Saturday, January 10, 2015

You don't know what you've got til it's gone

Wow.  I haven't posted to this blog in years....3 years actually.   In fact, I didn't even know if I could remember how to get in here.  I started this blog eons ago because I loved exercise and I wanted to share my love of fitness with others.  Life happens and things get busy and pretty soon I just quit blogging.  So why pick up now?

 "You don't know what you've got til it's gone"  In light of recent events,  this quote has really hit home.  October.  The month washed in pink.  Susan G. Komen.  Little pink ribbons and banners.  And the month I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  All the obligatory emotions followed....disbelief, fear, anger and utter sadness.  I had a double mastectomy followed by reconstruction at the end of October.  Thankfully, my lymph nodes were clear and my final path report was good.  No chemo required.

During this time I was wrapped in the support and love of my family and friends and can never begin to express my gratitude to every person that prayed, visited or sent me a sweet message. A little over a month after my mastectomy, I was back in surgery for an infection.  The tissue expander and mesh lining on my right side was infected and had to be removed.  (I won't bore you with all the details of breast reconstruction, but I will say this:  NOT FUN).  One of the hardest parts of this whole experience has been my inability to exercise.  Sounds crazy.  Even to my own ears.  Exercise has been such a huge part of my life.  I need the endorphins!  I need the camaraderie of my workout buddies.  I need to be able to feel like myself.

Now, a little over 2 months since this all started, I am finally released to exercise.  YIPEEEEEE!  I have to start out slow,  but slow is about where I am right now.  I know for a while it's going to feel like starting over, I know for a while there will be things I cannot do, I know for a while I may be discouraged but I will remind myself that it won't be forever.

I still have another surgery to go in my reconstruction journey and hopefully not any more bumps in the road, but in the meantime I am getting my life back - one at a time.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The greatest thing since sliced bread.

Have I ever mentioned the time I nearly mangled myself on the treadmill?  I would much rather run outdoors, but sometimes weather and other circumstances just don't allow it.  So, as a last resort, I will hop on board the moving death machine.  I am a bit ADD, so 4 miles on a treadmill feels like a 100.  I must have something to amuse myself to help those  grueling minutes go by.  I love to read so I usually try and read my book while running.  Pre-Kindle days:  This is equivalent to texting and driving.  Turning the pages....squinting at the tiny print...disaster waiting to happen.

Thank God for technology.  No really, thank you Lord.  One of the greatest things since sliced bread is the Kindle....or any e-reader for that matter.  I know, I know some of you are thinking "but I just want to feel the crack of the spine, feel the pages under my fingertips...."  However, if you are a treadmill runner and have not invested in an e-reader, you are missing out!  The ease!  The safety!  The option of jumbo print font!

Now.  All that to tell you this.  Some of the best books are only available on e-readers. (newly released anyway).  One of those is "Whisper of Memory".  It is the 2nd book in the "Whispering Woods" trilogy.  "The Waiting Booth" is the 1st and came out last year.  It is also available for e-readers.  Both books kept me on that treadmill for much longer than I intended to run.  And trust me, that says ALOT!!!

You can check out the blurb and reviews for both books on Amazon:
Happy running and happy reading!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

C'mon baby light my fire

Well, fall/winter is finally here!  Cooler weather....sweaters....jackets....blankets.....fuzzy socks....plenty of cozy warm things to bundle up in .....and hide.  As we find ourselves in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year, how do we stay motivated to keep those healthy living fires burnin?

I'm a big fan of lists, so here's some things I plan to do...or continue doing to make it through this holiday season with my fire still blazin.... Feel free to add your ideas too as I am always open to something new.....

1.  Have a workout partner in crime. 
I run about 3-4 days a week.  Usually in the mornings.  At the ever loving crack of dawn.  And it's cold.  And the bed is warm.  You have no idea how many days I want to hit snooze and dive back under the blanket.  However, I know that my running buddy will be waiting and I can't let her down.  If you don't have someone to hold you accountable, it is far too easy to take the easy way out.  FIND THAT SOMEBODY.

2.  Do something you LOVE.
In addition to running (which I don't necessarily LOVE, but I do know that it makes me feel good...afterward), I teach classes at the local gym.   Classes:  LOVE LOVE LOVE.   I don't know if it's the group of people....the camaraderie....the music....whatever it does not feel like working out.  If feels like fun. 

3.  Make an appointment with yourself.
One of the number one reasons people give for not working out is that they don't have enough time.  Amen. You are preaching to the choir.  Let me ask you this, do you have time for a shower every day?  Lunch?  A phone call with a friend?  Facebook?  Then you have time to devote to yourself.  If it means getting up an extra hour early or staying gone an extra hour late, then suck it up and do it.

