Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Vow to Get Back to Fit, Part 2

Even during a holiday week, things went quite well on my second week of "returning to fitness." I did miss one workout, but it was a Christmas. And, since it kept snowing and snowing over three days, all the shoveling alone was a bit of a workout in itself.

As we get into the new year, I'd also like to make it a goal to let go of the meat. My occasional turkey and chicken consumption has become too frequent and the next couple of steps are getting back to vegetarianism and more water.

The five dollar cost for each missed workout is a good incentive to just do it....

So the quest continues. I wish I was slimmer again already, and I wish I was already in great shape again already...especially since I've now been asked to do some publicity for the book within the next couple of weeks. So the next challenge - how do I look even slimmer (or like my old self) on TV when I'm not quite there yet? Perhaps I should just focus on the book, how well it is doing, and how it will help people...and basically just get over myself. It is, after all, a work in progress.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas....and Let it Snow!

A backyard tree

The snow started falling here in Twin Cities late yesterday afternoon. After shoveling twice - both times it felt like a few inches - it kept on coming down overnight. I awoke Christmas Eve morning to another 5-6 inches of snow. More snow is expected for a couple more days - up to two feet! Flights have been canceled, there are less cars on the road, and I see lots of people out shoveling and firing up snow blowers. I plan to leave my car tucked away in the garage. Anywhere I needed to go was yesterday, anywhere else will be tying on my hiking boots and walking through the snow - which I wholeheartedly plan on doing today!

I am glad to be staying home this year, and frankly glad to be snowed in with my guy. It is rather cozy actually, and our fridge is full of lots to cook and bake...a nice turkey, fresh raspberries, bananas, grapes, and strawberries for a fruit salad, red potatoes, Delice de Bourgogne triple cream and cheddar cheeses, broccoli casserole, fresh rolls, cranberry sauce, a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting...we even have the traditional Christmas Plum Pudding this year! (I am an English redhead, after all)

Now, granted this food will all last for a week or more....we are very blessed.

To my friends who don't celebrate Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Kwanzaa as well. We all have our own way of celebrating. There are more similarities than differences...and all talk of respect and love. So Happy Holidays to everyone! May the season find you blessed, loved, and happy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Vow to Get Back to Fit

This past week, I started a new thing. Well, an old thing. I've always been in great shape, my entire life. Very athletic, always outside, always active. A few years back, when I was diagnosed with MS, I was put on some pretty major steroids and gained weight. I've been fighting the battle of it ever since, as well as the massive amount of fatigue that comes along with it.

Since this was a few years ago now, enough excuses. I've been carrying quite a few extra pounds around off and on for quite some time now, and I've had about enough of this. I've tried several different things, but what I ultimately end up doing is just berating myself more for what I used to be.

I always hear, "You are lucky you are tall," as I'm told it doesn't show so much. But it does. My normal Size 8's are way too small, so now I'm wearing a 12. Which, again, isn't horrible for a tall person. But, it isn't me. And it hasn't been me for quite some time. I will never be comfortable with an extra 30+ pounds.

So, last week I made a deal. Three times a week for my regular aerobics with weights, three (opposite) days with Pilates. For every workout I miss there are consequences - $5.00 payments to my fiance, and I have to give up something I want to watch or do that day. It has been one week. He made $5.00. So, I only missed one day. Not a horrible start, but that is enough of that. And, honestly, the tiredness/fatigue is only worse with extra weight anyway. It's all about accountability.

My last trip to the doctor not only showed the weight increase but high cholesterol and warnings of pre-diabetes. I've not only been inconsistent with my workouts, but inconsistent with eating. I don't eat all day long, and I don't eat enough or enough of the right things - and I've shut down my metabolism. I don't drink enough water. I used to eat a pure vegetarian diet with very little sugar. I spend all day long in and out of my car, also a contributor to weight gain. I spend so much time taking care of everyone else that I've stopped taking care of me. I'm tired of being tired, tired of making excuses. Tired of feeling like a slug

Perhaps the real revelation wasn't just the doctor and the closet full of cute clothes that don't fit, the real one was my mother. Ah, mothers, so honest - often when you don't want them to be. When I was trying to encourage her to knit again she asked if I needed anything. I said I would love some things that she made. What did she say? "Well, I'd have to get some more yarn, because you are bigger now." Ouch....but thanks, mom. Perhaps that is the other inspiration I really needed.

So, I vow to once a week post my progress - what I've done for workouts, the changes I see, and how it feels. I was going to put it on a different site, a new blog. But why not just put it on this one. I became open about the MS this week, why not be open about this too. No crash diets, no crazy stuff. Just back to me. Back to my vegetarian diet, back to sweets only occasionally, drinking more water again, and most importantly back to regular exercise. Basically, back to me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Voices of Multiple Sclerosis" Sells Out!

