My Momma Always Said…

Look at me with the clean kitchen!!!!
Look at me with the clean kitchen!!!!

Okay so I am about to tell you something and you are not allowed to tell my mother I said it. She was right. It is not like me to admit it, I promise, but lately I have been thinking of all the ways she is right. Not just her but the other women who have entered life before me.

I don’t want to brag, but I am getting the hang of this life thing. My house is clean, I am checking off all my to dos daily, my hubby is happy with me, and I am even keeping up with eating well and doing yoga! I have never been able to juggle my responsibilities efficiently until recently. I am usually only good at one section of my life at a time. I eat healthy one week, write well another and keep my house clean another. This week it is like I have found the key and all those locks are clicking together at the same time. I have opened harmony!!! Woohoo! I rock!!!! Right now I am secretly doing the “I Rock” dance over the keyboard and smiling.

My exciting foray into Pork Lomein. Husband is jealous it turned out so good!
My exciting foray into Pork Lomein. Husband is jealous it turned out so good!

Part of that is finally cashing in on all that good advice people like my mom and Aunt Nicole have told me. These jewels of wisdom are as follows:

  1. It is best to go to bed with a clean kitchen. Waking up to dirty dishes, when it is my job to keep the house clean, leaves a deficit in my “to do” list already. I already start out with something in the negative column when I leave them. This week I have tried to do them before I go to bed and it has helped. – Thanks Mom
  2. Dishes are easier if you do them as soon as you make them dirty. Doing breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes at the same time is overly tedious. However, throwing them in as you go only takes a couple minutes at a time, which means you I have to keep the dishwasher empty. –Thanks Nicole
  3. Set a minimum time for something and I will more than likely spend more time on it than I originally planned. Two hours of writing is the minimum I set this week, I have gone over many times. I have gotten so much done! It is amazing what just “starting” can do for me.
  4. Be clear about what I want and need. When hubby was making banana bread I told him, “Ya know, the dishwasher is empty-hint, hint.” -A tip from me. Also, when you are hinting to your husband you have to say, hint, hint. My husband doesn’t get the hint without it. (He is the smartest man in the universe but isn’t too clear on subterfuge.)

I have ignored these things my entire life. I usually just clean heavy on the weekends, choosing to just watch TV after work. This may have worked when I was only home for five hours every day and on the weekends but saving all my cleaning for just one day is really is depressing. I have tried to get creative in a space that also holds my dirty dishes and moldy laundry. What happens is that I sit in front of my computer but really I am thinking about all I have to do. It is hard not to be distracted by dirty dishes in a one bedroom apartment.

Spicy, healthy food is easy when the kitchen is clean.
Spicy, healthy food is easy when the kitchen is clean.

Now I get things done as I go and as a result I am loving being able to have head space clear to do other things I enjoy. I am writing more, and it is allowing me to put those little finishing touches on my apartment I have been putting off, like hanging up my husband’s light saber that’s been sitting in the package for years. I am having an easier time cooking healthy meals because of these tips. I am really just feeling like I am working with all my moxie right now. Thank you Mom, and Aunt Nicole. Thank you for giving me all the advice I have ignored for so long.  I am finally having what I have always wanted, and that is harmony in my home and the confidence to accomplish my goals.

I have some good news.

