Tuesday, February 9, 2016

DDP Yoga Week 1

I've been doing DDP Yoga for a little over a week now.  I thought I'd give you guys some of my first impressions.

First of all, the packaging involved is very minimal - it comes in a large envelope, not a box.  Which is fine with me, really.  He has a few options when you're buying the program, and I believe I got the biggest.  There are 5 DVDs in my package, the guide, and a big poster with his "Diamond Dozen" moves.  There are 3-4 different workouts per DVD... way more than are included in the actual 13 week program, so you have plenty of extras there.  In addition to the workouts on the schedule, he has a short video on breathing, a morning yoga sequence, a couple of kids workouts (he pulls no punches with the kids....it's the same yoga, just smaller people), and some more advanced workouts.

The program is 13 weeks long, and there are 3 options... beginner, experienced, and advanced.  The beginner version has you progressing through the videos more slowly, 3 sessions a week with a 4th optional workout in the latter weeks.  Experienced progresses more quickly through the different workouts, 4 times a week with a 5th optional, and Advanced is 5 times a week, 6th optional. I do have some yoga experience, but I started with Beginner and my plan is to go through each level.

So far, all I've done is the Diamond Dozen tutorial and Energy.  The DD tutorial isn't really a workout, it's just teaching  you the different moves and modifications.  I broke a sweat doing it, but that might be more a testament of how out of shape I am right now rather than the workout itself.  Energy is a 20 minute workout.  Every time I've done it, by the time I think to see how much longer I have left, it's almost over.  It goes very quickly.

I'm not a yoga expert by any means, but from what I can tell from previous yoga classes, he's doing everything right.  He has renamed several poses, to sound more "manly" I suspect.  Child's pose is "safety zone", upward salute is "Touchdown".... you get the idea.  He focuses on Dynamic Resistance, tensing your muscles while moving to create your own resistance.  He's very big on modifications... this was designed to be usable by people with serious limitations as well as people who are fit.  He explains in the guide his own journey and I really could tell that he has a heart for helping people.  His website has a lot of testimonials, some incredibly amazing and inspirational, but he emphasizes that you aren't going to have some miraculous transformation unless you put in the work required for a miraculous transformation.  You get out what you put in. 

Personality-wise... I love DDP.  I like his style, but I can see how some people might not really get into him.  He is a little playful but not in a silly, goofy (Tony Horton) kind of way.  He just seems like a really cool guy, like you'd go kick back and have a beer with him after yoga.  And he has that raspy "I shredded my vocal cords when I was young" voice.

The guide has a nutrition part, but I haven't really gotten into that all that much - because food is my downfall and I'm having trouble mentally getting into it.  But it also has 3 levels. I'm going on memory here, but I think I remember the guidelines...  Level 1 is basically eating clean.  Cutting out processed foods and sugar.  Level 2 is cutting out dairy and gluten, and Level 3 is going organic and adding juicing.  He doesn't emphasize eating "low fat", which I appreciate.  No egg-white omelets or low fat cheese suggestions.  I don't really have a problem with his guidelines, although I'm not anti-dairy/gluten by any means.  The only criteria for what level you do is what kind of results you want.  He feels the you'll get faster/better results on Level 3 vs Level 1, but I do like that he doesn't just lay out one set of unobtainable eating goals.  I do intend to sit down and plan out a menu for myself, but like I said, food is my problem child and I haven't broken through that wall just yet.

I'll give more updates as things progress and I have something to report.  =)

Monday, February 8, 2016

My Izzybelle

My life has been very concentrated on Isabelle the past few months, with her stomach issues, and school issues, and just the fact that she thrives on attention and demands it constantly anyway.  I feel badly at times about it... Olivia and Zoe seem to take a backseat so often.  They don't complain or act up to refocus me onto them, though, so I assume they're not suffering for it.

