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I Am So Out of Shape and Other Saturday Thoughts

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I had some errands to do this morning, including stopping at the eye doctor's to get an replacement receipt from my visit in December that I need to fax in to my flexpay provider before the end of the month or I might have to pay the IRS for it. After that, I walked to the hair dresser to inquire about getting my hair cut off so I could donate it to Locks of Love.

I was dismayed when the cutter told me that they count the 10 inches from a pony tail, not from the actual length of the hair. I guess I had misunderstood what I read on the Locks of Love website. The problem is that my hair tangles very easily, worse as it gets longer, and I don't know that I can put up with the daily battle for the months that it will take for it to grow long enough to cut and donate. Locks of Love makes wigs for patients who have cancer or other diseases that are related to hair loss. They can take any hair (grey, colored or regular hair) but it has to be 10 inches at minimum. I was really depressed when I left the salon.

From there, I walked a few other places and then drove to a Target store that I seldom visit to see what they had that was different from my "hone" store. This store is in a mini mall and I parked in the larger parking lot, not in the Target lot. More steps, I thought! I found more than I expected, so my cart was pretty full. As I wheeled it to the car, it locked up. I had forgotten about the stop strip. I carried some of the bags to my car and then thought that I should move the cart so that other cars can get around it. It was pretty heavy and was really hard to move. I finally figured out that I could pull it from the basket, raising it at the same time so that only the wheels on the push-handle end are on the ground. It was still hard to move, but I was proud to have been able to move it safely. Then I carried the heavier items to the car, making a couple of trips.

I was wiped out after getting everything out of the car, up the stairs and put away. Man, am I out of shape!

Tomorrow is my brother's birthday (today in Japan, where he lives). We were at a mini family reunion last year celebrating his birthday in New Mexico when the word of the earthquake and the tsunami came across the news. That was the end of our celebration. It took him nearly two days to find out his wife, her parents and her sister were all ok. In the year since, I have worried about them, mostly for my very young nephew, nervous about radiation exposure. My heart is still in Japan.

Yesterday, at work, we had an "Update on Fukushima" meeting and, as we waited for the presentations to begin, one of the scientists asked me what I am doing these days. Ever since I earned my paralegal certificate, he has been encouraging me to leave the company and make more money elsewhere. I don't think I have the experience as a paralegal to do that - I cannot afford an entry level position and I don't think I am getting enough exposure in paralegal work where I am. So I have been thinking...

It would help for me to brush up on my language skills. I know bits and pieces of about 16 languages but am fluent in none. So, should I go for Spanish or Japanese?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 3/20/2012 9:26AM

    Is your brother staying in Japan? You could learn Japanese and join him there. But I don't know what the job market is for paralegals in Japan. Maybe Hawaii? I really admire bi-lingual people.

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LIBBYFITZ 3/11/2012 4:22AM

    Spanish is a bit more universal. Those shopping trolleys can be a hazard. One of my friend's little 5 year old daughter had one fall on her a broke her hip. This happened yesterday! She will be in hospital for 2 weeks and in a wheelchair forat least 4 more weeks. As I was reading your blog I was getting quite anxious, thinking you were going to tell us you got hurt! Thank goodness you didn't.

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_LINDA 3/11/2012 12:38AM

    Good for you trying to get more activity in your shopping. I find those shopping carts awful to deal with, they usually have a wonky wheel, or veer off to one side, and ANY roughness on the terrain or so much as a pebble grinds those lousy wheels to a halt. I often wonder how the little old ladies always seem to manage to haul one back to our apartment, not that they have much in them other than their purses usually. You did well to deal with a heavily laden one. I am curious what all you bought that was so much.
Perhaps the scientist gives you good advice. If there is nowhere for you to advance in this company (indeed people were losing their jobs and you were worried about it too)maybe there are greener pastures elsewhere.
Whether you learn Spanish or Japanese should depend on where you want to live and what the highest % of population is in that language. LA would be Spanish of course and so on..But it is indeed a highly prized asset to have a second language..
Hope you have a restful and relaxing Sunday!
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RFJSJ50 3/11/2012 12:28AM

    It sounds like you had quite a workout! I had stopped doing strength exercises for a bit of time and have recently started back - boy can I tell a difference!
I can't give you any advice on the language except to do what feels best for you - follow your heart.
Stay strong!

