jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've lost almost 15 pounds since the beginning of April. I'm feeling pretty good about it -- my goal weight is 11 pounds away. Definitely doable, probably sustainable. I've made some really healthy changes lately, and I intend to keep up with them. Something has really struck me about this, though -- none of my friends, or guys that I date, have said a word about it. Toby and I talk about it because I report back to him after my weigh-ins and we eat a lot of meals together so of course he's in on the whole thing, and he's proud of me (but says all the right things about how he finds me beautiful at any weight).

My weight loss is absolutely noticeable. But no one -- even the people I get naked with -- has said anything. This does not offend me or hurt my feelings. I think it's kind of great. I think it speaks to how little my friends care about/judge appearances. It means all those times I got in the hot tub with friends and wondered what they were thinking about how I'd put on weight, they weren't thinking about it. It means the guys I date haven't been forcing themselves to see past something they didn't like. It means the people around me respect that my body is my business and has zero to do with our relationships. I really appreciate that.

In the bridge community, everyone -- even people I don't know! -- feels they have a right -- nay, an obligation -- to comment on my appearance. And I used to say "thanks," but...in hindsight I feel a little icked out that so many people wanted to talk about my body. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I don't know if these 5am runs are sustainable for me, but I do feel good about having done it again today. I came straight to the office afterward, did Day 10 of this month's 30-day challenge, showered, and still got to my office about 40 minutes before anyone else will be here.

Today is my boss's birthday. It's either his 50th or 51st, but I think 50th? Not sure if he wants it to be a thing or not. But I'll get pastries for the office anyway. Just when I'm pacing myself so well with this WW stuff, someone puts a free cheese danish in front of me. Mmmm, yes please. (I may have already eaten all my bonus points for the week between the three times I've gone out for ice cream since Sunday...)
jianantonic: (Default)
I'm almost done with all my WW training, and it looks like I'll be taking on some meetings of my own pretty soon.  It'll be nice to get more into that and start seeing the income from it.  Funds are about to get tight for a bit.

Our latest update on the house situation is that the construction will be complete on Monday (of course, we've heard this before...).  If that's true, we'll have an inspection on Tuesday and hopefully close basically right away.  Our lease is up on October 31st, so we've got wiggle room, but Z is home next week and then not again until the end of the month, when I'm gone for Jess and Noah's wedding (!!!!).  So it'd be ideal if we could start moving next week.  Not sure how realistic it will be to aim for that, though, since we can't close before Tuesday at the earliest, and I'll work W-F, and we want to replace the first level floors before we move in any of the downstairs furniture...I have a feeling that's not going to be very fun.  But it'll be great to get it done!  New floors!  Woo!  (Signs you're getting old:  you get excited about floors.)

I ran the Portland Color Run today -- that was a different experience!  It was untimed, and there were 16,000 participants, so I wasn't going for a PR or anything.  I don't even know what my time was, but it felt fastish.  It was hard to go full out though because it was just too fucking crowded.  I was a little (okay, a lot) annoyed that even though they made like eleventy thousand announcements for walkers to stay to the right, the course was clogged with walkers the entire way, and they made absolutely no efforts to make way for runners.  <<Elitist runner grumblings>>  With so many participants, they staggered the starts, so I started like half an hour behind the first starters, and thus had to deal with walkers for the entire course.  Whatever, this event was so not about running anyway.  Shanon was walking with Jack, and started a few waves behind me, so after I finished my run, I doubled back on the course to find her (about halfway through it by the time I found her) and just walked to the end again with her.  We got Jack good and colorful by the end, and he just looked at us like "WTF are you crazy grownups doing?"  One of the people in our group brought her new exchange students with her -- they got here from Thailand YESTERDAY.  What a crazy welcome to the US!  I don't know how people do the Color Run when its in other places, but I guarantee you Portland is one of the crazier ones.  Even for regular 5K's here, a good percentage of the crowd shows up in costumes of some sort.  Today everyone was dressed all crazy and throwing paint on each other all day.  I wanted to tell them "Portland's not really like this all the time," but the thing is...yeah it is.  I went into Chipotle for lunch covered in paint, and no one even gave me a second glance.  Just another day in Portland.  I love living here.

You can't really tell from the pic, but my entire face was blue.  My bathtub looked really interesting when I showered...

jianantonic: (Default)
I'm incredibly busy this week, with little time to stop and exhale, but I wanted to do a quick update before too many details slip away unrecorded.

