No…I don’t feel gross. Never did.

A friend of mine posted this article about “Thin Privilege”, and I clicked the link, just reading my facebook feed like a dutiful friend/artist exhausted of coloring. It was a surprisingly good read, and it touched a part, deep down inside, that I’ve been ignoring.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of body issues lately. Not like you’d expect. Usually, when a girl loses weight, they’re just so excited to be skinnier and get new clothes and stuff. Which I have been. Excited to be down a jean size. Excited my clothes fit better…I have those feelings, but it’s not the only ones that are there. Becoming the skinnier me…it’s taken some getting used to.

Since I started losing weight, back in April, my eyes have been opened to a world of truths. So many people thought I hated myself and my body, and I didn’t realize how plentiful those people were who thought this. The judgement now, once I started shedding pounds, …they don’t feel like they have to hide it…to hide they were judging me as gross, lazy, slow, unhealthy…and so much more.

When I posted my progress (closing in on 40 pounds less now – Thanks, MyFitnessPal and Charles for keeping me company on my journey), there was a surprising amount of people who came out of the woodwork, assuming I hated how I looked before. I have gotten questions like “Don’t you feel less gross now?” or “I bet you get less tired going up stairs, right?” or “Doesn’t eating healthy just feel better?” or “I thought you were gonna have a heart attack.”

Now I KNOW that several of the people who have said these things are chock-full of love and such, but it hurt. These people I care about, and who care about me, thought I was living in this shameful bubble of self-loathing, but I was never that girl. Underneath all my flubber and jiggly bits, I am relatively healthy. I have a thyroid issue, but I don’t hide behind it, as I know I eat horribly and I don’t exercise. But down 30+ pounds I STILL EAT HORRIBLY…I just eat less…and I still barely exercise.

I was talking to a friend just a day or two ago about fat-shaming and how it affected her life. She’s slimmer than me, even at my current weight, and far more active. She had these friends, an elderly couple from Syria, who she would visit and take shopping and the like. But each time, the woman would look her over and point out stuff like “You look less like a cow today than yesterday”…and she finally had it “up to here” and severed ties. The woman followed her as she left, but my friend was done. Done being judged. Done having her flaws pointed out to her.

It’s not like we don’t know we don’t conform to the standard of beauty, but she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. She’s kind and thoughtful. Her smile and laugh could light up a room, and she has a way of making you feel like you belong. She didn’t deserve the way she was treated.

It’s just…seriously fucked up. But I’m kind of glad it happened this way to me. It really opened my eyes.

The screwiest part of all of this is the fact I kind of miss fatter me. I’ve been big for a long time. I haven’t been not considered a ‘plus size’ since the sixth grade. I’ve always been comfortable with me, just as I am and as I was, haters be damned. But I knew that girl, for all the ‘flaws’. I know what stresses and life choices made me go from a bean pole to a curvy girl. But as I saw it, she was me. I lived my life to be happy, and this was the result, and I was and AM comfortable with that.

I started losing weight so I can improve my chances to have kids and those kids will have better health as a result of me taking better care of myself while they’re along for the ride. Not because I hated myself. Not for any of the reasons people assumed. Why no one assumed I would do something for someone other than myself is beyond me, but I guess we’re all conditioned to believe that we all hate ourselves and want desperately to be have that supermodel body.

I don’t plan on quitting the weight loss journey. I will get used to the new me. I will get to know this girl as I knew the one who was there in April. But know I love myself. I’m healthy. I’m motivated. I have goals. I don’t think I’m gross. I think I am fabulous. I am actually sort of vain. I check myself out in the mirror and say “how you doin?” channeling my best Matt Leblanc.

I think I shall end this rant here. I have vented sufficiently.

You can’t kill me…you can only make me stronger…unless you offer me cupcakes…full of poison. Then you’ll get me. I cannot resist cupcakes. Less I’m out of calories for the day.

-J.S.

 

 

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November Time: NaNoWriMo + B-Day + Art!

November is off like a bullet already.

As I did last year, I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, (www.nanowrimo.org), and I had been preparing for this throughout October. This year I’m a planner. Last year, I was a “Pantser” as they call it…flying by the seat of my pants as I wrote. This story has a clear trajectory, and the word count is already up to 12,122 words (My TOTAL last year was around 17k) as of the end of last night. Got some work to focus on today, but I will definitely be squeezing in some words. My goal for yesterday was 6666 words to be on path to hit my goal of 50k before the end of the month. I’m mega-excited.

I’ll share an excerpt with you next blog. Maybe I’ll introduce the characters here. There’s quite a few.

