Friday, September 27, 2013

Caught Staring

I spent a good portion of my life looking down. It took years for me to gain the confidence to look people in the eye. When  I did look in the mirror, it was just to pop a zit (don't squirm, you know you've done it too) or pick apart other flaws. Tummy too round, hips too wide, and so many stretch marks that a doctor once assumed I'd had a baby...or two (gotta love a good irony), nose too round... you name it, I saw it all as imperfect and unlovably ugly.
Yes, the confident woman you read now wasn't born that way. I faced down a lot of demons and came out the other side with LOTS of help and lots of love from some good friends, family, and professionals.
That said...the mirror is no longer my enemy.  That doesn't mean I spend hours staring at myself but every once in a while, I check out my progress visually, shall we say...
Something My Sailor doesn't always appreciate.
Overheard from the bathroom after a work out this week was something I never thought I'd hear. 
"Honey, stop checking out your ass and get in the shower!" - My Sailor
Guilty as charged but, hey!
 After spending nearly two-thirds of my life living in a dark, insecure place, I think I'm allowed to enjoy my...assets.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reaching Critical Mass

Critical Mass is the amount of fissile material needed to sustain nuclear fission.
It's finally starting to happen. I predicted it would happen a few months ago, but it's actually starting to happen in a much bigger, more noticable way.

I've finally reached what I refer to as critical mass.

This past year, I've been really working at making my work outs part of my daily life - making them as necessary as brushing my teeth or going to work. I refuse to say I'm 'transforming' my life. Life is all about change and at the heart of all of the gym work outs and dietary adjustments, I'm still me - the geeky girl that dances around the house in front of the dogs while making dinner, or gets completely giddy at the thought of a Disney World vacation.

Back around February, I predicted that, eventually, my body would reach a point where the muscle mass starts truly eating away the body fat and the scale will start going down instead of bouncing around the same 5-8lbs.

Well, it seems that the scale is actually consistantly heading downward. Now, I don't weigh myself often. I know full well that nearly ANYTHING can cause that number to go up or down, from the amount of sleep I've gotten to the time of month (or even day). I also can't attribute all of this to just working out hard. I'm sure the Paleo style diet is helping as well. I do notice I feel a lot less bloated and achy since going wheat free. It's a bit more work in the kitchen, but completely worth it. It took a while for me to stop missing bread, but now, I actually not even like the taste of most of the junk food.

I can't attribute all of the changes to my diet alone. In fact, my allergies are completely kicking into high gear, so I imagine the water retention will kick back in with them, but
the scale is probably honestly the least important measurement of how my efforts are paying off.

I measure my progress more by looking in the mirror and being
surprised to see a leaner version of me staring back.
Zombie 5k in August with My Sailor and my Brother In Law
I don't despise clothes shopping like I used to (though I still prefer to fly solo for that, or go with a good gal pal).

No, I'm still 'me'.  I don't feel particularly unleashed, but that's probably because I came out of the shadows a long time ago.
 I do feel a tad more confident in a short skirt,
a lot more confident in the gym,
And I am very very glad to report that the plan is working.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The "A" Word - Mindshift Necessary

Let's take a break from all the gym and fitness talk and talk about a subject that weighs on my heart every single day.


I didn't expect this journey to be the greatest challenge to my courage that I've had to date, but it certainly has. Beyond being a divorcee, beyond becoming submariner's wife, beyond relocating, beyond flying solo, beyond any amount of height of jumped on a box or weight lifted, this has truly redefined 'courage' to me. I know it's completely mind-boggling to most when I say that it doesn't really matter to me if I ever have biological children. If it happens, it happens. I'm not burning for the whole pregnancy deal. We're building our family no matter what. And we're adopting. Just as some women have always known they'd have bio kids, as soon as I started entertaining parenthood, I knew I'd adopt. I guess I'm wired differently.

