UPCOMING EVENTS: Hartford (RI) marathon, Newport (CT) marathon in October,
Soldier (GA) marathon, Pensacola (FL) marathon, and Pilgrim Pacer Marathons (KS) in November

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ah, Garmin, what hath thou wrought?

I bet that's really, really bad old English. Keep it to yourself. I wasn't an English major.

So, I got this email from Sweet Baboo yesterday:

To: Misty
From: Baboo
Subject: Drool
Body: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=27335

If I haven't mentioned it before then it bears repeating: I am totally the go-to person if you want to spend a lot of money and need someone to affirm your choice.

Why not? I work and earn some of the money, but I don't actually physically figure out how to make it all go where it needs to go. Sweet Baboo does all that, while making sure that I'm surrounded by a bubble of various types of insurance. I'm irresponsible with money.
Back in 2007 when I totaled my car, we were ordering a replacement. Baboo said, just offhandedly, "You know, I've never had a brand new car."

so I was all like, DUDE! You should TOTALLY GET a new car!

and he got all excited and said, Really? You think so?

and I was like, hell yes! You work hard! You should right now tell that salesman you want a new car.

I was excited. Baboo was excited. The salesman was excited.

It's just that I was very, very, very poor once, and so was Baboo. We are self-made people. I went to school for eight years, and Baboo went to school for eight years, and then we met, married, and are now comfortable. Also, all the kids are now grown and gone, along with that huge sucking sound. Now we get to buy toys. And PLAY with them.

So, the Garmin. I'm all, hell, why not? but actually, I have a viable rationale: the battery on my Forerunner 301 tends to run out within 8 to 10 hours. It is no secret that my long course triathlons and ultra runs do not end after 8 to 10 hours. I want an instrument that allows me to obsess and worry for the full duration of the event. I want it to last as long as I do. (generally, about 16 or 17 hours). Oh, and the 310 is waterproof.

Dread Pirate and I have been working on why she should get one, such as, my 301 is dirty, and it's not waterproof, so I can't wash it, and other compelling reasons.

Now, then, I invite you to contribute and practice stating why one must have such an instrument (MSRP $349.) Share and post your rationale here.

...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Somebody to run for.

On May 2, I'm doing a walk for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. This organization is close to my heart, no, not because SOME people think I'm mentally ill for doing ultramarathons and Ironman races. Mental illness has become the focus of my career. I work full time in clinical research on treatments for mental illness, and I also work part-time as a licensed mental health counselor.

Everyone should try to do something to make world a better place; this is mine. If you're interested in donating, click here: http://www.nami.org/namiwalks09/NMX/athenamisty. My goals are modest, but if the goal is met, feel free to donate anyway.

That's it. I won't be sending out any emails or calling.
...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

In which I don't suck as badly as I thought I did. (Race Report)

I was ready for any excuse to avoid this race.  I remembered it from 2007, and remembered that it was HARD.  I hadn't done a multisport race since last August, and had just started running again about a month ago.  Throughout the winter I mostly sat and hated my shins for not healing, 
then hated my IT band.  Then there was the thyroid thing and exhaustion.  I woke up from my exhaustion two weeks ago to argue about whether I really needed this race.

Yesterday, we paid a guy to dig a hole.  He hit a sprinkler line we didn't know was there.  Water gushed.  We called someone.  Here it was, my excuse!  Well, there, see, we can't go to Los Alamos now...don't we have to stay and keep and eye on this?  
Sweet Baboo however, assured me the line was fixed.  We were going to Los Alamos.  and so we went.  As is my custom when anxiety is high, I binged.  My pre-race supper was 2 pieces of birthday cake (not mine), ice cream, 2 bags of chips, 2 candy bars, and some gatorade G2. 

The morning of the race, I was the spouse from hell.  I can't do this now;  I didn't get enough sleep.  I told you I need more sleep than this.  Oh, hell, I didn't think it w
as going to be so windy.  Dammit, I hate the wind.  You know I can't race at altitude!  What is it, 7000 feet up here?  Christ, it's cold!  I mean, really cold....Well, of course they screwed up my registration....OMG, I'm so not ready for this.  I don't know why I'm doing this.  I'm completely untrained.  I've barely been on my bike in the past 6 months, and yesterday when I did that 1 mile jog I couldn't catch my breath.  WTF was I thinking?  This is going to suck.  I mean, REALLY SUCK.  I will be WALKING my bike up those hills.  I'm so not r
eady for this!  Why am I here?  Why did I think I could do this?

Finally, Baboo leveled his gaze at me.  MISTY! he said sharply. Why don't you just...

then he stopped, took a deep breath, and his voice softened.  It's not 
going to be as bad as you think. It will be okay.  Okay?

Okay.