These are my non-skinny jeans.
These are my non-skinny jeans.
  1. Things are going slow but they are going in the right direction. I bought a size down in pants about six months ago and they were tight but now I am able to wear them loose. Brad and I accidently left our scale in Boise so I haven’t been able to weigh myself, but this tells me I am losing inches. Also, I went down two inches in my bra size which reaffirms that. I practically skipped out of Lane Bryant after finding that out!
  2. I am walking up to two miles without having to do nothing the next day.
  3. I bought boots!!! I finally got my calves small enough to buy a two pair of knee high boots! This has been a lifelong goal. I know it sounds shallow to have a goal for a pair of boots, but I have always had large calves. Even when I was in the single digit sizes my calves were abnormally huge. I am built like a tree and I have shied away from shorts, boots, or ankle bracelets. Moving to Philly was like the last straw. I have been living in Boise, Idaho and, while some people wear boots there, sneakers, Tevas, and Birkenstocks are common place. It is a land of exclusiveness and mountain people. Here I have only run into one person on the street wearing tennis shoes. It only intensified my need for boots. I felt like the only one who didn’t have them. So I finally had the guts to measure my calves and they finally allowed me to order boots from Torrid! Thank you Torrid!
  4. With that ballsy move, I also order a pair of “skinny” jeans. I confessed to my long time best friend Brandi, who is also plus size, how nervous I was to try them on. I didn’t want to look like humpty dumpty. She didn’t know if they would look good. She too had never bought any because she figured they would look bad on her. So we both thought skinny jeans were only for skinny people. If you look me in my regular boot cut and my new skinny jeans I think that I look just as good in them. I would go even further to say that I look slimmer in the skinny jeans.
  5. I am getting back into my yoga practice which is good for my muscles. I have been having headaches and when I wake up my right arm has been going numb when I wake up. These things I am hoping to fix these problems with the yoga practice. I am just proud to keep it up, even though I am not feeling so well.
Me, in my skinny jeans.
Me, in my skinny jeans.

Because I met some of these goals I have to set new ones now.

  1. Get down to the next size at Lane Bryant and Torrid.
  2. Cook at least all our weeknight meals. Brad and I have been eating out too much due to the excitement of being in a new city with new tastes.
  3. Double my yoga practice, right now I am only doing it about twice a week. Slow and steady is the way I am choosing to go.
  4. Get up to three miles of walking.
  5. Eat more consistently during the day, with protein and carbohydrates. I have had a couple of close calls with low blood sugar, which means I need to be testing more.

Reaching a few of my short term goals has made me feel more confident. When I think about losing inches in my bra size I get giddy with pride. Things don’t work that way normally for me. This is the first time I have ever lost a size. I hope this sense of accomplishment will push me forward into more accomplishments and more weight loss.

I’m Back, From Outer Space

It has been a while since I have written. I am so sorry but I have a very good excuse. My life has turned upside down and across the country. Two very big things have happened in my life. First of all, because I went a year without a cigarette my doctor let me off a certain medication. This medication was causing me pain, and the withdrawal of that medication was even worse and went on for about a month. Secondly, right about the time I was feeling better my husband got a new job and we were off to Philadelphia. We had less than a month’s notice and had to pack, find a place, drive the u-haul cross country, quit my job, and move into the new place. Right now I am surrounded by boxes in my living room. It is sort of like living in a storage locker, with a kitchen and TV. We have moved from a three bedroom fourteen hundred square feet apartment in Boise, Idaho to a one bedroom, seven hundred and fifty square feet apartment in Philadelphia. The experience has been amazingly mind blowing and also exhausting.

My mountain of boxes
My mountain of boxes

My husband and I have been stressed and on high alert for over three months and I know it has taken its toll on our diet and our bodies. The month that I was in pain I spent most of it on the couch. I was still in pain while packing and trying to get rid of most of our furniture. It is hard to sell all your furniture in a couple weeks. We even had trouble trying to give items away. It was two weeks of packing and moving and trying to spend as much time with family and friends as possible. Quality time was impacted by the urge to get things done. While I tried to be mindful in the presence of my friends and family the “to do list” was always in the back of my mind and I am only just realizing that now. There were so many people I missed and so many people I just didn’t get to relate how much I love them.

