Querulous Tummies

This has been an interesting, odd week.  First of all, Tim came down with the flu on Tuesday, which was an inauspicious start to a holiday week.  Fortunately, it was a pretty short-lived flu.  Well, I should say the really bad part of the flu (throwing up and body aches) was pretty short-lived.  Today is Saturday, and Tim still is not feeling like a normal Timmy Tee.

I was convinced that my robust primal meatbag would be immune to such a silly, niggling thing as a flu.  In other words, I was convinced I would not get sick.  However (yep, there’s a however) on Thursday morning I woke up early, and my brother and I did the 23 degree Turkey Trot in downtown Davenport.  It was actually a really great 5 mile run.  There were some windy sections, but overall the weather was great, as was the crowd.  There were even some blessed souls who bundled up and stood on street corners to cheer us on and to encourage folks by handing out Krispy Kremes!

After the race (which Nate and I did in a comfortable 52 minutes or so), we walked to Macs and joined the sweaty throng for a couple of tasty Blood Marys. Since Tim was still not feeling 100%, he dropped us off and picked us up, which really helped us stay as warm as possible. It was awesome!

We got home, and I started prepping this slow cooker turkey breast recipe.  I made myself an aeropress coffee, added a celebratory shot of Templetons and proceeded to play a rousing game of Tick with Mom, Dad, Tim, and Nate.  I started to notice that my belly was feeling uncomfortably tight, but I attributed it to being too busy to take off my leggings and running pants. I finally took a break and changed into comfy yoga pants, but my tummy didn’t improve.  I put a ham in the oven and then went back to wholloping my family at cards.  However, the longer I stood playing the cards, the more I realized that I wasn’t feeling quite right.

When the game got over, I sat on the couch and finally admitted to myself that I was sick.  I felt super foolish for not realizing it sooner and probably exposing all of my family to my germs while playing cards. I went straight to bed and just laid there staring at the ceiling, with my legs pulled up (stretching them out hurt my stomach).  My head hurt. My back hurt. My muscles that haven’t ran 5 miles in 6 months hurt.  I got sick.  I slept on and off from about 2PM until the next morning.  I woke up and felt remarkably better – good enough to go out for breakfast and to spend the entire day away from home, checking out the Figge, Bucktown, and LeClaire.  I still wasn’t feeling normal – still chasing a bit of a headache and dealing with a touchy tummy, but overall, I was pretty good.

So, while my diet didn’t wholly protect me from getting sick, I think it helped me get a very mild case of it and recover pretty quickly. Nate and I even did a yoga class this morning! I was afraid that all that twisting and core work would cause some issues, but I actually ended up feeling BETTER after the class than before it.  Although, SOMEONE farted during the class. I was convinced it was my brother who was right next to me, but he denies it.  And I’m pretty sure he would own up.  So, it’s possible it was me. I mean, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me, but who knows?  A fluish tummy is an unpredictable thing.  But, man, was it ever a smelly fart!!

And back to that recipe I made.  It got very mixed reviews.  Dad & Nate really liked it. Nate said the veggies were done perfectly.  Tim and Mom, on the other hand, did not like it at all.  Tim said he didn’t like the shallots with it.  I couldn’t be the tie breaker  because I didn’t try it.  Maybe because I had it in the Nesco while I was succumbing to the flu, the smell of it was no good to me.  Fortunately Nate liked it so well that he ate all the leftovers.  The ham turned out very tasty, and I had no problems eating it.

I also ate quite a few coconut chocolate bars before I got sick and one yesterday during the recovery stage.  And now they do not sound appetizing to me at all.  I should have made myself eat everything I crave (chocolate & sun-butter, Whitey’s ice cream, Panera scones, etc.) on Thursday  so that I could cure myself of the cravings.

And that brings us to today.  I was feeling pretty great, but now I’m getting a headache.  Writing a blog post while riding in the car seems to have instigated some motion sickness.  Blurg.  Wow. And now I’m pissed at my MacBook because I had to type Blurg 3 times before it stopped auto correcting it to Blur.

