Friday, December 20, 2013

Ohhhhhh goodness

Guys. You know that feeling when you fall off the wagon? Maybe you sprain your ankle... maybe you get a scrape. Normally you pick back up, dust off, and climb aboard again.

Okay, so what if you crash the wagon?

What if you don't realize that you've crashed it? Or you do realize and you just don't care?

I'm in this weird head space right now. I've gone to the gym maybe once this week. I've eaten a ton of sweets. (I hadn't really eaten any candy, cakes, etc. for about two years, until one doomed snickerdoodle tempted me and popped three wheels off the wagon. I have absolutely no control when it comes to sweets, which is why I gave them up. One snickerdoodle literally lead to about six more--in one day.) I have a day off today and the last thing I want to do is go to the gym. I'm in a very odd funk and I'm slightly concerned that I'm returning to my old cycle. I keep telling myself "no worries, you'll get back on track after the holidays." But... this isn't good thinking, especially for a person like me who tends to avoid things that are too overwhelming, hence it taking me this long to actively lose weight (losing 100 lbs is very daunting people).

There are a lot of new things happening right now in my life. The new job is about the only thing that's not stressing me out at the moment. It's time to start looking for my own place to live. I was considering renting, but yesterday, during a really lovely long lunch, someone asked if I was "renting or buying." Buying? My initial thought was "no way, I don't make enough money and have too much debt." My second thought: "Whoa, buying is so permanent." My third thought: "Well, I do want to set down roots somewhere and this area has the most job opportunity for my field." I also need to decide WHEN to make this move. My sister is pregnant with twins that are due in May, but will likely be born early. Do I want to move out before they get here or stick around for a few months to help out? Do I want to find a roommate? (No, not really, but it would be an economically sound choice.)

Too may questions. Too many worries. So, I eat and I don't work out. I've gained about 2 pounds and maintained that... I guess that's a plus. I feel gross though, so that's a negative.

So... what to do to get back to the motivation I had back in September (yes, it's been that long of a funk, although eating sweets basically started December 4)?

I think I need to re-evaluate my workout schedule. Because the days are shorter, I often feel that I don't want to work out in the evenings. Plus it's cold out, which I love, but it's not fun to exercise under any extreme weather condition. There's something about it being dark outside by 4pm that makes me think I should be home on the couch. I also need to get the sugar out of my system (I've been getting a lot of headaches). So... small steps will get be back on a new wagon. Hopefully it won't take long to make this happen.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Come on December!

So... November was kind of a crap show in regard to writing and my investment toward a healthier life. For a variety of reasons, I kinda checked out on both things. Today, being December 1st, was supposed to be the launch of my restart. It's hard to do that when family is in town (and with all the other things going on). I'm an anxious eater. An emotional one, actually. And being around family, while great, can also be very stressful for me. I'm surprised I haven't gained 10 lbs. Of course it's been a week since I last weighed myself, so I bet that's entirely possible. I dread the scale tomorrow morning.

I need December to be better. I have to MAKE it better. My plan after breakfast tomorrow is to go to the gym or walk/jog the loop. I've been sedentary for too long. I also plan to do a little writing. I often find that not writing for long periods of time (aka, all of November) can put me in a "mood." Mostly something feels "just not right." So, maybe if I can corner myself in my room for an hour or two and write, I may feel less funky. Maybe doing both things will give me a little control back.

I'm taking a few days off of work this week, which may not be the best for this revitalization. I'm hoping to get a little bit of a jump start... hopefully a full fledged return to where I was in September. Yikes... maybe October wasn't that kind to me either. *sigh*

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shifting Schedules... Why is it so dark?!?

So, I'm supposed to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but I've got about 800 words and about 24 days left to reach 50,000 words. This feels a bit ominous. I might head out to Barnes and Noble this weekend to see if I can't make some progress. I really wanted to complete Nano this year, but I'm feeling... okay, I need to start thinking positively. Maybe I'll start my plan of writing at 9pm for an hour or so... but probably not.

Anyway, I'm not sure when this particular writing blog turned into a health/weight loss blog, but there you go. Shifting priorities, I suppose.

Now that I've taken on more responsibility at work, I think I'm going to have to shift my workout schedule to mornings. I really don't like working out in the morning, but maybe I can get used to it. I think it's time to make a change because I find myself working an extra hour at work each night and by the time I leave it's dark (thanks day light savings!) and my mind automatically thinks "whoa, it's nine PM, no time to work out." Of course this is not accurate, but it feels accurate. So, if I go in the morning and get it over with it'll be fine for me to just head right home after work. I think I'll start this next week. .............or this week. I should probably start tomorrow. Or next week.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Motivation!

So, if you know me, you know that I love monkeys/apes. Don't ask my why, I just do. My favorite part of the zoo is the ape/monkey house, following closely by the big cat exhibit. Chimps are by far my favorite. I could watch them for hours. Anyway, today I get home from the gym to find a package waiting for me from my friend who recently completed her own C25K program. Inside was this little guy, sent to me as a "hooray you finished a 5K" and a birthday present. He's got a few motivational phrases on him and wears a 5K medal around his neck.  He's pretty bad ass.

The phrase that sticks out to me the most: "Just Keep Running"

Since finishing the C25K, I've really slacked off on my running. Right now I'm basically going out for a jog once a week. Before this, I was running 1 mile on the treadmill. I figured the mile run was always the trickiest feat for me, so I need to maintain the ability to run a mile without dying. I want to return to running three times a week. I need to. Monkey Man is going to help me.

I think I'm going to put in him in my car so that he's not out of sight out of mind. Tomorrow at the gym, I'm jogging for 20 minutes at least (or run the loop around my neighborhood). I'll slowly work back up to 30 minutes and hopefully more. I just have to figure out a way to enjoy it a little more than I do currently. I like jogging outside, but it's getting colder and my chest always hurts afterward (from the cold air). I'm thinking about splurging on some kind of tablet so that I can download movies to watch at the gym. Lord knows that they do a crappy job of maintaining program variety on the TVs there.

Anyway... here's to a revamp of my running program. It's coming at a perfect time because I'm pretty sure I've been in a plateau for the last month.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making Time

I just started a new job at work and it's going well so far. It's definitely a new challenge and I'm looking forward to it. Being challenged is good. It doesn't feel like it's going to burn me out, but this is basically day two. I've decided to remain optimistic.

Anyway, it's almost November, which means that I'm nearing the start of my third year on this health journey I'm on. Three years! Definitely the longest I've ever worked at getting healthier. I'm also the smallest that I've ever been. I've made a lot of progress in the last few years, but the journey is still pretty very slow. This is probably a good thing--gradual change is easier to deal with. I think I'm in a plateau at the moment--or a period of maintenance, which means that to break it I either need to work out harder or eat less. Or, probably a mix of both. I'm still jogging, but not as frequently as I was with the C25K program. I haven't started the 5K+ program either. My biggest concern is the holiday season, which I love. There's lots of food and sitting around bundled up with blankets trying to beat the cold. Last year at this time I actually gained weight. That was partly because I went home for the holidays; this year I'm staying local so there will be less stress. This year my goal is to at least maintain if not lose. It'll be hard (I love pumpkin bread).

I also need to start making time for my writing. National Novel Writing Month starts soon and I really do want to participate this year, but at this rate, I'm not sure that I'd make it to 50,000 words in a month. I bet I could do this if I managed my evenings a little better. I watch too much TV. Way too much... I need to cut it off at 9pm, maybe and write for an hour and a half? It's manageable. Too bad it's almost 10 and I'm half asleep... so, no writing tonight. Hopefully tomorrow.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

So... that running thing...

It's been a while since I've jogged for 30 minutes straight. Instead, I've been running a mile and trying to do it at a faster speed (I'm at a 13.5 minute mile). I'm not sure if I'm hindering the progress that I've made with the C25K, but... running sucks. It's still hard and I just don't find it to be all that pleasant. It could be the atmosphere... the gym isn't really that encouraging. So, maybe, now that it's cooler, I should try jogging outside in the morning. I prefer hitting tennis balls (or playing tennis). But that isn't as high-cardio as I'd like it to be (yet).

