I Sing A Song of Wheat Berries. (And Baby Kale Mix.)

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I’m totally into whole grains. So today was the day I tried a new one. And all I can say is, “Holy wheat berries, BatGirl!”

So good and only 150 calories in a (1/4 cup (dry)) serving.

Here’s what I did:

Cooked the wheat berries.
Put a lot of Baby Kale Mix in a ginormous bowl.
Added 3 oz of fresh raspberries and 100g of fresh blackberries.
Threw on 2 ounces of crumbled goat cheese (I’m hungry and I adore goat cheese; I overloaded).
Tossed in 3T of Trader Joe’s Light Champagne Vinaigrette dressing.
Devoured it.

So delicious.

Per MyFitnessPal, 533 calories. And with an ounce of goat cheese, I would have cut it down to 450.

I’m full. Let’s see how long I stay that way.

STFD: Ease Up, Already

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I’m working on several posts currently, but they’re not fully formed. However, when I was driving home this morning, I had an experience that triggered a thought which led to an associated complete concept that I can post about right now.

I was exiting the highway at Union Street, which starts with a merging onto a rotary and for me ends with exiting off of the third exit. As I passed the second exit and headed toward the third, a merging car stepped on the gas to get out in front of me. Not what you’re supposed to do at a YIELD sign.

And then I got to thinking that even though the sign says YIELD, more often than not approaching cars move as if the driver has just read a sign reading FLOOR IT! And how that fact is really reflective of where we are headed directionally—not to mention speedingly—as a society. Sadly, societally, it’s not unlawful. But as I caught myself thinking “slow the eff down,” a thought I was directing to the driver of the offending car, it hit me that I could do much more emotional good for myself if I took that advice, if I slowed down for a second while she made her way along in front of me.

I have a lot to get done today so I’ll keep it brief:

When you’re tempted to speed up for no good reason, slow down. Take a breath. Take stock. Enjoy something about your surroundings. Express gratitude. Stop being in such a big hurry, particularly when you have no place to go. Think about all that you have and where you want to go. Reflect on where you’ve been and unload unnecessary weight.

Remember that life is a process, a journey, and you’re continually arriving. In the inimitable words of Ha Jin (a modern Chinese-American writer and poet), “Life is a journey and you can’t carry everything with you. Only the usable baggage.”

And decide for yourself whether it’s true what “they” say: the happiest people enjoy the scenery most on a detour.

But you decide. Remember, you have a choice. You can make it now.

MC Honor Run: Update

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I just posted about this. The next day, we were talking about it during our Mother’s Day Brunch. We discussed the amazing young woman in particular honored by this year’s race (Capt. Jennifer Harris) and the fact that her father was there and spoke briefly before the race began. My sister wondered whether we found the race sad and said she thought she would…her 14 year old son (and my nephew, who also is my running pal for this race) said, without missing a beat, “Yeah, but that’s why you have to run, mom. It’s important.”

I was and still am so proud to have shared a very special race with a very special young man.

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Balance. Balance. Balance. Balance. Balance.

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Sorry. Just thinking out loud. “Balance,” I tell myself. “Balance.” “Balance.” “Balance.” “Balance.” “Balance.”

No matter when, no matter what…I never know when something’s going to flick a mental domino for me and I start experiencing my own personal tipping point.

Overall, nothing has changed, yet the lens of life focuses on a different aspect of life, magnifying it, intensifying our attention on it. When that happens and the shift is toward the positive, we either don’t notice it, don’t consider it in context, or simply enjoy it while we have it. When it’s a downward swing, we feel the drop mentally—and maybe even physically. We notice it. We ruminate. We wallow. That’s a natural tendency.

With extremes, be they positive or otherwise, it’s important to consider the context. Look at the big picture. Assess things in the aggregate.

I’m thinking out loud here, because I’m trying to find my inner balance, thrown by a clunking car, a warm refrigerator, and and unemployment bank that is rapidly drying up. It’s overwhelming, and I have no control. I have to force myself to breathe, to accept and address the challenges, and to create situations that allow me to surround myself with all that is right with my world.

A Run a To Honor…An Honor to Run

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Up early this cloudy Saturday to run my favorite race of the year, a 5K—Marine Corps Honor Run. This year I’ll be running with my 14 year old nephew.

