Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 11. Hello 12. Hello Love.

So maybe I'm a year early for this reference.  Deal with it!

2011 year in review and 2012 wishes:

Really got in to the groove with my new job.  I started full time in July of 2010 but in 2011 I got to do some major projects, work with groups all across the bank and started to feel secure in my job.  I got to travel! I got to do major presentations! I had some major successes and only a few pitfalls.  When 2011 started I couldn't have dreamed I'd be where I am now.  I can only imagine what cool, new, exciting and scary things I'll get to do professionally in 2012!

Zumba! Wow... I got in to Zumba in the second half of 2010 and became a total addict in 2011.  I got licensed to teach Zumba in June and Zumba Toning in October.  I went from a student to an instructor.  I now teach in 3 locations.  There are people who not only like me but who actually go out of their way to come to my classes.  People look up to me, support me and look to me for support.  I can't say loudly enough how honored I am to be part of the Zumba family in Wilson.  I've gained friends in my fellow instructors and in many of my students. In 2012 I'm looking forward to expanding my classes, incorporating more Toning, and getting my Basic 2 and Zumbatomic licenses. I'm also hoping to bring the Wilson instructors together and make us a tighter knit community and working towards some more common goals. 

Everything Chalene Johnson -  Oh man.  Oh man.  I took Chalene's 30 Day Challenge to help me get organized and feel more in control.  It worked!  I also got certified to teach Hip Hop Hustle and fell in love with TurboKick and Turbo Jam.  Starting on January 2 I'm doing a 30 Day Beach Body challenge with some ladies from the Y and I'm looking forward to rocking out to Turbo Jam daily! I'm also ready to get Hip Hop Hustle on the schedule at the YMCA and the studio and to try my hand at PiYo.  I don't think I'll be ready to teach either TK or PiYo in 2012 but I'm looking towards that in 2013... maybe.

Health in general.  If it isn't obvious 2011 is the year I became a total fitness junkie. I mean, really, my birthday present to myself was a weekend of Zumba Toning and Hip Hop Hustle trainings.  I've worked hard with my doctors to get some of my underlying health issues resolved so I can get my weight in check.  2011 wasn't as successful in that realm as I wanted it to be.  I'm smaller and more compact but I didn't see the scales fall in line with that the way it should have.  I can, however, say that I feel better from head to toe.  I have more energy, I feel more balanced and I can do normal people things now without feeling like a fish out of water.  2011 is the year that I stopped relying on my anxiety medications and started really feel in control of my anxieties and fears.  I still get every cold possible and my allergies are totally out of control but I have energy and I feel stronger and more in control of my health every day. I still have some pretty serious hangups I need to address in the coming year but I'm going to do it with the love and support of those that matter most. 

Family.  2011 was not a great year for family and that's something I really want to work on in 2012.  Physically there's distance between me and my closest relatives but, more than that, there's a lot of emotional distance as well.  It's been a rough couple of years for us and, over time, we just fell apart.  I want to be more involved in my niece and nephews lives.  I want to feel involved with my sister and brothers lives.  I don't want to hear everything second hand from my mother.  I've always felt a little out of place in my family.  I'm very different from them in so many ways but they're my blood.  I want to keep them as close as possible.

Money.  Well my first full year in a real job certainly helped my financial situation but it's still been a rough road.  I've been working on budgeting and controlling my spending for the last few months and I'm finally starting to see some growth in my savings account and some progress towards paying off my student loans.  I hope to keep going in that direction.

My big goals for 2012 are as follows:
  1. Lose 20% of my current body weight.  That would be about 60 pounds.  
  2. Get off of at least some of my medications and supplements.
  3. Get my Basic 2 and Zumbatomic licenses.
  4. Get me GroupEx certification at the fall Apex event.
  5. Reach my savings goals. 
I'm ready for a new year and that metaphoric blank slate. The promise of a new year just opens up so many doors.  It's just another day but it really does feel like stepping in to the future.  All the bad things that happened in 2011 still happened but, as of tomorrow, I can start putting distance between myself and them.  I can say "Oh that?  That's so 2011!"

I mean, I won't... not ever again.

Goobye 11.  Hello 12.  Hello life.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Be it ever so humble...

So today was the day! I moved from my office back to my cube.  I am very mixed on this because while it means things are returning to normal it just feels sad.

I don't want the temp team to go.  I've loved working with all of them and it sucks that we weren't able to find spots for everyone. 

On a superficial and selfish note - I'm also going to miss having a view (the permanent location has like zero windows) and having a door to close when I was feeling grumpy.

I'll miss you, windows!
On the plus side it means being back with my team and not having to do trouble shooting and brain picking by IM and email.  I missed the face to face interaction with my teammates.  Very excited to get back to that!

Life is going by pretty quickly at this point.  I've been so focused on getting my ducks in a row for 2012 that I feel like I'm missing the last days of 2011 completely.  My days are sleep, work, Zumba, Turbo Jam/Kick, Zumba planning, food planning, eating, sleep and repeat.  Doesn't leave a lot of time to appreciate the little stuff.

It's kind of a weird feeling because I don't honestly remember a time when my life was this busy that I didn't feel overwhelmed.  I think that's a good thing.  A good sign!  I've had some minor upticks in my anxiety in the last few months but, on a daily level, I don't feel like the world is going to end if I forget to send an email or check on a file.  Progress!

I'm also totally obsessed with my BodyBugg.  I'm trying very hard not to geek out about it too hard but it is such a cool tool.  I burned 1500 calories on Monday night during my 75 minute Zumba class and 1200 last night during my 60 minute class.  I'm burning 300-400 calories during the 20 minute Turbo Jam workouts.  Tonight will be my first time wearing it to Turbo Kick and since I can be more high impact at the gym than I can at home it'll be interesting to see what kind of burn we're talking about. 

It really is like a fitness video game.  Being able to pick up my phone, sync it, and go "Oh! I only walked that much!" gives me the drive to walk more, move more.  It's also interesting to see how crazy active I am in my sleep.  It's amusing to see the spike in my sleep pattern when I'm fighting with Marshall for the blankets.  It's a nifty gadget.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Joy.

Merry Christmas blog-land!

Yesterday I got my BeachBody package and ripped in to it like a kid on Christmas morning.  I was totally excited to get started on the Turbo Jam program.  I wanted to read all the stuff, look at the Shakeology recipes and give one of the workouts a try.  So I did!

I can't wait to try some of the stuff but I'm going to start off with the simple Chocolate Milk or Chocolate Banana shakes. I need to pick up some Via and try doing Mocha shakes!

Turbo Jam is AWESOME.  I watched the learn and burn without doing it just to see if it was any different than the moves from Turbo Kick and since it wasn't I hopped up and jumped right in to the 20 minute workout.  Of course that wasn't enough so I wore the weighted gloves while I did it! Talk about delicious! My arms were noodly afterwards. 

This morning I did the Cardio Party workout with the gloves and I'm kind of regretting wearing the gloves with it too.  Too much of a good thing? Nawww! Just need to be careful about overdoing it. 

Today we did breakfast with the in-laws while opening Christmas presents.  I got some jammies, some sweatpants, a new water filter, and of course the new refrigerator. 

Lunch today was awesome sauce.  Ham, broccoli with cheese, lima beans, carrots, fruit salad and olive bread.  Dessert was coffee and 1/4 slice of 4 different types of cheesecake.  The 4 of us decided to split the 4 types in the sampler - white chocolate raspberry, chocolate swirl, turtle and amaretto.  I could have eaten all 3 slices of the amaretto DELISH!

