leveled up

Feeling proud. After a day of very little activity and a fraught phone call this evening, I was sorely tempted to curl into a ball and blow off the walking and yoga. My 7500 step goal is modest, but somehow I had barely registered 1000 by 830 pm. But instead of throwing up my hands in self rebuke, I hit the sidewalk. 90 mins and about 5 miles later, the goal was in the books.

I was considering just doing a few downward facing dogs to cross yoga off the list, but didn’t want to skip a day in my 30 day challenge. So I did the yowza on the wall quad stretch.

Now so tired.

instant gratification

CW: This post is about weight and body image stuff.

I don’t like to write about weight. Don’t want to feed into messed up norms about how bodies should look. Don’t want to conflate weight with health. Don’t want it to matter to me.

The good news, as I have written about before, is that I am not wasting much brain space on the scale, pants size or appearance. But I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t care at all. Some of it is vanity. But it’s also about health maintenance, functional movement, and physical comfort.

My lack of consistency and follow through is what’s frustrating me the most. I know what I need to do and it’s really not all that epic. Just be more mindful about food and activity (plus no booze!) If all I do is follow the guidelines I set forth the other day, I’ll be a little stronger and leaner in 5 weeks. I checked everything off for today. Even did a proper yoga class after dinner

I have been weighing myself in the mornings and yesterday I was all excited bc I had dipped a few pounds from two days before. Today I was back to baseline. Hmmm… maybe I just had not fully rehydrated after running 19 miles the previous day.

It’s all good though. I don’t deal with chronic pain, my mobility is still fine, my doctor has not sounded alarms (as of last year… eek, next annual is the end of the month). I just need to inch my way forward.

eyeing the carrot

33 days until marathon

Per yesterday’s carrot cake foray, I am going for “make decent food choices” as a gentler goal than “avoid the sugar bombs.” The latter is implied in the former, but this gives more wiggle room. Plus, I need to make better choices in general. I don’t eat horribly, but I can def up the fruit and fiber.

Today’s report:

  • Lots of water? not bad
  • No booze? yes
  • Decent food choices? I waited until after dinner to have some carrot cake. Was able to resist it all day. It’s probably better to eat stuff like that midday but this was a good exercise in impulse control. I also made a smoothie for lunch (yogurt, banana, peanut butter, oats).
  • Yoga? Still not totally rocking this but I did get on the mat to complete the lesson I missed yesterday and the one for today.
  • At least 750 steps? Forced myself to take rumor out for a decent walk after dinner so I could meet this goal. Did. Not. Want. To! (Michael had already walked her before dinner and she has the run of the yard so these extra walks are a treat for her. And good for me even though inertia calls.


34 days until marathon

Oof. Met, actually exceeded, today’s mileage goal of 19 miles. Haven’t done a lot of running since the 19 miles two weekends ago. Last weekend’s epic biking and hiking stood in for the long run but I am struggling to lace up during the week. So my marathon training is subsisting on an intermittent diet of very slow, long runs. It’s an approximation.

Today I kept with the walk/run (jog) quarter mile increments. It was cool (in the lower 70s) and overcast… quite different than recent steamy conditions. I chose a somewhat no brainer route to avoid wasting time looking at my phone. Pretty much due west on residential streets (mostly Cortland and Bloomingdale), then the Des Plaines River Trail until I hit 9.5 miles and then I retraced my steps home.

Felt pretty strong for the first 15 miles and then started getting sloppy with the increments and then my legs were just nope and I staggered the last two miles home, resisting the siren call of the bus.

It was not pretty, but I’m feeling optimistic that, barring injury, I will be able to cover the 26.2 miles, even if it means finishing after the course closes.

I still have five weeks to start pounding out shorter runs, work on flexibility, maybe lose a bit of weight. In terms of exertion and time, that should be less daunting than these long, exhausting outings. The main challenge is self management and discipline. The long run is the ultimate act of hyper focus. It’s much easier to go out for 5 hours on a Sunday than get up before work to run for 30 minutes!

headband headphones! maybe dorky but def comfortable

As for the health goals.

  • Lots of water? yes
  • No booze? yes
  • No sugar bombs? erm… Michael brought home some carrot cake and after all those miles I did want a treat so I challenged myself to have a small piece (I’m prone to having one piece then another then shaving off the side to pretend I’m not taking a third…). I did succeed in not going back to the fridge, so that’s good.
  • Yoga? Yes…again bare minimum. Could barely walk upstairs let alone pull out the mat. But I did a little bit and my body was both like wtf?? and thanks! I should have done some work before the run but oh well.
  • At least 750 steps? No doubt.

