Swimmy Swim

I think things are going fairly well.   Including a cheat evening/week has improved my mental stability – but I think I need to fine-tune the diet the rest of the time.   I’m going to try to hit my protein macros and let the rest of the food take care of itself (so long as I stay on program).  Hoping that reduces overall appetite/calorie intake.

So, why do I have a problem with the whole, “just count calories” thing?  It’s a fair question, and it has two answers.  1)  I have been on one too many diets and now I’m to a place where logging my food stresses me out.  This is stupid, but it’s true.   2)  I get really freaked out when I am hungry/not getting the right nourishment for long periods of time.   And you can forget hungry AND tired.  Nope.

It’s weird.  I can fast just fine.  I mean, discomfort here and there, but I don’t wig out at all.    But just TRY to tell me that I should be “full” because I’ve eaten a large cubic volume of salad and I’ll snap.  No, I’m NOT satisfied.  I’m temporarily full and yes, I can feel that I’m still hungry.  Don’t lie.  (I can even feel what I should eat to give my body what it needs, whether that’s protein or carb or fat).

I think that stems from having malnutrition as a child.  If you’ve bounced to HHH you’ve seen the entry about Hidden Beauty.  China was (and likely still is) a land of exquisite craftsmanship and beauty.  But in 1980, it was a country without enough food to go ’round, and that includes Foreign Experts.  We had ration coupons.   In one year, I lost 1/3 of my hair.  I’m likely a few inches shorter than I would be if I hadn’t been there.  I always had a full belly – and I was always, always hungry.   (My folks lost a lot of weight too – BFF couldn’t get into a dress, at 15, that my mom had made for her right before coming home).

There’s nothing I can do about any of that.  I have to take weight loss very consistently, very slowly, and very deliberately, taking my health into consideration the whole time.  It’s not fun at ALL.  It’s not fast.  It’s frustrating and makes me feel badly about myself.  I swear to you that except for my one cheat evening/wk, I don’t touch sugar.  I’m not eating grains (okay, there were the potstickers DH asked for and I made from scratch, and I put 2tbsp of flour in the paprikash…) except that night either.   It’s not low-carb (I eat a lot of potatoes and yams and fruit) but it’s a solid diet.  -sigh-

So, a tune up.  Not a change, just – make it a little better, little tighter.

The good news is that the workouts are the bomb.  My coach takes amazing care of me.  My ankle is substantially better – I have my range of motion (mostly, still getting used to wearing shoes for lifts) back.   BBC is actively good for my ankle – I feel better after each.  CF is not so much, but I’m there.  Cardio capacity is … well, I’m showing up and doing the work.  It will come back in time.

Today I found out that “cluster backsquat” actually was two moves – a “cluster” and a backsquat.  What’s a cluster?  It’s a squat-clean straight into a thruster.  Would you like your heart rate to soar?  K.  Thrusters.  Clusters too, I guess.

Instruction:  Clean the bar, dropping into a full squat.  As you stand up, press the bar above your head in a smooth push.  (It’s *not* a clean & jerk, which allows you to reset at your standing position for the above-the-head part of the move).   Not terrible.

Now do several of them in a row, no rest between each.  It’s the pumping action of dropping, squatting, then standing/pushing a weight above your head… that’s why your heartrate goes into orbit.  (Wall-balls do this too).  It’s *not* the amount of weight.  I mean, that makes it harder and your muscles work more.  But it’s the pumping action that will get you.  You can do this with 5lb weights and feel it.

Oh.  It’s crossfit.  “lifting weights faster”.  So… my time for 9-6-3 clusters/backsquats (first you do your nine clusters, then nine backsquats, then back for more clusters) at 65lb was 5:50.  That was over the time limit of 5 min.  Oh well…. sometimes I get too disappointed in myself and them I’m like, “what are you THINKING”.   Only at crossfit with the insane people (my husband claims I’m one of them) is this slow.

One day at a time.  But that’s where we be.


Just Keep Swimming

Finished W30.  3lb off… which is good, but not great.   Asked DH if I was looking any slimmer. * He said I was more compact, but not slimmer.  That kind of matches the 1/4″ increase I measured on my biceps.   (I do feel a great deal better).