GYM UPDATE: I’ve still been a slouch. I went to the gym on the 29th. Got my 30 minutes in and a little bit more, walking over a mile at 2.0mph. I have been active lately though, definitely getting walking in that isn’t necessarily at the gym. I mean, grocery shopping and lugging them up the stairs all in one trip like a pack mule should really count as a workout. Sweat more there than on the treadmill. QQ

Commissions are plentiful at the moment, but I hope to get even more on my plate on that front. I truly hope to develop this into a business that I can do from home when I finally pop out a couple younglings, so getting a full head of steam behind this has been a major goal for me.

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MY BIRTHDAY WAS AMAZING! Slept in at the in-laws’ house before rolling outta bed to get cupcakes from SWEET! (The most awesomest cupcake bakery in Orlando) Charles’ present for me was in the car. Boy got me a new cellphone case (needed) and Sims 3: Dragon Valley (OMG WANTED). It was wrapped in the cutest bumblebee gift bag, with pink paper. He had the sweetest card. Charles and I had lunch at Graffiti Junktion, and we cruised back to our place for a while. I didn’t know why at the time, but it was waiting on a birthday gift delivery, which was apparently from his mom and dad. 🙂 I didn’t expect anything from them, for sure. It was super nice of them. Chuck and Mary got me Sims 3: Into the Future (SIM SIM SIMMY SIM SIM! – LOVING THIS XPACK) and this adorable Sailor Moon necklace, which actually was the exact same as I got my niece last year (who happens to have the same birthday as me!) We had dinner at Outback after I stopped over at Hobby Lobby for costume supplies, and Mary was nice enough to let me use her grown up sewing machine when I killed my tiny one. Good times were had by all.

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HALLOWEEN WAS AWESOME! My hubby let loose his inner artist, dressing up as the ever-inspiring Bob Ross, and I was his muse, the Happy Little Tree! I made my tree trunk dress myself. (Hence the sewing machine) I really don’t know a whole lot of much about sewing aside from minor repairs and what I learned in home ec in the 7th grade, but I am still feeling accomplished that I made it and it didn’t fall apart. There were only about 10 trick or treaters, which meant lots of leftover candy! (OMG not good for the exercising part of me…but my inner fat kid was in heaven!)

I’ll end today’s post with my latest illustration (fresh off the presses. I just drew it this morning). It was a prize for my instagram contest from October. They requested the cartoony character, so i drew him in the style presented as well as in my own. I just got this grey paper tablet. I think I’m in love. See ya next time! ❤

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Day 23: Has it really been a week???

Where does the time go? I can’t believe I’ve been blog-less for a full week. It feels like only yesterday I wrote my last post. I guess I got wrapped up in life and lost track of the time.

GYM UPDATE: I’m a lazy slouch. Hehe.
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No worries though! Tuesday, October 29th, will mark my official return to my Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday exercise schedule.  I’ve been fighting a cold, allergies, and a couple other things as of late, and I hate to say it, but I often found myself not having the time. Even as I write this, I got at least six other things going on that are needing my attention. But I wouldn’t forget my beloved Panda Squares readers. This journey with you guys has really helped me to stay on track as long as I did, and I hope your support will help me get back on it again.

It’s about that time of year again! National Novel Writer’s Month will be upon us on November 1st, which means it’s time for me to begin work on the 50,000 word novel challenge from NaNoWriMo.org – just like last year. Last year I fell short of my goal, reaching just over 17k words. I did all my writing as a “Pantser”, flying by the seat of my pants and writing whatever came to mind.

Not this year though! This year, I have been planning my novel for most of this month with a story that has been brewing in my mind for a while now. My characters are clearly defined, though some still need names. My current rough outline has me at over 20 chapters worth of story to be told. It’s gonna be a fantasy novel. I’m sure that’s no shocker to you guys, centering around about 5 characters. There’s a couple more characters I’ll have fleshed out, but they … well, you’ll see what happens. 🙂

I’ll be sharing bits and excerpts with you as I write, since my blog time will likely become novel-writing time, for the most part. I also plan to provide illustrations of the characters so you guys can see what I see while all this goes on. I hope it’s not going to be boring for you. At the very least, it should be at least as exciting as my current blogs: “I woke up. I worked on some drawings. I missed my workout. I saw a bouncy house.” 😛

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I’ll see you all tomorrow, with any luck. Probably from my cell. Taking Charles’ mum to a doctor’s appointment. I may be waiting a while. 🙂

 

Day 16 – Laaaaaaazy and Busy all at once…

My blogging has become more sporadic, but heck, it’s my wordpress, and I can blog when I want to…

I fell off the exercise wagon. I have only been to the gym proper once since my last blog about exercise. Life just got in the way. Not to say I didn’t exercise, but not focused. I did a lot of walking doing my grocery shopping, running errands, and attending events. I walked the show floor for several hours at the Home Show the first weekend of the month, and then I walked the Fall Festival in Hunter’s Creek. I also did some minor strength training with grocery bags on my stairs…now that will make a girl SWEAT!

