1 Year Of Running (or A New Anniversary To Celebrate)

Earlier this month, I was talking to a friend of mine about my running adventures at Orangetheory and in my 5K races. In some ways, it seems like I’ve been doing my running for a long time. In other ways, it seems like I just started last month. And when my friend asked me how long I had been running, I had to think about it. I figured it was close to a year but wasn’t too sure. Fortunately, one of the benefits of this blog is being able to go back and look at when I posted certain things. And by going back to looking at that original running post, I realized my 1 year running anniversary is today!

I still remember that first class when I tried running. Running for 30 seconds seemed like it would be impossible, but I am so stubborn and when I was told to try it I knew I had to go for it. And it shocked me how easy those 30 seconds were for me. I was terrified that it would be painful to run since I was told that it could be with my hip issues. I think maybe I in disbelief about how easy those 30 second running spurts were. And that just got me into making some big plans with my running.

When I started running, things were coming very easily for me. Going from 30 seconds to 45 seconds or to a minute were pretty easy. I was able to get my speed up often without issues. I was on such a high about running and had some great ideas of what I wanted to be able to do. I hadn’t really run since I was a kid, so I had no idea how my body would react to anything and only based my ideas on how easy it was in the beginning.

After a little bit, I definitely hit a wall with my running progress. But I’m very lucky that I have so many running friends and I was able to turn to them for tips and advice. I worked on different stretching, increased my weights at Orangetheory to make me stronger, and planned out some interval training. I started to do my own interval work at Orangetheory instead of just following the coaches. But since all my coaches knew I was working on running, they were all very supportive and didn’t mind that I wasn’t following the standard workout.

Then I started to hit some huge milestones. I was able to run a 1/4 mile. I was able to run on inclines. I took a running class. I was able to run for 5 minutes without stopping. I ran for 10 minutes without stopping. I ran for a mile without stopping! I think running a mile without stopping is still something that shocks me and I’m so proud I hit that milestone.

I also started doing running on my own outside of my workouts. I got a running watch and did my own interval training work. I met up with friends to do running interval training and didn’t let me bug me that they were doing so much more than I could do. I focused on my own training and my own path and didn’t compare myself to others.

Even though I did all this work, I still questioned how my first attempt at a run/walk 5K would go. I had never done run/walk intervals for that long and I wasn’t sure my body would be able to take it. But I think between being stubborn and the adrenaline I get on race days, I was not only able to do it but I beat my big goal I had for how fast I wanted to do a 5K!

Then when I got to my second 5K as a run/walk, I was increasing my intervals and had hills to deal with. I hadn’t done as much running training as I had the first time (due to all my medical stuff) so I tried to not set any goals for myself. I knew the combination of all those differences meant that I might not be able to do better than my last time even though I was running more. That race was more of a struggle than the first one, mainly because of the hills. But I had to be flexible and willing to change my running plan. And by doing that (and probably again because I’m stubborn), I was able to PR at my race!

Now, I’m feeling more and more comfortable with my running. I’ve hit a few walls lately, but I think a lot of that has to do with other health issues. I’m running for pretty decent stretches at Orangetheory and I’m trying to plan what my goals are going to be coming up. I also may be meeting with a running coach soon to discuss a training plan and what may be possible for me in the long run (no pun intended). I’m also toying with the idea of trying to do a 10K for the first time, but that won’t be happening too soon since I need to do some training for that.

To think that I’ve come this far in just one year of running is insane to me! I never thought I’d be able to do most of what I’m doing now. And sometimes I do wish that I had tried running sooner because I’d be farther along now. But I can’t look back and wish I had done things differently. I can only work on moving forward and continuing to improve myself.

So here’s to my first full year of running! I never knew I’d get here, so I can’t even imagine where I’ll be when I’m celebrating my 2nd running anniversary!

Air Food (or French Food In Santa Monica)

Because of this blog, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do some really cool stuff. And this past weekend, I got to do one of those cool things! Through a¬†friend who I know through Orangetheory, I was able to attend the soft opening of a brand new restaurant in Santa Monica! And I’m so excited to share with you all about the amazing experience I had at Air Food!

Air Food was started by Marc and Thierry who both come from Paris. They started with doing pop-up restaurants there wanting to create gastronomic food with a variety of foods. They became very popular and decided to open a restaurant in LA, which is how Air Food was born!

I haven’t had many opportunities to try French food, so I was beyond excited to attend this dinner! I had a feeling that I was in for an amazing night of food, and fortunately one of the new dresses I bought recently was the perfect thing to wear since it wasn’t too body conscious and I would be able to enjoy all the food there.

When I arrived at Air Food, I was the first soft opening customer there. I was a bit nervous about that and was wondering if maybe I should have waited to arrive, but Marc immediately came over to greet me and I think being there first was a total blessing. Marc introduced me to Thierry who was busy cooking and then he introduced me to the space and the food that they have there.

