Snow Angels

IMG_0037It snowed last night! This marks our first official snow…all season.  Seriously; I think there was one back in November but it was barely a dusting and definitely didn’t stick.

Since I am working hard at officially being a teenager and therefore slept in until 10 (would have been longer if not for Mother Dearest and the small dog), I only got about an hour to enjoy it, but it was glorious.  A lively snowball fight took place, and after we were all done with that, I had the brilliant idea to make a snow angel.  Like, a 3D one–a literal snow angel, like a snow man but with wings.  It was a not-so-subtle ploy to erect life-size temporary monuments of Aziraphale and Crowley in the backyard, really.  😀  We got about this far into it

before heading in for lunch (which was delicious, in case you were wondering; I was starving and made a paprika-spiced hash brown with eggs and peppers and forgot a picture because I was a. starving and b. a bad blogger), and afterwards, Aziraphale had collapsed.  A fallen angel, you could say he was.  Now the yard is full of the sounds of snow melting and trickling down trees and trellises.  Not really packable anymore.  I feel like this is some sort of metaphor for the urgency of art, but mainly I’m just sad I didn’t get to deck snow people out in sunglasses and tartan vests and build a snow Bentley.  (It would have been far beyond my capabilities, but it would have been ineffably fun.)

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Surveys Are Like Sock Drawers.

So I really hope I’m not making this up, but I’m puh-retty sure I heard this one saying one time about how you can tell a lot about a person by the state of their sock drawer..?  (Confession: this might have been on Veggie Tales.)

I really like it when bloggers take or make surveys.  Yeah, you can learn a lot about someone through their regularly scheduled (or, in my case, wonderfully erratic) posting, but surveys pose the deep questions, man; they probe people for all these little delicious bits and pieces you would have never known about them otherwise.

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So surveys are like sock drawers.  Just for all y’all, since I love ya so much, I took a trip into the dank abyss and snapped a photo.  Any psychologists in the audience?  I’m sure this is a veritable peep into my soul.  Let’s see, we have…a massive bag of leftover Halloween candy…socks that haven’t fit since I was 6…old bottles of nail polish, a beanbag, dirt, grime, pine needles, miscellaneous hodgepodge…a baby doll bottle…several dead spiders…

*clears throat nervously*

I’m really in the survey-taking kinda mood right now, but incidentally…I’m not, actually.  No pre-existing surveys, at any rate.  I just want to tell you guys random facts about myself, so I think I’ll pass it off under the guise of creating my own survey! and you guys can participate as well, either in the comments (answer your favorite questions!) or on your own blogs!  Link up!  Let’s have a party!

Favorite type of workout?  Oh, gosh and golly.  Why do I pick such hard questions?  I guess if I’m being totally honest, I like a leisurely but looong bike ride.  Walks are nice too.  Pretty scenic, none too aerobic.

Favorite type of cheese (or cheeze)?  Parmigiano reggiano, definitely.  It does contain rennet :(, but…I make the exception because…it’s delicious.

You’re on death row but they have allowed you to choose a most extravagant last meal.  What is it?  A hot fudge brownie sundae the size of my torso.

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Favorite variable to use in an algebra problem?  I must confess I’m pretty traditional.  I love x.  In fact it always really bugs me when a variable is t or y or something if there’s not already an x in the problem.  Please just stick with x.

Favorite outfit?  I’m mainly just including this question because I just got a really cute outfit from ModCloth with a pretty yellow cardigan, a typewriter-patterend tee, and wedges.  Look.

typewriter outfit

Hashtag selfie swag.  We’ll try to ignore how atrocious I am at taking selfies.  Also, from this rather awkward angle, you can’t tell that the paper coming out of the typewriter ironically says “laptop”, which is one of the best parts of the shirt.  Alas.

This is literally my only outfit that looks like…an outfit, and I normally haven’t got an ounce of fashion sense, so I’m really hoping someone else will take this survey and give me some inspiration.  Pretty please?

Favorite caffeinated beverage?  For me it really depends.  If I need a lot of caffeine then I’ll drink some coffee (black, I don’t mind), and I do like coffee, but tea offers so much more variety! I really like chai spice in the morning.

oooh tea is so dramatic

oooh tea is so dramatic

One of your favorite fictional characters has shown up on your doorstep, ready to take you on the adventure of a lifetime.  Who are they, and where do you go?  It’s the Doctor.  Preferably the tenth incarnation, though I wouldn’t say no to 9.  I suppose we go to Barcelona. 🙂

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Any tattoos you’d like?  I feel like this says a lot about a person.  I am actually DYING to come of age and have full autonomy over my body and write sompin’ pretty on it.  (Please do not suddenly go into cardiac arrest, grandparents reading this.)  I’d like a few, actually, probably on my back, literary ones; lines from poems that speak to me and that come back to me a lot or inside references to favorite works.  After reading Good Omens, I really want “ineffability and all that” somewhere, like along a collarbone.  Some Sarah Kay lines, too, like “this world is made of sugar” (from one of my favorite spoken word poems of all time, B.)  And I absolutely PROMISE to the adults in my life that I won’t be rash about this; I think my rule will be that if I still love a line or a quote as much as I did when I first read it 1-2 years later, then it can go somewhere on my person. 🙂 I hope to gradually amass a little collection of my favorite words.  I’ve given this a good deal of thought, and yes I KNOW they will be with me forever and I KNOW I will become elderly and they will sag and spot but HOPEFULLY only people I really trust are going to be seeing my back when I’m in my 70s-80s and onwards.  ALSO, if I get really fit and well-toned before getting said tattoos, it will be a good incentive to keep the muscle definition, since if I let it turn back into flab the tattoos will warp. 😉

