The Life and Times of Unemployment

Whew! Has this time flown by, or what? It’s hard to believe that a little over a month ago I was laid off, and now I’m looking at accepting an offer and going back to work this week! As much as I can’t wait to get into money makin’ mode again, I’ve really enjoyed this little break from the 9-5. It’s given me a lot of time to do things I enjoy doing, and some perspective on the classic line, “wherever you go, there you are!” Even when I don’t have a job to go to and a whole day is stretched out in front of me, it still fills up pretty fast. I joked with a friend that I felt busier unemployed than I did when I had the structure of a job to frame my day!

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Take a typical day in Unemploymentville for me. On days where I don’t have the kids, I lay in bed for like an hour and a half after I wake up just zoning out on my phone, not ready to get out of bed yet mostly because I can, and the day is WIDE OPEN so what’s the rush? Then when I feel like I’ve exercised my reluctant laziness enough I stumble downstairs to make my beloved coffee. Favorite mug in hand, I return to my computer to check my email and respond to any job posting replies. I’ll also look at my planner and review my to-do list for the week to see if I feel like doing any of the options on there. I always throw stuff like “clean out the closet!” or “get a car wash!” in case I want to take care of chores on a whim. Haha, probably nope.

After I feel like my email and job search leads are well handled, I will do some sort of exercise. It’s either a run in the park or yoga. I found an ah-mazing yoga studio near my apartment, so I’ve been practicing 2-3 times a week. It’s kundalini yoga, so more of the meditative/woo-type rather than the sporty fitness type, which is exactly what I need these days. If I can’t fit a yoga class into my schedule, I’ll do my couch-to-5k run at nearby Lake Chabot. I keep restarting my program because I’m not super consistent, and when I try to amp up the mileage all my old injuries start to nag me, so I’ll do a few weeks, then back it down again to Week 1. I’m not seriously considering any actual races in the near future, so it’s more of a semi-structured tool to get me outside and moving.

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After exercise, it’s back home to get cleaned up, eat some lunch, and prepare for any interviews or appointment I have for the day. If I don’t have any interviews, I’ll either run errands, do more email/job searching, or take a nap. Because let’s be honest, if you’re not napping at least once a week when you’re at home, I don’t think you’re doing it right, and it does all those people who wish they could nap in the middle of the day a disservice. So I nap for those who can’t.

At dinnertime and in the evening, I usually try to be social. After sitting around alone all day trying to not stress about my current life situation, I know it’s good for my mental health to get out. I’ll go to a friend’s house for dinner, pick up a yoga class, or meet up some friends at local event. Anything to get me out and around people, and not sitting at home polishing off a bottle of wine I can’t afford while watching reruns of Netflix shows I’ve already seen. Not that that doesn’t happen now and then, but I try not to let it become the default setting. I’ll save the couch-and-wine for the nights I really need to introvert it up.

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Overall it hasn’t been a terrible experience being unemployed. I’ve been very lucky that I had enough savings and residual income to keep the lights on and rent paid, and being out of work for six weeks is not at all bad considering most people in my situation end up job hunting for months. It’s been quite the blessing to be able to slow down, take care of myself, do some fun stuff with my kids that I don’t normally get to do when I’m working, and trust that everything will work itself out in the end.

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Go make it a great day!

 

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When Workout Routines Change

Happy Fri-yay to you! I meant to post this last night, but the kids got the better of me. Which is fine; sometimes in the evenings I prefer kiddo snuggles to scrapping together the latest “create, not consume” campaign!

I haven’t been going to CrossFit lately, and as a result have been looking for other avenues to maintain my fitness within my budget and time constraints. As much as I LOVE CrossFit, it’s really challenging to fit it in my schedule right now, especially the days I have the kids. Plus, I was nailed with a mild flu over Thanksgiving, and I still feel really worn down. So I’m trying to listen to my body right now and choose more low-impact activities until I feel more energetic again. I know I have the tendency to run myself into the ground if I don’t pay attention, and these days I can’t afford to let my tank run dry.

