Monday, November 30, 2009
After I finish my novel, though, and get to re-writing, I have another big dream realization on the horizon. What could this brave new world of a challenge be? Two words: half marathon.
Let the adventure begin!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Remember yesterday's crabby-Turkey-Day-turned-thankful (thank goodness!) post? I mentioned that it was also the Best Husband Ever's birthday! I baked him some peanut butter and banana cookies, based on the FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe. To half the batch I added chunks of chocolate covered macadamia caramel nut clusters that we just happened to have in our pantry (thanks, Costco!). Those really made these tasty cookies awesome!
I set them out, wrote a card, and wrapped up a present, too. (Don't look at the back, though, I botched the wrapping job! The Best Husband Ever was very gracious about it, of course.) If you've been following Kitchen Courage for very long, you've probably read that the hubby and I really enjoy playing board games like Scrabble together. We've been getting a little tired of our old stand-by, though, so I bought him Catan: The Card Game, which is a two player card version of the Settlers of Catan board game series. We played it today and, while it has a steep learning curve, I'm certain we won't regret having it on our game shelf.
Okay, okay, that's all, folks. Show's over, the cookies are gone. Cookie porn is all well and good, but give me some food art any day of the week. It's so much healthier for body, mind, and soul, don't you think?
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I have a confession to make -- I'm not a big fan of this holiday. At least, not what the holiday has become. For one day, our culture allows -- no, encourages -- folks to indulge in massive communal gluttony. Intuitive eating? I don't think so. Try free-for-all gorging.
And then there's the food. I don't like traditional Thanksgiving foods. No, that's not true -- I don't dislike them, I just simply don't prefer them. For me, here's how Thanksgiving dinner measures up:
turkey = okay, but I'll pass on the gravy
potatoes = best with lots of garlic, if one must indulge
corn = well, there's not much I can say about corn -- so crunchy and good!
stuffing = no, thank you
sweet potato pie = I'd probably like this, if it ever found its way onto my T-Day table
cranberry sauce = tasty, but so sugary it makes me sick these days
candied carrots = see above re: cranberry sauce
pie = if you insist . . . (okay, you got me, I really do like pie, especially apple)
Add in the fact that Thanksgiving is a big-time football day, and that I was in marching band in high school and therefore required to shiver through a game every Thanksgiving . . . well, you can see for yourself how what should be a lovely day turns into the story of How I Grinched Thanksgiving. Or something.
Don't get me wrong -- I like the idea of Thanksgiving. And I've liked it more and more since becoming a member of the Best Husband Ever's family. They live and breathe balance -- in God, in food, in exercise, in rest, in love. I don't think there could be a better example of life lived to the fullest, with love, in the entire world. With them, Thanksgiving is not about a gut-busting meal. It's about hanging out.
That's why I'm looking forward to today's "festivities." We'll be having dinner over at the Best Inlaws Ever's place in the afternoon, and then watching a movie or two. I can't tell you what we'll be watching, but I can share the options that I'm bringing -- Waking Ned Devine (which I have not seen, but the hubby says is good) and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (which you must watch, especially if you like Joss Whedon or Doogie Howser or cheesy musicals -- even the Best Husband Ever loves it, and his avowed cinematic nemesis is High School Musical).
I can also tell you what I'm bringing to the turkey day table. I tried to make this:
. . . but it didn't work out. What you see is an all-natural cranberry relish -- no added sugar or preservatives, thank you! It's quite delicious, when the chef doesn't botch the process. If you'd like the recipe, watch my Examiner page -- that and two other cranberry-licious recipes will be going up soon! (By the way, I'm totally psyched to be the official food examiner for my city!)
As my cranberry relish didn't quite happen (I think I ran low on cranberries), I tried out a similar recipe based on pear. Want that recipe? Well, you'll have to wait, I'm afraid, because it's my entry for this round of the Royal Foodie Joust and I'd like to give it its own post. I'll give you a hint, though: the ingredients include fresh pears, medjool dates, raspberry vinegar, and a few secret spices. Okay, they're not so secret: cinnamon, ginger, and (here's the funky but flavorful one) fennel.
Although this incarnation of fruit relish ended up being a dreadful sludge-color, the taste is far improved from the lackluster cranberry version. (I should note that I prefer the cranberry relish, if one has enough cranberries to retain the proper fruit-to-date ratio. Which I didn't, this time around, so pear it was!) I'm hoping that it will make a fun alternative turkey dressing, and it would taste great on pumpkin pie.
Speaking of pie, I'm a guest poster on Whit's Getting Fit this weekend! I don't know when the post will go up, but I chatted a bit about my favorite Thanksgiving-themed recipe and sung the praises of the illustrious pumpkin. Thanks for letting me write for you, Whit! If you haven't checked out her blog, you must. It's full of humor, grace, running, and, of course, good eats.
