Friday, October 29, 2010

The Sign.............

I saw this sign at the train station yesterday. It is an advertisment for Adelphi University, but I just loved it so much I HAD to take a photo and share it..........
Change...... no matter how difficult, uncomfortable, or frightening is GOOD!!  If you doubt my words, consider the caterpillar....look what she becomes when she accepts change.............

No one really wants to admire a caterpillar.....but everyone loves a butterfly........

Accept change. Stop fighting and go with it.  Let it happen and get ready to fly..............
And this is my Daily Cyn.............

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Face the Wind...........

Don't curse the wind...........just adjust your sails and enjoy the ride..............

And this is my Daily Cyn................

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Curried Carrot Soup

Curried Carrot Soup

If you like a bit of heat, use hot Madras curry powder in this recipe. Serve as a light lunch or as an appetizer before supper.

Servings: 6 servings, 1 1/3 cups each

Total Time: 1 hour

Ease of Preparation: Easy

Cuisine: Indian

Health: Healthy Weight


3 tablespoons canola oil

2 teaspoons curry powder

8 each medium carrots , peeled and thinly sliced

2 each medium stalks celery , thinly sliced

1 each medium onion , coarsely chopped

5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste


1: Cook oil and curry powder in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery and onion; toss to coat in oil. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; let stand 10 minutes. Lay a paper towel over the surface of the soup to blot away the oil that has risen to the top. Discard the paper towel. 2: Working in batches of no more than 2 cups at a time, transfer the soup to a blender and puree (use caution when pureeing hot liquids). Return the pureed soup to the pan, place over medium heat and heat through. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Nutrition: (Per serving)

Calories - 133

Carbohydrates - 12

Fat - 8

Saturated Fat - 1

Monounsaturated Fat - 4

Protein - 5

Cholesterol - 4

Dietary Fiber - 3

Potassium - 383

Sodium - 389

Nutrition Bonus - Vitamin A (280% daily value), Vitamin C (15% dv).

Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

And this is my Daily Cyn.........

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth. -Mark Twain

And this is my Daily Cyn........

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Last Voyage

My father has two things (besides my mom and his children) he absolutely loves--his Cadillac and his boat.  The car speaks for  itself.  It's sleek, sexy, silver and.... it's a Cadillac.  The boat is an older Sea Ray with a cabin for cooking and sleeping.  Jaws might not drop in awe as we pass people by in it, but it's pretty nice looking. This morning my dad asked me to take a ride down to the marina with him and take a few photos of the boat with my digital camera before I went to work. 

After years and years of spending money on boat slips, maintenance, the cost of having the boat taken in and out of the water and transported to his backyard for the winter, and other expenses; my dad has decided to slap a FOR SALE sign on his beloved possession.  It no longer makes sense for him to spend so much money on something we rarely use.  If it was up to him; he would be out on it every day--fishing, digging for clams, diving off the side and swimming in the bay, sipping coffee and watching the sun set over the water.  My mother is not really a big boating fan. If I was retired and had more free time I would want to relax all summer in the sun on my very own little floating house.  I can't think of anything better. My mom disagrees.  The boat is one big hassle for her but she refuses to allow my dad to go on it alone. He shouldn't be boating alone after having two heart attacks.  She might have a point there. What if something happened out there on the water? Unfortunately, he really doesn't have very many guy friends he can call to go out with him.  I am always running here and there or involved with work so I don't have the time to go boating as often as I would like.  My son is always busy or working and my sister lives in Brooklyn with her husband. He is a boat owner, too. Why would he travel all the way out here when he can drive a few miles to Sheepshead Bay to his enjoy own boat?  I feel so sad for my father.  I know this is something he loves and it is being taken away from him.  He is not being forced to sell the boat but he is trying to be sensible, economical and avoid arguing with his wife.  The boat costs too much money, it takes too much effort to maintain, and he never seems to have the time to use it.  That is kind of frivolous, isn't it?

So today, father and daughter stood on the dock, snapping photos and recalling all the fun times we have had on his boat over the years. Then dad looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, "Want to go out for a spin?"

