Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ugly Sweater Run

I did the "Ugly Sweater Run" in Philly with my co-clerk Tina and Kenny.  First we went to an "Ugly Sweater Store" to get what we needed to wear:

Yes, those are working bells. 

The Hat was provided by the race - stylish, I know. 

There's Tina, my co-clerk and fellow Californian, who loves dogs. 

It was a cold morning, but very fun and festive, it was great seeing all the sweaters that people wore, and I definitely recommend it!  Especially if have a dog; this is one of the few races that actually allows dogs, and it was so fun to have him (and his christmas sweater) along for the adventure.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 17, 2013

We walked some of the Philly Marathon course

And now we're tired

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Winter Wardrobe

Our first day of snow in Virginia
It's 11:21 am here, and 36 degrees out.  It "feels like" 27 degrees.

This is an education for me, which is why I'm complaining about it all over Facebook, and why I'm writing about it now.  It's also new because I can't just jump from my car to the building; I spend at least an hour outside walking every day, morning, noon and night, so weather is an issue.

So, what did I have, what did I buy?

What I had: 

- Coat(s):
I have two pea coats from before, which I think will get my through all but the coldest days of the year.  Someone in my office also gave me 3 coats, one of which is (I think) warm enough for the coldest days.

- Scarves
I have so many scarves that I've cut myself off.  Some are warmer than others, but I am confident that I will get through the year.

- Hats/Gloves
I have a few hats, and picked out one as a gift over the weekend.  I may have to get a warmer beanie, but I actually kept my hat off this morning for most of my walk, so I should be fine for all but the coldest days.  I purchased a pair of warm gloves last year that I think will do the job this year.

- Sweaters/Warm Shirts/Pants
I added a few pieces to my wardrobe for style purposes but aside from that, I'm in good shape.

What I bought: 

- BOOTS:  Due to my freakishly wide calves, I can't walk into a store and buy leather knee-high boots.  But I decided it was time, and am now the proud owner of brown and black riding boots that are both comfortable to walk around in and warm.  I also own a pair of comfy snow boots, and a pair of Wellies that don't fit great but should work okay for wet walks with Kenny.

- SOCKS:  I realized that I own few socks other than to wear with running shoes.  So I had to create a dress sock collection for my boots and other closed toe shoes for winter.  Thankfully, those are easy to find for cheap and on sale.  I would like to buy a few more pairs of long boot socks but it's a low priority.

- TOMS CLOSED TOE WEDGES:  I wanted something that was comfortable and with some height, so I bought the Toms wedges that I talked about in my last post.  They are great!  They are great to have on dry days, especially when I'm wearing pants.

- STOCKINGS/TIGHTS/LEGGINGS/ETC.  I've always been a pretty big fan of tights and stockings, but there's a difference between liking them and being a staple of my wardrobe.  I was able to catch a good sale on Gap's extra warm leggings/tights, and like them so far, as well as other things I've picked up.

- SKINNY JEANS: I don't generally like the idea of skinny jeans, but I found that Gap has skinny curvy jeans that I was able to order online, and they are really easy to wear with my boots, as opposed to trying to stuff my boot cut jeans into my shoes.  It's practical and it works.

- ANOTHER COAT: I couldn't resist and Express sale to buy a black long puffy coat, which I think looks nice :-)

- ELECTRIC BLANKET: hands down, best purchase for the winter.  I originally bought it for my office, but my house stole it for Christmas and it's not leaving my bed or futon for the duration.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Very Philly Weekend

Despite the fact that I caught a cold/flu/whoknows on Thursday, Curtis came down Friday night for the weekend, and is now on his way back to Virginia with our doggy.  This marks the first time I'm in Philly without him, only for two weeks, but will certainly be different. 

We ended up having a really nice weekend.  Stay tuned for part of it (hint: it involves pictures), but for now I will focus on the food, since we checked two restaurants off the list of those I wanted to try.