I am going to return to the gym tomorrow morning and get myself back on track. I’ve actually made some tweaks to my food choices, including more fish, chicken, veggies, and fruit into my diet. I’ve actually lost five pounds since my last weigh in, which is really exciting seeing as I’ve missed the gym so much. I also have been drinking water most of the time, with the occasional glass of tea (just a touch of honey to sweeten it) or juice.

The Home Show I attended was fun at first, but got a little stressful later from pushy salespeople…but we did get to spend excellent QT (Quality Time) with the in-laws and we found someone to repair/replace our chipped windshield. We have a new windshield now, and it’s amaaaaazing. Haven’t had our first rain with it yet…I’m stupid nervous! I also found a foodie delight in Garlic Joy ( https://joyofgarlic.com/ ) – Their Garlic Spread and salsas and pasta sauces were delicious! They’re also located here in Florida, which is fun.

Now, the Fall Festival in Hunter’s Creek was interesting. I was invited by my friend Lauren of Inviting Hue (Her Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/InvitingHue – GO CHECK IT OUT!) since she was going to be showing off her beautiful and unique invitations and thank you cards at the event.

I’ve been to a few Fall festivals, but none since I arrived in Florida back in 2004. After attending this event, I realized that Florida doesn’t quite know what a Fall festival should be. I blame the lack of seasons, really. In the past, when I attended a Fall festival, it always had the following FALL things: Hayride, Fall-themed Decorative Items (dried indian corn, scarecrows, cornucopias and the like…), Fall themed baked goods (all those delicious autumn foods, like pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie, pumpkin gobs, nut roll, ….I could go on), Halloween Stuff, Thanksgiving Stuff, and more.

This event had Halloween and bouncy houses. It had games aimed at the kiddies and trick-or-treating. There were NO baked goods. Only vittles there were hot dogs/hamburgers from Publix, Snowcones (WTF FLORIDA! FALL FESTIVAL!), boy scout popcorn tins, and whatever candy you could forage (I got none…could not accept the trick-or-treat candy in good conscience without a costume). No pumpkin anything. No theme-y decor. It was an event pretty much strictly for the kiddies, so as a child-less grown up, I was at a loss. The whole place smelled of a mix of aromatherapy scents from this booth selling scented teddy bears, and I got pamphlets from the vendor for mammograms (Breast Cancer Awareness is important people. Go team pink!) which I was okay with, seeing as it’s October, but I also got one for Marital counseling and for Mental Health Rehabilitation. Someone tried to sell me services to repave my driveway, and the snowcone booth only took cash, which I had none of, cause cards are the future. Come on, snowcone place! Even I can take a card with my smartphone, just sayin. Get with it, man!

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The bouncy house selection was pretty sweet though. If I were a little kid there, I woulda lost my mind. I particularly loved the one pictured above. It’s a bouncy WAGON! It was cool, and it made me miss the hayrides less.

It was unnaturally hot for and October day, at least to me, so we visited Lauren, toured the booths, got rejected by the snowcone people for our lack of paper money, and then we bolted.

Anyone know of a good bakery where I can get pumpkin roll in Orlando?

 

 

Day 4 – Catching Up and Sleeping In.

Day 2 – Very successful workout. Got up to 30 minutes by dropping my speed down a bit to 2.0 from 2.5. Gonna keep that pace til I feel like I can push up without losing time, as time is gonna be the most important part for me. Keep my heart rate up for a longer bit of time

 

Day 3 – Finished commission for Pizza Xtreme on Day 2, so I went to pick up the payment owed. Annmarie is always a joy to be around, plus she was super nice and gave me a free soda for my warm car trip back to my place and to run my afternoon errands.  I worked on my next commission. I woke feeling a little off, and after lunch it got worse, and again after dinner…which leads us to:

 

Day 4, AKA today: Woke at like 4, sickly, and couldn’t sleep til nearly six. Sent Charles off to work and stayed in bed, and woke around noon. Missed lunching with the Fella, but it’s okay since the queasy is just wearing off. Probably best I avoid it. He’s getting out early today, and I’m excited for that. Their office is switching to a new space next week. I am super excited to see it. He’s been in the same primary office since 2006, and here – 7 years later, and it’ll be a decent change. It’ll be in the same general place but a more cohesive work space. Everyone together. I hope to escort Charles to the new space Monday morning.

