Weight Lifting, Shrinking, and Moving…Or, This is What My Thirties Are Made Of

Wow, do I have a ton of catching up to do. No writing since August; seriously, Lex?

So, first let me catch you up on the whole “workin’ on my fitness” business that I’ve been doing since April.  After months of working with my tremendously strong and amazing powerlifter trainer, I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I ever imagined I’d be. I’ve been through months of deadlifting, squatting, assisted pull-ups and hours logged of arm work that made me squint my eyes and curse. And, I have to say that while I might not have loved every single moment of that work, where it’s gotten me is so worth it. I’ve officially lost 47 pounds since the end of April, and am still The Incredible Shrinking Woman. In fact, I’m physically smaller now, than I was about ten years ago when I lost more weight. Weight. Lifting. Rocks. I’m excited to see where I’m going to be in a month’s time. I strive in increase the weight that I can lift every week, and thus far, I’m deadlifting 170 and squatting 135. Not too shabby for the girl who professed to her trainer, “I hate lifting weights.”

iron

I now call myself a gym rat. I look forward to my time “praying to iron”, pushing myself hard and seeing what my body is capable of doing. I’ve also learned that there is an awesome community that resides in the weightlifting section of my gym. People you don’t know will cheer you on when they see you struggle lift or squat that weight; they’ll high-five you, give you a huge smile, and say “awesome job!” when you’re done. It’s pretty inspiring.

Ok, what else is happening in Lex Land? I’m in the process of figuring out what the hell I’m going to do with my life and where I want to be. The struggle continues…I’m looking for work in Northern VA and in Charlottesville, hoping that an opportunity is going to pop up that will be a great fit and afford me the opportunity to move out of good ol’ Culpeper. It’s time. Change is in the air. The insufferable part of change being in the air is my lack of decision making abilities. What do I want to do? Where do I want to go?

darts-at-map-608x400

I’m thirty-one and I’m still struggling with these questions.  A really good friend of mine likes to say that when she looks at me, it’s like she’s looking at herself when she was in her thirties. And then she assures me that while the thirties are challenging, forties are great. And, then I laugh and say I’ve got to get through this decade first.

In all actuality, thus far my thirties haven’t been nearly as challenging and full of strife as my twenties were. I’m definitely more self aware and self-assured and learning what you like and what you don’t like is, at least I believe, a huge sign of growth.

So, here’s to personal growth, self-awareness, and continued physical shrinkage!

More to come soon…I mean it this time.

Resilience…or, I’ve Been a Busy Girl

Resilience is what keeps us moving and growing. And I can honestly say that I’ve seen such resilience in Mister Bubby since my last post, that it’s inspiring.  Is that stupid? To find your fur baby to be inspiring? Even if it’s stupid, I still believe he’s a miracle. Since I last wrote, I found out that Bubby is officially cancer free! He’s moving around like the champ that he is and continues to amaze me every day. We’re just about back to normal with the exception of climbing the staircase to go to bed at night. For some reason, he just can’t muster the energy to propel himself. I just keep telling myself that we’ll get there. And we will.

His recovery period was a real bitch. Keeping him from licking at his sutures was a miserable experience for all involved, and we had to make a visit to the emergency room due to a bad reaction to pain medication, but we got through it. And somehow, even with putting him through the surgery and making sure he kept his tongue off of the incision site, he still loves me. The love that our fur babies have for us is simply incredible.

Let’s see, what else has been happening? Oh, big doin’s. I’ve been working with a phenomenal trainer at the gym for a little over a month, and I’ve started dead lifting and have far exceeded my expectations with what I thought were my abilities. Last week, I lifted 130 lbs. My goal was 120 and I just… kept going, adding more weight little by little. It’s really amazing what your body can do once your brain says you can do it. Lifting is something I never thought I would do. I never imagined that I’d reach the point where I actually look forward to picking up heavy weight.

