Sunday, December 22, 2013

Eat the Food

Oh has been a while.  I started this blog so I could be totally open in sharing with you the ups/downs/triumphs/trials of aiming for healthier living.  Most of you know that.  Then, over the spring/summer/fall, I ended up with a lot more Facebook friends.  Don't get me wrong, friends are awesome and all that....but, well, do I want to share all this crap with all of them?  

I wasn't sure.

I get personal here.  For me, it is so much easier to share stuff with people I don't know in real life (unless they are my true friends who know me), which is probably why I did so well with SparkPeople.  Honestly....a lot of my Facebook friends know me now...they don't know the chick who weighed 270+ pounds, they don't know how hard it is to deal with being the biggest chick in the room; to be invisible and all too visible at the same time.  (Let me expound on that.  When you're a fat seriously, truly fat, people ignore you.  But stare at you.  The best example I have of this is walking down the street, and someone is coming in the opposite direction.  Complete strangers will stare you down the entire time they are approaching you, and the second you get to the point where you would say "hi", they divert their eyes and ignore you.  Once I lost a bunch of weight, people have been much more engaging.)

Anyways, that was a lot of verbiage for me to simply say, I wasn't sure if I wanted all my Facebook friends reading this.  Judging me.  Whatever.

But you know what?  Fuck it.  People don't have to read this.  They can ignore it.  And if they want to read this, and make fun of me, and look down on me, well fuck them.

Some of you know that my focus in exercise has shifted from running to weightlifting (ha....but I have Ragnar rapidly approaching, so I gotta start getting my run on). And that my philosophy towards eating has changed rather dramatically.  I no longer count calories (which became obsessive).  I eat what I want.  When I want.  I mostly choose healthy foods.  But, there are no foods off limits.  The goal here is to not have "good" or "bad" foods....just food.  If I want pizza, I'll have pizza.  And not feel guilty about eating it, sending me into a spiral of self-hatred, which leads to eating junk all day because I fucked up.  And not have to over-exercise to compensate for it.  

I've learned that yes, although I've lost a bunch of weight, my methods in doing so definitely caused some disordered eating habits.  I would work out 2x a day and subsist on a diet of 1600-1800 calories.  No wonder I was dizzy all the time.  Going out to eat was a chore.  I had to check out menus beforehand, have a plan, and was pissed if someone wanted to share an appetizer....extra calories!  I'd have to workout harder the next day to make up for my sins. 

And what was I working towards?  I don't even really know.  I wanted to weigh less. I was certain that when I got to where I'd be happy, I'd know. I just wanted to lose more, and more, and more.

Now...since weightlifting (and the support of some awesome online friends), I've realized how truly fucked up that way of thinking was.  Why can't I just aim to be the best version of me that I can be?  Not a version defined by a number on the scale, or the size of my pants, but a version that can be both physically and mentally strong and happy.  I know, shocking!  This goes against the theory of most of my friends, which is probably why I've been in hiding.  Everyone wants to lose weight.  They're not happy until they lose "x" amount of pounds, or until they hit whatever arbitrary number it is that makes them happy.

Well, I'm over it.  I just want to be happy.  And saying I have to weigh "x" amount of pounds just doesn't do it for tells me that until I hit that number, I'm not good enough.  And you know what?  I am good enough.  Right now.  As I am.

I'll leave you all with a little snippet of what happened to me at the gym this morning:
I did a little elliptical warm-up, lifted some weights, and ended up on a treadmill next to a friend I hadn't seen in several months.  Our convo went something like this:

Friend: You're looking good!
Me: Ummm, thanks.
Friend:  No, really.  You look great!  You look toned....I need to get back into that.
Me:  Really?!  Well, thank you!  I've actually gained like 20lbs.
Friend: I would have guessed that you lost some weight.
Me: I like to lift a lot.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Vacuum

So.  A dear friend of mine posted a blog titled "In a Vacuum, No One Can Hear You Suck" (or something like that).  And it got me thinking.  I've been living in a vacuum.  Well, kinda.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  When I'm feeling crappy, or down on myself, I turn inward.  I become less social, less outgoing, and more of a hermit.  I don't want to bother, or be bothered with, people.  Sure, I can *kinda* fake it, but deep down, who the hell am I kidding?  But if I hide, no one can hear me suck.

Anyways.  The Couch to 5k program is over.  It has been for a month.  Yet, I didn't blog about it.  I didn't have the energy to.  (I can already tell, this blog is going to be all over the place and a little ADD.  You've been warned.)  Don't get me was the awesomest experience ever, and I've already been asked if I'll be doing it again in the Spring.  (Uh, DUH!)  Some of the participants cried when they crossed the finished line, and I got the biggest hugs ever from them!  Two of the ladies even placed in their age groups!  It was just so emotional.

But I just couldn't find the energy to blog about it.  Yeah.  Can you believe it?  But did you notice....I haven't blogged since August?  Yep. AUGUST.  Wtf?

I had been exhausted.  Not just tired, but exhausted.  I'd go to work, come home, put on pajamas, eat dinner and go to bed at like 6:30.  Fall asleep around 7:30, and sleep until my alarm went off at like 6:00am. And this wasn't happening just once a week.  This was every. single. night.  I'd be so tired at work.  I continued going to Death Gym on Mondays and Fridays and leading the C25K Program on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but my workouts sucked.  I always felt weak, never felt recovered, and was just worn down and dragging.  All the time.  (Ha.  On a side note, on September 8, I had started a draft of a blog I was going to title "I Just Wanna Sleep".....should have paid more attention.)

I tried decreasing my workouts.  (Trust me....Death Gym 2x/week and C25k 2x/week is a huge cutback for me.)  I tried increasing my food.  Nothing worked except that I gained some weight.

After like two months of this nonsense, I had it.  (Chris said it had been going on longer....he's pretty in tune with me.  I had only really noticed it the past two months.)  I went to the doc.  Those of you who know me, know I must have been feeling truly awful to go to the doctor.  She mentioned thyroid, lyme, depression and a couple other things.  Blood pressure was fine.  She then got a pulse-ox thingy and said my oxygen levels were slightly low.  She sent me for bloodwork. (Oh, kudos to Easton Hospital on that one.  I'm usually not a fan, but my doc's associated w/ Easton Hosp.  Went first thing in the morning for the blood draw, and the doc's office called me before noon that same day with the results.)   Anyways, bloodwork normal.

Now what?

Asthma meds.  It didn't even occur to me that being constantly exhausted we be due to asthma.  Apparently, my oxygen levels were low enough that my body was definitely not happy.  Been on the new meds for like three weeks, and I'm feeling like myself!

Oh, lookie there....I'm finally getting to the point of this.  So even though I ran a C25k Program at work, and even though I was still half-heartedly working out, I felt like I was sucking.  And in a vacuum, people can't hear me suck.

But, I'm feeling better, and getting back on it.  Swimming.  Slogging.  Death Gym.  Blogging.  I'm going to try and add in a yoga class here and there.  Getting back to taking care of me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

C25k Stuff

I know, I know.  I've held three C25k classes so far, and have yet to give you an update.  Shame on me!  (Seriously though, things have been BUSY!  Death gym/bike rides on Mondays and Wednesdays, C25k on Tuesdays and Thursdays, throw in some softball, and sheesh.  Its hard enough finding time for the boring stuff like laundry/dishes/food, let alone blogging!)

