Tag Archives: 30 day shred

Navy Shirts & Zebra Skirts

30 Jul

Confession:  In the past week, I’ve watched Coraline more times than I’ve done the 30 Day Shred.  My husband said the movie was great – I wouldn’t know, since I fell asleep a third of the way through.  I tend to do this (accidentally, of course).  Just goes to show you how great Lost is, since I never once fell asleep while watching it.

Anyway, back to my confession.  

The negative?  All those posts ago, I was gung-ho about making it through thirty straight days of pain.  Now, here I am, having to admit I abandoned the Shred after the delicious massage I got on our anniversary.  It would have just been wrong to put all those knots back in my neck after she worked so hard to dig them out!  Right?

The positive? After eight long months, the LA Fitness opened in my town.  Finally.  I repeat, finally.  I’ve been going there, instead of doing the Shred.

Everyone I know was beginning to wonder if the fabled gym would ever actually open its doors.  They promised a December opening back when I signed up last November, and, well, it’s almost August now.  For months, it loomed desolate on the corner, bricks in tact but with a jungle for a parking lot.  When I saw a sign that boasted “LA Fitness opens today at 4pm,” I texted my friend, Ha.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  

Lo and behold, the myth was true after all.  

I’ve been there every day since.  Seven minutes each way beats thirty, for sure.  Right off the bat, I noticed two distinct differences between the new gym and the old one.  

First: it’s so nice to see a variety of people working out.  At the old gym, it seemed like only the fast and the super-fit frequented it.  Not so, at this one.  Just as a church is not for the perfect, a gym is not (only) for the in-shape.  Everywhere around me, I see people learning how to lift weights or do crunches for the first time.  Not everyone has proper clothing to work out in, and it reminds me of the days when I’d walk the track in my jeans.  It’s kind of like watching The Biggest Loser in real life, and I hope we all stick around long enough to see some real transformations.

My second observation is not so heart-warming.  However, it is inspiring: it inspires me to talk some sense into one of the sales-people who works there.  Who on this planet works at a gym, and wears the company’s standard-issue navy t-shirt with a zebra print skirt and red heels?  Or, tucked in to a black skirt that goes higher than the belly-button and is paired with gold gladiator sandals?  I thought maybe it was a one-time offense, but no.  It is an everyday thing, apparently.

So, I abandoned my shredding goal.  Truthfully, I don’t feel that bad about it.  The shorter drive leaves plenty of time for a solid workout and time to get a lot done on my novel.  Now, the novel?  That is a goal I will accomplish.  

I’ll keep you posted on the novel (and perhaps on other outrageous outfits worn by the sales girl).  In the meantime, don’t spoil Coraline for me.  I plan to rent it one morning or afternoon, drink a lot of coffee, sit in an uncomfortable spot, and not fall asleep.

I Thought You Were My Friend, Maintenance Man

15 Jul

Dear Maintenance Man,

I thought we were friends.  

Remember that little conversation we had about the birds – how that red bird has made both of my birdhouses his home?  Remember how you helped me carry my laundry to my door when you were cleaning the walkway the other day (and how I didn’t complain about the ear-splitting noise of your machine, even though Remy the Cat was completely freaked out)?  

You even tamed the vicious sprinkler for me, the one that decimated my succulents and flooded my porch.  Our parking lot is still a river every time it rains, but I bought some golashes, so I can deal with that.

But seriously?  Our sink’s garbage disposal has been broken since Sunday, when we called you.  I sincerely appreciate you coming by on Monday and letting yourself in to the apartment while my friend and I were sweating to Thirty Day Shred.  I really thought you would come back, especially since I asked you to return in twenty minutes and you said you would.

But, you didn’t come.  It’s getting increasingly difficult to move around the dirty dishes we can’t rinse in our backed up sink; the sink, by the way, is now a nice shade of orange from where the ravioli residue crept toward its eventual death.  

Call me crazy, but since I very clearly said, “Please come back in twenty minutes,” I did not expect for my husband to get a phone call saying you attempted service twice, and that I told you to come back both times, especially since this is not how it went down.

I thought we were friends.  Of course, if you resolve this soon, I am willing to forgive you, since I would miss those chats about the red bird and the extra hand with my laundry.  When you come, just watch out for Remy the Cat.  He tends to greet people at the door, and if you’re not careful, he may just run for his life out that door.  If you lose our cat, I think our friendship will be forever ruined.


