Thursday, May 26, 2011

A sneaky vacation

Usually I am extremely excited for a vacation. A far off trip to a tropical island is our usual venture. This year we decided that traveling to a far off tropical island would probably not work out with a toddler. So, we booked a week down the Cape (um, that's Cape Cod for all non-New Englanders) for Memorial Day weekend.

Because the hotel is 2 hours from our door, and we have the opportunity to come home at any time, this is a sneaky vacation. We've been down the Cape a lot. Natural New Englanders, we gravitate towards the Cape and its beaches and fun minigolf.

But we realized last night that our vacation starts Friday. And we've done nothing to prepare. At all.

No frenzy of buying clothes, beach ware, or vacation books. Tonight I must go through the mound of laundry, pack up stuff, and figure out if it will be worth bringing the kiddie pool with us. This vacation is going to be thrown together, but we decided that is OK with us. I'm tempted to just bring a big backpack and live out of it like Europeans visiting the Cape. If they didn't all live in great apartments and become waiters for the summer that is.

As I sit in my office going through author indexes and page proofs, I really cannot believe that tomorrow I'll be dipping my toes into the frigid Atlantic. And the heated pool.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May Day May Day

This time of year is always stressful for me. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, commencements all snowball on top of each other, blotting out weekends and spare time. My bank account is drained buying presents for people (which I am happy to do) and my stress levels rise with each task I add to my to-do list. It's as though the universe knows this and piles it on, maybe trying to teach me a lesson about taking too much on, being too materialistic, or some other junk. Once mid-May hits, my mayday button is blinking.

This week in particular is busy. I've been attempting to keep it together and have for the most part done OK. On Monday I was at a town meeting until midnight, scrawling notes about budgeting for an article due the next morning--having already written and submitted a piece earlier the morning before. I volunteered to do some work for a friend entering the hospital, and had a pile of papers to read through and worry about her procedure. This weekend I am going out of town for a friend's bridal shower--I'm a bridesmaid--and have been struggling about stupid things, but which still have stressed me out nonetheless. It will be the first night I am away from my son too. Yesterday I nearly forgot to call my father on his birthday and when I did call from the train station the announcer chose those 5 minutes to make all the announcements for the day. Plus, my father pointed out that I was the last one to call him. My father calls me on my birthday separately from my mother just because, and I really wish I had called him earlier and not while in transit. But I got a card and Dunkins gift certificate to him, so hopefully he will think of me when he has his daily infusions of coffee.

Now today. Today is my wedding anniversary and in advance of the date I booked a babysitter, got a reservation at a nice restaurant, and bought my husband a card. I wanted it to be calm, organized, and stressless. However, the universe decided to give us a 5 AM wake up call with a "strong odor of gas" in the house and a screaming child. When your day starts with your husband saying "Get dressed quickly, get out of the house, and don't turn on any lights" you know that the universe is fucking with you. Especially as all my clothes were in the dryer. Normally I have clothes strewn across the floor for easy picking. Not this morning. Having recently reorganized my dresser drawer, I couldn't even remember where my pants were stored. Fumbling in the dark, I pulled out a random pair of pants and threw on an old jacket from college that was on my floor and have only worn maybe 5 times in my life. I then grabbed the kiddo, wrapped him in a blanket, and stumbled down the dark hall.

Turns out there was not a gas main break. Somehow one of the burners on the stove had turned on a bit, and gas was running out of it. I am going to have to blame the cats, but really have no idea as it was the side of burners we rarely use and the only scenario I can see the cats having done it was trying to jump up to the stove, missing, and catching the knob on the way down. Odd, especially as they both sleep in our room at night. But the gas leak had been going all night. The house was FULL of gas and we were lucky that the house did not explode, or we did not asphyxiate. Once husband turned off the stove we were able to clear the house by opening all the doors and windows. The morning routine resumed.