So last Tuesday was the first class.  I woke up and it was pouring.  Seriously.  Crazy rain everywhere.  I got to work and had a couple emails asking if the class was still on.  I basically told everyone that unless there was thunder or lightning or torrential downpour, that we'd be running.  (Yep.  I'm a bitch like that.)  Running in the rain is refreshing and kind of fun, and part of being a runner.  Luckily, by noontime, the skies cleared up and the weather was perfect.

Until I got to Riverview park, and roadblocks were set up.  I had completely forgotten that the road by Riverview floods in tons of rain and they close the road.  The park is still accessible if you drive around the roadblock, but I had no clue if anyone else knew that.  I started having a minor heart attack.......

Until I saw a bunch of cars pull into the lot!  We had 14 runners for the first session, and I was so happy I recruited Bob and Gayle to help out!  There was such a wide range of abilities....people who are in shape and have run before to people who haven't exercised in ages.

I hung with the slower group, and Bob and Gayle went with the speedier peeps.  And things went well.

I'm tweaking things as we go.  I have a group that wants to stretch after the warm-up walk, and a group who doesn't.  We've had some issues with timing and remembering when to turn around.  But I'm trying to communicate with everyone, and let them know that I'm open to any suggestions.  I send them emails with little pointers/tips/reminders, just to keep them engaged.

I think my biggest fear is that I'll be unable to keep it interesting.  But, I also have to remember that they're shooting for a goal here....finishing that 5k.  That, along with the fact that they're doing this with friends, will provide tons of motivation.  (I hope.)

I have some other completely fanatbulous news.  I wasn't sure if I should share this or not.  Initially, I was going to post it on Facebook.  But, well, a couple of people I'm friends with on Facebook also work where I work.  So I didn't know if I should post my news in such an open place.  (Yes, I realize this blog is just as open.  But to get here, you either follow my blog, or you had to care enough about me....or be nosy enough about click on the link I shared and read all this.)

Anyways.  After discussing it with a couple people, who I do not work with, we kind of decided that blogging about it would be mildly safer.  I felt like the news should be out there, but maybe not "on Facebook" out there.

Ha.  I bet you think I'm pregnant!  Fat chance.

Here's my news: I had a Wellness Committee meeting today and was telling everyone how things have been going with the C25k Program. And the head of the committee said that they did a secret vote, and decided that I should get paid for running the class. (The other fitness instructors get paid, but when I pitched the idea to them I didn't want to get paid b/c I'm not certified as a coach or anything. I'm just me.)

That's my huge news.  And holy crap. Getting paid for doing something fitness related! A huge goal of mine realized, while helping others reach their goals!

People need to realize that they can reach their goals, or some variation of them.  I played around with the idea of being a personal trainer or exercise instructor (step would have been awesome before my knees got fucked up), but well, something always held me back.  Partially the money for certification.  Partially because I look nothing like your average trainer/fitness instructor.  Who the hell would want to take a class led by me?

But joining the Wellness Committee practically fell into my lap.  And the idea of running a C25k program just seemed like fun.  And now, I'll get paid to do it.  I have no clue how much I should ask to be paid, but I have some time to figure that one out.

The bottom line is.....I'm so flipping excited!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Old News is Still News!

So for those of you who are my facebook friends, you already know this....

See that little ribbon with the heart in it with "winner" next to it?  Yep.  I was one of 50 winners!  Apparently, 60,000 entries were received, and with all your help and votes, I was one of 250 finalists.  After that, an independent panel of judges picked 50 winners, based on various criteria (impact of makeover, story, etc.).

How funny that I decided to have a friend do a Mary Kay makeover on me only because she was trying to reach 50 makeovers by a certain time period?  I figured, ehhhh, I like makeup, why not?  Little did I know it would be entered into a contest that would get Girls on the Run of Lehigh County (the very deserving charity I chose) $5,000!

Enough with all that basking in my beauty (lol)....

I have just about a week until my first Couch to 5k class starts!  I have about 12 people signed up with completed waivers, with another 7-ish interested.  I'm thrilled.  It isn't a super huge number, so things should be quite manageable for my first go-around at this.  I'm just happy some people in the County are willing to take part in this.  And if word gets out that it is fun, I'm hoping it will grow as I continue it.

I have to say, I'm pretty excited.  I had an employee contact me and say her doctor said she needs to lose weight, so she's going to give it a shot.  Someone else will be celebrating a Birthday around the time of the end-of-season 5k, so her goal is to finish the 5k for her Birthday.  Someone else simply said, "I need to get off the couch."

This could be some seriously life-changing stuff.

I'm sure by next Tuesday, I'll be feeling like I have to vomit.  But for now, I'm pretty calm.

In other news, I'm still playing this softball stuff.  And still really liking it.  This past weekend, we played in a pretty cool tourney to benefit the Miracle League of Northampton County.  It started off with a women's tourney at 9:00 at night, and it went on all night!  (I didn't play in this one....holy crap those chicks are good!  I'd have to play for probably a bajillion years before I could crack one of their lineups.)

The coed tourney was supposed to start Saturday morning, but it was pouring.  Seriously pouring.  Long story short, they changed it to a one-pitch tourney.  Yeah, you read that right.  One.  Pitch.  For someone who still sucks at hitting in game situations (I can hit like a mofo in batting practice, figure that one out), a one pitch tourney messes with your head.  You either swing and hit the ball, walk, or strike out.  All in one pitch.

Not only did I have that going for me (please note the sarcasm), but the first game was played in this awful rain.  The field was a disgusting, slippery mess.  I've never played in rain before.  (Hello!  First year playing!  Haven't even played in a drizzle.)  Let's just say it was interesting.

We lost our first game, but after that, things picked up.  We ended up playing a total of five games in the tourney before we lost a second game (and came in third).  But my big news was that I played all those games in left field...and played my best games yet!  I had a ton of catches!  My teammates were saying they could have done a highlight reel of all my catches!  I was jacked.  I felt on fire!

I do have to share this though....this is what happens when you catch the ball with your arm instead of your glove:

Luckily, I made that mistake early in the tourney, and proceeded to use my glove for the rest of my catches.

After the tourney, we had to skiddadle out of there and down to our league game.  Yep, after five games in the tourney, we had to play another one (a playoff game, no less).  I was SORE.  This was officially the most games I've ever played in a day.  But I gave the league game my all, had a nice catch out in left, and we won.

Overall, a pretty decent weekend.  Monday was a desperately needed rest day (oh, yeah....I played two pickup games of ball on Sunday afternoon, and caught in left field during batting practice).  Today I got a massage, so I should be fresh as a daisy for a bike ride and Death Gym tomorrow.    

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Finally Back on Track!

Finally.  I'm starting to feel like my normal self.  If y'all haven't been able to tell, I've been in a bit of a slump.  Sure, I've been Death Gymming regularly, and running and biking sporadically, but well.....I just haven't been into it.

Plus, I've been drinking waaaay too much.  Damn softball.  Don't get me wrong, I'm loving playing softball.  But all this beer drinking had to stop.  I was feeling gross and bloated, and waking up the day after drinking way too much is just, well, most of us have been there.

Anyways, this week it stopped.  My eating has been a billion times better, and aside from a little bit of a rum (and fruit) smoothie the hubs made today, I haven't had a drink since my Birthday.  (I know, it was only a week ago.....that just goes to show how much drinking has been done.)

Back on track, bitches.

