Help Me Help Amy

amy

The indomitable Amy Cooper.

You may have seen this on my social media platforms before, but I’d like to formally draw your eye to this very important GoFundMe.

The GF’s best friend, a lovely young woman named Amy Cooper, needs your help. You can read the full story at the page itself, but basically she’s dealing with a lot of health issues that both don’t allow her to work, and don’t allow her to afford care long-term. Her own health situation is precarious, and she’s also dealing with a mother who’s sick, was recently hospitalized, and whose insurance coverage lapsed.

If you’ve got anything to spare – and I do mean anything at all: $5/$10 – and understand that sometimes health care is a lot more complicated than it needs to be, consider giving to this GoFundMe on this beautiful Sunday. Both The GF and I would greatly appreciate it, as Amy is someone extremely important to us.

Thank you so much! 🙂

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5 Reasons to Be a Patron #1: You Want My Work to Continue

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This article by Ann Bauer at Salon, posted by a writer friend of mine, Jennifer K. Stuller, on Facebook today couldn’t have come at a better time! As I reach out to readers today in launching my new Patreon page, it’s important to understand just how much writers depend on others just so their work can exist. The world isn’t designed for most writers to make a living wage – even the “successful” ones. And very often, the writers who “make it big” are the ones who had huge amounts of outside support – from spouses, from rich families, or from being born into families that already had literary connections. Or, they were able to tap into an audience through grassroots hustle, and that small but mighty tribe supported that writer consistently enough that they were able to get to a place where their writing career was sustainable.

In the Salon piece, Bauer is up-front about the fact that the only reason she is able to have a career as a writer, is because her husband has a stable, well-paying other job, and he supports her career despite her being able to contribute less to the household. She believes this up-front-ness is important. The piece goes on to illustrate that there’s this illusion that writers (and, in my opinion, other artists) put forward that they owe their success entirely to hustle and grit and determination while obfuscating any privileges they might have had. From the piece:

I attended a packed reading (I’m talking 300+ people) about a year and a half ago. The author was very well-known, a magnificent nonfictionist who has, deservedly, won several big awards. He also happens to be the heir to a mammoth fortune. Mega-millions. In other words he’s a man who has never had to work one job, much less two. He has several children; I know, because they were at the reading with him, all lined up. I heard someone say they were all traveling with him, plus two nannies, on his worldwide tour.

None of this takes away from his brilliance. Yet, when an audience member — young, wide-eyed, clearly not clued in — rose to ask him how he’d managed to spend 10 years writing his current masterpiece — What had he done to sustain himself and his family during that time? — he told her in a serious tone that it had been tough but he’d written a number of magazine articles to get by. I heard a titter pass through the half of the audience that knew the truth. But the author, impassive, moved on and left this woman thinking he’d supported his Manhattan life for a decade with a handful of pieces in the Nation and Salon.

Now, when she discusses privileges, it isn’t just about being born into a rich family. There’s the privilege of having a spouse who supports you, or someone else having grown up with connections in the industry, etc, etc. This isn’t to begrudge anyone their success, nor is it to say that these people who have gotten to the point where they can support themselves exclusively through their writing got there without talent. All the privileges in the world won’t help if you’re writing is complete garbage and unrelatable to anyone.  But to never acknowledge those privileges is a mistake, and often causes many writers, who don’t see themselves stacking up against these people with huge advantages, to just give up and do something else, leaving the world without their unique voices forever, simply because no one provided them consistent support.

I was so glad to read this piece, because for a long, long time I wrote “on the side” or wrote as one of a million other freelance gigs, and it’s frustrating to look around, as someone who doesn’t have the resources, and be made to feel like you’re doing something wrong, or that you’re lazy, or that there’s something wrong with you if you’re not on the same level as other writers when the truth is, writers generally don’t get to “hustle” the way they need to in order to build a sustainable career, unless they have their lives taken care of in other ways. 

My bff in NYC, Robin, baked me a cake to celebrate my first publication in a print anthology! Support of all kinds, emotional and financial (and edible!) is so important.

My bff in NYC, Robin, baked me a cake to celebrate my first publication in a print anthology! Support of all kinds, emotional and financial (and edible!) is so important.

