Bow To Your Thighness: 3 Guiding Principles For Physical and Mental Health

I’ve always hated my thighs.

In high school, jeans shopping was a complete nightmare.  I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t it always?” or “Wouldn’t we all rather stick our heads into the yawning mouths of lions or alligators or piranhas than shop for jeans?” To which the answer is a resounding YES.  Yes, we certainly would. Hell, wouldn’t we all rather stick our heads into the ASSES of these animals, if it meant we’d get out of jeans shopping ever again?  I’ll let you answer that last question on your own. 

I cringe when I think about the multitude of shopping trips needed, hours long, to find a single pair of jeans that I thought I looked not-like-a-lumbering-mastodon in. My mom patiently (or fake patiently) sat there while the sales lady brought me pair after pair after pair.  I didn’t want jeans that were too tight, because then people would see how big these thighs were, but jeans that were too baggy made them look even bigger.  The Flabby Flank Conundrum. 

It was also the mid 90’s and our entire generation was wearing everything ultra-baggy. When you only wear jeans and hoodies in a size XL, because, for some reason, THAT is what is cool, even though you really fit into a size S or M, you don’t really learn what kind of clothing is most flattering for your body.  I was essentially plucking random jeans off the shelves and hoping they magically fit. It was like trying to find a tactful and well informed politically inspired status update on Facebook. Highly unlikely no matter how hard you search. My thighs are still hard to squeeze into many normal-person sized pants, but now I can usually spot jeans with a size 10 thigh hole and a size 6 waist without shedding too many tears.  In high school I hyperfocused on the sheer bulk of my two trunks; I realize now that it doesn’t really matter how big my thighs are.

Except when it does.

Yesterday I went running, in shorts.  Cute little blue and yellow running shorts with a white stripe down each side.  And about 1/2 mile in, the ensuing chafing reminded me why I never run in these. You don’t have to deal with this crap when you’re primarily a winter runner, like I am.  Rub. Rub. Rub. Rub. Rub. Raw. Raw. Ouch.  I have a good friend who would get embarrassed when her thighs would “clap” (and cheer her on!) really loudly while she was running.  I was embarrassed that there was no way that would EVER  happen to me – since that would require them to be separate entities.  In the past I might have cursed the chafing and my thick thighs, but now I chalk it up to simply choosing the wrong garment.  I should have worn the ridiculous looking spandex. 

No matter how much you hate a body part, there becomes a point where you know it isn’t going to get that much better. No matter how toned I get or how much weight I lose, my thighs are always going to rub together.  So, I have to let it go and honor my physical and mental health by remembering to stick to my Three Guiding Principles.

1.  Work on Creating A Positive Self-Image

My thighness isn’t going away.  It’s genetics.  And, since I want to be happiest of happies, I’m going to work very hard on not caring about my damn thighs because I have approximately 93472 million more important things to care about.  I will look like a complete buffoon in spandex in order to think less (thus care less) about what I look like.  This is the runner’s paradox.  

2. Work on Fitness

These thighs look better the more toned they are. The stronger they are the better I feel.  These thighs have squatted me through stress-relieving yoga during my depressing battle with infertility,  squatted me through prenatal yoga, even with the additional pounds from Baby Grouch, and accidentally trained me for a marathon.  They’ve taken me from point A to point B my entire life and I need to appreciate them by taking care of them.  So, I will continue to run and squat and thoroughly tire them out.  This aging, post-baby body demands it.

3. Be Gluttonous

Just not every second of every day.  I will eat leafy greens, and fruity fruits, organic grains and beany beans, but I am not willing to give up on what makes me happy and balanced and fun.  I do not want to be the boob sipping soda water and munching on carrots at girls weekend. I do not want to be the one who can’t agree to go to a restaurant until I’ve ensured they offer grilled chicken and zucchini.  Bor-ing.  I will be as healthy and fit as I can be, whilst indulging, on a somewhat regular basis, in mounds of nachos.  And pizza. And most definitely, wine. 

How do you bow to your thighness?

