Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm relevant!

A month ago I ran, and finished, my first half marathon. I raised over $300 for cancer research in honor of my father who has battled Melanoma this past year. I crossed the finish line in 2 and a half hours. I didn't walk one step of the race. I have not written about it or blogged about it since. Why??

Hmmm, not totally sure, but I started to think about it this week after a friend (who graciously reads my blog when nobody else really does) mentioned that she hadn't seen a post race blog entry. I think there are several reasons why my blog has been a cliff hanger stopping on the night before the race. Here are just some of my excuses for not following up...
1. I couldn't walk for at least three days. I intellectually realize this has nothing to do with sitting at a computer and typing, but honestly even that might have been painful after running 13.1 miles.
2. I had company in town. Blah, blah, blah. I had company in town when I wrote the pre-race blog and I write all the time when I have other obligations glaring down at me.
3. I'm not a marathon runner (even a half marathon). I didn't lose the weight I wanted to and I definitely didn't break any records so blogging about a less than gripping race experience seemed sad, at best.
4. I didn't really know what to write....until now.

My legs have recovered, I've come down from my runner's high and I can honestly say it was the most amazing experience I have ever had!! My fat ass (ok, I'm not supposed to use derogatory language towards myself so I will say "chubby") ran 13.1 miles without stopping and without dropping dead. I don't really care who you are....that is an accomplishment. I enjoyed every minute of it, miles 10-13 were very challenging, my knees hurt on and off, my play list on my iPod was rocking and I crossed that finish line with pride in my heart and sweat soaking my clothes. :) The physical strength it takes to run a marathon has nothing on the emotional strength is takes to do something like this. I never once thought about my leg pain, but I constantly processed my life, my past, my purpose and my love for my father (which really inspired me to run this race). I had mantras that helped me to push through and I cried at least three seperate times (thank God it was sunny so I had sunglasses on and nobody saw the tears).

I was so proud of myself for a few days, but realizing that actually my time was pretty much as slow as a turtle was a blow to my ego. I want to be one of those people who finish in record breaking time, weigh a 100 pounds and pretty much exude the athelete vibe. Pity party being over now, I realize that I will/or may not ever be that girl. I have weight to lose, goals to meet and challenges to conquer. I have self esteem to build and a whole life to shape ahead of me. What I do know is that my race was still a race. My finish time still recorded in history. My existince is relevant. I am relevant. And even if one person or nobody reads this blog, its my way of getting my voice out there. And everything we have to say is relevant.....even my words.

I can't wait for my next race!

I don't know why my face it so puffy! I'm used to it look chubby, but it was like when I stopped running all the blood races to my face. :) So thankful my dear friend Andrea was there to support me. The guy on the left is my dad....not idea what he is photographing, but gotta love him!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rock and Roll

I'm running a marathon tomorrow. Just a half marathon, but still, a marathon. I have trained (probably not enough, but oh well), I have read the blogs and magazines, I have picked up my number and my free samples of Gu and peanut butter, I have carbo loaded tonight with a big pasta dinner, I have hydrated and purchased new running pants and cried and laughed at the fact that tomorrow I am running a marathon. After all of this preparation, I can honestly say that I have no idea what to expect and I'm still a little scared out of my mind.

I know I won't set any records and I'm sure that I will be much slower than the majority of the runners, but not the slowest. I haven't lost the amount of weight I have wanted to, but I ran 9 miles straight a few days ago. I haven't purchased a fancy watch to time my miles and stay "on track" to finish at a certain time, but I am pretty certain I will finish. I haven't conquered all my fears or transformed my life, but I have found the joy of running and the therapy it brings me. I haven't raised thousands for cancer research in honor of my dad, but I have raised $300, and that is pretty great. I haven't thought about my next marathon or even if there will be one, but I am confident I will enjoy every moment of my first one tomorrow. For all that I haven't done or accomplished, there are three things I have under my belt. Baby steps. Just like the ones I plan on taking tomorrow.

So, at 8:30 at night, tucked nicely in bed with my best friend here visiting to support me and many more who are keeping me in their thoughts, I will say goodnight and good luck to myself. I have come far and still have so far to go. Life really is a marathon and not a sprint. What a wonderful adventure both will be.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oh, Barbara....

With only 17 days left until the half marathon (gulp), I really had to get my head in the game today. I ran 6 miles at the track and although I was a little slow today, I felt good. I got talked into joining my friend later in the day at the gym for a hard core work out. She called it "Barbara" which I thought was strange, but I didn't ask.

Below was me at the gym tonight.......

Alright, so I thought it would be more enjoyable to post a picture of this hunky guy doing pull-ups instead of me (chubby and not near as strong). :) All four of us gals had to use the pull-up machine that "assists" you in the one exercise that I find freakish. Who can really pull their whole body weight up to a bar over and over again? A five year old maybe, but beyond that it is just creepy.

The pull-up was just one of four exercises that we did in a routine called "Barabara". When I asked, I learned that the creators of the famous CrossFit fitness program names many of their routines after ex girlfriends. "Barabara" was either in fabulous shape or she liked to torture people. I not confident of which one.

The workout:
1. Warm-up on the stair climber for 20 minutes (NOT to be confused with the stair stepper. The stair climber has stairs that move continuously and you either have to keep stepping or risk falling off the back. By minute 5 I was covered in sweat, but I managed to complete all 20).
2. 20 pull-ups
3. 30 push-ups (Most of us opted for "girly" push-ups on our knees)
4. 40 squats
5. 50 crunches
6. Repeat steps 2-5 FOUR times or until you feel like you want to vomit or faint.

Honestly, it went by quickly and despite the sweat pouring off my body I felt pretty good at the end. I was so proud that I kept up with three gals that are smaller than me and who weight lift more often than I do. Will I be able to walk tomorrow? Unlikely. That ok though....pain means progress!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Keep on Trucking....

Greetings fellow bloggers. I haven't written in weeks so I thought I would send something out into cyberspace today. Why haven't I written? Too busy with work? On a luxury vacation? No access to the internet? Nope. None of the above. Frankly, I've been in a funk (oh, and only a handful of people even read my blog so I didn't think taking a month off would really matter). :) I put all my eggs in one basket and was very hopeful about getting a job that I interviewed for and, shocker, I didn't get it. You mean there are other highly qualified people out there looking for a job?! I had no idea. :) Perhaps my confident attitude clouded this fact, but this was my DREAM job!!! And it sucks and I cried and I got a little mad and then I do what I always do.....keep on trucking.

I developed the skill of "keep on trucking" (yes, that is a medical term) out of necessity, not by choice. I didn't choose to have some of the things happen to me that have in the past few years and I definitely didn't enjoy them. What I did CHOOSE, however, was to not spend my days living beneath the dark cloud that is grief and sadness. I continue to choose this and although hard days and disappointments still grace my front door, they now fail to stay for a long visit. This most recent setback had me "funky" for longer than I liked so I was excited to celebrate Memorial Day with some of my favorite things to cheer me up. The outdoors, family, friends and laughter.

