tracking time

So, a small update on the status of my resolutions/life changes.

I have successfully taken my vitamins almost every day.  I have begun most days with warm water and lemon.  I still don’t like it.  But it’s growing on me.  Perhaps my kidneys are a fan?  Maybe I’ll think of it that way.  I have tried to take better care of my skin (all my skin, not just my face and neck).  I still find moisturizing tedious.  But then I remind myself that it’s the biggest organ of the body, and that it deserves just as much TLC as my digestive track, my kidneys and all the other organs that benefit from the various things I try to do on a daily basis.

The man and I began Lent with the vow of abstaining from meat and alcohol.  A few days ago we made a commitment to reduce our gluten intake (we think of it as the 90% gluten-free diet).  I always hate admitting it, but I do feel better when we don’t drink and when my diet is very plant-based.  I will never enjoy raw veganism — I just really don’t like raw veggies.  And having experienced dehydrated foods I will pass on those as well (when they re-hydrate in your stomach/intestine, it is the most uncomfortable feeling in the world.  Like the worst bloating you’ve ever experienced in your life).  But stuffed peppers and zucchini pasta, and caprese salads and portobello caps and green smoothies?  I can get down with that stuff.  And we haven’t given up fish.  Or dairy (sacrilege I say! …. although I do understand the benefit of giving up dairy.  Unfortunately).

I have tried to limit my social media usage and have been — fairly — successful.  Some days are better than others.  Say — sitting in a waiting room with nothing to do?  Yes, social media makes an appearance.  But on regular days, when I’m working and cooking and swimming, etc etc.  I don’t always get to Instagram or Facebook.  Twitter however, is still on my phone.

Having revisited my resolutions for this year, I have already fallen woefully short.  BUT, there are things I’ve done that aren’t on the resolutions list.  So it almost (not really) counterbalances it.  I have not begun learning Spanish yet.  I have not played my keyboard.  And I have not been hugely successful with beginning each day by saying “Today will be a great day.”  But — I have consistently tried to treat my body with more kindness, and I am working on making healthy life choices in regards to diet, exercise and the types of products I am using.  (No, I will not give up my grapefruit Neutrogena face wash. No matter how many bad things are in it.  I love it.  And that’s that.)

Like the tortoise taught us, slow and steady wins the race.  We just bought a house.  My business is growing.  I’ve had shingles.  At thirty-five.  As long as every day I try my very best — to eat well, to do my job well, to treat people with kindness, to treat myself with kindness, to love my puppy and my family and my friends, to Thank God for John — well, that’s all I can really do, right?

Oh yeah, and sometimes I just need to give myself a break and forgive myself.  That one is tough.

dark moments

February is not my friend.  It’s never been my friend.  Not as a child when the dark, cold dreary-ness affected me to my core.  Not now when it feels like the longest month of the year — both personally and professionally.

February — twenty-eight days of struggle.  Annually.

Yesterday I nearly hit my breaking point — stopping for a minute to just put my head down and shake with unshed tears.  That hollow, silent, desperate sort of sob.  The kind that eclipses you at the very darkest, most lonely moment.  When everything you do feels like a failure.

Today, as I drove to work, it overwhelmed me again.  Just –this deep feeling of not being enough to anyone.  Not being strong enough to carry the work-load of my job, not being present enough for my puppy, who so lovingly takes care of me when I am down, not being able to maintain my credit score for mortgage rates and mortgage insurance rates — not being there enough for my mother and father and aunt as they face the barrel of a gun.  Just — not having the ability to be all things to everyone I love.  To be capable enough to handle work and personal finances and obligations.  Feeling as though I’m cracking from the inside out.

And that’s not even taking the MS and all that goes with it into account.  The shingles, the overwhelming heat and low lighting of my new office (neither things helpful for my MS and Optic Neuritis), the fatigue, the weakness — my body letting me down just when I need it the most.

The pressure of everything.

It is in these moments that I  know — no matter how many people I have who love me, who support me– I am the only person who can take care of me (you know, when it comes right down to it).  I am the only one who can scoop my battered being up and begin to heal things.

Sometimes I doubt that I know how to do that.  But little things, bit by bit, remind me of myself.  Chai lattes from Starbucks.  Show tunes on Pandora.  Breathing slowly and repeating my mantra over and over until I feel even again.  “Leg Warmers” hanging on my wall.  Breathing.

