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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nothing New

I've sat down to write several times, and just... didn't take it across the finish line. I'm just so tired right now, even though life is pretty much the same. No showings of the house to report. Nothing exciting to share. I DO have an official move out date now, in July, so if the house hasn't sold by then I know I'll be on the road regardless. I have high hopes with the warmer weather finally starting up that people will start shopping again and we can get this under contract (no green grass yet, but it can't be far!)

Our next house isn't due to be finished until some time in August though if we're lucky, so I might lose my mind somewhere in there. We'll be in temporary housing, and I won't have access to any of my art stuff... and maybe not even my computer.

I'm trying to figure out how to plan some fun vacations in that time since it will be summer break. I know moving is insanely stressful, but if we're out of house and home anyway, it seems like I should be able to plan some fun getaways in there... right? Totally sound logic! Back me up here, I'm trying to make this argument to my husband, and I need all the support I can get! And suggestions of where to go would be good too. I have Universal Studios on the list for example, because I want to shop in Diagon Alley. (Because I'm a geek. I own it. If there was a Hobbiton there, I'd be all over it too. *ahem*)

I thought about perhaps renting a little beach house for a week, thinking that would be a nice relaxing time for the kids, and something unique for us since we're beach-less in Vermont. And then I saw the rent costs. (I could buy a CAR  for that!! Seriously?!) So, now I'm trying to figure out how to make this exciting and fun and worth the time. Especially since this is our last summer with my daughter, really. Next summer, she'll be packing up for college. *sniffle*

Other than that, and my excitement over Outlander and Game of Thrones being back? Yeah, I'm as boring as ever! My cat has been getting more and more blatant about nap-bragging (you know, that's what they do when you're tired and wish you were still snoozing in bed, and you walk by and see them in YOUR spot snoring away?)

Socrates actually has his head ON MY PILLOW!

Oh, and he's been hoarding my kindle too...

Why do animals seek out the electronics and lay on them? He's particularly fond of the cellphones.


I've been working to meet a magazine deadline. I finished one piece that depicts domestic violence (it fit the piece I was assigned):



And today I'm desperately trying to finish this piece, but I have a long way to go:

The piece I was assigned started out with a Jack & Jill theme, so I went with it.

I've been getting all my workouts, but struggling mightily with my food. I may or may not make my weigh-in goal for round two of my DietBet on Saturday. We'll see. I've been veering towards weighing more than once a week than not, because it seems to focus me a little better right now when that is something that seems to be severely lacking.

My husband is coming back tomorrow night for a whole week! I'm excited. Of course, we'll spend that time fixing things around the house, but I'm hoping we'll get in some fun things too!

How is everyone else?


Monday, March 30, 2015

Gratitude Attitude

I've been thinking a lot about perspective lately. I think it's because I'm trying to get some, as where I'm sitting now just feels bad almost all of the time. The truth is that I'm actually not in such horrible circumstances, and I know it, which only makes me feel like more of a horrible person for feeling awful about my current situation. Translation: I'm a bad person for feeling bad. I'm not sure how to escape out of the bad-person paper bag, though.

Everyone always admonishes everyone else to feel grateful, but attached to feeling grateful is also a sense of feeling bad for being grateful because not everyone else is so lucky. It's a sort of guilt-gratefulness when it's not in the moment.

When something goes your way for once, you feel instant gratitude. That's the awesome stuff, no bad feelings involved. It's a no-strings-attached gratitude that floods you right then, and it can pick up your whole day! But when you are feeling poorly about things and someone tells you to be grateful for what you have, it's always because someone else isn't as lucky as you and you should feel grateful you aren't worse off. Guilt-gratitude. So many strings attached that a cat wouldn't know which one to chase. Still, is guilt-gratitude better than none?

