Monthly Archives: April 2016

Working On Money Priorities (or What’s Worth The Splurge)

I’ve really been working lately on spending less. I know it’s important for me to do this because I need to use that extra money toward my credit card debt (and not creating more debt). And obviously, there are some costs that I can’t avoid (bills and stuff), but I’ve gotten more serious at taking a look at my fun expenses.

I’m sure it sounds like I spend a ton because I go to Disneyland pretty often and now I have a pass to Universal Studios as well. This Disneyland pass was pretty much half paid for by recycling ink. That option won’t work for me in the future (the loophole that let me do that was fixed), but pretty much what I paid out of pocket was the same as 2 days at Disneyland. And my pass has the parking so I’m not paying $18 each time to park. I know I’ll go more than 2 times in a year so it’s easily worth it. And my Universal Studios pass was something I got at Costco for almost the same price as a 1 day ticket. The issue with my pass is that you can’t use it on weekends at all, but since I will probably only go on Mondays that isn’t an issue for me as well.

I am still spending money on other fun things, but I’m really trying to limit them to fun experiences like my season tickets to the Pantages or other shows (I just got tickets to see “The Little Mermaid” live at the Hollywood Bowl soon!). And when I do tickets like those, I’m working hard at finding good deals or making sure what I’m paying is a good value (like the season tickets being about $300 for all 7 shows). Part of why I love going to so many shows is it keeps me busy. And when I’m busy I’m not focusing on food.

And speaking of food, one of the biggest savings I’ve had lately is food related. I set the monthly challenge not to order any delivery food in March, and I’ve been able to keep that up so far this month too! I’m not doing as great about cooking from scratch, but even getting microwave food from the grocery store is cheaper than delivery food. When I’m not cooking, I’m going out to eat and that tends to be with friends so it makes it more of an outing than just eating. My grocery bills have gone up a bit since I’m eating at home more, but the amount they have gone up is significantly less than what I was spending on delivery food so that is a win for me.

But I think the biggest savings for me as been shopping. Mainly buying books, but I’m trying to be better about shopping in general. I used to buy a lot more stuff. Now, if I’m buying things online it tends to be household stuff I need or workout clothes. I’m not buying as much “normal” clothes because honestly I’m not in “normal” clothes that often. And even on non-workout days I usually wear my workout pants because they are more comfortable to work in.

But my book spending was pretty bad in the past. I used to be a huge library person, then there was an ordeal with my library card not working (I don’t know what happened and neither do they). Instead of doing the easy thing and just registering for a new card, I took advantage of how easy it is to get books on my Kindle. My old e-reader was much more difficult to get books on so just being able to press a button and order a book was so fun! But the spending was adding up. And while most of the books I buy I love and read over and over again, there were some that I got because they were on sale for $0.99 that I’ve read once and that’s it.

So recently I finally got a new library card and I’ve been taking advantage of it so much!

Library Card

It is so easy to get books on my Kindle from the library. Yes, I have to use my computer to get them. But then they are sent wirelessly to my Kindle and are on the device for 21 days. So most of the time I can read them more than once if I want to. I actually went a little overboard with putting Kindle books on hold from the library and had to delay a couple of holds (I had gotten 8 library books available at once). But I’m starting to find my groove with the library again and I feel like an idiot that I waited so long and spent so much money. I can’t go back and change it, but I’m glad I’ve changed now.

I know that there are still a few more places I can save money in my monthly spending. I want to get my grocery bills down a bit more as well as my household stuff (cleaning supplies, paper goods, and those things). I’m going to do some price checking between stores near me and Amazon and hopefully I can figure out the best options for me to maximize my money.

I’ve got a lot of fun things coming up this summer and a lot of them will involve money. But hopefully with the cutting back that I’ve been able to do I will not put myself into more debt just to do them.

Stopping A Panic Attack (or Only One Health Issue At A Time)

I’ve been pretty lucky lately with my panic attacks. I was warned that with taking Vyvanse it can make panic attacks more frequent or more severe. But I’ve almost experienced the opposite. My random panic attacks aren’t really happening right now (which I am so grateful for) and my expected panic attacks (like at the dentist) are the most mild they have ever been. I’m very happy with this side effect and it’s been really nice to not have to stress or panic about a panic attack happening.

Then the other night in the middle of the night I had a gallbladder attack. It was pretty awful, but fortunately not the worst one I’ve ever had. But they are pretty painful no matter how mild they get. I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really see straight. My vision was going in and out (it almost felt like I was going to faint at times) and I stayed on my bed to stay safe. The pain was so uncomfortable and I couldn’t find a position to put my body in to make things feel even the smallest bit better. And I’m not sure if this is a part of the gallbladder attack or a reaction to the other symptoms, but I couldn’t stop sweating and was having trouble catching my breath.

In the past, my gallbladder attacks have brought on panic attacks. It makes sense to me because you do feel like you are dying when you are having a gallbladder attack. I really was wishing that I would pass out so that the pain could happen without me really knowing about it. I wanted it to end, but it wouldn’t. If I had a panic attack, I would have felt that it was totally normal.

But somehow, I was able to rationalize with myself in that really bad moment. I knew that it was a gallbladder attack and that it wasn’t a heart attack or that I was dying or anything. I knew that it would end eventually and when they do go away it usually is sudden for me so it could be going away any minute. And I knew that I had a choice to go to the doctor’s soon if I wanted to get my gallbladder out and never have to deal with this again (I don’t do that yet since my attacks aren’t that frequent and it’s a surgery that isn’t necessary yet).

