Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015: The Year I Give Up The Scale

Perhaps I was briefly confused when thinking about any “resolutions” for the impending hanging of a new calendar and figurative turning of a new page (re: the year of 2015), and instead of listing things I WOULD do, I thought about something I was going to give up…then I realized that it wasn't Lent…because that’s when you give things up…and then I realized I don’t participate in Lent…so I shouldn't have been confused to start with…

But anywhoozle, a thought did betide (this is a new word I learnt myself today...meaning “come to pass”…you are welcome….I just made you smarter) in my old thinker.  And it went like this..

What if I give up weighing myself for the entire year?

And then the anxiety set in.  Like palpable anxiety.

Could I do it?  SHOULD I do it?  Will the world stop turning?  Or worse…Would Jeb Bush become the official candidate for the Republican parties bid for Presidency? 

But before I start to spiral down a dark hole of terror…let me back up and tell you WHY I thought this might be an idea. 

The scale gives us a number.  A series of 3-4 numbers(depending if your Devil weight appraiser show decimals) that, for many of us, will determine our feeling of accomplishment or failure.  These numbers possess magical powers that somehow, possibly through osmosis through the soles of our bare feet), creeps into our psyche and will either make us feel like a fabulous skinny bitch or a wretched fat whale.  We use these numbers to mark milestones or to swap with others in the battle of the bulge.  We use these numbers to compare ourselves to others.  And as we well know, comparison can be the thief of joy.  And I don’t like joy thiefs.

And I believe many of you will relate to the this following scenario.
You wake up feeling sexy.  You look in the mirror.  Damn you are fine.  Ass is popping.  Tummy looks nice.  If you squint, suck in, and pull your tummy skin back you maybe see an ab…or the place where an ab lives.  Mentally, you are running through the checklist of sacrifices you have made over the last couple of days to achieve such fineness.  Didn’t drink at kickball.  Check.  Ate a salad and contained the dressing to an actual serving size versus making a salad soup.  CHECK.  Took a big poop.  CHECK CHECK.  And while you are strutting nakie around the bathroom, to stroll over to the scale to confirm how awesome you feel. 

You step on.

You wait.

And then it happens.  The read out appears.  And what does it say?

You’ve gained a pound.  Or you’ve maintained and haven’t lost a damn thing.

And now you have gone from feeling like Kate Upton to William Taft (Or 27th President of the United States who once, reportedly, got stuck in his own bathtub). 

Because of that number on the scale, because remember…in the above scenario that’s all that changed…you hate yourself.  That ab you thought you saw?  You look again and now you see a fatroll.  The butt that was popping…now it’s droopy and wide. 

And the anxiety also stems from the fact that can I give up this friend of mine I love to hate?  For the last six years, the scale has been an integral part in my weight loss journey.  It’s a steady beau if you will.  Or maybe more like a stalker who you sometimes let buy you presents.  But regardless, it’s been such a huge part of my life.  And even before the lapband…the scale has been in my life for decades.  It has been judging me or rewarding me since I was little.

And that right there…the fact that giving up the scale is so scary…is reason enough to give it up.
I’ve long been a preacher of “take your measurements” or “sometimes the scale doesn't reflect your hard work” or “muscle weighs more than fat”…and I do believe all of those things…but it’s easier for me to preach it when my weight on the scale is cooperating. 

And so I weighed myself today for the last time for at least a year (big swallow, deep breath).  180.  Fairwell number!  I will take my measurements tomorrow, and if I need check on my progress or regression, I will measure in inches.  I will pay attention to how my clothes fit.  I will focus on how my body feels.  I will focus on what my body can accomplish.  I will stay on top of my fitness goals.  I will continue to try to “do better” and live healthier.  And when I am feeling dead sexy and super fine, I will embrace that feeling, get dressed, and walk out the door feeling fabulous.

Wish me luck.  Heather just stared at my, not saying a word, when I shared my goal with her.  I could see the idea scared her as well.  She is not giving up the scale…which is certainly fine.  But I will have to look at that little sucker everyday in our bathroom.

You know what I will do?  Give it a wink wink, blow it a kiss, and walk out with my head held high…ass a’poppin!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Things You NEVER Worry About...We Lost Our Jobs

On July 22nd, Heather and I were called into work and fired. 

Well, they don't use that term.