I went to Seaside this weekend.  Hung out Friday night, ran six miles on Saturday, and played some darn fine bridge on Sunday.  5th overall and 1st in X on a team of entirely new partnerships (and fantastic people, I might add!).  I feel really good about that.  Beat the Lusky team by 20 in the final round.  Lots of good bidding problems from that day -- I'll do a separate bridge post with those if folks are interested.

Today and tomorrow I have WW training most of the day.  Learning computer things, and basically getting more involved in that job.  I like it.  My colleagues are such great people.  Everyone is genuine and friendly and caring...I think it comes from all experiencing the shared struggle of weight challenges.  

Last night I had a dream that Bess started talking, and one of the first things she said to me was "I love you."  When she said it, I absolutely wept.  I was just so overwhelmed with love for that little girl, and her big sisters, and all the other little ones in my life.  I miss my nieces, and my little cousins, and Jack, and I'm anxious for my other local friends to expand their families (if that is their desire) so that I can have more little people to love and dote on.  I know this sounds strange from the woman who once so vehemently declared hatred of children, and I know this major shift in attitude will only egg those on who say I will one day change my mind about motherhood, but even though I've gone from "get that thing away from me!!" to "aww do you mind if I cuddle your infant and smother it with kisses?!" my attitude about parenthood is firmly unchanged.  It's just not something I want at all.  I know there's something really rewarding about the love between parent and child, but I'm honestly perfectly fulfilled with the love I have for my nieces -- even though I know they're too little to understand how much they mean to me, or for me to mean all that much to them.  

One of the things that sticks out from when my grandmother died, more than any of the pain or sadness, is what my aunt Coo said to me.  "Meg, you were so special to her.  You have no idea how much she loved you."  It's true.  I didn't know.  I knew she loved me, but I didn't realize just how meaningful getting to grow up sharing a home with her was.  I'd like to think I didn't take it for granted, but I certainly didn't fully appreciate how special it was to have that situation, and such a loving environment with parents and grandmother all under one roof.  I know it's rarely so harmonious for others.  I can't pretend to know what the love of a child or grandchild must feel like, but I think it's safe to assume, at least among Massies, that it's a pretty intense feeling.  Probably stronger than love of a niece or nephew -- and I honestly cannot imagine that I'm even capable of loving anyone more than I love those kids.  So now that they've come along, many years after Marma's passing, I am starting to wrap my head around my aunt's words to me.  I'm so glad she gave me that to think about.  And I hope one day my nieces understand just how much I adore them, but I doubt they ever really will, and that's okay.  

Anyway, sappy sappy sappy...my grandmother was awesome, my nieces are awesome, I'm really lucky.  That's all.
jianantonic: (Default)
I'm still kind of high on my performance in the 10K this weekend.  I just felt so GOOD.  So I'm already poking around looking for more races to do, and longer ones to strive for.  The next distance I'll try will be either a 15K (9.3 miles) or a 10-miler, just depending on what's on the race calendar this winter.  I should be ready to step it up to that distance by the end of the year, and then get a half marathon in by my 30th birthday?  Maybe.  Ambitious, but totally doable.  (April 27th, 2013 is the fateful day.)  In between now and then, I do have several shorter races.  An 8K in two weeks, a 5K at the end of September, and another 5K on Thanksgiving...not sure what else I'll put into the mix, but there will be others.

Driving back from Seattle, I was in the car alone, so I just practiced my WW meeting the whole way.  I led my first meeting yesterday morning.  The experience was mixed, I'd say.  I think I did well, but not as well as I would've liked.  I was comfortable and composed, but I had a hard time getting members to talk much.  I think it was a difficult week because so many of them had gained weight, and when members have bad weeks, they tend to sit quietly and sulk.  Also they didn't know me, so they may have been a little shy.  But the PowerStart (intro session for new members at the end) went really well.  My coach said I did a really nice job overall, but I know I can do better.  I'm glad to have that first one out of the way, though.  It only gets easier from here, right?  :)

Michele is on vacation for a week, so I'm working 4 days this week and 5 days next week.  It's cool.  I like money. 