I just heard from one of my fellow authors in "Voices of Multiple Sclerosis" that as of Thursday, December 17th, the book has sold out of its first printing.

Jessica Lipnack, who wrote the piece "Feeling Numb" reported on her blog:
Voices of MS Sells Out!

Publisher Victor Starsia reports this morning that Voices of Multiple Sclerosis, where an excerpt of my essay, "Feeling Numb," appears, has sold out of its first printing in barely three weeks since its publication date. "This is the fastest this has happened for any of the books," Victor told the group of authors in an email just moments ago. Congrats to everyone involved!
Congrats to Jessica and all my fellow authors. Just think of the people this can help!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Links for "Voices of Multiple Sclerosis"

On November 11, 2009 I did a post titled "No Longer Silent." This post was about the recently published book "Voices of Multiple Sclerosis." I am so honored to be a part of this anthology. I am going to put a list of links to some of the other writer's blogs, as they request. What a wonderful, gifted group of writers...every story is special, moving, and heartfelt.

To my fellow writers: Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I am truly honored to have been a part of this project.

To other readers: Please take a look at their blogs when you have a chance. There is such a wonderful variety of authors in this book...with some very interesting blogs. Here are the first two:

Jessica Lipnack, "NetAge Endless Knots"

Rachel Pollock "La Bricoleuse"

Monday, December 14, 2009


We've had two pretty good snowfalls now. The first was a few inches, the second, an unexpected three more that I woke up to this morning.

I admit, I like the snow. I don't even mind shoveling it. I think it is pretty, I love bundling up and walking in as it crunches under my feet.

I don't even mind the cold...when it is in the 30's, or 20's, sometimes even in the teens. Tonight, however, it is 3 degrees. Yes, 3. I'm sure the windchill is a negative number. Everything seems different....cars sound different when they drive by, people hurry more when they are outside, faces are covered with scarves.

Winter wonderland, yes. Nice for Christmas, yes. But, 3 degrees? The birds have it right on that one...I'm thinking of a nice warm beach with ocean waves and soft sunshine. The only word for what we have here is "Brrrrrr...."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Little Red Haired Girl

Charles Schulz

I read somewhere once that only two percent of the population are natural redheads. I didn't always appreciate my hair, and really don't appreciate that now there is a little gray mixed in occasionally - but as I get older I like it more.

I've always been a pretty strong individual. Some things were by choice: I changed the spelling of my name in second grade so it wouldn't be like everyone else I knew with the same name. Some things weren't: I was usually the new kid with the funny accent as we moved around a lot, and I was always taller than everyone else - including a couple of teachers in elementary school. Nowadays I appreciate the height and the red hair...and my accent is a mixture of all kinds of places.

Isn't it funny that no matter how much we want to be individuals as kids we still want to fit in? Perhaps that is why I didn't wear heels a lot back then and why I wished I was blond with blue eyes or dark-haired with darker skin. Now it is different. I wear heels most of the time, and I "enhance" my hair to make it even redder (and conveniently cover that gray that is sneaking in).

I recently discovered - or perhaps just didn't remember - that when my fiance was joking around with me and calling me the "little redheaded girl" it actually was a character from the Peanuts that I didn't know about. I remember Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder and his piano, Peppermint Patty - and, of course, Snoopy. But not the little red haired girl - who was actually named Heather. She was the one Charlie Brown was in love with for years, and the one that Charles Schulz apparently put into the cartoons because of an unrequited love of his own who had red hair. The inspiration for the character was a very real woman named, Donna:

A former coworker, Donna Johnson (born circa 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota), was Schulz's inspiration for the character. A 1947 high school graduate, Johnson was working in the accounting department of the Art Instruction, Inc., a correspondence school where Schulz worked. Johnson and Schulz eventually became romantically involved and dated for three years, but in 1950 when Schulz proposed to her, she refused him, ended the relationship and abruptly married fireman Allan Wold on October 21, 1950. Schulz was devastated, but he and Johnson-Wold remained friends for the rest of his life.

Said Schulz of the relationship, "I can think of no more emotionally damaging loss than to be turned down by someone whom you love very much. A person who not only turns you down, but almost immediately will marry the victor. What a bitter blow that is." This experience became arguably the most poignant of all story lines for the entire Peanuts strip.

"I'd like to see Charlie Brown kick that football, and if he gets the little red-haired girl, that's fine with me," Donna said around the time Schulz announced his retirement in 1999.

Even cartoons are based on real life experiences. I can appreciate that as a writer. And, naturally, how can I not appreciate the whole thing about the red hair?

So, to my fiance, thanks for not only appreciating me for being different, free-spirited, rebellious and all, but for introducing me to a character out of a favorite cartoon I didn't even know about. But, just for the record - and to assure you - there is one big difference: your love is not unrequited.

Charles Schulz