Category Archives: rambling nature
Every three months, I see my nephrologist (read: kidney doctor). It’s just a usual check-up, and after seven years of living with a kidney transplant, my health care is pretty low-maintenance.
The one thing that does continue to be an issue – more for me than the doctors – is my blood sugar. For the last few years, it’s been hovering just under the level that would qualify me as diabetic. So, in theory, I don’t need to worry just yet. My doctor explained that developing diabetes is normal in some kidney transplant patients. If it ever does become a reality for me, it will probably be as simple as taking a pill every day.
But still. Diabetes kind of freaks me the f*ck out, for two reasons:
- I feel as though God has given me my limit of health issues and there’s no need for him to offer any more.
- The idea of cutting sugar from my diet makes me incredibly depressed, to the point that I feel I need a piece of tiramisu to feel better.
I don’t do well with self-control, especially when it comes to food. Dieting has never been a part of my repertoire, and I’m lucky that I inherited genes that have never made weight an issue.
Yet, clearly I shouldn’t be drowning my feelings in dessert.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been making a semi-conscious effort to cut out sweets by refusing to keep them in my house. I do make special exceptions for holiday leftovers and the occasional pint of Ben & Jerry’s. But overall, I’m pretty good about avoiding the sugar aisles at the grocery store.
But just because I don’t keep dessert items at my house doesn’t mean I’m not overindulging nearly daily. I’ll never turn down a baked good and I happen to work in a place that places high value on muffins, pastries, and other tasty treats. Many weekdays I’ve got a sugar high going before 10 a.m. and then another one at 3 p.m. when I dip into the office candy drawer.
My other downfall is carbs. I rarely eat meat, so pasta has become my mainstay. I’ve tried to take the carbs down a notch by occasionally using spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti. I’m also conscious when meal planning to limit my pasta dishes to one or two over a 2 week time frame, which, with leftovers, means I’m still eating it a few days a week. However, that doesn’t take into account the “off nights” – which occur at least once a week – where I don’t feel like cooking the planned meal and instead make an easy and comforting helping of mac & cheese.
After today’s check-up, I thought the prescription was to keep trying to lower my sugar intake. But my doctor said that may not help. When I keep track of my food, I’m usually within the daily allotment of carbs and because of my small size, there’s not much room for me to cut nutrients out of my diet. Diabetes may be less about my diet and more about my kidney transplant and family history.
So, I’ve decided that I’m not going to beat myself up over my love of pasta and dessert. But, my inner control freak is still going to make a conscious effort to diversify my diet and just say no to the office baked goods. One of these days the control freak has to beat the genes, right?
A couple weeks ago, I made dinner for DD and I. As he was dishing up his pulled pork, he casually said
You know what we need to do next weekend?
I assumed he was talking about the massage gift certificates we needed to use, or the family we needed to see, or some other trivial task. Instead, he said:
We need to go ring shopping.
Without missing a beat (though, to be sure, my heart missed at least one), I replied that we could easily do that this weekend since we’d be out in the suburbs and could just stop at a jewelry store in the mall. See, while we’ve talked about marriage, it’s always been a “someday” conversation. In fact, just recently we’d had a rather massive miscommunication about the timeline I thought we were working against. So for him to be ready to look at rings…well…it was surprising.
That Saturday, after his nephew’s basketball game and before we went to dinner at my parents, we stopped by the mall and moseyed into a certain chain jewelry store that shall remain nameless. While I’m not a fan of buying engagement rings from chain jewelers, I figured it would be a good place to start browsing.
Apparently, we walked in the same day they were having THE BIGGEST SALE OF THE YEAR OMG!
Maybe it won’t be such a casual experience after all?
I explained that we were just looking to get an idea of what I liked. That we weren’t buying.
I began trying on rings and we began talking the 4Cs. I mentioned to her that I’m a princess cut, solitaire kinda girl, and would probably prefer a Tiffany Setting, or perhaps a Compass Setting. You know, something like this:
I asked the saleswoman if she had either of these settings to try on. She didn’t. But of course, she said they could “do anything” so my setting of choice wouldn’t be a problem – and that if I didn’t like it, they had a 60 day, money-back guarantee. Which is great and all, but why would I buy something that I wasn’t totally sure about – money-back guarantee or not.
