Friday, September 30, 2016

Time in a bottle…

Time is a precious commodity. One that I feel I never have enough of. Between all that I have to/want to do, I sometimes feel like there is no possible way to fit everything in. So not surprisingly I hate wasting time.

I try not to dwell too much on my past but I have a lot of regrets about not putting in the effort to lose weight years ago.

I think of spending all of my 20's and most of my 30's being morbidly obese and all the time spent wasted because I was too heavy to accomplish certain things. I didn’t have the energy or the ability. Oh, the things I could have done if I weighed less!!

I have not been weighing myself. Between the stress of Chakotay being sick all summer and my general lack of self control and dwindling of motivation to consistently get in productive workouts, I have been convinced that I’ve gained a ton of weight. Trying on clothes has reinforced that fact.

This morning I was standing naked in front of the shower, waiting for the water to get warm enough for me to step in and I saw in the large mirror we have over our sink a side profile. While I certainly didn’t start dancing with delight, I thought that maybe I didn’t look all that much bigger than I did earlier this year.

So I impulsively went over and took the scale off of its perch and set it on the floor and glared at it. And then I stepped on.

Remember back in April when I visited the MD and was distraught over the number it showed? Well, the scale showed me that this morning I was exactly .5 pounds lighter than that day.

Ok, so I don’t like that number. I want to weigh many pounds less. BUT - when I think of all the time I wasted this summer and continue to waste stressing about food and exercise and how I look and how much of a hot mess I am - and basically I am the same as I was 6 months ago. Not the ideal, but worth the amount of mental head banging, hand wringing, and generalized anxiety/guilt that I have imposed on myself?? I gotta say no.

So here’s the bad news - for me and for you if you are trying to lose weight - a recent study shows that today - September 30th - is the lightest we will weigh all year. Yes, beginning October 1st, statistically we steadily start to pork up. That continues through the first part of January. And while most of us will lose that weight that we put on, it takes until JUNE to lose it and then it is a short summer before we repeat the cycle.

So, I have a lot of weight to lose while staring statistics in the face. And yet, if I can maintain this weight - well, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, right? None of us have to aim for our weights to fall at the bottom end of the BMI scale.

I have to weigh - no pun intended - the stress of being many pounds over what I believe I should ideally weigh with the stress of constantly thinking about and worrying about what I weigh and what I look like.

Do any of you have a goal weight that is over what the “ideal” range is??

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Voices in my head…

It’s like a grand conspiracy. Every time I have sat down to make a blog post for the last several days something has happened and I haven’t made a post.

I am in a state of flux right now - minute by minute telling myself that I really am doing okay, and in the next telling myself that I am a complete disaster. As the cooler weather has descended on us that bring with it two issues that I have to address. One is pulling out a whole new set of clothes to find that they don’t fit and the subsequent barrage of self-hatred and an emotional meltdown. The second is a yearly thing that I have battled for YEARS and I know a lot of you out there do, too - as fall and winter approach there is the desire to come home, bury myself in thick blankets and not move. Except to eat - I can ALWAYS find motivation for that!!

So knowing that these issues are staring me right in the face, I’ve tried to take the focus off my weight specifically and the demands of what I “should” be doing workout wise and concentrate on what it means to be happy and healthy.

My friend and I were talking about the whole Extrovert - Introvert thing. I am quite clearly an Extrovert. What I have always thought that I am unique in is the fact that at times when I am not in a social setting that I retreat deeply into my own mind. Turns out that is quite common in a lot of Extroverts. It can be a very lonely place when you have a constant internal dialog which is often pretty mean to you. I told my friend that if I had someone in my life who talked to me the way I talk to myself I would totally get rid of them - but how do you get rid of yourself?

Well, one way is to get the hell out of my head. I have concentrated on not drifting - on being fully present in what I am doing. For example I took Archer for a run last night. And instead of putting on the headphones and just mindlessly running to get it over with - to “earn” what I was going to eat for dinner, I went without headphones. I focused hard on my breathing and the way my body felt. I watched Archer running alongside me. I tried to smell the fall air.

I think I have been this way for a very long time. Being hugely outgoing and then, when not around a lot of people, going way into myself. Half paying attention to everything else going on around me… I watch TV and 5 minutes later have no idea what the show was about.

