About bklynheart

A Brooklyn, NY transplant in her mid-thirties who lost 176 pounds, whinges on about not having time to knit, cooks food, became a veganist, loves pizza and hates everything (though now she's trying not to).

Despite It All, A Great 2012

I ate so many black-eyed peas.

Sooooooo many black-eyed peas.

It was very easy to do so.  I’m not the B’klyn<3 of yester-years, that much is certain.  Those foods I used to eschew as a child (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, anything not

Rainbow on a Cloudy Day 1

The best thing about sunshine on a cloudy day...

a pizza) are ones I adore over the past 10 years (in full force now with the veganist lifestyle).

Also, Appetite for Reduction recipes can do no wrong in my book, and Hottie Black-eyed Peas is no exception.

In 2012, I started with new hope and new direction.  Despite not having New Year’s Resolutions per se (when they come, they come and start immediately), I did feel the extra rush of a blank slate to start new and fresh.  I’ve felt calmer, more relaxed than I have in a very long time.  At the same time, I was excited about pursuing some new direction in my life, thinking about possibilities for the future.

A scant 4 days into the new year, this all came crashing to a halt – quite literally.  An early morning drive on a clear, bright sunny day (which was producing quite a bit of sun glare) resulted in a crash into my car being rear-ended and me going to the emergency room via ambulance, a confused, hurt and quite blubbering mess.

Before we hit panic buttons, let me assure you that I am fine, as was the driver of the other vehicle.  After transport, I was seen after, given brief physical tests and scans.  I had a “goose egg” on my head, but was given a couple of prescriptions for pain and muscle relaxant and sent home some hours later.

I didn’t take the prescriptions at first, thinking they were not exactly needed, but some advice from others coupled with delayed muscle reaction a few days later showed me that I did.  They do help, but make me more air-headed than I naturally tend to be.

I’m very nearly recovered now, as the muscles relax and the pain diminishes.  The funny thing (if there can be funny in auto accidents) is that I found myself focusing on many positive things versus the very negativity of the situation.

  • My husband (The Husband) was there for me immediately, helping me make sense of things where nothing made sense.  I think I was crying when I gave him the worse directions in the world as to where the accident happened, but he was there quickly. I was grateful for his love and support, as well as him being the sensible one to help me communicate with the police, ambulance, etc.
  • Three out of four hospital workers that visited me in the room gave me a blanket.  I still had on my coat, but must have been shivering like a chihuahua.  One went so far as to remove the previously fetched blankets, place a “fresh from the oven” blanket over me, and then replace the removed blankets. I am grateful for those who help keep me warm.
  • The other driver was alive.  A lot of my freak out and panic came from seeing the other driver’s car magically  next to mine (after calls to 911 and The Husband).  All I could see from my vantage point was a very crushed front-end, airbags, and legs, but no movement.  Fortunately, Good Samaritans were also able to interpret my useless babble and let me know the other driver was also calling emergency services.  I’m grateful others stopped to help and tend.
  • I am alive!  Certainly it was not a minor accident, but thankfully it wasn’t also a major one.  A change in any of the conditions could have made the pendulum swing one way or the other, but the fact of the matter is, for bumps on the head or stiffness in the neck or pain in the shoulders, I am truly and ever grateful that God [or your choice of deity, karma, or random chance here] was watching over us that day and that  ultimately, everyone was okay.
Rainbow on a Cloudy Day 2

... is the resulting rainbow.

So here I am, blogging again about my vegan foods, my wild banana consumption, my crazy and oft-times lazy running training, my always being cold (now colder than ever since I lost all that weight) and about life in general.  A life I get to continue to live, and a life that I continue to love.  Big plans ahead, and it’s well past time to pursue my dreams and live my life to the fullest!

I think the ® of I Hate Everything can go ahead and take a hike now.

Happy, blessed and safe new year to all!


I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout The Woman In the Mirror

Why So Angry Pants?

This is an incredibly useful B'klyn<3 image, hence it's incredible over-use in this blog.

A couple of months ago, I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw.

I was horrified, repulsed and thoroughly disgusted.

Before anyone flies off the handle at me, know that this is not a post about how fat I am (because I know I’m not fat despite how fat I think I am which I think is just part-and-parcel of being a woman in this day and age, and my mind is still playing catch-up with the new me).

