Reteaching Wonder

Today’s Happy Note: Spending a wonderful weekend with USB!  He loves to talk/cuddle/eat/have adventures/walk…pretty much all the same things I like to do!  It is nice to have someone who wants to have adventures with me.  We still do lots of things by ourselves though — yesterday I went to a map-making class while he did an introductory yoga workshop!  It’s a wonderful balance.  I have been hesitant to say this, because I am afraid of somehow jinxing it, but I’ll just go ahead and say it anyways, because it’s true: USB is, plain and simple, the most wonderful thing that has happened to me in years. I even have a picture today.  Look!

Okay, so referring to that as a picture of him might be a bit of a stretch, but take what you can get!  I don’t have a lot of pictures and wouldn’t really feel comfortable having him on the blog, at this point.  But he does have nice hands, right?

Thanks for your sweet comments about it yesterday.  I feel silly talking about him sometimes, but it’s a good silly. I’m completely smitten and it has all happened so suddenly.  Each moment with him is a new lesson in blessings and gratefulness.  He has retaught me how to wonder. I was a hopeless romantic before, and now, well, I’m downright sappy.  So I apologize for my sappiness.  You’re just going to have to deal with it for a while. 😉

In the above picture, we are eating delicious wraps from this Noodle Shop. We got one of the tofu and one of the duck, and each had half of each.  They were really tasty!  They are definitely snack-sized and not meal-sized though.  Or maybe that’s just my marathoner’s perspective.

I squeezed in a long run today, between studying, cleaning, and cuddling.  I did about 12.4 miles in 2:10-ish. Somewhere thereabouts.  I think I was probably around a 10:30/mile pace overall.  Didn’t feel great, didn’t feel terrible.  For parts of it, my legs felt powerful and strong; at other times, they felt sluggish and sloooow as molasses. Sometimes within minutes of each other.  Weird, no?

It was my last long run before the marathon, so I’ll take it.  My body was happy for the shorter run, and is happy about the lower mileage in the next two weeks.  Less than two weeks from today I will be an official marathoner!  I even got my number in the registration pdf today!  I am number 40920.  Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Other eats today weren’t too exciting, but did include this very necessary froyo monstrosity:

It’s a mixture of pinkberry original and pumpkin flavors, with my own toppings (seriously, always bring your froyo home and do your own toppings — so much cheaper!).  And yes, pinkberry now has pumpkin flavor.  It isn’t very strong at all and I kind of like it!  I added chunky pb, a part of a crumbled chocolate chip pumpkin cookie, and more chocolate chips.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but I have been *sort of* making an effort to eat less carbs.  The key words here are *sort of*.  I  would estimate that I’m eating about 20% less carbs than I was a few weeks ago, in the heart of marathon training.  I have always liked my carbs, but I have never been obsessed with them.  I don’t love bread.  I actively dislike rice.  I like quinoa but am usually too lazy to cook it.  I also like whole wheat pasta but again, it takes a long time to cook, and it is more of a treat for me.  I have been consuming more sweet potatoes and squash (they’re in season, so it’s easy), about the same amounts of veggies, a little less fruit, and less sugary carbs.

I have made the switch to totally plain yogurt.  I have also started actively buying more proteins and fats lately. Here’s whats in my fridge/cupboard at the moment:

Protein — natural honey maple turkey, TJs grilled chicken, Fage 2%  greek yogurt, eggs, Amy’s spicy vegan chilibeans (refried pinto and plain), natural tuna, and half a block of tofu.

Fats — avocados, TJs guacamole hummus (it’s alright — but not better than either hummus or guac on their own), an assortment of nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts), peanut butter, earth balance vegan butter, Fage 2% greek yogurt (does double duty!), TJs goddess salad dressing, olive oil.

I think that variety in protein and fat sources is key.  I make an effort to do different combinations and flavors and textures.

