Thursday, July 22, 2010

Made It.

Well, we made it through the funeral without incident. Dad's eulogy went so well the minister came up to him afterward and said, "Okay, you teach me how to be an architect because I can tell there isn't a thing I can teach you on how to preach!"

This will help a bit with some closure. The whole week we've been in limbo, so at least there's that. And thank you, everyone, for the kindness, sympathy, and support. It means alot to me, and you are all awesome.

Now, in less than twelve hours (in theory) our plane will be taking off, heralding the beginning of our journey to Glacier and Waterton National Parks, in the U.S. and Canada. Our bags are packed, all I lack are my comb, brush, and toiletries.

And the kids' toothbrushes. I know I'm going to forget those, and am pretty much resigned to just buying more when we touch ground.

We're off! See y'all in a week (hopefully with some good pictures!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


"Inoperable tumor -- consult in the morning -- comfort measures"

That's the phone message I keep seeing on my desk. One of the founders of the firm where I work, and have worked off and on for the past twenty-plus years, had what they thought was a benign cyst on his pancreas. It had grown a bit too much and was encroaching on his bile duct causing some jaundice, and that and other digestive issues were why he went in for a Whipple procedure last Friday.

So he was going in for surgery. Major surgery, not minor, and very serious at that. He said himself that his doctors told him "Well, with a Whipple, yes we pretty much are telling you that you'll have this or die."

They didn't mention the "and die" possibility. But with surgery under general anesthesia, that's a given.

The medical team went in and instead of the benign cyst, there was an invasive malignancy. They closed him back up after putting in a shunt to drain the bile and relieve the jaundice.

"Inoperable... comfort measures..."

He had a second operation on Saturday. He was bleeding out.

My parents visited him in recovery. He and Dad have been business partners since 1975. I grew up with their son. I've never said "He was like a second father to me," because my own father has always been more than sufficient. But he was.

His liver was failing, and so were his kidneys.

Dialysis failed.

He passed away Sunday. We've been shell-shocked all week, both at home and at the office. My last entry was beyond disjointed, and I know it. I wrote it after I got the news, and was just striving for some sense of normalcy. Bombed that.

The funeral is tomorrow. My father will be delivering the eulogy.

I told my dad he's not allowed to go the route of this gentleman, or of the other firm founder who passed away earlier this year. He smirked a little, and said that there might come a day when I wish he would.


"Comfort measures."

My grandparents are all dead. Now the people of my parents' generation are passing. I'm moving right up in the old mortality chain.

I don't like it. At all.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vacation's All I Ever Wanted...

Well, it's coming. It'll get here.

For now, life goes on. I weighed in on Thursday at 147.25; then on Friday I was at 147 even. I really should never ever weigh in multiple times, because even though my "official" weight puts me at 147.25, I now consider my weight to be 147, which means if I'm at 147 this coming Thursday too I'll be bummed because The Scale Rules All.


BUT... I think that eating a more even (yet higher) calorie distribution is working at the moment. My goal is to eat 1500 calories per day, and I've managed to range right in between 1400 and 1600 all week. I'll have to see how that goes this week as well, since it's intake over time that's more important than just what I've eaten immediately preceding a weigh-in. Looking at my past patterns and the big drop this week, though, I think I wasn't eating enough considering the exercise I've been doing. That prompted my body to hold onto every ounce it could make an excuse to cling to. Eating more is training my body to expect food, so it feels free to let go of some of the fat in return.

Eh, it makes sense somewhere in my feeble little brain.

The elliptical machine is doing marvelously. I've been doing 20 minutes on it per day since we brought it home. I started out unable to keep moving past two minutes and 30 seconds, so I'd dismount after that time, pace back and forth for one minute, then hop back on. This past week I got up to 5-minute stretches. And now this week I'm moving to 10-minute stretches... at least one*, which would be followed by two five-minute bursts. But still, the progress is good and I'm pleased.

