Monday, June 11, 2012

Feel the Burn!

It’s been a long time since I went to the gym and came out really sore, but today was one of those days. I had a session with a personal trainer and he really worked me. He especially worked my thighs, and let me tell you they are BURNING! Afterwards my legs felt like rubber, so I got on the treadmill, and I decided to walk on a higher incline since I will be going hiking Saturday.

Everything was going fine until I decided to close my eyes for 2 seconds – just 2 seconds, but that was enough time to send me sliding off the treadmill, and I landed right on my butt, in front the other 50 or so other people working out in the gym.

Why did I close my eyes? I was watching a news program on one of the gym's huge wide-screen TVs, and the headline on the news program read that Robin Roberts of Good Morning America had been diagnosed with a rare blood disorder.

I was upset by this, knowing that she's already overcome cancer, and felt the need to say a prayer for her. I wanted to say the prayer right then and there because I worried I might forget to do it later. Big mistake! Next time I'll know to hit the pause/stop button before closing my eyes on a moving treadmill. That would be the common sense thing to do, right?

Yes, but the thing is, I’m really good at balancing myself on moving subway trains without holding onto anything, and I can easily walk on a balance beam, so I figured the treadmill would't be much different. I mean, I can do the yoga tree pose standing on one foot for like three minutes! So I didn’t think the treadmill would be that much of a challenge. I was wrong.

I’ll be back in the gym Wednesday for another personal training session, and hopefully – I can pray - my thighs will have stopped burning by then. If not, that's okay, it'll be worth it when I look in the mirror 6-8 weeks from now and see how toned I am. Yeah baby! I'm going to be forty and fabulous and smokin' hot, LOL.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pollen is not My Friend

The last week and a half has been a difficult one for me. I went outside almost two weeks ago to go for a walk. I didn't even make it to the corner before my lungs started to hurt and I had trouble breathing.

Next thing you know I have the most severe allergy attack I've had in over 17 years since I was diagnosed with asthma. I inhaled my rescue inhaler like it was oxygen for the next day, but then when it got to where I could barely talk, I went to the allergist. That was no picnic either. She proceeded to berate me for not coming in sooner or going to the emergency room, and then said "that's how people die." And then she said I didn't try hard enough to breath into her little machine that tells how bad off my lungs are. Hello? I am 40, not 4. Don't talk to me like a child.

So she puts me on prednisone for 5 days to stop the swelling of my lungs. I get to where I can talk again but am still walking like an 80 year old. After 3 days I'm still coughing, so I call the allergist’s office and she tells me to go to the emergency room. So I unwillingly go and the doctor tells me I have Bronchitis, which unbeknownst to me can be caused by air pollution, which in this case was the pollen. He puts me on antibiotics for 5 days and I go home. I'm on so many medicines - anti-inflammatory pills, antibiotics, Zyrtec, Sudafed and some prescription nose spray, that to say I was a little loopy is an understatement.

I feel better the next day and go to work. Wrong choice. They are throwing so much at me, I feel like I'm in the twilight zone. After two days, while on my day off, I sleep the entire day and realized I probably went in too soon. But the thing is, I'm still on my probationary period and even though I'm doing the best I can, I never seem to be working fast enough for them. So I decide I'm going to try to go in Friday, because I want to keep my job, but after walking to the bus stop, I feel like I'm going to pass out and go back home.

So after resting Friday and on the weekend, I went back to work today and I feel a lot better strength wise, but every time a take a walk from my desk to the elevator, it's like a ran a freaking mile.

Oh, and I forgot the best part, I now have to wear a mask every time I go outside so pollen doesn't get into my lungs. This has been real fun. I've gotten all kinds of fun looks. Here's the thing, I know it's not normal to see someone wearing a surgical mask outside, but people are looking at me like I'm Hannibal Lector. Don't they know what the pollen is doing to people? I guess not. It's a crappy deal, but it's either that, or get swollen lungs again.

So even though I feel better, I still get winded easily and even having my mask off for two minutes to get into a taxi today have my chest feeling tight again. I realize I need more than just medical attention, I need supernatural attention. This morning I texted all my best friends to pray for my healing and am going to call my church to get on the prayer list - because this thing has got to go.

