Veinte Tres

Today’s Happy Note: Completing the third longest run of my life!

(photo credit goes to Ada)

So. Today. (Hint: “Veinte Tres” means 23 in Spanish):

I have eaten multiple pumpkin smoothies.

I have spent most of the day in bed (but wait!  Some of it was productive because I was cuddling with USB!)

My hips and ilio sacrum are not happy with me.

I have a headache.  And I have to pee.

BUT most importantly I FINISHED.  More accurately, WE finished.   Yup, I had a special friend to do this run with!

Ada!!!!!!

Seriously, this run would not have happened (or I would have wimped out by mile ten) without the lovely Miss Ada. She was a lifesaver.  I always forget how nice it is to run with someone.  We chatted, motivated each other, and just generally collaborated.  It was spectacular!  She even knew a really fun route that I have never done before: we went down the West Side of Manhattan, along the Hudson, around South Street Seaport, back up the East Side to the Brooklyn Bridge.  We then crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn then came right back into Manhattan on the Manhattan Bridge (such creative names, really genius).  Then we continued up the East River to the Williamsburg, crossed that into Brooklyn and continued North in Brooklyn towards the Pulaski Bridge.  We crossed the Pulaski into Queens, ran to the Queensboro Bridge, and made it back into Manhattan.  We then followed E 61 street to Central Park and headed Northwest to West 72nd.  We ended at 72 and Broadway.

Total: 23 miles.

Time: About 4.5 hours (we did a few breaks)

That description probably makes no sense if you don’t live in NYC.  You can get a rough idea of the layout of the bridges and the boroughs from this map:

One of the best things about this run was that a lot of it followed the route for the NYC marathon (which is officially less than three weeks away!!!!).  So now I feel like I have more of an idea of what to expect in the outer Boroughs.  Yay!

Overall, I was really happy with this run.  I had already run 46 miles this week so my legs were pretty tired (I ended up with 69 miles — easily the highest weekly mileage of my life).  And you know what?  They still performed.  They still worked.  They were sore in some parts and creaky in others, but they carried me through.  Thank you, legs.

The last five or so miles were tough, but not undoable.  They could have been much, much worse.  I am right on track to make my goal of covering the whole 26.2 in just under 4:30.  🙂

I think I did a good job listening to my body in terms of food today.  I ate what I wanted, when I wanted.  And most of it was pretty clean, delicious, simple food.  Some of today’s epic eats (FYI: this is most definitely not everything I ate!):

I ate toast with PB and banana (I have discovered I can eat a small amount of PB before running) before starting.  I ate one package of shot blocks during the run and two diluted gatorades (bought one during the run).

I find myself insanely thirsty during long runs — like, I drink five or six bottles of water thirsty. Is this weird?

This cheddar and spinach panini was FREE.  And it was tasty.  A winning snack, in my book.

Many of these (leftover cookies!) were consumed.

I made a delicious dinner for USB and I.  The above was for both of us.  I am very poor and only own one plate.  I know, sad.

I cooked salmon with peanut/maple/ginger sauce, roasted cauliflower, and steamed delicata squash topped with cinnamon and avocado.  It was all really good but I only wanted a few bites — most of the avocado, some cauliflower, some salmon.  I have leftovers.

USB is 29 years old and has NO idea how to cook.  It’s kind of cute, actually.  I’m teaching him.  He is a very good learner and is quite useful in the kitchen!

I saved room for dessert a few hours later though.  This was a pumpkin/peanut butter/banana smoothie topped with more PB, chocolate chips, and a crumbled cookie.  It was epic.  That is all.

Lots of exciting things on the horizon this week:

-How I Eat Post

-Therapy Thursday

-Something involving bacon, I suspect (I have been craving it obsessively lately)

School is pretty light this week, which will be a nice break.

See you all tomorrow night!  Thanks for being in my life, bloggies. 🙂

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.

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.

Saturday Shenanigans

Today’s Positive Note: I have a strong stomach (I mean my abs, not my digestive abilities).  It may not be perfect, but it really helps when I’m running, especially up hills, and I do work hard to keep them strong.  I’ll share an ab routine that I do at some point…

Today was a lovely little Saturday.  In fact, I would deem it pretty close to perfect.  Woke up at 8:30, layed in bed until 9:00 musing about life, got up and made some oatmeal (I won’t lie, I honestly love the kashi packets and find them much easier than stovetop oats), read blogs and checked email until 10:30, got dressed and walked down to The Lite Choice for my tour.  I was contacted a few weeks ago by the director of operations asking if I might like to take a tour.  I like ice cream products of all varieties.  I like dessert.  I like free things.  Why not?

