Saturday, July 31, 2010

Month-End Review, July

"You tell your body what you need it to do and it will do it." J. Michaels on Northern Family episode of Losing It With Jillian

About six days into July, I gazed at my calendar with six X's and realized that I wanted to see an unbroken chain. I can do it, I think -- exercise for 31 days in a row and I did it.

About 12 days in, I started to feel quite fatigued. Day 21 had me wondering if I would be able to continue and I could definitely see the benefit of rest days. When I went to unfold from a seated position, my body let me know that it was cooperating but...

Here's the breakdown:

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fix Mix

  • Power Yoga, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts

  • Arms and Shoulders, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Knock-Out Body, Wii Version, 5 x's

    10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • 10 Minute Stretch, 1 x

  • Army Crawls, 2 x's

    Bicycling, 1 x

    Cardio and Muscle Class, 3 x's

    Mowed the Lawn
    , 2 x’s

    Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 15-Minute Lower Body Circuit, 1 x

  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 4 x's

  • Rock Climbing, 8 x's

    Swimming, 7 x's

    Walking, 16 x's

    Wii Fit (Plus, Sports), 5 x's

    Yoga for Weight Loss, 1 x

    Here I am in the midst of getting old-fashioned exercise on the pedestrian obstacle course that is the Las Vegas Strip. Let me tell you: my feet were no match for The Strip...

    How did your July turn out???

    Disclaimer: I received 10 Minute Solution: Knock-Out Body (Wii) and Yoga for Weight Loss without charge.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Always A Dollar In My Pocket For The Agua Man

    When I was in Puerto Rico, the tour bus driver said that the water man was the richest man around. The same can be said for Las Vegas which is where I'm at right now.

    I don't care if you can purchase a 12 pack of water for $3 bucks. If I see The Agua Man, he has my money each and every time.

    I'm still trying to think whose idea it was to come to Las Vegas. Not only is it entertainment city, it's decadence city. The slogan should really be: What stays in Vegas -- is your money -- but that wouldn't be good for tourism, would it?

    I was so relieved yesterday when I made it to Albertons. The banana that I got from there was truly the best one that I've ever had. Plus, the clerk was nice enough to give me a rewards card and I was able to get three dollars off my purchase. This morning, I used a Subway card that I won over at Diane Fit to the Finish to get a breakfast sandwich.

    Right now, I'm at a branch of the Las Vegas library. When I asked at the bell desk if I could walk to the library, this guy looked at me as if I was crazy. So, I walked half of the way and caught the bus the rest of the way. There was a nice breeze. Really, there was...

    This replica is about the closet that I'll get to the Eiffel Tower for now but one can hope, can't she?

    Re: fitness and food, what's your strategy when traveling?

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    Top Ten Reasons I Miss My Home Computer

    10). Home computer does not log me out after one hour.

    9). Can readily check

    8). Googling

    7). Harder to avoid ongoing uncluttering project...

    6). YouTube (miss you how-to videos)

    5). Blogging at home (no pseudo-whisperers to block out -- who talk about the library's no cell phone policy while continuing to talk).

    4). Able to fill the cable void (even though my Aunt Al tells me that cable features the same shows i.e. Law and Order and has reruns too).

    3). Ability to rearrange Netflix queue at any hour

    2). Popping in on Twitter

    And the number one reason?

    1). Viewing the Groupon deal of the day so that I can earn a 1 G reward.

    Bonus Top Ten material: Not being able to report that I was finally able to climb Girl Power, a 5.9 route that I've been trying to ascend for awhile now. Made it over the arête with Patti's words still in my head. The move needs to be deliberate and controlled, she said.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    The Would Nots

    Diane Fit to the Finish recently asked What have you gained by losing?

    My comments:

  • I ask for what I want way more than I used to (goodbye reticence).

  • I'm kinder to myself.

  • I'm more confident.

  • I thought more about what I had gained:

  • I would have never taken swimming lessons because I would have been hyper aware of my body.

