Monday, 15 August 2011

Day 1 - hace dos días

Ha, you thought this would be Spanish-free, didn't you. ;-)

What I saw:
  1. My clothes on the floor next to the bed.
  2. A pile of papers and books on the coffee table.
  3. Cream swirling into my coffee.
  4. Larry lying on the sofa.
  5. A stack of newspapers under his feet.
  6. The cat lying on the back of the sofa, above Larry's head.
  7. Cyclist in my way as I ran.
  8. A bowl of crips at G's.
  9. A table set for four.
  10. A white black cab stopping to take us home.

#8: A Bowl of Crisps at G's

Potato chips, 'crisps' because I'm in England now, beckon to me. They sit on the end table in G's living room. I haven't been there since camping out last December after the fire at ours. J is on the sofa, next to Larry. G is in the kitchen, apologizing that dinner is going to be late. His iPod in in the Bose player on the bookshelf to my left.

I want the crisps, but they're not on my reducing plan. Neither is the red wine I'm drinking. We'll call this a cheat evening rather than a cheat day — and I did run seven miles today, faster than I had planned.

I have pistachios instead. They are delicious and I'm thankful they're not cashews, because I'd be downing them by the handful. Larry and J are talking about the insurance market (J's job) and I want more wine. The shell dish (brown ceramic, just like the two next to it that harbor nuts and crisps) is filling up while the pistachios slowly disappear inside my gut.

G moves my wine glass to a coaster, saying, "Sorry to be an old woman about that."

"Not at all, it's your house," I say, instead of telling him it's stemware and therefore won't leave a mark. You don't need coasters with wine glasses.

He changes the music to something I've never heard before, but would be happy to play on a rainy afternoon at home. Which, being England, never happens. An indy band that sounds like something you'd slit your wrists to. "Is it too dour?" G asks.

"No, I like suicide dinner music," I say.  The potato chips' siren call is too tempting and I start to slide down the slippery slope of having just the one. Mmm. Salt and crispy fat.  So much for the reducing plan.

Day 1 - Accountable Yoga

I sat recovering from our long morning walk, reading blogs, checking email, that sort of thing, and thought to myself, ok, so yoga is next.  Then I smiled, because there it was: the accountability factor. 

And that's why I'm doing this, right?  The accountability?  Yes, I do believe so.  At least today anyway, because today would've been one of those days I'd have let myself skip it if I weren't doing it as part of this challenge.

So, knees popping, muscles groaning, whole body wobbling against gravity, I did my yoga routine.  And yes, I do feel better for it. 

I do believe this will be a much tougher challenge than the last one.  I abhor exercise, which is why I like yoga.  It's the least horrific of all exercises.  (Although I will begrudgingly admit that when my dog is seized by anxiety and refuses to walk for several days in a row I do miss it and will go without him if he's too stubborn for too long.  That's what walking almost daily-- usually twice a day-- for five years will do to you.)

Cryptically Mitzi, Day 1

For 30 Days Challenge Round 2 I am going to (gulp) attempt an intellectual rather than physical feat. I am going to attempt to solve three cryptic crossword clues per day. Earlier in the year I made it my mission to make the 2010s-20s the "Decade of the Cryptic", as it's a long-term goal that I know I can only reach slowly and painfully.

Over the months, my cryptic skills have improved microscopically but noticeably, so I thought I would sneak some into the 30 day shebang, to keep my crypticise regular.

I will need to be organised. Every Monday, usually, I get the SMH newspaper with the "Omega" crossword. It's a ritual commenced when living with my parents as an adult between bouts of wishful independence. So, here I am, a tentative crossword junkie on the make. If I don't buy the newspaper daily, it's no hardship: I plan to hang on to each attempted cryptic crossword puzzle and check on results the next day ... the system is still under construction.

By the way, the Monday Omega seems somehow easier or more accessible than the daily puzzle. It's because cryptic clues are mixed in with regular clues, so you have more of a chance of getting some letters down to help you.

Here's Day 1. I won't know if I'm correct until next Monday.
47 Across: ?Those taking part in audition?
A: Listeners

(it's not so cryptic, but fits in with surrounding letters...)

31 Across: ?Cheese is sharp for the most part?
A: Brie

(I may well be incorrect, but the letters R and E where provided, and I like Brie, so nyah. Also, it sounds likes brief, so brief is the "most part" of a word?)

29 Across: ?Identify nucleus of neat plan?
A: ions

(The letter I was provided; The "n" and "p" could stand for positive and negative, which relate to the ions in a nucleus, if faded memories of Year 9 science class serve me well.)

Operation "Arm Flaps"

My arms. They look like Mom's. This is unacceptable.

Full combat assault for the next 30 days - yes, we're taking on "Bingo Wings", folks. Gonna tone 'em up, and smack 'em down!

Sunday nights i will post my progress, via measurement and photo.

You want personal accountability? Post your fat on the interwebz...

i will be working a program based on "100 Push Up Challenge", augmented with other upper body work. This is a 3 day per week thing, so i'll be doing core/lower body work on alternate days.

i'll keep you posted on progress, but Sunday will be my day to do this...

