Category Archives: Ramblings

Workout 2018 Volume 7: This is when I usually call it quits…quietly

My Journey to a Me With Energy and Stamina

I say this because I’m sure not losing any weight. I know I’m supposed to eat less, but I don’t eat much now.

Day 30: I hit P&F with vim and vigor. Due to issues with my knee, I was concentrating on making sure I used my ass and hamstring to push down on the elliptical. It made a huge difference in the quality of the workout–much better, no knee pain, but it’s a pain in the ass–literally.

Day 31: Sick day. Blech. You don’t wanna know.

Day 32: Feeling a lot better. I did 40 minutes at P&F–20 on the treadmill and 20  on the elliptical. Neck hurts. Need to remember to stand up straight on both. BUT you would have laughed your ass off watching me lip sync to my playlist. I go all out.

Day 33-34: I have no excuse except that I’m tired. I was talking with a colleague who has a nasty cold, and he mentioned that he was feeling better except that he was tired. I joked that at our age, tired was a part of the landscape. But the truth of the matter is that I’m lazy, and long-term commitment to working out has always been difficult for me. And so I did not work out for these two days. Instead, I spent time with my family and worked on revising the first book in a new series. Tomorrow is Saturday, so I’m firming up my resolve about renewing my commitment to my physical health. Technically, it’s Saturday right now, and I’m forcing myself to write this in the hope it motivates me to get my ass moving.

Day 35: Guilt-shaming worked. I did belly dancing. Judging from my reflection in the monitor, I’m not doing too badly! Some of my moves have actual grace and flow to them. Yay, me!

Day 36: Got up early and dragged my ass to P&F. I’m so proud that I didn’t throw in the towel! I have zero excuse not to work out tomorrow, so if I don’t, it’s due to  pure laziness. Scratch that–I WILL work out tomorrow!

Day 37: I kept my promise! Twin #2 and I went to P&F. I increased the resistance and the incline on the elliptical and got a better workout. To be fair, it took me a while to figure out how to adjust the machines. I’m dense when it comes to certain things.

Workout 2018 Volume 6, The Bump in the Road

The continuing saga of my journey to getting in shape…

Day 22: I didn’t want to go anywhere, but Wife grabbed my ass and told me that working out was making a difference. I like when she grabs my ass, so I went to Pools & Fitness today. I’m easy, especially on a Sunday morning.

Day 23: I took the morning off and got a massage. My massage therapist noted that my leg muscles were stronger. No, I did not kick her. She’s nice, though she could do with a little less patchouli in her oil. I had to come home and have Wife wash me down with Dawn to get the smell to go away. On the plus side, Wife washed me down, so I’m not seeing the patchouli as a bad thing. Does that count as my exercise today?

Day 24: Yo-ga. Rhymes with yo-gurt, which is what I had for breakfast. I should go to P&F tonight, but I don’t wanna. (Read in a whiny voice.)

Day 25: I’m so flipping hungry that I’m going to work out by eating stuff. So far today, I’ve had toast, an apple, yogurt with blueberries, a Dove chocolate bar, and a Yasso frozen yogurt bar. I started out so well today, but it seems all bets were off after noon. #failday Here’s hoping I get my ass off the sofa tomorrow?

Day 26: My quads are getting stronger than my hammies, which causes my knee to hurt. So I did some exercises for those today, which made my ass hurt. Then we went to P&F. I tried out the bike today, I don’t understand people who put it at the lowest resistance. It’s just moving your legs, not working anything. Anyway, I started at 8 and moved it up to 10. I found that it surprisingly works my hips and lower abs. However, it also works my quads, which are apparently strong enough. I have mixed feelings about that.

Day 27 and 28: Worked, worked, worked, but didn’t work out.

Day 29: I wanted so badly to skip today, but then I reminded myself that I took the last 2 days off. I got into my socks that slide across the wood floor and did some belly dancing. This episode was called The Hippy Camel, which makes me think of my jeans lodged in an uncomfortable place. The workout was really fun. I liked the warmup, which combined yoga with extra stretchy stuff. I’m glad to see my flexibility is coming back. I missed that from when I had stopped working out altogether. We did shoulder rolls. As long as I ignore the crackling of my shoulders, it was a sexy move. Then I learned the “ethnic shimmy” which sounds kind of racist, but it’s just a sharp hip move from side-to-side. This, I could do–and well. Then we did a thing called “m-and-m’s” which turned out better than the candy. (Confession time: I do not like M&M’s.) The move was a little complicated for someone as uncoordinated as me, but I think I did okay. Even the switching is getting easier, though the narrator is now counting things out. Someone must have given them feedback to inform them that the people who were going to buy this video were middle-aged women with love handles, not professional dancers.

