My weight loss journey-November update

It has been a while since I have updated my progress. Not that it hasn’t been on my mind but life happens…in my case work.

I’m sure I have mentioned my hatred of the insane workloads and all the mandatory overtime with all the 12 hour days and 6 day weeks. Finally September arrived and my coworker took the overtime allowing me a bit of normalcy back in my life.

Then the day from hell happened and I finally cracked. I got to work at 7:30 AM as usual and the alarm was going off. With the engineers on strike there was no one to turn them off. It took until 3:30 in the afternoon to get the alarm shut off. Also the AC was stuck on Arctic blast and our department was 56 degrees…also unable to be fixed. By the time I left work at 4:30 I was in tears. My nerves were shot. My eyelids were twitching and I had a pounding headache.

I go home and still feel like hell. My Blood pressure is high so I go to bed. Surely I’ll feel better in the morning. I wake up the next day (a Saturday) and my husband tells me “happy weekend! You don’t have to go to work today!” I start crying. My pulse starts racing. I can’t get it together. So he gets up and tells me to take my time. He will get the kids up and start breakfast.

I can’t get it under control. I try to get out of the house and take one of my kids to the pumpkin patch and start having chest pain. I think this is it. That place is actually killing me. I turn around, take my son home and go to the ER.

I get a full work up to make sure I am not actually dying and end up with a diagnosis of extreme stress, a chill pill and a follow up with my medical dr who then takes me off work and puts me on anxiety medicine to try to help me get under control.

A few weeks later I’m starting to feel human again. I made some changes at work (including actively looking for another job). I slowed down and I get done what I get done. If people need to wait oh well. Maybe they should hire enough staff to cover the volume of work that needs to be done. I’m fully booked to the end of the year. Today I started the pile of consults that need to be seen but there’s nowhere to put them. I’m not overbooking myself again so people get seen in a timely manner.

I am also waiting on a surgery date in January for carpal tunnel surgery. So I’m not booking anyone in January until I get that date. I’ll book up to that day…when I get it.

Even with all that is going on and Halloween I still managed to loose just shy of 6 lbs in October. I’m hoping I can continue to slowly loose the weight through the holidays because overtime just started up again with today as my first 12 hour day again. I agreed to 1 a week and I choose what day it is and no more Saturdays.

I’m really hoping I get the job I applied for a few days ago. It is my light at the end of the tunnel. 20 min commute vs 1 hour, 1/4 the patient load and higher pay. At first I was thinking I would maybe pick up 1 Saturday a month to help my current coworker…but my husband is right. I’m already detaching from that job in hopes of getting this new one. Once I leave, I will not be back. That mess is their problem, not mine.

Not my monkeys, not my circus.

I just keep focused on the light, think positive and hope like hell that I get that job and can move on.

It came up too fast and now it’s over…

Well, that time is here and gone. I was planning on a slim, sexy body for my brothers wedding and while I failed at that, I am about 35 lbs lighter than when I started and still looked better than if I was 35 lbs heavier. As an added bonus all the running around and dancing left me 4 lbs lighter after the 4 day weekend.

I’m not stopping here. I am still determined to get back into shape. The pandemic may have thrown me a curve ball but I’m slowly working on it. One this this weekend has shown me is that my day job, commute and lack of movement on weekdays is really what is stopping me from being fit and fabulous.

I need to figure out how to add exercise to my weekdays sans-gym. Even moderately active will be an improvement on my 3000 steps a day I get chained to my computer. I need to figure out something to get moving to reach my goal of being fabulously fit at 50. (I have 36 months to make this happen, but I’m aiming for 24 or less so I have it off for a year before my 50th)

It is said that a journey of 1000 miles begins with a first step. Tomorrow I’m taking that first step and going back to my mosquito, wild animal walks around the park and back in the mornings. I have insect repellent and pepper spray. So as long as I don’t spook a skunk or come face to face with the bobcat or mountain lion that occasionally wander our neighborhood I should be good. (I have only seen the bobcat. But my friend a couple streets over has seen the mountain lion ahhh the joys of living close to nature)

36 months to 50…

I got this!

