My Name Is Caronae And I Like To Eat

Today’s Happy Note: World Cup watching with friends!  Also, I got to see the room I am going to be living in come September and it is nice and relatively spacious (for a dormitory).

Workout: Five and a quarter mile HOT run followed by a 90 minute vinyasa class at Yoga Shala. Sometimes I feel really stressed out and can’t get into a run; usually this comes down to having pre-planned my mileage and route.  I have found that if I let myself go for however long I want, however far I want, and in whatever direction I want, I feel much better.  I always felt that if I let myself run the way I actually wanted to, I wouldn’t go far enough or burn enough calories.  But that isn’t the case at all!  Being happy and calm during a run is definitely worth sacrificing a mile or two.  And you know what?  When I’m happy, I usually end up running further anyways.  It’s kind of a win-win situation.

Onto other things.  More edible things…

Hi.  My name is Caronae.  And I like food. Tasty food only, of course.  Non-tasty foods need not apply.

Protein ice cream = always tasty.

I’ve never met a blueberry-banana smoothie that I didn’t love.

And egg, cheddar, and greens sammies never fail to produce many, many noms.

My camera died just before dinner but it was so delectable I just might die if I don’t describe it: mahi-mahi burger (from WF) topped with a “salsa” made from basil, pineapple, and cucumber.  Served with a side of leftover pasta salad.  This is pretty much the definition of summer dining.

I am slowly coming to the realization that it’s okay to like food.  I’m writing a little memoir/vignette for a writing exchange with Sarah and it is about food.  At first I was infuriated at myself for choosing a food-related memory.  Our topic was simply “Summer.”  Why couldn’t I write about playing on the playground or swimming at the beach or going on canoe trips with my dad?  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that food is a healthy part of both our emotional and physical lives.  It sustains and nourishes us, but it also makes us happy and helps us connect with others. In the memory I chose, food (specifically a miniature pie — sorry for the spoiler Sarah!) helps me connect to my sister and clarifies my love for her.  The food, as a child, helped to outline the ways in which we related.

I often stare at thin women who seem to be eating large meals or, well, pretty much anything other than salads.  I envy them and think, “how do they eat so carelessly?”  But I have been able to reframe that question as of late and have begun to wonder “why don’t I just let myself enjoy food more?”  Sometimes I might want to eat a big dessert at a restaurant, or have a slice of pizza after a night of partying (okay, so that only happens like twice a year or so, but I needed an illustrative example).  Sometimes I am so focused on eating — eating X amount of fruits and veggies or forcing myself to eat a meal at a certain time or restraining myself from overeating — that I forget about the actual food!

It’s just food!  And damn it, sometimes it is meant to be enjoyed.  Those women I see eating “without abandon” are not necessarily voracious bingers who have endless problems in their relationship with food.  They might just be enjoying a nice meal.  So I am making a new goal for myself: really think about what I am eating.  Make more consciously enjoyable choices.  Maybe having a big dinner out is okay.  I am sure that it has become clear I struggle with balancing my eating.  Too much/not enough/too healthy/too unhealthy.  But I think that part of the answer to this little dilemma lies in simply enjoying the food that I am eating at the moment I am eating it.

So tonight, as I was eating my fish and my pasta salad, I decided that I wanted a glass of almond milk on the side.  Normally, this sort of extravagance would not be allowed.  But is a small glass of milk ever going to kill me?  Am I so concerned about getting fat that I can’t eat what I want sometimes?  I don’t want to live like that.  In the past week or so, there were a few days when I ate my afternoon snack at 3:00, instead of between 4:00 and 5:00 which is when it is normally “allowed.”  This is obviously ridiculous.

So.  Hello!  My name is Caronae.  And I like my food.  Sometimes I eat it purely out of hunger.  Other times it is a social thing.  Other times, it fulfills a want.  And this is okay.  It is hard for me  to accept this new way of eating, but I am going to try!

This week is looking to be busy.  Lots of work stuff.  Hopefully some nice changes in therapy.  A personal training appointment.  Events with friends!

What is on your plate (forgive my pun) this week?  Anything exciting?

Adventure Saturday: Yoga/Farmer’s Market and Fava Bean Pasta Salad

Today’s Happy Note: Everything!  It was just a very pleasant Saturday.  I need a list.

