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Friends with Snow Again

Sargent Wilderness Area, Chama, New Mexico

By the time I’d gotten to the heaviest of my Before phase, I had become a true hater of snow and snow sports. I grew out of my very-largest, expensive snow pants and SWORE I was not going to move up to the next size. So I’d go out in the snow with the pants unsnapped and only halfway zipped up. That was, er, chilly and distressing. I also remember that the maneuvering that involved snapping or buckling ski boots or other such things resulted in an uncomfortable/impossible squishing together of my ample midsection, and just tightening my boots made me dizzy enough to pass out. Often I’d opt to sit by the fire and drink lots of hot cocoa. Eventually I ended up opting out of going to the snow altogether, it was so unpleasant.

It had been probably more than 3 years since I’d done anything snow-related. But my very best college friend and the godmother of my daughter was throwing a 50th birthday bash with all her besties in the New Mexico mountains, and it involved cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and I could not say no. I thought maybe I’d end up sitting by the fire and reading/writing all weekend. But no.

The first NSV (nonscale victory) came the night before the trip, when I went down to the basement to rummage around the piles of snow clothes. I found the hated VERY BIG snowpants that I could not even zip up 3 yrs ago. Then I found the 3-sizes-smaller ones that my kids had worn when they were maybe in junior high. I held my breath. I tried on the small ones. HEY! THEY FIT! So that put me in a pretty good mood.

I got there, and it was beautiful. So beautiful! I am spoiled by being one of those people who can “go to the snow” and then leave it. And this was some of the nicest, prettiest snow I had ever seen. The flakes were giant crystalline shards of beauty. I was entranced!

My friend had rented me some cross-country skis. Back in the day, I was probably the World’s Worst Cross Country Skier. One, I had absolutely no stamina or cardiovascular endurance. So after about three feet I would be panting. Secondly, I was absolutely terrified to go up or down the slightest incline because I would immediately fall to the ground. NO JOKE. Once I went to this X-C ski resort with the family and I signed up for this hellaciously long (could it have been more than 2 hours?) X-C group ski lesson. It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my LIFE because I was either panting in absolute oxygen debt, or I was trying to struggle up from an upside-down turtle position on the snowy ground, while the entire group looked on in abject pity and disgust, or left me miles behind. It was miserable and I swore on ten frozen Bibles that I would never, ever, EVER cross-country ski again.

But my best college friend, the hostess and birthday girl, had rented me some X-C skis. What was I to do? Well, the REI gods were smiling on me. They sent me one defective ski so that I could not for the life of me get it latched on to my boot. DEFECTIVE BINDINGS saved my dignity. I praised the Lord and reached for the snowshoes. Which I loved. And adored.

It is damn near impossible to fall down while wearing snow shoes. And thanks to all the running I did in 2010, I was not the least bit cardiovascularly challenged by this activity. I tromped through the snow, sometimes up to my knees, in total glee. It was freakin’ AWESOME. And it made my heart pump and my DirectLife activity monitor wake up and say “hey, she’s not dead!” and a happiness rang out across the snowy land.

So now I am friends with the snow again. I went out twice on Saturday and once on Sunday, the first exercise I’d done since the Plague hit me on New Year’s Day. It felt really, really good! And now I can actually contemplate the idea of renting some snowshoes again and going to play in the snow in my own home state.

PS. One of the nicest things about this weekend was learning how to make homemade chai. SO DELICIOUS and so simple. There was always a pot of chai on the stove and I became obsessed with it. Recipe and how-to photos here!

happy birthday, JAZ!

A Hand Up

So my little downward spiral continued to have its way with me until I landed with a huge THUNK this morning and ended up sobbing my brains out in my car. I guess you could call that a pretty “rock bottom” point. I really felt unbelievably hopeless, helpless and also shocked that I had gotten into this state, so quickly.

This was set off in part by my taking my blood glucose this morning and finding it HIGHER than it has been since I was even diagnosed. This stunned me. Then I went to the lab to get my blood drawn for my appointment this week. I was mortified. Here my endocrinologist came to my SHOW last week, and I’ll all woo-hoo-look-at-me!! Poster Star Diabetic Patient!! OMG how BOGUS can I be?!?!?

I sent off a flurry of desperate texts to a friend who sent me a ton of support which I could only partially receive given the pit of self-loathing sludge I was drowning in. But I did hear a little bit of it and of course the one thing I heard was, “If this was me you would not be beating me up,” or something along those lines. It was so true.

I made my way to my trainer’s gym. He asked me how I was when I walked in the door. I burst into tears. We spent the entire session stretching out my incredibly tense and misaligned body. Which was necessary. He was also extremely kind to me. Which didn’t hurt either. After I finished there, I felt like I reallllllllly needed to sweat, so I went up to the gym and killed the AMT machine (elliptical-thingie) on level TWENTY (the highest) for 30 minutes. The sweat felt good, really good.

Briefly ran into my spouse. Who had read my blog post from yesterday and offered to 1) support me in going to bed earlier so I am not so freaking EXHAUSTED and 2) take a walk with me early in the morning.  Now that’s what I call spousal support.

Went to work. Brought my new ball which is going to function as my new chair. We’ll see how this goes. Allegedly sitting on a ball is a hundred times better than a chair, and burns a lot more calories. My DirectLife was not WILDLY impressed, but I do think the little green spikes were higher than my chair-sitting hours.

Went to Weight Watchers. I sort of slunk in there, feeling like, WHO THE HECK ARE YOU to be doing this, when you are so completely messed up?!? Well. I’ll tell ya.

A member came in. She had gained (less than me). She burst into tears. Then she told me about the VERY BIG THINGS she has been dealing with lately. I said to her, “If this was one of your dearest friends in this same situation, would you be beating them up and berating them?” (Hmm, sound familiar?) I gave her some Kleenex. I almost started crying myself. It was the biggest mirror ever. In fact, it turned me right around. When she left later on, I felt like she was going to go home and be nicer to herself.

After the meeting, I met with another good friend.  She asked me how I was doing. Amazingly, I did NOT start sobbing my face off. I told her. She listened. It was so good. She told me some stuff back. We pledged to support each other. Once again, honesty (especially in the hardest times) rules.

I am so very very fortunate for my friends and community. The church I (occasionally) go to has a prayer that says “we are weaving a tapestry of love we call community” and that is how I feel about the people who are surrounding me and holding me up on this journey.  Thank you.

Bubbles of Hope

I had the best day today. My healthaversary party was as wonderful and fun as I’d hoped. We did a beautiful walk through the volcanic park to the labyrinth (see the aerial view with cows), walked round and round, laid little symbolic objects of hope and health at the altar, and then blew bubbles of hope for the new year. Then came to my house for a fantastically delicious brunch. Many of my great friends included signs with POINTS values of the delicious dishes they made, including Weight Watchers chocolate cake! YUM!

Not much else to say. It made me very happy. Pictures!

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