Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 31, 2012

Hello Again! It feels like forever since I posted.

The big news is that I survived my two weekend class and can now return to a regularly scheduled schedule. I have a $%&*-ton of homework to accomplish, but I will just take it one step at a time.

(I should really be doing homework right now, but hey, I needed to check in here!)

Okay, I have a couple of things to say. First of all I want to tell you about an experience I had at school. I am taking a business class and one of the things that keeps coming up is ethics. I have a pretty darn strong ethical compass. In fact, my ethics are what caused me to leave two different jobs in the past. I just have to say that I am *appalled* at the lack of ethics and the, shall we say, moral flexibility that many of my (typically younger) fellow students have. They attempt to justify everything! I actually inquired of my teacher if I was totally out of line with the general thinking of the class and she said that I certainly had a different thought process, likely due to generation differences and work experience. This lack of ethics really concerns me. I mean, do these kids understand that lack of ethics is what led to Enron's collapse? Bear Sterns? The Gulf Oil spill? The current economic recession where thousands of people have lost their jobs and homes? Unethical behavior is a cancer in our business world and I have a great fear that it is only going to get worse.

Thoughts? Disagreements? Respond in the comments if you like.

Today is the last day of January so I thought I would check in on my goals.

I have to say that my school schedule this month, as I suspected it might, really got in the way of my goal achievement. It is mostly because after 8 straight hours of class I am exhausted. I still had to do all the regular life stuff and homework stuff, so I really didn't have the energy to do anything else.

I exercised 10 days of the month. Not that great, but I was expecting that a little bit.

I did start training for the half marathon on some of those days and completed walk/jogs several times, increasing both my distance (longest was 4.61 miles jog/walk) and time jogging (1 min walk/jog intervals for over 3 miles). So that is progress and I fully intend to get back to training this week!

I didn't exercise every other day so I am a little behind on my goal of exercising half the days of the year, but I can catch up.

This means I am also a little behind on my goal of exercise minutes for the year, but as my friend Jenn pointed out, half marathon training should get me a lot of those minutes.

I am still going to school, surviving it and doing well ( I think) so am still working on the overall goal of finishing this year. We shall see!

So, I didn't hit all the numbers for January, but I didn't think I would either.

February starts tomorrow! Short month, and time for some short term goals.

Biggest goal is to get back to half marathon training by hitting  the pavement two-three times per week for walk/jog intervals of increasing time and distance. I hope to improve during the month and perhaps be able to double my jog time and add at least another mile and a half to my distance.

That's the biggest plan! One step at a time, right?

Thanks for hanging in here as I have coped with a crazy schedule! I plan to be here more now that I am back to regular class schedule!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Where have you been?

Or rather, where have I been?

Honestly, all, I don't even know what day it is...I have had to keep reminding myself all day that today is Thursday, not Friday.

I don't know if you recall, but I am in the midst of a crazy couple of weeks of school. I did it to myself, but truly, it is taking all of my energy to keep up with the absolute basics.

I go to class, I am packing my foods, I prepare meals, and I do homework. I try to fit kitty play time and actually interacting with my husband in there somewhere, too. In the midst of that, I am still trying to take care of the usual household stuff like groceries, getting gas in the car, dishes and laundry. Not to mention getting the taxes organized and paying the bills.

I may have gone 'round the bend crazy.

Thank the heavens my instructor for today had a conference in Dallas and I got a slight reprieve: no class. Woohoo! This didn't mean no school work, but it meant I didn't have to get up, get ready and be somewhere. I spent a good portion of the day in my sweats on the futon with my school work and my kitty.

My exercise routine, which I thought I might be able to manage a couple days a week has completely fallen by the wayside. I fully intend to pick back up, but these two weekend classes have totally zapped my energy.

I am not a super high energy person to begin with, but when stress and anxiety are added into the mix, I seriously struggle to get all the things done I absolutely MUST get done without adding any more stress to the mix. Right now, the not exercising is good and bad. Good because it is one more thing that I could beat myself up over or stress about getting accomplished, and bad because it would probably help manage my anxiety a bit better.

Speaking of, I headed to the doctor today. My anxiety (or panic-whatever) has reared its ugly head again in my life. I thought perhaps that I had learned enough techniques to manage it, but the last few years have been pretty emotionally overwhelming. I think that all of the stuff that has happened (Kendra, moving, mom), and the ongoing stress of a single income, not having a job, going to school, and an unknown future are all starting to get to me. The compounding nature of things has increased my stress levels to the point where I am not managing them. They are managing me.

