Wednesday, September 8, 2010

August Recap and Back to School

Goodness, I've been away longer than I intended!!

August was an exciting month. My daughter spent the better part of the month with her cousins and my in-laws, so I spent a lot of the month solo, going to work and coming home to an empty apartment. I lived off the farm share. I read books. I bought a thirty pound box of organic tomatoes from our CSA farm and made/froze seven quarts of tomato sauce.

September has been busy as well. My daughter is starting school. I bought a twenty-five pound box of peaches (waiting to be canned).

And then this morning, I got a call from my BFF at 6am. She often calls early, but not that early, so I knew something was up.

What was up: Her father had a stroke at 5am this morning.

So my day was spent at the hospital with her mom, waiting to find out something. We still really don't know anything about how things look long-term. But I felt thoroughly ashamed that I spent so much time this morning obsessing over whether or not I had gained half a pound. Tonight I am holding my breath, waiting to find out more information about my friend's dad. He is not old--only in his 60s. My parents are in their 60s.

It got me thinking about mindfulness and gratitude in my life. I am lucky to have my parents, that they are still in good health. I am lucky to have my own health. Day-to-day though, it is difficult to remember to be grateful about that. It's far easier to take health for granted and be annoyed with carrying an extra 5 lbs instead of happy about the good blood work that just came back from the doctor.

I've also been watching The Big C on Showtime, where Laura Linney plays a woman who has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. As a result, she up-ends her life and stops doing what she has always done because it was expected. Her carefully crafted conservative self goes out the window.

All of this is resonating with me as I approach 40. I recently read some of Formerly Hot, and parts of that resonate as well. I'm not 25 anymore. I'm not even 35 anymore--but my brain hasn't really caught up with that. I'm not getting younger and while I'm certainly not old, no amount of exercise, diet, lotion or makeup is going to take away the effects of childbirth, sleep deprivation, and the many other stresses I have experienced in the last 5-10 years.

So where does that leave me? Still figuring things out. Still looking for me, still figuring out me now vs. me then. And trying to enjoy life in the meantime.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New York, New York

I was going through a period of time where I was really, really missing living in NYC, so I sat down to make a list of all the things I missed about NYC.

Guess what I discovered?

I don't miss NYC as much as I think I do. I couldn't come up with that many things I truly miss about the city. Here's what I miss:

1. Being able to walk everywhere
I hate having to get in the car for everything. I miss the exercise. I miss the ability to do ten errands on the way home from the subway.

2. Food
I miss my lunch options, especially now that my lunch options are lame corporate cafeteria, McD's and Subway. I miss my delivery options. I miss my grocery options (and my grocery delivery).

3. I miss people. I miss our phenomenal nanny. I miss having a great group of people more or less in my age range that I worked with. I miss my Pilates instructor.

But I don't miss the expense of the city, the long work hours, the small living quarters, the smell of urine on the streets and in the subways, people who don't curb their dogs, etc.

I think I miss the routine I had down to a science, the ease of being in a place so walkable, and the comfort of home. Funny, since I'm back where I grew up--but I guess 13 years as an adult in one city is nothing to sneeze at.

So I've been feeling a bit out of sorts, but I'm trying to work through it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Birthday Wisdom?

Today is my birthday. 38 years ago, I was coming into the world.

It seems impossible to me, that I have been alive for 38 years. I don't feel like I've collected the wisdom that 38 years should bring. And at the same time, it makes me feel a bit morbid--none of us know when we're going to die, but the longer you live, the higher the likelihood that it is closer. I don't know if I'll live another sixty years or only another sixty days. I certainly hope it is a good long time I have left, but there are no guarantees.

I guess this all makes me appreciate life and the world and the things that I do have. So here are some thoughts I've had and some tidbits of wisdom that I've learned along the way.

1. Let it go

It isn't worth it to hold a grudge, to obsess over the petty. Sometimes it is hard to remember this. I've certainly wasted plenty of time obsessing over minute details or perceived slights, but I like to think that as I get older
I spend less time dwelling on the little things that don't really matter.

2. It's good to remember where you came from

I recently attended my 20 year high school reunion, and to my delighted surprise, it was a blast. We often get so caught up in our achievements, our daily grind, our ambitions and our adult lives that we forget who we
once were, what we once laughed over or loved. It is very grounding, and it can feel very good to spend time with family or friends that date back to elementary school or high school.

3. Take care of your teeth

This one comes from my great-aunt, who passed away two years ago in her mid-nineties. She always told me to take care of my teeth, and I've heeded her advice. I made a New Year's resolution many years back to floss every
day, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've broken it. Think about it: how much does your mouth hurt for days if you bite your cheek? It interferes with eating, drinking, teeth brushing and is generally very annoying
until it heals. Now imagine having painful cavities, root canals, dentures that might get food stuck or rub uncomfortably. Take care of your teeth.

