It's now July.... mid-July to be exact... and it's been three months since I posted anything. I realized that since I was up early and Jenny was still sleeping, I would try and catch up a little. So,,,,, here's what's new:
When we last left me, I was just adjusting to the fact that my knees were no longer in excruciating pain ALL the time and that, this lack of pain would let me work out, lose weight, have less knee pain and finally break the 29 year vicious cycle I have been coping with as best I can since October of 1981. When I saw people staring at how fat I was, and even now when they still do so, I wanted to scream at them: "Try walking on these knees... just for ONE day!!!" By the time I had the chicken cartlidge injected on March 18, 2010, I was on crutches almost every night just to get around my house, taking 3 advils every 4 hours or so and so tired of being in pain that I couldn't stand it. When I first went back on weight watchers in very late February/early March, I would try and walk more and it was simply NOT possible. Very few people knew how crushing the pain was -- what was the point in telling people (who don't really care anyway)?
And then I sprouted feathers and now have wings!!!!!!!! Two weeks after the injections, I started walking 2 miles a day; VERY slowly and tentatively. In mid-April, I added an elliptical workout, with no resistance and no incline -- I am still VERY careful. My initial rate on the elliptical was 2.5 mph, but I worked out 3-4 days a week, including starting to do ab crunches and some weight lifting on the machines. I slowly worked my way up and, as of Wednesday's workout, I am now doing 4.35 mph 3-4 times a week on the elliptical. I am also focusing very carefully on each section of my abs. My daily workout routine includes anywhere from 400 to 800 crunches, front, obliques and lower (BLECH!!!) and I now intersperse those ab workouts with free weights -- 3 pound weights at home, 5 at the YMCA gym. I also swim laps whenever I get the chance and play in the pool with Ryan, Jenny and children of friends of ours -- it's a FANTASTIC upper body workout to be throwing Jenny around like a "beach ball." Those are HER words, not mine.
And then there is karate class.... the love of my physical lifestyle!!!! I had signed Ryan up for karate after winter swimming ended because he wanted to do it and I didn't want him to be Slug Boy until summer swimming started. I would take him to class in his little gi, knit outside the classroom as he did the moves and learned and he really liked the class. One afternoon when I was working out at the gym (karate is through the Ambler YMCA), one of the instructors/black belts and I got to talking. He had seen me amping up my workout so I joined karate class too. WOW!!!!! What an incredible workout!! What an incredible hour/90 minutes, three times a week!!! What an amazing way to help me reach my fitness goals AND to clear my mind of the drama that surrounds me. After I finish a karate class, I feel better -- mind, body and spirit as the Ancient Greeks might have said. There have been days in recent weeks where I truly believe I would have cracked completely if I didn't have karate class to look forward too. Tuesday night was such a night -- but Wednesday was karate and, after clearing my mind and opening it to learning martial arts, I felt human again.
As an example, Thursday started at 6:15 a.m. and ended at 10 p.m. after a swim meet. This would be my last as Beachcomber's announcer, registration chair, gopher to get water, batteries, computers, printers, copying lineups.... all so that I can be belittled, demeaned and chastised by people who need to get their power kicks on the shoulders of others. I knew going into the meet that I was done volunteering for a few years because with Melissa's wedding next October, there is NO way I can make a commitment to summer swimming. I had actually made the decision NOT to be involved several weeks ago when one family had played games with registration -- it eventually got in on time, but the fact that no one "allowed" me to say to this particular game player "STOP!!!", added to the fact that the rules made up by one person (despite her claims to the contrary) apply only to MY child -- her child goes to the practice that is more convenient for her schedule. Summer swimming is supposed to be a fun way for kids to stay in shape until September; it is NOT supposed to be filled with drama and control freakiness. There was SO much I could have said to this woman 10 days ago: when we joined the team, there were (I think) 52 swimmers... now there are 112; when I have a written registration policy, no one follows it, but when this woman sets an arbitrary age for participation NOT supported by our league's rules nor voted on by the board or the parents, that "rule" is then used to hurt a 4 year old child's feelings; when I suggest that we have never HAD an actual parents' board election, I am removed from ALL emailings including those about coaches gifts. The list of her mean actions and nastiness and passive aggressive dishonesty could fill 10 of my very long blog posts.... or I could walk away, have Ryan and Jenny swim next year without participating.
Karate, when added to the Year of Chaos that was 2009, has helped me learn to walk away. I'm not saying that I am perfect. I am not saying that I couldn't have handled my disagreements with this woman better (because I DID finally tell her to go f*** herself after she got done SCREAMING in my face" "If I don't have my credibility, I have nothing." I guess she has nothing then because what her friends say about a meeting without minutes where she then turned that meeting into a rule book which she now points to as if it is the engraved Word of God.... must be nice to be the unelected Queen of the World, but I can let it go because that was my Life Lesson of the last 18 months. I'm sad for the dynamic that has Mark taking Ryan to Relay Champs today, Individual Champs next Saturday and the banquet which I am not attending, but in the greater scheme of my life, I am going to enjoy karate class and taking Jenny to swimming this week and next Saturday. I am going to enjoy having next Tuesday night to FINALLY go see Eclipse (since I missed seeing it with friends because of the summer swim schedule). I am very happy in my life and I refuse to allow mean-spirited and narcissistic smug people get under my skin... much. The karate pads DID take a pounding last Saturday.
And of course the big news... I was chosen in early May to be the new part--time solicitor for Children & Youth of Montgomery County. I still run my firm, but I also now have the chance to do that "something positive" that I was looking for professionally. I love my co-workers (who are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met). I love the camraderie of an office setting. I love what our offcie's mission is -- to protect kids!!! It has been a big adjustment to work 2-3 days at OCY and run the firm and deal with all this swimming garbage AND helping Melissa plan the wedding AND deal with the fact that my husband went on strike in April and therefore had to teach until June 30th (please GOD!!! Can there NEVER be another strike???). I feel good professionally... like what I do matters.
And then there is the physical improvement. Yesterday marked 17 months without a cigarette. I have now, unofficially, lost 40 pounds. I feel FANTASTIC and know it is only going to improve.as I work to be a more fit person... not a skinny person (although I wouldn't object to skinny), just someone who isn't a grossly obese smoker, waiting for a heart attack or for diabetes to set in. When I set out to make certain changes in my life in 2009, I had a plan... so far, so good. The picture of me, Mark and the 2 youngest kids was taken on July 2nd... I am down another 8 pounds since then. I am wearing some non plus-size clothing and am knitting myself a VERY expensive tank/shell to celebrate. NONE of my clothes fit and I absolutely LOVE going to clothes stores and buying COLOR... no more blacks and browns for me. I wear coral, purple, teals, greens and yellows. If people want to snicker behind my back now at the fat girl wearing clothes that aren't shaped like tents, let them laugh now.... come next October at Melissa's wedding, I will be the second most gorgeous woman in the room.
Last but most certainly not least... my kids are happy, healthy and thriving. Jenny can and did swim a full 25 yard lap of the pool without touching the wall. Ryan has been getting extra swimming lessons with one of his coaches and is now beating me in swim races (which may need to be MY new motivation!!!). Mark Jr. LOVES Italy and the Air Force... I can't wait until he comes home on leave in November! hip's substitute/temporary teaching job became permanent and he will be returning to teach 7th grade Social Studies for a 2nd year. Melissa and Mike are at his sister's wedding today, but we've booked the reception venue and plans are moving forward.