September 26, 2022

Some Fun Facts for Monday

I started to write out a post about mental health, but I am too exhausted right now after cross country practice to really write out what I want to say. I'll need to save that for when I have more time. But I haven't posted any fun facts in a while, and I thought these ones were interesting!

I'm so curious if this is true! Anyone live in Alaska that can confirm? I've always wanted to visit Alaska--actually, it's the only place in the world that I have a very strong desire to see--and this seems kind of funny that they pay you to live there, haha.  

I'm curious if the bear would have run off if another song was playing--or if it really just didn't like Justin Bieber ;)

I'm a very emotional person (I cry over everything--happy or sad!) so I can't even imagine what my face would look like, haha. 

Well, this was a bummer for him! I guess someone had to be the first, but yikes. What a way to try to prove a point! It reminds me of this episode of Stuff You Should Know (a super interesting podcast!). The episode was about inventions that go wrong (well, inventions that kill), and a man spent years trying to perfect a parachute. He tested it by jumping off the Eiffel Tower, and "dropped like a sack of potatoes" (the host's words--the way he said it was really funny!). 

This one felt very fitting, considering Queen Elizabeth II just passed away. I absolutely love this about her--that act alone shows the compassion she had. I think compassion is a trait that is often overlooked, but it says everything about a person.

I have therapy tomorrow morning, so maybe that will be a good day to write my mental health post, haha. I've only had three sessions and it's been so nice having someone neutral to talk to about all of the things that are overwhelming me right now! I actually really look forward to going each week.

September 25, 2022

A Morning At Eastern Market

I don't know why it popped into my head a few days ago, but I realized I hadn't been to Eastern Market in Detroit in a very long time. I think the last time I went was during my girls' weekend with Caitlin, Andrea, and Bonnie in 2016. Eastern Market is a huge farmers' market with vendors that have everything from plants and flowers to homemade baked goods, fresh cheese to an abundance of jams and tea and all sorts of good stuff.

I absolutely love Detroit, and it'd been a while since I was there (for any reason). The murals on buildings are my favorite!

 I know my mom loves Eastern Market as well, so I asked her if she wanted to go with me on Saturday (yesterday) morning. The market opens at 6:00 AM, so we headed out super early. It was a little bit drizzly, but the market is mostly in "sheds"--enormous tents.

This stand just looked so pretty! I had never seen purple cauliflower before.

I went to the market with one real mission--to find foods that I'd never tried before so that I could taste them. Our Kroger, where I grocery shop, has limited produce and there isn't much variety. So I wanted to try some new things.

My bags were getting heavier after pretty much each stand we went to, haha

I was very excited to see this (stalk?) of Brussels sprouts. I LOVE Brussels sprouts and so do my kids! Eli is a picky eater, but he really does love them when I sauté them in coconut oil or roast them.

I've always been such a shy, quiet person, and over the last year or so, I've been making a point to step out of my comfort zone and talk to people. Every time I go to the grocery store or anywhere in public, really, I've started talking to people. Sometimes I just say a word or two, and sometimes I have full conversations. Well, the market is the perfect place to have conversations with people.

I really enjoyed chatting with a man who was selling a ton of different flavors of jam. All of them are vegan and don't even contain any pectin. My favorite part was the creative names, though! Check these out:

One that caught my eye was called Sweet Jesus and it was a sweet jalapeño jam. I asked him what people do with it, because I couldn't picture using it (but I love jalapeños!). As soon as he mentioned putting it on a grilled cheese, I was sold.

I've been using a vegan cheese recipe that I really like (it doesn't get firm enough to slice or shred, but stays in a very thick cheese-sauce consistency--it's what I use on my homemade pizzas). The thought of thick sourdough bread with the vegan cheese and Sweet Jesus jalapeño jam just sounded heavenly. So I bought a jar of that.

He was also selling gift tins of a variety of smaller jars, and my mom bought one for me!

My absolute favorite stand, however, was where a man was selling vegan cheese spreads. (The honey and cinnamon is not vegan because of the honey, but the others are.) He offered me a sample and I couldn't decide, so I asked what his favorite was. He said the herb is his favorite, so I chose that.

