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Monday, April 13, 2015

Furry Little Terrorists

Today is my fifth day without sugar.
I confess, I have had two drinks in that time, so I’m not 100% sugar free.
I have also had an American Flatbread Pizza so I’m not 100% Key.  Key being the hypnosis program that I wen through.  100% Key would be no grains, no fruit.  I think I’m working in that direction, but for the moment my goal is no processed sugar. (The alcohol is an anomaly, normally I almost never drink, never mind twice in one week).
Don’t quibble with my accounting here - it’s my journey and I declare that I am achieving my goal so I get to call it as day five without sugar.
The point is what happened yesterday and this morning so far.
Yesterday one of the furry little terrorists that I live with was playing with the basement door at about 3:45.  The furry little terrorists are both convinced that nirvana lies behind closed doors, but particularly the basement door.  So they lie next to it, looking through the crack, trying to figure out what is back there.
Or, more usually, they throw things under it and try to get them.
Which means worrying at the door.
Which is loud.
And it wakes me up.
So I got the furry little terrorist and brought him to bed, hoping that he would prefer snuggling.
He didn’t.
And he was right back at the door.
So I got up again and put the furry little terrorist in the bathroom, the only room in the house (besides my bedroom) that has a door.  The other furry little terrorist followed and ran in as I was unceremoniously dumping the first one in there, so at least he had company.
I’d put him in the bedroom and close the door, but the furry little terrorist would worry at the bedroom door.
I’d close the bedroom door, but the furry little terrorist would still be worrying at the basement door, and it is damn loud so I still wouldn’t be able to get to sleep.
They love the bathroom
So the furry little terrorists are across the house (and by house I mean my apartment) in the bathroom and I’m back in bed.
Wide awake.
At 4:15.
While I took this . . .
The other one jumped on my back
I grabbed my phone and opened up The Moth and started a story.  If you’ve never listened to The Moth, you should.  It’s people, telling their amazing stories, without notes, to auditoriums full of other people.  The stories are funny, inspiring, heart wrenching - they run the gamut.  I love The Moth.
And while many may not consider it flattering, The Moth can put me to sleep when I’m up in the middle of the night.  The TV can have the same effect, but I haven’t had a TV in my room in 15 years.
So I use my phone to stream The Moth or This American Life (another program I adore).  And I go to sleep.
Except when I don’t.  And yesterday at too f’ing early o’clock, I didn’t.  I listened to a few stories that I had previously heard only the first sentence of before falling asleep, which was great, they were terrific. 
Except I had to be up at 6:45 so I could be ready to leave for work at 7:45.  And I didn’t get to bed until 12:45.
And that may not seem early to you, but I only get up to an alarm two days a week, and I need about eight to eight and a half hours of sleep a night, so I was kind of screwed.
I did doze a bit between 4:15 and 6:45, but I was mostly not asleep.
Me in the tub, waiting for disaster
Nonetheless, after a couple of snoozes, I got out of bed at 7:19, got ready for work and managed to leave only five minutes later than planned.
Then I worked and managed to stay conscious

Since my day was a bit shorter than scheduled - being a massage therapist, if I’m not scheduled I get to leave work early.  Which is not great for the wallet, but amazing on the first sunny warm day in . . . forever.
I did a bit of shopping, and stayed conscious.
I washed my car, and stayed conscious.
They have two crates, but the vet is scary.
WATER?  In the sink?!  OMG!
I met my friend Matthew, and stayed conscious.  Hence, the second drink of the week a delicious cranberry hard cider that I would give props to if I knew the actual name of it, because we met at Moe’s Tavern.  A place totally worth a visit if you find yourself in Lee, MA.
Then, and aside from staying conscious and not yawning my way through the day this is part of what we’ve been working toward this whole time, I drove a half hour home and WENT FOR A RUN.