People ask a LOT of questions. Honestly, I don't mind the questions. In fact, I appreciate questions, because it shows an effort to fully understand the process and the people who choose to get involved in the adoption world. As an adoptee, I don't mind talking about it one bit. As an adopting parent, I stay open about it. I'm pretty skilled at fielding questions that are well intentioned (like, "How much will your kids cost if you go international?"as if I'm just dialing up Amazon and ordering a kid 'Made in China' or something, or "Why don't you just go IVF?" as if that's an easy process for a woman or somehow a more 'legitmate' way to build a family rather than embracing kids who are already in the world in dire need of a place to call 'home' and someone to love, guide, and believe in them). 

I've got kind, friendly answers to all of these questions down pat and I don't take offense to the questions.

See, I'd rather people ask questions and show a willingness to understand than jump to conclusions.

Ignorance is not bliss. It's just ignorance.
Now, in defense of those who jump to conclusions - we all jump to conclusions in life. We can't help it. It's part of our protective instincts to evaluate our surroundings (and those who inhabit it) for threats and assets. It's a basic need for survival.  So I get where it comes from.

But I ran into a situation last week that just infuriated me. I can't stand when the ignorance of people about family dynamics make them treat adoption (and, by association, adoptees) as 2nd class citizens. As if creating a family through adoption somehow makes it 'less' of a family. Just because I wasn't my birth parents or my adoptive parents 'Plan A' when it came to family planning... well, you've heard the saying, "Man plans and God laughs," right? What's ment to be as a way of working out.
Little Me, Dad, Brother and a couple of herding dogs in Australia.  If I was never adopted, this picture may never have happened.
So let me ask the biologically related families out there.

Do you love your family members ONLY because you have genetics in common?
Everyone has an opinion about adoption.

So without further ado, you my dear readers (ye brave, ye few) are getting the answers to some of the strong opinions I've been exposed to this last year as we're challenged to adopt.

"White people shouldn't adopt black children. It'll be too hard and you can't possibly understand what it's like to grow up black." - You're right. I don't know what it's like to grow up 'black'. Or Asian, or German, or Mexican, or fill-in-the-ethnicity-that-isn't-on-my-mixed-family-tree-here. The stark color difference seems to just call more attention to families adopting kids with darker skin tones. I only know what it's like to grow up. I know that it's hard. I know that people can be mean. I know that I'll need to ask for help from people who do understand the culture my child comes from better than I do, no matter what that nationality is. Just because a child is a similar skin tone to mine doesn't mean that's any different.  More often than not, these kids (who are in an orphanage or foster care by no fault of their own) will either age out of the system and be left to their own devices, or worse, die from conditions in orphanages across the seas.
So you're saying death or not having a place to go home to are better options than having a loving place to call 'home' even if it's filled with people who don't look like you?
If you have a better solution, I'm all ears.

"Don't adopt overseas! There are SO many kids here who need good homes!" - You're right. There are lots of kids here who need loving homes. Anyone who has been part of a family knows that the bonds are an invisible, guttural tie that binds. Sometimes that guttural feeling crosses streets, blocks, and states. Other times, it crosses oceans.
Brother, Mom, and Little Me. We don't look alike, but it doesn't matter.
"Adopt an infant! The earlier the better! Then you'll get a blank slate and someone who isn't 'damaged.'" Let me spell this out for you. Adoption is a thing born of trauma. There is no way around it. Infants have emotions. In fact, their emotions are completely unguarded and untempered by reason, since they don't have that skill set yet. They don't understand why they are being surrendered or who these strangers gazing lovingly down at them are, be they foster parent, orphanage worker, or adoptive parent. No child is a 'blank slate' ever. With an older child, you can communicate and explain things, and help them reason through things. With an infant, you still have to do that- just later in the game.
Teenage Me. There are some kids out there who have never walked a dog - because they are 'too old' to have a family...
"But you'll miss all those firsts if you adopt older! First steps! First words!" True, there are some 'firsts' that adoptive parents of beyond-infant-age kids don't get. But they get different 'firsts'. The thing is, adoption, like any kind of parenting, isn't really about the parent. It's about the kids. So, if we adopt an older kid, we'll get firsts like - the first genuinely unguarded hug, the first "I love you" that comes genuinely and easily, the first time they ask for help with a problem they are having because they now know they can rely on their parents for help for the first time. Those are just as much worth celebrating, if not even more.

