Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Five @ 5

Every Friday I will wake up at 5am, put myself at my desk, and write about the first five things that pop into my head. An effort to make sure I post something at least once a week. If you want to write you should write. 

1. This post is going to be quick and dirty because in the next 60 minutes I need to pack, set my cat's thyroid pills out on the table, eat something, take my trash out, caffeinate, dry my hair, and head to South Station so I can be on my way to MAINE. Oh thank goodness for Maine. Portland, to be specific. My plans include lunch at Eventide Oyster Co. by myself so I can introvert (it's a verb now) and think and put too much horseradish on everything, and then I'm off to time spend with two of the most wonderful children in New England and their family. To the right: the three of us the last time I visited. One branch of my father's side of the family lives in Maine. These are my cousin's children. I adore them. I cannot wait to see them. And their parents, aunt, grandparents, and dog. My heart might burst. 

2. One of my co-workers mentioned last week in passing that the first thing she does every morning when she wakes up is drink a large glass of water. Before she even gets out of bed! This blew my mind, so I tried doing it every single morning this week and I have to say, it did make me feel better. At least physically. A little hydration and self-care before your feet even hit the floor sets a good tone for the day. I will keep on doing this.

3. I took a few days off from Facebook this week. I just felt like I should have some space from it and try using it less. It was anticlimactic. I didn't feel all that different. I also realized how many of my friendships and relationships are Facebook-based, and I genuinely missed people. I don't know how I feel about this. Is Facebook evil? Is it ruining genuine friendships or sustaining them? I wonder if when the telephone was still a somewhat new invention if people asked themselves, "Is the telephone evil? Should I get a handle on my use and really try to write letters to my friends more often instead of relying on this technology?" 

4. This soup is happening for me on Sunday afternoon. How simple and delicious does that sound? I love anything with white beans in it.

5. I don't even know what to say about the BodyJam class I taught last night. I realize I am paid to teach and I'm there to serve the participants and ensure that they get a great workout, but sometimes I feel like I should be paying the gym and not vice versa. I believe I gave my crew a good and safe workout last night, but there was something about this class that was also so special to ME. Maybe it was the people in the room, maybe it was the music, maybe it was the time in the week (maybe it's almost my time of the month?), but I really never wanted it to end and I felt lighter than I had in weeks when it was over. Sometimes I feel shy about how much teaching BodyJam means to me. It's a simple 55-minute cardio dance class, but it is is like the savior that keeps on saving. I don't know what I'd do without it. I hope the people who take my classes know how spectacular I think they are and how much teaching them means to me.     

Okay. I'm going to Maine now. Everyone have a nice weekend. Bye.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Five @ 5

Every Friday I will wake up at 5am, put myself at my desk, and write about the first five things that pop into my head. An effort to make sure I post something at least once a week. If you want to write you should write. 

1. This has been a weird week. Not bad. Just weird. I feel foggy and not like myself. I'm also LATE writing this thing. I'm hoping for a super boring week next week where nothing happens and I can autopilot myself through work and teaching and go home and be a hermit and make tomato sauce and read my overdue library book with my hair in a pile on top of my head.

2. Lipstick. I want to buy ALL of it. On Wednesday night my friend Katie had me try on something called Girl About Town by Mac and I'd never felt prettier. I've been wearing the same lipstick shade since I was in the actual seventh grade. THE SEVENTH GRADE. Black Honey by Clinique. Don't get me wrong, it's a really nice, classic shade. It's not really a color though, it just sort of enhances the natural color of your lips. Girl About Town was like POW. Lately anytime I see a picture of myself I think I look like an elderly man. This made me look like an actual girl. So this weekend it's on, I'm buying tubes and tubes of it. New lease on life. 

3. Speaking of Katie, if any of you know her please do not tell her this or she will get the Beygency after me, but Beyonce isn't always my favorite. I like her very much, I enjoy her music, but I'm not always blown away by it. However, this week I am! Formation. I cannot stop listening to it. The second I heard it, I wanted to choreograph something for my class to it, and it took me no more than 15 minutes to know exactly what that choreography would be. Alas, I've also noticed a LOT of heated debate about it and am struggling to find a "clean" version of the song. So, if anyone wants to come over to my apartment and dance in my living room with me, please let me know. This might be my favorite thing I've ever created.   