1. Turtles.  I found this little pond in CP with a small dock.  I ran down the dock and discovered that the pond was swarming with turtles — hundreds of them!  My favorites are the big old ones.  They’re such serene and graceful creatures.

2. Buying myself sunflowers!  See farmer’s market pictures below.  They are brightening up my dining room table.

3. Getting things done: lots of errands and tasks (calling grandparents, buying paper towels, letter writing, etc.).

4. One of my best random dinner creations ever.

5. Spectacular batch of protein ice cream (that I am currently eating).

6. Chatting with friends, even if only briefly.  Always makes my day so much better.

7. Catching up on Bethenny Getting Married, which is the best reality show ever.  I think Bethenny is really sassy and clever.  She is totally someone who I would want as my friend!

I had a spectacular Adventure this morning to a yoga class with live music.  I have never had a class with live musicians and it was fun, especially since the players were kinda cute.  I don’t think it really changed my experience but I did notice I felt a little more relaxed.  Like there was less stuff floating around in my head interfering with my practice.

I have been thinking a lot about compassion lately.  Yoga always reminds me to be kind: towards myself and others.  This is one of my favorite things about it, besides the obvious physical benefits.  After yoga, the Adventure continued to the Farmer’s Market.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera since I only had my running waist pack.  There was such a wide variety of vendors there today.  I wanted to try so many things — fresh goat cheese, blueberry jam, sprouts, lamb, herb teas, squashes.  I didn’t think I should spend my life savings at the FM though, so I had to drag myself away eventually.  My little trip reminded me of Averie!  I wish she could shop at the farmer’s market in NYC with me.  I know she would love it and we would be buddies!

When I was done shopping, I munched on a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie from Stone Arch Farms (my favorite baked goods vendor by far) dipped in my newly acquired cashew butter!  I had gotten a few things at WF beforehand. Sadly, the cashew butter was a bit disappointing.  It was sort of thick and goopy and slimy.  Cashews are my favorite nut too.  I don’t know where things went wrong.

Loot:

Peaches, cookies, banana chip bread, eggs, fava beans, sunflowers, cucumbers, sweet corn!  WF loot:

Basil, spring greens, almond milk, frozen mahi mahi burgers (!!!), raspberries, cashew butter.  Can you tell what I was thinking of making for dinner? Probably not.  Because only a few of the ingredients are here.  And only my crazy brain would think up the bizarre concoction that it turned into.

So what did dinner turn into?

Summer Pasta Salad (this is for one)

1 serving whole wheat noodles

1/2 pound fava beans (once shelled, you’ll have about 1/2 – 3/4 cups)

2 C spinach, washed

1 C fresh basil, washed

2 Tbsp EVOO

2 Tbsp hummus

Lemon pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Boil a pot of water and add a teaspoon or two of salt.  While it boils, remove fava beans from pods.  Add them into the boiling water for three or four minutes; meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water.  Remove fava beans from pot and submerge in ice water.  Add pasta to water and cook for ten to twelve minutes.  The fava beans actually have another shell that must now be removed.  I took them out of the ice water and, using a dull-ish knife (I didn’t want to slice my hand open), make a slice along one edge, then squeeze the bean out.  Once all of the beans have been shelled, toss into a frying pan with a little EVOO, lemon pepper, and salt.  Into a blender goes the hummus, the other tablespoon of EVOO, more salt and lemon pepper, and the basil.  Blend until creamy.  Beans should be sauteed for about five minutes, while pasta is finishing up.  When everything is complete, add pasta, beans, and sauce to a bowl.  Toss together thoroughly, then add the spinach and toss again.  Serve with cheese, sunny side up egg, more basil, or other fresh herbs.

The Bean.

This was such a fun dinner!  I was  *this close* to not cooking but decided I wanted to do a little kitchen experimentation.  So glad I did!  It’s creamy yet tangy yet not overpowering.  I will probably make a version of this again.  I need to buy more favas next time!

Do you have a favorite easy summer recipe?

Outside of my yoga/farmer’s market adventure, I also ran and lifted today.  I did about seven and a half miles then twenty-ish minutes of arm strength.  I was proud of myself for that distance.  It felt surprisingly easy, considering that I have run all of five miles in the last two weeks.  I think I should be back up to my regular weekend long runs in no time at all.

