Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Week 2: Jillian Gets Insane

The LONG 4th of July weekend is behind us now and the steady summer decline begins. Ever since I was in school, July 4th was always the peak of the summer season. Summer Vacations started in June and trips to the beach or Orlando followed soon after. 

This year for the 4th I spent a nice day running errands with my parents and then grilling pork chops on their deck. Other than the heat rash/allergy I've been dealing with all summer it was a good holiday. Friday Travis came over and made me a roasted chicken dinner with mashed sweet potatoes and baked onion rings. 

I admit that I ate clean about 70% of the time and did have some sweets. Buy I'm happy to say that I didn't stuff myself or go bat shit crazy with the holiday food. I enjoyed myself in moderation. 

This week begins week 2 of Ripped in 30 and I'm already feeling stronger. This week's workout is tough, complete with mountain climbers, which has always been my very least favorite exercise. But I'm getting up and doing it. This morning I even did part of week 1 as well to make the workout an full hour. And you know it wasn't that bad. So I might do that some days. 

I'm working out every day, Monday through Friday and resting Saturday and Sunday because I don't like to get up early when Travis is with me ;-)

So it's been so far so good!

Oh and chia seeds in oatmeal with Greek yogurt and berries (chilled overnight) is probably one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten! Recipe coming soon! When I can write a post on my actual computer instead of my iPhone.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Day 4 of Ripped in 30 and an Egg White Delight from McDonalds for breakfast. Tonight it's grilling time!

Meanwhile here are some pics!

This drink tastes like wet ass FYI. For $6.00 at Starbucks it's a total waste and you're better off sucking on wet underwear.

This is a little pic from this morning after my workout. 

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My World As of July 3, 2013

This blog/personal journal started on July 1, 2010.

I didn't realize until today that it's the 3-year anniversary of Deedah's Cupcakes and Fitness. I was planning on looking back to a previous July entry to compare notes for this one, and saw that my Welcome post was posted on July 1st. This, for whatever reason, motivates me even more.

Well, it's been a crazy 3 years, and I can't say that I've been very successful in increasing my fitness, or even maintaining it. That's just me being honest. But although I might have failed in that regard, I have become stronger in heart and in mind. In 3 years I've strengthened my resolve to face the storms ahead, sometimes with nothing more than an inverted umbrella, a prayer, and a fortified heart.

When I started this blog, it was to document my training for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon (which I successfully completed). I took pictures of my food and logged my workouts. But I never really acquired a following, perhaps because I'm a midsized person working out and eating food, with no impressive amount of weight to lose, perhaps because I never stuck to a "real" diet and posted pictures of deep-fried chicken livers and cupcakes from time to time. So this blog has become somewhat of a personal diary documenting a mish mash of elements from my life, some mundane like eating gross egg white wraps and some worthy of a Lifetime movie adaptation. I went from being in a verbally and mentally abusive long-distance relationship (and YES you CAN be treated badly by someone from afar and that's a topic for another day when I'm feeling a little more emo) to finding the love of my life in a kind, gentle, fun, and generous man not 1 month after I got out of the farce of a relationship I was living with for 7 years.

The most important lesson I've learned since 2010 is that life is ever changing. Things can turn one way or another in a heartbeat like a tornado run amok, and there's no way to predict when or how or even if. As difficult as that is for most of us to deal with, the best way to survive is to surrender yourself to the current and let it sweep you along easily and calmly to wherever this river of life leads. You may go over the falls or you may find your way to a vast ocean of possibility and opportunity. Just enjoy the ride as best you can.


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Day 3: Why Do Whole Wheat Wraps From Home NEVER Taste As Good?

I mean really? I bought a bag of 100 calorie whole wheat tortillas so I can make egg white wraps for breakfast, mimicing those I LOVE from Cosi and other such cafes. What I ate this morning was egg whites microwaved in my awesome office egg cooker thing wrapped in a thin sheet of cardboard.

I'm not a bad cook, in fact I know what I'm doing. But this vexes me to no end. I seasoned the egg whites and even sprinkled in some grated sharp chedder. But the wrap! That wrap was gag inducing!

So I had a pretty nasty breakfast. Oh well. The wraps are OK when you make nut butter and sugar-free jam wraps. That's what I had for a little snack last night after I took my stupid pill (to make sure I don't barf in my sleep). Those are great, especially with a little 1% milk. I think the filling flavors need to overcome the wrap flavor, which nut butter and jam does. But egg whites are so bland that it's just a terrible mix. Back to oatmeal tomorrow. There's a baked oatmeal recipe from Pinterest I've been dying to try.