Now, here’s where I’ve been lucky: I’ve never been unemployed. So, even when I’ve written “on the side” I was able to pursue freelance writing gigs in the evening while working a day job during the day. The down side? Very often, after working eight hours at an office job, you don’t really have the energy to come home, switch gears, and spend another couple of hours in front of a computer to do your writing. So yes, I wrote, but progress was slow. I’ve always had good friends and family who’ve supported me, both emotionally and financially, when I’ve really needed it. I’m so grateful for that! The down side? They have their own lives to deal with! It’s unreasonable to expect the support of the same few people (and only those few people) to be sustainable for the long haul. Unless you have a really rich relative who doesn’t mind paying your rent, buying you food, and paying for your transportation for years, the fact is, this alone isn’t enough, and it also fosters a feast or famine roller coaster that’s just super-unpleasant. My current partner, who is also a freelancer, but whose work (production sound mixing) generally pays more per gig than writing gigs pay, supports me tremendously both emotionally (especially emotionally) and financially – allowing me to pay my share of rent on my own pay schedule, doing a majority of the grocery shopping, and driving my carless butt around when I need to get somewhere important. I wouldn’t be able to do anything I’m doing now without that support, and I love my partner for it. The down side? As I said, my partner’s also a freelancer, meaning that my support is coming from a source that’s only slightly better off than I am. Also, see above re: support from family and friends not being sustainable long-term. Couple that with the fact that I’m a fiercely independent person and hate the feeling of dependency this engenders, and it’s not an entirely pleasant situation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m immensely grateful, and I know that my partner wants to support me in this way and is a grown-up capable of making decisions about how money/time is spent. But just the same, there’s a strong feeling of ick about it. 

Here’s the thing. I know that people outside my immediate circle of family and friends read and enjoy my work. I have the blog stats, the credits, and the online comments (not to mention personal emails and private messages on social media) to prove it. I also know that all of those people buy books, purchase digital media, and go to concerts and films all the time!

Supportive peeps at a Moffat's Women panel I was moderating at GeekGirlCon two years ago.

Supportive peeps at a Moffat’s Women panel I was moderating at GeekGirlCon two years ago.

Those are the people whose support I now need, and Patreon is the easiest way for them to show that support right now, in a way that will sustain my work most directly. If you’ve ever read my work and liked it – if you think that you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as what I can do, and you want to see what I’m capable of with just a little push – become a Patron.

This isn’t charity, nor do I want charity. I want to create work of value, have people enjoy it, and have those same people repay me for enjoyment of my work by popping a dollar or two into the online tip jar to make sure I can continue creating the work they like so much. I want to give them special rewards for their Patronage. I want fair exchange. I want people who say that art is important to them to show it.

I wanna tell you stories.

Check out my Patron page by clicking HERE. And thank you!

Bionic Pirate Mom Needs You!

Mr, Mrs, and Patty Robinson. Seriously, they’re, like, the cutest family ever. Next to mine, of course. Also his mustache and her lustrous locks ASTOUND ME.

Hey there, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend (if you’re in the US. If not, then yesterday was just Monday, and I hope it was a good one)!

I’ve written here about The Art of Asking, and how important it is for artists to be able to ask the people who consume their art for any number of things. However, I feel it’s just as important for all of us, artist or not, to feel comfortable enough to ask their networks, neighbors, and communities for the things they need without guilt or shame. We’re all here for each other, after all.

I’m writing this on behalf of a good friend of mine named Patty, who’s always gone out of her way to be kind to me, and I’d like to return the favor. I’m also writing this because, as I’m sure many of you know, my own mother passed away in 2006 due to complications stemming from diabetes, and so I understand financial hardship involved with getting certain types of treatment. Patty’s mom has recently gone through some pretty major surgery, also due to complications caused by diabetes, and now needs some extensive equipment (like a wheelchair and a dialysis recliner) in order to keep herself as healthy and independent as possible. Patty’s Mom (the Bionic Pirate Mom of the title – this is explained in the link I’m about to share with you) is getting plenty of moral support from her amazing family, but they could use some help in the area of financial support. So, another friend of Patty’s started a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Bionic Pirate Mom’s medical care.

If you’ve got anything to spare, and you want to help out an amazing family going through a trying time, please check out their story at the GoFundMe page for the Robinson Medical Fund and give what you can. Your Karma, as well as the Not-So-Swiss Family Robinson, will thank you. And so will I. 🙂

2014 Year In Review

Sure, it’s January 4th – but you know what? I was having fun on a holiday trip on the East Coast, so I didn’t have time to blog. Know what else? I REGRET NOTHING. 🙂 But for those who are paying attention, you know I do this every year, so I’d hate to leave you hanging. So, here we go…

Previous years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.