Weight: I have not lost any, but I’m stronger and I have more stamina, so it’s not a total loss. TBH, the only way I really lose weight is to not eat and take Claritin-D, and I’m too freaking old to do pull that crap anymore. Besides, I’m not having allergies right now.

See you next week!

Workout 2018 Volume 5

As I continue to work out…

My outfit is not this cool. Think: middle-aged housewife in pajama pants

Day 14: I didn’t do a video. I didn’t want to do anything. It’s too freaking cold outside. All I want to do is curl up under a blanket and read/edit Drawing On Love. I know I wrote it, but I’m loving that story! Plus, those 2 pounds disappeared after a day. (Yeah, I weigh  myself at the same time each morning.) Anyway, Wife dragged me to Pools and Fitness, so I did 20 min on the treadmill and 15 on the elliptical. Then I had  grilled mushroom, onion, and Swiss, with a side of Baked Lays. Imma workout, Imma eat.

Day 15 and 16: I hit P&F both days, doing 20 min on the treadmill and 20 on the elliptical. It turns out that I like listening to love songs while I work out. There’s nothing like being on the treadmill and singing along to Laura Branigan’s Power of Love. Judging by the looks from people near me, they found my choice of music strange. Or maybe they objected to my horrible vocals. Get headphones, people. Imma workout, Imma sing.

Day 17: Day off. Kids were at an event, so Wife and I spent time together.

Day 18: Did yoga this morning, hitting P&F this evening with Twin #2. I have not lost any more weight, but I feel great.

Day 19: Wife made me go for a mile walk with her and the dog. It was nice. Then I ate red peppers and cheese for dinner, half a bag of sour cream and cheese chips because I couldn’t stop, and a mint chocolate yogurt bar for dessert. I can’t seem to stop eating. I guess it took me 20 days to go off the rails. Better luck tomorrow?

Day 20: No working out today. Long work day. Grilled cheese for dinner. Beat Wife at Trivial Pursuit. Guessing is my thing.

Day 21: I learned the 3/4 hip sway, or something along those lines. I also learned “snake arms,” which I nailed due to my ability to do the wave. It turns out that 80’s break dancing moves were useful! Thank you, Breakin and Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo–you weren’t just bad movies I loved.

Shimmy/Workout 2018 Pt 4

Day 10: I did nothing. It’s okay to do nothing when you wake up and remember that you’ll never get to talk to someone you loved again. Loss sucks a lot.

Day 11/S1E2: I did Cairo to Istanbul again. I’ve been practicing the Turkish figure-8’s a lot. I love making Twin #1 scream: I CAN’T UNSEE THAT! NOBODY SHOULD HAVE TO SEE THEIR MOTHER MOVE LIKE THAT.

I’m not sure if my moves are that alluring or if they’re just so bad that it hurts to see. Either way, I’m deriving massive enjoyment from this.

This morning, I figured out how to do the arm moves with the hip circle (“Invite them closer” or “shoo them away”) and with the figure-8’s (“Pull on the rope” or “Give back the rope”.) Also continuing to bother me–It’s okay to use the yoga names for the stretches. They’re still good stretches.

I turned down an opportunity to visit Pools and Fitness because it’s so fucking cold outside.

Day 12: Yoga! I didn’t want to get up and yoga, but I did it. The DVD program on my computer didn’t want to run, so it took me 10 minutes to get it loaded. Three f-ing programs that play DVD’s, and they all had my initial attitude. But I persevered. Those 2 lbs I’ve lost are my incentive, and I feel better–more energetic, and my metabolism seems to have kicked up a notch.

Day 13: After a wonderful dinner last night, I’ve gained back those two pounds. Demoralized (and my SIL’s wake is today,) I skipped working out and splurged on peanut butter toast for breakfast.

In Memoriam: Goodbye To My Sister-in-Law

This morning, I woke up to moonlight shining in my face. About five in the morning, the moon was huge. It peeked through the edge of the curtain, reflected from a mirrored closet door, and shone directly in my eyes.

The thing that makes this significant is not the unusual nature of the phenomenon, but the fact that last night at dinner, my father-in-law kept commenting on the moon, on how it was supposed to be a supermoon to usher in the new year.

Yesterday, my sister-in-law passed away. My FIL’s oldest daughter lost her battle with depression, crippling anxiety, and anorexia/bulemia. My wife and I spent the day with her parents because this tragedy rocked our worlds that morning. After a surreal day where nothing seemed to make sense–she was 52–my FIL took us out to dinner.