As we continued trying things on, another saleswoman joined us. It wouldn’t be until later that we’d realize we were moving up the chain of command. Even so, I felt like we were keeping things casual and were avoiding the hard sell. I mean, who buys an engagement ring in front of their bride-to-be anyway?
Then DD pointed to a ring off in the corner. The saleswoman took it out and quietly said “this one’s $17,000.” Until now, she hadn’t said the price of one.single.ring. I tried it on, politely ooooed and ahhhed and gave it back, just as the District Manager walked up.
Ding ding ding. Apparently, we’d hit the jackpot. I like to think that ring was attached to some secret alarm that, when picked up, tells the District Manager that there’s a live one on the hook.
District Manager dismissed my notions of being surprised and gave the hard sell. TODAY ONLY! BEST PRICE! Blah. Blah. Finally, he just pulled DD off to the side to “give him some pricing”. As they talked, the saleswoman sized my finger, “just so I’d know it”.
And here’s why I’ve told you this very long story. For the sole purpose of what happened next.
District Manager (clad in a full business suit) and DD walked back toward us. As I watched them out of the corner of my eye, I saw District Manager spray something in the general direction of his face and then slide the offending item back in his pocket, all smooth-like
Dude. He totally sprayed Binaca in his mouth. BINACA!
Hey, I totally get wanting to be fresh and minty. But I thought breathe spray went out of style sometime in 1995. Aren’t there enough mints and gums on the market these days that you can keep your breathe fresh without looking like a completely smarmy salesman? Or at least could you wait until we leave the premises?
Somehow, we successfully made it out of their alive, with DD’s credit card untouched, and with only a little slime left on our clothes.
I’ve been doing some level of yoga for about seven years now. If you care about how I got from then until now, check out this post.
In no way do I consider myself a yoga expert. In fact, I’m lucky if I make it to two classes a week. I’m not someone who wakes up and does yoga every morning — or even once in awhile — at home. But, I am someone who gets a little antsy if I have to miss out on a class for more than a couple weeks at a time. I am someone who knows the meaning of — and craves — the yoga high. And I am someone who will proudly defend yoga to anyone who says it’s not a workout.
Last week, I was headed to yoga and stopped at the salon for a little brow wax action. Upon leaving, the waxer asked if I wanted a free make-up application and I politely refused, saying I was on my way to yoga and I’d just sweat it off anyway. She looked at me quizzically and said: You sweat in yoga?
This isn’t the first time someone has said that to me. Usually, I don’t think much of it and go on about my business. But, this particular time came on the heels of another incident.
A couple months ago, I had a routine doctor’s visit. He asked how much exercise I get and I told him that I try to do cardio a couple times a week and that I try to get to yoga once or twice a week.
He replied: Is yoga really considered working out?
It was all I could do not to launch into a tirade. How is it that a legitimate health professional doesn’t understand that yoga is indeed exercise?!
So, between the waxer and the doctor, I’m feeling a renewed sense of defending the sport I love. Most of my friends are cardio junkies — they love running and biking. I sometimes feel like they turn their noses up at yoga. After all, isn’t it just stretching?
Well, yes, it is. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a series of movements that require you to use your own body as resistance. In essence, for me, it’s 60-75 minutes of weight training with a 125 pound weight.
It’s a whole different kind of bench pressing. In 90+ degree heat.
After all, take this pose. It looks pretty simple, right? The model looks all calm and peaceful. But, what you’re not seeing is how this pose feels as you balance on one foot and throw the other one as high as you can in a fight against gravity. Sure, it’s a hamstring stretch. But, in addition to stretching, you’re using every leg, core, and arm muscle you own. And typically, you’re doing this pose midway through a yoga class that has already worked your glutes, quads and core to the max.
