Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Walnut Bread

Today’s Happy Note: Baking.  I love baking.  Never fails to make me feel better.

Marathon Training: I did my yoga class and 4.5 miles with strides on Wednesday.  Yesterday I started the 30 Day Shred and then USB got here so I didn’t finish.  Today I did 20 minutes of hip-opening yoga before work, and 6.5miles after work.

For the first time in a long time my legs felt great!  It felt like I was gliding along.  I felt light but also strong.  Win.  I did 6×400, two per mile for miles two, three, and four.  It was spectacular!

I am starting to think that all of my hard training may have paid off!  Hopefully the rest of taper keeps going this smoothly.

And now, a recipe!  It’s been a while since I have come up with anything.  And to be honest, I didn’t exactly create this myself.  It comes from my Uncle John!  So, thank you, Uncle John!  It’s in our family cookbook.  It’s really cool!  It has pictures of my grandparents, an extended family tree, and recipes from everyone!

Caronae’s Pumpkin Walnut Chocolate Chip Bread

Adapted from John’s Banana Nut Bread

  • 1.25 C Wheat Flour
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 C Oats
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 C pureed Pumpkin
  • 1/3 C melted Butter/Earth Balance
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 C Milk/Soy Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 C chopped Walnuts
Mix all dry ingredients together.  Add in wet ingredients.  Pour into a greased loaf pan.  Bake it all at 350 for about 50 minutes.  Let cool before removing from pan.
It’s pretty!  Look!
I shall be back with deeper thoughts tomorrow!
Any exciting weekend plans? I plan on a trip to the farmer’s market, some pumpkin carving, and lots of friend time!
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Marathon Training Thoughts And Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today’s Happy Note: My hair.  Even though it annoys me sometimes, I’m really in love with it.  It’s dark, wavy, and mysterious, and I like how it looks sexy down or up.

Marathon Training: I was super tired after work yesterday (which is sad considering I didn’t start until 11) and fell asleep afterwards.  One of the things I despise most about fall and winter is the loss of daylight in the evenings.  I mourn that loss.  As a runner — and a lover of evenings in general — I need that space.  I’m not asking for full-blown light after 6:00 or so, just a sort of twilight.  It is pretty tricky for me to run safely after 6:00 or 6:30.  Blech.

So, when I woke up from my nap at 6:45 I thought all was lost and started getting mad at myself for missing a run.

But then I realized that a run was still possible if I stayed on the main streets, rather than going into any parks.  I try not to do this too often, but my legs were itching and I really needed to clear my head.  I promised myself a trip to Whole Foods afterwards too. 🙂  I ended up getting in 7.5 miles. “The plan” called for 8 hilly miles, so it might not have been perfect, but it was the best I could do and I’m proud of myself for getting out there.

I did 5.5 miles this morning. They were not pleasant.  I was sllooooowwwww.  I hope that means my body is saving up lots of energy for tomorrow morning’s early 22 miler!  Wish me luck!

Sometimes I get tired of talking about running.  Of thinking about it, even.  When you start training for a marathon, you know (or at least you should know) that running is going to take up a hell of a lot of time.  But no one tells you that it will somehow manage to take up all your non-running time too: when I am not running, I am thinking about when I will squeeze my next run in, that I need to stretch, that X body part really hurts because of running, how many miles I have run this week, what the running plan for next week is, and, most importantly, when will my next meal be.  And how I will ever make it big enough to fill my constantly-hungry belly.

Now that we’re on the subject of food…

These, my friends, are chocolate chip pumpkin cookies.  Tasty, tasty cookies.  I haven’t baked in a while and was feeling in the mood.  Sometimes ya just have to bake, ya know?  I made this recipe from Tasty Kitchen.  Momma2Girls, you rock!

I will always have a soft spot for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  My freshman year of college, I turned 18 in November.  I had made two really good friends by that point and had some more acquaintances.  I am not great at making new friends or adjusting to new circumstances.  I was feeling lonely and sad on my birthday.  A week or so beforehand my mom had asked me if I wanted her to send me a birthday treat and I gloomily acquiesced.  A few days before my birthday, it arrived.  I can’t remember if I opened it then or waited until my birthday. But it was pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They were soft and fresh and made me so happy.  I ended up crying myself to sleep that night; those cookies felt like the only bright spot of the day.