(I’m not a huge fan of needles or blood [gah, blood especially], so this is an odd little yearning on my part, but incidentally I am a fan of meaningful and beautiful body art.  Huh.  Who woulda thought…)

Hair color?  Would you ever dye it?  Chop it all off?  Brown.  Some people say it’s blonde but then I look at them funny.HAIR! 004have chopped it all off before!  Well, not all off, but, you know, most of it.HAIR!! 005

I don’t know about dyeing it.  I’m really envious of those lovely ladies who are rockin’ blue or red locks, but, deep down, I know I’m not meant to be one of them.  It would be cool to have orange hair but not very socially acceptable and I am not deep enough into don’t-give-a-crap mode to go for it.  I am thinking about getting highlights once it gets longer, though.

Favorite smell?  Just-baked brownies, vanilla extract, old books.  (That was three.  Whoopsies.)

DSCN3806.jpgFavorite sound?  Laughter (certain people’s especially), Citrus whistling (as long as it’s not the middle of the night), little kids with adorable lisps reading aloud, pages of a book turning, pens scratching paper, marbles rolling across a hardwood floor, meadowlark song.  That was too many.  Whoopsies.

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For anyone interested in taking the survey themselves, here are the questions, in order:

  1. Favorite type of workout?
  2. Favorite type of cheese (or cheeze)?
  3. Last meal.
  4. Favorite variable to use in an algebra problem?
  5. Favorite outfit?
  6. Favorite caffeinated beverage?
  7. One of your favorite fictional characters has shown up on your doorstep ready to take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Who are they, and where do you go?
  8. Any tattoos you’d like?
  9. Hair color? Would you ever dye it? Chop it all off?
  10. Favorite smell?
  11. Favorite sound?

Also, you gotta show us your sock drawer.  😉  No straightening up beforehand, that’s cheating.

A good breakaway from the monotony of “what’s your dream vacation?”-type surveys, methinks.  🙂  I’m really dying to know what everyone’s favorite variable is.

Let’s chat.

Have you ever seen those “coffee-date”-format blog posts, where you and the blogger are seated across a virtual table sipping on respective caffeinated drinks, and supposedly you’re talking to each other but really the blogger is just droning on and on about their lives while you stare at pictures of said drinks?

Well, aren’t you in for a treat.

Have a lovely, classy, monochrome cappuccino.  It tastes wonderful; warm, smooth, and a bit bitter–and you’ve got a brownie to wash down too, it’s just been cropped due to Instagram’s weird photo shaping lens.

Firstly, I want to say, thanks for the responses to my last post!  I really feel like I’ve been welcomed back with open arms.  Muchas gracias!! (As a side note, though: wth are you people doing commenting at 6:30 AM?? Sleep, sleep, my children.  We are on winter break!  Am I the only proper teenager here?  I myself only slithered out of bed at 10 this morning because I needed to get food in me and make sure that last post published.  I’m quite sure I could sleep all day if I didn’t get hungry.)

And obviously, since I’ve been gone for so long, there’s things that have happened since my last post that I need to fill y’all in on.  Not anything big or scary, just a bunch of mildly exciting pit stops on the road of everyday life.

  1. I performed my poem ‘The Professional Aimless Wanderer’ two months ago at the Washington State Poet Laureate’s reading.  The last word you all received on this endeavor was that I was having a hell of a time trying to write something.  I never succeeded, instead digging into my poem backlogs to scrounge up something suitable.  It went over quite well, though, and it was fun and a good experience.  Mother Dearest took a video…but due to her technological ineptitude, it’s mainly a video of the back of someone’s head with me off to the side, perched like a poetic shoulder-angel.  It’s also sideways.  😀  You guys want to watch it anyways?  Anyone know how to rotate it, at least..?
  2. Just 2 days ago we returned from a trip to see the extended fam in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  At Crater Lake we got a very detailed and lovely shot of a bird’s butt:IMG_0100
  3. IMG_0046 as well as this striking fisheye-effect shot of yours truly.  🙂  (NOTE, FOR CLARIFICATION: THIS IS NOT MY ACTUAL FACE.) We toured Captain Jack’s Stronghold (in Northern California), attempted to ice skate, and ate more hash browns than could possibly be healthy. Life was good.
  4. I got a new computer!  DSCN4325Its name is Cecil, he’s my birthday and Christmas present and probably blackmail material for this year and next, and he is just…the sexiest thing. Seriously.  So sleek and shiny and light and fast…I think I’m in love. Many thanks to the parental units.DSCN4327
  5. In way more recent news, today we took a day trip to Portland, Oregon, and visited the famous CITY OF BOOKS!!  Is it a bit drastic to proclaim that, post-high-school sometime, I really want to live in Portland, just for the sake of Powell’s?  Maybe I could work there as a supplement to the writing thing…I just really, really love this place, you guys.  For some reason it’s extremely comforting to wander around alone inside a huge building filled with books–like being swathed in stories.  Plus there was a cafe, with scones and chai lattes.  DSCN4328(Upon bringing out the camera to snap a picture of the lemon-blueberry scone, Daddio exclaimed from across the table, “You must be back to blogging!”) 😉DSCN4330

My haul.  Hyperbole and a Half is the…the greatest thing ever, you guys.  I cannot even begin to express my love for this comic.  If y’all aren’t reading her blog, get on it, stat.  Her dog-themed comics are the only thing that will guarantee me a 10-minute, laugh-so-hard-I-cry session, no matter how bad of a day I’m having.  I’m usually guffawing so loudly Citrus joins in (he knows how to mimic my laugh), and there’s no way my day can continue to go downhill from there.  Hyperbole and a Half, guys.  Seriously.

