Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes

1) I can't believe that the week of 7 posts in 7 days is almost over!  Thanks so much to all of you that are hanging in there and reading, because it makes this challenge so much more fun.  I'm a little behind in my reading right now, but I guarantee that I will get caught up, and it makes me so happy to have fun reading to look forward to this weekend. I may only have one day to go, I haven't decided yet.  I could count the fact that I posted last Sunday, or I could call Sunday kind an announcement post, and finish this Sunday with everyone else.  It depends on whether I have something to say or not, I guess.

2) There is something to be said for routine in working out.  This morning, I was kind of tired and sore from my workout and massage yesterday (yeah, I know I have a rough life) and I thought about staying home.  Problem is, I was already up and dressed before the thought occurred to me and I was wide awake, so I figured I might as well go work out.  Now, there are times where my body is just tired and I do listen to it and take days off when it's like that.  But today it was more of a "I don't want to", but of course I feel great now that I went and pushed myself.  Though my legs are still kind of tired and sore.

3) Y'all, it's weekend. I'm excited. You? I'm hoping for some more skate skiing.  I am starting to hit a bit of a rhythm and you can move on skate skis.  I always felt like I was standing still when the skate skiers would pass me while I was on classic skis, but I thought part of that was their skill.  It is, but part of it is also the technique.  Can't wait to practice some more!  (Skate skiing and classic skiing are both types of cross country skiing.  I didn't watch the Olympics this year, but it sounds like the majority of what people were seeing with cross country was skate skiing.)

4) I can't believe it's the last weekend before Lent!  I really am ready and looking forward to it, but I've gotten accustomed to Ordinary Time, and it's kind of throwing me off a bit.  In a good way.  Maybe it'll make Lent a little more noticeable and less routine this year.

5) Speaking of things throwing me off, there's so much light outside!  I love it!  I am not looking forward to the time change in the way that it messes me up, but I am SO looking forward to light in the evenings.

6) Did I mention that I'm glad it's Friday?  Good, because it is essential that that is well established.

7) This was one of the runners up for fence photos yesterday.  I love it, too.

Have a wonderful weekend and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Ugh.  Ugh, ugh, ugh.  I am trying to shake off the truly awful movie that I just watched.  I didn't want to watch it when it came out, but that was years ago and I forgot why I didn't want to see it.  Then a coworker loaned it to me and was SO excited for me to see it (partly because of the gorgeous settings).  So, I watched.  It was dark, and depressing, and awful.  The only thing I liked about it was the scenery and the ending.  The ending was awful, too, but it meant that the thing was finally freaking over. But this coworker really likes it, and will want to talk about it tomorrow.  It's going to be pretty obvious that I hated it. I'm not good at hiding my feelings.

But I didn't come here to talk about that.  I came here because it's Thursday, and I'm still trying to do seven posts this week, and I have a picture of a fence, so I thought I'd join Theme Thursday.  Actually, I have several pictures with fences in them, but I chose this one.  Because I like it.

It was taken a couple of years ago on a trip to Santa Fe. I don't have much to say about it, I just liked it.

I would love to write more, but I need to go.  I have a goal of making it to confession before Lent starts... Which basically means that today is my last chance.  I also need to pick up some gluten free pizza crust, because I am craving some pizza.

Is anyone else ready for weekend?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lenten Preparations

Lent is starting so late this year, that I've almost forgotten that we even need to worry about it.  I'm getting to that point when I really think that I am ready for it.  Lent and spin class; two things that are really kind of difficult to go through, but yet you look forward to it in a way because it makes you stronger to suffer a little bit.

There was a time when it came to planning my Lent that I would just look at all of the things that "I" was going to do for Lent. I think I've come to realize that it's really more about asking God what He would like me to give Him for Lent, because Lent is really more about what God is going to do for me than what I am going to do for Him.  Some years, I've felt called to give up things that felt like a huge sacrifice; things that I really felt like I needed for one reason or another, but He was asking me to step out to see that I needed Him more than I needed those things.  Other years, I've felt like I wasn't giving up much at all, but sometimes that's when He's asking me to see that Lent is not so much about sacrifices as it is about Him (because believe me, I could make it all about the sacrifices).  Each year is different, and each person is different and the work that He is completing in us is different at that time.

Like many years, I think I'm going to give up TV, at least during the week.  I don't think TV is bad in and of itself, but I think that it can become a lot of noise.  I always think that giving up some sort of food is a great thing for Lent.  I've said it here many times before, but while some may scoff at the idea that giving up something like chocolate can help you grow closer to God, I think that any time we say, "God, you are more important to me than food", even in a small way, it means something and makes us more aware of Him.