They call it "separation of employement".

I guess that is supposed to make it better.

Heather and I both worked for a hospital system here in Pensacola.  She had been with them over a decade, and I was nearing my 8 year mark.

Our facility is the mental health provider for the community, and to avoid details and a very long story, Heather and I were very concerned about a new hire who had recently been in our programs as a client.  I went to HR (my department) and spoke to a director about my concerns (safety being the primary concern)...and two days later it was determined that both Heather and myself had violated this individuals rights to privacy...and we were fired.

Those first days after we were fired were full of tears. You go through all the emotions. Hurt, anger, happiness,  etc.  Of course, I cried much more than Heather.  I was scared that we would have no money coming in, but more than fear, it was intense sadness.  Work had been part of our family.  We loved our jobs.  We loved the mission.  The week before we were fired...we were rockstar employees.  Heather wanted to retire from there. I was just hurt.

But you can only be hurt and cry for so long.  Clearly, those of you who know me, know that I don't really save money. I am more about spending it.  So I had no savings.  Heather had no savings.  I have no credit cards.  Heather wouldn't want to use her credit cards.  I didn't know how we were going to make it until we found new jobs.

And that's when our friends and families showed up in ways I couldnt have even imagined.  A couple of people sent us money and gift cards in the mail.  Some of our friends organized a surprise party for us at the beach...where they lifted our spirits and collected money.  Some of our friends brought food to our house, invited us to their houses for dinners, left beer on the front doorstep.  Someone even called the power company and paid $100 towards our powerbill.  One of our friends paid for our air conditioner to be fixed. Our cowokers wrote letters to employee relations stating how appalled they were that we were fired. 

It was a tremendous amount of love.

We are surrounded by good people in our lives.

However, we still don't have a job.  We have applied, if  you combine both of our applications, for close to 70 jobs.  I have had 2 interviews. Heather will have her 2nd one today.

It's discouraging.

I know that I am talented.  I know that I have gifts that come natural to me.  But I hate having to sell myself on a resume.  If I could just get face-to-face with someone...I could hook them.

I realize that when we live in this cyber world, we often are not aware of what each other do in the "real world".  I have worked in corporate Education & Training for over 8 years.  I am a corporate trainer and a public speaker.  I specialize in leadership development but have also been responsible for new employee onboarding.  I have a degree in Communication, with an emphasis in Corporate Communication.  We live in Pensacola, FL...but I hate the heat and would love to move somewhere where there are actual seasons.  The problem with moving is...we have four dogs.  I have applied for jobs in Colorado, Chicago, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, & Boston.  I want a job that I can make a difference, enjoy, and grow.

There you go.

Heather has a degree in Exercise science and managed the Activity Center for our organization.  She led therapeutic groups and classes for our clients, ages 5-90.  She specializes in working with seniors, and that is really where her passion is.  Of course she is a personal trainer as well.

So keep your ears out for us!  It never hurts.

Perhaps I should use some of my "retirement" time to blog more!

Perhaps I shall.

The Day I Almost Became A Real Runner

Well I have been running again.  Not like I had COMPLETELY stopped, but for several months...I was only running once or twice...which honestly...could be worse for me than not running at all.  But as we know...I rather hate running.  Or jogging.  Or wogging.  I even actually hate walking.  (Although I am extremely grateful that my legs work and I CAN walk).  But, at the beginning of October, we have an obstacle course race, SuperHero Scramble, that we have been signed up for since last year.  And it's 13.1 miles.  A half-marathon obstacle course race.  SO, I decided last month I better lace up the old Nike Pegasus's and venture out for a plodding.  It was terrible.  It felt like my legs were cement.  And for 3 weeks, my pace was around 13:30 min/mile.  Back in my heyday (like February of this year) I was closer to a 10 min/mile. Finally, last week I had the push I needed to speed up.

A prairie dog.

And I don't mean this furry little critter pictured above. 

I mean the kind in your pants.

I was gonna poop my pants. 

Like any good runner in training, I always try and go to the bathroom before I set out.  But for SOME reason, nothing was coming to knock on the backdoor until about 1 mile out.  When you first feel the urge to go on a run, you run (did you like that pun) several scenarios through your mind. 

