Desert living at its finest.


I’ve been in and out of the office for WEEKS with what can only be called the mother of all sinus infections. It just won’t quit. Finally went into an allergy specialist to see if we can’t get a handle on the underlying cause of all this gunk.

LOTS OF NEEDLES, and a few answers, too. -1 for the southwest.

Borderline Morbidly Obese

Doctors, man. I rarely leave a meeting with a doctor (especially one related to my reproductive parts) without at least one incredibly painful line that will follow me around for years to come.

We had a truly banner day, recently. We “met” with our adoption  consultant (over the phone) and are now officially “started” on the adoption journey.

We also met with a local fertility specialist for the first time. We are in a new area and about 8-9 hours from the last one we worked with. There’s one frozen embryo (hereafter referred to as Frosty) left from our IVF cycle last year and we both feel like we have a moral obligation to give it a shot. It’s a life.

That being said, we are now officially eight years into infertility. By that I mean we’ve been “trying” for eight years. During that time we’ve had three chemical pregnancies and an ectopic pregnancy. And about six years of zilch. Apparently that one fallopian tube I lost was the good one.

So you’ll understand why we are less than optimistic about Frosty’s chances. We have had multiple pregnancies and not one has made it past 10 weeks. Would it be delightful and miraculous if Frosty was the one that made it? For sure.

Do we expect Frosty to make it? Not remotely.

That being said, we’ve spent years wishing and hoping and praying for a kid, watching others raise theirs, and turning off news stations where folks mistreat or abuse kids. Life is precious. We have a life that we created and we are not going to let it go. We are going to fight for it. Even if it’s a losing battle from the start, it’s still worth fighting for.


We met the local fertility doc. And it was generally pleasant. He knows what he’s doing. He’s friendly. He’s positive. He’s even slightly pushy about the whole “don’t give up” thing, which we expect from a doctor whose specialty is making babies. But dude.

Apparently I’m borderline morbidly obese.

This comes as a surprise to me. It’s been increasingly obvious that I’m overweight. It’s been on my mind. I’m mildly active. I know the activity could use an uptick, but truly it’s the diet that needs to change. I’ve been crossing my fingers that the metabolism of my 20s reappears so I can keep eating delicious restaurant food four nights of the week and drinking a beer with dinner. Every time I look in the mirror I’m like “just a few more years with sweet potato fries and craft beer! Please!”

All that came crashing to the ground, though, with the proclamation of “borderline morbidly obese.”

So what did I end up with from that banner day? Hope and joy that we will soon be parents through the sociological miracle that is adoption? The faintest glimmer of possibility that I might actually be able to give birth once in my life? No. No. Nope.

Look, I know that guy was off. I understand the unreliability of BMI as any kind of accurate gauge of health or weight. I know it’s actually a small spread with a lot of grey area and room for interpretation. Even within those broad parameters, “morbid” obesity is so much further down the road than where I am. I can look at myself in the mirror and see that his words are a gross overstatement.

But still.

It’s a doctor. It’s an “expert.”

I’m so tired of medical people. I 100% can not wait to be done with them in relation to my reproductive parts. They are THE WORST.

On the slightly brighter side, now I have the appropriate level of self-disgust to give up sweet potato fries and craft beer. Bravo, doc.

Dr. Cox exercise program |

A Little Yellow Flower

We live right at the foot of a mountain range, right in the middle of a desert. So there’s not a whole lot of growing things out here.

But there ARE growing things out here. I’ve been walking daily with the dogs and pause for a moment pretty much any time I see a color other than the yellowish green of scrub and cacti.

These little guys caught my eye the other day. Thank goodness for phones with cameras.

flora |

Gymming – Week One

Not going to lie, I’m pretty sure I’ve written this kind of post before. And I’ll KEEP WRITING IT until I win.

Recently saw a number on the scale that made me hyperventilate. Rather than going into any great detail about that experience, I’ll just tell you that I am now going to a local gym. I’ve finished two weeks.

It started out strong. Great first day. Really felt like I was kicking my own butt. (I haven’t started posting on most social media, yet, so the blog gets all my writing-about-gym energy.)

gymming - week one | a post from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.comAs the week progressed, I realized that I was not only feeling like I was accomplishing things by being there but that I had also stumbled upon a fantastic environment.

No mirrors in that gym. And everyone, even the people who can lift up their entire bodies off the floor with a fingertip, are encouraging. I think it has to do with the people who own the gym. They love having human beings around, and they work hard to make sure everyone feels like they belong. Crazy good stuff.

