Saturday, September 29, 2012

This Blog Is Read By Rock Stars

This morning, I was reading through Twitter when I came across a Tweet from Richard of Keane about having gone for an 8K run. Well, of course I had to respond.

It turns out he happened to be online at the time, and this is what happened.

There you have it, folks. This blog was viewed by Richard of Keane this morning. A big win for my humble Little Pink Blog! (And, of course, Wild and Absolutely True.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

More Conversations With M. the Reasonable

In February, just as I was starting to warm up to running, I had a really bad Sunday run. Shin splints had me hobbling at the halfway point of my usual two-and-a-half-mile route, and by the time I reached the always difficult last half-mile, I was frustrated and in pain.

When an older man went smartly jogging by me, I wanted to give up and crawl home.

The conversation with Matt the Reasonable the next morning in my training appointment was so epically hilarious that I still remember most of it now:

Me: So at the end of that awful run yesterday, I totally got passed by an old guy. He turned a corner and started running up the hill, even.

Matt: He's probably been running his whole life.

Me: I know...and I try not to compare myself to other runners, but still. I was thinking, "If I didn't have these stupid shin splints!!"

Matt (laughing): Hey, dude! You and me! Next week!

Me (also laughing): Same time, same place. It's ON!!

At this point, Matt just mimicked tripping someone and I laughed so hard tears gathered in my eyes and I couldn't complete the exercise he'd given me for a few minutes.

Fast-forward to today. I saw the same guy out running. I had run a mile, and walked about a quarter-mile down the hill to the bottom so I could run back up--half a mile, timed. I do the uphill once a week to strengthen my legs. I don't enjoy it, but it's good for me, so I do it.

There was the dude who had shown me up in February. He got a bit of a head start on me, so I hurriedly started the timer on my iPod and started up that hill.

Later, a new conversation with Matt:

Me: So not only did I get that 8:40 mile yesterday, today I ran my uphill. My previous best time was five minutes even. Today? 4:32.

Matt: That's awesome!

Me: I saw that old guy--I told you about him once--who ran past me when I was suffering shin splints. He got a head start on me, and I admit it, I got a little competitive.

Matt (laughing): That's not a bad thing!

Me: Yeah. And not only did I set a new best time, I totally beat him up that hill!

True story. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I've been having a couple weeks of "lazy" running--not really pushing the speed or the mileage much. So today, I went out there thinking to myself that I could either push myself further than usual, or do one mile--but go as fast as my short little legs will go.

I chose the fast mile.

And I smashed my previous best mile time--hovering around nine minutes, which I was quite proud of, based on where I started with this whole running thing. I brought home a mile today in about 8:40.

Rock star?

Hell yeah.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Good Things

I haven't been very bloggy of late. Things have gotten a bit busy--in a good way. I guess it's easiest to lay them out in sections...

Endeavour In the Sky

On Friday, NASA's retired space shuttle Endeavour flew a victory lap of sorts over California on its way to a museum in Los Angeles where it will reside permanently. The museum paid for this tour, which is pretty classy, if you ask me. The Endeavour, mounted on a 747 and escorted by a fighter, flew over Sacramento sometime before 10:00 in the morning, circling the State Capitol and then flying south and west to San Francisco for a pass over the Golden Gate Bridge.

I had heard that it was touring, but a busy morning at Petite School had pushed it out of my mind, until, around 10:00, I noticed my 4th graders were late for music, and there was a lot of screaming going on outside. Suddenly, I heard a huge roar, and it occurred to me what was going on. I ran outside just in time to see the 747 approach--low--and roar right over my head. I mean right over it. Not half a mile off, but literally buzzing our school.

I was clapping my hands and jumping up and down, squealing along with the students of Petite School. We were all gathered in the parking lot, waving and making noise, watching a piece of history fly over our heads. It was thrilling.  

Endeavour passes the Capitol Building in Sacramento.
Photo Credit: Sacramento Bee
New Music!!

So Mumford & Sons have finally, finally released their second album, Babel, and it's fabulous. Of course, rabid fans like Maayan and myself had already heard many of the tracks on it, as the Mumford boys have been playing them live for ages now. But it's great to hear studio recordings of them, and the new material is fantastic.

