#MicroblogMondays - The New Job 9 Months In

"You work less than you used to, right?"

A colleague, who understands our organization well, asked me this question. He wasn't slamming my position, or slamming me, but it does show how design engineers view the position I'm currently in.

I'm actually working more. There are more nights spent trying to skim through e-mails and stay on top of what I'm supposed to be doing, vs. the fires that pop up each and every day.  I left the office to go on vacation for 4 days over the 4th of July weekend and came back to 115 emails. Now, that's not a lot to some people, but for me it's overwhelming. What I think people forget is that the Program Manager is on-demand for every dam in their region. I have 60 with one high profile politically charged project, 2 going to construction in the next 2 years, and multiple projects in the middle of evaluation. Plus, there are all the other on-going inspections and evaluations of the dams that I'm at least supposed to know about.

I have yet to figure out a great system, although I've been trying One-Note and that seems promising despite not being able to use the cloud. I've become adept at keeping up with e-mails when I travel, constantly checking my phone and spending some time in the evenings to address issues. 

Traveling has become a whole lot more of my schedule. There's training, and conferences and meetings that pop up. For example, I knew for months that I was going to essentially be gone the entire month of September. That came and went, it was really hard on all of us (two the trips were 5 days) and I came home thinking that I was going to be back for a while. No dice. Now I'm going to be gone on trips half of October and I'm going to miss Halloween. Not that Halloween on a Monday is a major holiday to miss, and there are plenty of Halloween activities for us to find before the actual day, but it still kind of sucks. 

Generally I feel like I'm treading water and constantly fighting waves that engulf my head leaving me sputtering and panicked.

And it wasn't even a promotion.

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Update on: Be Careful What You Search For

A therapy session in which I talked about what I found to my therapist helped me to realize that I am so good at operating in black/white terms that I always forget the shades of gray surrounding every interaction. She thought it appropriate to contact the adoption agency about what I had discovered as it was public news (just public news I came across months later), but yes, agreed we don't say anything in our letters since Baby Z's mom has been holding strong to her desire to keep us at arms length.

I didn't contact the agency as the initial shock and grief wore off quickly and S and I decided that this is news we share with Baby Z because it may help to explain why she may never want contact with him, or at the very least it's a tiny piece of a bigger puzzle. I still got the itch to try to do some more digging though, because (let's face it), I'm nosy until I find an answer. Thankfully, I found what looks like positive news.

I probably won't stop the searching every now and then, gathering the data for Baby Z in the future, but I sure will be ready for anything when I do it.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

(This speaks more to how I process news than the actual conference.)

In the past the conferences with X's daycare have all been super positive. He wasn't getting in trouble and was showing empathy and developing strategies for conflict. He scored the highest scores on every category and his teachers loved him, his classmates loved him, everybody wanted to be his friend.

Kindergarten has presented challenges as all transitions do and we had been struggling with certain behaviors since school started. S and I have been struggling with bringing empathy into our parenting because it is so damn hard and yelling seems like a better idea when in the heat of things. (it doesn't work, we know, clearly, because shit is still hitting the fan). 

Here's what I heard:

  • Your kid has no structure
  • Stop dressing your kid in the morning, make him do it himself (he totally gets himself ready, this one really pissed me off)
  • You are permissive/doormat of a parent
  • You yell at him too much (he has no problem telling the teacher that I yell)
  • Your kid is acting out because you are so fucked up at home
  • This is a big problem

Here's what was actually said (according to S):

  • He's really popular and personable, everyone likes him
  • We're working on managing space and being calm
  • If you could structure his morning more by setting a list of tasks for him to accomplish before leaving the house, that will help him understand structure in the classroom and make him feel empowered.
  • He's a good kid and likes learning

The worst part about all of this is that I fucking lost it Saturday morning. I was so angry that the conference didn't go the way I expected it to that I took it out on the entire family.  It was a descent that I haven't experienced in quite some time and I had to work through a whole bunch of shit (including resenting having kids) before I was able to be there for X. It was bad bad BAD. By the afternoon, things were better but I wish I could control MYSELF in these situations (hey, where does he get it from???). Why the horrible reaction? During the conference I heard that because I'm trying to do things differently than my mother, I'm screwing up, so naturally, a strict dictatorship is the best way to go.  Clearly, it's not, and I have all the damage of someone who was raised in such a situation, down to barely being able to be around my mom and dad. The only reason why we still have contact is because of the grandkids, and what I'm finding is that when I give an inch, she tries to take a mile. She's trying to connect (according to my therapist), but does a piss poor job at it, so much so that if I'm not careful, and ready, I get mightily triggered. Case in point, when I talked about a recent training class I went to in which I discovered that the project teams I'm helping to lead are essentially broken, her response was, "Why are they broken, do they have morons running them or something?". The moron she's referring to is me.  Of course, she didn't know that, this is a small taste of the crap that comes out of her mouth and how she speaks before thinking.

