Fighting a case of the Mondays


Waking up on a Monday morning is the same for me no matter what coast I am living on. It’s simply brutal.  The alarm clock goes off and I instantly groan.  Within seconds, but rarely feeling like it is quick enough for my liking, my boyfriend hits the snooze button. We then cuddle until the alarm sings out a second time, then a third and often a fourth time.

57437109Finally, that awful announcement rings out one last time telling me I am pushing my luck and need to stop allowing that snooze button to be pushed. From the side of the bed with its mocking instrumental song that I swear would be saying this if there were lyrics to it:

It’s Monday, it’s beautiful, get up off your butt you lazy fool. Look at me, I am as chipper as I am every other morning of the week as should you be!

I always wish I can just set the alarm clock on fire and roll back over, but without a second thought, I roll over as my boyfriend hits the snooze button a last time. It’s Monday after all so I guess I have to get up!

After 45 minutes of this snooze button routine I find the strength to pull my body out of bed and stumble to the bathroom. As I approach the mirror I am immediately thankful that I took my contacts out the night before, the first time I had taken them out in over a month, because my morning mess of hair isn’t fully visible to me as I stand in front of the mirror.  I know I have to look like a tragedy and that’s the last thing I need to witness when tired and grumpy!

The typical Monday anxiety swept up and down my chest as if I was about to go over a drop on an old rickety wooden roller coaster and I thought once again to myself, “well shit, another Monday”. Then stepped into the shower to wash the weekend fun off of me and out of mind so I could focus and start the week with a clean slate.

Trying to make it through my morning routine often seems impossible. I guess the shower doesn’t clean my mind well enough because I tend to still be dragging after.  This morning in particular I dragged as much as I could without making myself late to the office.  It’s strange because yesterday consisted of nothing but resting and relaxing. You would think I had set myself up for the perfect Monday morning, but it’s almost as if nothing I do can get me past a “case of the Mondays” as they would say in the movie Office Space.  It’s the same for me on every coast of the United States and across the world for that matter. I’m just not a morning person regardless of timezone or circumstances.

Knowing that I was screwed if I didn’t take action to combat this vicious case of the Mondays I decided I would treat myself to a Starbucks grande coffee. My magic weapon against my Monday morning exhaustion.  On my way into the office I swung by Starbucks and grabbed just that.  A nice, steaming cup of coffee with a splash of soy milk and a dash of Sweet N’ Low.  It’s like a warm embrace for my throat as I took my first sip. A smile came to my face with every sip that flooded between my lips, past my tongue and down my throat into my stomach.  It didn’t take long for me to feel the rush of caffeine as it seeped into my bloodstream.

The first few sip hit my lips like a charge of electricity.  I knew my Monday wasn’t going to be totally awful after that.  Coffee was in my hand.  With no care in the world when it comes to the fact that my cardiologist, general practitioner, psychiatrist and therapist have all told me to cut back or cut out completely the amount of coffee I drink I just walked to my car sipping away at my bitter, dark and luxurious happy juice.

As I approached my car, a sexy Jeep Grand Cherokee, I placed the paper Starbucks coffee cup on the roof and opened the door.  Heaving my body into the driver’s seat I got physically situated and then reached my hand up blindly to grab my coffee.

Without more than a second of hesitation my hand found it as if the cup had a beacon calling for me to drink some more.  I pulled it into the Jeep and started to place it in the cub holder closest to me when all of a sudden my hand was drenched in hot black liquid.

My eyes darted down to see that some how the cup had gotten squeezed.  The cap Coffee Cuppopped off and coffee exploded from the cup as if it was lava bursting out of an active volcano.

How the heck was I supposed to deal with this? I found some tissues and soaked up as much liquid as I could and then thought to myself, “maybe this is a sign?”

As I mentioned, countless medical providers have told me to either cutback the amount of coffee I drink each week or cut coffee out of my diet completely. From my cardiologist to my gastrologist to my general practitioner to my psychiatrist, no medical provider left the coffee stone unturned. apparently coffee isn’t good for my heart, it’s not good for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which I have, it isn’t good for people with anxiety and in general it is a good idea to not drink a ton of coffee on a regular basis.

