Monday, July 22, 2013

Guava Goddess

I've kind of gotten into Kombucha. I'm sitting at my "mother's desk" in my new 
house, sipping on Kombucha wondering where the heck to start after taking such a 
lengthy hiatus. I keep staring at my drink, hoping it will bring me inspiration, 
the words on which to build a castle. I guess, I'll go with it. 

So, Kombucha.

This one is called Guava Goddess. I originally bought it because it is a really 
pretty shade of pink. Kombucha is basically an effervescent fermentation of 
sweetened tea. According to wikipedia it is, "a symbiotic colony of bacteria and 
yeast." I mean, did you ever know of a happier marriage than that of bacteria 
and yeast? It tastes a little like weak vinegar, slightly stale and bubbly 
flavored vinegar. I thought if it were a fun color it might help me gag it down. 
I'm really selling you on this, aren't I? Did I mention it is GOOD FOR YOU? 
During the Chinese Qin Dynasty it was hailed as, "a beverage with magical powers 
enabling people to live forever." Well, hells bells, for $4.69 at Whole Foods 
you can buy the Elixir of Life, health in a hippy dippy marketed glass bottle. I 
mean, duh. Of course I'm kind of into Kombucha. 

To steal a line from Sydney Carton, the last year of my life has been the best 
of times and the worst of times. Adam and I bought our first house. I love it, 
and our new community, so much I still feel like I'm dreaming. I earned a 
promotion. My daughters, oh my daughters - can't even go there. They are amazing 
little pixies. The good wins, it completely dominates but there have been lows. 
And I'm not just referring to my acquired taste for bacteria and yeast. There 
are times I'd like to sweep away, just pretend they didn't happen. I wish 
desperately I could just brush all the pounds that I gained back under some 
chevron patterned rug, hidden from the world like dust bunnies and shed dog 
hair. Home Depot doesn't sell brooms that slick. And it is sad. Admitting it is 
sadder. Because I know I don't have to admit it. I wear it, I literally can't 
hide it or pretend it away. I am not quite to my heaviest weight, but I'm close. 


So there it is, although, I know you already knew. 

Here is the thing, the unexpected thing I can't believe that I actually believe. 
I am not a failure. I may have failed at something. But that one failure does 
not define me. 

I am a Guava Goddess - an enlightened, self loving fool. I figure if an ancient 
Chinese Qin Dynasty tea can make a comeback, why can't I?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Flutterings from an Angry Bird

I am caught up in the eye of a twister. One helluva twister, and I don't mean the fun game where you get all contorted and fall into a heap of laughter with your friends. Except I did sort of fall into a heap with my friends the other night, but it was a sadder, verge of tears kind of heap.

I'm so sorry that I'm stuck in this struggle. It must be terribly boring to read. Poor Danielle, waah, waah, WAAH, get over your freaking self! I was so hoping that this blog would be something else by this point. I do want to stop hiding though; the less hiding I do, the more writing about something else I can work toward.

I have been working in therapy for the last few months, and it is going slowly. I mean, so slow it feels backwards. I actually, in some ways, feel worse than when I started. Here's the problem, I'm trying to do all the things. All the things in therapy that will lead to lasting contentment and happiness. Right now, we're digging. Digging through the stinking pile of crap that is stifling everything. I've dug quite a trench in the crap but I haven't yet acquired the tools to climb out of said trench. So the feelings I've tried desperately to push to the side, suppress, shove down, numb and avoid at all cost are now my new wardrobe. So I'm walking around feeling naked and ugly. I'm wearing emotions that I didn't know were a part of my fabric, most specifically anger.

I never knew I was so angry. I'm an angry, angry bird.


Anger gets a pretty bad rap. I mean, with it's tendency to cause war and turmoil and such. BUT, did you know, anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion? No? ME NEITHER!!! Anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, or motivate you to find solutions to problems. I'm still waiting for the good to come out of my anger. Mostly right now it causes me to shut down in the middle of conversations, go to bed at 8pm, avoid my friends and family, seek out cheddar cheese pretzel bread and generally not want to participate in life. This. Isn't. Me. 

