Making a splash

I’m exhausted.  Mentally and physically exhausted.

Of all the contributors to this exhaustion, the lack of refreshing and uninterrupted sleep is the main culprit…and it hit a new low point the other night.

For the past two months, I have been waking up at night with intense, shooting pain in the middle of my back.  Some nights the pain is so extreme that it locks up my rib cage and makes it hard to breathe.

I can’t get comfortable.  I can’t stop the pain.  I can’t get a good night’s sleep.

I move positions.  I try heat.  I try stretching.  I try anything.

But the pain continues.

For the last two months, I haven’t had a full, refreshing, and uninterrupted night’s sleep.

One of the outcomes if this lack of sleep is I feel perpetually exhausted.  My body has begun to revolt by shutting down and dozing off at the most inopportune times.

I’m sitting in a parking lot waiting for my kid after practice.  My head bobs forward.

In the stands at my kid’s baseball game.  I drift off between pitches.

And then this…

The other night I laid down in bed to finish watching a show before going to sleep.  I reached over and grabbed a glass of water off my nightstand.  Then,

SPLASH!

In the time it took to turn and lean back on my pillow, I fell asleep and spilled a full glass of water in my lap and on my mattress….of course I did.

Exhausted and soaking wet.

Oh well, it’s not like I was going to sleep well anyway….

 

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Bent, But Not Broken

About a little over a year and a half ago, a week before my 40 Birthday, I made a change in my life that would affect me in ways I never imagined.

I started running when I was 17 years old.  It was easy to do, didn’t take much thought or preparation.  I quickly learned I was pretty good at it.  I could whip out 4 or 5 miles without even really thinking about it.  Running was also a nice mental break for an hour.  For a while, I got into running half marathons.  I loved the challenging myself and my body to new limits and the feeling of accomplishment when you reached the finish line.  Oddly, I loved the mental growth that was gained from pushing myself to new limits.

After 23 years, I was pounding out 5 miles a day, 7 days a week, and found myself longing to try something new.

That’s when I met my new love….CrossFit.

A friend of mine invited me to try a free class and I was hooked from the first countdown.  For those of you that don’t know what CrossFit is, it’s Olympic lifting, gymnastics, strength, conditioning, and cardio all crammed into an hour of intense craziness.  You show up every class to a programmed workout where you push yourself to your limits physically and mentally, tearing through internal barriers and rebuilding a newer, better version of yourself.   You walk away each day dripping in sweat, gasping for air, and feeling pushed to your limits.  You also leave counting down the hours until your next WOD.

Now I know you’re thinking.  It’s a gym.  You lift things and workout.  You can get that anywhere.  Yes, you can, but what you also get at a CrossFit gym that you don’t get other places is a community of support, encouragement, and friendship.  Everyone in the gym is pushing themselves to their limits while cheering each other along as well.  CrossFit really is a community.  When a workout ends and the bodies hit the floor, they then all get up and congratulate each other.  They offer sweaty hugs and chalky fists for jobs well done.  They ring bells and send up cheers when new personal records are met.  They offer kind ears and words of encouragement when needed too.

When I joined my CrossFit gym, I not only found new muscles and levels of pain and exhaustion, I found a whole new group of friends.  I mean who wouldn’t want to be friends with these crazy fools!

They are even so awesome, they sent me ‘Miss You’ photos when I was out-of-town!

Since I stared CrossFit, I’ve been growing and changing as a person.  I’ve been accomplishing things I never dreamed I would.  I’ve been feeling stronger and better, both physically and mentally, than I have in years.  I’ve been feeling not 41.  Then this last week happened.  My body betrayed me and a new level of sadness and fear set in.

Many, many, many years ago (we are talking in the 90s) I had reconstructive knee surgery and had 3 screws put in my knee.  It’s hasn’t been much of a factor since then and it certainly hasn’t limited my activities…until now.

A week and a half ago, I started feeling some sharp stabbing pain.  I figured I could just work through it.  I rested a little.  It started to feel better.  I thought it was nothing.  Seven days in, the pain returned stronger this time with swelling.  I woke up Friday unable to walk on it normally or bend it.

Silly me, I actually looked at the WOD that morning and was thinking about hobbling in and trying to do part of it.  Instead, I went to the Ortho doc who fixed me up years ago to have it looked at.  He drained the fluid off my knee, gave me a cortisone shot, and then gave me some devastating news.  Doc said that I have the beginning of arthritis in my left knee, where the screws are, and that I can no longer run.  Blow. To. The. Heart.  Full disclosure, I did go home and cry.  I’ve always considered myself a runner and to think I can NEVER do that again was devastating.  Even though I’m at CrossFit five days a week, I still love going out on my off days and pounding out some miles.  And that’s the problem.  All that pounding has done a number on my knees.  After digesting that information, I quickly started explaining my CrossFit regimen and held my breath.

