Thursday, March 31, 2011

Setbacks with Bootcamp and Lent

No Bootcamp This Week
Well, I woke up ass-early on Wednesday, and made my way to the North Station area just to find out that there wasn't class at all this week.

I was so angry about waking up early that I managed to motivate myself to attempt running around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir.
April 2010,
The boyfriend and I were taking a walk around the city.
This is us around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir...
well, I cropped him out...
So, I tried to get all motivated, though my pockets had a little too many things in them (keys, phone, Zune, T pass, and photo ID).  I put on my "Buttkicking" playlist, and did 2 rounds (which turns out to be about 1.56mi per round) around the Reservoir of intermittent jogging and walking.

Running sucks ass.  I just really don't know if I can get down with it.  I just don't want to get so winded just from running around during bootcamp.

Plus, my phone didn't do the best job of tracking how many calories I burned, which was even more extremely frustrating.  I'd gladly have done the hour of bootcamp instead of the hour of running.

A friend of mine suggested a phone app called "Couch to 5K," which I guess makes one able to run a 5K after 9 weeks.  I'm still pretty irritated with running, but I'm willing to give it a try - maybe when bootcamp is over.  Maybe.

Lent Fail
Later that day, I asked the boyfriend to bring me some portobello mushroom burger action, especially since there was some ground beef that needed to be turned into burgers (mmmm...delicious home-made burgers...with cheese...).  He brought home a veggie portobello burger pack.

As I started preparing our Cuisinart Grill, I take a look at the ingredients.  Lo and behold, there is cheese in the garden burger.

One of the first rules that I learned during this diet is that vegetarian ≠ vegan.  There are so many things that have milk lecithin or milk powder or cheese or something ridiculous.

And at the same time, you would be just as surprised to know what things are just high fructose corn syrup or just plain sugar.  For example, I can't have Honey Bunches of Oats (which has whey from milk); however, I can have Frosted Mini-Wheats (which has whole grain wheat, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and gelatin).
Makes you feel really good that that
frosting is just sugar and HFCS, huh?
Super healthy, for sure...
Well, I ate that veggie burger anyway.  I'm not about to let the food go to waste, and I think the boyfriend will do better about looking at the ingredients next time.

I also went back on my Lent Challenge completely by accident on my way back from New York.  I was in desperate need of some coffee.  Knowing that I probably wouldn't be able to get any soy milk when we stopped at a gas station, I instead asked for a Chai Tea Latte.  Yeah.  Though it *looked* like it might have been an Oregon Chai-like mix (which is dairy-free), I didn't really see it.  It *tasted* like it could have haid milk.  Clearly, I was still too sleepy to realize that I still ordered a beverage with milk in it.

But then, the Saturday before leaving for New York, I knowingly said "screw you" to the diet.  A dear friend was celebrating her 30th birthday with a dessert and cheese party.  I mean, she makes delicious desserts, and it was her 30th!!!  Knowing that I'm not doing the Lent Challenge to get closer to god or whatever, I knew that it would really just be disappointing myself.

Well, that birthday dessert party was so worth it.  But completely losing my mind over the Chai Tea Latte just pisses me off.

Well, lessons learned.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Travels: NYICFF and Vegan-Friendly Eats in NYC

The fun thing about being so close to New York and my best friend is that I get to take a day trip and do so many things with her.  The sad thing is that there are so many things we want to do together, but we don't have enough time most of the time.
Fooling around at a gazebo in Central Park

It was a fun Sunday, and I'm glad she knew of some places where I could have some delicious vegan meals.  But, let's start with my horrendous experience on the way over, shall we?

Fung Wah Ridiculousness
Well, just as I blogged about the benefits of having a cheap bus ride to New York, I happened to have an unpleasant experience.  I know I should try the Bolt or Mega Buses, but I already know what to expect for the most part on the Fung Wah. 

So, of course, I was extremely exhausted as I had some birthday celebrations the night before, and we got home way too late for me to get any real sleep.  I'm pretty good about getting to sleep on the airplane or on the bus, so I figured I could just get comfortable.

I got on the very first bus of the day, and I just wanted to make sure that I got a window seat.  I knew there would be a chance that I would have to share my aisle, but I wanted to avoid sitting next to someone strange.

Well, I wasn't so lucky.  As I got to my window seat, I noticed a man kind of watching me get settled.

These two girls who got on the bus after me but were extremely unprepared at the ticket counter were trying to find a seat together, so the strange man offered up his seats and proceeded to ask me if he could sit next to me.  I really need to learn to say no.

