Saturday, June 6, 2015

New goals, new horizons, new focus

Nothing is impossible in this world. Firm determination, it is said, can move heaven and earth. Things appear far beyond one's power, because one cannot set his heart on any arduous project due to want of strong will. -- Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Life seems to be settling down (finally) we've lived in our new house for a little over four years and in that time my husband and I have changed jobs six times. Four our of six of those jobs took over 40 hours of our time per week away from each of us. Needless to say, we've been busy.

 It is easy to look at our property and feel completely overwhelmed. We bought the property (2.5 acres) knowing full and well what kind of state it was in but we have not really had the time to do much with it.

That's not to say we've done nothing. We added onto the house, built a deck, planted numerous gardens, attempted to get our yard looking good...and we did go through and try to clean up what we lovingly refer to as "the back 40" many time.

We often hypothesize about what the previous owners did back there to create the insanity that resides back there. You probably can't see much in the picture to the left besides a run-down shed but the ground is covered in garbage. Layers upon layers of garbage.

Our neighbors have told us that the previous owners had a steel business and indeed, there is plenty of steel. I can tell they were welding and working on cars in the shed. But that doesn't explain the broken dishes, layers upon layers of glass and rusty is a mess...
You can kind of make out some of the junk. And you can spend hours cleaning up the bits and pieces and not make a dent! It can be quite disheartening.

Last week, I was given some inspiration to really focus on getting things in order: a horse.

Let me back up: I've never really been a horse person. My mom always had horses when I was growing up but they weren't something I was interested in. Somehow, in the last few years, I've found myself wandering closer and close to being a horse fanatic. Last summer, in fact, was my first summer going on regular rides...and it was great. I ride a kindly older horse who belongs to one of my mom's cousins. Her name is Goldie and she is the most matronly horse I've ever met.
Goldie isn't perfect, though. She has pretty problematic feet (founder) and (they think) some form of arthritis. She is a great horse but slow and not always healthy enough to ride. It is sad and I know my days with her are numbered.

Last week I attended an event for a local horse rescue and fell in love, once again, with the horse community. And for the first time in a long time I feel like I've found my passion and my motivation. Let's do this thing! I'm ready for my own horse.

Well...sort of ready. I'm ready to start earning my own horse.

This is a HUGE project that will span over several years. I see it broken down into three big, concurrent steps/goals. I will elaborate more on each later but these are the big goals:

Get our property ready for a horse
  • Clean up "the back 40" -- this will most likely be the longest process and will include heavy equipment. Right now I'm focusing on the things I can do by myself. I'll go out each day and pick up a few loads of garbage.
  • Turn current shed into a barn -- We have a shed that will work out pretty well as a small barn. Each weekend I'll work on that. I think it will only need to be cleaned out, stripped down, and have a roof/siding added. (ha -- "only")
  • Put in fencing

Lose weight
  • Eat less
  • Move more -- this will be facilitated by cleaning up every night 

Learn more about taking care of horses
  • Volunteer to clean out local barns after work and care for horses on weekends for people who go out of town
  • Take lessons
  • Pursue adoption with rescue organization (which is a 6-12 month process including lessons)

Monday, April 21, 2014

I just want to Be Okay

Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson is one of my go-to power songs.

I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
I just want to feel something today
I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
I just want to feel something today

Those lyrics have been my mantra for a few weeks and it wasn't until I was singing exuberantly along  in the car while my husband watched on that I realized WHY those words speak to my so deeply. When I looked over at my husband his eyes were wide with horror.

Me: Oh, I'm sorry, you don't like this song? *reaches to turn off the radio*
Hubs: It's fine...I was just this the way a woman's mind thinks? Are these lyrics how you feel every day? You just wake up thinking, "I just want to Be OK?"
Me: that...bad?
Hubs: You're over thinking life.

He's right, you know. My brain is always buzzing...worrying...thinking ahead...planning...and what my mind is really hoping is that everything just goes okay. I just want everything to run smoothly.

Does it ever, though? Over thinking doesn't make things go smoother.

I thought about our conversation a lot this morning. Normally I set my alarm for 5am with the hope to run because I just want to "be OK" and get into shape so that I'm healthy. I ALWAYS end up over thinking this and sleeping in. It always starts with, "UGH, I didn't get enough sleep! I can run later!" But then I get bogged down with the details of the day and have to fore-go it and there goes my intention to help myself get healthy.

And so...this morning I stopped thinking so much. When my alarm went off I got dressed and put my shoes on and did a 2 miler. 

You know what? Today (so far) is the best Monday I've had in weeks.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The BIG project

First off, I have a few goals for the new year. I hate to call them "resolutions" because that isn't really what they are. I'm resolving to attain some goals. So what I'm really doing is setting goals. Last year I made a list "13 in 2013." I basically set them and then forgot about them. When the end of the year started to loom ahead I started feeling guilty about all of the goals I hadn't reached but when I sat down and actually took the time to analyse what I had accomplished I wasn't as disappointed as I thought I'd be. Last year's 13 in 2013 were as follows:

1. Lose 50lbs -- This was the big one and I knew it was a big one. I knew I would have to work hard at it. I gave it a few earnest tries but, in the end, I'm bigger and heavier than I was when 2013 began...which is disheartening but I'm trying not to be disappointed. We lead very busy lives and I accomplished A LOT in 2013. Many things that weren't even on the list!

2. Buy new cowboy boots -- I'm not sure what it counts for but I did go in and try some on, only to find out that my calves were too big for everything. I got discouraged and didn't bother going back or looking further.

3. Log 750 walking or running miles -- I'm sure I put on a good 100 but nowhere near close to goal.

4. Go on one trail ride -- ACCOMPLISHED!!! I went on two, in fact! I am very proud of myself and I would like to continue to ride and get better on the horse.

