About Me

I have a thing for new beginnings and fresh starts.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 2092

I have a gym membership.  I did not have a gym membership yesterday and years ago I claimed I would never have one again.  So it goes and I hope I bother to (go).  I have a gym membership.

I was on the swim team in high school.  Back then, the team was on a seven year losing streak.  Today they are all state.  I like to blame my graduation for their recent success.  However, back then, being part of a losing team was exactly where I wanted to be.  No pressure.

My coach would put me in the slow lane.  Every swim team has a slow lane; it's reserved for the out of shape, people who joined the team to woo colleges but can't really swim, the lazy/unmotivated/difficult to impress (my camp) and the injured.  The slow lane exists so that we don't get in the way of the faster swimmers; which on this team weren't actually fast, just faster than us in the slow lane, congratulations to the achievers.

I discovered hip hop dance this year and have been really enjoying the classes at a local East Hartford gym.  I shake my ass and I go home with pulled hip flexors, aching ankles and toes.  I still win.  Anyways, as good as they are, the instructors are always late, which sent me to try out another gym.  Who have I become?

Anyways, during the course of this trial membership, I found myself goggled up in the pool.  Bouncing along in the lane next to me was an elderly Asian man, next to him an obese white, middle aged man and on the other side of me was an Eastern European man in a speedo with a towel tucked between his legs so he could create drag while speeding through his laps using only his arms.  I started lapping and kept missing the flip turn (dive near the wall pivot underwater and push with legs off the wall to head in the opposite direction).  So, I would try again, and again... and again, with up to moderate success.

Anyways, every six or so attempts, I would come up sputtering and catch elderly Asian man watching and smiling.  Charming.  I would smile back.  Towards the end, I came up and he smiled, signaled with his hands a straight line and said, "do it again".  Thanks coach.

Totally turned off by the sanitary hip hop dance program this trial gym was offering, I found myself in a late night dance class, a last stitch effort to see if I could get use of anything besides the pool.  The instructor bounced into the room with this huge, friendly smile, loud and happy voice and proceeded to lead the best dance fitness class I have been to currently.  The instructor was not a petite woman, she was curvy and energetic.  She took up space and I was 100% charmed by her.  As if her personality wasn't enough to woo me, this was our last choreographed song:



So, now, I have a gym membership.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 2081

I have thus completed a a long running project involving three junky items that originally belonged to my grandmother and were more recently rejected by my parents.  Destined for the trash, I swooped down upon them with the fervor of... someone with a mission.  

Here are some of the befores...


A neat (by neat I mean, interestingly shaped and most importantly, free; the damn thing was rotting and covered in paint) triangle table, hauled from the bowels of my family's attic.

Old window, taken from the side of the road.

In my determination, I forgot the original BEFORE pictures.  I took one about half way through.

At this point the outdoor space idea is starting to take form.  I primed the rockers and painted them all I purple color that I pulled from the window glass.

I splurged on some brand new fabric to fashion a seat cushion out of:


For my birthday my parents bought and helped me install a sweet yellow hammock.

(Enjoy the teaser for the rocker).

Here it is in it's full solo glory:

The outdoor space came together nicely with free and found (and gifted items).  There is also a sweet charcoal grill off camera that I saved from my neighbors bulk trash offering.


All done.  

A preview of the next projects:



A gift from the family fortune.  It wasn't even stored in the moldiest part of the basement.  It still smells gross. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Also on Day 2077...

Upon completion of the kitchen chair, I perused the pile of projects that had begun to gather like an angry mob in the room I had originally designated The Yoga Room (basically a big empty room with a yoga mat and stereo).  Now it's affectionately referred to as "The Attic".  I set some rules for this new venture. I am not allowed to make purchases on anything but a current project, nor am I allowed to accumulate any more free stuff until I run out of projects that I already have... otherwise, there could be no end to my hunting/gathering and certainly no incentive to actually work on projects... it's so much more fun to acquire projects than to finish them.

