#4 and #7: Starting C25K after a year and a half off.

MY BOOOOONES HUUUUURT!!!!

Yesterday, I hopped on the treadmill for the first time since I got pregnant.

I used to love working out. To feel my lungs fill to the brim with air, to feel every single muscle in my body work, and to relish that perfect ache for a few days after, reminding me of the hard work I’d done.

But holy hell, I am OUT OF SHAPE in a way that I have NEVER been before. The first day of Couch to 5k has never been difficult for me. Typically I huff and puff a little, and inevitably sweat my way through it, but this time, my lungs were wholly unprepared for it. My creaky skeleton had done nothing since the birth of my child to prepare for anything but cuddling and picking up/putting down/carrying an infant.

It was a shit show.

But I made it through Day 1. I huffed and puffed and wheezed my way through Katy Perry’s “Peacock” and Foo Fighter’s “Low”. I guzzled water and whined and moaned after I was done. My hips crackled the entire time, as they’d endured more trauma than the rest of my body when pushing out my baby daughter.

But I felt more alive than I’ve felt since that morning in April of last year when every ounce of my strength and endurance delivered my sweet girl.

Today is my next day of my first week. I’m hoping to finish this challenge by the time my very darling friend from Mississippi comes to visit in May, and we can run some sort of race together with our babies, who are a mere 6 days apart in age.

Wish me luck… My creaky bones are going to need it.

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#1 and #2: Pixies, Piercings, and Murphy’s Law.

The kick-off to my goal completion has begun!

I already had a head start when I cut off about eight inches off my hair and dyed it. It was a bit of a disappointment at first, as it was a yellow/grey color, and was a little bit choppy. But I knew it would take some fiddling to decide how I ultimately wanted it to be.

Hair1

Notice that crap on my shoulder? It’s spit up. My life is glamorous.

After getting this cut, I’d discussed with the original stylist that I’d like to go a very light, almost platinum blonde. She said that it would need to happen in multiple processes, and having experience going white blonde from my high school years, I knew this to be true.

A couple weeks later, I go in for my second process. During the few weeks between, I notice that the hair is unevenly cut, and am very nervous about the color. So back at the salon, I ask the hairdresser to even out the length and go platinum.

During the visit, she asks me about five times if I want to go purple, purple-y, purple-ish… And each time I reply that it’s not at all what I want at the moment. No. No thanks. I appreciate the offer… How many times can I say this?

I end up with a hack job of a haircut and purple-blue-yellow-white hair.

I’m not joking.

After fiddling around with it, I asked a friend who happened to also work at the salon and had seen my hair get done if she could try to help me to fix it. I scheduled an appointment with her just to fix the cut, as the color had been washing out a little. She agreed.

Went to the salon, and my friend did a great job. She tightened it up, and refused to let me pay for it. She also offered to fix the color, but I wanted to see if it would wash out even further, since I was terrified of trying to bleach my hair again!

It didn’t wash out.

So finally today, I went back and let my friend fix the color. It went from that wild white-blue-purple-piss in the snow yellow-blonde to a lovely rose-gold blonde. (I reserve the right to change the cut and color… Once you snip to a pixie, you can see it a myriad of different ways!)

pixieupdate
One down, twenty nine to go!

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That fun hairstylist friend? I told her about my 30 before 30, and that I wanted to get a nose piercing. She wanted to get one, too, so we figured we’d go and do it together. I was going to tackle number two!

Despite her suggestion to go to a local and reputable piercing parlor, I suggested going to a local tattoo parlor instead, as my hubs was going to be in class earlier, and she was going to be working until the piercing place was closed. *Red Flag*. So we met up at the tattoo parlor, and both of us were nervous nellies.

We go into the parlor, and I’m fairly certain we both felt a swell of nerves. There was a drunk dude getting a huge pocket watch tattooed on his side, a gaggle of girls sitting on a couch, looking at a cell phone together, and death metal playing.

While we are both cool girls, we are NOT death metal girls.

A young, bearded fella comes up front to ask what we need. We both answer that we want our noses pierced. He ushers us back to a piercing table, where he pats the seat, and my hairstylist friend hops up. I know she’s nervous, as I’m pretty sure she was shaking a bit before heading back in the first place, and the piercer draws a spot on her nose where he’s going to pierce, and gets her okay to pierce there. He then starts chatting with her about where she works, what she does, how business is going… And I watch him take a ginormous needle out and grease it up with A&D. She can’t watch. He sticks a little metal tube up her nose, and shoves the needle through. She blinks a couple of involuntary tears away, takes a deep breath, and is a general badass. He hooks a screw-shaped stud in her nose, and gives her a post-piercing care paper detailing how to clean it out.

After peering over at her copy, I see special suggestions for a Prince Albert piercing. No idea what that is. After a quick Google search, I now know what a Prince Albert piercing is. OUCH.