#1.  You could turn around and go home.
#2.  You will use mind over matter and pretend everything is fine.
#3.  If it happens to be the opposite of something yellow that you could let mellow, much like the situation I was in, you start to think maybe it will just "go back up".
#4.  You start scouting out potential areas that you can make a "natures pit stop". 

I was employing numbers 2-4.  I wasn't going to turn around. I had set a goal of 5 miles...and I was gonna do it damn it.  However, at mile 2...things got touch and go.  I kept seeing that picture that has gone viral of the runner who, I think he was wearing yellow shorts, had a little accident in his pants.

It was either commitment.  Or diarrhea.

Either way, I didn't want to be that dude.

So I started running as fast as I could.

My little legs just MOVING.  Heather usually runs ahead of me and turns back to meet me and run besides me for a second.  She was having a hard time keeping up.  That's how serious it was.  And she wears headphones when she runs, and thus...can't really hear.  So when she commented on my speed, I am yelling "I HAVE TO POOP"...

She still can't hear me.


She just stares at me.

So on the way back I had to slow down to a walk and do the "squeeze".  I run for the most part, in a residential neighborhood.  There were no nooks and crannies for bathroom breaks.  I started to get know the ones I am talking about?  Poop induced goosebumps?

But I made it.  I made it home. 

And thank God I didn't try and go in a ditch.  Because it wasn't really a prairie dog.  It was more like a firesnake. 

I happen to run with a little fanny pack to hold my phone.  I am gonna sneak in a little ziplock of baby wipes juuuuuust in case I am confronted with this situation again. 

A wogger must always be prepared!

Monday, July 14, 2014

White Bread is My Lover

Sometimes I think I could make sweet sweet love to white bread.  It is beautiful...white bread.  It's like little soft pillows of delicious carbs sent from Heaven.

And in our is a delicacy.  Much like perhaps lobster is in yours.  It's rare.  It's naughty.  And I lust it. 

You see, here in the South they make these things...these little delicious things...called Tomato Sandwiches. 

Basically, you take 2 pieces of bread...add some mayonnaise.  Then, you put some slices of tomatoes on the bread, sprinkle some salt and pepper and slap the other piece of bread on top.

A sammich sent from Cupid himself.  That darling little Cherub of love.

And it's Heather's fault.  Two summers ago we happened to have some white bread in the house and she made one.  And I don't even really care about tomatoes!  But something about the whiteness of the bread, so moist and tender...and the salt and the pepper...


The stuff of dreams.

So, every once in awhile, usually during these hot summer months...I buy a loaf of white bread.  And sneak it into the house.

Don't try and tell me it is the same as wheat.  It's not.  I KNOW THINGS.  And because eventually the tomatoes run out and there is white bread left, and BECAUSE I don't want to be wasteful...I must eat other things with the white bread.  Grilled cheese sammie with smoked Gouda cheese as the best supporting actor...toast with jam...


And listen.  I KNOW that white enriched bread breaks down in  your system like a candybar.  Hush yo'selves.  There is nothing you can tell me that will make the pitterpatter of my heart stop.  If it makes you feel any better, I DID add Chia Seeds to my pb & J today...and it was delicious. 

So there. 

I win.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Banded 5.5 Years: Where I Be

