That didn't last

Well, that whole diet cleanse thing I was trying didn't last very long.

For one full week I cut out all sugar, dairy, flour, alcohol, and processed foods from my diet. I cooked healthy meals full of vegetables and whole grains. In conjunction with that I started getting back into running after at least six months of not exercising. I felt extremely deprived and often not satisfied after eating. After one week I lost no weight and felt only marginally better (maybe 5% better, if at all). So I decided the deprivation wasn't worth it, and I am stopping the cleanse.

What that exercise did do, however, was get me back into cooking more and eating healthier in general. In that respect it was successful. And I can still eat well so long as I turn that "no" list into "in moderation", which I am doing.

I'm looking forward to going to the Farmer's Market again on Saturday to see what tasty stuff they have there then.

...And from out of the blue, a post!

Let's see, what's going on with life right now? Well, I'm two weeks away from the end of the semester, but it's usually these last few weeks that just *drag* by. After the 23rd I'm free for three whole months!

I currently hAVE A CAT CRawling on my shoulders (and the keyboard, as you can tell there!), so that's cute. Henry (crawler) and Kella (his sister) turned three at the beginning of the month. We're starting to train Henry to walk on a leash! The harness doesn't seem to faze him, but he's scared of being outdoors.

We only have one dive trip planned for this summer, the first trip since going to Bonaire last summer. That will be just two trips total in almost two years, and neither of them were/will be "serious" dive trips. That may be fine for other people but the dive trips I enjoy the most are intensive. I'm still diving at Cal Academy, and that at least scratches some of the diving itch that I get. Once I'm out of school I'm going to need something hardcore to make up for lost time!

A couple weeks ago I flew to Florida for a day so I could see my favourite band (Rush) play, but my fanaticism is probably a subject for a post on its own ;)

This past Monday I decided to do a diet "cleanse" for the balance of the month. I've cut out all dairy, sugar, flour, alcohol, and processed food. The idea is to do a sort of "hard reset" on my body, and get out of bad eating habits I've been living with these past six or twelve months. It's really hard! Whenever I'm not hungry I'm busy cooking or washing dishes from whatever it was I just cooked. Then I'm hungry again. But I'm going to try and make it to the end of the month.


It seems to be 2013 already. Not only that, it's now February, ack! Where does the time go?

School started this past Monday. Now that we're all moved in I'm back to a mostly-full schedule. (I'm taking fewer than the standard four classes/full-time because, well, I'm no longer 20 years old and I like having some free time in my schedule.) Even as a senior with about a thousand credits I'm still having trouble getting into classes I need, but at least this semester I'm taking some classes I like.

My current schedule includes:
Color & Design (an elective, but a class I wanted to take regardless),
Our Endangered Planet (a Biology class for non-Bio majors, but it sounds like an interesting conservation biology class and it satisfies another elective),
and Biometry (Biostatistics, which is not exciting but is required for Bio majors).

There are a couple classes in particular which I not only need to take but am really looking forward to--Animal Physiology and Animal Behaviour. They're not offered every semester so I do hope I can get into them during Fall. If all goes well I should be done with school in 2014 ... the big question will be: WHICH PART of 2014?! Stay tuned to find out :)

Stress hangover

Well, the move is done and we're now in the new house! Things went pretty smoothly, and the storm that was supposed to come through on moving day was kind enough to delay itself for 24 hours, which was a huge relief.

Now that everything is (mostly*) over I can tell my stress level has gone way down. Each day I feel a bit more relaxed, and I don't think I'm clenching my jaws at night anymore. One odd thing though--yesterday I think I had what can best be described as a "stress hangover". In the aftermath of everything I had a period where I didn't want to deal with the world and just went to bed for a couple hours in the middle of the afternoon. It felt a bit different from previous times when I've been in a funk; I just wanted to retreat from the world for awhile and hide under the covers. I think I may be better today but we'll see.

* Although we've officially moved we still have a bunch of stuff over at the old house that needs to be brought here, mostly fragile things we didn't trust the movers to handle. Then the place needs to be cleaned and have some little things done to it (paint touch-ups, hardwood floor refinished) before we can sell it. But we have some friends that are very interested in buying the place so if that works out it'll be great!