I found a way to lay on my bed that was a safe enough position for me (I wasn’t at risk for falling off the bed if I did pass out) and I was working on focusing on my breath. I was trying to do counts for each inhale and exhale and was putting the counts in the front of my mind and not the what felt like endless pain.

Finally, the attack stopped pretty much as quickly as it came on. I tried to get as calm as I could and focus on getting back to sleep. The entire thing was about an hour long and the next morning I found it pretty funny that when I looked at my sleep tracking from my Fitbit, it was clear when the attack was happening.

Sleep Tracking

The pink lines are when I’m awake so you can see that chunk of pink in the middle of my night. That’s when I couldn’t stop moving because of the pain but you can also see that the entire night was a bit restless for me (the restless moments are the blue lines).

I know that I have the option of getting my gallbladder removed, but like I said above the attacks are pretty rare so I don’t think that surgery is a good option for me. I’ve had a couple of ultrasounds in the past and they have always told me that until the attacks are frequent enough that they are affecting my life, I don’t need to have my gallbladder out (the attacks aren’t good but they aren’t damaging my health in any other way right now). I’m just glad that my attacks are rare and they seem to be over within a few hours each time (from my research it seems like some people can have them for a day).

While it sucks that I had the attack, I’m so glad that I was able to prevent the panic attack from happening at the same time. I think that helped me get through the attack much better and I’m thinking maybe it helped it end faster than they have in the past.

Obviously I don’t want to have to go through this again, but I know realistically that it will happen again but I’m glad that somehow I was able to control the panic attack from coming and whatever skill set was in my subconscious to do that is able to be used in the future.

A Full Disney Day! (or Character Photos, Ride Photos, And Only Being A Group Of 2)

Even though I was just at Disneyland last week, I was back there on Monday! This was the day that was my friend June and I originally scheduled for a Disneyland adventure, and I’m glad we went. When we went last week, it was pretty crowded and very hot. We didn’t do a ton of rides, and the rides we did do were on the calmer side. So this trip was much more of an adventure!

We got to Disneyland at lunchtime and started things off with some awesome character photos! As soon as we got inside the gates, we saw Belle with no line for photos! So of course we had to take advantage of that and we both got our photos with her.


Then as soon as we went under the train tracks, we saw Goofy (in his 60th anniversary finest) with almost no line as well. Since people lined up behind us, we took our photo together.


After that photo, we looked around and saw so many characters out doing photos. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Daisy Duck, and Pluto all out at once. It was crazy! We started lining up for each one, but every time we got in line we were told the line was closed. So that was it for character photos for us.

Our next stop was something we didn’t do last time (and we probably should have): getting Dole Whips!

Dole Whip

It doesn’t feel like a Disney day to me without a Dole Whip, and it made a great treat since we were going to do a later lunch. It was too crowded to eat them by the Tiki Room, but we found a table nearby to sit at and enjoy them.

Our first ride of the day was Space Mountain. It’s still in the Hyperspace Mountain overlay and I still think this overlay is the best one and I wouldn’t mind it staying this way forever. June and I both said that somehow (even though we know it’s not possible) the ride felt faster to us and we were both smiling so much after the ride. We didn’t do that crazy of a ride photo, but it’s still a good one.

HyperSpace Mountain

After that, we headed over to Star Tours. When we were in line close to the front (but not that close) we heard the cast member asking if there were any groups of 2 in line. I joked to June that we were a group of 2, and somehow that made it up the chain and we were told to go in front of maybe 40 people since we were the first group of 2 to speak up! It felt weird to go in front of that many people, but if nobody else was in a group of 2 I’m glad we got to get on the ride!

After those 2 rides we were ready to head over to California Adventure, but we made a quick stop at the Disneyland train station. The trains are running now because of the Star Wars Land construction, but they have some of the trains out at the stations and you can get up close to them to check them out (and the conductors are out there too). At the Main Street Station, not only did the have the engine to check out but they had the Lilly Belle too!

Lilly Belle

The Lilly Belle was originally designed to be a train car for Walt’s VIPs. More recently, you’ve been allowed to try to sign up for a time to ride in the car. They had to stop doing that because some people would get there early and sign up for all the spaces before anyone else could. So they stopped allowing guests in the cars.

Since none of the train cars are running right now, they have the Lilly Belle out and while you can’t go inside, you can peek through the windows and through the open door to see the inside.

Inside Lilly Belle

This was the closest that either June or I had ever been to the Lilly Belle, and this was such an awesome moment. Also, the conductor who was out there was very informed on the Disneyland railroad (and the park in general) and he was talking to us about what the future plans for the railroad seem to be and that hopefully the trains will be up and running again by next summer! I was so happy to hear that since I love the trains and I do miss being able to ride them as a way to relax between rides.

After admiring the Lilly Belle for a while, June and I headed over to California Adventure. Even though the presentations for the Food and Wine Festival are on the weekends only, the food booths are open during the weekdays and we were able to try some more of the other foods that we didn’t get to try last time.

Food and Wine Fest

This time we each got a shrimp taco and beef slider and we split a lemon macaroon and a blueberry tart. These are all really good, but I think that the pork taco that I had the week before was my absolute favorite thing. But both the shrimp taco and slider were delicious and they were the perfect lunch that day!

After lunch, we headed over to the Animation Academy to see what character they were drawing then. Turned out to be Baymax and I figured that he couldn’t be too tough to draw. Of course, again I couldn’t properly draw circles and ovals and my Baymax looked close but not quite right.


Our next stop was California Screamin’. This is always one of my favorite roller coasters and I loved when my mom and I went on it a couple of years ago because it was the first time she had gone without her wig in public (it would be horrible to lose a wig on that ride). June and I were able to ride in the front of the ride and I loved getting a great view from the top of the big hills without anyone in front of us.

