Friend Makin’ Mondays: Getting to Know Each Other

I am back from my wedding anniversary trip! I got home around 10 last night and found a very cranky, needy kitty waiting for me. It was a rough night, she really missed me. She had a lot more separation anxiety than she usually does.

We drove to Paso Robles from Palo Alto and spent a day wine and olive oil tasting. It was a very low key trip, but super fun. And now, no more wine as we’re embarking on another Paleo cleanse. I’m not calling it Whole30 this time because I know I’m not going to be as strict and Patrick’s only committing to 28 days. So Whole28(sorta) wouldn’t be a good name, now would it?

FMM

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: http://www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Getting to Know Each Other

1. What is your favorite flower? By the strictest definition of this, I’m going to say Star-gazer Lilly. But, I also love lilac blooms. They smell amazing.

2. What is a date on the calendar that you’re looking forward to? October 12 because my friend Amiyah will be home from Singapore briefly! I miss her. She’s there working for 2 years and I definitely intend to go visit.

3. List at least five characteristics of your ideal mate. Sense of humor, integrity, open-mindedness, kind, must love cats.

4. What is your favorite travel destination? I’ve only been once, but I’d love to go back to London and show it to my husband. I love that there’s so much history there and that things have been there for a long time. We take for granted what a young country we are.

5. What is your idea of the perfect date? I’m a fan of dinner and a movie! A chance to talk, a chance to get entertained, it doesn’t get much better than that. I know it’s simple, but sometimes that’s better than the more elaborate things. I’m sure zip lining in the rainforest is awesome, but I like just being present.

6. What is your relationship with your family like? I’m close to my parents. We talk once a week and I think of them both often. My mom and I have a little trouble with boundaries. My dad is difficult to get to open up. I love my extended family, but there’s lots of hurt feelings that taints things. My mom has a lot of half siblings and I’m not that close to that side of the family. They are nice and we sometimes spend holidays with them, but I didn’t grow up with them. All of my grandparents have passed.

7. What time did you wake up this morning? 7:14 officially, but my cat didn’t let me sleep much at all. So probably that could be MANY times.

8. What characteristic do you like most about yourself? Which do you dislike most? I really like my memory. I retain so much. It annoys my friends that I can recall the dumb things they do. It helps me with trivia. It helps me remember which cart I was in on a ride so that I can collect my sunglasses when that cart comes back through. True story. Dislike? I’m not brief at all. I have to express myself in way to much detail. I have a really hard time distilling things to their core.

9. What is your favorite sport to watch?I love hockey, but I think tennis is my favorite. Since I play it, I understand the rules well and I understand what a mental game it is. It’s almost as dramatic as wrestling to me!

10. Share a few interesting things that you did over the weekend. We went olive oil tasting and I realized how different olive oils can taste – not just the infusion oils. I also tried ghost pepper salt, which was HOT. Of course we went wine tasting. We also saw The World’s End at a theater in Paso and that was really a fun movie! Of course, I had fun just being with my husband since we usually spend the week days apart.

This is what olive oil tasting can look like after 2 wine tasting trips.  Messy!

This is what olive oil tasting can look like after 2 wine tasting trips. Messy!

Tales of my Fitness Past – Part 4

I’m continuing to layout the story of my life, as it pertains to fitness, body issues and happiness.  It’s really helping me process what went on.  You guys out there are actually reading this, which is awesome!  If you know me, I hope you get a kick out of all the old photos.

In my early 20’s, I had graduated college, gotten fit, acquired and left my first big job, and then, shortly after Y2K (remember that whole mess?) moved with my good friend to my state’s largest city to pursue my dreams of becoming a professional floozy.  No, not really.  We moved to the Big City because we wanted more than what our Small City had to offer.

Looking back on this time, I was actually doing pretty okay.  I got a membership at a local gym and had a couple of gym buddies.  We’d hold each other accountable.  As for training, I was pretty much going on my own.  The free personal training they offered was a JOKE, but I knew enough to be dangerous by this point.  Working out was a big part of my social life.  I made casual friends there, spent time talking out the day’s problems with my girlfriends on the elliptical.  I even dated a guy who went to the same gym, we’d have dates there, trying to beat each other on the treadmill.  The evening on September 11 when the world was going to hell?  I was on the cardio deck, watching the closed captioned news.

