Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Free* - Week 4, Day 3 (and other stuff)

My entire body is achy. Given my grueling workouts for the last three or four weeks, I'm not too surprised.

My legs ache. I've developed calluses on the ends of most of my toes, and cracked one of my toenails (no idea how that happened, but man was it painful!). My lower back is a mess. My abs make themselves known whenever I breathe or move.

I love it. Not the pain, but the evidence of my hard work.

I love that my body is responding more quickly now when I want it to do something and that I can see improvement every week in my cardiovascular fitness. My resting pulse rate at the moment is 62. Two months ago it was 85, although some of that was from extremely low iron levels.

Today on the elliptical, I made it 2.5 miles in 21:50. I was thrilled. Then I hit the bike and finished my 10K in 29:02. Then I did 100 sit ups.

A former boss of mine issued a challenge on Facebook to join her on January 1 as part of her team on I'm in!

With Robert leaving soon, I want to get it in high gear so that when he comes back, I'll be on the same level of fitness that he is (or at least close) and we can continue to set good examples for the kids and to keep ourselves healthy and happy.

I'm excited to join Vicky's team and to have some excellent support and guidance along the way.

If you'd like more information, let me know. If not, prepare to be wowed by next October because that's when I reveal the new, improved, healthier me. However, and I'm counting on you for this, if I ever say I want to run a marathon, smack some sense into me. Walk a marathon? Sure. But not run. Doctor's orders.

Paper avalanche

This house?

This house is over run with paperwork. It's astounding.

Between the mail we receive, Sara's coloring habit, and Tucker's bring-a-tree's-worth-of-papers-home-every-day, piles and piles of it stack up. Everywhere.

I try to keep a handle on it, really I do, but some days I just feel buried. Today was one of those days. Yesterday, I did the initial sort - keep versus recycle or shred. Today I re-sorted into more manageable piles and even got some filing done.

Then I came home from volunteering at the Y and then going to Zumba to a kitchen table full of more paper.

It never seems to end. Even though I keep it fairly organized, I feel overwhelmed at times with how much paper we seem to need. Medical records, military records, tax records, school records, bills, bank and credit card statements...even when it's completely organized, it just seems like the papers multiply in the folders when we aren't looking.

If the house ever catches on fire and the room with filing cabinet goes up in flames, the fire department may as well put down the hose, and make some s'mores or something, because that will be pretty doggone close to a lost cause. Or one heck of a weenie roast. Either way.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Motivation Monday - Free* - Week Four, Day 1

I had another doctor's appointment today and was pleased that my weight over Thanksgiving stayed pretty much the same. I was up less than a pound, and I am absolutely okay with that!

Last week I kicked butt with workouts. My 10K bike time is just under 30 minutes, my 8 lap swim so far is just around 20 minutes. If I were able to use the elliptical instead of the treadmill, I could ring in a 2.5 mile time at around 23:20. On the treadmill, my best 2.5 mile time has been about 43 minutes, but I have until almost the end of February to improve that - and all my times. I can work with that. I'm doing back to back workouts - swim and bike, swim and treadmill, or bike and treadmill. I want to get used to the distances and having to switch between the pool, the bike, and the treadmill.

I'm also diving back into P90X weight lifting. I only have one word for that - ouch! But in a good way.

On top of all that training, I'm doing Zumba as many times a week as I can - averaging about four. I'm not sure I'll be able to continue 7:30 Zumba once Robert deploys, so I want to get in as much of it as possible right now.

I was stressed last week about not getting in enough workout time, but I managed to work out Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Not bad for a holiday week and a trip out of town over the weekend. I was actually even grumpy on Wednesday thinking I might not get a chance to workout Friday through Sunday, but we made it work.

Which, really, is what you do when something is important enough to you. You make it work.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The one where I remember I have a blog and actually post something

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Mom and Richard came up from North Carolina. We passed on the cooking this year, the kids don't care too much for the big Thanksgiving feast as of yet and I didn't want to deal with more leftovers than we could eat. So we hauled ourselves to the Club on base.

It was beyond good. The traditional feast foods were there, but there were also lots of healthy choices as well. Sara, who woke up around 4 am throwing up, was okay by the time we ate. She nibbled on some fruit and pasta and was fine afterwards. Robert and I really think she may have a serious case of acid reflux. Getting the doctor to take us seriously is going to be a challenge. But what's new or different about that?

I braved Black Friday by standing outside in some wicked wind in front of Target and managed to get everything I went there for without buying stuff I didn't plan to buy. Kudos to Target for having a sensible plan for dealing with crowd control. I also thanked the employees I saw profusely for working at that unseemly hour. I know it probably didn't help, but I wanted them to know that they were appreciated.

Friday morning, Robert and I took turns working out, then we headed down to Clarksville to see his Mom and Dad. Saturday was an incredibly beautiful day. We took the kids to Chuck E Cheese for a bit and then hung out with Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle George. The kids behaved for the most part and the we made it back home today in time for me to make Zumba...only Zumba was cancelled. I consoled myself with a jaunt on the infernal treadmill (now walking comfortably at 3.6 mph wooooooooo), shoulder and arms P90X workout, and 100 sit-ups.

Then we put up the Christmas tree. Before we left Germany, we bought a pre-lit tree. I love that tree because I intensely dislike dealing with Christmas lights. When we (and by we I mean Robert since I was upstairs overseeing Sara's bath) put up the tree, the top section of lights wasn't working. Robert, God bless him, tried hard to figure out why those lights weren't working. I offered to take off the lights and wind a new strand around that section of tree.

Guess what? Pre-lit trees have the lights alternately zip tied and clipped to the branches. That was a bit of a bummer to discover. And a challenge to undo. But I eventually prevailed and now our tree is evenly lit and beautiful. The kids did most of the decorating, which was hilarious because, bless their little OCD hearts, they put all the bells on one branch, all the stars on one section, all the Santas in one get the idea. It was pretty awesome, truth be told. We just evened it out a little so the tree wouldn't tip over.