I’ve also been working hard with my cardio work and sticking to the Weight Watchers plan, and I’m happy to announce that I am now 28 pounds lighter now than I was on April 22nd. And, I’m the incredible shrinking woman: my trainer took measurements of me when we started working a little over a month ago and every part of me is getting smaller. It truly is a wonderful feeling when you see results and know that your hard work is paying off.

I also just got back from a fantastic trip to Houston where I was able to spend time with my FES (fitness extraordinaire sister). It was so great to get out of the small town I’m in and meet new people and experience new things. I had a wonderful time having sister time and making memories; I even enjoyed it when we’d be trying to sleep and my phone would make a noise and she’d give me a death glare. There truly is nothing like the bond you have with your sisters.

Along with all of the above, I’ve recently just opened my own business. I’m now an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay. I turned to this to add a little extra income to my pocket to achieve further financial independence, but I’m excited because this is something totally fun and different from what I do from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., Monday through Friday.  This weekend will be my first weekend with the ability to hold appointments, and I’m totally booked up all weekend! It’s a terrific feeling. I’m looking forward to sharing some great products with lots of different women and making them feel beautiful.  If any of you are interested in any of our excellent products, you can visit my store . The beauty about Mary Kay is that while I’m an independent consultant and therefore, a small business owner, I’m backed by a global company who believes to thoroughly in their products that they offer a 100% money back guarantee.

So that’s what I’ve been up to since my last writing; I’ve been a busy girl! All in all, life is good. Our journey may lead us down some bumpy roads, but somehow you end up just where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what it is that you’re supposed to be doing.

 

Seeing What You’re Made Of…or, Mr. Bubby, Part 2

I think sometimes we are tested just to see what we’re made of.  In the case of Mister Bubby, he’s been tested and that little man is full of heart and gumption!  Last I wrote, we were waiting on results from a biopsy to determine whether or not my baby had cancer.  Unfortunately, the results came back positive: he was diagnosed with stage 2 spindle cell sarcoma, which is a localized cancer and one that doesn’t metastasize (thank God). Upon receiving the results, I immediately made arrangements to meet with a surgeon who our vet referred us to.

I was highly impressed by the doctor and facility, but the means of getting rid of the cancer left me nonplussed. Amputation was the only way. After a tour of the operating and recovery room, I felt slightly better though; Mister Bub would have excellent care through this big surgery (three people in the operating room during surgery) and I would have 24 hour follow up advice via phone if I needed it post-op through both the surgery center and the emergency clinic associated with the surgery center.

I spent the weekend before surgery with my little lovey, taking him wherever I went and giving him his favorite treats of bacon and ice cream. Sunday evening rolled around and it was time to make the trek from Culpeper to Manassas, so I loaded him into the car with my Dad and off we went to the surgery center. Leaving him overnight was awful; he looked at me with a shocked face as if to say, “Ma, what…where are you going?!” If that experience was bad, the next day was pure torture as that was surgery day.  The day dragged on and on and I was finally able to call and check on him at noon: Mister Bubby had made it through surgery just fine and was resting.

Tuesday rolled around and I was anxious to get the little man home to rest in the comfort of his own bed, so that afternoon, I drove up to pick him up. Seeing him for the first time was a shock, adorned with his little blue e-collar (or as I like to call them Cones of Shame) and his shaved hind end. We walked outside with a very sweet tech from the surgery center so she could so me how to use a sling on Bub so he would have an easier time walking. Much to my surprise, he walked (or rather, hopped) right out of the sling and hightailed it to the car, anxious to get home!

We were sent home with pain medication and an NSAID and my sweet boy took his medicine well, but I noticed that whenever I would dose him with the pain medicine, his heart rate would increase and he would start panting heavily.  This only got worse over time and we made a hasty visit to the emergency clinic in Manassas again on Sunday.  Mister Bub was given new paid meds, put on an antibiotic due to a fever and had staples put in to secure his incision as he somehow managed to pull out about three sutures.  After a day at the clinic, we were free to go home!

