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Posts Tagged ‘personal’

Oh, my steaming cup of coffee. How I adored and looked forward to this morning ritual. That careful first sip. The warm liquid trickling down my throat and into my belly. Caffeine hitting my bloodstream.

It was my vice. The one addiction I loved. Me and this bean were tight. Conveniently located in my kitchen cabinet and on just about every stinking block in the Pacific Northwest, it was there for me every morning – greeting me with loving devotion. A dedicated friend. There’s even a patch of land in my hometown called Caffeine Square – where in a two block radius downtown there are too many coffee houses to count and they claim it’s the most highly caffeinated real estate in the country. I don’t know if I can substantiate their claims, but I agree – there are a helluva lot of java joints down there.

I loved all things about coffee and have been partaking in this socially accepted and addictive behavior for more than 15 years. The clatter of the sharp blades grinding up those dark brown morsels, the perfumed aroma wafting in the air as the water drips slowly through the freshly ground beans, sipping on the hot nutty goodness. And don’t get me started on the kitchen gadgets. Ah, how I treasured the coffee accessories! Sparkling espresso machines, the cutest miniature porcelain cups, oversize mugs resembling small buckets made for those oversize American café lattes, shiny French presses, stainless steel scoops, to go thermos bottles in every size, shape, and color imaginable – all delightful!

But how does it do it? How does coffee hook it’s many unsuspecting victims?

One word. C-A-F-F-E-I-N-E.

As you’re most certainly aware, caffeine is a stimulant that speeds up your central nervous system. It increases the levels of dopamine in your brain which improves your feeling of well-being and elevates your mood. Apparently, it’s this dopamine effect that is the root of caffeine’s addictive and devilish properties. Caffeine can be found in over 60 different plants and 90% of Americans consume it in some form every day.

I didn’t tell anyone I was quitting. And to be honest I wasn’t 100% sure I was quitting altogether. I only decided to take a leave of absence from my liquid buddy when I participated in a 10 day Master Cleanse fast back in January. Going completely ‘cold turkey’. Fattie knew, but my friends and family back home had no idea and probably still think of me with a Starbucks coffee cup – white lid smeared with shiny lip gloss – melded onto my hand, an extension of my own limb. Never without. Never letting go.

It certainly wasn’t easy and it’s tough to remember many pleasant mornings in the past without my trusty friend by my side. But for now it’s gone and I feel good. The first several days were utter hell – pounding headaches, unbelievable crankiness, fatigue – but I wasn’t eating either so I can’t really blame all my symptoms on caffeine withdrawal.

Sometimes I brew up a pot of coffee for Fattie and don’t ever usually feel the urge to take a big slurp. My dependence on the worlds most popular drug is a thing of the past.

I’m over it. Really. I am.

Jeez……Maybe I shouldn’t be so cocky? After all, it’s only been 2 months. It was a sorrowful good-bye but I bid adiós to my last cup of goodness on January 4th.

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Seriously, this is a stinking funny site. It’s a random and real collection of emails from people’s mums. And if you have a mom – well, then you can relate. Sometimes bossy, sometimes bizarre, but always filled with love – anyone of them could remind you of your own mom – these emails compilations are truly entertaining.

Does your mom still have an AOL account? Does she email you her random, yet charming, thoughts on life and love? Does she wish you called more often?

Drop everything you’re doing and visit: Post Cards From Yo Momma

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I know, normally it’s date night but for us it has been date week.

We wanted to spend time together while doing something good for ourselves and our bodies. We quickly agreed on the answer. Regular trips to the gym followed by evenings of cooking for each other. With the upcoming nuptials and my latest attempt to squeeze into my Amsale wedding dress, I thought this sounded like a excellent idea.

So, we grabbed our duffel bags and trotted off to the club.

But not your pedestrian treadmill, recumbent bike, or boring circuit training routines. No.

We went swimming.

date

At first, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Swimming? Really? I mean, I love most bodies of water – lakes, pools (laying beside them in posh hotels), and always look forward to playing in the surf at the beach. But, uh, swimming laps? What are we? All of sudden 75? Since I’m usually up for new adventures and love Fattie to death – I grinned and agreed to give it a go.

But not without some apprehension. Here’s my top 5 concerns:

1) Germs. I don’t like them.

I certainly don’t like my bare feet coming in contact with any gym/locker room floor – and would NEVER consider taking a shower in a public place without flip flops on (even on our trip to Italy last month I showered in the hotel with thongs on). I know, I know – it’s borderline OCD.

2) Chlorine. Not my BFF.

My locks are professionally straightened and highlighted every 8-10 weeks, so chlorine, it’s drying agents, and all those other pool chemicals and I – just don’t get along.

