Monday, November 19, 2012

Exhausting My Options

For the past three weeks I've been consciously working out and limiting what I'm eating. I've been logging in My Food Diary 9 out of the past 21 days and some of the days I didn't log, I partially logged and knew how much I could eat for dinner.

After two weeks I actually gained weight, which infuriated me. I said that I was going to add double work outs and a resurgence of my mile run, which was this past week. I had lost that odd gained weight and then lost .4 lbs last week. I played tennis six days last week and ran my mile three times. On days that I ran my mile I also did 20-30 minutes on the elliptical.

I didn't see any significant loss with regards to my weight, which pissed me off even more than the weight gain. I worked my butt off this week!

I did finally see and feel a increase in my level of tennis play by Friday night's match, especially at the net (won 6-3, 6-4). And I could see a decrease in my mile time over the past four runs:

Nov 9 - 14:00
Nov 13 - 13:37
Nov 15 - 13:16
Nov 17 - 12:45

My last mile felt really, really good. I finally wasn't struggling against my lungs and my body and nearly felt like I could actually "run" this 5k on Thursday. Or at least the first mile...

I've also been switching up which Lifetime I go to. When I very first joined a gym in Minnesota, I joined the Northwest Athletic Club in Moore Lake. Eventually, Lifetime bought up all of the Northwest clubs, including the Lifetime where I work now, 98th St., or "Bloomington South" in Lifetime Land. The Fridley Lifetime is now the reincarnated Moore Lake Northwest.

What I like about the Fridley club is that they have a large workout room that is encircled by three track lanes. This enables me to run on a track instead of a treadmill (yuck!). I can run on my own without the aid of a machine moving my legs for me. I can speed up or slow down as I like. The track's longest lane takes nine laps to equal a mile; the smallest, 10 laps. I stick to the 9-lap lane for the sake of less laps.

So, what now for this week? Ru and I had talked about reducing carbs. Josh has been doing this and has dropped 13 lbs. I'm not sure where they came from, as he's already a skinny kid. This morning I had two eggs with some cheddar cheese instead of my usual cereal, waffles, or egg sandwich. I'm not sure it's going to keep me full though. I'm already hungry!

This is my last ditch effort. I know Thanksgiving is going to throw a wrench into things this week, but I'm going to try to be good. I'm participating (note: I didn't say running) in a 5k that morning. Tennis is down to 2x this week though, which is my big calorie-burner.

I don't know. I just do not know what else I can do. It's really been a fight to get out of this particular set of 10 and down into the next set of 10. I've never, ever had this much of an issue when I've put forth this much effort. Changing my diet is the last thing I can do. And then...? If this doesn't work? I will keep playing tennis and working out, but I'm not going to kill myself. It's simply not worth if if there is no reward at the end of the week.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Saying Dirty Words

This is going to be a pain to type.

I have only been injured while teaching PE two times in almost 9 years. Once while I was student teaching - I broke my ring finger on my left hand (premonition??) and today. Today I was gently guiding a student with autism away from a padded wall in the gym because he was standing right in front of my makeshift screen for a yoga video. He turned his back toward the matted wall and bent my fingernail in on itself. It just so happened that, at the moment, my nails are pretty long.

I said pretty much every dirty word I knew - they just kept coming out of my mouth. At the same time, tears sprung up in my eyes and started cascading down my cheeks. The para closest to me asked what was wrong and I pretty much gave her the middle nail was still attached, but there was blood, and it was on my middle finger. She told me I looked pale and had me sit down right away.

Once I had pulled myself together, more or less, the three female paras made me go down to the nurse. Now, I've had long nails for years and I've never broken one this far down. My finger was throbbing and when I entered the nurse's office, I started crying again. It is very much unlike me to cry over something like this. Yes, it hurt, but I think there was more to it.

One, I hate getting injured. It's a pain in the butt to shower with an injured hand. It's sensitive because that part of your skin is supposed to be covered by nail. And two, I hate being here. And now I'm injured. Everything compounded on top of each other and I broke down.

The nurse had me run my finger under cold water and then she bandaged me up and gave me some illegal Advil (but you didn't hear that from me). I then went to the office to fill out my injury report. Thanks, OSHA, for that cute little folder with "so you've been injured on the job" information. The secretary had me go to the library to fill it out and I'm glad I did. By the time I was done, I felt sick to my stomach and sweaty. I only had two more kids to see so I told their paras (because, honestly, elementary teachers haven't a clue as to my schedule) that I was going home and showed them my bandaged finger and told them my tale of woe.

What are the odds that I would hurt myself in the same district, nine years apart? On the same hand, nearly the same finger? I think this is another sign that I should heed. Just this morning I started bookmarking district websites on my computer at work (before I was injured). I typically don't start job searching until March, but this year it feels as if I've never stopped job searching... Let's just hope this year goes by quickly and with no other injuries.

And I will leave you with a picture of how I'm feeling right about now:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Well, it's that time of year again - Minnesota State Fair time! The Fair officially starts tomorrow, and while I'm usually a first day Fair-goer, this year's forecast is calling for rain. So Josh and I have pushed back our first day outing to Friday. This is actually kind of nice because neither one of us has to work on Saturday. We can enjoy the Fair on Friday and sleep in on Saturday. I'm looking forward to seeing Dawes at the Leinie Lodge (8:30 pm). A Little Bit of Everything is one of my favorite songs. I'll try to get there in time to see The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra at the Bazaar (5:45 pm). I saw them on Kare11 the other day and they had a fun sound.

