Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Off to the gym

It's 5:40 and I'm about to leave for the gym. Yesterday went well, and I even used the controlling your thoughts thing to help when my in-laws came for a visit last night. (I love my in-laws, but with 6 loads of unfolded laundry on the bed, all I could think initially was "You're messing up my schedule!!!" Changing thoughts means I could thoroughly enjoy them both!)

I'll be back to catching up with friends via their weblogs within the next few days, but for now I'm staying focused on making the changes, both mentally and physically, that need to be made, and staying accountable here. So if you don't hear from me, I will be back soon.

Remember, whatever you are, be a good one!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Staying accountable

We're back from camping and it's back to normal life, plus it's day 1 of the new workout/eating plan. I have to say that the nicest thing about it thus far is the accountability to someone who's not me!

Over the weekend things went up then down then up, and so on, just like life, right? My counselor (that sounds funny!) wants me to pay attention to strong emotions, and the thoughts that preceed them. I notice that my thoughts are pretty immature, a la "always or never" and thoughts like "Nobody ever listens to me" are not ones that lead to emotional health.

When I talked with Tony on Thursday he spent a lot of time emphasizing how important it is to take charge of your thoughts and to make sure your thoughts support what you're trying to do. The combination of paying attention AND taking charge helped me this morning. I wanted to get my workout done, but Tim was trying to resolve some computer issues for me and I felt like it would be disloyal and unsupportive to leave. But I was feeling more and more trapped as time went on. Then I realized that nobody was asking me to stay home and putter just because he was on the phone with support. So I changed clothes and headed out for what turned into a fabuous 5 mile run.

More to say, but no time to type it right now. Hugs to everyone and MAKE it a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Things are looking up

First, if everyone was nearby, we'd need to do a group hug. THANK YOU!!! (If I could make the thank you blink or do flips of appreciation, you know it would be doing just that!)

Actually yesterday was tough, but for good reasons. Had first counseling appointment. (Don't worry -- this isn't going to turn into a therapy weblog, but I need to give the rest of the story.) Left the appointment feeling drained and not all that great. My girlfriend told me that starting counseling is like stirring up all the crap that's at the bottom of a lake -- you always knew there was stuff there, but it's easier in the short-term to just swim in the semi-murky water. But I left the appointment determined to do some things I'd wanted to do all week (pick up two pre-anniversary sale purchases from Nordstrom, and hit Target for some supplies for this weekend's camping trip). Didn't go well. Took THIRTY MINUTES to locate two packages, and in one case, the clerk came back and asked "Now what was your name again?" giving me further evidence that I am, indeed, invisible. (That's how I've been feeling a lot these days.) But then in a happy surprise, my friend Jenny was at Nordstrom too. This is REAL MARATHON Jenny who, sadly, has been sidelined with an uncooperative ankle for nearly a year. But what a treat to run into her.

In another good turn of events, I scheduled my call with Tony for 6:00 this morning (he thought that was too early, but I am highly motivated). So I was up at 5:00 and on the phone at 6:00. There's a lot of overlap between what counselor is saying and what Tony's saying, and that congruence feels good, like I'm on the right track. And today instead of feeling like an unappreciated, invisible yard duty, I decided to take my kids OUT OF THE HOUSE and it was good. It was not easy getting out. But we did 3 errands that needed doing, then had lunch together, and then watched the rest of a charming movie, "My Date With Drew." (It's quirky and quite hopeful and makes you laugh.)

So tonight I'm training two new clients for the first time (a mother and daughter), and then we're getting ready for a weekend camping trip. And then first thing Monday I'm starting the DreamBodies program. Am I nervous? You betcha! But we are going on a work-ish trip to Maui (just me & Tim) in five short weeks, so the timing is perfect for something that produces results FAST. (Remind me that I said that if I start bitching, ok?)

One final thing: last night there was a ladybug on the inside of my car window. As we all should know (and Katie knows for sure) just seeing a ladybug is good luck. But having one land on you or be in your personal space is even better. Yep, things are definitely looking up!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nuthin' But...