The universe must have been sorry or thought that I learned something sitting in the nursery holding my son after the gas situation had resolved itself. I got a prime parking spot at the train today. Plus my friend is OK, some money arrived in the mail to cover the birthday/wedding/fathers' day presents coming up, and I realized I could do some errands for this weekend at lunch. Still, I feel as though the week vacation down the Cape that begins next Friday is months away. Memories are appearing fuzzy as time goes forward, and each day rolls into the next, blurring the line of time. There are days I feel as though staying awake for a few days would be OK because then everything would be done and my sleep would be more sound. But then I pass out from exhaustion or cry because it's all too much.

But this morning as we opened the house for a cleansing, outside sounded like a rainforest. It was pouring, humid, and the birds were just waking up and calling to each other. I think I heard a wake up call from somewhere.

Message received universe, your point.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Carbs be not proud

CARBS be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore carbs, nor yet canst thou kill me. [*]

As I write this I am eating a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and drinking caffeinated coffee.

I did the cleanse a full week, and now it's over.

But I did learn some things. Besides the fact that my DNA is composed entirely of wheat germ.

My egg sandwich is on a skinny wheat bagel and my coffee is lighted with soy milk. That's right people, it's the little things.

My skin is back to red blotches though.

But anyway, there was no way I could do a full month. I'm currently "training" for a 1/2 marathon and on Sunday when I went for my long run I had energy only for the first 2 miles. The next 5 were miserable. I had to sit down. I've never sat down on a run before. Not to mention at the family barbque I had some lovely chocolate chip cookies my sister made (and her cookies are amazing, I dare you not to eat them if they are presented to you. They call out to you...) and some ice cream cake. And beer. But after being so good for so many days, my stomach rebelled. I could feel the sugars fermenting. Not fun.

I managed to jump back on the wagon though until yesterday when I snuck some gold fish crackers. Then I broke down and had a bowl of my honey sunshine cereal [Yes, it is really called honey sunshine and is completely good for you]. I then knew I was done with my abstinence and opened a Hazed and Infused beer (now in a can. I haven't had good beer in a can in ages!)

So as I sit here with my lovely coffee I have a few changes to my life.

1. Only 1 cup of caffeinated coffee a day. I love the taste of coffee and will get decaf if I need more each day. Plus I never want to experience the caffeinne headache I had last week ever again. Who needs that 36 hours of pain?
2. Use soy milk when given the chance in my coffee. Au Bon Pain (who get a % of my paycheck each week) keeps it out on the coffee station.
3. Eat way more veggies.
4. Limit carb/wheat servings. I don't need the goldfish crackers at 10 PM. At this time there isn't a toddler around to blame for even having them out.
5. I eat a lot less dairy than I thought. The hardest part about the no dairy was milk in my decaf.
6. If I have a special event I will not eat wheat or have any alcohol the preceding 3 days before in order to get glowing skin.
7. 4 pounds aint worth nearly passing out on a run.

So, that bikini is still challenging me, and I'm going to answer the call with a 9 mile run this weekend, following by yoga, a 4 mile run, and then 1 pull up. That's right. 1 pull up.

Cause I've improved since last week.

[*full and correct text above poem excerpt can be found here]

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sometimes I hate it when people are right

Day 4. No, it's not a vast wasteland of headaches and hunger anymore.

OK, well, a little hungry. I still get my 4 PM feed me or die feelings, but I have to say.

I feel freaking amazing.

I guess I'm over the hump. My chiropractor told me last night that the days 2 and 3 of this diet change were the hardest, and from here it was all smooth sailing and rainbows. He said when he does it he wants to kill someone on day 3.

I have to say I came very close yesterday. If the people I were emailing with were in my state, I'd be in prison right now for first degree murder.

Sure enough, when I was leaving his office there was a rainbow in the sky.

But this morning when I woke up I did not bound out of bed ready to start the day. In fact, I hit the snooze button for 30 minutes. When I did finally get up though I found I could put one foot in front of the other without pain and my head felt clear. Then I got to the mirror.

Something was different.

My skin was clear. Now, I have clear skin. In fact, I've been told by many people that they hate me because I haven't had a pimple in the last decade. My husband who suffered from acne as a teenager just sighs when I claim to have a blemish. It's usually a scratch on my face or a piece of food. I do get roseasca when I drink a lot, but in the past few years that seems to have gone down.

