Get Help

Celebrity deaths always hurt just a little. Maybe it’s someone you like, maybe they made you feel great with their songs, maybe it’s like a distant friend of a friend, and it makes you face your own mortality, but they always make us feel…. something. I didn’t know much about Kate Spade, I knew she was married to David Spade’s brother, I knew she had a line of bags that many people loved, and now I know she struggled with depression and anxiety. My heart breaks for her family, and I’m more heartbroken to think of what someone’s life must be like, what the despair and loneliness that they must feel to think that taking their life is the best solution. Instead of letting others in to seek help, the stigma of mental illness is such that those who suffer the most with depression would rather die than seek help and admit they need it. They would rather die at their own hands than risk people finding out they need help.

If I could have any job, it would have been Anthony Bourdain’s. I doubt I would have been as good at it, or as compelling to watch, but his was a life I coveted. Or so I thought. Like him I am a chef, and I love to travel. Hell, this blog IS the traveling zipper head after all. I have a lot of the same beliefs about food and travel. I want to experience it all. I’ve always said my biggest regret in life is not learning all the languages I could so I could talk to more people. If you talk to others outside of your bubble, you share a meal, you share a history and you learn. The more you learn from others, the better person you become. Isn’t that why we’re all here? For the ride and to learn? Be good and do good?

I get why he loved to travel so much. There’s calm in the chaos. When you surrender to an adventure, your anxiety hushes, you get lost in the exploration and everything else falls away. Even if just for a bit. This one hurts just a little bit more for me because I feel like we would have “gotten” each other.

When adored celebrities die, we lose a piece of ourselves, we are forced to admit that maybe our childhood heroes got older, or that maybe their world wasn’t as perfect as it appeared. Maybe they struggled with prescription drugs, maybe they drank too much and destroyed their mind and body to the point of no return, or maybe they wrestled with demons every day that we couldn’t see. These all force us to look within ourselves and see the flaws we try to hide. Maybe we struggle with the same demons ourselves and the time has come to get help. Maybe, instead of hiding our anxiety and depression for fear of being discovered and ridiculed, we see the path, we see that we are not alone and we don’t have to suffer alone. We don’t have to try to “just cheer up” or “calm down” or fix it on our own. Maybe we can start getting help so we’re not next.

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I’m so disappointed right now. After all these years, I FINALLY have my head in the game. I’m finally in the right place mentally to get my crap together physically.

I’ve been sick, for weeks, I just can’t get better. I’ve been to the dr a few times, had three rounds of steroids, one round of antibiotics, and so much Advil for my sore throat that my liver probably wanted to coup, but I just couldn’t get there. I thought that after the holidays and my oldest went back to school, I would get back in the routine and things would be ok. I started back at the gym, but I still felt crappy, and I was so worn out after the gym, that I was useless the rest of the day. This was how I was feeling before Christmas too. I figured that I was just still fighting something and powered through, but by Wed, I just felt awful. So I went back to the Dr.

I had been checked for strep and for the flu, both were neg, but today she checked me for something else.


Mono, as in, “no heavy lifting” mono, or “protect your abdomen and sleep” mono. To say that I am heartbroken is an understatement. Along with the fatigue, which I can handle, there’s the sore throat that just won’t go away. The pain is intense and there’s only so much ibuprofen I can take a day for weeks on end. My husband has to pick up the slack which includes me texting him constantly (I can’t talk) to tell him what needs to be done and when.

Then we get to the gym. I’ve worked so hard, and I’ve come so far, now I will have to start all over. The soreness, the routine, the everything. It’s all on hold.

So here I lay, in bed, wondering how long omg going to be sidelined and how hard it will be to get back to my routine. Wondering how much pain medicine my body can take. I’ve started elderberry and olive leaf, hoping that will help my immune system fight this crap. If anyone has any other ideas, I’m open.

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Why do You Drink?

There’s a lot of buzz on the Internet right now about Dry January, and I thought about sharing my story from the other side of “drying out”.

First, a couple background facts: I grew up with an Irish grandpa who rarely drank anything other than coffee or beer. Now, he wasn’t an alcoholic, but this set the stage for our family to be friendly with the booze. Again, not always in a bad way, though, admittedly, there are some struggles with addiction in the family, but this more about how alcohol was just always around but never a problem for me. We were social drinkers mostly, or my mom or dad would have a drink at the end of a long day. That’s how my mom would unwind from the stress of the day, and believe me, she had stress.