One of the things I’ve been working on is my own personal yoga practice. It’s a rough go, because I have the attention span of a goldfish when left to my own devices, but it’s kind of nice just doing what flows I want to do with what feels good to me today, and not having to listen to someone else. I just put on some music, set my timer for 20 minutes, and stay on the mat until the bell rings. This is fitting nicely with my current goal of doing stuff at home without having to pack the kids up and haul them to the gym. And in the evening after a day of huddled over my laptop OMG it feels soooooo good to stretch!

The other thing I’ve been working on is getting into running again. For the longest time after Buttercup was born, running just felt awful to me. Slowly I’ve been testing it out here and there, and my body finally seems to be starting to adapt to it again. I’m sure the CrossFit has helped a lot with this, because we often have short runs in the workouts that’s just enough to get my body used to the motion and stress again. So I’ve re-re-started my Couch to 5k program, and am about 2 weeks into it. I find that the amount of time spent actually running so far is just enough to get my body moving without introducing too much stress, and I really like the freedom of itm that it doesn’t take any planning or prep; I just decide, “I want to go run right now,” and I throw on the shoes and go.

Finally, on the rare mornings I wake up before the kids and feel like a bit of morning movement is in order, I am a HUGE fan of my kettlebell. I also have my barbell in my apartment, so I can put together a nice little interval workout with kettlebell and unloaded barbell moves. My favorite these days is:

3 rounds of:

  • 10 American KB swings
  • 10 goblet squats
  • 10 single-leg deadlift (each side)
  • 10 barbell shoulder press
  • 10 KB snatch (5 each side)

Usually in the middle of the third round Buttercup comes downstairs demanding, “I’m hungry!” so I may or may not finish the circuit.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

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I totally live in the camp where Christmas carols are for all year singing enjoyment, and when the Holiday Creep launches Santa-themed end caps at Target in September I do a bit of an internal jolly elf happy dance. The holidays are my jam.

Now that I am all moved into my new place, I was SO EXCITED to start decorating just in time for the holidays! Since the kids and I were traveling over Thanksgiving week, we decorated the week before Thanksgiving. Horrifyingly delightful, amiright? At this point you either want to shoot me or grab my hands jumping around in circles squeee-ing with me. You know what side of that line you fall.

But I think we did a great job. I found the absolute cheapest artificial tree at Target on my divorced-single-income-mom-on-a-shoestring-budget budget, and after the kids took turns breaking hanging up their ornaments, I think it came together quite nicely!

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Hulk and I agreed that I would have the kids Christmas Eve and bring them to his house on Christmas Day, so I wrote to Santa and let him know that we would be at Mommy’s House this year.

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I also found this festive bouquet at Trader Joe’s last night. Always buy yourself flowers. That’s a Melissa Hartwig mandate for ya.

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So I think we’re all set for Santa! Oh, and I am re-re-starting my Couch to 5k program. The other day I treadmilled. Really. I know, who am I?

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Always cover up the console, otherwise you’ll know how little and how slowly you really ran.

But I really want to get back into running again. It’s the easiest way for me to experience sweat therapy, doesn’t cost me anything, and with the apartment gym just across from my unit I can even treadmill when the weather’s lousy.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!

Suburban Running Problems

I think Norther California has finally accepted the fact that it’s fall. Even though it’s almost winter.
  
With the cold(ish) temps and foggy, rainy days also come the early darkness. This whole it’s-5:30-and-completely-nighttime-outside thing is really putting a cramp on my attempts at running. Hashtag “convenient excuses.” But lately I’ve had a lot of motivation and maybe an opportunity to lace up when I get home from work, but it’s now so dark I don’t feel safe. Our neighborhood planner wasn’t exactly a big fan of sidewalks it seems, so I have to run on the shoulder on many of my routes. I also like to run on the nearby trails, but that seems like the perfect recipe for a twisted ankle.

I was complaining brainstorming with Hulk about this the other day, and he suggested for the trails I get some legit, waterproof hiking shoes. That way I could go hike rain or shine and not worry about getting too wet. I love hiking in the rain, so that was a no-brainer, and some (hopefully) super sweet Merrill trail shoes are being delivered by the merry Amazon elf today.