3) Swimsuit. I don’t own one.

I mean, I don’t own a proper suit for swimming. I have about 60 suits to catch rays in – they’re called b-i-k-i-n-i-s and not really what you see folks draped in while they’re dog paddling around the pool to work up a sweat.

4) Casper. As in, Casper the ghost.

My first winter in Sweden and I’m paler than I’ve ever been, so you can understand I was horrified of the thought of showing my bleached out body to the general public.

5) Dork Incorporated. Probably not on the top 10 list of ‘cool’ things to do.

To be honest, I felt like a the biggest nerd answering my sister in law when she asked curiously the other day, “What are you guys going to do tonight?”…..me muttering under my breath, “Uh, we’re going swimming”.

Now, here’s a little interesting, or depending on how you look at it depressing, nugget of information about Sweden. The Swedes remove their shoes upon entering a place of residence. Not only do I think it’s terrible to be greeted by a pile of shoes at your front entry way, I’m just not used to it. And frankly – don’t like it.

See, I adore shoes. I’ve been known to build entire outfits around my shoes, so chucking them off at the door is somewhat alarming to me. All my pants, and I mean ALL my pants besides my Juicy sweat-suits, have been tailored for high-heels. The removal of any footwear means I not only become shorter but if I’m not in a dress or skirt then I also have 4 inches of pant leg dragging around behind me. Not attractive. And certainly not the ‘look’ I was going for. With the exception of boots, I’m used to walking around in strappy sandal type shoes – you know, the kind you don’t wear socks with – so, you can bet your bootie I’m not entirely thrilled about being in someone’s home for a dinner or cocktail party barefoot with pants in tow.

But really. I am leading up to something here.

We checked into the gym and rounded the corner to proceed to the locker rooms only to be embraced by the largest mud room I’ve ever laid my big brown eyes upon. What? Those stinking Swedes remove their shoes here too? At the gym? Uh-huh. Apparently, it’s common (and highly encouraged) to drop off your shoes BEFORE entering the locker room.

Nope. Not having it. None of it.

I glanced over at Fattie and squeaked apologetically, “I’m not doing it. I don’t care if I am being disrespectful…..I’m N-O-T doing it.” At this point, not only the potential cooties came into play but you can imagine I was mortified at the thought of leaving my hundred and fifty dollar UGGs out in the open for anyone to snag or worse yet the possibility of someone sticking their foot into my boot – eeewww. Ok, ok. I know. Take it easy. No, I don’t think the local Swedes are thieves; and no, I don’t think I’m so important that someone would really want to steal my shoes – but I can’t take that chance and I certainly can’t walk barefoot into the locker room!

Of course, being who he is and loving me for who I am, Fattie just smiled at me while he was finding a nice home on the shelf for his Converse.

Swim

Wow. Not exactly the burn from lifting weights or the high from running but swimming is hard work. I was envisioning these straight roped off lanes, head down, goggles on, proceeding ahead with the crawl stroke….But to my surprise the dudes in the water were swimming the breast stroke in a long rectangular loop. After a few laughs and comments about being the youngest people there by at least 30 years, I cautiously merged into the circle of elders….The first 2 laps were silly but alright. The next 48 were some kind of modern water torture. I made it through, only after stopping to rest and giggle with Fattie every 10 laps or so.

Now here’s something I had never seen before. Self cleaning hot-tubs. Ok, I guess that is cool and all. But what this really means is everyone and their grandmother scrambles to the jacuzzi at the same time sandwiching in next to each other and then right on queue, exactly 10 minutes later, everyone jumps out to allow the tub to ‘cleanse itself’. 10 minutes in – 10 minutes out. Weird.

Then came the locker room.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in the near vicinity with so many naked 75 year old ladies in my entire life. My eyes must have been as big as saucers! Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a prude or shy of nudity – I worked in a health club for several years in my early 20’s so I am very accustomed to the gym and locker room culture. But holy smokes. I’ve seen children smaller than some of those bushes! The gardener must be on a permanent holiday. And don’t get me started on the sauna – it looked like a box of raisins.

Then it hit me. Someday I will be just like these little old ladies – hopefully with a little less hair. Spooky.

If on day/date 1 of our swimming adventure we were the youngest peeps by 30 years, then day 2 we were certainly the oldest by 30 years. Mental note: Mondays = senior night, Wednesday = kiddie night. Oh, the joy.

