Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The right to bare arms

Summer was once a season of dread.  Oh, I loved the longer days and vast sunshine. It's always a welcome relief for school to be out.  I'm one of those parents who is more stressed during the school year.  Summertime is glorious with exception to attire.  Less clothing is required.  My former body preferred being covered in over-sized sweaters; turtlenecks.  This summer is vastly different from decades gone by.  No more do I suffer with 3/4 length sleeves in the heat. This time around I have bared my arms on a daily basis! Showing off the infancy of defined shoulders, biceps and triceps has me shopping (in the clearance section) for tops that are more fitted and sleeveless! Back flubber is diminishing which means I don't always try to position myself with my back against a wall to keep others from seeing it.  You wouldn't believe how often I'd avoid walking in front of people or remain seated just to eliminate the possibility of people seeing my girth in 3D.  I'm just grateful that hailing a taxi was never required here. Letting my bingo wings* fly in the wind could have caused serious damage to someone standing nearby.

It's only been a week and a half since I started TURBO FIRE on the prep class schedule.  However, I swear that results are already occurring.  No joke! Chalene's promise that it burns 9X the calories is not a fib.  The reading on calories burned according to my heart monitor watch flames up during a work out and carries into the day.  If you're just starting a workout regimen; previously sedentary, I do not recommend you begin with this HIIT workout.. That being said, do not fear pushing yourself to a level you thought impossible. If I let that thinking stick in my head there is no chance that the scale would be down 34 pounds. Beachbody has various workouts that match your needs and I'll be glad to help you make a choice on which one is best for you.  Joining Team Beachbody is free and offers so much support and information. What are you waiting for?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Too much sun?

Last night I slept peacefully after spending nearly four and a half hours floating on a raft on the lazy river at our local water attraction.  To answer inquiring minds, yes, I wore my sunscreen.  I'd fallen asleep in the recliner watching telly with Mancub.  I think I mosied upstairs around 10:30 and zonked out the second my head made contact with the Egyptian cotton. Anywho, it wasn't until I woke up at some point in the weewee hours of the morning that my sleep was disrupted. Mind you, it didn't take long for me to get back to sleep. Typically, I am up by 6AM.  At the latest, 6:30AM.  Not on this Saturday when clock in time at work was 9AM.  I awoke at 8AM!!! Holy alarm clocks, Batman! That's not the news.  What is even more odd than me sleeping in was the dream I had minutes before waking up startled by the time on the digital clock. 

What I recall of the dream is that I was bestest friends with this young man. Click the link and come back. Seriously! Yeah, I know, right!?! Too much sun on the old noggin? So, there I am snuggled up with this very unlikely subject -- more snuggly than a friend, but completely clothed. I lifted his shirt to discover rather toned abs.  It was then that I asked how he was getting so fit.  He informed me that he had trainers while on tour.  It was then that I broke into my Team Beachbody Coach mode. In the blink of an eye I was telling him about all the products he'd benefit from during his tour: Results and Recovery Formula, Shakeology and P90X. I awoke when something rather salacious ensued.

Shut. Up.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My first steps

Today marks the day that I took a giant leap.  One major stride toward self-confidence that has so desperately been trying to get out.  Promises that one day I'd dip my toe in the waters were numbered.  One day needed to be today.  It felt like the Jesse White Tumblers were doing a routine in my stomach I was so nervous.  Other than splashing around in my sister's back yard pool I have not been in public in a swimsuit in well over a decade. Since moving back to Kankakee five years ago I have been promising my son that I'd lose weight and gain the confidence I needed to wear a bathing suit and get in the cooling water.  As you all know I have lost 35 pounds.  Today was the day.  I thought perhaps I'd catch a break when the weather man predicted sporadic rain. No such luck! The sky remained painted with puffy clouds on a background of glorious blue.  No excuses were handed to me.  Even though I have not obtained my goal weight, it was abundantly clear that even someone like me deserves to be refreshed on one of the hottest days of the year.  Why should I lock myself away inside because my vanity dictates that I should?  That little voice inside my head that says people will point and stare got the better of me in the past.  You know you're being foolish when a 15 year old child reasons that people will be having too much fun on the water slides and splashing around with friends and family to care about my chubby, veiny legs -- that is the reason I keep myself covered from head to toe.  Heredity was kind in the boob department, but cursed me in the leg zone.

