Where did time go?

Over two months ago I posted “Finally at the Final”.  It seems like a blur and only a few days ago, yet also seems like a lifetime has passed.

Well, in addition to time passing, I passed my final and graduated from the AssistU program.  I began a post-graduate class the end of May and am plugging along with that.  It was an amazing feeling to hear that I graduated and successfully completed the hours and hours of very cerebral and hard work and received my diploma.  Hooray!  Also in May, I began co-leading the Hinsdale Chapter of The Heart Link Network and assisted with the May meeting before leaving to go back to MI.  In fact, we are just a few “likes” from 25 on our Facebook Page, so we would love to have you “like” us, especially if you are a woman business owner in the southwest suburbs of Chicago.  We’d love to have you join us!

In June, in addition to becoming Co-Secretary and Newsletter Chairwoman for the Cutting Edge Chapter of the IAAP, I moved.

We received an offer on our home June 1 and closed on June 29. I packed 50% of it alone, and was fortunate enough to have an amazing friend come into town for 4 days and help me pack the other half.  She worked her butt off and I am completely indebted to her for her amazing help.  She helped me get a boat ready to trailer, put a hitch on my Jeep, and helped me fill the boat with the boating equipment, a sailboard, and a Seitech boat dolly that had to be disassembled.  We took 9 loads to Salvation Army, had 18 bankers boxes of shredding, took 3 loads of computer stuff to best Buy for recycling, and still had so much more to deal with.  It was a huge amount of work in four days, but she got me back into the game when I was overwhelmed and unsure what to do next.  She is my angel.

Further, my wonderful aunt and uncle drove in to pick up some cooking items for my cousin.  They trucked 5 hours each way and left with what I hope will help her with her business.  She graduated from culinary school and will be doing private dinner parties.  Since I am trying hard to change my eating and cooking habits, it was wonderful for me to be able to pass on many of my large scale kitchen items for storage and baking.  I may have more for her once I weed out again the next time, but will worry about that then!  She was grateful for the items, and I was grateful to her mom and dad for helping so much by driving up to me to fetch them.  My friend had to take a load to them (because I was not as organized as I had hoped) on her way home, but my wonderful aunt bought her lunch on her way.

After packing up (saying we packed a lot was an understatement: we had 21o medium size Home Depot boxes.  I didn’t know where it all came from!), having the movers come (we filled a semi 3/4 of the way full and only had one couch, one queen size bed, one china cabinet, and a coffee table), celebrating our last night as MI ‘residents’ with friends, I hitched on our family sailboat and drove it the 700+ miles to Norfolk, VA to give to my brother.  He and I learned to sail on it in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, so we are hoping his daughters will learn to sail on it in the next few decades.  He lives on the Chesapeake Bay and is working out how he will handle it so they can start learning.  His 7 year old can swim well, and is great on a paddle board and kayak, so I guarantee she will be able to master sailing with ease.  Good for her!

I spent a little over a week with them (it was my first time seeing him since a funeral in September 2009) and had a great time.  He even took me flying in his little plane.  I was grateful to have the time with him, and to relax after what was probably the hardest month of my life.  It was good.

I got back to our IL home last weekend after a 17 hour road trip, an amazing lunch with my business coach in Frederick, MD, and I cannot express how amazing it feels to know we don’t have to go to MI to work on or at another house.  This one needs work, and to anyone thinking about it: one house is more than enough.  Don’t do two unless you can afford a staff to manage it and 50% more problems than you think you are going to have.  It seemed like something always needed looking after, and it is nice to be down to one place in which to do that.  We are having a room dry-walled and re-floored here and then may try to sell this place, we shall see.  We are sort of burned out on home ownership and want to rent for a while until we see what the future holds.  To be honest, I just want to live somewhere and feel at home.  We straddled two houses for 5 years and it never felt like we had one.  I am looking forward to that feeling.  The thought of moving again is daunting to me, but I am willing to do what it takes to feel settled.  It’s the #1 goal.

And, part of that feeling settled means getting my health and fitness back into line with the rest of my life. It seems to be the thing I sideline whenever the going gets tough.  I swing so far the other direction that it amazes even me.  Without going into crazy medical detail, this year and the time I spent on my business and our homes has taken a toll on me.  I have gained weight and my blood pressure was, in June, the highest it has ever been.  After fighting hard last year to get off blood pressure meds I am right back on, and have a few new ones added to the plate.  I had another wake up call with my health and know I need to get back on track to make it better.