When I pulled up to my house after working the morning shift at work I was graced with a flag blowing in the wind. My dad (yep, I'm that girl that is living at home to save money and I'm ok with that....most days) had mounted it on the fence that led to the "Early KOA" camp ground that would remain open the whole three day weekend. There is nothing like a flag blowing in the wind and I was instantly proud to be an American.

I'm an outdoors girl by nature so wearing raggedy clothes and boots for a whole weekend as I sit around a camp fire, play horseshoes and breath the fresh air of the Pacific Northwest is just about bliss for me. I've mentioned the lovely Northwest in several of my posts, but honestly people, you CAN'T beat a nice day in Seattle. :) The rain held off and friend and family camped in their motor homes right on our property. Above is Lucy waiting patiently for someone to emerge from indoors....perhaps with a hot dog

There are countless reasons why I love my family and this picture is just one of them. Through a brassy sounding boom box, my mom heard an old favorite and insisted my dad dance wit her. I both cringe and love the fact that I have done and will probably do this same things many times in my life. Dad obliged and the dance the whole song right there in the grass. I was playing around with camera settings and I was mad this came out slightly blurry, but I've since decided it adds a bit of drama to it. Dance on you two!

So there you have it. Funk lifted, fabulous weekend spent with those I love, honoring those who fight to keep us safe. Nothing better. The fresh air cleared my head and I'm left with a few thoughts......there are more jobs to land, more positive than negative in my life and building the life I want is always my CHOICE!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Running my ass off...

Ok, ok, the ass hasn't actually fallen off yet, but that would be a welcome side effect of training for the Seattle Rock and Roll half marathon. Several weeks ago, when I hit "confirm" on the marathon website, I instantly feared and regretted my decision to run 13.1 miles. On purpose. In reality, the most miles I have ever completed at one time is barely 8 and I think I was probably 30 pounds skinnier then where I stand on the scale today. Sure, I completed a 10k in January in just over an hour and I definitely could have kept going, but we are talking about DOUBLE the distance. Yikes.

There isn't much I can do at this point. The entrance fee has been paid, the date is set and I'm NOT going to make a fool of myself by faking an injury or simply slacking off and pulling out of the race. Nope, that won't happen. My only option, therefore, is to run. My ass off. I accomplished 4 miles on Monday this week and then a little over 5 on Wednesday. I ran through a literal downpour of Seattle rain and an emotional one of just not feeling fit enough to keep going. I have acquired a dull ache in my left hip (I can honestly say I have never had a pain in my hip. Its an odd sensation) and my ankles and knees continue to be slightly sore either after a long run or simply a day at work on my feet. Fabulous.

As the weeks tick away and June 25th becomes a reality, I will contine to push myself physically and emotionally. I want to reach this goal for the weight loss, for the fundraising for the American Cancer Society and for the feeling I know will be waiting for me when I cross that finish line (whether I'm on my feet or crawling). This week? 8 miles is the goal. The status of my ass actually falling off? I will keep you posted. :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

We're doing something right!

A few weeks go my dad and I sat outside in front of a bonfire (yes, I live in the woods) and polished off most of a large bottle of red wine. We normally have no problem communicating and talking about things, but I waited till he was a little buzzed before I asked the question that had been on my mind for a while. "Do you worry about your cancer and think about it all the time?" I asked. I wasn't really surprised by the answer, but it was interesting to hear it. He told me he constantly checks his tumor sight and wonders if it will come back and thinks a lot about whether the cancer is traveling around in his body undetected. I had no empathy, since I have never been through something as life altering as cancer, but I sure had sympathy. In fact, I have begun to live my days in the same manner. Does he have the sniffles? Why? Is the cancer multiplying as we sit here over dinner (or a bottle of wine)? It is exhausting, terrifying and back breaking.

Last Thursday, for the first time in six months (which is a long time in the world of cancer), my dad had another PET Scan. The scan itself is not painful or stressful. You basically get some radioactive sugar water pumped through your veins, lay in a tube for a looooong time and then get a nice little snack of crackers and juice to boost your sugar levels again. (Side story: when they pulled dad out of the tube for his half way point snack the nurse said "Oh its sunny outside!" She, of course, was referring to the current weather, but dad replied "What? Is it July already?" :) So, its a long, but painless process).

The painful part? WAITING!!!!! He was told his doctor would contact him on Monday with the results, but if you have ever dealt with a doctor you know that their time lines are a bit relaxed. Monday passed with no phone call or text from my dad. I figured that he would only contact me at work if it was good news so by the end of the night I was convinced the Melanoma had taken over his body and he had one week to live. I went to bed that night with a heavy heart and a lot of anxiety. To cut the story short....basically I heard the phone ringing when I was in my room getting ready for work on Tuesday morning. Nobody ever calls me on this phone so I NEVER answer it. I had a feeling, and went with it, and ran to listen to the message. It was was my dad's doc saying "your scan looks fine". Forget the fact that doctors shouldn't leave messages like this on answering machines, my father told him to call his cell phone and this said doctor is now not my dad's doc. Besides all that, it was amazing news. I called Pops instantly and fought back tears of joy.

I'm not sure what it is.....the praying, the positive thinking, his new cancer fighting/no sugar/no chemicals diet, the placement of Mars in the universe. Who knows. All I know is that we are doing something right. No signs of cancer and a whole lot of time ahead of us to keep kicking cancer's ass! Oh, and maybe he will continue to worry about what is floating around in his body, maybe we all will, but for the next few months we can safely say that all is good.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What the heck do I eat?!

This is kind of what I felt like today.......let me explain.

Since taking on the "cancerhasaffectedmyfamily/I'mtiredofbeingchubby" challenge of changing my eating habits, I have had more than just one mountain to crawl over. Limiting dairy has been less than fun (I still have cheese on my list of "just not ready to give up yet") and only letting natural/organic goods pass through my lips has taken some getting used to and requires some advanced reading of labels at the grocery store. Oh, and speaking of grocery stores, pretty much every store in a ten mile radius of my current home is stocked with crappy, chemically enhanced garbage from either a box or a farm in Venezuela. Ugh.

Fast forward from the beginning of my journey to today, and you will find me currently pulling out my hair in frustration about what the heck I'm supposed to eat! This is usually not a problem on the days I work as I work in Seattle.....A. at a restaurant dedicated to serving ONLY local, natural and seasonal food (I also get a great discount) and B. in a location where I can walk to not only several markets that specialize in this kind of eating, but also a half dozen restaurants that also serve chemical free, real food. On my days off? Well, that is a different story.

I've been fighting a cold, so the ONLY thing that sounded good for lunch was soup. I didn't exactly have a soup preference in mind, just soup in general. My stores of choice included Safety-Way and QFSea (I wanted to protect the name of these mega-stores for obvious reasons) and a handful of gas stations. Yum. I spent twenty minutes in Safety-Way and learned that their "vegetarian" tomato bisque has enough sodium to give the Dead Sea a run for its money as well as more fat than I need to consume in a week. QFSea, I thought, would have more of a selection in their deli that definitely appears to be nicer than Safety-Ways. Nope. A cup of even their "light" soup could put a diabetic in a small coma. I refused to even try the canned aisle in either of these stores because lets face it, the chemicals on the back of those cans are too hard to spell and most likely radio active.

