Wednesday, May 29, 2013

For Giggles

Hey y'all!  

So there's a lot of things that I would like to write about, including: 
  • Hero Rush (hells yeah)
  • Being able to run for like 15 min straight (at a snail's pace, but whatevs, I'm still doing it)
  • Moving to Georgia with no money and hoping this inspires me to be active instead of depressed
  • Recipes for banana bread cookies, lentil sausage kale soup, and other healthy yummies
But those all require more time than I have at the moment. Here instead is a hilarious and accurate video from Ms. Jenna Marbles about home workouts; an exercise method that, as far as I can tell, only works for the illustrious N, and even then only with significant gchat prodding/pep talks ;)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The girl on the 'mill next to mine

I fell off the treadmill and wrote a poem about it. Read at your own risk.

I've bitched about you before
The co ed in gym-short couture
The girl whose motives to work out
Are (I assume) to be asked out
By the Neanderthal meathead next door

An apology may be misplaced;
The dark thoughts thunk while attempting to pace
Your long, easy strides
Whatever slights I've sent your way
Weren't heard by you per se
But received karmically

Because tonight
After a willful exercise hiatus
I moved my feet
Tried to keep the beat
Of each sugary, rampant pop mistress
(And I was doing alright,
I might add)

When it came time for my heart rate to slow
An unbeknownst, unexpected shit show:
My shoe caught the edge
Of the moving 'mill ledge
Try as I might to hang on -
Down I go

Sheeek squeak, thump thump, oomf ugh.
Skinned knees
Flushed face
Hurt pride
Certainly not how I planned for my evening to go

Thank god the gym was empty
Thank god twas the end of the night
Thank god no one was watching --
"Are you ok?? Thank god you're alright!"

Though grateful for the would-be nurse
(Met with silent ridicule would've been much worse)
I feel a fool, embarrassed, irritated
No to mention fat, clumsy, inundated
With negative appraisals
Of my slow, clumsy self
"S'what I get for trying, right?

"Oh no! It happens to everyone -
Been there once recently, hun.
But I'm glad you're ok -
It's not always that way:
Last time I seriously fucked up my knee."

Having already been on the floor
And feeling just slightly more
Bolstered by this kind young thing
I picked myself up
And teeteringly put up
With the remainder of the workout routine.

None of it was pretty
And yet was pretty clear:
It's better by far
To let help and kindness
Thaw my once immovable blindness
To the value of a decent chick
in (slightly) expensive kicks
This is not what I looked like. But day-um.
housed on the 'mill next to mine

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Making an Effort

A few weeks ago, it was Easter, so I decided to put in a little extra time in the getting-ready-for-church department. Put on a nice dress, did my hair, heels, lipstick, the works.

I got so many compliments.  Which was great!  But surely I haven't been so scrubby of late that it warranted quite the reaction that I got...right? Several friends and I conferred on our similar experiences, and I started to think back about my usual dress code over the past few weeks/months in horror. Yoga pants, oversized t-shirt, hair more like a rats' nest pulled into a messy bun, no make up. Glasses instead of contacts. Typically this wardrobe is reserved for days when I'm pretty much guaranteed to see no one, but in thinking about it I noticed that these off-duty habits have crept into my everyday existence. Curse the person who long ago informed me that it's better not to wash your hair everyday, and the makers of that Tresseme revitalizer stuff for making day-old curls look passable. Getting a free pass to snooze instead of dragging my ass into the shower is where things start to fall apart as far as appearances are concerned. And since much of our free time the last few weeks has been occupied by house repairs or cleaning, I felt no need to beautify myself, regardless of whether or not I planned to encounter other human beings over the course of my day. Even on those days which I was certain to encounter other people, I started slacking. Pretty soon the only day I attempted to look presentable was the day I see clients, and even then I was coming with pulled back hair and glasses at times. To be clear, this is not evidence of some depressive spiral. I just...couldn't be bothered. I didn't think it mattered to anyone else, and it certainly didn't matter to me, so whatever.