Many years ago I waited to long to get help for my anxiety/panic and was seriously debilitated by it. I don't want that to happen again. Yesterday I had an anxiety/panic attack for no reason in the middle of a movie at school (not my first panic attack at school this term-super fun!). It is massively horrible to feel stuck someplace and be panicking. I didn't want to get my anxiety meds out of my purse because I was in a theater and didn't want to make a bunch of noise. This adds more panic. It is a yucky catch 22 roller coaster feeling. So I tried to breathe. And wiggle. Wiggling helps burn off the adrenaline feelings. Eventually it subsided and I congratulated myself on another successful survival without freakout. Yay me!

Today I saw my doc and we added a daily med for anxiety to my "as needed for panic" med. I am so grateful to have this available to me. I hope it helps and I can start to feel calmer in the days ahead. Though we have made great strides in this arena, there is still a TON of stigma associated with anxiety/panic and other mental disorders. Having grown up in a family with some pretty significant mental disorders, I try to be an advocate for people getting help. It is not your fault! There is help available! There is no reason to suffer needlessly through depression, anxiety, panic, mania or other The meds DO help!

I know that often, in the midst of the fog of the crazy, it can be hard to think rationally and functionally. Try. Try to get help if you need it.

So that is my post for today. I am hoping the meds kick in over the next week or so and I start to get some relief. School should calm down a bit after this next week, too, and that will help.

I have more to do, so better get to it! Have a great Thursday or Tuesday or whatever day it is!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Have I Mentioned Prep Work?

Okay, so I realized yesterday that starting THIS Saturday I will have school for 13 days straight. 9 of those days I will have to be at school by 8 or 8:30 in the morning and stay until at least 3:30, and 5 of those days until 5pm. Uhm...I haven't had a "work" 9-5 type of schedule since, uhm...October 16th 2009.

I have a distinct feeling that I am going to be pretty wiped out! Because, not only will I have to be in school all that time, but I will still have tons of school reading and homework to accomplish outside of those hours, plus my regular life. Things like exercising, preparing meals, grocery shopping, playing with the kitten, speaking to my husband. You know..the usual!!

I know that lots and lots of people are much busier than this all the time, and I salute you! I used to have a regular J-O-B and will again in the future, but I haven't for a while now and this is going to be an adjustment.

You know what is going to save my ass? Prep.

Seriously. I am prepping in as many ways as I can. I am reading as far ahead as I have time for this week in all of my classes. Reading a chapter in a text book can take an hour or more, and that is a pretty cursory read. So I am doing lots of prep-reading.

Meal prep is critical! I know I have said this before, and I will again. CRITICAL!! So that is what I did tonight. I did a bunch of prep work.

*peeled and sliced carrots
*sliced cucumbers
*peeled and sliced jicama
*sliced cucumber
*sliced red and yellow peppers
*chopped onion
*cooked 2 cups of brown rice
*washed and chopped two heads of lettuce
*got the coffee pot ready for the morning, all I have to do is push start
*made and packaged lunches for tomorrow, all I have to do is throw them in appropriate lunch box/bag (using my new and totally awesome reusable lunch and snack bags!!)
*pulled chicken out of the freezer for tomorrow nights dinner
*made an executive decision to make what I was going to make tomorrow on Thursday when I have more time (hence the need for the chicken). Thursday's meal is a crockpot meal that should leave us with left-overs. Left-overs are an awesome prep tool!
*washed and prepped snow peas

The dishwasher is going and I'm going to go throw a load of clothes in the laundry, because I won't have time for all day laundry projects.

Chris did a bunch of playing and chasing with the kitten tonight (she loves to be chased around the house-she chases us back! It is hilarious!)

Here is what all that veggie prep work will do for me: I can eat the veggies raw. If I want to add them to a meal (like the peppers tomorrow night) they are already cleaned and sliced and just have to be thrown in the pan. The onion is chopped so I can just scoop out how much I need. I can reheat the brown rice and have it with dinner tomorrow, and I can add some to my leftover butternut squash tomatillo "bisque" that I made a big ole pot of last night. I am taking that for my lunch tomorrow.

If I want I can add some rinsed and drained canned beans (pinto, kidney, black) to the brown rice with some seasonings for a tasty and filling lunch.

A salad is literally moments from being ready with everything washed, sliced and chopped.

I did most of this while I was making dinner tonight. Yes it took a bit of time, but it will be time very well spent as things get hectic. Yes, I will have to do more prep work in the next couple of weeks, but it too will be time well spent to help keep me sane.

