Airplane

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Celebration:
I got on an airplane this morning. In the past, the airplane was like an instrument of torture. The whole process of getting on and off of one was challenging enough. Not only did I have to squeeze my extra wide hips down the aisle while managing a toddler and a carry-on suitcase, I also had to navigate the seatbelt, hoping against hope it would contain my girth, hoping against hope that I wouldn’t have to ask for a seatbelt extender! My biggest fear, always, though, was that they would ‘Kevin Smith’ me and force me to purchase an additional ticket to accommodate my mass. It never happened, but it was a real fear founded in authentic airline policy based on authentic passenger space needs. I get that, but ouch and blush! It is funny to think of all the extra worries I carried with me along with my extra weight.
This morning was great though. I fit on the plane and in the seat with 7-8 inches of spare seatbelt hanging out. Pretty awesome. On top of that, Bradley and I were able to share a carry-on suitcase this time. My clothes are small enough now that I have plenty to wear with room to spare, so the Lj’s only brought three bags this time round!

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I Heart NKOTB
It’s no secret that that my midlife crisis has been founded in the exact boy band that propelled me into adulthood. It’s been one year since I saw them live in the Tacoma Dome last year (how 1989 does that sound?! Lol!) and my adoration hasn’t waned one bit. They played Vegas last weekend, accompanied by an NKOTB flight (the fans and talent all in one flying container!!), pool parties and after-parties galore. Of course, they posted all of this to twitter and Instagram and OMGosh! How bad did I want to be there?! How sad was I that I didn’t pony up the 2000 it would have cost to see them in Brittany’s theater? Very. That’s how sad.
I was a sad little Blockhead as I felt like the only Block Nation member who wasn’t in Vegas rubbing my face against the elevator door emblazoned with DDubs gigantic face on it, passing out with exhaustion in the hotel hallways or seeing them doing their special thrusty/grindy moves that they have down pat so beautifully. Sigh.
Maybe next year they’ll make their way the the beautiful PNW again and I can pony up 400 instead of 2000. :)
To be clear, I’m not sad in a whiny entitled way, just in that way that I realized how hyper-aware I was that I was missing out and I didn’t know how much I really did want to go!
You may be wondering why you are hearing about these men – yes, a ‘boy band’ full of 40+ men, these days, but ‘man band’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it- now, when you thought you left that back in 1993, but I feel like Shazam isn’t just about my weight and fitness. It is focused there, for sure, but if I only talked about fitness and nutrition, nobody would wanna read that! At least I wouldn’t often! I’d be all like. “Boooring.” I feel the need to know as much as possible about the bloggers I read and hope you feel the same. :)