Another year, another year to review! This year’s been a biggie, both in my personal life and for the world, which simultaneously became a little more evolved and a lot more insane. Two steps forward, three steps back. I suppose slow progress is better than no progress at all, huh?

May 2014.

PERSONAL LIFE:

I’ll likely remember 2014 as the year I started to tackle problems head-on, rather than ignoring them, and became more of the kind of person I want to be. I’ll also remember it as a year of a lot of change in my personal life, both good and bad. However, even when bad things happened this year, for some reason I was in more of a position to deal with things in a healthy, philosophical way. Sure, there were tears when needed, and there was even some full-on freaking out, but it all came from a healthy place of acknowledging my feelings, rather than trying to stuff them down. So, I’m grateful for that. Some highlights:

** It was an interesting year for employment. I left a day job I had for a little over a year that was burning me out and stressing me out disproportionately to what it was paying me. It was one of the best decisions I made all year. I got another part-time job that I stayed at for two weeks, because I realize that the amount they were paying me (barely minimum wage) did not warrant the money I spent on commuting. However, I did gain a long-term freelance writing client (which I’ll talk about in the Writing section below), and I continued on with a company that does work with background actors – a company that I like a lot, and my bosses there are pretty cool. 🙂 So, I’m ending 2014 with two long-term/full-time jobs and plenty of room for additional writing. Bring it on, 2015!

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** In the Tackling Problems Head-On department, I put a greater focus on three areas of my life: my health/fitness, my finances, and my emotional well-being. While I’m nowhere close to “perfect” or “done” (no one ever is), I have a better handle on things than I ever have before. In the realm of fitness, I discovered Daily Burn, which allowed me to work out more than I ever have before. I tried Orangetheory, and may be inspired to go there more regularly in the new year to work out (I’m also considering Nerdstrong and the local YMCA). I did some Couch to 5K (which I eventually stopped, because I realized that running is the most boring activity ever – to me), and I started riding my bike more, both to commute to my job, and to get to other things. In health news, I got Medi-Cal! Yay! So, now that I have some sort of health insurance, I’ve been going to doctors right and left – found a general practitioner, found a dentist (which I desperately needed after a horrible toothache ruined my experience of seeing Guardians of the Galaxy!), gyno, podiatrist…there are a couple of super-minor issues to take care of, but my physical came back completely clean, which I was really glad to hear. Especially given my family history of diabetes, cancer, and heart trouble. Whew! In my financial life, I started taking a closer look at ALL of my debt (which I’d been ignoring for years), tracking my spending, and keeping better track of the money that comes in. I’m starting the new year with a bit of an increased income (thanks, freelance clients!), and a better idea of my budget. Lastly, there’s the Emotional Well-Being front, which pretty much just means that I’ve been making time for myself to really sit with my feelings and process what I’m going through, rather than just rushing through life. Time and space are key, and I’ve been loving myself enough to give myself both in 2014, which has helped tremendously.

Dad the lifeguard

** April was a difficult month. On April 19, 2014, my father, Ramon Jusino Jr., passed away at the age of 78. This was difficult for obvious reasons. The only father I’ll ever have is gone. The parent with whom I shared the most character traits and common interests is gone. Yet it was also a relief in many ways. My father suffered from dementia that seemed exacerbated by my mother’s death in 2006. His health deteriorated, and we had to put him in a nursing home. In short, he hadn’t been My Dad for a long time, and while I miss him being on this planet, I also know that, as proud as he was, he likely wouldn’t have wanted to be seen as a helpless invalid for very long.

So, thanks to the help of my friend, Heather, and her wonderful mom, Lauren, who works for an airline, my partner and I were able to fly to NYC for the funeral. I was touched by the outpouring of support from friends and family. Friends I hadn’t seen in ages, like my friend Nippa from high school, came to the wake to show solidarity. Adam organized a dinner for me to celebrate my dad and “his greatest achievement” – me. (Those are Adam’s words, not mine) Long-time friends made it a point to be there for the wake, the funeral, and the burial, which was a military burial, to honor my dad’s Air Force service. And I took two weeks in New York to surround myself with loved ones and give myself time to grieve properly. I’m grateful for everyone who showed me love during that time – particularly Joanna and Chuck, for giving me a place to crash – and I’m glad that my mom and dad (and my dog, Scarlett, who watched over them when I couldn’t) are all at peace and together now.

