Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Not Alone But Doing It For Myself

'You have to do this on your own to be successful.  You can't judge your success by the motivation of others.'

This is what he told me after I voiced my disappointment with not being able to keep workout buddies.  He explained to me that creating that type of disappointment will only hinder my progress.  He was right.  I grudgingly agreed.   But why was I there to begin with? 

Let me rewind.  A few years ago, I lived with both my sisters. One day we all decided to take a walk after dinner.  I had already been walking after work so it was no sweat.  They weren't very physical so it was a little bit of a challenge.  Well, after about a week of doing this, we decided to make a pact to workout and support each other.  It was great!  I worked out in the morning and then that afternoon, we all did workout videos as well as a 30 minute walk.  There was enthusiasm and it was just plain fun.  What better workout buddies than your sisters?  It was great for about 2 months. We lost weight and that made us push harder.  But then came the downside.  With my sister's new motivation came new goals.  One worked at the University so she had free access to the school gym. The other was earning enough money that she decided to join a gym and get a trainer.  Well, I had no access to the school gym and I wasn't earning enough to justify a gym membership.  They left and I was alone once again.  It was disappointing and I pouted and moaned but there was nothing I could do about it.  Luckily, I do have that whole competitive thing going so I vowed to prove that I could be just as successful without the aid of a gym or trainer. And I did well.  They lost motivation and eventually quit.  I kept going and was successful until I moved.

Fast forward to this time around.  I've been working out with my husband and it's been wonderful.  He's a great motivator and encourages me like no other.  But as with some things in our lives, we take it for granted.  And I'm sorry to say that I did that.  I had started working out with my sister and a friend after work and it was great.  We had a good time and I loved seeing them become more and more motivated. But somewhere down the line, they quit.  That bothered me.  Truthfully, it made me feel like I had not done enough to keep them interested.  This made me doubt myself and my ability.  If I can't hold 2 people I know with my encouragement, how could I ever be able to do it with anyone else? It's a sad and pitiful and probably ridiculous conclusion to draw....I know.  But it was there nonetheless.  I moped for a little while until finally my husband asked me what was up.  I told him and he shook his head and gave me a talk.

Back to the first line of this post.  He's a wise man most of the time.  But after he gave me a good talking-to, I realized something what I was doing.  I was going on and on about how once again I had been left alone with no one to help motivate me.  I wonder if this hurt him because guess what?  He's been there the whole time and not once has he left my side. 

I apologized to him tonight.  He didn't want to accept the apology because he said even though he is there, this is still my journey.  With or without him, I have to find a reason to keep going for myself.  Just because someone else gives up on it doesn't mean I've failed.  I'm still doing it for me.  This was refreshing to hear and I know I need to commit this whole conversation to memory because there will come another pitying time when I need those words of wisdom so there's a good thing I can post it.

Quote for the Day: “Successful people aren't born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don't like to do. The successful people don't always like these things themselves; they just get on and do them.”

My Canine Life Coaches

So, I was leafing through the latest Whole Living magazine and noticed the advertisement for Castor and Pollux. Incidentally, this just happens to be my dog's favorite food! Anyway, this particular one shows what looks to be an Australian Shepherd with the phrase 'He's not a pet. He's a life coach.' I love their advertisements because they generally make me think. This one was a pretty good thinker. I started thinking of the things my dogs can teach me. So, I made a list for each dog.

Baxter is:
Patient. Firmly believes good things come to those who wait. Even if it means sitting a minute with a treat on his head. Yeah...I do that.

Loyal to all. If you come in and pet him, he's yours until you stop.

Forgiving. As long as he is petted and stroked, he has totally forgotten the 'wrong-doing' immediately!

Protective but loves on everyone unless of course he senses danger. Otherwise, he's not met a stranger he didn't like.

Non-discriminating. He loves cats, dogs, birds and squirrels.

Sofie is:
Impatient. She believes if you show it to her, it's hers and she deserves it. None of this sitting and waiting business. She will sit when you tell her to but pops right back up. I know in her mind she's thinking, 'I sat now give me my treat!'

Loyal to me. You don't get to pet her because you are not her owner. You don't get to have her loving. You only get suspicion.

Hard to forgive: If you aren't patient and approach her suddenly, or scare her in any way, she will not forgive you for it. She can hold a grudge for a while.

Protects family only. Doesn't matter how nice a stranger is, she will under no circumstance approach them. Might take a couple of hours for her to accept even your presence.