All of you out there that understand nutrition and what I'm trying to do to my nutritional life can collectively sigh as you hear the choice I made. Won Ton soup from the local Chinese restaurant. Sigh. In my defense, this was my rationale......A. Non-dairy B. Low fat C. Local?? (the restaurant is local....okay that is a stretch) D. Hot and soothing on my sore throat. I sat, arms folded across my chest in failure and despair, as I waited for my to-go order. The soup was delicious, but I had buyer's remorse and I know that this is just the start to the ultimate question. What the heck do I eat!?? Especially when surburban America offers little in choice.

Suggestions? Comments?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring is here!

My running schedule was screwed up today to say the least. I've been fighting a good old fashion cold, which makes running painful at best. After dragging myself to the track and wheezing through a two mile run, I decided to take my dog for a walk around the neighborhood for the rest of my cardio. Upset that I couldn't do the four miles I had planned on, I figured a walk in the sunshine would boost my mood, and my body's Vitamin D!

In the Northwest, it is impossible NOT to take notice when spring arrives. We, as Seattle natives, spend so much of the year under cloudy gray skies surrounded by bleak and bare trees that when even one bud appears on a branch or one patch of sun makes an appearance, we cheer! Although the first day of spring was a few days ago, today I finally saw it with my own eyes and oh what a sight. There are a couple of indicators that point towards spring and today I think I witnessed and took part in all of them.

1. I had to wear sunglasses on my walk because, SHOCK, there was a very bright thing in the sky that neither my eyes or my skin had seen in a while.
2. I wore the token "spring" outfit which consisted of jeans, a short sleeve shirt and a down, puffy vest. Yikes! This outfit can be seen all over the Northwest and although not a fashion statement, I find it very practical. Too chilly to ditch the vest, but warm enough to have the stark white skin on my arms meet the sun's rays.
3. Animals are out and about! Just yesterday, while sitting outside on the deck with my morning coffee, a huge Blue Heron landed in a tree about 20 feet away. The herons frequent our home because of our huge pond stocked with little critters, but they definitely are not seen as often in the winter. It was great to welcome him back!
4. Things are in full bloom! It feels like overnight trees, flowers and shrubs have sprung to life and at any time they will be a rainbow of color.

I came back to the same spot I photographed earlier in the year and the buds I saw pushing up out of the ground are here! I thought they were tulips, but was instead greeted by a sea of daffodils!

Even the donkeys down the street were more eager than normal to greet me at the fence. There are four in all, but these two were more curious than the others. I have walked (or run) by these guys since childhood and I finally took the time today to stop and apprecite them. What funny little characters they are.
So, all in all, a crappy day of running turned into a pretty good spring afternoon. The walk wore me out and my cold is still lingering, but I'm glad I pushed myself into finishing even a two mile run and into appreciating life around the neighborhood. Welcome spring!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Life is a marathon....or maybe just a half.

I turned 30 about a week ago (one of the main reasons I haven't been writing) and between a vacation to Vegas with friends, family bbq's, spa days and nights out on the town celebrating, I pretty much haven't raised my heart rate in a good two weeks. Oh, unless you count the heart palpitations I had in the air due to my irrational fear of flying. :) All in all, I took in 30 with heart, soul and a really positive attitude. I see this new decade as a "do-over" for me or at least a time in my life where I hopefully won't make the same mistakes as I did in my 20's. I know, I know, we learn from our mistakes and hard times just make us stronger, blah, blah, blah. In theory, I understand this, but I'd like the next chapter in my life to be as drama and tragedy free as possible.
I'm off to a great start and I decided to conquer something this year that I've been thinking about doing for nearly a decade. I'm going to run a half marathon. Alright, maybe I should say "I'm going to complete a half marathon" because honestly I don't know if I will be able to keep my legs jogging the whole 13.1 miles or not. I'm not fully confident I won't keel over and die at mile 8 and I fear another injury will keep me from even training for this feat. What I do know is that I am going to sign up for it on Friday (payday) and I will try my darnedest to train, run and finish with all my limbs in tact and a smile on my face.
After finishing my first 10k in Janurary of this year, I realized there are a couple of reasons I like to run and recently, like to compete. I like the fact that I have a goal on the horizon and I love the way it feels when I reach that goal. I enjoy training because it feels less like working out and more like "game" with a reward at the end. And frankly, you can't beat the feeling of crossing a finish line. In first place or in last, it doesn't really matter, the feeling is incredible.
This half marathon has even more importance to me than merely reaching goals. The money raised (and I plan on trying to raise quite a bit) benefits The American Cancer Society. I can't think of a better reason to pound my feet on concrete for over 13 miles than to support and raise funds for an organization that has a hand in the recovery and prevention of a disease that has infultrated my life. I will run for my dad. I will run for the research to keep his cancer from returning and I will run for everyone that has or will suffer from the ugly world of cancer. If that won't keep my legs moving, I don't know what will.
I have over three months to train and I started today with a grueling 3.5 mile run (with several hills) after way too much time off. My knees felt good and I felt strong. If not in body, at least in mind.
Hello 30!!! I welcome you. Just see if you can slow me down!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A snowy Thursday

It snowed most of the day yesterday and with more in the forecast for late last night, I went to bed wondering what I would wake up to. This is what greeted me!

Although I was bummed about not being able to go for a run (I figured running on snow and ice probably wouldn't be the best thing for my healing knee) I was thrilled to throw on a hat and scarf, put on my rubber boots and go exploring around the yard. The quiet of a snow filled yard was only broken with the occasional rustle of bird in a tree or the soft patter of Lucy's feet in the snow.

Flower pots that will soon be overflowing with bright flowers were stark and white today.

After a long walk around the yard and through some woods, we headed back inside to warm up. Lucy found a patch of sun to sit in by the window (along with her favorite hippo toy) and gazed longinly out at the snow. She may have once been a beach dog when I lived in San Diego, but she sure enjoys the weather of the good old Northwest. :)
As for my altered workout due to the weather? I braved the roads and made it safely to the gym where I did weights, the row machine for 20 minutes and ran three miles on the treadmill. It wasn't quite as relaxing as hitting the pavement, but at least I didn't let the snow be another excuse to falter from my weight loss program!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My new hobby!

At the beginning of 2011, I made some New Year's "goals" which included a goal to find a new hobby. I have been doing some photography and I really love it, but recently I found something else that has sparked my interest as well. Gardening! When I lived in California in 2008, my lovely roommate had an amazing garden in the backyard, but I can honestly say it didn't grab my attention and I did nothing except water it a handful of times when she was out of town. Sure, I had other things on my mind like my divorce and how to pay the bills that were piling up, but even with that weight on my shoulders I'm surprised I never saw the beauty of the garden.

