Sunday, December 30, 2007

I spun out.....

I pulled out of the driveway, and did a 360 degree turn in the cul-de-sac. It was so icy.

We were arguing about something stupid at the time. And after it happened, all we could do was laugh hysterically.

Sometimes all you need, is to go full circle and then it becomes very clear.

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This time of year is so busy for me. As an accountant, I put all of my energy into the ends of the month, and most importantly, the ends of each year.

This year is no different.

Tomorrow is inventory. Something I secretly look forward to. A time to right the errors of our proverbial ways. Just like a New Year. It's a time to reckon with ourselves, and start anew. I look forward to this time. Even though it is stressful, it's a time of starting over. Of replenishment.

With that said, Happy New Year to you all!!!

Think of something great to do in 2008, and do it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ready and Waiting

"I can't wait to have a little boy. But, knowing our luck, we will have all girls."

"That's okay," I replied.

(long pause) and then he melted my heart with this:

"I just want ONE. It doesn't matter which kind."

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This was the conversation that we had after chasing each other around Toys R' Us shopping for our niece, Lily. I knew that I had to include him in this journey to Toys R' Us, because he loves that place. Just like a 7 year-old, he grabs everything he sees, and yells "COOL!"

I guess it's nice to know he is going to make one amazing Father.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Favorite Dive

When I was a kid, we used to frequent a local dive. It was close to our house growing up, it had good food, and it was cheap. We would usually go with my Mom's side of the family, for family gatherings, nights out, or just simply to grab a quick bite to eat. I will call it The Inn.

After my mom passed away, we abruptly stopped going to this place. I guess my Dad must have never been a big fan, I don't know. But, we just never went there anymore. I would pass by it on the way to the grocery store when I was in high school and think to myself, "Does anyone still eat there?" I never heard of anyone really frequenting this place anymore, but somehow it still remained open.

I went away to college, moved to the other side of town after college, and sort of forgot about this place. When we recently moved back to my old stomping grounds, The Inn sort of caught my eye again. There it stands on the same corner it's been on for as long as I can remember. It's a bustling corner now, and The Inn just remains there. Recently, we decided to head back for a famous "Inn Burger" and I just sort of wanted to see what this place was like now.

We walk inside, and nothing looks like it has moved since 1985. There are still the cheesy dwarf figurines on the ledges, the chairs and tables are still the same, the Maroon awning is still there. Back in the bar area, the sports memorabilia is outdated, the booths are falling apart, and it smells of stale smoke. I swear, I even recognized one of the waitresses. I was hesitant to even eat there, but this place has always been famous for it's good eats.

After we finished our meal and our beer, I knew why this place was still standing. There is history there. There are regulars that you see every night. The food is still the same; fantastic and cheap. The service is friendly and timely. Even as run-down as this place is, it still delivers the same thing it has been doing for 20+ years.

For me, it was like walking back into 1985. Seeing myself and my sisters tromp in there fighting over who was going to hold Mom's hand. Remembering the good times that were had there. The birthday celebrations, the laughter; all centered around good food and good atmosphere.

And with that said, The Inn has made it back on the Top 10 Places to Eat list. Not because the burgers are still good, but because of everything else that it brings to the table.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Speak your mind, Even if your voice shakes."

This quote, is one that I have repeated in my head over and over today. And then the moment finally came where I had to speak. And my voice shook, and trembled, and I almost started to cry.

But, I held it together, and I said what I had to say. And now, it is more evident than ever that it is time for me to start looking for a new job.

I have said for a long time, that I don't feel respected, or worth it here. That my views and viewpoints go unrecognized. In one ear, and out the other. Why am I here? Why would you want me here, if only to ignore me? It has now turned to borderline harassment and I need to do something about it. The constant stress, the feelings of never doing anything right (even though I am the one with the accounting degree!); the notion that there is "no way that she could be right." Being unappreciated is no fun. In my world, things are cut and dry. And it's time to take my integrity back.

Speaking my mind just isn't cutting it anymore.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Every Friday, I gather up the laundry from upstairs and bring it down to the laundry room for our weekly ritual. Laundry is a weekend duty in our house. It usually gets done on Friday night and Saturday and we reserve the folding for Sunday. I say "we" because I have an amazing husband who not only does the heavy lifting of the baskets, but he also folds clothes. Yep, he FOLDS CLOTHES.

I have never been very good at doing the laundry. I don't know what setting you are supposed to wash your whites in to get them extra white. I panic when I see a stain, because I haven't a clue how to get it out. I fumble around in the laundry room, and when I leave, I wonder if I left a red sock in with that batch of whites.

When we moved into our house, I searched for a washer and dryer that did all the work for me. With today's technology in laundry machines, this was not a problem. We ended up with this unit. It has a USB cable that hooks into the dryer and it automatically drys your clothes based on the washing cycle. Absolutely a dream for a laundro-phobe like me.

A couple of weeks ago, Curtis got a new pair of jeans from Banana Republic. It was a big deal for him, because this was the first time he spent more than $29.99 on a pair of jeans. These are his new favorite pants to wear. Subconsciously, I had noticed that I hadn't washed them. In fact, I haven't washed them in weeks. I don't think I have EVER washed them. Last night, I asked him why those pants hadn't been washed and he kindly reminded me of the Carmex situation that happened last week. Yep, I left my Carmex in my pants pocket. I opened the dryer to a topless Carmex tube, oozing with the remnants of it's insides. I couldn't believe what I had done. As I slowly started to bring each piece of laundry out, I had realized that this was the worst laundry disaster I had ever seen. Almost every piece of clothing needed to be thrown out. Not even the Stain Inspector on my trusty GE washer could get those grease stains out.

Moral of the story:
If you want a guy to do the laundry, you just need to ruin a load first. And then go buy him a pair of his favorite jeans.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You can call me Ebenezer...

I am feeling so out of the Christmas spirit....or at least in terms of what society calls "The Christmas Spirit"

Our tree is not up, although the house is decorated. The lit mini-trees are out on the front porch, the stockings are hung, some presents are bought. But, all I can think about this year is how much we lose the real meaning of Christmas within what is society's definition of the "Christmas Spirit." You know, buying gifts, getting together with family, eating; lots of eating. Society has pushed us into forgetting the real meaning behind this very special holiday. Marketing campaigns, economic numbers, Black Friday....blah blah blah.

For some reason, this year, the traditional 'stuff' just doesn't feel right. The giving of gifts; while it's fun, it reminds me of the ultimate gift that we all received on Christmas day. The gift of a Savior. A Savior!! And when I think about that, my daunting list of gifts to buy seems so insignificant. The wreaths, the lights, the trees. Everyone hustling around, quiet in their own minds, reflecting on all that needs to be done. I wish there to be a Christmas where we really ponder the gift that we receive on that day. Not the fruitcake from Aunt Louise, but the true gift of Christmas. Right now, all I can seem to think about is that darn Christmas tree not being up yet, and then I get frustrated with myself for losing sight of what is the most important thing about this time of year.

I know that the trees, the lights, the gifts, the food; they are all a part of this time of year. But, in piling on the tasks, and feeling the need to get it all done, I can't help but feel all of us losing out on what we should be focused on. At least, I can see it happening in our house.

My challenge to you today, is to take a few minutes and really think about what this time of year is all about. Think about the gift that we received on that very special day when Christ was born. Remember that the giving of gifts, the gathering of family, the extra 'stuff' is all in the spirit of the holiday. This holiday where we celebrate the birth of a Savior. For me, that is all that it took, to put me right back in the REAL spirit of this holiday.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:11

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I would love to have a conversation with Brandon Flowers on what this song means. I can't seem to stop listening to it. The first time I heard the new album, I popped in the disc, put it on song #1 and this is what I heard. I was skeptical at first, but now I can't stop being totally fascinated with the lyrics and the song in general.

If you haven't checked it out yet, Sawdust is one more fantastic album care of The Killers.

Does anyone feel like taking a guess on what this song is all about?