Curtis described it as "hipster BBQ" which is probably about right.  Nevertheless, the food was priced well and tasty, we were able to watch the first quarter of the UCLA-Oregon game on a TV there, and we got a few dishes for free for our "wait," which wasn't long. 

Here's the rundown of what we got: 

Deviled eggs (on the house) 
Skillet Cornbread (on the house)
Macaroni and Cheese - delish

BBQ Fries with Chopped Brisket - also delish
Pulled Pork (me, delish) 
Burger (Curtis - "pretty good")
Chocolate-Banana Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Ice Cream (Curtis - "ok")
Root Beer Float (me - delish) 

Suffice it to say, I'm looking forward to eating leftovers tonight.  Not quite Alabama BBQ, but tasty. 
Next? Brunch at Jones

Styled as an old-school diner with a modern twist, Jones is one of many "Starr Restaurants," by a local restaurateur, who has several restaurants, all with different themes (I think I've been to four of them so far, The Dandelion, Talula's Garden, and Frankford Hall, and they are all fun)

Again, good meal.  We started with their famous Monkey Bread, which was yummy and warm: 

Then I had the egg sandwich with tater tots (which was just okay), and Curtis had the French Toast, which looked cool and tasted good.

Overall, a yummy weekend :-) 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

5 Things I love about City Life (so far)

In no particular order:

1.  The WALKING.  Okay, so I might come to regret this once we get freezing temperatures, but I average 2 miles per day of walking every workday.  I still wake up in the morning with significant stiffness and pain, and the first couple of weeks were really tough (also because it was 90 degrees), but getting that much exercise in before even stepping foot in a gym is great.  And now that the temperature has finally gone down, it's actually tolerable. Once Kenny leaves, I'll join a gym, but I don't feel too bad about waiting so long because I'm in pretty decent shape (now if I could just stop eating ...).

2.  The FRUIT STANDS.  Fresh food is tougher to come by on the East Coast and spoils more quickly, but almost every day now I pick up a huge bowl of fresh fruit and a banana from a stand for $3.50, comparable to what it would cost at a grocery store (I probably come out a little ahead actually).  It's fantastic, I wish I had a fruit stand follow me everywhere.  Unfortunately, the fruit stands will disappear during the winter, but I have a few alternatives that are close to my house and the courthouse.

3. It's easier for KENNY.  In many ways, it's tough on Kenny and on me dealing with his barking and trying to keep him out of the street, but when it comes to his need to "mark his territory," it's fantastic, and he gets so much stimulation when he goes on walks that he's easier to deal with when we're in the house.

4. The RESTAURANTS and HAPPY HOURS.  Oh. my. goodness.  It is so much fun to be in your late 20s here, there's plenty to do and plenty of people to hang out with. I've found that I'm much busier here meeting up with friends and going out with my co-clerks during the week and I will definitely miss this when it's over.

5. The CONVENIENCE.  Want to go to the grocery store?  Several stores are a 10 minute walk away, or less.  Want to go shopping?  You're a 20-minute walk away from Banana Republic, etc.  The density makes everything easy to access, and the public transit is nice when you're crunched for time.  It's easy to catch Amtrak to New York or DC, and taxis are in abundance.  After living in Alabama and the only Gap in the region being 40 minutes away (to say nothing of the lack of a Macys or Nordstrom), the fact that there are several Gap stores that are about a 20 minute walk away, even if I hardly ever go, is nice.  Not having to buy gas or leave a carbon footprint ever is also not a bad thing.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Sorry it's been awhile since I've given a substantive update.  As time moves, and as I continue to be moving from place to place and am constantly "busy," I sadly find my exciting life less exciting to me.  But, in devotion to the now 6 years of Blogging on Christine's World, I'd like to at least keep up the appearance that I'm still interested in narrating this time of my life.

First, an important Toms Update:
I got my #10s for my birthday in August:
but of course, I have not stopped there. I've since gotten two more pairs (I think it's only two):

I love them both for work and for walking around the city.  I've also purchased some key gear for winter, including Snow Boots, Wellies, Riding Boots, a Rain Coat, and have also been given warm coats from our Judicial Assistant.  So I think I'm almost ready for the cold.

