Jan 27, 2012

7 Hours Off

I had 7 hours off yesterday, free from kids, responsibilities (other than a little laundry), and everything. I was sick, sure, but the 7 hours were so sweet. Lupin was my companion, and he is absolutely the best for lying around doing nothing with. He totally approves of it, and seems to be perplexed why we ever do anything but lie around--except when it's his breakfast or dinner time. 

I started the day by going back to sleep. Then I needed breakfast and came ever so close to skipping out to Tudor's Biscuit World (one block away) to get biscuits and gravy for $0.99. I mean, I was soooo close, too. I told Lupin, "Lupin, I'm going to Tudor's to get biscuits and gravy. I'll be back." I put on a big floppy hat so nobody would see my sick hair, and threw the change on  the dresser into my pajama pants. It was enough for THREE biscuits and gravy. I was already contemplating what specialty biscuit I would get to go along with my 1lb of gravy-biscuit. 

Well, then I finally did something smart. I quickly (before my brain could catch up with me) tweeted to YumYucky, who has been gracious enough to become my sponsor of sorts. I stated what I was getting ready to do, threw in "there's no good food in the house," and "Help me!" ... As you can imagine, after tweeting that cry out for help, I couldn't allow myself to go through with it. 

I had to re-assess: there were no eggs in the house, and that's what I really wanted. The other problem was that I had gotten too hungry by going back to sleep instead of eating. I decided since I had been about to scrape the bottom of the barrel for breakfast, anything remotely healthy with fiber in it would do now. Decided on a whole wheat english muffin, not toasted (I wanted some FAT), but buttered conservatively and fried on the skillet. And with TWO tablespoons of all-fruit jelly. Caution to the wind!!! 

While it was frying up, figured I better decide on second breakfast too before another crisis was on the verge. I'd been wanting to make granola for... let's admit it, YEARS... so the day had finally come. Got out everything granola-y we had in the cupboard: oats, leftover pack of Wendy's pecans from a salad, dried cranberries, dried "tropical mix" (mango, pinapple, coconut), and flax. It was a lot of fun making up the recipe, and I added cinnamon, salt, and put 4oz honey, vanilla, and 1oz of warm water into a bowl to dissolve the honey. This way I figured the sweetness would get more evenly distributed, and the water would bake out anyway. Threw it in the oven at 275 and went to eat my Breakfast #1 in bed. 

The smell was tremendous. It was all I could do not to eat it half-done out of the oven door. I waited, but did eat it while still hot. And if you've never had hot granola, you gotta try it. It'll make you wanna go throw your arms around the nearest tree, I promise. 

With hot granola in my belly, and after tweeting a half dozen more times, I went back to sleep for TWO HOURS. It was awesome. By then it was 1, and I was down to 2 hours of freedom left. I figured it was time for a glorious shower, with nobody poking their head in to ask me to wipe their butt or anything. Ahh. 

I made sure that I was folding laundry when the family came home, so it didn't look like I layed around all day (while sick) and slept (imagine!). I was back to my old self that evening too, getting the kids to clean their room, do homework, read to me... It's truly amazing what 7 hours to yourself can do for a mom.

Jan 25, 2012

More about Cleveland

You'll have to bear with me here, Bryan and I are making big-time life-changing moves here in the next few months, and Cleveland has a lot to do with it. Just gotta talk it out...

So, in addition to my last post outlining stuff we love about Cleveland and job situations here in Beckley, here's another reason why we want to move to Cleveland:

We love Cleveland. --And we figure, not many people love Cleveland. We further figure that if someone does happen to love this dirty, cold, windy city with failing professional sports teams, they ought to at least have the decency to move there if they aren't already living there. There are enough people who hate Cleveland, within and without it, so it's a Cleveland-lover's obligation to obtain a job and some real estate there.

Seriously though, we want to live in a place where our kids someday might choose to come live near us, and not only because they love us, but because they love where we live and can find good jobs there. There are plenty of kids in West Virginia who come back home to live, usually right in their parents basements for awhile, and often start meth labs down there... but that's neither here nor there. They come home because they love home and they love their parents, but they usually end up working in the food service industry, as sales representatives, at call centers, in the mines, or not at all. And if they do get a cool job that they love--like Bryan's sister Jamie did when she first finished college--it doesn't pay a living wage. Bryan and I were very lucky that I found such a cool, profitable, kushy job in this area. And we loved living close to his parents (but that's for the next post...).

