45-year-old mother of two human boys, ages 16 and 12; pet-mom to three rather yappy canines and two cats; keeper of the zoo; and wife to one incredibly tolerant man. Alternately babbles and rants.
Read on at your own risk.
Amanda - Me Choreboy/ Brent - The Husband The Elder Offspring - what it sounds like The Gum Zombie - the younger offspring The Nephew - see above, re: Elder The Divine Miss M - my niece Teddy, a/k/a Hound, f/k/a Toad - small hyperactive chihuahua/ yorkie mix Charlie - baby dog! chihuahua/ pug mix, or "chug" Daniel - large sedate male of the feline persuasion Emily - rounded homicidal female of the feline persuasion Bob, a/k/a Blob - interdimensional traveler masquerading as Felis silvestris catus The rest of the critters can be found over here.
To 135, that is. All is well in the World of Amanda's Work Wardrobe.
Outside of that, not much is going on beyond me coming down with the Office Plague. We had two down for the count and two going down with it on Friday, and when I woke up Sunday morning I knew I'd been hit. I missed work today but appear to be improving so the grand plan is to drag my ailing-but-no-longer-contagious self into the office tomorrow to survey the damage.
Anyone want to place bets on how many items have been hijacked from my desk? I'm guessing my scissors have gone missing, likely my red pen, and also my staple puller.
Hopefully we all survived Thanksgiving relatively unscathed!
I did, more or less. To my chagrin I didn't end up following my own advice (*eyeroll*) and extended the holiday from Wednesday evening through Sunday evening. And I will absolutely admit that I didn't put on a pair of my "normal" work pants until Wednesday (yesterday) morning when I knew most of the bloat had passed. They're fitting fine; I'm sitting at 137, which is a pound or two over my normal-esque weight, which also means that I was a total crazy woman.
Why? Not going into it here. Suffice it to say that it's nothing going on directly within my own household (thank you, powers that be) and although there are other, more constructive ways to deal with stress rather than eat, food was definitely my coping mechanism in the moment.
That said, as soon as Monday hit I was back on track. Even my extended "breaks" have limits, and the looming threat of the lack of a suitable wardrobe cannot be emphasized enough as a deterrent.
Now I just have to make it through the beginning of January without busting out at the seams. It's totally do-able. I think I might report in weight-wise once a week until this latest bout of lunacy is over.
All is well!! I just got back from a dance workshop, which was a blast (outside of me being totally overwhelmed, that is), and everyone is doing nicely. To give some of you more to be thankful about, I've started a secondary blog, It's All About the Herps (why stick with one crappy title when you can have two?) to spare you my ramblings about my reptilian household members. Considering we're getting two more snakes -- ball pythons -- I thought y'all might appreciate that ;)
Have a very happy weekend everyone, and remember Thanksgiving dinner is ONE FREAKING MEAL :P
Hey gang, I'm alive! I'm just terribly, terribly distracted. My best wishes, thoughts, and prayers go out to everyone who was hit by Hurricane Sandy. My sister lives in Brooklyn, so we've been staying pretty up-to-date. I'm just floored, and shattered for all in the area who are still being affected by the fallout from this storm.
Another point of distraction would be that the Gum Zombie's reptile-mania is only entrenching itself deeper, and since I have no objection to being overrun with reptiles (within reasonable limits, and granted "reasonable" is highly subjective), I've been researching like a fiend. This is taking up what available time I have outside of work, homework, housework, workouts, dance, cat care, Hound duty, and socializing/maintaining the reptiles we already do possess, but if we're bringing more animals into the house I'm going to be darned sure we know what we're doing and that we can afford (financially and time-wise) to take care of them responsibly.
I can guarantee you that I, personally, will be bringing no lizards of any kind into my home. They're cute and have personality, but I have other things to take up my time beyond chopping salad for a giant herbivore; gut-loading bugs for the omnivores similarly lacks appeal. I've considered a Sulcata tortoise, but in light of the fact that they grow quickly from a very cute hatchling size (2-3 inch shell length) to being the third largest tortoise in the world (18 - 36 inch shell length), I think we're going to take a pass for a bit. I'm not quite ready to sign my back yard over to an animal that's going to not only outlive me, but also rearrange my landscaping to suit its wishes.
So this leaves us more or less with... snakes. Lots and lots of snakes, at least someday if that child has his way. My current big mission is preparing a habitat for our first ball python,
which I believe we'll be bringing home sometime between spring and fall
of 2013. I have a tank already, but ball pythons have very specific humidity requirements (50-60% normally, 70% while shedding) which can be problematic when you're dealing with a glass enclosure and screen top, so this is requiring some work/ consideration. Also, I need to provide not only adequate heat levels in addition to the humidity, but I need to monitor same and be sure I have a proper power supply to accomplish all these things. Honestly, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed but once we get the first setup complete any future setups will be more or less just a matter of repeating what's already proven to work.
On the list of things I haven't been distracted about would be my workouts and food. I've started getting up at 5:30 in the morning (much more workable than 5:00) to do my resistance, and that's going well. I've moved the necessary equipment into the master bedroom and there I can get everything accomplished in some solitude, which I desperately needed. Also, I'm still tracking my food on SparkPeople so I don't lose my mind and consume the entire GDP of a small island nation during this holiday season.
So in other words? Priorities are sound, and I'll be more present once the newer additions to my schedule fall a bit more firmly into place. Have a good one, folks!
The above link goes to a blog that a friend of mine, "Lucy", writes for. She's a domestic violence survivor.
So am I.*
I don't go into it much here. This is not the place. But when you're sitting in the middle of the Parents, Children, and Divorce class your state mandates divorcing parents take, reach the section on domestic violence, and realize that every. single. step. on the cycle of abuse excepting only the man beating you senseless is exactly how you've lived the past decade of your life...
... it all kind of clarifies things a bit. You start to understand why you were always excusing, with "I'm sorry, he's just been so stressed out." "He's only like that when he's drinking." "I shouldn't have pushed him like that. It's my fault really."
It wasn't my fault. Five years ago, I finally realized that.
There is no specific class of person who is abused. Domestic abuse and violence crosses all socioeconomic boundaries, all educational lines, and all gender lines. It is at every level of society, bar none.
*Please note that I am NOT in any way referring to Brent/ Choreboy. We only just celebrated our third anniversary, and I cannot believe I am so fortunate as to have finally ended up with such a wonderful man. I didn't want to put this in here, but I wanted even less for people to think that my husband is in any way being referred to in this entry.
We went back to Repticon today, in large part because once the Gum Zombie had his snake yesterday nothing would do but to come straight home and get little Slither unpacked and into his habitat, so we missed probably at least 30% of the exhibits.
Today, someone else joined us on the journey home...