If you are still trying to figure out what to do for Lent, I do have a suggestion.  One thing that is near and dear to my heart is the idea that we need rest.  When I talk to people about it, I find that most people are almost afraid to rest.  It's like we have so much to do and we are afraid that the world will fall apart if we don't get it all done.  For example, not working on Sunday is HUGE.  I don't just mean not going to a job, but also not doing the endless projects around the house.  I know that a lot of people just don't think that they can survive with one less day to do things.  I think it's an opportunity to trust God to be in control, and that He's got it so it won't all fall apart if you give it to Him for one day.  If you dare, think about giving up your time to Him.  Use Sunday as a day to go to church, be with your family, and be at rest.  Nothing but necessary things like meal prep and dishes.  If you've never done it before, you will be amazed at how giving up your time and control to God will impact your life.

Finally, I hope the other day that I didn't give the impression that I thought that it was a bad idea to give up blogging for Lent (or for any other season of your life where you might need a break).  I think that it can be a really fruitful thing, and I think that some people are called to it at certain times. I don't think that I'm called to it this Lent, but I really respect when He asks that of some people and they are willing to be obedient to that.

Other than that, I'd love to go to Stations regularly this year, but I'm not going to hold my breath.  Not only is it difficult to drag myself out of the house once I get home from work, but also the incense they use at my church for Stations does a number on my asthma.  I love incense, and I hate that minor concerns like breathing have to play a role in my decision of what to do for Lent!  I also need to try to make it to confession a couple of times in Lent.  I have been so bad since I've gotten out here.  I miss having a priest that was a true confessor in the best sense of the term.  But it's just an excuse.  Absolution has the same power everywhere.

One week; get ready!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

7 in 7: Tuesday Stream of Consciousness

I am LOVING 7 in 7 right now.  Why?  Well, I wish I could say that it's because I have all this great stuff to say and this is finally letting me get it all out.  Or that it's because I am really loving all the new content on all the great blogs right now (actually, that is true).  But the real reason is because I'm sitting here with a long list of things that I should be doing (mostly laundry, dishes and paperwork related), but instead I'm blogging because I HAVE to, you know.  Because I said I would and I committed to it and I can't NOT blog.  I need this excuse more often.  (No, I don't, but I would like it more often.)

Due to someone leaving work suddenly, I had to be at work early yesterday.  This meant that I had to leave spin class a few minutes early.  Now granted, I often have to leave spin class a few minutes early in order to go to work, but this time was different.  When I left work Friday night, I wasn't scheduled until 8, so I was really excited that I could stay for the whole class.  There is just something about that last 5 minutes and I really hate starting my cool down while everyone else is gutting it out.  I want to gut it out, too!  Anyway, typically after things are done Friday, nothing new gets added, so I was celebrating a slightly later start and that I could stay for every last minute of class, and that was taken away on Sunday due to the unusual circumstances.

Man, then spin class happened.  We did three 12 minute blocks at 100 rpms (I hate everything over 90), and we started in the anaerobic zone for 2 minutes, then backed off a tiny bit for 4 minutes, then a tiny bit more for 6 minutes.  You know the worst part? That 6 minutes.  Even though it's the easiest level that you do, you're still doing it at a hard level AND IT NEVER ENDS.  Well, maybe it did eventually.  I'm not still on the bike, after all, so it must've ended. But it feels like it will never end.  The upshot of all of this is that the very last block came right into the time that I had to start cooling down so I could get to work.  I didn't have time for that last 6 minutes.  Which is awesome, because I thought I might die if I had to do the whole 6 minutes! (Of course, it would have also felt amazing to finish that 6 minutes when it was over, but I since had to leave, I might as well be happy about less torture.)  I still was late enough that I had to literally run out of class.  Do you know how much fun that is to do when your legs are jello? Anyway, not thankful for all the reasons, but that is one of the few times that I have been happy for a reason to leave class early.

The other thing about the workout today?  That chocolate milk I had definitely had me going for the inhaler and STILL not breathing well enough to hit my normal intensities.  Stupid dairy.  Stupid digestive tract that can't handle the dairy. I don't miss it much, but I would like to be able to have a little sometimes.

Work was... interesting.  The good news is that I work with some awesome people, and even though I was sad that one such awesome person left, the response of everyone highlighted their awesomeness.  It was not nearly as chaotic as I expected.  As far as I know.  I have learned that I never know what's going on.  If there's drama, I don't know about it until way after the fact.  I'm in my office trying to get some people to feel a little better.  Also a good discovery about this is that our rumor mill at the office is broken, or never really started or something.  We just don't have a rumor mill.  Not that we never talk about stuff, but it's just not a constant ongoing thing, and it's pretty limited.  How many places can say that?  (Hint, I used to think the answer was "zero places".)

With finding out about all of this over the weekend, I was feeling unsettled, and left trying to find solid ground a little bit.  Luckily, I had Adoration to go to, and there is no solid ground like Adoration.  And I got a chance to talk to my sister, which was wonderful.  We were both struggling with some similar things, and it was just lovely to talk to someone who gets it.  It had been a while and I needed that chance to catch up and just talk.