Yes, these photos are from house parties. But, they really show how happy I was. On one side was a former mortal enemy, on the other, a dear friend from when I was a teen.

My love of Step Aerobics was hit hard though when I took classes there.  I could keep up with classes at the other gyms I had been to, multiple instructors, but at this place, the choreography was too much.  I ended up finding a new group fitness passion.  Yoga!  I took a class at a school that tended toward the Hatha/Iyengar style and it fit me perfectly.  When I practiced yoga I felt amazing.  I was happier, more peaceful, and I called a truce with the war on my body without realizing it.  Plus, one day I went to shave my legs in the shower and felt my calves.  OMG.  Ripped!  Yoga taught me how to breathe my way out of anxiety, which came in handy for my 45 min commute on a neglected stretch of highway in a snow storm.

Professionally, I went from SUPER temp, to landing pretty much my dream job as a scientist, to being a graduate student.  I had a great group of friends.  A core part of my college group was in the Big City with me, I could count on many others to pass through a couple times a year to catch up, and I made a lot of new friends.  We walked the 3 and a half mile loop near where I lived, hiked, and we DANCED.  I was out dancing nearly every weekend.  Drinking was usually included, but everything was more controlled than it had been.  One of my favorite memories was getting ready at my place with my pack of girlfriends, parking the car in the garage across from the bar district, taking off our coats and mittens, running as fast as possible into the bars wearing little thin shirts, and boots with insane heels.

My diet was fairly decent.  When we started out, my roommate and I were the original 2 Broke Girls.  We’d frequent restaurants with “college night” specials, even if when we were out of school.  Good thing our IDs didn’t expire.  We cooked a lot at home.  I don’t think I ever drank soda, and if I ate dessert, it was usually an insanely special occasion.  We just couldn’t afford it.  I got used to cooking for 1 more often, and I learned to like eating lots of fish.  I frequented the public market for produce and even if I wasn’t “by the book” I was still more or less on “The Zone.”  I even stopped drinking entirely from Jan 1 2000-May 5 2000.  Cinco de Mayo broke my will.

OMG, this is proof I used to have a waist. We wore leis because every February I’d throw a tropical themed party to distract us from how freaking cold and miserable we were.

As for my mood?  There were ups and downs.  The breakup from my treadmill opponent boyfriend hit me pretty hard, but I threw myself in to my social life to make up for it, and started seeing a professional to work through it the right way.

Looking back, maybe I wasn’t in as ass kicking shape as I was after college, but I was in a smaller size.  Fitness and friends were the biggest part of my life.  I was professionally happy and didn’t really care about adding anything else to the equation.  And do you know what happened then?

I met my future husband.

(This isn’t the end by a long-shot.  I have a lot more to say!)

Tales of my Fitness Past – Part 3

Continuing on my journey to write about my fitness past to have a better fitness future.

Oh college.  I loved college.  I was a serious kid who got to college and became an immature adult.  I didn’t gain the Freshman 15.  I lost about 30 lb.  How?  Being pretty stressed about the transition and having to eat at the dining commons.  Ugh.

This is Fall of Freshman year. I cut out the guy I used to play tennis with. I’m bending at the waist very oddly.

However, the weight loss stopped and reversed itself quickly when I started underage drinking.  Fitness in college was sporadic.  I did like to dance at parties and later the one dance club in the area.  My former roommate got me to go to the university’s gym with her a few times for some weight lifting.  I played intramural mixed doubles tennis with a guy I wanted to date.  We actually did really well and it was nice to be able to show off what I could do on the court.

Sophomore year, my job in a call center definitely wasn’t enough activity over the summer.

Although this blog and these posts are about fitness, it wouldn’t be right to not address the stuff that was going on in my head.  I continued to struggle on and off with depression.  Fitness was part of the cure, but getting out there and starting was the hard part.  I kept working in the spring and summer at my mom’s greenhouse off and on.  I even took an additional summer job in conservation biology because the field component would be physical. It wasn’t enough.  But my emotional issues were big.  To compensate, I ate out a lot, drank, and paid for eating out and drinking with my credit card.  I was circling downward.

Junior Year. I always say I look better front on that from the side, but here’s the side view.