Luckily, the answer was music to me ears.  As long as I stop running and watching the jumping, I can keep beating my body to exhaustion and pushing myself to my breaking point.  I can keep lifting heavy weights and climbing ropes.  I never wanted to jump off a table and hug someone so much in my whole life, but I’d just been banned from jumping, so Doc was safe.

So today I returned to the gym.  A little more cautious, a little more careful, but determined to keep on working, sweating, pushing, pulling and passing out.

I may have to hang up my running shoes, but could someone please hand me some chalk? 

Girls Night Uh-oh

I am lucky enough to have been blessed with a group of gals who I have been friends with since high school.  In our 25+ years of friendships, there have been ups and downs, blessing and tragedies, joys and sorrows.  To help keep us sane, we venture out once a month of a Girls Night Out.   We like to keep things fun by trying new and different things each month.  Last night we ventured out into the frigid evening to get mani/pedis, have dinner, and then tune up our pipes with some karaoke.

After a cold, snowy, stress-filled week, I was super excited to go hang out with my gal pals, first to pamper ourselves, and then to embarrass ourselves.

I wrapped up the week at my office and headed out to make sure everything was copacetic on the homefront.  Kids home.  Homework done.  Errands fulfilled.  Now, time to make myself GNO ready to go.

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Not too bad for a soon to be ol’ lady.  (Full disclosure, the glasses are not mine.  They belong to my mini-me.  I think I do them justice.  Can’t see for crap out of them, but I look cute! 😉 Plus, it annoys her when I take her things and take selfies.  Score one for mom! )

On the way to meet everyone at the salon, I made a quick stop at Target to pick up a few things.  Since it was GNO, I traded in my daily ‘student chasing’ tennis shoes, for a cute little pair of black heels.  A girl’s gotta look good after all!  Click-click…  Click-click…  Click-click… I cruised myself into and around Target, grabbing what I needed, but, as I clomped around, something just didn’t feel right.  Click-click… Is it my zipper?  Nope, that’s up.  Click-click… Did I remember to turn off my straightener?  Yes, I know I did.  Click-click… Do I have my phone?  Yup, it’s right here.  Click-click… So what could it be?  Click-click…   Click-click…  Click-wait…am I limping?  It’s at that moment I realize what I wrong.  A quick look down confirms my suspicions.

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I’m wearing two different shoes.

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Not only are they different shoes.

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But they are also different heights.

I’m an idiot.

In my rush to get out for a night of relaxation and laughter with the girls, I didn’t even realize what I had put on my feet.  I can maybe excuse myself because they are the same color with similar toe shapes, but I have no words for the fact I made my left leg an inch shorter than my right.

I’m a girl who believes in signs.  These shoes are a sign of two things.  1)  I desperately need a night out.  2)  The universe wants me to buy new boots.

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I’m nothing if not a rule follower…

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Sleep, what’s that?

Sleep, it’s the most important meal of the day.  Wait, that’s breakfast or something.  Anyway, people are always going on and on about how freaking important sleep is.  ‘It’s rejuvenating.  It recharges the body.  It keeps you looking youthful.’  Blah, blah, blah.

I always knew I wasn’t getting enough, but I didn’t know the half of it.

I go to bed between 10:30 and 11:00 pm everyday and wake up at 5 am.  People are always preaching this luxurious 8 hours of sleep, but that is an illusive mirage in my casa.  I figure getting a good solid 6 would just have to do.  Sure, I woke up every morning feeling just as exhausted as when I had crashed the night before, but that’s just normal, right?

Wrong.

For Christmas this year, I asked my lovely hubby for a fitness monitor….and he actually listened!  He gave me a Garmin Vivosmart, a nifty little gadget that does way more than count my step and tell me my heart rate.  Along with the added features of telling time, tracking my runs, counting my calorie burn, and being able to turn on my iTunes library (so cool!), it also gets my phone notifications and …. (drum roll) monitors my sleep.

When I was reading the list of features, I didn’t really understand why one would want to monitor their sleep.  I’m asleep, what’s it going to tell me?  This is going to be an uninformative graph.

Boy was I wrong.

I set myself to sleep mode, electronically and physically, that first night and snoozed (I presumed) away.  I woke up in the morning, synced myself, and my jaw hit the floor.  This is what I found.

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Originally I thought maybe all those bumps and jumps were normal.  Then I compared my graph to someone else’s.  Hers had one little bump during her hours in dreamland.  ONE!

Now I’ve always known that I move around while I sleep.  Plus, I frequently wake up and check the clock to see how long I still have until the dreaded buzzer sounds.  But, I had hard-core evidence now that I don’t actually sleep when I sleep.  I mean look at last night.

