Saturday, December 31, 2016

Well, how'd I do?

Goals for this year were:

1. Work: make at least one presentation. DONE.
2. Work: write an article.  DONE.
3. Work: get involved in "the community".  Nope.
4. Workout: Train for something in a focused way. 
5. Workout: Get at least one not-in-Texas race. Nope.
6. Workout: Do a triathlon. Yes!
7. Workout: Get my butt back in the pool regularly. Yes for a while, then no again.
8. Workout: Go climbing.  Fail.
9.  Life: Lose 20 pounds.  Net loss was 2 lbs.  To my credit, for much of the year I was about 10 down.  It just never sticks over the holidays.  Net loss is net loss.  I should take that and run.
10. Life: Focus on conscientious spending.  I'm going to define it better this year.  What I mean is that I want to finish each month in the green.  HOWEVER, I already know that that won't be possible every month, for example June when I already know P is going to miss several weeks of work, so the ultimate goal is to end the YEAR in the green.  No.  Actually super no on the year in the green.  But, BUT, 6 months were green and we've been almost entirely green since I changed jobs.  So it is looking up, most definitely!
11. Life: Improve the garden.  Yes!
12. Life: Go camping in Brazos Bend State Park.  No.
13. Life: Go camping in Huntsville State Park.  No here too, but we did do Stephen F. Austin SP and Choke Canyon SP.  So I'm calling these two a win.
14. Life: Have an epic Disney vacation.  YES!
15. Life: Make stained glass things.  No, but it is still on my list.
16. Life: Take fabulous pictures with the awesome new camera.  Super yes!  Got some shots I was truly pleased with and stuck with it all year.

Goodreads has me down for 34 books this year, but I've read waaaaaaay more than that.  Not sure how much since I don't track my "fluff" reading there, but a lot more.

9 out of 16.  I'll take it. ;-)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Happy Birthday, Kid

Sometimes I feel like the mom should get something for the kid's birthday.  Today is the day 6 years ago when my body got destroyed, my life got busy, and my heart changed forever.  Shouldn't I get a present for that? ;-)

Aside from all of that, happy birthday to the Z!  6 years old, wow.  She had her doctor's appointment (and flu shot, yeesh) last week and she was officially 48 3/4" tall, which was 95th percentile (only 55th for weight, string bean off the old vine).  I was actually shocked that it wasn't 100th percentile.  Shows what I know.  Strangers continue to believe that she is at least 8 based on her height.  Being very verbal only cements their shock when they find out how old she really is.

She wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up.  Or an Olympic gymnast because of "all the money".  She is a fabulous reader, and we've seen another breakthrough in that realm in the past few weeks.  It isn't exactly that she can do it better, more like she is less reluctant to do it... instead of asking us to do it for her (which always met with a do it yourself response anyways, nicely though), she just does it herself.  It is awesome!

To me, in the last little bit, too, she seems a bit more flexible.  Hard to describe why - just that she is more willing to sit somewhere with a doll and use her imagination.  I guess it takes a bit less work to be with her, and you can see her continuing to grow into her own person in that way.

She loves Kindergarten.  She has adjusted completely seamlessly.  No tears, making friends, no struggle with the work (although none was expected).  She goes to swim class once a week and loves that too.

She wakes up happy every morning, and goes to bed grumpy, ha!  She loves her kitty brother with an obsessive air.  She is a level 18 Mystic, with only a bit of assistance from her parentals.  She is fascinated by the world around her and asks a million questions, though she can't always be bothered to listen to the answers.

She had a birthday party at the rock climbing gym last Saturday, with friends from her old school and her new, and it was a great time for all.

She is the freshness that reminds me to take life less seriously.  Here's to age 6!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

On Accelerating a Child

My kid just barely missed the cut-off to start kindergarten last year.  She has been attending a Montessori daycare and by all accounts, she is rather advanced, academically.

Knowing all that, I struggled with the idea of pursing advancing her a grade.  I read, I researched, I tried hard to take my motherly "my child is special" out of the equation.  More than anything I want what is right for her, whatever that is.

So when we went to Kindergarten round-up at her school for next year, I spoke with the councilor, attending 2 follow-up meetings in which we decided to test Z and see.

The first test was yesterday.  They give you like ZERO information.  So we didn't know how to prepare the kid.  Not academically, but just what to expect.  Worksheets?  Scantron?  Verbal?  At the kindergarten level, what can you possibly imagine?  It was so frustrating.  Then we go to drop her off and there isn't even a waiting room.  They wanted us to leave and they'd call us when it is over.  Again, that is the kind of thing it is nice to know ahead of time to mentally prepare the kid for.  INFORMATION, PEOPLE.

If she passed this test (language) with an 80, then she'd go back for a math test and do it all again.  If she passed that test with an 80, she'd go to 1st grade.  Otherwise, kindergarten.  With all the lack of knowing, I really beat myself up yesterday wondering if I was traumitizing her just by testing her.  Hoping I hadn't made a mistake.  Am I pushing too hard?

After all that, she came out and said it was totally easy, no big deal (except for how long it was - it took her 2.5 hours and she keeps saying it was FIFTY PAGES), etc.  I was in awe of how simple it was to her, and wishing I could get some of that back!

Then yesterday afternoon I get an email that she got a 66.  My stomach fell and I was just so disappointed.  And I reallytrying to examine why I felt this.  Do I have something attached to her skipping?  Because she won't care.  But I had that feeling in my gut like I did back when I was in school and got a bad grade.  But I am not disappointed in her.  I just want whatever is best.  But I am surprised.  I really thought... I mean that is why we went through all this.  I don't know what to think or feel.

Then, THEN they RECALLED THE EMAIL.  Wtf, y'all!!!????  Did they recall it because of a scoring error?  Or just some other procedural bullshit?  ARG.

It is ok either way.  I know it is ok either way.  There are challenges and benefits either way.  Ultimately we have very little control over this process or its outcome and I need to let it go.  It is ok.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Late Goal Update

This is late because I was only just getting back from vacation on the 1st!