English: Mannequins wearing jeans in Sânnicola...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Nine Ways I’m Going To Be Annoying When I’m Old (Which Also Happen To Be Why I’m Annoying Now)

1. I’m going to misplace everything.  I already do this, so it’ll just be magnified twelvethousandfold.  I misplace my phone about 5 times a day.  I put papers on my desk and can’t find them for 40 minutes.  And they’re right there, on my desk.  It’s exhausting.  My grandmother recently drove an hour and a half away to get her hair done at a salon by her old house, and while she was there she went to lunch.  She somehow managed to lose her car key between parking, walking into the restaurant, eating and leaving.  She thought it must be buried under the umbrellas, shopping bags, papers, and multiple packages of cookies she has strewn around her car, so she made my mom call a locksmith (who totally swindled her and made her pay 175.00 in cash).  After all that, the key wasn’t even in her car.  My mom had to make the 4 hour trip to bring her a spare.  This is the kind of shit you’ll be dealing with in the future, Baby Grouch.

2. I’m not going to be able to hear anything.  I already can’t hear.  I once went in to have my hearing tested because I realized I was making my students repeat themselves and kept telling them they needed to just TALK LOUDER.  It turns out my eardrums work just fine, but I’m allergic to my cat.  So allergic, in fact, that my Eustachian tubes are perpetually stuck together.  Allergen earmuffs, if you will.  What? Did you ask me why I didn’t get rid of my cat? I think we’ll both be better off if I pretend I didn’t hear you say that.

3.  I’m going to poke my loved ones in the eyeballs with my whiskers.  Seriously, I’m the hairiest beast.  You  might think I’m exaggerating, but have you seen my 7th grade picture?  I can only hope that they won’t get so long that I poke myself in my own orbs.  Which brings me to number 4.

4.   I’m going to be blind.  This is going to be a horrible condition in itself, but will be doubly horrible when considering the implications when combined with number 3.  How will I see the hairs that need to be plucked?  I’m already very much near-sighted.  Combine this with impending farsightedness and that means I’ll be nosighted.  Blindness is scary. Almost as scary as not seeing my own hirsuteness is not being able to see if bears are surrounding my tent when I go camping.  Even if I don’t actually go camping, the thought of potentially being in the woods and not being able to spot a bear before it sneaks up on me and swipes my guts out with his claws, gives me anxiety.  My impending nosightedness is not going to improve my neuroses.

5.  I’m going to walk into a room and ask, “What did I come in here for?”  This will happen in every room I enter. Probably even the bathroom.  I will go into a room to complete task A and not be able to remember what task A was until I walk out of the room to do task B.  At this point, I will complete task A, and then completely forget what the hell task B was.  And the cycle continues.  And, I will probably end up peeing myself.

6.   I’m going to list every item I have in the fridge and pantry when guests come for a visit. My grandmother does this and it is annoying as fuck.  Seriously, stop telling me about the 6 different types of mustard that you have in the fridge.   Mustard is delicious, yes, but also so not important. In fact, it is so unimportant that I will choke on a dry pretzel before encouraging you by responding to your nonsensical mustard-speak.  The incessant babble about mustard is making me hate my used-to-be-favorite condiment.  I caught myself Granny Listing the other day to my sister’s fiance.  I basically forced leftover pumpkin pie into his hand and was wasting time chatting about condiments, for crissakes.  We hardly get to talk and I wasted time on CONDIMENTS.  I’m pissing myself off thinking about it right now.  I caught myself after I had offered up half my fridge and then promptly rescinded all of my offers and wouldn’t let him try my strawberry ghostpepper jam (which is REALLY, REALLY good).

7.  I’m going to get annoyed with technology.  I like to think I’m okay with technology now.  I’m one of the ones in our department where I work who is considered somewhat technology savvy.  But, if I’m trying to do something and I don’t know how, I really just want someone to do it for me.  I usually need it done NOW and don’t have time for bullshit – like LEARNING.  I get annoyed when I can’t do something, but I get even more annoyed when someone points out the obvious, like the fact that I should take the time to figure it out.  I still haven’t used Tweet Grid.  Or Prezi.  Or Camtasia.  Let’s face it, I’m not so hot at Instagram.  I think there are a million apps that people use all the time I haven’t even heard of yet.

8.  I’m not going to be able to sleep.  Hopefully I can still blog about it and find others who can relate and help me vent or find the humor in the situation.  Then it’ll just annoy those who hate hearing about my stupid blog.

9.  I’m going to gross you out with my cough. It’s already harsh and recurrent.  I drink water – I cough.  I talk – I cough.  I breathe – I cough.  I sleep – I wake myself up with my cough.  I choke on my own saliva – I cough and cough and cough and tears stream down my face and I cannot get one word out and I cough some more.  Baby Grouch was doing this weird fake-coughing for awhile and I couldn’t figure out why.  As I was changing her one day and turned my head to cough, it dawned on me.  She was COPYING me.  At 6 months old Baby Grouch was already a saucy little Coughy Cat.  So gross.  My grandmother gets a cough every time she eats.  One bite and it’s all cough cough cough cough… and she gets an amazed look on her face and says, “Oh! I’ve got a tickle in my throat!” She always acts surprised, like the same thing didn’t happen at breakfast and lunch and dinner for the past 20 years.