Yesterday, I was in the grocery store picking up food to throw at the teenagers before they started gnawing off the edges of the kitchen table, or each other's legs. While there, my daughter asked if we could pick up blush (she's been walking around looking like a zombie because her only thought was to wear base to cover up teenage acne, along with black mascara and eyeliner. Never mind that it suddenly made her look like she was suffering from severe blood loss.) I said yes. A cheap one. Make-up is one of those things that I sort of walk the line with as far as us covering, or her needing to use her allowance on... anyone figured that one out yet? I have it kind of divided into necessity (cover-up, base, blush, we buy) and non-necessity (funky eyeliner or something, she buys.)

Anyway, at the check-out there were two young men in front of us. They had the belt loaded up with food, but were sorting certain things from the cart or belt to the hand basket under the end of the belt. I realized they were dividing necessity from wants. Money is understandably tight up here, especially since everything here is insanely priced (seriously $4.50 for a dozen eggs? I can't wait to move.) They were checking their money, and making sure to take anything off that wasn't a necessity as they started tallying their purchases.

Now, I've only once been at the checkout where I had to pull things off the conveyor. It was mortifying. After that, I started carrying a calculator with me and keeping a running tally of what I was buying (this was before smartphones, where you could be more covert. Everyone knew exactly what I was doing.) I remember having to put back things that I wanted in order to have things that we needed. And goodness help the cashier when something rang up wrong and they didn't want to fix it. I would get into a knock down drag-out fight to save a dollar if I had to. I will never forget what it feels like to live like that.

Yet, as I loaded my things onto the belt behind the men's yesterday, I realized I had silly things on there. Like blush. More, I haven't had to carry a calculator through the store for a long time. I still pay very close attention to the cost per pound or count (even if I won the lottery, I'd probably still do that,) but I know that as long as I'm not being frivolously stupid I can cover my grocery bill without sweating it. I've come a long way. Perspective, with little bit of guilt involved because it was the men in front of me who put my trip into perspective in the first place, but perspective worth having. (I wonder if I put anyone else's perspective in place back when I had to do what they did?)

I'm trying very hard to think myself out of my bad feelings right now. I'm a control freak with no control, and that makes uncomfortable situations even more miserable. I can't change my stripes, so I'm trying to think my way around them instead. I know I need a better perspective. I need to channel Pollyanna somehow... But constantly trying to feel gratitude when there is guilt attached isn't working. I somehow feel even worse, even if I am grateful. Guilt makes me want to rebel, and that makes it significantly harder to feel positive (although, resentful ends up being remarkably easy!)

I know, I know, I know. True gratitude is all sunbeams and rainbows and unicorns frolicking through the meadows while birds sing, and there is no guilt. Supposedly. I think that unless we're talking about immediate response gratitude, that hard won gratitude is always caked in guilt. How does being grateful and guilty at the same time help anyone? The only thing I can figure it helps out is possibly as a tool in regaining or changing your perspective.

And I'm really trying to change my perspective. I know mine... sucks. So, I have a crappy attitude about feeling gratitude along with a heavy dose of guilt and knowing I need to somehow change my perspective (and for some reason, being fully aware of that just makes me angry at anyone who tries to tell me off about the whole thing.) I think that deep down I just really want someone to blame, blast out of the water, and get my life back. However, it's not really anyone's fault per se, and what little fault there is can rest on my head and my choices in life, such as they are.

*sigh* I think it's the control freak in me trapped in some sort of life-nightmare. The really funny thing is that I chafe under rules and expectations. You would think a control freak would thrive in that environment where everything is laid out and you just do these specific things. With everything wild here, there really are only certain things I am allowed to do, things I can reach and strive for, and all the rest have been taken away from me. So, I'm a freedom loving control freak out of control because she's under too much control? Regardless, my attitude is not helping and all methods of changing my attitude just make me angry I have to change it in the first place (I am aware that I sound like I'm six years old. I'm working on that too.)

I finished this piece recently. If you think about the theme of perspective (I wasn't at the time... at least, I don't think I was) it has an eerie meaning.

"Cat's Cradle" 9x12 watercolor (little acrylic in her hair) on 140lbs hot-pressed 100% cotton professional watercolor paper.

