Makeups. Part of this whole lifestyle change, workouts-not-optional-because-I-love-them-and-how-they-make-me-feel thing is that every now and then I miss a day. Then the next day I feel obligated to “make it up.” I wonder if I miss one every now and then because I have the "I'll do a double" excuse. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder about the real value in this. If you lose sleep one night, you can’t really make it up by sleeping more the next night. If you miss homework, many teachers don’t let you “make it up.”

As kids we were encouraged to “make it up as we went along,” for stories and sometimes even for clothing choices. How far off from that is pretending, or using your imagination? I’m all for imagination. I’m a writer and a parent – imagination is critical to my existence (and ought to be for yours, really.)

But if making it up is like pretending, then why pretend? Own that you missed one (workout, hour of sleep, homework) for whatever reason, and move on. Focus. Be present. Do the one workout the next day (or your next homework, or your next sleep) as well as you can do it. No guilt, no pretending.

Be a badass. No excuses.




It’s Monday. The first Monday in November. Kids have today and tomorrow off from school, so my morning routine was more akin to weekend than weekday – no alarm, no arguing with myself about getting up. The rest so far is similar. Workout, blog post. Make coffee. I have more company this morning than usual, since everyone is awake – even the sun.

It’s also the first Monday of non daylight savings time. Besides the fact that this makes no sense to me – why do we need to SAVE daylight in the summer, when we have so much of it? We need to save it in the winter, darn it! – this also has an impact on my routine. Like flying somewhere exotic with a time change, only the view hasn’t changed a bit.

Makes my wake-up a tad easier.

This morning, it also made it easier for me to up the weights in this morning’s torture my workout. The workout is “The Pyramid” from Shaun T’s T25, Gamma phase. The idea is you set a base and go up from there, peaking at the end. So you do things like hammer curls and squats, starting with one of each and working up to 7 of each (I think. I lose count.) The first two you think, “What’s the big deal?” and by the fifth or sixth level you are concentrating hard on not falling over or dropping the weights.

Last week when I did this workout I used 5 lb weights in each hand. (Snort at this and I dare you to come over and do the workout with me.) No real concentration needed to get it done, so I publicly announced that I’d up the weights this time. Thank goodness for these dial-a-weights . . .

Increments of 2.5 lbs don’t sound all that huge.

Tricep overheads to 90 degree holds in a pyramid fashion? Yep, 2.5 is the perfect increment.

Like my weights today, I think I’ll dial up the effort, the work. The badass potential.




I wake up this morning, in a warm house, with family sleeping upstairs and in the guest room next to me. My coffee is fragrant and hot. The dogs have been out, come in for their biscuits, wagged tails, and curled up on the couch with grunts.

My son, 14, is still young enough to want to go all out decorating the house for Halloween; zombie heads and gravestones mingle with swinging grim reapers by the front door.

My routine this morning has been disrupted by our guest, whose sleeping quarters are too close to my usual workout space for me to feel comfortable getting up and sweaty at 5. At least that was my excuse, when I reset my alarm for 6:30 and rolled back over to sleep – “not fair to wake him up.”

In reality, though, what it gave me was time to be grateful. Grateful for the flexibility in my life that means my workout will still happen. Grateful for the love and warmth and relative ease with which we are able to go through our lives.

Life is good. Hope yours is too.


March 6, 2013 Snow started as rain last night, changed to a "wintry mix", and then to all snow. Power went out at some point. By now there is probably close to a foot of the stuff outside, weighing tree branches down and making Sadie's trips outside to pee an adventure in belly-deep cold. Jeremy fired up the generator (so we could grind the coffee - we have our priorities straight) and got some wood burning in the fireplace. When we redid the kitchen 5 years ago, we put in a gas stove, so cooking is comfortable and normal.

I keep reaching for the light switches and turning them on. Nothing happens.

Routine is a powerful thing. I notice small things I take for granted mostly when they're not there - like turning on the lights, or looking at the microwave to see what time it is. I had the presence of mind this morning to pull out what we call a flame thrower to light the stove, maybe because I had almost tripped over the extension cord snaking its way across the kitchen to power the fridge. It makes me wonder, though, what else is so routine I have stopped thinking about it.

Exercise at this point is that for me. It's not a question of "if" I'll do my workout for the day, but when. Like a computer's processor, my brain runs on silent mode, thinking and calculating the kind of food I'll eat to fuel the workout I will do today. I had oatmeal this morning, partly because the day kind of called for it and partly because I know I need more carbs for a good lifting session. Exercising and the food I need are so ingrained in my psyche it surprises me to realize that not everyone feels this way.

Julian spent some good lung energy this morning yelling about where his snow pants had disappeared to. They weren't on the back of the door where they're supposed to live. They weren't in the mud room. They weren't, despite his desperate waking up of his sister to demand that she give them back to him, in Maddie's room. I pointed out that they were probably where he had left them last. To this he replied something unintelligible.

He came downstairs wearing his snow pants. They'd been in his junk drawer, a bottom dresser drawer where he sporadically throws treasures like crumpled up pieces of paper and old candy wrappers he doesn't want me to know he's eaten. He had put the pants in there for safekeeping.


When Jeremy went outside to start the generator this morning, he looked across at our neighbor's yard. A tree was down on one of their cars and had narrowly missed the house. He came in to hook up the fridges and told me about it, saying he was going to offer to help. I told him to invite them over for food and coffee. No takers, but when I walked out to take out the garbage, I called over again (they were shoveling snow), letting them know that coffee was ready and they were welcome to some.

Their son knocked on the door a few minutes later, clutching a "go" mug. I asked him if that was all they needed, if they needed cream or sugar. And then I noticed he was also holding money.

No. Nononononono. I offered coffee to offer some semblance of normal, to offer some warmth and wake up and something else intangible. It made me laugh a little, but it also stung - obviously we have not been neighborly enough with those neighbors. What kind of a routine is it that doesn't involve being more comfortable with people who live next door to us?

When Julian came back from his jaunt down the neighborhood, he asked me if friends who live down the street could come for dinner. I said yes, of course - they do not have a gas stove, nor do they use their fireplace. He said, "good, because I already invited them."

That's the kind of routine I like. A routine of kindness, of sharing. One you don't think about but just do.

What's your routine?