Tomorrow will be the first full week of school for the kids since the beginning of November. Christmas is in less than a month. We've been here for two years now. It's a crazy paced life these days.

What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm Thankful Anyway

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People need help but will attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
*Kent Keith originated this poem in 1968, and Mother Teresa placed it on her children's home in Calcutta in a slightly different version. As a result, many have attributed it to Mother Teresa.

Sara came into our bedroom around 4 am this morning complaining that her neck hurt. I settled her into bed with us and was drifting off to sleep when I heard it....the cough that I can't describe but know even in a dead sleep means she's going to be throwing up in less than three seconds. 

I jump out of bed and fling the covers back and away from both of us. The thing about Sara needing to vomit is that she doesn't care to do it in the bathroom and will fight you when you try to get her anywhere that doesn't have carpet, a bedspread, some other type of absorbent material. 

Robert, hearing me jump at the sound of her cough, jumps up too - likely because I've scared him half to death what with the flinging of the blankets and sudden movements. He picks Sara up, carries her into the bathroom where she starts screaming bloody murder, and stays with her while she empties her stomach. The bathroom is barely big enough for the two of them, so I lurk in the doorway trying not to breathe too deeply. 

We get her cleaned up, changed, and settled on the floor of our bedroom where she falls asleep almost immediately. 

Interestingly enough, if one eats ice cream with blue sprinkles on it at dinner and then succumbs to a stomach virus, everything you throw up will be bright blue. 

I'm not cooking Thanksgiving this year, Mom and Richard are here and we are going to the Club for lunch. Since Sara was all in my face yesterday, I'm curious how long it will be before I'm sick and whether or not Robert and Tucker will be sick too. 

Do we dare eat at the club knowing that we might all be sick later?  Luckily we have a few hours to decide.  


But today, especially today, I'm thankful anyway. 

My family will be together this Thanksgiving. 
For the most part, we are all happy and healthy. 
We can decide whether or not we want to make and/or eat Thanksgiving dinner. 
Either way, we will have the luxury of full stomachs, clean drinking water, reliable transportation, and the freedom to announce our opinion about any or all of it. We have a roof over our heads, heat or air conditioning at will, beds to sleep in, clothes to wear, shoes for our feet, coats if it's cold, access to health care 24 hours a day. 

Thanksgiving or not, there is so much to be thankful for. 
Even if there weren't, I could happily be thankful anyway because I am surrounded by people that I love and who love me. 

I guess what I really am is thankful and grateful. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It was a stressful day.

We got off to a late start. The child care room at the Y was packed, so I stayed and helped for a while instead of working out right away. When things calmed down, I went to work out. I had been on the treadmill less than 10 minutes before one of the employees from the child care room came to talk to me.

There was a dispute between Tucker and her son about a DS game. It was a passionate and tearful thing, that dispute, and we still aren't sure which kid the game really belongs to. But we'll figure all that out later. Somehow.

My morning workout and the 11:30 Zumba class I was hoping to make got shelved.


Came home, fixed lunch, started on laundry. We create SO much laundry.

Mom and Richard were hanging at our house, then Robert got to come home from work early. (Which was awesome!) I suggested he and I go workout, which was okay with everyone, but I needed to run to the commissary first.  I SO did not want to go to the commissary today because it was going to be a madhouse. But we really, really needed milk so off I went.

It was less crowded than I expected. Hooray! I found coupons for lots of the stuff I went there to buy. Double hooray!

I go to the checkout line and handed over my coupons.

And that's where I learned that I apparently cannot read.

The spreadable cheese Mom likes (the kids and I love it too) that had a coupon for $1.00 off? Was for two containers. How many did I pick up? One. Neither me or my thighs wanted two containers of spreadable cheese. Especially since I have that huge box of delicious crackers left over from Tucker's birthday.

The coupon for cream cheese for buy two get one free had me drooling thinking about making pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing.  Except that it was buy two cream cheese and get a COOKING creme free.


Now, had the cashier pointed any of that out before she rang me up - and she could have since I saw her sorting the coupons - I would have turned six shades of embarrassment red, and not purchased the spreadable cheddar or the cream cheese. Normally I would have dashed back to get the correct items and numbers, but it was busy and not fair to make the people in line behind me wait because of my error.

However, the cashier didn't enlighten me on any of this until after she rang me up and was asking for payment. So while I guess I should have asked her to void the items that seemed like good ideas with coupons, I was too frazzled to think that clearly at the time. It didn't really help that she used a tone of voice that suggested that I did this on purpose. Sorry, Grump-a-lina, I'm just in a hurry, not trying to dupe you or steal anything.

Besides, I had all of 19 items total. Five of which were yogurt. If I were trying to get something by her, I sure was being foolish about it.

Know what I mean, Vern?!?

At this point, I just wanted out of there. I swiped my card while apologizing profusely for not reading the coupons more carefully. She just arched an eyebrow and gave me the Cameron Diaz "uh-huh, whatEVER" look. So it wasn't until she was handing me the receipt that I realized I had no cash to tip the bagger.


I felt horrible, but I wasn't about to take on Grump-a-lina again, nor was I going back through the store and/or line to buy anything else in order to get cash.

I made the best decision I could under the circumstances. I told the bagger I'd take the bags out myself. I mean, she still ended up getting gypped  for bagging all 19 items, but at least I didn't make her walk all the way out to the car and THEN not tip her. I even explained that I forgot to get cash back, at which point the cashier snorted and I wished very hard for a black hole to open in the floor and swallow me up.

The bagger was unimpressed and said loudly, "SO YOU WANT ME TO PUT THE BAGS BACK IN YOUR CART SO YOU CAN TAKE THEM OUT YOURSELF?!?"

