Monday Stretching

Last night I did something radical.

I couldn’t take it anymore.

I pulled out my workout playlists on YouTube.

Ah, exercise. My fierce nemesis.

We visit on occasion. We laugh, we have fun. We make summer plans and swear this time we are going to stick to our plans and actually remember to call each other when we said we would.

But she is a fickle friend, and I am left hurt and in tears too often to want to pick up the phone again.

Nevertheless, I gave her a rang last night.

“Hey girlfriend! What’chu doin.”

“Oh, nothing. Just sitting here on YouTube, chillin.”

“Cool, cool. Well, I was kind of thinking of..”

“…Yeah??”

“I was kind of thinking of pulling out some of those stretching videos for tonight. What do you think?”

“YES!! Let’s do this! Do you have your yoga pants on? Do you have your yoga mat? Do you need a block for this? What about cucumber water. Do you have cucumber water?”

“Woah, woah, woah there cowboy…I’m in my PJs and I’m just doing some stretching on the floor. We’ll just start with that.”

*breathes* “Okay. Okay, how about this one for your legs. Got it all ready for you. You ready?”

“Ready.”

I’m never ready.

But I did it anyway.

What I found was….some bits of paper under my bed. And a fuzzball of cat hair on the carpet under my nightstand. And some other teeny bits of stuff in the carpet that I picked out and put into a teeny pile.

I think maybe you’re supposed to clear your mind when you are doing stretches, or just focus on the now, or even concentrate on what you’re stretching so you don’t end up stretching something the wrong way or something.

I don’t know. Because it is so hard to turn my brain off.  It is a struggle every second of every day for me, because I have a million ideas relating to everything on every topic regardless of whether or not it is even relevant to what we’re doing, or what I am supposed to be thinking about at the time.

So, you could say that the boundaries I have put around me like bulkheads keeping the tide flowing where it should be flowing instead of up the hill or into a yard or across a freeway or down a mountain, are feats of unimaginable strength of self-control.

And this summer I have had a very focused flow. Mostly toward “rest” and “reenvisioning” and trying to figure out where I wanted to be for the future. Lots of meta thinking or lots of staring out into the forest just enjoying the sun.

However.

Summer is almost over. It is time to slowly stretch back into work.

 

“If you don’t break your own standards, you will not reach new heights and levels. It is by stretching our limits that we move beyond boundaries.”

Israelmore Ayivor

This morning I woke up before 7.

I got some coffee, I turned on some lights, said good morning to the kids who are always awake before me for some darn reason, sat down at my desk and got started on some ideas to work with this week.

There are seasons for rest, and there are seasons for work.

I think my summer of rest is over, and it’s time to stretch back into work.

 

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You Are Getting 5% of My Coupon Rant.

I am the last person on earth to love coupons.

And when I say that, I mean I hate coupons.

I love a good deal. I love being frugal. I hate wasting money, and I hate wasting my time even more.

So even though I love the idea of couponing…I hate coupons.

They’re like that flaky friend you had in college who would say they could come over, but 85% of the time they forgot or something else came up, and so even though you were wearing clean clothes and did your makeup on a Friday night, they call you half an hour after you guys should have left anyway to let you know that they kinda can’t make it, so now you’re left standing in your front yard in 5 inch heels, looking fantastic, trying to figure out if you should just go out on your own anyway or if you should just call it a night and make a grilled cheese sandwich and binge on Pride and Prejudice all night, since you don’t know what you would do in downtown SanJose on your own in the first place, and it’s a long drive, and you’re kinda tired at this point…

That’s what couponing is.

You can spend hours getting ready for a grocery trip, planning on saving money, because you are a totally awesome frugal woman who doesn’t throw caution, or money, to the wind. But what you find in your couponing adventure is nonsense like this:

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5% off a $5 item. You know how much you’re saving?

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$.27 is not worth my time to coupon.

