Sad day in the sports world

Today the athlete and sports fan in me feels compelled to share my thoughts on a sad day in the sports world.

We didn’t just lose Junior Seau but today’s news that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition linked to depression and other mental illnesses, was like losing him all over again.

Football, and other sports along the way, have become much more cognizant of the long term affects of concussions. Fortunately it’s also gone beyond the playing fields and floors to an awareness for young children that experience head trauma.

During my childhood, through my professional career as an adult I played hard, got hurt, hit my head, broke bones, blackened eyes, rolled ankles…you name it I did it. But I grew up in a time, and developed the mentality of, get up brush yourself off and keep going. And that mentality carried me through until I suffered a career ending back injury.

I could have undergone surgery and tried to come back but for the first time in my life, brushing myself off wasn’t worth the risk. Hearing my team doctor tell me my back injury would make bearing children a very difficult and painful thing (as if it’s not already painful) somehow made me realize I had jeopardized my body and future quality of life long enough.

I had a doctor that was brutally honest and didn’t just force me to get back on the floor. He told me about how my injury would affect my life.

I’ve read countless Facebook and Twitter comments where fans say football players know the risk, they get paid a ton of money…blah blah blah. That is idiocy is it’s most infantile form.

Junior Seau’s fam is gonna sue the NFL for his brain damage caused by hits? Did they not know that was happenin for the 20 YEARS he played?!

— David Conner (@DConDelight) January 10, 2013

Many players for years and years have not understood or known the risk. Their doctors haven’t told them (an maybe it’s because the doctors didn’t fully know the long term risks at that time) or instead the doctors listened to the athlete saying they feel fine. I hate to be the one to break this shocking news to the sports world, but an athlete always wants to be on the field. They will always feel “fine” no matter how much they hurt or awful they feel. They need doctors, leagues, owners to take their health seriously.

Maybe Seau’s suicide draws some much needed attention to this reality. A man that was known for his smile and vivaciousness spiraled into an inexplicably deep depression leaving family and friends at a loss for what to do.

Thankfully concussions and head traumas are no longer something you just “shake off”. That will hopefully change the course of the future for some athletes years from now. But after decades of helmet to helmet hits I think there will sadly be many more tragedies. Changing the landscape of a sport doesn’t happen overnight.

For now, I think Jordan said it best….

RIP Junior Seau

— Jordan (@jtaylorrr) January 10, 2013

 

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Inspiration

Life is a crazy thing really. The ups and downs, turns and twsits. We dream for things that may never happen. Sometimes things happen we never could have dreamed of. Human nature is such that we strive for control; however control is an illusion even in the lives of those who seem to have taken hold of their preverbal reigns and steered into the successful abyss as if they couldn’t possibly ever experience failure.

I have been having an identity crisis of late. I am about to turn 31 in less than two months. Age isn’t necessarily a big issue for me, or at least I don’t think it is until I realize how old I am and then I examine my life and think…really?? This is where you are?

So let’s review. I am almost 31. Unmarried. No children. I live alone in New York. I am making the least amount of money I’ve made ever. I have four jobs I am currently working…not counting my broadcasting job that is technically seasonal at this point. I’ve never worked this hard in my life and I can’t help but wonder if my life is going backwards.

Then I think of the reasons I am lucky. I have a man in my life who loves me and has stuck with me even when I haven’t stuck with him. When I struggle and have hard days (which have been frequent lately) he is the resounding voice of support and love. He seems to know when a text message to remind me that I am a strong, intelligent, special woman really is the remedy I need most. Knowing someone believes in you even when believing in yourself feels impossible can be enough to lift you out of the dreariness of life and its realities as you drudge through the muck to get yourself back on solid ground.

I also have five jobs in a time when many people cannot find one job. A month ago I needed something to happen to get me through my slow time after spending my savings on vet bills for my sick puppy. Then I got hired to work at a restaurant here in Brooklyn, took a job with a wedding planning in the city, booked some dates with the WNBA for clinics and just yesterday was asked by the principal of a high school in Manhattan to fill out paper work to be a substitute teacher all while I wait for the college women’s basketbal season to start back up this fall. Granted I am working 6 days a week right now, sometimes 7, and as many as 15 hours a day but I am grateful for the opportunities that have been put in front of me.