My front tire was flat.  Nobody could fix it, even the even bike mechanic, 
who didn't have the right tools to inflate a HED3 wheel.  Well, that's that!  I said triumpantly.  No bike, no duathlon.  I finally had a viable excuse not to do this. Yay!

But, my "friend" Karen suggested a solution, and she and Baboo inflated the tire, and then she announced happily to me that I would be able to race, after all.  

Yes, I said grimly.  THANKS for that.  

Karen laughed, knowing full well that I didn't want this, and knowing full well that I needed this.  
I chewed my lip and waited for the start, and then...

and then...

well, it wasn't as hard as I remembered it.  It wasn't as long as I remembered, or as hilly.  I ran the first 4k with about a 11 minute pace.  Then I spent 5 minutes in transition fiddling with my helmet, which for some mysterious reason was so tight that when I tried to put it on
, I choked and gagged.  What the hell, had my head gotten fatter?  I went to my car and dug around, emptying bags, looking for a tool to get the very tight buckle loosened.  Finally, I got the helmet on, and then got onto the bike, and headed out.  

and...amazingly, the bike wasn't as hard, either.  It seemed really, really short, shorter than I remember.  And not as hilly.  Why had I been dreading this race?  It sure was windy, though.  Crap.

But even still, amazingly, I was only a couple minutes behind 
my prevous time, even though I was far less trained an
d 15
 pounds heavier.  I took 1st Athena.  

Oh, I was definitely at the back of the pack.  But now, I feel a little more confident.  I'm ready for the next race.  Sweet Baboo, meanwhile, got first Clydesdale on the long course.  The prizes were glasses inscribed with the name of the race, in blue for first place.  We came home with a matched pair of them.  

...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

(For Alice, and the others.)

It seems like I've done things backwards in my life.  While my friends were getting settled into their lives, I was on a whirlwind tour of "how badly can I screw up my life??"  Marriages, kids, divorces, and finally, therapy.  I think I provided cheap entertainment for my friends and relatives...if nothing else, I definitely gave them something to talk about.

All of this came to a head with the death of my mother after a long illness, leaving me alone to deal with three children, and life and the sudden realization of how very, very complicated and difficult life had become.  And how much I could hurt.  And eventually, how much I could overcome.

That seems long ago, now.  It's been ten years since then, and when I would have settled for good enough, I got better than that.  But now, I'm a spectator to the despair that I hear and see in phone calls and emails from people I care about.  The kind that I felt once.  

But you--you are no stronger or better than I, so you will get through it, as I did once.  You will get better, I promise.  You will be happy again.  

I would never try to minimize your pain.  I just want you to know that one day you will no longer feel like you're waking every day to a nightmare, wondering if it will end, and wishing desperately for a way to stop hurting.  I remember days when I would wake up, and before I opened my eyes, the pain of another day of dealing with my life was already on me.  I remember late one night, standing on a good friend's front porch, in a nightgown and raincoat, crying in the rain, knocking on her door, clutching yet another divorce decree in my hand.  I moved through it, one day at a time.  I took care of myself, and leaned on and cried with people who cared for me.  

Move forward, one day at a time.  Always believe and know that there is a better future for you, and happy times, whether it is  alone or with someone else.  

I got better.  Life got better. You will, too.    

There will be a day when you wake up and you feel normal, and there will even a day when you look back and your hurt is a distant memory.  The memory of how bad life can feel and how much life can hurt will make you appreciate life and it will seem a little better for it.  You will be stronger.  

You will be happy again.  I promise.

...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

and then there's the girl.

Hey, mom, I was wondering, um...

Yes?

Well, you know I was wondering, I really like Albuquerque a lot. If I was to come out there to live, if I could--

No.

--could I, could I, stay with you while I--

No.

--wow. You didn't even let me finish. I was going to say, 'stay with you while I look for a new job and a place to live.'

No.

Wow. Um. that was fast. um. I'm not trying to argue or anything...can I just ask why?

Because it is not a good idea for grown children to live with their parents. Because if you don't have me to fall back on, you'll be more careful about decisions you make. Because I love you enough to force you to be more careful about how you live your life.

so, hey, you lived with grandma and grandpa, right?

I did. Boy, that was a bad idea! I love you too much to make the same mistake that they made.

you love me too much to...no, wait. What?

Besides, I had a child, leaving an abusive marriage, and already had a good job.

...you had...so if I had a child would, you, could I--

Sweetie, moving to a strange city with no job or place to live is how people wind up homeless prostitutes. Then they have their children taken away by Children and Family Services. I don't want to visit my grandchildren in a foster home. Do you want me to visit my grandchildren in a foster home, do you dear?

I, uh, no. Um. What grandchildren? I don't even have kids yet, mom.

That's good. They make a 3- month shot now, you know.

Dad said I could live with him if needed to.

