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.

More Actor Stuff (New Media and Screenings)

In my plan to get back to normal life (which has been a huge focus for me lately), I’m doing so many actor events! I’ve said before that I’ve realized that I should have been doing these more often before, but now I seem to be making up for lost time. It would be amazing if I could do one good actor event a week (and screenings don’t always count since that is just going to a movie) and it seems like that is the trend that I’ve been doing these past few weeks!

One thing that I did recently that is actor related is renewing my membership with the SAG-AFTRA Film Society. I love the Film Society and think it’s one of the best deals out there for union actors! It’s $120 to join and you get so many movies each month. The season starts in June and I think I’ll almost make my money back in the first two weekends alone. There will be 3 movies that I’m going to see then and each time I will be bringing a plus one. 2 of those movies are in 3D (which cost at least $20 each here in LA). So between going to those 3 movies, I’ll be getting at least $100 in value and that’s just the beginning of the season!

I know that I get lots of screening invites during awards season, but this is nice to have as well. A lot of the movies we get at Film Society are the big blockbusters that usually aren’t nominated for SAG Awards so I wouldn’t get to see it as an award screening. And I know that if I didn’t have this membership, I wouldn’t see nearly as many movies as I do because they are so expensive!

Normally, Film Society memberships fill up so quickly and there is a wait list pretty soon after signups go live on the website. But I found out this week that there is still room for new members now and I wanted to make sure I shared this awesome opportunity for those of you in LA who are union actors! Seriously, sign up because I know you won’t regret it!

But besides signing up for Film Society, I also went to the SAG-AFTRA offices this week for an amazing event. I got to attend the New Media Contract Informational Session.

For those of you not familiar with what new media means, that’s pretty much any project that is distributed through the internet. That includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, podcasts (this was a new one for me to learn about!), and any other online video streaming services that we watch videos on these days. For the high budget new media (like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu), there is a different contract that I’m not aware of. This meeting was specifically about the low-budget projects. More specifically, the projects that we as members want to make and need to have under a union contract.

For union actors, we can only work on union projects. And that includes the videos that are put up online. And since I really do hope that I will be creating my own content one day, I wanted to make sure I was as educated on this contract as possible! The beginning of the meeting was with some of the staff who work for the union in the new media department sharing some basic information and some of the ideas that they are working on to make things better and easier for us in the future.

And then the floor was opened up to everyone to ask whatever questions they may have. I got up to ask a question because I was just a bit confused about one element of the contract (I blame my confusion on having worked 2 day jobs earlier that day). But so many other members got up and asked some really amazing questions that I wouldn’t have even thought about. I took so many notes while at the meeting and I’ve already been emailing back and forth with some of the staff at SAG-AFTRA getting some things in order that I finally understand.

These informational sessions will hopefully happen more often now. I think the staff saw how valuable this was for us as members and they were able to understand the concerns and confusion that many of us have with this particular contract. They were so open to listening to what we had to say and took lots of notes on what they know they need to work on next. As long as the next event like this is an evening that I can attend, I know I will be there. And I think that all actors should attend, whether or not they plan on creating their own work.

I know I’ve said this so many times lately, but I’ve just gotten so inspired by attending more and more actor events. I’m so glad that I’m putting this as a priority in my life and I have a feeling that it’s just going to add so much more to my life by being more involved with acting. And one of the next things coming up will be the elections and that means that it’s almost convention time again!

The Bodyguard and Bone Marrow (or An Amazing Dinner At Wood & Vine)

This past Sunday was another Pantages night out for me and my season ticket group. Normally I write about the dinner first and show second (as that’s the order that we do things), but I’m changing it up a bit. The show that we went to see was “The Bodyguard” and I’ll be honest that we were a bit unsure how we felt about this show before seeing it.

But this was such a fun show! It was explained to us as almost like a Whitney Houston concert with a bit of plot between the songs. And that’s a great description for the show! Deborah Cox is the lead and she was incredible! The songs were so much fun, the dancing was awesome, and everyone seemed to be dancing in their seats. And if you go to see the show, don’t leave during the curtain call. There is some fun after everyone takes a bow and I’m glad we stayed for it. Even though this was a show we were all unsure of before seeing it, I highly recommend getting tickets for it if you are looking for a fun night out at the theater!

Now, back to our dinner. Our group is always trying to figure out where to get dinner before our shows. We have gone to the same few places multiple times and when I was at the LA Times Festival of Books I went to the Pantages booth and grabbed one of their restaurant guides. I sent a photo of it to the group and we decided to check out Wood & Vine. Wood & Vine is right across from the theater and I have no clue why we hadn’t been there before. But trust me, we will be making many return trips there now!