Still, I think the struggle I am having is not as much working non stop to make ends meet as it is wondering where I am going. I have done things people dream of and never come close to accomplishing. I have been a professional athlete, lived all over the world. I am a sports broadcaster and get paid to talk about sports. Yet, I have this feeling there is something more me, something bigger I am meant to do. I am pissed as hell at myself right now because I find myself losing faith in myself and where I am going; getting caught up in where I am now instead of thinking about where I am going.

Last night when I got home from work I watched the season premiere of The X Factor. The last man to audition on the show was a guy named Chris Rene. A 28 year old trash collector and father of a two year old boy who was just 70 days out of rehab for alcohol, cocaine, and meth addiction. They asked him what he was going to sing and he said an original song he had written. When they asked him what it was called he said “Young Homey” and the judges tried not to snicker and prepared themselves for something awful which they get more times than not. When the music started and Chris began to sing/rap he blew everyone away. You could see the shock and amazement on the judges faces as the song went on. I myself have now listened to it countless times.

Chris inspired me at a juncture in my life when I was struggling to inspire myself. I’m sure he never imagined being 28, married with a son, a recovering addict working as a trash collector. Life provides us all opportunities. Some earlier than others. It’s just a matter of whether we give-up before our own personal opportunity presents itself. Chris inspired me not to give up. To keep believing in that gut feeling I have that there is something more for me out there.

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R.I.P Hektor

Mark Twain wrote: “The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.”

Most people have had a dog at one point in their life.  They know the joys of watching your puppy discover its tail for the first time, snuggle with you on the couch, or react as if they had just won the lottery when you walk through the door at night.  The frustrations of finding a warm surprise on your rug, your favorite pair of shoes reduced to shreds, or learning that a raw steak on the counter top is just too tempting.  And if they haven’t already, will know the sorrow of loss when man…or in this case, woman’s best  friend, goes off to Mark Twain’s doggie heaven.

Nine days ago I lost my baby boy Hektor to cancer.  He was two months shy of turning 10 years old, and yet, I genuinely believed I had more time with him…but it wasn’t to be.  Many people are now going through the same thing I just experienced, many people will at one point, and I hope that this helps you in some way.

Hektor was diagnosed with cancer in March.  I opted for radiation and was told Hektor had about 85% chance of full recovery.  He went through 16 radiation treatments during the month of April in California where he was with my parents.  Once the weather was well enough for animals to fly, my parent’s flew out to New York with Hektor and my other beagle Ella.  He seemed like a happy healthy unaffected dog and I let myself believe that he was in fact cancer free and he would be with me for years to come.

When he went in for his check up with the oncologist the beginning of August they found modules in his liver and spleen and I knew his cancer was indeed still there.  There was nothing more I could do.  Of course the oncologist wanted to discuss chemotherapy and such, but after radiation failed, I didn’t think it was fair to put him through further treatments and decided to let him live out his life as the active happy dog that he was.

It was only two weeks later he started getting sick.  Within 72 hours, Hektor passed.  I was shocked at how quickly it went.  He never seemed sick or to not feel well.  Looking back at it I realize he very well could have been feeling ill for a while and I never would have known it.  I remember driving home from Phoenix when Ella was still a puppy  and stopping about an hour from my parent’s to let the dogs go to the bathroom.  Hektor took off smelling everything in site.  We weren’t out of the car more than a few moments when Ella started screaming like she was being torn apart.  I picked her up and found she had stepped on a sticker.  We have these little oval stickers at home  that are no bigger than the tip of your pinkie finger but have spikes all around it like a teeny tiny porcupine.  It occurred to me when I pulled the sticker out of Ella’s foot that Hektor had been in the same area so I hunted him down, picked him up and examined his feet.  He had more than 20 stickers in all four of his feet!! He hadn’t made a sound.  Pain wasn’t something Hektor paid much attention to.  He was far more interested in smelling and exploring things that something silly like pain!

If Hektor had been feeling any pain caused by his cancer, I would never had known it. Thursday, after not being able to keep any food down I knew he wasn’t well.  By Saturday afternoon, I noticed Hektor’s eyes were turning yellow as well as the skin on his belly and I knew that his liver was failing.  Despite trying to be optomisitc that his recent sickness was possibly a stomach virus, I knew there was only one more thing I could do for Hektor; a dog that had done more for me than I ever could have known the day I picked out the cute puppy with the floppy ears at the pet store in Phoenix.

