Friday, April 30, 2010

My extreme animosity towards my thighs

Links to this post
Last week I watched an episode of Intervention with a bulimic, Amy. While I was never a purger, I have been a compulsive over eater, emotional eater and binger and have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember (age 8 is when I started gaining and thus my battle began).

Anyone who has had an eating disorder could probably relate to a lot of what she said and/or was going through - the thoughts, the behaviors, the absolute feelings of despair, desperation, worthlessness and inadequacy. It's been a while since I have been at the low she described, but just listening to her, I was instantly in touch with those memories. She said:
"I am worthless, useless, ugly, fat, failure, unfriendly, unbubbly, stupid. I hate, hate, hate my fat f*ing self with such a huge hatred I can't explain it. How do I get away from me? How do I feel good? How do I stop this madness? There is such an anger boiling inside me I want to explode. F*ck you fatass. I am so fat and so ugly."
And she mentioned another thing we had in common:
"I know for certain I was always an anxious child... I had such early memories of just being so aware of myself. And I had never been content with just being Amy."
I was like that too - from such a young age. So self aware. So self conscious. So sensitive. I'm still like that.

Another point she made that stopped me dead in my tracks was this one:
"I was jealous of everyone. I compared myself to every single girl that walked by me... I turned my focus on trying to look good. If I wasn't popular, cool, funny, smart or vivacious like other girls my age I yearned desperately to be pretty. As if it would make up for everything else."
Oh dear god! I really couldn't have summed it up better myself! That has been my MO for as far back as I can remember - and I'm talking childhood, 3 years old, jealous of every other girl, comparing myself to every other girl/woman around me. Always doing anything I could to look and feel beautiful but never feeling good enough or pretty enough. And surprise: That is STILL ME! Desperately insecure. Wishing I looked different than I do. Examining every detail picking apart every tiny thing I find wrong. And I still compare myself to every single woman I see. In life, in print, on TV. I am still jealous of everyone.(And if you're wondering, Yes, this has been a huge issue and caused some ugly and memorable arguments in every relationship I've ever had.)

"I was eating my emotions. I was eating my sadness. Just drowning myself in food."
Me too, Amy. Me too.

I think I watched the episode three times in a row. I couldn't believe how much I related to her and wondered why we had such a strong connection on the back end but I went the route of compulsive over-eater and she went the route of bulimic. Why were we so similar in our thought patterns but different in how it affected our food/body abuse? I'm not sure.

I was talking to a friend today and told him that I remember points in my life which, as I've mentioned here before, I seriously considered suicide. Obviously I was depressed but one of the biggest contributors of my depression and reasons I wanted to die was because of my weight, and more specifically, my legs. I hated my legs so much and worse than that - felt I could never do anything about them. I would never be able to make them look the way I wanted (so why bother trying to change them at all, right?)

I remember being self conscious of the size of my thighs as far back as nine years old. NINE. That's fourth grade. I remember three very specific things from that school year:
1) I remember changing into an outfit for a play or something and I wouldn't come out of the room where I changed because I was so embarrassed about how my legs looked in the outfit.
2) I remember during the daily Pledge of Allegiance, when we stood at our desks, looking at the size of the thighs of the girls in the row in front of me and comparing mine to theirs. I remember wishing desperately that mine were the size of theirs.
3) I remember a girl named Jessica Palumbo who owned these satiny/shiny pants she would occasionally wear to school. To me, they were "Sandy" pants (Olivia Newton John's character in Grease. I saw that movie in the theater when I was seven and I wanted to be her more than I can tell you). I was so insanely jealous of Jessica in those pants. I hated when she wore them. It ruined my whole day. I couldn't get anything done on the days she wore them because I was so consumed with jealousy.

And it only occurred to me just now, after reading that back to myself, what strange thinking/behavior that is for a nine year old, but it's how I felt and thought. If I hadn't lived it myself, I wouldn't believe that nine year olds thought that way. But I did.

