Grainy Day

Today’s Happy Note: Sleeping in!  I don’t work until 10 some mornings.  I passed out at eleven last night and woke up at nine this morning.  I felt wonderful!

Today was just one of those days where I wasn’t happy, wasn’t sad, wasn’t angry or excited or anxious.  It’s not that I didn’t feel anything, it was all just sort of murky.  Hard to describe.  Not really like I was in a funk but just sort of…cloudy?  Not gloomy though.   I am generally a very emotionally sensitive person and I feel things very deeply; this was almost a welcome break.  I wasn’t depressed or moody at all.  I guess the day just sort of glided by and now that it’s over I can’t quite characterize it — like it was a grainy photograph.

I spent two hours with friends this evening doing stuff for work.  I had a really wonderful moment somewhere in there where I forgot about all my problems.  I love how friends can do that.  I realized that I wasn’t thinking about food or money or sadness.  I wasn’t berating myself over my size.  I was just me.  I love how being with people I care about sometimes solves all my problems.

Friends and loved ones, of course, cannot fix everything.  Sometimes there is a deeper sadness.  But, as L has helped me figure out, it is possible to survive the sadder times.  I will survive.

A few weeks ago I was having a particularly anxious day at therapy and L asked me what helps me calm down.  Running, reading quietly, taking a nap, and just sitting with someone I love who cares about me.  That last one really is a big thing, and I am coming to see more and more lately how healthy relationships affect me.  When I told her my list, she said simply, “I care about you.”

It was one of the nicest things someone has said to me in a long while. Reason number 14224 why I love her.

Do I add nut butter to everything I eat?  No.  Just most things.

Confession: I just realized that part of the reason my dinners never fill me up is that I am afraid to have it in more than one plate or bowl.  Which means there is usually only one thing involved, and that is never enough!  Tonight I had a big bowl of oats with peaches and dark chocolate and a small bowl of yogurt with coconut and a sprinkling of trail mix.  It did the trick.

I have been loving me some grains lately — literally craving them, which is pretty unusual for me.  I tend to fear excess carbs, but let’s face it: no one ever died because they were eating too much oats and brown rice and millet.

Today was a rest day.  Normally I do weights and kickboxing on Mondays, but between a long run yesterday and speed work tomorrow, I wanted something a bit calmer.  I did a little over three miles walking and 20 minutes of yoga and abs.  I don’t like waking up super early to run and would prefer to do it around three or four, ideally, but it is going to be hot hot hot tomorrow so I know I have to get out by seven.  Uh-oh, that means it’s past my bedtime now!

Goodnight, sleep tight.

Oh, and hello new readers!  Don’ be afraid to say hello. 🙂

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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!

Yogunancing and Stuffed Quesadillas

Today’s Happy Note: Running in the rain!  Dancing in the rain!  Thinking in the rain!

I had an awesome yogunancing workout today.  Yogunancing=yoga, running, dancing.  It ended up being an epic 6 hour adventure because I kept getting caught in the rain and waiting and then having to take the train and then waiting some more.  It was quite fun actually.  The adventure included a 90-minute vinyasa yoga class followed by a 9-ish mile run and a 30-minute dance/gymnastics sesh in the park.  I actually just remembered during my run/dance sesh that, two summers ago, I did adult gymnastics classes at Chelsea Piers. I am signing up again!  FYI to new readers (feel free to say hi!): I was a gymnast from when I was 4 until I was 14.  I sometimes miss it.  Tumbling is pure joy.  I’m starting this week and I’ll let you know how the classes go!  I need to find an outfit first though…

Other than that adventure, my day involved some food experimentation, some Real Housewives watching (why why why are they so mean to each other), reading, writing, and, currently, some Nat Geo Great White Shark show viewing.

Breakfast fail:

It actually was not a taste failure.  But please note that these were supposed to be pancakes.  Ummm, yeah.  That didn’t happen.  But it’s entirely my fault because I just threw tons of stuff into a bowl and hoped they would magically turn into pancakes.  The taste was spot on though!  Berries, flax meal, blueberry yogurt, pb.  So I would call them yummy piles of mush rather than pancakes.  But at least I tried!  It is Pancake Sunday after all.