What's changed my mind? What was it that peaked my interest and has my heart all a flutter at the thought of putting my hands in the dirt? No doubt, it has everything to do with my dad. As we wait (not so patiently) for his appointment with a melanoma specialist at the University of Washington on March 1st and as we anticipate the next step in his treatment, there are few things we can do to fight or ward off the return of the cancer. What we can do, however, is think about, research and genuinely care about what we put in our bodies. High fructose corn syrup and preservatives have been banished from the house and words like "natural" and "fresh" are constantly in our vocabularies. And so, since spring is fast approaching, we decided to turn a patch of the two acres my parents own into a garden.

Here is a picture of the plot of land. The barn in the background used to house our horses, but with the animals no longer a part of our lives, this huge piece of land is barren and screaming for attention. My cousin and her family are going to be a part of this garden as well and together we will all be digging, tilling, planting and growing some delicious food. ALL natural of course and planted with love. :)

So far on the list is kale, spinach, garlic, onions, squash, beets, carrots, green beans and maybe potatoes. With a Seattle climate, there are some things that just won't grow and prosper, but we do plan on doing some tomatoes in pots. Oh, and the big endeavor (if time and money allows) will be blueberries! If you have ever purchased fresh local blueberries in the Northwest, you know how lucrative growing them yourself to consume and sell could be.

Seattle Tilth offers some great classes and learning opportunities and I'm thinking of attending a session. I hope to post more pictures later in spring of our garden in bloom. I will take great pride in producing food that is safe, healthy and sustainable as well as sharing this hobby with a very special and brave man.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Really bad excuses.

Alright, so maybe the cartoon above doesn't quite reflect my current situation of trying to lose a little extra weight, but I thought it was funny. I highly doubt that if I fail at losing some pounds that I will wind up dead in the near future. I'm not obese and am actually quite healthy as far as cholesterol and blood pressure numbers go, but at the end of the day I REALLY want to, and probably should, lose weight.
Several road blocks stand in my way of truly getting back into my skinny jeans, but the one that I find extremely troublesome this week is my ability to make excuses. Bad excuses and in some cases irrational excuses, but excuses non the less. I excel at making excuses and if making them were some kind of a sport I would no doubt be sponsored by Nike. I decided writing about them and putting it "out there" might help me to stay accountable so here it goes.....
I worked the lunch shift at work today and knew for a fact that I would be done at 3:30 on the dot when a co-worker came to relieve me. I had plans (since last night honestly) to hurry home, lace up my shoes and hit the pavement for a run around my block which tops out at 3.52 miles. I talked about it at work, had a protein packed and healthy lunch, and was indeed in my car by 3:35 heading home.
A few things happened between work and home, which IS quite a long commute (oops, is that another excuse?!) and by the time I pulled into the driveway I knew in my gut that running was the last thing I would be doing this afternoon. What happened on the ride home? Nothing more than some clouds rolling in and my knee having a twinge (SMALL twinge) of pain after a work shift on my feet. From these two things I derived the following excuses for not going for a run and I, sadly, can discredit and rationalize the reasons why all of them are really bad excuses.
1. It might start raining so I better not go running: this makes ABSOLUTELY no sense at all!!! I live, and have lived my whole life, in Seattle! I can get anything done in the rain and I actually really enjoy running in the rain. It sounded like an excuse someone from CA would use because, frankly, sometimes the world stops turning when it rains down there. :)
2. It might be dark by the time I get home, which wouldn't be safe: Ok, ok, a valid excuse for when I used to live downtown, but I reside in the suburbs now and I'm pretty sure I would be alright on a lit, busy street. Oh, and it doesn't get dark at 4pm any longer.
3. I really need to sit down and send out some resumes and work on my job search: This one is my favorite because there is nothing I hate more than job hunting and this can and is usually done at night from the comfort of my bed on my laptop. There was no need to embark on this task midday.
4. I have Wednesday off from work so I can work out and run even further without time constraints: Ah, yes, put off what you can do today and just wait to do it later. How about you run today AND on Wednesday.
5. And as I was arriving home the last and final excuse was that my ipod was dead: apparently I forgot that all I have to do is plug the thing into my computer for a few minutes and BAM, I will have music to run to. :)
Did I wise up and go for that run? No. Am I beating myself up over it? Not as much as I was earlier in the evening. I recognized the error of my ways and I will just start fresh again tomorrow. After all, we can't get it right every day and this journey is all about being forgiving towards yourself, right?

Monday, February 14, 2011

"You don't need Valentine's Day to know you are loved"

I tend to do a lot of my "writing" in the car in the form of thinking about and planning out the next chapter in my book or the next entry on this blog. Tonight, after working a busy Valentine's Day night at my job at a popular restaurant in Seattle, I had tons to "draft" in my head on the way home.
I don't really care for Valentine's Day. It was tolerable when I was in a relationship, I dealt with it when I was married and I try not to get too bitter now that I'm divorced and single. The holiday just gets under my skin. Over-priced flowers, dorky greeting cards and expensive, pretentious dinners, non of which has much to do with the word and emotion of love. So you can imagine that my attitude about my night at work was less than par. I tried to come in with a decent smile on my face, but honestly, I was dreading working in a restaurant filled with people "in love".
What happened tonight, however, made me appreciate this day more than I ever have. As I bustled around seating people and serving tables, I started to realize that the tables were filled with so many different kinds of "love". Sure, there was the stereotypical table complete with a tall dark and handsome male and a skinny blonde wearing too much makeup, but there was also so much more. I saw a table with a couple that were pushing 80 and held hands frequently throughout their meal. I saw girlfriends dining together to celebrate their friendships. I witnessed gay couples, interracial couples and couples of drastically different ages. I even saw a mother-daughter table and a table of a father and his two very small children.
What did I learn tonight? Love doesn't have to look the way I want it to. I don't have to have a boyfriend of a husband to feel loved and love comes in so many different packages. My dear cousin wrote me yesterday a great reminder....."You don't need Valentine's Day to know you are loved". I think she is pretty wise. So, enjoy the love you have in your life. Whatever form it comes in!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It doesn't always rain in Seattle!

There is nothing that sends Seattle natives leaping off their couches and running for the front door like a sunny day. I completely understand that much of the country is blanketed with inches and inches of snow and ice right now, but sometimes the rain and gloom of the Northwest seems worse. We often go days with out even seeing the sunshine and when I say 'days' I mean numerous days which sometimes turns into weeks! So you can comprehend my excitement when today I woke up to blinding sun and not a cloud in the sky. Sure, the temps were still hovering in the 30's, but who cares?! I saw the sun.....

With camera in hand, I took my pug, Lucy, for a walk and found some exciting signs of spring! Yes, I know its too early to get out the flip flops or gardening tools, but winter is definitely on the downward slope.

Tulips at the park were sprouting up everywhere! I can't wait to return in a few weeks when they are in full bloom.