Here's how it all went down:

I told Mancub that I'd wrap my towel around my waist and walk to the steps of the lazy river venue. There, he could hand me a flotation tube then take the towel back to my chair. I put on sunscreen and let it soak in.  It wasn't long before I began to bake and longed to be in the water.  My tuchus was anchored on the deck chair. I couldn't move.  Mancub had already taken to the water slides that feed into the lazy river.  Before I knew it he was floating by and asked if I was getting in the water.  I told him to bring me a tube.  Instead of wrapping the towel around me to hide my legs I figured I'd use the over-sized tube to camouflage my unsightly gams. He picked up float for me, but didn't walk it over.  I looked around at all the other women and men who seemed to proudly parade around in their swim attire despite having cellulite, beer guts, cesarean scars and yes, even varicose veins.  For the record, there was a beer bellied
Look ma! No muu-muu!
dude in a Speedo. Grasping the arms of the chair, I pushed up to a standing position ... and left the towel behind. With shoulders back, I walked across the pool deck to my child. No towel wrapped around my abundant tushy.  My heart was racing.  No one there knew how nervous I was to stroll about in little more than my underpants and a camisole. Leopard print, no less! Not one person there was aware that I'd recently lost thirty five pounds. For all they knew I'd always been this size. It doesn't matter what they think. The seed for that manner of thinking is newly planted, but with continued nurturing it will grow and blossom.

For what seemed hours I toured 'round and 'round that lazy river without a care in the world.  Kids splashed by me and never cried out in horror.  Not once did I catch adult women pointing and whispering about the hidousness of seeing someone my size in the water.  Never did I hear the someone scream out, "Free Willy!!!!"  Yeah, I have some work to do on my confidence, but like I said, today was a major step in the right direction.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Too much and not enough

I've been a lousy blogger lately.  It isn't that I have nothing to share.  OK, let me rephrase that. There are plenty of subjects and a plethora of conundrums dancing about in my brunette covered head.  It's simply a matter of choosing what to put out to the masses (all eight of you) to read.  Public consumption of personal details was never something of concern.  If you know me you realize there is very little I've censored ... in the past.  Presently, it is difficult to blather on about my personal life because the subjects are not some passers by who departed my life as aimlessly and carelessly as they entered. ie, Internet or laundromat men.  The people who share my airspace are not going away any time soon (thank God!).  But since much of what I write about is based on my day to day emotions, it's increasingly challenging to throw it out in a public forum.

Anyone who has read this blog in the last three or four months knows that I have a new passion.  It has made me some what singularly minded.  When I set out on this journey it was my intention to make myself accountable, as well as, encourage others to join me.  With high hopes a few of you might even join Team Beachbody for support and sign up as coaches.  The discounts on products I believe in and get results from are a major reason why I became a Team Beachbody Coach. Making a pact to do my part to end obesity is the driving force.  Just like 'you are what you eat', I am what I preach.  It's hard work to whittle off the pounds and etch definition into what was once a blank canvas of flubber.  It's such a reward to run my hand up my arm and feel the onset of a tri-cep muscle.  I will continue to be an infomercial for improved health and fitness regardless of how it may turn off a few people.  While I care what people think about me, I care more about inspiring even one person to take a leap of faith that will change their lives for the better.  In writing about my endeavors it truly keeps me accountable to my own goals.  I refuse to sit on the sidelines and be mum.  Silence is merely an enabler and a hindrance to achieving success! Everyday I ask myself what I did that I can be proud of and how do I feel as a result? What say you?

Four months ago I never would have posted a photo of myself extending below my collar bone. Dread was all I felt when I looked at myself.  Shame is another word I'd use to describe my self image.  Thirty percent into my goal and I can stand taller and feel confident in what has happened to my body and spirit.  Sleeveless shirts no longer taunt me as they hang on the department store racks.  The Levi jeans that have hung in my closet since 2001 no longer toy with my emotions.  Instead, they go up over my thighs, hips and button and zip.  It took me decades to give myself permission to have a sense of self worth.  Self deprecation was knee jerk.  Why bother caring about myself if no one else did? Oof! A trigger went off in my head one day and that thinking is utter bullshit.  Why was I hating myself? I have an amazing son! How could I feel that way about his mother? Divulging my inner monologue to you is simply a way of relating.  Through personal stories we find a common ground with others.  Even on the program Next Food Network Star the judges are always telling the contestants to relate their tips and cooking style in the form of a personal story because it speaks to the viewers ten times more effectively. 

My drive and desire to help others flip that same trigger in their minds may make me seem ... I don't know, pushy? While I may apologize for my methods, I don't apologize for the passion behind it. 