I took Hektor into the vet and she examined him and hesitated when she said, “Well, we can do our best to make him comfortable” because I knew she didn’t want to tell me there was nothing more we could do for Hektor.  I told her I knew what I had to do.  She explained the process to me and said she would take him in the back to put  the catheter in his leg and bring him back into the exam room. 

They put down a blue and white flowered quilt on the floor and laid him down.  They left me with him for a while.  I laid on the quilt with Hektor and held him and talked to him.  I told him how much he was loved and what a good boy he was and had always been.  I scratched his chest, which was his favorite thing in the world.  (He would jump up on the couch, take his paw and pull your hand to his chest! When you stopped, he would pull it back.  Then after what seemed like an eternity later, he would collapse and fall asleep but would fight it as long as he could just to have his chest rubbed.) I laid there for several minutes with him, kissing his head where he would always push back for more kisses.

When the vet came in, I stayed there, laying on the floor with him, holding him, while she gave him the injections.  They first give a shot that makes them go to sleep before they give them the shot that will stop their heart.  When she gave him the shot to put him to sleep, he yawned big and fell right to sleep. I talked to him and stroked him the entire time.  I remained there with him alone for a while afterwards. 

It was by far the most difficult thing I have been through in my life.  I walked out of the vet that day and just kept walking.  There was no where for me to be so I just kept walking.  My legs were numb and my mind and heart was heavy.  And sadly, what was running through my mind is that I don’t have the strength to go trough this two more times.

I grew up on a ranch with tons of animals and pets.  This wasn’t my first pet to pass away.  However, it is a whole different beast when it is YOUR pet and not a family pet.  Before I took Hektor to the vet that day, I called my dad and asked what I should do.  I knew his liver was failing and told my dad and he burst into tears right along with me on the phone.  My 9 year old niece, when she found out later that day said to her mom, “Well mommy, now he is in heaven with Joe and I bet Joe said to him when he got there, ‘Well, it’s about time, I’ve been waiting for you!'”  She had lost her boxer Joe a few months earlier and was certain he was waiting for Hektor in doggie heaven.

I wish I still had her innocence to look at Hektor’s death that way. 

But, I know now, days later and countless tears cried, Hektor gave me far more happiness and joy than I ever bargained for.  And I am blessed, because as I write this I have two sleeping puppies on the couch next to me and know there is a lot more doggie happiness and joy to come my way; I know there is also more sorrow to come, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

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Pets – Nothing But A Heartache??

I have three dogs.  Hektor, a chocolate beagle who will be 10 in October, Ella, a blue ticked beagle that just turned 8 in June and Mischa, a miniature daschund that just turned 5 this month.  Pets are a huge commitment and I knew that getting in.  Granted, when I first got Hektor in January of 2003 I had no idea that I would end up with three dogs.  Pets are a slippery slop for those with soft hearts!

I had wanted a dog for a long time by the time I got Hektor.  I was extremely rational in the acquisition of that puppy I knew would be with me through many phases of my life.  I got the puppy itch my junior year of college when I saw a beagle puppy at a pet store in Santa Barbara.  I knew then I would get a beagle.  But I knew that it wasn’t fair to my future puppy to get him/her while I was still in college.  It wouldn’t have been fair to my roommates either!

I was drafted to play for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA in April of 2002.  I moved to Phoenix for the summer and returned to Santa Barbara to complete my final quarter of college that fall.  On January 3, 2003 I flew back to Phoenix for what would be a permanent move to the Valley of the Sun.  Someone from the Mercury picked me up at the airport, took me to my apartment and gave me the keys to my team car.  I put my bags down in the apartment just inside the door and turned around, got in my car and started driving.  I went to four pet stores in Phoenix that day looking for Hektor.  I knew exactly what I was looking for.  I had seen a chocolate beagle in a store in Phoenix the previous summer and fell in love.  Chocolate beagles are only come in males.  I finally found Hektor.

I sat in the room alone with Hektor at Puppies-n-Love in Chandler and fell in love.  He was 12 weeks old when I got him and had been in the store for almost a month.  After they bathed him and blew him dry, he appeared with a big yellow bow around his neck and I paid the $1100 and took my baby home.

I know $1100 is kind of steep for a dog.  But Arizona doesn’t regulate their breeding polices so they are often inbreed leading to health problems down the road.  And I had waited so long for a puppy, I physically couldn’t make myself wait a second longer.