Max gets here Thursday.  I'm attending the bachelor party he's throwing, followed by Alex and Elizabeth's wedding this weekend.  Should be a good time. 
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I've finally got some days off to relax at home!  It's been a while since I've had nothing going on...and that's not even really true for today, but it feels more low-key because I at least have half a day before my plans kick in.  I had to wake up early for my post-BLS phone call with the trainer, but that only took two minutes.  She had very nice things to say to me and now I can move on with my progress toward leading meetings.  Woo!  

I have a session with my trainer at 3 today -- it'll be my first time seeing him in over a month, so I'm a little terrified that I'm gonna get my ass kicked, but I haven't let my fitness slide even though I've been out of town, so I think I'm ready.  It'll definitely be a challenge, but I'll be okay.  After that I'm heading over to Shanon's to play with my nephew and catch up with her, and then that's all for today.  Oh, somewhere in there I'm gonna shop for a new laptop, too.  Other goals for today include tidying up my bedroom (I have a huge pile of clean laundry to put away -- at least it's clean!) and practicing more clarinet.

I've been really good about practicing daily, and going over scales and whatnot in addition to trying to play new pieces.  I have a problem with sight reading, though.  I'm actually decent at reading music, and I'm complete shit at playing by ear, but when I know what a song is supposed to sound like, I get lazy with my counting and just play it 'cause I know it.  So I'm really out of practice with the whole sight reading biz, and when faced with music I don't know, it turns out I kind of suck a lot.  I'm trying to work on that some, but of course it's more fun and thus quite tempting to just play all the stuff I already know and love, but that doesn't make me any better.  The lesson books I ordered on Amazon should show up in the next day or so, and that will hopefully guide my practice a little better.

Yesterday I drove to Mount St Helens with my friend Dylan to go hiking.  We picked a very challenging 5-mile trail called Lava Canyon.  It wasn't anywhere near the challenge of Table Mountain, but it was definitely one of the most difficult hiking trails I've ever done.  It had a rickety bridge over a gorge and everything!  It was really awesome, and I'll post some pictures eventually.  Man, I love hiking...
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Yesterday was a very good day.

After work, I met a guy in a parking lot and bought a clarinet from him.  It's a Buffet Crampon, which was recommended by my former band teacher.  It's one of their more basic models, not the $6000 ferrari of clarinets that they offer at their top end, but it's a good one for learning, and we'll see if I stick with it now that I've decided to go for it.  I played in middle school, but actually switched to bass clarinet after one year, which is the same fingering, just a larger instrument, so the breathing is different.  And I haven't played that since I was 14, either.  So it's been more than half my life since I've practiced this thing, but it's the only instrument I was ever really good at, so I figured it would be a good place to start if I want to bring more music into my life.  Anyway, I'm liking it so far.  It's coming back to me easier than I thought it would in some ways, and harder in others.  For instance, my fingers still remember exactly what to do.  I just had to review the notes and fingerings a little bit and then I had it all.  Reading music and putting my fingers in the right place at the right time is no problem.  The breathing and actual noise production is another story, though.  I know how it's done.  I know what I'm supposed to do, and I know it will eventually come more naturally to me.  But right now it's fucking hard.  I'm not honking and squawking too much, it's just that I can't hold a note for a very long time, and I get winded and my cheeks get sore pretty fast.  I know that will go away, so I'm just going to keep at it and trust that it will get easier with practice.  Today I made it all the way through the entire chromatic scale.  There's a limited number of notes you can play on a clarinet -- three octaves, I think?  Maybe more?  Low E to high F, I believe.  Anyway, I played the whole scale and hit all the notes.  My fingers just remembered how to do it, and I managed to hold a breath long enough to get them all out in one puff.  That feels like an accomplishment.  I ordered some books online, so I'll have a more structured study path when they arrive.  But googling "learn to play clarinet" is working out well enough so far.

After my clarinet rendezvous, I met up with Z and our realtor to look at more houses.  We lost our third bid, which is basically becoming the norm for us.  This market is just so frustrating right now, it's crazy.  But we made another offer last night, and GUESS WHAT?  We fucking got it!  Huzzah!  It's a short sale and may take a while, and who knows what more can still go wrong, but we are in first position and barring something spectacularly unusual, this house is ours for the buying.  That said, because it's a short sale and who the fuck knows, we're going to keep looking while we wait, but we're probably going to be moving into this one in a few months.  And there was much rejoicing.
Things I love about this condo:
It has a garage
It has two master suites
It has a great view in a pretty neighborhood
It's significantly cheaper than renting
It's close to lots of trails and green space, and closer to work (by bike)
Things I don't love about it:
It's not on the MAX line, and the walk score kinda sucks
The neighborhood is really hilly -- since I plan to bike everywhere, I imagine this will suck for a while, but like the clarinet, I'll get used to the challenge and soon it won't feel like a challenge at all anymore.  I hope.
It doesn't have much extra space.  It's got more than enough space for the things we have, but I'm not sure it'll have room for a seahorse tank.  That said, it's one of the largest condos we've seen in this price range.  I'll find a place for those seahorses.