Sofie likes me, my husband and my family. Not so much with other people or animals. She doesn't trust many people. Fears cats. Hates birds and only likes squirrels for the chase.

I do believe they have taught me plenty. They have both definitely taught me patience. The patience is a big one. I am patient and do believe in waiting for the good things. But I also believe that I deserve it and when it is shown to me, I waste no time working to get it. I am loyal to family and close friends. Strangers don't get to know the real me until I've known them a while but I will show politeness and appreciation for them whenever possible.I am forgiving for the most part but I am also a work in progress. I can hold a grudge and have to work and pray it away. It's a challenge but I know it has to be done.I will protect my family (including the dogs) with everything I am. Period.I try not to discriminate. I accept that I am supposed to love all God's creatures no matter what. Again...I'm still working on it.

Love your dogs because they are God's creatures and I do believe he hand-picked each one to teach us lessons that help us become better people.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Little Mind Dusting

I've been back to that 'place' again.  That small nook of a cranny in my mind that causes me to pity myself.  That place holds a pocket of issues I have yet to address.  As long as I don't address them, they stay there and collectively get together at the oddest times and create havoc with my emotions.  I need to dust that place every now and again.

I've recently been in a funk and have been very verbal about it.  Every now and again, when I nag and whine about certain things, I get a 'lecture' from my husband.  Most times, he keeps quiet and let's me work my way through them. Well, today was not one of those times.  We were walking a 3 miler in the neighborhood today and was passing the rec center.  He asked, 'They dance there?'  I had to think about that for a second before realizing he meant Zumba.  I said yes.  Then he said, 'You would go to the other side of town instead of going to the class across the street.'  At that point I had to break it down to him.  I explained how I need a good set of music, an energetic and good instructor as well as one that can keep the beat.  A zumba instructor who is off beat the entire class is very hard for me to follow.  We tossed around argument for a bit before I conceded and frustratingly said, 'OK.  You are right.  I guess I'm just finding an excuse to NOT workout by saying that class is not good.  I'm just being lazy and don't want to do anything.'  You guessed it.  I'm a little hormonal.  I knew full well this was not what he was saying but I wanted him to feel like he was wrong.  And no....I have absolutely no reason for doing this.  He tried backtracking and fell flat. 

I walked the next 2 miles in silence.  He tried to make conversation but I took the trail that led to a hill and was in full 100 degree sun.  The conversation was quickly replaced by heavy breathing.  When we both finally hit level ground and caught our breath, he said, 'I think you haven't found what you wanted because it was meant for you to do it yourself.  You said it didn't take much to get certified so you should do it.'  My response was a simple, 'Yep'.  I've been toying with the idea and I didn't know how to ask his opinion. Damn him for bringing it up and suggesting it when I wanted to be pitying and whiney!  Grrr!  Oh well.  This set a better tone for the remaining mile. 

Unfortunately, I stepped at an odd angle at some point and my knee was giving me problems on the way back and put a cramp in my better mood.  Oh well.  I can't have it all.  So, the idea is there.  I cleaned that little issue out of the nook.  I have that small feeling in the pit of my stomach that this is something I can do and because he knows, I am now accountable.  Here we go!

I have another issue to address but after walking just a little over 3 miles in 100+ degrees, I'm wiped.  Stay tuned for that cleaning.  Hopefully the hormones will give me back the good part of my brain soon!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Did He Just Call Me Lazy?

I know I quote a lot of conversations my husband and I have. It's just that his view of things can be so different from mine. And I don't just mean from a man and a woman's perspective. I mean me being born and raised in the US and him being raised in Africa . He sees things so simply where sometimes I have a tendency to complicate things. And yes...I do know women can sometimes do that. Hell, sometimes I do it on purpose if I want to just be snotty. But some things are important enough that I have to consider his view and roll it around in my head for a while.

Just the other day, we were discussing our progress in the gym. He does a lot of walking because unlike me, he's embraced public transportation, so he gets a bit more exercise throughout the day. I sit all day with the occasional walk around the building and sprint up and down the back stairs. Hardly anything to write home about. So anyway, I was strutting pass him and told him I really need to work harder to get better results. Then I patted my stomach and said 'So I can get rid of this.' He shook his head, scoffed and said, 'You pay too much attention to how you look. You look good but you don't want to work hard enough to make it better. But that’s how all Americans are.  They don't have to work too hard so if it seems tough, they just do something else.’ This sparked a long eye-opening conversation. Well, it was probably more eye-opening for me!