Speaking of walking around the city, I'm still having a great time living in Philly, and feel very blessed to have this life experience.  There's something about living and working and shopping in close proximity that I really like.  I'd love to document all the restaurants I'm trying in the City but I'm afraid that's unlikely, but I am eating very well.  It's great to walk everywhere, I feel very healthy, and am frankly looking forward to the colder weather because I think it will make my walks easier. 
Jackie and I had a quick visit!
 I think Kenny has also really enjoyed city life, he likes his Daycare and LOVES walking around in Washington Square looking for squirrels.  I think the hardest part for him is dealing with the fact that he only sees Curtis on the weekends, but he will probably spend a few weeks with him in Virginia soon.

Kenny at Daycare, The "Dog School"

Curtis is very busy, but is enjoying his temporary assignment in Virginia.  He's in his third quarter of school at UNC, and will travel to Chapel Hill in mid-December for the program.

As for my work, well, I can't really speak on it substantively, what we do is mostly a secret until after the cases are decided. But I'm really enjoying my time as a clerk, it's a special experience for a lawyer, and my circumstances could not be any better.  I really like my co-clerks and we regularly spend time together outside of work. My work life is so flexible that I'm not sure whether I'll be able to return to the regimented 8:30-5:30, I don't even set an alarm clock these days.

So, I'm still around, trying to enjoy what the city has to offer but time is flying.  I might have some fun pictures to post next week, so stay tuned :-)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Stanford - Army Game at West Point

Great day trip!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Welcome to Philly!

It's been almost two weeks since we drove into the city to pick up my keys for my Philly pad.  I suppose I should document this time for posterity ...

On Thursday morning, August 15, we jumped into my Rav4 (which was purchased for this very endeavor) and started driving to Alexandria, Virginia, about 16 hours.

[I should also note that I finally had that emotional "moment," taking Kenny for his last walk around our neighborhood.  Generally I've been too busy to work through any emotions about leaving, but I am sad to leave my apartment, friends, and community in Alabama.]

To Curtis' extreme credit, he did most of the driving, pointing out towards the end of the day that he really wanted to do the lion share of the driving since he didn't have time to help me prep for the move and he knew that I was pretty worn out.

Kenny did really well on the drive, we set up his bed in the backseat and he slept a lot, and spent quality time with us as well.  We stayed at a hotel in Alexandria (for about 8 hours total) and it was pretty hilarious to see Kenny run around the hotel room, trying to figure out where we were and why we were there!

On Friday morning, we drove the rest of the way to Philadelphia, and then it got crazy! We had precious few hours to 1) get my keys, 2) get a TV because cable was coming to install everything, and 3) figure out what we were going to sleep on that first night! We managed to do all three and I made an initial Target run that night for the rest of our necessities.

My apartment is small but probably bigger than necessary since it's just me. I have a futon for guests to feel free to plan a trip to visit! It's

We spent the rest of the weekend putting furniture together and resting.  Monday morning we both dropped Kenny off at his new daycare, Curtis drove to Herndon, Virginia for work, and I started my clerkship!

So far so good, it's a really relaxed work atmosphere (like, really relaxed), and we're doing well.  The toughest part of the move has been getting Kenny adjusted but after 2 weeks we're SO MUCH BETTER. This weekend I hope to see some family and watch college football, so life goes on.

The other big adjustment has been the walking, in the heat no less. Between taking Kenny to daycare and walking to work, I get about 1.5-2 miles of walking in per day, at least.  Last night I did about 2 miles to meet someone for dinner.  So I can feel my better getting stronger and adapting, but it hasn't been easy on my 28-year-old overweight body.  I hope to take advantage of the increase in activity to lose some weight (as also recommended by my new local doctor and supported by a high cholesterol number...*sigh*), but I'm deferring that effort until I feel a little better about getting through the day-to-day.