And in 30 years, not much has changed. I still look at women's legs all the time - every day, every woman - constantly comparing myself to them, often wishing mine looked more like theirs - their length, their shape, their size, their skin. So I really have been comparing myself to other girls and women and drowning myself in self-loathing for not being good enough from an unbelievably young age. I realize how pointless and harmful this is to myself, but I don't know how to not do it.

And I think that explains why I gave up on myself so many times and actually considered suicide - I thought there was no hope for me (especially my legs) and that I was 'beyond repair'. So may times I gave up my attempts at weight loss because I thought "I'll never look the way I want to, so why bother?" And I contemplated suicide because I knew it would be easier to kill myself than to accept or change my legs.

This may sound pretty extreme if you've never hated yourself or your body with that kind of intensity, but I am guessing I am not alone in those thoughts. Of course I am glad I didn't kill myself and I'm here and I somehow managed to change my life - and my legs. But as far as I have come, I know I will never have the legs I want.

I guess I have to just work towards acceptance. I am more aware of it now and should probably make peace with myself. Because I no longer want to kill myself. But I do still wish I had someone else's legs.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Weekly Meeting Topic: Change

Links to this post
After missing last week's meeting, it was so nice to go to my meeting tonight - to see the familiar faces of the members and staff. I didn't realize until tonight how much I enjoy the regulars there. I'm so glad I'm a part of that group!

Tonight we talked about the layers of change. I think it goes without say that chance is crucial for results and change is crucial for long term success. I remember hearing a quote long ago in WW "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got." That stuck with me and I agree with it - if you want to see different results, you need to try a different approach. There is no way around it: If you want to see a change, you have to start by changing something.

We talked about change, and how it occurs from the outside in (though I'd like to point out that I believe it has to occur internally first: in your head, before it can manifest itself externally). I'll tell you the layers that were listed, and add my own personal comments/experiences as I describe them.

1- Environment: Managing and *changing* your environment is absolutely essential. Start here because these are things that are within your control - have foods in your house/office that will help you. Remove (or hide) thing things that you want to avoid or that trigger you (*cough cough* peanut butter). Keep your tools like cookware/measuring cups/scale handy so you will use them. Your environment is totally within your control - make it as healthy and helpful as possible.
2- Behaviors: Once your environment is set up/changed, it will help you change your behaviors. You'll use your measuring cups to be more aware of what a portion looks like. You'll eat the good foods you went to the story to buy and deliberately put within view or easy reach. Changing your environment will absolutely influence your behavior choices.

3- Capabilities: As you change your behaviors, you will learn - and will likely be surprised by - what you are capable of. You *can* cook. You *do* like vegetables you thought you'd never eat. You *are* satisfied with one cup of macaroni. You*can* climb 112 flights of stairs. It's amazing what you will realize you can do and are capable of. I guarantee you will surprise yourself. And it will make you want to do more and see what else you can do.
4- Beliefs: When you realize what you are capable of (as a result of changing your behaviors, which was made easier by controlling your environment - see how that works?), you'll change your thinking. You *will* believe in yourself. You'll wonder why you didn't believe in yourself before, why you told yourself you 'couldn't' when clearly, you CAN.
5- Core: At some point all of these changes add up and the change becomes part of the new you - your regular daily life - your lifestyle. You formed new healthy habits! You truly are changed at the very core of your being. And that's awesome.

I think that's a really nice summary of how change happens. I think it's important to remember:
  • Change takes time - Be patient. And forgive yourself if you occasionally slip if those new changes/habits have to be re-enforced.
  • Change may be challenging, but it's absolutely achievable. If you want it. Remind yourself why you want it and believe in yourself.
Now for my weekly questions-

