Sunday, August 29, 2010

Your Best Foot Forward

While Aaron and I were biking today, I was pondering my next blog post, mostly to try and ignore the searing pain in my hip flexor.  I realized that I spend a lot of time mercilessly poking fun at my significant other.  Since it's considered bad taste to make fun of one's toddler, I believe it's time to point out a moment of brilliance of my own, lest you all believe that I'm a merciless witch, only spelled with a, "b."

I would imagine that being extremely gifted in sports would, at minimum, require the ability to tell one's left from one's right, which is a skill that my identical twin and I were murky at best from an early age.  One day, when we were probably around ten years old, our dad had graciously rounded up our cantankerous pinto named Dice.  Jen and I were initially thrilled to have a new horse.  We knew he was a paint, but not that he wasn't a she.  All of my visions of cute baby pintos lolloping through the tall grass were dashed when my dad informed me that Dice didn't have the right equipment.

We soon found out that Dice wasn't exactly the most agreeable pony.  We also found, given the right motivation, that I could outrun Jenny.  On the days we had to work cows, I would race to the barn and grab the other equally cantankerous, but infinitely more lazy, Appaloosa.  Namus may have been cranky, but he was disinclined to buck, as that would have required effort.  Consequently, Jenny ate a lot more turf than I did.

So, there we were, getting mounted up right outside the barn, which was across from our Grandma Peter's house.  We had only saddled Dice, so we were going to take turns riding.  I thought I was rather generous to let her ride first, and I also, very kindly, held the reins for her while she got on.

As she lifted her left foot to stick it in the stirrup, I rolled my eyes and said, "Jen, that's the wrong foot," summoning every ounce of know-it-all that I had in my body.

She, very wisely, said, "No, it's not," though her foot had paused in the air, and uncertainty began to cloud her face.

Ha!  I finally knew something she didn't!  "You use your other foot."

Slowly, she put her foot down, and with a great deal of trepidation, placed her right foot in the stirrup, and swung herself into the saddle.  The only problem:  she landed backwards.  Her head was facing Dice's butt.  In my defense, I had honestly thought I was saving her from the very thing that had just happened. 

To this day, I have no idea why I did what I did next.  I let go of the reins.  I'd like to think that I was reaching up kindly to help her down, but who knows what I was thinking.  Thankfully, Grandma had seen what had happened, and was able to watch in horror as Dice took off.  He didn't just mosey away, or break into a slow trot.  He ran as fast as stubby pinto legs would could go, and I swear they nearly blurred as the thundered, well, sort of thundered, away.

Jenny screamed and hung on for dear life as they whipped down the side of the barn toward the shop.  Feeling slightly guilty, I ran after them as fast as my sluggish legs would carry me.  I found them down by the gas tanks.  Dice, finally standing still, was munching happily on tall, ungrazed grass, though he was conspicuously riderless.

I had just found Jenny when Grandma rolled down in her Grand Marquis.  She yelled out the window, "However did she hold on?!" 

I said, "Pretty good."

Epic Football Fail

This is why the Editor would never be a football coach, as it involves being able to tell left from right.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


My wife and I have gotten into the habit of taking our son on bike rides whenever we can.  Since school has started up again, it's been very difficult to do this during the week.  So, the last two Saturdays have turned into biking days. 

We have a great bike trail a few miles from our home.  We've biked it several times over the summer, but never the whole trail.  Billings has quite a few trails spread throughout the city, but they're all short, maybe one or two miles at the longest.  This is the only lengthy trail in town.  Today, was the first time I biked the whole trail with my wife, which was 13.5 miles from our car to the end of the trail and back.  We did it with a two-year-old in an hour and a half.  Hanging out with my family, doing something fun that is also good for you...that was some of the most fun I've had all summer!  Can't wait for next Saturday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh Yeah......I'm a music teacher

Today was my first day back teaching.  It went really well.  I think I have a bunch of great classes this year and a good crop of students to go with them.  Things should run smoothly.  At least that is my hope.

