. KT Tape is no match for the size of my knees and the amount I sweat. It lasted (mostly) through one run. Not long enough to justify the price for day to day. Perhaps for races though.

3. Random large men in large Cadillacs will give you props for your running when you dash across the street to get home.

4. So far I have found exactly one pair of running shorts that actually work (as in don't ride up) and that I am not completely freaked out to be seen in. It doesn't help that I have some extra belly skin and I'm tall. I suspect either of those things not being an issue would increase my choices.

5. This would not be possible without the support I get from a very diverse group of people online.

6. Morning comes way earlier than you want it to. It is however the only way to beat 90 degree heat.

Monday, June 21, 2010

In the Nick

No matter what you call it, some times things happen right when they're supposed to.

I've been shy on writing posts lately because I seem to keep writing the same post over and over again. I'll give you the Reader's Digest version.

Work is stressful. I like to eat, especially when stressed. Being sick sucks. Exercising is hard.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Some times however, things all come together right when they should, and there is a little glimmer of light. Right before things could have completely taken a turn for the even darker.

Things like finding an awesome true story about love that helps you remember the early days of your great romance. Remember all of those wonderful things that brought you to where you are today. (On the off chance that you are like me and have lived in cave and have not read the true story of how Ree, The Pioneer Woman, and The Marlboro Man met & got married, before you click that link, get a box of tissues and call in sick to work. You will not be able to stop)

The above becomes especially timely when among other things you learn of another divorce in the making.

Things like taking your daughter to her first movie, at a drive in. To hell with commercialism and a sleep deprived kid the next day. It was an awesome Father's Day wish and a fun night out. She has discovered candy and there is no turning back now.

Things like going to the Dr. and having their scale show you lighter (fully clothed even) than your scale at home. (let's be honest, you never get on that thing with clothes on) Which is sort of awesome after you had a thoroughly demoralizing run the night before.

I'm sort of glad I held off on posting all of that woe is me crud. Annie may be right after all. The sun is shining brightly all of a sudden. (no kidding, it just came out as I was writing this)

Which means I may need to mow the lawn more than go for a run.

Naw, I hear the prairie look is totally in.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Promises Promises

While the brocoli has been disappointing, and the kale is slow to get started, everything else is coming along like hotcakes.

I have wee little vegetables showing up all over the place. The promise of cucumbers and tomatoes to come.





I know, the peas and beans aren't far behind. The peppers need a little heat to get their groove on, but they'll get there.


In the mean time, I am amusing myself with the lillies.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Betty, Yeti, Neti...

I am a really horrible sick person. If you ask my husband I am a champion whiner. If I am sick, it just gets worse. Add to that my need to try to "tough it out" without any drugs for at least a day. You know, because your body has to do its thing to beat the disease. (the irony that I got that attitude from my "anti-drug" parents is not lost on me one little bit) Well, add it all up, and I might as well lock myself in a room because there is no way that I would want to spend any time with me either.

Except today we thought M might be getting sick too, so we kept her home with me. She watched a lot of TV, and my patience ran out about an hour before A got home.

Good thing he brought home spicy Indian food. Then encouraged me to take a bath to relax. Then didn't complain when I went out to get drugs to get me through work tomorrow right before bedtime.

So I've braved a neti pot for the first time (wow I am as congested as I feel), I've got Nyquil for tonight, and I gave over my ID to get the good drugs for tomorrow. We'll see if the opposite of anti-drug does any better.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Random Thoughts

I seem to have a bit of bloggers block, so prepare for a brain dump.

This morning I got up early before going to see the in-laws to go for a run. I figured that starting the day with some endorphins wouldn't hurt. I ran for 35 minutes, and extended my distance, including a quick warm-up & cool down to 2.5 miles. Still not going much faster, but trying to add in some sprints to push myself a little.

In-laws visit, total success. We brought down real tomatoes (local), Vaidahlia onions, and some ground beef from the farm that we get out meat share from. They loved the burgers, and M's only complaint was we were taking her home instead of leaving her there.

The boy we have always not really trusted in M's class, you know the one with the constantly running nose who's parents never show up to the parties, seems to really like her or something. When prepping for my last field trip hell, he came over and wanted to hold her hand. She rebuffed him quite soundly, and he went to the quiet corner to to sulk and perhaps shed a tear or two. She seems to have good taste, but poor guy. Perhaps if he gave up making "shooters" at people and invested in tissues he would stand a chance.

The whole family seems to have gotten a bit of a cold. Watery eyes, sniffles, popping ears, choking on the snot draining down the back of your throat (sorry, TMI but when you realize what is doing it, way better than the kid almost throwing up) and general crankiness. I thought for sure the run this AM would hold it off. Nope. First time that hasn't done it, so I must really be in for it. Anyone want to bet on if I manage to get in a run tomorrow?

At less than two months, I'm starting to get really excited about NYC and BlogHer. Like totally really excited. Would anyone be up to reading about me getting neurotic about it? May possibly include a few NYC tips for those interested. I don't know why I'm bothering to ask, I'm going to do it anyway.

Before BlogHer I need to get my act together and transfer things to the domain. This will require investing a little money in a template. It needs to be done. So, I will be getting a new template for Wordpress instead of some new shoes for BlogHer. Oh well. Shoes are under rated. I want to have a review section so I can divide out some gear reviews (all stuff I've bought, but still, want to segregate) I've been wanting to write. They include my favorite running gear for the fat (or not so fat) girls. (all stuff I've actually paid my own money for, people only send me running gear to review in my dreams)

My throat is calling for ice water and some serious vegging on the couch. Perhaps an early bedtime too. If tomorrow is a mother/daughter sick day, wish me well. We have four new movies including *shudder* the first Disney Princess movie I've ever owned.... (but not the first I've rented and watched repeatedly on demand) I caved, yes I did.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fat Girl Running

The whole time I've been doing the Couch to 5K, I've been focused on just making it through so I could make it to the next thing. There was always the next interval to make it to.