Moving on

Boy, things are getting (even more) stressful around here! We're at the final stages of our (extremely long and frustrating) renovation, and are packing to move new week.

Moving itself is stressful, but in this situation--where construction has been going on for years and we've been all but overwhelmed with dealing with our end of it during this time--I find it's really getting to me. Add in the fact that we just have SO MUCH stuff that needs to be packed and moved, not enough boxes, the contractors are still on-site at the new house, will they be done in time, how will the cats deal with the move, I hope the cats don't try to run away, will we have room to fit all our crap, did we make the right decisions, how are we going to pack all this crap, then we have to clean and sell the old house, don't forget I have my Physics final on Tuesday, etc. Oh yeah, and the holidays are upon us.

At least I can mostly ignore the holidays. Ours are low-key as we don't travel and don't exchange presents within my family, and with all this moving we're not doing any decorating or entertaining, so that much is good.

Once this is all over my stress levels should plummet and I can take my life back into control. In the meantime I'll just do what I can do.
blah blah blah

Why hello there

My dear Livejournal,

I'm sorry that I've been seeing that nasty Facebook behind your back. I never meant it to turn into something, especially since FB is so temperamental and has poor functionality, but, you know, everyone else is doing it so I wanted to as well. I never meant to hurt you.

To be honest I haven't been spending all my time with FB. I'm back in school now, trying to finish my degree, but it's going slowly. I've just been taking one or two classes these past semesters because we are also doing a lot of work as our mega-house-remodel comes to a close. Yes, unless something goes terribly wrong we will finally be in our new house by the end of the year! But more on that after it actually happens. I've got two or three weeks left of school and I need to keep my grades up. Right now I'm taking the second semester of General Physics and, surprisingly, I'm liking it. Physics 2 is a lot easier than Physics 1 for me; maybe it's because topics covered (electricity, magnetism, mirrors, lenses, relativity) make more sense or are more intuitive? (Wait, did I just use "relativity" and "intuitive" in the same sentence?) Next week I register for Spring semester.

I'm continuing to dive at the California Academy of Sciences and I generally do two to three dives on the mornings when I'm there. Well, technically my first "dive" is snorkeling in the lagoon with the sharks and rays, doing cleaning and maintenance and, if I'm really lucky, finding the occasional shark tooth. I usually do the Wednesday morning Philippines Coral Reef dive show and recently did my 100th presentation.

I have also been listening to a lot of music, although not much of it is new. I saw three different Rush concerts as they hit the West Coast on their more recent tour and that wasn't enough! I wanted to go to more but between bad timing and not planning ahead (read: buying good tickets would have been expen$$$ive) so instead I will plan on seeing lots of shows the next time they tour here.

Shortly I will be heading out to play D&D. I've been playing with this group for some months now and we've recently started a campaign using the Pathfinder rules. Our group has guns and we travel around on a boat that is also capable of spaceflight. It's a lot like Firefly.

I promise I will keep in touch.


Weather or not

Wow, the weather has a profound effect on my moods. I do experience a degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder when I go too long without seeing the sun, and it so happens I live in a neighborhood of San Francisco that is not particularly sunny. And while SF usually gets its best weather in September and October these past two years things have been thrown off, presumably because of climate change. This year, in our neighborhood, we had three and a half days of summer (where "summer" means "multiple days with temperatures high enough to wear a t-shirt outside, and no fog around"). THREE AND A HALF DAYS, and that is not an exaggeration. The weather here is depressing and cold.

Having this grey, damp gloom about makes me not want to do anything. I'm doing a minimum of schoolwork, housework, etc. I'll go to bed early and read instead of staying up in hopes the morning will come faster and bring sunshine with it. And I eat way too much crap in an attempt to console myself (but we all know that's the fast lane on the downward spiral).


Tell me again, why do I live in this depressing city?
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Why, hello there.

I know, I rarely update LJ anymore. I do read it regularly but there is less than one post per day here and I don't know how many people are still out there. I often have post floating about in my head that never make it into print, I suppose due to laziness.