This morning I also did Day 3 of my Ripped in 30. Let me tell you how great it is to workout everyday, even if it's just 20 minutes for now. I feel energy again. I feel like my blood isn't stagnating and stewing with chunks of fat. I was so freaking out of it for a year (and some months). But I really want to be back to my athletic self. I felt pride in that. It made me happy to be strong. I don't know if I'll ever run a race again (I would LOVE to) because of my knee, but I would love to be light enough to make it a possibility. The weight gain is what I believe contributes to my knee issue.

For lunch I know I'm craving Corner Bakery Chili, hold the bread. I LOVE me some Corner Bakery. It's the yummiest place on Earth. The chocolate muffins (I will have those every now and then) are probably the best things I've ever eaten.

I have the usual fruit and some protein, like cashew butter and nuts, for snacks. For dinner I usually stick to some kind of protein and a nonbread side like sweet potatoes or fruit.

Yeah, I know I'm lacking in the veggie department, but when I grocery shop this weekend for next weeks' food I will pick up some things to blend in the morning. And when it finally stops raining around here I will trek over to the Whole Foods salad bar.

What I'm hoping is that I can "stack" my 20-minute workouts by next week, body permitting. Meaning, since it's week 2 with an all-new routine, I would like to first do the week 1 workout followed by week 2 or vice versa. Then the following week I will do week 2 with week 3, and so on. That way I'm getting about 45 minutes a day, including warmups and stretching.
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 2: Whoa I Made It to Day 2

I'm on a roll. A nice hearty whole wheat roll no bigger than my palm.

This morning I got up and did my Ripped in 30 and it felt really good. I recommend it. For some reason, I like it a lot better than the 30-Day Shred. Maybe it's the studio setting or the lighting. I don't know. But I really don't like the Shred. I do have her Shred It With Weights DVD too, as well as her kettle bell workout. But I actually want to complete this 4-week workout and see if I get any results out of it. I've never gone all the way through one of these so I kinda want to for laughs and giggles, especially since I started on the first of a month.
For breakfast I was feeling kinda hungry so I went to Cosi and got a spinach Florentine wrap with egg whites and no artichoke sauce on a whole wheat tortilla. Basically, it's egg whites, spinach, and a slice of Swiss cheese on an 8-inch tortilla. Not bad at all. Well, except for the cheese. But it was a single slice and I'm not going to freak out about a little flavor now and then. This is not an exercise is developing OCD with food. Since my boyfriend is a chef, it would dishonor him.

 For lunch I wasn't hungry, and I confess that I didn't eat my midmorning snack either. See, I started on Alyacen 1/35 (which is a generic of Ortho Novuum 1/35, which is a birth control pill) last month to help me with some symptoms of endometriosis and ovarian cysts and it's made my appetite a little wonky. I'd never taken BC pills before for fear of the side effects and now I know why I put it off for so long. Sometimes I just can't stomach the idea of eating ANYTHING. Some days are fine and some days I have this persistent low-grade queasiness. I hate it. I hate it that I have to take these and can't just be normal. But it is what it is.

Anyway, I did manage to shove some food down my throat in the form of strawberries, a small mango, and a hard-boiled egg. I was hungry, but I didn't want to eat anything because, well, I just didn't want to eat. It was one of those times when I wish I could just inject nutrients into myself so I could feel satisfied without the effort of tasting, chewing, and swallowing. But it was a good meal and included my carbs and protein.

I'm liking having my little workouts in the mornings. After work I don't have to worry about the gym or getting to the gym or the guilt of ultimately not going to the gym. I'm all done and I feel it in my gluts and delts!

You know what I do though to keep going? I visualize myself back in shape and with some new piece of clothing I would buy when I get back there. The worst thing about getting out of shape is not feeling happy to shop. I hate to buy clothes or go to the mall right now. And that's a bitch. I love fashion and I love the mall. But right now I feel like I don't deserve it. And that's the biggest bitch of all.
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Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1st Is a Monday and As Good a Day As Any to Get MyselfTogether

Well, here I am enjoying another fat summer. This is, like, the third summer in a row that I've been uncomfortably fat. Why can't I remember how much this sucks every year? I even worked out with a personal trainer all winter (taking a hiatus from her until I can take some of this weight off and get my cardio back on track) and did Zumba 3 to 4 days a week, but I ate like crap too, so it all went down the toilet. Really, nutrition is 80% of the game. You can workout all you want, but if you eat like crap it's pointless and the results are minimal.

Anyway, I think I've reached my limit of fatness this year and am finally, after many starts and stops, ready to get my shit together. I'm meeting a lot of new people (Travis's family and friends) and feel so self-conscious. That's not cool, and that's not me.

I know that eating clean and working out with weights was the only thing that was ever successful for me. It's a commitment to eat clean, buying the food and prepping. But I've been in the kitchen all weekend getting it done. I made some chicken breasts that I can eat in whole wheat wraps or make into salad. I have a ton of fresh fruits. I'm having a hard time getting the veggies in, so I might make green smoothies in the morning as a post workout stomach settler.

