A Healthy Start

Since being diagnosed with RA, I’ve been taking a drug called methotrexate. I hate it. Sure, it has helped me to feel better, but it lowers your immune system, has been know to cause birth issues (you have to stop taking it 6 months, at least, before getting pregnant) and it’s used to flight cancer! This is not something that I want in my system. So I have seeked out other options and have decided to try to flight back with food. It sounds kinda nutty, I know, But if turning into a half hippie, vegan like eater will help, I’m going to give it a shot. I’ve read story after story of people who have been helped by a strict diet. Maybe they thought it was crazy at first too. 

My first steps are to give up gluten, (yep, jumping on the gluten bandwagon) dairy, soy and corn to see if I have a food sensitivity to any. Gluten will stay out, FOREVER. Yes, that is kinda scary, but I’m learning, very doable. I like butter, cheese and milk so I’m hoping that dairy isn’t gone forever. Corn and soy I can do without. Over the next few months I’ll try to eat less sugar as well. This will be hard, as I have a very BIG sweet tooth! But for now I’m excited to be able to do something proactive to take control of my health. My energy level is so low at this point that giving up any food will be worth it. 

I start tomorrow and I’m on vacation this week so hopefully I can get a little routine going before I have to work again on Saturday. Work is going to be the trickiest part. Airport food/plane food isn’t exactly healthy. But I’m looking at it as an adventure! 

Do you have any recipes you like that are free of the 4 ingredients I am not eating? If so, please let me know in the comments! 

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Not Resolutions, but Goals

I am not one to write New Year’s resolutions. Occasionally I will think of a few things I’d like to accomplish in the new year, but lately, and especially this week I have decided that I want some New Year’s goals. I’m at a point in life where there isn’t a lot going on to plan for, or do, if that makes sense. No school, or work changes coming. No moving, no big trips planned (shocking I know). No weddings or babies coming up. So in a certain sense I’ve got nothing to do. Since moving to NYC, I’ve found myself being a bit lazy. Not so much physically, I did just run a 5k, whoo! but in a personal way.I haven’t done much. Oh, I’ve spent my fair share of time on Netflix. (Be sure to catch Breaking Bad and Chuck if you never had. Awesome.) But for personal improvement I’ve been lazy. I now live in the greatest city in the world, but yet don’t know a lot about it. I am surronded by Spanish speakers, but yet my ability to speak continues to worsen. I have access to many groups to help others, but yet I haven’t. I blame a lot of this on being so tired all the time. (Blame the job and RA.) But I think my eating habits contribute a lot as well. So in 2014 I’m going to focus on improving me. These are the goals I have:

1: Improve my Spanish Speaking ability. Take a class once a week, go to a conversation meetup.

2: Do something new in the city at least once a month, if not twice if I can. 

3: Find a place to volunteer once a month. I think I am going to help with the Arthritis Foundation. 

4: Read 12 classical books. Anna Karenina, Oliver Twist, Huckleberry Finn, Frankenstein, The Scarlett Letter, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby all come to mind. 

5: Run a 10K. Got to keep the momentum going with the running. Although this 20 degree weather is not helping my efforts. 

6: Learn more about nutrition and how to fuel the body healthily. 

7: See the Northern Lights. 

These are the top things that come to my mind that I really want to accomplish in 2014. It’s not a long list, but I think it’s a good start to getting over laziness. Maybe I should add: Write in the blog more since the laziness contributes to it a lot as well. I’ll call that a tentative #8. Do you have a NY goals? 

Happy New Year to all! 

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Run Away, Run Away!

I’m runner. Yep, it’s true, all my runner friends say so. I’ve not been in a race (yet), nor can I run 374 miles in 2 hours, but I am a runner. I started doing the Couch to 5K running program about 5 months ago but had to stop due to some feet/knee pain. I got that worked out and started up again about 3 months ago. It’s an 8 week program that starts you out slowly and builds you up to run a 5k. I’m on the last two runs this week! WooHoo! I’m did a few of the days twice because some are hard and I was gone on vacation. (Italians don’t run it seems.) So tomorrow I will finish the program! Just in time for the Jingle Bell run, my first 5K! I’m pretty excited. The run benefits the Arthritis Foundation. I found out the pain I was having in my knees and feet were from rheumatoid arthritis. I also found out that arthritis takes on many different forms and effects millions of people and there is NO cure! No cure! There are medicines that help control it, but nothing to make it go away. So I’m raising money to help fight the disease. (http://www.nycjbr.kintera.org/nycskygirl

On a positive note, life is good! NYC is still great. Work is going well. Nowhere new lately, but maybe soon! Thanksgiving is coming up and I just got the day off! So I can participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Very excited. They blow the ballons up just a few blocks from our house too so that is very exciting. Hope all is well for you dear reader!