Can't think of anything else right now.  I really want to make it to Mass, which means I need to get my butt in the shower.  Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, February 24, 2014


My brother texted me the other day to ask if I was anywhere close to all the avalanches.  There was something about the text that made me realize that he didn't get it.  The avalanches are everywhere.  If the slope angle and conditions are right, the snow could run.  It was funny to me, because I realized that he doesn't usually think about avalanches unless they are being especially deadly and making it to the news.  Then it was even funnier to realize that a few short years ago, I never thought about them either.
I remember one of the first outdoor classes that I took here, and they started talking about avalanches and "terrain traps" and I got totally overwhelmed.

Now, it's a part of life.  It is a part of my weekend planning.  Am I going in the backcountry? Depends on what the avy danger is (and I know how to read an avy rose on the website).  Honestly, I don't know enough to risk the backcountry most weeks when avy danger is high, so I pick an area that is not prone to slide and usually is not in the backcountry.  If I do go to the backcountry, I always go with someone and we all have beacons, probes and shovels.

I have never seen an avalanche slide, and while I wouldn't mind seeing one someday, I'd like for it to be on a distant and vacant slope, thankyouverymuch.  It is fun to look for old slides along the drive to wherever you are going, see how deep the crown (top where the snow breaks off) is, whether it is fresh or several weeks old.

Like anything, you have to respect the forces of nature, but it doesn't mean you can't go play in the snow.  As for me for right now, I'll be sticking to my groomed trails on terrain that is well under 40 degrees (the optimal slope to slide is 37 degrees) and I'll listen to the distant boom of the avalanche blasting at the ski resorts, and that's as close as I'll get. Somehow, there is something about it all that makes me love the mountains even more.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

7 in 7?! And Some Other Stuff, Mostly about Food

7 day blog challenge 7 posts, 7 days

I don't know why, but I'm going to do it.  Seven posts in seven days (so, Stephanie, this means you're up, too, right?).  You're welcome or I'm sorry, whichever you prefer.  However, the way my week looks, I think I'd better start a day early.  For one thing, I know I have time today to get a post up.  For another, as soon as I linked up, I got intimidated and thought that if I got 1/7 done, then maybe I wouldn't be AS intimidated.  Umm, is there something about linking up for this that dictates that life is going to make it impossible?  Because I also JUST found out that we going to be short staffed next week and I'm going to be insanely busy all week at work... Which means that I won't have time to do paperwork while I'm there and then will come home to several hours of paperwork after long days.  Don't worry, I can give you the daily blow by blow since I'll be posting all week!

No, I promise that I have other things that may not be that exciting, but I really won't complain all week about paperwork (though I reserve the right for a couple of occasional gripes).

Mmm, so I have food on the brain right now.  (And in the belly, so that's always nice.)  I made an Italian chicken sausage hash last night that was surprisingly amazing.  It has sweet potatoes, apples, a sweet onion and spinach in it.  I wasn't sure about the combo, but I really enjoyed it.  The leftovers should get me through the first couple of weeks.  I also made pad Thai today. From a box, so it's kind of cheating, but I'm in peanut, lime, and cilantro heaven today. And I started the day with the avocado and egg, but this time I had bacon and chives to add to it.  Fantastic!  I had to laugh, though, because all of the pictures I've seen on the internet have a couple of decorous and decorative bacon bits scattered on their food.  I had a bacon and chive pile on top of each avocado half.  Delicious!  And some actual chocolate milk (not dairy substitute) to wash it all down with.  I haven't had dairy in a while, so we'll see what this does to the asthma tomorrow.

And I wonder why I'm hitting the upper end of my 5 pound range lately...

Seriously, though, what is it with weight maintenance?  It's kind of hard.  For a while, I was dropping below my range, and now I'm threatening to burst out the top.  This is only a couple of pounds difference, and so a lot of this is normal fluctuation.  But you know what's weird?  Even though I absolutely know that I'm in a good spot and that I don't want to get too low and that fluctuation means that the scale will go up and down at various times, I still get a little dejected when it goes up.  So silly, but oh, so ingrained.

I have more I could talk about, but I really want a nap.  Plus, I have 6 other posts to write this week!  Looking forward to lots of fun reading this week, even if I don't have a ton of time to read.  I'll get them all read eventually, I always do.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, February 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) Hmm, I'm seriously considering the 7 posts in 7 days thing.  I don't know.  I do know that I really enjoyed it the last time around.  It was a lot of fun reading from some of my favorite blogs.  But I enjoyed NOT being one of the post-ers.  This time, I feel like I have things to write about, even if they are no different than anything else that I ever write about, and I always feel like people get burned out from hearing from me too much. (Right. Because people really think about that.  We only ever think it of ourselves!)  I don't know.  I guess I have a couple days to decide.  Any one else in?  I'll be sure to read all your posts if you tell me that you're in!

