Monthly Archives: September 2011

Just a Taste

I have come across a problem living down here.  It’s not going to seem like a big problem at first, and some of you are probably going to just shake your head, chuckle a bit, and then move on, but hear me out!

 

My palate is in the wrong hemisphere.

 

Allow me to explain, please.  It’s the end of september.  And down here the cherry blossoms are blooming, the sun is shining more often, we just had daylight savings time so it’s lighter later.  And the food is becoming bountifully spring harvests. Like asparagus and strawberries.  And it’s a beautiful time of the year.

 

But, and here is my problem, my mind wants autumn. Apple cider. Caramel apples. Apples and honey. Sweet potato and pumpkin pie.  A big turkey dinner with all the trimmings come november.  But it will be the end of spring, almost summer come November, and there is nobody that’s going to want to cook a big thanksgiving meal in the middle of spring! let alone eat one!

 

My mouth and taste and cravings are still stuck in the northern hemisphere!  I made challah yesterday for the new year, and it’s full of dried cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger.  The scents and tastes and smells of autumn and golden leaves and crisp breezes and the occasional smell of a fireplace that somebody has lit up just a bit early.  Those last lazy days of summer where the sky just starts to get darker, and all you wanted to do was just enjoy the warmth a bit longer, because you knew that winter was coming.

 

Those are the flavors that I am begging for right now, that my mouth is craving. I can’t even begin to say how much I would love some fresh apple cider right now.  But it seems more like fresh lemonade is in my future.  Which is great! I love lemonade!

 

My tongue just wants it to be autumn!

Rollercoaster

Man.

Life can be such a downer sometimes.

No really.

I start feeling like I can move up and on with things and life just pushes me back down with a firm hand.

sucks.

really.

but what can you do?

Get back up, off your ass, dust yourself off, and push back.

There can be tears, it’s ok to cry.

But don’t let yourself be kept down.

Fight.

Stand.

Win.

Ok, so this post started off to be just a normal post and then I started thinking about a roller coaster and I wanted to do a ‘typing format’ experiment, so I forwent my usual doubletap enter button and only single tapped it in order to attempt to give that first bit the look of a roller coaster. Up and down. Up and down. Not sure if it worked or not, but there you go.  e.e. cummings i am not.

But no, emotional roller coasters are a thing.  They happen.  You don’t have to be depressed to go through them. You don’t even have to be female.  Everybody has their good days, their great days, and their bad days. And their really bad days.   Last sunday was a really really bad day for me.  It actually started saturday night and just evolved into a massive mess on sunday.  My brain started focusing on everything that could go wrong. My visa application being denied. Getting hurt. Staying unemployed. Not finding a job that I enjoy. E coming to resent me because I’m not working. Losing focus on this weight loss.  Being overweight to begin with. being thirty and not having a clear sense of anything that I like other than cooking, american politics, and writing.  Also, classical music.  But what can you make all of that into?  A cookbook about american politics?  How would that even work?

But, slowly I got out of it. After bouts of just sitting down and crying for no reason, I slowly fixed myself.  And that happens.  To everybody.  Nobody is perfectly happy all the time. If they were, they’d probably be dead bone of the rest of us poor people would have shot them by now.  I am, in my life now, the happiest I have ever been.  I have a man who loves me, I have some goals that I’m working towards, and I have friends.  I am in so many ways ecstatically happy.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t feel sad at times.  That I don’t give into those voices in my head on bad days.  That I can’t curl up in a ball and cry for no real reason.  Crying is good for the soul. It cleanses.

What I’m saying is, it’s ok to have a bad day.  You need to have one every now and then.

And then, you need to get your ass back up off the ground, look those bad moods in the eyes, punch them into the oblivion, and focus on getting back to where you were before.   It’s ok to have a bad day. It’s not ok to let one bad day derail everything.

Also, Happy New Year!

Sculpt 6k

Well. I’ve gone and done it now.

 

I signed up, registered and everything, to do a 6k run/walk in december.

 

6k?!!?  Holy smokes!

 

It’s pretty much a flat course, down in the CBD, 2 loops around a 3k block, with some chance to look out over the harbor on what will hopefully be a gorgeous summer day.  The plan to get ready for this?  Well, the website had a 5week walking plan set up.  Which basically involves walking 3 days a week for 15, 20, 25, 30 minutes a week respectively, and then taking week 5 a bit easier since that’s race week.  Well considering that for 3 days a week i’m going to the gym and walking on the elliptical for a total of 25 minutes a day, plus all the walking that I do around the house, I think I can manage that. Also, it’s in the CBD!  Which means there’s plenty to look at while walking!  I don’t intend to be leisurely about this, and I am taking it seriously.