By our 2nd week hitting the drink, swimming was becoming an amusing routine. We both feel amazingly refreshed afterwards and savor the time we are spending together participating in an engaging, healthy, and, well – goofy activity. We also have had a brilliant time coming up with creative plates of grub to dish up for each other. Last week Fattie made these fabulous Greek meatballs of freshly ground lamb aside homemade tzatziki – reminded me of the yearly Greek festival back home – YUMO.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get so into this swimming thing I might even invest in a proper swimsuit – maybe even a swimming cap. Daaaaang – did I really just write that? So, it is very possible we are I am a giant dork. But at least I won’t be a barefoot dork.

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If you’re considering starting The Master Cleanse fast, also known as the Lemonade Diet, I would highly encourage you to read the book that started this sensation, Master Cleanse, by Stanley Burroughs.

Download the free PDF http://healthandlight.com/TheMasterCleanse.pdf or purchase Burroughs book on The Master Cleanse website.

As mentioned in an earlier posting, there is also a substantial amount of tremendously useful material in the Master Cleanse Discussion Forums.

mcbook

Below is an excerpt, written for newcomers on the Master Cleanse fast, taken directly from the MC discussion forums.

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That’s it? That’s all you got? Day 10 has been a breeze.

We were able to lounge around the house this morning but my type A personality kicked in….

So, after scouring the ENTIRE abode in some kind of delirious deep cleaning frenzy, I grabbed the in-laws pooch and marched towards the golf club to see how my trusty Fattie was progressing on the remodel. Wow. That guy is bordering on being the handiest person I’ve gazed my eyes upon. F can accomplish anything that crosses his path and truly embraces a challenge. I heart him.

……………………………

10 days on master cleanse. I made it. No cheating.

Also no creamy risotto. No cream brulee. No lemon & herb roasted chicken. No cheese fondue. No rum laced bread pudding. No pinot nior. No cheesy margarita pizza. No fois gras. No ice cold beer. No banana bread. No garlic mashed potatoes. No freshed squeezed orange juice. No juicy filet mignon. No ceasar salad with homemade dressing & crunchy Parmesan croutons. No warm chocolate chip cookies. No diet coke. No Häagen-Dazs. Not even an avocado.

Not one lick.

But this amazing journey has been about a lot more than just a lack of tasty food, which I’m sure will be scrawled down in the upcoming days….

For now, I’m gratefully savoring my last few lemonades.

This song, Blessed by Brett Dennen, sums up exactly how I’m feeling.

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I just couldn’t do it. Not another 24 hours! Honestly, I really really tried. I almost made it; but I couldn’t manage one more stinking day.

Master cleanse? Nah. Come on. Are you kidding me right now? That’s a no brainer.

I’m talking about the Christmas tree, silly! See, here in Sweden things are a little bit different around the holidays. Let me explain……First off, Christmas eve is the ‘big day’ equivalent to Christmas day in the States. This is the day when everyone exchanges presents and the height of the holidays are officially kicked off with an elaborately grand smörgåsbord (the Christmas buffet is called a julbord or yule smörgåsbord – translated means Christmas table).

xmas tree

Secondly, most Swedes put up the Christmas tree just 1 or 2 days before December 24th, ‘the big day’. Which by my calculations leaves a measly 24 to 48 hours to decorate the darn thing before the show starts! And if you’re like me, with hundreds of twinkling lights and gorgeous ornaments perfectly placed, this just won’t do. Thirdly, and maybe even more interesting (am I boring you yet?), January 13th in Sweden is also known as St. Knut’s Day or Hilarymas, which is the traditional day to discard the Christmas tree and end the season’s festivities.

Yes, my friends, you heard it here…..The 13th of January! Inconceivable in my circle back home as we’re usually hanging on by needles (no pun intended) just to keep the thing standing & alive until New Years.

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I dashed out for a quick walk and was lucky enough to capture some gorgeous pictures of the sun setting over the water. We live on a such a beautiful lake in Sweden. Gratitude overwhelms me everyday. I am truly blessed.

……………………………………….

Day 8 on the master cleanse brings feelings of determination.

There are only 2 1/2 days left and there is no question if I can execute to the original plan.

I can and I will. No hesitation.

The question darting around my tiny biscuit is this: since I’m already through the most challenging part of this fast (which for me was those pesky little days called one, two & three) why not persist for just an itty bitty bit longer…? Maybe 12 days? Maybe 15 days? Why stop at 10?

Amazing. Day two into this fast I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage through the next ten minutes and six days later I’m feeling like I could swallow this peppery lemon mixture for another week. Oh, yeah, of course I have cravings of Fattie and I sitting down to the table with a giant dish of chorizo & sun dried tomato laced penne pasta loaded with Parmesan cheese, a fresh pear, walnut & Gorgonzola salad and bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape…….But those silly cravings will just have to wait……

More lemonade please!

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