By the way, my collar bone is actually protruding slightly now. That was even chubby!  Now, beware of the day my hip bones are once again visible. EEP! Will my blog require a NSFW rating?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One Small Step

To say I am an overprotective mother would be an understatement.  Being such a person has done a disservice to my son and myself.  If there was a club for being a worry wart, I would be their poster child.  When Mancub was very small I wanted to wrap him in bubble wrap before sending him out to play.  Clearly my parents' parenting style didn't rub off on me. They let us climb high trees, jump off the porch into a pile of leaves and some how we managed to remain intact. Mom and Dad may have been worried sick each time we set out to ride our bikes in a look-ma!-no hands manner down the hill just to say we did it, but if there was concern, they never let on.  My siblings and I joke that in the summers mom would lock us out of the house until it was dark.  As long as a police car didn't escort us home or no call from the hospital was received, she was content.  We learned during that time just how burglar proof our home was not.  We'd sneak in the basement through a window to find refuge from the heat and humidity.  Some of this information may or may not be Evergreen Avenue myth.

I digress.

Yesterday, Mancub and Big A (our summer guest -- he's here long enough to require a pseudonym) were in need of entertainment outside the house.  Of course I was scheduled to work the afternoon/evening shift so it would limit how much they could do that required transportation.  Aroma Park is NOT buzzing with venues.  Getting to Kankakee requires tricky maneuvering on busy, dangerous roads if going by bike or foot.  Back in MY day, riding our bikes such a distance on a road without a safe shoulder wouldn't be a big deal, but remember I am queen worrier. Plus, there weren't foolish cell phone users behind the wheel of the car. 

As I was on my way out the door, it dawned on me that it's nonsense that two teen age boys were trapped indoors.  Kankakee has a busing system. For a buck the boys could go anywhere in the area.  That's exactly what they did.  Armed with a cell phone, a sense of adventure and enough cash to pay for admittance to the movies and bus fare, they plotted their afternoon.  To my knowledge, they accomplished this without incident.  Mancub and Big A finally got to see "Avatar: The Last Airbender," and I'm spared having to watch it.  Win!

I hope this is just the beginning of good times for my boys.  Creating memories and being able to return to school with stories to tell that go beyond how far they got in a new video game makes me feel much better.

photo credit: Life Has No Script

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wake up and smell the cinnamon hazelnut brew, sister!

Morning comes too early for me on most days.  I go to bed at a reasonable hour mainly due to the fact that even if I turn in late, dawn breaks and pushes my tuchus out of bed regardless of how exhausted I may be.  It sucks.  On rare occasions sleep will resume after a trip to the bathroom, but those instances are much like trying to catch a shooting star.  You see, my brain clicks on with the light of day and I'm unable to shut it down. You could say my mind has a mind of its own.  And lately, I have had too much on my mind ... excessive amounts of what ifs and why nots.

As I announced in my previous post, I have a young man staying with me for the majority of the summer.  He has family locally who are making plans with him, but Maison du Rissa is the base camp.  His comfort and happiness are partial contributors to my brain running on over time.  Giving him the unquestionable sense that he is welcome and loved is a priority.  He's still adjusting to the time change and jet lag. Other than what his father has told him about me and our relationship, I am a virtual stranger to him.  It's unfathomable for me to guess what is going through his mind as he acclimates to our environment. His dad reassures me that all will be well and I have nothing to worry about.  Ha!  As a result of this amazing boy staying with me, I was introduced to my friend's father (the boy's grandpa) FINALLY! I think I'm in love. He's the sweetest, most wonderful person on the planet.  He greeted me with a hug and a shower of gratitude. Plus, he informed me I looked exactly as he had imagined me.  Now I have to wonder just what my friend has told his father about me. *snort* No matter. Our house guest informed me that I'm as good as family now.  Yea! Score! Win for Riss.

On to the matter at hand.  It's ridiculously hot in the Midwest.  My home is central air conditioned but the spare bedroom, his room for the summer, was inexplicably built without an air vent.  Who does that? Anywho, his room gets toasty and we've had to make adjustments in the sleeping arrangements.  Because I wake at the crack of dawn, his second choice of bedding (the couch) wasn't conducive to my morning rituals. The couch may not be that comfortable, but the temperature is far better downstairs. Additionally, the felines were roaming free which meant incessant wake up howls from Silver.  She's tenacious in letting us know she wants to be in Mancub's room. However,  Mancub doesn't like to sleep with his bedroom door open.  He can sleep through the mewing when I cannot.  With our guest sleeping on the couch, I couldn't lock the cats downstairs in order to accommodate my desire for increased REM sleep. 

A real quandary I hadn't planned on needed to be addressed.

Last night Mancub and I moved the twin mattress from the spare bedroom to my bedroom floor.  He slept their while our guest made sleepy time in his (Mancub's) room -- one with a vent.  Against their wishes, the cats were relegated to the downstairs area. Now that they are accepting of our house guest, they have come out of hiding.  That's another tidbit that has been the cause of nocturnal disturbances.  Our felines do not welcome strangers with open paws.  Hissing, growling and sneering are common place when someone new comes knocking.  Yes, I said sneering.  Only when forced by nature's call or dire hunger do they come from their hiding spots.  When they do it's rather comedic.  Crawling on their bellies skimming the perimeter of the room like morphing cartoon characters attempting to be stealthy. 