When I got there, I saw a little poster thingy from Missy with a healthy living tip.  I think it’s a nice idea that they are trying to promote healthy habits among their customers.

They told me about their business, their history (warning, really nerdy fact ahead: this was one of my favorite parts), and their “frozen dessert.”  It doesn’t have enough fat to be considered ice cream, but it doesn’t have the healthy bacteria requisite to be deemed frozen yogurt.  This might be one of my critiques actually — if I am going to indulge in a nice tasty dessert, why not throw some healthy probiotics in there as well?  It is made from real milk though, which they get from Upstate New York.  I love all things local (ish), so I appreciated this.

The owners were really sweet and let me try lots of flavors!

New York Cheesecake, I think.

Double chocolate truffle, one of my favorites.

Peanut butter.  Holy yum!

Peanuts and almonds that they grind right into the “frozen dessert.”  I would have been happy just eating the nut butters plain. 🙂

Lots of topping choices.

More flavors (I had a spoonful or two of each one).  The only one I tried that I explicitly didn’t like was the banana.  It tasted fake, which was a bit surprising since all their flavorings are made from real fruits ( they come out of a syrup-like bottle, but they are not artificial).  This was perhaps my favorite aspect of their whole product-model: pretty much everything is real.  I don’t mind eating real milk, sugar, butter, eggs, etc.  I just don’t want to ingest a bunch of chemicals.  Their “frozen dessert” was nice and thick and creamy, which is definitely something I look for, as a frozen yogurt conneiseur of sorts.  They’re also mostly about 100 calories for a small serving (without toppings, of course), which is nice.

Overall, I think that TLC seems like a really nice place for a pretty tasty dessert.  I didn’t so much appreciate the businessy-ness (I can make up words if I want) of the place, but I don’t think that the average customer would experience that.  Also, I am the least business-minded person ever.  I like words and art and history and countries, not companies and money-making.  But with that said, everyone in this world has to make a living some way, and I’m glad that these people are doing so with a yummy, natural, organic product.  

FYI — I know that “natural” and “organic” are vague terms that mean different things to different people.  Why can’t these just be nationally standardized?  I think a lot of times people end up confused, thinking that if a product is “natural” it is automatically healthy.  And that word is not really regulated anyway, and seems like it could be slapped onto anything.  Sorry, mini rant over. 

So I had a fun little morning tour!  They gave me some coupons (thanks TLC if you’re reading this), and just seemed like a genuinely kind, real company.  If you are looking for a treat and you’re in the New York area, check them out!

Let’s see.  After this I ran errands.  I stopped by this amazing little bakery on my way home, and then the bank to make deposits.  At the bakery I got a loaf of whole wheat raisin walnut bread.  Absolutely perfect.  I’m surprised that I restrained myself from eating the entire thing warm before I even made it out the door.  I did a little bit of reading and made some lunch.  My camera battery died by this point which seriously annoyed me because I had the most adorable lunch ever!   It consisted of a small egg and cheddar sandwich made on my new bread (if you’ve never made a savory sammy on a sweet bread, try it!) and a giant heap of carrots with TJ’s pb (like everyone has been saying lately, this stuff really is quite tasty).  And dried pineapple.

After lunch I spent some quality time with my Middle Eastern history books.

I have a highlighting problem, okay.

I love pretty book covers!  Yay.

Then I chatted with my mommy, who was in the middle of seeing a patient.  My bad.  My parents are both doctors, which means they’re busy busy busy.  Being a doctor really is not the glamorous lifestyle that has become so entrenched in the American imagination, at least from my point of view.  I had a lovely little nap after that (I seem to be having a really good day today???), woke up, was pensive again, read more.  Went to the gym and did five miles on the treadmill.  Okay, so what follows is the only mildly disconcerting moment of my day.

My school gym has this extraordinarily OBNOXIOUS policy of cardio machine sign-ups whereby you get one 30-minute slot once a day.  Yeah right.  Sometimes, 30 minutes just isn’t gonna cut it, especially when I’m training for a race and I need an hour or more on the treadmill because it’s about two degrees outside.  And to top things off, there aren’t really enough machines, so a lot of times  you have to sign up 30-90 minutes before you want to get on and then you sit around and wait.  Ugh.  So today I got there and, typically, no treddy was open for 45 minutes.  I stalled by slowly changing in the locker room and wasted 15 minutes.  Once I got out there, I noticed that the person for the 5:30 slot wasn’t on one of the treadmills, so I snagged it.  Thankfully they never came, but this was pure luck.  Of course, now I was on the wrong machine and when the person came for the next slot I had to stop, move my stuff, and go to the original machine that I had.  I finished my run (which by the way, was perfectly pleasant) and was cooling down when the guy came for the next session.  Okay, no problem, I was done BUT technically I still had the machine for another 30 minutes (I had illicitly signed up for a one hour block, as many gym goers do).  I told him this and he said “well, that’s against the rules so I crossed your name off and you absolutely do not get to stay on any longer and it’s automatically my turn.”  I was done and hate being in arguments,  so I just got off and was annoyed for about two minutes.  I’ve had similar experiences before too.  So, notice to Columbia’s gym: please change your machine sign-up policy and your stupid time limit.  And while you’re at it, get more machines.  And resolutionaries, please only continue to make the gym crowded if you solemnly swear that you will work out faithfully for the entire year.

