What is your plan?

Husband and I enjoying life. To bad we can’t snorkle in Cozumel everyday.

Do you ever over shoot? I mean there are so many areas where I set goals and always my goals exceed my ability. This isn’t my saying I don’t have ability. I just have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. I am sort of like Scrappy Do running in place saying, “Lemme at ’em! Lemme at ’em! I’ll splat ’em! I’ll rock ’em and sock ’em!”

I guess a lot of my goal setting is like this. My writing group meets once a week and at the end we set goals for the week. That is a wonderful thing to do because it spurs on the work. I mean it is supposed to. The concept is that I am supposed to take those goals, go home and check them of one by one studiously and victoriously. This is the intent. The bad part is when you set too many goals. If you want to read two books, write three blogs, and edit twenty pages of a book you are working on…it can be overwhelming. I set these goals with the enthusiasm and good faith that enthusiasm will carry me through these goals. Instead I just run in place thinking about all I have committed to myself to do, until I get overwhelmed and then I do nothing. My group is meeting tomorrow and this is the first thing I have written all week.

Husband and I have been setting goals. We are tired of sitting in limbo waiting for a job offer to move on with our lives. We have been waiting with baited breath and are tired for putting our lives on hold. Basically our goals aren’t just the normal ones. Yes we are listing the normal ones: keep the house clean, lose weight, eat healthy, and save money. However, I think the best ones we have listed are the fun ones. We want to institute a date night once a week, and have listed ideas and restaurants we want to check out. I want to start going out of town, even if it is for day trips because I feel like I the times that husband and I feel more alive are when we are experiencing new things. The biggest relief and leisure I have is just to get out of town. That is the thing I have just realized. None of my goals will be accomplished if I am only working on my goals. I will be a stressed out mess. The reason I know this is I have been a stressed out mess.

The funny thing is I didn’t notice it until my husband became a stressed out mess for the same reason. He has been uber-frazzled and depressed only thinking about getting a good job. He isn’t Scrappy-do either; he is truly qualified and will be amazingly good at the job he is trying to get. He is obsessive, as most people would be, but I have to try and get him to stop. If only for a few minutes at time, I need to get his mind off of things so he can have a little relief.

I think this is a problem I consistently have is when I set a goal all other things seem to fall away. I have so many things I want to accomplish in my life. I just don’t know how to be consistent. How do I accomplish the goals without being sort of manic about it? When I want to lose weight, I read weight loss magazines, I eat well, write down all I eat, and I exercise. It almost feels as if I take my focus off my goal for an hour or two, I will forget it all together.

We all need to relax though don’t we. How do you go about living your life when you have goals that need to be accomplished? I have never been one to schedule my life. I can’t write down nine am do this, ten am do that. I have never been able to keep on a schedule. I am too rebellious for this. It feels super restrictive to me. What if instead of eating breakfast at that time I get inspired and want to write a poem? Of course that has never happened, but if it should I would not want to disappoint my muse would I?

Can someone please explain to me how to have balance? How do you do a little for everything every day? How do you make your mind concentrate on something different? How do you fit in fun?

Walking up hill, and poo


I know people have described losing weight as an uphill battle before. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot to lose like me or only ten/fifteen pounds. It is hard. First you have to count calories or points or however you choose to do it. Then you have to fit in time for exercise, and then if you don’t want to gain it back it’s a good idea to find out why you gained the weight in the first place. It could be medical reasons or emotional reasons. Whatever it is, those steps are hard, time consuming and interrupt and rearrange your life. I am not complaining per say. I am just right now stating the obvious.

What really bites is when it gets worse.  Have you ever set a goal and then it is as if it gets hard instantly. For instance, have you ever set a goal to get your finances in order, pay off bills, or buy a house? It seems like as soon as you do that, you get a driving ticket, or you have to buy a bridesmaid dress for a wedding, or any other miscellaneous unforeseen expenditure. As if your mental intentions are made known to the universe. This one has money to pay her bills, quickly take it now while you can! It is the same with losing weight, at least for me it seems. It isn’t the big things either; it is the equivalent of your little brother poking you with his finger in the shoulder all the way from Oklahoma City to Enid. It is the small annoyances. It is the minor setbacks that really tick me off.