The day of the move we were so unorganized and stressed. That night when we got to our first hotel with our u-haul packed with our things, I realized I had been wearing my casual dress inside out the entire day. After taking a long hot bath in the gigantic tub Brad surprised me with, I sort of scared him because I was so tired I was speaking gobble-dy gook and had to be put to bed. After two more exhausting days of driving we took a break at my parent’s house in Oklahoma. We had decided to visit for two reasons. I hadn’t seen them in a long while and I might not in a while. Also, Mom has been pretty upset we haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in about ten years. It might as well have been a spa. It was a refuge in the middle of the country. We slept a lot and ate my Momma’s delicious food and talked and joked with my parents and siblings. Also, I got to play with my nephew and what could someday be my nephew. It was so nice and restorative we were sad to have to leave after three days. We drove three more days until we got to Philly. Then after a night in the hotel I watched my belongings be loaded onto a busy city street into a hole in the wall between two dumpsters. That is where the service elevator was. I even watched a guy pee next to one of the dumpsters. After all my belongings were safely into my new place, Brad and I set up the air bed and then went to buy a new mattress on Black Friday no less. After a wonderful dinner at the pizza place across the street, we drifted off to a deep sleep. That was six days ago.

The hole we moved our stuff into
The hole we moved our stuff into

Today I am taking a strongly recommended day off. I have been moving boxes and furniture and sleeping on an air mattress which has affected my back. Last night my husband begged me not to do anything today because I could barely walk. I really wanted to get this apartment into shape because right now it feels like living in a storage locker. Being in a huge city without any friends or family I guess I am just struggling to make a home. I need one place to feel normal. However, I am taking a break for my husband’s peace of mind to write and reflect on what we have been through.

All of this leads me to the good news. In a big city like this we are walking a lot more. We gave up our car since it costs over two hundred dollars to park it here. We are going to be eating in more since I am not working and it is so expensive to eat out. I am hoping that is going to bode well for our health. Today I am taking it easy and am going to do some yoga. With a little de-stressing, I think Philly will become home.

Time flies when you’re discombobulated

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This is me rocking the pig tails at work

My schedule has changed. For the past couple of years I have worked from 11:30 to 8:00 pm. I loved this schedule. It fit my lifestyle perfectly. I had time to sleep in but not enough that I felt disgusted with myself for wasting the day away. I also had time when I got off work to have a relaxing swim in the evening air with my honey, without those pesky little screaming children blocking my laps. I had gotten a good rhythm. I timed my meals every four hours, and then had alarms set for testing my blood sugar. Husband and I had a set a bedtime and a set wake time. Geez, I have become annoyingly boring. I didn’t used to be this so stringently scheduled, but with the sleep apnea and diabetes I have to be if I want to have be a functioning successful human.

So now I work 1:30 to 10:00 and you would think a two hour shift wouldn’t be all out chaotic, but it sure does feel like it. My internal clock is messed up and my meals are a different time and it took me a week to figure out the times I should be eating and should be testing my sugars. Husband and I still haven’t figured out when we are going to bed and when we are getting up. The first week or so, we took advantage of the sleeping in. We stayed in bed until noonish. Then we knew we were messing up because we have to fit in swimming. Well if we want to swim we have to get up at a decent time. So we are figuring that out. The good news is that we got up this morning at 10:00 am. Well, okay the alarm went off at ten, and then we sort of slowly got around. By the time we got to the pool it was about 10:50. The good news is no one was at the pool then either, so my weird schedule is actually working out in one way.

The good part about this change is lunch and dinner time are actually during the work time. So I am eating with my husband for breakfast but for lunch and dinner I am eating really healthy. Brad and I usually binged at night when we binged. So I think this will keep that from happening. No fast food and no cheap fattening meals. Everything has to be made in advance, so husband and I are eating a lot more veggies and preportioned meals for lunch and dinner. It is working out better in the end.

This change has made me realize just how regimented my life is, and how old that makes me feel. I figure a lot of us adults feel we have to be more careful as we get older, if only just to function in everyday life. I used to soak up debauchery in my schedule: eat, drink, and smoke when I wanted. I could be good to myself and instead of saying old say mature, but come on. I am complaining that I can’t eat everyday at four like I used too. This is sort of an old person problem. I long to be free, not such a fuddy duddy. My entire life is regimented; eat at this time, can’t go near cats, no smoking, must sleep this time. However, my free and easy life got me into this mess, so I guess I will just be mature.

