Monday, February 27, 2012

Raccoons: Adorable Little Scamps or Evil Murder Machines?

My cockatoo Mushi lives on the front porch. She likes it out there. Around 5:00 this morning I heard her Distress Squawk. Which is different from her Pay Attention to Me Squawk. I hopped out of bed, opened the front door (her cage is immediately outside the door) and found myself face to face with one of the largest raccoons I have ever seen sitting on top of her cage.

We stared each other down for several seconds. The look on it's face was not one of fear or aggression, but more of a, "Oh hai! I was just going to see about helping myself to some Australian, did you want some?" My though process went from, "Aaaaw so big and fluffy! I wanna hug it! How cute and it's within arm's reach!" to "Holy fuckballs! A potentially dangerous wild animal is within arm's reach!" Which is when I yelled and I quote, "You! You get out of here! Right Now! Get!"

He looked at me, again without fear or aggression...more like, confusion. As if to say, "Wait. What? I don't even...did you have dibs on this or something? I mean, you put the cat food out for me, I just asssuuuuuumed the parrot was for me too...I mean, you left it in a cage and everything. Whatevs." I had to start waving my arms before it climbed off the cage and took off for the bushes.

I'm pretty sure I saw it give me the finger as he left.

** Mushi will be coming inside nightly from now on.

Monday, February 13, 2012

There Are No Good Antonyms For Self-Control

If there were, the title of this post would be "Revisiting the Land of ____." As it stands I did not think "Revisiting the Land of No Self-Control" had a very good ring to it.

I'd been feeling a binge coming for the past week or two. Generally speaking, I don't deny myself things, so I'd tried to satisfy the cravings in a healthy-way. But that was the problem. I wasn't craving a particular thing. There was no "taste" for anything in particular that I was looking for, but instead a desire to eat without consequence. To make or buy the types of foods I have generally tried my best to avoid completely. The processed stuff, the items with ridiculously high caloric and/or fat values. Quite honestly I miss them not. Usually. And that's because I have become really good at finding foods that are healthy and filling and (most importantly) make me happy.

But something in my addict brain tripped the past week or two. I want to be healthy and fit now more than ever. That desire has not waned. But running right alongside it recently has been the desire to eat. A lot. And not the foods that I know are best for me. I talked to a couple of friends about it. One even said, "Well, maybe you should just go ahead and have a cheat day. Get it out of your system." I disagreed, thinking it might make things worse. Though the choice I made was even worse in retrospect. I could not escape the desire, so for the past week I've indulged it...a little at a time. Portion sizes were bigger than they should have been when we got take-out on Thursday. Mashed potatoes instead of just veggies at dinner and then a shared desert on Saturday night, when I knew there'd be some beer drinking going on as well. A not "healthy" choice of entree when were out to lunch Sunday. None of the meals were really bad, and quite frankly on their own, amongst my usual meals, they would have been no big deal. A few weekly points used, but no big thing. But I was doing it at many of my meals over the past week. And then Dave had to drive a friend down to Miami last night, leaving  Holden and I on our own for dinner.

We got a bag of pizza rolls and a box of those TGI Fridays potato skins. Granted, they weren't the "Family" sized bags/boxes, but still. We split the pizza rolls, but I ate all the potato skins myself. We bought a dozen mini-cupcakes. He ate 3, I ate the rest over the course of the evening.

By the end of the pizza rolls and cupcakes, I wasn't remotely hungry or even enjoying it. It was as if I trying to punish myself, force feeding myself the remaining cupcakes. "Fine! You want to be a pig? Eat ALL the fucking cupcakes, Porker!" a little dark there.

And of course, I did the perennial binge-behavior: tried to bury the evidence in the garbage so my husband would not see what I had done. Why? I have no idea. He doesn't monitor what I eat. He's a great supporter of my fitness and weight loss efforts, but he is most certainly not one to criticize or question my methods.The worst I might realistically expect to hear is "Why didn't you save any for me?"

