July Update (for lack of a better title)

swimming-in-july

Hello Summer!  It’s time to report on what we’ve been up to.

What have you been up to?

We’ve spent a lot of time at the pool. Since tennis camp is over I’ve set up a strict schedule for the girls in the hopes of saving my sanity and my struggling business. The kids are allowed an embarrassing amount of Minecraft time during the morning when I usually get the most work done. After lunch they have screen-free time (which usually involves a lot of moping and complaining but eventually morphs into real play time) and then by three we are off to the pool.

We have an agreement. If it’s over 80 degrees and after three, we can go to the pool. This helps me a lot with managing my expectations. I never get much done when the kids are unplugged so I might as well accept it and get some reading in or even some swimming(!).  And by reading, I mean a real book but sometimes I spend an embarrassingly large amount of that reading time on Facebook and Instagram. The kids do not fall far from the tree.

lazy-summer

Nothing says summer more than lazy, sleeping pets. Or do they do that all year around? I don’t know but the hotter it is the more they stretch out and it’s funny.  It’s like their bodies melt into whatever surface they find themselves on. They really do know how to beat the heat. Just sleep it away!

cat-con-2016

Not us though. We’re too busy for sleeping. Last week (technically the week before last week since we have the girls every other week) I took the girls to CatCon LA. It’s a convention for crazy cat people like us and we had a blast.  We spent way too much money on Pusheen swag but it was totally worth the overdraft protection fees because you can never have enough Pusheen swag.

Bug has been talking about wanting a Pusheen-Minecraft party for her birthday. That should be a fun challenge. Good thing I’ve got a headstart to think up something. I’m trying to talk her into a Pusheen doughnut theme, that would be super cool and not difficult but I have the one kid in the whole wide world who doesn’t really like doughnuts. I guess I took her too many times back when we lived at the beach and used to kill time at the local doughnut shop.

my-birthday-2016

My birthday was this week and I’ve been spoiled rotten with a homemade chocolate cake, a pasta maker attachment to my fancy mixer and a promised trip to Legoland this weekend! Yes, that was my choice. I’ve always wanted to go. I promised Bug a trip forever ago but never gotten around to it so I special-requested it for my birthday! I know. I am so spoiled. Payam is one of a kind crazy gift-giver and no, you can’t steal him.

I’m a big fat forty-four! FORTY-FOUR!! That’s like one more year until I’m halfway to fifty!  Funnily, I’m proud of my age. Of course I’m looking at these pictures trying to determine whether my face is fatter or not but you know what? I really don’t care anymore. I’m really, really healthy (says the doctor) because of all my intense crazy-woman yoga workouts (to be explained later) so I’m just going to be proud of where I am at for a change. I’m in a good place.

It really is true that a lot can happen in a year.  It’s a been a year now since we moved in with Payam and it’s turning out to probably be one of the best parts of my life. I’m a naturally anxious person and the happier I am, the more worried I am that something bad is going to happen.  I think I was taught that too much happiness usually ends in pain so I keep waiting for the hard times to hit. Like that’s the price of being happy or something. It’s twisted but I’m slowly starting to believe that you really can be happy and stay happy. What a crazy idea.  I’m really thankful. It’s good to be here.

fathers-day-2016

And speaking of being here and now and enjoying the present happiness… (eye roll for that the obvious and clunky transition) I took my dad to see Garrison Keeler’s last Prairie Home Companion show for his father’s day gift. It was great.

First of all because I hardly ever do things with my parents, just me and secondly because the Hollywood Bowl is probably my most favorite venue ever, right up there next to the Santa Barbara Bowl. I love outdoor amphitheaters that allow alcoholic beverages. There really is nothing better than sitting outside on a warm summer night, enjoying a show (and the sunset and the stars…) while sipping wine from a plastic goblet. They aren’t stingy either. It wasn’t my most favorite wine but they poured it to the very tippy top so that I was actually a little bit stressed about carrying it from the vendor stand to my seat without spilling it on my favorite new white tank top.

It was a great show. I didn’t even care that we were so far away in the nosebleed section that we couldn’t even see Garrison Keeler’s face. It was just a really fun, sweet sentimental night. Especially because Prairie Home Companion is one of my dad’s favorite radio shows and it was Garrison Keeler’s last show AND because Garrison Keeler grew up “in the meeting” which is always interesting to those of us who share similar history.

july-4th-2016

Fourth of July was nice. We took the dogs to the pool at Payam’s moms house and it was the most hilarious thing. I don’t have any pictures of that mayhem because I need to buy a new battery for my waterproof camera and I wasn’t going anywhere near the pool with crazy dogs and my phone at the same time.