Online schooling was a bust.  I could write a really long post about it, but I'm over it.  I feel a little mislead by the school (seems to be happening a lot, maybe it's my comprehension skills, I just don't know anymore) but aside from that, I just couldn't squeeze 6 hours of school work a day into my life. So, after a long, tearful discussion that left me feeling like a complete heel when she said she'd go back to school because she wanted ME to be happy (and not in a sarcastic way, she was being sincere), we enrolled Isabelle into the elementary school we're zoned for (not the charter school).

She was so scared.  She hadn't seriously complained about her stomach hurting much since leaving the charter school.  But immediately, that weekend before school started, she was curled up crying.  It's anxiety.... I know that's the root of it.  I just didn't know what else to do. We talked and talked.  She told me she was too shy, she'd never make any friends.  I told her to just be herself, people will come to her because she's Isabelle and Isabelle is awesome.  She wasn't convinced.

So I sent her off to school last Monday.  And this is what I brought home:




She made a friend.  =)  The week was exhausting, and I had forgotten how cranky that child can be when she's tired.  But she's happy otherwise. 

*****




I'm working on a little bitty baby blanket for a baby shower at work.  It seems impossibly small.  I think it actually will be a few inches shy of the recommended dimensions for a baby blanket, but I'm not frogging it.  I have to  have it finished by Thursday, so it's be a tad small or be a tad not done.  There's a teeny, tiny hat, too.  Same colors... a green hat with a daisy.  Baby stuff is so cute.

I'm feeling like the crochet bug  has reinfected me.... finally.  I have plans after this to make some pillows for my sister to celebrate her new house they just bought.  We've picked out colors and granny squares for me to work with.  I'm actually antsy to start.  

*****




We spend Saturday afternoon wandering Hot Springs, walking the Promenade and a trail up the mountain, then visiting rock shops.  I took this picture and have been told Zoe's my mini-me.  I don't normally see that, because she totally looks like Bill as a little boy, but in this picture...yes, I can see it. 

It was a beautiful day.  This winter has been so mild and I've loved it.  I don't mind winter, I'll take cold over hot any day, but I won't complain that it's not freezing outside.  I do worry that a warmer than usual winter will lead to a warmer than usual summer, and that will NOT be good.  I'll just enjoy it while it lasts, I guess, and deal with the heat when and if it arrives.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This and that...

This coming Saturday I'm going on a retreat with a group of women.  I really don't care about any of the activities involved.  I'm just looking forward to sleeping on a bed without a big dog who has recently decided the exact middle of the bed is his. 

*****

Every Sunday, we go see my Mom.  We usually go out to eat afterwards.  This week we went to a restaurant I haven't been to in many years.  They had several TVs around, and since this isn't a sports-themed place, they were tuned to 60 Minutes.  I don't watch a lot of TV and what little I watch is rarely news related in any way.  So the fact that I was actually in a position to see a TV with this program on is unusual.  They were talking about the Make A Wish foundation, and I see this boy on the screen and think, "I know that kid." 

I'm not sure that I ever talked about it on my blog, but last year I got involved with an organization that makes crocheted dolls for sick children.  I only made 2 dolls for them.... it was right before my father passed away and, to be honest, I still haven't really gotten my crochet mojo back since then so I've been on their hiatus list since.  But, in order to become one of their doll maker, you had to "audition" - make a doll for a kid you know and submit the photos to them.  I had asked friends if they knew of any sick kids I could make a doll for and a girl I went to high school with knew a little boy with leukemia.  I got his information and pictures and made him a little look-alike doll. 

It was that same little boy on screen.  I had a feeling the episode wasn't brand new, so I wondered how he was doing.

I debated messaging my friend to ask about the little boy.  He had been very sick last year when I made his doll, so I was afraid what news I would get back.  But I had to know.

The episode first aired in October.  The little boy had passed away before the episode aired.  I hate that.  As a human being, it just makes me so sad, and as a mother - it's terrifying.  I hope the doll I made gave him a little comfort in his last months and I hope his mother finds some comfort in it now. 

*****

I've mentioned that homeschooling Isabelle is exhausting, right?

God.