When I get back from San Francisco this weekend, we're going to bike over there and loiter in the neighborhood a bit to get a feel for it.  With the short sale, it's really easy to back out of the contract if we decide we've changed our minds, which is why I don't feel too bad about writing offers right after we see a place -- to even have a chance at the contract, that's pretty much what you have to do anyway.  Shoot first, think later.  Luckily, we have time to think now that the contract is ours.  But I feel pretty good about it.  Unless we see something better (and score a contract on it as well), this is the place we'll buy.  

I leave for SF in the morning for my WW leader training.  I had my second session with my coach tonight to practice leading meetings and whatnot, and it went really well.  She had a lot of praise for me and I'm feeling good about getting in front of the group now.  It won't be long!

The WW people booked my flight for me, which was a little trickier than it had to be.  Since my email is still under Meg Massie (because I have always used Massie as a writer), it was hard to explain to them that my name is actually Margaret Myers.  They originally booked the ticket under Margaret Massie-Myers, but when I told them my last name isn't hyphenated, they changed it to Margaret Massiemyers.  Yeah, because that's a real name that people have.  So I'm unable to link my frequent flier account to my ticket online, and can't snatch up the sweet sweet exit row seat because it doesn't recognize me as elite.  Hopefully it'll still be available when I check in tomorrow morning at the airport.  Heh.  It's just a short flight, though, so no biggie anyway...
jianantonic: (Default)
Lots of new developments, some more exciting than others.
My first day back at work was good.  Turns out, I do still remember how to do my job.  Yay!  I'm more or less caught up -- just a few things I intentionally put off for later.  One of the adjusters gave his notice while I was gone -- he's moving away, so we're interviewing candidates to fill his position.  I won't be the new kid anymore!  If you have two+ years of insurance adjusting experience and want a sweet job in Portland, let me know :)

Yesterday was busy.  I ran 5 miles in the morning.  I've been running up to 4 miles at 6.8mph (8:49 mile), but since I was going farther, I slowed my pace to 6.2mph (9:40 mile), and it wasn't bad at all.  The worst part was I just got bored of it, but my body was perfectly capable, so I'm feeling good about my upcoming 10K.  Just have to add 1.2 miles.  No problem.  

After I ran, we met our realtor to look at properties.  I'm kind of tired of going over the whole story, so I'll just say we picked another one that we loved and put in an offer.  But it has other offers, too, and it's a short sale, so we don't know how good our chances are.  The selling agent seemed interested in our offer (cash, above asking price), so hopefully we get the first position contract.  Short sales are complicated, but that's basically all there is right now.  This is our third offer in a month.  The first two lost out, but we do still have the backup position on the second one, and apparently it's pretty common for buyers to walk away from short sale contracts, so maybe we'll get bumped up there.  I'll be happy with this place if we get it, though.  We should know within the next day or so if we're going to be selected for first position, and if we get that, then it's just a waiting game until the place is ours.  Fingers crossed!

I go to my Weight Watchers training seminar thingy on Thursday.  I had a practice session with my leader coach tonight and I'm feeling pretty good about that, but there's still a lot to do before I go, and obviously not a lot of time to get it done.

It's balls hot here.  Bleh.
jianantonic: (Default)
Funny how things come full circle.

Last week in WW, we were talking about what you might need to think about if you're following the program but not losing weight.  I raised my hand and said, "You might want to ask yourself if you're being honest with yourself."  I elaborated that I meant are you really working as hard as you give yourself credit for when you exercise?  

