Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thrifting Post AGAIN! - March 31, 2012

I haven't been thrifting this many times in a short period in quite a while, but I genuinely need a new wardrobe (I'll need to go crazy again in the fall...and winter...). A long time ago, I was in New York City with my grandmother, and we went sorta-thrifting in SoHo and she asked me if I'd stop thrifting if I won the lottery (in a sweet, supportive way, not a "WHY do you do this?" way). I said no. But if I'd won that $500 million, I'd have considered it. (I didn't win. I didn't even win my dollar back.)

So. In between the two stores we hit, my friend and I got to see the Hunger Games movie - the first movie I'd seen in a theater in about a year (I saw Inception in the theater TWICE). The short of it is that the book was better - but it always is - but the movie was well done. In fact, I wish the movie was its own thing, but it's not, it's based on a book, and a lot of it set up books two and three (movies 2-4, I gather).

The Humane Society is my favorite thrift store in the universe. Of what is pictured below, everything was $1 except three things were 50 cents, according to my receipt. I have no idea what was what - I guess the kid jeans were 50 cents and maybe the two T-shirts? - I just go there and buy what I want and don't worry about prices. There is NOWHERE ELSE on the planet where I can say that! I don't think I've ever spent more than $20 there and at this point 50% of my wardrobe is probably from there...

Here's what I got:

Old Navy jeans for the kid. Because she can never have enough jeans.

Workout capris that are adorable.

Cute, casual Old Navy skirt.

Two pairs of Old Navy capris. The brown ones in the back were in my "maybe"  pile until I said "Well, they're a dollar and I don't have enough shorts yet so I might as well." The blue ones I love.

I decided this is the summer of wearing skirts. Throw on a skirt and a black T shirt and I'm good to go. This one is less shiny than it appears, more flowy. And the design is textured. It's cute.

Guiness T-shirt (hard to see). Super soft. Probably this was 50 cents.

I know it's awful, but it's also so funny. Probably also 50 cents. Haven't tried it on but it looked like it would fit.
Not shown, because the picture came out terrible, two pairs of black yoga/running pants - Champion and Danskin. Super comfy!

Then we hit the other indie thrift store in the area. No sales today (unlike last time), so everything basically was $3 - except that I bought 6 things and paid $16 plus tax, so something wasn't $3 but I really don't know what.

My "breaking out of my comfort zone" skirt. It's a bit pinker in person, and it fits really nicely. Ann Taylor Loft even. And my friend Amy happened to have the perfect brown top to go with it. Now I need an excuse to wear it. Like grocery shopping.

Terrible picture of two workout tank tops. The orange one is Champion and has a built-in bra - and is very similar to one I bought at Target for a lot more than $3.

The cat liked this Old Navy long-sleeved shirt (which may have been the $2 wildcard).

I don't know what is up with my awful camera work today, but this is a black - really black! - J Crew skirt. It's a bit faded but I got it to be summer casual so who cares. 

Love this skirt - Old Navy linen. I know, I know, linen wrinkles if you talk to it, but this one seems like it might hold up OK. The black is still black, and it made me want to twirl. It used to have a belt but that's missing - I guess I'll have to thrift another one!
The end!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My First 5K - March 24, 2012

Well, I did it! I completed my first 5K!

Here are my stats:

I ran the entire thing in just over 32 minutes, and my pace was 10:18/mile. This was not only my first time running this particular route, but it was my first time running a route that was anything but flat with perhaps a few gentle but frustrating hills. This route had HILLS. I ran some of them, I walked some of them. This was also my first time running for that long a time and that long a distance - last Thursday I completed week 8 of the Couch to 5K program and ran 2.76 miles - if I hadn't had this planned, Monday would've been my first 3 mile run. (Instead it will be my second!)

What sucked was that although I drank a ton of lemon water about an hour before I headed out (trying to balance hydration with a need to pee - TMI, perhaps, but before the race I still had to hoof it over to a local fast food shop...), I still became dehydrated. First the back of my throat went unbearably dry - but I've dealt with that before. But then I got...THE PAIN. The evil, awful pain. I know this pain well, I've dealt with it many times before. And one of the very first days of the Couch to 5K program, it also struck - but for a change I was very determined and didn't throw my hands up and say "running sucks, this sucks, I quit."