My next project seemed to be a simple one.  I picked up a steel floor lamp with a bridge at a flea market.  I talked the man down from $10 to $3.00.  Yes sir, I'll take it.

It was covered in a baby blue paint and has no shade.
This is how I acquired it.


Who would do this blue to a defenseless, steel lamp stand?

The first step was to electrocute myself.  The protective plastic tube that covers the exposed wires near the switch was broken, I removed the plastic tube while testing a bulb and shocked myself.  Fuck you, lamp.  In response I did a shit job of covering the wires with a chandelier piece.  I bought two, cut them down the middle and rigged them with scotch tape... go Team Lazy! The shade would cover it anyways.

The second thing I did was buy some powerful stripper at the Home Depot.  I looked for the "walk away until you find purpose woman", but I couldn't find her.  I wanted to show her pictures of the chair.  Anyways, a grumpier, larger, male version of her marched me over to the paint strippers and thrust a can of stuff at me.  He grumbled, "don't get it on 'yer skin". I don't think he liked me.

I took it home and slathered it onto the stand with a cheap paint brush.  Within the first stroke, the skin on my forearm began to burn, like really, really burn. I realized that my stroke was flicking the stripper back on to my arm. I put on latex gloves and grabbed a rag to wipe my skin.  The latex gloves were useless and I spent the entire process burning, cursing and slopping thinner onto the metal.  You really have never lived until you step barefoot into a puddle of paint thinner.

I figured out (while doing a repetitive, stomping, burning dance of pain) that the stand came apart (or rather, it fell over and revealed that it came apart).  I disassembled it and spread out some garbage bags so I could spray paint it.  I had not sufficiently cleaned the paint stripper off and the paint began to bubble and run.  Damn it.  Furthermore, the wind was blowing the light material of my garbage bags around and the plastic was sticking to the wet spray paint.  

At first I tried to adjust the bags and salvage the pieces.  Then I just walked away until it dried, it was a God damned mess.  Eventually, I went back out and peeled the plastic off of the surface of the paint and tossed the whole project back into  the recycle bin where it waited until I had the patience to strip it again. It was now that it occurred to me that, originally, I could have just painted over the original coat.  Too late for efficient planning.  Strip the paint, take two.

It was then I was introduced to mineral spirits.  I stripped the metal again and the spray paint certainly came off easier than the devil's blue original job.  I scrubbed the metal with mineral spirit and then sprayed it with a power hose of water to remove any debris, reassembled and spray paint primed it.  I found a pink lamp shade at the Goodwill and used a black latex acrylic paint to give it the feel of cast iron.  


I'm noticing that a lot of the DIY websites are made up of talented crafts-people and imaginative souls and their whimsical, magical before and afters.  I am neither whimsical or talented and my stories will read like a crap shoot of trial, error, procrastinating, compulsive collection of objects and the unrealized potential that comes with your creativity far exceeding your ability to build or create things, more error and a-lot-a-bit of cheap, sloppy rigging (think duct tape and super glue).  



Day 2077

I completed my first recycle-refurbish project.  I hauled a vintage kitchen stool/chair out of the basement.  This is what it looked like when I began:


From this picture, I did what I am inclined to do... take it all apart and abandon it for weeks.  The thing was covered in rust and old vinyl.  I'm new to the Do It Yourself ranks and I have a tendancy to screw everything up and I was unreasonably attached to this free, junky chair.  My guru-of-the-day at the Home Depot, told me that if I was ever unsure of where to go with a project, that I should walk away from it and come back when you have a purpose.  Turns out, she was right.  

So, there is sat, disassembled, in my kitchen recycling bin for a lo-o-ng time.  While it waited I napped, taught Yoga and watched an unreasonable amount of the TV series Supernatural.  The behavior was semi-reclusive and unhealthy and I realized that they were symptoms of depression.  This little epiphany came to me while sitting in my room trying to decide whether to nap or to simply sit there fighting the urge to nap.  I really wanted a nap.  So, I grabbed my keys and headed to the Home Depot instead.  

