Sunday, October 27, 2013

iTune Shuffle

To help me get back into the blogging habit, I found a list of 100 "prompts." Some -- like this one -- will be simple and fun, others a little more thought-provoking.

Put your iPod on shuffle and write down the first six songs that play.

I'm always amused by the songs I have on my iPhone, mostly because I only listen to music when I'm working out, so there are artists and songs on there that I wouldn't listen to if I wasn't trying to psyche myself up to run on a treadmill (or in a race). But even if I wouldn't normally listen, they all have a story as to how they ended up on the gym playlist, beyond having a great beat.

1. Beat It by Michael Jackson
I loved Michael Jackson during the Thriller years. What teenaged girl didn't? I had posters on my walls, listened to Thriller (and older albums) non-stop, and waited for his videos to be played on MTV. And to top it all off, I had a Michael Jackson birthday cake!

2. Won't Keep a Good Girl Down by Marie Wilson
A great girl power song! I actually heard this song on an episode on 7th Heaven and they shows the music featured in the episode at the end. This was before iTunes, so I went to the record store and they had to order the CD for me. It's still one of my favorites.

3. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness
I was living in Baltimore when this song came out. I remember the first time I heard it, I was up at 98Rock to do a segment promoting the Museum. The producer was in love with the song and played for me between breaks. I instantly hated it the first time I heard it. And then, I heard it again and it grew on me. By the third time, I adored it.

4. Fat-Bottomed Girls by Queen
The ultimate "run your fat ass" keeps me motivated. Freddie Mercury needs no rationalization to be on anyone's iPod.

5. Livin' La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin
This song was huge when it came out. It was the summer I moved from Rochester to Baltimore, and I can remember hearing this on the radio all the time when I was making my drives for my interview, to apartment shop and finally to move down there.

6. Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake
When I worked out at the Wellness Clinic at IC, the rule with this song, if I was on a spinning bike was to stand through the whole damned song. And my trainer always made sure JT came on when she had me on a bike.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

I went home this weekend. And while I will probably always refer to Ithaca and Syracuse that way when I go to visit, I realized that it wasn't home anymore. I had crossed that line. I was driving from the mall to downtown, on the main road into town and was annoyed with traffic. I had forgotten how awful Route 13 was on a Saturday.

I cut through some neighborhoods and wound my way through little streets to get to the Commons where I was meeting Hope and Heather for lunch. Where once I saw charm, where once I felt the warm hug of home, of where I lived and belonged, I felt none of that. It was as if Ithaca and I had had a break up and we were at the stage in the relationship where we could be civil with each other, indifferent.

Heather is moving to North Carolina, so this was a farewell lunch, the end of a tradition for Hope, Heather and me. Viva was "our" place. When the College had the annual holiday lunch, we skipped the forced fun and chaos and headed downtown to enjoy being anti-social. When it was one of our birthdays, we headed down, just the three of us to celebrate. And when I moved to PA and would head "home" for a  visit, we met at Viva.

We always had the same thing. I'm not sure why they bothered looking at the menu on Saturday. Our orders are always the same. And we know how much each of us owes at the end, depending on if we got more than water to drink. And then over to Mayer's to buy three Lindor truffles -- dark for Hope, peanut butter for me, and mint or milk for Heather -- for dessert.

As I was driving through town, and even went I got a little teary-eyed and over-whelmed with emotion at the thought of Heather not being in Ithaca anymore, I didn't realize that I was making that break with the town. That happened the next day, back in Doylestown. That morning, when I was getting dressed for the gym, I pulled out the top pair of pants and top t-shirt from my drawer. I thought nothing more of it, other than they matched.

My t-shirt happened to be my "Ithaca is Gorges" one that Hope and Heather gave me as a going away present. As I was walking to the treadmills, a woman on the elliptical made a funny noise. There is no other way to explain it other than to say she exclaimed. And then, "I was in Ithaca yesterday."

I looked up at her. "So was I."

We made small talk. She and her husband were driving back from Buffalo and decided to go that way so they could eat at the Moosewood. I told her I had worked at the College.