I am not doing this as part of some silly diet or fad weight-loss craze.  You guys know I wouldn’t do that!  Rather, one of the most widely accepted treatments for PCOS is a lower-carb diet.  For many PCOS patients, it is the only way to manage their weight. I don’t event know if I have PCOS or a different disorder, but I have, in the past, experienced success with a lower-carb diet overall (I am using “diet” in the general sense of what I eat here, not to refer to any type of restriction).

So it’s just something I am trying.  It is easier now that I’m running less.  I am seeing an endocrinologist next week, and will start dietary/medication experiments the following week (after the marathon is over).  It is going to be an interesting journey, to say the least.

Favorite protein?  Favorite fat?

Best part of your weekend?

Are you sappy and romantic or serious and collected?

Rough Night+Chocolate

Today’s Happy Note: Pandora.  Customizable music stations?  No CDs or MP3s or iPods?  I can listen to whatever I want when I’m studying?  Me likes.

Marathon Training: Yoga class today followed by an easy 4-miler, with 6×100 meter strides in the last mile. Yoga was slow but nice; I definitely felt my legs and hips opening and stretching.  The run was slooooowww.  This is a pattern, following speedwork or long runs, that I have just come to accept.  Meh.

Tonight was rough. Rough.  It started when I decided not to go to my last class.  Then I felt guilty.  Then the guilt was compounded by stress because my INR is too low.  Then there was a laundry fiasco.  Then I was so hangry I almost ate my ears off.  Then the printer wasn’t working properly.  And now my whole left forearm itches.

Blech blech blech.

I’m drowning my sorrows in hulu, some frozen yogurt, and, per my mom’s advice, maybe a bit of meditation.

There is school work to be done.  And it ain’t happenin’ tonight.

So I’m settling into my bed, with my crossword puzzle and some tea.

After blogging, of course. 🙂

Leftover stir-fry topped with avocado.  This stir-fry consisted of sweet potato, onion, broccoli, EVOO, salt and pepper, ginger, tofu, and peanut sauce.  This is one of my fave stir-fry combos ever.

Do you have any fave stir-fry combos?

I reappropriated my leftovers into dinner too!  I wanted to make something else but was too hungry to wait.  Do you ever feel to hungry to cook?  this time, I put the stir-fry into a cup of TJ’s carrot ginger soup with two big handfuls of spinach and ate it stew-style!  Also very successful.

Sometimes I get fro yo and then bring it home and add my own toppings.  Shhhh, don’t tell.  You can’t even see the yogurt under my mess of toppings!  It was half mango/half plain topped with dark chocolate, coconut, and TJ’s cat cookies.

Other food highlights of late:



More chocolate.

USB may or may not have given me not one but two boxes of chocolates last weekend.  Did I mention that he wrote me a poem tonight?

Um, yeah.

He’s a keeper, I’m pretty sure.

Goodnight friends! Hopefully when I see you tomorrow I’ll be less stressed!  And happy almost-end-the-week!

Therapy Tuesday

Today’s Happy Note: Borrowing a new book from L that I think might be soothing for me during a rough week.

Today was a 9-9 day.  Fun.  Wanted to wake up early for a workout but couldn’t sleep last night.  Didn’t work out yesterday either.  Blah.  I did walk about three miles today with a heavy backpack and (part of the time) heavy groceries.  I knew I would be too tired to cook once I got home (or run, even though I wanted to) so I got dinner at WF.  Came home, made protein ice cream, caught up on emails.  Now I’m here.

Other eats included the traditional post-therapy fro yo:

And some pretty rockin’ oats-in-a-jar:

I added about 3/4 frozen berries to the bottom of an almost empty honey AB jar and then poured the hot oats over them!  Topped with a few scoops vanilla Greek yogurt.  This was amazing!   The cold berries and hot oats worked so well together and made a giant cool mess.  Love.

Yogurt fact: My 95 year old grandfather strains his own plain yogurt to make it “Greek.”  He was telling me how he does it today with a pillow case!  I’ll have to try it sometime. 🙂

Caution: The rest of this post is kind of a downer.  If you aren’t in the mood to read something a bit depressing, I’d say skip it.  Don’t worry, I won’t hate you, I just don’t want to bring you down!

