Tag Archives: self-improvement

Jelly Beans and Peeps

6 Apr
This is a picture i took for the Candy article.

This is a picture i took for the Candy article. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isn’t it funny how food can bring comfort?  I’ve been having a rough week.  Running and I are still having issues and without running I feel like I’m on the brink of losing my sanity.  I was picking up a prescription medicine at the pharmacy earlier this week and I saw some Easter peeps and old fashion jelly beans (not jelly belly or starburst) on the shelf.  I picked them up and took a walk through midtown munching on them – trying to escape the office and my thoughts for just a few minutes.

As soon as I took a bite into the yellow peep, I had a rush of happiness.  My memories of Easter Sundays searching for eggs in my childhood home with my sister became so vivid – a rush of happiness ran through me. 

Spring is on the horizon and with its reminders of new beginnings, new life and hopefully better running days.

A Cook’s Kitchen Nightmare

24 Feb
 
The National Organic Program administers the O...
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English: A bundle of kale from an organic food...
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   On Wednesday morning I woke up to some very upsetting news. When I opened my refrigerator door to drink some cold refreshing water, it was at room temperature.  I wondered did I leave the door of the refrigerator open last night?  Everything in my refrigerator felt like it was room temperature.  I checked the controls and I went to work.  When I returned, the refrigerator smelled and everything inside was spoiled.

Yes, this is a kitchen nightmare for me.  I had so many organic vegetables (Kale, swiss chard, fresh spinach, ginger, celery, carrots, avocado) for my morning green smoothies that were totally spoiled.  All of the weekend’s work of preparing meals for the work week for my son and I for our lunches and dinners was lost overnight ! It was so disappointing not to be able to enjoy the turkey meatloaf stuffed with organic fresh spinach leaves, sage and thyme, my adult’s version of  homemade mac & cheese made of whole wheat penne pasta covered with melted fontina, creamy gorgonzola, rich ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella and a cream tomato sauce and finally the bowl of homemade tomato sauce and fresh raviolis.   It was sad for me to toss into the garbage all of my spoiled vegetables in the green grocer’s bags that help keep them fresh for me. I poured down the drain organic milk, organic yogurts, and tossed into the garbage pastured organic butter and organic raw cheeses. 

Photo of a typical refrigerator with its door ...

Image via Wikipedia

The only positive thing was that my freezer was still very cold and I was able to store my frozen foods in the freezer of my apartment building’s community room – thankfully!  In my freezer, I have tons of organic frozen vegetables, organic chicken, frozen soups that I prepared in the past, organic unsalted butters for baking and organic, humanely raised grass fed beef!

All of this mourning over lost food in my refrigerator and pouring of money (literally) down the drain had me thinking of all of the money I spend on my organic produce and foods.  It was an expensive loss (not to mention the urgent need to locate a new refrigerator that fits in this custom built kitchen) but I know that I am lucky to have the knowledge about food and the ability to afford to purchase my organic groceries. 

I wasn’t always an organic zealot.  It began when I was pregnant with my son in 2006.  I started with little things – like organic milk and organic chicken.  I didn’t want to eat food that was injected with antibiotics and other hormones while I was having a child develop and grow inside of my body – New York City if filled with enough toxins and my domestic life was toxic enough.  That was the extent of my organic food purchases – it was expensive and I was going through a divorce.  However, a few years later I started to read about our food supply and how the FDA has allowed it to be modified over the years, improved by science, some may say.  I’ve read books like Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, the 3-Day Cleanse by Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss, Kris Carr‘s Crazy Sexy Diet and Integrative Nutrition by Joshua Rosenthal.  I watched movies like Food Inc.  I learned about genetically modified crops, genetically  injected animals and the need to eat locally and seasonally.  Doing all of these things, I’ve learned, benefit not just our bodies but also for our land, our animals and our environment. 

I’m hoping to read the New York Time’s reviewed book, The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan soon (see review: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/books/tracie-mcmillan-writes-the-american-way-of-eating.html?_r=1&ref=books).  Her view is different from the others – it discusses the workers at the bottom of the food industry and how they are impacted and what needs to change in our food industry so Americans can start eating better again.

