Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Exercise

Empathy versus Me Me Me

Why is it so hard to empathize with people who are different? I’m sitting here listening to some of my co-workers fussing about early voting.

I’m so confused. If you’re not going to early vote, and if you’re lucky enough to have a job where you can take the time out of your work day to go vote, why the hell do you care what provisions are in place for other voters?

Just to be clear, these people aren’t worried about voter fraud or anything like that (we all know that’s a Trump supporter problem anyway), they’re just irritated that they have to hear about the statistics of demographics of early voting.

This got me thinking about empathy, or lack thereof. How easy is it to see things from the perspective of someone else? To put yourself in their shoes and show compassion for their situation? Does having that ability make you any more likely to accept policies at home, work, or elsewhere that don’t directly benefit you?

Maybe it’s human to get that sense of injustice or to feel like something isn’t fair when things don’t directly benefit you. Or maybe it’s just a chance to stare your own privilege in the face and realize everything doesn’t have to benefit you to be important to the world around you.

But one can dream. If the world revolved around me:

  1. My co-workers wouldn’t all take lunch at the same fucking time and leave me on the phone by myself.
  2. My bosses would fix the schedule so I never worked on a short-staffed shift.
  3. Maids in NYC would suddenly start giving out “You Don’t Have Time To Clean, You Poor Thing” discount coupons.
  4. My yoga studio would consult my work and volunteer and travel schedules before scheduling vinyasa and aerial yoga classes.
  5. No one would call my husband for gigs between February 5th and February 15th.
  6. Subway platform elevators would never again smell like pee or vomit or shit or armpit or ass crack or perfume.
  7. People without children would get to vote on which section all the people with children sat in on the plane.
  8. The vending machine at work would never run out of cheesy poofs.
  9. Everything Colin Kaepernick says about the state of blacks in this country would immediately be turned into a bumper sticker and refrigerator magnet.
  10. You could subscribe to Colin Kaepernick’s refrigerator magnets, and all proceeds would go to make the Know Your Rights Camp national.
  11. My mom and dad would move to New York.

The world doesn’t revolve around me. I get it. It’s why I have to go to yoga smack in the middle of the afternoon on my days off, when I least feel like putting on pants.

That being said, I empathize with my aerial teacher, who is able to schedule her yoga classes around her other job(s) and auditions and whatnot.

And also, I love statistics. Who gets irritated about statistics? Nate Silver, my statistics boo, could make anyone love statistics. Well… I know that’s not true, but I wish it were true.

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Yoga Is Kicking My Butt, At My Request

Ever since our niece came to visit NYC at the end of March, I’ve been going to yoga classes regularly. Pretty much every single day off from work, I’ve gone. I work full time, but it’s all squeezed into three days a week.

I think going to yoga 4 days a week is pretty good. It’s way up from the once a month I was exercising before. The motivation really comes from how close the studio is. This morning, my first class started at 11am, and the alarm was set for 9am.

At 10:45, I jumped out of bed. In 15 minutes, teeth got brushed, Emergen-C got drunk, yoga clothes got thrown on, and teeth got brushed. It’s really a blessing to have a studio so close to home.

I did something today I’ve never done before. I took two yoga classes. Back-to-back at that. I was tired as hell afterwards, but I felt so strong and so good and so proud of myself!

The first class was vinyasa, and for the first time since I started yoga, I was able to do tree pose equally on both sides and grow my branches. For those who don’t know what that means, I basically went from this:

to this:

Sometimes it’s like that. You do the same thing day in and day out without seeing much progress. Then suddenly, the progress leaps unexpectedly forward, surprising you.

The second class was aerial yoga, and being a bit tired from the first class added a layer of difficulty. But surprisingly, it became that much easier to push. I left the cirque tricks alone today, but did a lot more when it came to the ab and Pilates-style moves.

When I felt my legs lift off the ground for the first time, purely on the strength of my arm muscles pulling against the silk fabric, I was so elated. I want to feel like that all the time!

Because I basically know my schedule for the month, all yoga classes for this month are booked. There are thee more 2-a-days coming up. Usually vinyasa followed by aerial. I can’t wait to see what new ways my body will respond.

I am finally taking care of my body. I’m treating it better than I have in years. I’ve been saying it’s not about a goal weight or size. I haven’t lost any weight, and I still wear the same size clothes. Being not-in-my-20s means losing weight is a slower process.

If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t want to lose a bunch of weight. The smallest I’ve ever been, the day I met my husband, I thought of myself as too small. I was the size of my bone structure, so my opinion was wrong. But I grew up with a grandma who always said something to the effect of, “don’t lose too much weight, what if you get sick, you’ll need to have weight to lose.” Or something like that.

I know people aren’t really getting undiagnosable diseases like consumption anymore, at least not at the same rate they were in the 30s and 40s. But still… It’s part of my programming I can’t seem to break.

So instead, I focus on how good I feel in my body. How strong I feel. How flexible I’ve become. How much energy I have each day. The better food choices I’m making. And I try not to feel too happy that I haven’t lost weight. I’m only 31, the weight loss is inevitable if I keep this up.