Time it tells living in my home town,
Wedding bells they begin easy
Live it down, baby don't talk that much,
Baby knows, but baby don't tease me.
In the park we could go walking,
Drown in the dark or we could go sailing
On the sea

Always here, always on time
Close call, was it love or was it just easy
Money talks when people need shoes and socks,
Steady boys, I'm thinking she needs me

I was just sipping on something sweet
I don't need political process

I got this feeling that they're gonna break down the door
I got this feeling they they're gonna come back for more
See I was thinking that I lost my mind
But it's been getting to me all this time
And it don't stop dragging me down

Silently reflection turns my world to stone
Patiently correction leaves us all alone
And sometimes I'm a travel man
But tonight this engine's failing

I still hear the children playing

Kick the can, kick the can, skip and blackjack
Steal a car and ring a round-rosey,
Rock and roll, candyland, boogeyman,
Run away and give me your sneakers

Acid rain, when Abel looked up at Cain
We began the weeping and wailing
A hurried high from pestilence, pills and pride,
It's a shame, we could of gone sailing
But heaven knows,
Heaven knows everything
Tranquilize

I got this feeling that they're gonna break down the door
I got this feeling they they're gonna come back for more
See I was thinking that I lost my mind
But it's been getting to me all this time
And it don't stop dragging me down

Silently reflection turns my world to stone
Patiently correction leaves us all alone
And sometimes I'm travel man
But tonight this engine's failing

I still hear the children playing
Dead beat dancers come to us and stay

Cause I don't care where you've been
And I don't care what you've seen
We're the ones who still believe
And we're looking for a page
In that lifeless book of hope
Where a dream might help you cope
With the Bushes and the bombs
A-re, Tranquilized.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Naughty Kitty

I was thinking last night, that I have never talked about my furry children here.

We have 3 of them, and we have had as many as 4 at once. Living. In our house.

Some people have coined me as the crazy cat lady. You know, because I am only slightly obsessed with these furry creatures. They have always fascinated me.

It all started when I was about 3 years old. We went to the pet shop and I had the chance to pick out any cat that I wanted. I was drawn to the furriest one in the whole place. We called him Smokey, and he lived until he was 16. He was the coolest cat ever. He would just lay on his back and let you rub him with your feet. He loved my sisters and I. Cats know when you are 'good people'. We went on to have many more cats; Buddy, Peanut, Muffin---

When I was in college, I decided that it was time to add another cat to my life. This time, it would be my companion only. A pet that I was solely responsible for. Off to the humane society I went and so came Cleo into my life.

Cleo is the naughtiest kitty of all. She is close to 10 now, and starting to act out a little bit. She liked being the only cat in our household, and she is eternally punishing us for breaking that code. She jumps on the bed in the morning, purposely waking us up. She needs to constantly be touching you, which in turn means you are likely to get tripped by her in the hallway. She weaves in and out of your legs, and meows incessantly. She really does know how to push our buttons. But, she is also so very sweet at times. She loves children, even though I fear for the day that we have one of our own. She loves people in general. Maybe she just loves the attention, I don't know. But she is a lover of sorts. Always on her terms, though. She also knows how to pose for the camera, as evidenced above.

We decided together, when I was living in my first apartment out of college, that we needed an addition to the cat family. Curtis wanted a cat that had energy! spunk! and overall craziness! I wanted a more mellow soul, someone that I knew would get along with Cleo. So, we went to the pet store and found an adorable cat named Max. Max had everything that Curtis wanted in a cat, but I have to be honest and say I wasn't totally sold on a male cat. Before we went to the pet store, we had made a trip to Target. I had left something in the cart in the parking lot, and Curtis scurried off to retrieve it, while I started the paperwork on Max. 2 minutes after he left, the adoption assistant comes and tells me that someone is already in the process of adopting Max, and that I needed to choose another cat. Without Curtis there to help me, I browsed the cages, in a bit of a panic, because I knew how much he wanted Max. Then I saw this little black furball in the corner of the cage. She meowed right at me, walked over, and stuck her tongue out to lick my finger. I immediately fell in love. We called her Sylvia.

Sylvie is a sweet soul. She is a total cuddle bug and reminds me so much of old Smokey. She has his demeanor, his long, black hair, and some days I think she is Smokey reincarnated. She loves to sleep right next to my head and she is very mischievous. We often find her causing the most trouble, discreetly. She very seldom gets caught being naughty and when she does she is so stealth about it. Like 'hey, what did I do?' She meows and talks back to you when you talk to her. She eats people food more than the other two. Eggs and french fries are her preferred cuisine.I hate picking favorites, but she is my self-professed favorite of the bunch.

Daisy came next. See below.

And then came Sadie. Actually, Sadie was a part of a 2-for-1 special at the local cat shelter. The vet that runs the place said we could take two if we felt we could handle it. I was all about having two more cats, while Curtis was a bit skeptical. We ended up bringing home Sadie along with another cat, Jipsee. (see below) Sadie is the independent one. When she came to us, she was very skinny. She is a meek kitty, who I am sure got pushed around a lot by the cats at the shelter. She immediately started to take charge in our house. She is always the first to be fed
(and it shows!! She has gained 10 lbs living with us.), and she takes no shit from her sisters. She is also the Daddy's girl of the bunch. Whenever Curtis leaves a room, Sadie follows him. When the alarm goes off in the morning, she is next to him in bed. Her favorite spot is nestled next to him in the corner of the couch. She also has the tiniest of meows for being such a large kitty. It's so minute, you can barely hear her. We have aptly nicknamed her 'squeak' because that is what she sounds like! She also lays on the heat vents in the Winter. She sprawls all 20 lbs of her fat belly over the vent, so she can suck up all that heat. Hey, she likes to be warm, I guess.

There were two other kitties that we only had a short time with. Our cat, Daisy, a brown and black tortie was such a sweet thing. She got along so well with Cleo and Sylvia. We were devastated when we had to put her down 1 week before our wedding in 2004. Daisy's passing is what spurred the adoption of Jipsee and Sadie.

Then tragedy struck again. Jipsee, our runt...the gray cat of the bunch, with lungs that you could hear from so far away. She was such a sweet little thing. Always catching a ray of sunshine on the porch. She came down with the same symptoms that had plagued Daisy. We found out that we had coronavirus in our house. One of our older cats is likely the culprit, and it remains dormant in them, while it infects younger cats. It was devastating news, but we were so glad that they were no longer suffering. This also leaves us unable to adopt another cat until the others are gone. Which Curtis is so thankful for. I honestly think I could have 10 cats, all at once. See, I am the crazy cat lady.

When we were in Key West a few weeks ago, I actually insisted that we return to the Hemingway house for a second time so that I could hang out with the cats. Sometimes they make us crazy. Crazy in love, or just plain crazy, I don't know. But, they are like my children. I love them so much, and they bring continuous joy to our household. Forever will I be the crazy cat lady!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A good cry, a cup of tea and some chocolate

Sometimes, all we need is a good cry. And now I feel so much better.

Work has been insane; this blog stuff has me losing my mind....and I just felt like I needed to get it all out. The emotions are running high in the King household lately.

The second I left work, I could feel the cold air brush my cheeks, and bam! I was crying like a baby.

I came home, grabbed a nice, hot cup of tea, and took a long bath. Then I came downstairs to make dinner and the chocolate covered cherries filled my stomach instead.

Wow. Amazing how a little "Em therapy" can do the body good.

The weight loss battle continues.....

I haven't chatted much about my weight loss lately. So, here it goes!!

I stopped journaling a little bit before we left for Florida. That would be about a month ago. I hadn't really stepped on the scale either, out of obvious fear!! And the exercise? Non-existent.

On Sunday, I decided it was time that I face the music, and I jumped on the scale. Guess what? I lost 1 pound since my last weigh-in in November. Very interesting! I guess that if I were in maintenance mode, this would be a great thing!

So, I am back on the wagon. I plan to hit up the gym tonight, and I am going to cook the first meal since Thanksgiving.

This journey is so weird sometimes, because I could have sworn I had gained a ton of that weight back. It's nice to be pleasantly surprised during this weight-loss trek. Heck, I'll take what I can get.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hallelujah!