And then I started feeling pain in muscles I never felt before but I need them to move around. Right now I’m suffering from major “feels” in my right deltoid and my latissimus dorsi. Wanna’ know the last time I used the word “latissimus dorsi”? It was in 7th grade.

I’m going to keep on, for the anatomy lessons if nothing else. I’ll keep you posted on the development of new and interesting “feels.”

gymming - week one | a post from

More Moving: Winning Things!

It’s totally a first world problem, and I’m okay with it.
motivate movement with prizes! | a post from
Last post I talked about putting some money in a jar every time I did something that promoted building healthy habits. That’s a good, attainable, daily thing to motivate me.

But I also want some “big” things to use as goals, to motivate me.

Enter DOOR PRIZES: This actually took me some serious time. I had to come up with things that are novel or delightful enough to be motivating and FEEL like a reward, but that were not going to break our personal bank.

Like I mentioned earlier, time isn’t a commodity/luxury for me to the level that I would view it as a reward. Similarly, just buying things that I want is also not really a reward because I can already pretty much do that. It’d have to be a big ticket item (something we don’t buy for ourselves) to motivate me.

I thought of a few. They’re in there. 🙂

Mostly, though, I went with experiences. These are basically quality times (with my hon, if possible) that require more planning (and money) than an afternoon off or a night with the gals. MOST of the motivator/reward experiences are things that can be done in one day (or less) but involve some planning and/or travel (because we live far away from all of it).

I’m distributing these kinds of things at certain weight loss “goal posts” – using them as carrots to keep me going, basically.

The thing I like about my list (if I do say so myself) is that it can be high or low budget depending on where you’re at. A real massage could be free (from someone supporting your effort) or it could be from the fanciest-schmanceist masseuse this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Whatever works for you.

Just use what works and trash what doesn’t.

  • a real, honest to goodness massage
    Low End – hunny bun for free
    High End – Chez Fancy NYC salon
  • hair cut and nails did
    Low End – trim at the $10 place and a new bottle of polish in a cute color
    High End – 4 hours with Bettina and a full-set of diamond-studded tips
  • water park
    Low End – sprinkler and water balloons in the backyard
    High End – Area 47 in Austria
  • wine tasting
    Low End – bargain bottles from the local
    High End – Napa Valley adventure
  • day spa – cucumbers on the face and whatnot
    Low End – DIY sugar scrub and face mask
    High End – head back to Chez Fancy’s day spa
  • horseback riding
    Low End – visit a regional horse-rescue to say “hi”
    High End – buy one and keep it at a swanky stable
  • concert
    Low End – high school band or local freebie
    High End – Italian Opera. In Italy.
  • lessons
    Low End – YouTube lessons
    High End – buy every piece of gear under the sun, best trainer in world
  • accessory
    Low End – cute purse from Wally World or shoes from Payless
    High End: Bottega Veneta and Manolo Blahnik
  • weekend vacay (I’m using this as a biggie – halfway or goal mark)
    Low End – be a “tourist” in your own town for a weekend
    High End – go to Dublin

So first, have you ever tried this before and second, do you think it will work?

motivation for more moving part 2 - prizes | a post from

More Moving: Cash Motivation

My last post involved some info on a scary scale number. I’m not new to physical activity, we just had a pretty serious falling out a few years ago. My current goal is to start up moving again and get some sweat pouring and some pounds dropping off.


I function best with walking/running. I do poorly with groups or regular time commitments. No way to change that so I just avoid classes or gym stuff. The whole “someone waiting for you is a great motivator…”?

No it’s not. It’s pressure. It makes me never want to exercise again – that way I’ll never disappoint anyone. I’m an oldest child – I take the “D” word very seriously.

But I also have an issue staying motivated over a long term. Once I get out the door I’m okay but actually overcoming the incredible lizard-brain screaming “NO” at me is terribly difficult. So this time around I have (at the suggestion of my amazing life partner) established an elaborate system of external motivators.

The tricky bit was coming up with things that are motivators that I wouldn’t just go out and get for myself. MUCH of the stuff I saw online in terms of motivation was geared toward moms with multiple kids – rewards and motivators were often things like “an afternoon to yourself” or “a night out with the girls” or some relatively low-cost splurge that would be a stretch for a one-income household (with multiple kids).

Those posts started me down the right track but had little by way of actually usable motivators for me because BOOYAA I get afternoons to myself all the time and I can go out with the girls whenever I want and we’re not on a tight budget. So I had to think pretty hard about motivators that would work to get ME out the door.

I share it with you, to be used as you like.

CASH PRIZE: This is a forever-growing pot of money that I will ONLY get when I have hit my final goal. The money that goes in will be “mad money” for a new wardrobe. I have enough clothes to see me to my goal so I don’t need to “treat myself” to clothes until I’m THERE.