But that's the thing isn't it? If he was around I would not have bought the cupcakes. I wouldn't have bought the pizza rolls or potato skins either. I know I am working on improving my health and fitness for myself, not for him. But why is it his presence that keeps me on task? Granted, I workout everyday whether he knows it or not. But the food issue? When I do succumb to binges, it's when he's not around. And that's always been the case.


All that said, I feel good today. Made good choices for breakfast and lunch and fully expect to do so tonight. Ran 2.5 miles at lunch and have to teach the PreSchool Fitness class this afternoon. I feel....back on track. Almost...relieved. Maybe there is something to be said for my friend's advice, though I am still skeptical.

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Apparently, I'm a Crazy, Weirdo

There’s something that’s been bugging me lately that I don’t understand. Ok, fine there are a LOT of things I don’t understand. But one thing in particular is some folk’s reactions to the activities and hobbies of others that are beyond the white bread, middle-class, reality show watching, cheap beer swilling, couch potato, mall culture.

A little background: my husband and I both enjoy the Steampunk aesthetic. We’ve always loved dressing up for Halloween. So when we were introduced to “Cons,” and realized that dressing up in Steampunk attire was a thing, we embraced it. We went to Megacon for one day last year with our son. All three of us dressed in our homemade-Steampunk finest and had a blast. This year we are going for the whole weekend and naturally have been working on all new costumes. Additionally, in the past year, due in no small part to a couple of surgeries, I hit my rock-bottom and have come to grips with my food addiction. I’ve lost 55lbs so far, and have discovered that for me, the best way to keep myself on the straight and narrow is to focus on my fitness. Nothing excessive, just 30 minutes of some kind of exercise daily.  About 6 months ago, my husband and I discovered Adventure Racing. And we’ve thrown in a Warrior Dash for good measure as well.

Now, I’ll admit to being a pretty regular Facebooker. I like to share pics of the projects I’ve been working on or the races I’ve attended. And no, I don’t post every workout via iPhone app, nor do I post vanity self-portraits…not that there is anything wrong with that. Just sayin’.

And let me preface this by saying; many of my friends, if they choose to comment at all, have positive, encouraging things to say. And to be fair, I’ve got to admit that my closest friends and I do tend to enjoy a sarcastic humor. But that said, there are a lot of people whose every reaction, seemingly, to my activities/hobbies/projects are in the vein of: “You’re so weird!” or “You’re crazy!”

Really? I’m crazy for getting my ass off the couch? For finding something that inspires me to lead a healthier life? That brings my husband and I closer together? That improves my marriage instead of pulls us apart? I’m the crazy one for making time in my day to workout even if it means having to change clothes at work and take a whore’s bath? Perhaps it would be more “normal” for me to keep making excuses for my lifestyle and weigh 250lbs and be sedentary? And I suppose it would be more “normal” for me to sit on the couch after work and drink beer and smoke while my husband is in another room playing on a computer, instead of working on weirdo steampunk projects together in our workshop. I guess it’s just crazy that my reaction to a physical challenge is “Bring it on! Let’s try it!” not, “Are you freaking kidding me? No way!”

Fine. If that’s the case…I’ll be the craziest, fucking weirdo you’ve ever seen.


Ok, I know that when people make those kinds of comments they probably don’t mean them quite that sarcastically. In fact, I tend to think some of them are actually a veiled way of saying, “I wish I had the balls to do what you are doing.” But if that is the case, why can’t people fucking say that? Or just nothing at all? Why passive-aggressively try to cut down someone who is just trying to enjoy themselves? Are some people’s self-esteem or lack of peace with their own station in life that low that they feel the need to rip on others who are enjoying theirs? Don’t they realize that the “weirdo” and the “crazy” comments just make them look small-minded and boring?