But I'm not supposed to be talking about how much my mom fucks with my psyche, I'm supposed to be talking about how fucking hard it is to parent with empathy, although it turns out that it actually works when you use it. So, I pay a therapist a whole bunch of money to help me figure out how to parent because according to her neither I nor S had good role models in parenting (his parents aren't nearly as bad, they're more on the benign neglect side of things). So, we both have to find tools to help us, and I think I've found a couple in addition to  therapy. A new book club that I joined, but have yet to make it to a meeting read the book No Drama Discipline. I started reading it thinking I would make it to the meeting, alas, it was not to be. I'm glad I started it as it's been a good resource that at first glance sounds a lot like Love and Logic, but with more practical examples and dives into the science of the brain, satisfying my need for data. In grabbing the link for this post, I discovered the workbook and ordered it. I think we need it. I hope it helps




#MicroblogMondays - SYTYCD Fail

I am unabashedly a fan of So You Think You Can Dance. Every summer I live for the show, and S doesn't get it. I'll remind him of that feeling when March Madness comes around again. (ugh)

Anyway, the choreographers are always coming up with these Big. Emotional. Routines. because apparently there always needs to be conflict. I get a tired of the Very. Bad. Thing. themes that permeate each season. People who have actually been through these Very. Bad. Things. may feel the same way I do about this season's adoption themed dance between a mother and daughter:

Holy fuck it was bad. 

The routine started out with a beautiful and loving mother-daughter dance, clearly a "I will always be there for you". Cut to the mom sitting the daughter down in a chair and giving her the news that she's adopted, and the routine turns into shocked young girl and mom who looks befuddled. At the end, the girl turns back to mom, happily ever after, naturally. I wonder how adoptees who have had that experience view that story through their lens, because it's clearly an "adoptive parent is a savior" lens that this dance was created through.




Revisiting Buffy

Recently, I discovered the entire series of B.uffy the Va.mpire Sla.yer is streaming on hu.lu. I had to watch it, from beginning to end and so the bingeing commenced. When I watched it during it's original airing, it may have been around season 4 when I stopped watching every week because the story line lost me. Let's say that I was in love with seasons 1 through 3 and mildly infatuated from seasons 4 through 7. This go round, I made sure to watch every single episode and seeing it through a lens of 17 years life experience compared to when it began made me far more invested. I know, right? I wondered if I wouldn't like it as much the second time around.

I still love the ass kicking. I still love the humor. I still love the fashion evolution. Important things, you know? I thought the show did a good job in several areas like the gay characters being treated as a natural evolution of discovering oneself through high school and young adulthood. Plus there was inclusion of points of view, such as an ex-demon turned human, and a human turned werewolf. They represented "other" and illustrated the difficulties in navigating a society that doesn't like non conformance.  At the same time, the show falls flat in other areas. All white people were the main and supporting characters. Yep, as usual, in fact the entire high school, college and town is blindingly white. The Jamaican and Original slayers were Black, but I was uncomfortable watching their scenes because the portrayal was stereotypical. Bu.ffy was written as pretty sharp tongued sometimes, snarky and poking fun at characteristics of people, like telling the Original slayer to do something with her hair (dreads).  Later in the series, a potential slayer is Chi.nese and all the entire cast does is make fun of the fact that they can't communicate with her. Another potential slayer is Black and all she does is complain (although, she does survive the series, so I guess that's a plus). It's revelatory to go back now and be able to point at all these missteps when back in the day, I didn't even blink an eye. In fact, at that time, I was more pissed off at who Buf.fy fell in love with than any real problems with the show.

There were a couple of characters where I was somewhat satisfied with their portrayal: R.iley's friend, Forr.est and Principal Wo.od in the last season They were both Black, and I felt like they weren't being used as tokens, at least not as obviously as the Black slayers. The Black guy was a soldier, and in his tenure on the show, it was just that he was a soldier, instead of making him someone from another country or much different background. Principal Wood is, well a high school principal, and while Buf.fy definitely steps in it by suggesting he grew up in the 'hood, prompting a correction from him, he's mostly just a principal who can kick ass. I tend to think that for the era, they were decent characters, although I'm White and a person of color probably has a different viewpoint. I'm trying to see through a lens of learning what my White privilege is, and I'm going to be wrong most of the time as I wade through it.

As far as lack of feminism, it seems that the issue is more that it's White feminism rather than intersectional that's being portrayed on the show, and I'd agree with that sentiment (hard to be intersectional when everyone is White). I've also read that people don't like the clothing worn by the female characters. It's too tight, too much cleavage, yards yada yada. I call bullshit on that argument. When you watch the show beginning to end in a compressed time period, you see B.uffy's fashion evolution from high school to young adult and it's appropriate. Duh, miniskirts and backless strappy tops were all the rage in the late 90's/early 2000's and by the time she's an adult in seasons 6 and 7 the super tight revealing clothes are pretty much gone. The characters are merely dressed how girls dressed back then. Stop with the pearl clutching already. 

I still like the show, even with the numerous shortfalls. I can't believe I was as invested in it as I had been given the crappy special effects and high school setting. In fact, I could totally start over and watch the whole thing again. (don't tell S)


#MicroblogMondays - Evolving

I'm going to experiment a bit. Ever since both adoptions were finalized, it's been difficult to write about adoption and family things. Mostly, our existence revolves around the increasingly busy and stressful schedule. Read: boring. So, instead of shutting down my blog, I'm going to start writing about whatever is on my mind.

Let's see where I go.

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Less Weight Loss, More Eating - Part 2

Well from January, when I wrote the original post, to today, not a whole lot has changed, and I'm not happy with my lack of progress.

Once again, I spent a good portion of the summer on my bicycle, and while this summer I felt fueled and avoided overtraining, I only lost the 4 pounds that I had put on over the winter. Plus, I constantly struggle with hitting my macros, so while I tracked my little heart out, (195 days running on My Fitness Frenemy*!), I wasn't following ETP like I was supposed to and thus, don't have the results I want.