Time to go night night.  I have a very early wake up call for my 22 miler!  I’m doing it with a friend so hopefully that helps.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?  Do you like pumpkin or do you think it’s just a silly blogger obsession?

Goodnight friends!

Therapy Thoughts: Body Hatred

Today’s Happy Note: Had a wonderful little “me” day.  I did what I wanted — lifted weights, tried some new recipes,  had an amazing, teary, breakthrough therapy sesh, baked, napped, and read.  I took care of me in a way that I haven’t done in a while.

Marathon Training: I made it through 8 hilly miles yesterday.  My legs felt very tight for some reason, and no amount of stretching breaks seemed to help.  Meh.  At least it got done.  The general arc of my training plan is the same from week to week:

Sunday: long run

Monday: rest (weights/cross train/yoga)

Tuesday: speed work

Wednesday: short, easy run with 100 meter strides (3-5 miles)

Thursday: medium long run with hills

Friday: rest (weights/cross train/yoga)

Saturday: short, easy run (4-6 miles)

Pretty straightforward, no?  It has been working for me quite well, minus the nagging pain in the back left hip.  I have been making sure to rest and stretch.  I suppose I could ice as well (the guys at one of the delis near me have been giving me small bags of ice that fit in my freezer for a dollar!!!!!).  In the next one or two weeks, I plan on adding a sixth day of running in, probably on Fridays, just 3-6 easy miles.  I will hit 41 miles this week, and would like to inch up to 50-55 over the next month, until mid-October when I “peak”, then taper.  I have done a great job of increasing mileage slowly — I started around 25.  I just think it is going to be very hard to get to 50-55 miles per week on 5 days of running.  As long as the hip isn’t bothering me too much, I think I will take it up to six.

Thoughts?  Anyone trained on six days a week before?  What has been your peak mileage, if you’re a runner?

I know I have hit 55 before, maybe even 58-60.   I am definitely capable of it.  I went ahead and took the rest day today.  I lifted weights for an hour or so, which felt great.

I came home and had my first-ever blended hot cereal creation a la Katie!

Okay, so I freely admit that it does not look like the most appetizing thing you have ever seen.  But holy amazing. This was easily the best way I have ever eaten my breakfast grains! I made a big batch of quinoa last night.  This morning I used about 1.5 servings — I simply dumped it in the blender, added about another 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup water, a generous sprinkling of cinnamon, and a scoop of vanilla protein powder.  Then I blended and tossed in a sprinkle of xantham gum.  When it was thoroughly blended, I poured it into a bowl and heated, then topped with sunbutter.

I thought I loved grains before.  I think I might be in love with them now.  This just took it to the next level.  Hello creaminess, volume, and gloriousness.  You must try this, if you are a breakfast grain eater (and who isn’t???).

Thank you Chocolate-Covered Katie! You’re my whole-grain hero.

Other food endeavors today involved Angela’s salt-kissed chunky PB chocolate chip cookies.  I didn’t end up kissing them with salt though, as I am not a huge salt fan.  I also subbed AB for the PB and used an egg instead of the canola oil, which worked fine.  I didn’t mean to de-veganize it, but I had no canola oil and thought EVOO would taste weird.

The verdict?  I loved them!  These cookies managed to do something few cookies can do: they tasted healthy and earthy and not overly-sweet, but were also indulgent and satisfying. Cookie perfection, pretty much.

Bonus: they’re super easy — those two bowls contained all the ingredients (minus the chocolate chips).  I’m pretty sure a 12 year old boy could do this.

The dough was really fun to shape into balls.  I added about a billion extra chocolate chips. 🙂

I enjoyed one warm and fresh with vanilla almond milk.  This was one of the best Cookie Friday’s ever!

Lots of delicious food today — my mind and body feel nourished!

Onto heavier things…(FYI: this post is heavily focused on weight and body image — if these things are upsetting to you or not helpful in your recovery, please please please skip this section).

Therapy Thoughts

Today was a wonderful, amazing, painful breakthrough day.  It hurt very, very much.  It might have been the most pain I have ever felt during the moment of therapy, but afterwards, I felt like this giant burden was gone from me. Like a little bird had carried it away, across a mountain, never to return again.  Today was sort of like a raging river, with no bridge across it: I had to go through it to get to the other side.  There was no alternate route, no detour.  The river was big and scary and it hurt.  I felt like I was going to drown.  But L was there with me.  It was sort of like I knew I couldn’t drown with her there, but I came as close to drowning as one can — I could feel the water welling up against all the sides of me.