I loved the space. It’s a pretty small restaurant, but that makes it great! It’s not too crowded and there is a mix of seating at tables and at the bar for people to choose from. And Marc let me know that being at the bar was best because then I would have a view of the kitchen and could watch all the cooking going on. And for the customers at the tables, they would be able to watch all the excitement of the cooking through a camera that is in the kitchen that will be played on a large tv.

Marc also showed me their full water menu. For me, going to a place that has different types of water is perfect. I don’t drink soda and I’m not really drinking alcohol right now, so knowing that I have a choice beyond plain tap water makes me so happy.

Marc showed me the water wall and told me about all the different bottles and where they came from. I’ve never gotten to experience meeting someone so knowledgeable about water, but it made me want to learn more about water options for my house beyond just drinking filtered tap water. I told Marc about how I like sparkling water, especially with orange flavor, and he suggested that with my food I try a new tangerine/lemongrass water from Voss. I agreed that it sounded perfect and took my seat at the bar to get ready to have some delicious food!

To start, Thierry prepared some foie gras for me. I’ve never had foie gras before and was intrigued to try it. I’m not too adventurous of an eater, but I’m glad I tried it and I have so many friends who are so excited to find out that there is a new restaurant in LA that serves their favorite treat!

I was then presented with the menu for the soft opening. Everything on the menu that night will be available when they open, but there are some things that will be on the regular menu that weren’t an option for me. But even with fewer options, there was plenty for me to choose from and I was torn on what I wanted to eat!

What pleased me the most seeing the menu was seeing how reasonable the prices were for the food. I know that when I think French food (and sometimes when I think of Santa Monica restaurants) I think of expensive prices that I usually can’t afford. But everything on the menu is affordable even for me! After going back and forth on a few things that sounded delicious (and with a little input from Marc), I decided on the artichoke gratin and the rib eye steak.

The gratin was so creamy and I loved that it had truffles in it! And artichokes are one of my favorites so I was so happy that there were giant pieces of artichokes in the gratin and the pieces weren’t hidden in there. And the steak was so perfectly cooked! It was tender and flavorful and I wasn’t able to stop eating it!

But I probably should have paced myself a bit because then there was also dessert to order.

I was so full, but after thinking about it I decided to order the apple tart for dessert. I love apple tart and recently had a great one at Wood & Vine. So I wanted to see how awesome this one would be since I knew it would be incredible. And when it arrived I wasn’t disappointed.

Not only was it beautiful (and it was so beautiful that I didn’t want to cut into it), but it was so good! It was light and the pastry wasn’t too much. It was a refreshing dessert that seemed like the perfect way to end the meal.

There is no question that I will be returning to Air Food. And even though the event I went to was a soft opening, you are all in luck! Because Air Food is having their grand opening today! So if you are in Santa Monica, you need to make sure you stop by for lunch or dinner. And make sure you say hi to Marc and Thierry! They have created such an amazing restaurant and I’m so excited for everyone else to get to experience the food to see how lucky we all are that we now have this food in Santa Monica!

Explaining Myself (or It’s Not Disappointment)

It’s been over a month since I was supposed to have surgery. By now, pretty much everyone in my life knows that my surgery was cancelled and the situation around that. I tried to email and text most of my friends as soon as I knew and many other people found out¬†though here or social media. But every so often, I’ll run into someone who had no clue that I didn’t have surgery. Sometimes they are surprised to see that I’m looking so good or out and about and sometimes they are just assuming everything went fine and I forgot to tell them about it.

Each time I run into someone who didn’t know (or I meet someone new who is finding out about the situation), I feel like I have to explain the entire thing. I have tumors, they aren’t supposed to shrink, somehow they did shrink, we don’t know how it happened because I didn’t change anything in my life, I don’t know what’s next for me. And so often people tell me that I sound disappointed that I didn’t have surgery and I should be grateful that somehow I beat the odds.

It’s not easy to explain that I am grateful. I didn’t want surgery. I was stressing about surgery from the day I found out I would be having it. But at the same time, I spent 6 months knowing that I have tumors inside of my body and was excited to get them out of me. Now I only have 2 tumors so at least there aren’t 3, but I still have to be ok with the idea that there are 2 tumors just hanging out in my liver.

But even though I’m grateful, I’m still a bit skittish about this all. I am supposed to have my next MRI in about 4 months to see what’s going on (as long as there’s nothing that causes me to need a MRI sooner). Once that happens, I’ll meet with the surgery to make a new game plan. We have already discussed a bit of a plan where if the tumors are bigger I’m having surgery and if they are smaller we are going to keep waiting. But if they stay the same size as they are now, it’s a bit of a gray area.

My tumors are small enough and in a position in my liver that they aren’t as risky for me to keep as they were before. But there are still potential risks for me later in life if they stay in there. So there is this great unknown of what the next step will be or if I will be having surgery in the future. One thing I love about my OB/GYN and my liver surgeon is that neither of them are afraid to tell me that they don’t know the answer to something. But it’s a bit frustrating when neither of them know what the long-term plan for me will be.

