My Word for 2015

So last year I chose the word Adventure to inspire me to step out of my comfort zone in 2014, and I very quickly came to that decision. I really wanted to be more adventurous and try new things, and most importantly, I was ready! I think I did an okay job of living up to my 2014 word: I participated in four 5k races, vacationed in Canada, embarked on a solo road trip across my home state of Washington, attended my 30th High School Reunion, and took ballet and tap dancing classes. Not too shabby, eh?

Finding my word for 2015 was not so easy. I really wanted to keep Adventure, because I still want to be adventurous and try new things. But, really, I needed to choose a new word, a different word. I can still have adventures, but I can work towards other goals as well. To help me decide, I participated in Susannah Conway's 5 day Find Your Word e-course and at the end of the fifth day I had two words that perfectly fit what I hope for my life in 2015: Calm and Create. I would like to be more calm this year, particularly about my health (which I'm hoping to improve upon this year with or without the help of the medical community), and I would also like to be more creative (stamp and do more crafts). After several days of internal deliberation, I decided to go with Create as my Word for 2015, because I don't just have to be creative with my rubber stamps, paper, and clay, but also with my health and fitness. I can try new recipes, supplements, and activities to become a healthier, happier person.

So there you have it! Create! I'm very excited and really looking forward to what this word leads me to! Did you pick a word to inspire you in 2015? Let me know in the comments! Happy New Year, and Cheers!

Friday Five: Weekend Recap

Earlier this week I meant to write up a comprehensive recap of last weekend's adventure in Morro Bay, but this week has been crazy busy for me, and I just didn't get it done. Therefore I'll be recapping briefly in five bullet points:

  • Morro Bay was beautiful! We had sunshine and blue sky Friday and Saturday, then a return to the usual overcast skies on Sunday, which was fine. The only problem was the wind, which was outrageously brisk!
  • Mom and I planned to just have dinner in our room Friday night, but with Bella Vino's Wine Bar and Bistro just down the street, we couldn't resist going for a glass of the delicious Green Eye Chardonnay and their amazing bruschetta!

  • Saturday was the Morro Bay High School Bands on the Run 5k/10k/Half Marathon. I walked the 5k in a little over an hour (I think; honestly I'm not sure how to read the sheet below. I thought I walked it in 1 hour 16 minutes, according to the timer by the finish line, but the sheet looks like it was 1 hour 32 minutes. I don't know. All I know is I FINISHED!!), and despite the pain in my shins and feet, had a good time. That deep sand is a bugger to walk through - I don't know how the runners did it!  Later, mom and I wandered around the quaint little shops along the Embarcadero and had lunch at Stax Wine Bar. I can't remember the Chardonnay we had there, but it was good, as was their Caesar Salad special with steak (although to be honest, the steak might've been better if it'd been cut in strips, rather than 1/4" cubes). Unfortunately, I ended up with some rather uncomfortable issues (which I've mentioned before), and spent the rest of the day just relaxing in the room as much as possible.

  • Sunday I felt much better (why? who knows? I don't even know why I felt miserable in the first place!), and we were able to do some more shopping along the Embarcadero where I ordered a silver ring with an etched floral design at an gallery shop in Marina Square and bought a darling bird nest garden stake (photo coming soon!) at another gifty shop,  and a summer-weight white sweater at Poppy's. I probably could've shopped more - Poppy's had some awesome jewelry as did Fiona Bleu gallery - but I really should clear out some old jewelry first, and also I ordered tons of stuff online recently, so there will be another closet purge coming soon, too!
  • Later we had lunch at Off the Hook where I had a delicious soft-shell crab sandwich and tried their Cosmo martini which was made from Sochu instead of vodka. It was pretty good, but I could tell it wasn't as strong as a vodka Cosmo would've been. After that we wandered around a little more then headed home to get ready for the week. We had to mow and water the lawn, and I had to prep for a full week of work as well as after-work activities every night this past week, including tonight which is the Art and Wine Tour downtown Atascadero - always a fun time - and tomorrow, Saturday, which is the Central Coast Oyster Festival in Avila Beach. Can. Not. Wait!