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All Kinds of Awesome

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FYI- that title is totally misleading.
I mean, well, it is true that if I’m involved, the awesomeness factor goes up tenfold, but it’s been pretty mellow round Lj House. So mellow, in fact, that yesterday I was about climbing the walls, trying to figure out something to do. I was seriously revisiting the childhood summer doldrums where you lay around on the couch… whining about the heat… and how bored you are. I’m sure you hate all teachers right now as you contemplate a return to your desk job tomorrow… Really, though, when a kid is like that, they’re just being lazy. I know this because I was being a lazy bum and I needed to just start doing something.
Back in the day, I was never bored; I was a crafting queen. My resume reads like Laura Ingalls Wilder meets Martha Stewart. I threw myself into homemaking as soon as I could. I started baking and taking care of small children when I was a preteen. I loved baking so much that I decided I wanted to be a baker for my career, until my mom informed me that bakers rise at 2:AM so the bread has time to rise and is ready for consumers. That squelched that dream, but I’ve always baked until recently. Now baking is reserved for special occasions and for when the kids want to make something. I find myself spinning my wheels during down times- my goto activity has always been baking, but baked goods also are fatty, carby and usually the ones I like to make are also unhealthy, so I don’t do it so much anymore.
Did you know I also used to have my own paper making and soap making business? In my early twenties, I was one of those people who would rent a booth and I would go to all the farmers markets, bazaars and festivals hawking my wares. My evenings, after I put in eight or more hours at my childcare job, were spent melting fats, cutting soap bars, waxing batik covers for my handmade-hand bound journals, picking flowers to color and texturizing my handmade papers- I was a ridiculously busy girl. I always had something going on!
When Bradley and I met, we made beer together, i made candles by the dozens, we made furniture, I picked up gardening from him- we even tried our hands at self sufficiency. I learned to grow, can, dry and preserve food in an effort to work toward not relying on modern conveniences like stores. We did pretty well but never became even close to self sufficient. I started quilting and using clothing scraps for things like handkerchiefs and cloth napkins. For years, I refused to purchase Christmas and birthday gifts. Everything had to be handmade!
Paper came into my life in a big way right around the time when Gigi was born. I found scrapbooking when I ended high school and embraced it as an art form, but it languished until the scrapbooking/stamp craze took over, and then I was truly smitten. I was an expert gift wrapper and bow maker, I’d craft anything that had to do with paper- I loved paper! Paper took over for me as my primary artistic outlet. I joined collectives and collaborative online groups where we made books together via mail, while I still created art pieces, cards, entire books of collated/stacked/embellished pages. I loved it!
Over the years all of these things have been lost for one reason or another. In my job, every once in a while a need is called forth and I’m way impressed with the acumen of frontier-woman-style knowledge I have. This year I canned applesauce, made butter, quilted, and crafted with my students. It felt good to know how to do that. I tie dye with my students every year, homage to my batik and tie dye days in my late teens and early twenties, but I do little else.
Until yesterday. Yesterday I got all of my beautiful papers out, my marvelous adhesives, my lovely embellishments and I went to town. I left everything out all night so I could return to the table again, today, and at the end of it I have two dozen handmade cards that remind me that I can still do this stuff. My kids are big enough now that I have time to process, to think, to compare patterns and colors and play with templates. It was really, really fun. I’m planning to play with paper again, very soon.

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Just because I was crafty today doesn’t mean I neglected your passionate need, your driving desire to see my derpy run pic of the day. I wouldn’t withhold that from you, dear reader, because, indeed, I did run today. I ran pretty well because it was gorgeous and in the 60′s when we went. I tried running downhill a new way today. And I mean steeper hills- the ones I usually walk down because I realized I’ve been tightening up my hips and bracing my knees on hills which makes me really jar hard as I go down. When we hiked down from Heather Lake, I used my thigh muscle so like shock absorbers and it felt really good, a lot like what I observed a record breaking triple jumper doing as she ran to the pit, so I tried that kind of running. I’m telling you what, I could fly down a hill like when I was a little kid again- fast, furious and not scary at all. It was amazing! It made me want to go run downhill again, I could actually remember why running down a hill was fun. I’d call that a pretty awesome nonscale victory! :)
and in case you were wondering, I was running downhill during this pic!

Victorious!

Congratulations to my friend, Vicki, who not only ran her first 5K this weekend, but is also my first willing and official reader with a motivational story to share!

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Before the Run or Dye 5K
My friend, Vicki, ran her first 5k this last Saturday. She said she decided to jog the whole way before she started and she never once stopped! I understand what an accomplishment that is!
Vicki started her weight loss journey on July 29th, 2013 at 210 pounds and reached her goal in May of 2014. She lost 65 pounds, so she got down to 145. She’s always been an avid walker and really didn’t do much “running” per se’. She walks around 10 miles per week, and over the last 6 months she has done some jogging off and on while she walked, just to kind of see what she could do. She actually has been pleasantly surprised by how her body has responded to the jogging and found that she could actually do a slow jog pretty much non stop for about 3 miles. She decided she wanted to do the Run or Dye 5k just to say she did it. She is not really a big fan of hard core running, only because she has knee and joint issues, but has enjoyed seeing what her body can do. She says she would love to eventually, maybe, do a 10K in the next year or so, but doesn’t really have much interest in more than that. The best part? She says she feels a lot better, physically, than she did a year ago.
Awesome!

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After the Run or Dye 5K – She ran the whole way!

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Heating Up

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It’s been sitting right between 76-85 this week, but the humidity has been moistening that business right up. Sheesh. It’s damp, sweaty and hot, HOT, HOT in Seattle! Hot enough that I have tassels on my corn and ripening tomatoes in July. I remember last summer trying really hard to be a good runner, but I hate running in the heat. I hate being that sweaty- so sweaty that as I run the sweat drips down into my eyes, stinging me, making me cry and taste salt every time I lick my lips. More than that, I hate the feeling of not being able to get a deep breath. Running in the heat is suffocating to me. Yuck.
I feel like I have been doing a decent, but not excellent, job of moving every day. Today, however, I started watching Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition, and, sometimes when I watch those shows I just get disgusted and irritated with myself. They have been able to do this in a year with the exact same tools I have, so why aren’t I weighing in the 170′s yet?? It’s been well over a year! Today I decided to make up for that with a long workout out of the heat and in the “spaceship” (remember- that is code for gym/garage)! I got on the elliptical and finished watching the most recent Hell’s Kitchen episode, then moved on to EM:WLE. I ended up riding that machine for a little over and hour, then hit the Bowflex, then I took my son out for a bike ride. After that I felt hot and sweaty, so I got my bathing suit on and the kids and I made a whirlpool in the pool by running circles in thigh-deep water for about 30 minutes. After that? I made dinner and was pooped out. LOL!
But I feel very good about my good choices today, both in diet and exercise. I made a very veggie- heavy dinner tonight of grilled corn, grilled Brussels sprouts, grilled tomato bruschetta, cabbage salad and grilled vegetarian shrimp. Colorful, flavorful and from the grill! Two years ago if I had served this dinner there would have been complaints at the lack of carbs. This year, we eat it without notice (unless I get all prideful about it, like now).
All-in-all, a very good day!

Gym

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For my 40th birthday I asked for a home gym to be installed in our garage. Well really I didn’t ask for home gym, I asked for a treadmill. We already had a stationary bicycle, but I wanted something that would give me an opportunity to train for distance and get a really solid workout in, even when it’s yucky or too hot to train outdoors. As we were searching on Craigslist for the treadmill we kept coming across other equipment for excellent deals. We added the elliptical at the beginning of July of last year and have used that consistently all year long. Bradley wanted the Bowflex, so last fall we found one of those for a bargain on craigslist and added that to our collection. This spring, on the side of the road, we found a stair stepping machine so of course we added that. It’s kind of funny to think about because we started out just looking for a treadmill and now it seems like we have everything except the treadmill! Ha!
The machines have been living in the rumpus room since we acquired them. It’s a big enough space to house them, but the room was intended to be our kid’s playspace and hang out zone, not their parents gym equipment storage… This spring we finally cleaned all of the leftover old building materials out of our garage from when we built our house. We realized that, for the most part, it was pointless to keep all of the extra flooring, tile and moldings in our garage, taking up space so we gave it away or sold. This past week Bradley cleaned everything out, donated the last of the dregs, put some rugs down and I was upstairs reading when I heard him groaning and grunting as he independently moved all of the equipment in there! The good news is that, in addition to having all the pieces in the right room now, we think we have a treadmill in mind now and we are going to go get one in the next few days! But even better than that was when I walked into our garage/gym a few hours after we had it installed and saw this:

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All the Lj’s hanging out in ‘the spaceship’ as it’s now been dubbed, thanks to us dorkifying our kids a little more by showing them Star Trek. As if being a bunch of Star Wars/Disney geeks wasn’t enough… Anyhow this is the new place to be in our house and our kids all day long asked us, “When can we please go work out in the gym with you again??” Keeping kids active… I’ll take it any way it comes! It’s easily their favorite place in our house at present. Seriously- they’re in the garage as I write this, playing spaceship! :)
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Katie at Runs For Cookies features success stories on Mondays on her blog. I know that I find it incredibly motivating to hear other people’s success stories, and, while you’re here to read about what’s happening with me, I’m sure that sometimes it’s nice to hear other perspectives. With that in mind, I would like to encourage my readers who are finding some success of their own in weightloss and/or fitness, no matter how large or small, to start sharing their stories with me so I can feature you on Tamara Shazam! I don’t think I have the readership to support a consistent , dedicated, weekly motivational post, but if you have something amazing that you did or you feel extra proud, shoot me an email and a picture with a description about what you did and I’ll try to include it in a future post.*
update: just realized that there is no dedicated email account or link to access me in any capacity! For now, comments work well (you have to click to the article proper to comment, or find me on my Facebook account and message me there.

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The rumpus room is now an exercise equipment free zone! Yahoo!
*
To be clear, I will reserve the right to edit your prose as I see fit without changing the factual information, refuse to post something sent to me and to edit pictures as needed. :)

Heather Lake

I was 21 years old (or thereabouts- I just know I was of legal drinking age). It had long been a goal of mine to be a hiker. I love being outdoors in the woods, I love the mountains, it made sense that I should love hiking too… Except the fitness part, the climbing hills part, the switchbacks, the two-foot-high steps, the log bridges, and the slippery mud parts. Those were not appealing and, frankly, at my weight and level of fitness, they were fairly dangerous.
But still. The spring when I was 21 was full of new friends. We lived in crappy apartments eating cheap vegetarian food while drinking way too much tequila. In fact, one of those tequila fueled nights lead to my first ascension of the Heather Lake trail. One night, after hearing my friend Amy wax on and on about the pool near the waterfall at the glacial end of the lake that looked as though fairies flew there, we drunkenly decided to go… and the next morning I found myself in a Volkswagen van with several people, my boyfriend included, headed through Granite Falls, fresh lunch and cigarettes packed safely in my backpack.
We arrived at the trailhead and most of us gleefully ran into the forest. At that moment I got a little worried I was in over my head. They were literally running up the trail. Running. But nevermind that. I decided I could power through for the day. I would be out of breath, but I would fake my fitness and run up the hill alongside my slender and experienced hiking friends. I mean, we’re talking real salt of the earth types who did this all the time. These were people who hiked up to the top of the mountain with beer- the least potent alcohol- without a second thought to conserving energy. Hiking was fun for them. They did it every weekend. Easy. Me, on the otherhand? I was wheezy. Out of breath by the first switchback. Wheezing by the second and thinking about the irony of those cigarettes in my backpack.
My boyfriend and one other kind friend stayed behind with me while the rest of my friends literally bounded up the trail. I pondered heading back to the car and spending the day there, but I really wanted to see the fairy pond and I really wanted to just DO IT. I decided to send the friend ahead, as it seemed way too embarrassing to admit to him what I was going to request of my boyfriend: to go as slow as I needed, to take lots of breaks and to make my way to the top. And eventually I did just that.
As I sat up there, by the lake, smoking my well-earned cigarette, I thought of the irony, first, of spoiling the gorgeous, clear air with that cigarette. Nor did it escape me that my brief, yet dedicated, smoking habit may have contributed to my difficulty in getting up those 1100 feet of elevation. Just maybe. But I also thought about my weight and my dietary habits. I realized then that I needed to change some things.
I’ll admit that I did change my behavior after that* to a degree. That spring prompted a lot of walking, a change of diet and a series of hikes that the boyfriend and I took throughout the Verlot area, but I have never returned to Heather Lake… Until TODAY!

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I’ve had a hankerin’ fer hikin’ all spring, but we were too darn busy to hike out of the city. Yes, St. Edwards is outdoor trails and they are miles and miles long, but they are, like, 10 minutes from home and don’t actually remove one from the city. You often hear cars, rarely cross a stream and it is highly unlikely that I’ll cross through a mountain meadow or walk by a glacial lake. I’m not a religious person, but I am very spiritual. My church is in the mountains and and woods. My spirit is filled there and I feel that large, tearful kind of emotion when I find myself completely ensconced in the forest. I get giddy and so happy and so full of beauty. I know I’m so full of precious cheese right now, but I’m completely sincere about how I process hiking.
Anyhow, Heather Lake has kind of been a litmus test for me. If I could hike it now, it means I made it. Today I sailed up the trail, parts of it I even ran. The trail is really hard. It’s a little over two miles, each way, of roots and rocks and treacherous ground. Some of the ‘stairs’ were waist-high to Jude, about thigh high to me. Leg lifting was important as was lifting ones feet high enough off the ground, but never once did I get exhausted or worn out to the point that I wanted to stop. Not even a little.
And at the top, I made it around to the fairy pond. It was blue like the Mediterranean and cold like hypothermia. My little fairies didn’t fly, but they did splash, dive and swim through the water, my little water sprites! It was one of my most perfect days on record EVER. Like, ever.
I have a friend called JOhn who hikes this trail year round, looking for birds and burning calories. I’ve seen pictures of this place in snow and under ice- it looks beautiful. Perhaps I’ll have to see this place again, but next time in winter. :)
Happy Hiking!
Heather Lake

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*
My smoking career was spawned by some ‘bad’ friends I had at CWU who actually smoked marijuana. Wanting to be ever the good girl, it only made sense for me to smoke legal (but more toxic) Marlboros. This fit in nicely with the new, grungy, Seattle-edgy, goes-well-with-a-boyfriend-in-a-Mohawk-and-dog-collar look I was trying to achieve as well. I smoked on and off until we broke up two years later, then didn’t smoke much at all until I smoked my last cigarette on the Eve of my wedding. Hopefully I won’t have any lasting effects from my temporary stupidity.

Independence Day

Today I had a butterfly moment.
One of those moments where you take stock and look at something with new eyes, in this case, me.
Last Fourth of July looked great on film, but behind the smiles were a different story. I’m not talking E! Hollywood Story or anything, but I had just finished my professional certification, had just lost 50-60 pounds and Bradley and I were in a bit of a daze. Life had changed so much, the pro-cert program did not bring out the best in me, at all, and I remember Independence Day being awkward, stilted, out of sync and lonely in that way that you can be lonely while being surrounded people. Like an outsider. Like I didn’t belong.

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{July, 2013~Three Capes Lookout, Oregon Coast}
This was a year of growth, for sure. Mostly I grew in that way that my weightloss doesn’t seem that newsworthy anymore. I got used to my skin. My body doesn’t define me in the same way it used to. This year I learned that I love my body and what it can do. I learned that I’m capable of change. This year I learned about being courageous in ways that seem obvious. To speak up when I’m not feeling happy. I think it’s that I don’t want to burden people with more that they don’t need, but I know that saying it aloud sometimes makes it lose its power over me. If I can just break through that wall, all is healed.

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In the last year I’ve only lost a net of 25 pounds or so. When I look at it as a total sum, I’m pleased that I’ve lost that much, but also know that with focus I could have met my 170 pound goal. That’s irritating. I learned a lot about my eating habits, recognized reactions I have to food, I was honest about unhealthy habits I deceptively (to myself) maintain. I learned that I can, albeit very carefully, practice intuitive eating as a means to maintain. I figured out that when I step away from tracking calories, I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full and eat LOTS more with increased exercise! I learned how important it is to dangle a goal in front of myself that will help motivate and propel me forward…

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I guess what I’m trying to say is that since last Independence Day I’ve gotten to know much more about who I am. I’ve learned what I need and what I won’t accept. I’ve learned that I can tell people I’ve got too much on my plate, that I can’t take their project on as well. I’ve learned to make hard decisions to improve my life, physically and mentally. I’ve learned that I can speak up, face hard things, uncomfortable situations and still behave with dignity. I’ve learned a lot about who I am, but I’ve also learned a lot about my relationship. I’ve learned how much I can trust him and rely on him to be a rock for me. As hard as things were last year, it’s the polar opposite this year.
It’s amazing that as we get older, we just continue to grow up.
Happy Independence Day, indeed!

Firecracker

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I think it’s safe to say that I’m hitting my stride again. Officially! We ran the big loop without a second thought or even a side stitch. I’m so glad that fitness returns easily, as long as you don’t let it get too far away from you, I suppose. My first run this week was a doozy. I wasn’t even a mile into it and I had to sit on the sidewalk and rest. I had some weird stomach cramp that was determined to cause me strife and I was a little worried, but this most recent run made me feel good- like I can hit that six miles and beyond very, very soon! Tomorrow I’ll do a three or four miler to see how that goes. I’m excited to be running again! I always feel strong, capable and in control of my life when I have a solid running streak.

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Yesterday I finished up my root canal. I was very worried about it. The recovery from round one was awful. I frequently felt as though someone had decked me in the jaw! It was really painful! Getting back into that chair was really hard for me. I had a lot of anxiety and actually I cried as he was giving me the anesthesia! However, as the anesthesia wore off later that night, I had almost zero pain! The root canal worked! Yahoo! I’m one happy girl now!
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We finally have buttoned up our loose ends enough that life seems like it can resume now- my back is healed, our apartment rented, my root canal complete, my classroom has been moved and I even think we know when we are going in vacation! It’s like we can start running and hiking and having an actual summer now! We’ve been putting off making any plans until we got our ducks in a row, even what we’re doing to celebrate Independence Day! No worries, we are creative people with good friends and sparkling personalities (we’ve got fireworks- the good kind- can we come over??) who will welcome us with open arms, I’m sure (yep-lots of fireworks!).
As long as we bring a lighter.
Have a safe and fun celebration tomorrow!

Back To It

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I didn’t go far, I didn’t go long, but I went on a run, on this 90 degree day. Granted, it was 8:AM when I hit the road so the scorching heat had not yet hit, but it has been 19 days, one back injury and half of a root canal since my last run, but who’s keeping track, eh? Anyhow, it was short, but I was so glad to do it. I have the second half of my root canal tomorrow, so I’ll run in the morning. Hopefully the recovery will be a little more comfortable this time around and I can get back to running quicker!

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Today we headed to Wild Waves- a water park, south of Seattle, that is home to a myriad of my childhood memories. Not too much has changed there since my childhood, but over the years they’ve added more roller coasters and rides, something that was a difficulty in my past. The last time I was at Wild Waves, I was at my peak of heaviness- about 340. I tried to ride their wooden roller coaster but couldn’t get the ride to latch closed. I had to take the walk of shame past all the kids, terribly humiliated. Today I rode that very roller coaster with my daughter. It was way better than it ever would have been before, simply because I got to ride it with her! Three cheers for fitting on roller coasters again! :)
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BY THE WAY-
Thanks to all of you who voted for Denise! She won second place! I’m not sure if she won anyTHING, but I’m so pleased that she did so well! Thank you if you did cast a vote for her!

Root Canal

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I loathe the dentist. I used to be ambivalent about sitting in that chair, but then I had a really bad dentist who shamed (nagged me meanly about brushing- at the time I was only a once-a-day person), bullied me about my dental care (tried to force me into X-rays while pregnant and then acted like I was an idiot for declining to do so) and other unsavory things he did to my husband and kids. It totally turned me off of going at all! It’s silly, I know, but it’s interesting to note how adversely residual feelings like that can impact me.
Anyhow, after all these years of avoiding the dentist like the plague, I finally developed an issue that turned into a root canal. I walked into the dentist office totally naive of the process. I thought it would be like any other dental visit of drill-kill-fill-feel better, but oh no. It has not been so. I’m nauseous, in pain and altogether out of sorts, made worse by feeling overly embarrassed about missing so much time in my Wired for Reading workshop that I’m attending, for which there was a paid fee to go AND I get paid to be there! All this money wasted going out and coming in! It’s really frustrating! I’ve missed an entire day now! Ack! Hopefully I can finish out the week strong and stay all day tomorrow!