It’s my turn. My heart is racing. I hop my short tush up on the table, and he picks a spot to pierce. I agree. Since I’d seen it all go down with my friend, I know what’s about to happen. No numbing. Just a huge needle. I breathe in and out a few big breaths, and try to get the feeling back into my numb fingers and toes. He sticks the metal tube up my nose, and I know the needle is coming. Then there is localized fire. But I notice his face is getting serious. He’s lost hold of the needle on the other side of the piercing, effectively closing the hole.

He tries to force the screw-shaped piercing into the hole he’s lost, since the needle went all the way through. No dice. My eyes are watering, I can’t breathe, and it’s constant fiery pain. “Sorry, hun. I lost the hole, and the piercing won’t go through. I’ll have to pierce again in the same hole. It should only be a pinch this time. This happens like, once every five piercings or so.”

This is NOT what happened to my cute hairdresser friend. My nose is on fire, I can’t see from involuntary tears, and he wants to do both the piercing and the screw stud again?!

I agree. He pierces. It hurts worse this time. The digging of the screw-shaped stud into my thrice-penetrated piercing feels like the needle is going under my fingernail. But finally, it’s done. He shows me the stud in the mirror, and I agree that, yes, it is a nose piercing. I get my own post-piercing care paper, pay the man generously, despite his folly, (or maybe my own?), and hightail it out of there.

I get home, dry my eyes, and take a photo…

nosepiercing

My nose was red. My eyes were red. I was sore.

But, could this be the end of the nose piercing saga? Oh no. Because Murphy’s Law.

Because there was such a big hole from the needle going in twice, the stud moved around a LOT. When washing it with soap in the shower this week, it popped right out.

I had no idea that nose piercings close within minutes if they’re not yet healed.

I tried to put it back in to no avail. It was NOT going through.

I went to the local piercing establishment that my hairdresser friend suggested in the first place and asked if they could help. She shuddered when I told her that he’d stuck the needle through the same site twice, and said that the hole was already mostly closed, and that by policy, she never pierces through the same site twice. It’ll be completely healed in two weeks, she said, and to come back and have it done again.

So, ladies and gentlemen, when I go back in another couple of weeks, I will have had my nose pierced three times in a couple months.

Can I at least cross it off my list? I hope it counts. I’m counting it for now, because otherwise… Ouch. OUch. OUCh. OUCH.

That’s it for now! Not sure what will come next, but if it is anything like the above misadventures, it’s at least going to be worth telling about!

Two down, twenty eight to go!

30 Before 30: One year, 30 goals, and hopefully, a new woman.

Do you ever feel that “less than fresh” feeling?

I’m not talking about your downstairs, ladies and gents. My soul feels all crusty. I feel like I need an existential exfoliation.

Tomorrow, I’ll be turning twenty nine. While quite a few of my friends have already hit the dirty thirty milestone, mine is just on the horizon.

From what I can see, it looks good. Really good. It seems like once you hit that age, a calm washes over you. You know who you are, more than you ever did in your twenties. You have more self-love instead of self-loathing. And while you might not have everything you thought you would by that age, you’re surprisingly okay with that, and at least you’re working towards something.

I’m really excited to get to that point, but I feel like there are a few things I need to get out of the way beforehand. Hence the existential exfoliation. The soul crusties. I feel like if I were a ghost, I’d have unresolved issues. Me and my twenties have unfinished business.

There are things that I really wanted to have done by this age. They feel like they have a timeline. Things that might not be acceptable in your 30’s, things that I want to say I did before I turned 30, or just things that I’ve wanted to do that I’m afraid I’ll never do if I don’t give myself some kind of due date.

So I made a list. Over some time, I’ve been adding different things I really wanted to do to it, combing over it a few times, and editing here and there. Some items are serious, some are goofy, and completing the list will probably take some serious effort on my part. But I have no doubt that I’ll have a blast! I have one year to complete this list, and document along the way. I am seriously stoked.

Without further ado… My 30 Before 30 List.

  1. Cut my hair into a blonde pixie.
  2. Get my nose pierced.
  3. Get a tattoo.
  4. Run a 5k.
  5. Record a song.
  6. Buy a car.
  7. Lose 30 pounds.
  8. Buy 5 pairs of pants and have them tailored.
  9. Attend a Zumba class for a month.
  10. Unplug for one week (including smartphone, television, and computer).
  11. Attend one Unitarian Universalist service.
  12. Attend a rock concert with my husband.
  13. Sing Karaoke with my sisters in a bar.
  14. Complete the 7 day Marriage Challenge.
  15. Learn to play 5 songs on the guitar.
  16. Figure out my sewing machine, and sew a quilt.
  17. Have a proper bra fitting.
  18. Learn how to can fruits and veggies.
  19. Grow an herb garden.
  20. Pay off my credit cards.
  21. Ditch people and things (emotional and physical clutter) that don’t contribute to my happiness.
  22. Take one photo of myself each day for 30 days. (Self love project.)
  23. Give up dining out for 30 days.
  24. Visit a psychic.
  25. Master Julia Child’s croissant recipe from scratch.
  26. Get family photos taken.
  27. Learn 10 yoga poses by heart.
  28. For 30 days, take a walk every morning that ends in the 10 yoga poses.
  29. Take a vacation with my husband.
  30. Finish the Top 60 books on “The 100 Favorite Novels of Librarians” list.