Now we're back at the house relaxing and I'm watching the Doctor Who marathon leading into the Christmas special.  I may do the 20 minute turbo workout again tonight to make up for all the cheesecake.  More than likely I'll just rehearse Zumba stuff since I've got a 75 minute class tomorrow evening.

OH! And for the ease of challenges and weight watchers I changed my weigh-in back to Sunday and today I weighed in at 326.8! Back below pre-vacation weight.  Go Zumba, Chalene and Weight Watchers!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas week crazies. Bodybugg! and January 2012 goals.

Work was totally and utterly insane this week.  Year end stuff is just wild.  I got a ton accomplished and I feel good about where we are going in to 2012.

There was a bit of work related drama this week that put me in a bit of a foul mood.  I'm ready for the new year and the permanent team and standardization. 

Wednesday night after work I hit up two classes at the Y. First TurboKick! It was with a different instructor and Daphne is just awesome.  Different vibe to the class but I loved it and my body is STILL hurting!

Well, partly because of that and partly because of taking Zumba with Mrs. Fatass herself right afterwards! It was AMAZING! So very much fun!

Two fantastic hours of cardio with two amazing ladies!

Thursday was The Nutcracker and it was fantastic! I felt like a kid watching it.  The dancing was amazing, the costumes unbelievable and the magic stuff they added was just cool.

Tonight I had a kick ass Zumba class.  11 people, which is HUGE for a Friday night, and everyone left with a big ol' smile on their faces.

Food wise I've been doing okay the last few days.  Yesterday dinner was a bit weird as we had a weird schedule because of the ballet but all in all a good few days.

The most exciting thing?  Today I got my Bodybugg! EEEEE! I'm still getting used to it and I messed up logging my first workout using their workout tracker but I got the calorie count which is what mattered.  It's a nifty tool and it makes for a fitness video game feel.  I want to burn the most and eat the best and walk the most steps! It'll be interesting to see how I get to incorporate it over the next few weeks.

I also met with my new beachbody team members yesterday.  We took our before pictures and discussed goals and plans.  I remembered I took some pictures last December and I compared them. Maybe I'll get brave and post them.  Maybe at the end of the 30 day challenge.

Goals for January?  Lose 15-17 pounds.  Work out mornings with Turbo Jam and my normal Zumba schedule in the evenings.  I am also going to be doing Shakeology shakes.  Add in the BodyBugg and Weight Watchers and I think I have all the tools needed to reach my goals! It's going to be a wild month and I'm ready to everything! Right tools, right support, right time!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Weekly weigh in. Back to the grind.

Today was the final day of my vacation.  I am both bummed and excited to get back to my normal schedule.

We got home around 7 last night and hit up the bar for trivia.  Ate a few fries and some chicken wings.  When we got home I sunk in to bed and got lost in the internet for a little while.  I made a big purchase! A bodybugg! I've wanted one for a while and it's on super sale! So I bought it! I'm excited about what I can learn about my body with this tool.

I also joined in a challenge starting January 2nd! I'm excited for that too! Thursday morning I'm going to meet with the team members for the challenge.  They're all YMCA members and I'm psyched to get to know them and work out with them. It's a Shakeology and Beach Body workout combination challenge.  I chose Turbo Jam!

I'm particularly excited about all of these things because I gained 2.5 pounds on my vacation.  All things considered it could have been worse, but I'm not particularly happy about it. I'm hoping I can get those 2.5 off by next Monday.  Getting back on track should be easy enough.

I did go grocery shopping today and spent 200$ on fruits and vegetables and lean meats.  Dinner was a delicious beef and vegetable stir fry with brown rice. So tasty! Man I missed cooking at eating at home.  mmM. Fresh, whole foods! NOM!

Tonight was also my first real workout since last Wednesday.  It was AWESOME! We did two new routines - Moves like Jagger and La Isla Bonita - and both turned out really well.  Moves like Jagger was really easy and actually more cardio than I expected.  La Isla is going to be a bit harder to get the crew on board with.  It has a bit of a difficult turn that confused folks but I think they'll learn to love it.  Talk about leg work! Woo!

Tomorrow morning I am going to get up and hopefully do some pilates before work.   After work I'm hitting TurboKick at the YMCA. Woohoo!

Thursday night I'm also going to the ballet to see The Nutcracker with Matt.  Everything is so exciting right now! I'm ready to see 2011 go out and see all the great stuff 2012 has in store for me.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I didn't think it could get any better.

Wow was I wrong!  Friday at the aquarium was fantastic but Saturday and today were so close I can't even point to the best day ever for this vacation. 

Saturday we slept in a little bit and then once we got going the day was just full of good food, good friends and laughter. 

Lunch took us to the Irish Rover Too. 

I started off with this yummy glass of hot cider with rum.  I couldn't finish it.  The rum was SOOOOO strong.

Lunch itself was comprised of cordon blue bites, cottage pie, and sticky toffee pudding. Talk about rich!!! After that it was time to move around.  Do anything!

So we went to the used book store.  I love used book stores, they're like heaven to me.  Yet, somehow, they seem to have lost some of their magic since I got my Kindle.  I found myself checking to see if I could get the books I was interested in on my Kindle and only buying it if I couldn't find an e-book version.  I still walked out of there with three books.  And I grabbed another one today

One of these things is not like the other... I am trying to be more conscious of my spending habits and learn more about different investment options and, in flipping through "Nice Girls Don't Get Rich" and "Get a Financial Life," I found that there was some definite base knowledge in these that I could definitely benefit from.  "Working with You is Killing Me" is about avoiding emotional traps at work and I know I need to work on not entangling my personal life and my professional life. 

"Diary of an Emotional Idiot" is just pure devious reading pleasure.  From the Amazon description:
"As the novel opens, the clean and sober Zoe is holed up in her ex-lover's apartment fantasizing about chaining him up and making him perform menial tasks. From this vantage point, we see flashbacks to her former life as a heroin addict frequently repulsed after a few days with a new boyfriend, writing porn novels for a living, and even cleaning her drug dealer's toilet for a fix."
This may not sound like fun to other people but I love novels that show people just utterly devolving and then, hopefully, redeeming themselves.  I can't wait to get in to reading this so I can see just how "bad" it gets for Zoe.  It's like watching "Black Swan"... but it's a book!

After that we hit up the Peddlers Market which is like a flea market but fully enclosed and you purchase everything through the main desk like a normal store.  The amount of incredibly tacky, racist, and sexist crap we found in that place was just... appalling.  It was also funny as hell. we had a good time wasting an hour walking around and checking stuff out.  It even turned in to a competition to see who could find the most ridiculous item possible.  Chip won.  I was a very close second.  Scary stuff.

From there we drove in to Indiana to do dinner with my other family.  I've known K and J&M since I was like 13.  We met over the internet on a MUD we played on at the time.  They were two of the most caring and nurturing people I'd ever met and they were all the way across the country in California.  We became close over the years and finally got to meet, face to face, 5 years ago.  They now have two lovely children who call me their sister.  I adore them all more than I have words for. 

For dinner we all met up at the Charlestown Pizza Company.  For serious... their food is absolutely amazing.  I think everyone just about licked their plates clean.  I, for one, said to heck with worrying about carbs, and ate MASHED POTATO PIZZA.

That's a yummy 8" crust, brushed with garlic butter and then topped with mashed potatoes, bacon, cheese and chives and served with a side of sour cream.  I was dead from the delicious.

Dessert for the night was a Butterfinger Rice Krispie treat.  Other options?  Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding and Oreo infused brownies. Talk about a sugar coma! I had half of one of the brownies later in the evening and it was worth the sugar crash.