My favorite, so far, is the first single, "I Will Wait," but I'm also loving "Lover Of the Light" and the cover (available on the Deluxe Edition only) of Simon and Garfunkle's "The Boxer."

M&S have to be my second-favorite band right now. Keane will always hold that top spot--they're just too awesome--but M&S have some great music and I have a lot of great memories of seeing them with Meghan, Maayan and Summer.

And, of course, of meeting Ben in 2010.

Cute British boy who is far too young for me.
Awesome Feedback

So obviously, most of my blogging in the last couple of weeks has been about reaching that elusive Goal Weight, and thanking my awesome trainer all over the place.(Not to mention those awesome after pics.)

The feedback I've been getting--a few blog comments, but mostly on Facebook and Twitter, has been amazing. Apparently, I'm inspiring. This makes me happy--I'm glad that my Odyssey proves to others that reaching a great level of fitness is possible for anyone. I started out very heavy and completely out-of-shape. Here I am, three-and-a-half years later.

So yeah, the feedback makes me happy.

Petite School Awesomeness

Let me just say this again: I love my job!!!

I gave the following assignment a couple of weeks third graders:

If I had tried this with my middle school students in Stockton, it would have been confusion and meltdowns all over the place. I barely had to help my students with this at Petite School. A few questions for clarification, and then ZOOM! They were off. The assignment was kind of fail-proof, as I had them using the pentatonic scale and easy rhythms, but still, they composed melodies. Four-bar melodies. Every single group followed every single direction.

And they adore using the lap boards.

Obviously, I'm only posting pictures that don't have the childrens' faces.

The other amazing thing? The cooperation! You can see how they take turns and no one does the bulk of the work. It's really great to watch.

I love my job!!!!

The World's Ugliest Scarf Finds a New Home

If you've been following my adventures for a few years, then you might remember Scarfapalooza. In which Yours Truly had an epic hissy fit at having to wear the World's Ugliest Scarf for a Chorale Concert in Stockton.

During a recent trip to my storage unit, I found the scarf in a box of costume stuff (I might recycle my Mini Mouse ears from Disneyland for Halloween this year) and decided it was time to let go.

Way past time.

So the World's Ugliest Scarf got listed on eBay. And it got four bids. And today, it sold.

I wish it all the best in its new home.

This pic was taken by my friend
The PurpleMagpie.
It really was ugly, right?

And there you have it. There are other exciting things happening, but those will wait for future posts. Right now, it's time for me to head to Bedfordshire. Just because I'm at goal weight doesn't mean I don't have to get up and run!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you...Meg. At goal.

But first, let's just look at where she started...

Early 2009

With Aaron at a family reunion, 2007

With Summer at the Schulz Museum, 2002 (a year out of uni).

Just to remind you, dear readers...I started off at 221.8 pounds (and blonde!). That's a BMI of about 40. Yes, BMI is not the best indicator for health, so let me add that I was also on blood pressure medicine, and I had a very hard time dealing with anxiety and depression.

And my self-esteem kinda sucked.

Fast forward through three-and-a-half years of blog posts, starting in February 2009, and you've got Meg at 130 pounds (BMI 24). Ninety-two pounds of Meg have melted off (that's an Olympic gymnast!) and I have rid my life of blood pressure meds. I'll never not have to deal with anxiety, but I manage it much better these days through diet* and exercise.

*And by diet I mean lifestyle, not some "miracle" plan. I still eat junk food. I just eat way less of it than I used to. And I limit what junk food I allow myself to eat. So these days it's a piece of dark chocolate, not a whole bag of cheesy poofs.

But you don't want words, words, words, you want pictures. Today I posed for a few with Matt the Reasonable and it's kind of amazing to compare them with the before pics.

Hooray for short-shorts from the Duck Ladies and
purple shoes!

Oh, God, he just had to get a side view. The next
immediate goal? Blast that tummy away.

Yep, still got those old 18s.

Matt got one of the other trainers to come take a couple of pics of both of us. He told me to show off my jeans, so I held them up. The other trainer (confusingly, also named Matt) was quite impressed when I told him I now wear the same jeans in a 2.

