Anti-Anxiety Plan of Attack!

Today’s Happy Note: Reading in the park.

Mental Health Note: I was so wound up when I left work today that I could barely walk in a straight line.  I have no idea where this came from.  I guess part of depression is feeling inexplicably sad, lonely, or confused.  That might be it.  It was a pretty straightforward day at the office.  Very routine.  Normally the routine soothes me, but today it just unsettled me.  Maybe because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the other things I had to do.  On my way home, I devised an anti-anxiety plan of attack!

  • Take a few moments to myself to walk through the park, look at the trees, breathe, and read.  I rarely leave the house without a book, and today was no exception.   I had “The Gift of Therapy” by Irvin Yalom with me.  Yet another book borrowed from L.  I am devouring it.  It is most wonderful and calming.  Not in a creepy way, but it reminds me of L, which reminds me to stay calm; that someone nearby loves and appreciates me unconditionally is an instantly comforting thought.
  • Make a list of specific things bothering me and plan out howto deal with each thing (i.e., just do it, shelve it for later, ignore it, etc.).
  • Don’t worry about a workout.  I like to take one weekday rest day each week and I purposely don’t plan it ahead of time precisely because of days like this.  The idea of traveling to the gym or the gymnastics center or the yoga studio or dripping with sweat in the 90 degree heat was unappealing.  I work out enough that responding to a day of stress by not working out actually makes sense.  I did do about three miles of walking.
  • Take extra time to write in my journal.
  • Don’t stuff my face, but do have exactly what I want for dinner…

Which leads me to these masterpieces:

I was craving frozen fruit all afternoon/evening!  The first bowl has frozen cherries with one spoonful AB and one spoonful PB.  The second one is Talenti coconut gelato topped with dark chocolate, frozen berries, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a few mixed nuts.

Coconut, berries, nuts: I could have done way worse.  Definitely plenty of sugar.  But oh so tasty.  Sometimes food needs to serve both a physical, nourishing purpose and an emotional, satisfying purpose.  I think I successfully accomplished both here! 🙂

Don’t worry, other eats of the day involved veggies and protein!  Like lunch:

Giant tuna mess with hummus, herbs, snap peas (nom nom nom!) and peppers.

Off to do work and clean my room!  Neither of which I especially want to do.  Sigh…

What do you do when you are inexplicable feeling down?

Favorite frozen fruit?

Highlights!

Today’s Happy Note: The air! Have you considered how wonderful it is recently?  Warm, cool, thick, light, scented, fresh, breezy.  It can be very relaxing and soothing.

Thanks for some well thought-out and compassionate comments yesterday!  As I read them and thought more about my blogdentity, I realized that I truly enjoy blogging about both emotional and physical well-being; my problem lies in the organization of it all!  So, going forward, I intend on doing some housekeeping and make posts more organized — I might have categories or sections or something.  It’s more for myself because I don’t want to feel all over the place!  As for content, I like what I write about.  No point changing that!

Writing is great fun for me.  I know that it will be a big part of my future.  Not sure how yet, but, to let you in on my deepest secret: I do plan on putting together a book of poetry and prose, hopefully within the next year.  There, I said it.  I would love to have a first book out before I graduate.

My camera is not transferring my pictures, sadly.  I think maybe my memory card is full?  There are just over 3000 pictures on it.  Anybody know about these things?  Do I need a new card?

So no photos 😦

Highlights!

-Kashi Honey Sunshine: why, why, why was I so afraid to try this cereal?  I have always hated pillow shaped cereals so I never tried it.  That was a terrible decision on my part because these are most excellent; very honey-flavored.  In other cereal news: WF Peanut Butter Pows taste exactly like Reese’s Puffs cereal!

-Yoga with my cousin tonight!  Perfect relaxing Friday workout.

-Got important things done at both jobs.

-Union Square in the evening.

-Triple chocolate cookie for Cookie Friday and a chocolate peanut Mr. Softee cone.  It was one of those days.

-Relaxing with my Erica Jong book (if you can call her writing “relaxing”).

-Fun plans for tomorrow (it’s gonna be an Adventure Saturday — I think my Fridays are now too busy for Adventures!)

See you tomorrow, hopefully with some pretty pictures and epic tales!

Night night.

Adventure Friday

Today’s Happy Note:  I got housing for next year!  Yay!  I wasn’t guaranteed housing because I took a semester off so this was very good news.

More good news? Fifteen page paper #1 is done!  More on that under “Adventure Friday” section (trust me, it was quite the adventure).