What the heck does this have to do with weight loss? Well, when I was reading about extroverts that have this issue, some articles talked about people like Chris Farley and Robin Williams. Is there really that much difference between Chris Farley coming home after KILLING it on Saturday Night Live and while alone in his apartment snorting a boatload of cocaine and me coming home after talking all day with clients and standing in front of an open jar of peanut butter shoveling it into my mouth mindlessly? I don’t know that those things are totally different from one another!  It’s all part of an addiction process.

Maybe if I am not so absorbed into my self - analyzing, over analyzing, debating, questioning - I can get myself back together. I’ve tried so many things lately but sooner or later something has to click, right???


Saturday, September 24, 2016

A goal met...

Late last year, I heard some people talking about "the metric century".  Apparently that's a pretty common challenging distance for cyclists to travel.  There are even some races of that distance.  Of course we are talking 100 km (62 miles).

The longest distance I had ever biked was around 54 miles.  I decided that this year I would try to do a metric century.  That was a summer's goal.

Then?  Shit happens, and goals don't always get met.  Chakotay got sick, plans got interrupted, it rained or it was unbearably windy... The goal was never hit.

Now backing up for a minute, this week was complete chaos.  We had another graduation for my clients and I was crazy busy.  I felt out of control at times, and my stress and anxiety skyrocketed.  And when it was over, I crashed.  I don't know that I had been holding it together that well, but I don't know that I have totally dealt with Chakotay's death - that he is gone.  Although these things come in waves, too as many of you know.  I was DONE.

I felt defeated and unbearably sad.  About everything.  And so I looked at me.  My life, my past, my goals.  I can't control everything at once.  But there was a goal sitting out there.  One simple goal.

So at 9:40 this morning I got on my bike.  I started to ride.  My goal was 62 miles in under 4 hours.  I rode around 2 local points that jut into Lake Ontario.  The lake was calm and beautiful.  I tried to be fully present in the moments rather than all up in my head.  I waved at runners and fellow bikers.  

3 hours and 54 minutes later I pulled into our driveway at 62.04 miles.

It wasn't all that spectacular of a time, and it's not like 62 miles is some amazing feat, but it was a goal met.  And the ride gave me a lot of time to think.  When I got back I showered and then went outside with a hot mug of coffee, a banana, and sat in the warm fall sun throwing a ball for Archer, and in that space of time it felt somehow like I had had a breakthrough.

More to come on that note...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Agony of da feets!

Remember way back in April when I went to Urgent Care and the PA yelled at me for running “at my age”? At that time I had self-diagnosed myself with a “stone bruise”. After x-rays were done and that PA told me that she found no structural issues, and a stone bruise “might be” it, but that she could refer me to a physical therapist, I assumed that my degree I got on Web MD was accurate and have not been to a doc since then. 

I also never followed through with the physical therapist, and I have been battling pain since that time. The pain is mild compared to what I went thought when my IT Band was fucked up and is nothing compared to the constant overwhelming battle I had with my Achilles.

I bought wide width running sneakers and putting in most of my miles on the lesser impact treadmill has helped. And every night, while stretching, I vigorously deep massage into the ball of my foot - with my thumbs and with a lacrosse ball. I also have been using the TENS unit - which I still use several nights a week on my Achilles - on the ball of my foot.

But still there has been pain. Right in the ball of my foot. While I’m running some, but afterwards quite a bit. Wearing high heels makes it worse.  The toe right next to the big toe has been bent awkwardly down and both bending it and trying to straighten it has caused pain both in that toe and the ball of the foot.

A smart person would follow up with a doctor or physical therapist. Or they would stop running. That’s what a smart person would do - which I am not.

At the 10K race I did a couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a fellow runner who has had her share of running injuries. We were talking about how running is so good for you but certainly takes its toll on the body. She told me that she had been running with 2 dislocated toes. She didn’t know that they were dislocated but finally went to the MD who had to pull them back into place. She said that they had become dislocated because she curls her toes when she runs. She asked if I did that. I thought about it and realized that yes, on my one foot, the injured foot, I do curl my toes when I run.