This is my friend, and Sugarmama, Higgie.  Heather condones her as my Sugarmama...and thus...took this picture.
For those of you interested in lapband related news, or news pertaining to me and my little old lapband...this post is for you!
So far so good.  Things are plugging along quite nicely.  I have not had a fill since March of last year and honestly, don't know if I need one.  Well, let me take that back.  I probably do need one as I can eat larger snacks than I should, but my restriction level is pretty good at meal times.  I still have to eat slow, put my fork down, and can't eat tons.
However, at snackie snackie time, which for me is practically all the time...I can shovel 2 pieces of toast down my gullet at a nice clip.  Or cookies.  Or chips.  I fall off the wagon a lot.  But that certainly is not the bands fault.  I ended the last weight loss competition here at work on April 1st, losing somewhere around 27 pounds in 3 months...taking me into the 150's.  Well, after that I decided I would celebrate.
And celebrate I have done...
For the last 7 weeks. 
Someone tell me WHY it takes forever to lose weight but just a few moments (or months) of pleasure to gain it back? 
(*&(V*E B B#!**!!
Regardless, I am sure I will get back up on that sad healthy food wagon soon.
I better, or else I am going to blow the ass out of my slacks.
Why have I not had a fill?  The main reason is that MY doctor, Dr. Friedman, retired to take care of himself and hopefully kick his cancer into remission.  And I don't want another man poking me.  I heart him.  I tried to tell him via Facebook he could come and give me a fill in my garage on a folding table...but something about ethics and legal mumbo jumbo prevented him from doing so!  I have not met the new doctor.  I am sure he is FINE...
And probably someday I need to suck it up and go back in there.  And I will.  I will.
Weight wise I am around 178.  Pants size I am in 10's...but barely dudes.  My jeans right now are 8's...but that's because Maurices knows how to make their customers feel good!
Some questions I have gotten recently: 
Will you ever have it taken out?  Answer: Not by choice.  If something were to happen with the band, then out it would have to come I guess.  But I still rely on it, everyday.  And so far (knock on wood), my band is happy and healthy.
IF something did go wrong with your band, would you get another kind of weight loss surgery? Answer:  Oooh, it's kinda hard to answer that I think, until you are faced with that decision.  I would not get the Sleeve...for personal reasons possible not linked to fact or science...but I would opt for nothing if that was my only option.  I don't know if I would get Gastric Bypass.  That would be a very big decision...and one I would have to think about a lot.  I would like to believe that I could work hard enough sans surgery to keep myself where I am...but the fear of getting too big again is always there.  Let us hope I don't have to make that decision.
Does that port sticking out bother you?  Answer:  no.  I hardly ever think about that little guy anymore.  Before Dr. Friedman retired he had told me that he could put in a low profile port (I still got the big model), and when I was going in for my new boobies and thinking about a tummy tuck...Dr. Patterson had mentioned that maybe he could put in a low-profile.  But for now...I got my port baby.
Do you think I should get the band? My dudes, that is something only you can answer.  What I can say if the band changed my life.  I am thankful for it everyday.  I wouldn't change a thing and I would do it again.  But the band is not for everyone.  I have to work hard everyday to try and keep myself from drinking my weight in soda, eating my weight in junk food, and staying active.  The band does not fix your brain...but it can give you a chance.  You know those bowls they make for dogs to help slow them down from eating too fast?  That's the doggie version of the band.  It is just a tool.  But one I love.
I know someone who had WLS and they went crazy.  I don't want to go crazy.  Will I go crazy? Listen, my response to that is...we are all crazy in one way or the other.  And yes, there are some people who, once losing a lot of weight...well their crazy gets a center stage broadway show.  From my extensive training in counseling (which I have had none...other than the therapy session called life)...I find the ones that don't mentally handle the weight loss well were the ones who did not choose to live their lives the way they wanted when they were fat.  Does that make sense? 
Any other questions?  You can always holler at me!
xoxo.  kisses.

Playing Hard To Get...

You know, in real life, I am not very good at playing hard to get.  Sometimes, when Heather sasses off that I do not have the ability to play hard to get, I decide I will teach her a lesson...but that lasts about 4 minutes.  I am weak.  But I would like to say that in the blogging world, that my m.o. here is that the less I blog, the more you will appreciate it when I DO blog.  Yes?  No?

I know. 

As always, I think about clever little things to share with you all the time.  It just turns out, I never sit down to actually put keys to board and turn my thoughts into words. 

So let us start with some of my most recent thoughts.

1.  Swimsuit Season

I do realize that some of you live in locales that have "seasons"...where one cannot wear a swimsuit all the year round.  I seriously envy you.  I miss seasons.  However, I guess the official swimsuit season is upon us...regardless of where we live (let's pretend we are all residing in the US at the moment...).  Heather and I were at the beach the other day and I was on my beach towel, in my bikini, all 179 pounds of me, stretch marks...cellulite...boob scars peeping out from the triangle bikini top...and do you know what I was doing?  Judging.  Yes, I was talking about other people's bodies and their attire choices. 

And then, the irony of that hit me and I said out aloud "Who am I to be talking about people's bodies?"

Crazy isn't it?  I suppose it makes us feel better about ourselves.  And as I reflect, it was really about their choice of swimwear...but then again...if they want to flaunt what they got...who am I to judge?   I certainly flaunt what I got and it aint that pretty!  I just thought it was amusing, in a not so amusing way.

