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.

 

Journey to Texas…or Ponderings of Moving

It’s been a few days since I returned from Spring, Texas where I visited with my sister, and I miss both my sister and the place already (though it is wonderful being back in my own bed).  There’s something about traveling to different places that makes me wonder why I’m still in the small town in which I grew up. It makes me wonder where I “should” be…or rather where I belong, where I fit.

Spring is a fairly large suburb of Houston with countless nail salons, tanning salons and fast food restaurants; it also has the novelty of summer-like weather for extended months in comparison with Virginia.  It also has the novelty of housing my sister, the one with whom I am closest in age and heart.  Maybe that’s why I have a soft spot for that bustling outlying area of East Texas.  Indeed, in 2011 (when last I visited my sister, or as I refer to her “thithta”…just say the word sister with a minor speech impediment) I was gung-ho to move there; and my sister being my sister said she’d support it if I did, but that starting a new life in a place where you don’t know anyone is hard. Very hard. She uttered the same sentiments during my visit this time around.  The difference is, I would know her and a couple of her friends who she has had the pleasure of knowing for the past three years.

I think the time has come in life to figure out what I want to do.  And, evidently, so do a few of my co-workers who honestly love me dearly; just yesterday, I was invited to lunch but politely declined as I’ve decided to start my Weight Watchers venture again (God, help me)  and upon their return, one of them mentioned that she believes it is time for me to do what I want to do and be where I want to be, because as she put it to me, “you have the whole world in front of you and no strings holding you here.” That lady has a point.

But, therein lies the question: Where do I want to be? Truth be told, I have no idea. I know that I’d like to be somewhere out west. I don’t know why that is other than for years, I’ve had an affinity with the west. Maybe it has something to do with a past-life reading I once had (evidently, I used to live out west).  But see, there is a problem: I know that the prospect of being far away from my family scares the living shit out of me. I’m a worrier; it’s what I do.  I’m afraid that the second I move, something will happen: one of my parents will get sick or hurt. I don’t know why I think that, but I do.  Who then will be there to help when help is needed? Maybe that’s a strange worry to have…maybe I should just realize that wherever I may go, I’m only a drive or a flight away. Maybe the problem is that I am so reliant upon my folks because they’ve been there for me when things got really, really shitty that the thought of not being able to be right there for them if they need me is truly the basis of the problem.

Here is a list of places I’ve thought of moving to throughout the past couple of years:

  • Spring, Texas
  • Colorado Springs
  • Denver
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Austin, Texas (just because “Keep Austin Weird” is their motto)
  • Arizona (nowhere specifically, I just think the dry climate would be good for me)
  • Spring, Texas

I think my other problem is my fear of leaping, of making a big change, because in the event that I do make a big change, I have the very real probability of failing. So many things dictate the thing that we do in everyday life and I’ll admit that fear has been a big dictator throughout my existence.

What am I fearful of failing at, specifically? Well, I shall make you another handy list:

  • Not being able to get work
  • Hating said new job
  • Being lonely
  • Deciding that I actually hate the place where I choose to move
  • Something major happening with one or both of my parents

Obviously, the above fears will need to be a hurdle that I jump in order to move forward with my life.  Who knows, maybe admitting to my hang-ups and writing all of this out has been therapeutic and will actually aid in my quest to move forward.  With that said, anyone have ideas for the place I should move?

these are my options

these are my options

A Love Letter to Colorado

Dear Colorado,

Well, it’s official. I am in love with something far more grand than any man I could possibly dream up. I’m in love. Head over heals love with you. I’m sure that every part of you is spectacular, but I’m specifically enamored with Colorado Springs.  I don’t even know if I can dredge up the words to explain why. But, I’ll try my hardest.

First off, upon landing, I found your Denver International Airport was fantastically clean and easy to navigate. The train that runs to all the terminals runs every two and a half minutes (unlike every five in Dulles), so even if you just miss the train (like I did, coming down off the escalator), another one will be around directly.  The signage was well placed and it took no time at all to reach the area that I needed to be. I was quite impressed.

Perhaps I just had a good experience, but all of your children who I encountered were was so incredibly good natured and helpful. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. People stopped to let you cross the street, for goodness sake! People don’t do that where I’m from; we’re too close to DC for people to be nice. And one of your children who works for the Denver police department deserves a big ol’ hug! Charity and I ventured into downtown Denver right after landing in The Mile High City, and naturally, we had no idea where we were going so, after driving around aimlessly for a bit, we came to 18thand Glenarm where the road was blocked and a police officer stood.  The officer told us that the Taste of Colorado was going on, and that the best thing to do was to park in one of the many lots on the side streets and walk down. He then allowed us to pull into a lot on the blocked off street to park and when we were ready to leave (this is the best part), he stopped traffic for us to exit the blocked street! Not only did he do this for us, but he did it with a smile and then gave us directions to get to the interstate, I-25.

