So there you are

Life has been quite busy, of late, and I have not had much time to sit and share my thoughts or goings on. Work has me very busy as I am being bombarded with new information, responsibilities, projects and obligations on a daily basis. Some days I am exhilarated by the newness and exciting chaos of it all; some days I am overwhelmed and worried I am in over my head. But when storms rage around you, you just have to focus on the direction you’re going and keep pushing through until the storm passes, or until you pass through the storm. I will keep doing my best and try hard to learn the job and do well at it.

I have been to the gym a couple days a week for 2 weeks now. I do plan on going more often, as I get acclimated, but I am easing into it. I haven’t done any regular exercise (weight training or aerobics) on a regular basis, in almost two years, so I am starting slowly. I don’t want to do more damage than good. Weight loss has been a little frustrating, though. I seem to be stuck at a 14 pound loss. I am examining my eating and exercise to try to figure out what I need to adjust to jump start the weight loss again; but I’m not deterred and have no plans of giving up on my goals.

I have also begun purging my house. I have committed to keeping our house from becoming a clutter-fuck of unnecessary items and boxes and bins of stored stuff we neither want nor need. I am not a fan of adding to the garbage piles and receptacles that are already overwhelming our communities and planet, or discarding perfectly good items just because we no longer want them; nor am I in the habit of trying to sell things – I believe we could all be a little more generous and “pay it forward/pass it on” as often as we can, so I have no need to take other people’s money for my cast-offs. If I cannot repurpose items for use in my home or honestly justify holding onto them for practical reasons, I try to give away those items by word of mouth, donating, or utilizing on-line communities like Freecycle or Craig’s List. I am always happy to see our items go to people who want or need them. Most things get swooped up quickly, as there’s always someone who needs something. A few things take more work to find homes for, but if you look long enough, you’ll find someone who will use it and appreciate it. It feels good to free up space in our home, reduce clutter, and help others out.

Between the job, the gym, the house re-organizing, bowling and other sundry life responsibilities, I am managing to have a little fun, (though not nearly enough) relax a little, and spend time with my favorite dudes and dogs. I am also taking another shot at learning to knit (Woo-hoo!)

It is not a life to wow the paparazzi or impress the masses. No one will write books about it, produce a movie or Broadway show of it, sing songs about it, or compose sonnets extolling the virtues it. But it suits me just fine and I’m content.

Working it Out

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I got myself into a bid of a mood on Saturday and I have had a difficult time shaking it. I am not one to wallow in misery and I don’t embrace negative attitudes, but sometimes I just don’t seem to be able to pull out of a dark place, so I just try to mitigate the mood until it passes. Some of my current frame of mind may be due to a lack of sleep, as I have had trouble getting to sleep – and staying a sleep – the last few days. Not sure why. Whatever it is, I look forward to it passing as it’s not a fun way to pass the day.

In an effort to lift my spirits and change my disposition, I’ll share some positive news: I’ve returned to a healthier lifestyle. My weight had climbed to 201 pounds, and I have been absent from the gym for well over a year and a half. I had to do something. My health was a huge obstacle to my exercise for the last couple of years, but the new Remicade treatments seem to have gotten my Chron’s (and, specifically, my intestinal blocks) under control, so I am able to eat some of the healthier foods I had to avoid before, and I’m consistently physically well enough to be able to routinely exercise.

My first change was to purge the house of bad foods, and to return to purchasing, preparing and eating proper, healthier, lower-calorie meals. Lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, and (small amounts of) eggs. I started eating breakfast (something I rarely did on weekdays/work days) and I pack a lunch every day. I also use a “Lose It” app on my phone to help me keep track of my calories. This helps me think about what I’m eating and when, something I need to do, as I am a compulsive eater, over eater and emotional eater. Forcing myself to think about everything I eat helps me resist the urge to eat in response to boredom, bad feelings, and simple proximity to, and convenience of, nearby snacks and other unhealthy tidbits. I also have limited my alcohol consumption to special occasions, so no more beer at bowling or regular consumption of cosmos.