On a personal level, I got a very small taste of this one when I was in a relationship with a single dad. I still recall clearly the day his youngest gave me a hug and said she loved me. I remember the first time his son got a kiss on the cheek from me and turned bright red, smiling from ear to ear. I remember the first time his oldest confided in me about a problem she was having. Each of those experiences were treasured moments in my past - and I still send up prayers for those kids often, despite the fact that it would have been unhealthy for me to be an ongoing presence in their lives. They deserve the chance to bond with a step-mother that is a better match for their father than I was.

Little me - a Christmas with a treasured friend from my childhood. There are kids this age who have never known this kind of joy... because they are 'too old' to be adopted - at 5 years old.
"But Older kids have a history or might have special needs! They could be really screwed up! Doesn't that scare you?" Sure! EVERY parent is scared on some level. It's normal. Even with biological children, you can't protect them from the world entirely. Bad things sometimes happen and our job (as parents) is to make sure we give them coping mechanisms to deal with what the world dishes out and teach them to reach for their dreams. Now, granted, few would choose a child with special needs over a healthy child. Honestly, there are some special needs that I'm not (at this moment) able to deal with, but there are some I know deep down I can figure out. (And you find me an adult who doesn't have a single special need, and I'll lay money that person doesn't have a pulse.) Rememberno child is in the system by fault of their own. Yes, some may have medical/mental needs that their parents couldn't attend to and that's why they were taken away/given up. Some may have had adults that failed them in their lives. Whatever the reason, these kids have experienced loss on a level most people don't see until they become adult-orphans (when their parents pass away). Trust may not come easily to some. It might come too easily because all they want is love. Life doesn't come with guarantees. But that's okay. Trust is something that can grow and can be learned over time. If this sounds like something you'd say (or have said), I challenge you with this one, "What age do you stop needing hearts to call home?" Sure, as a 30 something, I don't depend on my parents for the everyday things, but anyone that has ever lost a parent can tell you that you never stop needing or wanting a loving parent's influence in your life.

"What if you can't bond with them?"  I don't believe in 'return to sender' labels. I believe in building connections where you can and letting time (and consistency) do it's job. We'll find some common ground, no matter how small, and build on that. We'll take our time making sure we find a match that fits with us. Parenting isn't about what you can get. It's about what you can give.
My Brother and Little Me, feeding orphaned lambs on a ranch in Australia. I wouldn't have had my brother if he wasn't adopted as well. We're not biologically related.
 It doesn't matter.
"But isn't adoption expensive?" Actually, there are a LOT of grants and options out there. Adoption through foster care in our state is about $2500 per adoption (not per child since you're paying fees for the services, not a price tag for a child). There are LOTS of ways to raise money for adoption. There is a fabulous book out there, Adopt Without Debt, that has some great ideas for raising money. Like anything in life, you save up for it, or you finance it. It's like anything else. You figure it out if it's important enough to you. You cut corners. You hold garage sales. You change your vacation expectations. And think about it this way, if you're willing to finance a car or a house that is purely a 'thing' that will be part of your everyday life for 6-30 years, why wouldn't you be willing to do what's necessary to bring your child/children home?

In closing -   Adoption is NOT for everyone. I respect that completely. A bad match can do more harm than good.  In fact, in the US, adoption has fallen by 68% over the last 8 years, which is 24% steeper than the rest of the world. The number of children living without families is on the rise all over the world.
Just as IVF or surrogacy or even parenthood is not for everyone.