The bottom line is that I am a Participant, not a Spectator in this life, now more so than ever.  So to all of those who have a problem with that, I say, “Your life and I will be sure to wave as we pass you by.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Treasure Coast Adventure Race

Don't you just love it when you're right? Remember me mentioning how much stronger Dave is than I at mountain biking? And yeah sure, I also mentioned that we both thought that maybe the differences in our bikes had a little something to do with the disparity in our fitness levels. Well, it turns it had ALL to do with the bikes! He wasn't happy about it, but we traded bikes for last weekend's AR and lookie here! Who's having to stop and wait for who now?
Get this! Turns out when you ride a bike that DOESN'T suck off-road, mountain biking can actually be kinda fun! Who knew?
Needless to say our total time did not improve much on the bike since now he was stuck with the bike-from-hell. However, I am so jazzed to know that with a better bike we are going to be going a LOT faster on that leg.

So how did the Out of Steam Punks do this go around?

He claimed on FB that if he had remembered his spurs we'd have placed even higher.
My husband is a funny man.

8th place out of 28 teams, baby!!!! We ended up getting all of the Control Points, but we were 8 minutes late coming back from the canoe. Considering how slow we really are, the potential for improvement is great. Which makes us both very happy. We race smart, not fast, you see. So once we get fast too, watch out top 5! We're coming for you! 

I seem to acquire battle scars with each event. At the Lighterknot I fell off the bike unsuccessfully hopping off a bridge. I ended up with all kinds of interesting bruises from the obstacles at the Warrior Dash. At this one, during the Trek, I found the one root on the sandy trail and well as scraped the hell out of my leg (Thorny Vine-1, Me-0) while rushing away from a Control Point. 

Bruises and scars are cool.

No more Adventure Races until March 3rd, but going to do a 5K this Saturday. And with the exception of Megacon 2/24-2/26 we'll be doing a lot of outdoorsy things on the weekends till then. Now to cruise Craigslist and find a new bike so that I can whip Dave's bu...I mean, work better cooperatively with my teammate.

Warrior Stroll

If you're not familiar with the Warrior Dash events check this out:

I'll say this: the Adventure Races are way more difficult in pretty much every way. However, I've got to admit that this event really hit home how far I have come, physically speaking.

I had every intention of running between the obstacles as much as possible, but it became evident pretty quick that Dave did not agree with my plan. Since we went into this event as a goof, and I was afraid I might need his help with some of the obstacles, we stuck together.

I saw the cameras coming and made him jog past them with me.

As it turns out I did not need his help at all. I was able to complete all of the obstacles in relative ease, with nary a boost or helping hand. And that includes the 20' climbing wall. Honestly, I about teared up when I got to the top. It was the kind with a rope and a few very narrow toe-holds. There is absolutely NO WAY I would have been able to complete that obstacle a year ago. Hell, even the 4-4.5' walls earlier in the race would have required a leg-up. And I don't know how I would have gotten onto the floating dock.Of course the photographers were no where to be seen at the climbing wall. (kicks a rock)

Oh well. But at least I got my super cool fire jumping pic!

The Warrior Dash was a real blast. I highly recommend it to anyone. You don't have to go like hell, just come out and get muddy. 

Did I mention you'll get muddy?

This event meant so much to me. Since the hysterectomy I have dreamed, prayed, and wished to be the kind of person who does this kind of stuff. Jumping in without worrying about the particulars. I've longed to be able to just trust that my body is going to cooperate and help me do whatever it is I want to do. It is so humiliating and frustrating when your brain and your body are at such odds. I guess it wouldn't have mattered so much if I was one who didn't want to be active. Who was content coming home from work and watching TV. Who spent vacations shopping or touring, as opposed to hiking, and rafting and riding. To realize that the dream of being "fit" is truly coming to fruition was awesome. Really awesome. 

That said, after the race you get a free beer, they have food and live bands. It's very much a Festival Type atmosphere. Lots of folks in funny costumes, an extremely jovial crowd. 

It's not a cheap entry fee, but you get a nice t-shirt, and a really nice medal. Which is now hanging in my car as reminder of how far I have come.