Accomplishments:
  • I'm in a much better place mentally this week. I'm not sure how to explain it other than I came to terms with a few things - the things that are bothering me have not changed, but I am working to reframe and accept them. That, and I reminded myself that life is short. I don't want to be sad. I surely don't want to feel bad from eating too much and I don't want to put weight back on or be uncomfortable. Besides, it's finally spring. I waited two years for this (last year's spring was awful, weather-wise). I am so lucky to be alive and healthy - I don't want to miss out on life. I want to make the most of every day, every moment. That mental change alone is a pretty significant accomplishment. 
  • I started journaling again. And I even TWIET-ed today. I know at least two of you are happy about that ;)
  • You may recall that not long ago, I increased the weights I use in my Total Body Conditioning class (moving from 5 to 8 pounds). Well, I am proud to say that in the last two classes, I increased my weight again, now using 10 pound weights. It's definitely challenging and I feel it in my arms long after class is over (the whole next day, in fact) but to add to the challenge of using them in class is that I am now carrying 46 pounds of weights to my class with me on Saturday. This is no easy feat, I assure you. And while I realize 'dead weight' is different than body weight in feel and distribution, it still blows my mind that as difficult as it is to get those weights to class, I am *still* carrying LESS weight than I lost. What a chore it was carrying around all that weight back when it was attached to me. How did I do that for so long??
  • As you noticed, I began blogging. Not just here, but my other two blogs as well. And it feels really good. Thanks to all of you who didn't desert me and sent me supportive comments about how much you missed me and were glad to see me back. I missed it too.
  • I finally started cooking again. I hadn't been cooking for the last month or so - I was just eating what was fast and easy - often not the healthiest and always way too much.
  • I did the stairs today for the first time in 4 weeks. I did 112 flights, which is the last amount I did a month ago. I completed it, in my usual average time, but I felt my muscles quivering when I was done. I haven't felt that in a very long time! I think my body forgot what it was like to do that workout, but it felt GREAT to do it. And I really love how my mind wanders when I'm on the stairs.
Here I am before:
Before 112 flights

Before 112 flights

And after:

After 112 flights

After 112 flights

What do I want to work towards next week?
  • This will come as no surprise: Journal. If I chose it, I need to disclose it (thanks, Melanie!) I'm not getting away with anything by not recording it. I'm only lying to myself...
  • Retake the habits quiz in an old WW booklet to see what habits I need to work on.
  • Get back to my daily workouts (so far, I worked out every day since last Thursday)
  • Take my daily vitamins. (In the last month, I really wasn't taking very good care of myself. And this included not taking my vitamins. I'm re-enforcing it so it becomes a daily habit again)
And the biggest, most exciting thing coming up in the near future:
The TD 5 Boro Bike Tour this Sunday! You may recall I did this bike tour last year - my first bike tour/ fitness event and at the time, the most mileage I had ever done in a day. It is one of, if not THE most significant event in my life to date. It made me realize that I can do things I never thought possible, it made me reexamine the food I was putting into my body (my artificial food ban kicked in shortly thereafter), and the memory of that event became an anchor that helped me countless times since then. It was a challenging day (the weather was awful - I was soaked and freezing for 10 hours) but I was determined to finish it. And I did. I will never forget that day for as long as I love. Though I don't expect this weekend's event to be nearly as emotional, I am so looking forward to it. And you can look forward to a blog and pics that night, of course! (I just realized, I don't have an outfit picked out yet! I better get working on that!)

Before I go, I'd like to throw out a public thank you to two blog readers:
1) Sally: I owe you a personal thank you but I want everyone to know how amazing you are so I'm doing it here too. I can't tell you what that book, and your note, meant to me. I received it last night. It was such a wonderful gesture and I read the first chapter already. I'm sorry I'm not caught up on your blog, but you really are one of my favorite bloggers. Also, please tell me about those wooden utensils - my readers keep asking about them!! :)
2) Astrid: You are one of only a handful of blog readers who has my cell phone number and I always look forward to your post-blog comments via text, as well as you checking in on me occasionally. You always make me smile. Also, you told me I looked like a younger version of Sophia Loren, who happens to be my favorite woman ever, so that pretty much seals my eternal love for you. :)

Have a terrific week, everybody. You'll hear from me again. Soon.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Biking Adventures: Cherry Blossom Festival @ the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Links to this post
You may not know this, but I am a huge fan of Spring. A huge fan!! I look forward to it all year - not only the warmer weather, the sun, the longer days, but especially seeing nature in full bloom (despite my allergies). I just love the colors, the smells, the rebirth of nature and the beauty of Spring. Last year we had a terribly dark, gloomy, rainy spring. And I felt totally ripped off. So I've been trying to enjoy every second of this year's Spring...