Before my senior year, I began the most significant relationship with a guy that I had up until that point.  It was wonderful for me, and terrible at the same time.  He appreciated my body and for the first time that I can remember, from his influence, I gave up a little of the loathing that I let seethe within me about how I looked.  Unfortunately I hung too much of my own perceived worth on to what he thought of me.  The relationship was not going to end up in the direction I wanted it to.  I was looking for things he either couldn’t or didn’t want to give.  But, I hung on, despite the fact that I knew all this down deep.  I held out hope that things would change, and if I was better, if I was prettier, if I was thinner, I would get the happy ending I wanted.  I didn’t.  Things between us went from combustible to nuclear, and I was alone, left feeling like I wasn’t good enough.  I obviously wasn’t good enough for him.  I wasn’t pretty enough, I was too fat, and everything about me was just wrong.  And it was all my fault.  If I could be different, I could be happy.  These thoughts were just too much to deal with.

Not surprisingly, I ended that year at my heaviest.  My self hatred was deep, and I took it out on myself in so many unhealthy ways.  While I never feel that I had bulimia, I did force myself to vomit.  Somehow I felt better by purging.  In general, I was taking my self loathing to as much of a physical materialization as I could stand.  I know it could have been much worse, but it was bad enough for me.

Senior Year, right before graduation. I told you I had a drinking problem. Why was I drinking such crap?

After graduation I started working with my mom by day, and then spending my evenings being a professional drinker.  And I mean, every evening.  It was really ridiculous.  It is not good to be that much of a regular at a bar that the staff and other patrons save you bar stools.  (Some good came from this – my friend and drinking companion met her husband from our season as floozies. And they have 2 awesome boys that I am a proud Auntie to.)

Sometime in the late summer, another friend and I decided to get serious about fitness.  We joined a gym and got a trainer to show us around.  We held each other accountable, and we tried everything we could.  Weight training, spin class, lap swimming, cardio, we signed up.  Amazingly, we were even able to go separately.  The gym had a cool little community.  If I went alone during the morning, I’d sit on a stationary bike near some older men who watched the stock market on the television and tried to teach me about finance.  They front desk workers knew us and made sure that they told us they were glad we were there every time.  Still, I had some rough spots. I managed to fall off a stationary bike once (the seat pin wasn’t in all the way) get a death glare from another patron, but I still worked out beside him anyway.  Too much strain weight lifting sent me to the ER once.  In essence I made the equivalent of cracking my knuckles, but in my cervical vertebrae.

I fell in love.  With Step Class.  I made a good friend in the instructor and went to her class faithfully.  Step just was something I embraced entirely.  I came home feeling exhausted and accomplished.  By Fall I was really on my way.  I saw numbers sliding off the scale, and I saw changes in my self.  I got a new trainer, who was really frenetic, and someone convinced me that a 3 hour cardio and weight training session was a good idea.  As December approached, I was feeling awesome.  My workouts were on point, I was a devotee of the Zone diet, and I was fearless.  I booked a trip to San Francisco to job hunt.

An after-college photo.

The job hunt didn’t work out as well as I had hoped, but I did have a full-time job offer wait for me when I got home.  I struggled on whether or not to take it because I knew it would probably lead me back in to my depression and  bad habits.  I accepted the position.  It was 1 and 1/2 hours from home, at a world renowned lab that happened to be on a island that was a tourist destination.  I moved at the start of Winter when nearly the whole town was boarded up closed.  For a girl who thrived on being in the middle of things, this was not the best choice in starting my career.

I joined a gym that was off-island.  It was a 30 min drive to get there.  But I made a great effort to do it.  I tried embracing island life.  I trained, I took classes, and in the summer, I hiked.  I’m not the most outdoorsy person, so this was a pretty big deal.  The job, the island, were just not a good fit for me.  After nearly one year, I was back at home, back to my old gym, trying to get back to the fit,  fearless girl I had been the year before.

Another post-college shot. I went to a formal as an alum, but was in the smallest size dress I have ever worn as an adult.

A friend and I moved on to the largest city in our state. My career was not skyrocketing, in fact I was long term temping, but I joined a gym there. I made a couple of new friends to go to the gym with. My eating patterns were much better since I live with my good friend and didn’t always have to cook and eat alone.