This is the thing my body does.  FIRST we add muscle.  Seriously.  I hurt my achilles tendon, have had to do upper body or veryvery careful lower body… so what’s the best response my body can offer?  More muscles.  (I think my back/chest may have increased too, but I refuse to check).

If I were a guy, this would be super encouraging.  But I’m not a guy!  I was trying to get smaller…

I remember from this summer that I lost more weight the month after W30 than I did the month during.  Just keeping my diet clean.  I HAVE to remember that, because I want to be grumpy and throw in the towel.  But no more!  I’m going to just keep swimming.  Because first we add the muscle, then we’ll start taking off some fat.  It’s like my body runs its own weird bulk/cut cycle.  (Wish it would process more of the latter, oh well).

Work stuff going more or less similarly.  I’ve learned some things, going to make some changes.  Grateful?  again for DH and pushing me.  I was feeling discouraged, he got me to work on setting up for a vlog.  That was useful.  I figured out some lighting issues (my home suffers from a paucity of good places to videotape).

Anyhow.  I’m going to mix it up a bit today.  Supposed to go to ASG and listen to a presentation on applique, but I really don’t want to sit and listen … I think I’ll get up on the hill and weed out my garden.  Better for the soul.

Just. Keep.  Swimming.




*I know this is a mean question to spring on your husband.  Mine will, however, tell me the truth.

Fae Conspiracy Theory

Okay, this is where Hearth gets pretty woo-woo.  Strap in.

I has a theory.  I think that myths and fairy tales exist to tell us about truths deeper or stranger than the everyday.  Sometimes they tell us meta-truths (keep being virtuous in the face of discouragement, be nice to strangers, don’t trust too easily).  That’s what literature is FOR.  (See the last two blogs).*

I think that the fallen angels and their kids (Genesis 6) are hidden in our myths.  I notice that  the gods of the Mediterranean area (which includes N. Africa and into Scandinavia) are startlingly similar … different names on the same faces?  Sure, details vary – but the pantheons themselves have serious similarities.   And they’re brats.  They’re *not* virtuous, they’re selfish and mercurial.

I’ve heard myths here and there that those gods shrank and became the Fae.  Maybe?  Not to mention their kids… who I think make up the bulk of the Otherkind.  And in the old stories (including stories about djinn and similar level Otherkin in Africa and here in the US) all of the Fae are mercurial, selfish, mischievous, and sometimes downright evil.  They might help if it suited them, but not for free – and they’ll double cross you if they can.   They’re not fuzzy and nice.

And they’re not human.  They’re Other.  Long lives, most of them incapable of creation, few of them have many children (and usually those pair off with yet-lower-power Others or kidnapped humans).  If that doesn’t sound like Genesis 6, what does?   Your Bible will tell you that Goliath was a Nephilim… they did exist after the flood, although not in such numbers.

Our myths warned us about these guys.  Until very recently.

Let’s take vampires – the Biblical admonition that the life is in the blood, and we are not to partake of blood is stood on its head, and the creature that lives only on blood – and lives forever, damned and damnable… that’s what was originally written.  Beautiful, tempting – like La Belle Dame Sans Merci (although she was Fae), addictive… but not of us.

Now the vampires sparkle and make babies and the elves are heroes.  (Sorry, Tolkien – your elves were really more angelic, but… not a great precedent).  Why?

Some of it is our wandering away from Black/White and entering the eternal fog of Grey.  (Speaking of things I can’t abide in my reading material).  Misunderstood, not evil.  How lovely, to write a story about someone doing something awful because they have to… but they’re not evil.  No, of course that MetaStory doesn’t mess with the Christian world-view at all.  -cough, cough-

We killed our heroes and traded them out for those who walk in the shadows – and now those who walked in the shadows, trading in half-truths and trickery, they’ve come to the forefront and we call them good.

If you read the original Peter Pan – Tink wasn’t a nice creature.  Nor were any of her friends nice creatures.   Peter’s power came at a cost – all fairy gifts do.  Read Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Dracula was damned, a horror.  But now we see their perspectives?  No.  To rebel against God is to walk away from the Light.

Our literature reflects our time, and if we want to change hearts back, we need to reintroduce true heroes.

