Let’s Chat: Rambles on Paleo & Umbrellas

Oh, hey there! How are you? Haven’t talked to you in awhile. How’s the family? And your job?

Willy Wonka Tell me more

Yeah so I haven’t written in awhile, mostly because I haven’t found anything really worth writing about.

Actually, that’s a lie. I have a couple drafts of things I would love to post, but I’m not really sure about sharing them with the interwebs.

So now that I’ve lied to you and told you I’m keeping secrets from you, let’s continue to chat like those two old friends catching up at the coffee shop who speak loudly and have no discretion for what the general population of said coffee shop wants to know about their lives.

Or the overly zealous female talking about her work frustrations or juicy conversations with friends or whatever with her male counterpart on the already cramped train where there is no escape. He usually just gives one word responses in between her breaths (that don’t come frequently and don’t last long) to make it seem like he’s paying attention and actually cares. Luckily for him, he’s gotten really good at tuning her out and pretending he cares because he cares about her as a person. Aww, what a guy. Unfortunately, the rest of us don’t care and cannot drown her out as easily, so we are left to hear every little detail.

But I digress.

So it’s May now. We had a monsoon blow through New York yesterday; I thought April was supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. But I realized a few things yesterday because of the rain…

First, I am not prepared at all for the rain. The one pair of boots I own are almost 2 years old and I found out yesterday that they have holes somewhere. So, um, needless to say my feet were absolutely soaked by the time I got home last night. Disappointing. And uncomfortable.

Also, I don’t own anything that resembles a rain coat. I have my winter coat and light spring coats, but nothing to keep me dry. Yes, I have an umbrella, but here in New York City you find out real quick that you can’t simply rely on umbrellas. The wind changes direction every time you turn a corner in the city and I swear it purposely blows up from the ground just to turn your umbrella inside out, losing the battle completely.

Broken umbrellas are a common sighting here. Now, I don’t condone littering, but it’s kind of comically sad seeing them strewn on the ground on or after rainy days. They obviously weren’t able to hold on through the storm and have been abandoned because they no longer serve their purpose.

I mean, if you Google or look through Flickr for ‘broken umbrellas’, you’ll see what I mean by the pathetic nature of said broken and useless umbrellas. Some are just a tad broken, but broken nonetheless. Others, however, are so mangled and disfigured, it makes one wonder whether a lion escaped from the zoo and went on a killing spree.

Broken umbrella

And then there are the people who are determined to stay at least a tiny bit dry, even though their umbrellas have been overcome by the elements. Even if one or more of the spokes are broken. Even if the extension part of the handle no longer works. These people are manually holding the umbrella open because, dammit, they will not accept defeat! They will do whatever it takes to keep at least their forehead untainted by the rain. Granted, who wants to go in a bodega or to a street cart and pay $10 for a poorly made umbrella that almost seems designed to break under the smallest gust of wind?

Another thing is that it’s such a pain walking down a narrow sidewalk while people walking in the opposite direction also have their umbrellas open. It’s kind of like playing chicken; one of us has to either raise our umbrella or close it a little bit in order for us both to fit through. But I don’t want to close it and risk getting soaked. And it doesn’t seem like they’re going to close it either. Then I start to raise my umbrella, thinking I’m going to be the considerate one…but then I notice them doing the same…so then we both kind of lower them. Quick, we’re getting really close!

It usually ends up working out, but sometimes the umbrellas get caught on either the other’s umbrella or a tree, and water flies everywhere, usually on both parties. It’s kind of like that embarrassing “dance” when people awkwardly can’t pick a side when walking by each other under normal circumstances.

Bottom line: I need to find some rain gear, like, ASAP.

Another reason I haven’t written in awhile is because I feel like I’m failing majorly with the whole eating Paleo thing. I made a dish or two using a cookbook I bought, but that’s been about it. I have been eating more health-consciously [scout’s honor!] since I wrote that last post, choosing salads over sandwiches, burgers, pasta, etc. I don’t think I’ve had pasta in quite awhile. Great, now I want tortellini with Alfredo sauce, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes. Mouth is watering. I’m full-on drooling now.

I’ve been eating more fruit, purposely buying it from a small veggie store nearby so that I have them to snack on instead of chips or cookies or the like. I have, however, been kind of bad with chocolate since Easter was 2 weeks ago and that silly Bunny spoiled Tom and I with Cadbury Creme Eggs and hollow chocolate bunnies. The thing with me and chocolate is that, if it’s in the house, you best believe I will eat it.

