Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Yoga Ninja

As someone who genuinely enjoys exercising, my weight woes come directly from my psychotic relationship with food.  

Indeed, in my history are such incredible feats of unhealthy eating that most would laugh them off as ridiculous hyperbole. Truth is stranger than fiction says the girl who once ate plain butter and pure packs of Equal. 

But the girl with poor habits becomes the mom and, for her kids' sake, healthy, normal human dietary habits must take hold. But old habits die hard my friends. And so often they do not die at all, they just hide... in the pantry.... with the mixed nuts. 

Half marathons have come and gone, sprint triathlons have been completed in respectable fashion and dance classes have been taken and even performed. My love of exercise has not changed; neither has my struggle with food. 

I've tried little tricks before. First, I just wouldn't purchase anything unhealthy, which was great when my kids were only eating out of jars or my breasts. But once they started eating real food, I realized that even semi-healthy things could turn evil in the hands of a food psycho. Saltines were eaten by the sleeve, Cheerios were doused in milk then doused in sugar and shoveled mercilessly into the welcoming abyss. And candy and special treats meant for the kids? Gone. Gone down the gullet of a sadistic little girl still crying, "I can eat anything so long as I exercise!"

Next, I tried to allow myself rewards. "Ok," I reasoned, "don't swarm and engulf everything meant to be for your children, and you can have dessert at night." Only problem with this, of course, is that if there were something 'dessert-worthy' be it cookies, hershey kisses or yogurt covered pretzels... when the 4 o'clock madness hit (moms, you know what I'm talking about) they were devoured. So, my husband had to hide said treats. It worked for  a little while because he's remarkably good at finding odd places to hide food. Yes it worked great... for a while. You can see how this played out can't you?

Think Mommy Dearest looking for her last hidden bottle of booze. Cabinet doors swinging, pots clanging, pupils dilating. A forlorn child enters the scene, "mommy?" "not now honey,"  "but mommy, I..."  "DON'T DISTURB MOMMY!! MOMMY's BUSY!! DARN YOUR FATHER WHERE IS THE CHOCOLATE?" 

Hmmm.... it was time for introspection.  

I couldn't put this responsibility on someone else, it was time for me to look at myself and my issues with food.

Unfortunately I took that notion too literally and came up with the following brilliant idea. 

I put mirrors up in my pantry. 

You see, like I said, I didn't want to put my food issues on my kids, so usually when I was partaking in a binge-like fest, it was while standing in the pantry. How filthy, how horrid how disgusting a habit, I thought. I would never want to look at someone participating in such a degrading activity. Clearly, with a mirror there, I would take one look at myself in the pantry and think, "Gosh, you are better than this, go now beautiful one, live healthily."  I would thank my kind mirror self and take my kids for a walk. Yes, that was the new shiny plan. 

Turns out that my mirror self is a huge psycho bitch. Huge. Think Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin mirror self. 

"Hey mirror self, it's cool, just grabbing some all natural unsalted almonds."

"Oh, that's nice, do they make you feel better?"

"No, it's not about feeling better... I was just needing a little protein."

"Sure, of course. Hey, did you see that those chips are open? May as well have one before you close it up nice and tight."

"Oh, umm yeah, good idea mirror self, just a few chips couldn't hurt."

"Thaaat's right, did that fill the hole that you feel your life has become? did it? if not... there are marshmallows right there to your left... they will provide the fulfillment you look for... fatty. Yes, cry... shove it in, the salt makes the pain go away!"

Right. Green Goblin. Clearly introspection is not my key to happiness. 

So, as the title indicated, I have a new plan. That plan is Yoga Ninja. 

Instead of having my husband hide food... I will have him hide my yoga exercise cards. He'll put them in each and every container of snack food I may be tempted to bust into when my self-control runs low. And once I find a card, I must immediately do the pose I find, killing that time and inclination to shove unwanted crap in my face. And I know I'll actually do it, because its kind of game-based (like finding the hidden food became a sick game!)

Going for Easter bunny ears? Wassaa Yoga Ninja!! Finding Downward Dog.  

Mid morning spoonfuls of ice cream? HIIYA!! how 'bout a Salamba sarvangasana.

Nachos look like a logical lunch? Boom shaka-ninja-laka your ass best get in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana.

I will spend that time and energy doing something so healthy for myself that my entire outlook will change and I will focus on the gift that is my body and all the incredible things it can do. 


I will find the card that shows a remarkably fit woman doing an ungodly flexible pose... and while I clumsily do my best to imitate it, I will think about how I just gave a stack of likewise women to my husband to look at and compare me with. Maybe I'll think about how even if I never ate again, my ribs still wouldn't be that small.  

where did you say the marshmallows were again green goblin self?

just one won't hurt... 

HiYah! Whoosh Zing.  Cat-Cow yoga card in my mallows... 

Oh, yes.  this will work.

Bring on bikini season beatches.

thanks for reading, 


Monday, April 15, 2013

Finish Line.

So what did you think when you were placing the bombs

at the finish line?

Athletes would be exhausted and thinking about themselves,

volunteers would be confused and scared,

families and friends, young and old would be helpless and stranded in the rubble?

How did it feel seeing you were dead wrong?

When runners ran to the danger instead of away,

when officials seamlessly transfered a recovery tent into a triage

and when, in the absence of a recovery tent,

Bostonians sprinted in and out of their homes and businesses providing

water, food, blankets and shelter for the stranded runners.