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There ‘ya have it. I’ll be popping in with progress on certain ones that will take time, like the books, the herb garden, the weight loss, and paying off my debt. I’ve started an Instagram account just for this countdown, which should be fun. And goofy. And non-crusty.

I don’t want this year to transform me; I want it to bring the me that has always been there out into the open, and for me to embrace her with open arms instead of hide her inside. Instead of my thirties being something I dread, it will be like a new journey with an old friend. And *that’s* something I can look forward to.

Food: My love/hate thing.

Food and I have an interesting dynamic.

Suffice it to say that, when I was a little girl, I had a very confusing time figuring out the role food played in my life. It was both equally forbidden and encouraged; good and bad. If I was eating, I was embarrassed, but it still felt good, somehow.

As I grew up, the relationship was another one of those “bad boyfriend” situations.  Relationships, as we all know, aren’t bad in general, but if you get a bad one, it’s BAD. Like, life-altering bad. I loved to eat, but had nobody to tell me NOT to eat food…. so I went crazypants. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, generally.

Recently, our little family went to have our numbers tested for our annual physicals.  We found that we weren’t doing very well on certain measures, and were told that it was time to cut back on the noms, and to continue with our exercise programs that we’d been on for a good while.

Shock! Awe! What?! These recipes by Paula Deen(Diabetes Queen!) and Julia Child(bless her, but she utilizes more butter and fats than PD) weren’t creating the beacon of physical health of which the mirror displayed?! (Kidding, obviously.) I had, since I moved out on my own, used cooking as a way to relax, to create, and to warm my soul. It was also an excellent tool in rewarding and surprising my sweet husband when I thought he deserved it.  Cupcakes, lasagna, chocolate pie and every other homemade confection you can imagine were our comfort, along with the bloated fullness we felt after consuming such delights.

But….. now what? At first, I went through a little mini-depression. No cupcakes? No lasagna? But I was working out! I was working my ass off, actually, and…. no weight was coming off. (Weird, right?) Wrong-o.

Instead of being upset for too long, I decided to issue myself an ultimatum: learn to cook with the good stuff. Before we could even go to the store to tackle our new diet, I decided to do my own Foodie kitchen challenge. I looked in the cupboard and the fridge for only healthy foods, pulling out things that looked appetizing, and that had decent nutrition facts on the label. I chopped onions and garlic, and sauteed them in a little olive oil. I found our bottle of Brown County Wine from Indiana, which was deliciously sweet, and added a good couple of splashes. Then some tomatoes and a bit of tomato sauce, and sprinkled with Italian spices. After simmering, the sauce sang! What a perfect compliment to some simply Panko-breaded and baked chicken cutlets and whole wheat pasta. And I didn’t forget the hefty serving of broccoli on the side! Who knew?! This whole healthy cooking think might not be so bad after all.

Our first trip to the grocery store the next day was a doozie, to say the least. My sweetie and I went down each aisle, looking very closely at the nutrition labels, poring over each canned good and package. We could not BELIEVE the crap that was in things we never thought to look at! For example, a little tidbit: did you know that canned black beans have RIDICULOUS amounts of sodium, whereas the dried ones in the bag have almost none? Also, organics tend to have WAY less salt than their Walmart-brand counterparts. Yes, you pay more for organics, but you’ll pay with your health, too!

By the time our cart was full, I looked down at our loot, and felt something I hadn’t felt at the grocery store in a long time; I felt *proud*. The cart o’ health looked colorful, fresh, and delicious. Greek yogurt, frozen fish, TONS of bagged fresh and frozen fruits and veggies, low-fat organic milk, and plenty of canned organics made me feel like we were going down the right path for the first time since we’d been married.

Weird thing? Red meat hasn’t been a part of our meals at home at all in the last week. And the only meaty dishes I’ve cooked have been chicken and fish. Red meat was such a HUGE part of our repertoire before that it seemed to be something I’d never be able to give up, but as time passes, my desire for it does, too.

Weirder thing? The last two days have been vegetarian days without intention. Greek yogurt provides TONS of protein, oatmeal provides whole grains, and my Boca Burgers and broccoli dinners are so delish that I haven’t noticed my lack of moo and cluck in my meals. My water-only rule (unless we eat out, in which I allow myself a Diet Coke) has made me feel like my face is glowing, too!

Wish us luck, world. I can’t pretend that my infertility isn’t one of my main drives to eat a more healthy, holistic diet…. And I’m excited to explore the other side of this leaf we’ve turned over.

Oh, and a shout out to my awesome husband, who, after tackling this diet and exercise program head on, has already lost 6 pounds. Woo hoo!