This is also not a post about how physically unattractive I am.  Trust me; I could wax poetic about the 247 distinct physical flaws that I have, but I’d likely bore you to tears before you could pounce on me and my self-pity parade.

This post is actually a hard one.  It’s a confession of sorts… for you see, the “mirror” I gazed into was my reflection in the eyes of an 8-year old child.

Some people know this, and some people don’t, so for the record:  I’m not a person of patience, nor one of keeping my temper in check.

I’m not sure how or why it evolved; while I believe I’m turning more and more into my mother (and this I don’t mind at all), there are parts of me that are very much unlike her.  My father died when I was very young, so I don’t know the how or where it developed that I would become incredibly impatient and then angry at everything.  People.  Inanimate objects.  Myself.

It’s how I developed the registered trade-mark of “I Hate Everything®.”  A phrase I’ve said so much that someone once purchased me a Happy Bunny magnet with that very phrase on it.

Now, as with running, I’ve been trying to become more focused on losing the trade-mark, having more patience, and finding peace with myself and others.

A couple of months ago I found that, as with running, I haven’t been practicing very well.

There I was back then, standing in Whole Foods, trying to get stuff accomplished with The Husband.  I wanted him to go stand in line while I picked up one last item.  He hates to stand in line while I go to pick up one last item because he believes I’ll never make it back in time.

Most times, he is correct.  This particular time, however, I was nearly standing next to the thing I wanted to pick up.

“Just go,” I said for about the fourth, trying to make a dash for the final thing that would free us from the over-crowded store that day.

“If’ you’re gonna go get more stuff,” he mumbled, steering the cart away from the cash registers and more towards my direction.

I then snapped.  I do not do very well in crowds, and I do even worse when anyone, even The Husband, starts hovering around me.

“Dang it, The Husband, go wait in line!”

Now yes; I did say “dang”, not “darn” or worse… but there was no mistaking the the meaning of my words.

He jammed the cart in the other direction and headed for the check out.

I began to turn towards my last item, my freedom, when I happened to catch my reflection in “the mirror.”

Twin mirrors at that.  The eyes of an 8-year old boy gazing up at me.  They grew large as saucers as he emitted a scandalized gasp that seemed to go on forever.

I was suddenly humiliated.  I was horrified, repulsed and thoroughly disgusted.

I do believe I turned 7000 shades of purple as I went for my item.  I heard the little boy whisper to someone, an older female relative.  I heard the adult “tsk” and “at least you know better” and other key phrases, each further deepening my shame.

Some claim to patience, peace and losing the trade-mark I have been making.

Since that time, I’ve been working-actually working– on the inner peace.

Like the running, it’s not been easy.

Today, I went to run after work.  As much as I didn’t want to, as much as I wanted to go home, take a nap, eat, do anything else, I actually got home, changed my clothes and went out.

Lasted all of 7 minutes in the cold, windy weather.

I’m kind of bummed.  I was also kind of bummed that I lost my patience once or twice with my pc.

But I got 7 minutes.  And there were moments where I took a breath, remained calm, and let the anger pass me by.

Small victories.  I will cling to them.  I will make them grow.  Because I want to look in that mirror and feel proud of what I see.  I never want to be that person again.

And I’ll need a lot of patience to get there.

Seriously Getting Serious About Running… For Serious!

Runs with Bells
I now like to run with bells…

I used to loathe running.  Truly, madly and deeply.  I used to get tired in my dreams, that is how much I hated running.

Then again, I was very overweight, and physical activity at the rate that those without said complication (because the gym teacher, of course, did not allow for anyone to drag behind) proved to be quite difficult.  While I lived in Brooklyn in a 4-story building without an elevator and often walked a couple of miles a day (yes, usually to and from a pizza parlor… or school, and then a pizza parlor), running was something of a torturous event.

When I found that walking was an activity that I could do briskly and well as I was experiencing my weight loss journey, I entered the Monument Avenue 10K in 2010 as a walker.  While I had never actually walked 6.2 miles in a row ever, I felt confident that it was something I could do, no sweat.  I had years of experience.

I have a habit, you see, that finds me usually epic-ally wrong about things.

This is a story for another day, however.  This was the moment when I spied someone: an overweight gentleman whom I’d passed with my hobble-like walk and was not witnessing as I was doubling back to the finish and trying not to double forward in pain.  He was big, slick with sweat, and redder than a tomato.  And he was running.  And he kept running.  Huffing and puffing and not quitting.