I’m happy to report that Mr. Bubby is doing much better since the change in medicine and I believe we’ve turned a corner and he’s on the mend.  He felt so good in fact that he spent some time outside with my Dad yesterday, hopping around in the grass, moving about easily with his tail wagging. He’s my trooper, my brave little boy and my miracle.

Now, the only hurdle we have to jump is getting more biopsy results.  Our surgeon sent off Bubby’s leg to be biopsied where the leg was taken off to make sure that the area is free of cancer.  If this comes back as cancer-free, then we are in good shape and cancer-free!

Here’s to the health and happiness of our constant companions and fur babies everywhere!

Mr. Bubby, The Day After Surgery

Mr. Bubby, The Day After Surgery

When One Thing Goes Right, Another Goes Totally Wrong…or, About Mister Bubby

So here I am, plugging along, focused on working out and being healthy. And I’m actually succeeding; since April I’ve lost a good bit of weight and have increased my cardiac stamina and have started feeling pretty good about myself. But, wouldn’t you know that when one area of my life starts going well, another part falls to shit?

One day a couple of weeks ago, I notice that my baby, Mister Bubby wasn’t going down the deck stairs or bearing much weight on one of his back legs.  I was unconcerned at first; I thought perhaps he’d taken a little tumble while scrambling down the stairs, which would make sense for him to have developed a fear of those stairs. But more time went on and I realized there was something definitely wrong; his whole gait changed: instead of the cute little butt-wiggling walk that he normally had, he was almost swinging his left leg out to the side in order to propel himself forward. So, I finally called Mister Bubby’s doctor yesterday and was able to get him in first thing in the morning.

After a little exam, our good doctor looked at me and said that he felt a large lump directly above my baby’s knee. Said that it “felt funny” and wasn’t quite sure what it could be, so in order to be thorough, the best thing to do would be to get an x-ray.  In order to get the proper angles that he needed, I had to leave Mister Bubby at the doctor’s office in order to receive a mild narcotic so the leg could be manipulated. Dr. B promptly gathered up Bubby while we spoke at length about how much time he’d need to complete the task. Before leaving, I looked at my son who looked at me wide-eyed as if to say, “What the hell!? Ma!?” but was a good boy as I told him I’d be back and gave him a scrub on the head.

Mister Bubby

Mister Bubby

A couple of hours later, I made a phone call to check on my Mister and see if I could pick him up. It was then that I received the most upsetting news that I could possibly have gotten. The doctor believes the large knot he felt in the leg and saw in the x-rays to be a tumor. I promptly started sniffling and crying, stating to the doctor that was the one thing I was hoping it was not. Upon picking up my boy, the doctor did say that there is a very slight chance that the knot is there because of tearing of ligaments and/or tendons. At this point, that is what I’m hoping for.

Bubby is eight or nine years old; he’s become an old man over the past five years that I’ve had him, and because of this, the doctor wasn’t willing to give him more medicine in order to do the biopsy yesterday. So, upon picking him up, I scheduled the procedure for Wednesday. And here I find myself today, the day after receiving this news, trying to concentrate on work, and I realize that that just isn’t going to happen today.  Instead, I’m focused on the fact that my baby could be very sick, and will be biopsied tomorrow. I’ve never been a patient person; waiting to find out if my dog, who I think of as my child is healthy or sick is killing me. The only thing I can do at this point is to ply him with his favorite cookies and make him happy.

The plain truth is that I simply don’t know what I’d do if I Mister Bubby wasn’t around anymore. He’s been my companion and my best friend for the last five years. He’s stuck faithfully by my side through the good times and the not so good times. And, he knows when I’m sad or sick and does his best to make me feel better.  Here’s to the mysterious lump being caused by injury to his leg rather than a cancerous tumor, and to Mister Bubby living many more healthy years by my side.

