I can Move! And Restaurants Galore

Today’s  Happy Note: My dad and my sister are here!  They came to visit me because they were so worried.  I still don’t feel sick but I know I am on the inside.  Kind of an odd feeling.

I inadvertently walked about five miles today — I wasn’t trying to go that far.  It was never more than one to two miles at a time.  It wasn’t a struggle at all.  I wasn’t short of breath and had almost zero chest pain.  I could actually walk quickly without having to gasp for air!  I am NOT pushing myself or anything, it’s just nice to feel like I can move a bit.  I went to a yoga class yesterday and might do a yoga video tomorrow.

I kinda miss  serious cardio — running, stair-climbing, kickboxing, swimming, dancing.  But at the same time.  It is nice to have a break from the gym or the running path.  Not for too long though.  Another week of this and I’ll be bored.  My doctors said I could start exercising as soon as I felt better/within about a week.  Which means I might go for a run this weekend; maybe three or four miles, nothing intense, I promise!  And I’ll stop if I get tired.  I am NOT doing it because I feel like I have to exercise.  I like running: it clears my head and calms me down and gets all my nervous energy out!

In other health news: my INR is not high enough yet which means that my Coumadin dosage is not right.  Grrrr.  It is a very delicate drug that has to be carefully tweaked.  This just means I have to continue on the Lovenox injections a little longer.  I have another blood test on Monday.  I have had so many needles and IVs and shots in my body in the past week that it honestly doesn’t hurt any more.  I used to be quite squeamish and hated needles and now it’s just like “eh, whatever.”  Weird.

I have been able to go to several wonderful restaurants since being out of the hospital!  Which is good.  I need to make up for all that inedible hospital food.  On Saturday I was still feeling quite tired and a little out of it, but I had  already made plans with Joanne and reaaaalllllllyyyy wanted to go.  So I went.  And had one of the best evenings I have had in a while.

We went to The Meatball Shop, a most interesting place.  I was in the mood for some serious red meat, and this satisfied that craving in about two milliseconds.  I loved how the menu was simple and straightforward.  I think single-concept restaurants (i.e., peanut butter  or sliders or squid…well not squid, but you get the point) do well in NYC.  You get to choose your ‘balls, your sauce, a side dish, etc.  The only problem with this type of menu is that if you don’t like one component of the meal, the whole thing could be thrown off.  Good thing I liked it all.  Joanne and I practically licked our plates clean while gossiping about boys (why oh why can’t there be any good ones at our schools?) and other very important things.

I went for the beef meatballs with parmesan cream sauce and a simple salad on the side.  You get to write your order directly onto the laminated menu!  I love fun touches like this.

Delicious  delicious meatballs.  We couldn’t possibly pass on dessert when we saw our options.  Ice cream sandwiches. In which you could choose a cookie  flavor and an ice cream flavor.  We were instantly sold.

Peanut butter cookie and caramel ice cream.  There are no words.  So I’ll stop now, before I turn into a rambling, spewing, meaningless, incoherent…

Next up in my restaurant adventure-ing: Russian Tea Room for restaurant week!  One of the best parts about having my parents around is having my parents pay for things.  I  would never go somewhere for restaurant week on my own.

A real live samovar.  Awesome.

And the food.  Also awesome.

I need more salmon in my life.  I was about to say “I need more chocolate in my life” too, but if I added any more chocolate to my diet, I would pretty much be subsisting on it.  No judgment.

It was a wonderful (albeit expensive) meal.

Have you gone anywhere for restaurant week? It’s pretty fun, I must admit.  Other cool restaurants in the city you’ve been to (and want to tell me about, hint hint)?

Goodnight my friends! Again, thank you for all the love and caring.  You are wonderful. 🙂

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Home Is Where…

Today’s Happy Note: Family dinner!  I have not had a beautiful, home cooked family dinner with all members of my family (mom, dad, sister, me, cat) present at the same time in months, if not a year or more.  It was delicious, comforting, and loving.  🙂  And yes, my parents are divorced.  They’re still best friends!