Only 3 of us from the group could go to dinner, and since it is all shared plates we got a bunch of things for us to all share. We started with some olives which were perfect and then ordered a few things that sounded good to most of us. Michelle and Dani wanted the Brussels sprouts and I figured I’d try it. I hate them but I try to try foods that I think I hate at least twice a year. These were good, but there is still something about Brussels sprouts that I don’t think I will like (sorry Wood & Vine). But I think Michelle and Dani were happy I didn’t like them because they wanted them all to themselves!

Dani and I also split the mac and cheese which was so perfect! It was nice and creamy and the cracker crust on it was a nice crunch. And we also got the scallops and pork belly (scallops were something that I didn’t like until recently and started to like after forcing myself to try them) and I think we were all in heaven eating them.

But for us, even just looking at the menu, we were most looking forward to the bone marrow. My grandpa loved bone marrow and I actually had some at a Tone It Up dinner the night that he died. But I hadn’t really had an opportunity to order it since then. So to get it at Wood & Vine was exactly what I wanted. And when the plate came to our table, we were not disappointed. It looked incredible!

There are no words to describe how delicious this was. It was heaven on a plate and even just writing about it is making me crave it again!

The entire time that we were at Wood & Vine, the staff was just so nice to us. We got to chat a bit with the manager (he was the one who described the show as a Whitney Houston concert to us) and it was just wonderful and friendly there. And while we were eating we were looking so happy and they were telling us to save room for dessert. We figured they were talking about the bone marrow since that was the last thing that was coming to the table. We thought that was the perfect “dessert” for us and when we were done eating our table was full of empty plates where the amazing food had been.

But then, the chocolate pot de creme was brought over to our table. We thought it was a mistake but the staff let us know that they actually ordered dessert for us on the house! We were thanking them and then the other two desserts from the menu, butterscotch with bourbon ice cream and an apple fry pie, appeared on our table too! We couldn’t believe that they got us all 3 desserts from the menu on the house!

We were full, but of course there is a separate part of your stomach for dessert so we all dug in. And the desserts did not disappoint! They were all decadent and delicious and at that time the last member of our group, Elisa, got there and we offered to share the desserts with her too. We were not planning on dessert (we might have ordered a bit less if we knew we were getting it), but it was a fabulous end to an incredible meal. And to have the restaurant give us the desserts on the house to make sure we could try them is above and beyond what I would ever expect from a restaurant!

We’ve already decided as a group that when we go to see “Hamilton” in about 3 months that we will be returning to Wood & Vine. It is really one of the best restaurants that I’ve gone to and there are so many other things on the menu that I want to try now. And of course, we’ve joked that we are going to order at least 2 plates of bone marrow to split between the 4 of us. And I have a feeling that we will be going there for a lot of our pre-show dinners for our shows next season as well.

Usually my nights out at the Pantages are more about the show than our pre-show dinner. But because of how amazing the food and staff at Wood & Vine were, this time the food was totally the highlight of the evening and has raised the bar on what we expect out of our pre-show dinners! Thank you Wood & Vine for your hospitality, awesome Broadway show discussion, and the desserts you gave us!

“Unapologetic” (or Being A Documentary Subject)

Sometimes, I feel like fate guides me to go places because I am really meant to be there for some other reason. And this is a story of fate directing me that I’m so proud of.

Not too long ago, I attend a SAG-AFTRA panel on diversity. Originally, there was no way I could attend that panel because I would have either still been in the hospital after surgery or just home from the hospital. And even without having surgery, that was during the time that my parents were in town so I was sure I’d be busy with them that evening. But I ended up having the evening free and was able to attend and I loved it!

Everyone on the panel was incredible and I got to meet many of them at the reception after the panel. And one of the panelists that I got to talk to more than others was Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez, who is a stunt performer. I knew after listening to her on the panel that I wanted to see about getting her on the Inside Acting Podcast, so I pitched her at the reception. After talking to her about the podcast I gave her my card. I only had my personal/acting/blogging card but since that has all my contact information on it I always seem to give it out. And when I did, Michelle noticed the name of this blog on the card.

She immediately told me about an amazing documentary that she’s producing called “Unapologetic”. And as soon as she sent me the synopsis, I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of this!

“Unapologetic”: Why apologize for a body frame that doesn’t fit in a very narrow measurement of subjective definitions of beauty? In this documentary we will explore the opinions, struggles, and accomplishments of numerous women that not only broke the mold, but also opened the door for other women to feel empowered in their own natural beauty.