 

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What Are You Waiting For?

Well, it’s been awhile since the last post. I want to be a blogger, I do! Sometimes I just don’t have any inspiration. C’est la vie. I’ve spent the last six week working on a special assignment at work so I’ve not been flying at all. It’s been kinda nice in a way. Home every night, in my own bed, next to my fella. Same time zone each day. Ability to go shopping and pack a lunch each day. See the same people at work everyday. Meet some new coworkers. It’s been nice. But there were some drawbacks as well. 1.5ish hours on the train, each way. (Ugh, that 3ish hours A DAY!) No flying, so no fun places like Istanbul, Stockholm, or Zurich. (All seasonal, summer flights.)

I’m basically all finished up with that though, save 5 days this week at one of our other bases, not NYC. Then it’s a new special assignment that I will be working on for the rest of Sept and most of the first of Oct. So only a quick trip to LAX at the end of Sept.

I am incredibly lucky though that I was able to go to some new places this summer that I hadn’t before. Copenhagen, Athens, Shannon, Barcelona, Reykjavik and Prague. I’ll share some new photos below. This world is so beautiful and so amazing. If you don’t get out and explore it I think you are missing out on so much. Life is so much bigger than the 4 corners that we call home. Once you start exploring it though you learn how small it is. If you’ve ever wanted to go somewhere, DO IT! What are you waiting for? Places are constantly changing. Venice is sinking, the Colosseum is crumbling. People are fighting each other each day. Places will be forever changing, go now! Explore now! Take your kids, take your sister or brother. Go and learn about more than your corner of the world. You may be surprised at what you find.

Barcelona:

So beautiful, the Sagrada Familia is one of the most beautiful things I have seen. The works of Gaudi around the city give it a almost fairy tale like feel. Plus, it’s in Spain so it has to be awesome.

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Sagrada Familia, Barcelona. Like being in a sandcastle in a dream. Amazing.

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Sagrada Familia.

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Gaudi’s work.

Reykjavik:

Reminded me of northern Minnesota. 57 in the middle of summer and sunny at midnight, Iceland was a cool place to visit. I will return to see the northern lights! The Blue Lagoon was such fun. Put some lagoon white mud on your face and relax. Amazing.

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Downtown Reykjavik.

 

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The Blue Lagoon.

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Somewhere near Greenland.

Athens:

I can’t quite describe Athens, a mix between central America, tropical Bahamas and modern Berlin and old Cairo. It is a city of its own. Narrow streets, apartments with awnings on each one. The Acropolis, the Aegean Sea, and Greek food. Sigh, loved it too.

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The Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens. See?! Things crumble and go away!

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The Aegean Sea, Athens.

Prague:

I took an electric bike tour here. So much fun. And I was the only one so I got a personal tour! Score! There was a lot of flooding right before I was there so the city was empty of tourists. Beautiful old, cosmopolitan city the begs to be explored. Fun street food and performers.

Prague. City of 100 Spires.

Prague. City of 100 Spires.

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If you stand in the middle and talk, you hear yourself echo back. Super cool. At the Prague Castle.

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Lennon Wall in Prague

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Built in 1410, the Astronomical Clock Tower in Prague

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Lit’le ol’ me enjoying Prague.

Home:

I also got to enjoy the good ol’ USA some. I visited my dear friend in Maine and met her adorable daughter. I went to St. Louis for the first time. It’s a super cool city. And I spent some time in my new city with my love. Summer has been good to me.  Looking forward to fall and a trip to Italy with my fella.

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Camden, Maine

Meet me in St. Louis.

Meet me in St. Louis.

 

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The rooftop garden did really well!




 

 

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Listen to the Flight Attendant

I don’t usually get caught up in the flurry of hot news stories. I read about something that happened and continue on with life. But when an event happens like what happened with the Asiana plane crash on Sunday I read everything that I can. I want to learn what the flight crew did that helped to save all those passengers. I want to know what happened to make the plane crash on landing. I want to know how so many people survived. Why? Because it could happen to me at any time. I want to be the best I can be at my job and be ready if the unthinkable ever happens.