That was dramatic.  But today was a dramatic day, obviously.  One that I need very much to write about and share with you all.

Today was the day that I finally completely and totally opened up to L (and myself, in a way) about my body-hatred and my struggles with my weight and my eating.  I have always been open with you guys, but never to this extent.  In fact, there are some things about this journey that I have not and probably will not tell you all.   Forgive me.  The body is the most personal space.

The anguish I feel over my weight (which is approximately 10-15 pounds above what I would ideally like it to be right now, and a few pounds above the uppermost limit of the “healthy” BMI) is greater than any other anguish I feel (0r have felt) in my life.  There is nothing that makes me want to die as much as the shape and size of my body does.

I feel tremendous guilt over this; it’s ridiculous.  I am an educated, smart, creative, lovely young person with many many talents and all I can think about is my body, sometimes.  For God’s sake, I study human rights: I know all about the real horrors that are happening in this world (genocide, gang rape, starvation) and my weight is not one of them.

As I spoke with L — sobbed to her is more accurate, actually — she was simultaneously gentle and compassionate and firm and serious.  It was a miraculous combination.  Somehow, in some way, her responses made it clear to me the ways in which I am judging myself.  And it isn’t very nice.  I would never, ever even think these things about another person.  So why is it that my 15 extra pounds incapacitate me?  Why do I feel morally reprehesnible and irresponsible and disgusting?

Well, of course, I don’t know exactly why I have come to feel this way — why this is the only way I have understood my body, since early adolescence.  Maybe it is related to the face that I am not (and never will be) naturally thin.  That is simply not the way I am built.  I have spent the last five years trying to change that.  Recovering from the pulmonary embolism has showed me that life isn’t fair.  My body isn’t fair.  I eat well.  Sometimes I overeat.  But I can run ultramarathons.  I can run 50 miles a week and lift weights and do yoga.  I love vegetables.  So why me?  I think “why me” is the wrong question and “when can I start loving myself regardless of the shape of my body” is the right question.

I have never actually been suicidal, but I have wanted to die.  Because of my body.  What is this world coming to that someone as talented and smart as I am wants to die because of the way she looks?  More importantly, what is happening in my world that makes me want to die because of my looks?

Between the now-uncontrolled PCOS (I can not take hormones now or ever again because of the PE), the sudden ending of the birth control pills, the stress, the physical recovery, and a few other things, my body is out of whack right now.  There are, quite simply, things beyond my control.  As I was sitting on the couch, rocking back and forth,. holding my face in my hands, so distraught that I couldn’t speak — I realized, clearly and distinctly, that I have to change the way I think about my body.  Certainly there are moments when I like myself, physically.  But there are many more moments where I despise my thighs or my breasts or my neck or the space just above my elbow.

And these moments are only hurting me more.  Now that I say it out loud, it sounds obvious.  But hating myself only sucks out more energy and makes me feel worse.  These 15 pounds do not represent my life.  I am so much more than 15 fucking pounds.

FYI: I am NOT suicidal, by any means, at this moment.  If you think you need help, please get help — you deserve to live. I have a list of resources on my Mental Health page, here. Although I am NOT a health professional, you are always welcome to email me as well.

Epic.

Today’s Happy Note: Lost.  Anyone else a fan?  It’s been a pretty epic series with some epicly misleading twists and turns, but ultimately, I think the characters are just screwed up enough to make it endearing (fyi: my dad just commented that the people on Lost are so intense they sound like “they just won World War II”).

Hello friends!  I’ve been having an epic weekend, obviously full of epic activities.  For some reason, weekends like this make me want to go camping.  And eat sticky s’mores and play in the lake and the cedar woods all day.  And then sleep in a tent.  And have lots of adventures.

But alas, no camping just yet, as I’m heading back to the city tomorrow.  They should have, like, a Central Park camping club.  Nothing says wilderness quite like ambulances, sirens, and 24-hour takeout.

Exercise: I ran 10-ish miles yesterday and it was terribly humid.  I don’t actually mind running in the heat, but I despise the humidity.  I’ve always been a big perspirer and any moisture in the air seems to wring all the fluid out of my body, leaving me wet, tired, and drained.  I walked another two or three miles later in the day.  Anyone have any great running-in-the-humidity tips? I’ve been running in the summer for seven years now and haven’t figured out.  Maybe it’s just one of those things where you have to suck it up and do it.