"Yes, please" was all I could think of to say.  And I snagged a few to help her. Then I bolted.

When I got to the car, I started to put the bags in when I noticed for the first time that to only have 19 items, the bagger sure had used a lot of bags. Then I combined the seven bags she thought I needed into three.


I read on CinCHouse a few years ago that the suggested tip for baggers is $1 per bag. I tend to tip a percentage of what I purchase and give a little more if I have bulky stuff or lots of little stuff. Methinks a certain bagger read that little tidbit too and was taking advantage of the situation.

Not my best commissary experience.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm on Twitter now, but I don't think that means anything

I finally signed up for a twitter account.


I'm sure I'll grow to love it just like Facebook, but right now that big old "0" under followers is mocking me. I mean, I'm already used to the fact that no one really listens to me. It might help if I didn't talk, blog, or over analyze so doggone much.

But I'm there. If I can get it to work on my phone, which apparently does NOT think I should be twitter-ing, then I'll update way more often than I do now and way more often than I update Facebook because isn't that what Twitter is for?

I'm hoping if I tweet my awesome blog ideas, I'll actually 1) remember them later and write about them and 2) and....I forget the other reason. Yeah. This is going to go well.

A huge bonus? Henry Rollins is on Twitter, but he doesn't seem to tweet much. E Online, on the other hand seems to have a tweet every 30 minutes. C'est la vie, non?

Anywho... please consider following me on Twitter @dailydoseofdahl. And if you can figure out how to convince my phone that I do indeed have a Twitter account, lemme know!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Motivation Monday - Free* - Week 3, Day 1

Down three more pounds for a total loss of 15!

I am beyond excited!

I worked out six days last week for at least an hour and a half. Went to four Zumba classes as well. I feel better than I've felt in a really long time. I jogged a quarter of a mile on the treadmill three days in a row and was still able to breathe when I slowed down. I'm walking comfortably at a pace of 3.5 mph. I took the fit test on the elliptical and my score was above average. ABOVE AVERAGE people. This time last year, I was thrilled to get a poor because it meant I hadn't failed.

Then Dad told me on Thursday that he's lost 100 pounds. If none of the stuff in the above paragraph motivated me, that excellent news from my dad sure did.

I can do this. I am going to do this. Sunday I started training for the mini triathlon in February. It's an eight lap swim, 2.5 mile run, and a 10K bike ride. My goal for this year is to finish. My goal for next year is to post competitive times with the other participants.

After that, who knows? The sky's the limit!

I'm behind. What else is new?

So! Thursday was my birthday and it started off really well. Sara came into the bedroom and wished me Happy Birthday first thing that morning. Then she proceed to tell everyone we saw that it was my birthday: the people at the Y, her teacher at the parent teacher conference, the staff at the eye doctor's really was cute.

The deal in our house is that the birthday person gets to choose the kind of cake they want and what they want for dinner. I really wanted Jersey Mike's, but the kids aren't really sub kinds of people. It's more important to me that we spend (hopefully peaceful) time as family over where we eat. So I threw out some suggestions to Robert that the kids just so happened to overhear.

I'm not sure what happened next, exactly, but I can tell you it involved BOTH kids throwing teary fits over not being able to make the choice of where we ate for dinner.

It hurt my feelings.

It also made me question my parenting skills. I'm raising these ungrateful, unkind little creatures? Yikes!

Robert made them apologize and I had to rub a little salt in everyone's wound by asking the kids if they were apologizing so that I'd say they could have cake. They had to rub a little salt in everyone's wounds by saying yes and then both collapsing into piles of pitiful, angry, weeping child-like lumps on my floor because I wouldn't give the okay to have birthday cake.

So I went to Zumba instead. And I immediately felt better.

But I haven't felt like blogging much since then.

So now I'm behind.

What else is new?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Free* - Week 2, Day 3

On Sunday, Robert and I had a row-off at the gym.

A row-off, just in case you were wondering, is where you race each other on rowing machines that are connected wirelessly.

I lost. By about 45 meters in a one thousand meter race.

But really, considering how fit Robert is, I think I did pretty well. Especially since that was after we hit the treadmill.

I had done a 2,000 meter rowing workout on Saturday, so when I woke up on Monday my back was stiff. I worked out anyway and then went to Zumba that afternoon. So I was really, really sore on Tuesday.

I finally gave in and took some Tylenol on Tuesday night before bed.

Best. Night's. Sleep. Ever.

I didn't make it to the gym today and I really missed going. My back, however. was eternally grateful.

Here's how you play THIS game

Hey! Fellow parents of students at my kids' school - a word or two of advice:

The drop off/pick up lane is actually for dropping off or picking up. Shocking, I know.

It is not for parking, exiting your vehicle, and opening the door for your child (who, frankly, is more than old enough to unbuckle their seat belt, open the door, and climb out of the car all. by. themselves.).

That's what the parking spaces are for.

Yes, Ms. Tahoe and Ms. Element, I'm talking to you.

Free* - Week 2, Day 2

Let's talk about truth.

It seems so absolute. Either you are telling the truth, or you aren't. Black or white, right?

Then the gray rolls in...because my truth may not be the same as your truth, and that I believe is known as perspective. It doesn't make my truth (or yours) any less true, either.

So here are my truths at the moment:

I've been actively trying to get off this extra weight for a little over two years now.

It sucks just as much today as it did two years ago.

Deep down, I'm afraid to succeed with this. I've never really been thin. On the overweight side of average, sure. But that brought me quite a bit of unwanted attention. Long story.

I know who I am within a certain weight range, but I have no idea who I'll be as a thin person. What if I totally suck?

I don't think that the me I see in the mirror is the me other people see when they look at me. I don't know how to fix that.