2) Normally, my Thursdays are all run, run, run.  It's my day off, and as I work LONG days Monday through Wednesday and I have to prepare for Saturday on Friday night, it's my only day to run errands, do appointments, cook food, etc.  This Thursday, not so much.  I couldn't get myself in gear in the morning, I skipped my usual hike, and I did blogging and such.  I was just tired, y'all.  I had several errands that I flat out skipped, which I mostly didn't feel bad about, though I really should have gone to confession.  On the other hand, sometimes you just need to not run. It's a nice change of pace, and the rest should set me up (hopefully) for a good workout tomorrow and fun times cross country skiing on Saturday!

3) I really hope it's not too warm Saturday.  Don't hate me for saying that!  It's just that I love the cross country skiing, and when the snow starts to melt on top, your kick and glide becomes more of a kick and stick.  I have no problem if it's warm and lovely where you are, but I want it to be cold and lovely in the mountains.  Fair?

4) Can I spend some time on a couple of my pet peeves with blogging?  (Why, thank you, I think I will now that you've given me permission.)  One is the one where there is the big announcement about stepping away from blogging in order to foster those "real" relationships in their lives.  Don't get me wrong.  I think there are times and seasons where it is a good and healthy thing to step away from blogging for a time or altogether.  I also think that there are many things in life that should have priority over blogging.  But when you start to talk on some level about how unimportant blogging is, or how those virtual relationships are not so important, please remember that most of the people reading are bloggers who have probably enjoyed sharing a small part of your life, and who really treasure some of the relationships that they have from being online. I always feel like my life and my time to blog has been a bit belittled when I read stuff like that, even though I know that is NOT what the writer intended to say AT ALL.

5) This has been a PSA to all those who intend not to blog for Lent.  Again, I think that may be exactly the right decision for you and I applaud you.  But can we please keep the announcements to why you need this right now and not discuss how blogging as a whole takes away from "the important things in life"?  'Cuz sweeping statements about blogging and bloggers includes me, and then I make it about me, even though you intended it to be about you.

6) My other HUGE pet peeve is the whole "phase" and "faze" thing.  A "phase" is a "distinct period or stage in a process or in life".  "Faze" means to "disturb or disconcert (someone)."  So please stop saying "it didn't phase me" (oh, man, I tensed up just writing it that way!  Argh!) when what you mean is it didn't "faze" you.

I will understand if you now feel an urge to write about how annoying grammar nazis are.  I don't blame you in the slightest. (And if you want to write about the annoying overuse of parentheses, commas, and ellipses, then I can supply all sorts of shining examples of what not to do from the archives... Though I have helpfully included all in this one post so you don't even have to search too hard.)

Trails and trees and snow, sweet! Hope we get to ski for hours this weekend!

Have a WONDERFUL weekend, and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Spot of Tea

I have a new obsession.  I admit, it's simmered down a bit in the last month or so, but I still love the idea of it, even when I don't get around to making it.


Yep.  I know everyone else in the whole world has already figured out tea by now, but I am slow.  (I was 3 years behind the times with Downton, and now I don't care enough to watch the newest season.  I just read the first two books of the Hunger Games trilogy last week.  I've never read Harry Potter.  Need I go on?)

I got this sudden urge to drink tea in November or December.  Someone had given me a couple bags of tea, and they were quite nice.  A hot drink to warm me up after a cold hike with none of the calories and dairy of hot chocolate and none of caffeine and disgustingness of coffee. (Sorry, I know that there are a lot of you that love coffee; it's an acquired taste that I don't care to acquire.)  Well, obviously I buy caffeine free herbal teas; I know that you can get plenty of tea with caffeine if you so desire and choose.

I have an acquired distaste for using the microwave, so when my mom was begging me for ideas of what to get for Christmas, I told her a teapot. I figured I'd try to cultivate this tea thing.  She obliged and found the cutest little teapot ever.

Okay, so it IS a small pot and a large mug, but the angle does skew things a bit.  Also my favorite oversized snowman mug is a dish, right? Right.  So I actually have something to link up for Theme Thursday! Sweet!

There are a lot of things I like about drinking tea.  The warmth of it on a cold day.  That's the biggest and what started the whole thing.  I like that it takes some time to warm up the water on the stove and then wait for it to steep.  I like watching the swirling steam and breathing the fragrance of it (I also like sparkles; it takes very little.  Ooh! And bubbles!) Funny enough, the thing that I am most ambiguous about is drinking the tea.  I mean, I like it, or I wouldn't drink it, but somehow it is still just a drink, while making it is an experience.

Okay, I just realized that's kind of weird.  This is why I have a blog, so I can type out my feelings until I realize that I'm a little strange. Have a great Thursday!  (Thursday is one of the best days ever, right?  It is, because you get to anticipate that the next day is Friday, but you haven't yet used up any of your weekend time.  That's the worst part about a weekend; even while you are enjoying it, it is slipping away from you.  I am also biased because I have Thursdays off. I should be doing stuff right now, but it's really lovely to decide to ignore that stuff just because it's my day off and I'm tired.)

Friday, February 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) Happy Valentine's Day!

