Luna

I believe that truly learning about life comes from experience- it has to be authentically earned from moments we come across whether they are positive or negative. Whatever the moral of the story may be, it’s what that connection imparts in us that helps to define our understanding of the world. Life lessons have come to me from all corners of my tiny universe but one that I have learned greatly from is my relationship with my dog, Luna.

My dog taught me patience- half lab, half crazy, Luna was never the easiest pup to own and though her name came from her dark color that reminded me of the night sky, we would often refer to her as Luna-tic. From the time she was a puppy she made no discrepancies in her hatred towards all humans not in her family. Sure, her incessant barking at strangers was bearable as a little black puff ball, but as she got older and stronger it could scare the pants off of a grown-ass man. A lovely midday walk could result in a 90 pound dog taking me on a drag as she launched her body at a tender little child passing by on the street. I chose the word tender because I imagine that Luna would use that word to describe the child. She looked like she wanted a steak dinner. Because of her difficult behavior, we were forced to keep her bound to the confines of our small raised ranch in the quiet hills of Westchester, New York. As an avid pet lover, it was disappointing that our dog would never be the hiking partner I dreamed of. Or would she.

When I say that Luna will take you on a drag it’s because she truly will, but after becoming a closet Dog Whisperer admirer I began to use Caesar’s training methods on Luna on a regular basis in the Summer of 2007- I was a bored college student home on break and I made it my mission to tame the wild beast. Every day I would take her leash, bring her to the car, and go down to the bike path, choosing the least desirable time for bike riders, joggers, and children to be present (for fear of their safety.)

Day in, day out, this became our routine, 10 miles on the bike path, just me and my dog. If I so much as walked by her leash her head would perk up. I had to be careful with my words around her and even spelling the word car became part of her repertoire. We were bonded by the bike path and overtime she learned that if she even so much as gave a human the side-eye it was back in the car. We are nice in this family, Luna! We don’t eat our friends! I can’t tell you that she became this human loving, child canoodling, dog, and I’m not even convinced that if given the chance she would never eat a child, but within a summer she learned that if she wanted to run, she had to play by the rules. I learned a lot too. I learned the love and bond a person can develop with a pet is remarkable. I learned that hard work and perseverance paid off and I learned to never quit, and never say never. Many people would have quit on Luna a long time ago, but our family loved that dog.

This non-quitting attitude carried into the following year as Luna got sick and stopped walking. The veterinarian put her on a medication but she was given too much and her liver and kidneys went into failure. As a family we discussed at great lengths what to do with our sick, but young dog. The decision was to bring her to another veterinarian and give her a chance. This vet practices holistic medication and today Luna receives acupuncture on a weekly basis- I can’t make this up, that’s how loved this dog is.

Luna getting accupuncture

Luna getting acupuncture

At times we questioned what was the right thing to do. There was never an easy answer, but I will tell you that the right decision was made. Today she can no longer run, but she has been given six extra years of life that were almost taken from her. Since receiving treatment she has regained the ability to walk though she struggles to do long distances. This dog is a fighter, a wise old lady, a family guardian. She is stoic, but humble, and the boss of the other dogs in the house. I admire her.

The summer of 2007 we connected over those walks and developed this secret bond that only she and I will ever understand. I can never thank her enough for those memories. Today I no longer live at home but when I am home she still gets excited when I walk towards the door or near her leash. It breaks my heart to know that times will never be like they were seven years ago, but we both still remember, and that’s a beautiful thing.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/daily-prompt-friends/

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Hurts so Good

Nike Fuel has this adorable little feature that allows you to set goals for yourself. Maybe you’ve figured this out, but I sort of love goals- hence this whole blog project. My first goal was to complete 52 miles per month, and though I no longer total out my months obsessively like I did when this whole shabang was started, I’m still doing my thing! So when I found out that my fuel band could create goals for me, I was psyched.

The first goal that was created was actually prompted by the App itself: Burn 16,000 Calories in 4 weeks. The time came and it was exciting to see my progress. The weeks kept me informed that I was on target in a vibrant green lettering. When the 4 weeks were over the screen let me know hey girl, you’re the best “goal accomplished.” At least it said some of that…There are few things more phenomenal in life than that feeling of hitting your goals. It makes me want to give myself a high five or a gold star. Now, as fun as it was to test myself, weight loss and calories has never been my true goal in this process- though it’s not a bad outcome either. This time I was determined to challenge myself because who doesn’t love creating external pressures on a regular basis, right?!