But, you’ve got to do it and you’ve got to hold it for more than a second or two. Most likely, you’ve got to hold it for 3-5 deep breaths, unless you’re in the middle of a Vinyasa flow, in which case you may get out of it after one breath, but you’ve got to transition to another pose, like this one. Which also looks relatively easy. But, again, you’re not seeing how it feels. And the alignment issues that you have to take into consideration while hoisting your arm and leg in the air. Or the sweat that’s pooling on your mat, making it nearly impossible to stay upright — much less balanced — without slipping. And those leg, core, and arm muscles that are literally screaming at you to stop what you’re doing and go have a brownie.
I may not be able to run a marathon or bike 100 miles, but I sweat when I work out. In fact, I sweat more while doing yoga than I ever have while doing cardio. I sweat to the point that it’s rolling off my face in buckets, dropping in puddles around my mat.
I also burn calories. In a one hour class, I burn the same amount or more calories than I do after 30 minutes on an elliptical. And of course, I tone muscle. I won’t lie, I’ve got a pretty sexy bum. If I could get to class with any regularity, I’d probably be able to find my six pack. And the definition in my arms continues to grow with every push up I do — because, yes, we do push-ups in yoga.
Now I’m not saying that yoga is superior to running or biking or any traditional exercise out there. But I am saying that yoga shouldn’t be dismissed as a legitimate form of exercise. I definitely believe that I need to work on endurance so that I can run longer than two minutes without wanting to die. But, I’d also tell my runner friends — and my waxer, and my doctor — that they’d be surprised by yoga. That not only would it stretch their weary legs, but it’d give their weary legs (and arms and abs) a kick in the glutes.
Obviously, the resolution posts are all over the blogosphere this week. I thought long and hard about posting something different, but you know what? I’m not known for my creativity. So I’ll just jump on the bandwagon.
Actually, I have a slightly different approach to resolutions this year, that I’m sure I’ll only have in common with 50% of bloggers, so I guess that’s a bit original, eh?
The approach is this: keep working on last year’s resolutions. What’s the point of making new ones if I’m still struggling with the ones I made? Why should we just forget the past and start anew when in reality, the path to a “new you” shouldn’t be confined to 365 days.
Though I struggled with my 2010 resolutions, I truly did (and do) believe in them. So much so that I actually wrote them down and put them on my fridge way back in January. That paper is still there and serves as a daily reminder — and a kick in the pants — when I’m slacking.
So, let’s look at this blog post as a status update. A review of the resolutions set last year and a look ahead to 2011.
Early to bed, early to rise. I’m awful at the early to bed thing. I must put down the remote and get better at this. I simply must. There’s absolutely no reason for me to stay up to solely to watch old Seinfeld episodes. As for the morning thing, I did quite well with this the first part of 2010. Then the wheels came off the cliched wagon.
As far as looking ahead, some life changes may actually force this resolution this year. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll need to find a different source of motivation, which could be a challenge. Stay tuned.
Work out more/Do more yoga. I aimed for 3x/week at the gym and 2x/week at the yoga studio and sort of succeeded. The wagon ended up in the ditch whenever work got busy. Hence why being a morning person and getting back to morning workouts would be ideal. As for yoga, I was relatively successful. The last few months, I’ve been back to twice a week, up from weekly or every-other-week early on in the year.
Looking ahead, I realize I need to start making yoga a routine and sticking to it. I need to stop allowing other things to interfere. I may also need a work out buddy!
Blog more. After three years of being around here, I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that it ain’t gonna happen. You’re just going to have to get used to me only sporadically clogging up your reader!
Eat better: low carb/sugar, more fruits & veggies. Again, some success. I’m still heavy on the pasta, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing, especially if I get better at portion control and mixing veggies IN the pasta. As for the fruits/veggies; I’ll eat them as long as they’re in my fridge. And since I grocery shop every 2-3 weeks, I only end up having fresh produce at home a few days a month.
Looking ahead, I realize I need to get back to more of a weekly grocery habit to keep fresh food in the house. Barring that, not much will change.
Make more out of my weekends, including church. I was rocking this at first, but now it’s sporadically successful. The trouble really is DD and our penchant for sleeping in way past what is acceptable for 30 year olds. When he’s not around, I’m far more likely to get up and out the door for an 8:30 yoga class or an 11:30 mass. When he is around, I’m far more likely to cuddle because he’s just so damn cuddle-able.