I wasn’t planning it.  I had a full day and was looking forward to dinner.  But I got home, it was sunny, it was warm, and I had new sports bras and new socks - so I threw on my things and went for a 5.12 miles run.  Ordinarily I would run past my house for the .03 to make a round number, but I hadn’t planned the run and I had no particular mileage in mind, and by then I was kind of hungry.
I made dinner, a lovely and filling taco salad and then took a nice hot epsom salt with lavender essential oil bath.  I don’t know if I’ve talked about it much here, but epsom salt baths are not only decadent and allow you to feel like you’re at a lovely spa in your own bathroom - they’re actually really good for you.  I enjoy epsom salt soaks at least three times a week.  If you know me on FB, you know they are my answer to most physical ailments.  I did three to five a week when I trained for the Patriot Half Ironman and ChesapeakeMan in 2010 and I stayed healthy the entire 11 months.  Try it, you’ll see I’m right.
We have no idea how your glasses got on the floor.
After the tub I could barely keep my eyes open so, BEFORE ELEVEN O’CLOCK, I went to bed.
There is a human being under there.  Swear.
Bike on trainer, cat on rider
When I’m eating sugar I stay up till one or two in the morning, sleep till nine, stay in bed past 11.  It’s horrible and I lose so much time, because I’m not actually doing anything other than eating sugar and watching TV mindlessly when I stay up.  There’s no productive time in my day - it’s just drag myself out of bed, mindlessly eat sugar and watch TV until there is something I have to drag myself out the door for, you know, like work, go home to mindlessly eat sugar and watch TV until I pass out, then wake up and drag myself to bed.  And repeat.
It’s a terrible and pointless way to live.
Last night I was legitimately falling asleep early because I had a long, active, productive day after not enough sleep the night before.
I was in bed at 10:55, would have been sooner, but getting water and etc took me a bit because I was half asleep.  I was sound asleep right away - with no one telling me stories.  And I slept through until 7:42 when I woke up and got out of bed without - this is the today part of what we’ve been building up to - CHECKING MY E-MAIL AND SCROLLING THROUGH EVERYTHING ON FB THAT HAPPENED SINCE I WENT TO BED!
You wanted your sweaters in here? Ha.
Lately that’s what I do when I wake up, check everything on my phone - e-mail, work schedule, FB.  Checking FB involves watching all videos and looking at all cute cats and reading all politically incendiary items.  Everything.  I have had days when I woke up at 9:30 (early!) and didn’t get out of bed till 11:30 because I was doing that, maybe playing a game.
You know, really useful, productive stuff that makes you feel accomplished.
Today I got up, brushed my teeth, neti’d and prepared for my run.
I’ll be honest here - if Garmin was charged I would have been out the door for my run around 8, possibly earlier.
But Garmin wasn’t charged.  So I put Garmin on the charger and decided to write this first - when words start floating around my brain I like to get them out, it’s when my best writing occurs.  Trying to capture the essence later, it’s never as good.
I did scroll through a little FB on my phone while I waited for my laptop to boot up.  Watched a quick video of RDJ - he’s always worth a minute or two.  But that’s it.
Now I’m going to head out for a run.
I always forget, when the siren call of the sugar invites me down rabbit hole, that when I take care of my body - feel better.
Water fascinates them
Thank you to the woman who wrote about being kind to her body five days ago.  She reminded me that I made a commitment to be nice to my body after it being nice to me for 51 years (I made the commitment last year when I was only 51).  That commitment was all about not answering the siren call of sugar.

Duly noted.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Excellent side effects

