Sunday, January 31, 2016

Aquarium is set up!

Terrible picture, but you get the idea:

Friday, January 29, 2016


Heh, I should have made getting the aquarium set up a 2016 goal, because honestly I thought it was a 2015 goal that I didn't get done.  I looked back and it turns out it wasn't, but it has still been something that has lurked around in my mind for a LONG TIME.

On the free Sunday after the company, we FINALLY set up the aquarium.  There have been all kinds of hurdles with throwing away the rotting out plastic bits when we moved and then not being able to find the right size to replace.  Then I think there was laziness.  And stuff.

But I finally convinced Preston that we should just try with what we had, and what do you know, it worked!  Then we filled the sucker up with water and he got the new pump (that we bought last year but never tried out) going and it is FABULOUS.  Totally silent.  He isn't even going to hate having an aquarium this time because that sucker is so quiet!

So, this weekend, folks, this weekend I'm gonna buy me some fishies!

I have thought long on what kind of tank I want, and I may use this space to try to figure some things out.  I've had great success in the past with a sort of gourami heavy tank with silver dollars.  Gouramis are fun to watch with their weird bottom-whiskers, as are silver dollars with their flashy swimming, and I've traditionally been able to keep them alive and happy for years.  I've had bad luck with barbs and bala sharks.  But I've never had a tank this big (75 gallons).  And I've always wanted to try cichlids.  Sooo... probably cichlids.  I know the first thing I need to do is figure out whether I want African or South American.  I was originally leaning towards African but have circled back around to South American, go figure!  We'll see...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Night Terror

I had my first night terror that I can remember in over a decade last night.

What is weird is that I'm not particularly stressed.  In fact, I'm feeling more relaxed than normal.  I can't see any triggers.  I don't know why it happened last night, but UGH.

What I remember is opening my eyes and seeing a big giant spider coming down from the ceiling.  Like a kid in Aragog's family size spider.  At least cat-sized.  I couldn't see it well, but it was coming down its thread and it would be landing on Preston's side of the bed and so I screamed bloody murder and ran to turn on the light.

At which point, of course, I woke up.  The light is the universal waker-upper of me.  But this time it was weird.  I still felt super out of it.  I was very confused about what time it was (about 8:45 and I had fallen asleep around 8), where Preston was (probably still putting Z down), whether or not I had actually screamed (that remains uncertain)... all of it.  I left the light on for a bit and wandered to the bathroom where I finally realized what had happened.  Then I turned it off, laid down, and read a chapter in my book.  I was afraid, for the first time in my life, to listen to an audiobook.  My brain felt hyper-sensitized and somehow I felt like sound would launch me back into a dream.  At some point I realized I was long-blinking at my book, so I went back to sleep.

When Preston came to bed he says that I asked him what he was doing there.  I don't remember that part but apparently I talk to him quite often while I'm sleeping, so that's nothing abnormal.  But then I started telling him about the night terror and he didn't believe that I was awake and I got all mad at him.  Our conclusion is that I was sleep talking to him for a bit and somehow woke up enough to try to really communicate, because I do remember telling him about the night terror and him telling me I was dreaming and me saying no damnit.

Incidentally, the spider thing seems to be a recurring theme in the night terrors.  One of the others  that I can remember vividly involved a spider colored like the spiderman spider, but giant like the one last night, crawling across my loft bed at me when I was home visiting my parents.  I woke up crouched on a shelf dangling one food off like I was going to jump or climb down.  Sigh.  That is the other reason these are so disturbing.  I have been lucky so far, but it isn't safe to be wandering around while asleep.

What a wonky night.  I didn't exercise this morning for the first time in two weeks.  I want to do this afternoon so I don't break my streak.  I am just so tired.  And disturbed.  I don't want to start having night terrors and sleepwalking again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Last weekend was a coup for me in an unexpected way.  I had a friend text me that it was her birthday and she wanted some people to get together to play cards.