Funny thing happened after my century (100 mile) ride at the end of August. My weight literally skyrocketed the day after the ride, likely a result of water retention from sodium and stressed muscles, I gained 4 pounds overnight. Thinking it was the usual stressed body water retention, I patiently waited for my body to re-regulate and the weight to come down. I waited, and waited, and waited. It didn't come down. Currently, I'm still holding onto 3 of those pounds on any given day and the backslide has me so frustrated that I'm actually considering a run at something extreme like Whole 30. BUT, I know that I'm likely to bounce back up again at the end of it, so why be miserable for a month only to regain the weight during the holidays?

No, I have to track macros, and play the long game. Currently, I'm on a 7 day rhythm of Low, Super, Medium, Low, High, Medium, Medium. What does that look like? A whole lot of brain damage is what it looks like.

  • Low Day: Protein: 123g, Carbs: 142g, Fat: 67g = 1663 kCal
  • Medium Day: Protein: 123g, Carbs: 267g, Fat: 54g = 2046 kCal
  • High Day: Protein: 123g, Carbs: 292g, Fat: 54g = 2146 kCal
  • Super Day: Protein: 123g, Carbs: 292g, Fat: 67g = 2346 kCal

I have to put those days in my calendar so that I keep track of what's going on when. I could pay My Fitness Frenemy what I consider to be an exorbitant fee to put in my separate goals per day, but I'm not thrilled with the app as it is and I can't see shelling out money to use it.

I also use the ETP Trendsheets, which is like data, data and more data telling me how crappy I am at hitting those macros.


It's hard to hit all these numbers every day without pre-planning what to eat. I don't pre-plan, and I know that's one of my many issues. Willpower is another issue, as the stress wears on me day in and day out, I tend to have F**K it days often. Lately, my graphs are looking better, especially in the protein and carb categories. I struggle all the time to eat enough protein. I mean, I'm an omnivore, and I often can't stomach wolfing down 8 ounces of chicken in one sitting. So, I supplement with whey protein many days in order to try to hit that goal, especially when I'm traveling. These days, my bag is packed with a shaker bottle, whey protein measured out in baggies, protein bars, meat bars, jerky, whatever I can carry that's high protein, low carb and fat. Baby steps I guess.

Maybe one of these days, I can feel stable enough to come off of the S-S-R-I I'm on, that I'm pretty sure is one of weight-gain culprits. And maybe one of these days, I'll actually have a whole week where I hit all my macros spot on and start figuring out how to do it intuitively. They seem like unattainable goals at the moment though. Coming from a long line of obese women, I guess I should be proud that I have not ever reached that weight. I'm not, I'm terrified of becoming that woman given the genes and modeling that I've had over the course of a lifetime. 

*credit to Mel at Stirrup Queens. She used this once and I thought, how apt!

Less Weight Loss, More Eating - Part 1

*I wrote this in January and it's been languishing in my drafts folder ever since.*

Back in September 2015 I finally had had enough frustration at the fact that I gained a few pounds, spent the summer busting my ass on a bicycle along with teaching Jazzercise 2x/week without losing any of the few pounds. In reaching out on this blog, I was pointed to Eat to Perform and I ended up joining. A couple months later, I was hooked and joined for Life. Here's the rub though. It's just as hard as Wei.ght Wat.chers, the only diet program I've ever tried. And I have to clarify, I've never been into any of the extreme diets. I didn't go Paleo, never did a Whole 30, laughed at the South Beach/Atkins/flavor of the month diets. Naturally, an anti-diet approach like Eat to Perform called to me.

When I got set up with my macros I was shocked at the amount of food I was supposed to eat. I guess I didn't share it with you all, exactly how it works, so I'll do that now:

  • Non Workout Days: 1625 calories, 125 grams of carbohydrate, 65 grams of fat, 135 grams of protein
  • Workout Days: 2025 calories, 225 grams of carbohydrate, 65 grams of fat, 135 grams of protein.

What was surprising to me was how hard it is to play macro tetris, and I still don't have it quite dialed in. Many people using this method enter all their food in My Fitness Pal the day before so that they can figure out what to eat to hit all the targets. I'm not exactly that organized and several times I've gotten to the end of the day and been way short on protein, but way over on fat or carb. I've actually hit calories, protein, carb targets and then been way over on fat. Mostly, I focus on hitting the calorie target (I'm still prone to overeat, especially on rest days) and my protein target (the hardest). I'm sorry to say that since starting in September, I have't had one week that was spot on and it's showing in the form of an additional 4 pound weight gain. I have trouble believing in the process when I'm not seeing the type of progress I'm used to seeing once I embark on a diet.

It's no less frustrating than any of the above mentioned diets, and that's been surprising. The other surprising thing - it's typical to GAIN weight until macros dialed in, the metabolism is healed and the body starts to function better, especially since I'm relatively lean to start. I've gained an additional 4 pounds since starting, and I'm sadly up a size in my clothes.

What an endorsement, huh?