And if I do sound disappointed about any of this, it’s because I had a plan in place. I was going to have surgery, the tumors were going to come out, and that was going to be that. Now I’m in another situation where I don’t know what my future will be and I don’t like that. I don’t know if in the fall we will have to plan for surgery and then I’ll need to do a lot of the same prep work that I had just done. Or maybe I’ll continue to be a miracle, the tumors will be smaller, and they will be small enough that there are pretty much no risks for me anymore.

The other weird feeling I’ve been dealing with is wondering at times if I totally imagined this all. Maybe I needed the surgery to make it feel real? I’ve had this feeling with some pretty intense news in the past. When I found out my mom had cancer or my grandpa died, I was almost wondering if I dreamt it and it wasn’t real. I was almost scared to talk to a friend to get support because I wondered if somehow I’d find out that it wasn’t true and would feel silly. And that’s a bit of what I’ve been feeling about my tumors. I made a huge deal about them and then it became almost nothing. I feel like I shouldn’t have made such a fuss about them (even though there was no way for me to know they would shrink). But nobody has been making me feel bad about things, only myself.

I know that most of you reading this understand my feelings. I’ve had several friends who have dealt with medical issues totally get what I’m talking about. It’s a weird feeling to want to be grateful but be worried at the same time. And hopefully as time goes by this feeling will be less intense and less often. It’s gotten so much better over the past month and hopefully the next month will make it less of an issue. And eventually, this will maybe just be a weird story that I can share from time to time without having any feelings attached to it.

What Fitness Goals Are Next? (or Continuing To Impress Myself)

You may have noticed in my past few fitness posts that I’ve been hitting some amazing goals lately. I don’t know why things have been going so well for me, but I think it might be that the weight of thinking I need surgery is off of my mind now. I’m able to focus on me again and doing what I want to do and I don’t have to stress about a setback that would potentially set me back months.

With this positive flow going in my workouts, I’ve started to question if I’m doing enough. I’m not in a plateau or anything, but I wonder if I could do more or better. And I also have to figure out what that more or better means to me. I want to do so much, but figuring out the steps to get there are tough for me. So this past week of workouts, I focused on just doing my best and seeing what I could do so I could start planning some ideas for new fitness goals.

Monday’s workout was a power based one and we switched between each block of work. Not only did we switch between blocks, every block was only 4.5 minutes long which isn’t that much. I knew I would need to focus on doing as much as I could in those 4.5 minutes each time to maximize the time I had in that section of the room. The treadmill work started with push to all out paces and I was running everything. I kept my speeds where I’m comfortable with my push at 4.5 mph and my all out at 5.5 mph, but in the end we were just doing all out runs with very short walking recoveries. I wasn’t able to recover that much in those short walks so I had to bring my running speed for those all outs down to my normal push speed.

On the floor, we had 3 blocks with 2 moves in each block. It was a good variety of work with squats, weighted arm work, sit ups, hop overs, and single leg deadlifts (which I was able to do as single leg deadlifts with one hand on the bench for support). With the blocks being so short, I never got to do too much of each exercise so I didn’t really get too tired at all. And the last floor block was actually a rowing block that had the same pattern as the treadmill (45 second all out rows with 30 seconds of recovery in between).

Wednesday’s workout was an endurance day and it was the perfect day to test out some new fitness goal ideas. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m wondering what I should do as far as training for my next 5K. I’m torn between increasing my run time (like I did with my last 5K) or decreasing my walk time. I don’t know what would be best for me and I haven’t really had a lot of opportunities to test each out. That is until this past workout.

Pretty much the entire treadmill time was 90 second push paces followed by either 30 second or 45 second base paces. I ran all my pushes and walked all my bases. While 90 seconds is less running time than I did in my last race, the walking time was decreased too. It was an interesting test for me to see how my body would take it and I think that it’s still something that I need to try out more often. I was feeling a bit more tired than usual during the workout because of the reduced walking time, but I wasn’t feeling like I couldn’t keep doing it. And it make it happy to see that even with the shorter running time, I was still able to do more than 2 miles in class.

The floor had another day of a good variety of floor work. There were squats, hamstring work, ab work, and shoulders. We also had a 1 minute timed row. My best 1 minute timed row was 313 meters, but that was a while ago. I know that I can do 300 meter in a minute since I finally got that back down, but this time I was so tired at the end of the workout that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get that far. But even with the tiredness, I was able to do 285 meters on the first round and 288 meters on the second. Not too shabby for me.

Friday was a power day which meant a ton of running for me! There were 3 treadmill blocks that all had the same pattern. It was push to all out paces where the all outs in block 1 were a minute, block 2 were 45 seconds, and block 3 were 30 seconds. Since there were no base paces except during the warm-up, I pretty much ran everything that was supposed to be a run. I wanted to work on increasing my all out pace and was able to bump it up a bit each block, but I finished that workout knowing that I probably could have done more than I did. I hate that feeling, but sometimes I don’t know how far I can push myself until I’m done.