Someone even asked me what made me think of this. Honestly? I have no idea. NONE. But it's that way with so many of my paintings. She reminds me a bit of a seer, (or one of the Graea) which is interesting from the idea of control, or lack thereof of future events. Perspective, right? Control? What is in our control, what isn't?

Maybe nothing is in our control, but how we feel about it and react to it is. Perspective plays a heavy hand in that. I'm just trying to figure out how much gratitude also plays into it. And apparently guilt.

On the positive side, if I whine this much when I'm miserable, you can be sure I'm also vocal when things are going well (...somewhat. People get really mad if you are really happy about something, have you noticed that?) So you'll have that to either look forward to or fear, because I KNOW things are going to sort themselves out. They just have to. I won't stand for anything less! (control freak!)
Friday, March 27, 2015

Chocoholic Un-coffee

I'm totally into chocolate. I don't mean that I like it a little bit. I mean, that if I slept in a bed made of chocolate, wore chocolate clothing, and ate chocolate everything, it probably wouldn't be enough for me. My ideal diet would be something like 99% chocolate (in one form or another) and 1% pizza (didn't the government declare pizza is as a vegetable? What? Stop looking at me like that!)

I really like chocolate.

Now, I'm by no means saying I eat that way. I'm just saying that if I have a dream where I'm wallowing like a beached whale in a sea of chocolate, I don't wake up guilty... just wistful. Reality is a whole lot of egg-whites, vegetables, boneless skinless chicken breasts, and so on. With a dash of chocolate.

I'm also pretty darn specific with my chocolate. I do NOT like any candles or lotions or what have you that supposedly smell like chocolate. They don't. It's gross. It's an insult to chocolate everywhere. I wish they could get the smell right, but what's out there makes me ill. I'm pretty specific on taste too. Cheap chocolate has its place (why, hello Easter! Aren't you just next weekend? I'm sure there's a chocolate caramel egg in my basket this year, and I'll be looking forward to that. Maybe not the extra three miles I'll have to walk to eat it, but it'll be worth it.) But really good chocolate is just something else. I've tried different chocolatier's chocolates. I've had pricey chocolate from Europe, as well as the local stuff. I can tell you the differences in minute detail (but I won't. You're welcome.)

So, with that in mind you'll understand my perspective about chocolate. I pay attention to all of it. I want most of it. I don't get to actually have a lot of it. It's a tragedy, but there you have it.

In my life, I have also had a rather forced affair with coffee. I hated it while growing up. I loved the smell, but the stuff was just vile. I hid under a table at Easter with a bunch of other kids and we all tried to make it taste good so we could figure out why the grown-ups liked it so much, but wouldn't let us have any. After adding enough sugar and creamer that the stir-stick stood up straight in the cup, we gave up. We just couldn't make coffee taste good. I tried off and on over the years, but the result was the same. Coffee smelled fabulous and tasted awful. It was baffling.

When I went to college the second time around, this time with a two hour drive and two young children at home, I gave coffee another go out of sheer desperation. I needed to stay awake. Somehow. I started experimenting with flavors and creamers and sweeteners, and I finally found something that was tolerable.

I can't say that I fell in love with coffee, because I didn't. Instead, I fell in love with looking forward to having a morning cup (a HUGE one) with some chocolate flavoring and sweetness, and that warm sip-sip-sipping moment in the quiet when it was just me. And the energy kick, because I have always struggled with fatigue.

I don't know if it's because I never really fully committed to loving coffee that it turned on me, but it did. It stopped giving me energy, and instead gave me panic attacks. The weird thing was, it wasn't even the caffeine (although that didn't help.) I tried out decaf a few times and still had that weird reaction, so I gave it up altogether. I can't say I really missed it, although I missed the process of the brewing and the lovely smell it would spread through the house. I missed the time with a cup of something to look forward to. So... I switched to hot chocolate.

I make a killer cup of hot chocolate. I have a frother that makes skim milk thick, I add baking cocoa and monks fruit sweetener and some sugar free french vanilla creamer, and it's beyond lovely. Even though it's low-calorie, it still clocks in at around 200 calories for a big-BIG mug of it. But it's been worth it. It's my thing to look forward to. My indulgence.