Yesterday was my last opportunity to enjoy Hanami, the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom and the festival only runs through next weekend; but next weekend is the 5 Boro Bike Tour, so I'll be busy with that (yay! I'm so excited, I can hardly wait!!!). Here are some of my favorite photos of the day. Enjoy!

First, here is today's bike riding outfit. This is a bathing suit top from Target (19.99), belt from Target (14.99), leggings from Target (6.00), shoes from Payless (19.99):

Today's bike riding outfit

This sign caught my eye on my way there. I like the Flintstones/Lochness Monster feel to this creature and that she is named "Sherita" (one of my nicknames is "Sherylita")

Sherita

I had a chance to ride on Eastern Parkway, one of my favorite places to ride in Brooklyn (note my gorgeous new bike basket. To answer Becky and anyone else who is wondering, the wicker baskets are just not durable enough so I bought this gorgeous sturdy basket online recently):

I *love* riding on Eastern Parkway!

These are some beautiful pink tulips just outside the entrance:

Entrance to Brooklyn Botanic Garden

At the entrance:

Entrance to Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Some of the cherry blossoms:


But what I loved even more was the tulips! They were in practically every color imaginable! So beautiful!



The pink tulips were my favorite (probably not much of a surprise)-

Pink tulips

I love this bamboo!

Beautiful bamboo

As luck would have it, while I was enjoying the tulips, I met a blog reader! She lives close to me in Brooklyn and we've had some emails back and forth but I never ran into her until today.  (Note: I know that lately I have been complaining about people talking to me when I go out - I want to try to clarify that: I don't mind people I know or blog readers talking to me. I especially love meeting blog readers - I even met one today in pilates class. Please don't think you are bothering me. It's the random strangers - the people that ask the stupid tattoo questions or the men that try to pick me up and especially the people that photograph me without asking permission - THAT is what irks me.) Her name is Emily and I asked her to take a photo of me with the tulips. She did a great job!


And here we are together:

Emily & Me

Before leaving, I wanted to photograph myself with the cherry blossoms-


And outside of the garden... I found a Sears Roebuck Co in a beautiful deco building-

 Sears building in Brooklyn

And I just adore this Studebaker building on Bedford Ave-
the amazing Studebaker building on Bedford Ave

In total for the day, I rode about 20 miles and burned just over 1000 calories. But for me it's not about that. It's about having that time to myself, feeling totally free, seeing and photographing things I've never seen before, pushing myself up hills and just the sheer joy of riding my bike. It was a really, really good day. (I even managed to blog from a bar while I enjoyed a post-ride beer!)

And when I got home, I had a nice surprise: A postcard from my leader that they missed 'my beautiful face' (they know the way to my heart - through compliments!) last Tuesday night. I didn't blog that night and it was because I didn't attend my meeting. I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that I just came home from work and went straight to bed that night. But I will certainly be there next Tuesday. I'm just sorry I missed it this week.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great weekend. Thank you so much for reading and all the supportive comments and emails lately. It is greatly appreciated and it's almost overwhelming to know how much you all care - especially those of you who never even met me. It's an incredible feeling to know you're all out there thinking good things for me. Thank you :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What's the Worst that can happen?

Links to this post
My leader Melanie is a strong advocate for journaling. Although I don't do it 100% of the time, I am too - because I know that the way I feel physically and mentally is a direct reflection of my journaling. Despite knowing that, I still have trouble doing it.


"What's the worst that can happen?" she asks us. "The Weight Watchers Police aren't going to show up at your door" and I know that a hand isn't going to reach out of my computer and smack me as I tell eTools what I consumed. So really, what's the worst that can happen? Why do I not do it?

I have been giving this question a lot of thought, especially now since I am coming off a really rough month of emotional eating and not treating myself or my body very nicely. "What's the worst that can happen?" I hear her say in my mind and I think about why I don't journal...

I hate seeing that number of available points go down. I hate admitting what I consumed. I hate seeing my gluttonous choices right there in front of me. I hate running out of points and seeing that negative balance.