5% of savings is the phone call you get while you’re standing in 5 inch heels ready to take on the world, just to be told it’s not happening.

Granted, if you really know what you’re doing with coupons I’m sure they are awesome. I’ve seen it done, and I’ve heard it can be done. It is just so much work to make it really happen.

For instance, last week I spent a good hour or two going through three sections of our local grocery store’s prices, and when I was done with shopping, my total was significantly lower than it would have been. So that is smart couponing right there.

On the other hand, I got some intel from a friend that directed me to another store entirely for groceries. I went there this week and took the list I had written up already, and didn’t use any time couponing beforehand…and I saved myself $200, just shopping somewhere else.

Are you kidding.

So, would I rather spend 2 hours couponing and still pay way more in the end, or go a little out of my way to shop at another store and save money, without all the couponing nonsense?

I’m going a little out of my way without batting an eye.

Listen.

I’m a woman with a lot to do, and I ain’t got time to cut coupons and put them in secretly organized, laminated pockets just to get 5% off at the end of it.

And if you think this experience is only directed towards grocery stores, and not actually a metaphor for bigger concepts in life, you’re sorely mistaken.

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ”
Coco Chanel

Experience is the wisdom to see the writing on the wall as a casus belli, instead of hollow graffiti.

 

It’s Just Me, Myself and French Fries Today

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It may be the middle of summer for our calendar…

…but it is the day when I get caught up on Summer School attendance and school logging, for me.

One day turns into two days, which turns into a week, which goes on for another week…

And I am now two weeks behind in logging hours/work.

I figure it will take me 2 hours to get caught up with everyone’s paperwork, so there is only one thing I can do to make the process easier on my soul.

A whole load of crinkle cut french fries.

Kinda eating my troubles away, 1mg of sodium at a time.

Also a great way to guilt yourself into getting back on the rowing machine this afternoon.

#summernights

SeaWeed

Sea Weed

I watched it rip itself from the bottom and float to the surface one marine-foggy day.  The amber bulbs floated as buoys for the stalk and leaves that followed the ascent.  It was a longish piece from the fringe of the bed of kelp, and it seemed to writhe and struggle against the waves until it could snap its base and untangle itself from the roots which had affixed it to the clump of mud that had been loitering next to an old watch and a bottle of something empty; but the label had come off, and I do not know what substance had lingered within until it had inebriated its possessor enough to let it escape beneath the waves, as well.

I let some breath release from my lungs and I followed the piece of kelp, a little sorry for

having to breathe at all, and leaving the reticent peace.  My yellow and green fins stirred up some sand on the way up, raising some detached seagrass so a few got tangled on my legs and came along for a free ride.  When I got to the surface my mask was a little foggy anyway, so I was able to take it off and spit in it again to keep the mist from collecting.  There was a little more foam floating around me than when I first went down, and I figured it was due to the winds picking up and churning the waters a little bit more.  I looked back to the shore looking for beach flags to see if I was right: which I was.  The lifeguards’ pole had a hysterical fabric orange cone attached to the top, as if struggling to break free and warn us all of what it sees looming on the horizon,

that only it can see from that vantage point.

The kelp I had followed was floating next to me, some of it draping down the wave it trembled on.  It had trapped some of the mocha foam in circlets of stem it had looped in the water, creating little hills of salty fluff.  I didn’t feel like I was moving, except for the motion of the ocean breathing, raising and lowering me in a gentle lull; yet, when I looked back to see if the orange cone had finally gotten its wish, I saw the towel I had laid down on a mound of sand was much smaller than a few minutes previous.  I kissed an amber bulb and wished the kelp the best of fates as it drifted away from us, and decided my own fate would not fare as well if I drifted towards the horizon, so I paddled my fins and headed back to the shore.  There was still a few long,

dark green strands of seagrass wrapped around me for good luck.  I let them come along: who was I to interrupt the destiny of seagrass?