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MISSY455 3/10/2012 11:49PM

    If you are wanting to continue to work in CA, I would think Spanish would be very helpful. Outside of CA, Japanese or even Cantonese if that interests you. I have enough trouble with english, but so admire people who can speak another language.

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How a Compliment and SparkPeople Impacted My Choices This Evening

Thursday, March 08, 2012

I had not planned to put in OT today, but had to given the challenges that arose today. When I finished work, I did not want to face traffic, so I started doing SP stuff. When I took a break and walked down the hall, someone asked me if I were losing weight. (I am not and I feel like a blimp). I thanked her for making my day. When I came back to SP, I saw a message board post about walking. I looked at my pedometer and went outside.

I recently bought an iPod so I could have music to block out the noise at work. _Linda posted that I could use that for exercise. I wore my iPod and found myself singing as I walked. Nothing but hills where I work and I was amazed how singing while walking raised my heart rate. I looked at my pedometer and kept walking, but I did not do enough. I got anxious about getting home so I could unwind and get to bed at a reasonable hour. I walked up the stairs thinking that would continue the heart rate momentum, but it actually turned out to be a cool down of sorts. I was so slow on the 3 flights of stairs that finishing the walk back to my desk was nothing.

I was not even going to blog tonight, but that would have defeated the point I wanted to share. The compliment inspired me and the post on SP got me moving. You never know how sharing some small part of your journey could help someone else!

I ended up with a 55 minute walk (I should've gone for 5 more minutes!) and over 10K steps!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJCANNON 3/12/2012 7:00PM

    emoticonIt is amazing how inspiring those little Pedometers can be!! And the steps really do add up quickly!!

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CATLADY52 3/12/2012 6:53PM

    That's emoticon. emoticon

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    Way to go!

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HEATHER-IN-SD 3/9/2012 12:29PM

    What a great way to end the day! Yay compliments and SP!!!!

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RFJSJ50 3/9/2012 12:15PM

    We should all learn a lesson about the power of complimenting others from your experience. Just a few words can have such a powerful and positive impact!
What a great day you had!

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MISSY455 3/9/2012 2:53AM

    emoticon Since I have started wearing a pedometer every day, versus only on my walks, I have noticed a big jump in my total steps. Just being able to see how close I am to the next milestone is a big motivator. I hope the rest of your week is as successful for you!

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SHERRYJVP 3/9/2012 1:12AM

    wow..that is an awesome and inspiration blog!

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_LINDA 3/9/2012 12:34AM

    Well done!! I always find music inspires to to work harder, particularly when my favorite songs come on!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Way to put those steps in!!

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March is For Me!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

I started an introspective blog and it disappeared. I am yawning, so life is conspiring to tell me it's time for "light's out".

Today was productive and yet not on track - sort of sum of my SP journey! I'll come back to those introspective thoughts, but, in the meantime, think on this: sometimes doing every day things can turn into moments of functional fitness. What did I do? I lugged a jug of 35# of cat litter! I can sure feel it and am amazed how good it feels!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STAROFD00M 3/8/2012 10:39AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon re: kitty litter :)

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LIBBYFITZ 3/2/2012 5:43AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MISSY455 3/2/2012 2:48AM

    I have started typing my blogs into word and then cutting and pasting into SP to save that aggravation. I hope you got a good night's sleep!

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_LINDA 3/1/2012 11:40PM

    That kitty litter sure is heavy -another reason to like dogs more lol. You have to be careful not to strain something though! Hope you are okay tomorrow! Sorry about the blog loss :(( That happens all too often around here :(
May your March be simply Marvelous!!!
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ACIMPEGGY 3/1/2012 11:32PM

    Yea, but how far did you lug it? Reminds me...I've got to buy some.

Was Toastmaster tonight for neighboring area's contest....I'm tired, but it went very well...I followed the script (pretty much) and still managed to be myself and make the audience laugh a couple times. No major goof-ups, either.