Food has been a much better friend to me than people over the years. That, as it turns out, is going to be next to impossible to let go.

You know that saying, 'Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." Anyone that says that has never had 1) my husband's steak 2) red velvet cheesecake from the cheesecake factory 3) Dad's spicy cheese dip.
For real, people.

That other saying, "you have to do it for you" is probably the truest thing (at least from my perspective) I've ever heard, no matter what the subject.

I'm seriously considering applying for The Biggest Loser. If Bob Harper can't kick this weight off my tushie, then it's not meant to leave.

At least once a day I wish that someone would develop a pill I could take that would provide my complete nutritional requirements so that as a food addict I would not constantly have to face the source of my addictions.

What are your truths?


When I was much younger and well before I had kids, I would get upset with my mom and say, "When I have kids...." followed by some dramatic declaration such as "....I'm going to let them stay up as late as they want!"

Clearly, my obvious lack of knowledge and experience is what kept her from laughing until she cried. Clearly.

This morning as we were leaving for school, Sara got upset because I wouldn't put her shoes on for her.

Because I'm in the running again for Mom of the Year, I calmly and logically pointed out that when she was a baby, I would put her shoes on and then she would take them off. I would put her shoes on and she would take them off. The way I figure it, I put her shoes on (if we are basing this on a once a day table) for the equivalent of six and a half years. Since she's been able to put on shoes since she was two, there's no reason that a normal fully functional four year old can't put on her own shoes, even if she needs help tying them.

It made sense to me. To Sara, not so much.

It was a rough morning until she got to school, and then she forgot all about my refusal to be her shoe butler.

When I picked her up, her teacher told me that they made dough in class today and that Sara was a pro at it. Why, she didn't need any help at all.

Hmmm. ::stroking my chin:: Interesting. Very interesting.

On the way to the car, her shoe came untied. She told me to tie her shoe. (Uh, as if!)

We had the ask versus demand talk. Again.

Then she asked me to tie her shoe. I asked her to wait until I got to the car so I could put down all of her stuff I was carrying and then I would tie her shoe.

It made sense to me. To Sara, not so much.

In a fit of anger, she kicked out her foot, her shoe flew off and struck the side of my car leaving a nice little imprint that I don't have the heart to check out and see if it's an actual scratch.

"When I have kids, they'll never have temper tantrums because they'll know I'm awesome!"

Stop laughing, Mom.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Motivation Monday/Free* - Week 2, Day 1

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

I feel better than I've felt in months, maybe even in years. I worked out hard last week. I ate well. I got a decent amount of sleep. I drank mostly water. I worked really hard on letting things go. Especially those things that just don't matter in the grand scheme of things.

It's amazing how many of those there are.

Oh yeah, and I lost 12 pounds as of Saturday morning. ::Happy dance!::

When I weighed this morning, I was up two pounds from Saturday. I'll still take it!

I'm happy with any weight loss, but weight loss that combines with noticeable cardiovascular improvement? Well, that's like winning the healthy living lottery.

Today on the treadmill I trotted/jogged a quarter of a mile. Without stopping or slowing down. This is huge for me. Especially since two months ago, I was having trouble walking on the treadmill at 2.5 mph.

I am definitely motivated and on my way to shedding the rest of this weight.

Free* - Week 1, Day 7

My last trip to the library, I checked out 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life.

I haven't finished it yet.

I love the idea of it, but in all likelihood I should just buy the book. It's just not the kind of book I can just breeze right through, which is one of the things I like most about it so far.

Sara came home from bible study a few weeks ago having been introduced to the term compassion. She'll say, "Com-pash-ion. Cooooooooom-passsssssshhhhhhh-ion. Mommy, is that a big word?"

Bigger than she has any idea about, even though she hasn't asked me what it means yet.

I want to live a compassionate life.

I'm going to need some help with that, especially in crowded parking lots were all compassion deserts me.

One of the things I need to work on most is forgiveness. I think compassion and forgiveness make excellent partners, but they are a tough combination to practice. It's way too easy to get wrapped up in the 'me' or 'I' of things: how that makes me feel, what I want, how that affects me..

I tried doing random acts of kindness for a while. The first couple weeks I was really into it, and then I started to run out of ideas and then I just lost steam altogether. But random acts of kindness aren't necessarily compassionate.

It's something to think about over the next six weeks.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Free* - Week 1, Day 6

Today was one of those Saturdays that felt like a Sunday.

I made cupcakes this morning for a bake sale, dropped them off, then headed to the Y to work out.

While I was sweating and panting on the arc trainer, I was reading a Self magazine from last year. My attention was captured by an article about how to lose weight like a guy. Apparently, men are single minded and reward themselves for the small successes, and that's what women need to do instead of berating themselves for every little slip or worrying about every single calorie.

Which I guess is true, but I don't think congratulating myself every time I don't eat a cupcake is going to get me very far, mainly because then I'll be thinking about cupcakes even more than usual.

The article also mentioned that all the grunting men do in gyms is indicative of their hard work and that by adding strength training, especially the kind that makes you grunt with exertion you make the most of your workout and rev up your metabolism.

Now, I love me some weight training. I'm way better at it than cardio and it gives me more energy than anything else I do in the gym. But I'm positive that I can lift weights, even really heavy ones, without grunting or shouting. I'm pretty sure my metabolism will forgive me for that.  I'm positive my fellow gym goers will.

What the article did not mention is that lots of these grunting, weight lifting men are often lifting incorrectly - probably because the weight is too heavy. And if you are sacrificing form for pounds lifted, then I will not feel sorry for you when you drop a weight on  your toe or you injure yourself.

So perhaps working out like a guy will cause me to lose weight a little faster, but I'm totally fine with slower, safer, correct form, injury free girly workouts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mission impossible

I started seeing a cardiologist around March of this year. The initial referral from Tricare gave me six visits.

Fair enough.