Me and Heather (and my birthday flowers from her and Alexis!)

** I celebrated my 35th Birthday in July and had a great, warm night with friends. Jason and Mairghread came out with my partner and me for sushi at Midori, and more friends met up with us at Sardo’s later in the evening for beer and karaoke! It was a great time – and I was bought a lot of birthday drinks, including one from a generous guy from out of town. My little crew ended up closing the place down! Not a bad way to celebrate my mid-thirties!

My favorite photo of the night. Heather took this of me and Adam when I wasn't paying attention. Lurve.

However, my birthday weekend had another, more ill-advised component. I’d always wanted to go camping in Joshua Tree, so my partner and I drove out to camp overnight. It was beautiful, to be sure, and quiet (the quiet was what really astounded me), but between the insane heat (even at night!), the mosquitoes, and the uncomfortable car sleeping situation, we were really glad to get back to civilization! Next time, I won’t make the mistake of camping in the desert during the off-season. IT’S “OFF” FOR A REASON!

** I’ve always tried to do what I could to work toward equality in all areas for LGBT folks, but this year, with transgender people making themselves increasingly visible – what with Laverne Cox all over EVERYTHING, Transparent on Amazon Prime, and the impending blockbuster Jupiter Ascending (directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski) – it sunk in for me how often the “T” in “LGBT” has historically been either ignored, thrown under the bus, or misrepresented/despised both within and outside the LGBT and feminist circles in which I so happily travel. So, I’ve been a bit more vocal on that score. This year has ended with the tragic suicide of Leelah Alcorn in Ohio (and the subsequent removal of her Tumblr, which contained her suicide note and hopes for other transgender teens), emphasizing the fact that there’s still so much more work to do on this front – and I hope to use my platform to amplify trans voices in addition to feminist, minority, and gay/lesbian voices.

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** SDCC 2014. UGH. I’m grateful that I had a press badge, and that Jason and Mairghread were willing to share their hotel room with me, but on the whole, I could’ve done without the whole experience. There were a handful of cool moments: interviewing Nicole Perlman, meeting up with my friends Tara and Daniel, finally meeting my friend Janice IRL at the Grimm panel after years of commiserating over the demise of Caprica and the career of one Sasha Roiz, and going to SDCC’s first-ever transgender comics panel, but I spent most of the con hot and tired, standing in line, and just generally crabby about how long it took me to walk everywhere in the crowds. I’m in no rush to go back. Though I did end up at a party with George RR Martin. That was pretty cool. 🙂

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** The fall was all about going to see live music, and I got to see two of my favorite acts live! My partner and I went to see Pomplamoose at the El Rey theater in October, followed by going to Amanda Palmer’s book event for The Art of Asking at the First Unitarian Church in November. Both events were amazing for entirely different reasons. I’d never seen Pomplamoose live before, and going to see them makes me appreciate them SO MUCH MORE as musicians. They put on a really fun, kick-ass show, and if you ask me, I think the money they spent on their tour was money well spent! The Amanda Palmer event was amazing, because the musical performances were so intimate, and the evening was full of insightful, revealing, and nuanced discussion between Amanda, her guests, and the audience about what it means to be an artist and ask for help.

** Oh, and by the way, my boo and I celebrated our second anniversary in December, and we flew to the East Coast and spent a wonderful two weeks with our families for the holidays. It was a great way to end the year!

Chicks Dig Gaming cover illustration by the squee-worthy Katy Shuttleworth.

Chicks Dig Gaming cover illustration by the squee-worthy Katy Shuttleworth.

 WRITING LIFE:

** I was published, like, a crap-ton. 🙂 My first national print interview came out in the May 2014 issue of Latina Magazine, I had my first piece published on Jezebel in March, and an essay of mine is included in Mad Norwegian Press’ latest pop culture anthology, Chicks Dig Gaming, which was released in November! In addition to that, I was hired to write a pop culture column on a great site called Beacon, on which readers can subscribe directly to journalists whose work they love. While I’m no longer writing on Beacon, it was a great experiment, and there are several pieces up there that I consider some of my best work. Check it out!