Looking ahead, I really think that in order for this to be fully successful, we’re going to have to make it a joint goal. While I know he’d like to change his ways, we’re both facing the same challenges with loving the bed more than the world outside the bed, so I don’t know if it’ll happen.
So there you have it. Time to embark on Year Two of my ongoing resolution to be better and rock the world.
One last observation. I’ve always felt that I’m a creature of habit and require routine to survive. Looking back on 2010 and the years prior, I’m realizing that I’m actually quite opposite. I tend to have a general idea of what I want to do in a day or week, but will quickly adjust it based on others — like DD, friends, family, etc.
Most of my resolutions would be easily achieved if I simply set a routine — and stuck to it. If I told myself that I could not work late on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that I could go to yoga. If I told DD that I simply couldn’t cuddle with him on Sunday mornings because I needed to go to church instead. If I told friends I couldn’t meet up for a spontaneous dinner because I had to go to the gym first. Truly, TRULY, a routine would solve all my problems.
But where’s the fun in a routine?
A few weeks back, my boss and I were having one of our not-so-regular professional development conversations. For me, these are torturous; akin to watching an episode of Skating with the Stars. I have trouble thinking much past next month, so don’t even try getting me to make a five year plan.
But, there we were, talking about my future. About next steps. As the conversation evolved — with me fighting it every step of the way — my boss suggested I write my obituary.
Yes. My obituary.
After getting over the general skeeviness of it, I realize it actually is an interesting assignment. The point is to get you to think about what you want to be remembered for. Though I haven’t completed the assignment yet, I can assume that it’s an exercise to get those thoughts on paper, which should ultimately help you determine a path for both your career and your life as a whole.
Except. Well, who am I and what is it that I want to be remembered for? As I thought about that, everything that came to mind was personal.
Who am I?
A lover of books.
A lover of people.
A lover of dogs.
A lover of good writing.
A lover of travel.
What do I want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as a good person.
A good wife.
A good mom.
A scintillating conversationalist.
While these things are all well and good, they offer no insight into a future career. Wups?
So, after the initial brainstorm, I’ve stalled out. For the past few weeks I’ve avoided the assignment like the plague. I’m sure it’s given my boss just another reason to lose faith in me because I haven’t completed yet another professional development task. It’s been both a contributor and a casualty to that pesky writer’s block.
See, right before I got this assignment, I got all high and mighty on the writing thing. It was about the time work was really starting to tank my self-esteem. I was getting lots of criticism on my writing and was beginning to feel like I’d taken a complete wrong turn by making a career out of it since, clearly, I was awful at it.
To overcome the voices in my head (and my Inbox), I decided I was going to make my personal writing more of a priority. I thought that if I could get back to my own writing, it would make me hate my job — and the writing it requires — less. Heck, it might even make me better at the on-the-job writing.
To get back on the bandwagon, I’d also decided I was going to take my writing offline and start journaling. I was going to use the writing prompts offered by Writer’s Digest and go back to my roots with some good ol’ pen and paper.
It was going to be great.
Until I was told to write my obituary. The empty journal sat on my nightstand for weeks. I felt like I couldn’t start on my personal writing until I accomplished this actual assignment.
(It should be noted that who I am also includes a huge procrastinator and excuse-maker. Because even I know that’s a lame excuse.)
I finally sat down one night a drafted my obit, but instantly hated it. And I haven’t touched it — or the journal — since.
I’m stuck. Not only do I need to finish the assignment, but I also need to get jazzed about writing again. I think about the days when I used to love creative writing. When I had ideas for a book floating in my head. When I could sit down and just write for hours.
I haven’t done that, or even had the urge to do that, in years. And it really scares me. It scares me that after growing up with stories in my head, the real world has sullied me. The writing career that I worked so hard for has ruined me and taken away my imagination, my creativity, my voice. It scares me that the writing career has taken away the writing passion.
Because something else I want to be known for? Is being a great writer.