I knew of family members who had a problem with alcohol, but for the most part, I was taught responsibility. Watch your intake, don’t drink and drive, don’t let it control you.

I started drinking here and there in high school, I was always a social drinker. I never drank alone until I was an adult who myself, needed to unwind after a stressful day. Mostly though, I’d go out with my friends after work for a glass of wine or two, or happy hour after work with my coworkers, in my 20s my best friend and I would sit by the pool with a bucket of margaritas on a Friday night. Someone once asked what we were doing for dinner and another friend joked that that WAS our dinner. He wasn’t wrong.

My 30s brought about some changes. Got married, had brain surgery, and had kids. These are all things that bring about a look at ones self and what you’re doing with your life, and I took a look at my drinking. As harmless as it was on the surface, I looked deeper into my own motivations for drinking. No one else’s btw, just my own. I had brain surgery to alleviate headaches (among other reasons) but I was still drinking knowing that alcohol would most likely give me a headache. I didn’t go out as much as I used to but I was still drinking at home, or in limited social gatherings with friends and neighbors. But why?

I drank after a long day at work, after a particular co-worker drove me crazy. A boss stressed me out. A friend made me mad. All of these were legitimate reasons to drink, but were they GOOD reasons? Then what about the social aspect? Hanging out with my friends? Surely that was a good reason, right? Commiserating, celebrating, bonding….

But did I really NEED it? Could I do those things without it? And how much was I really drinking anyway? I knew that addiction was a slippery slope, and that genetics made the top of that slope a tight wire, so I looked hard at my habits. In social situations, I struggled with when to say enough. Once I got going, and my wilder alter ego came out, it was tough to get her to stop. (The fact that I had an alter ego was as much of a red flag as the limits I rejected) when I just stayed home and had a glass after work, it was usually two glasses, and not the standard 4-5 oz serving, who does that? So basically I was drinking about four glasses of wine. I didn’t do a bunch of research on alcohol effects on your body, or how much is too much, but when I looked at it, I knew there was a problem there -for me. My friends and family, even my doctors knew how much I drank. It wasn’t a secret, and it wasn’t an issue, it was normal. I didn’t drink any more than my peers, but everyone is different. I looked at my life now. I had a little person who relied on me. What if he needed to go to the hospital and I’d had a glass of wine? What about the headaches that took me away from being all he needed me to be? They weren’t hangovers, but I could get a migraine that could last more than a day. Was it worth it? Worth the hell of taking care of a baby with a migraine? Worth not being all the mother my son needed me to be, all caused by something I did on purpose? The answer was no. So I quit. Just like that. No fanfare, no big announcement, no one last blast, just stopped.

The quitting itself wasn’t the hard part, the hard part was what happens now? How do I socialize?

Let me say that I had my children later in life, I didn’t get married until 31 and had my first child at 33. Before that, I did my partying. I had a blast in my younger days and will have stories to tell in the nursing home that will make the nurses laugh and my grandchildren cringe. I’m not missing out on anything. I never feel like I’m missing any fun, but sometimes, I get guilted by friends from my past, or new Mom friends trying to bond with me. Why won’t I drink with them? Do I think I’m better than them? How can I sit there all judgey while my lush friend has to drink without me? The thing is, I don’t judge. I don’t care if you drink, and I am sad that you care so much that I don’t. Every person is different, every situation, every metabolism, every genetic factor, all different situations.

For me, it’s been a little over six years, and here is what I’ve noticed: not much. I didn’t lose a bunch of weight, my skin got a little better, but barely noticeable, I don’t get all the headaches alcohol caused, but I still get other headaches. I’m not spending near the money on alcohol, but I do cook with it. I’ve thought about having a glass of wine here and there when the anxiety grips me tight, even poured myself one or two glasses, but I never drink them. Maybe a sip, but I end up pouring it out or giving it to my husband.

I would love to go out with the girls in the neighborhood when they go for drinks, but I don’t because explaining that I don’t drink is an ordeal. Many people assume I’m an alcoholic or someone who sits on a high horse judging all the heathens who do drink. When I explain that it’s neither, I’m met with confusion. Like there is no other reason for a person not to drink, or there has to be a “reason” at all.

I like the idea of this Dry January gaining traction, solely for the reason that maybe people will see that unlike the advice hanging from a plaque on my grandpa’s wall, you can trust a person who doesn’t drink. There is no blanket answer, every situation is different. To those trying it, good luck! It’s not as bad as you think, but don’t expect the whole world to change, you’re only going to notice things within yourself and you and you alone can make the decision of whether it’s worth it to drink or not to drink. To those not trying it, it will be ok when your friend isn’t drinking. I promise. They aren’t trying to shame you for drinking, they just want to hang out with you even if the dynamics have changed. Order them an iced tea and tell them how awful your boss was that day.

