September 24, 2008

Hallelujah, my friends!

I have post-goal fizzle. It's pretty much like the week after your wedding, when all the excitement and build up of adrenaline has peaked and now real life resumes its natural courses. In my case, it seems like my whole life I've struggled with my weight. That goal became much more obsessive after the birth of my first child and downright demoralizing after the second. (Everything was demoralizing at that point, but we don't need to go there.)

In the past year and a half, though, I've made a concerted effort. I've done all the things that everyone knows they need to do with food and activity and lifestyle changes. I had a little "help" this summer when I sort of stopped eating for about a month, but over all, my successes have been my own. And now here I am, comfortable in my own skin. I am not so thin that my body rebels in hunger and fatigue. My regular lifestyle has become routine and unconscious, though not rigid, in the maintenance of my health. I know some people will think I'm still a bit too soft around the edges and some people will think I've gone and wasted myself away, but what actually matters is that I am happy right here where I am.

So here I sit, my weight loss goals behind me, healthy and relatively balanced. Now what? I'm not saying that my achievement is not fulfilling or that maintaining it will not be a lifelong endeavor. I'm simply stating that it's not something I focus on daily anymore. At this point, the question begs, where do I go from here?

The trouble with having a goal like losing weight is that it focuses on a negative- changes that are hard to make, what things I'll need to give up, in both time, energy and comfort. Shifting those goals from a struggle to unconscious action has been the hardest part of this whole "journey" for me. I was in the home stretch when I hit the point where I didn't have to think about it anymore.

Instead of making my days about what I will not do (not stay inside all day, not even walk past the dessert aisle at the store, not snack in front of the TV, etc.), it's time to look forward to what I will do. Honestly, for me, I think this will be harder than losing that first or last five pounds ever was.

I'm a big wuss, I don't try new things, I'm afraid of heights and completely bound to my routine. I hesitate and equivocate whenever we're out for the night if I have to stay up past 10 P.M. I won't eat sushi or mushrooms or escargot or really anything that I haven't been eating in some form since I was three. I've been to approximately three concerts in my entire life and only when dragged by someone else. I have lived in Colorado more than half my life, but I've never been to the top of even the mountain right over my head. I've never even taken a long day's hike up a challenging trail. I always stick the ones I know won't take more than an hour or two and will be fairly level in the deal, careful to turn back in case I get too tired. I tried to ski once and was absolutely terrified the entire time, sure that I'd run into some 5-year-old pro on the bunny slope and kill us both. Don't even talk to me about the chair lift. Eek!

I'm a healthy 31 year old woman and I've never really tried anything new. So, here we go, internets. I am going to have an adventure. Or two or three. I'll hike a difficult trail in the area that I've been avoiding for YEARS. I will try once again to (gulp) ski down a hill (oops, I first typed "kill") that can only be reached by chair lift. CHAIR LIFT, people! High up in the ski with no 5-point harness and you have to get off by JUMPING! I will eat a meal completely of my husband's choosing. I will go on a nice long date and not once look at the clock (hello, Sante Fe!). And, here's the biggie, I am going to make it to the top of a 14-er, of which Colorado has several to spare, come hell or high water.

It's time for some new goals and this time, it's not going to be what I will lose but instead what I will gain. Can I get an "Amen"?

September 10, 2008

Never say never

Hypocrisy, I bow to you.

Last Christmas we all invaded my sister-in-law's house for over a week, spending most of our time watching the kids run amok. That is, everyone else watched the kids. I watched and worshiped the coffee maker.

Monica had this new amazing machine, a Keurig, that makes one perfect cup of coffee at a time. It was awe inspiring. You turn it on, pop in a little pre-packaged cup about the size of a creamer cup, close it and press a button. Voila! Perfectly made, perfectly measured, perfectly perfect coffee in less than a minute.

Poor Monica was left staring hopelessly at her quickly dwindling stash of k-cups (as they are called) because I could not stop myself. I had at least two cups every morning and usually one in the afternoon and then one "to relax me" in the evening. The best part was that each cup could be a different flavor or roast, even tea, each time. The only drawback? Those little k-cups are not recyclable, a fact with which I struggled.

When we got home, I started my search for something similar, but with recyclable filters. Thus did I discover the coffee pod, a little pre-portioned pack that you insert in a single serving machine. Oh, how I expounded to everyone who'd listen (and not many would) on the virtues of recycling and being less wasteful than using the "other" machine.

Except the pod coffee kind of sucked. And the machines kind of didn't work very well. And all the pods came wrapped in non-recyclable packets, which pretty much defeated my original ideals anyway. I kept saying I couldn't wrap my head around the thought of those little k-cups in the trash.