Tomorrow will, hopefully, include more Adventures.  I think that’s what weekend are all about

What Adventures are you having on this lovely (albeit sticky) July weekend?

Recommitting

Today’s Happy Note: It’s the weekend.  Somehow, four day work weeks always feel especially long.  My body never quite gets into the right rhythm.  I haven’t been this excited about a weekend in a long time.  With that said, I am feeling 95% better and am planning on enjoying this weekend and cramming it full of goodness and such.

The combination of recovering from a serious illness and the unbearable heat/humidity has left me exhausted. If I had to draw a picture of the way I feel right now, it would be a maple tree being tapped for syrup.  Endless syrup would be flowing out of an open gash in the tree until it was sucked dry.   I am the empty tree.

Bad tree metaphors aside (I have a minor obsession), I. Hate. Summer.  I am ready for it to be over.  My favorite season is fall, followed by spring, winter, and summer, at a distant last.  I overslept this morning, was late for work, and was still too drained after work to do anything besides collapse on my bed and sleep for three hours.  I had made plans for a quick run, yoga, and a meet up with a friend. Tired Caronae=Weakling Caronae=Anti-Social Caronae=Frustrated Caronae. Therefore when I am tired like this I end up frustrated.

I can’t even describe to you the amount of guilt I feel after a few days sans exercise.  I walk about two miles every day getting to/from work and doing errands.  But in my mind, it doesn’t “count.”  Regardless of whether it counts, I want to be moving.  It’s a healthy outlet that relieves my frustration.

So I am making a recommitment to my health. Less mindless eating, more fun exercise.  More fresh fruits and veggies (although my digestion is still not back to 100%, so this will happen slowly), less lying on the couch in a half-dead position watching TV.  Pretty simple.  This is NOT an obsessive goal or a calorie-counting goal or even a weight loss goal (although that might be nice since I did gain weight while sick).  This is just me consciously recommitting to the healthy lifestyle that I know I truly enjoy.  I am giving myself guidelines, not rules.  My goal is to have more energy and to feel better about myself.

Guidelines:

  • Water.  Drink it.  A lot.  I have a 32 ounce bottle and would like to get through it at least twice a day.
  • Strength training: 2-3 times a week.  Lifting makes me feel strong and toned and is, quite simply, fun.
  • One exercise class a week: this is a nice way to switch things up.
  • Cardio: 4-6 times a week.
  • Yoga: 1-2 times a week.
  • Positive self-talk (“gee  Caronae, you look great in this dress today!”): infinite times per week.
  • Real meals: no picking.  Sit down and eat the damn meal.  More veggies and real food in the evenings (this is where I really struggle).
  • Take advantage of the weekends: come up with some new, awesome, longer workouts.

So that’s the plan, roughly.  I might add more guidelines as I go along.  We shall see.  If any readers want to join me, that would be fun! It’s always nice to feel like you are doing a challenge with a friend.

Anyone have any recommendations?  I am certainly open to your suggestions!  What are your favorite ways to “get back on track”?

Okay.  Enough boring stuff.  Onto more important things:

Like blueberry banana smoothies:

And Mr. Softee ice cream cones (this was my Cookie Friday, although really, the whole rest of the day ended up being a Cookie Friday of sorts.  See recommitment plan above.)

Cherry-dipped ice cream cones is one processed thing I will never give up.  Another thing: the occassional goldfish (not the swimming kind, the cute little snacking kind).  Someone had these in our office today and my hand kept sneaking into the bag.  I’m sure they can’t be that bad for me.

The up-closeness of this photo is cleverly designed to disguise the size of my portion.  Which was big.  But I was feling genuinely snacky.  I balanced it out with a power lunch!

Delicious salad beast with spinach, peppers, carrots, plain raw tofu (surprisingly yummy) and sweet poppy seed dressing.

What was your Cookie Friday treat today?

Off to write!  Goodnight and happy weekend!

Gym! Picnic! Memories!

Today’s Happy Note: Doing what I wanna do.  Sundays/holidays are the best for that.