We spent the evening being silly and celebrating Feztimus.

After dinner, we retired to their house for beer, wine, snacks and gift giving!

I got two more awesome books.

And the sweetest homemade card from A. 

I totally teared up.  She is by far the sweetest kid on the planet. 

The adults were up until way late drinking and talking and I loved getting to meet one of K's best friends and getting to bond with her and her husband.  So much good times.  K and I finally went to bed near 4am. 

We slept in a bit and when we got up they made a delicious breakfast of french toast and bacon and sausage.  SO tasty!

It was sad to say good bye to my Indiana family.  I can't wait to get to go see them again.  Waiting a full year is just not fair!

After we headed out, we hopped over to the Frazier History Museum to check it out.  So much cool stuff.  I was utterly fascinated by the statues that they used to highlight the big events.

Creepy realistic!

After that it was off to lunch at Qdoba where I ate chicken and veggies and black beans and queso.  Probably the closest thing to a healthy meal I'd had in 24 hours. 

Now we're back at the house hanging out and grilling burgers for dinner.  After dinner I'm going to be working on repacking stuff and getting ready to head home first thing tomorrow morning.  I'm sad to head back to the real world but, dear heavens, if I don't miss my bed and my cats and my own space. 

I also miss routine and being totally 100% in control of what I eat. I'm going to eat nothing but veggies for like 2 days when I get home.  I am craving spinach and squash and zucchini.  I think dinner Tuesday is going to be a giant vegetable stir-fry.  Heavy on the water chestnuts, please!

This has truly been the best vacation I think I've ever had. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Best. Vacation. Ever.

Yesterday was a lovely, perfect day of just chilling with friends.  When we finally left the house we went out to run errands, picked up a few bottles of wine and some beer, did some Christmas shopping, and came home to relax.

Lunch yesterday was so fricken amazing.  We went to a place called The Cheddar Box and I scarfed down a cup of sausage and bean soup and a plate of black bean ravioli in chipotle cream sauce and ended the meal with an amazing slice of creme brulee cheesecake.

The cheesecake didn't exist long enough to be photographed. Teehee. I will learn to make that ravioli at home.  The chiptole cream sauce was just delicious and the onions and peppers in the mix were still a little crunchy and added amazing texture to the meal.  So good!

After that the day was spent lounging on the couch, talking, and reading.  I read an entire book in one day!

Dinner was homemade whiskey chicken, asparagus, and mac and cheese and was equally as delicious to lunch.

Today was the day to end all day though.  We hit up the Newport Aquarium for a day of me being a 12 year old.  I heard they had an awesome penguin exhibit but was giddy when I found out for an extra fee you could PET. THE. FRICKEN. PENGUINS! That's right.  Pet them. I went for it.

When we got to the aquarium we ate a late lunch of sandwiches while looking out at the levee.

It was chilly but it was nice. Very relaxing.

Then we went in to the aquarium.

Gratuitous self portrait of Matt and I!
We watched the Scuba Santa Dive Show!

I got to sit on a big blue phrog!

Then we went and played with the penguins! Marshall and Chip went and did other things while Matt and I went on the Penguin behind the scenes trip. 

Paula the Penguin
Meet Paula the penguin.  She was very fond of me and spent most of the visit right where you see her.  She loves shadows and we played games and she chased the shadow of my hand around.

I also got to pet her!  Penguins actually feel like kind of oily short haired dogs.  Their feathers are so tiny that it feels more like hair.  On the end of their wings it feels like tooth brush bristles!!!

I did not know that penguins did the loaf position cats do so frequently.  This made me giggle.

Paula and Simon 4-EVER!
It turns out that all of these penguins are female and they all have their very own penguin BFF.  Paula's?  Simon, obviously.

Penguin conga line!
So cute! Each penguin had their own crazy personality and I loved every second of the time spent with them! 
Matt, Sam and Green Bean the Penguin
This is Green Bean.  Talk about a diva! Green Bean was all about the posing.  It's no wonder she's their picture penguin!

I cannot describe how awesome of an experience this day was.  I love penguins so much and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to sit there, learn about them and play with them.  I so appreciated the experience.  If you're ever near the Newport Aquarium I highly recommend going!

After all the excitement at the aquarium we went out to dinner at Skyline Chili.  I had a 4 way potato with beans and a chilito with habanero cheese.  Unbelievable.

Now we're back to chilling at the house watching some teevee.  Going to hit the sack a little earlier tonight.  Tomorrow is going to be a super full day and I want to be very well rested before going to see my other family in Indiana.

As far as Weight Watchers?  Still working on activity points and my daily points.  I may get out of this vacation with maintenance yet!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Enjoying the ride.

For those of you who know me in real life it will not shock you to find out that I didn't do a lick of driving yesterday on our long haul to Kentucky.  Marsh, Matt and Chip are my designated drivers unless it's just not possible.  Why?  I don't know but it just happened that way over the last few years.

I don't like driving at night because headlights kill my eyes but I do love the feel of relaxing, listening to music and just driving.  I used to revel in that hour commute back and forth to my job at the hospital and back and forth to school my senior year. 

Now, I'm lucky if I drive myself to Zumba because Matt worries about me driving after dark.  It's sweet that they care.  Also, I think everyone is safer for it!

Yesterday we got up early enough for me to hit up TurboKick with Karen at the YMCA before hitting the road. After class I rushed home to shower and make sure I hadn't forgotten anything (which I still did anyway!) and we were on the road a little after 11. 

Relaxin' in the back seat.
We drove in to Durham and had the most awful experience trying to find a parking space.  We found one and off to Cosmic Cantina for lunch.  A burrito with pinto beans and vegetables was consumed.  A chicken quesadilla was procured for eating at a later time and we were back on the road.  At which time I took a carbohydrate induced nap.

I woke up in time to eat the last little bit of chocolate and powdered sugar covered chex and see the sun start setting over the mountains of Western NC.

Must. Have. More.  It's delicious crack!

So pretty! I wish the colors had come through!

After much more driving, a dinner at Panera Bread and several more mini naps, watching several episodes of Community on my iPod and lots of bad jokes. we finally arrived in Kentucky about 12 hours after we started our journey. 

A good nights sleep was on tap before getting up around 8:30 this morning to the smells of Chip making breakfast. We've just been kind of lounging since we got up, just messing around on the internet and taking turns getting ready for the day.

Matt gives me a foot rub while I talk to you all!

Shortly we are headed out to do some shopping in a nearby town before returning to the house to hang out and be lazy some more.  I plan on learning at least 2 new Zumba routines while we hang out though.  I have big plans for the Zumba crews at the Y, ABC and T2T in 2012.  Woohoo!

Most importantly, I'm trying to just be in the moment, enjoy the ride, and enjoy my travel companions.  This trip only happens once a year and I want to enjoy every moment of it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Week One on Weight Watchers - Vacation, GO!

I had my week one weigh in yesterday and *drum roll* I lost a little over a pound and a half.  I went from 328.8 to 327.2.  I'll take that.  After the plateau from Hades I'll take any weight loss at this point. 

I think I've decided after I get back from vacation I'm going to set my Weight Watchers settings to only swap Activity Points.  Last week I didn't use any of my Weekly Points but used almost all of my Activity Points.  I know that I'm not going to be getting in a lot of exercise between Thursday and Monday so I know I will probably need to dip in to those while out of town.  (Beer costs points, yo!)

As for today and tomorrow I have two hours of Zumba tonight to look forward to plus all the house cleaning and packing and errands to run. Then tomorrow I'm taking a last chance Turbo Kick class right before we leave for Kentucky. Class is at 9:30, home, shower, out the door!