CA Screamin

We continued with the fast rides by riding Radiator Springs Racers next. The car we were in won, and somehow there was an empty seat in our row so June and I both got to take the side seats.

Radiator Springs Racers

Our final ride of the day was the Tower Of Terror. And we had a similar experience there as we did at Star Tours. We were in line with maybe 20 people in front of us when the cast member asked if there was a group of 3 that wouldn’t mind sitting one behind the other in a row (instead of next to each other in a row). Nobody volunteered so he asked if there was a group of two and June and I raised our hands so fast! We got to go in front of the other groups and I think that our ride photo looked pretty cool with me behind her (I was trying to be an evil witch and she was pretending to be scared of me).

Tower of Terror

After the rides, we made one more stop at the Animation Academy to see what they were drawing then. It was Scrooge McDuck, and that sounded pretty fun so we went back to draw again. This time, my drawing really looks off but I had fun trying.

Animation Academy

One of the last stops of the day was Food and Wine food booths again to get the cheddar bacon soup in a bread bowl (I forgot to take a picture but it was really good and perfect because I was feeling cold). After getting our soups we headed over to watch World Of Color. We ended up being allowed to sit on some steps to wait for the show which ended up being pretty great since we were trying to eat while waiting. We had about an hour to wait from when we got to the steps until the show started, but even though we had a slightly obstructed view it was still pretty.

World Of Color

After World Of Color was done, the park was closed so we all headed out and June and I headed back to the car to drive back to LA. We have a little bit of time before our passes are blacked out for the summer and a couple of things will be opening before we are blacked out. So I’m sure we’ll have at least one more Disney adventure before a few months where we can’t go to the parks.

We ended up being at Disneyland this time for about 9 hours and I think we got so much done! It was the perfect day to have after we were there the week before because it filled in the gaps of things we didn’t get to do before.

Almost Ready To Make A Movie! (or Can You Spare A Buck?)

I’m so excited about the short film that my friend Christopher has written for us to star in! It’s a super cute story, I like the character I’m playing, and I think it’s going to be a really fun shoot! I’m so happy that Christopher wrote a film and had me in mind for the other lead. And since he and I are basically the only actors, we haven’t had to do any additional casting.

After meeting with my friend Bryan, he agreed to direct the film (which makes me so happy!) and he connected us with his friend Jaime who is going to be our producer. We’ve been getting things done pretty quickly and we think we will be able to shoot the film at the end of May or beginning of June. But then we found one small roadblock that’s preventing us from scheduling our shoot.


We are cutting costs where we can (and Christopher and I are going to do deferred pay so we aren’t paying ourselves for the project), but it’s not cheap to make a movie. Even a 10 minute movie like ours will be has costs like sound, camera equipment, lighting, editing, and other post-production costs. We have reached out to all of our friends and I think we have a great crew put together and they have all agreed to work at a reduced rate to help us keep costs down.

We put together a budget that is as limited as possible without putting the quality of the film at risk. Even though everyone is helping us keep things as cheap as possible, after we pooled our money together (I’m taking mine from my new computer fund) we found ourselves a bit short. We need about $2200 to make sure we can afford everything we need to in order to make this film a reality. It’s not a lot of money, but we’ve all stretched our personal budgets as much as we could and that’s how much left we need to find. We thought about ways to raise the money, and we’ve agreed that a Kickstarter campaign is the best way to go.

I hate asking people for money and I don’t expect any of you to donate (although if you want to I’d be so grateful!). But what I’m asking of you all is to please share our Kickstarter campaign with people you know. You might not be able to give anything, but someone you know might want to do it and you are the way to connect them to us. You never know who will want to help a short film get made just because they think it sounds cool.

As with all Kickstarter projects, we have rewards for various levels of donations. We are going to have a link to watch the finished movie online for some donors. Other donors are going to be able to name my pretend kids in the movie (I play a single mom). If you are an actor or know an actor, we also have a limited supply (we only have 5) of headshot shoots with our director Bryan! The donation level for the headshots is a fraction of the cost of what headshots normally cost, so this is a great deal for getting new headshots done! And if you know an actor who might want new headshots soon, you can donate at that level and gift the reward to them. And for the ultimate reward, our highest donation level gives you a producer credit on the film plus you get to be on set while we are shooting!

We have donation levels from $1 to $1000. Even a $1 would be amazing because if enough people each give us $1, we’ll reach our goal! I don’t care if we have 20 donors or 2000 donors. As long as we are able to fund our project, I’m ecstatic! The most important thing to me is that we are able to film what I think will be a wonderful short film and that we get to share it with the world!

If you have the ability to donate, any amount will be such a gift to us and every single dollar will be appreciated more than you probably think. And if you can’t donate (and trust me, I can relate to not being able to donate), please share this post or our Kickstarter campaign online so others can see it and they can either donate or share. We know the only way to make this film happen is with help and we can use as much help as we can getting the word out about this!

Proof Of My Progress (or I Am Doing Better)

I had a really amazing week of workouts this past week. I wasn’t expecting it to be awesome, but it really was one of those weeks that I wish would happen every single week. I lucked out in the workouts that I went to and I think that also helped to make my week the best one that I can remember in recent past.

Part of the reason why this week was so great was that I had 2 days where it was similar to the run/row format (which I love and makes me so happy). Monday technically wasn’t a run/row. It was a run/floor day. So basically we had an assigned distance on the treadmill (I was doing a quarter-mile at 6% incline) and then I headed over to the floor to do my floor work. The floor stuff was mainly ab work, so it felt nice to get a bit of a rest on the floor after being on the treadmill. We repeated that format for the first half of class before we headed to the rowers.

