things that make me feel like me

There are nice autumn sunsets here. Sometimes I take pictures.


I’m very fond of the Carrboro farmer’s market. I went there with my friend and her kiddo and got this almost overwhelmingly buttery cinnamon roll. And a yummy, cardamom-full chai from the sweet lady who sells the Indian treats.


Have had a few fun girls’ nights this autumn. Here are Myra and I wearing attractive homemade face masks.

I went to a bar (who am I?!) with another friend. They played 90s Mariah Carey and had a glitter pig. It was the besssssst.


Saturday in Saxapahaw! Always makes me feel like me. I was a hot mess this summer and didn’t make it there until the very very last one.


Went with my friends and their bambino (look at the cute bambino feet in the side of the picture! Gah!)

They brought deliiiiiiicious farmer’s market bread, hummus, tomatoes, cheese, and peaches. I brought wheat thins and pimiento cheese and various delicious grain and pasta salads.


They have giant bubbles there. My friends’ baby hasn’t totally figured out the physics that cause this to work effectively, but gosh, some of the little ones were amazing at it!


Taking long rambly walks around the neighborhood makes me feel like me. And also is contributing to my newly instituted fitness regimen! See below. There are always lotsa deer. I give them talking tos when they get too close to the road.


If I am taking a walk, I’m going to seek out a cat. It’s how I do. This one is Biscuit. He often hangs out on the back step to a coffee shop I love. I greet him, and he meows in a crotchety way. So I sit and he gets on my lap and digs his surprisingly sharp claws into my thigh for awhile. It’s nice.


More serene coffee shops. I love getting an Indy (the free local paper that’s a mix of extremely left-wing news reporting, restaurant reviews, concert listings, and an excellent crossword) and an iced tea and just relaxing at at a coffee shop on a Saturday morning.

2015-06-20 11.36.35

Also sometimes I study at the above coffee shop. Often on a Saturday night, because it is markedly less crowded then and they are open til 10 or 11 and I am SINGLE. (Though I always have other exhausted, frazzled, overwhelmed fellow grad students happy to go with me). Having delicious grilled cheese sandies helps get you through it.

This one had bruschetta, lotsa cheddar, and really yummy olive bread all smooshed in a panini press. And yes, I ate all the chips and they were delicious.


Okay moving from my cheesy sandwich with potato chips to healthier topics 🙂

I’ve been so good with fitness lately! I didn’t want to write about it too soon because I was scared I would jinx it. But look! Look at all the exercise I’ve been doing! I tracked it for six weeks and then finally was convinced I was sticking with it!

(I’ve subsequently tracked for 3.5 more weeks, and I will confess that some of those weeks were less impressive than those below- due to travel and sickness- but I’m still active with weekly totals of 210, 115, and 295 minutes, respectively!)

So, Ileana Starts Working Out Regularly: The Data

Week 1
Monday: off
Tuesday: built a bookshelf!
Wednesday: 10 complicated squats, 20 minutes incline power walking, 10 minutes stationary bike, bicep and tricep weights on slow treadmill during cooldown
Thursday: walked home from class (3.4 miles)- about 1 hour, carrying heavy bags
Friday: 40 minutes kickboxing
Saturday: 1 hour walking on the treadmill (slower speed, bigger incline- from about incline 2 to incline 7, at speeds from 3.0-3.3 mph)
Sunday: 20ish minutes walking to and from the river rope swing, a little swimming in the river
Total: approx. 225 minutes of exercise

Week 2
Monday: about 1 hour walking home from school (3.7 miles)
Tuesday: 40 minutes kickboxing
Wednesday: 5.8 mile walk (nonconsecutive; stopped first to people watch at a market and then to pet the crap out of a cute cat)
Thursday: off
Friday: 45 minutes elliptical, 5 minutes cooldown walk on treadmill
Saturday: 2.3 mile walk to and around a pretty meadow
Sunday: 20 minutes elliptical level 6, 25 minutes treadmill 3.5 mph between 3 and 4 incline
Total: approx. 330 minutes of exercise

Week 3
Monday: off
Tuesday: 10 minutes stationary bike, 38 minutes plus 2 minutes cooldown elliptical (went from level 5 to 7)
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 55 minute walk in the morning (2.9 miles), 1 hr 45 minute walk in the evening (5.9 miles)
Friday: 30 minutes on elliptical level 9, 40 minutes inclined treadmill walking (between incline 3 and 5) 3.5 mph
Saturday: 40 minutes kickboxing
Sunday: 5.9 mile walk
Total: approx. 420 minutes of exercise (!!!!)

Week 4
Monday: Chipper: 100 squats, 90 crunches (mix of regular, side and reverse), 80 lunges (1/2 regular, 1/2 reverse), 70 burpees (without the pushup), 60 second plank (divided in 30 and 30 seconds), 50 mountain climbers (in sets of 10 or 15), 40 pushups (on knees), 30 candles, 20 jump squats, another 1 minute plank (40 and 20 seconds)
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 58 minutes plus 2 minutes cooldown of inclined treadmill walking at 3.5 mph between incline 3 and incline 5; then an approximately 2 mile walk with my cousin and her adorable dog
Thursday: off
Friday: 1 hour plus 3 minutes cooldown of inclined treadmill walking, between 3.4 and 3.5 mph, between incline 2 and incline 5
Saturday: playing tag for 20 minutes on the playground with my friend’s kid! (5 year olds could be personal trainers)
Sunday: 6.4 mile walk
Total: approx. 360 minutes of exercise

Week 5
Monday: 3.2 mile walk
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 30 minutes elliptical (between levels 6 and 8), 55ish minutes on the treadmill (mostly 3.5 mph; 3.0 for the last 15-20 minutes; incline between 3.5 and 5)
Thursday: off
Friday: off
Saturday: 5 minutes rowing machine, 45 minutes arc trainer, 10 minutes treadmill at incline level 5 at 3.5 mph, plus walking .4 miles to and from my cousin’s fancy gym!
Sunday: off
Total: approx. 200 minutes of exercise

Week 6
Monday: walked to and from school (6.5 miles)
Tuesday: 30 minutes elliptical, 40 minutes inclined treadmill walking (bn 2.5 and 5.5 incline, 3.5 mph) plus 5 minutes cooldown
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 30 minutes treadmill. Between incline 2.5 and 6. Occasional intervals of jogging 5.8 mph, the rest about 3.5 mph. Then 10 min stationary bike level 4.
Friday: off
Saturday: 38 minutes elliptical plus 2 minute cool down, between levels 5 and 7. And 30 minutes inclined treadmill walking, 3.5 mph, between incline 2.5 and 4.5
Sunday: 5.4 miles walking to and around Carrboro at the music festival
Total: approx. 385 minutes of exercise

So here are some nice things about being newly into fitness:

  • I lost 4 pounds in a month EFFORTLESSLY. Eating whatever I wanted. I’m still a sugar addict.
  • Despite being a sugar addict, it was comforting to know that I was doing something to remove all that glucose from my blood (science!)
  • I was bending down to shave my legs and my calf bulged out like WOAH! It was exciting. And in general I feel stronger. Strong is good.
  • It’s helped my mental health. My wise mother always says, “When your mind is tired, exercise your body, and when your body is tired, exercise your mind”. And it’s true! And my mind is always so so so tired.
  • I get to play outside and meet lots of cats. Obviously.

Now the real challenge will come because WINTER. And my urge in winter is to stay in bed wrapped in a thousand layers eating chocolate.

I made my classmate give me a pep talk to get me to walk home from class yesterday. She went, “Uh, you don’t want to get diabetes?” It was grim but effective.


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