Today I did some serious hot vinyasa!  The teacher was a little bit loony and didn’t quite get the spiritual side of things right, but I did like her flows and her reminders to focus on our breath and internal heat.  We did some really fun series that we would go through several times with her and then do on our own.  It lent the session a nice aspect of independence and created a space for personal growth in a very direct way.  I think that airplane and tripod headstand are my current favorite poses.

Onto the weekend’s epic adventures (not in chronological order because I’m cool like that)!

Epic blueberry smoothies!


This monster-sized bowl of tastiness has five, yes five, varieties of blueberries!  No joke.  All I can think of is that crazy, greedy girl from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.  I don’t think this will turn you into a blueberry though.  Hopefully.

Five large ice cubes

1 C frozen blueberries

3/4 C milk (any variety you prefer)

1/2 packet tera’s whey blueberry protein

1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein

1/2 C blueberry-pomegranate steaz (or other blueberry drink)

1/2 C blueberry chobani

Toppings: almonds/mixed nuts and fresh blueberries

Epic brownie making!

One of the things I love most about being home is having epic adventures with my sister.  When we were little we fought a lot, but we also did many things together — climbing trees, family birthday parties, playing house (and pioneer people — our favorite game; weird kids), and, occasionally, baking things with our mother.  I don’t remember doing brownies.  But I do remember complicated gingerbread people and houses and wild berry muffins.  These were my mom’s specialties.  My sister and I just liked to eat the toppings.  Somehow, the last batch of everything always got burnt.  It’s a family tradition.

We made these brownies from a Joy of Cooking recipe.  Homemade brownies are so worth the time, labor, and mess.  So rich and fudgy and satisfying.  We made three separate pans worth: almond/cherry, marshmallow/m&m, and plain.

Epic swimming with epic friends!

It’s nice to stay close with friends from childhood and high school.  No matter how long I’ve known a person or how close we are, I feel an ongoing social anxiety.  Sometimes I’m afraid of being “rejected”, but the rational, healed part of me knows how silly this is.  My friends love me and I love my friends.  It’s that simple.

We went to the beach!  Well, more of a woodsy lake with a small amount of sand.  The water was chilly at first but we ended up having plenty of fun splashing around and getting nice tans.  I even wore my bikini without feeling too afraid of my own body, although I will confess that I didn’t feel the most confident.  One step at a time.

It was honestly the perfect summer afternoon.  No obsessive, painful thoughts about food or feeling fat or “I should be exercising, not lying around in the sun with a book.”  Just sun, water, friends, and me.  Happy me.  It was a pretty epic feeling.

Epic date with my dad!

I was never one of those girls who was naturally super close to her father.  But my dad is a fascinating, caring man and I do love spending time with him.  It wasn’t necessarily the easiest thing when I was younger, but I love it now.  Sometimes I wish I could spend more time with my parents and sister.  I usually see them 3-5 times a year.  I’m really still a kid.  I know that.

First we went to the park and explored the river.  I wanted to see some fishies but didn’t. 😦  In the evening we had dinner and went to see The Secret In Their Eyes, which was easily one of the best movies I’ve seen in years.  It had all the right proportions of mystery, passion, love, truth, and humanity.  Highly recommended.

For some reason, I absolutely had to have pizza for dinner last night.  Every few months I get a serious pizza craving.  Cheese is comforting.  Very very comforting.  I think Joanne would agree.  Wild mushroom and pepperoni:

I think this is enough epicness for one small post.

What epic things have you done lately?

Therapy Monday

Today’s Happy Note: Baking cookies!  I made chocolate chunk cookies for the students who I teach an SAT class on Monday nights.  Today was the last day so I wanted them to have a little reward.  Baking is definitely relaxing!

I started feeling a teeny bit sick yesterday and am full-blown sick today.  Icky.  Sore threat, headache, body ache, etc.  I hope it’ll go away soon since I have so much work to get done this week and I can never concentrate when I’m sick and I just want to take a nap!

I didn’t want to overdo it by exercising too much, so I just did a twenty minute yogadownload video this morning and walked about 2-3 miles throughout the day.  The yoga felt nice and relaxing.

