Sunday, October 25, 2009

Detroit pride

My father was born in Yonkers, New York. Him and his siblings before him. He was born in 1938, and the future wasn't in New York

The future was Detroit.

Our entire Cooney family, grandfather - grandmother - seven kids - great uncle - moved to the motor city because of the promise. The future. The motor city offered a good living for the common man. No special education needed.

This happened before Detroit was great, before unions even existed. There are pictures of my Great Uncle Dick* with Jimmy Hoffa when they were fighting to create the unions. My family was there, they helped build the automotive empire.

While my grandfather and great uncle worked for the big three not all their children followed in their footsteps. A few did. My father was a rebel, he went to college (and grad school) against his father's wishes. My grandfather told my dad he was a fool to go to college, that it was a waste of his time. He could make a great wage at an assembly plant, tuition was a waste of money.

Really.

Despite all this so many years later I graduated from high school and went to GMI and worked for General Motors.

Not out of family pride. Hell no, out of greed. I read somewhere the best wage out of college was in engineering, and I wanted to make money. And also believed I could do anything I wanted, so why not make some green?

Well obviously my life and my goals changed. I realized that money means little to my happiness and that I felt more alive living in NYC than anywhere else I had been.

But despite this by god I still love Detroit. I am obsessively defensive and loyal to the city. Maybe it explains my love of the underdog...or my image of myself as one. I am fiercely proud of having lived in such a tough place, and manically protective of its reputation at the same time .

There are so many amazing things about this city, historical details that still put me in awe. Yet its current economic state prevents the rest of the world from seeing any of it. People visit Memphis because of Elvis, as depressed as it may be. But no one, and I mean NO ONE visits Detroit.

So here I live in gotham loving my life, but feeling such a strong connection to a city with no hope. Then I saw this:


And I took the magazine from my doctor's office. to read the article associated with the cover, and read these words...

"The neighborhood where I lived as a child, where for decades orderly rows of sturdy brick homes lined each block, is now the urban equivalent of a boxer's mouth, more gaps than teeth. Some of the surviving houses look as if the wrecker's ball is the only thing that could relieve their pain. "

My god, if only I was that eloquent. Exactly what I long to say to those who don't understand what Detroit is now.

Yet here is this article, which accurately describes the entire downfall of the motor city. Big and little pieces. The history I live but have such a hard time explaining to the rest of America.

Please, if you are the least bit curious read the article and the month long introspective. Not because of me, but because we all learn from our mistakes.

Here there is a city that within a century was the promise of the world then became the ruin of the nation....I think we all need to learn how to avoid repeating that same history.

(Hello dot com bust?)

* Uncle Dick really his name, Richard Cooney. Dick was the common nickname, and never diminutive when it came to him.

Friday, October 23, 2009

small talk

If you had asked me five years ago I would have told you that I sucked at small talk.

What was I thinking?

In order to be good at socializing you have to be able to sustain a conversation about the weather, last night's TV lineup, or the sports team currently in finals. Heck, I can talk up a storm on those topics and more.

It is funny to me now that I perceived that I was terrible at something I actually navigate with ease. For some reason I tend to have odd things going around in my brain all the time that make for great conversation. Like being on a detox. Or giving up caffeine. Or how Columbus Day isn't celebrated by Italians in Michigan. Or that I hope the weather is nice for the race I'm running on Sunday.

Ever since moving my office from the 9th floor to the 4th floor I've actually gotten completely back into my small talk stride. At the mighty bird I chatted up everyone I even remotely knew all the time. Elevator, walking the hall, pouring coffee. But when I came to S&S for some reason I stopped being social. Until now. If you happen to catch me in the kitchen getting some tea or water - watch out! I'll be throwing witty banter all over the place.

That being said it is a little trickier moving from the small talk to a real sustainable conversation. I've always been a little frustrated when I end up relying on asking about work. The classic "So what do you do?".

Ugh, so boring.

Then yesterday I read something that really made sense. Instead of asking about someones job, instead ask what they are passionate about. (Can't remember where I read this though.)