Doing what I want started with a visit to the gym!  First time in over a week.  I ran a mile around the neighborhood then lifted weights (lighter than usual) for thirty minutes and spent thirty steady minutes on the elliptical.  The run was hard. Not hard like “oh, I should slow down a bit,” but hard like “I need to lie down for thirty minutes after every block” hard.  I eventually made it to the gym and had to sit down in the weight room.  Felt like a total loser.

The rest of the day was spent napping, watching various TV marathons, studying for the LSAT, talking with my mommy, cleaning, and then having a little picnic/fireworks adventure.

I had a nice outing with friends last night and would have liked to see them today but it was hard to coordinate schedules/locations.  So I ended up with a picnic for one!  Fine by me.  I would rather be by myself and make the most of it — get out of the house, do activities, meet new people — than sulk around and cry and feel sad about being alone.

I won’t lie, my picnic Fourth of July dinner was pretty sweet.  The menu:

  1. Sautéed garlic green beans with a maple glaze
  2. Potato salad with….interesting sauce
  3. Lemon grilled chicken
  4. Maple blueberry pie.

All together now:

I didn’t finish all of what’s pictured and made extra, so it looks like I’ll be eating nicely for a few days!  I am integrating real foods back into my diet slowly.  I didn’t have any other veggies today.  I feel much stronger and healthier but the last of the infection is still lingering around.  I am still being careful about fluids and am pounding the antibiotics (prescribed, of course).

After dinner I studied.  And studied some more.  Who knew logic games could be so damn complicated?  Alex is going to a party with his 25 best friends, known as each letter of the alphabet, B-Z.  Each person will arrive at a different time bearing a different food wearing a different color shirt.  Once they’re at the party they will be grouped into seven groups of different sizes.  We know that F arrived last and Z is wearing a purple shirt and will be in a group of three.  When did each person arrive?  What are they wearing?  What dish did they bring?  And what group are they in?

Seriously.  I’m not exaggerating.  Good thing the fireworks started after a few hours.  It was nice to see something exploding that wasn’t my brain.

I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to take a good picture of fireworks.  Meh.

I like the Fourth of July as a celebration of summer and friends and good food.  I guess the founding of our country is cool too.  I have the best memories of Fourth of July…

Storytime: Camp

From when I was 9 until 16 I attended a camp called AGQ every summer, for varying lengths of time (a week, two weeks, a month).  It was my favorite place in the world.  I grew up there.  It’s located in the most beautiful part of Michigan on a huge inland lake, with plenty of woods, pastures, cabins, camp sites, and everything else a kid could want in a summer camp.  I learned how to water ski.  How to play.  How to talk about myself and then write about myself.  How to be me.  Camp changed my life, not in a silly way, but in a very serious way.

There are a few specific memories about Camp that bring me instantaneous joy (and deep sadness as well). There was one tree; a very special tree.  An oak with the biggest green, sunny branches, draping out in all directions.  It seemed to me like that tree touched the sky.  And it had loving roots; the kind that your back just wants to soften into.  I made some of my dearest friends under that tree.  The ground in the circle around it was just sacred.  It accepted every child who entered i’s domain, unconditionally.

I think I learned how to consciously love at camp.  I hardly know how to explain this, but there is a point when a young person becomes fully and totally human through love: you fall so deeply in love with another being (not necessarily romantically) that you lose yourself.  there is something magical about love, about loving, and about camp.  You learn life stories, traumas, dreams, joys.  There is not a day that I don’t miss the extraordinary community of Camp.

One of the best things was always Fourth of July.  We would have “cookout” dinners with classic summer food (burgers, coleslaw, pasta salad, watermelon,etc.) and then the whole camp would lie out on blankets beside the lake and watch fireworks go off from the dock.  Perhaps I am romanticizing things, but there is not much a child should have to do in summer besides lie in the grass giggling with new friends and dream about s’mores.

My last few years at camp I participated in various leadership and counselor-in-training programs.  From the day I first set foot on Camp — drove through the woods and scrambled down the dirt road and the long hill and found my way to my cabin — I wanted to be a part of camp forever.  Unfortunately, we are not children forever.  But once I aged out, I wanted to be a counselor.  I wanted it more than I wanted anything else: more than I wanted to go to any particular college, more than I wanted to be good at swimming or running or writing, more than I wanted to work for the UN one day.  It was (and in a sense is) my biggest dream.  And it did not materialize.  I was not selected as a counselor.  In this rejection, I experienced my first heartbreak.  I had been deeply in love with this place for eight years — practically half my childhood, up to that point.