Since we have moved, I have never had anyone over to our house.  But I have wanted to.  I have wanted it to be in good enough shape where I would feel proud to open my home.  And I knew I was close.  So I said yes.

I nervously texted a few people to invite them.  (This was hard for me - see Anxiety post for reference.)  Everyone said yes.

Through the week leading up to it, I tried to clean bits of the house, to do whatever I could to keep it clean.  I started laundry on Thursday morning and was done by Saturday morning.  (This, by the way, was brilliant.  I'm going to make it my new mo for laundry.)  I shopped for groceries on Saturday morning.  Then we cleaned and cooked and prepped for the rest of the day.

By 2pm I was feeling so good about things that I texted the birthday girl and told her she was welcome whenever she wanted.  She showed up.  Everyone else showed up.  I fed them and they acted like it was yummy.  Then we played Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity and laughed our asses off.

It was fabulous.  I want to do it again.

Maybe not immediately.  Maybe even with a different set - maybe a parents/kids set.  But I want to do it again.  This is a biiiiiiig deal for me.  Huge.  I am SO happy that it went well.

Also, Sunday felt so open and free with all the work done by Saturday night.  Really, really I need to try to structure weekends with this as a goal because it was so relaxing.  The weekend felt so LONG.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Remembered Dream

I had one of those weird dreams last night that was very vivid and that incorporated my alarm clock.  The background that is important, I think, is just that I ordered ants for the ant farm that Z got for Xmas and they haven't come yet.  It may also be relevant that I recently traveled via airplane.  And that the names I name are people who I know but who aren't regularly involved in my life, one of them I haven't seen in literally 15 years other than on Facebook.

So, the dream.

We were at a movie theater for Laney's kid's birthday party.  The party-goers are sitting together.  Then a male airline steward walks up with a white glove full of ants, and essentially tells Laney off.  Tells her that it isn't his job to take deliveries, that she needs to get her guests under control, etc.  Laney then brings the glove to me and asks me to take care of it and apologize to the guy.

So I leave the theater with this cotton glove of ants and I'm trying to find a place to put it in this hallway that looks like a mall when I run across Deana with her kid.  Her kid is little, like maybe only a year old.  She is holding the kid and about to walk into the theater.  I chat her up for a few minutes and offer that she can join the party.  We walk through the doors and it is a very loud, very symphonic moment in the music score and I have this thought of "WTF is she doing bringing a little baby to this movie???", but in we go. 

As we walk in and the music is at a crescendo, it breaks into the sound of my wake-up alarm, which is a quiet sort of chime with buzzing.  I think, "Oooooh shit, someone didn't change the movie reel over, someone is SO fired!!"  I'm looking around the theater watching everyone's annoyed reactions when I realize that it is my alarm, I'm dreaming, and it is time to wake up.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Just a Feeling - More Progress!

Yesterday I did my very favorite Yoga routine, and for the first time in a long time, it felt different.  I was able to get noticeably farther in two of the stretches - the extended bound angular and the head-to-knee forward bend.  I mean seriously farther.  It is interesting because I don't necessarily feel that I've been focusing on hamstring/groin flexibility, but there it is.

Also, I LOVE the new thicker yoga mat I got for Christmas!  No more knee issues on the wood floor with the thin mat!

Then this morning when I was doing P90X3 Accelerator, I noticed real progress in all the planking.  I was able to get all the way through the plank walking and the mountain climbers, and almost all the way through the plank-to-sphinx and back again section and also the double trouble mountain climbers.  That is massive progress from the beginning of December where I could only get most of the way through the first section and then ended up doing everything else on my knees.  I am very very pleased with this!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Progress, and Feeling Twitchy

Last week I ate well all week leading into Boston, as promised.  I started tracking on MyFitPal, I sterted actively trying to hit 10,000 steps per day, and I was doing really well.  When I got to Boston I tried to eat well but not stress over it too much, and with the exception of one exorbitant meal, I actually think I stayed or very close to my calorie allotment, even without doing exercise each day.