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JAMBABY0 3/1/2012 11:19PM

    keep up the good work

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Continuing My Informal Series

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I am finally back online! My home internet connection died on Monday evening and I FINALLY got it back up yesterday evening. My internet provider could not solve my problem and I got different info each time I called. Finally, I did some poking around on my own and figured out that I needed to install some Windows updates so that the computer would load the drivers for my broadband access card. I went down the street to the retailer where I bought my PC and had them fix it for me. Long story short - after paying a ton of money, I am back in touch! Woohoo!

Yesterday, I took a short walk while my PC was being worked on. It was a gorgeous day, but I had zero, absolutely zero energy, so I moved even more slowly than usual. Bleh! I had a bad back ache most of the week. It has gotten better and I think yesterday's walk, as pathetic as it was, helped me today. I got up later than usual this morning which is usually not a good thing. I like to get to the laundromat early so I can get in and out without too many other people, screaming children or other chaos. I must have hit a lull today because it was not crowded, there was ample parking, plenty of open machines and no chaos. While my clothes were getting clean, I walked to the post office and checked my box. Instead of then going to Starbucks, I continued walking. My back hurt a little bit, but I liked the feeling of my leg muscles! I feel as if I am back at the beginning, but it feels great! When I got back to the laundromat, my clothes were still spinning in the dryer, so I went back outside and did some stretching.

That is very nearly a first. I DO NOT exercise when people can see me. For me to do my Achilles tendon stretch and wall push ups in public was kind of a big deal! WOOHOO!

As I was folding my clothes, I flashed back to the first summer I lived with my dad and 1st stepmother. She had to teach me all kinds of things, including how to do laundry. That led me to think about all the other things Mom has done for and with me. She had my brother the year before I came into her life. It was about then that she learned that Dad had two children from the first marriage. She was instrumental in getting me to meet my dad. I was headed to see them for what they thought was about a 2 week visit. At the end of the 2 weeks, my older brother died and they kept me. At the end of that first summer, they sent me to boarding school. I thought I had been kicked out of my second family, but it turned out to be what I needed.

When I went to live with them, I was very immature, had been abused and sheltered at the same time and was way behind socially. I also was a trial for Mom - I had such a chip on my shoulder! She is about halfway between Dad's age and mine, so she was in her 20s when I came into her life. When I reached that age, I marveled to think what she dealt with at the same age.

Long story short, their marriage fell apart because of Dad's midlife crisis. I was living in Alaska and they were in New Mexico and I was again afraid that I would be without family. But she told me she was divorcing my dad, not me.

Fastforwarding...Dad remarried a few years later and ended up in KY with her family. My BF and I joined them in Vegas for their 10th anniversary and, as I said goodby to Dad and watched him walk away, I had a bad feeling. It turned out that was the last time I ever saw Dad walk. A year and a few months later, he died with me at his side. He died at the hospital in Indiana and was buried in New Mexico. Mom opened her home to all of us. She said she was willing to go to the funeral if we wanted her to go. I really wanted her there, but I knew it would feel really weird for her, so she did not come. We flew into Albuquerque, spent the night at her house and drove up to the mountain community where my aunt lives (Dad's older sister). The funeral was the next day. We spent a few days going back and forth between Mom's house and my aunt's house. Unfortunately, we did the same thing two years later when my cousin was killed in a solo car accident. This time, Mom and her husband came to the same mountain community for my cousin's funeral. I never thought I would be visiting that cemetery again so soon. I know the next time I will go will be to bury my aunt and I dread that. My other aunt is also buried there and we have two-thirds of the same name. (I am named after both of my aunts, so that will also be true with my living aunt.) Seeing 2/3rds of my name on a headstone is quite disconcerting! It is the only bit of humor I find there, but my family appreciates it. In my mind's ear, I can hear Dad laughing.

Mom has been an ear when I needed it, a partner for Scrabble and other games when we're together, a "partner in crime" when we take a train ride or visit a casino or just visit at her house. It does not matter what we do - we enjoy each other's company. She is my first stepmother, but we are closer than I can express - sisters, friends, mother/daughter - no easy title, but it does not matter.