I hope you had a healthier Thanksgiving than we did!

Finding Time for the Things We Love

So, obviously I really enjoy doing yoga.  I would not have signed up for Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) if I didn’t.  However, I’ve found that despite my best intentions, it’s almost impossible for me to make it to a yoga class more than 2 times per week. You see, when I signed up for YTT, I received 104 free yoga classes at my studio, but I have to use them within a year.  That means I need to go at least twice a week to use up all the classes.  Plus, I WANT to go at least twice a week.  But, despite the fact that I want to go and the classes are essentially free, it seems as if something unexpected always comes up – car troubles, late meetings at work, invitations to get a drink – you know IMPORTANT stuff!

Anyway, to make sure that I get as much practice in as I should and as I want to, I asked my YTT teacher for some online suggestions.  He sent me to www.yogaglo.com.  For $18 a month you can take as many classes you want. And you can search for classes by how long they are, the teacher, the style, your skill level, etc.  It’s awesome.  I’ve taken 5 classes online so far and encountered one teacher I absolutely love (and one I really, really do not like!).  Browsing through the site has also helped reinforce how much I have to learn about yoga!  It’s this huge body of knowledge that would take several lifetimes to learn.  It’s a great site, and it’s really helped me to become more regular in my practice.

I still prefer to attend a live-person class if possible, however.  I find the cues and subtle adjustments to be really helpful.  Plus I think it’s good to be around other people who are also trying to learn new skills.  I learn a lot not only from the teacher, but from watching the other people in class.   Some are amazing and make you want to try harder to reach that level. Others can barely do a downward dog, yet they are there persevering, which is also encouraging.

While I still don’t do yoga as much as I want to, I am super jazzed to note the progress I have been making.  Little things that used to be very difficult for me are almost doable now. I can get up into crow pose for about 2 seconds – weeeeeoooo!  And my balance is improving.  The first time I tried to do half-moon was a disaster.  Now, as long as no one within my eye sight is wobbling, I can stay up fairly well.  I know I have a very long way to go, but the progress has been really encouraging.

So that’s the update on yoga.  I don’t have any recipes to share this week. I made food, but nothing new or exciting.  Hope you are having a great day and escaped any disaster on the horrible roads today.  Adios!

Jeans for curvy girls, bracelets for skinny wrists, and paleo pasta (to maintain the skinny wrists)

Today’s post is going to be a lot like my brain – all over the place but full of little interesting tidbits of information.  I’m assuming you are OK with this because you keep reading my blog. 🙂

I’ve been wanting a pair of skinny black jeans for awhile now.  I actually ordered these from Madewell, but they were insanely tight. I know jeans are too tight when Tim’s eyes almost pop out of his head when he sees them on me. I sent them back and kept my eyes out for another suitable pair.  Well, Old Navy’s harassing, non-stop emails finally paid off for them. I was threatened with losing my bonus cash or cash bucks or whatever the heck they are, so I ordered a pair of their Rock Star Skinny Jeans in the Curvy fit.  Holy Cow. These could very well be the best pair of jeans I’ve ever bought – even better than my James Jeans, which were my previous favorite.  They are snug, but not too snug.  They don’t hit me in an awkward part of my belly. They are flattering.  They are the right length.  The black is a nice, true black.  At 1/5 the cost of the James Jeans, the Old Navy jeans are a steal.  I’m considering buying like 5 pairs just in case Old Navy decides to discontinue them.  I LOVE them.

Man, this is going to be a pretty materialistic post. The next thing I’m going to talk about is another recently discovered love – Pura Vida bracelets.  I first ran across them at the yoga studio I go to.  They had this bracelet made of salmon colored thread with silver balls woven through it.  Here it is.  It caught my eye immediately because I thought it was soo beautiful.  It was $15 though, which seemed like a lot for what it was. So I checked out the website – you can get a ton of bracelets very cheaply on the website! I signed up for their emails and immediately got a 50% off coupon.  I ordered one of the multi-packs, and I couldn’t be happier.  They were way to large for me, so I had to trim down the ends (and then re-melt them), but now they fit great.  I’m hooked.  If you want to try them out, let me know. I can send you an email, and you’ll get 50% off your first order too.