I had a follow up appointment in June. The doctors office called to reschedule me three times, so it was July by the time I actually got in to see him. The visit went fine, but it was my fifth visit. I was counting because I've learned that it's best to stay on top of such things. Especially since any error will likely be at our expense.

When Dr. V told me he wanted to see me in four months, I asked his receptionist if I needed to get another referral from Tricare before my next visit. She assured me three times I didn't. Three. Uno, dos, tres.

I had to run by his office and get a new prescription written this week. I did this on Wednesday.

Today I get a call confirming my appointment for next week. Almost as an afterthought, the receptionist tells me that, oh yeah, I'm going to need another referral from Tricare before I can keep my appointment.

Uh, really? Because when I asked about that FOUR MONTHS ago, there was an entirely different opinion.

I should mention that this call was on speaker in my car and the kids were in the back seat, listening intently because I was using my 'mommy voice' with someone other than them.

There was a bit of snippy back and forth and I rescheduled my appointment for next week because there is NO. WAY. that Tricare is going to get me a referral letter by Tuesday (nor should they have to).

Tricare is closed today by the way. Just to make things more fun.

Way to try and give me a heart attack, cardiologist's office.

Free* - Week 1, Day 5

Sometimes, you need to listen to your body and just do what it's telling you.

For me at the moment, that's to rest.

Happy Veterans Day, everyone.

Free* - week 1, day 4

Whoops. It will be past midnight when I post this, but it's been a busy day. I volunteered at the Y tonight and didn't get home until around 9. The hours between 9 and now somehow magically slipped away, as they often do.

So here I sit, trying to come up with something, anything to say in this post that I haven't said at some point before.

So I'm going to talk about volunteering.

Tonight someone asked me why I 'work for free'. I don't really see it that way. I've mentioned before that I do not want my kids to grow up with a misplaced sense of entitlement. It's a battle. The problem is that I'm both the cause and the solution.

I want to give my kids a good life. But what defines good? I've seen how giving a kid everything they want can backfire. Lucky for you, I'm not planning to go into details. You're welcome. :)

I want my kids to realize how lucky they are. We don't have to worry about a roof over our head, food to put in our belly, or how to pay for a doctor if we get sick. We have so many extras. So many, in fact, I'm not sure the kids even recognize any of it as extras.

Lately, the kids have developed a habit of asking, "Do I get something special?" whenever they've done well at something and Robert and I are praising them. While I firmly believe that my kids are wonderful kids and I want them to know that I think so, I don't want them to think that entitles them to stuff or dessert or whatever. But they wouldn't think so in the first place if I hadn't somehow planted the idea.

See my dilemma?

Which leads me back to volunteering. I hope that by being around all different types of kids - some well off, some not, and lots in between - that my kids will develop empathy and a sense of equality and the idea that everyone deserves to be treated as such. No matter what the differences in people, everyone deserves to be treated with respect, empathy, and kindness.

I hope that's what I'm showing them.

So no, I'm not 'working for free'. I hope what I'm doing is showing my kids that you can contribute and make a difference simply by being involved. And often, what you give is automatically paid back (times 1,000) in how it makes you feel and how it changes your own outlook.

At least, that's how volunteering has worked for me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

You like me! You really like me!

Imagine my surprise when I checked my email this morning and saw that I'd been given an award! Rachel at Lala musings made at least my month and possibly even my year by sending me the Liebster Award.  Check out her blog at  and tell her I sent you!

I understand the Liebster is meant for newer blogs with fewer than 200 followers. Its intent is to give exposure to interesting up and coming bloggers, and there are rules:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Free* - Week 1, Day 3

I didn't get to work out today. I probably could have fit it in if I had pushed it, but honestly? I needed to take it slower today.

Interestingly enough, I felt guilty about not working out. I ate more than I should have today, but I have been hungry almost all day, and that's pretty unusual for me.  I didn't jump off the diet wagon even though the kids keep offering me candy from their Halloween baskets. I think I can smell the candy through the wrappers from 15 feet these days.

For dinner, I made chicken fajitas and made mine into a salad on a bed of baby spinach. I've never tried that before, but it was delish. And, since I have an entire bin of baby spinach to eat since my trip to the grocery store, I'm going to experiment with more dinner salads that way.

Can you tell I'm just a little fixated on food? It's not helping that every other commercial is about food. Thanks a lot Steak and Shake. Thanks a lot.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free* - Week One, Day 2

I was thinking about what to write about today. Here's what I came up with...

Being healthy is about more than working out and eating right, although that's a huge part of it. For me, being truly healthy is going to involve developing a healthy relationship with food. A task that seems, at times, damn near impossible. 

Bad day? Have a cookie. Baking cupcakes? Gotta try at least one. Stressed out? Time for comfort food. And let's be honest, whose comfort food is tofu and a lettuce mix?

I've been telling myself for a year now that tomorrow I'll start a healthier eating plan and that I'll stop over eating.  And for over a year, I've failed myself on that. And then I feel guilty. And then I want to (and often do) turn to food to comfort me. 

It's sheer gluttony, really. So many people in the world dying of hunger or malnutrition and I throw out enough food in a year to feed quite a few of them well. 

So how to stop the cycle? 

Best guess? One day at a time. 

It's day two of both the Free* program at the Y and my new improved eating habits, attempt 47. At least. 

So far so good. I've stuck to the eating plan and I'm working out like a maniac. Which, truth be told, is helping me manage my urges to overeat, even though I think it's mostly because I'm too tired.

And that's gotta be at least a little more healthy than before, right?!?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Motivation Monday - Free*

On the workout front, I kicked booty last week, working out five of seven days. 

However, on the weight loss front, I did not kick booty. I was up three pounds from last week. Then again, I was eating everything in sight and then some. So it kind of figures. 