Last night, we attended a concert we have been wanting to see for some time now.
The Calvin Oratorio Society puts on "Handel's Messiah" every year. This year, we sat 1st row for this amazing event.

My favorite verses:

"And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Isaiah 40:5)

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10, 11)

"Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of kings, and Lord of lords. Hallelujah!" (Revelations 19:6, 11:15, 19:16)

and my all-time favorite:

"I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep" (Job 19:25, 26; 1 Corinthians 15:20)

Friday, November 30, 2007

First Snow

This morning, I awoke to a Winter wonderland. Normally, I would have been a scrooge about the mess outside, but I am determined to love the snow this year. I live here for a reason and part of that reason is the ever-changing seasons. And that includes Winter.

So, despite the cold air, the lack of sun and the insane drivers, here is my short list of things I love about snow and Winter:

--How absolutely gorgeous it is outside.

--How it rests on the branches of trees. Every bit of snow could be melted on the ground, but there is always a little bit nestled into the branch of a tree.

--Kids in snow pants. There is nothing cooler than a pair of snow pants. I remember not being able to move in them, always being sweaty and warm when we took them off after hours of play. The colors; oh, the colors! I saw a pair of yellow, Spongebob-esque ones just the other day.

--Christmas with snow. I could not imagine living in a climate where there was no snow on Christmas. I have never experienced that, and I don't ever plan to.

--The peaceful air. Sometimes, even as frigid as it gets, I like to stand outside and listen. The wind howls and hisses and it's an amazing sound. All the animals have gone into hiding and it's just so quiet.

--Feeding the birds. I love to feed the birds in the Winter because they need the food. Which means I get to bird watch, intently, for the entire 3 month Winter.

--Throwing snowballs. Every now and then, my husband will wad up a nice white ball and throw it square at me. There is nothing sweeter in this life. :o)

--Sledding!! Even though I am grown, that doesn't mean I can't still enjoy a huge snow hill. The saucer sled is my favorite.

--Ice chunks on Lake Michigan. When we were kids, we used to go out to Nana's and much to her dismay, we would walk.on.the.water. No joke. We would traipse around out on the mountains of ice that form over Lake Michigan. I am too much of a scaredy cat now, but I love to watch the ice on the lake. Especially as it forms in the Winter and breaks up in the Spring. What a neat site.

--Being able to someday enjoy the snow with my children. People who live in warm climates, always want there child to experience snow at some point. I would too. Snow and Winter are an amazing time of year. Everything takes a breather for awhile. I think that we all need to cleanse ourselves at some point, and I think of Winter as nature's way of cleansing itself. Of starting over. Of renewal and rebirth.

And with today's snowfall, I feel a sense of peace. Because now it's nature's turn to rest and release. And maybe it's my chance to do so as well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Purple Cotton Balls

I peered out the kitchen window this morning to find the most unreal sunrise I have seen in a long time. We always get a great view off the deck of the sun (or moon) rising. It's really neat.

Curtis took a peek and said "There are purple cotton balls in the sky!" The clouds were so fluffy; orange where the sun was peeking and gradually becoming pink and purple as you moved away from the burst of orange. I drove east as I do every morning and couldn't keep my eyes off the sky. As it slowly moved to my left, as I drove west again towards the lake shore, it was even harder to keep my eyes on the road. I was in such awe.

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Sometimes, life stresses me out. In fact, I might even say that I am stressed out a lot. I always have been a bit of the high-strung type. It's that left-brained thing, I think.

After a stressful day at work yesterday, and the lack in feeling like I have anything to say at all here; I needed to see that sunrise this morning. It reminded me that the stress is only temporary. That there is something much bigger out there for me, and for my family. Sometimes, we all need that reminder. The reminder that there is something larger than life working His way off in those purple cotton balls. The constant reminder that God has a plan, and that things work themselves out. Something that I have taken 28 years to learn, and something that I am still learning.... To have patience with life.

The sunrise received my thanks this morning. Thanks for reminding me to be patient; and to take it all in.

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Today is also the 1 year anniversary of my Grandaddy's death. He was an amazing, wise and noble man and 1 year later he is missed very much. Perhaps it was him who sent the purple cotton balls my way today. In fact, I know it was him.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Uninspired

I am feeling very uninspired in the 'word' department. I just don't have much to say. I think it's the gray weather outside. It makes me want to hibernate and come back when it's sunny and warm again.

Also, to the anonymous commenter in the post below: No, I am not pregnant. I just had a nasty flu. And if you feel like presenting yourself, and telling me who you are, maybe I could lob you on the side of the head.


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This blog will continue it's normal practices once it's author is feeling up to the task...in the meantime....Carry on.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight."

I lost 6 pounds since weighing in last Friday. Yes, that is 6 pounds in 3 days. How did you do that, you ask?? Well, it appears that while I couldn't bring the sunshine back to Michigan with me, I could still bring a nasty flu bug. And when I say NASTY, I mean it.

Thursday, I came into work after a nice relaxing vacation. I felt okay; not 100% but I figured it had something to do with our long day of traveling the day before. I ended up leaving work at 3pm with chills/sweats and the feeling that I was running a temperature. I got home, felt fine, didn't check my temperature at all.

Woke up Friday. Couldn't move. Couldn't breathe. I had a dry, hacking cough. Something in me knew this was not a cold. I didn't have a sore throat, sneezing, runny nose. None of that. Instead, I had a 101 degree fever and a cough that wouldn't let me 'get under it'. All I wanted was to expel something from my lungs.

So, from Friday until today, this was my routine:

Shower.
Rest, because the shower was just too much work.
Try to eat.
Cry.
Throw food away, because food is putrid.
Take my temperature.
Spaz out because temperature is so high.
Take Tylenol.
Cry.
Take a bath.
Rest.
Watch TV.
Try to sleep.
Realize sleep is not going to happen.
Cry.
Take my temperature.
Spaz again.
Watch TV.
Realize daytime TV sucks.
Try to sleep again.
Cry.
REPEAT.

The past 96 hours have been very trying for this body. It has never before seen the flu in this fashion. And frankly, I hope it never sees it again.

The worst part is that I have not seen my new nephew since the day he was born. Almost 2 weeks ago. Ugh.

Time to get some more rest.

P.S. The quote above (the name of this post) is from one of my favorite movies, The Devil Wears Prada.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Missing the Sun Already

We are back to cold, rainy Michigan. We thought we could bring it with us, but nah....it didn't work. Oh well.

The wedding was absolutely gorgeous! My friend Kera, was a stunning bride, and her and Mark make an adorable couple. Here are some pictures....the first one is the ceremony site, taken from our room. You can just barely see the chairs where the guests sat, off to the right of the cabana on the water.


I have the HOTTEST friends in the history of the world.



And one of me and the Bride! How much do you dig my $35 Old Navy dress?? She was very cost-prohibitive with the dress choice.



After a few days in Key Largo, we headed down to Key West. I fit in perfectly with all the 4-legged creatures running around. They love me. I guess that's why some people call me the "crazy cat lady". They come running when they see me!!



I saw my first-ever cruise SHIP! I know, I need to get out more. It was massive! They don't look that big on TV.




Mostly, though? We just hung out here...in this hammock. It was divine.

It was a great vacation, filled with sun, fun with friends, good drinks, and amazing food. Who could ask for anything better? We are sad to be home, but after our 15 hour day yesterday, we are just thrilled to be back here. Especially since we have a new nephew to hang out with. Vacation is great, but HOME is so much better.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Today I have a Nephew...

A little miracle from God has arrived into our family.

This morning, my older sister Elizabeth, gave birth to a beautiful, bouncing baby boy.

Jack Thomas arrived this morning at 8:24 a.m.

He weighed in at 9 lbs 3 oz and was 20 inches long.

I am so over the moon to have a nephew!

Tomorrow, we leave for Key Largo for the wedding of a best friend.

What a week. What a week!

****************************************************************

Notice the cheesy "I-want-one-of-THESE!" look on my face. It appears as though, I might run off with him!



Lily meeting her little brother for the first time.



My sister, doting on the new man in her life (and looking absolutely fantastic!!)


