Friday, May 23, 2008

Crater Lake Century

Before we'd found the house we wanted to buy, our plan was to ride the Crater Lake Century in August. We'd thought about putting that off to save money and time (training), but it's a ride I've always wanted to do and I'd hate to miss out. We've got 12 weeks of training between now and then, so getting in shape shouldn't be too hard. I've got some weight to lose, but I hope to be about half way to my goal by then. Training for it and for the ability to commute to work by bicycle from our new home (20 miles each way) will go a long way towards getting me to my weight goal. This is kind of funny, but it illuminates a little about how messed up I can be in the head. I've been battling my weight for most of my life. I've always been 'heavy' and that really doesn't bother me. I don't care about a number on the scale relative to charts or what others might think is 'normal'. I know that I'm heavy and even when I'm lean, I'm quite heavy for my weight. That's fine. My problem is that I've let my bodyfat get out of control. I don't know how I let it happen (it's a combination of a lot of issues), but I'm now about 35 lbs over what I would consider my ideal weight. I'm about 45 lbs over my 'ultimate' goal weight - which is leaner than I think I could maintain over the long haul anyway. So...when I became aware of what's in store for our future as a society (how's that for a nice way of putting it?), I kind of got it into my head that it's ok to gain some body fat now as times will eventually be so lean that I'll be glad that I have it. Once that thought got into my head, I've had a VERY hard time getting on track, nutritionally. I've allowed myself to gain about 15 lbs in the past 8 months or so. That's on top of a weight that I wasn't happy with to start! So...I know that I can't work towards my old goals of being 'lean' because it goes against my beliefs of what is the smart thing to do. BUT, there IS a happy medium and where I am now is NOT it. I've decided on a new goal that is about 10 lbs higher than my ideal weight (and 20lbs over my 'lean' weight). This new goal will allow me to fit into almost all my clothes and it will allow me to be as active as I'd like. I'll not be ashamed of my body even though I'll know it could be better. The most important part is that I feel comfortable with this new goal. It'll make me happy in the near future as I'll feel much better about myself at that weight and biking will be fun again...and I think it's a good weight to carry towards the future as it'll give me a 'cushion' and it will allow me to be healthy and strong.

As far as the training goes, we are already on our way. This weekend's training ride will be a 40 mile ride with some climbing (more than we did last weekend) followed by a 25 mile recovery ride. My goal is to also get in two resistance training (RT) workouts a week. One will be upper body/core focused and one will be total body. I'll also try to get in as many commutes by bicycle that I can both now while I have a 1.5 mile commute and after we move when it goes to 20 miles.

Today we've been discussing the tasks we have ahead of us to get our homestead ready. The list is LONG and I believe that this weekend we are going to list everything out, prioritize it all, and then split up the responsibilities. I've listed a few of the more major goals in the side bar here. These are goals towards sustainability. There are other tasks not listed such as fixing the siding, painting the house (outside and in), massive cleaning, replacing fixturing and a few appliances, and making some plumbing repairs. We also have plans for a huge yardsale to scale down on some of our possesions. It's a bit overwhelming...but step by step, we'll get there.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Middle Class Upbringings

I was brought up solidly middle class. Not upper-middle by any stretch - we got one new pair of 'school shoes' every year. We did our school clothes shopping at Bradlee's (the less trendy version of Target). We did have meat often as my mother never skimped on food - but I was not allowed to try things like mushrooms or pate as they were expensive and she was afraid we'd like them. We did not have to finish every morsel on our plate, but we were also not allowed to refuse to eat something unless we'd at least tried it. We always had nice homes as my parents always chose where we'd live based on the public school systems (we moved often). The best schools were always in the weathiest suburbs, so we lived in nice areas and had good homes. I did not have all the 'right' clothes, but I didn't really know it until we moved to the Boston area and I started high school. My brother and I shared a hand-me-down car when we were old enough to drive (I got it first, being the oldest). It was expected that I'd go to college directly out of high school and that I'd go to the best school I got into, regardless of price. That was never questioned, even once. Looking back, I know that things changed a lot my senior year in high school. My father had a bit of a 'windfall' in terms of his career and our discressionary spending drastically changed almost overnight. I don't think the lifestyle change really had much impact on me as I was basically already out of the house and in college before it's affects were felt. My younger brother, on the other hand, had some serious issues with 'entitlement'. But that is neither here nor there - he's since grown signficantly (as have I). Anyway, my point to this little trip down memory lane is to put a little thought into my attitude. I've always leaned a bit towards the republican bent (though I've never committed to either party and have often voted democratic). I think my reasoning comes from my upbringing, though in retrospect, I'm not sure where (hence the little trip down memory lane above). I've always believed in capitalism, but yet questioned the sanity of it. How could we continue to exploit the environment and our natural resources the way we do without consequence? And yet, don't make me give up the things I've worked so bloody hard for...I busted my ass to get where I am, don't expect me to share that with joe blow down the street who may not have bothered to get an education. I think this is why I've always had trouble expressing my political opinions. They are conflicted! In the future, society will only work if we work together. I get that and I'm good on a team. BUT, I also play by the 'rules' and I expect others to as well. I've always shied away from 'community' efforts because there is ALWAYS someone who doesn't pull his or her own weight. Why should I let them hang on? I'm better off fending for myself, right? Well, no, not likely. I believe in helping others, but I also believe in the importance of the ability to better oneself if one is willing to work for it. Do I have a 'killer' instinct? Not really. But do I have the 'charity' gene? Sometimes I wonder. Ugh - this is why I stress about the future. Is my confusion related to my upbringing? I don't have a problem with being 'poor'. I have no issue with working for what I have and living with very little. I DO have issue with working for what I have and then giving it away to help the next person if that person isn't also working as they should. The infirm? No problem. Children? Again, no problem. The lazy? BIG problem. But how does one draw the line and where does that line need to go???

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


My life is at a crossroads. Not the typical crossroads that one might expect. This is not about a marriage, a birth, a death...or even a major decision. This is about the past meeting up with the future in the here and now. My vision of what the future will hold has been mighty bleak the last few months. In the past few days, I've realized how much I'm letting it adversely affect my present. I need a cliche 'attitude adjustment'. ;-) It's time I accepted what's to come, and took positive steps towards embracing it. This blog marks my attempt to do so in a forward-thinking and yet positive manner.

So, what exactly am I talking about? The easier question might be what am I not talking about! I'm not talking about a new love. I'm not talking about getting pregnant. I'm not talking about going back to school or making a career change (well, not intentionally anyway). If I were to have started this blog six months ago, I'd be talking about merely survival. Now I'm talking about simplifying life down to the basics. Will this ensure survival? Maybe. Will this ensure happiness? Maybe. Will it ensure improved sustainablity and personal nutrition? Most definitely.

Hence the name of this blog - a simple metamorphosis. My husband and I will be making the journey to morph from a North Carolina suburban D.I.N.K couple to sharing the simple life on a sustainable homestead in the Pacific Northwest. It seems overwhelming and exciting all at the same moment. This is a positive journey. The purpose of this blog is to help me focus on the positive changes we will be making (and our challenges in making them) so that the future will seem less daunting. Come along with us for the ride...