Not Getting Any Younger

I read this blog called Back to Her Roots written by a girl named Cassie who’s a few years younger than me. She bought her childhood home from her parents and moved back there to live a simpler life. But when I read a lot of her posts, I can really relate. She’s trying to lose weight but not by crash dieting (and she weighs almost exactly the same as me). She struggles with the same desires to do crafts but also the need to work. And she’s really into cooking and cooking with whole, good-for-you-foods. 

 

What’s truly inspired me lately though, is she created a “Thirty before Thirty” list of things she wanted to get done before she turned thirty. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I decided (since I’m already over thirty) I’d create a “Forty before Forty” list. Just a compilation of things, great and small, that I wouldn’t mind accomplishing in the five and a half years before I turn forty. 

 

1. Finish a multi-chapter story.
2. Visit Boston again.
3. Visit Vancouver.
4. See Pavel Datsyuk play in person.
5. Read every Jane Austen Novel.
6. Read everything by Shel Silverstein.
7. Read everything by Astrid Lindgren.
8. Go one week wearing a dress every day.
9. Buy a Vespa.
10. Make an entire piece of furniture.
11. Hand-make an entire garment.
12. Buy an ice cream maker and invent my own ice cream flavor.
13. Walk from my apartment on Pearl to Mark’s mom’s house.
14. Take a hot air balloon ride.
15. Learn to shoot archery.
16. Cook a meal over an open fire.
17. Design, plan & orchestrate a lunch or feast at an event.
18. Make fresh pasta from scratch.
19. Get a facial at a spa.
20. Get a pedicure.
21. Make every recipe from Baking: From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
22. Own a pair of Tom’s.
23. Volunteer for a charity or the library.
24. Lose another fifty pounds.
25. Have a meal at a 5 Star restaurant.
26. Plant something and help it grow.
27. See the symphony play again.
28. Go to another play @ The Starlight Theater.
29. See a whale in person.
30. Hold an owl.
31. Get several more tattoos.
32. Wear a dress that could have been pulled out of Jane Austen novel.
33. Take a cooking class.
34. Eat REAL barbeque from one of the states famous for barbeque.
35. Finish an embroidered scenery panel.
36. Stay a weekend at the Viking Inn in Minnesota.
37. Buy an entire outfit at Modcloth.com
38. Host a tea party.
39. Go to another Canucks game (even if it’s at the United Center).
40. Complete this list.

 

I’m close to completing a few of these, actually, and some of them might take a lot of saving and scrimping, but I think it’s all doable if I work hard. I’m about to start a new chapter of my life and I’m highly looking forward to it. Hopefully this list can keep me focused on doing some of the things I’ve always wanted to do. 

 

Do you have a list? What are some of the goals you’d like to accomplish before your next milestone birthday? 

The Bug

My wonderful, supportive boyfriend keeps telling me that I have caught “the bug” for exercise. I suppose that’s true. Exercise, in any form, has always been a struggle for me. I am, deep down, a generally lazy person — which is probably why I’m in this state to begin with.

In 2005, I lost 50 pounds and got down to 226 — the lightest I have been since, I’m guessing, my middle school days. It felt amazing. I felt great, and I pushed myself to do things I’d never done before. But even then, working out was a challenge, and not really a part of my success. Then the years that followed, I gained 58 pounds back. Since then, I’ve joined gyms, but failed to go. I’ve devised programs for myself but failed to stick with it. I just thought that exercise was beyond me because I could talk myself out of doing it very easily.

However, ever since I can remember, I have harbored a secret desire to be a runner. One of those folks you see on the side of the road, jogging away, wearing matching clothes and the remnants of some number badge from a race. I have always wanted to be one of those people.

Always.

But there’s also always been an excuse. I have asthma, I’ve been overweight since I was two, and now that I’m in my 30’s, I have joint problems. With every new ailment I saw my dream of becomming that runner slipping further and further from my grasp.

But three weeks ago, all that changed.