Life in general is good, albeit interspersed with bits of stress and/or boredom. It's currently the middle of summer and in our neighborhood that means it's fog season. I hate the f&$@*^# fog; I haven't seen the sun here all weekend and sometimes I don't see it for a week or more. It's depressing and negatively affects my mood and energy levels. Harumph.

Things that have been making me happy: music, diving, kitties, and husband. Yay for them!

Year-end wrap-up thingie.

Well, I've completed another trip around the sun. For the second year in a row this trip was fairly average. Sure, there were highs and lows but I'm not left with a strong feeling one way or the other.

Looking back:
A year ago I wrote, "I want to continue on my current path and get healthier and stronger. I am enjoying the cooking that I am doing and I need to keep it up, even when life gets busy. I miss the knowledge and mental stimulation that comes with learning, so I will be returning to school in January to (finally) finish my degree. These things combined will help me with my goal To Take Care Of Myself."

I am happy to say I have accomplished that goal! I've been exercising regularly by running three times a week, and have increased my speed and distance over the course of the year. I've been generally cooking a lot and eating healthier, but that has somewhat fallen by the wayside this holiday season. As a result of improved diet and regular exercise I've lost a bit of the extra weight I've been carrying around, but now I find some of it creeping back. I need to watch this.

I've completed a few more classes required for graduation, including the two most difficult classes I've taken so far: Calculus and Physics. It turns out I find Calculus somewhat interesting which is something that caught me by surprise!

In general I've taken good care of myself, and my relationship, although I did that in part by being somewhat of a recluse (by which I mean Frederick and I being reclusive together). I needed to withdraw and spend a lot of time by myself, at home, to heal from the emotional pain I had to deal with the previous year.

Looking forward:
I want this coming year to find me continuing down my healthy path. I want my studies to be smooth, productive, and fun. When I started writing this I thought about whether or not I wanted to come out of my semi-reclusive state but I honestly like it here. I do want to nurture my friendships, even if I cannot do so in person for whatever reason.

We had many good diving trips this year, and I visited one new-to-me country: Indonesia, where I was chased by a wild Komodo dragon! (Although it wasn't as dangerous as I made it sound, it was a highlight of that trip.) I only did 72 ocean dives, plus spent 15-20 hours snorkeling with more whale sharks than I could count--it wasn't diving but I was in the water with incredible creatures! In addition, I also did 43 dives in the Steinhart Aquarium, and all but four of those were dive show presentations.

Were there other highlights of my year that did not relate to diving? Hrm, I'm sure there were, although I cannot think of them now. Although I suppose coming out of 2011 in better condition than I went into it is an accomplishment :)
oh my!

And now for something completely different

I have been running regularly for about a year now, and I enjoy it. But running would cause various aches and pains, and the longest distance I have ever been able to run was 2.25 miles, after which I felt nauseous. I didn't help that I am iron-deficient so running more than a half-mile or a mile would have me gasping for breath because I couldn't get enough oxygen.

So I changed a couple of things.

Somewhere recently I had heard about barefoot running. I liked the idea, especially because I love the whole "back to nature" concept, and humans have run barefoot (or with foot coverings that were not much different from barefoot) for thousands of years. So I decided to give it a try in hopes it would correct my stride and alleviate some of the pain I was feeling. As it turns out, I love barefoot running! I can go further with less effort and no pain, and it has given me a new level of enjoyment without the negative effects I had been experiencing.

Running barefoot requires you use a different stride than the "heel-strike" stride people typically use when wearing running shoes. Instead, you land on the ball of your foot, almost flat-footed, and this results in less impact than a heel-strike stride. Yes, despite all that padding and engineering in a modern running shoe, running barefoot is less impactful than running with expensive shoes.

One thing that I believe has helped a lot is increasing the amount of iron supplements I am taking. I had been taking a pill a day, per the box directions, but didn't notice any difference in the way I was feeling, and my blood tests still showed me as borderline anemic. So after talking with a pharmacist I upped my dosage to three pills a day and wow! Suddenly I can run without gasping for breath! I used to hit my maximum heart rate of about 180 bpm after running just 0.25-0.5 miles, but now I can run two full miles and only be at about 155 bpm. It's amazing what the body can do when it has oxygen ;)