Category Archives: Random

Time to Detox

The time has come for me to detox again. I feel like this has actually become something I really look forward to. The ritual of the detox is something I enjoy, plus I always feel amazing afterward. Work has been insanely stressful and I’m beginning to agree with the people who tell me I’m crazy for deciding to stick with neuroendocrinological surgery. Regardless, the detox always helps me focus a bit. I planned to start after the holidays and February gave me an entire month to prepare.

I have decided to mix the detox process up a bit and follow a different plan. The entire process will take 21 days, so I am planning on starting March 4. This gives me one more weekend to beginning cooking some of the food I will need for the next 21 days. My friends will probably start to notice how moody I’m becoming around March 10-12. A week or so into each detox, my body starts to rebel and I get cranky. Hopefully by preparing all of what I need in advance, I can stave off the crankiness for awhile.

Plan Basics:

– Lots of fluids: at least 64-oz a day
– Base diet: lentils, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils and seasonings
– Glass of warm water with lemon each morning
– Prep each meal well before
– Stretching routine each morning
– Continue to run my 50+ miles a week
– Add in 30 min of yoga/pilates a day
– No fish or gluten-free grains until week two
– No eggs or non-GMO soy until week three
– 21 day food journal

I will be using Whole Living’s recipes for the duration of the detox process.

Week 1: Breakfast
Week 1: Lunch
Week 1: Dinner

Week 2: Breakfast
Week 2: Lunch
Week 2: Dinner

Week 3: Breakfast
Week 3: Lunch
Week 3: Dinner

Snacks

I will keep you updated on my progress as often as I can spare some time to make a post. At the moment I am currently fighting a nasty upper respiratory infection, but this too shall pass.

Let me know what you think about this detox plan! I’m curious to see if this one is better than the last one I did. It doesn’t seem to be near as strict, so I hope it still works just as well.

2013 is Going to be a Busy Year

2013 is Going to be a Busy Year

With a little over a month to go in 2012, I thought it was time to look back on how badly I failed at my resolutions this year. Work had me stressed out for the majority of the year and I reverted back to always saying, “Yes” even when I knew I was taking on too much. 

So, without further ado let us look at my year of resolution failures…

1. Strengthen my person relationships. This I feel like I have somewhat accomplished. I saw family quite a bit this year, sadly it was mostly due to a string of tragedies. I felt like this resolution may have been a little too broad and it’s something I should be doing anyway. Going into 2013, I will definitely keep a line of communication open and try to make this a habit.

2. Write more letters, emails and thank you notes. I actually DESTROYED this resolution! Since I have started writing inmates, the flood gate of letters has opened. I have written letters to my babcia, my mother, uncles, friends in Europe and even my oldest brother. I’m carrying this goal over into 2013, but I know that I will be able to keep it up.

3. Take a real vacation with someone. This resolution was an utter failure. All of my trips (save a few to Tahoe) were solo or business related. I’m actually taking this resolution off the table, since I can tell it’s not something I’m going to be able to accomplish in the foreseeable future. 

4. Write a novel. Though I have worked on my novel, it is not even close to being completed. I am taking part in NaNoWriMo, which has forced me to write and edit a bit. Plans to actually complete the novel have been shelved, but I will continue to work on it in 2013.

5. Learn to sew. Yea, this hasn’t happened. I’m not going to roll this resolution over into 2013 either.

6. Read 20 books in 2012. In 2012 I read 35 books, so I hit this out of the ballpark. I’m changing this goal up a bit for 2013.

7. Make a blog post 2-3 times a week. This resolution was extremely difficult for me to maintain. At first I felt like I was doing a good job keeping up with posting, but as I found myself busy with work I realize that I would rather make good posts, than more posts. Quality over quantity I suppose. 

8. Run 50 miles a week. This was an easy goal. Some weeks I just missed the 50 mile goal, but I made to make up for it the following week. I’m sticking with the 50 MPW goal in 2013, as I am comfortable with it now.

9. Take more cooking courses. 2012 was a year for cooking. I attended a Thai cooking course, Chinese Dim Sum course and I took a classic French course with a friend. Since I enjoyed this resolution so much I plan to continue taking courses into 2013.

10. Complete a detox plan. I have already done a small detox (2 weeks) this year and I plan to do another after the holiday season. This is another goal that I will continue to do in 2013.

