Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Singles Awareness Day

My friend, Alison, told me she got a Happy Singles Awareness Day wish from her friend today, and I thought I would pass on the good tidings.  Today is also Valentine's Day, if you're of that persuasion.  Or Anna Howard Shaw Day if you watch 30 Rock and listened to Liz Lemon's tirade about the true meaning of February 14th.

I have a new Valentine this year so I thought I would celebrate with a couple photos of us hanging out.

He's wonderfully squishy.

John's been quite the socialite lately, especially with his young lady friends.  Don't worry; his visits have all been closely chaperoned.  There was some hand-holding, but that's all.  And I'm pretty sure that wasn't even intentional.

John and Charleigh get cozy at their first play date.  John is slightly unsure of what to make of the situation.

Grace and John had a great time together.  Well, he enjoyed himself.  She was harder to convince.

Perhaps because it is not a tiny, human female, John felt quite comfortable giving this monkey a big hug.  I think it's the start of a lifelong friendship.

In other news, I'm finally getting around to keeping that commitment I made a few weeks ago.  What?  You already forgot the commitment?  It would seem I had also.  In case it's completely slipped your mind, I joined a six-week fitness program at work, complete with a team of equally out-of-shape but motivated individuals, willing to confess to each other how many fruits and veggies they ate a week, as well as how much time they spent in exercise.   The worst reminders of my less-than-convincing commitment to the program were when I had to turn in my piddly fitness points at the end of the week.  I was the weakest link to be sure.  After three weeks of single digit fitness numbers, I decided a change would do me good.  And I couldn't let my team down any longer.  It was going to be bad for my reputation and would certainly decrease my invites to co-worker events.  And so, a-running I did go.

To prove that I did in fact don running attire - you will have to take my word for it that I actually left the house wearing it - here is a photo.

Yup, here I am, baby, shoes and all.  I left him at home for the run.  Wasn't really sure how to carry him while I "ran".

Am I going to train for a serious race, like a marathon, you ask?  Ha ha ha ha ha ha!  I can't stop laughing.  (Serious face.)  Right now, I'm just proud I still know how to tie my running shoes.

Before I lose myself in self-deprecation, I'll have you know that I had a fairly successful first day back on the sidewalks.  After carefully plotting out an approximately 3 mile course, I decided to run 30 minutes, hoping to make the 3 miles in that time.  About 5 minutes into the run, I realized that this was far too ambitious for my semi-blobular body.  (Yes, blobular is a word, most often used to describe women who recently had a child and chose not to make fitness a priority anywhere in the past 18 months.  May not apply to all women who fit this criteria.)  At that moment, I decided 20 minutes was a plenty good start.  And so I schlepped on, my feet feeling heavier than they had all year.  Or all of last year for that matter.  I stopped at 10 minutes to rest, I mean, stretch, and finished the last half of the run tired but proud.  The run yielded close to 2 miles of sidewalk conquered.  Whenever I take running up after a hiatus, I try to start at 2 miles.  Since I accomplished that, I will call it good.  I do enjoy running for running's sake, but I will probably train for a 10k or some other race just so to keep myself motivated.  Let's hope graduating back into some of my pre-progeny clothing is also part of my reward.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Eating like a horse and other healthy habits

So it turns out I'm not the health fiend I fancied myself to be.  I have high cholesterol.  Perhaps what's worse, I had to ask, "What is cholesterol exactly?" after the news broke.  Still not sure I know.  Something about fat in your blood, which seems odd.  This is why I am not a doctor.

I made this alarming self-discovery about 10 days ago at my work's fitness program weigh-in.  As if it wasn't bad enough that they measured body fat and weight, which I was only somewhat comfortable with, they also measured cholesterol.  No problem, I thought, glancing around at all the other poor blokes whose numbers would surely be in the danger zone.  I've got this one.  Ah, but I was mistaken.  Mine measured high, 272 to be exact.  (For reference, 200 and below is considered the safe, healthy, responsible citizen zone.)  Granted the number doesn't break down good and bad cholesterol, LDLs and HDLs, but 272 is high anyway.  For a relatively thin (I think), 29 year old female.  Seriously.