The rower segment was longish rows (800 meters) followed by arm work and sprint rows. The longer rows were a bit tough for me and I was really tired when I was doing the sprint rows. I tried to focus on technique and form so I know my rows were a lot slower than they should have been. But since that was the second half of the workout, I expected that I’d be pretty tired and it wouldn’t be as easy as if I had done the rowing first.

Wednesday was a pretty traditional run/row day. The one thing that was special and that I loved was that the run/row plan was printed out and taped to each treadmill.

Run:Row Guide

Normally the plan is on a whiteboard on the side of the room and I end up wasting time trying to read it (or walking over to read it if it’s too blurry or there is a glare). So having the plan on my treadmill helped me save time and kept me on track.

The basic format for the run/row for power walkers was that we started with a .08 mile power walk and then did a 100 meter row. Each round, we increased the treadmill by .05 miles and the row by 100 meters. I was trying to keep my walks at 6% incline and 3.5 miles an hour for each one. I wasn’t feeling my usual pain that day and I’m not sure if it was because it was a run/row day (so less time on the treadmill than normal) or it was because I started taking a new supplement for my hips. But it was nice to not hurt and to have a good cardio day. The floor work was a lot of TRX strap work and that seemed to go pretty well for me as well.

Even though each day was awesome, the most amazing day for me was Friday. I knew before going to the workout that it would be a 22 1/2 minute run for distance thanks to friends who had posted workout pictures on Instagram or Facebook after they did the workout in the morning. We had done the same challenge last month, so I had a goal in my head to just do a little bit better than I did then.

Since my treadmill work on Wednesday had gone so well, I decided to see if I could bump things up a bit on Friday. I followed the coach’s instructions for when we should be doing a push pace and when we should be at base pace (we had the option of doing whatever we wanted to get the best distance, but I wanted to follow the plan), but I went faster for both my push and base paces than usual. My base pace was at 3.5 miles an hour and my push pace was 3.6 miles an hour. We had a couple of really long push paces (3 minutes, 2 1/2 minutes, and 2 minutes) and those were really difficult with the increased speed.

But somehow I was getting through it and halfway through the challenge I realized that I will definitely be passing the distance I did the last month. I wanted to see if I could do 1.35 miles and by the last minute I knew it would be close. So for the final 30 seconds of the challenge, I actually ran on the treadmill which I’ve never done before! I was still holding on to the handles, but I was still running! I easily did better than I did last time (which was 1.303 miles), but I was just off a bit from my new goal.

22.5 Minute Run

This challenge was exactly what I needed. I had been feeling a bit down since my last 5K. I really thought I had been making progress lately. And even though I said I didn’t think I would PR at my 5K, in my head I was thinking there would be no way I wouldn’t PR. So when my 5K was one of my slower races, I was really feeling upset. I couldn’t believe that I was so wrong in making progress in my speed and I was questioning if I was just taking it too easy at Orangetheory. So having this challenge and showing that in 1 month I had gone .046 farther than last time gave me such a confidence boost and gave me faith again in myself.

The rest of my Friday workout was a bit of a blur for me since I was on such a high from my awesome progress on the 22 1/2 minute challenge. We did a bunch of squats and had some sprint rows. But to me, all I could think about is how all my self-doubt was for nothing because there is no doubt that I’m making progress.

I’m now also debating about trying running again. I did a tiny distance of running at my last 5K (just the bit leading up to the finish line) and now I did the 30 seconds of running on the treadmill. I had done a bit of running before I had my hip surgery, but I have been too scared to try it again. The hip surgeon I met last week gave me so much good feedback about how my hips are looking pretty good and workout restrictions weren’t even discussed. I’m not going to try to do most of the things that were on the restrictions list (I know it’s way too risky to try ice skating or skiing right now), but I might test out running.

I’ve downloaded the Couch to 5K app for my phone and I’m hoping to find a friend who will want to do it with me. I’m not sure when I’ll try my first running day, but I think it will be in the near future. Until then, I might try running again on the treadmill at Orangetheory (maybe just during the all-out moments) just to see how I feel. I don’t want this boost in confidence to go away any time soon. It’s just so amazing!

My Medication Routines (or Feeling Like An Old Lady)

Growing up, I didn’t take any medication or supplements on a regular basis. I took medication when I was sick (and since I got strep throat multiple times a year that did feel like a regular medication), but beyond when I was sick I didn’t take anything. Not even a multi-vitamin. It just wasn’t something that my family did and since I ate a pretty decent diet there was no need for any supplements.

The first time I had to take a medication on a regular basis was right before I turned 18. When I was getting ready to leave for college, I had a doctor’s appointment where I was checked out and got up-to-date on immunizations. One of the things they check for is TB. This is done by a skin test where they inject a little amount of a TB protein under your skin and then you return a few days later and they measure the bump. My senior year of high school I did tutoring at low-income schools and I must have been exposed to TB because my test came back positive for TB exposure. Even though I had my tutoring job, it was pretty unexpected that I would test positive for exposure and since I was leaving for college soon we had to get everything in order quickly.

I had a chest x-ray and tested negative for TB (most people with exposure don’t have the disease), but I was still required to take a year of medication to make sure that my exposure remained dormant in my body. That was a year of medication (which my body didn’t react well to) and a year of a B6 supplement because the medication can cause a deficiency. I had to do this the first time I was living away from home, so I took it seriously and never missed a dose. I knew that I needed to take the medication for a real reason and I didn’t want to make any mistakes or have to extend how long I was taking it for any reason.

