Thursday, October 29, 2009

Peeves & Pleasures Thursday

(Love how I've failed to make this a true weekly feature on the blog. . . . )

  • Rapid changes in the weather, i.e., a 20-degree temperature difference from one day to the next
  • Having something planned EVERY SINGLE EVENING for a week (all fun stuff, and it sounds great. . . but it's just exhausting)
  • Bloat
  • Catching up with old friends
  • True "fall" weather in Phoenix: temps in the 60s, a little breeze. . . love that "nip" in the air
  • Paying off a debt in full

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy birthday, Sebastian

Today is my dog's 8th birthday! Though I've noticed him slowly becoming less active over the past couple of years (which we now know is due to mitral valve insufficiency), it's hard to believe he is 8.

Sebastian, you have brought me more joy over the years you've been my dog than many of the people I know. If I could find a way to bottle what makes you happy all the time, I could make millions. . . .

Here are a few of my favorite shots of "my boy" from over the 7+ years I have had him:

The day I brought him home from his rescue foster home, August 25, 2002

Taken during a professional shoot we did in December 2003

Another shot from the December 2003 shoot

On the beach in Rocky Point, July 2008

A random day with a stuffed toy, fall 2007 (pre-Hunter: they don't get stuffed toys now to avoid fights)

Welcoming Hunter and sharing his "comfort couch," May 2009 (Sebastian is the one in the back)

(oh, today's weight: 212.8 for the second consecutive day)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009



Hmm, maybe I actually AM losing some weight.

Not much to write, and not much time to write it. Yesterday was one of the few days in the past five years when I have questioned my decision to become a lawyer. I didn't get home until 10:00 p.m. And that would have been bad enough had I been working on something substantive that was necessary for a case.

Nope, I was stuck at the office until 9:30 p.m. entering billable time. Sucktastic indeed.

I really need to find another job. . . . one where I don't have to bill clients.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, bleh


Nothing exciting to report. The arrival of this fourth Monday after my recent vacation, and my reaction to its arrival, is bringing home to me the fact that I need to consider other employment. Nothing specific; just well into the "don't wanna be here" phase with my job.

Today's weight is my lowest since August 12th, so that's a good thing. BUT I won't believe it's a real loss--vs. just a fluctuation in a positive direction--until/unless the number on the scale continues to move down.

I have a plan for exercise this week: to the gym on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning, where I will do a 20-minute interval workout on the elliptical trainer and some upper body weights, as well as 10 minutes of stretching. (My right piriformis is acting up again.)

Anyhoo. Hope other folks are off to a better start to the week. . . .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

And now, the numbers. . .


I got a call from my doctor's office late yesterday to let me know the results of the (fasting) labwork for which blood was drawn at my annual physical on Monday. On a positive note, my fasting glucose and blood chemistries, thyroid panel, and complete blood count were all normal. So I have no thyroid problems, no diabetes or pre-diabetes, no liver or kidney function problems, and no anemia.

On the not-so-positive side, my lipid panel showed the following:

  • Total cholesterol: 233 (should be less than 200)
  • LDL: 171 (should be less than 130)
  • HDL: 35 (should be more than 45)
  • Triglycerides: 163 (should be less than 150)
Compared to last year's numbers, there really isn't a HUGE difference. My total cholesterol and triglycerides are slightly lower, but my LDL is higher and my HDL is slightly down. These are still numbers that double my risk of cardiac disease.

My doctor told me to "maintain" my ideal body weight, exercise 5-6 days a week, and eat healthfully. (Hmm, where have I heard that before?) He also told me that if my numbers remain high, I will eventually have to go on a statin to lower them. However, I can't take statins while there is a chance I may become pregnant, so unless I go on birth control (not going to happen) or reach menopause (not for a few more years, I hope), that option is tabled for now.

I have my gym bag packed and have told MM that I will meet him there at 6:15.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Progress not perfection


I've posted here often about how "the more things change, the more they stay the same." I seem to run up against the same issues again and again. Nearly four years into starting this blog, I continue to struggle with disorganization, at home and at work, and, even more notably, with my weight.

