Thursday, July 26, 2018

Look Who Followed Us Home

A couple of weeks ago Dan and I went to an adoption event at a PetSmart run by an area rescue know, just to look.

Two weeks later we came home with this.

This is Elliot. Elliot was rescued from a bad situation. He was kept in a crate for almost his entire life. The crate was too small, and he couldn't walk when he was rescued because his muscles had atrophied.

Fortunately he is young, and with some PT and aqua-therapy he gained strength and some muscle. He still has trouble getting up the steps sometimes, and when he runs it looks like all four of his legs are going in different directions. Slippery floors are his nemesis. But he is so determined! Luckily his bad start didn't damage his spirit. He is guesstimated to be around eight months old and full of play.

This red ball is his absolute favorite.

He has certainly made life interesting. I have never had a dog this young. And it's been a long time since I've had a dog who wanted to play so much. He is hilarious and exhausting at the same time. Elliot has been quite the silly addition to our family.

He sticks out his tongue when he sleeps.

Monday, July 23, 2018

I Did a Thing

A few weeks ago I completed my first ever Aqua Bike event as part of the inaugural Women's Philadelphia Triathlon . For those of you who aren't familiar with the sport of triathlon, it is three sports rolled into one - swim, bike, run, in that order. For those who can't swim, some races offer a duathlon which is run, bike, run. And for those - like me - who can't run (or simply choose not to), there is the aqua bike - swim, bike, DONE!

First of all, I need to say that this event was run incredibly well. Super organized. This was the first year of the event and there were over 1,300 women signed up (600 first timers!) and as far as I could tell, things went off without a hitch. I'm considering signing up again next year.

The aqua bike consisted of a 400 meter pool swim and a nine mile bike ride. The morning of the event, the swim was shortened to 350 meters because one of the lane dividers was broken. We lined up according to our expected swim pace and got into the pool two at a time every 10 seconds. Let's just say that by the time I got into the pool, it had turned into a cluster. I got kicked and hit more in this short pool swim than in any other triathlon I've ever done. Thankfully I'm experienced enough to expect it so it didn't bother me too much.

A quick trot to transition and it was time to bike. But first I had to get my shoes on and eat a small Payday bar because it had been hours since breakfast. I don't think I got into the pool until an hour past race start due to the sheer number of women participating.

Confession - I have not been on my bike AT ALL in at least two years. I've done plenty of spin classes. However that's not as good as actual time on my bike. But I hopped on and hoped for the best. The route was an out and back loop that started with a pretty steep downhill - which meant the finish was going to be a steep uphill. On my way down there were a few women walking their bikes up the hill - and I thought that was probably going to be me in a few short miles. The rest of the route is flat and I kept a steady pace throughout. Thankfully the phrase "just like riding a bike" held true for me. When I got to the start of the steep uphill I remembered how to change gears like a champ and slow and steady made it to the top. It wasn't easy but I was pretty proud of myself.

I hopped off before transition, crossed the mat, and just like that I was done. And they gave me medal the size of my head! It was a great feeling to be finished after the bike - particularly because I could not have gone out and run or even walked a 5k after that hill on the bike ride. I will admit that I didn't train at all for this event - which I don't recommend. Nice to know I've held on to some small bit of fitness over the past couple of years even though my workouts have not been what they used to be.

My giant spinner medal.

I really enjoyed this event. It was fun being back in the buzz of race day. I think I could manage to squeeze aqua bike training in with a bit more planning. Maybe this will be my new "thing."

Thursday, June 14, 2018

20-Something Day Fix

They say it takes three weeks to build a habit. I'm not sure who "they" are - probably someone on the internet made it up and we've all just been repeating it for years. 

However, with that in mind, I decided that since I was going to be doing workout videos at home I might as well follow a program instead of winging it. I chose 21 Day Fix.

I'll be honest - the reason I chose this program was because all of the workouts are only 30 minutes long. On days when I don't really feel like working out, I can usually convince myself to "Just Do It" (as Nike says) when I know the workout is only 30 minutes. I also need more strength training in my life and this fits the bill.

Last night I decided to make a race out of it. I was tired and didn't feel like doing anything but vegging on the sofa with my iPad and some reruns of the Big Bang Theory. I typically get home by 5:00. I puttered around procrastinating for about 15 minutes - coming up with a million things I could do instead of my workout. I fed the fish and added water to their pond. I put some dishes away. I looked through the mail. And I realized that I could still do my workout and be done by 6:00 if I would just hurry up and get to it.

So I did. And I was much less tired afterwards. And I was proud of myself for getting it done.

The reason I'm calling it my "20-Something Day Fix" is completely personal. There are days I might want to swim or go to spin or go for a walk outside instead of working out in my basement. This weekend I'm playing golf on Saturday so I won't do a video then. It is nearly summer after all, and the more time I can spend outside the happier I am.

But I'm excited to see what kind of habit I can build over the next three weeks.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Going Back to the Beginning

When I was a young I was pretty athletic. In grade school, I did gymnastics, played volleyball, basketball, and softball. I continued to casually play volleyball in high school - JV my freshman year and with the CYO league for a year or two after that. And my friends and I walked everywhere, so I got in a lot of activity.

In college my activity level fell off quite a bit. However, I worked as a waitress and bartender so I was on my feet a lot. But once I graduated and started working office jobs, my activity level was nearly non-existent and the pounds started to creep on.