Since then, the only other medication I took on a regular basis outside of painkillers for my hip was birth control. This of course changed when I started on Vyvanse. Then I was taking 2 medications in the morning and that wasn’t too bad or difficult to manage. Then my Vyvanse dosage increased and I started taking one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Once I started the afternoon dose, I had to add melatonin to my routine and take that before bed (the Vyvanse can make it difficult to sleep).

Taking medications 3 times during the day isn’t always easy to remember, so I have an app to remind me to take my mid-day and nighttime things (it’s easy for me to remember my morning stuff). It’s actually pretty nice to have an app to remind me especially at night because it’s a reminder to turn off the tv or stop doing whatever I’m doing and start getting ready for bed. Since using the app, I’ve been able to get to bed earlier on a regular basis and I know that even without the melatonin I’m sleeping better now (so that’s a bonus!).

But lately I’ve been working on other things that can help my health and that has included taking supplements. I’ve tried many times to take a multi-vitamin, but my stomach can’t really tolerate them. But I discovered that I don’t have the same stomach issues with the gummy ones, so I take those now. My mom recommended that I start taking Zyflamend and some sort of oil, so I started those. I tried fish oil, but my body wasn’t feeling good on those so I switched to flax oil. And then the new hip surgeon recommended I add glucosamine so I got some online and started taking them yesterday.

My mid-day and nighttime pill routines haven’t changed, but now I’m taking so much stuff in the morning to keep me at my best.

Morning Medicine

I know that some people don’t believe in supplements, but I don’t think they are doing any harm to me so I figure that even a minor benefit will be worth it. And it takes me so little time in the morning to take everything so it’s not a big inconvenience to my life.

But I never thought I would be someone who takes a ton of pills each day. That always seemed like an old person thing and I don’t think I’m that old yet. But it seems that more people my age are looking into more supplements now than people did when I was younger, so it makes sense. Hopefully all of these things will help me as I’m working on my recovery and will keep my body at its best for as long as possible.

Another Year Another Orthopedic Surgeon (or Not Worrying About My Hips As Much)

I wrote last year how I was meeting a new hip surgeon because my original hip surgeon had left the hospital I go to (I loved my original surgeon and wished he was still with Kaiser). At the appointment last year I was told that some of the issues I had been told I have in the past weren’t quite correct and there were other issues that I needed to worry about.

I left that appointment a bit confused. I tried to be ok with the idea that I had the wrong diagnosis originally and that there was a new plan in place. But the more I looked up hip dysplasia (what the new surgeon told me I had), the less it made sense to me. I don’t have the same pain and walking issues that dysplasia patients have. I know that I had bone spurs and torn cartilage because it was seen on the MRI and that is the surgery I had. I couldn’t understand how my original surgeon could have missed something so big when he operated on me and examined my hip so many times. And lastly, I hated the surgery options that the new surgeon gave to me when I looked more into them. One of them had a very extensive recovery and it still would be a hold over until I had a total hip replacement.

With all this confusion in my head, I decided that I really wanted to get another opinion and another treatment plan figured out. My Wednesday Orangetheory coach, JZ, has a similar hip issue that I have (but hers is much less severe and she was able to treat it with stem cells). She was going to refer me to her doctor, but he wasn’t Kaiser and I wasn’t going to go outside of my insurance. But then JZ told me that a guy who sometimes works out in her Wednesday class is an orthopedic surgeon at Kaiser and introduced us. He doesn’t specialize in hips, so he couldn’t meet with me. But he got me a referral with the hip specialist at Kaiser Panorama City (where he works). While I don’t love having to drive so far to meet a doctor, I figured that it was worth my time to see what was going on.

I had my appointment this week on Tuesday and things couldn’t have gone better for me! First in my appointment was another set of x-rays. The x-ray techs were super nice to me and laughed because I knew exactly what positions I had to get my body into for the next x-ray (I had 4 taken).

After the x-rays, I went back to the exam room and waited for the doctor. It seemed like it took forever for him to come back and I started to panic a bit. I was worried that it was taking so long because there was something really bad in my x-rays and he was trying to figure out how to break it to me. But when he finally came into the room, he seemed to be all smiles.

He started by asking me my history and what my original and secondary diagnoses were. We discussed the surgery I had (which was almost 10 years ago!) and the treatment plans that I got from the original surgeon and the one I met last year. Finally, he asked me about the pain that I’m feeling in each of my hips and he did a quick exam to test the rotations on my hips.

After that, he brought up my x-rays and said that my right hip specifically looks much better than it did last year which is not something that he would have expected to see based on my history.

Hip X-Rays

(last year is on the top and this week is on the bottom)

He said that the arthritis is still showing in my right hip and you can see where the points are that are worse off. But he said that if I did have hip dysplasia, it is so mild that I don’t need to treat it. He pretty much agreed with what my original surgeon said felt like I was doing a pretty great job so far. My hips look as good as could be expected (or maybe better since the space in my hip socket is better now than a year ago). He did discuss how I need to lose weight (I know that and explained to him that I’m working on recovery from an eating disorder) in order to keep my hips as healthy as possible. He also discussed potential knee issues that I could have down the line, but honestly right now I’m only worried about my hips.

This surgeon said that the only surgeries that he could see me needing in the future are hip replacements (no alternatives to total hip replacements will work for me). But he doesn’t see me needing them anytime soon so I don’t need to worry. When I feel like I’m in so much pain that I can’t keep going, then replacements will be the next step. But for now I can keep doing what I’m doing, keep taking my anti-inflamatories (I take ibuprofen for pain and Zyflamend as a daily supplement), and I’m going to start taking Glucosamine to see if that helps. But this surgeon pretty much said that he expects that he will be retiring before I need my next surgery so it’s likely that this will be the only time I see him.