The girls and I splashed around in the pool with our amazing collection of giant snack food floaties  and then Cody got brave enough to jump in. He’s naturally a water dog, being a Golden Retriever and all but we were a little worried he might betray his genetics because when we took him to the beach he was afraid of the waves. But the genes kicked in and he didn’t let us down! He swam and swam!  He mostly just swam towards us putting us at risk of being scraped by his long dog claws but he seemed to really like it. He didn’t really get the idea that the steps were the way out but then he has the intelligence of a three-year-old so what do I expect?

Whiskey was having none of the swimming. At one point Payam threw him in and he can swim but he didn’t like it. I think he’s too smart and if there aren’t any ducks to chase there really is no reason to be floundering around in this wet stuff where there is no bottom.

Then we went home and had our classic fourth of July dinner that always includes my favorite German Potato Salad. That strangely no one but me really likes in this family?!!  What is wrong with them? How can you go wrong with potatoes, bacon, vinegar and sugar?

6-months-of-yoga

About those crazy-woman intense yoga work-outs… I’ve been going for six months now. I am sorely disappointed that I do not have a chiseled yoga body that I thought I would have by now. I’m working against the age curve and the fact that I really like to (over) eat regularly so I think I’m perpetually fighting against myself and slowly becoming more ripped under a healthy layer of fat.

But I am hooked. I’ve started to really become attached to my yoga instructors. They work so hard to keep us motivated. I feel like I can’t let them down. It’s also a nice get away in the morning just for me so I’m keeping on keeping on.

summer-2016That pretty much sums up summer so far besides the fifty other things I’ve probably forgotten.

summer-puppy-adventures

Yes! I almost forgot to tell you about the time Whiskey jumped into the lake!

Yep.

I was walking the puppies to the lake like I usually do and Whiskey was pulling like a mad man because he is terrier and a natural hunter of vermin. There are always bunnies and birds and ducks that call out to him to be caught and it drives him absolutely batshit crazy. I was so tired of holding him back and feeling like my arm was about to be ripped off that I decided to let him go flying down a path that I thought dead-ended at the lake.

Little did I realize that he would think the waveless lake was a flat surface to run on and throw himself into it to try and catch a duck. Boy was that a surprise for him. There was a man fishing near by and we both cracked up laughing as soon as it happened. I know I should have expected this but I really didn’t. He’d never done anything like that before and we’ve been to the lake hundreds of times.

He didn’t like the lake that much and he paddled around back to the shore as quick as he could. He couldn’t quite pull himself up on the man-made shelf so I swooped down and grabbed him by his harness and pulled him out with a big splash that got me half wet too.

Then we continued on our walk with one really skinny puppy dripping and shaking all the way home. Payam was a little disgusted that we had a wet lake-water puppy but I thought it was a great morning adventure.

Never a dull moment around here!  Happy Summer!

Me and the Gym

step-aerobics

I never told you guys about how I joined a gym. I was going to but then my Grandpa died and the nieces came to visit and it got shelved. It’s probably a good thing I waited though because my opinion of the whole place has changed. On a daily basis. You could say I have a love/hate relationship with the gym.

When I first joined they set me up with a free complimentary session with a personal trainer. I said, Bring it on! I love personal trainers! I used to have one back in the day when I worked at the junk mail factory (an awesome company perk) and I loved it. Working out always goes better when you have someone else nagging you to do lunges correctly.

It turns out the free complimentary session at the new gym was more of a hard sell in disguise for their bazungo crazy expensive personal trainer program. What a crock. First the guy broke me down and pretty much made me eat dirt and admit that I was in much worse shape than I realized. He had me lifting all kinds of crazy weight in super slow sets that had my knees shivering like a little girl.

I know this method of working out is usually effective so of course I let him abuse me. I embraced the pain. But then the machines were so complicated. I was doing leg lifts backwards on something you usually use for your abs and something swung around and smashed my index finger in a way it should not have. It hurt. Bad. I still have a blue nail to prove it.

Blargin’ Trainer Guy. I hate him.