But like I mentioned before, even if I don't journal what I eat, my BODY knows what I ate and responds accordingly in the form of being bloated, slower, tired, and eventually larger and heavier. I love that quote our fill in leader Ellen gave us "Even if you don't journal it, your butt will." It's so true. What do I think I'm getting away with by NOT journaling? I'm not getting away with anything! I'm really just hurting myself by not acknowledging what I put in my mouth.

So this Thursday I started journaling again. I ate pretty well that day but then had some peanut butter when I got home (I know, I know, I should not have PB in the house. I don't know what I was thinking. Even as I purchased it, I said to myself "No good can come of this.") But you know what, I JOURNALED the peanut butter. All 12.5 points worth of it. Sure, I hated seeing that number (that's 1/3 of my weekly point allowance!) but I *did* it. And that right there is a huge step worth celebrating.

To go back to my leader's question: What's the worst that can happen by journaling? I guess the worst is that I can SEE my choices in black and white. But you know what the best thing that can happen is? I can SEE my choices in black and white. I can be accountable for my choices. I can acknowledge what I did and perhaps be persuaded to make better choices next time.

I have a feeling that by logging those peanut butter points, I actually prevented myself from eating *more*. So by journaling, even though I ate more than I "should have", I likely ate less than I *would have*.

So what's the worst that can happen? Nothing. Only good can come of it. And I know that, which is why I am doing everything in my power to force myself to journal. One of the things my leader said at a recent meeting was "If you choose it, disclose it." I love that. And I have not forgotten it since I heard it.

Thanks, Melanie. I'll see you Tuesday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Feelings getting in the way

Links to this post
After an exchange between Sam & Victoria on last week's Biggest Loser, he said this:
"If you do not get anything out of this emotionally and mentally you miss the whole point of yourself being here. Because weight is fluid - not only does it go away, but it comes right back - if you let it. But it comes back when you can't figure out what's going on mentally.
Most of you have noticed I haven't been myself lately - I've been much more introverted than normal.

If you only know me online, then you noticed I've barely blogged in weeks, or you've seen my tweets regarding my mental state of sadness or frustration. And if you wrote to me, you probably noticed that I still haven't answered any email since 3/17 (over a month now - and I'm not sure when I'll answer it).

If you know me in real life, you may know a little more about what I've been going through and chances are you've seen me cry. I seem to erupt into tears very easily these days - something I find tremendously embarrassing, but it's been happening a lot lately. And that's one reason I don't want to be around anyone.

In this emotional state, with everything going on in my head, I haven't been taking care of myself at all - not eating well, not journaling, skipping some workouts, sleeping too much, drinking too much and of course, crying more than I have in years.

Because of this, I've been trying to hide from the world but it's not working. For one thing, I'm very noticeable... between my stupid tattoos and my "look", I get a lot of attention - whether I want it or not (and despite what you may think, I really don't want it). I've spent a lot of time lately wishing I was invisible, wishing I could go to the store or go for a bike ride and actually be ignored. But someone always has to say something to me. Often many people. And then there's the added bonus of being photographed randomly without people asking - mostly by tourists, but not always - when I'm on my bike. It's obnoxious and unnerving.

A couple of weeks ago, I just couldn't take it anymore. (I even changed my phone number to hide from the world for a while.) All of the attention I normally get and deal with was suddenly too much for me to handle - it was putting me over the edge and I felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I felt completely overwhelmed, because everyone wanted something from me - random street conversation with me, photos of me, my body, my opinions, my words, my time. It was just too much with everything I am already dealing with and all I wanted was to be left alone and contemplate my mental state.

That's why I haven't posted anything. I've tried to write a few times, but was unable to put together more than a sentence or two, so I didn't post anything.

As for what I'm going through emotionally, I'm still working through it. In the meantime, I hate this heightened state of emotion I'm feeling. Long ago, I used to be this way all the time, but I haven't felt like this in years and I don't want to feel this way. I think part of the problem is that I didn't allow myself to feel anything for so long - I kept everything and everyone at arm's length. I didn't let anyone get close to me and I didn't allow myself to feel anything real. I was cold and unemotional for so long. So when I finally started to let myself feel again, I began to feel everything and now I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do with all of these emotions; not just the new ones but all of the stuff I kept buried for so long that also seemed to resurface. I think I'm having a mid-life crisis. I'm questioning a lot of stuff about me, my decisions, my life and it's very upsetting.