The first night I had Hektor, he slept in bed with me, curled up in the nook between my side and my arm with his head resting on my shoulder.  I was absolutely in love.  After night one, my boyfriend at the time, informed me I had made a mistake by letting him sleep in bed with me.  Apparently, he refused to sleep in bed with a dog.  Thus started the two week long agony of crate training.  I don’t know who it was harder on, Hektor or me.  At the start, I had to put him in his crate and lay my head inside next to him until he fell asleep.  He would wake up in the night and we would repeat this process after going out to potty.  Gradually we progressed until I would have the crate door closed with just my fingers poking through until he fell asleep. 

After all that hard work, when my boyfriend graduated from UCSB and moved to Phoenix with me, the first road trip I went on, Hektor slept in bed with him and all that work went out the door.  Hektor never slept alone again!

Ella came in September of 2003.  Hektor was extremely social and it got to the point where his frequent trips to the dog park weren’t cutting it anymore.  He would be noticably sad when we left so I went shopping for a play mate that would suit Hektor perfectly.  The pet store allowed their customers to custom order a puppy.  You would describe what kind of puppy, sex, color, etc. and they would bring in up to three puppies to try and meet your desires and if you decided not to purchase that puppy, they would sell it in their store. 

I had seen a blue ticked beagle in a pet store months before.  They are all black with tan, white and black ticking along their legs and bellies.  Each time the store called saying they had a puppy in I would go and meet her.  They were absolutely adorable but I knew Hektor needed someone that would be able to play but also keep him in line.  The third puppy I met was Ella.  She had just gotten to the store 30 minutes before I arrived.  She was 8 weeks old, 4.5 pounds and had flown 4 hours on a flight to Phoenix from Missouri.  When I went into the room, I expected this scared little puppy….she indeed had had a long day.  What I got was a little ball of fire!! She played so hard and acted like absolutely nothing had happened.  I knew I had a winner!!

On the drive home, unlike Hektor who laid in my lap the whole drive home from the puppy store, Ella explored the entire car.  She ended up in the back of the Envoy after crawling over the back seat all by herself.  When I walked into the house, carrying Ella, who fit into my two hands, I sat her down on the kitchen floor and Hektor ran up to her.  Within two seconds, all 4.5 lbs. of Ella had Hektor on his back wondering what the hell had just happened.  She became the Alpha dog before Hektor knew it was another dog and not some kind of hamster!

For a month, no one but Ella existed in Hektor’s world.  He would lay down and curl up in a ball and she would curl up on top of him.  When she wanted to stretch out, he would use her belly as a head rest.  They were absolutely in love and I was in love with them.

Mischa came into the picture in 2006.  I first met her when I went to Bakersfield to visit my new boyfriend.  He was coaching a NBA D-league team there and lived with the other assistant coach whom he knew from their playing days in the NBA.  Mischa was only around two or three months old when I first met her.  She was absolutely adorable.  She would crawl up on Ike’s belly, her owner at the time, and watch him eat.  You have to understand Ike is about 6’10” and probably 300+ pounds!  He used to wrap her up in a pink Winney the Pooh receiving blanket and she would doze on his belly. 

Ike had originally gotten Mischa as a present for his little girl.  Unfortunately, he and his wife decided to divorce and he took Mischa.  With his job, he found himself traveling constantly and Mischa was often left with whomever he could find to take her while he traveled.  I asked Ike the spring of 2007 if I could take Mischa.  It took him a week to decide, and despite the fact that he didn’t really want to give her up, he knew that I would be able to take better care of her.  I picked her up in April of 2007 when she was eight months old.  She instanteiously became my shadow…and remains such today!

I have traveled and lived all over the world since 2003 when I started my own little family.  My parents have been wonderful and have had my babies with them on our family ranch at times when I travel or was living abroad.  When I moved to New York in October of 2010, Hektor and Ella stayed with my family and Mischa made the drive across country with me.  My intentions were to get to New York and get settled and then fly home for Christmas to bring Hektor and Ella home with me.  We got as far as Dallas on the day the worst snow storm since 1911 hit New York.  We had to turn around and return to California.  After that, the weather was too cold for them to fly and I had to wait until May for my parents to fly out with them once the weather had warmed up.