I was trying to get a cute picture of Lucy, but she was too distracted by the children playing at the park to look up at me. I think the picture turned out kind of cool. Oh....and I really wanted to get some cute shots of kids playing on the swings and merry-go-round, but I wasn't sure if a stranger snapping pictures of random kids was somehow a crime. :)

This sweet little guy lives up the street from me and we always pass him on the way to the park. Today he was super curious about me and Lucy. He was laying down, but jumped up when I approached, just like a typical horse. I've nicknamed him Skip. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meatless Mondays!

I've been a devote vegetarian at several different times in my life so I know that a great meal can exist without a hunk of beef on the plate. My challenge these days is to try and find and create recipes that are healthy, natural, good tasting, cancer-fighting and economically sensible. Hard to do.

Tonight my mom and I made a polenta Mexican style casserole. By no means is the picture below the actual image of our dinner!!! I didn't get the camera out in time before we all started to dig in so I just found a pic on-line. Trust me, our dish was much more photogenic.

My mom loves following recipes as if they were scripture. I do not. I love just tossing things in a pan, seasoning to taste and hoping all goes well. I don't pay attention to oven temperatures or exact ingredient portions and I hardly ever make a dish that isn't altered in some way. My mom knew the basic recipe by heart and together we filled in the blanks. My kind of cooking.

Here is the basic recipe, although it can be altered a hundred ways. (I apologize for leaving out exact amounts. I think you just have to use your eyes and your nose on this one.)

Polenta: Ours was homemade, but store bought and ready to use is fine. We made enough to cover the bottom of a large casserole dish. Thyme, rosemary and some red pepper flakes were added in the cooking process, but any herbs will do.
Black beans: At least one can, drained. We ended up adding another can, but that might have been a little excessive.
White beans/kidney beans: Any second kind of bean will do. We used some white beans, also drained, to add even more protein to the dish.
Tomatoes: Fresh is best, but we used one can of organic canned tomatoes tonight.
Salsa: Pick your favorite!
Corn: Optional. Adds a nice crunch, but isn't really all that nutritionally relevant.
Peppers: Red, yellow, orange, green....or a combo of the above. Tonight we used red and orange.
Onions: Half a large onions is enough.
Cheese: I've been trying to do the Vegan thing, but honestly, cheese is the hardest for me to give up. We used an aged cheddar and some fresh mozzarella tonight, but I supposed you could leave it off or opt for a vegan cheese.

1. Make or buy polenta. Mix in herbs during the making process if you so wish. Following the instructions on the polenta package is actually very simple.
2. Saute onions and peppers in a little olive oil in pan. Add in ground pepper to taste. (I tried to avoid adding any salt to this dish, but you could at this point if you want to). This is also where you would add the corn if you choose to.

3. When onions and peppers have some color on them, add in the beans and the tomatoes. Add a scoop of salsa (chilli powder or red pepper flakes can be added for heat) to the mix and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

4. When the veggies/bean mixture has simmered and thickened slightly, pour it over the polenta on the bottom of the casserole dish.

5. Back in oven until bubbly. Ok, "bubbly" is not a real cooking term, but honestly we just popped it in at about 350 and waiting till is bubbled.

6. Top with cheese and let back a few more minutes until the cheese is melted.

7. Serve with avocado, hot sauce, salsa or whatever your favorite toppings are! Enjoy!

Next on my list? Lasagna with polenta instead of pasta. I will keep you posted.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A healthy fry??

I'm going to try this recipe this weekend, minus the butter! My restaurant makes a similar appetizer using emmer grain as the base instead of polenta, but I found some polenta in the cupboard so that's what I will use. I'm excited to see how they turn out. I love the ones we serve and Emmer and Rye in Seattle, but of course a real chef is making those.

Conscious Eating

Earlier this week, The Oprah Show featured an episode where over 300 of Oprah's employees (including herself) went vegan for a whole week. As my quest for a healthy lifestyle and a nourishing diet is always in progress, I was excited to see the show and learn even more about this "non-animal" cuisine I've been delving into lately. Oprah's guests included notable author of best sellers including "The Omnivore's Dilemna" and "In Defense of Food", Michael Pollan as well as the newly coined "The Veganist", Kathy Freston who is the author of several cookbooks and a devote vegan herself. Oh, and she is slightly annoying and much too thin. :)

Oprah herself makes a point from the moment the camera started rolling that the show was, in no means, an anti-meat show (mostly out of fear of being sued again by the beef industry). Instead, it was a show dedicated to encouraging people to be "conscious eaters", a phrase that we are hearing more of in this country and especially in the beautiful Northwest where I live. What does "conscious eating" mean? Basically, it means knowing where your food comes from, how it is grown/raised, how it is brought to your table and what consequences it brings to our health, living things and our Earth. Pretty simple, right? Wrong.

I can honestly say that until about four or five years ago, I never once thought about where my food came from. I ate what was put in front of me or what I thought tasted good, but I never bothered to let my mind wander further than that. I became vegetarian for most of high school and college, but even then I didn't really care what produce I ate and I never once thought about the consequences of eating packaged food. A few years after college I started to pay attention to what I was buying in grocery stores and I became one of those people who thought buying "free range" chicken would somehow seal my spot in Heaven. My vegetarian status changed with the seasons and my love for animals kept me firmly ignorant about where the flank steak I was throwing on my BBQ really originated. Subconsciously, I don't think I wanted to know.

In reality, where our food comes from and how it is raised/grown effects everything in our modern world. Our health, our planet, our economy and the creatures of the world. I won't spout out statistics or include diagrams because frankly you can find all the information you want from books, the web and from simply people around you. Plus, I think deep down most of us know intuitively that its probably not good to eat things that can be microwaved in 60 seconds after adding water, most likely animals we are eating don't have the best life and fresh produce probably shouldn't have toxins and hormones in them. Common sense.

What I liked so much about the show was everyone, besides Kathy (who was wearing an amazing pair of leather boots....made out of ???) made a point to say that eating animal products is a personal choice. However, everyone should see and know the backgroud of where their food comes from and if they are still ok with eating those ingredients, more power to them. It, ironically, wasn't the filming inside the slaughter house that got to me. I grew up with my dad hunting elk and deer and I don't have a HUGE issue with the killing of animals to feed another. I don't want to see it or pull the triger myself, but I can understand parts of the practice. What got to me most was the fact that the cows and chickens live horrible lives, eat unnatural food for their bodies and endure a less than pleasant death. Nothing about it showed respect to the species.

So where do you draw the line and what is truly the best for your body and for our world? I'm not sure, but the restaurant where I work right now is a "farm to table" restaurant (another commonly used term these days) and I am starting to think that this movement is what I want to put my beliefs behind. Farm to table means that ingredients literally come from the farm to the table, or in our case, from the farm to our kitchen where we prepare the food and serve our customers. No toxins, no hormones, no disgusting conditions for our cows or our tomatoes and little to no impact on the environment because our ingredients are coming from local farmers. What a concept.