As an adoptee that got matched with the right family for me, I have seen first hand the kind of healing that happens when adoption works. It's never been about what my brother and I can do for our parents. It's always been about what our parents could do. They changed their lives to change ours because they wanted a family. Adoption is a practice as old as time. As long as there have been orphans, there has been adoption. We see it in nature, and we see it in our world. Nearly 3% of the US population is adopted, but over a million kids around the world are still awaiting homes. Many of them with aren't infants. But, like I said, there is never an age a child doesn't need a place to call home, someone to believe in them, and someone to take the risk of caring. 

So, I ask you, dear readers -
Do you love your family members ONLY because you have genetics in common?

Or is that the LEAST of the reasons why you love your family?
My Sailor, Dad, Me, Brother, and Mom.
There is one thing that everyone seems to agree on though - Children belong in families. No matter what those 'families' look like.

*Special thanks to My Sailor for his encouragement in helping me hit 'publish'. Best team mate ever.*

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Finding Footing with the Wrong Foot First.

Some days just start off on the wrong foot. We all have them. I, admittedly, don't have too many of them. That's not due to living a charmed life - it's more due to spending a few minutes every morning thinking positive over a cup of tea. But some days just start on the wrong foot to begin with.

This morning's 'bad day' started around 10:30pm. I felt My Sailor slip into peaceful dream beside me while I was still trying to warm up my frozen feet. Hey - I'm a woman - which means my feet are drop 10 degrees below a reasonable body tempurature as soon as I slip into bed.

I did my best to quiet my mind and drift off into dreamland myself. 30 minutes passed... no luck. I got up, got a drink of water, and popped some Melatonin. I went back to bed. Then I went back to sleep.

3 hours later, I got up to go to the bathroom. Then back to bed. Half an hour later, back up to the bathroom. Shark week has been kind of brutal lately. The coppery scent of iron seems to be seeping through my skin this week. I don't have Endo flare ups often, but last night I blame largely on that. That little ball of barbed wire in my belly felt the need to slowly wrap just a little bit tighter. Aching muscles left over from Monday's heavy lifting linger still, and the chronic annoyance of pain just makes them want to wrap a bit tighter and tighter.

I'm sure a bit of it is stress related. Good stress (it seems like this 2nd floor addition to the house is going to be spectacular and affordable, and 2 nibbles on my resume are both continuing, so it's nice to have some doors opening, and, of course, setting up to make headway on the adoption process) and bad stress (news that a good friend's special needs daughter seems to be reaching the end of what medicine can offer for her degenerative neuro disorder, a little stress about what to do with the family during the upcoming holidays, etc.) is still all stress.

After seeing My Sailor out to door around 5am, I collapsed back on the couch with the phone off. I managed to catch a few more hours of sleep, but overslept and missed my appointment with Trainer Guy.
It's days like these when I know no one in their right mind would blame me if I called it quits on the gym today.
Post Strongman, Pre Tie Breaker.

No one, that is, but me. I could choose to spend the day behind my desk wondering if I could have made it through my training session, secretly knowing I can and have in worse scenerios.

Luckily,Trainer Guy is able to work me in later in his day. And I Am Going.  That decision was monumental enough to deserve capital letters.

And that's where my day started looking up!

Once that decision was made, the rest of the day instantly got easier. A handful of ibuprohen, some St John's Wart, Fish Oil, and Midol later, I'm feeling better and ready to tackle the day. I pulled up an Underground Wellness Podcast to play while I worked. As luck would have it, it wasn't about getting your body right. It was about getting your head and heart right.

I already know I'm getting my body in the right place. I'll admit, I snuck onto the scale today, expecting to be up a good 5-8lbs (the usual Shark Week water retention). Instead, the scale seems to be consistantly going down! While I don't base my feelings for the day on a number on a scale anymore, it's a nice confirmation today that I'm doing all the right things - and it's paying off.

I'm not sure if I can really attribute the slow loss to going Paleo this month (of which I'm about 90-95% faithful to), or if I'm reaching that critical muscle mass point where the muscle munching away on the body fat for fuel, but it's nice to see the change. Sweaters that were tight last fall are comfortably baggy now. Tank tops that were tight a month ago no longer feel snug.