But today my skin was really clear. I was nearly glowing.

One of the reasons why I began this diet change was that I had been experiencing a surge of skin allergies. Rashes, hives, itchiness, and general redness. All gone. No weird welts on my neck. No odd lines on my arms. My red toned skin, which I thought was just my natural color, was a healthy rosy pink.

Of course the first thing I thought wasn't, yay, I'm healthy!

It was crap, this is working and I have to keep going.

So goodbye bread. It looks like it will be a while before we meet again.

And beer, well I can't even think about missing you yet. Tomorrow at the family bbq will be test enough.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fat detox

My son turns one this weekend and I decided it was time to lose the extra weight I picked up carrying him around for 9 months. I'm nearly there...just 5 pounds until my pre-pregnancy weight. In the last year I've lost over 20 pounds but in last 6 months I've not lost one.

But I actually have a lot more to lose.

Before I got pregnant I had just finished training for 2 marathons. I was svelte and muscular. Now I run about once a week and am not svelte and muscular. I'm squishy. While I'm in all the clothes I was wearing this time two years ago, they don't fit quite right, and I know that I've been thinner.

I'm skipping over the fact I'm still wearing the same outfits 2 years later.

So I decided that I needed a jump start on my weight loss. I recently quit Weight Watchers after not losing 1 single pound despite paying for membership for 3 months. My friend out in Cali-lala emailed me this diet that she got from her yoga center.

I know, California. Yoga. Diet. It's sounds a little hippy dippy.

But I saw her a few weeks ago and she looked amazing. Thin. Tan. Fit.

Seeing as I can't really ever be tan, I'll settle for thin and fit.

The diet is fairly simple. Give up all the things you love and eat like an adult. But a hard ass adult who is concerned with fitness. You can eat all the vegetables you want, and most of the lower sugar fruits on the Glycemic index. You can also eat lean meats, but should buy organic to avoid any chemicals/hormones/whatever it is they do to meats these days.

But there are 4 rules that must be followed.

First, no alcohol. I can do that. And I know I will lose weight because of that. I love beer. Heavy imported beer with lots of yeast.

Second, no caffeine. I can do that, but not happily. I couldn't have caffeine while breastfeeding the little guy, so I've done that before.

Third, no wheat. Hmmm. A gluten free diet. I asked myself how much wheat do I really turns out my DNA probably has wheat meshed into it now. That's how much I eat. On day 1 I thought I was going to starve. I feel very bad for anyone who cannot process gluten because it is just yummy.

Fourth, no dairy. This made me nervous. I drink milk, eat cheese, and while I detest yogurt I eat it. No dairy. I had to consider this very seriously. I have a cheese drawer in my fridge.

But in the end, the bikini that arrived in the mail on Saturday really sealed the deal. It's skimpy. And I needed to lose a few pounds to look decent in it. Plus, I'm in a wedding in July and want to be feel confident in the strapless dress.

So Tuesday began day 1.

And what a frigging day it was. I woke up at 5 like normal and went about my routine. Instead of having a nice bowl of honey sunshine Kashi cereal and coffee I had 2 eggs and green tea. That's not so bad.

Except I was exhausted. Where the caffeine would have pushed me through the rest of my routine to get out of the house and on the train, the green tea did nothing. I called in sick, went back to bed, and slept until 11:30. When I woke up I was starving.

It was then I realized I did not do an important step in this diet. Clean out the fridge.

4 containers of milk, 5 bags of cheeses, a pie, butter, all the wrong fruits. My cabinets were full of crackers and bread. The only fruit I had were the highest on the glycemic index and banned. I wanted a cup of coffee bad. I got a headache. I took another nap.

A frozen Kashi dinner in the freezer saved me at dinner time. Coconut chicken with quinoa. I gnawed on a piece of lettuce and drank gallons of water and tea. The headache persisted through day 2.

Day 2 pretty much went the same except that I was more prepared at lunch and made a nice salad. Dinner was Indian food which was fine except for the white rice and piece of naan. But at that point it was cheat or completely give up. The piece of naan may be why day 3 is going so well. I have it stored in the very fat cells I'm trying to detox and shrink.