I was 65 pounds into my weight loss journey and feeling crappy just by having walked over 4 miles so far that day.  And suddenly, for the very first time in my life, I wanted to run.

So, for the past couple of years, I’ve been running.  I trained to run 1 mile, and then a 5K.  I ran a few hometown races.  In 2011, I ran the Monument Avenue 10K instead of walked and felt exhilarated instead of tired and broken.  It was fabulous.

Now, I want more.

Lately, while I sign up and run races, I haven’t been giving running any sort of strict attention that would have me improve.  I want to improve; I want to run longer and I want to run faster.  I’ve talked about this before even.  Yet I’ve not taken any steps in order to get this accomplished.  I’m not sure how to track, as all of the gadgets and gizmos have me scratching my head in confusion.  I want to run at the most impractical time of day (early morning is too dark, after work is too dark, and while I love to run right at the stroke of lunchtime, my co-workers usually appreciate it if I am not spending their afternoon stinking up the joint).

My new approach to improvement has started with one small step; I’ll be training with an actual, live training group for the 2012 10K this year.  I’ll stick to the routine and I’ll go the group sessions.  Perhaps I can learn more about form and the best way to track.  I’m hoping that a little discipline is what I need to move forward.

Also, I paid for it.  Nothing motivates me more than the desire to not waste my money.

Also, I seemed to have gained back a pound or two of my 176-lost during the holidays.  The exercise may help in my plan to re-lose them.

Speaking of all of these things, don’t forget to eat your black-eyed peas!  They are are a nutritious source of protein and fiber and are supposed to bring you luck and prosperity for the new year!  I’ll be eating what quickly became my favorite black-eyed pea recipe only last week:  Hottie Black Eyed Peas With Greens (I’ll be using kale).  This dish, comprised of things I used to loath as much as running itself, is such a completely delicious and warming dish, bursting with flavor and a nice hint of heat.

Hottie Black Eyed Peas

Since I'm Making Them Tonight, Perhaps I'll Even Have A Better Picture...

Mmm…  I will have a very prosperous New Year, indeed!


New Bog Smell II: Return of the Killer New Blog Smell!

Sunrise VA Beach

A New Dawn, A New Day, A New Blog. I'm Feeling Good!

Good morning, and Happy New Year to all!

I am certainly looking forward to a very good new year and will make strides to make thisnew blog (re-located from Blogger) the best one ever!  Looking to update more frequently and just hone my skills as a blogger.

A little about me for the new folks:  Born in the mid 70s, I’m originally from Brooklyn NY where I grazed on pizza fields as far as the eye could see (at least this is how I remembered it), and re-located to central Virginia in the early 90s.

I was overweight my entire life, topping well over 300 pounds despite trying many different weight loss methods.  In June of 2009, I joined a Weight Watchers at Work program and over the course of two years managed to lose 176 pounds.  Part of that process saw me become more and more into running (but being particularly lazy about it) and, as I learned more about food and nutrition, eventually moving to a plant-based diet (I call myself a veganist).

My interests (other than pizza) include reading, writing, drawing, knitting, walking, running, cooking, playing video games.  I often complain (and unjustly so) that I never have time for these things.  Right now, I’m working on the continual WIP that is me, trying to tone and shape my physical self (and become less lazy and be a better runner) and my spiritual self (so I can lose the registered trademark from I Hate Everything®, I’ve relied on this phrase for far too long).

This space is a place where I’ll just talk about me, my experiences as someone who has lost a lot of weight, someone who is very into food and cooking, someone who is looking to improve themselves physically and emotionally, and someone who is crazy.  I am an ever changing person, or perhaps I’ve always been the same… but in either case, I’m learning more and more about me every day, and don’t mind sharing my findings with the rest of the world, just in case they find them interesting, informative… or at least mildly entertaining.

Happy 2012 to all of you; my sincere hope is that it is peace-filled and joyous for everyone.

BklynHeart Picture

I hope you enjoy your stay here!

On Resolutions, Evolutions and Revolutions: Goodbye 2011!

Hey, that’s my mantra!

B’klyn<3, 2003.  I’d be heavier still by 2009.

Resolutions – A good place to start, since it is that time of year.  While I can’t say I invented it, I know for many years now I haven’t waited for the New Year to resolve anything, because I often found those type of resolutions do not work.  Not for me.  For me, resolving to do something on January 1st meant that a) I could procrastinate and even do the exact opposite of said thing up to the point of the New Year and b) If I even did try after January 1st, it’d often be dropped with a “Oh well, I tried.”