BUT. . . the odd dream I had last Thursday night about my ex-boyfriend from college got me thinking a little about the past. (I've actually mentioned this ex in a post before, where I referred to him as Pig Farmer, so I will continue to refer to him as "PF" for simplicity's sake.) Upon further reflection, in thinking back to my relationship with PF and where I was in my life when he was in it, I realized that things have changed a lot. *I* have changed.

I first met PF in the fall of 1988, during my first semester of college. Our initial relationship only lasted a few months, but with the naivete of someone who is 17 years old and having regular sex for the first time, I believed we were "in love." He was discharged from the Army and went back home to eastern Kentucky while I remained in New Mexico. We didn't have a true long distance relationship, in that we didn't keep in constant contact. But we did keep in contact sporadically, and in the fall of 1991, he came back to attend college at my school. Our relationship resumed when he returned--actually, I flew to Kentucky to visit him less than a month before he moved back--and continued until the early spring of 1992.

In 1991/92, I was dead broke. Financial worries literally kept me awake at night. Just going to the grocery store for ramen noodles and beans often took more cash than I had on hand. I could only work part-time, due to my full-time class schedule, and good part-time jobs were hard to come by in the town where I went to college. I usually earned only a little more than minimum wage and worked no more than 30 hours a week.

My parents didn't really help me. My mom let me live with her a couple of times when my financial situation was especially desperate, and my dad sometimes had me over for dinner, but neither she nor my father gave me any money for school or to support myself. (Living with my mom and stepdad put a strain on those relationships, too, and was to be avoided when possible.) I was very much "on my own."

Also, by the time PF and I reunited in 1991, for the first time in my life, my relationship with my father was seriously strained. My dad remarried when I was 18, and for the first few years of his marriage, he and his wife had a rocky relationship: she left him twice within the first nine months of their marriage. I didn't care for her, not because she wasn't a perfectly nice person, but because she just wasn't (and isn't) my cup of tea, and I didn't like the person my dad was when he was with her. Some might argue that he was a *better* person, but all I cared about was that he was a different person than the dad who had raised me, the dad I loved.

In 1991/92, I didn't know where I was going professionally. I'd started college with the conviction that I would become a doctor, without knowing much about how to achieve that goal or what being a doctor would actually be like. As I got farther along in my pre-med requisites, began educating myself about what becoming a physician would entail and what the realities of that life choice would be, and prepared to take the MCAT, I became more and more convinced that being a doctor wasn't for me.

Officially, I was majoring in psychology, but that was only because I enjoyed the subject; I truly had no idea what I was going to do for a career. Doing anything that didn't involve at least a college education--and preferably an advanced degree--had never crossed my mind. I was at a loss.

As a result of these things--my financial difficulties, the strain between my dad and me, and my lack of career direction--I was also suffering from a lack of self-confidence. My weight/appearance had also long been an issue for me (and continued to be), but when I was secure in my family relationships, didn't have to worry about the basics of feeding and clothing myself, and felt sure about what I was going to do in life, I had had a healthy self-esteem in spite of my occasional feelings of self-loathing about my weight.

Truth be told, if I could go back in time and tell 1991 S that someday she would be the S I am today. . . . she probably wouldn't have believed it. I wouldn't say that I was depressed. . . not in the least. . . . but I was certainly at a place in my life where I couldn't imagine what my future would be like.

Now, I would never even consider dating someone like PF. He was (and is) uneducated, having barely finished high school. When we dated, at least after his discharge from the Army, he was not gainfully employed, nor was he actively seeking work. He made my lack of direction in school look like laser-focus: at least I was 3/4 of the way to earning a degree, albeit not a very useful one. He failed one class and dropped another of the four he took during his first semester of college--and attempted to conceal these facts from me.