And now I hold the awesome concentrated humor in tangible, dead-tree form.  Nothing could be better.

Also…

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ohmigod I might be really dangerous with this book. 😉

Have a lovely day, y’all.  I don’t know why I’ve slipped into saying “y’all” within this post.  I don’t say it in real life.  It’s pretty fun to type, though.  I hope your coffee was enjoyable, and the brownie too!  We should really do this again sometime.

DSCN3111(Citrus says hi, btw.  He’s missed his adoring people.)

Friday Faves

Featuring: food finds, fun, fur, accomplishments and attempted alliteration.

1.  Accomplishments: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, meet 3-dimensional puzzles.

DSCN3906 DSCN3911 DSCN3918 DSCN3920 DSCN3922 DSCN3924Up in our Wyoming cabin, the bro, the friend, and I happened across a vintage Peppercricket Farms 247-piece, 3D PUZZLE.  We slaved away hours over this thing (at least, I did–the bro and friend dropped out 70% of the way through [weaklings]) and I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been kinda waiting for an excuse to show you my handiwork since then. 😀  Or that this puzzle was my sole driving force for the three-day span it occupied; I ate, breathed, and slept Peppercricket Farms.  I even missed dinner one night???!!  What could have possibly possessed my soul so fiercely as to cause such an unthinkable outcome??

Other news in the accomplishments department:  I’m running my second 5k evah next Saturday, the 25th!  (You can read the recap of my first 5k here.)  I’m simultaneously pumped and terrified–since the great fooeing of the knees, running has been rather hard and painful for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful that I’m at least able to run with knee braces at this point, but I’m also out of shape and in pain and such and consequently I’m not nearly as speedy as I would like.  For this reason, I’m not hoping to PR on my 5k, but I am hoping to finish strong–that is, resist the urge to walk!  Running is an extreme mental hurdle for me, and I only hope I’ll have the strength to jump it.

run like a dog

The race is South Bay Veterinary Hospital’s Run Like a Dog 5k–I’m stoked because of the proceeds going to the humane society. 🙂  Also, it’s pet-friendly, so hopefully I’ll get lots of chances to ogle and photograph all the cute widdle goggies! 😀  Daddio shall run too.  Fun!

2.  Fur: The many joys of peanut butter.  A few days ago, I introduced dog Zixie to the many joys of the spread and put the ends of a jar to good use.  We both had great fun.DSCN4029

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Yes, my dog looks like a fox.  And yes, after this session, the remaining peanut butter levels testified to exactly how far her tongue could get into that jar:

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🙂

3.  Fun: The world’s smallest potato.

DSCN4094I don’t know why, but I crack up every time I look at this guy.  Obviously, Mother Dearest and I are such talented gardeners!

Once upon a time I had a pretty orange manicure, but now I’ve traded it in in favor of a more natural earth-inspired nail look.

DSCN4083You know those lucky ducks whose jobs are to come up with witty nail polish colors for the bigshot companies?  Well, I call this look “Girl Who Had Way Too Much Fun Digging For Potatoes Gloveless”.  Catchy, right??  O-P-I hiring office, here I come.

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Fortunately, Mother Dearest and I have also harvested some (marginally) larger potatoes, and other glorious summer veggies (pole beans, snap peas, radishes, etc.)–I’ve got my eye on a satay from Vegetarian Times for these babies.

Fun, part B:  Scavenger Hunt w/ Little BroAlphabetical, photographic scavenger hunt, no less (“Take a picture of something starting with A, B, C, and so on, no skipping letters and no going inside.  First person to finish gets a 10-point bonus; duplicate picture points go in favor of the 2nd finisher.”).  Yeah, ‘at’s right, folks, we’re bringin’ sexy good, wholesome fun back!

DSCN4012Here’s my Wasp Nest for “W”.  Do those white caps mean there’s still eggs inside the nest??  Ook.

4.  Food Finds:  Ketchup Curry, and Rockin’ Rice.  A few weeks ago I made PBF’s Crock Pot Curried Lentils (minus chicken thighs), which in my opinion was amazing (or maybe I was just really hungry) the first day and then faded into meh for the remaining servings.  Not to fear!  This mehness resulted in the discovery that I l-o-o-o-v-e the rather offbeat combination of curry + ketchup.  Like, a lot.  Like, enough to maybe make my own recipe out of it.  Nummy stuff, you guys.

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(^^Such a beautiful photo.  Ain’tcha proud?)

Food Finds, part B:  PlanetRice Lightly Milled Sprouted Brown Rice.