When I’m sick I tend to panic about not exercising for a few days at a time.  I dislike taking rest days more than one day in a row, and if I’m sick for 3 or 4 days and don’t workout at all, well, that scares me.  I have an irrational fear of becoming instantaneously fat.  And then if I do workout I just feel run down which stresses me out and probably just ends up exacerbating the illness!  So, my mini goal here is this: respect my body, give it the rest and love and attention that it needs; if I feel up for a little movement, fine, but if not, I will listen to my body (and my mind) and I won’t stress about my decisions either way!

What do I like to eat when I’m sick?

Oatmeal!  Specifically, oats in a jar!

My row of nut butter jars is growing growing growing!  I have no idea why I’m saving them, I just think they’re cute!

I  also like cold, creamy smoothies (consumed in a bowl with some kashi for crunchiness!):

And soothing, hot tea:

And easy peasy leftover bowls: this dish (ground beef, stir-fried asparagus/spinach, TJ’s coconut lime rice) took three minutes to heat in the microwave!  And voila, done.

I also like hot cocoa and anything sweet/carby.  What do you like to eat or drink when you’re sick?

Therapy Monday:

Today was really complicated; lots of tears, but I came away with one simple and concise point: be compassionate towards others, but begin by being compassionate towards yourself and your family.  It would take me about ten years to explain how we got to this point so I won’t.  But it was a lovely, spectacular little realization, really.  Because it’s so true.

On an unrelated note, I was telling my therapist about what I did when I was little and I was sick.  I used to go to my parent’s offices  (they’re both doctors) and it was such a blast!  My sister and I would play with the stethoscopes, microscopes, and rolling stools, draw endless pictures, and be entertained by the nurses.  Great little memory!   When I was older and could stay home during the day by myself, I became an absolute master at either pretending I was sick when I wasn’t or convincing my mom that I just needed a day off and she should call school and say I was sick.  I have always been pretty good at manipulating people, but this was my specialty.  She always felt so bad (and was really gullible), and I took a ton of sick days when I wasn’t remotely sick!

Did anyone else do this or was it just me?  Do you have any really fun childhood memories like this one?

A third note: my therapist went way above and beyond the call of duty today.  I don’t really want to explain how, but wow.  Just wow.  I was floored by her compassion, generosity, and kindness.  I am so incredibly, incredibly lucky.  If anyone lives in New York and wants a therapist, email me and I would HIGHLY recommend her.

Alright, time for me to munch on chocolate, do the crossword puzzle from the paper, and go to sleep!  Goodnight 🙂

Yoging

Today’s Positive Note: I am strong, smart, beautiful, and worthy.  My body does not define me.  I have lots of valuable things to offer the world and I can and will use my talents to make my environment a better place.  I am making a promise to talk nicely to myself and to others.

I shall be starting a new type of daily note at the beginning of my posts tomorrow, since it’s a new month and I’m running out of nice things to say about myself.

Yoging: (noun) refers to any adventure in which yoga and running are dually involved. 

I may or may not have just made that word up, but it’s the best way to describe my adventures today!

But first, some pictures of the oatmeal chocolate chip peanut butter cookies I made last night.  I got the recipe from Tasty KitchenThe Pioneer Woman will never, ever fail me.  Thanks PW!

All ready to bake!

I find baking to be very soothing.  It’s just so rhythmic and even.  And tasty.

All done!  These babies were very chewy and flavorful, and I love when you can taste the cinnamon in a cookie.  I have a confession, though: I thought I had butter, so when I went to the store I didn’t get any.  I came back, discovered I didn’t have any, and was not about to venture back out in the ten degree bitter cold.  Solution? 1 cup of vanilla yogurt.  I’m not lying.  Both the consistency of the cookie and its taste are totally fine — excellent, even.  I don’t know if this will work for all recipes, but it sure worked here.

Okay, onto my yoging.  I thought about running first thing this morning.  I even had my outfit all laid out:

Yep, it was that cold.  I ended up going later in the day so I didn’t need quite that much clothing, but still…

So.  My cousin recommended that I try out the 12:15 donation class at Shala Yoga Studio.  I already knew my cousin was brilliant because she has about eleven degrees including a phD and she’s now doing a post-doc (which is higher than a phD  — who knew such a thing was possible?), but I did not know she was this brilliant.  She told me the class is usually not very full, but get this: I was the only person there.  And I paid $3 (I wasn’t trying to be stingy, that’s all I had).  So basically, I just got an amazing private 90 minute vinyasa class in a beautiful studio with a fabulous teacher for $3.  In Manhattan.  I am not making this up.  I have photographic evidence.