PF also wasn't really all that attractive (though, to be fair, he was great in bed). And he wasn't always that nice to me: he stood me up once, early in our relationship, and on another occasion, made a comment about the size of my ass (which, I might add, was considerably smaller at 165-170 than it is today at close to 220). I discovered near the end that he had another girlfriend, of sorts, back home. . . . at least someone who was writing to him and sending him "care" packages (which he'd told me were from his grandma). If a man did these things to me today, I would kick his a$$ to the curb.

At 20, I didn't know or value myself enough to realize that I could do better. . . . that I DESERVED better.

It was the beginning of the end of our on-again, off-again relationship when, during a fight about his choice to hang out with some of his buddies rather than see me on a Saturday, I started talking about what I would expect from a man I would marry. When I told PF that I'd expect that man to consider me one of the most important things in his life and to prioritize his time in accordance with that feeling, to love me so much that he'd willingly put my needs before his desires, his response was that he didn't feel that way about me. . . that he'd never felt that way about any woman. . . and that he didn't think that I truly felt that way about him either.

He was right: I didn't.

I owe a lot to PF (and not just because of the hot sex). It was after this relationship that the light finally went on for me, and I never dated another loser again after him. I never tolerated much crap from any of the men I dated after him.

Honestly, raising my standards meant spending a lot more time single over the ensuing years, but I learned that I found that preferable to "settling." To aiming low. To being treated like a second-class citizen.

And it's not only my approach to my romantic relationships that has changed since then. I enrolled in the nursing program the next semester after my ultimate break-up with PF. Within two years, I finally finished college and got a "real" job. (I'll never forget how excited I was to earn $12/hour--wow! LOL) I found a way to live with my stepmom, which helped my relationship with my dad tremendously.

OK, so my career choice didn't end up being the "right" one in the sense that I found my life's calling, as evidenced by the fact that I went back to school to pursue a second career less than seven years after completing college. But I became a contributing, self-supporting member of society. An adult.

I found self-respect. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be. Ultimately, I found a man I love who is worthy of that love. . . . and yes, a man who treats me like I am one of the most important things in his life and who puts my needs before his own desires.

Yes, I am still overweight and still disorganized. But I've come a long way nonetheless.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day


I don't "celebrate" Columbus Day--given that people had already been living in the "New World" for thousands of years before he "discovered it"--but I miss the days when I worked for the government and thus had today off.

Today is the first morning in over a week that I woke up feeling normal: not exhausted, not phlegmy (though still a little congested, little cough), no headache. Hallelujah! Seriously, I was disproportionately happy about this; I lay in bed for a few extra minutes simply feeling content and relieved.

My weekend was so-so. We stayed in on Friday night and had KFC because MM didn't want pizza. My BFF came over on Saturday as planned to help me organize our garage. It took far less time than expected and looks great. I bowed out of our plans on Saturday night with MM's friends because I just didn't have the energy to be "on" and go out to some bars after dinner. (He went without me, and it was fine.) MM and I met his parents for dinner on Sunday, and otherwise I basically did nothing: I woke up with a headache which lingered most of the day, despite multiple doses of Excedrin, decongestants and ibuprofen, and I had some gastrointestinal upset as well. (I think the GI upset was a result of days of constipation culminating in eating steel-cut oatmeal with a fiber supplement for breakfast on Sunday.) I felt OK for a few hours--just long enough to make it to the birthday dinner with the in-laws--but spent the rest of the day lying around feeling icky.

I finished reading the book The Eat-Clean Diet this weekend. I've been thinking about eating clean for some time, which is why I ordered the book. I am still seriously considering it. I'm not yet at the point of action--this recent cold has also thrown a wrench in the works--but I'm inching closer.

Much as I love carbs, I am not ignorant of the fact that eating too many of them--especially sugar or starchy carbs--makes me feel ill and saps my energy. Much as I love the convenience of eating most meals out, I know that this practice is not good for me (and also more expensive than cooking at home). Much as I love to wallow in my sloth, I know that I have so much more energy--and actually need less sleep--when I am exercising regularly.