Next year is still going to be insanely busy. I know that I don’t have a lot of time to spend on a laundry list of resolutions, but I find that setting goals each year is not only helpful, it is something I look forward to.

After thinking about my current time commitments and the number of goals I think I can actively achieve in 2013, I came up with the following list:

1. Continue to write more letters. I have found that I enjoy writing letters so much, I want to continue this goal into 2013. Writing inmates has been such a positive, fulfilling experience that I know I will be able to follow through on this goal throughout the coming year. 

2. Read the following books in 2013:

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Every Day by David Levithan
The Hive by Charles Burns
Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
Osama by Lavie Tidhar
The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t by Nate Silver
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson
The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
Seed by Ania Ahlborn
Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Railsea by China Mieville
– Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Son by Lois Lowry
I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
– Life as we knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer
– The Perfect Gentleman by Imran Ahmad
– Immortal Lycanthropes by Hal Johnson
– Origin by Jessica Khoury
– Book of my choice
– Book recommended to me

So, if you have a book to recommend leave it in the comments below. Make a case for the book! I’m only reading the book with the most compelling argument/interesting synopsis. As far as the “Book of my choice” I am using it as a placeholder in case a favorite author of mine publishes a book in 2013. If you have listened to any of these as an audiobook and you thought it was amazing, let me know. I want to try and listen to more audiobooks in the coming year.

3. Listen to at least 3 audiobooks. A friend of mine told me that I just had to start listening to audiobooks. I have tried to listen to a few in the past while I work, but I never end up finishing them. It’s not because they aren’t good, it’s just that I get so distracted with work I find them hard to follow.

4. Take more cooking classes. I thoroughly enjoy this goal and look forward to adding classes to my repertoire. I’m not going to set a goal of how many courses I take, just because I know my schedule is slightly prohibitive. 

5. Run 50 miles a week. This is a goal I plan to carry over every year, I may even stop adding it as a resolution. I would love to add a marathon or two into my rotation, but I can’t guarantee anything.

6. Complete a detox plan. Every year I try for two detoxes, so this may fall into the habitual resolutions category. My plan this year is to do one right before summer and the other after the holiday season.

 All of the resolutions above are ones that I have carried over from 2011-2012, but I do have a few new ones to add. In fact, I have four (4) new resolutions to add to my list for 2013. 

7. Streamline my exercise routine and add in something fun. I may run almost every day, but that can sometimes be a little monotonous. Yoga has been added to my rotation, as well as pilates and ballet (obviously). When I have the time, I go for a quick swim. This year, I think I may try playing tennis a few times a month. It was a sport I enjoyed in high school and I assume I would still enjoy it if I tried it now. Any suggestions?

8. Get involved with a charity or volunteer organization. Though I am currently on the Doctors without Borders list, I don’t feel like I am contributing enough. If anyone knows of organizations in the Los Angeles area that need volunteers, I would love to help out!

9. Learn another language. Being multilingual is amazing. It is something I continually thank my parents for pushing on me over and over. Ideally I would like to learn Spanish, but I am also open to other languages. This isn’t something I’m going to be able to complete in a single year, but it is definitely something I can start.

10. I’m going to try something different this year and let the masses decided what my final resolution will be. What kind of challenge would you like to set for me? You can email me or leave a comment. If I don’t have any options by the end of the year, I will have to set my own. I hope that I get some feedback on this, as I would like to make this a yearly resolution!

What do you think? Decent goals for 2013?

 

 

A Wild Update Appears

I haven’t posted in a long time and I thought I might give any readers I still have an update.

Work:

I applied at a different hospital system and was offered a position. Nothing will be final until July, but I will be traveling back and forth between both hospitals for a bit. I look at this as an exciting new adventure, one where I am still unsure what exactly will happen. As both hospitals are in California, it’s not going to be a cross-country flight. I am still looking for opportunities on the East coast, but they appear to be few and far between. 

Family:

My cousin had her baby, Adela Ksenia October 3. She’s adorable and I love her so much, even if she did poop on me. She has been crying quite a bit, but hopefully that will subside in the next few weeks. The house has definitely changed with a baby around. I was a bit sick (an understatement) over the weekend and was quarantined to my room for fear I would make Adela sick as well. As soon as I’m better, I plan on playing with her again. It makes me a little baby crazy, but since I know that isn’t going to happen, I have relegated myself to being the best cousin/aunt replacement I can be! 

