getting out of my own way

December 8, 2010


for some unkown bingey reason, i have purchased 2 pairs of black (what else) boots over the past 2 weeks and both of them make (my feet) look like i could kick someone’s ass pretty hard.  one pair are the penultimate italian over-the-knee leather with 2 rows of studded straps across the ankle and the other are ankle-high chic-motorcycle scruffed leather booties with super solid wide heels …the kind of boot you actually consider taking on some trip with you because they are so sturdy.  aside from the excess purchases (and, yes, they were both sale, discount or a combo of both) i wonder what is propelling me to want this ‘don’t mess with me’ look. 

i think the duplicate purchases are definitely me clutching about the ‘i want it now; i might not have later’ and it’s no mystery (i say now, post purchase) that yesterday’s very public passing of elizabeth edwards was upsetting to me in a general ‘oh shit…it comes back’ kind of way.  (upsetting too as i thought she seemed quite the honorable kind and strong woman.)  and the mri is tomorrow – a convoluted affair where i have to start at 34th street at my surgeon’s office so that her ex-oncologist nurse can install the heplock/iv into the acceptable left arm with it’s perpetually teeny veins that play hide and seek for the less-talented or less-experienced needlestickers out there and then, bundled up, hop in a taxi up to 84th street to my radiologist’s office to wait for my turn in the big mri machine.  must remember:  pepcid complete for laying flat on my stomach for the 40 minutes of loud clicking, banging and whirling noises in the tube. 

i went to help out with – although i did no helping – i just stood there and smiled – at an old high school friend’s ‘event’ where they handed out electronics to pediatric cancer patients – every one of which made your heart sing and break at the same time.  it just seems like i hear the word cancer no less than 79 times a day and more and more i feel closed in by it.  how to escape unscathed?  oh wait…i guess the horse left that barn a while ago. 

and, lastly, i think i’m trying to remind myself that i should kick my own very lazy ass into getting back to exercise…i’ve been much much much too indulgent and can’t seem to start back.  i always want the timing to be ‘just right’ but i should know better.  that isn’t possible. 

so….kicking my own ass.  i will take these boots and be done buying and start doing.  no more excuses. 


the end of an odd – but not bad – summer

September 6, 2010


i know…it’s not officially the end of summer but with school fast approaching on wednesday for my now-10th grader, it essentially is.  and for lovely husband and myself it was an odd summer.  one short trip to visit our daughter at camp and then the aforementioned ‘trip’ which was essentially a holding-pattern overnight to the canceled family reunion.  but with the kitchen reno hubby and i went into full-attention mode for most of it.  i have never made so many decisions in so short a time – one right after the other.  some of them have been dizzyingly wonderful and others are awaiting a verdict.  it seems that renovations – especially gut renovations – are the quintessential hurry-up-and-wait project.  a flurry of activity for 4 days and then nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, order-appliances, nothing, nothing, and then more in one day than anyone thought possible.  the good part – at the moment – about the quiet spaces is that we have been able to walk around with the floor, windows and cabinets in place and get used to it.  it is starting to feel like it’s ours now…even though it’s nowhere near ready –  no countertops nor appliances.  and over the summer, i get to take a break from the scheduled doctors’ visits – don’t get me wrong, i appreciate them watching out for me – and the steady stream of needle pricks coming my way  for oncology labs, annual labs, and the end of the year mri.   i cannot wait to have my basement back and, with it, my elliptical.  i’ve gained 5 pounds with this reno – eating out is hard on my waistline.   i let myself mostly not work at work and had time to reclaim – or refind – a friendship that i thought was lost a few years back – and now is so happily back with enthusiasm on both our parts.  that has made me the happiest, i think.  more than the cabinets or even the amazing wood floor 😉 

10th grader is sad to see summer behind her…she just rocked her summer hard and was nestled in with a group of amazing people who liked and respected her.  she blossomed.  i hope she finds her social niche at school this year.  

and, as always – being a true fall baby – i cannot wait for the first day i can wear my deep flannel grey cashmere cardigan sweater.  ( i just realized, i’ll match the countertops.)