The floor had 3 blocks this time. The first block had skater lunges, plank work, weighted swing work, and rows with the straps. There was also a 250 meter row in that block. I only made it to the rower once and that was a bit annoying to me. The next block was all core work with mountain climbers, planks, and sit ups. It was so tiring working my core that much, but I’m glad I got through it. And the last block was on the rower with decreasing rows with frog squats.

Saturday’s workout was a strength day and it was also a 3G workout. The very beginning of class was a mini tornado workout. We were on each part of the room for 2 minutes and switched. The treadmill was 2 minutes on a hill, the rower was a 2 minute row, and the floor was a mix of push ups and squats. After those 6 minutes, I felt like we had done half a class! But then it was time to get the class really started.

I started on the treadmill but I knew as soon as I got to class that I’d be walking the entire time. I had worked pretty hard the rest of the week and taking one easy day is helpful to make sure I don’t exhaust my body too much. I think I’m finally finding the good balance that will allow me to make 4 workout weeks the norm and not something I do only sometimes. The treadmill work was some pretty high inclines. In fact, even for the people who run they were instructed to walk so I didn’t feel as bad about having to walk for that class. It was only 15 minutes on the treadmill, but we were pretty much at an incline the entire time. I was usually between 6-10% but there were a few times we were up at 12% and that was starting to get a bit too much for me.

Next I was over on the floor where we had one long block with lunges, shoulder work, arm work, and abs. Even though it was just one block, it felt pretty quick unlike some of the other times that one long block feels endless. And after 15 minutes it was time for me to head to the rower. On the rower, we had 500 meter rows with lunges in between each row set. I didn’t really have that much of a goal in mind with my rowing because I couldn’t remember what I had done in the past and I wasn’t going to look it up on my phone. I decided that maybe under 2 minutes would be nice. And for both of the rows, I was able to do just that! And it turns out that my second row was actually a new PR for me!

I’m glad that I did some new PRs and tested some new things this past week. I’m still working on what I want some new fitness goals to be but at least I have a much clearer picture in my head on what my body is able to do now!

Adventures In Online Dating (or My Luck Might Be Changing)

It’s been several years since I’ve blogged about online dating. After my first post about it, I stepped away from online dating for a while. I wanted to focus on me and dating wasn’t really a priority anymore. Then I was going to get back online when I found out about my tumors. I got my profile set up on a few different sites, but wasn’t really doing much about it. I didn’t want to start dating someone and have to explain that I was going to have a major surgery. And then when I had my miracle, I decided to jump back into online dating and try to be a bit more serious about it.

I’m technically on 4 different dating sites/apps right now, but I only really use 3 of them. But 3 is still a lot! And in the past, I haven’t really had a lot of luck with meeting guys online. Sometimes I would meet someone for coffee or something, but more often than not I would start talking to a guy online and either the conversation would die completely really quickly or he would turn out to be a total creeper and say something disgusting to me and I would never want to meet them. And I’m still having those same issues, but I’m also still having a ton of luck with online dating for the first time ever!

From the 3 sites that I’m using, I’ve met at least one guy from each of the sites. Sometimes I go on a date and realize pretty quickly that there is no way that we could work out. I had a date with one guy who chewed with his mouth open and asked me about how much money I made and how much I paid for various things in my life. That’s not ok with me and I was glad when that date was over. I also had a date with someone who was really awesome and I had a great time meeting them, but they were only in LA for work and I’m not looking for anything long distance.

And then there have been some really great guys that I’ve met and from some reason or another we just didn’t do a second date. It’s never easy to deal with rejection no matter how old you are, but I’m doing better with it now than I have in the past. And unlike most other times I’ve ventured into online dating, none of my rejections have been because of my weight. I do have some full body photos on my various profiles so I’m honest about how I look. But even though I did that before, I had guys years ago say horrible things about my size on the date as a way to reject me. I don’t know if I’m meeting better quality guys or if guys are just more mature in their 30’s than in their 20’s. But either way I’m glad that I’m not dealing with the fat shaming that I had in the past with guys that I’m choosing to meet.

I’ve been joking to my friends that I’ve never had this much luck before in the past with online dating and it’s surprising me how well it’s been going. I don’t know what has changed with me, but maybe I’m just a better version of myself than I have been in the past. And a friend suggested to me that maybe my tumors were taking up all my good luck for so long (since I never had to deal with any of the horrible complications those tumors can cause) and now that I’m getting them under control my good luck can move to other parts of my life. I kind of wish the good luck was with my acting and not my dating, but beggars can’t be choosers and I’m happy that I’m experiencing some good luck in my life!

I haven’t met anyone that I’ve gone out with for more than 2 dates yet, but that’s ok with me. I’m working on being busy with my life again now and I don’t want to give up my time to someone who I don’t see as really amazing. My life is still a priority to me and I just want to meet a guy who fits into that or adds to my life and doesn’t take away from that. But I’m so glad that at least this adventure into online dating has been the most successful one I’ve had yet and I’m hopeful that I will meet someone who really does add to my life and not take away from everything else that I’m trying to do.