My weight loss journey-the hubby joins me

Things are returning to “normal” in our house. The kids are back in school and my coworker is trying to buy her 1st home and actually wants to work ALL of the overtime until she is settled and I am happy to let her! With this weeks overtime behind me and no more in the future I’m feeling human again.

With my husband on board with the weight loss it is making my life easier with less temptation. Our new fridge was delivered a week ago (the old one finally died.) so we are stocking back up on healthy food and cooking at home. It was rough going for the few weeks between “fridge isn’t working” and “new one is here” but we survived.

My hurdle now is exercise. With masking back at the gym it’s a no-go. I can’t do cardio in a mask. I already wheeze like crazy without the mask adding to my struggle. I was full on ready to get back to my walking around the park and back then the fires started and now the air quality is “chunky” with a mist of ash falling constantly. I’m pretty sure the smoke and ash are not good for my lungs. My current plan is to skip cardio and work on my core and stretching until masking at the gym goes away or the air is breathable outside again.

Halfway through august and I’m down 3 lbs so far. At least it’s going in the right direction.

My weight loss journey-July 2021

Holy setbacks Batman!

Thankfully I only gained 1 lb in July and that is a miracle. Between the 4th of July holiday weekend and the 60+ hour work weeks I am amazed that is all I gained. I’m the type of person who draws a line in the sand, regroups and starts over. That is what August was going to be for me…a fresh start. With the overtime behind me I’m getting back to my meal planning and back to the gym! I had a plan…and it was a good one then Thursday, July 29th I get told that the overtime is going to continue through August oh, and by the way you are working on Saturday too. I almost cried.

My work week has been 8-5 Monday, 8-7:30 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then back to 8-5 Friday and Saturday. Yes, you read that right…6 days a week and three 11.5 hour days. Oh, and I have an hour commute each way. I’m struggling. I’m exhausted. I’m desperately trying to regroup and try to figure out how I can make this work. My decision…food is key. I just do not have time or energy to exercise so my diet needs to be near perfect.

I have had suggestions from fit people I know try to help me figure out how to fit exercise in my day. I’m up by 5:30 AM and leave the house about 6:30 AM and get home around 6 or 8:30 PM depending on the day. I get ready for bed at 9 and I’m asleep somewhere between 10-11pm. Giving me 5.5-7.5 hours sleep depending on the night. My early days I spend as much time as possible with the kids before they go to bed because I don’t see them at all on my late days. That is honestly the hardest part…not seeing the kids.

So I average about 6.5 hours of sleep a night and I’m at work, commuting or with my kids the other part. What do I give up? Work is set and I don’t want to work the OT as it is, but it isn’t optional. Sleep? I’m exhausted as it is. Time with my kids…yeah, I’ll give up sleep first. My kids are still little and they grow up so fast. I’m not making excuses. It’s just my reality. I have pondered this trying to work out a solution on those many hours commuting. I have goals so I was going to cut my gym time down to 30 min. But as if the OT wasn’t crushing enough Friday I get an email from the gym saying they are going back to mandatory masking for everyone while in the building vaccinated or not as of August 1st. That sealed the deal for me and I put my membership on hold.

So that’s where I am. My first month that I did not loose anything and actually gained a pound. I am determined NOT to gain anything in the month of August and my goal is to lose at least 4 lbs with diet alone. I’ll check in again at the beginning of September with an update.

When a “day off” not really an actual day of rest

At some point “days off” work didn’t actually become a restful day to recuperate from work and enjoy life but they became just more work. It starts slow. You do your laundry, get groceries or run a few errands but easily have time to hit happy hour, grab lunch with a friend and catch a movie or go to the park with your family. My life has not been like that in some time now. It makes me wonder what happened? I see photos on Facebook of people out doing all kinds of things but not me. I always seem to be busy. Now, I’m not saying that I never get out, because I do. Just not as often as most other people.