  • Bonus Bullet Point: Wow, reading this back it sounds like all I do is eat out, and drink wine and martinis! Really, my life is not always this much fun! Cheers!


June Resolutions

FYI: Monthly resolutions posts are inspired by Kim at The Kim Challenge.

It's been a while since I posted monthly resolutions, so I thought I'd give June a try! (Ha! I accidently typed "tri" instead of "try" the first time; might I have a "tri" on the brain?!?) Anyway, while I've accomplished a few of the goals I've set for myself recently, I'm still struggling in others, and will give it the old college try again this month.

First and foremost: I must. drink. more. water!!! I did very poorly with my water challenge last month, and really need to do better, so I'm trying again: drink a minimum of 6 glasses of water per day, preferably 8.

Second: walk more. While I participated in and completed a 5k this past weekend, I could really use more training before my next one. And the one after that. Also, now that the weather's better and I'm feeling better, I just really need to get out more!

Third: Wear more skirts and dresses. I tend to wear a lot of pants despite acutally owning several really nice dresses from IGIGI and Torrid, but this summer I want to branch out and try something different. To that end, I actually just purchased these three outfits to add to my collection (photos property of IGIGI, ganked from Pinterest):

Abtusedotoutfit Outfit3 Rosegardendress

I can't wait to try them on!! Cheers!

May Recap

So, I must admit that May 2014 was a bit of a win for me. I was finally able to convince my doctor I have polymyalgia rheumatica (or at least got her to just humour me), and got a trial run of medication, which has been working WONDERS. I truly hope now I can continue with it until I'm completely healed.

At the beginning of the year, I made the word "Adventure" my word and goal for 2014. Thus far I've done very little adventuring, and while I suppose can use my illness as an excuse for some of it, I have to be honest, and admit that frankly, I've been a little afraid to be adventurous and try new things. In an effort to break out of that rut (and because I am feeling so much better), I spontaneously signed up for Adult Beginning Ballet classes at a local studio Eleve Barre, in Atascadero. I've had two sessions so far, and while I'm suck mightily at it, it's a lot of fun as well as being a great workout!

Also, I was planning to add a third session with my trainer at Kennedy, but instead decided I would start reserving a lane at the pool and swim laps instead. I've always enjoyed swimming, and it's a great cardio exercise!

That won't be happening for a while, though, as today and next Friday are already booked. Today I'm taking off work early and heading to Morro Bay for the weekend where I will be adding to my Adventures by participating in the Morro Bay Bands on the Run 5K Saturday morning. I'm just walking it, not running, but I'm really looking forward to it! Then next Friday, I just discovered, is the quarterly Art and Wine Tour in Downtown Atascadero, which is always a fun time! And just to add to the Adventures, next Saturday June 7th, I'm going to the Central Coast Oyster Festival in Avila Beach for an afternoon of oysters, music and fun! It should be a total blast!

I'm exhausted just looking at that list, but SO excited to be feeling better, and able to try new things! Have a great weekend, y'all! Cheers!

Clean Eating: Turkey Pot Pie


This delicious low fat version of one of my favourite meals is from the November/December 2010 issue of Clean Eating magazine. I remember as a child I would get to have a steamy chicken pot pie fresh from the oven as a special treat. It wasn't homemade like this one, but a frozen dinner - probably Banquet brand - that came in its own little tin and had creamy chicken and veggies inside surrounded by a flakey crust outside. Despite seeing the steam pouring out of it when I broke the crust with my fork, I was unable to wait for it to cool down, and more often than not, burned my tongue on that first bite. Oh, that takes me back!

