Two Months Later….

A lot has definitely been going on. Work has been INSANE. Personal life has been all about trying to recharge the batteries and feel guilty about what a hermit I’ve become. But I did manage to do a few things over the past couple of months:

1. The Boy and I bought a new mattress

2. I went to Monterey, CA & San Francisco (mostly business with a little bit of pleasure)

3. Got a new smart phone

4. Ran the Hot Chocolate 5K here in Chicago (boy, is THAT a story, and one that many other bloggers have been telling)

5. Signed up for my first trail race (5K)

6. Saw Amanda Palmer live at the Metro (SO GOOD)

7. I’ve been going CA-RAZY adding music to my new phone & updating my Super Activated Ass Busting Workout mix (i.e., the music I work out to)

Exercise has been sporadic at best. I’ve managed to run at least 3 times a week for the most part, but this last week, for example, has been a total bust. It seems to take me an inordinate amount of time to reclaim any sort of routine – exercise, diet, laundry – after being gone for a few days. Also, since I got back from Cali I have the weirdest pain in my right side. I thought it was muscular, but it hurts the same no matter how I move and it hasn’t changed in two weeks. I’m going to the doctor tomorrow. I freaking HATE going to the doctor.

In the meantime, The Boy and I are going to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater TONIGHT to see their last performance of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE!

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[source]

Who doesn’t love a little Sondheim?

(seriously, I want to know)

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Worst. Week. Ever.

WORKOUT

Nada. For good reason.

I’m not a huge fan of the emphasizing of statements by separating words with periods, but this definitely calls for some emphasis.

I think by now everyone has pretty much figured out that I am a klutzy dork. The Boy actually told me I was a spaz the other day and the moniker fits. However. I have never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would have to be out of work for a week with no exercise whatsoever because of a back injury that I got while shaving my legs.

You read that right. I hurt my back in the shower while shaving my legs. Let me back up a bit.

Saturday dawned cool and sunny (at least I think it was sunny – my head is a bit fuzzy from narcotics right now). The Boy had to work that weekend so I had the day to do pretty much whatever I wanted. I had grand plans, too. I had a set of curtains that I needed to hem that I had purchased from Ikea. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them and had been aching to put them up. Saturday was the perfect day for sewing.

I decided to start with some laundry. I leaned over the laundry hamper and felt a sharp twinge in my lower back that stopped me cold. I thought, that’s weird and not good, but the pain subsided and so I went about my business of laundry, cleaning up the kitchen and hemming the curtains. I finished them, put them up, and they were lovely. Hemming four panels had taken much longer than I had anticipated and by this time it was around 3:00. The Boy and I had plans to go out to dinner with friends so I decided to take my shower (no, I had not bathed yet, gross I know), take The Puppy for a nice long walk, and be ready to chill with The Boy until it was time to leave for dinner.

I got in the shower, washed my hair, slathered on my conditioner, and started to shave. I got one leg done and started on the other when I suddenly felt my lower back completely cramp up to the point where I could not breathe and pain so intense that I was afraid I was going to fall.

The ladies who shave their legs out there will understand the contortions we go through during this process. They aren’t necessarily the most natural of movements, and I was literally stuck frozen in the position one needs to be in to effectively shave the calves. I couldn’t straighten up, couldn’t twist, and – I repeat – COULDN’T BREATHE.

Finally I willed myself to take a slow breath and then another and tried to think rationally about what to do. I was in the shower. I had left my phone downstairs (NEVER AGAIN. It now goes with me EVERYWHERE). I was wet and naked. ALL OF THE WINDOWS IN THE HOUSE WERE OPEN. Like I said, it was a nice cool day. The Puppy was in the bathroom with me, but lacking opposable thumbs, not to mention the ability to speak English, he wasn’t going to help. I was essentially trapped in a small, wet box and getting out of it would require picking my feet up and maneuvering over The Puppy who was camped out on the bath mat outside the tub.