The YMCA's in this area just rolled out a new program called Free*. You earn points for working out, volunteering, etc. One of the ways to earn points is to journal about your journey. I'll be blogging about it for the next six weeks. I mean, hey, it's worth 30 points a day if I read the point grid correctly. I hope that by doing this, I can head back down the path I'm supposed to be traveling and getting myself back on track.  

For today, I've done a really good job. I'm doing a modified version of the Fat Smash Detox, allowing myself some protein every day and only following it for a week versus 10 days. After that, I switch back to the eating plan that always works for me (when I follow it) and I should have no trouble meeting my 20 pound weight loss goal by the end of the year. Well, 23 now. 

I also did an intense interval workout with Robert this morning (jogging and mountain climbers included, yo) and then I went to Zumba this afternoon. The indoor triathalon is in Feburary and I really want to be in good enough shape to finish it and post decent times. I was planning on going to a Zumba certification class in December, but when I went to register today, it was sold out. Bummer! So, I'll just have to catch the next one. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Veteran's Day Parade in St. Louis

Last year, Robert and people from his workplace marched in the Veteran's Day Parade in St. Louis. The kids and I didn't go - I don't remember why now. This year, I really wanted go and I wanted the kids to see him marching too. Since leaving the Army, he hasn't had much of a chance to do things like this, and I think he secretly misses it a bit. Well, maybe not the 10 mile road marches with a 40 pound rucksack in the middle of the night. 
While he had to travel to the parade with coworkers, he could come back with us. After discussing options (mainly the apparent inability of our GPS' to actually find what we are looking for lately), we decided the kids and I would take the Metro to the city, watch the parade, we'd meet up afterwards and then we'd all come back home together. 
So, the kids and I bundled up, took the Metro into the city and actually found the parade route. It was chilly and really windy, so after finding a good spot and standing there for a few minutes, the kids complained of being cold and hungry so we went into Union Station and got them a snack. Warmer and fed, we headed back out to watch the parade. 
I was surprised there wasn't a very big crowd, but it was over a week before Veteran's Day. As we watched the groups go by, it hit me how small the groups of veterans were. Sobering. 

The parade route. It was a little chilly and windy.

A mini submarine

Sara was sorta over it by this point.

Marching band

Robert's group. He's third row, third one from the right. I call his expression his "Army  face"

Afterwards...Sara was still over it.
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

The perfect ending to a wonderful day...Jersey Mike's style

Yesterday was a bit of a rough day.

There was that whole no cookie thing at the commissary that threw Sara over the edge of 'I've had enough today' and 'A tantrum seems like a great idea, thankyouverymuch'.

That, in turn, led to a rough hour between the time we got home and she caught the bus for school.  I could recap the whole thing, but the shortened version of it is that a hungry, tired, disappointed four year old = the demanding of my undivided attention and when that wasn't entirely possible, things got a little ugly.

I had put a pizza in the oven for myself (Kashi now makes a line of frozen pizzas and they are delish), and when I walked back in the house from putting Sara on the bus, the timer went off. Perfect! I opened the oven door, carefully grabbed the edges of the aluminum foil and lifted the pizza off the oven rack. The foil ripped and the pizza bounced off the side of the oven door and onto the floor. There was sauce, cheese, and diced tomatoes all over the oven door, the floor, and the cabinet.


I didn't have time to clean up the whole mess, I had to be at the kids' school in 20 minutes to put up a bulletin board, and the oven was too hot to clean. I picked up the pizza off the floor and most of the big pieces that weren't sizzling into perma-seal on the oven door and rack and off I went.

The bulletin board took longer than I expected, so I got home about 10 minutes before Sara. When I walked out to meet her bus, one of the kids that got off before her told me the bus driver wanted to talk to me. Sara was sobbing hysterically and had been since she got on the bus that afternoon. I carried her home, snuggled up with her on the couch, and she was asleep within 10 minutes.

I finished cleaning up the pizza carnage, threw together a quick dinner and by 6:45, I was asleep on the couch myself which meant I missed Zumba.


I was dreading today because the schedule was hectic. I was volunteering with Sara's class this morning, getting her a quick lunch then off to her afternoon preschool. Housework, followed by picking the kids up at school so that I could get to the Y to volunteer from 3:15-7:30. Then rushing to a local church to see the kids perform a song from their bible study class.

Somehow, everything today went perfectly. I had a blast (per usual) with her preschool class, she actually ate lunch instead of picking at it, she was happy to get on the bus to go to her afternoon preschool class, I got almost everything done at home today that I wanted before I had to leave to get the kids.

At school, I got there in enough time to pick up Sara before Tucker got out of school, we made it to the Y in plenty of time, Robert picked up the kids with enough time to get them some dinner before they had to be at the church to rehearse. I was worried I'd miss their program because it started around 7 and I wouldn't be finished until 7:30, but I got to church just as they were taking the stage. They did well, and Tucker was so into it that the local radio station host (who was the emcee) singled him out and introduced him. So freakin' cute!

Afterwards, I was starving since I hadn't eaten since lunch and it was now 9pm. I told Robert and the kids I was going to go grab something to eat and I'd be right home. As soon as I got in the car, I remembered that I saw a Jersey Mike's in a nearby shopping center. I figured I'd swing by and see if it was open yet. Jersey Mike's was my absolute favorite sub shop in NC. I don't think I'd eaten at one since before Sara was born.

I got there at 9:09. JM's was open for business! The open sign was still on, there were people in there, but no cars were in front. I got out of the car and was walking towards the door when I noticed that the hours said they closed at 9. Oh, well. At least I know it's open for business.

I was heading back to my car when another vehicle pulls up beside mine and a guy gets out. He says something about the store being closed, I quip back "I KNOW! It's nine o'clock on a Friday, what's up with THAT?!?!"


At which point he pulls out his keys, tells me he's the owner, and to come on in and he'll make me a sub.