I left Kaiser feeling better than I have in a while! I don’t have any negative feelings toward the doctor from last year, but I’m glad that he wasn’t right in what he said. Knowing that my original diagnosis was correct and that I’m not in need of surgery any time soon is a great feeling! Of course, I wish I wasn’t in any pain and didn’t need any surgeries but that isn’t my reality.

The only thing that bugged me a bit is there really isn’t anything for me to do know for the pain I feel. The pressure and pain that I feel in my right hip is from the arthritis and that will be that way until I get the replacement. It would be awesome if the doctor had said that there was something I could do now or a medication that I could take to make all the pain stop now.

Overall, this was exactly what I wanted this appointment to be. I was told that my original plan was the right plan and that I’m doing everything right for now. This took such a huge weight and stress off of me and I’m just so grateful that I can put my hip fears out of my mind and just focus on pain management when needed and continuing to be as active as I can!

A Day At Universal Studios (or Trying Not To Let One Negative Thing Bug Me)

Even though I had a full day at Disneyland on Sunday, on Monday I had another big adventure! I had scheduled an outing to Universal Studios with my Disneyland buddy June and some of her friends!

When I was new to LA, I had gotten an annual pass to Universal Studios a couple of times. Then when I worked there at Halloween Horror Nights in 2007, 2008, and 2010 I had free tickets from working. But since my last season of working in 2010, I hadn’t been back to the park. They had made a bunch of upgrades and changes over the years, but this month they opened The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter so I figured it was time to go back to check it out (it also helped that Costco is selling an annual pass for $94!).

Overall, I think the day went pretty well. But there was one thing that got to me. But first, the good stuff.

As soon as we got to the park, we made a stop to get lunch (we got there around 12:30). We could have chosen to eat somewhere outside the park, but we figured why not have some fun and eat somewhere inside. We originally thought we would eat at the restaurant in the Harry Potter area, but the restaurant had a pretty long line so we decided it wasn’t worth it. We ended up at the restaurant in the Simpsons area of the park and we all got some pretty yummy burgers!

After getting some food, it was time to have some fun! The first ride that I went on was the Transformers ride which had been built since the last time I was in the park so it was new to me! This ride is a simulator ride that does move around a track and has both a 3-D movie and sets combined. I really like simulator rides and I thought this one was extremely well done! The sets and screens blended together nicely and it really felt like we were moving the entire time! I wish we had time to go on it again, but since I have an annual pass I can now go on it whenever I want.

After that ride, we headed back up to the upper lot to meet up with one of June’s friends who was joining us. We met up at the Harry Potter section of the park where we got some Butterbeers to cool down in the heat.


I thought it was pretty good and I think I’ll probably get it again the next time I’m at the park. We also wandered around the area a lot admiring how cool it looked and seeing all the kids use their wands to make things happen in the store fronts.

Wizarding World

We did ride the Forbidden Journey ride, but more about that in a bit. We also rode the little rollercoaster in that area. Even though it is a kid’s coaster, it did go pretty quickly and I thought it was really fun.

When we left Harry Potter, we headed down to the studio tour.

Studio Tour

One of June’s friends had never been on the studio tour and they had changed things since I had been there, so we were all pretty excited to go on it (plus, we got to be in the shade and got a bit of a breeze when the tram was moving). The studio tour is such a classic. I love getting to see the various backlot spaces and the fun things that are added to the tour (like King Kong) are always entertaining. And I love going past Bates Motel since that is where I worked for 3 years.

Bates Motel

Since the last time I was at Universal Studios, they had added a Fast and Furious thing to the tram tour at the very end. It is done similarly to King Kong with giant screens wrapping around the tram (and they even have a screen in the very front unlike in King Kong). It was really fun and a cute addition to the tram tour, but I do miss the avalanche/Mummy cave that used to be there.

After the tram tour, one of June’s friends needed to head home. We walked around the upper lot a bit checking out all the fun little signs that Universal has added to make the upper lot more fun (and more like Disneyland).

Universal Streets

Then we headed over to Waterworld to watch the show (and enjoy the shade in the stands). The show has been around for a while and it hasn’t changed much, but it’s still really fun to watch the performers doing the stunts.


Ok, now time to talk about the not-so-fun part of my day. The first ride we rode in the Harry Potter area was the Forbidden Journey ride. When that ride opened in Florida there were dozens of news stories about how fat people were being turned away from the ride. I knew that the ride here had similar restrictions, but a couple of my friends who are 2 sizes bigger than me rode the ride and had no issues. And I searched a bunch of online forums and it seemed like my measurements would fit into the seats just fine.

Harry Potter

I loved walking through the line (we took our time since there really wasn’t a line and we wanted to see everything) and right before you get onto the ride there is the “fat police” who looks for heavier people and makes them try a test seat to see if they fit. And yes, I got picked out by the fat police.

I’m sure the employee was trying to be nice, but it was pretty humiliating especially since everyone else walking through the line saw what was happening. And honestly, I fit into the seat just fine. I just wasn’t able to close the harness to the level they needed it to be closed for really random issues. First, the seat tilts back and since my hips don’t bend all the way I had to be part way out of the seat to get the harness to come down. And my arms weren’t able to get the harness all the way down (there was maybe an inch between me and the harness) because of the angle of the seating. But when one of June’s friends came over, she was very easily able to push the harness down to the level that they need it to be at. The employee said it would be fine for me to ride so we headed on our way down the ride.