Therapy Tuesday

Today was sort of different.  I basically just told L about my whole “not caring” thing — how whenever she suggests something or wants to take a deeper look at something, lately, I just don’t care — I don’t want to think about things.  At all.  Maybe this is a subconscious defense mechanism; looking really deeply at my my life and my self and the scary inner-workings of my world can be quite painful.  But I don’t think that’s the full explanation.  In general, I am a very curious, open being.  I love learning about myself.  But somehow, when I am actually in the moment of therapy, I keep snapping shut– it feels like I couldn’t tell her my most personal, secretive thoughts even if I desperately wanted to.  Why don’t I want to?  It’s frustrating for both of us for me to not let her be useful.  I am pushing her away and I despise myself for that.

She drew a picture of a box (well, more of a window) for me.  It is a special box called the Johari box.  I really liked the idea of the box.  It looks like this:

I am stuck in the “private self” corner.  I can’t get into any of the other areas with L.  I am fine with myself, at least on the surface, but I experience tremendous difficulty thinking about or talking about the other areas: the public self (what both myself and others know about me), the blind self (what others know about me but I don’t know about myself) and the hidden self (what neither myself nor others knows about me).  Those three boxes scare me and I don’t know why.

It is not fun to continue doing something that I feel so terrible at — therapy.  And it’s not even that I’m just bad at it, it’s actively painful.  Frustrating, confusing.  I should not come home week after week feeling tense and stuck.  I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I have thought about quitting therapy.  But there are two things wrong with this: first of all, I am very stubborn and hate quitting anything, and second, I really do feel a small —  but very powerful — connection to L and I do not wish to abandon that — I want to make it grow.  I want to be able to tell her something other than “I feel sad all the time” or “I hate everything about myself” (and sadly, those have been the bulk of my feelings lately).  I want to be able to talk about my day to day life and to figure out strategies to employ in my relationships.  But as soon as she offers me any kind of serious strategy, I revert to the not caring mode.

I talked a lot today about how uncontrollably, inexplicably sad I have felt lately.  Normally, I feel this way a few days a month.  In the last 1-2 months it has been more than half the time.  I am tired of being depressed.  I’ve been depressed for a good seven or eight years now.  Am I such a failure at all things that I can’t even manage my depression?  L asked me how I physically feel this and I became angry at her.  Who cares where I feel it in my body?  Who cares it it feels like a giant bubble of anxiety in my chest and stomach?  I don’t care what it feels like.  In fact I think looking at what it feels like it borderline idiotic.  I asked L to explain why she wanted to know how I was physically feeling my frustration: she said that sometimes we let our brains get so carried away in memories of the past or thoughts about the future or anxiety about the present moment that we forget what the actual feeling is.

That’s nice.  But I don’t care.  I honestly, right now, am feeling the deepest not-caring I have ever felt in my entire life.  It’s almost a hateful not caring — like I don’t care so much that I hate L.  And of course then I hate myself for hating such a kind being.

In a way, I actually enjoy the self-inflicted punishment that comes with constantly feeling everything in my body and my heart and my head.  It makes me write.  It makes me different.  I don’t want to not feel things the way I do.

But what if that’s the source of all my agony?  I think maybe it is, and maybe that’s what L has been getting it for the last 10 months, whether I have realized it or not.  But I don’t want it to be.  And I certainly don’t want to change.  I am feeling a lot of anger toward myself, L, and the process of therapy right now.  Why, dear God, after close to a year, has she not been able to help me?  Why have I not been able to let her help me?  Why haven’t I let her in.  That’s what I want, more than anything, is to let her in.  There haver been moments when I have felt totally connected to her, and those moments have been beautiful and sometimes pivotal.  So why am I resisting so much now?  I feel like there is no other explanation besides the fact that I am a hopeless loser who doesn’t deserve therapy who is destined to be alone forever.

