Friday, March 29, 2013

quick food is better than fast food

So often in the past I have eaten junk because it was fast.  Because it could be picked up at the drive thru window.  Because it could be grabbed in the grocery store, ripped open and consumed.  Because I thought "good" food always had to take huge time and effort. 

Here was what I ate for supper and then later a bedtime snack yesterday.  Took almost no time at all:


Steamed carrots (less than 10 minutes, almost no effort, and I made 4 of them, cuz dude, carrots are guilt free food!).

Sweet potato with nutmeg and walnuts (because the potato was pre-baked, also less than 10 minutes, and decadently sweet). 

Baby bella mushrooms sauteed in just a bit of butter and soy sauce (yes, again, less than 10  minutes and almost no effort).  

I made them all 3 at the same time.  So supper took about 15 minutes total to make.  Packed with nutrition.  A FEAST filling and piling high my plate.  High satisfaction levels.  

And no guilt after.  YAY!

Then at bedtime, I was craving something sweet. The bar of dark chocolate I keep stashed wasn't calling my name.  I ratted around.  And came up with this...a beautiful apple, a bit of Nutella, a bit of my good Smucker's All Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter (only peanuts and salt, no sugar, no hydrogenated fat).  

I'm not pretending Nutella is good for you.  It's a sugary product.  But DUDE...mixed with peanut butter as a dip - CAN YOU SAY DELICIOUS?!  And at least I was getting in the good nutrition of the apple and the peanut butter. 

All in all, better than McDonald's, better than a bag of chips.  Fast, easy.  

Quick food is better than fast food!

Monday, March 25, 2013

1000 words processing healing and arriving at no answer

I get suggestions all the time for new exercise routines and diets.  That’s to be expected, I imagine.  After all, all these long 2 years and 2 months, I have stubbornly stuck to a plan that is not a plan, a diet that is not a diet.  All I have done is hang onto a promise I made to God:  that I would let Him teach me how to love my body.  

That has to be frustrating, from outside of the wondrous world of Karen’s brain.  We like plans.  We like lists.  We like things that can be measured.  They are easy to share and by far easier to follow than a directive like, “Let God teach you…” anything at all.  I share what I do, but none of it is at all a plan or a list or measurable.

The suggestions are not unwelcome.  After all, some of the time, that’s how He teaches me.  He puts information in front of me and when I press into it, another piece unfolds itself to my understanding and becomes a permanent change in me.   Other stuff that I come across is just a temporary try, and soon enough reveals itself to me as more *my* idea or understanding than His – so I let it go.  Sometimes you can’t know without trying, eh?
I’m in the middle of a conversation with God right now and I have no idea whether it is related to this promise I made, though it seems likely that it might be.  We are talking about healing.  We are talking about the fact that I “believe” on some level that He can and will heal…have witnessed it up close…have experienced it myself, even…and yet on some other (experiential) level, I don’t believe it at all.  And I don’t know how to fix that.

He and I are talking about the woman with the “issue of blood” in the New Testament.  You know…she touched Jesus’ robe in a crowd, reaching for the healing she was sure was there in Him, and sure enough, she got it…followed by a huge spotlight of attention on her as He turned to see who she was and commend her faith.  That story.  

Yesterday morning I had been pondering the story, simply because I was just coming off of a wicked bad “I don’t enjoy being a girl” day and pondering the horror of TWELVE UNINTERRUPTED YEARS of that.  Before yesterday, I hadn’t ever stopped to ponder how much compassion Jesus must have felt for her pain.  It was still kind of just a “Bible story” in my head.  You know…like a nice flannel graph (if you ever did Sunday School, maybe you know what a flannel graph is) or a movie done with cheesy costumes and makeup and poor production values in general, but…not REAL…not “reach in and move my heart or twist my gut” real. 

Yesterday as I pondered it at the start of my day, I got that He understood an ocean of pain there.  I got that His calling her out of the crowd was a celebration with her, not just an object lesson to play out in front of the 3 who would write their accounts of it later.  Yesterday, I was undone by it.  I love when that happens.

And then I got to church and…whaddya know…my pastor talked about the same story.  HELLO GOD, I AM LISTENING!! 

One of the things I noticed, that I don’t recall noticing before in my entire long lifetime of hearing the story in church, was that she had spent all her money trying to solve this problem.  I’m sure I heard it before – I just never NOTICED it.  At first blush it can just seem obvious.  If you have a medical problem that won’t go away for more than a decade, chances are you’ll have spent a ton of money – maybe even every spare penny you ever had and then some – in search of a solution. 