Lightly Milled Sprouted Brown Rice 6 x 20 oz. Stand Up Pouch

(Photo from PlanetRice’s Website, Link Above)

Are we thankful we discovered this!  We picked it up on a whim while at Albertson’s in Sheridan, Wyoming, and it turned out to be the best rice Mother Dearest or I have ever tasted!  Not to mention the fact that it’s like a healthy combination of white and brown rice–sprouted, too, so extra nutrient power–and pleases my entire Standard American Diet-eatin’ family!  Hooray!  You have no idea how hard it is to find something healthy that will do this!  Thank you, PlanetRice.  Highly recommended.  Now hopefully we’ll be able to track some down back home…

*****

Well, this was a fun post!  Mayhap they will start to become a regular feature–a Fantastically Fun Friday Faves Feature!  Or, in the interest of not being murdered in my bed by a band of bustling, boisterous, alliteration-averse apes, I should prune the practice of such postings and crack down on the current craziness to circumvent catastrophic consequences.  Happy Friday!

I’m back! Have a health survey.

Insert fancy and outrageously witty intro here!  We have just returned from our weeklong Wyoming stay, and my brain is the happiest sort of mush.  It has been a whirlwind of a week, not to mention the drive home (have I told you yet that it’s 17 hours??) but I was left with lots of wonderful memories and mementos.  Time to resort to the oldest blogging trick in the book–it’s SURVEY TIME!  😀  No, they never end up being as easy-breezy as they seem, but at least my frazzled neurons don’t have to bother with the creative strain of coming up with a post topic.  I saw this healthy-living survey on Run2YourOwnBeat.  But first, since we have just returned from Wyoming, the obligatory horse picture:

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Whew.  Okay.  Onto survey!  This is such a brilliant transition.

1.  What did you eat for breakfast?

Grape-nuts and chia seeds.  As I’ve said before, my body is shunning oatmeal lately and I woke up too late to really fix something “fancy”, so cereal it was.

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Yay for recycled pictures! 😀

2.  How much water do you drink a day?

Too much.  A gallon or more, plus milk, fruit and veggies, etc.  I’m not sure why I’m so thirsty (we’ve done the diabetes testing, yes) but it hasn’t had any adverse side effects so far.  Other than constantly-full-bladder syndrome.

3.  What is your current favorite workout?

Running medium-distance, around 3 miles—I just wish I was better at it and that my knees favored it more.  I’m also looking into CrossFit…although at the moment, I am epically non-fit, cross- or otherwise.

4.  How many calories do you eat per day?

Heck, I don’t know.  A lot, probably.

5.  What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Carrots + peanut butter, pita + hummus, fruit, air-popped popcorn, cheese sticks, nuts, nut butter, etc.  The standard.

6.  What do you usually eat for lunch?

Carrot & peanut butter sandwich?  This seems to be my go-to lately.  #thebomb

7.  What is your favorite body part to strength train?

My wonderful legs, because cardio kind of counts as strength training them and also it hurts very much less than upper body.

8.  What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

Arms.  Back.  I’m weak.

9.  What are your “bad” food cravings?

Chocolatewhyisthisevenaquestion.

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First time ever trying Kona (coffee) Cake...I did a lot of worshipping the Dark Lord over this trip.

as is an Oh She Glows' Iced Mocha Green Monster

Cheesecake 091

Anti-inflammatory!  Anti-inflammatory!  Woot!

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MY handiwork!  MY handiwork!! (happy dances)

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I am woman, hear me roar.

10.  Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Often a multivitamin, a B-12 occasionally, and an acidophilus/probiotic supplement ever since my trip to Costa Rica and the ensuing gut bug. 😦  Bleh!

11.  How often do you eat out?

Rarely.  I think this is more based on lack of planning on our family’s part than disdain for outside eateries, however.

12.  Do you eat fast food?

Nope.  Actually, wait, hold on, I can’t really say this, can I, when I stopped at Burger King on our road trip just yesterday??  I ordered a veggie burger, sweet potato fries, and a large water.  So I guess I do—but once a year, or even more rarely than that.  I was hungry, you guys–beyond that, I was hangry.  You must really process this, understand how pressing the situation was.

🙂  (Source)

13.  Who is your biggest supporter?

Mah bad self.

14.  Do you have a gym membership?

Nope.  But I have a makeshift home gym in the garage!  It suddenly occurs to me that I’ve never showed you a picture of this, so here you are.

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It’s a bit roughhewn… 🙂  There’s a yoga mat in front of the TV for yoga DVDs, a few dumbbells/reistance bands, a dreadmill, a rowing machine, punching bag, weight cage, and pull-up bar.  Plus…a couch…for the Y-chromosome-havers of the house to play video games on (sigh).

15.  How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Oh, 9, at minimum.  Coffee the next morning is a given if I’m up past 10 studying or something. Smile with tongue out I sure wish I could be one of those people who just lights-outs for like four hours and then pops up ready for a new day (pretty much every other teenager I know), but I likes my sleep.  I’m a zombie without it.

16.  Do you have a “cheat” day?

Not consciously.  I eat a lot of chocolate.  I’m not cheating on anybody with it, though, so my conscience is clear…

17.  Do you drink alcohol?

Hahahaha.  I’m younger than you think I am.  I have been known to get a little heavyhanded with the vanilla extract, though.

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35%!!!  What can I say, I’m just a rebel grrrl like that.

18.  Do you have a workout buddy?

Mah bad self.

Also, as aforementioned, Daddio and I are running a 5k this month and participating in next year’s Seattle-to-Portland bike ride.  We shall see how training intensively together goes.