Anyway, I think there are new things on the horizon for me. I find myself shifting between confidence and abject terror at these changes. Considering I want this year to be about things that challenge me, I think I'm off to a pretty good start.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ooo This Game

I've been anxious all day and most of last night as well because of a stupid football game.


We lost 49 to 42... but there's no shame in losing by seven points to the currently #1 ranked team. It was a really good ball game. And, as it's about 12:30 in the morning and I'm posting a blog, I guess I'm still a little wound up and energized. My throat's a little dry too. Gig 'em Ags!

It's five days until my birthday. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do... I've considered going to Medieval Times, but that's kind of expensive and I want to buy myself a hopper (for tennis balls). Oh, that's something else to look forward to this coming week. I signed up for more tennis lessons. And after watching several matches of the U.S. Open, I've been having some "if only" moments. You know, "If only I'd started tennis as a child, I'd be playing Serena now!" Not quite likely, but a girl can dream. I also figure that signing up for community classes is a good way to meet people. I haven't really been successful at this the last two classes. I certainly haven't found a tennis partner.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about what my next steps are, and I think if I stay in this area, I might want to join a tennis league or something. I need to get out and about a little bit more.

Anyway, news on my "spiral" from the last post: I'm still spinning, but at least it's not downward. Its an even-axis spin of sorts. Whenever I get super overwhelmed I tend to procrastinate. So, to break through, I decided to focus on one thing that was overwhelming me: food. I actually tracked Weight Watcher points all week instead of making estimates and eating whatever. Doing this made me feel a little bit more in control, and being a bit stricter with my choices definitely made me feel better. Luckily, I don't have tendencies toward addictive behaviors and aren't at high risk for going in the "I'm going to starve myself" route. (I've read that a lot of food-related illnesses begin as a method of controlling something when it feels like you're in control of nothing.) There are certain things that I just don't see myself giving up ever. Pancakes are delicious.

Anyway, actually following my WW plan was a good choice.

Also, my knee feels better, even though it's not quite right. I'm worried that all the popping over the years has finally caught up to me. When I was little I used to lay in bed and extend my arm until my elbow popped. I did this over and over and over again. Pop, pop, pop, pop. At the time it felt really good, but now when my elbow needs to pop I feel this excruciating pain. I hope this isn't happening to my knee, which will pop with the slightest movement. Right now it hurts to pop. Not good. This pain better not happen to my hands. Lord knows I love cracking my knuckles!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Spiraling

I've been completely off my game the last couple weeks. I need to find my footing and find it fast before all of my hard work over the last few months comes to an end. First, I'm eating the moon and then some. Night time has not been my friend lately, so I need to figure out a way to nip it in the bud after dinner. Or just stop eating when I'm not hungry. Second, my knee has been wonky. I think I strained a tendon trying to incorporate squats into my life. I've been popping Advil, but the range of motion just isn't right. So, last week I skipped a couple work outs in hope that a little time off would heal me. But in the process of not working out, I gained weight. Third, I feel like I'm constantly on the brink of "what now?"

I don't like uncertainty.

So... yes, I'm spiraling. My question is: How do you stop a tailspin? What makes a tornado dissipate?

While I don't mind getting older (I am improving with age), I'm starting to worry about my prospects at life. I mean... if you're still doing something you've always done and you're borderline 32 doesn't that mean you'll continue to do it forever? It's very likely that I'm set in my ways and while parts of me are kinda awesome, other parts royally suck. So... yea.

I gotta figure things out, I guess. Sooner rather than later. Or else I'm gonna pack on the pounds before you can say Beetlejuice three times fast (guess what I'm watching for the second night in a row?).

Okay... second week of September. Bring me good things!



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Missing Hubcap...

Not my car.
So, I noticed this weekend that I'm missing a hubcap. My sister mentioned seeing one in the road near our house, but it wasn't where she said it was. I decided to look in the trash can that's at the corner of the intersection, just in case... and there is was. All smashed up. Nothing salvageable. I was kinda shocked at the state of it. I was hoping to find it still in the street and pop it back on while shaming it for popping off in the first place. I know this is going to sound superficial, but because the cap is missing I kinda feel like I'm riding around in a junker. Don't get me wrong. I have a nice car. It's reliable and I haven't had to have much major service on it (knock on wood). It's not rusted up or dented... its just a little less dressed than normal. This makes me feel sloppy for some reason. I realize that no one cares about this but me. I'm not being judged by random drivers who should have their eyes on the road and not at my front tire. Still, I can't stop thinking about it. I have to wonder if this feeling is really about my car or if there's something deeper. Almost like "great, that's one more thing I need to worry about." Is it bad that I've contemplated stealing one off someone else's Rav4? I won't do this, obviously, but I've thought about it a couple times. So what does that mean?

I'm over thinking. I just feel a little unsettled at the moment. I'm starting to think that my thirty-second year of life needs to be about me doing things that scare the crap out of me. That's scary. I don't want to do scary things... I also don't want to be complacent in life. So... 32: The Fright Years (?)

Maybe I should remove all of my hubcaps... you know, live dangerously. Or at least symmetrically.

Holy crap... it'll cost over $70 to replace it. That's depressing.

Stupid hubcap. Why did it pop off? Why didn't I hear it?

I found cheaper ones on E-bay. The conundrums: 1) Buy one new one and it's brighter and more silver-y than the rest. 2) Buy four and have three extra hanging around?

Stupid hubcap.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Hello Birthday Month

I love September, and not just because it's my birthday month, but it's the start of fall which will bring winter, two of my favorite seasons. Now, the weather just needs to cooperate (it's still in the 90s). I spent this long weekend doing nothing, basically. I wrote about 50+ pages of my new novel, went shopping, took a nap, ate some food. So, I'm feeling re-energized for work. Of course I know the first few days are going to be stressful, but I'm not even going to stress about it. So... in seventeen days I'll be one year older. I think it'll be a good year.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is It Over Yet?

It's been a long week. I'm ready for it to be over... I need a restart. A long weekend is the perfect time to do that. To rest, to get my head back on straight, and to stop being paranoid that I'm missing something at work.

I don't even have any big plans... writing at Barnes and Noble probably. I started a new novel last weekend and I've been distracted so I haven't written anything in a few days.

Yes... I just need this week to be over.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blaaaaah

Today was a very long, difficult day. I made a mistake at work and spent last night and all of today getting it fixed. Making mistakes sucks... live and learn, I guess, but still. I feel like I slapped someone's baby. My glowing reputation of awesomeness is now tarnished. Must break out the polish. Must hang my head a little longer. My point of bringing up this not so glamorous episode of failure is that I totally ditched the gym and then proceeded to comfort eat with a slice of garlic naan and some thin-mint and cookies and cream fro-yo with Oreos on top. 

I know what you're thinking: Did she dip the garlic naan into the fro-yo?

Answer: No. Gross. Although, if I had been any lower, maybe....

I may always be an emotional eater. At least I didn't go too crazy. Although, there's still time for Life cereal. Oh wait, no there's not because I finished the box last night in the midst of the start of my #epicworkfail.

Hopefully when I wake up tomorrow things will be better. I wish they were better now. There's a Raven's game on... the perfect background to do a little work on my new novel. But... I have no motivation. I'm starting to wonder if I need to go up and put my Raven's t-shirt on. I'm starting to think that it's "lucky." I'm pretty sure I wore it every day that they played last year and they won the superbowl. It's problematic that the armpits have a bit of funk to them--guess I shouldn't wear it as a work out t-shirt.

OH life.

Okay, let me put my t-shirt on and stop complaining.

Update: Unless the Ravens can score eight points in the next 2 minutes, my t-shirt didn't work. I did, however, write a few pages of my novel. So, the evening ends on an upswing.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Running Post C25K

I haven't stopped running since completing the C25K program. My goal is to run every other day and so far, I've met this goal. I've even done two runs outside (gasp!) with hills (double gasp). Of course, I can't really run up the hills yet. I try to run part of them, but my legs start screaming and I stop. I probably shouldn't stop--just work through the pain. I don't like hills. So, I'm still pressing forward, hoping to increase my speed and distance.

I feel like a need a new challenge--I think running outside is it.

Friday, August 9, 2013

C25K: Week 9

So... I did it. I finished the three 30 minutes runs for this final week in the program. I've now graduated from the couch to 5K program.