I adore my child.  But I feel like we're in a 3 legged race and we're not really in sync here. Most days we end up on our faces.  And she'd rather have a tantrum than help me get us back on our feet. 

They emphasized when giving me information about the online school that "this is NOT homeschool", it's online learning.  I am not her teacher, I am her Learning Coach.  She has a teacher through the school. They pointed out that I would be very involved, but I still felt like it would be minimal in comparison to "homeschool."

Yes, she has a teacher through the school. A teacher I have spoken to one time and Isabelle has literally NEVER talked to.  3 1/2 weeks in and no actual "class".  Nothing.  Nada.  It's all been me.  Homeschoolers use a curriculum as a guide to teach their children.  I see absolutely no difference so far between what I'm doing (using the K12 curriculum) and a homeschool.  It's a bit frustrating.  A bit?  A lot.

*****

2016-01-27_06-11-22

February 1..... I'm going to start DDP Yoga. 

I have a very good friend who is a yoga instructor.  She posted a motivational video a few weeks ago and I don't think she realized it was from DDP Yoga, but when we got to talking about it we discovered it.  Depending on your age and interests, you might recognize the initials DDP from wrestling.  Diamond Dallas Page.  Yes, yoga from a wrestler.  (I've never been a wrestling fan, but I've known enough of them to know who DDP is)  We were intrigued.  He has several very impressive transformation videos... you probably have seen the one about a disabled vet who was very overweight, and had to have assistance to even walk.  The video shows him falling over time and time again working out, but persisting over the course of a year.  He lost serious weight and could do a handstand and even run. The funny thing is, it's not a screaming advertisement for the program... it's really subtle.  I've seen that video for probably a few years and never caught on to what program he used.  It's just a very motivational and inspirational video.

I know a lot of people get all pumped up watching stuff like that and impulse buy the product thinking they're going to get immediate and drastic results.  I made myself wait and think about it for a while.  I like yoga.  I used to do it all the time, but all my workouts were on Youtube and my internet connection at home prevents me from being able to do that now.  I think with some of the issues I've been having with my back could be greatly helped with yoga, and time and money make going to an actual yoga studio difficult right now.  This seemed like an interesting alternative.  So, after thinking about it and doing a little research, I decided to order it.

 I've promised to let my friend know what I think about it, so hopefully that will keep me on track.  It's a 13 week program, and there are actually 3 levels, so you could follow the program for 39 weeks total.  The workouts aren't excessively long either, so it will be easier to squeeze into my overscheduled days.  I have to get back into working out regularly, so hopefully this will get me back on track.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gray hair

This has nothing to do with anything, but I noticed lately that all the stray hairs I find on my shirt and desk are gray.  Like ALL of them.  Do I really have that much gray now?  Or maybe my scalp has decided I am too young to have this much gray and is just shedding the grays to even things out. 

This weekend I started and finished Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt.  I ran across it on a list of inspiring books and it's about a dyslexic girl, so I jumped on it.  At first I was really bothered by the writing, but then I realized it's a YA novel, emphasis on the Y.  It was alright, but I was expecting something completely different, which isn't the book's fault.  I have to admit that it did serve a purpose, though.  It had been a very frustrating week with Isabelle and I had pretty much decided homeschooling wasn't going to work for us.  But I felt really guilty after starting the book, reading about all the struggles the girl in the book had, and decided we would keep trying.  I couldn't help but see Isabelle as the girl in the book.  If I thought she would find a teacher to help her like the girl in the book did, I'd send her back in a heartbeat.  But that's not been our experience and I think I'm her best option at the moment.  God help her.

The book was a total impulse read, but I looked at my reading list and it fit the "book with a blue cover" selection, so that worked out pretty good.  ;)

We had snow on Friday and I was lucky enough to be able to hole up in the house and not get out in it.  I used to like the novelty of snow, because we used to only get it once every couple of  years.  But we get it at least once a year anymore and I can't stand it.  I don't know how people deal with it nonstop in the winter in northern climates.