It's been almost a week since I've written. As my friend Stacy pointed out today, big stretches of time where I don't write usually mean something's not going well in leslieland. Yes Stacy, you were right. But first,

A Mike update
Mike is OUT OF THE HOSPITAL! He is weak (understandably -- hospitals are not a great place for r&r, as anyone who's done a hospital stay well knows) and his future is uncertain (double lung transplant is one possibility), but that he gets to see another day is a true miracle. Again, thank you for prayers and keep 'em coming if you can.

Vacation blues
We really did have a great trip to DC and NY. But one not so good thing that came out of the trip was a clear picture of how competent, super-competent, uber-competent my husband is, and how icky I feel about myself in comparison. Honestly, Tim is one of the most capable men I know. And his talents are evident in many, if not all, situations, and they were especially great while travelling. Tim can handle unfamiliar surroundings, being lost, public transportation, and any other possible travel mishap with apparent ease. I, on the other hand, have strengths in other areas, I guess. So I came home from vacation feeling small and worthless. (In case you're wondering, I do this to me. Yeah, me and me alone.)

Part of what makes travel (and life) hard is that when I'm taking an anti-depressant, I have the short-term memory of an amoeba. So I can't remember squat. So when we got back, I decided to stop taking anti-depressants for the first time in six years. And the last few weeks have been tough, to say the least. First there was the dizziness that comes with the detox, and now it's just the difficulty in finding emotional equilibrium. And of course my pride steps in and I don't want to tell anyone. So I can't write in my weblog. Nor can I really hang out with anyone, since my emotions are so raw and life is such a fucking struggle. And yeah, it's ironic that writing and friends are both things that could make this whole journey easier.

Where things were yesterday
Yesterday was one of the most miserable days I've had in a long time. Kids are out of school. I feel like an unappreciated, invisible yard duty (oh, and I'm bored and lonely too). What's great about yesterday being SO bad is that it forced me to look at changing things, because even me, the queen of "it's ok, as long as the kids are happy!" couldn't put a positive spin on the day. And the kids weren't really all that happy either.

What went right yesterday
I ate clean.
I ran 4 miles (in 100 degree heat -- thank GOD for having a pool!).
I'm changing things starting today.

What's going right today
I'm training 2 clients (one at 8:30, one in just a few minutes)
After that the kids and I are getting OUT OF THE HOUSE!

Two other positive things
I'm starting counseling tomorrow. The pull of my childhood (which I would NOT repeat) just feels really strong right now in ways that need to change. So I'm going to see a counselor to help me get past some old ideas. If she suggests going back on anti-ds, I'll consider it. But not without a lot of prayer and careful thought (running out of time now...)

Also, I'm going to do a month of training with Tony of DreamBodies. I wasn't going to write about this, because I feared it would make me seem not credible or not good somehow. But I'd love to have some accountability for a month and figure this is a really good way to get it. Plus, how can I lose when this gives me a chance to learn from someone who's had such fabulous success with my blogging friends?!?!

On a vegetarian note
I've been eating almost exclusively vegetarian for the last month and I really like how I feel. And today I picked up our first CSA (community supported agriculture) harvest box, so now I have some wonderful organic fruits and veggies to play with for tonight's dinner.

Guess I'd better click on "publish" cuz I'm really tempted to delete this entire thing. But I was committed to telling the truth, and this, my friends, is the whole truth.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bikram Yoga

Tracy does Bikram and wanted to know how I like it. I LOVE it! It's just a little tricky to fit into my schedule. The classes are 90 minutes long, and the studio is about 15 minutes from my house. So to do a class, it's a minimum of two hours, and more realistically it's 2-1/2 hours. I have free time, but it's fragmented and requires me to be close to home much of the time. Once a week at Bikram would be a good goal for me.

It was interesting taking my girlfriend to Bikram. She does yoga pretty consistently, but has not done hot yoga. I do yoga inconsistently (once a month!), but have done Bikram before. My mind had us in a competition (yeah, that's what yoga's all about, right?) the minute we stepped in the door, and it was tough to get out of that mindset, even though I was aware of it, and was quite amused by it. My hamstring was really giving me trouble that day, and I just had to accept that and go with it. Perhaps the biggest benefit of Saturday's yoga class was the amused awareness of how hard it is to shut my mind up and just BE in the moment!

Boot Camp and Food

First, a Mike Update

Mike has been moved to the normal Cardiac Unit and out of ICU!!! And they think he may be able to come home this weekend. Again, muchas gracias, merci beaucoup, and THANKS to everyone who prayed or even took the time to think positive thoughts for him.