Monday, I did Week 3, Day 1 of C25K (two rounds in a row) and Death Gym.  Tuesday, the hubbs and I hit the batting cages, and I hit a billion rounds.  I alternated between rounds of  slowpitch with the softball, and the slowest speed (40 mph!) with the baseball.  See, in our coed league, the girls hit a smaller ball.  I hate the small ball, but gotta work on getting better at hitting it.  Wednesday I did Week 4, Day 1 of C25K (two rounds in a row).  Thursday was two games of softball.  In the heat wave.  In left field.  Friday was a 17 mile bike ride, and today was 4 miles of Week 5, Day 1 of C25K (two rounds in a row), followed by 6 miles on the bike, helping some good running friends finish out a long ass 14 mile run.

Can you tell, I'm feeling much more myself?

After my run, bike ride, and breakfast with BCR, the hubbs and I went to the farmers' market.  We scored all this yumminess, plus a dozen ears of corn.
Swiss Chard, three kinds of squash, fennel, and torpedo red onions.

We wandered around a bit, and this trail bread caught my eye.  It was a little pricey, but I couldn't say was just too interesting!

It was marketed as a cross between bread and granola.....looks like they got it right!

I was nervous about cutting off a slice of it; I thought it would crumble apart.  But it sliced like a piece of bread.  I tried a bite of the slice I cut.  Initially, I thought it would be sweeter, because it looks so much like granola, but it actually had more of a bread taste....not sweet at all.  I smeared a little raw honey on that bad boy (also bout at the farmers' market, but a few weeks ago), and bam.....complete tastiness!

The rest of the day was spent grilling/sauteeing veggies and catching up on laundry.  (Yep, boring ole domestic crap.)  Later on tonight, if the storms hold off, we're heading to the burrah of Nazareth for some fireworks.  Tomorrow, the end of season tourney for Sunday Softball.  Should be interesting.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

C25K & the Nutribullet (Finally!)

As you know from my last blog, I presented to the Wellness Committee the idea of running a Couch to 5k (C25K) program at work.  Why, I don't know.  Ok, really I do.  I need something to get MY bum in gear.  I've been lazy.  I figure if other people need to depend on me, well....I won't let them down.

Of course, I didn't present it to the Wellness Committee in that light.

Anyways.  Today, we went over my flyers, and I sent the final copies to the head of the Wellness Committee so she can email them to the world.  (That's what I call emailing something to "All County Users".)  I already put copies of all the flyers in the mailboxes for the different departments at Gracedale.

I wanted to post my pretty little flyers, but I can't hook up pdf's to this blog.  Lame.

Next step, I wait.  Fingers crossed that I have some people interested.  Fingers crossed that I don't have a million people interested.  I'm moderately terrified.


Now, on to more exciting things.  I've had the Nutribullet for a while now.  (I know, I know, you've all been wondering about it!)

First, a little background.  I had the Magic Bullet forever.  (Minds out of the gutter.  Not that magic bullet.  The one that blends stuff.)  It worked well enough, but I'd always have unblended chunks of ice/strawberries/bananas in the bottom of the cup.  I really wanted to try green smoothies, but the thought of chunks of spinach floating around in my smoothie....well....vomit.  Seriously.

My verdict on the Nutribullet....I LOVE it.  No chunks of ice.  Or strawberries.  Or bananas.  Spinach is completely blended.  This piece of machinery takes all the ingredients and pulverizes them into an awesomely homogeneous mixture.

It comes with a very sturdy base, three blending cups (one large, 2 small), two different blades, and some lids.  Honestly, I think it could have came with more of the bigger cups, and less of the smaller ones.  The cups have a max fill line, and keeping everything under that line helps it all blend smoothly.  But, then you can't fill the cup all the way.  I find that if I mix stuff in the big cup, by the time it blends, it fits in the smaller cup.

I also don't think it is terribly loud when I blend:

My first venture with the Nutribullet ended up being an epic fail.  Spinach, banana, kiwi and apples.  I was hell bent on making a green smoothie.  I mixed it all up, but it seemed kind of runny.  I like my smoothies on the thick side.  Instead of adding ice (duh), I added more of the apple.  

Epic fail.  It tasted really good, but texturally, it was watered down applesauce.  Truly nasty.  But, I guess I can make homemade applesauce now....

I got smarter for my next recipe.  I started freezing the fruits.  Brilliant!  Frozen nectarines, strawberries and banana, with spinach and flax seed.  

Once I got past the baby poo color (or at least, this is the color I imagine baby poo being, since I've never changed a diaper and have zero plans of doing so), I loved it.  I also started adding almond milk instead of water, which helps with the gross color.

This one was strawberry, kiwi and flax (I think).  I wanted to make something that Chris would enjoy....and wouldn't be freaked out with.  For some reason though, this one was spicy.  I don't know if it was something on the strawberries.....

And this one is a normal ole strawberry, banana and blueberry.  (Again, because I was sharing with Chris.)

After drinking more of my green smoothies, I started to get adventurous.  This recipe was posted by one of my favorite blogs, Thug Kitchen.  (Visit the site.  You'll quickly figure out why I love it.)  Oats, frozen strawberries, half a frozen banana, almond milk, water, and a TON of mint.  So.  Flippin.  Yum.

This whole smoothie kick left me with a slight problem.  I now have a ginormous tub of cottage cheese in the fridge.  Usually, I'd have fruit and cottage cheese for breakfast.  But now....well, that container is pretty lonesome in there.

My next mission was to find a smoothie that used not only cottage cheese, but spinach too!  Yep.  Living on the wild side.  I found what I was looking for on......drumroll.....Pinterest.  (Duh.  Where else would you look?)  I'll give Pinch of Yum the true nod here, and link to that blog for the recipe.

Cottage cheese, frozen banana, spinach, almond milk and flax seed.  Sounds gross, right?  Holy moly....TASTY!  The banana counterbalances the tang of the cottage cheese.  And probably the best part?  It looks just like a shamrock shake.  Ok.  Maybe that's not the best part, but it is pretty cool.  Plus, this one was super filling.  A total keeper.

So.  This blog has gotten long.  I've rambled enough for the evening.  But expect more from me in the near future.  I'll be updating a lot more now, especially with the start of the C25K loveliness!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A New Adventure

Yeah, I know I promised my next post was going to be a review on my Nutri Bullet.  Sorry to disappoint (I promise I'll get to one Melissa....I've taken tons of pictures), but I have some waaay more exciting terrifying exciting (I'm going to stick with exciting) news to share.

I've been toying with the idea of starting a Couch to 5K (C25K) program at work after one of the dudes in my running group talked about offering one at his job.  Since I'm on the Wellness Committee at work and all that.....

I picked the Tim Lambert Memorial 5k, which isn't until October 12.  Since a large portion of county employees work at the courthouse, I thought this 5k was perfect.  Sure, it is on the weekend (read: a non-work day), but it is in downtown Easton, and should be accessible to everyone.  Plus, it is late enough in the day (10:00), that the participants won't have to be up at the bum crack of dawn.

I printed out a blank calendar from August through October, and plotted out the nine weeks of  C25K, having October 12 being the last run date.  Kind of like the "end of season" 5k.  I plan on making informational packets to hand out to employees once they let me know they are interested.  We're going to advertise the program using our work email, and I'm going to make a bunch of fliers to post in the various county buildings to advertise it.

I plan on having the group run with me (and whoever might want to help out....I know Bobifer told me he would) twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then invite them to do the "long run" on Saturdays with the Breakfast Club Runners.  (They can also just do it by themselves whenever they have a chance on the weekend.)  I figure we'll meet after work at either Riverview Park or Penn Pump, since both locations are close to the courthouse.  Plus, since they are paved bike paths, they'll be much safer to run on than trying to have however many people running through the streets of Easton.