In the quest to not waste food in MI and to eat what we had in the freezer and pantry, I completely went off my healthy way of eating.  I am sad to tell you I even ate hot dogs.  It was like a tidal wave once I started, and it carried over into meals out and meals at friends.  Name the meat, I ate it in June and the first week of July.  I also drank too much wine a couple of nights in there, and started up on caffeine on the 14 hour drive to VA.  I didn’t just limp in, either, I went right back to the triple-shot, Venti, Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks.  It was great, kept me awake, but my body paid a toll.  My digestion slowed, my joints swelled, and I gained.  Stress, poor eating, and no exercise are a lethal combination for anyone.  Pile that on a slow metabolism and, well, you get fat.

When I left for MI on 5/26 I weighed almost 20 pounds more than I had last fall… but after having a sprained ankle and graduating from an intense program, I knew I could just get back on track and be okay.  When I got home from VA, however, I had packed on another 20.  Yes, 20 pounds in 6 weeks and 2 days.  ICK.  Even my 5 and 7 year old nieces asked me what happened.  I was ‘chubby’ and ‘fat’ to them and not setting a good example for them at all.  This sudden weight gain was not good for my heart physically, either.  It was time to get on it.

I got my act together on food and I began walking right away.  I’ve walked 23 miles since Monday, and today I started P90X Lean again.  I’ve cut out animal meat, caffeine and alcohol, sugar and white flour.  I am going to be looking at eggs, dairy, gluten, and fish/seafood at some point, but for now I am focusing on healthy eating more than what I am and am not eating.  I feel best without that stuff in my diet, but I know I have too much to do unpacking, dealing with the new stuff that has come up, and focusing on my business and working out to go cold-turkey.  I will do it gradually.

So my focus is much more fruits and veggies, 50% raw a day.  So far I have been averaging 40% but I am moving forward.  No more fried, no more crazy stupid fats.  It will be hard after having them all again, but I feel better.

So… today is “day one” of 90X Lean and we will see how the first round of 90 days goes.  I hope I am feeling better soon.  It’s going to hurt, a lot, but I can do it. :) I have before.

I won’t have time to post daily.  I mean, who am I kidding?  But, I will try to post weekly.

This week’s goals:

Intake:  Gain control over ‘out of control’ eating and hydrate.  This is enough for week 1.  I am going to enjoy the opportunity and the food, and not be freaked out by how things go during the transition.

Output:  Get into the groove with at least one daily workout.  P90X is not easy, especially when you are this out of shape.  I will not be able to do some of it at all… but I will do my ‘best and forget the rest’ and ‘bring it’.  On nights when my husband wants to walk to dinner, I will go with him and call it a double.  That should increase the cardio sufficiently to get back to a point where I can re-start my zone training on the treadmill.  That will be great for my heart and cardiovascular system.

I’m not sure where the time goes, but I am working on it each day.  As far as blogging again, it is good to be back.

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Finally at the Final

When I started my journey at AssistU last August, I knew it would be a long journey.  AssistU is a graduate level program for Virtual Assistants.  It has been called the Harvard of the VA world, and it has been worth every second and every penny so far.

While the actual course itself didn’t officially begin until November 9, there was a bit of a ramp up prior to starting.  And, since then, I have dedicated 15-20 hours a week to the program and to my business as it related to it.  With over 400 hours, and lots of work invested, sitting for this final exam seems like a bitter-sweet end to the program.  The final arrives today by 6 PM EST and I have until Monday at 9 AM EST to turn it in.  Those I have spoken to, who have taken the exam before me, said it took 30-37 hours to complete, so I know what the next three days will be like.  Hard work.  I also have to have an 80% or greater to pass, and not passing the final means not passing the class, so that would me a lot of time down the drain.  Not passing is not an option. :)  I have scheduled my time like this:

Friday

  •  Sleep as late as I want and take an afternoon nap
  • Check for final until I receive it: 6 PM EST
  • Back the final up to Dropbox so I can’t lose my work
  • Read through the whole final
  • Map out how long I think each page or section will take to complete
  • Set aside the time for each section, editing, and proofreading
  • Set my kitchen timer for 2 hours
  • Begin taking the final for 2 hours
  • Stop, get up, bathroom break, quick fresh air break for 15 min then back to final.
  • Work until no later than midnight at this pace

Saturday:

  • Wake up at 8 AM and evaluate where I am against where I thought I would be
  • Begin final with same 2 hour increments with 15 minute breaks every 2 hours
  • Break at 8 PM to evaluate where I am against where I thought I would be and adjust plan if necessary
  • Work until I feel ineffective on Saturday night and go to bed

Sunday:

  • Wake up at 7 AM
  • Evaluate where I am against where I thought I would be.  Am I clear about how long this will take to finish today so that I can clear my head to edit and proofread?
  • Go to church at 9 AM ONLY if I think I can
  • Begin final with same 2 hour increments with 15 minute breaks every 2 hours
  • Break at 3 PM to evaluate where I am against where I thought I would be and adjust plan if necessary
  • Complete the exam by 7:00 PM if possible
  • Eat dinner and take break outside if possible (1 hour)
  • Take a long warm bath (30 minutes)
  • Proofread final for first time. (9 PM – midnight?)

