Saturday, May 28, 2011

I'm on Holiday, by jove!

I HAVE FIVE DAYS OFF IN A ROW!!!!!

You'll have to excuse the shouting, but as you can see I am a tad bit excited for my little vacation. The last time I had multiple days off in a row was late last June. I've only had single days off between now and then, and they were few and far between.

'Tis my own fault for doing so... I could have requested more time but I guess I felt the need solid work. I needed to pull myself out of the financial hole school had gotten me in and I needed to establish myself as a therapist.

But now, now I've done both and it's time to have a little fun.

Later today I'll be catching a bus to Boston where I'll meet up with my friend Mary, who's there attending a conference. It's the conference's last day so if the timing works out I'll be arriving just as she's finishing up with things. We're going out on the town tonight and then heading off to the airport bright and early to pick up our rental car. Then it's Maine coastline for the next three days!

Our first stop will be in Rockport, and it'll take at least 3.5 hours to get there from Boston. That's not the scenic route either so it'll take most likely take a large portion of the day. Our second stop on will be in Bar Harbor, where we'll stay for a couple days and use it as a jumping off point for Acadia National Park and other places we want to go. It'll only take a couple hours to get there from Rockport so we'll have most of the next two days to really explore. We'll most likely be taking RTE 2W all the way back to Vermont on Wednesday. It's going to be a seven-hour haul, and that's without stopping for lunch.

I am soooo excited for this trip! I am in need of fun and frivolity and this should fit the bill quite nicely.

I'll talk to you next week, party people. Have a very wonderful Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Well, there you go then!

This morning I found a link to Experience Life magazine and wanted to share with you an article about dieting, starvation, and what happens to people on a restricted calorie diet. It's a short article, and easy to read. The article highlights an experiment done during World War II regarding starvation - psychological and physiological effects. What floored me was the restricted, "starvation" portion of the experiment was 1,500 calories.

1,500!!!

Now, granted the experiment was done on men and 1,500 calories for a fully grown adult male is not a lot; I believe the equivalent is 1,200 for a female. But still, that is the current daily recommended caloric intake. And they literally went crazy with starvation. When they were able to resume eating "normally", many ended up gorging and putting on additional weight.

This quick little article has put so much into perspective for me: how frustrated and obsessed I get over food when I'm trying to lose weight, when I think I'm too fat, when I think I'm eating more than I should.  Why I feel guilty when I get hungry, despite having "eaten enough." Why I have a tendency to binge after following a "healthy diet" for a week to lose a couple pounds.

This is, like, huge for me. I need to think on it some more.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Awash in Water

Today is a beautiful, sunny day. Considering how few of these we've had this spring, it's a real treat. I decided to take a walk along the bike path near my home. I walked fairly far; far enough to really get a good look at some of the devastation from the recent flooding. Recent is not the right word. Current is more correct. The water has gone down some, but it is still insanely high. I wish I'd brought my camera with me. Let's see if I can find some pictures...

God bless Google!
Picture courtesy of www.mychamplain.net
The bridge pictured is a pedestrian/bike bridge that goes over the mouth of the Winooski River. Only as you can see by this image, the river has overstretched its boundaries considerably. I actually walked over this bridge today and while the water has gone down a little, for the most part it still looks like this. Only it was sunny today and there wasn't so much of a color change in the water.


This image courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com
I walked by this house this afternoon as well. You'll be happy to know that the water is now lower by about a foot. When I walked by on the bike path, I believe they had the boat "parked" on their little landing.

As I was walking along, people were starting to clean up as they could. There is driftwood everywhere. And I really do mean everywhere. I could also see larger problems starting to emerge - places where the water had retreated to the point where large pools of stagnant, still water remained. It hasn't gotten bad yet, but as I was walking along, I could smell the beginnings of the smell. You know the one - stinky, polluted water. Of which there is currently a lot and soon to be a great deal more.

Other areas are still several feet under water, and it was interesting to see how life had adapted and taken over. Turtles were sunning themselves on downed trees, beavers were in seventh heaven, and the birds' songs were loud and plentiful. Minnows swam in places they would normally never be. Life continued, it adapted. 

And so, I guess, will we.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yoga?