This morning I did the Ripped in 30 workout by Jillian Michaels. Man, is she annoying at 6 am! But it was only 20 minutes and it felt good to workout. I want to eventually workout more than just 20 minutes, but this is a start.

Anyway as for food today, I started the day off with some good ol' oats, mixed with water, with a banana and some cashew butter (which is NOT cheap by the way). I'm pretty broke these days because I no longer busting my ass working 21 jobs. It's nice to be less stressed, but I'm also much less able to throw money around. It's been interesting having no money I tell you what!

For the mid-morning snack, I've got some strawberries and my favorite tiny mangoes. And for lunch, I've got a piece of chicken in half a whole wheat tortilla with some broccoli slaw and mayo. Then for the afternoon snack I've got some walnuts and a peach.

Dinner, I'm not too sure of. My parents said they would grill some pork (oink, oink), and I have a small sweet potato to go with that. In the evening, I figure a medjool date with some cashew butter will suffice.

So here I am on the Tosca Reno train again. But honestly, that's that best way I ever did it where I didn't feel deprived or angry at the world. It just takes an adjustment period and motivation to change the kinds of foods your body wants. Measuring macronutrients and weight training I was in kick ass shape. Eat all (complex) carbs with a little protein and eat 6 times a day.

Here's to Day 1!

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Big 3-5 in Less Than a Week Gratitude List

I have some thoughts about turning 35. Actually, wait, I don't have any real thoughts about turning 35 other than to be grateful to have come this far and to be so incredibly blessed.

To be honest, I originally came here today to bemoan my existence and its lack of progress in the past 20 or so years, but why should I? What terrible circumstances have I gotten into that I didn't eventually get out of? None. That's the answer. NONE. I have held my head high through some very stupid shit, especially lately. And if the worst is that I gained a little stress weight (which I fully intend to lose this year) then that's pretty damn swell.

So, in honor of the last 35 years, I bring you my gratitude list:

1. I'm grateful to wake up in the morning. Even when the chips are down, I'm very fortunate to wake up every morning with a chance at a new day. And whatever that day may bring, I know that I will be guided by the grace of God.

2. There's always a second chance right around every corner. I know it's sort of cliche, but doors shut and windows open all the time. Sometimes it's hard to see that when the cold, hard door slams in your face. But turn around and there's usually a window open wide. Or if it's not open, you can smash a chair through it and climb out with a few minor cuts and bruises.

3. I'm grateful for having enough money that my biggest stress is having to lay off the shopping until I get some bills paid in the next few months. Some people can't eat, get gas, or pay their bills. I can do all of that and all I have to do is reign in the frivolous spending and boredom shopping for a little while.

4. I'm grateful for my family and friends. I'm grateful that I had the wonderful childhood and adolescence that I had. I'm grateful for the sacrifices my parents made to give me that. You know your parents did a good job when you would give just about anything to relive it all over again.

5. I'm grateful to God for all the experiences I've had in the last 35 years, good and bad, because they built my character and strengthened my spirit.

6. Finally, I'm grateful to myself for hanging in there, with hope and faith, through good times and in bad, through the storms and calms. Thank you, Deedah.

Here's a beautiful song:

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day/Mardi Gras

Yesterday was Mardi Gras and it was my last meat-eating (chicken and red meats) day until Easter Sunday. I do this every year as my Lenten sacrifice and not as a diet. And most years, Lent begins the week or two before my birthday, which is February 26. So I haven't had meat on my birthday in years.

Anyway, last night Travis came over with some beautiful roses and a sweet card for Valentine's Day, and I gave him the two cards I had bought. Then he took me out for a steak dinner. So I did have a Valentine this year! And he's the best Valentine to come into my life, EVER.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine's Day: So What's the Big Deal?

The big deal is that at the age of 35, I have never, EVER had a true Valentine or Valentine's Day. Yes, I've had boyfriends that endured during and past that date but never, EVER was one a true Valentine.

My mantra my entire dating life has been "Well, maybe next year."

In the beginning of my life as a dating woman, at around the age of 18, I had a boyfriend (if you can really call him that) who I met while I was in college. See, my good friend at the time and I hated being on campus so we would always wonder off to downtown DC or Georgetown or the local mall for a some air and coffee. We always frequented the Espresso Bar at Nordstrom (why do all my roads lead to and from that place?) where we would order mochas and sit and people watch and chat. There was a handsome young barista there named Mohammed who we eventually got to know. He was dark and exotic and a little dangerous. Long story short, we started "talking" or rather he would page me on my hi-tech pager (which was the equivalent of a cell phone back in the day) and I would call him back, and we would talk for hours on end. My pager buddy and I went on in this fashion for about a year, at which time I moved off campus and back home, which was a whole four miles from where I went to school. I had no idea what a "real" relationship was like so I considered him my boyfriend, although we never really went out on dates. You see he was Palestinian and Muslim and I was (and still am) NOT Palestinian and AM Catholic. So to go out on dates with him would break his poor mother's heart and my mother's as well! This made it all the more enticing and exciting. I can see now that it was a very immature relationship, but I was young and he was the first boy to care enough to page me.