I'm here. I'm at the last interval. I can run 30 minutes.

The next part, this part I'm not so sure about.

I need to go faster, and I need to go farther.

I don't know how to get there. I don't know how I'm supposed to do this.

Tonight when I was running, I felt fat for the first time since I started this. The faster I try to go, the more that I bounce. It is uncomfortable and frustrating.

So I think the next thing is to just keep trying to farther. The pace I'm going is slow, but it is going none the less. It is doing what it needs to do right now. Maybe I'll always be really slow.

Who knows though. Maybe the fast will happen some day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thirty Minutes

There was a time, when I wasn't sure I would ever be able to run a minute. I could barely walk a mile comfortably, so there was no way I would ever be able to run.

Then I worked harder. I survived the Jillian's shredding. I kept walking until a mile became two, became three miles in under an hour. I biked to work with forty-five pounds of kid and gear.

I still didn't believe that I would actually become a runner.

I started though, determined to conquer something new in my quest for a healthier me.

A ran for a minute. One minute became ninety seconds. Ninety seconds became two minutes, became three minutes. Then five, eight and ten.

Tonight it was 30 minutes. 2.14 miles.

I have a hard time imagining that I will ever go faster than I do right now. But my 15 minute mile has already become a 14.5 minute mile. Eventually, with some luck and a lot of hard work, it will be a 10 minute mile.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Weekend Garden Tales

It has been a good weekend around here. Yesterday we got out to the Farmer's Market (original Minneapolis one this week) and got snow peas, kale, cilantro, strawberries and green garlic. We napped while it rained and ended on a high note in St. Paul having dinner at Boca Chica's Taco House. (35 years that place has been around, and people are still discovering the awesome salsa)

The garden is doing really well. The tomatoes in the new beds are twice the size of the two in last year's bed. I think that means I needed to add more compost to the old beds each year. For now, I'll fertilize a bit.


The peas are loving their trellis. Most of them have started to hang on. I have a feeling we'll have peas in a week or so.



One of last year's onions was missed, so I'm letting it head out for seed. Well, and because it looks cool.


We at the first radishes from our garden. I cannot get over how much more buttery a really fresh radish is. We'll try roasting them when we have a larger crop.

The cucumbers are doing really well. They're starting to climb their trellis, and we have the beginnings of a lot of cucumbers. I suspect I may have pickling in my future based on the current flower count. M has other ideas though. Cucumbers have turned in to one of her favorite foods.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Constant Craving

This summer at BlogHer, provided that I can afford it, I want to get another tattoo. I want a small sprout, for M, because she is my little sprout.

However, the way things have been going lately, I think I should get this tattooed somewhere...

Reasons not to have that ice cream, cake, brownie, soda, ice cream cake, cookie, chocolate, etc...

1. One pound of weight is five pounds of force on your knees. Every step puts an excess 350 pounds of weight on each knee. OW! They hurt more just thinking about that.

2. Skinny jeans

3. Size Medium

4. Sun dresses with strappy straps.

5. Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and J. Freaking Crew

6. Totally being a showoff about your mad running skillz.

7. Living a life without insulin, or drugs that make you sick, or worries about something preventable.

8. Getting in on the leggings and flowing top trend before it goes

9. Boots without wide shanks

10. The rest of your damn life, is it really worth all of that sugar?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When the Universe Makes Its Will Know Via Cake

In my mind, I was writing this great post today about how I've fallen off the wagon on the whole no sugar thing, but that I was recommitting myself, you know, starting tomorrow. It was going to be today, but then I remembered that ice cream cake in the freezer at work. Hrm, I needed a piece of cake first, like a last hurrah.

The freezer at work, works much better than my freezer at home. That sucker was hard. I should have stopped then. That should have been my sign when I couldn't get my knife through it. I kept going however.

The piece of cake released, the knife went flying, right in to my left index finger. One look and I knew. I had cut through the superficial layers of skin and I was just about at the point where I could have inflicted serious damage.

I'm a klutz. I know my injuries. I could let it go, but it would take a long time to heal and there would be infection risk. It would also hurt a lot more. Or, I could suck it up and get it glued shut. No Urgent Care downtown by work, but there is an ER. The busiest ER in the state. The place the National Guard sends its medics for training because they see that level of trauma. I walked down to HCMC with a coworker. He was sent along to make sure I didn't pass out on the way. No, it wasn't that bad, it was a safety precaution.

I got in line, let a couple of people that were in much worse shape than I was go ahead of me, and two hours later I got my super glue (dermabond), steri-strips, and a discharge notice about giving people the finger.

Then I went back to work and ate the piece of cake that caused all the trouble.

I know I'm a sugar addict, and yes, I am using that word correctly. It is a compulsion, and it can be serious. All joking about my little cut aside, I know there is a problem here. I'm still trying to figure out how I want to deal with it. I know I have an appointment with my Dr. in two weeks where I will be able to ask more about what my options are. Perhaps it means some more serious therapy. However, the waiting lists for places that offer that are long. Perhaps it means something OA, but I am not sure I am ready for that yet.

I've made it past the first hurdle. The one that dealt with my sedentary life. It takes work for me to not want to run every single day. Those rest days are hard to take off. I know I can deal with this. I know I can get past it. I am just not so sure how that is going to happen right now.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Recyclable Pea Trellis

Last year was the year of the small plants in four packs. Last year I purchased things that people didn't even know you could get in four packs at the nursery. (Beans, peas, brussels sprouts) This year, I was determined to save some money and plant from seed. While I didn't get going quite as early as I wanted to, I didn't do too bad.

I planted peas, beans, radishes, beats, broccoli, sun flowers, and cilantro. So far, everything has come up. The broccoli isn't doing so hot, and I'm not sure if one row entirely didn't just poop out on me. However, I am hopeful that some of it actually produces something, otherwise it is a lot of wasted space. The radishes are now thinned to the point where I am just waiting for them to mature. I didn't get any radish sprout salad this year, some three year old ate all of them while I was thinning... The sunflowers and beans are good, each about four inches tall. The beets are coming slowly, but that is expected.