I was on air doing a women’s college basketball game on ESPN when I got a text from my mom this past March.  Hektor had developed a lemon sized lump on his back right leg over night.  Monday morning my parents took him to the vet and they took him into surgery right after examinig him.  They discovered he had a mast cell tumor; biopsies showed it was cancerous.  After a lot of consideration on what course to take, I decided to do everything possible to save my baby.  My parents drove Hektor to Sacramento to an oncologist where he spent 24 days in their hospital in order to receive 16 radiation treatments.  The cost of his treatment could have covered my rent here in New York for 7 months but all I could think of was that goofy little puppy that used to trip over his ears and run head first into the wall.  I used my savings to save my puppy.

Hektor went to an oncologist here in New York the beginning of August for a check up.  He had developed two lumps, one on his front leg and one on his rib cage.  An ultra sound of his stomach showed spots in his liver and spleen.  They asked permission to take samples of the modules with needles.  They tried a mild setitive and he still wouldn’t calm down.  They wanted to put him under.  I finally decided not to do any more tests.  I knew what it was.  And I knew I wasn’t going to put Hektor through anymore treatment either.  Not only can I not afford it, but my heart was telling me it isn’t fair to keep treating him when it is me who needs to learn to let go.

That was seventeen days ago now.  Then this past Wednesday night, Hektor started throwing up.  The next day, he couldn’t keep anything down, food or water, and he wouldn’t get up off the couch.  He didn’t even want to go outside for walks.  I called my vet and he said keep and eye on him and see how he is doing Monday.  I took him in Friday after the vomitting wouldn’t stop.  His eyes were blood shot and red and I knew my little boy was in pain.

All day I tried to prepare myself for what whould happen at 3:30.  I lay on the floor with Hektor and cried and just held him.  I forced myself to think about having to make the decision to end his suffering and I knew that if that was what I needed to do, I had to do it.

My friend Sarah drove Hektor and I to the vet.  After examining him, my vet told me he thinks maybe he just has a bad virus.  He gave him and IV to try and hydrate him along with some anti-nausea medicine with instructions not to let him eat or drink for 24 hours.  He said he should start to improve soon.  If he doesn’t, he said he would like to hospitalize him for further evaluation. 

It was good news.  Here I was, thinking I might be seeing him for the last time but it may only be a stomach virus.  I started thinking about my paranoia over his cancer.  That I was being a crazy pet owner and jumping to conclusions.

At 5:30 last night I took the dogs out for a walk.  30 yards from the house, Hektor laid down and wouldn’t get back up.  I had to carry him all the way home and lay him down in his dog bed.  He has been there, unmoving, since.  There is no improvement.  My happy, rambunctious, affectionate puppy who always wants to be on your lap is laying there unmoving.  His eyes are red and droopy…sad. 

There is this part of me that knows, that knew yesterday…this isn’t a stomach virus.  He is sick.  He is in pain.  I can tell by looking at his eyes.  But I cannot bring myself to say enough is enough.  I listen to the vet who, along with me, hopes for the best.  But I know Hektor, like any other dog owner can attest to.  You just know your dog.  It’s like they have a direct line to your heart and can speak to you that way.

My heart is telling me I need to not prolong this.  But there is that small part of me that says, what if you’re wrong and you end it when he might have more time??

When you’re sitting in that room at the pet store with your healthy little puppy for the first time, you don’t think of this moment.  You don’t consider the heartache that comes with the joy and happiness that little puppy will bring to your life.

My great grandmother (an owner of many dogs during her lifetime) used to say, “A puppy is nothing but a heartache.”

Is that true?

Sitting here now, watching my little boy sleep in his dog bed and frequently checking to see if he is still breathing, I can’t help but think of those words.  The heartache I feel right now is more than one can ever imagine until you are in the exact situation I am today.  However, I know that if I never had the joy, laughter, and love that puppy has brought me, I wouldn’t feel this heartache.

So I can say, yes, puppies are a heartache.  But that isn’t all they are.

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30 Day Challenge – Done and DONE!

So you may all be wondering why I disappeared a week into my 30 Day Challenge which had me abstaining from bread, pasta, cheese, sugar and alcohol.  Some people decide to abstain from things like…how shall I say it….adult relations, but for me to abstain from that for 30 days quite frankly doesn’t pose any kind of challenge! Rest assured, I didn’t disappear because I fell off the cheese wagon! My website was having some technical difficulties that prevented me from being able to access my website as an administrator and add or change content!! The 30 day challenge went extremely well!