Now on to Boot Camp

It's time to put myself through my own personal boot camp. The few pounds I've put on have made my waist a thing of the past (did I leave my waist in DC? NY? SF? Who cares?!) and I want it back. So it's time to do all the things that I know work:

Drink a gallon of water a day
Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
Exercise at least once a day
Reduce or eliminate processed foods

Today's workout will be mostly using a Body Bar, since I have a new book (hooray!) that has all sorts of exercises I want to try out before I share them with clients. And maybe tonight I'll do a run/walk workout, or head to the gym for some cardio.


We live in an area that's the perfect climate for growing tomatoes. And right now our Sweet 100s (cherry tomatoes) and our Sun Golds (orange cherry tomatoes -- they taste like candy!) are coming on strong. I picked Sweet 100s for nearly an hour yesterday (but like in the book Blueberries for Sal, I ate just as many as I picked!), and will be working on the Sun Golds today. I do wish I was better at gardening, especially at growing vegetables, but I don't wish this hard enough to actually expend effort on it yet. Maybe soon...

Speaking of growing vegetables, I've signed up for a harvest box through a local farm. It's part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, and it works like this: you pay for the size of box you want (I chose a small vegetable and small fruit box) for the growing season. Then each week you go to a pickup location in your town and get a box filled with fresh organic local produce, along with recipes and ideas for use. I love the idea of supporting local farmers, and to get organic and locally grown in the same food? Perfect!

I suppose some of my love of and enthusiastic support for CSAs comes from two books I'm reading: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and What To Eat, by Marion Nestle. In the first book, the author and her family decide to eat only locally grown foods (preferably grown by themselves) for an entire year. The author discusses the ramifications of food transportation, both in terms of the impact on our health and the impact on our environment. And in the second book, the author examines every aspect of our food -- suppliers, marketers, growers -- and I don't know what else to say at this point, cuz I'm only a few chapters into this book.

Another food-related note is that I'm trying to convince Austin to attend a cooking class with me. It's called "From Farm to Table" and here's the description:

Join Jeanette Nuss, author of Bistro Cooking with Jeanette, for a delightful day at Twin Brooks Farm in Loomis. Participants will meet at the farm, pick what is in season, walk up to the farmhouse, and make and enjoy a wonderful lunch together.

It's designed for parents and kids and I think it sounds like so much fun. Tucker's already turned me down, and Austin's concerned that at age 13 he'll be the oldest kid there (which he doesn't like), so I'm going to call and find out about the demographics. I'm bummed, though, because I SO want to do this. And to make it even tougher, I have a friend whose 13-year-old daughter came to train with her last week (my first experience with training two people at once -- super fun). Her daughter just loves spending time with her mom, and right now both of my sons are in the "my friends are my priority" frame of mind. Wish I had a thicker skin, because seeing my friend and her daughter makes the cooking class thing a little harder to take. (Yes, I know if I offered to take them to a skate park or a video arcade, they'd be more likely to say yes. Maybe I just need to rent a kid to go to the class!)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Catching up

Mike Update
Hugs to everyone who is praying for Mike. He's a super stubborn guy who pulled out his ventilator tube on Thursday night (! -- Cheryl was told there was about a 10% chance he would ever be able to come off the ventilator!), and is now on pure oxygen via a face mask. Mike was born with Cystic Fibrosis at a time when most CF people lived till their late teens/early 20s. So he's defied the odds by making it to 50. His health has gone downhill in the last 3 years or so, but his stubbornness has worked well for him. A few months back he was told that his lung function was so low that he qualified to get onto the transplant list. Yeah, this is the guy who NEVER misses a day of work! So his condition is still very serious and day-to-day, but he's moving in the right direction.

Tracy made me smile when she asked if I ever took a bad picture. Of course I do, but I get to post the ones I want to! I love that Tracy posts videos of her workouts. If I did the same, you'd see some not so great looks, for sure. Interestingly, I feel like I look my very best when I am working out. And if I can ever get my scanner to work, I might post a picture of me when I was 24, right before I got sober. In it, I'm fat, drunk, and smoking. Wow how things can change in a couple of decades, huh?