19.  What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

To be honest–I’m still working on that commitment thing.  I was really good for about two years, then with my knees, I fell off the bandwagon for 8 months and even though I’m not loving all the…changes…this forced exercise break put my body through, I’m finding it extremely hard to get back on said bandwagon.  You feel me? :/  I’ve tried multiple times to get back to my pre-fooey-knees exercise and health regimen, but no luck so far.  Lately I have discovered some new highly inspirational healthy living blogs, though, and they’ve helped a bit–also, my impending upcoming 5k is a huge motivator.  (I’m a competetive chickie.  What can I say.)  All I know is that I definitely want to get back to my old level of fitness, but it’s going to require a lot of mental stamina to do so.

20.  What was the last healthy thing you did?

Oh, I inhaled!  Inhalation is actually a really beneficial practice, providing oxygen to your entire body and providing a low-grade ab workout, while also serving to calm the body by reassuring it that it is not in a state of suffocation.  Winking smile  I jest, I jest.  No, once I really get up and at ‘em this morning, I plan to incorporate some form of strength training into my workout.  Been missing out on it lately in favor of running/exploring! Smile

Your turn!  Pick a question and answer it in the comments, or do the survey yourself! 🙂  Maybe you’ll be my healthy magic motivator.  Also, does your brain tend to turn to mush after travel?  I must confess I haven’t been exactly productive in the time we’ve been back…

Running While High

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7,434 feet above sea level, to be exact. 😉

How can you not enjoy your evening run when you’re enjoying the above scenery^^^ while mowing through it??  I really wish I could just move this mountain back with me as my own personal running field.  Alas.  No matter what Dr. Seuss and any number of inspirational speakers may say, it’s severely hard to move mountains.  I couldn’t even figure out how to get the rope around it.

I was a bit worried about the oxygen-related complications this much of a jump (hardeehar) in elevation would cause while exercising, especially with intense cardio like the tempo work the friend and I were doing on our run–but it was actually kind of nice.  🙂  Too focused on the burning and hacking in my lungs, I didn’t notice my legs or core muscles fatiguing at all, even on the largest hills! 😀  It was a beautiful run (and I was proud of this post title) and I felt immensely accomplished after cooling down back in the cabin.  We only did two miles, at most, but there were quite a few hills, there was a thunderstorm chasing us (insta-motivation!), and we booked it.

Afterward we were quite tired.

DSCN3819And I need an excuse to show you this ice cream picture from the amazing KENDRICK PARK ICE CREAM STAND–seriously, this ice cream is one of my favorite things about the yearly trek back to Sheridan.  It embodies summer and childhood and post-swim-lesson starvation relieved by sweet, sugary, crunchy, creamy heaven.  You can just taste the nostalgia, like they churn it into the ice cream itself, and I could swear there was a hint of chlorine about it somehow, a happy tribute to memories of swallowing gallons of pool water before indulging.  The taste of simple childhood.

Except they removed my favorite flavor, Bear Claw.  Don’t ask me about how it tastes, because I will yadda on about Bear Claw until you have the urge to break out the claws yourself and maul my face.  Anyway, this time I got Espresso Almond Fudge in a Sugar Cone.

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DSCN3881Sweet silky heaven on a hot summer day.

This post has not been cohesive because my thoughts right now are for some reason not terribly cohesive, but we’re cool (haha, ice cream pun) with that, okay?  Okay.

 

Healthy Eating on the Road

Howdy y’all.  Happy August!  Today has been the first part of an epic 16-hour drive journey to return, temporarily, to what I consider my home state: Wyoming!  I’m going to try to keep this post pretty short & sweet compared to my usual stuff—in fact, most of my posts over the next week will be pretty short and sweet. We’re staying at our awesome summer home in the Bighorn Mountains, and I want to be out experiencing it—the nature, the views, the horseback riding, the whittling, the hiking (with one of my friends who’s coming to stay with us)–for the most part, not behind a screen (not to mention the spotty mountain internet connection). Winking smile  Right now we’re “hotelling it” in Butte, Montana, and gearing up for another 6 hours of driving tomorrow.  We woke up at 4:30 this morning and on the car ride here I’ve napped the day away!  (This is really something to tout, as I’ve NEVER been able to sleep in the car/in a plane before, no matter how high exhaustion levels were—I’m very grateful for my trip to Costa Rica for teaching me to be able to nap anytime and anywhere, out of pure necessity!) Smile 

Sleeping’s not all I’ve been doing, though; a gal’s (especially THIS gal) gotta eat!  One thing I really don’t like about road trips is that the food choices tend to be really nutritionally sparse—sugary granola bars, candies, energy drinks to keep awake, fast food stops, etc.  If you’re making an increasing-altitude trip (hello pal), you’re probably losing fluids and need to drink more than usual to avoid becoming dehydrated.  Coupled with the fact that you’re literally barely moving all day, and you’re probably stopping at a bunch of public toilets with soap dispensers that may or may not work, it’s definitely not your body’s idea of a joyride.  Fortunately, though there’s not much you can do about the eternal sitting part, most of these health disasters can be really simply avoided (or circumvented) with a little bit of extra planning!