Focusing on being as good to my body. Feeling pride that I can take two classes in one day and not just survive but thrive. Dreaming of the day when all of this is second nature rather than a new lifestyle I’m hoping and praying I can hold onto.


When Easter Gets Cancelled, I Bake & I Bike

One of the best things about living in New York City is that everything can be delivered or outsourced.

Laundry? We drop off our clothes and our laundry lady hooks them up.

Cleaning Supplies? Soap.com or Amazon.com are happy to help.

Need a babysitter? Care.com has you

Groceries? For my neighborhood, it’s either a co-op or FreshDirect.

Chris and I dislike grocery shopping so much that even a co-op is asking too much of us. So we use FreshDirect. And since this is New York, eventually the delivery and customer service was going to let me all the way down.

Back around Thanksgiving, I made the mistake of not submitting my order by the time deadline. Chris and I ended up in a grocery store at 10pm the night before Thanksgiving, buying all the stuff that wasn’t delivered. I wasn’t happy about that, but that was my fault.

This past weekend however, is totally on FreshDirect. When I woke up on Saturday, I saw an e-mail from them saying they were trying to reach me by phone.

I called them and they said the driver came by at 9am, but no one was home. My angry black woman almost came out right then y’all. I informed the lady on the phone that my husband and I had been home all morning, and we have the worlds loudest doorbell, so there’s no way they rang our doorbell and missed us.

She said they tried to call, and they “always call”, and why didn’t I answer the phone? I explained to her, that “always” doesn’t apply in my case because in almost 2 years of deliveries, I’ve never received a phone call from any driver ever because we only request the delivery when we’re home, and it’s “never” been an issue until today.

She said she’d reschedule the delivery and they would swing back by our house before ending their route, around 2p.

Of course, 2p came and went, with no delivery. I called back around 4p to find out what happened. This time I got a man who told me this:

-it does say it was scheduled for re-delivery

-they didn’t re-deliver my groceries

-they have gone back to the warehouse and dismantled my assembled groceries

-their shift is over and they’ve gone home

-he doesn’t know why my groceries weren’t delivered

-is there anything else he can do for me

 

So I tell him:

-you haven’t actually done anything for me

-Just confirming, that my Easter dinner is cancelled, and there’s nothing you can do about that?

-Who do I speak with to file an official complaint?

 

He took $25 of my next order. He rescheduled my delivery for Wednesday.

While waiting for the food to arrive, Easter was over, and that meant carbs!

I couldn’t decide what to make, but I knew it was going to include bread or potatoes or rice. I ended up modifying a recipe for apple muffins and made and apple-blueberry-pear loaf in a bundt pan. It was delicious.

For good measure, I also made red onion-garlic-baby bella mini frittatas. Breakfast-on-the-go was what I was going for, and it worked pretty well.

I also considered making butter cookies, but decided against that. I have quite the list of carb-y goodness that I’ve just been waiting to eat, but I don’t want to overdo it. So I’m pacing myself and only eating one thing at a time.

Sunday: that apple loaf thingee

Monday: pasta

Tuesday-Friday: I ate a bag of potato chips. I split the bag into portions so that I stayed under my daily carb limit. I’m seriously impressed that I managed to stay within the limit

And today, I had french toast. And it was so damn good. Definitely over the carb limit, so maybe no carbs tomorrow.

I fell into the trap y’all. I did a little bit of exercising, so I thought it was okay to go overboard.

In my defense, I really did a lot of exercising. I went to yoga yesterday, and it felt really good.

I love my yoga studio in Brooklyn. I go to Sacred Yoga, and the teachers are so great there. This class was a foundations class, and it was so beneficial because I got to press reset on some on my yoga poses. Reinforcing all the things I’m supposed to be focusing on in each pose was great.

Since I bought my new bike on Easter, I was happy to ride it to yoga. I love this new bike. The only thing wrong with it is it doesn’t have that step through thing that makes it easy to wear a skirt with, but just look at it.

I had to add a basket, a kickstand, head & tail lights, a water bottle holder, and tire locks. But totally worth it if I stay safe and my bike stays un-stolen. Image from Fulton Bikes

Riding it makes me feel so exhilarated. It goes pretty fast without much effort on my part and the gear shifts making riding the mild elevation changes in my neighborhood much easier than on my other bike.

I also decided I would ride the bike to the train station going to and from work to get in a little bit more exercise. The first day, I just went to the nearest station, but today I decided to go much further. I got almost all the way to downtown Brooklyn before I got tired.

I hopped off the bike, locked it up with my super high duty lock, and headed down the subway steps. I reached into my purse to grab my Metrocard.

And nothing.

I didn’t have my Metrocard. I didn’t have my backup Metrocard. I didn’t have my debit or credit cards. I didn’t even have my ID or the singles I keep just in case. I only had about $1.38 in change floating in the bottom of my purse.