I was so honored that Michelle and her producing partner, Sarah, asked me to be interviewed for this project! I would have loved to help out in any way but to be one of the subjects was so much more than I expected. Of course, I immediately said yes and this past weekend I was interviewed for “Unapologetic”.

When I arrived, Michelle was still doing her own interview so I got to listen to her story and get an idea of the questions that were going to be asked of me when I was in front of the camera.

When it was my turn, I got miked up and ready to go. Most of the questions were pretty easy for me to answer and are things that I talk about on here (body image, my eating disorder, my fitness journey, acting) but there were plenty of questions that made me stop and think really hard about how I wanted to answer it. In answering some of the questions, I learned a lot about myself and realized new things that I never thought about before. It was really an amazing self-discovery journey that happened in front of the camera.

I do think that I am pretty unapologetic for myself. I am who I am and I know that I’m not going to make everyone happy at all times. But all I can do is to make myself happy and make sure I’m not hurting others in that process. But another part of being unapologetic is to not be apologizing for yourself or saying sorry all the time. I’m totally guilty of saying “sorry” when I don’t need to and it’s a bad habit that I’ve been working on stopping. There are so many articles on why women say sorry so often, and I know that I totally fit into that stereotype.

I even apologized after my interview for the documentary was done. I was saying that I was sorry for rambling and talking too much. It’s so ironic that I finished being interviewed for a project called “Unapologetic” by apologizing! But I know that fixing this constant apologizing habit takes a lot of time and I haven’t been working on it as hard as I should be.

I was interviewed on the first day of interviews, so this film may not be coming out for a while. Of course I will keep you all posted on any updates I have on the film because I want you to be able to check it out! I only know 2 of the stories in it (mine and Michelle’s) and I really want to hear what everyone else had to say. It’s such a powerful topic and I know that I will learn so much from everyone else!

Thank you again to Michelle, Sarah, and the entire crew of “Unapologetic” for asking me to participate! I had the best time on set and you were all awesome! It’s still crazy to me that people want to hear my story because I feel like I’m not that unique. But maybe by speaking openly about my experience that is what is unique about me. I’m not scared to share the good, bad, and the ugly about my life and I hope that others will be able to relate and feel understood or not alone.

Now I’m just going to have to be patient to find out when this is done and ready to share with the world!

Lots Of Running And Hills (or Back To A 4 Workout Week)

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a 4 workout week, so it was good to get back to it this past week. I am still on pace to hit my workout goal for the year, but I know that I can’t have too many 3 workout weeks in order to stay that way. I am trying to prioritize my workouts more again now, and by having a 4 workout week I think I did just that.

Monday’s class was a bit tough for me. I was having a lot of hip issues the entire class and I think it might have been due to me being in the car so long the day before. I hate when I have bad hip days because it’s tough for me not to push myself to do what I know I can do. But I tried my best to take things a bit easier. It did help that we had a bit of an odd format in the class. Our cardio was a mix of treadmill and rower and the floor was a mix of floor and treadmill. So while it wasn’t a switch day, we did switch back and forth a bit.

I was able to do my push and all out paces on the treadmill as a run despite my hip issues. And on the rowing, I got pretty close to some goals that I’ve been working on. We had 300 meter rows which I’ve been trying to get under a minute. I was able to do them in 1:01.6 which is pretty close considering that I wasn’t feeling right that day. But what threw me as a challenge in that workout is that the floor had an entire section that was plank work. Normally I don’t mind that, but Monday was day 1 of my new plank challenge. I hadn’t done my plank challenge before going to the workout, so I tried to do my best knowing that I’d be doing more plank work when I got home.

Wednesday’s workout was pretty amazing and I’m so glad that it was a class that I was in. It was a power day which always means short sprints on the treadmill. I love those because I know I can do some pretty great sprints and I get time to walk and recover after doing crazy speeds. This time, we did have some push to all out paces which were a bit longer, but a lot of the class was focused on very short all out paces (under a minute). I did most of the push paces at 4.5mph and the all outs right after them at 5.5mph, but I was going really fast for the stand alone all out paces. I was doing most of them at 6.5mph and got all the way up to 7.2mph at the end. And even though we had the walking recoveries between all of the fast running, I still did over 2 miles in under 29 minutes.

For the floor, we focused most on arm work which was a good break from using my legs. It was a lot of chest and tricep work with some pushups in there too. In the second block, we were on the rowers and followed the same pattern that the treadmill had with all out paces with recoveries. In 4.5 minutes on the rower, I was able to do just over 1,000 meters which is great for me!