A couple of years ago, I was big-time into yoga. I went every Saturday morning without fail, and sometimes twice a week if I could finagle it. This was back during Hell Job and yoga really helped me to deal with the emotions and confusion I was feeling around it.

My yoga practice pretty much dropped off the face of the earth when I went back to school. We'd do it once a week during class, but I just didn't have the time, energy or money to follow up with classes outside of school. And now, I have plenty of time, money and energy to start them back up but for some reason I haven't. I still love yoga and on the rare occasion I make it to a class I always feel better for it, but I guess I just don't feel the need to attend classes.

From time to time I do yoga in my apartment, and I frequently recommend yoga poses to clients to help with stretching and muscle tension relief. Even though I'm not attending classes as often as I used to, the lessons I learned while there follow me on a daily basis and enrich my life exponentially. Yoga is more than the poses. It is a way of seeing and living life, an alternate way of relating to the things going on around you.

These are just a few of the ideas I've brought with me out into the world:

  • Right now, you are exactly where you need to be. No need to change.
  • Right now, you are exactly as you need to be. No need to change.
  • Find your edge. Stay with it. Don't push yourself too far. 
  • Don't worry about what anyone else around you is doing. Just focus on what you're doing, now.
  • It's okay to laugh when you fall grandly out of a pose... or just fall grandly!
  • Sometimes you need to push yourself to the edge, and sometimes you need to be gentle with yourself and not push at all.
  • What are you experiencing right now? Experience it.
  • Honor the divinity in yourself as you honor the divinity in others.
Namaste.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sad.

I saw The Boyfriend last night. So nice to be able to see him after a week and a half. So short-lived though. Between his commitments and my commitments, it's going to be a full two weeks before we see each other again, if we're lucky. He's convinced it's less than that, frankly I'm convinced it's going to be closer to three weeks. We're going to try to at least meet for dinner this Friday, but nothing's certain right now.

This is life, and it is what it is. But my heart is breaking because I'm going to have to wait two weeks to see him again.

Man oh man have I got "it" bad.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's Impossible, I Tells Ya!

Yesterday I bought some eggs with the intention of having them for breakfast the next several days. They're full of protein, easy to make in the morning, and keep me fueled until I can stop for lunch at work. Often times I may eat breakfast at 8:30am, but it may be 2pm before I get my break. It's a long time to go without food, so I try to eat things that last. Plus, apparently eggs yolks have a lot of iron. Again not really worried about it, but I kinda feel the need to stockpile.

I'm also quasi-tracking my calories on MyPlate for a while because my pants are getting tight again. Plus, I've got a show coming up in a month and I don't want my belly hanging over my costume. The nice thing about MyPlate is that even the free version will track big things like sodium, protein, cholesterol, sugar, and fiber.

The bad news is, one single egg meets the daily maximum requirement of cholesterol for me. AN egg. Who can eat just one?!? I mean, I knew they had quite a bit of it but I guess I just never checked to see how much. Now I have a bunch of eggs I don't want to eat. Which is wasteful.

Gah!

Michael Pollan was right - we've scared ourselves into a corner where we're afraid to eat anything and everything because we get caught up on the little bits. People have been eating eggs for millennia. Most of them did not die from the eggs. One week of eating eggs is NOT going to kill me. I'll eat these eggs, and simply not have them again for a while so my cholesterol levels can level out a bit. I'll have something else for breakfast next week. It'll all be good.

It does make me glad that I stopped baking with eggs years ago, though. I've been using either flax "eggs" or applesauce/bananas/pureed fruit in lieu of them. Now, if only I stopped eating everything I baked, I wouldn't have to go on MyPlate and freak myself out...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm Falling Apart

Okay, so not really. But it feels like that sometimes.

Last month I got into a big "discussion" about whether or not I have hypothyroidism. Apparently my posts saying that "I'm tired" on Facebook have convinced my aunt that I am. That and the fact that she developed it. So, with those two "symptoms" (and only those two), she is convinced that I have it and that I am in denial.

Now, I know I need to keep an eye out for it as it does run in the family (my mom developed it when she was my age), but there is a definite difference between "oh, boy I've had a long day" or "I didn't get much sleep last night" tired and "oh, hey look my body's shutting down because my thyroid is no longer manufacturing the hormones I need to live" tired.

Subtle, but important difference.