That's sweet. Say hi to your Dad for me. Are you still in that cult?

It isn't a cult. It's a real religion. Mom--

Yes?

never mind. I have to go back to work now. I love you.

I love you too, kiddo. Call me anytime.

...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Put it in the book.

Nearly 18 years ago I walked into Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, South Dakota, and you were born, my youngest, a few hours later, shy of ten pounds. If I had known you would be that big, I might have smoked or something. (I'm just kidding, obviously; please don't lecture me on the dangers of premie babies)

You, my youngest son, were ADORABLE. Big, blue eyes and white hair. I might have easily been one of those overindulgent mothers--except Sweet Baboo has reigned me in, convincing me that a man only learns respect if he's made to be respectful.


MOM: I HAVE DECIDED U WILL PULL WEEDS THIS WEEKEND.
SON: WHAT. IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!

Trust me, I know it's your birthday, and that our influence has been rapidly evaporating. We've been racing to have as much influence over you as we can, while we can, so that you'll be an honorable man that respects boundaries.


MOM: UR A MAN NOW. NO MORE FREE RIDES.
NOT SURE YOU WILL HAVE A FRIEND WITH YOU EITHER.

I want you to be able to make your own decisions, and solve your own problems, so that your life will be easier. It's good, at least for now, for you to suffer the delusion that you don't need me to make your way in the world. Meanwhile, though, it's time you started understanding that I have a life, too. It's not all about you. Maybe I have things to do now.


SON: U PROMISED R U CHANGING YOUR MIND?
MOM: I GET 2 DO THAT. U WERE SNOTTY.
U CAN'T TREAT PEOPLE LIKE CRAP AND STILL GET WHAT YOU WANT.


You may hate me, and complain to your friends about how horrible I am, but as I told you many times: save it for the book. Complain about me in your memoir, when you write one.
MOM: UR AWFULLY SNARKY 4 A NEARLY HOMELESS MAN.
SON: QUIT CALLING ME THAT.

I'm fearful of what you'll decide to do with your shiny-new, adult self. But in that worrying is the firm understanding that becoming an adult can be much more painful if I spent your pre-adult years rescuing you from every little thing.

Put in in the book. That's what I told you whenever you and your siblings complained about how unfair I was. Put it in the book that you got kicked off the swim team and I did nothing to stop it, that I turned you in for breaking school rules and you were put in the in-school suspension. Be sure to include that I made you walk 4 miles when you slept in and missed the bus, and that I didn't take your project to school when you forgot it, even though I could have left work to do it.

Eventually, you've been figuring out 1) not to get into messes, and 2) you're perfectly capable of taking care of yourself.

This is good. Very good. I see people with ruined lives because they haven't figured out those things. I don't want you to be one of them.
I'm inflicting minor pain now so that you don't have it later. Put it all in the book.


SON: YOU'RE NOT BEING FAIR.
MOM: PUT IT IN THE BOOK.

Happy 18th birthday, my youngest son.

Have a happy life.

...

Monday, April 20, 2009

wait. what?

So, Friday's message from the Economics teacher was a progress report that highlighted Mini-baboo's deficiencies.  Mini-baboo, to remind you, is a senior, and has been vascillating between graduating/not graduating since January, when he must have decided that schoolwork was for suckers. 


So I responded to the teacher with a comment about how Mini-baboo needs to get his current events in, apparently, and that I was forwarding this to him.  I copied Mini-baboo to his email account.

To which he responded, by texting me.  He texted me, "don't email my teachers, you don't need to be in my business."  Oh, yes he did.  he texted me that.  from the phone that I PAY FOR.  The phone that I--wait, what?  I need to WHAT?  Rrrrr.

Life in the 21st century, arguing with your teenagers by text and email.

So I sent him an email:

TO: Mini-baboo1991

SUBJECT: Since you're all grown up now...

BODY: ...and you don't need me to email you or your teachers or be all up in your business, I'm thinking you can probably handle your own birthday celebration, you know, paying for it and all. That's my thought.  I don't know.  What do you think??


we'll see how he responds.  Meanwhile, the opthamologist says that my eyelid twitch probably is more likely from stress rather than too much thyroid medication.  Are you experiencing any unusually stressful events, he wants to know...


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Recovery hurts.


That's it.  It just hurts.  This weekend I did an hour-long spin class, and then swam the slowest 1000 yards I've swam in quite a while.  It was the first time I've been in the pool since last September, and oh, did time fly (but I didn't.) I spent most of the rest of the day observing a high school chess tournament, and later ran a quick 1.6-mile trail run on a loop near my house, once of my favorite quick workouts.  This little run is going to be my benchmark, the run by which I track my progress.  I'm going to start doing it twice, because it's a nice little run, with a little bit of everything.