Friday, November 2, 2007

Vacation

I am on vacation....vacation from the scale, from work (starting next week). Finally, a vacation.

I took down the weight loss ticker and it feels kind of good. I am going to keep plugging away, but I need to take a break from the seriousness that I was putting into this healthy lifestyle. I have the tools, I am utilizing them, and it is only self-defeating to get discouraged. So, I am on a vacation. A nice long one.

I did weigh in this morning and I will only tell you that I did see a difference from eating more calories this week. And it wasn't a gain!

Next week, we leave for Key Largo and Key West to watch my best friend, Kera get married. It is the first wedding that I am a bridesmaid in and I am just so thrilled to be a part of it. I am also excited to leave this place for a few days. To reconnect with my husband. To see the ocean again. In 8 years of being together, we have never been on a beach vacation. (He would say "Who cares!! We went to Paris and Amsterdam!) I am excited to sip a margarita, poolside with him. I am excited to leave behind the cold air, in place of an ocean breeze. And I can't wait for those sunsets!!

So, here it goes...I am officially on vacation.

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On a side note...I can't leave you all without a big shout out to my favorite football team. It is annual Michigan vs Michigan State weekend, and we are headed to our Alma mater to watch the game tomorrow. Courtesy of Dad's UofM Alumni status. Thanks for your generosity to these Sparty fans, Dad!! I am sure we will make you proud (or not!) tomorrow!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

First of the Month

Each new month makes me feel a sense of relief. A bit of a change from the last 30-ish days; something new. It also means that I am a busy-bee at work. Trying to get all the reports in, the numbers crunched and the previous month closed. I am feeling a bit of work-related stress today. Not feeling adequate as the accounting mind in this place. Not quite sure what direction I am supposed to go in. I am feeling that stress in my stomach; the constant ache and burn. I seem to ask myself this question often. Is it my purpose to be here?? Right now??

Then I think of all the fun things that this November will bring. A new nephew; the first grandSON in our family. The wedding of a best friend; in sunny Florida, only one week away. Thanksgiving, and the chance to appreciate and give thanks for all that we have. A reunion; an opportunity to reunite with old high school friends. The leaves falling from the trees, the crisp air, the impending snow. November brings a lot to the table.

And when I think about that, my work stress dwindles away.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lost In Translation

After a trip to the mall:

Me: "Can you hand me the C.O. Bigelow that we just bought?"

Him: "What does that mean?"

Me: "BWAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!"

Him: "Seriously, what?"

Me: Apparently you don't speak lip-gloss."

If you are also saying "huh?" right now, go here: CO Bigelow.

Friday, October 26, 2007

4 For the Price of 1

Last night, I headed to Nordstrom Rack to find a big suitcase for our trip to Florida in two weeks. I found one that was reasonably priced and snagged it. I get home, all happy about my $100 suitcase and I go to open the thing. Much to my surprise there was 3 other things inside. A smaller suitcase, a carry-on bag and a toiletry bag. You would have thought I had just won the lottery from the loud shriek that I let out when I realized this discovery.

I always complain about the labels at Nordstrom Rack. First, you see the retail price, then you see the Nordstrom sticker, then the damn clearance sticker and then a 35% off sticker. What the hell is the price already?? It drives me nuts. But, last night my complaints came to a head. Because of the poor marking of the price, I thought I was getting 1 suitcase for $99.97 when really I got 4.

Stupid price tags.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Much Needed Advice

The other day, I emailed Corinne in a tizzy about all of my frustrations.

Her response was that I am not eating enough. WHA??? Really?? Cool!!

So, I am instructed to eat all of my flex points, but divvy them out each day. I also have to eat all of my activity points. SWEET! More eating. My favorite thing to do.

So, yeah...I knew there was something going on. And this whole time, I thought I was doing myself a favor by not eating flex points and activity points. Oops. My bad.

I have been summoned to post....

My good internet buddy, Laura, kicked me into gear today. I have neglected you sweet, sweet blog. And I am sorry.

I have been a little frustrated so far this week. I have been eating on plan, exercising my keister off, and today, after a long break from the scale, I got on it. And I saw what I didn't want to see. A maintain. Talk about frustration!! My goal was to be down 30 lbs by the time I was in my best friend's wedding in November. Here we are, two weeks from the wedding and I am down 15 lbs. A disaster in my book. This has not happened anything like I thought it would.

The first time I joined Weight Watchers Online was in March of 2004. I had just gone on a birthday shopping trip in Chicago with my mom and sisters, and decided that I wanted to finally get in shape for our pending September wedding. I journaled, but not nearly as religiously as I am now. I don't even know my exact starting weight and ending weight. I have some scribbles here and there that say I started somewhere around 202.5 and ended somewhere in the low 180's. I got thinking about that journey and how different it is from this one. Here is why:

---My husband pointed out that my body, even though it is heavier than when I started in 2004 (202.5 lbs), it is a much different body. The working out has been religious for the past several months. When I was 202.5 in 2004, I was a flabby mess. I am still a bit of a flabby mess, but I am MUCH more toned even at 210 lbs. (Aside...my friends swear I am lying about my weight, but when you are 6' tall you disperse your weight much differently! It's a bit of a boost to hear that there is 'NO WAY that I weigh THAT MUCH.')

---This time the journey is FOREVER. It was spawned by a wedding, yes, but it was also started as a result of wanting to be healthy for my future pregnancies, and my future family.

---I have expanded my exercise routines immensely. All I did the first time around was walk, and do the Power 90 DVD's at home. That was it. I think this is part of my frustration. Because I am working SO MUCH harder, but I am not seeing results. Likely a result of my increase in age, and my lowering metabolism as I creep closer to 30. I also realize that changes needed to be made in my diet. See below.

---I stopped taking hormonal birth control. This is a biggie. One I never thought I would be announcing to you, Internet. But, yes, this is a factor I cannot miss. My BCP had a very strong diuretic component. One I am missing very much right about now.

---I am starting to realize how important food choices are. My first time on WW, I lost weight by staying in my points range, but I ate a lot of convenience foods. I was not eating whole grains, complex carbs, lean proteins...I was eating a lot of junk. And I still lost the weight. That is the funny thing about this whole weight loss thing. You can lose by simply restricting calories. That was not working anymore and I have started to eat a lot more clean. I think my body was way too used to using the junk and it needed something to kick start it. Eating clean, will be the answer. I hope. I can honestly say I have not snacked on a 100 calorie pack in over a month.

As you can see, things are different, and I am losing differently. I am 2 weeks away from this wedding, I am nowhere near what I wanted this body to look like, but I think I am okay with that. I feel great, I look toned and my muscles are starting to pop (thanks to Corinne!). I am running (which I have NEVER done in my life) and I am seeing the big picture. This is not about deadlines, or getting thin by a certain date. This is about changing my lifestyle and my behaviors forever. And I won't give up. No matter what the scale says.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weigh In Day---Break From the Scale

There was no weigh in today. I am taking a break from the scale.

I did however want to report that since August 10, I have lost another 6.5 inches off of my body. 3 inches were straight off my belly! It's amazing how the scale doesn't move, but the inches are coming off. Things are shifting and I feel a ton better than I did 2 months ago. This is why I decided to take the break from the scale. I just won't let it get me down!

I have also been running in conjunction with my Phit-n-Phat routines and I think I am slowly starting to love running. I am doing the Couch to 5k program from Cool Running. This week I logged 8 miles!! I am mostly run/walking but it still feels great! Walking just wasn't cutting it anymore.

Last week, while staying at my parents house, I noticed a really cool set of dumbells in my their room. They were Bowflex Dumbells and they are so cool. They adjust up to 52.5 lbs and we are outgrowing our 10lb weights, so we splurged on them. I am really excited about these!! I am really noticing my muscles taking shape thanks to the PNP routines. Specifically my arms. One thing I love about this thing is watching those muscles really start to take shape. Corinne wants before and after photos and that is my motivation to give it my all during my workouts!

Weigh in will resume next Friday.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lead Foot

Confession Time:

I have a lead foot. I like to drive my car...and fast. I think it's a trait I inherited from my Dad. Not the lead foot, but the appreciation of a good engine. He is a car connoisseur of sorts, and he loves nice cars. He, however, does not have the lead foot that his daughter does. I even have to admit that I have a teeny tiny bit of road rage.

