Monday, May 15, 2017

Head Up, Wings Out

Nine years ago, I crashed my bike (sounds so much better than "I fell off my bike") and needed major shoulder reconstruction. During the extensive rehab, I said to myself that I would never ever complain about working out again. Y'all know where this is going, don't you?

Over the winter, I've been Pinteresting great workouts and motivational quotes, which it turns out is actually easier than doing the real thing, and evidently doesn't count. After having to buy new jeans because all my old ones hurt, I decided to get with the program. You know the program; we all know the program: eat sensibly, drink more water and less alcohol, and get more movement in. I'm blaming wasting time on social media on my slacking off in these areas, and yes, I know it's ironic that I'm posing this on social media. Welcome to 2017.

I've been dutifully doing my two-mile neighborhood run-but-mostly-walk (RBMW), but this past weekend I decided to ramp it up and do a 4+ mile route. The weather was gorgeous, the first two miles were great - probably because I had decided in advance that it would be a long one. I was remembering training for the half-marathons, and was actually considering maybe doing one this fall and wondering who I could talk into doing it with me. And then shortly before mile three when I was faced with a hill that made me want to cry.

(Funny story: many years ago I said I would help my son's then-fiancée now-wife train for the bike part of her first triathlon. The route was a VERY HILLY semi-rural road north of town - State Street, for you Omahans. While I could ride pretty good distances on the flats, I wasn't - and still am not - good on hills. I actually needed to get off my bike and lie down in someone's front yard for a bit. Poor Aly, she acted cool but I know she was afraid that this overweight red-faced mom in spandex was going to die on her watch.)

Back to this weekend. When faced with the hill, I stopped, bent over with my hands on my knees, and swore at my husband who was golfing so I couldn't call him to come get me. I sucked it up, buttercup, and put one foot in front of the other and made it home. I totally would've gotten in the car with a complete stranger, though, if someone would've offered me a ride. Just kidding but not really (JKBNR). Seriously though, after lunch, a shower and a nap, it did feel really good to get out there and work. Maybe I'll look into that Des Moines half after all. Or a 5K.

Oh, and the title of this post? I've seen it on some running blogs, and it's my new mantra.

Head up, wings out!
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Work vs "work"

This post comes as a result of a conversation I had the other week with my favorite DIL, who this summer will be moving yet again to a new house and new town. This remarkable woman had two babies in 18 months, and as anyone out there who is a mom, knows just how much work that is. (My closest two were 24 months apart, so I didn't really even know). And did I mention that she and our son did it all halfway across the country from any family? No support system except the friends they made? Yeah. Tough.

Since the boys were born, she has been staying home and being the primary caregiver. Our son, like his dad, has been and will be somewhat absent due to the requirements of their profession. Since the kids are moving this summer to a more permanent location, I asked Aly if she would be "working outside of the home" (a phrase I hate, but don't know of a better one). It was a bad time to ask, because they're planning a cross-country move with two toddlers, but it did get me thinking.

I thought of what I did "outside of the home" versus what I did as a volunteer, and OMG. We need SAHMs. (Side note: one of Emily's classmate's moms was in med school when they were in elementary school, and whenever this girl was assigned to ANYTHING, all the other moms just sighed because we knew we'd be bringing the donuts / baking the cookies / chaperoning the class trip / whatever was assigned).

So when we got home from Cleveland, I thought I'd make a list. Here are the jobs I've actually been paid for, starting when I was a kid:
   Short order cook
   Deli prep (got really good at peeling potatoes and shelling hard-boiled eggs)
   Retail - JCPenney fabric department (and I don't sew!!!)
   Dishwasher in the microbiology labs in college (6 liter Erlenmeyer flasks full of gunk? No prob.)
   Medical technologist / clinical chemist - both as an intern, and then as a real job when I graduated
   Museum shop (retail)
   Inventory specialist (retail)