But I grumpily let him sit next to me as I struggled to get more comfortable with my bag.  I swear that he was watching me the entire bus ride.  I could feel him watching my every move even though I tried to focus on whatever was outside the window or just trying to sleep the whole time.

Near the end of the trip, I realized that he was basically using my thigh as an arm rest!!! And I knew that if I asked him to move his hand in my extremely sleepy and grumpy state, I would have yelled at him and been the drama bomb of the bus.  So, I just tried to elbow his arm off me as I was "sleeping."

But it got worse.  I'm pretty sure that, as Manhattan was in our sights, he basically started farting in my direction!!! DUDE!!!! REALLY?????  I just buried my face in my scarf, and kept my eyes closed.

Finally, we arrived.  Thank goodness!  But he was taking FOREVER to get up and get off the bus.  As he walked ahead of me, he turns to me and says, "Have a good day, miss."

What the fuck?  I watched him walk away while continually turning back to look at me.  I really had to restrain myself from yelling or running after him to kick his ass.  I was just glad the experience was over.

Vegan-Friendly Eats
Being that I was trying to be good about my diet and my best friend is basically vegetarian/vegan lite, I wasn't too worried about finding tons of food in New York City.

Our first stop of the morning was Babycakes, a delicious vegan bakery which we discovered early in her move to New York.  This place has made me a believer in the deliciousness of vegan pastries.  If they're done well, they're REALLY done well.

We had a jam-filled biscuit, and I had some Yogi Tea in Chai Black with soy milk.  It was delicious.

I've had their cupcakes before, but it was too early for their decadent cupcakes.  Seriously, if you get a chance to try Babycakes in New York or in Los Angeles or in the Downtown Disney Marketplace in Disney World, you really should.

For lunch, we headed over to Caravan of Dreams, an organic vegan Spanish/Mediterranean restaurant.  We had WAY too much food!  Apparently, my best friend has a bottomless stomach and the fastest metabolism.

We had the Seitan Nachos, Huitlacoche and "Chorizo" Quesadillas, Caravan Burrito, and Mango Lassi.  We split everything.  It was delicious and I was so happy I was having all these foods that I would never normally be able to eat in this diet!

We had so much food. So. Much. Food.  But we were eventually hungry again.

My best friend had been craving squid for a month, so I looked up some Vietnamese restaurants around the Columbus Circle area.  We ended up at Cha Pa's Noodles and Grill on West 52nd St.

I had a side of shrimp chips and the Crab & Shrimp Rice Noodles.  My bottomless-pit of a best friend had the Saigon Salt & Pepper Squid (which is more saucy and less crispy than the Chinese equivalent), with a side of bok choy, shitake mushrooms.  She ate all of it, while I had to pack up some left-overs.

Overall, it was all pretty delicious.  My belly was extremely happy and full all day.

New York International Children's Film Festival
The main reason this weekend was planned was because it was the final event for the New York International Children's Film Festival.  I believe this is the 4th time we've attended the event, and we've learned that going to the final awards ceremony is the best part.
Directors Guild Theater in NYC
During the awards ceremony, they award the audience favorites as well as re-screen them.  But the best part of the final event is the swag bag.  This year, the swag bag was amazing!
swag bag!
This is the biggest and most sturdy bad we've received yet!  It was filled with a neat journal and pen set, a pencil bag, a DVD of Shaun the Sheep episodes, a DVD of the television movie Temple Grandin, and Bananagrams!

No joke, I've been wanting to buy my own set of Bananagrams for ever!  I had played it with some friends, and I really quite enjoy the game.  So, I nearly flipped over at the sight of the Bananagrams bag!

But seriously, the entire Film Fest is amazing.  Because of it, I've been able to watch some amazing films, from The Secret of the Kells to Sita Sings the Blues.  We've also seen some hilarious and some poignant shorts, some of which you can see on the NYCIFF website.

Honestly, it was attending our first film fest together that had made me eager to find other film festivals in the Boston area.  It's where you can really see some amazing and creative works as opposed to some of the "blockbusters" that can easily be cookie-cutter copies of each other.

With that, I want to leave you with one of the winning shorts that was a personal fave of my best friend and me.  Enjoy!

Pinky - Don't Go
from Pinky on Vimeo.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mermaid Sighting - March 27, 2011, New York City

Mermaids on the Subway
Artwork in the New York Metro
Click on the image to see the detail.

