Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Yesterday, I was sifting through some photos on my computer and found one of me at our monthly office bday party. It's from March of this year...before I started making changes in my diet and exercise habits. The first two months went great, then I fell off the wagon a bit, got discouraged, gave up, then un-gave up and gave it another go. Since starting back up again, I've lost the weight I gained during my wayward days and then some. I'm now at about the -30 lb mark. I have a long ways to go, and that 30 lbs has taken me about 4 months to lose, so the change has been pretty gradual. I pretty much look in the mirror and see the same thing I've always seen, despite what the scale and my pants say. However, when I stumbled across that photo from March, I decided to take another photo of myself in the same outfit to compare side by side. I didn't expect to see a real difference at all.

I'm ever the optimist, right?

But, when I put the photos next to each other, well...I'll let you judge for yourself.

The first thing I notice is...I have a neck!
The shirt in the first photo was pulled to the max around my hips...not so in the second.
The dimple in my elbow is less pronounced.
My face is sorta starting to have features again.
And, I need a haircut.

This sort of "proof" that things are working and going in the right direction was exactly what I needed after last week. I'll blog about that later. Its a sad, sorry, pitiful, whiny, melodramatic tale I'm sure you can't wait to read. But, it has a happy ending, so that's good...and the happy ending came before I had this photographic reason to feel better, so that's even better. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Single White Female...

This morning was the first time I've been afraid in my neighborhood. Make that the second. The first was when someone tried to let himself in my apartment to sell me magazines at 4:30am. Don't worry, he didn't make it inside and my threat of calling the police made him stagger off into the pre-dawn morning. I really don't think he was even a real magazine salesman, so either he was up to no good, really confused, or sleep walking.

I tell myself he was helps.

But, back to this morning. As I set out for my morning jog at 5:15am, I noticed a man limping down the street. When he saw me, he stopped walking and sort of stood there trying to look nonchalant. Epic fail. This only make me suspicious of him. Then, I saw another man walking up, a few feet behind the limping, posing man. He was taller and decidedly not limping. Seconds before, I'd comforted myself with the thought that, while I may not be fast at all, I was pretty sure I could out run a limping man...knowing he had a partner dashed that little bit of confidence-inspiring thought.

So, I turned on my nonchalant, and continued toward my regular path, but kept one eye and one ear turned behind me. Then I stopped and pretended to fix my sock and saw they were coming my way. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. While I'm pretty sure neither of them could have picked me up and carried me off into the sunrise, they could put a hurting on me...or at the very least, steal my beloved iPhone.

The horror!

I quickly thought about how I might ward off their attack...

Judo chop? No. I"m too short.
Kah-rah-tay? Nope. No skills...and my nun chucks were in my other running shorts.
Challenge them to a dance battle? Nah. None of us had the proper shoes.

Then, it came to me. I'd charge them. I'd play crazy and yell and scream and basically go off on them. They'd be so taken a back, they'd back off. Or, the neighbors would come out and save me.

Yep...that was a good plan and I was sticking with it. So I turned and started walking in their direction, preparing myself to pull out all the crazy stops. Then, no doubt sensing my "aggressive energy" (as the Dog Whisperer would say), they turned and went the other way. And so did I. All in all, I only lost 2 minutes of my jogging time...but my lip, my virtue and my iPhone were intact.

Whew! Another "Single White Female..." headline has been averted.

This sort of fear and survival strategizing are not normal for me. I've been babysitting since I was 11 and have lived alone for the better part of the past decade. I can't and won't be afraid all the time. If I need to jog at 5:15am or 10pm, I do it. I get gas or park wherever, whenever. I walk to my car with my arms loaded down with bags often. I do not own mace.

But, I'll also be very glad when we "spring forward" and my morning jogs will be accompanied by fear-fighting sunlight...and I wouldn't say no to a running partner if the opportunity presented itself.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Potty Humor

Usually, by the time I get to my lunch break, I'm in need of a good laugh. Today was no exception. While perusing the internet for a bit of humor, I stumbled across a site featuring odd and bizarre "fixes" to home and automotive problems.

Here's a few that made me giggle...and scratch my head...

Mabel: "Earl, that supersize john you just *had* to have is too dang big! I cain't shut the door!"

Earl: "Aw, stop yer fussin'! I'll grab my handsaw and git her done!"

I guess you can either take a shower OR have useable toilet paper...not both!
It's a sink...with a flusher. $10 bucks says this is located in the same bathroom pictured above!

A plant in a potty. Ok. But, what I really want to know is, do they potty in a pot?

For those who like to "go" on the go!

Monday, August 16, 2010

It might be hope...

Sometimes, you don't know how far you've come until you look back and see how far you've gone.

About 3 months ago I started "running". I put running in quotes because most folks would not really classify what I do as running. Bouncy walking, maybe. Slow jogging, possibly. But not really running...not yet.

When I began, I chose a program that broke my workout times up into small intervals of running and walking, and then gradually (and sometimes not so gradually) increased my run times over the course of several weeks.