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It’s been a little while….

I’ve had some setbacks in the name of health…. mostly my kids….. mostly strep throat. We have all been sick for about three weeks, and I though we were in the clear when another case of strep reared it’s ugly throat. All together I missed a week at the gym.

I. Was. Terrified. Terrified that I would have a hard time getting back into it. Terrified that now that I’ve missed some, I wouldn’t be so strict with myself about going every day. I took pride in my “no stopping me from going” attitude. I didn’t want my momentum to slow. I was also terrified of starting over with squats. Let’s be real, that pain was intense, I cried when I had to pee bc getting up and down from the toilet was awful.

I didn’t. I was able to get back into my routine and not miss a step, and for that I am grateful. It’s just a part of me now. I go to the gym… it’s what I do. That being said, I don’t sit back and take that for granted. I make that effort and that choice every day. I take my progress little by little, because it adds up. I claw my way through and see a little muscle definition and I take that win. I have never worked so hard for anything in my life. I get it now, I get why people work this hard at the gym.

It’s not a place for thinking, just doing. If I think about my workout, about all of it as a whole, I’ll think I can’t do it. If I just do it, taking each exercise one at a time all I think is “next set, 1,2,3,4…… gosh this is getting heavy, keep going, only a little more, you got this!” When it’s all said and done, and I’ve worked to exhaustion, I walk out the door, tired and feeling accomplished. I worked for something hard, and I did it. I did what I didn’t think I could do. Then I get in my car, drive a mile down the road and think, maybe I should have lifted more. I can’t wait to go back and do it again! That’s that stupid endorphin high lying to me.

So I take the progress I get when I see it. Filling up water one day I noticed a muscle in my arm that I hadn’t had before. The light was coming in just right so I could see it. I checked my other arm and didn’t see it, then quickly looked back to make sure it was still there and not a lighting trick or my imagination. I’m seeing parts of my body move up and defy the gravity that’s been tugging on it for years. Namely my butt. I’m also starting to like myself again. Let me say that again: I’m starting to like myself again. I’m not disgusted by my reflection, but in awe of its changing shape. I’m not angry when my body is too tired or in too much pain halfway through the day, but proud of what I did when I was feeling good enough to do it! My bubbly, outgoing personality is starting to creep back up and fight the cynical smartass that has been my self defense for the last two decades. I’ll take it! I’ll take all of it!

Here is what I look like now, there is still a long way to go, but everyone was right, at three months, I’m starting to see a change!

(Yes, those are cupping marks on my back, and yes it works wonders, I’m the only one who hasn’t been on antibiotics yet, and I’m usually the one who gets the most sick.)

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I took pictures for the fun run at my son’s school today. This is how we celebrate holidays in the suburbs, we run fun runs, 5Ks, half marathons, even pay money to participate in some, …. I don’t get it, but it’s what we do. I watched a first grader trip at the start of his half mile, come out of his shoe and continue to run…. in one shoe, and he came in first. That kid has grit.

I don’t have any. Never have. In fact, if things didn’t come easy to me, I moved on to something that did, and not everything came easy to me, but enough did, that I could easily move on to something else. I’m a quitter if I’m being honest with you – and myself. Tennis, soccer, dance, diets, majors, bed making, the list goes on. If I give myself an out, I take it. If I miss even once, I tend to stop all together; it’s all or nothing with me.

I say this because my foot hurts. A lot. I have that plantar fasciitis, and it won’t go away. I was on my feet all morning and wasn’t able to go to the gym until the afternoon. By the time I left the school, I was in tears because my foot hurt, I had to have my husband drive down the street to get me….. 10 houses away. I iced my foot, took some Advil and waited until I could go to the gym. While waiting, I thought, you know, I ran a bit taking the Pics, I was on my feet all morning and kinda got a workout in with those awkward squatting angles you have to do to get elementary aged kids crossing a finish line. I was completely justified in not going -all while being annoyed that I couldn’t make it earlier. Long story longer, I went. I finally got there about 4 o’clock, limping my way in. I went and roughed it out, not because I have grit, or determination, but because I know myself. If I let myself miss because of this, it’s a slippery slope to quitting all together and I CAN’T quit this time. I was able to run through the school twice to get to the finish line for the smaller kids. Without getting winded, without blaming my asthma or my foot to cover my embarrassment for why I could only run a few steps. That’s huge. I was able to get down low to get them coming off the starting line AND get back up to run to another location. I squatted down to get over 300 kids crossing the finish line. That’s 300 squats! And I was STILL able to do goblet squats at the gym later!

