Friday, July 23, 2010

Stress relief

So we all know that different people have many, many different ways of dealing with stress. Some people stay in and meditate. Some people go out and party.

Some people curl up with a good book and a sleepy kitten.Some people roll up their sleeves and move furniture around.

[image forthcoming]

Some people make soup.And...some people make radical spur-of-the-moment decisions like getting all of their hair chopped off.
Yes, that's me. I've had short hair before, but never gone to quite this extreme. Normally I'd be running my fingers through it every five seconds, but 1. the stylist put all kinds of goopy stuff in it and 2. I'm just a little afraid to remind myself just how much is gone. Part of me regrets this. But then again, my trich was getting to a point where I needed to do something again, and it really is only hair. Plus, I do love the look of very glamorously-made-up ladies with super-short hair, and now I can make an attempt at that at V's birthday bar crawl on Sat! Yay!

Also, my latest haul of books is AWESOME. "The Barefoot Home" turned out to be just page after page of these stunningly gorgeous houses, all designed expressly for connection with the outside world as well as comfort, so I've been poring over this pretty much every time I have half a minute, lately. Total escapism. Gotta love it.

Time for work!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Today's blog title comes to us from the wonderful mind of Charles Schultz. The Peanuts kids (and Snoopy!) use it to denote disgust or nausea, and also to snub people who have just said something particularly mean or stupid.

I find it wonderfully evocative of my past several days.

A lot of it is to blame on dear old Lady Red. She's the reason it feels like rats are gnawing out my uterus. However...I'm the reason I had pizza for lunch at work instead of a salad. And a second helping of everything during Family Chinese and Movie Night. And at least two more cups of coffee per day than I should be having.

Because of all this lovely stuff I'm filling my body with, combined with the wonderful symptoms of That Time of the Month, I feel heavy as lead, fuzzy-minded throughout the day, and ridiculously prone to displays of over-emotionality. So when the speaker at my financial education class yesterday referred to all 20-somethings who live with their parents as "lost causes," I just...

...didn't say a thing. I was too taken aback at the thought that a man who seemed both intelligent and committed to the idea of helping people understand and manage their finances, despite personal histories, would make such an insulting and alienating blanket statement when one of the (many) targets of that statement was sitting directly in front of him.

My re-imagining of how the scene might have gone otherwise on the drive back had a whole lot more yelling, expletives and personal insults about his relationship with his mother. But after I wore myself out with that, I'm still intensely frustrated, sickened and saddened that, especially in obviously difficult times like this, the stigma of not being able to make it on your own is strong enough that I'm still a punchline, no matter how hard I'm working to take advantage of the situation in order to end it as soon as possible and give myself the best chance of survival once I do.

Hence, bleah.

I've been surviving on cherries, milk and amam's delicious slow-cooked fish-and-veg soup for the past couple days. Felt the strong need for simple comfort foods for a while. And some coffee, natch.

Highlight of the weekend: on Saturday I took a long run (well, for me - about 3.5 miles total, as far as I can guess) with a good long solitary swim in the Little River right in the middle! I used to go down there almost every day. I miss being a waterbaby.

Time for more tea. I'll post more later, perhaps.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The fam

Well, part of it, anyways.

So by the time I arose (815ish, not unreasonable for a day off), the crazy-early-rising parents were already on their way back from the farmer's market. Boo. BUT...they brought with them delicious bounty in the form of yellow watermelon! That, an egg, 1.5 oz mystery cheese and my special chocolate coffee made up my breakfast, along with happy uterus tea and these weirdos here:
Amam had turned my plate around so the watermelon would be smiling in the picture. My dad was yelling "my mouth is full! my mouth is full!" I think he was quoting something, because he didn't stop doing it after I took the picture.

Question for the lurkers: What's your first stop at the farmer's market?

Friday, July 16, 2010

I am Iron Woman

Breakfast: egg salad with mustard and cayenne on a Wasa, 1 tomato, 1 deliciously messy plum (you are spared the gory spectacle of me devouring it), coffee, cat and comics. Second day in a row that breakfast has been this leisurely, and I'm off work tomorrow so it will happen AGAIN! I am so spoiled.

Then work work work all day, with a salad for lunch and a Zone bar and a totally gross-looking and delicious green smoothie for pre-workout fueling.

Then...CROSSFIT! Dun dun dunnnnn! This was the last day of this session, so I knew it would have to be something horrendous. Little did I know...just how right I would be! Muahahahahaha!