*pause for reflection* *stare into space in shock* *shake my head in disbelief*

I can now run (it's still somewhat of a jog, but at this point that's just semantics) 2 miles in 30 minutes. I have 1.1 miles to go before I complete a 5K. I find this kind of exciting actually. This week's runs have actually been far easier than any of the other weeks. I guess that means I'm more conditioned? I'm not even out of breath now. I sweat like a crazy person, but my heart isn't threatening to explode. I still have that weird shoulder pain thing, but it's getting better. My body hurts a little bit less, but it's still pretty uncomfortable. I figure, the longer I keep this running thing up the easier it'll be.

So, to make sure that I continue, I've decided to do the C25K graduate program (5K+) to improve my technique, speed, and stamina. While I can complete 30 minutes, I'm still moving a bit slow and I'd like to speed it up a little. I'm going to find a good 5K to do in October, I think. That'll give me a little time to not only get faster, but to do a few runs outside where there are hills and slopes.

Hills and slopes, oh my.

I don't think it's quite dawned on me that I've just finished something that's always been VERY difficult for me. Something that I've feared for a long, long time. I faced it and survived... this should be a lesson for all the other things that I fear.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Derailed... Momentarily

Okay... so, I haven't worked out since Wednesday, which means that tomorrow will be particularly challenging at the gym. It also means that I might be back to a 25 minute run. My goal is to do 25, push to 28, and see if I can complete 30, thus starting Week 9 of the C25K. I had all good intentions of working out when I was in NYC, but that was completely a non-option after getting less than four hours of sleep the night before we left. I really don't function well on less than 6 hours... 4, forget about it. I felt like my body was shutting down all day. It wasn't just being sleepy, my organs felt sluggish. It really wasn't comfortable and I'm surprised I made it through the day. While watching Chicago (with a lady's giant head blocking about 90% of the show), I started wondering: "Is this what sleep deprivation feels like?"

If anyone wanted to torture me, that would be the way to do it.

Even though I didn't get in a traditional gym workout while in the city, I did have plenty of activity throughout the weekend:

1. Walking through NYC hauling a suitcase up and down several subway stairs and streets.
2. Walking around the city (without the suitcase) in the rain.
3. Exploring six floors of the Museum of Modern Art (museums are tiring, don't let anyone tell you different).
4. Speed walking five blocks to the theater in a down pour, fighting tons of people and umbrellas just to get to Chicago on time.
5. Wandering the city at midnight, watching the Today Show set up for the next morning show, checking out Rockefeller Center, and walking back to the hotel.

That ended day one. I went to be at around 1:30 am (after waking up at 5am). Long, long day. I'm sure I burned calories just trying to stay alive.

Day 2 (a half day):

6. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (over a mile).
7. Walking through Chinatown
8. Standing in line waiting for the Bolt bus (standing has got to burn calories).

Lots of moving around--New York City requires it.

I also feel like I threw caution to the wind and ate whatever I wanted. I might have even declared "I'm never running again!!" I might have semi meant it too. So, I've been momentarily derailed. I've felt bad about this (off and on)--like I've lost all self control. I don't want to say that I'm "starting over" tomorrow, because I'm not really doing that. I'm just realigning the tracks and straightening out the caboose.

It was a good long weekend. I needed it, I think. I need one more day... who doesn't.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

C25K: Week 8

This week, which actually started last Thursday, I ran three times for 28 minutes. The longer time is actually not too bad--my heart can take it, but my body has been struggling a bit. Running is hard. Every day that I do it, I feel like it might be getting easier and then it takes me about 20 minutes to actually feel "comfortable" (I'm using that term lightly). My shoulder's still hurting, but I find if I let my arm hang at my side, the pain lessens and even goes away. However, that makes me look like a malformed monster lady, hobbling around on the treadmill like Igor.

I'm supposed to start my 30 minute runs tomorrow, but I'm heading to NYC with a friend for two days. I am going to bring something to workout in, but the likelihood of that happening is low, but I'm going to try. If it doesn't, then I'll have to pick up the runs next week, which might mean that I need to redo this week.

Last night my sister and I watched Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. The woman that was featured said that one of her goals was to face something that she hated and conquer it. Her thing was running. After losing 92 pounds (in 3 months... lets not talk about how unrealistic that is for the normal person), she ran a marathon in Paris. Do I want to run a marathon? Gosh, I don't know--I can't even imagine it. I have a hard time running 2 miles nonstop. Can I really get to 26 miles?

Maybe it's something to strive for. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

C25K: Week 7 (take 2)

As I mentioned before, I did decide to re-do Week 7 for this couch to 5K program. Yesterday was my last 25 minute run. Did they get easier? Ummm... yessss? The first was smooth sailing (nothing hurt, I wasn't overly hot, etc.), the second was very difficult (shoulder pain came back and I was too hot), and the third was "meh." But the average feeling for this repeated week was "all right, this is fine." So, tomorrow I will start Week 8, which is three 28 minute runs. I haven't decided if I'll listen to Laura or not--it couldn't hurt, but the music is just not that great.


Anyway... that's where I'm at with the C25K. I don't think I've really lost weight in the last eight weeks--I'm too hungry all the time. I was kinda hoping that would go away after a few weeks, but it's sort of sticking around along with the weird shoulder pain. I gotta research that again.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Complacency or Fear?


I feel like I'm coming up to a point when I have to make some decisions, and I keep hearing myself say: "I'm not ready for/to ___________."

What I can't decide is if this feeling comes from fear of the unknown or from complacency, and whether or not fear/complacency are the same thing. Neither of these things sits well with me. I spend too much time being fearful and I can't really stand complacent behavior in other people (so why should I allow it in myself)?

I also worry about letting people down by dropping the ball on my responsibilities. It's sometimes hard for me to stop taking care of others and to focus on myself. It's also hard for me to figure out what I'm really worth.

I've been grappling with these thoughts/questions for a couple days, trying to decide "am I ready?"

I guess we'll see.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

C25K: Week 7 (run 1-3)

Holy crap... this was a hard, HARD week.

And now, at the end of it, I realize that it wasn't the actual running that was hard. It's been dealing with, exercising in, and trying to adjust to the heat. A lot of people who know me might say "You lived in deep south Texas for half of your life, suck it up, Buttercup!" But what they may not know is that I hated the heat there as well. I never got used to it, not even after 15 years. I doubt that I ever will.

My facebook avatar (bitstrips.com). That's heat coming off me, not funk.
All week long it's been in the 90s (today was at least 97 degrees), and like I mentioned in my last post, the AC in my gym went out at the beginning of the week. The temperatures inside were over 80 degrees. Brutal. I was worried that come Tuesday I wouldn't be able to complete my second run of the week. Luckily, the AC was fixed pretty quickly. It was noticeably cooler inside by Tuesday evening and I was able to complete the run, but it was by far the hardest one yet.

That weird collarbone pain came back. My back also started hurting. I really, really wanted to stop and bend over to stretch it out, but I pushed through, dropping down to 3.8 mph, which is a very awkward speed to try to jog at. It's more of a speed walk, but "walking" isn't allowed. It was by far the worst run of the entire program for me. I almost didn't finish it. On the way home, I decided that I needed to repeat Week 7. Why? Because not only was the run super difficult, my thoughts were borderline "I'm done with this nonsense. I hate it." I don't want to quit as I've come really far. I also don't want to hate it and never run again. Knowing that the next week would add three minutes, I felt apprehensive. Who knew what these additional minutes would do to my waning morale. I might thrown in the towel all together. So, I need to repeat Week 7 until the run doesn't hurt.

Today's run (#3) was actually much easier than Tuesday's. I jogged for a longer period of time (about 15 minutes) at the higher mph before dropping it down for the last 10 minutes. My heart rate was good--I didn't feel uncomfortable or overly tired. I managed to get a good treadmill and watched half of an NCIS episode, and instead of listening to Coach Laura, I had my own music playing. I felt much more comfortable. I also think that the gym was even cooler than prior days. My body didn't have to work as hard, I guess.