Since I am trying to do more this year, but spend less money, I thought I would show off my new pea trellis. Last year I bought two three foot tall trellises at Target in their garden section. They were not wide enough for my row of peas, so I strung twine between them. It worked OK, but the twine stretched out when it was wet. I could have just gone out and tried to find more to fill in this year, but if I remember correctly, they weren't cheap.


So, I took the same two small trellises, used some really straight sticks from trimming our tree earlier this year, and created a more stable structure between them. Most of the branches are either a single straight branch, or a stable Y shape. They were slightly green when I put them in, so I was able to weave them in and out. Since peas aren't all that heavy of plants, this should hold up. I didn't use this method for my cucumbers since they can get heavy. Bonus, it is completely recyclable. If I hadn't had the metal ones from last year, I think I could have totally done with just the sticks.


The last picture is from today. They are just about ready to grab on. I'll take pictures as their season continues, since I think on top of everything, it will be a cool look.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

When Retail Therapy Goes Badly

Open letters to an evening of shopping.

Dear Schuler Shoes,

Yes, I know that it was 10 minutes before you closed, but some of us work and like putting our kids to bed. I came in knowing exactly what I wanted. You didn't need to act so annoyed. Also, sort of disappointed that you didn't have my size. You're one of the only places in town that carries them. You didn't even offer to see if you had them at another store. I was willing to spend the extra 40 bucks to buy them from a local store, but you lost that sale. Likely any future ones as well.

Sincerely,
Big Foot just ordered off of Amazon.

Dear Dick's Sporting Goods,

Yeah, totally happy you had a nice lightweight hat for me to use for running. Absolutely disappointed that you didn't carry any women's socks above a size 10. Men's socks are OK, but can be wide. If I am going to spend money on the good running socks, they had better fit me.

Sincerely,
Big Foot Again, still looking for the socks

Dear REI,

I pink puffy heart you. I ordered a couple of pairs of shorts online earlier this week (including plus size, so awesome you carry workout clothes for real women), and I took the chance today to try them on. I cannot wait until mine get here. Almost bought another pair. (holding out on buying more than the minimum until I lose more) Keep up the good work.

Sincerely,
Fat girls need wicking fabrics too

Dear Thighs,

You know, I guess I could have been OK not seeing you in your current state. That whole lack of a mirror thing was sort of working for me. However, I must say, given that your current saggy look is due to my losing weight, I can't be too upset. We're getting there. Thank you for putting up with being shoved in tight compression shorts and running skorts. The skorts definitely were better, but we're not quite out of the chaffing woods yet. Soon. However, even if you're not there by fall, I'm still putting you in tights.

Sincerely,
Cottage cheese doesn't even begin to explain it...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Kicked Week 5 and Lived to Tell

So, Week 5 is done. In the seven or so weeks I've been doing this, nothing has scared me as much as that first really long run. Nothing.

I read ahead when I was on week 3 and thought about giving up on the spot.

However, I now own Week 5.

I jogged, very slowly, for 1.37 miles.

Let me put that another way. I ran over a mile, at an under 15 min/mile pace. (14:35 to be exact)

Then I limped home like the big baby that I am. For longer runs, my foot cramps up, my knee starts getting weak, and it is all I can do to make it through the full 3 mile route.

Good thing that I don't run again until Saturday and that Week 6 starts out slow.

I will be getting some insoles until my new shoes show up, hopefully that helps out a little. By the time I get to Week 7 (OMG, no slowing down at all) I should have new shoes in my hot little hands (please don't let me down Amazon.com)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Excuse Me While I Melt

There are few words to explain how I hate the heat. It is a deep seated hatred. Compounded by the fact that I don't like to use hate, because my mom's word from when I was a kid still ring in my ears. "Hate is a strong word." I dislike the heat. I hate heat with humidity.

If I afford/convince my family of it, I would move to Seattle, Portland or San Francisco.

There are a few things I can do in the heat. Dip my feet in an icy cold kiddie pool, drink cold beverages, or sit, very still, in the shade, with a breeze. That pretty much covers it.

When I moved out east I discovered the joy that is central AC. It is a necessity in the DC area. When I moved to NYC I got a window AC unit and happily contributed to an urban heat island. Our house doesn't have central air, but we supplement with window units. I would be lost without them.

Of all of the things I have not enjoyed even a little in the heat, exercise is close to the top of the list.

That was before.

Before I realized that I actually like to run. Before I ran in the pouring rain. Before I went to physical therapy for my knee, so I could make sure it wasn't an excuse. Before I got up at 5:15, so I could leave the house at 5:30, so I could go for a run, beating the heat, sort of, and still have enough time to shower, shave my legs and catch the early bus. (so, I forgot my lunch, the Subway was good)

Just because I did it, doesn't mean that I haven't learned my lesson a little.

On Saturday I was dreaming of better gear. Today I realized that it needs to be more than a dream if I am going to be able run in the hot and humid of a Minnesota summer. I need a lightweight hat. I need a hair cut. I need some proper wicking bottoms.

I went online to REI and got two pairs of running shorts. They are longer, loose, and more traditional. I still have doubts that they won't bunch and ride up, but I need to give it a chance. They both have built in liners, so that should solve my undie problem. If they don't work, I resort to... the spandex shorts. Then I cut the liners out of these and wear them over the spandex because OMG, no one needs to see that. I even see, in my future, tights.

Next I'm looking for a good hat, something light, since half the reason I wear a hat is because sun on black hair, not comfortable at all. After that, who knows. I know that I love this more than I thought I would ever love exercise. I know I wouldn't be here without Liz. She's been having a rough go of it, but I wouldn't have actually started the #C25K if it wasn't for her.