I have to be honest with you though, passengers make it hard to do that. Why? Because they don’t listen. Turn your phone off. Stow your tray table. Bring your seat up. Stay in your seat when the seat belt sign is on. Keep you seat belt fastened. Don’t get up during taxi. On and on and on. Easy things that people can do, but no, it’s always a flight and it puts many people at risk for injury.

People don’t undertand why we as flight attendants get so stern at people who are up when the seat belt sign is on. Sometimes I want to scream at people, “We are in a steel tube, miles above the ground, going 400+ miles per hour. Sit your butt down and buckle your damn seatbelt!” The other day upon landing I look down the aisle and I see a lady standing up in her row bouncing up and down. We make a PA saying all passengers need to be seated. The lady still is up. I appears there is a conversation going and I wonder if something is wrong. I put myself, and the people sitting on the aisle, at risk by getting up and walking to her to see why she is not following crew instructions (fineable by the FAA too I might add.) I get to her row, see she is standing up bouncing a baby strapped to her. I ask is everything ok? What does she tell me? “If I sit down, he will start to scream.” I look at her a little appalled  I couldn’t believe she’d risk her kid’s safety like that. I told her she had to sit down and tried to explain to her why: Forget that it is required by the FAA, but if the plane was to stop all of a sudden, which happens a lot, she could have been thrown into the seat, smushing her baby with her weight. Not only was she standing with her baby, but her 4 year old other child was standing up in the row too! What kind of parents do this? I can understand not wanting your child to be screaming and upset, but you are the parent! You put your child at risk or injury and maybe even death, yes, death, by not making them stay buckled up.

A similar thing happened on another flight where I was sitting in a seat going to work training. The family in front of me had a, maybe 3 year old, daughter who would not sit down. The flight attendant repeatedly told them she had to be buckled up. They finally got her to sit and buckle up, after the FA brought her candy, but some after she was up again, for take off! These parents where just terrible, via other events I, and my seat mate, witnessed. But to not care if your child is buckled up when a steel tube is “falling out of the sky” at hundreds of miles per hour is beyond comprehension to me.

I can almost guarantee you that  most of the 100+ people that walked away from that plane crash on Sunday with no injuries had their seat belts fastened. Those who didn’t weren’t so lucky. So please people, please, when we tell you to buckle up and stay seated it is because you never know when the sh*t is going to hit the fan.

And turn your cell phones off too!

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So, You Want to Hear About Copenhagen?

I went to Copenhagen for the first time at the beginning of June. I had always wanted to visit Denmark ever since I read Number The Stars (it’s $5 buy it and read it!) a book about a girl living in Copenhagen during WWII and her relationship with her Jewish best friend. It was probably the place where I first learned about the what happend during WWII. An incredible book.

Besides the book the only things I really knew about Copenhagen were:
~It was considered a clean, cosmopolitan city.
~It was expensive.
~It had some colorful buildings on the water.

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Nyhavn, or New Harbor, is this area with the beautiful buildings.

These were my preconceived ideas of Copenhagen. Turned out they were true. The dollar is very weak and things are expensive. A basic dinner of fish (from the sea 20 feet down the street) and a sprite cost $45 USD! I hot dog, which was all I could afford after the $45 fish dinner, was $5. I don’t think I could afford to come back here on another trip. I was lucky to have a 4 day trip which means that I had a 48 hour layover. The first night we had the $45 dinner and took a stroll over to Nyhavn. The next day I went on a walking tour. The guy who lead it was Danish and knew some good facts about Copenhagen. He even took us to his apartment building, into the courtyard, to show us how the buildings were built back in the old days.

You can see all the wood support.

You can see all the wood support.

Copenhagen burnt to the ground quite a few times over the years and from the photo you can see why. All the buildings were made of wood. The building is on the oldest street in Copenhagen too so the courtyard is legit.

Oldest street in Copenhagen.

Oldest street in Copenhagen.

On the tour we also went to the royal palace where the queen and prince of Denmark live. We learned about how the prince met his wife. Did you see the movie The Prince and Me? Well, it’s kind of what happened. Prince Frederik went to Sydney to see the Olympics, didn’t tell anyone he was the Prince of Denmark, met a nice Aussie gal, Mary, they hit it off, 3 weeks later after the Olympics were over he popped the question, she said yes, only them did he tell her, “oh yeah, so um, I’m going to be the King of Denmark and you, um, now the Queen.” All’s well that ends well I guess because now they have 4 kids and live happily in Copenhagen.