Since the program is nine weeks long, the participants would be running a total of 18 times with me.  If they run at least nine of those 18 sessions, the Wellness Committee will pay the 5k entry fee.  Awesome, right?

Here is where I'm nervous.  What if no one signs up?  It seems that sometimes, people are very apathetic when it comes to fitness.  We've had 30 people express interest in a FREE Zumba class, and then only 15 actually show up.  People don't want to commit to something after work.  What if I suck at it?  I'm not a terribly good leader to start off with, and I'm certainly not a terribly good runner.  But then again, maybe that would help people feel less intimidated....who knows.  I'm also kind of nervous about people asking me for advice.  I suck at giving advice, especially about working out.  What I do works for me, which may not work for you.

My theory was this:  I signed up to run a fall half marathon, so I'd be running those days anyway.  Why not attempt incorporating it into something that would be beneficial for my coworkers.  I know when I started running, I never thought I'd be able to finish a 5k, let alone a 10k or half marathon.

I think it would be so cool to see those who sign up realize that they CAN do it too!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Softball & Tats

I'm not a huge fan of bringing attention to myself.  I think that's why the whole running/lifting/solo time at the gym works so well for me.  I'm the only one who has to rely on what I'm doing.  Yes, I know I work with a trainer, and that he's kind of rooting for me....but I am the only one who benefits (or sucks) from the work I do.

I think this is why the whole softball thing is was difficult for me.  I put so much pressure on myself to do well, and then when I suck, I'm pissed at myself, which makes me put even more pressure on myself..... Yeah.  You see where this is going.

The hubbs and I have been doing some serious sleuthing to figure out why I've been sucking so bad in the batter's box, but hitting the piss out of the ball at the cages.  And he figured it out.  My feet need to be offset.  In the box, in a game, I grip the bat like I'm going to club someone to death with it, line my feet up with the plate, and swing like I want to kill something.  I'm like Frankenstein....all stiff.  I'm so freaking tense.  In the cages, I stand with my feet offset, which is a much more relaxed (for me, anyway) stance.  It allows my hips to open up, I can take a big step, and I'm much more mobile (read: able to better hit slightly outside or inside balls).

We tested out this theory on the field today.  Not at an actual game, but he pitched to me and I swung away.  And holy moly....I need to relax and remember to keep my feet offset.  I actually put a whole bucket's worth of balls in play!

Another problem of mine is that when I'm catcher, I suck at throwing.  I can never get the ball back to the pitcher without him having to scoop it off the ground.  So I wanted the hubbs and I to work on some throwing.  He stood at home, and I stood at third.  And almost every single ball I threw to him was money.  Seriously.

Why can't I do that shit in a game?

I know why.  Because I hate calling attention to myself.  So I just kinda of "short throw" the ball back to the pitcher.  Not step or anything.  When I'm getting the ball back, the next batter is usually already in the box, and the umpire is there, and I feel bad taking the time to properly set up, take a step, and get the ball back to the pitcher.

Chris said I gotta slow down the game and make it mine.  I'm finally starting to believe him.

In other news, I went back to the Tattoo Factory on Monday evening to get my new tattoo fixed.

This is how it looked:

I really loved the design.  I gotta thank my buddy Barry for that.  But, when the tattoo artist was doing his thing, we obviously had some issues.  Notice the top part of it, where there is all that shading around the paw prints?  At first, he thought it might be bruising, or some of the stencil that was being stubborn and refusing to wash off.  But after a week, the stubborn smudges stayed.  And me, being the perfectionist freak I am, couldn't deal with that.  

I went back, and we decided that he would put shading behind the whole thing.  (Trust me, there was a lot more discussion involved, and I am totally convinced that the tattoo artist completely knows what he is doing.  He is more than competent, and that's why I went back to him.)

I was super nervous, because even though it looked good, I was worried the shading was way too dark. But he said it would lighten up after a couple of days.  In fact, he had said that I might even have to come in one or two more times, just to get the right shade in there.  He can always shade in and make it darker later, but once he goes dark and it is too dark, I'm fucked.    

Plus, I bled like a mofo.  I didn't have that problem with either of my other tattoos, or even this one on the original go at it, but the shading...yikes.  He wanted to use a certain type of needle, but after trying that one I bled waaaay too much, so he had to switch to a different one. What a trainwreck.  Luckily, it still didn't really hurt all that much.  

By today (Wednesday afternoon), the shading has already lightened a bunch.  And actually, looking at the original tattoo in comparison to this one with the shading, I actually do prefer the shading.  

It might continue to lighten as it heals, but I'm supposed to stop in tomorrow evening so he can check it out and see how it is doing.

Next blog.....the NutriBullet has arrived!  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Running in the Rain...Just Running in the Rain!

I think about all kinds of things when I run.  All these awesome thoughts go through my head, and I'm like, "Oh....that would be an awesome blog topic."

Then I stop running, go to Death Gym, go home, shower, eat, blah, blah, blah....and my mind is a blank.

Luckily, I do remember one thing from my run today.

I'm going to stop saying I'm slow.  Sure, I'm slower than other runners.  And I'm definitely much slower than I was a couple years ago.  But, I am where I am.  I'm not slow.  I'm running the perfect pace for me, at this moment.  Most of my runs are averaging the same-ish pace.  And eventually, I'll start throwing in some speedwork (probably fartlek-type running, b/c I can't wrap my head around a track) and hills.  But for now, I'm just running to run.  To get back into it.

But damn it.  For me, right now, I AM NOT SLOW.  I am just running.  So there.  :)

Other things I learned/remembered during my run today:

  • Running gets easier if you keep doing it regularly.  I had forgotten that.  Duh.
  • Running in the rain is probably the best feeling ever.  While I was at work, I was almost dreading my run.  I kept watching the rain pour down.  I told myself to suck it up.  Then, when I started running, the ran had stopped and I was sad inside.  Halfway through, it started misting, and by the time I was done, it was pouring.  And it was glorious.  Simply. Glorious.  There is something cleansing, renewing, whatever, about running in the rain.
  • I love the feeling of having to breathe deep while running....makes me feel like a machine.
  • All the lifting I've been doing.....yeah.  Helps with the running.  (See....all this shit is connected.)  Even though I started to feel tired-ish towards the end, my back/shoulders/core kept me upright, stopped me from hunching over, and kept my form (mostly) in check.  Seriously.  Never realized how awesome that could be.  I bet I looked strong, even if I didn't feel it.

I'm not too big on "selfies" while running/working out, but I just felt so "in the moment" (if that makes any sense).  And yes....I listen to music.  That way, I don't have to listen to myself breathe.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Running Clothing

Does anyone out there make summer running clothing bigger than something that would barely cover my hand?  Seriously.

I have a big booty.  Gasp.  Yep.  I said it.  And you know what?  I kinda like that big booty.  Yep.  Said that too.

But I wandered through Dicks, Sports Authority and Marshalls today, looking for something semi-specific.  And realized that not one of their scraps of fabric would have a chance in hell of fitting over this booty.

What prompted this trip?  Well...the last softball tourney I was in, I wore capris and got sunburned.  Which left me with a really sexy tan line mid-calf.  Seriously.  Sexy.  (Ha.)

I have another softball tourney coming up this weekend, and my hubby made a comment that someone said I should wear shorts to get rid of the tan line.  Normally, I wouldn't give a fuck about what someone else thinks.  But since the hubbs brought it up, I figured I'd go look.