The wind had indeed picked up and it roared in my cold ears.  In my trek back, I could only relish with the memory of watching that piece of kelp furiously snap itself and drift away, by itself.  It didn’t mind the hills of foam that it collected, nor the slight wilting some of its leaves succumbed to by surfacing.

I swam on my back and watched it

float in the direction of the sun.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Am Not Margot Robbie

I will be the first to concede that I am not entirely up with what’s hip these days.

Goodness knows, I certainly don’t know what the current fashions are. I have this crazy notion that “my own style” actually works, and I don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

13732003_10153605554557181_5878103060865897016_o.jpgDress I ordered from walmart.com for $10? I’ll take one in red, blue and black!

So when I am reading the news and someone mentions current actors or actresses, I really can’t say I recognize all their names. I think I know a few off the top of my head, especially easy ones like Robert Downey Jr., or Gwyneth Paltrow. But Chris Hemsworth and Alexander Skarsgård? They’re both blondes, right? And one of them is Thor. Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato both…sing? And are brunettes?

So when the name “Margot Robbie” was splashed across newspapers (see:tabloids), I had no idea who she was.

However, after we watched “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” over the weekend, I am positive who she is. She kind of steals the show every time she is on camera. I looked her up (see: google) and she is an astounding woman, honestly.

According to the reliable Wikipedia: “Robbie and her siblings were raised by their single mother.[5]  She grew up in a farming family.[8] To make ends meet, Robbie worked three jobs simultaneously at the age of 16.[5] She studied drama at school,[5] graduating from Somerset College.[9] When Robbie was 17 years old, she moved to Melbourne to begin acting professionally.[10]

And after that she just took off into the horizon of fame and fortune through the gates of hard work and a good head on her shoulders. Good on ya’, Margot!

Now, this morning I was reading the news and checking up on how the Olympics were going, when suddenly I noticed a celebrity name I recognized! None other than Margot Robbie!

For just that moment, I was in the know with what is hip. And that’s somethin’.

Even better was that it was an article about her workout routine she had to gruel through in order to get in shape for the “Suicide Squad.” Hey! I’m working out too! So, what’s she doing??

Daily Mail said:

Australian actress Margot, who plays bad girl Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad alongside Will Smith and Cara Delevingne, certainly worked hard for her body, training for three hours most days whilst she was filming.

Three hours. 

Andie coached Margot through plenty of Pilates, ballet and ‘non-bulking cardio such as jump rope, rebounder and ballet jumps’, which Andie hails – surprisingly – the most challenging form of cardio she’s ever come across.

Ballet jumps.

She also explained that the duo did lots of heavy-weighted, low reps of arabesque pulls hooked up to resistance pulleys, as well as ballet style arabesque lifts with heavy ankle weights, which apparently built up and lifted her famous bottom.

I have no idea what an arabesque pull is. Or an arabesque lift.

4881505_smallGIS “arabesque pull” So I’m calling BS on this move.

I can only conclude, after my continued failed attempts to get back into shape due to stupid leg pain and enjoying reading more than working out, that I will never look like Margot Robbie.

Here are the top 5 reasons why.

  1. I am not working out for 3 hours a day. I am currently shooting for 20-30 good, solid minutes….and that’s it.
  2. I struggle to jump off rocks at the beach without flailing my arms in “Wild Monkey Pose.” I am not going to do ballet jumps without hurting myself. Or someone nearby.
  3. The arabesque pull isn’t a real move.
  4. I’m not 26 anymore.
  5. I have spent the past 2 hours reading on my butt, instead of working out in order to create a “famous bottom.”

I hate to admit defeat, but I’m afraid I must.

Margot, darling, I must bow out of this challenge.

gg.

Deconstructing: Nocturnal Panic Attacks, Which Apparently Is A “Thing.”

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I would prefer to never go to another ER, ever again, for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, I said that last time, as well. And the time before that. And the time before that.