But I have to deal with it because if I don't, I'll either start to suppress everything again or I'll revert to my old unhealthy and self destructive behaviors to bury the feelings. I don't want to do that. I have to learn and grow and move forward in the healthiest way I can.

I really am going to do my best to get back on track this week - with my behaviors and my writing. It's my top priority. I want to take care of myself. I miss it. I miss feeling good. I miss feeling happy and healthy. I miss blogging and the feedback/interaction I get from all of you. I want to get back to that point more than anything and I'm focusing on doing that.

And for what it's worth, despite my recent attempt to 'hide', I do appreciate every last one of you that has texted, emailed, tweeted and left me messages asking me if I'm ok or checking up on me. It's nice to know so many people (online and in real life) care. I may not have responded but I read everything.
Thank you.

I'll post this week's meeting topic on Tuesday night. See you then :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Biking Adventures: Easter Weekend

Links to this post
Here it is! My biking photo blog from last weekend - better late than never!

With spring officially here, I was so looking forward to going on bike adventures Easter weekend. I call this: "One Weekend, Four Bridges" - Over the two days, I crossed the Williamsburg, the 59th Street, the Brooklyn and the Manhattan Bridges at least once each. (And though technically I also crossed the Pulaski Bridge several times, making it a total of 5 bridges, it simply doesn't have the magnificence of the four bridges I referenced, so I'm not counting it...) Anyway, here are some of the photos from the weekend's festivities...

This is my bike outfit on Saturday. Note: This is the first time in my life I wore leggings - something I thought I would never ever do!

Saturday Bike Outfit

First on my agenda was to meet a fellow Flickr contact, photo enthusiast and Facebook friend, Steve. We've been friends online for a while, but had never met in person until this day. Here's  Steve outside of Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn:

I met Steve Soblick!

And Steve did a great job capturing me here (thanks, Steve!):

Close up, by Steve Soblick


From there I headed over the Manhattan Bridge:

Crossing the Manhattan Bridge into Manhattan

My next destination was Union Square in Manhattan, where they were holding a Pillow Fight (aka "hipster nonsense") and I wanted to see the ridiculousness and get a few shots of it for myself. Of course the crowd was large and I was too late to get close to the event, so I had to prop myself up on a police barricade with my enormous ass on a lamppost to capture any of the absurdity:

How I managed to see above the crowd (with my ass against a lamppost)


Pillow Fight in Union Square

I stayed there for a while but didn't do much more biking that day; it ended up being much colder than I expected. I headed home over the Williamsburg Bridge -

Cool, on the Williamsburg Bridge


I returned back home around 4pm. I lied down for a 'nap' at 4:30, but I was much more tired than I realized because I slept until 7:30 the next morning.

Easter Sunday I had a new dress I wanted to wear - I picked this dress up at Fred Flare a few months ago. Question: How cute is it? Answer: Super Adorabs! (bunny ears from Target, $1)

Bunny Ears. For Easter.

My first stop that morning was the Easter Parade on 5th Ave in Manhattan. Whenever I am headed for the Central Park area of Manhattan, I go there via the 59th St Bridge in Queens:

Tom Cat Bakery Trucks with the glorious 59th St Bridge in the distance


This is 1st Ave in Manhattan after making it over the bridge:

1st Ave between 61st and 62nd Sts in Manhattan

Here is my bike in front of a very colorful display on the corner of Central Park South & 5th Ave in Manhattan:

My bike outside Central Park - so colorful!

This is the 24/7 Apple store on 5th Ave @ 58th Street:

Apple Store on 5th Ave @ 57th St

I parked and wandered around 5th Ave for a while getting pics of the amazing hats and outfits:

Pussy Willow hats - my favorite gentlemen of the day!