And on the note of leftovers, I have bean soup, turkey and rice soup, and chicken pot pie in my freezer in ready to eat portions from meals I have already made. This Friday I will probably make another crockpot meal or two (or three-remember I now have the triple crocker!) and stick those in the freezer, too. This is a huge time saver and sanity saver when I am exhausted and it's time to make dinner. Plus, those meals can be such life savers with Chris' schedule. If he gets a call and has to go to work at oddball times, making a whole dinner is not worth it, but having good food to eat after a warm up in the microwave is always worth it.

Oh, and just a little update: Yesterday I did a 3.34 mile walk/jog in 49 minutes, with 1 minute walk/jog intervals. I felt pretty darn good and today am not sore. I feel like that was a really great "benchmark" workout. It showed me where I am really at currently with distance and jogging ability. I now feel like I really have a place to start training from. Over the next few weeks the goal is to get out on the pavement at least twice a week (three times would be better!) and work on increasing both mileage and walk/jog interval times.

Do you do prep work? What do you think is critical for your sanity in crazy times??

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why Southern Oregon Is Awesome

Do you want to know why living in Southern Oregon is AWESOME (most of the time)??

Here are some examples:

These pictures were taken January 10th, 2012 around 3:30 in the afternoon. Chris and I went for a 3.37 mile walk in 50 minutes over near the Medford Airport. There is a paved walking path all round one side of the airport, and then another part that is all gravel.

The views are amazing. The airplanes taking off and landing is fun and different.

The sun was shining, and it was cool, but not as cold as it was over the weekend. We actually had a great walk and the sun was just dipping behind the mountains as we finished up.

I only got 3 days of exercise in this week, Sunday, Tuesday and Friday, but Friday was a 4.61 mile wog in 1:11:46. And I was going to exercise Saturday...but I couldn't move my legs.

Seriously, my thighs were killing me. The wog + distance increase may have been a little much, but I felt good at the time. Today I am exercising no matter what and Monday I don't have school so that will help, too.

I actually felt really good about my run on Friday! I just thought I would go out and see what I could do and how I felt. I picked a mostly flat area of low traffic neighborhood and just walked and jogged and walked and jogged and then walked. The jogging wasn't easy, but it also wasn't has difficult as I thought it might be, and I managed to go as far as I *wanted* (meaning I said I want to run down one side of this whole block) and I did.

Food, always my weakness, has been good and not so good, but I'm working on it.

I need to work on some goals for this week and post those for accountability. Happy Sunday!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Friday (saturday) Five # 6

I know it's Saturday (night!), but I am going to do a Friday Five post anyway. As you can see by how quiet it has been around here this week, I am back in school. I have taken pictures and thought about stuff to blog, but I am still getting adjusted to my schedule. Hopefully I will be able to work it out and get back to daily or every other day blogging quickly!

1. What I'm Reading:

Still working on Carson McCullers The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. So far it is a little weird and, uhm, not that engaging. But mostly what I've been reading are these:

So far I have read at least one chapter in each of those except Mass Media and Society, and I have read two chapters in Small Group, Mediation Theory, and Management. At least it is interesting and they all tie in together in various ways.

2. What I'm Listening To:

This exact second? Chris making a helluva ruckus in the garage. I think he is working on changing out a clutch, but good grief! I think every power tool we own in in operation out there. Very distracting.

Also, I downloaded the Pandora App for my phone and listened to my Justin Timberlake station on my wog yesterday (4.61 miles in 1:11:46 tyvm!). It was okay. The music wasn't quick enough. I may try the Lady Gaga station that everyone raves about.

3. What I'm Watching:

The best thing I watched this week was Wag the Dog with Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Heche, William H. Macy, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson, Woody Harrleson, and Kirsten Dunst. It was for my Media Across Cultures class and it was SO good! I laughed so much. It is a story about the President of the United states sleeping with a teenager and it comes out in the press 11 days before his re-election. DeNiro, Heche and Hoffman are the key players in "distracting" the media from this story. It is a hilarious, and sadly probably very accurate, depiction of how the media is very manipulateable. I'm not sure if that's a word, but I like it. I highly recommend seeing it!

4. What I'm Eating:

SO DELICIOUS Dairy Free Coconut CHOCOLATE milk. 100 Calories per 1 cup serving. Tasty. Thick. Chocolatey. Today I poured myself a serving, adding some coffee and a splash of creme de menthe. Tasty afternoon warm me up treat that was both chocolate craving satisfying and warm satisfying and isn't going to ruin the diet satisfying. WIN-WIN-WIN! I have also tried their plain coconut refrigerator milk and I like that, too. Thicker than 2% but without the nasty flavor of cow milk.