1. Work: make at least one presentation. DONE.

2. Work: write an article.  Working on it.
3. Work: leave the old job as best as I can and rock the new one.  Old job departure is this week!
4. Workout: Train for something in a focused way.  No, I'm even farther from the wagon with all the traveling I've been doing.
5. Workout: Get at least one not-in-Texas race.  Florida totally didn't happen.  This may not happen this year.
6. Workout: Do a triathlon. I am still scheduled for the Tri Aggieland next weekend BUT I got very very (very very) sick on July 4th.  I lost 11 pounds in just a few days and I am still feeling very weak and run down.  I will see how I improve this week but there is a possibility that I will DNS this.  If it were a 5K it would be one thing, but a full sprint tri in Texas heat on almost no training and a week after a serious illness.... it may not be the greatest idea.
7. Workout: Get my butt back in the pool regularly.  Not this month, and given that I think I'll lose my pool membership when I leave the job, probably not this year.
8. Workout: Go climbing. Not yet.  Maybe this is something I could look at after the new job starts.
9.  Life: Lose 20 pounds.  Weight on January 2 it was 152.6.  Weight on June 1 was 147.2.  Full disclosure: weight on the first day back from vacation was 152.6.  I was upset but not surprised.  However I hit 142 during the sickness and weight this morning was 145.  It may be possible that I can try to come back from this illness at a lower weight.  I will try.
10. Life: Focus on conscientious spending.  Red.  But this was a known issue with the trip.  This month will be red too, given that I will not be working for half of it.  But August everything should change for the better.
11. Life: Improve the garden. Not this month, being gone.  We have been getting a TON of peppers, though, including bell peppers which I'm really excited about!  The lettuce and spinach have unfortunately burned up, but I'll look at a fall planting.  It looks like the carrots and beets are about ready - need to do another planting of that too.
12. Life: Go camping.  YES!  Stephen F Austin SP in March, Martin Dies Jr SP in April, Choke Canyon SP in May.  We didn't camp on our vacation but we did do several hikes including Bluebonnet Nature Center in Baton Rouge, and Orlando Wetlands Park and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.
13. Life: Read or listen to at least 2 books per month.  Only one official due to travel.  Lots of dirty secrets.
14. Life: Have an epic Disney vacation.  YES!!  EPIC!!!
15. Life: Make stained glass things. Not yet.
16. Life: Take fabulous pictures with the awesome new camera.  Yes!  Got more great shots on vacation ranging from (lots of) birds to alligators to sunsets to beach landscapes.  I am really pleased with a good number of the shots I got and I continue to feel like I'm growing!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fitbit Grumble Grumble

Remember how I said Fitbit is shorting the heck out of my weekend walks? Not like a few steps here and there but like a mile? I offer proof:

Fitbit pre-walk:

iPhone pre-walk:

Runkeeper post-walk:

iPhone post-walk:

And Fitbit post-walk:

2000 steps and almost a mile short, measured against another step teacker AND gps. Boo!!!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Idea Nugget

I had an idea this morning.  (Rare, I know!)

I was all filled with "back on the wagon!" thoughts at the end of May, centered on June, but then I've been filled with a lack of motivation now that June is actually here.  I'm feeling a strong motivation to take photographs.  Just not to exercise, heh.  I think some of it is just that I have some very disruptive things coming up this month and the beginning of next month, so it is hard to get excited about 2 weeks when I know what follows.

But, BUT, I've finally gotten an official start date for new-work, which is August 1.  I love that.  Nice round number, nice beginning of the month.  And I was doing P90X3 this morning and I thought, there it is.  I want to do a P90X3 actual 90 day program, beginning August 1.  This is perfect.  It is only 30 minutes per day.  It is after all my scheduled races, but I also know that it keeps me in good enough shape to go run a 5K if I want to.  It coincides with the new job, so I would be establishing a good habit with my new routine.  Starting in August allows me to finish before the holidays, which always mess stuff up.

I like this idea.  I need to flesh it out more... I am thinking right now that I'll do it free form like I did at the beginning of the year - whatever makes me happy as long as I do one routine per day... but I like this idea.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Goal Update

1. Work: make at least one presentation. DONE.
2. Work: write an article.  Working on it.
3. Work: **another midstream change** Leave the old job as best as I can and rock the new one.
4. Workout: Train for something in a focused way.  No, I've fallen off the wagon this month.  I haven't turned into a total sloth, but I've definitely been wandering around directionless.
5. Workout: Get at least one not-in-Texas race.  Not yet.  Looking at you, Florida.  In June.  Hot.
6. Workout: Do a triathlon. I am still scheduled for the Tri Aggieland in July.  I will plan on being better prepared for that!
7. Workout: Get my butt back in the pool regularly.  Not this month.
8. Workout: Go climbing. Not yet.
9.  Life: Lose 20 pounds.  Weight on January 2 it was 152.6.  Weight on May 1 was 148.4.  Weight this morning was 147.2.  I did have a week this month in the 146's (before my conference, sigh), so pleased with the downward trend.  Next month I have vacation AND conferencing, so it will be tough.  I need to try to make smart choices but I also want to enjoy myself and give myself a little pass.  
10. Life: Focus on conscientious spending.  Red.  Ugh.  Water heater went out and apparently my child's teeth are a freaking hole-riddled mess.  On the plus side, the mortgage companies managed to track down the lost payment (that had cleared, punks).  And in August I'll be starting a job that should make green MUCH more achievable.  
11. Life: Improve the garden. Everything is growing nicely but nothing new happened due to all the rain.
12. Life: Go camping.  YES!  Stephen F Austin SP in March, Martin Dies Jr SP in April.  Brazos Bend got cancelled due to the Tax Day Flooding, so we went to Choke Canyon SP in May and it was lovely!
13. Life: Read or listen to at least 2 books per month.  Hit it right on the nose with only 2 official books this month.  The dirty little secret level is pretty epic, though.  I need to find a better way to track those.
14. Life: Have an epic Disney vacation.  Not yet, but it is paid for now!
15. Life: Make stained glass things. Not yet.
16. Life: Take fabulous pictures with the awesome new camera.  Yes!  Got more great shots in Choke Canyon with a rented 200-500 and a rented 105 macro lens.  Lens rental is COOL!!  Also got a few neat shots around the neighborhood and in Austin.  I've been shooting weekly at the very least and I feel like I'm growing, which is all a girl can ask for.

Friday, May 27, 2016

New Job

I wrote this post the other day, but didn't post it.  It was sort of a need to get it out kind of moment.

But the update is: they offered me the job and I accepted.  And I cried when I told my boss today.  And I am terrified.  But this is a big step (back) up the career ladder.  I don't believe it is all rainbows and unicorns over there - it is probably roses, you know, with thorns.  The trick will be figuring out how to leave work at work.  They want change - so the other trick will be going in cold and making shit happen.  I am terrified, but I'm also.... excited.  This is exciting.

The original post from 5/19:

"And what do you fear most?"
"Making the wrong choice."
"Then make the choice that scares you the most."
--Kristen Callihan, The Friend Zone

I don't even know if I have a decision to make yet, but in true me fashion, I'm crazy stressed on the POTENTIAL decision I might have to make.

No one at work knows this yet (Grasshopper, we have shared contacts - no one knows yet) but I've been interviewing for a new job.  I wasn't looking.  I wasn't even close to looking.  I'm the kind of girl who lands and sticks.  That's what I do.  I've only ever worked for 2 companies in my career, and for both I've arrived with every intention of being a lifer.

For the last one everything changed when they hired evil incarnate for my direct boss.  2 years and 60% of her subordinates quitting later, and she was fired last week.  But too late for me.  On Facebook I called it a "karmic correction", but I'd be lying if I didn't say that it opened a wound that I thought was healing well.  And made me question EVERYTHING.  What if I could have held out??  I can't change it.  The new job has been good to me.  I love it here.  But the what ifs will always be there.

The new job has been so good to me that I wasn't looking for anything else.  But in April at my annual conference, I was approached by a colleague who told me about this job and said I'd "strengthen the applicant pool".  I was intrigued, I won't lie, and my friends, when I looked at the salary... I just had to apply.  I had to.  We don't make much money in my field and I can't look at a potential increase like that without applying.  I just can't.  And one thing has led to another and I interviewed Tuesday and got called yesterday for my second interview TODAY.  They move FAST.  But I also know that I was one of four selected to interview, so who knows.

It is a nice feeling to not really care if I get the nod or not... if I don't, I won't have a decision to make and I'll continue on in this stress-free job in this beautiful environment.  And everything will be fine.

