April 30, 2010

A Late Bloomer

My computer at home has really been acting up so I wasn't able to post my pictures for a while. Please enjoy these blooms of Albany. I hope to catch some tulips soon. They popped out much earlier this year.

There's Something Out There!

He never saw it coming until it was too late. Don't let it happen to you!

April 28, 2010

Diary of a Raw Foodie

The last official day of the cleanse is today. I've spring cleaned my home and I've spring cleaned my body. Of four pounds. I feel the best I've ever felt and I can't believe it. Not eating any bread or starches or cheese has been truly eye opening to me. I proved something I never thought would be possible- I don't need breads and baked goods to feel satisfied. My whole life revolved around eating bread with everything. I convinced myself that I needed it but I was wrong the whole time. I feel so free and I don't want to change that.

To say I won't eat bread ever again would be foolish. What I will say is I will eat raw or straight fruits and vegetables for the vast majority of my meals. I will no longer depend on starches to get me through the day. Nut butters and fruits, rich salads and green smoothies will become staples of my diet. I know I can do this. So I will.

The beginning as hard. Day one was fine but day two was the most difficult. That's when my cravings really hit me hard. I'm glad it was a Sunday when I could be in complete control of what I was eating. We tried all kinds of new food, new recipes- many of which we will most certainly continue to make and enjoy. Many of them being smoothie recipes and other dips and snacks. Mike is now obsessed with the salt and vinegar kale chips I made. We ate vegetables we've never eaten- chard. We tried condiments we'd never heard of- tahini. We really went all out. Check out the sheer amount of food:That includes fifteen avocados, two bunches of apples, a bag of oranges, two bunches of broccoli, a bag of lemons, three bunches of kale, frozen fruit, a ton of almond milk, coconut water, lemon juice and tons of berries. That doesn't even include all the nuts and seeds in the pantry. I could go on. As of this writing we've eaten almost all of it. I've only had to throw out some moldy nuts (don't ask) and it turns out the chard was on the way out when I bought it. Don't ask me how much this all cost. You can't put a price on health and happiness. (Let's be real. Yes you can. It's quite high. That's why poor people are fat and miserable. I'm just not telling you because it was insane.) Every time I had to go to the store I felt the need to justify how much I was dropping on food by telling the clerks about the cleanse. One kind woman told me that I was perfectly proportionate and the last thing I needed to do was lose weight. I wanted to kiss her on the mouth. But I didn't. It was late and there was a cop nearby.

So, I would do this again without blinking an eye. I loved everything but two things- and Mike liked them just fine. Very long story short- if I can do this, I really can do anything.

April 23, 2010

Some Syrup With That Waffle?

I still haven't made a decision about what I'm going to do exactly with my last name. I thought I had until we came back from our honeymoon in August to make a decision. The plane tickets were bought with my current name and we all know the name on the ticket has to match the name on the identification of the traveler. Super! I could waffle on this massive decision for that much longer. I've only had years to think about it and these next few months were going to give me the right amount of time I needed.

No matter, I was wrong about how much time I had anyway. Last week Mike and I got our wedding license. And for filling out a form and dropping $40 it was pretty thrilling. Before we went I made sure we had all the documentation we needed, there was no wait and the City Clerk's office is a few blocks from my place of work so it was 30 minutes and bam! Done! We can get married. So simple and painless- even a gay person could do it! There was one hiccup- on the form we had to put any name change plans. When the clerk asked me if I was going to change my name I panicked and after some indecipherable babbling said "Stephens-DiMaio!" The smirk on Mike's face could be seen from Mars.

I didn't know that had to be decided for the license. I guess most women already know by that point? Am I that much of a rarity? The marriage license isn't an identifying document so I'm not bound to change it to Stephens-DiMaio. I could do whatever to my name. Whatever I FINALLY decide on, and believe me when I say even I'm irritated at the lack of decisiveness, can't become my legal name until after August 21st. But I should probably just make up my mind already.

April 22, 2010

Hide the Cheese, It's Go Time

Starting Saturday I will not be eating anything other than seeds, fruits, vegetables and nuts for seven days. Mike will be doing the same because quite frankly, I don't feel like buying different food for two people for the week. And he wants to participate with me. Really. We're cleansing as part of our spring cleaning EXTRAVAGANZA! *Explosion of confetti in the air!* I will be spring cleaning the apartment as well as my body this Saturday morning. And perhaps a little of my soul. Because we all know how dark that is.