I've been trying to eat this way for the last few months with many days of cheating here and there because frankly it takes some planning and some hard work. After the Oprah show, I have been "vegan" for three days and I feel great, my "muffin top" is smaller (what a horrible term!!) and I feel like I'm nourishing my body from the inside out. So I challenge you.....find a local farmer's market, buy local, buy grass fed and natural meat if you choose to eat meat and eat what comes out of the ground and not out of a box.

My thoughts on beautiful leather boots? Undecided. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Maybe karma is crap.

Several months ago a clerk at a gas station handed me a twenty dollar bill for change instead of the ten dollars he really owed me. I handed it back and told the truth. Last month my employer over paid me on my paycheck by quite a bit. I told my manager and had the difference taken out of my next check. I let people get ahead of me while merging in traffic. I send thank you and sympathy cards when appropriate. I help out friends when they need money or simply a shoulder to cry on. I try to avoid road rage, I've cut down on my anger, I tell the people I love that I love them and I always say please and thank you. Does any of this shit really add up? I'm not so sure.

I don't like to feel sorry for myself because all I have to do is watch the nightly news, look at a stranger on the street or read a book and I know that things could always be worse. However, for the sake of this post, I will list some of the things I have been through in the last few years.

My husband left and filed for divorce. I had to move out of the house I owned and loved. I sold my belongings and drove to Cali to be with friends. I love my best friend. I moved home to Seattle. My ex got his girlfriend pregnant and married her. I got laid of twice from two different jobs (one of which sucked and one that I really liked). I moved home, literally, with family to save money. My dad got diagnosed with cancer. And that brings us to present day.

When I type it all out it seems really silly that I think of these things as tragedies. Just watching the news tonight about the madness that is happening in Egypt makes me count my blessings. On the other hand, at about 2:30 today I wasn't thinking that at all. All I was thinking was"why me!!???" and "what have I done to deserve this??".

I will set the scene. I got up this morning and hit the track. I've been running with my dad on my nights off from work, but without knowing how far he will be able to make it since he is just getting in the game, I tend to workout the morning of as well. I jogged three miles followed by some stair running, sit-ups and push-ups. The sun was shining in Seattle and it felt great to be out in the nice weather treating my body well. Running is my yoga. Running is my knitting. Running is the thing that brings me peace and centers me. I don't do it to lose weight and I don't even run all the fast, but it makes me feel strong and I love it. I felt accomplished after my morning at the track and I planned to spend the rest of the day soaking up a gorgeous Seattle afternoon. Next on the agenda.....the dog park.

I take being a dog owner seriously and I believe that if you decide to have a pet, then you better be willing to put in the work. My little Lucy spends a lot of time with my parents when I'm at work, but on my days off I try to give her tons of attention. There is a new dog park just miles from my house with a huge open field of grass, tennis balls galore and fairly nice patrons. We've been there twice before and although Lucy is socially awkward and rarely actually "plays" with the other dogs, I think she likes it. We had only been there for about 20 minutes when the question about karma popped in my head.
A very sweet older woman was throwing a ball for her black lab (ironically named Lucy) with one of those "chuck-it" things that are designed for lazy people that don't want to bend over to pick up a ball and really can't throw one that far. We had been chatting and even I threw the ball a couple of times for Lucy (Lucy the lab, not my Lucy. My Lucy doesn't know what fetch means). A few minutes later, as I was looking off into the distance at the lovely blue sky, something hit me from behind and a white hot pain struck my knee. Lucy the lab had taken off to chase her ball and ran right into the back of my leg just under my knee cap. The sound of my knee buckeling/dislocating out of the socket/snapping and popping back in was loud enough for several people around us to hear. I swear that as I fell to the ground the only thought in my head was "shit! I can't run now".

Hyper-extending is the technical term and I did it to my other knee back in high school. It takes time to heal and for the swelling to subside, but running is not going to be happening this week for sure. I sobbed most of the drive home; partly from the pain, but mostly from the thought that nothing ever goes my way. I try hard to make good choices, do the right thing and show kindess to others, but something always sets me back several steps. Ugh.

After a several hour pity party for myself which included crying to my mother (that always seems to help no matter how old you are) I came to this conclusion. I have to just keep pushing ahead. I have to take every set back in stride and I have to believe with all my heart that good things are in my future. What else can people do? Giving up isn't an option. At least for me. Karma isn't about doing the right thing so that you can "get" something in return. Karma is just about doing the right thing. With my knee on ice and the hopes that I can at least go for a walk tomorrow to continue my weight loss and my hobby, I have faith that eventually I will take three steps forward without ANY steps back in life. :)

"Whatever we do lays a seed in our deepest consciousness, and one day that seed will grow." -Sakyong Mipham

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We're not gamblers.....

While catching up on my blog tonight, I realized that my original vision for a blog about health (inside and out), running, healthy eating and peace has quickly turned into a blog about cancer and my reactions/emotions to it. I find this completely natural since who really thinks about how many calories they have consumed in a given day when a loved one is battling a terrifying and earth shattering disease? Not I. On that note, I will continue to include my dad's story in this blog, if not only for myself, but possibly for anyone else dealing with hardship in any definition of the word.

My pops was given the choice (although his doctor advised him on what to do, your health and what you do to your body is always your choice) of either having further treatment or not. I will put this in simple terms.....two surgeries, a body scan and a biopsy show no sign of any cancer left in his body. The tumor is out, lymph nodes removed "just in case" and incisions have healed nicely. The protocol for stage 3 melanoma is to follow through with a type of immunotherapy called Interferon. Think of it kind of like this....the immunotherapy is a naturally occurring thing in your body and the Interferon shots are given in high doses to encourage the body to boost its own immune system and fight off (some times killing) any invisible cancer cells that are left and any that may want to rear their ugly head again. Sounds great, right?

The reality is that the shots are given intravenously five days a week at the hospital for a whole month and then three times a week, at home, for as long as a year (or until a person just can't do it any longer). Symptoms differ per person, but can include mild flu like symptoms, depression and fatigue. Committing to a year of a possible state of "sick" just wasn't what my dad wanted to do. After asking the doctor what would happen if he didn't pursue therapy, he was told that there was a 15% chance of the cancer coming back (this would be most likely less with Interferon, but not guaranteed). He could gamble with his health or he could do treatment.

I had not one bit of advice to give him when he asked, I cried a lot, asked friends and strangers what they would do and in the end decided it HAD to be his choice. His body, his life, his life affected by feeling sick for a year...his choice. Of course, my ever positive father cracked some jokes about how 15% were pretty good odds and that he would hate to miss fishing season this year. Cancer jokes are a regular part of the conversation in my house these days. :)

A couple of nights ago, sitting on the couch with my parents, my dad informed me that I really couldn't move out till after June because my mom had already booked and planned her trip to Yosemite National Park with friends and somebody had to be around to help with shots and treatment. "We're not gamblers," were the exact words my mom said next and the look between the two of them let me know that despite fears and trepidations, dad had decided that treatment was the best choice. Honestly, 15% when it comes to a loved one, sucks. It is horrible odds when you are putting them against someone you can't imagine not being alive and I would never put my chips on a bet like that.