I’ve been struggling for months now.  I’ve written about it a few times.  Mostly I’ve been quiet.  It’s been a hard time for me and I’ve withdrawn some.  When I’m in that space I only write when something needs to be said so much that it moves me out of my lethargy.
Today I read a post.  I won’t share it with you exactly, but she spoke of taking care of her body, not hurting it.
This resonated with me in a big way.
After the hypnosis last summer I vowed that I wouldn’t hurt my body anymore.  I wouldn’t scare it with my response to the number on the scale, my upset about eating something I “shouldn’t have”, my annoyance that it wasn’t responding the way I wanted it to.
My body has been very good to me over the years.
Despite me being very not good to it.
And I had committed to changing that.
I did really well for awhile.
Then I made a bad choice, which I wrote about.
And it’s all been downhill since then.
And I’ve been struggling, just can’t say no.  A particular problem when Easter candy has been on the shelves since before Valentines Day!  Also Charlston Chews.  They have gigantic ones at Big Y, super tasty when frozen.  And Mama Cakes in Westfield.  If you don’t have a sugar problem like I do, definitely check them out.  They make fantastic cupcakes, my favorite are the Junior Mint cupcakes.  And I prefer their small cupcakes, they are good for about three bites and have the perfect ratio of toppings to cake.
But I digress.
I have been eating sugar.  And pretty good quantities of it.  I told my friend Cara what I ate one day.  She was shocked.  And it wasn’t even that much - to me.
So this morning I was lying in bed with a wicked headache scrolling through the newsfeed on FB and I saw the post from this other person who went to the hypnosis talking about being good to her body.  Telling her body they would take care of each other so it wouldn’t hurt anymore, that she won’t shove horrible things in her mouth.
It was beautiful and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for reminding me that if I can’t do it for myself, I can do it for my body.
Why is it easier to do things for something outside of yourself?
Yeah, I don’t know either, but my body needs my attention.

Fortunately when I give my body the attention it needs there’s a beneficial side effect, I take care of me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tomorrow won't be day one

This morning something threw my day off.  I got some stuff done regardless, but I was feeling blech.
The day moved slowly, or it moved quickly and I didn’t notice, I’m not sure.  I ended up going out for a run later in the day than I anticipated, but it was a good run and I even got some stuff done during the run.  Just over five miles later life was a little better.
When I got home I threw an extra shirt on and my jacket, grabbed my earmuffs and a small backpack with a few things and headed out to Big Y to pick up some grass fed ground beef.
The tweak of my day was sitting in my head and I wanted comfort.  Read: chocolate, chips, ice cream.
I walked past Mama Cakes, this terrific cupcake place on Elm Street.  They make tiny cupcakes that are super tasty.
Fortunately they were closed.
Rite Aid is next to Big Y and I passed it on the way in, so of course I went in.  They have Russell Stover Vanilla Cream Eggs.  I had one in my hand.  I thought about it for a minute.
I struggled.
Then I put it back, I decided I could stop on the way home if I wanted to.
I went in to Big Y.  The bakery is right next to the entrance I use.  They have these super delicious two bite chocolate cupcakes - 12 to a pack.
I had a pack in my hand.
I was sane enough to look at the nutrition label where I saw that three cupcakes are 340 calories.
Given that I knew I would eat the entire package, I decided to put it back.  I didn’t do the math (1360 calories) until just now, but even so,  just seemed like a bit too much.
I picked up a cucumber and some brocolli and the beef that I wanted.
Then I walked over to the frozen foods section.
There is only one reason to go there.
Ice cream.
I looked at the Talenti, I always hope they will have the Toasted Almond.  But they don’t.  I have to go to Guidos if I want that.  And honestly, it wasn’t that good.  But I have this thought pattern in my head that it’s super delicious.
Then I moved to check out the Ben & Jerry’s.  I was nominally looking for one of the new Core flavors.  They didn’t have it.  But I looked at The Tonight Dough, another Core flavor, Pistachio Pistachio.
Then I contemplated the Talenti Belgian Chocolate.
But I’ve never tried that and I’m not going to trust my need to feel better or anesthetize myself to untried ice cream.
Since nothing yelled to me to bring it home I walked away from the refrigerated section.
And I moved to the seasonal candy area.
There might be Russell Stover Vanilla Cream Eggs.
There weren’t.
But there were all kinds of other things - M&Ms, Peeps, jelly beans.
And the seasonal candy is right next the potato chips.  I had a bag of Lay’s Classics in my hand.  Then I looked at the Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread chips.
I looked at the Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread chips.
I may never have mentioned this here - those new flavors of Lay’s?
They disgust me.
But I seriously contemplated them.
I went through the check out and didn’t buy the Rocky Road Snickers.
I put the beef, brocolli, raw cheddar and cucumber into my backpack and headed out across the parking lot.
Toward the Rite Aid - it was the only way.
With great force of will, and thoughts of the pinaeapple and potatoes (read future french fries) waiting for me at home, I didn’t walk into Rite Aid - I headed diagonally across the parking lot, out onto the sidewalk and home.
I don’t feel particularly better than I did before.
I’m not psyched that I don’t have any chocolate in my house right now.
I’m pleased that I won’t wake up in a sugar coma tomorrow.
I’m glad that I realized I was reaching out for anesthesia and I didn’t give in.
Today is day six.