We got a couple of good pics of Matt and I for the history books. So after all these months of blogging about an anonymous trainer I called M. the Reasonable (he always liked his nickname!), here he is--a real person, and one hell of a trainer:

Those jeans are just never going away. Also: Look at
my arms!!!!
My story is going to be made into a Member Success Story for the gym wall. I love thinking that people will look at it and be inspired. If one person sees it and thinks, "Hey, I can do it, too!" I will be very happy. Because health and wellness are achievable. Sometimes it takes a while, but if stubborn little Meg can go from "I'll never be a runner" to "Okay, I'm a reluctant runner," to "Runner and proud, damnit!" well, then, anyone can.

I still have a little work to do--a teensy bit more fat loss, a little bit more muscle-building. But for the first time in my life, I'm simply happy with my body. It is in great shape, and I'm proud of everything from those awesome arms to the stupid runner's tan. I'm proud every time I get out there and run, or finish a set of Burpees, and where sweat used to be disgusting to me, I now welcome it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Week In Review

So obviously, good things happened this week--namely, I finally saw that elusive goal weight on the scale, after three-and-a-half years of hard work, determination, and yes, even self-doubt from time to time. There were other stories from this week, too, that I want to share--some related to my achievement, others not.

The BEST Moment of the Week

Obviously, seeing 130 on the scale was pretty awesome, but it wasn't the best part of hitting goal weight. Bells didn't ring and angels didn't come out of the skies singing the Hallelujah Chorus. The gym just kept piping out its rock music and everyone around me did their thing while I stared at the scale in disbelief, my heart pounding.

But that wasn't the very best moment--that was just the moment of truth. The best moment was when I got to show the picture on my iPhone to Matt, knowing that after all these months, and all of the support he's given me, he'd be so very happy for me. Sharing that moment with someone who has seen me through the last forty pounds, and breaking through the wall with my running, was awesome. I can't remember exactly what he said initially (knowing Matt it was either, "Excellent!" or "YES!!" accompanied by a big smile), but I do remember him standing up from his chair, opening his arms and saying, "Come here, I need to give you a hug."

It was a huge moment in my journey, and I'm glad I have such an awesome friend to share it with.

The NOT BEST Moment of the Week

Completely unrelated to fitness and goal weight, the worst moment this week came on Thursday afternoon as I drove down Highway 65 just before rush hour. Going about 70 mph with cars stacked up behind me, I had no choice but to run over the pigeon that foolishly landed in my lane.  

Stupid, stupid bird.

I admit to crying over that stupid pigeon. I don't set out to kill wildlife.

Triumph, Tears and Rosie Pro -- A Moment I Won't Forget

As I celebrated with Matt at the gym on Wednesday, a couple of times I felt like I might cry--I was just so happy. My heart was pounding for a few minutes while my achievement sunk in.

A little while later, in the car, I was scrolling through songs on a mix CD when I got to "The Fighter" by Gym Class Heroes. I've been listening to this while running a lot lately, and it resonates with me.

Give me scars, give me pain
That's when they'll say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes the fighter...

As the song started, suddenly, three-and-a-half years of work, of learning to believe, and all of that emotion and pride came rushing to the surface and I burst into a wild mix of sobbing tears and delighted laughter. If anyone else on the freeway noticed the crazy woman driving a Mazda Protege while hysterically laughing and crying, I'm sure they wondered what was going on.

Nothing, nothing...just a thirty-four-year-old woman finally realizing how strong she is.

The Very Satisfying G. the Meanie Moment

While Matt has been the trainer who fine-tuned me these last several months, and I've been thanking him all over the place this week, there's also good ole G. the Meanie to consider in this. Gershom dragged my bratty self into being an athlete in the first place (I was not always very nice to him) and I have a lot to thank him for. So I sent him a message via Facebook:

Gershom and I don't communicate regularly, even though we are Facebook friends, but I knew he'd be proud of me, and it was very satisfying to send this and get a response.

The "I Love My Job" Moment

Yesterday I told two kinder teachers about a couple of behavior problems I'd had in their classes' music session, letting them know that two children, in particular, had misbehaved to the point where I had to remove them from the fun for a few minutes. I also told them that the rest of the class was a dream, and I felt so bad to stop the music lesson just because two children weren't making the right choices.