I remember my first "run" vividly. It was a Friday night. I didn't have real running shoes and I was nervous about attempting this feat on a track in front of other humans who did have real running shoes and were actually running and not turning stop sign red.

The program called for a 5 minute warm up walk followed by 60 seconds of "running" and 90 seconds of walking ... eight times (or for 20 minutes) ... and then a 5 minute cool down walk.When it came time for my first "run", I took a deep breath, leaned forward a bit and said "here we go!" and I did the version of running my body would allow. I thought I would surely die.

I could feel my heartbeat from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. My leg muscles screamed in agony. My lungs burned. Sweat began to pour down my face.

That 60 seconds seemed like an hour.

Then it was over, I wasn't dead and I was allowed to walk. And, by "walk" I mean "will my body to continue moving and not collapse onto the track in a sweaty, aching, burning heap of flab and inappropriate running gear."

I continued my "runs" over the next several weeks, taking one week off due to tendinitis, one when I babysat my nephew and nieces and the next when I tried out a new workout dvd. By that time, I was up to 30 minute runs with no stopping...or 30 minute slow jogs. I was pleased with my ability to press through the workouts and the stamina and endurance it was building, but I still downgraded my efforts because I wasn't really running "for real" (according to my own definition, of course).

But, I was going to press on regardless of my pessimism.

I'm rife with contradictions.

To build me back up to 30 minutes so I could finish the program, I downloaded a different running app for my phone that had preset training workouts. As I browsed the options to select where I wanted to start, I saw that their Advanced level was 30 minute runs with no stopping. And I smiled.

Then I chose the 4 minute runs.

After a week or so of doing this other running program combined with 2 weeks of the workout dvd I added, I was finally able to finish my original program and rocked that last 30 minute run. I felt like I was really running, or at least really jogging, and I felt stronger and faster than I ever have.

Now, I won't be running a race anytime soon, but its an encouraging finish/new beginning.

In addition to the running, I've been watching what I eat, tracking calories and so on. I also decided to take part in a 90 Day Fitness Challenge my brother started. Today was my weigh-in after the first week of the challenge. I lost 7 pounds. That's a pound a day!

After weighing myself, I didn't commence a happy dance. I just went over to my vanity to get ready for work, as per usual, and started humming along to the song that was playing at the moment. Then the words broke through the melody and my absent-minded enjoyment...

It's hard to recall what blew out the flame/it's been dark since you can remember/you talk it all through to find it a name/as days go on by without number/You've been here for a long long time/Hope has a way of turning *its* face to you/just when you least expect it/you walk in a room/you look out a window/and something there leaves you breathless/you say to yourself/it's been a while since I felt this/but it feels like it might be hope

I thought about where I'd been. Overweight. Depressed. Feeling defeated. Tired. Convinced it would always feel that way. And then, I thought about where I was right then...and where I had been for a little while now. A place where I'm still overweight, but I'm not depressed or feeling defeated or tired and am actively walking in the direction of change. A place that is good all on its own, whether I rock two workouts a day, or go over my calorie goal. A place where I can lose 7 pounds and that's just another reason to be where I am...stay where I am...not the reason I'm there. The exercise routine I have going and the weight loss is awesome, but it isn't better than the peace and joy and lightness I feel inside...the contentment I have with my present and the hope I have for my future.

I'm standing here now, looking back on all the way I've come. I'm 28 pounds lighter than I was in April. I'm "running". I'm strengthening my body. I'm learning to handle food in a way that is helpful and not hurtful to me. And, most importantly, my heart is at peace. I'm also looking at all the way I have to go...which is a long way.  But, instead of feeling defeated by all that lies before me, I am hopeful. I see possibility. I see a future and a hope that I've not seen in a long, long time. I see that I was gifted this weeks ago in such a quiet and gentle way that I didn't even notice until now. And, I see just how kind and faithful and perfect God's ways are.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just me?

Hi. My name is Tina and I stick my tongue out when people take my picture because I think humor will make up for what I lack in looks. Oh, and I'm also uncomfortably honest, at times. I also had 4 blogs up until about 4.5 seconds ago. I had one old blog, one silly blog, one serious blog and one professional/business blog. That's at least two blogs too many, don't you agree? So here, at "Its Just Me" that's what you'll get ... just me...being me. Part silly, part serious, part aspiring photographer, part writer, part designer wannabe, part too lazy to do housework, part perfectionist, part failure...yet always a follower of Christ.

Yes...even when I don't sound like it, smarty pants.

To make things simpler, I've imported my previous posts from the old, silly and serious blogs, so everything is all right here in one place. That way, if you want to go back and read my thoughts on the book of Ruth or my baby tooth named Gunther, you can, without even having to leave the comfort of this blog.

You're welcome.

In the days, weeks, and months to come, I'll be sharing what I hope are helpful nuggets from my walk with the Lord, amusing stories from my life, and possibly even some healthful versions of traditional New Orleans recipes.

I'm ambitious like that.

I may also post about my firm belief that "healthful" is not a real word.