I make mistakes.  But at the end of the day, I do try my best.  And sometimes I will fail.  But more often, I will succeed.  And also, tomorrow is the last day of February.  Whew.



a moment of gratitude

I just want to let you know, I cooked a whole roasted tandoori cauliflower a few weeks back.  It was a Monday (my cooking night) and I was wildly excited, nervous and then proud of my accomplishment.  Obviously there are improvements that could have been made, but in general it was a success and that made my little heart swell with pride.

The next night, I dutifully went to the gym and swam laps.  Tuesday was a good day.  Hubs made dinner, swimming was both frustrating (I am out of shape) and wonderful (I used to love to run because about ten to fifteen minutes in, my mind would clear and the stress would fall out of my shoulders, and it would just be me, my breath and the pounding my feet on pavement … well, and Lucy of course, but she loved going running.  Swimming felt a little like that — my mind clearing, my muscles working —and also wondering what the heck was going on! — the stress lessening the further into the swim I got).  So it was a good night & we were getting into a routine, and I think we both felt pleased about it.

On Wednesday morning I drove over for my yoga therapy session and despite being a little sore — I’d fallen on ice in the Starbucks parking lot the previous Friday and I’d swum the night before for the first time in months — it was a good session.

And then, I was diagnosed with shingles at the urgent care, and I spent the next seven days on medication that made my brain spin and all my thoughts fuzzy around the edges.

So I didn’t get to post about my cauliflower triumph, or my swimming struggles.  Because I could barely spell my name (that might be a slight exaggeration).

I’ve now been off the anti-viral meds for a few days, and I don’t feel terrible, so that’s a plus.  Yesterday, my office moved into our new (like, brand new just built) space and I’m feeling really excited about the growth of our company and its future.  We received the final paperwork for our house in the mail yesterday and life seems to be trucking along. Even my new MS medicine seems to be working (maybe five is the charm?).

And tonight, it’s the Oscars — one of my favorite award shows.  And the world is blanketed in snow (yesterday’s drive home from the city in my Mini was … fun?) and life feels good.  Content.

But here’s where my head is.  John and I have had our fair share of struggles.  We’ve had our moments when life feels really unfair, and everything feels like it’s too much.  But through it all (well, the last seven years) we’ve had each other.  And we’ve had a support net of our parents and my brother and family and friends who care about us, who prop us up when we’re having a hard time doing it ourselves.  We are insanely, incredibly, ridiculously blessed.  So yes, MS is hard.  MEN type I is hard.  Work is hard.  Life is unfair.  Like, really f*cking unfair sometimes.  But I just want to say thank you to God, to Gaia, to Buddha, to whomever is up there who brought my husband to me, to whomever decided who my family would be — because I can face anything with the people I have on my team.  And I am so grateful it is fathomless.

new routines

So, last week I began my hot lemon water routine, and this week I was completely determined to begin having a smoothie every day for breakfast.  But here’s the thing — it’s one thing to feel super motivated on a Saturday afternoon — it is quite another to feel as motivated at 6am on a gloomy Monday.

This morning, as I dragged myself from my amazingly comfy bed and took the obligatory shower, I decided that we’d purchased all the ingredients and I really didn’t want to waste more food.  Because it’s sad.

But also —

Because back in October, as I finished up my week at OHI, the instructors asked us how many raw meals we could commit to per day after leaving OHI.  My immediate reaction was — Well, I can commit to one a week.  That’s the extent of my love of raw food.  

But then I realized — no, I could actually commit to one a day.  Because smoothies are a meal, and smoothies are raw (well, the ones I make are … I guess you could make a smoothie that didn’t qualify as raw, but that’s beside the point!).

And then months and months slipped by.  And MS took over my life, and then my job took over my life, and then holidays took over my life.  And then I resurfaced at the beginning of February, and I thought — well, there’s no time like the present!

The man and I tend to talk a really good game, and then we sort of follow through and then reprimand ourselves for sort of following through but not all the way following through.  So I got a handy dandy Word document that is laid out like a calendar, and we both started February with goals.

For example, tonight is my cooking night while the man hits up the gym.  And I am trying out a whole roasted cauliflower recipe.  I really hope it’s good!