Worth leaving Australia for? I guess so.

Worth leaving Australia for? I guess so.

I also checked out one of the most famous things in Copenhagen, The Little Mermaid. Why this thing is popular I have no idea. It is far away, hard to get to and just a statue in the sea. But alas, I walked over there and shot a photo to prove it. Hans Christian Anderson, who wrote The Little Mermaid, among other fairy tales, is Danish.

Here she is!

Here she is!

I didn’t have the spare arm to give away to pay to get into Tivoli Gardens, one of the most popular attractions in town. It’s an amusement park, the 2nd oldest in the world, right in the middle of town. Maybe next time I’m there I’ll save up some cash and check it out.

Looked beautiful from outside!

Looked beautiful from outside!

So what was my final assessment of Copenhagen? It was ok. It was pretty. the people were nice. But it was expensive! If I had to go back I wouldn’t put up a fight, but I’m not going to be trying to get this trip again.
Up next on the blog, Prague! Then Barcelona, then Reykjavik! I’m going there on Sunday.

I leave you with some other photos of around town.

View from my hotel.

View from my hotel.

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Main street corner.

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City Hall.

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Cute!

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The city is surrounded by water.

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The Opera House.

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I think this vender was tired of a certain question.

 

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Little House On The Upper West Side

I feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder lately. I have vegetables and yes, even a blueberry plant, growing on my “roof.” I have always enjoyed making my own household products. I use to make my own laundry soap, yogurt, vanilla extract, cleaning solution, shower cleaner and draino. In the past few months I’ve been trying to stay away from processed foods and high fructose corn syrup. I’m not an extremist about it, but I’m actively trying. Work makes it hard because who knows what is in some airport/airplane food. Taking my own food is a hassel as its one more bag I have to drag up and down the subway/apartment steps. But the homemade stuff is going so well I make make more of an effort to make more things.

Since moving to NYC I have started the “garden:”

ImageAnd it is triple the size of this photo, which is about 2 weeks old.

I have made my own chocolate syrup via here: http://www.manusmenu.com/home-made-chocolate-syrup                                     It was seriously amazing. I have already went through 2 bottles. I’m a chocolate milk maniac.

Then I thought I’d give vanilla coffee creamer a shot. It was super easy! 14 oz of cream/half&half/milk (which ever you prefer) 14 oz of sweetened condensed milk and 2 tsp of vanilla extract. Then shake, shake, shake. It was delish too. I am going to try hazelnut next time.

The today I made homemade oatmeal cream pies. Move over Little Debbie, these babies were to die for. The cookie part was awesome, the filling was awesome (although it had shortening in it. Not healthy there, but eh, you got to live a little.) I will not say how many I have had, but so far I only have  to use one hand to count. Whew

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Would you like to make some? I got the recipe here. Or just see it below.

I’m going to give homemade deodorant a try next. It seems like a bad idea but this one recipe I can across had a lot of great reviews so I am going to give it a go.

I swear I am going to write about Prague, Copenhagen and, most recently, Barcelona very, very soon. I just can’t stop going new places this month!

Yummy, Yummy Oatmeal Cream Pies:

Ingredients:

For the Cookie:

1 cup unsalted butter (I’ve made homemade butter too!)

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup sugar

1 tbsp molasses

1 tsp vanilla (homemade here of course!)

2 eggs (if I could I’d have my own chicken too!)

1 ½ cups flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

⅛ tsp cinnamon

1 ½ cups quick oats

Cream Filling: (In the future I will double this part to have more filling for each cookie.)

2 tsp very hot water

¼ tsp salt

1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow fluff

½ cup shortening

⅓ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Or these incredible baking mats.
  2. Cream the butter, sugars, molasses.
  3. Add vanilla, and eggs.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and stir to combine; mix in the oats.
  6. Drop tablespoon sized scoops onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10ish minutes, until just starting to brown around the edges. Be careful not to overbake them; they will look moist. Mine only took about 8 mins.
  7. While the cookies are baking, in a small bowl, dissolve the salt from the cream ingredients list into the hot water and allow to cool to room temperature.
  8. Combine the marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla and mix on high until fluffy.
  9. Add the salt water and mix well.
  10. Add the amount of cream you want and sandwich the cookies together then get ready for a mouth full of goodness.

 

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