I glanced at my watch.  It was almost 12 noon and I had to get to the office.  I was already so behind schedule but I knew how much it would mean to him if we went.  "Sure, Daddy," I said. "Let's go!"

We took off out into the bay--full speed ahead.  Not a single soul was out there today.  The water was as clear as glass and the sun was shining.  I didn't even need my jacket.  We stopped for awhile, sat there chatting, sipping coffee and enjoying the gorgeous sunshine.  It was so nice, so relaxing, and so good to just spend some time alone with my dad.  I didn't want to leave.  As he started up the boat again to head back to shore he said with a wink, "Don't tell your mother."

Once we were back on the dock, we stood there for awhile admiring the boat. My dad sighed heavily and  said," Days like this make me not want to sell it.  But we just never really use the darn thing anymore."

"I don't know why, Daddy.  You are retired and you and Mom have the time now.  My work schedule is pretty flexible.  It seems to me that we are all just so busy doing nothing that we don't take time to really enjoy life."

On the drive to the office later I thought about that for awhile.  Are we really so busy doing nothing that we are not taking the time to really enjoy life? What is more important than getting out and spending time together, playing and laughing? How much effort does it take to pack a quick lunch and thermos full of coffee and spend a relaxing afternoon out on the boat? Or at the park? How about sitting at the beach or playing cards or board games at the dining room table?  Instead we work too much, shop too much, surf the internet too much, sleep too much, watch television too much. We waste time on things that don't matter. We are really too busy doing nothing.

 The weather is cool now and summer is over. When next year rolls around, another family will be making their own memories on our boat.  Today was my dad's last trip on his prized possession.  I am so glad I forgot about work for awhile and didn't discourage him.  I managed to complete everything I needed to do today despite the time I took to spend with him.  I had the pleasure of taking that last voyage with my father.  To someone else, it just might be an insignificant little boat ride. To us--it meant everything.

Time is short.  Tomorrow is promised to no one. Seasons come and go. People come and go.  My dad will be seventy-three years old this Friday.  How many more father-daughter times do we really have? No one knows but God.  I never want to be so busy doing nothing that I miss opportunities to spend time with him or with any of the people I love. We might not have a boat to enjoy any more, but we have each other and I don't ever want to take that for granted.

And this is my Daily Cyn...........

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I believe God has instilled in us a craving, a deep desire for adventure, yet many of us crawl along in life without even a glimpse of our hidden passion. There has to be a reason for living. Take some time to be still, rest and reflect. Get in touch with who are you and what it is you really want. Are you satisfied crawling along watching each day slip into the next or do you want a fantastic adventure?

And this is my Daily Cyn..............

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Be an instrument of peace and love in all you do.

And this is my Daily Cyn........

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Step away from your life.......

For the past several weeks I have been anticipating a get-away to a little cabin up in the Catskill Mountains.  This is a much needed retreat with my guy and another couple.  Out of all the friends we could have chosen to bring up there with us, we decided to bring along my boyfriend's sister and her husband.  They are happily married, very low-key and quiet.  Most likely, they will disappear all day and we will not see them until dinner or as we gather around the fire late at night.

Life gets hectic and crazy.  We have jobs, families, chores, and responsibilities. Sometimes I feel like I am literally drowning.  I know I need to completely un-plug so I plan to escape to a little place in the woods this weekend. There will be no TV, no internet, and no cell phone service.  This means we cannot be bothered by anyone and won't be tempted  to attach ourselves to anything that will occupy our time or our minds.  Bring on the peace, quiet and the joy of just being together with no agenda.  I am so ready!