I knew I was busy but I didn’t really understand until a few days ago. I took a day off of work so my husband could go to the dentist. He would not be done in time to get the kids off the bus so I took the day off of work. Now, my thought was I have a lot of things I need to get caught up for my photography business on so I’ll just get up like I’m going to work and pop open my laptop in the living room and get some work done. 13 hours later I finally got caught up…kinda. I still have more to do. There is always more to do.

Now I’m behind on my blog posts. How did this happen? Well…I have been busy. We are behind at work so there has been a lot of overtime. We had several people quit to take care of their kids when the schools did not reopen in the fall. No one has applied for those open jobs in almost a year now. Because we have been working short staffed we now have 4 people out injured (I will be joining them briefly when I have my carpal tunnel surgery after the kids are back in school). All of these vacancies have now brought us to the point that we have been opening for Saturday appointments for the last 3 months to try to catch up and now this month we are opening in the evenings too. So in an effort to be a team player I have been working from 7:30AM-7:30PM 4 days a week and 7:30-5 on Fridays. My coworker has been working 6 days a week taking the Saturdays since she works from 8:30-5 on weekdays. Add in my kids, photography business, household chores and getting up at 4:30 AM to get to the gym (that just opened on June 15th) before work and I am one busy, exhausted woman.

So I started looking at those relaxed, refreshed people out enjoying life all the time and wondered what they have in common. What are they doing (or not doing) that allows them to just chill out? With 1 exception the thing they all have in common is lack of a job. They have someone else providing the money they live on. About half have a minimal gig they do from selling something from a MLM of some sort or teaching an occasional class on something. By minimal I’m talking 1-2 days a week for about 2 hours actually working. Something to give them something to do. All have teenage or older kids. Only one had a full time job but her kids are grown and out of the house and no grandkids yet.

This made me realize that I’m not being fair to myself. I’m not comparing apples to apples. These women are not gone from the home almost 70 hours a week commuting or at work. Most days I’m commuting or at work for 15 of the 24 hours in a day. 9 hours to sleep, shower and go to the gym. No wonder I look exhausted. The 6 hours of sleep I get a night keeps me functional but not relaxed and refreshed. Makeup? What’s that? I’m lucky to just have clean laundry for everyone and groceries in the house (that I have delivered because I do not have time to shop). I’m not one of these women. I will not be one of them until my kids are grown and I’m retired. So until that point, I am ok and doing pretty good managing it all like so many others out there. The apples can stay apples. I’m ok being an orange. Maybe someday soon I can pull it all together for a day at the beach…

Traveling Again!

That’s right. The time has come and Working Mom, Travel Dreams is traveling again! I’m traveling with my husband to Mexico for our 10th wedding anniversary. Our plan was to enjoy a week in the UK but with the travel restrictions that was not possible. So we regrouped, switched gears and now we are off to Cabo San Lucas. We are leaving the kids at home for our first kid free vacation together in 9 years. our last vacation together was our 1st wedding anniversary where I was big and pregnant and we had to book our travel to make sure we made it back before my “unable to travel internationally” date 2 days later. Yeah, there’s nothing like cutting it close. Traveling while that pregnant was not easy.

I have been to Cabo oodles of times since it’s a quick getaway from California. You can usually find long weekend package deals for $500 or less pretty easy so it’s the alternative to Vegas for many of us Californians who are not into gambling but still want to enjoy some fun in the sun. With all the restrictions in California I find people are flocking to Mexico just to get away from it all and enjoy a little bit of freedom again. I have 1 coworker and a friend who are in Cabo right now and know several people that have gone in the last month.

The airports are pretty empty still. They only had one shuttle running at SFO and the long term parking was maybe 1/4 full. It’s really different than my last trip where SFO was packed in Sept 2019. The flights were sure full despite the empty parking. Snacks and beverages were distributed a little different with everyone getting a small snack bag. I actually preferred it that way for this short flight but a bagged lunch meal for dinner could be annoying on a longer international flight.