So!  Thanks in advance, Mr. Maintenance Man,

The Girl in 134 West


15 Jul

It wasn’t until I started doing yoga that I realized breathing can take work.  The instructor would tell us inhale here and exhale there.  You’d think breathing would come naturally to someone who’d done it, oh, every single day of her entire life.  Not so: it took effort to do it the right way.  I could focus on the yoga moves, or I could focus on breathing right, but it was not easy to do both (let alone, do them well).  When I finally got the hang of it, it helped my entire yoga practice, and it’s becoming more natural to me.  

In my post on discipline a few days ago, I neglected to mention one of the more important aspects of discipline: rest.  Much like yoga breathing, you’d think it would come naturally to us, but this isn’t always the case.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the goals we set and think the only way to accomplish them is to actively do something.  Sometimes, though, the best thing for our work is to take a break from it, and come back refreshed the next day.  I see this often in my writing, where ideas benefit from a day to deepen their roots without my interference.

Discipline is not just about knowing when to work hard.  It’s also about knowing when to rest, and letting yourself breathe.  It’s also about getting back to work after a wonderful day off.

Yesterday was a day of rest for me.  Except for a pounding headache that plagued me most of the day, it was relaxing and fun.  I spent the morning chatting over coffee with a good friend who recently returned from a three-week European trek.  I didn’t focus much on my novel, except for telling my friend about all I’ve been working on.  I didn’t do the Shred, but I actually wanted to do it!  After eight straight days of doing that video, I certainly didn’t want to skip a day…but my headache told me no. 

Yesterday was a good day for rest, because it was our two-year anniversary!  My husband brought me flowers and took me to dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants.  He also took me to a spa, where he’d made reservations for us to each have an hour-long massage.  Ahhhhh!  I have the best husband in the world.  He’s that wonderful every day.

Yvonne, my massage therapist, said she was glad I came in, since my neck and shoulders were extremely tight.  I can’t imagine why that would be – I’ve only been sitting at a desk every day, working on my novel, and for over a week now, pounding my muscles to pieces with good ol’ Jillian.  Yvonne even managed to massage away my throbbing headache.  She just won herself a return customer, ladies and gentlemen.

Needless to say, I feel great this morning.  I’m refreshed and motivated; ready to write, ready to edit, and ready (gulp) to do the workout video.  Deep breath; now, off to work!


PS – If you’ve seen the new Harry Potter, please don’t spoil anything for me.  We don’t get to see it until Friday.  Even though I’ve read all the books, I’m trying to avoid talk about the movie so I’ll still be somewhat surprised!

Forget the Screaming Cats and Social Missteps

13 Jul

It’s Monday, and back to the drawing board.  The weekend was full – complete with screaming cats (therefore, no new kitty at our house because of a very hissy King Remy), failed car radiators (okay, just one), and losing horribly to my love as he killed at Canasta (this time).  Now, it’s time to forget all that stuff and focus again.

Editing and re-writing is really an interesting animal.  It’s hard to know exactly how to approach it, but I’m making progress and enjoying the process.  My characters are coming to life, and as a result, so is the plot.  There is so much I want to change about my first draft, but some of it is worth keeping – the trick is knowing how to weave the new with the old.

I’m proud to say that I’ve done the Shred for seven days in a row.  Twenty-three to go! Today, one of my old co-workers is coming to shred with me.  Such a funny title, isn’t it?  Perhaps it comes from the way your muscles feel when it’s over (um, that would be ripped to pieces).

Today, I’ll leave you with two pieces of advice.  

First: Plants do not fare well when you forget to water them.  Especially if you live in Texas and it is over a hundred degrees outside.  Perhaps I learned this from experience.

Second: Never, I repeat, never start speaking Spanish when the guy taking drive-through orders at Taco Cabana tells you he doesn’t speak English very well and asks for your order again.  If he is from India, he may not understand when you say, Necesito un agua grande, por favor.  You might leave thirsty, and you will leave feeling like a schmuck.  Perhaps I learned this from experience, too.  Oops.

Alright.  Time to get to work.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on editing, re-writing, and what works well for you.  It will help motivate me when I inevitably get stuck and need some inspiration and encouragement.


PS – I also welcome your advice on cats (e.g., getting new ones when the current one is used to being a spoiled only child).  We may be destined to be a one-cat family forever, I fear.


9 Jul

“Do you get up this early every day?” 