4. This video will never ever ever fail to make me laugh.

5. I realized this week that I have been watching The Bachelor for almost 15 years. I watched the Season One finale in my very first apartment in Brighton while literally standing up and holding a rabbit ear antenna on top of my television set. Because of all the static, I could only see half of Alex Michel's face when he rejected Trista. I don't own a TV nowadays, but I have a Hulu subscription just so I can watch The Bachelor. I love it. I love every single minute of it. I love The Bachelor. I love The Bachelorette. I love Bachelor in Paradise. I love The Women Tell All. I love After The Final Rose. I love the new Bachelor Live. I loved Bachelor Pad. All of it.I had a moment two summers ago where I was in my bed watching Bachelor in Paradise on my laptop, eating popcorn, and drinking a glass of white wine and I started to CRY I was so happy. Not like, a little choked up because I was feeling so content and peaceful. Like noisy sniffly crying to the point where my then-boyfriend came running into the bedroom to see what was wrong with me. It makes me that happy. And this current season is SOLID gold and you should be watching it. I wish I was a smarty pants Downton Abbey or House of Cards person. I tried Making a Murderer and could only deal with six episodes before I quit. It bothered me that all of those people began their phone conversations by saying "Yeee-aawwhh" lazily. Even though it's a "reality" show, The Bachelor is a complete and total escape from reality for me and I will continue to love it until its final Final Rose.   

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Five @ 5

Every Friday I will wake up at 5am, put myself at my desk, and write about the first five things that pop into my head. An effort to make sure I post something at least once a week. If you want to write you should write. 

1. It is snowing. IT IS SNOWING. Light and fluffy but relentless and substantial flakes. And? I have a day off today. A full and complete day off from both jobs. My body clock longs to stay awake until 3am and sleep until 11am, so that is exactly what I did and that is why Friday Five @ 5 is Friday Five at Noon today. I love waking up to the sound of a plow and that weird light creeping under the shade that let's you know there's white stuff happening outside. I jumped out of bed, threw some metabolic diet cat food in Buster's dish, put a coat on over my pajamas, put a hat on over my scarily large hair, and flew out the door to come here and eat and drink coffee and write this thing. Luckily, I carry a travel toothbrush and toothpaste in my bag because I could not get outside fast enough and forgot to brush my teeth. Gross. I can't help myself. Snow is my favorite. To me it means you have permission to walk slowly, to never change out of your really ugly but comfortable shoes, and to cancel your plans and stay in your nest. These are a few of my favorite things. 


Come on.
3. Last night I made a new friend and learned a new game. I stopped in at Vito’s on my way home to eat three tacos and catch my breath after a long day and while I was there I met 24-year old Alan. Alan is a very nice young man and a fellow North End resident. He is the first male to introduce himself out of the blue and speak to me in a bar in close to three years. Congratulations, Alan. He had me play this game called (excuse the language) "Marry Fuck Kill." Sounds nice, right? I had never heard of it, but I asked a few friends of varying ages if they’d heard about it and they had, so I guess I just live under a rock. Basically someone names three people, and you have to decide which person you'd marry, which person you'd f$%*, and which person you'd kill. He said it really fast, "Gronk, Brady, Edelman. Marry, Fuck, Kill." Ummmmmm. What? No? He persisted. I settled on doing all three to Edelman. Gronk seems too silly and nice and pretty for me to do anything to him with a straight face. Brady is an incredible athlete and I adore him and worship him like the good New England girl that I am, but he doesn't seem human to me. I feel like I could do all three things to him, or to a REALLY expensive, top-of-the-line kitchen appliance and it would give me the same type of feelings. Edelman is... yeah. All three. 