 

But who says I can’t admire the architecture along the way?  Or marvel at the view of the harbor as I truck my big butt past it?

 

I am not going to be coming in first.  I am not even looking to ‘place’ or whatever. I am more looking to just be able to say “I finished!” And if I can say that I finished a 6k, then I can finish and do pretty much anything and everything else.  There will be no negativity about this (oh I’m sure there will be, but I will fight it), only positivety.

 

I can do this. I have what it takes.  I have some amazingly inspirational people out there.  There’s Genny who is on Facebook as “My goal to loose 100lbs in 1 year”.  There’s Kevin, over at http://350andfalling.blogspot.com  His pictures of before and current are amazingly helpful.  And there’s Andrea at http://runeatdatesleep.wordpress.com  .

 

Plus the friends that I have here in Auckland, and other parts of new zealand, friends and family back home, and the group of crazy guys from the Penny Arcade Forums’ Weightloss Challenge.  If these guys can do this, then so can I.

 

Look out world! Here I come!

Abby Normal

So.  As if I didn’t have enough motivation before.  Went to the doctors in order to get the physical done for the immigration paperwork.  And going through all the tests and things, you know, breathe here, does this hurt, deep breath, look past my earring, that kind of thing.  You know, a typical physical.

In doing this I found out that I had lost 3kg since starting at the gym (YAYYYY) about a month ago, and that my blood pressure and pulse rates were fine and that there was nothing bad in my urine.  Awesome.  As we’re heading out, though, the doctor says to me, “The only thing that might hurt you is the weight.”

And then, we get home and I look over the paperwork and on the back of the physical form, I see this:

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  It’s probably close to what I thought.  Yeah, i’m obese, but it’s not that abnormal!

And then i realized.  It is.  Just because a big part of the population of the world, and especially the USA, is obese, doesn’t make it any more normal.  Seeing that there, written as it is, and knowing that my future happiness is riding on this just goes to prove one thing to me.

For once in my life, I want to be considered Normal.

It’s abnormal to be this heavy, to put this much strain and weight on my bones and muscles and joints.  It’s abnormal for a human being to get this big, and to weigh this much.  I am abnormal.  A freak. Something that should not be.  And I’m not entirely sure just how to handle that.

I’ve known all my life that being ‘heavy’ and ‘fat’ and ‘overweight’ is something bad.  And it’s something that I should change for the betterment of myself and my family and everything else.  But to have it explained, to have it written down and see it described as ‘abnormal’, that’s a bit much.  It’s a shock to the system. To the brain.  I am not what I am supposed to be.  This is not what I am supposed to look like, or what anybody is supposed to look like.

Well, I’ve never once tried to be normal before, but this time.  this time i want to be normal. I want to be what I am supposed to be.  I will fight this, I will be stronger, move better, and live healthier.  And goddamn if in 2 years, when i go back for the next physical, I will not be abnormal.

I will simply be me.

Nano

Oh. My. God. It’s Almost October! It’s Almost October! I’m not even close to being prepared for Nano! which granted starts in november, but what can you do? Can never start thinking about this too early!

ok, so I can, at times I freak myself out how early I think about it. But I was sitting in the cafe this morning (oh doesn’t that sound so metro of me?) enjoying my breakfast and my pot of Earl grey (forgot to ask them what brand they were using, it was delicious!) and suddenly, the brain started working.

Thank goodness i had a little notebook with me! My brain started answering questions about Ahlterra that I didn’t even know I was asking! And I wrote it all down! I have begun to think for November! Hooray!

now if I could just read my handwriting….

Remembrance

of course I remember where I was that morning.  Like most 20 somethings on the East Coast I was desperately trying to ignore the sunlight coming into the window in my dorm room.  I was groggily trying to figure out why my phone was ringing. I hadn’t set my alarm, I didn’t have a morning class.  It was my mom.  Now, when you get a call on a tuesday morning just after the start of your second year of university, something is going on.  Mom insisted that I turned on the television.  Luckily I had one in the room because the roommate had a TV, but we hadn’t gotten the cable hooked up yet so it was a fuzzy picture on channel 3 or 6 or 9 that I got in.  Something was going on in new York.  I couldn’t really tell what.  Mom had to go, but now that I was up and watching tv, she felt a bit better.  My parents always had that opinion that if there was history on, I had better be watching it.  I’m grateful for that for the most part.

