Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday

The best thing about Tuesday is I get to leave my office, get in a black car with a driver and get chauffered through Central Park to Madison and 128th Street - in the middle of Harlem. I get to escape my desk, my phone, my email and my work for 2-3 hours and hang out with Shade, McKayla, Dymir, Ronald, Miguel and Camari to name a few. They are some of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders I help with homework in their school's Homework Club.
The kids are generally loud and unruly and mostly there to avoid doing homework for as long as possible but still get a snack and hopefully at least 2 or maybe even 3 juice boxes and then play hangman. There are usually 3-4 tutors, a teacher and about 10-15 kids. Today there were only 2 tutors and at least 15 kids which is always a recipe for wild, homework avoiding behavior.
One of my favorite kids is Miguel, a fourth grader. A few months ago Miguel was working on his math, became frustrated with his times tables and launched into full press avoidance tactics. There had been some sort of bean project earlier in the day and he sent beans and noodles of all sorts flying across the room. He was yelling and nearly in tears and eventually hid under a desk. My heart went out to this kid - he was me. I hated math and times tables specifically so much I know I threw multipile fits. Although I believe I generally kept them confined to home. Up until that point I had mostly worked with a couple of manic second graders but they were gone for the day so I reached out to Miguel and coaxed him out from under the desk (which he didn't really fit under very well in the first place). I tried to empathize and explained how much I hate times tables and that they are still hard for me because I never learned them as well as I should have in school which I regret. I could almost hear the defiant thought in his head - "whatever, of course you know math, it is only hard for me." He kept telling me his teacher didn't make him do as much because it was harder for him. Every once in a while since that scene I would corner him and force him to do some flash cards with me but I could still see the defiant resistance in his eyes. He didn't believe me that I had to stop and think about 9x8 too and usually wanted to just give up.
Last week Miguel was working with another tutor when I heard him saying "we haaaaate math. But you have to do it. It has to be done even when you hate it." Then he pointed at me and said "she hates math as much as I do." I felt such pride swelling in my heart - we bonded over our hatred of math. We've been working through times tables, divison and today we did fractions. He always has me help him with math now because he believes how much I hate it! I'm not sure if that is the best way to help but it works with Miguel and that is saying a lot. Today he finished his fractions with enough time to play hang man and I stumped him with Mardi Gras and got many giggles from the kids when I explained that today is Fat Tuesday. One commented that next week should be Skinny Tuesday until the teacher said there would be no snack for Skinny Tuesday and they all agreed it could be regular Tuesday but they should eat more Cheese Nips today in honor of Fat Tuesday.

Monday, February 27, 2006

chocolate

Of all the chocolate in the world there is one kind that comes only once a year and to me it is pure pastel perfection - Cadbury Mini Eggs. Mini Eggs are the premier chocolate - nice sugary shell you can suck on and savor until you hit the smooth and creamy chocolate. Divine. The only thing that could improve the mini egg is the addition of an almond in the center. Then I would never have restraint.

My sister just emailed me this about mini eggs after I told her someone brought a bag of them to my house last night (I politely only took 5) -

"I know that’s your biggest weakness. If I ever need you to bend to my will, Cadbury mini eggs are the drug of choice. Dad was trying to temp me with those the other day and I just told him 'I’m not Soul-Fusion.'"

If anyone wants to make me theirs forever, just send a Costco size bag of mini eggs my way. WeightWatchers be damned, these things only come once a year and I can generally ration and horde them through May if I don't hit any emotional speed bumps requiring immediate administration of chocolate.