2.  Shirtless Races

Along the same lines of "where do I get off", I did something in one of races a couple of weeks ago that I didnt think that I would ever do.  Half way through the race, I took my shirt off.  You see, what had happened was...I had not wore this particular WonderWoman top whilst racing before.  And about 6 miles in, after several mud baths and other water obstacles, it was falling off.  Straps be falling down.  Amy be getting angry.  Mainly because there we were 6 miles in and there were over 4 miles left and I hate running with a passion...but I blamed my anger on tiny spaghetti straps.  So I took it off. 

This left me in a sports bra for the remainder of the race.  And I was so self conscience.  Well, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being "I'm an underwear model" and 10 being "I would like to bury myself in a hole", I was probably a 6...but still.  I was well aware of my lack of top for the remainder of our time. 

This was my outfit before...
And this is was what I looked like at the end.

You see what is going on there? You see that stomach lapping over?  I dont know if you do or don't, but it's the first thing I notice.  We are often our harshest critic though aren't we?  But let me tell you something awesome about this picture...something that a lot of people who saw this probably didn't know.  Superhero Scramble decided to use a similar picture of both Rachel and I on their website and in some of their promotional materials...mainly bc it is pretty badass that you have two chick helping each other.  Usually there is a dude pulling a girl up.  Not that day buddy.

This is the picture they used.

(notice my weight loss arms?  I do.)

Anywhoozle, what really DOES give me pride is that both of us in this picture are products of WLS.  Me the band, Rachel gastric bypass.  Here are two girls who once would have never been able to do this...and now...we can, we do, we did.  I wrote about it on Facebook...that it was being at the end of a ski rope, unable to hold on long enough to get on top of the water, that was one of the turning points in my journey towards getting the lapband...and now...because of the lapband and alot of working out...I can not only get up on that ski rope, I can climb all sorts of rope and hold my weight.  And mama still has a lot of that is saying something.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

We Are Always Running

I thought I would fire up the old laptop and blow the dust off of these keys.  Happy 2014 my friends.  Happy almost end of February 2014.  Can you believe it is almost March?  Before we know it, Christmas will be upon us again.  And even though I told Heather she killed Christmas, and we would no longer be celebrating due to her behavior this past Santa Holiday, everyone who is anyone knows that me giving up Christmas is complete reindeer shit and I will be hanging Christmas lights before we even eat our Thanksgiving Turkey.

Lord...I got off track quick.  You see, the thing about not blogging for months on end is that once you do return to blogging, your mind is just EXPLODING all over the page.

Where should I even begin?  Should I go chronologically? Should I go graphically?  Should I lead with my new boobies?  SO many ways to go.  I feel like this is one of those books from when we were little kids, when you go to the end of the chapter you could choose to go ahead to the next chapter for one ending, or jump to page 87 for a different ending.

I will save my boobies for another post, one in which I can post pictures...because afterall, what is  boobie post without pictures?  Which reminds me of a joke I saw the other day:  Without nipples, titties would be pointless.

So let me catch you up on my weight loss and my strivation (that could be a made up word) for athletic domination.

On January 3rd of this year, my company started a weight loss competition through a national program called Healthy Wages.  You form teams of 5, pay $70 each, and our thus enrolled in a weight loss competition with other businesses and their teams of 5 for 3 months.  Max you are allowed to lose is 16.6% per person. Anything else will not be counted because they don't want to promote unhealthy weight loss.  If you are the winning team at the end of the 3 months, your team wins $10,000.  I do not underestimate your skills as mathematicians, but that is $2000 for yours truly.

And I like money.

I mean...I rarely have any, but I can imagine I would like it.

 So I signed up.  I weighed in at 185.6 on January 3rd.  That weight was thanks to a couple days of free eating, being laid up for 6 weeks thanks to the new girls, and several large bottles of water pre-weigh in.  To lose 16.6% I would/will need to lose 30 pounds. 

So far, I have lost 20.

The first month rocked.  As recommitment to losing usually does.  These last 2 weeks have been slower and smattered with a few poor food days here and there.  But I am on track.  If our team loses, it won't be my fault.  Let that be known.

So my current size at 166-168 pounds is a 10, with some 8's.  I have cut back on weight lifting just a tad and of course upped my cardio.  I am using myFitness pal to track everything I eat and every workout.  Annoying yes.  Helpful yes.  I gave up drinking until the competition is over. 

