My New Weekends

I’ve officially survived my first week as a doctoral student. I love it! I’ve been so energized by what I’m reading that I wake up at night with research ideas and I literally cannot sleep until I think them through and do a little writing. I’m sure that will change later in the semester once I’m sufficiently exhausted.

But weekends aren’t for fun anymore. It’s Sunday afternoon and I have:

  • Finished and emailed my chapter in an anthology about “Femininities and Masculinities in a Global Context” which should be bound and published by the end of 2009. It began with a paper I presented back in February about Bessie Head’s novel A Question of Power being a feminist retelling of the biblical Job narrative. So I’m glad that’s done and shipped off. (At least until editorial revisions come back).
  • Read 400 pages in an anthology about digital humanities
  • Read probably 60 pages worth online about the same topic
  • Decided upon, clarified, did initial research, and posted on a potential topic for a white paper in one of my courses
  • Made contact with: an alum from my program, a professor I’ll be job shadowing, a professor I’ll be interviewing, and my new faculty mentor. I have three appointments on schedule next week to meet with these folks.
  • Collaborated with a classmate on an assignment we have due Friday. Provided feedback on her work and incorporated her feedback into improvements on my own work.
  • Laundered, folded, and put away all of our textiles.
  • Rode 37.8 miles on my bike yesterday.
  • Completed week 1 of the Couch to 5K program this morning.
  • Oh! And learned to skim rocks in our not-draining very scary neighborhood retention pond.

And now I’m going to take a nap before I go grocery shopping.

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C25K

As planned, I started the Cool Runnings Couch to 5K program this week.

Owwwwww.

This week’s workouts sound pretty simple: a five-minute brisk walk followed by 20 minutes of alternating 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking. That sounds easy, right?

It is not. Owwwwww.

First of all, let’s be clear: I am not out of shape. I ride 30ish miles on my bike each weekend, and I’m in the gym 5 days per week on top of that. I can do all kinds of exercises and machines and workouts. And still?

Owwwwww. This week’s workouts consist of only 8 total minutes jogging each time. But my legs feel like I just ran two marathons. My quads hurt, my hip flexors hurt, and I swear my calves grew by like 2 inches.

But I’ve made it through week one. 9 more weeks until the Orange Blossom 5k. Woot!

(Owwwwww.)

Thank God for Fitday

I’ve been feeling like I’m going nowhere with my weight loss. Probably in part because I had this big goal of reaching the one hundreds before classes began (which is today). Instead of 199, I weight 207. And I feel like I’ve weighed 207 FOREVER.

But, thankfully, Fitday keeps track of my weight for me numerically. Not in terms of how I feel or how I look, but just based on the numbers.

Just based on the numbers, I have to say the last month has been a success. I went form 218 to 207. Not bad. Better than the previous month, actually.

So while I feel like everything is at a standstill, I know it’s not. And I have to keep reminding myself of that as I sit here in my size-14 pants. (woot!)

To Fay: GET LOST!

I am not unaware as to how fortunate we Floridians are that Fay turned out to be such a slow, big, mess of a storm. I’ll take that over a compact dynamo hurricane any day. We haven’t even lost power.

But?

On DAY FIVE of this Tropical Storm weather, can you just shoot me now??

I saw a tree fall down while I was driving on a state road yesterday. And it didn’t fall down because of typical wind-gusts. The dang thing collapsed because the ground is so freaking wet.

The good? All that water fills Florida’s underground aquifers, which means no gigantic sink holes for a while. That’s kinda nice.

But it’s just so dang soggy around here now. Our neighborhood is going to flood if the rain doesn’t stop today. Seriously, the retention pond is full to the brim… it’s about to overflow. And? There are FROGS EVERYWHERE. It’s like a freaking plague.

And this morning? I saw an earthworm cinching across my living room carpet. GET BACK OUTSIDE, CRITTERS!

Gah!

Disenchanted

This is a blog primarily about losing weight. But, as a human being, I obviously have many more facets to my life than just that. So I also dabble here in my work life, my schooling, my marriage.

And today I have to get some things off my chest about that last subject. You undoubtedly have realized by now that I am in an interracial marriage (pictures of the hubby here, here, here, and here). 99.8% of the time, I forget that our marriage is different in any way, that it’s somehow remarkable. Because we’re really just two average people trucking along in our life together.

But one of the things that comes along with being interracially married is that you become a guru on the subject for other people who are dabbling, considering, contemplating, or otherwise engaging in interracial liaisons of their own.

Case in point: there’s a girl named Melinda that I went to high school with. And when I say “went to high school with,” that exactly what I mean. We weren’t friends. Didn’t hang out. Had a few classes together, but that’s it. We do have a lot in common: we come from upper-middle-class nuclear families, we attended neighboring churches, we attended and graduated from private colleges, that kind of thing. I’d expect the two of us to have similar ideas and values.