See, I get really disappointed when I see a lot of my Facebook friends start to dread the rest of a day when it starts off poorly. What if, instead of resigning myself to having a bad day entirely, I decide to embrace the 'wins' of the day (like having a job that's in demand that I can do from home, having a Trainer who's willing to make time for me when I flub up, having a couple of awesome furkids to drive me nuts, and a bright - thought challenging- future ahead of me) instead of count the things that are wrong with today?

Somedays, ya just gotta grab your self by the bootstraps, put in your big girl panties, and choose something better.
Post Tie-breaker

Friday, September 13, 2013

PROGRESS photos- 'Cause I'm not done yet!

I'm dashing out the door to the gym, but wanted to get these up!

In case anyone is wondering if investing in your health is worth it - it SO is!

BTW - I am only a few lbs difference in these shots. But what makes up those pounds is VERY different!
Click on the photo to enlarge.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Ever-Behind-Blogger Works on Her Behind

I used to blog EVERY DAY. Sometimes more than once. What happened?! Well, to say I'm 'too busy' is just bull. I'm no more or less busy now than I was then. I work the same job full time, have pretty much the same responsibilities and, oh yeah, I still go to the gym at least 3 times a week. I'm still working on Dad's book, but it's evolving and I am still feeling out a few chapters. Rome wasn't built in a day and my first book worth publishing won't be writen in a summer either.

So what am I working on lately?

My butt. I do A LOT of squats. A lot of HEAVY squats. 
I don't look as pretty as this gal does doing them (though I'm pretty sure mine are heavier, so I'll take that over a coordinated weight belt any day of the week and twice on Sunday).
Two month progress photos will be posted TOMORROW! I'm kinda excited about that. My Sailor may end up accompanying me to the Gym as well, which will be awesome if it works out - though it's going to be awesome either way. I'm this beautiful mix of excitment and anxiety about going to the gym. More excitement than anxiety though. On my in-between gym days, I keep active by walking or jogging mostly.
The goal is to keep my hips limber, despite the pressure I'm putting on them (safely) three times a week, so I'm not really looking at pacing much right now. Learning to SLOW DOWN is always a challenge for me in all aspects of life, so this is a good, quite literal, excersize in that.
Yeah, This isn't me either, but it's oh-so-true.
 Lifting has proven to be an amazing outlet. Whatever has gotten me down (job, adoption hang ups, Dad getting sick, etc.) I seem to always be able to channel that to the bar. Trainer Guy pushes me, but is a great coach. Having someone ensure I'm being safe is reassuring for all involved.

FridayMy Sailor and I didn't actually ever do a belated Anniversary night. But ya know, I expected that and we have an awesome date night coming up! Tomorrow, we're going to see a new musical based on one of my all-time favorite movies SecondHand Lions. I've been waiting with baited breath to see if we could afford the splurge of tickets (because if you're not sitting where you can see, I don't see the point in going at all), dinner out, and the transport to and from Seattle.
I'm really hoping this is better than Aladdin. I've been in and to enough new musicals to know they often need to get their feet under themselves before they are ready for mass consumption, but I think this heartfelt story (along with a script written by some serious talents in the business) should have a great chance at becoming a classic. So my Friday will be packed with work, progress photos, training with Trainer Guy, dinner 'in the city', and what will be a fun night at the theater at the very least.
Great way to kick off the weekend.

SaturdayTaking a quiz for a new job possibility before I get back to working at my current paying day job. There will be some fence progress made, general housekeeping, and some organizing of the storage space.  Full day already.

SundayMy day off!
At least from the paying gigs. I'll probably get a bunch of writing down, maybe some more organizing done, and then.... drumroll.. Soccer!
My Sailor signed us up for an indoor soccer league that meets once a week in Bremerton. We played together last week (lost miserably, but had a blast) and I'm looking forward to playing again. It's a great way to get some running in and make some new friends. Though My Sailor won't be able to make it to this game, well, that's never really stopped me from doing anything before.