Everyday, I take the same highway from start to finish. It takes me about 25 minutes to get to work. 30 minutes if I am going the set speed limit of 70 mph. I know where the cops hide out and when to slow down as I am approaching one of these said hiding spots.

I have to preface what I am about to say, with the fact that I have never been in an accident, I have had two tickets in my entire 12 year driving career and I think of myself as a pretty good driver. However, yesterday the lead foot was busted. I was clocked going 88 in a 70 mph zone. Even worse, it was a Michigan State Police officer. I knew right away he had me, and I conceded right before he had turned on his flashers. I pulled over, he made small talk with me about the hyphenation of my name; most likely to find out if I had been drinking. I was polite, he asked about my driving record, which I was happy to report was very good. About 5 minutes passed, and at that moment I realized that he was going to let me go. I couldn't believe it. I never catch a break like this, and frankly, he should have nailed me for how fast I was traveling. But, he didn't. I started crying! He asked if I was okay, and I said that he was so kind and we both went our separate ways; with my opinion of state cops, forever changed.

Lesson learned: The lead foot needs to be downgraded, and I need to slow down. And I am going to take his advice and do just that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

That sweet guy I call husband


They have determined that Curtis' heart and brain are fine. His Holter Monitor test came back perfectly. No abnormalities, blockages or other weird things going on in there. Then he had a CT scan. Again, nothing abnormal or weird there, either. Then this morning he met with a cardiologist and they determined it is indeed vasovagal syncope. They told him it was time to hydrate himself nice and good, and lay off the caffeine too. Things we have been working on for months now during our healthy journey.

I just wanted to say a quick little something about him. This whole thing has really made me realize how much I love this man. He is my rock and my best friend. Without him, I am not quite sure where I would be today. Whenever we have a health scare or something that might threaten to split up our love, we are suddenly brought to this place. This place of knowing how deeply we care for one another. I love him more than anything and I want to be sure he will be around for a long, long time.

We have had a fun time with this fainting thing. I have tried to remain overtly positive through this whole thing. Not wanting to think the worst at all, until it was confirmed. I think he has gotten used to the jokes that he gets about it, and I want to say how much of a good sport he has been. He has never freaked out about this, (not like I did in the beginning!!) and has remained the strong man that I know him to be. I know it's hard for him to admit weakness, and I thank him for keeping me grounded until we knew the results. I love you babe, even if you are a fainter. ;o)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Party Hardy


Bachelorette parties for your best girlfriends are so.much.fun.

My good buddy, Kera, who is getting married in Florida in less than a month, had to have a party. We couldn't let her get married without a bash first. And bash we did.





Saturday morning we headed out to Chicago for this grand affair. It was a nice fall day, a great day for a drive. The city was booming, just waiting for 15 girls to take the town on.




My friend Katie, has a gorgeous house right in Bucktown. Trendy shops and fabulous restaurants, all line the city streets. Five of us headed out, 4 girls and one adorable 9 month-old boy to check out the shops, get our nails done and putz around before the big night. What a relaxing day, and what a perfect day to do it.

We then headed out for some fun. First it was presents and hors' d oeuvres, then we headed out to dinner. We ended up at a drag show, in a place called the Kit-Kat Club. It was such a blast!! The perfect place to have a bachelorette party. The guys....err, I mean, girls, put on quite the show!!! Then it was out for more club hopping and then back to Katie's where we all conked out from our fun evening.

I think Kera had a good time...you be the judge.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Watching the little kids...


We are staying at my parents house, and have been for the last 2 nights. We are watching the "little" kids while my parents are in Chicago for the week. The thing is, that they aren't so little anymore!!

It's totally weird staying at my parent's house. I don't really know why, but it hit me that it just feels weird to be there. And spending the night? Even weirder. My 10 year high-school reunion is coming up which means I have not really stayed there for more than 10 years. It doesn't feel like home in the way that it once did. My room is now bogged down with loads and loads of technological gadgets; it's now known as Dad's office. It's crazy. I sat in there last night, while Mary was playing on the new I-Mac and stared up at the skylight. The same window I used to look out at while laying in my bed, plotting my escape from that house. I never wanted so badly to move out and go and do my own thing, and now after spending a few nights there, I realize how much I miss that house. It was home for so many years. So many laughter-filled evenings, dinners at the table with the entire family (all 8 of us at that time...now there is 11 and one on the way). The sound of little kids voices, the piano lessons directed by mom first thing on a Saturday morning (Part of the reason for my escape!!), the running feet (we never walked...ever!), the smell of dinner cooking on the stove. It all comes back to me in this place. As I sit here, watching the deer out the back window, hearing the scratch of the dogs paws on the door (let me in!!), the memories rush in. It's hard to believe that a family that was once all piled into this house, is now so separate. We are adults, some of us are still molding into being them. My parents are now grandparents. The little kids aren't little anymore. One is off at college, and the other two are almost there. I used to sit back and think about things like "Well, when I am 30, Mary will be graduating from highschool", and it seemed so distant. So far off, as if it might never happen. And here we are. It's like a time warp. This place has changed, we have changed, but we are still the same family.

It's these moments of pondering that make me realize how much there is to look forward to with this family. We have only begun. And that? That is exciting.

Weigh In Day

I had a loss this week of 3 whopping pounds!! I actually weighed in yesterday, as we are staying at my parents house, watching the little (BIG) kids.

Back to the scale and it's power over me....

I weighed in again last Saturday, after seeing a 2.1 pound gain on Friday, and you know what I saw? A 4 pound loss. One day made all the difference. Being a woman, makes the scale war even harder. We are constantly battling the ocean of water within us. That constant bloat feeling that comes and gos throughout the week. For me, it's a daily thing. The sodium intake for example, is a huge catalyst to retaining water. However, I can limit my sodium intake, and still see that water weight hanging around like the elephant in the room.

My point is this. As a woman, we have to understand the chemistry of our bodies. That our husbands might lose at a much quicker rate, and hey, that's okay. We have to be patient with our metabolisms, fire them as much as we can by getting up and moving, and just remember, that self defeating ourselves gets us nowhere. I thought about how frustrated I was last week, and then I stepped up on the scale a day later and voila! Poof! It was gone. Keeping a positive outlook on this whole thing, is what gets me to a 3 pound loss the next week.

So, this week, it's on again! I am going to fight the fat, and stay on plan all week. And I will not let the scale, or the the water get me down.

If you would like to read a neat-o post about the scale, go here. My friend Katie, at Sister Skinny put this link in my comments and it made so much sense for me. Maybe it will for you too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blah....

I haven't been feeling myself this week. I think I caught that nasty stomach bug that's going around.

I woke up this morning and noticed how beautiful of a day it was out there. As I was eating my breakfast, I again looked out the window at our 50 degree, fall (FINALLY!) day and I saw this:


That is how you know it's going to be a good day. And it has been ever since.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Weigh In Day

I gained this week. 2.1 pounds. Blech. I am mad.

I don't understand this. I had a stressful week, but looking back on my journal, I didn't over eat (or drink). I worked out and earned the most activity points I have earned since I started this thing, and I gained?? It must be bloat. I mean, it has to be.

On the other hand, I am taking measurements tomorrow (no time this morning) and will report back on those. I am feeling much lighter in my clothes, and losing inches. I can feel it. My workouts are also getting easier for me, which means I am improving my fitness level which is what the goal is here.

I want to talk a little bit about small victories. I won't let the scale rule this thing for me. This is a healthy journey that will last a lifetime. I am already 11.3 pounds lighter and that is something to be very proud of. (thanks for the boost this morning honey!) I don't think that we pay enough attention to the small victories that we have over the course of this journey. It could even be that you took a multi-vitamin every day, or you drank all of your water for that day. It can also mean saying "no" to the bagel from Panera that is in the break room right now (I said "no" very sternly to it this morning!). We have to pat ourselves on the back for the small things that are leading us further down this path to a healthy and fit body and mind.