My holistic nutritionist is leading this cleanse and since I have a meeting with her in 20 minutes I'll be able to go over the cleanse and my specific protein needs. My first full triathlon is Sunday May 2nd- a day after the initial cleanse- and I want to make sure I'm giving my body what it needs to do well on race day. I mean, I'm already *ahem* well rested so I'm only concerned about diet. (That's a lie- I'm also concerned I was too lazy despite how good my brick workouts feel. But that isn't my point.) I've read about and met athletes who are vegan or adhere to the raw food diet and they swear by the diets' ability to elevate athletic success. So, maybe I'll learn more about myself than my ability to cut out my cravings for a week. That would be great! (Especially since last night I panicked about not eating anything processed for a week and ate almost an entire bag of blue sesame chips in five minutes. Not my proudest moment.)

At the end of this cleanse I hope a few things happen- I will feel less of a need for starchy carbs, something that can be far too controlling; I will have more energy; I drop a pound or two; and I've found some excellent sources of non-animal protein. The recommended recipes sound amazing so satiety isn't a forecast problem. In fact, I may love it so much I continue to do mini-cleanses all summer long. This kind of cleanse is only recommended for spring and summer months because eating nothing but smoothies and raw veg can really throw someone into some hellacious winter doldrums and it's safe to do frequently. If I feel good at the end of one week, I can do it for another and see how much better I feel. Wish us luck. Because man, we're going to end up with some colorful poop.

April 20, 2010

I'm Up Here

Our Verizon contract has been up since March but I keep failing to go to the mall to re-up for a few reasons- 1) I don't like the mall, 2) I'm lazy, 3) I don't have the money to buy a new phone and 4) I am convinced if Mike gets a smart phone he will never talk to me again. I am already an Internet widow. I do not wish to add Smart Phone Widow to my resume. I have entire conversations with Mike- conversations in which he participates, mind you- while he's on his laptop, and he doesn't remember having them. Yeah, that's always good for a laugh. I can't imagine the rolling in the aisles that will happen once he acquires a smart phone.

I know the phone isn't the problem, the user is the problem. It's not the iPhone's fault when its owner ignores people at parties. Nor is it the Blackberry's fault when its owner walks into a pole while checking her Facebook page. I don't understand the fascination when the Internet is NOT A NEW THING. If the tiny screen is what is so fascinating, just look at a laptop computer monitor the wrong way through a magnifying glass. Problem solved. And stop checking for texts or tweets while I'm talking to you.

What is the need to be connected all the time? I get reprimanded for not always answering my cell phone. Just because I have a cell phone doesn't mean I should be accessible 24 hours. And if I get a smart phone, the same applies. Have a life without your phone or the Internet. I don't know how life would be THAT MUCH better with a smart phone. Is checking imdb.com while shopping that important? If so, then someone needs to get a life. And it's not me.

April 16, 2010

What Lovely Greener Grass

The wedding is coming along very well. It's fairly smooth when it's only Mike and me doing things. When the parents get involved it can get really painful. For some reason or another it is perceived that Mike and I have no idea what we're doing. This may be the first marriage for both of us, but it is not the first wedding- we've been to about 15 since we've been together and have a very solid idea of what we want out of ours and how we get it. If we don't know, we'll ask.

Unwanted advice is what happens when people plan a wedding. No surprise there at all. What does surprise me is the apparent lack of faith that we are competent adults. We know what and how much people drink at weddings. We know how to fit the number of people we want in the space we have. We know how much time things take. We know how a rehearsal is supposed to work. So on and so forth. So why are we being spoken to like we are idiots? Is it because we're planning it ourselves? Is it because we are doing this in a way very few people do this? Sometimes I regret going comparatively so "grass roots." I wonder if I went the conventional way that people would leave us alone. Probably not. But maybe it wouldn't be this. I can't stand being spoken to like I'm this idiot I'm not.

April 13, 2010

Endochrine Fail

Yesterday my chauffeur took me to my annual physical. He's on vacay this week so to spend some work-day time with him, I asked him to help me save some time by not riding the bus. I love having my annual done as much as I love getting my teeth cleaned. (And I LOVE getting my teeth cleaned. It's like Christmas comes three times a year.) Who doesn't love hearing about the tip-top shape she's in? I would like them that much more if I didn't have to pay attention to what underwear I was putting on but heck- don't we all feel that way? At least at the physical I can leave them on.

But I digress. As with every physical I'm required to have blood-work done. I would rather have a PAP with a cold speculum than get my blood drawn. I simply cannot handle a needle going directly into my vein. There is something inherently wrong with the whole thing. Blech, shiver, blerg! But I do it to ensure my overall healthiness. For the past few years nothing in the blood-work has changed- excellent cholesterol, fantastic organ function, and perfect sugar levels. But this time, I was not so lucky.

It appears my thyroid has been slacking off. Sometimes we just have a slow day. Maybe Thyroid has a head-cold. Maybe Thyroid freaked out at the whole needle thing. We don't know. That's why I have to go back in three months to have MORE BLOOD DRAWN. My veins do not like this too-frequent VIOLATION! It ruins my whole day. Not even the post-trauma-donut can help.