If anyone has any experience with plantar fasciitis, comment on here what helped you please! I’ve done some acupuncture (not much though, needles in my feet hurt!) stretching, bought new shoes -twice, bought arch supports, did the stretches, rolled my foot on a frozen water bottle…. anyone have anything else? Oh, I burned mugwort over it too, which shows that I’ll try anything, no matter how crazy it sounds, I’m open to it.

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Confidence at 40

40 is a weird place for me right now…. I’m growing into some confidence that is unfamiliar to me until now. See, I’ve always been pretty full of myself, even cocky, but those are different. Maybe comfortable is a better word, I don’t know. I feel like people see me as a grown adult, and not in the “I’m a grown up!!! Treat me that way!!!!” whine that those in their 20s demand, and not the “people THINK I’m a grown up, but I think I’m a sham” you feel in your 30s. It’s less a question of whether others see me as an adult, and more a question of ‘do I give a damn’ what others think… the answer is no, no I don’t give a damn.

It might be age, it might be the gym, but I’m changing inside too. I go to the gym, and I feel like I belong there, the staff and the regulars know me, I don’t stand in a corner facing the outside, and I don’t act mousy when someone asks me something.

It’s carried over to the outside world too. I don’t waste my time and energy worrying if everyone likes me, (which includes covering with the “I don’t care if people like me” bravado that I’ve spent energy on in the past) I suppose I’ve mellowed.

There are a lot of things I never thought I’d be doing at 40:

Changing diapers, I mean come on kid, the toilet is your friend. I never thought I’d be living in a big house in the suburbs, concerned about the school district and property values. I never thought I would be disgusted by my own body and what it’s become. But I also never thought that I would have kids, or that I would love this suburban life. I never thought that I would enjoy going to the gym. To be honest though, I never thought much about 40. It was some far off land that I never really saw myself in. A lot of kids who have had a parent die young don’t see themselves in the future. I don’t know if it’s because we look to our parents to judge what we think our future is, and if one is missing, we can’t put the puzzle together, or if it’s because we are slapped in the face with a “live in the now and don’t worry so much about the future” sentiment. It’s probably a mixture of both. The point is, I never thought much about 40, and here it is, splashing ice cold water on my face the morning after a raging party called young adulthood. It’s sobering to look around and see where you’ve landed and that you did pretty darn well.

As far as my health journey, I’m going to take a similar approach. It’s colder now, so I’m going to be wearing the pants, sweaters, coats, and other bulky things. I’m hoping by spring, when I shed the outerwear and the heavy clothes, I’ll look around and see that I’ve landed on some progress. I feel it, but I won’t actively look for it until spring. If I just keep my head down, and focus on the day-to-day, maybe I’ll land someplace great again!

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Let’s Talk Offense

We break in our regularly scheduled fitness journey (currently working on my 40th birthday retrospective) to get something off my chest.

There’s a lot of talk right now about sexual harassment and assault, and there is a defense people are just “too sensitive”. I hate that term. I hate it as much as I hate the term “snowflake”. These are used by people who have no excuse for their bad behavior and want to put it back on the person they are arguing with or about, and it’s the best insult they can come up with. When I hear someone use this deflection I automatically discredit their argument because they obviously know they are wrong and grasping at anything.

I have been called too sensitive at times, which is laughable because to know me is to know that it’s pretty damn hard to offend me. Real hard. And that is also part of a problem that I’ve had to work on. Just because it doesn’t offend me, doesn’t me that it won’t offend you…. Everyone’s line is in a different place. Mine is different than yours, and both of ours are different from the next person. And you don’t get to tell me where my line is anymore than I get to tell you where yours is. We are all different people, but our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts, are our own. Telling someone they shouldn’t be offended is like telling someone whom to love based on your emotions.

“Back in my day we didn’t have everyone running around whining about this..” yeah, I know. That’s because people were powerless over their abusers. This doesn’t mean that people were tougher back then, those who stand up are a lot tougher because they are risking everything. Only now are we at a point where we are siding with the accusers. No longer pointing the finger of doubt at them asking what their angle is and why they would target the poor defenseless man (or woman) in power.