Frozen mango chunks. They never fail me.  Unlike pancakes (see above).

Okay.  Dinner.  This was one of the easiest, yummiest dinners I’ve ever had.  Ten minutes from fridge to plate and bursting with nutrition and flavor.  I used  a TJ’s habanero lime tortilla (after seeing them at Gabriela’s blog!) to make a quesadilla of sorts.  I stuffed it with a serving of low fat refried pinto beans, gouda cheese, and TJ’s cilantro jalapeno hummus.  I can see myself eating this dinner every day for like…all of summer.

I slathered some guacamole on top and had carrots, cucumbers, red pepper, and pineapple on the side.  So gooey.  So warm.  So many flavors — spicy, dense, creamy, cheesy.

Eat this combo.  Now.

I had to follow it up with something else that felt tropical-ish.  Which meant coconut.

Round one: warm brownie topped with WF coconut dark chocolate, snowy shredded coconut, and a few chocolate-covered pretzels.

Round two: mixed a tbsp of crunchy pb, a few tbsps shredded coconut, and a splash of soy milk.  This made a delicious dip for more chocolate covered pretzels!

This was an awesome dessert dip.

It’s been such a busy weekend!  Time for me to wind down for the work week.  Lots to do tomorrow and all week, really.  Stay tuned for recaps of my gymnastics classes and a super awesome Adventure next Saturday!

What are you up to this week?

Therapy Thoughts, Sluggish Running, BYOV

Today’s Happy Note: Blogging from the NYPL.  How did I not know this place was beautiful.  In general, I adore libraries.  I have always been drawn to their calm, quiet, but also quirky and smart nature.

That said, the fact that I’m blogging from here means no internet at the apartment yet…but I do have a very nice new colleague who is coming to help me tomorrow!  If that doesn’t work, I might cry. 😦

Onto healthier things!

I have always considered hobbies and passions a major part of a healthy lifestyle.  For many people, hobbies keep them active (dancing, walking, swimming, playing with friends).  My favorite active hobbies are climbing trees (although I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble if I do that in city parks), swimming, walking with friends, and exploring new places in any way possible.  I think yoga, strength, and running are more passions for me.  Whatever.  What I wanted to say is that I have other hobbies too!  Writing, drawing, taking pictures, blogging, planting things, baking, collecting bird pins, studying birds and trees, and READING.  Seeing as I’m in a library right now, I’m going to talk about that last one.

Hobbies keep me healthy because they keep me sane.  No amount of running or working out or eating delicious healthy things can be perfect.  They help keep me sane, calm, and focused, but I need other things that aren’t as explicitly related to my health.  Things that are pure fun.  I think words and pages and lyricism is fun.  So I’m going to do a little feature for the summer called “Caronae’s Shelf.” Every week, I’ll tell you what’s on my metaphorical shelf!  I would love to hear what you guys are reading too.  We can have a mini virtual book club!  Sometimes I might share thoughts, sometimes not.  If you don’t like books, I’d love to ehar about anything else you like to do that keeps you happy, healthy, and sane!

Week of 05/23:

1. Women, Food, and God (by Geneen Roth): Interesting.  I recommend it.  It isn’t necessarily the most straightforward book (there is no precise plan of action), but that’s kind of the point.  I feel like I absorbed a lot of things that made me question my relationship with food and God, and that’s definitely a good thing.  I believe in questioning ourselves and our beliefs.  It helps us grow.