Also, houses are cheap in Cleveland. We can get a really nice, large house in a great neighborhood for the price of a small dinky house in a bad neighborhood here. --And believe me, that's saying something, because Southern West Virginia is one of the cheapest places in the country to live.

Final reason we want to move to Cleveland: Tremont. (check out its Wiki Page)

We love Tremont, and want to live in it. It houses many of our favorite places in Cleveland, like Lilly's Chocolates, Lolita's, and Lucky's Cafe (all eateries). There are also many art galleries, restaurants, bars, and shops that we've never tried there, including Farenheit, a very happening upscale restaurant. Tremont has a lovely Montesorri school, grades K-8, which I am in the process of getting in contact with to talk to its principle about what they offer to extra smart kids like ours. Tremont also has monthly art walks, and I just found out that it has a weekly farmers market, even through the winter.

There's one house in Tremont that's for sale, and across the street from it is a little local book shop. (Beckley now has absolutely NO book stores, except a Christian book store. If we want books, we can just go to the book section of WalMart. I'm not kidding). Tremont also has a quaint little community pool, several playgrounds, several beautiful Gothic cathedrals, and Lincoln Park, which is just a big rectangular green space for walking.

Next post will be the reason that makes it very hard for us to move to Cleveland... stay tuned!

Jan 21, 2012

Cleveland, yes Cleveland, Ohio

Bryan and I started going to Cleveland regularly just over two years ago when we decided to go to the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute to see what they could do for his eyes. Long story short, they did miracles for his eyes, and he can now drive safely, watch TV normally, not get nose paper cuts when reading, and see our kids' faces.

But long story long, we started to fall in love with Cleveland. Here are just a few places we love to visit when we go:

and for the last two years we've talked about moving there. If circumstances had stayed the same with us, we never would've acted on it. We just couldn't imagine upping and leaving Marty and Shelia and everything else we have here in Beckley for some crazy pipe dream of living in a city that we'd come to love. 

Well, circumstances did indeed change. The ultra-stable government agricultural research lab where I work is being closed, which in itself is a sign that things need to change. Since obtaining my Masters of Public Health last year, and really since all the soul-searching I did with the leadership program the previous year, I have been thinking about getting a different job. It always came down to, my job is so kushy and so stable, and has such great health care, how could I ever leave it? Well, now I have to leave it. 

And Bryan's job is just a freak horror-show of misery. It's pretty much been that way since he got the Boss from Hell, and it wasn't much better before that. The place he works has always been known around town for their "brown box days," where they just fire people at will until they are sated for the day, then start again the next day. 

We've been looking for jobs around here, and the pickin's are very slim. For me, the most likely candidate will be working for the State Department of Environmental Protection, with which I've had 3 interviews. I'm not sure any of them will pan out, and if they do they will pay around 10k less than I'm making now. For Bryan, there is even less available. He requires an organization that's big enough to have its own in-house IT department, but not so big that it contracts out IT. There aren't very many of those in and around Beckley. But we're looking. He's had one interview for a job that paid about 15k less than he makes.

You may have guessed where this is all going. We are pretty much going to move to Cleveland if everything comes together for us. It's a daunting task, finding jobs for each of us, going up for interviews, selling our house, buying a house... a lot of craziness will ensue. But it's something we feel strongly about, and I feel that we have been faced with a lot of closed doors, and unless the door that leads to Cleveland gets slammed in our face, we will go through it. 

Tomorrow I'll talk about the other reasons we want to move there, other than the job situation. 

Jan 19, 2012

I Could Never Be a Ballerina

I'm sitting here sleepy tonight, feeling some delicious blue-ribbon biscuits in my belly, and watching Black Swan in the background. Natalie Portman, bless her heart, lost a lot of perfectly healthy fat/muscle/whatever to do that movie. I was just watching and not being able to imagine what someone would have to go through to get to the tiny size she was in that movie. And dancers have to do this all the time, not only when they're preparing for a potentially Oscar-winning role.