The next time we'll be heading off to the Fair is on Sunday for the 2012 Milk Run 5k. The race winds through part of the fair and part of the neighborhood just to the west of the Fair in Falcon Heights, MN. Betcha didn't know the fairgrounds are actually in Falcon Heights and NOT St. Paul or Roseville! The Cactus Blossoms play at 10:30 in Heritage Square and I'd like to catch that too.

Monday's trip takes us to see a new favorite artist - JD McPherson - at the Heritage Stage. A great performer and it's FREE! Josh's mom Jeanne will be joining us. Josh gave her a CD about a month ago so she could get acquainted with his music. His sound is super fun - the whole CD sounds like it was produced in the 1950s. You can check out his song North Side Girl here. He starts at 6:30 and then again at 7:45 so we may have time to check out Hairball at 8:30 at the Leinie Lodge.

The second three days of the Fair will be spent with family. Mom, Dad, and Rudi fly in next week and we'll be headed to the Fair on the second Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of the Fair. We haven't decided if we're doing half days or full days, but it will be fun. Dad has already started a list of new Fair foods, which I'm excited to try (or at least catch a glimpse of - eggplant fries? PASS!).

Also new this year - a Minnesota Craft Beer booth (the old Minnesota winery booth). Not only will there be some of the area's best craft brews on tap, but there will also be free educational talks about the history of craft brewing in the state (check out the schedule at the link above).

The weather has been cooler than normal the past few weeks, which has been really nice. But don't get used to it! Hazy, hot, and humid are the buzzwords for the first few days of the Fair. Bring your t-shirts and your stretchy shorts! But not matter what, it's gonna be a good time...

"Um, ma'am, I don't think you're allowed to get in the Galactic pizzamobile..."

Saturday, May 5, 2012

First Nail in the Wall!

I've been busy with track practice and being a social butterfly. This morning I had some time to sit down and put my very first nail in the wall and lay my very first entry rug.

I hung my new clock in the bathroom. For the last four years or so I've had one of those loud, white plastic clocks from Target. When I moved in, I inherited yet another loud, white plastic clock. I took the battery out of mine and will take it to Goodwill. The one that came with the house was newer so I hung that in the basement. Yes, I need to know what time it is, even in the basement.

I bought two IKEA rugs for the front and back entries. They are durable and already have a plastic backing so I don't need to get a rug pad. This week I also purchased a multi-colored 7x9 braided rug for the dining room. Since it was from Craig's List, I opted to have it deep-cleaned at a local place called American Rug Laundry. I try to support local businesses instead of the big box kind of places. The rug cost $140 and the deep clean cost $123 (after tax), but it's still cheaper than buying a new rug of that size.

And lastly, I've been meaning to post this picture for quite some time. My dishwasher is approaching "vintage" status, but I don't think I could ever get a new one.

How many dishwashers have a "water miser" setting?! I think of my mother every time I start the dishwasher. And I never use any other setting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

So I've been a little quiet on here recently. This is what I've been doing.

I moved into my new house on April 7, 2012. 
This is my cute little living room.

I walked the Goldy's 5k on April 14, 2012.
I finished in 46 minutes on the 50 yard line of TCF Bank Stadium. This is my picture on the jumbotron screen.

I ran the Fitger's 5k on April 21, 2012.
I PR'd at 43:46 on a 3.19 mile course. In the snow and rain. It helped that the first mile was downhill.

Friday, April 6, 2012

March Recap

Here were my goals for March: (And yes, I'm posting this at 4 am bc I cannot sleep, which has been a problem this month...)

Limit drinking to 3-4 events: Lucke's birthday (Mar 3), St. Pat's (Mar 17), Firkin Fest (Mar 24), and possibly a Lagunitas beer dinner at Barrio (Mar 26). Did very well! I think I only added 1-2 days.
Drink more water! Check! Had at least 2 Nalgenes nearly every day.
Do not die at my first 7k, the Get Lucky, on March 17th. Still alive. Don't think I'll ever do a 7k without a tad more training.
Finish Devil/White City. Not finished yet, but at least the World's Fair is now open and under way!
Weight loss: - 5 lbs. I think I ended at -4...but then April arrived.
Get the short sale paperwork from the stupid bank! DONE and CLOSED! 

The stress of closing and moving has me losing sight of weight loss goals, cutting back on beer, and eating well. Le sigh. I move tomorrow and will be out of the horrible pot house completely. I cannot wait! Today's agenda includes packing up the rest of my apartment, changing the address on my license at the DMV, and dropping off my homesteading paperwork. Thinking about packing and moving and the painters and buying furniture on Craig's List has been keeping me up most nights. Sometimes I'll take a muscle relaxer just so I know I'll get a full night's rest. I don't want to do that too much though. I don't want to mess up my sleeping patterns or become addicted.

I'm so relieved that I finally closed on my "dream house". The painters have been at the house since Wednesday, sprucing it up and making it my own. I took a peek the other day and I think the brown I picked for my bedroom is the absolute best! All of the trim has been painted white and they are going to put a fresh coat everywhere. The cost of all of this? Absolutely way too much. But they are able to get it done in three days and I can pay what I can along the way. In the end, I believe it will be worth it.

Let's take a look at some April goals:
Get back on track with the exercising.
Move into my new house and unpack.
Wash a bazillion loads of laundry to get the pot funk out of my clothes.
Play tennis at least once.
Do not get sunburned at track practice/meets.

I can't believe that we are already one week deep into April. I hope it goes by quickly because April and May are two notoriously long months in the school year.