I am well aware that I can do this at home and save my money and the aggravation of a long trip through city traffic.  It's not always that easy, however.  I am pulled in a hundred different directions right now.  I have alot going on in my personal life, a job, a home, a family, and weekly writing assignments for which I get paid and can't just put off whenever I feel like it.   I am also trying to build my own consulting business and have just started writing a novel.  There doesn't seem to be enough time in a day to get it all done.  No matter how hard I try to step away from it and just chill, it never happens.  There is always something that needs to get done. I find myself hovering over my laptop in the wee hours of the morning to meet deadlines, doing laundry late at night, dragging my guy grocery shopping on Sundays because I didn't have time during the week, or racing for train in the morning because there was one last minute chore I needed to get done.  The constant running from this place to that  place just wears me out.  I am a TYPE-A personality, for sure, and the only thing that really works for me is to completely step out of my life for awhile and go someplace else.  This was not always the case for me.  A weekend getaway was always another opportunity to party harder than usual and to cram every activity imagineable into a few short days.  When I arrived back home I would need a vacation after my vacation.  That is all well and fine some of the time, but it can't be the case all of the time. We need to relax and if we really can't do it at home, then we need go someplace where we can.

This weekend, completely separated from all things technological, the hustle and bustle of crowds, traffic, and continuous invitations to go, see, and do, I plan to do absolutely NOTHING.  I will sleep, cook feasts (this is relaxing for me), sit in front of the fire and read my book, hike through the woods and admire the fall foliage, and spend much needed alone time with my man. I also plan to slip away by myself and re-evaluate everything I currently have on my plate.  I need to see if there are things I can shuffle around a bit, delegate to someone else, or completely eliminate.  I can't do it all and trying to do it all will just make me ill.  I know I need to manage my time wisely.  I need more structure, better organizational skills, and discipline.  I can't let my household chores go because I have writing to do and I can't neglect my writing because I am overwhelmed with household chores.  Life is a balancing act and while I am usually pretty well-balanced,  my body, mind and spirit are telling me differently lately.  How? Simple signs--I am tired, require more sleep than usual, I am impatient, short-tempered and moody.  These traits are not normal for me so I know it's time to step away for awhile.

You might not be able to escape to a secluded cabin in the woods, but are there some ways you can just step away from your life for a few days, an evening, or even an hour? Do not neglect or forsake your need to "step away from your life for awhile".  Think about ways you can do this and then just DO it! Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.

And this is my Daily Cyn.........

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This Journey called Life

On this journey called LIFE--it's ok if you're not sure where you are long as you know where you don't want to go...........

And this is my Daily Cyn.........

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stressed Out?? Part Three

One Monday morning, my high school science teacher shared a remarkable experience that occured over the weekend.  In an effort to save some money, he decided to work on his own car.  His wife, not very confident in her husband's mechanical abilities, watched nervously from the living room window as he jacked up the car and slid underneath to take a look.  The jack collapsed under the weight and the car fell on top of him.  In a flash, she darted from the house and with the strength of ten men, lifted the car with one hand and dragged the love of her life from beneath it with the other.  She saved him from being crushed to death.  It wasn't until he was safely in her arms that they realized the miracle that had just occured.  She was a tiny woman, barely five feet tall and she had just lifted an object that weighed a ton or more. With one hand! How did she accomplish this ordinarily impossible feat? Adrenaline. 

Adrenaline is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland in the body. When it is produced it stimulates the heart-rate, dilates blood vessels and air passages, and has a number of more minor effects. Adrenaline is naturally produced in high-stress or physically exhilarating situations.