To this day I know that I would have been a phenomenal counselor.  I would have loved those children and showed them that they were valuable and unique and perfect the way they were.  I would have shown them how to love Camp, how to experience its magic, where to dive into the woods for a shortcut.   I do not say any of this out of arrogance or regret.  It’s just something I absolutely know — like I know that I will be a mother one day.  When you love a place that much and it changes your life that much, it is the most natural, perfect thing to, at a certain age, want to help transfer that love to others.

I go back and visit sometimes.  I haven’t been in two summers and I hope that I will have a chance this year.  I am forever thankful for Camp: for showing me how to accept and give love, how to write, how to fall in love with a place, how to express my needs and desires.  If it weren’t for camp, I would not have started writing my poems or switched to a new high school that changed my life.  I am not sure I would have ended up in New York.

If I had to choose a memory to die with tomorrow, it would be Camp.  Sitting in a circle under The Tree with new girlfriends, listening to poems and feeling the lake breeze waft through the hear.

What’s your “place”?  Where did you grow up — actually or metaphorically?  Have you ever loved something so much and then had to part with it?

Yoga, Summer Foods, New Friends!

Today’s Happy Note: Weekly Trader Joe’s visit. 🙂  I always find new fun treats at TJ’s.  It’s my favorite.  Bonus: super cute checkout boy who randomly grew up in a small town near the small town where I grew up!

No post yesterday because  of emergency work business.  Gah.  One of the downsides of having two jobs means that I’m kind of always “on call.”  If it’s not emails from patrons at my office, it’s phone calls with students from the other job or paperwork or photocopies.  I had a lot of trouble getting up early to workout this week.  I feel like maybe it was a hormonal thing — normally I can drag myself out of bed around 7 but this week I even slept through my alarm a few times, or turned it off altogether.  This rarely happens.  My guess is hormones or stress.  I have had plenty of me time so I know that can’t be the issue…

Workouts!  Yesterday I did a 4 mile walk, 10 minutes with my new kettleball, and 20 minutes yoga in the park.  Today about 2 miles walking and an hour yoga class with my favorite teacher.

I have not wanted to run much lately, probably because of the humidity.  I already sweat a lot (related to my PCOS) and intense humidity makes that even worse.  Hopefully I can maybe do a nice short run and swim tomorrow and I might have a surprise for you on Sunday!  You’ll have to wait and see. 🙂

Fun eats!

Yogurt and frozen fruit go so nicely together in summer.  I am loving frozen berries, cherries, and mango chunks.

Those are beans.  Not poop.

Cookie Friday a la Tina!  This had vanilla, macadamia, and coconut.  Twas very tasty, although I’m sort of feeling a little overloaded on carbs (I just had fruit and two bowls of cereal for dinner).  Sugar coma.  Meh.

Tomorrow I am going to have a spectacular adventure!  That might mean two adventures in one weekend if my Sunday Surprise Adventure turns out as well!  Wow.  That’s a lot of Adventuring.  Maybe I’ll meet my adventure soulmate.  Or just a new friend.  I think it’s really important to make and cultivate new friendships.  I can’t be close to every individual I meet, but a few new rewarding friendships never hurt anybody.

1.  What’s your favorite summer food? I am loving the frozen fruit, coconut, cold milk/yogurt, crunchy carrots, fresh spinach/other leafy greens, and sorbet!

2. Do you make new friends easily?  Do you have a lot of friends or just a few? I like to have a decent amount of friends but too many people at once will overwhelm me.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  What Adventures do you have planned?

Life Lessons: All In A Day’s Eats

Today’s Happy Note: Wearing my new professional pants to work today!  Made me feel nice and grown up.

Exercise: ~5 miles run and 10 minutes abs.  I also walk about a mile each way to work most days.  I hat hate hate humidity but am bad at getting up with enough time to run 5-6 miles before work.  I waited and ran at 7 this evening and it wasn’t too terrible, but I know at 7 am it would be cooler.  Also, I like coming home from work (between the two jobs, this is anywhere from 6-9) and relaxing and working on my “projects.”  If you’re a busy worker bee, when do you fit in workouts?