 

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(BTW, those are The Boy’s shower things and The Puppy’s shampoo in the corner there. My stuff takes up the two opposite corners.)

Eventually the cramping eased enough for me to stumble out and wrap myself in a towel. I made it out of the bathroom and dropped onto the bed. Mistake. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t roll over onto my side, I couldn’t sit up. Finally I hauled myself onto my side pulling the covers and was able shove myself up into a standing position. Hooray for strength training. The few steps I took to my dresser informed me that I could actually walk with little pain and I shimmied into some clothes. I went downstairs, grabbed my phone, and took some ibuprofen. I went back upstairs, lay back down and called The Boy at work.

After a tearful conversation he said he was coming home. He took me to the ER where I was diagnosed with a severe back spasm and ordered to take muscle relaxers and amped up pain meds and to rest with no work and NO EXERCISE for five to seven days.

The last few days have been like torture for me. I hate not doing stuff. I like to putter, I like to read, I like to watch stuff, I have a physical need to clean and what I’ve only realized in this last week is that I 100% NEED exercise. I need to get my sweat on at least a few times a week or a feel awful. Apparently without exercise I turn into a raving lunatic. The back is starting to finally feel almost normal today and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to work my shifts at the library this weekend and maybe – just maybe – get in a workout on Sunday.

I’ve learned a few things from this experience:

1. Take my phone with me everywhere.

2. Have an arsenal of easy to put on clothes.

3. Bring a decent pair of underwear whenever you go to the ER. Those gowns don’t cover jack.

4. I NEED to exercise in order to not go batshit insane.

5. Those adorable Lululemon tops that aren’t really practical for doing any physical activity (including yoga, I don’t care WHAT they tell you) are damn comfortable when one is laid up and allow a person to feel cute without any makeup or hair products.

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(You KNOW I’m not right in the head if I’m posting this picture.)

I didn’t say the cuteness was reality. Remember, people, DRUGS.

6. Target capris ROCK. And provide a good bit of supportive compression on a sore back.

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7. It’s impossible to give oneself a pedicure with a sore back.

I now have a headache from putting words together. See you when the valium wears off.

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Belly Full O’ Butter

I have a stomach ache.

I have a stomach ache and I feel like my ass increased in size by approximately 25% tonight. Because of these.

There actually appear to be quite a number of iterations of this recipe floating around. I first came across the recipe through Peanut Butter Fingers. Mine was slightly different. After about half a cup of peanut butter, I realized I ran out (cue collective GASP across Healthy Living Blog Land) so I substituted about half a cup of Sunbutter and added a drizzle of almond extract. I also pushed the traditional peanut butter cookie crosshatch into 1/3 of the batch, and I think those cookies cooked more evenly and taste better.

To be clear, I’m not a peanut butter cookie kind of gal. I do love peanut butter, always have, but I’ve never much cared for it in cookie form. I typically find that peanut butter flavor goes better with the texture of butter as opposed to a baked good. I don’t know what my issue was tonight,  but I NEEDED peanut butter cookies.

Holy crap. SO GOOD. They are moist, dense, and hyper-flavorful. I ate a lot of them. By which I mean six regular sized cookies.

The thing about these cookies is a couple go a very long way. This is a substantial cookie. Heavy, even. I ate six. Six. Wow. I’m so done. And feel a bit sick.

I’m telling The Boy to take the rest to work with him tomorrow. Someone else can get a peanut butter cookie ass.

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Nemo Discovers His Inner Beagle

I mention on my “about” page that we think The Puppy is likely a Jack Russell Terrier/Beagle mix, sometimes called a “Jack-a-bee.” Aside from having Beagle-like ears and softer facial features like Beagles tend to have, however, Nemo doesn’t typically exhibit very Beagle-y behavior. Between the jumping and the barking and the extreme high energy and stubborn disposition, he’s way more like a JRT most of the time.

Yesterday, for some bizarre reason that I cannot explain, The Boy and I started howling at each other. Guess who decided to get his Beagle howl on and join in?