Say what?!?!?!?

I'm really touched. But, having worked in the food service industry, I don't want them to have to stop the closing process to make me a sandwich. Last minute customers, no matter how nice or well meaning, kinda suck on a Friday night from an employee perspective.

But he insisted, and as I apologized profusely to the employees for interrupting them while they were trying to close down, he actually made the sandwich himself. And then he wouldn't let me pay for it. So I tipped what I hope was the equivalent, introduced myself to the owner, whose name is Greg, and told him how much I appreciated it and how psyched I was that a Jersey Mike's finally opened in our area.

Then I drove home and savored every single bite of that amazing sandwich. I even offered some to Robert, but he didn't want any.

So thank you Greg, owner of the Shiloh Jersey Mike's, for making what was already an awesome day that much better...especially after such a yucky day yesterday. And thank you for the best sub I've had in oh...five years or so.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

No Cookies for YOU!

Everything started off so well today.

I got up, made the bed, washed or brushed all the important things (no point in a shower since I was heading to work out), got the kids up, dressed, and fed.  I dropped Tucker off at school and Sara and I headed to the Y. I saw my friend Kristine for the first time this week and managed to finally give her the birthday card I got her just under a month ago. I had a great workout and after a quick stop back at the house, Sara and I headed for a much overdue trip to the commissary. 

The commissary trip was going so well. I had my coupons organized and everything. Sara was being awesome, very patiently waiting to go by the bakery counter and see if she could get a free cookie. 

We got to the bakery counter and my least favorite worker was back there. Of the three we see back there, she seems to be the least kid-centric. The deal with the kids and I over the free cookies is this: the sign has to be posted, they have to ask politely for the cookie themselves, they absolutely have to say thank you without being prompted, and the bakery is our last stop before we check out.

The sign was up and we were done shopping, so we walked up to the counter. Every third or fourth trip, I buy something from the bakery too, mostly because adults don't get free cookies. ::Sad face::

The lady asked what I wanted, I ordered, and Sara asked for a cookie. The lady didn't respond or give her one, so I just thought she didn't hear Sara. So, I asked for her and was told that they didn't have the free cookies today. Which, really, if you think about it, isn't it kind of odd for a bakery to be out of cookies by 11 am?

Sara, who really has behaved so patiently until this point collapses to the floor and starts to cry. She has a point, the free cookie sign was posted. I know it's not the end of the world if she doesn't get a cookie, but it wouldn't have killed least-friendly-bakery lady to be a little more gentle about it. Or to have taken the sign down when the cookies ran out, failed to appear, or ceased to be an option.

I tell Sara that we'll figure something else out and ask her to please stop crying. She gets up off the floor and we move on even though she's still upset. I feel for her, I really do.

I offer instead to let her choose a Lunchable because hey, if you can't kill your kids with sugar, why not with processed lunch meats and sodium?!? Yay! Everybody wins!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

His Name is Earl

The other morning, Tucker asked me what I looked like as a teenager.

As it happens, I have a pretty decent sized photo album with plenty of pictures of me as a teenager.

Usually, the kids will just flip through pictures really quickly. Probably because I'm the one who suggests sitting down with them to look at photos, but still...

But this day, they took their time and asked lots of questions.

Sara couldn't believe that I had long hair.

Tucker just wanted to see what everyone used to look like.

My parents are divorced and have both remarried. So Sara and Tucker thought it was hilarious that I had a couple pictures of my parents when they were married. I'm not quite sure they get the idea of first marriages yet.

Then we saw a picture of my brother - circa the very early 90's.

Tucker: Who is THAT?

Me: That's Uncle B.

Tucker: Where?
Sara: Uncle B? Where?

Me: Right there.

Tucker: He used to have hair?!?

Me: (grinning broadly) yes, he used to have hair.

Tucker: He looks like "My Name is Earl"


The mullet. The great 80's equalizer.

If you know my brother, this post is way funnier.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This look? She totally gets it from me.

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My Very Own Captain America

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Isn't It 'Iron'ic?

It's 4:36 AM. I am wide awake after stumbling up to bed at a rather decent hour for a change and crawling into my own tiny piece of heaven aka our bed (with winter comforter instead of lightweight summer blanket - warm, sleeping husband included). It's cool here and getting cooler and I'm too cheap frugal energy conscious to turn on the heat. That's why we have sweatshirts and blankets. And socks.

I'm also a bit punchy, so watch the eff out. Wheeeeeeee!

I don't know what woke me up exactly, but I was immediately aware that 1) my throat hurts and 2) it feels like the cold I've been trying to convince myself was merely allergies (although I firmly believe it started off as allergies) is going to settle into my chest and becoming something nasty.

Why Brooke, you may be thinking, is there really a need to be so pessimistic?

I'd like to point out that I had strep last winter no less than three times. Which brings my 40 year strep throat tally to 4, so it's a little concerning. This geographical area has taken a serious toll on my physical well being. I think it's all the corn and soybeans fields up in here. That's not entirely accurate. I think it's a combination of the harvesting of said corn and soybean fields combined with the avoided yet inescapable fact that we live on glorified swamp land. Tomorrow, if I remain coherent, I'm going to take and post the pictures to prove it.


I emailed the PTO president with my very clever Reading Night bulletin board idea (once it's approved I'll share it, yo) and some other nonsense about what I needed to do for Reading Night. I volunteered to be the committee chair and I am cheesily excited about it, because I love reading and being in charge of things. The fact that I won't be in charge of anyone else but myself (in all likelihood) matters not.

After my email, I was still wide awake so I surfed some blogs and goofed around online and I thought - hey! I should totally do a blog entry. Because who WOULDN'T want to hear what I think about at 3 to 5 AM - especially if I don't actually call them at this unholy hour to tell them what I'm thinking in person?!? I guess it's kinda like drunk dialing, only I'm high from coughing fit induced lack of oxygen rather than any chemical interference.