On Valentine's Day evening (we didn't go anywhere of course and I didn't get so much as a card or an acknowledgment that it was a special day) we were talking late into the night as per usual and he asked me if it was OK if he told me he loved me. Of course, I was over the moon and said yes. So that was my first Valentine's Day with a boy. Exactly one year later, as we were talking on Valentine's Day, he dumped me for an arranged marriage his family had set up with a Jordanian woman who was also his cousin. And that was my second Valentine's Day with a boy.

After Mohammed, I didn't have any Valentine's Days for a few years. Then, when I was 22, I started dating Kurt. Kurt was the exact opposite of Mohammed. Kurt was very, very tall and very, very blond. My relationship with Kurt lasted a few months, from December until September, but it wasn't at all very serious. We met up once a week (usually on Sunday) for a movie and dinner or some other activity and that would be that. If I knew at the time that I was a booty call, I wouldn't have let it continue for the 9 months that it did. And I'm not going to lie. I did love him. But if my past experiences are any indication, I'm a complete idiot when it comes to love and being loved. And we didn't have a Valentine's Day because he was off in Amsterdam with his best buddy Eric that year. That made me sad, and that was the first year I ever said "Maybe next year." But Kurt was a good enough guy. He never lied to me or pretended to feel more than he did. We even remained good friends for years after our breakup, and that friendship was better than the actual relationship.

After Kurt, I was admittedly heartbroken (although I never let him know that throughout our friendship) and didn't resume dating for some time. Sure, I went out briefly with some guys, but none were boyfriends, and none were Valentines.

Then came Brian in 2005. I was 27 and more than ready for a real honest to goodness Valentine. The first year Brian and I were together, we did have a Valentine's Day. It consisted of ME going over to his apartment in Bethesda, ME buying the pizza, and ME renting The Notebook. There were no cards or flowers, just our usual movie date courtesy of my bank account. And that was the one and only Valentine's Day we had together. The next six years of our relationship, he was in Wisconsin and most likely busy being his wife's Valentine. And he sent me a card in the mail. And every year I would say "Maybe next year." I just knew that eventually we would be reunited and have a real Valentine's Day. But that, of course, never happened.

Travis doesn't care about Valentine's Day. He asked me once what I wanted for Valentine's Day, but it was a half-hearted attempt to please me as we walked by the Hallmark store already brimming with pink and red cards and that cute but stupid Cupig stuffed toy. And since then he seems to not really want to be my Valentine at all, which makes me sad. We have no plans, which I understand because of his job, but then it seems like he gets moody about the whole idea of Valentines Day or angry that such a day even exists. I already have two cards for him that I bought weeks ago in anticipation of what could've been my first real Valentine's Day. I don't know what I should do with them since it looks like we aren't celebrating it. I got a cute one with a pug on it and I ordered one from Shutterfly with a picture of us from Christmas Day. And since no one I know reads this blog, I feel like I can get teary about it here rather than in real life.

Travis brings me flowers all the time and does special things for me on a regular basis, so he's a wonderful boyfriend. All the things men save for one day, February 14, Travis does on any given day, any given month. And I love him for it. But I must confess that it breaks my heart that here I am with someone so lovely and I STILL won't have a Valentine's Day. I don't want ANY gifts or a fancy dinner or any of that stuff.

I just want to be someone's Valentine.

I want someone to Be Mine and I want to be someone's.

I miss being loved by someone and hearing it. I miss that more than I can even express.

Maybe next year.


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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Will I Ever Feel Better!??!!

This winter has been the winter from hell as far as being sick goes. I can't seem to shake whatever is going on with my sinuses, and it's starting to get really, really old. I don't feel like working out or eating healthy because my stomach is queasy from all the blockages going on in my head, chest, and ears.

What can I do? I had a loss last week, but since then I haven't worked out or been true to my diet du jour. So I'm probably right back where I started. But, for some reason, my dieting week starts on a Wednesday and today is Wednesday.

Seriously, how absurd do I sound right now. Starting yet again. Never following through, yet again. But I'm sick and that's a good excuse right?

NO, it's not. I'm going to shout out a big fat FU to my sinuses and at least focus on my eating for the next few days. I have to do this because the extra weight I gained, although it might seem benign enough, is beginning to wreak havoc on my whole body. That's why I try to keep my weight in check in the first place. If I so much as gain 15 pounds (which I did) my Aunt Flo isn't happy and starts with the ol' unannounced pop-in. Or she'll stand me up for our monthly get together (which is much better than the random pop-in). My knees feel bad, my breathing feels bad, and I'm always tired.