Apparently it wasn't Brandi Carlile either, because she wrote a song about it. A beautiful song that should be accompanied with a box of Kleenex - and she just says... everything I want to say. Here are the lyrics. Or better yet, just listen to it.

"That Wasn't Me"

Hang on, just hang on for a minute
I've got something to say
I'm not asking you to move on or forget it
But these are better days
To be wrong all along and admit it, is not amazing grace
But to be loved like a song you remember
Even when you've changed

Tell me, did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn't me
That wasn't me, oh that wasn't me

When you're lost you will toss every lucky coin you'll ever trust
And you'll hide from your God like he ever turns his back on us
And you will fall all the way to the bottom and land on your own knife
And you'll learn who you are even if it doesn't take your life

Tell me, did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn't me
That wasn't me, oh that wasn't me

But I want you to know that you'll never be alone
I wanna believe, do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet
When you fall I will get you on your feet
Do I spend time with my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
When that's what you see, that will be me
That will be me, that will be me
That will be me

-Brandi Carlile

And so.

I've been very busy being angry and doing the other things that keep my home running. I haven't been doing much about the weight loss stuff, except getting myself further still from my goal. Whatevs. Of course, I'm being flippant here because, really, I'm devastated. I'm angry at myself. I'm trying to find the balance between accepting myself as the broken, chubby, angry mess that I currently am, while congruently working towards being the best version of myself. It's a little bit tricky.

So, here's some more good news about anger: it isn't a mutually exclusive emotion, like I originally thought. It doesn't take up all the room. There is plenty of room for anger and love and forgiveness and happiness and peace. All at the same time. I'm working to get there, and that will be me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

@ Fitbloggin'

I couldn't do it justice with normal sentences.
Thank you to all of my new friends, this is for you.

@ Fitbloggin' we reassessed why we
starve ourselves
feed ourselves
reward ourselves
punish ourselves
and while perhaps we didn't exactly find the answer
we got closer.
A lot closer.

@ Fitbloggin' we got a lot closer to each other
and a little closer to our goals
of losing weight
gaining readers
of being whole
of being more at ONE.
Being at one with our
our earth
our demons.

@ Fitbloggin'
we stood up
to our demons
and said, "you do not own me,
but you are part of me.
I acknowledge you
but you are not
welcome to stay.

@ Fitbloggin' we could be funny, just be funny
we didn't have to hide behind our humor.
Everyone was laughing with us - not at us.
And the funniest ones of all made us cry the hardest too.
And it was powerful.

@ Fitbloggin' we splurged with intention.
Eating a burger in the company of friends
as a conscious choice.
This was different than a binge,
the hidden drive thru shovel.
No one ate burgers with tears in their eyes.

@ Fitbloggin' we stood up at microphones and
shared secrets.
About our moms
and kids
our worst days
our best pitches
our regrets
our most celebrated moments
we cheered
we sobbed
we hugged complete strangers and
we began to heal.

@ Fitbloggin' we turned the whole thing
upside down
we weren't competitors
we were comrades.
In a fight against the void
against the world
against the naysayers.
That doubted us
said we could never do it
or would never do it.

We forged an army of
willpower and strength
and belief
bonded forever by
and zumba
and swag.

But the swag was more than the water bottles
and spices
and shoes.
There was a palpable change to the rhythm of our steps.
There was swagger in our gait.
And the glittering inner harbor reflected back something
that looked like
a victory march
as we crossed the finish line of
the 5K, hand in hand
with our new friends
made possible
@ Fitbloggin'

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened on my way to Baltimore

A few things I've learned today. You probably already know them. 

1.) My name is hard to spell. 

2.) I know (theoretically) that happiness doesn't come in a cup but I learned that if it did - it would be a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.

3.) United Airlines customer service needs improvement.

4.) A egg and cheese sandwich costs $9.99 at LAX.

I tend to conjure up a pretty specific image in my head when I think of a brave person. I usually either think of a little boy with two prostethic legs or a camouflage dressed soldier holding his newborn for the first time ... or more recently I think of  wildly curly red hair, a blue corset and a bow and arrow - thank you Pixar. God, what I wouldn't do for a Gaelic accent right now. Then I would certainly feel what I'm suppose to be feeling which is BRAVE. 