2) What is it about computers or cars that makes us stupid and aggressive?  Seriously, I see people being really aggressive in cars and I know that if I am going to lose my temper in a day, it will be with that idiot driver that did something I didn't like.  I guess the degree of separation of a machine between us and a person makes it easier not to see the person.  Instead of a person we see that annoying behavior on the road, or that obstacle to getting to where I want to go (pick it up, or I'll have to wait one more time through the light and IT WILL RUIN MY DAY! WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!)  And on the computer, you don't see a person so much as an opinion, and it's often WRONG.

Really?  The extra couple of minutes at the light is not going to make or break my day, and if it is, I need to realize the problem is not them, it's me.  Apparently, I should have left sooner.  That person on the computer probably can't communicate the full nuances of their opinions in that one short piece that they wrote (and if they had made it longer, I wouldn't have read it, because who has the time attention span for that.)  Further, maybe instead of focusing on where they're wrong, I could give them the respect of trying to really "hear" what they're saying.  Not that I'll agree with them in the end, but maybe that gain deeper understanding and respect for a fellow human being.

Just saying.  I need to work on seeing the dignity of the person, even if I can't physically see the person because of the machine in the way. (This PSA brought to you by me yelling at someone who had cut me off and realizing that if I wasn't in my car, I would never do such a thing; and likely, they wouldn't have either.)

3) The other day there was a dusting of snow on the ground.  Because it was cold (in the teens, for those of you questioning whether it was truly cold or just cold for a person that doesn't know what cold is), the snow was the airiest fluff snow you can see, the kind that a breath will blow away.  But the best part is, it was SPARKLY.  How can you not be happy when everything sparkles?  Even when it was only dressing up the old snow that had already been sitting on the ground, it was pretty.  Here's how my walk went:

Oooh, sparkly!  Oh, look at that, the light's making that all different colors! (turn a corner) Man, that slightest breeze makes it COLD... Oooh, look at the sparkles! (after waiting for a "walk" sign to cross the street)  Holy crap!  That car just about ran me over, despite my being in a cross walk and having a "walk" sign!... Wow, that yard's really sparkly, too.

Apparently, sparkles are even better distractions than squirrels.  Though squirrels can be pretty cute, too.

4) My coworker laughed at me when I told her the sparkles made me happy.  I didn't care.  Laugh because I'm easy to please if you want.  I still get to enjoy life, and laughter is good for you.

5) Okay, a couple of weeks ago I told you about the dress that I bought, even though I have nothing to wear it to.  I was going to post it earlier, but obviously did not.  All I have is a crappy, blurry photo, but let me know what you think.  And the boots, yea or nay?  Clearly, I could use some tights to make it less "hello, brief chopped up patch of white legs", but other than that.  Can I wear it with boots? Because I'm certainly not wearing it with any other shoes until a good few months from now.

6) I'm sure that many of you have seen the egg baked in an avocado thing.  Umm, I love it. I don't do that much to dress it up like some people do, but it has been my breakfast a couple of mornings this week, and can I just say that it has been lovely to feel full and stay full for several hours?  I was telling someone about this and they asked what I did with the "other half" of the avocado to keep it from going bad.  Uh, there is no "other half".  I eat them both. Two eggs and a whole avocado is my breakfast. But it's easy and it tastes good (though it's not the most amazing tasting thing in the world... but it probably would be if I added the bacon sprinkles that I saw in one recipe) and it actually fills me up.  So there you go.

7) Have a wonderful weekend and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

(Or Makes It Easier to Finish You Off the Next Time)

As threatened promised, here is how spin class went down on Friday.  I'm going to tell you up front that my "revelation" on the bike was really just a reminder, but it seemed like brand new information at the time based on how I was feeling that day.  I'm warning you now, so you won't read the whole post and then wish you could get your time back for something you most likely already knew.

First of all, I was still in a bad mood when I got there. If anything, the realization that I was being a little ridiculous was annoying me more.  Further, while there was a part of me that wanted to not whine and complain, there was another part of me that wanted someone to acknowledge that it was a big deal that I made it out of bed to get there (not that it was that big of a deal, but since when did emotion EVER listen to logic?) The worst part was that at various times I kept having to fight tears (so stupid, but what can I say? The hormones hit harder this month than normal).  I don't even remember the proximal causes to why I was being like that, I just know I was feeling like a real moron.  Plus, if anyone asked what was wrong, can you imagine trying to explain that? "Nothing" and "Everything" both seemed like legit responses.

So there's where I am in my head, and I'm on the bike mostly keeping my mouth shut instead of my normal chatting with people before class starts.  I didn't want to leak all the negativity everywhere.  Then class starts, and the instructor announces that we're going to do speed work All. Class. Long.  Not even joking, that's probably one of the times that I cried.  Speed work is one of the hardest things for me, but it's usually one block (12-15 minutes) or one set of intervals.  Even then, it's tough, but the whole hour?  I was really kicking myself for not staying in bed.  If we were slower paces with heavy resistance and I was feeling like it was too much, I could back off the resistance, but you can't back off speed work without everyone knowing that you're slacking off.  You can only decrease the load so much before you lose control, so you have to keep at least some resistance with your speed. There would be no half-a$$ing it on a day that I felt like the phrase "half-a$$ed slacker" was the very definition of me (well, we'd clearly also have to add "hot mess" to the definition to get the full picture).  Therefore, the workout sounded impossible before it even began.