Vegetables galore!

Pad thai cooking away!  My sister has the best pad thai recipe outside of Thailand.

My sister and me! Some people seem to think we’re twins, others think we look nothing alike.  She’s actually five years older.

Exercise:

Yesterday (Friday): 6 mile run plus four hours worth of MOVING  which I did entirely by myself.  It was a serious workout.  At one point a friend helped me lift a huge box back onto a dolly, and another friend returned a rolling bin for me, but everything else was all me.  Independent women rule.

Today (Saturday): Travelling with heavy bags.  Hey, that’s serious — I was lugging my bags around for five hours.  Won’t go into the details of why (JFK airport=evil) but suffice it to say my arms are feeling it right now.

So as you’ve probably noticed by now, yesterday I MOVED and today I am “HOME”. But, proximity does not imply relationship!  I did move, but not back home.  I moved into my apartment for the summer and then flew back to Michigan today.  Needless to say it’s been an exhausting two days, and I want to go cuddle with my sister and have some ice cream right about now.

Up in the air!

Random selection of eats from the past few days:

Biscoff.  In honor of Kath!

Cookie Friday and caramel fudge lite choice in one day.  It was that kind of a day.

Storytime: Home

Two and a half years ago, after about a semester of living in NYC, I felt decently at home there.  I knew that I felt a special connection to the city and that it would probably be an extraordinarily meaningful place for me.  I knew how I felt looking across the rivers, finding beautiful buildings, or noticing a depth of cultural diversity.  I knew these things made me thrilled and happy and I even referred to the city as my “home.”  Well, actually, I thought of the city as one of my homes, with my town in Michigan and the house that I grew up in being my other home.  They were both my special places.  In Michigan, I have open spaces with the most lovely pumpkin fields and running trails that wind lazily through meadows.  In New York, I have wonderful buzzing streets and 20-story buildings and thousands of restaurants in reach.

My father picked me up from the airport this afternoon.  As we made our way along the highway and then along smaller city roads and then onto the little side street where my house sits — looking content and almost serene — I had one of the biggest realizations I’ve had in a long while: New York is not only where I live now.  It is my home.  New York being my home was a story that I told myself for the last three years, and in a small sense, it was true.  But in the larger sense — of “home” being where my life and love and passions and future and everyday joy comes from — I wasn’t quite ready to declare the city my home.  It is now, and I suddenly knew this quite clearly today.

At the same time I feel a deep longing for my family.  I am not a child, but I am still a rather young person: I’m twenty years old.  I have been living on my own for three years now and I still miss them deeply, daily.  Many people refer to “home” as a place where their family is, and in that sense, I will always have a home in Michigan.  But in 5-10 years I think I will have my own family and I believe that it will surely be in New York.  With that said, being here, with the three people in the world for whom I have the most powerful, beautiful feeling of love, is a gift.  My mother, sister, and I have not lived together in seven years.  That’s more than a third of my life.  I intend to treasure this time with them (a week and a half) as I suspect that, outside of vacations, it is the last time we will be together in one place.  And not any place either, our original home.  Where we climb crab apple trees and jump from thick ropy willows and hide under the sleeping bags in the basement and sit at the same mahogany walnut wood dining table that we have sat at since before I was born.

The conclusion?  I love both places — among other places that are meaningful,including a special spot in Northern Michigan and Ottawa, the capital of Canada — but New York has moved from a place that I live to a home.  When I walk down Broadway and know exactly how the ground feels at every street corner, I know this.  I feel it.  When I lie down in the sun in Central Park I feel a bit like a compass, sometimes.  Like a compass that knows exactly where it’s pointing and wants to point in that direction.  I sprawl out into a star shape, my limbs different places in my life.  And through all this, I am centered in the city.  The gorgeous, flying city.  City like a flock of birds.