Nemo Discovers His Inner Beagle from Whine Or Win on Vimeo.

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So THAT’S why people take vacations.

The last time we spoke, I was telling you to go make some ridiculously awesome bread pudding. Did you do it? I did.

breadpudding

That, in addition to some kick-ass duck and a fantastic bottle of wine, was the start of John & Stacy Stay The F$@% Home 2012, otherwise known as our 5th anniversary celebration/staycation (I really, really hate that word). We were off for 5 blissful days together. There was a lot of walking (almost 20 miles in 4 days), a lot of eating, and a lot of relaxing. I think we did it right. We planned on one active thing to do every day, which justified us drinking copious amounts of alcohol and eating massive amounts of food and generally sitting on our asses for the rest of the day. Oh, and I didn’t set my alarm ONCE the entire time. It was glorious.

THE FOOD

We ate at home Friday and Saturday,  but on Sunday we went out for a meal at Emilio’s Tapas. This was our “fancy” dinner out. We typically go for a nice dinner a few times a year, and our anniversary is one of those times. I used to think Emilio’s was some of the best tapas around, but this time it was just sort of …. meh. Of course, the sangria was still flowing and we still had a great time, but we probably won’t come back here for awhile.

Monday we ate at one of our favorite places ever, Hot Doug’s. If you are ever in Chicago and you have even a passing liking for hot dogs, you NEED to go here. It has to be said, there are many fine hot dog places in Chicago, but this is not just a hot dog stand. Hot Doug’s takes encased meats to a different level entirely. If you ever wondered if there was such a thing as a gourmet hot dog, this is the answer you’ve been looking for. Prepare to wait in line, though, because Monday’s line was one of the shortest I’ve seen and I still waited half an hour for our food.

Tuesday we wrapped up our feeding frenzy with a trip to Evanston and a visit to Edzo’s. As is the case with hot dogs, the Chicago area is not lacking in excellent burger joints.  Edzo’s is a really excellent example. They have a rockin’ turkey burger, TRUFFLE FRIES (that’s right, it needs to be in all caps), and one of the best Oreo shakes I have ever had (I actually didn’t have the shake. The Boy did. But he shared).

THE EXERCISE

We decided that we would bike to Oak Park to get frozen yogurt (thinking that the ride would justify the calories), but before we did that we wanted to take The Puppy on a long walk since, well, we could. We did 4 miles in just over an hour. Then we set off for Oak Park. We were moving along at a decent clip (maybe 15 mph). The Boy was on my right and we were chatting. Then all of a sudden he decided to turn left. He didn’t tell me and he didn’t signal. I hit his rear wheel and went flying. after a good bit of drama we determined that I wasn’t seriously hurt, just bruised and battered. We knew, however, that there would be no froyo for us that day. On the plus side, we still got a good workout in and The Boy made dinner for me.

Saturday I woke up sore as hell but mostly okay. We took The Puppy on a 3.5 mile walk and then I needed to chill the hell out for the rest of the day. Lots of icing, lots of water, lots of rest.

Sunday was rainy, so boo.

Monday we took The Puppy to Belmont Harbor Dog Beach. Last year we took him to the Montrose Dog Beach and he LOVED it. This year we wanted to try the other beach (I’d heard it was safer because it was more of an enclosed space) but it wasn’t as big or clean. The Puppy still had a great time though, and we got to experience a different part of the lakefront.

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beach4

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Afterwards we walked up and down the harbor for awhile. We had completely gorgeous weather. It was perfect.

my guys

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(You can kind of see my elbow injury this this picture.)

Tuesday was the last day of our vacation, and we decided to go to Evanston and visit the point on the lakeshore where we got married. We walked about 5.5 miles that day, exploring Evanston and walking around the Northwestern University campus. So much fun!

We took a family portrait at the spot where we got hitched.

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What a great way to end the summer, and what a great way to celebrate 5 wonderful years of marriage.

I went back to work on Wednesday refreshed and ready to take on anything.