I don’t know what it was. It was still very cold out. But I’d begun cooking low-carb meals for my boyfriend and I thought to myself, “If I’m cooking all of this healthy stuff for him, I have no excuse but to cook healthy stuff for myself.” That night, I sat down at my laptop and dug out an old walking plan that I’d designed to be a sort of “Pre” Couch-to-5K plan. And the next day, I started.

Week one started off badly. My first walk out, which was only supposed to be 10 minutes, I slipped on a patch of ice and banged my knee up pretty badly. Though it didn’t affect my ability to walk home in shame, it did hurt and caused other related strains. The next day I decided not to brave the ice, and instead walked in place for ten minutes. The rest of the week, for whatever reason, I sat on my butt and did nothing.

Week two started out the same way — sitting on my rear. By Wednesday, however, the weather warmed up and things had begun to melt, so I began walking outside. The kind of awesome thing was, on the first walk of the week, I thought it was so nice to finally be outside that instead of walking only ten minutes, I walked 30. Then the next day I walked 30 minutes. By Friday, I had caught the bug, and convinced one of my boyfriend’s kids to walk with me to her favorite park. The journey took us 40 minutes and we were both tired afterwards, but it was so great to share that experience with her and maybe show her that exercise can be rewarding.

Week three had a bit of a bump. Not only was my boyfriend’s mom having surgery, but we were going to an SCA event that weekend and I had a lot to do. Looking back, I can see how these things were all just excuses. With so much down time at the hospital, I could have easily gone for a 30 minute walk. And I know during those sewing days I took breaks to rest my hands, long enough that walks could have been taken. I only managed to get in four walks as a result, and was a little disappointed in myself.

This week starts week four, and I’ve also bumped into a snag — the weather. Previous sunny days with highs in upper 50’s have spoiled me. Now I’ve got three days worth of rain. I decided, however, that weather in the spring shouldn’t keep me from walking. I’ve already added ten minutes to my walks with little strain on my legs. Yesterday I managed to find a span of time to fit my walk in between rain storms, and today I’m looking to do the same. The idea of not going on a walk kind of makes me twitchy — like I need to go out and do it to feel like my day had some meaning to it.

As soon as I’m done writing this, I’m going to throw on my heaviest hoodie, a scarf, and a pair of gloves and go out now that it’s stopped raining for a little while. I feel like I need to go out and do it. Just the little bit of walking I’ve done has helped my breathing a ton, and I’ve found that my knees that usually plague me even when I spend the day rest them, haven’t been hurting nearly as much, and I have loads more energy and drive to do other things. Also, when I get my walk in, I don’t want to eat foods that are full of fat and sugar because they make me feel so heavy. It’s a win-win.

And I have to say, there are worse things to become addicted to. If I have caught that bug, I hope there isn’t a cure!

Gonna try with a little help from my friends

After a long conversation with my breakfast companions yesterday, I decided there was no more room for excuses. While I’ve managed to keep off the 40 pounds I’ve lost, I’ve been stuck at the same 40 pounds for months, and I’m still not down to my lowest weight (in the past ten years). I also decided that weight loss can’t be my only goal. I need to get in better shape, so that going up and down stairs to do laundry doesn’t wear me out, and that playing with the kids doesn’t feel like a chore. I can guarantee that my cholesterol is probably high as is my blood pressure, and my energy level is absolutely abysmal.

 

To that end, I’m giving myself a set of goals to meet every week, and a reward for completing each. This week, I have three goals:

 

  1. Walk fifteen minutes every single day. If it’s raining, or too hot, do either fifteen minutes of The Firm, or two circuits of one of Allen’s callisthenic routines. The reward will be a new bottle of nail polish from ELF.

 

  1. Go an entire week without eating out at a restaurant. This goal has an exception: Thursday night after Fighter practice. Other than that, everything else I eat has to be home cooked, if not by me, than by someone else. The reward will be an ice cream cone at the end of the week.