Food, Mothers, Families

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

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

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

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

Feeling Confined: Food, Mothers, Families

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

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

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

Sample “rules” (most unspoken):

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

-no white bread

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

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

-pop and candy are useless calories

-you don’t need dessert everyday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Therapy Mondays: One Year Post-Breakdown

Today’s Mini Goal: Don’t inhale my dinner.  When I do this I never end up feeling full and then I eat a big huge dessert-snack right away.  I feel like if I waited I might not even feel that hungry!  Anyone have any tips here?

Reallllllllllly snacky today.  I think yesterday’s run finally caught up to me.  Blech.  Lots of random cereal and chocolate chips.  I hate feeling out of control or haphazard with my eating; why can’t I seem to follow a clear simple schedule?  Ick.

Did a little yoga and walking today.  Speed work tomorrow.  Eats today were pretty boring so no pictures besides my yummy frozen yogurt.  Believe it or not, I think I might be tired of my post-therapy froyo!  Gasp!  It may be time to search for a new treat.  Hmmmm….

Therapy Monday (forewarning: this post is, perhaps, a bit heavy, but these are things I need to say.  If you are feeling especially sensitive, feel free not to read this segment):

To start with, today is March 1st.  I am sure you already knew this, but you don’t know what March 1st means in the Caronae mental health saga, now do you? March 1st means I have officially passed the one year post-breakdown mark.  I am both filled with joy by this and weighed down by sadness for my former self — and indeed for the parts of me that are still burdened by darker things.  I don’t remember exactly when my meltdown/trauma series occurred, but I do know that by the first week of March, I was home.  In my mother’s arms.  Taking walks through the frozen park with her.  Watching movies snuggled up in my bed.  Beginning the uncomfortable journey that therapy was (at that time).  Discovering blogs in all my new found free time.  Reading the newspaper if I pleased.  But mostly, I was with my mother.  It’s hard for me to admit how much I needed her then; I very sincerely believed that it was childish of me to need my mother as anything more than a friend.  But, as my therapist noted a few weeks ago, we always need our mothers, until one of us is dead.  And then we still need them.

I remember the things that happened to me around this time last year quite precisely; I suppose it’s ironic that I can’t date the events, but no matter.  I remember one night digging my fingernails into my forearms until I had left deep purple trenches — holes that were almost a seaweed color. I also remember leaving puffy red lines on my skin from a plastic knife; I didn’t ever cut into my skin, I just pressed down hard.  Very hard.  I remember what shirt I wore to work on my last day.  It was very old and from Old Navy with a pretty little pastel pattern on it.  I wore it with my maroon Urban Outfitters skirt and tights and I thought I looked horrifically fat.  I saw my dance teacher in a hallway and told her that I was “sick” and had to go home.  She was one of the people I was more honest with.  Other teachers I simply left behind; almost as if I was shedding them — I could only associate certain people with that terrible transition, and I am sure I can never let those people back into my life now. That’s okay though, they were mostly cranky professors.  My friend Jonathon gave me a bag of oreos he didn’t want.  Up until the very last second – the moment when my dad was parked illegally on 115th street shoveling my things into his car — I maintained that nothing was wrong.  My boss had seemed rightfully concerned and I remember insisting I was just fine.  I am not sure why it was so important for me to maintain this position; surely those who loved me would have wanted to help me through in whatever way they could.  A part of me wanted to lie down naked in the center of Broadway, where the whole world could see me, and say, “yes, things are terribly wrong: I don’t sleep at night, I cry all day, I hate my body, I hate myself, I hate everything, nothing is happy anymore, I don’t know me now.”  I remember precisely the weak smile I gave my boss when she asked how things were.  That smile took everything out of me.  Most simple actions, in fact, took everything out of me then.  Today when I find myself unreasonably exhausted I remember to take a moment to remind myself that uncovering me — examining my emotions and my memories as I would examine an old, worn document — is not easy.