Friday’s workout was a run/row (which I love!), but it was a challenging run/row. This time, we were doing hills with the run row and I was determined to run my hills. We pretty much had .1 mile runs with increasing inclines (starting at 1% and going up to 5%). There were also decreasing inclines but I never made it to that part of the run/row plan. Running on hills will probably never be easy for me but I’m so motivated to get better at doing them. I’m pretty ok with running at 2 or 3% and I used to be ok running at 4% but that’s become more challenging for me lately. And 5% has always been tough. But I managed to run every single hill (I did slow things down a bit for 5% but I was still running).

And for the rower, we pretty much had 100 meter row sprints. I had recently PRed on my row but of course I wanted to do better. But since I was coming off of the treadmill I was feeling a bit tired. I did take time to try to get my heart rate down so I could do a better row (which is probably why I didn’t get that far down the run/row plan) but I couldn’t get a new PR on my row. I was getting some higher wattages than I’m used to, but my stroke rate wasn’t as high. But it does give me hope that a new 100 meter PR might be coming up soon.

And when I moved to the floor, it ended up being pretty much one long block with adding exercises for each round of the floor work. We had a variety of burpees, shoulder work, using the straps for rowing work, and some ab work. And in the middle of the long floor block we did get a bit of a break (which was nice). But that break wasn’t easy because we were doing timed rounds of squats and 4 point planks. It felt like a pretty long floor block, but it was good and I felt pretty awesome after I was done with it.

I was a bit nervous for Saturday’s workout. It was my first 4th workout for a few weeks plus I had done the running on the hills the day before. And of course, this workout was running on hills again. I think that most of the time I would have just skipped running knowing that I had worked on my hill running earlier that week, but I decided to go for it and see what happens. Fortunately, the workout was a 3G workout so I was only going to be on the treadmill for about 15 minutes. We had push paces at 2, 4, and 6% and was able to run all of them. The 6% run was pretty tough and I debated about going to a walk, but I decided to stick it out and I’m glad that I did.

Next, I moved to the floor where we had 2 short blocks. The blocks were a mix of abs, upper body, and lower body work. We did squats, weighted rows, plank leg lifts, weighted arm fly, pullovers, and running men. And my last rotation was the rower where we had 2 short blocks as well. The first block was rowing with rests between each set and the second block was 250 meter rowing with squats between each set. My rowing was not that fast or that strong since it was the end of the workout, but I wasn’t trying to do anything too crazy at that point.

I’m so glad I got another 4 workout week in. It’s funny how not that long ago I was scared of 4 workout weeks and now I almost miss it when I don’t get in the 4th workout. Something feels like it’s not complete with my week if I’m not doing an extra workout in there. I do want to see about maybe adding some more workout stuff at home to do on my days off because I know that doing a little something every day is probably the best thing. But I don’t think I could do Orangetheory more days a week (maybe I could do occasional 5 workout weeks but not on a regular basis) but I want to see what else I can do to work on building up my physical fitness.

Feeling Normal Again (or Happy To Be Back In Control)

My last few posts have been about getting back to my usual self. While I haven’t been writing about that too much, I think this is something that I’ve been struggling with for a while. It’s easiest to say that I’ve been struggling since I found out about the tumors because it seems like I’m splitting my life into before tumors and after tumors.

As soon as I knew about the tumors, my life got crazy. There was the scheduling of tests and planning for surgery, but that wasn’t what really got to me as much. It was the disconnect I felt with my body and life because I couldn’t understand how I could have massive tumors and not know about them. I felt out of control and not in charge of my own body and life. It’s such an odd feeling and I wasn’t able to express myself properly.

Control is a weird thing for me. Eating disorders are usually all about control. I question if mine is a control thing since I’ve likely had my eating disorder since I was a kid, but maybe it has a little to do with that. I control what I eat, how much I eat, and when I eat. While I do feel like I’m in a trace while I’m having a binge episode, maybe there is an element of control in that. So to feel out of control isn’t the best thing for my eating disorder.

And when I found out the surgery was cancelled, my first feeling wasn’t one of relief but one of feeling out of control even more. Now, not only did I have tumors and not know about them but they were able to shrink and there’s no way to know why and I can’t control the shrinking. Also, I didn’t know my tumors were shrinking so I was not able to control anything about that.

I really do feel like my soul and body have healed a lot in the past few days. I don’t know what triggered it, but getting back to my regular life is probably a lot of it. I’m a creature of habit and routine and being able to get back into my routine from pre-tumor time is nice. I haven’t had that since October (when we found out there was something wrong with me) and now that I’ve had a few days in my old routine it’s been very reassuring for me. There are still tumor related things in my life (no birth control pill, needing more medical tests, the possibility of surgery in the future), but this is the closest I’ve been to my old routine in a long time.

