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December 14, 2011

This is not the time to panic...

This weekend is the last weekend before Christmas and I'm kind of in screaming panic mode. I have my shopping done. I didn't knit much for anyone this year. I do still need to get on it and knit Grandma's socks. I didn't make her a pair last year and boy did I hear about it. Where is this dementia she is supposed to have? She didn't forget that she usually gets a pair of hand-knit socks. Not once. Not for a second. But that is all I have to do.

So why the screaming panic mode? Habit I think. Plus I have the road trip to AZ ahead of me and I hate driving. I really hate that road trip. I am so crabby by the end of it I just warn people away. I have to get the house ready (nothing worse than coming home to a messy house) and I'm just not in the mood. Cleaning house sucks, doesn't it?

I'm trying to at least get lights up so I don't look like a scrooge. I won't be here to enjoy them but then, they aren't really for ourselves, are they? Plus, I really like lights during winter. I wish we could leave our lights up through February. We really need them in the PNW. Unfortunately, it has been freakin' cold and I don't last long while I'm putting them up. It doesn't help that I'm trying to clean out my gutters at the same time. Too tempting to kill two bugs with one stick. I'm up there looking at the gutters, I can just scoop them out at the same time, right? Except the leaf material is frozen so it comes out in little bricks. This makes it both easier and harder. Easier because you just lift out the brick and harder because it is so cold!

My solution has been to do it until I can't feel my fingers and then I quit until the next day. Which means that last night I got to here.

I have been calling it my "Oh f**k it" design. Because it kind of is. It looks pretty funny actually. I hope my neighbors have a sense of humor about it too.

I'm wrapping up my last week of my second UBC. Bummed that we will be out for 3 weeks and I'm trying to figure out what I can do in the interim while the dojo is closed and I'm in AZ. Everyone keeps saying to walk but that isn't always an option with my knee. I'll try it though. I can feel so much more strength in every other way that it has to help, right?

As I get fit, I struggle with the fact that my outside isn't changing much. I have so far to go, it just takes a while. So I really rely on finding those moments where I know there is a muscle-bound me underneath the fat and when some of those many layers are gone, I'll get to show off a little. This means I really cling to those moments of "Cool! Look at that!"

There was an open gym after Thanksgiving (which means no class was scheduled but they opened the dojo up and we could come in and work out). I took advantage of it and was trying to get through my own version of Thai Kick Drills (over 100 round kicks - I do 30+) and realized that my speed between kicks was really improving. These are hard because my legs are big and heavy and my stamina sucks (whose wouldn't carrying all my extra weight around!). But I was actually getting a normal kick-kick rhythm than my usual, kick-step-kick.

It was awesome. It made me think that someday in the future I'll be able to do the Thai Kick Drills. Actually, it made me start looking up how much it would cost to buy a bag. If I could squeeze in some kick drills everyday...

And that was when I realized I had become one of "those"...

I am looking for opportunities to work out. I think strange things like, "Oh good, it is an abs day, I can't wait to do crunches."

People, Hell has officially frozen over.

December 01, 2011

Fitness and Cleverness

The good news is that I didn't gain any weight over Thanksgiving. Yay! I wasn't especially careful either. I was sensible but honestly, because I was hosting it, I just didn't have time to nibble. But I ate what I want including the mashed potatoes with half and half and cheese in them. Yum.

I think the weight maintenance is likely due to my regular work outs I've been enjoying. I didn't work out Thanksgiving week as much as I normally do but I got a couple days in there and I made sure they were cardio (rather than weight training which is what I actually enjoy the most). Now over Christmas my dojo will be closed and my group won't be meeting and I'm really bummed about that. I feel like I've finally gotten in the habit (which is SO hard) and I'm enjoying it, have had some success, and really hate to lose the momentum. So I'll have three weeks off and I'm trying to come up with some alternatives. People say walk a lot but that isn't a great work out for me. Because I have a bum knee it ends up hurting, I end up compensating with my other leg and, quickly, my toes start to go numb. So I don't last long and I certainly don't hit the maximum of my stamina.

I have a little added incentive though, I signed up for HBBC (Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge).

I am a bit competitive so this is usually a good way to inspire me. Now it is entirely possible I'll be busy and distracted and won't follow through with this but I'm sure going to try. If I just give myself an hour every morning to do something active. Anything to make me sweat, I think it will be a good thing.