Christmas Tree Mermaid
Artwork in a Window Display

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - $15 Bus Rides

I'm heading off to New York City to see my best friend today!  We're going to attend the final gala event for the New York International Children's Film Festival, an event we try to attend every year.

Though we both managed to make it to the East Coast and we're only about 4 hours drive away from each other, we unfortunately don't see each other as often as we'd like.

But, it is almost comforting to know that we could easily see each other for a mere $15 one-way bus ride on the Fung Wah Bus.

When I first moved to Boston, that bus used to be only $10!!! But, I guess prices had to increase just a bit.

Also, the Fung Wah Bus has some notoriety for having crazy drivers, lots of break-downs, and other general problems.  Believe me, my friends and I have had a variety of crazy experiences on the bus!  From one girl being bitchy to her seat mate leading to us stopping just to have the police interview folks on the bus about the incident, to a friend of mine experiencing a side-view mirror swiping with a big-rig truck.

But I don't care.  I figure that statistically, accidents can't happen all the time, and you just have to plan a trip either right after an incident or after a long time without an incident.  It's definitely better to go early in the morning so that the buses are "fresh."

Either way, it's pretty awesome to travel to another state to see my best friend just for $15!  The second $15, however, is not as satisfying because of the eventual separation from her.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Boot Camp - Week 3

Once again, I had a really difficult time getting to sleep the night before boot camp.

In the past week, the boyfriend and I discovered that Mencken had burrowed a hole into our box spring.  When he's feeling particularly frisky, he will rummage around underneath us, doing god-knows what.  It's really irritating...but also really hilariously cute.
our little monster
Suffice it to say, he didn't make it any easier the night before boot camp.  I nearly ran late, but I tried to jog a bit to get to the gym on time.

Ugh.  I hate running.  I hate running so bad.
for serious
Near the end, I definitely felt like I was giving up, and I was really frustrated at myself for feeling that way.  At the very end, we ran to a separate location and were told to go up and down some stairs and then run up a short hill and back down several times until we were told to stop.

As Jillian Michaels would say, I totally "phoned it in" at some point.  There was no way I was jogging up the hill, and running and and down the stairs was not even an option.  I was spent.

But I have 2 sessions left.  Right now, I'm almost considering paying for more sessions, but that's dependent on my job situation.

I know it's been good for me and my body to keep at this.  Plus, having a trainer/teacher around to keep pushing us while having other group members around to keep me feeling competitive helps with my motivational level.

I do wish that the trainer would provide some music to help keep us motivated.  But, it's just not his style.

I couldn't imagine doing it more than once a week at this point in my body, but if I get stronger I could up it to 2x a week.

The problem is that pesky running.  You'd think that riding a bike would have helped me get a bit stronger, but my bike has been out of commission for a while.

I'll be honest, and this is just a little thought between you and me...but I'm considering going out to attempt running on my own.  Maybe around the Ringer Park field super early in the morning, but it's a smaller area, which means several laps before reaching a mile.  Or probably around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, which is nearby and relatively flat but long enough that I won't just quit (according to Yelp, it's approximately 1.56 miles).  Or even down the Esplanade one day.

Sshhhh!!! Don't say anything, okay?

Let me be clear, though.  I still loathe running, but I'm stubborn enough to know that I want to conquer it just because.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Hoodies

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Today, Sunday, March 20th, is a day of equal length to the night.  It's a day many of us in the Northeastern United States has been waiting for.

Unfortunately, today is a bit more brisk that most of us would like, though it's still a gorgeous day full of sunshine.

Because of the chill in the air, I'd have to say that there is a particular pleasure in putting on a hoodie while I sit in my chair by the window.
I might just take a nap in my chair at some point during the Harry Potter movie marathon on ABCFamily.

In fact...I'll see you all on the other side of my nap.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lent Challenge 2011 - That's Right...I Had Pancakes...

I apologize for my title.  Like I've mentioned in my previous post about this Lent Challenge diet, I've got kind of an interesting (read: bitchy) edge.  This was the best title I could think of.

Yeah, I had pancakes for breakfast this morning.  Dairy-free, egg-free pancakes.

When the boyfriend and I last went up to Maine to visit his family, his step-mom made these delicious buckwheat pancakes.  They were so light and fluffy, I felt like I could have eaten a ginormous stack of them.  Then she told us that it was a mix that you just add water to.  Amazing!

Naturally, when I went to brunch last weekend and felt like I wanted to have a tantrum in the middle of the restaurant, I remembered those buckwheat pancakes.

I emailed the boyfriend's step-mom and asked for the recipe, and she told me that it's a mix that isn't really found in stores outside Maine.  But by Wednesday, I received a package from her with the mix!

