I am terribly, terribly sore, and that's pretty pathetic, considering the wimpy girly-man routine I did at the Consulting Company gym this morning.
I am consoling myself with the fact that I at least went to the gym this morning. I almost wimped out, deciding that I'd take my stuff and "maybe" go on my lunch break. But then I realized that was stupid, because I do much better at the gym on a glass of orange juice and maybe some oatmeal (I didn't have any oatmeal today...that needs to go on the shopping list). Besides, there was the possibility that it could get really busy, and I'd have to skip lunch due to the fact that two employees were leaving early because of the Super Bowl. (PATRIOTS WON! Boston is the ruler of all sport! Well, two sports, anyway. Like I care. Ahem.)
So I packed everything up, including some tomato soup for lunch, two clementines for snacks, and everything needed to get ready for the day ahead. When I was getting gas, I stopped into the little shop at the station and picked up some of that Propel water, so I'd have something with at least a little bit of taste with my lunch, instead of resorting to diet soda.
I've decided that Fridays and Sundays will be weight-training days and Saturdays and Mondays will be all-cardio days. I did 25 minutes on the elliptical trainer, then decided that chest and shoulders were in order.
The Universal machine's settings were low. A stiff breeze could have blown away the free weights I was using, but I made sure to use good form and concentrate while I did my reps. I did three sets of two exercises for each muscle group. I'll eventually move up to three sets of three exercises, but I wanted to be able to move in the morning, so I took it easy.
Despite feeling horribly out-of-shape, I did get a lot out of working out. I forgot how good it feels to get the body moving in the morning. When I took my shower, I felt ready to face the day. I got to feel virtuous when eating my healthier lunch and snacks, and when I felt a little bit peckish towards the end of the day, I got trail mix (all nuts and raisins, no chocolate) instead of a Hershey bar.
I don't know if this resolve will last, but I'm usually pretty good about my routines once I get into the habit. And four days a week isn't all that bad, especially if I'm going to be at work anyway.
(Click on picture for full-size image)
Above is the birthday card I made at work for my cousin Beth's daughter Casey. I planned on dropping in on them tonight after work, but I didn't feel like going to the store to pick out a generic card. Besides, Beth sent me the picture of Casey in her fairy princess outfit (which I got her for Christmas, along with a lot of other dress-up clothes), and I wanted to use it.
If you open up the bigger image, you can see that there are images of "Happy Birthday" and "I Love You" written out in ASL. Casey has had a speech difficulty, unable to form words until she was nearly two-and-a-half. The silly poem I wrote (Hallmark won't be calling me anytime soon) is just to let her know about this time of silence, and that she is loved no matter what.
The card itself folds, I just put the front and back on one side for the purpose of displaying it. And I had an envelope for it and everything! Working in the desktop publishing department has its perks. I'm sorry about the fuzzy quality of the image, I did the work in PowerPoint (which is acceptable for a one-off like this), and exporting it into a jpeg makes the text fuzzy, for some reason. One day, I'll know enough about Illustrator to do these types of things for real, and maybe I'll be bumped up to a real-life graphic designer.
As it turns out, the message about being quiet and the sign language weren't necessary, as Casey has started piecing snippets of sentences together. She can say, "Casey jump!" and "Circus party fun!" and "Mommy, stop it!"
That seems like a terribly slow 3-year-old, but she can sign like a fiend, and doctors had told Beth and Jeff that there was a good possibility that she would never be able to form coherent words, never mind string sentences together. Just this Christmas, she was using distinguishable words, but not putting them together. Her progress has been astounding, and it's due entirely to the fact that Beth, Jeff, Little Susan and the rest of the clan don't give up on her. Beth and Little Susan (as well as Heather) are all early-intervention specialists, so they know the ins and outs of getting a special-needs child through the system. That doesn't mean that it's been an easy road for Beth. She's spent all day, every day working intensively with Casey on learning words, signing them, and trying to get her to verbalize. I know she wanted to give up and just go with sign language for awhile, and I'm sure the whole family would have learned ASL in order to keep up with her, but I'm so glad to see that this is not going to be the case. Beth estimates that by the time Casey is seven or so, she'll be indistinguishable from other kids her age, in terms of speech ability.
The funny thing is, while Casey rarely signs if she can find the word she needs, Beth now does it unconsciously. She'll sign "thank you" every time she says it, as well as "pretty" and "you're welcome." I call her out on it, but she says it's entirely a reflex at this point, and she'll be signing well past the time when Casey needs that sort of prompt.
We had a really nice visit. The cousins on my Dad's side of the family grew up together, and we've been really close, but ever since my Aunt Sue died, it seems as if we've kind of gone our separate ways. Some of that comes with growing up and getting married and having families, but a lot of it has to do with not putting in the effort necessary to keep in touch. That's part of why I started the Yahoo! Cleary group mailing list, so we could all keep in touch.
I've decided that it's going to be my mission to make sure we all visit one another more often. Right now, I don't have a house of my own, but once I do, I'm going to have "cousin-only" dinners and the like. It sounds morbid to think about, but one day Mom and Uncle Jack will be gone, and if we don't start some sort of tradition, we're going to lose track.
Beth said that she always tells people to drop in whenever they want to, but she rarely does that herself. I think that's the case for everyone. We get wrapped up in our own little worlds, and forget the people who were once closest to us. So I'm going to take her up on her offer to drop by anytime (with notice, of course!), and do the same at Jack's, where Shamus and Little Susan live. Sean and Heather also tell me to stop by whenever I want to, and I think I'll do that, as well. As for Chris and Susan...well, they have a lot of things going on right now, and their house is kind of like Fort Knox to visitors. I hope that'll change someday, but you can't force people to be social, even if they are your family.
Besides, I feel sorry for all of you who don't belong to the Greatest Family in the World, but there can only be one of those, and I'm lucky enough to be a part of it.