Unusual Weekend
Tim and Tucker left yesterday afternoon for the annual dads & kids camping trip, and I pick Austin up in Davis today in the early afternoon. So I have 24 hours of nobody but me here. What luxury! Yesterday I took a nap, did an hour run/walk (hamstring was bugging me, or there would have been lots more running) and some park play exercises. It was really hot at 4:00 when I was out doing this, so when I got home I immediately dove into the pool to try to cool down. It helped a little, but it was hard to get back to normal body temps as I was getting ready to meet some girlfriends at Crush 29 (the new hot spot in town) for dinner. Had a great time at dinner, and was home by 8:00 to watch "The Devil Wears Prada", a movie I've had for months but have never taken the time to watch. It was fun!

Today I'm going to Bikram Yoga with a girlfriend, and then it will be time to get Austin.

Movie recommendation
Has anyone seen "The Man in the Moon", Reese Witherspoon's first movie? I saw it years ago when it first came out, and I remember thinking, "I don't know who that girl is, but she's fantastic!" I think what I love best about the movie is that it very accurately depicts how hard it is to be 14 and poised between childhood and adulthood. If you're looking for a movie, you might want to check this out out.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Random thoughts

So it's time to get serious about food choices. Remember how I said I only gained a pound from the DC/NY vacation? Well, I've discovered that if you continue to eat indulgently through 4th of July, then through a heatwave, then with more travels, 1 pound will turn into 4, and 4 pounds is enough for me to feel like there's me and then there's a layer of not-me on top. So I'm sticking to lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and reducing the carbs. I think this is in line with Susan Sarandon's thoughts on staying in shape as time goes on -- she believes in lots of sex and limited carbs, which she says works lots better than the opposite!

I was wearing my Abercrombie sweatshirt on the plane to DC, and got my reading glasses out to dig into "Dinner With Dad". It occured to me that Abercrombie and reading glasses don't exactly go together and that made me laugh and enjoy the contrast all the more.

I really am cooking more. "Dinner With Dad" is an excellent book about a father who decides he's going to be more involved with his family by cooking dinners. I felt convicted and encouraged by what I read, and that's translated into some positive actions. For example, I'm not ok with cooking dinner then having my family scatter to leave me with the cleanup. So now I speak up, and they are more than willing to help. Also I've decided that I'm not going for restaurant quality with every meal. (That standard is what led to me just giving up on cooking alltogether!) But not everyone will like every single meal, and that's ok too. Last night we had Orzo Primavera, with shredded zucchini and carrots, and fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes.

I wish I could remember that the first couple of bites are ALWAYS the best ones, and that it's not necessary to eat the entire thing. This came up in Georgetown, when I ate my own dessert, and finished off two others and felt SICK afterwards. It came up again this last weekend when we went to see Ratatouille (a fantastic movie, incidentally) in Santa Cruz. My brother-in-law got me a bittersweet chocolate truffle from a specialty chocolate store, and this truffle was as big as my fist, so I'm pretty sure it's not designed as a dessert for just one person. But I sure did finish the entire thing off, again feeling really icky afterwards. Take away thought: the first few bites are always the best!

I've spent quite a few hours at the hospital this week. My girlfriend, who I've known since we went through sorority rush in college, is really frightened because her husband is in the ICU and his lungs and his heart are not working right. Yesterday she was told to bring their daughters (ages 14 and 11) to see their dad, and to tell any family members to come if they want to see Mike again. Seeing him with a respirator and tubes and monitors, and knowing that we'd celebrated 4th of July at our house just last week -- well, it's pretty sobering. If you are not a praying person, just take a moment to be grateful for your health, because without it, truly nothing else seems all that important. And if you are a praying person, would you please say a prayer for Mike?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Finally the pictures

I couldn't believe Tim and the kids wanted me to have my picture taken with this guy!

I SWEAR I did not place my hand on his ass voluntarily -- I promise!

Looking back on the whole thing, the Naked Cowboy is a very kind man (who made sure to caution people not to step off the island, because drivers in NY are crazy), and I'm happy to have these crazy pictures.

P.S. Don't tell NC, but Tim has a better butt!

The Naked Cowboy...

...is a really fascinating man. Click here to find out more about him. I did not know how driven he is or anything about his life goals when I was grabbing his butt (he made me do it!) or when he was kissing my hair.

