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…

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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!

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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…

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 😉

Confessions of a Teenaged Something-or-Other

(alternately titled ‘Let Me Unload All My Angst Upon You in a Translucent [semi-transparent] Blog Post!’…)

These “Confession”-style posts are immensely popular in the blogosphere, and for good reason; while we like seeing bloggers at their best and encouraging them in their successes and triumphs, there’s also something oh-so-darkly satisfying about seeing them at their worst, revealing all their human vulnerabilities to the internet in list form.  While they aren’t necessarily a trending post topic right now, I still thought I’d whip one up for you guys, since I’m all about keepin’ it real here on TGITO.

#1.  I haven’t been blogging every day since I said I was going to.  Hey, maybe you already noticed this!  I was taking a few much-needed mental health days: reading, focusing (and procrastinating) on my writing, and hanging out with this lovely chickie (LOOKY LOOKY SHE MADE A WORDPRESS BLOG FOLLOW IT Y’ALL ‘TIS GON’ BE EPIC), and just generally doing stuff away from screens.  Alas, this might continue for a bit as my writing endeavors suck most of the worthwhile words from my brain and leaving me, if I post at all, posting crap.  I so much thank you for your understanding in this matter.

#2.  I am overweight.  Somehow, over the course of my shinny knees, all the internet-induced sitting about, and the wonders of puberty (and gaining some muscle!), 20 pounds have happened in the last seven months.  I feel like there’s SUCH a stigma about this kind of thing in the healthy-living blogosphere, even as we preach body acceptance and love (“As long as you’re healthy,” we say, “your body is beautiful!”)  What if I’m not at my ideal healthy weight, blogosphere?  Huh?  What if this isn’t some muscle-is-denser-than-fat thing and I actually have above-optimal fat levels in my body?  Does this unnerve you?  Unsettle you?  Will you be okay with this?  Will you still treat me as a person in possession of a brilliant brain and opinions and thoughts that deserve respect?  I was going to write up a whole post on this topic and how we bloggers inadvertently practice body-shaming ourselves, but #3. I’m not going to.

#4.  Sometimes I read hypointelligent teenage girl magazines.

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ALL THIS ESTROGEN HAS TO GO SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN ANGSTY BLOG POSTS MMKAY?

At least you can tell I don’t buy them regularly.  This one’s dated August 2012.

#5. I ran in my underwear today.  (Yes, on the treadmill in the garage, don’t worry.)  My main reason for this was that I was fully attired when I started running, but it was really stinkin’ hot and, the way I saw it, I had no choice in the matter.  Polka-dotted underwear and an orange-and-yellow striped sports bra.  It was oddly liberating.  My little bro came in to grab a carton of chocolate milk and didn’t even notice.  Makes me wonder…

#6.  I am actually really excited for school to start back up!!

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Okay, this wasn’t really a secret/confession.  I exert no effort to keep my true nerdiness from you guys.

This is my attempt at a prudish* nerd face.  Notice the upside-down book.

This is my attempt at a prudish* nerd face. Notice the upside-down book.

 

I like learning things, and I need something to get the silence out of my head.  You guys know I think too much, and it gets to me over the summer months, when all that scary variability of not having a set schedule and forced social interaction comes into play.  *whimpery voice* I’m lonely, you guys.  I’m usually okay, until about 7 PM, and then it’s all darkness and quietness and eating way too much chocolate in a vain effort to compensate for drops in endorphin levels…

Ehh.  I have problems, just like everybody else.  I deal with them.  I’m actually kind of sorry for this post; I try to keep things positive here.  But I needed to vent.  You guys would have noticed something was up anyway, if I tried to continue on in my usual cheery manner.

*The fact that I used the word “prudish” pretty much clinches my title as a nerd, right?

I so much thank you (if you made it this far) for listening to me!