I have had a couple of good nights' sleep.  I connected the dots that my troubles got worse when I bought a new bottle of melatonin.  I had been waking up a few times each night and thought a time release pill might help stop that.  It didn't and, of course, I tossed and turned forever trying to get to sleep so it was basically worthless.  This weekend, I bought the kind I had before, the rapid dissolve, and have slept much better.  I still get up, but I can fall back asleep without much problem.  I just need the nudge to get to sleep to begin with.

I probably do need a new mattress.  The one we have isn't very old.  It was my parents' and they gave it to us because my Mom kept falling out of bed after they bought it (she had never done that before on their previous mattress.  weird).  They decided to get twin beds and offered us this one.  It's only a few years old, but it's not as firm as I prefer and Bill's never been all that thrilled with it.  I'd absolutely love one like my mom has now.... it's one of those adjustable beds where the head and feet raise, it has a memory foam mattress, and it vibrates.  It's like sleeping in a little cloud nest being rocked to sleep by angels.  However, I think we will tough it out for another year though.   We still have to make a $3,000 payment on the moronic deal we made with the previous house owners for the hot tub (which we literally haven't used in over a year and I didn't want to begin with) and the air compressor in the shop.  I'm still kicking myself over that.  We have a list a mile long of things to spend money on after that... a fence, new mower, this, that, the other thing.  Somewhere in there is a new mattress. You know how it goes, never enough time, never enough money....


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sleep. Or lack thereof.

I finished Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz last night.  It was my selection for a "New York Times bestseller."  I'm a long time fan of Koontz.  As a teen/young adult, living with my parents and not having a lot of my own money, I read whatever they were reading.  My Mom has always been a voracious reader, as long as I can remember.  She'd get so engrossed in a book we'd have to "Mom... Mom.... Mom.... MOTHER" her repeatedly to bring her back to reality.  She loves historical romances.  So for a long time, appropriate for my age or not, I read historical romances.  Luckily, my Dad started reading more and more.  He was a huge fan of Koontz and I have always felt like Koontz rescued me from romance.  I'm not trying to say historical romance is trashy.... we all have our own tastes and I know people who think Koontz or King is just as trashy as read as Fabio style romance.... I'm just saying I've never felt the desire to pick up another one of my Mom's books since discovering Koontz.

Ashley Bell is about a young woman named Bibi.  Bibi is a writer, engaged to a Navy Seal, and has brain cancer.  But then a mysterious man brings a golden retriever into her hospital room.  It licks her hand and miraculously cures her cancer.  I know, I know.  She learns that her life was spared from the cancer so that she can save the life of someone named Ashley Bell, who is being held captive by a neo-Nazi who wants to torture and kill her for his birthday.

Yes, it sounds ridiculous.  It's hard to describe the book without spoilers.  Koontz writes about paranormal things, but there are some logical explanations along the way. 

I wouldn't rank this up there with my favorites of Koontz (Odd Thomas will forever hog that spotlight), but I enjoyed it and was hooked immediately.  I finished it in under a week.  The characters were likeable.  I especially loved Pogo.  Pax, Bibi's fiance, fell flat though.  If you like Koontz, give it a shot.  If you want to read Koontz for the first time, I think there are far better books to start off with.

*****

Next is my selection for "a dystopian novel".  I'm going to have to go with the queen of dystopian novels (in my opinion), Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale is her most recognized work).  Her newest novel is The Heart Goes Last.  It doesn't have a really great rating on GoodReads, but the synopsis is really intriguing to me and I usually like her books, so I'm giving it a go.

*****

You know what I love?  Sleep. 

You know what I don't love?  Not getting enough sleep.

It wasn't that long ago that I could settle down into bed, get comfy, and drift off to sleep within minutes.  It was awesome.  I go to bed about 10pm-ish and am up by 4:30am.  So, only having 6-6 1/2 hours to sleep a night, falling asleep quickly was important.  I can go on 6 hours of sleep easily.  "They" recommend 8, but in order to do that I'd have to give up my quiet "me" time, and I think that time is more important to my sanity than sleep.

