Monday, June 20, 2011

Road trips bring the world together.

The hubs and I just completed an eight-hour road trip. Here's the thing with road trips. They always sound fun - kind of retro and All-American. And they are fun, when the right song is on the radio to belt out (off-key, much to the dismay of my husband).

However, not so much when you have to go the bathroom.

We stopped at our first gas station, and it did not have indoor plumbing. We had to use the portapotty in the dirt lot beside the station. I told the hubs as I walked out, "Whatever you do, don't look down."

By lunch, we upgraded to the travel center offering both a Quizno's and a Dairy Queen. While we ordered sandwiches (Quizno's subssssssssssss. They are gooooooooood. Or so sayth that weird, annoying, yet slightly charming commercial from a few years ago.), the hubs charmed me with stories of cleaning out the ice cream machine when he worked at Dairy Queen as a young lad.

But seriously, yall, the next exit took the cake. I was charmed by the exit signs promising Starbucks. I wanted some coffee to counter the images of portapotties still crowding my head. When we exited, we saw this sign, situated in middle-of-no-where USA across from a corn field.

Yes, that is a Starbucks, a Denny's, a Subway, and a Burger King. Something for everyone.

Would you like an obnoxiously large chair for your man cave?

They will ship it to you for $89.98 plus tax! (If you don't believe me that it was obnoxiously large, note that the piece of paper is 8 1/2 X 11.)

The Starbucks? Not a random gas station coffee bar "proudly serving Starbucks coffee." Oh no. This was the real deal. I didn't know whether to be impressed or annoyed that Starbucks sold out.

And at each gas station we stopped at, people from all walks of life were doing the same thing we were. Pumping gas, going to the bathroom, marveling at the bizarreness of it all.

The moral of the story is this: At some point on a road trip, every one of us - black, white, lawyer, student, whether you own a Mercedes or '89 Chevy Cavalier - will have to go to the bathroom above all else and our only option will be a gas station with no indoor plumbing.

But, please don't worry. Our end location has indoor plumbing. And a lovely view.

(Welcome to National Harbor, Maryland. Work beckoned, but we'll enjoy some fun time as well.)

Joining up with Carissa to share this travel miscellany.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Confirming stereotypes

Today, as we were walking the dog, the hubs looked at me and said, "Guess what?"

"I don't know. What?" I responded.

"I weighed myself for the first time since before we started our Daniel diet. I guess the fruits and veggies really cleansed the ol' colon. I went from 200 lbs to 188."

"Seriously? The only weight loss benefit I got from our temporary diet is that the shorts that were definitely too tight now sort of fit."


(This is our fridge the night of day five. That organic peanut butter - Maranatha organic peanut butter with a hint of sea salt - was worth every penny.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Still running (and doing other stuff)

Apologies for my temporary disappearance. Lately, I've needed every precious hour for work, friends, running (more on that in a minute), and generally keeping up with life. Work, in particular, was tough last week, but I'm glad that this week has lightened up somewhat. Since I've been gone -

I've successfully run(/walked) each day this month for a minimum of 30 minutes. (My streak technically extends back to May 31, but who's counting?) I initially started out doing 2 min running/4 min walking. (I'm taking my cues from the Jeff Galloway school of running. He's all about walk breaks.) This past Saturday, I shifted to 2 min running/3 min walking. I'm actually looking forward to running each day. It's the best feeling ever knowing that you've already checked that box before you start your workday. Plus, we're having consistent 90+ degree days that feel like 100+, so the morning or late, late evening is really the only possible option to get out and run and not pass out (according to my logic, at least).

 This picture doesn't have to do with this blog, but it cracks my hubs up, and he actually went so far as to say, "You should post THAT to your blog." So I am.

We also attempted a 10-day diet of only fruits and veggies (plus, legumes, organic peanut butter and olive oil) diet. The diet is a slightly altered version of the Daniel diet. (In the Daniel diet, you can also eat whole grains.) The day before we started, we trekked to Whole Foods. (As a general rule, we do not shop there for obvious budgeting reasons.) We bought kale and tomatoes, carrots and brussel sprouts, zucchini and squash, bananas and apples. All organic and/or local. We put it all in our fridge. We were ready. This was going to be an exercise in willpower and an opportunity to cleanse our bodies of the junk we'd been eating en mass lately.

We only made it to day 5.5. I was bummed. We'd actually completed the entire 10 days once before, before we were married. (My mom and dad also participated, and my dad swore off edamame and black bean and corn salsa permanently as a result.) This time, my body was angry at me pretty much the entire time. After the no-caffeine headache wore off, I just felt rough.