But here's the thing.  I hate wearing shorts and running.  I have super thick thighs.  And shorts ride up.  And are uncomfortable.  And then I get self-conscious.  I was looking for longer-ish tight shorts.  Kinda like the bermuda length shorts, but made out of spandex or whatever high-tech spandex-look-alike fabric things are made out of nowadays.  Because that spandex shit doesn't ride up.  Or maybe one of those cute running skirts, with long-ish tight shorts under it.

Did you know that just about every single pair of those spandex-type shorts have like a 1/2 inch inseam?  Seriously.  No one, I repeat NO ONE wants to see me in that.  Hell, I don't want to see me in that.

Anyways.  Don't people realize that big chicks run too?  And need appropriate clothing?

I need to start my own running clothing line.  Called Curvy Chick Workout Wear.  Or something like that.

So you're all just going to have to deal with my super sexy mid-calf tan line.  Get over it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Didn't Die!

That's a good thing, right?

The hubbs and I got to the Tortoise and Hare 5k super early, and that was a good thing because parking was at a premium.  We picked up our race packets....some very nice swag.....and went back to the car to stay warm.  (It was chilly!)

We saw a couple people we knew, and Shayne, one of the chicks in BCR, made these signs.
I was so touched!  I don't think I've ever had a sign made specifically for me, and I thought it was fabulous that the sign was for both me and the hubbs!  Seriously...BCR has some awesome people.  

I also took this shot of Chris before we started.  I needed a shot of him with a race bib on.

We lined up towards the back of the pack.  Chris wanted to hang with the walkers because he didn't know how much running he'd be doing, and mentally, for me, I rather be in the back and work my way forward, then start up too far ahead and be passed by a bajillion people.  Plus, I didn't really have high hopes for myself, so starting in the back was fine for me.

I wished him good luck, and we were off!

Things were fine to start.   I was going at a comfortable pace and felt decent-ish.  Then there was a hill.  Not like a death hill, but a loooong slow incline.  (Please note.  Not only have I NOT been running much, but when I do run, it is mainly on the flat bike path.  So even what is considered a slight incline looks monstrous to me.)  I made it up the hill without walking, which was kinda a big deal for me.

We carried on, and at times I really wished I had my Garmin.  I had no clue where I was distance-wise in terms of the race.  Apparently, there were mile markers.  I missed the first one.  We came upon an aid station, and I assumed we were at the halfway-ish point.

We carried on some more.  We got to some rolling hills around mile 2, and I finally had to stop and walk some.  Once again, I wished I had my Garmin.  Not for pacing purposes, but to know how far we were from the end.  I like to kick it up a notch or two at the end.

Well....I kicked it up too early.  I started to feel good and pushed a bit.  Probably about four tenths of a mile out, I felt gassed.  I had to walk, otherwise I was going to unravel.  I was kind of mad at myself for kicking it up a little too early, but it is what it is.  I walked for a very short bit, and then carried on.

I finished in 32 minutes and change.  Although it was definitely my second slowest 5k ever, I guess I did better than I anticipated.

I went through the finish chute, grabbed a water, and walked back out onto the course.  I wanted to find Chris!  I strolled along and waited at a random intersection until I found him.

Here he is, rounding the corner!

We carried on, and I walked with him until we reached the park.

Once we got to the park, I took a shortcut so I could get him at the finish. 
 See the clock?  It says 55:08.  His goal was to come in under an hour, and not be last.  Both goals were met!

My only complaint was that the people manning the clock no longer were tracking the finishers.  When I ran through, volunteers were there with a clipboard, writing stuff down as people went by.  When Chris went through, nothing.  The website for the event clearly states that people should finish within an hour.  He did.  Why was he not offered the same respect as those that finished in a half hour?  Even though he wasn't "racing" this was still his first 5k.  How many others ran their first 5k, and finished with a PR of their own, only to not be acknowledged by the finish line staff?

I don't know....maybe I'm rambling about nothing, but to me it is kind of a big deal.  Maybe, when the results are posted, he'll be listed there with his time.  And I'll be more than happy to correct this.  

After the run, Chris wanted me to take this picture:
Two things you will probably never see again....
....a pay phone, and Chris wearing a race bib.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Confession

For those who haven't figured it out yet, I lost my workout mojo.  No, that really isn't true.  I still Death Gym and love it.  I even run or bike there if the weather is decent enough.  But other than that, well....bes (I really have to interrupt here.  There are a bunch of douchebags kicking a football in the middle of the street.  One of them managed to hit my front door with it.  Seriously.  Go find a fucking field to kick the football around.  I don't practice hitting softballs in the middle of the street.) Anyways...where was I?  Oh, yeah.  But other than that, well....besides softball, my workout mojo has left the building.

So....what do you do for that?  Sign up for a race, right?


Epic fail.

Several months ago, the hubs and I signed up for the Tortoise and Hare 5k run/walk.  He was training his little heart out for it, and I was so proud of him.  But that was before he ended up in the hospital.  Now, I know that was back in March, and that generally people would say suck it up....but that whole episode really zapped him.  He lost like 30lbs in five days.  It took him forever to feel normal.

Then his knees started bugging him.  Long story short, he's going to need his knee replaced in like 6 months....not the 6 years we originally thought.


Meanwhile, we're stilled signed up for this 5k.  I've been going back and forth in my head if I even want to do it.  Seriously.  I'm going to suck.  It will be my slowest 5k ever.  Honestly though, I have no right to complain.  It isn't like I've been doing anything to focus my efforts on running a 5k.  I was seriously thinking about scrapping the whole thing.

Then I realized.  That'd be like quitting.  Before I even started.  When did I become a fucking quitter?  Just because I didn't want to suck?  Seriously?  Suck it up, buttercup.

Tomorrow, I will run/walk my slowest 5k ever.  Chris is also going to walk.  Why not, right?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

So I Entered a Contest...

Just a quick little ditty.  I know, I know....I owe you all a real, meaty update.  But right at this moment, just a quickie.

A while ago, a friend of mine who works for Mary Kay gave me an awesome makeover. rocked.  Well, I thought the makeover was just for fun....I didn't realize that I could enter the One Woman Can contest with it.

Well, I did.  We had to choose a charity that would benefit women and children.  I chose Girls on the Run.  They are a seriously awesome program that helps girls in 3rd - 5th grade foster a sense of self-worth, respect for others, and a sense of accomplishment through activity-based programming.

Seriously.  How awesome is that?

I've been a Running Buddy for Girls on the Run a couple of times, and I've witnessed first hand how huge running, jogging, walking, and skipping through a 5k is for these girls.  They have such nerves before they start.  They wonder if they can do it.  Can they finish?  3.1 miles is sooooo long.

My job is to encourage them.  Share with them my accomplishments.  Tell them they can.  I run, jog, walk, skip....whatever the girls want to do to finish.  We talk almost the whole time.  Sometimes, they tell me about their families.  Sometimes, their friends.  I gain so much during the 3.1 miles I spend with the girl I'm paired up with. I entered a contest.  And would LOVE it if you would vote for me (up to five times a day), so I can have a chance at winning a donation of $5,000 for Girls on the Run.

Vote for me here!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Playing with the Pros

I don't know why, but I always beat myself up.  Not physically, but mentally.  Today was a big day for me....the first day of coed softball with the peeps I refer to as "the pros."  It is a team that Chris has been playing on for a while, the other peeps have been playing with each other for a really long time, and they are good.  Seriously.  Good.  Some of the chicks played softball in college, the guys play on really good all-star type teams.