NC hangs out in the middle of the street on an island in Times Square. He's a guy who's naked (except for his tighty whitie underwear) and he plays the guitar. We were watching him as we were waiting to cross the street and he was taking pictures with tourists. It was a crackup to see how comfortable he is with his near-naked state. Tim and the kids encouraged me to get a picture with him. I figured I'd stand next to him and smile, but he grabbed my hand and put it on his (naked, what a surprise!) chest and started kissing my hair. Then he said, "Well, now we need a shot of the other side," quickly turned around, grabbed my hand, and put it on his butt. Tim got the picture, and as I was thanking him, he exclaimed (loudly) "Next time darling, not so rough, ok?!"

I just switched computers from a PC to a MacBook, which is part of the reason blogging has been sporadic. And I can't seem to grab a picture from Tim's computer (where they're stored) right now. So not as a cliffhanger, but due to some technical difficulties (my lack of expertise with all things computer) the pictures will have to wait for another day.

Tabata everything

Yesterday was my first day back to exercise in what feels like forever! In the morning I ran for 30 minutes and did some lunge walks to break things up. Later I saw a Crossfit workout from a few days ago where they did Tabata sets of several different exercises. For those not familiar with Tabata, it's 20 seconds of work then 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times. And you can "score" your Tabata sets by counting your reps in each set. Your score is your lowest number. So there's a bit of strategy to Tabata, in that you want to go as fast as you can, while making sure you have enough energy to complete the sets.

When I think about 4 total minutes of exercise, with rest periods, it doesn't sound difficult. But if you've tried it, you know it is HARD!!! Last night I did these exercises in the Tabata fashion:

high pulls, 15 pound dumbbells
bodyweight squats
kettlebell swings, 12 kg kettlebell
ball crunches

The only set where I counted reps was in squats. I LOVE tabata squats. Don't you always love things that make you feel capable? My score was 23, and my reps were 23-23-23-23-24-23-24-24. The pushups, on the other hand, were a joke. By that time my whole body was just fried. I did the pushups from my knees (I usually do boy pushups) and halfway through the 4th interval my arms simply quit workng. The next time I do this workout (yes, there will be a next time!) I won't bang out 13 pushups in my first set, and see if maybe that way I have some strength left to complete the sets.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Almost back to normal

I think that next week I'll be back on track with exercise, nutrition, and writing. This week has been a blur of jet lag, preparing for our 4th of July party (we had 50 people here for BBQ and fireworks -- super fun!), recovery from party, and preparing to leave again, but this time just for the weekend. In just a few minutes, the kids and I are driving down to Santa Cruz. My sister and her family live there, and we're spending the night with them and my sister from LA. Tomorrow I take Austin up to Stanford for a week long gymnastics camp. Tucker will be staying in Santa Cruz for a few days. And I'm meeting Tim in the city for a 24-hour just the two of us getaway!!!

Talk to you next week!

Sunday, July 01, 2007


What a fun vacation, and oh how tired I am. I'm using this weblog as a form of procrastination, because once I'm done writing, I going to workout. Normally I enjoy workouts, to one degree or another. Right now a long nap sounds best, though.

So here are a few pictures, as a way to stall the workout for a few more minutes.

The view from our hotel in New York

Me, Austin, & Tucker in Times Square

The four of us at the Air & Space museum in DC

Austin and Tucker at the Rockefeller Center museum

The four of us at Top of the Rock -- breathtaking views

We saw Spamalot on Broadway

Tim's birthday coincided with the release date for the iPhone

The birthday boy with his gifts, all obtained from hotel gift shop or from NY street vendors. It was lots of fun putting this together!

Ok, time for me and my kettlebells to do some work. Incidentally, we ate everything in sight while in New York, but somehow I managed to come home with only 1 extra pound. A few times when Tim and the kids chose treats (fried potato pancakes with applesauce at Juniors, hot dogs from a street vendor), I made healthier choices (hummus and veggies, which I was unfairly teased about) or skipped the snack. But I definitely had my share of desserts, and even got a dark chocolate and almond See's candy bar at the SF airport last night -- yum!

When I write next, I'll be sure to tell you about my encounter with the Naked Cowboy. (See, now you have to check back, right???)