OK, that was my pep talk for the week! Back on track, and not letting that scale rule this thing for me!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Vasovagal Syncope

We have a sort-of diagnosis from the doctor. They are calling it vasovagal syncope.

Read about it here.

I am mostly relieved because it sounds like this is something that is very treatable. His nervous system is overproducing adrenaline and under producing the hormone that calms you down. If you know Curtis, he is one of the most laid back dudes you will ever meet, but that isn't stopping his system from having these internal panic attacks. I would have never pegged him as the anxious type, but something isn't clicking.

The next course of action is a tilt table test, a CT scan and a Holter monitor, which will track his heart rate for 24 hours.

Basically, the doctor told him he needs to chill out a little bit, which is good, because I have been saying the same thing for awhile now. I am just so thrilled that we have some answers and we can get on the path to preventing these things from happening.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Seven Passages: The Stories of Gay Christians

Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending a play here in town. A play that I have been following for a little while, very eager to see how it all fell together on the stage. Curtis attended it with me, along with another married couple that we are friends with.

Now, from the subject line, I am sure you are wondering what two married couples could possibly want to know about gay Christians. Why would we attend this play? My answer, is that for some time now, I have struggled with understanding how gays play a role in the Christian faith. For a long time, I myself even shunned them away. I didn't think they belonged in the church. After all, God says so in the Bible, right?

From my research, and from my grasping hard at trying to understand all of this, I have learned to have a lot of compassion towards the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi, transgendered) group in regards to the Christian faith. These are people, struggling with something not that they chose to be a part of. This is a part of them, a part of the person that was so fearfully and wonderfully made. They are God's children, just like you and me. So, why has the Christian church so forcefully pushed them away??

A professor from Calvin College, is the one with the vision for this play. They formed a committee, and chose seven passages from the Bible, that all condemn gays in some way shape or form. They then set out on a mission to interview as many LGBT Christians as they could. The result was amazing. A very moving, captivating performance with each actor taking on the identity of a few of the interviewed. The play is comprised of their words. Their words about the scripture and it's translation, their words about their struggle, their words about their faith. I cried, I laughed, but most importantly I learned a lot. Those that know me, know that I have compassion so deeply implanted into my soul. It is this compassion that I know we need to see more of in the church. It is this compassion that God would want us to have.

I will not go into all of my personal opinions about this subject, because I have many. But, I will say that we need to leave the judging to our Savior. And in the meantime, we need to find room for these people at our table. They are God's creation. They are God's children, just like you and me. And they deserve all the things that the Christian faith can provide to them. Hearing the stories about reparative shock therapy, about having their faith "only in their hearts because the church is unwelcoming", about the relationships that have been torn because of this 'thing'. It all breaks my heart.

After the play, we headed out for a bite to eat, and all of the actors happened to walk in behind us. We had a chance to talk with them personally, to hear that some of their stories were interwoven into the play, to hear about the struggle that has been making this play; making viewpoints on all of the sides heard. The most moving thing we discussed with them was in regards to a roundtable discussion that they did with local church pastors. (I just recently found out that my church pastor has a gay son, someone I went to highschool with) The 4 of us feared that the roundtable that followed the play, would be a bashing session. Those of you that know conservative Grand Rapids, know what I mean. I just couldn't sit there and here all of 'that.' But, 'that' didn't happen. And it didn't happen at all with the pastor's either. The forum is open. The dialogue is wide open, and I feel that is the most important thing. As one of the actor's said, "Let's keep the discussion going."

To read more:

Seven Passages Blogspot

GR Press review

The Dove Onslaught Campaign

I have been very fond of the Dove products and their ad campaign for quite some time now....but this video, makes me love them even more.

This is from their website:
"Half of girls in grades 3-5 worry about their appearance. Here are several hundred reasons why:"



This video moved me...moved me to take action, to raise my children and my niece in any way to not allow the eating disorder and appearance issues to set in. Society and cultural 'norms' need to let go of it's grasp on us....and any media campaign that is effective, is one I will plug here.

Dad, maybe I am a radical, but hopefully I can be one for positive change.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Oh, yeah....that fainting thing....

It was a wonderful weekend, that ended so horribly. For the second time, Curtis has had a fainting episode.

Once was no big deal. Off to the doctor he went, to find out his triglycerides, glucose and cholesterol levels were all high. We have been making adjustments to his diet. No refined sugars, flours...lots and lots of exercise. This Weight Watchers thing has played in very nicely, until Sunday night.

We were in the movie theater, watching Knocked Up, engaging each other in laughter, when I looked over and knew exactly what was going on. See, this happened once before about 2 months ago. He could no longer engage me except for with a nod of his head, and I immediately went into action. I asked the gentleman behind me (oh, he was so kind! I wish I could thank him now) to help me and he ran to get the manager. I picked up the soda, and began to pat his face with ice. "Wake up...please, wake up!!" Finally, he did. In a daze, and not knowing what had just happened, or where we were, we walked out of the theater. And then I threw up...I was just so scared.

There is nothing more freaky than watching your spouse pass out right in front of you. And the worst part, is that we now know this is a problem. One time was acceptable, but two times is not.

I fear this is diabetes, although my Dad would be telling me that I am not the doctor, so don't go diagnosing him!! It has to have something to do with his blood sugar, because when it happened the first time, I don't think he had eaten enough. This time, he was mowwing down on Skittles and Butterfinger in the movie theater.

Keep him in your thoughts and prayers. And if you are a family member, and we have not told all of this to you yet, I apologize for you having to read it here. We are still waiting on a diagnosis from the doctor's office.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Weigh In Day: Week 18

I lost a .5 lb this week. A little disappointing considering how much I worked, however, I will take it. After all, a loss is a loss.

PNP is going really well. We are loving how high of an intensity that these workouts are. I knew I was not working hard enough, and this is forcing me to do just that. I am also starting a running program in conjunction with all of this. I had to get some orthotics for my feet and I have finally broken them in. This weekend I will hopefully be getting fitted for some running shoes. (any suggestions on brand? I am finally going to call it quits with New Balance. I just don't think they are for me anymore.)

That is all for this week. I will try and post a little more next week. Month-end has been keeping me mighty busy!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

LIKING is out of control!!!!!

I am guilty of it, like, saying the word "like" all the time.

Lately, though, I have tried to be much more cognoscente of my use of the word "like."

So, here....a little dictionary lesson for the readers here:

Like---- this is from dictionary.com
  1. To find pleasant or attractive; enjoy.
  2. To want to have: would like some coffee.
  3. To feel about; regard: How do you like her nerve!
  4. Archaic To be pleasing to.
So, what is with all the "liking" out of it's appropriate context?? I was listening to some teenage girls in the store the other day, and that word was used 27 times in 3 minutes. No joke. I counted, because I am weird like that. I couldn't believe it. Lately, I have been noticing how uneducated it can make one sound. "I, like, love your hair." "Are you going to the movies, with like, your boyfriend?" Sounds a bit like the girls out of my Sweet Valley High books.

My fear is that we are all going to wake up one day and really take notice of this horrid trend. My generation started it, and it is not stopping! In fact, it's out of control. It doesn't suit an adult and I find myself not using that word at all in a professional environment. The second I am out of that environment?? I start "liking" it up again.

I am not sure if this post is to remind myself to nix the liking, but I am going to try even harder. Seeing how annoying that it can be to outsiders, has me holding my tongue before the li... can make it's way out of my mouth.

Do you notice the "liking" being out of control?

And feel free to give me a nice smack if I do it in your presence!


Friday, September 21, 2007

Phit-n-Phat: Week 1 continued...

Corinne at Phit-n-Phat is my new favorite person. She has been able to get this tush into gear and really moving. I am happy to say that we completed all 3 workouts, plus our cardio sessions this week. Whew! It was tough, but we did it. And we feel it, too!

Friday we did legs. Wow. I couldn't walk for a good part of the weekend which means I did something right!! Each routine is supersetted, which really changed things up for us. I think we needed this boost. Supersetting turns your workout into a partial cardio routine, so you save a little bit of time. Friday was squats, lunges, machine leg work, more squats and lunges....it was killer!! I would by lying if I didn't say that I liked it just a little bit. :o)

Saturday, I took the day off to rest my quads. They were hurting so horribly, that I would wince every time I walked down the stairs. Imagine this "ow, ow, ow, ow" 2o times over!