I must confess, I'm relieved to hear Thyroid might need a little help. I was just reading about thyroid disorders and with some new developments I was wondering if something was legitimately up. My skin has been abnormally dry for quite a long time, I was having some strange appetite problems back in the fall and since then my weight is creeping up no matter what I try. Combined, those symptoms are indicative of thyroid misfire. So in three months we'll see. Until then I'll throw some headstands into my yoga routine to give Thyroid a little stimulation. Maybe he's been feeling a little rejected and this will be the love he needs.

April 6, 2010

I'm Calling Her Crafty Instead

Last night Fluffy started puking near the pile of shoes we keep by the door for ambiance. I kept an eye on her to make sure she didn't christen any shoes. The shoes were fine. However, Mike's Frisbee took a hit from the shrapnel. But it's okay because I cleaned it. He'll never know. Or at least it will take him a few days when he finally gets around to reading this. Hi Sweetcheeks!

I left the puke to dry because it is waaaay easier to clean with a vacuum than with paper towels. To make sure Mike didn't walk on it when he came home late I covered it with a paper towel. I go back to watching my stories. A few minutes later the cat starts pawing at the towel. I figure she's doing her nasty cat thing of wanting to eat the barf so I remove the towel. She then starts pawing at a nearby pair of Mike's wind pants, pulling them towards her dinner's encore presentation. I pull them away from her and I think we are done here. We aren't. When I passed the scene of the crime later that night, Fluffy had covered the vomit with the wind pants! Totally covered it up- there was no puke to be seen. Sneaky little bugger!

So Mike- don't use the wind pants that look totally clean on the top of the laundry pile. They aren't. You can't say I didn't warn you. Cause I just did.

Inadvertently Sticking it to Big Brother

It is very safe to say I'm a rule follower. I don't go where I'm not supposed to and I fill forms out as perfectly as humanly possible. I've come a long way in realizing which rules are pointless and realistic so I don't follow all of them. But when I do chose to follow the rule, I do it fervently.

So the Census. Is it a rule? No. But it is government mandated participation. So I classify it as a rule. I was starting to get very excited about its arrival. Didn't you know the Census can give your community money for education? (I call malarkey. But a girl can dream.) I knew the form was coming thanks to all the radio and television commercials, ads for Census jobs and the helpful (totally wasteful) letter from Uncle Sam reminding me that a Census form was coming. So I looked for it. And looked for it. And never got it. I was kind of miffed. Especially since I got a nasty postcard reminding me that it is a federal requirement to fill out the damn thing. So I grabbed a generic one at the YMCA and Mike filled it out and I mailed it.

Fast-forward three days. I get my "second" personalized and bar-coded Census form. It told me, from its own mouth, that if I didn't fill it out a Census representative was going to get all up in my grill. I thought, my grill doesn't need all-gettin'-up-in so I filled out a second Census form and mailed it. I just couldn't be bothered to deal with a Census person who I'm sure is really very nice and just trying to make an honest living. But fuck that guy.

Did I just ruin everything or did I just get my community that much more education moolah? I'm going to say more moolah. Think about it, one of the neighborhoods down the street from me has the worst return rate in all of America. I have to make up for their lack of participation. I should be thanked by the Census. Thanked profusely with a New York teaching position created just for Mike. Down the street. That will never go away.

April 1, 2010

Drink Myself to Sleep?

I'm not a sound sleeper by any definition but the last two nights have been exceptional in their crappiness. The cat had nothing to do with it- she's been going solo lately- and Mike hasn't snored in ages. I don't know what I can do to make my sleeping better. Sleeping pills are not something I ever want to resort to and I don't usually eat after 9pm and I especially don't drink black tea after 5pm. The only culprit I can find is stress.

Two nights ago I had nightmares that these small hives I've gotten lately turned into full on lesions and that I maxed out my credit card on the wedding and even went over by a dollar incurring hundreds of dollars in fees. Both things are weighing heavy in my mind. I haven't used my credit card like this ever. It's been around and whatnot but it's never seen a billing cycle like this before. Any wedding vendor that can take credit card is getting a credit card and since we're working with so many family friends, there aren't a lot of those. As for the hives, I went to a doctor and she didn't have any answers for me. She prescribed a steroid cream, a move I fully anticipated, and put me on my way. How helpful.

Last night I woke up every hour on the hour. I was awake enough to probably have a good workout when my alarm went off but I didn't go. Instead I chatted with Mikey and petted Fluffy in bed. Is it better to stay up when you're up even if you haven't had that much sleep? That and what was I going to do at the gym, swim for two hours? I may be lazy, but I thought I would have a better fighting chance if squeezed in some more sleep. Am I sabotaging myself? If so, tell me and I'll do get my ass in gear.

Like I said, I'm not the best sleeper but sheesh. This is killing me. My bed is no longer the refuge I thought it was.