I’ve been having such a feeling of calm while doing things that I’m used to doing. Being back to a normal work schedule (and not having to work extra hours to bank them for time off) is so nice. I have free time 2 work mornings a week so I can do errands or just take my time getting ready for the day. I’m adding fun things back into my calendar and not stressing about how I’m spending my time after work (before, I was worried if I should be doing something to prepare for surgery instead of having fun). I’m able to get back to auditioning when opportunities come up and not worry about when the shoot dates are. And I can put the idea of my tumors in the back of my mind when I can.

I’m sure that the tumors are going to be something I worry about the rest of my life. Even if at my next MRI they appear to be completely gone, I will still be at risk for them to come back with any hormonal changes I will have in my life (pregnancy and menopause are the two biggest ones I’ll have to worry about). And if I am pregnant in the future, I will have to be monitored a bit more than most women. But I’m lucky that I have an awesome OB/GYN who has been doing so much research on the tumors and how to take care of patients with them. So I think I’m going to be fine as long as I have her as my doctor.

It’s weird how nice it is to feel like I have control again in my life, but I’m glad that I figured out what was making me feel off and how I could fix it. I’ve been wanting to feel normal again for so long and I guess it just took some self-discovery to figure out what it would take to make that happen.

I’m Celebrating (or Healing My Soul At Disneyland)

Like I said in my post about my new monthly challenge, I’m working on reconnecting with myself since my medical miracle. And I think it comes as no surprise that one way I wanted to get back to normal is to go to Disneyland! I was so sad when I was there the last time thinking that it was almost like a goodbye to the parks. So this time I was celebrating coming back to the parks and not having surgery!

Of course, since it was a celebration about my liver, I had to wear my liver shirt. I don’t know how many opportunities I’ll have to wear it, so I have to take advantage of each time that I can.

I went with Michelle and Lauren and all 3 of us were in agreement that we wanted to just have a fun day at Disneyland. There was nothing that we really felt like we had to do, so we decided to take our time and get on one of the Main Street vehicles to get down toward the castle. As we entered the park, the fire truck was getting ready to go so we hopped on board and enjoyed not having to walk through all the crowds.

We heard that the regular Space Mountain is coming back soon we wanted to go on HyperSpace Mountain to enjoy the ride while it was still here. Again, I tried to get my shirt in the photo but I think I just have to accept that this is a tough shirt to read on ride photos.

Right after riding that ride, I felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. It took me by surprise, but I realized that being at Disneyland was healing my soul. I’ve been working on getting back to being me and not thinking of the surgery and tumors but it’s been something in the back of my mind for so long now. And when the surgery was cancelled it was so weird that this feeling didn’t go away. I didn’t know what would make me feel like me again and I guess Disneyland was what I needed. When we were done with that ride I turned to Michelle and said that I thought that my soul was just healed. It’s so weird that this is what I needed but I’m so glad that it was! I feel so much better now and I was happy to get on with the rest of my day and enjoy Disneyland!

Our next stop was to get lunch and we had made reservations at one of the sit down restaurants in New Orleans Square. We wanted to be able to relax and enjoy ourselves and it was awesome sitting in the shade (it was a hot and sunny day) and having some good food. I got a steak sandwich which was the special they had and it was delicious!

And since it was so hot out, I was convinced to go on Splash Mountain. I don’t like water rides and I haven’t been on Splash Mountain in a long time, but it seemed like the perfect thing to go on that day. Lauren and Michelle told me that sitting in the back was where I had the lowest chance of getting soaked and I trusted them and hoped for the best.

And they were right! I got a bit wet, but nothing too horrible. And Lauren gave me some great tips on how to keep my shoes from getting soaked (I hate having wet shoes for the rest of the day). We tried to do a “hear no evil, say no evil, see no evil” photo, but itls a bit tough to see us with how we were sitting.

After Splash Mountain we decided to do the other New Orleans Square rides that we love and went on Haunted Mansion and Pirates Of The Caribbean (Johnny Depp was not performing live on the ride that day). And then we headed back to Tomorrowland for another ride on HyperSpace Mountain.

That may be the last time I ride it as HyperSpace Mountain (unless they bring it back again another time), but it was a great ride that time and I was pretty happy knowing it might be the last time on that version of the ride.

And of course, since Michelle and I have a year-long battle on Buzz Lightyear happening right now, we had to go on that. Michelle is catching up to me so I need to work on improving my game!