Priorities

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I have a confession to make, and I am really embarrassed about many aspects of it. I will attempt to describe why I have been so irresponsible but really there is no excuse. I missed taking my medications for about a week. I know my health is nothing to play around with especially considering that I rely on these meds to regulate my blood sugar, my moods and my allergies.

Please allow me to back up and complain a little. This year my company has rolled out a new mandatory mail order subscription service. This is supposed to be cheaper and more convenient. It is neither for the consumer. First of all, with the eight prescriptions I am currently taking, the bill ends up being about three hundred dollars for the three month required subscription. This is a sizeable chunk of change to spring on people who aren’t that great with budgeting. Secondly, gauging when to order them is confusing. Do I need a week, two or three? Will they let me order it three in advance? I don’t want to put it on auto pay because who knows when three hundred dollars will just randomly withdrawal from my account.

Every seven days, I put my pills in one of those dispensers. So I forget sometimes how many I have left, until the end of the week. So basically, I got to the end of the week, realized I only had four more days left and no money to buy refills. Ergo, I ended up not having my meds for a few days.

Needless to say, I need to pay better attention to the mail order process. It really wreaked havoc with my system. I take an anti-depressant. I started taking it about a year ago when I was having an extreme menstrual cycle. I have talked about this before. It lasted about six to nine months and I ended up in the emergency room on morphine. I broke down in the doctor’s office crying uncontrollably. While the wonderful Dr. Baxter backed away slowly she wrote me a subscription for this wonderful pill. Even after my horrible sickness passed, I continued taking it. The prescription helps me be a normal person.

Everyone knows not to skip days of an antidepressant. So, almost a week without my medication was bad.  My moods swung wildly, and cried a lot. Add to that other side effects of going off my meds- diarrhea and allergies- I was a droopy, stoned, nearly catatonic mess for the first part of this week. Even knowing being off my meds was the reason for my mood, it didn’t make a difference. I still was a weepy and sad.

The good thing is that now I am beginning to adjust to my meds again. I have been super hyper the past couple of days. That is the other side of my emotional problem. I get sort of super excited about everything. I have been writing, editing, swimming and jumping up and down.  It’s good for your bones!

I think my husband gets less annoyed by the depressive times than the manic, but he is dealing. In recent days, he is living with a cheerleader on crack, and we are normally very calm people with a sedate, quiet lifestyle.

I have concluded- in order to stay sane I need to put this prescription service as a priority. Maybe I can avoid divorce with the reason of insanity. I am tough enough to live with, without going off my meds.

Okie Observations

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Getting better-

I went to the pool last night with the beautiful husband. We swam for a good twenty minutes straight. I was pretty excited because seemingly swimming is getting easier. I was gliding through the water. My arms were less sore while free styling and back stroking. I felt like I could go on, and on, but we haven’t been swimming in so long, I didn’t want to overdo it. I felt strong. I felt strength in my tiny pterodactyl arms for the first time in years. I was doing a side stroke and unbelievably keeping up with strong powerful husband.

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Motivation-

Through my Okie ways, I always seem to make friends at the pool. I am a compulsive talker, much to the dismay of my husband. These encounters usually happen after swimming while we are sitting in the hot tub catching our breath. For instance, last night two beautiful ladies were hanging out, dipping their feet in the hot tub. I got to talking to them because they smelled so lovely, in contrast to the bromine or chlorine of the hot tub. After a meandering conversation, they asked me what time we usually visit the pool. I said very pridefully, “We are usually here from nine in the evening on, because I get off at eight.” So tonight, husband is trying to back out, but I am thinking, those ladies will think I am a lying liar if I don’t. Here I was bragging. I know that sounds silly, but perhaps bragging is good because then I have to follow through or get egg on my face.

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Will power-

I have seen several articles/studies that posit wise choices strengthen your will power. Equating will power with muscle growth, these studies show good choices lead to other good decisions. For example, if you choose to have a low calorie healthy breakfast, you may not choose to back out on your afternoon walk. The theory is that you won’t want to ruin the work you have already done.