At the resort nearly everyone we met was vaccinated. The ones who were not vaccinated had covid around the holidays and it’s still too soon for them to get vaccinated. Pretty much everyone hated the masking and wore them as little as possible. There was a lot of annoyance on things like the rule that you have to wear a mask while walking around the resort…except in the pool area. So I don’t have to wear a mask in the pool area but if I go to the snack bar, bathroom or non-swim up bar I need a mask. Swim up bar no mask. Someone brings my drink to me at the table, no mask. I take 5 steps to the bar to get a drink, I need a mask. (FYI all the bars are outdoors).

We followed the rules, no matter how crazy. It was still a lot less restrictive than California and it was FANTASTIC to see people’s faces and socialize. We got our covid tests to return home and they were negative. Even though we were fully vaccinated AND had negative covid tests our kids therapy sessions were canceled for 2 weeks when we returned because we left the country. If we stayed in the country it would have been fine. California paranoia at its best here. CDC says vaccinated people can live normal lives. But here in California we are still on house arrest and shamed for attempting normal.

Busy lives and full calendars

I remember the days when I had oodles of stuff going on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still busy it’s just a different kind of busy now. Now my calendar lacks the social engagements and is full of zoom meetings and project deadlines. Ah how I miss the days of social gatherings. Hopefully that will change soon.

Recently I was talking to it co workers and it turns out that several of us have been shopping online buying outfits for future outings when we open back up. It’s hard living in the most restricted state in the United States. The state is divided between “open up and ditch the masks” and “everyone stay home and wear 3 masks, face shields, gloves and socially distance even when vaccinated”. It’s pretty crazy. I fall into the category of open up and ditch the mask mandate. Let people make their own decisions based on their comfort level.

I believe we should have the freedom to make our own decisions as adults. For example… Sunday I picked up my wine club shipments at two wineries. We have friends who are also members at the same wineries so we planned a day to pick up our wine together. All 5 of us are fully vaccinated and past our 2 week window. Tastings are outdoors. The CDC says fully vaccinated can be free. We felt 100% comfortable with this forbidden outing. Sharing our picnic, drinking wine, laughing and acting human socializing as adults. The shaming we got from the two group photos of us that were posted on Facebook was appalling. Why is this happening? Why are we expected to be hermits?

95% effective means you have a 5% chance of getting covid. Also, there were zero serious cases among the vaccinated. Yet California is still the most restricted state. That is all going to end in June 15th when our state opens back up. Personally, I can’t wait to see smiling faces and interact with humans again.

Self help and exercise

On my morning walks I have started listening to self improvement books. I feel that way I can work on my body and my mind at the same time. Pretty efficient huh. Yeah, I thought so too. My current book (The Creative’s Curse by Todd Brison) inspired this post.

If you have been reading my blog for a while now you know I think of myself as just a mom. I’m a regular person. I’m not rich or famous or glamorous. I work hard and try to make the most out of my life. I didn’t have any special privileges growing up. In fact I grew up in a poor neighborhood and went to the “bad” schools. I have had to work hard for everything I have.

I’m also old…well when it comes to blogging, social media, websites and technology I’m a dinosaur. I have no clue what I’m doing and find myself googling terminology because I don’t know what people are talking about. Because of this, through listening to the books and doing webinars I have learned that I’m accidentally doing things right. My website is “branded” not because I had a clue what that was before I took the class but because I thought it looked better. I post a new photo on my Instagram every day. Not because I’m trying to raise my engagement and grow my audience but because I take a lot of photos and it drives me crazy when half my social media feed is all from the same person so I post one photo a day. I try to post one blog post a week. Also not for engagement but because it forces me to write something once a week. When I’m busy with large photography projects or home life I don’t work on my book. The blog keeps me writing.

You may wonder what any of that has to do with anything, well frankly I have no idea what I’m doing. All this stuff is where youngsters excel. I have found myself talking social media with these whipper-snappers as they try to explain to me how social media works like I’m 105. I had one youngster try to explain it to me using her Instagram as she carefully crafted a post for her 800 loyal fans. Saying how she has so many followers he should teach a class for people like me. After she made her post she wanted me to make one so she could help me. So I pull out my phone and start to craft a post for my 7,000+ fans. She looked at how many followers I had and asked me who’s account that was. I said mine.