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On a more frivolous note–I know I said I was for-sure growing out The Beast again, but I’m thinking of returning to the pixie before the school year starts again.  You may or may not have noticed, but with its new length and freedom, the Beast has started to get some ideas.  And, to be honest, the real reason I wanted to grow my hair out was so I could change up the style from time to time, but that really ain’t gonna happen no matter what length it’s at.  Sometimes I overestimate my own investment in my femininity.

HAIR!! 005

Yay or nay?  I’m thinking yay.

July

(oh, wow, look!  such an intriguing title! :P)

Remember how I alluded to the fact that things gon’ be changin’ around these parts?  (“These parts” being my life and the way I manage it…)

This is gonna happen now, folks.  Forrealzies.

I’ve made a lot of promises in the past and entertained myself with visions of productive grandeur–every time, the things, whatever they were that I pledged myself to, had a habit of…not getting done.  Oh yes, I would set goals, write out lists, lay out my workout gear and my fountain pen and my planner and whatever crap I thought would rocket me to success…then I would log into Bloglovin’ or WordPress or Pinterest and it was game over.

What can I say?  I’m easily distracted.  (I’m choosing to believe it’s a sign of brilliance.)  I can hardly ever clean my room, because I get so engrossed in the objects I’m picking up off my floor that I forget the task at hand entirely.  I get distracted by my own feet.  Clearly, my brain is no match for the multiple-tab-wielding, infinite-destination vortex of my internet browser.

distractions

Oh, but this sounds like a “Goodbye, internet” post!  I promise you that this is not the case!  (I don’t think I could manage that anyhow…)  More of a warning/notification of sorts…of impending changes around these parts.

I am DOING STUFF this month, and next.  I intend to put the rest of my summer vacation to very good use.

So I’ve compiled a “Daily To-Do List” for the rest of the summer, which reads thusly:

  • 1 chapter TLOTR

Yes, this is something of seemingly no importance in an odd position of priority on my list.  For some reason, though, I’ve devoted myself entirely to the task of mowing through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy over the summer (mainly because I feel like it’s something I should have read by now), and if I ration it out this way, it ends up being just over 60 days’ worth of reading.

  • 1667 words or 1 hour revision in Thaw (at minimum)

Camp NaNoWriMo is here today! =D  I’m all stocked up with Scrivener, and a writing nook–I’ve gussied up The Shed for maximum comfort and reclusivity as I bang away on the keyboard–an inspiration jar, and coffee.

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productivity palace

No one ever hire me as a graphic designer.

Technically it's a button jar.  But I like to scatter them on the ping-pong table and pick out buttons to suit different characters' personalities.

Technically it’s a button jar. But I like to scatter them on the ping-pong table and pick out buttons to suit different characters’ personalities…

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Frog Slippers & Connect4--also necessities

Frog Slippers & Connect4–also necessities

  • 1 hr exercise (save 1 weekly rest/active recovery day)

Workouts have fallen to the wayside over the past month or so, due to knees and an odd bout of travel (three trips in a month…)–but, over the summer, there is no excuse not to cram in this USDA-recommended amount!  (Why does the Department of Agriculture tell me how much I should work out?)  I’ve started compiling a Summer Shapeup Pinterest board, I’m somewhat-participating in the Fitnessista Summer Shapeup 4-Week Plan (which I can repeat for a 2-month circuit) and am dabbling elsewhere in the blogosphere for similar plans.  While I know I’m mainly going to be forming my own routine, one that works for me, I think these plans will be good guidelines for the eventual regimen, even if I don’t follow them verbatum.

  • Physical Therapy

Boo.  I wish my knee problems could just vanish.  7 months is a long time.  But nothing is going to happen unless I keep doing those leg lifts…

(ugch–Instagrammed this picture way back in March.  Still toin’ that line…)

  • Cooking/Recipe Experimenting

A new challenge I’m embarking on this month is called Feed the Parents.  😉  Sort of like a Meatless Monday, in effect (except it’s going to be happening on Tuesdays…)–on a suggestion from Mother Dearest and in an effort to rationalize vegetarian eating in the parental minds, I’m going to start cooking a family dinner once a week.  (Usually I’m the only one who will even go ten miles near my food…)  This is probably an opportunity to ramp up my cooking skills, too!  (I’ll eat anything :), but when cooking for others one must be more discerning)  Still, if anyone has any family- and Standard-American-Diet-friendly vegetarian recipes they’d like to recommend, I’m all ears!

