Evil School, Chocomize, Emotional Eating

Daily Creativity: Prose poems!  I am taking a class on prose forms and some weeks we do workshops.  I worked really hard on my piece for today and the teacher seemed to like it.  Yay 🙂

Sorry for the unexpected absence last night my friends!  I had to attack a very evil paper.  Random fact: I’m actually quite bad at writing papers, including essay-style exams.  And I hate them.  And I’m a procrastinator.  Bad combination of attributes.

I love doing readings (at least when they’re interesting) and I love creative assignments and writing poems and prose though.  I don’t mind making my way through hundreds of pages of details on Saudi Arabian history, but tell me to write a paper, and, well, I quake in my boots.

Were you a good student?  Do you/did you like writing papers or prefer other assignments?

I won’t lie: in high school I was that obnoxious girl who cried if I got an A-…

Now for a hodgepodge of eats!

My chocomize bars! I saw these on a few blogs, including Meghann’s, and knew I wanted some for myself.  But I also knew that customizable chocolate bars,while ingenious, weren’t really in my budget.  But, upon visiting the website and learning that they graduated from my school a few years ago, I was intrigued and decided to go out on a limb and ask for some samples!  And guess what?  The owners were so sweet and kind and sent me two amazing bars to review!  I could not be more thrilled.  Chocolate, fun toppings, packages in the mail?  Marry me, chocomize.  Please?

I’ve already eaten one and a half bars in two days.  Lord.  But they are so tasty that the indulgence is absolutely worth it.

First up: dark chocolate with m & m’s, peanuts, and pretzels with a decorative butterfly decal thingy (!!!!).  First of all, props to me for picking such a yummy combination.  This was perfect; it was like a peanut butter chocolate covered pretzel, with extra chocolate.  Yes.  Please.  The top of the bar is loaded with the toppings too; no skimping here.  These flavors worked well together, but so did the textures.  It was just the right amount of crunchy and creamy.  The only suggestion I might have would be that some people might want certain toppings baked into the bars.  With this bar, I think it would have been really interesting to have the pretzels and peanuts inside the bar and the m & m’s on top.  I  don’t think all toppings would be cool inside the bars though.  It’d be fun if customers could choose.

Second bar: Milk chocolate with cinnamon, dried mango dices, and macadamia nuts.  Oh my god.  Just kill me now.  Oh wait,  I’ve already died.  And gone to heaven.  Foodie heaven.  And let me tell you it is a very special place.  The milky sweetness of the bar complemented the generous dust of cinnamon perfectly, and the (giant) macadamia nuts broke up the visual look and the texture of the bar.  For some reason they didn’t seem to have a super strong nutty flavor, but I didn’t really mind.  The mango dices added another type of sweetness and a chewiness to an already yummy slab of chocolate.  Good thing I still have half this bar left.

Conclusions: Ordering these bars was one of the best calls I’ve ever made.  Better than going to college or moving to New York or any of that serious business.  This is what life is about: enjoying something so simple, yet so yummy.  As long as you have some vegetables with your dinner, I’d say you’re clear to eat this baby.  So go ahead.  Visit chocomize.  You can order your bar with everything from gold flakes to rose petals to peppercorn to dried cantaloupe.  This is one of the cutest, kindest, most innovative food companies I have encountered in a while and I would encourage everyone who isn’t allergic to dairy or cocoa to support them.  One day, when I have a real job and am rich, I will eat chocomize every single day.

Disclaimer: I received these bars for free.  I was not paid to write this review or say great things about them.

Wow, that totally ended up being longer than I expected.  I guess I’ll let the pictures do some talking!

I have a lot of thoughts about food and emotion and the complex connections between them floating around in my head.  Last night I ate way too much and I realized how lonely I felt and it seemed totally obvious: I was using food as a friend.  But food is not a human friend!  It nourishes my body and can certainly be a source of pleasure sometimes, but it is not a replacement for a friend.  This post is getting too long though so I’m going to go into more detail tomorrow!  Stay tuned…

Are you a chocolate person?  If not, what do you think might be wrong with you?

PS — send some good vibes towards Stef while she recovers in the hospital!