It's a weird machine.. I don't use too much resistance, but even over the past two weeks my arms are showing more definition and I could swear that yesterday I actually glimpsed a hint of a quad! Now only a hint, mind you... I carry most of my weight in my hips and thighs, including some very unfortunate "saddle bags." Those suckers have been the bane of my existence since I was fifteen years old, and it appears little has changed on that front in the past twenty-five years. I don't think that particular fat deposit will leave regardless of how much I exercise or how little I eat. When I was sixteen I was severely ill with pneumonia, and after it was all said and done I'd dropped to 108.5 pounds. I was hollow cheeked, flat-chested, and still I had those blasted saddlebags!!

I threaten lots of plastic surgery, but the one I can most see myself eventually caving to is some lipo to just smooth them out. Finding pants that will fit without accentuating them is a flat-out misery, and one can only wear Spanx so long before beginning to feel a bit like a cased sausage.

Oh shoot, I totally got off track there. Where was I? Oh yes, exercise! Anyway, after 20 minutes of on-and-offing the elliptical, I've then moved to the treadmill for the final 40 minutes of my daily cardio. I was doing 10% incline work for some weeks, and have now moved to a more solid 5% stretch as the elliptical appears to be my higher intensity work. I've done both the 10% and the elliptical in one day, and from the after-effects it appears that isn't a good mix for my legs which are still recovering from the stress fractures.

Slow and steady does it.

I have definitely bombed out on the resistance this week. There's only so much time in a day, and I've made choices that haven't included it. I need to re-evaluate and figure out how to work it in because with my bones being as fragile as they're acting, I need to do everything I can to increase their density. On the plus side, I'm tracking my calcium intake and since I started taking a calcium supplement I'm up to the levels I need on that at least.

I'm still tracking every bite. Without tracking what I eat, I slip. I've been on this path since August of 2006, and history has taught me that if I don't write down my intake in some form or fashion (currently I use SparkPeople's Nutrition Tracker and have been since January of 2009 -- I'm AmandaJCD over there), I will lose my perspective on how much food is going into my mouth, and from there I'll start climbing right back up to where I started, if not beyond.

So, the goals for this week are to keep at 1500 calories per day, keep the daily cardio going, drink my water (I flunked water yesterday, but there's still time to get today's in!), and try to get this family packed for vacation.

Speaking of cardio, it's about that time. The Evil Elliptical is hollering at me. Have a great week, folks!

*Did it! Turns out I can do 10 minutes at a stretch on the elliptical... who knew? :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cause and Effect

Conversation between Choreboy and me, following my latest heart rate measurement:

"Hey, my heart rate's at 54 beats per minute!"

"Is that good or bad?"

"Uh... good. It's low."

"Are you dead?"

"Noooo... Lance Armstrong's heart beats only 32 times per minute."

"Well that's cuz he wears that little rubber bracelet."

Alrightie then...

In other news, the weigh in weight was 150.25. That could be either due to standard weight fluctuation (hey, at least it's a lower 150?) or it could be related to the fact that for some reason I felt called to bake not just one, but two pound cakes in the seven days preceding the weigh-in.

Yeah, not my best or brightest move, considering my inordinate pound cake love.

Good news is that they came out great -- both taste/texture wise AND in their release from the bundt pan. So I have that going for me.

And I also am developing a scary low RHR... hee!! My recovery rate is coming along as well. Five minutes after I'm off my treadmill I'm back down around 60 BPM. So progress is being made, just not necessarily of the scale variety.

This week I've got a few things I'm working toward. I'm going to get my water in (and hey, check in to Sean and Kenz's Positive Effect Water Challenge!); I'm going add one additional serving of complex carbs (brown rice, whole wheat bread, sweet potato, etc) to each day; I'm going to stay within my calorie range and not have an "over" day; and I'm going to lift my weights three times this week.

Oh, and I'm not going to bake any pound cakes. That might help.