On the other hand, since I've started dedicating 1-2 workouts a week to lifting along with 3x/week teaching Jazzercise and using heavier weights (9-lb) when I teach, I've also seen a gain in lean muscle mass. Muscle gains show in my shoulders first, and my shoulders are currently my best asset. My belly however....not so awesome. I know that belly fat is the last to go, especially for people like me who tend to hold weight there. It's frustrating and it's slow. But that's the thing about Eat to Perform. It isn't a fast weight loss program that will leave me rebounding at the end of it. It's supposed to be slow and it never said it was easy, just that we can eat all the foods and be ok. And that's true, but when I have to think about eating 1625 calories, 125g of carb, 135g of protein, and 65g of fat on a rest day, it's a maddening game of tetris. Eventually, I'll be able to eat intuitively, and that's even starting to happen now. I know that I have to have a good amount of protein at every meal to be able to hit that target. Protein is the most difficult target for me to (that palm size serving of chicken doesn't cut it, I need 2 palm sizes)

 But I know that overall I feel better eating more food and I kicked a cold in a couple days. Last year, when I got a cold in the fall, it hung around for weeks.

Be Careful What You Search For

I've been frustrated that Baby Z's firstmom hasn't sent us a picture or a letter. She promised to send those things 2 years ago and ever since then there's been nothing. I've asked the adoption agency multiple times and they said she promised to send them. She's even spoke at the agencies classes for the adoptive parent training, but hasn't dropped off a picture while she's been there. 

I finally reached a level of frustration that I hadn't experienced before and after sending a scathing email to hers and our caseworkers gave into the lure of searching via the interwebs for social media pictures. We aren't supposed to know her last name, but do because when you're in the hospital, the baby has the mother's last name legally. It was laughable when they redacted all our paperwork, but what were they going to do about the wristband and discharge papers that were sent directly to the pediatrician's office?

So, I did it. And instead of finding a Facebook or Instagram page that I could swipe a picture from, I ran head on into tragedy. The unthinkable had happened and I can't tell anyone what it is and how it affects us as a family because she clearly didn't want us to know. 

I have violated her privacy and S and I have to bear the burden of knowledge alone. 

Someday, we'll tell Baby Z what I discovered on a random Sunday Google search. Meanwhile, we grieve....what? It doesn't directly affect us. This isn't our family and it isn't our business because she has been clear that she doesn't want contact. We are shocked and saddened, and we can't tell anyone else what we've found. 

If you think that a simple Internet search will reveal the information you want, think again of the potential consequences. Sometimes the lines are drawn and we as adoptive parents may not understand why. Sometimes we need to respect the boundary even if we're upset that it feels like our kid loses out. There are many people in this journey and they don't always want what we want. 



Stitch Fix #8

Hey there, things have calmed down a little bit. Kindergarten transition is going pretty well, and no signs of immersion stressing X out beyond belief. Definitely some stress, and he's tired, but he's excited to go to school and he is willingly putting on a polo shirt (buttons! horrors!) every morning. So far so good, and he seems to like having his buddy from daycare in the class with him.

Anyway, about the title of my post....I got another box! I think I missed a couple of them on this blog, and I'm losing my lust for the fixes. After 8 times (and I'm more of a quarterly fixer), I'm getting bored with the picks. This time I didn't get Dani, but I did get a stylist who checked out my Pinterest board and made thoughtful choices. But...

Market and Spruce Nic Knit Dress - $64 Really wanted to like this one as I had a couple of similar dresses pinned. Alas, it was too tight and I hate showing off my belly bulge. Back it went.

Market and Spruce Nic Knit Dress - $64

Really wanted to like this one as I had a couple of similar dresses pinned. Alas, it was too tight and I hate showing off my belly bulge. Back it went.

Renee C Tadeo V Neck Blouse, $54 and Liverpool Phillip Straight Let Trouser, $98. I liked the blouse, but I'm sooooooo tired of polyester. That's all I ever get when it comes to tops and I have my price point set all the way up to $150. What does it take to get a better fabric? Returned. The pant is comfortable and I really like the color. They didn't photograph well, but I walked around the house in them and asked S's opinion on whether they looked funny. Consensus is that they fit the way they are supposed to, it's more relaxed than many of my pants and I could use some more relaxed styles. Kept.

Renee C Tadeo V Neck Blouse, $54 and Liverpool Phillip Straight Let Trouser, $98.

I liked the blouse, but I'm sooooooo tired of polyester. That's all I ever get when it comes to tops and I have my price point set all the way up to $150. What does it take to get a better fabric? Returned.

The pant is comfortable and I really like the color. They didn't photograph well, but I walked around the house in them and asked S's opinion on whether they looked funny. Consensus is that they fit the way they are supposed to, it's more relaxed than many of my pants and I could use some more relaxed styles. Kept.

Some ridiculously high waisted pant for $98. It's like 12:30am, I'm not going to look it up. Hated these. They were a heavy polyester blend, didn't fit well and I can't stand high waist. Returned.

Some ridiculously high waisted pant for $98. It's like 12:30am, I'm not going to look it up. Hated these. They were a heavy polyester blend, didn't fit well and I can't stand high waist. Returned.

Liverpool Reagan Skinny Pant, $88.  I have another pair of these in my closet in a different pattern and regular size instead of petite so they're longer. I also have a pair of black skinny jeans so I decided I don't need another pair. Besides, I would have exchanged these for the regular size. The petite didn't fit all that well. Returned.

Liverpool Reagan Skinny Pant, $88.  I have another pair of these in my closet in a different pattern and regular size instead of petite so they're longer. I also have a pair of black skinny jeans so I decided I don't need another pair. Besides, I would have exchanged these for the regular size. The petite didn't fit all that well. Returned.