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Therapy Monday

Daily Creativity: Writing; it’s so refreshing to have some time on Monday’s to just free write about therapy and thoughts/reflections/ideas.  It can turn into an essay or an idea for a poem or just a channel for some really necessary expression.  I really need time immediately after therapy to write; unfortunately I have to grab lunch and then rush off to class.  I find time later in the day usually though.  This weekly writing session is so important to me; it spawns off new ideas and takes my thoughts, and therefore my creative work, in a new direction.  Love it!

Random breakfast food pics to entertain you:

As you can see, I’ve received my galaxy granola samples!  I’ve tried the vanilla almond and raspberry flavors so far and am loving them.  They taste very clean, earthy, natural, and lightly sweetened/fruity.  I’ll do a full review later on.  This is my first ever product sample and review and I’m very excited!

I’m not going to elaborate on the breakfast photos because they’re going into my guest post for Sophia, which is coming along slowly but surely.

Did some gentle walking today, probably three to four miles and nice easy yoga for my legs.  My quads are surprisingly sore from yesterday.  Might do the elliptical tomorrow…

Therapy Monday:

Lots of thoughts today.  Lot lots lots.  I think I sort of had a process breakthrough today, which was wonderful but exhausting.  A lot of my therapy process involves telling stories. This is what I do best, and it’s actually something I sort of want to base my life and career around.  But anyways, I tell my therapist stories about past events, memories, ideas, interactions, whatever.  Just stories.  And usually as I go through my story we look at what’s going on, what’s upsetting me, what this might mean for my present circumstances.  One part of the story leads into another part of my life and this is how we talk.  We go back and forth, me telling, her interjecting thoughts or advice, etc.  Today, for the first time ever, I felt like I could provide my own analysis and reflections.  I have definitely done this in bits and pieces in the past, but I felt like I went a bit further today.  I felt insightful, I suppose.  It felt like we were working together to come up with conclusions; like she was a friend or a confidant as opposed to someone who just listens to me talk about my problems every week.  And I was proud of myself for coming up with insights.  It made me feel more ownership over them; I certainly trust what she says most of the time and usually believe her thoughts and think they are relevant, but it just felt refreshing to provide more of my own thoughts.  I think that, one year plus some after my breakdown, I have moved away from the pain of the immediate situation/crisis enough to examine things.  Not just tell them and think about them lightly, but really dig into them.  Oftentimes this is painful, confusing/anxiety-inducing, or just plain scary.  But it’s necessary.  And ultimately, I find that looking closely at parts of myself — the good, the bad, the terrified, the hysterical, the sad, the anxious, the joyful — is rewarding.  It makes me understand things and makes my life easier to live.  It makes me more happy with myself and more able to relate to others.  It helps me heal.  I guess this is why I enjoy therapy.  There, I said it.  I actually like to go every week.  It can be frustrating, tearful, or just plain depressing.  But I like it.  I get something out of it.  At the very least, I have an hour to verbalize my problems to someone who never judges me.  And that in itself can even be helpful.

Okay, I know this is getting long, but bear with me.

Another really big thing that came out of today was the idea that I can be non-judgmental towards myself: I can be an observer and a learner without hating myself for whatever perceived faults I am observing.  How novel!  I was mostly thinking about this in relation to my little man problem.  Okay, big problem, but whatever.  Over break I was telling a friend how not dating or interacting much with guys makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me as a woman.  And as I expressed this to said friend, for a brief moment, I realized, this is okay.  I can learn and grow by examining the situation, but I need not hate myself for it or feel guilty about it. Surely this is not useful.  My tendency towards self-loathing has typically extended into many facets of my life.  But it doesn’t need to.  It’s something I can begin to break down starting with this: I am a 20 year old woman.  I do not have the most relationship experience, but in the past few months I have begun to practice; I have met a lot of new men, gone on a few dates, and even had a nice kiss or two.  I am figuring things out and this is okay.  This is where I am right now, and I trust that I will learn more things as they come.  That said, I also intend to take an active role in this area of my life.  If I want to go on dates once in a while, I have to interact with men!  And I know I can do this because I am not so full of fear over men anymore.  I was chatting with a guy in the massage line after the race yesterday and noticed how comfortable I felt just talking about college, work, the city, etc.  So I’ve made progress.  And I know that I’m going to keep making progress.

I think that little examination of my life as a woman was sort of a microcosm or metaphor for my life in general right now: I am learning to accept things as they are, learn from them, and take steps forward.  I can make progress.