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** One of the biggest things in my writing life also happens to affect my personal life, too. My friend and writing partner, Adam Hunault, finally made the big move to L.A, and I’m really happy about it! Not only because it’s really awesome to have one of my favorite New York peeps in town with me, but it makes such a difference in the way we work on our scripts and are able to pursue our joint writing career. To date, we’ve written two hour-long pilots, one hour-long spec of an existing show, have entered most of the major writing fellowships (getting none of them, but whaddaryagonnado?), joined a TV writing group and the IAWTV meet-up, sat down with two professional TV writers to discuss our path, and are currently in the process of writing our third hour-long original pilot. 2015 is going to be a huge year for us as we tackle Los Angeles together, and I’m very excited to get to it!

** I started my job as Blog Editor for HotPixel Post-Production at the beginning of 2014, creating content for the blog as well as managing their monthly newsletter and throwing in my two cents re: their communications/marketing whenever I’m asked. It’s a really cool gig, as HotPixel is a steady, reliable client that allows me to write about an industry I enjoy. My boss, Art, is a really cool guy who shoots straight with me and makes sure I’m taken care of. Meanwhile, as I write about the independent film scene, I’m learning a lot that I will likely apply to projects I work on. I’m looking forward to doing even bigger and better things with HotPixel in the coming year. Check out the HotPixel blog often! (and if you ever need post-production services for a project of your own…you know where to go!)

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** Work on Incredible Girl, the 10-episode digital series I’ve written based on Aurora de Blas’ short film of the same name, has kicked into high gear this year. We’ve spent this year in hardcore planning mode, working with our director, Sabrina, to hone our voice for the show itself, as well as the marketing/branding surrounding the show, we filmed teaser footage of the first two scenes, which we hope to use to raise funds for our pilot, we held a small fundraiser, we’ve done outreach into our target audience, we’ve built relationships with sponsors, and we’re slowly and intelligently building the team and the resources we need to move forward in 2015. Check out the show’s website, then “like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter! Trust me, you want in on this. 😉

** In addition to the networking done with Adam, this was also a big year for personal networking for my solo writing work. I joined a rather large collective of women writers on Facebook that has continually provided resources, job leads, and opportunities to support each other’s work via live events and on the web. I’ve also formed relationships with two professional writers this year, one of whom has stepped up into a formal mentorship capacity, which I’m super grateful for. I’m looking forward to working with her in the New Year on the kind of projects I want to pursue in film and television!

2014 was a big year, full of ups and downs, but 2015 is going to be even BIGGER. I have huge plans, both personal and professional, that I’ll be telling you all about right here at The Teresa Jusino Experience! So stay tuned! And I wish all of you an amazing and fulfilling New Year jam-packed with love, fun, and good people by your side!

POUND BY POUND: Day 9 – By Night, I Exercise

Toweling off after my workout.

Toweling off after my workout.

You thought that I didn’t exercise didn’t you? You thought I skipped a day.

Well, YOU WERE WRONG! 🙂

I slept WAY in today – my sleep pattern’s been off lately, and I woke up for my alarm at 7am, re-set it for 7:30, then turned it off and fell asleep again, finally waking up for good at around 11:30am. Then, I had a work date with some local lady writers that I’ve met through a Lady Writer Facebook Group I’m part of at 2PM. We met at the Burbank Public Library, sat together at a table, and each worked on whatever project we needed to work on (I transcribed an interview for the HotPixel blog) until about 5:30. Then I went for dinner with one of those writers, Jenny, who lives near me and with whom I’m becoming better and better friends every day (she just moved here from Seattle a couple of months ago, and I appointed myself her Welcome to L.A. Ambassador).

Then, I got home, remembered I hadn’t worked out, and decided to do so straight away while I still felt like it. 🙂

True Beginner Day 10 Finish Screen.

True Beginner Day 10 Finish Screen.

Today was DailyBurn True Beginner Day 9, Strength and Cardio 1, wherein Justin works out with the other group of True Beginners: Sharon, Robert, and Leigh. Just like the other group, I love this one because they each have a different body type and/or different challenges that they’re working with, showing that anyone can get up and get moving. Sharon is a bit bottom-heavy. Robert carries a lot of weight in his stomach. And Leigh, the leanest of the three, is still not ripped. She’s just average weight, and she apparently has a hamstring issue, so she does modified versions of certain exercises a lot so she doesn’t hurt that leg.