I could never be a ballerina. Thankfully, it's not something I ever ever wanted to do; in fact, I have a hard time even getting through a Zumba class without feeling like a total square. But aside from the dancing thing, I could never change myself into a person who would never, ever eat a blue-ribbon biscuit... and gravy... and scrambled eggs... fried potatoes. And that was all in one meal tonight! It's just not me.

It's important to know who we are, at the core, and not try to change that. I mean, I'm all for making constant improvements to one's self, but you can't change who you are. And I'm a person who loves to eat good food. So you go, Ms. Portman. You were awesome in that movie, and I can't believe you can dance like that. But I hope you went and had a big fat juicy In-N-Out burger when that was all said and done, and thanked your lucky stars that you were only a ballerina for a short time.

Jan 18, 2012

Count Your Accomplishments

I think it's important to count your accomplishments wherever you can get them. Like my dad, for instance. He's signed into MyFitnessPal.com for 159 days in a row!! I'm sure he's had some up days and down days, but he continues to check in every single day, log some food, log some exercise, and just let us know that he's still out there doing his best.

Well, I have an accomplishment to report too. I vowed back in November, when they decided to close our lab, that I would go to the exercise room every single day for as long as they still want me to come to work and pretend I have a real job to do. Our exercise room is very small and quaint. We have an elliptical, treadmill, stair-stepper, bike, and Bowflex. We also have a few yoga mats and ball. We have a men's and women's changing room complete with a shower. We also have a tv with built-in VHS player (It's been really fun collecting VHS tapes to watch in there). I started using the exercise room like... gosh, about 8 years ago. Some times I was going 3x a week, and other times I didn't visit for many months.

This is the first time I've endeavored to go strictly 5x per week (except for holiday weeks, of course). There's a sign-in sheet in there, and I changed the sheet back in November and looked at all those empty spaces, knowing that I was going to fill them all in. Well, here's the sign-in sheet now... Yeah, it's unfortunate there's nobody else on there. I guess shutting our lab down has depressed the few others who used to sign in sometimes to the point of not wanting to work out. I understand that.

But anyway, here it is! I did it. I only skipped 2 days: one because I had a stomach bug, and the other because I was feeling lazy. Other than that, I have been in that gym every day that I've been at work, doing a variety of elliptical, running, walking, Bowflex, and Nike Training from my iPhone app. It's been great, and now it's just a habit. Even on days that I'm not very much looking forward to it, I get up, grab my gear, and go anyway.

So, count your accomplishments, no matter what they are! After you count them and feel great about what you have been doing right, add one more thing that you intend to improve. After awhile, that'll be added to your list of successes.

And Dad, keep up the great work!! I always look forward to that announcement of how many consecutive days you've signed in!

Jan 17, 2012

Promises and Guilt

Promises promises... My mom used to tell me when I was a kid not to swear, because God doesn't like it. I think the lesson was left over from her rigorous Catholic school training. As I grew a little older, I was like "You mean 'swear' like to say a bad word, right? Not like "I swear..." Nope, she actually meant that I shouldn't say "I swear I will..." I remember being really surprised that God supposedly didn't like this. It seemed to me like promising to do something is something he would want us to do.

I still don't actually understand why God would have a problem with me "swearing" to write a blog post every single day for a week, but I do kinda get now why it is a problem. It's because we just do what we can do. We can't determine the future, so how can we promise that we will absolutely do something in it? For me, promising to do something and then failing to do it just adds to my never-ending guilt, and believe me that's the last thing I need in my life.

Guilt has been racking my mind and body my whole life, and it seems to have only gotten worse as I've aged. I decided in late 2011 that 2012 would be the year of "Guilt Free" for me. I feel like I should clarify, however, that this doesn't mean that I'm going to go hog wild doing things that I know are wrong and not atone for them. Rather, I'm just going to do what I can, and not freak out and kill myself with guilt over the things that I can't do, the situations that I can't control, or the people that I can't please every single time.

I have thought about guilt a lot in the last few years, actually, and I've come to the realization that

  1. God doesn't want me to feel guilty
  2. Guilt keeps me from doing things that are good for me 
  3. Guilt cultivates within me horribly negative thoughts about myself and my abilities

Based on these, I have determined that since God doesn't want me to feel guilt, and guilt causes me to think horrible things about myself, that guilt must from the dark place within me that I do not want to feed. Feeding that part of me can only lead to sadness. There were times in my life when I lived mostly through that other me, and I was absolutely miserable, and miserable to be around. I won't ever go back there. 