And then there's me.  I haven't played softball since like 7th grade.  And I pretty much sucked back then.  This year, I told the hubbs I wanted to play coed.  So we put together a team, and we play some weeknights on a completely no pressure, in it to have fun team.  We are in the lowest of the low brackets, and we're doing well.  On that team, I'm comfortable.  I hit decently, I make plays decently, and I feel good.

And then there's Sunday.

I struck out (thank God, swinging and not looking) at my first at bat today.  Blah.  I managed to catch a ball at home plate, but was straddling the fucking plate, so the runner was safe.  More blah.  I didn't make it on base once; I got thrown out at first at my other two at bats.  (Although after the fact, the ump did say he blew the call on my last at bat, and that I was safe....he didn't think I was as speedy as I was.)  Even more blah.  I caught another ball at home, had my foot on the fucking plate, and it fell right out of my glove, so the runner was safe again. (This time around, the ump told me he was glad I dropped the ball b/c it would have been a really close play; I made his job easier.  Yeah.  That's why I play.  To make his job easier.)  More.  Fucking.  Blah.

In my defense, I've never played catcher before.  With my hubby's team, I've been focusing on right field and left field, and feel really comfortable out there.  I realized I love chasing down the ball while it is flying through the air, and giving it my best attempt at catching it.  I love standing at the ready, making a break for the ball and sprinting after it.  I've been called "deceptively fast."  Cause, you know, I certainly don't look fast.  

On the good side, I did catch a foul ball to get a batter out.  So  I had that going for me.  But still.  I came up real short.


Because I let the fact that I think I suck compared to the professionals I'm playing with bring me down.  So I played to my expectations of myself.  Plus, being thrown in the catchers position without ever playing there put me waaay out of my element.  But, that's just an excuse.  Basically, it came down to me thinking I sucked in comparison to the others I was playing with, so I sucked.

At least the rest of the team had a shitty game too.  So my crappiness didn't stand out as much as it could have.  But still.....

This upcoming week is a big one.  My new bat should come in, so I'm super excited for that.  Friday night I have coed with the fun team, and Saturday we're playing in a tournament.  A minimum of three games.  I'm not going to get better unless I play, right?  Sunday is ball with the pros.  I'm going to try to not put so much pressure on myself.  Hopefully, things will go well on Friday and Saturday, so I can up my confidence level on the field.

I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Nervy Little Nerve

I went to the ortho today about the whole hand/wrist/elbow issue (which started to migrate to my upper arm/shoulder...yikes).  And before you all get excited, I went to my normal ortho's office; not the new one I was asking about on Facebook.  Why?  Because I called the normal ortho on Tuesday afternoon, and they got me in this morning at 9:30.  Sometimes, you just gotta buck up and deal.

Quite frankly, it wasn't so bad.  I actually met the the Physician's Assistant, and she was very nice, listened to me, and was helpful.  They took x-rays of my neck, and she commented that my neck looked good, except that it is pretty much straight...most necks have a curve to them.  Ha.  I told her I go to a chiro regularly, and he's had x-rays done of my whole neck/back, and I knew my neck is pretty much straight.  (Along with a laundry list of other issues.)

Anyways.....the verdict is: pinched nerve in my neck.  Not really a big deal, if you ask me.  I'll be on a steroid pack for a couple days (grrrr...roid rage, lol), and no lifting overhead for a week or two (ummm, yeah....that'll be a week, thank you very much), but other than that, I'm good.

Oh, except for spin.  Out convo went a little like this:

Me: I'm assuming I shouldn't be lifting.
PA: No, you shouldn't lift heavy boxes or anything.
Me.: I mean, like at the gym.
PA: No, you shouldn't lift anything above your head.  Cardio is fine.
Me: Even riding bike?
PA: Yeah, you can ride bike.  But nothing crazy like spin.
Me: Spin is not crazy. (In my head...what the hell is so crazy about spin?)
PA: But you're up and down a lot on the bike.
Me: (In my head....uhhhh....pretty similar on a normal bike....oh well....she said I can do that.)  And running?
PA: Running is fine.
Me: If I can't lift above my head, can I do rows?  They're not lifting above my head.
PA: Ummm, no, you should probably avoid them too.
Me: Okay.  (In my head....just stop asking questions....core and lower body it is.)

I'll deal with the steroids and the not lifting for a week.  The PA said she had a very similar problem a couple months ago, exact same symptoms, and the steroids knocked out the pain.  So hopefully, I'll have the same response, and I'll be back in the game in no time.

Tomorrow morning, treadmill run.  It looks like the weather will be perking up next week, so maybe I'll finally be able to get in an early morning run outside then!

Monday, April 1, 2013

I Just Can't Win

So, the random hand pain I mentioned before.  Yeah.  It is getting worse.  Pretty much a constant ache in my elbow/wrist, with shooting pains in my hand/fingers depending on what I do.  Typing at work sucks.  Sleeping sucks, because I have to try and keep my arm straight, or it hurts.

Now, I know I said I have no issues while actually lifting, but it seems as though lifting may be a contributing factor.  Seriously.  Shoot me now.

I completely stopped step class (my first cardio love) because of my knees.  I cut back on running because of my knee.  Now, I have to calm it with lifting because of my hand/wrist/elbow issue.  Plus, if it is ulnar nerve related (which it definitely seems to be), apparently riding bike aggravates that as well.

Like I said before.  Shoot me.

Ok.  Not really.  Death is not an appropriate action.

But honestly.  This is frustrating.

I spoke with my chiro today, and he advised I make an appt with my ortho.  That way, I can get x-rays and whatever else done, and we can all (hopefully) work together for an outcome.  Tomorrow will be two weeks that this nonsense has been going on.  A perfectly acceptable time frame for contacting a doc.

I'm going for a run tomorrow.  Maybe outside.  I need to clear out the head.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Double Workout Monday

Today was a normal ole' Monday for me.  Up bright and early for 5:45 a.m. spin class.  I started out feeling really strong...ready to attack.  Then we started moving, and my leg muscles just felt so heavy and sore.  Every little movement was such an effort.  I ended up dialing it back a bit, just because I knew it was going to be a loooong day.  Plus, I had slept like crap.  (Duh.  Betting that had something to do with it.)

After work was Death Gym. Double workout Mondays.  There is just something about Death Gym that gets the blood pumping.  I pull up and usually ask myself, "Why the hell do you put yourself through this?"  I almost always feel like I'm walking in there tired.....but I leave feeling so flipping awesome!

After a quick little 5 minute warm-up on the elliptical, this was today's 30-minute workout.

1x5 reps 45lb overhead press (warm-up set), with 1x8 reps 40lb kettlebell swing
3x5 reps 65lb overhead press, alternating 3x8 reps 40lb kettlebell swing
I have to say, I really noticed how much stronger my lower back has gotten while doing the overhead presses.  I remember when just the bar was a struggle.  The last rep on the last rep was a tad rough, but my core/lower back really kicked in and I was able to get them in.  :)

1x5 reps 135lb hex bar deadlift
2x5 reps 155lb hex bar deadlift
1x5 reps 185lb hex bar deadlift
What can I say?  I love these.

4x10 reps sledgehammer swings (each side),
alternating with 3x10 reps decline rope rows
The decline rope rows were to help work on my grip.  Trying to maintain a decent grip, on a rope, when you're used to doing these on a TRX is quite a change.  Plus, Trainer Frank started putting a weight on the floor so I can line my feet up with it and get the proper (read: more difficult) decline.