The other funny thing about the last 3 weeks has been my obsession with The Big Bang Theory.  Seriously, I'm one season away from OWNING the entire series. I can't believe I didn't get into this show sooner, but it's a pretty funny development to come out of this summer (not unlike my obsession with Law and Order: Criminal Intent while studying for the Bar in 2011).

Anyway, I hope to post pictures soon, but I wanted to give an update on life. Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Sweet Tea Proper" - Shameless plug

Since I haven't been very good at posting on what it's like to live in the South, let me refer you to a good friend of mine from here, who has started a lovely blog about Southern living: 

Sweet Tea Proper

Sweet Tea Proper is "Designed to bless your heart, home, and life, Sweet Tea Proper is filled with faith, photos, recipes, ideas and inspiration to share and highlight the beauty and charm of Southern living."

I really enjoy her blog, and while I think I have a personal bias, since I do know that she is a lovely person and great example of the ideals found in a Southern young woman, I can also vouch for the authenticity of her site and the earnestness with which she presents her favorite aspects of where she lives. 

Also check it out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My #10s are headed to the beach!

Me, Curtis, and my brand new set of Toms (birthday present :-) are headed to the beach for a week of fun with the Hart family!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 19, 2013

Justice, Race, and Trayvon Martin's Short Life

I've very purposely kept my opinions about the verdict off of Facebook.  Awhile back I made a deliberate decision to make my facebook mostly apolitical, as a personal preference, I just didn't want to engage in controversial debates there anymore, I don't have the interest in it like I used to.

This week may have been an exception, but I've had such a hard time figuring out what I think and how I feel, that I knew it wasn't ready for facebook consumption.  But today I've read two things that really touched me, that really articulated what I think:

One is from a United Methodist Blog:

The other was from President Obama.  I disagree with him more these days than before, but I could tell he had this case on his mind and in his heart all week and finally figured out what he wanted to say, and I wholeheartedly agreed with it.  Here is a link to the transcript:

The truth is, the experience as a black person is different.  The experience for a black man is even more different, and difficult.  And agree or disagree with the verdict, Trayvon Martin was a victim of that. These laws that justify deadly force in these situations are applied unequally to the detriment of African Americans. And what makes is so sad, is that meaningful change on these issues moves so slowly, too slowly for many.

So many of my black peers have stories of being profiled, from Stanford students, to law professors, even I have my own story and experience with police officers.  What's sad about Trayvon Martin's death is that it's just another example of that, with a horrible consequence.

And while I understand the verdict, I can't help but feel sad that a life was taken at the hands of another, without any meaningful consequence (yet) for the man who, admittedly made the choice to engage him with a gun, when he should have just stayed in his car.

I could go into more issues related to the case but I'd like to leave it at that.

Oh, and on a related issue, read this:
I can't even begin to articulate how angry and upset this continues to make me - I really have no words.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My souvenir from Hamburg

I'll give a recap of our Hamburg trip soon (probably on the family blog), but I wanted to do a separate, quick post about my big purchase from there.

I ventured out on a subway adventure to another part of town I had seen on the taxi ride to the hotel, and it turned out it had some great boutiques and home goods stores. After buying a couple of mugs at one place, I walked into a store called House of Fitz, took one look at these beautiful jewelry boxes in various colors along the wall, and knew I had to have one.

I've had the need for a jewelry box for a long time, this is my old one, which I think I got sometime in the mid-90's:

But it's one of those things that no one ever sees to judge, is expensive to replace (if you're going to bother going nice) and tricky to choose. So I had put it at the back of my mind for the last few years, until I walked into that boutique. I knew I wanted to buy something nice and something useful to remember the trip, so I was so happy to find these boxes, it's the perfect souvenir.

After a tough deliberation, I picked the middle size in Tiffany Blue, and its lovely.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Toms Addiction

After receiving pair #8 and ordering myself #9, I finally accepted that I had a problem ...

When it comes to shoes, I'm totally into comfort, but I need the height for life, since I'm too short to get away with flats most of the time.  I am a huge fan of the classics for comfort and casual events, but the wedges have changed my life.