This is Sarah. She's mine. She's a 3-month-old Dodoma out-cross, weighing in at 16 grams. Kenyan sand boas are dimorphic, so Sarah will outweigh Slither by more than double by the time they're both adults.
Brent's sole comment? "I live in a zoo."
Yes, yes you do sweetheart. But no birds, I promise!
Hooray holidays! Yes, that delightful time of year is approaching that many of us have historically taken as free license to gorge, or at least sneak in a few treats we wouldn't indulge in normally. Y'all know I'm the queen of moderation; that said, here are a few little... well, "guidelines" really that I find helpful to remember.
Calories from the candy taken from your child's Halloween stash still count.
Ditto the candy you bought to give out to the neighborhood kiddies.
No, just because you "accidentally" overbought the Reese's Snack Size Pumpkins doesn't mean that you personally must ingest them all to avoid wastage.*
Thanksgiving is one day, people. One.
No, not two. I don't care that Great Aunt Paula brought her butter, cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and bacon dip that you may never have a chance to eat again before you die. ONE.
Despite what the retail establishments would have us believe, Christmas, too, is one day a year.
No, Grandmother Mercy's famous chocolate pecan marshmallow surprise cookies are not an exception.
Yes, I know she baked them special, just for you.
Fine, just tape them to your ass and be done with it.**
In other words, everything has a caloric toll no matter what the calendar says. I keep tracking over the holidays because it keeps me honest and I do better with visual confirmation that, yes, I really did eat THAT MUCH yesterday so I need to be sane today. It's what I found works for me because otherwise... well, that list didn't leap fully formed from a vacuum.
Have a good one, y'all. And be smart.
*Not that I, personally, would ever have done this... **Seriously, you might as well.
You know how easily some folks throw out their backs? I swear, that's how it goes with my knee. This evening I was engaging in the high-impact activity of sitting down to eat my damn dinner when *crick!* There it went.
I'm holding out as long as I can before I take up my ortho on his surgery offer, but days like this I start thinking maybe we could work out that whole six weeks of no driving thing...
No, this isn't becoming the Belly Dance Fashions blog. That, m'dears, is a picture of Yours Truly, mid-graduation dance. Turns out the old girl has some nerve left in her yet!
Thanks to my oh-so-delightful anxiety, I was planning to just take beginners a third time. However, on Sunday night, September 23rd, inspiration hit and I figured I'd better grab that sucker before it got away. So before I went to bed that evening, I had a complete choreography. Brent videoed me the next night, I tweaked a couple of spots, and rehearsed every spare second I had (and some I didn't) up until the performance on Wednesday night, the 26th. Nothing like giving yourself 72 hours notice to get the old juices flowing, eh?
And I totally wasn't hiding out in the restroom at work practicing my dance in a 4' x 4' space. Ahem. Nope, not me. Pardon me while I work on perfecting that "I'm totally innocent!" look...
So anyway, I made it into the intermediate class. Hooray!!!
The recital pictures! I've had to do some severe editing so I don't expose anyone on Teh Intarweebs who'd prefer to stay a teensy bit more anonymous. I also had a picture "done" so when that comes in I'll post it as well.
Still hanging steady at 135/136, and I think I'm going to hang out here for awhile. I have enough flexibility to not freak about how my pants are fitting, and it's time to stabilize once again. I do find it hilarious that last year it took me 16 weeks to drop from just over 141 to right at 135, and this year it took a whopping six weeks, if that. The only thing I can figure is that last year I'd been bouncing around the upper 140's for awhile and hit 150 before I decided to go into weight loss mode, whereas this year I'd been hanging around 138-142 since after my ablation (135-ish prior), thus giving me a lower starting point. Eh, it's a theory.
Anyway, to the pictures!
Yes, I was texting well-prior to the performance :P In fairness, I'm posting this one because it's probably the best shot of my hair and eye makeup. That dressing room was crowded!
Outdoor shot -- my hip scarf is barely visible primarily because it hangs down in back.
Here's another outdoor shot -- do NOT PANIC over my stomach! It was the pose (which is another reason why I posted the prior picture before this, because, yipes -- could I suck in any further???)
And at last, on stage! This is definitely a better shot of the hip scarf, too.
We really had a blast performing, and everyone did a marvelous job. We didn't get to see the professionals and more advanced classes/ individuals/ duets perform at the recital since we were backstage, but we saw their acts at the run-through and they were all fabulous.
Now I just need to get over this anxiety and do my graduation dance to get into intermediate, because seriously y'all, I can only do this dance so many times before I go stark raving mad.
Well y'all, I've hit 136 enough days recently that I feel comfortable actually posting it. Once is water, twice is maybe? But third time's the charm. I am trying not to care if the scale stays in this neighborhood rather than continuing its downward trend. Honestly though, I'd like to wave at 130 even if it's just a fly-by. That was my ultimate goal. On the other hand, even when I was at 133 my pants were all loose and I'm not sure if that's a good look for me anymore.
Besides, I hate belts.
That said, we've got our belly dancing recital coming up this Sunday, so I'm glad things are more on the low end of the scale. I've been practicing like a fiend, and at this point with the choreography it's more about refining the steps for me than learning them and committing them to memory because after the number of times I've done this I don't think I'll ever forget it. I've got a permanent groove worn in my bedroom carpet where I've been hiding out going over and over and over this thing.
My food intake is appallingly boring. Five days of the week I eat nearly the same thing, because it's just easier. Breakfast is an egg white scramble (sometimes with a yolk, sometimes, not, ALWAYS with lots of white) with a side of vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, tomato) and a side of fruit (berries, apple). Lunch is the infamous "Here's How I Keep Myself Away from Chipotle" salad with greens, chicken breast meat, salsa, guacamole -- I've switched from avocados because those suckers kept rotting on me, and after eyeballing its ingredients list, Wholly Guacamole is acceptable in my world -- reduced fat sour cream and 2% shredded cheddar. Dinner is some sort of lean-to-leanish meat (fish, turkey burger, pork tenderloin) along with more veg, and I do throw a dessert in, generally some variant of frozen yogurt. From my calories, I'm about 80% good to my 20% dessert, and I can live with that.
The other two days a week I kick it up a notch. Sometimes this is the weekend, other times I spread it out during the week just depending on my schedule and all. I might add in more carbs (Chipotle bellows loudly even when I do my best!), or go with a less lean meat choice (pot roast, anyone?). The boys and I went to Yogurt Mountain this past Saturday, which I'll totally cop to counting as breakfast. And I will absolutely admit that Bacon Happens.
Just not often. And not in excess. Because "often" and "excess" are what got me to 200 pounds. I'm not going back there.
Besides, I can't. I got rid of the clothes. Makes it a bit more tricky to scoot up that scale ;)
Have a good one, y'all! If I get any decent pictures of myself at the recital I'll post them afterward. Be warned, makeup will totally be set to Streetwalker.