This week I haven’t eaten out, I have worked out at least three times, and finished all my writing goals. I found myself saying, okay I edited today, and swam, after I brush my teeth, if I put lotion on and that anti aging stuff, I will have accomplished all my goals for the day. Good behavior is spilling all through my life! I went to bed that night feeling smugly good about myself. Accomplishment feels good, even the everyday ones. Also, I am winning in my war against my vast arid skin.

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Exercise-

I am counting “chair dancing” as exercise. If it counts, I have exercised every day this week at work and had fun doing it too. I am enjoying it, much to the chagrin or my coworkers.

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Indulgence-

If husband makes a large plate of super chocolate chip cookies, we are gonna EAT a plate of super chocolate chip cookies. It is best for my goals, if I don’t eat a plate of super chocolate chip cookies.

To Sleep to Lose

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This is what I look like when I go to bed. Really. Make up and jewelry, really.

Sleep deprivation is not something to be messed with. I am living proof that your health can seriously suffer if you don’t get enough sleep. I can’t be the only sleep apnea patient that feels that they are a walking sleep study that proves the need for sleep. Sleep apnea is a disorder where you stop breathing in your sleep. According to my sleep doc, I stop at least sixty times an hour by the time I got treatment for it. I believe I had sleep apnea years before. There are so many ways that not getting good enough sleep affected my life.

Since my teenage years I have been less than graceful. I fall more times than a normal person will in their entire life, in one year. My brother Matthew likes to say that our family always knew it was winter because as soon as it frosted over they would hear, “Thud, thud, thud, thud, thud, swoosh, SWAK!” That would be me sliding into our front door. I am also known to my parents as the one who ran into the back of a parked pickup truck, while running across the street. That one hurt a lot because I got clothes lined on the plywood sticking out the back. I broke open my chin, bled all over my shirt and then got a nice big lump on my noggin.

In high school I was known as the girl who fell a lot in band practice. I learned not to wear a skirt because as soon as I had to turn and rush down a couple yard lines it would end up over my head. In college, I was the one who fell in a dress, in the middle of class pictures. At the non-profit I used to volunteer at I became known as the girl who could fly. This was after an incident involving two lovely dogs scurrying out in front of me, their toggle still attached to the ground. I got some serious air that time. I felt as if I understood the beginning stages of the Greatest American Hero.

Luckily it was shortly after my swan song, AKA the day I flew, that I met Dr. Baxter who sent me for the sleep study. It was a miracle. For a couple of years I have been waking up crying because of excruciating headaches. Come to find out, my rock hard neck muscles were because of my gasping for air.

After deploying the CPAP, which is the breathing machine I use at night, I haven’t tripped once unless I deprive myself of sleep on purpose. The headaches have gone away. Also, I believe that this is the only reason that I have been able to lose the weight.

Sunday night, husband and I decided to stay up late to watch the Veronica Mars movies. We had been mainlining episodes for a week and a half. Only people who have done this can understand but we were so excited to see this movie. When we finished the end of the series it was midnight. We decided, okay, let’s go ahead and watch it. It was two-ish when it was done, then we stayed up and giggled until three thirty-ish. It was one of those delightful nights when you laugh about stuff so funny, but you try to explain it to someone else and they look at you stupefied. It was amazing.

The next day…I was dragging butt. Not getting enough sleep left me with only a half a mind all day. Normally I am a multi tasking wiz, but that day I could barely accomplish one thing at a time. I fell down the stairs, and ate everything in sight. Okay so maybe that sounds like an excuse, but I promise you it was so much easier to eat better when I slept well.

I guess I am getting to the point where I am noticing things that hurt my ability to be my best self. I know that sounds corny but if I am more clumsy when I haven’t slept then imagine how impaired I am in other areas. I feel like I am coming out of a cloud. Lack of sleep can cause so many problems, more serious health problems than my clumsiness. I have read about links to heart disease and deteriorating the brain. I hope that I have gotten my CPAP in time. I am going to try to not stay up late like that again if I can help it. This is one more tool I hope to use to lose more weight. I really believe without my machine I couldn’t have lost the weight I have.  This is getting added to the do list. Get good sleep.