It’s so difficult to stay positive with dating, especially in LA where it seems impossible to meet guys who are single, straight, and quality men. But I feel like my experience recently has given me more hope than I ever have had that there is someone out there for me. I just have to keep working on finding him and need to be patient because it might not happen right away.

Union Working (or Connecting With My Fellow Actors)

As I’ve said the past few weeks, I’ve been making a big effort to be more involved with the acting community. I feel a new motivation to do so and I’m so glad that there have been several opportunities for me to do so. The past few weeks have had at least one event a week for me to attend. I know that this won’t be like this forever, but I’m taking advantage of it right now. And this week, I had the chance to attend my first Union Working meeting.

Union Working is a group that was organized to help strengthen unions, both entertainment based and other, because right now it seems like unions are being attacked. In the current political climate, there are people who want to weaken unions and feel like unions aren’t benefitting workers. I disagree with that because I know that being a member of SAG-AFTRA benefits me as an actor and protects me against so many things. I think that some people have forgotten that unions are the reason we have minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, and time off like weekends. So I want to help the effort to remind people that unions are great and that we need to support them.

This meeting was a mix of a panel and information. First was the panel where there were two session directors (who help run auditions for actors) talking about their experience with union versus non-union work. They had some great information from the other side of the table about how sometimes commercials can be turned union when originally they were non-union. And they said some examples of things that we as actors can do to help them and to help bring more commercials back to being union.

Going off of the idea about turning commercials union, we had someone else discuss the SAG-AFTRA Best in the Biz effort. This was all about why union commercials benefit actors and why actors should think twice about working non-union. Some union actors will work off the card hoping that nobody will catch them working non-union, but we learned that people are getting caught and are going in front of a disciplinary panel where they face penalties or expulsion from the union. I knew that it was wrong to work off the card (and I never would do that), but I didn’t realize how often people are caught doing so and how harsh the penalties for doing so are.

There was also discussion about the commercial contract and the negotiation that will be happening in a few years. It seems far off, but negotiations will be here before we know it and the members of Union Working want us to all be as educated as possible about the current contract and the changes that we’d like to see in the next contract. They actually had copies of the contract (and most recent changes from the last negotiation) and I was able to grab a copy to bring home with me. This will be my reading for a while because I do want to understand this contract and hopefully in the future will have the opportunity to do the same with the theatrical contract.

There were other things discussed in the meeting that I don’t think can be made public just yet, but a lot of it was how to help keep the union strong to benefit us all. There was also some discussion about the upcoming election and the deadlines that have been set for each step to be a part of the election. The first step, which is to file a petition to run, is coming up soon. The petitions are available next week and they are due in June. So nothing has to happen super fast, but I will probably be filing as soon as I can get it done just so I don’t forget or miss the deadline. I know some of the people who were at the meeting also are running, but maybe more people were inspired after hearing more about it.

While this wasn’t an official union event (we met at the union, but we are not affiliated with SAG-AFTRA directly), it was filled with amazing union actors who are so educated on multiple issues that are affecting us as union members and actors. As I have gone to each event lately I’ve been more and more inspired to be like those I’m meeting. I want to get more educated, I want to be more involved, and I want to make sure that the benefits that I’m getting now as a union member are still available to others in the future. I think that attending this Union Working meeting was a great step for me to take to continue my involvement as an actor and I am already looking forward to attending the next meeting!

A Night Of Stand Up (or Just Having Fun With My Friends)

I’ve got several friends who perform stand up. Unfortunately, more often than not those shows are on evenings that I can’t go. Either I’m working or the show is really late at night when I need to be up very early the next morning. It’s been years since I’ve been able to attend a friend’s stand up show.

So when my friend Marie invited me to her stand up show, I was sad that originally I couldn’t attend due to having other plans. But my other plans got cancelled so I could go! I immediately bought a ticket online since they were cheaper that way and let Marie know that I’d be there! I don’t think I’ve seen her perform at a venue for at least 5 years (it may actually be closer to 10 years) so I was so happy I could be there. And she mentioned that she would be working on new material and I was excited to support her as she was doing that.

The show was at The Open Space, which isn’t too far from my house but I had never been there before. I left early because I wanted to find some parking and lucked out to find a meter just down the block from the venue. I paid my meter and headed over to meet up with Marie, Chris, and whoever else was there already!

When I got inside, everyone in there was a part of the usual group of friends I see at the parties that Marie and Chris throw. It was still early, but it was nice to have a fun catch up time with my friends and to be excited to see people perform. I didn’t realize it when I got my ticket, but I had 3 friends performing that night plus a couple of comedians that I didn’t know. So it was going to be a fun and full stand up night. And of course, I had to get a selfie with Marie before the show started.

Right before the show started, the room started to fill up a bit more. But it stayed a pretty intimate show and I think that was pretty great. Most of the comedians were testing out new material and having a small and supportive room is perfect for doing that.