Monday:

  • Get up at 5 AM
  • Read through ignoring content to make sure every question is answered
  • Eat breakfast and take a brisk walk outside
  • Proof-read content for the last time
  • Submit final by 9 AM EST
  • Do happy dance (waist up thanks to my sprained ankle) and collapse, whichever comes first

I went shopping yesterday.  Kroger has motorized carts, so I was able to get around very easily.  I got healthy Amy’s pre-packaged meals that I can heat in the oven (or microwave, worst case scenario) and eat easily.  I have limited time (and ability) to do dishes, so this will help.  While I am not a fan of prepackaged meals, I went gluten-free and vegan and am adding a green salad to those meals so that I still have raw in there.  I also got gluten-free english muffins and eggs for breakfasts, so while I am not eliminating flour with these meals I am eating fairly clean.

A wonderful new friend, Lisa, who takes her final in June (she is still in week 17 of the AssistU VTP) sent me these wonderful raw walnut biscotti and raw trail mix from Wild Mountain Raw Foods near her home in Salida, Colorado.  Such a sweet thing to do, and much appreciated.  I am saving them for tomorrow, when I know I will need them most.

My ankle was still pretty swollen this AM so I am typing this with it elevated.  My neck and back are pretty sore from laying around this way so I was hoping that the swelling would be gone by today.  I am going to focus on getting it down by tonight so that I may be able to sit at my desk and proofread by Sunday night.  Ice, elevate, repeat.  I am doing well so dar as long as I keep my headache under control I will be okay.

Well, I am off to read through some more information and take a nap before the final arrives.  I will report back to everyone on the other side… Wish me luck! :)

Posted in AssistU, Healthy Living | 3 Comments

A Sprain in the Butt

Well not really in my butt, but in my ankle.  When you are all alone it’s also in the butt.  I fell down 7 concrete steps last night.  I am actually lucky, it could have been much worse, more than a sprain.

I iced it all last night and decided it might be fine by morning, and I would decide what to do then.  I went to urgent care.  Luckily it’s my left foot, so I can drive.

My ankle after all night on ice

I’m coping.  I moved the laptop to the couch and I am keeping it elevated and iced according to my instructions.  I am not a fan of crutches so I am only up as I need to be.

I did okay today, I had to eat more often because of the Motrin.  I’m not a fan of the stuff, nor is it a fan of me, therefore I only take it with food.

I’m in a removable splint so I will ride out the night then take it off in the AM to see how things look and take a bath.  That will feel good.

Tomorrow I am going to do a squash saute for lunch, if I can stand for that long.  Standing on one foot is tough business when you aren’t used to it.  I got pretty sore and tired doing the dishes tonight.  I had eggs for breakfast, salad for lunch (with lentils) and lentils and a baked potato for dinner.  The baked potato was heaven.  All of it was easy to fix.  Tomorrow I will eat eggs again for breakfast, the squash saute for lunch and dinner (with Tempeh) and then I have enough food for Thursday but will have to go shopping.  I’m searching for a friend to meet at the store to push my cart and help me get the groceries home.

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Tears

I was up very late last night on the phone with family, and then I got up this morning at 4 AM to watch the Royal Wedding.  I was really amazed at how much more relaxed and fun things seemed to be while keeping with the pomp and circumstance of the whole royal deal.

As someone who has been to (and had) some really fun weddings I love me a good big deal.  While my husband and I had a small affair, we tried to make it very us.  We got married at sunset (9:05 PM), exchanged vows by candlelight, and had a dessert and dessert martini reception.

Vows by CandlelightI felt like a princess all day, so when I watch a real princess tie the knot, I get all choked up.  Who am I kidding, I cry at all weddings, but I cried a lot today, each time I watched the wedding.  And yes, I watched more than once.

I had strawberries and eggs again this morning, cauliflower and Greek yogurt for lunch, and spaghetti squash, thyme, and an egg for dinner.  I really need to get tempeh.  I forgot it the other night when I went sopping so my proteins are shake, eggs, or beans.  Tomorrow I am having chili, so I plan to go shopping Sunday and get more produce and tempeh.

Pruned my roses this evening and found baby bunnies.  Worried about them because even though they stayed in the nest and I re-covered it, when momma came to feed them tonight, they came out and ate, and are hiding now under my patio furniture.  I hope they are warm enough.  They are pretty big and very fluffy, so according to a site I found they are probably big enough to be out of the nest, but I’d hate to have something happen to them just because I accidentally found their nest today.  I should know by now to stop removing leaves as SOON as I see any signs of fur.

Other than bunny worry, I feel good and had a good food day, but unless I get to bed early tonight I am going to be cashed tomorrow so I am off to do that.