Recently however, a friend suggested something new to me. Roasted cocoa beans. JUST cocoa beans, ground up like how coffee is, and you brew a drink with it just like coffee. Crio Bru. (Apparently, they're not the only company doing this, but this is the one I went with.) Cocoa beans brewed just like coffee? The idea that I could get my morning ritual back and cut out some calories (and play with their claims like more energy, etc) was very appealing. Although, my friend read some reviews and said that apparently the paper filters can get a bit clogged because the oils are different than what you would find in coffee or something. She suggested a french press, if I was going to try it like she was.

I hemmed and hawed over it for a while since the bag is about $12, but I had some birthday money left and it turns out they sell on amazon too... so I ordered their basic flavor, and an extremely cheap french press ($10... and it kind of leaks. *sigh* But the bag of the cocoa beans was almost twice what I ever even paid for gourmet coffee back when I drank it, so I could only splurge so much.)

My bag... after I got done shoving my nose in it for the better part of the afternoon.

The first thing I have to mention is that the smell is unbelievable. It smells like the best gourmet chocolate. That alone almost killed off my chocolate cravings. Almost. It smelled so good that my daughter ate a little bit of the grounds. As there is no sugar or creams added, you can imagine her disappointment (the face she made cracked me up.)

I've made it a few times now. I have decided that I like it. Although to be fair, the first time I tried it I was disappointed. I think it just smelled so wonderful, and I do love hot chocolate, that I expected a thick and creamy sort of drink. It was fine, but...

I realized I had to get in the mindset of approaching this like a coffee or tea. If I had been drinking that in the morning instead of my hot chocolate, I would have had a very different experience. So, I got my head on straight and tried again. This time I went with the expectation of the watery coffee/tea experience, and I found I really liked it. I added some creamer to it (but not a lot) and with the heavy chocolate flavor, it was very rich and satisfying (for 45 calories with the creamer, so a nice cut.) Satisfying as in killing my need to go have actual chocolate! That's saying something for someone like me, believe me.

Now, the thing that really bothered me is that this stuff is a bit pricey... and it's pure cocoa beans. It kind of seems sacrilegious to throw out the grounds. It bugged me until I googled keeping the grounds for something, anything, and I found the actual company website has a whole recipe section for the grounds - they don't think they should be thrown out either! *whew*

My sad, slightly leaky, yet new French Press with the grounds in it.


Of course, anything listed for baking so far kind of undermines the whole purpose in finding something lower calorie. So, I'm still working on that part of it. I'll figure something out. There is definitely some experimenting in my future! I haven't done anything with the grounds yet, but I am keeping them in the fridge in a container until I do.

I'm only talking about this stuff because I like it (the company hasn't contacted me, or anything like that. Although, I'd love it if they did!)  I also needed a way to kill off my cravings. This DOES do that. It's a bit on the pricey side, which is probably why I'm even more concerned about tossing out the grounds when they're usable (and it's weird to think of them that way considering how awful coffee grounds actually are.)

As far as all their claims?
Energy boost? Not anything I've really noticed, but I'm pretty exhausted almost all of the time. Maybe I'm not the best judge.
Appetite suppressant? Maybe. Although, maybe it's just more about me not getting into something I'm not supposed to. A richly smelling very chocolaty tasting drink does help with that! So, for me it seems to be more of an appetite avoidance tactic than a suppressant.
The rest of the claims are all about the antioxidants and stuff that no one can really measure on a personal level. That's OK, though. I'm more interested in the other stuff anyway.

My friend tried hers as well, and liked it (she added milk and honey to hers.) She also got their chocolate covered cocoa beans and said they were wonderful. I admit, I'm curious about that and their other flavors. We'll see though.

Anyway, I thought there might be other chocoholics that might be interested, and I thought I would share!
Monday, March 23, 2015

The End of Nice

Do you ever have moments where you think to yourself "Am I acting like one of those people? Do I sound like what I swore I never wanted to sound like?" You know, I really thought that when I was a grown-up that I would stop doubting myself so much. Yet, it seems every week there is something new to wonder about.

