Bringing it Home

The MegaChallenge 200: The Exercise Blog that Became the Exorcise Blog

After 6 Years, I'm Moving The MegaChallenge 200 Here

Believe it or not, it has been months since I last ran to nowhere.

My life is a scrambled egg of kids and work and homeschooling and grad schooling and partnership with my hubby and, well, somehow the gym doesn’t get on my schedule much. At all. Ever. Unless, of course, it is to take some complement of this crew to the pool.

I don’t get on the machines.



Instead, I’m walking our 80-pound collie twice a day and eating pretty well and sleeping pretty well and managing to creep back up the scale. Because, as we learned in my initial post on ye ole MegaChallenge 200 blog, unless I’m doing something incredibly sweat-inducing, my metabolism will not budge.


I’ve had an elliptical trainer on my wishlist since about the time I last bought a swimsuit. It’s really the only reason (besides access to the pool) that I pay for a membership to the gym. Yes, I’ve done the math over the past 10 (15) years of working out at the gym and know I could have bought 4 elliptical machines with those membership fees. But I’ve watched folks turn treadmills into clothing racks and didn’t want to end up doing the same thing.



It’s time. So, I scoured the ads and picked what I wanted and called up a guy who will have to figure out what to do with his clothes now that I’m adopting his elliptical-trainer-cum-clothing-rack for my own home gym.

The machine arrives this weekend. Hopefully it marks the rekindling of my long-term-love affair with running to nowhere… and perhaps even — I know! — blogging.

Words Never Fail Me…

Finding Your Own North Star by Martha BeckMy boyfriend (yes, it is official and exclusive and terrifying and very, very good) bandies about his credentials as a writer–and rightfully so–to the point where I sort of forgot that I, too, have been known to put together some sweet syllables on occasion.

I have suddenly rediscovered my penchant for prose as I have tossed off the yoke of higher education*. (Yeah, I said I put together sweet syllables on occasion. At other times, I put together clashing cliches and hide behind my anonymity.) Without volumes of Kirkpatrick to dig through (love him, but his name comes up every 3rd sentence at Joe’s Pretty Good Grad School) I have time for all sorts of writing and–gasp–pleasure reading!

There are 40 books on my nightstand. These are my “get to them soon” books. My book purchasing is an illness that I will never even attempt to overcome. I see a book that looks interesting, I buy it. I read the first 75 pages and then get distracted by another pretty cover. It goes on my nightstand. Eventually I am penniless and want something to read, so I go back to one of the toss offs and re-discover why I bought it. Eventually I finish them all. (Well, except for Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell which was officially thrown across the room at page 640 and left to be walked on for a week until I finally worked up the strength to pick up the 40 pound doorstop and put it on a shelf. Ms Clarke, get thee an editor!)

Anyway. The pile of books seems to grow faster than my children. Which has led me to discover one advantage to being the only adult in the house; no one else can tell you that you have too many of something! It also means that no one moves your stuff–and if they do they are smaller than you and you can bribe them with candy and stickers to get it back.

Keeping in mind those two things (the getting to keep what you want and it staying where you put it) imagine just how juicy it is to re-discover an entire collection of books that you are absolutely dying to read just sitting there beside your bed and actually having the time to read them!

Are you salivating?

Oh! The titles I am cracking (or re-cracking) this month! Everything from The Fabulous Friendship Festival to The Female Brain to The Field to Finding Your Own North Star. Wait. Those are all in the Fs. Just so no one gets the mistaken belief that my nightstand is organized alphabetically… to The Namesake to Why Moms are Weird (Hi, Pamie!!) to Sex, Time, and Power.

I have had a book-a-day habit since 2nd grade (Hi, Mrs. Williams!!) and just feel so blessed to have continued access to this alternate reality. I am working diligently to pass my addiction on to my kids. I suckered them in with picture books before they could hold their heads up. Then we moved on to reading chapter books out loud on car trips and while they played in the floor with their toys. Once I got them hooked, I taught them the code and now they are reading on their own.

If there is anything any sweeter than kissing my children good night, it is hearing my 8-year-old son say as I tuck him in with a biography(!!), “There’s nothin‘ like a good book.”

* Grad school is going on the back burner for the moment. The issues I mentioned last fall have never been resolved and have escalated and the school is in a huge upheaval that won’t be settled in my lifetime and I am over beating my head against that brick wall. Perhaps another program at another school will be a better fit. Perhaps I should just get off of my ass and get a job. Hey! I might just do it!!

Decisions, decisions…

Yes, I am down to 142.5 pounds, but not in a good way. I have lost weight this week because I have stressed myself into a relapse and can’t manage to eat anything.

I am the canary in the mine. I see the big picture. I see the problems and cracks and I am probably a little hyper-vigilant. But when I see it coming, I want to warn folks.

“Get out of the way!”

“We gotta change this!”

“This could be so much easier/sweeter/kinder/effective!”

But sometimes–most of the time–they just don’t want to hear it. And I can usually let it go.

Unless it directly affects my life in some dramatic way.