So what?  Just a historical statement, right?

Then I think about this journey of my body.  All of you out there who have fought weight over years can testify to this:  you try a lot of things.  You buy books and read a lot of advice and try ludicrous things that might have worked for someone else.  You give a chance to diets that are ridiculously unpleasant and inconvenient.  You sign up for memberships to gyms and Weight Watchers and TOPS and the Weigh Down Workshop and Curves and on and on…and sometimes your weight goes down.  For a little while.  And then those pounds come racing back to find you, and they bring friends with them. 

Maybe I hadn’t spent “all of my money” in the search…but I had certainly tried everything that my own common sense, flailing hope, or flat out stupidity could muster.  And while I had experienced temporary relief from time to time…always I went back and found every pound I had lost and then some.  Always.  My own resources were tapped out. 

I feel like what happened in the conversation where I agreed to let Him teach me to love my body was very much a “touch the hem of His garment” moment.  All hope, no backup, and not the tiniest bit of my ability in it.  Just a giant PLEASE as I reached.  And I feel like He’s been celebrating with me ever since. 

Somewhere in that lesson is the key, I think, to this conversation we are having about healing.  Somehow, I have to let go of my resources and understanding and solutions and knowledge and just reach out, staking all on HIM and Him alone.   That, I suspect, is where I will finally get free of my inability to believe for physical healing. 

Next step:  hold that up to the light and wait for Him to do what He will with it. 

No answers in today’s blog.  This is an all-process one.  If you came all of these 1,006 words for an answer…sorry!

good habits trump bad attitude, new shoes, and a race hope

My new shoes came last week.  It was all very exciting.  I was super pumped about trying them out this morning, and about the fact that since the Bix is only 4 months away, the shoes should still be in perfectly fine condition on race day.  YAY! 

Then came the March snow.  It snowed all day yesterday, and when I got up this morning I saw that of course no one in my neighborhood had started clearing sidewalks yet.  The snow is that verging-on-rain kind of wet.  Not friendly to shoes made of mesh. 

So me and my bad attitude stayed inside and did the stairs.  20 minutes of them.  And then my "countdown workout."  I never did start liking any of it at all this morning..pretty sure I was just too busy pouting about not getting outside to allow myself enjoyment of the workout.  I'm just awesome like that.   Thank God for good habits, that carry me when "feeling like it" is nonexistent. 

In other news, my son might run the Bix this year.  We talked long about it.  That kind of stuff you have to hold onto loosely, as he's a university student and life sometimes will cooperate with such wants...sometimes not so much.  Still it was fun to talk running talk, at any rate.  And even if he does come...heck, the boy is WAY more fit than me and will probably get a nice nap at the finish line while he waits for his  mother to come waddling on in.  

I still hope he makes it. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

recharge time

I am surprised, sometimes, that those of you who read my blogs regularly don't all band together and plan an intervention for the cause of forcing me never again to use the phrase, "I'm tired."  I know I say it ridiculously much.  My stash of old writings has quite a number of entries all named "on rest" because apparently when I am tired I forget that I already used that title before.  Oops.  

Well, here I am again.  Though I've been purposely drinking a lot more water than I sometimes do, and though I've been aggressively consuming veggies, I'm run down.  Just busy life and short sleep and letting the stressors beat me up -  you know, the usual stuff, nothing beyond what any one of you could testify to in your own lives.  I made progress on the "stressors" thing today at work - knocked out 3 of the 4 things that had started stealing bits of sleep from me, for the worry of how/when I might complete them.  And the other isn't even due for nearly a month, so it can't steal sleep from me yet.  

Run down looks like:  falling asleep at inopportune moments while actually doing things.  Headache, neckache, backache, basically sore everywhere.  Foggy thought processes.  I'm not sick.  I'm just run out.  Back in school I'd get like this periodically, and my mom would come pick me up when I called her, crashing, and I'd go home and sleep around the clock or maybe even a little more than that.  It was all I needed. 

So I'm derailing Karen's wonderschedule for a good 24 hours and then some.  I'm out.  My plans are like this:  Shabbat candles and prayers and videochat with my guy tonight.  Sleep.  Sleep until I wake up in the morning.  Roll over.  Sleep some more.  Get up, eat breakfast, stare out the window, maybe write, if I am feeling it.  Then take a nap.  Or watch a movie on my Iphone until I fall asleep.  That's the only goal for the day:  rest.  I've got stuff I need to get done, but right now nothing else is allowed on the list until at least this time tomorrow night - maybe not until Sunday morning.   