So, 2012 is the year of Guilt Free for me, which also means not making promises that I may not be able to keep. I will not "swear" that I will do something, I will only try my best to do it. When I realize that all I can do is my best, and I do my best in every endeavor, I feel closer to God than ever. And that's the best feeling.

Jan 14, 2012

A Classic Weekend Day

Today was a fun day. We woke early and got on the road to Granny and Pap's. Bryan and I got to go on a daytime date to meet lil baby Jude, go to a WVU basketball game, hang with Andy and his friends, then have a great dinner with friends. Now we're chillin' at Mom and Dad's (aka Granny and Pap's) watching Flatt and Scruggs episodes from the '50s... of all things!

When you're planning for fitness and weightloss, days like this don't really get taken into account. Still, I did the best I could with what I had... for the most part. Breakfast was responsible, snacks were wise, and dinner was small. A few beers have been had, but it's Saturday night, and we're vacating.

I'll check in again tomorrow... it'll be another crazy day of traveling and visiting with friends/family. Looking forward to it!

Jan 13, 2012

Shew! Days at home are hard!

My new inclement work schedule for work (since we got totally shut down by the government, and we're really just waiting for our final pink slip) is when the kids are off school, we are off work. Wow, so kushy, right? It really is. Today I have been totally a stay-at-home-mom with Tayan and Zene. Lemme tell ya, I dreaded the day before it even started though. I am much better off at work with only work stuff to worry about than here, managing everything, cleaning stuff, laundrying, and yelling at kids... and trying to play with them a little, too.

So that's how it started: with dread. I moved on to coffee, chores, avoiding Zene asking to play a game, then finally playing the game, packing, cleaning, getting them dressed, going to the store to buy a bin to be my outdoor cat house, going to Southern States to have a very nice lady just give me all the straw I wanted, coming home, cutting hole in said cat house, arranging cat house outside, then finally got to sit and chill for a minute with the cat on the porch.

Oh, and of course the kids have required about 5 meals in the mean time, and lunch was pretty sweet. They had leftover chicken, one had a hot dog, carrots, raw brussel sprouts, and I made them try mashed sweet potatoes. I had mashed sweet potatoes, leftover chicken, and a couple brussel sprouts. I don't do raw carrot. I hate it, and that's just that. I don't have to eat things that I hate.

Then I rocked out to Adele and Amy Winehouse, sang loudly, and did dishes. Now I am chillin again, actually sitting in my bed with a laptop, with a two-window view of the snow outside. Tayan's playing video game (which I denied him all day till now), and Zene's watching Spy Kids (and also sitting next to me intermittenly). I feel excellent.

We had chocolate chip cookies in the house today, and I didn't even care. Let the kids eat them. I re-organized our ridiculous collection of candy and snacks for our trip tomorrow (Bryan insists we have like a 10lb collection of these with us on all trips so he can choose exactly what he's feeling like), and wasn't the least bit tempted. Granted, I had already eaten 90% of the chocolate we had, and what's left I don't like. Thank God it's all gone, but I wish I'd had a little more strength in the last few weeks.

Tonight I'll do some exercise after the kids go to bed. I'm not sure what the rest of the weekend will hold, because we will be traveling, and not to hotels (where I usually rock out the fitness centers). I'll set myself up for success food-wise though, and let the exercise fall where it may. I did really well this week, and I can feel it deep down in my self.

It's so hard to sit back and enjoy a moment anymore without doing anything else. Without having a laptop on my lap, or my iPhone in my hand, a kid talking at me, or planning for my next move. I am going to make a point to get more moments like that, where I'm doing nothing but staring ahead and not thinking. I think I could manage at least a 2 minute period of this per day. How sick is that...? Two minutes. It would help though.

I'm going to start right now, unless Zene comes back within the next two minutes... and I figure there's an 85% chance of that happening. But I'm going to try anyway. If he does come back, I'll offer to read him a book.

Have a great weekend, everybody. Celebrate Dr King on Monday, in whatever small way you can. I can't describe the way I feel about that man, but it all has to do with love. Tayan told me all about Dr King yesterday, and I was never more proud of him as a school student. I think it's the most important thing he's learned at school sofar, and I hope they teach him more about him every year. I know I will.