Thanks Liz. You can do it.

PS. I ran 8 minutes straight this morning. Yes, that would be at 5:30 AM! Boo freaking yeah!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

While I'm Doing the C25K - Episode 2

Five minutes isn't seeming like so long anymore.

You know, now that I'm on the uber budget, I should put together a wish list for running supplies. What should I put on it? It would help me have goals to save for.

More singlets. This thing is damn comfy to run in. But I'm sweating like a hog and I really should wash them every day now.

Some more sports bras, see reasons above. Glad I found the Moving Comfort one, but I wonder if it will work without underwire.

That reminds me, I really need to save up for some new bras in general.

I wonder if Nike still makes wicking undies. Cotton is just not going to cut it when it is ninety degrees out. *

I should blog about how happy I am to have lost enough weight to be able to find cute underwear cheap. No longer forced to shop at Lane Bryant.

OK, back to the list.

New shoes. My older motion control shoes are helping out the knee. Damn I hate that the little snot at the New Balance store was right. At least I can order online now.

I need a haircut. That is a running supply right. I wonder if I can afford to keep going to my regular person. If I had to go to the Institute it would suck. Trainees hate curly hair.

Maybe I should get a lighter weight hat like that chick that just passed me again. The canvas is going to get hot too.

I wonder if I will ever be comfortable in those short running shorts.

I will never be comfortable in that unitard thing she is wearing. OMG.

I'm going to be the dork that goes to the grocery store in her workout clothes tonight. To hell with it.

Monday is 8 minutes. I'm scared.

* Yeah, if you have always worn technical running shorts, you won't get this. The fitness pants I run in, no liner. However, I did find these from Title Nine. They are now on the list.

** I have no idea if it will work, but I am thinking about moving my work schedule and trying to get out when A is getting ready for work. That would be around 5:30. AM. I don't do well for exercise then, but I think it would help my overall goals of weight loss to start the day exercising. We'll see if it lasts longer than my Shred at 5:30 plan. (two weeks was all I made it then)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sage Advice

The drama, at work, has not yet ended. It continues to be of the variety I just cannot get in to details about online. Which is frustrating. It is times like these when I wish I was better at making friends. I left the blogger get together last night early to go home and tuck in the kiddo. I also left because I do not do crowds well. My ability to fake it has a limit. Give me a quiet corner with one or two people and I am much better. However, that takes time to cultivate, and I am just now coming out of the stuper of new parenthood enough to feel like I can take the time to develop those friendships.



So instead, some beautiful sage flowers. My sage survived the winter. Something it does with ease when in the ground, or in Colorado, where it is a year round landscaping fixture. Not so much in container gardens in MN. Early snow tucked it in nice and warm, and this year it came back. With flowers.


Beautiful flowers like nothing I have ever seen. The hint of purple makes me happy. Very very happy. Also, I finally figured out how to really work the macro setting on the new camera.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Build It Then Fill It

Now that you have a box to grow your garden in, time for what is next.

Where do you put it:

We originally went with container gardens because the spot for the garden just happened to be where we had just taken out a tree. The ground was shot and covered in pine needles. Do you know how painful pine needles are when they accidentally lodge in the hands while you're working dirt? All I did to get things ready for the containers was lay some weed block down underneath the containers. It keeps weeds from coming up and the plants from going down in to soil that is not as nutrient rich. It also allows drainage. Which brings me to the next point. They need to be basically level. Not perfectly, but basically. Since all I had was a pile of needle ridden dirt, I just moved it around until it was basically right. If you look at my first three containers, you will note that some are higher than others. That was on purpose.

If you want to do this on a hill, consider creating terraced containers. They would need to be longer, with the narrow side going up the slope, mitigating the slope to some effect. If it is a steep enough hill, you may need to do actual terracing.

Avoid putting them in a low spot in your yard. As in, one where water pools when it rains. Too much water could cause root rot.

This year, I put the boxes on (very weedy) grass. To deal with the grass around them, so I don't have to mow, now that I have things in place I'm going to kill it off or cover it with weed block and mulch (as soon as I can afford mulch).

What to fill it with:

I use a mix of a third to a half peat moss, and the rest compost. My composting adventure has not gone well for a variety of reasons, so I buy mine from the Depot. I get the compost plus manure, Mushroom Compost, and if I'm feeling rich, Moonure. Composting manure does crazy thing to plants. My uncle's composting horse manure grew the largest tomatoes I had seen before the 7 foot tall monsters I had last year.

I get enough for a good six inches of mix in each box. (that works out to about 8 cubic feet) This year, I skimped a little on the peat moss and used half a bag (it expands, a lot), and five bags of compost for each box. The peat moss helps add air and moisture retention that you would not get with straight compost. Compost alone can also be almost too rich for some plants. Not including the extra compost I got to help amend the older boxes and where I did some plantings by the house, two boxes worth cost me 30 bucks. If I had a trailer and lived in a city where they sell their compost, it would have been a lot less.

Planting Strategies:

Ignore the information on the packets, sort of. You have nutrient rich soil so the largest concern becomes spacing plants so they get sun and don't stunt each others growth. This is where I suppose if I bought either of the books on the subject I might have more specifics. Instead, I sort of wing it. I mix heights so that things get good sun. I plant in rows going East to West because that maximizes the sun for the different heights. I thin things, but not as much as the seed packets. Worst case, if something isn't working, I can always take out another plant or too. Much harder to put them back. The only other thing I pay attention to is nightshades. If you want tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant, make sure you have at least two boxes. Rotate these crops so that they are never in the same box two years in a row. If you can do three years, even better.

It is entirely possible that the seven foot tall tomatoes were a fluke. I am hoping they were not. If they were, I may just be full of it.

How to Build a Square Foot/Container Garden

Gardening is easy, I swear it is. You see, you don't have to get a rototiller and dig up and work on amending soil that used to be grass, or used to be who knows what kind of dumping ground for burned garbage (the place my parents put their garden when we moved in to town).