Goodness knows, I have plenty of reasons to adopt healthier lifestyle habits. Wanting to look better doesn't even need to be on the list!

And as of my annual physical this morning, I now have another reason. For the first time ever, my blood pressure was high: 142/92. (The doctor even rechecked it himself.) When I went for my last physical in July 2008, my cholesterol and triglycerides were high. I had blood drawn this morning to recheck them, and I feel pretty sure that they will still be high, given that the only things that would have lowered them--regular exercise five days a week for 30 minutes a session and losing weight--haven't happened. (In fact, I weighed 220.5 at the doctor's office this morning, a gain from last year's physical.)

I really have a hard time understanding myself at times. I get the lack of organization in my life to a degree: I am, at heart, a pretty lazy person, and it seems to take slightly more effort to keep things orderly than to just throw my crap wherever. (I say "seems" because lack of organization can actually mean more effort in the long run, like when I can't find stuff.) I can understand why I don't like to put in the work to keep my house neat and organized.

I don't understand why I persist in eating like crap, though. As I mentioned above, and have no doubt mentioned before here, I actually feel BETTER when I eat healthfully. I know that I have a family history--on both sides--of diabetes and heart disease. As a former nurse, I am well aware of the increased risk of these diseases for me as a result of genetics alone, as well as the fact that the only risk factors I can control are lifestyle choices: whether to smoke, controlling my weight, the foods I eat, and exercise.

And yet, in spite of this knowledge, I continue my slothful ways. I take the path of least resistance and pick up breakfast at Star$ or McD's rather than prepare something healthful at home. I eat out way more often than I should. Even when I do eat at home, my choices are based more on taste and convenience than on health.

I am at least 70 pounds overweight--looking generously at the high end of my weight range--and yet I do nothing about it. Sure, I make a stab occasionally: I decide to start working out more often or cutting out white flour/sugar. But it never lasts.

My take-home message from today's doctor's appointment: I am going to have a heart attack or a stroke. Given my family history and my current state of health, this is basically a foregone conclusion. The only unknown is "When?" And whether it will be sooner or later is entirely up to me and the choices I have made and continue to make.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Weird dreams


I've had some odd dreams the past couple of nights. Wednesday night I dreamed of a law school classmate of mine and her daughter. This classmate is someone I see (and occasionally communicate with) on Fac.ebo.ok but haven't seen in real life for years. And I've never met her daughter, who is less than 2 years old. I had the sense that the dream wasn't really *about* them; nonetheless, they figured prominently in it and were the only characters from the dream whom I could clearly remember once I was awake.

Last night I had two interrelated dreams about an ex-boyfriend of mine from years ago. I hadn't thought of him in a long, long time. Neither of the dreams was sexual in nature. (Sexual dreams about this particular ex would have been less unexpected, as we had some, er, let's just say, memorable times in bed.) In the second of the dreams, his mother--from whom he was pretty much estranged when we were together--was looking for him and wanted my help to find him. She wouldn't seem to accept the fact that I haven't heard from him in about 18 years. (And oddly enough, in the dream, I found him for her. . . using the internet. LOL)

Not sure what led to these dreams. I've read from time to time that dreams represent your subconscious mind trying to work out its thoughts or solve a problem. I can't imagine why either my law school friend and her child or my ex-boyfriend from college would be on my subconscious mind! Hmmm. . . .

Maybe it's all the decongestants I've been taking. LOL

So, in typical S fashion, after dreaming of my ex last night, I had to cyber-stalk him this morning. I have google'd him on occasion in the past--along with other men from my past--and my most recent google-ing session of about two-and-a-half (or three?) years ago revealed that he was married and living in a small town less than two hours' drive from where he grew up. (Not surprising.)

This morning the first page I found was a page for him. With photos of him with his wife and daughters (though one must be a stepdaughter, given her stated age, unless he had a child on the sly while we were dating without my knowledge--not impossible, I will admit). He looks almost exactly the same (except with slightly less hair) as when I last saw him circa 1992. Wild.