Although I've been quiet on the blogging front recently, I've been reading. It's made me think about all the changes to my diet since 2006 when I finally got the big "holy cow, this is not what I want to weigh!" alert.
When the Elder, then age seven, first bellowed my 200-pound weight to the entire grocery store, I went with what I knew. At that time, it was one of those pre-packaged meal systems (I don't link to them, but its initials are NS). Oh god, it was awful. I wish I had some of the labels around because seriously, that is some of the most processed "food but not really" stuff out there.
But I did lose weight on it.
After a couple of months I knew I had to do something different because although the NS stuff was obviously working, I couldn't keep on eating like that. There were a few items that I found along the way that I could live with, but overall the stuff was just foul. I knew I liked Lean Cuisine, so figuring that NS had me on about 1200 calories a day, that's what I decided to do for myself.
I started reading the nutrition information on packages -- yes, it took me until I was thirty-six years old to figure that out -- and made sure my days were right at 1200, with about 30 calories on either side for mathematical issues. I ate Lean Cuisine, I ate South Beach wraps (mostly for breakfast), I ate sugar-free 10-calorie Jello cups, I chewed craploads of sugar-free gum. You know, that stuff does interesting things to your insides if you chow through an entire15-stick pack in a day.
So still more processed stuff. And I lost weight on it.
Then when I got divorced in late 2007/ early 2008, my household had a big drop in income. I couldn't afford all the pre-made food anymore, so I had to figure out what to do with a much smaller budget. I started looking at recipes more, because it's cheaper to cook from scratch.
I lost weight that way too. I got down as low as 133, and have maintained between 138-142 since then.
This past January, when I had my gum surgery, I got it in my head to track how much sodium I was eating. I'd bought some V8 vegetable soups in addition to the godawful Slimfast to get me through the all-liquid days following surgery, and I was absolutely stunned at how much sodium was in those suckers. Holy cow, it was insane!
That's when it finally clicked that cooking my own food was about more than saving money. It was about my health. Food companies don't care about our health; they care about their bottom line which is increased by using as many cheap, processed ingredients as possible.
And all that said, I'm still not a total convert. I love Fiber One brownies, although they're not the crack they used to be. You will pry my Diet Coke out of my cold, dead fingers, although I don't suck down quite as much of it than I used to.
Hmm. Interesting pattern right there.
The thing I see consistently is that my diet has improved over time, just as a natural part of me wanting to be healthy. First the focus was on scraping the weight off, then it became about what I could live with taste-wise, and then it became about eating what was better for me overall. I'm a work in progress. I'm not perfect, and honestly I'm not even trying to be. But I'm sure a hell of a lot better than I was, and I'm certain that process will continue. I work better this way.
I'm doing the best that I can, today. Tomorrow, that best may be better. I'm good with that.
Still here, y'all -- I've just got some mental craziness I'm having to juggle.
I'm a pretty high-anxiety person in general. I stress to a ridiculous degree, wake up at 3:00 AM and can't get back to sleep worrying about things that I can't do anything about (mostly because it's THREE-FREAKING-A.M.), and endless loops of The Shit That's Gone Wrong Or May Go Wrong play over and over in my head. It's a delight, in the "wouldn't it be nice to function like a normal person? Hah!" sense of the word.
Trying to manage the anxiety is one reason I gained all the weight I did. I was in a very difficult marriage, the details of which I don't discuss too much here out of respect for my children's privacy, and the constant churning feeling in my gut was momentarily calmed by food intake. The worse things got, the more I ate until I finally hit a weight that slammed me between the eyes when I heard it. Then I had to drop the food and in doing so I was forced to deal with what was really going on (the whole "what was eating me" thing)...
Remember my limited coping skills? That would be one aspect. It's not over my marriage anymore, thankfully. Choreboy rocks. But I still have it over other areas of my life, and the big one that's kicking me in the pants right now is the "graduation dance" for bellydancing.
The way things are set up, everyone takes the beginning class twice. After you've taken it twice, you're allowed to choreograph and perform your own "graduation dance" and move up to the intermediate class. Unfortunately, I am not creative. No, don't point to this blog and say I'm creative because nothing here is fictionalized other than my last name and the names of others. Everything else is based firmly in reality. This extends to all areas of my life. I'd love to write fiction, but the best I could manage would be rather stilted fanfic. I can't worldbuild or create my own original characters to save my life. Every MC I create is a total Mary Sue, and I end up throwing in the towel on NaNoWriMo on an annual basis. In the kitchen it's the same. Give me someone else's recipe and I'm golden. I can follow those suckers like a beast. Just don't ask me to create my own because it ain't happening. On those few occasions I've attempted to follow some errant inspiration the results have been less than palatable.
So needless to say, choreography isn't my thing. At all. I can't improvise, I can't choreograph, and even trying it at all in the privacy of my own home has me a shaking mess. Again, I can follow someone else's choreography just fine -- give me practice time and we're set! But to create something on my own, without a specific pattern or anything?
So I'm stuck. I can either stay in the beginners class forever or hope that sometime between now and the end of next term (there's no way I'll be able to graduate at the end of this term, less than one month away) I grow a creative bone and somehow make this happen.
We shall see. It's not like this is earth-shattering or anything; it's merely the symptom du jour of a much bigger issue.
Yesterday was one of those run-run-run days, with getting the Elder's new school uniform shirts (they're changing the dress code, thus rendering his shirts from the past two years utterly useless), getting pre-first-week-of-school haircuts done for both boys, and shopping for Choreboy's birthday. The most relaxing part of my morning was stopping by the pet store to pick up a ginormous bag of food for the three garbage disposals cats. While we were at the pet store, I also found the perfect shirt for Hound:
Poor dog... hee!
I did make a donation of a flat of cat food to the SPCA while I was there as well. I figured if I could buy a very silly shirt for my dog, the least I could do was make a matching donation to animals who aren't quite as coddled as mine.
I went to bed around 9:30 so I could get some decent sleep and wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Or at least semi-conscious. So what went wrong?
I asked myself that at 10:00...
and 11:30... this pretty much continued until somewhere around 1:30 AM, when I finally fell asleep. Basically, I managed to get so anxiety-ridden about going to sleep promptly because I was getting up early that I got almost no sleep at all. So when 4:45 finally hit, I smacked the daylights out of that alarm and swore I'd do my cardio that night.
Then I torqued my knee at work, scrubbing the bathroom floor behind the toilet. Oh the glamorous life I lead. Y'all, I'll work through muscle pain, but my stupid knee isn't something I trifle with. I baby that sucker, because my orthopedist salivates at the mere mention of that aging joint and I just don't have the sick leave or resources to handle 6 weeks of no driving. So, R.I.C.E. was on for Monday night rather than C.A.R.D.I.O.