Caleb usually works the evening shift at Starbucks, because he likes to sleep in until noon.  This morning, though, he made my latte at the (not so) early hour of eight.  

“Yes,” I told him, “I try to get up at by seven or eight so I can get all the things done that I love to do!”  

Truthfully, I’d get up at 6:30am if my bed wasn’t so comfortable.  But seven works.  I get up and get dressed, as if I was headed to an office, and not just to the corner of my bedroom.  I leave, get my coffee, and come back home – to work.

Every day, when I write, I sit at an old wooden desk that was my grandfather’s.  It is in the window corner of our one bedroom, and faces our little porch.  I love my view from this desk: a jungle of plants, the birdhouse my dad made from a gourd, and the occasional bird.  I drink my latte while I check email and this site, then I get down to business – make a schedule, make some goals, get to work. 

This morning, I came across a little blurb about discipline, and how important it is if you want to accomplish any goal:

Nothing worthwhile comes quickly, and nothing worthwhile comes without discipline.  Over life’s long haul, discipline works in every dimension of your life: financial, physical, mental, and spiritual….It’s easy to get caught in the trap of quick results when you focus on the results rather than the journey.  The truth is, the joy is in the journey, in the daily discipline of growing in the details of your mind, body, and spirit….The key is balance, consistency, and perseverance, all of which come from one thing and one thing only: discipline.

I love this quote.  We live in a world where people make our coffee for us, and all we have to do is show up.  We don’t sew our clothes these days – if we want something, we go buy it.  These are the times of instant gratification, in every single direction we turn.  When we set out to accomplish our goals, it’s easy to carry over these expectations, but nothing is more detrimental!  Whether it’s writing a novel or working out, it’s not realistic to expect instant success.  Discipline can be painful and hard – but it always pays off.  

 Right now, my main goal is to complete the second draft of my novel.  A secondary goal is to complete 30 Day Shred in thirty days.  An ongoing goal is to cook delicious, healthy food (and not break the bank) for my sweet husband.  

These goals don’t happen overnight, and they won’t happen at all without discipline.  Magazines, novels, television, the pool, and even other creative endeavors tempt me and vie for my time each day.  While I know these would be so…much…fun…I also know it will be an even sweeter reward to achieve my long-term goals.  

If discipline sounds undesirable or unattainable to you, be encouraged.  I think it sounds that way to everybody, at first.  I’m no expert at this.  I’m just a girl who has come to see value in discipline, so I’m working on it.  Somewhere along the way, it’s become part of my life and I’ve even started to enjoy it. 

How do you incorporate discipline into your life?  Do you enjoy it yet?


PS:  Discipline is one of those words that looks really strange to me after I read it out loud a few times.  

PPS: The blurb comes from a book called God is in the Small Stuff.  It sits on my desk, but I’ve never opened it before.  I just happened to get the urge to read something out of it, and I’m glad I did.  It motivated me.


8 Jul

Twenty-minute workout DVD.  Beginner level.  Two days in a row.

Thanks to you, Jillian Michaels, now I can hardly walk up – or down – the stairs.  

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I purchased Thirty Day Shred at Target.  Let me just say this: I love it.  I really do.  It’s just…a little surprising that I feel so much pain from twenty minutes, especially since I’ve been working out consistently for a while.  

If you read my last post, you know I started my second draft this week.  So far, it’s going great, and today has already been productive.  Since this project requires much time and focus, I thought it wise to come up with a home-based workout. Back in November, I signed up for the new gym in town.  They said construction would end in December, so I started going to the one twenty minutes down the road.  It’s now July, and it’s still not done.  (LAME.)  So, I always try to make the drive worth my time.  Usually, I do some combo of weights and cardio, except on yoga days.  As a result, it takes about an hour and forty minutes of my day, including the drive.

An hour and forty minutes is valuable time, as anyone who does anything is well aware.  Add in my mane of curls – clean hair means an additional half hour.  An alternate means of working out is necessary if I truly want to focus on my second draft.  I bought Jillian Michaels’ workout, even though I was hesitant to substitute twenty minutes for my usual hour of activity.

Little did I know that these twenty minutes would make me feel so sore.  I can’t believe I’m only on level one, out of three.  I’m pleased to know I won’t be getting out of shape while I focus on my writing.  So, for all you busy people out there – this workout is great.  Just be warned that you will feel it the next day.