I am currently, right now, this second, in Baltimore, Maryland. I'm attending a conference, a blogging conference of all things, Fit Bloggin' 2012.  

I'm a little disoriented, I mean, even the ocean is in a different place. I'm staying in a hotel room all by myself. I didn't know ANYONE coming to this thing. I'm about to be a very little fish is a very big pond. There are 300 bloggers attending this event. Some of the people attending make a living blogging. A lot of them have business cards, business cards people!!! My blog is just this little baby thing, I share it with exactly 28 people by way of an email blast and perhaps the 10 friends on Facebook that my current settings allow to see my status updates. (Am I the only one that can't successfully navigate the new Facebook?)

A co-worker said something to me the other day, she said, "your life begins when you step out of your comfort zone." I don't think she was the first to say that, but she was the first to say it to me so I'm giving her full credit. She is a wise lady. 

I think, and mostly because I've been obsessively thinking about it for days now,  but I think she's right. Maybe I don't need to slay a big black scar-faced grizzly bear to be brave. Maybe I just have to be me. 

Growing up I was always that kid who couldn't sleep the night before the first day of school because I was so excited. I loved, loved, loved meeting new people and having new experiences. I hosted a Japanese exchange student in 7th grade - a complete stranger, who spoke a strange language and wore strange mismatched yellow plaid and Hello Kitty outfits became my sister for 14 days. I went on a month long exchange trip to Europe when I was 14. I road public transportation in Budapest, Hungry with my host sister who had spiky pink hair, ate wiener schnitzel  in Vienna and danced with a tour guide named Rodolfo in Florence. I sought out an employment opportunity downtown - where I would be the only lifeguard from my high school when 16, so I could work with people that didn't look like me. I went to a small college without my boyfriend and absolutely none of my friends. I enrolled in an field studies course which included a trip to Costa Rica junior year at that college. I tried out for my collegiate golf team although I hadn't played competitively for years.  I wore high heels to my mom's funeral. And in 2006, I left everyone and everything I knew, again, and moved to Los Angeles so my husband and I could pursue the dream of Hollywood success. 

And then, I just kind of stopped taking chances. In a place so big and so scary I've craved a sense of security and safety so fervently that I haven't felt like being a chance-taker person. This city has turned me into a big borderline agoraphobic sissy. 

And, so tomorrow, in the reflection of Baltimore's inner harbor, I'm off to learn my 5th thing...

I am brave. 

It's time for a lemon shake-up, I just hope it goes well with crab cakes. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Sometimes I can be a real jerk.

Especially to myself. I'm working on it. The following are some ways I have tried, this last week, to be kinder to myself.

1.) I'm putting on real clothes everyday - at least for part of the day. I might conclude the day in my yoga pants or sweats but I am putting on real clothes, as a way to greet the morning. This is a small gesture that forces me to take time to pick something out that matches, fits and doesn't resemble something a homeless person would wear.

2.) I bought new perfume. Since I started wearing it, Lucy keeps asking to smell my arm. After taking in big whiff of my wrist she said, "ah, you smell so good!" Well, at least it is toddler approved. I've always really liked the idea of having a signature scent. My mom did, and to this day whenever I smell FENDI, it reminds me of her.

3.) I started seeing a therapist. We'll call her Melissa, because her name is Melissa, except I don't think I'm suppose to know that, I really only know it from her website. When I met her for the first time she didn't bother with introductions. I did, of course, I'm a good Midwestern girl! I entered her room with confidently pulled back shoulders, a warm smile and gave her a firm handshake stating, "Hi! I'm Danielle, so nice to meet you." She saw right through it. I was reduced to a snotting, blubbering, sad girl mess 15 minutes into our first visit. It was a very good fit. I trust her, I feel safe in her office and amidst my tears and sorrow I felt a very palpable glimmer of hope before I walked out the door.