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Apparently I went out mountain climbing from 11:30 – 12:30 am.  Then I went for a little jig around the block at 2 am.  In fact, I didn’t have anytime during this 6 hours and 23 minutes that I wasn’t moving.

Ugh.

 

No wonder I wake up exhausted.

No wonder I can barely drag myself out of bed.

No wonder my calorie count is showing a 500+ burn from midnight to 5 am.

No wonder I can fall asleep at the drop of a Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

A different kind of bucket list

As I muddle through this, my 39th year of existence, I feel the pressure of the world around me to follow the latest trend from fellow Gen Xers…the ‘I’m turning 40 Bucket List.’  The only thing more popular are those ridiculous month stickers people slap on their screaming babies to memorialize Junior being 9 months and crabby or Sally being 15 months and sassy.  Since I was born with attitude and raised in sarcasm, I posted this a few months ago.

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Isn’t he adorable.

But I’m just not feeling the whole mid-life crisis bucket list thing.  Mostly, because I refuse to accept this is mid-life.  I still feel 25 inside of my head, so why would I want to make a list of things to do before I die.  Bucket lists used to be for people with terminal conditions or the plots of Jack Nicholson movies. Now they seem to be a prerequisite for your Intramural Co-ed Softball registration and the last grasp at coolness before you say fuck-it and buy a Lazy-E-Boy and elastic waistband pants.

So in honor of my 39th year, I give you my Non Bucket-Bucket List.

1.  I would like to get 8 hours of sleep a night.  I dream of what that would feel like, no really, I do.  I imagine it would be similar to what heaven feels like.

2.  I would like one week where I get to watch Jeopardy uninterrupted.  It that too much to ask?  I don’t think so and, apparently, neither does Jeopardy.

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I don’t mean to brag or anything, but JEOPARDY retweeted me.  I now think I’m kind of a big deal.  The rest of my family does not agree.

3.  I would like to actually make something from one of these recipes I tear out of the cooking magazines I buy.  Sometimes I make is as far as buying a few of the ingredients, but, without fail, I forget a necessary item end up making one of my three, standard, boring meals, or buying take-out Chinese because I’m just too exhausted to try or care.

4.  I would like all my pants to fit me comfortably each time I wear them and for them to all to feel like elastic waistband pants.  I mean really.  Why do pants need buttons and belts…too confining.  I am approaching middle age.  I want to feel comfortable.  I want to ignore that my metabolism is changing.  I don’t want to have to lie to myself that my dryer is shrinking my pants.

5.  I would like to have a week, hell I’ll even settle for a day at this point, in which I do not have to play crazy taxi driver, racing around the city.  With two kids, at two different schools, in six different activities, I honestly don’t know whether I’m coming or going.  I’d kill to be kicked back in a Lazy-E-Boy in my unbuckled pants asking questions to Alex Trebek.  By the way, I’m #teammustache if you were curious.

Soooooo……

Basically, I want to be a grumpy old man now and do things in reverse.  I don’t want to walk the Great Wall of China or Sky Dive over the Grand Cannon before I turn 40.  Sure, I want to take a picture in front of every welcome sign for all 50 states, who doesn’t.  But not right now.  I’ll save all that for when I’m 80.  Right now I want to sleep, eat, sit, and comfortably watch TV uninterrupted.

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Yes, that’s me.  I plan on rockin’ old age like nobody’s business.

 

 

 

 

Think before you Pink

It’s October, so you know what that means.  Everywhere you go, you will be faced with the opportunity to buy something pink.

Pink T-Shirts, Pink Shoelaces, Pink Hats…

Pink Coffee Mugs, Pink Ribbons, Pink Feather Boas…

Pink Medicine Bottle Caps, Pink Bagels, Pink NFL Players…

And it is because of all the success of this pink marketing, that I want to remind everyone to please think before they pink.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  As a woman who has breasts and a family history of cancer, I am all for the increased awareness of everyone in society to the realities of cancer.  I’m glad it’s finally a subject that is in the forefront of the minds of all people, no longer the word that is whispered at the dinner table.  Cancer fighters and survivors don’t have to hide in the back ground or be afraid to talk about their battles, their struggles, their downfalls, and their triumphs.

And, full disclosure, I’ve bought and still do buy pink items.  I’ve signed up for and completed Susan G. Komen races.

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I’ve been known to rock my killer pink Packers sweatshirt on game days.  Plus, those damn pink ribbon bagels are freakin’ delicious.  Can someone please tell me why Panera does not sell those year round?

What I’m talking about here are all those not so honest and reputable companies that pop up this time of year, slap pink on their products, and then use people’s emotions and sense of charity to line their own pockets.

Case in point.

