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Friday, February 27, 2009

Bring On March

Two days remain until a new month begins. My month. March. I'm a Pisces, and on Thursday of next week, I will officially turn 45 years old. Yesterday, in anticipation of my birthday, my son, using his IPod Touch, calculated when I might die. According to the little contraption in the palm of his hand, I have lived 55% of my life, and I can look forward to dying when I am 82 years old. I'll take that. Eighty-two seems like a nice, long life. So, I guess that means I better get busy living. I'm on the downhill slide, and the ride is only going to get going faster the farther away from the top of the hill I get.

With the approach of March comes spring break. Because my kids' spring break is after my own, I'll have the week at home alone during the day. I always look forward to this week as it offers me a chance to do things during the day that I normally don't get the chance to do. Like going to the bookstore and taking as long as I want without someone pulling on my coat sleeve, telling me it's time to go. And like driving the short distance to the beautiful state park nearby, hiking along the lake and photographing (if lucky enough) the shy blue herons. I try not to fill my days with too much going and doing, sometimes just hanging out at home, watching one-star movies. Doing nothing is completely underrated these days.

I've been keeping up with the whole stimulus package issue, as well as other issues affecting our country right now, and to be honest, I'm scared. I'm scared for the future of our wonderful country. It's being torn apart by the people who are in charge. I think the Constitution spells out very clearly how this country is to be run, but it sure seems like those in charge are totally ignoring what the Founding Fathers designed and why they designed it the way they did. The power grab by the new administration is obnoxious. And it's very scary that it is being allowed to do what it is. I've reached the point where I feel like I really need to hunker down, protect what I have in anyway I possibly can. Thankfully, we have no debt other than our house, I have a fairly secure job, and my family is happy to work together in the kitchen every evening, preparing a meal together, eating together and catching up with one another rather than going out to eat, going separate ways, and just not knowing what each other is doing. We definitely are a group of homebodies; I wouldn't have it any other way. Maybe being homebodies will keep us safe (maybe safer is the word I need) through these difficult times.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lazy Weekend

A good weekend is one when no papers litter my desk, waiting for me to finally turn my attention to them, reading them and stamping a grade on them. All last week I spent hours reading journal entries, Comp I and Comp II papers. When Thursday afternoon rolled around, I sighed with relief at having a couple of days with no reading to do. At least reading I didn't really look foward to. I have been reading--about container gardening, which I hope to do lots of this summer.

All of us are beginning to get antsy with these cold days seeming to be never ending. If the sun is shining, the wind is blowing, putting the wind chill into single or minus zero digits. We're ready to get out of the house, but the wind keeps chasing us back inside. I have been out long enough to stand on the back deck, looking over our small patio area behind the house and contemplating how to arrange the pots of plants. We don't have a lot of room, but from what I've been reading, I can have quite a few pots with a variety of veggies. I'm even hoping to try my hand at container fruit trees. Dwarf apples, maybe a peach tree or two.

For now, all I can do is think about spring, planting fruits and veggies. The good thing is we are slowly edging towards March, bringing us closer to warmer temps. The bad thing is the warmer temps, the promise of greening, of flowers, of trees leafing out in April, also brings spring fever, making it very difficult for me to concentrate on student papers and other work-related matters. Thankfully, I have two personal days yet to be used, so I am thinking they may come in handy in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Juice Fasting Results

Well, the numbers show the juicing weekend worked. The numbers this morning showed 3.1 pounds lost since last Tuesday. I am quite happy about that. The juicing along with the P90X are a great combo meal (LOL--I made a pun). Even though I had to modify the approach a bit and couldn't make the weekend a complete juicing adventure, having two meals comprised of juice rather than the regular solid foods definitely made a difference on the scale. Another difference I've noticed is I just can't eat as much as I used to. I get full after only a few bites of a sandwich or a couple of bites of whatever it is I am eating. Getting that full feeling quickly means a lot of food is left on the plate. I'm okay with that. I'll just have to start making less for me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Such Imagination

The kids were out of school today for Presidents Day, so I decided to take a personal day to spend some time with the them. We wanted to go see a movie, one wanting to see Taken, one wanting to see The Unvited, and the rest of us not really sure what we wanted to see. Because the youngest is only 10, we finally agreed we would all go see Coraline. Once settled in, it took just a matter of seconds for me to find myself marvelling at the imagination that went into the creation of the movie. Having never attended a 3-D movie before, I was enthralled with how the images floated off the screen. At one point, a couple of dragonflies even flew past my ear. It was magical. I was Alice at the bottom of the rabbit hole, in awe over the world I had just entered.