What I'm talking about is a knife-like pain in my ribcage - and it gets worse if I run, makes it hard to breathe, and is all together rather miserable to experience. It's been suggested to me that it is related to hydration and I'm fairly certain that is exactly what it is. But I've been so on top of being hydrated during my training that it has disappeared completely and I thought I was in the clear - but the truth is that when I run on a regular day, I leave my house and start running within minutes, where today I had to get to the venue, wait around, get situated...and too much time had passed. I guess I didn't plan very well, and I'm not advanced enough to carry water with me - so when the pain hit, I had to walk for a longer stretch than I usually walk. And of course once it all clicked in my head, I noticed empty cups on the ground, looked back, and sure enough I'd run past the one and only water station on the race route. Damn.

At first I got really upset. I thought I'd blown the whole thing and I was really disappointed. Then I took a deep breath and I walked as fast as I could. And then I tried sprinting. And eventually adrenaline took back over and the pain faded to the background and I was back to running - I think that saved my time, and I think that my overall time would've been SO much better without that setback. Oh well - a lesson learned for the next 5K I'm doing in a few weeks. (yup)

What else have I learned so far? I don't think I like running in crowds. I don't like figuring out how to navigate someone who is too slow in front of me or a cluster of people I want to pass. I don't like that big mush of people at the beginning. I don't like realizing I need to walk and navigating to the side. I prefer the runs I've been doing that are usually just me or just one other person. And I don't think - at this time - that I'm interested in pushing to a 10K or beyond. Probably.

On the other hand, I did end this 5K feeling absolutely amazing, not too terribly exhausted at all. I like this distance, I like this pace. I like feeling this major sense of accomplishment. I love looking back over the past two months and seeing how far I've come and how fast I've gotten. I love finally feeling in shape - I think I'm in the best shape of my entire life at this moment, actually.

When the race ended, I was in a daze, trying to cool down and keep moving and fill out my scorecard (in my shakiest handwriting ever) and figure out where the hell I was. I stumbled around trying to find water and failed for a while until my AMAZING friend Lindsay (click that - her blog is awesome in general and in that particular post is a picture of me with the fam, pre-race. no really, CLICK IT) and her gorgeous girls found me and helped me figure out what I'd done and get hydration and a banana and find my husband and my girl (who both cheered from the sidelines as I ran past them twice!).

But really, truly, I felt - and still feel - great!

So. Onward and upward. One more official week of the Couch to 5K and then I may try the program to improve my time or just keep on running three times a week. And maybe, just maybe, I'll try to push myself to run a 10K sometime in the fall. Maybe.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Learning about Running and Weight Loss and Stuff - March 21, 2012

I'm getting ready to head out for my daughter's IEP meeting (for pre-K! PRE-K! I can't even believe that...) and I thought I'd get some of this ramble out of my head.

First, I'm kicking ass and taking names with the Couch to 5K program. I'm about to finish week 8 and my first official 5K is this weekend. I still can't run the entire thing, but I also don't stop - I take a few seconds to catch my breath as I walk at a fast clip and then I go again. I sprint. I race with myself. I tell myself "You can stop at that mailbox. At that driveway. At the end of this song." So far, so good. Today I ran a 10:09 pace. I'm really, really proud of that.