That’s the best part about this video series – it encourages you to listen to your body and push yourself safely, and by giving you permission to do the modifications, or to take a break, I find that it inspires and encourages me to push myself a little more, to challenge myself. Whereas, if I were doing a video that were all PUSH THROUGH THE PAIN! I’d be all FUCK YOU! 🙂

If exercise is going to be a habit for me, it has to be enjoyable. It’s why I stopped doing Couch to 5K. But it’s also why I’ve sought alternatives. It’s why I ride my bike, and walk the hour to work and back, and swim. It’s why I hike, and why I do these DailyBurn videos. Because they’re enjoyable to me, and I would continue doing them regularly whether I wanted to lose weight or not.

I think that, ultimately, that’s what will lose me the weight. Well, that, and eating right. Obviously.

Anyway, in the interest of getting this up before midnight my time, that’s all for now! 🙂 Thanks for sharing my fitness journey with me. I’ve gotten a lot of positive encouragement from a variety of sources, and it really feels good to know that 1) I seem to be on the right track, and 2) I seem to be helping/encouraging others.

Yay!

POUND BY POUND: Day 2 – DailyBurn and Black Beauty (and Katya)

Huffing and Puffing after Day 2 of True Beginner - Core 1.

Huffing and Puffing after Day 2 of True Beginner – Core 1.

I’m writing this post late, because I spent today going to the dentist (four more cavities filled! Any more fillings, and I’ll look like Flava Flav!), running errands, and spending time with my friends Heather and Alex trying to be comforting after they had to put Heather’s beloved dog, Katya, to sleep yesterday.

Katya, I was there when your Mommy brought you home as a little puppy, and through the years, you’ve never ceased to put a smile on my face every time you jumped up to say hello or impressed me with your ballerina tricks. I was lucky enough to be able to live with you and take care of you for a few months when I first moved to L.A, and you were very gracious in sharing your home with me (as long as I was on time with your feedings!). RIP, Katya. You were a good girl. Tell my Scarlett I say hello. 

Katya all spruced up for Christmas, 2011.

Katya all spruced up for Christmas, 2011.

However, BEFORE the dentist, the errand-running, and the friends, I got my exercise in for the day in TWO ways. First, I did Day 2 of the True Beginner series at DailyBurn, Core 1. Once again, it was much easier than when I did the program the first go-round, but it still worked me out.

Happy to be back in the exercise groove!

Happy to be back in the exercise groove!

After that. I rode my bike – which I refer to as Black Beauty in my head, because she’s my trusty steed that gets me around – to my dentist appointment (1.4 miles) then to the nearest Citibank to me to get a new debit card (2.3 miles) and meet Heather at the salon across the street where she was getting her hurr did. So, I rode Black Beauty a total of 3.7 miles today before putting her in the back of Heather’s SUV to go get lunch. There was a point today at which the lower half of my mouth was completely numb, and my legs felt like jelly. It was a bad scene. 🙂

Black Beauty in front of my apartment.

Black Beauty in front of my apartment.

Lastly, today is the 12th, and as I’ve taken to doing on the 12th of every month, I did my monthly weigh-in and measurements. I started taking my measurements monthly on May 12th of this year, but since I’ve only been posting them in my Facebook groups, I figured I’d post them all here for my blog readers’ reference (for all twelve of you keeping track):

Teresa May Stats (5/12/14):
Weight: 277.2 lbs
Upper arm: 20 1/2 in.
Bust: 50 1/4 in.
Waist: 46 in.
Hips: 54 1/4 in.
Upper thigh: 33 5/8

Teresa June Stats (6/12/14):
Weight: 269.2 (- 8lbs!)
Upper arm: 19 1/2″ (- 1″)
Bust: 50″ (-1/4″)
Waist: 45″ (- 1″)
Hips: 55″ (+ 3/4″) – I suspect that I measured wrong the first time. Either that, or added muscle in my hip????
Upper thigh: 33 2/8″ (- 3/8″)

Teresa July Stats (7/12/14):
Weight: 272.2 (+3lbs from last month / -5lbs since start)
Upper arm: 19 1/2″ (same / -1″ since start)
Bust: 51 (+ 3/4 from last month / +1 1/4″ since start)
Waist: 45″ (same / -1″ since beginning)
Hips: 53 1/2″ (- 1 1/2″ from last month / – 3/4″ since start)
Upper thigh: 29″ (-4 2/8″ from last month / -4 5/8″ since start)