She is only one reason why I am so blessed, but what a wonderful reason!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STAROFD00M 2/28/2012 12:04PM

    You mom sounds like an amazing person.
*high fives your mom*

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_LINDA 2/28/2012 1:57AM

    I am so glad you had someone stable in your topsy turvy life. That you call your Stepmom Mom speaks volumes of the love and respect you have for her.
Well done and the walking and stretching! It doesn't matter what others may think, the most important thing is how you feel -and I bet that made you feel pretty good :)
Keep up the great work!!
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LIBBYFITZ 2/27/2012 8:10AM

    She sounds like an amazing woman!

Woo hoo to you for doing your stretches in public!

Glad that bit of walking helped!

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SPARKLISE 2/26/2012 6:33PM

    You were lucky to have her in your life! emoticon

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Seeking Equilibrium and Zest!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Here it is nearly 2 weeks since my last blog. When I first joined SP, I was much more regular about sharing my thoughts. Lately, I have kept things more to myself. The outward evidence of that is not a surprise: no weight loss, very little interest in sticking to it, almost zero belief that I can actually lose all of this tonnage, even a little at a time and my negative attitude about exercise-the-four-letter-word-that-got-str
etched has not changed.

I struggle in very many areas of my life, but we all do, so it seems pointless to air my laundry as it were on this forum. I certainly have little positive to impart, no wisdom, no "aha" moments, no victories to celebrate. So I am silent.

This week, thinking about my beloved first grade teacher (see last blog) whom I knew for almost my entire life, nearly 5 decades, and who was a part of my life for all that time, made me think about other very special people in my life. Despite or because of my rough childhood, I have been blessed, fortunate beyond reason, to have had wonderful people enrich my life with their generosity. I thought about dedicating each day to one of them in an effort to reignite that spark, to find my way out of this long season of blahs.

There was my first music teacher who opened the world of music for me when I most needed that outlet. I came to her music room a very troubled and very immature teen. She had a rule. When you came into her music room whether for choir practice, music theory or piano lessons, you had to leave your troubles outside the door. She would say it was my choice to pick those troubles up again as I left, but they had no place in the room. It was years before I understood that second part, but I fully embraced the image of dropping a heavy backpack outside the door and being free to immerse myself in music for a time. Music became my sanctuary. I played the piano as much as I could and sang at every opportunity. I do not have access to a piano now and have not had one for years, but I sing nearly every day, even if it's only during my commute. Miss Wrisley walked with me in the mornings before breakfast and we talked about everything and nothing. She was my teacher for only 3 years, leaving the boarding school when her mother needed her, but we remained in touch for the rest of her life. I had the privilege of visiting home in Vermont and will carry the memories of that week with me forever. We shared hymns in our letters, wrote about music and our exceedingly high regard for one another. She added to my hymnal collection. I sent her a custom cross stitch wall hanging "She who sings prays twice" and, after she died, it was sent to me. I have it hanging in my kitchen. There were many other women, deaconnesses in the church who gave their lives as missionaries teaching at the boarding school, but Miss Wrisley represents all of them. Together, they created a place where it was safe for me. I grew up and gained an excellent education. Looking back, I realize I learned a lot more than the required coursework!

In college, Mom Angell and Dean Moon saved my life and again gave me safety. I was able to finish my degree and I am Mom Angell's "adopted" daughter. She is in her 80s and not in great health, so I cherish every card and letter.

As I became a member of the working world, there were countless bosses and coworkers who showed me the ropes. For a long time, I was the youngest employee or the newest or....And now, I can claim none of those distinctions. While I have worked many jobs that are seemingly unrelated, each one has proved to be the stepping stone to the next.

And here I am. I am a paralegal in a legal department of a nonprofit corporation. I absolutely love my job! I honestly cannot wait to arrive in the morning because I can't wait to see what will happen. If only the other areas of my life were going so swimmingly! HA!

I find myself unable to focus on diet and exercise. Unable? Unwilling? Both? It seems to muster more energy than I have, but is that the truth or is it a matter of conflicted priorities?
I don't want to be introspective enough to ascertain the answers.