My playlist is now sort of settling. For a while I used timed playlists created by others, but once the intervals of run/walk/run ended, I made my own. Here's what I'm running to at the moment:

  1. Supa Shoppa by Blur (warmup)
  2. Stars Above Us by Saint Etienne (warmup ends, run begins)
  3. It's Tricky by Run DMC (and I'm off)
  4. Raspberry Swirl by Tori Amos (current goal is to run without walking until the end of this song - I now can just about do it)
  5. Paparazzi by Lady Gaga (even if I'm walking for a second or four, there are spots in this song that I always run through)
  6. Hey Ya! by Outkast (this gives me a burst of energy and I always run through the "all right all right all right" and "shake it" parts, no matter how tired I am)
  7. Baby Got Back by Sir Mixalot (I have found my energy flags here - this song is good for getting me going again, but I may need something else to replace it soon)
  8. United State of Pop 2010 by DJ Earworm (a mashup of a bunch of popular songs - it begins a bit slow - I usually take a break - and as it ends, Beyonce is telling me to go faster and faster and stronger and stronger)
  9. Merry by Magnapop (and when I hear this, I know I'm almost done)
  10. Do You Sleep by Lisa Loeb (cool down!)
  11. Crazy Town by Velocity Girl (end of cool down!)
I'm entering my second month of being a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member and it's going really well as I navigate how this new normal works. I still track almost everything I eat and still count points - I can't imagine not doing it at this stage, although I took one night off from tracking when I was out with a friend and knew I was both making decent choices and had enough points left in my weekly/activity bank to be OK. I also made sure that I got right back into tracking the next morning - that I didn't use that one night as an excuse to stop.

I went out this week to a fancy, famous-for-a-TV-connection restaurant with some out of town guests. Maybe it was that I'm a vegetarian and this restaurant focused on decidedly not so much (while having many choices on the menu for me), but it felt almost easy. The menu didn't scare me (like it did when I started WW) and I knew I would be OK.

I knew I'd go over my daily points, but I also knew what my bad habits were and decided not to fall into them. I ordered what I wanted, but I didn't order every single thing I wanted. I chose a mixed drink instead of a milkshake and I didn't get both, which is a major victory in my life, I swear. I had tastes of others' dishes but did not make sure I had ordered one thing from every menu section. I didn't get dessert. (I used to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS get dessert, no matter how full I was. I actually don't know if this place offers dessert, but I didn't make sure I found myself some at the nearby favorite-cupcake-place-ever or an ice cream shop either.) 

What I learned from the experience was that I could go out, have a good time, even overindulge just a bit, but feel happy and satisfied and not bloated and horrible. I could go someplace special and not have to make food be part of the overall experience - the experience was the friends, the ambiance, the way the waiter acted, and yes, the flavors. But not the "MUST HAVE IT ALL MAY NEVER GET HERE AGAIN" feeling I used to know too well. The new normal. Here it is. (I also made up the points for this - probably overestimating - based on a few factual things and some guesses. But I did track it all. I held myself accountable.)

So that's where I'm at. People are noticing the change in me. I'm noticing the change in me. 

And to the IEP meeting...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thrifting Post Again! - March 15, 2012

You love it! You do! It's another thrifting post!

I was going to make another vlog about the finds, but I decided that I prefer to have a photographic catalog of my finds so I can look back and see what's what. So you get pictures - scroll on by!

The backstory is that as you saw on Wordless Wednesday, my clothes from last summer no longer fit me (hooray! for a change this is a good thing!). I sold the shorts in that picture to someone else (the smaller shorts will appear in a bit) as well as another pair and I used that money plus a little bit more to fill in some gaps in my summer wardrobe. My goal was shorts. I fell a bit short of that goal but I still did really well and do have new summer clothes in happy-making sizes - and of course I got my daughter even more clothing because I cannot resist clothes that are 50 to 70 cents a piece for high-end brands. (Yes, I'd just hit some half-price days at local consignment sales and got her things, but the pickings were slim this year and she still needed a few more things.)

We hit three stores, we bought things at two. The third store, an indie store with an excellent charitable background, was overpriced when compared to the other two (as in, if you only went in that one you'd probably think the prices were fine - they were in line with Goodwill prices) but it did have some gorgeous refinished furniture that I coveted - it was appropriately priced and actually a STEAL for what it was.

(I used to lovingly Photoshop every picture to adjust for color and cropping and...yeah, I just don't have the energy for that anymore so I only did it to some of them.)

Store #1 - All clothes were 30% off. Which is ridiculous since everything was so cheap already!

