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.

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Anatomy of My Snackage

Today’s Happy Note: I had TWO social activities.  Hey, that’s a lot for me.

I’ve switched from daily creativity notes to happy notes!  I was getting bored (and, um, a bit uncreative) and needed a change.  So far I’ve done positive notes, mini goals, daily creativity, and now happy notes.  The happy note has to be a comment on one happy thing from my day.

My friend J and I headed out for our run this morning and he finished so strong!  I even made him run up a hill at the end.  He was such a trooper; my legs were so dead, I could barely keep up with him!  I want to do a long run tomorrow and get it out of the way, but I can’t decide if my legs will be happy and rested.  Decisions decisions. Also, my running club is doing a small 5k for charity.  I hate 5ks but I feel like I should participate?  To race or not to race?  To do the long run afterwards or not to do the long run?

Caronae fact of the day: I am terribly indecisive.  I used to make my parents crazy saying I wanted one thing and then changing my mind at the last minute.  Oh wait, I still do that.

I won’t lie, I didn’t get much done today.  I did my five mile run and a nice hour-long yoga class, plus had brunch with J, did a little school reading and watched a lot of pointless TV.  But I don’t have class Monday so I feel like I shouldn’t have to start homework until tomorrow!  Lol, that’s just silly 🙂

Snackage:

I didn’t take a lot of food pictures today so I though I would do a round up of some of my typical/favorite healthy snacks and why I like them!  There are a few qualtiies I look for in a snack:

1. Must hold me over: this means that it should be nutritious.  Usually I go fo some (or all) of the following elements: fiber/vegetable matter, fat, protein, smart carbs, deliciousness.  If a snack is healthy as all get out, but it doesn’t taste good, I won’t want to eat it, and will therefore end up just eating what I really crave later on.

2. Portability/convenience: My afternoon snacks (generally consumed anywhere between 3:00 and 6:00 pm depending on lunchtime and hunger levels) are most often eaten between classes or walking to work or the gym or volunteering.  I usually look for something that can be taken in a plastic baggie or tupperware.  BTW, I LOVE tupperware.  If you have extra tupperware, send it to me 🙂

3. Nutrition: This relates to number one.  You will not see me eating 100 calorie packs or processed stuff.  I try to keep the snack as “whole” as possible.

Time for pictures!

Apple with nut butter.  While this was clearly eaten on a plate, you can easily cut up an apple into slices ahead of time, store it in a bag or container, and throw in a spoonful of nut butter (or a Justin’s on the go packet!  Love these!).  Sometimes I sit sheepishly at my desk at work and just smear some of the packet onto a whole apple 🙂

Veggie slices with hummus!  Also can be easily put in a container and thrown in your bag.

Homemade trail mix and/or whole fruit.  I take two snacks if I know I will be out and about for a long time between lunch and dinner.  I like the following for fun, unique trail mixes: nuts, exotic dried fruits (think pineapple or blueberries), whole grain cereal, dried edamame, chocolate chips, animal crackers, etc.

Good old plain fresh produce!  Carrots and peppers are really easy to cut into manageable strips.  I also like cucumber and cereal.  Snacks like this are perfect for when you have several hours before your next meal and you know you’ll be hungry, but you don’t want to get too full.

Frozen yogurt with toppings is my favorite occasional “treat” snack!

Yogurt with random toppings.  I like greek yogurt for the protein, and as long as I don’t eat more than one serving a day, my tummy feels fine.  You can get super creative with yogurt mix-ins.  This one had pb pretzels and chocolate raspberry sticks.

Bars: These are my in-a-hurry or need-calories choices.  They can be a bit processed, but some aren’t bad.  They usually keep my nice and full, but you do have to experiment to find ones that taste yummy to you.

Smoothies!  Smoothies can be a super fun but also filling choice.  Since I am still blenderless (*tear*), I have to buy mine and add toppings if I want them.  I like a little yogurt and a sprinkle of nuts.  Mmmmm.

Okay, I think I’ve covered my most typical snacks!  I’m looking on doing more protein/savory snacks, since I know that carbs/sweet stuff can be a little bit addictive for me.  I’m thinking of plain edamame and hard boiled eggs.  Anyone have any other protein/fat snack ideas?

I hope your Saturday night is going superbly.  Off to a friend’s birthday party 🙂

See you tomorrow!

PS — Averie is giving away some awesome Tazo tea stuff here.  Seriously, the blog fairies love this girl!

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?