This effort is not just about losing weight, it’s more about getting healthy. I’m overweight and the best, most direct way to address that is to me mindful about what I’m putting in my mouth and moving more. So I’m putting away dollars both for movement, for good food tracking, and then for pounds lost.

I have two amounts. A small amount and a little-more-than-that amount. Keep in mind I expect this effort to go on for quite some time and the point is not to make a ton of money or go broke over it – just to have coins filling up a bucket as a visual (and $$$) motivation.

Small amount:

  • for every day I move (purposefully) for 30 or more minutes
  • for every day I stick to my (healthy, non-starvy) caloric intake

Little-More-Than-Small amount:

  • for every pound lost

It all goes in a Mason jar. Until there’s too much and the Mason jar cannot hold the awesomeness of my ongoing effort.

I’m trying to motivate AND reward myself two ways here. First, I expect to be at this for many, many, many days before I hit anything meaningful in terms of weight loss. I want my movement and mouth-filling gains to be meaningful and rewarding in monetary terms because a  jar stuffed with cash is an easier (and more motivating) thing for me to focus on than my questionable waistline.

Also, I don’t have a lot of free time and I am jealous of it. So paying myself back for it, even a small amount, somehow appeases my sense of injustice that exercise takes any time out of my day.

The thing I like about the cash bit, especially the $/day deal, is that there’s at least one thing that motivates that is not contingent on LOSS – it’s all about EFFORT.

I’m really smart. I’m good at tricking myself into doing things.

What do you think? Have you ever done something like this before and did it work?!

Next post: Prizes!! Winning things!!

motivation for more moving part 1 - cash | a post from


A Little Motivation

Guys, it’s been a rough few weeks. I’ve been down in the dumps.

Plus side: These “dumps” are normal-sized ones. I’m not wallowing in a pit of unmitigated despair. This is yet another confirmation that medication is doing its job. Because at this point three or four years ago I would have been in a full-on depressive episode. So that’s good.

Minus side: I have very little control over the things that are making me feel so low. As I said above, this is grounds for depressive episode extraordinaire – lack of control is my arch nemesis.

“What’s going on, buddy?” You may ask.

And I would tell you that we’ve recently given the kid thing a meaningful try (medical intervention) and that ended poorly, highlighting our 100% fail rate on the “being pregnant” and “having kids” front. It’s hard not to feel like this is it, done, kaput. The End of the kid question. Zero control over that.

Work is terrifically challenging for me. It’s this winning combination {sarcasm} of an outgoing boss who is making some poor interpersonal choices, being a new and relatively inexperienced (lone) grantwriter, and an all-around less-than-awesome place to work right now. New administration, growing pains, belt-tightening, etc… The belt-tightening makes my particular job that much more exciting and pressure-filled. Very little control over the work environment.

Finally, I stepped on the scale over the weekend and saw a number I’ve never seen before in my entire life. Ever. It was sobering. I’m pretty sure that EXACT number is a result of some swift weight fluctuations from a figurative ton of hormone drugs I was taking over the last two months, but I’ve known for a while that the general range is less than admirable.

So. I have zero control over the being pregnant thing. I have very little control over the quality of life at work. (Quitting is always an option but I’m a huge fan of my paycheck. Amazing how much staying power a good paycheck can generate.) What IS in my control is my weight. So I’m going to make that the focus of all my frustrations and use it to combat my general feeling of powerlessness over life. This is a place where control (willpower, planning, determination) is not only possible but necessary. I’m going to wallow in it.

I have tools to help me, collected from a lifetime of gadget collection.

20140527-071521-26121526.jpgNike FuelBand tracks activity, calories, and steps. It syncs to my phone and does a cool light display when I reach a goal. I like when gadgets celebrate over me.


MyFitnessPal is an app that logs food/calories, weight, measurements, and has an in-app recipe creator so I can figure out the damage of a home-cooked meal. It starts me out with a calorie count for the day and I make the mark move by consuming or earning calories (eating or working out, respectively). It feels like a game, which is useful.

20140527-071544-26144635.jpgMerrell’s “zero drop” shoes are something I discovered a few years ago that forced me to improve my running form. I’m a hard heel striker AND I tend to do too much too quickly, especially when I’m just getting back into running. The lack of padding on the soles of the shoes means I become very aware very quickly of when I need to slow down, adjust my form, or just walk. I love them.

The true motivator, though, is incentives. I love buying stuff, and we’re a two-income household with no kids. Why not, I figure, leverage that opportunity into motivation? Namely, I GET STUFF when I reach goals.

More on this in the next post.