Who says that step-mom's aren't awesome?

So, this morning, I said, "Take THAT diet!"
Ployes Buckwheat Pancake Mix!
Using our bomb-ass Cuisinart Griddle/Grill
The instructions on the package says that it's 1 cup of the mix to 1 1/3rd cup of water, but I added a little bit less water and they came out pretty fluffy.  I'm sure if I added the full 1 1/3rd cup of water, they would also be delicious and more crêpe-like.

I could live off a crêpe-diet.  Some of you know this already.

I used Earth Balance buttery spread, which is completely vegan, and I squeezed a couple of drops of lemon juice on top of each pancake.  To complete the meal, I added some strawberries.

Perhaps the worst part is that we don't have any REAL maple syrup in the house.  A while back, we were at Costco and opted for the cheaper and larger Log Cabin maple syrup bottles.  It tastes so synthetic compared to real maple syrup, but it's what we have and we're not ones to just throw things away like that.
Nummy nummy nummy in my tummy...
Either way, it was delicious.  Extremely satisfying.  Not just because it was so tasty, but also because I feel like I have one-uped this diet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Toesies of the Month - March 2011

Though you all know how much I try to stay true to my monthly self-care pedicure, I just couldn't swing it financially and time wise.

I did, however, make an appointment for a well-deserved and much-needed massage at Mind Your Body.  Waking up sore from my second session of boot camp, my body was just aching for some pampering and releasing of tension.

So, this month, instead of going to get a pedicure, I attempted to do my own pedicure.

I'm somewhat flexible, so I can reach my toes.  But for some reason, I have issues trying to reach my right foot.  I guess I'm more flexible on my left side than my right side, even though I'm right handed.

What I'm trying to say is that this month's pedicure was really just a polish change, and it's definitely not salon quality.  Definitely no fancy designs.

Naturally, this month being the month of St. Patrick's Day and the Spring Equinox, my toes HAVE to be green.

Luckily, I got a present from my *sparkly* friend in the form of a deliciously green and sparkly nail polish.
Nails by Me!
Color: Zoya - Ivanka (Thanks Samantha!)
Occasion: St. Paddy's and Spring!
March 2011
I had several things on my plate today.  So, I had the pleasure of planning 2 Greenie outfits!

My day outfit was casual, with a cute top I got in Greece, jeans, and flats.  I brought my coat thinking it might still be a bit chilly, but today was gorgeous!  So warm (high 50's...I know.......I know.....)!

My night outfit needed to be a bit more dressy, as I was volunteering at a nonprofit event.  The dress had a dark green trim and I wore a green tank underneath.  I also donned some green glitter on my eyes and a BIG white rose with green feathers.  Naturally, I had to show off my toes, not caring if it might get colder by the time I go home.  I had to show off my toesies today.
As I rode home on the T (Green Line naturally) from the event, surrounded by other folks wearing my color, I had to say that I was proud that I wasn't some poser.  Most of my outfits are green, and it's been that way since I was able to choose my clothes.

I worried a little bit about being associated with some of the drunken idiots that were riding alongside me.  But I was dressed relatively normally, whereas the others were sporting green wigs, green bead necklaces, green clover hair clips, and a specific-shade-of-green shirt.

The rest of them used the color and the holiday as a reason to drink a little more than usual.  I had the commitment to my color, and had an amazing day without a drop of alcohol.

But now it's time to rest these toesies under my green blanket.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Boot Camp - Week 2

Today, I had the pleasure of waking up at 5 am to prepare for my second session of boot camp, after having an incredibly horrible night of sleep.

I wish I knew what it was that was keeping me up.  My brain was just racing last night.  I was thinking of boot camp, I was thinking about making it on time, I was thinking about my lack of money, I was thinking about my diet, and then some.

I got up, being extremely nervous about going to boot camp with the very little sleep I got.  I thought that maybe I should go on Friday instead.  But I didn't want to make any silly excuses to not go.

This week's session started at 6:30 instead of the usual 6.  Also, the Foundation Bootcamp group (which I'm part of) was combined with the Intermediate Bootcamp group (which has a larger number of people).

So, perhaps because the leader wanted to keep it challenging for the Intermediate group, while allowing the Foundation group to push themselves according to their level, today was a very difficult day.

There was a lot more running.  Running to the outdoor park, running to one side of a field, running from one marker to another and then performing an exercise on the ground while not trying to touch or lay down on dog poop, sprinting from one marker to the other, running back to the other side of the field, and then running (or in my case, attempting to run) 5 times up and down a set of stairs.