Things I learned today!  Seriously, food teaches important lessons…

I will never tire of frozen berries.  Nor will I ever tire of Maranatha almond butter (or any nut butter for that matter).  Other things I will never tire of: fresh flowers, lime green and turquoise, dancing around like a crazy person.

Life lesson numero uno: sometimes you absolutely need a crunchy peanut butter sandwich with a side of carrots for lunch.  It makes everything better, I promise.  Seriously though.  Sometimes it’s okay to stick with what you know.  There are some things in life that never fail!  Other things that never fail: my parents (at being weird), my eyebrows (at growing rabidly), and my ability to spend money at Whole Foods.

Dried hibiscus and Pb&A.  I like snacktime.  Snacktime is a happy time.  It breaks up the afternoon, especially when I’m doing data entry.  Other ways of breaking up a little afternoon work monotony: drinking lots of water, singing songs to yourself in your head while typing away, lots of stretch breaks (my shoulders get so tight while sitting for long stretches), munching on dried hibiscus!

Life lesson numero dos: yogurt does NOT sit well in the tummy before a run.  Makes me feel sluggish, bloated and a little nauseous.  Won’t be making that mistake again.  Other mistakes not to make again: saying yes to dates with weirdos out of desperation, buying chunky tomato sauce (uber disgusting), and failing to water my herbs (to the point of death).

If having smoothies for dinner every night and dipping cucumber slices in said smoothies is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.  Things I would like to be right about: my choice in major, the fact that Toddlers and Tiaras is whack, brownies being good for you.

I want to eat a brownie every night.  For the rest of my life.

Caronae’s Shelf!

On the top: Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth (continued from last week),  Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, Erica Jong Seducing The Demon: Writing For My Life, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and Alice Walker In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens.

I’ve already started the last two. I like being in the middle of a lot of books at once.  That way I can always find something I’m in the mood for.  On your shelf this week?  Do tell!

Goodnight dearies!  Weekend plans coming up?  Also do tell.

Sunday Funday Frienday

Today’s Happy Note: Looking at different gyms for the summer.  It’s fun, but some of them are expensive!

Caronae is a very tired pumpkin seed today.  Lots of walking and time in the sun = one exhausted girl.  I’m going to have to let the pictures do (most of) the talking.

Festivals in Brooklyn with friends are fun.

BAM is fun.

Piles of blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and whip cream are fun.  My friend’s dad invited us over for brunch.  These were divine; I have no idea how he got them so fluffy, but it was like eating a pillow.  A pillow stuffed with mountains of wild blueberries.

Rooftop gardens are spectacularly fun.  New York City in the summertime is fun (when it’s not deathly hot).

Bowls, drums, jewelry. All fun.

Fun fact about Caronae: I love elephants.

Fresh fruit = fun snack (strawberry and pear).

Free new shoes are very fun!  I got these from my friend’s dad’s girlfriend.  I have very few dress shoes so these will be nice for work.

Egg puffs in salads are always fun.

Not obsessing about exercise or precise calorie intake is pretty fun too!  I got in my fair share of walking today too.  I don’t have a picture, but McDonald’s sweet tea is wonderfully fun.  I am aware that it’s mostly sugar and I don’t care.  It is one of the best drinks in the world and is the only thing I go to McDonald’s (or really any fast food place) for.

What was fun for you today?

It’s easy to forget how important  fun is for our mental health.  If you have trouble letting yourself have fun (I think many women, especially, do), make a list of your favorite fun things and try one out when you’re feeling down.

My list includes things from this post and…

  • new swimsuits
  • word games and sudoku puzzles
  • picnics with friends
  • adventures in the park
  • any type of flower, especially orchids
  • collecting bird pins
  • baking
  • frozen fruit in the summer
  • checking out books from the library
  • cooing over fuzzy ducklings
  • reading poems
  • reading blogs
  • finding discounted kitchen appliances
  • wearing dresses

And many more things, of course! 🙂  What does your fun list look like?

Previous Older Entries