You can build up, and it is easy, and relatively cheap. Total cost for the box, less than $20, and they last for years.

Supplies:

2" x 10" x 8 Ft. boards. Pine is fine, but you want it untreated. This is for making a 4 ' x 4' or 2' x 6' box. The minimum soil depth should be 4-6", so you can get by with a 6" tall board, but I like the 10" height because it makes some extra room for mixing, they are heavy enough to not need any other staking. Also, even if you are making more than one, don't go with the longer boards. Longer warps, and makes assembly hard. Cost: $7.75 each

8 small brackets (from the decking area) These should be L brackets. They make longer ones you could use one each, but I am cheap, and it was easier to get two small per. Cost: $1.08 each

1" wood screws, a big plastic pack of them. You need at least 32, and likely at least one will be bad. Buy the big box, you'll use them. Cost: Not sure, we had a big box.

A power drill/screw driver. If you have something like my very large cordless Ryobi, make sure you knock down the torque to be right for screws instead of drilling. If you don't have a good drill, why not? Really? Even single girls in apartments need drills.


1. Get the board cut at the store. Home Depot will do one cut for free, per board I think. I've never been charged. This was my 2'x6' box.

Screw the short side of the brackets on to the boards. Since I wanted to get the most out of my 2 foot width, I did the brackets like this. For the 4' x 4' box, I did the assembly more like this. So one on each of the left sides of the boards.

After attaching all of the short sides of the brackets, I then attach the long sides of the brackets. If you're doing this like I did, you can leave the long sides on the ground. If you do a square box, I would recommend just keeping things on the ground. I sat in the middle and just did the whole thing from there.


Ever wonder why you do the short sides then the long sides, it is so you can fit your drill in to the tighter space you are doing the final assembly.



When you have attached one side, flip it up and do the other side. (again, with a square box, leave it on the ground and if you need, just get someone to brace the other side to make the screwing easier.

Ta-da!!!

This is already a photo heavy post, so I'm continuing this tomorrow to talk about placement, what to fill it with, and planting strategies.

Monday, May 17, 2010

With a Little Help

Tonight I did Week 4 of C25K. For the third time. By all rights, I should be using this opportunity to move on to Week 5, but I won't be doing it.

I want to succeed at this. I NEED to succeed at this. I find it so easy to give up sometimes, and I know I can't give up on this. There is a prize at the end and it is having the life that I want. So, I don't move on until I know I have mastered the current week. I don't move on until I know I will succeed when I try the next. It is a feeling, where I don't struggle through every run. It is when I can sprint at the end of the runs and really open up my lungs and stretch out my legs.

Last week, during all that rain and miserable cold weather, A said something to me that stung. When I said that I wasn't going out, he said that that was the me that he knew. Finding excuses.

Before you think that he was just being and ass, because I sort of did that already, know this. He knows me very well. He knows that sometimes to really get motivated, I need to get pissed.

So instead of making excuses, or just doing the Shred, I went out, and ran, in the pouring rain. When I called him out on the whole giving up thing, he did point out that it worked. He knew exactly what he was saying to me and why. I am so lucky that I have someone that will support me through all of this.

He hangs with the kid, gets baths ready, and often puts her to bed. He does it without complaining one little bit. It makes me want to not give up. It makes me run when I have a tickle in the back of my throat. It makes me run when I don't want to. It is what is going to make this a success.

This last March we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. I wanted to write a post for him, but I couldn't figure out what to write. From the beginning, our relationship has felt private, and special, and I didn't know what if anything I wanted to share. However, here a couple of months later, I finally figured it out. I wouldn't be where I am right now, if I didn't have his love and support.

Happy (late) Anniversary honey bunches.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Busy Little Bee

What happens when you have an early Spring, followed by like five days of cold, rain, and maybe a little snow, then a super nice weekend right when the Minnesotan's should be planting?

Catch-up.

This weekends accomplishments include but are not limited to:

Got a new phone that allows me to be more connected, even when, ummm, working.

Going to the Mill City Market (OMG, how did it take this long for me to find this gem!!!) for the first time and partaking of some amazing Banh Mi from Dim Sum Street. We also had Indian Spiced Donuts from The Chef Shack. For later (read, breakfast tomorrow) I have two tarts from Queen of Tarts (who clearly need a website with a name that cool).

All of the above was thanks to needing to pick up our first meat CSA delivery from Brauchers Sunshine Harvest Farm. So far we have had some sausage patties, and they do not disappoint. We are having hamburgers tomorrow.

Hit Johnstock (part of the Art-a-Whirl activities in NE) and ran in to the always wonderful Andrea. Who I happened to know was at Crafty Planet (I was already headed that direction) thanks to mobile Twitter. Hee. We got M some pony tail holders that if she ever listens she will get to wear. I also got a new necklace and a Wonder Woman zipper pouch. Totally psyched about my cool recycled pouch.

Got a run in. (C25K Week 4 - Day 2, still alive, so it must be working)

Made my first trip to Home Depot to buy 32 board feet of 10 x 2's to build two new raised gardens, sixteen brackets to hold the boards together, and some compost & peat moss.

Built one of the new containers.

Added some compost to existing beds and planted 8 pepper plants, four cucumbers and two tomatoes. Oh, and some basil, parsley and rosemary.

Played around with the new phone some.

Worked Sunday morning including a trip to the office where M got to go with and watch HD PBS Kids in the break room (I will now quit mocking the need for TV's in the break room).

Made breakfast with the sausage from Brauchers, pancakes and a sauce made from local rhubarb we got at the market. Oh, and lattes too. Mmmm...

Made another container for the garden.

Went to Home Depot again for another 400* pounds of compost and gas for the grill (stinker ran out in the middle of grilling the onions Saturday night).