Your time zone is fantastic! God, I love Central Time! I gained two hours by coming to visit you, Colorado. I had a full day to spend with you since you gave me two whole extra hours! And time seemed to loll by at a leisurely pace.

Garden of the Gods: Truly a place fit for the gods

Colorado, I’m going to have a really hard time putting this into words, so I’ll say it simply.  You are purely stunning. Your sky is the bluest blue that I have ever seen. It’s a crisp, deep hue that completely mesmerized me. Your plot of land known as Garden of the Gods is AHmazing.  Your sandstone formations are magical, almost mythical in stature. I was completely blown away; even after reading about the purpose behind the Garden of the Gods and the fact that it is free and to be kept a free park for all to enjoy (and being impressed by this immensely), all of my expectations were blown out of the water.  It was almost other-worldly: massive red (and gray) giants jutting unexpectedly out of the earth, stretching upward, almost seeming to be pulled upward into the clear blue yonder. Upon glancing out of the car window and spotting the Kissing Camels, I was overwhelmed. So overwhelmed, my heart felt more full that it has felt in the longest time. Overwhelmed to the point of tears. I actually cried with a great big smile on my face. I even found the view from the places where mankind has marred your body with a system of paved roadways, of your farmland stretching as far as the eye can see, seemingly only stopped by massive mountains projecting upward on the horizon to be unconceivable.

Another very small item that you have that I found enthralling? You have actual tumbleweed! I saw a tumbleweed ‘a-tumblin’! Rolling across a street!

Your weather and moderate climate is pure divinity. I come from a place where humidity is the law of the land: muggy, damp and uncomfortable are familiar descriptors of the Old Dominion.  Your hospitable summer temperatures are pleasant coupled with your cheerful sunshine; I could actually walk without feeling like I was walking through an invisible curtain of water (as is how I feel most summer days in Virginia).

In short, Colorado, I’m bewitched, bothered & bewildered by you. I’m enthralled. I crave more time with you to experience more of your charms. I’ll be back, Colorado. To breathe your clean air, to view your majestic landscape and to learn as much as I possibly can of you.

Rocky Mountain High: Part I, The Journey

Here I sit on the plane, bound for Denver.

The tensile fiberglass roof of Denver Internat...

The tensile fiberglass roof of Denver International Airport resembles the area’s famous Rocky Mountains. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I was so excited I could barely stand myself…mostly filled with anxiety about the plane ride.  So far, so good.  Evidently, the plane I’m on going to Denver is also continuing westward to Portland.  Needless to say, the cabin was totally filled.

Up since 2:20 A.M., I thought I was giving myself ample time to get ready and get to my departing gate by 6 A.M. Evidently, it wasn’t early enough.  I had to scramble to get where I needed to be and, by the time I got there, they’d already boarded my group.  I was lucky enough to grab an aisle seat, though!

I always like people watching at airports and on planes, as people of all kinds are represented.  This particular flight contained several very cantankerous old men, a hip looking young couple with baby (attached to the front of the woman’s body with one of those baby slings where the baby’s legs sway akimbo, slightly straddling the front of Mommy.  It’s my belief that a sadist invented these carriers; they look uncomfortable for babies. ), a couple Indian families with the prettiest children I’ve ever seen and an obnoxious woman who was constantly moving to adjust her laptop/book and/or find her glasses (she sat right in front of me, as luck would have it, not beside me).

I was very lucky to sit next to two gentlemen who, God love ‘em, are quiet, not engaging in idle chitchat and leaving me to my own devices.  I’m not sure if it’s because I have an eat-shit-and-die expression on my face (which I hope I don’t…I curse people who walk around looking like that), if they’ve left me be since I’ve been plugged into my music since given the okay from our good cap’n, or, if they simply feel the same way that I do:  flying is best when incessant small talk is left out of the equation. And, while it feels like time seems to have slowed down since I’ve been sitting here, I’m attributing that to the excitement I feel about reaching Denver and my friend, Charity whom I have not seen in at least six years.

I would like to lodge a complaint though.  It’s about turbulence. That God-awful, vomit and sweat inducing rocking, bumping and jarring of the plane as we sail ten thousand or more feet above the ground.  You’d think that with all of the technological advances mankind has made over the years, they’d find a way to decrease that dreadful motion, thus quelling my nerves.   Oh, and the second complaint I’d like to make? Plane lavatories.  I’m claustrophobic. The thought of shutting myself into an area smaller than any closet I have ever had to relieve myself is terrifying to me. And, even though my urge to pee is boarding on dire as I write this, I simply will not do it.