The term "fight or flight" is often used to characterize the circumstances under which adrenaline is released into the body. It allows us to cope with dangerous and unexpected situations. With dilated blood vessels and air passages, the body is able to pass more blood to the muscles and get more oxygen into the lungs in a timely manner, increasing physical performance for short bursts of time.  This explains the sudden Hulk-like strength of my teacher's tiny wife.
When we live in a constant state of stress, our bodies produce more and more adrenaline in order to keep up the pace. If we don't slow down and give our bodies a rest or a chance to regenerate and recuperate, it just keeps producing more adrenaline and cortisol ( another hormone produced by the adrenal glands to help us meet challenges by converting fats and proteins into energy, keeping us alert, balancing electrolytes, calibrating heart beat and pressure, and counteracting inflammation). Simply put, if we are constantly on the go and under stress, our bodies are always in "flight or fight" mode.  Living a life in this mode will eventually reap devastating consequences; constant colds, flus and viruses, debilitating aches and pains, strokes, and heart attacks. Adrenaline and other such hormones are gifts our body gives us to survive occasional stressful and dangerous situations.  It was never intended to be pumped out repeatedly on a daily basis.  
This is how I was living.  In a constant state of stress. A life without balance.  Rather than listening to the signals my body was sending, I kept pushing and pushing and my body kept making more of these flight or fight hormones until it was completely overloaded, overburdened and finally decided to shut down.  
I submitted to a series of tests from my doctor.  Heart stress-tests, a heart catherization (because the chest pain was just so intense), a Lyme's Disease test ( I had been bitten by a tick in PA a few months before), tests for ulcers, acid reflux and many more painful, time consuming and expensive procedures.  Every test came back negative.  It was discovered during the heart cath that my heart did spasm from time to time but my cardiologist reassured me it would not kill me.  He did suggest I cut back on the Tequila ( a stimulant by the way), but other than that, my heart was miraculously healthy and my arteries were clear.  Although I fought him over the blood pressure pills he prescribed,  I obediently took them bring my pressure down.   At least I was able to cross heart attack off the list.  He did warn me, however, that if I continued living the life I led, I would be back in his office within a year or two and the solution would not be so simple the next time.
I was scared, I still felt awful, and decided to take a leave of absence from my job.  I took a vacation and did nothing but sit and sleep on the beach.  I read books I never had time to read.  I organized my closets and drawers and tried to de-clutter my house.  I asked a room-mate who was a constant source of aggravation and stress to find another place to live so I could have peace and quiet in my home.  This all made my life a little more bearable, but I still did not feel well.  I had turned over every stone and still  had no explanation for why I was feeling so poorly. My chest still pounded, my blood pressure was still fluctuating, I was still gaining weight and could not lose it, and I was completely exhausted.  Every doctor and specialist I saw had no solution for me. I refused to accept the fact that I was going to feel this way for the rest of my life.  I wanted answers and I wanted them now. Typical! I kept pounding down doors for an answer and no one could help me.
I met a lovely female doctor at a party.  We began to chat and I poured out my life story to her. She was genuinely concerned. I don't make a habit of doing this, in fact I find it mildly irritating when people ask me for professional advice when all  I want to do is eat, drink, dance, and forget about work. This doctor listened and was gracious and kind.  She suggested I call her office the following day and schedule an appointment.
After reviewing my medical records,  conducting a few tests and evaluating my lifestyle and all my symptoms, she gave me her diagnosis.  I was suffering from complete adrenal fatigue.  I had lived life in the fast lane for so long, and had abused and pushed my body so badly, that my adrenal glands were completely exhausted.  The constant rush of adrenaline and over production of cortisol was too much for my system to bear and every symptom I had was a manifestation of this condition.  Adrenaline and cortisol released in short bursts when we need it can be protective and restorative.  Sustained levels of it on a constant basis will eventually tear your body apart.  Although I had calmed down a bit, my adrenal glands were still over-producing these hormones out of habit.  We needed to correct that before it got worse and possibly resulted in a life-threatening disease.
Next time I will share the steps I took and the changes I made in my life in order to heal.
And this is my Daily Cyn......

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stressed Out?? Part Two

Last time I shared a rather personal experience of how I got caught up in a stressful, crazy, and hectic lifestyle.  As a result, I suddenly became very ill.  The truth is, my body was sending me signals all along but I was so busy that I couldn't hear them or chose to ignore them.  Here were some of the warning signs.  Do any sound familiar to you?

I was tired and restless all the time....
I couldn't sit still. My job required that I sit behind a desk most of the time but I constantly had to get up, walk around the office or step outside. My office was on the eleventh floor so slipping out for air or coffee wasn't so simple but I still managed to do this several times a day.  When I did stay still for extended periods of time, I would fall asleep. I have fallen asleep in the oddest places; while leaning up against walls, waiting on line at the store, in public restrooms, at a live show at Carolines Comedy Club (we were in the front row and I still mangaged to nod off) , in a movie theatre (while actually out on a date) and countless other embarassing locations. I was restless because I was tired and tired because I was restless. I tried to keep my body and my mind occupied all the time so I wouldn't fall asleep. Every part of me was begging for a good night's rest, but I wasn't about to give in.  Even vacations (when I took them) were all about fun, parties, and non-stop action.  I just kept pushing myself above and beyond the limit.