I urge you to sign petitions like ones flying around Facebook: http://signon.org/sign/tell-the-fda-that-we.fb1?source=s.fb&r_by=2537995 and tell our government that our food, at the very least should be labeled.   Americans should be aware that their food is not natural, straight from the source, that science has attempted to modify it to make it cheaper to grow.  Safe, organic food should not be for Americans that could afford to pay for it – safe natural, organic food should be available to all Americans despite socio-economic status. 

 

Persistence of Time

1 Feb
Old Post Office Pavillion clock tower

Image via Wikipedia

It has been a very long time since I’ve had a few minutes of time all to myself.  A few moments of time to gather my thoughts and write about city life and my son.  Time  to be creative and passionate.

I never realized how important this time to  myself was until I didn’t have a whole minute alone.  I always knew I was a person that liked to be by myself but I never realized how much I would crave solitude as I have over the past several months.

My son’s father hasn’t taken my son for an overnight visit for over one month now.  My days have been exclusively dedicated to spending time with my precious four year old son, who demands my attention, with screams and constant yells of “mommeeee!”  All of this time together has brought us closer together.  I wake up to my son calling out to me, we spend the morning commuting  to the office on the city bus doing puzzles or reading books.  I spend the day at my office working, negotiating and thinking about various issues that each day brings.  At the end of the day, I pick up my son from school and we spend the evening talking, eating dinner nd getting ready for bed.  All of My time is either spent at the office or doing something with my son.    If my son is cooperative in the evening and gets to bed at a decent hour, I can have a few minutes to myself to clean up the kitchen and pack up our food for lunch.  However, this is not my time.  this is what i call Family Time.  Just like cooking is Family Time.  It is an activity that is meant for the family to enjoy.

What I really want is a break – some time to myself; so I’m not rushing from work to the bus to the connecting bus and then home.

I have no one to blame but myself.  I wished for my son’s dad to fade out of our life.   And now it appears he is fading out.  I feared that the fading out would have a negative impact on my son because he was losing this male figure in his life.  His Dad. 

What I instead observe is that my son is better adjusted.  He listens to me, is not as aggressive and is very affectionate with me.  I don’t sense that underlying anger that my son seemed to have exhibited during the summer and early fall when he was seeing more of his father. 

Yes, I feel a sense of justice.  I feel that maybe my son will have a fighting chance at growing into a well balanced man if his father fades away into the background.  My son won’t have to learn to deal with the lies and manipulating thoughts he was infecting my son with during the latter part of last year.  Yes, I feel a sense of victory.  I only hope this fade away is consistent because the only thing consistent about DB is that he is inconsistent.

While I do feel a sense of victory, I feel that the battle has been devastating to the warrior (me).  I’m exhausted, I’m spent and I’m searching for time, time to be by myself, time for solitude and time for “being” instead of “doing.”   Maybe this is how all mothers feel at one point or another.  Even if it is how all mothers feel. . . I just don’t think it is acceptable. 

Last night I worked on building in time for solitude in my schedule.  I’m decided o begin with 15 minutes twice a week.  I’m going to deliberately unchain myself from my desk at the office and sit on the benches outside my office building. I’m not going to bring my blackberry or my iphone.  I’m not going to bring documents to review with me. 

I’m going to sit for 15 minutes and do nothing – twice a week.  The idea of it just relaxes me already.  Today will be my first day.  Wish me luck!

A New Year

4 Jan

HappinessI survived the race to the end of the year.  It was a very busy month for me at the office and at home.  I didn’t have much time for creative writing or even getting my thoughts together clearly because I was consumed by work, parenting and my new relationship.  I forgot how consuming a relationship can be – and I don’t mind it at all. 

In addition, it was the first holiday season where I was happy in a long, long time.  I believe part of my happiness was that I had set my intention on becoming happy as my 2011 goal – my goal was to be fulfilled in mind, body, and soul.  I felt like I was achieving the goal by around September/October of 2011.  I was running again, I started to explore my spiritual side and I was finally feeling content with my life.  At some point in the fall almost at the exact time all of these things were coming together I met Mid-Western Boy.  As a result, I know I must attribute my happiness during this holiday season to him as well.  The final – most wondering reason I was happy this holiday season  was that I had my son for the holidays this year and I was able to enjoy spending time with him .  