I was thinking about this a couple days later as I sat on the floor stretching. Instead of massaging the ball of the foot like I normally do, I instead grabbed that bent second toe and pulled a little on it. There was no pain, but it almost felt like bubbling where the toe goes into the foot. So I pulled harder and then I felt and heard a “POP”. It didn’t hurt - it was almost exactly like when you crack your knuckles. There was also no sense of instant relief, but I thought my toe seemed straighter.

The next day, I looked down and saw a large bruise where the toe goes into the socket and I suddenly realized that my toe was almost straight! I could bend and flex it without pain and, even more surprising - there was almost NO PAIN in the ball of my foot!

So here for MONTHS I have been thinking it was an issue with the nerves in the ball of my foot and it actually had to have been related to a partial (I’m guessing) dislocation of the toe! So all the freaking massaging and TENS application was basically useless, when all I needed to do was pop that toe back into place. Can you believe it?

So since then, instead of massaging, I regularly pull on that toe making sure that it is settled into place. I don’t know that much about dislocations, but I do know from people that I have talked to who have dislocated their shoulders in the past that once something dislocates, it tends to do it easily in the future. So after a run I fiddle around with that toe.  I have not felt a POP again like when I did it the first time, but I do sometimes feel that bubbling sensation and I think it is resetting it some.

While the pain isn’t 100% gone, it’s way way better.  And if you’re thinking that I should still go and see a doctor, that’s probably what a smart person would do…

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Forward movement…

Much like a physical injury, an emotional injury heals in stages.  Right now, instead of that sharp agonizing pain, there is just a dull aching.  I am having periods of time when I feel almost normal.  Then, times like last night, I'm talking with Marc as we are getting ready for bed, and I realize I'm standing there with treats for 2 dogs, and there is the panicky painful reminder.

This morning, Marc suggested that we go for a hike knowing that I had a date with a football game this afternoon.  As we walked and Archer ran joyfully around there was just this intangible sense of we are incomplete.

Speaking of whether we are complete, I find it interesting how people will always choose to impose their views on others.  I have received at least one completely unsolicited opinion that we should not even consider getting another dog for a very long time if ever.  And, on the other side of the coin, I have also had some completely unsolicited opinions that we need to get a puppy right away.

Both suggestions are heartbreaking for different reasons.

But the climb back to sanity has started.  And there was some positive movement yesterday.  I took Archer over to a trail yesterday to run.  Somewhere along the run not only was I not hating running, I was actually enjoying it.  It has been a while since that has been true.  So when we got back to the car at around 6.5 miles, we got some water and then ran another 1.5.

Looking at our stats, we ran 8 miles at an average 9:08 mm pace.  So I decided our goal would be to do 10 miles at an under 9 pace by Thanksgiving.  Compared to what I ran just a couple years ago, this goal is pretty freaking pathetic.  But compared to the war I've had with running lately, to have enjoyed it enough to have set a goal??  Yes, making a goal, instead of just running because I have to feels like a movement forward.

Towards DOING instead of EXISTING.

And as I thought about that goal, I acknowledged that this is going to mean putting an actual effort into getting back on track with my eating.  So I asked myself what I wanted more – to eat what I want or to lose weight and meet my goals.

I wish I could tell you that there was a resounding shout from my psyche assuring me that I am ready.  But in reality, there was a instead mostly silence. 

But a step forward – even a small step – is something I will take this weekend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mind and body connection…

The connection between mind and body in an incredible one. How you feel physically can definitely effect your emotions. Not getting enough sleep, being sick, all of those things can totally screw with your emotions. And, of course, in reverse, what your emotional state is can greatly impact you physically.

I have been getting a lesson on this in spades this week. I woke up Sunday morning and felt like I had been worked over with a baseball bat. Every single muscle in my body hurt. I attributed this to having run hard during the 10K race Saturday morning and the intense digging in hard clay soil making a final resting place for my baby boy.

I didn’t really think of what my physical state was being related to my emotions at all. I was sure that it would go away. And yet so far this week I have just been a wreck. Surprisingly, I have been sleeping pretty well. But I have been SO exhausted and even doing the smallest thing has felt like such a huge effort. I also have been aimlessly worried and distracted. Things that I do EVERY DAY - like putting makeup on in the morning - I have completely forgotten to do. And I am still very, very sore.