I was an emotional wreck.......
Ordinarily, I am an easy going, flexible person.  I am kind and compassionate, understanding, and very patient.  My whole personality changed.  I became grouchy, nasty and demanding.  I whined, complained and nothing was ever good enough. My assistant used to go above and beyond the call of duty and take such good care of me.  She made sure I ate, had coffee, screeened my phone calls, and even stayed late with me at the office after everyone else was long gone. Now she hated me. I yelled at her, demanded more of her time and attention, and pointed out every little mistake she made. I was so awful that eventually she arranged to work with someone else. Now I had a stressful, demanding job and no one to help me.  I interviewed other potential assistants, but none of them were good enough.  I decided I didn't need one. I was literally drowning in work and too proud to ask for help. This made me even more nasty and unpleasant to be around. I would explode in anger over uncontrollable circumstances or escape to the ladies room to cry a couple of times a week. I yelled at my computer for not working fast enough, cursed at folks who accidently bumped into me on the street, I even got into a fight in a bar. So not me! Stress was changing me into someone completely different.

My personal life was just as bad.  I argued constantly about everything with family and friends.  The man I was dating couldn't make me happy no matter how hard he tried.  I had no time or patience for him so eventually he gave up and moved on.  I had lots of friends and acquaintances, but my close and personal relationships were all falling apart due to neglect (on my part) and such drastic changes in my personality. I left so many lovely people behind simply because they could not keep up with me.

I gained weight.......
How could a proud vegan (no animal products in her diet) with a degree in nutrition put on 30 ugly pounds of fat?  Bad eating habits.  I ate out at every meal.  I did not have time to prepare my own food.  I added some animal products back into my diet for convenience sake.  Eggs and cheese became my main sources of protein.  I ate on the run, at my desk, at the bar, or very late at night.  Every meal was unhealthy, fattening and fast.  I washed it all down with coffee, vodka or wine.  I hardly drank water at all, unless you count the quarts of Gatorade gulped down in the middle of a convenience store after a night of non-stop drinking.  I craved carbs for instant energy and existed on pizza, bagels, and pretzels from street vendors. If  I could hold it in my hand and shove it down my throat as I ran down the streets of the city to catch the next train, the next show, the next party;  that is what I ate.  My body was crying out for a good, healthy homecooked meal.  I ignored those cries.  My body retaliated by holding onto every single thing I ate and turned it into fat. 

I had constant chest pain...........
I don't care how busy you are, anyone with half-a-brain would not ignore a sign like chest pain.  Well... I did.  My whole family has a history of heart disease. My dad has had two heart attacks and my mom suffers from rapid heart beat and dangerously high blood pressure.  She has been taking medication for these ailments since her late thirties.  I never had heart issues, my blood pressure was always low and I was proud of the fact that I was in my middle forties, healthy, strong, and had the stamina of an Energizer Bunny.  At first the pains were subtle--a painful twinge, a flutter in my chest, a little difficulty breathing after a night out, a burning sensation.  Eventually I felt as if I was being squeezed in a vice. I would be out of breath and hunched over in pain when I walked up a flight of stairs.  I refused to accept this and pushed myself harder.  I decided to run up the stairs rather than walk or take the elevator. I was like the Six Million Dollar Man.  I would make myself harder, faster, stronger. I blamed the pain on everything else--a big meal right before bedtime, too many hours spent in crowded, smokey rooms, the heat and pollution of the city.  I kept myself occupied and entertained so I did not have to think about it. People told me I didn't look well but I ignored them, too.  I didn't have time to have a heart attack.  If I was going to have one it would be on my terms, at the place of my choosing, and so massive that I would just drop dead right where I stood. Talk about a death wish...........

These signs of a body, mind and spirit in distress went on for quite some time.  I continued to forge ahead, pushing myself harder and harder until I did end up in the hospital. Thank God for well-meaning people who wouldn't take no for an answer and insisted I submit to a battery of tests to determine what was wrong.

Next time I will share what my doctor did discover and how I got back on the road to good health.

And this is my Daily Cyn.......