Well, I have now wrapped. Today, with complete humility, I traded in my crappy pod machine and picked up the fabulous, wonderful, amazing and practically mythic (in my tiny world) Keurig coffee maker. I love it and I am not ashamed! Oh, Keurig, you complete me.

Once again, I have learned an important lesson. Never ever say never. At least not out loud where people can hear you.

September 06, 2008

One woman is the same as any other

Okay, I know I'm getting all political here, but this whole Palin debacle has me riled up. I keep hearing over and over, from the news pundits to the mass emails I get, that there is some serious concern that Hilary Clinton's disillusioned supporters will now turn, with relief, to Sarah Palin. You know, because they are both women, a fact which erases any other minor differences between the two. Apparently, the obvious and undeniable gender of Sarah Palin was one of the deciding factors in McCain's choice.

One woman is the same an any other, right? We're all practically interchangeable. Pamela Anderson or Susan Sarandon; Ruth Ginsberg or Monica Lewinsky; Hilary Clinton or Sarah Palin. Who could possibly be expected to tell the difference?

September 05, 2008

Oh, truthiness, how you must love Sarah Palin

This is my favorite article to date regarding the upcoming elections (a big thanks to dooce for bringing it up). It is an AP (Associated Press) circulated piece, as opposed to Fox News, a program with considerable and notoriously conservative bias. To be fair, it also is not from The Daily Show, where fake, comic and liberal-leaning news runs rampant (It's my favorite show!).

Have a gander, absorb, think it through. Oh, and by the way, in case there was any doubt about the absolute horror I feel at the McCain/Palin ticket... Vote Obama 2008.

September 04, 2008

Bravery

I did three brave things this week. On the surface, they were nothing, minuscule, unworthy of note. But for me, inside my routined and nearly rigid life, these were big things. Brave things. I stepped outside of my initial instict, the moment of "no-thanks-can't-go-probably-busy-umm-my-toenails-need-emergency-attention". I went beyond my wants and jumped into the unknown territory of my needs.

First, I went out with some girlfriends. I went OUT. I met them in PUBLIC. I hemmed and hawed before I stepped out the door, I turned around once on my way there, and I dialed and hung up the phone twice to make a lame excuse so as to return to my cocoon. But I made it there and you know what? I had a good time. I laughed, I talked, I listened and sipped coffee and talked about my kids. (Note to self: next time come prepared with non-kid topics!)

The next thing took an ever larger effort of propulsion, mostly because it involved a long-term commitment as well as spending time with people who walked with me every step of the way this summer. I joined the choir at church. I almost, again, didn't go. My mom came to babysit and as I drove out, I very nearly turned in at the local Starbucks to have a chai and sit for an hour. But again, two days in a row, I made myself go somewhere that I had no initial desire to be. When I first walked in and saw Melanie, the pastor's wife, choir leader, and my friend, my eyes filmed over with tears. She was just so happy to see me.

The second level of this bravery, of course, is that I actually sang in the choir. With my voice. And, you know, notes and pitch and stuff. Everyone was very kind and one lady said that I'd be fine after a few practices. Ha! I simply haven't so much as hummed along, much less raised my voice in song, in a long time. Suffice it to say I am very, very rusty. Oh, well. There's always lip-syncing. The more important part, the scary part, was just returning to a community with a promise to stay involved.

The third brave thing came on a more literal and understandable level. There was this bear, you see. And I neither screamed nor jumped up and down or had lady-like vapors. I just cursed at my husband and backed away. Slowly.

We were on one of our evening walks up through the neighborhood when some people came running out of their house, yelling in stage-whispers for us to STOP and COME INSIDE and NOT GO THAT WAY. BEAR!

"Huh?", we replied.

"BEAR!!!!!"

And, indeed, there was a bear. A big, ambling brown bear, making it's way from behind a parked car and crossing the street about 15 feet from where we stood with the kids. The bear looked at us, I kid you not, and my husband, (OH MY GOD), grinned back at it, overjoyed at his exciting proximity to said wild animal.

"Hey, girls, Look! A bear!"

I had already started backing away, while murmuring vile threats under my breath at the man standing there like a rodeo clown. The bear stopped in the middle of the street to check us out. Kurt, with my children, stood for about 30 seconds, or six hours, before finally pulling the stroller back down the street. You know, away from the BEAR. Sheesh. It was of course not very interested in us, as we had no berries jars of honey, and headed off in the other direction.

So, see? I am brave! I have faced a book club, a church choir and a bear! All in one week, no less. That makes me practically Beowulf, really.