Then this morning, I futzed around putting off the inevitable, before finally setting out on my "long run".  I know I shouldn't be, but compared to what my long run has been in the past, it seemed kind of pathetic.  Once a week I do my long run on pavement, and today I did a whopping 8.5 miles, and boy, did it hurt.  It's the longest run on pavement that I've done since the Colorado Relay last year, in September.  I mean, OW.  

It's not my feet or legs that hurt.  It's my hips, and for some reason, it hurts down there.  'Sup with that??  I don't know what to think of that hurt.  Is it a developing hernia?  Is it my adductors/abductors (I always get those mixed up)?

The good news is that as my long pavement run has inched upward my pace, meanwhile, is inching downward.  I did this one at about a 13 minutes pace.  When I started this a month ago, I think I did about a 14:30 pace, so it's getting better.  But meanwhile, as I once again get used to running long distances, oh, how I hurt.  I HURT!  Mommy, make it stop!  

I decided that I'm just not ready for the long course at the Atomic Man duathlon, so I'll be contacting the race directors and asking if I can be placed in the short course instead.  I'm just not ready, and I don't expect any useful developments in the next 7 days.

So, things are slow, but things are happening.  It doesn't hurt that I have access to my workouts by walking out the door most of the time.  That makes a huge difference.  

....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Updates.

BAD EATING HABITS: Since I'm big impulsive baby and MUST track my eating, I've taken the advice of several and joined The Daily Plate. It's just obsessive enough, and adds calories burned while training to my daily allotment. Both TDP and my endocrinologist agree 1400 calories is my limit, with allowances for extra activity.


THAT THYROID THING: After 2 weeks of Synthroid, I feel pretty good, and don't have a desperately exhausted feeling immediately after waking up. I seem to have more motivation for working out. If I can get my grown daughter and cats to stop waking me up, I'll have even MORE energy.

WORKOUTS: I'm doing resistance training. I'm self-conscious working out in front of Sweet Baboo; isn't that weird? I'm SO GLAD days are longer! Last night, I had an awesome, short trail run, the first good one I've had in a while. I'll be training for Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake and the Tahoe Rim Trail 50K. I'll be back in the back-of-the-pack in no time. Today, I did 9 pushups. I've never done that many all at once before, and my butt was only slighyly up in the air. Then my arms gave out and I almost broke my nose. I assume that's what they mean by "working to failure".

HAIR: My hair is growing out. Soon, I will have ponytails again. You don't care, and that's okay. I do.

SOCIAL WORK SCHOOL: When I'm done, I'm never going to school again. No, seriously. I mean it. I do.

NEW JOB: It's psychiatric research, and it's very interesting. Sometimes Sweet Baboo pops in and talks with me for a few minutes when he's not insanely busy with his new job. At my other, part-time job, I developed and am now giving a combination parenting skills class and support group on one evening a week, and also have a couple of individual clients. Once I'm done with social work school, I'll hopefully be doing a combination of case-management and therapy during the day, and all my evenings will be free.

CHILDREN: My youngest teenage son is dangling precariously between graduating and having to take a class in summer school to graduate. Because he's TRYING TO KILL ME. My daughter has been calling me VERY LATE at night to vent her drama, which is never an emergency. I asked her many times not to do this, then went into my settings and set her ringtone to silence.
Betcha didn't know you could do this, did you? You're welcome.

...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

During Pictures. Again.


This is my friend Sharon. We went to high school together in Richardson, Texas. It's freaky that I am old enough to have had the same friend for nearly 30 years. I met her in 9th grade in Algebra class. As one of many kids do not reach abstract thinking by 9th grade, she struggled. She's smart, always did her homework, but her brain just wasn't ready for Algebra in 1980.

I sat in the back of class and read, notably the trashy Flowers in the Attic series, never doing any classwork or homework. From time-to-time, I'd glance at the overhead projector screen, and it always made sense to me, and return to my book. I was not a good girl, like Sharon. But, I got As on all my tests. Mr. Ayers had learned early on that it was just best to leave me be. (I've paid my dues since then, obviously.)

I let Sharon cheat off me during tests. Then Mr. Ayers started handing out two versions of each test, so, she then she'd just hand me her test when he wasn't looking, I would do the problems lightly in pencil, and hand them back. She wound up passing Algebra. But before you think less of her, the story has an ethical and happy ending: Sharon, with her low threshold of guilt, retook Algebra a couple years later IN SUMMER SCHOOL, to make sure she understood it. She got an A. I thought she was crazy for doing that, but now I'm proud to have a friend who recognizes that there are no short cuts.


Sharon graduated in the top 10% of our 1983 class (over 600 kids graduated). I graduated in the lowest 10%. I'm not making this up. It caused a great deal of distress and angst - in my parents, not me. Sharon went on to college, then established her career, then marriage, then children. I, or course, did things is a slightly different order. Sharon worked for the Forest Service for a long time, before changing her focus to start her own business as a landscape designer and be home for her kids.