I’ll probably chronicle this thing on the blog as well, taking note of successes and flops.  🙂

  • Blogging!

You will notice that I do not, currently, blog every day. *pauses for effect*

This is mainly because my blog has never really been one of those “log blogs” that goes like “Oh, hey guys, I woke up this morning so that’s a plus! and then I ate this for breakfast and then I went and exercised and then we went to this movie and then for dinner we had this and I made this dessert…”  I have nothing against those types of blogs, it’s just not hasn’t been my thing.  You know me.  I post when I have something to say, something to share, something to recap, a linkup to join, a challenge to embark upon.  My daily life is tucked neat and tidily behind the curtain.

But with all this stuff I’m going to be doing for the remainder of the summer…

I need someone to keep me accountable, right?

*wink**wink* Well, who better to do this than all of my loyal followers?  (All 56 of you…) At least over the next month, I was thinking bumping up the posting rate to a daily post–undoubtedly they’d become much less lengthy than my current standard, and nothing earth-shattering would be discussed; but, just a log of the accomplishments of the day, as a way to keep myself on track.  What do you guys think of this idea?  TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS; I LOVE HEARING YOUR BEAUTIFUL VIRTUAL VOICES 😀

I hope everyone is having a Marvelous Monday…

(And congratulations to Katie, the host of this loverly partay, on her new baby boy!) 🙂

I am, ‘cuz I’m pumped to get…SHIN done. ;P

Summer Resolutions

Resolutions are usually mystical entities declared by adults ’round the world come the beginning of a new year, in a champagne-, guilt-, and glitter-induced stupor–the doomed declarations that this year, this time, one shall finally “whittle their middle”, swear off the sweet stuff, wean away from Pinterest, and clean up one’s act.

This summer, I say hoshposh! to this madness.

I don’t recall making any New Year’s resolutions myself this year–stops, consults blog archives–no, whew, I didn’t.  I attribute this mainly to the midterms taking place around that time (exam stress can justify anything).  Honestly, I wonder if any student actually has time for such things.  The whole notion of a New Year’s Resolution seems rather pointless to me, as it is seldom followed through and often made simply because the resolver is under the influence of heavy peer pressure and one too many drinks…

But I am going to make some Summer Resolutions here, specifically summer blogging resolutions.  Much more practical notions.  Summer, at least for me, is the season of infinite motivation and willpower, as well as infinite free time (well, not really; but there’s more of it).  And I feel, at least up to this point, that I have not been making the best use of these resources.  So, behold the list:

The Girl in the Orange’s Summer Resolutions:

1.  Cook!  I don’t know how it happened–shall I attribute this, too, to schoolwork stress?–but somewhere over the course of the school year I decided that there was simply no longer enough time to cook dinner, so I resorted to such things as canned soups, frozen lasagnas and veggie burgers, and hummus/veggie/tortilla wraps…even on the days where I came home and blogged for hours.  I call myself a foodie–where was my pride?  Over the summer, I want to put this

Perks of being an aspiring cook, living in a kind vegetarian-packed city, and telling everyone you know about it.  (Most of these were free.)

Perks of being an aspiring cook, living in a kind vegetarian-packed city, and telling everyone you know about it. (Most of these were free.)

along with the farmer’s market’s current summer bounty, to good use–maybe even pick up a few new techniques or flex my recipe developing “skills” again.  Some blogosphere dishes I’m eyeing?  The Smart Kitchen’s TVP Cinnamon-Cocoa Mole; The Kitchn’s restaurant spin-off Beet Black Bean Burgers; Crock Pot Curried Lentils from Peanut Butter Fingers (not really the right season for this, but oh well); and, of course, all things Oh She Glows.  Basically, everything on my sprawling recipe Pinterest board.