And that's the whole problem isn't it? When you let yourself get so far gone you feel too tired and bad to come back. And it sucks when you try and stand back up after a bad fall. Everything hurts and it would be better to just lie there and die, right? Hell no! Then the race passes you by and you're left lying there beaten and feeling bad. So I'm going to get up no matter how much it hurts. I might need to take it slowly or ask for a hand, but I can't just lie here and "die." I owe it to myself to get up, dust myself off, and not have yet another fat summer where I'm the most overdressed person at the beach.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy to Have Lost

Today is my first weigh in, and this morning I weighed in at 170.0. So that's a small, but on-target, loss for the week.

The past few days have been busy working both jobs. Luckily tonight is my last night at Nordstrom for a little while. I have mixed feelings about this. Although it will be nice to have a break from working multiple jobs, whether it be freelancing or retail, I find myself wondering how I'll handle all the free time. Will I distract myself by shopping and spending too much money? Will I go to the gym more? Will I EAT MORE? Will I get reacquainted with my kitchen and cooking again? I guess I'll figure it out as I go, especially during the upcoming weekend.

But today, I'm sick. Last night I probably scared poor sweet Travis because all of a sudden my chest was on fire and I had a really hard time breathing. I felt like passing out, but it seemed like if I let myself pass out I would stop breathing. It felt crazy! I thought my respiratory system was shutting down and I was starting to black out. This morning, judging by the way I feel right now, I think a chest cold or perhaps one of those illnesses going around has finally caught up with me. So who knows if I'll get back to the gym this week. Seems like something always comes up doesn't it?

Well I feel like shit so I'm out!
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Back on the Wagon

Last night I went back to the gym for the first time since before the holidays. And previous to that I hadn't been to the gym in close to a year. Not that emotional trauma and stress should ever be a good excuse to devalue your health, but 2012 was a transition year for me in many ways. I quit freelancing and worked a part-time job instead that left little time for pretty much anything, I traveled to seven meetings, I broke up with my long-term boyfriend in dramatic fashion, I ended up having a $6,500 repair bill for some water damage caused by a malfunctioning water heater (which in turn made me take even more hours at the part-time job), and I started dating a chef.

But let's talk about last night at the gym. My trainer, Stephanie, is great. She's stern but not a bitch about it, and she's very knowledgeable about diet and exercise. We worked on arms (holy cow it was tough!), legs, and abs. Honestly, even though there were points when I wanted to die, it felt amazing to workout again. I realized last night that I missed it so much and how good I felt after a workout well done. Perhaps if I had kept up my exercise during 2012, it wouldn't have felt like such an overwhelming year.

I burned 720 calories in that short hour and 15 minutes because I'm so out of shape right now. And this morning my elbow hurts something fierce for some reason. But it's a good pain. I can feel my muscles for the first time in a long time, and it feels good to be aware of my body again.

I plan on hitting the gym more regularly in the coming days and weeks. I want to look good (and be healthier) for my 35th birthday next month. I'm not running any half-marathons and it won't be anything like last year's birthday, but I will be in Florida with my parents, the puggies, and my sweetheart, Travis.

If anyone is reading this blog, my wish is to impart hope that although life can sidetrack you, there's always a way back no matter how far away you've gotten, and that goes for happiness as well as fitness. For many weeks after the whole Brian fiasco, I felt like I had wasted 7 of my best years. From age 27 until 34, my life was tied up in someone else, and at the time I was happy to make the sacrifice because I thought that's what you had to do for true love. When I discovered that he had been married for close to the entirety of our relationship (oh yeah, the whole first year of our relationship he was planning his wedding to Amanda on the side), I went crazy thinking of the life I could have had if I hadn't met Brian. In 7 years, I could have met someone else, someone true and kind. I could have married that person and had a pretty little family of my own. I thought about whether my children would be in kindergarten or first grade by now and all of the things I missed out on in that regard. And I felt utterly defeated. He stole 7 years from me at the prime of my life that I'll never get back.

Eventually, I stopped punishing my own stupidity with these thoughts, and I opened my heart again. Travis is nothing like Brian in every sense. In the 6 months we've been together, I've met his parents and friends; he invited me to spend Christmas Eve at his aunt's house with his family; and he invited me to spend NewYear's Eve with him and his friends at a little cozy get together. That's so much more than Brian ever offered to share with me. And I appreciate Travis for showing me that there is hope. There's hope in life and in love. And whether Travis and I make it all the way or not, I will always cherish the gift of joy and hope he gave me at such a dark time in my life. He's truly a beautiful person.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

2012 Year in Review: Part II

New Orleans was the last time I ever saw Brian.