  • I would not have tried rock climbing because your body is exposed -- not in a swimming attire way but it is...

  • I would not have dreamed about getting a massage.

  • I would not have done a triathlon.

  • I would not have rediscovered my love of bicycling.

  • One of Diane's answers was -- better wardrobe:

    I've noticed that my taste has changed significantly as I've lost weight.

    I'll add photos of my wild taste later. I'm still using the computer at the library and can't use my flash drive...

    What newness have you noticed about yourself?

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    A Perfectly Good Pickle And...

    Before my massage the other day, there was paperwork to fill out. I didn't see what my marital status along with some other info had to do with the massage so I left those questions blank and moved on.

    There were other questions about how much white flour and sugar you eat. Lori told me that she was happy to put none for tobacco usage since it took her awhile to give up smoking.

    As Lori was satisfied to put none for tobacco usage, I was equally satisfied to note that I exercise six days a week. What kind of exercise you ask:

    *Aerobics Kate's Kick A$$ Class
    Rock Climbing
    Yoga etc.

    Are you fatigued? I always chuckle when I'm faced with this question.

    Me: Am I fatigued?

    Lori: I don't think they mean fatigued because you exercise like a crazy person. Regular fatigue...
    There was also a question about what you crave. Um, sugar... Is that what they meant by cravings?

    I went swimming on Saturday -- only the second time (this season) I've been outside. My shoulder feels so much better. As a result, I was able to enjoy doing the backstroke and watch the clouds roll by. My shoulder felt even better after the massage.

    On another subject, one of my aunts went to the Lake of the Ozarks. I had fried pickles, she said. I felt my face contort when it happened. What? You eat all kinds of ... she said.

    I tell my aunt about the repeat Obesity in America show, the episode in which The Texas State Fair is highlighted. Fried butter, fried coke, fried pizza...The guy at that booth sells so much fried stuff that he is able to quit his job as a computer analyst.

    I can't believe some vendor in the Lake of the Ozarks took a perfectly good pickle and fried it...

    *Went to Kate's class tonight and was shocked by how crowded it was. There was almost no real estate available. However, there was a modest gap and it was right behind Kate.

    Kate and I met over by the weights and haggled over who would get the 10 pounders. I've wanted to up the ante on the weights but I wasn't quite ready for 10 pounds.

    I asked Kate if she had enough room and she said not to worry -- if she needed space, she would kick me and let me know. I told her that I would kick back as well. Ah, the prospect of impromptu cardio kickboxing...

    Before class started, I sidled up to one of my buddies that I'm usually next to. She said that all the people were present because of my blog. Ha, ha. I outed myself to Kate because I had written enough about her that I thought she should know. Know what I mean? If you're saying writing something nice about someone, you should let them know. Shouldn't you?

    Kate kicked butt tonight and I shouldn't be surprised by now. She kept saying:

    No one quits.
    No one quits.
    I kept saying:
    Oh My God, OMG...
    We did lazy stretching i.e. stretching on the mat. I was so thankful because, at that point in the program, I don't know if I would have had the wherewithal to stand up. As we were reconfiguring ourselves to get in position for ab work, I locked eyes with another classinmate and I could see the fatigue on her face. It felt good to know that I wasn't alone...

    How's your stamina lately? Anyone know about your blog that you'd rather not have known about it -- in hindsight?

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    First Things First: Breathe and Relax Your Arm

    I promised myself that I would get massages often. Well, the last time that I had a massage was in October of 2009. Today is my friend Lori's birthday. I thought she might like a massage, I could get one too and we could spend relaxing time together.

    Before my appointment, I did two 15-Minute circuits of Jackie Warner's Personal Training Circuit -- figured that I might as well add the Warner aftermath to the list of kinks that needed to be kneaded. My body just rains every time I do a Warner circuit. I need to do this workout way more often -- to keep myself in check.

    An hour and a half later, I arrived at the spa and when the massage therapist got ready to start, she told me to take a deep breath. I tapped into my yoga thing, she did a centering ritual of sorts and the decompressing began.

