A Successful Memorial Day

what a productive weekend! I love long lazy weekends that simply invite refreshment. Friday evening we went to a Master Pancake event of the Sound of Music at the Alamo Drafthouse (truly the greatest cinema in the United States), then had a long and lazy Saturday where the only important thing I did was the Farmer’s market.

Sunday involved a long and leisurely motorcycle ride down to New Braunfels, where we spent the afternoon eating and laughing with my family. We ended up driving along “river road”, which is the back road along the Guadalupe river and also happens to be a back way to my parent’s house. Let me tell you–it was a human zoo. Drunk, sunburned, water-logged, mostly (not pretty) naked idiots clogged the river. Tell me, please, what the appeal is in “camping” next to a road, literal inches away from another tent, just so you can sit stewing in the beer-piss of complete strangers? I was so grateful to get free of that stretch of road, although Gruene/New Braunfels is some of the prettiest Texas country.

However. The cicadas are absolutely RIDICULOUS this year, as Texas didn’t get a good hard freeze like we should have, so all the insect larvae actually survived and hatched and now they are FREAKING ME OUT when they hang over my head threateningly in the gazebo.  I saw a stick bug that was NO JOKE–9 inches long. I stayed inside for a lot of Sunday.

And how glorious is it, really, to go to bed on Sunday evening, KNOWING you don’t have to get up? Knowing that as a matter of fact, you DON’T have to go work but instead can enjoy yet another morning abed? Monday morning was nothing but sweetness, nothing but cool sheets and shaved legs and hot tea and tousled clean hair (that wouldn’t get sweaty from a ride in to the office). And Monday afternoon was a wonderfully productive day. I love it when Jon’s feeling ambitious, because that means I get stuff done. A trip to Home Depot got me the things I needed to fix my project bed! I’ll have to take pictures of the process, because it definitely has a long way to go, but at least it’s in better condition now than when I picked it up off Craigslist.

If the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (as is king’s), then the quickest way to MY heart is through the curb.  I realize that sounds funny, but let me tell you how well my man knows me. We were on our way to my house, and I hear him say “Don’t look because you’re going to want it, but there’s a cabinet out by the bin”. Of course I looked. And of course I wanted it–an adorable three foot high white cabinet that simply begged me to take it home. So I did. Strapped to the back of the motorcycle, we hauled it the mile to my house, where I promptly changed out the clear plastic-glass knobs for gorgeous ceramic knobs my mum gave me for Christmas one year, just because she knows how much I love to redo furniture. They couldn’t have been more perfect. And the irony here is that while I had no idea what I was going to use it for until an hour after I got it home, that VERY MORNING I was telling Jon how I had been needing something to store my canned goods and extra jars in. AND NOW I HAVE IT. Along with a very adorable shelf for my cookbooks and gardening/cooking books. I’ll have to take pictures because I’m so proud of it.

So now I have a clean house, a stocked fridge (I also made peach jam and some yogurt yesterday!), cats that can’t escape the back porch, and an almost-complete herb garden. My tomato plant has some itty bitties started, and while not all of my laundry is clean, it’s either in the hamper or the closet.

ALSO I’VE GOT TICKETS TO THE MIDNIGHT SHOWING OF PROMETHEUS AT THE DRAFTHOUSE.

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It Just Needs More Time

I’ve been trying hard to not weigh myself all the time so that I don’t focus on weight so much as inches off, but last night I had to check. I really shouldn’t have. I’m the EXACT same weight I was two months ago, even with all the weight lifting and working out. And my measurements haven’t changed any either. It was pretty discouraging, but that’s why I’ve started tracking my calorie intake this week, to see if I’m eating more to compensate for burning more–I think I am.

I’ve been using Lose It! to track my calorie intake and output, which has been really great for keeping me aware of exactly what I’m putting into my body. Watching my caloric intake has proven a double-edged sword, however, as my appetite adjusts to fewer indulgences with the same demand. There’s the same old battle of appetite versus hunger. I know that the first few weeks are the toughest–once I’m able to tell myself NO to that chocolate/cookie/extra serving for a few weeks, after a while my mouth quits asking for those sweets.

There’s also an opposing mental issue: making sure I eat enough. Usually when I’m tracking my intake, I start feeling guilty about every little thing, which isn’t healthy or helping in the long run. Because I commute by bike as well as lift weights and dance my butt off in Zumba, it’s important that not only I eat the right things, but I’m eating enough of them. Restricting my calories to 1200 or less doesn’t help me build the muscle I need to help burn more calories. So it’s finding the balance between eating too little and too much.