It’s been so long since I’ve seen Marie perform live, but she’s so amazing at it! She does a great mix of regular stand up plus songs that she’s made up. And this time she didn’t disappoint! She did some really funny bits about the warnings in birth control pills that made me laugh and then made me think if my tumors are listed in those warnings (I looked it up the next day and it actually is mentioned in the packet insert with all the other warnings!).

And Marie had a new song that was all about Chris. It was pretty funny listening to her sing about him when I was sitting right next to him. And everything was cheering so loudly for her when her act was done!

Another friend of mine who performed is a trans woman who was doing her first act since transitioning. She was so funny and had some really great jokes about her transition and her life now. And she also had a song in her act! This one was a rap about the 10 commandments and I was laughing the entire time. I told her afterwards how much I loved her act and I was surprised it was her first one since transitioning she was so polished and had some really smart jokes.

And I enjoyed the comedians who I didn’t know too. Some of them had some jokes I didn’t love, but overall they were pretty great. During one person’s act, there was a woman sitting right in the front who was a friend of another performer. She arrived just in time to see her friend and was sitting there when the next performer started. She was on her phone texting during the act and the comedian was pretty funny calling her out on it. I’m sure that he felt pretty annoyed that she was on her phone (I was feeling annoyed for him), but I think that he handled the situation well and in a super funny way!

The entire show was a little more than an hour long and I really wished that it was longer! It was such a fun night out with friends (again, helping me get back to feeling normal) and I’m so glad that my schedule worked out so I was able to go! I love supporting my friends in their creative adventures and I don’t get to do it often enough. So I have to take advantage of each opportunity I get like this that fits into my schedule.

Another “Gilmore Girls” Adventure (or Netflix FYSee)

I’ve talked about being a big “Gilmore Girls” fan on here before. It’s a show that I loved when it was on the air (my mom and I watched together) and I still love when I see repeats on tv. And when “Gilmore Girls” came back to have a new season on Netflix, there were a bunch of events related to the show that happened in LA. I didn’t make it to all of them, but I did attend the pop up event at UCLA a little while back.

Right now, tv shows are starting to prepare their award season campaigns. They are usually called FYC events (FYC means For Your Consideration). But Netflix is doing something extra called FYSee that is open to people who aren’t necessarily those in charge of nominating shows. They are a combination of a screening, panel with cast members, and an amazing space that has lots of stuff to check out. I got invited to attend the “Gilmore Girls” FYSee event through a couple of organizations I’m a part of and I RSVPed immediately! And my friend Elisa (who is a part of my Pantages group) is a huge fan too and she was super excited to get to go too!

This event was held in a huge space that had different areas dedicated to different Netflix shows.

I think my favorite section was the giant bubble wall (I believe that it was a part of the “Luke Cage” set up). They were the perfect place to take some awesome photos and I think I might have gotten a bit obsessed with how fun it was in there!

The space for the panel was on one end of the space and when we walked in we immediately saw a little set up similar to Luke’s Diner that had some of the things I saw at the UCLA event.

And on the other side was a giant candy bar! Everything was in individual servings and Elisa and I both took a few things to try. Both of us agreed that the pretzels were the best snack.

We went to claim seats in the panel area and while we headed over there we saw a waiter bringing around little sliders to eat. I wasn’t expecting food at this event (there was also a bar) so I was pleasantly surprised by the food options and this was a pretty filling dinner.

Because we went quickly to claim seats, we were in the front row on the side of the stage. I laughed because it reminded me about how we have our Pantages seats toward the front but off to the side.

We had gotten there a bit early so there was a bit of time to wait. But we used that time to enjoy our food, catch up, and just enjoy being at a fun event. And when things were getting started they played a pretty funny clip from one of the episodes of the newest season before the panel started.

The panel was Lauren Graham (who played Lorelei) and the moderator was Mae Whitman who starred with Lauren Graham in “Parenthood” and also had a small part in the new season of “Gilmore Girls”. The panel started with Mae Whitman asking Lauren Graham a bunch of really great questions about coming back to a show after many years away and how the production worked. And then the Q&A was open to the audience.

I’ve attended a lot of Q&A events where the audience can ask questions and sometimes they can get a bit ridiculous. But this audience was really great and had some nice and insightful questions to ask that I was interested in hearing the answers for (instead of asking questions like how they can get a job on that show).

After the panel was done, there was about an hour before the screening started. I was originally planning on trying to stay for the screening, but I’ve already seen all the new episodes at home since they are on Netflix. And it was getting a bit late for me so I was tired. Elisa was feeling the same way I was so we took time to go around all the various installations for the Netflix shows and have some more of the amazing pretzels!

I loved how much fun this event was. I know I’m so lucky that they opened it up to people who aren’t necessarily those who are nominating shows and I really appreciated how they made this a fun mix between a formal event to nominate shows and a fan event. It was a great opportunity to learn more about a show that I love and to make me want more episodes! I have no clue if Netflix will be doing another season, but if they do I hope that there are more “Gilmore Girls” events for me to go to!