"It's a beautiful little town. Would you ever go back?"

And this was the moment, the realization. I didn't even hesitate. I didn't even think about the answer. "No."

I didn't say it vehemently, but it was a solid answer. She was surprised. "Why not?"

"I like it here." And that was that. I enjoyed my time in Ithaca. Ithaca didn't do anything to me, but we grew apart. Or maybe it's more that we've outgrown each other. I live in Doylestown now. I like it here. This is home. And it's not just because I'm building a house here. Houses can be sold.

It's more that I'm building a life.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


A do-over. That's what I need with this blog. I attended a social media breakfast meeting this morning. Most of what I heard was common sense and some things I already knew, but it energized me just the same. It made me want to get back to blogging, something I haven't done in a while. So here I am, back at the blog.

Growing up, there were two things about myself that I always knew.
  1. I would someday be a mom.
  2. I was fat.
Now that I'm 43, neither of those things is true. How did I get here?

A lot of hard work on both counts. I've accepted that I don't get to be a mother. In fact not only accepted that I don't get to, am to the point where I don't want to. I'm 43, halfway to 44. Diapers, formula, feedings in the middle of the night, lack of freedom to go to the gym after work -- no thanks. I've created a life without a baby.

And in that life, I've discovered the me I never knew I could be. It's more than the "book cover," but it is the book cover that impacts the inner me. In the last year, I've lost nearly 45 pounds. I've gone from a size 20 to a 12 (and sometimes, even a 10!). I get to shop in any store I want to. And that's a new mindset for me.

I went shopping the other night and instinctively headed to Kohls. And then I realized what I was doing, and passed on by. Banana Republic. New York and Company. Ann Taylor. I get to shop in those stores now. And I bought something in each of them. It was an amazing feeling.

I struggle with the nutrition still. I worry about gaining all the weight back in one week. I think that a few days of eating my feelings will somehow derail me completely. And then I remember the tools I've used over the past year -- not just physically but mentally -- and take a deep breath. I make healthy choices at the very next meal. I throw away anything that I've brought in the house that shouldn't be here. And I know my limits.

Some people can have sweets in the house and have one, and close the bag. Not me. If the package is open, I will continually go back for more. And so I don't even tempt myself. I don't have that stuff in the house. No cookies or candy.

In good weeks, when I feel strong with my nutrition, I might treat myself to a mini peppermint patty if I'm over in the academic building and visiting the dean with the candy bowl in his office. And sometimes I might pass it by completely. On Saturday mornings, after the gym, while I do my weekly grocery shopping, I get less than $1 worth of bulk candy at Wegmans...all different kinds. M&M's, Reece's pieces, caramel cremes, whatever I'm in the mood for. Just a few pieces of each. And it satisfies any craving I might have for sweet, salty, decadent.

In bad weeks, when I'm not feeling so strong, when I've been eating my feelings, when my hormones are raging, there's a little chocolate and then a little more, there's a daily Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry instead of a weekly one, there's popping candy in Dr. Ben's office one after the other, not even tasting them, just unwrapping and eating, unwrapping and eating. 

And that usually happens not just because of hormones, or not just because of stress, or not just because boys are particularly stupid that week -- it's usually a combination, a perfect storm of those factors and my week being not a regular week. A week of lots of lunch meetings, or having to work late -- in other words, a week where I'm not in control of my meals and not in my routine. And when that happens multiple days in a row, all hell breaks lose. Or so I think in that moment.

Thankfully...luckily...the last year has taught me awareness. And I am very aware of what's happening. And I'm aware of it enough be able to snap myself out of it. And I'm also very disciplined when it comes to working out. I will never go two days in a row without sweating. Even if it means getting up at 5:30 a.m. and running before work.

It means having all the right foods in the house, and none of the wrong. It means planning my food for the next day. And it means putting in an extra 10 or 15 minutes at the gym for a few nights. As I learn how to live in this body, I become less and less freaked out when I slip. I let myself enjoy the food I'm eating. And I tell myself -- whether I truly believe it or not -- that I can get a mulligan the very next day, and get myself back on track.

And...knock on wood...every day, I have.