Even as I deal with a little bit of silly behavior (they're five, they are wiggly, and they are still practically babies), I look around that room at these children and realize I'm having a blast being back in the classroom.

My third graders composed four-bar melodies yesterday, using solfege to select pitches, and quarter notes and eighth notes for rhythm. I gave them some pretty good guidelines so they could be successful at this activity, and every single pair did a smashing job. There was very little confusion. Questions were cleared up quickly. The pairs worked cooperatively with no bickering. This would never happen in a public school setting.

And my choir? They continue to be awesome.

That Badass Moment 

Today at run club, everyone was cooling down. I ran less than most everyone else, so I stopped jogging and did some stretching. I put my heel up on the edge of a tall ledge on the bleachers, so my foot was about level with my shoulders, stretching my whole leg. It's not an easy move for me, but it's one I couldn't do three years ago, for sure.

Our "coach" jogged by me and called out, "I'm pulling a hamstring just watching you!"

I may not be the fastest runner in our little Saturday morning group (actually, I am the slowest) but damnit, I'm strong, and I'm flexible!

The Hottie Moment

So I met a guy on OkCupid who isn't a rampaging lunatic or wanting to plan our camping excursion to Yellowstone on the first date. Wahoo! We met in person a week ago and he's quite nice. We've been texting back and forth, and we have had a frank discussion about what we want--friendship, dating, but no drama and really not a serious relationship. We both want to get out and have fun (and for us, this will include working out together).

It's perfect, because I'm not really in the position to give him more right now (long story) and I just want to get out more and maybe have an excuse to dress up a bit from time to time.

Anyway, I was texting back and forth with him on Thursday evening and I mentioned that I was at the mall  and had fallen in love with a dress. "Send a pic!" was his response, so I sent him this one and was promptly told how great I looked. And that he had other adjectives best left for "in person." I asked him to throw one at me.

"Banging," he replied.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a banging body.

The Knee-High Boots Moment

For years now--years--I've wanted a pair of knee-high boots.  I can remember shopping for them in England in 2004, and being unable to find a pair I could fit over my calves. For the longest time, I just didn't seem to be able to find them. Last year, I found that they'd fit over my runner's calves, but I didn't have the money to indulge.

This week, I found a darling pair, with just the right heel, at Sears on sale. They fit with room enough for a pair of skinny jeans.

I finally have my knee-high boots, and this makes me happy.

The Moment I Realized...

That I really am blessed right now. I have some wonderful friends, supportive family (my parents are fully behind my latest plan, which is to get certified as a personal trainer) and lots of great opportunities. I'm just trying to be grateful and to appreciate what I have.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Meg At Goal

It occurred to me that in my haste to post blogs and put a video on YouTube, etc., etc., I didn't really take the time to do a Meg At Goal pic.

In the next few days, I'll get the gym's manager to take one of me for the Member Success Stories board, and one with Matt the Reasonable (now that I've used his real name on my blog once, I guess I may as well continue, eh?). But for now, I present to you one very poorly lit, self-taken, faceless iPhone picture of Meg At Goal.

To congratulate me, Dad gave me a $50 rewards card he earned through his health insurance or some such thing. You can use it anywhere (it has a Visa logo) like a gift card. So he told me to buy something nice for myself. Tonight, I went to the mall and looked around Victoria's I went to Macy's. Lots of lovely things, but nothing that stood out.

As I walked back through the mall, I passed New York and Company and noticed a boat load of green clothing in their store.

I adore green.

I went in, eying a fabulous cardigan and a suit jacket...and in my wanderings around the store, I found the dress.

It was lust at first sight, seeing it hanging out on the dress rack. Then I noticed the sale sign ($39.95, regularly almost $70) and developed a huge crush. I hustled a size small off to the fitting room and promptly fell in love and asked the dress to move in with me. The dress said yes, and now we are a happy pair.

Size small. Yup.

I can't wait to wear this somewhere fun. I may have a date next week, and I'm thinking this may be just the thing. As for shoes...well, I have just the thing there, too. ; )

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Letter To My Trainer At Goal

Now that I'm at goal weight, here's an open letter to this guy I've been calling M. the Reasonable all these months...who actually is a real person with a name.