Interesting.

So lo and behold last night Jules and I went to an urban escapes mixer. A happy hour for people to chat with people they had met on previous trips with the company. That with happy hour specials and raffle prizes.

We bumped into four people who had gone on our tubing and wine tasting trip and talked to them for a good two hours or so. Eventually it had to happen...the conversation slowed...and I asked one girl what she did for a living.

As she responded in a lackluster manner I remembered what I had read earlier in the day. And my next question was "So is what you do what you are passionate about?"

Wow. What a reaction! She perked right up and said "hell no" then went on about what she in fact does care about and what she wants to do. Conversation 110% revived. Another person in the dialogue actually stopped, looked at me in amazement and said "wow, that was a really great question." To which I said "I know, right? It really works!"

Thus now I will add this to the stable of handy convo topics. And of course am sharing the secret with all of you. Because it is the gift that keeps on giving!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Are you still who I raised you to be

My parents are very catholic. They are the people who go to every Sunday mass, follow every protocol. Once as a teen once I asked my mother “why are you here? What is the point of life?

Without skipping a beat and in complete earnest my mother replied, “To know God, to love God, and to serve God.”

Well what the heck do you say to that? That is the definition of true faith.

My parents are wonderful people. My mom carries the weight of the world on her shoulders with grace and ease. My father guides us every day to the positive way of thinking to lead us to accomplish our dreams.

These are good people.

My parents are proud of me for my accomplishments, with is very rewarding. I work very hard, and it is nice to know my parents feel rewarded by that.

I remember the first time I heard my parents were proud of me. It was at a family party, I couldn’t remember which. All I know is that people kept saying how proud my parents were of me, and after three people said that I was in tears.

I also have gotten letters from them saying so much since I’ve been here in NYC. And at this point I believe them.

My parents raised me very well. I was taught everything in the true spirit of Jesus. Love the sinner, the broken, the hurt, and the outcast. Whether it is the taxman, the whore, and the traitor. Love them for who they are.

The sweet irony is that if you love these people in this day and age the Catholic Church kind of rejects you.

My entire twenties were spent appreciating anyone and everyone who was an individual (and not easily defined by Catholicism). Because I see myself as a true individual I seek out and respect others who are special in their own way.

Sadly my parents were afraid of this behavior.

Not without reason. I jumped from job to job….flight attendant, bartender, optician, waitress… all the time just living for the moment. Celebrating life, be it mine or my friends.

This entire time I was celebrating a lifestyle that my parents could not condone nor understand. They wanted to support me as their child but none of my actions made any sense.

Which is pure irony. Because I am the person my parents raised me to be.

I love everyone; Really, I believe we all mean the best.

I forgive. Almost immediately. Grudges don’t come from me, others impose.

I want to help people feel accepted, and will go out of my way to make that happen.

I seek out those who don’t ‘fit in’ because they need my love more.

The most joy I get in any given moment of any given day is by making someone smile. Or laugh. (Making them belly laugh is better)

When I was in my 20’s and living as a waitress and whatnot spending my life as an alternative lifestyle my parents were concerned. Not for my mental health, but for my future. Who would take care of me? How would I retire?

Such irony. Knowing so many people has given me a wider safety net. If I am truly in need I have so many wonderful people to call upon that I trust.

I will say this in all earnestness as a compliment to my parents…everyone I meet loves me. Really, people just like me. Whatever they taught me they taught right.

Often though I wonder if my parents celebrate the true spirit of me, who they raised me to be. When I walk into a room I am well received because of my acceptance of others for who they are. That unconditional love Jesus spoke of.

Would they love me more if I were a ‘true catholic’ who was married with kids and my church friends? Or am I accepted for loving more?

Do your parents love you for how they describe you or who they wanted you to be?

I love my parents for who they are and who they want to be. I accept them and appreciate them for who they are. Really I only want the same.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

miracle cure

On my quest to be healthy it seems I am bound to blog in gross and grosser ways.