WW is working for me.  I'm losing weight at the proper rate, and I've always really stuck closely with the program.  I don't cheat and I don't lie to myself, because I know that will get in the way of my goals.  So I only give myself "full credit" for exercise when I run.  The other stuff I do just isn't as hard as running, so I call running "intense" and everything else "moderate" on the activity scale.  So I call most of my workouts moderate.  But I definitely thought I was in good shape.  I feel fit and confident in my abilities and all that, and when I met with my trainer tonight, I told him that I feel like I'm in good shape, I just want to get better.  Tone up more, drop a few more pounds, be a better runner.  Those are my goals and I hired him because I know I won't push myself as hard as a professional trainer will push me.  
Him:  I love that you like a challenge!
Me:  I didn't say I liked it!  I just know it's good for me.
Him:  Good enough.
Holy shit, you guys.  I should mention that this man is eastern European, and gave me exactly the kind of nightmare workout you would expect from an eastern European fitness professional.  He's awesome and I like him a lot and I am actually looking forward to working out with him more.  But it turns out I haven't been very honest with myself about my fitness level.  I actually had to stop midway through several of the sets he gave me tonight.  Near the end, he had more for me to do, but I actually told him I couldn't.  I really couldn't.  I wasn't just wussing out.  I was getting dizzy and felt like I was about to faint and/or puke.  It was the worst I've ever felt during a workout.  I've had to ask trainers to tone it down for me before, but I've never had to quit.  He assured me that I am actually in much better shape than anyone else he trains, and he was pushing me really hard, and I shouldn't feel bad about this.  I don't know if he was just saying that to be nice or if he meant it...none of the individual exercises he had me do were supremely challenging; it's just that he made me do super long sets with way more weight than I would've selected for myself.  And it was 100% new exercises to me, so my whole body was in a state of wtf?! the whole time.  And my session was at 6pm, so I hadn't had much to eat since a small lunch at noon.  So I understand there were several factors contributing to my ineptitude today, but even so, it was a very humbling experience.  

I wasn't planning to hire this guy beyond the three sessions I got in a deal when I signed up, and it was kind of the most physically miserable I've been without actually being seriously ill, but I see myself wanting to keep working with this trainer long term.  He will keep me from plateauing.  He will give me the pushes I need.  I'm excited about this, even though I know it's going to suck a lot.  No pain, no gain...
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I don't really do resolutions, but every year for the past (I'm not saying because it's an embarrassingly high number) years, I have told myself "this will be the year I go back to the dentist."  Well, I finally did that in 2011.  I suppose I could resolve to keep going to the dentist now that I've gotten back on track in that regard...but where's the fun in that?

My goals for 2012, the final full year of my 20's (I haven't figured out if I'm freaked out by this or not), are something like this:
Run a 5K (or longer race) at least once per month.
Play at all the NABCs.  
Keep not drinking soda.
Rebuild the savings account.
Stick with WW, get back to goal, stay there. 
See new places.

These are basically all resolutions to keep up all the things I'm already doing and enjoying in my life.  I ran a 5K in November and December.  I didn't play any NABCs this year, but my hiatus is coming to an end and I'm excited to get back to bridge.  I haven't had soda since before the Edhead cruise.  I only ever drank 0 calorie sodas anyway, so it's not like they were way bad for me, but I do have a feeling they were slowing down my metabolism and also costing more money than water.  I'm not necessarily cutting myself off from Diet Dr. Pepper FOREVER, but I think I'd like it to be once-in-a-great-while kind of thing instead of a five-cans-a-day kind of thing. My/our spending habits are fine, it's just that buying the car pretty much drained our savings, and I'd like to have a five-digit figure in there, not including what comes after the decimal point.  If all goes well for me professionally (a corollary of this goal), then the account should be back to our comfort zone by the end of the year, if not much sooner.  As for WW, I've been consistently losing weight ever since I went back.  I'm down 9 pounds in my first four weeks, and I have 11 pounds to go to get back to my goal weight.  I gave myself a target date of mid-March to get there, but barring crazy shenanigans in South Africa, I'll reach it much sooner.  It's always a goal to travel and see things, and South Africa is a huge deal to me.  I also have a 12-hour layover in Frankfurt, so if at all possible, I'll get out of the airport and spend enough time in the city to actually say I've been there.  I have a few states left before I reach 50-state bingo:
New Mexico
North Dakota
Arkansas (been to the Little Rock airport, doesn't count)

I'd love to get to all of them, but Alaska and New Mexico are way ahead of the others in terms of priority.  As for regions of the globe, I've now been to:
North America, Central America, The Caribbean, Micronesia, and Australia
I will soon add Africa and sort of Europe.  I'd love to get continent bingo one day, too, but that's not a before-I-turn-30 goal.  


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