Day 2–Dry February

Well, I’m well into Day 2 of Dry February (and about 36 hours into my Facebook Fast). No alcohol, no sugar or sugary sweeteners, no white stuff. Except for one of my exceptions–caffeinated energy gel. Yes, it was Endurance Day at the gym, so I powerwalked for 90 minutes (at least a good 5 miles) after warming up with 15 minutes on a rower (first time on one of those in months). Finished with 15 minutes of slow walking to cool down. Did NOT indulge in my usual sugary treat afterwards. BUT I did have a skinny Starbucks mocha this afternoon, after which I decided to add sugar substitutes to the list of banned foods. Frankly, they aren’t any better for me!

And I DID refrain from eating muesli for breakfast/brunch, because there are sweetened cranberries in the mix. I am really going to be that much of a stickler!

Dry February

Warning—LONG!!!!!!

Warning–This is actually a Facebook post from 1/31/17

So, I didn’t know “Dry January” was a thing. Until today, January 31, the last day of Dry January. Maybe I wasn’t aware because it’s more of a UK thing and, well, I’m not in the UK. Basically, the idea is to abstain from alcohol for the month of January, kind of like a one-month Lenten practice, but for booze.  Perhaps January was chosen to counter the excesses of the holidays (although for many Americans, No Sugar January might be more appropriate!) Whatever the reason, the concept is very workable.

Why am I going on about Dry January? Well, I am currently enjoying a very uncharacteristic midweek cocktail. And why am I drinking a cocktail on a Tuesday afternoon? Because I’m going to give this Dry January thing a try, But I’m going to tweak it a little bit. First change—the month. This will be my Dry FEBRUARY.  Also, since I only have alcohol on weekends (and even then, not to excess), I’ll need some additional changes. After all, cycling season will be here before we know it AND I’ve been straying from the eating plan that has served me well for so long (i.e. I’ve had more carbs than usual, fewer vegetables than usual). So, here we go with Petra’s Dry February.

PETRA’S DRY FEBRUARY RULES

  1. Abstain from alcohol with the following exception: if booze is an ingredient in cooking, I will allow myself to cook with it. I AM a foodie, after all.
  2. Refrain from added sugar (and honey and maple syrup and white grape juice and you get the picture) EXCEPT for Muncie Meatless Monday or if I’m invited to someone’s home and they serve something with added sugar (you know, like a dessert). And except for that high-fiber apple-cranberry muffin from Trader Joe’s that I plan to have for breakfast.
  3. And while I’m at it, refrain from the “white stuff”—white flour, white pasta, white rice, and potatoes. With the same exceptions as noted in Rule 2.
  4. And also refrain from buying any cooking shit—gadgets, small appliances, serveware. I’m already refraining (until Sept. 1) from purchasing any cookbooks and magazines of any stripe. Food, yeah, I’ll buy food.
  5. NO FACEBOOK! I will be available on Messenger and via text (if you have my phone number), but I’m getting off Facebook for a month. So if I don’t “like” your post, it’s because I haven’t friggin’ seen it! I’ll get on one last time tomorrow morning to say goodbye, and then it’ll be four Facebook-free weeks for me.

So, with all of these things that I’m deleting from my life (for a month), what will I do to fill my life?

  1. Working out more. Yes, I’m pretty good about getting in a weekly endurance workout of at least 90 minutes, but it’s the shorter ones that I am more prone to excuse my way out of. And I will vary my training a bit more—currently it’s just weights and cycling, but I’m going to add powerwalking and maybe the elliptical. And, BSU folks, they’ve added a Concept 2 rowing machine near the track at Ball Gym!
  2. I have two blogs that I’ve neglected (and frankly, I have been busy). I hope to get at least one post on both of them this Dry February. Honestly, as long as this status is, it should’ve been a blog post. And maybe it will be J
  3. More meditation. I had been meditating regularly twice a day, but now my average is about 1.5 times a day. It’s not a panacea for life’s stresses, but I shudder to think how I’d feel WITHOUT it. FYI, meditation has been a regular part of my life for almost two years now.
  4. Eat green leafy vegetables. ‘Nuff said.

So, I’ll say my goodbyes on the morning of the first. And, since you might get a notification, February 18 isn’t my real birthday 😉

Valentine’s For One

Valentine’s Day has become nothing more than a cheap, manufactured holiday designed to maximize the profits of florists and card companies. This alleged paean to romantic love and coupledom—perhaps once meaningful, but then again perhaps never meaningful—sends countless duos out to overcrowded restaurants for overpriced and underwhelming meals. Prices for red roses seemingly double that day and all sorts of heart-shaped boxes filled with waxy, mass-produced chocolates wend their ways into grocery baskets, to be presented with a similarly mass-produced card for the object of one’s affection. And one thing that certainly stands out on this madly marketed winter holiday is that Coupledom Reigns Supreme, so much so that it sends some singletons to the retreat of their own homes, afraid or embarrassed to venture forth in public without some complementary partner on their arms.