Circumference of Arm Flaps: 14" / 36 cm

Success and Continuing

wow. what an adventure. i'd forgotten how wonderful it was to sit down and read a book. now, admittedly, i did have a few excellent suggestions on what books to read, so that made it worlds easier to accomplish the reading challenge.

even though there were a few days i didn't make my 30 minutes reading challenge, i still declare victory. three books, plus bits and pieces of three other books. and still a taste...a continue reading. that is the essence of the challenge.

the sleep? not so well with that challenge, but glimmers of hope. will continue to pursue a full seven hours a night, plus try and do so with a reasonable (ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!) bedtime.

and, absolutely, i want to continue. i will continue to work at last month's challenges. but a new one is surely required.

next 30 day challenge? i will reconnect with 30 people who have been otherwise 'lost' in my life of late. people who are in my thoughts, but not recently in my e-mail, snail mail, voice mail. make the effort to let them know i care and hope they are doing well.

most of those will be family. after my divorce, i sort of withdrew from my family, spread across the country, in favor of my virtual local family comprised of good friends and colleagues. while my 'new' family is important to me, i still wish to reconnect to my true, blood family.

some will be friends. people i've crossed paths with in the past who have changed my perspective on life or otherwise been important to me. a man, for example, who was a work colleague and a include being best man...yet i've lost touch with him (or him, me...but that's not important) and want to at least reach out.

the notional challenge will be one person a day, but reality will be (due to upcoming vacation adventures), that i will likely double or treble up a few days.

accountability? indirect. i won't be posting on each person i reconnect with, but give an overall impression on how things are going.

and to those continuing with a new challenge, plus those new to this challenge? good luck and see you on the blog!

Challenge Accepted

I've been inexplicably tired lately. Run down. Worn out. Beat.

Now granted, I've got an always defiant 8-year-old son, who has a severely autistic twin sister. Did I mention the three-year-old too? So I guess it's not entirely inexplicable.

Still, these little soul extractors cherubs haven't just arrived -- they've been around a while. But my fatigue has been much more pronounced lately and I don't know why. It's been a little concerning.

So much so that I scheduled a doctor's appointment to see if there's a medical explanation. The night before my appointment, I slept 8 1/2 hours. And still felt the need to take a 15 minute nap later in the day. That'd be fine if I were 78 years old. I'm 40.

The good news was that I really liked my doctor. I had yet to visit my new primary care physician since moving to NC a year ago. The doctor spent more than five minutes with me, made eye contact, and listened, which is more than I've gotten from a doc in many a year. He didn't try to throw a prescription sample at me as a sort of trial-and-error school diagnosis. He didn't seem distracted or overworked. It was almost as if he actually cared about trying to help me. Crazy, I know.

At any rate, the gist of it was that I didn't have enough symptoms of any of the various possibilities to raise a red flag. They're doing some blood work to see if anything abnormal comes up. And in the meantime exercise and weight loss are the prescription. I've put on about ten pounds this year, which could be a factor in all of this.

One of the problems I've found with being tired a lot is that I can never get any reading done. If I sit down with a good book, no matter how interesting, after about ten minutes my eyelids start to feel heavy, my respiration slows, and suddenly it's 3am and I'm lying fully dressed in a puddle of drool on the couch, wondering where everybody went. For somebody who likes to read, it's a teensy bit frustrating.

So here's my 30 day plan: Ride the exercise bike for 20 minutes, and read a book while I do it. Flock of Birds, meet Stone. I can get 20 uninterrupted minutes of quiet, guilt free reading time. No kids allowed. No chance of the reading making me sleepy. And something to turn the workout from a boring 20 minute chore that must be endured and is easily procrastinated, into something I'll look forward to. And the exercise should, at least for some window of time afterwards, banish my lethargy.

Also, I've signed up for the Triangle 5k Run/Walk for Autism that happens on October 8th, so I really need to get my butt in gear. (Anybody want to sponsor me?)

My goal is to do this EVERY DAY. No alternating days or skipping weekends, or mixing up workouts. No free passes for headaches or tiredness or illness. No rationalizing. No excuses.

But then I'm really good at rationalizations and excuses. So that's where you come in. Doing this in a sort of public way will hopefully keep me honest and accountable.

Now to pick some reading material....


My First 30 Day Challenge

How exciting! I've always wanted to do this as I was also intrigued with the concept after watching a few episodes of Morgan Spurlock's short lived series several years back. But I've always had a problem committing to anything!
I joined a gym and Weight Watchers 3 weeks ago - it was a spontaneous decision and I was "excited" about it, but secretly... I thought I would fail/quit and I was emotionally preparing myself to once again face the music. And then I'd have to give myself another pep talk just so I wouldn't feel bad about myself. But I took it one day at a time - the first 3 days were tough, but when I got to day 4 I started to really feel proud of myself. I was convinced I'd done this amazing thing - the gym!... 4 days...then 5 days... in a row! who does that? Oh, I know... Me!
Fast forward 3 weeks - I've been totally committed to changing the way I treat my body - I go to the gym 5 days a week, I stick to my food plan and I have already felt dramatic physical and emotional changes. Suddenly I feel that anything is possible and I want more! I'm ready for another challenge!
Daisyfae, my dearest and most supportive bloggy buddy, turned me on to this 30 day challenge and I'm so grateful!
I couldn't decide on the type of challenge - intellectual? creative? physical? spiritual?... I sat with it a couple of days, it was a tough call but since I'm finally learning new things about my body I'm going to expand on that discovery...
My plan is to learn how to Bellydance! It looks fun and sexy and really tones and strengthens the body.
I'm not a graceful girl so this could be laughable! On the other hand - I can only improve!
Thanks again for letting me play along!