After about forty-five minutes of brutal humbling, we headed over to his desk to “talk about my options.” I admit it. I was sold. Not because I loved the work-out but he pretty much had me convinced that there was no other way to get in shape other than to hire him to whip me. My future looked pretty bleak. Even with his program it would probably take me six months to a year to lose the twenty pounds I need to lose. And let me tell you, those pounds were the ugliest pounds I’ve ever looked at. I’m sure he had me working out in front of a mirror for that exact desired effect.

We talked and talked. He complimented me on my knowledge. I learned about his struggle with MS and how he holds some kind of trophy belt for being the best trainer in all of California. It was a happy little talk and then right as the short hand reached the hour mark, he slid his laminated rates page across the desk.

Sixty dollars a session.

SIXTY DOLLARS A SESSION!!!! Plus a hundred-and-something-or-other for initiation.

Say what?!!

I’m not made of money. I can’t afford sixty dollars a week. Is this guy crazy? I live in a depressed town where everyone is on welfare. How do people afford this?!! Do their insurance companies cover it? Does the government offer programs for this? I saw plenty of people working out with trainers. They must be coming up with the money somehow. How do they do it? I pretty much emptied my checking account to join the gym in the first place.

Then the worst thing happened. The ugly cry came over my face. I didn’t mean it to. I never cry in public, well hardly ever. I hid under my bangs but once it started I couldn’t stop it. I guess I was a little more stressed out than I realized. Work had been tricky, money has been tight, my house seemed like it would never stay clean (thanks to my brother who was making it his personal mission to mess it up), everybody thinks I’m uptight because I’m a control freak about my house, Bug didn’t like their dumb kid’s club daycare and well, the whole navigating a dissolving marriage thing…you know, maybe it was just too much.

I put my hands over my eyes, got up from his desk and walked backwards. I hid behind a column that was near his desk and then just split. I didn’t even try to explain myself. What could I say? This guy doesn’t know half of what is going on in my life. Who knows, maybe he makes people cry on a regular basis. I’m sure his services are well worth $60 an hour. I charge more than that for what I do. But you just can’t spend money you don’t have.

So that was that. I haven’t talked to him since. I see him from time to time and I’ve been meaning to stop and apologize but I just haven’t gotten the guts up. He has my phone number, he could have called me but I think he’d rather wash his hands of a weepy over-weight middle-aged frump monster. I don’t know. I’m moving on.

I went home and thought a lot about the whole experience. In the end I decided that this guy doesn’t know me. He has no idea how I work out and how much willpower I have. I can get in shape without him. It might take me longer but I’m not a failure before I even start.

So far I’ve gone to the gym at least two times every week for about a month, often more. It’s too early to be patting myself on the back but I feel pretty good about it. I might not ever lose those twenty pounds. I’m okay with that. I just want to be healthy and not hate myself when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

Figuring out a good routine has been a little more challenging. I hate to go to the gym in the morning because that’s my peak creative time and I really like to devote my overly-caffeinated brain cells to my work BUT it seems like if I don’t go work out in the morning it doesn’t happen at all. I’ve tested this over and over for years. So I work out in the morning and it evens out because on those days I seem to have more overall energy anyway and I can work longer at night.

Finding a class that works for me in the morning is a whole other issue. I tried their yoga class but Barbie the Yoga Instructor drove me nuts. She was bendy alright but when she started swinging herself by her wrists and flirting with the very interested jock in the front row I got tired of it real quick. Which is too bad too because I love yoga.

I tried water-aerobics and loved it. It’s fun splashing around in a salt water pool with a bunch of grandmas. I felt like a super star when I could run under water and kick all their butts. Not that I was showing off or anything but sometimes it’s nice to not be the slow poke in the back of the class for a change. I even took my dad to a class. He loved it too. But the time slot was a bit late in the day so I’ve not really been going regularly.

Then I tried step aerobics. It’s perfect for me. It’s just complicated enough that I’m constantly confused and stepping backwards when I should be stepping frontwards. One day I forgot to drink my coffee before class and that day did not go well at all. I couldn’t get the hang of anything. It’s funny because while I have pretty good rhythm and love to dance, I’m terrible at taking instruction.

When the teachers says exit left, I exit right. Crossovers and step-behind grapevine-thingys have me tripping over my own feet. I’m a clutz like no other. But at the end of the work-out, I am exhausted and I haven’t thought one thought about how uncomfortable I’ve been. My brain is so tired from trying to keep up with the complicated routine that it has no idea that my body is sweating bullets. I love it. The teacher is excellent too. We stretch and use weights and everyday I am sore in the good way.

So I guess I could say I love the gym now. We’ll see how it goes.