As for what happened to those Nephilim… I don’t know.  Do you?



*Christians*are* supposed to try to be Cinderella and Snow White like – gracious in the face of ugliness.  No clue why these are “weak” women – you want to cope with what they did?  Making the best of a bad situation isn’t a poor life-lesson, and it’s darn realistic.  Oh, and the true King will eventually rescue us… -ahem-  Big T truths hidden amongst singing rodents.


Reading… Pt 2: Heroes and Choices

So, if you’ve read part one then you are up to speed on the “we read literature to develop our imaginations”.  But there’s a second part to that.  One wants, particularly for one’s children, to select heroes or heroines who *make good choices* in their problems.  (Or, more typically, learn from their initial poor choices and straighten out by the end of the story).

Because life happens, and how do you deal?  So, if you have those things in your imagination, where you have a huge problem and then your protagonist (aka your imaginary self) tries one solution and then another … maybe when YOU’RE confronted with bad stuff, you’ve already worked some of that stuff out.

What you don’t want is a hero/heroine who makes bad choices and then everything still works out… aka be wary of current YA fiction.

I used to love Tarzan books, when I was about 10/11.  Tarzan was a thoroughly unbelievable hero, insofar as his powers were concerned – but he had real emotions, and his enemies were pretty solid (yes, types – but hello, Tarzan started the types).  Everyone whinges about Jane being a wimp.  She wasn’t.  She was written fairly realistically, considering.  I mean, what do you think would happen to YOU if you were captured by a tribe of enemy warriors?  Are YOU going to stroll out?  I think not.   Simple things, but I was a kid.

My dad got me into Heinlein, and while I would warn anyone away from the “adult” Heinleins, the books he wrote for the Boy Scouts were great examples of competent kids getting on with things, using their math skills, using their life skills, to deal with big problems.   You want to raise little libertarians?  Feed them Heinlein.

And this is why I cannot bear to read adult literature, part 2.  I HATE the way most of the heroes/heroines deal with their issues.  I don’t respect their choices, they fill me with contempt and I don’t want to let them live in my head.   Take Anna Karenina.  Beautiful prose.  Incredible descriptions. But Anna and her lover were jerks.   Was I supposed to be sad when they died at the end?  I wasn’t.   Ever read “Vanity Fair”?  Ugh.  Protagonist was a horrible, horrible woman.  I don’t even want to be in the same room with her, much less spend days of my life in her head.

And those aren’t my problems, aren’t problems I ever expect to encounter.  I’m not married to a man 20 years my senior and rich and bored and unloved/unloving.  (The setting of far too many “great women’s novels”).  If I was, I don’t think adultery is an ethical way of dealing.  How exactly does it help your life to have your sexuality “awakened” (a dif book) if that’s not going to be a big part of your life?  -eyeroll- STUPID.

That’s why I prefer adventure novels.  No, I’m not likely to have to go slay a dragon – but I respect the hero’s choice to deal with his problems straight on, at risk to his own life.   That’s the person I want to be – the person who deals with their problems in an honorable fashion, does what it takes, and comes out on top.   Yes, I like a good redemption novel – you can start out a baddie and get right and that makes a good read.   But you have to choose good.  And, if I’m going to *enjoy myself*, you have to win at the end.  But that’s not a literary value, just a personal preference.

So, that’s why I think classic novels (where good and bad are clearly delineated) are better choices for kids’ literature in particular than whatever junk is in the YA section at your local bookstore.  Bad is labelled bad, good is labelled good.

And that brings me to my conspiracy theory about fairies and vampires, but I seem to be the only person interested in that subject.  🙂

Reading Levels and Life Levels

Els posted a review of Peter Pan (the book) and I disagreed with her adjusted reading level.  I’d like to go into that a bit here…

  1. The process of growing up seems to be a process of shocks.   What shocks come when changes from era to era, but shocks there will be.
  2. Good parents in our era try to protect our children from as many shocks as possible.  I’m not sure that this is beneficial, although I do it too.
    1. The reason I’m not sure it’s a good thing to protect them from shocks rather than letting them through in gradated bits is that if you protect them, they get all the shocks at once when they leave home.
  3. One of the functions of literature is to help you imagine situations before you have to confront them, either in your life or in the life of others