I bought some supplies and began to clean the metal.  I sanded down the layers of rust and brushed rust remover on it.  Then I turned my attention to the seat and back rest.  When I pulled the vinyl off, it revealed nests of ants in the horsehair cushion.  Joy.

I replaced the horsehair with a 1/2 inch foam cushion and purchased some shiny new vinyl from Joann Fabrics, all while fighting the urge to spend a lot of money on clearance fabric.  For what, I thought to myself, I can't sew.  

Anyways, I washed the metal with mineral spirits and allowed it to dry.  I primed the pieces with spray primer and eventually with a light gray, non metallic, non shiny spray paint.  I stared at the drying pieces for like 10 minutes.  It came out really nice.  

So this process became my in-lieu-of-napping activity and it served it's purpose.  It got my attention and woke me up.  I did a very sloppy job of the annoying reupholstering task, but managed to make it look presentable to the eye.  I also couldn't get one of the back rest screws to stay in... so I glued the little bastard.

The result: 

So, I recycle and upcycle and cycle through free junk and give it new purpose.  It's fun and addictive and a hell of a lot healthier than napping for four hours in the middle of a beautiful summer day.  



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 1290

<-- posing for the camera at the Hibachi celebration of Noreen's Birth and the last day of my cleanse.

I've run into a lot of people in the last 30 days who have asked me to blog about my experience with the Master Cleanse and after. I've gotten a lot of generous compliments on the condition of my skin, my obvious weight loss and others have remarked that I seem, "happy", however they define that.

I feel happy, whatever that means for me. I'm very pleased with the results of the cleanse and feel that I gained a lot of valuable information and clarity from the experience. I lost 10 lbs and, despite warnings on websites that coming off the cleanse would mean weight gain, I am continuing to lose weight, 2 more lbs over the last 2+ weeks.

Weight loss was not the goal but it has certainly been one of the results. The major goal was to break some compulsive binge eating and free myself from the pressure and guilt of food related behavior patterns that I have had since I was a child. I also wanted to reset my system and give myself an opportunity to eat clean, from a fresh start.

I have been toying with the idea of a cleanse since March. During the winter I had developed reoccurring cravings for sausage gravy and buttermilk biscuits, eggs, cheese and bacon. All of these greasy spoon delicacies and their various delicious combination are available to me at my job. Cosmic Omelet knows their way around eggs, cheese, bacon and sausage gravy... oh, and let's not forget sugary baked goods like fresh, homemade pumpkin bread, banana bread and zucchini bread that all can be made into French Toast. Oh yeah, and handmade cinnamon buns... I digress.

I had plenty of temptation and my strategy for the winter was to cave to all of it, over and over. I felt awful and I was lethargic most of the time. So, a week before the West Hartford Yoga Teacher Training graduation weekend, I was hit with a strong urge to do a cleanse. I wanted to do it. I wanted to stick to it. I was ready to make a change and a felt really confident about it. I did research online and most sites recommended that before fasting I give my body a three day ease-in period and a three day ease-out period. I decided that I would ease in during teacher training, three days of intense power yoga and hours of lecture and physical activities. It would be a worthy distraction that I was sure that I would need.

Pre-Day 1:
I ate only fruits and vegetables. I practiced 2.5 hours of power yoga and it was one of the strongest practices that I could remember in terms of my personal performance. I expected to be weak and miserable, I was neither. I was slightly more flexible and connected. In our final Metta meditation it was the first time I was not distracted by what I was going to have for dinner. The answer was, not anything I really want. So, I didn't spend a lot of time anticipating it. It was incredible that I let it go and did not sit there struggling with whether to buy a cookie or something to reward myself for making it through a difficult practice on only fruits and veggies. My reward that I truly wanted was to lose old, bad habits.

Pre Day 2: Fruit and veggie juices and soup broths. I did not notice a big change from Day 1. I practiced a 2.5 power yoga class and participated in my teacher training.