Last week I started to come down with a cold. One of those you can feel in the back of your head and throat. Your head feels a bit inflated, you are a bit run down, and your throat is on the verge of being sore.

If you are like me you got for the basics first. Head to bed early, drink lots of liquids.

Nope. Still sick.

Went to kick-ass yoga seminar to twist and sweat all the evil germs out of my system.

Nice try. But no dice.

Thus I finally acquiesced and bought a neti pot.

Since being active in the yoga community I have heard accolades over and over about how good for you this thing is. People swear by this damn thingamajig.

While deliberating the purchase of a neti pot a thought did occur to me. When I have a sore in my mouth or my throat is raw I gargle salt water and it helps me heal. Why wouldn't the same concept apply to my sinuses?

Well of course the proof is in the pudding. How was I the day after I bought and used the neti pot?

All better. The cold is gone.

Yes the first time it feels kinda odd. Not uncomfortable or scary, just weird. The trick is to remember to breathe in and out of your mouth while pouring. To make sure I do this I have found myself singing a little ditty to the song "Lollipop" while pouring. It goes like this...

Neti pot, neti pot
oh neti neti neti
neti pot, neti pot
oh neti neti neti
neti pot
*pop*
bum bum bum

What a cheery way to start the day, no?

Officially I am a convert. I'm using it every morning now because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By god if I make it through the winter without getting sick I'm buying stock in a company that makes these damn things.

Monday, October 12, 2009

not so raw

Just wanted to give you all an update on the great raw diet experiment of 2009.

The first week went fairly well save the toxin overload. It isn't as hard to eat raw as you might think. Of course that being said I am a single woman with no kids working a regular nine to five. I have the time to prepare tasty raw food meals and snacks.

Which I also have to point out take less time to prepare than cooked foods. Half the time to be exact. Since when you cook you prep then heat then eat. Living raw you just prep and eat. Very efficient. And half the dishes.

So I am at this point about 65%-75% raw. My colonic hydro therapist and the raw books I read suggested that all raw is too much to spring on a body and that I should do "raw till dinner" instead. So I eat raw for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, followed by a dinner consisting of a raw side plus some combo of cooked veggies, meat, or starch.

Overall I feel good. The first week I was tired all the time thus eating cooked foods at dinner is definitely sitting better with this body of mine.

Am I as energetic as I was while on the detox? Not quite yet. I'm still a little sluggish toward the end of the workday, have to motivate to go to yoga or to run. While on the detox I had so much energy I almost had to go work out!

Of course I'm not going to bed at 10:00 like while on the detox either. That might have something to do with it.

Thus I'm sticking with the raw till dinner for another week or two, to see how it pans out.

Friday, October 09, 2009

playing dead

See if you can spot the rockstar yogi playing savasana...

More fun videos from the creator Bite Size Yoga. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

drugged

Am I really the person to be living this super duper healthy lifestyle? I ask myself because right now I have a little bit of a headache.

Not a big one, seriously it is a *hint* of one. Like when I'm busy I don't notice it at all.

Yet my first reaction still is to pop a couple of advil.

Gotta tell ya, I don't understand the people who don't take over the counter drugs as readily as me. I have a couple friends who forget that they could take pain pills at all. Or cold pills. Or cough medicine. They just move through life in discomfort until someone reminds them that there is a magical drug to make them feel better.

Let me tell you, I never forget magical drugs.

Thus here I am mentally reaching for an advil. Every fiber of my being is saying "Why be in any discomfort at all? One little swallow and you'll be right as rain."

But here I am resisting because I've been restricting myself from putting anything in my body that is not all natural and unprocessed. Painkillers are processed.

Oh wait - but asprin isn't! It is tree bark!! Or some dried version thereof.

Ha, that's just me rationalizing again. Dammit. We'll see how long this uber healthy life really lasts...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

TMI

With the detoxing and the raw food thing I've been reading a lot of books. One thing that all these books have in common is they stress how important it is for your body to eliminate the toxins, and that you need to aid your body as much as possible.