Whoa, that was long.  I actually write pages and pages in my journal after therapy every week (see Daily Creativity) and then sort of suck the most importan parts out of that and expand on here.  I can’t believe I used to dread going to therapy and thinking about it, when I was seeing my last therapist.  She always used to tell me that I should journal about it, but I never wanted to because she didn’t really help me figure all that much out.  Just goes to show you how important having the right therapist is.

Alright, how were your Mondays bloggies?  Mine was a bit icky, but tomorrow’s a new day, I suppose!

2010 NYC Half-Marathon Recap and Cook’s Mission Entry

Daily Creativity: Taking lots of race photos!  Also, I’m working on a fun, self-reflective guest post for Sophia that involves lots of creative writing.

Race Report: 2010 New York City Half-Marathon

This was my second half-marathon and my first New York Road Runners race.  It went really well!  I shall share my thoughts in a timeline format and then put a pile of pictures at the end!

5:45. Ugh, I hate waking up early.  Banana chia vanilla oats are the only thing getting me out of bed right now.

6:00 Shovel down oats and a few sips of green tea; read good luck notes on blog.  Rush out door.

6:15 Meet up with other members of my school running club.  Walk 2-ish miles through CP and watch the sunrise.

6:50 Do another half mile or so easy jogging.  Go to the bathroom.  Go to the bathroom again.  Wait behind extremely enthusiastic Team In Training girls who are worried they won’t make the three hour cut-off.

7:10 Enter my corral.  Why are there so many corrals?  Seriously, I must be half a mile back from the start.

7:15 Fidget with my bib.  Fidget with my amphipod water-belt.  Fodget with my gel/shot blox.  Fidget with my cell phone.

7:40 Hmmm.  Weren’t we supposed to start already?  Oh, there’s the gun.  Awesome.  Lots of nervous energy.

7:47.15 Cross start line.  Must remember that I am 7:15 back from the clock.

8:05 Mile 2.  Crap, I went out too fast — I am running 8:50 miles.

8:15 Gatorade endurance formula is actually pretty good.

8:25 I should really do more hills in my training.  I should really get a garmin that works.  If I had a garmin on Harlem Hill, it would probably tell me that I am running 14 minute miles.

8:32 Dear Aid Station Volunteer: It is so kind of you to wake up early on a Sunday morning to hand me cups of gatorade.  But please, dear God, please, do not enthusiastically shout “you’re halfway there” when I am at mile 4.8.

8:40 Six miles already.  Not bad, but I’m feeling dangerously tired.

8:45 Ready to be out of CP.  Oh!  There’s two members of the running club.  One of them has a serious knee injury and the other has never run further than 13 miles before.  Maybe this means I should pick up the pace.  Or I could stop comparing myself to others and focus on me.  Gah, why can’t I just run.  Therapy has made my over-analyzing habit even worse.

8:50 People who cut you off on tight turns suck.  I should not have to stop suddenly so that you can squeeze past me.

8:58 Out of CP.  At last.  Running by Carnegie Hall is fun.  Running through Times Square with tourists trapped behind barriers is really fun.  Evil tourists.

9:10 Almost to mile ten!  The music on this course is good but too infrequent.  I feel better than I did at mile 6?

9:15 The West Side highway is so nice and flat and straight.  Me likes.

9:22 Must stay with girl in pink Danskin shirt.  She’s been floating near me all race.  You.  Can.  Do.  This.

9:30 This is painful but it’s so damn flat that it’s doable.

9:33 I like water.

9:37 I’m pretty sure I only have to run a ten minute mile here and I’ll beat my PR…

9:40 800 meters to go, people are actually here cheering.

9:43-something.  Done and done.  If I’ve calculated correctly I ran a 1:56 something.  This would be good.

9:45 Walk through shoot, get awesome silver cape thingy that I have wanted for my entire life (aka heatsheet), food bag, etc.  Walk a mile or so to cooldown.  Head to post race festival, drink hot chocolate, get a sweet 10 minute post race table massage.  Run into random person from hometown.

My official time was 01:56.18, which is 2:26 faster than my first half-marathon.  I’ll take that!  No mile splits, but my average mile pace was 8:53.  I’m really proud of myself for this race!  Yay!

The rest of my day has been pretty chill; eating lots, readings for school, visiting with friends, blog catch-up, sitting on my bed doing absolutely nothing, napping, and hydrating.  Fun times.