I tend to pile on work for myself in life. I recently joined a book club (hi ladies!) Of course, for some unnecessary reason, looking uncannily similar to high school and college, I saved reading the book for the week before club. I finished the book 10 minutes before leaving for Book Club. I’m embarassed by that statement- I know kids think it’s cool to brag about procrastination, but I’m slightly sickened by my underlying love of the stress associated with procrastination. It hurts so good. But I can’t help to feel that I thrive in these situations. So, in my everlasting need to increase challenges in my life I set out to complete a three week goal called “Run More Miles” and made my goal 17 miles per week. Ultimately, I do need to run more miles so I saw this as an opportunity to challenge myself and truthfully, this is mandatory if I’m in running this half because to be honest, I’m a slacker and running a race is nothing to procrastinate training for. I have these awful dreams:

Flash forward to my future: May 1st, 2014. I think I’m going to train starting now.  panting, sweating, dying, crawling towards the finish line. Shame on your family!

So, here I am, in an effort to get on the early train for training- I can’t put this one off. My Nike fuel plan was activated and the goal has been in effect for over 1 week. So, how am I doing?!

It turns out the notification is only in green when you’re on track to accomplish your goals. This time the goal was written out in yellow-orange- the color I associate with slamming on my breaks at lights so I don’t get those sneaky tickets from the light cameras. That’s how I feel about that color. My friends, I am not on track for my running goals and the truth hurts. Did I bite off more than I can chew? Was it too much too soon? Or am I not trying hard enough to obtain my goals?

The truth hurts, folks, and it’s time to be realistic in my expectations of myself. Maybe the pressure to succeed in these intense situations isn’t the best method despite the outcomes that I have historically had- success under pressure.

Does anyone else struggle with these sorts of things?! Or am I the only one creating their own crazy?!

She Knows How to Speak

People! This year I had a few undisclosed resolutions that I’ve made in secret with myself. Not so secret anymore! I have decided to enter into the 21st century in terms of technology. My friends are used to my backwards views of cell phones… don’t call her. don’t text her. she wont answer. And it isn’t personal, but of course people are going to take it that way. I just hate most technology with the same fiery passion that I usually reserve for Sunday drivers. I guess the reason stems from my lack of success with cell phones- I tend to trust the sales person way too much. They’re so convincing. As a result I always wind up with the worst phone in the store. Their boss was probably like, see that chick over there, well, we need to get rid of at least one of these pieces of youknowwhat by the end of this quarter. Go get ’em tiger. 

No more. I’m getting an I-Phone. And because I’ve decided to enter into a new age of cell phones I also decided to jump on the Twatter bandwagon. Why not?! So, as of today I have a #TwitterHandle #What’sahashtag? And my name is 52milespermonth! Of course!

https://twitter.com/52milespermonth

And while I’m entering the twittersphere, why not just create a youtube account today so people have to LISTEN to me profess mumbo jumbo on my musings. And I say mumbo jumbo because I just watched how I’m speaking in this video and it is HORRIFYING. For your viewing pleasure.

You see, when I decide to enter into anything, I jump. And this is why I firmly believe that as much as my friends have been requesting for years that I update my life, I think they may regret their choice… be careful what you wish for! 

And as a final point to this post- how weird is it when you follow a person but you never actually hear them speak- then all of the sudden they post a video and it’s like… So that’s how they sound?!

Age Ain’t Nothin but a Number.

Downsides to working out:

1. So. Much. Laundry.
2. I don’t own a laundry machine so I have to traverse to another building to use one. This is not fun in these cold days of winter. Between hot yoga, the gym, and a boyfriend who sweats more than I have ever seen, if we choose not to do laundry on the regular, my tiny apartment becomes a sweat den. Nice visual, right?!
3. Going outside in the winter. Not to work out outside, just making it to the gym. Sometimes A warm bed and a glass of wine sound so much better after a day of work than the gym.
4. Showering all of the time. In the winter. Especially when the hot water and water pressure is not as good at night. (My readers are like, where the hell do you live? A sweat box with no heat?! I’m 26, cut me some slack.)
5. Pimples. They are a real thing in my life again.