Having this in mind both before I purchased the coffee, after I purchased the coffee and while I looked at my spilled coffee all over my Jeep I had one thought come to mind, “Is this karma?”

Coffee was a thing of New York for me.  I use to drink it by the gallon, grab a cup every morning with friends and a refresher every afternoon. Here in California though, the people I surround myself with have been advocating for me to try more natural alternatives to coffee.  Maybe it’s time I find a new secret weapon against a case of the Mondays. There are plenty of ways to energize myself in the mornings including:

  • Exercise: I’ve been trying to run in the mornings, but goodness knows my inability to wake up on a regular day has prevented me from waking up early enough to run on a running day.
  • Water: Drinking tons of water is supposed to help with energy so I have increased the amount of water I drink each day 10 times over.
  • Green Tea:  Green Tea actually contains a large amount of caffeine so you can get that caffeine jolt with out the coffee shakes.
  • Multivitamin’s: Apparently these are supposed to help give you energy, but I don’t notice it in the instantaneous way I do with coffee.
  • Wheatgrass Juice (and Green Smoothies): This is a natural source of energy containing tons of vitamins, minerals and other things to help energize your body.  Tons of my colleagues drink wheatgrass juices and other green based smoothies in the morning.  I’ve tried it once or twice, but still need to give it a fair shot.

There are many other alternatives, but these are some of the ones that are most mentioned to me.  Maybe it’s time I take the next step forward with getting my feet on the ground here in LA and kick the coffee habit I developed in NYC.  I have a feeling Green Tea would stain less if I absent mindedly spilled it all over the car in a half-asleep state of mind like I was in tonight.

What’s your favorite remedy for Monday exhaustion?

The California DMV Tanked My Mood

thAs last week came to an end I announced to my boyfriend, my mother, some colleagues and other friends that I just had to hold out until Monday, May 20th and I will be able to start a new week.  All the stress of back to back travel, events (both work and personal, and a jam-packed schedule was to be left behind me.

Then I got to experience my first trip to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.  It is time I exchange my New York drivers license for a California one.  This isn’t the hardest thing on earth to accomplish, but it isn’t without its hurdles.

First of all, like all Department of Motor Vehicles from across the nation, California’s are no different in that they are historically plagued with long lines.  Who has time for that?  Luckily, I live in the great state of California where their DMV allows you to schedule appointments ahead of time.  That sure kept the stress off of me!

My appointment, which I had scheduled over a month ago, was for this morning at 8:30 am.  The DMV opened at 8:00 am so I assumed there would already be a crowd when I was to arrive at 8:30.

To my surprise when I pulled into the parking lot of the Santa Monica DMV there were very few cars parked in the lot.  I didn’t count my lucky stars yet though. It is a DMV after all.  I assume some people inside couldn’t drive themselves there, if they all could then they wouldn’t be at the DMV right?

I sashayed, in the way that I do, through the front doors to find no line in the place.  The seats to the right were only occupied by a handful of people leaving at least 90% of them empty.  I naïvely laughed to myself and thought, “well this will go much fast than I thought”!

Now all I had to do was fill out the form to exchange my license and take the written test and I would be done.

So I thought, it turns out that I had forgotten to bring a copy of my birth certificate or my passport with me. One of the documents would be required to get a California driver’s license.

Immediately upon realizing I had forgotten these documents I walked back to my Jeep, sat down in the driver’s seat and slammed my head against the steering wheel.  After a long weekend which I had to work during I woke up early this morning just for this test.  I showered quickly and hit the road so I could study some for the written exam on my way and when I arrived.  All that stress was for nothing and I have to go through the entire process of making an appointment that doesn’t conflict with work or my personal life, study and deal with entering the DMV one more time.

There is one thing positive to come out of this experience and that is that California has received a point from me for the speed and efficiency of telling me I was inadequately prepared to apply for my driver’s license.  I feel like I would have been at the New York City DMV for an hour before someone would have told me I was unable to get my license today.