Source

2. 50 Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food (by Susan Albers)

My response to this just turned into my Therapy Thoughts for the week…

So far this has been really wonderful.  It is geared toward emotional and stress eaters, which I sometimes am, but the tips and discussions are helpful to anyone who is often anxious and unsettled.  I had no idea, but as I was reading,  I realized I have virtually no ways of soothing myself .  I didn’t realize that other people did!  I want to talk to my therapist about this.  I think part of the problem yesterday (I ended up sobbing and feeling unresolved and angry) was that I felt overwhelmed going into the session, and as I began feeling and talking about (reluctantly) some painful things, I had no way of soothing myself.  Isn’t that a beautiful word?  Just the sound “soothing” makes me feel calmer.  I think that going forward, therapy will be easier if I actively work to soother myself when I start feeling or talking about difficult things.  I actually am glad that yesterday seemed to go so badly and that I borrowed this book from my therapist because it led me to this realization.  My therapist has always told me to “be” with my feelings and I always felt like “well, I am!”  But it was never comfortable.  Then she would tell me not to judge myself and to just relax, but it never clicked.  Now it’s clicked and it feels so liberating.  I was always wildly upset when feeling painful things, which, since that was most of the time (both in therapy and in my life), meant that I was often deeply uncomfortable and unsettled.  Sometimes just focusing on my breathing or holding my baby duck Leland or naming different things that I sense around me (“I see pollen on those yellow flowers”, “I feel how soft my sheets are on the bare skin of my back”) makes me feel soothed and calmer.  When I feel calmer, I can deal with things and, eventually, be okay talking about them.  This sounds so simple but it has, apparently, taken me over a year of therapy (eight months with my current therapist) to figure it out!

The biggest thing I got out of yesterday was how upset I feel when I feel lonely.  That’s the place where the upset-ness was coming from.  It brings me back to feeling like no one wants to play with me, and that is one of the worst feelings in the world.  People do want to play with me though!  My friends, my sister, my new co-workers at the non-profit (who I really like, by the way), blog friends.  There are plenty of people to play with.  I know this, and when I do find myself alone, I need not worry so much.  People do like me.

3. Unaccustomed Earth (by Jhumpa Lahiri): excited about this; haven’t read any good short stories or fiction in a while.

That’s this week’s edition of  “Caronae’s Shelf”.  What’s on your shelf?

I did another simple five miler this morning.  This time with ten minutes of abs thrown into the middle (done in some very itchy grass in CP that was in need of some serious mowing).  I felt sluggish again.  It wasn’t painful, but it was slow and groggy.  I don’t know why I feel this way on my runs lately.  I’ll probably run again tomorrow and then do something else on Friday.  I need the running blues to go away.  I like running!

Eats hodgepodge:

I have been craving ice and frozen fruit so badly this week.  I cannot stop.  I had sorbet and frozen mango for dinner last night and about two more servings of frozen fruit (berries and mango) with breakfast today.  I seriously crave it.  Like, when I think about ice, I begin to salivate like other people would over cookies.  I want to chew the ice and the frozen fruit.  And yes, I know it’s bad for my teeth.  I asked my dad what this might mean (I suspected it represents some sort of nutrient deficiency) and he said that a lot of women with iron-deficient based pica crave ice to chew on.  I think maybe I should get my blood tested.  Has this happened to any of you? I have not had a lot of red meat at all lately.  Usually I have it once a week.  I told my dad that I eat my weight in spinach and other iron-rich dark green leafy veggies daily and he told me something interesting: many times, plant-based iron is barely absorbed by our bodies or not absorbed at all.  This is very scary and I did not know that at all!  He is an extremely good doctor who is not biased against vegetarians or vegans at all.  Have you guys ever heard this?  Do you get your iron levels checked?

I had a seven hour meeting this afternoon/evening.  No joke.  Seven hours of presentations and materials and dialogue.  It was important stuff though!

I wasn’t sure what food would be served so I BYOV — brought my own veggies!  This was a good idea as there wasn’t much produce.  I feel better when I eat plenty of fresh produce and I don’t feel weird bringing my own at this point.  That giant container of carrot and asparagus lasted me through lunch and dinner!

Snack was this bar and half a small chocolate chip cookie.

They actually had really high quality pizza for dinner with fresh, yummy sauce.  Yes, I hate tomatoes.  And yes, I like pizza sauce (and ketchup).  Do not ask me why.  I was hangry and had another slice.