 

The picture quality was really crap and my brain wasn’t fully processing what had happened yet, just that something had flown into the world trade center.  Well ok, that’s happened before.  One of the flatmates came into the dorm suite talking about something happening in DC, but again, still half asleep university student.  I remember wanting breakfast. I mean if you’re going to be up at this ungodly hour in the morning, you should at least have some food in your system.  So I got dressed and headed over to the campus center, turning off the tv in my bedroom just after the second plane hit.  Still, not quite registering anything other than I wanted Mike (the grill guy in the food court) to make me some pancakes.  Dude made wickedly awesome pancakes. And maybe a fried egg.  Seriously, guy was good at his job.  So I walk downstairs, well ok, I lie. I took the elevator because I was living on the 7th floor and I’m not a very active person at this age.  Even today I would take the elevator for 7 flights of stairs.   All of the security guards on the front desk and the staff from the housing office are gathered around a TV behind the desk, their mouths open and their eyes wide.  But for me, all I want is pancakes.

 

So I trudge my body across the street to the campus center and there I run into Mike T from the theatre.  Now Mike and I have worked together in the theatre for a bit, and we had some summer classes together, we’re both english majors and he’s cute.  Of course he’s destined to become my best friend at University, but that all happens later.  He asks me if I know what happened, I mumble something about a plane flying into the Twin towers and I was going to get some pancakes.  Holy crap, I really wanted those pancakes.  So I offered to buy Mike some coffee and maybe breakfast (He was a commuter so he’d been conscious for at least a bit, but not yet awake since he’d only had two cups of coffee so far).  So we walk into the campus center and are stunned at what we see.  Everybody is standing around the ‘Pit”, a large area that looks down from the main floor of center onto the lower floor in a kind of mezzanine type fashion.  Down in the Pit there’s a big screen TV.  And this big screen TV is blasting in full color and sound that which I could barely see on my little tv back in the dorm room.  The Towers were both hit (Had I seen a second plane?) and they were both smoking and fire, and holy crap was that a body? And then it happened.

 

I was standing around the pit, my soon to be best friend at my side, surrounded by the other students of this urban campus of every color, religion, background, gender and we all stood and silently watched as the towers fell.  Well, the first one was met with silence, and then the crying started.  And we stood there, our eyes glued onto the television, still not believing what we were seeing.  This was some new viral marketing campaign for some new movie.  Next thing was Toby Maguire was going to swoop into the shot as Spiderman and save the day and the joke was going to be on all of us. No. The second tower fell and the place went numb.  Oh sure, there were people cursing, swearing, nobody could believe what had just happened.  We were staring in shock, stunned into silence and tears.  I think i might have grabbed hold of Mike’s hand or arm, but I don’t remember.  I also don’t remember how long we all stood there for, but I know what snapped us out of it.

 

Cal M, the campus’s events coordinator and head of Student Life stepped out in front of the big screen TV down in the pit.  At first there were yells at him to move, we needed to see what was happening in the world, but he quieted us down  and informed us that as of right now, there were more planes in the air and nobody knew where they were or where they were going.  Our campus was right across the river from Philadelphia.  On a good day from the 10th floor, you could look across the river and see old William Penn pissing on the city.  If they had attacked New York, what was to stop them from attacking the Liberty Bell? Independence Mall? The Naval Yard?  We were all told in no uncertain terms to go home.  If you lived on campus, go to the dorms. If you lived off campus, go home. If you lived on campus, but had someplace else to go, go there. But we were not to stay on campus, classes were cancelled and the school was shut.

 

I never got my pancakes.

 

I remember going back to the dorms, and gathering up some clothes, telling my flatmates that school was closed and that I was going to Jimmy’s house.  I passed on Cal’s message of “don’t be an idiot” to my flatmates, grabbed my cell phone (a delightful virgin mobile prepay) and headed out the door.  I climbed into my car and started calling Jimmy’s house.  His mom answered and I told her to wake Jim up and plop him in front of the television, I was coming home. I had just the one last stop to make before getting there.  For a few months, since April, I had been working part time at one of the grocery stores near Jimmy’s house as a cashier.  Well, we weren’t so much working as we were on strike, and had been for about two weeks at this point.  I wanted to make sure the people on the picket line knew what was going on.  They did, so I headed to Jimmy’s parents place.  I found him, and his mom, on the couch watching the television.  He was still in his pajamas and his hair was still in that awful state of bedhead that just was unfixable.  I dropped my bag in the kitchen and went and sat down.

 

I don’t remember really much else of that day, other than watching Television.  I can’t remember when it was revealed that the terrorists were arabs and not Timothy McVeigh back from the dead to live in my nightmares again.  I remember being confused, scared, and uncertain.  I remember sitting in that living room, watching the television until it became too late to stay awake.  And then waking up the next day and going back to the television. I also remember the days after “That Day”.  I remember going back to campus and listening to the angry Wrath of America and God speeches from my theatre mentor.  I remember all of our muslim and arabic students walking around campus in groups, for their own protection.  I remember the signs, and the posters.  And I remember that moment when the first plane in three days flew over the campus, and everybody stopping, staring, and forgetting how to breathe.