Tomorrow won’t be day one.

Monday, March 23, 2015

I had a sandwich for lunch

I did a half marathon on the 14th.  I was in DC with my friend Dianna.  We had been talking about the RnR DC half for a couple of years and it finally came together this year.  We haven’t seen each other in 34 years, as luck would have it we got along perfectly.  The weather was great on Thursday and Friday as we walked around DC seeing the National Zoo and the Smithsonian, and when we went to the expo.
Not so much on Saturday.  It was cold and rainy.  I had a yogurt - not Greek, not plain, not any kind that is good for me - at the hotel.  I had picked it up with a banana the day before at Target when we were picking up our ponchos in anticipation of the following days rain.  I totally forgot the banana.  Oops.
We took the Metro to the general area of the start and walked up Constitution to the start of the race.  Because of the rain we planned to get there later than we might have otherwise and we walked up the sidewalk until we got to the starting line - then we went through the gates and started running.
I started with my poncho on, but made it less than a mile before I took it off.  Under that I had a lightweight Pearl Izumi windbreaker over a $10 throw away jersey from One More Mile that I had picked up at the expo, Smartwool glove liners (mismatched - one lavendar, one black) mid-weight tights, Darn Tough ankle socks and my new sneaks (I did wear them once or twice beforehand).  It wasn’t long before I took off the windbreaker and tucked it into the small pocket of my tank.  Then the sleeves got rolled up.  Then the ankle zips on the tights got unzipped and the tights rolled up.
I made it that way to mile 5.  Then the initial warm-up from running was taken over by the cold rain and I got chilly again.  The sleeves got pushed down, the tights were rolled down, but not re-zipped.
The gloves never came off.
The point of this, however, is what I ate.  Ordinarily when I run early, I run without eating.  I make sure to drink a couple of glasses of water first to rehydrate a bit, then I head out on my run.
One might think that I could do that for the race.
One would be wrong.
Perhaps if I had skipped the sugary yogurt I would have been fine.
As it was I was running mile six and I was starting to get hungry.  There were a few folks at the side of the road offering beer, seriously - beer.  I ran past a guy with his youngish daughter offering meat and beer.  I saw a woman walk up to them thinking it was - not beer.  She was disappointed and, apparently, not interested in their brisket and beer.  But just passed that tent there were folks offering bagels.  I ran a bit past it and then I thought BAGEL and turned around.  I took a third of an everything bagel and ate it as I ran.  That provided an interesting challenge, I don’t like cream cheese so it was pretty dry.  But it provided the sugar I needed in that moment.
In mile seven at the water station they also had GU.  I ran past the woman offering salted watermelon because that sounds disgusting to me.  I ended up with a vanilla bean GU.  I tucked it in the pocket of my tights and kept running.
I used the GU somewhere after mile 10 I think.  It helped.
When I got to the end I took a water bottle, drank it down.  Then I picked up two more to take with me.  Then I got a couple of small bottles of chocolate milk.  I drank one down and carried the other with the two water bottles.
That wasn’t the best plan, they were really, really cold.  And I was soaking wet and freezing so holding cold bottles next to my body, just not smart.  Still, I was going to need the water, probably before I got back to the hotel.
Dianna and I got back to the hotel, when we walked in, after the doors closed, we both stopped and said, oh my gosh it is soooooo warm in here.  It was really the best part of the day after being so cold.
We showered and changed and then met up with Bonnie for lunch.  I had eggs, bacon, a side of french toast.
Today I had a sandwich for lunch.  It’s my 5th day without sugar.  And that should mean that I’m not eating bread.  But I had a doctors appointment this morning at 9 and then I was running errands and a friend called me to see if I wanted to do lunch, which of course I did.  We agreed to meet in Northampton at Haymarket, though neither one of us can ever remember the name of the place until we get there.
They have this amazing sandwich - fried egg, mozzarella, pesto on ciabatta bread.   Which is what I chose.
I got home after lunch, did a couple of things around the house and went for a run.  I was aiming for 7+, it’s chilly, but sunny and the sidewalks are clear.
I was about a mile in to the run when I got that empty feeling, that feeling that I wouldn’t make it much farther because I was out of gas.
Crap, I thought, I should have skipped the bread and had some protein.
I kept going.  I walked some.  I ran some.  I cut off a side street that I normally do and shorted my 7 by .24.
I was a bit disappointed by that, but I was so damn glad to be home.
I made some bacon and felt much better.
Note to self, learn the damn lesson - low carb for crying out loud, ya feel better, ya function better, ya look better.
There are times when the carbs can save you, like during the half marathon.  I was undertrained, wet and cold, carbs were a big help.  Today, not so much.  