There was a time when I refused to leave the house without makeup. At least mascara, as my eyelashes are light and thus invisible without some paint, and concealer for those wretched under-eye splotches. I'm sure I've told many of you the horrible story of that horrible woman who steered me to the bathroom with concealer moments after I showed up in contacts instead of glasses, with the words "Are you ill? Oh no, you can't go out like that. You look terrible."  Of course my fragile high school ego crumbled and I vowed never to appear in the presence of another human being without some assistance from Ms. Maybelline.

Kathy knows how it is for us gingers.

I have outgrown this rule over the course of my adult life, which I must say, I'm rather proud of. Because fuck you, it's my face. I'll put makeup on if I want to, or not if I want to.I'll wear heels that make me freakishly tall and other (shorter) people uncomfortable because they make me feel sexy or flats that make me walk like a duck because that's what I choose to wear.  I'll wear bike shorts and a tank top to weigh in at WW because that's less clothes and I want to be as close to naked as possible when they give me that number. It's my body and I'll look as scrubby or smokin' as I want to.

So apparently, in the last few weeks, I've erred on the side of scrubby more than usual. There are a number of possible reasons for this, not least of which is the aforementioned tasks required of me in my off-time. There's also this nagging familiar wish to get rid of this body and trade it in for another one (yes, I know, we've been over this). Also being annoyed that warmer weather is suddenly upon us and I don't fit into my summer clothes yet. Regardless of the reasons, I've decided to take a page from my therapist playbook and responding to these automatic thoughts and assumptions with a mantra:

"Let's make an effort."

Say I don't want to wash my hair. Because then you have to put stuff in it, dry it, ugh. Going out and about today, so let's make an effort. Cute chignon instead of rat's nest. And you know what? I felt better too. Not because anybody said "Oo, nice hair" (which they didn't. I tried to get J to and even he was like, "meh.") - but (or at least I think) because I had made the effort for myself.  Let's try another: Have an appointment scheduled at a place about a mile from the house. Woke up with enough time to walk there, so let's make an effort. Try to let go of guilty feelings because I should have gone for a run instead. Because hey, activity is activity and that's enough for me at this moment. OR you could throw a party with lots of tempting dips and treats, but make an effort and keep tons of veggies on hand for snackings. And then you have leftover veggies to bring for lunches all week, which you pack before heading out because you are making an effort. The mantra has bled into other parts of life as well. Have a free hour between clients and really want to scour xojane and buzzfeed but have notes to finish. Let's make an effort. I get on a roll and BOOM! All my notes are caught up, signed and filed. Hell yeah, when's the last time that happened?! (honestly guys, I'm superexcited about this).

It's not much, but it's something. At the very least, I'm putting a little more umph into things when the opportunity arises, rather than automatically choosing the easy (most often: lazy) way. And really, it's mostly for me, because...well, I'm human and we are inherently selfish creatures. It's nice to be complimented, yes, and I'm sure that's an unconscious motivator to some extent. But I'm liking the way I feel when I make an effort (and can let go of feeling guilty or judging my efforts for not being "enough"), and for now anyway, that's enough of a reason to keep it up.

When my husband got home from work this morning, he noted my breezy spring summer dress (because apparently Baltimore likes to skip spring entirely) and did hairs and commented that I looked nice today.

"Thanks. It's this new thing I'm trying called making an effort."


(Seriously though, I'm gonna kill the asshole who told me I didn't have to wash my hair every day. Probably some Cosmo article circa 2001.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Breaking the Locks

As you may have figured from my blog absence, there was some falling-off-the-wagon that extended far beyond what was necessary or reasonable in the weeks and months leading up to and after the daunting Match Day.

Firstly, I am thrilled to report that I was matched to my first choice program for internship. !!! I don't need to tell you how amazing this is. There has been an abundance of screaming, crying, jumping, wooting, toasting regarding this event.  The aftermath has been replete with processing what this means for me, my education, my marriage, my career, and, you know, my life. NBD. (cue internal freakout)

I've done a lot of thinking about what this year has been like; what it's led to and what I had to work through, move past and let go of to get to where I am now. As well as the incredible support I have from SO MANY PEOPLE. It's truly astounding. 