I was hoping that devoting more time to yoga, meditation, and reflection would make me less want-y. However, so  far all I have noticed is an obsession with yoga pants and hippie bracelets.  Maybe I should just give it more time?

AND….. I tried one new recipe this week (between all of my online shopping).  I made paleo spaghetti, and it was so good that I’m making it again this week.  I roasted a spaghetti squash (cut it in half, took out the seeds, rubbed the inside with olive oil and salt, and cooked it cut-side down for 30-45 minutes in a 375 degree oven).  Then for the sauce, I followed this recipe.  I was short on butter, so I used 3 T of butter and 2 T of olive oil.  For the meat, I turned some of our ground pork into sausage using this recipe.  When we mixed it all together – wow!  It was super delicious and very easy.

And there’s my update for the week.  Hope you are having a productive Sunday!

Doing what everyone else does (aka working on our laptops at a coffee shop)

Today is Veteran’s Day.  That means, among other things of course, that Tim and I both have this Tuesday off.  It feels like a free day – no weekend chores to run, no places to be, no obligations.  So what are we doing?  Sitting at Panera, working on our laptops, drinking coffee, and eating cinnamon scones.

I know it may sound silly, but “taking our laptops to the coffee shop to work” has always sounded like fun to me.  I mean, when I was getting my MBA and had tons of annoying group work, occasionally we would meet in coffee shops to work on projects.  It was so frustrating – trying to find room for books, notes, coffee, and laptops.  I thought it would be fun to go to a coffee shop and just work on my own personal stuff.  Yet, for some reason I’ve never done it!  But today is the day.

I have to say, like most things in life, it sounds much more romantic than it really is.  First of all, we drove to 2 Starbucks and one Dunn Brothers looking for a place that actually had room for Tim and me to sit down.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s Veteran’s Day and a lot of people are off of work, but every place was packed!!  I mean Starbucks has pretty good coffee, but it’s not THAT good.  It was super frustrating.  Thus, we ended up at Panera which has just OK coffee but amazing scones and more places to put cheeks in the seats.

And that brings me to this moment.  We finally made it.  What do I think?  Well, while it’s nice to get out of the house, I think I prefer my homemade aeropress coffee, our beautiful, homemade stand up kitchen table, and my cozy slippers.  Plus I don’t have to overhear annoying conversations about pivot tables and junk.  Bleh.

But maybe I am just testy today because I used a new hair gel, and my hair is annoyingly flat and gross today.  It’s my day off!  It should be gorgeous and full.  Damn hair.

So there you go.  This was a post about writing a post.  I do have interesting things to say, I swear!  Just not today. 🙂

Adventures with Harrissa and Reiki

This has been an exciting week! I tried 2 new recipes AND a new alternative health therapy.  Recipes first.

1.  I made Wild Salmon with Avocado Salsa.  I found this recipe in a free magazine, Simply Recipes. I can’t find the recipe online anywhere, which is unfortunate because it’s delicious.  Basically you put a spice rub consisting of olive oil, salt, coriander, cumin, paprika, onion powder and pepper on the salmon, grill the salmon, and then serve it with avocado salsa made of avocado (of course), onion, tomato, hot peppers, cilantro, lime, and olive oil.  I never would have thought that cumin would taste good on salmon, but it was DELICIOUS!!

2. I also made Slow Cooker Harissa Stew.  This was my first time using harissa, and I was hoping I would like it because a little jar of it is $4.99.  But, I was in luck because like it I did!  I was expecting the meat to be balls-out spicy, but it just had a pretty mild, spicy, exotic flavor.  We had it over rice one night and over butternut squash the next day.  The recipe was very easy to make. If I can get my hands on some lamb chops without spending a fortune, I want to try this recipe next.

