Monday, February 07, 2011
Today I went to the office, & I sorta wanted to put up a big QUARANTINE sign on the door. When a colleague approached me just outside my door, I actually held up my hands & said "Unclean, unclean!" (Have you read how people with skin diseases would have to call that out in biblical times, to keep others from catching their ailment?)
But let me back up a bit. Because the snowpocalypse was due to land midafternoon Tuesday, my supervisor encouraged us to leave early that day & take work home with us. I did--but during the train ride home I started feeling a chest ailment coming on. The next two days were snow days, & I did some work at home but felt quite yucky. Sucked some ColdEeze, which usually knocks out colds for me, but this was obviously more than the normal cold. Friday I took a sick day & got in to see my doctor. She confirmed that the dreaded bronchitis (which I had for the first time a few years ago) had returned, but I had no signs of pneumonia. Mainly I'm just supposed to rest a lot & drink lots of fluids, especially hot drinks.
I bowed out of church & social responsibilities over the weekend & just hunkered down. Fortunately I had a good array of groceries on hand. And though every morning when I wake up I feel perfectly miserable (terribly sore throat, aching body, nonexistent voice), by afternoon I'm better & have energy to get some editing work done. I have even done a little bit of cooking.
After nearly a week, my bronchitis is still really bad! But I needed to move several projects forward at work--there were tasks no one else could really do for me. So on the way to the office today I stopped at the pharmacy & stocked up on cough drops, tissues, hand sanitizer, & the indispensable Mucinex. Then, at the office, I kept my door closed most of the day. At our weekly department meeting, I sat away from the table where everyone else was clustered. I used hand sanitizer repeatedly, especially after blowing my nose & before dropping off projects in others' inboxes.
It was a really productive day! I was able to move four or five book projects out of my office. I also cleaned up files in the book I'm currently editing, & then e-mailed them to myself so I have them ready to work on here at home.
My plan now is to work at home for two days & then reevaluate. Maybe that will end up being one sick day & one workday--we'll see. I'm not going to push myself; rest is ESSENTIAL. The next couple of days are going to be really really frigid in Chicago, so I'm glad I'm able to hunker down & not go out. If I need to stay home Thursday & Friday as well, I will. My boss just wants me to get better as soon as I can--she's not rushing me to come back.
I left work early, & on the way home I stopped at the grocery store. Besides ginger, honey, & a couple of teas to vary my hot beverages, I got bananas, oranges, & oats. Then I decided to get some treats: some Triscuit crackers & some dark chocolate! I have been VERY conservative about food treats ever since I started living by myself. I mostly just eat food I have cooked--& when I bake something sweet, usually I give most of it away. So getting these modest snack foods feels like a major indulgence, which amuses me. Don't worry, I will treat myself only when there's room in each day's calorie count!
Since the end of the recent 5% Challenge I have stayed within a pound of my ending weight. Pretty good for not having energy to exercise because of being sick! But I'm hoping to do some low-key exercise tomorrow.
Sounds as if I'm getting better, doesn't it, since I'm yammering on so long? Maybe--but it's also that I'm quite tickled about being able to quarantine myself for a few more days! I'm not truly isolated, as phone & Internet allow me to connect with lots of people. It's nice to be protected from the cold, stocked up on good things to eat & drink, encouraged to rest, & comfortable with my own (& my kitty's) company! And Netflix will have a good film in my box tomorrow, & there's a novel from the library to read . . . As Claudia says, life is good.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Well, folks, I EXCEEDED my 5% goal for December-January! I lost a total of 9.4 pounds!
I also lost 4 inches in the various measurements I take. I haven't been very systematic about taking them, but since the last time I measured my waist it has shrunk 1.5 inches! And 1 inch came off my upper thigh.
I'm going to think about how to reward myself. It's difficult because--sigh--I'm seriously behind on a project at my regular job, & I need to put in lots of hours with a freelance project too. Any ideas?
(No big purchases to reward myself, because yesterday I bought my airline tickets to fly to Colombia in July--& paid cash (debit)! It felt SO good not to be putting it on a credit card. And my sister, who'll be flying from L.A., will meet me in Miami & we'll take the same flight from there. Because we made the purchase this early, we were able to get seats next to each other for the Miami-Medellin flight. )
Thanks, & other , for all the support & cheers! You make it fun to be a loser!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Though papaya is available in US grocery stories much more than it used to be, a lot of folks I know aren't used to choosing & preparing it. So I'm going to offer some tips!