Right now the plans are as such - arrive in Kentucky late Wednesday.  Thursday a lazy day in and around the house with yummy dinner and a special dessert with my Kentucky momma!  Friday, a trip to the aquarium in Ohio and lunch at Skyline chili! Saturday some sight seeing and dinner and Festivus celebration with my other family in Indiana.  Sunday some more rest and relaxation and some sight seeing.  Monday the long drive home. 

Tuesday it's right back into daily life getting laundry done and quality time with the kitties before hopping back in to Zumba classes Tuesday night!

We're actually taking a break from Zumba at the studio from Thursday this week until the start of 2012 so I am excited to get to take some new and different classes at the Y during the break.  I'm also stoked to learn a bunch of new choreography so we can retire some of the old tunes that I'm just burned out on. 

At least one of the days on vacation that we're jut chilling out will be spent with my ZIN DVDs learning routines I wanted to but never had the time and refreshing on routines from master classes Sarah and I never had a chance to work in.  It's going to be hot, hot, hot Zumba once we get back in January!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Big changes are a-comin'!

First off, let me say how absolutely awesome this week has been.  It's been a wild ride full of stress and insanity but I can genuinely say that 2011 is going out with a bang.

Let's start with Weight Watchers stuff though.  I'm loving the ease of the Points Plus program.  I love not feeling guilty for indulging in fruits that I love and I'm digging on the new power foods listing.  It is making it easier to get an idea of where I am without having to do calorie, fat and carb math which is nice. 

The one thing I have issues that with is the extreme amount of exercise I do, I just don't know how to handle the Activity Points and the Weekly Points system.  I can swap activity points by the day, by the week or not at all.  I can also choose not to use the weekly points at all.  I just don't know what to do.  For the moment I'm doing both weekly and I haven't had to touch the Weekly Points at all.  I'm thinking I may just swap Activity Points weekly and not touch the Weekly Points.  We'll see though. 

It will be a bit weird over the next two weeks since I'm going on vacation but I will solidify the plan once the new year gets here.  For now, I'm not concerned with loss - just maintenance.

As for vacation - it can't get here soon enough!  I only need to work Monday and then I don't go back until Wednesday the 21st.  HOORAY!

Where I work we have to take 5 consecutive vacation days once a year and this is my sabbatical. For that week, work can't call me, I can't check email, I'm actually locked out of the buildings.  Last year I only had 4 days and coming back was rough... this year I'm actually taking 6! That's going to be hard to get back in to the swing of things after. 

And speaking of work! Big changes on the horizon! When I get back from vacation I need to start training some of my direct team members on how to do various tasks that are currently being done by the temporary employees on our team.  I'm also getting some additional tasks around our procurement application and will be getting to work with our category managers directly on tasks related to suppliers and supplier activity. That's pretty cool stuff. 

Big changes are coming in 2012.  I can feel it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The countdown to vacation... and Weight Watchers.

I am now in the downward slope towards vacation.  4 more working days till vacation.  Glorious, glorious, vacation. 

Work has been great the last few days.  The meeting in Winston went awesomely and I am so glad we went. 

My voice is still coming and going whenever it pleases but the strep is going away.  My throat still yells at me when I drink carbonated drinks or eat anything with a rough texture but I'm getting there.  I will be healthy by the time we leave on vacation!

Yesterday I took the leap and rejoined Weight Watchers.  I know how terribly hard it is to track my calories and macronutrient breakdowns when I'm out of town and this was a good stop gap measure to assist in that.

I first did Weight Watchers back in 2008 and I lost 30 pounds using their tools.  Then money got tight and I couldn't afford the membership.  I am loving some of the newer tools they've added in the time I've been gone and I'm excited about putting them to full use.  Things like the pizza slice designer that gives you the point total or the sandwich maker that populates the totals.  That's really cool!

Today I taught back to back Zumba classes and at each location someone commented on the fact I look smaller even in just the last few weeks. Talk about an ego boost! I'm actually even starting to really feel smaller, especially in my chest and arms.  I'm excited for my weekly weigh in on Monday. Maybe the plateau has finally been broken and I'll continue to see a good downward trend!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Can I stop getting sick now? Please?

As is common this time of year, my upper respiratory tract, sinuses and throat all want to kill me.  And I mean that quite literally.

I've had horrible allergy issues since autumn came for a visit. Then I got a sinus infection the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  Now?  Now I have strep throat.

At work on Friday my throat was really hurting, it burned to eat or drink anything and my voice was hoarse.  I figured if I still felt bad on Tuesday I'd go back to the doctor since that would be one week after the antibiotics finished their course. 

Yesterday morning I woke up and my mouth felt horrible.  Dry, coated in something and it hurt to breathe because my throat was so raw.  I figured I was dehydrated and the coat of ick was from sinus drainage.  I put on my big girl panties and headed to Zumba.  After class I was wincing every time I breathed in and so I looked in the mirror and opened my mouth wide.  White patches.  CRAP!

I called Marshall, told him I was cashing my YMCA check and heading to Immediate Care. 

The PA on duty was the one I saw the week before and she looked in my ears, throat and nose and said "Well, the good news is... your nose and ears look great.  That throat?  That is not a happy throat." 

A quick strep test later and I'm given antibiotics for my shiny case of strep and was sent on my way. 

Given that I wasn't running a fever and that I felt fine aside from the soreness in my throat I kept on about my previously planned Saturday.  That included lunch with Marsh and Matt, going to the Wilson Christmas parade, and heading to a birthday party for my friend Jennifer. 

Lunch was Olive Garden.  Soup... heavenly soup. 

The parade was a ton of fun! I was walking with the dance studio where I teach Zumba and since we had such a small turn out of Zumba folks I just walked with the dancers and even did their little dance routine with them.  This means there is not video of me dancing with a large group of tiny high school age and younger girls on the local TV station.  I didn't think that through. 

Oh well. It was a good 2 miles of walking, one of those while dancing.  yay extra cardio?

After coming home and getting changed we headed out to Jennifer's house.  Her birthday party was a really muted even but it was SOOO fun! We ate pizza and snacks and talked and played games on the Kinect. 

I learned that I'm pretty awesome at Dance Central. I got a 5 star rating on my first attempt at Push It.  I want this game so bad it hurts.  Seriously... too much fun!

The only down part of the night was that the antibiotics I'm on started to make me feel really sick.  I had forgotten how bad sulfa medications made me feel.  My stomach started cramping towards the end of the evening and by the time I got home I felt like I was going to spend the evening calling Ralph on the porcelain phone.

I got changed and in to bed and held on as the room spun until I passed out.

Today I am feeling gross still but not nearly as bad as I was yesterday.  My throat is still hurting and I'm trying really hard to speak as little as possible.  (Those of you who know me in real life know how hard that is! The rest of you can guess by my blog!) I also skipped Zumba this afternoon and took a 3 hour nap after sleeping for 13 hours last night. 

For dinner I made a giant pot of chicken soup with brown rice and veggies.  It was perfect, exactly what I needed today.

All I can hope for at this point is that I get through tomorrow with minimal side effects.  I have to drive to Winston Salem for a meeting.  I have to present information about a number of things during the meeting and I hope my voice holds out and that I'm not trying to hold back vomit the entire time. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

This week could not POSSIBLY get better...

This week has been sufficiently insane and I couldn't love it more. Here's the skinny on what's been going on this week.

Monday: Work was incredibly busy, fulfilling and made me kind of high on the rush of deadlines.  I had a fantastic class at my senior center location.  A new student showed up who wound up being an old friend from my previous job! We had lost touch when she left about a year before I was laid off.  It was really exciting to see her and catch up a bit! This class planted the seeds of fun for Tuesday!

