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!

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