And one last thought - this Sunday is Easter. Nowadays this doesn't mean too much to me. I don't have a church that I like to attend bc my church growing up was so awesome. I mean, how can I ever duplicate that? I will most likely break out into some rendition of "He is Alive!" this weekend, to the amusement of my friends who will think I've lost my mind. Easter Sunday was always a special day - we'd get Easter baskets with one special gift (and hopefully a lot of chocolate peanut butter eggs!) and a new Easter dress and we'd pose for pictures out among the daffodils. Then we'd head off to church where, as a young child, I looked forward to seeing the older kids march down the aisles singing "He is Alive!" When I got to be older, I was the one singing and marching down the aisles. If it was a mild day (or sometimes not so mild...) we'd get the opportunity to do all of this outside on the steps of Central for the sunrise service. I feel so fortunate to have grown up in the church. I met so many good friends there and we really had a good time. I would never go to a high school reunion, but a Central reunion? I think that would be fun. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Trimester 3

This week begins the final trimester of the 2011-2012 school year. It also brings two big changes for me: teaching high school health and coaching track and field. Day 1 was overwhelming and day 2 is getting better. At least it's getting better on the track after school.

I taught 9th grade health for two years on the block schedule. The block schedule stunk at the time - two periods smooshed together. Now, I would kill to have a block schedule. Or perhaps a period and a half. The kids seem to be pretty low in reading, which makes it hard to move through everything I need to get through in one class period.

I thought that teaching health would be a piece of cake - the regular health teacher has every day planned out throughout each unit during the trimester. Sweet! All I have to do is follow what she's doing every day. Um, no. She has so much jam-packed into each day that it is impossible for the kids to get everything done. I have at least four needy special ed students and no paras. Just to help the lower level kids would take me the whole hour.

I feel like I'm thrown into this classroom for a whirlwind 50 minutes and never get a chance to catch my breath. At the end of the hour I feel as if I've accomplished absolutely nothing. I never felt this way when I taught 9th grade health. I never even felt this way when I taught 6th and 7th grade health. I always had organization rule my classroom. I think to feel that organization again I need to put the kids in rows alphabetical order. There are chatty, low functioning kids in the back and that is not conducive to anyone's learning.

The other health teacher lets the kids pick where they want to sit. Then, depending on where they sit, they are put into groups of four for group work. I am not liking this group work schtick. The kids sit and talk and the ones that want to work and get things done do it and ignore the kids who aren't doing anything. The higher functioning kids shouldn't have to deal with the kids who are goofing around. Do your own work, get things done, be quiet. If a kid can't concentrate with his peers around him, remove him so he can get work done on his own. I've done this before and I'll do it again. If you can't handle group work, you go somewhere to work on it alone.

I need to feel comfortable in the classroom in order to even recognize which kids need to be separated. Right now I'm so frustrated and overwhelmed that I can't even conduct decent classroom management. I hate it! I'm debating eating lunch in the health room just so I can process what I need to go over that day in peace.

But then at the end of the day, things are not as bad as I thought they would be. Today was the second day of the track and field season and we were OUTSIDE! It was in the 60s and beautiful. Towards the end of practice it clouded over a little and became a little more windy. Today was a "hard and short" practice, which means tomorrow will be a "long and easy" day. The kids are going to be hella sore tomorrow. And yes, I just said "hella". We did a warm up, 30-yard acceleration/30-yard sprint/30-yard deceleration (about 10x), and then abs. The kids ran two laps around the track to warm up and then two laps of the track at the end of practice. For just the second day of practice, I feel sorry for the poor little 7th and 8th graders from the junior high!

There are a lot of coaches and while talking with one of the head coaches today, I was made to feel more at ease about my role as an assistant coach. Help out - do what they tell me to do - work with the junior high kids - keep it fun for them. I can do that. I can really do that for the amount of the stipend they are paying me. It's more than I received for tennis!

I was going to run my mile around the track after practice, but my capris were down in my office. So I decided to go back to Josh's and run my mile down Victory. I walked six minutes to my starting point and huffed and puffed to a 13:33 mile. It was about a minute faster than the first time I ran that mile so I'll take it. Tomorrow I'm planning to run my mile and then interval run 1 min run to 2 min walk on the way back. I'll work my way up to the 7k that I have to suffer through on Saturday. Hopefully I will be a little bit more ready for that feat after pushing myself this week.

I think it's going to be a much better week than I had originally thought - highs in the 70s, building up my running (huffing and puffing, aka the Byron Shuffle) tolerance, and hanging out on the track. Bring it on!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Just a Crappy Day

I need to take my mind off of some things. So here goes it...

Friday Fun Facts

1. Yes I stole this from Katie. And I'm proud of it. She's crazy, but she's one of those crazies that I've known for a long, long time. And she ate my carrots. I am forever grateful to her.

2. I signed up for the Get Lucky 7k on 3/17/12. Yes, I signed up on my own accord and yes, it was partly for the sweet sweatshirt. I will only finish it bc there is beer at the end. I may also put my hair in pig tails and wrap them with green shamrocks.

3. I hope my "will run for beer" headband comes by next Friday. It will complete the outfit for Saturday.

4. The beer-drinking total for March is up to 6: Fulton's taproom has its grand opening tomorrow. They make one of my favorites, the Sweet Child of Vine. And today has been very emotional and since I can't get a pedicure, I'm going to have a beer with my pizza.

5. I lost -1.4 lbs this week. So I can eat above pizza. Suck it.

6. I chaperoned the "fan bus" to the Park Center girls' basketball team section playoff game tonight with two other staff members. Unfortunately, they lost to De La Salle by 10 pts.

7. I think I have an ulcer and a permanent hand print on my leg from my principal (female) who sat next to me during tonight's game. It was a tense, close game. We were both on the edge of our seats.

8. I'm having breakfast with Missy and Kelly tomorrow morning at Common Roots Cafe. Looking forward to some girl time.

9. I start teaching high school health on Monday and I'm kind of freaking out. I've taught 9th grade health for the past two years in Edina, but it's not like 10-12 health at Park Center.

