Getting To Know You

Your Beautiful Library!
Your Beautiful Library!

Hello Philly,

Can I call you Philly? I didn’t know if I had to be here a certain time before I was able to be familiar. I am so excited to get to know you. I am loving all there is to do here. The art, culture, and especially the history. You can’t be within your city limits and not think about American history. I keep thinking about all the varied forms of history.

Personally I have been recounting parts of my past I haven’t talked about in over ten years. Meeting new people who want to get to know you requires that. It is as if I must go back and refresh my memory of some of the cobwebbed corners of my history. I find myself explaining things in conversations that I can vaguely remember saying before but only vaguely. I never really can put anything behind me. Old scars can’t be erased, but it is enlightening to get new insight on something you haven’t talked about in fifteen years. Events I have put behind me are dragged out of my mouth by the fact that to get to know me, is to know what I have conquered and what I have bled. I must say, it is just sort of odd to be meeting new people and making new friends at forty.

Your people are caring citizens who are really trying to get to know me, and let me get to know them.

The best part is I can tell all the funny stories my longtime friends have heard over and over.

Brad at our favorite pizza place in Philly so far.
Brad at our favorite pizza place in Philly so far. This is his you want me to do what? face.

Some miscellaneous things I have noticed about you:

Your people are super friendly. I am still getting to know your public transportation system. I have asked questions almost every time I ride the bus and everyone I have asked were super friendly, smiling while telling me where to go and what bus or train to ride. They usually go the extra mile and tell me where to eat and what to see when I get there. I am loving Philadelphians.

Sometimes people don’t look me in the eye. This is weird for me. I have to say that I have only encountered this usually from the service industry. I will ask a question and the person responding won’t really answer it or look me in the eye, they will just go and do what I asked about. For instance, do you have any tables available by the window? No answer forth coming, no acknowledgement of the question in the form of a look to the eye, or a nod of the head, nothing. The hostess just takes off toward the window expecting me to follow.

With my allergies this is the best way for me to get my puppy fix.
With my allergies this is the best way for me to get my puppy fix. This was a joyful discovery on Pine.

Some of your people really like fur, as in a form of clothing. I had never seen that before.

I did get the boots, Philly. I have the boots, and am excited about it. I feel like they are almost a uniform here.

Until next time, thanks for welcoming me so warmly.

No Excuses

Warrior pose? hmmm? Not much of a warrior if I don't do it.
Warrior pose? hmmm? Not much of a warrior if I don’t do it.

I wanted to lie to you and say that I have been having problems fitting yoga into my new schedule. That’s totally not true, but I want to say that. I get so many benefits from yoga. My feet feel better at night, and my fibromyalgia is so much better when I fit in a downward dog or two. So what is the problem with me? I like Yoga. Why do I not fit it into my life?

When we lived in Boise we had blankets we set up in my office that we did yoga on.  When I got home from work we had dinner, watched TV and then did yoga before going to bed. When we woke up we went into that room before breakfast. We were doing yoga twice a day. For the first time in a few years I was waking up limber and feeling no pain in my muscles. When I don’t do yoga, I have a complete body ache and it feels like I am sick with the flu.

I went through years trying to quit smoking. You know the type, the ones who wake up hawking up a lung, harshly coughing all the time, and gasping for air after walking to the bathroom, but still unable to give up the ugly habit causing these problems. For years, I felt bad for always failing to quit smoking. l thought and still do, what an idiot I was to continue to abuse my body.

Now I am in the same situation. Once again, I am putting other things above my health. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not being lazy. I have been cleaning house and walking around the city. I have been exercising. I feel good about that, but that good feeling is overshadowed by the fact that I am shirking what should be considered medication for me. Yoga allows me to feel good, and it would allow me to do more of the other exercise I need to do.

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Yes Mom I vacuumed those are bleach stains

While I have been getting the apartment set up, one of the things I wanted was a convenient place to do yoga. It is really hard to figure that out when I am having trouble finding a place for my underwear. There is a place between the kitchen and our bathroom where we have a little floor space. We bought two yoga mats and the only place I found to store them was under the cabinet we keep our food in. It isn’t very convenient but again, that’s just an excuse.

I am making a vow, right now, to get back on the yoga train. I will make sure that I do it starting now at least three times a week. If I do not, I will Twitter it on Sunday of that week (which also posts to my Facebook feed), and I ask that you playfully tease me and give me a hard time. I need a little extra encouragement, and maybe holding myself responsible publicly will help.

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My favorite! It is more than bending over!

For My Own Benefit

Philly Library: I would love it if my living room looked like this!
Philly Library: I would love it if my living room looked like this!