True fact:  I resolved to join WeightWatchers 3 consecutive New Year’s periods before I gave up  making resolutions entirely.  It may have been one of the prompting factors (I actually even coupled this with The Husband somehow taking charge and making us join together).  When I finally did resolve to join WeightWatchers, it was a normal day in June.  While mostly giving up on me, there was a bit that finally decided enough was enough: no waiting for January 1, The Husband, or a magical a-ha moment.  So it was random day in June 2009 that I joined.

My advice to the interwebs is this:  if you have a desire to make a change to yourself, in the world, don’t wait.  You’ll see it everywhere and you’ll see it here as well:  Every day, every hour and every minute is an opportunity to do those things you want to do.  Don’t let excuses or fear get in your way.  I know this is not an easy thing to do, by far easier to say than to do.  Trust me, as to this day it is something I work on:  As with WeightWatchers, there are other areas of my life I still avoid out of unrealistic fears.  Hyping up the January 1st can often lead to disappointment, so if you see a change you want to make, don’t wait.

Well, of course, if it happens to be 01/01 when you find your opportunity, certainly go for it! 🙂

Evolutions – People have likely thought it, and some have even said it to me;  gee, B’klyn<3, you’ve changed.

This, I cannot deny.

Today I find myself a person who looks in the mirror (the literal one as well as the spiritual one) and sometimes doesn’t recognize myself.  Dropping all of the weight over the course of two years has changed many aspects of my being, and likely more than even I anticipated.  Indeed, not just the weight, but simply growing up has changed me.  Just as a kid where I never used to eat anything that wasn’t pizza or somehow pizza related so long as it was served with pizza, when I got older (around university age) I started expanding my universe.  I had to:  I wasn’t in Brooklyn anymore and would likely starve since I didn’t feel any other place really had pizza so much as they had bread with sauce and cheese on top.  I also figured that I was at an age where I should likely eat my vegetables.

Little did I know that the future held a world where I would really be eating my vegetables.  Little less did I know that Congress would gently say, “Yes, B’klyn<3; You were eating your vegetables all along.”

So I find myself evolving into… well, I don’t know what.  In many ways, I’m still learning about me, and finding out what it is I truly want out of life.  It only took me 30 years or so, and likely will take longer still.  Some of my interests are the same, but some have waned and new ones have arisen.  What I’m trying to do is learn me, find out what it is I enjoy, and try to maximize on that.  I do have things in mind for where I want to be in a few years, so I’m dusting of Ye Olde SMART goals and plotting out how to get there (ah, resolutions in the evolutions eh?)

Like my sweater, I’ll ever be the WIP.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be done, but I’ll have fun trying!

Seriously, and seriously I mean this, I’m talking about me… I’ll finish that doggone sweater!  I’ll SMART it if I have to!

Revolutions – Revolutions are in progress!  They include two things, helpfully listed below!

B’klyn<3 2011.  I’ll never look cool running,
nor standing still.

real difference in scale activity.  The Husband brings it out once a week, I weigh, and then I live my life how I see fit.  Maybe that means a little more activity and a little less vegan candy, or maybe it doesn’t.  It’s time to stop using that number to be the definition and let my body be the definition.  I can feel it if I go to far, just as I can feel it when I’m doing right by it.  The number was the noise that prevented me from hearing that voice or feeling that waist in my jeans, and not my body.  Time for a new approach.  I still track my foods and activity.  I still go to meetings.  I think they are still very important to me; but as I’ve said before, all just indicators, and not the thing itself.  It feels good to finally live that.

A new blog site!  I’ve hinted at the past, and come 2012 I’ll be posting to a new site:  http://bklynheart.com/  It’s partially up with old posts, and will be updated over the course of [don’t forget to put the amount of time here, but yes, of course you will won’t you, as you haven’t resolved to when this will happen yet, did you? *winky face*], and I’ll be posting there.  I also have a Tumblr account where I mostly post my “food porn” and other things I find interesting and/or amusing.  No, I don’t know how to be a social media darling.  Not really my intent; at the end of the day, I just mean to present me.  Not a suggestion, not a demand, but simply that which the curious may want to know.