On our last day there together, I kissed him goodbye before he got into his cab to head to the airport. I watched the taxi pull away from the hotel, then I walked down Poydras in half drizzle half sunshine toward the convention center to take down my exhibit. I didn't feel sad, nor did I have the slightest premonition that it was as good as over. I didn't know yet that soon, on a sunny Friday afternoon in early May, I would discover a truth so well hidden yet so easily stumbled upon. I didn't know that this was our last kiss, our last wave goodbye.

When I returned home from New Orleans, I went back to business as usual at my day job and at Nordstrom. I was still basking in the after glow of my culinary joyride through the Crescent City. I was telling everyone who would listen about my mornings walking down to Cafe du Monde for coffee and to split a plate of beignets with my coworker, always managing to get a puff of powdered sugar on my jacket or laptop bag, and about tasting grilled alligator sausage with caramelized onions and sherry-creole mustard cream reduction at The Court of the Two Sisters restaurant in the French Quarter.

At Nordstrom, there was a new sous chef who started shortly before I left on my trip. I had seen him rushing around, red-faced and smelling like onions, back and forth to the backroom we shared with the Cafe. One night around closing time, soon after I got home from NOLA, I was standing by the cash wrap waiting for the all-clear to close up from the Manger in Charge. I had not yet introduced myself and I was bored and still daydreaming about pralines and beignets. So I stopped him and asked him his name. After our brief introductions, I told Travis that I was a part-timer and that I had just gotten back from a business trip to New Orleans. And---what I now think of as pure serendipity---his eyes widened and he told me that he had lived in New Orleans and worked there as a chef for many years! When the all-clear finally came, I knew I had a new "closing buddy" in Travis, and from then on we always chatted about this or that and joked around along with our other coworkers. It seems like I digress here, but you'll find that this is an important event in the course of my 2012.

One night in early May, I was closing with my department manager and we were chatting. She asked me if I had a boyfriend, and I said yes! and that we would be together 7 years this June. Of course, she wanted to know all about this boyfriend who's been just a boyfriend for nearly 7 years. I told her of our situation, that he had to move back to Wisconsin and hadn't yet been able to find a job here so that he could come back and we could finally get married. Well, my manager was skeptical that it would take 7 years to get back together or to find a job, even in a bad economy, for a graduate-school-educated man. But, stupid as I was, I assured her that we were trying and that he was sending his resume all over town with no luck. She then asked me about Wisconsin and his family. Here, I will have to confess my most grievous mistake. I had never formally met his family. In 7 years there was always an excuse. I had briefly met his father at a Brewers game at Miller Park only because he worked there at the gates. We didn't talk and I wasn't introduced. We just walked in through his gate. I should have known something wasn't kosher when his father merely gave his son a smirk and didn't ask who I was. I met his sister in Florida briefly, but it was a short introduction, and I wasn't "allowed" to call her for lunch or coffee whenever I happened to be in Orlando (she lives in Kissimmee). And I had never met his mother. Not once. In 7 years. In 7 years, my future mother-in-law never once wanted to meet me. Yeah, I got enough red flags to open up a Red Flag Shop. My parents had been giving me grief for years about me not knowing his family. I always used to say that it's because they lived in Wisconsin. But the truth is I'd been to Wisconsin so many times through the years and had so many opportunities to meet them and get to know them. Brian always had an excuse, though, and I talked myself into believing each and every one.

My manager, who I now owe my new life to, thought that not knowing his family was a terrible mistake and asked if I had ever Googled him. I honestly replied that I was afraid to Google him for fear of finding something unsavory. Don't you just want to hit me with a baseball bat at this point? Then she said something that changed the course of my life. She said, "Don't you want to know now if there's anything bad about him rather than spend more years not knowing?"

I have to say that I always felt something "off" about or relationship, about the things Brian would tell me, about the poor excuses that I swallowed whole. Now that I look back on all those years together, all the signs that something was very, very wrong were clear as a billboard. But I was in love. I met Brian when I was 27. It was a time when all my friends were getting engaged and married. I suppose I wanted in on the action, so I chose blindly to love Brian and stay with him despite our situation in the hopes that he was The One. Now, I know that you shouldn’t have to hope that someone is The One or try and make them The One because if you have to do that, then they are most definitely not The One.

On Friday afternoon after work, May 11, with my manager’s words resonating in my stupid brain and for other personal reasons I won’t go into here, I decided I needed to know the whole truth whatever that truth may be. My gut was already sure that I would find something in my search because all my little warning bells and flags and whistles and what have you were finally starting to mean something to me. I Googled his name and a 2-year-old obituary notice popped up in my search. It was for his grandmother, Regina. I remember his Grandma Reggie dying a couple of years back. I wasn’t at the funeral of course; that was a family affair. I clicked on the link to the obituary and saw the list of relatives survived by her. Among those listed, I recognized his parents and sister by their names. There was his father, Dennis (her son), and his wife, Marie. There was his sister, Michelle, and her husband, Kyle. Then, there was Brian and his wife, Amanda.