So we got there as the last group, Dave included, was finishing their workout. I didn't think I'd ever seen Dave actually working out before, in a year and a half of going, and mentioned that to him...which may or may not have had anything to do with our WOD for the evening. Whoops! But at this point, all was light and happiness. The other girls and I went for a quick 400m to warm up, then gathered around the whiteboard, where our fates were being decided. We could hear Dave's evil chuckle even before he started writing. Our blood froze in our veins as he stepped aside, revealing the following list:
  • 50 box jumps (20-inch)
  • 50 jumping pull-ups
  • 50 American KB swings (25-lb)
  • 50 walking lunges
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 50 dumbbell push presses (2 12-lbs)
  • 50 back extensions
  • 50 wall balls (1 6-lb)
  • 25 burpees (here he took pity on us)
  • 100 jump ropes
That's right. We did the Filthy Fifty. And damn, but she was a monster bitch. I got cramps partway through the KB swings and had to step aside for a good minute, but that was the only time I really stopped for more than a few seconds, not counting water breaks and walking between stations. I definitely could have done a heavier wall ball, and was about to pick up the 10 but Dave told me to focus on keeping it short. Meh. I almost threw the damn 6-pounder over the wall several times, I'm so used to the 15lb. Next time...

Dinner was amam's coleslaw, a salmonburger, a big handful of strawberries and some milk. And some chocolate. My uterus made me do it.

So I looked at one of those healthy-weight charts and saw that I'm about 15 lbs higher than the "ideal" weight for my height. Given, I've got a bit more muscle than average, but that doesn't account for anywhere near all of that...and besides, it's all kind of swathed in pudge right now. So I'm reinstating the plan I had last summer: namely, doing semi-strict Zone 6 days a week, upping my weekly mileage (at one point last year I was at a solid 5k 3-4 times a week, working my way up) and switching to nettle tea instead of coffee. This last one I will ease into. Very slowly.

Bed time! Farmers' market day tomorrow!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monster mangoes and baby blueberries

Yes, this is a post about tits. Well, partially. The blueberries are from my breakfast.
1/4 c rolled oats, 1/4 c oat bran, 1 c 2% milk, a splash of vanilla and ridiculous amounts of blueberries...
...combined with 1 oz cheese, coffee my love, morning paper, morning sunshine and a very happy morning cat.

Hopped out of bed at 615, bummed around until 7, went for a 1.5 mi run amid bindweed, pine, heavy shimmering golden air (ah, humidity) and the inevitable torrent of birdsong. I saw two birds I didn't recognise: one that I thought might be a purple finch but which was a bit larger than described and also much more vivid - imagine a cross between eggplant and fuchsia on the head and shoulders, dark brown to black on the lower body and tail. The other had a wren-like silhouette, but was again much larger, and lighter in color.

Anyways, boobs. Is this a normal occurrence? During about the week and a half before Lady Red shows up, good ol' Ralphie and Louie (yes I made that up) go all Hulk on me and turn into their alter egos, Shock and Awe (no I did not make that up). They grow literally 2.5 to 3 sizes: from a largeish C to an easy E. Not even joking. It's insane. It's like every month or so, they get this urge to relive their glory days when I was at my biggest and most bodacious, whether the rest of my body wants to go along with them or not. Even my most serious ironclad tactical sports bra, which I picked specifically because it had been raved about as being perfect for those ladies with an extra helping of blessings, does close to nothing. I end up running for stretches just clutching my chest to keep them subdued, giving heart attacks to the nice old men doing their morning constitutionals and getting Glares of Slow and Painful Death from their wives.

Questions for the lurkers: Do other girls have this problem? Are there any bras that actually help with this level of craziness? Is there a point at which the knife is worth it? Got any boob stories of your own to share?


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mise en place

So this morning I had my breakfast (open-faced sandwiches of tuna, tahini, tomatoes and cayenne on Wasa, cherries, milk and my ubiquitous 2 c coffee with milk) all set out and arranged beautifully. And then T called and I started munching away while talking and completely forgot to take a picture. So it goes. But here are some other delicious eats from the past couple of days!Sunday morning
  • overnight oats (1/2 c milk, 1/2 c yoghurt, with about 1/2 c total of rolled oats and oat bran
  • about a cup of blueberries
  • coffeeeee
  • funny papers!
Last night's dinner:
  • a salmon steak, pan-grilled with a little EVOO and topped with Greek yoghurt and fresh-cut purple basil
  • Caprese salad minus the cheese and with more basil
  • cherries cherries cherries
  • Fish Eye Pinot Grigio that went awesomely with the cherries
  • the most incredible dessert coffee ever: "Wake Me Up Before You Cocoa," available now for a limited time at your local Fresh Market!

Go get some right now. Then brew it double strength and drink it out of tiny cups with a little splash of real cream. And don't forget to crook your pinkie and talk about world politics.

