Adventure Friday!

Today’s Happy Note: Grocery shopping!   Never fails to make me happy.  And I had some pretty good finds too, like TJ’s mini peanut butter cups and sole fillets on sale at Whole Foods.

Hello friends!  Happy Friday evening.  I had a very exciting day filled with adventures galore!  At the office this morning someone referred to “going on an adventure” and my ears perked right up.  Immediately, I pictured pirates and princesses and dragons and giants.  Actually, the adventure only involved picking up huge boxes from the mail room. But an adventure is an adventure and I like them all.  Seriously, you could probably tell me that the most boring analytical political paper ever (which I will be writing this weekend) was an adventure and I’d probably enjoy it.  Note to self: said paper is an adventure.

Guess what?  I have an apartment for the summer!!!!!!! Perfect location, price, etc.   It’s huge and in a beautiful old building on the UWS with a doorman.  And the woman who owns it doesn’t actually live there!  She works there some afternoons/evenings, and it’s been in her family for over 50 years.  Basically I will have the space to myself some of the time!  It’s pretty fabulous (and beautifully decorated).  The bedroom alone is about twice the size of my current dorm room, and cheaper.  I’m excited!

Exercise: 30 minutes of arm weights and 30 minutes HIIT on elliptical this morning.  When I do this combo I think of it as a power hour.  And it is!  I had to lug around multiple (heavy) bags of groceries later on in the day and I felt really strong doing it.  And I can definitely see more definition in my arms.  I never seem to see much ab definition though.  I can have rock solid arms and legs and the abs will just be, well…there.  Anybody else have this problem?

I also walked at least another 4 miles throughout the day (mostly on my adventure).

Lunch was yummy and Caribbean-inspired!

Romaine base topped with carrots, plantains, coconut rice, and pinto beans.  This tasted surprisingly yummy all mixed up!

I wasn’t in the mood for a cookie for Cookie Friday, but did want a treat.  I found just what I was looking for at the WF bakery…

Rocky Road Brownie! This was so perfectly rich and delicious.  I had a spoonful of my newfound maranatha dark chocolate almond “spread” (no idea why it is a “spread” and not a “butter”) on the side.  Pure chocolatey heaven.  I hope there is chocolate in heaven.

Adventure Friday:

Recap of Adventure Friday #1

Recap of Adventure Friday #2

I was planning on going to the Cloisters but didn’t have enough time because of visiting the apartment.  I needed something to do in a two hour block of time.  Enter…

The Central Park Conservatory Garden:

It was a most beautiful day and walking to the gardens and back was lovely!  A wee bit warm, but the piercing blue of the sky and the lazy, dragging leaves made up for it.  You guys know I like my plants, and today was a day for plants indeed. I saw many of my favorites — lilacs, lilies of the valley, honeysuckle, bluebell.  I also saw a ton of willows.  I think willows might be my favorite tree.  Either that or Japanese maple or white pine.  Hmmmm…

Do you have a favorite flowering plant?  Tree?

My sister became obsessed with edible wildlife when we were kids.  Someone gave her a book about what you can and can’t eat in the great outdoors and she latched onto it for years; if we went to a park or a lake or a botanical garden (what?  you didn’t go on trips to botanical gardens as a kid?), the book went too.  I quickly learned which berries could and could not be eaten, how to properly suck on honeysuckles, and that pine needles are edible.  I have forgotten most of the specifics, but the two of us used to take great joy in rambling around the woods looking for things to eat.  Today reminded me of that!  I started thinking of all the things in the gardens that could be edible…

Alright, I have just admitted one of the major quirks of my childhood.  Now you have to share.

This was a very pleasant little Adventure Friday!  I highly recommend the gardens; it’s nice to find spots of greenery and natural beauty in the city.

I have a monster headache and am off to steam myself and drink gallons of water!  I want to do a long run this weekend, but I know that it might not be the best plan given that I still feel sick and now sound like I have whooping cough…or tuberculosis…or something.  Blech.

Anyone doing anything fun for the weekend? I will be writing three papers!  Yay  Hope everyone else has a fun few days filled with outdoor activities (i.e., not sitting in the library looking like a vampire)!