Now for the interesting part. And I'm not talking about "how much would you have to pay a person who stays home to raise her/his children" - you know, cook, chauffeur, nurse, organizer, house cleaner, blah blah blah. There are the actual volunteer positions (i.e. "jobs") I held since Emily, our oldest, started first grade:
   Girl Scout troop leader, Emily, 5 years, including summer science/math club
   Cub Scout den leader, Alex, 2 years
   Daisy, Girl Scout troop assistant troop leader, Erin, 1 year (maybe 2?)
   General manager for 2 select (read: TRAVEL) soccer teams
   Olympic Development Program (ODP) boys' coordinator
   School coordinator / representative for Gifted/Talented program
   Art Mom program - volunteer and then coordinator
   Room mom
   Math tutor for gifted program
   Reading tutor for kids who needed extra help (Arthur the aardvark still holds a special place in my heart)
   Class trip chaperone - trips TNTC
   Prom decorator - we're not talking high school gym here
   Prom / homecoming volunteer / chaperone (thanks for being elected to JCB and SCB, Erin!)
   Vacation Bible School - okay, only one summer for that
   Soul Seekers (church high school choir) cookbook - coordinated and published
   Church garage sale
   Museum shop volunteer (when the Joslyn lost its funding for actually hiring people in the shop)

I know there's more. Throw in attendance/carpooling to soccer, basketball, gymnastics, baseball (mercifully only one summer!), cross-country, track... Three kids, three schedules. And as I mentioned, my husband wasn't much help - not by choice, but by profession. Don't get me wrong - he could rock babies and change diapers with the best of them, but, let's just say, I think our kids' teachers might have thought I was a single parent. Our kids' teammates parents wondered about the absent dad. And our neighbors absolutely knew how strong I was since I was the snow-shoveler, gardener, and lawn-mower. And speaking of neighbors - thank God for you and carpools!

Dwight always said that I had the hardest job. And not just me - any SAHM. Anyway, in a roundabout way, this is my salute to all of you! You rock!!!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Before I start writing today, notice that this post will be twice as many as I wrote ALL of last year - and it's only February! (Look at me, pretending people read this. Hi kids! Hi sisters! Hi Heather!)

So I started my Whole30 on January 1. If you're not familiar with the program, it is 30 days of eating healthy protein, fats, vegetables, and fruit. No bread, no grains, no alcohol, no dairy, no added sugar, or legumes. There are other rules to the program, but these are the basics. It wasn't hard to follow, except that I kept feeling progressively worse. Our daughter Emily was doing her third Whole30, and I asked her if this was normal. It felt like a cross between the worst labor pains ever and being kicked in the stomach. After five days of this, I went to the doctor. And except for regular check-ups or injuries, I NEVER go to the doctor. After several hours of uncomfortable medical exams, I was diagnosed with diverticulitis. It perhaps had nothing to do with the Whole30 except temporally, but I'm not taking chances with that much fun again. So while I was waiting for my Cipro to be filled, I walked to the coffee shop next door and had a scone and a latte. Mmm...dairy AND gluten...

Now that all my intestinal flora has basically been killed off, I am back to normal. January 23rd was the first day I felt like myself. And how do I know this specifically, you ask? Well, since last September, I have been keeping a bullet journal, which is a consolidation of all the lists I had scattered all over the house and in my mind. And on the 23rd, I marked that I was starting to feel good.

So even though I didn't do a Whole30, I watched what I ate and tried to keep the not-so-good-for-me foods to a minimum. Not absent, mind you, just not with the reckless abandon that characterized the holiday season. And what do you know? 5.5 pounds gone. Now I KNOW I'm more than a number on a scale, but that number needed to be just a little lower or I'd have to buy all new clothes. While I've always worked out, after one particularly tough workout, I realized I had been phoning it in for awhile. I've since amped up the pace a bit, both cardio and weights.

The funny thing about exercise is that I never regret it - when it's over. But when I'm feeling not quite myself, the last thing I want to do is work out, even though I know it will make me feel better. Talk about a Catch 22! (Side note: Harry Connick, Jr was guest-hosting on the Today Show yesterday, and he said that he hasn't missed a day of working out in seven YEARS. Dang.)