My first few months at home were tinged with pain and guilt.  I won’t go over the reasons behind those feelings, but I now know that whatever happened and however I handled it, things were not my fault.  I was not, and am not, a “wrong person” for going through what I went through.

I was telling my therapist about my mother’s mother today, and the few things I knew about her childhood and her own mother.  In doing so, I realized that the women in my family seem to have passed down a rather burdensome set of feelings and experiences and ways of going about the world.  Each time we raise a child, we infuse in them certain things, consciously and not.  My grandmother’s mother died when she was very young, a toddler, I believe, and she was raised by an abusive, drunken father until she was a bit older; then he died.  I know very few stories of my grandmother’s childhood, but I find this anecdote illustrative of the pain she must have endured (and eventually passed on, in a way, to her own children): when her mother (my great-grandmother) died, the family was very poor.  Their apartment was cramped and resources were lacking.  I believe there were only one or two beds for the parents and a large brood of children.  The night she died, my great-grandmother’s dead body was put in the bed with my grandmother.  I don’t really have anything to say about this story.  For some reason, it reminds me of crocuses and other purple things.  The point is; how dear my mother(s) have been to me and how real the traumas have been.  At the same time, how much my grandmother and mother did their very best every single day with their own children.  This duality of fierce motherhood and sincere emotional pain frightens me very much.

I am certain that I want to be a mother.  My scars will always be with me.  How do I go about not transferring them to my children?  Is it inevitable?  How will I ever be the mother that my mother and grandmother were?  That, I am certain, my great-grandmother was too?  Has my life been too ugly to ever merit motherhood?

Alright.  I may have skipped doing my history readings so I could write all this, but that’s okay.  I feel much lighter now.  If you made it this far, thanks for bearing with me.  This is a daily journey, and there is lots of confusion, sadness, joy, and uncertainty involved.  My one pillar right now, in life and on this blog, is honesty; I have found honesty to be one of the most useful tools I have available to me.  Especially in therapy.  I always feel guilty if I don’t pipe up and share a story or a feeling that’s in my head at the moment, and so that is what I have done here, I suppose.

Anyone have any happy, joyous things to share?  Or sad ones too?  Remember, you can always email me if you have something you want to say but don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment.  Believe it or not, I actually really do love talking to people!

Running Stories

Today’s Mini Goal: Get back into my no-nighttime-snacking groove!  I’ve been lax about this lately and want to get back on track.  Snacking at ngiht doesn’t do anything for me — I actually feel better when I don’t do it.

I’ve never started out on a run and had to stop before today.  My tummy was wildly unhappy, so I called it quits after a mile and then just sat on a bench and people watched.  This was very head-clearing and refreshing — I had forgotten how much I like to people watch.  And it was so strange to notice how other runners run!  I walked around a bit after my mile and will do another four tonight on the treadmill (I’m going to be at the gym watching the basketball game with some friends, so I might as well).

Eats:

These are my favorite oats: stovetop oats made with tons of cinnamon, extra water, maple syrup, and chopped up apple.  Topped with a big scoop of peanut butter and a little scoop of pumpkin butter.  I made my oats with apples long before I ever tried making them with banana.  To be honest, I prefer the apple — it gets soft, but not too soft, and gives the bowl a ton of volume and sweetness.  If you’re normally a whipped banana oatmeal kind of person, I definitely recommend trying this for a refreshing morning change!

Haven’t eaten this yet, but will soon.  It’s random WF hot bar stuff — I’m most excited about the weird looking mixture in the upper right hand corner of the first picture (upper left of second).  This is baked sweet potato, apple, and fennel.  Sounds like a superstar combination to me.

I am going to attempt a lot of running this weekend because I have some serious catching up to do.  I need to do a total of 25 miles, so tomorrow will be either ten or fifteen and then Sunday will be whatever I don’t do tomorrow.  This isn’t going to be impossible or anything, I’ve definitely done as much or more mileage in such a short period before, but it will be tough.  I will fuel myself with lots and lots of oatmeal!