Personal:

I have been a bit scattered lately. Work has stretched me thin and with the baby I have added a new set of responsibilities to my already hectic life. My personal relationships are always strained, but they have become even more so these last few months. I very much miss the handful of people I haven’t had time for and hope they know that I still care about them a great deal. My life is hard on friendships, which is why I do cherish the few close friends I have. 

A friend of mine recently asked me if I had ever considered corresponding with someone who is incarcerated. I told her that, honestly, it had never even crossed my mind. This particular friend is a counselor to inmates predominantly on the East coast, but she has also worked with people all over the country. She explained to me that these people often feel forgotten about and just need something positive in their life. After knowing me for so many years, she thought that I would be a good person to ask. So, after thinking about it for a few days, I agreed to do it. I have set up a P.O. box (which made me feel oddly adult) and have written five letters to several inmates around the US. It will be an interesting experience I’m sure and I will keep everyone posted regarding any responses I receive. 

 

Beautiful Venice

Venice, CA that is. Lunch at Venice Whaler the other day, delicious!

Wide Range of Emotions

Just a quick update:

I really went through the entire emotional spectrum last week. I interviewed at a hospital in Boston (anxious, nervous), was offered the job (elation), began looking for a place near the city (stressful), and then was told they couldn’t afford to pay me even half what I was making now (depression).

So now I am left in California, and even though I have a great life here, I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. The reason I wanted to move to Boston was to be closer to my friends and family. Growing up on the East Coast, the majority of my good friends still live in NYC/NJ/Boston/CT. I don’t have many friends in California and with my schedule it has been difficult to find the time to cultivate friendships.

I have this weekend off, so I am considering taking my emotions out on a few tarts and cheesecakes. Any suggestions?

Onward and Upward

A few days ago I was discussing with a friend our futures. Would we ever get married? Be parents? Where would we be living in 10 years? It was a little disconcerting, considering my preference for planning my life in advance, that I didn’t exactly know what my future had in store for me.

I asked my much more laid-back friend, “Would you want to know exactly how your future is going to unfold?”

“Nahhh, I kind of like surprises,” was his response.

This threw me for a loop, because I would want to have a detailed itinerary emailed  to me every week. Knowing the minute details of my daily life would be something of a thrill for me. Being able to plan well in advance for situations would be a life saver! The orange juice commercials, where the consumer is sitting at the table with all of their “problems” for the day, is an obsessive compulsive planners fantasy.

I wondered if my friend was in the majority. Do most people want to keep an element of surprise in their day-to-day routine? How many people would choose to gaze into their future, if they found out the exact circumstances of their death? Perhaps that is the kicker, death. If you know when and how you’re going to die, you might live your life differently. I would assume that being privy to that sort of information might drastically change your personality and the way you interacted with people. This sort of information could be the reason that certain people would choose not to have their future unfolded before them.

As a planner, worrier and obsessive compulsive, however, I am practically frothing at the mouth for a chance to look into tea leaves and divine my future. I would ultimately hope the tea leaves showed something positive and in-line with how I anticipate my future will be. If everything goes according to plan, I would end up divining a future like:

2-3 years: married to the love of my life, work towards a 4 day work week, discussing adoption
4 years: completion of contracted work in California, quick sell of my current home, purchase a vacation home on Catalina Island, move back to NYC or Toronto,  begin renovation on the West Village building in NYC, begin the adoption process
5-6 years:  adopt a child/children (hopefully male twins), work towards a 2-3 day work week
7-8 years: complete the renovation on the West Village building, spend a year living abroad with my family, begin the transition to open my bakery (test recipes, research supply companies etc..)
9-10 years: begin consulting for hospitals 1-2 days a week, finally open my bakery, enjoy being a mother/wife/small business owner

An idyllic plan that will hopefully be put into action within the coming years!

Question(s): What about you? Would you choose to view your entire future if given the chance? Is there anything you wouldn’t want to know?

Just Checking

I have lived with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for as long as I can remember. It started when I was younger, my mother noticed that I needed to touch everything. This included the leather boots of a friend of hers who came over to visit. As soon as the woman sat down, I immediately laid down next to her and “petted” the boots à la Gollum. Thankfully I was young and the woman was a good friend, so it seemed less creepy.