These stairs to be exact.
You can't really see it, but there are about 5 sets of steps going up
and some more steps on the right you can't see that we ran down.
Then we jogged back to the bottom of the stairs to start over.
By the second set, I could feel my inner thighs burning.  I wasn't even trying to run the stairs.  No freakin' way.  I was just trying to keep breathing and pushing and climbing those stairs.

I kind of had Cake's "Going the Distance" in my head while I was running.

There's definitely something to be said for adding music to your workout.  One woman had her music blaring during her workout, and last week a group leader for the Intermediate Bootcamp group had music playing on a radio.

I might create a workout playlist for next week - if not for listening while working out, definitely for the early morning ride over.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lent Challenge 2011 - Displaced Feelings in the Form of a Letter

Dear Boyfriend,

I'm really so very truly sorry.  It hasn't even been a week of this challenge, and I have been a cranky-bum towards you.

While, there are some things that deserved me being cranky at you (like when you were drinking with a friend, and decided that I needed a lecture for "not doing the dishes well enough," which...I had been the only one doing dishes for the past several weeks because of you being all sickly.....but I digress), you haven't deserved me being cranky at you for correcting my mistakes or for other minor things.

I literally had to stop myself this morning, and realize that my anger is coming from all the brain power that is being used to figure out what I can and cannot eat.

Remember when I joined a friend for brunch on Sunday?  You know I love brunch.  I LOVE BRUNCH.

But when I arrived and saw the amazing brunch buffet that was available, and realized that I could only eat fruit and home fries (which I naturally [and kind of angrily] covered with ketchup), I honestly had to hold back tears.

Sure, there was also salad, but all the salads had cheese in them!  Even deliciously scrumptious feta and goat cheese, which as you know is off limits.  Fruit, home fries, and ketchup.  That's all I had.

Never before has dieting made me feel like crying.  When I was on Weight Watchers, I just got angry and tried to cheat the system by allowing myself pastries just because I worked out.  But this diet just makes me feel sad.

So, I'm really sorry, honey.  Please help to keep me in check if I'm being a cranky-bum.  I love you, and thank you for supporting me.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Lent Challenge 2011 - Limiting Choices

So, I hadn't really given Lent too much thought.  It kind of crept up on me.

I kind of figured that I wouldn't do anything since I couldn't think about it in time.

But then a friend offered up a challenge.

Though she's not Catholic, she's planning to reinvigorate her health by going temporarily pescatarian and vegan.  She challenged me to join her during Lent.  This means no meat (except fish), no eggs, no dairy, no chocolate.

I said, "Excusemewhat?"

No meat, no eggs, no dairy, no chocolate.  Whole grains (duh), potatoes, ketchup, wine, and beer (but not enough to feel the effects strongly) are all acceptable.

I'll be honest, this just sounds like torture.  I've never really felt like going vegan is a choice I can make.  My thumbs basically give me permission to eat you.
I kill you with my thumb...
But let me back up a bit.  Here's some things we talked about.

I questioned, "What if I only have 70 or 80% dark chocolate?"  She said I could modify it how I need to.  But she's going to go for no chocolate.  Truth is, I don't really eat that much chocolate.  I like hot cocoa (but mainly the Swiss Miss mix and hot water), and if we have chocolate in the house I will eat it.  So, no chocolate in the house usually means I don't snack on it.

But...chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has some delicious antioxidants and produces happy feelings. 

The dairy didn't seem like the biggest issue, since I usually drink soy milk.  But butter, cream cheese, cheese...CHEESE...these are things that are staples in my diet.  There's also Greek yogurt, which is a pretty healthy addition to any diet.  I know that soy products and a lot of the dark leafy greens have calcium and iron, so I'm not too worried about nutrients.

But...cheese, in moderation and variety, and yogurt are a great source of enzymes and live cultures that our bodies need to function smoothly.

The meat actually isn't too difficult.  I don't usually eat too much beef, except for the occasional (maybe once or twice a month?) hamburger.  When eating out, I will usually opt for fish, veggie, or chicken.  But pork is pretty much a staple in any Filipino diet.  In fact, I had just made a pot of sinigang when she suggested the challenge to me.  So, I'm going to miss bacon every couple of weekends, and I can't make a hamich when there's nothing else in our fridge.