I actually did 40 miles in three (or four?) days once before.  I was in Marin County (supposedly the trail running capital of the world), just north of San Francisco, for a wedding this past August with my mom and sister.  We stayed at this rustic little bed and breakfast and hit the trails a LOT.  One of my best running stories ever came out of this vacation…

Storytime: Running Disaster

My mom, my sister, and I love taking active vacations — hiking, skiing, kayaking, snowshoeing.  This particular vacation was going to be mostly about hiking.  Well, running for me.  This is where this story’s problem lies: my mom and my sister hike.  I run.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind the occasional hike.  But if I’m going to be spending several days in an area with tons of beautiful trails, I’m going to want to do some serious running.  I like gliding by redwood groves or powering my way up a dusty pasture hill.  I like feeling strong in the wilderness, and hiking just doesn’t usually give me that feeling of euphoric energy and intensity.

On our last day, we headed out to an area of trails along high ridges that went variously through cattle pastures, forests, and beautiful, dusty meadows.  It was one of the most gorgeous areas I have ever run in.  We started around two or three in the afternoon, parking our rental car along the side of the road.  We only had one set of keys, which my mom and sister took — I think we thought they would be back first.  I had my running waist pack with my phone, some cash, water bottle and shot blox.  I planned on doing 16-18 miles (the trail was about nine miles out one way).  My mom and sister were planning on doing a sort of loop on one of the trail’s many off shoots.  I knew I would be really thirsty when I got back to the car, since I only had my one bottle and it was relatively warm, but I had a huge, full nalgene waiting for me, so I wasn’t too worried.  We made our way through a series of narrow gaps in a maze-like wooden fence (designed to keep cows off the road, I believe) and I started running up what was probably the biggest most exhausting hill I have ever encountered.  It just never ended.  there would be brief flat parts, then you would look up, only to realize that there was much, much more.  I had to walk a few times.  The way out was scattered with similarly grueling uphills, but it was so beautiful that I didn’t care.  At one point, you went from field to redwood forest (almost rainforest-esque) within just a few tenths of a mile.  It was absolutely wonderful.

I decided to turn around somewhere between mile seven and eight; I knew I was running 12 or 13 minute miles because of the brutal terrain.  I relized that I would be done in a little over three hours, which would mean that I’d finish a bit before my mom and sister — I think we had planned on three and a half to four.  Whatever, I’d survive.

The way back was much easier and a bit faster than I’d expected; there were far more downhills and my tired legs were finally loosening up.  My first moment of terror occurred just about a half mile from the end.  I was descending the huge hill I had struggled to make my way up at the beginning, and suddenly I was surrounded by massive cows.  Everywhere.  And not just any cows.  No.  These were angry mama cows defending their babies.  They looked like they weighed a good 2000 pounds each.  I didn’t really know what to do.  Should I turn around and see if there was another path back to the road?  Should I run through them really fast?  Should I just go very slowly?  I chose option number three and kept trotting along down the path.  I wasn’t sure if I should look the cows in the eyes or not.  I felt like they were staring me down.   I tried to appear as non-threatening and small as possible, and eventually I made it safely to the gate, albeit with a slightly quickened heart rate.

As expected, my mom and sister weren’t there yet.  I knew I had another thirty or forty minutes and I was getting really thirsty.  My water had run out around mile 12 or so.  There were a few other hikers coming in and out, and I got really desperate and asked one sweet older guy if he had any water (my full nalgene is inches away from me, in the locked car), but he hadn’t brought any that day.  I kept seeing people coming over the top of the hill, but it was never my mom and/or sister.  An hour passed.  I was really thirsty.  My phone was dead (the battery drained really quickly, probably because I was in the middle of nowhere and it had to work extra hard to stay on).  I had to go to the bathroom.  I was tired.  An hour and a half passed.  The sun was setting.  I went to the bathroom on the side of the highway.  It was officially dark.  Two hours passed.  A man and his two sons passed on their bikes and I asked them what time it was.  I think it was like eight o’ clock by then.  More time passed.  I started panicking.  I was absolutely sure they had been eaten by mountain lions and we would never find their bodies.