I’ve been both single and coupled on Valentine’s Day and, friends, but for the past 15 or so years I’ve celebrated even if I was outside the target demographic of V-Day marketers. And I am genuinely curious why Valentine’s Day is aimed at couples and not EVERYONE. As a society, we are becoming more “single”—witness the rise in adults living alone by intention (read Eric Klinenberg’s excellent Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone for a wonderfully readable examination of this phenomenon). Age of first marriage is progressively getting older and many adults eschew traditional marriage for something else (singlehood, cohabitation, serial monogamy, polyamory, etc.) Sex is just a Tinder swipe away. Millennials are eschewing tradition (and, while we’re at it, cars). Our definitions of family are evolving. The times, they are a’changing. So, why isn’t Valentine’s Day? Yes, there are stirrings indicating some change afoot (consider the “Galentine’s” parties), but V-Day still focuses on the notion that love can only be experienced by a two-person bond.

From my David Orelick calendar.
From my David Orelick calendar.

Perhaps our culture still doesn’t know what to do with the unmarried adult (especially the one that actually celebrates singlehood). Why are singles still seen as “lesser”, entities to be pitied? It’s time to revisit our prejudices and recognize that singlehood and coupledom are merely two different ways of living adult lives, one every bit as good as the other.

I’m in a relationship and am very happy. But I still cringe at the thought of the near worship of The Duo. When I throw a dinner party, I don’t want my guest list to be all couples. I have great single friends (and I’ve been a great single friend). I’ve known plenty of single assholes (as well as married assholes). Seriously, the time to stop venerating couples is now; the time to start honoring all adults, regardless of relationship status is now.

As I mentioned earlier, I celebrate(d) Valentine’s Day even when single. I’d buy myself a card, and a present (usually a book and always wrapped with a bow!). I’d eat some decadent pastry (or, as I did a couple of times, bake myself a layer cake). I’d indulge in a Reese’s something with breakfast. I’d open a bottle of bubbly and indulge.

Our most important relationship is with ourselves. If we can’t love ourselves (even if we don’t always LIKE ourselves), we can’t really love anybody else—friend, family, lover. This is what Valentine’s Day should be—a celebration of the love and acceptance of one’s self.

New Blog

I’ve been away from this blog for a while, but I’m still around and doing well. The new blog, which I’m not going to publicize until I’ve build up a decent archive, is nonetheless available for viewing. You can find it at flyovertapas.com.

My Tenth Mini!

The semester is over and now I have a little time for a half-marathon report. On Saturday, I completed the 2014 Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, the nation’s largest half-marathon. It was my 10th year in a row! Last year’s time was my slowest ever (but I was, nonetheless, delighted with the fact that I finished it). Anyway, this year I finished with almost a full minute-per-mile pace FASTER than 2013! Needless to say, I walked around grinning afterward (even before I knew my finishing time). In fact, I registered for next year’s race almost as soon as I got home.

A couple of firsts this year. My first first: I’d always run in ordinary running tights or shorts, but I used compression capris this year (having only ever done a single short run with them previously, as I just got them). My second first: I’d always traveled there by myself, but this year a friend of mine joined me. Andy retired from my department a few years ago and has been running for a long time. He hadn’t run the Mini for 9 years, but did it this year (much faster than me, of course!) I really enjoyed having someone to hang around with until the start of the race, especially since it was quite windy and cool. Having conversations helped me forget about the chill!

So, what’s up next in this slow-but-ecstatic runner’s plans? I’ve registered for a half-marathon in October, the Urban Bourbon in Louisville, Kentucky. You have to be 21 or older, because there’s bourbon at the finish line!

Mini_2014a_resized

One more day!

Tomorrow morning I run my 10th Indianapolis Mini-Marathon in a row (it’s the nation’s largest half-marathon). Am I ready for it? Well, I’ve certainly gotten my fill of carbohydrates!

My annual day-before-the-race meal is pancakes at IHOP, no butter, swimming (née DROWNING) in syrup. Today I was joined by my friend Andy (also running the race tomorrow) and his wife Leslie (she of fantastic cooking skills!) I happily devoured my stack of pancakes with strawberries and bananas and should have plenty of glycogen in my body for tomorrow. These carbs, plus the energy drink with caffeine, should supply me with the fuel I need to finish. That, and a traditional breakfast of one sleeve of marshmallow Peeps, that is!

And the end of the semester is upon us

Monday is the last day of classes, with final exams scheduled for Tuesday through Friday. My grades must be submitted to the registrar’s office by noon on Monday. What I’ll be doing between now and then is grading (okay, I pretty much do this all semester long). And grading. And grading. And running a half-marathon on Saturday.

The end of the spring semester, for some reason*, puts me in more of a time crunch. So, while I have a slight respite this weekend, it’ll be a grading marathon (on top of the running half-marathon!) after Monday!

*Okay, that half-marathon is the reason! I have to drive down to Indianapolis to pick up my race packet on Thursday, and then drive down again Saturday (early!) morning for the actual race. I’ll get back to Muncie around 1:00, after which I’ll be too physically tired to grade until evening.

Signs of Spring

Mowing (part) of the lawn yesterday. Saucer magnolia tree in front yard starting to bloom. And, most importantly, I saw the first dandelion of the season in my back yard.