Sunday, I went for a long walk and felt like a million bucks. After the walk though, I was back to my sore self, so I we decided to do the next routine on Tuesday.

Tuesday, we did arms/chest. Wow again. We managed to get this one in at home on our nice universal weight machine (thanks Dad!). It worked out really well. The gym is so crowded early in the week and we just knew with the whole supersetting thing that reserving a machine and moving onto the next exercise was not going to work. We did high planks, push-ups (ouch!), some curls, bearcrawls (not fun!!), burpees, mountain climbers and some other machine work.

Wednesday, we moved right into back/shoulders. I woke up Thursday morning and my triceps and lats were toasted!! It felt so great to have worked all of these muscles! We did a lot of ab work during this set, some more machine work, and some other plyometrics stuff. I love the plyo work! I had never done this before so it was all new to me, but so far I am loving it. After that, we headed out for a brisk 25 minute walk. What a week!!

I am looking forward to next week, where we repeat the routines we learned this week. It should be fun to know what we are doing and not have to refer back to Corinne's "exercise bible."

That is that! Wish us luck as we move forward on this journey. 7 more weeks to go!

Weigh In Day: Week 17

I lost .4 lbs!! Now, I know it's not much, but here is why I am so excited....

We did 3 PNP (Phit-n-Phat) workouts this week. They were AWESOME. Very challenging, but I can feel muscles that had not been worked in a long time.

Whenever you start a new fitness routine, you usually have a gain. Specifically, when you start a weights program. This is the main reason I feel so great about this week.

I ate well, I exercised 5 out of 7 days (I even did cardio on one of the PNP days!), and I feel great. I can tell this is going to be a new start to this whole thing and I am very excited about it.

Later today, I will summarize my PNP workouts. They were awesome, but I want you all to see what we have been up to. I know some of you are curious about this.

Onto another week in this journey!! I can't wait to continue this road we have started. For once, I am not upset about this weeks loss or lack thereof. YAY!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Signs of Old Age

It used to be that a wrinkle here and there, or a saggy spot in the place you wish wouldn't sag, were the tell-tale signs of old age. Not anymore.

The other night, while watching my Tigers lose to the Indians at a local sports bar, the man sitting next to us started making small talk. He was a nice man, in his mid 40's, trying to score a hot date with the cute bartender. We started to chat with him and we got on the subject of age. He said "By the look of your hands, I am going to guess that you are 22." Shocked, I let out a snort and started laughing. "My hands? Really?" He replied, "Yes, you know how knuckles start to kind of get droopy?? The skin folds more?? Well, you don't have that. So, I guess you are 22." He then proceeded to do the same thing with Curtis and decided that based on Curtis' hands he must be 28 years old. (HA!!!!)

We started discussing the signs of old age. Droopy elbow skin, droopy chins, and apparently even wrinkly, droopy knuckles. Lots of drooping going on here. It might have been the weirdest conversation we have ever had with a stranger....and I haven't even told you about the flying chicken taco, yet. But, at least I know now to never judge someones age based upon their hands.

If he only knew my real age.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Censorship vs. Morals

In the past week, we have seen Ray Romano, Sally Field, Katherine Heigl and now Andrew Meyer all being cut off and censored in some form or another.

It all started at the Emmy's show on Sunday night. We were watching as we usually do, and we noticed that on several occasions the camera panned to an obscure picture above the stage. We couldn't quite figure out why Fox kept doing this, until I came into work on Monday a.m. It turns out that instead of bleeping the comments out, Fox went ahead and just totally cut off the speaker. Since when has Fox cared about values and morals? Since when has Fox decided that bleeping is unacceptable?? It seems on most of their shows that the bleeping is in full force. I just couldn't understand it.

Most notably during the Emmy's program, Sally Field stood up and spouted off some anti-war comments. Now, I am all for the idea that there is a time and a place for everything, that perhaps this was not her forum to voice her opinion, however, totally cutting them out?? Come on. Where do we draw the line?

A couple of days ago, a young 21 year-old University of Florida student was tasered after he "incited a riot" while asking Sen. Kerry a few tough questions. Now, I have no idea what this kid may have said to the cops (other than what I have seen from the video), what really may have led to these events, but one thing remains clear. Sen. Kerry wanted to answer those questions. He felt he could have handled the situation, he was not offended (at least not from the sound of this) by Mr. Meyer's comments and he was prepared to give an answer. The mic was turned off, the kid was brought to the ground and before you know it, a taser gun is in his back.

I have a real problem with all of this. I am not one for approving of the profanity and vulgarity that is sweeping through our television sets. In fact, I despise it. I don't think a lot of what we see is appropriate, but to censor, completely!!! anyone's right to free speech upsets me. This is what our country is all about. Being able to speak your mind, in any peaceful forum. TV stations are so quick to allow profanity during early hours in the evening, but they won't let Sally Field comment on the war?? Bleep her bad word, not her entire monologue. There are plenty of things that I think the network television stations could do without. Hearing Ray Romano say some nasty things, or Sally Field commenting on the war, is no worse than watching Family Guy, or any of the other 5 tasteless programs that Fox airs. Reality television is even worse and Fox (along with their competition) will go to great lengths to get the ratings.

Now, onto Mr. Meyer. This situation upset me for so many reasons. The censorship, the abrupt cut-off of his mic, the taser. The taser. Why the need for the taser? Again, not knowing the full situation, it's hard to comment beyond what the news has fed us. It upsets me because of what I felt was excessive force used by the police. It upsets me because Sen. Kerry wanted to answer this poor kid's questions. It upsets me because the younger generation, the future of this country, has some tough questions. And we don't want to answer them. Or we do, I don't know. Sen. Kerry wanted to. It upsets me because I don't know where this country is going. Are we about freedom? Or are we about something else. Something much scarier. I am leaning towards the latter.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Phit-n-Phat: Week 1

Well, we did not accomplish the 3 routines that we had so eagerly set out to do this weekend. Instead, we did Friday nights workout, which involved squats, lunges and more of both which made us so sore we could not move!! Saturday, we took the day off, knowing that we still had 6 more days to get the other two workouts in. Yesterday, I was able to walk a little bit better, so I did a 45 min. fast walk and felt a ton better....only to feel worse after my exercise-high had worn off. Boo.

Tonight we are going to attempt to do the arms routine at home. The gym is the most crowded on Monday nights so I don't even want to try and get it done at the gym. We have a nice weight machine in our basement that hardly gets any use, so we will try and use that instead. Wish me luck with burpees, bearcrawls and mountain climbers, amongst some other fun arm exercises.

We also managed to only eat out once this weekend, which I thought was a very big accomplishment for us. We seem to lose it on the weekends, and I think we held this one together pretty well.

Tomorrow, I go to the podiatrist to pick up my orthotics. I am so excited to finally be able to do more than 30 minutes of hard exercise without wanting to yank my second toe off of my right foot. Yep, that poor little toe is doing the big toe's job and it's time for the big toe to take it over again. I can't wait to have some relief!!

I will have a final Phit-n-Phat update on Friday...for now, wish us luck. My quadriceps are begging you!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Weigh In Day: Week 16

Well, I am back up again. 3 lbs this time. No excuses, except for that it's that time of the month.

I did take my measurements again and I am losing inches, so the scale can go stick it!

Tonight, is our first Phit-n-Phat workout. A lot of squats, lunges, toe taps and other assorted fun sets. I will let you know how it goes. Tomorrow is arms and then Sunday is back/shoulders. This is going to be really fun, I just know it.