But what if they do offer it to me?  I hate, HATE to leave this new job so soon.  It has only been 15 months.  That is a sucky thing to do by any stretch of the imagination.  On the other hand, they knew they were lowballing me in salary when they made me the offer.  They had to know that this was a potential outcome.  On the other hand, I didn't care about the low offer when I took it, and I do think I'm seen as an heir apparent, and I feel like there is a level of trust there that I'd be breaking.  But it is SO MUCH MORE.  I just don't see how I'd be able to turn it down if I got the offer... but accepting it TERRIFIES me.  That first job... it made me question everything.  I misread the Wicked Witch in every way.  So I'm having trouble trusting my impressions.  Money is important but it isn't everything and I don't want to jump from a lovely stress-free situation into a pot of boiling water.  But how would I know if it was boiling water??

I feel like the lack of stress here has been so good for me, mentally.  I feel like it has enabled my push towards exercising and eating right and even creativity like photography.  Will I lose those things if I make a move?  Can I make a move and set myself up for continued success??

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Photographs and Instagram

I've been totally stunned about this, but I've had two of my photos on Instagram get featured by other accounts with larger followings, and they've been well received!  The first one was one of my mushroom shots from Martin Dies Jr State Park, which Texas Parks and Wildlife picked up: And the other just happened yesterday evening, Big Bend picked up my Milky Way shot:!  There is just this feeling - like someone on the other end saw this photo I took and thought it was a good one of their park... it is a great feeling.  And then they post it and like a thousand people who follow them also think it is a good photo... wow.

I had this large-gesticulating conversation with P about photography yesterday on our way home from work.  We are both really looking forward to this weekend because we are renting a few lenses to try out and going on another little trip to another state park.  I have all these ideas for what I'm hoping to get, but I'm also excited to see what I can see with these lenses.

P made the comment that I am shooting fewer shots than I used to.  And I think he is right.  I have A LOT more confidence that I am capturing what I am trying to get now than I did even a month ago.  I also have a lot more confidence in my ability to edit afterwards that makes me more accepting of the original shot.  It is just such a different feel for me now.  This confidence.

Also I've found myself going out for the past two weekends and just shooting what I can find.  One weekend I got 3 macro flower shots that I am freaking thrilled with, and several of the Z.  Last weekend I got one of Spot, one macro, and one of Z/Grimmy that I'm absolutely in love with.  The Z/G pic was almost an accident.  I was laying in the driveway shooting Spot and the windows on the house were open because it was a lovely morning, and I look up and find Z/G sitting there watching me.  I think I only took 2 shots, one with the screen in focus and one with them in focus.  But something about it... it looks soft, dreamy with the screen in front of them, muted colors.  But something else triggers something in me - my childhood, watching out windows and doors, my screen window in my room in my childhood home, in my room at my grandmother's, the screen door at my great-grandma's in Oklahoma.  It is something nostalgic and timeless and it just pulls on my heart.  Add to that that cat is her best friend, and it is this moment in time.  I'm just in love with it.  And it was an accident and not posed or anything and I GOT THE SHOT.  I don't know that that would have been the case a few months ago.  I'm not sure I'd have seen it, I'm not sure I'd have had the camera out, I'm not sure I'd have had the ability to get the shot. I am just so pleased.  I am finding so much pride and pure joy in this hobby.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Dear Zoë

Dear Zoë,

It has been a long time since I've written you a letter on here.  I think a lot of that is because I settled into the routine of being your mom.  Also because you became a kid.  A whole thinking talking imagining kid, and developments seemed less stark individually in the light of your whole self.

But now, now, kid, you are about to start "real" school.  Not for 3 more months, don't panic!  But we did Kindergarten round-up this week and it is getting real.  I got that feeling, filling out the MOUNTAINS of paperwork, the feeling I got in the hospital when I was 8 months pregnant and signing my admission paperwork (so I didn't have to while I was laboring) and I flipped out because I signed a form authorizing them to treat you.  You, this human I hadn't even met yet!  I signed as Parent for the first time and then I sat there and cried, because that made it real for me.  Real in the same way that Kindergarten round-up was real.

A lot of moms seem to kind of freak out on sending their kids to Kindergarten.  I'm not actually sure why.  Maybe I'm immune to it since you've been in "school" since you were 6 months old?  But that can't be it since one of the other moms was totally crying at school the other day about her kiddo starting K.  I think it is just me - this is the next logical step for you.  You are ready.  I welcome this next step.   Don't get me wrong.  I'm going to miss your wonderful teacher and extended care and summer care and not having to worry about when I schedule things because I can have you whenever I want.  But the same way when I was 39 weeks pregnant and I was ready for you to GET OUT OF MY BELLEH, I am ready for you to start school.  It is time!

So where am I going with this?

Well... you're really advanced.  Like, literate.  You can read.  You've been able to read for a while, but lately it is very very clear to me that you can READ.  Like slap a book in front of you that you've never seen read.  And one day last October we asked your Gaga's little neighbor who is in K this year at the same school you'll be going to what he learned that day and he said he learned his letter C, and kid, I'm not sure K is the right place for you.

So when we went to Kindergarten round-up, I chatted with the Counselor about starting you in 1st grade instead, and she said you have to take a test.  I went back a few days later to sign you up and I spoke with her some more, and lo and behold I found MY freak out.  I'm not scared of you starting school.  I'm scared of this test.  Not because I don't think you'll pass.   I want what is best for you - I want you to be appropriately placed, whether K or 1st grade, no worries!  I'm freaking out because I cannot picture taking you up to a room full of strangers and sending you inside to take a test.  And what will the test be like?  Surely they won't sit you down with some sort of booklet and expect you to work through it like every standardized test I've ever taken, right??  I mean.... you're trying to test out of Kindergarten, for heaven's sake!  But then what if it is verbal?  You are so shy sometimes and I'm afraid that you won't answer or show your true abilities.  Gah!  I don't know what to prepare you for, what to picture, and I'm freaking out on it!

Then, this morning, I had a parent-teacher conference with your current teacher, and sweetheart, I am so proud of you.  She said that she literally had discovered new work in her classroom that she didn't even know she had because you and your best friend together are the most advanced students she has ever had.  She said she isn't worried about you taking the test academically at all.  She said you can read.  You are working with numbers up to 9999, adding and subtracting in the thousands.  She has started talking about MULTIPLICATION with you for goodness sake.  I didn't do multiplication til I was 8!  She said she will work on reading comprehension, which is first grade work, a little more with you before the test in case my fears are founded and it is the hand-you-the-booklet type.  And she will talk about new situations to try to help you with the shy.  And she cried and said she is going to miss you so much.  That is such an amazing thing, Zoë.  To have an adult who has worked with hundreds of kids in her career say that YOU are the outstanding one.  YOU are the one that stretched her as a teacher.  She is so proud of the work YOU have done. 

I do not know how all of this will turn out.  I do not know what grade you'll start in the fall.  But either way we are going to make it work.  Either way I know you're going to excel because you have it in you.  You are smart; you are determined; you are brave; you are kind.  I am looking forward to this next adventure with you.  I am so very proud of you.