Except maybe for my bike. That one might take awhile.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

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Things

I come up with the best posting titles. Ha.

1. I chose not to go workout this morning. I felt like I needed a rest day after yesterday’s rest day, also I haven’t been feeling so well in the tummy, also I figured I would make up for it by trying to take The Puppy on a run outside later. And then I realized it was raining.

Sigh.

2. Did you know that 1 tablespoon of maple syrup is 2 Weight Watcher’s points?!

syrup devil 1

I tried Carrots ‘n’ Cake’s two ingredient pancake this morning and while I read her instructions for achieving a more attractive pancake carefully, my efforts failed and I ended up with 3 mini mutant pancakes. They were still delicious, especially with a little sunflower butter and ridiculously fattening syrup.

3. Our 5th anniversary is tomorrow and every year we take a few days off together and knock around the city. I typically make a relatively fancy meal  to kick off our “staycation” (I kinda hate that word), which includes a better than $10 bottle of wine, usually duck breasts with some kind of crazy sauce, a side dish, and this ridiculous bread pudding. Seriously. Just go make it now and get it over with. It is probably the least healthy thing you will eat all year and every bite is heaven.

4. The Puppy has been on a rampage and left in his wake a line of trauma patients.

soldiers awaiting surgery

That hedgehog off to the left is the latest in a string of hedgehog casualties. We call him Shiny Norman 2.

hedgehog style

Pictured above from left to right:

Shiny Norman 2, Shiny Norman 1, and Spiny Norman, The Puppy’s original Best Frienemy.

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That there is a TINY The Puppy with Spiny Norman. It took him way longer to do serious damage to his friends at that age.

Now he can do this in a matter of seconds.

hedgehog amputee

The humanity.

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That’s one adorable tyrant.

I may get all crazy later and post pictures of the food I make. Or not.

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Win/Fail??

Or Fail/Win? Not sure yet.

YESTERDAY’S WORKOUT (haven’t posted one of THOSE in awhile)

Upper body workout (with some adjustments) from this book.

25 minutes in the pool which resulted in swimming 500 yards.

20 minute walk with The Puppy.

I’m getting better at the swimming thing. I actually stick my entire face in the water when I do the freestyle stroke. I do still have to stop half way through a length to sputter and clear the water from my nose, but I can now start back up again almost immediately and finish the length with hardly a break. WIN! I didn’t have a ton of time after my upper body workout, so I cut my swim a bit short (yes, I’m VERY slow). Also, there were a ton of people pouring into the pool area and I’m terrified of someone trying to share a lane with me since I flail my arms around and kick wildly like the rotten swimmer I am, so I got the heck out of there while I still had a little dignity. Flailing? Definitely a FAIL.

I first encountered The Jump Off: 60 Days To A Hip-Hop Hard Body by Mark Jenkins about 7 and a half years ago. I can’t remember if it was Fitness Magazine or Glamour, but one of them ran a story on Jenkin’s then new book and it looked like something I could handle, so I gave it a shot. They only published a few exercising for the lower body portion of the workout and I didn’t even do all of them. Amazingly, after about a month of doing the routine 3 times a week, I noticed that my thighs were actually looking smaller, my backside was looking higher, rounder, and firmer, and even my then-boyfriend (now husband) started commenting on the transformation. NOTHING had working to tighten my tush since I quit figure skating when I was 14. I stopped doing the routine when I moved in with The Boy and I lost the workout pages in the move. I couldn’t remember the name of the book OR the author and my reference fu had completely failed me in my attempts to locate any mention of the article online. Then suddenly this year I remembered it. Kind of out of the blue. And my library had one of the only copies of the book that exist in our library system. I decided that since I’ve been too much of a wuss to try New Rules Of Lifting For Women I would go back to what had worked before.

I’ve been doing the routines consistently for about two weeks, and I’m already noticing a difference. Now, I weigh a bit more than I did back in 2004/2005, so I don’t expect the results to be as dramatic, but I’m excited.

I’ll keep you posted!

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