Yes, that happened.  If you’re a New Yorker and you don’t check this class and/or this studio out, you just might be committing a sin.  Although I’m not sure they have sins in yoga.  Well, you’ll be maligning your chakras, I can tell you that.

Here’s where the yoging part comes in.  Before heading to the studio on the train, I sneakily planned out a running route from the studio, around lower Manhattan, and back up the West Side to my dorm.  I needed to get in ten miles, but I had to do some guesstimating.  I left straight from the studio (which is near Union Square, in case you were wondering), jogged down 12th street (forgetting that West 4th street intersects with 12th street and getting horribly confused), and over to the river.  I knew from the start that my little leggies were very tired.  I kind of felt like how Murphy looked this morning.  The yoga class had actually been a bit intense, with lots of warriors, chaturangas, and balancing poses.  So I decided that today just wasn’t going to be a speedy run, it was going to be a getting-the-miles-in run.  My miles probably averaged out around eleven minutes each.  Slow, but steady (okay, not really, I was super exhausted in the last three).  I also had not had enough water in the morning at all and went through about four bottles during the run and ended up feeling over-hydrated.  Ick.  But I made it, eventually, and I’m pretty sure I did closer to eleven miles.  I am actually kind of excited to rest tomorrow.

Came back and had some cereal and this tasty little sandwich.  Okay, so maybe it doesn’t look tasty, but it was.  Promise.  PB and apple slices on my new bread, all heated up in the microwave.

I was super wiped after my four hour yoging adventure, so I took a little well-deserved nap.

Okay, so I haven’t done much “writing” writing on the blog lately, so it’s storytime!

Storytime: My Beautiful Sister.

There are probably hundreds of ways to describe how my sister and I exist together – as foreign bodies, as two moons on a shared path, as strangers who have suddenly found themselves alone on the earth and in desperate need of love.  But I think, mostly, we are any two things that are so disparate as to be practically the same.  A friend, Molly, once told me that you couldn’t have love without hate or hate without love.  That they each presumed the other’s existence – I was 12 and did not believe her, but now I know about people better.  My relationship with my sister has nothing to do with hatred, I am just trying to illustrate how sometimes, opposite things are intertwined.  Our names say it best: Caronae means the seashore; Darya means the sea (as it fades into the distance).  I’m constantly digging under her.  She’s always whispering away from me.  She is gentle, I am harder.

The day I came home from the hospital, all wrapped up in my mother’s arms, she made my infant self a special offer: she had created a cozy little nest in her favorite tree, an ash tree, in the front yard, and I was welcome to sleep there tonight – this was November in northern Michigan.  My parents, thankfully, did not take her up on this offer.  For the longest time, I saw her suggestion as mean and spiting.  But she wanted to give me a nest – baby birds live in nests.  Maybe I was a little baby bird friend for her.

When I was about 8 and Darya was about 12, we had a little accident with the toaster.  Our parents, notoriously stuck in the 70’s when it came to household appliances, had a non-functional TV and this dangerously old toaster.  We didn’t grow up with many electronic things.  So, my sister and I were home alone one morning trying to make ourselves some waffles (probably eggo cinnamon toast or chocolate chip, our shared favorites).  This is something we did with success fairly regularly, but this time, some of the wires in the toaster started sparking, and before we knew it, the whole thing was up in flames, and then the wooden cabinets beneath which it sat halfway on fire too.  And we were terrified.  I don’t remember the details of that day very well at all, but I do know this: my 12 year old sister insisted that I wait in the front yard.  She was trying to save me while she fought the fire herself.

I used to think her matted, curly hair was weird (she did cut it eventually), her friends were weird, her beliefs, even.  But these are the things that make Darya.  She has worn down pages of the Bible, I have stacks of running shoes and normal clothing.  So, yes, we are terribly different.  But I still have dreams in which she dies, and I never ever fall back asleep afterwards.  I never ever will unlearn how beautifully wild she is.  Like me, in a way.

Therapy Mondays

Today’s Positive Note: I am very loving.  If you become even moderately close to me, I will love you, and I will love you very hard.  This is usually a good thing, but sometimes results in me getting hurt.  Either way, I pride myself on my ability to feel love very intensely.

