Good Post Surgery Monday!

d3a27575ee11361ea54fc1bdfefa8992-running-memes-runners-high

Well, I had my gallbladder removed on Thursday and not only is today hubby’s first day back to work but this is my first morning without feeling the need to take any pain pills! I am pretty sure I was a bit paranoid I wouldn’t wake up with the alarm, since I was bright eyed 2 hours before the alarm went off! I am thinking a nap may be in order later today, since I am not sure how “occupied” I can be if I cannot lift more than 5 pounds.

I have spent the past month or so preparing for this surgery. With fall threatening to become a reality, I wanted to get as much physical labor finished as I could so I wasn’t fighting weather once I was healed. So, would you like a rundown? I am very happy!

We have been living in this house for almost 6 years and it’s amazing how long upgrades/improvements/plans can take when a person keeps changing their mind (cough). The front yard is at the most 20 feet from the house to the sidewalk and raised. I knew before we moved in that I did not want lawn out there. So, after clearing as much of the lawn and weeds as possible, I was given a few small agave plants. So, I decided those would become my neighbor/crackhead deterrent. I planted some along the neighbor’s driveway and the rest along the front of the house. Then, I left them alone. This was a huge mistake!

10477267_10206428785146563_8968024971549588030_o
April 2015

I did not realize just how big these plants get, nor what their growing habits were. They multiply prolifically, not only in the soil but within the plant themselves. Agave also likes to move whatever is in its way (not excluding house siding). So, when I decided I wanted to remove the concrete shingles, I didn’t realize the size of the job ahead of me.

19780302_10213426031113339_3722413814034215038_o
June 2017

This is just over a year after that first picture and these plants aren’t just sharp, they are like hypodermic needles that (at least on me) tend to cause immediate infection. So, I had to don a face shield (the kind used to protect your face when using a grinder), thick clothes (that I still got poked through) and a machete to cut the leaves back so I could get close enough to dig out the plants.

22047717_10214180546855761_9078119387796869237_o
Just one root ball, on a smaller plant.

Between me chopping away, digging, then having to take a break to recuperate, then finally asking my husband for help (here he is with his mad machete skills):

22048119_10214220391731858_4215348898569502960_o
He can actually hit the same cut multiple times! He’s a god!

Completed a week before my surgery, we now have an almost naked front yard (I will not remove the agave next to the neighbor’s driveway until my husband has a section of fencing ready to go).

22136855_10214221454238420_4013756653958617747_o
Almost naked yard!

Once I recover, then it’s time to work on removing the cement shingles. I could replace the lost/broken ones but I really hate them. Every time we turn around, one of them is breaking. When we first bought this house, we both agreed that the bulk of any “money” we would sink into the house was in sweat equity (there is no way putting in granite counter tops in this neighborhood would pay off). I want the original siding back. I love wood and so far, there doesn’t seem to be too much damage to the siding underneath the shingles (and there aren’t 50 coats of paint on it).

In the mean time, I have two books I am actively working on. One is basically an expanded version of the FAQs for “My Atkins Journey.” The second one is for my father-in-law. He has been writing down stories from his childhood, either about incidents that happened or stories he was told. He initially just wanted me to type them up for him but I thought compiling them into an actual book would be fun. I even have him hunting for pictures to include (he’s thrilled and so am I).

I am a new member if Instagram, so if you want to follow along, check me out here!

Advertisements

“But You Will Look Like A Man!”

Rachel McLish - The first woman I saw with muscles who still looked feminine.
Rachel McLish – The first woman I saw with muscles who still looked feminine.

I do not hear this nearly as much as I did when I first looked into lifting weights. I hope it has something to do with people being more enlightened but I’m pretty sure they just don’t want to be accused of gay bashing (or whatever). There are too many people out there who are either trolls who relish in stirring up controversy or the “eternally offended” who actively search for something to protest. Either way, I am tired of them all. And, since I am a female, I am allowed to say a bunch of stuff that will probably be considered sexist (or whichever -ist you may choose to embrace today).

The book I am writing is how embracing 9 virtues will make me a whole, well-rounded human being. While I have the 9 virtues separated into chapters and defined (and my whole “this is how I messed up and how I am fixing it” dialogue in there) I am trying to figure out how to explain the method I am using to fundamentally alter who I am. At first, I thought it was like embracing a new habit (so, I read a lot). It did fit the bill but then I began weight training again and that’s when it clicked. If you want to fundamentally change your life, it’s just like when you finally decide to get healthy.