10. I have about 1.5 weeks until I can no longer close on March 30. This stresses me out simply bc I want something to happen, like, yesterday.

11. I found out today that my real estate agent (Melanie) graduated from Park Center. Small world!

12. I wish I had brought my camera to the game tonight.

13. On Monday I also start coaching track and field. This also makes me nervous. Can I do this? Do I have enough experience? I'm definitely going to earn my stipend.

14. My computer is running slow. I do not have patience for this.

15. I had a fellow PE teacher correct my grammar today. That's how bad of a day I had.

Le sigh. Pizza is on its way. The night can only get better. Hope you had a good Friday!

Monday, March 5, 2012


Sometime in February one of those silly little inspirational posters popped into my head and got stuck. You know the one -

The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph.
I think it popped into my head as I was headed out to my car at the end of the day. Tired, lazy, just wanting to go home and sit on the couch and watch TV. And I thought about how easy it would be to simply get in my car and do just that. But to go to the gym would require that added "umph". I grumbled and groaned and eventually went to the gym. 

I always feel better after I go to the gym. It's the getting there that's hard. I'll jog/walk outside when it's in the 40s or warmer, but even that can become a chore. Little things will stop me - I forgot my heart rate monitor or my water bottle or my magazine - my iPod died. 

I know that if I put in the effort, I will most likely see the return (especially after a month like February...). In January I ate correctly and made sure I hit my exercise goals and 5 lbs melted away. I'm on a roll right now, but how long will that last? Can I keep up this momentum? 


Sunday, March 4, 2012

February Foibles

February didn't quite go as planned. I had a lot of activities planned for February, which got in the way of my weight loss goals.

Have fun at the Valentine's Day 5k. Don't worry about time. I did have fun! Even if it was 4F. I decreased my time from the Polar Dash.
Keep logging as much as possible in MFD. Yeah...that didn't happen.
Rollerblade at the Dome at least 2x. Didn't blade at all, but did schedule an outing. Everyone canceled on me and I think I decided to go out to eat instead.
Play tennis at least once. And don't be a chicken. I DID!!! I played! And my back stayed in one piece.
Read a book for Pete's sake. Still plugging away on The Devil in the White City. I'm really enjoying it, but I'm having a hard time making time to read.
Try to watch all of the Oscar-nominated movies on my list. (Tonight it's Drive.) I didn't watch all of them, but I'm still trying to catch them at the second run theater. Must see Hugo. 

Weight loss for February: +0.4 lbs

I had A LOT of fun in February. I took a serious look at my weight loss goals and I can still attain them, even if I completely wasted February. I'm ready to re-focus and get back on track for March. "Real life starts in March".

Limit drinking to 3-4 events: Lucke's birthday (Mar 3), St. Pat's (Mar 17), Firkin Fest (Mar 24), and possibly a Lagunitas beer dinner at Barrio (Mar 26).
Drink more water!
Do not die at my first 7k, the Get Lucky, on March 17th.
Finish Devil/White City.
Weight loss: - 5 lbs.
Get the short sale paperwork from the stupid bank!

My second favorite holiday is in March - St. Patrick's Day. Let's hope the luck of the Irish is with me this month! (And some hard work too...)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Rain, sleet, and snow throughout the night = two words every teacher longs to hear:


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - February

I did a lot this February, but it's not over yet! This weekend I'm headed back up to Duluth to catch A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. Here's a small re-cap in pictures:
 Josh at the Winter Carnival Ice Bar in Rice Park. 

 Rice Park, all lit up for the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

 World's Toughest Rodeo at the Xcel Energy Center.

 Ride 'em, cowboy!

 Yee haw!

 Rodeo Clown

 Yes, the Valentine's Day 5k was COLD. Air temp at the start: 4F (w/o the wind chill).

Last weekend at Pizza Luce in Duluth. Baked potato pizza = NOM.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Free Friday Fun Facts

1. My favorite holiday is Valentine's Day. I don't care if you think it's a Hallmark holiday.

2. My second favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day.

3. In the past few months the Echo has had some work done: new brakes, new tires, and today - a new oil pan. She'll be completely rebuilt soon!

4. Yesterday I went for a 50-minute walk. When I got back I was craving salt. And I always wondered why there were chips given out at the end of races...

5. I think I've only had Classic Coke maybe once this year so far.

6. My scale has been telling me "batt" for the last week or so. This morning it finally died and I had to get new batteries. And I SWEAR I would have lost weight this week!

7. I am getting my butters whipped at 5:30. Sushi at 7:15.

8. I hate peppers. And yes, I've tried them.

9. I'm completely fine with going out on a Friday or Saturday night in my black fleece pants and a sweatshirt. I'm happy that I've met a guy who is completely fine with it too.

10. I am addicted to DDR. My Wii version came in the mail yesterday. SO FLUFFY!

11. I am my mother's daughter. I eat the same thing every day for lunch (at school): Chobani yogurt, Amy's spinach feta pocked -or- Amy's cheese pizza snacks, and a protein bar.

12. If I'm feeling frisky, I get a soft pretzel and cheese from the cafeteria.

13. My favorite school lunch is turkey gravy over mashed potatoes or anything with spicy chicken. I rarely get these though bc they are laden with sodium.

14. I just signed up for my first 7k. Lucke talked me into it saying, "What's one more mile?!" I'll find out on 3/17/12.

15. When I was a kid, my favorite day of the week was Friday. That was the day when I'd go over to my grandmother's house for dinner. We always had hamburgers, french fries, and cooked broccoli with Coke and Herr's sour cream and onion chips.

16. Like Katie, I love the NFL, but do not care a lick about the Super Bowl this year. Brady and the wrong Manning. No thank you.