The dumbest ER visit I ever had was probably the time I smashed my thumb in the car door, and I had to get my thumbnail burnt (cauterized?) in order to release the pressure for the blood that was pooling underneath. That is not a noble purpose for being in the ER, I don’t think, but luckily there was a body builder in triage with me who had the same problem. So, that made me feel a little better.

Or maybe the super dumbest visit was when my guinea pig, Chewbacca, bit my finger and I knew I needed stitches as soon as I saw how deep that cut was. That was pretty stupid, and the doctor sewing me up got a good laugh out of it.

Those were pretty silly visits, and they at least make me feel a little better thinking about them.

Because I have had other visits which haven’t been as silly.

The other visits were terrifying, and it honestly is my goal in life to never revisit them. I would rather not revisit unrelenting SVT attacks where my heart is beating at a rate of 255/minute and not giving up. I would very much not like to have a needle filled with a solution “that will just stop your heart for a second, but don’t worry. It’ll start again” pressed against my arm. I don’t want to be admitted, again, for testing to check for “Sudden Death Syndrome.”

And yet, I voluntarily went to the ER last night.

Because I didn’t know what else to do.  And the advice nurse berated me on the phone to stop messing around and get my butt to the ER. So, off we went.

Here’s what happened.

Saturday morning sprang upon me like a pack of hungry dogs, fighting each other in my chest. The very center of my chest was tight, excruciatingly painful and made it difficult to breathe easily. I woke up with this sudden pain both in my chest and in my shoulders and down the top of my back, and sat up trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I couldn’t lay on my back, because it hurt to breathe. I couldn’t lay on my side, because that hurt too. If I just sat straight up, I was okay. So I sat up and read for about an hour until Ben woke up and asked what was going on.

We’ve been through this before, and he knew something was wrong just by the look of worry in my eyes.

It felt like a panic attack, which I have had before.  tl;dr – they suck. But…I was sleeping. What’s going on??

The last time this happened was a year ago when we were up to our ears in stress from moving, dealing with selling our old house, dealing with half of our things being stolen, the house being (severely) vandalized, etc., etc. So it wasn’t that much of a surprise to have some anxiety problems then. I just took a bath, had some tea, slept it off…for the most part. I mean, the entire time I was also thinking, “THIS IS JUST A PANIC ATTACK AND YOU AREN’T DYING.” I remember it taking a long time to recover, but I felt back to normal in the morning, so I called it good to go.

This time, nothing is particularly stressful around here. We’re chillin’, gettin’ stuff done, and just being generally groovy all the time. And I was ASLEEP. So what’s up??

MDJunction.com says,

“about 10% of all attacks happen nocturnally. However, because of the circumstances, the symptoms of sleep panic attacks can seem to be more intense and terrifying than during the day. And an attack can seem to last longer for many sufferers.”

Mayo Clinic says,

“Nighttime (nocturnal) panic attacks can occur with no obvious trigger and awaken you from sleep. As with a daytime panic attack, you may experience sweating, rapid heart rate, trembling, shortness of breath, heavy breathing (hyperventilation), flushing or chills, and a sense of impending doom. These signs and symptoms are quite alarming and can mimic those of a heart attack or another serious medical condition.”

I can completely concur with this feeling, especially feeling like a heart attack. My chest was tight, it hurt to breathe, I was sweating more than usual, and my back hurt (which freaked me out the most)…and the lingering symptoms lasted all day.

“However, just as with daytime attacks, nocturnal panic attacks symptoms cannot harm you.”

And I know this. I know it is a panic attack, and I know it isn’t harmful, and I know nothing is wrong. I know this.

However, even after staying in bed until noon, taking a walk on the beach, drinking tea, having something to eat, and making sure I was drinking plenty of water…over 12 hours later, I was still feeling it. My chest didn’t hurt nearly as much, but my back still hurt and I was still out of breath when I walked to the bathroom or up the stairs.

I couldn’t mess around with this any longer, and we went to Urgent Care.

Which was closed.