I might have more frozen fruit and/or a brownie for dessert.

Because I don’t have Internet at the apartment and, well, I mostly have to do work at work, I haven’t been reading or commenting very much.  I promise I still love you all and will catch up as soon as the Internet is fixed!

I miss you all already!  What’s happening in your life?


Bookstore Musings, Perfect Yoga, Serious Snackage

Today’s Mini Goal: Do more stretching.  I am very naturally flexible, and as such I tend to forget that this doesn’t mean my muscles don’t need to be stretched and opened up sometimes, especially with my little running habit.  I did a bit tonight and it felt oh-so-good.  I can’t believe I’m posting this on the Internet, but here is photographic evidence of said flexibility (and this pose I’m in here wasn’t at all challenging; I could do the splits comfortably with my front leg positioned up on a two to three foot mat).

Scary to think it’s been ten years since then.  I like to think I’ve accomplished a lot and learned new things about myself and the planet in that time.  I hope I can continue to learn, grow, and create during this next decade; I’ll be thirty before it’s over.  Not that thirty’s old, but that’s still a bit freaky.

Exercise:

No monster run today.  It was just one of those days where I had to lay in bed and read and think.  I did get a few things done, including going to a training event for a volunteer teaching group I coach for, serious room cleaning, and a relaxing 3 or 4 mile walk.  I also chatted with both my mom and sister.  My walk led me to a Barnes and Noble.  I went in and just looked at books and read for two hours.  I forgot how much I love doing this.  When I was in high school I used to sit in a comfy chair in the poetry section at Borders and just read for hours on end.  I find books to be a very safe space.  I have never, ever felt marginalized or deeply saddened in a bookstore.  Probably because I love words, writing, books, and stories so very much.  Within just a few moments of being in the store tonight I felt like I was breathing more slowly and deeply.  I rolled my shoulders back and smiled and slowly made my way through all the sections.  I like all books; I’d rather have heaps and heaps of books than new clothes.  I’m kind of a supernerd.  Today I wandered through everything from cookbooks to travelogues to mystery to self-help and zen.  I like it all.  I like both the physical aspect of a book and the intellectual aspect; the content.  I feel like I can dive into a fresh new manuscript.  I like the journals in bookstores.  I like the eclectic mix of shoppers and the tea shops and the overpriced bookmarks.  In sum, I think books, writing, and bookstores make me deeply happy.  They are a space that gives me happiness because they are personal and introspective but not entirely secluded.  I will have to remember this on days when I feel sad in the future; I need only take a walk to the bookstore to find some comfort.

What’s your safe or comforting place (physically or emotionally)?

I had a really happy yoga experience tonight!  I wanted to move a bit more after my walk, but didn’t want to do a serious cardio workout or lift weights, so I settled on yoga.  I was super close to doing a video from yogadownload.com, and then I had this beautiful moment of clarity where I realized that I knew what poses and flows I wanted and needed to do and that I could create my own practice for the day.  This was a liberating feeling in that it meant I could operate on my own timeline, put things in the order I wanted, and just feel totally free and individual on my mat.  I’ve practiced on my own before, but today I experienced a wonderful confidence and trust in my practice.  I did lots of triangles, pigeons, upward facing dogs, and fire log poses.  My hips are happy little pies right now.

I think tomorrow might be right for the monster exploration run.  We shall see.

Eats:

I totally snacked my way through the day.  Most of my snacks weren’t unhealthy; just snacks.  I didn’t want a full meal at any point after breakfast.  I didn’t think of taking pictures, but I made my way through lots of delicious things.  I tried to fight the snack monster for a little while and then I just realized that you can’t fight the snack monster. It’s one of those things that you just have to embrace.  For me, if I would have tried to fight it, it would have just come back with a vengeance and I would have ended up eating big meals plus a ton of snacks.