And here’s how I did today:

Teresa August Stats (8/12/14):
Weight: 273.2lbs (+1lb from last month / -4lbs since start)
Upper arm: 19″ (- 1/2″ from last month / -1 1/2″ since start)
Bust: 50″ (-1″ from last month / – 1/4″ since start)
Waist: 45 1/4″ (+ 1/4″ from last month / + 3/4″ since start)
Hips: 54 5/8″ (+ 1 1/8″ from last month / + 3/8″ since start)
Thighs: 33 3/4″ (+4 3/4″ from last month / +1/8″ since start)

My DailyBurn Finish Screen for today.

My DailyBurn Finish Screen for today.

As I said yesterday, I took a chunk of July off and it shows in that I didn’t seem to lose weight, and the weight that I gained all went to my bottom half. While I’m glad that I only gained a pound, the fact is that I’d much prefer a downward trajectory in this case, rather than an upward one. Hence the exercise every day. I just have to do something every day. There’s no two ways about it. Skipping one day = skipping many days, and I can’t afford to do that. Not until I’m in the shape I want to be in.

Well, that’s it for tonight! Tomorrow, more DailyBurn, and I’m trying out Orangetheory Fitness with Jen Levin. Fun! 🙂

 

Overdue Birthday Post

7-11 gives out free slurpees in honor of my birthday! How nice! ;)

7-11 gives out free slurpees in honor of my birthday! How nice! 😉

On my 35th birthday this year, the day started out feeling like all of my first choices for things to do were being crapped all over!

I wanted to go to The Waffle for breakfast, but when The Boy and I got there, it was under construction. What was worse? The sign up outside said “We will re-open on July 11!” My birthday is July 11th, and judging by the size of the hole in the ground, it didn’t look like it was opening any time soon. So, I was disappointed that my birthday was starting out so, well, disappointingly. BUT, we ended up going to Larchmont Bungalow, which I also love, and I had the best. Quesadilla. Ever. So that turned out all right.

THEN, we attempted to go to this spa place where we’d found a Groupon for a couple’s champagne/rose mani/pedi! $55 for 2 people including free champagne and a cupcake! WHAT?! So we went there, and of course the spa was all booked up. I’d been REALLY looking forward to that. We tried to go see a movie, but there was no movie that we could see that would let us out in time for my birthday dinner in the evening. Grr.

So, we ended up going home, getting my birthday slurpee (my birthday and Free Slurpee Day are the same day), putting whiskey in it, drinking and watching Before Sunset, which I’ve seen (and LOVE) but The Boy hadn’t. So…that turned out all right, too. Neither one of us has seen Before Midnight, so we’ll be seeing that soon, too.

But yeah, after a morning of running around, an afternoon watching one of the most romantic movies ever with the love of my life over honey whiskey (and slurpee) was pretty darned awesome. 🙂

Mairghread and Jason think me being an old lady in my mid-thirties is HILARIOUS.

Mairghread and Jason think me being an old lady in my mid-thirties is HILARIOUS.

Things started picking up steam at my birthday dinner at Midori Sushi. My friends Mairghread and Jason came out and I ate my body weight in sushi. We had some great conversation, and it was a good time!

Me and Heather (and my birthday flowers from her and Alexis!)

Me and Heather (and my birthday flowers from her and Alexis!)

The night got even better once we got to Sardo’s for karaoke! At first, I was worried no one was coming – I booked a table for 9:30, and my first guests arrived at around 10 – but once they started they didn’t stop, and in the end, I had a great group of some of my favorite peeps together to celebrate! Songs were sung, beers were swallowed, and a good time was had by all – despite how LOUD their sound system was! (Seriously, it was loud) One guy (who ended up knowing Heather) did an amazing mash-up to a karaoke track, calling it a “work in progress.” Another dude did a killer Bowie (Ziggy Stardust). And one guy sang the shit out of Melissa Etheridge’s Come to My Window! Seriously, I think Sardo’s is my new favorite karaoke place, because the people who sing here MEAN BIDDNESS. And I love that kind of atmosphere! Laid back and friendly – but taking karaoke fun VERY seriously. 🙂

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Ashleigh, Me, Heather, Alexis, Lindsay, Josh, Adam, and Eddie.