Love you duv you coko,

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Goal Update

1. Work: make at least one presentation. DONE.
2. Work: write an article.  Working on it.
3. Work: get involved in "the community".  Not yet.
4. Workout: Train for something in a focused way.  I got back on my bike this month and also managed to both swim and run in preparation for the tri.  Not quite what I'm looking for yet, but progress.
5. Workout: Get at least one not-in-Texas race.  Not yet.  Looking at you, Florida.  In June.  Hot.
6. Workout: Do a triathlon.  Well, I was scheduled for the CB&I, but it got cancelled.  I am still scheduled for the Tri Aggieland in July.  I will plan on being better prepared for that!
7. Workout: Get my butt back in the pool regularly.  Sorta.
8. Workout: Go climbing. Not yet.
9.  Life: Lose 20 pounds.  Weight on January 2 it was 152.6.  Weight on Mar 30 was 149.4.  Weight on May 1 was 148.4.  I know I should be pleased because it is trending down, but it is tough because I got as low as 146.6 before I went to my conference.  I'm going to hit it hard again in May (after my birthday), because I feel like that loss is right there for the taking.
10. Life: Focus on conscientious spending.  GREEN, bitches.  Thanks to a little help from our tax return, which I used to pay off 2 debts so hopefully it'll be easier to be green in the coming months too!
11. Life: Improve the garden. Everything is growing nicely but nothing new happened due to all the rain.
*** I've decided to combine the camping goals into 1 and make them more generic.  And I'll go ahead and slap a reading goal in the new #13 since I'm tracking that anyways.***
12. Life: Go camping.  YES!  Stephen F Austin SP in March, Martin Dies Jr SP in April, scheduled for Brazos Bend SP in May!
13. Life: Read or listen to at least 2 books per month.  Hit it right on the nose with only 2 official books this month.  We'll just bypass the 13 dirty little secrets.
14. Life: Have an epic Disney vacation.  Not yet, but it is paid for now!
15. Life: Make stained glass things. Not yet.
16. Life: Take fabulous pictures with the awesome new camera.  Yes!  Got some beautiful photos that I'm really proud of in BBNP, and also had fun shooting in Martin Dies Jr SP!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Big Bend Photography

I was out in Big Bend National Park for a photography workshop last week.

The backstory is a friend of mine who also loves BBNP and photography called and asked if I wanted to do a girls trip and I was HELLS YEAH.  Then we signed up and I discovered it was being taught by a guy I knew from elementary-high school.  Wow.  So I wasn't sure how that would go.

Then we got to the park and I got my Boquillas cherry popped.  (It was fabulous, btw.  Highly recommended.)  And then we went by the burn damage because I wanted to get some shots of it.  We were talking about photography on the way there and just from chatting with my friend it was obvious to me that I was going to be the least experienced person there.  And then, in my freak out, I completely forgot how to do anything.  It was terrible.  I was terrified.

The good news is the instructor was super friendly when we met up with him and it really wasn't awkward.  And the class was small - just me and my friend and one other guy.  We went and got our tent set up in hella wind, and then went to shoot the sunset.  In the process of that, I managed to remember how to use my camera and even ran some learning experiments, and somehow I became at ease.

The following days were filled with pre-dawn mornings to shoot stars and sunrise, mid-day editing, and then sunset/star shoot evenings.

It was not the sort of workshop where the instructor took a shot and asked us to replicate it.  It was more like we'd find a location and then find stuff to shoot.  It was really cool because we'd all be within 100 yards of each other, but everyone would come out with something different.

Long story short, I came out with about 20 shots that I'm quite pleased with, and about 5 shots that I'm really really super mega pleased with.  I came out knowing how to use my camera soooooo much better, understanding my settings better, but also and most importantly, stretching myself in terms of finding my shot and also really looking for light.  It was really a perfect trip.  There were a lot of imperfections, but all together, it was perfect.

I've been thinking a lot about it since I got back.  I've been trying to work through the shots and do some editing.  There is a contest right now at the Bullock museum that I want to enter and I'm trying to figure out exactly which I should submit.  The thing is, for me, this is where uncertainty creeps in.  There was one shot of bluebonnets that I got while I was there that was backlit.  I was originally shooting with the rising sun at my back but at one point I turned around and I saw how the light was filtering through the seed pods and I just thought it was the most lovely thing.  And the instructor practically nutted on it.  But I put an album of my favorites on Facebook and it is one of the least liked ones.  So I started questioning everything.  Then I was chatting with a friend and he said maybe it is a shot that only a photographer would love.  It kind of killed me.

Another of my favorites is a backlit shot of the instructor's wife with their dog.  My "friend" said it looked posed.  In truth, the location was selected so she'd be silhouetted as the sun went down, but goodness help me if I could figure out how to pose a dog running up and leaping into her owner's arms!  This was really a shooting break and therefore about as candid as you can get.

Gah, now I'm questioning everything.

I was talking with P this morning about it all.  He was telling me that he actually likes one of the burn shots that I got.  He was saying that it looks "dreamy" because of the shallow depth of focus that I chose and how it sort of distorts the fore/background.  "Dreamy" was the word that the instructor chose for the bluebonnet pic.  And it is the word that I'd choose for the dog pic.  And then I started to think... is "dreamy" my style?  That would actually be pretty neat - if it were and if I knew it.

P.S.  Totally unrelated, but I've been dropping weight since I got back from BBNP.  I was 149.4 when I left, up from 148.4 due to hormones.  When I got back I was 148.4 and I was ok with that - I didn't hike a ton and I was grateful not to have gained.  But then as soon as I got rehydrated and settled it dropped to 147.4 and then 2 days later to 146.6.  Now I don't know if that 146.6 is real yet or not, but for whatever reason I'm SUPER excited about it!  It isn't a goal weight or anything, but it is less than 7 pounds away from the upper end of my goal weight range and for some reason less than 7 feels imminently more achievable.  Like suddenly, after all these months, I can see that this is really happening.  I'm also really proud - I am in the 4th month of losing and I have continued to lose through multiple trips and other temptations.  I am solidly on the wagon and I am steadily losing and I am really proud of my consistency this time.

P.P.S.  We WERE in the green last month!  Just barely, but GREEN!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Goal Update

I am going to be out of town on the first, so I'm writing this up a few days early.

1. Work: make at least one presentation. DONE.
2. Work: write an article.  Working on it.
3. Work: get involved in "the community".  Not yet.
4. Workout: Train for something in a focused way.  Not yet.  But I've continued with P90X3, plus managed to get myself both back on the road for a run about once a week, and back into the pool once a week.
5. Workout: Get at least one not-in-Texas race.  Not yet.  Looking at you, Florida.  In June.  Hot.
6. Workout: Do a triathlon.  Signed up for the CB&I and also the Tri Aggieland.
7. Workout: Get my butt back in the pool regularly.  At least once a week, yes.
8. Workout: Go climbing. Not yet.
9.  Life: Lose 20 pounds.  Weight on January 2 it was 152.6.  Weight on Mar 1 was 151.4.  Weight on Mar 30 was 149.4.  I've seen some real progress this month and I am pleased.  I was *particularly* pleased that I didn't gain any back on the wedding weekend!  
10. Life: Focus on conscientious spending.  It is tight but I'm pretty freaking sure we will still be in the green at the end of this month.  Preeeeeetty sure.
11. Life: Improve the garden. Got 5 half wine barrels from a friend that I want to plant tomatoes in.  Hopefully when I'm back in town next week.
12. Life: Go camping in Brazos Bend State Park. Not yet.  Maybe mid April?
13. Life: Go camping in Huntsville State Park. Not yet. But we did go camping in Stephen F Austin State Park and it was awesome!
14. Life: Have an epic Disney vacation.  Not yet, but I'm paying it down.
15. Life: Make stained glass things. Not yet, but I finally started talking about it again with Preston.
16. Life: Take fabulous pictures with the awesome new camera.  Yes!  Got some more fab pics this month and right now at this very moment I'm at a workshop in Big Bend where I GUARANTEE you I'm getting more!