If you want long lasting, sustainable changes, you don’t immediately throw all the “bad” foods out the door, get rid of all your sodas, and take up the same weight training program Arnold used to win Mr. Olympia. Not only will you get withdrawals, not have enough food to eat, and possibly hurt yourself (and other people with your wild mood swings), on your first “cheat day” you will scarf so much food you will not be able to walk for a week. Then, you will beat yourself up for being so weak-willed, and, after resupplying your pantry with all those “bad” foods, you will throw them all out, and repeat the pattern over and over again until you just decide you will be happier unhealthy.

No, the key is to start small. Change your sodas to diet sodas. Then, add some water to your drinking habits (which I did by bribing myself, “I can have some more coffee when I drink this water”). If you are going to reduce your carbohydrates, have 2 instead of 4 pieces of toast at breakfast but add an egg or slice of bacon. Do that for a while, then change another small thing. After a while, once you have altered your food intake enough and done it long enough, your tastes will change and your new dietary habits will now be normal (I now feel physically ill if I eat a Hostess cupcake, so I haven’t eaten one in 6 years).

If your goal is to write a book (and you haven’t written a dang thing outside of a school essay), the same thing goes: write 500 words a day, whether that is a blog post or a journal entry or your book (for that, do research and find out exactly how to write the kind of book you want). Write some letters or emails to people. Just write, then add words every day. After a while, your day will not feel complete until you have written.

And when it comes to improving myself, like the 9 virtues I am implementing within my life, I am taking each virtue, defining it, and changing each aspect of that virtue that I am not embracing or I did not fully understand. Once that change is implemented and fully embraced, I am moving onto the next aspect.  Through this process, I am taking copious notes about what has worked, what hasn’t, and that is the basis for my book. It is taking much longer than I expected. I thought I was a pretty decent person before I began this process but sheesh, was I wrong!

 

Podcasts and Twitter

I am about to head into my cave (well, the bedroom with the laptop and no distractions) to write some more. It’s funny. I started out with the basic outline of a book (well, Scrivener’s version of one). Got 9 chapters ready to be filled, found quotes I wanted to use to support my thinking, have written a good chunk of most of the chapters, and now I’m thinking the scope of it needs to be expanded (just a bit). It’s morphing into basically a multi-part lesson on changing and establishing habits, really. I didn’t envision that when I started this.

I just signed up for a Twitter account (https://twitter.com/brendanolen3) that is just me, not solely Atkins/Keto related or homemaking. Just me and all my tangents. Until now I have never been an active Twitter user but will do my best to be better at it.  I think I will have to take a Twitter for Dummies class.

I have always loved the spoken word. The first time I remember listening to an audio book was in my sophomore English class in high school. The teacher was fantastic! We had to read “Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare. Have you just sat and read Shakespeare (silently)? Ugh! Our teacher turned on an audio recording while we followed along in our books. THEN, we watched the movie version with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (to understand their relationship, you need to watch that movie and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”. They were electrifying together). Since then, I have been hooked. It takes my attention-deficient brain a long time to sit and read a book. I cannot tell you how many times I have to re-read a page two or more times because my mind wandered while reading BUT if I listen I get it: I comprehend immediately. It’s a beautiful thing. That is why I enjoy podcasts so much. As long as I am not doing anything loud (running the vacuum or lawn mower) or something that requires all of my attention (like reading) I do not have to stop everything to be entertained or learn.

So, I wanted to give you a list of the podcasts I am currently listening to. It’s difficult for me to find someone I resonate with, so my initial list was much longer. I just started listening to Barbell Shrugged and The Fat Burning Man, so I don’t know how well I will ultimately like the shows. I am sure I will find others to listen to (and if you have any suggestions for me, fire away).

48 Days Podcast

Barbell Shrugged      Here’s the video version of a fantastic episode discussing how to not only change your eating habits but those of your family in a smart, sustainable way:

Darkness Radio

Hunt Gather Talk

Northern Runes Radio

RPCast (My Almost Baby Brother)

The Fat Burning Man

The Publishing Profits Podcast

The School of Greatness

The Tim Ferris Show     This episode was the last one that I had to share on Facebook: The Importance of Being Dirty: Lessons from Mike Rowe