Friday, February 24, 2006

weighty issue

I have never dieted in my life. Until recently I never had a reason to diet. Occasionally my weight would fluctuate and I would re-commit to rigourous excerise and before I knew it I was within a comfortable range. Granted, over the years my comfortable range has increased. I remember in college trying to GAIN muscle weight to weigh 130 pounds (I'm 5'9" I won't see 130 again). I have many explanations and reasons (okay, excuses) for my most recent weight gain that is 10-15 pounds beyond my ideal. I will share them becuase it makes me feel better. Almost two years ago I was super fit and very active. I was on an indoor soccer team, I went to the gym several times a week, I did yoga a couple of days a week and I did a lot of snowboarding in the winter and ultimate frisbee in the summer. When I returned from Costa Rica on vacation where I hiked, attempted surfing and ate very litte I dipped down to 135 - about 5 pounds under my norm.
Shortly thereafter some health issues that had been lurking but unidentified began to surface. After many tests and fears I found out I had asthma - which was a relief after some of the alternatives. During all the testing and throughout much of the experimental drug stages my physical activity began to drop off significantly out of necessity. My breathing capacity cut my endurance down to about an eighth to a quarter of its previous capacity. At the same time some of the drugs I was taking were making me hungry. Not just hungry - ravenous! I could not be satisfied. But I was still trying to remain active.
About the time my medication was helping me get some cardio endurance back again and I was continuing with the soccer team and other activities, another problem surfaced. My knee. I was always aware that my knee did not like activity - especially anything involving running. I had already had it scoped once in high school and after years of babying it I decided to play soccer anyway and enjoy myself. It caught up with me. One morning it ballooned to twice its normal size for no apparent reason. So I added another doctor to my ridiculously frequest list of appointments and went in to have it checked. He told me to go back to basics and no more soccer, running, jumping, etc. I started biking - my knee didn't like that either. Finally, last spring I decided to have surgery again to clean up the shredded cartilidge before I moved to NYC and had to walk everywhere. It went great and I had the greatest recovery time with very little swelling and I was back at the gym within a week. But by that time the weight was climbing. Mostly because I love food.
Then I moved and went from a 40 hour a week job to a 50-60 hour a week job and no gym membership. By September I was only able to wear the largest clothes in my closet and I was needing to buy more. But I refused to graduate up a size. I joined the gym in my building and struggled to find a time to go. When I finally hit a two week stint of morning workouts - I got sick. Then it was Thanksgiving. Then it was Christmas and lo and behold there I was making a New Year's resolution to lose weight!!
A couple of weeks into January I received an email from a friend of mine who works for Shape magazine. She asked if I wanted to participate in a test fitness program where I would lose weight and inches and I needed to commit to 4 days a week. Perfect, just what I needed for incentive! I signed myself up and dutifully kicked my butt out of bed before work every morning to do my 3 then 4 then 5 miles on the treadmill each day. I weighed myself and measured waiting for the pounds and inches to melt away. It didn't happen. Not one pound was lost in the 4 weeks and maybe an inch but that could happen at any time when it is a half inch off one area and a half inch off somewhere else. I was discouraged but blamed the program. I'm still doing morning workouts but I'm doing what has always worked for me - 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weights.
But I decided this might not be enough. Maybe I should think about dieting. I'm generally a healthy eater. I don't eat fast food, I steer clear of anything fried and after a near-addiction incident last summer with Ben & Jerry's (think a pint a week! maybe that should be added to my excuses above) I am pretty good about rationing chocolate and desserts.
I've always heard great things about Weight Watchers but never thought it would be something I would do. But recently a friend convinced me to try it on the internet because writing down your food really helps and the point thing works. I signed up this past Tuesday. I hate it. But in a good way. They only give me 22 points a day. 22 points!!! That is not very much food. If I eat anything more than pointless carrots (and no more than 5 or the points start coming) for a snack, I have nothing left for a real dinner. I think if you have the ability to cook this might work better but it is hard even getting a salad that isn't too many points - I like cheese and croutons and beans and things of substance. I'm still confused as to how fat free milk can add up so quickly.
But here is why it is good - not even a week in and although I'm hungry ALL the time - I think it is working. I cheated and weighed myself (because I obsess) and I've already dropped 3 pounds - a normal fluctuation but it has stayed off for 2 days.
In case anyone who managed to make it through this entire post is wondering. The purpose of this post is to make me accountable. I hate that about 2/3 of the clothes in my closet don't fit and the ones that do I don't like how they look. I need to change that. I can't go through another summer avoiding swimsuits. I don't like that cellulite has decided to find a home on my butt and thighs. I hate that I feel big most of the time since most of the women I interact with in NY are rails. I'm through with all of that. Enough. I'm going to be better, look better and feel better. I just hope that one day it will be okay for me to eat again.......... and still fit into a size 8.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Breaking a streak

As of yesterday, it had been approximately 1 year, 8 months and 2 days since I was last kissed - not that I was counting. Seriously. I have a freakish memory for dates and the last person I kissed was a boy I was very much in love with and I sort of knew it was goodbye and it happened to be the day before my birthday. Quite memorable and not such a hard date to calculate.
To some my streak may seem like a very long one, to others it may not be a big deal. For me, it was long but not necessarily difficult. It was mostly just startling when I realized I managed to make my way through all of 2005 without so much as a peck from the opposite sex. Opportunities occassionally presented themselves but I happily refrained . . . until last night.
Call it hormones, lack of self respect or whatever label you choose to give it. I call it breaking a streak. To put my streak in perspective a little bit, I think my last streak was probably only 6 months and that was in 1992 or 1993. Or maybe I matched that in 1997/1998. Previously, it was never long enough to worry about. It certainly never even hit the one year mark.

How The Record Fell
Yesterday afternoon I received a call on my cell phone while I was at work. I could barely understand the caller so I managed to give him my work number and about 45 minutes later he called me back. I met this particular random boy last summer when I first moved back to NYC - I thought he was cute but not very easy to interact with. Didn't think about him much after that and I didn't see him for months. Last week he showed up at my apartmnet for ward FHE (which I host every Monday night for anyone willing to make the trek to my place). He isn't in my ward. As out of practice as I was - I got the vibe.
Sure enough by Thursday he called me. I was on a plane to DC waiting for them to shut the doors and order all cell phones off. He told me to call him when I got back. I didn't. On purpose. Not because I didn't think about it or kind of wanted to but because I decided to play the game - which I never play. So then I receive yesterday's call. He awkwardly reminded me that something was said about me needing to connect my stereo (actually computer) to my tv. He was not smooth and he didn't actually ask me out, he just invited himself to my apartment that night. I was curious and gave in even though I was irritated that he couldn't just invite me to dinner.
I was home by 8 for the 830 appointment. He was late. Very late. At 9 something (yes after 9:00!!), I called him. Voicemail. I left a sarcastic message and decided that was it. I was bugged but I can't say that I was all that effected by it. At 9:41 (I checked my phone), he called. Stuck at work. I was understanding and when he still wanted to come over - I acquiesced.
As soon as he arrived I knew his intentions. I had already made up my mind that the streak could die so it proved entertaining - watching somewhat critically as he moved closer to me on the couch and made up excuses (lame ones) to touch my leg or put his arm around me.
I let him kiss me and the streak died. My longest streak since I entered the world of kissing. Part of me is proud of it, part of me is a bit ashamed it took that long. Partly I wish it hadn't fallen quite like that. When you hold out that long you kind of hope the streak will fall in some grand way - like at the top of the Empire State Building or in Central Park after a fresh snow. Not sitting on the couch pretending to watch a dvd of Entourage taking interest mainly to see how he will make the inevitable move.

I'm not too good at this. . .

It doesn't look like I am a very good blogger so far. I either have no idea what to say or I start rambling about things of no value - not funny, not interesting, not enlightening, not inspirational, no value. I guess as long as I recognize that I am not going to be funny, interesting, enlightening, etc. I can just do it and see if I can evolve with practice.
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