Tuesday: Run, run, run! Work was a whirlwild of getting ready for this meeting next Monday in Winston.  My eyes were about to BLEED from staring at PowerPoint all day.  Zumba double class fun ensued after work.  After class on Tuesday someone commented that she wished we did Shake Senora at the start of class rather than at the end.  I asked why and she said it helped to make her feel more comfortable.  It's a silly dance and makes you face your class mates so I can see her thought process.

So we tried it! It really did change the energy of the class.  Normally the first 2-3 songs are warm up.  I tossed Shake in as the end of warm up.  It's silly but it's still a good cardio song so it fit in the flow.  It was really cool everyone was off to the races with laughing and joking and just giving it their all.  It worked out well in both classes and tonight I'm going to try it with Big and Chunky or Drop it Low which are two of our other fun songs.

Wednesday: This day shall be known as the day of incredible awesome.  First off - my month end weigh in.  Down to 328.  Huzzah! Progressive weight loss! The scale keeps moving downward in a slow, but mostly steady, pattern. This starts my day off on a happy note.

I had an awesome meeting with the team for the Monday meeting in Winston.  The PowerPoint was well received and the edits were minimal.  Then I had a good talk with my boss about some other job related stuff and I'm really excited for things yet to come.

After work one of the temps on my team said something that just made my heart break that we're losing most of them at the start of the new year.  I love working with all of them and I really wish we could hire them all on permanently.

Then dinner with Marshall and his folks for his birthday.  My beloved turned 32 yesterday and we had a tasty meal out at Ruby Tuesday.  Nice and calming.

Later in the evening I taught at the YMCA and class was incredible.  Firstly, it was my first 20+ student class at the Y on my own.  Very cool.  Secondly, using Shake Senora at the start helped to bring in new folks and let them just have fun and not feel so nervous.  Thirdly, I got an amazing compliment after class.  One of the new students caught me after class and told me she loved class, said it was a fun and joyful class, she loved it and she would be back. She also honked and told me I rocked as I walked to my car. 

At this point the outside was suffering from a sudden dust storm.. because that's the only excuse for my eyes getting so watery.  I rarely get compliments so three big ones in a day is like hitting the lottery for me.  I felt so loved, so appreciated and so grateful.

After class the lovely Miss Sarah surprised me with a very thoughtful gift - a "Christmas bonus" of sorts - for all the help I give her.  It was completely unexpected and incredibly sweet. She is so awesome and never fails to remind me how much she appreciates my help.

Then we met Marshall and Matt for a birthday drink at the local bar.  It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Thursday:  Already a great day.  Lots of good news all around. Marshall should be finishing up this thesis defense shortly so hopefully more awesome to come!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

471 vs. 329

Take at look at these two pictures of me:

May 2006

October 2011
See a difference?  

I don't.  I mean... I do when I look at them for a really long time, but I still feel as fat now as I felt in the first picture.  

Objectively, when I stare at these pictures for a while I notice I now have a neck, that my shoulders are smaller and my face so much thinner. I can see how much smaller my cheeks yave gotten and much more pronounced my chin and cheek bones are. 

Then I look in the mirror and I still see my face from May 2006.  

So who is the real me?  How do people see me now?  Do people really notice the difference?

Yes.  I know this because in the last week I've had three people comment on how much my shape has changed.  Matt and Chip both commented on how "tiny" I've gotten and how they can wrap their arms all the way around me when they hug me.

Will I ever start to feel smaller, thinner, tinier? Or will I always be 471 pounds in my eyes? 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turbo Kick

That's me and Mrs. Fatass and our friend Karen (the instructor!) after a blazing hot Turbo Kick class.  You read that right: I DID TURBO KICK!

You can't see it but I am dripping in sweat, red as a tomato and fighting to keep myself upright as my quadriceps are on FIRE.

I have been so utterly afraid of taking Turbo Kick because I see how hot and sweaty and exhausted even Karen is after a good Turbo class and I look at my body and go ... uh... NO! I did it though and I LOVED IT.

It was a totally different high than during a good Zumba class but it felt amazing.  I have never had a workout make me want to cry and puke at the same time and it be a GOOD thing. 

I was sweaty at the end of the warmup - that's a good sign.  I was really feeling it at the end of the first section.  I was really REALLY feeling it shortly after that.


Everything after the turbo section was fun and difficult and that's when the wanting to cry and vomit set in but I pushed through it.  I backed off a little and let my body recover but kept moving.

It was fantastic! Karen is an awesome instructor and I appreciated all the support from her and from Mrs. Fatass.  Friends make everything better!

After class my legs were jelly and I was aching in my shoulders and upper back and neck.  I know I'm going to feel it a ton tomorrow! Tomorrow is back to Zumba day! 75 minutes worth! Hooray!

I need to look at the Turbo schedule... I'm going back.  I will conquer Turbo Kick... and after that.. on to PiYo! I will complete the Chalene Johnson trifecta! I will!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

Today was a pretty fantastic day.  Despite feeling like my rib cage was about to explode every time I sneezed or coughed I felt better than I have for the last two days.

My temperature has stayed in the low 99 degree range and under, even without medication, so I know I'm on the right track to be back to my old self in a day or two. 

I did well with food today and stayed under 2200 calories even with splurging on cake! My normal calorie goal is around 1800.  I over did it but not 3000 calories which is what they say people consume during a typical Thanksgiving meal!

I felt like crap and food didn't taste that great but I ate a normal lunch with Marshall and his folks at 11 and then I made a mini Thanksgiving feast here at the house for dinner.

Lunch was at K&W - no dishes, no stress, portion control, so awesome.  I had turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, peas and a roll.  I got an slice of apple pie and brought it home - calorically it was almost as much as the rest of my entire meal.  Someone else can eat that.

Dinner was a modest Thanksgiving feast.  Much like round 1, it centered around turkey, potatoes, stuffing and peas.  However, it was a slightly healthier version of a thanksgiving feast since it was all under my control and I knew exactly what I was putting in to my body.

On the menu was:
  • A 2 pound, pre-cooked, turkey breast for ease of use and pre-determined portion sizing.
  • Stove Top turkey stuffing with minimal light butter spread and low sodium chicken broth rather than water.  I swear it makes the stuffing ten times better and eliminates the need for most of the butter/margarine. 
  • A can of no salt added peas. 
  • Mashed potatoes were made like my momma used to make them.  I made them with skim milk and the light margarine spread and only a touch of kosher salt. Once mashed and mixed and delicious I put them in a casserole dish, topped with another helping of spread and a touch more salt, and baked it till the top got yummy and crispy. It made me miss home.
  • Fat free turkey gravy
  • Delicious Grands Honey Butter Biscuits.  I only ate one.  I promise!
  • Chocolate truffle cake.  Grabbed on a whim at Food Lion when I ran to the store earlier in the day.
 I ate a good amount of food but I didn't really get to enjoy it.  Everything tastes bland and kind of chemical like because of the antibiotic.  Plus my sense of smell is just dead right now because of the congestion.  I enjoyed the stuffing during round two the most because when I was cooking the steam from the boiling broth opened my sinuses up a bit and I could really smell it.  That carried over to eating it. Yum, yum!

I napped a bit today, watched football and read my book.  Ready to hit work tomorrow with a fury.  8 hours between me and two more days off.

I'm 19 days away from vacation! 19 days away from adventures! Hooray!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is ready to get back on track with their nutrition and fitness goals tomorrow.