So on the upping my cardio front, a couple of things happened.  For six weeks after my boob surgery I wasnt allowed to run.  The first day I was cleared for running, I doubled up on sports bras and set out.  I completed 3 miles, but had to walk several times.  It was rough.  But last weekend we ran our first half-marathon.  13.1 miles.  It took me 2 hours and 22 minutes.  I wanted it under 2 hours and 15 minutes, but there was a little snag, namely my girlfriend leaving me in the dust at mile 2, which was not part of the blame, and me plotting her death for the remaining 11.1 miles (okay...not death...but let me just say that 2 hours is a LONG time to do something you hate (running) when your partner has left you because of her ego and ability.  But I digress.  My point less than 2 months...I made some good progress.  So if I can.  Anyone can.  Truly. 

This is me crossing the finish line.  You see, since Heather finished 15 minutes before I did, she could at least take pictures. 
I don't usually wear all back when running, but I must worked for me.  It makes me look a little slimmer than I am in reality.  But shoooot.  I will take it.
Over these last several months though, I have had some time to reflect on our weight.  And by "our" I mean women's (I do realize that there are a few random fella's that read the blog, but just read and nod boys, read and nod). 
First, not being able to work out during my recovery time was enlightening.  It was scary at first.  And I missed it.  But I didn't gain any weight.  In fact, I lost a few.  What I lost was probably muscle mass, but it was reassuring and gave me a sense of peace that taking some time off wouldn't result in me ballooning back up.  My body was still working for me even when I wasn't working it.
Well then I was released for weights at 4 weeks.  And it was beautiful.  It felt so good.  I get so much from lifting.  And amazingly...I didn't notice a difference in the amount I could lift.  And that felt good as well.
But once I was released for running, it was go time.  We had the Pensacola Double Bridge run just one month out from my release.  That is 9.3 miles.  It would be our second year, and I wanted to beat my time from last year.  My time last year was 1 hour 52 minutes.
 My friend and coworker Nichole. 

After the race.

Somewhere around the first mile.
This year, I shaved 20 minutes off my time!  I finished in 1 hour and 32.  And what's even better, felt GOOD.  I didnt ache.  I believed in myself.  I felt goood.
So good in fact that I signed us up for the half-marathon the next weekend.
But the other thing that I have been thinking on, and this isn't a groundbreaking revelation or anything, is how absurd it is that we place SO much importance on weight loss. 
Whenever I get into the 160's, the compliments start rolling in.  People notice a difference and there is a lot of ego stroking.  And I dig it...don't get me wrong.  It's the fact that I love it so much, as so many of you do as well, that is also a little disturbing.  I don't think I place weight loss compliments above compliments on my public speaking, or on my characteristics as a friend or partner, but I guess it's because I get the weight loss compliments more right now than the others, it seems to be a little...much.  Because really, if I weigh 175 or 165...I am still me ya know?  It really just means that for that month or two I was able to "Diet"...well hell...any of us can do that for a month or so. 
I think it's just important to remember, for all of us to remember, no matter where we are in a journey, the number on the scale doesn't determine our character or who we are.  It is a part of us...yes...but there are bigger parts...better parts.  Parts that will matter more long after we are gone.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The close of 2013...It's A Wrap

As 2013 winds to a close, I thought I would take time to reflect on the last year and set some goals for the upcoming 2014, 365-day time span.

2013 was a pretty good year. I saw my lowest recorded weight earlier this year...163. I was superfine at 163. I dug me. I still dig me at 176...but more on that in a moment.

 Me somewhere around 163 with our kickball team

2013 was also the year of the Gunz n Glutes team making it's debut in obstacle course racing (Heather is the Gunz...and I am the Glutes...which I mean...I think is pretty self explanatory). We have done one Tough Mudder, one Savage Race, one Spartan Race, one Warrior Dash, and one Superhero Hero Scramble. By far, Tough Mudder was my favorite. Even though it ws the longest at 11 miles, it really is so well put together and you feel like you have accomplished a great feat when you finally run through the finish line (clearing marked by dangling electrical wires). But another thing I love about the Tough Mudder is that it is NOT timed and you CAN skip an obstacle if you want...there is no penalty. The race is supposed to be about team working and helping others. I dig that. I also really enjoyed the Superhero Scramble. My least favorite? Well the Warrior Dash, although it has the best shirts and headwear, was too easy...(see fantastic Warrior Dash swag below)

 ...the I didnt like that one. No.