I put together a recipe for Mae’s new blog, Cook’s Mission.  It is super cool — she reveals new secret ingredients every week and then bloggers put together recipes and submit them for votes.  This week’s ingredients are pretzels and apricots.

White Chocolate Cinnamon Apricot Dipped Pretzels

40 grams white chocolate (2/5 of a standard sized bar)

1 tsp cinnamon

4 dried apricots

10-15 thin pretzels, or whatever type of hard pretzel you prefer

In a double boiler (I used a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water) melt down white chocolate with cinnamon, stirring frequently.  Finely chop apricots, or use a food processor to get very small pieces.  Lay out pretzels on a flat plate or pan.  When chocolate mixture is creamy/smooth, remove from heat.  Dip one side of each pretzel in mixture and coat thoroughly.  Lay flat on pan or plate.  Sprinkle with a few pieces of dried apricot.  Repeat until all the ingredients have been used up.  Place in freezer or fridge for half an hour.  Remove from plate and enjoy!

Head on over to Cook’s Mission later this week to vote for my recipe, or whatever recipe you like best 🙂

This is becoming a marathon of a post (bad pun intended) so I’d better stop now.  I ate some tasty things today, so I’ll share some more food things with you tomorrow evening.  Happy Monday everybody!

Pre-Race Prep and Pasta

Daily Creativity: Recipe invention!

Definitely feeling the pre-race nerves.  I actually really don’t like races.  Some people can do 15-20 a year easily.  I feel overwhelmed by two!  My  last real race was last May.  I think that part of the problem is that my endurance is so good and my speed so bad that I don’t usually race very fast.  I could probably beat most of the people in the half-marathon if we had to run 30 or 40 miles.    But at least it’s a half-marathon and not a 5k.  Those are the worst.

When I was a swimmer in high school and we would do fast sets,  I would always go faster in practice than in a meet.  For example, if we had to do 10×100’s all out, almost every single one of those 100s would be faster than a single 100 in a meet.  Is that weird?  I think so.  But at the same time, I know that my body thrives off of endurance.  Ultimately, I am an endurance athlete.  I actually have a secret dream of doing an ironman some day.  Well it’s not a secret anymore, I guess.

My plan of attack for tomorrow: DO NOT GO OUT FAST.  I think my first mile or two should be in the mid-nines, and by mile four and five, I’s like to be hitting consistent nines.  By nine and ten, I’d like to be mid-eights.  Hopefully, this will allow me to beat my current PR of 1:58.44.  But I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t beat this time; that will just make me feel anxious and sad and we all know I don’t need any more of that in my life!

This is really random, but I am so excited to eat chia seeds tomorrow morning.  After reading Born To Run, I’m hoping they’ll give me a little extra kick 🙂

Supplies:

In case you can’t see, I’m number 7366 (this sounds lucky, right??) and will be wearing blue shorts and a blue-green top.  It’s supposed to be in the 50s and 60s, so I should be okay, I hope.  If you will be at the race and you see me running, feel free to say hello or cheer or whatever 🙂

The course makes a full loop of CP and then some, then heads South and West and finishes near Battery Park.  My first half was hillier than CP, but I am still a bit nervous about tackling the hills at speed.  Although we will be going down my least favorite hill, in the middle of the East Side of the main loop (anyone know what I’m talking about?  With the crazy panther statue on top of the rock wall on the side?), so this is nice.

I made an awesome pre-race dinner for myself tonight.  Would have been nice to have someone to share it with, but oh well.  More veggies for me I suppose.  This dish would actually just be a great family-friendly healthy dinner.  It only took about half an hour and is full of healthy things.

Perfect Pre-Race Pasta (alliteration anyone?):

Note: This recipe is written for one person; simply double it for two, etc.

1 serving whole wheat pasta (I used WF shells)

1 tbsp EVOO

1-2 apple chicken sausages, depending on how much meat you want (I had 1.5)

2 C washed and sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 C washed and chopped broccoli

2 big handfuls washed spinach

2 tbsp favorite hummus

Boil water for the pasta.  Pour EVOO into a non stick skillet and add sausages; I like to cut mine in half lengthwise first so they cook faster.  While sausage cooks and water boils, wash and cut up veggies. When sausages are a bit browned on the outside, add mushrooms.  Break up the sausages into bite-sized pieces with a spatula.  Water should be boiling at this point; add serving of pasta (about 3/4 of a cup).  Add rest of veggies to pan and sautee everything.  Toss in hummus and make sure it evenly coats the entire mixture.  When done, put into a large-ish bowl and set aside.  Let pasta finish cooking, mine took about twelve minutes, and drain.  Mix with veggies/sausage.  Enjoy!