 

  1. Log all my food and exercise for the whole week on My Fitness Pal. I don’t have to stay under their recommended calorie allotment, but I do have to keep track and hold myself accountable. The reward will be new music from iTunes.

 

Hopefully I can do this. I feel like I’ve challenged myself a lot in the past few months and have managed to come through, so this should be small potatoes. Next Sunday, depending on how well I did this week, I’ll have new goals. And I’m posting this here so you can all hold me accountable.

 

No more excuses. I know I can do this and I’m so very tired of being so very unhealthy. So here I go. Wish me luck. 

Sink or Swim

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I’ve been thinking a lot about commitments lately, and about safety in life, in and out of the SCA. Nine years ago, I broke up with my fiancée of a year and a half, left the Society and began living on my own, without a boyfriend or roommate, for the first time in my life. It was terrifying, at the time. I had no idea if I could afford the bills on my own, or if I was destined to be one of those people who moved back in with their parents.

And the thing is, I fell on my rear. I had to move back in with my folks to get my debt under control, and to sort out my life. I thought I wanted to go toCulinarySchool, I thought I wanted to finish college. I lost most of my friendships, all of my pride, everything, and gained only one, very important thing:

…the courage to fail.

So now, three years into a new relationship (and a new love of the SCA), I’m faced with another scary proposition. My “secure” job of the last fourteen years is ending, and again I don’t know how I’ll be able to pay the bills, or find a new job, or manage my life without it. I’ve had to face interviews and applications for the first time in over a decade; purchasing work appropriate clothing for the first time; insecurity about my near financial future. I’ve already had to secure promises from friends of monetary assistance if I can’t find a new job in time to pay my rent for June. And I’ve already been rejected and scammed out of a dozen jobs at least.

And to add to my stress, I’ve stepped up to take on the regional Chronicler position for theMidlands. This is the first time I’ve ever done something in the SCA outside of my Shire or immediate friend circle. When I was first approached, my immediate reaction was to say no. I didn’t think I could handle it with what is going on mundanely. But then, something incredible happened.

My new mentors told me I could do it. My regional Seneschal told me I could do it. My boyfriend told me I could do it. My friends told me I could do it. People who barely know me, told me I could do it. And I think that if so many people see qualities in me that make them believe I can do something outside of my comfort zone, and make a commitment beyond my shire, and beyond my immediate friends, then why shouldn’t I have the courage, and faith in myself to do it?

Why can’t I once again have the courage to fail?

If I never face things like this, and never push myself to succeed, how will I ever know my own worth? How will I ever see beyond what’s local, what’s solid, or what’s safe? I will never know my own potential, and that, I believe, would be a tragedy. I have to see what lies beyond my Shire, beyond my “secure” job, beyond what I know and what is comfortable.

Am I scared? Yes. But if I never try, then what’s the point? It’s no longer about being a big fish in a small pond, or even being a small fish in a big pond. It’s about having the courage to swim. 

I like books: Update

A month and a week ago, I set out to read twenty-five books in one year. I’m happy to say that as of today, I’m ahead of schedule by two books. 🙂

Twenty-five books in one year breaks down to a book every two weeks. When I set this goal, I kind of thought I was really pushing myself, but I’ve managed to read four and a half books in five weeks. I couldn’t be more pleased. Now, granted, I’ve had a stomach flu that’s knocked me on my butt for three straight days which has given me time to read, and I’ve also had a late night or two up reading a book I just couldn’t put down, but I’ve done it, and I’m so proud of myself.

I thought making reading schedules and forcing myself to keep up a steady pace was going to make reading these books feel like a chore — and it might yet — but right now, I’m pleased to read. I think having no cable has helped, since I’m now forced to be choosy about what shows I watch on Hulu, which gives me plenty of time to read. And I do think it’s improved my writing, and improved my intelligence, just to be constantly filling my brain with the written word.

I’ve also employed both physical books, and the Kindle app on my iPhone, which has opened up a whole new spectrem of time to read, since I can now read whenever I have a spare moment or two, as long as I have my phone (which if any of you reading this knows me, I have constantly attached to my palm).