It has been over three months that we have been in the beautiful, historically rich, busy Philadelphia. I am really hitting my stride with writing and doing my chores. I am very excited about the art and culture that Philadelphia encourages. It has been great except for the fact that I sprained my ankle, and we got a little low on money. So I spent almost two weeks stuck at home. I am still sort of hobbling around and can’t go farther than a mile without spending the rest of the day with my legs up in the air.

I think the worst part is that it makes me feel comely and dumpy. Ever since I could, I have worked forty hour weeks. Every day I would wake up and being the good Midwestern girl I am, would dress nicely and put full on make-up. I try to never leave the house without my face on.

See, outside with my face on!
See, outside with my face on!

Now that I don’t work, I haven’t been getting dressed or putting on my face. I have been putting the pj’s on and going to work cleaning and cooking breakfast every morning. I don’t prepare at all, I just jump into the day as I am. I think it has been affecting the way I see the day. I know I am not the first gal in the universe to have these thoughts. It is hard to feel good about myself when I’m covered with breakfast food and comet from cleaning the bathroom, and I’m sweaty and smelly and haven’t really brushed my hair from yesterday.

The literature room in the library! My new favorite place in the universe.
The literature room in the library! My new favorite place in the universe.

My solution is two-fold. One thing I am going to do is purchase cuter lounge clothes. I would like to be one of those women who wakes up and looks amazing in a t-shirt and shorts but I don’t. It takes me around thirty minutes of drying, calking and spackling to look as gorgeous as I do in public. What I need is some nice lounge threads that will make me feel cute while I do the dirty work and while I write. I need something that is going to pick up my step in the morning. My holy flannel pajamas aren’t going to cut it.  I think with all things it is a good idea to look as cute as I can. I mean why do I have to feel ugly while sweating it up.

The second thing I am going to do is get out of the house at least two times a week. I am going to take my laptop and go to the library or a coffee shop. I am going to get out of the house if it is only to walk down the street and back. I need companionship and change of scenery. I need to be around other humans.

The ceiling of my favorite place in the universe!
The ceiling of my favorite place in the universe!

Saturday Hubby and I went to the library. It is splendid. The central library is huge, and with so many rooms, we didn’t even see it all. My ankle gave out first! I was so excited. My favorite room of course was the literature room. It was beautifully sort of run down. The paint slightly peeling on the antique tin embellished ceiling and the antique clock must have been broken because they had a poster in front of it, and a newish clock in front of that. The best part was whatever circulates the air in that room sounds like the ocean.  Studying and writing in such a glamorous place is going to be lovely. We even met a nice couple I hope to hang out with!

La Colombe yum yum yum!
La Colombe yum yum yum!

Monday I walked my husband to work and then I went to a close coffee shop called La Colombe. It was one of my most productive days so far. It could have been the three cups of delicious coffee. It may have also been the wonderful music. I tapped my feet to more than a few Al Green hits.

So my goal for my sanity is to get out of the house at LEAST twice a week, but I am planning to get out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to write. I will be plaguing the streets of Philadelphia with my Midwestern charm as much as possible, and I will of course tell you how it goes.

So What if Beyonce Can Do It?

My Radiant Sister and I, luckily she is able to do things I can not.
My Radiant Sister and I, luckily she is able to do things I can not.

Something people have been saying in conversations to me, and on the internet is, “If Beyonce can do it…” trailing off as if that was all there is needed to be said. The thought is that if Beyonce can do something then anyone should be able to. Does this sound right? I don’t believe so. It isn’t as if we don’t beat ourselves up enough, now we must hold ourselves to a standard of song bird/superstar? I am not saying that life hasn’t been hard for the beautiful, talented, and exceptional singer. She works extremely hard, I am sure, and she worked hard to get where she is. Now, however, her life is very different from a normal human.

I don’ t really need to go through the list of reasons a normal day for Beyonce would be different than anyone like excess time, money, help, and resources. My goal is not to belittle Beyonce’s struggle or to make light of her accomplishments. She is a multimillion dollar recording artist, amazing beyond words. My hope in writing about this is to encourage women to not be so hard on themselves. This is another example of holding an impossible standard. I don’t believe it is fair to hold myself to the standard of any other woman.

My best friend is a runner. She gets up and goes walking and running religiously. She also is very good with shopping on a budget. Both of these habits elude me.

My own sister is really good at exercise. My own flesh and blood is amazing at exercise. She is able to go to the gym and work out sometimes for hours. We joked that if she ate like I did and I worked out like she does we’d both be skinny. Certain habits are inherently easier for different people. Can we admit that and stop persecuting ourselves?

What is bad about this type of accusation is that it not only belittles the efforts of the person saying it, but also the efforts of all other women. We must ask ourselves: Is it so easy because another woman does it?

These performers showed major athleticism! I have trouble standing up while putting on my pants!
These performers showed major athleticism! I have trouble standing up while putting on my pants!