4x10 reps 65lb rdls
alternating with 3x30 yards 135lb farmer's carry
Holy moly farmer's carry.  My goal was to make it the whole distance without having to set the bar down.  (Plus, I had to slow down and turn around halfway through.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to turn around while carrying 135lbs?)  Goal met.  This was done with the hex bar, so all I can say is my callouses are growing.  Plus, it is certainly a unique feeling when you set down the bar, uncurl your fingers, and feel the blood rush back into your forearms.

1x10 reps 65lb reverse grip bent over row
1x12 reps 65lb reverse grip bent over row
2x15 reps 65lb reverse grip bent over row
These were decent.  Not easy....oh no, especially not the second set of 15.  But rows tend to be a "comfortable" move for me.  Even if they were done with a reverse grip.

30 minutes later and I got a great workout in.  And felt sooo much better.  (Like I said yesterday....the hand issues don't affect my lifting.  It only has to do with my wrist being bent at a particular angle.  Interesting.)

Tomorrow morning I'm going to hit the treadmill and see what happens.  Walk/jog/slog.  Whatever.  My knee has been feeling okay-ish (emphasis on the "ish" part).  I'm hoping it will feel fine while walking, but if not, I'll just play it by ear and do reallllly slow recovery jogs in between speedier bursts.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why, Hello There!

Oh, how I've let people down.  Not really though.  It wasn't like anyone's asked me about my blog.  I just didn't feel a need to lately.  The hubbs went into the hospital at the very end of February/beginning of March, and ever since then, well, things have been crazy.

Don't worry, the hubbs it doing well.  He did start another round of antibiotics though, because his arm is still messed up.  Plus, you know, he still has the rash on his back from the drug he was given that is a derivative of chocolate.  Yeah.....allergic to chocolate.  Let's give him a drug made from it.

Oh well.  What's done is done.  He's doing much better, he's back at death gym, and although all his strength isn't fully back, he keeps on keeping on.

Me....I'm a trainwreck.  My knee randomly hurts when I walk.

My left hand goes numb in the pinky and ring finger when I do planks.  (Doc said it is ulnar nerve related, and if it gets worse to give them a call.)

My right hand has now developed a sharp, excruciating pain in the pinky and ring finger, radiating to the back of my hand from those two fingers to the wrist.  But the pain only comes when I do things like twist open/close a water bottle, put my car in park/drive, pull up my pants, hook my bra.....stuff that seems to twist my wrist a certain way.  The pain can get bad enough that it kind of radiates to my elbow.  This has been going on for about a week....guess I'm calling the doc about this one on Monday.  Thankfully, I have no issues with it when I lift.

I'm going to leave you with this little gem.  The hubbs and I went to the auto show today.  I was so excited because they were going to have Harleys there for the first time.  I've always told him that when I reach goal weight, I'm getting one.  Way back when I first told him that, my goal weight was 150.

He took this pic of me on a Harley today.

I'm like 190-ish here.  Seriously.  And I think I look pretty damn good.  I still have my days where I feel big and bloated, but more often than not, when I look in the mirror, I don't see huge ginormousosities anymore.  I guess my point is this: seriously stop worrying about the scale.  I still weigh myself, "just to see."  But I don't really care.  Because I know I'm strong.  Yeah, I may have random issues going on that peeve me off.  But I'm still working at it, doing what I can, and living life.  

I guess I'll have to figure out a new goal to reach so I can get that Harley! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Post that Almost Wasn't

I am tired.  Oh so very tired.  In my quest to not feel like crap when I wake up beyond bright and early on Mondays, I now try to not sleep in too much on the weekend.  Today I got up around 6:30 in the morning.  Yep.  On a Sunday.

I started laundry.  I made a batch of my peanut butter baked oatmeal.  The hubbs and I went to Giant, and then to Wegmans, because Giant doesn't have bulgur.  At least, I couldn't find it anywhere, and when I used the little kiosk thing to search for it....nothing.  Then we went to LA Fitness for a short jaunt in the pool.  Then I made some cheesy Greek yogurt chicken and some bulgur/kale/chickpea stuff.  Went to the batting cages.  Came home, did more laundry.  Made some butternut squash/lentil stuff.  More laundry.  Oh, and  a ton of dishes.

Tired.  Achy.  Sore.  I had no urge to write a blog.  But, well, I have laundry in the washer and decided I might as well be constructive with my time.  Plus, I can't really justify going to bed at 6:30 in the evening.

Let me back up a bit.  Yesterday, the hubbs and I went to the gym for some lifting/treadmill action.  The lifting kicked my bootie!  Not while I was there, but today.  I am soooo sore.  I did some decent core/back/upper body stuff, and I certainly feel it today!

Which kinda sucks.  I really wanted to go for a bike ride today and enjoy the sunshine-ish weather.  But, well, I really didn't want to physically be on the bike.  I knew that getting in the pool for just a short amount of time would help stretch things out.  Plus, hitting the hot tub afterwards wouldn't hurt.  The pool it was. I'm sore.  And it is Sunday.  Which is what I now refer to as "cooking party day."  No.  There really isn't a party.  I just cook a ton of food so I don't have to worry about cooking during the week.  Cooking isn't something I particularly enjoy.  I tend to feel so drained after cooking.  Maybe its because I'm following the recipes, and doing the dishes sucks...who knows?  But I'm attempting it.

First, a recipe I made yesterday.  Only because it is so tasty it is definitely worth mentioning.  They are officially called "Healthy Eatmore Fudge Chocolate Bars,"  but could simply be referred to as chocolatey goodness.  My only complaint would be that the banana in the fudge topping is a tad strong...but hey....a healthy-ish chocolate dessert....I'm not complaining too much!

This morning was my baked peanut butter oatmeal.  I threw in craisins and a mashed banana.  (Yes, I know I've posted the recipe before.  But I keep having people ask me about it.)

I also made a bulgur/kale/chickpea concoction.  Mine isn't nearly as pretty as what is pictured on the blog.  (Which, by the way, I love!  Not the picture...the blog.  It is one of the few that I really follow.)  But it is kinda tasty.  I felt like it needed something citrusy to brighten up the flavors.  I didn't have any lemon juice hanging around, but I purchased some blood oranges when I was at Giant in the morning, and sqeezed some of that in there.  Just what it needed!

I had a bunch of mushrooms on hand, so I sauteed those bad boys and added them into the mix.

A SparkFriend shared with me a recipe for some cheesy Greek yogurt chicken, and this one is Chris approved.  (Which means extra yummy.)  Sub plain Greek yogurt for the mayo and add in a tsp of spicy mustard.  Plus, it is super duper easy.  Seriously.  My kind of recipe.

The chicken with the Greek yogurt concoction before baking in the oven.

And after.....mmmmmmmm!

The butternut squash/lentil stuff is okay-ish, but I'm not 100% certain it is a keeper.  My squash got more soggy than crispy. is kinda tasty as a starchy side instead of a potato or pasta.  So I'll keep that in mind....I'm always looking for things to eat that give me that satisfying carb-y taste.

I didn't get a finished pic of this one.  I forgot, and right now, I'm too lazy to go in the kitchen and snap a pic of it.  But here's all the squash prepped and seasoned.  

In the midst of my cooking frenzy, we took a break to go to the batting cages.  This is honestly becoming one of my favorite weekend activities!  Today, we brought Kimberly along!  She's going to be on our co-ed team, and she's been a tad nervous.  Well.....she doesn't have much to worry about!  She was making all kinds of contact with the ball!  I told her that once it gets nicer out, we'll work on throwing/catching/fielding and running the bases.  Yay!