Not a goal, but I read or listened to 6 (official) books in February!  I also read 6 romances that I didn't track on Goodreads, for a total of 12. ;-)

THE AQUARIUM HAS FISH!!!  6 of them.  3 lemon yellow cichlids and 3 frontosa.  I LOVE THEM!

Monday, March 28, 2016

San Felipe Shoot Out 5K Race Report, Or, My Slowest 5K Ever

I did not know this would be one of the crazier races I've ever done, but oh, it WAS.

I was excited about this, initially, because I thought it provided a good reason to go camp near home for only one night.  I was even more excited that they had primitive shelters and I was able to reserve one.  I was concerned in the week leading in to the race because of all the rain we had been getting.  I kept checking the website to see if they'd call it.  They never did, so I figured it would be ok.

We got to the park and got all set up and picked up my packet and then it was basically dark.  (This was Friday night).  By the way, the shirt for this race is BAD ASS.

I slept well, yay air mattress!  There was a gentle rain that night, but yay shelter!

The next morning I woke up and spent an epically long time in a bathroom line, then headed to the start.

What struck me at the start was that these people are HARD CORE.  I guess that makes sense.  I mean the concept of the actual "Shootout" race was run a 5K, then a 10K, then a Half all in order.  So yeah, there were some serious serious runners standing around.   There were also jokers in floaties, and I really REALLY didn't get what an omen that was.

They started us off all together and I started near the back, knowing I was seriously outclassed.  This was supposed to be fun for me.  Less than 100 yards into the race there was a looooooong puddle.  Puddle may not be an accurate description.  There was a probably 50ft section of trail under 3 inches of water.  And people were running straight through it.  I was all D'FUQ???  I picked my way on the side, trying to keep my feet dry.

About 50 feet farther on, I got it.  We came up on another long underwater section, and this one went around a bend and there was no telling how long it actually was.  I gave up and went in.  It was COLD!

From there it was more of the same, little mud, long "puddle", little mud, long "puddle".  No rinse.  Lots of repeat.  Then we went down a hill through a creek, but it was still only maybe knee level and very short - maybe 20ft long.  I figured that'd be the worst of it.

Boy was I wrong.

What is important to note about those 2 photos is THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT.  It is also important to note that this is not the deepest we went through.  This is just the only time I felt secure enough to take a picture.  No, I'm not kidding.

There was one section that was literally chest deep on me, and they had two volunteers (heroes) standing on either end of a BRIDGE that was under 4 feet of muddy water, and the first guy said, ok, you're about to step on a bridge that is about 2 ft wide.  You need to walk straight to the other guy to stay on it.  DUUUUUUUUUUDES.

Then after that there was another looooooooooong waist deep river section.  Like 200 yards long.  Then we looped around on the driest part of the course that I saw all day, then did it again.  Then finished.

It. Was. Insane.

So anyways, it took me just under an hour.  I think the final was 59:40.  No joke.  My slowest 5K ever by more than 20 minutes.  Totally justified, though.  Hardest 5K EVAR.  And don't forget craziest.

I think part of what is the craziest about the craziest 5K ever is that it wasn't even meant to be a crazy one.  It was just meant to be a trail run and then we got like a foot of rain in the week ahead and suddenly it was this epic thing.  Don't get me wrong - I would totally do it again.  Because what an experience!

Anyways, I had to shower after to get the mud off.

Then I took pics.

Then we went over to San Felipe de Austin Historic Site and there were bluebonnets!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Better, I think

When I find myself on the upslope of depression, I'm always afraid of making declarative statements, because I know how quickly the winds can change.  This morning I feel better.  I want to qualify it.  Tell you that I might not stay this way, etc.  But you know that, so I'll just say: this morning I feel better.  This morning I feel like myself.

This weekend was busy.  Saturday we had a wedding shower for my SIL that ate up most of the day.  By the time we hit the grocery store that evening I was super done DONE.

When I woke up Sunday morning all I wanted to do was roll over, but I knew it was RODEO day, and I needed to get my butt in gear.  We learned something this year: Sunday morning at the Rodeo is a good time to go.  It'll pick up like crazy after noon, but for about 2 hours you can go ape on the rides with no lines.  Also, for future reference, I bought one Carnival coupon pack which was totally worth the money and had plenty of tickets for us as a family.  I also bought one $30 food card, and we could have done with 2.  Next year I'll know!  We started at one end, worked our way through, and then rode the gondola back - totally worth the tickets!!!
Funnel cake + wind = powdered sugar all over me. Yum!

It was a fun day.  We got home around 4 and put a movie on and vegged for the rest of the evening.

On the gondola.

The Z is a funhouse nut!


My goofballs.

Really cool topiary park for resting.

Oh yeah and it was right against the Astrodome.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Clearings in the Fog

I think I am starting to see improvement.

On Wednesday, I was listening to my audiobook at lunch.  I have been lucky - even though I couldn't focus on TV, definitely couldn't focus on reading, I seem to be able to listen to my audiobook, so I've been doing it A LOT.  I was listening to my book and it was at a key moment in the climax of the book that the file was corrupted.  Literally, it was the "Luke, I am your father" moment, and it was all, "Screeeeeetch is your FATHER" and I was all OMG WHO, WHOOOOOOOO????? So I immediately ran over to amazon and grabbed the kindle edition and read through to the end.  And then I was like, wait, I READ!!!!!  Oh thank goodness, I read!  I was able to read!  That is a huge thing for me.  Huge.  Reading is something I do every day.  Reading is something I do to cope.  When I couldn't read, I was very worried (in my completely unable to care way) about my mental state.  It was not a good sign.  But on the opposite side, it is a good sign that I am now able to.

Then later that afternoon I walked with the friend who cracks jokes and I found myself cracking some back.  I still didn't feel right.  But maybe a little better, yes.

Yesterday I had the ultrasound appointment.  And my doc was quick with the results: everything is normal.  This is both great and frustrating.  Great because I don't want anything to be wrong with me.  Frustrating because if nothing is wrong, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING???

I'm to call on Monday if I'm still "having the issue".  Earlier this week I was sure I'd be making the call on Monday.  But actually, I'm no longer sure.  My body is acting like maybe, JUST MAYBE, it is going to be normal this time.

In a way, that is terrifying.  I mean, if that is the case, then I really did just need a "hormone reset" which birth control provided, then does that mean that I may need to do that again in the future?  And if that is the case what the hell will I do?  Just take the damn things for a week and suffer the depression?  Gak!!

I'm getting ahead of myself.  That is part of my problem - I tend to spiral on what-ifs.  Right now I am just waiting.  I will just wait for the next few days and see if I continue to see an easing in both the depression symptoms and the "issue" symptoms.  Then on Monday I can start examining the ramifications of everything.  That's what we'll do.

