Reno

I recently turned 48. I am trying hard to believe that I am no longer young and I am staring down 50 that is approaching faster and faster every day. I have had a rough relationship with celebrating birthdays because for the most part it depends on others and I prefer to be selfish on my birthday and just relax or go somewhere amazing and have a one in a lifetime experience. No one ever actually listens. That changed this year.

Several months ago my husband said “lets get away for your birthday this year” Now I am picturing lounging on a beach somewhere with a tropical drink with a little umbrella in it. He says he will plan everything. It will be amazing. I am a bit worried about this because I am the traveler. I am the planner. It is my thing. He is so excited that I agree to leave it all to him. Then he tells me we are going to Reno, NV.

Reno.

Dirty old Reno.

I hate Reno. I’m a beach person not a desert person and I don’t like the smell of cigarette smoke or gambling. What is he thinking? He is so excited (like a kid on Christmas morning) so I plaster a smile on my face and ask him if he is sure and what he has in mind. Then he tells me that he was watching YouTube videos about the best day spas in the united states and the Peppermill in Reno has one of the top 10 so we should check it out.

Ok, Reno is sounding better now. But, when I was last there in the 1990’s it was not exactly a nice place to go. It lacked the dazzle of Vegas or the natural splendor of Tahoe. I ask him how old this video was that he watched. So he pulls it up. It is recent. Then he pulls up a video of the Peppermill and it is reminiscent of the Belagio or the Venician resorts in Vegas. I am intrigued, but still not excited because, well… it’s still Reno.

A few months go by and he has made all the arrangements. We have childcare covered for the time we are out of town. He made reservations at an Italian restaurant and a steakhouse for our two nights there. We are spending all day in the spa relaxing on my actual birthday getting pampered and relaxing. I’m still skeptical and he is still super excited.

The day finally arrives for us to depart. We load up the car and head out…to Reno. I’m expecting to see beautiful fall color, but no one told the trees. We get to the peppermill and it is busier than I expected to see on a weekday. They are hosting an educational conference for veterinarians. It actually was nice inside. It was super clean. The staff was friendly. Our room was amazing. The food was great. If they were short staffed, it sure didn’t show at all. That was something we have not seen here in California for years. The weather was even perfect. He did an amazing job.

I guess it is time for me to let go, stop being such a control freak and trust that the man I have been married to for 11 years actually knows me pretty well and is capable of planning a trip for us that I will enjoy. Maybe I don’t always have to “do it all”. Maybe I can let go a little and relax and know that everything will be ok.

I know that sounds a little odd. But, I have spent most of my adult life only being able to rely on myself through my first marriage to an alcoholic who cared more about his TV programs and his next drink than me and in my single years. Relying on anyone else almost always led to me being let down and me scrambling at the last minute trying to do it all myself. I forgot what it was like to be able to just let go and know things will be ok. I’m slowly learning to let go and accept that others are capable of doing things too. I do not have to always carry the burden. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

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.

When pulling an all nighter is not what it use to be

I love my creative side. Sometimes my creative side and my type-A personality obsessive planner side get together a couple times a month when I have scheduled photography days out to create new content for my photography business. I never really thought of this as a thing until I did an internet quiz to find what type of photographer I should be. It was spot on. Just incase it was generic BS I read the other types. They were so not me at all. I hate admitting it, but the internet quiz was right.

I plan my days out. I scout for a place with a purpose in mind. I choose particular times of year or times of the day. I actually have a notebook with brainstorm ideas of locations/subjects with notes. I have folders with information, books I have read in research, and links saved in folders on my laptop. It’s what I do.

If things don’t work out as I planned to get the shots I want I’ll regroup and try again until I get it. I brave bad weather, long travel days, early mornings and late nights. I get insect bites, bee stings, sunburns, scratches, scrapes and sprains. To most people it seems insane. But when I get that perfect shot…I know it was all worth it.

I’m not a photoshop photographer. I believe in taking the shot not faking the shot. I’ll crop, change the tone and adjust the color to brighten or soften the shot. But it’s always the same shot. I think people do amazing things in photoshop, but it just isn’t for me. I think it’s because I learned on film and back then we didn’t have the option to take a crappy shot and fix it later. You had to take a good shot to begin with.

Either way, everyone needs an outlet. It may be sports, binging tv, gardening, woodworking, cooking or something entirely different. Especially now as we creep our way out of the pandemic. If you have not found your peace keep trying new things. You never know when something will stick.

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!

My weight loss journey – March/April

I missed a monthly post in there but I have not stopped. March showed my biggest loss to date with 8.2 lbs! you may ask what changed nearly 6 months in…

Well February was cold and wet and my exercise dropped leaving me to a measly 4.6 lb loss. Not cool man. But my goal weight loss for 6 months is 35.5 lbs. I can live with that. I still have a LONG way to go to my goal.

Now I like my stats and data. I like to weigh myself daily so if I eat pizza and beer and get all bloated I immediately see the scale rise as punishment for that indiscretion. I also like to see the satisfying drop from a day of doing everything right. Now sometimes it doesn’t work like that and there are fluctuations, but in general bad behavior shows up pretty quickly and I can correct it before things get too out of control. Along with my data I like to set small, obtainable goals. When you have over 100 lbs to loose (or anything more than the covid 20) this is very important…or at least it is to me. The little slow downward slope of the weight line just is not enough. DietBet was cool, while I still loose I often fall short of my goal and frankly I’d rather spend the cash in something else. So I started my search. I found an app that is kinda my new best friend. It has all the data I want to see as well as breaking my weight loss up into smaller goals and options on how I want it broken up. I opted for even numbers at 5 lb increments. (I went back and forth between 5-10 lbs and finally settled on 5 so every month I make at least 1 goal with most months hitting a new goal twice. This has helped me out of my February slump into my record March loss.

It is still a work in progress. I still struggle with the sleep/exercise balance. I still get busy and forget to log my foods at times. While I have lost over 30 lbs I have so much to loose that you really can’t tell. In my mind I know diet and exercise with a slow 1-2 lb loss a week is the way to go to truest keep it off but in this modern time of instant gratification I just want to pop on a bikini and look fantastic already.

I have 6 weeks until I go to Cabo San Lucas and 6 months until my brother’s wedding. I’m hoping to stay strong through the spring and summer and stay closer to the 2 lbs a week loss. I’m trying to focus on healthy activities. I’m trying to reward myself with things like new clothing (we are just not going to talk about the awesome swimsuit I got online for my trip that I can’t get up past my knees). I’m adjusting things as I go along. I’m finding out what works for me and what does not. It isn’t easy, but then again things worth doing rarely are.

I love my data!