 

Cut the Bullshit…or, Stop Taking in Stray Dogs

At some point in everyone’s life, they must reassess and cut the bullshit. Sometimes, we need to get rid of the people that simply do not add quality to our lives. Recently, along with dropping weight, I decided it was time to drop the extraneous people who I’ve allowed into my life that simply do not add anything of merit. This is something that’s hard for me, and I think, is hard in general for most people. Thing is, I usually don’t (unless you’ve done something to warrant it) want to be seen as a bitch. I want people to think the best of me and have only positive things to say when I come to mind. I never like to disappoint. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, and generally speaking (though it isn’t always the case) we’re taught that we must ‘be nice’.

Lucky for me, I could think only of one person who I’ve allowed into my life that needed to be extricated. He’s the kind of guy that drifts in and out as he pleases; one of those people that has so many things up in the air that I wonder how he is able to sleep at night. And of course, he’s someone I used to date. Unfortunately, the last time he decided to pop back into my life, I allowed it. I answered the text and said, “sure, I’ll come over”. Why did I do that? Because I was being nice. Thing of it is, said ex lives an hour from me and at the time, I didn’t want to make the drive. It had finally happened! I finally decided that I wasn’t desperate enough to drop what I was doing (or in this case, what I wasn’t doing ) to drive an hour to spend time with this guy who I once at some kind of weird interest in. I see this as growth.

But wait. Maybe it wasn’t growth, because I then replied, “how about next weekend?”. Why did I do that when I didn’t particularly want to spend time with this person? Because I was being nice! I felt obligated and therefore, I made a suggestion to placate the man. Of course, the reply to my question was a deflated and unexcited “I suppose so.” Well, of course that weekend would do, why wouldn’t it? I mean, I’d be the one driving an hour to go spend time with a guy who liked to play the game We’re Just Friends…But Only When It’s Convenient for Me…and No, I Won’t Add You as a Friend on Facebook…But I Still Like To Kiss You. Ever had one of those? Kind of annoying. And weird.

So , as the promised weekend approached, I sought advice. And it was good advice I got: Cut. Him. Out. This wasn’t the first time I’d gotten this advice, but for some reason, it was this time that I chose to listen. Problem was, how was I to get out of this sticky situation I was now in? Lucky for me, I didn’t hear from the ex all weekend. I thought perhaps he’d forgotten about our intended plans. Horray!

But I wasn’t so lucky. Monday rolled around and I received a text asking what had happened to our plans. Of course, upon hearing the little chime and reading the message, I got an icky feeling in my belly. The icky feeling you get when you know you’re doing something that has the possibility to upset/confound/disappoint someone. But, it had to be done. I ignored the message…and promptly added the phone number to my phone to put on the Blocked list. I felt a bit guilty by doing this. After all, if I sent a message and didn’t hear back wouldn’t I be hurt? Oh wait…that has happened to me with this particular person, and about a serious subject matter, I might add.

So, the question begs to be asked: Why was I so affected by the idea of ignoring someone I don’t want to spend time with anymore? If someone disappoints you, does that give you license to disappoint them in return? Is cutting people out hard for everyone? Or, do I just have a supremely bad case of Nice Girl Syndrome? I had a friend once tell me that people like this ex are like cancer: cut them out, or they will bring you down with them. Sometimes, there is no easy way; having a conversation with someone about not really seeing the merit in keeping company with them is just as icky as ignoring them. Neither one is nice, but one is necessary. My dad once told me, “at some point, you have to stop taking in stray dogs and take care of yourself.” I think I’m finally taking my dad’s advice.

 

Meeting Goals…or, Being Brave Instead of Vague

I’m eight weeks into my transformation/weight loss journey and things are going remarkably well. After having several meltdowns and moments (ok, ok…days) where I wanted to throw my hands in the air and eat my feelings, I think I’m finally past all of the hysterics. And, I’m ecstatic to report that I have surpassed a weight loss goal!