However, tonight I am falling asleep on the couch, not because I’m drugged with sugar, but because I’m tired after a tough run.  That is the reward for giving up sugar, even if I did have bread today.  At least I learned a lesson.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I just said no

Tonight I said no to chocolate chip cookies.
Without even thinking about it.
And I didn’t regret it.
Even when I remembered how amazing these cookies are.
Walking down the hall toward the end of my shift (2-10pm) Rachel saw me and said, I have some chocolate chip cookies, would you like one?
No thanks.
That was it . . . no thanks.
No hesitation, no thought, no contemplation, no agonizing.  Just, no thanks.
A bit later, possibly after I had left the building - no, I just remembered I told another friend and she was going to raid Rachel’s locker, so there was still the opportunity to go get some - I remembered the last time I had these cookies.  At the time I told Rachel that I may never have to eat another cookie ever as that was the best cookie I had ever eaten.  My apologies to mom, she makes the best Snickerdoodles and Molasses cookies ever, but this chocolate chip cookie was transcendent.
So there I was, remembering the experience of that cookie and I thought, crap I could have had one.
WAIT!  I said no to an amazing chocolate chip cookie - without thinking about it, on the second day of being sugar free (this time), which also was a pretty stressful day.

Wahoooza!  I am a freakin rock star!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ode to my Mom