I"m 78 days into my 90 day workout program.  I've lost 25 pounds in the time.  I feel great and my stomach is starting to become flat.  Sadly no rockin abs just yet, though I hope to get there at some point.
I think my biggest challenge at this point is going to be maintaining a workout routine during the school year.  I'll finish my 90 days.  Then I need to make sure I keep going.  That will be tough with all of my extracurricular activities I do for my music program.  Hopefully I'm up to the task and with some great motivation from my wife,  I'll do my best.  That's really all I can ask for.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Romp through Skeeterville!

A couple of weeks ago I invited a bunch of my students, both current and former ones, to a game of Ultimate Frisbee, the game traditional for band geeks, orch dorks, and choir goobers alike.  I set up a event on Facebook and got about 16 of us together.  After much debate, we decided to play at a place called the Experiment Station, which an agriculture museum and laboratory.  A lot of events are held there, and there was a nice, open grassy area on which we could play.  It was great to see some of my former students, one who just graduated from college.  That little fact is making me feel old!  The only problem was...mosquitoes!!!  LOTS of them.

We've had a wetter than normal summer and the bugs are loving it.  The moment I stepped out of my car I had at least 8 of them on my legs.  Of course these are the type of mosquitoes that laugh in the face of repellent and merely point and snigger at Skin-So-Soft.

They're all like, "Hmm what's that wonderful smell?  I know!! Human meat with a slightly tangy sauce of OFF!!"

"Watch out though," said Zippy the mosquito, "humans can pack a huge punch once in a while!"

"Naw, no worries," said Bob.  "There's only a few of them and oh, 16,000,000,000 of us.  HAHAHAHA!!!"

The game was a ton of fun, though, and I was able to keep up for the most part.  We play a non-competitive version, so we don't keep score.  Anytime one of the teams scored, we simply change sides and kept playing.  It's a great game for getting exercise because you run, and run, and run some more.  I played it a lot in college and H.S. and we introduced it to the Huntley Project kids.

Three years into my teaching career I took over the band program at my school.  We are part of an organization called the Tri-County Honor Band.  This group is basically an honors band made up of the best players from all of the small schools in the area.  It rehearses for three months and then goes on a week long tour.  The first tour we went on I found out that other students really enjoyed playing Ultimate.  This was also when I discovered how completely out of shape I was!  I played with them for an hour.  The next morning I could barely get out of bed, and my legs hurt for a week afterward.  This was when I realized I needed to change my lifestyle.  Granted, it took me another three years before I actually did anything about it, but that was the moment I knew I didn't want to be fat and out of shape the rest of my life. 

I started working out regularly on June 8th, 2010.  My starting weight at that point was 230 pounds.  YIKES!!  As of this morning I'm down to 208.  My eventual goal is 195-190.  Things are going well.  I feel great!  Except for the bug bites!

Fibro Check-in

(The Editor Here)

I finally have some good news on the Fibro Front.  I am now down to two medications that I take daily, as opposed to five.  Getting off of them was no picnic.  Unbeknownst to me, Cymbalta, an anti-depressant that helps manage pain in fibro patients, has terrible withdrawal symptoms.  I've more or less had migraine symptoms for a month now, thanks to the withdrawal.  My head still throbs if I look left or right, though up and down is ok, for some reason.  It's not nearly as bad as it was in the beginning of the month, but it's definitely worse when I'm tired.

I've noticed a lot of things going back to normal now that I'm off all of those meds, things I didn't realize weren't normal.  I didn't know that insomnia was a side-effect of Cymbalta, and now I'm sleeping much better, even without Ambien.  (Insomnia is both a symptom of fibro, and something that makes the pain much worse if it continues.)  I don't know if it's related, but I'm eating less, too.  I don't have the desire, and I'm not complaining about it.

So far, I'm down four pounds from the beginning of the summer.  I'd love to say that I've achieved fantastic results like my hubby, but I can't do anything to the intensity that P90 demands.  For example, I'm very sore today from the Ultimate Frisbee last night.  For Aaron, it's best that he continues with his daily workouts.  If I do that, I'll flare, especially with where I'm sore, which is my lower back.  Bad juju, dude.

I've been thinking of posting some of the exercises I invented that one can do with a counter.  While working at the hardware store over the summer, I sometimes had to stand with nothing to do but lean on a counter for long periods of time.  I figured out a number of things that helped my back and built up my abs, but I'm afraid if I post instructions that someone will sue me if they are stupid and get hurt.  I'll make a decision soon.

I hope you all are finding progress in your journey to fitness, even if it's not nearly as quick as you'd like it to be.

Ya Do Run, Run, Run; Ya Do Run, Run.

What Aaron didn't say in his post is that the Editor joined the Ultimate Frisbee game last night.  I haven't played since I was in college, but I was pleased to see that I kept up with the kids, thanks to the frequent breaks provided by Elliot.  He had found a slightly friendly bunny that would allow El to get about four feet away from it, then would hop away another six after Elliot got too close.  The little turd kept giving Elliot hope that he would get bunny snuggles, and then snatch it away in a most dastardly manner.  Even though it toyed with Elliot, it was way better to say that I had to go save Elliot from getting rabies, as opposed to telling the kids my quads were going to explode.

I love my son!  He's adorable, he's loving, he listens pretty well for a two-year-old, and is the most convenient excuse for getting out of stuff.  Go Elliot!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Custard's Last Stand

The Editor here.  My husband and I celebrated our 8th anniversary today, though it was really on the 3rd of August.  Aaron's sister got married that day, so we put off our dinner until today.  His mother gave us a creme brulee torch, and I just finished making chocolate pots de creme.  Aaron's on his way home to enjoy the chocolatey goodness, and as I sit and write, I reminisce about our mutual love of creme brulee.  Though it's definitely not on the Beachbody diet plan, they can sit and spin tonight for all I care because it's our ANNIVERSARY.

A few years back, I decided that I must be a bitchin' enough cook to make creme brulee and not have to buy it at fancy restaurants.  We borrowed a friend's torch the first time, and damn!  Not bad, if I say so myself. 

The second time I made it, I didn't have any of the proper (insert French accent) "accoutrements" to make it correctly, but I grew up with the Montana spirit of (insert hick accent) "jerry-rig the sumbitch."  We had just used a thousand degree heat gun to remove tile from our bathroom floor.  Janet thinks, "Hmmm....a thousand degrees should do an awesome crust."

In many ways, I am just like my dad.  We both love creative problem solving and ingenuity, but unfortunately, we both occasionally think our bitchin' ideas don't require the use of safety equipment or common sense.  For those of you who have never used one, a heat gun is like a blow dryer on crack.  Aaron, to his credit, had just started the sentence, "I don't think this is a very good...." but Janet didn't listen.  I sprinkled the top liberally with white granulated sugar, and grabbed my trusty heat gun.  Drooling in anticipation of carmelized awesomeness, I flipped to high. 

Did you know that really hot sugar burns and flies?  I didn't!  As soon as I turned the superheated air onto the top of the custard, flaming sugar threatened to ignite our ceiling.  It flew willy-nilly and burrowed into our skin, not badly, but it sure didn't tickle.

I've noticed that I keep getting equipment from my husband for our anniversary that involves the correct process for making creme brulee.  Coincidence?  I think not!  Tonight, we enjoyed for the first time creme brulee made properly with our own equipment.  Look out, Paris!  Here I come!

The last month!

I'm now 60 days into a 90 day workout program called Power 90.  I've lost 18 pounds, which is good though I want to lose about 12 more.  The program calls for six workouts a week with one day off to let yourself recover.  Things have been going very well up until a week ago.  My energy level has dropped way off.  Probably due to not getting enough sleep.  My family and I have been entertaining a large number of family members the last week or so.  I've missed a few days and it really bugs me.  I really want to finish this program strong.  It really works well, so long as I actually do it.  I'm finding that it is becoming easier to make excuses to keep from doing the workouts.  That needs to stop.  I really need to make sure to keep working out everyday regardless of how I feel or what's going on that day.  I owe it to myself and my family to make sure that I'm as healthy as I can be.  One month left of intense working out.
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