Although the last run of the week was easier, I'm still going to repeat Week 7. Week 8 has three 28 minute runs. Week 9 has three 30 minute runs. Even if I stick with Week 7 for a little longer, it shouldn't take much more to get another 5 minutes out of me. I do want to complete the goal of the program, which is a 5K (I'm at about 4K right now) or to run 30 minutes. Maybe I don't need Laura to do it? Wait a second..... saying that, I feel a little like a person who goes off their meds because they feel so much better and think they don't need them.

Hmm... I'll probably stick with Laura for Weeks 8 and 9, but this coming week I'll repeat Week 7 on my own.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pending Derailment

My next 25 minute jog is tomorrow and the heat is threatening to throw me off track completely. In some ways, I feel like I'm just making excuses and in others I feel like I have a valid concern: the temperature in my gym today was 82 degrees.

That's dangerous... right?

I mean, people were working on like no big deal, but it took an extra push to get me to start peddling.  I almost left--twice!

They (some guy behind the counter who didn't seem 100 percent confident in his answer to my question: "Um, is the AC broken or something or is this normal?") say that they've got a contractor going in to fix the AC tomorrow, but that doesn't mean that it'll be working by the end of the day. In the interim, maybe they should invest in some shades to block out the sun that sears through the front windows all day long? Maybe invest in some more industrial fans.... It's just so hot. What if the AC isn't fixed tomorrow when I start my jog? What if I'm  unable to complete it because I've passed out, smacked the console of the treadmill, hit the spinning tread (because I don't wear the emergency stop thingy), and then shoot off across the gym (or as far as 4 mph will propel me)?

Disaster.

I might have to switch gyms after such humiliation. Or sue for heat stroke.

Either way... I will attempt a jog tomorrow, even if the temperature is borderline gateway to hell.

Even though I want to do nothing but sit in my car with all of the vents pointed at my and the AC at full blast.

If you couldn't tell, the heat is really taking a lot out of me. It's bursting my normally zen state. I feel so cranky... I want to bash things. Seriously, I want to Hulk smash the sun.

Another funny thing... I keep thinking "maybe when I lose this last 50 pounds, I won't mind the heat." Bullshit, Tanya. When it feels like your flesh is burning off it doesn't matter if you're a healthy weight or obese. The sun is unforgiving and it's only getting worse.

*wailing moan of despair*

All right, let me stop being a baby.

My mom keeps telling me that I should move to Alaska. Maybe I should. I definitely don't get cranky when I'm cold.

Friday, July 12, 2013

C25K: Week 6 (run 3)

So... today I jogged for 25 minutes. I actually completed 25 minutes of continuous jogging. It was harder than hell, but I completed it.

25 minute run with 5 minute warm-up walk = 2 miles.

Afterwards, I wondered if I needed to repeat week six. For the last two jogs, I've had this strange pain on and around my right collarbone. It makes jogging VERY uncomfortable. It's bad enough that I want to stop jogging (and I nearly did several times). In earlier weeks, Laura talked about stitch pains, which I haven't experienced yet, so I thought that maybe this was it. Nope, not stitch. But this shoulder pain has been a pretty steady this week, and coupled with the faster, continuous heart rate (anything over 175 feels pretty taxing), I felt like maybe I needed to repeat this week's runs.

So, when I got home today, I walked into the house and asked my sister about week seven. As I've said in earlier posts, I don't like to know what's coming. But after my struggles this week, I needed to know if I should actually repeat one week.

Week 7: three 25 minute runs. Yikes!

According to my sister, who told me she experienced the same shoulder pain, it's my posture and probably the way I move my arms. I think they're kinda high and close to my body and I think my shoulders are all bunched up. So, I need to loosen up (a lesson for my life in general). I probably need a massage--although that's a difficult thing to swallow when you don't like strangers touching you.

The only consolation about this coming week is that they will eventually get easier, just like weeks 1-5 have. And I did complete all this week's runs--hard or not.

I've decided to press on with week seven and hopefully I'll find some relief to this odd problem.

So, instead of sore legs, I have overworked muscles around my collarbone. Such is life.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Let's Take A Moment to Consider Pencils

I realized that pencils make me very happy. I love the feel, shape, and smell (especially a box of pencils). I don't even use them on a daily basis, but they make me excited nonetheless. Two years ago, my sister gave me a package of large, yellow pencils as a stocking stuffer. Best present ever. I haven't used them, but I love them all the same. I have to wonder if it's the writer in me? Or maybe it's the nerd (I love school and school supplies). Maybe it's some strange non-kinky, utterly bizarre, yellow-number-2 pencil fetish....

Here is a little ode to pencils:
Stop. Pencil time...







You now know something weird about me.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

C25K: Week 6 (run 2)

So, today was another 20 minute run, although it was broken up into two ten minute sessions (with a three minute walk in between).

I decided to try a pre-warm up on the elliptical (because I thought the 5 minute walk from the program wasn't warming me up enough). That was probably a good choice because my muscles didn't feel as tight as they normally do in the first 10 minutes. Today I went at the "faster" speed for the first 10 minutes, and kept it up for the first 6-7 minutes of the second set and then went down a couple notches. This week's runs really have been a little more difficult and I think the culprit is the temperature in the gym. It's been so hot and humid in my area lately and the gym just isn't cooling down (I checked the thermostat yesterday--it was set at 65 degrees, but the temperature in the building was 78). Seventy-eight degrees is a little high in a gym packed with hot people (and I'm not talking oooo la la sexy). I feel like I'm running in a rain forest.

Running pencil = awesome.
I have a problem being in high heats. If I get too hot, I tend to pass out. I can't be in a hot tub for more than ten minutes before my heart starts racing. I'm not sure if I should be concerned about this or if it's just my body's natural response to heat? Probably something I should look into.

Anyway, run 3 is on Friday and it'll be another long one. I feel semi nervous about it (because of the heat). I'm dreading it, only because running still isn't fun... I tend to watch the clock on the wall. I'll admit, I like watching the five minute intervals tick by, especially when I hit the last five minutes.

The best part about running is stopping.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

C25K: Week 6 (run 1)

Like week 5, week 6 also consists of three separate runs.

Here's the breakdown for the first run: 5 minute jog, 3 minute walk, 8 minute jog, 5 minute walk, 5 minute jog.

Not too bad when you consider the 20 minute run last week. However, it was more challenging for me for a number of reasons: (1) I'd had a two day break from cardio of any kind; (2) the gym was pretty warm (hello summer... hello cheap gym--Is this the downfall of a $10 membership?); and (3) I jogged at a slightly faster speed.

I think tomorrow's run is the last one that will be broken up into these smaller intervals. So, my game plan is to not let two days of rest fall between runs, if possible. I also plan on going a little slower for the long runs. That seemed to work last time.

Let's talk about something else that I'm experiencing: HUNGER.

I feel like eating anything and everything. And most nights I do. Hello Life cereal sprinkled with a little cinnamon. Hello fro-yo. Hello FOOD!

It's a little frustrating because I am trying to lose weight. I'm allotted a certain amount of Weight Watchers points per day and I've been over this count most days of the week (for the past several weeks, which means the scale's not really moving). The only good thing about WW is that I gain points with activity, so I could technically be eating these activity points and theoretically not have a problem with the scale. The problem with that is that I'm not accurately weighing/measuring food (who wants to do this all the damn time? Not me... and yet, I have to if I want to be successful). I know that I'm going way over my points and basically cancelling out the work I did in the gym. I need to get a handle on this. But the last thing I want to be is cranky all the time because I'm hungry.

Maybe I should lay off the cereal and eat something more substantial... but... cereal is so good, quick, and satisfying!

If anyone has any helpful tips to fight the hunger bug, let me know.

Friday, July 5, 2013

C25K: Week 5 (run 3)

Well, I finished the killer 20 minute run. Huzzah!

I jogged the first 5 minutes at 4.2 and then did the rest at 4 mph. So, slow, yes, but doable--and I completed it, so that's saying something. Part of me wonders if the .2 less was actually easier, or if my brain tricked my body into thinking so? Anyway... I know that I ran a mile today. It's been a while since I've done that. And I didn't even cry! haha. (confused? read this) Moving forward, I think I'll tackle these longer runs at a slower speed and the shorter runs at a faster speed. Maybe this will help with conditioning... maybe not.