I’m counting this experiment as a success, and look forward to totally blowing my goal out of the water by next November. Here’s what I’ve read so far:

1. Relic by Preston & Child, Pendergast #1
– Started 11/23/2011
– Finished 12/12/2011
– My thoughts: I really didn’t think I would enjoy this book when I first started reading it. It was a gift from a friend, and I really did like the description on the back cover, but when the first chapter started discussing all these technical things, it took me a day or two to continue it. However, once I got into the book, I was hooked. Filled with technical jargon (much of which I actually had to Google), you would think this book would be a tough read. But it was so intriguing and thought-provoking, and the language flowed so easily, that I simply got swept away by it, and didn’t struggle through it at all. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it kind of grossed me out a bit, but most of all, it gripped me and held my attention. Borrow this book from me. You will not regret it.

2. The Hunger Games by Collins
– Started 11/29/2011
– Finished 12/3/2011
– My thoughts: This book came highly recommended by the Eldest Celtling (who happens to be 13). I realize that I’m not the target market for this book, and that made it easier to read. But as you can tell from the amount of time it took me to read, this book was one I could absolutely not put down. Once I got into it, I became obsessed with it. I was lucky that I had the Kindle version because every spare moment I had I spent reading it. And there was even a Friday night I stayed up until 3 a.m. reading it. It was impassioned, it was tragic, it was awe-inspiring. There wasn’t a single word in this book I did not love. My only complaint, however, was that there were a few moments that I felt too adult to be marketed toward kids under 16. There were a few gruesome scenes that turned my stomach, and I’m not sure, if I was a parent, I would want my kids to read this book before they were over 16. I wish I had read it before the Eldest Celtling, though she seems to have handled it fine.

3. Dead(ish) by Kramer
– Started 12/5/2011
– Finished 12/7/2011
– My thoughts: Um… well, this book was a short read. And the ending kind of redeemed most of the beginning and middle. But there wasn’t much I enjoyed about this book. I think I kept reading it because it was very odd and one of those “I have to know what happens to understand it” kind of books. I wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone, though. It was… very strange, and not in a good way.

4. Dead Beat, Book Seven of the Dresden Files by Butcher
– Started 12/12/2011
– Finished 12/29/2011
– My thoughts: I am very impressed by Butcher’s imagination. And his descriptions of Chicago are very impressive. However, Butcher, it’s Soldier Field, not Soldier’s Field. That mistake was made twice and as someone from the Chicago area, missing that tiny detail bothered me. Isn’t that what copy editors are for?

I’m halfway through Water for Elephants as well, and I’m kind in love with it, too. I still have a list of books left at my disposal, plus I can easily get my hands on the second Hunger Games book, the eighth Dresden Files Book, and I will probably be picking up the second Pendergast book. I don’t think I will have a lack of books. 🙂