Click to see this bigger. These are MINI BODEN cords for my kid. They are in nearly perfect condition (there's a spot on one that won't show) and adorable with hearts on the knees and butt. They will fit her in the fall for sure. They were 70 cents each. I died.

More kid clothes. Three pairs of jeans (one has a tiny rip in the back pocket, no big) - two Old Navy, one Carters. One pair of capri leggings. 70 cents each. Yeah yeah yeah.

Two T-shirts that actually fit me. Ann Taylor Loft, Gap. Pretty sure these were $2 each.
I am in love with this shirt. Old Navy. $2.

Squishy comfy Old Navy shirt. $2.

Workout/running shirts - $2 each (the tank may have been $1-something). Because of these, I'll be able to return the Target-on-clearance shirt I bought the other day, because I got these three for less than I paid for that one.

Cords from Express - $2.

The Wordless Wednesday shorts! Identical to what I wore last year, but many sizes smaller. $1-ish.

Super-soft Gap pants. They're a bit long but they'll look great with boots/heels. $2.

Old Navy capris that I am in love with, Gap capris that are OK and comfy. $1-ish each. Now I just need to find shoes to go with these.
Then onward to the Humane Society store which has amazingly ridiculously cheap everyday prices - but not always the selection that other stores have, so finds are extra exciting. (Oh, is that just me?) I mostly got things for the kid because kid clothes are always 50 cents a piece...yeahhhhh.

Impossible-to-photograph super soft/swingy/stretchy black skirt. $1. I have another skirt that is similar - good for pulling on with a T-shirt to feel "dressed up" when I'm not really.

Ridiculous faux-retro T-shirts for me - 50 cents each. The belt was $1 - I've been looking for a wide, stretchy belt to try with some of my longer shirts and/or dresses. We'll see. For $1 it was worth the risk that it will suck and if it's good, I might splurge on a nicer one.
 Everything else was 50 cents a piece and is for the kid...
American Girl Store Atlanta shirt. I basically bought this because I was amused realizing that at the store itself this shirt is probably $20 or something. My kid has zero interest in that sort of thing but will look cute in it.

Kid pants! The Old Navy brown pants turn into capris with a roll and a button and a VOILA!

The green skirt/shorts combo is Gymboree. The purple shorts are Old Navy.

SUPER sweet Gymboree spring sweater.

And finally, something that my friend found for me at the Humane Society when I wasn't with her. She paid $2 for this. TWO DOLLARS.

A real not-freebie-or-giveaway but $150-ish Thrashers jersey that FITS ME. RIP Atlanta Thrashers, I miss you still. I can wear this to Gwinnett Gladiators games! Seriously, it's perfect.

Friday, March 9, 2012

She Can She Can She Can - March 9, 2012

For the record, I feel that I have to explain that this isn't the first time or even probably the fiftieth time that she has stood unassisted. However, I rarely catch these moments on camera, so it's exciting to have it to refer to and to hold against the few other pictures where she's standing. In this picture, she's wearing a weighted vest that a friend of ours gave us (I think it helped!), and she's at physical therapy. She has a hard time staying still (see that blur of her hands? she was clapping), so while she can stand, she wiggles out of it frequently, and we're still working on her taking more steps because she needs that initial stability first.

But she can. She can. She can. She can do everything. She can.

She can also read - I'm working on getting a video of that. She usually gets distracted as soon as I turn on the camera, of course.

She can she can she can.

Too many times I get bogged down in what she can't do. Days like this, pictures like this, thoughts like this, they all remind me what she can do and what she will do.

My kid is unstoppable and she knows it. It's me that has to work on my attitude, not her.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Semi-Kinda-Sorta Book Review: MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche - March 1, 2012

I spent part of last weekend being both sick in bed and reading (in between helping out with the kid, of course - no sick days for mamas, especially with a kid with CP, but my husband really did largely take over yesterday when the DOOM came over me). And what was I reading? MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche. I had read about this book...somewhere...and put it on my to-get-from-the-library list. I could REALLY identify with the idea of wanting new friends while living in a new city and not knowing where to start.