This picture is from a few days ago, but you get the idea.  Too crowded.  Ewww.  Perhaps I’m being a wee bit harsh.  Sorry.

Earlier today, Mari left a comment saying there was an NYC bloggie meetup tonight.  I emailed her to ask where it was, but it probably had already started or something.  Alas, I am sure there will be future meetups!  So I made some dinner instead.  Leftover peanut veggie soup, to which I added tofu and a yummy spinach/mesculin salad. 

I love my giant heaps of green.  I need them in my life.  I used Annie’s Goddess dressing, which I hated the first time I tried it, but it has been steadily growing on me!

More reading (I made it through ONE book toady.  Kill me now) and dessert:

Half of this bottle of blueberry pommegranate yogurt from Ronnybrook.  I should probably just become a Ronnybrook spokeswoman or something.  Milk, I love you.  Ronnybrook Farms, I love you even more.

And now I am blogging.  I plan on venturing out into the cold for some chocolate chips so that I can bake (I just really feel the baking urge for some reason), and possibly doing a wee bit more reading.   Tomorrow will include a 10 miler if it is above 15 degrees and, hopefully, some free yoga.  I hope everyone had as happy a Saturday as I did!

~Caronae

PS: I did receive coupons from TLC, but going on the tour and writing about it was most definitely not a paid gig.  I did it because I am a foodie living in NYC who is always on the lookout for tasty treats.

Cookies, more skiing, and friends!

Today’s Positive Note: I have really strong legs, arms, and abs, and this makes me pretty good at cross-country skiing.  I am also brave and not afraid to go down hills.  I think my “running muscles” help  a lot with skiing.  I actually like all winter sports, and would love to downhill ski more often, but I do not live near mountains.

Camera mission accomplished!  I got a wonderful new camera today at Best Buy.  This is actually my first ever digital camera, so I am super excited.  I’ll probably be posting lots of random pictures today.  However, I accidentally fell on top of my computer yesterday (I am a klutz who can fall onto anything), and the hinge, which was already breaking, is now fully broken.  I took it to Geek Squad and they said I need to back up my hard drive, give it to them tomorrow, and they’ll send it out, and it will come back in two to three weeks.  Gah!  What will I do without my computer for that long?!?!?  Thankfully, my school has good computer labs, and I will be able to email, blog, and do my schoolwork.  But still, I like having my computer in my room.

Yesterday, my sister, my cousin, and I made chocolate chip/peanut/cinnamon cookies from this Martha Stewart cookie book.  They tasted a little bland/dry for some reason…We also watched Up, which is my favorite animated movie ever.  It is adorable and quite touching, actually.  Today I had pancakes with peaches, yogurt, and flax for breakfast.  It fueled me through another great afternoon skiing adventure!  When I got back I had hot chocolate.  I LOVE hot chocolate.  It’s by far my favorite drink (I even drink it in the summer time too).  I usually use nestle packets or Land O Lakes flavored packets, but I almost always stir in pieces of dark chocolate or chocolate chips.  It makes a little melty surprise of chocolatey goodness at the bottom.  Awesome.  What’s your favorite seasonal food or drink?

I spent the evening with one of my best friends from high school.  We went to a meeting for the local college writing club.  I was really involved in writing groups in high school, and the same people are in the college group now.  I really miss the people, but I also miss the open, calm, stimulating atmosphere that writing groups gave me.  I loved workshopping pieces and performing them.  I even got to travel to New York and California for poetry competitions.  Those events form some of my happiest high school memories.  What childhood memories do you happily recall?  I have several others, including swimming across a three mile lake at my favorite summer camp when I was about 11 (I was a swimmer then, don’t worry), making elaborate gingerbread houses with my mom on snow days, and setting the toaster on fire with my sister when I was about 7.

More pictures and half-marathon training info to come tomorrow!