I've already decided I'm definitely signing up for the next 10 week UBC program and I think this may be the course where I start to actually see results. Up to now there has been a big difference visually. Even the scale doesn't show much weight loss but I can really feel the muscle I've been building under the fat and muscle weighs more than fat so I wasn't expecting the scale to be dramatic at first. I'm hoping the first UBC program of 2012 is where I get to actually watch my body and scale change.

On the knitting front: I'm totally behind. I've slacked off and have only one Christmas present made. I'm working on another right now and trying to get in a few rows during work (like a smoke break only healthier). I found myself stuck today because I needed a couple of stitch markers but I didn't have any here. That was when I figured out a straw...

Could make excellent stitch markers.

I feel very clever.

October 27, 2011

New Normal

I honestly haven't dropped off the Earth. It's just been a busy summer. I changed jobs and stepped up my work with a non-profit I've been working with and then there has been lots of dog drama.

My Sapphire is 15 years old and has a weak, wobbly hind end so I'm steeling myself for the worst with her. She had a dental this summer which actually went very well. It cost me a small fortune because she had some teeth extracted and I had them perform acupuncture on her while she was out to help her recovery. That was totally worth every penny by the way. She did fantastic! But she has not ended up being the drama this summer.

Last month my 5 year old greyhound, Daisy, developed neck problems. We spent a lot of time going to and from the vet trying various treatments. In the end it ended up being a hemangiosarcoma which meant I had to let her go. We had a hellish night at the emergency vet while it was being diagnosed. The very next night I was back at the emergency vet with Daisy's brother Frankie because he was having a bad reaction to donating blood (he made a donation the night before briefly saving Daisy's life until we realized what was wrong with her). I was terrified I was going to lose him too and it was just too much.

Daisy and Frankie. Daisy is looking at the camera.

That was a few weeks ago and Frankie is fully recovered (including putting back on 9lbs he lost while he was recovering) and I think he is recovering from losing his sister too. We are adjusting to our new normal as big a hole as there seems to be.

I've also taken up kickboxing and I'm having a ball. I get bored easily with the exercise but I work in a cubicle and most of my hobbies involve sitting (more computer stuff and knitting) so I have been desperate to find some activity I enjoyed that would get me back into shape! The kickboxing program is pretty aggressive and means I'm working out 5-6 days a week. I'm lucky I found a dojo right by my house (I could walk to it) and the people I work out with are fun and I don't mind seeing them at Good-Lord-o'clock in the morning.

I started at a level that hardly counts as any level of fitness. I knew I would have to just suck it up and accept that I was the oldest, slowest, and fattest person in class. And I am. But every morning I just push aside that embarrassment and I go. I've had some small victories that are actually pretty huge for me. For example, they do an assessment in the beginning to see where you are starting. I suspect they shouldn't have even let me into the class but I kind of jollied them along to distract them and get in. At the assessment I was able to do 7 sit ups. Yup. Just 7. Even I was shocked. Now in class I'll do 50 sit ups, 50 crunches, 50 reverse crunches and 50 quads all in a row while holding a 10 lb. medicine ball. I'm about to move up to a 12 lb. ball too. Phew! It is amazing how quickly you can correct a loss of mobility like that.

Sometimes it is harder than others and there have been a few times where I had to stop for a bit because I was about to throw up. I didn't tell anyone (I'm still afraid they will kick me out) but I'm really working to my max and am feeling really proud of this achievement. I know I've lost some weight but I'm trying not to keep track. I have taken off inches (at least 1 inch all around except the waist which lost 2) and I have funny moments where I'll do something like scratch my shoulder and get really confused about a strange lump before I realize it is a muscle trying to pop out!

So yeah, my household is looking a bit different. Level of knitting has been really low. I was doing so good with a Christmas present a month and then things just got so chaotic. I need to (at the very least) get a pair of socks done for Grandma who gave me a hard time last year when she didn't get her expected pair. She may get confused about most things but she never forgets that she was promised a pair of hand-knit socks.

Here is hoping things are well for you and yours. Are you ready for the holidays yet? I'm in my usual denial so stay tuned for the complete panic attack that is sure to happen in T minus 30 days and counting...