4. I'm making these cranberry white chocolate chip scones this afternoon and I'm going to eat every single one of them before Monday morning. My friend Ally mentioned them to me this week and I've been hyperventilating with excitement ever since. How GOOD do they sound?

5. Yesterday I cried in an elevator really loudly for 10 seconds. I love my job. I love our mission, I love my bosses, I LOVE the people I work with, and I love being busy, but I broke yesterday. I was trying to carry an awkwardly large box of flip charts, an awkwardly large bag of event supplies, my own bag, and my phone because I was mid-email when I got out of my Uber and entered my office building. I was exhausted. I stopped at the security desk that I walk by every single day, and told them I didn't have enough hands to dig out my badge and could they open the gate for me. Nope. No. They could not. So I tried to maneuver my one free finger into my bag to get my badge, and I dropped my giant box of flip charts and they exploded all over the floor because they were falling apart already. The security guard did not offer to help me pick them up. I collected myself and got in the elevator and lost it. I hope they have a camera in there. Sometimes I hope they don't because I occasionally use my elevator time to practice choreography for the classes I teach and I don't need the guys behind the desk seeing me shoulder whip, but yesterday I really hoped they saw me bawl my eyes out. I know rules exist for a reason. I appreciate that we have a security team keeping our building safe, ESPECIALLY with the way the world is nowadays, but sometimes you just really need someone to cut you a break. 

On Tuesday night I was teaching a dance class and about halfway through I noticed that one of my participants was wearing Uggs. Big big no-no. Huge. The rule: indoor shoes only. In my work as a fitness instructor, I'm big into rules. You don't get to take the class if you don't have a ticket. You HAVE to shut your phone off if you're in the room or leave it up at the stereo podium and walk yourself up there to check it if you need to keep it on. If you arrive after the warm-up you can't stay because it's not safe to do the workout without a proper warm-up, and I don't want anyone injuring themselves. I love rules. I delight in them. But I could see and sense how badly this girl in Uggs wanted to be there. She didn't even have a real shirt on. Between songs I made a joke about her choice of fitness footwear and she timidly said that she'd forgotten her whole bag but really really didn't want to miss class. I let her stay. Maybe I'll get written up. Maybe I'll get fired. But this wasn't laziness or a lack of respect for the rules, this was just someone who clearly had a bit of a rough time getting her shit together that day and really needed to dance. So I let her. I hope she had a better time the rest of the week for having been there. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

PBJ Everyday

I hate lunch. I take that back. I love lunch. I love lunch when I'm at home on a snowy day wearing my favorite charcoal grey socks and eating tomato sauce. I love lunch when I'm with my parents in the North End on a Saturday afternoon and the meal lasts 90 minutes. I love lunch on my birthday by myself at the Four Seasons eating a big Bristol Burger with a big glass of Pinot Noir while I make big plans for my new year. I love lunch. I HATE lunch during the work week.

I actually hated lunch during the school week, too. I was fortunate as a child to have a mother who sent me to elementary school everyday with enough food to nourish me for six hours. Unfortunately I'd arrive home REALLY hungry because I thought that food was gross and refused to eat it, so she'd make me an actual steak and an actual baked potato for my after-school snack. I'm a brat. And my mother is a saint.

In high school I'd get a cheese and pickles sub everyday made by a gentleman in the North Quincy High School cafeteria who looked exactly like Steven Spielberg. I'd then sit at the table and eat only the pickles and a few pieces of the cheese. I hated lunch. Have I mentioned that?

I know I should stop my whining and behave like a responsible person who understands that there are bigger problems in the world and who brings a lunch comprised of greens and lean protein to work everyday in one of those adorable insulated lunch bags. I know there are thousands of articles on Mind Body Green and Buzzfeed and Pop Sugar telling me what a "snap" it is to do this. I know there's an Instagram hashtag #notadesklunch that I should look to for inspiration. I've asked friends, one of whom is an actual nutritionist, for advice. I just hate it all. You can't bring things in Tupperware anymore because everyone will yell at you that plastic BAD for you and you need to carry things in glass. I don't want to carry glass. I have 80 pounds of crap to cart around most days and glass is too heavy (#bodypumpinstructor.) I can't do frozen lunches because they all taste exactly the same and that's weird. Also, everyone who yells about plastic being BAD for you will also yell about frozen lunches having too much sodium in them.