I realized I was going to have to flag down a car, on this dark stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere in California, and try to get help.  I was afraid that if I got the wrong person’s attention, I would end up hacked into pieces in some faraway barn.  I thought I saw a police car, but it passed before I worked up the courage to wave. Finally I saw a high end station wagon with a woman driver and a kid in the backseat.  Perfect.  I waved at her and she pulled over.  I asked her if she had a phone I could use ; I called my mom’s phone and she said she and my sister were “lost”, but that they “thought” they were making their way back.  Typical.  My mom and sister have the worst senses of direction ever.  My blind great uncle Ahmed, who has never set foot in the US, probably would have been better off in this situation.  It was that bad.

The poor woman realized that I was distressed as I burst into tears and told her that my mother and sister were lost in the wilderness.  My mom lost her signal after a minute or two, but had said something about crossing a bridge that said she was a mile away.  The woman stayed with me for a while and probably single-handedly saved me from having a heart attack, thank God.  After a while I told her I was pretty sure they’d be back soon, and she left.  About twenty minutes later, there they were, walking along the side of the road.  I have no idea why or how they ended up on the road as opposed to the trail, but they were back, they clearly hadn’t been attacked by mountain lions, and I had never been so happy to see my family members — or to have a bottle of water — in my life.

By the time we got into the “town” we were staying in, all the “restaurants” AND grocery stores were closed, so after this epic ordeal, we had to eat instant oatmeal for dinner.  Fabulous.

That’s my best running-gone-wrong story!  What’s yours?

PS — Averie is giving away a jar of coconut peanut butter!  Two of the best things on earth, combines into one.  Sounds good to me!

I Like Me.

Today’s Mini Goal: RELAX.  Tomorrow I am going to stay calm, stay in the present, unclench my jaw, unfurl my fists, and take slow, counting breaths.

My training plan technically only calls for five days a week of running at this point.  As I get to my peak, I’ll do six for a few weeks, but right now, five is fine.  I was going to head out today after work, which would have made it a six day week, but then I told myself that I needed a break, it was dark, and I was tired.  I’m glad I made that call.  I think I’m going to do the shred (probably level 2) and some abs later, and I walked about two miles earlier.

Okay, let me repeat that.  I’m going to do the shred.  Do you know what that means????  Probably not, in less you have been an extremely perceptive reader, but it means I have my laptop back (obviously, I can’t so much do the shred in my school computer lab or my floor’s tv lounge)!  Presumably,  this would be an extremely joyous event, but it actually turned out to be extraordinarily stressful.  Let me explain…

I went for a walk after work.  Deposited a check, got a small snickers flavor at The Lite Choice (using one of my coupons, talked about here), and headed down to Best Buy to pick up my computer.  On the bus ride there, I started having a little mini panic attack.  For some reason, I felt like I was seeing couples everywhere around me, and I just started feeling intensely, painfully sad.  About being single (which, to me, means alone), lonely; feeling “unlovable.”  This is how my depression talks to me — it tells me these very negative, sad things that make me retreat into myself.  Honestly, that was a very scary bus ride.  Briefly, I was transported back to a place I never want to go again.  When I got off and walked into Best Buy, I asked one of the saleswomen where the Geek Squad section was (they had my computer).  When I heard my voice, I almost jumped backwards, not recognizing it as coming from my own body.  It was small, diminished, weak, unclear, fearful.  It was not my voice.  I was wearing a lavender sweater with a hood on it, and I felt distinctly as though the front of me was collapsing into the back of me; like I would eventually just fold inwards so many times that I wouldn’t be visible.  I have no idea why this was going on.  Maybe it was hormonal or chemical or I was tired or stressed from a difficult week.  I don’t know, but I don’t like that place.