Food, Mothers, Families

Today’s Happy Note: Honey-Lemon-Echinacea cough drops.  They’re special.

Exercise: I felt really icky this morning but felt better as the day went on.  I made a little pharmacy run for cough drops, ibuprofen, and kleenex and just felt like I had to run afterwards!  I did my favorite route along the Hudson River, 3 miles down and 3 back with 20 minutes of abs in the middle.  I did 30 reps of 16 different exercises and my tummy was burning. Some of my favorites include boat pose and crunches with legs at 90 degrees in the air.  Averie did a great post about abs — her favorite exercises, how to get good definition (hint: you need to do a few things besides crunches),  etc. I recommend it, it is very informative and inspiring; I love the attitude she takes that when we want something for ourselves we have to get out there and go for it!  Something I want?  A date.  Or two.  I do not think this is greedy.  I don’t yet have a plan for getting said dates, though.  Any ideas?

What’s something you want?  And what’s your plan of attack for getting it?  I say go for it!

I managed to forget to take pictures of everything today so I thought I would talk a little about food and my childhood (in conjunction with one another).  These are topics that I have definitely talked about before, but not really together.

Feeling Confined: Food, Mothers, Families

My parents, as you well know by now, are both doctors.  Good doctors (my dad was recently ranked second best doctor in the county!  Go papa!).  Both of my parents were very (and are) informed about health,  and their jobs allowed us economic and social access to a variety of healthy experiences.  I was a gymnast for ten years, a swimmer, a soccer player (briefly), runner, diver, scooter-rider, park-going, bike-riding, playground-loving kid.  My parents knew about the importance of fresh fruits and veggies.  They knew that kids don’t need to be pumped full of juice or candy or highly processed junk.  Other kids were bringing sandwiches on white bread to lunch; I had multigrain bread sandwiches with sides of carrots and apples.

I am extraordinarily grateful for the healthy childhood my parents gave me, in so many ways.

Last night I was talking on the phone with my dad and he mentioned that he absolutely had to buy a box of cocoa crispies.  His rationale?  He still felt the need to defy my mother’s “food rules.”  All this time I had thought I was the only one who was traumatized by them!  Don’t get me wrong; my mom always had the best of intentions, but sometimes food could become a stressful experience within our already chaotic household.

Sample “rules” (most unspoken):

-no cereal with more than 7-8 grams of sugar

-no white bread

-dinner isn’t dinner without about five servings of produce

-fake food is not food (ex: processed cheese stuff)

-pop and candy are useless calories

-you don’t need dessert everyday

-fast food is a once a year kind of thing.  If you do eat it, you should not enjoy it.

I think that for the most part these are quite good principles to live by.  And for the most part, I live by them today. For example, I have no interest in most highly processed foods, outside of th occasional oreo, and I quite dislike fast food. But there was something constraining about the relationship with food that I experienced.  I think that my mother was right to be concerned about what she put in her own body and the bodies of her children and husband, but is there a way to remain concerned without becoming obsessive?

When I was 16 I came to NYC on a trip with my poetry team.  One day, we all ate lunch in Harlem at a fried chicken place.  I had a milkshake.  I was terrified of the fried chicken because I had always been taught (and believed) it to be somehow evil.  Food is not evil.  It does not possess any inherent goodness or badness.  It is food.  In a single moment, much of my understanding of the world unraveled: it became clear to me that not everyone did or could eat the way my family and I did.  I had been “food privileged.”  And at the same time, I experienced a disordered relationship with food in much the same way that many very unhealthy people do.  How could these two worlds exist simultaneously within me?

In a way, they still coexist.  I find myself wondering if my actions with food are “correct.”  What if I eat a sandwich for lunch and there is too much bread?  What does “too much bread” even mean?  I don’t know what, precisely, is a proper relationship to have with food.  How I should interact with it on a day to day basis.  I know one important thing: there is a major difference between real food and processed food.  But other than that, I don’t know a whole lot.