Additionally, I want to get back to more food here on TGITO!!  I know I’ve kinda left it on the back burner, except for a few WIAW posts, in favor of writing-related entries, because that’s so much of what’s going on in my life right now–but, I assure you, I have not abandoned my voracious ways.

2.  Fit this Chick!  Ever since my knees said “Adios!  I don’t like you; I think you’re gross,” (you will be my new best friend if you get the song reference), exercise and healthy eating has also been on the back burner for me.  My thought process, upon injury, was something like Oh, woe is me–bring on the chocolate!!!  Unfortunately, 6 7 8 months of such thought patterns takes its toll on one’s body.  I have become rather…squishy.

I am currently working on scheming up a strict fitness regimen for the rest of the summer, based on other Summer Shapeup plans drifting around the blogosphere–because I want to actually go out for sports next year, getting into shape is going to be a huge priority over the next couple of months!  (And hey, here’s another, non-writing-related thingy to blog about, as a bonus!)

3.  Stop, savor, scribble.  I live in the 21st century–I do a lot of going.  Going online, going to the grocery store, going to get my priorities together, going to scream, going to the loo, going insane…  *WARNING**WARNING**IMPENDING CLICHE*  Our society, as a whole, doesn’t take nearly enough time to slow downsimplify, stop and smell the roses.  (Oh, I can attest an affinity for alliteration, what about you?)  For the writer that I consider myself, this pace is not an altogether agreeable one.

Last month, I took to carrying a little notebook and mechanical pencil around with me at ALL TIMES in my purse…*pats self on back* This was a wonderful decision.  I didn’t realize the HUGE amount of little observations and inspirations that zip through my mind on a daily basis–I could probably begin a new novel every day, with all the places my mind jumps to–it’s just a matter of capturing them.  If I don’t bother to take a few seconds out of my day to scrawl them down, they are ALWAYS gone by the time I am sitting in front of my laptop, waiting for inspiration to buzz through my fingertips and onto the keyboard.

So…this Summer I Solemnly Swear I will Stop, Savor, and Scribble Selflessly and Studiously!

4.  Achieve Equinox.

This is a little euphemism I thought up a few months ago, which I found rather clever at the time.  It translates to finish my current novel.

Allow me to explain: the title of my current novel is Thaw (and I’m sort of trying to keep most of the other details on the hush-hush until Equinox, so bear with me here [did I really just say hush-hush?])–when I complete this novel, it will mean that Thaw is completed, and when the thaw is completed, then you know what that means?

It’s obviously the Vernal Equinox.

😀

In my defense, I was never going to tell you guys about this.  I think I thought it up when I was very, very tired (similar to now).  Feel free to throw rotten tomatoes at your computer screen; to lessen your angst, I will once again provide you with this:Infographic

Might I remind you that I never claimed to be normal.

–ANYWHOS, yes, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year–first time ever!  I plan to achieve Equinox sometime before the Summer Solstice, and then I can get started on editing and all that jazz.  (And then I will need beta readers! Wink-wink).  Thus, my blogging during July will probably be salted with sleep deprivation-induced hysteria, much like this post.  That’ll be fun, right, guys??!

If I happen to connect with any other NaNoers through this post, and, even after all this blather, they’re willing to be cabin mates, message me on the Camp Site (ha-ha) @The Girl in the Orange!  (But I call dibs on top bunk.)

So…that’s all for now, folks.  What about you?  How are you planning on seizing the season of superlative motivation and surmountable time?  (Yes…I realize I’m trying much too hard now…)

Snapshots From a Week of Glorious Orange

Man, I feel good.

It’s quite a pleasant change from my usual angsty-teenager-why-do-I-have-so-much-homework-and-a-confusing-life half-existence…I’m trying to come up with the cause for this sudden bout of serotonin wave ridin’, but ultimately…I’m just happy right now. 🙂

Of course, there are things that are probably fostering this pleasant mood-swingy week…

Could it be the orangeness of my socks right now?