 Let me introduce you to my first 7: 

Top Left: my first pair, #1 the navy basics, purchased Aug. 2011 and well-loved.  The deterioration of these and the next pair gave me the justification I needed to buy #9. 

Top Center: My red "Stanford" #2 Toms, as in, the pair that I used to wear to games.  Purchased Fall 2011. As with #1, they are getting pretty ratty and are now good for walking the dog and other causal outings. 

Top Right:  #3 My work flats; purchased spring 2012, super comfortable and relatively stylish basic flats. They're in pretty good shape because I really don't wear them much. 
[Note: I think they changed the textile for these flats, but they look the same]

Middle Left: #4, my first pair of wedges. These changed my life, but they haven't held up well.  Grey turned out to be a color that I wore a lot.   I should really stop wearing them to work, but I probably won't.

Middle Reds: I think these are actually #6, I purchased the brown sparkly before the red.  These were purchased specifically for the Stanford Rose Bowl Game in Nov/Dec 2012 but have come in handy since. 

Middle Brown: Aww yes, #5, these are the ones that I constantly get compliments for. I think I bought these in the fall of 2012.  They were great for the holiday season.

Middle Right:  #7, my formerly newest pair, purchased March 2013. I needed a basic sandal, and these work. These are a less comfortable style than the other wedge, but I'm getting better at walking in them. 

Now, for my two newest: 
My precious

These lucky #8s were actually a surprise - I purchased them for my mom for Mother's Day because I couldn't justify buying them for myself, because aren't they so cute?! I just love these, very fun.  They're actually a design derivation of my #2s.  Anyway, after an old cute pair of sandals died, of which my mom had the same pair, she had these delivered so that we could continue to be twinsies.  And I'm really looking forward to wearing them with jeans in the fall in Philadelphia. 

Curtis thinks these are "hipster." This makes me sad.
Finally, #9, my first pair of the classic version with a print.  I really wanted a cute pair that I could wear that don't look like they're falling apart.  What's great about these is the fact that they conceivably match everything. 

I have a lunch outing with the female lawyers tomorrow in Fairhope and choosing between #8 & #9 is going to be agony.
UPDATE: Since we're in for some rain today I went with the #7s and brought my Rainbows to change into if necessary.

And here's what I want next! (because it doesn't end here of course) 

A few purchasing notes: 
Since my first pair, I've purchased all of my Toms online.  They are NEVER on sale. Nordstrom and Toms generally have the same prices, and you should be able to get shipping free.  Don't be surprised if you see a pair that you like and they're sold out a week later. 
Pay attention to reviews regarding fit, comfort, etc., they will not lead you astray. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Final Four Trip + Auburn

You might have heard, Syracuse Men's Basketball was in the Final Four and I went with my parents to it in Atlanta.  They were in Mobile anyway, so we took the 5-hour drive to the ATL. 

We got there, dropped off our stuff, and caught the closest subway into Downtown, where we attended a Syracuse pre-game party. 

Band, Cheer and, of course, Otto, were there. 

The cheerleaders thought my mom's 80's cheer jacket was pretty awesome. 
I insisted on taking a picture in front of the "C" in "NCAA," a monument to the biggest Sham/Scam in US popular culture. 

I couldn't help but take a picture of those ridiculous Louisville Cardinals Pants. 

Our seats were not cheap, but they were pretty good for the price.  The guy behind me threatened to call security when I stood up at the beginning of the game (an SU tradition) ... that was nice. 

We lost, but it was worth the trip, it's a great event if you ever have the opportunity to go. 

On our way back from Atlanta we stopped at Auburn University. You may have heard of Toomer's Corner and Toomer's Oaks, they're the trees that are covered in toilet paper after major athletic wins and other events (they rolled the corner on election night last year).  Anyway, because a crazy Alabama fan poisoned the trees a few years ago, they were finally taken down about a week ago.  We were able to go see them just before that, and I got a picture with what was left of them after being ravaged by poison the last few years: 

The campus itself is beautiful, and our weather was pretty awesome for the visit. 