And then... I went to the Doc's on Tuesday for... y'know. The, ahem, annual exam. Turns out I'm slightly anemic. Apparently the lowest iron levels they like is "12" and I'm "11.3". Which could explain for the tiredness, actually.

Well, the fact that I'm burned out and haven't had a vacation in over a year could explain the tiredness, but we'll move on.

I'm really not particularly anemic. It was also that time of the month and everyone knows you can't trust an iron count when that's happening. Still, when I was a little girl I did get anemic so that again is something to watch out for. So now I'm spending this week eating iron-rich foods. I made ginger bread muffins yesterday because dark molasses is an excellent source of iron. Also plenty of spinach, chickpeas, and broccoli. Before you know I'll have over-done it and be weighed down by the amount of iron in me.

Just call me Old Iron-insides.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wow, one week goes by so quickly...

I can't believe it's been almost a week since my last post. I had intended to start being better about posting more often. Sigh. The days just run in together so quickly. It seems like the month is over before it scarcely begun.

I guess it helps that I'm actually home right now. Usually at this point on Monday morning, I'm schlepping about the Boyfriend's apartment. He has to be to work for 7:00am, and I usually leave to come back at 8. However, due to various and sundry prior commitments, I didn't drive down after work yesterday and I won't be seeing him again until I think next Wednesday. Yeouch. Then after that, I think it'll be the second week in June before we see each other again. Oooof.

In the grand scheme of things, it's really not a long time to go without seeing each other. And it's probably a good thing too. It'll give us each a little time to really reflect on how things are going and how we are feeling. It'll be three months as of the 26th of this month (not that I'm keeping track or anything). That's a little significant, right? It's good to reflect on significance like that.

Personally, I'm feeling like I'm addicted to him and I'm going through withdrawal symptoms right now. I miss him - even though we only ever catch snatches of each other; an evening here, a late afternoon there, a random wonderful day together. Those times we have together feel so precious to me. Every time I think of him I get a goofy grin on my face. One of my coworker's asked if I was smitten. I told her I was disgusting with smitteness.

So yeah, if you get sick of me waxing poetic, please tell me I'm being annoying and to shut the frak up.

In other news. It's raining again. So all of the headway we made in regards to the flooding has been lost. I took some pics last week. I meant to post them like a week ago, but blogger was not liking the idea so I refrained. Here is a highlight:
And as the waves gently lap at the far side of the parking lot, mermaid children make use of the playground...
We're supposed to have rain all week long. We do not need rain. We are all literally awash in rain. If it doesn't not let up and give us a break soon, Vermont will once again become a shallow inland sea and we really all will need to sprout gills and fins if we wish to survive.

Of course, I could move to Arizona with friend Becky. I don't need gills there, do I Becky?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Whoosh!!!!

Hey, look at me! I'm updating my blog!!! Craziness.

Spring is finally happening to Vermont. It feels like we're about a month behind the rest of the world. It feels more like mid-April should feel outside. But... it's sunny, the tulips are being brave and showing their fair colors, and the trees are exploding green. It's about damned time!!

Over the last few weeks, between massive snow melts and massive amounts of rain, we've had a lot of flooding. Lake Champlain is several feet above its normal levels right now. Most of the beaches are still under water, and in places the bike path has been nearly washed away. There are many, many homes that are considered a complete loss. While it's not Mississippi-level floods, it is none-the-less devastating to a large portion of the state. Check out The Burlington Free Press for some pictures and an article.

In other news, things with The Boy and I are moving along nicely. Spending time with him is one of my favorite things to do, and I'm most happy when we're snuggled up on the couch watching TV. It feels like this is what life is supposed to be, y'know?

The next few weeks are going to be a challenge though. Between both of our schedules, after tomorrow seeing each other is going to be a rare, precious thing until well into June. Due to our different work schedules (he has weekends off, I have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off), we're already struggling to just find time together, and now we're adding to that a bunch of pre-scheduled family/friendly obligations that were put into play before we started dating. We're going to try and finagle things a little bit, but I'm already starting to miss him and I'll get to see him tomorrow!

My friend Marie is coming up to visit today and I'm beyond thrilled. She doesn't make the trip up to my area often (it is several hours away), and historically my schedule has never allowed for proper hanging out - just a quick lunch where I had to leave early. But today, oh today!! She is coming up just to see me and I have no where I need to rush off to. We can hang until we're sick of each other. I'm so excited!!!