I did keep one part of Whole30: I have not had a drink since New Year's Eve, so except for the champagne we had at midnight that night with our friends, this girl has been dry all of January. It's the longest I've gone without alcohol since I was pregnant with Erin, and that was in 1988. I had wanted to make it a month and I did, although I admit I was tempted last night. Today, not so much. I'll keep you posted on that front. Weird, arbitrary rules, I know.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Well hello there!

It's time for the obligatory January blog post! I started this in January of 2012, and wrote 81 posts that year. 2013 dwindled to 35, 2014 to 32, 2015 to 6, and 2016 to ONE. I am already tied with last year!

I've been trying to figure out what I want the purpose of this blog to BE. I started it as a means to get in shape for our son's wedding. It evolved into an on-line diary of everything I was eating and all my work-outs. While it's been fun (for me!) to go back and read the posts and remember the times, life has changed. Now I'm a nana (most fun job EVER!), retired from any job requiring me to leave my house (an introvert's dream), have a casual calligraphy business, have three children (and their partners/families) in three different states which will most likely never change unless WE move, and an aging parent/in-law just to make things a bit more interesting.

I still believe in the title of the blog, in that 80% of success is just showing up. Last year I participated in the The 100 Day Project, and for my endeavor, I chose 100 days of calligraphy. There really is something to just showing up - for one, the improvement in my writing was noticeable. It really made me sit down and put on my creative thinking cap, and I'm happy with the results. If you want to see for yourself, head on over to Instagram and check out my account: I'm cathyboll over there. I posted quite a few (most?) of the 100 days on my personal FB page as well.

So after surviving 2016, I decided to return to this little corner. I know some people had a great year, and while ours wasn't exactly bad, it falls into the "not exactly wonderful" category. We traveled SO MUCH, and while some of the trips were awesome (North Carolina! Ohio! Florida! Wisconsin! Any trips to see our kids!), some were okay (Kansas City airport to get our Global Entry pass), and some were just plain work. I'm looking at you, Bismarck. We made a total of 11 trips to North Dakota between the middle of March and the beginning of November - 1200 miles round trip (times 11!) all by car. (That aging parent thing I mentioned).

But we remain healthy, and after several friends' trials and tribulations, that is truly one of life's blessings. To help me remain so, after several years of thinking about it, I decided to do a Whole 30 this month. You know that old saying, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results"? Well, my clothes are starting to not fit so well, so I am doing something different for the month of January and seeing how it affects my jeans.

I'll write more about that later, but if you're interested in following along on that journey, I started an Instagram account with this blog's name: cathy.shows.up. I'll be posting meals and recipes there.

Ways to watch me be accountable that are public:

This blog:
Facebook page: Cathy Shows Up
Instagram account: cathy.shows.up
Instagram account: cathyboll (mostly calligraphy with occasional pix of adorable grandsons)


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Bring it on, 2016

Thanks for the avatar, Bitmoji.

So. 2016. Not to sound old, but time is flying. I am one of those people who think 1990 was only ten years ago. But since it IS 2016, it's time to figure out how to travel this trip around the sun. I know calendars are a somewhat arbitrary invention of man, but there's something so cleansing about a new year and all that stretches before us.

I saw something at the end of the year, probably on Pinterest, along the lines of "My New Year's resolution this year was to lose ten pounds. Only thirteen more to go". Funny, and a little true. It seems my goal EVERY year is to lose weight. I'm not aiming for a specific number, just wanting to feel more comfortable. But mostly, I want to be around - and participatory! - in the lives our kids and grandkids. And in that spirit, what better time than a new year. And even better, the first Monday in January, since everyone knows diets start on Monday. Wait! No diets! Read on...

I saw something on Instagram last month that said December 1st is the new January 1st, and so in that spirit, I made a list of resolutions starting December 1st. I was really good about keeping all of them for the first two weeks of December. And then, well, life got in the way, as it pretty much always does. And because they weren't official resolutions (i.e. New Year's) , they were fairly non-specific: less screen time, eat healthier, exercise consistently, read more, drink less, consistent sleep, blah, blah, blah. Because the list was so nebulous and non-quantifiable, I pretty much faked it for awhile and then forgot about it. 