Finished filling the beds with compost & peat moss. Got a call from a friend who had extra dirt. Added some of that, and planted four more tomatoes, and from seeds, beans, peas, radishes, broccoli (why yes, I am crazy), beets, sunflowers and cilantro.

Mowed two thirds of the yard.

Made dinner, it was tasty.

Resisted temptation to reward myself for a busy active day and didn't have a beer or a coke (though I may still have the beer)

Went grocery shopping. (hate it when staples like bandaids, ibuprofin and tissues blow your budget)

Now, some laundry, dishes, and yeah, I think I'll have that beer. (good micro brew stuff from out East that we love, a special treat for someone like me who rarely drinks)

*If you count just the compost bags, which cumulatively around 500 pounds. I figure I moved each bag at least four times (Depot to cart, cart to car, car to wheelbarrow (easy slide to the ground) and then the finally dump in place). Which means when you figure in the wood, the extra dirt, etc, I figure that I lifted and moved around close to a ton and a half, maybe two tons this weekend. Holy bananas!!!

**Don't forget your sun screen. No matter how nice it is, if you're outside for longer than like half an hour, wear it. Just think of my fat red arms to remind you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You know what is awesome?

This. He's smiling.
And this. I think he's blowing me a kiss, don't you?


Sometimes, working for The Man isn't so bad. I mean, corporate America has some side benefits. Especially when you work for a company awesome enough to let the peons in the good seats.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Wee Bit of Ripping Off

Bless me father Jillian for I have sinned.

As of today it has been three days since my last run.

In that time I have eaten piles and piles some sugary treats. I have also imbibed of just one Leinie at the game alcohol and four pieces a little bit of pizza. not to mention all of the damn fine kettle chips.

Apparently my body did need some major traumatic possibly life changing events a little break, so it wasn't all bad. I finally started losing weight again five freaking weeks after starting the Couch to 5K.

Don't worry, for my penance I have already made the ultimate a little sacrifice. I did Week 4 of the C25K. In 48 degree weather. And pouring rain.


I ran for 5 minutes (TWICE!) in the pouring rain and lived.

Boo Freaking Yeah!

PS. I am not trying to offend any Catholics, I swear.

Life of the Party


One of the coolest things about tweeting about local and crafty businesses is that local and crafty people follow me. Which can be really cool when it comes to finding new local crafty businesses.

I have been coveting My Friend London's yarn ever since I clicked through to her Etsy Store.

I have this secret passion for hand spun. I just never think I knit anything good enough for it.

However, after finally meeting her in person, and seeing the awesome bright colors in person, at Craftstravaganza, I could no longer resist. I bought some "Life of the Party" and it managed to make it in to a hat less than two weeks later.

I may have been a wee bit inspired by Shepherd's Harvest Festival as well.

It is lovely yarn, and it knit up quick on 10.5 needles. I love it so much I may bring it to the very chilly Twins game today.

I think I am over my fear of hand spun. Too bad I'm on a craft diet while we do the new budget. I want to have my craft room in the basement before I get any more. However, I will stalk her Etsy store in the meantime.

PS. Not all of her yarn is as schitzo as what I got. I just like bright shiny colors. Also, why yes I am a giant dork when taking pictures of myself showing new things.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In Nonspecific Terms

If you follow me on Twitter, you likely would like an update to this, so here it is, in more than 140 characters. Well, also in nonspecific ways because I have absolutely no desire to get dooced. (wait, I thought that was technically a word now, why is spell checker not happy with it)

Yesterday there was "an incident" that basically came down to an issue of respect for me. It was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. Part of a long pattern of... issues.

So, I quit. I didn't ask my husband, I told him. I just did it. Then I cried. A lot.

When I finally found a person to resign to (what, there are a lot of meetings) she rightly talked me in to waiting. You know, talking to my husband, and making a well thought out decision. (I adore her, not everyone would do this)

Then you know, I tweeted about it.

So I went home. A couldn't concentrate having been shocked by his wife, so he came home too. We talked it out. There was a lot more crying. There was also a budget spreadsheet. We figured it out. It could be done. It would suck. There would be strict rules. There would be little to no wiggle room. There would be no more expensive haircuts. There would be no vacations, no BlogHer, no movies (maybe a matinee), no new clothes. There would be crappy health insurance (mine rocks, his does not), there would be big changes. There would be a need if we wanted to have any fun, that I work part time. Either freelance or go back to my Barista skills.

However, there would be no worrying about M getting in to a school just because it had before and after care. There would be working out, during the day, like a normal person. (instead of timing it to right before sunset) There would be playdates. (thank you Twitter) There could be sharing childcare occasionally with my SIL, and maybe letting the girls play together more. There would be the possibility that we could afford another kid. (two in daycare, way too expensive) There would be adjustments, but I would get to do the art projects, instead of getting them in a pocket on a wall from school.

There was also the realization that we are not managing our finances well at all. We (well, I) have debts. If we can afford to have me not work, then we should be able to afford to save and pay off debts. Regardless of the outcome of the meeting, something would need to change.

So today, at work, there was talking. There is a plan. There is an understanding that if I want to quit my job, then it needs to be because I want to do it for me and for my family and not because of "an incident". No matter what, "the incident" would be handled. If I wanted to look at options for a flexible schedule, or if I wanted to leave and stay home, we could consider that in the future. I am in a position of control. I have control over my own future. I do not have to work.

It is freeing. It is relaxing. It may help me focus.

So we are instituting the new way of managing the finances. Today, I handed over my credit cards to my husband. In June, when the new budget starts, everything changes. It will be good.

I want to pay off debts. I want to get in a better place on a few things. Then I will reevaluate the work schedule thing. If I still feel like I need to do it, I have submit a proposal for flex time or a reduced schedule. I am in control.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

For Mothers and Those About to Rock


A hates flowers. They make him sneeze. He was forced to live with lilacs as a child, despite both boys being allergic to them. He still resents all flowers for this.

However, he knows I love them. Sometimes, even with his issues, he gets them for me. Usually when I least expect it.