It was bound to happen that I would write about pimples on my blog because if there is one serious downside to working out, it has been breaking out. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love that my pants don’t fit me as well anymore, but I hate acne. It takes me back to my days as a yout’ as an acne ridden teenager, crying to my mom that I needed to be put on Accutane, an acne product that guarantees that it will clear your face. At the expense of (say this part really fast):

Pain and swelling of the lipsSevere itchingAlopecia (hair-thinning/hair-loss/baldness)Fragile and weakerskinVision problemsDecreased night vision (onset may be sudden)Conjunctivitis (pink eye)Contact lens intoleranceDry mucous membranes (dry nose, lungs, bladder, anus)Peeling skin on palms/solesNail changesNosebleedsPhotosensitivity (sensitivity to light)Elevated triglycerides in the bloodElevated liver enzymes (indicating liver damage)Tinnitus (ringing in ears or buzzing in ears)Joint pain and muscle painBack painDepression breathe DepressionErectile dysfunction (difficulty in maintaining erection)Violent behavior/aggressionPsychosis (seeing or hearing things that are not real)Suicidal ideation(rare)SuicideattemptsHearing impairmentPseudotumor cerebri (swelling pressure in the brain)Osteopenia/osteoporosis (loss in bone mass and strength/weak and fragile bones)Hepatotoxicity (liver damage)Anaphylaxis (rapid and deadly allergic reaction)Allergic vasculitis (inflammation and damage to blood vessels)Major birth defectsCataracts/corneal opacities (can cause a decrease in vision and lead to eventual blindness)Premature epiphyseal closure (short stature)Neutropenia (low white blood cell count,which makes the body vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections)Agranulocytosis (a serious condition in which white blood cells decrease in number or disappear altogether) (rare)Rhabdomyolysis (potentially fatal disease that destroys skeletal muscle) (rare)Inflammatory bowel disease (inflammation of the intestine and resulting in abdominal cramping and persistent diarrhea)Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas, an organ important in digestion)Vascularthrombosis (heart attack)Stroke,Seizures.
http://accutanesideeffects.net

I saw that list at the age of sixteen and thought… I can’t have erectile dysfunction problems. Sign me up. And so I began my quest to rid my face of the marks of a true teenager. My doctor, jokes aside, named dr. Shacne, prescribed me my dosage of pills and told me that all females taking accutane are required to take regular pregnancy tests. See why below.

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If the warning labels weren’t scary enough, the fact that you could give birth to a real live cone head was terrifying- what the hell was I taking?! I make it like I questioned my choices at sixteen- definitely not, I was excited to never see another pimple on my face. Needless to say, my stubborn face cleared up within months. Granted, I did go through hell for those six months- nose bleeds, cracked skin, slathering petroleum jelly on my face at night to prevent the burning feeling the following day. It was joyous. And then there were the doctor visits in which I bumped into not one, but two classmates at the dermatologist for the same reason- which in high school is social suicide. We stared at each other in acknowledgment- we all have acne.

By the age of 18 my skin was stellar and I was under the impression that I made it into the clear – no pun intended. Or was the pun intended?! Minus my tinged pink skin and butterfly rash that shines through from time to time due to my lupus, my skin was pretty good. Yes, I got the occasional pimple, but nothing to complain about or you’d look seriously petty. But now at the age of 26 I’m suddenly breaking out- all of the time. Everywhere- like my neck, seriously?!

BUT, BUT, BUT- IM TOO OLD FOR THIS!

So I thought. But it turns out that pimples don’t care about your age- to a pimple, it is just a number. And the only explanation I can think of is that I’m now working out. And sweating. So on my mission to rid my face (and apparently my neck.) of newly developed “issues” I took the recent advice I received from a wise woman, John’s mom!

Honey + cinnamon and a little dab and it will zap it. So I was told. And as I made my natural concoction I was excited- I wasn’t just popping a pill and hoping all of my trouble would disappear in the easiest way possible (and by easiest way possible I mean that list I posted above). And I woke up this morning my skin looked better- like magic.