I'm going to hit the gym Saturday morning and either take Yoga or face my fear and try out Turbo Kick.  I'm ready to get moving again!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Simply Thankful (and the secret dance project!)

I am feeling rather grumpy today as I blindsided by a sinus infection yesterday but, sitting here in bed, I realize just how blessed my life truly is.

I woke up yesterday feeling fine.  A bit congested but that's normal - my allergies are always worst in the fall.  Forgot my pill case and struggled through the morning.  Matt gave me one of his Claritin.  No improvement.  Started to scare coworkers with sneezing and blowing my nose.  One starts making snarky comments - retaliate by walking to his cube and blowing my nose as loudly as I possibly can.  Hilarity ensues. Finally get my meds.  Take more Claritin.  No improvement.  Crap. 

Leave work early - my doctor can't see me so off to Immediate Care.  One look in my nose and at my lab work and my low grade fever and I'm sent home with antibiotics.  Work from home for the rest of the afternoon. 

Dinner is reheated pizza.  No flavor.  Can't breathe.  Making playlist for Zumba. Not looking forward to it as breathing through my nose is death.  Big girl panties on.  Let's do this.  Class is awesome. Had a fantastic time even though it felt like there were rocks in my chest.  I want to pass out.  No can do! One more stop to make!

Off to the YMCA to record this video with Matt and Katie. My choreography. On the internet. Forever. I look like a Zumba Oompa Loompa. Oh well. What's done is done!

Went to bed as soon as I got home and got my second dose of antibiotics in me.  Prayed I;d feel better so I could go to work today.

No such luck.  Worked from home.  It was not easy as my nose and head are fighting a war to see which wants to piss me off more.  I get stuff done.  Food has no taste.  I can't smell anything. 

Even though I feel horrible I am incredibly thankful for all the good that being sick has helped me see.

I am surrounded by people who love me.  Matt, Marshall, Chip, Katie, Sarah, Jennifer, all the folks at work, all the folks at Toe 2 Toe, everyone is concerned about me and is showing me such love and kindness. I haven't had to leave the house all day. I'm being bombarded with love and that makes me feel very special.

I have a job that allows me to get stuff done at the office and at home and a very understanding boss who let me work from home when going to the office just isn't a good idea. I am grateful for the technology that allows me to telecommute.  How awesome is that?

I have health insurance that allows me to easily see a doctor.  I didn't have that good fortune so much with my last job.  The copays were not cheap (especially when it wasn't your PCD) and it just wasn't feasible all the time. I'm thankful for nyquil, cough syrup with codeine, anbiotics and orange juice.

I'm so thankful that I found Zumba and got close to my Zumba family.  I don't know what my life would be like without them.  I didn't have much in the way of friends outside of Marshall and our immediate circle of friends before Zumba.  I am so blessed to have those ladies and gents in my life. Zumba is my hobby, my second job, and my escape from the daily grind.  Can't get much better than that.

I'm a little sad that I feel this gross at Thanksgiving.  I'm hoping I can at least somewhat enjoy food tomorrow.  Maybe it's a blessing in disguise - at least I know I won't over eat and maybe I can avoid some of the holiday bloat?

I am thankful that the Macy's parade is tomorrow.  I love the Macy's parade!

Happy Thanksgiving readers.  May you find tomorrow is a great day full of food, friends and festivities.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


In order to make myself feel less crazy - I'm focusing on my measurements per quarter.

So, here we go: My first quarter measurements.

Measurement 08/21/11 11/21/11 1Q Change
Weight 340 329 11
Wrist 6.75 6.33 0.42
Upper Arm 16.75 16 0.75
Chest 50 48.75 1.25
Ribcage 43 42 1
Waist 48.5 45 3.5
Hips 68 64 4
Upper Thigh 34 33 1
Calf 17.5 17.75 -0.25
Ankle 10 9.75 0.25

That's a total of 11 pounds and 11.9 inches across my body lost in the last 4 months.  My calves are getting bigger only because they are solid rock at this point.  They'll slim down eventually.... I hope.

In perspective in the last month I've lost an average house cat worth of weight.  No more carrying Napoleon around with me!.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rest. Recover. Reflect.

Last night was rough.  Even after the panic subsided I felt gross.  Depressed. Sad. Scared. Guilty.

Guilty.  It's weird that I felt so guilty for having feelings.  Emotions are not rational and we often cannot control how we feel.  We just feel things.  I felt like my panic attack hurt everyone around me.  That I disappointed them by freaking out the way I did.  I always feel like people think less of me after an attack like that.  Above all - I feel guilty that the whole thing ever happening.

Regardless of how terrible I felt I got up this morning.  I showered.  I got dressed.  I went grocery shopping.  I did laundry.  I made a giant pot of turkey stew for a team thanksgiving feast tomorrow.  I watched football and I kept going.  The world doesn't end because of one day.

I realized this morning just how lucky I am to have the support system that I do.  Not only did I find someone to cover my Zumba class this afternoon but I had another offer to cover it for me if that fell through.

I woke up to caring and concerned messages - text, email, facebook, voicemail - from people who went out of their way to let me know they were thinking of me.  I felt momentarily bad for worrying people... and then I felt loved.  I'm lucky that I have that many people who care about me. 

Today I am doing chores around the house but am trying to be as still as possible.  Resting my body and my mind as much as I humanly can.

For me the worst part about a panic attack like I had last night is how drained and exhausted I feel the day afterwards.  I often talk about the panic hangover and it's a pretty apt description.  I know some of the muscle soreness is a result of the 5 hours of Zumba yesterday but a lot of it, the upper back and body stuff especially, are from the tension from the panic attack.  The headache, the lack of appetite, the aversion to the sight or smell of most food - all of that is typical for me the day after a panic attack.

I also took the big step of asking a friend who she sees about her anxiety.  Tomorrow I'm going to call Dr. Awesome and see if I can get in to see him.  I've been on Zoloft for my mild depression and anxiety since college.  I went off it for a short time after college until I got a real job and that was miserable.  What was even worse was the short period of time I tried Cymbalta. That was evil, evil stuff.

Still, I think it might be time to do some talk therapy, even if just short term, and to consider changing up my medication.  I went a few years without a major panic attack and yesterday was my second one in just a few months.  I also had a smaller panic attack within the last few weeks.  That's the start of a trend and not one I'm okay with.  So off to the doctor for me. 

Now just to get back on board with life.  One day at a time.  One foot in front of the other.  I've got a weird week ahead of me.  Work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday. Thanksgiving tucked in there to break up the weekly flow.   Zumba tomorrow and Tuesday and then not again until the next Monday!

I'm really looking forward to the 5 day break from Zumba.  Even though I KNOW I'll spend time over those 5 days learning new routines it'll be nice to not be on such a tight schedule.

Other than finishing laundry the only thing I have to do today is record a quick dance video with Matt and Katie.  Then I'm making myself a steak and veggie stir-fry and curling up with a book till sleepy time.  Rest. Recover. Reflect.  The three R's of my Sunday... not a bad way to spend the day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The inevitable crash.

I crashed hard today.  Hard.  There is so much going on, so many balls in the air, and today they finally came crashing down.

The crash was a result of low blood sugar, bad news, and just sheer exhaustion. 

The morning started out AMAZING.  We had a super energetic, exciting and fun Zumba class at 9:30 this morning.  It was, by far, the best Saturday morning class in a long time.  It felt more like a Friday night at the club than Saturday morning at the studio.

Directly after class Sarah and I drove off to Greenville for lunch (SUSHI!!!) followed by a master class and ZIN jam session.  That's 4 hours of Zumba and made for 5 hours total for the day.  And they were amazing hours, all 5 of them!  A tun of fun was bad by everyone and I felt tired but on top of the world. 