Background: I moved to Atlanta knowing just one person (and her husband and the Margarita Friday crew), and while she and I are still very close and I adore her, she lives a bit far from me and we don't see each other all that often and I stopped going to Margarita Friday once I got pregnant (and the group kind of splintered after that, though I still am in touch with several people I met through it). I've built my social circle from scratch, more or less, but lately I've still been feeling really lonely and craving that mysterious BFF-ness that Bertsche muses on throughout the book.

Now I will tell you that I finished the book thinking "Why, I'd make a PERFECT friend for Rachel!" And we do have a lot in common - agnostic Jews! writers! the magazine connection! (She worked at O, I was a Sassy intern!) I love New York so much! I love last-minute plans too! But uh...yeah, before I sent off a gushy love note (though I may have sent a love tweet) I realized that on top of the whole rather big, obvious problem of that I live in Atlanta and she lives in Chicago (a city that shows up so often in my life that I do think I'm destined to live there someday), there are other issues like my being 10 years older and having a kid with special needs and and...and about a million other things (though if she ever were visiting Atlanta, I bet we'd have fun and I'd take her to touristy stuff AND my favorite cupcake shop). What I think I really was connecting with was that Bertsche writes in a warm and engaging way that really made me WANT to be her friend. If I hadn't liked her so much from the outset, I don't know if I would've been so captivated by her quest. But I did and I was.

I am no stranger to the friend pickup. One of my close friends here became my friend because I asked her out. Seriously. I told her at a mommy-and-me-type event that I liked her purse (because I did!) and then the next week, when I saw her again, I asked her to lunch. We clicked and for a while we met up every single week for kid events followed by yapping over lunch at the same place - the waitress knew us, brought our drinks out immediately, and even gave our kids T-shirts. Both of us have crazy lives (she has a second kid now and a complicated schedule, I have therapies to coordinate and a different complicated schedule) and we don't see each other as often anymore - but for a while that tactic was successful. (I should try it again.) Other friends of mine here are also from the early days of parenthood (some I met at the new mom group when our babies were 2-6 weeks old - and happil,y even after the diagnosis, many of us stayed friends and our kids still play together) or were mutual friends of someone else or were from various other parts of my life. And there are online friends who I haven't met yet but who are local and we keep saying we'll get together (you know who you are!). But I think I need to branch out a bit. I'm feeling inspired. We'll see how it goes. I don't have the time for 52 blind dates but maybe I can finagle two or three?

On that note, however, I have known for a long time that I'm a bad judge of character. Many times in my life I've tried to cultivate a friendship that went sour in a way that I realize was always there but that I'd ignored (sometimes my fault, sometimes his/hers, sometimes both, sometimes nobody). I had very few friends as a kid and was the outcast, the bullied, the loner who was eager to please. I think I've held onto that - I want EVERYONE to like me and I don't always know how to manage that since that's just not always how it works. If that makes any sense at all.

I also am learning that just because I'm a mom and you're a mom doesn't mean we'll get along (anyone can be a mom, it just makes SOME conversations easier. Sometimes. Sometimes it actually makes things much, much worse.). Just because my kid has CP and your kid has CP (or special needs of any kind) doesn't mean we'll get along (as I noted in my last post, CP is a hugely broad term - and it's not like only certain kinds of people have kids with disabilities - I wouldn't want to be friends with certain political candidates, for example, ahem ahem). Those are two things I looked for for a while as friend criteria. If either/or is there, that's awesome (I would love more friends with kids with special needs, to be honest, and I do like my friends-who-are-moms very much, whether they were moms before, during, or after we became friends), but I can't just rely on that. Lately I've been getting along really really well with childfree people - which is a whole blog post in itself actually. Watch for it... But this all means that I don't know WHAT makes someone an ideal friend for me these days.

In any case, I'm going to try to keep my head up and my eyes open and move forward toward maybe finding one or two new friends. Or maybe I'll try to rekindle the friendships that have fallen by the wayside. Or both. I'm not sure. Something needs to change or start. That I know.