Needless to say, I'm thankful for the addition of whole grains and dairy back into our diet. We have chosen to continue our "low sugar/no dessert" policy indefinitely. Right now, Diamond's brown sugar and cinnamon almonds are the closest I come to eating dessert. (Please try them. They are amazing. Like a cinnamon graham cracker meets an almond.) I also had my first cup of coffee in a week last night, and I only drank half of it. I do think I feel healthier all around with our basic diet changes.

 When B made our "clean out the fridge" omelet the night before our diet begin, the three eggs he cracked smiled back at us.

We also spent a few hours at Sullivan's Island on Saturday. The kite in the background of this photo belongs to our friend, Harold, and, dude, this is not your grandmother's kite. It's actually really fun - and really hard - to fly.

Moving forward, we're going to go to the beach more often. I just made that decision. Even this "non-beach" girl can't resist the occasional nap in the sand.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hitting the Pavement for 30 Days

There's a blogger whose posts I look forward to. Her blog is appropriately titled Enjoying the Small Things, and her perspective is enhanced by her amazing grasp of photography and a second child born unexpectedly with Down Syndrome. She has quite the following.

A few days ago, she referenced Amy Poehler's Harvard commencement speech, in which Amy said:

Be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you. Spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. No one is here today because they did it on their own. ...take your risks now. As you get older, you become more fearful and less flexible..."

Kelle, the writer behind Enjoying the Small things, made the following challenge:

"Running every day, finally slapping paint on those bedroom walls, losing those five pounds, making it through a few nights of primitive camping, setting up the guitar lessons--they are all small challenges in the grand scheme of things. But tackling small challenges leads to overcoming larger ones, and sharing the conquest with others makes it more attainable, and definitely more fun.

It's a new month. Do something fabulous."

That was just the kick-in-the-pants I needed. Yesterday, I mentioned that I'd run two days in a row. Today, I ran again. So, in honor of Kelle's informal challenge, I'm formally taking one of my own.

I'm going to run everyday this month.

It's not a big deal, "in the grand scheme of things," but I liked Kelle's reminder that tackling small challenges leads to overcoming larger ones.

At the end of the month, I'd like to be running (okay - jogging with no walk breaks) a 5K. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. But, I'm giving myself the challenge.

Also - I totally miss the post-race high.

Me after completing the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco (Oct. 2009)
(Photo unabashingly stolen from Steph's Facebook albums)

(Previously, I ALWAYS ran with my iPod. These past runs I've forgotten the iPod, so I've run in silence. It's kind of nice.)

(Also, whenever I'm exercising on the elliptical, I watch TV on the little screen attached to the machine. I always end up going faster when that commercial for the Delta touch faucet comes on ("Your hands can so many, many things..."))

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I don't think her name is Charlotte.

This morning I turned on the sprinkler to water our hydrangeas. When it returned to turn it off, I was met face-to-face with this girl. She's no joke.

I loved Charlotte's Web, so sI'd prefer to think that spiders aren't all bad. Maybe she's spinning a web for some pig.

I would never want to find her in my shoe or on my arm or crawling in my direction. (I'm the person who turns any shoe left in the garage upside-down and bangs liberally to ensure all crawling things get out of dodge.) However, hanging out on her web, she looked pretty peaceful.

Does anyone happen to know if she is a brown recluse? Also, whatever you do, don't google "brown recluse spider bites." Ugh.

When I'm not becoming the world's next great nature photographer (ummm...yeah), I'm busy getting back on the exercise bandwagon. I didn't fall off it entirely - I was doing something at least 3-4 times a week. But, obviously, it wasn't enough, because my shorts from last summer didn't seem to fit as well. So, it's time to crack down. The hubs offered to run with me yesterday (which is truely a labor of love for him), and we "wogged" 3 miles (2 mins running, 4 mins walking, repeat).

Seriously, May 31 is not the day to start an outdoor exercise routine in the south. But, when I looked at myself in the mirror-post wog, I remembered I liked the red face that comes from sweating it out jog-style. So, this morning, I laced up the shoes to part two. Ugh - again. Red again. Strange satisfaction again.

For me, running (run/walking, jogging) is the best way for me to reach/maintain my preferred weight. (In fact, I lost 20 pounds the year prior to meeting my husband training for and completing a half marathon with Team In Training Atlanta. If given the opportunity, please participate. You won't regret it.) To ensure I'm back on the bandwagon, I'm signing up for a 5K race in a couple months (and maybe treating myself to some new running shorts).

All of this talk of running seems appropriate since it's apparently National Running Day.

Tomorrow, I hope to have an update on our car hunt. So far, it's out of our price range or doesn't fit our criteria. But, we're staying strong. I hope Dave Ramsey would be proud.