Call me judgmental, but when I think of high cholesterol, I think of a heavyset man, t-shirt barely rounding his midsection, chowing down on two or three McGreaseburgers.  For the value, of course.  That guy's food pyramid is upside down.  Of course he has high cholesterol.  But me?  Little old me?  Well, I guess I did get a little carried away in the sugar aisle at the in-laws Christmas celebrations.  Drat.  But still.

Now before you or I jump to conclusions about my lifestyle or start blaming dead family members for my genetics, let's not forget that we don't actually know if my outrageously high number is in fact bad.  I might have high good cholesterol.  Obviously that means that the fat in my blood is not blobby fat hanging out of its t-shirts, but well-proportioned, "curvy" fat that knows how to dress for its size.

All this is to say, I'm not panicking.  Not at all.  Since I'm not making plans to visit to the doctor - yes, I'm a social worker; I can recognize denial even in myself, thank you - I'll be taking up a new kind of diet.  This time it's not about eating horse-like quantities; instead, I'm focusing on one primary equine diet ingredient: oats.  To start my day off with a cholesterol-killing bang, I'll be alternating between a breakfast of oatmeal and Cheerios.   I'll also be throwing in an oatmeal raisin cookie after every meal for good measure.  And if I have my way, I'll live in denial for a few more weeks, until they measure my cholesterol again, at which point they will suggest I find out that good fat/bad fat breakdown.  I will politely thank them for the suggestion and resume eating my Cheerios, but twice as many this time, because after all, I am a responsible procrastinator.

And speaking of habits, I'm trying to make a habit of writing more.  And I'd like it to be profitable, in more than one way.  So in the effort to get the word out, I've nominated myself - I'm shameless, it's true - as one of's roll of talented mom bloggers.  And if you don't mind, I'm trying to get a little more traffic through here.  So I'm boldly asking for your quick-click vote of support.  It'll keep me accountable to write more often, and if I achieve my dream of being a world famous blogger, maybe I can quit my job and stay home and snuggle my kid.  So click HERE to vote for me, if you'd be so kind.  (You can search for me alphabetically.)  Muchas thanks.

Part of this gal's complete (cholesterol-reducing) breakfast.

Things I like: blog-related

I'm sure you've noticed all the banging around going on at the Siders House Rules.  New blog banner, a few buttons on the side showing off things I like/do, even an ad, just to mix things up.  I wouldn't call it an identity crisis, although at times it feels that way.  I just realized that I missed writing, and I wanted to do something about.  Like write more.  And I wanted my writing space to be pretty.  Inviting.  Tempt people back.  So in the process of doing that, I've gotten swept into the blog world.  I'm now that girl, spending hours hopping from link to link, blog to blog, even getting a bit of blog envy from time to time.  I realize that my new fascination with blogging and being liked in cyberspace is potentially insatiable, that I may end up with 50 followers and then want 100, and so on.

Anyway, I've stumbled upon a few enjoyable stops on my journey through blogdom, and I'd like to share these helpful spots with you.  And heads up: the icons below are just pictures, not actual links.  The links are in the text, so don't get confused.

First, The Blog Guidebook.  These fine folks helped me figure out how to make that nifty banner you see on top, and the blog button along the side.  They've got several resources available if you're into snazzing up your writing/creative space.


Next, love these free fonts from Kevin and Amanda.  Whoever you are, thank you.  Free fonts?  How cool is that?  And they're good too.  There's probably about 100 here to choose from, or you can go crazy and download the whole lot of 'em in one swoop.  Yes, that's what I did.  Since you wondered.

Still love this blog from months ago.  Makes me feel feminine and lacy just reading it.  Good for the girly soul.  Check it out: This IS Glamorous.

Last but not at all least: a blog I recently discovered.  Peine for Your Thoughts is a humorously honest report of a future mum to twins.  Makes me laugh every time, and fortunately, she updates a few times a week.  Can't quite find a workable icon from her page so just follow the link above.    

That's all for my favorites.  I'm sure I'll have more lovely stops for you later, but this should keep you busy for now.  I know they keep me quite occupied.  Happy browsing.