Exercise: I did 7.5 easy miles yesterday morning and 5 tonight.  I have never tried doing HIIT for an outdoor run before, but it worked pretty well!  I did a mile warm-up then about two miles with 10 x 1 minute all out sprinkled in.  I then ran another two miles to the gym for weights.  I pretty much just did a full body workout today.  I have gotten a lot better at dips (on the assist machine) and can now do twice as many as when I started buckling down on strength after the NYC half-marathon.

Funny story: It turns out that the mega-strong guys who seem to be able to effortlessly lift hundreds of pounds are actually quite sweet!  I have noticed that they are always very respectful of me in the weight room, which I would estimate is usually about 95-98% male.  They always offer to let me work in with them and they don’t stare at me.  Today, I was doing this one arm exercise thingy (wow, I am really knowledgeable about weight lifting terminology) with a 15 pound dumbbell.  This is pretty much the heaviest dumbbell I am ever capable of using.  There were a bunch of un-racked weights on the floor around me, including a set of 30 pounders, which I clearly wasn’t using.  But this very strong looking guy came up and politely asked me if I was using them or if he could use them!  It was kind of sexy actually, I won’t lie.  I mean what could be wrong with men who are simultaneously strong and powerful and sweet and kind?  Nothing, me thinks.

Eats: Finals time means easily eatable eats!  I am finding simple ways of getting in lots of produce, like veg/fruit bowls, pre-made salads from the cafe (expensive, but worth it for the moment), smoothies, and stir-fries.  Anyone have any awesome tips for getting in plenty of produce on a super tight schedule (and a budget)?

Couldn’t forget cookie Friday 🙂  See this post from Tina for some lovely cookies, including mine from last week!

I heart smoothie froth!  I’m debating whether or not I should buy a box of cereal or two for the upcoming week.  I tend to go overboard with cereal so I don’t usually keep it around, but I know that between studying, paper writing, regular activities, etc. I’m going to be very pressed for time and cereal is an easy, decent meal solution. I can add fruit and nuts to increase the nutritionals or make an on-the-go trail mix.  Cereal is such an easy food, but I don’t want my diet to be, well, cereal for the next two weeks.  Decision, decisions…

Fun Caronae Fact: I am one of the most indecisive people the world has ever seen.  I could never ever run a company or teach a class.  I can’t even decide what to order in restaurants.

Adventure Friday!

Today’s (and yesterday’s) adventure may not have involved leaving the room, but it was quite interesting!  I am taking a class on the Arabian Nights (aka One Thousand and One Nights) and Islam and had to write a 15 page final paper on anything that had to do with those two things.  I absolutely adore books — I consider them to be one of my best friends.  Give me a giant pile of books to dive into and I will be one happy clam.  But don’t make me eat the clam because I’m allergic.  And the Arabian Nights are absolutely fascinating!  The real version is not the picture book version you heard as a child.  The stories are full of scandal, beauty, imagery, sex, thievery, transgressions, passion, and food.  They are, quite simply, a delight.  While we have been reading various stories and interpretations all semester, I really got into yesterday and today.  Not to be cheesy, but it felt like I had my own little magic carpet taking me all around the world!

Book pile:

Sticky notes=easy quote finding!  Paper is all done:

I could go on and on about books and words.  They’re such good friends, in a very real way, I think.  They absolutely constitute an adventure for me.  I love libraries, archives (I work in one!), bookstores, journals, old pages, letters, inky pens.  I love it all.  Sometimes when I’m lonely I start reading a book and the moments in that book, whether happy or sad, bright or gloomy, take me to a different place and remind me that there are different times in life: sometimes I will experience love, sometimes loss.  Ultimately, I will find other humans with whom to connect, on the page at the very least.  I’m currently reading Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens and The Arabs: A History (for class but quite spectacular).

Some of the books that have changed my life:

Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon

Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Pablo Neruda’s Selected Poems

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

Harry Potter series (no, I’m not joking)

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime And Punishment

Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece

What are some of your favorite books?  Do you feel the same way about them as I do or am I just a total weirdo?

Happy happy weekend!

PS — wordpress changed their main dashboard, it seems, and I am VERY confused.  Can’t figure out how to add tags or how to publish, although I suppose that by the time you’re reading this I’ll probably have figured that one out…

Saturday Shenanigans

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

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

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

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

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

New York Cheesecake, I think.

Double chocolate truffle, one of my favorites.

Peanut butter.  Holy yum!

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

Lots of topping choices.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have a highlighting problem, okay.

I love pretty book covers!  Yay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Caronae

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