In the car on the way home I started to feel gross.  Marshall texted me and gave me some upsetting news about a death of a friend and annoyed me by being kind of thoughtless.  I was grumpy and starting to really feel the weight of the day.  Sitting still in the car for another hour I started to cramp up a bit more and was not so happy.

When I got back in to town all I wanted was something for dinner that involved chicken and vegetables.  My house guests had other plans and I was annoyed by that too.  I should have been grateful that someone cooked me dinner but I was more going BLAH red meat.

Then I was about to say Eff everything and was going to grab a quesadilla on the way home - whole grain tortilla, chicken, extra vegetables, lots of cheese.  I stopped by Moe's and the line was out the door and I got even more grumpy. 

Little things just kept making me feel like everything was ruined and nothing would ever be okay again.  I finally just came home, resigned to eating food I didn't want but it was there.

I got in the shower to get rid of the gunk from 5 hours of cardio and in the shower I just broke down.  It was the hottest shower I've ever taken and I showered until the water just ran cold.  Wrapped in my robe I curled up on the bed and just the tears come. 

I know I wasn't crying because of anything that happened today but it was the culmination of two weeks running on all cylinders without a break.

I'm hoping that the instructor I asked to cover my class tomorrow is available.  She said she thought she was but would let me know for sure.  I would really love to have most of the afternoon off to just relax.  We just have to record Katie's dance project tomorrow and I need to make a pot of turkey stew.  If that's all that's asked me of tomorrow that'll be the best.

If I have to teach it's no big deal but I'd really like to veg.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Feel the Burn(out)

The last few weeks have been utterly exhausting.  This week especially so!

Physically demanding

Today was my 19th consecutive day doing Zumba.  The last day I didn't work out was October 30th.  In those 19 days I've taught/co-taught/participated in 25 classes.  That's over 25 hours (there were a few 75 minute classes tucked in there) of cardio in the last 19 days.

Tomorrow I have my normal Saturday morning class and then a master class and Jam session.  That's 5 hours of Zumba tomorrow.  Then class on Sunday and Monday (both of which I'm teaching solo) and then two classes on Tuesday and then I have a 4 day break.  FINALLY. 

My body is in agony and some of it is not so delicious anymore. My calves are rock hard and achy all the time. Oh and my shoulders, chest, and abs hate me right now.

At the same time - that hour or more of Zumba has been my solace on more than a few days with everything else that's going on.

Mentally taxing

This week I've been involved in multiple meetings that were very in-depth and required me to push my problem solving skills. The follow up work from the meetings have been piling up and piling up and it has been a big weight on my shoulders. 

Today was the first time this week I was in my own office for an entire day this week.  I spent half of it just following up on emails.  I still have phone calls to return on Monday and more meetings to schedule.  So much stuff!

I'm grateful that I have the flexibility to bring work home and work on my own schedule.  If that weren't the case I'd be at the office every night till 7 or 8 for the next week or so getting everything back in order.  Maybe it'll all fall in to place quickly but there's a lot to do.

Emotionally draining

It hasn't been a particularly good time to be working in the financial industry.  Fears about lay offs, staffing issues with temp labor, all scary stuff.  It's been scary and I know I've been hiding in Zumba and sweating out my stress but my brain is constantly going round and round with all the worst case scenarios.

Plus it's also a weird time of year for me.  I tend to have a hard time adjusting to the shorter days to begin with but it's been especially rough this year.  I've had to start taking more B and D vitamins to help try to keep me even. Even with my anti-depressants and my exercise plan and my normal vitamin regimen I've been overly anxious because of all the other stress.  It's just... draining.

I can honestly say that things are okay now but I am totally, absolutely, 100% ready for a break.  A good, solid, break.  I am going to lounge, read books and watch movies as much as possible Wednesday night, Thursday and all day Saturday and Sunday.  I wish I had snagged the day off on Friday but at least I know it'll be a semi-quiet day and a good chance to catch up on whatever work I'm behind on in peace and quiet. 

On the weight loss front I actually showed several days of weigh ins under 330 pounds in the last 2 weeks.  I'm going to be doing my official weigh in and measurements on the 21st.  We'll see if the scale is nice to me then!

Monday, November 14, 2011

What an awesome day!

So my day started out with a dark cloud of my head.  The staff meeting. 

Wound up being much ado about nothing as, aside from some added responsibilities, the changes didn't really wind up impacting my direct team too much.  Huge weight off my shoulders.

Work was actually, all around, good today.  Got a lot accomplished and I really feel like I'm getting in to a groove with all of my tasks.  I thank Chalene Johnson for that!  My CCDM is getting a workout!

After work I went out to teach the first Zumba class at a brand new location.  As I mentioned in my last post, I was a nervous wreck.  This is the first place I've taught Zumba where there wasn't an established class, an established class base.  It's all up to me to make it work. 

I didn't want to let the students down.  I didn't want to let my Zumba family down.  I didn't want to fail.

I walked in there quivering inside but trying to be cool, calm and collected on the outside. Matt was at my side.  Jennifer came to be supportive. There are three ladies who come to class in Wilson who live out that way were there.  I had friendly faces and a built in support system.  Awesome!

Realization when I got there - no mirrors.  Quick mental check, no "Dance, Dance, Dance" which I have yet to master teaching facing the class.   A few mental adjustments and a mini-freakout later I'm ready to start class.

I did my little spiel about modifications, having a good time off we went.

Class went awesomely.  People were having a good time laughing and doing their own thing when they got completely lost.  I had to do a bit more verbal cuing then I'm used to since all but 5 of the people there were completely new to Zumba but that was kind of awesome too!

I had taken for granted people know the basic moves and it was a nice refresher for me to have to slow down and think on the cumbia, merengue, salsa, cha-cha and reggaeton moves.  I know I was more aware of my body and I can feel that my muscles really appreciated the way that I held it tonight.  I may have sacrificed some style for form but I think that was a good thing.

There were a few missteps from my reliance on mirrors but, all in all, people enjoyed themselves and that was really what mattered. 

And really... 16 people for a first time ever class is pretty awesome! The folks at the Academy did an amazing job with advertising and word of mouth and I appreciate that more than words can say!

Also a plus?  I sold 4 hip scarves so at least 4 of the 11 people who'd never been before intend on coming back!

Today was a fantastic day and I'm feeling good all over.  Now to sleep as the next two days are going to be a whirlwind!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Anxiety as a coping mechanism?

A quick thought for the evening.

I have been anxious and nervous all weekend about my first solo class at a new/non-established location tomorrow.  But, well, here's what just happened.

Going about my evening being anxious and overly cautious about being ready for tomorrow night.  Cleaning up the bedroom, putting my gym bag back in order with all the necessities for tomorrows class. Wondering what to pack for lunch tomorrow. *twitch*

The staff meeting day. 
The SCARY staff meeting day.
The everything could change staff meeting day. 

Holy. Crapballs. My mind is BLOWN.

I've been so busy worrying about Zumba class that I forgot to be worried about the my whole job might change after tomorrow thing. 

I mean, I guess it's good that I focused on the stuff I can fix, change, or keep from going badly but OUCH does it hurt when the real anxiety pops it's head up.

I know there's nothing I can do about it.  The die has already been cast.  It's out of my hands.  Enter platitudes here.

It's still scary but it'll be over and out in the open tomorrow somewhere around noon. 

All this changes is that I don't have to worry about packing lunch tomorrow.  Just need to worry about healthy snacks and my bottles of magic blue water and a small stash of Xanax in my purse just in case the worst case is the actual case.