I knew, KNEW, that when I got back my weight would be up, because that is just what my body does when I travel, especially when I fly.  But even knowing that, it really hurt when I stepped on the scale the evening I arrived home and saw a 4 pound gain.  Now, there are a lot of things wrong with the scenario, including the fact that I know better than to weigh myself in the evening, but I just couldn't resist.  I should have resisted.  But the very next morning I was a pound down.  And the next day, two more.  And this morning, two more than that!  So I'm actually a pound down from my pre-Boston weight this morning, and I am freaking THRILLED with that.

Ok, so the goal is so keep it up.  It is working, keep it up.  IT IS WORKING!!!!!

I have two cheats coming up:  tonight I'm going to see Tool, therefore I will be awake much later than normal, and I'll probably need to eat more because of that.  I also wouldn't put it past myself to have a drink.  Because Tool!!!  Saturday I'm having my annual lunch with an old friend.  Other than those, the goal is no additional cheats til Tuesday.  I've actually been managing to have my ice cream within my calorie limits, which is awesome!!  Yesterday I measured it out and everything, and I discovered that when I use the small helmet cups, I was dishing myself up just about a serving without measuring, which is a fabulous thing!  I like the idea of only having the 3 cheat meals and ditching the cheat dessert combo.  3 and 3 may have been too much room to wiggle and still lose.  We will see how it goes from here.

In terms of exercise, I've been good about P90X3 since I got back.  Tomorrow I want to go for a run because I signed up for the Piney Woods Trail 5K.  I don't think I'm going to get in much specific training, but a few runs leading into it would be smart.

And that leads me into: I'm getting a little twitchy beginning to worry about 5Ks and bike rides and triathlons and lack of specific training.  This is a fine mental line to walk with me because P90X3 is working, and I don't want to stop right now, and I don't want to stress myself into a headspace where it is ok to just roll over and go back to sleep in the mornings.  BUT I need to start doing at least a little specific training.  So I'm thinking maybe continue with basic free-form/P90X3 through the end of January, throwing in a run or a ride on nice days if I want to.  I was actually thinking about trying to hit it hard with 2-a-days next week, just to up the weight loss ante.  Maybe in February I could shoot for at least one swim, one bike, and one run per week, with the balance of the days being whatever I want, which will probably still be P90X3.  Then from there we can shoot into more specific training in March.  I like this... I may need to flesh it out a little, but that is my tentative plan.  I feel better just typing that!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Quick Trip to Beantown

Vinyl wall at airport = hours of fun.
We made a quick trip to Boston this past weekend so I could cross number one off my list of work goals: to make a presentation.  And I am soooooo relieved to say that it went really well!!  There were 190 people there!  And one of the memes from my slideshow made it into a group on Facebook and has gotten 166 likes and 12 shares!  That is the most active level of professional feedback that I've ever gotten from a conference, and I am really gratified and thrilled.
Convention center floor.

My slide!

There was also some tooling around Boston.  We arrived on Friday, had an afternoon lobster roll, then headed over to the convention center so I could get all checked in and meet the professor that I work with for my side job.  Then we headed to the Children's museum for dollar night, and that was good, but by the end we were all fried.

Her very own lobster roll.
Breakfast with Brestha.
The next day I conventioned while P and Z went to the Science Museum.

As a side note, apparently we are not understandable in Boston.  Preston got a receipt for "Brestha", and I got a coffee for "Emmbra".  Awesome.

That is one very expensive lobster!

 Sunday I presented and conventioned while P and Z went to the Aquarium.

REAL ice skating!
Monday we all headed North to walk a bit of the Freedom Trail, get breakfast at Caffe Vittoria, and then head over to the Boston Commons for ice skating and duck pictures.  Then back towards the hotel via the Boston Marathon finish line and one last lobster roll.  Then to the airport to head home!

As close as I'll ever get to this finish line.