The best analogy for this journey that I have come up with thusfar hearkens back to my childhood growing up in Michigan. On the border between Michigan and Canada, there is an engineering wonder called the Soo (or Sault) Locks, which allows ships, boats and other water transportation vessels to safely traverse the falls of the St. Mary's river to get from Lake Superior to Lake Huron. The way I understand it (and keep in mind that this is coming from the memory of my Michigan geography and history class in 5th grade), a boat sails into the locks and is safely barricaded into a temporary dam while water is pumped in or out (depending on the direction you're headed), to match the waterline of the part of the river where you are going. 

So. You sail your little ship along. You have a direction, a purpose, and idea of where you're headed and why. To get there, you must go through the locks - a piece of machinery that is both helpful and imperfect, and largely operated by outside forces that you just have to trust while they have you in their midst. You sail into the locks, ensure that all your gauges and levers are set to safely stand by while machinations work around you. There's only so much you can do to govern your little ship while the locks do their thing; mostly you have to sit tight. The water slowly pours in. You wait. Then, once the waterline in the locks matches that of the body outside, the locks open and you are free to sail. Onward.

Onward, indeed.
Waiting for the water to level out in these metaphorical locks of my life has resulted in a number of reallygood and notsogood things about this past year, a bunch of which you lucky (read: patient) readers have observed me tangling with here. Despite our lofty aspirations for Fit Anniversary, the holding pattern has not always created the motivation or environment for new fitness commitments to be wildly successful. At least in my part and particularly before and after (dun dun duunnn) Match Day, I have been stuck and stubborn about losing weight and getting healthy. The time lost being stuck and stubborn may mean that we may not reach our exact goal by our fifth wedding anniversary, which while disappointing, is also understandable. Luckily, the proverbial release into the next phase of life has spurred some exciting changes in the Fit Anniversary department. Bottom line: We are sick of being fat. Like, for realsies. I know I'm over it. And so far, the newest reset has been working great. Down 2.0 lbs at my weigh in yesterday, and that was the first time I've seen a downward number in a while. Feeling good about this week too. J is down about 3 lbs too. RIGHT?! YEAH! (that was my game face, can't you tell internet?)  Let's do the damn thing.

Here's our updated plan for Fit Anniversary reset:
  1. Accept that we (J and myself) lose weight in completely different ways.  This is an unfortunate truth for a few reasons.  When I was growing up, eating together was the norm in my house. Most nights we would share a meal, update each other one what was happening in our respective lives, hear stories, tell jokes, fight about politics and plan ways to solve the world's problems. For me, preparing and sharing a meal is a big part of how I show people that I love them, and carves out time for us to be together in a relatively distraction-free context. At the moment our dining room is a pit of chaos from an increasingly dismal pantry project, making it difficult impossible to eat at the table.  I recognize this as a solvable problem. The less solvable problem is that if J used up his points on lunch, he'll have a bowl of cereal or yogurt for dinner. That doesn't work for me. Additionally, what healthful dish I might make for dinner usual leaves J noting the lack of fat or presence of vegetables in whatever I've prepared. In theory, we could eat our respective meals together, yes. But it does make me a little sad that he probably wouldn't eat the vegetarian shepherd's pie that the amazing A shared with me last night.
  2. ACTUALLY track what we eat. This is hard for both of us. But it's also key, and I know that. Sometimes it's difficult to accept the points values of what we love to consume. Like beer. I love beer. This weekend was St. Patrick's Day - the worldwide international holiday of beer-drinking. And I tracked every one of those suckers I slurped. And it was repugnant. (feel free to insert your own fun words for absolutely atrocious and disgusting)
  3. Reduce carb intake.  This is just for me. And believe me, I know this sounds like an obvious solution. But I love carbs. And if I'm not careful, I'll have oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and potatoes with dinner. This is not a sustainable weight loss strategy for moi, even if I track it all. So! The goal is to eat carbs only once per day, and (with the exception of St. Patty's), I've been able to do that. If I have a veggie-filled soup in the crock pot for dinner, maybe I'll have cereal for breakfast. If I know I'm going over to a friend's for dinner and there's likely to be carbs served, I'll hold off on eating any during the day. Or if I really want popcorn (and I LOVE me some popcorn), I'll save all my carbs for my favorite snack.
  4. Activity is activity. Previously, I had convinced myself that if it didn't happen with my tennis shoes on, it didn't count.  And then I would feel guilty about not getting to the gym and be less likely to take smaller steps in the activity department. With the encouragement of the dharma-licious D, in this iteration of the Fit Anniversary reset I'm trying to walk as much as possible. The other night when the beloved Bs invited us over for dinner, we walked, which was a little over a mile both ways. When J and I needed ingredients for dinner we took the 15 minute walk to the grocery store instead of popping over in the car. Takes a little more time, but it's been really nice to be out in the neighborhood, getting some fresh air and catching up with each other about the ins and outs of our days. I guess you could say it's been our replacement dinner table for the time being. :)
So there you have it folks. We are unsticking ourselves. We are back on track and trying to be accountable. Life is about to get crazy, what with moving to Georgia in (counting on my fingers) three-ish months and getting ready to start my life as a psychology resident on internship.  It's gonna be a wild ride.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Petulance and Purgatory