They all suggest some of the same things to do this. Dry brushing the skin, sweating in saunas, and regular...ahem...movements.

One thing they also all rather strongly suggest is colon hydrotherapy. Yes, that would be a colonic. I mean, every book really REALLY pushes it. All based on the theory that the rate of toxins being cleared out of your body increases with healthy behavior and therefore it is important to give yourself an extra helping hand with elimination. If you don't then you risk the danger of the nasties building up freeform in your system, which will result in you feeling very sick.

Now I don't know about you, but that seemed farfetched. Too woo-woo. And also the idea of getting a colonic is kinda scary, having had all the tummy issues in my life.

But that's what I thought when I read the books. Then the toxin buildup actually happened to me Thursday night.

After eating all raw four days I was beginning to feel a bit off. The lymph nodes under my chin were swollen. I was really really tired. Next I started to feel cold. Cold like when you have a fever. But my temperature was fine. My legs started to ache. And finally the nausea came on. My god I felt terrible. I laid in bed wearing three sweatshirts under two blankets in pain yet so exhausted I actually felt drugged, all while wanting to puke.

What the frick??

No way was it food poisoning, I had been doing all organic super healthy. It hit me - the toxin thing those books wrote about was actually for real. And I was swimming in blech. Which of course meant...oh boy...I would have to get a colonic.

Crap.

(Ha, get it?)

Thus yesterday I bit the bullet and did it. Woods gravity method colon hydrotherapy. Forty-five minutes of flushing out my pipes. It wasn't as embarrassing as I thought it would be, the hydrotherapist was actually really fun to talk to and full of awesome info about different dieting lifestyles and their effects on the body.

It was however as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. But not because of the gear and where it goes. Because it is forty-five minutes of water being pumped in to your colon. Of which your body wants to move back out. You are basically bloated and mildly crampy for almost an hour. Not fun. Nope.

So how do I feel now, was it worth it? Hard to say since I drank too much last night and am hung over. I will say that my tummy is a little flatter today, so much so that I keep looking at it in surprise. As to my state of toxicity and overall health from the cleanse - that we'll have to wait and see. But if it prevents another episode like the other night? Hell then sign me up as a convert.

One last thought did cross my mind though. What if all the toxin stuff is falooey and really you just feel sick because your body doesn't like the diet?

Just a little food for thought.

(My god I'm a pun maniac today!! Good post for it...)

Friday, October 02, 2009

qualify

Okay, some of you may have suspected this already. Being that I've been running so many races and I already volunteered at one this year as well.

For kicks I'm seeing if I can qualify for the 2010 ING NYC Marathon.

In order to pull this off the nine races since July. This takes a little diligence since most people start their count in the beginning of the year.

When I decided to give this a whirl I counted out all the qualifying races that were left in the year, and either I was going to have to run a half marathon this weekend (Grete's Great Gallop) or a 15K on Dec 19th.

Just in case you didn't know, December is COLD. I don't mind running in some cold, but middle of December getting my ass out to central park in below freezing weather to wait for the gun to go off to start the race and then be all sweaty afterwards outside when you stop...not fun.

So I decided to make the half marathon a goal. It was going to be tight; I had just enough time to train responsibly - only increasing my mileage each week by 10%. So I got started. Ran long runs of four miles, six miles, eight miles....

Then remembered how bored I get during long runs. And that even though I loved the feeling of accomplishment with completing a marathon that I HATE all the training. All those long runs. Ugh.

Thus I stopped training for the half. I've been keeping my runs to six miles max because that is the limit of my interest.

As luck would have it I was misinformed on one little point. Just before the half this weekend there is a shorter race, a 1.7 mile Norway Run. Which I thought wasn't a qualifier. But I went out on a limb and actually asked NYRR...to find out it does count towards my nine races!!

Game. On. After that only four races to go.

Now I'll have to figure out if I actually want to run another marathon....not quite sure on that one yet.