Pre-Day 3: Orange Juice only. I began to notice pangs of hunger that kept coming and going. I would drink juice to keep them at bay and they would come back about 40 minutes later. I had a glass of juice before my 2.5 hour power practice. About an hour or so in, I was asked to go into pigeon on my right side. I felt some strong sensation in my hip and felt pangs of hunger creep in. The hunger distracted me long enough to convince me that I was unable to do pigeon at that moment. It hurt, I was uncomfortable, I was going to fail. I crouched in child's pose to let it all pass; my eyes filled filled with tears and I started weeping audibly. I've had this kind of release before but it usually only lasts a second and it comes after I torture myself for quite some time with unreasonable pressure or indulge in negative dialogues about my ability to show love or receive it. This was different, it came without warning and lasted for almost 10 minutes.

I began DAY 1 the Master Cleanse. It was a 10 day liquid fast with laxatives and salt water flushes. The first day was slightly unhappy because I was struggling to like the lemonade mixture of maple syrup, lemon, water and cayenne pepper. I know, it sounds delicious; clearly something is wrong with me. I took ONE herbal laxative in the morning (I followed the instructions to ease into the appropriate dosage). One laxative had NO affect on me. This day I only had five of the recommended 8 glasses of lemonade. I went to bed with only about 800 liquid calories and I painted a room.

What began to alarm me was that I began to be proud that I could suppress my hunger, lose weight and stick to such a radical diet change. It wasn't a healthy pride of confidence it was the temptation to throw moderation to the wind and make a lifestyle of suppressing and denying food cravings. On Day 2 I was able to drink 8 glasses of lemonade, but it was a struggle. I was moving in a new roommate (lot of up and down, carrying boxes and we painted a huge room). I went to Whole Foods and allowed myself a small herbal tea while I picked up dinner for the worker bees at the house. I actually spent a fair amount of time looking at food without the temptation to eat it. I was noticing colors, enjoying the various smells and liking the act of shopping without obsessing over menu choices. I chose dinners for my friends based on a mix of what I would have chosen to eat and what I knew about their own dietary habits. I enjoyed picking out their dinners. It was a cool experience.

For days I had been dreading Days 3 + 4, these were days I would be at work, surrounded by a lot of my favorite foods and my coworkers, who are all truly enthusiastic foodies. I would also be plagued by the habit of eating. Luckily, my boss had recently put a policy limiting food consumption on the clock. This helped me immensely; before it had been a compulsice free for all of snacking. When I was not ordering food, my co-workers were and I was sampling theirs in addition to eating my own meal. I was also still sitting with the dark temptation of keeping myself hungry on purpose. I made the decision that on work days I would drink orange juice. I like orange juice and it felt a little more like normal. OJ is something I like to have on the clock. So be it. OJ. At 3:00 on Day 3 I showed up for my shift at West Hartford Yoga, after running around waiting tables since 7:00 am, and I couldn't keep my eyes open and was suddenly hit with mild nausea. Luckily, my fellow Yogi, Lindsay, was able to come in early and send me home. By 4:00 I was in bed and I didn't wake up until 9:00 pm. I just closed my eyes and slept until the next day.

Days 5-9 were a lot of the same. My energy had stabilized with the OJ compromise. I was alternating OJ with the more alkaline mixture of the lemonade. I also found that I liked limes better than lemons and the web told me this was an acceptable modification. I took the salt water flush five times in 10 days; I did the flush at night when I was in for the night. In the morning I took laxatives and three turned out to be the magic number. It was pretty gross and fascinating, and effective. By Day 9 I was getting strong momentary flashes of "OK, enough already. I'm ready to eat" but I never broke my fast. I had dreams that I was eating sandwiches and donuts and I was experiencing the guilt of breaking my fast. The dialogue would eventually lead to, I knew I could never do this and I would wake up. I'd need a minute to shake off residual feelings of failure and then I'd smile and think, yes, those make-believe donuts were delicious. I should have had more.