Much of my mental state at the moment can be summed up in this statement:
I don't wanna.
How I feel...often.
I don't wanna eat right. I don't wanna exercise. I don't wanna do laundry. I don't wanna clean the house. I don't want to write notes.  I don't want to sit at the computer doing the job I get paid to do. And I certainly don't wanna keep WAITING.

Recognizing the wisdom in all the standard adages about patience (good things come to those who wait, a watched pot never boils, etc), this particular brand of suspense has run it's course. When you get down to it, I've been waiting for the next phase of my life to start for a year now. And I am soooo over it.

The lovely C pointed out (as she is an excellent therapist and an even better friend) that in a mere 10 days, some big changes will be set in motion. And at this point, I have absolutely no control over them. In mere months I will move to an entirely new part of the country - alone. I will have to leave the strong supports with which I have been blessed here Baltimore. And. For the first time in my career I will have the opportunity to do what I love every day. I will considerably expand my knowledge, skills and network, setting the tone for the next phase of my career. February 22, 2013 and all the machinations set in motion by it will be thrilling, and bittersweet in some real ways. And it cannot come soon enough.

After two solid days of tantrums unbecoming of a grown ass woman, I was inspired/guilted into some exercise by friends near and far. I ran jogged for 3ish miles, then indulged in a very belated issue of Vogue on the stationary bike for 4ish miles. And as much as I hated it, as much as I still feel whiny and annoyed by the state of my life as it stands at the moment, the movement felt good. Plus it gave me the willpower to drive past the pizza place in favor of healthier (and, frankly, yummier) leftovers at home.

Small victory for today, but! it's better than pouting and wishing for things to be different. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Purple Pride

Sports do not come naturally to me. (I know, you're so surprised, right?) I only learned to understand football as a devoted marching band member. That said, as a boisterous, enthusiastic, and (above all) LOUD person, I am a very good cheerleader. And I am very indiscriminate in my cheerleading -- I will be just as enthusiastic for bocce as for basketball, as fervent for football as for foosball  .

Purple skyline, purple soup.
It is a lovely coincidence that the team color for my adopted-home-town team here in Baltimore is purple, as purple is my favorite color. Makes it very easy to get dressed up in support of the Ravens. Even more awesome is how fired up this town gets about its sports teams. Os, Ravens--there are a lot of birds in this town, and people love the shit out of them. I'm ok with that. I like the enthusiasm. I also like purple. Pretty much everyone in this town is busy decking themselves and their surroundings out in purple paraphernalia in preparation for tomorrow (there's this game happening, perhaps you've heard?).  In tribute, I wore purple pretty much every day this week and painted my nails a lovely shimmery dark plum hue (shout out to the MIL for an excellent stocking stuffer).'s me we're talking about, so naturally I was searching for a purple-tinged food to make for this weekend as well.  Cupcakes? Cookies? Something with eggplant?

Lo and behold, when getting creative in the lunch-making department today, my purple food found me.  And! Because it's delicious and healthy, I shall share it with you all!