I'm frustrated after 8 fixes that I seem to be getting the same thing over and over again. I've tried a few different tactics of answering the style questions differently and it doesn't seem to help. So, either their algorithms are set to "same old same old" or there isn't a large enough selection to get variety after a while. And, I'm totally pissed about the non-stop polyester tops. Like, seriously. Stop it already.

I wear many of the pieces I've kept all the time, so it's definitely worked for me up until now. Not sure if it's just me feeling guilty about spending money after spending too much on other things this past month or if it truly is just kind of a bust this time around.  It could be a bust, after all new stylist and all. I feel sort of ridiculous putting my referral link here, but I will anyway. Take a look at my other more positive posts on SF and give it a go! https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/4555983

Can't Find Positive Anywhere

I'll be honest with you, it has been one hell of a shitstorm in my world lately. With the looming start of kindergarten, there has been a few issues of being anxious and scared that have manifested in less than desirable behaviors. (putting it lightly) That's been a stressor for several weeks, and we know that putting X in an immersion school is going to lead to more less than desirable behavior due to exhaustion and stress put on him to learn a new language. It shouldn't last more than a few months, but, there may not be enough wine to get me through it. ha.

S started a new job - that's positive, but it's still stressful, you know? This has a much shorter commute (5 miles vs. 20) and will be a good move for him. The issue? Much like me, he's moved into the project management world meaning that like me, he'll be on-demand a hell of a lot more than he used to be, and like me, he's an introvert. It's a major shift. (p.s. My job is still exhausting, so yay, two exhausted parents!)

I've had some major shit go down surrounding my teaching Jazzer.cise, and I am questioning why I'm still teaching. In one of my classes, a group of women meangirled me, talked behind my back, and my class numbers plummeted. Yeah, 50-60 year old women still pull that. See, they want their favorite instructor in that teaching slot, so, I quit, and she's taking over. Yay for them!!!!! While the center owner is trying to pump me up by telling me how much other students love my classes, I'm wondering why the hell I'm still in a hobby that causes me a whole lot of mental stress. It's never been easy for me, and 13 years later, I'm still going through major downswings and ego hurt periodically. I guess I still think that I can change people's minds by teaching a hard, kickass class really well? Seems like it's not working because I'm reserved and probably seem standoffish and snobby and whatever other negative adjective you can come up with for an introvert.

I have so much travel coming up that it's kind of scary. At least it gave me an excuse to finally buy some new luggage, but I'm totally stressing out over a commuting/travel laptop bag. I have an old EMS backpack. I don't really like it, but it's in practically new condition. Seriously, they had good stuff - I've had it for more than 10 years! Anyway, I keep spending tons of time looking around for a new backpack or tote and can't make up my mind. Drives me insane. I even had buyers remorse when I bought the luggage and we really needed it! ugh.

I keep screaming at my kids. I hate admitting that. I grew up with a screaming parent and I'm so against it because it's abusive and yet, I still lose it (lately more than usual because they are both being difficult). Over and over I explain after the explosion that it's my fault, not theirs and I have to control my temper better and I'm not good at it but I'm trying....*sigh* I wish Love and Logic worked like it sounds in the book - it doesn't really work that well in my practice anyway. The only thing that makes it feel not so horrible is that I am open with X, especially, and he is comfortable telling me that he's upset with me and why (same with S). I didn't have that piece growing up at all, and we're careful to make consequences reasonable, not disproportionate. I wish I could control my fucking temper, most times I do ok, but when I'm under other major stress, I lose it constantly with everyone and everything.

So....there's the update. Life sucks.


Not All It's Cracked Up To Be

"Don't worry, you'll be fine", they said.

"Vail Pass is the worst part, the rest is no big deal", they said.

"If you can do 50 miles, then you can do 78", they said.

The Copper Triangle, touted as one of the classic Colorado rides complete with breathtaking scenery, was this past weekend. 78 miles, 3 passes (plus one small mountain everyone forgets to tell you about), 6,000+ feet of elevation gain, lowest elevation 7,500 feet, highest elevation, 11,300 feet.

I've been wanting to do this ride since last year, when S convinced me it would be too hard to get ready, and I should set a different goal instead. I trained for and rode a century, proving that I have what it takes to spend a solid 8-9 hours on two skinny tires. With that under my belt, I made the Copper Triangle one of my goals this year.

Training this year has not been consistent, and there's that whole altitude thing. I live a Mile High, yes...but I don't live TWO miles high. Big difference.

The day of the ride dawned, cloudy, cold and threatening to rain. Most of the day was cloudy, cold and threatening to rain (actually it did rain, but we managed to miss the actual rain showers and only dealt with drizzle and scary wet roads on descents). I spent most of the ride having to pee every half hour, plus alternating between hot and sweaty or freezing cold depending on if I was riding uphill or downhill. The altitude sapped my energy. The cold sapped my energy. At some point I stopped drinking enough liquids, so irritated by the constant need to pee. I didn't eat enough (altitude again).

During the ride I had two good moments. The first descent on dry roads that was relatively straight and wide open, where I was going fast enough that S didn't feel the need to pass me, and the last descent down Vail Pass when I knew all I had was 6 miles between me and the finish line. There was also one horrible moment: within the first hour and a half, near the top of the first pass, I passed an older man who had collapsed and was receiving CPR from fellow cyclists as sirens wailed in the distance rushing to aid. I saw his gray face, as I passed the only way we could get around the scene and wondered if he was going to make it. He didn't.