This week, I'm wondering if I'm turning into one of those people. By that, I mean the kind of person you ran into if you ever worked retail and you sincerely thought about how long you'd go to jail if you beat them to death with a price-sticker-gun?

If you haven't worked retail, you have no idea what I'm talking about. But if you were ever like me, even for the briefest moment, I know you had at least one of those people. People who spoke to you like you were stupid, beneath them, or were just so demanding that you wanted to use a tranquilizer gun on them just to give you a moment to collect yourself before you did something you'd regret.

I did work retail. I worked in an ice cream parlor (and didn't eat a bite, even though we were entitled to free sundaes each shift and ice cream is my very favorite thing!) and we had people who would ask me to remake things like a sundae because the cherry on top wasn't perfectly in the center, or the banana in the banana split wasn't perfectly equally divided down the middle. I worked in a clothing store and got yelled at because the designers only made up to a certain size in a dress or that we didn't have the right belt that they were looking for. I worked at IHOP and had to say "Would you like to try the Rooty Tooty Fresh'n'Fruity?" or be fired, and then be mocked endlessly about it and treated like I had the IQ of a carrot (or they'd throw them at us if something went wrong with their order. The bar crowd in a cheap pancake joint was so NOT fun at 2am. They also never tipped any of us.)

So, as a grown-up, a customer, I always make an effort to not be that person. I do not have the right to trample on someone else, especially if they are helping me out in some fashion - it doesn't matter if it's their job. Their job is to help me, not be my punching bag. Even if things are wrong, being kind and asking for their help is a much better way to handle someone than snidely putting them "in their place" and expecting things done immediately like you're some sort of queen. I remember very clearly what it is like to be treated as horribly as many are wont to do to those in any sort of service capacity, whether it be in a retail store or something much larger.

Yet, there is a line where you need to be able to ask for things, ask for help, need something fixed where the nice needs to end. I can't figure out where that line is exactly.

When it comes to my children, it's so simple. So clear! Mama Bear. Not crazy mama bear, but there's little ambiguity (and usually this is with teachers or health care providers. I can see that line with the doctors for everyone but myself, for some odd reason.)

But what about when you are a customer? Where is the line where nice ends? I used to think there was no line, always be nice, even to the bitter end. Don't be a push-over or a doormat, but always be nice. It seemed like a good policy.

I'm in the middle of a situation where I can't give any details except that I'm the customer, and the situation is complicated. The person I am dealing with had a bad attitude from the beginning (something that set my teeth on edge from the start, and my husband picked right up on it too, so I'm not imagining it.) That's... well, it's not fine, but it is what it is. Sometimes that just happens and you have to deal with disagreeable people. Ok.

And then it deepens. Communication starts to have hidden little barbs in it, little digs, little passive aggressive manipulations buried in between "Good morning!" and "Thanks!"

I decided to address those, because I'm a straight forward person. This may be where I am a bad negotiator, because I believe in just working with the facts. I don't exaggerate to get what I need. I don't lie to manipulate someone else into doing what I want. It's a "Here's the situation, here is what we are dealing with, here is the problem..." sort of thing with me. All cards on the table, I have nothing to hide and we all work better with all the information. I didn't call out the bad behavior, just the implications, and basically said "what can we do to fix/move forward here", and I got back more hostile communication and manipulation.

I'm wondering if there is a time where good manners need to be set aside, and losing my temper is appropriate. Does that ever actually accomplish anything? I mean, I've seen some of those people get their way and I've always thought that if you have to lose it to get people to do what you want just because they don't want to deal with you, that you've actually lost at that point. (I'm also someone who is more likely to deny someone what they want if they come at me like that, because I resent it. Which isn't very nice of me either, but there you have it.)

Anyway, I'm at a point where I'm seriously trying to figure out if I need to be NOT nice, or if that will make me into one of those people. I never want to be one of those people. I know that even if I do snap and it ends up getting me what I want, I wouldn't walk away all self-satisfied that I won. Instead, I'd probably be grateful I got what I needed... and guilty as heck that I had to act in any sort of negative way.