Rowing Adventures (or A Funny Workout Injury)

This past week of workouts were very rowing focused for me. This could be because I’ve been making a lot of progress in my rowing and I want to continue doing that. I’ve got some really high goals that I’m trying to reach in rowing and it’s getting tough to get there since it’s now trying to take off fractions of a second in many cases. And because of my intensity with my rowing, I ended up starting off my workout week with what might be my funniest workout injury.

Monday’s workout was endurance, strength, and power mixed together. I was dealing with some odd hip pain (I think I slept funny) so when I was trying to run on inclines I was having some issues. I was able to run at 2 and 4%, but anything higher than that ended up being a power walk. In the endurance block, I was able to do the 3 minute push and pushes to all outs as runs (which is always a good thing). And for the power block it was a bunch of 30 second all outs and I ended up getting to 7 mph!

The floor was split into 2 blocks and the first one was a shorter block. It was chest work with the straps, hip bridge chest fly work where I could do the hip bridge part, and plank work (which again made me laugh because of my monthly challenge). The second block was a longer one with squats, squats to bicep curls, squat fly work, and push up with rowing with weights. And then we also had rowing sprints. It was supposed to be 100 meters to start and each time we got back to the rower it went up 100 meters.

I really wanted to PR on my 100 meter row and I know that in order to do that I have to go pretty crazy on the rower. I must have a ton of power and I need to have very long pulls. And I guess that I was going a bit too intense because somehow the seat of the rower went forward and I went backwards! My feet were still strapped in, the seat was under my knees, and my butt landed hard on the rails of the rower! It took me by surprise and fortunately I was able to bend forward to unstrap my feet and get up, but I couldn’t believe that happened to me. I’ve never seen someone fall off of the rower before!

My Monday coach, Brendon, told me that he’s seen it happen a few times when people are rowing super hard. And he said that I should look at this as a badge of honor because it doesn’t happen that often. He knew I was working on PRing on my 100 meter row, so when I went back to the rower I did 2 rounds of 100 meter rows instead of 1 round of 200 meters and Brendon was coaching me and giving me tips on what to do. I still didn’t beat my 100 meter time, but I’ve got some really great things to work on and I have a feeling that I’ll be getting a new PR soon.

After falling off the rower, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have rowing on Wednesday but we ended up having some rowing again. My butt had some impressive bruises from falling off but I was determined to do my best. But since I started on the treadmill I had some time before I had to worry about that. Wednesday’s workout was a strength day which means hills on the treadmill. We had 3 blocks on the treadmill that each followed the same pattern: a push on flat incline, base pace, 2 minute push on a hill, base pace, and an all out on a flat road. The hill running ranged from 6-8% and I was determined to do what I could with the hills before going down to a walk. And somehow, I was able to run the 2 minutes on the hill each time! Even at 8% which has been a struggle for me to walk at in the past!

Because I was doing a lot of running on hills, I was able to get my 2 miles in on the treadmill. This used to be a huge accomplishment for me but lately it’s been happening most days that we don’t switch between blocks. But to know that I did this on a hill day was even more special since running on hills is something that has been tough for me since I started running.

On the floor we had 2 blocks and a lot of the work was squats or ab work. But I was really happy with that because I did get to test out how much stronger my core muscles are now with the ab work. I usually can’t do the core work that involves lowering and raising my legs because it bugs my hips. But because my core is getting much stronger the pressure isn’t as bad on my hips and I’m able to do them! And on the second block on the floor we had 300 meter rows. I’ve been working on getting my 300 meter row down under a minute again and while I was a little worried about falling off the rower again I wanted to see what I could do.

And to my surprise, I was able to do it in 59.9 seconds! I was so excited and then I realized my phone was over by the weights section and I couldn’t take a photo of the proof! So when I had another attempt at the 300 meter row, my only goal was to get 59.9 seconds again so I could take a photo. Not only did I do that, I took another .5 seconds off of my time. Those small decreases in time is all I can ask for at this point so getting half a second off is huge for me!

Friday’s workout was another day with endurance, strength, and power. With the endurance block on the treadmill, I was able to do my usual plan of running the push and all out paces and walking my base paces. But I did increase my base pace to 3.5 mph (instead of 3.4 mph) so that was pretty great for me. On the strength block, I ran when we were supposed to be at 2% but when I tried 4% my body was just too tired. I ended up walking everything else above 2% for that block. And the last cardio block was on the rowers with 30 second push, 30 second all out, and 30 seconds of rest. I really didn’t pay too much attention to how far I went but my wattage was pretty low for me so I know it wasn’t anything too great.

The floor work was more squats and abs! This was totally the week for squats and abs. I was able to do some single leg squats using the straps for support and did some good modified ab work. And the very end of the floor time was 30 second timed intervals of speed skaters, mountain climbers, and weighted torso rotations. It was tough to switch every 30 seconds and I sometimes wasted a bit of that time trying to catch my breath but it was a good challenge to end the workout.