5. What I'm Pinning  Thinking:


Sack Savers on Etsy - snack size

Bloomingdeals on Etsy- bigger than sandwich, sandwich and snack size.

Inside snack size

Thanks to Cassie over at Back To Her Roots, I went to Etsy and found these reusable snack and sandwich bags. I really hate using the plastic bags because I go through 2 or 3 (or more) a day! I make Chris' lunch almost every day and his lunch box isn't big enough for plastic reusable tupperware-style containers, so I am always using plastic bags. Sometimes I can re-use them, but often they have yucky mess on the inside and have to be thrown away. My lunch bag is big enough for containers, so I use those more, but these bags are a perfect option for both of us!

These are dishwasher or washing machine safe, or they can be handwashed and air dried. They have a liner on the inside that is easy to wipe clean and a full velcro closure. They hold a substantial amount of snacks, and the sandwich bags easily hold good size sandwiches. I am SO thrilled with these! 

If you are crafty you can make them yourself. Cassie has a tutorial on her site. I am not crafty, nor do I own a sewing machine, and even if I did...oh my gosh...just ask my mother about my "sewing" attempts. Yah. I will happily pay the $ for someone else to do the work.

I am actually thinking of going and seeing if they have cloth napkins, too. I use cloth napkins in our lunches already, but I would like to have a few more so we aren't using the same ones over and over.

BONUS #6. Mandatory cute kitty picture:

Okay, it's not the best picture and she looks a little deranged, but she LOVES this feather thing. In fact, she LOVES it so much she will NOT let go of it once she gets it in her mouth and she starts growling if you try to take it from her. It's cute but not, if you know what I mean. I was holding her trying to get it away from her and she was growling so Chris snapped this pic. She was none too happy about the whole thing. HA! Crazy kitty!!

Happy Saturday Night!

I know ya'll will be rooting for the Packers with me tomorrow, right??

Monday, January 9, 2012

First Day of School Recap

Well, I survived day one back to school...whew!

The highlights (because I have a very lonely baby kitty waiting for playtime):

Early morning class: Media Across Cultures, we watched a movie called Shadows of Hate and saw video of actual dead bodies hanging from trees with people celebrating underneath. Not cool. Good thing I didn't eat too much breakfast this morning.

Mid-morning class: During attendance the name of one of my cousins was called out. I turned around "Hey! You're my cousin!" I knew he attended school there, but we aren't close (obvi) and I wasn't really a part of that side of the family growing up, AND since I'm 35 and he is in college at the age where you are supposed to go to college..well you can see how we might not have recognized each other visually. Funny! Small world. Class lasted about a half hour and Wednesday's class is only a half hour. This annoys me. Class is Small Group Communication.

This left with me 2.5 hours to kill with no laptop.


I hunkered down in the Student Union, ate my lunch and perused the web on my phone.

Afternoon class is a Conflict Resolution class that I am taking as a practicum requirement as the Teaching Assistant. <--- yes I capitalized that. ;-) Should be interesting! I took the same class as a student last term.

Now I am home, was starving so quickly ate a piece of cheese, a granola bar thing and some leftovers from dinner last night. Now I need to go play with my kitty before she decides that the drapes are a better choice!

Oh, today is my rest day...I exercised 6 days in a row so I totally earned it!

More tomorrow!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Snippets

Happy Sunday!

I am a horrible football fan...I have not watched any of the games in the last few weeks and now I see that the Broncos win over the STEELERS (!?!?) and the Falcons were absolutely shut OUT by the Giants. Those must have been some interesting games.

So it looks like the game to watch next week is DEFINITELY Packers/Giants. GO PACK! Seriously, if Green Bay doesn't make it to the Super Bowl I will be so disappointed. They better make it because I am already planning my Super Bowl snack menu.

Want to see the cutest thing in the world? Of course you do.



Okay so I thought I'd do a little goal follow up being that it is Sunday.

So far this month I have exercised 7 of the 8 days for at least 25 minutes. So for goal # 4. Exercise at least 20 minutes 183 days of the year...I am doing very well!

Goal #5 is for 3960 exercise minutes and so far I have 333. Only 3627 more to go!

Goal #3 is to train for and complete the Helvetia Half Marathon on June 9th. I have been feet to pavement 3 days since the first of the year totalling ~187 minutes and ~11 miles. That is a good place to start.