I tell ya, I have never been more productive that I was in these 10 days. I helped move in a new room-mate, we collectively primed and painted three rooms (one monster room), I finished nearly all of my book reviews, I finished my class critiques and I journaled my experience. In addition to all of this I laid the ground work to put myself out there to teach Yoga. I drafted my resume and spent a lot of my cleanse days driving around networking with club managers, studio owners and Board of Ed members. I was totally un-like myself. I managed my time down to the minute, and sometimes those minutes were spent in planned nap time. It still hasn't worn off. I am more productive than I have ever been in my life.

I think there are several reasons for that. The major one was that I would spend a lot of time eating out in social meetings. On my four weekdays off I would often call friends and meet them over breakfast, lunch or dinner. Mealtimes would be between 2-3 hours for me. Without food, I had between 4-7 hours per day to fill. I needed lots of distractions and I found them. Just as I was coming off the cleanse, I celebrated my friends birthday on the final day at a hibachi restaurant in Avon. Everyone around me had rice, noodles, prime rib and other deliciousness. I was satisfied with the smells, company, my clear broth mushroom soup and stir fried veggies.

As I was coming off my cleanse my body would send me clear messages if I messed up and chose the wrong foods. I'm still losing weight. I am not drinking fruit juices, except the occasional OJ for an energy boost at work. I don't eat a lot of processed breads, No dairy, No sugar. I am making creamy tahini dressing like it's my job. I am eating tons of fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and lean meats. I feel better and look better than I ever have.

I don't know if it's a combination of feeling good and showing up with confidence as a result, but I have also been hired to teach more yoga than I can fit into my schedule. Offers from my time spent networking continued to pour in and starting in August I will be teaching three regular classes per week. In the last week of September two adult ed programs hired me to teach an 8 week Introduction to Power Yoga series that I developed and proposed to them. I am negotiating an incredible project that may or may not also happen in September and Capital Community College wants to hire me in the spring for their adult ed program. We're talking about scheduling a preview class for the fall.

The hope that I could choose to teach Yoga full time became a reality. Of course, I don't want to teach yoga full time. I want to stay on and continue to support the great, local restaurant that supported me during my transitional journey until I potentially leave next summer to teach yoga overseas. Nothing can be certain, or so I am led to believe. Yes, I was also accepted into the Peace Corps and am waiting on my assignment. Instead of sitting back and waiting, I'm learning Spanish and am scheduled to test into eligibility to go to Latin America, which is where I desperately want to be placed.

I've been smiling like a muppet for weeks, because of everything I have described above, 6 months of intensive, thorough training from West Hartford Yoga and I'm deliriously happy. I am truly grateful for the support, patience and care that I have been receiving from a new relationship that continues to teach me about letting go and acceptance. I am viewing the next year of my life with great anticipation, ease and joy. I set myself up to be here, and while much of it might be the universe unfolding as it should, I'm also incredibly proud of my own personal progress and practice of Yes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 1260


Sometimes, I manage to forget how quickly time passes. I'm not going to reset the counter on my weight loss journey; all of this was part of the process that led me here. Although I am going to ditch the name Fat Blog.

It's been a year and three months since my last post. This journey has evolved from the vain and ultimately unattainable to where I am today. I graduated from yoga teacher training (TT) , my eleven year relationship ended and I applied to the Peace Corps.

For my entire life, I've struggled with food and body image. I had eating disorders. Chronicled in this very blog is the mindset that I have had (although on the healthier end) since I was a teenager. Days fell into categories, pass or fail, good or bad, under calorie goal or over. Not disclosed in these posts were that I was also vomiting and not noticing the pattern I was stuck in. AT my highest weight, 190, I was unhappy and sure that if I reached 140 I'd be happy. At 140, I was unhappy and sure that if I achieved definition in my abs I'd be happy.