I think I successfully managed to turn this humbug of a post into something a little more appropriate for Thanksgiving Day. What are you doing today? What are you eating and, more importantly, with whom? And, of course, I couldn't let you go without posing the ubiquitous question -- what are you thankful for?
Here's my rundown:
- the Best Husband Ever (it's his birthday today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
- my parents, parents-in-law, brother, sisters-in-law, grandma, and the rest of my family
- my friends, both near and far
- our pups
- my wonderful job
- our wonderful home
- the fact that I can read, write, and think what I want, when I want
- that I can run, climb mountains, dance, stretch, and rest
- tea and coffee
- the seasons, even when winter gets me down
- my health, and my freedom from anorexia, and the fact that I'm [slowly] learning to be gentle with myself in the healing process
- aaaaaannnnnnnnddddddd . . . the number one think I'm thankful for? (This was not a countdown, by the way, but I wanted to end with the most important.) God. Without Him, where would I be? I'll tell you: caught up in myself, and stuck in quite a mess.
"So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? . . . And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us.
"Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture. . . .
"None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."
~ Romans 8:31-39, The Message paraphrase
Guess what! In the spirit of thankfulness, here's that pear relish recipe. (Be sure to stop by the Leftover Queen's forums for other entrants into the Royal Foodie Joust; this month's ingredients were pear, ginger, and fennel.) Thank you for your amazing readership. It means more to me than I can say!
Spiced Pear Thanksgiving Day Garnish
2 pears, chopped
equal part Medjool dates, soaked
water as needed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger (ground)
1/8 tsp fennel (ground)
Puree the pears in a food processor. When smooth, add the equivalent ratio in dates (I used about 1 cup -- you may need to play with the amount to avoid over-sweetening the relish). Process again, adding water as needed until a pulpy mixture remains. Add the spices, blend until well-combined, then store and refrigerate.
This makes an excellent topper for turkey, pie, or simply a crusty piece of old-fashioned bread.
Happy Thanksgiving, in the truest and most wonderful meaning of the holiday!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
The hubby and I are so relieved that one of our canine kids was not lost forever in the snow and cold. Jackson is back! A little thinner, a little scratched up, but pretty much fine after his two day wilderness gallivant. God rocks!
Now, are we off the hook for puppy school tomorrow, considering we were without a dog to train for the prime practice time of the week? Hmmm . . .
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
I have been battling anorexia with dangerously compulsive over-exercise, combined with bouts of binging, for three years. In the space of those three years, I met and married the man who is now my husband. I wrote two novels. I climbed mountains . . . and then I gave it all away to be skinny. And I was skinny -- sickeningly so. (If you're interested, check this disturbing self-portrait out). I thought I was lovely . . . but I was sick, and deluded, and on the verge of death. I wished for death, in fact, and to this day am shocked that I still live.
But things turned around. Largely due to my wonderful husband, I began receiving treatment with a counselor experienced with eating disorder patients. I got plugged back into the world -- I started working again, and this school year I began an amazing job. I never could have done this job as an anorexic girl. Through the healing process I gained weight, learned to relate to people better, learned to care, learned to process stress and emotions without using anorexia as a crutch.
Last Thanksgiving I went on a missions trip to Malaysia. Since then, I have seen incredible victories and freedom from my eating disorder. I went from being a sick, frail thing to a powerhouse athlete, competing in (and even winning!) 5K and 10K races. I completed my first triathlon. I climbed mountains again. I thought I was done with ED, and that it was done with me.
Until recently. The stress of the past few months at my still amazing but very demanding new job has gotten to me. I have found myself binging. I've gained weight -- more than I need. I feel devastated at this setback, at my failing. I feel broken. That is what this video's hoop dance is about -- my brokenness, but also the fragile hope that someday I will truly be whole.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Recently, YogaDownload has changed things up. Not only did they upgrade to a spiffy new web design, but they've also gone visual. Until now, all of their classes have been audio-only, coming bundled with a PDF pose guide. Now you can try out one of their five new classes in audio -- or in video! I, of course, downloaded all of the new classes in various formats and lengths. The new offerings are:
- Jivamukti yoga, a new style for the site that I'm excited to try
- another Baptiste power vinyasa flow from one of my favorite instructors, Dave Farmar
- Yoga for strength
- a second yoga flow with weights, making for a mega burn session on the mat
- an addition to the site's collection of core yoga classes
The first new video class that I tested out was the 30 minute version of Yoga Sculpt #1, which is the class that incorporates hand weights. I've done completed the site's other weighted class, and it was hard. This new selection did not disappoint. The instructor leads the viewer through a flow, then picks up light weights (I used five pounds, but you can go lighter or heavier) and does the same flow with the weights, adding in some lifting as well. I also tried Dave Farmar's 60 minute power yoga class and loved it. He's a chaturanga machine!