How are YOU going to annoy your friends and family when you get older?

An Ode To My Nasal Irrigation System

An Ode To My Nasal Irrigation System

I threw it on the ground and burst into tears,
A green-snotty tissue, one of my worst fears!

An ode to you, my nasal rinse,
Even if you sometimes make me wince.

Some may balk at the suggestion, 
But you help me to prevent congestion.

You save the day with your salty brine,
I’m oh-so-happy you are mine.

My nasal passages, stuffed to the brim,
Oh my, do my nose hairs need a trim?

Whether the hairs are long or shorn,
I use you, rinse, e’ry night and morn.

You keep the nasty germs at bay,
You always seem to save the day.

You help me to prevent rhinitis,
I really don’t want sinusitis!

After I use your salty breeze,
I am able to blow my nose with ease.

You’re always there, through thin and thick,
Don’t leave me, or I’ll end up sick.

Even though it might seem gross,
It is you that I love the most.

I linked up this week with Yeah Write's Speakeasy! Check the 
submissions and vote for your faves.

speakeasy

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Well, Shit, That Doesn’t Sound Good.

Yesterday morning was a little rough.

I never answer my phone when I see a number I don’t recognize.  So, it was not out of the ordinary when I ignored my phone after seeing “Restricted” pop up on my caller id.  I muted the call and went back to sipping my coffee and singing to Baby Grouch in my horrendously off key tones.  Maternity leave is so grand!

I noticed the voice mail icon pop up, so I called to see who had hidden their number from me.  It was the doctor’s office calling and telling me that my doctor had a message for me and that I should call back.  That was a half-truth.  It was the nurse practitioner who had a message for me.

(Background:  I had a doctor who was AH-MAZ-ING.  He moved and I got transferred to a new doctor in the same building.  My new doctor appears to be a twit, since she doesn’t remember much about me from one visit to the next, and who gives me advice and dismisses issues related to my health without looking at my chart or asking me any questions.  Needless to say, I don’t value her opinion and am looking for a new doctor.  In the meantime, I started seeing a nurse practitioner, Kara, at the same office, since I really like the office and need to keep up with my preventative health care.  Kara really impressed me at the last visit, which is not the easiest thing to do.  She was thorough, she asked a lot of questions, and she read through all of my information on the computer.  I liked her right away.  I may continue to see her – as clearly there isn’t a correlation between having a doctoral degree and being able to provide exceptional family practice care).

SIDEBAR:  When women tell stories, we start the story, and are, at some point, reminded of something else, so, we tell a little mini story and then sometimes another little mini story that is an off-shoot of the first mini story.  Eventually, we go back to telling the original story – at times needing a teensy reminder of what we were originally talking about.  This doesn’t mean we aren’t paying attention or we don’t eventually get to the point.  Someone tell my husband this is just how women’s brains work, okay?  Back to original story:

I had gone the day before to get some routine lab work done to keep an eye on things considering my chronic high blood pressure.  I wondered if the call was related to the blood work.  It seemed pretty early for them to even have the results back.  But, if they WERE back, it probably wasn’t a good thing if they were calling, right?  They don’t usually call for good news.  Hmmm…. I avoided returning the call for about 15 minutes until I worked up a little courage and then dialed the office number.

After being connected to the nurse, she told me that my microalbumin numbers seem exceptionally elevated and Kara had put my lab results on her desk, with a red flag and a note to call me immediately to have me re-do the test to see if it could possibly be accurate.

Well, shit, that doesn’t sound good.

“What were my numbers”, I asked?  “530”.  Okay, that means nothing without context.  I asked a follow-up question, “What are the numbers supposed to be?”  The nurse hesitated a bit and then said, “Between 0 and 19”.

Well, shit, that doesn’t sound good.

Let’s hope that the blood work re-do numbers look a little better.

UPDATE:

So, in every profession, there are people who make mistakes.  It’s a part of being human, I suppose, and we all understand that no one is perfect, and that it is ridiculous to expect perfection.

Unless you’re a teacher.

Then, you’re supposed to get 100% of students to meet 100% of standards, and if you don’t, you’re clearly the Anti-Christ and the very idea that you should be able to collectively bargain for things such as class size and a planning period are preposterous.