17. Last week I bought my first Park Center sweatshirt. Actually I bought two, but one is white and I haven't worn it yet. I've worn the green one about three times already.

18. One of my favorite meals is Josh's red shrimp curry. Last night he made it with sea bass and it was just as good.

19. Winterfest is tonight. Winterfest is overrated. And I don't feel this way simply bc I could not get tickets.

20. I love teaching high school kids, even more than teaching middle school kids. I never thought I'd love teaching anything other than middle school.

Happy FRIDAY!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Look Back at January

This is what I had posted at the end of December:

On to the goals:
I'm going to play tennis in January. This was my goal before I tweaked my back in late December and I'm determined to stick to it. I'm also going to run/jog/gimp along at one 5k per month. We're all signed up to do the Polar Dash tomorrow. I just hope I don't puke. The Duluth Inline Half also awaits me in September. I'm definitely worried about this one, but will be rolling around the Metrodome for the next few months with my friend Sten. My goal is simply to finish without any major injuries. I believe that's Sten's goal too!

And here's what really happened:

I did not play tennis in January, but I got very close. About halfway through the month my back decided to flip out on me again. The ultimatum came down from the chiro - this sets and stays or it's time for an MRI. I researched TRIA Orthopedic Center and talked to people about how they fixed their backs after the chiro didn't work. And, miracle of miracles, it stayed put after a pain-filled weekend. I had signed up for a tennis drill last night, but chickened out at the last moment. I'm just not ready to be wracked with pain yet.

Polar Dash 1/1/12
Success! After doing nothing for a very long time, I was able to jog the first five minutes and every downhill slope. I finished in about 46 minutes. I've already signed up for February's race, the Valentine's Day TC 5k, and have recruited a few friends to trot alongside me. After I get paid, I will sign up for March's Get Lucky 7k.

I'm still super worried about the North Shore Inline Half. I've only been blading once in January and then promptly hurt my back. I need to work on this in February.

Hmm...dry January. Well, it was a good thought and I did significantly reduce my alcohol intake. I made it until dinner on January 13th. At that point Josh and I declared that January had "free Fridays" when we could drink. I pretty much stuck to this plan and stayed away from beer during the week.

Free Fridays were also when we could eat and not log our calories. I did pretty well in January and logged 22 out of the 31 days on My Food Diary. The first three weeks were logged religiously, with only Friday not being logged. The last two weeks were a tad more spotty.

All tolled, I lost 5.4 pounds in January. I consider that a win for the month. 1 lb/week is the goal to keep me on track!

To look ahead at February's goals:
Have fun at the Valentine's Day 5k. Don't worry about time.
Keep logging as much as possible in MFD.
Rollerblade at the Dome at least 2x.
Play tennis at least once. And don't be a chicken.
Read a book for Pete's sake.
Try to watch all of the Oscar-nominated movies on my list. (Tonight it's Drive.)

Okay February, you hold my #1 favorite holiday. Let's do this!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It Can't Be Worse Than When "Crash" Won...

Today is a very important day: Oscar Nomination day. Nothing was all that much of a surprise this year, perhaps bc I followed the Golden Globes closer than I had in years past. That being said, let me throw out this pre-meat-of-the-blog rant: STICK TO FIVE BEST PICTURES!!! There is no reason to fish around for films 7-10 just to fill out a list. And with that being said, I'll move on.

My favorite five best picture nominees: The Artist, The Descendants, Midnight in Paris, The Help...and I still need to see Extremely Loud, Hugo, Tree of Life, and War Horse. Nmac swears up and down that War Horse should not be on the list. I'll have to watch it to see for myself. Moneyball was fun and well-made, but not in my top five unless everything else sucks. I have a feeling I may enjoy Hugo though.

Movies I still need to see include: Warrior, A Better Life, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (TTSS), Albert Nobbs, Dragon Tattoo, Beginners, Iron Lady, Anonymous, W.E., Jane Eyre, A Separation, Drive, Real Steel, and Margin Call. 

Movies I will pass on, even though they are nominated: Harry Potter, Transformers, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. How did Real Steel make the cut? Um, Hugh Jackman, duh!

I'm glad to see Charlize Theron and Diablo Cody got snubbed. Young Adult was so childish and juvenile. I really didn't care for it at all. Diablo Cody gets all of this hype, which I think is unwarranted.

Melissa McCarthy! So glad she got the nomination. The Oscars are usually a very heavy crowd and it's nice to see a movie with a boatload of levity was recognized. Also glad to see Jonah Hill nominated for Moneyball. I don't think he'll win, but I hope working and learning from Brad Pitt will change the types of pictures he does. I think he has better acting chops than what he's most known for.

Only two songs were nominated, but I already know which one is my favorite. "Man or Muppet" was a great song with a great movie montage to accompany it! C'mon, it featured "Sheldon"! I simply do not think that RIO can top that.

Globe-nominated movies that I can wait to see until after I see all of the Oscar-nominated movies: 50/50 (although I just got this from Redbox so I'll watch it anyway), Drive, J. Edgar, We Need to Talk About Kevin. The last one was an odd snub for Tilda Swinton. I've heard she's fantastic in it.

The Landmark Theaters show all of the animated and live action shorts, which I try to see every year. For a few hours and $14, you can see all of them back to back. AMC runs a similar program, showing all of the best picture nominees. Uff-dah, just thinking about sitting in a theater for that long makes my butt and back hurt.

I always like to see the best documentary feature nominees. Last year I loved all of the nominated documentaries and they really opened my eyes to what was going on in the world (hello, GasLand). I'm excited to get my hands on the current nominees and see if I am equally as impressed. 2010 was the first year that I tried to focus on viewing all of the documentaries and it will definitely be something I aspire to do in the future. 