I envy people with the imagination to bring to fruition something like Coraline. I so want to be like them. I've always loved to read, and along with the reading, I've always loved to write. It seems I've been doing both for a very long time now and both have never gotten old to me. I could spend hours everyday reading and writing. I can't, though, because of all the "everything else" that makes up my life right now. I'm constantly thinking I should cut back on all the extras I'm currently involved in and read and write more. This urge has tugged insistently at me for more than a year now. Perhaps it's time I really start listening to the urge. And seeing something like Coraline only makes the urge greater than before.

To tell you how good this movie is--my husband usually falls asleep during movies that are even close to falling into the category of cartoon. Claymation, cartoon, animated, you name it, he'll fall asleep. During Coraline, he not only stayed awake, but afterwards he said he completely enjoyed every aspect of the movie. One other aspect of the movie he and I both got great enjoyment out of was watching our 10 year old sit on the edge of his seat, staring at the screen in complete fascination.

Perhaps one day I will create something to elicit that same kind of response. Maybe one day, I can truly say I have that imagination I've always admired in others.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Juicing Weekend

I found out immediately how difficult it was going to be to do a juice fast all weekend. Almost as soon as I posted about doing this, my husband walked in and said, "Hey, let's go to lunch." I told him I needed to go somewhere that offered juices (which is everywhere, but the juices are full of sugar--not a good way to go). So I compromised and had a salad as well as an orange juice that I asked be half juice half water. The server sort of smiled at this but made sure to let me know she did follow my directions. She even asked if I'd like a second one free of charge since I only had half the normal glass of juice in the first place. That was quite nice of her. I declined the offer. I figured only half the sugar was all I needed.

Friday evening, we had the pizza party for the boys' basketball team. What to do? I had a piece of pizza. There was nothing else I could do. I could have not eaten, I guess. Or I could have thought ahead and made a juice to take with me. I'm new at this, so I'm still trying to figure these things out. I did go out and buy a nice little bottle to put my juices in to take to work, so maybe I can juice for nights like pizza parties.

Saturday was better. I knew I was going to have to compromise the all-day juicing since Hubby bought a heart-shaped steak for Valentine's dinner. I juiced for breakfast and lunch and the in-between snacks, so I didn't feel too bad about eating a small piece of steak and a baked potato. In fact, I kind of like the juicing for two meals and snacks then having a regular meal. I did that today and believe this might be a system that will work well for me. I had a half a sandwich for lunch while I juiced for breakfast and dinner. Overall, I've felt satisfied all weekend. I also feel light, like I've not overeaten in any way or eaten things that are not good for me. I've alternated the fruit juicing with the vegetable juicing, so hopefully I'm getting a good balance of nutrients.

Weigh-in day is Tuesday. I will admit I'll be a bit disappointed if the juicing doesn't take off a couple of pounds, but I guess I'll just have to stay with it. Like the old saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day, and Lord knows these 20 pounds weren't put on in only three days.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm Gonna Try Juice Fasting

For around 40 days now, I've been doing an in-home workout routine to get into shape. Over the past 5 years, I've gained about 20 pounds, and while I knew I was gaining weight, I wasn't really bothered by it until this past Thanksgiving when we were in Flordia for vacation. I could really tell, more than ever, that my clothes didn't fit well. My hair was starting to look stringy and dingy. The energy just wasn't what it used to be several years ago. I really wanted to start a better approach to eating and exercising right then and there, but I resorted to excuses: three kids who needed to eat what they like, a husband who constantly undermined my efforts to eat healthfully, work, etc. One of my excuses really is a problem--my husband is difficult to deal with when it comes to food. He loves to eat, and he eats anything and everything, which shows. He could stand to lose 70 pounds easily. So I let the excuses continue to keep me from changing my bad habits.