My next hurdle besides the proper gear is lighting. I’ve ran with my iPhone flashlight on, and it’s annoying and lame. Hulk suggested I carry a real flashlight, and that seems slightly less lame. I have considered one of those geek-tastic headlamps for ultra running in the middle of the night which seems to fix my problem but I’ll feel like an idiot wearing one. Unless I’m running a 50k over a mountain at 11:00 pm I feel not “legit” enough to rock one of those. Silly, I know. 

Finally, safety. I have a white windbreaker I’ve been wearing for visibility. I might want to get some reflective stuff for it, too. I’m down with the blink light thing; coming from former bike commuting I could not put enough red blink lights on my person to feel confident I was visible to traffic. But even with all the reflection and blinky lights, I’m still betting that the driver of the car coming right at me will actually SEE me. I’m thinking I need to find some safe sidewalks to drive to for runs instead of heading out directly from my house and crossing my fingers as I trot down the shoulder of the dark road.

Ahh, suburban running problems. I’ll have to mull this all over for a bit. But I’ll take this any day over hassling through downtown SF crowds and the occasional crazy person aggressively screaming to themselves and possibly urinating on various street corners.

Are you cool with night running/walking? I’m comfortable in group runs, but solo is tough.

Blinky lights while running – yay or nay?

Go make it a great day!

The Workit30, Days 1 & 2

While I’ve been feeling pretty good about life in general, I’ve noticed that a lot of healthy habits have been slipping. Despite constantly thinking about what I need to do, I’ve only been working out about once a week on average, and I may have had corn dogs for breakfast the other morning in a rush to get out the door. Darn adulty things and poor planning keep getting in the way.

I know I don’t have it in me to do a Whole30 yet. With the rabid Holiday season upon us now, I have some even to go to or host every weekend until New Year’s, including both of my kids’ birthdays.

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That’s right, bitchez. I’m almost a toddler now!

I know I need to do something to pull my healthy habits back on track. I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin on my commute to try and inspire me, and decided a challenge with some at-home support sounded like a good idea. So Hulk and I cobbled together what I’m calling a Workit30 (in homage to the Whole30), a 30 day challenge to work out every day.

Here are the rules:

  1. Exercise every day for at least 30 minutes
  2. Any moderate to high intensity exercise counts – running, weights, power or flow yoga, HIIT drills, etc
  3. Low-impact stuff like walking only counts as a recovery day, and must be preceeded and followed by a moderately or high intense workout day
  4. Warm-up, mobility work, and stretching/light yoga are encouraged, but don’t count towards the 30 minute minimum time

We started on November 5th. I went on a 2 mile run/walk using my Couch to 5k app. I have literally been doing a couch to 5k for ten months now, because I never finish the program, and when I want to get back into it I just restart at Day 1.

This morning I threw some weights around in the home gym. Olive participated by selecting random trash bits on the floor to chew up in her favorite garage spot, the trampoline.

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You weren’t using this piece of cable, right?
  • Squats 3×10 @ 45lb
  • Bench press 3×10 @ 45lb
  • Assisted pull ups, 1×8
  •  deadlift, 3×10 @ 45lb
  • Kettlebell swings, 1×10 @ 35 lb

I’m hoping by the end of the 30 days I’ll have more of a rhythm going when it comes to working out, and maybe get a bit of my strength back. Let me know if you want to join in, or if you’re doing a similar challenge right now.

Go make it a great day!

Playing Catch-up: Parenting Rites of Passage and a Standing Desk Update

Greetings! I haven’t blogged all week, and I feel like I have so many updates now.

Filed under “parenting rites of passage achieved,” Buttercup threw my phone in the toilet last week. In the upstairs bathroom. Yes, while I was taking a nap, she crawled up the stairs, in my room, took my phone from the nightstand (which I had no idea she could even reach), crawled into the bathroom, opened the lid to the toilet (I think Squish just taught her how to do that one) and tossed my phone in. To quote Ron Burgundy, “I’m not even mad; I’m impressed!” This happened Thursday afternoon and thanks to a loaded schedule and me not being an authorized user on our phone plan, it took until Sunday night for Hulk and I to replace my phone. I actually really liked the unplanned electronic vacation, but I wish it wouldn’t have costed me the equivalent of a real vacation.