I love that 2011 began with the setting of my intention to be fulfilled in mind, body and soul and that I actually achieved that by the conclusion of the year.  It was the first time in my life that I set an intention for the year and actually worked on it all year. 

What I am proudest of is that I have finally found some sort of spirituality.  I’ve become a person who trusts in the universe, a person who believes in synchronicity.  A person who looks at the choices life presents and does not judge them but follows what she thinks must be some divine plan for her.  A person who tries to look at life and life’s events in a more positive way.  This positive outlook and trust in a divine plan has made life a bit easier.

Now as I look towards 2012, I am focusing on setting my intention on how I plan to further grow as a person.   My intention is  to  improve upon the growth in my spirituality and to continue to increase my faith in a divine plan.  It is also my intention to focus on continuing to develop my relationship with Mid-Western Boy and to ensure that it remains a healthy relationship where I continue to have my emotional needs met (and of course, hopefully provide him the same). 

I’m excited for this new year and of course the focus on these new beginnings, I will trust in my faith in the universe that wherever life takes me over the course of the next 12 months it is ensure that I evolve into the best me possible.

A Personal Day

19 Nov
Relaxing

Image by Niels Linneberg via Flickr

A 20 segment panoramic image of the New York M...
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When do you make time for yourself?  Just to rest, to do nothing, to clear your mind, to spend a day doing things that you enjoy at your own pace?  I rarely, if ever, do  that.  I went to get a facial and my estithetician remarked how she couldn’t belive how I wouldnt’ close my eyes to relax.  I told her that I find it impossible to  relax.  I’m always doing something or thing about the next thing to do.  The things that I am thinking about or planning are not just related to work or my son but also to try to fit in some type of social activities for myself.   Trying to balance work, making quality time for my son, my home responsibilities (cleaning, cooking, etc)  and nurturing a new relationship has become exhausting.

On Sunday, I struggled to get out of bed.   My stomach was not settled and I hardly was able to eat.  On Monday morning I woke up for work and felt like I had a terrible cold.  I decided to call in sick.  I haven’t called in sick in a long time.  Probably in over two years.   There are always meetings to attend, conference calls and deadlines to meet.  I checked my calendar – and it was clear.  If I was going to relax – this was the day to do it.

My son went to school and I logged into work.  I made calls to my staff and reviewed documents for a few hours and felt worse.  I decided to log out and watch a movie – a mindless one – X-Men:First Class.  After the movie was over, I read my book, Sea of Poppies, and was lost in Amitav Ghosh‘s amazing story.  I noticed I was gaining energy and feeling better.  I then cooked a new vegetarian dish – Red Rice, Quinoa, Kale and Mushroom stuffing.   I was  thinking about preparing this dish all week.   It was delicious!  After a few hours of reading more I decided to go for a short run – it ended up being a 5 mile run.

I felt like a new person.  All I needed was for my body to rest.  Rest is something most parents (working, married, stay at home) take for granted.  We all need a day to ourselves to do nothing but recuperate from life, especially life in a busy place like New York City where you can always feel the vibrant energy of the city – even during the early morning hours.  As the rush of the  holiday season begins – we should be sure to take  time to do nothing every once in awhile – without any guilt – and before the stress and exhaustion set in.  I have tried to take 10 minutes a day to relax – by listening to Deepak Chopra’s meditations on my Ipod.  I hope you find something that will take you away from your busy life even for a few minutes.

That Overwhelmed Feeling

3 Nov
Donated by the artist when he joined the Acade...

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I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately and it is only the first week of November.  I’ve read recently that women are biologically wired in way that they feel stress more than men because women do not shut down as easily as men do.   Men can come home put on the television and their mind goes completely blank – this enables them to relax, rejuvenate and build testosterone to deal with stress.  (fyi – women if your man wants quiet time when he comes home and just wants to watch television to deal with his day – he may just need that in order to provide you with what you need).

Men can shut down easily.  Unfortunately, studies have shown that biologically women have a more difficult time shutting down.  When women come home from work – I’ve read – that their stress levels increase four times as much as men. 