    There were several times when I thought I just might cry. Guess I must be storing something but I guess we are all storing one thing or another.

    The only thing that was uncomfortable about the massage was the attention to the feet. Having my feet touched is almost unbearable and I was hoping that reflexes would not get the better of me.

    I was also told to relax my arm which is not the first time that's happened. It's ironic because I'm certainly not trying to help by holding it up -- just general tension I guess...

    When I first got my car, my CD player went on the fritz. I immediately made an appointment to get it fixed. One of my colleagues said, What dedication to self-care. Those words are never far from my mind and I'm going to get a whole lot better at that activity. I work out hard and, dang it, I'm going to play hard.

    I smelly all woodsy like tea tree oil but in a lavender kind of way and I'm digging it.

    I thought this article about spas in Afghanistan was pretty intriguing.

    In what ways have you shown that you're dedicated to taking care of yourself?

    P.S. I'm semi-unplugged as I have a stupid virus on my home computer. Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Body Clutter And Such

    I watched No Impact Man and it stuck with me for days on end.

    The wife (Michelle Conlin), who loves clothes, was reluctant on many occasions to give up creature comforts and as she's talking to the camera, she says something like the title is No Impact Man -- not woman.

    There are times in the documentary that you can see the strain on Conlin's face and I definitely felt her discomfort when her husband, Colin Beavan, mentions the possibility of giving up toilet paper in addition to all of the other things that she's had to give up, including makeup. The family's experiment garnered a lot of attention but Beavan was disappointed in the New York Times' article that went with this title: The Year Without Toilet Paper.

    Beavan is like:
    What if we called it the year I lost 20 pounds without going to the gym once or the year that we didn't watch tv and became much better parents as a result or if we called it the year we ate locally or seasonally and it ended up reversing my wife's prediabetic condition. There are actual benefits to living environmentally.
    The couple has a ton of, no pun intended, light bulb moments. Conlin notes:

    We have no tv, no lights, no electricity, no air conditioning. These were the things that kept us inside. We are kind of forced out of the apartment all the time now. The days feel like they just last forever. (106:00)
    It's very cute when the couple's daughter, Isabella, is having the time of her life in a garden watching lightning bugs.

    Conlin was a non-cooker until the no impact experiment:

    I ate all of my food at restaurants or in takeout containers. I never cooked it. I never prepared it. I never thought about it. I never composted it. I never thought about the waste. Now that I go to the farmer's market, I know all of the people who grow our food. (111:40)

    After Conlin's cooking lesson, she makes a meal on her own:

    It might not work out but you have to learn and grow.

    The couple becomes huge fans of bicycling and adds a tricycle to their arsenal as well. Before their experiment, Conlin would not have dreamed of putting her daughter on a bicycle and was frequently annoyed by bicycle messengers. It's cool when they ride to Fort Tilden in New York and proclaim that it's better than The Hamptons.

    It's even cooler when Conlin realizes the effects of consumption:

    The rapacious consumption for consumption's sake and the coma that induces... I'm just rethinking everything in terms of what's important. (118:00)
    Conlin's consumption observation hits home on several levels, including my ongoing uncluttering project of possessions and my ongoing project of body uncluttering.

    Do you think that you could live for a year without a tv in your house, or not go to a restaurant or only buy food that traveled no more than 250 miles to get to your area?

    Watched any good documentaries lately?

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Victory Is Mine

    As some of you know, I've been uncluttering and, in the process, I've unearthed some ancient artifacts including a pair of shorts that I bought in Atlanta eons ago.

    I wanted a souvenir from Spelman College and assumed that I would be able to wear a large but I was not able to. Disappointed, I put the shorts away and haven't thought about them in years.

    As I was getting rid of more stuff and assessing what needed to be shed, I got the urge to put on the shorts not completely sure whether or not I'd be able to wear them and when I was able to comfortably pull them up, I got completely weepy.