I will wait to weigh in on who I think should win until I've seen all of the nominations. I'll post my predictions closer to Feb 26. Until that time...I'll see you at the movies!

Tuesday night: 50/50
Wednesday night: The Way
Thursday: Rango (Hopefully - at conferences! Was going to Netflix Beginners, but thought that wouldn't be good to be watching, should any adapted PE parent happen to find my room...)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Dinner

Tonight's dinner included Jeanne Fuller's mac n cheese, flank steak, cooked broccoli, and Tom Byron's mashed spuds! Josh cooked everything (well, except his mom's mac n cheese) and the potatoes were just like Dad's. YUM!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Today was the first day that the temperatures dipped below zero this winter in the Twin Cities. That's officially a record. To give you some perspective, it was -6 on the Culver's (nommmm) thermometer as I drove past it at 11:30 am this morning on my way to the high school. When I got out of the car this morning at 7:50 am, my lungs were shocked and it hurt to breathe in. The boogies in my nose and my jacket were both crunchy immediately upon stepping out of my car. Things are looking up though - it's supposed to hit 30 on Sunday. Heat wave!

2. I decided, on a whim, to get a massage this afternoon at Lifetime. It was 1 hour of certified bliss. All of my aches and pains went away. It was warm, relaxing, and worth every bit of the $75 I paid ($56.25 with my 25% Lifetime employee discount...after taxes and tip...$75). I think my favorite part of a massage is the warm electric blanket that toasts everything up before I crawl under the blankets on the table. Happiness is an electric blanket when you are cold and sore.

3. I have a very extremely scientific way of judging how my back is doing. Simply put, I sneeze. If it hurts, I'm not aligned. If I'm like every other normal person whose back doesn't hurt when they sneeze, I'm doing okay.

This has been a long week and I'm looking forward to the weekend. TGIalmostF!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

On Saturday night a few of us went to the Red Bull Crashed Ice event in St. Paul.

The course started by the St. Paul Cathedral and then finished up at 35 E.

Racers went down the icy course on hockey skates, four at a time.

Even Goldy Gopher joined in the fun!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Movie Reviews

This weekend I saw three movies - two Oscar-likely flicks from 2011 and one documentary that was nominated last year for an Oscar.

If you haven't seen this documentary, throw it on your Netflix now. I think I had been carrying around this DVD since July and had added it last January in hopes of watching it before the Oscars. Whoops. I should have watched it sooner!

The documentarian lives in northeastern Pennsylvania, where his land, inherited from his parents who also built the house themselves, is slated to be leased out to natural gas companies. These companies will build gas pads on his land, which he can lease to them for a good price. Curious, he set out to see what had become of other communities who had sold out to the gas companies. What he found was scary, frightening, mind-blowing, and sick.

He found water, coming out of spigots, that could be lit on fire. He found dead animals, sick people, and animals losing their fur. Every state and town he visited had the same symptoms. And in every town the people complained to the natural gas companies who, in turn, denied any wrong-doing. Some had even signed non-disclosure reports and could not complain or bring media attention to their problems at all.

The natural gas companies use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to break up the rock and dirt below the ground, in turn releasing the natural gas. They do this with a fracking fluid that has upwards of 600 deadly chemicals in it. Where does this fluid, transported through pressurized water, end up? In the streams, groundwater, and wells.

The gas companies say that we should desecrate our own land so that we're less dependent upon foreign oil. Really? At what cost? Thousands of people and animals are residing less than 1000 feet away from these caustic gas pads. They are becoming sick and they are dying of cancers. All so Halliburton can make millions of dollars.

Yeah, that's right - Halliburton. When tricky Dick Cheney was the vice president, he helped pass a law that exempted these gas companies from EPA regulations such as the clean water act. Right now the government is trying to repeal that exemption. Watch the documentary. It's amazing what the rich bastards will do to make even more money.

Wow. Don't see this one with your mother, or on a first date. If you're not familiar with the film's description, I'll let IMDB fill you in:

In New York City, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life -- which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction -- is disrupted when his sister Sissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.

That puts things mildly. The reason I decided to see this NC-17-rated movie is because Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre, 300, A Dangerous Method) was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of best actor for his performance in this film (and bc he has a cute smile!). Meh, he can be nominated, but I don't think he'll win an Oscar (the Golden Globe for best actor-drama went to George Clooney in The Descendants and best actor-comedy/musical went to Jean Dujardin in The Artist). I actually thought that Carey Mulligan (An Education), who plays his sister, did a better job in the supporting actress category. I'd like to see her get the nod.

So if you're feeling randy, go see it. Or better yet, wait for it to come out on DVD. But if you don't get around to seeing it, you're not really missing all that much.

I was a little afraid that I wouldn't like this film. It is adapted from a play and those adaptations don't always carry over.

The premise is two couples who meet to discuss one son's "attacking" of the others' son with a stick in a park. The cast is fantastic - Jodie Foster plays a terrifically pious, manic wife to John C. Reilly's "dressed up as a liberal" husband. And Kate Winslet's character can barely hide the fact that she loathes her lawyer husband (Christoph Walz) and his incessant cell phone calls.

There were lots of laughs in this comedy and I highly suggest seeing it. It all takes place in a New York apartment and the writing is smart, funny, and witty. The alliances between the adults change on a dime and show everyone's true colors and how this becomes the "worst day of their lives". Go see it!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Week 2

...was not as good as week 1.

This past week was really tough for me. I was able to eat decently, but not being able to add exercise into the mix was frustrating.