Likely going to the in-laws’ house this weekend per usual, but they have a treadmill and pool, so I should be able to get exercise in over the weekend and be up to my three per week.

More soon.

Day 1 Again – Or at least it feels that way.

Some 60 days into this blog, we get to reset the clock. It was the first day of this blog when I went to the gym for the first time.

“My day begins. I woke early to get myself put together for my first workout at the fitness center in my apartment complex. Long hair tied up and rockin’ the headband to keep my fly-aways at bay. Grey capris, blue tank, and good supportive shoes was my outfit of choice to start this little adventure. If I was gonna sweat, I would be as comfy as possible.”
Photos from July 31,2013:
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Today, I slipped into the same workout clothes, strapped on the same shoes, and got ready to start over.
Photos from today, October 1, 2013:
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The difference is posture and bra choice, really! LOL – It is so complete a restart…I’m right where I was to start. So I have to rebuild from the ground up. Start rebuiding my endurance and speed on the treadmill to where I was.

So it’s Day 1, all over again.  I only managed to get in 10 minutes on the treadmill, plus 2 minutes cooldown, plus the walk to and from the gym…but not spectacular all in all. I need to build back up to 30+ minutes of at least 2.5 speed on the treadmill. I will be going back tomorrow, and the next day, and the next til I get it, barring my legs givin’ up on me.

Thanks to everyone who has left feedback and support of me on this journey. As far as the wrist surgery is coming along, the wound has healed, and all that remains is the scar. Still working on regaining my full range of motion, but I’ll take the progress.

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Before the cysts were removed, and after – taken just a few minutes ago.
If any of you know of a good scar cream, let me know in the comments. Right now, my wrist looks disgruntled. I would love to be able to bend my wrist like I could in the before picture, though.

See y’all tomorrow.

Day 21 – Must be Tuesday…

Let’s start out with the Gym stuff, since I’ve been burying it these last few posts:
Today, I worked out for 13:20. I walked .62 miles, burned 51 kCal, and did so at 3.0 MPH. Yeah, I know, kinda lame on the time, but it was faster. I just wasn’t feeling it today, but I didn’t want to NOT work out, so I went.

GYM JAM OF THE DAY:
“Rise” by Yoko Kanno // Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex OST

(Figured all the videos weren’t what I wanted, so why not go AMV with it. May have spoilers, so watchers, beware.)

People keep asking me: “What program are you on?” “What’s your caloric intake?” “What’s your weight loss goal?” “Is this doctor-mandated?” “What’s your diet like?”, so let me take this opportunity to answer.

I am NOT on a program. My caloric intake it probably too high, but I’m not counting. My weight loss goal is to lose 25 pounds. I have no time frame in mind for that, but sooner would be better. It is NOT doctor-mandated. I did this for me, of my own free will, and it’s probably the only reason I haven’t quit like I did every other time I tried this. My diet is largely unchanged. I have taken some suggestions offered to me under advisement (Thanks Nick for all your helpful tips), but I’ve not made a ton of changes. I drink lots of water, and I try to limit my sweets, which I hadn’t been doing AT ALL.

This entire thing is about change. My goal was to get healthier, and get off the couch. I want to be around for a very long time, and I don’t want that time to be miserable. On Sunday, while I worked out, I wondered what my kids might look like one day, if I ever get blessed enough to have some. (2-3 ideal, 5 is the cap :P) So my WHY for all of this is LOVE, really. I want to see my nieces and nephews grow, and have nieces and nephews of their own. I wanna see my older brother finally marry his fiancee (I figure I’ll be in my 80s by then, but at least I should have shriveled up a little bit so I can fit into my bridesmaid gown. <3).

So far, this little experiment has been successful. I’ve been moving, and I’ve got more energy. I am trying to make healthier choices without feeling like I’m punishing myself or not enjoying my life to the fullest.

Now, as it is Tuesday, it is also a day of DELICIOUS TACOS! The TACO TEAM assembled today for deliciousness at Tijuana Flats.

TACO TUESDAY IS UPON US!

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The normal crew had a couple new additions. Topics of conversation seemed to linger on topics that weren’t exactly something I could jump in on, such as “when you wear red sunglasses when you’re at the beach or pool, it’s like x-ray vision on girls’ swimsuits” and the like. Very dude-ly. I prefer the, albeit brief, conversations about how the auto-draft utilities for our apartment complex didn’t work right for us as well as for the guy we referred to come live here, and about how we never check our snail mail, cause snail mail isn’t the future.