Dear Matt,

We did it!!

Over the last three-and-a-half years, I've written a lot of blog posts about my Odyssey and those posts have used the words "I" and "me" a lot. Truth is, I never could have done this without the support I received along the way, and the support I've received from you in the last ten months has been the biggest of all. So yes, we did this, because without you encouraging and cheering me on I certainly would have stayed stuck where I was--it wasn't a terribly bad place to be stuck, but it also wasn't the best I could do.

And that said, I don't want to get stuck here, either. I want to continue getting stronger, and setting and smashing new goals.

I signed up for more training last November looking for someone to "kick my butt" and "bully me into" getting to goal weight. While my workouts with you were not for the faint-of-heart, I never felt like anything was impossible, or that I was being pushed beyond what I was capable of doing. The result? Strength and a strong dose of badass: six months ago, you would watch me clumsily, slowly bust out six Burpees.Today, I did nine of them in a thirty-second interval--three times.

The words "thank you" hardly seem like enough for someone who has helped me in so many ways, but I suppose they'll have to suffice. So...

Thank you for understanding and working with the unique needs of my body--helping me battle that bout of sciatica in December and helping me learn that it's okay to take a few steps back and not be hardcore for a few days while I let my body heal.

Thank you for never telling me to "push through the pain," but instead working with me to figure out what was causing the pain and how I could fix it.

Thank you for not yelling "MUSH!" that day you made me pull the dog sled. ; )

Thank you for never being impatient with me and the endless texts and emails of "Ack! My knee hurts!" or "Feel sorry for me! I fell today!" Since my last appointment with you in April, you've never acted like my questions or concerns are an imposition on your time, and believe me, sometimes as I approach you at the gym or click "send" on that text, I think, "Gah, I'm not even paying for his help anymore..."

Thank you for looking over all of my workouts for me and helping me tweak them to make them even better as I learn how to assign exercises for myself.

Thank you for celebrating all of the little milestones along the way as though they are big ones--smaller jeans, being able to do an exercise I couldn't do before, improving a running time. 

Thank you for all the times I nerded out over Keane in your presence--including the time you actually changed an appointment time with me so I could be home when pre-sale tickets for their Oakland gig went on sale. 

But most of all...

Thank you for every single "Yes, you can!" and "Yes, you will!" you've ever uttered, always with a big smile. It means a lot to know that there is someone who has no doubt I will maintain my fit lifestyle, continue bringing the badass, and...*gulp* finish a triathlon. There have been days I've felt like I'm crazy to even "tri" (pun definitely intended). I've reminded myself that you believe I can do it...and that helps me keep going.

This is every bit as much your success as it is my own. You're an awesome trainer, and a very supportive friend.


And Suddenly, I'm There

I told M. the Reasonable today that three-and-a-half years ago, when I weighed 220 pounds, the thought of weighing 130 was "way out there." It was completely off my radar. Even as I worked my way closer, celebrating being under 200, then in the 180s, 170s, etc., 130 seemed so elusive, so far away.

When I stopped working with G. the Meanie in July 2010, I weighed about 158. I felt really good about how far I'd come. I was wearing a size 8/10 and looking about how I looked at the end of high school, beginning of college. Not too bad, really.

I spent the next year or so going it on my own, maintaining. Maintenance is good. I felt good. I was running, strength training, wearing cute clothes.

But it wasn't goal. I was still over the weight I felt my body should be. I still struggled with running.

When I moved back to Mom and Dad's a year ago, the answer became clear. No longer worrying about rent and bills, I could use my meager income on some training. A recent lag in running had me concerned and I wanted to get the ball rolling again. I wanted to feel comfortable in the Roseville club, as I had in Stockton--where people knew who I was and knew my story.

Enter M. the Reasonable into my life. I figured, after the first few appointments, he'd get over this Nice Guy routine and start pissing me off, but that never happened. What happened instead was that I just rose to the occasion and met every task he set in front of me with determination. If I wavered, I got a simple, "You can do this!" and I soldiered on.

My body seems to like the slow lane when it comes to losing weight, and I guess this isn't a bad thing. It took a while to get from where I started with M. (crept back up to 173, eek) to goal, but here I am.