So I called an Advice Nurse in the parking lot. She was doing 20 Questions with me on the phone, until about halfway through she lost her patience with me (which is why I love Advice Nurses) and said, “Listen. I’m hearing your symptoms, and I can hear you talking yourself out of going to the ER. You can’t mess around with chest pain, and you need to get in the car and go. Immediately.”

I said, “Yes, ma’am” and got in the car and drove to the ER.

Which I was trying to avoid like the plague.

The ER I went to was one of the best I have ever been in. They were clean, friendly, and darn quick with everything. I was in and out in record time (granted, we were there for a while, so “record ER time”).

They took my vitals, which were all good (yay exercise!). They gave me an EKG, which looked fantastic. Also, I am going to give them mad props for the stickies they put all over me: normally, those things hurt like crazy ripping them off. But these were like removing a heavy-duty post-it note from your skin. Also, EKGs in the past have taken hours to finish. And this one was a “6 Second EKG.” Thank you, doctors!!

They took a chest x-ray, which showed no signs of aorta leakage, tuberculosis, lung cancer or pneumonia.

IMG_1505I may have asked for a print-out to show the kids…

They also drew blood to test for a heart attack. This was new to me, since I haven’t been tested for that until now, but according to NHLBI.nih.gov: “

“During a heart attack, heart muscle cells die and release proteins into the bloodstream.Blood tests can measure the amount of these proteins in the bloodstream. Higher than normal levels of these proteins suggest a heart attack.

Commonly used blood tests include troponin tests, CK or CK–MB tests, and serum myoglobin tests. Blood tests often are repeated to check for changes over time.”

That test took about 45 minutes to get the results, which is still crazy record time. I was expecting them to mail me the results in 2-3 weeks (#experience). So hanging out in the ER room and playing apps with Ben for a little while was fantastic.

The doctor came back in and said there was absolutely zero indication that I had a heart attack. Which was  A HUGE RELIEF. Also, my pancreas was good…which was just an added bonus for me (it was something in the tests, along with other doctor-stuff they checked for).

So, his diagnosis: we don’t know why your chest hurts.

But, you aren’t bleeding internally, you have no injuries, your blood pressure is fab, you didn’t have a heart attack, you don’t have pneumonia, you don’t have cancer (screw you, google!), you don’t have tuberculosis and you aren’t dying.

Sweet! So, that was that, and we were on our way home.

As we drove home, I was thinking for the first time: are nocturnal panic attacks a thing?? I have just never had one, and it just seems so odd and out of the blue. So, I googled it (thanks google!).

Sure enough, nocturnal panic attacks are a thing.

They’re a little more intense than a daytime panic attack, and it took my body a lot longer to heal/recover than normal.

But after a good night’s sleep, I can say that I feel back to normal this morning! Everything is feeling good, and I have no chest or back pain left.

So, that is the conclusion to the story of my nocturnal panic attack.

Should we ne’er meet again.

“Okay, Let’s Do This Again. Again.”

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Ahhh, runners. Running places. I’m not a runner. And yet, I am running.

Granted, I am running at the park down the street from me, and it is about 2 miles long, and I showed up to run in one of Ben’s old conference shirts, some old capri yoga pants which are pre-yogapants because I bought them, like, 8 years ago or something and these aren’t sexy or hot  in any way, they’re just gray workout yoga pants but they’re functional and I’m not ready for sexy hot Pinterest yoga pants yet at this point in my life…some good shoes, and a dream.

This is apparently the season of, “Okay Let’s Do This Again. Again.”

I am very back on the exercise bandwagon.

It has been a month of 4 workout sessions a week, which up until yesterday have solely consisted of increasing time and strength on the rowing machine. Although I have made progress, and I already can fit into my jeans a little better, and I am able to workout longer and harder now than I could in the beginning…

I am also sore and tired.

No…let me rephrase that.