Saturday’s workout was a tough one for me. I debated cancelling class because I felt like I might need it as a rest day, but I went and decided to do my best. It was an endurance day but since it was a 3G class I knew I wouldn’t have too much time at any particular part of the room. For the treadmill, I started the first push as a run and realized within 30 seconds that it was not going to be a running day for me. My legs felt like lead and I didn’t want to risk getting hurt. So I did the entire treadmill block as a power walker and noticed that I just couldn’t get my heart rate up into the correct zones. I don’t know if my heart rate monitor was acting up (I’m thinking about getting one of the new armband ones instead of the chest strap I use) or if my body is just really used to running so walking isn’t enough of a workout anymore. But I tried to not focus too much on my heart rate and just think about the workout.

After the treadmill I went to the floor where it was a lot of arm work. We had 2 small blocks with shoulder work, chest press, low rows with weights, bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, and a little bit of ab work. I was using some pretty heavy weights and was happy to see that they weren’t as tough as I thought they would be. I think I might be getting close to being able to increase my weights again on the floor work. And my last block was on the rower with 3 minute timed rows. The goal was to get over 700 meters and the first time I did it I only got to 640. But the next time was just over 700 meters so I was happy that I was able to reach the goal that was set.

It still surprises me how much I’m able to do in my workouts now. And the achievements I had in my rowing this week was beyond what I expected could happen right now! I do still have the bruises on my butt as a badge of honor for falling off the treadmill, but that’s ok. Now I just need to focus on what I want to focus on for my next set of rowing goals for the workouts over the next few weeks!

Spring Cleaning (or Needing To Declutter Again)

I usually keep a pretty clean house. I live in a tiny house (seriously, it’s under 500 square feet) so any mess seems to be significantly worse in my house than in a normal house. I don’t like to have a ton of stuff around, but I’ve seemed to acquire a lot lately and it’s been piling up. Literally piling up. It’s a bit ridiculous for me, but I know that for most people it’s probably still a pretty clean space. The worst space is next to my computer on my desk since I’m spending so much time working right now. When I’ve got something I’m working on and a customer calls, I put whatever I’m working on down and I don’t always remember to pick it back up or put it away.

I have written about decluttering before, and as always it seems like I don’t realize my house is getting a bit out of control until it’s so bad that I can’t help but see it! And this time, I feel like I’ve just been ignoring it because of how crazy my life has been. It always seems like I can’t have everything in my life balanced. I guess that’s how it is, something always has to be off. And before it was my social life and now it’s my house.

When I thought I needed surgery, I was neglecting organizing because I knew my life was going to get super hectic and I wasn’t worried too much about my house. I figured that while I was in the hospital and when I was recovering I would have a bunch of people coming over and helping and trying to keep things clean while that is happening wasn’t going to be a priority. So I didn’t worry too much about keeping it too nice before surgery. Also, I was buying a bunch of stuff I thought I was going to need for surgery so that was adding to my clutter by piling up around the house in different piles depending on if I’d need it in the hospital or while recovering. And once surgery was canceled, I put a lot of time and focus into getting my life back to normal and having a regular life again. And because of that, cleaning and decluttering was put on the back burner once more. I did managed to get rid of all the extra things I bought for surgery (some was returned to where I got it and some was giving to people who do need them), but just because I did that didn’t mean that I was able to really do any decluttering.

I keep setting decluttering as one of my weekly goals and each week goes by and I don’t do it. But it’s gotten to the point where I just need to take time out of my day and work on cleaning. It’s pretty much spring cleaning even though it’s almost summer. And I really want to do a big overhaul in the stuff that I’m keeping in my house. I’ve done a couple of small cleanups lately and have even put together bags of clothes to donate, but then of course those bags are just sitting in my house so they are just adding to the clutter issue.

Some of the decluttering is just stuff that I haven’t filed away if I need to keep it, but a lot of it is just random stuff that I probably need to throw away. I’m not great at throwing things away when I think I might still need them. I’m not a hoarder, but there are cards or paperwork that I debate if I need. I am trying to get better about this by digitally storing a lot of paperwork that I have but there are still some things that I like to keep hard copies of. It’s a process but I’m working on organizing everything.

I think the reason why my clutter is hitting me this time is because I finally have my life back in order (or almost in order) and now I’m noticing that my house isn’t. It’s a weird feeling when coming home isn’t the most settled feeling and I’m not used to that.

I know I’m overdue for a massive project. This isn’t just going to be a normal cleaning and organizing day. I need to actually go through my stuff and see what I actually need to keep. I need to go through my closet and see what I can get rid of. I’ve gotten a few new things recently (trying to get ready for the heat of the summer) and I’m trying to follow the rule of “one thing in one thing out”. If I bought 3 new things, I need to take 3 things I don’t wear anymore out of my closet to donate.

I haven’t figured out when I’m going to have the time to do this big cleaning and decluttering, but hopefully I’ll figure out a good block of time that I can set aside to just focusing on my house. I need to not just do this in between other things in my schedule because I will keep putting it off like I have been doing. And hopefully I’ll find this time in the next week or so to really get my house back to how I want it to be and to make my space a much happier place for me.