Cuz they most certainly are.  And don't start with the lamenting the utter childishness of my (fuzzy, polka-dotted) bedspread...I like it.  It suits me.

‘Cuz they most certainly are. And don’t start with the lamenting the utter childishness of my (fuzzy, polka-dotted) bedspread…I like it. It suits me.

 

Could it be the fullness of my suitcase for NY right now?

Ah it's such a loverly blend of fancy clothes and food. :)

Ah it’s such a loverly blend of fancy clothes and food. 🙂

The toilet paper roll is keeping my necklaces from getting tangled...don't worry, I'm not weird enough that I would just pack something like that... :)

The toilet paper roll is keeping my necklaces from getting tangled…don’t worry, I’m not weird enough that I would just pack something like that… 🙂

 

AND LOOK AT THE NECKLACE LOOKLOOKLOOK AT THE NECKLACE IT'S ORANGE AND IT MEANS "CREATE" AND IT BOLSTERS MY COURAGE!!  IT IS A PRESENT FROM MOTHER DEAREST I MUST THANK HER MOST HIGHLY!!

AND LOOK AT THE NECKLACE LOOKLOOKLOOK AT THE NECKLACE IT’S ORANGE AND IT MEANS “CREATE” AND IT BOLSTERS MY COURAGE!! IT IS A PRESENT FROM MOTHER DEAREST I MUST THANK HER MOST HIGHLY!!

Could it be the amazingness that is my fellow chocoholic friend?

 

Awwww yeah.  I’ve got some support in the friend department here.  This gal is my enabler.

Could it be last Friday of downtown-wandering, pizza-consuming, and social mingling?

No pictures were taken (both phone and camera were dead) but it was really refreshing and…emotional.  Since we are all dispersing  to our various schools next year, this time of year is just so bittersweet…I’m going to miss the lovely little private-school familial thing we’ve got going on, even though we have our spats.  Thank goodness most of my really good friends will be going to the same school as me…

OR COULD IT BE THE RUNNINGNESS THAT IS MY LEGS???!!

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Let’s hear it for sweaty awkward selfies!!

Yeah that’s right folks YOU HEARD ME correctly. (!)  A couple of weeks ago, my physical therapist gave me a tentative sort of go-ahead for running–

(Please ignore my random thumb)

–with some instructions pertaining to cadence, posture, form, etc.  (Apparently I am not a very intuitive runner–the form that I naturally use was uber-hard on my knees!)

So during this week I’ve been breaking in the electric melons, and doing some “microruns”–really, each under 1 mile.  I’m still experiencing some pain, and of course I’ve lost speed, but as per the wisdom of Kiss My Broccoli, I shall focus on the now of my running, not comparing myself to the past or the future.  Really, all things considered (things being the fact that I have not ran in–what, 6 months?), 3/4 mile in 7 minutes really isn’t…too awfully bad…

 

Whatever it was that made this week so awesome, I’m incredibly grateful.  I remain excited about the future of my runningness and my impending New York trip!!  (Vlogs to come…) 😉

–The Girl in the Orange

 

WIAWWeirdly

Greetings, dear followers!

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*slow, creeping sort of manic smile begins to spread over face*

Happy Finals Season. Finals Season

I’m doing the best I possibly can  in regard to the May Shapeup, and my eating and exercise habits–I’ve hit a few rough patches, of course.  The “no processed sugar” thing has fallen wayward as I stay after school for study sessions, work on papers late into the night and early in the morning, and turn, usually, to Clif bars for my caloric needs.  I’ve been eating more processed foods than I originally planned for, as well, but the current circumstances make this rather unavoidable.   I’ve decided the healthiest thing I can do right now is not to dwell on this and just plow through my academics like the steady essay-writing ox private school has trained me to be.

I’ve striven to keep my produce intake pretty constant, and I have managed to bump it up, but with my mind in so many other places besides the shapeup these past few weeks, some interesting occurrences have–oh, well, you’ll see.