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I planned out a cooler for the trip a few days ago, and we picked up everything necessary to compile it at the grocery store.  Last night I whipped up a batch of white bean hummus (recipe courtesy Nava Atlas’ The Vegetarian Family Cookbook) and tucked it into tupperware containers, as well as setting apart some fresh fruits and scooping raisins, almonds, and an odds n’ ends cereal mix into a reusable baggie.  This morning we stuffed two coolers with all pictured here–

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string cheeses, bananas, apples, snack bag of aforementioned mix, carrots, tortillas (for use with humus—either as a snack or combined with the carrots for a light meal), snap peas, and some ice packs.  I also packed three full bottles of water just for myself because I knew I wouldn’t want any of the soft drinks we would pick up at gas stations.  I haven’t been thirsty (imagine that!), have avoided most of the road-tripping headache, and, well…it’s a good thing my bladder is rather strong-willed. Winking smile  For the inevitable rest stops, we also have a full container of hand sanitizer for use before digging into the finger foods. Smile

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(Peeve has become a rest-stop superstar, complete with her own adoring fan base that flocks to her at every stop!  We’ve had at least three little gaggles of little girls come rushing up to us asking “Excuse me, can we pet your dogs??”  Rest-stop kiddos are so polite!  And Peeve’s certainly loving the attention.)

Any other tips for not letting a road trip derail healthy habits?  I’m a firm believer that vacation is definitely a time for relaxing and being really lenient with yourself, but, hey, if it’s this easy to keep yourself away from the Mickey D’s, why not?

Where are you traveling to/have traveled this summer?  Consider this a tag, if you like, and give me the link to a post with pictures.  Smile  I love looking at travel pictures—reminds me there’s a whole lot more to the world than my little corner!

WIAW: Intervention + A Smile Experiment

In my post about the weekend I mentioned that with all the cakes, pies, cupcakes, cake pops, and other manner of sweet things around the house, I was the burgeoning owner of a MASSIVE sugar addiction.  I’ve never been quite sure why this happens with me; I only know that I seem to have a very addictive personality, and things like desserts and blog-reading and vlog watching are its downfall.

I’ve been trying to “get clean” all week; I’ve improved somewhat, in that I no longer uncontrollably beg for a second slice of cake after finishing a meal, but I still have a ways to go in conquering this craving.  Over this week, I’ve been trying to slowly dial back my sugar consumption–today, I was supposed to go completely no-added-sugar, but, alas, we had muffins in the freezer…

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The day started off well–I had a light (for me) breakfast of Chocolate Covered Katie’s 2-ingredient energy balls (in a lovely Tupperware container), followed by a banana and natural peanut butter.  True, the dates in the energy balls have a lot of sugar packed into their volume, but…I think running justifies this?  Even if one is only running 3 miles..?  Not sure.  Anyway, I needed an energy-packed snack that wouldn’t weigh me down while on the hamster wheel.

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Accompanied with some Celestial Seasonings African Rooibos tea!  I love everything about this tea–from the smell to the taste to the texture to the color.  It’s “red” tea; and, for the record, when the box bragged of cherry and toffee flavors, I thought it was too good to be true…but the stuff is truly like sweet dreams packed into tea bags.  And caffeine-free!  I’m addicted.

(And yup, I read food magazines over breakfast!)

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Lunch was simple–I’d like to say I was writing so much I didn’t really have time to put together a fancy lunch, but the truth is that I’d been telling myself I was going to work on novelling any time now for about the past four hours, and I really didn’t want any lengthy meal-prep to interrupt my procrastination.  So.  Leftover scrambled eggs + veggies in a whole-wheat tortilla it was.

(Afterward I was quite dismayed that I didn’t put any avocado in this, so I ate half an avocado on its own.  Also another tortilla.  Also some swiss cheese, and pickles.  I was HUNGRY, and craving eggy/cheesy/salty things!)

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At around 2 o’ clock, blood sugar levels must have dropped, because the intense sugar (and chocolate) cravings came back again, full-force!  They were quelled temporarily by a lovely (and oh-so-stunning, right? ;))  green–er, brown–smoothie made with banana, milk, spinach, and cocoa powder.  Thick, delicious, and easy to down while writing (which I was actually doing by this point!).
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But, of course, nothing gold can ever stay.  It was 5 o’ clock by the time my thoughts rolled around to dinner, and I was planning to make NeverHomemaker’s baked veggie pockets; alas, the dough required two hours of refrigeration!  I still went ahead and whipped it up as quickly as possible, but I needed something to tide me over until actual dinner could begin–I found solace in two banana-pb-chocolate chip muffins popped from the freezer (saved from breakfast at the Hatchday Party!).

DSCN3362Conveniently, by the time it was time to need to knead the dough (sorry–couldn’t resist!)  not only my blood sugar levels, but my serotonin levels as well, seemed to have dropped markedly, and I had, alas, worked my way deep into the heart of a Cloud of Foo.  (This is a term I coined a couple of years ago to describe the oh-so-lovely and horrific mood swings plummets characteristic of the adolescent brain, and also for the longer bouts of depression characteristic to my brain.)  I’m convinced that kneading, however, was invented by a furious baker, long, long ago, who sought a way to vent his anger without disfiguring the faces of his comrades.  Or perhaps a god of stress management.  At any rate, I felt much better after a heated 10-minute kneading engagement, and after about 20 minutes outside working on my volleyball skills with Family & co.