This is an ideal pre-race dinner for runners who want to get some carb action, but don’t want to miss out on micro or macro nutrients or consume a ton of refined carbs.  Simply scrummy!

Alright, time for me to get ready for bed.  Good luck to anyone else running the half!

Have you ever done a race?  Do you love racing, or are you totally non-competitive?

Lots of Happy Adventures

Daily Creativity: Writing.  Reading and then more writing.  Listening to poems and then more writing.  It’s what I do.

Sorry for my unexpected absence!  Yesterday and today I had a ton of time to spend with my sister and my friends, and I took advantage for that.  I’m really proud of myself for doing that, actually.  I have had so much fun being lively and social and conversing these last two days.  There are so many people I love in my life and I enjoy being with them and sharing with them and learning from them, even if sometimes I tell myself that I’m meant to be alone all the time.  This is not true!  I spent a lot of time with my best friend from home.  Yesterday we had a picnic, and I made Joanne’s cremini and gruyere macaroni and cheese.  Such a good choice.  We ate it with smoothies and oranges in a park and there was so much sun and tree roots bursting out of the ground and wind and children and playing.  Afterwards we went to one of the local high school poetry events.  We were really involved in them in high school and still are.  I love love love and really treasure my writing friends.  And I like going to events like this because young poets are so terribly honest in their writing; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I always find inspiration.  Afterwards we drove around and talked, just like in high school.  Good times.  Today we ran in the morning; she’s training for her first 5k and I’m so proud of her.  The longest she had ever run before today was 22 minutes and today, with a few walk breaks, I got her up to 40!  It was so glorious outside that it was hard not to be in the park running.  I went to another poetry event tonight too.

I have way too many photos to recap every meal I’ve eaten or everything I’ve done in the last few days, but I think this is a good thing.  It means there has been a lof of JOY in my life.  I’ll share some highlights.

Brunch with my sister today:

Mmmmm.  These next few are from an amazing tea shop my sister and I discovered!  I love these types of places!  It’s called Tea Haus.

I had a small hot coconut green tea.  So steamy.  So nutty.

I absolutely adored this place.  The world needs more simple, beautiful, satisfying places like tea shops.  I chatted with the manager; oggled the gorgeous tea sets, and sniffed at the dried leaves.   Just being in there made me feel like a better person.  I would have loved to knock out some studying there.

We also went for a bit of a walk and went through this fabulous little market.  We stumbled into a store that happened to have kitchen supplies.  Lot of them.  Endless endless amounts of supplies, all of which I wanted.  My sister thought I was a total freak for taking pictures of everything, but she lovingly snapped my pic next to some of the objects of my desire.  Thanks D :)!

I think right now the top things on my cooking supply list are a stand-mixer, a good set of knives, a wok, nice cutting boards, oven pans, and a blender.  Okay, so that’s kind of a lot of things.  What can I say.  I’m a foodie.  At lunch my sister mentioned that sometimes she gets so distracted at work that she forgets to eat lunch.  This could never ever ever happen to me.  Ever.  I like my meals and snacks and healthy foods and cooking and baking.  I don’t think I’m obsessed, it’s more of a passion.  I watched Julie and Julia the other day (highly recommend) and just felt like both the characters.

Tomorrow I’m going to fly back to NYC, hopefully get a little school work done, pick up my NYC half marathon race packet, and sleep.  Sunday is the race.  So excited.  I did about four miles, plus another mile or so of walking, yesterday and today.  My legs felt nice and rested this morning.  Probably will do a little yoga and abs tomorrow to get the blood flowing.  Any bloggers/readers out there running the race who want to meet-up afterwards or in the corrals or something?  I’d love to hear from you.  Email me at caronaeh@gmail.com!

What’s been going on in your lives?  Any outstanding new recipes or happenings?  Plans for the weekend?

How do you feel about getting out and spending quality time with friends or family?  Does it “work” for you, or just make you anxious? I think I’m somewhere in between right now.

PS — please send your thoughts and prayers to my sister right now, one of her close friends just died unexpectedly and she is devastated.