After you enter in all of your food and exercise for the day, My Food Diary gives you a number - if every day was like "today," how much you'd lose per week. I aim to lose at least 1 lb per week. When I averaged out week 1, the number was -1.46/week. In comparison, when I averaged out week 2 it was only -.82/week.

I usually bring a Chobani or Fage Greek yogurt and an Amy's frozen meal (spinach/feta pocket, mac & soy cheeze, paneer tikka) to school every day for lunch. I think I'll try switching up the Amy's meal for soup. It cuts the calories in half, but I'm wondering if it will keep me full. I'm also concerned about the sodium. Some of Amy's meals are high in sodium too so maybe it won't be that much more. At any rate, I'll have to be very careful about my intake at dinner.

Onto the back front (haha)... I saw the chiropractor on Wednesday and Friday this week. I was feeling pretty good after I left on Friday. We had a discussion on exercises I can and cannot do (sorry, Katie - he ruled out a majority of yours due to my extra vertebrae and spondylolysis) and I made another appointment for Tuesday. He wanted to push it out two weeks, but that made me nervous. I'd like this thing checked in on sooner than that, just in case. Until then I am limiting myself to walking for this upcoming week, and not on a treadmill and most certainly not on an incline. Incline on the treadmill = BAD FOR AL.

I also found out this week that the temperpedic mattress would put me in the hospital. Good to know. Now I don't need to feel bad for not spending $2000 on a mattress. I prefer the rock hard variety of mattress. It's not fancy. It doesn't have a pillow top. It's simple and it keeps my back in alignment. What more could I ask for? I now know why Tutu slept with a board under her mattress. It feels darn good! One of the best night's sleep I had all year was actually on Rudi's dining room floor. Straightened me out from a long flight and an hour of bad sleep on her hammock of a mattress.

Free Fridays are what we're calling the four Fridays in January. Last night we went to Stanley's in Northeast Minneapolis. It's one of our favorite haunts, they make all of their food from scratch, and it's delicious! I had the tomato vegetable soup to start and then the veggie burger with a slice of gouda for the main course. The soup was packed with veggies and it was savory and scrumptious. The burger was made from lentils, had a bit of spice to it, and was super yummy. It came with a side of chipotle dressing, which Josh used for the sweet potato fries that came along with his walleye dinner. And what a dinner it was. Salad to start and then the best looking walleye I've ever seen - it was pecan-crusted! So even though we got to eat out, we still ate pretty well. And most of my meal was veggies, which was a double score.

Tonight I'll have to try and be good again, as we're going out to Bennett's. They have a free shuttle to the Red Bull Crashed Ice event that starts by the St. Paul Cathedral. The clips I've seen on the news have been absolutely crazy! I'll be sure to take pics. Watch the video on the website - that guy makes it look easy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. I scheduled an appointment to see the chiropractor yesterday, two days before my next scheduled appointment. My back was not getting better and the pain was circling my pelvis and down to my right knee. The verdict? If this adjustment does not hold and I do not have a reduction in pain, it's time for an MRI. I skipped rollerblading last night and took it easy, sitting on hard surfaces and icing my back. I just want everything to be okay. I want to be able to elliptical and rollerblade. I don't want to be in pain.

2. All of this is really making me question my ability to skate in September at the North Shores Inline Half. Sten and Josh were able to do 4 miles in just over 30 min last night at the dome. I was so jealous, but could only sit on the sidelines and read my book as they passed me 10 times.

3. I need some good news. Any good news. Hearing about my house would be great. Winning the lottery wouldn't be bad either. I got into this weight issue bc once I get to this point with my back (as I did 3x in 2011), I get depressed and all I want to do is eat. I'm so frustrated bc I have the motivation to work out and I can't.

Since this is such a downer post, I'll leave you with this glimmer of hope: so far in January, I've lost 4 lbs! Yay!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Facts

I wasn't going to do this but since Rudi and Katie did it, I decided to as well. And I have nothing to do but think about how much my back hurts. Maybe this will take my mind off of it.

1. Yeah, my dad has a blog, and it is going to be awesome.

2. I have six emails in my personal in box. This makes me happy.

3. I really want a beer right now because I'm crabby and my back hurts, but I'm sticking to my dry January plan.

4. I've decided that Fridays are going to be Flexible Fridays - I get to eat something I want, to hell with the calories.

5. I saw a mailman in shorts today. Shorts. In Minnesota. In January.

6. I make a big deal and cheer and hooray when my chronic skippers show up in class at the high school.

7. I hate when my heart rate monitor doesn't work correctly. I've even left the gym because of it.

8. I love that the temps have been really mild this winter.

9. My feet go a little numb in my inline skates.

10. I'm looking forward to getting new inline skates at some point this spring!

11. Today my chiropractor told me to keep trying to mess up my spine. I said I'd try my best.

12. I'm only allowed to sit on hard surfaces. So I make sure to LAY on the couch.

13. I have a slight Kohl's addiction. I like to buy sweatshirts and Nike sneakers there.

14. By Jan 31 I will know if I have a house or not. I'm afraid it's going to be the latter.

15. I love Victory 44's desserts. Nom.

16. I always do things in the shower in the same order (face wash/shave/shampoo/conditioner). If I do it out of order, it feels funny.

17. I have started drinking Diet Coke. I feel dirty.

18. I don't cut my nails until two of them have broken off.

19. I like to wear socks at least twice before they go in the dirty clothes bin.

20. And since Ru and Katie posted about purses: I've switched to a small North Face backpack during the week. I'm afraid my side-slinging purses are throwing off my spinal alignment.

Tonight I'll be test tasting at Bullfrog Cajun Bar in Minneapolis. Happy Flexible Friday!