I’m waking up tired, because my training plan had me running 8 miles yesterday. This is really the first time in my running history that I’m having trouble getting through. I feel good, physically. Not injured. But when I run I don’t feel so good. I don’t get it, at all.

So here I am at a point where I’m having to self-talk and self-motivate. But I’m getting it done. I’m grinding through. I’m accessing my stable of motivational quotes, as I remind myself that I’m lapping the guy or girl on the couch.

That said, I’m learning something as this is happening. I’m still eating well. I’m not sleeping great at all. And I’m going out—and drinking—more frequently than usual. After a long, cold winter, the Spring Social Season is finally kicking off. Nah. There is no Spring Social Season. Just a lot going on, coincidentally, plus a few things that have been postponed over the winter due to the cruddy weather.

But the numbers don’t lie, and when I look at what’s going on with my training runs, I’m reminded how quickly things can shift direction in a bad direction due to bad choices. So I can choose to be depressed by my slower times, and feeling like I’m wearing cinderblocks on my feet or I can flip it back, knowing that good choices fuel good results.

Bring it!

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, YES!

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Yesterday started like a fairly typical day. Got up, drank my coffee, worked out…did P90X for the first time and immediately renamed it P22.5X because not only was I half-assing it, I was quarter-assing it! Bring it on, Tony Horton, I say…no matter that both knees were rug burned/blistered by the number of “knee pushups” I did on the berber carpet. You can’t beat me.

Showered and met my parents and sister for lunch, at our favorite local Chinese restaurant…when my mom told an awful story, the latest chapter in the lives of some old and dear family friends. The chapter was about a young woman. No risk factors. And lung cancer. I felt sick to my stomach as I tried to digest the news. I mean, I had just seen the young woman’s parents and sister at the road race I did on Sunday. It was so great to see them…we talked, we ran, we met up afterward for beers and cheers…it was at the time, as well as in hindsight, impossible to detect that anything was amiss, let alone that their lives had been upended by cucking fancer.

My mom was talking about the conversation she had with the young girl’s mother, and how upbeat and positive she was. As my mom was updating us, my mind wandered…my mom would know a thing or two about a positive attitude. My dad–her beloved husband and partner in crime–was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer 26 months ago.

I can’t even begin to detail that, nor is that my point.

Sometimes when we’re down, the old cliches make us feel worse, not better…someone says “when life give you lemons, make lemonade,” I think, “When someone says that stupid shit about the lemons, shove a lemon up their ass.” Sure the speaker means well, but really…lemonade?

In some situations, it’s hard to find the silver lining. And in many cases the silver lining is so tarnished it looks black, and casts a heavy shadow.

My point is this: platitudes and cliches delivered in a way devoid of empathy are not often useful…we hear “blah blah blah blah blah”…but at some point, usually when left to our own devices, we must think “Yes!” Yes, I can get through this? Yes, I can handle this? And yes, maybe there are some quotes or stories or something that I can read to re-frame my thinking.

Let’s face it. In some situations, there is no good. Looking for the good is futile (not to mention more depressing), and even the most helpful-intentioned people don’t help if they don’t get it. But in a situation where I can’t see good, I look at what surrounds it. And there, inevitably, is good. I inventory the good, I supplement the good with inpirational quotes and affirmation. Whatever it takes. I start to build momentum and volume and provide myself with context…I look at the big picture. Does that in any way change the root issue? No. But I can and do change how I respond to it, how I think about it, and how I choose to live in the face of it.

It’s not about listening to others and proving them right or wrong. It’s not about wallowing. It’s not about delusion or denial. It’s about a place for everything and everything in its place. And some things will be big. Huge. Overhwleming. Scary. And it will take time and patience and diligence to find positive context. But it will come. Sometimes the issue is small, and all it takes is a few focused moments to right one’s ship. And sometimes it is revealed that what seems big is in fact small, a realization that will get you back moving on your path to happiness.

We’re all different. We all do things in our own way and in our own time…but we all must stop waiting and start doing. It’s no different for our physical health than our emotional health. Start taking care of things, start influencing your thoughts and choices. Starting is a change in and of itself, and poitive change will beget positive change…if you let it. It’s ok that sometimes when others talk all we can hear is “blah blah blah.” But we must always remain open to listening to ourselves. Find quiet. Listen. Then be the voice. Be the change. Weather the storm.

To paraphrase Martin Luther King: Have faith and take the first step. No matter that you can’t see the whole staircase.