Sharon has always had a problem with her weight, in that she had difficulty gaining it. She suspects an overactive thyroid. I never had much problem with my weight until later on. I joked with her earlier this week that if would could somehow average our bodies, we'd make two normal people.

Sharon is more or less intruigued by my interest in multisport insanity, the way one is intruigued by a friend who has become involved in some sort of weird cult. Not enough to be involved in it herself, just interesting to watch.

In any case, look at me. Just LOOK at me. All of me. This is going to be my before picture, although, in this entire journey, perhaps it's more of a "DURING" picture. I know that for me, two things work:

1) I MUST track my food. If I don't, it's too easy for me to just start eating, eating, eating and the next thing I know I'm downing a few thou calories a day.

2) I have to have a program that lets me "earn" extra calories for doing exercise. On this day, we climbed a small hill behind my house called, "The U mound" (seen in the background of the picture of me, above) and I was distressingly breathless. I even had to stop once or twice to catch my breath. Time to get my butt in gear.
Last night, Baboo and I signed up for the AtomicMan Duathlon, near Los Alamos, New Mexico.

I've done this before, always the "Little Boy" course. (Yes, the two distances are charmingly named after the two atomic bombs that ended WWII) The little boy course is 5K run, 20K bike, and then a 4K run. The bike is hilly, on mountain roads with sharp turns and steep climbs.
The "Fat Man" course is a 10K run, 40K bike (including going down and then back up out of a canyon) and then a 5K run. It is essentially an Olympic triathlon with the swim having been replaced by a 5K run.

So guess which distance I signed up for. In two weeks. I expect to die around noon that day.

Hopefully, I won't, because these last pictures of my big fat butt are not what I want in a frame next to my casket.

...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New House Pictures, Part 1: Kitchen


These are my chickens.  They sit in the corner of my kitchen and watch me cook.  


For some reason I cannot explain, they are one of the few cluttery things in my kitchen that I allow.  I don't like a lot of decoration in my kitchen because it's a workspace for me, and the more pretty stuff there is in there, the more I have to clean.  Except for the chickens.  Which make the food turn out better.  They must, because I insist on having them in my kitchen.  I love my chickens.  Whenever I see one I don't have, I buy it.  I've bought them at souvenire stands, local shops, and off EBay.  I haven't seen a new one in a while.  

So here are some pictures of the new house that I've gone on and on and on about.  Now, the previous owner had this whole, dried-flowers-and-bundles-of-trigs-English-cottage-garden thing happening. I'm not SAYING THAT ANYTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT; I'm just not into the whole, "Martha Stewart threw up here" look. 

At first I hated this kitchen island. Now, I use it every. Single. Day.  The bouquet of flowers usually sits on the wood stove, but I move it when Baboo makes a fire.

But back to the cottage garden thing, and why I hated it.  Well, for one thing, I avoid things that collect dust and cobwebs and crumble when you breathe on them.  There's that.   

But the other thing that the whole "cottage garden" look is just weird in this particular house which is, I mean.  C'mon.  In the DESERT.  
And, plus, it's a ranch house. It was built in the 80s, but it's more of a mid-century type tract home. 

AND, it's about a mile off old route 66.  How can you not want to have fun with that, and fill your house with all kinds of funky midcentury junk?

Baboo and I are kind of eclectic, but in honor of the home's style and location I've decided to fill in the details with a few midcentury things here in there.  

I like kitch, even though I can't spell it.  I always have.  In the eighties and nineties I had things like pink flamingos in my yard, and my appliances were all ACTUAL things from the 60s and 50s that people had thrown out.  This, of course, made my mother recoil with horror because she despised everything that reminded her of the 60s and 50s as being "old" and "ugly".  My friends, who had dusty-rose carpeting and french-blue Tupperware, and those crappy chrome table-and-chair sets, were pretty horrified, too, by all my old garage sale "vintage" junk.  

I left most of it behind when I left South Dakota.  Except for one old chandelier, which I will be restoring one of these days soon.  
That's the beauty of decorating with junk.  You change your look, and you're not out much.  

In this kitchen, very soon, I'll be mounting some old postcards of Albuquerque.  They're mostly of old hotels along route 66 that are either not there any more, because they became nuisances and were seized by the city and razed, or they are still there but are still nuisances. Some have postmarks from the 40s on them, and messages to people who I'm sure are probably no longer with us.