And I’m also going to keep making smoothies in the morning.  And drinking my hot lemon water.  And going to yoga.  And swimming.  And taking my vitamins.  And hopefully blogging regularly.  So — here’s to hoping it’s an all the way kinda thing, and not a sort of kind of thing.


life lessons

So here we are, the second of February.  Life seems to have kept up its ferocious pace, and the man and I are sitting around our kitchen island as I tap away at the keyboard and he produces culinary masterpieces to the soundtrack of “Chef”.

I wrote a little bit ago about the things I’d managed to do every day since the beginning of the year — which inevitably meant that the end was coming sooner than I anticipated!  I managed to keep up my vitamin ritual, but as for blogging — I really dropped the ball.

On the flip side of that coin, John and I visited –and then subsequently purchased– our new home on the 24th of January.  And when you commit to building your first home, it becomes a lot, all at once.  We drove down to our new home site five times in a seven day span — and it’s not a short drive!  But it’s wildly exciting, and all-consuming, and a huge next step for the two of us, which is a big deal on so many levels.

That being said, I think I need to go back to the idea of taking my vitamins every day.

I made this crazy commitment for a very vain reason.  I thought that taking vitamin E would help my poor, tired, dried out, fried hair recover a little from the abuse I routinely put it through.  Aka hot tools.  So at the end of December I recommitted to my vitamins, and other than the 28th of January (when the man and I officially bought our house) I have not missed a day.   And that includes the night in LA when I took my vitamins upon returning from dinner and being completely delirious due to fatigue.

Today, I began another (very small) change to my daily routine.

I ‘ve known about this for a while. But I never really felt all that inspired.  (See what happens as you age and begin noticing discomfort where none used to exist?!?)  Today, I began my morning with warm water with lemon.

I’d like to tell you that it didn’t change a thing.  Sadly, not true.  (Sometimes I want health advice to fall flat, just to make me feel better about my love of fried chicken and chardonnay).  

This post isn’t about the water.  Although — seriously — try it.  It sort of lifts one’s morning. This post is about making small, permanent changes.  Things you can begin, and then just somehow, stick with.  And it benefits your life.

A couple things I’d like to say.  (Zero significance to order — just how things popped into my head).

1.  I discovered zucchini pasta about a year ago.  I am stupidly in love with it.  I am able to make zucchini pasta unhealthy.  That is the truth.  But it tastes amazing.  And my thought is this — zucchini pasta is better than regular, white flour pasta, right?  Right.

2.  I have a lot of knowledge in my brain.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have an amazing resource in my boss’s wife, I’ve attended a retreat that does actually change how you think and feel about food, and I know inherently — my body tells me so — that some choices are just better than others (see zucchini pasta vs. regular pasta in #1 above).  Unfortunately, that doesn’t change my love for wine, Starbucks, and the occasional baked good (among other terrible things, such as dairy, and meat).

3.  I think everyone’s journey is their own.  I didn’t used to feel this way.  I used to feel (despite what I may or may not have written on this very blog) that health was another form of competition.  I am a very competitive person.  I do not like to lose.  This may be why my brain is full of so much knowledge.  But there is a true difference between enjoying life and competing in life.  I don’t know that I really understood that until recently.

4.  I like lists.  It helps me clarify my thoughts. Just an FYI.

5.  It might sound like a little thing, but small changes that I stick with become big changes.  Example: Christy Turlington once said in an interview that she never slept with make-up on, and she moisturized every day.  I think I read that when I was twelve.  To this day, I’m almost manic about washing my face.  I remember times in college –when I was black out annihilated — that I’d wake up the next morning with a washed and moisturized face.  I made a tiny little change and it has become part of my routine — something I’ve done for 23 years.  Insane.  I mean — seriously insane when you think about it.

6.  I am not going to focus on dieting any more.  It’s stressful and it just makes everything not very fun.  I think I’m just going to try every day to be the best I can be — and sometimes, that might mean jalapeno poppers and fried chicken for the Super Bowl.  And I love just being okay with that.  

Life ain’t easy.  That’s the truth.  So why make it harder than necessary?  Find something healthy — like, say zucchini pasta — and really make it your own.  Enjoy it.  And rejoice in the knowledge that you made a smart choice.  And live in that.

Happy Shortest Month of the Year all.