Goal #1 progress starts tomorrow as I head back to school for Winter Term. Ugh...it is going to be a looooooong day.

Goal #2 is to lose lbs. I have been eating pretty well this week, along with exercising daily, so that goal is tracking pretty well, too.

My weekly goals starting Wednesday the 4th through Wednesday the 11th are the following:

1: no bread products *****

2: include fruit or veggie with every meal *****

3: plan for healthy and calorie appropriate snacks *****

4: log food & exercise daily *****

5: Exercise at least 5 times for at least 20 minutes *****

The asterisks mean that I have completed that goal for the day. Right on target!!

Tomorrow is a rest day, and thank goodness because my muscles are SORE.

Here is where I walked today with Chris.

It was sunny, but it was COLD! And yes, I have more than one sweatshirt, but this one is the warmest and has the best pocket for all my stuff.

We covered 2.79 miles in 47 minutes. It wasn't a fast walk, but it is better than sitting at home on the couch. We left that up to Roxie.

When we got home we decided it was time to harvest our lemons. This is our second year with the lemon tree/bush.

 We got a total harvest of 12 lemons, one of which we already used and one we gave to my brother.

The remaining 10 we decided to make booze with.


Don't look at me like that! We wanted to try and make some limoncello, which is an Italian after dinner liqueur.

It is a somewhat tedious process, being that all you use of the lemons is the rind, being very careful to remove as much of the white pith as possible. The rinds go into a seal able jar and get covered with Everclear. The lemon rind flavors the alcohol and then in a couple weeks a simple syrup is added and that sets together to blend. I'll let you know how it turns out in a few weeks!

The rest of the lemons went through the juicer and we now have fresh lemon juice frozen into cubes in the freezer.

We had a smidge leftover so we mixed the juice with a bit of vodka, triple-sec, ice and sugar. SO fresh and tasty. Chris and I shared it, which really means I had a few sips. :-)

Dinner was an eggplant and pasta dish with a big ole salad on the side. I'd show you but my pictures suck and make it look yucky. It wasn't.

I have lunches and coffee all prepped for tomorrow, need to get my backpack put together, get showered and get to bed! I have to be up around 6 in the morning tomorrow and out the door by 7:45. Ugh. Have I ever mentioned that I am not a morning person? No? Well...*I* Am NOT A Morning Person. sigh. Oh well. I've done it before and I'm sure I'll be doing it again.

What did you do today? How are you holding up on your goals?? It's week two!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


It is 5:01pm on the west coast, which I think officially means two things: One I can start the post by saying "Good Evening!" and two, I can have a glass of wine or something. YAY!

Good Evening!

My day started out with breakfast. My pictures suck, as usual, but I'll show you anyway. I need to hire a professional photographer to live at my house and take pictures at will.

I made an egg breakfast thing. It was pretty tasty and very quick to put together thanks to all the prep work I did earlier in the week.

I had pre-chopped onions, red and yellow peppers, and had bought sliced mushrooms. I sauteed those in a little butter until they were nice and soft. (After eating it I would have added the eggs sooner and let all the cooking finish together, the onions got a bit more carmelized than I would have liked). Then I beat some eggs together and poured those over the top of the veggie mixture. I let that cook without touching it (I swirled the eggs around in the pan when I first dumped it all in there to cover the veggies) for a few minutes until the edges looked like they were just starting to set. I then took the whole pan and stuck it in a 350F oven for another few minutes until the top set up. I sprinkled a tiny bit of cheese on the top and let that melt.

It definitely needed more salt than what I added during cooking, but we topped it with chopped tomatoes, avocado and some homemade tomatillo salsa and called it breakfast! We also shared a delicious ruby red grapefruit. It is citrus season so NOW is the time to buy oranges and grapefruits with the best and sweetest flavor.

We went to Lowes after breakfast and picked up some supplies.

When lunch time rolled around I decided to try out a gift my grandma gave me for Christmas. It is called a TopChips chip maker. 

It is pretty cool! There are three silicone trays.

You slice up a potato (or other vegetable) thinly using the provided baby mandolin.

Put them on the trays (after patting them dry with a paper towel) and stick them in the microwave for a few minutes. The instructions say 3 minutes, but they must have used a higher powered microwave than mine, because it took probably 6 minutes or so (30 second increments) for the potato slices to crisp up like chips!

I seasoned them with a bit of vinegar and salt. YUM! Quick, homemade, no oil/deepfried potato chips! Thanks Gram!

Chris spent the rest of the afternoon working on a little project for the kitty, while I puttered around in the house doing this and that.


She loves it, but I didn't have my camera handy so I missed the opportunity to catch her climbing up the entire thing and loving it! She is such a good girl.

I am doing great on my goals this week. I have exercised 6 of the 7 days of the month. I have avoided bread products. I have eaten fruits or veggies with every meal. I have had appropriate snacks. I have logged my food and exercise. Woohoo! Today was a hard day for me to get my exercise in. The weather was blah and it made me feel blah, but I did some yoga this afternoon. Good enough for today.

Have a great Saturday evening everyone!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Friday Five # 5

1. What I'm Reading

I just finished reading a great book: lit by Mary Karr. I wrote a short review of it over on Goodreads, but basically Mary grew up with a crazy alcoholic mother, an alcoholic father and had a crappy childhood. Her relationships throughout her young adult life were strained, and she herself turned to booze to cope. This is a memoir about her experiences offered with honesty and truth. A book that reminds those of us who may have had challenging relationships or childhoods that we are not alone. The second half of the book, the later chapters, *really* offer a lot of insight and value. I thought this was a great book.

I also just started The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. I really know nothing about this book, but my 16 year old niece has had it assigned for one of her classes and I told her I would read it, too. That way we can talk about it and maybe it helps motivate her to read a book she otherwise may not have that much interest in. I downloaded it on my Kindle for PC app and have only gotten into the first few pages. I'll let you know what I think!

2. What I'm Listening To

Well at the grocery store today I listened to my MP3 player with a mix of Gaga, Katie Perry, Miley, Ke$ha, Brittney, JLo and more. In the car I have Adele's 21 playing on repeat. And here at home I have a satellite station called Soft Hits playing pretty much all the time. They have a nice mix of non-intrusive music and NO commercials or DJ's!! Best thing ever. The Christmas music is still in the CD player, but I'm DONE with that for another year.

3. What I'm Watching

I put my Winter break to good use!! I got completely caught up on BONES! Thank goodness!! I now have my DVR set to record NEW episodes. :-) I'm such a dork. LOVE Bones.

I am sad because The Closer is over until Summer, and Summer is the final season. I also watched Rizzoli and Isles (getting better).

Grimm I have still been watching, but it isn't growing on me.

I still BIG LOVE Once Upon A Time and can't wait for it to be back on!

I am intrigued by the new show The Finder. Not sure if I will watch it, but I might set the DVR to record a few episodes and see how it is.

Of course, very soon I will be watching the SUPERBOWL!!

4. What I'm Eating

Fruits and Veggies with every meal! I went grocery shopping today to stock up on fresh and frozen fruits and veggies. Lots of healthy stuff! Nuts, grains, greens, proteins. Oh, I tried Chobani Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt today. Not a fan, really. Everyone claims this stuff is so amazing? I'm just not feelin' it.

5. What I'm Pinning Thinking:

I am back to school on Monday morning....bright and early!! My first class starts at 8:30 AM. YIKES!! That will be an adjustment for sure. Taking 5 classes this term, 3 of them on M/W and one on T/Th and then one weekend class that goes for two full weekends the end of January.  I will be BUSY.

Happy FRIDAY!!

What's your five??

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January 5th Already?

Hard to believe we are already 5 days into January. And it's Thursday.

January 5th!?!?

I have had a pretty good first few days of the year.

I have exercised between 50 and 80 minutes three of the last four days, and will exercise today, too.

After the New Years Day hill-hike, I went on Tuesday for an almost 4 mile walk. My race training officially started!

Yesterday I used my new body ball (Thank you Christopher!) and did a workout that I am feeling today! My back and the back of my thighs are sore!

I have done a pretty good job with my eating. The first couple days of the month were less good, but I have been tracking my calories and am reminded (again) how quickly those extra calories add up! It is good for me to see it in black and white and to keep that in mind.

Knowing how many calories I had eaten yesterday by the end of lunch time made it easier for me to skip my afternoon snack, drink water instead, and eat a healthy dinner with no after dinner dessert/snack. I stayed within my calorie range yesterday which made me happy.

Brown rice, black beans and seasonings heated, topped with grape tomatoes, 1/3 avocado and greens. Eaten with a spoon to slow me down. Side of my brothers homemade bread and butter pickles and an ounce of home-mixed (not store bought) nuts.

Yesterday I also worked on food prep. I have mentioned many times before, and will again, how critical food prep is for my success.

There are times when I love to get into the kitchen and cook, prep, prepare and create, but most of the time I just want to have something to eat and I don't want to take all dang day to make it. Having healthy food options ready to go is a life saver for me, and it makes lunch making in the morning that much simpler.

Yesterday I chopped carrots, celery, onion, red and yellow bell peppers, and jicama and put them in containers in the fridge. I also made a big batch of quinoa and stuck that in the fridge. I opened a can of black beans and rinsed them off and put them in the fridge, too.

I also used my new triple crock (LOVE IT!) to make my version of Pesto-Infused White Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Stew from Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Roberston, and a leftover turkey and wild rice stoup/casserole.

2.5 quarts each, with individual temp settings.

The White Bean soup has diced frozen tomatoes from my garden, some fresh grape tomatoes, some dried tomatoes and some smoked tomatoes (all from my garden) in the slow cooker with white beans, onion, garlic, broth, fennel seeds, oregano, pepper and a chopped red bell pepper. I let that cook on high for about 5 or 6 hours and then tossed in four or five frozen ice cubes of homemade pesto. That all went into the fridge to cool and I will eat some of it this week/end and some of it will go into the freezer for future lunches.

The leftover turkey stoup/casserole was about 2 cups of cubed leftover turkey that we fried on New Years day, chopped fresh mushrooms, a cup of uncooked wild rice, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, pepper, frozen green beans from my garden, chopped carrots, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and broth. All that went into the crock pot for about 5 or 6 hours and then it, too, got parceled out into containers. Those will also be available for a meal this week/end and will go into the freezer for future meals.

I used the third crock to heat the last of my homemade canned tomato sauce. I cooked the last spaghetti squash from our garden in the oven and for dinner we had spaghetti squash topped with the heated tomato sauce and a bit of leftover turkey for protein. Very tasty. (I was going to serve a side salad but I didn't like the looks of my lettuce).

In the midst of all that, of course, we had to have some play time.

And play makes us sleepy.

Today is off to a good start as well, with a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, topped with frozen fresh blueberries (bought locally at my farm stand last summer), and some dried cranberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. YUM.

Yesterday on Facebook Jillian Michaels posted a challenge to remove one unhealthy thing from your life for a week, as a way to get started with decreasing or removing that habit from your life for longer.

I made the following goals for a week, starting yesterday, through 1/11/12.

1: no bread products
2: include fruit or veggie with every meal
3: plan for healthy and calorie appropriate snacks
4: log food & exercise daily
5: Exercise at least 5 times for at least 20 minutes

Having both short and long term goals is helpful for me in building a feeling of success and achievement.

Do you food prep? How are your goals holding up so far?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goals for 2012

I know I'm a day or two behind, but here are my goals, as promised, for 2012.

1. Complete my Bachelor of Science in Human Communication by the end of Fall Term 2012 (December), including a Certificate in Human Resources Management and a Certificate in Conflict Resolution.

I currently have 74 credits (of 90 required) completed and am taking 20 credits Winter Term 2012 putting me at 54 more required credits. To achieve my goal I will need to take 20 credits in Spring 2012 and Fall 2012 with an additional 14 credits in Summer 2012. Included in that process will be my required practicum project.

This is a very lofty goal. It will require a tremendous amount of dedication and time from me, in addition to a pretty significant amount of money, and a certain aligning of the stars and universe to make it all happen. I am going to do everything in my power to make this goal a reality, while still keeping in mind that I am subject to outside forces (like class schedules).

2. Lose 20 pounds.

See my previous post for my achievements and accomplishments in 2011. In 2012 I want to continue my healthy downward body size trend.

In order to achieve this goal I will need to monitor my food intake and increase my activity level back to 40-60 minutes of exercise 5-6 days a week.

3. Complete the Helvetia Half Marathon on June 9th, 2012 in Hillsboro, Oregon. 13.1 miles.

I have participated in the Helvetia event (completing the 10K) twice before, once in 2006 and once in 2009. I thought it would be appropriate to continue my every 3 year streak and up the ante by participating again in 2012 only this time completing the half.

In order to achieve this goal I will need to start training in earnest with my feet on the pavement. I will need to review Chi-Running and Marathoning for Mortals and set up a training plan that is appropriate and achievable. I will need to follow that training plan to safely increase my mileage over the next several months without injury.

I have one caveat with this goal. My PRIMARY goal for this year is to finish my degree (see #1) which may interfere with the level and time commitment of training required to appropriately train for the full half marathon. My PLAN and INTENTION is to complete the half (walking/wogging/jogging), but if my course load prevents me from an appropriate level of training, I will complete the 10K (6.2 miles) instead of the half.