I've seriously thought of moving to Arizona or somewhere where pollen isn't as prevalent. Either that or allergy shots. I'm kind of a holistic type and really hate the thought of shooting toxins in my bloodstream, but I may have to do it. It's either that or hang out with the lizards and the cactuses in Arizona. It may sound extreme to some, but I don't ever want to experience an attack like that again. And if moving to the desert can prevent that, so be it. I'll just have to take a trip and see what the state has to offer. Stay tuned! I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Whitney's Gone

When an icon dies, it's unreal. When I heard of Whitney Houston's death, I immediately thought, they must be wrong. They got it wrong. Rumors of celebrity deaths happen all the time. But unfortunately, this time it was true. Whitney Houston is dead.

I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. Not only was Whitney just talented and beautiful, she was larger than life. This was a woman who broke the Beatles record of having more consecutive Number 1 singles in U.S. history. A singer, actress, model, mother, and most importantly, child of God.

Yes, some liked to focus on Whitney's downfalls, rather than her amazing achievements, but the fact that she was a woman of God, should not go unsaid. Yes, she had flaws, but who of us don't?

I chose and still choose to focus on the larger than life Queen of the 80s and 90s that she was. A melodic, angelic singer that used her God-given gift of voice to make the world sound more beautiful. She was Every Woman, and she had more than 'One Moment in Time' and boy did she shine.

I'll be dancing and singing to her music as long as my legs and voice allow me too. May her music and her memory live on forever in our hearts.

Goodbye girlfriend. May Heaven's light shine on your face and the angels sing as they welcome you into the pearly gates.

Rest in peace Whitney.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Treats are not my friend

Oh my goody gosh. It’s cookies and chocolate and fruitcake, oh my! I told myself I would not eat any holiday treats until Christmas actually arrived. I’ve actually been able to do this the 30 days before Halloween in the past. But as for the winter holidays, not so much. It’s not exactly easy because cookies and chocolate are everywhere!

For example, when I went to work Friday, I was determined not to eat any bad stuff because I wasn’t craving sweets. But then a Harry & David package comes to my office that I have to sign for because my Executive Director is out on maternity leave. So I take the gift basket out of the box and set it on her desk, thinking the staff and I will go through it Monday when we have our staff meeting. But then a co-worker of mine insists that we go ahead and open it.

So I’m thinking, no problem. All I saw was some weird cherries and pears and some peppermint type candy. I’m thinking I’ll have a pear and that will be the end of it. No guilt related eating would take place. But what do you know? We open up the basket and there’s peppermint bark and truffles and caramel popcorn – oh freakin’ my! And it doesn’t stop there.

My co-worker Susan notices the tin that I also put on the ED’s desk. I wasn’t going to open it but she emailed the ED for permission to open the tin, which was granted. So we open it and discover assorted chocolates including chocolate and almond covered toffee. I did not panic about this at first because I had forgotten my toffee addiction that I had in my twenties (I must have eaten a Scor candy bar every week). So I take a bite of the oh-so-buttery toffee and oh-my-gosh – it was like someone poured buttery goodness in my mouth!

I end up eating not two or three of these candies, but five, along with at least three other types of chocolates, one huge piece of peppermint bark dipped in milk chocolate, and oh yeah – a pear. Now I feel like someone poured a pound of cement in my stomach, not chocolaty goodness.

As I begin to wallow in guilt, I also begin thinking hey! It’s okay! This is what adults are supposed to do during the holidays, eat goodies. Kids have toys and we have chocolate, cake and cookies. What’s the harm in that? Especially when I am normally good about eating healthy. I typically eat these types of treats only when they are sitting right in front of me. I don’t buy them for myself. And since I stay away from fast food and don’t eat fried food at home, it’s ok if I stuff myself with holiday goodness.

So I decided that instead of feeling guilty, my new holiday motto will be peace, love and good chocolate for all. God bless us, every one!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful

In two days we will all celebrate Thanksgiving. I will also be celebrating my 40th birthday. On the outside, I'm cool and calm. I say things like I'm going to be forty and fabulous, and I will. However, on the inside, I'm beating myself up over the time I wasted in my 20's and some of my 30s doing nonproductive things like clubbing and dating knuckleheads who weren't worthy of me, my time, or my fabulous existence.