I am not entirely a person who can say no to an opportunity (or a challenge) very easily, so when I had the opportunity to go running with someone yesterday, I said, “Sure! I’ve run before in my life! It wasn’t a big deal then, when it was part of my routine! I can easily slip back into the rhythm of running, no problem.”

So, maybe last week when I was only doing the rowing machine I could say that I was “sore” and “tired.”

This morning I am “In Excruciating Pain” and “Not Doing This Again.” Again.

(I’m already doing it again later this week.)

 

This is kind of why I prefer not to workout. Reading for 10 hours a day has never caused me pain! Sitting outside and enjoying the sounds of nature…again, no pain.

But this?? grumblegrumblegrumbleI’mSureIt’sWorthIt.

 

Nevertheless, I signed up for a 10k run next month and I have to do to this.

 

So, that is another “Okay Let’s Do This Again. Again.”

And, I will say…all the work I did on the rowing machine was enormously helpful. It strengthened my core significantly, and the only thing in searing, ridiculous crazy pain are my thighs. So, that’s a good sign! At least!

Exercise is not my strong point. I think I could easily make the argument that it is absolutely my weakest point.

But.

There are delightful cocktail dresses hanging in my closet that are juusssttt a bit too tight around the waist.

Cocktail dresses are my strong point.

So. I will run, and I will beat this and I will fit into those delicious dresses, and I will win.

Because that’s what I do.

I also take Motrin, because my thighs feel like they are trying to mutiny off this crazy ship.

Again.

 

SHOW ME YOUR DESK

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This morning as I was enjoying my lightly hot black coffee and reading news/forums I thoroughly enjoy in the mornings, I saw the question…well, more of a command…to the readers of: “SHOW ME YOUR DESK.”

And it was kinda interesting. Some people had pretty normal Staples’ desks in their office. Some had ridiculously tidy desks with n’er a thing off kilter. But then there were also these crazy organized mahogany desks surrounded by a room full of inset, recently dusted and matching booksshelves, with guitars lined up and professional lighting surrounding the space…

kinda had a little desk-envy with that one.

But others were just a desk in the kitchen, some were a small end table neatly adorned with flowers and straightened post it note pads; although, my favorite was a crazy Pi setup with racks of deconstructed machines connected to sundry monitors and archaic IBM keyboards the size of a Buick.

It was interesting seeing where people work.

So, to break the seal on here..since I am still behind in writing, because that is the nature of being a writer, I swear…I thought I’d show you my desk!

This is my desk. It came with the house, and it has two functional drawers that are stuffed with cords, cables, broken necklaces and dried hydrangeas the kids have brought me…and one large drawer, but the bottom was broken. So, it’s kind of useless.

On top of my desk I carry my inks, my pens, my favorite glitter heels to improve morale, a printer that works 20% of the time, my favorite gold hat, a beach ball, a broken disco ball, a 3 hole punch, piles of paper and notebooks, my purple Onassis sunglasses and my gloves.

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However, I am a multi-faceted woman.

One desk cannot contain everything in me.

Therefore, I also do work in the chair on the right…I don’t know why I don’t like the chair on the left, but it feels like I’m sleeping on the wrong side of the bed in that chair.

This spot is perfect for early mornings, or late afternoons. Perfect for reading and plunking on the cello. Still working on that.

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Otherwise, I’m doing school with the kids at the dining room table.

Y’know, this tablecloth is hilarious. I bought it on sale at Target for $5 because I needed something to hide the amount of paint and glue I may, or may not, have permanently affixed to our table, before guests arrived for Christmas. But that was like, 7 years ago and this baby is still going strong! You can’t see any  stains on this thing.

Talk about an easy investment.

This is a good spot to work because it isn’t cluttered, and there is a lot of space to think. I can’t imagine being stuck in a small, dark, cluttered and beige space and still be a functional human being. Might as well just give up and never write again with that kind of environment…

I know. Writers are picky about their spaces.

It is also very close to the coffee pot, which is awfully convenient. That is always a good space to be in.