Yes, that is a nook.  For some reason, Baboo was wild about this.  He said, "It will be just like eating in a restaurant!"  But then, I always do the cooking, so isn't EVERY day like eating in a restaurant for him?  I got this little condoment holder of him as joke (closeup in picture, below).  In it, we keep his beloved Chilula.  The table cloth is oilcloth, tan with cherries. DP suggested this.  I HEART my oilcloth table cloth.  The stained-glass window, which you can barely see, was made by my mother when I was fifteen, and I will not have a kitchen, anywhere, in which isn't hanging.  It hung in her kitchen until she died, and then I took it and it hangs in all my kitchens.

So, the light over the table.  I had to have this light.  I bought it from MoonShine Shades. 

The former light fixture was a weird, frosted bowl hanging from ornate, iron scrollwork underneath a halogen light.  It lured small flying bugs, then collected them when they died.  Then one day, I think it was DP who sent me a link to Meteor Lights, and I swooned.  I wound up choosing MoonShine over Meteor Lights because I liked their hanging assembly more.  

The table overlooks the back yard where a lot of birds congregate: scaled and mountain quail, scrub jays, an occasional marauding hawk, white-winged doves, towhees, finches, hummingbirds, and then there are the occasional bunnies.  So, along with salt&pepper, there is usually at least a couple pairs of binoculars on the table, which you can see in a basket on the right.

Lastly, here are the magnets.  

We collect one from every place we go - races, visits, whatever.  We love to travel, especially places off the major freeways that you'd otherwise miss.  We only collect it if we've actually been there, and the joy is in picking out the magnet.  There's quite a few of them from national parks thoughout the south west.  It's the one thing that we can collect as souvenires that doesn't take up too much space or collect too much dust.  



That's it, I guess.  I'll post some more pictures soon as I finish arranging and accessorizing the rest of the house.  



Thursday, April 09, 2009

Dear Unfailingly Cheerful Volunteer Person;

Okay, I get it. You volunteer, and that's awesome. You clearly don't need to work full time, so you do something that gives you meaning and helps others. I am, truly, happy that you do that; in fact, it's something I often suggest to my clients who feel that their life has no meaning. You fulfill an important need here, and make lives easier for the patients.

Meanwhile, however, can I offer you some tips to ensure I don't wind up throwing my radio at you?

1) The reason I'm not smiling is because I'm concentrating on my job. I'm not unhappy, or sad, or angry, (and don't need cheering up) but I will be if you don't stop yelling SMILE!! at me every single time you see me, and then waiting to see if I comply.

2) I used to leave my door open, but now it's nearly shut for a reason. If I shut it all the way, then people who need to see me won't knock on it. It's not nearly shut so that you can peak in and start a conversation. If you don't have business with me, walk on by. And don't ever, ever knock on my door when it's closed.

3) I'm working. My employer doesn't pay me to chat about your new grandchild, dog, parakeet, son, daughter, ex-husband, spring plantings, winter rye, the fruit setting up in your garden, how busy you're going to be canning this season, the type of organic fertilizer you use, the bald patches in your grass, the latch on your gate that needs fixing, the wonderful supper you cooked up last week, the fish you caught, the awesome cloud formations you saw last week, or what they talked about on Oprah yesterday. It's not just you. It's you, and every single other volunteer that stops by and wants to talk about these things.


4) I especially don't want to hear about your restful week. I gave up summers off to be here.

5) When if I'm on the phone, don't hover in my doorway where you can hear the conversation, waiting for me to finish. Also, I'm "working hard." I'm not "hardly working," so LMTFA. Moreover, it's cold enough for me, it's hot enough for me, it's windy enough for me, and yes, I'm thankful that it's Friday.

6) Sometimes, you can just have thoughts in your head that don't need to be expressed out loud. Trust me.

7) Quit hogging the bathroom. What the hell are you doing in there for so long?


That's it. Thanks for letting me rant.

...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Things that may, or may not, be related to my thyroid

1) I woke up this morning and was instantly wide-awake, like I used to be. I also felt unfailingly optimistic, like I used to, instead of like something terrible was about to happen. For a few months now I've gradually felt worse and worse when I woke up. Not today, though. I feel gooooood. And I've stayed that way the whole day.

2) My voice seems a bit higher and softer today - that's something I did not expect. I stopped to say something to someone and they asked me to repeat myself twice. I cleared my throat, but there wasn't anything in it. I'm not horse, or stuffed up. Weird.

3) I feel thin. I can't really describe what I mean by that, other than I think I feel more energetic, or something, instead of like I'm lumbering around making the earth shake with each step. Didja ever have that feeling? Sometimes I just wake up feeling like I'm creating a scene out of Jurassic Park.
Boom.

Boooom.

BOOOOOOOOOMMM!

4) That's about it. No change in hunger, or skin, or any other stuff.

Meanwhile....It's spring! SSSPPPPRRRRIIIIINNNNGGGGGG!