Before we get to therapy, let’s talk eats and exercise!

Eats

I normally hate overnight oats, but made them with Stoneyfield pumpkin yogurt and American Spoon Foods pumpkin butter and they were super tasty (side note: going to American Spoon Foods in Chicago with my parents is one of my earliest memories.  I think I was in first grade.).  I highly recommend this combination!

Like I alluded to in my last pose, I made Averie’s peanut butter cups yesterday.  Superbly delectable.  I may start having dreams about them.  Just look at these pictures – and not processed at all!

That’s my happy face after eating one!

Tonight, I made banana-walnut-chocolate chip bread!  It’s for Diana’s bake sale for Haiti, which I first read about on HangryPants.  I am a good baker, so I thought I’d do what I could to contribute.  This is the recipe I used.  It’s an amended version of my Uncle John’s, from our family cookbook.  Do you have a family cookbook?  It’s a really sweet idea, and can be done just for fun, for an anniversary, or for holiday presents.

1.25 C Whole Wheat flour

1 C Sugar

1 tsp salt (I left this out)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 C oatmeal

1 C mashed bananas

1/3 C vanilla yogurt

2 eggs

¼ C milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 C chopped walnuts

1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Add everything else, mixing until just blended (do not beat).  Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and top with the following:

 2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp chopped walnuts

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (mine took much longer because it was quite thick.  Check with a fork or toothpick every 10-15 minutes). 

 

Mmmmmmm…

Exercise

Today was a rest day on my half-marathon training plan.  I walked for about two miles, and I also plan on doing 10-20 minutes of yoga tonight.  Anyways, tomorrow is my second speedwork day of this training cycle. For some reason, speedwork makes me really anxious!  I’m supposed to do 5×1000 meters at 10k (ish) pace, with two minutes rest between each.  I might up the rest time a bit.  Eeek!  Wish me luck.

Therapy Mondays (if you want to read more about the background to this, go here) 

And now what you’ve all been waiting to hear about.  Or not.  For this semester, Mondays are going to be my therapy days.  So be forewarned, my posts will probably be emotional, but I almost always come away with some important lessons, and that’s what I really want to share.  I hope that in some way, I can inspire you guys to think about your own life in new, happier ways!

For some reason, I always cry during therapy.  I think it’s almost a natural physical reaction; I can go in happy as a clam and ready to talk about all the great things going on in my life and somehow I end up breaking down halfway through the session.  Oddly enough, I really enjoy this process.  It’s like I have this time every week when I can sob and nobody is judging me.  I think it’s kinds of healthy.   

I tend to blame myself for other people’s issues a lot.  I have a very adult relationship with most people in my life, including my family.  This has made me very independent, but it also makes me feel a bit guilty sometimes.  A few months ago, I was describing to my father something I felt guilty about and he said, “guilt is not a productive emotion.”  This idea finally “clicked” for me today.  There are people in my life who have mismanaged their own lives – friends, family, people I don’t know that well.  Their mistakes are not my fault, and it’s not helping me to see things through a lens of constant guilt.  My therapist has a sticker on her wall that says “don’t believe everything you think”, and while it sounds silly, this is a really important thing for me to realize.  I am not responsible for everyone in my life.  Just because I tell myself things doesn’t make them true.

This leads me to my next important realization.  During my winter break, there was a moment when I was with my mother, and we were looking at a picture of a recently deceased child.  My mother began crying, and I asked her why it upset her so much: she said that to a mother, the thought of losing your child is unbearable.  This depth of love, combined with several encounters with children that I’ve had over the last month, made me realize how much I want to be a mother someday.  To love and be loved that much is so important for our world, and for ourselves.

I am so lucky to have such a kind, non-judgmental and insightful therapist.  I feel like every week I am having a conversation with her.  It’s never a lecture, nor is it me having to talk exclusively.  I have come to enjoy my weekly sessions tremendously.  If you need help, feel free to email me.  I would love to talk to you about anything at all, and/or help you find a therapist or doctor who is qualified to help you more.

Okay, therapy discussion over.  Tomorrow is my first day of classes for the semester.  This is my fifth semester of college, but somehow, I’m still nervous!  And I only have one class to go to! 

Happy Tuesday everybody!  Do something nice for yourself today!

Question: tell me something you do that’s nice to yourself!  Today, I bought a new baking pan and baked, which is always super relaxing for me.