But...there is something to be said about having unprocessed meat from "happy" animals.  Having just finished The Omnivores Dilemma and having friends who chose not to eat meat that wasn't from a local farm, I definitely believe that the most natural, unprocessed, unfrozen meat is the most delicious.
Valuable read!
The eggs might be a problem.  I love omelets, I love crepes, I love pancakes, I love pastries.  I understand how all those things sound super unhealthy, but it's not that I eat all these things every day.  But so many things have eggs (as well as dairy) in their ingredients, that I am really most concerned about staying true to this.

But...I don't really feel like eggs in moderation are that bad for you.  They're a good source of protein, and even a little bit of cholesterol is good for you.

When my friend was talking to me about the benefits of the diet, I brought up a lot of my concerns.  Her argument for it is that you become really conscious of the cravings that you usually get, it makes you stay away from extremely processed foods, and you can get really creative with your meals instead of sticking with familiar foods.

I can appreciate getting creative with foods, especially after having experienced picking up a box of fruits and veggies from our CSA.  I can also appreciate being conscious about what your put in your body and what you want to put in your body, especially considering that I try to focus a lot of organic foods.  I can definitely appreciate staying away from extremely processed foods, though I can name some of the foods we currently have in the house that are quite processed.

Here are my concerns:
  • Theoretically, I could eat all the "right" things, but I could fry every single one of them and it would be acceptable.  
  • Brunch, my favorite meal, is pure evil.  
  • I feel like her reasons for starting this diet are different from my reasons for wanting to lose weight.  
  • Living with the boyfriend and sharing foods have made it easy on my wallet, and this diet is going to cost me money that I don't have.
  • Lastly, I feel like deprivation is not the correct way to diet.  In fact, the idea of deprivation makes me angry.  Extremely angry.  So angry that I'm trying my best not to be angry at my friend who's challenging me to this diet.  I love her, and I value her friendship so much.  But deprivation makes me angry.
My issues with food is mainly about portion control.  Those big plates are deceiving, and I will fill it up to the edges if I have the opportunity.  So, what if I just ate less of what I usually eat?  Isn't that a good choice?

Unfortunately, that's not the challenged she's offered to me.

Really, my biggest concern is the cost and the time I will use to buy and use extra ingredients that I can eat in the next 6 weeks.

So, I agreed to the challenge with the chocolate modification.  We talked on Thursday, March 10th, and I started on Friday, March 11th.

The last day of Lent before Easter Sunday is my birthday.  So, I'm sorry Lent, but my birthday takes precedence over you.

There will definitely be follow up on this.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Automated Time

So, it seems that we have come full circle.  Back in November, I was happy about the extra time we got.  Now, I am happy that my most important clocks set themselves automatically.

I have several watches that will need to be changed, and I've already changed the clock on the microwave.  The boyfriend has his own clock on his bedside to change.

But my clock and my phone are both satellite synchronized.  So, when I woke up this morning, (at 10am, not 9am), still feeling pretty tired from a late (but fun) night last night, I knew my clocks had done their jobs.

Today is definitely a day for some nap action.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Last Look at One World One Heart 2011

I apologize for posting this much later than I anticipated.  I kind of kept forgetting and wanting to post about other things!

So, at the end of the One World One Heart event of 2011, I was the lucky recipient of some amazing items.

From in Santa Rosa, CA

From in Alliance, OH

From in Santa Cruz, CA

Also, here are the final products that I sent to my winners.

"Santorini Coral" was sent to Linda in Albuquerque, NM

Maganda Malakas Sirenas Shirt was sent to Debbie in Vallejo, CA
It was so neat to receive and send these gifts!  It was like a bit of warmth within such a cold February.

Thank you to everyone who participated!  I hope you enjoyed your visit, and I hope you come back often!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Boot Camp - Week 1

So, a couple of weeks ago, I took advantage of a Groupon for 5 sessions at Beantown Bootcamp for $30.  I was still a bit sick, so I made sure to sign up for a week when I could participate without coughing up my lungs.

This was that week.

The boot camp sessions start at 6am, and it's on the other end of the T from where I live.

Because I wanted to make sure that I got there on time, I woke up at 4:30am today.  I got on the very first T and got to the North Station area by 5:40am.  I now know that I don't need to get there that early, but I just wanted to ensure that I could find the gym.

I got a bit nervous about being the only person waiting out there.  But soon others appeared.  There were only 4 of us, and that made me nervous.  There was no way I could even try to slack off if there were only 4 of us!

The boot camp sessions are held outdoors, and I thought I was fairly prepared with a thin hoodie.  But I learned that I'm really going to need some lightweight gloves to protect my poor hands.