In the video versions of the new classes, the instructor hops on and off the mat. She (or he!) switches between doing the poses, demonstrating more advanced postures, or using an example "student" as the object of a mini-lesson on form. There is background music that I find to be just okay -- I like the audio-only classes' soundtracks better.
I have mixed feelings about the video class options on YogaDownload. For me, video and audio both have their positives and negatives. Since I have poor vision without my glasses, I get a lot out of the audio-only classes. With any yoga video or DVD, I find myself distracted, or that I'm missing out on something if I don't wear my glasses during the practice. If I do wear my glasses, they irritate me to no end through the more inverted poses, as they flop up (down?) to my forehead. I have contact lenses, but they don't treat my astigmatism so my balance is jeopardized and I usually forgo them and practice yoga "blind."
However, there have been occasions during the audio-only classes when I wished for a complementary visual. In a few of Dave Farmar's power yoga classes, I have found myself at a loss when he calls for a certain pose. This occurs most often at the end of a practice, so I'm loathe to disrupt the flow by searching Yoga Journal's online database. With the video classes, now I simply have to squint up at the television screen to get a better idea of what my body is supposed to be doing without leaving the mat.
There are aspects of both the audio and video classes that I found valuable. Mostly, however, I enjoy being able to do a vigorous yoga class in my living room. Or bedroom. Or spare room. Plus, what's not to like about five brandy-new practices? It's like Christmas in . . . well, in near-winter, but that doesn't make YogaDownload's new offerings any less exciting.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Local write-ins attended: 3, plus the kick-off
Characters killed off: 0
Zombies characters created: 1
Characters with shifting allegiances: 2
Endings that I am writing toward: ???
Cups of coffee consumed: ?????
Fun that I am having: immeasurable!
On an unrelated topic, as I was searching through my Flickr photostream for some pictures tagged with "writing" or "computers," I ran across this photo. Click at your own risk, because I find it pretty shocking. I took this shot of myself in the summer of 2008, right around the time when I was at my lowest weight ever due to my eating disorder. And . . . I thought I looked great. The thinner the better, right? Check out the expression on my face -- does that spell out "denial" or what?
I've come a long way from that. Because I am sore from super-fun ice skating with the Best Husband Ever yesterday, I'm taking the morning off of exercise. Also, I'm going to Zumba later! Do you think the girl in that photo could keep herself from exercising like crazy first thing in the morning? Not on your life.
Happy Monday, all! Be good to yourself today because it's worth it, because you deserve it, and because body image and weight are not what make you wonderful. Journey on, friends.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Why? It's SAD season -- seasonal affective disorder, or what many people refer to as the "winter blues." However, SAD is an actual condition, not simply a state of mind. As the weather turns cold and the sunlight grows weaker and more rare, folks with SAD experience the symptoms of depression. The thing about SAD that makes it unique from regular depression is that it goes away in the spring and early summer as that location on the earth receives more direct and more abundant sunlight and warmth. If every winter finds you experiencing the symptoms of depression (hopelessness, over sleeping, non-Thanksgiving related weight gain, lack of interest in activities/people, low energy, distraction, and feeling down regularly), you might have SAD.
Take heart, though -- not only are you not alone, but there are some simple things you can do to help yourself. Of course there are medications and really cool but really pricey light boxes that can alleviate SAD. However, try some simpler remedies first. Get outside, especially on sunny days but even on gray days. Take a walk, eat outdoors, shovel some snow -- any additional exposure to sunlight helps. Also be sure to exercise as that releases a feel-good chemical that can mitigate SAD. Don't forget to eat healthy and get lots of rest (yep, that's something I need to work on, seeing as I'm blogging at twenty minutes before midnight . . . oops). Yoga and other meditative forms of movement are also great helps. If none of that works, chat with your doctor.
As for me, I deal with depression year-round, so it simply gets worse come the fall and winter. I've been feeling the effects of the gray days lately, but yesterday's yucky morning blossomed into a glorious afternoon, so I took advantage. Instead of driving, I walked to and from an appointment. Yep, that's not time-efficient. Since I had the time, though, I went for it. Was it worth it? I'll let you decide -- look at what I got to revel in! (Check out the snow on the mountains. We got even more today!)
SAD, you can kiss my bottom.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I realized that when I practice yoga, I feel vulnerable. Dealing with just being me is so hard and so scary at times. I'm afraid I might fail to get enough of a workout, which I unwisely rely upon for at least some of my self worth and identity. I'm also afraid the experience will be awful or feel like a waste of time. I experience the same fears every time I pick up my hoop, which is intriguing. However, I never regret even a few minutes of hoop dance -- and the same is true for yoga. I never feel sorry I did it, or tried.