I see no reason to change that policy now.
(Luckily for me, My Sailor agrees and wants me to go no matter what.)
Did I mention I'm a lucky gal?
Guess what I found on my work black board today when I got to work -

A note scrawled:
 "I (heart) you so much love. You are an inspiration to many."
Me and My Sailor
He's good at making my day.

Other Upcoming GoodiesWe're (gulp) meeting with a contractor to expand the 2nd floor of our house into an office, rec room, and (true) master suite. Hopefully this won't be too much of a financial stretch. After getting our quote, we'll be doing more adoption talk to decide how we want to proceed (private, foster, local, international, etc) before we head to the bank and see about refinancing the house to include all these goodies.

We'll see how things pan out! I'm proud to say I think My Sailor is 'ready'now! After a recent hiccup pushed the issue a bit, he came up with a fabulous idea.
He decided that once a week we'll have 'adoption day'. We'll do whatever paperwork or class we can once a week (it could be a floating day, depending on his schedule), but after finishing a prescribed task, we'll celebrate with a meal out (even if it's Subway) and something 'date night ish' as a 'reward'.

Hey - whatever works.

I really like the idea actually. I won't feel like we're treading water quite so much - 'cause we're kinda stuck until we get this homestudy done - and now MY paperwork needs to be updated to include Dad's death.

Someday soon I'll post 5 random questions from the autobiography questionerre, so you'll have an idea what this will include. If I were to print out all the forms, they would cover over 180 pages...

See you in the Progress photos tomorrow!

Monday, September 9, 2013

'Mr. Darling' Kind Of Hates It

My Sailor is a good sport about just about everything.
I mean, everything. 

Folks, I really scored and I'm keepin' him.

 Though the Navy keeps him away, when he's home, he contributes without being asked. When he's not home, he actually trusts me (which appearantly is a HUGE thing, if Navy wives facebook groups are to be believed - though it's always come naturally for us). He's always supportive of my endevours, even when they include going to the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet at a moment's notice, driving over 40 hours in 2 days to sing at a friend's wedding in Yosemite, or working on articles and storylines into the wee hours of the morning. While he doesn't always know what to do with me when I get super emotional -  that it doesn't happen very often. (Well, giddy happens and he knows how to handle that. Weepy doesn't happen often - lucky guy!) He MORE than makes up for any short comings though. He teaches me a lot about what it means to really be considerate. I've been so used to living on my own that I can a bit myopic at times. He puts up with (and actually partakes) my Disney-itis, my Type-A moments, my live theater fetish, and the insanity that is the body's failing reproductive system (believe it or not, guys have broken up with me for just that last reason alone).
My Sailor AKA Mr Wonderful
So when there is something he isn't keen on, I take it pretty seriously.

He HATES  being called "Mr. Darling". It's happened a few times (by well-meaning people in the hospitatlity industry) and it's like an instant trip to grumpy town.

And in this case, I can't blame him one bit.

In case you haven't been following my blog since the begining, Darling isn't my last name anymore. It was legitimately my last name. It was on my license, bank accounts, and and every other legal peice of paper everywhere until about August of last year. Once we threw our wedding, I agreed to change my last name on every scrap of paper I could.

It's harder than it sounds.

I mean, if I were really young, I'm sure it would be no big deal. In fact, it would probably be fun and exciting. I'd probably have a drivers license, a credit card, and a bank account to change my name on and proudly proclaim my marital status. Instead, I have cars (registrations for 2 cars), insurance (homeowners and drivers), professional licenses (I'm a CPC by trade), a few credit cards, supermarket rewards cards, a driver's license, my military ID, Mortgage, YMCA membership, and 3 bank accounts. It's more of a nauscence.

I've been published for over 10 years as J. Darling in magazines, digital forums, and it's been my stage name as well. Cute, easy, memorable, and WAY easier for people to pronounce and spell than my madien last name (Munderloh) and my married last name (which is a lateral move from Munderloh - trust me).