Jordan-Hare Stadium

The Cam Newton Statute

We also made a stop in Montgomery to see the Martin Luther King Church and Alabama State University.  One nice thing about this trip was the opportunity for my parents to see more of what the state looks like, how rural it really is once you get outside of the cities. It was a quick trip, but very fun.  

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 25, 2013

5K Training Update

I'm one workout away from being halfway through this 5K training program  The big run is on April 20th.  And since it's a color run, I don't see "speed" as much of a goal since it's more about looking colorful and messy at the end.

Having said that, although I was already exercising, I decided to do a legit training program for two important reasons:
1. I wanted to be able to breathe and walk after 3.1 miles; and
2. Given what my body and mind has gone through the last couple of months, I needed some structure to my workouts, which compliment my weight loss program.

This last workout this week (which will probably take place on Wednesday), is a doozy:

Walk 1.5 miles. Run 10 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 5 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 10 minutes, walk 5-10 minutes.

I'm not used to running for long time periods. (and by "running" I mean what you probably consider "jogging" - 5.0 mph; but don't judge, remember that I'm only 5'2.5")

So on Friday when I had to do: Walk 1.5 miles. Run 10 minutes, walk 5-7 minutes, run 10 minutes, walk 5-7 minutes.

I was quite scared.  But I made it through, slowing down to 4.8 mph for the last 5 minutes of the second 10-min run. I was happy that my legs felt good and had finally caught up to my heart and lungs, but now it seems the tables have turned and it's not my cardio endurance that needs to reach the next level.  I'll do some cross-training tonight, take tomorrow off, and then see how Wednesday goes.

I'm glad I've done a training program because I'm a lot further along than I would have been on my own for 3 weeks.  I'm also glad because it exposed me to the fact that I was wayyy undertraining. I was not prepared for this level of mileage per week, and would have never done this much mileage on my own.  I'm obligated to 4 days of exercise a week, but those days are LONG; most if not all workouts have clocked in at over an hour. My legs did not have that kind of strength, so I've seen drastic improvement. I get so easily bored by the long walk workouts, but am doing them because they are part of the program, and have seen really good results in my pain level and in my leg strength. I think I'll definitely incorporate long walks as part of a long-term routine.

I'm starting to toy with the idea of a 10K race in August in California, and/or a half marathon in the fall in the Philadelphia area, but I think I'll wait until after the April race to make any decisions.

On a related note - I've officially lost the weight I gained in February, plus a bit; in fact I'm just under the weight I was at before the holidays, which is a nice accomplishment. I have some short and long term goals associated with that and I'm currently on track.  I've clearly lost inches - I was able to fit into my "next size down" pants this morning, and although they aren't quite ready to wear yet the fact that I could button them was exciting!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St Patrick's Day

I wanted to dye him green but that would have ended my marriage:

We hung out at McSharry's in Fairhope, drank green beverages and listened to Irish music :-). Kenny was pretty well-behaved!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What a difference a few weeks make

We finally weighed in on Saturday - it turns out what I suspected was true - I had gained at least 5 pounds in about a month. For months the weight had been slowly creeping up but that was quite drastic - no wonder I was feeling horrible.

I weigh in again on Saturday and expect to have already lost at least a few of those pounds.  Those of us with some experience know that if you gain weight fast you can lose it fast, and vice versa.

The timing has worked out because we also signed up for a 5K color run on April 20th and so I immediately started on a 6 week 5K training program.  I'm glad I did because after completing the first week of training yesterday (it's a 4 day/week program), I realized that as much as speed  and cardio endurance is important since I was out of shape, the bigger issue was that I hadn't done that kind of mileage in years, so my legs needed to be stronger.  (Since college I had transitioned from a 3 mile walk/runner to a 2 mile walk/runner, in part to save time - now that I'm older that 3rd mile is a challenge!)  This training is VERY WALK INTENSIVE.  In fact, it's really testing my patience because I don't like to just walk on a treadmill (which for me, I have to do most of the time to ward off allergies), it bores the heck out of me.