I am hoping that this weekend helps.  It has been a struggle to be at work this week.  Maybe the weekend will help.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Depression: The Best I've Ever Done

I've done a lot of things right in this mental merry-go-round.

1. I recognized the problem very quickly.

I am not sure when exactly it came on, but I don't think it was more than 2 days before I realized it on Sunday.  Knowing is a large part of the battle.  Knowing enables the next few things that I've done right.

2. I reached out to my support group.

I've got many friends in my unofficial depression support group.  Fellow sufferers who I have helped when they needed me.  I help others because I want to, because I think it is important, because I don't think anyone should have to feel this way.  And I am so very grateful that when I feel this way, people help me.  This time there are 3 who have really shown up.  It is interesting because each has their own way of helping.  One mostly just listens.  And then tries to crack the occasional joke.  One is a constant reassurance that what I am feeling is normal and ok (but not ok, if that makes any sense) and that I'll get through it.  One has done extensive research on the medical thing behind this trigger, going as far as to offer to go to the doctor with me to be an advocate. 

3. I reached out to my medical professional.

This was difficult.  I called.  I waited 5 hours and called again.  I lost my control and had a fit of sobbing.  I got called back.  I got a plan.  My problem isn't fixed but I am taking action and that is a positive outcome for now.

4. I haven't broken my non-depressed routine.

I wake up every morning and exercise.  I don't want to get up.  But I know that exercise helps me.  And I know it is my routine.  So I do it.  I go to work.  I am not super useful at work right now, but I am there.  I come home and do some housework, eat my dinner, watch tv.  All of this involves not going to bed, which is what I really want to do.  Going to bed would not help me, even though it feels like it would, so I don't do it.  It is hard to describe but there is no joy in anything.  Last week I'd have been working in the garden because I was super excited about it.  Yesterday it was because I "probably should".  Last week I'd have picked a show I really wanted to watch, this week it is all I can do to pay attention.  But I am going through the motions and even though I don't feel anything, I know that doing this is the path to getting better faster.  I have to trust that I know that.  I have learned that before.  Even though I really don't care, I have to trust that there is a silver lining because there was one the last time I walked this path.

Even though I've been here before, I forget how hard it is.  I mean I know intellectually, but I think it may be like childbirth, where you eventually gloss over it.  Even as I've supported my friends through things, even knowing what it is like, what they are going through, how hard it is, I still forget just how powerful and pervasive this fog is.  I think a lot of the coping mechanisms that helped me get out of it last time were developed on the TAIL END of the depression, when I was coming out anyways.  I think.  I am not sure any more.  Even knowing everything I know can't prevent me from being here.  Even doing everything right as soon as I felt it coming on did not prevent me from being here, and it hasn't magically gotten me out.

I read an article the other day that wants us to think of depression like the flu - stigma free, just a thing that everyone gets, sometimes.  I feel that this morning.  You know, sometimes you're in good health, you're fit, you stay away from sick people, you wash your hands, you get your flu shot, and you get the damn flu anyways.  Then all you can do is get through it the best you can.  Well for, wow, fuck, 13 years I've done all the things.  I've jumped through all the hoops.  I've done everything I can to maintain my mental health.  But shit happened and here I am.  Now I just have to get through it.  Somehow.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Goal Update

Let's start by saying that this post was mostly written as things happened over the course of the month.  There is no way I'd have the mojo to actually do this today otherwise.

An update on yesterday's post: the doc finally called me back after I called a second time and basically had a hysterical sobbing fit on the phone with a nurse who then upgraded my call to "urgent".  (She was actually very helpful, got me calmed down, seemed to care.)  Unsurprisingly, I'm to discontinue the pill.  She also has ordered an ultrasound for me, and I'm to call her in 7 days if things haven't... stopped.  (They won't have.)  I am feeling better about all of that - just an acknowledgement of a real problem is very helpful for me, in terms of giving me the patience to jump through whatever hoops are necessary.

Now, on to the previously written goal update.

1. Work: make at least one presentation. DONE.
2. Work: write an article.  Still working on it!
3. Work: get involved in "the community".  Not yet.
4. Workout: Train for something in a focused way.  Not yet.  But I've continued with P90X3, plus managed to get myself both back on the road for a run about once a week, and back into the pool once a week.
5. Workout: Get at least one not-in-Texas race.  Not yet.  Looking at you, Florida.  In June.  Hot.
6. Workout: Do a triathlon.  Signed up for the CB&I and also the Tri Aggieland.
7. Workout: Get my butt back in the pool regularly.  Not often enough yet, but yes!
8. Workout: Go climbing. Not yet.
9.  Life: Lose 20 pounds.  Weight on January 2 it was 152.6.  Weight on Feb 1 was 151.6.  Weight this morning was 151.4.  I got as low as 150 and I think that is closer to the truth, but .  It started going back up yesterday, even though I didn't change anything other than my mental state.  It was a difficult month due to MawMaw's death and 2 unexpected trips to Fredericksburg and hormone stuff.  I can't eat as well while traveling as I'd like, but I did focus on not overindulging and I am really pleased with how that went, overall.
10. Life: Focus on conscientious spending.  Well.... I focused on it.  I watched very carefully while we careened into the red. Sigh.  The 2 trips to FBG killed it, and then my car needed a repair.  It would be worse if I wasn't watching it, I know.  But it hurts to work for something so hard and have it not work out.  The other day in a fit of frustration I went ahead and registered for both of my upcoming professional conferences, since the budget is already blown this month (they are reimbursable but that never happens in the same month as the expenditure, so it always makes budgeting for them a bitch).  On a positive note, we did MUCH better with our food budget.  We can still do better with our shopping budget, but it improved as well.  March is a new month.  I will not stop trying.  We need to take these gains and carry them forward.
11. Life: Improve the garden. Got the last box built, and the planted things are thriving!  In March I need to get dirt for those last 2 boxes and plant some more things!
12. Life: Go camping in Brazos Bend State Park. Not yet.  Maybe early April?
13. Life: Go camping in Huntsville State Park. Not yet.  BUT I do have camping reservations in March for Stephen F Austin State Park!
14. Life: Have an epic Disney vacation.  Not yet, but I'm paying it down.
15. Life: Make stained glass things. Not yet.
16. Life: Take fabulous pictures with the awesome new camera.  Yes!  That is the good that came out of the FBG trips - great pictures!  I've gotten on Instagram and added a widget to the sidebar so my new stuff will be easy to see.  I'm also posting some of my favorite old stuff because I like it, and I like the idea of having one place for the stuff I'm really proud of.

Not a goal, but I read or listened to 7 (official) books in February!  I also read 8 romances that I didn't track on Goodreads, for a total of 15. ;-)

And the aquarium has a thermometer and I've been working with the water to try to get it just right for fish.

I signed up for a race in March, but canned it at the last minute when Z got sick.  Good thing it wasn't a goal!

All in all, I'm pleased with this month, except for the whole plunge into depression thing.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Total Meltdown

We went to pick up my packet on Friday evening, returned something at the mall, had a calorically reasonable dinner at Zoe's Kitchen.  I convinced the family to come to the 5K the next morning because face painting and bounce houses.  We were good to go.