Sometimes you just gotta stop...listen...and stop some more.  

Or at least I do.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

fast good supper, chilly run, frozen peas on my feet

We tend to think healthy food can't be fast or easy.  I had such a great supper last night, and it took me about 10 minutes to make it.  

First, I have to confess to this shortcut - this weekend while I was working around the apartment, I scrubbed up some sweet potatoes and threw them in the oven, so I'd have them on standby for quick meal prep.  

Anyway here it is!  Isn't it gorgeous?  And it was delicious and hit my satisfaction meter on an off-the chart level.  

Easy, easy, easy.  Brussels sprouts:  put about 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of a pan and let it heat to boiling while you're cleaning and prepping the sprouts.  Toss them in the pan.  Cover.  Steam for 5 minutes. Drain.  Salt and pepper and YUM.  

Sweet potato:  heat up just the tiniest bit of butter in a skillet while cutting the potato in half, longways.  (I wanted to keep the skin, for nutrition reasons, but it just popped right off, so never mind about that.)  Lay the 2 halves of potato in the skillet.  Dump in some walnuts (I used a lot - something like a quarter of a cup.)  Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on the potatoes while heating on medium.  When it's time to flip the potatoes and stir the nuts, add in some banana slices.  You're less than 5 minutes from done at this point.  When it all seems browned to perfection, you're done (and it's a decadently sweet, guilt-free treat.)  

In other news, it was 16 degrees out again this morning for my run at 5:15.  Can you say, "unseasonably cold"?  I got out there and realized the wind was blowing and I should have brought the face warmer.  But I never turn around, once I've headed out (too easy to just quit) so instead I decided to run up Brady Street hill instead of across the Centennial Bridge.  My reasoning was the hill at least has houses and trees around it.  Wind when you're out there all exposed on the bridge can be a darn icy proposal.  So once again, I met my adversary, the hill, and once again, I am triumphant.

My arthritis is really acting up in my left foot this morning.  Sitting here over breakfast, grats and blogging with bags of frozen peas on both feet, trying to reduce the pain.  Hopefully my new shoes will arrive soon and will help.

Meanwhile, it's worth it. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

rainy run, app fail, and new shoes in the mail

I always check the weather on my phone and out my window on run mornings.  The phone told me it was 30 degrees and the window told me everything was wet.  Still, I didn't realize it might still be raining until just before I stepped out of my apartment - it was coming down lightly enough to not be easily apparent with the window check.

So I grabbed my headband - I had been thinking I wouldn't need it, at 30 degrees (head gets hot quickly at that temp), but maybe I could use it to stay dry.  Good thing I had it.  30 degrees in rain is not the same animal as 30 degrees on a still clear morning.  

30 and rain always makes me nervous when I'm driving, as you never know when that's going to mean ice.  The streets and sidewalks were fine - presumably the ground is too warm for ice here in March - but the bridge, what with being all air-cooled underneath and all, was one long slick adventure.  So my run was slower than usual - my first priority when running is always to not threaten future runs by injuring myself.  And you don't have to do a huge spectacular fall to hurt your knees or back.  I know this.  It just takes one little slip in the wrong direction to cause major havoc.  

So my steps were even smaller and closer to the ground than usual.  My feet slid a lot, but it was all so controlled that there was neither falling nor injury.  It was so good to finish the bridge part and be back on solid ground that I pushed extra hard for speed on that last quarter mile or so home. 

I had the "map my run" app on the last phone but never used it for fear of broadcasting GPS perfect instructions across the internet on exactly where and when I could be kidnapped.  But I finally have confidence that I can use it without connecting to social media.  So that was the plan this morning - since I'm trying to shift to "training for the Bix" mode, I'd start using it daily.  I did all the setup I thought I needed to do, and off I went.

Problem is I run without glasses at this time of year, due to fogging issues.  So I couldn't see what the screen was actually doing.  So when I got home, I learned that it was telling me I wasn't completely set up.  So much for the stuff at the beginning that said, "Just push RECORD and go!"  Sigh.  Anyway, I did some more setup work after I got home and be-spectacled.  And I'll maybe take the phone on my lunch break and do a practice walk in our long halls at work, to make sure I really know how it works.  Then I can start using it with Wednesday's run.  