I wanted to respond with argument but something stopped me. But, did he just call me lazy? It was very true that even though I workout, I don’t push myself as much as I should. I have hit a place in my workout where I no long sweat as much as I did and I haven’t moved much beyond that. Now, a while back I said I needed to push harder. And I have….on the treadmill. But that’s mainly because it’s easier. I haven’t incorporated any new moves that might work different muscles for toning. I think about it and sometimes I even plan it but once I get in the gym, the will and drive is left at the door and I’m left with mundane and skin misting workouts. I need an exciting, grunting, soak your shirt workout. But I’ve done nothing to accomplish this. Maybe I’m must scared. Or maybe it is just pure laziness.

The second part I focused on was me paying too much attention. He went on to say that I am paying too much attention to how I look and I should be paying attention to what I can do. Now, as with working out harder, a while back I said I had stopped focusing on the scale and had discovered the pleasures of reaching challenges in the gym. I remember telling him his. He was paying attention. Somewhere along the way, I lost the excitement of physical accomplishment and once again began workout out with feelings of obligation. I'm guessing this came when I stopped pushing the limit. Funny how two things that seemed so separate coincide with each other. So, I now need to backtrack and get back to where I was.

We concluded the conversation with me asking him to help me get back on track but to refrain from generalizing that all Americans were lazy. LOL. Of course he denied ever saying that....that was my translation. He agreed once we got the wording correct. Once again, I'm working on my head. Still don't know why I have been hesitant about the working harder part. Maybe I am not use to doing that. Maybe I'm afraid I'll fail. Or just maybe, I'm being lazy. Either way, I know what I have to do.

Quote today comes from me through a response I gave a co-worker regarding my muscle soreness.  She said maybe I should stop doing those types of exercises.  I told her I'm learning by doing finishing with: The more you know, the more you grow, and slowly but surely the pain will go!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Please be Patient with Me

Last night I had a conversation with my husband about something that was heavy on my heart.  I don't usually share this type of thing with most people but my husband is one of those rare souls that invite you to share your worries.  Well I pray every night before I go to sleep.  In this prayer I always give thanks for everything that is given to me; good and bad.  I always give thanks for knowledge from the experience. I give thanks for everyone that has been in my life and the ones that will come.  I give thanks for being able to learn what it truly is to love.  Then I delve into the 'pleases'.  I ask for continued blessings, protection and mercy.  I ask that God show me my purpose and give me the strength and courage to endure it.  I also ask that God bless us with what is best in our lives.  Now, this is the part that was heavy on me last night.  I asked him if he ever thinks about what it means when we ask God to help us succeed or show us what is best for us.  For me, it was a little scary.  Why?  Because what if what God think is best is not my ideal of what is best. Now, don't get me wrong.  I don't ever question if something God is doing is not in my best interest.  I guess what I mean by 'what if what God think is best is not my ideal of what is best', could be better explained by saying I'm afraid of what God's best is.  What if it's painful?  What if it requires me to make difficult decisions?  As a child, I always viewed God 'best' as making things easy on us.  But now that I'm an adult, I see this is not the case.  Sure, things generally end up working out but in my life it seems that it usually was a struggle to get there.  Now I don't know if that means it was because I was going against his will before moving out of the way for it to work, or if it means I had to struggle to learn the lesson to get there.  I don't claim to be the most learned Christian or scholar.  I only know what I believe is in my heart.  I have friends who would probably say I'm still a babe in Christ.  Well, probably.  But guess what friends?  If it means I'm continuously learning and striving to understand, then forever a babe I shall be. 

So what did the hubby say to my question?  He said, 'Everything God does is for the best.  People don't want hard and they don't want ugly.  We want everything to be easy without the work.  But that's part of his  (God's) gift.  He helps us make it through the hard part to get to his best.'  Then he followed it up with a, 'Don't worry Mon Cheri.  Everyone worries about this.  It will always be ok. '  He always makes light of things for me and I feel a little better about my question. 

Giving up control has always been hard for me. I guess from this I have learned that I still need to learn to trust God.  It's a hard thing to give in to that.  And scary to boot!   I do know that I can't be successful in anything without giving my complete trust to him.  So, please be patient with me because God is not through with me yet!

Quote of my day:
God has editing rights over our prayers. He will….edit them, correct them, bring them in line with His will and then hand them back to us to be resubmitted.