I think one other thing I understand is this: maybe I don’t need to know all the answers.  Maybe I only need to live and breathe and be.  Maybe the answer does not lie in the precise outlining of a relationship with food.  Maybe there is no perfect program, but rather, I will find answers and comforts in not following any rules at all — neither restrictive rules nor wildly unrestrictive ones.

I am picturing my eight year old self lying sprawled on an asphalt driveway, a friend outlining my giddy body in pink chalk.  I think this is the rule; remember what it feels like to color yourself in with chalk; remember that outline, how it was sometimes blurry and jagged.  This is what food is.  It is not black and white; my relationship with it may be jagged and this is okay — maybe even beautiful.  Little pink chalk body outlines, surrounded by happy blue stars and yellow suns: this is beautiful.  This is happy.  Food can make me happy too.  A million things can make happy, and I do not have to participate in any relationship in which I feel constrained.  I want that girl back — the one playing with the bucket of colored chalk.  That girl.

I Like (Free) Food.

Today’s Happy Note: Naps.  Cuddling with my stuffed duck Herbert.  Watching TV curled up in my bed.  Drinking tea with honey.  Ah, the joys of being sick and not going to class!

Exercise: Went for a 40 minute walk today; climbed lots of stairs.  Still no “official” exercise, and guess what?  I’m perfectly fine!  I am, however, getting a bit restless and will need more movement time tomorrow.  I also am missing strength training!  I can’t wait to lift some arm weights and do core work.  Sometimes it’s not the process of exercise (i.e., burning calories, seeing results, etc.) but the act: it clears my head and just doing it makes me feel strong.

Eats: Sicky foods.  I’ll let the pictures talk.

Okay wait.  I want to talk.  Who doesn’t buy their dark chocolate by the pound (or pound plus, perhaps).  And anyone who doesn’t consume dark chocolate when they’re sick is a zombie.

And who doesn’t eat frozen yogurt daily?  Is that not allowed?

Eats Part II: Free food. Who doesn’t like free food?  I’ve been encountering LOTS of free food lately.  It tends to be rather ubiquitous at the end of the semester and my thoughts about it can be summed up in three words: I love it. I haven’t spent money on dinner in three days.  This is amazing.  I try to keep things real on this blog, and this is definitely one very “real” aspect of my life.  While I’ll never skimp on food, I can’t always afford Whole Foods produce or organic products or unlimited servings of fresh veggies.  I do what I can — and I probably do better than most college students.  But sometimes, payday is still three days away.   In the meantime, bring on the (free) food (preferably healthy; but when you’re a student free is free).  I don’t discriminate amongst things without price stickers.

Free dinner last night:

I snagged a seat at a little dinner hour with the provost and had a most lovely meal, including un-pictured chocolate covered strawberries.  My school is insanely rich and has the most amazing catering services.

Items pictured include: grilled chicken, salmon, rare steak, roasted cauliflower, some sort of bacon potato salad (DIVINE), broccolini, greek salad, mango and cucumber salad.

Tonight’s free dinner:

That last plate is stolen free food.  Perhaps snagged is a better way of describing it.  Plus, it was leftover at the end of an event, so I’m pretty sure it was up for grabs anyways.  This meal involved jerk chicken, a tiny bit of rice and beans (I’m not a huge rice fan), lamb kebab, Indian samosa patty thing, plantains, plain salad, fruit, and, of course, pretty cupcakes.  Look at that frosting!  So blue.  It reminds me of pictures of the ocean off of Greek islands.  Random, but am I right?

These cupcakes were from Buttercup Bakery (I saw the boxes) and the frosting was hands down the best I have ever had in the city.  Creamy and rich and sweet but not overpowering or cloying.  A perfect balance.

I’ve only gone to two classes so far this week.  Hey, I don’t want to infect anybody else right before finals!  Seriously, people on this campus would be having some major panic attacks if they got sick right now.  I;m only doing my duty to my fellow students.  BUT this wonderful little not-going-to-class-streak must end, sadly.  I am feeling a bit better and really need to go to both my classes and work tomorrow.  Hopefully I won’t be too tired!

Goodnight friends!  And happy Thursday!

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