We warmed up with running short laps around a raised circular grassy area where we did most of the workouts.  Honestly, the running/jogging was probably the worst part.  Since it was in the first 10 minutes, I was already starting to feel like, "I'm so over this."

But after we warmed up, the trainer set up a series of 7 circuits.  As he went around explaining what we were supposed to be doing in the circuits, I started to psych myself up.  I started thanking that I had done all the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred workouts back to back last week (which was my mental and physical preparation for boot camp).
I'll be honest, I had never done a full 30 Day Shred schedule in 30 days.  I had always focused on Level 1 for about a month (but not doing them every day), then Level 2 for another month, then Level 3 for another month. 

However, I never really did it all too consistently.  I would usually intersperse the workouts with belly dance or Turbo Jam or yoga or pilates.

But, I digress.  Back to boot camp.

So, in total, we did some short running/jogging laps, 2 different circuit sessions of 7 different moves (totally in 14 different moves), and jogging up and down a set of stairs.

In the final set of circuits, I remember thinking to myself and mumbling under my breath to myself, "You can totally do this.  You want to lose weight?  Well, you gotta fight for it!"

It was encouraging to hear from the trainer and from some of the regulars that I was doing really well.  The trainer even joked that he must not have been pushing us hard enough because I wasn't struggling as much on the first session.  That makes me a bit nervous about next week's session.

I was almost surprised that the hour went by as quickly as it did.  I mean, I was exhausted, but I think that not knowing the time made it easier for me to focus on what I needed to do instead of how much longer I had to do it.

Now that several hours has gone by, I am already starting to feel the soreness.  It will be interesting to see how I'm feeling when I wake up tomorrow morning.

But I am extremely proud that I signed up for the boot camp, and that I didn't chicken out of it.  I'm proud that I managed to survive it, somehow.  I'm proud that I could feel myself stay motivated, even during the running/jogging.

I'm so not a runner, but it does make me wonder if  I should start adding a bit of running to my weekly workouts.

But I hate running...this will give me something to think about.

So, Boot Camp - Week 1?


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Open-Toed

It was warm enough to be outside with open-toed shoes!  Open-toed shoes!

I mean, it's still pretty gross outside and dirty.  It's also supposed to be quite rainy.

But there's no way I'm going to miss a chance to take advantage of open-toed temperature.

So, I did wear some open toes shoes earlier today.

I also managed to put together a pretty funky Sunday outfit based on wanting to wear open-toed shoes.

In related news, I'm really liking this retro filter on my phone. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pushing Past the Clouds to the Dreams

There's been a lot of talk around me lately about following dreams, living dreams, and making dreams come true.

I'm not talking in the romantic fairy tale sense.  But about really pushing through with your goals and making things happen.

Earlier this week, I was listening to a teleconference call about this very subject.  The speaker, Marcia Wieder, spoke about living with intention and purpose.  She encouraged us to do what we love, value our gifts, charge what we're worth, talk about our dreams out loud to as many people as possible, and repeat these steps often.

I've been pondering this for the past couple of days.

I had to kind of take a step back, and realized that I'm just all over the place.  I'm conflicted with pursuing my passions and with the need to make a living for the purposes of surviving.

Being unemployed has really given me time to think a lot about what kind of nonprofit I'd like to open up one day.  But, I'm finding that it is difficult for me to follow through on it because I feel like it everything costs money.  Money that I don't have.

But I'm going to tell you all my dreams anyway.
I dream of opening up a skill-share studio and wellness center, but it will cost money to rent or lease a space, plus utilities, marketing, etc.

I dream of becoming a sex educator, but I need money up-front to pay for a certification course.

I dream to combine my passions, because why the hell can't I?  I can lead the sexual health portion of the wellness center, and be contracted to go out and teach sessions.  Eventually, I would want to open up the center to a youth program where the youth get to work on their creative endeavors as well as share them with others.

The only dream I've had that doesn't cost money is to work on a sex ed web-comic (but with an actual story and snippets of educational information).  But, I keep holding myself back on this one because I feel like I need to figure out how I want the comic to look.

Aside from the money, I know I have a lot of fears.  There were a lot of "but's" in those statements above.  Though, I do feel like it's mainly the money.

I fear the usual things - failure, making tons of mistakes.  But then I'm also nervous about not being "expert" enough in whatever I'm doing.  Though, clearly no one is an expert when they begin any endeavor.