Breakfast DSCN0790 was Grape-Nuts and chia seeds.  And a repeat pic.  how exciting, right?  Yeah…I would love to boast a fantasmagorical oatmeal creation or something here, but seeing as I can’t eat oatmeal anymore and I don’t really have the time to fix up anything else…cereal it is.  Pretty healthy stuff, but…still.  I feel like I’ve failed as a food blogger here.

I did manage to squeeze in a green smoothie!  (It may have been spiked seasoned with a healthy dose of cocoa powder…that’s healthy, right?;) ) Fall ESST 021 Lunch

When the time to pack up came around, I was feeling more “snacky” than in the mood for a big meal, so I scavenged around in the (tragically depleted) fridge for a few fresh foods to throw together.  Here was the finished smorgasbord: DSCN1837Strawberries, pistachios…boiled eggs…and carrot sticks.  In the large container is milk.

As it turns out, though, I pulled a Ramona Quimby–the eggs I had grabbed were actually not from the carton labeled “Boiled” at all, but from the regular egg carton.  I only found this out, of course, when I went to crack one during lunch study hall and my carrots suddenly became engulfed in yolk… #epicfail.  This made me rather sad, as the carrot sticks had to be scrapped and I didn’t see how I was going to fit the protein I had planned on into this meal.  Luckily, a friend was there to save the day, when she suggested I simply scramble the eggs up with a fork and cook them in the microwave–!  It’s great having logical people to reinforce my genius. 😉

Even without the egg incident, this lunch was a pretty random combination, but I’m proud of myself; it was assembled with all fresh foods, and it kept me satisfied all through the afternoon.  Win-win!  (I’m just…still perturbed over the egg incident…I thought this only happened in middle grade literature…)

Afternoon Snack was rushed through (bad, bad) in the brief interim between school and physical therapy.  In fact, it was so rushed through I completely managed to forget it was WIAW, despite having blog on the brain at the time–I wolfed down a banana mixed with PB2, some more strawberries, and some almonds.  Just in case, for some bizarre reason, you don’t believe me, I managed to capture the remains for you: 😉 DSCN1840At PT, I was given a RUNNING ASSESSMENT, on the treadmill (!!!) along with some pointers for improving cadence, posture, foot strike, etc. (turns out I run like a total slob…I’m sorry, Physical Therapist.  I didn’t realize.)  The idea is that we may possibly bring home a treadmill sometime soon–I can work on my technique, and maybe get back to running in earnest in about a month..?  EEP!  =D  Really, I owe it all to Kiss My Broccoli–obviously her good vibes sent my way have payed off!

La Cena was taco salad, prepared with romaine, avocado, salsa, black beans, and tortilla strips.  Totally clean, healthy, and FAST!  🙂  But because it was hastily prepared, it was not the most aesthetically pleasing supper ever, so instead, you get an Instagram pic of our Mother’s Day meal over the weekend that I think turned out rather well–

Because, as you undoubtedly have noticed, not only have I run out of time to prepare elaborate meals, I’ve also stopped trying in terms of my photography.  Bad, BAD TGITO!!  I’m sorry.  Blog should not be this way.  But it is, as I continue to profess, rather unavoidable.

Off to do some studying, “reflecting”, research compiling, and essay writing–wish me luck in my scholarly endeavors!  I’m feeling a little snacky again now, so this WIAW might not be  completely over–not that I will have time to post an update! 😉

–The Girl in the Orange

Starting My Fitness Journey…Over Again

It’s a painful journey, this.  It’s hardcore enough when you take it on the first time, but after bum knees have forced you to sit on the sidelines for 5 months?  Getting your fitness groove back on is hard.  Especially when you were getting really good pre-injury, and you remember how easily all these exercises used to come to you, before you stopped doing them all…it’s really enough to make you cry.

DSCN1656

But “re-fitting” myself needs to be done, sometime.  And “now” is always the best time to start those sometime-things.