the calm before the dusty storm

August 4, 2010


sluggy summer days – wonderful husband and i are enjoying our ‘quiet’ time together whilst teenage daughter is at camp.  tho there are the nights (and days) when we ache for her – each phone call from her tells us that she is rockin’ her summer with happiness and great friends but we surely miss her.  we’re continuing our summer tradition of taking long brooklyn walks together – often in the early morning before the worst of the summer heat sets in.  we like to walk past the houses – some in enormous disrepair and others looking like they were renovated with no regard to the historic nature of their neighborhood (really: ionic columns on a vinyl-sided 2 story house???).   the garden is churning out more tomatoes and cucumbers than we can eat in a week.  my contractor is thrilled to be the recipient of edible gifts each time he visits to remeasure some corner of the kitchen.

mostly, we’re getting ready for the big rip-out.  final contract signing with our contractor today.  appliances ordered, sink and faucet ordered (all after enormous research and even then, i know something won’t feel right or work right) and now, still worrying through the choice of flooring – but hoping that decision … no, giving ourselves the deadline that that decision will be made by friday.  a backsplash and some lights and we’re almost in the end-run of the gabillion decisions we’ve had to make.  phew.  now we just have to live through the dust, noise, and lack of actual kitchen floor.   

make me

April 18, 2010


after 2 weeks so busy that i actually found myself working (big parts of) 9 days in a row, i made myself find time this morning to go walking on my elliptical.  one of the best things about freelance sales is that you can almost always choose your own schedule.  but sometimes, during a busy season, you cannot.  i have had lots of appointments and deadlines that all required me to be in my office early (8-9am) and that meant no walking.  city walking yes.   20-30 minutes concentrated on my elliptical, no.   by the end of the day, i’m just too worn out to try to walk.  so a long week went by with no extra exercise.  and i could feel it.  it’s hard to go back to it…a week off is like starting from scratch for me.  but start i did this morning.  20 minutes today.  hopefully 20 tomorrow.  and then back to 30 later this week.  if you had told me – almost 2 years ago – that i would write what i’m about to write, i’d have laughed in your face.  but here goes:  i feel better for the exercise.  it’s a safe run; a safe walk; and a safe place to sweat down in my basement. 



can you feel it now?

April 4, 2010

back from a much-needed vacation – an emotional break from new york and life here – and trying to get back into some exercising regime.  (it turns out it’s possible to walk 6-7 miles a day and still come back from vacation having gained 5 lbs.)   it’s always a battle in my head where i say no-no-no but keep putting my sneakers on and then just make the step onto my elliptical.   i used to teach ‘music together’ – it’s an orff and kodai approach to teaching a music class for very young children and toddlers.  basically, a kinesthetic approach to music – which is a fancy term that essentially means that you process the music through your body.

i have been tangling with the song ‘hallelujiah’ for about 2+ months now.  in a previous post  – – i wrote about this version that was performed on the ‘benefit haiti’ concert and since that time, have listened to a number of versions of it.  the timberlake version sounds like a haunting prayer to me.  The kd lang version something much more carnal.   i haven’t been able, however, to wrap my own arms around it and integrate it.  i often sing out loud to whatever is on my ipod while i’m walking or running.   but this song didn’t find a place in my voice..i wondered if the sheer fact that i am not religious nor steeped in any tradition of ‘hallelujah’ was making for a poor fit.  then, today, i changed the walking.  i took the pedal resistance up a good amount and used the arm pulls and suddenly, my body was working and pushing slowly and purposefully through the words and the song and … i sort of got it.  i had to make my body understand the base feeling.  it needed resistence and slow effort and then it started making sense.

how we see ourselves

February 24, 2010


do people have the ability to really see what is in front of them in a mirror?  a mirror is supposed to be a pure reflection of the object.  i think they don’t.  and by they, i mean me.  i have morphed and changed so much over the years.  i was a geeky bushy-eyebrowed teenager and then a lumpy college student with a swagger of sexual bravado that was all swagger and no reality and then turned myself into a hot (i kid you not…sizzling hot – even if it was the 80’s) jazz/cabaret singer.  with marriage came an agreement to attempt to be an equal earning partner and i slowly let go of the living-all-over-the-world prior decade and became the mom then music teacher then, finally, real estate broker.  even these past 10 years of part-time to full-time work in the world of ‘would you like to buy this house’ have been nonstop changes in my looks.  too much mac and cheese when teenage daughter was a baby led to a nice zaftig look that i gradually came to accept and, anyway, it was even my confirmation that i was here to stay as a wife and mommy.   zaftig tends to lead to heavier – and in my case it did.  why stop with 1 slice of difara’s pizza if you can have 2?  i didn’t. 