My tacos had a wheat tortilla instead of flour, but I figure it was divine intervention telling me that this taco was not on the suggested food list, so this little tortilla should be just a little healthier. Alright, alright, Universe. I’ll eat the wheat tortilla. I get it!

I got to see my Fella, which is always good. I adore him. He works late a lot, and I miss him dreadfully. Yesterday, I forgot to eat dinner when he wasn’t here. Once he got home though…OMG TOTALLY HUNGRY NOW!

I haven’t gamed today (That may change soon…). I instead used my day talking to friends, reading articles, watching vlogs, ordering photo prints, and learning about perfect-forward security (Shoutout to Grebe for this lesson. I think I get it now.) I did see the Top 25 for the Diablo Art contest. Not super impressed. Some were great. Some were not. Wish mine had made it in. Here’s the list, if ya wanna see. (IGN Diablo 3 Art Contest Top 25)

I also have been brainstorming names for my mini-painting Etsy shop, as well as for Mama’s blanket shop that I will be operating for her. I think I got one for Mama, so I started taking pics and preparing to set everything up. I want it to be polished from the start, so I am trying to get all my ducks in a row before I unleash these beast stores onto the public. Etsy peeps and Pinterest peeps, I hope I can count on you guys for a little word of mouth come launch day. ❤

See y’all tomorrow.

Day 18 + 19 – Game On!

Saturday was Game Time for me, for real. Charles and I quested all day. Nothing say quality time like two rogues exploring Azeroth without aggroing anything, picking pockets, and taking silly pictures of us in the various costumes we collected by doing so. Let me share a few with you now!
Costume Time - 1
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We were exploring Townlong Steppes. Many Mantid there. We were looking like a bunch more bugs too, but I picked my favorites. I don’t think I went very long without a disguise on. I wish they gave enemies dance animations. So far only the Yaungols have danced, using the Tauren moves. Guess they are both varieties of cow men.

Anyways, gaming Saturday was fun. Gaming Sunday – ALSO FUN!

Sunday started with my Sunday workout. Lots of peeps in the gym, by no one was on the treadmill, so I was a happy girl. I did make the mistake of wearing a white shirt though…we live, we learn, we look like we’re only wearing a bra. :s Oops! Darn sweaty shirt!

WORKOUT STATS:
15 minutes at 2.5 mph, 15 minutes at 2.7 mph, + 2 minute cooldown
1.32 miles in distance, 106 kCal burned.

I was on top of the world on Sunday. Did some people watching while I worked out instead of Netflix while enjoying some jams. Two things came to me as I did this: 1. No one stops for the stop signs at the entrance to the complex on Sunday. Be careful crossing the road there, people! 2. I think someone stole the unplugged TV from the gym. It wasn’t there anymore and if someone came in the side door, the camera in the gym wouldn’t have that section of the room in it’s cone of vision. More as it develops on this breaking story!!!

Came home and gamed some more with The Fella, and we did Scenarios for the first time. I’m a Darkspear Revolutionary now. Power to the Darkspear Trolls! I don’t much like Garrosh anyways, so this works for me, and being a troll, I feel like it’s my duty to my people. 🙂

We watched the Giants/Colt preseason game at Buffalo Wild Wings last night. Giants didn’t do so hot. Poor Fella was so depressed. 😦 They looked really good right at the start, but they didn’t make anything happen to keep themselves in the game. It’s preseason though, so they were probably phoning it in. Preseason football is such crap. I think it should be worth something, like some kind of advantage, so teams actually try a little bit. I dunno what that advantage would be…Free mulligan on a coin toss? Bonus money? Free 10 yards to be used some time during the regular season? Come on, NFL – you guys can think of something. Make this more interesting please!!!

That’s the weekend, kids. More to come soon for the Monday edition. I’ll be sharing some photoshop brushes as well as posting my first miniature that will be up for sale. Hope to find a buyer before I paint so they get to choose the palette! 😀

Day 16 + 17 – Fall Down Go Boom

Day 16 was looking to be a bust. I was under the weather, so the gym didn’t happen. Got postponed to day 17. I slept a chunk of my day away trying to get on the mend. I did salvage the day, however, compliments of my baby brother, Jenson. He had asked me to enter a contest…originally as him, because he really wanted the prize, but ‘can’t draw’. I wasn’t really okay with being a ghost artist, so I told him I would enter as myself, and if I won, he could have the statue offered as the prize. (Contest link) Top prize is a Diablo III statue from Sideshow. It’s a little dark and doom-y for my taste, but the idea of having my art shown on IGN was a good opportunity, and it makes my lil’ bro happy, so win/win.