I'll try not to make you wait too long for that one.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Oh! My ovaries!

I heart babies. Seriously, if there was a job where all I had to do was hold and rock and sing to and take photos of babies all day...I'd take it! Whenever I get to meet a new little one, its just such a sweet moment. Those sweet moments are also followed by a short period where my ovaries are mean to me. They throb, they call me names, they threaten to pull up stakes and make their home in some woman in Mormon country who actually has a chance of reproducing. But then, my ovaries realize they don't have a car, or a savings account, or credit cards, or feet, for that matter, and they shut right up.

Thankfully, that whole dramatic scene didn't take place until after I got to visit and hold and rock and sing to and photograph this little guy...

Peter...brand new.

His mom is a very dear and very sweet friend, so of course I had to barge into their hospital room to see him as soon as I was able. His poor momma & daddy were so tired, but still managed to share the birth story and chat and laugh with me...while I got sweet snuggles from their new baby boy.

But, I did give him back...eventually.

Peter & Mommy as Daddy looks on.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Catching Up...

It's 10:19pm. I should be in bed...but I'm not.

No, I'm not 12 and my mom isn't about to walk in and catch me feverishly typing under the covers despite explicitly telling me it was time for lights out.

I was never that kid. I was very obedient and compliant...except when it came to make-up and cleaning my room.

I should be in bed because, when one is required to be to work by 7:30, and said "one" likes to have something of a morning routine which includes bible reading, prayer, exercise and the occasional run to the bank and/or grocery needs to be in bed by 10pm.

This was never a problem until about a year ago, when I met someone who lived in Canada. Did you know they don't have the bi-annual time change there? Well, they don't...and that means that half the year, my friend is an hour earlier than me. Which means then when she is done putting her kiddos to bed, chilled with the hubs a bit and is ready to chat the night away...its almost time for me to go to bed. Which means, i don't go to bed at 10pm anymore.

But, I'm trying to get back in the groove with that. I'm actually trying to get back in the groove with a lot of things. Things like eating like a normal human being who actually doesn't want to have Type 2 diabetes, heart trouble, or sleep apnea; exercising...yes, moving and running and sweating on purpose...and regularly; and doing housework every day, not just when I get fed up or people are coming over.

There are considerable obstacles to this "getting back in the groove" thing. There's my photography business. Since I have a day job, my editing and product preparation is all done in the evenings after work. It is a time consuming thing. There's also church activities which keep me out until 9 or 10pm a few nights a month. I also like to visit with friends in the evenings, on occasion. And then, there's TV. I like it. I like to sit and stare at it, especially when Mike Rowe or some mystery or decorating show is on. I like to watch people do things while I sit and do nothing. Which brings me to the last considerable obstacle...I like to sit and do nothing. I like it a lot. And, I am really good at it, too. So...that's a problem.

Despite these obstacles, I have begun to make some moderately consistent changes. Over the past 3 months, I started watching what I ate and fighting to make good choices when it comes to food. I'm not always on target, but I am thinking and fighting and making better choices more frequently than I was 3 months ago, so that's something. I started a walking/jogging routine. I jog about as fast as folks in a geriatric 3-legged race, but, it beats sitting on the sofa eating nachos. And, most recently, I added a circuit training dvd to my weekly exercise routine. So, on average, I'm jogging 3 times a week and doing my circuit training 3 times a week. Some days I do both. Some days I wake up at the butt crack of dawn to exercise, too...but those are few and far between.

I'm hoping one of those days is tomorrow, because this week is full of those obstacles I mentioned earlier. They are fun obstacles, but ...obstacles nonetheless. I don't want to give up the things that fill out my life and make it fun and rich and varied, so that means, when I can...I need to get my butt to bed by 10pm...and sometimes that means making myself wake up at the butt-crack of dawn even when I don't make it to bed on time.

I'm saying "butt" a lot. Sorry.

Anyway, its been a busy 3 months, full of changes, and some progress. So far, I've lost 21lbs. I have miles to go before I am anywhere near what could be considered a normal, healthy weight for me, but I'm encouraged and often filled with fight I didn't know I had. Or, rather, didn't think would really be given to me.

See, I know this fight, this progress I've made, doesn't originate within me. "Me" would still be sitting on the sofa, eating myself into oblivion and a slow, sad, lonely death. I take no credit for this change. It is the product of prayer and the grace of God. Whatever I achieve, is a gift and a kindness. I'm just so thankful that He's given me this much and trust there is more to come.

It's now 10:46 and I really should shut up and go to bed now. My alarm is set for 5:15 and I know it will have no mercy on me when the time comes. It won't care that I blogged to record a sweet testimony. It won't care that I just didn't feel tired when bed time rolled around. It won't care that it will probably take me at least 30 minutes to actually fall asleep and that I'll feel really tired at 5:15am.

Alarm clocks are jerks that way.

But, sigh, I'll be the bigger person here. I'll do the responsible thing and finally say "goodnight"... and probably hit snooze at least once in the morning.