It was about rush hour then so we decided to do a few more rides before leaving. And then Lauren surprised me with a button that she had gotten from a Cast Member after we went on Buzz Lightyear.

I was so touched that she got that for me! We are new friends and the only other time she was at Disneyland with us was when it was thought to be my last trip before surgery. And when we met up this time she was so excited to be able to celebrate me not having surgery. It’s fun being able to celebrate this (and I keep celebrating since I keep seeing different people) and getting an “I’m Celebrating” button was just awesome!

Our next to last ride was Small World. I don’t usually go on Small World, but the line wasn’t too bad and it is a fun one to go on. I know that many people didn’t like when they added Disney characters into the ride, but I like it and think they blend in pretty nicely. And I love seeing the topiaries in the front of the ride and how pretty it looks on the outside.

And for the final ride of the day, we went on another one that I don’t do too often: The Matterhorn. I think the last time I went on it was with my parents. I love the yeti on the ride, but it’s such a bumpy ride and I always seem to hurt after it.

But we all agreed we would go on it and it would be the last ride of the day so if we hurt too much that we would be able to go home right after. I think that the ride cars have been changed since the last time I went on it because they felt more padded than I’m used to. But I was still worried about how I would feel after the ride was done.

And as I expected, I loved the ride except how bumpy it was. It wasn’t as bad as before, but still not something that I would want to do every time I’m at Disneyland. But I’m glad I rode on it and now I can wait another year or so before doing it again.

Considering that we got to the parks at about 1pm and had a sit down lunch, I think we got so much done in our day! The benefit of being a pass holder is not needing to rush around to do everything and I love that we can just have fun and not stress about getting in too many rides. But somehow we did get in a bunch and that made the day even better!

And having my soul healed by Disneyland (or whatever you want to call it) really was an added bonus. I wasn’t expecting that at all but looking back at it I think it makes sense. While I’ve been working on getting back to normal life to feel normal, Disneyland is a big part of my life and going there does give me a sense of normalcy. I feel like I can move on and focus on doing everything that I was doing before and not thinking about my next MRI and the possibility of needing surgery in the future. I want to have fun now and enjoy life and that’s exactly what my day at Disneyland accomplished!

 

San Diego Day (or Some More Family Time)

When I thought I was having surgery, the plan was to recover in LA with my parents for about a week and then head to San Diego to recover for almost another week. We wanted to make sure that I had enough time with help from my parents before they left (and obviously if I needed help longer we would have figured something out). Once the surgery was cancelled, my parents’ trip stayed the same but I didn’t go with them to San Diego right away. I decided to work so I didn’t have to use up the hours I had banked from work and then just went to San Diego for the day.

I’m pretty used to going to San Diego just for the day. It’s a bit of a drive, but not too unbearable. Plus, this was going to be a great opportunity for me to take my new car on a longer drive for the first time. The drive down was pretty easy (although I’ve figured out some new things that I want to see about getting for my car) and I was at my parents’ rental house right when they wanted me to get there.

As soon as I arrived, my dad and I went to get my grandma from her place. It’s much easier for her to get into my car than my mom’s since mine is lower to the ground. Plus that gave me extra time with my grandma. When we got her in my car and started to drive to the rental house, she realized that she left her sunglasses in her walker which was in my trunk. Fortunately, I have some random sunglasses in my car for just this occasion. I handed a pair to my grandma and I think she looked pretty amazing in the red sunglasses I had!

Once we got back to the rental house, most of the time we spent as a family was watching old home movies. My mom has turned most of our home movies into DVDs and it’s pretty fun to watch them. A lot of them are from family vacations and I’m glad that we have the videos since I was a teenager and don’t remember the trips as well as I’d like to. But I do still remember some of the really random moments from the trips like when we were in the amazon 17 years ago and I caught a piranha.

I posted that photo online and some of my friends commented that I look the same, but I think I look much older now. Or maybe I just looked really old when I was 16/17!

And as usual when I go down to San Diego to be with my family, my mom cooked an amazing dinner for us. There was a nice little outdoor eating area at the rental house and it was perfect weather for all of us to sit outside and enjoy a relaxing and delicious dinner.

And I know that my grandma really appreciates me coming to visit, even if it is only for a few hours. She seemed so happy with us all being together and I know that she had a great time. I thought maybe seeing some of the home movies would make her sad because my grandpa is in them, but that didn’t bother her. She didn’t remember everything that we did for each trip, but when there was stuff she did remember she seemed to light up and have funny stories to share about that part of the trip.