As I have said before, I truly adore L: I think she is not just an excellent psychologist, but a wonderful, kind human being (most of the time — we all have our moments).  Not only that, but I think she is the right therapist for me.  So what am I doing wrong?  Will I ever feel close to another human being again or have I lost that ability?  When will going “home” ever mean anything besides returning to an empty apartment, making myself a lonely dinner, and crying myself to sleep?

I actually do have a plan for next week.  At some point today I mentioned how I always write about therapy afterwards.  She asked why I haven’t shown her.  I have always considered it somehow too personal; like my writing about therapy is the one thing I have to claim as my own.  But I kind of want to show her now.  I don’t know what else to do.  I don’t know if this might help things along.  But it can’t hurt to try.  I am basically going to compile every Therapy Monday/Therapy Tuesday rant and paste them into one document and give it to her next week.

Goodnight friends!  See you all tomorrow!

Weekend Workouts + Cold Foods + Things to Look Forward to

Today’s Happy Note: Food Network!  There are a few shows on FN that annoy me but for the most part I’m fascinated.  I love Ace of Cakes and Next Food Network Star.  I tend to be a much simpler cook than most of those on FN, but it is nice to be inspired sometimes, even if the dishes are a bit complicated for my tastes.

Lots of great workouts this weekend!  I wanted to do a long run but just was not in the mood to run in the heat or to do a long/continuous/boring workout.  I was actually going to be doing another ultramarathon around the island today (with the same guy I have done the last two with) but, when I realized it was going to be 85-90 degrees all afternoon, I passed.  I am NOT a heat/humidity runner at all.  Send me out with four layers in a ten degree blizzard and I’m fine.  But the heat?  I just sort of wilt.  The sun exhausts me!  I would have loved to do an ultra today but I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  I’m glad I listened to my body — I just had these terrible visions all morning of me lying in a hospital bed dying of kidney failure.  Not a good image to go into a race with.

Anyways.  My actual workouts: Yesterday I did a 4 mile run followed by 15 minutes HIIT on the elliptical and 10 minutes weights.  Today was split up into three sections: Three mile walk, 30 minutes kayaking (!) and 30 minutes yoga/kettlebell.

I must say, it is quite refreshing not dragging myself through long, monotonous workouts when I don’t want to!

What do you do for a workout when you don’t want to do something long but you still want to sweat?

Kayak pictures:

Dragging my hands and feet in the water definitely lowered my core body temperature a good ten degrees.  To a normal level.  Or so.

Lots of cold eats. Seriously, I think all of my meals today involved yogurt.  I don’t like to eat more than one or two servings of dairy a day since it can be harder to digest.  But there are just not enough cold foods on this earth.  Especially now that my blender is broken.  I do not know how much more of summer I can handle sans blender.

Anyone have any cold food suggestions that don’t consist of yogurt or frozen fruit or require a blender?

I saw someone make a list of thing to look forward to for the week the other day.  I thought it sounded fun and decided I want to participate. 🙂

  • Gymnastics class (assuming I find time this week)
  • Friday night yoga
  • Long run
  • Spin???
  • Meeting the students I’ll be working with for my non-profit job
  • Getting paid (hey, it’s important)
  • Therapy (I’m weird; I do indeed look forward to my time with L)
  • Working on my book of poems
  • Ocean swimming this weekend?

Sounds like plenty of fun!  What are you looking forward to?

Mental health note:  I have become really good over the last few weeks at identifying stressful situations.  This sounds obvious, but sometimes when you’re in a moment of panic — the internet stops working or you find out your great uncle is dying or anything really — it can be hard to talk yourself down.  I’m proud of myself for beginning to institute my self-soothing and destressing techniques.  Go me!

Running Love and Wrap Love

Today’s Happy Note: Just saw the Karate Kid movie with a friend and it was awesome!  Also got in some much needed social time.  I adore Jackie Chan and totally want to be a kung fu master now.