2013 was also the year that this happened....

Heather proposed to me on her birthday, May 22nd, in front of all of our public...down on one knee.  I love her more than I can possibly explain.  It was the highlight of my year.

There were some lows as well.  I lost my Shelby this year.  He was 14.5 years old and had been with me since he was just 3 months.  He was always my main man. Putting him down was one of the hardest decisions of my life.   I still miss him everyday.  If it turns out that I am wrong, and there is life after this, I can't wait until I see him again.

And of course, most recently, my beloved "back massager" went to live in the clouds as well.  I like to believe that all good back massagers go to Heaven.

Back to the good...I also got a wee promotion at work.  I reached the peak of my fitness levels so far.  I got new boobies...I grew up just a little bit more, and I recognized somethings about myself that I am going to try and focus on this year.

In a nutshell, I am going to try...wait for it....

wait for it...

Be a better person.

There it is.  Now, there are some specific things I am going to focus on, that may bore you to tears so we don't necessarily need to focus on all of them right now...but overall...I want to be a better person.

You see, I have a gift.  People seem to like me. 

I know.  I know.  You are thinking that it is both a gift AND a curse...much like the gift that was bestowed on Peter Parker after a spider bite....and you would be correct.  And in all honesty, it is probably a gift that most of us possess...although I can think of a few people that really are quite unlikeable...

but for some reason, whether I deserve it or not...people tend to like me.  They want to be my friend.  They want to hang out.  They want to make me happy. 

And usually...I don't deserve this admiration.  I can be a rather shit friend.  I am not really flaky...because flaky means that I make plans and then cancel them.  Hell, I rarely make plans.  I am kind of a boring friend.  I like to stay at home.  I like to be alone.  And alone can either mean ME or with Heather.  I don't do much afterwork.  Now if someone REALLY needed me, I would most likely show up and help.  But if people only kind of need me...I kind of don't really pony up.  I am not sure why people necessarily like me.  I think it boils down to they THINK I am probably pretty fun.  And I can be.  But, not to beat a deadhorse (who would really beat a deadhorse anyways), I would rather be at home sleeping or walking around in my p.j.'s than out dancing or drinking.  Maybe people like me because I am funny and make them forget their problems for a second . Maybe they like me because I can pop my trunk with the best of them (and the best trunk poppers are often gay men...just in case you didnt know...), but I wasn to be better and do better.  I want to use my gift for good. 

One specific undertaking I will be embarking on is NOT TALKING NEGATIVE ABOUT PEOPLE.  Lord have mercy...this will be very very hard.  I have a nasty habit of complaining about how annoying my friends are.  For example, I will be scrolling through facebook and see a beyond stupid post by one of my friends, at which point in time I will turn to Heather and say "So-and-so is SO stupid, they just said this or that".  So INSTEAD of saying or thinking about all the things that drive me crazy about a person, I am going to focus on saying or thinking about all the reasons I DO like that person...

And if I can't find a reason...then they don't really need to be on my "friend list"...either on Facebook or in real life.  So far, we are 15 hours into the new year and I haven't yet failed.

2014 is also starting off very frugaly.  I am not sure if frugaly is a word or not, and I am too lazy to google it, but money is tight.  A little tighter than normal.  So I am going to DO BETTER with grocery shopping.  Here in Florida we have a chain of grocery stores called PUBLIX.  They are a little more expensive than say Walmart...but they ooze customer service and cleanliness.  I visit Publix for some ingredient or piece of food at least 5 times a week.  I buy this or that for different recipes.  I don't compare prices.  I don't shop around.  Well, I am doing better this year.  Hear me now.  I am shopping around.  I am going to have a plan.  I am going to make decisions damn it about what I can afford and what I can't.  This will probably prove to be harder than not talking bad about other may prove harder than pulling a monkey out of my big toe...I mean...spending and saving money has been a battle since I had my first purse full of those fake cardboard credit cards that companies would send my parents in their junkmail. 

So we shall see. 

My motto?

Do Better.  Be Better.

So here's to US bloggers and blog readers!  Let us start a new chapter in our book of Life.