For example, last night my training was:  Walk 3-5 miles, including 10 run/walk intervals (run 30 seconds, walk 1 minutes) in the last mile.

I did a 1/2 mile with Curtis and Kenny outside, then went in the gym, did 1.5 miles walking and the last mile as instructed, with intervals.   I just don't have the patience for any more walking with that.  So I'm going to use my 5th day of training this week to add a few miles on to my week total and enjoy some freedom from the training program (meaning more running less walking for a shorter distance).  Thursday will probably be an off day or elliptical, and week 2 starts Friday. 

I can safely say I already feel better than a did just a few weeks ago - I'm eating really well and my clothes already fit properly again. This week I opted to not count activity points in an effort to drop the weight a little faster, so I'm excited to weigh-in on Saturday and looking forward to continuing this 5K program. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spread the Word to End the Word

This campaign is a 365-day/year effort, but every year on March 6 we take time out to spread awareness. 

This is an extremely personal cause to me - more than references my gender or race, I am confronted with the excessive and inappropriate use of the "r word," as well as stares, pity, opinions, etc.  This word isolates a group of people who already are and feel more isolated than anyone else in the word.  And frankly, it's an unkind and inconsiderate word to use as a put-down.  

For most of you, this was never in your vocabulary.  Most people I see and talk to on a regular basis who used this word in the past have stopped in part because of my influence. I have never judged a friend who has made a conscious effort to stop using the word but slips from time to time. But if you still make a habit of using that word, 

please stop.

I get really tired of the accusations of "censorship" or a "double standard" or "who cares," or "well I'm using the word according to the technical definition..." 

please stop.

If for no other reason, it makes my life and my family's life easier, and it is a step toward treating people like my brother Jonathan with the dignity they deserve.  Seriously, be a nice person, and 

please stop.

Some links:

Thank you for your time.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In retrospect, I probably should have seen this coming...

After a busy/chaotic/traumatizing fall season, followed by a really nice Christmas, followed by two nasty colds/awful weather/a reasonably fun mardi gras season, I was feeling pretty awful last week.

My body basically hit rock bottom, to the point that I think it was calling out for help.

I soon realized that I had gained about 10 lbs overnight - we're talking about 4-6 weeks. I had completely lost my athleticism and had no strength OR conditioning, and, what really spoke to me, was that my stomach for about 3 days was in a state of pain, bloat, etc. etc. (and it wasn't that time of the month).  I was simply uncomfortable, at a level beyond the typical, my clothes don't fit as well as they did before, way.

So, I made changes gradually: I tried to cure the stomach issues first, because it was actually really disruptive and made my daily life rather miserable.  I ate less junk, more healthy food, more fruit in particular, and was able to resolve those issues in a few days.

Then, on Saturday, I went to the gym and did a tough 1 mile.  I had gone a few times in 2013 (including in the last few weeks), but those two weeks I was essentially in bed really changed the game for me - I was starting from square one with the running.  [It almost feels better to tell myself that I'm recovering from an injury and because of that I can expect to have challenges in building up my conditioning].  In fact, after the 1 mile, Curtis and I went to a Chili Cook-off in town, and after that, I could barely stay awake I was so tired and worn out from the activity.  It was BAD.

To make matters worse, this is probably the worst allergy season on record for me.  I'm known to have a bad week where I'm out of commission, but I literally have laryngitis this week from my allergies. So I basically have to live in a bubble and with each walk to the gym, pray that I don't inhale TOO many particles that my immune system will attack.  But enough complaining ...

This week I'm trying to work my way back to both a weight-loss diet AND an exercise program, but to be honest, I'm having trouble staying motivated on the former.  But the stomach issues have at least convinced me to eat whole, healthy foods, even if I end up eating more of them than I should.  I'll start tackling that issue for real on Saturday after my weigh-in.

