Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Joy and then Some



This past weekend was Easter Weekend. Prior to this epic weekend was Holy Week, a week of religious ceremonies that I've come to hold very near and dear to my heart since Freshman year of college. Its the four days a year when I feel like I can be overly Catholic with reckless abandon. I feel happier, a sense of Catholic pride, and I'm reminded of when I was confirmed during my freshman year.

This Easter I chose to spend this meaningful time with the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer. I don't know too many people who would be excited to spend Easter with a bunch of Catholic nuns, but these wonderful Sisters are like family to me. Since my parents are all the way in Virginia, and I took my GRE for grad school on Saturday so we couldn't arrange a visit, the Sisters were the next best thing to family. I got to spend time with some of my favorite people, sleep in my old room where I lived for a year during my RMC service year, and just enjoy life.

I love being transplanted. For example, when I'm home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, I'm suddenly reminded of my roots. I remember fishing out in the bay or eating fried chicken and drinking beer on Cedar Island. I remember catching crabs off the local dock and working as a waitress at the local nursing home. I remember the simplicity of life and the large and elaborate dreams I once had.

The same goes for spending a night in the convent I once lived in. I was transplanted. I remember the joy I felt when asked to do a reading at mass. I could recall how excited I was to start my RMC year. I remember sitting in the chapel, writing in my orange notebook, trying to "discern" what ministry was right for me. I remember sitting in the living room of the convent, going over my expectations for my year of service, simple living and prayer. I remember my interview, when I pranced around the dining room as if I knew all the Sisters my whole life instead of just meeting them for the first time.

The realizations that came to light over this weekend of being transplanted were actually not of any religious nature. I forgot how much I loved nature, quiet and being outside. The Sisters mother house sits on acres and acres of land, with green trees and beautiful rolling fields. Its amazing. When I went to bed on Saturday night I was amazed at how quiet everything was. I forgot how quiet the suburbs were compared to my street corner in the heart of Philadelphia.

I also forgot how much I missed journaling. Lately I've been writing for everyone except myself. I miss nature, I miss writing, I miss quiet moments of meditation, and I miss not having anything to do. I miss having a choice about what activity to do instead of feeling obligated to do laundry, clean my apartment, go to some event or write for others.

And its sounds conceited, but at times we all need to hear from other people just how special we are. This weekend was full of praise and compliments on my reading, my existence, my writing, and my sense of humor. Sometimes we just need to get knocked over by the wave of accolades in order to remember that we are special and we have a lot to offer to the world.

So today, on Easter Monday, I have a bit of an inner peace. I'm done with obligations for awhile and am really going to try to find more time for myself and my personal writing. I'm going to bike along the river and try to explore some local parks. I'm going to do the things I missed and enjoy the things I loved. I'm going to live in the present.

I'm at peace today. I hope its sticks around because its a great feeling.

Until next time...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Things that go bump in the....Ipod!



There are very few things that I'm actually scared of. The list includes the following random fears:
* fear of climbing up things like trees, rock walls, stools..etc without something to support myself on for balance. (Pretty much scared of scaling heights)

* crickets: don't mind the sound they make but I freak out if I see one

* Getting burned: prefer those lighters with the long rod at the end. Hate lighting candles with matches or a regular lighter

* and the latest....playing Call of Duty Black Ops, World at War: Zombies on my Ipod Touch!

I had played this game before with a friend about a year and a half ago and loved it! I'm horrible at video games since I grew up playing computer games from Donkey Kong to Mega Race to Forever Growing Gardens and eventually the original Sim City. However, I enjoyed the one time I played this epic zombie shooting game and was beyond excited to download it to my new Ipod Touch.

Until I tried to play it...The music is creeptastic and the field of vision on the Ipod is very limited. So you're frantically trying to touch screen your way around the map, hoping that the zombies are not behind you...which they totally are all the time. The first time I played it on my Ipod, I lost in about 1 minute. As the zombie killed me I literally GASPED in surprise! Then I laughed at being scared, pressed restart, and go so wigged out that I had to stop playing. Granted, I was alone and it was late at night. But still, a video game? Come on!

I hope I get better and get over my fear of creepy video game zombies. :) Just thought you could use some amusement for the day. As a side note, I had a very productive weekend which included doing some maintainence on my bike, grocery shopping, two loads of laundry, cleaning the apartment, studying for the GRE and more! I feel accomplished.

Now, if only I could destroy those zombies.

Until next time...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Its not a Diet, Its a Lifestyle Change/How I Became Vegan for a Week

About two weeks ago, I went to the Art of Wellness in the Bella Vista section of Philadelphia to get a massage. I'm addicted to websites such as "living social, deal yo, and eversave" so I scored a very cheap one hour massage through the online discounts. While in their very nice and relaxing lobby, a staff member gave me a tour and told me about their weight management program. I was interested, I've been wanting to "manage" my weight for awhile. I could definetly use the support of a weekly group, fitness coach and a weight loss plan that didn't involve pre packaged meals, shakes, or a sure fire failure when you're done with the diet.

So after an overview of the Transitions Lifestyle System, I decided to do it. I decided to drop the dough (literally and figurativly) and invest in a weight management program that has the potential to change my life. The first portion of the "diet" involves a 7 day detox. This is..well..intense.

Basically you're Vegan for 7 days. However, you're like super restricted vegan. No nuts, no tofu, no bread (even whole grain), nothing to drink except water and herbal decaffinated tea. In addition to consuming nothing but 3 servings of fruit and unlimited vegetables, you also take a Fiber clensing kit thing. So in the morning I take two capsules that look like they have microbes on them and drink a glass of water with this fiber powder in mixed in. The fiber powder tastes delicious. In the evenings I take four supplements before bedtime.

Honestly, with each day its gotten easier. My first day I was craving carbs like crazy. On day two I went to work. Of course this day was the day the bread truck donates tons of pastries to my workplace for our residents. The stupid shelving unit with the bread is set up on the hallway to my office. So I had to smell that delicious bread all day. On top of that, my boss had leftover hot dogs to share with the staff in honor of the Phillies season opener. Hot dogs are by far one of my favorite foods. Needless to say, day 1 and 2 were very hard.

But today I'm on day 4 and I'm fine. My co-workers have been pretty supportive to. Today when I went to get my lunch there was a big platter of brownies on the table. My boss saw me look at them and covered them up. haha Plus apparently several co-workers are eating healthier because of me. They're not going full jungle vegan but they are eating more vegetables.

Once I get through this week, I'm able to incorporate some protien into my system. I'll be able to eat chicken, fish, and other lean meats into my diet. I'll still be eating vegetables as if they're going out of style but it will be worth it. The hardest part is the 6 week pasta/grain/bread fast. I can't have any pasta, breads, grains, nuts, cakes, or any kind of pastries for 6 weeks. This is to change my need for carbs and even my taste for them. I guess if I can get through one week eating nothing but fruits and vegetables, I can do anything.

I've already lost almost 5lbs. I'm pretty sure its just water weight. I do feel cleaner and even more energized. Maybe it is all in my head, but I feel a lot healthier, empty (in a good way), clean, and peppy.

The program lasts 12 weeks. I'd like to see a siginificant change by then. I won't make it in time for bathing suit season to try on that bikini, but at least I won't ooze out of my plus size swimsuit as much. :)

It's not a diet, its a lifestyle change.

Until next time...

Sick September A Recap

After an fantastic month of August where all the stars were aligned and life seemed damn near perfect, I entered the month of September with...