Honestly, it wasn’t that difficult, especially in the beginning.  It was the perfect time of year to try this.  With the heat wave conditions in New York this summer, not eating heavy foods like bread, pasta and cheese wasn’t all that bad.  It forced me to focus more on eating lots of fruits and vegetables which I had gotten away from since moving to New York.  There is a wonderful produce market not a hundred yards from my house here in Brooklyn so I was able to easily find a wide variety of fresh produce. 

There were a few times where the challenge was definitely difficult.  Social settings!!  Being at home, even going to restaurants where there is an assortment of things you can order off the menu, didn’t pose any kind of problem.  However, there were a couple times when I went to an event with friends where it became difficult.  A group of friends and I went to Opera in the Park in Central Park and saw La Boheme.  We also went to the Brooklyn Bridge Park where they play movies on the big screen Thursday nights and saw Ghostbusters.  Being able to do things like these are just one of the reasons I really enjoy New York.  However, when we go to these things we all bring food and wine and that is where this became hard for me!

Our usual fare includes a cheese plate, pasta salads, bread, crackers, chips and salsa…you name it we bring it! Oh and lots of wine!! Not only could I not have about 90% of what we bring to such things  I also had to explain WHY I couldn’t eat these things and all it ends up doing is making me look like one of those insane diet freaks who clearly isn’t fat but acts as if they are grossly over weight.  Yes….it made me look like a calorie counting weight obsessive women which I clearly am not!!

In fact, after those two outings I turned down a few other things because I really didn’t want to deal with the whole situation again!

But that wasn’t the only problem.  I also became extremely bored with cooking and creating things that I could eat.  I ate a lot of fresh fish, fruit salads, green salads, etc., but after a while I lost interest in the whole process and ended up eating raisin bran for a lot of dinners! Being that I ate raisin bran every morning, for many days it constituted 2 of my meals a day.  And yes…for those of you sticklers out there saying “but raisin bran has sugar in it”…yes, I am aware of that, however, I didn’t put sugar in my coffee or eat any desserts so the sugar in the raisin bran wasn’t a complete disaster.  In fact…there was an upside to the whole thing…I was very…regular!

Now, you might wonder what my first meal was when the 30 days expired.  I drove up to the Catskills with some friends for the weekend so when we got there, our host made a homemade pizza with chorizo, cheese and a basil pesto sauce along with some lovely red wine! It was a great way to end my 30 day challenge!

As I kept saying, it was never intended on being a “diet”.  I weighed myself on day one and then upon finishing and only lost 3 pounds.  I didn’t limit portion sizes or skip meals.  I ate what I wanted within my “approved” food categories, when I wanted to.  However, I do feel one other factor did account for only a 3 pound difference from start to finish.  About 8 days in, I threw my back out.  My lovely playing days injury rearing it’s ugly head again!  Therefore, for over two weeks, I was unable to work out at all.  It must be that or else the theory of carbohydrate consumption being linked to weight gain wouldn’t necessarily make sense would it?!!

I celebrated the successful end of my 30 day challenge by exploring my “Italy’s 500 Bestever Recipes” cookbook by dedicating myself to making one thing every day! Yesterday, I made two (I missed a day in between so I had to make up for it).  I had an amazing spinach and mascarpone fusilli pasta dish for dinner that was light and extremely easy to make.  I also made a great ricotta cheesecake with lemon and orange zest that turned out quite well!!  Who knows what today’s Italian delight will be!!

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30 Day Challenge – Day 6

Day 6 of my 30 day challenge proved how difficult it is to socialize/travel and “diet” (again, I am not on a diet but for lack of better terminology I will use that awful word). 

I went to Prospect Park here in Brooklyn today with my 3 adorable pooches and spent a few hours enjoying the amazing weather we are having here in New York.  Normally I would have taken something to snack on and bought something there if I got hungry.  But when you cut out bread, pasta, cheese, sugar and alcohol you can’t really rely on being able to easily buy the things you can eat.  I went to Washington D.C. on day two and put on a basketball clinic and took all kinds of things to eat for the very same reason.

I decided to pack some mixed nuts and dried fruit, an apple, celery sticks which basically serve as a spoon for creamy peanut butter, and the amazing fruit salad I had made a couple days ago…along with plenty of water.  It required a bit of planning but even worse I had to haul all this along with the other necessary items like magazines, book and a blanket while being walked by 3 dogs over 2.5 miles each way! And yes, I did mean BEING walked…I am outnumbered so therefore believe it qualifies as ME being walked!