4.  Be prepared.
Have your workout clothes ready to go.  I read an article where a lady took her gym clothes and a few other essentials to the gym....put them in a locker and left for work.  That way, she HAD to go to the gym to pick up her belongings after work.  GENIUS! 

5.  Announce your intentions.
Nothing is worse than falling on your face publicly.  So, tell someone....your family, friends, coworkers of your intentions and goals.  Have them ask you how its going periodically.  You don't want to have to lie do you???

6.  Mirror mirror
Don't lose track.  I admit it.  I can easily become a slave to the scale.  However, we all know that these may not be the best tools for keeping track of weight /inches lost.  So, if you have to occasionally try on those shorts....tank tops....etc. to keep yourself in check then do.  It's far too easy and comfortable to stay in those bulky sweaters and pajamas pants.

It's so easy to fall off the me, I've done it more times than you care to know (maybe not with my workouts but with my eating discipline)  Often times it feels like trying to hop on a moving train to get back in the swing.  So this year I am publicly saying to you that I am not going to get overcome with the holiday feasting.  Whether you are committing to your workout or healthy eating, I wish you luck...we are in this together.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Truth About Siblings

Most people have a passion in their lives - something that excites them, inspires them and drives them.  My sister has a passion for writing.  Not just ordinary writing, but creating, molding and weaving the lives of characters and telling their story in a way that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I cannot explain how excited and proud I was when she told me that her YA fantasyThe Waiting Booth was getting published.  knew it was an awesome book...and I knew that it was just a matter of time before everyone else knew it too.

I spent my childhood as the regular guest on the "Brinda Ann" show.  Never the star.  Never my own show.  The Ed McMahon to my sister (Johnny Carson).  So, I am tickled to have my sister be MY GUEST today on her blog tour.  Even more exciting, she is giving away prizes!!!  Some lucky person will be the winner of an e-book of The Waiting Booth!  So, I'll now hand over the blog to MY GUEST...Brinda Berry.

The Truth About Siblings

When I was a little girl, I had a constant companion.  This person followed me everywhere. If I went to the neighbor's house to play, she was there. If I wanted to read a book, she was there. If I rode my bike, she was there. It was difficult to escape her. If you haven't guessed yet, I'm talking about a little sister. I only have one, and it's important for me to tell you about her.  This is the real story of our relationship.

Relationships with siblings are a curious thing. I think they are usually viewed as good or bad rather than indifferent. When you spend an inordinate amount of time with someone, they know all your secrets. Actually, they really know how to push all your buttons. If you don't like smacking gum sounds,  the little sister will make sure you hear hers. If you are afraid of birds, the little sister will make sure you see every dead one in a mile radius. If you want to talk to a boy on the phone, she will be there listening while she pretends to do something else.

In my YA novel, The Waiting Booth, the heroine Mia misses having her brother in her life. It was easy to write about the feelings of having a sibling since I've experienced that. As children, Mia and her brother grew up together. My sister Audrey and I are less than three years apart in age. Mia played video games with her brother. My sister and I played school, library, and barbies. We created our own magical little world for two. Our early relationship influenced us and our perceptions about each other. 

Sibling relationships don't alway work out. Allow me to be blunt. Some people just don't like their siblings.  As adults, they dread holidays where they are forced to sit across the dinner table and pretend they're interested. They may not keep in touch. There is no real connection in their daily lives.

I'm one of the lucky ones. My sister and I have always been close. We talk on the phone almost everyday.  As children, we may have pushed each other's buttons. I can remember locking myself in a room where she couldn't beat the snot out of me.  Today, we no longer fuss with each other or look for opportunities to irritate. We support each other in everything. My sister could tell me that she plans to open up a cake shop, and I'd be there supporting her ideas and efforts. I'd hold the spatula and eat the extra icing. She could say she wants to go into producing exercise videos. I'm there with the video camera. Maybe she wants to parachute out of an airplane. I'll stand on the ground and watch (and be ready to call 911).

At this particular moment, we're at a good spot in the road of life. It's easy be supportive when times are good. We've also been through the rough patches together. Those times happen to everybody. My sister will be there for me as sure as road construction will continue on the interstate.

When I told my sister that I wanted to write a young adult novel, she didn't blink an eye. She  encouraged me to move forward with it while cheering all the way. First, you should know that she is a super-busy person. Between her two jobs and family, she made time for me.  She listened to my plot ideas, asked questions, and shook her imaginary pom poms in the air. She read what I sent to her one chapter at a time and gave me feedback. She told me at the end that she was confused and didn't understand what happened in some of the plotlines. I revised.  She said it was good and would get published. I tried to believe.