I’ve been feeling very stressed when I come home.   My mind seems to be racing with all of the things I need to do when I’m in my home.  Many of us already know, but studies show that women are biologically wired to be doers and to nuture their family members.  So, on top of being out working in a busy city feeling the stress of working, women are also feelig the stress of their home life because they just can’t seem to be able to do everything they are biologically built to do in addition to working outside of their home – namely, nuturing their family.

I’m struggling with how to deal with this increased stress.  From what I read, women need to rebuild their oxytocin so that they can deal with stress better.  Oxytocin is the female hormone responsible for childbirth but also has been linked to giving women the ability to cope with stress.  When Oxytocin levels in a women drop, their stress levels rise. 

Well, right now I feel like my oxytocin levels are depleted.  I have given myself totally to my son, my work and my volunteering.  I love doing all of those things but right  now I feel like I don’t have any energy left – not even energy to spend time with my beloved boyfriend – running!   My body has even let me know that I need to slow down by developing  a dreaded cold sore :(.

Since my running injury I have told myself that I will listen to my body better when it is telling me to slow down.  So, I am listening to this amazing machine right now but I’m not sure how to relax – to rebuild those oxytocin levels.  How does a single mom slow down?  I slowed down by cutting out stuff I love to do like cooking and exercising .  To replace that I am trying to sleep more – but my brain won’t shut down.  It keeps thinking about stuff to be done and stuff I would like to do. 

These are the days I wish I had someone to take care of me.  To tell me, you don’t have to be responsible today – I will take care of the baby, you can stay in bed watch television and zone out.   I never really had someone that took care of me in my life like that – only my mom and dad – but that is what I imagine a real partner would do.

I’ve read that the Oxytocin levels can be replenished by just talking about the stress to someone who is willing to listen.  The person listening doesn’t need to provide solutions – as there really isn’t any solution to this type of problem – except to try to sleep and relax when I can. 

I rarely ever share my day to day stress with anyone as I feel like I am very lucky and my stresses are just stresses of daily life that we all struggle with – men and women.  However, I did try talking last night to Mid-Western Boy by phone.  He listend and told me that he was concerned because he heard my exhaustion in my voice. 

Some oxytocin was replenished after that conversation and that conversation even added some feeling of excitement about starting to care for someone who may just care about me.

My Boyfriend is back . . .

12 Oct

My boyfriend, Running, is totally back in my life. We have been on a break since January and I’ve been through a lot of Therapy to help me get back together with Running.  We started to see each other again in June and we took it very slow.  We only spent a few minutes together twice a week.  However, I am happy to report that we seem to be on a more regular routine now.   Last week we ran 7 miles twice! I was elated and overjoyed for days.  I love the high I get when I spend an hour with my boyfriend, Running, I love the way I feel when I get back from a run and have to stretch out my body.  When I spend time with Running I love the the way my body looks and I feel confident and strong.  I feel empowered.  Spending time with Running not only makes me feel good physically but also emotionally.  I am better able to resolve difficult decisions after I Run.   I’m also able to clear my head and sleep better at night.  I’ve missed Running so much – at times I would cry and even whine about it to my family and friends.  Now that we are back together I feel complete again.

 

These last few days I loved spending time outdoors  in New York City with my boyfriend, Running.  I was able to enjoy Central Park’s hidden running trails, a New York City sunrise over the east river and Indian summer.  I feel totally satisfied now that Running and I are back together again. 

I did tell Running that although I want to spend everyday Running I can only limit our contact for now to 3 days a week.  learned from our separation that other things are also good for me – like total body conditioning classes and Yoga.  I think it is more important that Running and I look forward to spending time together instead of seeing our intimate Runs as a chore or a quickie before going to the office.  So, for now I will savor my three days a week that I spend with my boyfriend Running. I will look forward to our Dates, I will try not to schedule anything with anyone else during the scheduled Dates I have planned to spend with Running and I will remain in the moment.  I plan not to think about what milestones Running and I may hit this year or next year or even next month – I will remain in the moment with Running for now and see where my body and life takes us.

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