Ashleigh, Me, Heather, Alexis, Lindsay, Josh, Adam, and Eddie.

And of course, my friends were all about it. Ashleigh and Eddie made me squee with their version of Dammit, Janet. And Alexis was hilarious singing Somebody’s Watching Me. But, of course, the biggest Karaoke Slut of all was me!

Also, I think I had the most drinks purchased for me that night than I ever have on any birthday! The Boy and his bro got me drinks, natch, but then so did our waitress, who took a Blue Moon off our tab for me, and a random dude at the bar who was visiting L.A. and heard it was my birthday! Needless to say, by the end of the evening, my karaoke was FEARLESS. We closed the place down, and I had an amazing time!

My favorite photo of the night. Heather took this of me and Adam when I wasn't paying attention. Lurve.

My favorite photo of the night. Heather took this of The Boy and me when I wasn’t paying attention. Lurve.

The final part of my birthday celebrating was The Boy and me going to camp overnight in Joshua Tree (at the Indian Cove campground). It was a very different experience for both of us, which is precisely why I wanted to do it!

Nothing but desert surrounding the campsite.

Nothing but desert surrounding the campsite.

We camped in The Boy’s car, and there was a picnic table and a fire grate as part of the campsite. We spread blankets on the ground by the fire so we could hang out and lounge under the stars.

Campsite - blanket view

Campsite – blanket view

 

Campsite - picnic table view

Campsite – picnic table view

 

Sleeping arrangements.

Sleeping arrangements.

The thing that amazed me most about the desert? The QUIET. I’ve never been anywhere so quiet before. It was so quiet, that when we first arrived, I kept swallowing, thinking that my ears needed to be popped! But there was just nothing to hear. It was so quiet that, when we were leaving our payment for the campsite (through a slot in the wall at the ranger’s station, because there were no rangers!), the sound of the rope slapping against a nearby flagpole was SO LOUD. It was so quiet that whenever a bird flew overhead, we COULD HEAR THEIR WINGS FLAPPING. It was amazing, and several times we just sat for long chunks of time listening to the silence.

That is, when we weren’t getting drunk and silly. 🙂

The other thing that amazed me about the desert was how brightly the moon lit up everything. I was concerned that, even with the fire and the little lantern we brought that we might not have enough light. But it was a Full Moon, and it was huge in the sky, and it was so bright. It was so bright, I wasn’t even scared to take the flashlight and go across the way to the nearby outhouse in the middle of the night! (I’m not The Dark’s biggest fan. Especially out In Nature. But this was a piece of cake!) It was beautiful.

I loved being able to just talk with The Boy without other distractions. I loved the quiet. I loved the moon. I loved the beauty of the landscape.

What I didn’t love? THE FREAKING MOSQUITOES AND OTHER FLYING INSECTS THAT WOULDN’T LEAVE ME ALONE NO MATTER HOW MUCH INSECT REPELLENT I PUT ON! Between the moths swarming our lantern as we tried to play a card game at the picnic table, the mosquitoes biting the hell out of me, the big-ass ants keeping me from getting fully comfortable on the blanket I spread, because I was afraid they’d climb into my clothes…Let’s just say, next time I go into Nature, I’m gonna be Queen of the Citronella Candles. I’m surrounding my campsite with them. Oh. My. God.

However, the other lesson I learned, is that it was a DUMB idea to go camping in the DESERT in FUCKING JULY. There’s a reason why summer is the “off-season.” It’s because it’s hot as BALLS in the desert in July. So, I might have been able to cover up more and protect myself from the flying, bitey insects, but I couldn’t, because it was SWELTERING, and even having my long, loose, cotton pajama pants on made me feel like I was gonna DIE.

Yeah, we were planning on going on a hike the following morning, but after not sleeping well due to the heat, the bitey insects, and the uncomfortable car seats, the last thing we wanted to do in the morning sunshine was hike up a freaking hill. We woke up early, and skeedaddled to find some food in town, then sped out of there and back to civilization. 🙂

Still, it was worth it for the quiet and the beauty. Next time, though, I’ll be better prepared, go at a better time of year, and do it RIGHT.

A photo can't do that sunset justice, but I'll carry it around in my memory. It was gorgeous.

A photo can’t do that sunset justice, but I’ll carry it around in my memory. It was gorgeous.