But something has jacked that all up.  I go to bed and wait for sleep.  Toss and turn and wait for sleep.  Doze off, wake up an hour later.  Rearrange pillows, try to yank the covers out from under the behemoth Ollie, doze off and on.  It's like that every night.

I talked to the doctor about it.  He suggested I take melatonin, because it's natural and not addictive, and wouldn't leave me a zombie if I didn't get a full 8 hours of sleep.  He said that with me only getting 6 hours of sleep, most sleep aids would not have worn off by the time I needed to wake, so unless I could arrange my schedule to allow that, they wouldn't be a good option.  So, I take melatonin before bed.  It helped at first.  But now it doesn't. 

I had switched from a chewable tablet to a time release tablet, so I'm really hoping switching back might help. I hate not sleeping well.  I'm exhausted all day, then wide awake at night.  And it's really hard to do school with Isabelle when all I can think about is falling face first into my bed.  Tuesday I was so worn out that I literally did spend most of the afternoon face down on the bed instead of teaching her.  I just couldn't do it.  But even naps aren't as satisfying as they used to be.  If I can actually fall asleep, it's a too light sleep that doesn't refresh me at all.

And while I'm whining, my back hurts.  When I sit for a while and get up, my lower back seizes up and I have to walk like hunchbacked old woman for a few steps before I can straighten up.  It really pisses me off.  I've never really had to deal with back pain before.  And honestly, whatever is causing it, I would be hard to be convinced it's not related to my weight in some way.  Maybe going to get a massage or going to a chiropractor would help temporarily, but if I can't start taking some of this 2015 weight off, it won't get better.  I'm sure of that. 

But... when I went to the doctor this week, for the first time in a year, my weight was LOWER than the previous visit.  Hallelujah.  Only a few pounds, but I'll take it.  Unfortunately, my A1C was higher than before, so I need to get some serious focus in my life.  I can do this.  I have to do this.  I'm freaking 40, not 80 and I refuse to feel like it.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Red Queen and a strange book about cleaning

I finished two books Wednesday night.  I had Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard on my Audible and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo on my Kindle.  I would read on my Kindle here and there throughout the day when I had time, and listen to my audiobook at night, sometimes at lunch.

I had seen so many people reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, claiming it was just a miraculous book.  My curiousity won out so I grabbed it.  I'll be honest... I'm basically a slob.  I attract clutter.  I come from a family of clutter-y people.  I do crave cleanliness and orderliness, though.  So I thought, let's see if this really is "life-changing." 

Marie Kondo is a strange chick.  There's just no other way to put it.  I was like "did she really just tell me to thank my clothes before throwing them away?"  "Does she really think I'm going to empty out my purse every time I come home?"  But after giving it some thought, while she absolutely sounds a bit kooky, she's not off base.  You should have a lot of respect and gratitude for your belongings.  I don't really know that I'll ever TALK to my belongings, but I understand the mindset of it.  I'm probably never going to clean out my purse every single day though. 

Her basic method is to do a clean sweep of your home, decluttering and getting rid of anything that you don't absolutely love all in one fell swoop.  None of this "a little bit at a time" nonsense.  Get in, get it out, get it done.  Which might be easy for a lot of people.  Kondo is Japanese, and admits that most Japanese dwellings are fairly small.  I'm not sure she works with a lot of families, either.  So my comparatively large American home with 4 other human beings involved would take me quite a bit of devoted time I don't really have.  I'd need a week or two off of work and for my family to go on vacation without me.  Because they think EVERYTHING "sparks joy".  That's the problem. LOL

BUT I think she's got very valid ideas.  She's into simplifying life.  I would really love to go through and get rid of 75% of our belongings, be simple.  It just isn't going to happen overnight so I probably wouldn't get the whole "life-changing" benefits that come from her method. 

Now... Red Queen.

Red Queen is a YA dystopian novel, much like every other YA dystopian novel.  A young girl in a world divided into a ruling class and an oppressed lower class and she is somehow a key figure in the revolution of the lower class over the upper class.  Throw in a love triangle and there you have it. 