The following day, every single muscle in my body hurt from stress and dehydration. I hadn't realized I was so dehydrated and spent the entire day sipping water nonstop in an effort to replenish what I had lost. By dinner time, I felt better. At least my skin didn't hurt anymore. Acid reflux has flared something fierce, which is never fun. Especially after seeing someone who died from cardiac arrest and knowing that women typically have reflux-type symptoms during a heart attack and wondering if that's what's really happening despite the fact that I don't have any risk factors for heart disease, according to blood work done in the last year. I feel hypochondriac-like as I look up whether vigorous exercise can trigger reflux, and all the symptoms of heart attack for women. Rest assured, I have exactly one symptom. Acid reflux. Given my history of acid reflux, guess what? It's fucking acid reflux. But hey, at least I stressed out about it all day long.

I wish I could say it was a fun ride despite the weather and despite not being trained enough for it. I can't, though, I'm not that type of person. I need to be trained for these things, and as I found out, training with 2 kids and a full time job, plus a second job as a Jazzercise instructor is damn near impossible. When I'm not trained and I'm struggling with conditions and head trips, the whole event is marred for me. I literally can't stop and smell the roses under those conditions (or see the amazing scenery through the dense fog as it were). Maybe I'll change my mind by the time the spring rolls around again, but right now, I never want to do this ride again. That's an unusual place for me to be in, as with other rides I've done, even though I'm tired and spent and sore at the end, I immediately have looked forward to improving for the next year.

I accomplished something that not everyone can or wants to accomplish. I pushed myself hard to finish and mentally checked out several times ready to quit, only to rally enough to make it to the next aid station, then the next. In my training, I rode Vail Pass and knowing exactly what I was getting into at the end, helped me make the decision to push the last 8 miles up. 

I finished, and it wasn't fun.

Top of the first pass.

Top of the first pass.

Vail Pass. That's I-70 down there, so we've already climbed a lot before the last 8-mile push. Sun finally decided to come out.

Vail Pass. That's I-70 down there, so we've already climbed a lot before the last 8-mile push. Sun finally decided to come out.






What About Naming?

I came across a question on a transracial adoption FB group: Did you change your child's name? Keep your child's name? Name your child?  This is paraphrased from the original question.

I came across this post on Lainey Gossip (Jjiraffe mentioned her in a post once and I got hooked!)  Can You Choose a Name First? The question comes from a prospective adoptive parent going through the process a second time. As explained in the letter, with their first child, they met the first parents prior to birth, collaborated on the name, and now the child has a name that all 4 parents agreed upon. Pretty cool situation, I think! Not knowing what the next situation will look like, they are in the process of pulling together some names they like to be ready for similar discussions, should the situation be similar in that they meet parents who want to be involved in the naming of their child. I'd also like to add that I like the tone of this letter and the acknowledgement that the first family is ever present in their child's life. (wonder if they read Lori's book?)

Neither S nor I had strong feelings about family names, other than using my maiden name as a middle name. No one in my family or his really follows any naming conventions, at least for first names, plus we aren't the types to feel beholden to any family traditions, preferring instead to make our own.

Baby X

We had started thinking about names early in our waiting process (when we didn't realize it was going to take 2 years) and had actually settled on Calvin as a top pick, with Seth not far behind. Well, then an acquaintance of ours used Calvin for their son and it was ruined for me. I couldn't bear being thought of a baby-name-stealer.  So, Seth became my front runner partially because I don't hear it a whole lot and I thought saddling a kid with a really similar name to Seth McFarlane would be hilarious. S didn't exactly agree with me, but he didn't have any other ideas. There were girl names too, but they're hardly worth talking about because we never landed on a girl's name that we both liked, so yay for only being matched with boys?

After we received news of our match, we reviewed our list of names and S added one. Given that most of the names trended toward English/Irish origins, I felt like they didn't fit given Baby X's Asian Indian/Latino heritage. There was one that I liked better than the others, and we played around with that, another name, and S's last-minute name to the mix.

When we met with the adoption agency for the formal presentation of the situation, we found out that Baby X's mom didn't want to name him, then at the last minute before being discharged decided she did. The name was the same one S wrote down 2 days prior. That was it, she named him, and we liked it. Done, and done. (ok, so, we spent a couple hours that night debating before making a final decision.)

Baby A

Baby A was the baby we were placed with, took home, and three days later the placement fell through. For his name, we were at a total loss. His parents (mom really, dad was less than enthusiastic) had no (supposedly) opinion when it came to names, and asked us to name him. His older sister had an unusual name, and I wanted his name to match hers. It also had to match Baby X's to some extent. After a ton of research over 2 weeks because none of our list felt right, I discovered Axton listed at 1,000 on some baby list. Since I had been waffling around and kind of landed on Ashton (but then kept thinking of Ashton Kut.cher douchebag...), this felt like a cool choice. It actually had a meaning other than someone-threw-an-x-in-this-name-to-make-it-cool so it felt like a real name.  I have no idea if she kept it. Oh, and weird thing, the hospital photographer, a young 20-something, knew someone name Axton. Go figure.

Baby N

We were only matched with Baby N for a week before his father decided to file for paternity. His mother had named him before being discharged from the hospital, and we felt like we should keep the name. It helped that it was a name that we both liked, but we had agreed by this time, that we would feel weird re-naming any baby who already had a name.