In the book I’m listening to he is talking about his social media following (it’s lower than mine). In my last book by a different author he talks about his success and what strategies got him there. He also has less than I do. So the question on my mind is how can people who have not achieved the level I’m at teach me to do better? I’m already doing better than they are. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m apparently doing it right. I just post stuff I like at a frequency that doesn’t overwhelm or annoy me.

I’m not delusional. My ego is not inflated. I understand I’m just a mom. I work a full time job. Play with my kids. Do laundry. I have a photography business. It in no way replaces the income from my day job that supports us. I have this blog that I write to get things out there and force me to stay writing. (I started this blog after reading Single Wide Female) I honestly did not think anyone would ever read it. When I got my first follower I called my friend because surely it was a fluke. I’m still shocked when I get new a new follower every few days. I appreciate you guys. You keep me going.

So here I am. Just a mom. Walking at the crack of cock a doodle dark to try to loose weight because she does not have any other time to exercise. Listening to audiobooks because it’s the only way things get done is multitasking. While keeping up with the kids, my job and my side hustle photography business…and a few writing and charity projects tossed in the mix for fun. And I wonder why I’m so tired…

Traveling again!

A couple months ago everything was closed in California. With our 10th wedding anniversary approaching this weekend we didn’t want to spend it eating a frozen pizza like last year. In California you can’t make plans farther out than a few days. Our Governor changes the rules constantly keeping us as the most restricted state in the country. So to avoid spending another anniversary with a frozen pizza with our plans get canceled the day before we opted to not only leave the state, but leave the country. You know what’s open? Mexico.

We dusted off our passports and booked an all inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas for 5 days. Yes, we understand there is a pandemic. But we are both fully vaccinated. There are also masking mandates in the enclosed areas of the resort and things are spread out more to allow for social distancing. Our resort has free covid tests prior to your departure and if you fail it you stay at the resort for free with room service to quarantine for 2 weeks. Not a bad deal.

At some point life needs to go back to normal. Living in the most restricted state for the last year has really taken its toll on all of us. There is a reason people and businesses are fleeing California to other states that are more open. I’m not saying to go lick sick people or purposely cough in others faces. But we all need to make decisions for ourselves. Everything comes with risk. It is up to us to decide what risks we are willing to take and what safety measures we want to use.

In our case, we need a break. I’m all work and no play and my husband has been locked inside in distance learning hell for a year. We are totally burnt out by the pandemic. We looked at moving to another state but it just didn’t make sense for us financially so we are sticking it out for a little while longer. Who knows…maybe if we stay locked down for another year it will be enough to take the financial hit for freedom.

Until then the countdown to Mexico is on!

Photography in the pandemic (long)

As many of you know I am a photographer. As a photographer I capture moments in time. Once I click the shutter that moment is gone. We will never get that moment back. I mention this because I recently got in an argument with another photographer on a photography forum online. The issue: she was hired to shoot a wedding last year and paid in full. The wedding is in a month and the pandemic isn’t over yet. She is on the fence about canceling or shooting it and wanted advice. I gave my advice.

The wedding was booked and paid for a year ago and is in a month. She knew it was coming up so if she was going to cancel the time to do it was 5+ months ago when the pandemic didn’t end and the lockdowns continued. At this point the couple is thankful that they still have a photographer because venues and catering are probably a nightmare for them. If the wedding gets canceled that is one thing, but they were hired to do a job and accepted payment in full for the job. They should do the job. It isn’t like things were in the beginning. We have social distancing, masking and if you get sick we now have treatments. On top of that more and more people are getting vaccinated every day. This isn’t the same situation we had in the beginning when we didn’t have any of that.