It has been a whirlwind and I'm exhausted!  I'm taking Friday off and making it a 4 day weekend in which hopefully the last of Christmas comes down and some fabulous relaxing takes place.  In the meantime, it is back to the grind, and I'm going to focus on daily exercise and eating well so that I can get the trip poundage back off.

5 new pennies for the collection!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My Fitness Pal

So I broke down on Monday and started using My Fitness Pal again to track calories.

I am still not fully committing to the plan until next Tuesday, January 12.  For the record.  But some healthy eating and committed exercising leading into a weekend of debauchery can never go amiss.  Plus one of my co-workers is on, so you know, strength in numbers and all that.

My Fitness Pal is VASTLY improved since my last usage (4 years ago).  I've got it set to count my calories for steps, but to counteract that, I set it for losing a pound a week, instead of the more reasonable half-pound.  I am always leery of calculating exercise calories and would prefer to err on the side of not counting anything at all so I can be sure I'm hitting my food targets, BUT if I exercise a lot I do recognize that I need to refuel.  Hopefully this will be the best of both worlds, but I'll turn it off if I have to.

I'm also not 100% sure how it is going to interact with my glitchy brain, because I think my plan is to allow myself 3 "treat" meals per week, plus 3 "treat" desserts.  The desserts I'll just count maybe as if I ate only one small serving, but really I'll eat a bigger serving.  Truly, this is mostly to accommodate my love of Blue Bell ice cream and my belief that a half-cup is not sufficient.  The 3 meals are to accommodate Tuesday evenings at my mom's, the lunch-happy culture at work, and eating out once a week.  I can still try to make good choices for some or all of these meals - at my mom's, that means limiting portion sizes, and for the eating out, that may mean what I order, or I may let it go, and if I do, that is ok.  What I'm not sure about, yet, is how to count these off meals.  I'll have to play with it.  Yesterday evening was an off meal at my mom's, but it had a bunch of things that were fairly easy to count, so I counted and guesstimated and was ok with that.  And it didn't make me go over my daily target (as long as the steps were counted) and so I didn't fry a circuit with a feeling of failure.  I have a feeling I'll need a little more data to figure out what method is going to work best for me.

Monday stats:
Calorie goal: 1490
Ate: 1528
Exercise: 300 from P90X3 Accelerator + 387 from 12,686 steps.
I'm not counting the steps calories, so Net: 1228

I would like to be netting 1200-1500 in these first few weeks, so I am very very pleased with that.  And also hungry.  But pleased.

Tuesday stats:
Calorie goal: 1490
Ate: 1948  (BUT the evening meal was a "treat" meal, which I fully counted!)
Exercise: 200 from P90X3: Triometrics + 371 from 11,754 steps
Net: 1748 without the steps

I am pleased with this net on a "treat meal" day!

One more note: A calorie goal of 1490 seems pretty generous to me.  I used to aim right around 1500 for MAINTENANCE.  But, I'll see how it goes for a week or two and make adjustments if nothing is happening.  It would be nice if I could leave it there because it is high enough to make me feel like I actually have a little flexibility and can actually succeed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

P.S. Anxiety

I think part of the beast of anxiety is that it is NOT RATIONAL.

I have a friend who suffers from panic attacks whenever he has to fly.  I don't get it.  You get there, you get on the plane, you fly.  If you crash, you'll deal with it if you live.  What's worrying going to accomplish?  Statistics show that driving is more dangerous and you ride in cars all the time.  BUT.  Just because I don't get it doesn't make his fear, his anxiety any less real to him, or any less valid.

The trick, I think, is not to judge the anxiety.  It comes out of, most likely, a bunch of intersecting experiences that they've had in their life, and it cannot truly be understood, maybe not even by the sufferer.

So what do you do?  You don't have to buy into the fear to comfort or support or simply distract someone.  If if is something that can easily be fixed, just fix the problem.  If not, just be there, judgment free.  Comfort, support, distract, and be the kind of person you would want someone to be to you, when you are gripped in the full throes of whatever your worst fear is. 