One of the reasons I love running is because it gives me time to think.  Don’t get me wrong — not every run is a blissful hour of perfect thought.  Sometimes my runs are sluggish, sweaty, messy heaps of boredom or pain.  But those runs when you get your head nice and cleared and you can spend 20 or 30 minutes daydreaming or planning — those are one of the main impetuses behind my running.  I love the endorphins and the sheer joy that comes with flying down a new trail.  But I also treasure the alone time.  I have learned how to lose myself in my own head, even on a hot crowded afternoon in Central Park.

Today was terribly humid, but after a few miles I sort of filtered that out and just…thought.  It was a very pleasant 7 miles.  I threw in 5 or 6 speedy bursts as well.  I am a terrible speed runner.  I try to go fast, I really do, but my muscles just don’t seem to want to move that way.  I would rather run longer and slower than shorter and faster.  The problem for me is that anything less than 6 or so miles falls clearly into the “shorter” category.  I don’t mind this, it just means there aren’t a lot of races available for me.  And to be honest, I don’t like racing.  I said it.  I.  Don’t.  Like.  To.  Race.  I love ultramarathons and like half-marathons and presumably marathons, but I don’t necessarily want to race them.  Is this weird?  Do you run for speed or distance or both?  Do you find it easier to go faster or to slow down and go longer?

Proof of sweatiness.

Eats!  I haven’t shared anything in what feels like years.  Some highlights:

Wraps — lots and lots of wraps.  Why didn’t I realize how good wraps were before?  Seriously so much better than sandwiches.  I have been using various combos of hummus, beans, guacamole, cheese, and veggies.  The flavors get all melty together and they’re oh so wonderful.

Tastiest thing you’ve eaten so far this week?

For me?  Piles and piles of plain shredded coconut.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week.  Only two more days until the weekend!

You Had A Bad Day

Today’s Happy Note: I’m having serious trouble finding something here.  Today was not the most happy of days.  Probably the happiest part of the day was being told by one rather harsh professor that I gave an “excellent presentation” on Amartya Sen.

It’s just been one of those days where (almost) nothing goes right.  And for me, as soon as a few things go wrong, it’s like everything goes wrong — and this is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy; I seem to sort of give up after a few things have gone wrong.  All my classes were long, boring, and/or frustrating, I lost my phone at lunchtime (but found it an hour later, thankfully), I was too exhausted for a workout (having 10-12 hours of schoolwork a day seems to wipe me out just as much as about a 10 mile run would.  Does anyone else experience this?), ate too many “bad” things/too much in general, can’t seem to get started on a 15 page paper that’s due Friday, wanted to ask a boy on my floor to lunch but couldn’t find the courage.  Just felt like everything was piling up.  I talked to my mom for a while tonight and cried and that seemed to help improve my outlook a wee bit.  Although we did fight for a while; we have very different views on poverty, aid, and charity, and we seem to squabble over that quite often.  I’m also going to go for a brief walk and get some fresh air.  Then hopefully I’ll find a way to start this paper.  The funny thing is it’s a very literary paper and one that I really want to write; I even have all the books, articles, references, and arguments that I want to use all lined up.  But no words are on the page, somehow.

I have two 15-page papers, two 8-10 page papers, and finals in the next week or two.  Please forgive my very boring/stressful/off-topic posts for the moment.  And know that I truly love hearing from you and your support/comments make me so happy, even if I may not be writing the most detailed posts or commenting much.  I promise I will be more present after May 3rd (my last exam)!  Please feel free to update me on your lives or to email me 🙂

I’ll probably do every other day or sporadic posts, I’m not sure exactly yet.  Or if anyone has an idea for a guest post, that’d be awesome.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a picture of my beautiful, delicious frozen yogurt from this afternoon:

xoxo Caronae

Therapy Monday

Today’s Happy Note: Awesome, but exhausting, therapy session today.  It was one of those days where I felt like I had a breakthrough, which was nice.