It's been a rough week as I have begun basing my exercise on a HEAB-style foundation of morning yoga instead of killer sunrise cardio. Full of semi-stressful eating (i.e., some stumbles), but I've also seen some victories. I feel more like myself, if that makes sense. I feel sexy and okay with being a little curvier than ED-me might choose. It's becoming easier to trust myself.
And . . . I'm enjoying the yoga quite a bit. I'm also finding more enjoyment in my job, in writing, and in hanging out with the Best Husband Ever. (He really is the best, you know. Sorry to all the rest of the wives in the world -- I got the top pick of men!) And I have not felt the desperate need to eateateat or to hide away all alone in some secluded corner of the world, or I've been able to resist and find healthier methods of dealing with whatever issues are getting to me.
Victories? I'd say so.
It helps that YogaDownload.com has just released five new classes. I haven't tried any of them yet, but you can bet that I've already downloaded a few. We've got a new Dave Farmar Baptiste power yoga class (he's one of my favorite yoga podcasters), a new core class, two strength building classes (one with weights!), and, introducing a new style for the site, Jivamukti yoga. Plus, if I'm not mistaken these classes are now in video format where previous podcasts are audio-only.
I don't need to be super thin or super athletic to be a worthwhile person. I don't need to do yoga, either, or hoop or write. There is only one thing that is necessary: I need to trust God and trust myself. I need to love Jesus, and then love myself, love my body. I want to do these things . . . but I might need a little help. Send spare prayers/hopes/dreams/wishes my way, if you think of it! Meanwhile, I'll be letting God carry me through, both on the mat and off.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
My situation is not as dire as this poor 'WriMo from Inkygirl's writer-centric comic, although I am feeling a bit of word count envy. How can some participants be passing 60,000 words (or more!) after a mere 7 days of writing? I must constantly remind myself, I am not them, I am me -- I am not them, I am me. Plus, I'm trying my best -- and the results aren't half bad!
As I write this, I have a grand total of 16,453 words (minimum count to "win" National Novel Writing Month is 50,000). If I wanted to write approximately the same amount each day to reach the goal, I'd have to write 1,667 words daily. If I was following that plan (which I am . . . sort of) I should be at 13,333 words by the end of the day. In short -- I'm ahead of schedule! Add to that the fact that the story itself is (knocknocknock on wood) coming along quite handily, and I'm one happy NaNo-er.
Here are some more detailed statistics. I'm not convinced they are particularly accurate, as the chart says that I missed days of writing. I have not, although I have not sprinted everyday, either. Still, it's fun for geeks like me to get excited about these simple pleasures in life.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I've only got two mini bagels left in the staff freezer here at school. I'm looking forward to today's lunch -- I will scarf one of said bagels, half with the remainder of the apple walnut spread, and half with a lackluster banana/nutmeg/PB2 concoction that I'd rather not discuss. You understand. My guess is that the bagel will improve the unmentionable spread -- even a mediocre topping can't ruin the delight of a freshly toasted bagel.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Okay, okay, you caught me. That, in fact, is not me. Obviously. I mean, that woman is Asian. I am not Asian. But ethnicity aside, it's all me. Really.
Perhaps not. But that doesn't change the fact that yoga-ing this morning rocked my world -- and my muscles. What's more, the yoga was completely unexpected. I was getting ready to do some TaeBo kickboxing, when my body just said no. And (here's the victory story for this ex-anorexic) I listened to it. I also heard the voice of anorexia citing how I feel fat, how I've gained weight over the last few weeks due to some emotional eating, how my thighs are more dimply than they have been -- and then I told that ED voice to stuff it.
I might be going HEAB-style here, folks. And I'm okay with it. An exercise regimen of yoga, hooping, and hiking? I can live with that.
So what do you think of that?
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Scenes created: 5
Chapters begun: 3
Number of fellow NaNo-ers who turned out to write together: 13 (including me!)
Cups of coffee drunk: 2
Cups of tea drunk: er . . . a lot (5?)
Forums trolled: 2 (NaNo's and Forward Motion)
Procrastinatory Google searches conducted: 2 (ketosis, anyone?)
Miles run: 7+
Dogs cuddled: 3
Scrabble games conquered with hubby: 1
The Office episodes viewed: 2
Batches of Chex Mix made for said hubby: 1
Squashes roasted and eaten: 1 (butternut!)
Leftover pieces of Halloween candy consumed: 3 (ish . . .)
Satisfaction with the day, on a scale from 1-10: incalculable
Happy November, ya'll!