4. Exercise at least 20 minutes 183 days of the year.

Last year I exercised for 151 days of the year. 183 days is half the number of the days of the year (rounded up).

In order to complete this goal I will need to exercise for at least 20 minutes averaging every other day.

5. Complete 3960 exercise minutes during the year.

This is 300 more minutes than goal # 4. I don't think they are mutually exclusive. One is more about the number of days I exercise, which creates consistency, whereas this one is about an amount of exercise.

In order to complete this goal I will need to have at least 30 exercise sessions lasting 10 minutes longer than my 20 minute minimum on 183 days.

There ya go! My 5 main goals for 2012.

They are SMART goals meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and they all have a Timeline.

Now it's your turn! Did you set any goals or resolutions for 2012?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Health and Fitness Recap

Before I post about my goals for 2012, I thought I would recap a little bit of my fitness achievements from 2011.

In order to get a big picture, I have to jump back to 2010. You may recall that my mom went into the hospital for 10 weeks the end of 2010. It was an emotionally overwhelming time for me. I am an emotional eater and during times of massive stress like that, not only does the increase in cortisol make it super duper easy for me to gain weight (easier than normal) I also mentally check out with giving a damn about what goes in my mouth. Food becomes soothing, rather than nourishing. I gained quite a bit of weight during the end of 2010 which meant that my 2011 started off with me feeling fat and unhappy.

In fact, when we went to Jamaica in December of 2010 I took almost zero pictures of myself because I looked horrible.

One of about 5 pictures. Just look at my face, I was still massively stressed out.
January 2011 I was heavier than I had been in a few years. My clothes didn't fit and I was miserable. I have had a decades long struggle with my weight and food, but this was the heaviest I had been in about 5 years. Sad panda. I can't find anywhere where I wrote down how much I weighed, but I know it was the high 170's. I think 178.

In the spring I did a cleanse and lost about 8 lbs. In mid-March I weighed 168. I continued to lose weight over the year and by late summer was in the low 150's. I think the lowest I saw, briefly, was 151 or 153.

This morning I weighed myself and I am noting it just to have a starting place recorded. 158.5. A month or so ago I weighed 153.5, so the holiday weight gain came to exactly 5 lbs. Not great, not horrible. I plan to start working on removing that and a few more in the coming weeks.

But, health and fitness and my journey are NOT all about what is on the scale. That is just one measurement, and not that great of a measurement, of fitness.

I have said before that I keep track of the days that I workout on my wall calendar by putting a sticker on it if I work out. I keep it really simple. If I exercise for more than 20 minutes (anything..lawn mowing, walking, weights, yoga, hiking, whatever) I get a sticker. I know some people have elaborate, color-coded systems, charts, graphs, etc., but for me keeping it simple, fun and very visible is a great motivator! I want my stickers!

I reviewed my stickers the other day and discovered that I exercised 151 days of the year. That is about 30 days shy of half the total number of days in the year. Honestly, I was both pretty impressed and a little disappointed with this. 151 days is pretty damn good, but with very little extra effort I could have achieved half of the days. Still, 151 days of exercise is better than no days of exercise, so I am pleased with that.

Best month: June with 27 days of exercise.

I also noted that there was only one month where there were zero stickers on the calendar. Now, I could have just been lazy and not put any stickers, but even if I didn't exercise at all that month (September) I still feel good about doing some type of exercise at least a few days every month of the year but one. That helps build overall consistency, and I like it.

Worst month: September with zero recorded days of exercise.

Also, my overall fitness level, though harder to track, improved significantly over the year. My recovery time has decreased. My form for squats and lunges has improved tremendously. My ability to climb the big hill or hike Roxy Ann has increased dramatically. So much so, that even without regular exercise over the last couple of months, when my friends and I hiked the big hill on New Years Day, I was feeling pretty good, wasn't horribly out of breath and was not sore the next day. Noticeable progress, with which I am pleased.

Christmas Day 2010
The other component in my healthy life is food. I would say that I was about 50/50 with food last year. About 50% of the time I was really diligent about what I ate, and the other 50% of the time I wasn't. This leaves me room for improvement on the healthy eating side of my fitness journey.

NYE 2011 (Man I look tired! Chris just looks silly, as usual.)

Looking back over 2011 has helped me to really see what I DID accomplish and areas where I could improve. It also has given me some food for thought as to what my fitness goals for 2012 are going to be.

Did you do a year-end health and fitness review? What kind of progress did you make? What kind of improvements are you looking for in 2012?