I love it when real life happens! A beautiful surprise Christmas Eve snowfall with my favorite girls and first-born grandson!
  L to R: Aly, Erin, Brody trying to catch snow on his tongue, Emmy, and me

This year I decided to get more specific. I am using a Moleskine journal to make it all official. Also, I decided to set smaller goals for each month, with the thought that they will turn into habits and be easy to build upon. In the past, I would dive headlong into everything (1200 calories a day! 5 days of cardio each week! 3 days of weightlifting! 1 of yoga! 8 glasses of water! 8 hours of sleep! 10,000 steps! Journal every meal!), before realizing it was all unsustainable for the long haul. This month's habits are small steps on the journey:

The no alcohol part is strictly for the month of January, since we have absolutely nothing going on. TRUST ME, if you know me, you know how much I love a glass (or two or three) of wine or a gin and tonic. Or a martini. Or a good sour beer. Insert All the Booze Emojis here. I just thought I'd take a break, since I don't think I had an alcohol-free day the last ten (and if I'm being honest, probably longer) days of December. 

Calligraphy practice, but it certainly fits here.

I am still using My Fitness Pal to record all my meals, but I am also using a daily page in the Moleskine to record all the food, along with any other pertinent info. And opposite that page, I'm recording the time I went to bed and woke up, along with the quality of sleep (which is usually poor). I also have a checklist on that page, to see how I did on the above habits.

I've been doing a lot of reading this year about why diets don't work, the sustainable way to weight loss, and two things jumped out at me: 1) Most diets don't let you eat enough food (seriously, 1200 calories aren't enough), and 2) you need to change your habits for the long run. I knew #2, but again, I felt I needed to identify the habits I wanted to incorporate and make them measurable. To figure out my Total Daily Energy Expenditure, I used this calculator. I figured out my BMI and TDEE at both my current weight and my goal weight, and then subtracted about 500 calories. I can seriously eat 2000 calories and theoretically lose weight. Oh, and another thing I learned was that most everyone underestimates how much they eat and overestimates how much they work out. Just a little something to remember...

You'll notice there is nothing about movement in my list for January; that checklist will come next month, even though I am working on that all the time.

For now, to quote the socks that my friend Bev gave me for Christmas, "kick this day in its sunshiny ass". I think I'll go calligraphy it and put it on my bathroom mirror. It may become this year's motto.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Fresh start

In reference to the blog title, Cathy has NOT been Showing Up. Sometimes life just gets in the way and derails any and/or all good intentions. This is especially true when you have depression and anxiety issues, but things seem to be evening out now, thanks to time and prescription refills. (Remember that old Dow commercial: "Better living through chemistry"?) While I'm not thrilled that my personality is dependent on pharmaceuticals, at least there are drugs to help. Mental health is not the easiest subject to write about, but the last few weeks have been the inspiration for some good angst-ridden calligraphy. Along with meditation and exercise, calligraphy is calming to me. Me and Vincent, just two tortured artists. (Seriously Cathy, get over yourself.)

I could write pages about what's been going on in my head (scary thought), but if your brain chemistry has ever been out of balance, you know what I'm talking about. And you are not alone. If you're lucky enough to NOT have this happen to you, let me assure you that you know someone who is suffering.

If you are interested in reading about these issues by an insanely (see what I did there?) gifted author, run, don't walk, and pick up this book. You can also read her blog, The Bloggess.

you will literally lol, cry, and nod your head in understanding

look for it
I was thinking of the Harry Chapin song, "Dance Band on the Titanic" when I wrote this
a quote by one of my favorite authors, sent by my sweet DIL as a reminder that we are all in this together
this helps
So this weekend will be busy as I'm driving up to Minneapolis tomorrow to help Emmy move into her new apartment. Gail and Dan were so kind to open their home when she needed a sanctuary, but it's time to leave. I have the feeling that most of the boxes will be books - darn English teacher.