The Clean Eating version uses turkey instead of chicken (I'm sure you could use chicken if you wanted, but it was one of those "What to do with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey" recipes) and has a brown rice and parmesean cheese "crust".  It was pretty easy to make though there was a lot of prep work with all the peeling and chopping of carrots and turnips and onions,  and cutting the turkey breast into bite-sized pieces, and my stove/oven just takes longer to cook foods. Still, the final product not only looks wonderful but tastes amazing as well!


Clean Eating: Black-Eyed Pea Stew

This week's clean and healthy recipe comes from the March/April 2009 issue of Clean Eating magazine. Like last week's Salmon Corn Chowder, this is the first time I've tried this recipe and I'm wondering why?. It was super easy - just five ingredients! - and was a delicious vegetarian meal!

I've never had black-eyed peas or collard greens before and found both of them to be pretty darn tasty! The stew coulda used a little sprinklng of sea salt and fresh ground pepper - I totally forgot both of those things, and had used salt-free organic vegetable broth and diced tomatoes so there wasn't any salt in there at all! It was still pretty good, though and and the leftovers will make a yummy lunch tomorrow afternoon!


I'm really glad that one picture came out because right after that I tried to get a shot of the rest of the stew in the pot and totally dropped my camera in the stew! The camera still takes pictures, but the screen in the back is dead so I can't tell if I've turned off my flash or not, and can't tell if I'm on macro or not until I plug the card into a computer and check out the pics! Gah! I guess I'll be getting a shiny new toy for Christmas this year. Any suggestions on what my next camera should be? 

Tilapia Citrus Couscous Salad

The latest edition of the Clean Eating magazine arrived last week, and I was finally able to make one of the recipes from it for dinner tonight: The Tilapia Citrus Couscous Salad. It was super fast and easy to make and was really delicious. The only thing I would change would be to add more fish. The recipe called for either 4 small fillets or 2 large ones. I opted for the two large fillets, but really I think the recipe needs four large fillets to have enough fish to go with all the couscous.

Tilapia citrus salad

Furlough Wednesday


Last week we had our second furlough Wednesday at SupCo (furlough days are the third Wednesday of every month and run through next June, I believe), and I worked a half day with the other half being used to visit a couple doctors. The morning was awesome: Shauna and I shifted files at our off-site storage space and did some loose filing out there while we were at it. It was (in my opinion) a good enough workout that I cancelled my trainer for the evening without an ounce of guilt!

When I finished my shift, I headed to the Rheumotologist's office to see what other options/tests/ideas he had regarding my nearly two-year-old battle with iritis and whatever underlying inflammatory issue is causing it to persist. He didn't have any other tests he wanted me to take and he still doesn't have any idea what could be causing my problem, but he said it was time to try a more aggressive approach: a prescription for methotrexate. Taking a medication in and of itself doesn't bother me - I'm quite despirate to get my broken eyeballs back to normal and not have to put drops in them every day or wonder if I'm going to wake up to a violent flare that renders me legally blind thankyouverymuch - but the list of possible side effects the doctor recited to me was a bit unnerving: nausea/vomiting, mouth sores, temporary hair loss, persistant cough or shortness of breath, liver damage (therefore absolutely NO alchohol for the six months to one year I'm taking this stuff), skin rashes ... gah! 

Would it sound at all pathetic if I said the one thing that bugged me the most was not being able to drink wine/martinis/Scotch/beer/other alcoholic beverages for six months to a year? Probably, yeah, but that's the one restriction that really bummed me out. Seriously, how am I supposed to eat a plate of nachos without a Top Shelf Margarita? Or watch a Packers game without a beer? Or celebrate the end of another workweek without a glass of wine on Friday night? So, I went to Novo to drown my sorrows in a plate of Caesar salad with grilled chicken and a glass of Talley Estate Chardonnay. It was delicious - the salad and the wine. Oh, vino! I will miss you!

Anyway, my other doctor appointment with the Opthamologist was okay. Nothing new really: eyeballs are pretty much the same; no better, but no worse, either. I told him about the new medication, how the side effects were kinda scary, and he told me he didn't know of anyone taking methotrexate who had too much trouble with it. That made me feel a little better and I left the office less upset about that. However, I was still disappointed that my eyes weren't any better than the last time I was in there, and I must admit I felt a little down about the whole situation.