I saw this go by on Facebook and I was really touched by #6, which says:
"I will stop putting off that phone call. I avoid a lot of things because, well, anxiety. But in doing that, I end up creating more panic than it’s worth. So when I’m able, I’ll push myself to be proactive."

Two days ago, I got in my car to go to a baby shower.  I had the gift.  I had the diapers.  I had the directions.  I was ready.  But I was running about 10 minutes late.  Anxiety.  No, it is ok.  It is ok.  I will get there and everyone won't have been on time.  It is totally normal.  It is a fucking baby shower - moms get being late.  It will be fine.  Then I pull up to the GATED ENTRANCE to the community.  There was no gate code on the invitation.  No sign on the code box saying what to do for the party.  I could have called the RSVP number but... but... I was late.  I don't know the host.  I was late and I'd be interrupting the party.  No other cars were pulling in.  I'd interrupt the party.  What if I didn't know anyone other than the expecting mom?  What if none of the other daycare moms went?  I turned around and went home.

My husband and my mom don't understand.  They asked me why and I made up a thin excuse about the gate.  And truly it really was the gate that broke me, but I know as well as they do that I could have gotten in.  I could have found a way around it.  And I don't know how to explain to them that I just COULDN'T.  I couldn't.

I've never been diagnosed with anxiety.  And honestly, until I read #6 above I felt like I probably had a bit of it, but never in my life has it been so starkly clear to me that I do have anxiety.  I do have it.  And it is its own explanation.

I just started crying as I type this.

It is its own explanation and I shouldn't have to feel ashamed.  It hurts me when I disappoint people because I can't do something.  But in a way that adds to the anxiety.  Not only can I not do the thing, but there is also a personal price of guilt and shame that I know is coming for me.  But instead of motivating me, the fear of the judgment is another thing that freezes me.  I think it is doubly hard for me because I hide my issues well.  They think I am a strong, confident, capable woman, and when they see me freeze, they think that I just don't want to do the thing, or I'm being a bitch.  But I'm not.  I'm not.  Sometimes I just... can't.

The words above are a good resolution, and something I should also strive for.  But I also need to strive for self-understanding and self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Next Year's Schedule

Soooo.... I didn't make it a goal to do at least one race per month, buuuuuuut...... let's just say I want to get something in in January so I don't concede the possibility from month number 1 like I did last year. ;-)

I'm thinking the Piney Woods TrailFest 5K.  I did this one back when the kid was a super-shrimp.  My first and only trail race, and I definitely wanted to do more.  So... yeah, I think so!

I also went ahead and signed up for the CB&I Tri this year since it sells out so early.  So that is in stone.  The rest of everything is up in the air, but I filled in the sidebar with the frontrunners so I can help myself to remember the research I did!  It is looking very 5K heavy - perhaps the goal needs to be to finally get consistent so I can get faster again!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Goals

Heh, do you think I can continue the theme and come up with 16 goals for 2016?  Let's see....

1. Work: make at least one presentation.
2. Work: write an article.
3. Work: get involved in "the community".
4. Workout: Train for something in a focused way.
5. Workout: Get at least one not-in-Texas race.
6. Workout: Do a triathlon.
7. Workout: Get my butt back in the pool regularly.
8. Workout: Go climbing. 
9.  Life: Lose 20 pounds.
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.
11. Life: Improve the garden.
12. Life: Go camping in Brazos Bend State Park.
13. Life: Go camping in Huntsville State Park.
14. Life: Have an epic Disney vacation.
15. Life: Make stained glass things.
16. Life: Take fabulous pictures with the awesome new camera.

I may have been slightly cheating with splitting the camping into two parts.  I considered a reading goal - I read 52 books in 2015, which is a nice round number of one per week!  But I read because I enjoy it, and I don't want to fall prey to selecting books for length/easiness of reading rather than just because I want to read them.  So no goals there.  Although maybe I should set a goal to begin doing better reviews of books, since looking back on last year I already can't remember why I rated some things the way I did!

Anyways, there they are, and I'm excited to get going!  Onward!!