then breast cancer.  ironically, i slimmed down a bit during the chemo – uhhh…yeah.  couldn’t eat. and then the climb.  rather than be momentarily miserable (i’m bald, i’m bloated, i’m tired, i’m a victim of cancer, i’m not the girl i once was…) i ‘earned’ shoving anything and everything that tasted good into my mouth.  i deserve this apple tart.  why not eat this whole pizza…i may be dead next year.  after everything i’ve been through, you bet i’ll have another slice of that chocolate cake. 

one day i looked in the mirror and saw myself.  how odd that the lens sometimes comes into focus and that day i saw what other people saw and it was awful.  it wasn’t that i was heavy.  i actually don’t think i’ll ever be willowy or even ‘taut’.  but i was bloated and when i saw myself i thought:  i look like one of those people about whom i always think: there but for the grace of someone go i.   except there was no grace and it was me.   

slip forward 1.5 years.  i’ve worked hard at it…trying to change my lifestyle but not lose myself.  i do love food.  i don’t love exercise.  now i have food i love but not so much of it.  i don’t love exercise except that i make myself do it and i feel better afterward.  33 pounds and 2-3 sizes down.  i was feeling quite the skinny mini.  but then i went to buy some spring clothes and when i tried on ‘regular’ sized clothes…i looked heavy again.  i think i’ve gotten used to this size. 

does anyone have a different mirror i can borrow?

can’t win for losing

February 9, 2010


i admit it.  i was in a total funk the other day.  it was the first day i hadn’t gone into my office in a week and with appointments picking up and the tug tug tug of a bazillion emails and phone calls as is the norm in real estate sales, i had a mini-collapse at home.  so i admit it.  things were emotionally piling up.  at some point in the afternoon, i decided to finally read the big pamphlet that a friend gave me from sloan kettering cancer center.   what to do to take care of yourself – lots and lots of general and specific information about healthy eating and supplements.  it had been sitting on my desk for a few months and i was finally ready to tackle it. 

imagine my positive surprise when i realized that i already knew most of it and was doing lots of it:  cutting out processed foods; eating well; keeping my weight in line (i think losing 33 pounds counts as that!); and carefully considering some supplements and avoiding others.  tada!!!  suddenly the day was looking up.  i was the epitome of a forward-thinking positive cancer survivor – and so why not do something i had never ever done before.  there it was.  the ‘what’s your bmi’ page.  hey.  i used to be a 1x (truly teetering on a 2x for the very last bit of it) and although recently i hadn’t gotten to walk on bertha, my elliptical, as much as i should, i recognized that and was being careful with food and just trying to do a lot of city walking to make up for it a little.  and my size 14 j. jill knit pants (my holy-shit-these-are-regular-size-14-ok-cut-for-real-women-size-14-pants) were actually getting a little big on me.  and my tush…i may still have a belly but no bum left from all that elliptical walking.  wowsers.  so yes, why not finally know my bmi?  what did i care from body mass index?  and then i realized i was incapable of performing the math skills necessary so i went on some handy-dandy web site (bless google) and plugged in the numbers:  5’3″ and 171 pounds.  (well, that day i was).  and then it comes back.  the number.  the number.  the number was 30.  and in the 2 seconds it took me to realize that that number – 33 pounds lighter and well-exercised and moving forward in a positive direction – qualified me for OBESE. 

not good.  not good for me.  not good for my head.  not good for my (emotional)  heart.  not good for my bad habits. and i did something i hadn’t done in 1.5 years.  i stormed out, bought a big meatball sub (which, sadly, was not well made at all) and stuffed it down my obese-bmi-throat.  feh. 

my funny and uber-smart uber-insightful brother-in-law wrote to me the next day after i vented to him that i had topped over the edge.  i hope he won’t mind me quoting him here…but he always says the right thing to me (at least in email form): 

“Same dialectical twist for the pig-out.  The whole point is that it has become a rare event.  Everyone breaks down from time to time.  The important fact is the together person you are to break down in the first place.  Your eating habits have been excellent for an impressive duration.  Tomorrow they will be again.
Stay away from technical assessments of how you should feel though, indicators such as BMI.  That is science for Olympic athletes unethically applied to the general public in order to foster self-loathing that can be administered to by commercial interests.  In this, medical professionals are either corrupt participants or hapless dupes.”
ben made me feel better. 

%d bloggers like this: