Month: July 2013

A Few of My Recent Adventures

Some times you are just too busy living life to document it.  A double edged sword for someone like me, but here is a quick recap of what I have been up to:

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Some beer garden action in Ann Arbor for a dear friend/aunt’s birthday. What an amazing night. The weather was beautiful, the food was amazing, and the company was second to none.

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Date night with Paul for Lansing Restaurant Week… the day after restaurant week ended…

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This is his best pose…

We were all excited to go to the Wrought Iron Grill in Owosso for restaurant week, only to realize that restaurant week had ended the night before.  AMAZING food was still consumed, and I would highly recommend this charming spot if you are ever in Owosso, MI.  Although, I am not sure why most people would be.

This dinner alone should have its own post, because it really was like a  bad (or good) Seinfeld episode.  

Let me just start with, our waiter was super cool, after we broke him in, and the food was really really delicious, but the service was terrible!  We opted to sit outside on the patio, but regretted that decision because our waiter was a little too lax.  We didn’t even get greeted or get water for 15 minutes (first world problems, I realize, but this is all going to show a point).  

Our waiter offered us “coke products”, to drink and we had to snag a beer list from him (that never happens… turns out he didn’t think we were 21… thank you?). When Paul asked what was on tap, the waiter said, “it’s all crafty stuff” as if we would not recognize anything they had.  If you know anything about Paul, you probably know that he is obsessed with craft beer.  It is his hobby, his passion.  We asked for the beer list, and got it 10 minutes later.  The first world problems continued when we ordered our beers (a snifter, not a pint, the waiter asked) and it was given to us in bottles…. typing this all sounds so ridiculous, but again, I am just making a point.  Beer like the one we were drinking tastes different in a snifter (all 12% of it), and really needs to breath.  But, 10 minutes later we got our snifters.  This was all happening, mind you, while the waiter was fawning all over his buddies at the next table.

Me, being the nice person I am and not wanting to offend the waiter, told Paul that we should move inside.  We had already been there about 35 minutes and hadn’t even ordered yet (not due to us not knowing what we wanted, I assure you).

When the waiter came back, who really was a very nice guy, I told him that we wanted to move inside because I was getting cold.   He said, “oh, no problem, I can just turn on one of these heaters”, pointing to the massive propane heaters they have on the patio.  I looked to Paul for support, and he just laughed at me and kept on drinking his beer, (he loves to see me in awkward situations).  So the waiter drags this massive heater over to our table, and it won’t start.  The tank is empty.  All I could think was, “God is going to make that thing blow up to punish me”.  With no luck, the waiter picks up ANOTHER heater and drags it over to our table, which still wont light.   This goes on for a good, awkward, 5 minutes or so.  I finally just told him not to worry about it, feel free to spit in my food and thank you so so much.  (Yeah, I totally looked like that high maintenance bitch).

This finally cracked the guy and he decided he liked us.  It was almost like we had to prove ourselves as cool for him to want to serve us.  After that he was great.

And then, toward dessert, Paul decides to have a serious talk… about our aging dog.

I am not a crier, but he just said the words, “so, while things are good and he is healthy, I think we should talk about what the plan should be for when Max dies.”

I immediately bust out into sobs, tears running down my face, and I can’t even form sentences.  The poor waiter came back, who we had just gotten to like us, and looked at us like Paul had hit me or something.  It was a smart move on Paul’s part, really, because I told him what medications to feed me and what to do with Max once that does happen, because I will be incapable of taking control of the situation.

I continued to cry the whole way home… the ENTIRE 40 MINUTE DRIVE…poor Paul looked like he had just set off a bomb on a school bus full of kids or something.  My crying only stopped once we got home and I got to snuggle my puppy (my aging, 10 year-old puppy, who is in perfect health, btw).

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Puppy and me the next day, living the life 🙂

Ok, so that was that adventure…. moving on…

The next day, Paul and I headed to the Tiger’s game with my BFF, Liz, and her husband.  I am not going to lie, I don’t remember much after the ball park margaritas started flowing, but I do know that it was a very fun time, and my sweet sweet man bought me everything that was requested from my drunk mouth (a soft pretzel, nachos…) I mean, why else go to a ball park?

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This weekend, I have a half marathon coming up, a family function (pseudo family, but I have adopted them), and more adventures to follow.

I always aim for my summers to be full of adventures, but this one really has been.  I have spent time with so many great friends, made new friends, and done a lot of cool stuff.  And August is only going to be busier!

I hope everyone is well 🙂 Happy last day of July!

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Baking Bread and Eating Ice Cream (and other weekend adventures)

My work wife turned me onto the most fabulous, cheap and easy cooking blog I have yet to encounter.  It is called Budget Bytes, http://www.budgetbytes.com/, and after using her recipes for over a week, I am hooked and have yet to be disappointed. 

This woman even got me baking bread.  ME!  I love to cook, but you ask me to bake, prepare to have a sugary let-down on your hands. She makes you believe you can do it though, because not only are her recipes cheap, they are easy!

Feeling sassy while reading through her blog, I decided that I was going to try her Olive Herb Bread (http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/03/olive-herb-bread/). 

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I’m not going to lie, chopping the olives was the hardest part…

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Waiting was the second hardest part for me. Plus, having never seen active yeast in action before, I didn’t believe this would “rise”.

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But it did!!!!

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The pre-cooked loaf, all ready to go in the oven along with all of my baking hopes and dreams.

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Thirty minutes later 🙂 (this was the good side of the loaf… the far side looked a little deformed. I still loved it, none the less)

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The fruits of my labor! A sandwich made with the vegetables out of a friends garden.

Here is the link again if you would like to try the recipe: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/03/olive-herb-bread/

This was my start to the weekend on Saturday morning.  If I could bake bread, the weekend possibilities were endless!  Continuing down the road of awesomeness, Saturday night Paul and I had a double-date night with Aunt Janice and Uncle Tom.  You may remember them:

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so cute

How can you not have a great night with a couple like that?

Sunday, I was up early to ride my bike to the gym to swim a few laps.  I had the pool all to myself, and it was the perfect temperature!  I don’t care how old I get, I always want to play around and do somersaults and hand-stands after a few hard laps.

Next, my bike and I adventured into downtown Lansing to visit a friend who I haven’t seen in over a year.  Meeting with a good friend is always such a boost in life, especially ones like Annette.  I thrive off of people with great energy (as I am sure most of you do), and she is great for that.

It was also such a great day to be riding around Lansing.  There was very little traffic, few people out and about; the streets seemed to be mine.  There is something so freeing and mobile to me about riding a bike.  That may sound like a “duh” statement, but riding a bike is more freeing to me than having a car.  You can go so many more places around town!  All in all, I think I rode about 20 miles on Sunday.

The good times kept on rolling on Monday when I started my day with my follow-up appointment with my doctor.  His original thinking was correct with is prediction of my blood work being fine.  It was better than fine.  My numbers are awesome across the board! (Always good to hear).  So now, it is just a matter of weaning me off of my medication and seeing how I do with just emergency meds in the rare times of anxiety.  I should be able to start dropping weight and get back to feeling like myself shortly.  

I felt like I had made the Dean’s List!  I immediately called my Aunt Janice then Paul to tell them both how stellar I had done on my blood “test”, (I always brag to Paul about my blood pressure, too, but high blood pressure runs in my family, so it is a number I take seriously.  He just rolls his eyes as if to say, “yes, honey, you are extremely healthy, I know”, in a very supportive, albeit, eye rolling way.)

Max even had a vet appointment yesterday, also displaying a stellar check up.

What is a mom and her puppy to do when they both get A++ at the doctor? Take a nap then go for ice cream!!!! (A little counter-intuitive, and I don’t generally support the usage of food as a reward, but it was what we wanted… don’t judge).

So Paul drove his two newly declared healthy family members to the ice cream shop in Old Town, where I got a small swirl for us (Max and me) to split. yes… I share ice cream cones with my dog…

God punished me for my poor choice though, because ten minutes later, back on our couch at home, my cone had lost all structural integrity, melted ice cream was dripping out the top, bottom, AND sides, and I was covered in it.

No grown woman should have to shower after eating an ice cream cone.  

Once again, Paul just rolled his eyes, but was good enough to document the sticky mess, complete with nap hair, that I was.

What is it that they say?  Behind every crazy person is a sane person rolling their eyes and cleaning up the messes, making sure crazy makes it through the day alive…?

Wait, no, maybe that is just my life.

And I am only sharing this photo because I would never judge any of you, so save the same respect for me, please:

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Probably the second least attractive photo of me ever… hopefully the #1 least attractive will never surface…

Some days I just wonder…

What did I do right?

I know that a lot of crazy, not-so-good, sometimes awful things have happened in my life, but I have no idea what I did to deserve the people I have in my corner right now.