She looks like a pro!

That's all I have for now!  Hope you had a happy weekend!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Big Sigh of Relief

Just a warning, this post has very little to do with weight loss, and more to do with my work life.  It happens.

A little background.  Ok, actually, a lot of background.  Some of you might know that my degree is in English/Professional Writing and that I have a minor in Public Relations.  (Ha.  I bet you never guessed my degree is in writing, especially considering how I like to blab on here.  But I promise, when situations call for business appropriate written ramblings, I can deliver!)  I graduated college in December 2004, and have worked for the County since.  Trust me, I tried to get a job in my field.  I interviewed all over the place...I went as far as Iowa!  But no one wanted me.  (That's a post for another day.)  So at the County I stayed.

After working for the County for a couple of years, I realized that looking for a job in my field wouldn't really be worth the effort anymore.  Sure, I wasn't getting paid a lot, but I was making decent money, I have really good benefits, a pension, I participate in a deferred compensation plan, I get a bunch of vacation time, sick time, personal time, and there are a bunch of holidays us County people celebrate....most places in the private sector couldn't offer most of that.

Anyways, most of you know that last year I changed jobs not once, but twice.  All still within the County.  Up until February of last year, I had worked in the Courthouse, but decided I needed a change.  I was in the office for five years, doing essentially the same thing every day.  I felt as though my skills were not recognized, and I also realized that I had no future staying in that office.

So I transferred to the prison.  (Tomorrow, actually, would be a year to the day that I started at the prison!) I thought I could handle it.  You have to have that "off" sense of humor to work there.  You have to be tough.  You have to not take any crap.  I thought I could deal.

Ha.  That was probably the most miserable seven months of my life job-wise.  I felt like I constantly had to prove myself.  There was so much bickering among the workers, and administration refused to step in.  (Trust me....there was a ton of other crap that I'd rather not get in to here.)  But it was a raise in pay, so I sucked it up.  And looked for a way out.

Thankfully, the job I have now opened up.  (Lookie there, I'm actually, finally, getting to the point of all this.) And I've jumped in wholeheartedly.  I've taken on more responsibilities than I ever thought I would in a county job, and I'm making this one my own.

I contacted our Information Services Dept., and they're going to install Publisher on my computer.  I'm working with the Volunteer Services Coordinator to design invites for a recognition ceremony that is hosted yearly.  He has a theme in mind, and I'll be able to design invites for him and have the programs mirror the invites so everything matches.  Previously, they picked a design online and ordered everything.  I am GIDDY with excitement about this.  Document design was one of my favorite things in college, and I took just about every class that addressed it.

I'll also be able to use Publisher for different events that I help coordinate, like the Employee of the Month Luncheon or the Employee Anniversary Recognition.

So. Flipping. Excited.

Anyways, more about the job.  I'm now a member of the Wellness Committee, and one of my duties was to try and bring Lunch & Learns to the building where I work.  (A lunch and learn is funded by our insurance company.  We offer interested employees a free, healthy lunch, and while they're eating they listen to a presentation on a health related topic.  Today's topic was "Heart Disease," and next month is "Back to Basics.")  The nursing home is in an entirely different town than the Courthouse, and the employees where I work have been unable to participate in a lot of the activities the Wellness Committee offers.

I'm trying to bridge that gap.  And let me tell you, it hasn't been easy.  We have contracted employees, part time employees, employees lunching at different times, some getting half-hour lunches, others getting full-hour lunches.  How the heck was I going to manage offering a Lunch & Learn?

After some coordination with our insurance company, I was able to get a speaker to offer two 30 minute presentations instead of one hour-long presentation.  I contacted our dining services director and together we came up with a healthful menu (1/2 and oven roasted turkey sandwich, some really tasty veggie soup, fruit cup and a little pasta salad).  I contacted our housekeeping department and they had the room set up with tables and chairs, and handled switching out the table cloths in between sessions.  I contacted our IT Dept for a projector, and Staff Development for a projection screen.

I had been stressing all this weekend, hoping everything would work out.  That I didn't miss anything.  That the presentation wouldn't last too long and that people could get back to their units on time.  I was a nervous wreck this morning.

Turns out everything went well, I got a ton of positive feedback, they loved the food, and they're looking forward to next month's Lunch & Learn.

Holy crap.  If that isn't Public Relations, I don't know what is!  And this is all extra....on top of my normal job duties.

I've really come to believe that things work out.  It took me eight years since graduating college, but I'm finally doing stuff I really enjoy.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Eeeps! of Excitement

I've had a little bit of fun going on lately, and I just wanted to share.  My blog post this past weekend was a tad on the serious side, and after I posted it, I realized there were so many other things I wanted to bring up, but didn't.  Although I do have to admit, I'm happy I was able to stay so on topic on that last blog.  It needed to be done.

(Note....if you're a facebook friend, you've seen most of this on my feed.  But, well, I have peeps who read my blog who aren't on facebook.  Just humor me.)

Back to business.  Last Friday was a quiet afternoon at work.  I know....I shouldn't complain.  I'm not.  It gave me time to finally resurrect my bling board!  Yippee!  I've actually had a lot of people stop to look at it and ask me about it.  Some even told me they want to run/walk a 5k, and I have a co-worker who is signing up for a Tough Mudder.  So I think it is cool how the bling board is once again serving as a conversation starter.

Sunday was food prep day.  I have to admit, cooking/chopping all my stuff for the week on Sunday (and portioning it out) helps me so much during the week.  I don't have to think about what I'm eating for breakfast, or what I'm packing for lunch.  I just grab a bunch of containers and go.  This is what my fridge looked like once I was done.  I made my peanut butter baked oatmeal with craisins; cut strawberries, kiwis and clementines (the cuties are finally in season!); portioned out cottage cheese; made a sweet potato and chickpea stew (super yum); and defrosted chicken breasts and a peppercorn pork loin for Chris to grill.  

Some of you might know that I'm going to be playing co-ed softball this Spring.  (On a side note, I really gotta figure out who all said they were interested in joining....need to organize!)  Anyways, I've been going to the batting cages, and even asked Chris if we can go to the fields and work on sprinting/running the bases once the snow melts.  (I know....who am I?)  Well, you know a girl has to look cute while she's playing least, this girl does.  So Chris let me get a pair of turf shoes!  I was going to just use my trail shoes that I have for running, but b/c it was softball related, Chris had no problem letting me spring for these bad boys!

During the weekend, before my cooking extravaganza, I had purchased a ginormous bag of almonds at Sam's club.  I wanted to attempt to make almond butter, so I asked around and was given this recipe.  I've known people who tried to make almond butter with great results, and others who had epic fails.  I figured I'd give it a shot.  (But would be thoroughly pissed if I had to toss a nasty batch of almond goopiness.)

My first question was this:  How do I know if the almonds are roasted or not?  The bag didn't say they were, so I stuck them in the oven for ten minutes at 350, hoping that would work.  I then followed the recipe, but had to mix it quite a bit longer.  Also a definitely takes on more of an almond butter texture after adding the salt (I used half a tsp) and letting it mix forever.  This was the finished product:

The four cups of almonds made a decent amount.  This is a two cup container, and it was filled to the brim before I put some in a little container to take to work tomorrow.  Plus, I had to try it out and ate some with a granny smith apple (while doing a happy dance).

That's been my past couple days in a nutshell.  Tomorrow I'm shooting for a swim in the morning, and I'm going for a massage after work.  Ahhhhhh.