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The standing desk continues to work for me. It’s been a bit of an adjustment, mostly because I’m an idiot as usual very good at overestimating my abilities and figure I should just stand all day. And start up running again. My joints are very much “no, thank you” these days to put it politely. But it’s been very interesting to learn more about how my focus works. When I’m productive, I’m laser-focused. But when my brain just isn’t into it, since I’m standing I tend to get fidgety, and it’s very obvious that I need a break. When I was sitting, it’s easy to just sit and do nothing. It’s hard to stand and do nothing. So my productivity has gone up even though I find the need for more frequent breaks, which research shows isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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Oh yeah, I’m trying to run again. Again. I keep going through this cycle of thinking, “I’m in rough shape, need to start working out again,” followed by an insane plot to do All The Workouts, and they only count if I do it at the crack of dawn, and I need to do them every day, then I burn out and can’t figure out why this isn’t sustainable. So I decided to take a step back and start small. What exercise makes me happy, do I enjoy doing, can be done whenever I have time, and can I see a lot of benefits from? For me, that’s running. So I’m committing to running three times a week to get back in the habit. Ideally, I want to add lifting and some yoga to the plan, but for right now my 30 minute runs three days a week is all I want to try to manage. So yesterday after work I went for a jaunt around the neighborhood to break in my new shoes.

And now we are sufficiently updated on the goings-on. Go make it a great day!

 

Whole30 Day 30!

Ahh! It’s Day 30! Holy crap, I made it!

I started out with a celebratory breakfast frittata topped with a perfectly ripe avocado, and coffee with coconut milk.

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Then a trail run. I did Day 3 of the Couch to 5k app and covered 1.97 miles. A smidge farther than last time!

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Oh, I also made the tangy bbq sauce from the Whole 30 book. I ate it with a spoon. Condiment or side dish?

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The last few days have been major “are we there yet” pains. When my family breaks out the snacks and beers, I may pout and whine a bit. But last night I thought to myself, “What if I’m doing a Whole60, or even a Whole100 and I’m nowhere near to being done yet?” I realized that if I was still in the middle of it, I wouldn’t feel so desperate to be done. I would happily prep and eat my compliant food just as before, since there would be no finish line taunting me with a guilt-free glass of wine and chocolate bar. Putting it into that perspective really helped manage the cravings for me. So I might not plunge face-first into a box of chocolate chip cookies tomorrow.

But tomorrow I am planning on reintroducing dairy. And by “dairy” I mean butter and cream. Not ice cream. Not yet, anyway. It stinks not being able to have cream in my coffee or to cook my veggies with butter, so I want to see how I handle it and make a decision on if it’s going to be a thing or not. Everything else I’m pretty okay with having on an as-needed basis, but milk or cream in coffee is a big deal for me, especially if I’m drinking coffee at work because I’m a total coffee snob and work coffee never tastes very good without it.

And I need to work on my did-it-for-real August Whole30 write up. It’ll be interesting once I start pondering things to put it all down in one place and see what happens.

Oh, and we’re leaving for Alaska this weekend. I’ll probably not be connected to social media, so if I don’t get eaten by bears, I’ll be back in a week!

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Go make it a great day!

Runday Funday (and a Rant)

So, the other day my friend texted me, “How about we do a half marathon together? In April? In Hawaii?”

Um, okay. Sounds like a horrible idea!

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So now I really do have to run and stuff. It’s no longer a “eh, I should probably get back into shape again” sort of deal. Now we’re in full-blown, “I have eight months to train and I’ve done NOTHING” mode. And even if Hawaii doesn’t happen, #gottahavegoals, right?

This morning was a 1.84 mile Couch-to-5k run. I’m on Day 2 (again)!

*This would be an inspiring running scene photo if I had remembered to take a picture, but I was too busy listening to “The Paleo Women Podcast” and dying trying to sprint up hills to do so because why run when you can sprint?*

I’m also going to focus on leg and core strength in these early stages of training, so last night after we put the kiddos to bed (early!) Hulk and I threw some weights around in the garage gym. Gym dates are back!