At the end of the month, my friend Mary and I are going to drive the Maine coast. I am (gasp) actually taking some time off work to do so. I am also beyond excited about this! She has the whole thing planned. We're leaving from Boston and taking a leisurely route up to the end of the coast, then cutting back across the middle of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to return to my place. I so need this. I'm pretty much burned out at this point and this will be a great recharging of my batteries.

Which reminds me, I really need to get my bus ticket down to Boston...

So, the long and short of it is, I'm still running around like a chicken with her head cut off. But at least I'm having fun doing it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Review: In Defense of Food

Product DetailsAfter reading Michael Pollan's book Omnivore's Dilemma (click on the link for my review), I was interested in reading more from him. He is an engaging writer and does an excellent job of presenting information in a readable, fast-paced style that feels more like you're talking with a friend than getting schooled.

I checked In Defense of Food out from the library, mainly because I've been spending waaaaay too much money lately. And admittedly, I was fascinated by the general theme of the book: Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants. I found that last one particularly interesting as he is most certainly not a vegetarian. Nope. Not. At. All.

But luckily early on he elaborates on the theme, telling us what he means by each statement. When he says Food in this instance, it literally is with a capital "F". He means whole, unprocessed food. The kind your great-grandmother would recognize. The more processed it is, he believes, the less like food it becomes.

In this particular book, he runs with an idea called "nutritionalism," a term originally coined by Gyorgy Scrinis back in 2002. Basically, it means ceasing to look at Food as a whole (ie, tomato) and focusing instead on its various parts (lycopene, vitamins, minerals, etc). We, as a nation have ceased to look at our food as Food and instead focus on the little tiny bits. We get so caught up in the specifics that we lose sight of the whole - to our detriment.

Pollan points out that we really know very little about the food we eat. Sure, we know that spinach has iron and oranges have vitamin C, but we still haven't quite figured out the specifics. Like, for example, why supplements and multivitamins don't really work. Everything's there, but for some reason taking them out of the original package, so to speak, lessens or totally negates their impact. And we have no idea why. But because we're so focused on the little things, we ignore that the whole thing is the thing that's best.

He also points out that, as Americans, we have lost our food culture. He circles around this many times - that food culture teaches us how and what to eat, and keeps us healthy. This is one of the great ironies too: the food cultures that look as though they should be killing entire populations have some of the healthiest people. Yet, Americans - we who are obsessed with protein, fiber, vitamin C and all the teeny bits - are growing fatter and fatter and increasingly suffering from diseases like diabetes.

Food cultures taught us what was good to eat (those berries over there) and what to avoid (not those!), it passed down food combinations that were not only tasty but provided us with everything we needed to thrive. They taught us how to eat: in the case of the French, smaller portions and no snacks, and sitting for hours and relishing the tastes and company. Great great grandma Georgina had no idea that by making tomato sauce she was making the lycopene more available; it just tasted good over the homemade pasta. Nobody worried where the micronutrients came from; they just ate it. The kick of it is... they were healthy! In places where cultural eating is still practiced, they are healthy too. In places where a "Western" diet (ie, American) has been adopted, they are all beginning to suffer from the same diseases we are.

I enjoyed this book very much. I didn't find it quite as informative as Omnivore's Dilemma (in fact, some of his research for that book resurfaced in this one), but I found his basic idea and premise interesting. How can an entire country have no idea how to eat? I mean, we as a species have been doing it successfully for several millennia now, you'd think we'd have it down.

Once again, if you are interested in food and how we as Americans relate to and/or fear it - because I think to a certain extent we do fear food - I would definitely give this book a read.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I'm not dead!!!

Hey all,

Sorry I haven't been blogging. I've been crazy busy these last couple weeks and simply haven't had time to fully compose anything. I have a book review half written. Hopefully I'll finish it soon and post it for you guys. Cause it was a good book and I think you should read it. If I could remember what the name of it was, I'd even tell you.

Oy. That's how tired I am right now.

Life is going extremely well for me these days, and I'm loving it to the fullest.

Today, You are Ten

Well, as far as we know, anyway. We're not sure of your exact birthday, so we use your "Gotcha Day" instead. You've been...