So, do you have a line where nice ends? No more Mr/Mrs Nice Guy? Or are you nice to the bitter end?

(By nice, I do not mean giving in. There's a difference between a polite "here are the facts, I'm not budging" and a "Go jump in a lake" tactic.)
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Talking To Myself

Words have power. They really do. Researchers have figured this out, and there are myriad studies that support this. That's why talking to yourself can be a good thing... or a bad one. It's really all about what you say that matters!

I, along with countless others, saw the award acceptance speech where the actress spoke about her father telling her to say every day to herself something like "Today is a good day, I CAN and I WILL." When I saw that, it struck a deep chord in me.

Today is a good day. I can, and I will.

I'm not someone who generally buys into all that self-help, talk nice to myself stuff. I think it's partially because I'm fairly angry and disappointed with myself on a pretty much steady basis... and it all sounds a little hokey to start thinking or saying good things to yourself when you don't even believe them. I remember walking in on my mother watching Oprah and there being some sort of show about positive self-talk on and how my mother was gaga over it. Oprah and my mother being in love with an idea means a whole lot of "Oh, heck NO!" from me.

I've seen so many people benefit from looking in a mirror and saying nice things to themselves, and that still hasn't changed how I feel. I just can't do it. Worse, when I try I feel embarrassed or even more disappointed in myself because I know I am not those things. To me, it's not looking in the mirror and saying positive things, it's lying to myself. Lying makes me resentful.

It's not that I don't encourage myself with words at other times. For example, running. It's hard. I'll often say in my mind "This is easy! You can do this! You LOVE running! This feels good!" even when it doesn't. I'm not sure if that's saying something positive and supportive to myself, or hoping for a delusional state when it comes to running, but it still helps. I can talk myself out of making a bad choice. I can boost my confidence before I have to go and talk to someone or present something with "You can do this! You'll be awesome!"self-chatting. But to look into a mirror and say something like "You are good enough" - no. It doesn't work for me, because I know it's not true (and probably never will be, given my expectations.)

But... Today is a good day. I can, and I will.

I heard that, and I think I heard the first positive thing I ever did want to repeat to myself on a daily basis without any other driving factor. I say that, and I feel like I can go face the things I need to face. It reduces the intimidation I may be feeling (especially when it comes to my work.) More, that phrase covers just about everything, right?

Eating: "Today is a good day. I can, and I will... eat healthy."
Exercise: "Today is a good day. I can, and I will... rock my workout."
Art/Work: ""Today is a good day. I can, and I will... make significant progress on my projects, and rock them too!"
Confrontation: "Today is a good day. I can, and I will... make myself heard and resolve this."

So, I can't look in the mirror and tell myself good things about myself. Even if they are something I believe in (like I think I'm a decent parent,) I don't want to hear it. It makes me supremely uncomfortable. But I CAN talk myself through my anxieties and my low energy and my procrastination.

And really? That's all I want. I want to be successful in my life. I want to create good work from my studio, something I can be proud of when I am gone from this earth. I want to not regret time I have left with my children (it's running out as they're getting older!) I want to do better. I want to be better.

I wish I could like who I am, but for me that comes with building up something to be proud of on the inside, and I don't have that yet. So many miles traveled, so many more to go to who I want to be. But the first step? Knowing I can get there, telling myself that.

So...

Today is a good day. I can, and I will.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Going Green

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh! 
(Happy St. Patrick's Day)

I hunted around for my old shamrock socks, and couldn't find them. Some little wee beastie must have run off with them ages ago, and I simply didn't notice. I figure my odds of getting pinched whilst staying home are rather low, though, so I'll probably be ok! 

We're putting off our traditional Irish feast of a lean corned beef cooked with potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and cabbage in the slow-cooker because my official weigh-in for the DietBet is tomorrow morning. No matter how well you obey your portions, with something as salty as corned beef you will gain an astronomical amount of water weight. Heck, I think it's so salty that even the aroma in the air turns me into a human life preserver. So, it'll be put off a day or two. I offered to cook it anyway, and I'll just have some later on, but the kids say it isn't the same.