I began doing Weight Watchers again about two weeks ago after hitting a weight loss plateau on my previous plan. Don’t get me wrong, the plan that my FES (Fitness Extraordinaire Sister) put me on was great and it helped me lose about ten pounds in a week’s time, but after some time, I felt it to be restrictive and after about six weeks of following the plan (albeit with cheats) and working out five days a week, I still wasn’t losing any weight. So, I decided to give ol’ WW another go of it and see what would happen. What happened was I started losing weight again! I weighed in on Tuesday and was astonished that I finally surpassed a weight loss goal; it was a small goal, but a goal nonetheless.

I realize that I’ve been rather vague about my weight loss thus far, never actually mentioning a number. Part of that is because this journey is intensely personal to me. Part of it is because stating a weight that I’m not proud of makes me self-conscious. And part of it is because actually stating my weight to an audience of people is a daunting and scary task.  But after thinking about it, we’re all friends here, so here goes nothing. I’ll start at the beginning.  When I started this journey, I was a whopping 238 pounds (I’m only 5’5”). Somehow along the way, I’d eaten my way to an unhealthy and uncomfortable weight. I became increasingly self-conscious about my looks and downright uncomfortable in my own skin. I wasn’t happy with the me that I’d become. This is why I decided to start this journey. I want to be a more confident, healthy version of me. I want to feel good and look better.

So, now that that big matzo ball is out there, I can happily say that I’ve dieted and exercised my way to 224 pounds. That’s a fourteen pound loss since April and I’m quite proud of myself. I’ve been trying not to look at the big picture when it comes to how much weight I’d actually like to lose because it makes me feel like I may never achieve that goal.  I find that it’s the small victories that make being on the weight loss journey bearable. I think breaking a big weight loss goal of 80 pounds into smaller, more achievable goals of perhaps five to ten pound increments helps. Hell, I even celebrate each one pound loss.

Different things work for different people and I believe one of the big hurdles people face when decided that they need to make a change and start the process of losing weight is to figure out what works best for them. Some people like working with a trainer at the gym, while some people need just a little bit of guidance when it comes to working out. As far as dieting goes, some people need a very restrictive set of rules when it comes to diet (a forbidden list and an allowable list of foods), and some people need a little more wiggle room when it comes to diets because they end up going home at the end of the day feeling deprived and end up in a pool of their own tears.  In my case, I hate going to the gym, but I do it because my personal trainer sister told me to. And because I’ve started to see results.  I go and I sweat intensely (as I like to say, I sweat like a man) for 45 minutes a day, five days a week. As for diet, for me, I need wiggle room. I need to be allowed wine and treats and fruit…otherwise it’s me that ends up feeling deprived and crying hysterically at the end of the day, feeling utterly hopeless and like I’ll never achieve the big goal that I’ve set for myself. Now that I think I’ve got what works for me figured out, all I need to do is to keep plugging away at it and see where I am in another week’s time.

What Do I Want?…or, Weddings & Facebook Posts Make Me Think

I have a friend from college that I keep up with on Facebook who recently made a post that has made me pause and think.  She’s a well-educated, well traveled, attractive woman who comes from a good family, owns her own home and has two fur babies that she thinks the world of. But this lovely woman, who I’ll refer to in this post simply as C made a Facebook post recently about how she would like children, despite being childless and still single at 32 years of age. In typical fashion, I had to respond to her post with an uplifting message about how being childless isn’t necessarily a bad thing; being child-free, she has the opportunity to do what she wants, when she wants to do it and doesn’t have to worry about lugging her child/children with her along with bags filled with all of their accoutrements. She never has to worry about making arrangements for anyone to watch kids in order for her to be able to do anything, and best of all, she is free to travel unhindered whenever she likes.

But, I’ll admit, her post got me to thinking. Well, if I’m honest, it was her post and the fact that the weekend prior to reading it, I’d attended the wedding of a long time friend.  I’m 31. I’m single, and seem to always fall into the pattern of single, not single, single, continue on ad nauseum. The truth of the matter is that at 31 years old, I’m not entirely certain what it is that I want. Of course, I’d like to meet someone who meshes well with me and who would be a good partner, but do I ever really want to get married again? And kids? Do I want kids?