Week 1

Tomorrow I will finish up week 1 of the new year. So far I've logged every meal and workout in My Food Diary. As of today I've lost a total of 2.2 lbs. I was -2.6 on Wednesday, but then I decided to put my body through hell with workouts on the bike, DDR, elliptical, and inline skating. My body is still recoverying and my legs and lower back are not fans of me right now.

The beginning of the week was super easy. I was able to eat right, workout every day, and maintain a positive attitude about the whole thing. After taking yesterday as my rest day, I'm disgruntled today. My back hurts and I just want to eat terrible, terrible things. I'm hoping this has more to do with an impending hormonal flux and not an indication of how hard this is really going to be.

I signed up for three races this week: February's Valentine's Day TC 5k, April's Fitger's 5k, and June's Lederhosenlauf 5k. The last time I signed up for a race (January's Polar Dash 5k), I immediately threw out my back the next day. I'm knocking on wood, hoping that doesn't happen this time, and at 3x the intensity!

I had a minor freak out today regarding the North Shore Inline Half that I'll be doing in September. I was able to complete 4 miles (10 laps) in the Metrodome on Wednesday night, but it was slow-going. It took me about 40 minutes, which is not a pace that will let me finish the half before the inline marathoners race over my dead, lifeless body. I think the main factor in all of this is my skates. I'm going to try renting skates next week and hope that my 4-mile time decreases. My goal right now is to be under 7.5 min/mile, which would be 30 minutes total. Ultimately, I think I'll need to purchase racing skates. And then I'll have to learn how to stop in them.

This weekend will be my first food and exercise challenge. Tonight is my first ordering off of the menu while keeping in mind how many calories I can eat experience. I looked that the menu for the Bullfrog Cajun Bar and everything looks so good! It's also going to be hard to order Diet Coke (yes, I have crossed over to the dark side) or water instead of a nice cold beer. Sniffle. But I know a lack of boozing it up tonight will be a gain tomorrow morning when I want to get up (after sleeping in, natch) and go see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Speaking of blog up: All of the movies I have to see before the Oscars!

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 1, 2012 Polar Dash 5k

We got a little crazy the night before the Polar Dash:

So driving to the race on Sunday morning was a tad rough. I was thinking that perhaps this was a bad idea, but I had already paid $50. The maximum wind gust, by day's end, was clocked at 48 mph. Sustained winds in the 20-mph range were common yesterday. It was a tad chilly.

We got there right on time and even found on-street parking, just over the (very icy) footbridge across I-94. Oh yeah, temps had been in the 30s and 40s for most of the past two months. New Year's Eve brought rain, heavy, wet snow, and then the temps dropped and everything froze. They had pre-treated the course with salt so it wasn't too snowy or icy. I started out with two pairs of pants, two shirts and a fleece jacket, my cute skull hat, and my wool buff and mitties. Wool buff was definitely too hot and I had to unzip my jacket shortly into the race as well.

The race took place on the East River Parkway, with the Mississippi River just to the west of the course. The 5k run was down to Cretin and then a turnaround. There were a few hills, but overall I really liked the course. The parkway is just a two-way street so we ran up one side and then back down the other. Everyone was pretty spaced out and I didn't have to slow down if I didn't want to. I hated running around Lake Harriet at the 2010 Reindeer Run. The trail was so small that there wasn't enough room and I felt like it slowed me down unnecessarily.

About 11:30 into the race I was around .8 into the course. That's when I started to see high school kids running back towards me. I didn't catch their bib numbers, but I think they were finishing up the 5k or in the front of the 10k and half-ers. There was also a 10k and a half that were joining us at some point. They seemed to be a much more serious crowd - you know, the people that actually look like they enjoy running and do it often. And who most likely didn't drink their weight in alcohol the night before...

I jogged for the first five minutes and then on all of the downhill areas. My goal was just to get under 49 minutes. I knew I could do it, but wasn't sure how my back or ankle would hold up. I came in at 46:57, but stopped to tie my shoes twice. Garmin said my total was 46:05, which I think is pretty good considering that I have been a bump on a log for most of 2011.

Josh crossed 10 minutes before me at 36:38. It was his first 5k and he was nervous, but did a terrific job! He was super proud of himself after the race. I knew he'd probably be able to get a time in the 30's. We both thought the swag was pretty fun too - the whole reason I picked the Polar Dash as my first race of 2012. Not only did you get a warm, well-made fleece sweatshirt with pockets, upon completion you also received a fun medal!

Aside from the swag, I really liked that this race had a bag drop. That's one thing I haven't figured out how to do - run with all my stuff, or at least with my car keys, wallet, and phone. I'm not to the fanny pack point yet like those cute tiny little runners. I've run with a cinch pack before, but that, too, is cumbersome. This race (and the Get Lucky) is coordinated by "Team Ortho" and they do a really good job. The packet pick-up was well-coordinated, before race day, and organized. Also, you could try on the fleece sweatshirts and exchange them if they didn't fit. How cool is that?! They had people dressed up as penguins at the pick-up and at the race. As I crossed the finish line, I high-five'd three penguins. The treats at the end were normal; your basic banana, water, chips but also string cheese and a mini candy bar. 

The next race I'll run is the Valentine's Day TC 5k (2/11/12). They have candy at the halfway point and Valentine-themed treats at the end! In March we're going to go crazy and up it to a 7k at the Twin Cities Get Lucky (3/17/12). Again, I picked this one because of the fantastic sweatshirt that has thumb holes on the arms! It's worth running an extra mile for.

My breakfast had THREE veggies in it!

Omelette turned into an egg scramble with leftover filet mignon, cheese, asparagus, green onions, and broccoli. It was so good that I forgot to take a pic of it until I had already consumed half of it. Yum!

353 calories, 27g protein.