My wife is in pain. Her older sister was her best friend. They talked 3-5 times each week, often for a few hours at a time. Over the past two years, when my SIL’s anxiety and depression worsened, she tapered off communication. She lived in Florida, and we’re in Michigan, so we couldn’t just stop by. When my wife called, her sister often wouldn’t answer the phone. Sometimes her husband answered, but he always said that my SIL was ill or sleeping.

The moonlight made me cry as I thought about this loss. She was my friend too, but my heart breaks for my wife, who lost her sister, my FIL, who is from a generation where men can’t cry–not even when they lose their daughter, and my MIL, who is blaming herself for not doing enough to help her daughter combat this mental illness. My FIL shared a birthday and a defiantly stubborn nature with Diane. Every time emotion threatened to overcome him, he’d talk about the moon. I’ve never heard anything so desolate and sad in my life. My MIL went out of her way to make Diane happy. When Diane would come for a visit, my MIL would buy all the foods her daughter liked–and Diane was picky. She would spend weeks looking for the perfect gift, in one instance making shoes when she couldn’t find the haute couture ones Diane wanted.

I don’t have a picture to share, which is why I included an image of The Highwayman, her favorite poem. Diane hated her looks and wouldn’t pose for photos. Last night, Wife and I dug through mounds of physical and digital images, and we found nothing recent. Diane hated her appearance. She had plastic surgery, and she got down to 65 pounds. In the hospital, where they put a feeding tube in her, they got her up to 75 pounds. We honestly thought they were helping her. Wife had made plans to go down to Florida to stay with her sister once she was out of the hospital.

Diane’s illness robbed her of a lot; everything from her self-esteem to her will to live vanished. Her wit and humor disappeared. Her bottomless support (she championed my relationship with Wife from the beginning, before it was “cool” to accept lesbians, and she supported my writing career even though she didn’t understand why I’d want to write romance) dried up. Her boundless love and generosity stayed until the end, though. Even while yelling and saying horrible things to Wife (Diane didn’t want to be fed, and she didn’t want her meds regulated), she still conveyed love. She still sent gift packages to our girls, as she did every Halloween, Solstice, and birthday.

Diane, every time I look at a full moon, I will remember you at your best–when you kicked your drug habit, stopped drinking, and even stopped smoking. When you were part of our lives. The way you loved my kids. Rest in peace. I have to believe you finally found some.

Adventures With Shimmy Pt 3

My Quest for Fitness 3

This morning my computer’s DVD drive didn’t want to wake up. I was hungry, so I wondered if this was the universe telling me to eat now and worry about fitness later. But then I futzed around with it, and it booted up.

Day 8/S1E2: Cairo to Istanbul

In my quest to do each episode twice, I did the wrong one. If you’ll recall, I accidentally did episode 8 last time. That’s what my DVD player was trying to tell me. Ah, well. I’m nothing if not unreasonable.

It seems it is best to do these series in order. This episode taught the head/neck shimmy and hip circles. One thing that bugs me is that they do yoga poses in the warm up, but they feel the need to give them weird names or descriptions. Cat and Upward Cat (or Cat Rolling) are “Get on your hands and knees. Now lift your shoulders and drop your tummy.” It’s a lot easier to call the poses by their real names. I’m assuming many people who try out Shimmy have tried out yoga previously. I could be wrong.

Anyway, this episode taught me how to do the hip circles, Egyptian step, and Turkish figure-8. It also explains the name–Cairo to Istanbul. I should let these people name my books. The more FBI books I put out there, the harder they are to name. With Re/Captured, I sat down with a 30 yo dictionary, opened it to the RE-pages, and read until I found something that fit the plot. I learned lots of new and useful RE words, but I can’t remember what they are, so their usefulness is in doubt.

The Egyptian step is pretty easy, but the Turkish figure-8 goes in the opposite direction my hips want to roll. Maybe the hip circles do as well, and I just haven’t noticed? That fits something I wouldn’t notice.

Despite my awkwardness, I’m really liking this series. When they set you loose to dance at the end, I find myself dancing through the closing credits, practicing moves and combinations they taught me. Throughout the day, I find myself stopping and trying out a hip circle or Turkish figure-8.

Day 9: Today I did crying yoga because my sister-in-law passed away yesterday. I didn’t want to work out, but I reasoned that she always supported me in my goals, and she wouldn’t have wanted me to quit now. I’ve lost 2 lbs so far in this quest.

Adventures With Shimmy Pt 2

I haven’t given it up yet

Day 4: I did yoga. I feel this is the best way to introduce something new–by interspersing it with something I know I can do. I also went to Pools and Fitness and did 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 on the elliptical.