    As the scale stands stagnant like old water attracting mosquitoes, I remind myself to stay focused. To eat, as Gingersnapper said, nutritionally useful food and to honor those non-scale victories.

    Any victories, non-scale or otherwise, in your corner of the world? Do tell...

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Other People's Neatness

    I didn't realize that Gail Blanke's Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life is like a workbook -- you're prompted to get rid of items while reading. No matter, things have a way of coming along when you need them.

    I asked someone to come and help me unclutter my bedroom which I had lost the ability to be agile in. Translation: I could have easily sprained an ankle with all the crap that was in my room.

    Asking for help was humbling and a bit (understatement) mortifying. I was properly and thoroughly embarrassed to have someone witness my slovenliness. My counselor friend said, "Don't worry, we all need professional help at some point."

    The initial organization provided me with the incentive to take on The Fifty Project. Still, I wrestled mightily with the most insignificant items. Is it recyclable? Will I have a need for it later? Should I try to sell it?

    I also struggled with things that people gave me -- even if it was an object that I didn't particularly like. I found things that I had forgotten about including license plate covers that my brother gave me in 2003. I also spotted, in the nether region of my closet, the toes of a tall doll, a childhood present from my grandfather.

    I didn't think that I would have has many mental throwaways as I did but once the ball got rolling, it really got rolling. I have the feeling, though, that it's going to take more than one trip to the trashcan for the mental throwaways. Throwing out non-mental stuff became somewhat infectious as well. I was searching for a place that might recycle photos and I came upon good advice: Sometimes you just have to throw stuff away.

    Here's the big qualifier. If you threw out fifty cups, it only counted as one item and on and on -- 50 books = one item. And magazines, they belong to the same tribe as books. I thought I might never make it to 50 but here's the list:

    1) Bath Sponge
    2) Bedding (unused for nearly a decade)
    3) Being verbally abusive to myself
    4) Beverages, Old or Unwanted (Pimpjuice and Propel)
    5) Bike (Old One)
    6) Book bags and satchels
    7) Books and magazines
    8) Candles
    9) Candlestick Holders
    10) Cardboard Boxes (lots of them; what was I saving them for? plus, my friend has this situation below)

    11) Catnip (G’ma gave it to me for protection from mosquitoes)

    12) Christopher Gruver’s Flowers: A Universe Revealed -- 2006 Wall Calendar

    Significant Events in 2006

  • Dinner at Stir Crazy, Cirque de Soleil & Memorial Service; October 12th, 14th and 15th

  • Jury Duty; L’Enfant and Akeelah and the Bee released; Drivers License Expired; Tape Oprah: April 14th & 18th; India Arie: July 15th

  • 13) Clothes (Goodbye to those of you that I outgrew)

    14) Contact Paraphernalia (Expired -- in 2007 -- Rewetting Drops)
    15) Cups (‘A’ cup, tiger mug, white cups with white tea)
    16) Declarations of war i.e. getting my feathers ruffled over small stuff. (Bye bye)
    17) Expired Food (Pomegranate Fruit Bars et al.)

    This is your brain on expired sugar

    Why do I still have crystallized ginger? Have not made cookies in over three years.

    Ginger Lemon Cookies

    Makes 3 dozen

    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
    • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, cut into 1/8-inch dice


    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl twice. Add egg; mix on high speed to combine. Add zest; mix to combine.
    2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, ground ginger, baking soda, salt, and crystallized ginger; add to butter mixture. Mix on medium-low speed to combine, about 20 seconds.
    3. Using two spoons, drop about 2 teaspoons of batter on baking sheet; repeat, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake for 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

    From Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1995/1996

    18) Eyeglasses (Old Prescription; Donated)
    19) Feelings of guilt (over throwing away food that I bought but didn’t’ like, of throwing away stuff that may or may not be recyclable etc.)
    20) Graveyard Ribbons
    21) Hangers
    22) Jewelry
    23) Latex Swim Cap (Unused)
    24) Old Dietary Supplements
    25) Paper (Old Notebooks and Newspaper Articles)
    26) Percussion Egg (Don’t Ask)
    27) Perfection
    28) Perfume (Expired)
    29) Photo Album
    30) Photos
    31) Picture Frame
    32) Potpourri
    33) Purses
    34) Smiley Face Bank
    35) Soap & Bath Stuff (Old)