The need to touch everything continued and my mother started to worry that something was very wrong. She found me straightening the fringe on our oriental rugs, separating out colours compulsively and checking on random things obsessively. I became increasingly obsessed with our dogs getting out, so much so that I would check the locks on the doors in the middle of the night. I scared my mother to death walking around the house at all hours. Whenever she would catch me out of bed and ask me what I was doing up at such an hour, I would respond with, “Just checking.” Just checking the locks. Just checking the dogs. Just checking that the lights were off. Just checking that everything was where it was supposed to be.

Around the age of six, my mother had finally had enough. She dragged me to a therapist who wouldn’t allow me to touch anything or rearrange his desk. It was torture. He made me sit still for the entire two-hour session and would even tie my hands together so I couldn’t fidget with things. When my mother found out he practiced this way, she immediately found another therapist. I started to learn ways to control my compulsions. Playing with rubber bands, strings and even reading books. When I didn’t show enough progress, however, the second therapist put me on medication. It zombied me out completely and my mother had them take me off medication shortly after.

It was around this time that I left for Vienna and without any sort of therapy, my compulsions began to get worse. I would spend hours perfecting my ballet technique, to the detriment of my growing body. Even at such a young age, I began obsessing over my weight. I would weigh up to four times day, often sneaking into the weighing room in-between practices. I would go long periods without eating very much and was constantly in the clinic due to dehydration. Ballet gave my OCD an outlet. I could control every aspect of dance and it was an obsessive compulsive’s nirvana.

Everything here is perfect. You can control your surroundings.

When I left Vienna, my mother noticed how bad I had become right way. She put me back in therapy three days a week, but did not allow me to take any medications. Slowly I got better and eventually I was only attending 1-2 sessions a month. The last therapist I had in Poland was my favourite. She was kind, knowledgeable and would let me rearrange her desk. She realized that if she could teach me how to quiet my disorder and focus, I could motivate myself to excel at any task set before me. She pinpointed my worst obsessive compulsive meltdowns to periods of intense stress and she then tried to teach me different techniques to mediate stress. Leaving her behind when I moved to the States was difficult and I found it harder to control my disorder.

Throughout my years in school, I tried to hide my tics and compulsive behaviors from my peers. I was terrified that one of them would out me after seeing a tic or ask me questions about why I was constantly fidgeting with something. Thankfully I was never confronted about my disorder directly, though it did garner me some strange looks from lab partners. I managed to excel in high school, even though I had to deal with my obsessive compulsive behaviors. It did bother me when my friends would tease about having OCD. They would fix a spot on a poster and say something like, “Oh my G-d, I totally have OCD” or “She is so OCD about…” I never liked how OCD was treated so non-nonchalantly.

Not OCD

Throughout university, I began to extensively research how to deal with obsessive compulsive disorder and its subsequent tics. I spoke with my professors and physicians about treatments, attended weekend lecture series and spent a good chunk of my time learning to control my compulsions. By the end of medical school, I was well-versed in areas of OCD treatment and was able to deal with it.

All of my research led me to conclude that, while not curable, obsessive compulsive disorder can be controlled. I found that through a combination of medications, psychotherapy, physical activity and stress mediation, I could control the majority of my compulsions. I began focusing my energy on specific hobbies (which would often cause me to procrastinate in other areas) until I was an expert. By learning about how to treat OCD, I (ironically) felt more in control. This caused me to focus on “curing” my disorder and ultimately I was able to overcome a lot of my tics.

So what do I have to say to those who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder? Don’t give up. You can learn to live with OCD, even though it may be hard, you can persevere. Actively seek treatment, learn what sets you off, teach yourself how to mediate stressful situations (or avoid them all together). Find support groups, look to your support system that surrounds you and learn how to live with your tics. You shouldn’t be ashamed of having OCD and you shouldn’t have to stress about hiding it.

Question(s): Do you know someone with OCD? Do you suffer from OCD?

My Puppy

On January 31st at 4:00 p.m., we had to put our family dog of 12 years, to sleep. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and his quality of life had greatly diminished. He was hardly eating, extremely uncomfortable and I could tell he was experiencing some pain. We were worried about him over the last few weeks and I had flown home to be with him. Over the course of my lifetime, we have had many pets. I have had other dogs, cats, ferrets, rats and even reptiles, yet no other pet has affected my life the way Max has. The greatest emotional attachment I have had to any of my pets, I experienced with him. He has been the greatest gift anyone has ever given to me and to know that he is gone is heartbreaking.

