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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Piney Woods TrailFest 5K Race Report

I ran this race 5 years ago, when I was about 4 months postpartum.  I remember liking it, loving running through nature.  This year I sort of defaulted to it - I wanted something in late January, and it was close-ish to home.

I should begin by saying: I have NOT been running.  I mean not at all.  Not since the Santa Stampede 5K back in early December.  So the trail run also appealed to me because I knew it would naturally be slower than a normal 5K, and I'd need to walk around obstacles, etc, so I figured I would both survive and also not get too caught up in time.

The folks that organize this race are super laid back, so I try to go into it with that attitude.  There were conflicting messages about timing, etc - I just went with it.  They are also very reasonable - they ended up doing two starts so no one got screwed by their conflicting messages.  Good people.

Start of the race: indoor restrooms and a swingset for the Z = WINNING.  Packet pick-up was quick and easy once I figured out where to go.  Race briefing held next to the generator without a megaphone = inaudible.  All I got was go right where the 10 milers go left.  Cross my fingers!

And we were off.  Ran just a little bit on the road, over the bridge, and then into the woods.  I started quite near the back and by some miracle, I started just at the appropriate place - very little passing or getting passed.  Once we were in the woods, I was behind two women who were clearly going to chat the whole time.  They were right about the same speed as me, but their chatting was interrupting my silence, and they were choosing to walk in some spots where I still wanted to run, so I made a pass as soon as I could.  That was actually a mistake, since I could hear their chatting even louder from in front of them.  It was frustrating me so badly that I finally pulled over to the side and waited for them to pass me and let them get over a hundred yards ahead of me before I continued on so I wouldn't have to listen to them.  (I figured out after I saw the results that this along with one other thing probably cost me a PR, but whatever, it was worth it.)  Then I was running along in beautiful woods and lovely silence.  I glanced at my watch and realized I had been running for 10 minutes, but I felt no need for a break.  I lightfooted over some roots and some icky ground and felt goooooood.  Very good.  I did have a trip and a gentle twist of my right ankle on a tree root somewhere before I passed the chatters, but it wasn't an issue.

Then I heard the thump of someone falling in front of me and I came back on one of the chatters on the ground.  I slowed, but she was already being helped and insisting that she was fine, so I passed hoping to get far enough ahead to not have to listen to her again.

Eventually in this race you come out onto a dirt/gravel road and run maybe a mile on it.  Everyone was well spread out at this point.  All the turns and trails were well marked, and even though I spent a lot of time running alone I never worried that I was lost.

At the 2 mile aid station, I turned right for the 5K when the 10 milers went left.  I didn't feel the need for water and so ran through the aid station - at this point I hadn't stopped for any walk breaks other than 5-10 steps here and there to get around mud spots.  There weren't too many mud spots this year.  Eventually I turned left off the road and back into the woods.  This was the only turn that was poorly marked - the sign was about 20 feet past the turn, and I was assuming that I'd be turning AT the sign.  One of the volunteers was yelling at me to turn left and I was thinking, "I know, but I'm not there yet" when it turns out I had already passed it.  Anyways, that was quickly fixed and I was back in the woods.

The second woody section was harder.  I don't pick up my feet as well towards the end and I was struggling more with my footing.  My quads were starting to feel dead.  At some point I looked at my watch and I had been running more than 30 minutes and I was SO PLEASED that my endurance was so good on zero run specific training.  Shortly after that I tripped and twisted my left ankle HARD.  I ran a few more steps and every heel strike on the left killed me, so I took my first and only real walk break to try to shake it off.  This was factor 2 in my lack of PR, but nothing I would/could have done differently.

I started running again after a minute or two, then got passed by a 20 miler (wow!) on her first loop.  She chatted a bit and then I could see the finish line.  P and Z took my picture as I ran by and then it was over.

Here follows the disappointment: there was supposed to be BBQ at the end, and beer.  None of that was ready.  We hung out about 45 minutes and it STILL wasn't ready and I was starting to get shaky due to hunger, so we left.  That really needs to be better done for next time.  I remember when I finished a few years ago everyone was already eating - what happened???

Anyways, yesterday I checked the results and 38:48 - missed a PR by 34 seconds.  But, BUT I WON MY AGE GROUP!!!!  Ok, now, granted, there were only 4 women in the 30-39 age group.  BUT I WON IT!  And by 4 minutes, too!  I'm totally stunned and I don't care how many qualifiers I attach or how few people were there, this is really cool for me!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Goal Progress

1. Work: make at least one presentation. DONE.
2. Work: write an article.  Started working on it!
3. Work: get involved in "the community".  Not yet.
4. Workout: Train for something in a focused way.  Not yet.  I've been focusing on P90X3 and diet in January, but I'm starting to realize that I need to get my butt in gear for triathlon season.
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.
7. Workout: Get my butt back in the pool regularly.  Not yet.
8. Workout: Go climbing. Not yet.
9.  Life: Lose 20 pounds.  I noticed that I never officially declared my weight, but on January 2 it was 152.6.  Weight this morning was 151.6.  One pound down.  That is a sustainable rate, though not exciting, rate for me.  I restarted using MyFitnessPal and have been focusing on eating well and exercising daily and hitting a 10000 step goal.  I feel better and my pants are fitting better, and both of those are more important than the number on the scale.
10. Life: Focus on conscientious spending.  January is one of those months where we know we'll be in the red because of tax stuff.  However, without the taxes, we'd have been close.  If you also deleted the travel, we'd have been green.  Overall I was pleased - I felt like we were more aware.  But it killed me to watch these huge expenses turn the month red.  And we still can do better.  It is worth remembering that having people over is expensive, though we could have done it cheaper.  Traveling will always be expensive.  And taxes, don't even get me started with the taxes.  One other note: we have a variable part of our income that usually deposits on the last day of each month.  I'm deciding to change the date in our budgeting software to make that the first day of the next month for every month except Dec 31/Jan 1 (because I want to know how much we make in a year) so that it makes it easier to actually budget for what we have, instead of what we GUESS we are getting.  Ideally I'd like to budget as if that number was always going to be zero so that that income could be extra and go towards savings, but we aren't there yet.  One step at a time.  I logged into Mint this morning and adjusted budgets until we were slated to be green for the month.  Now we just need to stick to the plan.
11. Life: Improve the garden. We did get out into the back yard and do some cleaning, and got the lawn guys in for a mid-winter mow.  Yesterday we made a trip to Home Depot and I bought ALL THE THINGS and got about half of them planted.  Updates to follow once the rest are in the ground.
12. Life: Go camping in Brazos Bend State Park. Not yet.
13. Life: Go camping in Huntsville State Park. Not yet.
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!  Preston actually got some really cool photos for my presentation and in Boston, and I'm really pleased with the backyard session I did this month with the bubbles.

Not a goal, but I read or listened to 7 books in January!  Also not a goal, but the aquarium is set up and running, hopefully fish in February!  Also not a goal, but I did race once in January, so if I wanted to do one-race-per-month year, it isn't off the table. ;-)