You know where this is headed, right?

I woke up on Saturday with the most terrible crick in my neck EVAR, got dressed, got P up and moving, and went to get Z up.  She had been working some serious snot for a few days, and it was crusted all over her little face when I woke her.  So I brought her to my bathroom and we were cleaning her with a warm washcloth when she started crying and said her legs felt funny.  Huh?  She didn't want to be standing any more.  Huh??  She hobbled over to my bed and said, "My legs felt unsteady.  I just want to lay here for a little bit."  I think I knew right then that everything was shot.  She looked so pitiful.  So I scootched her over a bit and layed down with her.  What else would I do?  P offered that I could leave them and go for the run, but I was worried about her and it didn't feel right.

She wasn't running a fever.  Her little eyes looked terrible, all bloodshot, so after she was cleaned up I got her some lubricating drops and crossed my fingers.  I also gave her some anti-congestion meds for all the phlegm.  And then we all just layed around all morning, me grading papers, P napping, Z watching the iPad in my bed.  Around noon she started screaming and crying about her ear.  Fabulous.

We immediately gave Tylenol (which WORKS, WAY TO GO TYLENOL!) and she cried herself to sleep (she never EVER sleeps during the day) while I called for a doctor's appointment.  After passing all the hurdles, we were told to get our butts to the closest office within 30 minutes, because they closed at 2 and it was now 1.  Done and done.  By the time we got there, she said it didn't hurt any more.  I told her I didn't care, she was seeing the doc anyways.  Saw doc and sure enough, ear infection AND eye infection. Got her meds and returned to the laying around pattern.

Post Tylenol, cried self to sleep.  Grimmy tried to help.
I finally finished grading around 3 so I took a muscle relaxer for my neck which hadn't improved AT ALL.  I fell asleep around 5 and was done for the rest of the day.

Sunday the Kid clearly felt better.  My neck was mildly better.  But my mood went to hell in a handbasket.  I don't really want to go into it other than to say that I got really really REALLY pissed about some things that were annoying, yes, but probably didn't deserve quite the reaction they got.  Then I had a full sobbing breakdown.  For the rest of the night I was useless, I felt like I was moving in slow motion, couldn't really focus on anything at all.  Went to bed around 6:30 because meh.

This morning I am better.... better but not ok.  Better means I am neither screaming at anyone or crying about anything, right now.  I.... I can't seem to find any distraction in the things that normally give me pleasure.  I can't focus on reading.  I end up staring off into space.  I feel... like I don't have any fucks to give.  I got up this morning and exercised because it is the routine, not because I felt internally motivated to do it, if that makes sense.  I don't feel internally motivated to do anything at all.  I guess that is it.  Bed would be nice.

I think that people who care think it is the Pill.  I think I might think that too?  But I don't know what I'm supposed to do.  I missed a single dose the other day and the problem restarted itself almost immediately.  Is this my choice?  Constant bleeding or dead inside?

Friday, February 26, 2016


I saw a deal on a refurbished FitBit Charge HR the other day and I couldn't pass it up.  So I have a new toy.

Here is an excellent thorough review from my favorite tech gear reviewer!  So I'm not going to duplicate that.  I'll just offer few observations that I have after only two full days of wear. 

1. Firstly, this has been fun! 
2. I was already step tracking with my phone, but there were times when I'd forget to have it on me, etc.  I find that the FitBit step count is a few hundred higher per day, which totally makes sense.
3. The sleep metrics are kind of cool.  It is nice to wake up in the morning and have my sense of "bad night" or "good night" validated.  I don't know how accurate it is, but it is interesting for sure.
4.  Not knowing how it calculates the RHR is annoying the crap out of me.  Scrolling through my readings over the past 2 days, FitBit is reporting my RHR at 13-14 bpm above my lowest HR, but there is no documentation anywhere on how they arrive at this magical number. (Low HR first night 44, RHR 57, Low HR second night 45, RHR 59)  I can almost buy that my true RHR is higher than my lowest number, since I don't spend a lot of time at that lowest number, but 13-14 bpm higher seems quite a bit higher and I'd feel better about the whole thing if I knew how they got there.  In the meantime, I've made 2 columns on my workout spreadsheet, one for low number and one for RHR as reported by FitBit.  I'll consider them two different datapoints to fill out my picture and we'll go from there.  On a side note, I am very pleased with being below 60.  Very pleased!
5.  This is just a point of interest:  my lowest HR readings are within an hour of falling asleep.  I almost always wake up once in the middle of the night and I get another low reading after I fall back asleep the second time.  I am sure there is a biological reason for this and I find it fascinating.
6.   The calories that FitBit counted for me at rest closely mirror what MyFitnessPal guesstimates for me.  So that is interesting.
7.  This thing is truly easy to use.  Super easy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Well That Wasn't What I Was Expecting

Yesterday I had to eat out for work.  We were going to a Thai place.  I researched appropriate foods, but approached the meal with trepidation because it was a buffet and I wasn't sure what all would be available.  And buffet.  And I was hungry.  I ended up with about half a cup of fried rice, probably a cup of mixed veggies with some sort of slightly spicy sauce, and a veggie summer roll with about a tablespoon of sweet and sour sauce.  I did my best to enter in equivalents into My Fitness Pal, but I had zero confidence in the outcome.

Then this morning I woke up with the typical "I ate out and therefore consumed too much sodium yesterday" thirst, despite the 4 bottles of water I drank yesterday.  That never (ever) bodes well on the scale.  Never.  That always (ALWAYS) means a gain, if only a temporary gain.

So you can see why I approached my scale with dread.

Which is why you will understand my complete shock when I saw a loss.  Not just a loss, but a loss past what I was before I started the birth control.

People often ask me why I weigh every day.  Industry standard seems to be once a week, or even once a month.  I tried once a week when I first started, years ago, but that does NOT work for me, not even a little bit.  I know now from weighing daily that I can experience fluctuations on a daily basis of up to 3 pounds.  The horror of stepping on the scale for a weekly or monthly weigh in to find yourself heavier when you've been dieting and exercising is incredibly damaging to my fragile mojo.  I do much better with the every day weigh in because I can look for trends and not stress out so hardcore on any given number.

The irony here is that usually, USUALLY I find that 3 days at a weight means that I am that weight.  So when I started the pill and got a 151.6, I didn't panic.  On the second day, I was a little peeved, but still not panicking.  On the third day, well, you saw it.  Resignation and sadness.

Today I weighed 150 even.  Per my own rules, I'd normally not dare to post about it for several days.  And it wouldn't be beyond normal for it to fluctuate back up.  But it was really really (REALLY REALLY) important to me because even if it isn't where my body settles, it shows that it CAN go down while on the pill.  And I needed that.  I needed to know that I wasn't completely screwing over all the hard work I've been putting in.

And so, onward through the fog!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Don't Panic, Right?

I've been having some girl issues.  I won't go into detail, but suffice to say that things keep happening to me for waaaaaay longer than they are supposed to happen, with waaaaaay shorter breaks in between than I'm supposed to get.  In fact, you could basically imagine the "normal" pattern and inverse it and you'd get what I've been going through.  It has been ROUGH.  Both physically and mentally.