Purple Soup

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 15.5 oz can chickpeas
  • 1 (ish) cup frozen green beans
  • 1 c forbidden rice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 cups water and chicken or beef bouillon to taste OR stock.
  • several handfuls of chopped fresh kale
  • Za'atar, salt and pepper

  1. Brown beef in the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven. Remove from pot and drain. Saute onion and garlic in the same pot on medium high so they pick up the flavor from the beef. Use a little bit of water to deglaze the bottom of the pot and infuse the veggies with the meaty flavor. Return beef to the pot. 
  2. Drain and rise chickpeas, add those to the mix. Season with S&P. Let these hang out together about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add stock/water+bouillon. I used chicken bouillon and lots of water, because that's what I had. It would have tasted great with beef broth/bouillon too. Just be careful not to add so much that there's no room for things to boil.
  4. Add the green beans (straight from frozen). You are now permitted to add the forbidden rice.
  5. Dump a whole bunch of za'atar in there. I'm guessing 1-2 tablespoons. Honestly, I have no idea what's in it. The illustrious N introduced me to it way back in our first year and I've been using it to season soups, sauces and dips ever since.  Check out the wiki article, very informative!  
  6. Add some cracked black pepper, probably 1-2 teaspoons worth. Bring the whole thing to a rolling boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Let burble for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add chopped kale, stir into soup and let bubble away for another 5 or so minutes. Voila!
As the rice cooks it turns the soup this lovely deep purple color, which contrasts with the bright green kale.  It's a hearty soup; the flavors are subtle but interesting and cohesive. To be real, I'll probably add even more za'tar next time. An unexpectedly purple treat to prepare for tomorrow. GO RAVENS!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Taste for Travel

When I was growing up, we never ate fast food.  Ok, not never, but very rarely.  In fact, the only time we stopped at a McDonald's, Burger King or Taco Bell was on road trips, and long ones at that.  Usually to the UP to see my paternal extended family, which was in and of itself a treat. The trip took at least 8 hours, and that's a long time for two sisters to sit next to each other without devolving into fits of rage and tears. So my parents plied us with delicious, salty, foreign food, often accompanied by an attached playground/ballpit.

To this day, when I'm traveling, I crave fast food.  Big surprise, that's how conditioning works.

Now, under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be a problem. What's a burger and greasy fries between the occasional airport? But in the past few weeks (erm, Thanksgiving maybe?), I have been traveling a LOT.  An abnormal amount, all in the name of Internship Interview Insanity. From January 1st through 25th, I will be home with my beloved exactly 5 days. Woah. On it's own, this is ridiculous. But in the context of Fit Anniversary, this means lots of time on the road, not a lot of funds or perishables, and lots and lots of airports. These facts, combined with my early association of travel with treating myself to fast food, have made things quite...well, fattening. Add the emotional stress of interviews and missing my hubband on top of that and my resolve against fat and carbs has all but disintegrated.

But, here I am, owning up to it...that counts for something, right?

The truth is, on non-food fronts, I feel good.  Like, really good. I feel comfortable in my skin when I sit with the parade of psychologists and training directors I have met in recent weeks.  I know what I'm talking about, and I can communicate that adequately, if not eloquently at times. I have as vision for what I want to do with my life, I believe in it and in myself, and (so far) it seems I can make other people envision that as well. This biatch is bringing it from Baltimore, and it feels good.

And the places I've traveled have been pretty amazing too. I've gotten to catch up with some really great people, and I've been warmly embraced by pretty much every town I've been to, thanks to lovely folks scattered around the country.  Almost all of the sites I've visited feel like good fits; some more than others, but pretty much all of them are places where I could be myself, the atmosphere more than conducive to learn and grow and blossom into a full-fledged Docta. And after almost a year of bullshit, that feels really, really good.

I'm not sure what else I can say about it. As I write, I'm sipping a local brew and munching on even more carbs. I'll probably eat poorly for dinner too.  And when traveling tomorrow.  And then on Sunday when I leave again, this time to play with the Magnificent M, whom I haven't seen in forever and am SO looking forward to hugging, chatting, and catching up. There we are, reasons to celebrate, AKA: reasons to eat poorly.  So Fit Anniversary is not on track at the moment.  I'm flubbery and full in the face. And while I don't want things to stay this way, for now...I'm ok with it.  Because I can honestly say that, by in large, I feel good about myself. Truly, genuinely good.

And that will have to be enough for now.

Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri. AKA: potential new home #9