And so, I bid a fond farewell to 2011.  I’ll enjoy the final hours of the day cooking up some tasty vittles for myself, The Husband and my friends, running a race, working on goals for the future, and enjoying the heck out of life.  Most of those things I’d normally do anyway, and the last I will certainly do more often.  That I do resolve.

Take care, be safe, find your joy and love to you always!  -B’klyn<3

… Er, Hello December?

Ah, yes.  December.  When did you arrive?  And have already made yourself at home, yes?  Hmm.

Things seem darkest before the dawn…

We can venture to guess that my resolution was not to become a better blogger.  Unfortunately for me, my woes from slicing my palm open

One thing is for certain… I shall always run with bells on.

Granted, I do have a wonderful and varied list of excuses, but the predominate one was illness.  My stomach decided it would engage in a 72+ hour dance-a-long of Breakin’ 2:  Electric Boogaloo.  Many of those hours spanned along the very weekend I had decided (wisely?  foolishly?  B’klyn<3erly?) to run two races in a row:  Frosty’s 5K (part of Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler event) and Christmastown Dash 8K (to which all I can say is that I really wish I had this shirt to wear for the fools that Chick-fil-A are being… and my understanding is that this is not the first time).

I will never (ever) look cool while running.

In any case, running was accomplished and (once yet again) I am working on improving myself and improving my run.  This month’s goals include:
1) Work on the running.  I have magazines, I go to events… but am I really doing all of the analysis I see other people and bloggers and magazine writers doing?  No?  Playing it by ear like a piano.  Considering how into metrics I am in when it comes to the silly number, perhaps my efforts are better spent on analyzing the number known as pace.
2) To exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, and I mean every day.  Minimum.  No excuses.  Not even being sick.  Been a fun goal so far, thank you B’klyn<3 of the past who set it!
I felt best this day.  Until I learned we had to run up the
coaster that’s behind me.

3) To work on my I Hate Everything® attitude.  Which I had been… but need to do more.  Deeper and better.  A story about that to follow.

4) To lose the 4 pounds I gained during the past two weeks of Holiday Celebration, Palm Slashing Misery, Woe is Me-ism, Sickness (though most of those came right back out, so I don’t think they count), and Out of Townessness (where I ate not a lot due to illness, but there were a couple of high-ticket items certainly).

Right about here is where I break into a
Jennifer Hudson WeightWatchers Commercial

Forever the work in progress is me.  And that’s a fine thing.  I’d be bored otherwise.

Goodbye November…

A few odds and/or sods:

I got a prize for showing up!

The workout log kind of fell apart, but not the actual working out.  I have had 2 days of rest over the past 4 weeks, but have otherwise devoted at least a solid half-hour to exercise every day.  I plan to stick to this, though not blog endlessly about it.  You’re welcome.

My First Vegan Thanksgiving was a huge success!  Everything was gorgeous and beautiful.  I wasn’t so worried about me because I happen to love very much vegan food and food prepared by mine own hand, but I was worried for the family who also then happened to have their own first vegan Thanksgiving.  Fortunately, the evening surrounded by caring and loving family and the blessings that we have all had the past year did come accompanied with good food.  And the best vegan pumpkin cheesecake of all time ever.  Prepared by The Husband’s own hand.  After all, he is good at providing cheese.

A filled table is a happy one.  I love all of these people.

Self talk in all forms can be both helpful and harmful.  I joked about either cutting myself or burning myself over the holiday.  I laughed at my last weigh in that I’d gain 3 pounds over the holiday.  I tittered that there was no experience yet that would get me off the pizza.  In their own odd ways, all of these things came to pass.

The moral is to joke about those millions of dollars you bet will never come your way.

December goal, more this and less stitches.

So goodbye November.  I shall remember you mostly fondly.  Except for the upset stomach and the stitches and trying to lose that November holiday weight to make room for the December holiday weight.  I will remember sticking to my goals as I prepare to make new ones for December (become a better blogger maybe, or learn how to set a place setting, possibly proper knife usage!), enjoying some good times with my family and my The Husband, the Thank You card from my sister and the call from my mom to say she was proud of me:  for the Weight Watchers, for the Veganist lifestyle and for being me.

For all the bad and the three stitches I like to think of as 87… I am truly blessed.  And there are blessings yet to come.

I also hope more cheesecake.

No, I said cheesecake.  Not cheese.
Granted.  This is vegan cheese.