Of course, there is money stress. Of course there are back-of-the-mind health concerns. Of course there is a less than perfect relationship. Of course, given my age, there is the overarching concern about the future.

As I type this, I am at work on my own time, online here because my internet connection at home is dead. I have my new iPOD plugged in and am really enjoying my personal concert!
I need to go home because there are a zillion things to do, but I am avoiding all of them!

I cannot continue to live like this. Avoiding things I don't want to do (like reorganize a closet, weigh my food or exercise), wasting the life I have been given.

Searching for equilibrium is a phrase that has many meanings for me. Physical because I have balance issues. Emotional because I feel things very deeply. Mental because I find myself completely absorbed in some things to the exclusion of others. Work/life balance...Something akin to the balance I need to find between food and exercise.

It's all about quality of life and I am aiming for that zest!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DBCLARINET 2/22/2012 8:47AM

    I agree with taking things one day at a time. I have an exam coming up in three weeks, and I'm so stressed about it that I feel like I don't want to study because I want to avoid it. So I keep telling myself that I will study this one day, and I approach each day like that.

Same goes with my diet. Sometimes I get hungry, and I just tell myself to get through this day, and if the next day I need more food, I'll allow it. Perhaps your approach is a little too all-or-nothing. Instead of worrying about weighing food, just make a smaller portion. I don't know anything about your approach to diet, but maybe it's something to consider.

I've loved your posts recently -- very heartwarming!

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CARRAND 2/22/2012 7:44AM

    You've had some wonderful teachers and others in your life. You deserved them. You have to learn to love yourself, just as you are, in order to be willing to make changes in yourself. That sounds contradictory, but I believe it's true.

You are an inspiration to me because you hang in there and keep trying, in spite of money worries, job troubles, or relationship problems. Be proud of yourself, and reward yourself with healthy food and exercise.

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_LINDA 2/22/2012 12:50AM

    I second what Michcleary said. Maybe its time to go back to basics, the ten minute start. If you do nothing else in the day or week for your healthy lifestyle, do ten minutes of exercise first thing in the morning before the excuses can pile up. Or ten minutes of something that needs to be done but you are putting off..It really is easier to get the unpleasant things out of the way first thing when you wake up before getting into your day. I love my morning exercise, it really gets me going. But if I wake up feeling poorly and resolve to do it in the evening, its a monumental struggle to get it going. I am usually sapped of energy and really have to dig deep to finish my workouts (it doesn' help that I am so sleep deprived) Ten minutes is worth your life.
You can do this. You have shown you can kick butt in work and in school. Its now time to use some of that energy for your health!!

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RFJSJ50 2/21/2012 11:16PM

    It may sound trite, but I am happiest and seem to make the most progress when I ignore my long term goals and just focus on getting through one day at a time - exercising and eating well for that one day; doing the best I can for that one day. I'm finally realizing the importance accepting my best and not pushing for immediate perfection. I'm really beginning to accept the idea that the big changes will come if I consistently focus on the small ones. I spent several weeks with the same mindset that you seem to have right now and had to force myself to rejoin the world! It's hard but worth the effort.
Stay strong!

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MICHCLEARY 2/21/2012 9:30PM

    What an honest blog. I appreciate the update. Finding balance is a challenge for us all and some days I feel on track,and other days way off.

I wish I knew some way to encourage you. I always feel better when I exercise. I found myself putting off studying for a course I am taking and the day would get going and I'd never find the time. Now I have my books by my bed and I get up in the morning, grab my coffee, and sit there and study for at least 30 minutes before I do anything else. That way I don't have any excuses to push it aside during the day. I'm now making progress through the material and have come to enjoy that quiet time to read and make notes. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to start the day and that is pushing me to do other things on my to do list that I didn't want to.

I saw a poster the other day that said "nothing is going on that hour before your alarm goes off". It's stuck in my head because I don't like to do much in the early morning, but that is an option if I can't find the time during the rest of the day.

I hope the blahs go away soon for you! I also hope you get a piano somehow. My daughter just started playing the guitar for a youth worship band and I love that. She also is taking piano and violin. Music heals alot of hearts!

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