In other news, I ordered new running shoes yesterday.  The thing is I can't run more than 3 days a week on my poor old shoes without making my arthritis flare.  And I need to be stepping it up for that training.  So (with apologies to my son, the constant advocate for a sustainable planet/economy), I bought a pair on Amazon.  I know.  It's not shopping local - according to the boy, it's worse than shopping Wal-Mart as far as harming the small business owners.  I feel like a jerk.  But my favorite shoe store was sounding like it might be MONTHS until the next good sale, and I need new shoes NOW.  I'd have to pay $110 plus tax for them at the store; I paid $53 for them, including shipping, online.  So I'm happy they are coming and sorry to my local business owner. 

With the money I saved, I could buy new wool running socks.  All of mine have holes.  What a good idea!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

a bit mucked up but at least i have a plan

While I was in Chicago this past weekend, I went to Fleet Feet, the store where I bought my running shoes, hoping to find another.  I got my feet measured again to make sure nothing has changed.  Unfortunately, they had nothing in my size under $110, so I came home without new shoes.  Probably I'll look 'em up on Amazon soon - after all, it is 4 months until the Bix, and if I'm gonna have a prayer of running the entire 7 miles with no walking at all, I need to be getting more serious about training.  

Unfortunately I have not modeled that this week.  I had my running clothes with me when I went to Chicago, but in a moment of not thinking things through fully, I didn't pack my shoes (because "I was going to buy a pair," you know.)  So there was no run on Monday.

And then my brother surprised us all with a visit all the way from Arizona, so I was up too late Monday night to get up and work out yesterday morning.  Which was still not yet stressing me out.  I went to bed last night looking forward to this morning's run. 

But then in the night, I developed some very ouchy pain in 3 of my toes.  As in, every time I rolled over, the feeling of the blankets pushing on them made me suck in my breath and whine.  I'm not sure what that's about, other than I suspect it's because I walked around quite a bit in not-running-shoes this weekend while in Chicago.  Who knows.  Monday night and yesterday, I had a similar sort of pain in my right hand, to the point where I couldn't really pick anything up or squeeze anything without wanting to cry and feeling it go weak.  

All of that seems like joint related stuff, so maybe it's more arthritis showing itself.  For now, I'm going to assume I'm just dehydrated.  After all, I've not been very intentional about water lately.  And I know water makes a major difference in how my joints feel.  So!  Today, I drink, drink, drink water and trust that the pain that left my hand and went to my toes will leave me altogether.

And that I can run tomorrow.  Gotta get training!  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

take THAT, brady street hill!!!

Had to run a friend to the airport very early this morning.  It was the perfect opportunity - I already knew from last night that my bridge has too much snow and ice on it for a good run - so on the drive home I took a detour to drive up Brady Street hill to do a sidewalk check.  I was happy see that it was cleared enough for a run.

Oh, the Brady Street hill.  Truth is I started dreading the run as soon as I realized it was possible.  So BIG.  So long, so steep, so much.  Wahhh!!!  But what I know about that is:  it is possible.  All I have to do is make a choice, each step:  I will not stop. 

And...I did it.  Here in snowy March, far from the weather that lets me really get great outdoor exercise.  I kicked Brady Street hill's butt.  I mean...not by much.  I thought I was going to throw up, about a block from the top.  But all that matters did not defeat me.  AHA, my worthy opponent!!  

And then followed the always-gratifying run down Main Street hill.  Love the way I can feel running downhill working in my thighs and butt.  Always, always, always makes me glad.  

This morning I am grateful for not falling.  There WERE a few bad spots after all - stuff you can't see from the car.  Where the snow has been melting and running off and freezing in perfect slickness on the pavement.  If I weren't the slow, careful, plodding runner that I am (and even slower and more careful than ever, this morning)...I'd have been down at least 3 times.  As it was, I just felt the little oopsie as my feet slid around a little.  No harm, no foul.  

BRING SPRING!  I am ready.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

yummo strange cheap fast tacos

Just stopping by to say that I've been eating this VERY FAST FOOD the last 2 nights.  It's a decent choice, I think...just an odd variation of taco:

very little bit of brown rice, cooked
seasoned black beans (found cans of them at Target), drained and heated
tons of chopped raw cabbage

Just make it into tacos.  I'm here to tell you...YUMMY, YUMMY food.  And cheap.  And super fast, if you're like me and keep cooked brown rice in the fridge.  

Cynical?  Come on...try's good!

countdown workout and an ozzie quote for the day

I did what I am now calling the "countdown workout" this morning, in the warmth and dryness of my apartment, as the beautiful snow fell outside my windows.  You know...the countdown workout:

jumping jacks
jump ropes

First 10 of each, then 9, then 8, etc all the way down to 1.  