I fear that I'm just a nobody.  No one knows who I am, so there isn't a name or reputation to back me up.  However, I know that while relationships with the community are important, I am a master at building relationships.  More importantly, people want to be satisfied by their experience, and practitioners and teachers want to feel like they have a stake in their space.

I fear doing it all alone.  I feel like I need to have a team behind me - almost like if others are behind me then I've been given an "ok."  I do wish that I could have other folks who would be willing to invest in a space with me.  But this is MY dream, one which will hopefully help others' dreams.  But it starts at MINE. 

So, there.  I've laid it out.

I've been working on a business plan, and I'm hoping to attend some workshops on how to keep building my plan.  While it's been really difficult to save money, I want to look into getting a business loan.  I'm attending several networking events, and I plan on talking about my ideas and dreams as well as what I love to do.

I don't want to just let these ideas fall by the wayside.  It might not happen tomorrow.  I but I will make it happen.  I know it.
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week of Sick of Work

Though I was sick and probably should have been resting all week, I ended up working as a sub for a day program.

Because it is mainly an after school program, the usual group leaders weren't available for the morning hours.  So, I was called in to sub for a group of 1st Graders.  For the most part, there are supposed to be at least 2 people who are leading a group, and the groups are separated by age and grade going up to middle school.

Let me tell you.  I only worked 4 days for 4 hours a day, and I'm pretty over it all.  Mainly, I got pretty tired of waking up early to get into a packed subway with people shoving and pushing to get to work.

Here's some highlights from my work week.

Working with the kids was really what you would expect with kids.  I mean, they're going to be rambunctious especially considering that they are on vacation and have a full day of playing.

But, being that I was a sub, and a sub with a cold, there was a lot of redirection that the kids needed.  By the end of the week, my poor throat felt like some creature had clawed around it.  To add to that, I was by myself for most of the morning on Friday, with a group of 13 kids.

I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have been by myself.  But I get that tons of places are often understaffed.

To top it all off, the usual group leader told me right before I ended my week that she had realized that no one had told the subs that she had planned a week of activities.  Yes, there was a schedule, like Group 2 would be in the gym at a certain time.  But for the most part, the other sub and I would just have to make up some activities.

By the time my shift was ending, the kids had already eaten lunch and were settled in to watch a movie.  Being kids, they don't necessarily know much about quality movies.  But I do think that adults have a role to play in guiding the type of entertainment they watch.

Well, they opted for the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" on Tuesday and the "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel" on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, I joked with the other sub that I've done pretty well with avoiding these movies.  She didn't seem to get the joke because she said the first one was pretty funny and she hadn't seen the second one yet.

I kind of had to take a mental step back.  I said that I was really more used to the classic kids movies, especially "The Chipmunk Adventure."
If you haven't seen really should :)
She then said, "Oh...I've never heard of that.  I've only seen the first movie."

*internal gasp*

Wow.  I realized she probably had never even seen the t.v. cartoons!  I was definitely of a different generation than her!  But I would rather be old because at least I know the awesomeness of "The Chipmunk Adventure."

Things Heard From the Mouths of Kids
In the gym, I heard this almost ever 5 minutes:  "Teacher!  Play with me!"

One little chubby kid was often the one who would get his toy taken from him by another kid.  He probably gets bullied quite a bit, and yet I have the feeling that he also got what he wanted from the adults in his life.  Well, this kid had the audacity to look me in the eyes, with a big smile on his face as we prepared to go to the auditorium for the movie, and say, "Hi Fat Teacher."

As I'm playing catch or tennis with this one particularly behaviorally disobedient kid who's great one-on-one, and another student is trying to get my attention, he says, "I'm waiting!!!"  What??  You know that's something he hears a lot from an adult.

This tiny skinny girl would approach me all throughout gym, moaning about how hungry she was.  Seriously, though, she was ALWAYS hungry.

Glorified Babysitter?
Honestly, while I feel like the after school and day programs and the community centers are a god-send, I do feel like it is just a way to ensure that the kids are engaged in some activity outside of hanging on the streets. 

But they get to provide a place for the kids to do their homework or other activities that would build up their academic education.  They also get to work a lot on their social skills.

I kind of felt like I struggled a bit though.  Kind of like I was more of a glorified babysitter than anything else.

I don't really mean to sound like I'm better than anyone.  In fact, if that week has taught me anything, I don't hold a candle to the folks who do that job full-time.

I don't hold a candle to teachers, to child care workers, to after school staff, to day care staff.

As a social worker, I had the absolute luxury of being able to close my door.

So, thank goodness this is just a part-time position.  I'm going to keep looking for my office with a door.

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