Today's lunch
  • 1 big salad, with spinach, toms, shrooms, tofu, eggs and balsamic vinaigrette
  • "seafood bisque." i have NO idea what was really in it
  • water with a splash of cranberry juice
  • official SAS chocolate square (dark, natch)
I'm doing this 5-week financial planning course through my dad's workplace, and today was the first one. The gist of the lecturing part was, most basically, "saving is good! we like to save!" There was a good emphasis on writing down specific goals and doing the math to figure out how to accomplish them, but I kind of feel like the majority of the message will be things I've already quite realised: save as much as possible, buy things with cash rather than credit, make a realistic budget and stick to it, etc etc. We'll see how the rest of the deal goes, though.

Lately I've had this odd feeling that the things I am doing right now - and not just the overt planning for the future, but also the daydreams and the definitionless minutiae and all of it - are going to significantly steer how the rest of my life goes. I have no idea how this will go about being accomplished, or even if it will. But it's like there's this constant, ever-so-slight hum, continuing on below all the clamor of everyday life, like the sound of a gong vibrating after it's been struck. And every so often something happens that seems to set off a bell in my head - not a chorus of clanging alarm bells, as the literary cliche goes, but just one - a very small, soft, sweet tone, but one that is almost terrifyingly insistent, and heavy with significance.

And it's entirely up to me to hear these signals, figure out the true significance of these events and then decide what to do with that information. I'm working on the building blocks (an education, a store of knowledge (these latter two are quite different), a satisfying career, healthy finances, healthy relationships, health in general...) and trying to fit them all together at the same time. And, to be honest, it's pretty maddening. I'm trying to build a house while the bricks are still being formed - although in my case I guess it's while the straw is still being baled.

So this is when I put away the planner and calendar, close the budget software and class schedule, pour myself a good cuppa and start doodling out what the end of the road looks like, with no missing or unfinished pieces. Just everything where it's supposed to go.

Mise en place.


Question for the lurkers: what does your "end of the road" look like?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Another month, another blog post...

Yeah, I know I'm bad about keeping up with the posting of late. But not as bad as MAGGIE!!! Quick, everyone stare at her disapprovingly so she gets shamed into writing again! (Jk, sis. Love you :P)

So my 4th was absolutely SPECTACULAR. How much so, you ask?

I went to the Eno Festival with friends, planning to make a chill day of the whole affair: stroll a bit, look at chickens, paint a recycle bin or two, eat some grilled corn - you know, total Durhamite hippie. One thing I'd noticed in particular on the list of events, though, was a show by Paperhand Puppet Intervention (the pic above is from their website). If you are anything close to a Durhamite hippie (or just a Triangle hippie in general, I won't judge), you NEED to know about these guys. They use recycled and reclaimed materials to create puppets, masks, just beings in general of all kinds, and they put on one big new show every summer, in addition to doing smaller events throughout the year. Their work is absolutely breathtaking - I remember a piece in one of the shows where a number of black-clad performers scuttled around the stage with deathly white masks on the back of their heads - it's such a simple shift, but the entire way the body moves in relation to what you perceive as the face makes it supremely creepy, sending delicious chills up your back the whole time you watch. And that was only one scene! I have no idea how they keep coming up with all this fantastic (in the original meaning of the word) material!

So when I saw them listed in the events at the festival, I just about peed myself. Picked up my friends and high-tailed it over there to arrive with just a few minutes to spare, in which we made ourselves comfortable right in front of the stage and geeked out about the awesomeness that was to come. didn't. Although it was listed as "Paperhand Puppet Intervention," the event turned out to be several people who are part of that company playing music. No puppets. No masks. Just a total letdown. I mean, from what I heard before we walked away feeling cheated, it was perfectly fine music. But it's kind of like advertising "Calamity Jane and her Troupe of Death-Defying Stunt Monkeys!" and then revealing once the attendees get there that it's going to consist of CJ and her crew performing a tasteful selection of chamber music. I'm sure it would be a lovely performance, but it's still not in the least what the advertisement leads one to believe.

HOWEVER...all was not lost. We noticed an out-of-the-way corner next to a fence where there were quite a few unmistakably Paperhand puppets leaning, looking dejected and empty. Up strolls some dude and says 'Hey guys. You want to be in a parade?"