Finally, two days after Christmas, my husband said, "Let's go buy a treadmill and do our own biggest loser competition." I grabbed my coat and purse as fast as I could and headed out the door before he could change his mind. We spent that day looking at different treadmills, trying them out and discussing what we'd like to have for our competition. We settled on a mid-range model, and since that day, my husband has walked at least 30 minutes each day. I walked for the first ten days or so then switched over to the P90X workout. I really wanted something other than walking, and the P90X is definitely not a walking workout. It's so much more. I absolutely love the variety offered with the 12 different DVDs, and I love being able to do the workout in the comfort of my own living room.

Hubby and I took Day 1 photos: front, side, back. We also took Day 30 photos of the same angles. With Hubby, the change is significant. He has (I should say had) quite the belly going. The belly has shrunk. For me, the change is less visible, but I can tell I'm toning up. All of my pants fit better, looser. All of my shirts can be buttoned without a gap right at the breasts. Overall, Hubby has lost 8 pounds and I have lost 5 pounds. He, right now, is winning the biggest loser contest.

Because he's winning and I want to catch him, I'm going to try a juice fast for the next three days. I've been reading up on juice fasting and think I can handle it for this amount of time. Today I started with a carrot, celery, and zuchinni juice--a bit on the sickingly-sweet side, but what I didn't do that I will from now on is dilute the juice with water. Hopefully that will make it a bit more palatable. The more difficult part of this whole adventure is being stong enough to say no to what the rest of the family is eating. The tug I feel to eat foods high in fat and calories is overwhelming at times. This fascinates me--what causes this? Can I control it? I'll let you know on Sunday.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ahhhh, Friday

My work schedule this semester is really nice. I don't teach on Mondays and I don't teach on Fridays. But Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are busy, busy, busy. By Thursday afternoon, I'm ready to flop on the couch and not move until Burn Notice is over. I can't really do that since I have three kids, a husband and a dog to take care of, but I can dream of flopping and not moving. Makes for a wonderful dream.

This evening I've vowed to do my P90X workout from 8-9 then write for awhile. I started P90X the first week of January, thinking I wouldn't be able to do any of the workouts, but I've actually done pretty well. The first workout kicked my butt, no doubt about it, but last night, doing that same workout, I noticed I can do most of it now. Only one part still gets to me--the superman/banana minute. I can't keep my lower back on the floor yet, so the strain makes my lower back really sore. I do as much as I can, though, and I can tell I've improved. Even my clothes are telling me things are changing for the better. It's nice to be able to wear all my clothes with a little room now. Tonight will be the second night of week 5, so I'm doing a workout I haven't done yet. I'm curious to see how it goes. I'm hoping these next three weeks show even more weight loss and roomy clothes. Another perk that comes with toning up--my husband loves the way I look. That makes me feel really good.

My husband and I had a long lunch together today. As I sat across from him, I thought how good my life is right now, and how afraid I am that it all could go away in the blink of an eye. My husband is so good to me; I'm a very lucky woman to have a man who thinks the world of me the way he does. He's not my first husband nor the father of my children. He is, however, the man I was always hoping to meet and fall in love with. And with the kids, he has from day one always looked at them as his. The kids know without a doubt that he loves them and will do whatever is needed to keep them safe. Each night, when I snuggle against him, I give thanks for being so blessed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Already Falling Behind

Even with the best of intentions, I'm finding so little time to blog. Since I work with writing and reading all day, other people's writing and reading, sometimes when I have some down time I use it to do other things. Like playing basketball with my sons. Like going to the mall with my daughter. Like getting a workout in since that was one of my New Year's resolution. In any case, blogging gets pushed to the side.

Some time will open up next week. Basketball will be over. And it is with both happiness and sadness for me that the season is ending. On one hand, the boys have come so far, and I'm thrilled with the skill level I see some of the fourth graders playing. On the other hand, our season has been less than stellar. Our record is like 3-9. For the third year we've had a losing season. Is it me? Is it the boys? Both? I don't have any answers. Maybe between now and October I can figure something out to help the boys end on a better note next season.

With more time opening up next week, I definitely will be sure to use some of the time to work on some writing I've started. I'm excited about finishing up some pieces and sending them off for publication. The thought of rejection slips coming in isn't so exciting, but I'm okay with rejection. Let's just say I'm used to it.

Maybe I'll pass some of the rejection slips along so you can feel my pain. You know the saying: misery loves company.