Ive been that powerless girl. I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship for six years. I didn’t speak up. I had a college professor tell me when I dropped his class that I would continue to get an A if I allowed him to continue to grope me. I didn’t speak up. I had someone that I had known forever, both of our families had known each other for years, try to force himself on me. I got away by chance, but I never spoke up. Not because I wasn’t offended, but because I was scared. I was scared of retaliation, scared of being labeled a trouble maker or being too sensitive. There were a couple of people I did say something to. Close friends that I could trust with “my” secrets, they both basically said the same thing, and it was akin to “boys will be boys”.

This “too sensitive” crap has been an insult for far too long. All it’s telling the world is, “I know I’ve behaved terribly, and I shouldn’t have done it, but I’m going to put the blame on you so I don’t have to face the fact that I’m a terrible person”.

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Hitting the Wall….

I’ve been so proud of myself for going to the gym every day. And I should be, that’s a big deal, but I’m hitting the wall. Shane gave me a new routine that I love/hate. I love it bc of what it will do for me and I hate it bc it’s hard. I told myself that I don’t have to do them all, but I have to try everything. Thing is, once I have the equipment set up to try doing something, I go ahead and do it all, which I knew I would. I can feel my legs have muscles in them, my arms too, but I’m not seeing anything. My posture has changed, and my outlook has changed too I suppose, but I was hoping for a little more. I’ve been going for a while now, but I wasn’t sure how long, so I looked back. I counted up the weeks and it’s been eight. Only eight weeks…. two months. I know it’s going to take longer to see something, but for whatever reason discovering that it’s only been two months that I’ve been going, kinda took the wind out of my sails.

I’ve reworked my nutrition after working with Stephanie, and I’m down a few lbs, but I’m not SEEING anything. My pants don’t fit different, my gut is still big, and I get tired.

Some days I’m so beat after a workout that I’m down for a few hours. Some days it’s everything I have to get through the workout. I do it, and I don’t quit, but I’m just discouraged. Have any of y’all had this? What did you do to combat it?

How long before you saw something? Anything?

I knew this would take hard work, and I knew it would take some time for results, but I think I’ve underestimated the amount of time.

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So There’s This Jerk at the Gym

I say jerk, that’s being nice. I want to use a few other words, but my grandmother reads this blog, so we’ll stick with jerk.

Let’s start at the beginning…. he’s a grunter. Loud grunter. Like make everyone else uncomfortable loud.

Now, this guy is in pretty decent shape, fairly large, but has an air of insecurity about him. I get that. I’m full of insecurity there. Everyone is in much better shape than I am, and they obviously know more about what they’re doing.

So back to the grunter. I have on a few occasions made eye contact and rolled my eyes, but that’s kinda it. As much as he irritates me, I never complained about him, but someone must have because he stopped. He’s the kind of guy who gets along with the fit girls, but he doesn’t like me, and he lets it be known. He will stay on equipment when he knows I’m waiting for it, he will purposely put things out of my reach when he knows I’m going to use it next, and he’s just an all round ass.

I decided today that he truly is making an effort to stop grunting, so I’m going to do something against my nature. I’m going to be nice. He is obviously insecure about something and I bother him. If I’m nice I might just throw him off enough that we can peacefully coexist. What would y’all do?

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Man do I Want to Quit….

Every. Day. I won’t, but I want to! I think about all the times I’ve quit before and where I would be if I hadn’t. I think about where I would be if I quit now. I think about how sore I was after my first two days and how I never want to be that person again.

This last weekend we bought new furniture so the hubs and I moved our old stuff upstairs. A sectional sofa and a two seater chair, up to the playroom. We did somewhat easily, the only real issue was where the stairs turn 1/2 up. (PIVOT) lifting and carrying it however, that was not a problem. I like being sore now because it’s a light sore and it means that I’m getting stronger. A friend once told me, “Soreness is just weakness leaving your body”, I hated hearing it then, but now I’ll claim it. This is why I won’t quit. I’m feeling progress. I owe it to my family to keep going.

I want to quit because it’s hard. I don’t SEE any progress, and I would much rather be lazy if I don’t see anything. It’s been a month and a half, my pants are still tight, my stomach is still huge, and I just want to lay on the couch all day. I won’t, but I want to!

Stephanie and I talked about nutrition and I’m still putting my thoughts together to share with you about that. Hopefully in a day or two I’ll get that out here.

If anyone has any beginning to get in shape stories, I would love to hear them!

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