The food was fine.  Salad was delicious and refreshing in the heat but what I really missed is what is best on nice sunny hot summer days….a really cold beer!  I am not much of a beer drinker in my old age.  I’m much more of a wine person in my advancing years…beer makes me feel full and bloated and that’s not really what I’m going for.  But in the summer, on a hot day there is nothing better!!

As much as I would have enjoyed a cold one, I wasn’t in the least bit tempted to get one.  I call that a successful day out! However, I do live right around the corner from a Dunkin’ Donuts and in the 6+ months I’ve been in my apartment I have never once gone in (AND I LOVE DONUTS!!!), which makes me feel like in a small way I actually have been dieting for the six months!

I was supposed to go into the city tonight to a friend’s party but after the day out paired with the fact I had beer on the brain I decided going to a party where everyone else was drinking and I would have to explain countless times why I was not wasn’t at all tempting.  So I opted to stay in and make myself a great dinner.

When I got home I walked a block and a half to the produce market down the street.  I got all kinds of fresh fruit and veggies for my dinner.  I decided to make a hodge podge of a bunch of things and put it over white rice.

Day 6 dinner was a complete success! I sautéed a chicken breast with diced red onions, diced yellow bell peppers, cilantro (my all-time favorite herb), then added some frozen corn and frozen mango chunks from Trader Joe’s.  I added a little rice vinegar and a bunch of Cholula Hot Sauce (which I can honestly eat on anything) and let all those wonderful flavors meld together.  It was amazingly delicious, very healthy and completely filling!

And to think my boyfriend told me today that he hates when I don’t eat because it makes me grumpy! First off…I am eating a ton (as you can see by the picture of my dinner plate!) and secondly one might be able to associate the grumpiness with other obvious things (like the fact that I haven’t seen him in 18 days and still have a while until I do!!) Men think they know everything but it is shocking how little makes sense to them!!

Tomorrow (Sunday) is day 7! I’ll be a ¼ of the way done.  This is a piece of cake…oh, that would be really good right now…a nice moist red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting…oh crap.  Gotta go!

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Day 1-Day 5: Easy Smeasy!!

I had a revelation about a month ago that bread, pasta, cheese, alcohol and sugar constituted about 75% of my diet!! Which when I stepped on the scale and saw myself at a buck seventy-five made a lot of sense.  I am not one of those chicks that walks around saying “Ugh, I’m so fat”….yada yada yada.  The trick about weight for me (and I wish it for all women) isn’t about a number on a scale but about how I feel in my own skin.  Truth be told, I don’t feel good in my own skin…so I am the only one who can change it!

I must admit, having been a professional athlete and played in a league that has the best athletes in the world, I realize my idea of “in shape” is a bit skewed.  I am now over 30 (yes I am also a woman that will be honest about her ago…but only because google will tell you if I don’t) and I don’t burn 2000 calories a day seven days out of the week.  To be honest, I’m releived I don’t have to because my body has paid the price of years of wear and tear.  Because of this it has been a struggle the past several years for me on a personal level to find the middle ground between feeling good about what my body looks like and having that 5% body fat when every muscle in your body shows and your are “dimple” free regardless of which way you cross your legs!

One might expect given my former profession that I would be a disciplined person.  Well, I am very disciplined and very undisciplined at the same time.  I can deal with restrictions, such as no bread, pasta, etc., but I cannot deal with restrictions such as caloric intake and tiny bird sized portion control.  I know this because I have tried and haven’t ever really gotten past the 7 day mark!  Thus I decided to challenge myself in a different way.

For 30 days I will cut out bread, pasta, cheese, alcohol and sugar.  I am not cutting out whole categories.  No cheese does not mean no dairy.  No bread does not mean no corn chips.  I am very basically cutting out those five things because those are the things I love the most.  The other important thing about this experiment or challenge is I do not have a goal of how much weight to lose.  I did weigh myself on day one but I will not (and don’t feel women as a whole should do this either) weigh myself every day.  The only reason for weighing myself is to see at the end if it those things are entirely respnsible for my weight and “softness” of my body right now!! Who knows…I may just be getting old! If that’s the case, then that is a whole other challenge!

The people I have told about this 30 day hiatis from the things I love the most ask me one thing.  What do you eat then?? Good question.  Let me share day 1.