After a very brief lesson ("You pick this part up and wave it around. Don't drop it on anyone.") and some excited gathering of troops from the festival attendees, we were off. We paraded around the main loop of the grounds - I don't know if it was truly a mile, but this thing was heavy, so it sure felt like it. I got the middle part of the Green Man shown in the pic - it takes three people to move the whole thing, with one carrying the head and one moving each hand around. After some experimenting, I found that the whole getup (12-foot bamboo pole, 4-5 inches in diameter, with a large unwieldy object on the end furthest from me) was easiest to control if I balanced the end on the top of my leg. I now have a bruise on that area that is literally almost as big as my entire hand. Still worth it. Best part? The mother pointing out to her daughter that even though the big green person was so tall, it still had regular-sized feet! I did a little jig to accentuate said feet. The kid was just flabbergasted :D

Other than that, it's been fairly normal. Got out of work earlyish today and went shopping with Polly - we were unsuccessful on the search for jeans but found some nice sunglasses, which I've needed for a while. When my fashionista sister says I look "cool," I've learned it's best to trust her.

Seared scallops, re-pan-fried purple cabbage,a simple salad with greens, tomatoes and homemade green goddess dressing, milk and Guinness. Delish :)

In exercise news, I haven't been recording my workouts (although I haven't missed a Crossfit for a while and am running/walking at least a couple times a week again), but I thought you all should know that I am a total beast at jump-roping. 4 srs. w00t!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

I feel accomplished!

It's the last day of my "weekend," and I think it's been a pretty fruitful one. It's been absolutely gorgeous weather, but I didn't let that stop me! On Monday I wrote out a list of all the things I needed to do, and I think I actually got most of them done! Here they are:
  • laundry: done. ALL of it. it was like 3 loads. next: weed out my wardrobe!
  • cleaned room: mostly. there's still boxes of papers and decorative things that I just don't have room for but won't throw out...but I did get things tidy enough to switch up the layout! pics soon
  • dentist appointment: made! it took a few tries to get the receptionist on the phone long enough to take my information (she was having a bad day) but I finally did! this'll be only the third time I've ever gone to a dentist other than the one I feared saw all through childhood, counting different ones for a checkup and a surgery, so we'll see how it goes...
  • new phone: activated and updated with all my info! the price chart at the verizon store listed phone info transfer at $20...but they didn't ask me to pay a dime. I love being a girl :D
  • credit limit: increased! well, as soon as they call me to ask any remaining questions and let me know the new amount. while I was at the bank, the associate also let me know about a new savings account type that I can do now with a significantly higher interest rate. w00t! next up: top off emergency fund, then open an IRA. yay being prepared!
  • boy: awesome and lovable. that is all.
I've also started doing my weekly goals again with a vengeance, now that the 2Sexy girls are meeting again! This week, they are
  1. do Zone all the way for 4 days - that's 3 balanced meals and two balanced snacks, all timed correctly. this is the second day and going strong
  2. run/walk 2 times this week. I can't rely just on Crossfit - besides, I want to start working back up to the goal of doing a (relatively) long-distance road race. did 1.6 miles yesterday, walking about .5 miles of that
  3. lose 1 lb. I want to show off my six-pack, damn it!
  • warm-up: 10 KB swings (25lbs for this and the WOD), 10 air squats; repeat. Dave also had me sprint inside and back to get my water
  • WOD: 20 American KB swings; walking lunges for about 35 ft; inchworms (touch toes, walk hands out to plank pose, walk feet in to hands) for about 25 ft; broad jumps (from standing, feet together) for about 35 ft; bear crawl (downward dog. now go forward) for about 25 ft. repeat for 25 minutes
  • cool-down: 1.6 miles around the Duke wall on my own
We did the whole WOD outside near the playground and soccer field where all the Latinos hang out. There was this aDORable little kid, maybe 2 or so, who saw us doing bear crawls and hopping all over the place like maniacs, and decided we needed company. He kept up with us (with scaled-down moves, of course...except for the crawling, he totally kicked our butts at that!) for a good 15 minutes! Awesome :D

Yesterday's post-workout meal

  • salmonburger doused in balsamic vinegar and sauteed
  • 2ish cups of leftover roasted veggies, tossed around in the pan when the salmon was done, with a couple drops of sesame oil and liquid smoke (my new favorite seasoning combo!) added
  • about a cup of frozen mango, which I eventually added to the veggies. totally delish.

Today's breakfast

  • porridge with 1/4 c oats, 1 T oat bran and 1 c milk/water/salt
  • toppings: a good dollop of yoghurt, a good sprinkle of wheat germ and an absolutely delicious yes-i-dare-to-eat-it peach!
  • 2 oz cheddar
  • 2 c coffee with whole milk as creamer
Today's lunch...ish (it was around 4pm)
  • about a cup of garlicky kale
  • about 2 cups of tofu marsala, courtesy of amam
  • 2 oz provolone
  • 1 c yoghurt and milk whisked together, then mixed with vanilla and pumpkin pie spice
That's it so far. Maybe I'll feel more inspired a bit later. Til then, toodles!