Yes!! You read that right.

Here I am.

I stepped on the scale today after a really great workout, and it stopped on 130.2. I did a double-take. Stepped off. Stepped back on. 130.2

I asked a nearby trainer to take a pic of the scale,
knowing that if I did it my iPhone would make it 130.4.

M. the Reasonable came to the trainer area with his client, so I had to wait a moment. I wasn't about to leave him out of this moment. When his client left, I walked over to show him the picture on my phone. A huge grin spread across his face as I faltered to form a coherent sentence. After a big hug and plenty of fumbling "Oh my God" statements on my part, I managed to somewhat clearly state to him my joy in this achievement.

As I always get from Mr. Reasonable, I got smiles and encouragement.

I've had this video in the works for several weeks now...the only thing missing from it is a picture of M. and I, but that will come in a few days. We're already talking about getting me on the Success Story wall at the gym.

Nothing about this journey has been easy. Reconfiguring a whole lifestyle and going from, "Ha! I don't run!" to "I can't meet you 'til I've gotten my run in, okay?" isn't something that happens overnight. There have been bruises. There has been pain. I've wanted to kick G. the Meanie and even--once--M. the Reasonable. I have cried, and I have vomited.

And I have had the satisfaction of seeing my life, my body, and my sense of self change completely, too.

Here's to health, to smashing goals, and to running with a big grin on my face. And here's to friends who cheer me on and put up with endless blog posts and brags.

Now, let me just be my loud, giddy self and shout one last word:


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Dear Mother Nature,

I am now officially ready for fall. You know, Autumn. That time of year where the daily high is not ninety degrees (or more) but a nice seventy with a touch of cool breeze making a cardigan necessary. I'd like to put in my order, right now, for pumpkin soup and apple cider. Right now, you're just teasing us--the trees along the road in and out of my neighborhood are turning just the tiniest bit, and my morning runs aren't quite so nasty as they were a few weeks ago, when it was sweltering at eight o'clock.

But it's not quite fall yet, and you've got some magic to do. My scarves are hung in the closet with care, just waiting for a cold evening. My tank tops are experiencing some serious fatigue, and they'd love to hibernate for the winter and give my sweaters and coats a chance to shine.

While you're at it, some rainy days would be lovely, and cool nights where I crack my window open before snuggling deep under the quilt on my bed to warm up. I don't even mind running in the rain, and promise not to gripe about it when the pouring rain sends me to the gym. I'll just work on my swimming instead.

I can't be the only one who is ready. Think about all of the worn-out air conditioners and the crazy-high electric bills. Give us all a little break from the dry California summer and turn the world into that gorgeous place it is in Autumn.


Meg of the LPB

Monday, September 10, 2012


I do my best to avoid oversharing here at the Little Pink Blog, but today, I simply can't avoid it. Everyone knows I'm supposed to be at goal weight pretty much any minute now...and here I am, not there.

Oh, I'm close. I weighed in today at 131.6. Not too shabby, but also not where I should be. I was 132.4 two weeks ago.

Why the slow weight loss?

Simple. Stupid hormones.

In this case, I can't really blame my body. It is supposed to be...but not supposed to be...having a period right now. Kind of. But not. Don't worry, I'll explain.

A few weeks ago, I noticed I was running out of Ortho Tri-Cyclen and made a note on my weekly goal list to make an appointment with Planned Parenthood. They only give me three months worth of pills at a time because they want to monitor what the pill does to my blood pressure. Fair enough.

The week went by and despite that note being on my list, I didn't do it. Oops. Another week. Double oops. Finally, I got myself into Planned Parenthood. My blood pressure was just fine (yay!!) and I got four months worth of pills and was sent on my merry way. Excellent!

I was advised to start the pills that day, and NOT to wait for my next period. So I did.

And now, two weeks into that pack, unexpectedly, Auntie Flo arrived on my doorstep late last week, bringing with her the bloat and water of normal, and also, a special treat: cramps that would make an elephant homicidal. I've spent most of the last three days rubbing my back and wanting to cry while snapping at my cat to stop looking at me.

