Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Night Before Easter Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005

An Easter to Make the Baby Jesus Proud

Holidays are typically spent in one of two ways: 1) in Iowa with my family, or 2) alone, usually cleaning my house because nothing is open. I don't mind being alone on a holiday, but I pretend it's not a holiday. I don't have any family in town and my own family is becoming more spread out. My sister is in Texas in married bliss, and my brother is at the University of Iowa (it's almost as if he can only survive on non-college air for a day and a half...his visits are pretty short). So my parents are left in a precarious position, they've been travelling more to visit their various children, or I believe they think they'll be cut out of our lives. With them madly travelling about, I'm alone in St. Louis. Don't get me wrong, if I made a phone call and said I needed my mommy and daddy, they'd be here the next weekend. They also invite me on their travels to Texas with them...and usually stop overnight on their way. At some point I began to feel like I was the oldest child with a lifetime of solitude ahead of me...only to be kept company by my brigade of cats. I would encourage the cats to procreate...only to have the throngs of kitties produce enough dander to complicate my asthma and kill me.

This year I knew I'd hang out with my boyfriend. But it's different than JUST hanging out with a boyfriend. I'm in love with him, I enjoy everything more when he's there, I feel calm, content, and like I'm where I'm supposed to be, and I know I'll be with him the rest of my life. Neither of us have family in town and neither of us are religious. I casually mentioned making a ham on Easter and that's all that was really said.

Thursday during yoga class, I kept thinking about how much I love being there with him, looking over and seeing him doing his poses, seeing the stress from his week lessen (and I have to say, his ass looks great when he does yoga). They announced a class on Easter Sunday and I suggested we go to it.

By Saturday, Easter plans began to take shape in my mind. After running around in our costumes, we went to Schnucks and I got a 6.5 pound ham and some sweet potatos. We got up on Sunday and went to yoga. It was excellent, much more difficult than the Thursday class. We did Sun Salutations and I did half moon pose correctly for the first time. I felt strong and really centered.

After yoga we went to my house and I made salmon patties (yes, he is the only other person I know outside my family that likes salmon patties, and I adore that about him!). The rest of the afternoon we spent starting a garden in the back yard. We dug up the clay that is my yard, mixed in manure and soil, and planted spinach and brocoli. There are some peat pellets (that look shockingly like little delicious brownies and have almsot made their way into my mouth) growing seeds to include tomatos, canteloup, basil, and peas.

I didn't say "my back yard" because he's moving in soon and it'll be "our back yard". I never thought I'd be able to make room for someone in my life and now I feel like I can't imagine NOT making room for this person in my life. I'm continually looking for ways to make space...and the more space I make, the more real it becomes and I get more excited to have this man in my daily routine.

So after the yard has been worked as much as our bodies can work it, he goes home for a couple hours and I start dinner. I made the ham, biscuits, sweet potatos with butter, brown sugar, and pecans. He made artichokes and they were fabulous! My mother used to make them when I was little and it was pretty nostalgic. After dinner we curled up on the couch to watch TV, read a little in bed, and faded off to sleep.

My Easter wasn't spent with my family, I didn't go to mass, and I didn't look for eggs. But I do feel like I spent it in a special way. I did yoga to build my body, I worked on my yard to grow plants, and I spent the holiday with someone that has started to feel like family to me.

Easter Lesson of the Day: 6.5 pounds of ham is way too much for two people. We will be eating leftover ham for a very long time.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Day Before Easter

The Plot
My boyfriend and I really wanted to make use to this fantastic blue fur suit we'd made him. We arranged to go to an adult Easter egg hunt with some other bizarre friends, but were thwarted by it being sold out and marginal weather. We gathered at my friend's house to dress in costumes anyway...we were either going to stare at each other in snazzy outfits, or find somewhere to prance about in them.

The Motley Crew
Laura - Festive and enthusiastic, she's the first to suggest costume ideas (and has the ability to outfit an entire football team in Mardi Gras attire, drag, as pimps & hos, or various fur-inspired creations). She dressed in all white with a naughty bunny tail and white bunny ears. Delightful!

Leef - The equally festive partner to Laura, he's very masculine, has a shaved head, and isn't afraid to explore more feminine roles. He wore a white flight suit, a white tail, a pink fur belly, and white bunny ears.

Matt - How fabulous, Matt just wanted to be covered in fur. Is he a bunny? Is he an entire bolt of different colored fur? Doesn't matter, he's covered! Black and gray fur vest, pink fur pants, shaggy pink coat, and a dual-pointed pink fur hat. Oh yeah, and pink star glittery sunglasses.

Steve (my special honey bunny) - He was ADORABLE in a furry blue one-piece suit with blue furry ears and a white bunny tail that I sewed. He ended up with the pink glittery star sunglasses (a homeless guy suggested he looked like an Elton John bunny).