Snacks included but weren’t limited to cashews and brazil nuts, dried pineapple, apple, edamame, and animal crackers.  Random but whatever.  I think I’ll survive 🙂  I didn’t even want a real dinner.  I had pomegranate frozen yogurt.  Bad blogger.

These are what my animal crackers look like.  They’re shaped like various wild cats.  I love fun food, in case you didn’t know that by now.  Highly kid-friendly, if you’re a parent.

My breakfast was, in contrast to the rest of my eats, a complete and rather lovely meal.  Therefore, I have pictures:

Pineapple and mango chunks (ew, I hate that word!) topped with a pineapple chobani/vanilla TJ’s Greek yogurt mix, melted coconut oil (this flavor component was key), peanut butter pretzel remnants, a few raw nuts, and a scoop of chunky peanut butter.  I really would have liked to have some cereal or granola in there, but for some reason those are foods that once I start eating, I cannot stop, so I’m trying not to keep them around so much.  Do any of you guys have foods that you are “addicted” to?

Falling.

Today’s Positive Note: I am creative.  I have unique ideas, solutions, and contributions to make to the world in a variety of areas.  I have big dreams to use my creativity to make the world a better and more just place.

Day 2 of classes: check.  It wasn’t too bad, except for a seminar on global justice in which the teacher literally started the class by asking us what the solution to Haiti is.  She then proceeded to quiz us about justice like we were on trial at the International Criminal Court.  Wish me luck with that one.

I’m taking a class on short prose forms (ok, so I’m not technically in it yet because it’s full, but I’m just going to keep going until the teacher lets me in) which I’m really excited about.  I write a lot of prose poems and am interested in learning more about the opportunities that the structure provides. 

Lunch in a single word: phenomenal. 

Why yes, that is indeed peanut butter and pumpkin butter on dried mango slices.  With a side of hot chocolate.  Actually, I’m pretty sure every meal today has included hot chocolate.  It’s a hormone thing.

Today was a cross training day.  Twenty minutes of stair climbing and a mile of power walking (I also typically walk a few more miles throughout the day).  Possibly with some yoga thrown in for fun tonight.  I’ve really been the feeling headstands lately, and balance poses like crow and tree.  And half moon.  I LOVE half-moon.

Storytime: It was around this time last year that things began to fall apart for me.  By early to mid February, I knew I was breaking, and by trying to save myself — trying to correct myself, even — I made things worse.  By the end of February, I knew that I had to let myself break.  It’s like falling, I guess — have you ever plummeted into the grass from a swing?  If you go delicately and do not try to stop yourself, the fall will not be so painful.  I came to a point where I realized I must not try to stop myself any longer.  It was almost like I was walking towards a cliff, and okay, here is the cliff, and okay, here is the blindfold you must tie around your own eyes.  Rather than try to back out of such a precarious position, the only thing to do is let yourself fall.  Be a ballerina on the way down, or a parrot.  Whatever you need.  But let yourself fall, and eventually you can come up again through your own ashes.  The  breaking of your own self is hard to witness (terrifying), but also deeply satisfying.  Not in a sick way, but in a raw, pure way: you have shattered, and the task of placing each shard of yourself into beautiful, new irises and lillies is full of growth.  I think this is what happened last winter.  To this day, I am incredibly proud of my decision to leave school, to take the fall and to let myself heal afterwards.  Bones grow back.  Skin and feathers; all that grows back with time.  I let myself break, fall, shatter, plummet.  But I have also let myself grow.

Okay, that’s what I have been thinking about the past few days.  Although I am a very different, very much stronger person than I was last year, I am afraid that bad things will happen again.  But at the same time, I know that I will be okay.  Our brains work a little bit paradoxically sometimes, I guess.

Practiced taking fun light/dark/shadowy/blurry pictures tonight:

That’s all for tonight I suppose.  I’m really enjoying the evening postings.  I plan on continuing with that.  Off to dinner I go!

Have you ever “fallen”?  What circumstances or events in your life have made you a stronger person?

Totally unrelated question: what’s the best lunch you’ve ever had?