SO.  Because I like to plan things and because I like nice, neat little starting dates for all my antics, a while back I designated May to be the month of getting my badassery back.  Selfishness aside, I want to look awesome in my Carnegie Hall dress at the end of the month.  I want to look okay in my swimsuit during my Costa Rica vacation (!!) in June.  I want to put in some good, hard, sweaty work I can be proud of–I have missed exercise SO MUCH.

In terms of exercise, I’d like to take my own advice and start following some of the tips in this post for working out with my knee issues.  And putting into practice some of the moves from The Bum Knee Workout.  I LOVE cardio, so it’s harder for me to work up the chutzpah to bust out a strength-training-session, but that needs to happen more often as well.  I want to move more on a daily basis–this will include the more simple stuff like pacing during a phone call, taking a stroll outside with free time rather than surfing the glorious YouTube, indulging in little childhood things (like hopscotch and swinging and jumping rope and trampolining–because Spring has finally, finally hit here!).  You know, as opposed to living on the internet.  Though that’s fun, and by no means am I abandoning the blogosphere for any length of time.

I also want to make really-super-extra-sure I continue my physical therapy and put my focus into it, rather than just zoning and rotely doing leg-lifts.  Though it keeps being pushed back, the tentative date for a running assessment and a reintroduction into the world of human propulsion is about 3 weeks from now.

And, of course…

This apple has little apple abs. It’s “hard”-“core” 😉 Get it..?

This graphic is from an older post on Sprint2theTable…yes, it’s older, but it’s exactly what I need right now.  Healthy eating and regular exercising often go hand in hand for me–if I’m not consistently working out, for some whacked reason it makes more sense for me to overindulge and lounge around on the laptop popping dark chocolate into my mouth by the bar.  (Somehow I’m not obese…)  As I work to redefine my body, I also want to clear up my diet; for me, this will mean changes including:

  • amp up vegetable levels!

Yeah, I’m a vegetarian.  Yeah, I eat reasonably healthy.  But yeah, I NEED to bump up my veggie consumption!  Come on, TGITO…girl cannot thrive on only one serving of the green stuff a day.  I want to broaden my vegetable horizons, eat more salads (it’s summer now; yay! farmer’s market here I come!), and cook more veggie-centric dishes.  I want to play with variety and spices.

  • no (processed) sugar except for weekly cheat

This is important for me, since I know that personally once I have some sugar it is all too easy to just stick my face in a bag of C&H and just snort the stuff.  (Erm…not really…)  Point is, it’s a slippery slope.  I just want to make a point to avoid empty calories in my diet, that don’t really enrich my life beyond the taste experience.

  • replace refined grains w/ whole

‘Nuff said.  Bye-bye, pasta, white tortillas, baguettes.

  • reduce grain consumption overall

I’d like to experiment with eating more on the paleo side (haha…paleo vegetarian, haha…); macronutrient-wise, at any rate.  I want to see how I perform, feel, and look on a diet that’s higher in protein and fat; I’d like to gain muscle, and I feel like I listen to my natural satiety cues better with proteins and fats.  Carbs are all too easy to overeat!

  • weekly meal prep so no “emergency” disasters

THIS is the BIGGIE, folks!  I always tell myself I will get my week of meals prepped out on Sunday, and it is never so!  Really, I’d like to develop a system that I actually carry out that would enable me a whole-grain source, lots of chopped-up veggies, some prepared protein sources, and some homemade frozen meals (e.g. soups, rice/quinoa dishes and the like) for when the time crunch gets really dastardly.  I’m drawing my inspiration from here and here and fixin’ up a Pinterest board for weekly recipes and tips as well.

Grab button for TGITO

<div class=TGITO-button style=width: 400px; margin: 0 auto;>
<a href=http://thegirlintheorange.com/2013/05/04/may-shapeup/ rel=nofollow>
<img src=https://thegirlintheorange.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/may-shapeup-button-1.jpg alt=May Shapeup width=400 height=300 />
</a>
</div>

Behold, the official “May Shapeup” Button!  ^^I am becoming a veritable HTML coding master. 😉 I’ll be Instagramming and Pinning my way through my moves and meals this month–if you’d like to join in, use the hashtag #mayshapeup on pins, instagrams, and tweets, and link up any “proof” posts with the button!