    36) Speedo (First One)

    37) Squirrel Knickknacks
    38) Stuffed Animal
    39) The feeling that I’m this poor little girl from the wrong side of the river. (gone)
    40) The feeling that I suck (because I forgot someone’s birthday or to pay a bill)
    41) The feeling that I’m not good enough. (Throwing that out felt really good.)
    42) The feeling that I’m not smart enough.
    43) The feeling that weird things only happen to me.
    44) The nagging feeling that I don’t belong. (out)
    45) Tins (Altoid tin good for holding pepitas and peanuts but did I need two?)

    46) Tweety Birds (gift)

    47) Underwear (seldom worn back of the drawer rejects along with the need-to-be darned)

    48) VHS Tapes (Biggest Loser with Helen, Sione and Tara; The Amazing Race)
    49) Wall Décor

    50) Wallets (Black and Green; I bought the brown replacement wallet a year and a half ago)

    This whole uncluttering project that I have underway takes the burden off my friend Lori who was to come in, should I meet a sudden demise, and clean up for me so that I would not die again of shame.


    Can I Recycle Old Photographs?

    Can Used Photo Paper Be Recycled?

    Recycling Photos

    Stop the Souvenir Insanity

    The mess he made: A life-long slob decides it's time to get organized

    The Story of Stuff

    Best quote
    : "It's rare that a sloppy person is made uncomfortable by another person's neatness," she says. "Part of being a sloppy person is that you just don't notice." Arlene Kagle from "To Clean Or Not To Clean, That Is The Question," O: The Oprah Magazine, March 2010

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    The Little Bursts

    I just finished Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge, thirteen stories that all involve Kitteridge, the main character. I really enjoyed the book and when I finished the last word, missed it and wanted more even though the ending, which I've read over and over, is just about as perfect as an ending can be.

    The quote that follows resonated:

    Olive's private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as "big bursts" and "little bursts." Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee's, let's say, or the waitress at Dunkin' Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really. (68-69)
    A few of 'Drea's little bursts:

  • Having time to read and drink coffee before going to work.

  • Sitting by (or in) a body of water and reading.

  • Asking for what I want. (learned)

  • Being in the water and doing my version of swimming.
  • Making someone laugh.

  • What are your little bursts?

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Getting To Fine

    I decided to go to my colleague's goodbye luncheon and since Chimichanga did not have an online menu, I stopped by the restaurant and got one. After skimming it, I settled on the grilled chicken salad.

    I thought that I might have been overreacting to the whole eating out thing so I decided to actually research Mexican fare. Maybe I was giving chalupas a bad rap.

  • Refried Beans

  • Breakfast Burrito

  • Enchilada

  • Tamale

  • Chalupa

  • Chile Relleno

  • Arroz Con Pollo

  • So, yeah, I stuck with the grilled chicken salad. Huge, isn't it?

    My boss sat next to me.

    Me to the waiter: I'll have the grilled chicken salad with no cheese and the dressing on the side.

    My boss: I'll have the same thing.

    I thought that my boss might not have heard me say no cheese but she did. She also told me that she needed to lose weight. When our salads arrived, my boss said that if she had known how big it was going to be, we could have shared and I would have been completely willing to do that because I barely made a dent in my salad.

    My boss and I also discussed how much meat was on the salad and agreed that it was about 12 ounces. Another colleague said that she could hardly see the lettuce underneath my dish because of all the meat.

    There were about twenty people at the luncheon and you should have seen how much food was on the table -- probably enough to feed a small nation.

    As I was putting the remainder of my food in the refrigerator at work, one of my colleagues asked me how was lunch and then we chit chatted about the food. She pooh-poohed my concern: You're fine right now. While I do feel a sense of accomplishment, I know that I have not reached my goal. In addition, when I do get to fine -- I want to stay that way...