How did it feel when soldiers and citizens worked side by side

through the smoke
with more determination and compassion than fear in their eyes?

When they took the shirts off their backs to create bandages for strangers?

When they gave phones, rides, comfort and prayers to people they've never seen before?

Whether it was your god, your politics or the voice in your head

was this a 'great evil' you wanted to destroy?  did you accomplish your goal?

Because, just in case you haven't heard....

The volunteers stayed and continued to hand out water, blankets and medals.

The medical personnel and first responders sprinted to help with no regard for themselves.

And streams of athletes, after running 26 miles, continued on to nearby hospitals,
volunteering to give the blood from their veins to help anyone that was hurt.

It's true, we are sad and praying for the people that are hurt

but you did not change us.

And though we may be kind and loving, we also believe in justice.

And you just messed with Boston, you dumb son of a bitch.

And anything good and productive that you could have done with your life just
went up in a pathetic puff of misdirected cowardice.

And when you bombed the finish line,  another beginning was created.

Athletes are lining up to run in honor of the people whose race you destroyed.

People are uniting to wear colors and hold
 events to honor the great city you attempted to hurt.

And the red, white and blue will continue to strongly wave

over this land of the free and the home of the brave.

Prayers and love to every family affected by this tragedy.
Gratitude and respect to everyone that rushed into the chaos, you are who make this country strong.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Driving Miss Lorraine

Our girls' day had been, like our hair, cut short.  Even though we were both thrilled with our new 'dos, the freezing cold rain and bone biting wind made it absolutely miserable to traverse from car to store and back again.  So, we decided to make it a 'girls' day at home.'  A movie and some nail art in front of the fireplace. good times.

just a quick trip through Bojangles for a sweet tea and the party could begin.

But there she was.  She stood inexplicably outside of the bus shuttle looking confused as she glanced from the street sign, to her phone, to her umbrella that she couldn't quite work.

She must've decided she was on the wrong side of the road because she stepped out through traffic and, dropping her phone in the process, made like a chicken and crossed to the other side where a bus stop wasn't even an option.

I witnessed all this as I waited for an overpriced sugary beverage to be served to me in my heated car while my freshly coiffed daughter and I contemplated the warmth of our fireplace.

"Never ever ever do what I'm about to do, Mags," I heard myself say as I zipped the car into a tight U-Turn and pulled my car over.

I whispered a silent prayer that I wasn't being an idiot before I offered, "Excuse me, can I give you a ride?"

It took a touch of convincing, but she looked incredibly relieved as she got into the passenger side.

And that was the precise moment that my panic began; because, though everything in me knew that this was the right thing to do... I knew it was wrong too.

Here I was, picking up a stranger with my daughter in the car.  I nervously dialed Rob... as he was expecting us any moment.

Rob often reminds me that his biggest pet peeve from when we were dating was that I had a 'penchant to be friends with homeless people.'  He thought it was a death wish thing, or at best a disregard for personal safety thing.  It really wasn't... but as much as I try to tell him that I often found conversation with them more interesting than with most... he made me promise to do my best and curb that habit.

So, though Lorraine, as I learned her name was, certainly did not look homeless... I knew that he was not going to be pleased.

"Rob, hi, I just wanted to make sure you wouldn't get nervous... I'm taking Miss Lorraine to the Whole Foods."

The silence I expected answered me so I continued...  "It's fine, honey, I swear.  I'll be home in a bit.  I love you."

After a tad more chatter, enough for Rob to be assured we hadn't been hijacked and it was just a poor decision by me, we hung up with the clarity that this would be a serious discussion later.

On the fifteen minute ride through the freezing rain, Miss Lorraine explained to us how the DMV used fear and intimidation... like the Gestapo, to take away her license.  Her friends were all afraid of the DMV... again, like the Gestapo.

From there she went in between stories of her food allergies and sensitivities (thank goodness for Whole Foods) and stories, with genuine emotion, of how the Gestapo were supposed to be the police... she should have been able to trust them.

It was an incredible ride and an unexpected and heart wrenching education.

We said our goodbyes as she got out of the car and she tried to give me her umbrella, because 'she didn't like the way the darn thing closed anyway.'  And though we both knew we looked forward to disapproving lectures by our loved ones we knew that both giving and accepting the ride was good.  and right.

We say, WWJD... but though we know that clearly Jesus would give a lift to someone he felt was in need... we can't heal a knife wound like Jesus presumably could should we choose to try and help the wrong cat.

So how do we move forward?  How do we really live? As I drove home that day I drilled it into my daughter's head that not only should she never ever do what I just did, but that her brother could never hear about what we did because we had a tough enough time teaching him caution around strangers.  With every word I felt my heart breaking a little.   I can't help but feel that when I teach my children important social and survival skills, I am giving them the fruit of the forbidden tree.  Fear, distrust, knowledge must come before your human instinct to be kind, open and giving.

It is a confusing time for parents.  We are informed by our faith to love our neighbor as ourselves and to give the coat off our back and to forgive not 7, but 7 times 77 times.  Yet we must teach to not approach strangers, save your money and choose your friends carefully.

I'm at a loss so if you've got tips on how to navigate these waters, I'd love to hear 'em.

For now... I just pray that my kids have the perfect mix of faith, common sense, kindness and intelligence... to overcome any and all mistakes I'm making.

Especially since I may just give up and teach them to ask themselves, "what would Brian Boitano do?"

thanks for reading,