That being said, last night I did not want to go to Zumba. Originally I had planned on going to Zumba AND Bodypump, my normal Thursday workout, but after making plans with jon I cut it down to just one class. But I was SO hungry–I didn’t have much for lunch–AND my house is in dire need of a thorough cleaning/pickup/vacuum/rearranging. I was trying to convince myself that it was JUST as important for my overall health to be able to come home to a stress-free environment, and I needed to go home to create that environment.

But then I had to ask myself–would i REALLY use that extra hour to clean my house? Probably not. There’s always the chance that when I come home from a workout I won’t feel like vacuuming/hanging up clothes/decluttering the back porch. But I also knew that that extra hour would be put to better use by shaking it with Diana. “get yo ass to zumba, killa, and quit making excuses” is what i said to myself.

While I was biking over there I thought, “you’ll probably be really glad you did this–you never regret working out”. And boy was I right. Because I walked in and saw my Zumba friend Rachael, whom I haven’t seen in A YEAR because we both ditched Zumba around the same time. It was just like old times, and it was soul-feeding to reconnect with her. I’d forgotten how much better I danced when she’s there–she really pushes me in that I see how awesome she’s doing, and I’m inspired to look just as hot as her. And bonus! After working out, my stomach wasn’t clamoring for apples/french fries/chicken tenders/spinach salad/ANY FOOD AT ALL that it was before.

Of course for the dinner I was so eager to eat I both undercooked AND burned the beans. It’s possible, I promise you, although HIGHLY discouraging so I don’t recommend it. And the rice was undercooked as well and overall it was so inedible I had tea and nutella bread while jonny ate pretzels with teriyaki sauce and leftover homemade ranch (I know! I offered to make pasta but he was content with pretzels).

There comes a point at the end of the day when you say, “I tried”, and accept that you can only do 80% of things right on any given day. Sorry, dinner, that you’re at the end of the day and got the shaft. So i spent my evening drinking my favorite tea with my favorite man, watching my favorite show (Bob’s Burgers!). Not a bad way to end it, after all.

Victory!

I had a victorious workout last night. That’s right–victorious. I conquered that lunge track like NOBODY’S BUSINESS. Tony, the Bodypump instructor, mixed it up a little last night. Instead of doing Round 81 like normal, he chose the hardest tracks for each song from different rounds, so needless to say, I went home pretty spent.

Naturally he picked the lunge track from round 80–which is known for being extraordinarily difficult. It also happens to be the lunge track that made me cry, the lunge track I found impossible to do. As in–that became my bathroom break song, because I absolutely could not keep my balance, could not complete even one set of “singles” (8 lunges on the beat). Finally I recognized that unless I started doing SOME of them, I would not be able to do ANY of them. So I began to diligently force myself to do them, even if it was only a few at a time. And then thankfully we moved on to the next round.
But last night, I was surprised when I was able to do ALL OF THE LUNGES for that round. Yes, it was still tough. Yes, my legs were jelly and I had to set down the bar in between sets, but I picked it back up and did the WHOLE. EFFING. THING. Felt BEASTLY!
Another area I’ve always had problems with was my triceps. But thankfully Bodypump has several types of tricep tracks. While I couldn’t do tricep dips or push-ups, I CAN do the tricep bench press, so I focused on building my muscle that way. But last night’s track inevitably was the problem workout. But again I came out victorious! Because of my consistent discipline with the other workout, I was able to do the dips! The tricep push-ups still feel impossible, but I know that as long as I keep working on it, one day that’ll be something I overcame as well.
One last victory: at one point in the evening, I started looking at the weights other people had on their bars, thinking, “She’s so much skinnier than I am, how can she be pressing more than me?” Or “I’ve never seen them here before, why is her bar more loaded than mine?” But as soon as I realized what I was thinking, I stopped myself. I don’t want to be that person–I want to compete only with myself. I remembered that phrase “Comparison is the thief of joy”–it’s pinned on my pinterest fitness board–and I decided that I would be happy with the progress I’ve made, as opposed to comparing myself to all the skinny girls and boys behind me. Besides, who knows how sore they are this morning?
I know I’m doing it right, I know I’m working my hardest and long-term thinking is the only way I’m going to succeed in my quest for health and strength. And it felt so much better mentally to NOT be worrying about how my bar stacked up next to theirs, to be concerned with only myself. It feels so unclean and truly, like a dark cloud, when I’m so wrapped up in everyone around me. It disturbs my workout and keeps me from pushing myself harder and farther. It was incredibly liberating to just let it go–to have those negative thoughts but also to have that phrase to talk myself right out of a funk. That could have ruined the rest of my workout but instead it was merely a blip on the radar. I’m definitely feeling stronger–both physically and mentally. A triumphant Monday, to be sure.