I have been blessed with some amazing, kick-ass, down to Earth, supportive female role models.  People who expect the most and bring the best out in me, encourage me, and love me all at the same time.  It is the most indescribable feeling to have women like that who you can trust and look up to.

Thank you, to all of the women out there, who provide support, love, encouragement, and an example of how to be amazing!

Time to Come Clean

This post is going to be a bit more on the serious side than I tend to be, but it is a topic that I reasoned might be an issue for others if it is an issue for me.

I will start with a little bit of background information, and hopefully that will paint a clearer picture of my situation (it is a long ride to the point, I apologize).

For those of you that follow my blog, you probably have gathered that I am an active person. I am training for my second marathon, I love to lift and strength train, I sometimes hit the gym twice a day, ride my bike, anything to be active, I am into. I am also extremely conscious of what I am eating.

I have a long history with my relationship with food, which unfortunately is littered with disordered eating, poor body image, years of negative self talk, and not appreciating how food is meant to fuel my body. Part of my love for running came from the realization that if I wanted to run and run well, I had to fuel my body. It was almost my therapy to the understanding of my body needing food not only to perform, but to survive. As I have gotten older, (you can read more about my thoughts on this from my birthday post birthday post), I have learned to love myself, and recognize that every day I am a work in progress. The important thing is that I am healthy and strong. I will admit that I have had periods of sliding back into unhealthy habits and not treating myself so well, but each of these episodes only reassured what I know is healthy and what I know my body needs.

This all leads to what brings me to this post. I made a reference in my post, The Beautifully Flawed Project, https://mostofeveryday.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/the-beautifully-flawed-project/, that a friend and I were going to make an effort to accept and embrace our flaws.

I was referring to my anxiety issue. I have had anxiety since I was a kid, but not to anything really specific. I had separation anxiety when leaving my mom and hated going to school, sleep overs, you name it. Which was weird, because I did well in school, had great friends, and got along with my teachers.

After my mom died, I didn’t have anxiety until after my senior year of high school, and then just random, small attacks on and off through college. They were generally set off by moving, but it was never anything that affected me day-to-day. But two years ago, they started coming back. I was prepping for a move, and would suddenly be hit with an attack. I finally decided to talk to my doctor about it.

I have always been the type of person who believes that most stress, depression and anxiety could be cured with a healthy and active lifestyle, but that just wasn’t working for me. I had to swallow all of my pride to tell my doctor that I needed something to help me. So, he wrote me a prescription for Sertraline, the generic form of Zoloft. Zoloft is generally known as an anti-depressant, but goes hand-in-hand as an anti-anxiety medication. I have never been depressed and have always been a very upbeat person, so it was hard for me at first to admit that I was taking something like that. I felt like it was my dirty secret and I didn’t want people thinking that if I stopped taking my medication, my personality would change and I would lose it!

This was two years ago, and around that time it started to become really hard for me to lose weight. It seemed that no matter what I did, my weight would not budge. But, I figured I just wasn’t working hard enough and my eating wasn’t clean enough.

But life continued on, things were going so well with love, friends, job, etc., I stopped taking my medication for a while. Since I had been on it, I had never been really great about taking it, but I hit a period where I pretty much stopped all together.

One day last February, I was getting ready to leave on a business trip for three days. I was excited to head up to the upper peninsula of Michigan, and spend time with a co-worker who is a lot of fun. But about 15 minutes before I was due to get picked up, I suddenly started having an anxiety attack. That same old feeling. I felt ill, my stomach hurt, I didn’t want to go, I was sweating, my heart was racing. This being the first attack Paul had ever seen, I had to explain what was going on.

I told him that it is completely irrational. I know that I have nothing to be afraid of. I am not afraid of traveling, or working, or meeting new people, or going new places. In fact, I love all of those things! But I was just losing it.

When I got home from that trip, I became extremely diligent about taking my medication. I decided to seek help from a therapist to hopefully work through why I was having this issue still as an adult. Not to mention I had to gear up for another work trip, for six days in Washington D.C.. I was so excited! We had an awesome hotel, I would have a ton of free time to explore, meet new people, hang out with my co-workers who I think the world of, and it was D.C.!!!

The day before I was set to leave (on this trip that I was so excited about, mind you), I had a massive melt down. I could not get it together all day. Paul did his best to distract me, we went out to lunch, went antiquing, went to the dog park, but I just could not focus. I took xanax, but it didn’t help, I did breathing exercises, they didn’t help. That night, we were watching a movie, which generally will help me escape my own head, but I just couldn’t focus. So I told him I would be right back, went up stairs and just cried. I guess cry is the wrong word… it was more like choking sobs.