So, I'm freaking out a little, but deep inside, I am truly grateful for the blessings in my life. My father may no longer be with me and I lost the love of my life, but I am left with a wonderful mother, great siblings, awesome friends, and amazing nieces and nephews who help keep me sane. They all bring joy to my life, and have been there for me through thick and thin. They are a constant reminder of how blessed I am.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am sharing with you my gratitude list for 2011. Here are the things I am most thankful for:

  1. Family

  2. Friends

  3. A stable job and freelance clients

  4. Food to eat

  5. Warm shelter

  6. Cable television (without my favorite TV show Psych, life just wouldn’t be the same)

  7. Sight, hearing and a sane mind (some days the sane mind is arguable)
    and last but never least,

  8. a merciful God who continues to provide for me through the good, the bad and even the ugly (those non-angelic days I sometimes have.)

So on Thursday when you're enjoying your turkey and stuffing, and all the other stuff we stuff in our faces on Thanksgiving, don't just think about the one or two things you have to be thankful for, think of five or more things you’ve been blessed with, because there are others out there who would steal and sometimes kill (read the news) to have what we so often take for granted in this country.

And try to be thankful every day, not just on Thanksgiving. Because God brings blessings year round – not just during the holidays.

Peace and blessings and a very happy Thanksgiving holiday to you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chocolate, Dancing & Letting Your Light Shine

I love to dance. A lot. So much so that I get myself up in the morning dancing to Ricky Martin’s Cup of Life song – the Spanish version because it has more fire in it. Then I proceed to dance around like I’m a dancer on stage in a nightclub.

Is this normal for an almost 40 year old?

Do I really care? Not really.

Thing is, I don’t just dance in the morning. I dance all the time. Even at my computer when I’m writing.

I’m dancing now (really). It’s not really dancing. It’s more of a “wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care” kind of thing, but still, I think I may be a little hyper than most people who are my age.

Not that that is a bad thing. Or is it?

My energy today is unusual, and it probably is from the chocolate high I’ve developed from all the chocolate I’ve eaten today.

So far I’ve eaten 4 marshmallow cookies (they’re small, but 4 equals 300 calories), 4mini Twix bars and right now I’m scarfing down a 3.40 ounce box of M&M’s which I think is equivalent to two regular bags.

This is a situation.

I’m concerned because I used to get all high and mighty and say that people shouldn’t put those artists that wrote best sellers and historic critically acclaimed novels on a pedestal because if they couldn’t get creative sober, they really shouldn’t be well, critically acclaimed.


But here I am, drunk from chocolate, dancing as I write this blog and a new short story.

Is it because of the sugar that I’m so creative right now or because I’m seriously talented?

Maybe a little bit of both.

Whatever the reason, I'm going to keep getting drunk from chocolate, dancing around my room and in my chair, and being my animated self. After all, that's why people close to me love me.

The guy I've been dating loves it. He says I'm a bit of a drama queen, but he describes my silliness as "genuine and refreshing." In my younger sister's words, I'm just plain coo coo.

She keeps telling me don't let too much of the crazy out too early, since I just started seeing this guy.
But after dating him for a month, I've realized he's a little crazy himself, which explains why he's probably okay with my silliness.

But hey, it's great because I dated a very serious lawyer for almost eight years. I loved him like crazy but it's nice to date someone that isn't so intense.
I've said it in my blog before, with all the madness in the world - child killings, terrorist attacks, and east coast earthquakes to name a few, we need to be able to let lose and let our inner child shine.

And I'm gonna shine all over the place.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Injury Won't Stop Me

Last week I injured my foot pretty bad. I had one friend who was a former paramedic tell me it was probably broken, reiterated by my brother-in-law who is an orthopedic assistant. So you can imagine my relief when I went to the doctor and was told it was only a really bad sprain. Still not great, especially since I have to wear a big orthopedic boot, but it beats having a broken foot and wearing a cast.