We live in a world that tells us to take the magic pill and you can lose weight, get smarter, get rid of a pimple. Pills work. It’s why we love them and I want to be clear and state that I am not anti-medication. I know that taking a small pill can be the difference in living life for some. But maybe it’s ok to slow it down and ask a mom, google, or Good Housekeeping for advice and a good old natural remedy on how to clear up a pimple. Also, honey and cinnamon are delicious so you can always lick your face when you’re done using it. Or not. You don’t have to do that.

Should’ve used Rat Poison

He should have just slipped some arsenic into my tea last night if he wanted me dead.

Most depraved analogy I’ve made to date? Probably. Not funny to some? Definitely. Funny to me? I have a sick sense of humor.

So where am I getting at by joking that my boyfriend tried to kill me? Tonight I used the gift card to the kickboxing place that John got me for Christmas. The one where he attached an adorable note:

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I’m now under the belief that the card was a mere trap to have me believe I’m a badass. Guys, I’m not! Tonight was up there in most pathetic workout of my life. After relearning how to ride a bike… If you can even count that.

Well, tonight was the night. After discussing with a friend, who will remain called Diandra because it’s her alter ego, we decided to take their “toning” class together. The stars were aligned. I was feeling good. I’ve been working out regularly, my cardio is decent, I do yoga frequently, I even do the occasional jumping jack on my own time. I was sure that this would be a cinch. Or at least doable.

I have to be honest, Diandra, that doll, has gone multiple times but finds yoga more calming. Probably because no one is yelling at you in yoga. Now, the truth is, I can’t say I got yelled at, but I definitely felt the pressure to push myself. She warned me that this would happen, but I was overly confident in my ability.

Here’s how the class went:

Stretching, I got this.
Plank, 2 minutes, I got this. I’m going to show off.
I’m tired.
Move continuously… I don’t got this.
When did lifting two pound weights become this challenging?

Then everything went dark. That’s when I died.

I tried. I tried so damn hard, but I felt like I had a 100 pound weight on my back. Diandra and I discussed the class and the best way it can be described is as follows…

When I was in 9th grade I was in the slow math class. I swear – there were three teachers and eight students. Social studies, honors. Spanish, honors. English, college. Science AP (it was for two weeks, but it makes my story better.) Despite being an honors student, I struggled with math to the point of no return. That’s how I felt tonight. I felt like the kid that is really trying to understand what’s going on, but I’m just hoping no one notices that I have no idea what I’m doing. I wanted to disappear a bit. And it clicked in my head and brought me back to a place of empathy for every person putting themselves out there again in the workout community for the first time in a long time, or the first time ever. It sucks to be that kid.

Despite this feeling of wow I suck, I still got something out of it. Being humbled. I wanted to try again and prove that I can do better, I can learn, I want to learn. I thanked the teacher and left. Embarrassed, but humbled. Now, unlike Zumba, which I despise, I’m looking forward to getting my “badass” ass handed to me again. Maybe next time I’ll try to stay conscious.

John, you didn’t kill me. In the words of Kelly Clarkson – What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… then I usually start making up the words because I have no idea what she’s actually saying.

Why?

In my first few posts on wordpress I spent time explaining what led me to this blogging and running journey.

https://52milespermonth.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/catharsis/

I was sick, tired, and felt lost in life. Part of that is the lupus, part of that was being 25. My blog has served it’s purpose well, I love writing, I love reading others thoughts and I adore the connections with people that I have started to create despite being in some cases oceans apart from one another.

At this point there are over 200 of you who swing by every once in a while and I would love to know, so I can get to know you better:

Why did you start your blog? Yes, I’m sure you explained it in your “about” section, but tell me again. And I want to know if your blog has helped you, or served a purpose in your life the way mine does for me.

The First Person

I have not always been, nor am I currently, the most confident person. I don’t think it’s a self conscious thing. I think it’s more of a, I’m a young female, thing. We are brought up in a culture that requires that we constantly evaluate ourselves: am I thin enough? Pretty enough? Stylish enough? Somehow, at the bottom of this list of expectations, we may ask essential questions in life, like, am I smart enough? And if you’re like me, at times in your life you may have driven yourself crazy trying to answer these ridiculous questions.