Baby Z

Baby Z was a totally different story in the naming department. Once again, we had lists going, but it turned out that even though we could have totally used Calvin or Seth at this point (having lost contact with the couple who used Calvin), neither one of them seemed to fit.  I kept feeling like the first kid was supposed to be one of those names and they had become a running joke. In addition, names that we had like 3 years prior lost their luster and we had trouble coming up with a new list. Baby Z's mother wanted us to name him and in our two meetings did not express any opinions one way or another.

When it came down to it, we had a couple names we liked and then came across the name we ultimately chose. Again, Irish/Gaelic/English didn't seem to fit given his mom's identification with being German, and I guess we have a thing that we like to give our kids names that are of their heritage and not particularly popular.

Funny thing about that name, it was one that I was nervous about people thinking we chose because we are big fans of ----.  Which, yes, I like this particular person's work, but it's not like my house is plastered in it. Anyway, I got over that pretty quick when I started to realize that there are way more people who don't know who that person is. Kind of a shocking discovery, really, because I thought it was ubiquitous, but at least I'm not constantly explaining. What I do end up having to do is repeat the name more than once because it is pretty unusual.

So, that's all our naming stories. How did you come up with your kids' names? Not necessarily adoption related, I'm curious how other people approach naming, and whether the names your children ultimately end up with are the names you originally thought you'd choose.





#MicroblogMondays - Training Continues

On my third attempt, I finally bested on of the more difficult hill climbs around. 18 miles of grinding up a hill in granny gear.

The first attempt, I made it 11 miles.

The second attempt, I made it 15 miles.

This weekend, I joined a small group to go for it again, and had a great ride. One of the riders was about the same pace as me on the uphill and the other two just had a nice long rest at the top. That's one of the things about being slow, I hardly get to rest!

Training Frustrations

Last year, I rode my first 100-mile (in one day!) bike ride. I spent hours of weekends on long rides while S watched the kids and outran a few thunderstorms on weekday evenings. It was hard, but exhilarating when I completed the ride, covered in 4 layers of sunblock, sweaty and exhausted. 

Naturally, the chorus of 'What's my next challenge???' bounced around my head all winter. I chose this year to do a ride in the mountains. 78 miles, 3 passes, and up to 11,000 feet in elevation. S agreed to do it with me and here we are a little over a month from the ride and I have just started trying to train at higher elevations. Weather hasn't cooperated, my travel schedule hasn't cooperated, and then there's that whole raising 2 kids thing.  

No wonder every fellow woman cyclist I meet is either a younger racer or 50+ years old with teenagers or grown kids. This shit is hard with little kids. it's hard to find the time, and sometimes hard to find the motivation. I can't train consistently enough to progress and I'm still as slow as I was last year. I regularly witness old men, overweight dudes, and women years older than me pass me. 


I know there's always someone stronger faster better, I'm not new to that concept, but when it's NOT a 20 year old, it's demoralizing. Motivation for getting on my bike is waning, but we already paid the money.  

I'm riding 78 miles whether I want to or not. 

Plus I already registered for that 100 mile ride at the end of August too. 

#MicroblogMondays - Realities of "In Training"

This year, I decided that kicking my ass on a bicycle in the mountains was a really great idea. So far, I've been feeling really stressed out over my work schedule, trying to stay (and failing) on top of planning my Jaz.zercise classes, and I'm irritated that we have no money to pay for a professional landscaper.  Because I've decided that endurance cycling is one of my things, we can't get to the landscaping and our front yard is downright embarrassing. Lest you wonder why S doesn't do it while I'm off riding, or why I don't do it when he's off riding on Sundays, or why we don't do it in the afternoons:  getting anything accomplished while being the only parent around has proved difficult for both of us. Sure, we'll stick them in front of the tv for an hour, but in that hour, it's usually a feeble attempt to pick up, do dishes and laundry (or in my case, put together a Jaz.zercise set). There's social engagements, or shopping for gifts, or just plain trying to shop, because despite my attempt to get everything online, I still have to find time to go to a brick and mortar store at least every other week. Shit does not get done on weekends.

Saturday morning, at 6:45am, I dragged myself up to the foothills to try to ride a mountain pass. I made it about 11 miles, up to 10,000 feet.

It was amazing.

The landscaping will wait.




#MicroblogMondays - Making the Best of a Long Trip

Last week, I was on two trips. The first was to visit my brother and his family over the weekend, followed by site visits to 3 dams and a couple of face to face meetings. Visiting with my brother was great, I met my niece, newest addition to the family, played with my older niece, and lazed around his house for a couple of days (part of the laziness was due to a bad allergy attack that 2 types of meds couldn't tamp down).

I drove at least 200 miles in between flights to accomplish all this; screwed up the rental car reservation; forgot to use my personal credit card on one of the rental car fill-ups; had a 5am flight on Friday morning (ouch!); and now face what will feel like a mountain of paperwork and judgement to straighten it all out. Good times.

But, while I was out there, I was able to visit some nice areas and take a little time to wander around.



I Don't Know What To Write

I could continue the saga that is my family life, but I'd wager you're all sick of it. Long and short of it, my parents are out of the country and while I was told that they were going on vacation, they didn't tell me where. I think one of my brothers is with them too. I found. out in a group text my mom sent complaining about their seats on the airplane. I could go all into the details and analyze all the reasons why she probably didn't tell me, but I'd rather not bore you. 

I'm working a lot and the busy travel season has begun. Thought I would have time to write on this trip, and while that's true, I don't have time like I thought. Plus, I don't have ideas. 