He requested a witch doctor, but I’m not super familiar with the game, so I asked him – since I was doing this for him – to gather up references for me, and email them to me. He said yes, but he never sent them. I realized yesterday was the final day to submit, so I checked my email – NOTHING. I gathered up my own references and did my best to familiarize myself with the material. I ended up doing a blended character design – part of the design was modeled directly from the in-game assets, and some from my own research, lying heavily in African and Native American tribal fashion and real-world wild life. The picture was a success, but I didn’t get to finish it in the way I had envisioned in the time I had left.

Here’s my final submission piece, handed in last night, just before the deadline:
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I think she turned out pretty well. I added a couple little pops of color in there, in her eyes and the smear of blood running down her cheek. I see things I would change now, but time was a factor, and I think it went well.

SO with that, Day 16 was in the book. Day 17 was a doozy so far, though.

When I woke, I still felt offish from yesterday, but I thought, “NO EXCUSES” and I put myself together for exercising. I decided to try the ninja shirt again. I took Charles to work, then went to the gym.

BOTH treadmills were in use by two ladies. The one on my normal treadmill looked a lot like Michelle Rodriguez. Both ladies looked pretty entrenched, so I decided to try the other machines. The elliptical was first. I circled it like a vulture would a carcass, but I was trying to figure out how to get on the darn thing, not to pick meat from its’ bones. Michelle’s doppelganger (I know I’m missing special characters, but whatever), who I’ve nicknamed “B*tchface”, glared at me like  I was some kind of idiot for not knowing how to get on the thing, and that I was really disrupting her exercise. I tried to ignore her as I finally got on the machine.

I got it moving, and was feeling super proud of myself when it happened – 2 minutes of “YEAH!” became a resounding “NO! NO! YOU GO AWAY NOW!” from my legs. They didn’t wanna get their gazelle-like stride on ANY more. I wobbled off of the machine, my chest aching cause I probably should have stayed at home in bed. But I needed to exercise, and the treadmills were still occupied by B*tchface and girl 2, so I moved to the bike.

For those who know exercise bikes (or read my previous blog about my experience), you gotta pedal to turn it on. So I did. I started to set the program, and it asked for my weight, and the first number was 175. I do not weigh 175, and so I pressed the UP arrow. It couldn’t be held. For each pound, you must press the button again, all while pedaling. No stats were tracking until the setup was complete. I pressed and pressed, and it beeped and beeped.

B*tchface glared at me as I struggled with my awesome lack of coordination, trying to pedal while beeping forever. She pushed her earbuds in, and turned up the volume on her iphone before turning her scowling, grumpy b*tchface away from me. But then it happened…I stopped pedaling just before I got to the weight, and the lights went out. I pedaled again, and repeated the beeping. B*tchface was now rolling her eyes and adjusting her headphones more.

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I finally got my weight in, and began pedaling, and it happened again…

“No! No! You go away NOW!”

I sighed and got off the bike, chest still tight, and wiped down the machine. B*tchface rolled her eyes again, and sauntered herself right out of the gym, not wiping her machine down or anything. Some people’s lives are just more important, so I shouldn’t have annoyed her with my existence.

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But eff that lady – MY MACHINE WAS OPEN! I wiped it down for her, cause I’m nice, even to B*tchface, and hopped on…or more of an awkward meandering on. I set up my netflix with the show recommended for me – Breaking Bad – and began walking. The pilot started out MEGA DEPRESSING – so I dunno if I’ll be able to use it to exercise until I watch the pilot + other eps and get beyond the “OMG this is sad” to the “OMG WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM NOW!”. My chest tightened again and I felt lightheaded, so I hit cooldown after only 15 minutes on the treadmill. I had a good sweat going, plus my trials with the other machines were exercise too, and I didn’t feel super good. I wiped the machine down, and walked out of the gym.

The steps were hard to navigate, and it was so hot outside. The pool looked refreshing, but I didn’t have my suit on, so I thought I’d maybe do that later if I felt up to it. I walked around the bend, past the tennis courts, through the parking lot. The nemesis, Mr. Stairwell, was in sight, I walked down the sidewalk and took a left for the stairs, eye on the prize, but suddenly I kept going to the right, then nothing, then I found myself on the ground. I actually fainted briefly while taking the corner toward my apartment. I was quickly revived once I hit the grass, and I hadn’t been so happy that the neighbors picked up their dog’s droppings as I was that moment. Would have made the fall a bit more unpleasant. I didn’t have any scrapes or soreness. I pulled myself to my feet, wobbled up the stairs, and put myself to bed for a little bit.