Day 1 breakfast:  raisin bran with a banana and fat free milk. Coffee with fat free half-n-half with stevia instead of sugar.  Day 1 lunch: 1 mango, 1 peach, 4 strawberries together with about a 1/3 of a cup of almonds.  Day 1 dinner: grilled asparagus, cabbage and carrot salad with red wine vinegar along with baked white fish with a mango, cucumber and onion homemade salsa!

It was delicious.  I realized on day one just how few fruits and vegetables I was eating.

So here I am at the end of day 5 and I have already consumed more fruits and vegetables than I probably did in the previous 30 days.  It hasn’t been hard either.  Of all the things I miss the most I miss cheese!  It is just a fabulous addition to any meal or even just on it’s own!!  But after one trip to the grocery store and my final bill was about $100 less than what it usually is, it was painfully obvious how expensive my fatty fatty 2×4 diet is!  No alcohol and no cheese…just think of the money I will save in 30 days!

Stay posted and see how the next 25 days goes.  I can’t help but think it will get harder than the first 5

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Finally Up and Running!!

So apparently moving to New York from California, selling three quarters of your personal belongings and changing careers is a time consuming venture! Here I thought that I would be able to document my entire move and keep up with my brand new personal website throughout this whole experience…but I was horribly mistaken. Three months later and the start of a new year I am finally getting this all taken care of.

Stay posted in 2011! It’s my New Year’s resolution to dedicate myself to this website. I must say…it may be a bit of self therapy but you’ll probably get a kick out of it nonetheless!

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Want Models? Role Models? WNBA Embodies Female Athlete

Copyright (c) 2005 The Arizona Republic

Publication: The Arizona Republic
Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Sports
Page: C8
Illustration:Color photo
Column:KAYTE’S CORNER

WANT MODELS? ROLE MODELS? WNBA EMBODIES FEMALE ATHLETE

By Kayte Christensen, Special for The Republic
This week I am making an exception from my usual light-hearted subject matter to respond to an article recently written by conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel comparing the WNBA with IndyCar driver Danica Patrick.
I feel it is my responsibility as a WNBA player to address the idiocy and insults presented in “Lesbian Basketball, Season 9 vs. the Indy Chick,” posted on Schlussel’s Web site.
According to Schlussel, whose credentials include writing for the New York Post and guest appearances on the O’Reilly Factor, the difference between WNBA players and Patrick is that Patrick looks like a woman, as opposed to the 169 players in the WNBA, who look like men.
Unlike Schlussel, I don’t want to take any credit away from a female trying to succeed in a man’s world, but let me point out a few obvious differences between the “raven-haired, petite Patrick” and the athletes in the WNBA.
The WNBA is a contact sport that requires extreme physical strength, endurance, talent and mental toughness. By the time an athlete makes it to the highest level, which is the WNBA, she already has been participating in this physically demanding sport for at least 10 years; our bodies are a reflection of this.
As professional athletes, certain muscle mass is necessary to prevent injury. Keeping our bodies strong and healthy does not make us men, nor does it in any way make us ugly.
Since when has being “good looking” been a requirement for any professional male athlete?
So why are professional female athletes judged so severely? Men are judged solely on their performances.
Our fans attend WNBA games because they want to see a fun, exciting style of basketball in which women are being displayed in a positive light. But Schlussel maintains that because the WNBA includes lesbians, unwed mothers and tall, “unattractive” women among its players, we are bad role models for young girls.
Explain to me how professional male athletes who admit to having sex with thousands of women, who stand trial for sexual assault, murder, drug charges and so on, are better role models for the youth of this country than someone like Anna DeForge, a player who was cut from her WNBA team but had the dedication to her sport to return to the league years later and become one of the league’s top players.
It is disgraceful that we live in a society where women are proving themselves qualified to compete vs. men in the business world, political world and on playing fields, yet as a society we can’t get past the idea that being beautiful is the most important thing a woman should strive to be. It is disgraceful that Schlussel, as a woman, can’t see the importance of the WNBA not only as a sports league but as an entity that is fighting to provide women with the same opportunities as men.
This is why NBA franchises, Commissioner David Stern, WNBA President Donna Orender and team owners are willing to lose money while giving this league a chance to succeed in all realms, not just financially. They realize the importance of the WNBA to changing our society’s narrow-minded view and giving women the chance to make their marks on a world of professional sports in which men have had a 50-year head start.

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