Well, apparently some people got mad about that and feel everyone should stay home and everything should be canceled until the virus is gone from our planet. Ok, look moron. It’s a virus. It will never be completely gone from the planet. Also, everything in life has risks. It’s our job to learn those risks as we grow up and learn to do things as safe as possible knowing the risks and should we end up sick or injured we know where to go for help if we need it. Staying locked in your home in fear is not living…it’s existing. There is a reason why we have prisons for criminals and put little kids in time out. Taking away freedom to live your life as you wish is punishment.

Back to photography… I’m not a fan of shooting portraits. It’s boring. I like landscapes, nature and travel. But I am good at it even if I don’t like it. In this pandemic I have found myself shooting more portraits than I ever have before. Why is this when there are so many portrait photographers out there? Well, it’s because they are terrified and believe everyone should stay in isolation. I don’t feel that way. I feel that life is still happening and once those moments are gone we will never get them back. Photographers are here to capture those moments.

I have a friend who has had 7 miscarriages and finally carried her pregnancy to term with #8 in this pandemic. She wanted to do a maternity photo shoot to capture the joy of this time especially since she does not know if they will ever be able to have another one. The problem… she can’t find a photographer in the lockdown so she contacted me. I agreed to do her photos for her. I don’t know how people can turn down someone who has been through so much sadness and wants to capture the joy of this moment. It isn’t like she can go back and do them later. We did them in a low risk way outdoors I stayed socially distanced from them except when I gave her a gift for the baby. I later took family photos after the birth for their daughters 1st Christmas.

My brother is getting married in September. I did his engagement photos and I’m terrified that their wedding photographer will cancel at the last minute and I’ll end up shooting his wedding rather than enjoying the celebration with my family. Why would I do that? Well, because I’m not going to bail on my brother when he needs me.

I’m just so tired of people using covid as an excuse. So you have sat on your butt for a year and don’t want to go back to work? Is it because you are terrified of covid? Nope. You are still living your life visiting with friends and family and going to the store and whatever else is open at the moment. Just be honest. Don’t say it isn’t safe for you to go back to work. Just say you don’t want to go back to work. It’s ok. You can NOT want to go. I don’t want to go every day but I have a family to support so I put on my shoes and go. Would I like to stay home and enjoy the 50 hours a week of free time with my family? Hell yes! I get it. I don’t want to go to work either. But I’m sure as hell not going to use covid as an excuse and say I can’t go to work because it isn’t safe while I go on about living my life outside my home. Just be honest about it. Just say you got lazy and don’t want to go back to work. Saying it isn’t safe for YOU to go to work while you expect everyone else to go to work is just saying that you are more important than everyone else out there. You are more important than all the essential workers who have kept everything running back when it really was not safe. If you accept a job and got paid for the job then you should do that job. If you want to back out you should refund your fee AND pay the difference for the last minute replacement for the job you were suppose to do if they incur additional costs due to you backing out at the last minute.

The businesses and people that are going to survive this pandemic are going to be the ones who didn’t use it as an excuse to be lazy. They are going to be the ones that paid off debt, saved up to purchase their first home, wrote that book, used the time to get fit, eat healthier, forge a better relationship with their spouse and children. There are 1000 ways to come out of the pandemic better than you went into it.

There are several truths about the past year no matter what your beliefs are on the way the pandemic is being handled where you are from.

Life is moving on.

Relationships are starting and ending.

People are getting married and divorced.

Children are being born and growing up.

People still die.

How do you feel about gatherings? Should we never celebrate again? If you are married how would you feel to have that option taken away from you? How about your children? Do you reflect back on that crying photo with Santa and smile? What if that was taken away from you? Remember the first day of kindergarten? What if that was taken away? High school or college graduation (yours or or child’s)? How about funerals? Should those go away and we no longer get to mourn? Should we visit the sick and dying or let them die alone? How about birthdays? Do we celebrate only the 1st birthday, 13th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 50th, 75th, 100th? Only some? None at all? How about if you beat cancer and didn’t think you would see another birthday but here it is! Do you celebrate?

Do we celebrate life or let let it just go because someone might get sick? What about food poisoning? Someone might get sick. Maybe we should not eat anymore.