It felt good to finish such a long run. I had my doubts and concerns, but I fought through them. Who knows how I'll feel about the runs for the next four weeks, but I'm glad I know I can finish 20 minutes.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

C25K: Week 5 (run 2)

So... lets talk about running for eight minutes.

I usually blog at the end of a week, but this week has three separate runs. The first was broken up into five minute runs (three of them). This wasn't bad. That last minute of each run was a strain, but it really wasn't hard. The second run of this week (finished today) was broken up as follows: eight minute run, five minute walk, eight minute run. When Laura, the 5K coach, mentioned eight minutes, I didn't really freak out like I had with the three and five minute runs. I feel like week four prepared me a little for this longer run. What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of times I wanted to stop.

In the first eight minutes, I'm not sure that I was properly warmed up or maybe I was just tired, I felt a little ache in my muscles. I haven't really felt much by way of "pain" or "fatigue" in my legs this far--so, obviously this meant that it was time to take a break. But this was just four minutes in.

One minute, thirty seconds later: Wow, my legs really are tired. This would be a good time to take a little break, I think.

Sixty seconds left: Okay, let me just finish this and then I'll get to walk. 

Laura says that this week is all about mental toughness. She claims that I'm conditioned enough to know about pacing... and at this point it's a "mental" thing. I have to agree--jogging is a total mind game. I didn't need to stop during that first eight minutes. I wanted to, but I wasn't in pain--just uncomfortable. What do we do when we're uncomfortable working out--we back off or slow down or even stop. I had to push through.

In the second eight minute run, I decided to push myself a little--which was basically one notch higher in miles per hour (4.3 instead of 4.2... this might be a brisk walk for some, but it's a light jog for a shorty like me). At five minute intervals, I can manage 4.5 mph, but with these longer runs I thought it was better to stay on the lower end. Needless to say, combining one little point of speed coupled with eight minutes of nonstop running brought these thoughts:

My chest feels a little tight. My heart might explode--I should probably slow down.

No, I'm fine. Keep pushing--deep breaths.

Meerrraah, but my heart might actually explode.

I CAN'T BREATHE!

Wait... yes I can. Stop panicking. Deep, slow breaths in and out, concentrate on that.

Deep breathing actually helps. We learned about deep (steady) breathing in week 3. It's quickly becoming my go-to method to calm down when I'm feeling a little freaked out. It works most of the time.

Four minutes in: I really do think my heart is going to pop.

One of my biggest exercise-related fears is having a heart attack. When you're 100 pounds overweight this is a legitimate fear. When I first started working out steadily (back in November 2011) I would get periodic little "twinges" in my chest. When this happened, I'd back off in the intensity a little and would be okay. It wouldn't happen all the time--every few months maybe. I got myself checked out at a cardiologist. I was the youngest person in the waiting room. When the doctor conducted the stress test, he did the equivalent of an eye roll and told me I was perfectly healthy (except for a slightly leaky heart valve which will likely have to be replaced when I'm a geriatric patient). After that diagnosis--I never felt a twinge in my chest again. I can only assume that some of the chest pain was brought on by panic and fear. Now, 50-60 pounds overweight, and having worked out for over a year before doing this C25K program, my cardiovascular strength is much better than what it was. But, running/jogging is a new stress and it gets my heart rate up pretty high, so I still feel anxious about heart attacks.

Four minutes thirty seconds in: My heart is fine--it's not going to pop. Just keep going.

Five minutes in: I feel like I'm breathing REALLY hard... maybe I should slow back down a little? That might make it easier.

Six minutes in: Just watch Dr. Phil. Don't think about it.

This is another good technique--distraction. Today's episode of Dr. Phil's was on elder abuse. Depressing. However, reading subtitles did actually help me. I like having something a little more exciting to watch... TNT offers a lot of good variety, but today (and most days) almost all of the TVs were tuned in to sports (talk sports... you know four dudes sit around a table talking sports highlights of the day). This is the one thing I hate about my gym. You have eight TVs--why do six of them have to be on sports, and two of them be on the same damn channel?!?!). There's nothing wrong with sports--hell, I've watched golf tournaments while at the gym and gotten so into them that I turned it on once home. I just have a problem with all of the TVs being tuned in to the same crap. Okay... tangent over.

Reading subtitles is a good distractions--good TV would be a better one.

Laura: You have sixty seconds left.

Me: That's it? Okay, I can totally finish at this speed.

So, I completed the last eight minutes at 4.3mph. My sister says I shouldn't increase my speed yet, but I am running inside on a treadmill with no incline--outside running will be different and I figure if I can push myself a little speed wise, it might help when I transition outside (probably not until the fall... it's too damn hot and humid right now). Today, I ran for 16 minutes total, and along the way I had to talk myself off many "stopping" cliffs. I didn't stop.

Friday's run, the final for this week, is 20 minutes of solid running (no breaks!). If eight minutes was a mental game, this is the damn mental Olympics.

I'm scared... I'm pretty sure I can do it. But eight minutes was hard... by far the hardest run. I think it's a little unfair that Laura's going to make me jump from 8 minutes to 20, but I can't yell at the podcast. So, I'll just yell at my brain to keep on going, remember that my heart will not explode (I don't think), and just keep pushing.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

C25K: Week Four

This week, the longest run was five minutes (there were two of them). With the first run of the week, it was a struggle. I made it through, but it was difficult. By the end of the week I felt pretty accomplished, which I think is the point of the program. Week 5 is going to be a challenge. I feel like I say this at the end of every week. However, I know this is definitely true because one of the three runs (they're all different instead of repeating the same run three times) is 20 consecutive minutes. I think it's the third run of the week--so my hope is that this week will build up to that run. I guess things are ramping up because this coming week I'm basically halfway through the 9 weeks--so that just means that  the rest of the program is going to be pretty difficult. My sister says it's all a mind game. I'm hoping that is the case. I'm still a little worried.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

C25K: Week Three

Another week done!

So, lets talk about running for three minutes straight. It wasn't "hard" per say, it wasn't easy either. My biggest thoughts all week were: "Wait, why am I doing this?", "Seriously... why am I doing this?", and "Is it over yet."

There were only two three minute runs this week.

At this point, three weeks in, running isn't necessarily fun. It's not like playing tennis, which I enjoy very much. Running feels a little like a chore. I'm hoping this is because I'm still in the beginning stages (and because I'm doing it on a treadmill instead of outside). I'm determined to complete all nine weeks though, so maybe in the end it will be fun. Or at least I won't feel bored by it. I'm hoping that it gets easier as well.

I'm trying to build my stamina. My legs don't hurt, but I do tire quickly. So, hopefully that improves in the coming weeks.

This week I clocked 1.5 miles in 27 minutes.

I have no idea what week 4 brings as far as the cycle of walking/running, but my sister tells me that I'll be running more than walking. I'm nervous about this, but I've made it so far!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

C25K: Week Two

Week two is now complete!

This is the first week that I actually listened to the podcast while jogging ("running" might not be an accurate verb at this point). I didn't listen to the podcast on week one because it's a headache to download music to iTunes and then to my iPod. Everything is set up on my old, slow computer, so I wanted to try it on my own first and then download all the podcasts at once. Now I don't have to time myself, which is nice. It would be nicer if I actually jogged outside rather than inside, but I'm not quite ready to tackle hills.

The first run on Monday was a little difficult, but only because I didn't put enough time on the treadmill, so I had to keep adding minutes, which made it feel endless. Runs two and three went faster and were a little easier. I still feel optimistic about the next seven weeks (nine weeks total). My sister is also doing the program, but she's one week ahead of me. I was asking her what to expect, but when she mentioned running for three minutes, I kinda freaked out. I know it's all in my head, but running for just three minutes seems impossible. So, I told her I didn't want to know the breakdown of week three. I don't want to get psyched out.

As of week two, I'm clocking 2 miles in 33 minutes. I like watching the mileage tick by.

So, on to week three.

Now... if I could just get a handle on some of my food choices, the scale might start moving down again. But come on! Sometimes you just have to have a turkey burger and fries from Bobby's Burger Palace (followed by delicious frozen yogurt). :) It could be worse, I guess.