In this day and age, you can't just call people and say, "Hey! Guess what! I changed my name! Can you fix it for me? Thanks!" You have to fax over a copy of the divorce decree and then a copy of the marriage license... and often times there is a fee involved (because apparently it would be criminal for someone not to make money off another person's life change). Nearly all of those require "proof" to change names.

Now, I've held true to my promise. I just haven't gotten to every scrap of paper. The least important accounts just seem to sit there. It doesn't really dawn on me that I have more work to do until we're standing at the store and the clerk says, "Thank you, Mr. Darling. You saved insert-pittance-here."

My husband is NOT Mr. Darling. My ex husband is Mr. Darling. Why did I keep the last name? Ease mostly, but for me, it's also symbolic. Munderloh was a little girl, pretty insecure, unsure of her value or place in the world. Darling grew into a woman. So where does that leave me now?

Balanced. I now have great coping mechanisms, open to learning from everyone I meet. It's good place to be, no matter what the last name.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Inspiration, Perspiration, and Detours

At the Seattle Zombie Run
I'm a pretty lucky girl. My Sailor is a pretty awesome guy. Not only did he throw a cookout full of Clean Eating goodies (grilled veggies and meats w/o sauces and things to weigh them down), but he did an incredible job cleaning the house for the gathering. I end up with amazing left overs, a clean house, and one more added surprise -
Bands! I had mentioned how I was going to order some resistance bands next paycheck, but My Sailor didn't want me to wait. He picked some up for me as a surprise. I haven't opened them up yet, but I will be playing with them this week.

 Yeah for new workout toys!

He's also being understanding of the clean eating month we're doing. Well, I'm doing.  He'll abide by it at home. Whatever he eats at work, he eats at work. As long as he doesn't bring it home, we're all good. It's day 3 and I can already tell you I miss bread a lot more than I expected! Thankfully, a friend has already turned me on to Paleo toaster bread. I'm looking forward to getting another order from the Julian Bakery.  I had reviewed their low carb toaster bread a few years ago and now that I know they make a Paleo friendly toaster bread, COUNT ME IN! I'm sure it'll pass in a few days. I didn't eat a lot of bread before, so I don't understand why it's not on my brain, but it'll fade, I'm sure.

I'm also trying out the MapMyRun app. I tried it back in 2007ish, when I lived more rural than I do now. It was annoying then (before the readily available smart phone), so I gave up on it, but I'm loving the flexibility of it now.

So all that said, the training program I'm doing for the PowerLifting Competition is, so far, dare I say, enjoyable - in a love/hate relationship sort of way. I still hate the first set, but I'm getting my form right down to the finest detail - and I mean finest detail. Last session, Trainer Guy took a video of my feet to show me how my heel was just about 1/4th of an inch off the ground. Oh what a difference 1/4 of an inch makes as the weights get heavier! I'm pretty excited to see when I end up back squatting over 200lbs. It's no longer really an if. It's a when. Which is kinda cool.

I get asked fairly often how I 'reward' myself for the tough workouts. Do I go out and grab a candy bar? Do I schedule regular massages?

Well - no. Neither. See, I don't want to ruin all my hard work with junk food, and paying people to rub my body just has never been terribly relaxing for me. I usually end up concentrating so hard on trying to relax that I sort of miss the whole 'relaxation' concept. I wasn't abused or anything as a child, I just kinda like my space. Touching another human being is a privledge, in my book, and paying someone to do that is just a bit weird for me - though I love the heat from a hot stone every now and then.

My rewards are pretty simple.