I didn’t get to spent too much time in San Diego because I had to be back in LA at a reasonable hour. I ended up spending about 5 hours there (and the total drive time round trip was about 4 hours), but it was totally worth it. I don’t get to see my grandma that often and I know I need to see her more. If I hadn’t gone to San Diego this time, I don’t know when I would have seen her again. Maybe at Thanksgiving but the last time I saw her was Thanksgiving and I would hate for an entire year to pass without a visit.

I know I need to make more of an effort to go to San Diego to see my grandma. It’s not that bad of a trip and just going out to lunch or dinner with her seems to make a huge difference in her day. I just need to work out when I can get down there again before Thanksgiving!

It’s A Fitness Challenge (or Being Calm and Plank Time)

Last month, I set my monthly challenge to work on staying calm. That was a pretty easy challenge to do, but I had that be easy on purpose. I wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to accomplish last month and I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. Of course, I ended up not needing a simple challenge for the month and I was feeling like I didn’t really get that much done. I’ve really gotten used to pushing myself in my monthly challenges and last month didn’t push me. I didn’t know that my month was going to be the way it was, so I can’t be too upset. But that got me thinking about what would challenge me a lot in May.

As I mentioned yesterday, I realized in last week’s workouts how tough it was for me to hold a plank. I used to be great at doing a basic plank and could hold it for over a minute without any issues, but most of the time in workouts now they are planks with other movements too. It’s been a while since I’ve focused on holding a plank and it’s something that I just assumed I could still do. That’s not the case and I want to get back to having my core be as strong as possible.

There are a ton of 30 day plank challenges out there (even though May is 31 days, I can use a 30 day challenge and just repeat the last day). I’m going to be using an app I already had on my phone, but it seems like the set up is pretty similar to something I found online.

I don’t know if I’ll be doing the rest days, but it’s nice to know they are there in case I need it. I have a feeling that it’s going to seem really easy at the beginning but once it gets to doing them for a minute it’s going to be very tough and challenging for me. And that’s exactly what I want in a monthly challenge!

I think doing another physical monthly challenge will be good for me. Since I discovered I have the liver tumors, I’ve had some very mixed feelings about my body. I feel like my body has betrayed me because getting these tumors is such a rare thing. I’ve been working so hard on improving my body and my body decided to screw it all up. But I also feel so grateful for the strength I have now because I’ve been able to do at least 2 5Ks with the tumors in me (I have no clue how long I’ve had the tumors so maybe all my races have been with them). And by some miracle, my body has been able to shrink the tumors when nobody thought that would be possible.

Because I’ve had those mixed feelings, I need something that should be totally positive for my body and to help me reconnect with myself. It’s weird how disconnected I’ve felt lately and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced disconnection like this before. I had a similar feeling when I rapidly lost weight on the UCLA RFO diet, but this time it was even worse. I didn’t feel like I had any power over my body or what it was doing. I didn’t feel like I had control like you should have. And once I found out the tumors shrunk, that feeling continued because I don’t know what shrunk the tumors and I didn’t feel any different. How am I supposed to be connected to my body when I don’t feel the difference between a 10cm tumor inside of me versus it only being 4cm? I need to get back to feeling like myself again and I think doing a physical challenge will help me.

At the end of this month, I’m supposed to be able to hold a plank for 300 seconds. I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to do that, but it will be interesting to see how close I can get to it. But if I can’t do it, that’s not what the priority of this challenge is for me. I need to reconnect to myself, feel strong again, and take control of my body in a healthy way. And hopefully by the end of this month I will be able to say that I accomplished that!

I know some of you have also been doing monthly challenges and I’d love to know what you are doing for May. And if you are doing a plank challenge, hopefully we can support each other.

Friends and Family Workouts (or Getting Pushed To Do Better)

This past week of workouts was awesome! And it’s not just because I had thought for so long that I wouldn’t be able to work out. I really had some great things happen in my workouts and in each workout I had someone with me to cheer me on! I was planning on doing 4 workouts once I knew that I wouldn’t be having surgery, but it ended up being a 3 workout week. But that’s ok because I think I got more out of each workout than a normal workout day!

Monday’s workout was while my parents were still in town. One day I’ll get my mom to take class with me, but this time it was just my dad. He’s done a couple of Orangetheory workouts before so he knew what he was in for. And since he reads this blog (hi Dad!) he knows what some of the workouts consist of so he can try doing things at his gym. Since going to Orangetheory he has started to use inclines on the treadmill and he pushes himself harder in his workouts. But he always says that he works hardest when he’s in a class with me because there is a coach pushing him on (plus, he and I are competitive).