Silver was the first to make a move toward being friendly. Either her curiosity got the better of her or she was just starving.  At one point they had a staring contest.  Eventually she'd flee but return to do more investigating.  Mo-mo, the elder tabby cat, was less friendly when she would descend the stairs to grace us with her cantankerous presence. She'd quickly nibble at the food dish and dash back upstairs but not without making her displeasure of a stranger's presence known.  Then, we had a break through Wednesday evening.  With both cats downstairs, we closed off the hallway door.  The boys were on opposite couches while I lay on the floor.  Amusing ourselves with impromptu voice overs, we watched "Toddlers and Tiaras." It's a heinous statement about covert child abuse, if you ask me, but I'm drawn to it like a moth to the flame or a redneck to NASCAR.  I had the boys doubled over with laughter as I did my Southern mama impressions -- "win Mama that crown or you ain't gettin' nuthin' but a switch!" Mo-mo reacts strangely to prolonged laughter.  She attacks the person laughing.  Weird, but true.  She'll bop us with her paw or get in our face and meow with contempt. This brought about contact with our guest.  With his hand extended out to her, she brushed against him.  Within minutes she was acting as if he'd been a part of her life forever. 

With that triumph! Perhaps a better night's sleep is feasible.  Well, that's if I could stop my mind from fighting with my heart over what it can and can't have.  And that is simply a battle my mind's mind will never win.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What's happenin'?

This summer is introducing Mancub and I to an entirely new experience.  Reporting that we're headed to Disney World or taking a long awaited holiday in Costa Rica would be ideal, but alas we're tethered to good ol' Kankakee for another vacationless season of humidity and mosquitoes.  What's new is that we're providing a homeland vacation spot for the son of my closest and dearest friend.  It's surreal to say the very least, much like my whirlwind reconnection with my prom date and object of deeply hidden affection.  Well, deeply hidden until the last few months.  It's one of those things that will likely never come to full fruition, but the friendship is undeniable.  I'm effed. You can go on and say it.

Our adventure of the summer began with a trip to O'Hare International.  It is here where I'll mention my poor sense of direction (both figuratively and literally).  My friend Jen and her two daughters accompanied Mancub and me in the van graciously loaned to me by my sister.  While my ability to read simple directions and maps may be challenged, my instinct was right on.  One exit away from the airport and I blinked.  Poof! Ten miles out of the way later a nice toll booth worker (female, if you must know) told me how to get turned around.  Jen's daughters gasped in horror as expletives spewed from my gaping pie-hole.  I was already entrenched in fear of this boy loathing me or thinking I was just too dorky beyond words.  Then, to potentially not be waiting for him when he stepped off the plane after being in the air for nine hours ... nausea kicked in along with my potty mouth. Arriving only a few minutes after his plane was scheduled to land -- on time -- we stood with our gigantic, bound-to-embarrass sign.  There, we waited at the international flights arrival zone.  It was unmistakable who our esteemed guest was by the overwhelming look on his face upon seeing his name in huge red letters on poster board.

Any angst that I had been feeling was washed away by the non-stop bantering taking place as we strolled back to the parking lot.  With a sigh of relief, it was made obvious that we all needed to use the bathroom.  Mid-day at the oasis!  I'd bet $100 it was the same oasis his father and I stopped at when he visited months ago.  I couldn't stop myself from singing "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" as the van made its way up the exit ramp.  That song was playing the day we stopped there and used the restroom -- both of us confessing we were singing along while we did our business.  It's not the most romantic scenario but perfectly us. One of those ideal moments in time that will never be recaptured.

And here we are ... the boys are in the living room playing video games.  Yesterday I came home to find them dueling Yu-Gi-OH! style on the floor.  It's a card duel game.  July 4th was particularly eventful as our guest hasn't celebrated in the States for many years.  We spent the day frolicking in the pool at my sister's with an abundance of kids, shooting off fireworks and eating.  What's more American than that? 

I think he's having a good time.  He hasn't sent out a distress call yet.  Our feline kids haven't adjusted to him yet.  They are quite rude as they run by hissing and growling.  I have faith that we'll all settle in to a comfort level.  It's certainly a different experience as Mancub and I are so often the two amigos.  It's a welcome change from the norm.  Now, Mancub gets a summer break that would otherwise be boring as watching paint dry.  It's a win/win for every one here at Haus von Marissa.