Sure enough, it was an impossible workout.  I'm pretty sure that there were a couple of songs in there that I was crying because I felt like I couldn't possibly go on because everything was burning and the pace plus the load felt impossible to maintain for that long.  This lasted the first 20-30 minutes of class, and I spent the entire time convinced that I couldn't do this.

Then I think my ODD* kicked in. Usually it takes someone else to flip me into defiance mode, but then again, the emotions did kind of feel like someone else.  All I know is that somewhere inside there was a voice that said "Oh, really? You can't do this? Ha! Not only can you keep going, you will push a little harder."  There was another a little turning point where we got one block done and we got a little break, and the instructor said "Ow" in the same kind of tone (kinda whiny) that I was thinking it.  I don't know, it was something about the acknowledgement that what we were doing was hard, and it wasn't just me, and it wasn't just this impossible day.  As I started to make that decision to push my limits a little more, I started to become more focused and less "hot mess".  By 40 minutes into class, I was starting to feel really good.  Maybe the endorphins were kicking in?  Whatever.  All I know is that the bad attitude that I couldn't get rid of was gone, and the workout that I couldn't do, I was doing.

My revelation for the day came in the midst of one of those never ending songs.  Possibly about where we transitioned from one song to another that was the EXACT same pace as the previous song, so absolutely nothing changed about our ride for those 7-8 minutes, except for the periodic "add a gear".  Spin class is always hard, but usually there are phases.  You may do some speed with a certain amount of load, but then you may slow down and do a "hill", which means your load is higher even while your speed is slower, but it still works your muscles differently.  Also, at lower speeds, you may stand part of the time and sit part of the time.  But constant speed without changing things was MUCH tougher. Suddenly, life made a little more sense in that dealing with this same thing for so long was tough, especially when nothing is changing.  I don't know, I guess since I've been dealing with it for so long, sometimes I just think I should know how to deal with it and stopped getting tripped up all the time.  I needed that reminder that it's hard and in some ways it does get harder to deal with as you keep pushing through and everything's tired.  But it also gets easier as we get stronger in other ways, just like working out.

The revelation that I came to after that stretch was, "I survived it."  I held the pace and made it through, no matter how crappy it felt.  I am not convinced that my so-called period of "waiting" is ever going to end, but like the impossible workout, it may be possible to survive it and make it through.  Granted, my subtitle for this post tells you how I really feel sometimes while trying to survive, but nonetheless.  I'm sure my muscles will get stronger from the impossible workout, but I know I was stronger after that workout was done.

I guess this is a lot of words to say, chin up and all that stuff.  It does feel impossible, and it is sort of impossible in some ways, but we're not alone.  It doesn't matter what you're going through, sticking with it and continuing on is TOUGH, whether that's dealing with another Valentine's day as a single, or another CD 1 in dealing with IF (at least Valentine's day isn't every month!) breaking up a thousand never ending toddler fights, dealing with chronic pain that won't give you a break, or whatever you are going through right now that you just don't think you can do for another minute of another day. Really, we will all survive!  And if it doesn't kill us, it will make us stronger... Or easier to finish off the next time. ;)  It's a joke, people.

There is one other thing that I'm thinking here.  Our breaks on that workout were few and far between, but they were there and they were desperately needed.  I am glad that a lot of mothers are getting a chance to go to the Edel Gathering that has so many excited.  It sounds like a blast and there will be a lot of people there that I would love to meet, but their focus is not going to be something that would really fit for me at all at this stage of my life.  Which is why I am SO looking forward to a break in the Waiting Well Weekend that Donna has so graciously taken on organizing.  We all need that time where we can breathe for a minute and be with someone that gets it. Praying that whatever you're going through, you get a breather and a realization that you're not alone and that you will survive!

*As I've mentioned before, my sister likes to joke that I have Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which basically means if you tell me that I have to or can't do something, I will do the opposite because it's like a switch flips and I'm going to show you what I have to or can't do, and it ain't what you just said.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A New Week Begins

My friends, thank you so much for praying for me, and thank you for sharing your stories and letting me know that I am NOT alone in all of this, no matter how much it feels like it sometimes. It really helped, and Friday was interesting.  Externally, nothing big happened, but it was kind big in a way for me.

I woke up on Friday, and I was still kind of in a mood from Thursday night. When I rolled over, I realized that I had slept on my neck wrong and it was hurting, which was frustrating, and I immediately began thinking about what a long day it would be with my neck hurting while I tried to treat a full day of patients, and how things usually feel worse at the end of the day, so I had that to look forward to.  Then I started thinking about how I had no plans for the weekend, and it was looking very much like I was going to have a second one of THOSE weekends in a row. Then I got on the scale as I do every morning, and it was up a good pound, which annoyed the snot out of me (not hard to do in those moods).  I was in full crabbiness mode by this point and I was pretty sure the only thing to do about this stupid day while facing this stupid weekend was to get back in bed, skip my workout, and get up at the last possible minute in order to get to work.