On the plus side, my knee wasn't whining as much yesterday so after work I got on my recumbent for 40 minutes. Pounding the pavement wasn't going to work, but pedaling did. I made it 10 miles, which isn't awful considering how long I've been out of the saddle.
I'm aggravated because the only viable* time I have to work out takes away time from my family, and I hate that. I just need to figure out if I hate that more than I hate what lack of exercise does to me.
*Viable as qualifier because working out in the morning appears to be out of the question if Monday's anxiety is to be believed. Good grief. I can't believe that.
Tomorrow morning at 5:00 AM, I have a date with the great outdoors and my iPod. I've thought about doing this for two weeks, but it turns out thinking doesn't burn as many calories as one might suppose.
So here we go again with the "If I say I'm doing my cardio in a public forum then it has to happen" method. Oh well, I'm fully aware that my genetic propensity has me in the seated and reclined position, with remote/ mouse/ book in hand. Whatever works to get me into a more upright and mobile position is what it's going to have to take.
I'm still doing my resistance, and my food is on point. So is my weight. I just freaking loathe cardio. But it has to be done.
Still here, kids, still doing what I should do, even though I now have a smart phone which I'm pretty sure can do everything for me instead. There's probably even an ass-wiping app somewhere out there. I need to look for that.
School is about to start and ladies and gentlemen, I am about to freak. I'm not ready for summer to be over, but in 2.5 short weeks it will be. I hate homework.
I know it's my kids' homework. I still hate it. Even back in the dark ages when I taught, my theory was that my students should be able to finish the lion's share of most assignments in class because, again, I hate homework. I also hate hypocrisy. Ergo, my students won the "anti-homework teacher" lottery.
Yes, I still weigh the same. No, I have not suddenly (or slowly) ballooned to the size of a small island nation. My post-vacation bloat is gone -- thank goodness, because that was making me cranky -- and I'm still hanging right at 138 - 142. My goal at the moment is to move that more to 136 - 139, so I've changed my midday meal focus more to proteins, good fats (avocado is my friend), and reduced fat dairies rather than fruit, yogurt, and yummy, yummy peanut butter*. At the moment I'm having 4 oz. of chicken breast (I cook it at home in the pressure cooker -- I'm considering trying thighs next week for more moisture) on top of a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, topped with salsa, reduced fat sour cream, 2% cheddar, and avocado. It does not suck.
And as an added bonus, I haven't been to Chipotle since I started my latest lunch obsession. 720 calories for my burrito bowl vs. 330-ish for this salad. That'll do.
On the breakfast side of things, my father is again in prime weight-loss mode. Since I eat breakfast with my folks Monday through Friday, I'm getting a bunch more egg white in my eggs than I was (and less cheese, thank goodness, because the past couple of months Dad's been hitting the shredder HARD), and we're also getting interesting options like ground turkey breast patties. It's not boring, and my hope is that it also contributes to the "let's get Amanda so she's always on the 130's side of things" goal.
It's always a process. It has to be -- for me, stagnation means defeat.
Now I just have to decide if I'm going to drag the boys to the beach for Labor Day weekend. The hotel Choreboy and I stayed at for our little mini-vacation has openings still, and the boys haven't quite stopped grousing about how they haven't been to the beach in years (true), so it's on my radar. We'll see. Considering I barely got my ankles into the ocean on Choreboy's and my trip, I'm not exactly the biggest beach fan but it could work.
At any rate, all hail Wednesday! Halfway to the weekend, y'all. Have a good one :)
*We were having a slight peanut butter consumption problem, so it had to go away for awhile.
There is no more "wanting". I was using a Pocket PC phone when the iPhone first came out, and I knew I needed to hold off so I behaved (even though I thought the iPhone was really, really pretty). Then there was a significant change in my financial circumstances which resulted in me downgrading to a basic flip phone which possessed the grudgingly redeeming features of flipping open in both portrait and landscape modes along with a full QWERTY keyboard while in landscape. I had no data plan, used no internet access, had the minimum number of monthly minutes I could get away with -- it was time for austerity measures, and it worked. And I've continued to use that phone for over four years, much to the distress of my cellular service provider.
But times change, and Choreboy and I decided that after nearly three years of marriage it was about time we combined our cellular plans. So now we're both the proud owners of smartphones: his is, lamentably, a Droid, and mine is the vastly superior iPhone*. Yes, I know they're about to release the new iPhone, but my iPad is first generation (the iPad 2 came out less than 3 months after I got mine) so I'm pretty used to being at less than the bleeding-edge of Apple technology anyway. Plus I hear they're changing the docking configuration this time around, and it will be easier for me to keep track of devices that all can share the same cord.
At least that's what I'm telling myself.
But seriously... iPhone, yay! I'm definitely a happy camper.
*Yes, this is a joke. He loves his Droid and it is the right phone for him and his needs. Plus with his extended work hours, the amazing battery life of his phone is a must. He's a happy boy, and I'm confident we can manage to navigate the hurdles of a mixed-phone marriage :P
I just got my bloodwork back from re-testing my Vitamin D and B12 levels. Vitamin D is up from 12.2 to 27.2, which is pretty impressive. Now granted, I'm still low. The threshold for "adequate" is 30.0 ng/mL and I'm not quite there yet, but it's a definite improvement! And my B12 is up from 300-something to 517 pg/mL. So again, we've seen a definite increase.
The plan now is to keep on supplementing and see what shows up at my next annual checkup in March. I just need to get more Vitamin D pills, because I'm about out. For the B12, I'm working more on upping my meat intake rather than supplementing, because the Niacin flush on me presents as horrific itching on both my palms and the soles of my feet. Hate!
Also, I went and cancelled my gym membership. I have to admit I was freaking out worrying about it because the press on trying to cancel a membership with LA Fitness is abysmal, but it was pretty simple for me. I don't know if that's indicative of a change in overall corporate culture or if it's due to the fact that mine was a buyout contract anyway, but I'll take it. I'll just have to watch my bank account at the end of this month and August to make sure the cancellation went through.
So LA Fitness, if you're Googling yourself, Mike at one of your recent buyout properties in Central Florida is awesome.
Anyway, all that means we're back to working out at home (no commute, yay!) and I'll be checking out the Y to see what they have to offer for the boys. Also, Choreboy measured his waist circumference recently and muttered about what his AARP newsletter said it should be versus his own measurements so at least a family Y membership would offer him the ability to go work out there if he wanted rather than having to add to an existing gym membership. Definitely a win.