And one of my other reasons for visiting the parade was to meet the man behind the MetroCard Art, Andy Padre. Andy makes amazing hats, bags and other fun items out of MetroCards. I 'met' him online last year when he came across my photos of one of his MetroCard shoes, which my friend Joe Katz somehow came into possession of before giving it to me. (which I blogged about) I since learned that he was featured in the New York Times and I knew he'd be at the parade, so I arranged to meet up with him. Here we are (he gave me that great MetroCard messenger bag and bracelet. How cool!)

Andy Padre & Me

It was great to meet you, Andy! Keep up the great work! 

Here is more of his art:



And back on 5th Ave, more hats and whimsy:



Fantastic


mmmm jelly beans

Dogs on Parade

On my way out, I caught this amazing band. I'm only sorry I didn't learn their name, but they were great!


The Plaza Hotel:


the Plaza Hotel on 5th Ave in Manhattan, Easter Sunday

At that point, I had seen enough of the parade, so I headed over to the Apple store. I had made an appointment because the week earlier I did something really stupid - I was in a rush to post my blog that Tuesday night but my computer was overheating. I closed the laptop and let it cool off. When I opened it back up, it wouldn't wake up from sleep and I forced a shutdown of it while I had a bunch of apps open. Apparently I shut it down while the computer was trying to write some data so I lost my Weight Watchers spreadsheet (the one with 3.5 years worth of data that I often take print screens of), in addition to corrupting some photos, losing my sticky notes, and other really frustrating things. I was hoping for a miracle at Apple but long story short, I lost a lot of stuff I can't get back. It's one reason I am even *more* behind in my blogs/computer stuff - I've wasted countless hours since then just trying to get things back in order. Anyway, here is probably my favorite shot of the day - it's the spiral staircase entrance/exit into the store:

spiral staircase in the Apple Store on 5th Ave in Manhattan

After that I headed back to Brooklyn via the Williamsburg Bridge - This time because I was too warm.

I dropped off my computer and changed into less clothes, then got back on my bike and cut through Williamsburg again-


to get to the Brooklyn Bridge -


I headed north when I got to Manhattan and hung out in Union Square for a little while.

Trash in Union Square

From there I just rode around on Park Ave, where they have tons of beautiful tulips planted:

Tulips on Park Ave

As usual, I had to photograph the Chrysler Building. I've never captured it from this side (view from 42nd Street):

Damn, I love the Chrysler Building!

And here is Grand Central Terminal, which you all know I love:

Approaching Grand Central Terminal, riding on Park Ave

Eventually I headed back to Brooklyn (yes, again). This time I took the 59th St Bridge back home. Here it is on the Queens side:

How gorgeous is this bridge?

And then over the Pulaski Bridge, back to Greenpoint, but with a quick stop to photograph midtown:


From there, I went straight to a bar to meet some friends.

After leaving them, I realized it was just the right level of sunset for a fantastic shot of Manhattan, so I did a little more riding - back up to the Pulaski Bridge again to catch this - same view as shown above, just 2 hours later:

Sunset behind Manhattan, view from the Pulaski Bridge

Here's a shot of the stairs that lead up to that bridge. I love the moodiness of the street lighting:


After that I finally went home and showered. Here's my biking stats for the two days. I rode just over 40 miles total (and note: This is a recreation of my spreadsheet. I had to start over from a blank template I had created for a reader months ago):

Activity Easter Weekend Biking

Now I can finally reveal one of my two potential exciting bits of bike news, since one of them is official: I was contacted by Transportation Alternatives to be featured in the Commuter Profile section of the next issue of their quarterly magazine, Reclaim! I was so thrilled to be contacted and didn't hesitate to be included. They interviewed me and we had a mini photo shoot in my neighborhood. Word on the street is that this is the photo they are going to use:



I'm fairly certain the magazine is only available to Transportation Alternatives' members (which I am, of course - and you can be too!), so I will be receiving it in the mail. I'll scan it when it arrives, but the article will be online too, so I'll include the link on my blog when it's available. Thank you, Transportation Alternatives! I can hardly wait! Yay!!


Here's a link to my entire set of photos from Easter Weekend's biking adventures.