Dad will start treatment in February and we will all be there every step of the way. I have been designated as the "shot giver" since my mom will faint at the very sight of a needle. I am eager to learn about and take on my new responsibility.

Note to self: moving home when you are 29 because of lay-offs and circumstance is not ideal. Things happening for a reason and me being able to be a part of this journey called cancer is an amazing gift. Remember that!

A handy tool

I've been doing a lot more "street running" instead of going to the track these days and although I love hitting the pavement, I absolutely hate not being able to know exactly how many miles I have completed. At the track, four laps equals a mile and eight laps equals two miles, etc, etc. On the street, your mind and legs can deceive you and what feels like a five mile jog can turn out to be only two and a half. You runners out there know what I mean. So, I found this handy little tool for mapping a run on local streets. You can enter in an address, click on streets in your route and instantly you know how long your run is, elevation and more! It is great and my 3.52 mile loop around my block is going to be a great part of my training for the half marathon!

New Hobby?

One of the goals I made for 2011 was to cultivate a new hobby. It isn't like I don't have anything that I spend my spare time doing, but I felt the need to try something new this year. Knitting was my "new hobby" back in 2003 and although I made some pretty nice scarves, I'm over it. I had a brief love affair with snowboarding in high school and my early college years, but frankly I just can't afford to hit the mountain these days. Since when are lift tickets $50?!?

Stamp collecting, scrap booking, Civil War reenactments and watercolor painting just don't excite me, but I'm finding that photography, yet again, does. I have my dear friend Chels to thank for my new spark of interest in a hobby I once had as a youngster. I took photography all of high school, entered a few contests that I didn't win and always really enjoyed the artistic side of seeing life through a camera. I have no interest in winning contests and I know I will never be as good as Chels and other photography gurus, but I sure had fun at my cousin's baby shower capturing moments and emotions. For now, I'm just glad to be able to check that goal off my list. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that I have access to my parents' sweet Nikon camera. I'm not allowed to use it out of the house without them being present, but I hope to gain their trust soon. :)

The shower invitation and beautiful white tulips

Darling Jenae and Addie hiding from the camera


Addie helping to open the presents for her new baby brother who is due in March

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

There but for the grace of God go I. Or maybe not??

Growing up, I heard the words "there but for the grace of God go I" often. It was one of the things my mom always said after watching a particularly horrible news cast depicting gang violence in the inner city, the treatment of women in cultures and religions so foreign to us and images of famine and genocide in third world countries. "Count your blessings you were born where and who you were" usually followed and to this day I am honestly and whole heartily thankful that I was born to a loving family, in an affluent neighborhood, in a country where basic freedoms are given to everyone and opportunities are limitless. I was truly blessed to be placed on the planet where and when I was. Or was I??

When something like cancer hits close to home, actually in your home, so many questions start to wear on your mind. Why my family? What next? What's the best course of treatment? After these initial questions, I began to think about cancer on a bigger scale. How does it start? How can we prevent it? What really causes it? All this wondering made my fingers do some typing on the internet and I started to look into cancer rates around the world. What I found was shocking. While depending on what cancer we are talking about, the U.S. is not always first on the list, but this country on a whole appears to be infected with cancer. The stats are alarming and shocking when you compare cancer incident and mortality rates with other countries around the world. What is equally, if not more, shocking is the correlation between industrialized, technologically advanced nations and cancer rates. The more money, power, education and innovation a country yields, the higher the probability that the citizens living there will be one day be taking a big dose of chemo.

Of course, we all know why. Nations like our own are all about convenience, technology, money and power. On a global and political scale this means far more than I care to delve into; after all this is a blog about health, fitness and cancer. :) But on a cancer related scale, it means that our surroundings are slowly poisoning and killing us. Our "food" is not "food" any longer, our air isn't clean and chemicals are constantly seeping into our lives from around every corner.

My dad doesn't eat fast food and isn't struggling with a pack a day habit. In fact, he is pretty darn healthy (was healthy?) with low blood pressure, low cholesterol and strong bones and muscles. He is active, smart and a non-drug user or alcoholic. However, just like all the members of our society, he is walking this earth and breathing the air above his head. He probably enjoys some take out pizza now and then and drinks a soda a few times a year. He has a cell phone and a laptop (similar to the one that I'm typing on right now which might be killing me) and uses bathroom cleaner when doing chores and wears regular toxic deodorant. He flies in planes, works long hours some weeks and didn't really know what high fructose corn syrup was until a couple of years ago. In short, he doesn't put himself at risk knowingly and leads a pretty healthy life, which doesn't seem to be enough.

In the U.S., our life expectancy is longer than most countries, however our cancer and obesity rates are through the roof. So, we are living long lives, but the lives are filled with illness. It is almost like the very same technology that can make a packaged meal last in our cupboards for years is the one that is offering our dying loved ones cutting age cancer treatment. We have invented the monster, but we also know how to fix it!

Do I want to trade my life for the life of someone in a village in Africa (one of the areas with the lowest rate of cancer) dealing with starvation, violence and death? Probably not. That is not my point. My point is as a nation we have so much to look at in order to better our lives. This entry is simply a "rant" and mostly stems from frustration and confusion. That is what blogging is all about, right? :) My plan of action......rid at least the fridge of dangerous things and then move out from there. Do I think we are all going to give up our cell phones and never use Windex or eat pizza? Nah. Or maybe so....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Trapeze

On Monday, my dad had a spot on in his throat tested for cancer. The spot showed up in one of his scans and the procedure was a completely "just to be safe" procedure. However, with knots in my stomach, I waited the early part of the day to hear the results. Is this what life is like after cancer rearing its ugly head? A whole bunch of waiting? By afternoon, my mom and I received a call at home from dad saying that no disease had been found. Wow, another bullet dodged. When the phone rang I was snuggled up in a comfy chair in the living room losing myself in another poorly written novel that I so frequently find myself indulging in. I love good books, I like average books, but mostly I just love escaping in ANY book. :)

Okay, so if you had told me a year ago that my dad would be going in to have a "spot" in his throat checked for cancer after enduring two surgeries to rid his body of melanoma, I would have laughed at you. If you had told me a year ago that I would be not only sitting and reading in my childhood home when we got the good news, but actually living under my parents' roof at the ripe old age of 29, I would have thought you were crazy. Likewise, if you would have told me almost three years ago that the man I loved, my husband, would be picking up and leaving, kicking me out of the home I loved and getting another woman pregnant.....well I probably would have thought you had gone off your "meds".

My point is, nobody can really warn you of the changes that come with this crazy thing called life and even if they did, you would most likely turn the other cheek and not heed the warning. Let's face it, the prediction of things to come in life is about as reliable as a man keeping the toilet seat down in the bathroom; I wouldn't put money on it. So what does this mean for us? For human kind and for those who really like to know what is just around the corner? It means, we must learn to live in limbo.