Day 5: I took this fucker off. I read through the draft for Drawing on Love and formatted Re/Captured for print. I also messed around with D2D and their fun formatting for ebooks. Then I loaded Re/Captured up for presale. I’m thinking about what to take on next. Brandy Lockmeyer is finally talking to me.

Day 6/S1E8: I rose early to do Shimmy. In my tired state, I put disk 2 into my DVD drive. Too lazy to change it out, I just did episode 8. I figured that I did all the Namaste Yoga videos out of sequence, so why not?

This started off innocently enough, with some shoulder shimmies and hip thingies from E1. At first, I thought it was going to be a repeat. I mean, it seemed like they just spliced together footage and voice-over from that first episode, and then they added another element afterward. Good news: My shoulder shimmy isn’t half bad, and I’m feeling more coordinated with my hip thingies. I’m not sure my arms are right or if I’m turning in the right direction, but my arms are engaged and I’m not falling on my ass, so that’s GOOD NEWS.

The funniest part was when they introduced a new move where you had to shake your hips by shaking your legs. In isolation, I can do that. Add it to circling or moving your hips in a figure-8, and you feel like a bowl of Jello in the hands of a two-year-old. Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle, and all that. Okay, so the narrator says, “This is a difficult move that you’ll need to practice.” (I’m close with that quote, but I might be paraphrasing a little.) Immediately after she says it, they cut to a new move. You go from “This is hard, practice it” to “And now try this.” As a teacher, if I did that to my students, they’d never learn a damn thing. Sheesh.

At the end, when they put it all together and you do a dance, I think I did okay. I took out the jelly jiggling and kept the hip circles and figure-8 moves. When they said to go all free-form, meaning do the moves you learned, I concentrated on the hip moves that I could sort-of do to try to smooth out the move. As I’ve said, I’m not coordinated or graceful, so looking good while doing this is only a secondary goal.

This video is DEFINITELY for people who dance a lot. However, I’m having fun, I’m learning some moves, and I can feel it in my hips and lower core, which is an area where I struggle.

Day 7: I did yoga, an episode that had me stretching my hips, thighs, butt, and torso. My butt was a little sore from when I pushed myself on needle pose, but I used to get my leg up so much higher. Getting old is really hard on the flexibility front.

Later, I went to Pools and Fitness, intending to do 20 minutes on the treadmill at a brisk walk and 20 minutes on the elliptical. But I had a huge setback. I made it 12 minutes on the treadmill before my legs and back started itching. I lifted up the leg of my yoga pants to find my skin mottled. I looked under my athletic socks to find my legs and feet swollen. My left hand was also very swollen, but my right wasn’t as bad. ICYMI, I have low blood pressure, and swelling is the first sign something is amiss. If I let it go too long, my heart has skipped beats/stopped for a moment, and I’ve passed out. It took 5 years to find a doctor to figure out what was wrong with me. In the meantime, my symptoms were scary.

As the tingling and itchiness spread up my torso and down to my toes, I told the twins to cut their workout short and grab my stuff. I went home. It took almost and hour of putting my legs up (above my heart!) to get back to normal. It’s been 3 months since I’ve had an episode. I’ll take it easy for the rest of the day.

But tomorrow, I plan to take on the same episode of Shimmy again. I’ve been practicing figure-8’s–much to my children’s chagrin.

Adventures with Shimmy Pt 1

Shimmy If You Can

At my suggestion, my wife got me a couple workout videos for Solstice. She got Namaste Yoga Season 1 and Shimmy. I love Namaste Yoga, both seasons. I miss when they were on Fit TV, and I lost the episodes I’d recorded when we had to get a new DVR.

But this review is about Shimmy, a suggested product when we looked on Amazon for Namaste Yoga. I thought, “Why not?” I want to tone my abs, hips, and thighs. That’s where I’ve gained most of the weight these past couple of years.

Day 1/S1E1: I do not dance. This video is for people with dance training. I’m in my office with my yoga mat spread out, wearing my athletic compression socks. The socks are not negotiable, since I have low blood pressure and swell up/get nauseous/pass out when my heart rate goes up and I’m not wearing them. The socks keep the blood flowing, which is a health plus.

Why do the socks matter? Because belly dancing requires a lot of sliding around. You try sliding around on a yoga mat while wearing compression socks. Not gonna happen. And no, you don’t need to see video. Imagine an uncoordinated, slightly tubby, middle-aged woman trying to glide around the room. To top it off, I have no rhythm. None. Zero. I even lose the rhythm during sex or while masturbating. This is why machines were invented.

I’m laughing too.