Let’s look at a classical reading list by grade, and consider the themes in the books (NOT the dumbed-down versions, the real books):   https://charlottemasonhome.com/2007/05/30/literature-by-grade/

In Kidnapped (6th grade, 11 for most kids) the protagonist is orphaned, gets himself to his ancestral home, and is betrayed by his uncle and impressed into the navy before he spends most of the rest of the book wandering around the Scottish countryside hiding from the army with the man who starts as his enemy and becomes his friend.   I don’t remember any sex… but family betrayal, loads and loads of violence, starvation, the political situation in an embattled country, spies, and revenge all play in.  It’s not a “nice” book.

Little Women is a “nicer” book on the surface – but we are (as usual) looking at issues of marriage, how to deal with life when your husband is off to war, class consciousness, charity when it hurts, and death.

Seventh grade brings us Anne Frank (WWII); The Prince and the Pauper (let’s get into detail about what being a “whipping boy” really entails, not to mention an abusive, drunken father); and Oliver Twist (orphaned, taken advantage of).

Has anyone read the *original* Wizard of Oz?  Suitable for elementary-level children to read.  People really died.  There were actual consequences and battles, and loads of prejudice and hate.

That’s what literature is… it’s the hard stuff, put on paper.  (This may be why many of us don’t choose to read it after a certain age.  Or maybe because all they want to talk about in adult literature is adultery and/or despair).  It gives us a chance to deal with this stuff, just a little bit, before we have to deal with it in our real lives.  And if you’re homeschooling, or if your kids talk to you (one of mine does, the other one doesn’t talk), you can help them deal with it, give them coping mechanisms.

And aside from literature… are you going to not teach your children history?  History isn’t very nice.

We’d all like a softer life for our kids, a life lived in innocence.  But I’m here to tell you from personal experience, that even if your kids are properly cherished and kept safe, someday their friends are going to start telling them about their lives – and reality is going to hit with both barrels.

Literature is part of how we grow up.



Learning to Market: Tribes, Weirdness, The Perfect Customer

Oh.  You thought I was going to spend the time I was elevating my foot taking naps?  Really?  Nah.  I’ve been working my tail off all week improving the pro site and learning to use social media to market.  (Lord help us).  And … I’m getting more hits on my pro site after a few days.  So, I guess this stuff works.  Who knew.

Can I start with “I hate marketing”.  I don’t hate taking pretty pictures and posting them on IG etc, but I don’t really like saying, “Hi hi hi hi hi LOOOK at MEEEEE” .  But.  Aint-a-gonna get customers if I don’t.   It’s a reality.

Inputs have recommended creating (on paper) an imaginary “perfect customer” and then writing all my content/marketing stuff *directly to her*, whoever she is.  Put stuff where she hangs out online, make it interesting to her, etc.   This is now a thing in marketing.  Seems odd, but okay.

But I don’t think that naming my new imaginary friend (IC) is gonna get me anywhere.  So, another source talked about doing psychographics instead – think about the things that IC is bugged by, loves, hates, etc. That makes more sense to me – I’m selling a service that solves problems for women.  I should probably find women who find clothing and image a problem, ja?

And then I picked up a marketing book by Seth Godin, recommended by a friend who doesn’t market but does like good books:


One of the things that Godin said was that basically all of us are weird in some way now – because we are rich enough to choose to be progressively more individual.   We are forming up into tribes by interests, and those tribes are breaking into further micro-tribes as we get progressively more nerdy about our passions.   How do you market to microtribes?  Well, you could look at their outside characteristics – or you could look at the heart of someone who is passionate about the Thing.  Or you could market to individuals… (Or you can just mass-market to the dwindling piles of ‘normal’ people).

And that concept SLAMMED a pile of goo on the back of the mental stove right into concrete.  You see, I have absolutely zero interest in teaching women to look perfectly “fashionable” by whatever the definition du jour happens to be.  I don’t give a darn about status pieces.  You can get that ANYWHERE.  There’s a freaking formula.  Watch five episodes of “What Not to Wear” and don’t bother me.