I had made the decision last night that this is what I would do.  I now have a little piece of paper with that list typed out, to help me, because as we know, KAREN CANNOT THINK at 5 in the morning.  So I lay the list on the table and have to look at it literally between EVERY SINGLE TRANSITION.  

Still, it's a beautiful thing.  I can do it in my dark apartment, with only the indirect lighting of the streetlights outside.  No noise has to happen.  No other human voices or music I didn't choose.  It's a nice pick for me, for a light workout on my days of not running.  

Here's hoping they clear the sidewalks well today.  I'd love to be back at running tomorrow.

In other news, I saw this quote on my Oswald Chambers site this morning...very apropos to the naked page, methinks (discipline, discipline, is our friend, alas):

Much of the misery in our Christian life comes not because the devil tackles us, but because we have never understood the simple laws of our make-up. We have to treat the body as the servant of Jesus Christ: when the body says “Sit,” and He says “Go,” go! When the body says “Eat,” and He says “Fast,” fast! When the body says “Yawn,” and He says “Pray," pray!

Monday, March 4, 2013

ahh that's more like it!

The past several Mondays, I have had trouble stretching before my workout.  My muscles have been tight and resistant.  I have had to be careful not to hurt them in the process of trying to stretch them.  

I think that has been because I haven't found the time or made it a priority to get some exercise over the weekends.  After yesterday's bike ride, my muscles were joyously cooperative this morning for the stretch.  

Truth:  I woke up SO EXCITED to get to run outside again.  Though the snow is falling hard now, it was just a little spitting rain when I was out there.  Just enough to make me feel like a badass, and we all know how much Karen loves that.  

Still, I haven't run in a week or two because of the weather.  Have done stairs and such, but not run.  Which means it was a hard push, doing my usual 2.5 miles.  My legs got heavy as lead, even though the rest of me was in happy celebration mode.  

But that's just lost momentum.  I know how to gain it back.  :-)  

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Today I rode my bike!  It was so great.  The weather was somewhere up around 34 degrees or something.  I have found that some of the Iowa bike path is cleared.  I was able to ride over to and around Credit Island, and also the opposite direction from my house for quite awhile before coming to an unplowed area.  

I had to come home and soak in the hot bathtub.  The cold made my knees hurt, and made the fat part of my thunder thighs cold, and that can take many hours to warm back up without help.  Nothing like a nice searing hot soak in a bubble bath to regulate the ol' body temp.  Bubble bath is a very Sunday appropriate activity, don't you think?

Tonight my legs are sore from riding.  Just the right kind of sore.  MAN it's good to have been back out there riding, even if it was just a little 10 miles or so.  

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.  BRING ON SPRING!

Friday, March 1, 2013

indoor workout again

Snow kept me indoors again this morning.  It looks wet out my window.  Last year, I ran in snow quite a bit, but it was mostly powdery dry stuff.  This looks splashy wet, and that's not cool (or, more precisely, it's FREEZING) with my mesh running shoes.  

So instead I stayed in.  Since I WILL NOT be derailed by weather, I resorted to the indoor workout again.  Ten minutes of stairs that felt like an hour and left my leg muscles still trembling an hour later.  I got in 100 crunches, 75 of which were on the ball and the other 25 on the floor.  100 push ups, 75 of which were on the ball and the other 25 on the floor (everything is SO MUCH HARDER on the floor!)  Bunch of arm work with my hand weights.  And 40 or so of those side leg lift thingies, along with 3 rounds of doing the plank until I fell (which is a VERY SHORT time at this point).  

I didn't do my little "rounds" of jumping jacks, squats, etc this week...that was a great workout, but both Tuesday and Thursday my workouts got derailed by very late nights, the nights before.  Keeping my many commitments means, unfortunately, doing NONE of them perfectly.  But I look forward to getting back to those rounds next week.  That was a good workout, for my "off" days.

A friend cued me in to another possibility to aid the indoor workout - the kettlebell, which Wikipedia describes as "a cannonball with a handle." She tells me it's a pretty vigorous workout and it for sure meets my requirement of being usable in darkness and silence and low speed and without allowing that other people might dare to exist on my planet at 5 AM.  :-)  I hear it is way cheap at WalMart ($15) so maybe I'll weather what I hatefully call "the headache store" (because I have my headache before I even get out of the car, when I visit a WalMart Superstore) to get one.  

Someone told me it is going to snow throughout March.  I hope not.  I miss running!!!