Bellydancing starts back up Wednesday. Hilariously, one of the people at the hafla videoed us and posted it on YouTube, so here for your viewing pleasure is our VERY newbie bellydancing class in our first public-ish peformance:
I know, I'm still a bit broad across the beam. It's genetic. I got down to 108 back when I was 16 after a nasty bout of pneumonia. I was hollow-cheeked, flat-chested, and STILL I had these saddlebags! My torso is freaking amazing, though :P
I am not a fan of change. It's not just my age, although that's not helping. It's simply hardwired into my system. And I know that people as a whole kind of tend to resist change, but I would posit that my resistance is less like the resistance of a reed to the wind, and more like that of a concrete block wall.
This whole "sale of the gym/ loss of the trainer" thing has thrown me for a way bigger loop than the situation merits. I totally get that. But I also get that within my own little tiny brain, it's bigger than I can handle*. So I'm definitely cancelling the membership at now - L.A. Fitness. We likely will join the Y in a bit, although I'm thinking I'll move back to exercising at home for awhile. I've got some new lower body moves I've found I can do thanks to my exposure to both of my trainers, and the immense amount of time my gym sessions would take away from my family was just a bit much for a long-term activity plan.
It makes me sad, but perhaps this is all for the best. I need to focus on the people in my life, not on how many reps I'm doing. Those two things aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, but with my schedule and the way I tend to pursue things it was becoming that way for me.
I'll figure something out. I always do. I just need to get my act together food-wise (we will NOT discuss the Fourth of July and my Heluvagood Dip consumption) before my ever-widening ass gets to the beach.
*I know, it's freaking ridiculous. And with some situations I would find a way to deal and adapt. But with this particular situation, I'm bailing. Because I can. Because there are enough things out there that require my limited adaptation skills, and I'm not going to waste them on the freaking gym.
Debby can leave any time now. At first I was pretty relaxed about the rain, winds, and so forth. In fact, overall I'm a fan of wild weather which is probably a good thing considering I live in Florida and made it through the 2004 hurricane season where my area of the state was pummeled by three (count 'em, three -- Charley, Frances, and Jeanne) hurricanes within 6 weeks.
I also literally rode out Opal in 1995 up in Alabama in one of the city's patrol cars (back in my reserve police days), and the next morning I got the call from our Lt. after about 4 hours sleep to come in for damage surveying. It was a long 36+ hours. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
All that said, I never personally suffered major damage from any of these storms. Sure, a cracked window there, a roof vent flying off here... but nothing major.
And still, thus far it's nothing major, but I draw the line at freaking water spots on my bedroom ceiling.
This storm has gone on about a day too long. Or two. I don't know. What I do know is that I covered my bed (new mattress *headdesk*) and the floor in plastic before leaving for work today, and I'm praying the leaks don't spread. I don't have much hope on that end, though, because there were only two spots when I went to bed last night and by the time I woke up there was a third.
Murphy clearly isn't listening.
Speaking of Murphy, the new trainer seems decent. She's not my original trainer, but we got along fine, she was able to push me, and she's not scary-uber-cutesie even though she's all of five-foot nothing. Bless her. Our plan is to see out this week with the training schedule, and then look at what the switchover to L.A. Fitness brings. They'll either refund my money for my training sessions, or let me continue with her (assuming they keep her on).
So it's still frustrating, but at least we have a workable solution for the moment. Sadly, that "moment" ends July 1st.
New trainer alert! Thank goodness. And yes, it's taken this long. Good grief.
I meet with her tonight, so I'll let you know how it goes. We spoke on the phone last night and she seemed pleasant enough, so here's hoping.
After an unfortunate run-in with Pizza Hut (emotional eating -- I really shouldn't be shocked) and the resultant sodium bloat, I'm back down where I'm supposed to be, weight-wise. Whew. Dodged that bullet. But just because I dodged it this time doesn't give me a free pass to go loony on the processed gunk, so it's back to normal eating for me.
The belly dance group had its hafla this past Wednesday, and our beginners' class had its first public performance. Yipes! Fortunately it was very informal and I appear to have survived. I even plastered a smile on my face for the entire duration of the choreography:
As I said, VERY informal! I'm wearing yoga pants, a coin scarf, and my "Shut Up and Shimmy" tank, along with enough makeup to out-whore any whore in Whoreville. September will bring the school's annual recital, which means not only will we be in full costume (although don't expect to see me in a bra top -- my upper arms still aren't quite ready for primetime :P ), I'm going to have to set my makeup phasers past "call girl" and well into "streetwalker" for stage-level performance. That should be entertaining.
Sorry I'm so brief -- it's a workday and I'm taking shameless advantage of a break in production to crank this out. More later, once I have a better bead on this trainer.
Remember my way-awesome trainer? Well, she remained awesome but unfortunately it appears our gym is being sold to another company and when that became official, my trainer resigned. I can't say I blame her. Google L.A. Fitness buyouts if you're interested -- it's not pretty (specifically the Minnesota and Atlanta area buyouts), so I'm more than a little concerned myself.
Unfortunately I still have 6 sessions left on my contract. And although I was told I'd hear from the facility manager on that, I still haven't and it's several days later. So now I'm not just bummed, but I'm also stressing. It may be over nothing; I'm sure there's a ton of stress over on their end as well, but I'd like to know how we're going to handle my remaining training contract.
I'm just so annoyed! I finally get to re-join the gym after a decade hiatus, find a great trainer, and whammo. She's gone. Bleah.
Well, this could be a sign I should just resign my gym membership and go ahead and join the Y. I've had a great crash course in re-learning how to use the weight equipment and I've got some excellent workout routines, so it may be that the frou-frou gym's time has passed. Besides, we can get an entire family membership at the Y for less than 2 full memberships at the current gym... plus a discount on gymnastics classes for The Gum Zombie. So really, it could all work out to our advantage in the long run.
In fact, this week I had an extra workout. My little sister was down from NYC and we abandoned our children (she is the mother of The Divine Miss M) to take a walk.
More like the Bataan Death March. Anyway, 6+ miles in 90+ degree heat and two bum hips later we made it home. Yes, apparently my hips are also joining in the "Amanda's Aging, Ha Ha Ha!" -fest. About four miles in and they were actually burning, in the hip sockets.
This isn't the first time that's happened to me either. Back in 2010 when we went to Glacier I had the same burning-hip-joints thing happen to me on the Loop portion of the trail following our Highline hike. It was only due to sheer force of will and a stubborn refusal to be airlifted out that I made it off that damned mountain under my own steam (okay, Choreboy helped. Like, alot). But that was 11.4 miles with over 2000 ft of descent mere months after I recovered from bilateral stress fractures, not just some 5-or-so mile walk over relatively level/ slightly rolling terrain when I am theoretically in great shape!
I guess I'll add that to the list of fun stuff I'm going to ask my doctor about. Yippie? Well, we'd better figure out how to fix it because we're heading back to Glacier in 2013 and I want to do the Highline again.
If I am confined to Hidden Lake, I'm gonna be bummed.