Yay. I'm busying trying to work up a commuting route from home to work. It's only 9 miles, but it goes through to pretty, em, interesting areas of the city. So, I'm trying to figure out a good route that avoids the areas where I'm likely to get SHOT. The first 7 miles are on a dedicated paved bike path. It's the last 2 that aren't.

On the other hand, I might just pick up my time trial speed a bit, who knows?



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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Things I just happen to know today.

1) My last kid is going to graduate from high school. On time. (Whew!)

2) Now that that I have a settled, peaceful life I get to sit back and spectate on the drama of my two older kids lives. I wonder if I was this entertaining to my parents. I'm not worried about them, just curious. It's like Tevo-ing a soap opera. What will happen today, I wonder. Will Sarah find out that Juan is not who she thinks he is?

3) I know that there are now two places where I never, ever, ever want to live. One is the southernmost desert southwest US, home of the Palo Verde beetle as well as wasps the size of hummingbirds that feed on Tarantulas, and are considered to be "one of the most painful insect stings in the world". THE WORLD. Did you read that? THE WORLD.
The other is Fargo, ND, where one can apparently watch small icebergs float by from the comfort of their 2nd floor. I typed "Fargo ND ice jam" into an image search engine and was introduced to a staggering array from many previous years. I lived through blizzards and The Great Flood of '93 in South Dakota, and as soon as my education was done, I was outta there.
To my way of thinking, this unpleasantness is of biblical proportions. All that's missing is the toads and locusts.

4) I don't miss teaching, but I sure miss those kids. I haven't ruled out the thought of returning to schools some day. I just don't want to do it as a teacher.

5) I know I'm recovering, training-wise. I did a 6-mile pavement run last week, and a 7-mile pavement run this week. This week I was faster, and felt better afterwards. My loosely-made plan is to extend this run by one mile each week, and to run it after work, acclimate to running when I'm tired and it's hot. necessary training for BSLT 70.3. My first "test" will be the Jay Benson Sprint Triathon on Mother's Day.

6) I feel better today. I woke up feeling refreshed for the first time in weeks. I figure this is either due to thyroid medication, the return to my old WW diet, or my run last night and the subsequent coma of sleep I attained. Or all three.

7) I know now that if I wear a low-cut shirt to charm people I'm presenting to, I should avoid eating anything that is crumbly.

8) I'm considering maybe doing some of my events for charity. I'm thinking NAMI. I mean, more good could come of it, other than just fitness and fun. What I don't know is how much of a hassel it is or how to get started.
If you've had experience just flat-out picking a charity and doing stuff on their behalf, email me. I'd like some pointers.
...

Higher-protein diet: FAIL

I've been trying this higher-protein diet for two months now, and it's not working for me. At first, for a couple or three weeks, it was fine, but then gradually, I started feeling more and more tired, very much like the personal experiences I've read. Really tired. Like, laying down on my office floor for 15 minutes twice a day tired. Like being too tired to exercise. And, my thyroid is not so off as to lay the blame on that. This latest feeling tired is really, really dramatic, and it's gotten really bad in the past month or so.

Whenever I have a client who comes in with complaints I always ask how long they've felt this way. Then I ask them about "exceptions".

  • When do you not feel this way?
  • What have you tried before that works?
  • What do you do that makes you feel good?
Unfortunately it is a truth universal that I don't often take my own advice. It's easy to blame everything on a thyroid, but in truth, when I look back over my weight loss saga for the past 5 years, Baboo has helped me see that only one thing has worked consistently for me: the Weight Watcher's Point system. Thyroid or not, it works for me.

It's easy, I get to "earn" extra points by doing exercise, and every single time that I've been diligent about keeping those points (early 2005, and then again in early 2008), I've dropped about 2 dress sizes pretty quickly, hypothyroid or no, and had plenty of energy for workouts. Whenever I quit keeping the points, I'd gain a dress size or two.

Everything else I've done since then has not worked. So, I'm going back to the points system.

I looked at my diet for the past couple months, and I'm getting about nearly twice as many points a day as what has worked for me in the past. I've been retricting my carbs to make up for the extra protein that I'm supposed to get on it. Runners need more energy and carbs, not less. I was doing well on less protein in the past. I'm going back to my tried-and-true.

Of course, I am too cheap to re-join WW them and pay the dues. I have a copy of their points calculation formula in a spreadsheet, so I'm going to track all my food in SparkPeople, which is free (the formula for Excel is: =(B1/50)+(C1/12)-(D1/5) where you would input in cell B1 your calories, c1 your fat, and d1 your fiber.) See, boys and girls? There is a use for Algebra after high school.

Sounds like a lot of work. But I am so terrible at just "guessing" how much I've eaten. I have to track it. Everyone has their own thing that works for them, and clearly, this is mine. I have to take responsibility for myself instead of looking for ways out. Do I think the Synthroid will work for me? yes. But more importantly, I've had my own personal experience with a lower carb, higher-protein diet, and it's not for me.