And so I decided it was time for some Retail Therapy! I stopped at Old Navy first in search of two pair of cords - dark green, which I found, and dark brown, which I did not. I ended up with a couple blouses, a Packers T-shirt for me and a Huskies T-shirt for my mom, and two pair of jeans as well. Next I went to the new Forever 21 that just opened in the space once occupied by Gottschalks. I went in knowing I could only purchase accessories, but I still grew more depressed after I saw all the adorable, fun, cute, funky, totally awesome clothes they carry. None of which I fit into. But, then I got to thinking, hey, maybe some of the side effects of my new meds won't be so bad after all! Nausea and vomiting?* No alcohol? Sounds like a perfect weight-loss combination to me! I'll be fitting into these darling skirts and skinny jeans and bedazzled t-shirts in no time!

Then, just when I had decided to embrace the nausea and vomiting I might suffer with my methotrexate in order to fit into cute clothes, I saw it: Faith21! Plus sizes! Granted that section is less than 1/4 of the entire store, but still ... Forever21 has PLUS SIZEd CLOTHES! And they're not all hideous - there were some really cute things. I ended up buying a pair of plaid pants, a dark purple tank top and a cropped, grey cardigan sweater (totally cute outfit, btw), and a faux leather biker jacket. I was surprised and thrilled and started to feel much better!

And now, today (Friday) I actually feel a lot better. I'm starting the methotrexate on Sunday and am confident that it will clear up my problem and by next spring all will be right with my world! The power of positive thinking, right?

*Great Big Fat Ginormous Disclaimer: okay, so I'm really kidding here and DO NOT AT ALL think that bulimia is an intelligen way to lose weight, just in case you didn't get the sarcasm there. kthxbai.

The Fullbar Experiment

So, I heard about this Fullbar thing on TV a while back - it's a flavoured puffed wheat bar you eat with 8oz of water a half hour before a meal. Supposedly it makes you feel so full that you'll eat less, kinda like gastric by-pass surgery, but without all the cutting and changing the size of your stomach. In fact the creator of the bar is a bariatric surgeon who apparently wanted to help those of us not fat enough for surgery to lose weight.

Well, I found some of the bars at Long's Drugs recently, and yesterday I tried one before lunch.



It's pretty good taste-wise. I had the Cranberry Almond which also contained a lot of cinnamon and sunflower seeds along with the almonds, cranberries and puffed wheat. It did make me feel full - although to be fair, I should confess I had been snaking on strawberries, red grapes, a Kashi cereal bar and half a fresh (as in still warm and gooey!!) rice crispy treat throughout the morning, so I could easily been just as full from all that. But, I must say that I had all morning been planning on getting the special from the Cafe downstairs (pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw and fries), but felt so full by noon that I just heated up the Healthy Choice Fresh Mixer (Southwestern Style Chicken) meal I'd brought from home, and it took me the whole lunch hour to eat it, rather than wolfing it down in ten minutes like usual.

So, in conclusion, I guess this first Fullbar experiment wasn't a very good one. I will have to try it again, on an empty stomach this time, to see if it really fills me up. Stay tuned!

Here in Ohio

When I came out here to visit my friend Jewel I knew there was a distinct possibilty I would be doing a lot of reading and playing with kitties while she rested and recovered from the bi-lateral PE she suffered a couple weeks ago. I did not anticipate, however, spending most of my first day here with her in the ER. But I guess we never plan these things; they just happen.

She was in a lot of pain and after we had lunch and were browsing a warehouse furniture store for a comfy chair for her new house, she started feeling lightheaded and the pain was worse. She called her doctor and he told her to go get it checked out. So here we are: Jewel getiing blood tests and Xrays and scans, and me waiting to see if I get to drive her home tonight, or if she'll be admitted.Here in Ohio