I dedicated my book, The Waiting Booth, to my sister.  My one line dedication at the beginning of the book doesn't touch the level of gratitude I feel for having her support. She's not going to be thrilled with this post I've written. Audrey doesn't seek public accolades. That's too bad because I'm her sister.  I can do what I want. I have that...I don't know....sister privilege.  Victoria Secunda said it much more eloquently than I have. She said, "To have a loving relationship with a sister is not simply to have a buddy or a confident--it is to have a soulmate for life." Thanks, Aud.

Summer Blog Tour Contest rules:

A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal...

Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High—find her missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia’s drawn to the mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it’s no time for a crush. She needs to find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that he knows Mia’s secrets, she begins to wonder if there’s more going on than she thought...and if she was wrong to trust him... 

Her debut YA novel, The Waiting Booth, released on July 15th, can be
found at various online bookstore links:

About the author: Brinda Berry has always loved reading about the
adventures of others. She also believes there's a little romance in
every story. Brinda lives in Arkansas with her family and a
couple of terribly spoiled cairn terriers.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baby Needs a New Pair 'o Shoes....

I LOVE shoes.  Shoes, jewelry, purses and accessories are a big weakness for me.  So, it's no surprise that my closet is filled with not one, not two, but three shoe racks.  One entire rack is filled with athletic shoes only.  My husband spied this rack one day and tried to shame me by tallying the net worth of that particular rack. As most of you know, these days it takes a small bank loan to buy good athletic shoes.  Since when did a pair of running shoes cost $200????  Those babies better do the running for me.  Anyway, although I knew he  was only joking ,  I felt the need to justify my addiction.  (*It's not really an addiction if the item is a necessity, right???)

#1  One style does not fit all.
I run.  I teach Zumba.  I teach Bodypump.  Each of these exercises warrants a different type of shoe - one that meets the needs of that particular activity.  For example:  My favorite running shoes are ASICS gel nimbus.  I once tried to wear them to Zumba.  Mistake.  Big.  I nearly rolled my ankle and I was convinced those soles were hindering my hips :)

#2  Beauty is on the inside...not the outside.
I put a lot of mileage on my running shoes.  I try to change them out every 6-8 months.  I tried to explain to my husband how important it is to protect your feet.  "Expired" shoes can cause problems with your feet, knees, hips and back....not to mention your style.  So even though they may look great on the outside, the "oomph" on the inside has pooped out.

#3  Something old, something new.....
When I buy my replacement shoe, I keep the "spare" for normal everyday wear....going to the grocery store, ball fields, etc.  They still look okay on the outside but are not meeting my workout needs.  No need to throw them out....see how thrifty I am???

So, it makes perfect sense to me.  Maybe if I had equated my variety of shoes to his golf clubs (why not have just ONE stick to hit that same ball?) he would have seen the light.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Suit 'er up

Ready or not the time has come.  The temps have hit into the 90's....Memorial Day weekend has come and gone....the pools are opening....and it is only days til my beach vacation......let the quest for a swimsuit begin!  I have not donned or even owned a swimsuit for the past few summers so let me just say I would rather have tiny bamboo shoots shoved in my eyes than shop for one (and this says a lot since I LOVE to shop).

My criteria for the perfect swimsuit is simple:  please don't let me look like one of the people in those "people at wal-mart" know the ones.  Seriously, do these folks not have a mirror at home????  And as one of my friends said,  "Was there NO one there to stop them from leaving their house like that?"

So, here are my thoughts on finding the perfect swimsuit:

1.  It must be age appropriate.  I am 43 years old and I am sane enough to know that anything with ribbons, big bows and cartoon caricatures is just gonna look silly.

2.  It must be flattering.  Ladies, we all have a pretty good idea of what we need to hide.  Do it.

3.  It must not cost a fortune.  Since when did  a sliver of fabric  cost an arm and a leg???

4.  It must be comfortable.  I don't care how great it looks,  you will NOT  look good in it if you are constantly digging it out of your who-ha.

5.  It must be wearable.  Most of the high fashion designer clothes we see on the runways of New York are not the sort of outfits you'd wear on a day to day basis.  Ditto on the swimsuit. No swimsuits that would yield funky tan lines or make me feel like I couldn't roll around in the sand. (not that that even sounds appealing, but you know what I mean)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things......

Sometimes it's the little things that can make my day.....

1.  Perfect running weather - long sleeve t-shirt, shorts, and the wind at my back.

2.  Underwear that doesn't crawl into the nether-wheres in exercise class.

3.  A super healthy low fat, low calorie, low carb meal that taste better than pizza.

4.  New running shoes.

5.  A good laugh that makes you feel like you've just worked your abs.

6.  A brand new kick tail playlist on the ipod.

7.  Vegetables right out of the garden....and someone who has a garden that gives them to you!

8.  Working out with a friend and discovering that your 60 minute workout felt like 30.

9.  A well deserved rest day!

10. Being healthy and fit enough to enjoy life to the fullest.