I'm about to get in to bed, snuggle up with uncle Ambien and hopefully get some solid sleep.  Before I head to the gallows.

How about people out there in the internet wild - 
  1. Have you ever coped with a major stressor by focusing on a smaller  more easily controlled stressor?  
  2. What are some of the weirdest ways you've dealt with stress?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adventures in cooking

Tonight I wanted Shepard's pie for dinner.  I really, really, REALLY wanted Shepard's pie.  So I defrosted the lean beef, chopped up an onion, and got to work.

While browning the beef and sauteing the onions I realized we didn't have beef stock or gravy and so, at Chips recommendation, I tried to make a sauce out of beer and flour.  We've done it before and it was super tasty!

Popped open a bottle of Newcastle and mixed it with whole wheat flour and was working on veggies when I realized it smelled a bit funny.  I tasted it.  It was not a happy taste.  Yeasty and grainy.  It was SO not a go.

I don't remember what beer we used the last time we did this and I think we used white flour instead of wheat but I was shocked that it turned out so badly.  What a waste of food... but I guess every attempt in the kitchen can't be a total success.

After Matt made a quick run to the store for more beef and gravy and I got started from the top.

A pound of beef, a big ol' onion1.33 cups of corn, peas,and  lima beans topped with  mashed potatoes and cheese on top baked to a bubbly warm crisp.

Yum, yum! It was a hit all around the house!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Zumba News. Vacation. A secret project!

Earlier this week I hashed out an agreement to teach Zumba at a new location.  It's a solo teaching gig! I'll be out there, on my own.

I'm completely and utterly over the moon about the whole situation and also scared out of my mind.  Three ladies who come to Zumba at the studio live near where I'll be teaching and are talking the class, and me, up all over the place! I can't even express how much of a boost to my self esteem that is.

I've also agreed to teach in another Zumbathon in Goldsboro next month.  Another fundraiser for the troops.  Zumba for a good cause?  Sign me up!

Then there's the on going plans for my yearly vacation to Kentucky and Indiana.  A car load of folks driving up and spending six days trapped in a van and visiting new and exciting places, seeing dear old friends and meeting new and interesting people along the way.   I can hardly wait.  It's always one of the best parts of my year and I look forward to the break from the monotony to recharge my batteries going in to 2012.

It's also going to be great for my body because I'm going to be wearing myself out over the next few weeks.  I'm currently at day 12 of 18 continuous days of teaching/co-teaching Zumba classes.

I have not had a day off from Zumba since October 31st and my next day off is November 18th.  While that's kind of cool... it's also very painful.

I'm actually holding on relatively well, all things considered.  Yes, my quads and hamstrings are sore, my calves feel like I've filled them with heavy rocks, my back is tight and my feet are in desperate need of a very long massage and a pedicure

On the flip side though, I feel energized and am sleeping like the dead every night. I'm dealing with my anxiety and fear through pushing my body in class. This has decreased my reliance on Xanax for panic attacks because I can funnel that anxiety in to preparation for class and into class itself. 

I can't wait to get up in the morning and go teach another hour. Then I get to focus on my other big project for the weekend.

Katie has a dance project to do for a class and she, Matt and I will be meeting up to learn the choreography I came up with and finally get it recorded for her to turn in.  I'm excited about having people dancing things that came out of my head.

I still get a high from watching people do the Zumba routines I choreographed.  One day I'll get brave and record that too. 

There will be video from this project and I promise to share it!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Zumba therapy and a simply dreadful day.

That's how I would classify my day.  Simply Dreadful.

A vague idea of how my day went can be found in this fantastic children's book.
My day started out okay for once.  I woke up early and got my shower.  I was on track to leave for work early.  I was ready to take on the world.  And then I got to the office. 

Computer issues.  Staffing issues. A staff meeting I forgot all about.  The staff meeting was less than happy. A sad afternoon. A very slow end to the day and nothing wanted to go my way.

If it weren't for Zumba I don't think I would have survived the day.  I just kept plugging on knowing that I was that much closer to turning my mind off and getting my shimmy on.

When I made the playlist I went hard core.  High intensity and leg intensive.  I wanted to sweat and I wanted to sweat HARD.

Not a great example of the of 70% Latin/International to 30% other split that we aim for but we can't be perfect all the time.

I wanted a fun, exciting, workout that would make me feel rubbery in the knees and this was it.  And the students loved it! It's kind of nice to step out of the box and do a set that tossed the rules out and just flowed.

We're working on some new songs with the core rhythms that will bring some life back to that side of things as we start rotating them in.  This week I'm adding a Japanese pop song and a new reggeaton.  Then I have a new cumbia, merengue and a cha cha to fold in! I've been a busy girl!

When I got to class and got my booty bling on and got in front of that class my brain flipped its switch and I was in a very good place! The music thumped and I bounced and I cheered and I got chatty with the ladies and gents in class.  It felt good.

I focused on my body.  My legs felt tight when I started and they woke up and warmed up and I started to moving more freely. I felt the tension in my back start to relax. I let the music free me and I felt better.

I pushed my body to the limits.  My quads and hamstrings and calves were killing me.  They ached and felt weak and I willed them to keep going.  My shoulder muscles and my abs got sore and tired and I felt the strain of holding good form.

I felt all the grossness of the day seeping out of me as I felt my body being drenched in sweat.

I felt like I exorcised the bad day away while I exercised my mind.

I left class laughing and smiling and joking with my students and my co-instructor.

I know I have to face the fallout from today when I go in to the office tomorrow but I know as long as I have a place to go and turn off my brain and give my body the release it needs that I'm going to be okay.  I'll even be good! Maybe even AWESOME.  I just need to take it one day and one class at a time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Simply delicious - Orange Berry Sorbet

I got a little creative in the kitchen this afternoon and decided to make something cold and sweet and, most of all, healthy.  What I wound up making, I suppose, is an orange berry sorbet. 

I had a bag of frozen mixed berries in the freezer and I wanted to make something dessert like with it.  I looked at the food processor and said to myself "Let's get processin!" At first I thought about doing just berry puree served with light Cool Whip but once I got everything pureed it was just too thick and... missing something.

Off went the light bulb! Orange juice. 

Not too long ago I had a drink at some restaurant that was lemonade with wild berries.  Why not see what orange juice adds to the party!

In to the food processor went about 12-16 oz of minute maid orange juice. 

I let it blend for quite some time.  It looked thick and creamy and probably could have been eaten right then and there.  I said no! I want it FROZEN.  So in to the containers and in to the freezer they went.  This is what I wound up with.

I actually have 3 of these little yummy containers!
 It's not as soft as a sorbet normally is and it actually eats more like an Italian ice at this point but it is exceptionally tasty.  You still get the natural sweetness and tartness of the strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries from the fruit mix and the delicious citrus flavor from the orange juice.  

Cold. Sweet. Tart. Delicious!
To make my Orange Berry Sorbet you will need:
  1. 1-16oz bag of mixed berries 
  2. 1.5-2 cups of orange juice
Take the berries and put them in to your food processor or blender and blend until it becomes a grainy mushy pile of fruit bits.
Start adding in the orange juice slowly and let it mix in completely.
You'll want the final mix to be thick but easily stirred and mostly smooth.
Pour into containers of your choosing.  (My mixture fit in to 3-1.75 cup Ziplock bowls.) Freeze for several hours until completely solid. 

I plan on using this as part of my post workout routine.  The sweetness of a bit of sorbet, after nomming my post workout protein?  You betcha! Also, natural sugars rock my socks.

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