I was also smiling the entire time I was kneading–not because it had instantly lifted the dreaded Cloud of Foo, but because I, reader of things, had once heard that smiling, even if forced, releases immense amounts of endorphins into one’s brain, thereby instantly cheering them up even if they were formerly in a Cloud of Foo!  (Of course, I didn’t allow any members of Family & Co.  to see me at it; because, as you know, when one is battling a Cloud of Foo, one is too sullen to even attempt to be in an agreeable mood.  One becomes so stubborn that one doesn’t let one’s family see them attempt to smile, for fear that one’s family will think they are cheering up!  The last thing one wants when one is in a sullen mood is to be perceived as anything but sullen.)

Did my 10 minutes of forced smiling have any effect?  Marginally…I think getting my blood stirred up via kneading and volleyball was more efficient, though.  I also headed out to the garage/home gym a while after dinner to bang on the punching bag, and that was relieving.  Still, I think by then I was kind of resigned to feeling crappy for the rest of the day–I’m just looking forward to waking up in the morning, when my Cloud of Foo and I can “reset”.

A final, more WIAW-related line:  I’m drinking some more herbal tea as I type this up.  Partly in the hopes that it will soothe my frenzied mind, and partly because it tastes so awesome.  I think I might read some Bible before hitting the sack.  As I frequently remind you, my religion is as-yet-undecided and ever in flux, but I find it worthwhile for the philosophical value alone.  Nothing like pondering the meaning of life and morality to take your mind of Clouds of Foo.Dramatic Tea and Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal 003

Let the Festivities Commence

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Great-Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe, preserved in the physical, non-Pinterest family recipe archives…

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IMG_3847 IMG_3848Yeah, I’ve been in a bit of a sugar coma these past few days.  I’m usually pretty good about staying away from the point where my stomach actually starts to hurt, but this week…

IMG_3864As it so happened, it was Little Bro’s birthday and Daddio’s birthday and parental anniversary and…my blogoversary is in 10 days!  (That really didn’t have any bearing on this weekend’s festivities, but I felt like including another “and”.)

I was going to make you guys a special virtual layer cake for the blogoversary (DYING TO MAKE THIS RECIPE FOR LIKE THREE YEARS NOW WHY DOES NO ONE IN OUR FAMILY LIKE WHITE CAKE MMMRRRGAHAH), but to be honest, I think I’d rather the above baked goods carry over as catering for the weeklong blogoversary celebration I plan on doing.  I’m hoping to do a 7-day series of posts full of blogging tips and maybe some other miscellaneous writing tips as well…not that I consider myself in any way qualified to give either, but…

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I also made you butt-ugly cake pops from the leftover frosting + cake cuttings from the Minion Cake!  (No one in our family has any idea how to make cake pops, so we just globbed up all the leftover crumbled cake and frosting, shaped it into our best attempts at spheres, and popped them in the freezer overnight.  This can hardly be called technique, but they were still mighty tasty.)

IMG_3867(How could I pass this recipe up for Little Bro’s party??!  [We used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen to make the cake {aka the best chocolate cake my taste buds have ever had privy to} and a Rachael Ray buttercream recipe, so the entire thing {save black icing + candy} was homemade!])  Despicable Me FTW!!

(^^Pretty much me every morning when I go to make a breakfast smoothie.)

Okay, sorry for the memeion overload.  That last one wasn’t not rebloggable, though.  Hugs to all!

Random festivity pics…

DSCN3024Sparklers!  For some reason when I set it to “Fireworks Show” mode, my camera’s shutter speed gets reeeeeaallly slow, so I can capture trails like this when people wave sparklers around.

DSCN3025This one’s a “W”.  I feel like that’s an omen of some sort.  I guess if your name begins with a W, today is your lucky day!  (I suppose it could also be a cursive “Z” gone badly…)

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IMG_20130717_132138This is my friend’s froyo bowl from the hatchday party, and I still can’t get over how dang pretty she made it.  ^Skill.

DSCN31893rd place–my LASER tag game is improving.  (LASER is an acronym, standing for “Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, did you know this?  I’m irked by the fact that the vast majority of the population doesn’t.  This is the reason why I am also irked when people spell it “lazer”, BECAUSE YOU CAN’T MESS WITH ACRONYMS, all right?)

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Minion cake, all suited up and ready for action!

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&pizzapizza.

Any celebration going on in your neck of the woods this weekend?  Thoughts on minions and/or the meaning of life?  (Bonus points if you can combine the two, and quadruple your score if you do it in verse.)  Would you be interested in me sharing my great-grandmother’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe?  Things you’d like me to cover in my 7-day blogging tip blogoversary series?  Let’s take this party down to the comments section!

(WordPress is insisting that “blogoversary” isn’t a word.   I would have thought better from the best dang bloggin’ platform around…)

MIMM: Hatchday, Pretty Light, Knees, and Insane Decisions

Hey everyone!  How’s your Monday going?

DSCN3124 DSCN3127 DSCN3137 DSCN3143 DSCN3160 DSCN3159Mine’s been pretty…pretty, to say the least.  As a Washingtonian, such flagrant displays of sunshine are something of a rarity, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ve been taking full advantage of these picture-perfect summer days by frolicking about, soaking up the Vitamin D.

I’ve never really been one of those people who need an extra boost on Mondays to get through the week, even when school/activities are in session–I’ve just never hit the “Monday wall” that I guess so many people run into.  I’ve already confessed my nerdship to you guys–Monday is basically my favorite day of the week!  Not only is it usually pretty light on homework because teachers don’t like to take the time to concoct elaborate assignments over the weekends, school STARTS UP AGAIN and I know it’s going to be the beginning of a (potentially gruelingly) glorious week!