Workout Fail, Waffle Fail, Trader Joe’s Success!

Daily Creativity: Lots of cooking experiments!  And perhaps more journal writing later tonight.

I got  lots of things done today, at least in spring break terms.  Which means I did like two things.  But whatever.  Hair cut, eyebrows waxed, massage (omg so nice), run, shopping, food experiments.  Okay, maybe I should elaborate.

Run:

I hit the trail with my mom (she walks) for five miles this morning.  They were some of the most brutal five miles of my life.  Oh.  My.  God.  I have no idea what was going on — I haven’t been doing high mileage lately, I’m not exhausted from school, I’m not sore from weights.  I just could not move.  My legs and arms felt like lead weights, especially on the hills, which are long and steep.  I couldn’t even walk up some of the hills, I had to waddle.  It was probably really painful for any squirrels or woodpeckers watching me.

I hate that I can’t pinpoint the problem, especially given that I’m four days out from the NYC half.  I know I’ll be taking it easy with a few 3-4 milers between now and then, but I’m getting antsy.  I hate tapering because I feel like I’m not working hard enough and therefore haven’t “earned” my calories.  Gah.  And I hate my brain for having this mindset.  And I’m still working hard and moving plenty too; I might do a few miles and an hour of yoga or some abs and walking.  Plus, why are my runs feeling hard this week (okay, only today really, but still)?  I know it’s just the taper jitters.  But a part of me that I don’t love is surfacing right now.  The scared, anxious, sad part of me.  And all because of running, which is something I love, so this doesn’t even make sense.  Okay, I’m definitely spewing here; does this even make sense?

Basically, I am feeling food guilt and I am getting nervous about the race.  Being home should be relaxing, but it actually makes things a little tricky for me.  I have always had a lot of trouble with serious life transitions, and going back and forth between rural/suburban Michigan and Manhattan is always a big transition.  No matter how many times I do it — and I’ve probably done it a good fifteen plus times at this point in my life.  It usually takes me a few weeks to adjust to one environment over the other; they’re just so sensorily different.  In New York there are ambulances and subways and a million people and trash in the streets and beautiful old skyscrapers.  In Michigan there are hooting owls and piles of crocuses and trails and old friends.  I wish I could get used to going back and forth.  A part of me thinks I am weak for struggling with the differences, but I know this is the depressed part of me.  Not the self-esteem filled part.  I know that it is hard for me because the two places are very different physically and conceptually they mean very different things to me.  It is okay to be a bit confused when I go back and forth.  It is okay.

That’s totally not what I intended to write about when I started this post.  That’s what I like about writing and blogging; I can start out talking about how I felt on a run and two minutes later I’m talking about the differences between Michigan and New York.  My brain moves very quickly, I guess.

Onto the eats, I suppose:

This is a semi-successful attempt at an interesting waffle.  One of the things I love about being home is experimenting with breakfast foods; the options are limitless!  I’m working on a guest post for Sophia about a “you are what you eat” food and so I’m creating new recipes each mornign while I’m here and seeing what works out.  While this guy was decent and certainly unusual, I’m afraid he doesn’t make the puclished recipe cut, unfortunately.  It was basically a homemade dark-chocolate/orange/walnut waffle.  The flavor and texture didn’t turn out quite right.  I topped it with PB and grapefruit jam (!!!!) which was really good.  I’ll have to remember to take a picture of the jam tomorrow since it’s so wonderful.

I went to Trader Joe’s today so that I could stock up on all my favorite unique TJ’s items and ship them back to myself in NYC.  How hilarious am I.  But seriously though, the NYC TJ’s lines are out of control, and there were no lines at mine whatsoever.  I just walked right up to a register.  It was splendid.  I was chatting with some of the cashiers and told them that I actually live in NY but was buying stuff here to send myself a little care package so that I could avoid the lines there.  Then they were all like,  “oooo, the Union Square Trader Joe’s”?  And I said, “yes.”  Apparently, it is a dream for many of them to go to the NY TJ’s.  It’s the TJ’s mecca.  How funny is that?

I’m a tired little duckling (hey, I’ve got to be seasonal!) so it’s time for me to go to bed!

Have you ever had a total, inexplicable workout fail?  And are you a TJ’s person? If not, you should consider having your brain checked…

Playing, Munching, Growing Things Galore!