If I accomplish all this and the scale doesn't move, so be it. I know my fitness is improving because my RHR is dropping like a stone and my recovery rate is right behind it. At 150 I am at a healthy weight (I have to keep repeating this to myself because in my high school mind even breaking 120 was appalling -- and I am NOT in high school anymore!). That said, these last twenty pounds are not simply vanity pounds -- a goal of 130 pounds with a very small bone frame is quite reasonable -- but being so close to goal it's also reasonable that my body is going to want to hold on to every ounce it can manage.

I just have to outwit it, and I plan to do that by eating sufficiently and making up my calorie deficit through exercise.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with my elliptical... or as I like to refer to it, "that bastard." Have a good one!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Less than Perfect...

... and feeling a bit less than laudable, really.

I work out at least 6 days per week. And I've been telling myself that I really don't like it. Like, at all.

Turns out I've been lying to myself. I may not like the physical exertion too much -- although I'll admit I am getting hooked on that feeling of accomplishment -- but I've learned tonight that I really relish the the solitude I have, like when I'm on that 10% incline in the 4th minute of a 5 minute interval, and the only thought going through my mind outside of "I'm pretty sure I'm about to die" is "My brother is going to pay and pay for reminding me about interval training."

Yeah, that's the stuff.

Because tonight, the Elder wanted to exercise with me. And although I felt some weird resistance to the idea, I shoved it to the back of my mind and told him of course. After all, I want him to like physical activity, and of the two of my children he is the most like me in his potential ability to permanently root himself to the couch. So hey, the boy wants to sweat it out with Mom? Bring it on!!

Except... well, not. The first twenty minutes were actually okay. We just got an elliptical this weekend because I needed another air conditioned cardio option and the price was right, and I hammered away at that for my first event of the evening. Since that's a newer "thing", I don't have a rhythm down yet really -- mentally or physically. It's new, and I'm learning about the machine and how my body handles it.

It's when I switched to the treadmill that the problem started. It just felt wrong. And then when I hit up the 10% incline, I was getting extremely frustrated because my rhythm was being affected by him gliding his leisurely way along on the elliptical.

And this might win me a total Bad Mommy award, but I finally ended up stopping for a bit so he and I could rework his "Sweatin' With the Oldie" session to be just the first part of my workout. Part of me feels terrible. He's disappointed that he can't do my entire workout with me, and I feel like The Most Unnatural Mother Ever. But part of me is also relieved, because my blessed solitude has returned and I can once again ponder my pending doom while continuing my mental bitch session at my much-maligned baby (6'-1") brother in peace.

I'm going to go pour the poor child a nice drink to attempt to salve my conscience a bit more, then it's back to the treadmill for me. I'm not going to let feeling guilty also cheat me out of a workout. I've just got to find another way to work around this.

Edited to add: The boy appears to have recovered. He just delivered a five minute dissertation to me about his Darth Maul character on the Wii Lego Star Wars game that Choreboy brought home this weekend. Whew.

Friday, July 02, 2010

What Week is it Anyway?

Oh yeah...

Week 13 Weight: 150.75
Week 14 Weight: 152
Week 15 Weight: 151.5
Week 16 Weight: 149.5
Week 17 Weight: 150.25
Week 18 Weight: 149.25

Yeah, it's a quarter pound up from Monday but with the standard fluctuations during the week, I'll take it. I've been killing it on my treadmill -- 40 minutes @ 3MPH, 5% incline, and 20 minutes @ 3MPH, 10% incline. I can feel the difference when I'm done. As for my weights and resistance stuff... well, I'm thinking about it more. It's just that after a freaking HOUR of cardio, there needs to be time for the family, and this week hasn't been conducive to being able to work both resistance and family time in.

With the holiday weekend coming up my goal is to simply maintain this week. Sure I'll work for a loss, but I'm good with strictly maintenance.

Hoosier Sugar Cream pie. It sounds good. We'll have to see how the recipe works out...

Happy 4th, folks!