So that's why I'm not at goal weight. But I'm close. As soon as my body figures out that I'm pumping it full of period-go-away hormones, things will hopefully get back to normal.

And now, because I know that no one in the blogosphere cares about the state of my menstrual cycle, I will move along.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Petite Choir

Friday was my third teaching day at Petite School, and I finally got to meet my after school choir. It has nine kids for now, but I'm confident I can make it grow as the other kids in the school get to know me and see that the choir is doing some great, fun music.

After my two-hour rehearsal, I stopped by Dr. Boss's office. She asked me how things went. I laughed and said, "I had this great lesson plan. It was filled with all kinds of great things about healthy singing, and I even copied a song and planned to go into great detail with it. Then I met these kids and...ZOOM."

Dr. Boss just laughed. "You're learning them!"

Yes. What I'm learning is that what would take two hours in a public school takes about 45 minutes at Petite School. These kids are quick.

I asked them what kind of music they want to do. I believe in giving students some buy-in to a choir program. Of course, I'm always insistent that they do the "old, boring" stuff, too. These kids are begging for world songs, Broadway music, maybe some Disney (if it's not the babyish stuff) and yes, even some classical music.

I just grinned at them and said, "I love this! That's exactly what I had planned."

Dr. Boss mentioned the upcoming Spaghetti Dinner in a few weeks, and asked if I'd be willing to have a few songs for the kids to sing. "Maybe something like 'That's Amore,'" she said.

"Yes!" I ran with it, also suggesting "Santa Lucia" and "Bella Notte" from Lady and the Tramp. I can just picture them singing these songs for the families as they eat spaghetti, and I can't wait to see them again on Friday to dig into the songs I've found.

How I've missed this.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

No Apologies

I occasionally submit writing to Divine Caroline...imagine how flattered I was, yesterday, when I was asked, via Twitter, to write for their "Quarter-Life Crisis Party." I immediately put pen to paper fingers to keyboard and came up with something I thought was decent enough.

It was immediately featured on the main page, and feedback from friends on Facebook has been overwhelmingly positive.

Have a look, if you like, I'm quite pleased with it. It's about not apologizing, now that I'm in my 30s.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

What Makes Me Stronger

I went out for my run this morning, determined to push out two-and-a-half miles after several days of time off (had a cold) and yesterday's short easy one-miler. I set off at a good pace, knowing that such a fast start might come back and bite me in the behind later in the run, but also feeling really good as I powered along at about a 9:30 pace.

As I neared the first mile, the route started a slight uphill--nothing incredibly taxing, but certainly not flat or slightly downhill as the first part of my route is. Just a few months ago, that tiny uphill always slowed me down, but today, I simply powered through it, keeping my breathing steady and enjoying the feeling of my legs powering me forward.

It's not a huge deal, but it's one more sign that I'm getting stronger.

I forged on, feeling good, running a nice pace (for me). I slowed a bit towards the halfway point, but picked it up again on a slight downhill approaching mile two.

At mile two, I turn a corner and start the last half mile--and this is always, always where I falter, if I'm going to falter. Some days, when I'm running an easy pace, I just cruise through it, but when I'm pushing myself, this last half mile is always an exercise in mind over matter.

My side started to cramp a little and I began the process of saying, out loud, to myself, "Come on. Come on. You can do it. Don't stop" in intermittent bursts. I don't particularly care if anyone hears me, but there wasn't anyone around. I thought about how, if I were running with anyone else, they might ask me, "Do you want to stop?" My answer would be, "Yeah, I want to stop. But I can't stop."

And I didn't. I slowed a little, and I wasn't feeling particularly merry about that stitch in my side, but I kept running, kept breathing. As I neared the end of that brutal half mile, I pulled my iPod out of the little pouch I keep it in and glanced down at the stopwatch. Realizing I was about to annihilate my previous best time, I was even more determined to keep going to the very end.

Actually, I sped up.

That last tenth was proof that all of these months of running and training have made me stronger, and more of a fighter than ever. Not only do I refuse to quit, I speed up to beat that best time. The previous best was 26:52. Today, I brought it home in 25:59.

Compared to three years ago, I'd say I'm doing very well.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Full Steam Ahead

I just found this witty quote on Pinterest, and immediately, a blog post came
to mind...gah, I love when that happens!