Exercise: 30 minutes of strength-training (mostly arms, a little bit of leg stuff too) followed by 3 miles on the treadmill, as follows:

2x through this:

-5 minutes at 6 mph

-5 minutes (1 min @ 8, 1 min @ 6, 1 min @8, 1 min @ 6, 1min @ 8)

-5 minutes at 5.6-6 mph

I was going to do a few more of the speed intervals (I did a total of six through the whole workout) but my legs were a bit tired from the lifting so I didn’t  push it.  This was actually really exhausting!  I am not good at going fast in general, so maybe that’s why.  I was drenched at quite red afterwards.  I love getting in an hour workout where I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot.

Eats (not everything):

Breakfast: maple oatmeal with honey pb, side of grapes.  Normally I would feel really uncomfortable eating a breakfast like this because I perceive it as too carby.  While I love carbohydrates, they are a fear food for me when there are too many; I never eat grains or bread or anything like that with dinner, unless I am having a pasta dish, which happens about once every month or two.  Sophia left me a comment about my dinner yesterday saying that it needed carbs.  I don’t think I actually wanted/needed any right then, but I realized that  I do have an irrational fear of them!  This breakfast was exactly what I was craving, and I was NOT going to deny it to myself because it had oats and grapes (gasp!).

The obligatory post-therapy froyo.  The topping is chocolate covered pommegranate.  I adore these things!  They have it at this bubble tea place down the street from me and they go perfectly with the creamy froyo.  My other favorite topping is peanut m and m’s.  What are yours?

Dinner was one of my favorite weeknight meals.  Egg scramble with cheddar, green peppers, and mushrooms, with a romaines, spinach, cucumber, and Annie’s Goddess dressing side salad.  Well, it wan’t really a side salad because it was quite massive.  Most of my veggie dishes are.  I actually really like vegetables.  There are so many fun ways to prepare or cook them!

Therapy Monday:

I’m actually not going to do a whole long exposition on today’s session because, for the first time ever, really, I feel like it was too painful and personal to share on the blog.  But I do have a few general conclusions and observations about methods that I will happily share!

1. Sometimes I need to calm down: first of all, one semi-unproductive weekend is not a horrible thing, and I don’t need to get all tensed up about every little moment that does not go as planned.  I was actually freaking out/crying so much at one point today that my therapist had to remind me to breathe.  So, I want to make calmness a mindful goal.  It’s something that my yoga practice has helped with quite a bit, but I want to figure out how to incorporate it into my daily life more.  I often find myself with my hands clenched and my shoulders tightened, like I am ready for a fight or something.  Sometimes I need to just breathe.

2. I am not a social failure. I am not undeserving or friends, companions, boyfriends, or close relationships in general.  I do not need (or want) to hide in my room; my little cave.  We actually talked a lot about my room, which simultaneously represents a sort of loneliness and a sort of comfort to me.  I find it very hard to separate the two sometimes.  It’s something I am thinking about a lot.

3. There is no reason to hate myself.

So those were my take-away lessons.  A few notes on the process:

1. My therapist was unbelievably gentle with me today.  She is always considerate, but sometimes makes me think really hard about something or reconsider a painful idea in a way that hurts.  That was not the case today and I am so deeply grateful for that.  It is rare to have a person in your life who listens to you, never judges what you say, and offers insightful thoughts or advice.  Granted, she is trained to do this, but I have never had another psychologist who was this good at it.  I have a close friend from high school who I felt like this with — I think these people are just genuinely unusual individuals.  With that said, I want to seek out more friends and individuals like this.  The ability to listen is a truly beautiful characteristic in a person.

2. The actual room in which I see her has become an immensely safe physical and emotional space for me.  I felt like I opened up on a whole new level today, and I think that I was largely able to do that because I feel safe with her.  This seems obvious, but it is really quite subtle.   I value this space/place tremendously.  I don’t know what I would do without my hour with her every Monday.  I have so many thoughts that need to be sorted out; sometimes sad, angry, scary, or unhappy thoughts.  Sometimes joyful,fresh, fun, or exciting thoughts.  Regardless, she is always there, and that room is always there.  This is comforting, and I have not felt comforted in a long, long time.

Off to study!  I hope your week is off to a spectacular start!

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