In theory, I think marriage is a good idea. The main idea is that you meet someone who is your equal, your partner and your friend and you marry them to pair up and forever be linked. But I’ve done the marriage thing once, and it didn’t work out so good for me. Granted, I think when I got married, I had a skewed view of what marriage was going to be like. Which was weird because I’d been living with the guy that I married and I come from a family with two parents who are still married and, I believe, have set a good example of what marriage is. Also, I married a lying bastard and so maybe I should open my mind to the possibility of pairing up with someone who doesn’t possess that character flaw.  The other aspect of marriage that makes me iffy is something that I’ve actually discussed with my dad. We as humans are still animals, and I think the concept of “forever” is tough for us to grasp. So, when we promise another person that we’ll be together forever, I think a lot of people don’t think about how hard being with someone until you die is actually going to be. Think about it: you go to bed with the same person every night and you wake up next to the same person every morning. That’s tough. That takes serious commitment.

When I allow myself to think about it, I struggle with the concept of having kids. I recently went away for a few days with one of my oldest friends and her little girl and it became evident that I simply don’t have the patience that having a child/children entails. Other reasons that parenthood might not be in the cards for me:

1)      I  value my sleep. And, if I don’t get enough of said sleep, I’m a real force to be reckoned with.

2)      I have a rather short fuse when it comes to smart mouthed kids. I’m afraid I’d beat a kid mercilessly if I was put in the position.

3)      I like to do what I want, when I want to do it. And I like being able to go where I want when the urge strikes. I like to do this unencumbered.

4)      The idea of being responsible for anyone other than my self and my dog scares the hell out of me.

5)      Kids are pretty gross. They pick their noses, spit out chewed food if they decided they don’t like it and are incapable of wiping their own bums for a good period of time.

6)      I’m afraid my child would be either over fed or under fed. How does one know exactly how much to feed one’s child? There are no directions on the side of the food bag for this.

7)      How does anyone ever know what size clothes their kid wears? My kid would perpetually wear ill-fitting clothes. Or trash bags.

8)      Kids are expensive. They always need something.

9)      I like peace and quiet and kids talk a lot. Like all the time. Kids are noisy, tiny little people who always can think of something to say.

10)   I like to use colorful language. I like to say the words fuck, shit and goddamnit a lot. Some people believe that you can’t say any of my favorite words around kids because they’ll instantly repeat them in the most unfortunate circumstances.

11)   Having a child requires having sex with someone who likes you. Or at least can tolerate you long enough to have sex with you. Or, if neither of those are an option, it requires having an expensive procedure. At this time, I don’t like anyone enough to have sex with them or have the money for said expensive procedure. This alone rules out having children.

 

Sure, sure, I know people say that when they have kids, things just come naturally. You’re able to magically know how much to feed them, what size clothes they wear and you develop this weird ability to totally tune out your noisy little gremlin while they mercilessly chatter away in the back seat on a long car drive. I’m told that somehow, some way, you’re able to afford said child once it arrives. I’m not really sure I actually believe any of this.

 

Now, with all of that said, I do actually turn into a pile of unrecognizable mush when I see a baby. I do love babies. I think I love them for a very few, select reasons:

1)      They’re usually cute/pretty tiny little people who wear clothes that make them cuter/prettier.

2)      They can’t talk back.

3)      As long as they don’t have a load in their pants or have recently vomited all over themselves, I usually like the way babies smell.

4)      When you hold someone else’s baby, you get to give it back.

Something in me says that if I ever meet “the right” guy, I’ll know whether or not I ever want to entertain the idea of marriage again, or the possibility of having children. But, the logical half of me says that I should have all of this figured out on my own before I meet anyone. Does everyone have this internal struggle on these issues, or is it just me? When someone asks me “Do you ever want to have kids?” or “Do you want to get married again?” should my response come from my gut; should it be an immediate, never hesitant, definitive yes or no? I’m not quite there yet, but I think with time and more thought, I’ll have a better idea of what exactly it is that I want when it comes to two of the biggest decisions of adulthood.