I’m sick of it. After watching a sketch comedy show by Amy Schumer making a mockery of our crazy ass-hat-ness, I had to reevaluate myself. Video is NSFW due to cursing: Amy Schumer

And I can’t believe that this epiphany came to me through sketch comedy, but it did, now I just say thank you. You like my shirt, thanks. My hair looks great, thanks. So frequently, rather than just say a simple thank you, stupidity would instead roll out of my mouth: oh, this, ah, I feel like garbage today. I can’t say I’ve perfected the thank you, but I’m working on it!

Recently I got this fortune: self confidence is just enthusiasm at work.

I put it up on my medicine cabinet in the bathroom as a morning mantra. It’s ok to start your day off with that kind of positivity. So now, the first thing I see when I wake up is this:

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Daily Prompt: Mirror, Mirror
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/daily-prompt-mirrored/

That Time I had Acid Reflux

This past week I have felt like a true lupus girl- sick. Constantly. As soon as I begin to feel better the cycle of weakness began again. This week consisted of attempts to workout and now that I’m reflecting on the week, the result aren’t too bad, but none of it was my best.

Monday: an excellent yoga class.

Tuesday: a horrific run- I could only do 2 miles and it was HELL!

Wednesday: 8:15 yoga class that was bittersweet. I did a semi-acceptable crow but felt mediocre throughout class.

Thursday: In bed by 7:30 p.m. contemplating calling out of work.

Friday: woke up and felt better. Work was a go. Gym when I got home and I did a 5K in 29 minutes. Not my best time, definitely not my worst time.

So what’s going on immune system? You scallywag! After being convinced through self diagnosis that I have acid reflux (pretty sure I totally made that one up in my head) I decided to cut out all things associated with it. No more red sauce, goodbye Frank’s Red Hot my one true love, sayonara beer my other one true love. I did take up popping tums like candy- why aren’t tums candy?

By Wednesday I eliminated coffee from my breakfast. Webmd told me it was a good idea due to my probably fictional case of heartburn- Hello… I have a shirt… with a gun… that says MAKE ME COFFEE. And sometimes I think I actually have that kind of relationship with my coffee- highly aggressive. By 12:00 p.m. I was light sensitive, mean, and I had a pounding headache. Hey, webmd said nothing about these symptoms with acid reflux. It turns out that I’m just a coffee addict with a cold, and the symptoms I was going through more closely resemble withdrawal. One IV injected into my veins cup later and I was once again human.

And on that note, I will leave you with a wise a quote I frequently sang in 1997:

I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down…pissing the night away –Chumbawamba

When Life Hands You Lemons…

On Halloween a teenager walked up to me, handed me a lemon, and walked away. Draped across her was a plain cloth bag with the word: Life. And to clarify, no, this was not a hallucination, this was real life.

Fortunately the lemon was in actuality a femon (pronounced like lemon, of course)- an imposter, a fake. I say that because I have been holding it hostage in my bag since. Maybe I haven’t taken it out of my bag due to the fact that I’m a total slob who has way too many purses all littered with similar junk: pens, chapstick, a rogue dollar, receipts from 2011, a tampon just in case a stranger needs one- I know that sounds weird, but I’m all about paying it forward. Any lady in need would totally respect this, don’t judge. So today, as I was cleaning out my bag, there it was, nestled at the very bottom. Not forgotten, just kept safe.  

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I love that femon- everytime I look at it I’m reminded that not every day is picturesque, not every moment turns out exactly as we expected it to, sometimes we get a cold in January that throws our whole schedule off- like I did last week. As I moped around, angry because running was not in the agenda, I struggled to find the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m dying I whimpered from under a pile of blankets. It turns out I didn’t die, I’m still here! And though I couldn’t run all last week I tried to make the best of a bad situation. I danced while I cleaned, I did low impact exercises, I ate well balanced meals, and I drank a ton of water. I woke up by Sunday more refreshed, Monday back to my usual self, and today I’m ready to run. 

Here’s to health. When life hands you lemons make a concoction full of vitamin C and ward off any possible colds. If you catch one don’t panic, just take it easy and use the lemon in your tea.

And here are 9 Awesome Facts About Lemons You Should Know (click me!)