Tastes Like Chicken

Lately, I’ve been having these really strange, bizarre dreams. Dreams that make no sense, that have no grounding. Now normally, I don’t put much stock in “what dreams mean”.  But to experience the same type of dream has really thrown me off. This past week has involved an abnormal amount of cannibalism.

Earlier in the week, I dreamed Jon and another woman were feasting on the muscles in my right thigh. I’m lying on a table, with absolutely no problems, my right side slit from armpit to ankle, my insides exposed. The muscles resembled cooked chicken breast: white and strong-looking. The girl is just having at it, and then suddenly I’m also her, eating my thigh, without absolutely no qualms. Then I get up from the table, miraculously sewn together, and begin stumbling around, marveling at the very noticeable differences in my thighs–one very firm and equal, the other thin and wobbly and dropped-off looking. I can’t remember much past that, except that we were in a submerged submarine, and there were whale skeletons embedded in the ship’s walls. And it wasn’t a happy place, I can tell you that much. Obviously–I was being eaten alive.

Last night, my dream revolved around my left leg (which I feel is somehow my body compensating for the right leg being eaten earlier in the week). I was preparing dinner for my family, but couldn’t figure out what to serve them. So I CHOPPED OFF MY LOWER LEFT LEG WITH A BREAD KNIFE. Because THAT seems like a good idea, right? Who wouldn’t want to serve their own shin to their family? Pass the barbeque sauce!

Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt that much, there wasn’t any blood, and when I glanced down at it, it was just a pale stub. I could still FEEL my foot, but in my dream I associated it with phantom limb syndrome (I know, right? Even unconscious I’m sophisticated and knowledgeable!) So I merrily go along, slicing my calf and foot like freakin’ ham steaks and grill those (delicious-looking) bad-boys right up! My brother comes in, takes his plate, and makes a remark along the lines of “I’ve never had human but I’m willing to try it”. BROTHER IF I CHOPPED OFF MY LEG FOR YOUR DINNER YOU ARE DAMN WELL GOING TO EAT IT. And then have myself a slice of leg! I  surfaced from my REM cycle, waking momentarily to tap my feet together to reassure myself they both were still there, then fell into an altogether different dream involving a prostitute mother-turned-father cab driver who drops me off at an ‘antique’ barn  that won’t sell me anything. I know–NIGHTMARE. Plus there was this little tow-headed kid named Henry running around without any shoes on and my friend Susan was trying to ‘save’ his poor little barefooted self from this cab-driving mother.

I’m wondering if these dreams have anything to do with the fact that I’ve taken to cooking meat at my house again. Of course it’s all grass-fed, all-natural creatures from the farmer’s market, but I’ve NEVER cooked a whole chicken, let alone in this tiny apartment. While I never eat meat when eating dinner with the king, I’m enjoying the roasted chicken, chicken stir-fry, and chicken tacos that I can conjure up sans boyfriend. It’s good for the nights after the weight-lifting classes.

But aside from that, I’m really having a hard time understanding what this is all about. A quick search on the Googler tells me that I have some dark, forbidden obsession that I feel is consuming all of my energy, or I feel like I’m being self-destructive. But I honestly cannot even begin to figure out what dark obsession I’m denying myself. I indulge all of my temptations, no one is left behind. But I’d really love to stop dreaming about self-cannibalism. Gives me a bad taste in my mouth (pun!) about eating meat.

I’d love to hear other explanations!

Today

Today I am thankful for

a hot cup of tea on a rainy work day
pregnant friends who can’t work so they must lie there and answer my phone calls
this rain that will sustain my potatoes and beans
homemade quilts
a mother who is also a best friend
glasses
my man
a wireless mouse
chicken noodle soup
siblings who dance in the rain
the next-day soreness of working out
striped cotton dresses
smooth shaved legs