On a different note, I was eating a "100% real fruit strip" last night and I noticed something on the label. This product is also stated to be 100% organic. The ingredients listed puzzled me and it got me thinking about exactly who sets the standards for something being "100% real". There are organic apples, organic apple puree and/or juice concentrate, organic strawberry puree and/or juice concentrate, natural flavor and organic lemon juice concentrate. What I don't quite understand is the 'juice concentrate' and 'natural flavor' parts. HMMMM....... And what is up with the 'and/or'? Like maybe you will throw in some concentrate? Sometimes these labels have me very confused!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Inferiority Complex

Last night, I had a chance to meet up with one of my close friends and her mom's lunch group. They get together, whether it be in times of need, or just for fun. They have lunch (or dinner), they enjoy a few cocktails and they laugh. A lot. They are a load of fun to be around, these 50+ year-old empty nesters, at least until last night.

There was one woman in particular that I have met before. She is a kind and loving soul, a good friend I am sure. Last night, she had a few too many cocktails and it was so hard not to notice. She was slurring her words, and all the while, she kept on drinking. When I arrived, I felt so bad to see her in that state. Like, why couldn't she realize it was time to cut it off and grab a cab home.

As the evening progressed things got weirder with her. She was asking very abrupt questions like "do you live in a small house, or a big house"..."no kids yet? wow!" I mostly ignored her because well, why would I say something?? She was obviously drunk and not thinking. Then I noticed a puzzled look on one of my friends faces, and I glanced over to my other friend who was now engaged in a bit of a scuffle with this woman. The older woman kept saying "I can't see your eyes" (we all thought she was commenting on my friend wearing her glasses too much?) and you could see my friend getting more and more frustrated. Finally, my friend said "I appreciate your opinion, you are entitled to that, but now, I am must go because you have offended me." At that moment, the woman got up, (even though my friend was the one that threatened to leave) we thought she went to the bathroom...instead, off she went. In her car, three sheets to the wind.

It turns out this woman had asked my friend to "take your disgusting nose ring out of your nose right now." There were two girls at the table with nose rings. But only one of them was so abruptly confronted. I started to think about how I didn't shoo her off when she was bugging me. How I didn't want to start anything and therefore, I did not stand up for myself. All to often I am noticing a pattern of inferior-superior with my generation and my parents generation. But last night, my girlfriend showed me that it's okay to stand up to someone, and even leave the room if you must. Even when it is someone that demands respect. Ignoring them solely for the purpose of 'letting it go' might only make this more of a problem. Yes, she was drunk, but she had crossed the line on more than one occasion and my friend was the only one with the kahunas to stand up to her. She was an adult, that demands respect, yes. But aren't we also to demand respect?? And shouldn't it be granted?? I think so.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weight Loss Update

I know there are probably a few of you wondering where my weekly weigh-in went last week. Well, I didn't weigh in. It was purely by mistake, as I was entertaining my out of town friends for most of last week. I did step on the scale on Sunday to see a very ugly number, so I resorted to not tracking that weight and moving on to this week.

We have been working out this week and our plan is to start the Phit-n-Phat program on Friday. Our gym is very busy during the week, and extremely dead on the weekends. In order for us to be able to 'superset' our routines, we need free space and free machines. For the next 7 weeks we will be doing all of our cardio (with Monday off) during the week and our 3 Phit-n-Phat routines on the weekend.

We are also going to be starting the Couch-to-5k program in tandem with our Phit n Phat routines. This is a very lofty goal, because I have convinced myself that God did not make my legs for running. My husband disagrees and says that these drumsticks need to get moving. So, I am taking him up on his willingness to be patient with me as I learn to run. Wish me luck. I literally look like a chicken when I run.

I will be posting before and after shots of our progress over the next 7 weeks (I am telling you this, so you hold me to it!). I have exactly 9 weeks until my best friend gets married in Florida and it's time to buff this bod OUT!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Northern Michigan-a slideshow

I am a bit behind on the blogging as I have had a very busy 2 weeks. I will try and catch up as best as I can. To start, here are some pictures from our trip up north to Chateau Chantal. I experimented using Windows Movie Maker. I didn't do anything fancy with it, but that is a neat program!

Enjoy! More pictures and wordy posts to come.


video

Oh and I told you he could make me laugh! Isn't that a great photo he captured of me laughing my keister off?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Still Honeymoonin'---3 years later


"You two must be on your honeymoon, you have that glow about you. You know, the kind that screams that you are in love, " said the attendant as we walked into Black Star Farms' tasting room. We both giggled and noticed the couple next to us, presumably on their honeymoon, sneer at us from across the way. "No, actually we are celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary," I replied. She laughed and apologized, which we both thought was funny. No apology needed!!!

We had a great time up north. A chance to get away from the hustle and bustle and really reconnect. We have been going up to Chateau Chantal since the day after our wedding in 2004. We have been back every year since. This place truly affords you the opportunity to relax. No need for TV, just a book, yourself and your loved one. A perfect get-away. It doesn't hurt that there are 14 wineries in the area...yep, wineries in Northern Michigan. We learned from Bob Begin, the proprietor at Chateau Chantal, that the area is a pristine environment to grow grapes. The weather patterns, the cool air that swirls around the point, and the rolling hills all make an ideal landscape similar to that of Bordeaux, France or Napa, California. Old Mission Peninsula is on the 45th parallel which is close enough to both areas to grow vinifera grapes...not the concord type, but the "good stuff" as Bob would say. We tasted wine, we enjoyed some Leelanau Cheese (we even went back to the Leelanau Peninsula to get more!!), we had a few fantastic meals (Bowers Harbor Inn has the best filet around) and most importantly, we had a chance to remember why we love each other as much as we do.

9 years ago, around the time of Valentine's Day, I met Curtis. When we first met, I had no idea this would be the man I was going to marry. He had long hair (gasp!), he wore the same three t-shirts and the same pair of jeans....he was definitely not my type. A year later, I started to see more of him, and before I knew it, we were falling in love. The rest, you could say, is history. Or history in the making! ++++++ He is my rock, he is my supporter, my lover and my friend. He has taught me what it means to love someone, to support them, to be patient and kind. He makes me laugh!! He can be silly, just like me. He loves me unconditionally, he is patient with me (most of the time) and treats me with the utmost respect. I love him so very much, and the thing is, that he knows it. He knows, just as I do, that nothing will ever change our love. We don't need reminders of the oath that we took on this day 3 years ago. It's nice to have the reminder, but we are already so keenly aware of the commitment that we made to each other that day. And we are stickin' to it.

Happy Anniversary, Curty! I love you and I can't wait to spend 800 more years in pure wedded, honeymoon bliss!

I am going to post pictures from our weekend, in a separate post to come later on this week. Or today...we'll see.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Weigh In Day: Week 14

This week, I noticed something. I noticed that I tend to slack on eating in the evenings. Weird, huh? I come home, eat dinner and then totally neglect my snack. I wondered if I wasn't getting enough calories each day, so I started tracking on Sparkpeople in tandem with my WW points tracking. I never really tracked at night, I would just try and remember to enter what I ate in the a.m. on the following day. After tracking consistently (which I should have been doing all along...tsk tsk) I came to the conclusion that I have consistently not been eating all of my calories. Can you believe it?? All this time I thought I was overeating, which I was on the weekends, but I was severely depleting myself of calories throughout the week.

This week, I ate all of my points, and all 35 flex points. And guess what? I had a 2.4 lb loss. If you notice my ticker to the left, I only have 6.5 lbs to go until I reach my 10% goal. eek! I am so happy!

The lesson learned here is that tracking and being consistent with it, are the best tools to lose this weight. Even if it means I am being held accountable for eating enough food!

P.S. If you are wondering about my Phit-n-Phat workouts and how those are coming, I will have an update on that next week. We have been learning the exercises and gearing up for the week of September 10, when we will really put them to use.

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Tonight, we are headed up to Old Mission Peninsula in the beautiful north country of Michigan. We stay every Labor Day at Chateau Chantal overlooking the Grand Traverse Bay. It's one of our favorite things to do to celebrate our anniversary. (More to come next week about that!)

I am sure there will be lots of wine and good food. We are even going to hop over to the Leelanau Peninsula and do some wine tasting there as well. The air is brisk and cool today, and I am hoping that it will be the same way up north. I just love the feeling of that lake air coming at you!! It's a favorite thing that I adore about this place we call home.

Have a great weekend everyone!