Jan 12, 2012

My Goal Weight

In July 2009 I was 250 pounds. I first hit 190 pounds a year later, in July 2010. By July 2011 I was... still 190. That was six months ago, and here I still am at the same weight. I've been down to as far as 186, but never for more than a day. 

I have to ask myself, why? Over and over again I have gone through the cycle of working really hard, losing a few pounds, then invariably ruining it the very next day by eating a string of things that I know I shouldn't, or avoiding exercise for several days.

There are lots of reasons I give myself for doing this. Here are a few of them:

1. I don't want to go below 180, because I look good at 180, and I have the rest of my life to lose these last 10 pounds. Might as well go slowly.

2. It's not about what I weigh, it's about what I can do. I've run 5k's, I play tag with  my kids, I can climb mountains, I don't avoid doing things because of how I'll look, and I've inspired people to make changes in their own lives.

3. I am maintaining 60lb of weightloss, and eating healthier than I've ever eaten before. Give myself a break!

So, it's like part of me is saying "I'm done. We are where we want to be." But I know that's not the truth. I am not where I want to be, and I think I've figured out what is really keeping me from losing ten pounds. 

The reason is because I actually want to lose more than 10 pounds. I keep sabotaging myself because even if I do lose 10 pounds, I will still only be barely be out of "obese," as defined by the BMI gurus (I know BMI is kindof a crock, but it's not totally useless). As a 5'6" 180lb woman, I will still be just below the upper limit of "overweight." Granted, I'm a woman who packs a lot of muscle, and muscle weighs a lot. I KNOW that I'm not currently "obese," no matter what the BMI jerks have to say about it. But still... I want to be normal. I want to at least be in the upper range of normal, which would be 150 pounds for me.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to lose 40 more pounds, to make it an even 100 pounds of total weight loss. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? I've had enough time at this weight to become used to it. I'm ready to move on. I know I can do it, that's not the question. I knew I could do it when I was at my heaviest. Losing weight is easy, it's just a numbers game... you just have to have your head in that game though, or it won't work at all. Consider my head now in

I'm doing great on my 2 promises sofar. Remember from yesterday? They were 1, log every calorie I consume, and 2, write a blog post every day. I will do both of these for at least 7 consecutive days. We'll see if I can keep up daily blogging after that... 

Jan 11, 2012


This post is meant to be read while listening to The Beastie Boys' Sabotage. I'll wait while you get it started...

Okay, listen up.

('cause you can't say nothin)

Okay, I'll stop quoting now. You know the song. It's awesome, makes you want to move, makes you wanna kick things over, makes you wanna scream in a cathartic way. Short sidebar: Last time we went to Universal Orlando I rode the Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster while listening to Sabotage, and the experience was unforgettable. Everyone gets to pick their own song to listen to, and Bryan and I chose this one. The coaster starts at a slow 90 degree straight up incline, then does a 180 and goes STRAIGHT down. While going down at umpteen whatever mph, we listened to the Beasties go "WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" It was awesome.

So this post ought to be me whining, because that's what I feel like doing today. Whining and complaining and begging for help because I've been sabotaging my own progress for quite a long time now. I'll just say it: I've been 190 pounds for around a year and a half. I only wanted to lose 10 more pounds, so I felt like I had forever to get it done. Well, forever seems to have come and gone, and here I still am, always on the cusp of being in the 200's again.

Well, I'm done with that. There will be no whining today. How could I whine while listening to this song?

"Our backs are now against the wall."

Instead of whining I decided to write this post, and I've committed to writing a blog post every day for the remainder of this week. I've reached out and asked for help from someone who is truly inspiring in her motivation (@YumYucky). I've committed to entering every single calorie that enters my body for the remainder of the week. Please help keep me accountable to this by checking my food journal here: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/diary/laurawv You can check it anytime, it'll be there forever. You can see what I've logged in the past, as well as what I've logged today.

Moving forward from here today, I'm getting back to basics. I'm going to my lab to clean and listen to a brand new podcast from @RoniNoone, and I will be killing it in the gym this afternoon with my brand new Asics Kuyano 17's. I'm going to eat the super healthy food that I have here in my lil fridge at work. And tonight...? I will not sabotage myself. I won't.

"But I'm out, and I'm gone,
I'll tell you now I keep it on and on."