Mothers Day is coming up . . . not really soon, but I’ve been thinking of my mom a lot lately and I’ve written about my dad bunches so I’m writing this love letter to my mom.
My mom is kind of a hardass.  She is tough.  A friend of ours found out that she was afraid of large vehicles and said the best way to get over that was . . . learn to drive one.  So my little mommy (one of my nicknames for mom) headed down to the bus company and learned to drive a school bus.
That was 1976.  She got a job driving bus and kept it up until last November at the age of 78.  She was one of those drivers who would stop a bus in the middle of her route and just stay there until the kids started to behave.
She has told me, on more than one occasion, to get over it.  Doesn’t matter what it is or was . . . get over it.
I spent the summer after college at home.  I had use of the car because she was using her school bus and was able to bring it home.  In August she came to me and said, I’m going to need the car back, I think you should leave.
So I moved to Boston.
It was pretty terrifying at the time, but necessary.  And great.
Then there are the times, the times when my world is crumbling and all I want is someone on my side.
And my mom is right there.  With a mommy hug, even when it’s over the phone.
There is nothing in the world like a mommy hug.  It makes everything okay.  Maybe just for the moment of the hug, but often that’s all that’s necessary.
My mom gives amazing mommy hugs and everything is right in the world when she wraps her arms around me.
She’s really talented as well.  She sings beautifully.  It must gall her that her daughter can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but she never said that.
9th grade dance
She is very crafty.  She made clothes for us when we were kids, Halloween costumes as well.  She made me a witch costume with a huge pointed hat, I LOVED it.  She made velour robes for me and my sister when we were kids.  They went over our heads and had partial zips with grosgrain ribbon around running around the neck and the zips.  Mine was dark green and I felt like a princess in it.  I had a pair of pink and purple pants she made, they were fantastic.  Now I have a quilt that has patches from those pants and tons of other things she made me, including the blue velvet dress I had for my 6th birthday.  To the right you can see the dress she made for my 9th grade dance.  Clearly she was having more fun than I was.  (And I think we can all see the inspiration for Bieber's hairstyle, circa 1978 I believe)  We have amazing wall hangings at Christmas that my mom made.  As with the singing, I don’t have that talent.  Ah well.
Mom taught me to knit when I was young, not sure how old, but not very.  I love to knit.  And, unlike the singing and crafty stuff, I’m pretty good at it.  Mom made me a blanket when I was a kid.  It has an orange T and a yellow S on a red background.  And it’s HUGE.  My mom designed it and knit it.  It’s one of my most favorite possessions.
She’s helped me move countless times.
She’s bailed me out of more than one sticky situation, varying in nature.
When I was in my 20s I took one week of my two weeks of vacation to head to Connecticut to hang out with my mom, doing exciting things like laundry.  When I got more vacation time, I took more time to hang out with mom.  We had ridiculously good times doing absurdly ordinary things.
And we laugh.  A lot.
Which might be the best of all.
I love my mom and I tell her often.  Right now that doesn’t feel like enough.  Right now I just want to share with all y’all that my mom is super awesome.

Tell your mom  you love her, she’ll really appreciate it and it’ll make you feel great.

Mom and her dad at Happy Pappy weekend at Skidmore
Mom and her mom

Mom and her MIL
Mom and Dad, Christmas 2014

Not always easy to remember this, but I know I am blessed to have the relationship I have with my mom.  I am always grateful for it.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A typical sugar coated evening

If this resonates, you may be a sugar addict.
By the by, today is day one.  I’ve started before, we all know that.  I’ve failed at it, we all know that too.  But stick with me, I am feeling determined - and after the better part of a fake half gallon of Breyer’s Oreo Cookie ice cream yesterday, I felt so lousy I had to commit.  I woke up this morning thinking about last night.  And the last few before that.  I thought I would share the experience with you, it might help you understand my commitment to dumping sugar.
The last few days have looked like some version of the following:
Wake up, catch up on e-mail and FB on my phone.  Cats curled up on my shoulders, chest or belly purring away.  Reach the point where getting out of bed is absolutely necessary.  Then try not to trip over the cats.
Grab something in the kitchen - chips, goldfish, ice cream, whatever is available - curl up on the couch under my blankets with my computer and turn on the TV.  Eat whatever came out of the kitchen with me.
There are days when I might make an effort first thing, make an actual meal, but if the sugar or equal junk food is grabbable and eatable with no work, so that’s most likely to happen.
Sit all day streaming Hot in Cleveland (seriously, that’s what I’ve been watching for days) and watching FB to see if anything interesting is happening.
Then look up and find out it’s 2:45.
Wonder what the hell happened to the day.
Look up again and discover it’s 6:07.
Possibly get dressed and go to the grocery store - if I “need” more sugar.
Get back on the couch.
Eat sugar.
Maybe make some real food out of desperation at 9:17.
Shortly after that begin losing consciousness.  Occasionally waking enough to register a few seconds of an episode.
At 1:45, 2:15, 3:05 I begin to come out of the coma enough to get off the couch, brush my teeth and crawl into bed.
Where I sleep like the dead until 7:30, wake up enough to look at the clock and snuggle with kitties then doze again until 9:45.
It’s completely miserable.
So yesterday I didn’t eat sugar.  Because the fog is intolerable.
Today I woke up, made some calls, made some taco salad, didn’t eat sugar.
I’m still curled up on the couch in my jammies with my cats curled up on me, but it’s really cold in here and I work till 10.