Thanks for playing along with my Ask Me (almost) Anything post - I received several questions via email along with those in the comments. This was fun for me to see your questions and I have to say, several of them made me stop and ponder before coming up with an answer. You guys are the best! And now, here's your questions and my responses:
Have you had any negative experiences from living your life publicly via your blog?
How about things with Allie? I commend you for being so honest but I was wondering if there has been backlash?
No backlash that I’m aware of; I did notice my number of followers dropped a short time later, but that didn’t bother me, it was just more of a “huh” moment. Because honestly, if that was a reason for someone to not read my blog, then by all means, this is not the blog for them. I did get several emails from readers telling me of their experiences with their own transgender children, which made me happy that they felt like they had a safe person to share that part of their lives with.
Do you get recognized from your blog?
I did, once, a long time ago at Target. It was a weird feeling! But she was very friendly and nice so it was fine.
You seem to be a savvy shopper. Do you ever run into plus size fitness wear at a reasonable price? If so, where?
I know that Old Navy carries plus size fitness wear and their pricing is really good. I swear, no one seemed to have it back in 2008, when I started exercising - not even Lane Bryant, or at least, not at any price point that I would have considered paying. But now you can find good deals at Old Navy, as well as JC Penney.
What do you do to keep flexible? Stretching?
I do some stretching, especially my hamstring stretches, when I wake up, but that’s about it. I should do more, definitely, but I’m so lazy that I’ll look at a yoga video on You Tube, see that it’s 15 minutes, and think “nope, that’s too long” which is silly.
I have other questions so let's just do lunch sometime.
I just recently found your blog. As a 53 (54 in another month) who just recently started running it was wonderful to find another person closer to my age that is running too. It inspires me to get past the 5k runs I have done. Not sure if I can do a half. Anyway, my question is how did you learn to knit? Your work is just beautiful. I was wondering if it were an art that I could teach myself.
Congratulations on starting to run! You know, if you never run a half marathon, that’s perfectly OK. I realize that once you start running distances, it’s expected that you’ll keep moving further along until you hit a marathon, but you don’t have to do that. Just run whatever distance feels good for you! I know you didn’t ask about running, but I just wanted to put that out there; running is challenging enough without feeling like you should be doing a certain distance.
I tried to learn how to knit several times over the last 20 years, but it didn’t click until my friend Debby taught me. I suspect part of why this finally worked was because she is left-handed like me, and taught me as a lefty. It made sense! Of course, just a few weeks later I ended up relearning how to knit right-handed, on the advice of another left-handed knitter who worked at a yarn shop that I was visiting. She said most patterns are written for right-handed knitters and since I was so new to knitting, I might as well switch. I did, and with the help of You Tube videos, managed to figure most things out. Several months later I discovered that a runner in our group was also a knitter, so she became my go-to person when I got stuck. So I guess my answer would be yes, you can teach yourself - but if you have a yarn shop nearby, or a knitting guild, having in-person help would also be beneficial.
Hmmm. I thought and thought about what I could ask you... I know you are living in Texas because that is where Jeff's work is. But if/when he retires, do you plan to stay living in Texas?
It depends on where our kadults end up, honestly. We aren’t tied to Texas, although our house will be paid off soon, and that alone makes for staying here a plus. But it would be nice to be closer to them, so moving is an option that we’ve definitely thought about.
If you could live ANYWHERE in the world/US where would you choose to live?
My dream location would be on Maui. In a little plantation house, where I could walk to the beach and to the local coffee shop and farmer’s market.
If you had to work a paying job but could do ANYTHING you wanted, what would you do?
I had to ponder this question for days, which probably says a lot as to why I never had a career job. I wanted to be a nurse originally but that is too hard plus too much math for me. I’d like to work with babies but I’d be an emotional wreck if their health failed. So I guess I’d go back to selling jewelry at James Avery, because they don’t do commissions, which takes away the stress of selling…and let’s face it, showing jewelry to customers is a happy thing to do. Win-win all around.
How much does it cost to get a full head of highlights in Texas?
I pay $85 for highlights, haircut, and blow dry/style. Now, I will say that I’ve been going to the same stylist for at least 10 years, and she owns her own salon, and she has a thing about making haircare affordable so women don’t have to choose between feeling good about themselves with nice hair, and signing their children up for a sport, for example. A friend of mine pays $125 - $150, depending on what all she has done, which is probably more along the norm with pricing here.
Where in the USA have you not visited but would really like to go to?