In other news: I had about 60% of my hair chopped off today. It's very short, but that's mostly due to the salon styling. When I do it myself it'll be shorter (and bigger). I felt like I was in a rut and needed something different. This is definitely different. Hopefully I won't hate it when I have to do it on my own.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Couch to 5K: Week One

One of the worst things about my childhood was having to do the mile run once a year. I know it sounds stupid (and trivial), but when you're a fat kid and everyone else is finishing LONG before you...it has a way of killing your confidence. And I've always been sensitive, so it REALLY killed my confidence. I felt like a failure each time I tried to run. I cried a lot. I hated it.

So, for years I avoided running or doing anything that involved a lot of physical movement that would draw attention to myself (showing anyone else how difficult it was for me to complete). Or anything that I assumed I would fail at (ie, running).


I've been on a journey toward healthiness for a year and a half now (I'm one pound away from a loss of fifty). Recently, while walking, I've had the following thought: "I could probably start jogging now."

Shocker.

I've always been one to trust my body, so.... I decided to tackle a couch to 5k running program last week and successfully completed week one (three 20 minute run/walk sessions). At the end of each I actually felt like I could do a little more. I'm really proud of myself. This is no easy thing for me... but it's breaking some preconceived notions about my ability. I can totally do this.

I'm on to week two. It's definitely more of a challenge, but I finished the first run of three and didn't die. I say that's a big achievement.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fifty Shades... But You Only See About Three

I decided to read the Fifty Shades of Gray series. For research...

Research into bondage, spanking, and other kinky sex acts? you might ask. Not quite.

I've been intrigued by the novels' success in that of sales and readership. I also found myself flabbergasted by the idea that they were published in reverse (e-book to paperback to hardcover) AND that there is a supposed movie in the works. The movie thing really makes me scratch my head because all I've known about the books prior to reading them--and all that anyone said about them--is that they are "lady porn." Can they really make a blockbuster movie from a lady porn novel? Even now, having read the books, I wonder how they'll make a movie. Maybe (hopefully!) they'll just remove all the sex scenes and make one movie out of the storyline that spans across all three novels? About 30 percent of the series focuses on an somewhat interesting story (more on this later); the other 70 percent are sex scenes. Do I want to watch this movie? (In a public theater?) No... probably not. I just don't see a true book-to-screen adaptation happening here (or being successful).

So, I read the books to understand what all the hubbub was about.

Also, as an indie author, I'm wooed by the idea that maybe I too can find a publisher through a successful online, self-published edition. How can I do this? Even though my curiosity was piqued by this question, I wasn't willing to buy the first book for $12 (or $9.99 e-book). And I felt a little squeamish about checking it out at the library (remember, the only definition I'd heard up to this point was "lady porn." I'm not brazen enough to march up to the librarian and request the erotic fiction section. I certainly didn't want to be caught with it in public like that lady reading it in the Chipotle line--brazen!!). But by chance I found a used copy at Goodwill for $1.25. That was a price I could tolerate, so, I stuck the book in between a bunch of "literary" finds (including Richard Russo, Carson McCullers, and Anita Diamant) and started reading.

Here are a few general thoughts, which could contain SPOILERS (and a few F-bombs):

Basic plot:
Ana Steele, a young (24), middle-class, and innocent virgin, stumbles into the predatory sights Christian Gray, an equally young (26), multimillionaire who is CEO of his own company. Their attraction is instantaneous (duh, they're young and hot). However, there's something dark about Christian. The first four years of his life were spent in the crack den of his "crack whore mother" and he remembers every moment of abuse, which has left him "fifty shades of fucked up." He draws Ana in to his twisted life of "kinky fuckery" when he asks her to be his submissive (but first she has to sign a contract). And thus begins the story of Ana trying to fix Christian, and Christian learning to accept his past, learn to be touched, and trust again.

Are the books written well?
Yes and No.

On a technical "can she construct a basic/complex sentence" level, yes, it is written well. Simple, which isn't a bad thing as I am a simple writer. So was Hemingway. [Not to say that his works and E.L. James are on the same level, because they definitely are not. Only to say that simple sentences can be very good. And only to make myself feel better for being a simpler writer.] The writing in these books isn't complex, by any means. It's light--maybe a little too light.

On a "theme, development of character, dialogue, internal dialogue, and cohesive story arch" level, meh... it needs improvement. I wanted to stab the main character's internal ramblings of Oh Fifty! Fifty, Fifty, Fifty. A name Ana gives Christian after he tells her that "fifty shades of fucked up" line. This is a reoccurring thing throughout all of the novels. It does get very old. As does: Whatever you say, Mr. Gray. Thank you, Miss Steele. This later turned into Ohhh, Mr. Gray and Ohh, Mrs. Gray. I mean, I get newlyweds referring to themselves that way from time to time (you know, the newness of marriage and title/name changes), but it was a little excessive here.

I did like the element of epistolary storytelling too (by way of emails). Seemed like the right amount throughout.

This really isn't erotic fiction... I don't think...
I don't read erotic fiction normally. It is my impression that this genre is written for the sole purpose of making the reader aroused (ie, porn). I mean, google "erotic fiction" and look what comes up. I just did this to find a definition... I had to put in "erotic fiction definition" to narrow my search. According to Wikipedia:
Erotic literature comprises fictional and factual stories and accounts of human sexual relationships which have the power to or are intended to arouse the reader sexually.
So, I guess I'm not too far off in my assessment of the genre. There's nothing in the above definition that mentions having a cohesive story or character development, which James tries to accomplish. Erotic fiction is written to get you in the mood. In reading Fifty Shades (FS) I felt like it was more inline with a typical romance novel, which is story based and formulaic (a very successful formula, I might add). FS is Harlequin on crack, perhaps? But, for some, I suppose this would be very erotic. I mean, Christian has a "Red Room of Pain." If that's not erotic, it's definitely different.

How does FS differ from all the other "erotic" books out there?
In the media frenzy that followed the success of these novels, they were made out to be some new genre. They acted like women everywhere were suddenly discovering a trove of sexual arousal goodness. In reality, this story not new. [It is quite rare to have a "new" story that doesn't rely on archetypes of some kind.] The bondage/S&M stuff is not new. Maybe it's the first "mainstream" novel featuring this kind of sexual behavior? However, this is probably the first romance that I've ever read that tacked the "Dominant" and "Submissive" sexual relationship. THAT was new (for me anyway). Throughout most of Book I, I kept thinking Dude, quick telling her what to do all the damn time! or Yeah, I could never be submissive... I felt like I was cringing as he spanked her.

There's now a trend toward "erotic" fiction being on the shelves at Target. There are at least four shelves devoted to it. This makes me think that these books aren't really erotic--they're just sold that way to be tantalizing. I'm pretty sure that there would be some boycott if Target started selling real erotic fiction. Hell, they stash that stuff away in the Love & Sex section of Barnes and Noble (or the gay and lesbian section depending on the book), and both of these are out of main eye sight. So, yeah, not really "erotic fiction," but whatever sells books, I suppose.

Ugh... I this is the one downfall of traditional publishing. Being classified as something you're not just to sell books. A part of my writer's soul might die when that first happens to me.

Hmm, I could read more.
This is how I felt at the end of Book 1. I actually found myself interested in the story arch. Why was Christian so F-ed up? This question pushed me to read books 2 and 3. Sadly, I don't know that we ever get a good answer to this. More character development was definitely needed. Maybe what she couldn't do in the books they'll achieve in these movies? Ugh... I don't even want to think about the movies (the current rumor is that they're courting Jennifer Lawrence to play Ana).

More story, less sex.
This is how I felt about 3/4 into Book 2 and through out all of Book 3. I'm almost positive that I skipped over every sex scene in the third book. By this point the characters were doing a lot of the same thing. His response to every situation was "oh man, I've got to F you right now!!!!" This got old.

General assessment of the books:
Book 1: Christian's character intrigues me and I want to read more. Ana is a little annoying--why would anyone want to be bossed around and told what to do like that? The S&M stuff is different and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Especially considering he basically abuses her at the end (she wants to see how submissive she can be and how far he'll go). That was a turn off.