I knew who Amanda was. Years ago, when Brian was still living in the area and we’d only been together a few months, an ex-girlfriend of his called and left a message on my phone saying that Brian was still with his girlfriend, Amanda, back in Milwaukee. She warned me that Brian was not the person I imagined he was and that I would be wise to believe her. I didn’t of course. When I confronted Brian, he said that the ex-girlfriend was extremely jealous and a liar who would stop at nothing to ruin him for other women. He even called her and screamed at her on the phone for leaving me such a spiteful message. Little did I know that the poor woman was only trying to save me.

That weekend I had to work at Nordstrom, which was good because I took solace in my friends there. I told them what I found and asked them what I should do next. Of course the unanimous answer was that I should kick his ass or pay someone to kick his ass. As much as I would have loved to do that, I decided that I would just confront him on Monday. Via e-mail. I never wanted to talk to him again, of that I was sure.

On Monday, May 14, I sent him all the proof I found and told him that our relationship was dead. I actually sent it in a PDF. I sent a copy of the obituary with their names highlighted; I sent the BeenVerified.com information I bought about Amanda, which is what I used to match addresses and identities and such; and I sent copies of return addresses from packages he sent me that didn’t match his parents’ address, where he supposedly lived. Yes, the fool had used the address where he lived with his wife to send me packages. When I questioned him about this “other” address previously, he said that his parents didn’t like him using their address for things and that the New Berlin address was his friend Anthony’s.

So that’s my Lifetime-movie experience. For months after this, Brian would pretend to be suicidal; he sent ALL the things I bought him as presents back, along with tear-stained letters of regret and apology; and he sent all our pictures back. At first, I still cared for him and didn’t want him to suffer. I told him that I forgave him (I truly did; I was raised to love my enemies and do good to those who hurt me) and that I would hold his hand through his heartbreak but I would never ever go back. Eventually, he started blaming me for the death of our relationship, saying I was unforgiving, cold, cruel, a liar (what??!!), and that I already had someone else, etc. He because a true narcissist.

I don’t have any more contact with Brian. I don’t feel that it’s appropriate. And I can’t go on hearing how awful I am for not taking him back.

But I’m happy now and all this is behind me.


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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Revisiting Deedah's Cupcakes and Fitness

It's been nice long while since I've blogged. In that interim I've been happy, sad, thinner, and fatter. But I still have the same goals as far as food and health are concerned. I want my cake and eat it too!

So before I publish Part II of my recent adventures, I'm republishing my very first entry (with a few tweaks as you'll see ) so we can get a little reacquainted.
Cupcakes and fitness. What in the world do those two things have in common? I love both and can't imagine giving up one for the sake of the other!
I've been on a quest to achieve the best level of fitness for my body for years. I want to stay healthy and live a long and active life. But like many people out there, I'm stuck with that last 10-15 (yeah, it's more like 15-20 these days) pounds I can't seem to get rid of. I've tried almost every popular diet/eating style/exercise regimen there is, from the ultrarestrictive low-carb diets like Atkins and South Beach to Weight Watchers to the Eat Clean Diet. I couldn't stick to any of them. Sound familiar?
I've realized that food is a wonderful part of life (yes!). The sweet comfort of icing coating your tongue, the buttercream infusing your tastebuds; the heartiness of a fresh slice of artisan bread, crusty and rustic; filet mignon that melts in your mouth, cooked to perfection, with a glass of red wine, of course; the juice of a perfect peach dribbling down your chin and your hands while you revel in the purest taste of summer. I can't live like food is just a means to fuel my body because I truly find so much joy in it. I find joy in sharing meals with friends and loved ones, I find joy in cooking and baking and being creative with food, and I find joy in discovering new restaurants, whether it's a mom-and-pop dive or a Zagat-rated dining experience. But I know that I've got to be realistic and eat healthy (most of the time) to achieve my fitness goals and avoid the consequences of obesity, like diabetes and heart disease, which, unfortunately, plague both my parents and extended family on both sides (and now a few years later it's even more important nip those diseases in the bud). So I've got a tough road ahead in my journey to balance my love of food AND my love of fitness and exercise, as well as to drop those stubborn last pounds.
I say I love fitness and exercise (I'm gonna go ahead and confess that I haven't truly had a workout schedule in many, many months). AND I DO! What do I love just as much as food? Working out, if you can believe it (Oh to be young[er]). I've always exercised (and enjoyed it), whether I was 175 pounds or 125 pounds. I enjoy feeling my body working hard, my muscles contracting and extending, throbbing after each rep. The high at the end of a summer run, as the sun beats down on my arms and face, drenching me in sweat and sunscreen, is euphoric (Was it really that good? Oh how I want to feel that good again!). In the past couple of years, I've taken up running. I run for fun a couple of times a week either at the gym or around my neighborhoodThe furthest I ever run is 6 miles, but most of the time I like to go for a nice 4-miler. This past June I ran in my first 5 K race, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Washington, DC. The feeling I got crossing the finish line is something I can't wait to recapture, and soon! (I wish I was still this person in a lot of ways).
Eating Plan
I don't want to divorce food to be healthy. I want to forge a working relationship in which I CAN loose body fat, gain endurance and stamina, and get more fit and still have a cupcake every now and then. I still want to enjoy a full, real meal out in the real world. I don't want to order the side salad while everyone else has calamari! And I think moderation and portion size are key. I recently purchased a book by Jackie Warner (of Workout fame) entitled This Is Why You're Fat. In it, Ms. Warner talks about "eating clean" most of the time but allowing yourself two cheat meals a week of no more than 1,500 calories each. I don't plan on following her methods to the letter but rather follow the principles of such a method, using also what I've learned from the myriad of diets I've tried through the years (Where in the world did I put that book? I'm actually doing Weigh Watchers online and I have a personal trainer who I'm starting with tomorrow).
This leads me to some of the goals I mentioned in my Welcome post on July 1. Although this blog is going to deal a lot with food and exercise, it will also include other aspects of living a full and fruitful life. I turn 33 (35 next month) next year! It's time to start living!
This morning I weighed in at 173.
Goal: 155-150 (I'm not trying to be a fashion model or skinny)