4. Exercise to feel good, not just to look hot

When I first started exercising, I admit it was because I wanted to look better. But then I quickly realized how much better it was making me feel...and how lousy I felt when I stopped for a while. Exercise really is a great mood lifter, improves your metabolism, your immune system and your overall health. My father is a prime example of this--he has never gotten sick when my mom and my brother and I would catch a virus--and he still doesn't. He's a lifelong runner and outdoor enthusiast, and he has more endurance and energy than others half his age. So start exercising because you want to look hot, but don't quit if you don't see immediate results. Even if you NEVER see the results you hope for in the form of six-pack abs, you'll still reap a ton of benefits from regular exercise.

5. Figure out what is most important to YOU

There are plenty of marketing departments in the world working 'round the clock to convince you of what is important: great hair, fashionable clothing, rat-sized dogs in expensive ugly purses, fancy cars, big houses, who you know, being "green",eating local, eating organic, blah blah blah. Never mind all that. It's hard to wade through the noise, but figure out what is truly important to you. Not to your neighbor, your rival at work, the person on the treadmill next to you at the gym, your mom--you. It is time to set aside all the voices in your head of your parents or the kids you went to school with that tell you you'll never make any money as an English major or you're weird for liking to read more than playing softball. You only have to live with
yourself and your own choices, so try to make them based on what you find important.

That's all I've got tonight.

Only two years left

Tomorrow is my birthday. I turn 38.

When I started this blog a year ago, I wanted to use it as a way of defining, exploring and identifying apath to fulfillment. And I think I certainly have explored what I find fulfilling and not so fulfilling, tried new things, been harried and scattered and written a lot of different kinds of blog posts, from
health and fitness to book review to parenting to random life posts.

Here's what I have learned so far:

1. I am not a food blogger

Don't get me wrong. I love food. I love talking about food, thinking about food and posting about food. But I am not naturally a photographer, and I have to remind myself to take pictures of what I'm eating and post them. Also, I am the mother of a three year old, so most of my meals do not have the presentation that makes a food blog exciting. They are more likely to have crayons in the background or paint on the table.

2. I am not a twenty-something

As much as I enjoy reading the blogs of food/fitness bloggers such as Eat Live Run or Healthy Tipping Point, and even though I relate to things in those blogs, that really shouldn't be what my blog is about. If I had a blog when I was in my mid-to-late twenties, it would have looked a lot like these blogs. I ran races, I ate out, I met up with people from the internet. But I'm not there any more. It's challenging for me to find my own blogidentity (blogdentity?) when I
read blogs like this all the time, but I am working on it. I think I'm mentally getting to a place where I understand what my blog focus is.

3. Focus

As I mentioned, my blog posts have been a bit all over the place. It's all been part of finding my blogdentity, and that's okay. But now that I have gotten to a place where I have an idea of what that is, I need to stay the course. It's sort of like if you are a fiction writer, and you've found your voice--but then you read a really wonderful book, and you start to notice your latest chapter has a different tone because you're being influenced by your reading material. I want my voice to come through on the blog. Not anyone else's, because that's not the story I'm here to narrate.

So I think 2010--2011 will be a different year on the blog. Also, in exciting announcements, I am now writing a book column on Examiner.com. You can find my column at Albany Books Examiner So far? Great fun!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

AWOL

Well, I didn't plan on disappearing for five days. My daughter's BFF came up this weekend, which was great--and had that been the end of my weekend, I would have had a lovely recap post.

Unfortunately, my Sunday was capped by Stomach Evil!

As we finished dinner on Sunday night, I thought "Wow, I ate too much. I feel really stuffed." We cleaned up, packed up and headed for home.
In the car on the way home, I went from "I ate too much" to "I don't feel so hot" to "I might have to throw up out the window". Most unpleasant.

When we got home, I got in my pjs(it was 8:00) and crawled into bed with a basin and a glass of water by my side, praying that it would all just Go Away.

Alas, it was not to be. Sunday night through Monday morning was miserable, followed by the Monday of Great Unconsciousness, followed by the Tuesday of diluted apple juice and Saltines. I finally went back to work today, but my food intake was abysmal. I ate dinner tonight, but judging from the sounds my guts are making, I'm not sure I didn't rush things a bit.

So no exciting meals or exercise of any kind to report.

On the plus side, I lost a couple pounds (probably water, which will be back in a day) and hey, I kicked caffeine! I'd been toying with the idea of getting off coffee for a while, and I figured two days of non-consumption and sleeping all day was a two-day free pass toward going cold turkey. I wasn't about to put coffee in my poor tender stomach first thing this morning, so now I'm three days caffeine-free! The headache yesterday was brutal, but today was better and I think I might make it.

I'm going to be taking it easy the next couple days. No exercise, easily digested meals until I am sure I'm clear of this thing. I might have an exciting announcement in a few days though! WooT!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chococalcilicious!

Adora chocolate calcium supplements are the best thing! Where have these been all my genetically predisposed to osteoporosis life?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Foul Crankiness

So my daughter wet the bed at 3am. This would not be any big deal except that she refused to go back to sleep. So of the last four nights, I only slept through one. The other two involved stretches of awakeness between 2 and 4 am.

I am a raging bitch today. For me, anyway. I'm tired, pissed that I missed yet another workout, and generally cranky.

So naturally I'm at the DMV getting my license renewed. I figure I might as well get all the crankiness done at once.