4.) I went to a Hot Yoga class. This is the only exercise I do that makes me feel like I am rewarding my body instead of punishing it. It feels indulgent. It feels special and cleansing and good. Hot yoga, Bikram, is exactly what it sounds like, yoga in a hot room, usually somewhere between 101-105 degrees. I am pretty much drenched in sweat 10 seconds after entering the room, I can literally wring my clothes out after class. Kinda gross, kinda awesome. Anyway, the room is large and hot and there are mirrors in the front and on the side (like most exercise studios) and I always try to get a spot upfront as close to the mirror as I can. This is not like 11th grade history class. I'm not doing this to impress the teacher. I do it for myself. The most rewarding and intense, even more intense than the heat, part of class is that for the first 50 minutes of the 90 minute class I am in constant eye contact with myself in the mirror. I'm sure this is by design. And it some brilliant design because think about it... when is the last time you stared at yourself in the mirror for 50 minutes? Uh, probably never. I know I don't. I'm lucky to get 50 seconds in the mirror in the morning to apply some mascara! And whenever else I look at the mirror I'm definitely not looking at my eyes - thick arms, flabby belly, chipped toenail polish. Sorry, there goes the jerk again. The point is, whenever in my day-to-day life I do have a chance to glance in a mirror I'm never thinking anything good. It is different at hot yoga. I'm staring into my eyes, which I've always named as my best feature. But it is very hard to be mean to your body, even in thought, when you are staring directly into your own eyes. Very, very intense.

Every yoga class I've ever been to, hot or not, ends the same way - with hands in prayer, a slight bow and the word Namaste. I didn't know what that meant for a long time. I had an instructor that explained it very well to me once. She said that the gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each one of us. The gesture is an acknowledgement of the most divine in one soul by another. The highest being in me, salutes the highest being in you. Don't you just love that?

So anyway, I'm working on silencing the jerk and recognizing the divine.

A dear friend shared this video with the hubby and I. It made me cry, it reminded me of the power of yoga and self kindness and faith. I hope you love it.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Enough already!

Please tell me you love a good comeback story.

Time to face the music - the sad melodious tune of implosion - since the last time I actually posted a weight loss, sometime in March, I have gained back ten pounds and when I say ten pounds I mean 13.2. Putting me at exactly (as of this morning) at 173.2 pounds.

I feel a little bit like I'm unraveling here. It isn't just because of the weight because there have been some other sources of stress. Some real - like now my husband has a knee injury which is much worse than mine. And some unreal - like my L'Oreal Perfect Eyeliner in Carbon Black being out of stock at CVS. But when I'm taking good care of myself - eating well, exercising, I'm better equipped to deal with the stress. The issue of my weight is so incredibly emotionally charged for me. I'm finding that it is almost completely and utterly the source or void of my self-esteem.

This is both weird and dumb.  Be that as it may, it doesn't make it any less true.

I know people, of all shapes and sizes, that don't have this problem. I know people of all shapes and sizes that are happy despite their shape and size.

I know what I need.

1.) Faith.
2.) Help.
3.) Hope.

I'm very good at believing. Believing in God, believing in others but I'm not just very good at believing in myself. This is a whopping problemo, one I've decided needs a little professional guidance. I'm going to talk to someone this week. You see, I'm also very terrible at seeking out or asking for help. You might not know this because I've done it several times on this blog. It was one of my better ideas; I'm going to do it again.

Come hell or high water, I am going to figure this out. I'm going to not only lose the weight, but I am going to figure out WHY this is my issue. Time to dig a little deeper. I promise to keep you posted on my success and findings.

And if you have any faith or help or hope to offer - I will gladly take you up on some. And love, I could always use some love.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Kiss of Mud

Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and thought, "do I really look like that?"

I have.

I've seen lots and lots o' pictures of myself where I think to myself, "holy guacamole, I look like a hideous monstrous beast." A dear friend and I had a pretty big celebrity sighting when she visited me in L.A. for my baby shower over 4 years ago. I was about 7 months pregnant and we saw Lindsay Lohan at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. This was huge - at the time, the only other more exciting sighting would have been a bald Britney Spears. She was actually really sweet (probably stoned off her gourd), but she took a picture with the two of us. I look like a giantess in the photograph, not only because Lindsay and my friend are so small, but because I was so big. It was a picture I wanted to plaster everywhere (facebook, baby album, fireplace mantle...) but I just hate it so much. This may not be the best example because I was pregnant, but it you know what I mean, fatty pictures are the worst. When I look at pictures, I immediately determine the quality of the photograph by how skinny or chunky I appear. This is extremely narcissistic of me. I am aware.