But per usual, I'm getting off track.

Blog entry. Right.

But what to write about? And then I thought - ooooooooooooh. I know! I'll write about my iron theory. I've done a post today, (technically yesterday) so if no one reads this -and wouldn't THAT just be a tragedy ::snort:: - no big deal.

Here it is. I've had problems with low iron levels for years. The first time I was even made aware was when I was giving blood pretty regularly. I'm type O, the universal donor, which always seems to be in demand. The company I used to work for had blood drives on site pretty often but allowed employees go to the Red Cross to donate while on the clock and use it as volunteer time. Which was pretty awesome of them, truth be told. I would occasionally get turned down for donation because my iron levels were too low. I never even gave it a second thought.

When we were living in Germany and I realized I was pregnant with Sara (since I can apparently only get pregnant while ON birth control (true story)), I had to take a blood test to prove it to the military. I guess they run a series of standard tests on potentially pregnant blood since I got an unrequested call from an actual doctor a few days after the clinic confirmed I was, in fact, pregnant. I guess the three positive home pregnancy tests weren't confirmation enough. I did have a nurse tell me once long, long ago that while women can get false negatives with the home kits, they do not get false positives. Just thought I'd throw that in as a useless piece of trivia. You're welcome!

Focus, Brooke.

Anyway, the doctor called and was uber concerned about my very low iron levels. Probably because of my advanced maternal age. I know he told me what the levels were, but I don't remember anymore. I do remember that he put me on double iron supplements in addition to prenatal vitamins AND they tested my blood every month for the duration of my pregnancy. I should probably mention that I have a history of intense menstrual bleeding and that prior to getting pregnant with Sara, I had a period that lasted pretty much six months straight. Hello, low iron levels!

Fast forward to much more recently, and after a couple years of heavy yet fairly normal menstrual cycles, I had about a four month stretch where my periods were really light. Tubes are tied (sorry if that's TMI) so I knew I wasn't pregnant, and I was pathetically grateful for the break. If this is pre menopause, bring it ON!

Ahh....... but I should have known that there would be payback. In May, I started a menstrual cycle that lasted pretty much until a week ago. My longest break during this cycle? Four days.

I mentioned my concern over excessive blood loss and what that might mean to my cardiologist in July, but no one in his office seemed concerned. Of course he's a heart doctor and not an OB/GYN. I even called the Med Group a couple times to make an appointment with an OB/GYN, but it's doggone near impossible to get an OB/GYN appointment within four days either on or off base. And since I had no way of predicting when or if I'd have a break from the never ending period, I kept putting off the appointment. I should probably also mention that I do have one scheduled for a couple weeks from now. And that I had my first 'normal' period after making the appointment. Figures. ::deep sigh::

So as the never ending period progressed this summer, I found myself with less and less energy and more and more desire to do nothing but sleep. In August, I found myself losing ground with my workouts. Serious ground. By late September/early October if I dragged myself into the gym, I might make it 20 minutes on cardio equipment. Maybe. At the beginning of the summer, I could easily walk at a 3.5 mph pace on the treadmill for 45 minutes. At the beginning of October? I was doing really well to walk for 10 minutes at 2.5.

Secretly, I was terrified that this was a result of my heart issues and that I would soon be carting around a portable oxygen tank and considering myself lucky to make it another 10 years. I cannot even try and explain how much that panicked me. Or how determined I was to avoid dealing with my concerns.

Meanwhile the backslide continued. I was heading into the commissary and got winded walking across the parking lot. I was appalled, scared, worried, and about a million other things all at once. I should also mention that while I bought iron supplements in July or August, I wasn't taking them regularly yet. Well, being winded from not doing anything scared me into a bit of internet research and regular swallowing of iron pills. A search of "symptoms of low iron in women" on my best friend Google resulted in this little list:

  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Increased irritability
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Pale lips
  • Brittle and pale fingernails
  • Pale palms
  • Excessive weakness
  • Constant fatigue
  • Pica (A condition that involves craving for non-eating foods such as paint chips, cigarette butts, ice cubes, paper, clay and so on)

  • I didn't have many headaches, but I could place a nice, fat check mark beside everything else. Well, okay, for the Pica one, I only think so because of my insane love of ice. I would go through cups and cups of ice, especially crushed ice, every day. I've even blogged about my love of ice. Hey, it was slow idea day, don't judge.

    Could it be that most of my issues of the past year were caused simply by low iron levels? Best way to figure that out was to take some iron pills and see. I am now taking a multi vitamin in the morning, and then before bed I take an iron pill.

    Within DAYS I felt better than I had in months. Last week in the gym, I was on the elliptical averaging a speed of about five mph for the first time since the beginning of the summer. My quickest speed? A series of thirty second bursts of over 10 mph. I doubled my distance on the arc trainer without having to increase my time. I ran up the stairs tonight because I was running late for Zumba without losing my breath. \

    The Zumba class I attended on October 3? I had to stop halfway up the ONE flight of stairs and catch my breath. Then I sucked wind for the half lap of the track I had to walk once at the top of the stairs until I got to class. But today? I ran up the stairs, trotted around the track and jumped into class. Easy-peasy.  I can't wait to see what my stats are when I go to the cardiologist this month. Bet they are gonna be awesome! I also have color in my face for the first time in ages. And I think my hair loss is slowing down. I had way less hair come out in the shower yesterday morning. I'm sure my shower drain thanks me. I know for sure my vacuum cleaner will.

    Alrighty then. It's 6 AM and I need to get ready to face my day all sleep deprived and silly.

    Thanks for reading my iron level theory ramblings. I'm sure I'll be properly appalled at this blog entry once I'm well rested and thinking clearly. heh. Then again, maybe not.