...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

No motivation.

I'm so tired when I get off work.   Anything that happens is an easy excuse not to work out.  I know I feel better when I run, but it's so hard to get started.  


I try "bullshitting' myself by just getting dressed for a walk/ hike.  But then it's really windy, or it snows, and I use that as an easy excuse to not work out.  Can't ride today; it's too windy.  Can't run, it's dark and snowing.   Can't do anything, becuase I'm tired.  And bored.  And hungry.  

PSHFEW.

I need a motivation pill.  Who makes that?

...

My new doctor.

Why did your doctor run that test? Have you had symptoms?

Dr. S sat in front of me, typing my answers into a computer. I don't know why my GP ran that test, I said. I think he does certain tests when you reach a certain age, so maybe that was it. I have had some symptoms, but I thought it was just menopause.

He started going through a list of symptoms.

Had I notice any hair falling out? Well, I didn't think so. I mean, I have LOT of hair. I haven't seen any in the drain, or on my pillow. But then, this past weekend, I turned our vacume over - the little new one we bought for the new house - and I was stunned at how many much blonde hair was wrapped around the beater brush. There was a lot. My hair stylist, meanwhile, had commented that I had "course" hair, which nobody had ever told me before. At the time, I chalked that up to her not having a good chairside manner.

Weight gain? I explained my lifestyle to him. When I got to the point where the only time in the past seven years that I've been in the "normal" range for my height was when I was training for an Ironman, his eyebrows went up, and he typed into the computer.

Family history. "Is your mother still alive?" I told him she died of heart failure at 61, as a complication of cardiomyopathy. His lips tightened, and he typed into the computer.

"Father?"

"Suicide," I said simply. "About 3 years ago. He was the second in his family to do that; there's a lot of depression and alcoholism there."
He continued down a list of symptoms, and asked about fatigue. "The thing is, doc, I do a lot. I work full time, and besides that, I'm usually either doing another part-time gig, or taking classes, or both." But lately, I told him, I'd complained to Sweet Baboo that I just felt old.

"What did you mean by old," he probed.

"I don't know. Just--old. Like time is running out."

He smiled a little, and typed into his computer. He's about 65, I think. Sharp as a tack--he was familiar with the psychopharmacology research that I'm coordinating at my job. But at 65, it must be ironic to hear a 44-year-old marathoner say that she feels like time is running out.

All together, he spent probably about 45 minutes with me, listened to my heart, breathing, explained things to me, answered the questions I could remember (because I forgot my list of questions) and then explained to me why he was going to prescribe what he was going to prescribe.

He told me that generic medications are allowed to deviate from their name-brand counter part by as much as 20%. He also told me that "natural" drugs, like dessicated pig thyroid, are allowed to deviate in potency even more than generics, because they are classified as "natural" and are not subject to the same guidelines by the FDA.

He checked off the "no substitution" box on my prescription. Synthroid, .5 mg

I assured him he didn't need to sell me on that point. "To be honest, doc, snake venom is natural. Spinal meningitis natural. I've also been reading up on all this, and I know that the "natural" thyroid is not bioidentical to human thyroid hormone. I'll take the stuff that's been formulated to exactly duplicate human thyroid hormone, thanks."

It pays to be educated about your condition. When I went to the pharmacy to pick up my new prescription, I glanced at the label. Hesitated. "Is this generic? I'm pretty sure my doctor said no generics."

The pharamcist went to check that the doctor had indeed checked that box, and then called out to me that it would need to be refilled again, if I didn't mind waiting a couple minutes. I went in search of an Oil of Olay product that Oil of Olay makes but nobody seems to carry. That's another story.

When I came back for the right prescriptions, I hesitated again. "How many is in here?"

"Ninetey," I was told. "It's a three-month supply."

I struggled to be my own advocate while still being a good girl. "Gosh, ninety!" I said brightly, giving my biggest Dixie Girl smile. "It sure doesn't look like ninety. These must be tiny pills." The pharmacist looked a bit put out, but then when she took the bottle I handed her, her eyes widened a bit. "I'll be right back," she said.

I finally arrived home with ninety of the right medication, and I started taking it today. "How soon will it start working? What sorts of things might I expect," was one of the questions I remembered to ask. Sweet Baboo wanted to know that, too.

The doctor had smiled, and said, "you know, that's an interesting question. Like you, a lot of people tell me they're only been feeling kind of bad for the past couple months. But then when they get on the medication, and their level is adjusted properly, they realize they've felt crappy for years."

So, I took my new pill for the first time this morning. It has to be taken with water, on an empty stomach, at least an hour before I eat. This morning at 5 am, I took my pill. But I can't help but wonder: I love my life. It's a fantasy life, in my opinion. How much better could it possibly be?

...