Me - I decided to go against the grain and dress like a little girl on Easter morning. Green and white gingam Easter dress, white fur jacket, white gloves with beading, pearl earrings and necklace, pigtails, knee-high white socks and black mary-jane shoes. I carried an Easter basket with a yellow stuffed bunny attached to it.

Executing the Plan
With the egg hunt being a bust, we met at the Starbuck's in the Loop...we would cruise this popular night spot. A small boy asked to take our picture. Matt gave him an origami bunny for his time (a bunny was left at each location...our calling card of sorts). A young man on a date asked what the occasion was. We looked at him blankly, "no occasion, other than tomorrow's Easter". He laughed and continued on his date, explaining his exchange to her.

We continued on our route, ahhh, Ben & Jerry's. We got a table and giggled as people walking by took a double take at the huge blue bunny in the window. Most people reacted in one of two ways: 1) "Happy Easter!" 2) With head and nose held high, they walked by aloofly, pretending not to notice the four bunnies hopping and full-sized little girl skipping down the sidewalk. I'm sure their reaction was partially out of nervousness...there were bunnies hopping and peaking in windows of restaurants.

I say most because one group reacted with hatred. Two 17-year-olds yelled obscenities at us on the street. Being the most articulate of the group, I responded, "Fuck you! How are we hurting you?!?". They caught Leef alone on the sidewalk and tried to fight him. He turned around, fists up, and scared them to death. He turned and hopped down the street unscathed. They came to Ben & Jerry's and yelled at us. These greasy, punk-ass kids, wearing belts made of bullet shells and skull buckles, accused us of scaring kids and making them cry. Go home, you suck. I understand that your parents and teachers don't understand you, you're social outcasts, but in 10 years you'll be having drinks in Clayton after your daily grind at the office.

The night was coming to an end. We made one more stop at a coffee shop to visit an equally odd friend and called it a night.

Look for a posted photo in the near future!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Sir, Could I Please Have Some More?

I feel like I've come full circle in some ways on my blog. My first posting was a sunny portrait about World's Fair Donuts, and this one is about my recent 3-day fast. I didn't fast because I'd gained weight (even though I was starting to feel a little bulky), but I needed to "reset" my healthy eating habits and get centered again.

I've been deleriously happy for the last 3 months and everything in my life feels like it's fallen into place. Being happy, I've allowed myself some luxuries that I hadn't before...donuts, candy bars often, coffee with cream and sugar (not soy or decaf, but all out coffee with half-and-half), and anything else that I could shove in my face that I thought would give me a moment of pleasure.

But then that pleasure started to fade a little. My workouts felt harder, my meals were less satisfying, my cravings felt deviant...and it wouldn't stop. My need for instant gratification from food raged on, until I felt helpless to take a step back and feel alive again. I was weighted down, not by food, but by the crap I was ingesting.

So I did some research. I reviewed various fasts and decided that a detoxifying 3-day would be best. It wasn't a total abstention, but very minimal organic intake. It sounded really easy, if I'm drinking fresh juice and eating fruit, how hard could it be?

Day 1
On this day I could juice fruit of my choosing, eat a cup of brown rice for lunch, and eat a salad with no dressing and fish for dinner (that does not mean eating my weight in salad, a SMALL salad). On this day I felt energized. I'd planned to be off from work and I ran a ton of errands. I got two new yoga outfits with my birthday money. I even went to the gym and did a full workout, 40 minutes of cardio and upper body weights. By evening I was feeling a little weak, but I felt like I'd gotten through the day without too many complications.

Day 2
I thought this would be the easiest of the three days. I had fresh fruit for breakfast, greens without salad dressing for lunch, and salmon with steamed snow peas for dinner (I feel like there should be some sort of majestic sound before the word salmon...it was the best meal in recent memory...I was STARVING). I went for a long walk with a friend in the afternoon. That evening I went to a movie ("Constantine"...excellent, especially if you read Sandman comics) and crashed when I got back. I was exhausted.

Day 3
This day was in some ways easiest and hardest. I tried to abstain from food, but I could eat fruit if I needed to. I had 4 pieces of fruit. I was a little shaky, slow-moving, forgetful, and weak. My honey and I hung out with some friends and I again crashed at night.

I woke up this morning feeling amazing. I put so much water through my system in the last few days that I'm totally hydrated, I lost an amazing amount of weight (even though that wasn't my goal), and my skin is glowing. I'm not craving bad food and am not obsessing over meatball subs from Subway like I was before. I feel like I accomplished something and followed it all the way through. When I took a bite of wheat toast this morning it was almost better than the salmon.

What I learned
1. I do not need copious amounts of food to survive and I was eating too much before.
2. My boyfriend is adorable and totally supportive with anything that's important to me. He ate dinner with me (the same food I ate) on Friday and Saturday and was prepared for me to be extra sassy (even though I don't think I was...I was too weak).
3. Healthy eating habits make me feel more vibrant and able to take on my day...work, personal, everything. My energy and ability to concentrate is better.
4. I don't recommend watching "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" on the third night of a fast.