So since I haven't been able to work out at the gym (which I joined a little over a week ago), I've been feeling really lethargic, not motivated to do anything but go to church. I realized it must be because I’m not working out like I was before. Even before I joined the gym, I speed walked around my neighborhood at least three times a week. So I realized that if I was going to get motivated to do anything, I would have to find a way to exercise with the orthopedic boot on my foot.

I remembered that after my fibroid surgery, I could do little walking, going up and down the steps without pain, etc. I had begun doing simple leg lifts from my bed, similar to ones I did with weights when I worked out at Curves once. Amazingly, the simple exercises made me feel better and more energetic. So I’ve begun doing the same exercises while waiting for my foot to heal.

Of course these exercises don’t give me the lift that working out at the gym does, but they do give me some energy to get up and move. I was in decent shape when I joined the gym, but nothing like I wanted to be. And since I could be in this boot for up to a month, I am determined not to gain weight or lose the little bit of strength I gained when I exercised on a regular basis.

This injury has also taught me not to waste time. Before I hurt my foot, I wanted to take a Zumba class, but because of my need to be perfect at everything, I didn’t take the class out of fear I might not be as good as all the others in the class. This is crazy because I kicked butt in every dance class I took at VCU. I mean the fact I wasn’t afraid to take a Krav Maga class after surgery, but too scared to take a Zumba class perfectly healthy is CRAZY. If I were to have permanent damage to my foot and never had taken the class, I'd be really upset with myself.

So, hopefully, once my foot heals, I will stop being a scaredy cat and take the Zumba class. But one thing is for sure, I will keep moving no matter what. I wasted enough time in my 20s and 30s when I was stronger, and now that I don’t have youth on my side, I am determined to feel and be strong regardless of surgery, injury or anything else that comes along. Because I don’t want to just be strong now, I want to be strong at 40, 50,60 and even 70. I read an article in the The Washington Post Magazine about a 72 year old female weight lifter. I know it can be done.

After all the pain and loss I’ve dealt with in my life, I am just ready to be not only be strong, not just happy, I want to be fabulous. Like Paul said in Philippians 3:14, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me." What's the prize I'm striving for? Feeling victory instead of fear and regret. I've had enough of that. Now I'm ready to kick fear and regret's butt. And look and feel fabulous doing it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Giving Up My Macy's Card

Recently I had trouble deciding whether or not I should cancel my Macy's card account. Much of the reason I didn't want to cancel was sentimental, but it was also the usual - not wanting to give up a card that I can use when I'm too broke to buy something with cash.
I've had my Macy's card for 20 years, and it's hard to give up something you've had that long, especially when it's been there for you time and time again. For instance:
  • When I needed a dress and shoes for my 10th year high school reunion, my Macy's card was there;
  • When I needed an Easter dress that I couldn't afford to pay with cash, my Macy's card was there;
  • When I had no money for a suit to wear to important interviews, Macy's was there; and
  • When I needed Timberland boots for Snowmageddon 2010, my Macy's card was there.
So, after realizing that canceling my card would be good practice in letting things go, because I hang on to everything (I have books on my bookshelf that I bought 10 years ago and have never read), I decided I would let my treasured Macy's card go.

But then something great happened! At brunch one weekend, a good friend of mine informed me that it is actually better to keep a credit card account open if I am trying to build up my credit. That it actually looks better on my credit report if I'm making my payments on time, which I am. I remembered that I had heard a credit professional say the exact same thing in a credit seminar I had attended some years ago, so I decided to keep the card. And all was well in my world.

Thing is, I know that credit cards are pretty much the work of satan - at least their outrageous percentages on purchases are - but I still can't help but to be happy that I still have my Macy's card. Now I can buy myself a treat every now and then. I mean, who doesn't deserve a good lip gloss now and then? Or a citrus-y perfume to give you a little lift, or a concealer with salicylic acid that covers up an enormous pimple that lands on your face a day before a big date?

This is why my Macy's card is necessary. For life's little emergencies and those days when I need a little pick-me-up. Because it's either shopping with my Macy's card or downing a pint of Häagen-Dazs on those days. And since shopping doesn't add 5 pounds to my thighs, I'm going to say using my Macy's card is the best option.

Besides, a little retail therapy never hurt anyone. At least not me. At least not in the last decade. I'll see how this next one goes. But I'm confident my Macy's card won't let me down.