I suppose I need to start using this space like I did before and keep lots of my real thoughts off FB. I'm sure I alienated people with my recent rant about race as it pertains to my kid. When that post went up, S wondered what kind of day I was having. It was a PMS day, and in my world, even on meds PMS is no fucking joke. I get so irritable and its hard to control and I tend to inflate things. Lately, I feel that edginess coming on even earlier than it used to. Freaking hormones. 

So, that's it. You get a post about nothing.... 

A Week in the Life Of Geochick

Well, that was a hilarious statement I made about posting once a week.

I've had trouble writing ever since we completed the adoption process once and for all. I don't know what to write about if I'm not bitching about the wait or how I feel about waiting, or infertility. I've substituted that with the ongoing family issues I have, but now that I'm thoroughly entrenched in therapy and estrangement, I kind of don't want to write about it. At some point, it becomes repetitive and unhelpful. But, as an update to the last post, I talked about it in therapy and was given a couple of empowerment exercises. One was to email my cousin, which I did. When I sent the e-mail I felt sick and shaky. Apparently that's how I react to empowering myself to speak up. Which is hilarious when I think about how I see myself as someone who can ask for what they want. Except that I don't most of the time. Anyway, cousin told me she had no idea I wasn't invited and she was sorry it happened that way. Positive response and I think maybe she's getting it slowly that our mothers are control freaks. The second e-mail needs to go to my mom, and it is a repeat of other times when I have asked my mom to stop speaking for me and to suggest family members talk to me directly. I haven't sent that one yet. I might puke when I do.

I have a hard time thinking that any of you are interested in my day to day life of 2 kids and work and exercise. So, are you interested? Because here it is! For all I know I've done it before, but hey, things are insane now.

Monday - S takes the kids to daycare and I pick up while S works out at the gym or goes biking. Sometimes I drag my ass out of bed early in the morning to lift some weights in my basement. Lately, that has not been happening. I try to get into work a little bit early, generally spend the day trying to stay on top of all my projects and emails and then leave exhausted to pick up the kids, wrangle X and Baby Z, make dinner and listen to the X complain about what I made. Sometimes he eats, sometimes he doesn't. At least Baby Z eats although he's at the age where some pickiness is showing. Sometimes I let X play on his Kind.le or watch tv for about an hour and sometimes I say no, which can lead to a whole lot of "I don't like yous" directed at me.

Tuesday - I take the kids to daycare and S picks up. I used to work out Tuesday nights, but now it's a rest day because I'm old. I can't work out Tuesday night then teach at 6am in the morning. I really couldn't tell you what I've been doing on Tuesdays lately. Probably trying to review my class for the morning.

Wednesday - I teach Jazz.ercise at 6am, which comes super early. Work all day, then pick up the kids from daycare. Everything that happens on Monday tends to repeat on Wednesday.

Thursday - I take the kids to daycare and S picks up. I ride my bike after work or go to the gym to lift weights. (we joined the Y a few months ago). Lately, it's been focused on riding my bike. If the weather sucks, the Y has a spin class I can go to. Now, the Y's instructors, at least for spin, leave something to be desired. I'm pretty disappointed. Anyhoo, I get home and S has made or ordered dinner. (we're getting better about making more dinners)

Friday - Total rest day. I usually take the kids to daycare and S picks up and then it's beer-thirty.

Saturday - It's summer and I'm in cycling training hardcore. I do a 4-5 hour ride at this point, then do some other household tasks maybe...mostly chasing kids around.

Sunday - S does his cycling training or goes mountain biking. He's gone for 4-5 hours. I teach Jazzer.cise in the afternoon. Usually I'm trying to learn a couple routines and put my set together for the week once S gets home. Or I put X in front of a movie when Baby Z takes a morning nap (which is going away...nooooo!) In between there's a lot of kid time and not so much cleaning or meal prep like should be getting accomplished.

So, how do we try to keep the house in order? It's no freaking lie, it takes a village. We have cleaners come in once a month so that at least the house gets a decent cleaning. I try to keep up as much as I can in-between, but lately, I see the mess as immunity building. Ha, I'm taking after S. We also use a grocery delivery service and order copious amounts of stuff online thru Ama.zon subscribe and save. Our Cos.tco card is severely underused of late! I also use online recipe planning services for dinner planning and grocery shopping. I should meal prep on Sundays and sometimes I manage to do a little bit of that, but it's definitely something that I'd rather NOT do. It does make dinner making during the week easier when I do it, but most of the time the last thing I feel like doing is standing in my kitchen chopping vegetables for 2 hours. Currently, our front yard is a nightmare. The xeriscape that went in several years ago is in need of a major refresh and we don't have money to hire a landscaper to do it, so it's going to fall to us. Given that the two of us combined spend up to 10 hours a weekend working out, it's a slow process that has barely started and it's already June. 

That's pretty much it. How do you deal with a busy lifestyle?

About Extended Family

I'm not invited to my cousins baby showers.

So, that leaves me to wonder, who is driving the ship? One of my cousins knows about my strained relationship with my mom, yet I'm not invited. Not that I could travel across country for these but it still kind of stings. 

How did I find out? 

Well, funny thing, I invited my parents to the memorial service for S's grandfather. Afterwards my mom tells me she'll be out of town on a certain weekend. I figure out pretty quickly it's for a baby shower and her response is this, "They didn't know if they should invite you because it might make you upset."

Lets unpack for a minute. Suppose they are being sensitive to my infertility all of the sudden. How about being sensitive to the infertile one by asking that person?  Oh right, triangulation.