Yesterday, when I least expected it, he got me the perfect flowers. They are all kinds of bright and cheerful, and I love them.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms, regardless of what your path to motherhood has been. And for those who are struggling with today, Happy OMG You Rock Day! I cannot help but think of my friends who have been pained by this day in recent years, and those who are still struggling. I hope there is some peace for you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Bee's (slightly tweaked) Knees


Dear Week 3,

I just can't quit you.

Sincerely,

A. Sprout


I've sort of been half assing (it is a word, I swear) participation in Liz's challenge, but I'm making it official.

Week 3 kicked my behind, or well, my knee, all over the place. Friday, it started hurting a little. Saturday, I ran again because I needed to get one more Week 3 in. Sunday, any time I left it bent or stood on it for too long, it was killing me. I still had to mow the lawn however, so I powered through. When giving M a bath on Sunday before bed, all of that kneeling on the hard bathroom floor did me in. I spent some quality time with Dr. Google and determined that I had runner's knee. Common, but you know, consult a professional.

One thing that I've learned is that all of the normal rules don't always apply when you're doing fitness activities and obese. I bet those little stick figure like people would have issues if they carried around a 60 pound backpack while gleefully jogging down the path too. (bitter, who me? ) Before I ever considered C25K, I spent close to a year walking and building endurance. I dropped 30 pounds. I can't even imagine doing this when I weighed 260. You have to listen closely to your body when you have this much extra stress on it. When they say consult a Dr. before beginning, they mean it.

So, yesterday, even though I was pretty sure I knew what the issues and solutions were, I went to see a Physical Therapist. I want to be in this for the long haul. Getting hurt and having to stop is not an option I want to even consider.

The good news is, Dr. Google was mostly right and it is a common issue with easy solutions. The therapist, and her assistant, were supportive and encouraging. (part of the reason I went with a female PT) They were able to easily identify the issue and give me information on what I needed to do next.

I am very lucky. I don't have to get a referral to see a PT. I went right to the subject matter expert (SME if you're really a geek) and didn't waste any time not training.

I'm repeating Week 3 again because my lungs just don't feel up to going beyond 3 minutes. However, last night (4th time on Week 3 workout) I started to feel like I was breaking through. I was recovering faster and not ending the interval completely out of breath. Tonight, a nice little walk trying to beat the rain. Tomorrow I'm back at it again with another Week 3.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go stand on my tiptoes, do a mime routine with a wall and invisible chair, and lunge a little. I love PT homework, really I do.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

While I'm Doing the C25K

There is something blissful about having close to an hour nearly every day to myself. It doesn't matter how hard I am pushing my body, it feels indulgent to not be catering to the every need of a kid, husband, or housework. I think, about a lot of things. Here are just some of the things I think about:

If my body doesn't start dropping weight soon, I'm going to cry.
My knee really hurts. Stop it knee. I need you to work so I can get skinny and make you happy.
You can do this
You are better than this
I'm pretty sure I'm close to the end of this three minute run, I think it was just after the first chorus in this song.
Stand up straight, no one is as worried about your stomach flapping around as you are.
What do they call that stupid bit of fat/skin that hangs down where the sun doesn't shine, skirt? Stupid thing. I hope I can meet my goals and justify that tummy tuck.
Running? Again? OK, you can do this.
I wonder how stupid I look and sound to the people out walking their dogs, all huffy and puffy.
Screw them, I'm Wonder Woman.
She's just walking in her high waistband jeans up to her damn bra, I'm running dammit.
God, if I ever wear jeans that look like that, somebody shoot me. A muffin top looks better than that.
I wonder if I dress crappy enough to be on What Not to Wear.
Is Clinton Kelly gay or straight? What am I thinking, it is none of my business.
Running. Time to run.
Even out your stride, or your other knee is going to get messed up.
Stand up straight, look ahead.
I said straight.
Stupid pollen, this sucks.
You can do it.
You can do it.
You can do it.
Almost there, don't slow down, you can do it.
OK, there is no way in hell I am going to do Week 4 next week. I'm repeating, for real this time. Maybe by then everything will stop blooming.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Athletic Ability

I am not an athlete. I have never been an athlete. I tried in middle school to be on the swim team. I was horrid. There is at least one of my friends from back then that reads this blog and can attest to that. (I am not counting my mother, she always remembers things as being rosy) I gave up swimming for theater and speech team. I even made up my own game in gym class (with some other equally non athletes) to get out of playing the dreaded volleyball. (my hate for that game rises from the fact the damn ball always hit me in the face, on my glasses)

My one and only stint of decent fitness came from Tae Kwon Do and some incredibly well channeled anger from my first broken heart. Also, I got a kick out of impressing the guys in the weight room at the CC with my ability to do squats. Which may relate back to the broken heart more than a little.

Today was Couch to 5K - Week 3 - Day 1. Today I jogged (very slowly) for three minutes straight. I didn't pause, I didn't give up, I didn't walk. I made sure I went from "now" to "now". (now is the trigger word I have set to the exact times on my podcast) Then, I did it again. I did something I would have never thought I would be doing. It took real work not to break down and cry when I finished that first three minute interval. I knew that hyperventilating would not be good for my recovery walk. I felt like a real athlete.

When I am doing those running intervals I feel powerful. I feel like I can take on the world. I feel like a runner. I feel like a real athlete.

I work to make sure my posture is good. That one is hard because my inclination when my boobs are squished down is to try to hide my stomach. The more I run, the easier it gets. I also have been focusing on breath control more. I know that with asthma, specifically exercise induced asthma, it is is important that I not let myself get too out of breath. I pay attention to my hips, knees and feet. I have to conscientiously make sure that I am not favoring whatever body part was recently giving me trouble, for fear of messing something else up in the process. It is very much a meditative process for me.