Years ago my mother gave me an inspirational reading called "The Fear of Transformation", which was an expert from a book by Danaan Parry. I honestly don't remember what the occasion was. A broken heart, a tough time in college, a troubled friendship? The timing or the reason doesn't really hold relevance, but I've always been someone who has feared change. The passage used a trapeze as a metaphor for life; swinging between one bar or another and the space between is where you really transform your life (blah, blah, blah). Basically it was another polite, decently written way to say that life sometimes sucks so enjoy the ride! I can vividly remember reading it, taking it in and thinking it was kind of a crock of shit. I didn't (and sometimes still don't) want to "transform" and I would love a life where I just swung contently on one trapeze bar for eternity.

As a young woman, nothing I was going through could have compared to divorce, abandonement, lay-offs, heart break, death and cancer. Unfortunately, growing up involves enduring real tragedy and that is why I took a second look at the reading tonight. God bless the internet for tracking it down and God bless my mom for having the foresight that these words might mean more to me someday than they did when she first slid the paper across the kitchen counter in my direction. The full text is below if you care to check it out.

What I've learned is that all of life's real tragedy and triumph happen in the so called "void" between bars on the trapeze. Nothing is actually gained or conquered on the bar!! Ok, unless you mean a great Coyote Ugly impression on an actually bar at a bar after one too many cocktails. :) Life thrives in the void; in the space between 'then' and 'there', and if we don't embrace that flight then we have missed all that life has to offer. Is a new bar coming my way someday? Sure. Is there light at the end of everyone's tunnel? Absolutely. But in the tunnel is where some of the best thinking, loving, changing and happiness occurs. I say, get strong in the void so that when that next bar swings your way you have the bicep strength to hold on. Of couse, inevidibly, there will always be another moment of mid-flight to enjoy.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I have never really believed in resolutions. Each year since I can remember I always made my resolution about weight loss and fitness. Even at my thinnest my resolutions always sounded something like "lose weight", "get ready for bikini weather" or "no carbs". Like the vast majority of the general public, the first few weeks of January have always reflected my resolutions, but by early February I am skipping the gym or indulging in a hunk of bread. This inevitably leads to guilt and shame, which usually leads to more bread and an overwhelming urge to put the resolution off until the next year.
Rationally, the whole resolution idea makes no sense at all. Shouldn't we be doing good things for ourselves and good things for others all year long? Shouldn't we always be saving money, taking care of our bodies and having more fun? Why save the good stuff for just January? So this year I decided to make a goal list instead. By definition, a 'goal' is "the result or achievement toward which effort is directed." On the other hand, I found one definition that said a 'resolution' is "to make a firm resolution to do something". Even in their definitons the two are drastically different. I can make a firm resolution to do just about anything, but without any effort its pretty unlikely that there will be a positive result. My goals are actions that are tangible, trackable and they all lead to a better, more peaceful and healthy life!
2011 Goals
(in no particular order)
1. Run at least three times a week
* running not only has become a passion of mine, it also helps me to achieve my goals and lose weight. I want to make sure I fit it in even with a busy schedule at work. This year my dad is starting to run with me and we just did our first mile together last week. I can't wait to share this hobby with him!
2. No "night" eating
* Ok, so this is a hard one for me. I rarely eat breakfast (yes, I know its the most important meal of the day) and I'm a huge night eater. Working late a restaurant and getting home at 10pm doesn't help. My goal is to drastically reduce this bad habit and to have healthy choices in the kitchen if I absolutely have to have a snack before bed. Wish me luck.
3. Join a new club/meet new people
* this one is pretty self explanatory. I don't get out enough in social settings (not the bars) and meet new people. I would like to meet people with common interests and I really don't want to die alone. :) I'm not talking about a dating club, but simply something fun, low key and low pressure to meet new people and have fun! Any suggestions?
4. Read more books
* I have a library card and plan on using the heck out of it this year. Perhaps a book club can take care of this goal and goal 3....
5. Travel
* this is probably the hardest goal simply because I am not financially able to travel at this time. However, I can at least start thinking about it, saving money and researching where to go. South America is on the top of my list followed by Italy.
6. Send out resumes/consider grad school
* this goal will hopefully result in a career or a life plan. I've been laid off twice in one year and my current job, although fun, is not paying the bills or challenging my mind. I will continue to job hunt with gusto and consider maybe furthering my education.
7. Explore nearby places
* I think of this goal as traveling on a small scale. I've lived in the Northwest my whole life (minus 6 months in CA post divorce) and there are literally dozens of places I have never been. Many are day trips with little cost besides gas. The Olympics, San Juans and some spots on the Penisula are on my list.
8. Find one new hobby
* although similar to joining a club, this goal is just for personal satisfaction and not for my social life. I have no idea what my new hobby might be, but I'm excited to find out!
9. Nourish my body
* I love the way this goal is phrased. It isn't about losing weight or looking great for my Vegas vacation in March (although I hope that is a result). It is simply about nourishing the body God gave me and taking care of it the best way I can.
10. Limit alcohol
* hehe. I love my red wine and a cold beer while watching football. I love going out with friends or sitting with a good book and a good cabernet. However, I would like to cut back this year both for health reasons, weight loss and basically because it can be really hard on the checkbook!
Cheers to 2011 and Happy New Year!!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

You are what you eat

I've always had an interest in food and nutrition and actually majored in it for a semester in college (I had a total of five declared majors before landing on teaching...sigh). I love gardens, I love to cook and I like learning about the natural goodness that food can bring to our bodies, minds and our lives.

I can't say with all honestly that I always use my knowledge about food and my common sense on a daily basis. I would probably be able to lose these last stubborn 15 pounds if I did. :) However, lately I have a new vested interest, possibly a healthy obsession, when it comes to nutrition and the healing properties of foods and herbs. There's no big surprise that it corresponded with my dad's diagnosis and now it has kind of become a family hobby and something that we all have as a common interest. Surfing the web and perusing nutrition and cook books is something we all do more of and searching for the best, cancer fighting/preventing ingredients has taken center stage. No sugar, no preservatives, healthy fats and anti-angiogenic foods are just some of the things we consider before stocking the fridge.

My dear friend Brooke has taught me much of what I know and what I refer to when it comes to nutrition and I'm so thankful for the research and help she has provided me in the last couple of months. She is my guru in sooo many ways and I take everything she tells me as scripture. My dad and I tried one of her delicious recipes tonight from her amazing blog ( and we loved it!!! Ginger tea sounds so simple and it really truly is, but the taste is nothing but. It is spicy and soothing and it just tastes like pure goodness! I can't wait to try more of her recipes and to delve even more into the world of healing foods. After all, you are what you eat.

Check out the recipe on Brooke's blog!!!

If you buy these, you will run....

Hands down, these are the most comf0rtable running shoes I have ever owned!! My parents got them for me for Christmas and today was the first day I actually laced them up and hit the track. It was a little like running on clouds and I swear they helped me shave some time off my mile. I've never been the kind of person to invest lots of money into my hobby of running, but I can honestly say that these shoes were worth the extra pennies. A hint.....they are cheaper on and you don't have to pay shipping and handling. :)