When I went on my honeymoon I watched a woman who did acrobatics and hand stands to tropical drum music. Her rock hard abs didn’t seem to even hurt after and mine hurt for days after one session with a palates’ instructor. Do you think I could do what she does? Maybe, if I abandoned all my current goals and dedicated my life to this pursuit I could do it, but it is doubtful.  So if I said, “Hey the dancer on my honeymoon can do it…” not only do I belittle her accomplishments, I make an impossible goal for myself, which in turn makes my failure to become an acrobatic goddess seem even more disappointing.

Please, those who are accidentally comparing yourself to international super stars be nicer to yourselves and other women by not just throwing around these senseless sayings that make it harder for us to feel good about ourselves. We all work within our own time and have our own pressures. No one knows how the obligations in our lives work, what our bodies can handle, or how we want to spend our time but us. It is up to every woman to be kinder to herself and in turn it will allow us all to be gracious with ourselves and each other.

I Am Resolved To Have Fun Anyways

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Running errands will keep me in shape, no?

Let me just say that having PCOS sucks. Okay I got out the anger right away, I am done. So I am on pain pills while I write this. It is seven thirty on a Saturday night and I have been playing the couch potato game today. Let me tell you how I got into this mess.

Last Sunday I was taking a leisurely bath, enjoying the bubble bath Mom got me for Christmas. It is the pink stuff from Avon which they sometimes discontinue so I have been using it sparingly. I was really enjoying this when all of a sudden our outrageously insane fire alarm went off. I have never heard a fire alarm like this. It alternately speaks to you and blares. So it is something like this “BONK BONK PLEASE EXIT THE BUILDING….THIS IS AN EMERGENCY…PLEASE LEAVE THE BUILDING>>>BONK BONK BONK BONK…and it repeats so loud you can’t think. I thought we were at war.

Have you ever been in such a hurry that you just jumped out of the bathtub? Yeah, me neither. I jumped out of the tub and grabbed a towel and proceeded to skid across the tile floor. I quickly righted myself. It was just a second. I have fallen extremely worse in my life. I didn’t even hit the floor! I didn’t feel anything wrong. I had to then get dressed quickly and bundle up and climb down five flights of stairs before the brain crushing alarm finally quit. My husband really can’t stand loud noises so his nerves were shot as we waited with my older neighbor on the third landing because she couldn’t walk up the five flights up.

The next morning I woke up and my ankle was swollen, and I couldn’t walk on it. For the first couple hours I thought I had sprained it in my sleep.  It takes me a while to wake up.

It has been sore and angry all week. Off and on I have had to stay off my foot. On Friday, it was feeling a little better so I decided to get out. I had to take a package to UPS and to pick up some packages from the building across the street, and for whatever reason I couldn’t help myself I had to wear my boots. I came back and changed out of them and into my sneakers and walked about five blocks away to the coffee shop. On the way there, I changed the way my laptop bag was sitting across my chest. When I did it swung the wrong way and swooped down my neck. It must have jarred my back. It didn’t hurt then, but this morning when I woke up It hurt so bad that for hours I was icing and heating it alternatively and finally it was so bad I took a pain pill.

I have to go get the tampons in this??
I have to go get the tampons in this??

I also started my period. So these aches and pain have probably been exacerbated by this. Having PCOS means that most of my body is swollen and achy anyways if and when I have my period.  I don’t know if anyone else who has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome feels this way, but I feel like all the premenstrual stuff are ten times worse than they used to be. I have been having breast pain every day,  all day all week, cramps that are bend over and yelp painful, and I actually cried during the recent episode of Big Bang Theory.  I get kind of depressed over the state of my body, but I have to remember-hopefully-it is temporary.

Last time I had my period it lasted over six months. That was 2011.

The good part is, I walked anyways. Today I went down to the local Walgreens a couple of blocks away. Last time I had my period, I could barely go to work. I spent about an hour from the time I left to the time I got home. I walked all around the Walgreens and through the snow gleefully to get there. I did have pain killers in my system but I am just impressed that I left the house when I really didn’t have to. I am very happy. It is small victories I have to be glad of when my body is going through this. Someday I am hoping I won’t have these problems but in the mean time, I will do what I can to not let it get me down.

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At first I was afraid, I was petrified…

Treats for Me!

I bought the one in the upper right hand corner. I took this picture from their facebook. I hope they don’t mind.

My emotional attachment to food sometimes hits me in the smallest and most rare ways sometimes. I live only about three blocks from Reading Terminal Market. It is filled with delicacies and some of the best food in Philadelphia. If I stayed there a week- eating all day- I couldn’t eat all of the deliciousness there. It is number four on trip advisors best restaurants, and one of the restaurants – a donut shop – is number one. That shop, Beiler’s Bakery, is the first place I went Thursday.