5. Paint inside of house -- Mostly ACCOMPLISHED. We painted A LOT of the inside of our house including the family room, living room, dining room, kitchen and part of the hallway. One of these days we'll finish the hallway and paint the bathroom, bedrooms (x3) and bathroom. Someday.

6. Fold laundry promptly. -- Mt Laundry was a disaster almost all year but, somehow, on a sick day before Christmas I got a bee in my bonnet and got organized. Since then, even with hosting Christmas and all of the things that go along with the holidays (wrapping paper, new things, clutter...) the house has stayed clean and I've stayed on top of the laundry pile. Let's hope this continues. It doesn't exactly count for accomplishing this goal but at least I will leave 2013 will a clean bill of...err...laundry.

7. Revamp work budget. -- ACCOMPLISHED!!! 

8. Refinance house -- ACCOMPLISHED!!! This ended up being a bigger mountain to climb than it sounds like. It included getting permits retroactively up to code and jumping through a lot of hoops but it is done and we are SO HAPPY.
9. Go on at least one vacation that lasts more than two nights. -- Didn't happen. We tried a couple of times but between Tom's job and my job it was difficult to find time.

10. Go camping at least once. -- ACCOMPLISHED!!!

11. Take some time off this summer to make soap. -- Nope. I thought about doing it a lot but got bogged down by work and getting a puppy.

12. Talk Tom into taking dance lessons. -- Actually we did do some online tutorials but it didn't last very long. It was fun. I'd like to get back into it.

13. Expand the garden. -- I tried but got distracted. Work was hard last summer.

Even though 5 out of 13 doesn't seem all that great, I do feel proud of our accomplishments and I'm looking forward to what 2014 will bring. My 14 goals for next year are...

1. Lose 50lbs
2. Run a half marathon
3. Go on a real vacation that lasts longer than two nights
4. Finish dental work and keep teeth healthy for the entire year (and beyond)
5. Look into braces and see if they are an option (financially and realistically)
6. Put at least $8k into our general savings account
7. Find a healthy place at work
8. Take at least 2 months worth of saxophone lessons, consider joining a band
9. Hire a house cleaner to do a least two deep cleans of the house
10. Finish painting the house
11. Run or walk with Belle 3x per week
12. Buy new (or used) furniture for and rearrange the guest room
13. Clean up yard and get grass looking nice again
14. Get Josie enrolled in swim lessons and one sport

I'm calling 14 in 2014 the BIG project because I really want to focus on me. Especially the weight loss and dental health part.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Starting over

Once you start a working on something, don't be afraid of failure and don't abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest. 
-- Chanakya 

It feels weird to be here. Again.

A few years ago I was the one motivating people. I had motivation coming out of my ears. I had lost 75lbs, was running half marathons and training for a marathon...and I was on top of the world. And I looked like this...
April 6th 2008 -- Race for the Roses

And for whatever reason, here I am again. Ready to lose weight. This time? My motivation has gone missing. So...without motivation I'm here to start over.

My schedule is tight. I look at it and feel dizzy. I'm in a leadership position with a small nonprofit which basically means I do almost everything from cleaning the floors to talking on stage in front of thousands of people. It is great (really!) but stressful and my schedule leaves time for little else and with a family and down time?

But I find lately that I'm struggling to sleep. I can't put my mind or my body at rest enough to stay asleep for more than a couple of hours. I feel fat and awful and always greasy.

Something has to change.

My friends urge me to find time and make yourself a priority. While that is all really sweet and makes sense...the problem is that I really have no idea how to. As I mentioned above, my schedule is tight. I work in a semi-public job where I have tons of meetings to schedule around and have to be dressed up and look like this a good portion of the the time:
I will be completely honest, it is really fun to get dressed up and look pretty and powerful but it takes time and effort (and shape wear). When I just spent 2 hours perfecting my hair and makeup, the last thing I want to do is drop everything to take a lunchtime spin class to get sweaty and ruin it all.

I thought running at night after all of my chores at home were finished and the Peach (my daughter) was in bed or at least on her way to bed would be the perfect outlet. And for a few days (a couple of weeks, even) that was the perfect solution. It wasn't especially fun to move my 280lb body down the road in the dark but it was better than nothing. It gave me a chance to clear my mind and get some exercise...however, as soon as the cold weather kicked in, so did exercise induced asthma.

Right now? I feel so absolutely lost.

What I feel like I need is a plan...

Let's start simple...

* A blog. This. You're looking at it. I've had this blog sitting around for years now. I will update here in an effort to keep me honest. I like the name. I promise to post at least on the days when I workout.

* An eating plan. Tomorrow I'm going to write out an eating plan. It isn't perfect and will probably include some kind of meal replacement shakes because my life just doesn't lend itself well to packing lunches (I'm in and out of the office too much!) and I've found that having simple bars and shakes while I'm working helps (even if I don't like admitting it). It will also include lots of crockpot meals because they are easy!

* Fitness goals. It worked before and I'm determined to make it happen again. I so miss running and working towards a big goal. I figure, why not set my sights high? So right here, right now I'm committing to two big races. One is a half marathon in April and the other is a full marathon in October. Long distance running doesn't often lend itself kindly to weight loss. Even though I ultimately would LOVE to lose weight (okay, that is a big part of my frustration), I'm going to go out on a limb an say that the most important thing to me right now is just getting healthier and feeling better. Running usually has a way of making me feel better about myself no matter what my weight is so I'll stick with that.

* "Make time for yourself." It sounds so simple but this is the biggest one. My goal here is four times per week. It might not sound like much but for now it is going to be to get out and do something active by myself four times per week. It can be squeezed in between meetings (if I feel like going sweaty), in the mornings, after bedtime...whatever. Four times.