Today, day 3, I will make it through the day. I'm armed with decaf coffee, the memory of warm naan, and 2 pounds weight loss in 2 days.

That alone is enough to convince me to keep going.

Monday, May 2, 2011

it was...

A sweatshirt. I bought my husband a sweatshirt for his birthday.

I know, I went overboard in the romance department.

But it's ok. Really. He told me.

You see on Easter Sunday as we were headed out the door to my parents house he pulled off his favorite blue sweatshirt and said he needed something decent. I laughed and ask why it wasn't decent.

It's one of those things that if you see it every day you don't realize exactly what it is, or what it has become.

My husband bought his favorite sweatshirt in July 2004 or thereabout. It was at a friend's wedding up in Maine, and he found a great hoodie in the island gift shop. Well, 7 years later the sweatshirt is more grayish than navy, has a few bleach stains, and has shrunk a size. Or he has grown. It was just his birthday, so we will say the sweatshirt shrunk.

But he was right. It was not an out of the house sweatshirt anymore.

But it was his ONLY sweatshirt. While I have three that I can wear out of the house to the grocery or hardware store, this was his only one. And then I looked at mine and saw that no, I probably shouldn't be wearing them out either. But, it was his birthday.

So after work on Monday I went to the Celtics/Bruins store in North Station for an easy pick up.

Or not.

First of all, he is an admitted fair weather Bruins fan, so I really wasn't looking for a Bruins sweatshirt. Especially at $70 a pop. But jeeze. U-G-L-Y. The ones they had looked like the defects. The Bruins are in the playoffs right? And not playing in a garbage dump? Cause that's where these belonged.

But I wasn't there for the Bruins ones.

Then I saw the Celtics sweatshirts. And rubbed my eyes to make sure I was in the right place.

All they had were sweatshirts with giant embroidered basketballs. And at first I wasn't sure they were basketballs. It was like something my mother would wear. I wondered when embroidery had become hip again, and was glad I wasn't hip. I searched the entire store and there were no other kind. All I wanted was a black or gray hooded sweatshirt with BOSTON or CELTICS on it. Not an example of cross stitching.

Honestly, I can't even find a picture of it.

So I left empty handed, and a little pissed off. Had I thought of this earlier I could have gone through the various websites that sell sports gear.

The next day I went back into the store to make sure it was as ugly as I remembered it.

It was. So I moved on.

One thing that husband recently requested from me was to lay off the Old Navy clothes. Pretty much his entire wardrobe is ON. What can I say? They are pretty easy to get to and have good basics. Most of my clothes are also ON.

Of course after he tells me this I know the only place I'm going to find a sweatshirt is at ON. But I try. Marshalls. Target. TJMaxx. Random stores in Downtown Crossing. Nothing.

Finally I enter ON and there they are. A wall of them.

With so many to pick from I know I need to choose carefully. But I see this one.

It's white. Horrible. Husband turned a navy sweatshirt gray, who knows what will happen to the white.

It says California 1975 surf on it. Horrible. We live in Massachusetts. He is not born in 1975 (although close!) and he doesn't surf.

I love it.

I can picture him wearing it on the beach with his back to the waves. Like we were in California. Hell, maybe it IS 1975.

I stare at it, touching the soft lining.

I look around and spot a guy about our age and go up to him. I've become that woman.

"Excuse me, would you wear this?"

The guy looks around and then at me, afraid. He thinks I'm hitting on him. By trying to dress him.

"No, it's for my husband. I'm trying to pick one out. Would you wear this?"

The guy is more relaxed now that he knows I wont be following him home.

"No. No way. It's white and would be really hard to keep clean."


I thank him and go pick out a plain black one. Then also pile a blue one on that is similar to the white one.

So I have a risk (the blue) and a safety (the black). Armed with two T-s (NOT from ON), a stone beer mug with a bottle opener attached to the bottom, and a chili chocolate bar I'm done.

Except for one thing.

At the last minute I also buy the white sweatshirt.

It looks awesome on me.