Today is Sunday.

Tomorrow is Monday.

Monday is weigh-in day.

Last Monday, I weighed in at 132.4 pounds. In the week since, I've been careful about my food...mostly...and I've been okay with my exercise. A cold kept me from running as much as I'd have liked, but I did my strength training and a lot of time on the stationary bike at the gym. I'm not entirely sure what the scale is going to say tomorrow, and I'm gearing up for the disappointment that may come if I haven't lost two-and-a-half pounds this week. Just in case.

While I'm really just waiting for a silly number on a scale to prove that I'm at goal weight, I really feel pretty much like I've arrived. Goal weight is no longer this far-off possibility, it's here. I haven't arrived at it in a confetti-laden parade with marching bands leading the way, I've just simply dripped a lot of sweat and logged a lot of miles. Suddenly, a medium t-shirt is baggy and the scale is quietly showing the results of all this work.

It's taken three-and-a-half years to get here. I've had starts and stops, breaks between trainers, successes and excuses. I thought no one would top G. the Meanie's constant badgering ("Did you run yesterday? How far? Only two miles? Why not three? You should've done three. Tomorrow, do four. Don't look at me like that. You can do four.") in getting me to lose weight, but then M. the Reasonable calmly and, well, yeah, reasonably encouraged me to even greater success.

Believe me, along the way, there have been times I've wondered if maybe a size 10 wasn't as low as I could go. Eh, 160 pounds isn't bad. Sure, it's overweight for 5'2" but I'm in decent shape and can run an 11-minute mile. Maybe I'll just stop here and focus on loving myself! Sometimes, it's tempting to pull over and park where you are.

But always, that desire to get to goal kept intruding. So I'd pull back out onto the road and get moving. Sometimes, I'd want to pull over again...but I haven't. Since November, when I shook hands with M. the Reasonable that first day and sized him up, thinking, "Right, Mr. Fitness, show me what you've got..." I've worked forty pounds off of my body. It's been a slow march, but I've never pulled off the road again.

And here I am.

But here's the thing. Now that I'm at goal weight, I still don't feel I've "arrived." There can be no complacency. Hence the triathlon goal, to keep me working hard towards something, to keep me practicing the healthy habits I've established in my life. I've shaved a ton of time off my fastest mile time in the last six months...but there's more I can do. I don't particularly want to pull off the road, just because I'm at goal weight. I want to keep moving forward, seeing just what I can accomplish.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Today, one of my fellow duck ladies asked on Facebook how to correctly say "Yosemite." She'd seen it on the Dutch news because of the recent virus problem down that way. I told her it's basically, "Yo-sem-mih-tee" and even posted a really cheesy two-second iPhone video of me saying it (no, it will not be put out there for public consumption!). Then I shared a pic of the gorgeous Yosemite Valley with her and started feeling a bit nostalgic about the trip I made there four years ago--the one time I've been.

So I thought I'd share some pictures here. At the time I went, I put pics up on my now-defunct travel blog, but I never have shared them much here. I'd like to fix that.

My first glimpse of El Capitan and Half Dome.

El Capitan from the valley floor.

This was, of course, with extreme close-up, but the deer around the valley
are generally pretty comfortable around people.

So are the squirrels. This one was a blatant food thief.

The incense cedar trees are not only gorgeous, they
smell wonderful.

A reminder that Yosemite has never been entirely

The bottom of the above tombstone.

I love this shot. Yosemite felt like just the place where
you should lounge around barefoot. Or, you know,
bear-foot. Hahaha.

Looking up the road to Half Dome.

A self-portrait with Half Dome. This was five months before I started

The Merced River, near my hotel (outside of the park).

The sun rising over the park.

We have a lot to thank Muir and Roosevelt for.

The famous Tunnel View early in the morning.

Half Dome from up near Glacier Point.

Yosemite Valley, some 7,000 feet below me.

Back on the valley floor.

This buck was closer to me than the picture would make it appear. I looked
up and gasped out loud when I saw him. Then we just stood and stared
at each other for a moment.

Not a great picture, but that's a coyote jogging down the road.

So there you have it. A few Yosemite pictures on a Saturday afternoon, just because.