Is Life just one big slot machine?

ThDontQuitat quiet whimpering you thought you imagined was us crawling back from Vegas with our tails between our legs. Seriously, I really should not gamble. Hubs, on the other hand, has a talent of making everything okay. With a last-minute “I’m gonna go drop $20 in that machine over there while you buy a Paris-themed tchatchke,” he hit for a quick $200, at which point I was like, “let’s take it and run.”

Gambling is just not my bag. The whole “taking chances” or “risking it all” thing…I just don’t know how to do it and stay within my comfort zone. Some people look at change as an adventure. I have a cousin who specializes in this (you know who you are). Me? It gives me agita. When shit becomes real, I start to panic. It’s easier for me to stay a frustrated dreamer, making excuses why something shouldn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t happen. Is it easier just to let a dream go? Is it easier to go about a ho-hum life and never take that risk to do something absolutely incredible just once?

Keep it safe, squirrel it away, save for retirement. We hear it all our lives. But I’m really starting to believe that sometimes you just have to jump because you never know when you’re gonna step off that curb into that bus you didn’t see coming.

Excuse #1: It’s gonna cost you – big. “Money is like manure: you have to spread it around to encourage things to grow.” Name that movie and I’ll send you $20 (not really, but I will be impressed). I think about this a lot. Sometimes forget we have to spend a little (or a lot) to get what we want. Otherwise known as “you get what you pay for.”

Excuse #2: Do it, but then what? Oh, I don’t know. I don’t necessarily want to open a bakery, but I know I want to bake. And, before you say, “just go to a local cooking school night classes,” let me add, “…in Paris.” And yeah, just because. And I expect that I’ll come back and it will take a while to find a job in my profession (corporate communications) and continue to bake for family and friends. But, during my time in Paris, I’ll be baking for myself. Is that so bad?

I know I’ll absolutely fucking panic if – when – I get there, wondering, “holy crap, what did I just do?” Yes of course I want to have a good-paying job that alleviates our worry of paying bills and taking care of our parents and us as we all get, gulp, older. (I swear, if I get mail from that Fucking AARP, I’ll scream on the spot.) I’ll deal with Reality when I have to. In the meantime, I want to perfect my pate choux.

Excuse #3 It’s going to require a lot of work to get there. Quit the job. Sell furniture.  Get rid of Chapter 1 stuff (china, et al). Pack what remains. Sell the house. Sell one or two vehicles. Consider alternate housing. Find a Paris apartment. Part of me is trying to keep it simple; part of me tries to convince myself that we’d be doing all these things anyway, regardless if I blew off to Paris for a year. We’ve said that we want to downsize (really, 3,000 sq. feet is too much for two people). And certainly, two people don’t need three cars. And, Lord knows, we have way too much stuff (so do you, if you care to admit it).

So there’s a lot we’re doing for us, but when I put it in the context of moving to a foreign country for a year to bake muffins, I start to panic. Explain that to me. Is it just that I’m afraid of taking a risk? Is it just that, deep down, I think it’s foolish to spend a pretty penny on baking for a year? Or, is it that I have to drop that quarter in the machine knowing that I’m not going to get any return on my investment, other than perhaps having a good time. Is that enough?

And then there’s hubby, right by my side, making things even-steven and making me believe everything’s gonna be all right…that sometimes you just have to do it because you want to. I tell you…I hit the jackpot with him.

What Defines You?

scaleIf you’ve battled weight your entire life like I have, you’ll understand why I hate the scale. A number has always been attached to my well being, never mind the fact that I was (typically) a happy sort – sociable, friendly and upbeat. (Shut up, I was!)

Today I avoided stepping on the scale, not because I’ve eaten like a horse and don’t want to pay the piper, but rather because I actually feel good and I don’t want a number on a scale (aka, That Bitch) to determine my mood for the day. You know when you have an “I feel skinny” day? That’s today.

After losing a good amount of weight and struggling to balance my indulgences with the desire to lose the last 15 pounds, I like to forget about the scale most of the time. But, since the New Year, Hubby and I have decided to weigh in once a week to keep us on track and help identify missed opportunities or impacts that have made us not feel our best…NOT to validate our “good” or “bad” eating behavior. I’d also like to identify how food affects my sleep which, as many of you know, I don’t do well.