I’m a Big Brother watcher.  I know, I know.  It’s a terrible show.  I’m aware many of the people who go on this show not only have a lot of attention-seeking, ‘I want to be famous’ issues, but also do so for self promotion.  But being a social worker, I enjoy that whole social experiment aspect of this train wreck.

The current season just ended and the “contestants” from this season have recently been released back into society.  Intent to suck as much from their 15 minutes of fame as possible, a number of them are charging full steam ahead to grab as many green backs as they can before the clock hits zero.  Some are selling T-Shirts, others getting paid to make ‘celebrity’ appearances, but this one just turns my stomach.

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Using a deadly and debilitating disease like breast cancer for your own personal financial benefit is disgusting.  Before you get all in an uproar with me about how he is doing something good, let’s run the numbers.  This person has 394,000 followers.  If every one of these followers buys a bracelet, that means he brings in $1,970,000.  Look back at the post.  He specifically mentions proceeds, which I read as, he will subtract any costs from the gross intake.  Let’s assume he could make these 394,000 bracelets for $50,000.  After he subtracts that from the gross intake, that leaves $1,920,000.  Twenty percent of this is $384,000.  That means after expenses and ‘donating’ to charity, this person takes home $1,536,000.  Makes you wonder who the purchasers are really donating to.

Now I will give his credit for putting the numbers out there for those of us who want to do the math to figure it out for ourselves, but the problem is, people are not crunching numbers this time of year, they are just buying based on emotions.

And that is what many ill-intentioned people are counting on.  When most of us see something pink, we assume that, by purchasing that item, we are going to be funding breast cancer research and fighting the good fight.  And, although legally these companies and individuals are not doing anything wrong, they are donating to cancer, I feel many are being morally evil, knowing many of us will blindly buy their pink products, sending less than we know to actual research and more than we wanted to their personal bank accounts.

And here’s where I will dedicate this post to my friend Carrie and her incredible family who have been fighting Cancer and winning for decades now.  She opened my eyes to this topic years ago and has had me reading the fine print ever since.

I’m not saying don’t make a purchase.

Buy the pink if you want to.

Sign up for that race.

Get that mammogram.

Make that donation.

Just think and research before you spend that money.

Make sure your pink purchase truly matters.

It’s a wonder my hair isn’t gray

As I typed that title, I realized that I probably just jinxed myself.  I better not have.  I have been able to go all my 39 years without having to break out the dye on this do…and I don’t want to have to start just yet.

Yes, you read correctly, I typed 39 years.  In my long (too long for me) absence from my blog, I have managed to get a year older and have hit that magically year when I realize that I actually am going to hit that yet-to-be-unmentioned decade soon and had better get my backside into gear if there is anything I want to do before I turn the big 4-0.

I don’t have a particular problem with turning 40, (Of course, I say this having only been 39 for 8 days…) but I’m realizing that putting things off until later is a less and less desirable idea.  That I’m getting closer to the backside of this ride and I can’t keep saying, “I’ll do that someday.”  I’ve also started to realize that I’m getting pretty tired of doing things for other people, things I don’t really want to do, things I have not desire to do.  I’m beginning to understand why people always say, “Don’t mind Grandma.  She has no filter!”  She has no filter because she’s sick and tired of your crap, she doesn’t care less what you think of her anymore, and she’s not going to waste on of the few 1,000 minutes she has left caring what you think.  She doesn’t have to.  Plus, she’s probably a lot happier now than she ever was before.

Which brings me to where I’ve been.  I’ve been here, in my home, doing my kid and mom thing.  I’ve thought about writing, but then I’ve always either lost my motivation or I’ve over thought what I wanted to write about and eventually talked myself out of writing all together.

And that’s where I’ve failed.

I started this blog as a way to just be creative and expressive.  I’ve never had a particular focus on purpose.  I wanted to freedom to write about whatever tripped my fancy, whenever I felt the mood hit me.  And I need to get back to that.

Not writing becomes it’s own worst enemy because you over think, over analyze, worry and stress.  Then days turn to weeks and nothing seems important enough to blog about OR if I told you what I really wanted to tell you about issues, I might offend people, so I said nothing.

Enter Grandma.

I’ve decided to channel her.  I’m going to write what I want, when I want, and screw it if it makes people uncomfortable at Thanksgiving dinner.

In order to kick off this new beginning, I toyed with the idea of deleting this whole blog and starting a new one.  But then I remembered, when you get that ill-conceived tattoo at an early age, you can un-tattoo it.  It still exists.  What you can do is take the ink, add to it, and create the new future for yourself going forward.  Plus, I still like a lot of my old stuff.

So I’m keeping it all as is.

Same blog.  Same title.

I’m still Kerry.

I’m still overly organized.

My life is still chaos at times.

I’m just hitting a reboot.  I hope you’ll stick around with me to see what my 39th year brings.