Met the fella for lunch at Hot Krust Panini Kitchen (Turkey Lake/Sand Lake intersection – by Whole Foods. GO RIGHT NOW if you haven’t been there. One of my faves.) and now I’m at home, resting and writing this blog.

Lessons I learned today: Sick + Exercise = fall in potentially dog-doo laden grass (I got soooo lucky). Also, the ninja shirt is bad for workin out. My two worst performing exercise days were while wearing it. I don’t think I’ll wear it to work out any more. I am NOT a ninja. (I always saw myself as more of a pirate, anyway. You can’t be both.)

Day 12 to Day 14 – Where have I been?!

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I realize I’ve missed a couple days, but it’s been kinda busy, so … my apologies. Been jumping through hoops and working on projects and trying to pack a lot into my days, and some of those days I have not gotten time to blog. I’ll try to do better.

GOOD things to report though. Sunday’s workout was pretty good. 31 minutes at 2.5 mph, 1.31 miles, 104 kCal burned. I had the gym pretty much all to myself – a perk of Sunday Workouts – up until the last five minutes, when househusband from the other day came in. Exchange of nods, but eyes on the prize. I think I’m gonna require a full 30 minutes minimum out of my workouts. If I am under 30 minutes, I’m sweaty and tired when I leave. 30+ minutes, I’m sweaty and tired, but I got a little more pep in my step after, which makes me think that 30 minutes is when I hit my stride. So if I can push through til 30, I can push beyond it. SO no less than 30 minutes, barring major owies.

I’ve been making preparations for the last few days (bloodwork, medical clearances, etc.) to schedule a surgery on my wrist. See, several years ago, like…circa 2007 and working at EA, I had a ganglion cyst form in my right wrist. Little bump, kinda hurt. I call it my “Full Sail Sports Injury.” (Joke being that Full Sail doesn’t have sports, and if they did, I likely would not have played them. I’m very funny.) It was agitated by repetitive stress between art, gaming (WoW), and gaming (QA tester at EA). For about a year I had it, til one day I had to turn off a fire alarm and forgot to use my brain. I grabbed my computer chair to stand on, and I fell, of course. I fell on my right hand, and the cyst burst – all internal, nothing gross or icky, ‘cept for the name ganglion. It’s a gross word.

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It was gone for a long time. Then, in 2010, it started to form again. It started small. And it stayed small, because despite my desk job making scrapbook paper, I had recently retired from WoW, and it got a rest. But it was there. Over time though, it started to hurt more and more. My wrist would get so sore I would put it in an immobilizer brace and my hand would lock up entirely. I think the cyst was pinching a nerve or something, but I’m no doctor. One night I couldn’t open my hand from Dinner until I fell asleep…and it released by morning…but at 2 am, it was still locked. Miserable. I knew I needed it taken care of, but I didn’t have insurance, couldn’t afford the surgery, since scrapbook paper design is not the most lucrative position. I just used my brace more, heat pack or ice pack at home – whichever felt best – and taking long PC-free breaks on my personal time to let it rest.

I moved to the card job, and it was more of the same. Clicking was far worse, and I was making vectors, so clicking…holy ow (not meant to be cow), was it painful. I powered through the pain, since there had been talk of insurance coming once the company took off. October 2012, the company sank, and still no insurance. So I played on. It would eventually go away, but it was then I realized it was getting noticeably larger.

It’s hugeness didn’t fully strike me til a few days before my wedding. My mother gave me a bracelet to wear, which I was glad to have, so the bump wouldn’t be in my photos, plus it was a beautiful bracelet, and from my Mama, whom I love dearly. I wore it proudly, and it hid the unsightly thing for the whole of the evening. It was a magical night. I didn’t even feel the pain til the next day from wearing a bracelet over it for all the hugging and posing and lifting my pretty, heavy dress. It was just getting out of control.

But still I did nothing. “It’ll go away, just like last time.” I was kidding myself.

A few weeks later, at the bridal shower for one of my dearest friends, the lovely Sommer (who’s now a full-fledged member of the wedded bliss club), the issue could no longer be ignored. By anyone, apparently. One of the guests, the daughter of another friend of mine, actually poked at it and said “What is that?” She didn’t look disgusted, but genuinely interested, which was unique.

I suddenly felt like the bearded lady. Very sideshow.