I have never actually been present when a pet of mine has passed away. Most of the outside cats have just vanished, the smaller animals didn’t affected me as much (though I was still sad) and my three dogs all died peacefully in their sleep. We have put other animals down due to cancer or fatal injuries, but I have never been there for those. Most of the deaths of our pets occurred during my years at university and my residency in NYC. Getting a phone call that a pet has died is always hard, but I guess it actually softened the blow because I didn’t see them. With Max, however, I was with him at the end. I owed him that, but it was so hard. Seeing the light go out of his eyes and looking at his tiny body on his favourite pillow, so silent and still, was one of the most painful images I have ever seen.

Max was a different kind of pet. He had been given to me by my boyfriend, who then became my fiancé. Even though he and I are no longer together, we shared a common interest in the dog. He would call from time to time, just to check on the puppy and see how he was doing. I loved Max to pieces and I know he did as well. When when found out Max had liver cancer, I called him right away and he was devastated. He told me that whatever the dog needed, he would be glad to help. I know that he wanted to be with Max in his last days, but he respected that we aren’t together and let him be with us. I appreciated that.

Even though Maximus was my dog, he loved my mother the most. Since I was moving around so much, my mother offered to take him and look after him. The plan was for me to take him back when I settled, but I couldn’t take him away from my mother after she was so attached. It was hard, but I relented because I knew that they could take better care of him than even I could. And they did, they spoiled him rotten. Even though this experience has left me devastated, I know that it can not even hold a candle to the pain my mother is experiencing.

I have scoured the internet, look for words to help me describe what I feel right now. I’m not going to write a poem, I’m no poet. I have photographs of him, but I’m not a photographer. I could draw him, but I’m planning on painting a canvas for my mother. She was the one who was with him the longest and she is the one who he depended on the most. So how can I bring some closure to his death?

For me, the best way is to write to him.

My Max,

It was always you who greeted me, not so patiently at the door when I came home. Tail wagging, nose pressed up against the glass leaving marks to let me know you had been ever so vigilant. Your excitement to see me, even after I had just ventured out to get the mail, was so infectious that it made me happy to see myself.  Your loyalty was unfaltering, up the stairs and down the stairs, curled up at my feet or sitting quietly by my side. You were my little, courageous protector through all those nights I was alone. You made me feel safe,  you kept me warm and you made the house feel more like a home.

The personality that you contained in your small being, was greater than most people I know. You were such a lover, so playful and the smartest dog I have ever seen. You understood so much, probably even more than we gave you credit for. With every click-clicking of your nails on the floor, I was comforted to know that you were there. You brought me joy with every bark and howl, even at 3 in the morning.

Maximus, my puppy. I hope that you know that everyone loved you. You were the most amazing gift I have ever been given. No dog will ever live up to you and I will think about you constantly. You have given me some of my best memories, which will last me a lifetime. You have brought such an amazing amount of love into my heart, which is where you will always be.

I love you Max and I will miss you.

And These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

A gift that I always like to give is a basket/box which has a collection of my favourite things. They are generally small things that I have stumbled across when shopping or messing around on the Internet. They change from year to year, so I thought this year might be a good time to share a list with my readers!

If you were to receive a box of my current favourite things of 2011, you would be getting:

Tulum Napkins – gorgeous Mayan patterned napkins that are bright and cheery
iomoi Loafers – adorable, comfortable and great for just around the house
Rishi Organic Chai – love chai so much and I drink at least a cup a day
Tumbler w/ Infuser – this has been fantastic at work, I think I bought everyone on my list (that drinks tea) one of these
Helveticards – great stocking stuffer and they are a modern take on a traditional object
Leaf Keepers – these make for a cute way to tie flowers together or to bundle small gift items
Kuhn Rikon Frosting Pen – this may be the most amazing decorating tool I have ever purchased, love it
Zum Bar Sea Salt –  love Zum Bars, but this one is my favourite
“Grown Up” Bento Stack – comes in very handy when you are on the go as much as I am
Moleskine Notebooks – have so many of these that I use, great product
A Perfect World Moisturizer – used this for years, will continue to use it for many more

Question(s): Are some of these your favourite things as well? What would you add to the list?

Kittens Are Cute

Yesterday, an adorable kitten found it’s way to my parent’s house. I pretty much fell in love with it and I am hoping it stays around! I gave it food/water/shelter in hopes that it will become part of our family. My dad was less than pleased, but I think he will come around.

I would love to find it a good home or even help it find it’s way back home, but it’s always difficult placing stray cats.

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