I wasn't sure I'd really like it at first, and I think it's an example of how some books are better read than listened to.  The narrator's interpretation of Mare in the beginning made her very snotty and it bothered me.  I'm not sure I would have gotten that from reading it myself. 

Mare is a young girl, a Red blood ruled by the god-like Silver blooded upper class.  She has no real future and is soon to be drafted into the army, fighting in a never-ending war.  A turn of events has her engaged to the younger of two princes, discovering that there is something very special and very unusual about her that threatens the Silvers.  She's betrothed to Maven, but has feelings for his older brother, the next in line to the throne, Cal.  There's also affection for her friend, Killorn (I may not be spelling that right), whom she grew up with and who probably has stronger feelings for her and she may for him, but that's just implied and never fully addressed because a triangle is complicated enough without turning it into a square.  I anticipate that will probably be addressed later in the series.

Like I said, YA dystopian novels are pretty formulaic, it's just the details that make them different and I thought Aveyard has a good story.  I will say that the two "twists" are pretty predictable.  I had called them from very early on.  But she did make me wait for it, and a few times I wondered if maybe I was wrong.

I'll probably continue on with the series, but not immediately.  I'm starting Dean Koontz's Ashley Bell tonight.  I also need to find another book for my Kindle.  I try to read non-fiction on there, something that won't completely draw me in so I can just pick it up and put it down as I need to.  I spent the last 2 months of 2015 trudging through Stephen King's It, so to zip through 2 books in under 2 weeks is pretty refreshing, to be honest.  God, that's a tedious book.  LOL

Thursday, January 14, 2016

And now there are 5

My sister texted me yesterday morning.  My mom called her and told her that she needed to get rid of her cats.  She has two six month old kittens, a boy and a girl.  She's been completely in love with them up until the past few weeks.  I'm not entirely sure what's going on.  I know they're a bit mischievous.  The boy kitty has been waking her up at night.  One of them likes to chew on cords.  I guess they got to be a bit much to handle.  My sister knew I had some pictures of them and she was thinking we could post something to Facebook to see if anyone we knew would take them. 

My immediate reaction was, "She's going to regret this.  I can't let her give these cats away."  So I did something crazy.  I said I'd take them.

I'm not an animal person.  I don't dislike animals and I'd never mistreat one, I'm sure I'd be sad if any of our animals died, but I wouldn't be devastated.  I have not sought out any of our animals.  They've all found us in some way.  Killer was a stray that just didn't leave.  Ollie was a stray that my friend found and asked if we'd take him.  Henrietta was a stray that Bill picked up.  And now two more kittens.  Misty and Tiger (I don't really care for the names, but we're not going to change them - as much as I'd love to).

I figured if I took the kittens, my mom would still be able to change her mind or at least see them. 

20151206_151558

Misty is the soft gray kitty on the left, Tiger is on the right.  He looks a bit like Henrietta, but with a slightly browner coat and he's a little bigger.

I rounded up the girls after school, decided Isabelle could have a break from school for the afternoon (we'll have to do some work to make up for it on Saturday), and went to get the cats from my mom.

My poor Momma.  She really does love the kittens and she was so sad to see them go.  It completely broke my heart.  But she insisted.  They had to go.  It worries me a bit, if I'm honest.  She just made it through the first Christmas without my Dad and now she's giving up her cats that she adores.  I don't want her to be sad.

We brought the cats home and opened up the carrier.  Killer couldn't care less.  I expected more of a reaction, because she hates Henrietta, but she just ignored it all.  Henrietta was not happy.  She stalked up to the carrier hissing.  She's a big talker, though.  She wouldn't get too close.  Misty and Tiger slipped out and ran under the couch, where they stayed all night.  I can't say how Ollie reacted, because he never had the chance to see them.  He sniffed all their belongings (my mom had tons of toys for them), but I don't know that he realizes they're really in the house.  Misty ventured out at some point because she was in the window  this morning, but Tiger is still hiding.

So, now we have 5 pets.  So much for not being an animal person, huh?


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