Connecticut, of course! Also Alaska, and New York.
Do you have a favorite brand of running clothes?
I think I fit best in Nike most of the time, so I’ll say Nike. But I’m not really brand-loyal - if I like a particular item and it fits me well, then I’ll consider buying it, no matter what brand.
Kip looks so sweet! How did he get his name?
From the TV show Bosom Buddies, starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari - I loved that show, and when we adopted two kittens at the same time who were roommates, they became Kip and Henry, just like the human roommates on the show.
How many other countries have you visited?
One - Mexico (more times than I can count).
What kind of meat was in those meatballs?
Ground pork and ground beef. The recipe also called for ground veal, but Jeff skipped that one.
I'm interested in learning more about your running / walking deal. Is it based on time or distance? You hear a beep from the Garman? Can you do another blog post explaining how you started and have progressed with the interval training? Thanks! I love how consistently you write in your blog.
Short answer is yes, I hear a beep from my Garmin for the intervals, and I do mine based on time (but I have done distance intervals in the past). Long answer - sure, I’m happy to write a more detailed post about doing intervals! I’ll put that on my list. And thanks for acknowledging the consistency in my blog posts - I like having a schedule to stick to, but sometimes I get a little tired of having to come up with something to write about, especially for my Monday posts.
Are there any workouts or activities that you used to do that you'd like to return to? Or anything that you'd like to try that you haven’t?
I miss riding my bike around the neighborhood; at this point, it would really be more for leisure than exercise, but it was fun to get out in the evenings on it. I should get some air in the tires and start riding again. And sometimes I miss my group workouts that I used to do, but then, I don’t miss being sore every dang day from them. As for trying something new, sometimes I get the urge to play tennis. I played it for fun when I was a kid; I’m not competitive, but just volleying the ball back and forth would be fun and different.
Would you ever consider living somewhere other than Texas?
What's your favorite thing to get at Blue Baker? (Have you covered this and I missed it?)
Breakfast lately has been a scone; lunch would be their Club Blue sandwich; dinner is a toss up between their pesto chicken pizza or potato soup in a sourdough bread bowl. Plus all the desserts - brownies, blondies, cinnamon twists, oatmeal raisin cookies…I could go on but you get the picture.
Have you ever been to the Midwest? (Obviously you should)
I have not, can you believe that? I should. Farthest north, midwest-ish way, that I've been would be Norman, Oklahoma.
Fairytales and Fitness:
You mentioned in a previous post that you went to school for Journalism. What sparked that interest and why did it change?
I always liked to read and write, and apparently I was good at it back then. I was also very meticulous with editing; for my first semester’s journalism class, I am proud to say that I got a 100 on every single assignment - first and only time in my life I’ve done that (what can I say, I peaked at 19). I went to a junior college right out of high school and then transferred to a university for my junior year, but by then I’d met Jeff and gotten engaged, and between moving 400 miles away from home, not connecting with the university as a transfer student, and planning a wedding, I just lost interest in school, period. So I left, got a job, and have never felt the urge to go back.
How do you carry your Tailwind bottle? Do you have a water bottle belt thingy or do you just carry it in your hand?
I’ve tried pretty much every way of carrying hydration, from a Camelbak backpack, to a belt that holds bottles, to handheld bottles, but what I’ve ended up liking the best is my Orange Mud Hydraquiver, which is a small backpack (much smaller footprint than the Camelbak) that holds a 24 ounce bottle. I’ve been using it for well over two years now so I guess I’m hooked! I like that I don’t have to hold the bottle to carry it with me, plus I like that I can bring so much Tailwind all at once.
I have two Christmas Cacti that used to bloom all the time. Thinking I was doing a good thing, I transplanted them into bigger pots a couple years ago and they haven't bloomed since. What did I do wrong? I miss the flowers!
I haven’t tried Christmas Cacti, but I will say with succulents, using a combination of succulent soil (which is fast draining) and benign neglect seems to work well for mine. By neglect, I mean that I don’t water mine all that often…letting the soil really dry out seems to make them happy. It’s hard to not water them, looking at the dry soil, but if you can resist, you might see some improvement. I've also heard that keeping them in smaller pots can force blooms, but I haven't had experience with that yet.
Will you come up and visit us here in Canada sometime?
I would love to - in fact, my mom and I have been thinking about taking a trip to Canada. I need to get my passport, first. And I need to figure out how to pay for it, second. But YES. I really want to visit, and I’ve already told her that I have a friend there. :)
Have a great weekend!