I digress.

I went back for lab results, slightly concerned that I would have to ask my sister for a kidney, and that I wouldn’t be able to drink wine anymore, but HAVE NO FEAR – I can guzzle away and save my favor-asking for later.  My updated microalbumin level is 5.  FIVE.  Not FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY.  Slightly off there the first time.

Whew.  (And, cheers!)

Smile. Scowl. Cry (sad). Smile. Laugh. Cry (happy).

Just over 6 weeks ago, Baby Grouch arrived.  She is strong and healthy and a lovely little peanut.

Baby Grouch at 1 Week

She is also somewhat lumpy and squeaky and sloshy – as  newborns tend to be.

During pregnancy, my body ventured into uncharted hormonal territory – that is – my hormones seemed to even out and become what many would call “normal”.  My moods were relatively even and my anxiety level was low.  I was less anxious and more calm.  My skin, which is notoriously spotty, was smooth and bumpless.  My blood pressure even registered within the normal range for the first time in years.  I stopped having ridiculously vivid dreams that left me half-dead in the morning.  I was sleeping better than ever, and since feeling good is so boring, I had nothing much to post onto this blog of mine.  Pregnancy viking, I was.

Well, the Morning Grouch is making a grand re-entrance.  During labor, the blood pressure spiked, and has returned to hovering on the borderline range.  My skin has dulled and a few spots have returned.  The dreams are slowing coming back and Ms. Grouch has been getting a maximum of 2 hours of solid sleep in a row for the past few weeks.  And the kicker?  Lately everyone is calling me “Ma’am”.  REALLY?  MA’AM?? UGH.

A few Saturday’s ago, I woke up, more exhausted than usual, at the midnight feeding and at the 3 am feeding.  When I heard the baby start to stir again, I asked my husband if he could feed the baby before he went to work, to give me an extra couple hours of sleep in a row.  Naturally, the baby didn’t actually wake up until it was almost time for him to leave, so he said he didn’t have time to feed her.

I was not particularly happy about this turn of events, and didn’t have any extra energy, so the result was me not responding a whole lot when he was talking to me, and me being pretty short with him.  He asked if I was mad at him about something.  No, I insisted, I am just TIRED.  He pointed out that even though I was tired, I was not talking to Baby Grouch with anything less than a loving and soothing tone, and I was, in fact, reserving any negative expression for him and him alone.

As he brushed his teeth and got ready for the day, I pondered what he said.  It was true, no matter how tired I was I had enough energy for the baby.  So, was I mad at my husband?  Then, I realized I was.  And, I wasn’t.  Emotional-Rollercoaster Me was very angry, since I was doing most of the work taking care of Baby Grouch.  What the eff, why can’t you feed your own child?  What is this nonsensical talk about not having enough time because you have to go to WORK.  Work shmerk. I’m TIRED.  And you said to let you know when I needed your help!  And I NEED IT NOW!   RAWR!

But, then, I wasn’t really mad. Logical-Me wasn’t angry at all.  Logical-Me was so thankful that my husband was changing diapers, and feeding the baby and asking me what he could do to help.  Logical-Me appreciated that periodically he would ask me if I was feeling okay (checking for postpartum issues, as instructed to do in his Daddy Boot Camp class).

So before he left, I explained to him this nonsense about being angry and not angry at the same time.  I may or may not have shed a few tears out of frustration. I think he nodded and backed away from me, slowly….

The day continued to roller-coaster.

Baby Grouch and I were listening to Greek Baby Radio and I heard a song about a black cat.  I got very excited and happy since we happen to have a favorite fuzzy being in our house who is also a highly pigmented feline.  So I laughed and sang the song to the baby.  Suddenly all was swell, life was good, and I was giddy and carefree.

Fast-forward 2 1/2 minutes and the next song was about parents loving their little baby so much.  Se aga po, agapi mou!  Suddenly my humor turned to joy, but a sappy, sad and tearful sort of joy, at remembering how hard it had been for us to get this little pipsqueak and how grateful we are now to have her.

Wow.  In a span of hours my emotions had spanned the galaxy.

I  texted my husband and let him know that his wife knew she was crazy!  Knowing is half the battle, right?

Saturday Mournings

So, I’ve realized that no matter what, I’m going to have crazy dreams, and wake up exhausted every day.  It doesn’t matter how many times I hit snooze, or if I get 6 hours of sleep or 9.  I’m going to wake up feeling like death and murderous rage and vomit all at the same time.