Decent Enough (re) Start

35 days until the marathon

Today’s steps compliments of walking/jogging with Rumor.

Was a mellow day. I spent too much time in the morning doing Spelling Bee. So many words today! I was completely stumped on the last few so used clues from the community forum. Never heard of the words so I didn’t feel bad. I also didn’t feel bad for dinking around.

I cleaned out the sunroom, a somewhat emotionally freighted task due to some stuff that happened this summer.

Also cooked some of our wormy apples down for sauce. Lots of chopping off the gross and rotting bits.

As for the health goals.

  • Lots of water? yes
  • No booze? yes
  • No sugar bombs? yes ish. did have some chocolate chips with cashews and hit the homemade apple mush a little harder than warranted. But at least there’s no added sugar
  • Yoga? Yes… bare minimum. I started a 30 day challenge with my fave online teacher focused on a certain kind of stretching for athletes and today was only 8 mins. The target was glutes but my hip flexors are so tight they were kinda getting in the way of the stretch.
  • At least 750 steps? Yes, though i totally bailed on the long run so I need to make that happen tomorrow

Rumor woke me up twice in the night and 630 this morning despite getting a decent walk before bed last night. I think she misses Michael! I got her on two  walks and a mini run today so I’m hoping it tides her over.


I have not done much of anything in the garden since my spring frenzy. Here’s to perrenials.

I haven’t even been making apple sauce. Instead, we have been throwing out the wormy, squirrel bitten apples as they fall. Or rather a while after they fall. Maybe it’s OK to flake out every 20 years.

Regardless of funky apple disposal ethics, the risk of being pokey about picking up the fruit mush is that rats eventually catch on.

The other night I was in the loo and I heard quite a commotion in the gangway.* Rumor was going bonkers. I yanked up my shorts and scurried outside because I knew only one thing could cause that level of fence scrabbling fervor: rats.

I found an under the fence passage (the displaced soil was a giveaway) and went into full hell no mode. I thanked Rumor for her efforts and started clearing the area. It was late and dark so I didn’t do much but I was just nope, nope, nope.

The next day I dug a small trench along the gangway section of the fence, nestled in some chicken wire, and stapled it to the bottom of the fence. I had done other sections of the fence a while ago; this was the last unsecured area.

almost midnight so I will finish for now

*not really a gangway because half of it is shut off by doors. If you don’t know about gangways, Chicago style. https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/ct-met-chicago-gangways-grossman-20191129-ypvc43upwzevfnjn57yw2352ki-story.html


I wrote so much last night that I am giving myself permission to dial this in. First day as a full timer was fine as I knew it would be bc of course I have been working many full days… just not 5 days a week. The change will hit me over the month I am sure.

Had some vexing personal news and ooo boy. Digging deep. Digging deep for the coping strategies.

I am angry at myself for still being so quick to bail on my commitments to myself in terms of making healthy choices esp re movement. Why am I not running? To be honest, I’m disgusted with myself. I regret signing up for the marathon but I’m going to stick with it. I am not going to crucify myself for just trying to get by. As I’ve written before… some folks respond to personal challenges in inspiring ways worthy of sweeping movie sound tracks. That’s not me. Not now. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next year.

time change

Today was my last day of part time, stack my hours according to need and whim, work. I’m grateful that my employer was able to accommodate me with a gentle slope to full time work over the last six weeks. I am also grateful that we are still mostly remote and that we don’t have to hew exactly to a 9 to 5 schedule.

I see the benefits of business hours. It’s good to be accessible at predictable times and many folks do best with routines and boundaries.

Other folks do best alternating long and short days. I’d rather work 12 hours straight one day and 4 hours the next than 8 on both. Or early morning or late at night. I recently realized I’d do well with a nurse’s schedule ( 3 days of 12 hour shifts) but I am not going back to school for that (though I imagine the demand is high….)

I think about neurodiverdity in the workplace. What accommodations, such as flexible scheduling, are reasonable? Legal? I still have imposter syndrome related to ADHD but whether my symptoms are related to my brain or my past, I check plenty of the diagnostic boxes and many of those boxes needed to be unchecked for me to thrive as a teacher, the profession I have left. At least in my case. (I know there are plenty of thriving teachers with ADHD!)