I think the biggest issue for me now is the mindset with the food.  It's something that will, sadly, always be there with me.  I have three ways of eating:

  1. Eating with an eye towards losing weight (counting, weighing, measuring, restricting, etc);
  2. Eating with an eye toward being healthy, but not to lose weight, ideally to maintain (but have a little fun in the process); and
  3. Eating with an eye towards being self-destructive, which naturally results in gaining weight quickly

Obviously, the fact that I am not 300 pounds indicates that #3 is not a state I'm in very often.  But it is the demon that raises its ugly head every once in awhile, and it presented itself this past month.  #2 is the ideal, and probably the state that I'm in most of the time, and is a happy place.  #1 is what I should be doing now, since it's a truth that I'm overweight and have a significant amount of weight to lose to no longer be overweight. (Although lets be honest, what amount of weight is NOT significant?)

There are a few things I can be happy about today.  I did not gain all of the weight back that I lost last year.  The weight I lost I was actually able to keep off for about 6-8 months before this recent slip. And, most importantly, I emerged from this setback with an understanding of why it happened in the first place, and am grateful that I hit rock bottom last week and not 2 months from now.

I, like many other people, am not good at handling "unstructured time."  The more regimented my life is, the better I am in all aspects of it.  And both my work life and personal life these last 2 months has been the epitome of "unstructured."  After the flurry of August-December, when I was planning my life in 1-2 week increments, I literally entered 2013 with no short term life events to plan and prepare for.  Mardi Gras could have been that motivation, but frankly, it just wasn't.  I still don't have any short term life events to plan for.  But now that I know that, I can try to work around that to create some structure and facilitate a return to the healthy lifestyle that I had taken for granted this time last year.

I have a short term, 10 week goal.  I'm still working on the reward for if I'm successful.  But I took a giant step in the right direction this week and for that, my body and mind already feel better.

(It also doesn't hurt that this period of time on the Gulf Coast/legal calendar contains the least amount of imbibing*, thank goodness for that! ;-) ).

*For those of you not familiar with the Gulf Coast and/or legal "imbibing" calendar - here's how I see it: 
Mid-February: Mardi Gras 
May-June: Summer Clerks are in town
July-August: it's just really hot
September-February: Football season/Holiday season
February - May: (relatively) dry season. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

We're so Proud

Kenny was on the local news last night - just further confirmation that he's a star :-)

(You see him at the very beginning and that's it, but continue watching for shots of his friends at Go Play Pets Doggy Daycare)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rethink Church - lent day 1

***Programming note: hello readers! I have much to catch up on, but the beginning of the year was disrupted by illness/a need to settle life down after Fall 2012, which was one for the personal travel record books.  Will update with Christmas/Rose Bowl/Mardi Gras soon!***

Despite my lack of membership/participation in a local church here in Alabama, I've managed to stay quite connected to my church network via social media.  One huge benefit of participating in UMC Camps over the years is leaving with a wonderful, diverse group of people to stay connected to. Many of my friends were fellow youth group members/leaders who have gone on to become ordained ministers or other leaders in our church.  Many of the youth I worked with in summer 2011 are spiritual leaders in their congregations and are now preparing for college.  Anyway, it's one of the things I love about social media - maintaining those connections throughout the year, from far away.

So when I saw ReThink Church's Lenten Photo-a-day Challenge (here's an article about it), I couldn't help but be excited (No, Lent isn't just for Catholics! And it isn't just about giving something up either.). It integrates all social media platforms and encourages participants to share pictures that correspond to a theme for each day of lent.  I loved this idea, because frankly, I am tired of the "giving something up" practice, and  just didn't feel spiritually prepared to do it.  I'm not sure whether I'll manage all 40 days, but I'm excited to participate.  I'll mostly use twitter (follow me @steeenie)- follow the entire project by searching for @umrethinkchurch,  #rethinkchurch and #40days . But I'll try to post some on here as well. 

Here's day 1 - "Who am I"

This picture speaks to me because it was taken from a very difficult time in my life.  After my grandpa's and aunt's death in October and November, I knew I needed a change to give me a fresh start.  So, I took several inches off of my hair, and have felt lighter ever since.