As you know, I have been trying to lose weight stringently since September. I did pretty good except for the occasional wedding until Christmas, then it seemed like all heck broke loose. I ate my weight in prime rib, and then had an allergy attack that turned into an sinus infection. So for a week I was laying around eating most of the time. Finally Sunday I got a little chutzpa and got off the couch. Husband and I decide to go for a walk. Okay now let me say this right now. As much as I hate to exercise getting Brad to go with me is like pulling teeth. It isn’t that he is denying going, but when you are in a relationship you can tell when someone is reluctant. He isn’t ever the one who says, “Hey, let’s go walking?” When I say should we walk or something else? He looks off to the side and grimaces and then smiles sort of and says, “Let’s go walk.” So we left, me feeling excited to get out of the house for the first time in four days, and him begrudgingly.

We walk to the edge of the apartment complex and let’s just put it this way…I have to use the restroom.  So not even ten minutes into our walk, it is aborted and we have to walk home. I couldn’t get him back out again for a second time.

Monday I have this new idea. I am going to walk every break for ten minutes. I don’t know if you’ve read this but several fitness magazines I have read say you get all the fitness benefits splitting up your work out as you do all together. So that is thirty minutes of walking. I love this plan. I mean LOVING it. Here is why:

1.       It takes at least ten minutes to start sweating. I hate sweat.

2.       I don’t have to spend my time off work exercising just yet. I mean I will probably have to do more later, but right now thirty minutes is fine. Actually it is kicking my butt, but more on that later

3.       My rosacea doesn’t flare up in ten minutes either, so going back to work is fine and I don’t even look awful.

I know all of the people who work out regularly or run ten miles a day will scoff at this but Monday night after work I was ecstatic! I was so proud of myself. I worked out for thirty minutes and that is what my doctor wants. Also I enjoyed it. I walked around looking in shop windows and the public art downtown. It was fun. Also people watching is fun, no less than five people said hello to me. What joy!

So where is the down side? Well during my couch sneeze time, I gave myself a pedicure. I got all these cute nail things from my sister. She is so awesome. Anyways, I royally messed up my feet.  I don’t understand how I do this, it seems every time. My best friend says I have to do stick with salon pedicures. I was scrubbing on the right side of my feet and I was really impressed with the loofah. It was taking off the dead skin like crazy. Um…it was taking off the healthy skin. I couldn’t see that in the bathtub. Then there I was clipping my toe nails and took off half the big toe nail on the right foot. Well all of these injuries seem small until your feet swell in your tennis shoes.

Monday night I had trouble walking up to my apartment they hurt so bad. I took off my shoes and socks to let my infected to air out. I had trouble walking around so Brad recommended a long hot bath. I had also read for an infected toe you should put it in a hot Epsom salt bath for twenty minutes. I thought well I will just soak for twenty minutes and then go to be. Well I soaked for about an hour, and as soon as I got out of my bath, my feet felt like I was walking on hot lava rocks. I could barely walk to the bed. When I finally laid down after I leaned against the bed to clumsily put on my panties, and had my husband help me with my bra. Brad looked at my feet and there was puss. I am just going to be honest here so that you understand I am not just complaining. I don’t mean to gross you out. The rest of my feet were swollen and red and felt like they had been cut with a razor blade all over.

Brad bandaged my toe and then started to massage them and I actually cried. He stopped massaging them and just lotion-ed them up for me and put my socks on me. I think he was bewildered I was crying. He said, “It will be okay, and maybe you shouldn’t walk tomorrow.”

“Why is it that when you are walking up hill it always has to sleet and snow,” I asked through tears.

I was so joyous coming home and now I would have to maybe put off my work out. I know it was only one day but it felt like initiative was happening. I had gotten up gumption. I was doing this thing. Now I was lying in bed crying.

Isn’t there some sort of parable in the bible that says something like when you try to walk the path of righteousness the devil will throw poo at you? I mean I know I am paraphrasing.

Well I think it not only applies to Christianity, but anything you try to set to do out right. Once you pay attention, once you try harder, it gets more difficult. I don’t understand the phenomenon.

The good news, and the end of the story is that the next day my feet were still sore but I went out and walked it again. I did my ten minutes for break, twenty for lunch, and ten again for break. I conjured up the guts, by thinking of all those magazine photos of women in warrior stances. I started thinking about my friend Pamela and her trying to start running early after she hurt her leg. She just couldn’t wait to get out there. That’s amazing to me. She is all gimpy and can’t wait to run. I am not the only one who has a hard time. I am a warrior, I kept thinking. I am doing this. It feels good to continue even though there is rain and sleet.