With that in mind, I'm trying to hunt up something fun for dinner that I can eat that won't have me popping my buttons. Even soda bread makes me poof up. 

Think the kids would revolt if we just ate broccoli for dinner? That's green... kinda shamrocky... 


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Running Weight

I went for a little bit of a run yesterday. It didn't last long before it turned into a walk instead.

I wanted to go for a big run, but as usual I'm still struggling with my plantar fasciitis. It's not like the people who have it and can still run. No, I'm one of the lucky ones where my PF can actually cripple me so I can barely walk, so I have to be really careful. But I know what it's like to not have it. I miss running. It's been almost a year now since I sprained my ankle and then slid into the PF on my right foot. I've had x-rays, seen doctors, had shots in my foot and so on. Nothing is working, but it has sort of leveled out (as long as I don't make it worse.)

I bought my old brand of shoes that worked for me after my first bout of PF (New Balance), and I sincerely wonder if buying Asics again isn't what triggered some of this (it's what triggered my ITBS in both legs when I was training for that marathon, once upon a time.) I think Asics are my kryptonite. But they were purple, and cool. I wish that NB would stop making frankenstein runners like me look like we're stuck in orthopedic shoes. We want to look cute too! Is that too much to ask?! It's like we're being punished for being bad at running. All the neutral running shoes and racing flats are cute, so all those perfect-feeted people can go on and be even cuter with their fast running perfectness (me? Bitter? Why do you ask?)

Anyway, I got my good shoes back and I could feel a little difference in how they supported me. Additionally, I bought this compression sleeve thing for PF (for about $10) and I've been wearing it off and on. I think it is helping, but when I read comments on it, apparently it helps the most if you wear it while sleeping. I'm only managing to do that for a little while, because I keep waking up and feeling like my foot has been taken hostage (I'm sort of a "feet be free!" kind of girl. No socks. No shoes, ever, if I can avoid it.) But when I do manage to even sleep half the night in it, I do notice a difference. So... I'm trying.

Still, even though I ran for a little bit and I don't think my PF is terribly worse today (that's progress!) I've made some decisions about my weight in relation to the running. When I'm running on the treadmill and I use both hands on the bars to lift a little bit (JUST a little) it reduces the weight on my feet and the pain just vanishes from my foot. Now, I know that this is a multi-layered result. I'm sure the pain is reduced by less weight, yes, but also added stability from my holding myself which causes less overall balance triggered movement and so on. I can't do anything about the fact that I run like Quasimodo, but I CAN (and am) do something about my weight.

I'm about 189lbs right now. I've decided I'm not even going to attempt running again until I hit 175lbs. I figure it's both an extra incentive to lose the dang weight already, but also possibly (likely) a way to help the PF be on its way as well.

It's kind of frustrating to think I'm not allowing myself to do something until I lose enough weight that would actually help me lose weight if I did it. Like a twisted and evil carrot to dangle in front of my face. But when it comes to pain, which is the reason, I think it makes a lot of sense.

In a lot of ways, this makes me super-sad. I'm angry I have to do this anyway. I fought so hard to be able to run. It's the hardest form of exercise for me, and the reason I like it is that I feel like I have accomplished something when it's over. Really accomplished something. Starting my day off three days a week feeling like I have accomplished something is a real gift, but it's been taken away from me. For almost a year now. I want it BACK.

Other exercises don't do it for me. So, even though I'll continue exercising six days a week as I do now, I won't feel accomplished until I can run again. I look forward to when I get that feeling back. Hopefully shedding this weight will be a big step toward that.

Besides, I have this Dietbet thing that is six months long, and at the end of it I'd love to be able to say I'm back in my weight range AND running again! (round one ends on St. Patrick's day. I'm still trying to undo the damage from my birthday and husband's visit, but I should be able to pull it off!)