The workout on Monday was endurance, strength, and power and we didn’t switch between blocks. My dad and I started on the treadmill and the first block was endurance based. We had some longer push paces and I was able to run all of them (I really did want to impress my dad with my running). The second block was a mix of strength and power and we had only short all outs but they were all on hills (3, 5, and 7% incline). I usually don’t run at those higher inclines, but again I wanted to impress my dad so I did it! It wasn’t too bad doing the 7% incline for only 45 seconds, but I don’t think I’m ready for longer running at that incline. So with the last block, it was longer hill time so I spent that block walking all my inclines. But even with the walking, I got to about 2 miles on the treadmill in class.

On the floor, each block started with rowing. Rowing is where my dad and I are most competitive. He easily beats me with running and I almost always beat him with weights. But rowing is where we challenge a lot. He still tends to beat me, but I’ve had some great rowing workouts lately and he doesn’t usually get to row at his gym. So I was happy to see what we were going to do. Between each of the floor blocks we had a 300 meter row (I did it in 1:03.3 and my dad did it in 1:03.1), a 90 second timed row (I got 384 meters and my dad got 387 meters), and a 15 stroke pull test (I don’t remember the exact numbers but I beat my dad that time). This was the closest I’ve been to beating my dad on the rower and that was awesome! I’m even more excited to see what I will be able to do by Thanksgiving!

While we were rowing, another friend in class took a photo of me and my dad getting our rowers set up. It is a super cute photo and I loved seeing that the official Instagram account for my Orangetheory location put it up in their Instagram story!

I think my dad was super excited to see us on there (and he doesn’t use social media so for him to be excited about it means it’s that much more awesome). For the rest of the workout that day we had squats, chest presses, lunges, triceps using the straps, plank work, and ab work. I think my dad had a great time working out with me and he said he was a bit sore the next day.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day and my friend Dani was in class with me! It was a switch day, but we did 2 treadmill blocks back to back before switching the first time. The running was mainly very short segments (either push to all out paces or just all out paces) and I ran all of those and then walked my base paces. It was a pretty good speed running day for me but I didn’t hit any new records with my speeds. But to me, I’m still so happy that I can run so I’m always impressed with running days. I did end up walking the last treadmill block, but that’s because of what I did on the floor.

When we moved to the floor, we mainly had squats with shoulder work and then sprint rows in-between the sets. The sprint rows were 100, 150, and 200 meters and Dani and I decided to race. Dani is insanely good at rowing and I knew that she could always beat me, but the idea of racing her would probably help me get my sprint rows done faster. And while Dani did beat me each time, I managed to do some PRs and almost PRs with my rowing! The downside to that was that I was starting to hurt pretty badly after the rowing. My hip was killing me and I was starting to get some stomach cramps. So because of that, I had to take it easy for a lot of the workout (which is why I walked on the treadmill).

My last workout of the week was on Friday and my friend Elizabeth joined me! She’s a new member of Orangetheory and we aren’t always able to be in the same classes. But she might be able to start going to the same time on Fridays as me. And our workout this day was a run/row that had endurance, strength, and power elements to it. I was excited for a run/row and this one seemed pretty awesome for me. The running segments that I got to were .5 miles, .4 miles at 2%, and .3 miles at 3%. I was able to run all of them (not run/walk, just run) and it’s still so amazing to me that I can run for .5 miles without stopping!

For the rowing, I only got to 2 rowing segments which were 100 meters and 200 meters. My 200 meter row was good, but nothing special (I was also pretty tired by that point). But for my 100 meter row I decided to see what I could do. My PR for that distance is 17.7 seconds and I had done 17.8 seconds on Wednesday. I was going as fast and as hard as I could on the rower and I managed to get it down to 17.6 seconds! At the speed I’m going on that row, there isn’t a ton of room for improvement so just taking that .1 seconds off is a huge accomplishment! I didn’t get that far down the run/row plan, but that’s because my running is still on the slower end of things.

On the floor, each block was 3 moves and then we were supposed to hold a plank until time was called. We had a nice mix of things including hop overs, lunges, squats, burpees, chest presses, and bicep work I only made it to the point that I had to hold a plank once and holding the plank was tough. I don’t think I hold plank too often in my workouts and that got me thinking (more on that tomorrow).

I’m so glad that I was able to work out this week and that I’m already back to my normal workout schedule. I had been so worried about how much time I was going to have to take off and I’m glad that I didn’t have to experience that. I’ve made so much progress lately because I was worried about the time off, and I’m thinking that pushing myself all that time was perfect. I’ve proven to myself that I can do more than I thought and I have the intention to keep that momentum going.