When we got to the ride, I had the same issue with not being able to get the harness down to where my body is. I asked the employees there to help and they said they weren’t allowed to push down the harness (again, there was like an inch between my body and the harness). They were trying to take me off the ride when I finally convinced them to let June’s friend out of her seat so she could press the harness down for me. Even after everything was fine, there were 3 employees asking me if I was sure if I wanted to ride the ride and if I was ok. Yes I wanted to ride the ride! I was just mad at them because they wouldn’t help me pull a safety harness down (and I understand that maybe they legally cannot touch a safety harness, but I was still annoyed).

The ride itself was fun. I loved the half movie half real set aspect of it and even though the 3-D has been getting negative reviews I didn’t think it was that bad. But honestly I didn’t enjoy the ride as much as I could have because I really felt awful for being called out by the fat police.

I’m so insanely grateful for June and her friends for being so cool about all of it. They never made me feel bad and they also agreed that it was pretty ridiculous that they refused to help me. They didn’t make it feel like a big deal and after we were on the ride they never brought the subject up again because there was no need. But even though we weren’t talking about it, I was still thinking about it.

Now that I know that because of the tilt of the seat it is difficult for me to pull the harness down, when I ride again I’ll sit down first and have a friend help me pull it down. But this also means that I cannot go to the park alone if I want to ride because I need the help. Honestly, I think even if I was 100 pounds less I’d have the same issues because my hips literally won’t bend that way when I’m sitting tilted back. So it’s not even as much of a weight thing for me as it is a hip issue thing for me.

I really tried to not let the fat police incident ruin the rest of my day at Universal, but it definitely put a damper on my day. That one tiny experience was really the only negative thing about the day and it sadly is one of the bigger memories.

Hopefully the next time I go to Universal I will have a better experience and will have better memories of the day.

A Sunday At Disneyland (or Pin-ups And Food and Wine)

I’ve had a Disneyland day planned with my friend June for next week in my calendar for a while. It’s been a long time since we had gone together because our work schedules weren’t matching up, but we have been really excited to go at the end of the month. But while I was in Santa Barbara last weekend, June texted me to see if I wanted to go this past Sunday to check out the Food and Wine Festival happening at California Adventure. Since the festival was really only on the weekends, when we were planning on going soon wouldn’t have the cool food and drink options.  I checked my calendar and since it was free I decided to go (we’ve still got our original Disneyland adventure scheduled soon too).

This past Sunday was not only during the Food and Wine Festival, it was also the Pin-up day at the parks. June and her friend Kris (who joined us) both have amazing pin-up clothes. I have one fancy dress that is sort of pin-up (I wore it to the SAG-AFTRA gala), but that’s not really appropriate to wear to a theme park. So I decided to wear cropped jeans, a t-shirt, and cute sneakers and claim I was doing a casual pin-up style. But next to June and Kris I looked a bit sloppy.

Pin Up Day

Since it was a Sunday and not a Monday like I’m normally at Disneyland, the parks seemed really crowded to me. It wasn’t unbearable like I’ve seen it before, but between the crowds and the really hot day none of us were feeling like we needed to rush around and try to do a lot of stuff. But we did get in a couple of fun rides.

Our first stop of the day was Peter Pan. It’s still one of my favorite rides and I haven’t ridden it too much since it was redone. So going on it made me pretty happy (plus we were out of the sun on the ride). Our next ride was Winnie The Pooh, which I’ve only ridden maybe 3 or 4 times ever.

Winnie The Pooh

I had forgotten how cute the ride was and how cool the effects are inside (my favorite is the rainstorm). But the thing that made us all so happy in that ride was that it was air-conditioned and we got to cool down a bit!

On our way to the next ride, we saw one of the photo set ups that they have around the park. I don’t remember if I had ever noticed the Haunted Mansion one before, but since there was no line we went up to get our picture taken.

Haunted Mansion Heads

Between the sun in our faces and the fact that we are all pretty pale, I think we all agreed that we looked pretty ghost-like in the photo.

Our final ride before heading over to California Adventure was Indiana Jones. Again, we all loved the air conditioning and how cool and shady it was waiting in line. But the ride is super fun and even thought the boulder at the end was acting a bit glitchy, it was still a good ride.

After walking over the California Adventure, our first stop was to get food since it was way past lunchtime. June and Kris had been to the Food and Wine Festival another weekend so they shared with me some of their favorite things they ate. They all sounded good to me so June and I waited in one line and Kris waited in another so we could get all the things we wanted to try.

Food and Wine Festival

We shared some artichoke chips that had a pesto type dipping sauce to them. Then we each had a pork belly bao taco (which I think was my favorite!) and some chicken mac and cheese. And for dessert we shared a milk chocolate caramel tart and a bacon maple whoopie pie. The servings were a nice size, but it wasn’t so much food that we felt crazy full or sick afterward. I think all the things we ate were pretty amazing and I wish that some of them would be offered year-round at the park!

After eating all that good food, we decided to try to do a ride that wouldn’t be too crazy. I hadn’t checked out the new Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters yet (this replaced the flying tires that used to be there) so we headed over to Cars Land for our next ride.

Cars Land

We had watched the ride before it was our turn so we had an idea of what we were in for. It’s a trackless ride that has a bunch of little cars doing a synchronized dance. Some cars get to be in the middle at times and sometimes all the cars are moving together. But it’s pretty random so you never know what your car is going to do.

I thought it was a pretty good ride! The motions were a bit jerky at times, but even though I know it wasn’t going that fast it felt like it was! At at the end of the dance the cars all spun around and it felt faster than you go on the teacups!