Like People First Language.

Well grad school is affecting my life in a dramatic way. The issues with my team got worse–much worse–over the course of the past several weeks and I went to the administration for help. It seems that was the wrong course of action. They don’t want to hear it. And I can’t let it go.

Without detailing you to death, let’s just say that I am seriously considering leaving the program. This sucks for about 64 reasons, not the least of which is that I want this degree, I love the coursework, and I don’t know what I am going to do if I drop out.

But I can’t live with this kind of stress for another year. It isn’t fair to my children. It isn’t healthy for me. Life is way too short to go weeks without sleep or eating because folks won’t do their part.

Damn it.

She’s So Cool…

Yeah, I know. I am mystifyingly cool.

No kidding.

I can do grad school, homeschool, raise two kids, balance a checkbook, date real men, drive a car, stay at goal weight, and elliptical train for an entire hour without passing out.

Then, I start my heady yeah-I-just-ran-to-nowhere-for-an-entire-hour-without-passing-out walk back to the locker room only to get my headphone cord tangled up with my towel and my sweatshirt and manage to bang my Zen into my nose and draw blood.

And then one of those real men has to tell me that I have blood running down my face, ’cause I am too cool to notice it all on my own.

Now, you know just how impressive I really am.

Oh, and the run-just-prior-to-my-public-humiliation is in the books (126/200) along with another one (run not humiliation) this weekend (127/200) plus an amazing, leaf-crunching (I love fall!!), 5-mile hike (128/200).

I. Am. So. Cool. Don’t you wish you could be like me?

Stop laughing. It isn’t funny.


Little Progress at Lightning Speed…

The days are just whizzing by. I don’t know what happened to August. When I was finishing up my BS degree in June it felt like I had all the time in the world before school started again. Well, all that time is a memory, and a vague one at that.

My first course in grad school (I try to drop “grad school” into every conversation) is a survey course on HRD (Human Resource Development for those of you with a life) in which we are going to complete a career assessment and create an HRD career plan (sounds like such fun—seriously—and three is about my parenthetical limit for one sentence so I am going to put a period and start fresh now). Most of my undergrad coursework was about getting hours behind me. Yeah, I enjoyed school (sick, I know) but I didn’t get to take many classes which turned my crank. Every course without exception in my grad school (there it is again) program is so up my alley that I get all giddy from reading it (sick, I know).

So, career thoughts and life thoughts are swirling about. I am a life-coach-literature junkie so I have done the whole dreaming, visioning, planning, first steps thing before. Thing is that all that stuff about every day being a fresh start and people creating their own luck and folks manifesting what they need happens to be true. It sounds like so much claptrap, but I have experienced the phenomenon of calling what I need to me enough to know it to be spot on. Combining concrete planning tools with the belief that we *can* be and have whatever we want in our lives makes for some pretty exciting stuff!

Some people call it prayer—ask and ye shall receive—some call it magic, voodoo, universal supply, good karma, what comes around goes around. It doesn’t seem to matter how you label it—you just gotta accept it and remember the availability of it. One of the barriers to my bliss as a single mom is access to childcare. I love, love, love my kids but I’d like some time to do un-kid stuff from time to time. Basically, being the sole provider of all things to my children all day every day (and nights, too!) is leaving me low on energy and enthusiasm. So, I wrote an email to my best friend expressing this need.

The one thing I can do to alleviate this feeling of entrapment (which is what it is) is to locate excellent, dependable, flexible childcare options. It is vial to my mental health to know that I can schedule breaks without having to ask the wasband or my mother as both are no longer options for support.

I need (hear this universe) someone who can come to my house for evening events–like school–who is able to provide their own transportation. I need someone who is available on weekend days. I need someone who is available for overnights (either here or at their place.) And I need each of these options to be very reasonably priced–or some form of financial support to cover it.

So there. It is within my power to get the time away that I need in order to be fully available when I am with my children.

I clicked the send button and headed off to a new homeschool activity with these self-same children. Skip ahead a couple of hours into this activity and not only did I find a sitter, I found 3 teens who can come to my house almost anytime (they homeschool and are flexible time-wise), a family willing to let me drop my kids off pretty much whenever (“There is always someone here…”), and leads on a couple of other options. I am still following up on the details, but—c’mon—you gotta admit that the whole timing thing was pretty awesome!

Fitness? Yeah, well. I packed a moving truck in 100 degree heat. Does that count?

Yeah, I used to blog…

I know. Yeah. It has been a really, really, really long time without a post.

I could give you the 400 really, really, really good reasons for my absence.

But you wouldn’t think any more (or less) of me if you knew what was up.

So, I will just say that I am still at goal weight.

I work out sometimes.

I finished my degree in June.

I saw my daddy, step mom, two sisters, grandmother, uncles, aunt, great aunts, great uncles, and cousins for the first time in 21 years.

I am starting grad school in a couple of weeks.

My wasband’s new pet name for me is “evil incarnate.”

I had an alarm installed.

I graduated from therapy.

Did I mention that I have been a little busy?

I knew you would understand.

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