Besides that I made some old favorites this week – Primal Ham Bone Soup with a smoked ham hock (amazing!) and Instant Banana Bread.

On to the other big news this week, after months of saying, “Reiki sounds really interesting. I’m really curious about it. I should really try it.”  I finally tried it this morning.  For those you are unfamiliar with Reiki, check out this link.

Despite the fact that I’ve talked to a few other people who have had a Reiki treatment, I was still very unsure of what to expect.  Well, here is a brief run-down of my experience.  I chatted with the practitioner for a few minutes, explaining how I heard about Reiki and how I heard about the facility at which she works.  Then we got started.  I laid down on a massage table with a blanket over me.  The practitioner started at the my head, very lightly laying her hands on my head.  She worked her way down the front of my body, very lightly touching me.  At certain points I felt a very strong heat come from her hands. It was super bizarre!  At one point when she was working around my stomach, I saw a dark purple light behind my eyes that faded quickly.  She said purple represents the crown chakra.

When she finished with my front side, she mentioned that my knees absorbed a lot of energy, as did my right ankle and foot.  She said she could tell that I’m a runner and have evidently battered my joints a bit.  Then I rolled over, and she touched a few spots on my back, legs, and feet, and then it was over.

Do I feel any different?  I don’t think so. My hips and quads feel really tired, but I went to a pretty intense vinyasa class last night, and I’m thinkings that’s probably the cause of that.  It was a very interesting experience. I went into the experience with cautious open-mindedness. I’m not sure if I’m a believer in the efficacy of the treatment YET, but she did make several comments that belied a knowledge of things I’ve been thinking about and contemplating – things I did not talk to her about at all.  So, that is definitely mysterious!

My take-away from the experience is that there is a lot more to this world and our existence than we are generally led to believe.

So that’s my update for the week! As always, thank you for reading!

Sitting

I was just looking at my computer at my stand up desk.  I was full of ideas about things to write about, but then I turned around, spied the futon and thought to myself, “Why don’t I sit down on that futon there and do some writing?”  So sit down I did, and bam!  all inspiration was gone.  I opened a new tab, opened WordPress, and just sat there for like 3 minutes.  Couldn’t think of a thing to say.  So I thought I would start writing about not having anything to say.  This is going to be one interesting blog post, can’t you tell??  Anyway, my point is that sitting shuts down your brain.  Once I sit down for the night, it’s all over. All I can bring myself to do is watch Mindy Project.

I did want to write about our weekend. I took 2 yoga classes.  The teacher on Saturday did not have the physique one would normally associate with a yoga teacher.  However, I really enjoyed the class because, while she couldn’t do some of the poses she guided us into, she set up a good, challenging sequence of moves and was very encouraging and helpful.  She generated really good vibes, if that sounds yoga-y enough for you. I find it really encouraging that you do not have to be able to contort your body in all sorts of crazy ways to be a good yoga teacher.

I went to another class on Sunday. This was a class sponsored by Tippi Yogis. They hold a class at a local bar. For a $10 donation you get a free yoga class and a free drink after the class is done. This class was very different than Saturday’s class.  The teacher was tiny and limber and really funny.  And the drink afterward was pretty fun too.  Tim and I actually biked to the class and back, which was really invigorating. The weather was slightly chilly, but we dressed in layers, and after  couple of hills, we ditched those.

Lesson learned from the week and weekend – all sorts of yoga teachers can be successful!  I think different teachers resonate with different students. Maybe I’ll find my clan if/when I decide to actually teach (aka work up the courage to teach).

There’s my yoga update.  I don’t have any good recipe updates.  I think I cooked at home a few nights, but I must not have tried anything new.  My memory fails me! Last week was oh so long ago! This week I have 2-3 new recipes, one of which I’m making tonight (salmon with avocado salsa). I’ll let you know how they turned out.

Hope you had a chance to get outside today. It was an absolutely perfect October day.