I drink a coconut water product (Zico Dark Chocolate is delicious, but lately I've been leaning away from the sugary stuff and more towards straight up plain coconut water - not because it tastes good. It doesn't, unless you like the taste of liquified wood) for the massive amounts of potassium to keep me from getting painfully stiff. I also keep a Body Shop Body Scrub in the shower that I ONLY allow myself to use post work-out. I have a few other lotions (Body Shop Coconut Body Butter and Seaweed Matte face creme) that I only allow myself after a post-work-out shower.
But do I have any huge rewards (like a cruise or a trip or an expensive peice of whatever) in mind when I reach my 'goal'?
Not really.  I mean, my short term goals have their own rewards. It's cliche, but it's true.
Here are a few examples:
GOAL: Get through each workout with Trainer Guy without passing out, throwing up, or quitting.
REWARD: Not passing out, throwing up, or quitting!

GOAL: Train with Trainer Guy for 1 year.
REWARD:  The body and fitness that come with training hard for a year!

GOAL: Back Squat over 200lbs, Hit the 100's in all other lifts

REWARD:  The body and fitness that comes with reaching those goals!

I guess I'm hooked.
The reward is the reward I get for doing the work.
Go figure.

That said, I've been told often lately that I'm "inspirational". That's a really big word  that I never dreamed would be associated with me. Now that it has come up, it actually gave me a blogging block for a few days. (That's a lifetime to a blogger.) It was as if I have this 'pressure' now of coming up with something clever, witty, and profound that would surpass race, gender, occupation, creed, etc...

Instead, I decided that you, dear readers (ye brave, ye few) will get what you always gotten from this blog. A healthy dose of me, where ever I'm at.

I'm actually really excited to see my story, this little blog, touches people on around the world. Turns out I have nearly as many readers in China and around the world as I do here in the US of A, which is amazing, interesting, and a little bit scary at the same time. For a writer, it's down right exhilerating.

Which brings me to the other 'news.'

My adoption story has been printed officially in Parents Ink - a new online magazine! It's neat to see it in print, even if there are some formatting glitches they are working on.

However, our adoption has been pushed off yet again, for at least another year. This time, it's not due to scheduling so much as we've opted to refinance the house and extend the loft on the 2nd floor to a true 'second floor' master suite. We'll be interviewing roommates for 6-12 month contracts (must love dogs). Now, I don't mind being a family of 2 a bit longer. I kinda like things just the 2 of us, and we haven't had much time for that (though having a new roommate doesn't exactly lend itself towards that either).

Part of me also believes that My Sailor just isn't ready yet.

See- he really wanted that cookout on Monday and really wanted to make sure I could have a good time, rather than worry about anything. He worked really heard to make that happen because he really wanted it. I didn't have to ask him to do a thing. He also REALLY wants a PS4, so he put a deposit down on it and has been hauling away his money for it. He's got a buyer for his Magic cards and it's pretty much all he talks about. He really wants it. His actions show it. No encouragement or guidance needed. He waited 13 years for me and worked hard to be the kind of partner I needed/wanted because he really wanted to be with me. I didn't say, "If you do XYZ, we can be together." He just did them on his own.

I've been ready to adopt for nearly 10 years, but I've always needed the right partner. Now I have the right partner, but he's still sorting through some things on his own. And I respect that. His process has got to be VERY different from mine. After all, 2 of his siblings have biological kids. Why can't he, right? I can understand how that must feel horribly unfair to him. It's not like that for me because, well, I never had bio siblings around. My brother doesn't have kids, and even if he did, I'm adopted, so it's a concept I'm intimately aquinted with on a level that a non-adoptee just, well, isn't.

The last situation I'd ever want to bring a child into is one where Dad wasn't sure that he was ready for it to begin with. And, with My Sailor's decision not to re-enlist when his contract is up in 2 1/2 years, our financial future is a bit extra hazy right now. It may mean that I continue to work full time at a desk job where I can get benefits for us, where I expected to be cutting back on the 'day job' in about a 1.5 years.

So, yes, I'm dissapointed. I'd rather start our family than have a jacuzzi hot tub in my bathroom. But sometimes it's the detours in life that have the best views. After all, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for a few huge unforseeables. I'll let myself be disappointed for a little bit, because that's the honest thing to do, but moping? No thanks.

Looking ahead is so much better than looking back, even if I'm not sure where the road leads.