This was the final straw. When I looked at my wrist, I felt like I was looking at the spine of my undead rogue sticking through her cape:

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The pain in my wrist was now dull, but constant. It hurt nearly all the time. Anytime I do anything fun (pulling the trigger on a paintball gun, clicking my moves when picking spells to cast in WoW, placing windows in my Sims 3 Mansion, etc.) and that require finer detail or control (handwriting my wedding thank yous – those cards are small – or sketching intricate folds into a commission for my favorite art patrons) – the pain builds and builds til I can’t take it. I can only fill out 2 thank yous at a time. I sent out 90 invitations to my wedding. Do the math, when I want to thank everyone who came as well as those who sent gifts. I almost gave in to logical thought, and asked on FB if peeps would mind a printed version with a handwritten signature. People were understanding, but at the same time – I felt bad and all the love I felt that day from friends and family deserve the proper written treatment. I couldn’t do it. I’d rather be stupid late than cold. Just not me.

So that brings us to now. Now when I am playing phone tag with surgeons, waiting for estimates from surgery centers, and getting medical clearances. My thyroid levels were of specific concern, but they have stabilized, thankfully. I got my clearance this morning, now I gotta wait for Charles to get time off to come with me cause I’m gonna be doped up something fierce while the go in and cut this little bugger so it’s likelihood of return is less than 10%, which would be amazing. Since April’s wedding shower embarrassment, a second cyst sprung up right by the first. Now I look like this:
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Like what I did there? Anatomical references when showing weird body parts – kinda fun to me. Hehe. The second cyst is tiny and not visible in the shadow of is predecessor, but it’s there, and it’s growing, and it suuuuuuuuuucks. HARD.

I should hopefully be getting surgery either this Thursday or the Thursday following. Once I find out Charles’ schedule, I can get the appointment made. Once the surgery is done, I may be brief with posts, but heck, this one’s getting long and I didn’t even cover today’s exercise totals yet! Which were great!

First, a gym jam, cause I love to share music with you guys:
Not like, classic music here, but I love it. Very mellow and driving, nice for the last few minutes of your workout while you push through til you hit your goal time and start your cool down. The vocalizations in the background are mesmerizing. Serena’s kinda…cookie-cutter-young-pop-tartlet, but I enjoy her energy. The video is lovely too.

So after my appointment this morning, I hit the gym. I was feeling extra peppy to start cause the gym was empty save 1 girl lifting weights, and I had just gotten the all clear on my EKG and medical clearance. I was strong like bull.

I watched Weeds again, since it seems to be in a less … naked all the time … part of the show (showtime and HBO love them some bewbies.) and I knew it grabs my attention enough to keep my eyes off the time and all that. I realize it’s gotta be something I haven’t seen before, and it has to be something I’m invested in. The show’s definitely not aging gracefully, but it’s trying to stay alive, and I really wanna see where the characters end up. I went for 2.5 mph today, since my goal was time first, speed second. Once I get to where I can hit my goal at 2.5, I’ll move to 2.7. Then on up.

I walked for 42 minutes, over 7 laps, for 1.77 miles, burning 140 calories. Burn, baby, burn! I felt like the king of the world walking back to my apartment. I got home, and I started getting changed, and I realized something horribly embarrassing, which I’ll share with my blog readers, cause I love you guys and I share my shameface with the ones I love – My grey capris were sweat-soaked, and not in a flattering way. I looked like I had a cat face on my butt. Nose in the middle, with whiskers pointing outward. But you know what…the shame was ok. I still felt amazing, despite the minor embarrassment, because I walked my longest time. When I got off that treadmill, I was pumped. I felt awake and alive and…sweaty, but it was a great feeling.

I’m making an effort to improve myself, and it feels good. Really, really good.

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Met the hubbs and friends for lunch, and now I’m home again, blogging before relaxing and trying to knock out a pending commission for the sweet Lady Annmarie, my favorite “Pizza Bitch” ever. (That’s her superhero name, guys. Super Pizza Bitch. She is super. One of my best clients and favorite people, honestly.) I wanna finish it before the surgery so she can get the framing done. It’s gonna be the first piece I submit as a print on DA, order said print, then immediately take down once the order has shipped. I’ll explain this in November. Dunno how long I’ll be down for once I get the surgery done, maybe just a week, but I gotta get this one out the door.

Hopefully I’ll see y’all tomorrow and post some surgery updates. Wish me luck!

❤ – Panda

((EDIT: animated gifs – SOURCE: buzzfeed.com – I love them, their lists make me giggle))