Last night I got home from work and just wanted to lay down I was so done for. I probably would have if it weren’t for Archer. He is doing okay, I think, for having lost his brother that he was SO SO close to. But he just has not been himself. I don’t think that describing him as being depressed is going too far. I have been reading a lot on dogs grieving the death of their pack mates and the articles encourage you to allow them to stick to their routine, to offer them a lot of love, and to make sure they get plenty of exercise. Not surprisingly, all the benefits that people get from exercise, such as lowering stress, boosting endorphins and helping settle your mind - well, those benefits extend to dogs as well.

So when I got home and he was there alone (Marc was on a bike ride), I decided we could go for a run. It took so much mental effort just to change into workout clothes and a short 1/4 mile into our run my body was just screaming STOP. I managed 5 miles, but those 5 miles felt harder than most runs twice that long.

This morning, I still felt achy. And my mind? It just won’t stop. Jumping from topic to topic - stupid things - unfocused and random worries. And there are still brief moments of crying jags.

In the summer, I turn into CARDIO GIRL. I believe in the benefits of other exercise, such as lifting weights, but when the sun is out in northern NY and you know it is going to be gone WAYYYYY too soon, you go out for a walk at lunch, you don’t hang out inside doing P90X.

So I also have not been doing yoga. As lunch time approached and it was cool and cloudy, I thought about lifting weights but as I stared at the dumbbells, I thought that I wouldn’t even be able to lift 5 pounds. So I called up a Yin Yoga class. I thought that maybe I could settle my mind and help my body.

Yin Yoga is always challenging - staying for several minutes in uncomfortable positions, relaxing my body, quieting my mind - well that is a task for me even during the best of times. But as I sat there in pigeon pose - as the instructor in a soothing voice talked about focusing on your breath and letting intrusive thoughts drift away, I seriously thought that I was losing it. My mind swam with a million different thoughts and I actually felt a little dizzy.

I started counting the breath in - concentrating on filling up my lungs and diaphragm. And then letting it out slowly. They say to envision breathing in the good air and directing it to what hurts and envisioning letting out the “bad” air. I tried this, but as the hour was over and I hurried over to a different court for some business I was quite convinced that it had been a futile pursuit.

But after the meeting ended and I walked back, I noticed that I felt a little better. My muscles felt looser and there was less achy-ness. I think that my mind is a little less restless, a little more focused.

Just as after a physical injury your body needs time to heal, I suppose that after an emotional tragedy the mind needs some time, too. And since they are all related I guess I just need to be patient and supportive to myself.

Yes, because I am SO GOOD at that....


Monday, September 12, 2016

Like walking underwater…

I thought that going to work today would help. Being busy - being distracted. But it didn’t. There were brief and blissful periods where I was engrossed in paperwork or talking to a client and I almost forgot, but grief is a powerful and ever-present giant.

And boy, I am SUCH a good addict. I have not had any motivation to exercise and even a bit of self-control in the eating department is GONE. Not that there has been much to start with, right?

The justification and rationalization machine is in FULL gear - I mean who would BLAME me, right? I am entitled to take a few days off. I shouldn’t worry about my weight during this hard time!  Any excuse will do.

Of course, not exercising and eating like shit just makes me feel worse in the long run. But in the short term, that instant gratification – the diversion from my mind - is pretty alluring.

It will get easier, as many of you know. Every time I have lost a pet, I think I will never be happy again – that the black hole of pain will never be filled. But the pain starts to fade, I remember the good times more and more, and life goes on. That is both a blessing and a curse.

For now, I read and re-read the offerings of understanding and support. It helps SO MUCH. So for those of you that have taken the time to reach out, it is appreciated more than you can know. Honestly and truly, I thank you.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Painful history and now…

On this day in history the world changed forever.  I remember that day like it was yesterday.  Today we woke up to a changed personal world.  Compared to the devastation of that horrible day in 2001, what we are going through is minor, but it is no less real to us.

Yesterday, we had a 10K race.  When we got up, Chakotay went outside to do his business.  He ate the peanut butter covered treats with the pills hidden in them, and drank water.  As we were leaving he laid down by my computer.

Which is where we found him when we got back from the race.  in the exact position we left him.  Based on this we think he went quickly and painlessly.  There was no sign that he was in distress and based on the way he acted, we don't even think Archer knew his brother was gone.  That is such a blessing.    