 

I remember going to the picket line a few days later, on the weekend.  I remember the people who had only a week before been bringing us coffee and pizza and sandwiches were now driving by, cursing at us, spitting at us, throwing water balloons and trash and whatever else they could hurl out of their vehicles at us.  I remember the yelling, the angry, high-pitched screaming confrontations of people who thought we were being selfish because so many people had died.  I remember the cashier with the voice of an angel standing with a bullhorn near her mouth and singing the National Anthem and every other patriotic song she could think of while being screamed at for being lazy and a whore.  I remember the huge American flags at half staff and attached to cars, being run ragged and tearing to shreds in the high-speed world of the interstates.  I remember classes starting up again, and the professors saying their pieces and then starting to lecture.  I remember starting work on the next show at the theatre, and I remember going to my dorm every night, thankful for the lack of a television.  And I remember the footage.

 

But I think that this is where I have to diverge from a normal “I remember” post.  I remember all of this, I recall it all as though it were yesterday.  But gladly, thankfully, it wasn’t.  No.  It was ten years ago.  My god I can’t believe that it was ten years ago.  The pain of that morning is still there, the terror of watching those buildings fall, the anger that was everywhere around, and the uncertainty, they’re all still there.  But as with most things in life, with most grief, the pain is less sharp.  There is still a tang of bitterness in my mouth, but it’s not the overwhelming searing ache that it used to be.  And, it was ten years ago.  Look at me, where I am now.

 

If you had asked me ten years ago where I would be today, let me tell you how different the answer would be.  I would have been Rabbi Sarah Priest.  A Jewish woman married to a Roman Catholic man who had gone to seminary school and was a Rabbi.  I would have been married eight years by now, and probably have had two kids.  We would have been living in some city, probably philadelphia and I would have a synagogue that I ran and still done work for a local theatre. Had you asked me about my future on September 10, 2001, that’s probably what you would have been told.

 

But here it is, September 10th, 2011 and I am not a Rabbi. I am not married to a Roman Catholic man with the last name of Priest.  I have no children, and I am not in Philadelphia.  I’m in new Zealand, with a man that I love and he loves me.  He’s not religious, and I’m more spiritual than Religious as it is.  There are no children, and no plans for any in the immediate future.  This was never where my life was ever going to go back then, but my god am I glad it did.

 

So yes, I remember.  and yes, I feel the remembrance deep in my heart and in my body.  No, I don’t think I will ever forget where I was on that morning, or the sequence of events, or the fact that I never did get those pancakes.  But I will also remember that for better or worse that day shaped my country, my family, my friends, and my life and all of that together with all of who I am has led me to be here.  In a country that I love as much as my own, with a man I love as much as life, and happy for the first time in about ten years.

 

For the first anniversary of this horrible day and thing, I can say that I will be better than I was on that day.  I will be happier than I was. I will be ok.

 

I can still remember without being depressed. I can still honor the fallen without wallowing in misery, and I can still live my life as I want to because even though it was a tragedy, life does go on.

 

God bless those who were killed, God bless those who showed up to help.  God bless those who are still struggling to find a place in this new world, and God bless those who are sick and dying because they did show up.  God bless the United States of America, and God bless this beautiful world.

 

And God Bless You.

I LIke To Move It

Well. I did it. I joined a gym.

I guess I should say that we joined a gym.

We are signed up for a 6 month contract at a gym that is up the hill from our house. It’s about a twenty minute walk (for me) to get there, which the guys at the gym said is a great warm up. Then 10 minutes on cardio, and then 3 circuits on 6 weight machines with 15 reps each, plus bench sit-ups of 10 reps each, then back to 15 minutes of cardio.

Tonight was my second night through the program, and I picked up some Biggest Loser music this afternoon to help me power through. Let me tell you. I am feeling the work out, but it’s a good pain. My instep on my right foot is hurting a bit, but the trainer said that it would happen and to try switching to a different elliptical. My left calf is tight as all hell, but that’s been that way since yesterday’s workout. I am getting a bit of a pain in my neck, not sure what that’s from. Might have to talk to the trainer about that on Saturday.

Ee joined too. They’ve got him doing some treadmill and then he’s down into the weight room to lift some weights and put some muscle on his scrawny self.

All in all, so far, it’s been a good experience. Of course I’ve only been going for 2 days, but it’s still a start. And a good feeling. I’m doing something to help myself and goddamn if I’m going to let myself out of it. Getting myself to this point was the hard part. Getting myself into the gym and onto the machines was the hurdle.

Like hell I’m gonna let myself fall off.