The process I started last year, with the Shredheads, then with walking all summer, and then starting C25K this year, is something I don't ever intend to give up. I have passed the 21 days to a new habit many times over. I have taken breaks for cold weather, but by the time spring arrived I was already itching to get out and back to my routine. Spring picked a good year to come early.

I cannot thank Liz & Missy for being the final push I needed to embark on this. I cannot wait until we can all get together and celebrate this together.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Those Flowers Are Rosa!

On Sunday I took M out to a little garden/monument on the parkway by our house. The main purpose was to get some updated pictures for a little Mother's Day project for the Grandma and Nana. M got to stretch her imagination and legs. I got the pictures I wanted for the project, as well as a lot of blog friendly pictures as well.

Missy (I swear I'm not picking on you) blogged yesterday about her presentation to the MN Baby Expo. Specifically about blog privacy. Before she did the presentation she asked if she could use one of my photos of M and talk about my psudonym. I completely agreed to it because while I don't use my real name on my blog, I don't hide the fact that I was not blessed with such a cool name. I also use my real name when I meet people in person, though I will answer to Amelia now.

Her comments about it made me think about the photos that I take. I think that getting blog friendly photos has made me a better photographer. By the time that I had this blog, she was running around enough and it was nice to know that even if I didn't get her face, I still had a use for the pictures. It can be very freeing to not have to care about her face when you have a kid that could care less about having her picture taken. It allows me to capture some moments I wouldn't normally get.

She can be out of focus, but you still get the feeling. When I combine these pictures with the ones where I get some or all of her face, it can show a more complete story.


Like how the scraggly trees were her houses and forts. How she rode horses, and discovered that she is a tree climber.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sugar... Oh Honey Honey

If I were like the other members of my family, my addiction would come to some illicit or controlled substance. I really consider myself lucky that this is not the case. Instead, I deal with having an unhealthy relationship with food. Which sort of sucks because I can't just give up eating cold turkey.

I'm going to oversimplify this a bit, so forgive me. My body has a number of cells that are insulin resistant. As in, they resist the effect of insulin to process sugar. My pancreas responds by producing more insulin. (which can cause my pancreas to eventually wear out causing Type II Diabetes) I have an excess of insulin in my blood stream, not all cells are resistant, and those non resistant cells in turn tell my body to feed it more sugar to balance out the insulin. The resistant cells are likely fat cells. The non resistant ones, the important stuff like my heart, lungs, muscles. I eat more sugar. I get more fat. It is a vicious cycle. (see a more scientific explanation here) Fun side note, excess insulin also causes production of excess male hormones. Hello hair!

Add to that an unhealthy relationship with food. I eat to celebrate, and I eat to deal with unhappiness. So basically I am giving myself an excuse to overeat all the damn time.

The solution is, give up sugar and kick my behind in to high gear to lose those resistant cells.

Missy asked this question on my post about the hairy issues, and I sort of want to answer it, because it is something I've actually given a lot of thought to. Since this is my blog, I figure why not do it publicly.

I wonder - and these are just thoughts for you to ponder, not to respond publicly -but if you've considered Overeaters Anonymous?

I have actually. While no one in my family has ever managed to maintain sobriety with the assistance of AA, it has helped. The part that unfortunately doesn't work for me is the faith one. Over half of the steps deal with God directly. I wish there were other common alternatives, but alas there are not. There are eating disorder programs however, and I am looking in to those along with therapy.

I also wonder if a program like Weight Watchers might help you set goals and keep that immaculate diet you speak of?

I have tried WW before, to varied success. Unfortunately the points program doesn't specifically deal with the limitations my dietitian suggested for me. You can get away with a LOT of sugar in WW and not have it effect your points. (they do a combo of cal, fat & fiber) If all I am watching is points, it doesn't work. The better thing for me to do is track my food and watch my carb/protein/fat percentages. I have not started doing it yet, that requires some meal planning, which I did this weekend. I start on Monday getting back with the site they recommended. (myfoodiary.com) I will track my food, good or bad, 6 days a week. I find it is nice to give myself a day off since there are times when I want to just go out to eat and not care if I can find nutritional info online. Especially since I love local ethnic restaurants more than chains. It doesn't mean I make bad choices, it just means I don't track.

I'm damn serious about the sugar thing. Since Wednesday I have had some really good dark (low sugar) chocolate, two bites of some stellar local ice cream (from M's dessert on Friday at Sen Yai Sen Lek) and a sip of A's coke. I have passed up free cookies, a churro from Boca Chica Taco House, and pastries from Sarah Jane's for A's birthday.

It is so much easier to just say no to everything then try to negotiate in my head what I can get away with and what I will have to give up later to make up for it. It is not 100 percent. They put sugar in everything. There is more sugar in "Healthy Request" soup than there is in just plain old "Select" soup. Take a look at two of the same product side by side, one regular and one "light". In many cases when they remove fat, they replace that flavor with sugar. Salad dressing is infamous for this. If sugar is your issue, you are better off just using a small amount of the full fat stuff than trying to do a full serving of the light. Better yet, make your own vinaigrette so you know exactly what you're eating. For the most part, I either make it, or try to find the least offensive option. No High Fructose Corn Syrup (for a good piece about what that does, see this) (and my reaction to all of that here), and as little added sugar as I can. There are sacrifices (sweet pickles), but the payoff is completely worth it.

One last thing from Missy.

The times in my life when I try to do things my own, on my own sheer will, are usually the times I fail. But those times when I lean on others and let them help hold me up? Those are the times I am victorious. :)


This is absolutely me relying on others. I would NOT have had any kind of success like I have without the support of people who read my blog, people who respond to my silly tweets, and the information I learn from other people willing to write about it on the Internet. That last one is why I'm being so honest about this.

I got some good news on Friday night, in the middle of that dinner. While I don't have the exact numbers to compare, I know that my insulin levels went down from last January. I'll know more at my next Dr. apt. It was just the encouragement I needed to know that I'm on the right path and that I can do this.