  • Back squat 3×10 @ 45 lbs, then 3×5 @ 65 lbs
  • Deadlift 1×5 @ 65 lbs
  • Kettlebell rows 3×8 @ 25 lbs
  • Some half-hearted kettlebell snatches that weren’t feeling it
  • Push ups 3×10

While we were lifting, I went on a rant about the “dad bod” thing. I’m super sensitive about society’s and the media’s shaming of women’s bodies, but now that it’s becoming more apparent with men too (not that it wasn’t always there, it just wasn’t on my radar) I can’t even anymore. I’m sorry that my six-pack-abs isn’t taking priority over sleepless nights trying to keep tiny humans alive. I get the whole “if it’s important to you, you’d do it” idea, but some things can’t be and are not everyone’s priority. Life is fluid, we will go through periods of motivation and focus on one thing or another, and that’s okay. We do not have to be perfect at everything all the time. And we all do stupid stuff that can hurt us. Don’t judge the overweight guy because he doesn’t prioritize diet and exercise, but he might have a great relationships with people close to him that make him happy. He has his own life to live. And this other guy with the six-pack might be eating right and working out a ton, but he can’t sleep because of work stress and has no real friends because he’s a total jerk. We all are working on our own version of ourselves, and there are so many other opportunities for growth and improvement other than body composition. Let’s focus on the good things that other people do and stop wasting time pointing out how others can do better. Okay, rant over.

Go make it a great day!

Snaps for September!

How can it be the last day of August already? I still think it’s June in my mind.

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(Side note: Calvin and Hobbes was the best part of my childhood. They practically raised me.)

I’m wrapping up my Whole30 this Friday (woot!) and now that the end of this challenge is in sights, I’m looking forward to the next one. Right now it feels good to be challenged, so I’m rolling with it. So for September, I’m going to get back to the gym and running again. What will be nice is having a whole week in Alaska that I can use to “reset” some habits. Do you use vacations or travel to try and adopt a new habit or mindset? I find that getting out of Dodge helps me to put things in perspective, and when I get back home I’m usually pretty recharged to tacking life again head-on. And it’ll totally be do-able to work out in Alaska given that we have no real plans or schedule yet. All I know is we’re flying into Anchorage, and if we don’t get eaten by wolves or bears or something we’ll fly home the following week. Real vacations don’t do plans.

I also want to knock out some goals for the month:

  1. Work out six days a week (one rest day in there)
  2. Do one pull-up (assisted somehow)
  3. Do a two minute plank
  4. Squat, deadlift, and bench 100# (this one might be tough for a month, but we’ll see)

Okay, now I feel really pumped and want to run like 10 miles now. But instead I’ll go to work and sit at a desk all day. That’s fun, too.

Go make it a great day!

Picking Up

Yesterday I picked up my Couch to 5k again and went for a run before work. I did 1.72 miles, and wished it was a bit longer. Once I get moving in the morning, I really like running. The trick is to talk myself into getting out of my warm, cozy bed when my brain still thinks it’s too early. Stop it, brain. We have things to do.

  
I’m on Day 20 of Whole30, and the past several days have been a struggle. I am having regular cheat dreams where I binge on whatever I want. Last night it was fun size candy bars on a sinking ship.  There’s a metaphor for you. I can’t make this stuff up. Anyway, this Whole30 has been easy to stick with only because I’m so doggedly determined to follow through. But I am pretty mentally exhausted from telling myself, “no, why don’t you have a can of tuna on some lettuce instead” all the time. I just want to nuke a frozen corn dog and call it good. But it’ll make me feel crappy, so I nuke a chicken apple sausage instead.

  
What do I do to feel better about food? Get new food! My Tin Star Foods ghee came, and I am now in blissful butter-flavored heaven. All the ghee. It’s stupid expensive – came out to around $16 per 1lb jar – but I am so happy for a different cooking fat other than coconut oil. Sometimes I use olive oil for variety, which contrary to other stuff I’ve read is perfectly safe to cook with. But I’m to the point where I need some variety, and ghee delivers.

  
Another way to keep it interesting when I’m feeling “meh” about a Whole30 meal is to indulge in favorites. I didn’t pack a lunch yesterday, and the thought of a tuna salad depressed me. So I threw in some almond butter, a fruit salad, and splurged on some Epic bacon bites which are a new obsession.

  
Bacon. In bite form. 100% compliant with no added sweeteners. Zghomg.

I can’t get anywhere better after that so go make it a great day!