At first I used successful and great as the adjectives. I changed to thriving because you can be successful, you can be amazing, while still drowning. Thriving doesn’t quite hit the note I’m looking for either. But it at least moves the assessment from outcomes (how well students do) to how well we are doing (incomes… and now there’s a whole lot of language curiosity sending up distracting alarms but I will resist).

Bottom line. I left teaching not bc I wasn’t “good” at it or that it was too hard and time consuming. It was simply incompatible with my brain and rhythms. At least teaching writing was. I actually might have thrived as a math teacher.

I can explain and demonstrate things in different ways. I can anticipate people’s confusion. I can be engaging. I am present. Plus I love math.

And there are text books. A sequence. You still need to breathe life into the lessons. Pivot to each day’s pedagogical needs. But you are not reinventing the wheel every day. And I imagine assessment is slightly less crushing. I know it’s not all about checking off correct answers. You are looking at process to see where kids have strayed (minor calculation error or faltering understanding of the deeper concepts?) and looking for trends (hmmm half the class is faltering in this way)… but egads I hope assessment is not as time and emotion consuming as writing is. At least the way it was for me.

I brought my own trauma and rage to the desk. I could not, would not respond to my students’ writing in the way mine was when I was a kid. And so reading and responding to student work took me so much longer than it should have.

I could not, would not teach from a canned writing curriculum because well, ugh that’s too complicated to get into. I just said two paragraphs ago that I might have done better with a textbook to guide me with a sequence. Why is writing different? It’s not like there aren’t frameworks and curricula and textbooks and all of the things writing teachers can use. So maybe it was just too damn personal.

Here’s a thing about writing. People write at their level. With reading we need to think about content, vocab, syntactic complexity. Is this text in reach? Similar with math. Do you have the foundational skills and understanding to do these kinds of problems?

With writing, you don’t go above or below your “level.” Sure, you can dial it in or go above and beyond and some tasks stymie more than others for reasons that are not always predictable, but… what. What am I getting at? Tonight is not the night for me to write the anti-textbook on writing. I am going to be ok with muddled, unresolved content. It’s clear in my head but writing it down is different. Yeah yeah meta.

And why am I tearing up? I do grieve that I did not thrive as a writing teacher because, humility be damned, I am exactly the writing teacher some, maybe many, folks need. Which is why I didn’t become a math teacher though, now that I think about it, people have as many issues with writing as with math which makes me think about education in general and how I worship the folks who are breaking through somehow.

Blah blah blah. I do hope to write a book about education some day. But not tonight.

I’ve always had two “do gooder” paths. Teach or make trouble, er I mean try to influence folks to take actions that will lead to some kind of “good.” And tonight is def not when I want to explore how “good” is not self evident and can actually cause harm.

Point is I can grieve not teaching and still be hella excited to be back to working in advocay. But, so long as I am doing work that aligns with my values, what I really want is to thrive. I am confident (arrogant?) enough to know that I *can* do many kinds of jobs. Whether I *should* do them is a different question. Which goes back to gratitude for joining an organization that seems to understand that folks show up in different ways. So maybe tomorrow I will work 10 hours and maybe Friday 6. Or vice versa. I just know that I can talk to my boss about these things and that’s pretty awesome.

mental health quiver

Writing in the afternoon instead of evening to increase odds of getting to sleep though last night I wrapped up before 11 and still had a restless night. I don’t understand. Really wondering if I’m in some kind of peak perimenopause moment.

Also summer is waning and I move up to full time work on Thursday which I am somewhat apprehensive about. Going to be a big change and it is bringing up a lot of stuff.

Been thinking about CBT (checking for distorted thinking to cut down on emotional distress to lead to wise behavioral choices) and DBT (strategies for making wise choices when my thoughts won’t be tamed and emotions are flapping in the wind).

All this while also trying to let myself feel the feels.

Sometimes mental health strategies seem contradictory though I can see how it all works together. Kinda.

Been turning to grounding a lot. I know I should mediate but I just don’t feel like having another should on my plate.

So I am going to stick with grounding. I see a brick wall, tuck pointed not long ago. Afternoon shadows of the porch banisters. White mesh metal two seater with bits of rust. Pile of napkins and rags outside the back door, waiting for the next laundry load. Rumor’s glossy coat peeking under the table. I hear wind. In the tree. Snapping the porch curtains. Spinning a creaky weather vane on a neighbor’s house. Traffic. Bus airbreaks. Neighbor’s keys. I feel warm, the cracked skin between my toes, the weight of this phone, metal stool under my calves.

And I need to keep breathing. Push into the belly.

And now it’s time to get back to work.