Everything I needed was in my yoga bag. So I walked my tired butt back up to the bike, called work to tell them I’d be late, and biked back home.

By the time I got to my house, My legs were feeling very jelly-like. Mind you, this was hardly any distance at all, only a few miles. But for me, who has done next to no biking or serious exercising in months, I was done.

I took the bike back inside, grabbed my money and ID, and went to the bus stop.

The good news is that I got in my full exercise on the bike for the day. I’m thinking I should keep it up and do my Tracy Anderson DVD when I get home. I unfortunately can’t do yoga everyday because of working in Manhattan and the studio not being open early or late enough. We’ll see how I feel when I get home.

I’m trying to ramp up the exercise, and go with what feels good. But I’m also feeling like I should set some sort of schedule that I can make myself stick to. It’s a fine line to walk.

I’ve started and stopped this “attempt to get healthy” thing so many times. I just really want it to stick this time.

I’ve got good motivation though.

I just got plane tickets for Chris and I to go to the Dominican Republic this August for that family vacation. If that’s not motivation to get my body right, I don’t know what is.

I also got my ticket to go visit my parents next month. I’m going during the week, right before Mother’s Day. Should be a fun couple of days. It’s going to feel so weird going to their new house and that being their home. But I’m excited for it.

I’m excited for a lot right now: the sandwich I’m going to get from Potbelly one day this week, riding my bike more (NOT today), shopping for a swimsuit this summer). All these damn endorphins have got me going. Cross your fingers that the feeling lasts!


Just The Icing, Still No Cake

Easter is on Sunday, and I’m so excited! Part of me wishes I could say it was religious reasons, but it’s not. It’s for food and shopping reasons.

Lent ends real soon. And I gave up carbs and shopping for Lent, as you know. So all of you can go from being mini cupcakes back to being regular human people. You can keep your whipped cream frosting if you’d like.

One of my friends, the lawyer has a plan for the end of her Lent. Our girl is having a birthday dinner in Chicago on Saturday night. And of course there will be a cake. So my friend the lawyer is planning on getting a piece (or three) of this birthday cake and keeping it until midnight. After dinner, and likely dancing, there will be birthday cake.

When she said her plan for ending Lent, I knew I had to come up with one of my own. I thought about making one of the amazing recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest recently, just go full carb.

But that didn’t seem appropriate. I certainly haven’t lost any real weight since I’ve cut out carbs, but I feel a bit like I’ve cut an addiction. So I think I’ll just make some roasted red potatoes to go with my Easter dinner, and leave the carbs at that.

Speaking of Pinterest, I’ve been told by a few people how amazing it is, I’ve even been called a walking Pinterest, which I wasn’t sure was a compliment. But I love Pinterest!

All the hair ideas, clothing ideas, food ideas, drink ideas, design ideas. And I’m sure that’s just tip of the iceberg. I probably has one million and one cute cat pictures, I just haven’t stumbled across those boards yet.

I’m only using it (right now) to have a board for my Stitch Fix stylist and to get great accessory ideas. I got an idea I got for how to wear a head scarf, and I tried it out on Tuesday.

2015-03-31 23.39.15

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But back to the end of Lent. If I’m not going to go all carb, all day, I have to do something, and that something is going to be shopping.

It’s not going to be just shopping for the sake of shopping though. I’m going to be useful shopping. I’m going to take some of the money I’ve saved not shopping during Lent and buy a bicycle.

Every single bike I’ve ever owned has been stolen. I guess that’s the price of living in the hood (or hood-adjacent) all my life.

So while priority #1 for this bike will be the usual: it must be super cute, priority #2 is that it must must be lightweight.

The reason my last bike was stolen is because I had a cheap lock on it and kept it locked up outside. It was just so heavy to carry in and out of the brownstone where I live.

So this new bike that I will hopefully purchase on Sunday will:

1) be cute

2) be very lightweight

3) be turquoise

4) have some sort of basket for carrying things, and some other way to carry stuff on it

5) be old-style looking

6) be a relatively reasonable price

7) help me get my ass back to yoga

I’d like it to look something like this:

I just really want to get back to yoga. I always feel my best when I go regularly, I still have my monthly membership, and with a bike I can easily get back and forth to the studio.

Perhaps I’ll ride the bike even more now that Spring has truly come to NYC. With a real lock this time, I’ll have less worries of it being stolen. Then perhaps the bike can provide useful transportation as well as exercise.

Exercise is something I need in my life. Not just because I’m 30 and my body is already responding differently (ie, worse) to the lack of exercise. And not just because my family is going on vacation to the Dominican Republic this August and I’m trying get that beach body right. But because I want to feel like myself again.

I want the increased energy, I want the better sleep at night, and I want the confidence.

I want to be able to grab anything out of my closet and not have to hope it’ll zip up today. I want to wake up refreshed, not be so lethargic.

And the fact that the key to all of this seems to be shopping, well that’s just the whipped cream icing on the cake. Well, still no cake. I’m going to try and stay low carb even after Lent is over.