About a month ago I called the doc about it and she wants me to go on birth control pills to see if it'll level me out.  I basically filled the prescription and then hemmed and hawed and wasted as much time as possible to see if I could get out of actually doing it.  You see, I am of the opinion that birth control was a major contributing factor in my years of major depression.  I got off it and the fog lifted.  Then I tried to go back on it and turned into a mood-swingy nightmare on a minute-to-minute swing.  Then I decided that it just wasn't worth it.  And I've been off now for... I think 10 years.  So you can understand my reluctance.

But... well... what is happening with my body is not ok.  So I finally broke down late last week and started the pills on Thursday night.

Friday I could see no change.  By Saturday morning I was fielding more facial zits than my 16 year old self, but my mood was stable... until about mid-day.  Since then, well, at least it isn't swinging.  But I am very very (VERY VERY) pissy.  Very.  On the upside, the thing made me start taking the pills finally stopped.

There was this part of me that had hoped I'd try this and it wouldn't be like last time.  That I could go back to a well-regulated thing... it could still happen.  Maybe I was just uncontrollably bitchy this weekend.  Maybe.

Oh, and also I was down to 150.6lbs when I started taking the pill.  I have changed NOTHING about diet or exercise - I was actually really pleased with myself for not breaking the diet this weekend at all, but I'm up a pound. I know that that is a common side effect - after all, I'm tricking my body into thinking it got pregnant, but DAMNIT.  I've been working so hard and it is just such a mindfuck.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


One egg in a tortilla with cheese and greens FROM THE GARDEN.

I'm not sure I can adequately express how satisfying that is.

It was yummy too!

Friday, February 19, 2016

It came!!!!

Lookie lookie lookie! My very first age group WIN medal!!! Squee!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


This weekend has been a mishmash of things.  Lots of things.

Friday we headed to Fredericksburg so we could comfortably make it for Saturday's service.  We called when we arrived and were told not to come by the house because it would be too stressful.  So we didn't.  We went to a nice catfish dinner in Kerrville and were back to the hotel for an early bed. 

The next morning we got up and headed into Fredericksburg.  We brought our funeral clothing with us so we could tool around Main Street without worry about getting dirty, and figured we could change at the house.  We were told to come over at 2.  I said we would love to catch up with family if anyone arrived earlier, please text us.  After a nice morning on Main Street, plus a beer, plus a nice lunch, we headed over.  Everyone was already there, and the first reaction we got was "You aren't going to wear THAT, are you?"

We went and changed and on the way back out to the car carrying our street clothes, JaMIL handed me our Christmas presents and told us to open them at home "since we wouldn't be coming back".  I wanted to make sure that I hadn't misunderstood, so I said, "Oh, I hadn't realized we weren't coming back" and she said, "No, you aren't."  So that was clear.

That really hurt my feelings.

Then we all headed over to the service which just got on my nerves.  There was a butterfly release, which is beautiful in theory, since Mawmaw loved butterflies.  But it just made me sad to think of them trapped in those cards for days, and a good third of them died.  Yick.
Mawmaw's butterflies.

Then we hung out and watched the slideshow in which everyone gave ME shit for how many pictures there were of us/Z in it.  I didn't put the thing together.  For the record.  I got a text AT WORK on Wednesday asking for pics, so I just pulled down everything I had on Facebook and sent it over, low quality and all.  Should I feel bad that either the organizer didn't ask other folks OR that I've taken lots of pics with my kid and Mawmaw???  Fuck that.

Other people were heading back to the house.  Where we weren't welcome.

So we changed clothes at the funeral home and headed back to Main Street to get drunk.  An aunt and two cousins joined us for a wine tasting and a glass of wine before heading back to the house, where they were welcome.
"Drinking" candy!
Then we went to dinner, where there was some nice classic live music.  Z built a fabulous vase out of wine.  Darn, I don't have a pic on my phone.  Hopefully I'll remember later!
"Whoops!  All the icing ACCIDENTALLY ended up on my fork!"
Then we all headed back to Kerrville.

The next day we got up and headed to Enchanted Rock where the line was INSANELY long.  

Scratched that idea and headed to Llano for lunch instead.  After that my parentals headed back home while we explored the dam before also heading home.
Feather on the dam.
Rocks near the dam.

Looking over the dam.
I have managed to not really gain any weight, though the trips have hindered me losing it, I think.  I didn't work out properly last week.

Yesterday I stayed home to get us unpacked and do laundry and get groceries, etc.  I also went for a run.  I was wondering if the Piney Woods run where I ran for 30 minutes straight and survived was a fluke, but it wasn't.  I managed 30 minutes again.  Apparently P90X3 is quite good for my short term endurance!  I'm not fast, but I'm surviving, which I wouldn't expect, honestly, on zero run specific training.  This morning I did P90X3 Accelerator, and the goal this week is back to counted eating and daily exercising.

Oh, and to stop and smell the roses and be glad I'm alive.
Smelling the roses.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Garden Update in Pics

I did lots of work in the garden the other weekend.  I didn't get any pictures, but I also planted greens in the front flower bed, just to see if that would work.  And Preston finally finished the last box, which is in a nice sunny location.  I filled it with leaves and need to get soil - it will be primarily for tomatoes, I think.  I planted lettuce, spinach, onions, carrots, beets, bell peppers, strawberries, and cauliflower.  Oh and a ton of herbs in pots!
Bedroom window box.
Salad mix.


Long box with ALL THE THINGS.

Broccoli and habaneros from last year's plantings!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


There has been a lot of loss in my husband's family over the past few years.  AD in March 2012, Chris in August 2014, and now Mawmaw last Sunday.  You know it was 2011 when they all started having problems?  I remember - Mawmaw and Chris got their cancer diagnoses and AD was just visibly declining.  I also remember thinking at that time that I figured Mawmaw would go first.  She didn't.  She went last.  She spent FIVE YEARS fighting actively spreading cancer.  Most of it on chemo.  And with radiation.  I always said AD was a touch old bird, but she and Mawmaw were of the same blood.

I can't quite believe she is gone.

We saw her on Saturday, spoke with her on Saturday.  It was clear that she didn't have long but.... I just never thought she'd pass away the very next day.

What does it take to hold a mostly normal conversation with people the day before you die?  To give the appearance that you're dying, yes, but not tomorrow, the day before you die?

This family, they are so different than mine.  When I think of Mawmaw I automatically sit straight backed, make Kemo's long neck, fold my hands in my lap, and speak more softly.  They are old Southern charm where my family is loud country.  But I lost my last set of grandparents 15 years ago and I felt like I gained more in AD and Mawmaw.  My favorite place in family gatherings, where I've never felt I fully belonged, was on the floor by Mawmaw's chair, holding her hand and just chatting.  She was always so sweet and wise and understanding and non-judgmental of me. 

The last conversation I ever had with her, she held my hand, thanked me for coming, and told me I looked so pretty and that teal was my color.  When Z came in she looked at her Barbie doll, which has wings and butterflies (Mawmaw's favorite) on the dress and said she wished she had a dress like that.  Z and I concurred and Mawmaw said Z would be the belle of the ball.

How do you measure the loss of the matriarch of a family?  They joked and called her La Reina, but it came from somewhere very real.  Just a sense of presence, the way the family oriented itself around her, the way she was a model of behavior.  I was honored to know her.  I will miss her.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Goal #16

A few good photos from this weekend's adventure.