“Sweat is just your body’s way of cooling itself down” -Fonda Portales

Sundays Swimming Pool

Everyone has a hang up that ranges back to when they were wee little ones playing dodge ball in the school yard. Michael Jackson’s nose issues were well documented. His siblings made fun of his big nose and that affected his adult life, leading to many surgeries. My Aunt told me when she was young and had braces, one of her friends got her braces off and her teeth were nasty and yellow. This scared her so much that she cleaned hers everyday so thoroughly, her dentist was shocked at how clean they were when the braces came off. Today her teeth are some of the whitest and brightest I have ever seen. Her smile glistens in the sun. One of my friends had an acne problem. To this day, it doesn’t matter if she is so drunk she can barely walk, when she goes to bed she is in there washing and scrubbing her face. Mine of course, is sweating. My friend Tomika said to me once, “sweat is your body crying.”

I have already explained how much I have hated exercise, but it is even deeper than that. I hate sweating. It brings shame and fear instantaneously to my soul. It started when I was little and I used to have a huge B.O. problem. My arm pits exude onion smell when I sweat. From the age of five, I was teased relentlessly about it. My nickname was onion. Not only that, but my feet stunk in a totally different way. I ruined many tennis shoes, and we didn’t really have the money to replace them. Not only that but when I sweated, I used to get horrible heat rashes behind my knees, that was painful when I sat down. I had to wear pants in the summer or people would know, and then the pants would stick to the rashes. Basically I was a mess in the summer. Oklahoma is a humid soupy mess. When you get out of the shower you start sweating. I was sweaty, red, stinky, and blotchy twenty-four seven for six months out of the year.

So like my friends I am super vigilant now. Around junior high time I discovered Mitchum. That deodorant is the only reason I have been able to be accepted into society. I picture myself never leaving the house to go into the sun, had I not found this heaven scent shellac for my arm pits. I powder my shoes and when my husband and I go anywhere outside we bring a hand held fan with ice water in the bottom so we can spray ourselves to cool us down. Even our friends know that we do not like the heat, we are only invited when there is air conditioning or some sort of water sport involved. Our home is referred to as a meat cooler, because we keep it so cold.

So now I am thirty six years old, vigilant about not sweating and trying to lose weight…yeah, that’s not going to work is it?

Soaked, tired and sunburned

The reason all this is coming up is because Brad and I were swimming with friends: Gookie, Matt, and Fonda. We meet on Sundays, and Fonda asked me why swimming was my favorite exercise. I half giggles nervously and said I hate to sweat. Fonda is inquisitive in a nonjudgmental way, she asked why. I tried to explain the way I have here. Fonda looked at me kind of weird, with a WTF, I can’t believe what I am hearing kind of face. Fonda said, “I have never been around you when you smelled.”

On the one hand I was thinking, uh, yeah, cause I make sure I don’t smell, but on the other I thought hmmm, I guess that is true, I don’t smell that bad anymore. I have figured out a way to control it. All of my friends there were a little skeptical about my confession. Fonda kept saying, “Danielle, sweating is just your body’s way of cooling itself down.”

At this point, I had to admit sheepishly that it is illogical to have these hang ups, but I still did. I know many people who have this problem. Illogically when I sweat these feelings just rise up my spine, and I am reduced to eight years old. It isn’t something I think about. I don’t ruminate on it, it is instantaneous. So there in my impromptu counseling session I asked my friends, how do you stop that from happening? How do you change a “Pavlovian Response?” Gookie, being the brilliant man he is, said, “You need to create situations over and over in which you sweat in a positive way.” In other words I need to over and over sweat in a way that doesn’t cause all these things to happen, and instead is fun. I have already started doing this. At my health party we played badminton and volleyball and I sweated a rainstorm, but I was so distracted with having fun, I didn’t care.

To go even further, this week I have been thinking about the fact that, I have been allowing some bratty eight year olds shame me into never sweating. I sit outside in the heat, not even moving and I feel shame. So I am allowing eight year olds, to hurt my thirty six year old self. How ridiculous is that?

My thirty six year old self has a wonderful set of friends who love me and accept me, even if I stink to high heaven. Yeah, it is so nice. If you don’t have that, search it out and find it. I am so secure in my friendships now. Even my friends in the pool there stated it outright. They don’t care if I stink, it is just my body’s natural reaction to heat and exercise. It is all very logical. I need to let it go.

So in the coming weeks my goal is to overcome years of conditioning. When there is heat, I have already started with Fonda’s words in my head saying, “Sweat is just your body’s way of cooling itself down.”

A true sage – Gookie