Drink to Good Health—Mental and Physical

For the last three evenings, I’ve been drinking  the same bottle of wine. Tonight I’ll finish it. Each night the 2006 Clos du Bois Pinot Noir tastes better. The air brought out its favors—blackberry and a hint of vanilla. I enjoy the wine; I savor the wine. Smell its bouquet. Taste the red elixir on my tongue. In return, each sip reminds me to slow down and pay attention. Breathe.

My glass of wine each evening started as a healthful way to wind down. Red wine contains the antioxidant Reservatrol that has been shown in scientific studies to help you stay thin, stop aging, block food-borne bacteria, and protect your heart, breasts and liver against disease. But it has become something much more poignant in a life that is full of taking care of family and working. And it just struck me—it’s my time.

Drink to Good Health—Mental and Physical

That Blue Box

I love getting gifts that I want to share with others. I’m not talking about re-gifting (please!) but about those that you treasure. After having one of these gifts come to my rescue (more on this later), I realized that most of these gifts that I have received have come in the turquoise box long associated with Tiffany’s.

My introduction to the blue box came on my 20th birthday. My boyfriend at the time surprised me at work with it — my co-workers went wild. I had no idea what the big deal was. (This was before Tiffany was ubiquitous to malls everywhere.) When I opened the box, there was a “C” charm designed by Elsa Peretti. To this day, it is my favorite necklace and one of my go-to gifts for special people in my life that I’m having a hard time shopping for.

The second incredible gift that I received in a Tiffany box was my engagement ring. M. and I were in San Francisco for the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon. The day before the race he took me to the Legion of Honor, where we looked at the Golden Gate bridge and enjoyed the sculptures of Auguste Rodin. My parents had replicas of his work around the house when I was growing up. His “The Thinker” was one of them and it sits in the rotounda of the Legion. As we were walking out, M. asked me about the statue and then got down on his knee and held out the turquoise box while he proposed to my surprise. I gladly (and tearful) accepted. The next day I racewalked through the streets of San Fran—past the Legion and the Sea Cliff restaurant where we had lunch afterward—to the finish line, where firemen dressed in tuxedos held silver platters of stacked Tiffany boxes. These were our medals. Each year, I go back (as long as I get picked in the “lottery” for a coveted bib — fingers crossed, as I should know soon about this year.) to do the race and celebrate our engagement and wedding anniversary. (Sorry, I don’t share this gift. I do share the race with wonderful friends and their family though. And we all get Tiffany in the end.)

Lastly—and this is the gift that saved me—a sterling silver rattle that our friends C. and I. gave to our son. When I first opened the generous gift, I told them it was beautiful and would be a part of his keepsakes. C. told me that he should use it when teething, as it will stay cool and feel good on his gums. As you know by now, my son is teething. He was having an awful time yesterday afternoon and none of the cool rings were helping. Just as I was about to give up hope and reach for the Tylenol again, I remembered the rattle and what she said. He sucked on it for an hour. It’s even scratched where his one adorable tooth was biting down on it. I now have the perfect baby gift.

That Blue Box

Eyes Shut Tight

I have a confession to make: I haven’t been to the gym in nearly two weeks. My excuses are numerous and normal. I’ve been sick, baby is teething and now hubby is sick. So my 4AM wake-up calls are on hold (except for when the aforementioned infant cries).

Here’s the crazy thing. My post-preg weight loss is in full swing. Sure, the stomach bug didn’t hurt, but instead of working out I’m sleeping more—going to bed a bit earlier, napping when the baby does (which isn’t that much), and sleeping in (when I can).

Science has been touting this nightly occurrence as a magic health elixir for years. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours a night. But, really who has the time? When I recently read a Glamour article, I decided to find the time since doing so could have a profound effect on my body and my goal to lose the baby weight. And it has. I’ve lost nearly four pounds.

Unfortunately, I have to return to my sleep-deprived existence. I have a baby and a husband who are both miserable to take care of and deadlines to hit. But when all is done (is it really ever?), I’ll go back to my seven piece-mealed hours of shut eye.

Eyes Shut Tight

When Breaking Through is Painful

I realize what I am about to write is a bit controversial, but right now I’m thankful to the pharmaceutical minds that brought us infant Tylenol. Here’s why.

Tonight my son had been asleep for only 30 minutes when he woke up screaming. After running through the checklist (food, diapers, gas, etc.), the “Family Guy” scene played in my head: a tooth pops through Stewie’s gum screaming, “I’m free!” while the baby swears in pain. My baby boy, like his evil-animated-counterpart, is teething. His bottom teeth are breaking through and tonight they violently invaded his dreams.

Hugs, swings and cold-teething rings didn’t alleviate his pain. As he wirthed in pain, I felt useless. So after an hour of hard crying, breath holding and hyperventilating (not to mention, head butting and neck squeezing), I broke down and did the only thing I could. I give him a dropper of infant Tylenol (less than the recommended dosage). Within minutes, he calmed down and fell asleep in my arms.

When Breaking Through is Painful

Growing Up Granola

It never failed. No matter whom I lived with there was two loaves of bread in the kitchen. Mine has always been the whole-grain variety, while my roommate’s was white. The reason why I mention this is that more and more research is proving that what you eat affects the way you feel and your health. As my friends and I get older, eating better is a priority.

I’m thankful that I grew up granola. As a child my mom shopped at the natural food store—way before the days of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets. She even made our peanut butter by grinding the nuts in the food processor. At a young age, I developed the taste for whole grains. I’m not sure that transitioning to their taste now would be that easy. To illustrate my point, I’ll share my Wonder bread experience.

I was moving into my friend’s apartment in Westwood all day and that night I had plans to see a friend’s band play. She was on vacation and I hadn’t had the opportunity to get to the grocery store. I had to eat something before going out so I rummaged through the kitchen. The only thing I found to eat was Wonder bread, JIF peanut butter and Welsh’s grape jelly. (I hadn’t eaten any of those things since I was 11-years-old and on vacation with another family.) So I fixed myself a sandwich and proceed to experience an assault on my tastebuds.

When I bit into the sandwich, it was like eating a chemical sponge (that tingled on my tongue. Ewww.) with sugar mixed with something-that-vaguely-tasted-like peanuts and grapes. I was so hungry I choked it down. The next day the first thing I did was go grocery shopping. My new roommate came home and made fun of my whole grain bread, almond cheese and green goddess juice.

Flash-forward a few years after I had  moved out. I look in her fridge. It’s like I never left. You see she changed her diet to match mine, including the green juice. She had gone to the doctor who told her that she had to change the way she ate. It was taking her awhile to get used to it but her tastes were changing. Luckily, she is the one who needed to makeover her diet. I’m not sure I could adopt her preservative-laden one.

So to everyone changing their diet to more whole foods, I commend you. I don’t think I have the discipline to do so.

Growing Up Granola

Washing It Away

From the moment I step into the warm stream of water, I’m relaxed. Every pressure, each stress, and all tension leaves my body. The water carries them down the drain. There, in the shower,  I rest. (I’m sure that I have nodded off into sleep once or twice while standing there.)

After becoming a mom, this daily task has no longer a definitive part of my day. This simple act of cleaning has taken on new meaning. Before child, my shower was the place where articles took shape, things-to-do lists were composed and ideas popped up. I was in and out. Now, I linger under the hot water. I never want to leave. Its provides a canopy of warmth and quiet that isn’t outside the stall. When it’s time to step out, reality hits as a cold breeze. But without this watery meditation, the world that I face would seem overwhelming.

Washing It Away