I was feeling pretty exhausted after that (the sun was really taking it out of me), but I decided to join June and Kris for one more ride. This time, it was Soarin’ Over California which has been one of my favorites since it opened! The ride will be changing eventually to a new film (Soarin’ Around The World), so we want to get as many rides in before this version is gone forever. We had a nice ride as always, but the biggest disappointment for us was all the scents that are normally sprayed during the ride weren’t there! No pine trees, oranges, or salt waters smells at all! The movie still looked great, but the scents really do make it special and it didn’t really feel like the same ride without them.

After the final ride, I headed home and June and Kris went to a movie and then were planning on going back into the park for fireworks. But I’m glad I went home when I did because the next day was going to be another full adventure! I’ll tell you all about it in tomorrow’s post!

Working Out While Sore (or Still Recovering From My Weekend)

Between my 5K from Saturday, dancing my butt off at the wedding on Sunday, and doing a lot of walking with the dog all weekend; my legs were feeling a bit tired this week for my workouts. I was feeling it every morning when I woke up (and I was basically limping in for the first hour or so each day) so I was grateful that all my workouts this past week were in the afternoon so I wasn’t feeling too horrible. But even though I was not as sore during my workouts, I still was trying to be careful because I knew if I worked too hard that I would be sore from longer than I wanted to be.

My first workout of the week was on Tuesday afternoon (I wasn’t sure what time I’d be getting home on Monday so I didn’t want to have to stress about getting back in time for a workout). I was still hurting quite a bit on Tuesday so I was so happy to see that it was going to be a run/row day. Not only was it a run/row day, it was called the easiest run/row day ever! My sore legs were so grateful to hear that!

The run/row format was pretty easy. The first round was a 30 second push pace, 30 second all out pace, and then over to the rower for a 100 meter row. The next round was a 1 minute push pace, 30 second all out pace, and then over to the rower for a 100 meter row. Each round just increased the push pace by 30 seconds and the rest stayed the same. The longest one was a 3 minute push pace and if we got past that we were supposed to work our way back up. I did the first few rounds at 3.7 miles an hour because they were short and I was still feeling a bit slow from my race so I wanted to prove to myself that I can be faster. The next few rounds were at 3.6 miles an hour and the 2 1/2 and 3 minute rounds were at 3.5 miles an hour. I made it through all the rounds, but I didn’t make it back up. But I’m ok with that. I was going really fast for me and even though I was progressively getting slower I was still staying on the faster side for me. And since the treadmill time was so limited, my legs didn’t hurt too much by the time we switched to the floor.

We had a lot of squats on the floor which were fine for me. But then when we did lunges I struggled a lot because my calves were feeling so tight. I knew they were tight a bit because that was the soreness I felt, but I guess I didn’t realize how much the treadmill would affect me. So the lunges were done with less movement than I would normally do, but I felt pretty great about everything that I did.

Wednesday was a day that had all 3 types of workouts (endurance, strength, and power). It was a 30 minutes on the treadmill straight type of day and my legs weren’t having it. I tried really hard to not have to take breaks in the middle of the blocks, but I was really hurting. I realized after class that maybe I should have taken one of my stronger painkillers instead of the ones that I normally take, but since it’s been a while since I’ve needed one of the strong ones I didn’t even think about taking one. During the strength block, I was supposed to go really high on the inclines on the treadmill, but I just kept it at 8% for the entire time even though the runners had to do an incline higher than that. I just focused on finishing the cardio and not working out super hard.

For the floor time, I tried to do all my lower body work with 20 pound weights and all of my arm work with 15 pound weights. We also had a lot of ab work on the floor with medicine balls. Typically I use 8 pounds for a medicine ball, but there were none of those left so I used 10 pounds. I felt the difference (and I felt it in my abs when I woke up the next morning) and while it wasn’t easy I was able to do it.

Friday was another run/row day! Someone commented about how there have been so many run/row days lately and I don’t think they were happy about it. But those really are my favorite days (or a second favorite to partner day workouts). This time the run/row was a bit tougher than the one on Tuesday. For power walkers, the longest walk was .13 miles and the shortest was .05 miles. And for all of us the rows were between 250 and 100 meters. The plan was designed to do at least one entire round of all the segments, and I was able to get through the entire plan and was starting on the first one again when time was called. By Friday, my legs were feeling a bit more normal (having Thursday off helped a lot) so all my treadmill segments regardless of length were 3.5 miles an hour. It helped that all treadmill segments were less than 2 1/2 minutes, but all these little sprints are helping me get ready to bringing my base pace up from 3.4 to 3.5 miles an hour again (where I was before my torn calf).

On the floor, there were a lot of squats and lunges again. For both things, I was using 20 pound weights (one weight in each hand). With my squats those aren’t too bad, but it’s always tough for me to do lunges with weights in my hands because I don’t balance that well with lunges. But I took my time, put the weights down if I needed to steady myself, and was able to make it through. We finished up the floor block with 4 minutes of abs using a BOSU ball and when we were done I was so glad I made it through.

I debated about doing a 4th workout, but I didn’t want to push it too much. Friday was the first day my legs were feeling almost normal again and I didn’t want to overdo it and prevent myself from feeling normal again this week. I’m not exactly sure when my next 4 workout week will be, but it will need to be soon. I’m signed up for the Triple Buddy Challenge at Orangetheory. From April 18th until May 18th I’m partnered up with 2 friends to try to get in 45 workouts between us. So each of us will need to do 15 workouts. I’ve done this before (and we were successful) so I’m not too worried about it. I just need to plan out the next month of workouts to make sure that I do my part or more to make sure my team wins!