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Tall Glass of Sexy

I went to the grocery store today and had to stop myself from buying out half the produce section.  I love veggies and fruit anytime but in the summer, it's like an addiction.  Everything looked so good and juicy and there were so many possibilities.  When I finally got home with my loot, I was so tired that I didn't feel like eating anything.  All I wanted was a tall glass of sexy.  No....I don't mean my husband although he's been known to answer to that!  LOL.  I mean a glass of water.  After 27 days with no rain and a couple of weeks (or more) of temperatures ranging from 99 degrees to 104, a tall glass of water is as sexy as it gets.   I found my largest glass and filled it with ice and a lime wedge.  I let it sit a couple of minutes while adding a couple of cubes to the dog's water bowl. Hey, they are true southern (Texas) dogs and they feel the heat just as much as me.  Now, I can enjoy my frosty glass of goodness!

Quote for my day: Enjoy your sweat because hard work doesn't guarantee success, but without it you don't have a chance.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How I Get It Done

So, the husband and I both arose at 430 this morning.  We fought for the bathroom before even talking.  I won the battle.  I went and lay back down but then decided to look at the clock.  I heard him shuffling around in the closet.  I asked him if we were going to the gym.  He said yes of course.  So, I got back up and got dressed.  Took the dogs out who have been very quick about their business lately.  I think this is due to the fact that they have a walk at 830 every night now as it is cooler.  Anyway, we went to the gym and stepped on the treadmills.  I have been doing a walk/run combo all week because I decided I have not been consistent with my intensity.  So, I needed to have a more structured workout to get back in the groove.  For 45 minutes I did one minute walk and 2.5 minute runs. My pace is much faster walking and running so I at least feel like I've made some strides.  It was an awesome workout. 

We do not however, go to the gym everyday.  We try to make it every other day.  The other days my husband does his own thing and I do mine.  I'm not sure what he does but it works because he can outrun me in any race.  For me, workout videos work before work but sometimes when I've been too lazy to push myself with these, I get that guilty feeling later in the day.  Now, later in the day I am at work so what's a girl to do?  Well, I utilize the stairs.  Not many people know it but I use the back stairwell to sit and talk on my cell with my Dad or the husband on breaks or I try to get in some exercise.  There are not many so I go up and down.  I had gotten up to doing 10 runs up and down but took a break from them for a while (laziness again).  I started back on them last week and came to the realization that I had slacked a little too much.  After 5 runs, I was exhausted. Had anyone come in at that point, they might have thought I was having an asthma attack I was breathing so hard.  So, I have vowed to get back into my work walks and stair climbs. 

Aside from the workouts, I have also been working doing mental workouts.  We all need them and in some instances it harder than a bodily workout any day!  So, the husband has been suggesting weekly trips to the pond to sit at the meditation garden.  He studies while I sit and listen to music, read or write.  It is a good thing to do after a long day at work.  I get to think through some things that I generally push to the back of my mind throughout the day. 

Well, here's to another awesome journey.

My At-Home workout video collection.

The stairway to hell on the thighs!

My meditation spot.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sista Big Bones in the Heat

I woke yesterday intending to get a lot of things done.  I rose at 7am and started laundry and putting together a good breakfast.  I kept rubbing my left eye because it seemed it just would not focus and I had my glasses on.  Well, not an hour later, my back started bothering me a little.  I never have back problems so this was odd. The right side just under the shoulder blade ached something terrible.  This was not the usual muscle fatigue from working out.  I tried to shrug it and the eye issue off and continue.  My grocery list was complete and I had every intention of filling it when my husband when to work at the library.  Well, after dropping him there, I turned around and went right back home. They eye had gotten worse (I was seeing double) and the back was crazy cranky.  I went home and lay down.  Sent the husband a text advising of my white flag of a day.  His response was 'I'm sorry your eye is still bothering you.  Get some rest and when I come home, I will give you a back rub.  We can shop tonight.'  Very sweet of him and I went to sleep.  I slept a good 2 hrs.  When he came home, we did indeed go shopping and managed to get everything on the list before the ibruprophen wore off.  He suggested if I felt better tomorrow, we should do our Sunday Six because we haven't done it in a while.  I said maybe and went to bed at 730 and slept till 930.  Up and reading until 1am and finally drifted back to sleep.