Last January I joined a running club and started getting up around 6.15 on Saturday mornings to have time to eat some toast, drink some coffee and wake up before heading out for a trot in the cold.  I never thought I could do this, because of the whole I HATE MORNINGS thing, but yet,  found I didn’t feel any MORE tired, than I already did, and in fact once I got the blood pumping, I generally felt a lot better after a jog.  My daily headaches diminished, and my little endorphin friends hung out for awhile, so I was less grouchy (still grouchy, just LESS).  Yes, I was tired later in the day, .but I was ALWAYS tired later in the day, but now I had a reason, and more toned thighs.  Having the long runs on Saturdays meant I had to be sure to train the rest of the week.  It was hard, but I did it for that Saturday morning feeling.

The cold weather is upon us again and back in October I started getting back into running (I absolutely cannot run during the 6 months out of the year that it is over 60 degrees – I overheat and can run a mere 0.003 miles without dying) and even though I still hate the mornings, running helps make them a little more manageable.  I’ve been really looking forward to running in 20-30 degree weather, with snowflakes catching on my eyelashes.  For me, there’s not a more energizing feeling.

The sad news is that I have been consistently getting ovarian cysts, and each time I get them, I am informed by my doctor that running is out of the question (as the bouncing could result in the heavy ovary flipping, causing the fallopian tube to crimp, and could result in a loss of ovary!  No bueno).  Since they take a few weeks to diminish, this makes it impossible to crank up the mileage.

So, the question arises.  How on Earth am I going to get myself to get my ass out of bed, reduce those headaches, be in a better mood,  and (most importantly), maintain those toned thighs?

Headache-O-Meter

So, I’m 32 years old, and have been on blood pressure medication for the past 4 years.  (I have also been married for four years…coincidence? (Just kidding, love you honey!) I actually can’t extol the magnificence of this blood pressure medication enough, because as an added bonus to reducing my systolic and diastolic, it has also cleared up my skin.

Growing up, I was lucky enough to clear, unmarred skin.  But, starting in my mid-twenties my skin became my nemesis.  I began to get acne so badly that I would not want to leave the house.  I’m not exaggerating, it was BAD.  Red.  Inflamed.  Uncomfortable.  Monstrous. Distressing.  One time I was on a return trip home, from Italy, and the woman at customs who was checking my passport said my picture didn’t look like me, and was laughing, The only difference between Passport Me and Current Me, was that Passport Me had clear skin and Current Me had about 25 zits on my face.  Yes, 25.  While I’m on the subject, if you are one of those jackasses who asserts that the reason you have such clear skin is the 60 ounces of water you drink per day, or the carrots and tofu you consume regularly, just an FYI – you are being pretty insulting, implying that the reason your friend has a bumpy pod is because they must NOT be doing these things.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard people proclaim that ingesting water, fruits and veggies or limiting sweets was their remedy, which really irked me, since I am also a healthy person who drinks a lot of water, eats many fruits and veggies, and doesn’t eat a lot of fried foods, chocolate, etc…

Turns out this medication blocks androgens, and my acne was actually caused by a hormonal imbalance (PCOS).  This could also be why I have ungodly amounts of facial hair.  Or maybe I can blame that one on my Sicilian and Black Irish ancestry.  Either way, THANK GOD FOR WAX AND LASER HAIR REMOVAL.

Anyway.  Back to the blood pressure meds.  When I first started the medication, my doctor regularly asked me if I had been experiencing any headaches. Headaches could indicate high potassium levels, a signal that the kidneys are starting to fail – a possible nasty side effect.  I realized after a few visits, that I couldn’t tell if I had been experiencing headaches as a result of the medication, because I woke up with a headache almost every day, anyway.  How could I not realize I had a headache every day?  I am not sure, but I didn’t, or I didn’t think anything of it, until I was asked to let him know if I started getting headaches.  Weird, eh?

What causes daily headaches?  Clenching or grinding teeth?  Sinus pressure?  Husband complaining that I left the lights on, and cupboards open, again?  Nothing life-threatening like a brain tumor, I’m sure, just enough of an annoyance so that I couldn’t accurately answer a doctor’s question, and perhaps accounts for about 2% of my daily bitchiness.  I am not even sure why the doctor felt the need to ask me about the headaches, in the first place, since I get blood drawn at the lab every 6 months, checking on those K+ levels.  Clearly a much more accurate measure than the headache-o-meter.