Boston, Day 3

– Nothing like being woken by a car alarm at 7 a.m. When you went to bed at 1:30!
– Weather Channel is saying rain all day. Ugh!!
– Aquarium and Duck Tour of Boston today. Gotta say, I’m a little nervous about being on a boat, but I’ve got my big girl britches on, so I’m prepared for anything!
– Just passed Harvard. Does that make me smarter?
– Outside a restaurant called Five Napkin Burger, “making beef and bloody buddies since 2008”
– Our Duck Tour boat is named Theresa, and our conductor has a kilt! His name is “Mac N’Quack.”
– Quack! Quack!
– Mac is the first person I’ve met so far with a “Boston accent.”
– So many “oldest in America” buildings here.
– Frog Appreciation Day? No way!
– Police behind us. How does an all-terrain vehicle pull over?
– Cambridge!
– Piece of the Berlin wall. Wow.
– I’m in the Charles River!
– I’m a little terrified right now. Hooray for conquering fears!
– There is now a little girl driving our boat. I feel safe. :-/
– On the bridge, there is a marble Viking prow because they thought the Vikings explored here, but they didn’t.
– Mac knows so much stuff! Wow. There’s no way I can type out all his tidbits.
– Apparently these ducks were originally built by women during the war.
– USS Constitution.
– Apparently in the early 1900’s a tank of molasses split and sent a 20 foot wave down the street!
– So the Boston Massacre wasn’t really a massacre? Huh.
– William Wordsworth, inventor of the crossword puzzle is buried in Boston. Bad puns ensued.
– Mother Goose was real!
– Birthplace of Edgar Allen Poe.
– Tour over; hopping on the T.
– Lunch at Sam Legrassa’s. So amazing. Had my first pastrami po’boy ever. So yummy!
– Aquarium!
– Touching rays never gets old. Never.
– Filming the jellyfish. So pretty!
– Rock Hopper Penguins! ❤
– Sea lion up close. I want to scritch him.
– It's raining and it couldn't be more beautiful.
– Deep ocean tank is amazing. I want to get in and swim around but I'd get eaten.
– Mertle the sea Turtle is huge and beautiful. 🙂
– Baracuda are playful!
– Speaker giving off noise from the electricity the eel is giving off. So neat.
– Raining, but Kristen is smart and brought an umbrella!
– Apparently Ryan Reynolds is in town. Should I stalk him? Nah, I'm too tired.
– Subway again. I have conquered so many stairs in the last few days too. No falling. Gold star!
– So many Dunkin Donuts!
– Rush hour traffic doubled our trip, but compared to Chi- town, it was breezy.
– What do three girls do when they're exhausted and it's raining outside? Talk about roleplaying while playing on their phones, of course. We're nerds. ❤
– Delicious Mexican food. Had to have the chimichangas to compare with my fave place back home. Different but still tasty! Now stuffed and exhausted. Sleepy.
– We called it an early night so we could rest and so I could write postcards. Such a fun day, though!

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Around the Interwebs 5

I decided instead of doing this once a week, I’d just do it when I felt like I had enough links for an entire post. Also, I write reviews on every movie I’ve seen. There’s a side board for it (with new links that have been fixed!) but I also have a livejournal for it here!

Sports (more than just hockey – sometimes):
Competitors & Hospitality – These two commercials cracked me up. I can’t wait to see this years versions.

Random (Stuff that made me laugh, or just stuff):
Full Scale Carpet Drawn by Hand – No, really, by hand. And with a Bic Pen, no less.

Kustom Kills and Hot Rod Thrills – Photos from the Kustom Kills and Hot Rod Thrills event in Brooklyn, NY. So drooling over these cars. Me want!

Classic American Cars of the 1930s – Where I did research for my story. Very neat cars here.

The NONONONO Cat – At work we decided to play this all day because it had us laughing so hard we forgot how much our day was sucking.

Enzo Ferrari: The Story of the Black Prancing Horse – Cool video about the man behind the car.

Food (because I don’t talk about it enough, apparently):
Cake Stencils – Because I need an excuse to make more cake.

Gift Taste Dot Com – This website has a lot of great food gifts under $25. They all look so delicious, I might have to buy some gifts for myself.

Chocolae Button Tree Cake – Love these chocolate buttons. And so easy, too!

One Ingredient Many Ways: Potatoes – An awesome article on my favorite (starch?) vegetable!

Make Your Own Ketchup – I may have to try this!

Delicious and Unprocessed Flavored Coffee Creamer – For all my friends who love coffee and creamer but want to be healthier.

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cupcakes – Don’t worry, Friday Night Friends, I will be making these for you soon.

Fashion (aka: stuff Tricia would buy if she could afford it, or fit into it):
The Way to My Heart – I’m kind of in love with this dress (and this girl’s hair).

Sparkled Apricot Nails – LOVE this idea for different things for your nails. I might have to start doing this.

Artsy Fartsy (I didn’t make it, but I wish I had!):
Fat Quarter in “Cook It” – I need an apron out of this. If only they had more of it, and not just a fat quarter.