Daily Creativity: Photography time!  I wandered around my yard and documented all the springy plant growth.  There wasn’t quite as much as I hoped, but I could definitely feel that distinct softness to the earth and a twitching in the shrubs:

Hello rhododendron!  Hello daffodil shoots!

Hello Japanese Maple!  Hello hyacinth bud!

Hello magnolia tree!  Hello crocuses!

Not sure if I’ve ever told you guys this, but I’m OBSESSED with flora.  I just love plants of all kinds.  Especially orchids and trees.  Pine trees. Beech, birch, willow, cherry.  I like nature.  Speaking of nature it was the most beautiful day in the world today.  No wind, sunny, mid-50s.  I live in the center of a small town near all the schools, which means that there are about five playgrounds within half a mile of my house.  I rode my scooter around (serious exercise people) and played on the playgrounds.  No joke.  You should try it sometime.  There are few things more satisfying than playing on swings and slides and strange climbing contraptions as a full-fledged adult.

Run:

My scootering-playgrounding time was actually a pretty good workout, but it was so lovely that I couldn’t help going to the park too.  I did six miles (2 warm-up, 2 tempo, 2 cool down).  The run was just okay — I felt too loose, kind of like a blob of jello running on two legs?  My mom actually told me that I looked really loose and relaxed today.  I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

What I’ve Been Munching On:

I’m going to do a mini therapy Monday recap since I didn’t post last night at the end, but for those of you who may not want to read it, I’ll share some eats first.

The star of the show:

SIAB!  Oh blender, how I’ve missed thee.  This bowl of glory contained 2/3 of a giant banana, about a cup of frozen raspberries, 2 tbsp peanuts, 1 tbsp flax seeds, 1 C low-fat milk, and a giant spoonful of plain Greek yogurt.  Topped with a crumbled kashi trail mix bar.  Heaven.  In a bowl.  This lunch made me so happy, and sometimes food should do that.  And it kept me full through my afternoon of serious playtime!

Other eats:

Airplane dinner (sorry it’s blurry): AB and pumpkin butter sammy on a whole wheat roll, carrot sticks, trail mix, dried fruit and ginger cat cookies.  Looks like a lot of food but this kept me well-fed from 2:30 when I left my room until 10:30 when I made it home!

All around, lots of good things.

Therapy  Monday:

I felt like I made a huge breakthrough in yesterday’s session.  I always leave therapy feeling like I have learned something new or understood a different way of approaching a situation or just shared important and scary parts of myself.  But yesterday was different; something finally clicked on an intellectual level.  That something sounds very simple, but is hard for me to grasp:  over the last several months, I have really come to understand the importance of loving myself and taking care of myself.  When I want to see a movie with a friend, I do that.  When I want to curl up in my bed with Herbert (my stuffed duck) and a good book, I do that.  When I want a mocha, I have one.  Seems simple enough, and really, it is.  But I knew that I was missing something — taking care of myself felt rewarding, but there was still a deep and ongoing sense of sadness and hopelessness in me that I couldn’t quite pinpoint the origin of.  I won’t go into the details of how I arrived to this understanding because it is not something I want to share on the blog, but suffice it to say that after a lot of tears and frustration and even arguing with my therapist, I realized the following: in addition to actively taking care of myself, I have to stop carrying around other people’s problems.  I have a certain tendency not just to absorb other people’s (rather serious) issues, but to let them affect me and drive my own feelings.  This is not good.  I do not need more mental baggage than I already have.  No matter how much I love a person, I cannot carry around their darker side, their hopelessness.  It’s too exhausting.  Duh, Caronae.  This was a painful truth for me to come across, and I give my sweet therapist a lot of credit here.  In the name of pushing me to open up and to look deeper, she said some things that annoyed me, but I think in the end we arrived somewhere.  I felt like there was just a decisive conclusion at the end of the session and I felt so joyful and grateful.

Okay, that’s more than enough rambling for today!

What’s going on in your lives?  I feel funny having been “absent” from blogging for a day!  Oh, and I need tips: now that I’m home I have access to a large and fully-equipped kitchen (i.e, blender, wok, grater, beater, rolling pin, etc.) and I want suggestions on what to cook!  I know I’ll be doing Evan’s/Averie’s avocado chocolate pudding and lots of smoothies (possibly the one Mama Pea posted today — looks so good!) but what else?

I have seen so many delicious recipes in blog world lately that I don’t know where to start.  Help!

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