Paul came upstairs to check on me and I just kept crying, telling him about how frustrating it was because I couldn’t control it. I had nothing to be afraid of but the anxiety itself, but at this point it was crippling me. We decided that I should contact my bosses and explain the situation.

I am so blessed to work for the people that I work for. They were so understanding and told me it wasn’t an issue at all. They were cancelling my trip for me, and I wasn’t to worry a thing about it. I was immediately relieved, and also had to take a step back and pride myself on coming clean about my issue. This was the first time I had ever told someone outside of my inner-most circle what I was going through. It was a big step.

But here we are, four months later… and this all comes back to my unhealthy body image. Not only has it been impossible for me to lose weight, I have gained weight in the last four months… 20+ pounds! And for the life of me, it wont budge, and it won’t be stopped. I visited a new general practitioner to express my frustration and get some blood work done to see what is going on. One look at my medication list, he felt that he had found the culprit.

“I would bet the farm that it is your anxiety medication”… I won’t know for sure until Monday when my test results get back in, but my guess is that he is right. It just makes sense with the timeline of things.

But in the mean time, my clothes don’t fit, I am embarrassed to see people and be social and go out. I am getting hateful of myself again. It is getting hard to convince myself that I am still healthy and strong, and eating well! I need to keep up with my healthy lifestyle, and not get down on myself. I feel like I need to explain to people that, “there is a reason for this! I’m working out, I promise!”.

I never knew this was a side effect of sertraline, but the more I look into it, I am learning that it is. But, the good news is, there are other things to try, and other drugs that wont have this effect.

It is so sad that our culture is so obsessed with appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should look their best and take good care of themselves, but people don’t seem to understand that looking your best and taking care of yourself doesn’t look the same on everyone. Unfortunately, I have also had people in my life who focus heavily on that and judge heavily on that, which hasn’t helped my mindset at all.

My weight does not define my worth. I have to keep telling myself that.
My weight does not dictate whether my boyfriend loves me or not.
My weight does not define whether or not my friends want to be associated with me.

I will just have to take all of this as a lesson. Things happen in life for a reason, and maybe this is just a hard lesson in self-love. At the end of the day, whether I weigh 120 lbs or 200 lbs, I am still a beautiful person, and I need to love myself.

It is a damn hard lesson, but a damn important one.

Vacation Recap: 2 weeks late

Hi Strangers!

It has been a busy few weeks for me, meeting new people, traveling, vacation, working out, all the good stuff 🙂  I hope everyone has been well and enjoying their summer!  Michigan sue got hot quick…. I am sweating in a few inexplicable places…

Anywho, every year, I spend a week at my favorite place in the world, the place I consider home; my cottage.  It is not actually “my” cottage, but it is where I spent nearly every summertime moment of my childhood, it was my mom’s favorite place on the planet, and is mine as well.  

So, on June 29th, I headed to the great north, which for me, looks like this: 

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Who wouldn’t go on vacation with their dog AND your cat?

Then, my trusty co-pilot stepped up to monitor the 4.5 hour drive:

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You can almost hear him saying, “hands on 10 and 2″… thanks, dad.

Once we arrived, it was pure bliss.  I burned through 4 books in about 2 days, enjoyed indescribable sunsets, ran, swam, put my brother’s girlfriend through a few nasty workouts, hiked, hung out with the puppy, watched the cat turn from a timid, scared thing into a pseudo jungle cat, met a few great people, caught up with old friends, and just enjoyed life.

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Sunset on the first night. Simply amazing!

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The New Presque Isle lighthouse

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Sunset on night #4 before we started a bonfire.

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At puppy’s favorite beach

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Where we found this in the water!!! How cool is that? Love truly is all around us 🙂

ImageOne of my mom’s best friends lives up in Presque Isle, so we try to have dinner with her once whenever we are up there.  This year, she pulled out her wedding album.  My whole family was in the wedding party, and this is probably one of my favorite family photos ever!

 

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Last sunset of the week 😦

It was just a really great time.  And the good news is; I get to go back at the end of August and finally take Paul too my favorite place ever!  I can promise more photos then 🙂

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Creeper, on the way home, just sticking her face out to meow at me.

 

I hope everyone had a very happy 4th of July!