Book 2: It's definitely "darker." We get to understand Christian a little bit more, but not much. There are slight changes in the characters, but not a lot of real growth. Ana becomes more dominate (although she's never really submissive), Christian has to relinquish some control (but, crap, the dude is extremely controlling--borderline creepy, especially when Ana's like Oh, my sweet controlling Fifty! I mean... seriously? Controlling men are not sexy.) The sex scenes are more of the same.

Book 3: Feels too rushed, and is therefore the weakest of the three. You only really get to see a few sides of Fifty: controlling, angry, scared, immature, broken. It's the "broken" that I was most drawn to. I wanted to know why? I skipped over almost all of the sex scenes to get to the answer to the cliffhanger at the end of the second book. It's never really answered. Well, why he lives and acts the way he does is answered, but very briefly. The book kind of ends with Ana thinking Oh man, he's kinda scary sometimes. I love him so much! ..................... Really?

 Like I mentioned in the beginning, I read the books to understand what all the fuss was about. I get it. I think.... The story, as a story, wasn't completely bad. The message--well, I'm not really sure if there is one to be honest. Maybe it's How to Survive a Potentially Unhealthy Relationship? or True Love Can Conquer a Dark Past? Maybe if there was more story I'd know...

So, do people read these books for the sex scenes or for the story? I, it seems, read them for the story. But if my Goodwill copy and borrowed library copies (all with various levels of water stains and heavily dog-eared pages) are any indication (and I kinda hope they're not), people might just be taking these books into the bathtub with them.

Oh the downside of renting/buying used books... you never know where they've gone before you.

Do I recommend these books? Meh... I don't know. Give 'em a try if you're so inclined... you could read the free sample, but it's a little too short to warrant any real opinions. I'm glad I read the books. I don't feel like I wasted any time. I don't know that I've gained any insight on how to make millions of dollars overnight. I really hope that the majority of readers/fans are in it for the love story (I use "love" loosely here). I can write a good love story. I cannot write "kinky fuckery" (Ana's term, not mine)--and I don't really think I want to.

I guess I'll keep focusing on writing good stories with strong, real, fully developed characters and hope that they catch on enough to allow me to write novels all day long while watching murder television.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Or... NOT Ready for Love

Haha... after two episodes NBC cancelled "Ready for Love." I mean... did they really think that was going to be the next big thing?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Meh. I'm Sweaty.

It's hot outside. 92 degrees. Early April.

It's too early for THIS kind of heat. I don't know that I'll ever like hot weather. Even spending most of my years in Texas--I'm not used to it. 70-75... that's Tanya weather. The only good thing is that the temperatures will fall by this weekend. Hopefully we'll have a slow progression from spring into summer. Sudden 20+ degree jumps just don't work for me.

I don't like sweating when I'm not trying to sweat.

Okay, enough complaining. Time to break out the ice tea/coffee maker my little sister got me for Christmas!



Friday, April 5, 2013

"Ready For Love"

And, unfortunately, I'm not talking about the incredible India Arie song...

So... I watch a lot of TV and about 20% is probably "bad" (or 80% depend on who evaluates my DVR list). I watch a little bit of everything: fashion shows, dramas, comedies, science fiction fantasy sagas, crab boat fishermen, bizarre (lets just call some of it disgusting) foods, cooking shows, a TON of "murder" based shows, and what is now being branded as "redneck" television.... The only thing I don't watch are the reality dating shows. I just can't do The Bachelor and Bachelorette and whatever else crap is out there. There's a new show coming out called Ready for Love on NBC. For some reason, this show really bothers me. I've only seen previews for it and those are enough to make my skin crawl. I guess my dislike comes from how they're trying to make it seem different from all the other dating shows because this one has "professional matchmakers" setting up three bachelors who are "ready for love." Then they commence with the romantic picnic lunches, half-naked make out sessions in the ocean, guitar serenades, gym workouts with bare sweaty chests (oooo, look at my prowess with this jump rope, I'm a sexy beast), and fancy clothes and cars.

Why doesn't NBC call it "Three 'Sexy' People Looking for Three More 'Sexy' People Who Will Lust After Each Other on National TV, Showing the World that THIS Is What Love Looks Like and What You Must Look Like to Have It"?

Watch the preview. Isn't it unsettling?

I mean, I'm not really in a position to say that what these dating show "contestants" are feeling is not love. I don't know much about romantic love. But, shouldn't it be more... dirty (and not "whips and handcuffs" dirty, just less... put together)? Love is more than a TV dating show, right? And isn't love diverse? (It hasn't escaped my notice that most of these shows feature beautiful white people. As I am the product of a white person and a black person, I'd like to see a little more interacialness happening on TV. Mix it up people!) Are we, as a society, really only interested in perfectly fit, beautiful people, making out with each other? Is this really entertainment?

So, I don't know... I just don't find these shows realistic. I'm not sure if that's saying much from a girl who was once in love with X Files and currently watches Supernatural.

Just some thoughts.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Scales & Crack

I broke down and bought a bathroom scale tonight. I haven't owned one in over five years. I initially got rid of it for any number of reasons (1) moving from Texas to New Hampshire and didn't have the space for it, (2) it wasn't working right (ie, I wasn't losing weight), or (3) I didn't want to become a slave to it. I'm sure the reason is a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

I don't know that I've ever been a slave to the scale. I don't think.... I guess what I mean by being a "slave" to it is stepping on it every day, twice a day, and throwing myself onto the floor in a fit of despair at a 2 oz gain. That has never happened (nor will it). However, for many years I did let it deter my efforts. For example, if, after six months, I didn't lose XYZ pounds, I'd quit. This was when I was watching the Biggest Loser and naively assumed that because I was bigger I'd lose more faster. This is not always true, sadly. So for years, I'd get into "I'm gonna workout and eat healthy!" periods, and would then quit when the scale didn't budge that much. I didn't consider any of the other changes, just the scale. So, maybe I was a slave to it.

Not. Any. More.

I feel that I'm in a safer place now because I've spent the last 16 months breaking through that old cycle of workout for six months--quit for a year--workout six months--quit for another year. Plus, I need it if Weight Watchers is going to work properly. There are two scales at my gym and my weight is different by 1 to 1.5 pounds between the two. That's beyond annoying. Plus, they're "old school" slide-bar ones and I never know if I'm getting an accurate weight. So... I am now a scale owner. Hopefully my sister won't find me rolling around the bathroom floor wailing in despair one morning in the near future.

My ultimate choice for a donut.
Also... my house smells like crack. And by crack, I mean the carrot cake that I'm baking for a farewell party for a coworker this week. I've always had a pretty severe sweet tooth. (Mmmm donuts. The picture to the right is worse than the smell of the carrot cake. How sad is that?) A few years ago, I realized that the stuff was making me sick. Literally. I could feel my pancreas working overtime to combat the sugar. I was pretty sure that I was giving myself diabetes. Plus, I was going SO overboard with certain things. One brownie was never enough, so I'd eat four. There are only three pieces left? Let me finish them ALL now so I won't be tempted later. Needless to say, I had a problem. So, I cut it (all sweets, basically) out of my diet.

It's been at least two years now since I've had candy/cake/etc. The closest I get is dark chocolate covered almonds. While I no longer crave cake and can turn it and other sweets away without a problem, some days are MUCH harder than others. Especially when it smells so good. I think I'm a sugar addict. A former sugar addict. At the moment, I'm jonesin' a little!

Stupid cake.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Great Friday

So, today was a wonderful day for two reasons: (1) we were released an hour early from work for Good Friday, and (2) this video:


Nothing like a little tether ball and a swinging lemur enjoying the fun. This made me smile so I thought I'd share.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

They Better Get It Right

The Supreme Court is going to make a decision on marriage equality soon. It's definitely ridiculous that we're even "deciding" on anything. I'm all for marriage equality. I want my friends and loved ones to be happy and treated equally. It's a little scary that 9 people could potential get this very, very wrong. They better get it right. It's far past time.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Too Big

Today, while at Old Navy with my sister, I decided to try on the light-weight jacket that she was purchasing to see if I liked it. I immediately grabbed the XXL thinking that I'd need it to fit over my arms (Michelle Obama arms I have not). However, the XXL was like a tent on me! I tried on the next size down and it was a good fit. I might have even been able to get into a L, but I didn't push it. There was a time not too long ago when I couldn't even buy XXL at Old Navy because it wouldn't fit. Lane Bryant was always my go-to place... and now I don't fit into their smallest tops. I do feel like the sizes at Old Navy are a little off. At the same time, is this thinking valid? Maybe what I should be thinking is "Hooray, all this work is paying off!" That would be the healthier attitude to have, I think. Instead, my go to was "Umm, their sizes run a little big. Sister, can you go get this in a large for me?"