My second change was to start walking at lunch again, something I had fallen out of the habit of doing. Unfortunately, I started this late into the year, and with colder weather and precipitation, I am not always guaranteed the type of conditions conducive to walking. But I do what I can, when I can. Even if the weather is crappy, I get up from my desk and walk to nearby shops or stores, or hop in the car and drive to a nearby mall to walk for 30 minutes. I work on the third floor, and I always use the bathroom on the first floor so I have to walk up and down the stairs. With all the extra water I’m drinking, I do that trip several times a day.

My third, and most recent, change: I re-joined the gym. I gave a lot of thought to what gym and what type of membership would help me be the most successful. I ultimately chose to return to Planet Fitness for multiple reasons:

  • It is the cheapest gym membership in the area.
  • It has the most locations, one near my work, one near my home, and several more in-between here and there. It also has locations in Connecticut, where I spend a lot of time.
  • I was able to get a membership that gives me full reciprocal use of all PF locations in the nation.
  • I was able to get a membership that allows me to bring a guest any time I go.
  • I am familiar with it, because it is the gym I worked out in, regularly, for almost 2 years.
  • I like the crowd it attracts, and I don’t feel out of place among a crowd of body builders and jocks.

I went on line and found a beginners work-out, which will help ease me back into a routine of weights and cardio. I have to embrace some new limitations, with my recent double hernia surgery, so I’m cutting out sit-ups and abdominal crunches. Yesterday was my first day back and it felt great. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt, despite being gone so long, and how familiar everything still felt. I did my first weight routine, a set of 3 different weight lifts (Squats, Dead Weight Lift and Rows) and did 35 minutes on the treadmill, alternating every 5 minutes between walking and running. My current plan is to follow a weight routine on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, and to do just cardio on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Weekends. I will try to get there as many days in the week as I can, but hope to at least make it every other day. I also try to work in more activity in my day and week: walking the dogs, bowling on Thursdays, playing Wii, and just getting up and out of the house more. Every little bit helps.

I have reached out to friends on Facebook, to see if anyone is interested in being my gym buddy. I am a social animal, by nature, and my greatest success was when I worked out regularly with a friend for almost 2 years.

I have lost fourteen pounds, so far, and have another 30 pounds to go. I’m very pleased that I have gotten back into the swing of things and have been successful at reversing some of the weight gain. I look forward to reaching my goals sometime in the spring of next year and to make my current eating and exercise my regular habits, once again. There are so many things in this world and life I have no control over, but my weight is not one of them. I have learned that I am happier when I am thinner and healthier, and that’s what I hope to be again.

Testing…1…2…3…

I took a state exam this past weekend. It is the second one I have taken this month. They are always on Saturday. One was on the Columbus Day weekend. It is never fun to take these exams, and it is always a bit irritating to have to devote 25% of my weekend to taking an exam, especially on a holiday weekend. The exams are necessary for any type of mobility within my agency. You must take them and pass them and, ideally, score high so you are reachable sooner. (Positions must always be filled by one of the top 3 scores from the corresponding list.)

The one I took on Columbus Day weekend was a promotional one, which I could have skipped if I was content to stay where I’m at. The one I took this past weekend was actually for the same grade level position to which I just got promoted. Unfortunately, state positions require a minimum of a 6 month probation period up to a one year probation period. If I did not take this exam, and I did not pass probation in my current position for any reason, I would not be on any promotional list and could not get into this title or grade level again, until the exam was given again. The last time this exam was given was over 8 years ago.

I was very angry when I got out of the exam, as it had taken longer than usual for me to complete, and ate up the majority of my Saturday. I had a really hard time defusing my anger and sense of indignation, and I prevented myself from enjoying the rest of my day. I know that was just a waste of a perfectly good afternoon, and I only hurt myself, but the emotion was intense and I couldn’t seem to shake it. Since I was already in a bad mood, I worked on projects around the house I needed to complete, but didn’t want to do. I thought that was a productive use of my anger and I actually got a lot done. Fortunately, the mood had passed by the time I woke up Sunday morning, and I was able to enjoy the second half of my weekend.

It will take 4-6 months to get notification of our grades, so I won’t know how I did until sometime between February and April of next year.

Despite having allowed this to ruin half of my weekend, I am able to appreciate that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, this should be the last exam I ever have to take, before I retire. There is some satisfaction in that.

But, man, I really hate it when anything intrudes on my time off.