READINESS/RIPENESS: Usually the whole papayas in the store are still not quite ripe. I normally let one sit for two to four days in a basket atop my fridge before cutting it open. You want it to be getting yellow/orange on the outside (but some green is OK) & softening just a bit. But if you want to buy one for tonight's dinner, see if your market sells half-papayas wrapped in plastic wrap. These are ready to eat right away! A store employee has probably cut away some overripe part & left the good stuff. I bought two halves the other day, & they were perfect for immediate eating.
PREPARING: Cut the papaya in half lengthwise if you didn't buy it as a half. Then cut each half in half crosswise. Next, scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Scrape out the bits of fibrous pulp too. Then stand the quarter-papaya on its cut end & peel it with a sharp knife. The peel is very thin--you're getting a lot of fruit & little waste.
STORING: I like to cut each quarter into strips or chunks, lay them in a flat large plastic container, & sprinkle a tablespoon or two of lime juice on them. The papaya will stay good quite awhile in the fridge--I always snarf mine within a week, though, so I haven't had a chance to see how long they can actually go without spoiling.
NUTRITIONAL VALUES: Papaya is a superfood & it's also yummy. A whole cup has just 55 calories but 360g potassium, 31% of daily vit. A, 144% of daily vit. C, 13% of daily folate, & traces of nearly everything else that our nutrition tracker lists. In Colombia, where I grew up, it's known to be helpful for digestive problems.
EATING: You can eat it by itself. You can cut it up smaller & mix it into a fruit salad. You can add it to smoothies. Honestly, I hardly ever do anything except chunk it & add the lime juice & eat it.
If you have never bought a papaya, try it! (P.S. Nobody is paying me for this endorsement, nor did anyone even suggest I do it. Heehee!)
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I said that myself in my last post--but my scale said otherwise this morning! I lost almost 3 lbs this week. Now I have just 0.8 lb to make it to my 5% goal by next Saturday! Quite doable.
I almost feel guilty, as several of my friends are feeling stuck. But you know I'm not gloating--I know how stuckness feels, & I'm rooting for you to fall gracefully off that plateau & start losing again. You will!
Today I DID NOT DO ANY FREELANCE WORK. Instead I exercised, washed up a bunch of dishes, made baked beans from scratch (which kept my house smelling wonderful for hours), & devoted myself to writing long e-mails to family & a couple of good friends, online chatting with my dear friend in Bolivia, a catchup phone chat with a poet friend, & making veggie stir-fry to eat with beans for supper. What a wonderful day!
NOTE: My eyes don't like spicy food. I included a diced jalapeņo pepper (seeds removed) in the stir-fry, which gave it a nice edge. But later as I was sitting at the computer I rubbed my right eye & it immediately started burning. I hadn't realized that I hadn't washed my hands well after chopping. Rinsing with water made it feel better eventually, & it's fine now. I'll be more careful in future!
Friday, January 21, 2011
It's always fun to turn the common sayings on their heads--in terms of health, for me it's good to be a loser, to go downhill . . . in WEIGHT. 6.2 lbs down since early December! I feel great about that. I still have 2.4 lbs to go for the 5% goal, & completing that challenge within the deadline is iffy because as of tomorrow (official weigh-in day) there's only one week left. Because I'm already within healthy BMI, I don't lose very quickly, so I may not make it. But I will definitely make it soon!
I went out for dinner with friends twice this week, yet I still lost weight! My strategy was simple: minimize the carbs. One of the restaurants was Caribbean, the other Persian, & both entrees I ordered came with tons of rice. I get plenty of carbs in my normal eating, so eating only a little of the rice served me very well--my focus was the meat & veggies (& delicious herbs at the Persian). And of course no alcohol because of my medication.
One of the dinner meetings was to talk about an exciting project! It would involve a trip to Colombia for an African American public radio journalist & me. We would visit Afro-Colombian communities & folks who are fighting racial discrimination in the country. I would help to make those connections, interpret, work on poems, & make art while the journalist worked on a radio documentary. And upon our return, all of this would be brought together in a major exhibit that might even travel.
Basically, the producer who is envisioning this is offering to be my patron (the journalist already has a promise of funding). He would raise the $$ from donors to the station & organize the exhibit. I have never before had someone propose getting $$ to allow me to travel, write, paint, & work for social justice! It basically blew my socks off. This guy is a longtime friend & it's clear that he's very serious about this. To start, he had me write up a two-paragraph bio that he's presenting to someone who runs a foundation, to get her on board.
Two interesting things that have happened since my marriage fell apart:
1. My friendships (NONromantic!) with guys have really deepened; there are now three dear male friends I keep in touch with regularly.
2. I have seen some serious success in both my editing work & my poetry! The good things just keep coming.
I'm so thankful.
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