It wasn't until I was in my mid-30s that I started to exercise again. I started off at home doing DVD's - The Firm, Walk Away the Pounds, Turbo Jam. We had a great dedicated workout space at home and I enjoyed these workouts.

In my late 30s I started running and in my early 40s I started doing triathlons. I enjoyed having something to train for - it kept me motivated if for nothing else but the fear of not being able to finish an event I had signed up for. However injury has prevented me from running the last couple of years. And with this move across country I no longer have any "race buddies" to join me for events, so I haven't been participating.

The past couple of years have been difficult since we arrived in Philadelphia. I had a demanding job with a horrible commute that left me exhausted each day - and exercise fell by the wayside. In the past 15 months, we have lost my father, my dog, and just last week my mother-in-law.

I am tired all the time, my weight is at an all time high, and my body aches in ways it never has before. And it's time to do something about it. I've decided to go back to the beginning of my adult fitness journey. Our new home has a dedicated workout space. I was going to pull out my old workout videos when I realized I no longer own a DVD player. So instead I've signed up for videos on demand.

I had success working out at home before and I'm ready to make that commitment to myself again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


I've actually got some things to post about, but feel like I can't until I get this one out of the way.

Two weeks ago today, we said goodbye to Emma - a/k/a Miss Emma Dilemma, Jem Jems, and our foster failure.

We brought her home as a foster in February of 2011. We had lost two dogs in the span of six months the previous year and weren't ready to commit to a dog of our own. So we thought we'd foster for a while so we could still have dog energy in the house.

It only took a couple of months to realize that we could never give her up. She wormed her way into our lives and hearts.

She was guesstimated to be seven years old when we brought her home, so I feel very fortunate that we got to share our lives with her for another seven full years. She was a very easy dog. She was fully house-trained, never chewed anything that wasn't hers, and rarely barked.

She was the most excellent travelling companion. She rode across country with us, and stayed in many hotels and Air BnB's with no problem. And when we had to live in a hotel for an extra three weeks after we arrived in Philadelphia due to the rental house flood, she assumed that was our new home and settled right in. She charmed nearly everyone she met, and the word most people used to describe her was "sweet."

She had been living with Cushings disease the last couple of years of her life, but developed cancer last summer. We promised her we would not let her suffer. And as soon as she told us she was ready, we let her go.

I still miss her every day. Rest easy, my sunshine girl.

Monday, February 5, 2018

E-A-G-L-E-S !

I have been to exactly two Eagles games in my entire life. One was a few years ago at Candlestick Park when they came to San Francisco to play the 49ers. And the other was at the Vet with my Dad when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old.

My parents were friendly with the GM of the Eagles at the time – they knew him through church. He gifted two tickets to my Dad, and since he was the GM you know these were great seats. We were on the 50-yard line maybe 10 rows off the field. I knew nothing about football, but it was a chance to spend the day with my Dad.

I don’t remember anything about the game from that day – not even who the Eagles were playing. But I do remember it was very hot – it was pre-season, after all, so August in Philadelphia. There was a high school marching band right in front of us on the sidelines. They performed in their full uniforms before the game. I think the were probably going to perform again at halftime, but instead more and more of them wound up leaving the sidelines, some being taken away on carts. These poor kids were collapsing from heat exhaustion. I think I probably spent more time watching the kids collapse than I did the game. It didn’t matter to me. I was just there to hangout with my Dad. And we returned home sunburnt from head to toe, both of us. Isn’t it funny, the things you remember?

I thought about my Dad a lot yesterday as I watched the pre-game hype. I wish he would have been here to see the Eagles win their first ever Super Bowl. But since he is no longer with us, maybe he had a little hand in securing the victory from beyond. I like to think that anyway.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

I Can Do Hard Things

As I look at 2017 in the rear view, I can honestly say I've never been so happy for a year to end. While there were some really good times - buying a new home, a trip to NYC to see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway, my mom coming to live with us through the fall - it was probably the most difficult year of my life.

But...I made it through. I wasn't always sure I would. The grief over losing my dad, the stress of remodeling our new home, and an incredibly stressful job with a horrible commute really tested me - I think even pushed me into a mild depression.

But I have recently started feeling lighter and more like myself. And that nicely coincides with the start of a new year.

I am not going into this new year thinking everything is magically going to be great. In fact, just the opposite. I know this year is also going to be hard. I start a new job on the 8th, and while I'm looking forward to it, it's always stressful starting a new job. I am nearly certain that we are going to lose Emma this year, and that is going to be hard. I'm battling a health issue that has turned into a bit of a medical mystery. And we found out right before Christmas that my mother-in-law's cancer has returned.

But I'm choosing to focus on the good and start the year with a sense of optimism.

I have a new job! That's exciting. It's in a field I enjoy and my commute will be cut in half. DH also has a new job that he's very excited about.

Emma is still here and holding steady - I honestly didn't think she'd make it to the new year when we got her cancer diagnosis. But she continues to chase every squirrel or bunny who dares to enter her yard, and she still climbs the stairs to go to bed every night with gusto. So this itself is a blessing.

My mother-in-law starts a new cancer treatment this month, and we will just pray for the best. DH is planning a trip to see her for their birthdays in April, and I will probably go with him.

I have learned so much from the struggles of the past year - how I married the absolute best partner I could have ever chosen, how kind people can be when you lose someone you love, and how strong I can be when I have to. I have learned that I can do hard things - and it give me the the courage to face whatever 2018 throws my way.