I have a personal training appointment tomorrow night. I started with her late last year, but with the holidays and then both of us getting sick, I haven't worked out since the middle of December. But hopefully all the sick days are over and I can get back to enjoying sweating like I apparently used to.


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2012 A Year in Review

Is anyone out there? Hello?

It's been a while, as you can see. Since April 2011, the date of my last post, I have to admit that my life has been mostly cupcakes and very little fitness, which has inevitably led me to a nearly 20 lb weight gain. But wait! Before you shake your heads in disgust and disappointment, I have a laundry list of excuses for falling off the wagon, which I will post in two parts.

Part I

Quite honestly, the rest of 2011 is a blur in my mind. I've always had trouble remembering a whole lot, and 2012 upstaged 2011 as far as crazy, Lifetime-movie-type BS goes. So I just remember 2011 as being an everyday, run-of-the-mill year. I know that in June 2011, I traveled to Las Vegas for a business trip, during which I was accosted in a dark alley by a drunk firmly gripping his member. Thank goodness for the lone car that happened to drive through. How I ended up in the aforementioned dark alley is a lame story exemplifying my poor judgement and lack of common sense. Oh and some man decided it was worth it to pull it out and pee right next to where I was standing one evening. So, yeah, in Las Vegas I saw two strange penises I never asked to see. Later in the summer of 2011, I'm sure I went to Orlando a couple of times as I usually do. Then I probably went to Wisconsin for the last time that year.

Late in the fall of 2011, I decided to go back to working part-time at Nordstrom as seasonal help and just kept working through until very recently. Looking back, it's clear that starting up at Nordstrom again was a quintessential turning point in my life. It initiated a "paradigm shift" that pretty much transformed everything I knew for the last 7 years 180 degrees, quite literally overnight.

2012 started as benignly as any other year, other than the looming threat of an apocalypse come December 21st thanks to a misinterpreted Mayan calendar. Actually, my birthday celebration in February in Florida was probably one of the best birthdays I had ever had. As delusional as I was---that being a hindsight observation of course---it was wonderful to spend my 34th birthday with my parents, my brother, my cousin, and Brian. All the people I loved most were all with me. Who could ask for a better gift! It was a blast and I was happy. While there, Brian even booked his flight to New Orleans in April to prove to me that he was serious about going with me on my business trip. Now that was going to be fun, fun, fun! So, like I said, it was a great time, and I had Brian and New Orleans to look forward to come April.

Meanwhile, while I was working at Nordstrom that winter, I developed a bond with my lovely coworkers and really enjoyed going in to work. Interacting with customers and learning so many things from them and the people around me was enriching and a nice change of pace from my quiet daytime desk job. Brian wasn't as thrilled about my new outlet, and I was accused of wasting precious "visiting time" working a part-time job that took up a lot of free time that I could have spent booking and paying for flights for him to come see me. I felt guilty, but there was no way I was going to negotiate with anyone who can't be happy for me being happy. So to spite him, I kept on a-workin'.

When April finally came along, I couldn't wait to go to New Orleans. It was a new place for me, and I would have Brian to experience it with. I had three goals when I went to New Orleans: 1) I wanted to eat in at least one famous restaurant (believe me New Orleans is a veritable food heaven); 2) I wanted to have at least one drink in at least one bar on Bourbon Street; and 3) I wanted to go to Cafe Du Monde. Suffice it to say, I was up for some digestive debauchery.

Tune in next time for the conclusion of 2012 A Year in Review!

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