But then grace happened.  As much as there was a part of me that wanted to be in a bad mood and wanted to be justified  to wallow for a while, there are two things that I've been trying to live by lately, and I started to evaluate my thoughts and feelings based on those two things.

The first is, when I get up, I think about how I can best live my story- that is, the life that I have in this moment, whether it's what I wanted or not- in this day.  And I realized that I even though I didn't want the neck pain or the long day or longer weekend, it's not about what I wanted or didn't want, it's about what I'm going to do about it. And as much as I wanted to luxuriate in my mood for a while, I really didn't want my mood and my story for the day to be dictated by those things.

The other thing I remind myself daily is that life is not about what I can't do, it's about what I can do.  In thinking about some of my moods in this last week, I realized that while circumstances and emotions played a big role, so did some physical things.  Thursday, I didn't get to work out and wasn't able to spend time outside due to the cold.  And there were hormones.  And so forth.  I couldn't do anything about those, but given that I know that physical things can affect emotions, I figured one thing that I could do was go to spin class no matter how much I didn't really want to, because I know how much it can help to get a good workout.

You know what I realized?  There was an absurd amount of stuff that I was concerned about that hadn't happened yet.  My neck pain was annoying, but it wasn't awful yet, and there are no guarantees that it would be bad by the end of the day.  I also realized that it was Friday morning, and therefore it was not yet time to worry about Saturday.  I could leave that in God's hands for Him to take care of.  And that pound on the scale?  That was nothing more than an excuse to be annoyed.  It was within my goal range and is normal fluctuation when you are working on weight maintenance. That's why I have a five pound range and not a specific number that is my goal.

I'd like to tell you that my mood immediately improved, but it took me half way through spin class to get there.  When I finished spin class, though, I was in a much better mood because I did it.  The silly little circumstances didn't beat me.  Do you want to know how the rest of the day and the weekend have gone so far? I'll tell you.  I was able to get to Mass Friday morning, which I desperately needed both for myself and because there were some specific people that I wanted to pray for. I had several cancellations, so I was able to keep up on paperwork all day AND have time to do some self treatment on my neck.  I felt a little better by the end of the day, not worse.  Further, a friend that I thought would be out of town still was back in town, so we went for a much needed hike on Saturday, and it was BEAUTIFUL.  It was an area that I haven't been in a while, so it was great to be there.  Comments on posts from you guys and time with a friend on the trail have given some much needed perspective, so it hasn't been one of those weekends at all.

The thing is, God's grace is enough.  That was my lesson for the day. (I should only need to rehash that lesson about a million more times from numerous different angles and I'll have it down.) We only have to get through one moment at a time and leave the rest to Him.  Even if it had happened the way I was concerned that it would, His grace would have gotten me through those moments, too, as they came.  Not before they came.

Umm, spin class was also a bit of a revelation to me that day.  But is it too boring if I do yet another post rehashing similar themes? I'm not bored, but I don't want to bore you. Eh, I'll probably try to write it. After all, it's not like you have to read it if you are getting bored.  There's nothing like a hard workout to help unlock the secrets of life.  That or you're so oxygen deprived, you THINK you've discovered something big when it's really only the obvious that has surprised you once again.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I Guess It's Not Over Yet...

Dang, today.  Really?  Why do you have it out for me?  I'm pretty sure there wasn't even one external trigger, except those that I had complete control over and chose to introduce anyway.

I guess it's just because I didn't go climbing tonight, and my chances of doing things with friends are looking low again this weekend.  I want to get out and cross country ski.  I want to be so high on mountain air and endorphins that the Ache has to take its rightful spot in the freaking back seat again.

I think it's too much time alone.  Then the Ache like to come out and beat me down.  Not to worry, it won't last.  And while it is here, so be it.  It is a part of my life and a part that wears and breaks me down, but it is only if I let it keep me down that it is a real problem.

It is interesting to see what area of life the Ache will come to prey on this time.  It's always the same, and yet it often has a little different focus.  This time, the loneliness of being single is there, but it's not just that I am alone here in my house, it is that so many people my age are in a completely different place in life, and there is such a loneliness in being out in the cold while they are going through similar things.  My peer group and I went to kindergarten together, graduated high school together, went to college together, started out on this career thing together... and then they all got married and stared having kids, and suddenly the common ground of shared experiences is also gone.  Everyone commiserates together about the sleepless nights of having small children, or asks how to get through sleep or potty training, or what to do about discipline, etc.  Most days, it's not that I don't like hearing it, it's just that I don't have anything to contribute, and it is amazing how few people interact with you if they are in the midst of that and you are not.