But… I wasn't there for him.  I don't know how I will ever forgive myself for that.  He was alone, and the thought of that – and a million other things I could have done differently that morning – breaks my heart. 

We buried him in the backyard, where other pets we've loved and lost lie.  I said goodbye to him with Archer who appeared very confused and even frightened.

The first thing Archer did this morning when he woke up was search for him.  I can't believe how empty the house feels.  And I know Archer feels it as well.

Today, we planted a painted willow shrub in his memory.


We also made a mold of his footprint before we said our final goodbyes.


I am okay as long as I keep doing something.  I’m quite sure the house is cleaner than it’s been in years tonight.

But tomorrow I return to work and have to get used to a new normal. 

I had fooled myself into believing I was prepared for this.

What a fool I was…

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Run free sweet Chakotay…

Chakotay came into our lives in 2009 after the death of our first Boxer, named Tucker. Although they were both Boxers, their personalities were nothing alike.







Chakotay was sweet and incredibly mellow. He had a laid back personality. He was never interested in chasing the cats he lived with, even as a young puppy. He would lie there patiently as they groomed him or played with his ears.






When in 2010 we lost our German Shepherd, Chakotay was thrust into the role of big brother when we brought home Archer. Archer was high energy, spoiled and demanding. He would terrorize Chakotay at times. Both the vet as well as Archer’s breeder were shocked at how patient Chakotay, being only just over a year himself, tolerated Archer.






But Marc and I weren’t. He loved Archer completely.  In fact, Chakotay loved just about everyone he came in contact with. He loved the cats and the chickens. Each time we had new chicks in the house, he would have to inspect them and then would  happily accept them as part of the family.






He loved the oldest person he would know, Marc’s dad. And he loved little kids. And, of course, he loved Marc and I.






He was so laid back that sometimes I would think that he didn’t have it in him to ever stand his ground if the time came. However, in 2012, as Marc and I went for a slow walk when I was recovering from major surgery, a dog came from a neighboring house running full speed at me and barking crazily. With speed so fast we barely had time to register what was happening, Chakotay went after that dog, ripping the leash from Marc’s hand. He caught her by the neck and drove her away and into the ditch. He held her for a moment - firmly, but without actually biting, and then let her up where she quickly retreated. He then stood in front of me, watching, making sure that she was continuing her exit, before turning around, wagging his nub and calmly waited to resume the walk. If I ever had a question that he would do anything and everything in his power to defend us, it ended in that few seconds of time. He was ready, willing and able to put our safety above his own.

7 years. That’s all the time he had.

But in those 7 years he did a hell of a lot. He swam and played in 2 of the Great Lakes.






He hiked mountains, including 2 high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains.






He ran in a 5K race. He camped in a tent and ate marshmallows next to a roaring fire. He frolicked in snow and dug into sand on a hot beach. He got to experience things that even some people don’t in their lives.















And when he got sick, bravely and without complaint, he became part of a medical trial that might someday lead to better treatments or even a cure to some cancers, not just for animals but for people. He never protested as blood was drawn and calmly allowed himself to be x-rayed.  He was patient during the long car trips to Cornell.  And through all of it, he remained a sweet soul who was always ready with a wet kiss – for us, for the vets and for anyone else whom he could reach.

And he was loved. Oh so loved.  He was a vital part of our family.

There are no words to express how much he will be missed. The pain is overwhelming right now.  But I feel lucky to have had this wonderful boy as part of my life for a number of years.

I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but I would like to believe that somehow, somewhere, our energies will meet again.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

STOP the clicking!

I don’t consider myself a Facebook addict, but I do get on it a few times a day and do post on occasion.

Recently, they have implemented more “sponsored ads” – where people pay to have their ads show up in people’s timelines.

And Facebook – with their superpowers – are able to specifically target what ads to put in your specific timelines.

It is what I am sure a HIGE mathematical formula based on what you click on and things you post.

So guess what is showing up in my timeline on a daily basis?


Lots and lots and lots of food recipes.

And not healthy foods.  Oh NO!

Dessert recipes.

Sex in a pan, Carmel chocolate chip cookie bars, Peanut butter chocolate dream cookies.  Dozens of ads per day!