Monthly Recap: March 2013

March is always an exciting month.  Firstly, THIS year, it marks the 2-year anniversary of the month I went vegetarian! (Can’t remember the exact date…)  Without that fateful decision, I have no doubt that this blog would not EXIST right now…so that’s special.  🙂  Along with vegeversary, March contains Pi Day, the end of the second school trimester (accchhhh school year is almost over!), Pi Day, LOTS of birthdays in my social circles (I’m broke, folks), Pi Day, and, of course, that tantalizing prospect of Spring Break just…barely…out of reach.

March didn’t really “fly by” for me either, in stark contrast to what ALL MY OTHER monthly recaps tend to begin with.  Maybe because I’m not running..?  Anyway, while it was sort of a drawling month, I DID get a lot accomplished!  I finally started Physical Therapy, actually did something in the way of recipe developing, memorized 433 digits of pi, HAD MY KNEES DIAGNOSED, and, oh, yeah, WON A NATIONAL AWARD FOR MY POETRY and GOT SUPER PSYCHED FOR MY NYC TRIP TO RECEIVE IT COME MAY30th.  It was pretty exciting month, overall, for this girl and her future..!

Enough jabber.  I know no one reads the above overarching list anyway.  Onto the gist of things:

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…

…food:

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Cream of Quinoa 046

Things were no less exciting in the eats department!  In addition to the new breakfast recipes (of course I’m going to start blabbing about this again…I’m just so dang tickled with myself!) added to the Recipes page this month, I certainly got creative with some snacks…

Exhibit A.  The above is a bowl of sweet cereal mixed with salty cheddar cheese…what can I say?  It was late at night, I was deep into a history-induced hysteric haze…and I was having a MAJOR sweet and salty craving!  And CHEESE!  I wanted CHEESE!  Somehow I figured sugar would be helpful to my homework efforts as well……like I said, it was late.  That snackage happened and it was a dynamite combination!  I now have a theory that one simply CANNOT go wrong with a sweet/salty combination…carrots and peanut butter, sweet potatoes and almond butter, pie, french fries and ice cream, CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER, and now cereal and cheese…I can sense unlimited possibilities here.  Has anyone out there ever enjoyed other “unconventional” sweet and salty combinations? 🙂

DSCN0949

 

Ah, another memorable meal: salad beast.  Romaine lettuce, TJ’s broccoli slaw, peppers, shredded cheddar, TJ’s “chicken-less strips” and Italian vinaigrette…inhaled immediately after a one-hour strength training session.  Man, you know a workout was good when your arms are shaking too much to hold the camera steady for dinner photos! 🙂

 

…photography:

The above breakfast photos were really my favorites; there was this one as well

DSCN1005

which is okay, but my perfectionistic tendencies find fault with it.  I won’t tell you what it is, just in case you don’t see it yet!  But yes, it bothers me.

Mother Dearest also remarked “this is pretty!” upon seeing this new daffodil photo, so I had to include it again.

DSCN1111Success!  Parental approval!  Blogging is slowly redeeming itself as a profitable hobby in their eyes…

…things that made me smile:

I have a friend with synesthesia who this month told me that my name, and my voice, are like a bright orange streak.

*pauses for emphasis*

*pauses for emphasis*

*still pausing for EXTRA emphasis*

 

Have you processed it yet, guys??  I AM A BRIGHT ORANGE STREAK.

I mean, seriously.  This is like my dream. 🙂

On a more whimsical note, physical therapy has taken a weird but humorous note–have you heard of therapeutic ultrasounds?

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They’re quite relaxing. 😉  Also, there’s jelly on my knee.  There’s JELLYON my KNEE.  Also, there’s jelly on my knee.  Something about this… I just couldn’t stop giggling all through my last session.