Anyway, must shut down so I can race home, feed the boys, and get my aching joints to the gym -- later, y'all!
The Gum Zombie had a piece of art selected out of hundreds chosen to hang in our local art museum (in the company of several other children). He was over the moon, and his brother was flatly appalled at having to sit through the awards ceremony.
However! The Elder decided that this year he'd actually turn in his National Junior Honor Society application, in large part to ensure his little brother had to sit through something for him. We all survived his induction, but the Elder's over-the-moon moment didn't occur until he found out he has been placed in Advanced Algebra I for eighth grade.
There are times when I wonder if that boy is my son -- math was not my strong suit. Then I remember labor...
...yep, he's mine. And in my defense, I did finally learn to "speak" math in my late twenties. I survived Calculus I and II as well as statistics quite nicely.
On the "is Amanda moving or has she become glued to her couch" front, I plead the former. In fact, I'll use it as my entire excuse for not blogging because time is now at such a premium. I have Tuesday and Thursday with my trainer, Wednesday I have belly dancing, and Saturday I head in to the gym with the Elder (we farm the Gum Zombie out to the gym's childcare center), followed up by independent dance practice on both Saturday and Sunday.
Monday and Friday I'm glued to Choreboy, because that poor man barely sees me now. Tuesday - Thursday I don't get home until after 8:00, and it's rare that I'm done eating and hosed off before 9:00. Considering that I'm in bed between 9:30 and 10:00, that doesn't leave much time. So I'm prioritizing.
Other than that, not much is new. I had a brief "episode" with Chipotle overkill (5 out of 6 days I ate there, yikes!) so now I've banned myself as I obviously am not to be trusted. I'll go back in a few months, but just because it isn't as bad for me as McDonald's does not make my burrito bowl with carnitas, sour cream, cheese, and guac into health food.
Off to navigate the Memorial Day festivities -- have an awesome holiday weekend, everyone :)
I had my body composition tested by a real, live, caliper-wielding human at the gym this past Saturday, and whaddaya know? 24.7% body fat, baby!
HAH. Take that, BodPod. Skinny-fat my happy asterisk :P
On my way to the gym, I stuffed this picture into my purse:
Isn't it delightful? Note the Diet Coke in my hand. Because that makes it all better.
Anyway, it took a while for the manager to finish with a walkthrough that had been previously scheduled, so I was chatting with a couple of girls at the desk. My workout history came up, and I hauled out The Picture of Doom to explain where I'd been (the picture is from May of 2006, about three months before I realized I'd cracked the 200-pound barrier), my current state, and my determination to never, ever, return to anything resembling the woman in the photograph. When the manager finally walked up, the older of the two women I'd been talking to looked at him and said, "I want her start-up," and then headed out onto the gym floor.
He stared after her kind of stunned, but I didn't think much of it. Turns out she's the head of their trainers and doesn't do the start-up program. Like, ever. But she was really impressed by how far I'd come from where I started, and she wanted "in" since I was finally turning to the professionals, LOL. Very cool lady -- I'm glad things worked out the way they did.
Her analysis of me at this point, after two one-hour sessions, is that she's going to have to keep me from hurting myself. On first impulse I'd say she's off base, but after the pulled back muscle, slipping shoulders, bum knee, bilateral stress fractures and I don't know what-all else that I've managed to put myself through in the past few years (there's a wrist issue in there as well)... okay, maybe she has a point! I just know where I want to be, and I do what I feel I have to do to get there. From what I can tell, she has the experience to get me there in one piece.
You can't beat that.
I'm glad I went in, and I'm glad I joined. I was bored unto death with my workouts, so having new toys to play with is just freaking awesome.
It's about time, too, because Choreboy and I are heading for the beach later this summer and remaining slackerly just isn't an option. I have three bikinis I have to fill out to good advantage. And while the stretch marks don't bug, my legs still do.
Time to kick it into high gear. Have a good one, y'all :)
Heya gang -- I'm still here, still alive. The weight is holding steady at 138 - 142, depending on day of the month, salt intake, etc. Not all who wander off the blogosphere are lost or diving headfirst into a bag of potato chips.
Well, at least not most days.
My posting has dropped primarily because I've been a bit out of sorts since this reflux issue reared its ugly head. I mean, I'm supposed to be the girl with the cast-iron stomach! I ate public school food throughout my formative years and then for another six years after that when I was teaching. I have taken great pride in the fact that I can eat almost* anything and suffer no repercussions from a digestive standpoint.
Now I've turned 40 (okay, 42) and that's all down the tubes, along with my stupid knee and all the other parts of my body that are hollering, "Yo, Amanda! Aging here! Hah!" And it's annoying as hell. I know I'm aging. I can look in the mirror and see the signs. I don't need my body snickering back to me about it in new and interesting ways. Seriously, I get it. The Mortality Clock, she is ticking. Yippie. So could a girl catch a break on this? Please?
Outside of that delightful area of thought, all is well. The boys survived their FCATs. Choreboy is a marvel (and he brought me flowers!!), the cats haven't killed us, and Teddy remains abominably cute.
Belly dancing is rather fun, and I'm developing a bit of proficiency with some of the moves which is tickling me pink. I spent an hour last Saturday practicing, and I get in a bit of other practice wherever I can fit it in. Yes, still in the bathroom at work, even. I am also now the proud owner of four hip scarves, which jingle rather nicely.
Oh, and I have this shirt:
I figure it'll be inspirational ;)
*That said, I absolutely cannot drink 6 mini-cans of spicy V8 in one sitting. That way lies madness... and a dreadful gut-pain.
Mishaela, by Noa (Achinoam Nini). It's been years since I heard it -- over 20, actually -- but one of my friends tracked it down for me. If I had a brain I'd have checked YouTube my own damned self. I'm blaming old age for that one.
Oh, because it's in Hebrew perhaps a little translation* would help:
knows what is in her eyes?
Grey clouds disperse in the four winds
A dry riverbed overflows
And the horizon opens wide
Up to the heaven she turns her eyes
Searching, diving in to the chilly blue
Floating in the air
Touching the pure golden light
That glimmers in her hair
Mishaela, what do you see?
What is it in your heart
That greets the desolate silence with such
It is one rainbow in the east, she says
It is all I need
What more could I want?
It is all that I need.
*All credit goes to the various folks on YouTube who posted this version of the lyrics.
There it is: my lone remaining vice. I've always sworn that you'd be prying it out of my cold, dead fingers. I quit smoking years ago, I rarely drink, I track every calorie that goes into my mouth, and I figure we're all permitted one excess, right?
Wrong -- or at least my body didn't get that memo. Because I've developed a marvelous case of reflux (thanks, Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs!) and one of the things that seems to trigger mine the most is carbonation.