“Oh, no Danielle! Don’t eat donuts,” you say.

I give you a discerning look.

“Donut’s are fattening and you are trying to lose weight,” you gently remind me.

If anyone said that to me a year ago, I would have said, “Whatever.” Then I would have gone back to Beiler’s and eaten a box of twelve in self deluded retaliation. However, I understand certain things about myself that I didn’t before. Losing weight can’t be about deprivation for me, more like allocation. I need to be able to eat a donut if I want, especially the apparent best donuts on the planet. In other words, if I say no donuts to myself eventually I will be down at that counter ordering up as many as I can afford. Last time I bought donuts a couple of months ago, I bought at least three for myself. Thursday I went to Beiler’s and ordered one, only one. I took it and a coffee and sat down at a metal table and took about thirty minutes enjoying it. Bite by bite I savored it and my surroundings. The fact that I didn’t go back and order two more is the success. I also remember it’s richness as well, and don’t believe I will need another one any time soon.

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The Magic Elixer

Small decadent treats I believe are going to be my secret weapon in the battle of the bulge. In this spirit I bought another treat on my shopping trip. Along with the wise vegetables and meats in my cooler, a very special honey rolled home with me. When I was little, my Grandma used to serve this type of honey with breakfast. It is the raw light honey that you can spread over toast. I have bought it since, and time and time again it has turned out not to be the honey I remembered. Either it wasn’t sweet in the right way or it was so hard I couldn’t spread it. Finally at the market I found it. This morning for breakfast I tried it finally. I had made a frittata and cut up fruit (very healthy.) Then to add the finishing touches on our leisurely Saturday morning, we had a nice whole wheat toast with the holy grail of honey. As I bit into the pale golden elixir, I was transported back to the round hard table in my grandma’s kitchen, looking at her sweet rosy face and kind blue eyes. The electric coffee pot is gurgling in the corner, when I remember watching my Grandpa break up his poached eggs with his fork. Each bite solidified those memories down to the smell of the bacon left over on the stove.

This honey, while not great for my waist line, has brought me back to one of the most pleasant memories I have. While not probably the most scientific of theories, I believe a small treat now and again will really go a long way towards not feeling like I am depriving myself. I also believe it will provide normalcy to this new life where I am eating differently and overhauling my entire life. A spoon full of sugar…

Indelicate Information

Bathroom

Something has come to my attention about exercise and it is indelicate but I believe I should talk about it, if only because I have never read anyone else talking about it. There is something they leave out of all the exercise pr…the poops…literally.  No one says that when they try to get you into exercising. I read Self, Shape, Health and Women’s Health. I don’t recall ever reading in any of those magazines how to deal with getting the shits on the track, or almost pooping your pants while jumping in aerobics class.

The other day I had an appointment with my Edward Jones representative. To get to the appointment, I took the wrong bus, and ended up five or so blocks out of the way. I had to run to the appointment and showed up to the fancy Pyramid Club my hair flat and listless. After my appointment, it started raining. I was walking home and had to immediately duck into Starbucks because nature wasn’t just calling; it was screaming. Then I had to buy something. I couldn’t just leave after bombing their bathroom.

After that I went to the Reading Terminal Market, it was brimming with people, the different stores are amazing and they even had a singer that day. I decided to get lunch. It was super busy but I finally got a table across from some really nice ladies: Chris and Kate. They were lovely and told me all the great stores in the market and sent me to the best bakery. Kate was interested in creative writing and I have my Bachelor’s degree in that. I had the greatest time talking about stuff with her. Then I started to sweat again. I almost asked her for her phone number to be friends but had to cut it short…again I had to go to the bathroom. I was worried I wouldn’t find one but luckily the Market has a great bathroom, which is good because I spent about a half hour in there. As soon as I was done, I went to the butcher and the baker and then I had to run home for another round.

When I got home my door woman, Eula, asked me if it was still raining. Frustrated, I pointed at my hair and said, “No, that’s sweat.”

About this time, I had walked over eight thousand steps, and I had carried my luggage with the groceries home. When I got into the apartment I threw everything down on the floor, including my coat. I was so exhausted after that, I put my groceries away but left everything else and took a bath. When my husband got home he thought I had evaporated in thin air. He finally found me in the bathtub.

This day is an example of what happens whenever I walk long distances. I am told that my bowels will get used to the exercise. I really can’t wait. I hope it happens soon.

I like some of the good aspects of walking so much. My feet actually feel better at night because the nerve pain is decidedly less. That fact alone is amazing. I also have been having less fibromyalgia pain. These things are blessings and I guess that outweighs the fact that most of the time when I am out walking, I desperately search for a bathroom.