So I’ll have to wait until Friday, our appointed day to weigh in. Until then, I will just merrily going about my day, working at a job I loathe (yeah, yeah, I’m thankful for working) and planning my daily menus and workouts while I plot to move to Paris and enroll in cooking school. Meanwhile, back to reality…

Today’s meal plan:

Breakfast: Trendy Flavored Milk (aka “My Latte”): a decaf, nonfat, sugar-free, extra-hot, no-foam, no-whip mocha. Yeah, my baristas love me. I rarely stray. I need to be more adventurous, I know, but when you’re trying to stay sugar-free and tasty, there aren’t a lot of options that don’t taste like glass cleaner. Soon followed by a Greek yogurt with blueberries – after giving Stumpy his requisite three blueberries and a lick of the emptied yogurt container, I let this sit on my desk until almost lunchtime until I remembered why I was so hungry!

Lunch: 1/4 c lentils and brown rice mix, with sautéed zucchini and chicken (leftovers sometimes come in handy when you’re lunch-fatigued); an orange – Ohemgee, that was good!

Snack: A banana and a low-fat string cheese for afternoon snack (before workout). Cheeese!

Dinner: Steak tips and asparagus – yum

Water: A lot of it, 90 ounces. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and suck it down (ha, snort). I add Diet Cranberry Juice to half of it (only 5 additional calories and no sugar). Yes, this may be more water than you drink, but I aim for half my body weight plus a bit more to cover workouts. I won’t flood you with my water “schedule;” suffice to say, I don’t move on to the next meal step until a water milestone is met. It’s just the game I play. Excuse my while I go pee.

Snack (maybe…probably): Quest Cookies & Cream bar

Thoughts? Criticisms? Yeah, keep those to yourself. However, I would be interested in knowing what works for you to reinforce positive body image. I know when I’m in Body Combat, all I can sometimes focus on is my arm fat swinging in the wind. But I have a mean hook.

More importantly, what defines you? Family? Friends? An amazing French Apple Tart? Your stupid job? Your ability to swear in five languages?

Deadlifts and Dickheads

Weightlifting dickheadA dead lift is a dead lift is a dead lift, right? Sure, except when it’s not. You Gym People, tell me this: isn’t “controlled movement” the key to proper weightlifting? Or at least the key to not hurting yourself?

Well, let’s just say it’s January in the gym. You know how that goes (if you don’t, you better get your ass in the gym!): Every resolution-vowing schmo and their brahs are in the gym, working out. Now I don’t mind the crowds, especially since my gym usually has enough equipment to go around. I don’t even mind the newbies who wander around in a stunned stupor…after all, that was me just two years ago (yeah, okay, and last Monday…I just wasn’t in the mood).

But then there are the special ones: the Dick Heads. BOOM! is all you hear, followed by a slap on the back and, “yeah, man, you totally showed it!” BOOM! And then the guy is so wiped out from his Jose Raymond-level exertion that he’s laid out on the gym floor (ew) in his gym shorts and polo shirt, panting and sweating like he’s having a coronary (which he probably was). I even turned to hubby and said, “should I ask him if he’s okay?” “Um, no,” was the answer. And then…THEN…they don’t even re-rack their weights. Erg.

So I mind my own business and continue on my way, stealthfully moving around the guys wearing jeans and flip-flops and acting like they can do a pull-up. Puh-leeze. Have you seen my biceps? While you’re looking, though, ignore my triceps since they can still whack you in the face with a simple wave hello.

As we left the gym tonight, I said, “Hey, we’ve been working out faithfully for the past two years. In our next house, let’s make sure to have workout space for at least a bench. And maybe a rower.” Why my gym has everything except a rower is beyond me. He agreed, not even flinching at the “next house” reference.

For now, however, we’ll have to work off our cheese balls at the gym like everybody else. And, by the way, if “losing weight” was your New Year’s resolution AH-GAIN, make a new one. I don’t know about you, but that’s been my thing for the past, er, 40 years…to the point that it doesn’t mean anything. Just think about something that is more realistic – not that losing weight isn’t realistic, just the resolution isn’t. Mine is to be happier. And happiness lies in fewer dickheads in my life, and saying “fuck” more (is that possible?). Oh, and more cheese balls.

Lola’s Awesome Cheese Ball:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (sure, use the low-fat stuff, whatev)
1-1/2 cups-ish shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped pecans (next time, I’m gonna toast my nuts)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
Mix it all together and roll it in more chopped pecans. Service with a sturdy cracker. And don’t eat too much of it (66 cals per tablespoon), but fuck it’s good!