That being said, I love being able to come to this little place on the internet.  I love coming over here and knowing that there are people that care. YOU care. Maybe you know exactly what I'm going through because you're going through something similar (I really wish you weren't, friend, I really wish the reason for your Ache would go away) or maybe your life is in a completely different place, but you are willing to come along side and walk with me anyway.  I so appreciate both the people who are in a similar place and the people that are in the midst of all the marriage and parenting but are willing to share a part of my life and let me share a part of theirs, even though our circumstances are different.

This oh so lovely post is brought to you by freakishly cold temperatures (not that I have any right to complain given the short duration of said temps), inability to go outside and play, too much time alone in my head the last week or so, and everyone's favorite hormones. I promise it will be better soon.  The forecast this weekend is for temperatures compatible with human life, I'll make myself go spin tomorrow instead of wallowing, and hormones do subside after a few days.

I think I'm done now. With the whining on the blog, I mean. For this episode.  Obviously I'm not done whining forever.  Actually, just writing it out made me feel a little better.  Blogging: Cheaper than therapy.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

One of Those Weekends

I have this theory that I'm going through a growth spurt.  I have been SO hungry the last few days and I keep eating a ridiculous amount of food and I don't think I've been full yet.  Well, maybe once.  For 5 minutes. Before I get all the comments about that I need to eat protein and fats and fiber, I do.  Believe me, I do.  If I wasn't eating those things, I would have chewed my arm off by now.  Also, because I am eating a lot more protein, I have had a lot of hunger, but no particular low blood sugar incidents (an example of what happens when the sugar crashes). Anyway, since I am clearly not pregnant, I'm going with growth spurt. Yes! I've always wanted to be an inch or two taller!

But that has nothing with why I opened up ye olde blog today.  I wanted to chat a little bit about this weekend, because it was one of those weekends.  You know the kind.  Where a pregnancy announcement from certain people or done in the "wrong"* way makes you want to find a hole to live in.  Hell, forget pregnancy announcements, even offhand comments about marriage and parenthood with that "we're all in this together" attitude were enough to set me off this weekend.  It hasn't been this bad in a while, but it was this weekend.

I don't know what it was. Hormones? Hunger?  Emotions are such goofy things, who even knows.  All I know is that it sucked.  To compound things, my friends were all busy doing fun things... With other people.  Plus the weather was bad enough for me to not go anywhere which left me alone with all these wonderful feelings.  I didn't even have anyone to watch the Super Bowl with.  I know a lot of people that didn't go to Super Bowl parties (and it was a boring game anyway... I watch it for the football, but there's not much to watch when only one team comes to play), so I don't know why I thought I needed a Super Bowl party, but I guess it just seemed to be a nice little exclamation point to feeling extra lonely and pathetic this weekend.

However, I am not writing merely to tell you how awful this weekend was.  Surprisingly, even though it felt in many ways like many weekends that I have been through before that made me feel like I wasn't going to make it, it was also different. First off, I think it's the surrender.  I think that accepting the feelings of pain, the feelings of being worn out from dealing with the same old crap for so long, made them somehow less overwhelming.  Does that make sense?  Instead of having the pain AND having this crazy fight with either the feeling of "my life isn't right, how am I going to fix it, or how is God going to fix it, or will He fix it, or is this just really it forever and ohmygoodness I can't stand it!" or the feeling of "I'm such a horrible follower of God because I can't accept and be okay with the way my life apparently is supposed to be for whatever reason."  Instead, I could just say, "Ouch. Do with it what You will" and "Look at that.  Pain that is normal and healthy given what you're going through."  It didn't make the pain less, but it seemed to be a better context and it is less energy to accept it rather than to fight it. I've also played the game enough times to know that pain does not tend to last at quite that intensity for long, so it was easier to wait for it to subside, knowing that it soon would.

I know I repeat myself a lot, but if you don't really get surrender and how to apply it to your life and circumstances, I cannot give you a high enough recommendation of Fr. Philippe's Interior Freedom.  I don't care what you are going through or what your state in life is, we all deal with SOMETHING that is too much to handle.  This book applies across the board to whatever your state in life is and whatever your current struggle is.

Beyond that, I decided to choose thanksgiving this weekend as well.  Yep, cliched as all get out, but it really does help.  Again, sometimes you are not in a place where you can make that choice; don't sweat it. But if you can, even if it's really hard, do.  It was amazing to realize how many things that I have to be thankful for, even while I'm struggling. Also, I got out and did a local hike.  It wasn't my first, second or third choice, but it was far better than nothing, and the fresh air- even though it was cold- was really good.  And when I was bored during the Super Bowl, I cut out for a while and went to Adoration. If you have it available, go for it.

In all, it was a tough weekend, but it wasn't a bad weekend.  I know not all of these work for everyone; I would love to hear what works for you when you have days like that!

*"Wrong" being anything that hits particularly hard, and has nothing to do with the person announcing it, and everything to do with the fact that you're so sensitive, everything hits with the force of a Mack truck.