I've gone from an-amount-that-shall-not-be-confessed, to 4 per day, to 2 per day, and yesterday I had only one. I'm toying with allowing myself to stay at that number but I'll admit that there's now part of me that says to just dump it entirely.
On the plus side, my water intake (already in excess of 64 oz./ day) has skyrocketed. At this point I'm so well-hydrated I could survive a drought.
Oh well. I'll figure it out. Probably over a nice, steaming hot cup of coffee. Because you will pry my caffeine out of my cold...
My brain is now officially mush. What with my birthday, Easter, work exploding all over me -- not that this is a bad thing, as actual productivity in the office rocks -- and the pending FCAT exams (Florida's wretched achievement tests that are directly correlated to scholastic advancement and graduation), I barely know what end is up.
The Elder's middle school does all FCAT prep during school hours, which is fine by me. The Gum Zombie's school, however, sends home packet after packet after bloody freaking packet of FCAT practice nightly leading up to the test (which, blessedly, is next week). I'm absolutely in favor of my child doing well, I'm just exhausted and I'm sure everyone else, administrators, teachers, parents, and children, is likewise fatigued. I also wonder how in the world parents who have children in various after school activities and what-not are managing to get this stuff done. It's a squeeze for us, and the boys don't even have consistent extra-curricular obligations at this time. Seriously, my kids' advancing ages really makes me think that parents who are doing their children's homework aren't necessarily doing it because they're trying to protect Widdle Pweshus from straining his ginormous-yet-oddly-feeble brain. I'm starting to think maybe some are doing it because there just aren't enough hours in a day.
Ah well, it is what it is, and we'll do what we must. But I draw the line at doing my kid's homework. I'll sit there and suffer right along with him if need be, but he's going to have to be the one to strain his brain and develop writer's cramp. I've done my time.
As for the rest of life that that isn't utterly, completely insane, all is well. I survived both my birthday and Easter without any impact to the scale. In fact, my stupid pants were loose when I put them on this morning; I nearly had to wear a belt. So I'd have to count that as a win. Exercise is hit-and-miss (see FCAT, and see earlier posts re: exhaustion), but I'm keeping moving and not rooting myself to the couch. Next week matters should improve on that front -- the FCAT will be ongoing which will, in fact, make life easier since there will be no homework!
Anyway, my second belly dancing class is tonight. I've been practicing here and there (you should see me hiding in the bathroom stall at the office to work on my hip thrust -- it's a sight), so we'll see how it goes. I managed to do "snake arms" effectively at home, but I have a history of freezing while in large groups which makes me unsure I'll be able to reproduce the move in class. Eh, it'll work out. Eventually.
Y'all, I am so not into this new interface Blogger's got going on. I'm sure I'll adapt (hey, it's free, I guess I shouldn't gripe), but good grief it's annoying. If it ain't broke... *grumblemuttercurse*
Anyway, here's the annual birthday picture:
It's a bit dark (I don't know what's up with the photo quality -- grainy!) and Hound (aka Teddy) refused to look at the camera, but it'll do. It's better than last year's which, although it was sharper, also shows that I wasn't doing my resistance exercises. It shows in my face. Well, to me at least. There's only about a 7 pound difference between me then and me now, but I'll take now any day!
In other news, I got the results of my bloodwork in. My cholesterol (both HDL and LDL) is outstanding, my blood sugar couldn't be better if I'd studied for the test, my thyroid is normal, all is well on that front. However, my B12 is on the lower end of normal which, my doctor says, can cause one to become symptomatic for Vitamin B12 deficiency, and my Vitamin D levels are abyssmal -- 12.2 ng/ml, when the lower threshold is 30... which is still considered insufficient. Optimal levels are from 50 - 70 ng/ml. And one of the big symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency is (drumroll please) fatigue.
At least I have an explanation. My doctor and I went over my diet and food-wise I'm taking in what I should for good health, so it appears we're dealing with an absorption issue. I'm now supplementing with 5000 IU Vitamin D and 1000 IU Vitamin B12 daily. We'll be rechecking in 3 months and go from there.
I'm not noticing any improvement in my stamina yet, but I have hope.
Regarding the belly dancing class, it was fun! I'm also just as uncoordinated as I remember. I can do the foot movements, or the hand movements, but putting them together just ain't happening yet. And when you add "traveling" to the entire shebang, holy crap. It's all done. Remember, I trip over carpet lint people -- this is no joke. I walk into doorways I know darned good and well are there. So "grace" is not my middle name. But I'll never improve unless I try so I figure I'll keep on and give it a whirl.
I did a measly 10.6 miles on the bike yesterday evening. It was a variable speed program rather than my usual, and I think I need to look at the manual a bit because all it did was start out higher resistance then keep decreasing. BOR-ring... okay, that plus it's hard for me to keep up speed when the resistance is too low.
Tonight I think I'll play with another Jillian workout. I'm looking at today's on her site (I'm a member, yes -- my utter lack of any intuitive athletic knowledge leads me to seek out those who know more, even at a price) and it seems I won't have to make any modifications other than putting all the cardio blasts on the bike because my knee is still peevish. I'm tempted to try one circuit with mountain climbers or even the treadmill cranked up to max incline, but with the amount of fuss that stupid joint is giving me I'd better behave.
Sigh. Oh well. Good news is I can still lift, and at least I can do the bike. It could be worse.
In other news, I'm starting something new next week. In line with me attempting to make my leisure time activities a bit more active than, say, bonding with my browser's "refresh" button, I've signed up for a beginner's level belly dancing class. I am as coordinated as an eleven-month-old child who's just staggering to his feet, so that should tell you all you need to know about my past dance history. It ain't pretty. But I've been interested since my college days when I was peripherally involved with the international students' association and saw some of the girls dancing. It was amazing. And I don't think that I have a prayer of moving like a twenty-year-old -- even like I did when I was twenty -- but it should at least be interesting.
I'll keep y'all posted. First class is Wednesday. I'll be 42 by then.
So I was bored with my workouts. The bike wasn't too bad, but too much cardio isn't going to do me good with my need to build more muscle and my limited time, and the circuits I'd been doing myself were meh, so I went to my Jillian Michaels source and found a lovely circuit training combination to try.
Oh. My. Hell. My glutes hurt, my biceps hurt, my upper back is not pleased and I once again hosed my knee because I'm too stupid not to do mountain climbers. Or was it the jumping jacks that did it?
It feels great. Not the knee -- I need to limit myself to zero or one circuit with a higher impact cardio option (because changing stuff up is good) so I don't completely hose my mobility. But other than the knee it's a good kind of sore -- muscular, not joint or connective tissue related. I think I'll throw these in a couple of times a week, just for giggles.