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    Leaning On Each Other

    During our normal meet-up negotiations, Patti said that she was ready to go (climbing) now. We still had about 24 hours to go but it made me wonder how often Patti would go climbing if she had her way. She responded two to three times and asked me how often I would go. Three, I responded. Patti was all like, well, let's start planning.

    I love a woman who can make fireworks happen. Hee-hee.

    I was chit chatting with Josh before Patti and company arrived. I asked him about how he coped with tender hands and he inferred in a very nice way that I, basically, needed to suck it up. What about tape? He only uses it for crack climbing or injuries. Injuries you say?

    'Drea's Callused Chalk-Coated Hand

    I also asked Josh about his ritual of hanging on holds. He's warming up his hands especially since a finger is injured. I thought he was strength training.

    When Josh saw me, he started smiling -- not because he was happy to see me but because he assumed that Patti would be coming.

    Me: What makes you think Patti is coming?
    Josh: Because you all climb in packs.
    Josh has been strongly nagging encouraging Patti to lead climb and she did lead climb three routes. The pack is so proud of our little shining star.

    Patti Clipping In on Chag

    So, as Josh leans on Patti, Patti leans on me. I briefly took a short, practice rope in addition to the regular rope to try my hand at lead climbing. I also attempted to climb the Chest Cracking Cart route. Yowza...

    Route Tally:

    Sponge Bob, 5.7 (Ascended and Down Climbed 2x's)
    The Seven, 5.7
    Hallelujah, 5.8
    Chag, 5.9/5.8
    Chest Cracking Cart, 5.9 (Aborted)
    Pacman Revival, 5.9

    I also did a little bouldering. Thanks to the rock climber with the star burst tattoo who gave me a tip about the rope while I was practicing lead climbing. Forty eight hours until I climb again...

    Is someone leaning on you or are you leaning on yourself? Are you looking forward to your next exercise outing?

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Eating Out...Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda

    First, there was this luncheon.

    Then, a colleague moved on.

    Now, another colleague is leaving and there is, of course, a goodbye luncheon.

    I wrote said colleague an email letting her know that I would not be attending but it had nothing to do with her yadda yadda yadda yadda. I would like to go -- yadda yadda yadda yadda but my RSVP did not go over well.

    We played email tennis for awhile. Her final email stating that, BTW, she would not be happy if I did not attend.

    Later on, said colleague stopped by and said that the Mexican restaurant had boiled chicken and that I could also get vegetables. She told me, in a clearly annoyed voice, that it was one day.

    The one thing the restaurant does not have is an online menu. I could always get some water and just sit there while everyone else is eating but that would be rude.

    I am completely jaded when it comes to restaurants and, in particular, the work lunch outing since, usually, there are at least 15 people and while the time restraint is relaxed a bit, there is a certain hurrying through lunch. For me, it's not pleasant on several fronts, including the fact that most restaurants are using the axis of evil -- salt, fat and sugar -- to make meals tastier.

    Of course, after the exchange, I felt bad. I swear, though, I exercise hard and I do treat myself but I don't want to treat myself with restaurant food. I am also jaded about people diminishing fat grams et al. For instance, why would I eat cheese with nine grams of fat when perfectly good reduced fat cheese is available? And why is cheese always my barometer?

    I certainly don't want to forsake people but I don't want to abandon my way of eating each time an event comes up because they seem to occur often.

    I won't even get into the whole splitting the check evenly when I've only had, say, soup...

    Someone told me that their strategy is to send half of the meal away immediately. That's a method that doesn't sit well with me for two reasons: wasting food and if something is crappy -- eating half of it doesn't make it less crappy.

    I'm being too rigid, aren't I? Don't answer that question; it was hypothetical.

    Here's some info to chew on. Or not.

    50 Fattiest Foods in America

    Seven foods that experts won't eat.

    : Making Healthy Choices at Mexican Restaurants