So that’s the beginning of the saga.  When I went down to pick up my computer, everything seemed fine.  That is, until I turned it around and realized that they had failed to secure the hinge in the back on the left side.  The reason I sent the computer in in the first place is because the entire hinge was broken off so that I could lift up the left side of my screen, and wires and tubing were poking out of everywhere.  This is all fixed.  But they didn’t secure the hinge.  I asked the sales rep if this was a problem, and he examined it and concluded that the repair people had made a serious mistake.  Um, okay?  I just had my computer sent off to another state to be repaired for a month and you basically didn’t fix the whole thing?  I almost burst into tears right there.  Instead, I decided to be authoritative.  I told the salesman (who was quite nice; it wasn’t his fault) that there were two options here:

1. It could be fixed immediately; i.e. over the weekend.

OR

2. They could furnish me with a replacement while they shipped my baby off for another month.

Apparently these people have low customer service standards, because neither of these options were palatable to them.  Basically, my only option was to send it back, “free of charge, of course.”  I was actually really insulted by this point — did they think that I would even consider paying them to fix part of the problem that they created in the first place????  Am I being irrational, or does this sound ridiculous?  I tried to explain to them that I’m a student and a writer — I’m kind of computer dependent.  But to no avail.  Disaster not averted.  Ugh.  At this point I have my computer, which I am grateful for, but the hinge remains open in the back.  I can take it down to Best Buy and have them ship it out again within 30 days if I decide I want it fixed, or, I can pay them another bajillion dollars the next time I have a month during which I don’t need my computer.  Which will be never.  Computer fail.

Sorry, rant officially over.

I called my mom when I left the store and just cried for a while, and felt marginally better afterwards.  Then I headed to Whole Foods for some retail therapy of the very best kind (I actually needed some groceries, so it was semi-legitimate!).  Finds:

My new vegetable!  Chayote squash!

Maranatha honey almond butter!!!! I had a few spoonfuls when I got home and it is so smooth and creamy with the perfect hint of honey.  Oddly enough, this was 9 dollars (I considered it my splurge purchase of the week) and the regular almond butter was 19 dollars for a jar???

I bought myself some flowers to cheer me up.  Tulips.  White ones.  Here’s my theory on flower buying: roses can be tacky, carnations are usually just plain ugly, lilies can be big and overwhelming, and pretty multi-color bouquets can clash with a room.  But you can’t go wrong with monochrome tulips.  Ever.  My mother has the most massive, gorgeous garden at home, and while I was there healing from last February through August, I picked lots of bouquets.  My favorite thing to have in a vase is peonies.  There aren’t many things more beautiful than freshly cut peonies sitting in a little bath of sunlight on my mother’s ancient mahogany dining table.

I also had some delicious apple pumpkin soup at WF:  Mmmmm….

Salad for lunch.  I was hardcore craving some tuna.  Weird.

And for breakfast I was hard core craving a chocolate chip muffin.

There are times in life when you just need a giant pile of carbs for breakfast.  This muffin satisfied that need, and despite the lack of protein, fiber, or fruits, kept me full for over four hours.  Score one for muffins.

I got some maple buckwheat flakes cereal and had a bowl of that with my soup (things you eat in bowls are always tastier).  It was really good, just sweet enough to be satisfying, but not sugar-coma/craving inducing.  Score one for maple buckwheat flakes cereal.

I am spending the evening with some books, some online tv, 20 minutes of shredding, jasmine tea, and me, myself, and I.  Last night I went out with friends, and I can usually handle only one night out per weekend.  I know, lame.

I really need some positive self talk right now.  Please feel free to ignore this; I’m kind of talking to myself here.  Okay, here goes.  I am a good writer.  I am training for a half marathon.  I get good grades.  I’m a good friend.  I have a good heart.  I am a good baker.  I love me.

Why do you love you?

Alright, hope everyone has an excellent weekend.  Let me know what you’re going to be up to (I have many fun things planned!)

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.

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