Regarding my time of day for exercising, I'm going with evenings again for awhile. I appear to have the boys in gear for doing their homework on their own while I'm busy breathing heavy, then I can help them out after I've hit the showers. Waking up at 5:00 isn't off the table, but until I figure out why I'm so tired I'm going to go with the basic explanation of "You need more sleep, silly" and leave the early alarm out of the equation.
Choreboy sprayed the yard for fleas last night, and I'm bringing Hound home tonight. We'll see how much good it did. Here's hoping!
Wednesday, 45 minutes, circuits with Tabata intervals Thursday, 40 minutes, 11.5 miles (new distance record -- yay!)
Unfortunately, I managed to injure myself somewhere in there by irritating the cartilage in my ribs. Okay, I know how I did it, and I'm trying to figure out how not to do it again (it has to do with my dumbbells and lifting the right one up while rotating my back onto my exercise ball for my supported squats... now aren't you sorry I got all specific?). But in the meantime, that combined with ticking off my knee -- I might have worked a bit too hard to up that mileage-- meant that I needed to put everything on rest mode. Which is irksome because I hate getting off-kilter with my momentum.
On the plus side, I did do massive housework again on Sunday, so it's not as if I've been bolted to my desk chair or anything. Just nothing "formalized". So tomorrow it's back in the saddle for me.
Good news is that I got my blood drawn today and in about a week we'll see if there's any testable reason why I'm so freaking exhausted all the time. I worked out in the evenings all last week again, hoping that would help perhaps, but it seems that waking up at 5:00 AM isn't the issue. I eat enough; in fact I've upped my calories again to see if my food intake is playing any part in this. Thus far? No difference.
That said, even eating more calories I'm still weighing in at 139, so it appears that I can handle more food than I've been taking in. I'll keep mucking about with that and see where my final tolerance ends up. Perhaps if I stick at a higher calorie level for awhile, with steady physical activity, and then drop the calories like a red-hot poker after a few months, maybe I can also drop those last few pounds that won't leave my mind? I know, I know, 139 is a good weight. There's a part of me that knows that just fine, and yet there's another part of me that says "But 130 would also be good!"
Then there's the cheap part of me that says 130 would actually stink because then my stupid clothes would all be too big. Arrrgh!!!
I give. It's Monday. Time to take out the trash and then stare at the clock for half an hour more. Have a good one, y'all! My neuroses and I will be here all week...
Only with posting though! I've got in my workouts.
Monday, 45 minutes, circuits with Tabata intervals Tuesday, 40 minutes, 11.3 miles
Now I will grant you both of those sessions were in the evening rather than in the morning. I woke up somewhere between 2 and 3 AM on Monday and didn't get back to sleep for over an hour, so when the alarm went off at 5:00 I smacked that sucker silly, and promised I'd work out that night. So I did. And last night Choreboy was closing which makes the evening workout arrangement work a little bit better.
I'll also be riding the bike tonight, but Thursday I'm going to have to haul myself out of bed early on because the Gum Zombie has his spelling test on Friday so we've got to be sure to get those words studied which is a bit difficult to do when Mommy's trying to pump iron.
Speaking of which, I am such a pansy. I tried to bench two 20 lb. dumbbells and learned that it just wasn't happening. I couldn't even get those suckers up an inch. Good grief. Two 15-pound weights? I'm fine. But just up the ante by a measly 5 lbs each and I'm toast. Oh well, at least it's something to work on.
Outside of that, the only interesting thing I've done recently is get my driver's license renewed. I had to get a new picture taken this year, and likely it was a good thing as this was the picture I had (taken in 1999):
and this is the new one, taken just this morning:
Pretty dramatic shift in the hair color department. Also, my face is thinner now thanks to having (finally) lost all the pregnancy weight from the Elder, who was born about 8 months prior to the earlier picture.
My kingdom for an infinity sign because, let me tell you, the past couple of days have been a corker. Rest? What rest? Hah! There were no actual "yes, see, this is Amanda, exercising!" periods during either day, but rather endless movement, of the tiring and boring variety. None of it was as intense in the moment as one of my workouts tends to be, but considering my natural state is best described as "bonded to the couch", I have a feeling I ultimately burned more than I would have if I'd just done my workouts and then planted myself in front of the computer.
This weekend featured The Great De-Fleaing of the house, which has to occur at least once per quarter thanks to the four-legged members of our household. We have been invaded by these horrible, pesticide-resistant fleas, and the best we can do is just stay slightly ahead of the nasty little bastards. We spray the yard, we spray the house, we vacuum, we use the flea meds on the dog and cats, and it's just an endless, brutal cycle. I even had pest control come out once because I was terrified we were infested (my skin crawls just thinking about it), and after the bug guy stopped laughing he told Choreboy there was no way we were infested, that he didn't see even one flea while he was there, and that we just needed to keep doing what we were doing.
So we do. And god, it's making me insane. Moving furniture, vacuuming, spraying underneath, removing all cushions, vacuuming those, spraying, coating all the damned carpet in the house and every nook and cranny, all while keeping the cats isolated in the Elder's bedroom which had been treated the previous day -- and let me tell you, those felines do not appreciate what we do for them -- arrrgh!!!
Oh well. True infestation would make me battier. But I'm thinking not by much.
In addition to the flea control festivities, yesterday was St. Patrick's Day which some folks use as an excuse to consume mass quantities of beer, and which I use as an excuse to consume mass quantities of carbohydrates and delicious, fatty, processed meat. In other words, soda bread, beer cheese bread, and corned beef brisket.
I don't bake much anymore, because I am a complete carb fiend if left unfettered access to baked goods so I really have to keep it under control. I used to just feed whatever I'd made to Choreboy but then he labeled my cookbook "Amanda's 'Let's Make The Husband Fatter' Book" so I had to, uhm, take a teensy hint? :) But it was time, and I'd been wanting to make both breads. They turned out wonderfully. This is the soda bread:
I read further about soda bread after I'd put this into the oven, and it turns out that this isn't historically accurate as it includes both raisins and sugar. In this form, it's more properly known as cake, which makes sense to me! But it was good. The carraway seeds in it add just the right touch.
And the beer cheese bread rocked my world. The Gum Zombie and I both share an unholy fixation with Alton Brown's Good Eats (RIP to the show, dagnabbit), and this is one of his recipes:
I made it with a pale Irish ale and Kerrygold Dubliner cheese. It was amazing.
And yes, this splurge remains in the weekend and won't be carried forward into the work week. The remains of both loaves are wrapped up and awaiting transport to the office in the morning, because although I've been able to hold myself to a slice of each per day I am reaching the end of my willpower. Thankfully, my coworkers are not afflicted with my need to count every calorie and will consume these with great speed and barely-restrained glee.
I love the fact that I work with 90% males. It makes life so much easier, especially when it comes to disposing of excess baked goods.
Now I've just got to pry myself out of bed at 5:00 AM tomorrow. It's time. Have a good one, folks.