Buy lunch everyday? Tried it. I said, "Screw it. This is stressing me out too much. I'll just buy lunch and cut back on spending in other areas." Nope. I have a gluten allergy. This means I can't "run out and grab a sandwich." I have to wait in line for 25 minutes at smug Sweetgreen, eat lunch at 11am in order to get one of the 8 slices of gluten free pizza made per day at the cafe in my office building's lobby, go to Boloco which (I don't get this at all) is actually really expensive and not good, or walk to the kebab cart in Copley Square and get a Greek salad which is DELICIOUS but so bad for you. (Sorry, Francisco. I miss you.)

I've tried to do just snacks for lunch. I love snacks. Why not? Yogurt and fruit. Yeah. Let's be healthy. Nope. Gross. Boring. Awful. And the image of yogurt sitting in an office fridge with my initials written on it in Sharpie... can't.

Hummus. A tub of hummus that I'll eat all week. Yes. Hummus is the answer. No. No, it's not. Why? I eat the entire container (no matter how big it is) on Monday and then I'm out of luck.

I KNOW. I'll bring a couple avocados, an onion, a bell pepper, a bag of cilantro, a lime, my Trader Joe's Sea Salt grinder, a pack of corn tortillas, and my citrus squeezer to work and just MAKE fresh guacamole everyday! No, Ann. Stop. Are you going to keep a molcajete and a cart on wheels in your cubicle, too? Enough.

I can picture my poor ex-boyfriend standing in my kitchen on Sunday nights after 10pm feverishly dividing cooked quinoa and beets and parsley and other lovely ingredients up amongst six Pyrex containers because he insisted that we bring and not buy lunch during the work day. I was onboard with it, but they had to be REALLY good lunches. (And I wonder why I'm single.) (And all of those Pyrex containers are still in my office.) (And we broke up a year and a half ago.)

I wish I could just not have lunch at all. I wish I could just make myself not hungry midday and not stop working and not think about it and just keep moving. Save my feelings for breakfast and dinner.

Turns out I CAN.

The answer came to me while teaching the aforementioned BodyPump class. I was leading my class through five minutes and 20 seconds of lunges to this songPeanut Butter Jelly by Galantis. While practically blacked out from the fatigue in my right quadricep, I threw my instructor self on cueing cruise control for two counts of eight, daydreamed about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and felt literally nothing. No feelings. None. I felt neutral. I rarely feel that way. I either LOVE something (Bristol Burger) or HATE it (Sharpie Yogurt.) There's no middle ground with me about anything - food, people, jobs, shampoo, clothing, weather, presidential candidates, books, everything. Whatever it is, I am in love with it or it's dead to me.

For some reason, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is an outlier - a neutral, no-feelings, hunger elimination device that I can rely on everyday. I don't hate it. I don't love it. It's inexpensive. It's gluten free, thanks to Udi's bread. It keeps me full for several hours. It takes 2 minutes to throw together at my desk and eat while I'm working. Its ingredients don't really go bad. If I have a week where I unexpectedly have meetings and lunch is provided or I'm out of the office for some reason, I won't be stuck with a bag of kale or quarter pound of sliced deli turkey in danger of rotting in my fridge to repurpose into a dinner I don't have the time or desire to make. I can just use the PB&J next week. It's void of all feelings, deadlines, stress, and pricey-ness. I don't need to wash it or chop it. It doesn't require a glass container. Or a plastic one.

I'm four days into my PBJ Everyday eating plan. It's so easy and relaxing and stress free I want to flop on the floor like a rag doll. In a good way. It's the biggest, most delicious check on the list I can imagine. It feels like I've had a cold for 20 years and my ear finally popped. I'm in heaven.

I take that back. I'm not in heaven. I'm just not hungry.