Yikes. Think I'll quit google-ing and get back to work.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Care for some cheese with that w(h)ine?


I came here prepared to author a post for "Peeves & Pleasures Thursday" but found that, despite the abundance of good things in my life, I could only come up with peeves. So allow me to indulge in self pity for a brief moment instead. (If you have your own real drama and suffering in your life, feel free to skip this post.)

  • I woke up with a headache again today, and it has continued into the afternoon, despite doses of Excedrin, a pumpkin spice latte, and a diet Coke. Granted, it's not a migraine (thank goodness), but this frickin' sinus congestion that I can't seem to shake, over a week later, has made me have a headache more days than not the past week. Ugh.
  • I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I don't know how people with allergies live with this congestion all the time! I am back to sleeping (mostly) through the night, but am still waking up tired. I sound funny, and I feel worse.
  • Despite my congestion and general feelings of ickiness, I continue to eat crap. I can't remember the last time a vegetable (other than tomato, potato or lettuce) passed my lips. Even last night at Red Lobster, when faced with numerous more healthful choices, I ordered a plate composed nearly entirely of deep-fried foods. I've eaten more cheese over the past week than I care to think about. WTF is wrong with me?
  • Because I feel like crap, I haven't been to the gym in two weeks. I haven't even walked the dogs in a week. (Don't worry about them; MM walks them almost every evening, even if I don't.) I have zero energy and zero motivation.
  • Thanks to missing a day of work on Monday (due to my cold) and sub-par concentration on the other three days this week, I am already behind on my billable hours for October, and it's only the 8th. Good times.
  • Did I mention I don't feel well? And isn't funny how when you don't feel well, nothing else seems to matter?
That is all. I hope when I next decide to post, I will be a little more upbeat. If I can somehow rid my body of this crud, I hope to finish my entry about our vacation--complete with photos!--sometime this weekend.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Random stuff


I haven't finished uploading and editing my photos from our recent trip. I've actually been on the computer for very little that is not work-related since we returned.

Between being busy getting back into the routine at work, a day of travel for work (and one for my volunteer work) last week, and the nasty cold I picked up on our trip, I haven't been doing much.

I spent the majority of Sunday and Monday in bed or on the couch; the most strenuous thing I did was walk from one room to the next. I woke up last Wednesday with a scratchy throat and sniffles which by Thursday had progressed to full-on head congestion with headache and popping ears. Saturday while I was in Tucson visiting M, I felt worse and worse as the day progressed: same congestion, etc., but also felt very tired and had developed a cough coming from my chest.

I am back to about 85% of normal today: still a little congested and coughing occasionally, but my energy level is back to about normal, and most of my sinus pressure has subsided. I'm back at work, too. I'm just glad that I didn't get the H1N1 flu: I checked my temperature every four hours or so the past two days, and I never got over 98.6.

Someday soon I will share our vacation photos. (I haven't even posted them for my family to see yet!)

We were supposed to have gone out to dinner Saturday night to celebrate MM's birthday. (His actual birthday is tomorrow.) Our dinner was canceled because his dad has shingles and is in a lot of pain. I will take him out to dinner tomorrow night on our own, and we have rescheduled the family dinner for next weekend. I have to admit that I was glad dinner got moved because I felt pretty crappy myself on Saturday.

Oh, one last thing: I want to say that today is my father and stepmother's 20th wedding anniversary. Neither of them reads this blog--they don't even know I write it--but I think that twenty years of marriage is quite an accomplishment these days!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Bullet Friday

  • Looking at my Fac.ebo.ok friends list, I realized today that I know FAR too many lawyers: at least 75-80 of my 313 "friends" are lawyers. Occupational hazard, I guess.
  • I woke up Wednesday morning with a scratchy throat and the sniffles. This has evolved over the past two days into a full-blown head cold. I've hardly slept in two nights because of the congestion and feel generally miserable. Ugh.
  • MM and I are attending a birthday party tonight that I was really looking forward to. . . . but now with my cold, I just want to go to bed.
  • I can hardly believe it's already October!