I talked to Wife about this, showing her some of the moves. As someone with natural rhythm, she looked damn hot trying out those moves. I was tempted to suggest she try the video, but she’s more the martial arts/weight lifting type of person. Yeah, she showed me up with zero effort.

As I was demonstrating the moves in the kitchen on the hardwood floor, I realized that it was a lot easier to do the moves.

Day 2: Yoga, because I need a self-esteem. I yoga fairly well.

Day 3/S1/E1: Since I didn’t feel like I mastered anything in the 1st episode, I did it again to see if I could do it better the 2nd time.

I woke up before everyone else (as usual) and did the workout in two places. First, I started off on the yoga mat for stretches. Then I moved to the kitchen to do the dance moves. Today wasn’t bad. I still don’t have rhythm, but I was able to do the moves. I think. There was no mirror, so I might have been completely off. But it got my heart rate up and my hips moving. I’m definitely feeling it in the hips and shoulders, which clicked and crunched as I moved. Damn, I’m old. When Wife got up, I demonstrated some moves for her. She agreed that I was improving, and she did not laugh at how ridiculous I looked, so maybe I didn’t look half bad. With no mirror and a wife who loves me, I may never find out, and that is okay by me.

Treating Acne, or You Put What on Your Face, Pt 2

So it turns out the apple cider vinegar only does so much. It cleared off about 75% of Twin #1’s acne, and a lot of mine, but it left behind red spots, the scars that need time to fade, and about 25% of the acne.

I got the number of yet another dermatologist for Twin #1, thinking that maybe this one will have different creams/cleansers/medication. Before we got as far as picking up the phone, Twin #1 says, I’ve been researching online, and they say yogurt and honey. I said, “We have Greek yogurt and honey. Give it a try.”

The Meijer brand actually tastes better.

Night #1: Small change. Some filled with pus and some diminished. The redness stayed.
Night #2: She forgot.
Night #3: She smeared the mixture on for 10 minutes. The next morning, most of the redness was gone. Many of the scars were gone as well. Acne levels down to about 10% (still a lot, but so much less!)

End of week 1: 90% clearance, all redness gone, most of the scars gone.

End of week 2: 85% clearance, no return of redness or scars. Twin #1 had stopped using it for a few days.

I also prefer their honey. While I’m at it, their bandages and triple antibiotic are better than the brand name version as well.

For me personally, it cleared up all my chin acne. When I stopped using it for a couple days, new zits showed up. However, when I began using it again, the flipping thing went away in 2 days.

I’ve been playing with portion size, and what we’ve found is that a 50/50 mix of Greek yogurt to honey works the best. If you err, do it on the side of honey, as a yogurt-heavy mixture is less effective. The final mix should appear clear on your skin. Leave it there for about 10 minutes (longer doesn’t seem to matter) and rinse off with warm water.

This mixture left our skin soft and hydrated, much better than even high-end face cream. As a side note, you can throw in some fruit and eat what you don’t use.

You put WHAT on your face?

I’m one of those lucky individuals that suffers from adult acne. I mostly get it on my chin and forehead. I have bangs mostly to disguise the zits. Twin #1 also has this problem, though she’s a teen, so she hasn’t had as long to come to terms with it. Her forehead looks like pizza, and she refuses to cut bangs.

We take her to the dermatologist. She’s tried creams, pills, washes, etc, and nothing works for more than a few days. I’ve used her stuff as well, and it doesn’t cure my problem either.

A co-worker gave me the name of another doctor who prescribed powerful meds for her daughter, the kind where they make you take birth control pills because they cause birth defects. I gave the name to Wife and asked her to make an appointment. She didn’t.

Instead she bought apple cider vinegar because she read that it worked on acne. Now, when Twin #2 had warts all over her feet from the diving board where she used to dive, we used apple cider vinegar to soak her feet. Something busted open, and the warts went away. I’m not sure what apple cider vinegar smells like to you, but to me, it smells like stinky feet.

Twin #1 tried the home remedy. Within two days, about 70% of her acne was gone. I tried it on mine. With consistent use, my acne disappeared in about a week. Twin #1’s did not. I asked her what was going on, and she admitted that she stopped using it because, as the acne faded, the stretch-mark/scars began to show up. I have this problem as well. So Wife bought some cocoa butter-based cream for us, and now the scars are fading.

Twin #1’s face is about 85% clear, but some of that might be the scarring. Time will tell whether this is a cure or a remedy, but so far, I haven’t had any more outbreaks.

I can’t vouch for all the uses above, but the two we’ve used have been successful. It may smell like feet, but I feel better about my face, and I’m watching my teenager feel more and more confident about her looks.