And WHYYYY are they showing up?  Because I keep fucking clicking on these recipes!  And then I read the ingredients with their POUNDS of butter, SCOOPS of sugar, and all other things that cause my to gain about 6 pounds just READING the recipes!  So do I make them?  Not a chance in hell.

But it’s like my version of pornography.

And yet?

I KEEP CLICKING!  Torturing myself.  With things I want to eat but can’t!

The only way to make the madness stop is to stop reinforcing why they are showing up in my timeline!

But look?  These Oreo Cookie Bars look SO GOOD!  Maybe I’ll just click and see if they are made with ZERO calorie ingredients.  That’s possible, right?

Monday, September 5, 2016

The lose-lose scenario.

I sit here tonight feeling like the worst mom ever.  All things considered, Chakotay is really doing well.  He is in good spirits.  

And he thinks he feels good enough to do everything he used to do.  But he just can't.  He gets very tired very easily, and just has to lay down and so his days of hiking miles are over. 

Today was extremely hot and we talked about heading out to the lake.  But it's about a 1.5 mile hike from the parking lot to the water and we knew there is no way he could make it.

Marc suggested we head out to the water and leave both dogs at home.  But I hate to deprive Archer of something he loves because Chakotay is sick.  


I put on Archer's collar and Chakotay hopped around all excited.  When I had to shut the door in his face??  It fucking broke my heart!

We started to throw things in the car and I lost it.  I told Marc he would have to drive because I started sobbing.  I cried all the way to the park.

A few hours later we got home and, of course, Chakotay didn't hold it against us.  He was happy to see us and had most likely slept the whole time we were gone.

Which didn't make it any easier at all.

The guilt and emotional pain is terrible.  I know many of you have been there with someone you love.  

What little self control I still had is pretty well gone.  GONE.  

I look to you guys now - for inspiration.  Send me your stories, they help keep me going!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016


“Regrets and mistakes they’re memories made”

                - Adele

I know that we all have times when we wish we had a “do-over”.  If we could go back and make different choices we would.

How many times have each of us laid in bed at night wishing that we hadn’t eaten that second piece of cake or we had the salad instead of the burger.  Or that we had done 30 minutes of exercise instead of screwing around on the computer.

All things considered, something like that is relatively minor.

But how about the major things?  How about life choices that have radically altered our lives?

Do you see them as lessons learned as Adele says in her song?  Or, if you could go back and make a different life choice, would you?

Do you, like me, beat yourself up for dumb-ass choices you made?  Wish that you had a chance to go back and do everything differently?

It’s decidedly a moot point, because none of us can go back and have that do-over, right?

So how do you get to the point where you can see it as a life lesson and move on rather than dwelling on what you “Should have” done?

Even better – how do you take those life lessons to make better choices today rather than repeating your stupidity?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Facing fears...

There is only so much energy in our bodies.  We have to decide how we use that energy.  Much like the hours in each day.  

I think about the energy I have wasted on fear and anxiety.  Fear of SOOOO many things.  Of what mistakes I've made in my past.  Of what might happen.  Of whether the choices I've made are right or wrong.  Anxiety over my weight.  Of each food choice I make.

There's a fine line between being smart and being hyper-vigilant to the point of absurdity.  Add in some life stress and my energy gets completely scattered!

I was trying to explain to my friend why I haven't been running outside.  How do you rationally explain something completely irrational?  She couldn't get where my fear was coming from.  I can't understand it myself so how could she?

I told myself today that it was time.  No excuses.  Just get out and run.

As the day went on the anxiety was almost palpable.  W.T.F.?  

Then I was home, dinner was simmering on the stove.  Archer stared intently at me.  

I started running. Something I've done HUNDREDS of times.  

And guess what?  We ran a simple, slow 10k.  It wasn't AWESOME.  It wasn't HORRIBLE.  It was just a run.

All that wasted energy worrying, fretting for NOTHING.  

The mental game, at least for me, is so much more challenging than anything physical I have evet attempted.  

There are many ways I can view the run I took this evening.  I think I'll choose to view it as a victory.  A mental victory.  And a challenge to myself in the future that I need to stop letting fear and anxiety steal so much of my precious energy.