Melinda works in politics in a big city. She started dating a guy. A black guy. The kind of black guy who hangs out in mostly-white crowds, who attended mostly-white schools, who fits in easily to a mostly-white life. Melinda started dating this guy and it became serious. She contacted me on MySpace with questions about how my family reacted, how I managed dealing with Lee’s family, all that kind of stuff. I was completely honest with her, sharing the good and the bad of our reality. We had some great conversations, and I think I was able to really help her.

Then Melinda and this guy got engaged! All was well!

Until I started getting more MySpace messages with more questions. Melinda loves this man. But she was having trouble with the idea of having children together. I graciously explained that of course she had a picture in her mind of white kids… why wouldn’t she? It’s just a matter of reimagining the picture and embracing it. Once I fell in love with Lee, I wanted to see him reflected in my kids.

But Melinda was really struggling in this area. She thought about adopting children instead of having biological children. She thought about not having kids at all. She agonized about people looking at her and judging her if she were to run errands with biracial kids in tow. After a million conversations, she emailed me yesterday to inform me that she had broken off the engagement. She explained that since her fiancee was clearly “racially confused” (since he identifies mostly with white friends and colleagues), she didn’t want to also have racially confused children. So she ended the relationship.

Now, I admit to seeing the positives here:

  1. No relationship is entirely about race. There obviously must have been other issues.
  2. Any woman who is even slightly uneasy about having mixed-race kids should NOT do it, so I commend Melinda for being honest with herself.
  3. Now Melinda can move on to another, easier, less-stressful relationship with someone else (at least that’s what I hope for her).

But despite the positives, helping her through this situation has been incredibly draining and, frankly, disturbing for me. It proves that while I may be thinking in post-racial terms and may have a comfort level with racial diversity in my own home, many others still do not feel the same way. I knew this, but I didn’t expect it from someone in my own generation.

I am sickened by the assumption that mixed-race kids are automatically going to be “racially confused.” My kids will know that they are loved. They will be purposefully surrounded by kids of many other races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. And I see plenty of white kids trying to be gangsta that looking “racially confused” to me….

I am also sickened by the fact that Melinda doesn’t seem to have any awareness of what she just put her ex-boyfriend through. Here’s a man who loved her, who wanted to marry her and have children with her, and was ultimately rejected on the basis of his race. Or, rather, on the basis of the racial identity of his potential offspring. Can you imagine? He must be devastated. I pray that he is able to NOT internalize this rejection in any negative way.

And mostly, I’m just reminded of the complexities of race outside my household. We do our own thing. We’re our own family. My value system holds diversity in high regard. My value system is built on the premise that people should be liked or disliked based on their honesty, their genuineness, and their kindness rather than by their skin color. (or accent or family background or clothes.)

Lee was born into a crappy family. That’s not his fault. He is a generous, sweet, loving, fun, and forgiving man despite what he’s been through. How could I not want to see him reflected in our children… in every way?

I’m just so very tired of this even being an issue. But as for me and my house, we’ve moved on.

I hereby recommit

I hereby recommit to the tenets of healthy living and my surgery. I confess that I’ve been over-confident and over-comfortable with my weight loss thus far, and it’s showing: I’ve gained two pounds this week.

Fluctuations are normal, I know. But this isn’t about that kind of normal water-weight thing: this is the result of carbs, late-night eating, and poor food choices. When I eat carbs, I feel like shit but I do it anyway.

Today I start over. I commit to the following:

  • Protein first, each and every time I eat. Minimum of 60g per day.
  • 64 oz of water daily… not sugar-free this or that, but WATER.
  • The goal is 1000-1200 calories per day. No more.
  • If protein is first, nutritionally dense foods are second. If a food doesn’t have some kind of vitamin, mineral, amino acid, or essential fat that I need, I choose not to eat it. Goodbye worthless bread and processed nothingness.
  • Keep doing 5 days of exercise per week, no matter what.

Surgery does nothing to solve these problems. What surgery does do is make me afraid to eat sugar, and unable to binge eat. It does NOT exercise for me or make positive food choices for me. I am responsible for that myself.

I weigh 211 pounds. This is not acceptable. This is not where I want to be.

Moving on…

Fay is on her way

So the first Tropical Storm of the season (for us) is heading our way. During the busiest week of the entire academic year. So this should be interesting!

You guys, I am stuck at 208 for the SECOND week. I am eating right. I am exercising (31 miles on the bike today!). But I am also stressed, and we know cortisol slows weight loss. Grrr.

This is my last week before school begins for me, and I have a big project to finish that’s due on day 1 for one of the classes. I’m not even sure how I’ll make time for it all this week, but I’ll have to figure it out. Step 1: read at least 400 pages by the end of the day tomorrow.

So while the stress builds and I feel like my life is on the verge of exploding, know this: I LIVE FOR THIS CRAP. I love it.