Me and the hubs
Still waters mean no breeze. Dang!
Well, I got up this morning and I could see out of both eyes clearly!  Woohoo!  My back still gave me issues.  Still don't know what the deal was.  This might require I actually make a Dr appt.  Anyway, since it's been so darned hot in the evenings, we decided to do our Six early.  Well, his early was 9am.  Mine would have been much earlier and probably cooler.  We hit the lake at 9am on the dot.  It was already 93 degrees and miserable.  No breeze and sun directly overhead.  But it could have been worse I suppose.  It will be worse here in another couple of weeks I'm sure.  Anyway, we nixed the Six and decided on a single round.  After 3 miles I asked if he was intending to go another round.  He panted (my husband panting?!?) a quick no.  I was so relieved.   Physically, we both could have probably gone the 6 but at that point, I couldn't concentrate on form, speed or even the awesome view.  All I could think about was the heat.  It was time to go home. 

My back feels much better. I think the walk actually loosened the muscles.  Another win for walking!  And the husband quoted a lyric from Anthony Hamilton song 'Sister Big Bones.'  He said, 'Sista Big bones, can a brotha walk you home, look like a plate of neck bones, I'd like to keep your body warm.'   LOL.  That made my day!  The lyrics alone make you smile but hearing it spoken in a French accent and add to that I didn't even know he knew this song!  Made my day!
Now it's time to relax the day away. 

Quote for the day:
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Rundown

I had a great weekend.  Finally made the trip down to see my Dad.  All the sibs showed up so it was pretty awesome seeing everyone.  Even got to see my 15 year old niece. She is on my almost-can't-stand-you list.  They all seem to make that list at some point.  She is 15 and knows EVERYTHING and rolls her eyes at everything everyone says. Sofie never warmed up to her which caused barking fits when the niece would walked past her.  It was comical.  Fortunately, after a particularly snippy comment to my older sister, one of my other sisters gave her a 10 minute lecture on respecting your elders.  She's 15 but she was smart enough to at least pretend she listened and acted accordingly.  We don't play!  Ha! 

Daddy creating magic on the pit.
 Anyway, the food was crazy good.  I ended up making a super moist, from scratch ,chocolate cake. Sadly, I didn't write this particular experiment down and now have to try and duplicate it.  You'd think I'd learned by now that when I don't write it down, it comes out fantastic!  I also baked 2 poundcakes.  There was only to be one but it was gone in a couple of hours.  My Dad only had a small slice and he loves poundcake so I whipped up another before I left town.   But speaking of food....it was a spread to remember. It's been a while since we've put out barbecue like that.  Everyone brought meat and my Dad, my husband, bro-in-law, and nephew manned the pitt.  Everything turned out great and for 2.5 days I stuffed myself with this goodness without a thought as to the inches it would add.  It was a celebration and I don't deny when celebrating.  I probably could have gotten a little crazier but I wanted to enjoy the feeling of full without feeling sick.  So, I did hold back a little. 

I know, I know.  You are thinking that this was a terrible thing to do to myself.  Well, I did get some exercise.  My Dad's got a large yard and Sofie had energy to burn.  Since little Baxter suffered from heat and allergies, he couldn't give her the chase she wanted.  That left me.  We ran and played for a good half our in the heat.  I burned some calories and energy.  And to my defense, my womanly time was knocking at the door so I couldn't exactly control ALL the cravings!  I did the best I could. 

We spent time at the cemetary planting flowers on my Mom's home as well as the grandparents and little Alexia.  My husband did a french prayer which was so very special to us all.  I love that man. Afterwards, we said our goodbyes and hit the road.  I have to say it was a miserable drive and I was hella whiney.  My poor husband did all he could to soothe my irritability.  Again....I love him!

After a 4.5 hours drive back home, my husband and I collapsed.  We slept a couple hours and then noshed on salads and fish.  Later we took a leisurely stroll around the pond and came back home to sleep all night.  It was a deep and satisfying slumber.  Luckily, I had taken Tuesday to recoup from the trip and I relaxed most of the day.  Later we took another stroll around the pond but decided to extend it as the husband said he ate a lot and now felt the need to put some miles behind the food. 

Needless to say, looks like we are back on track.  Our relaxing, romantic stroll turned into a 3.25 mile, sweat soaking, 98 degree speed walk.  I had told him my energy level was not where it should be.  Guess he didn't hear that part.  And being the competitive person I am, I didn't listen to myself and finished the walk.  But it felt pretty good.  I'm all showered up and ready for bed now.

Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend!

Quote for today:If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one.