Today I'm happy. I weigh approximately 148 lbs. The change I made was internal. In August 2009, I started volunteering at a yoga studio near my home. I developed a personal practice. Learning to connect my breathing to the movement of my body gave me an awareness of myself that I'd never experienced. Even in my most rigid and inflexible mental state, Yoga managed to move me. I eventually developed the ability and knowledge to observe how I was coming across to others, my behavior AND the emotional responses (or disconnections) that my behavior triggered. I developed self awareness.

It was awful. I hated it and I longed for the days when I could abuse myself or others and continue on my way. Now that I could notice, I did and I didn't want to. I began to become aware of all the pain I caused others, and the opportunities that I was missing while my mind was spinning in circles and obsessing over the mathematics of weight loss. I started to understand that it wasn't always all about me, and when it was about me it wasn't about anyone else. Relationships in my life, foods I ate, activities and other parts of my life were choices that I had some but not total control over, and furthermore, I didn't need total control. Adventure happens when things stop going as planned.

People can and do change, but they don't much appreciate being told they should; they also deserve to be loved and accepted for where and who they are. Two people that love each other aren't necessarily meant to be in each others' lives. Every person I meet brings out a unique dimension of my personality; my spirit is happiest when it's free to move through life whimsically and without fear of judgment. Others prefer the cozy of routine. We all want to be accepted, safe and free from pain and suffering.

I welcome change. I also crave familiarity. I'm at a juncture in my life where I'm being taught the valuable lessons of generosity, patience, letting go and how to fully receive opportunities, while I can.

Currently, I am on Day 2 of the Master Cleanse. I am using this 10-Day lemonade fast to reset my system, flush out my body and break some poor lifestyle habits. I have never fasted for an entire day. Yesterday I did. I feel mostly free from the pressure of food. Of course, this is simple to feel when I am locked up in my house with projects on my days off. Tomorrow, work will be a new challenge (I work in a restaurant with delicious food). I also feel flighty, slightly weak and, at times, nauseous. These sensations, like everything else, will pass and I can eventually return to eating whole, nutritious foods. I have had only two strong cravings, one was for rolls golds pretzels and the other was for Veggie Sticks (the potato chip kind, not the raw veggies kind).

It's not comfortable breaking patterns, or easy. I'm enjoying the process!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fat Blog- Day 804

I've been writing a lot lately, not much of which I am willing to share. I find that humor is an excellent way to avoid revealing anything substantial and I also find that joking about humor being an excellent way to avoid revealing anything substantial is an effective way to reveal something substantial, more tactfully. Anyways, the struggle continues on the path to betterment...

Anyways, my healing process continues with a rigorous appetite of my heart's major food groups: fun, acceptance and Nutella. I've had some serious moments over the past few months where I was concerned about how I was perceiving my body and how clothing feels on it. There were a few times I felt less than beautiful. I have only vaguely snapped out of it and hope that soon-soon-soon-soon-soon my garden, friends, springtime and fresh, healthy cooking will move me forward.

On Tuesday, I am cookin'. On the menu (all homemade) is whole wheat pita bread, cilantro hummus, Falafel and Quinoa Tabbouleh. I mean, we're talking let the dough rise and blend the flavored hummus, homemade. I am excited to cook, but more excited to share it. It seems a waste to cook gourmet meals for a solitary chick with body image issues who would rather lick Nutella out of the jar anyways.

O... M... G, as I have aforementioned, I have discovered Nutella. I wish I hadn't, but alas, Nutella and I have a thing. I just can't have that filthy whore in the house. It's disgusting, except that it's not disgusting, it's delicious. It is disgusting, how delicious it is. I'm a sick, sick woman. I hate that I love Nutella. I love Nutella so much that I taught my spell checker to spell Nutella... like a legit word.

Seriously, I can't bitch. I lost another eight pounds since the beginning of the year. I am getting a bit off track lately but I will kick the dairy habit because it literally makes me sick. Doesn't stop me from eating it, but it will now, because it's time to get ab definition and get my squishy ass into an unsupported hand stand. I know, that's ego talking... but handstands are soooo hot! I want to do scorpion. I want scorpion like I want Nutella... spread thick on warm toast.

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