I get home on Tuesday, and then our Michigan kids show up on Thursday. We get to watch the little boys while their parents head over to Des Moines to talk about potential employment. The position is not until summer of 2017, and while I'm trying to not get my hopes up I would love for everyone to be in the same time zone. In the meantime, Nana and Papa will be wrangling a toddler and an almost-five-month-old. We are beyond lucky - and I totally mean that.

I'll be back next week, hopefully back on track. Get ready for boring pictures of toast and fruit or oatmeal for breakfasts.

Monday, September 7, 2015

What I did last summer, part 2

I guess I shouldn't write at night. When I posted yesterday, I forgot two major highlights of the summer! It turns out that turning 60 really isn't that bad.

Okay, a little background here: Dwight's birthday is in May, as is Mother's Day and our anniversary. My birthday and Father's Day is in June. Our poor kids - those are expensive months for them. So this year, we were asked to give them a few dates in May to keep open. We didn't know why. They chose May 17, and the only hint given us was that further instructions would arrive at noon. So my imagination was running wild. I knew the pregnant girl wouldn't be traveling that close to her due date, but I thought maybe a party? Like when they threw us a surprise 25th anniversary party and I didn't show up due to a little heat exhaustion. There were other even crazier thoughts running through my head - poor Dwight. He'll attest. Anyway, I woke up early, put on makeup, got dressed, and waited. Shortly before noon we got an email thanking us for being such good parents and grandparents (okay, maybe I cried when I read the email), and treating us to a lovely dinner downtown. And they encouraged us to have cocktails since a night at the Embassy Suites (walking distance from the restaurant) was included as well. Seriously, do we have the best kids ever or what? Thank you thank you thank you to Emily, Alex, Aly, Erin, and Tim.

it started with a little patio drinking in the Old Market

our dinner total

this was waiting for us in our hotel room when we got back from dinner

Then for surprise #2: about a month after that, Dwight asked if I'd like to go out for breakfast on Saturday. We actually do that fairly often in the winter (yes, we're THOSE people), but never in the summer because golf. They he suggested Summer Kitchen, a restaurant we like but don't go to for breakfast hardly ever anymore. I STILL wasn't suspicious. Tell me anything. I'll believe it. 

He was kind of poking around in the morning, and I - being the person who eats right away when I get up - was hungry. Finally he was ready to leave. Now we have going-out-for-breakfast guidelines: because we usually go so early, it's no makeup, no contacts, and really casual. Not jammy pants casual, but close. That day it was the shorts and t-shirt I had worn the day before, because I figured I'd be coming home, cleaning house and working in the garden, and then showering before our neighbors would be coming over for dinner. And we're really not alone in our casualness; as a matter of fact, I remarked to Dwight that very morning that if you brush your teeth, you're ahead of the breakfast game. 

We sat down, ordered, and while waiting for our food to arrive I was looking out the window at some people walking up and thought, "That guy looks like Tom" (our brother-in-law). Then I saw who he was with and realized that guy WAS Tom! Right then I'm pretty sure Dwight thought I was having a stroke because I literally could not talk - just stare and point. Tom and Jeanie from Chicago, and Gail from Minneapolis were walking into the restaurant! They had driven to Omaha the night before to surprise me for my birthday! They had stayed at a hotel right by the restaurant and had planned the whole thing with Dwight. Not only were Amy and Dennis coming over for dinner, but a few other friends as well. Dwight had bought all the liquor and snacks and hidden them from me, being glad that I never look in the basement fridge. So an impromptu (for me!) party happened! Jeanie's 60th is in a few years, so Gail and I have some time to plan.

LOVE these girls!!!!

 I'll close on a sad note, to say good-bye to our Ernie. We got him and his brother, Pete, in March of 2000 from the Humane Society. When I took them to the vet for their initial check-up, he figured they were around 3 months old, so we chose January 1, 2000 as their birthday. Our millennial kitties

Poor sweet Ernie had renal insufficiency and inflammatory bowel disease, and after several months we knew it was time. As hard as the decision was, I am so glad we can do that for our pets. It was a really peaceful end to a good kitty. We've had to do this before so we knew we would be with him at the end, but I saw this on PostSecret and it cemented that decision:

always stay

RIP, sweet Ernie
 That's it for now.

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