Matilda Chocolate Cake

>>Oh, side note, I wanted to try the Carrot Cake M&Ms but I totally missed out! I didn’t realize they were limited edition for Easter, so I never picked any up because my thinking was, “I have a feeling we will be getting some candy from Mr. Easter Bunny, so I can wait.” Well, I’ve waited and heard people raving about how delicious they are. Come to find out everywhere is now sold out, and people are selling them on Amazon for $15 a bag! Like, what?! Preposterous. So anyways, let’s hope they decide to make them a permanent flavor because they were so popular. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait until next Easter.<<

I talked to one of my co-workers a few weeks back when I decided Paleo was a good idea and she said her husband does it; she found that eating 80% Paleo is totally fine and that a slow-cooker is your best friend with this diet. Part of my problem with eating Paleo is that it’s about 70% preparation and 30% self-control. Also, sometimes the lack of calories and sugar has given me problems in terms of feelings that I’ll pass out, so sometimes I just need something quick and sweet to boost my sugar levels.

Honestly (and obviously), it takes so much longer to prepare a Paleo meal. So she said using a slow-cooker has been a God-send; she just decides what she wants to make, prepares everything the night before, throws everything in the crockpot in the morning before work, and when she comes home, it’s nearly ready! Plus, you can make a few nights’ worth of food using a crockpot, whereas some meals take so much time and work just to prepare enough for 2 people.

So I’ve been working on not putting myself down on doing poorly on this mission of eating healthfully because I’ve been improving my eating habits in general. And I’ve been using the workout room here at the school at least 3 times each week for the past month, so that’s great! I bumped my Fitbit step goal up to 12,000 steps per day and have been consistently surpassing that daily. Overall, good things happening.

Okay I think I’ve blabbed enough. Until next time, ciao!

Making Decisions Through Collaboration

I have recently realized how important and beneficial collaboration and discussion can be. I’ve read numerous studies and research papers that support the idea of student collaboration and working with others as valuable. I am in no way saying that I never asked for help or for opinions before; “How does this look?” and “What do you think?” were a frequent part of my vocabulary. However, these questions usually did not require much more than a yes or no answer.

Decisions

Even in school, growing up, I was very content on doing assignments alone and making decisions by myself. And forget going to professors’ office hours during college; until my senior year of undergrad, I never met with classmates or teachers outside of class unless it was for a group project or a mandatory meeting. I love hanging out with people and talking, but when it comes to life decisions, I was always one to try and fare it alone.

This decision affects no one but me, so I need to be able to figure it out alone. I won’t always have close friends or family to help me through these situations, so I need to be able to talk myself through the pros and cons of every decision.

I always felt like no one understood my situation so they couldn’t possibly give me sound advice. On top of that, everyone else has their own problems and lives to deal with; why should I burden them with my problems and my life? So I simply kept my mental battles inside and didn’t reach out to others for help. I actually have documentation of this: I have about 7 journals filled with my internal battles; some that I still have not shared with anyone. I was even hesitant to ask my mom for advice many times because I didn’t want to be the one who needs her mommy to make all her decisions for her; it’s like having her cut up my food into bite-sized pieces.

Realizing that people do actually care and want to help was eye opening.

Through my friends and classmates in undergrad and grad school, I have realized how truly beneficial talking things out can be; doing this is helpful not only for school assignments but also for life decisions. It’s so easy to get stuck in one point of view (your own) and see no way other than that…unless you talk to others. Even saying your problem out loud can open your ears and eyes to a whole new perspective that you may not have realized otherwise.

And I’ve learned that discussing movies and books is a thing that takes place outside of clubs; like, you don’t simply watch a movie and deal with it internally or talk about how hot the actors/actress were or how cool the action scenes were. Actually discussing the plots and characters in-depth as if they were real is something that I never took part in. It has really allowed me to better understand and think about books, characters, television shows, etc. How has it taken me so long to do this?

And as much as we hate admitting it, our parents and other significant adults in our lives know a thing or two about life; they’ve been around a bit longer than we have and can teach us a lot. As long as we’re willing to listen…

So to all of you whom I have confided life-altering decision-making problems – thank you. Huge thanks to my mom for putting up with my moodiness because I didn’t want to tell her stuff but wanted to all at the same time. Without your help, I probably would not be where I am today. I am still working on being more open (within reason, obviously) and less prideful about my problems and internal struggles, so bear with me.

Magic 8 Ball

How do you go about making difficult decisions? Do you write it all out pro/con style? In a diary? Magic 8 Ball? Do you have a best friend that you share anything and everything with? Let me know, I would love to hear how you cope!