Now I’m stuck trying to shake off the foul mood this has left me in.  I have no driver’s license from California.  I have yet to take the written test.  I have to make a new appointment and wait a couple more weeks and still have to deal with this all over again.  My mental move to be more upbeat, optimistic and in a good mood is off to a rocky start. If only I had realized I needed those documents maybe my goal of starting the week on a positive note could have been achieved.

Totally Fucked – Spring Awakening… it just seems appropriate when you are speaking or writing about the DMV.

Running for Life

Running for Life

What a different type of day!  I’m sitting at home after a long exhausting day of having a bit too much enjoyment.

My legs!

As you many know, if you read my earlier posting, I woke up and decided to approach my day a bit differently than I have in the past few weeks.  Today I decided I would try to function and live.

I did just that once I chugged down my unsweetened iced coffee.  Caffeinated and awake I began to function.  For starters I shaved my legs, that is not at all important for telling the story of my day, but it does explain the first picture I posted on Instagram.  Some may have wondered why I felt possessed to post a picture of my legs and now they know.

From there I put my Nike+ FuelBand and Nike+ SportsBand on my left wrist, grabbed my iPhone and Nike+ headphones and headed toward Central Park.  This was my first run in Central Park since moving to the Upper West Side.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve run in Central Park 100s of times over the past four years, but this is the first time starting on the north end.  Prior to moving up here I always started at the Columbus Circle entrance.

Let me tell you, it is a world different starting at the north side of the park.  Why?  A heck of a lot less tourist.  I

know, this city would be nothing if it weren’t for tourist so we really should, as residents, learn to embrace them.  With that in mind, sometimes you just want to enjoy a relaxing run through the park where you don’t have to jump all around tons and tons of people.

Picture from today’s run in Central Park

That is exactly what happened this time.  No jumping or dodging of tourist.  I hit the trails and headed straight toward the reservoir.  I ran at a full clip for four straight miles.  The sun was beating down on me draining every ounce of energy I had.  I knew very quickly that I had lived up to my mornings commitment to myself.  I was functioning. Albeit the sun started to wear me down toward the end.  I always approach running as if it is a race to the death.  I push myself as fast as I can go for as far as I can go… Something I know people like my mother would suggest I be a little smarter about.  I was always told growing up, “you don’t have to be the fastest, you don’t have to run the farthest, you just have to run forward.”

For the first time in at least a month, I felt alive.  From there the rest of my day was sunshine.  So much so that I decided to pay tribute and honor to this new approach to dealing with this stress, this stress and anxiety that I know won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and go shopping.  I got myself some sassy yellow pants.

Yellow pants like sunshine from H&M

They made my day.  I feel like they are helping me to take a fresh look at life.  I have said for weeks I wanted to change myself.  Now I am.  I even went out for a drink with a friend.  I left the apartment.  It’s a step.

I don’t expect anything to be perfect or any of my problems to wash away or be pushed under the rug, but I do expect myself to do more than sit on the couch 24 hours a day 7 days a week (okay, I don’t expect myself to sit on the couch when I am not at work).

Tomorrow is a new day yet again. I will take everyday one day at a time.  My problems will still be here but I will work on them everyday.  I will learn from them everyday.  I will address them everyday. I will apologize for them everyday.  I know I am not perfect and never will be, but I can be happy again.  It’s funny when I think about it, but I can kind of apply the running mantra spoken about earlier to life, “I don’t have to be the fastest (or the best), I don’t have to go the farthest (I won’t be able to change over night), I just have to move forward.”

Running along the Hudson River

Running along the Hudson River

Hudson River running and bike path around 110th Street

Today’s run was less about adventure and more about relaxation and burning out the stress of life.  I decided to run the lower path of Riverside Park running north from my apartment on the section that stretches out right against the water.  The sun was shinning and glaring down on me pounding my shoulders as I ran along in the 79 degree temperature.