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Honest?

I’ve deleted my post four times.  I will not share what I had written.  There are people dealing with far bigger issues than me.

I’ve adjusted this detox.  I will be eating Greek yogurt and eggs.  I am going to try to kick processed grains.  Last detox removed dairy and eggs but I could eat gluten-free flours, Stevia, and agave.  This time I am removing ALL sweeteners and processed flours (good-bye gluten free bread, waffles, more pizzas, and cereal).

  • B: Eggs (I know, not vegan), Strawberries, Bob’s Red Mill Hot Cereal, Greek yogurt (I know, not vegan)
  • L: Garbanzo bean quinoa casserole, spinach/tomato/onion salad
  • D: Garbanzo bean quinoa casserole, Spinach/tomato/onion salad with sunflower seeds

Yes, I realize I ate the same thing twice. That may be part of the reason I feel like I do.  Today was one of those days I wish I could re-do.  Early to bed, early to rise, tomorrow will be a better day.

Posted in Healthy Living | 2 Comments

Whinesday

I was NOT well this morning upon waking.  Whenever I detox I wonder why I go back to eating the crap when it hurts this bad to give it up.  Oh well. I took a nice bath and dove right in.  It was better than yesterday, so I know I am on my way out.  It just may take a while to get out.  Going to bed early last night helped, and I plan to do the same tonight.

I’m gearing up for my final exam.  My last class was yesterday and my final is the weekend of May 7-8.  The exam is delivered at 5 PM EST and it is due back on at 9 AM EST on Monday AM.  Those who have completed the program before me have told me it has taken them 30 plus hours.  Intimidating.  I am hoping that the detox gets me peachy clean and ready to rock and roll by Friday night.  I’ll be a pretty busy girl.

Upon completion, however, I am will have completed graduate level coursework at Assist University, the leading training and certification program for Virtual Assistants.  If you’re going to be a VA, you want to be an AssistU VA.

Graduating means finally getting my business of to a real start.  Yes, I have been working in it since 2008, and it has been my only source of income since September of last year, but without graduating, I didn’t feel ready to really dig deep and get into things the way I should be.  I am raising rates, which will be an adjustment with clients, but this will create a reserve of time for my internship, additional training, and additional clients.  I can begin doing higher level work and managing things instead of the task based work I have been doing.  I am excited to move onto this stage and really begin developing my business.

Today, I kept on plan.

I went grocery shopping tonight so I can do more raw tomorrow.  I am trying to avoid processed foods, so the pizza was off plan a bit (flour) but I balanced it with a lot of raw greens and I did not eat the edge of the crust so I feel somewhat balanced.  I have cravings for carbs now, so I am drinking tea and keeping busy to work past them.  Processed food is a drug.

Last year day 3 was April 3.  It was fun to go back and read that post today, as it seemed to be one of the harder days on my first all -out cleanse. I am glad to have it behind me.

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Two-s-day

Did I soothe my family with food so I could eat too?

This is a good question I am trying to answer today.  The cake on Friday night was all because I wanted it, not because my friends did.  I even rationalize my holidays thinking no one wants to eat how I eat so I have to cook for them not me.  I try to do both and stick to it, but who is going to eat clean when surrounded by all that stuff I can’t have?  And I brought it into the house!

I choose restaurants and meals sometimes solely for the other person’s needs knowing that it will allow me the excuse to cheat a little.  I’ve been known to tell people “choose any restaurant, I’ll be fine” simply because I want an excuse to cheat.  That’s a lot to admit here, but it is true.

Today is day two eating clean.  I feel like ASS. I’m tired, crabby, lethargic, my head is a constant dull ache and my system is doing it’s wig out thing it does when I eat clean.

Gluten is like a drug.  It makes me crave sugar, for one, but it also deadens me to how I really feel.  When I eat gluten it’s like I have this cushion around me and I am more able to bounce back from things that rub me the wrong way.  When I am off gluten, initially, all I want to do is get that cushion back.  It becomes all I can think about.  This time I am dropping processed grains, too, so there isn’t even the comfort of a gluten-free waffle or tortilla to comfort me.  This is going to be challenging. I know that once I get past the hard stage it will get easier.  I just have to get there.

  • Breakfast:  Vega chocolate protein powder with unsweetened almond milk and peppermint extract (Thin Mint Shake)
  • Lunch: Mixed greens with herbs, tomato, onion, and chili beans
  • Dinner: Quinoa and Chick Pea casserole with tomatoes and green pepper, salad greens on the side
  • Snack: Vega Smoothie

A couple more days of feeling like death and I will feel better.  At least I know that now.  The probiotics in the smoothie will help, too, and I am going to down a coconut water before dinner.  That will also help.

Posted in Healthy Living, Vegan Cleanse | 2 Comments