This past Saturday July 7 was the So Cal Tough Mudder Event. It was at Snow Valley Mountain Resort up on Big Bear Mountain. Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. Our particular event was 10 miles, but it was on a ski resort so all 10 miles were either straight up a black diamond slope or straight down - little to no flat ground was covered. The obstacles were almost a relief, if you consider sliding on your belly through frigid water and mud underneath a barbed wire with electric wires hanging from it to be relief (the Electric Eel).

I did amazing, difficult crazy things over the 8 miles and 16 obstacles that I completed. But, and this is a big, big BUT - I was unable to complete the course.

I cannot really describe how deflating this has been for me.

Going into this challenge, I was really, really scared. Here are the things I was most afraid of, in no particular order.

1.) Dying. I mean, I did sign a death waiver; it could have happened.
2.) Not finishing. (Well, you know about this one.)
3.) Having my brain fried by electricity.  There were two obstacles with live wires delivering up to 10,000 volts of electricity. (So far no evidence that this happened.)
4.) Being the fattest person on the course. (I wasn't.)
5.) Being the slowest person on the course. (I wasn't.)
6.) Being the weakest person on the course. (I wasn't.)
7.) Slowing down my team by being the fattest, slowest, weakest person on the course. (I did, a little bit, but I also happened to have the best, most supportive, positive, amazing, sexy teammates on the course too - so they never once made my feel badly about it.)
8.) Having to buy new shoes afterward. (I don't know why I was afraid of this, other than my shoes are relatively new and I love them.)

My vision has been so blurred by my fear and by what I left undone - 2 miles and 5 obstacles. While I was completing obstacles and covering the miles, I was scared. One obstacle that comes to mind is the Walk the Plank - a 15+ foot high jump into water that I was freaking out about - I did NOT want to jump! But I DID jump. I berated myself for being afraid and for screaming like a banshee the whole way down and forgot to congratulate myself on the fact that I had a fear and I faced it. I still jumped. My vision has been so clouded that I couldn't see what I did accomplish.

So, it has been to my ultimate shock and amazement that today I have been gawking at the official course pictures of bib number 38561 and found myself thinking: "Do I really look like that? Like the bad ass Tough Mudder that I see in these photographs?" 

This is a revelation. (And a scam. I just spent $50.00 on a few digital images.)

I don't look super slender in these pictures, but I just don't freaking care. I love them. I look strong and determined, I look like a fighter. I look like I'm having a blast. I look dirty and sunkissed and healthy. I look like a warrior. I look triumphant.

And, I should mention that the real reason I didn't finish the course was not because I gave up. I had to stop because I have a wicked knee injury. I hurt myself during a training run 4 weeks ago, and although I tried to be careful for the remaining training time, I don't think I rested enough. I was fighting through pain almost immediately at the start of the event and stopped at mile 4 to have a medic wrap my knee. He said he would wrap it, but then he'd have to take me out of the race. At which point, I threw my cup of H2O in his face and said, "hell no!" and kept pushing on. Actually, I grimaced, groaned and then just kept pushing on. At mile 8, I had just completed the longest and most severe stint downhill (way worse on the knee) and just had to stop before I rendered myself a candidate for total knee replacement surgery at age 30. It was the right thing to do and the hardest thing I did the whole entire day.

Stopping, for all intents and purposes, failing to complete the course and therefore my only goal I made when I signed up to do this event sent me in a total down spiral. It is the only athletic event I have ever quit in my life. I didn't feel like I could celebrate, I didn't want to tell anyone about it, I didn't want to talk about it. I felt like I couldn't actually even say that I was, "a Tough Mudder."  When people asked me about the event, I just started apologizing and telling the sad ending to the story. I forgot to actually tell the story.

These pictures tell the story.

I've been looking for a source of inspiration recently to push me out of this plateau, I never, ever thought I'd find her staring back at me in the mirror.