Side note: Vanity sizes suck when you're actively trying to lose weight and want to base your progress not so much on the scale, but on how clothes fit. How can you do this when a size 16 is actually an 18 in another store? I guess I should take my measurements more often.

I've been on a weight-loss journey since November 2011. In that time I've lost almost 40 pounds. For the most part the scale has dropped steadily (and slowly). My average for a long time was 2 lbs a month. Some months I got up to 4lbs. Christmas hit and I probably gained 3-4 lbs and had to lose it back again. In January 2013 I started Weight Watchers and have lost 10 lbs since (about 1 lb a week). I was hesitant to pay for a program, but I needed to do something to get myself back on track after Christmas. I spent the first year of my journey making the gym a part of my normal schedule. It took an entire year to make that a habit. This year, I'm focusing on food. And considering that before WW it took me at least 5 months to lose what I have in 3, I suppose the program is paying off.

No, I know it is. I am no longer morbidly obese. That's a big deal. Yay for obesity!

I'm also excited about the possibilities in fashion that are opening up to me. Today, I bought a dress. A dress! I don't know that I'll ever wear it, but dresses have never been a part of my wardrobe. As of today, I own two. I wonder how many I'll have (and will wear) by the end of the summer.

I don't usually talk about my weight with anyone.... It's taken me too many years of my life to realize that my weight is no one's damn business. I'm still trying to get this mantra to stick. But I feel like I need to start acknowledging my progress in this weight loss journey. I need to be prouder of it and myself and not think: "Well, I still have a LONG way to go." In the last 16 months, I've broken through some incredible cycles some 20 years in the making: (1) sticking with healthy eating/gym even when I don't see the results that I think I "should" see after 3 months, and (2) breaking past 218 lbs (for some reason that number was a barrier for me--an "I quit" roadblock). These are huge personal accomplishments. I should celebrate them. I think? It's still a little hard to get positive feedback when it comes to my weight. I hear "You're doing great!!" and think sometimes "What's wrong with me?" I suppose this can be my new barrier to shatter.

I am still a work in progress. This girl is under constructionnnnnnnn (sang to the melody of Alicia Keys' "This Girl is on Fire").

Do I sometimes feel like Jabba the Hut's little sister Tanya the Hut... yes. But there are also days when I realize that I'm moving around faster, sleeping better, and craving healthier foods.

These are good days.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Grandpa Joe

I have decided that Grandpa Joe was likely going to the gym on the down low in those 20 years he spent in bed. The man would have had atrophy in those legs otherwise.... Perhaps the moral here is that an exciting trip to the chocolate factory can get you to do damn near anything.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Better... not great

I'm feeling better about this week so far. I think I needed a nice lazy weekend to reboot. Did a little shopping, finished my first edit of my fourth novel, and caught up on sleep (the time change killed me last week). That, combined with the ability to clear up some things at work yesterday, makes me feel like I'm slowly getting back on track. Still, I've been (and probably am being) misrepresented to my superiors (and likely others) and that really bothers me. But... I can't control what other people might say about me. I can only prove myself through my own actions. So, while it's not an ideal work situation, it is what it is. Ahhh learning experiences!

Also, I think "The Hobbit" came out on DVD today... so, my week just got even better, Precious.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Learning Experiences

I'm glad it's Friday. I hope today caps off what's been a long, strange, slightly depressing week.

This afternoon, I got my first real dose of what I'll call "office politics." The ramifications of today's happenings have yet to come to fruition. I'll probably have a better idea next week. So, at the moment I'm not freaking out about what "might" happen. I'm actually surprised that I wasn't more shocked by it all. Maybe my response is delayed? We'll see.... I've been a little spoiled in my professional career in that I've been so fortunate to love what I do and who I work with. I haven't had to deal with many difficult personalities. So, I'm grateful for what I'm experiencing now. Everything's a learning experience. As a people watcher (and a writer), I like understanding why people do what they do. However, when their actions directly affect me (a bystander) negatively, I'm going to have a big problem with that.

So, we'll see what next week brings.

I'm also in search of new music to listen to in my car. I've had the new Mumford and Son's CD playing since I first discovered them in September 2012. So, that's almost six months of listening to the same CD (with intermittent radio time woven in too). I'm not sure if I should worry about this or not. Listening to the same CD for six months: complacency? Loyalty... I'm not sure, but the music is incredible and I find it soothing. It's a good way to start and end the word day, I suppose.

Here's "Lover of the Light" off "Babel":


I guess I'll keep listening until I find something just as good.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

And laughter returns...


So, last night I was feeling a little out of sorts with the world. And then my sister and I made avatars of ourselves through a facebook app (bitstrips.com). I never download apps on facebook and I don't have a fancy phone, so I don't do apps in general. I gotta say though--this one is amazing. Sister and I spent about 2 hours laughing hysterically at all the made up situations that we could put ourselves in. Such as:


I laughed so hard my throat hurt. I almost popped a vein or something. I haven't laughed liked that in a while, and it felt REALLY good. I gotta say, my mood was much better today. What's funny about these pictures is the moment of hesitation that I felt at the idea that I would appear in something so tight fitting in such a public place! Literally, my thought was "Oh my god, people are going to see me practically naked! I can't post that!" Obviously, that is not really me--but it is a representation of sorts. Even in cartoons I'm a tad bit self cautious. The only comfort I feel is that Sister didn't want to appear in her cartoon underwear either. :)

Just thinking about these today made me smile. They also made my mom laugh... and that makes me smile too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Life

Courtesy of Bitstrips.com. This is my avatar. I'm dramatic.
I am entering a time of uncertainty, and because I'm not sure what the future holds, I feel "blah" about everything. I wouldn't call myself a planner, but I do like to have a plan. Or at least a goal to work toward? For example, I wasn't happy with where I was right out of my first master's degree, so I moved across the country and earned an MFA. That gave me a plan for about 2.5 years. Then I needed a new plan: so, I moved to Maryland to live with my sister while her husband was deployed to Korea and then Afghanistan. This too gave me a tentative plan, which I'd hoped to make more permanent (that really hasn't come to fruition). Now, C is coming back home for good in about 7 months and I feel myself needing a new plan. Or an alternative plan....

I'm a little sick of planning, to be honest, but at the moment I'm floating. I don't have a whole lot to root me here. I feel jealous of people who are settled. Who have good family and friend circles around them. So, I guess it's time to get out of my comfort zone and get out there and meet people. S and J suggest OK Cupid, but this idea gives me hives. Maybe I'll change my mind in a few months and give that site a go? Or maybe I'll sign up for another tennis class instead--that seems safer.

I don't like uncertainty. So, I need to find a way to pull what feels out of my control back into my control. And in doing so, return to my normal state of optimism.

In less, melodramatic news, I'm actually looking forward to warmer weather! Not hot. I hate humidity, so I'm not asking summer to hurry up and get here, but a few 65-70 degree days (aka, Tanya weather) would be very welcome. Of course, working inside all day won't really help me enjoy said weather. Maybe I need to start forcing myself to take my 30 minute paid break every day. It's been a few months since I've done that. Not because I'm a workaholic or anything, I just... forget. Plus, there's not really a nice place to sit outside the building (that's not occupied by smokers). So, there's that conundrum as well.

Also, my books are actually selling on Nook and Amazon. The first book has to have over 3000 downloads (free) now and I think I've sold at least 300 of the other two books combined. That kinda blows my mind a little. It's exciting and I hope it means that I'm doing what I set out to with e-publishing: building a readership. I guess only time will tell.

For now, I'll continue with my motto: One day at a time.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tatiana Moore

So... I post more on my other blog: tatianamoore07.blogspot.com.

I always go back and forth with whether or not I should close this blog down. I guess I'll just leave it up even if it is inactive.

My cat is intently staring at the wall. It is disturbing.

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