Our good cap’n just announced that we are over Kansas now. Wow. I’m flying over Kansas right at this moment!  I’m a small town, east coast girl and I’m over the middle of the country at this very moment. Did I mention I’ve never ventured any further west than Houston? Yep, this is big doin’s for me, boys and girls. Evidently wherever I am in Kansas (over Kansas?), its 457 miles to Denver! Uuuugh…457 miles to Denver? I have the urge to grab a flight attendant by the sleeve as she walks by next and whine, “are we there yet?” Perhaps I shall refrain; I think I look a little too old for that question to be answered with anything other than extreme annoyance.

I should be landing in the Mile High city within the next 20 minutes! I’ve actually been able to look out the window to the carefully plotted ground below with its squared and rounded patches of varying shades of greens and browns.  This is a first for me.  And, I cheerfully am able to report that my gazing isn’t inducing vomiting. Slight dizziness, but no vomiting.  I think I’m improving my flying skills as I write this!

I’ve just landed in Denver and have not been this excited in a long time.  The airport is big, but not overbearing and clean (you should take notes, Atlanta airport).  I made my way to the incredibly efficient train system to get to baggage claim and my long-time friend with no incidents (and by incidents I mean getting lost).

All in all, this first part of the journey has been nothing but pleasant.  I can only hope that my time in Denver and Colorado Springs is just as enjoyable! More to come!

Squats and Feelin’ Flat

I’ve been taking a bit of a hiatus from writing lately for a couple different reasons. Number one: to focus on working out (also known as sweating profusely in public) and transforming my body. The second reason: life has felt a little flat as of late. Not good, not bad, just…flat. This stagnant feeling has opened the door for me to do some serious thinking about life.

My training at the gym has been going fantastically. I’ll insert here that although I cannot truthfully say that I love squats and lunges, the hundreds nay, possibly thousands that I have done in the past three weeks are paying off. My thighs and butt are in a constant state of uncomfortable, but it’s the good kind of uncomfortable. It’s the uncomfortable that makes my internal voice say, “Hey, Lex? You’re doing it! Now, go back today and tomorrow and the day after that…keep going. You can do it.” My shoulders and arms are unyieldingly sore from the reps upon reps of push ups and brutal reps of burning triceps and biceps weights.  I’ve noticed that I’m not nearly as jiggley as I once was. My thighs are more toned and my rear end has more definition. Big changes are afoot! My body is physically changing for the better and it’s because I’m working at it like I’ve never done before.  My endurance is increasing and I’ve got far more strength in my legs than I have from “pushing past the point of pain” (thanks for that quote, T!).

Cardio is probably my least favorite of everything that my gym regimen has to offer.  I’ve reached a personal best on the StairMaster that I affectionately refer to as “The Beast”.  Every step on The Beast is agony: my heart feels as though it’s going to beat out of my chest, my breath is short, sweat drips into my eyes and down my back.  Thus far, my personal best is eighteen minutes. After eighteen minutes, my thighs feel like quivering jelly. But, that’s only the beginning of cardio hell. Next, I jump on an elliptical machine and crank up the resistance until it feels like I’m running through really thick mud. At this point, all I want to do is jump off and drop to the floor. But, I don’t. I do what’s known as intervals: I lower the resistance for a minute to give my heart a “working break”, and then I crank up the resistance again for a minute or three increasing my speed. And then I do this for at least thirty minutes. And then, I want to fall to the floor in a big whimpering, shaking pile. But, I stretch instead.

Maybe I should back up a bit and go into one of the motivators for throwing myself into this fitness regimen.  I did some thinking and decided that I wanted to get away this summer; really get away: get away from my comfort zone and go somewhere I’ve never been, somewhere I could experience a different ecosystem of nature. I wanted to see big mountains and see red sandstone formations. I decided that I wanted to go to Colorado. After my last hike, it was blatantly apparent that I was out of shape and had lost my endurance for hiking. So, I decided it was time to get my ass in shape so that when I get out west and am at 6,000 ft. above sea level, not only will I be able to breathe, I’ll be able to hike and enjoy the nature at hand.

Ok, so that part of my life is great. And, I’m really excited about my upcoming trip; I’m looking forward to experiencing another place (and more importantly, getting to experience it with a great friend). The rest of it though…it’s good, I can’t complain. I just feel stuck. Stagnant. I’m tired of living in a small town where I’m known as someone’s daughter, granddaughter or niece. Perhaps it’s time to investigate where I’d fit best?

A very insightful woman once gave me a really good piece of advice: When you are doing what you love, and love what you’re doing your transformation will become permanent. My turmoil stems from not really knowing what I love, and feeling a bit like a fish out of water in the place where I grew up. I like my job (I’m good at it, and I like anything I’m good at). But, I don’t necessarily believe it’s my calling. I was talking to an old friend yesterday and she asked me what I was passionate about. I just looked at her with a blank stare and said that I didn’t know. That confession made me sad. It’s time to delve deep into myself and figure it out. It’s never too late to decide what makes you happy.