I decided to pick a song that could help motivate me to charge along so I picked Dog Days Are Over by Florence & the Machine.  I’ve let my running lax over the past month and this weekend I have run two days back to back, so really the running dark days are over for me.  At least they are if I keep up this running throughout the next week.

To access this path it is best to enter the park right at 97th Street (or 95th).  If you are not in the area you can take the 1, 2, or 3 train to the 96th Street stop and walk west until you hit the river.  From there just walk north.

After about 2 miles you will get to a great place to rest.  The West Harlem Piers.  If you are walking with friends this is a great place for a picnic.

West Harlem Piers (not the best shot, but I was running)

Once I passed the West Harlem Piers I decided to run a bit farther to explore a new area.  I took a sharp turn to find myself under the West Side Highway.  The contrast between running along the Hudson River to running surrounded by metal and concrete was the exact reason I love New York.  The city has everything to offer, every scene you could want and around every corner is a new experience.

Under the Westside Highway

The only frustrating part of the run was the bikers.  I don’t get bikers in New York City.  They expect cars to share the road with them but a majority of them refuse to share it with pedestrians or runners.  This path has a clearly labeled green line with one side clearly labeled with pictures and text saying bikes to one side and pedestrians only on the other. 

If you run on the bike side of the path you will get screamed at by 3 out of every 5 bikers that pass.  But bikers will ride in the path clearly marked pedestrians only without a second thought.  If you can’t tell I can’t stand bikers.

Biker on the pedestrian only side of the path

My Walk to Work

My walk to work. (Taken with instagram)

One of the best things I have done since the beginning of 2012 was to move from Hell’s Kitchen to the Upper West Side.  Not only is the neighborhood a world better, but I am now amazed by the beauty of my walk to work.  I get to walk about 43 blocks along the Hudson River along the Riverside Park System.

If you live in New York you know the park most likely, if you plan on visiting I strongly suggest you check it out.

Snakes on 9th Avenue

Living in New York City is amazing. You will see just about anything and everything while living here. Unfortunately, that means you will also see some things you wish you wouldn’t have to see. Where am I going with this? Well, I guess you could say this is a second “fashion failure” post.

Yesterday was yet another beautiful August day. The sun was shining and the city was alive. Around 5:00 pm I began my walk home from work yet again. Without a care in the world I sauntered down the west side of 9th Avenue from my office on 59th and 9th. After just three blocks I saw a group of rambunctious teens walking towards me.

They were behaving like most groups of rambunctious teens left alone with no supervision. They were loud, taking up the entire sidewalk and slinging slurs at each other for fun. My first thought was to just avoid them, but I noticed they weren’t bothering anyone and mostly leaving everyone alone. I decided to continue my walk down the west side of 9th Avenue. As they got closer, when we were between 57th Street and 56th Street I noticed the guy that would be passing closest to me was wearing a rather bizarre and 3D outfit.

I focused in on the accessories wrapped around his next and left arm (the arm that was to come within inches of me when we passed a few seconds later). As he got right next to me so that we barely missed brushing each other I noticed that the accessory around his next was not an accessory at all but a living green snack coiled around his next. When I looked at his arm which was just inches from brushing mine I noticed that he was not wearing an accessory on his arm but another living red snake.

You have to understand one thing before I continue retailing this experience, I am terrified of snakes. I am terrified of snakes of all sizes and types. I do not discriminate based on whether the snake is harmless or not, I hate them all equality.

As this red snake came inches from me I jumped and let out a scream that would have done horror movies proud. All the teens busted out into a humiliating laughter. I assume this is exactly what they wanted to have happen as they bounced through Hell’s Kitchen.

Without hesitation I quickly continued moving south and scurried away from them as quickly as I could to not just put distance between me and the laughter but to put distance between me and those awful creatures.

For the rest of my walk home I got shivers up and down my body every few minutes causing me to shake like a dog that had just gotten out of a bath. I don’t get the need to own a snake as a pet. Why not own a rabbit or fish or dog?

Additionally, snakes are not meant to be worn as part of an outfit. Living things aren’t meant to be worn as part of an outfit (at least while they are still alive). This by far was a major fashion and social failure.