What I really really REALLY want is to help women discover who they are, and then learn how to show their true selves off – to wear their hearts on their sleeves.  I want to help women embrace their individuality.   All of that incorporating their goals in life and physical realities, of course – but the idea is to make my clients all look like themselves, not like me, not like each other.

I *like* people.  I think they’re cool and interesting.  I want more individuality, not less.  I want people to be themselves.  If you want to change something about yourself, change it – don’t hide it under a rug.   I will NOT help you rug-shop.

So, so far my perfect customer looks like this:

  • Someone who is transitioning in life (career, relationship, etc)
  • mid 30s/40s/early 50s
  • Who likes clothes but is irritated because nothing is ever quite right
  • Who wants to feel pretty
  • Who enjoys shopping – if she could just know she was bringing the right things home
  • Who wants to find herself
  • Who is ready to be seen/make an impact
  • Who is open to joy and beauty

I don’t know if I care how many kids she has and if she drives an SUV or a sedan… I don’t have the knowledge to say that those things are irrelevant, but boy howdy do they seem irrelevant.

So.  I need to start writing blog posts to this imaginary woman and getting content on my blog that isn’t photographs of today’s jewelry.  (Hey, it’s PRETTY and makes for an interesting image).

This is a whole new ball of wax, peoples…. a whole new ball…

Anyway.  Interesting (veryveryshort) read, lots of thoughts.

The Monster in the Closet Jumped Out

Apparently my push for greater fitness in the new year was a little too much, too fast.   I had been doing barbell club 2x/wk (approx 4 hours/wk) in the gym.  I added a session of crossfit, and got out and started walking on my non-workout days (5 hours gym+ 2 hours misc).  On my nice steep hill.  Seems like a reasonable plan to get the pounds off, especially taken in concert with cleaning up the diet, yes?

My ankle started developing a weird bump sometime in December.  It didn’t like to be messed with, but I didn’t really think anything of it, until a few weeks ago (when I started the plan) and it started getting progressively more painful.   I haven’t been able to wear my normal workout sandals for two weeks, and this week saw me unable to wear any shoe that rubs on the back of my heel.

So I went to the doc.  Achilles Tendonitis… and arthritis in the heel and ankle.    The tendonitis is annoying – I have to take a couple weeks off of my usual workouts (and then, presumably, start back SLOWLY).  I can deal with that, even if the 800mg Advil they gave me makes me feel like I swallowed a rock.   I’ll do chest/shoulders/core and sit on the bike.  Doable.   I’m cranky about it – having goals and having to alter my plan of attack, and lots of time on the couch with my foot elevated.  But I can deal.  Life happens.    Taking away the fact that my “yeah, yeah, I’ll do mobility… later” is now “I *will* do mobility work, and I’ll do it every day” in order to stay in the game.  And I’m far too addicted to lifting to give it up easily.

That’s not the monster in the closet.  It’s the arthritis diagnosis that had me upset half the weekend.   I’m not quite over it… see, I can heal up from tendonitis.  I can take things more slowly and stretch and not get it again.   No prob.  Just a bump in the road.

But arthritis in my bad foot (yes, all this is in the bad foot) is the monster in the closet, the Big Mean Activity Ending Evil that I’ve been threatened with since the day I broke my foot.   “Eventually, you’ll get arthritis in that joint, and when the pain gets too bad to bear, we’ll do another surgery and freeze it, and you’ll walk with a cane for the rest of your life”.    I had a doctor who made me come in annually to get an X-ray to see if the arthritis had shown up yet.  (Talk about a stressful appointment).   Then the insurance changed and I went back to the man who did the surgery who huffed in irritation and told me not to come back unless my foot was bugging me.

Y’all *get* why hearing “you have arthritis in your foot” *completely* freaked me out, right?

So, the arthritis isn’t in the joint that broke, and we don’t freeze ankle joints.   My husband was careful to point this out to me – this isn’t QUITE the monster I was afraid of.  But it’s close… too close.   (He thinks I developed arthritis in my ankle because I use my ankle instead of the joint in the middle of my foot).

I’m going to have to change something, I don’t know what… maybe no more Oly lifting, just power?  Maybe something else?  I don’t know.

I do know that the Monster is officially out of the closet, and I was much happier when it wasn’t sitting on my lap.