Still, it never hurts to get a little extra boost, even if your biggest worry right now is that the hammock that’s callin’ your name is gonna get lonely.

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The weekend was pretty enjoyable marvelous.  I hosted Citrus’ third hatchday party–I made sad-looking but still (IMO) cute cockatiel cookies and we bopped around outside.  There was a sleepover and we all got very slap-happy.  We were tired in the morning but there were muffins (with both lemon and seeds–perfect for a bird named Citrus!) made by me and a frittata made by Mother Dearest (with potatoes inside–tasted like hashbrowns!!).  I do so love hashbrowns.

Alas, we did not have a circular cookie cutter, so I had to shape the sugar cookie dough (nomnomnom) with a beer-can chicken prop-thing.  (My culinary vocabulary falters when it comes to meat…)

To make the cookies, I used the Savvy Vegetarian cookie dough recipe, this recipe for coconut whip as a frosting (tinted yellow with food coloring), Craisins for eyes, chopped up Watermelon Laffy Taffy for the beaks, and mangled “orange slices” candies for the orange cheek circles.DSCN3042 DSCN3052

This totally didn't happen what are you talking about.  Not straight from the beater, never.

This totally didn’t happen what are you talking about. Not straight from the beater, never.

I wouldn't recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip--it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely.  I used...whatever this brand is.

I wouldn’t recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip–it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely. I used…whatever this brand is.

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Beaks!  Haha

Beaks! Haha

Aaaaand the final result.  Bit homely, but that’s okay! 🙂

Citrus approves.

Citrus approves.

Other marvelous things today…

Can we talk patella bracing for a sec?  I’m in love.  I don’t think that’s hyperbole.  Anything that was enough to lift me out of the forced 8-month running break thanks to these dang knees is virtually a Messiah in my eyes.  (I think it was probably the braces in adjunct with my rest, stretching, physical therapy, orthotics, supportive shoes, and therapeutic ultrasounds, but hey, whatever works…)  To my surprise, I haven’t lost all of my (nonexistent to begin with) running prowess, and the braces allowed me to attend my first *OFFICIAL* XC practice last Friday!  I hope to attend two more this week!  We’ll see how that goes…alas, my mileage maximum right now is approximately 3.  (Maybe four on the hamster wheel?)  By the end of the summer we’re supposed to be easily running 8…

This brings me to my first INSANE DECISION OF THE DAY!  This one is way less insane than my other one, but it’s still a big thrill for me.  I signed up for another 5k!!  This one’s on August 24th, and, while running in the heat ain’t exactly my cup of tea, I’m beyond stoked!  If I can even get close to my time on my first-and-only 5k, then it will be a huge reassurance for me that, though my knees doth plague me, I can get my kickassery and (somewhat) speed back with enough motivation.  (To any “serious” runners out there reading this:  I know a 5k is not a huge distance.  It’s kind of a menial race.  But, alas, my body is NOT DESIGNED FOR RUNNING WHATSOEVER [sitting and blogging is more my speed, how ’bout you?] and a 5k is a big deal to me!)

Sweet Potato Chocolate Pancakes 009(Throwback to the morning of my first 5k, waiting in the starting line.  Pay no attention to the ominous disembodied hand on my shoulder; someone else is cropped out.  And notice the fear hiding behind the forced smile–the glazed eyes, the overall absent disposition.  I was convinced I was going to die that day.)

Incidentally, you know what’s harder than running a 5k?

………………………..Biking two hundred and two miles.

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Yeah, it’s insane.  We’ve covered this.  And it will require buying a new bike, and/or some road tires for my current trusty steed mountain bike.  But recently (yesterday-recently), la madre de una de mis amigas (I’m not sure why I phased into Spanish here, but I couldn’t think how to word it in English) participated in the Cascade Bicycle Club/Group Health Seattle-to-Portland bike ride, a one- or two-day event that spans a total of 202-point-something miles.  Which gave me a sudden and intense burst of inspiration.  It’s a recreational ride, not a race, but from my extensive Googling of the thing last night it looks. epic.  And everyone says you need to dream big and set high goals to keep your morale buoyed, right?  So.  I’ve got a year to train.  I post this to the internet so I can’t back down–next year, Daddio and I will be participating in the 2014 Seattle-to-Portland ride.  And we will rock that epic $#*@.

Much moreso than for running, my body (and quads) like biking.  While the farthest ride I’ve ever taken to date was just 40 miles with lots of hills, and I died afterwards–I’ve got a year.  Best get on this.

Ahh.  The inevitable foot selfie.  (For some reason I just tried to spell “foot” as “fut”…)  Daddio and I went on a short (10 mile?) ride today, and I plan to get some running on the hamster wheel done as well.  Fitness, here I come!

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And arrachgha, yes, I need to do a poemography post today, since I’ve skipped out on that for, what, three weeks?!  Problem is, I only have one line to work with… #poetictrialsandtribulations

“Rather than people who shine–

I like people who glow

is the line, but I’m not sure how to weave that into a poem.  Would it be all right if poemography was extended to flash fiction?  I know I made the rules, but you guys can change them.  I’ll luv ya forever 😉