He spread a little on a slice of baguette, and it was SO delicious! When I saw the ingredients, I thought I could definitely make it at home--but I wanted to buy some so that I could try to replicate it the best I can.

It's kind of interesting--since becoming vegan, I've started seeing foods differently in that I can make so many items myself--instead of buying hummus, for example, it's so easy to make it instead. I almost bought a dried bean mixture, but when looking through the types of beans/peas/lentils in it, I discovered that I had all of those things at home and could just put it together myself.

By the time I came home, this was my haul:

A few new to me foods:

I forget what these pears are called, but the vendor said that people either love them or hate them, haha.

I couldn't help but try the purple cauliflower! I cut it into florets and plan to roast them tonight.

I don't remember what this squash was called--at least I think it's a squash!--but I thought that would be fun to try as well.

I also bought purple potatoes (!), cranberry beans (never tried those), collard greens for Jerry's Beans & Greens recipe, and some staples: Yukon gold potatoes, jalapeños, green beans, Brussels sprouts, and corn on the cob. I made a corn chowder with the fresh ears of corn last night and it was delicious! I don't use fresh corn very often.

Oh! And one more thing I was very excited about:

Fresh garlic. I know it sounds silly, because you can buy it anywhere, but I can't remember the last time I bought garlic that was actually FRESH from the grocery store. Every time I try it, it's old and bitter inside. So, I always just buy minced garlic in a jar. I've missed roasted garlic, though, and I can't wait to roast these and put them on pizza.

Finally, this picture is kind of random, but there is a story behind it. Jerry and I love the movie Meet the Parents with Ben Stiller, who plays a man who is trying to impress his girlfriend's dad. He stops inside a convenience store and asks the bored looking employee at the counter what their most expensive bottle of champagne is. The guy said they have Mums on sale for $13.95, and Stiller's character asks, "You don't have anything nicer, like an $80 or $100 bottle?" and the guy replies, "You could buy a whole bunch of Mums."

Jerry and I always laugh at that part and it's one of those movie phrases we say randomly sometimes. (We quote movie lines all the time!). When I saw all of these mums, I just had to get a picture of me with "a whole bunch of mums", haha.

Anyway, it was a great morning at the Market and I definitely want to go more often. We were home by 10:30 AM and I had a huge pile of produce to eat this week!

September 24, 2022

My First Mammogram!

For some odd reason, ever since I was a teenager, I associated age 40 with having yearly mammograms. Maybe I heard my mom talk about it, or saw info about it on Oprah, or something like that--but it has stuck with me ever since. You turn 40 and you get a mammogram. 

Well, this was my year. I don't know why 40 is the magic number, but I knew on my birthday that sometime this year I'd have a mammogram. I wasn't worried about it or anxious about it or anything. It just feels like a rite of passage when you go over the hill. (I've always hated that expression, by the way--"over the hill"--yikes!)

I saw my gynecologist last week for an annual exam, and he said that it was time to schedule a mammogram. The hospital called and said they had an opening today at 2:00, and despite being a Saturday, I said sure.

I actually laughed about it with Jerry because I have very small boobs (yes, I should probably be mature and use the word "breasts", but I call them boobs). At this weight, I am an A cup! And that A cup is mostly loose skin from my weight loss, hahaha. So Jerry and I joked that the machine would just keep flattening my boobs until they were spread out paper thin--kind of like when you use a press to flatten pizza dough.

My appointment was at 2:00, but they said to get there 15 minutes early. I brought my Kindle with me to read while I waited, but I didn't even get to read a full page before I was called back. The woman who did the mammogram was super nice. She told me to undress from the waist up and she gave me a gown to wear.

It was such an odd feeling putting on the gown--I remember when I was 253 pounds, the hospital gowns wouldn't fit me. I had to wear two--one with the opening in the back and one with the opening in the front to avoid exposing myself. Today, I was swimming in the gown.

I always pictured a big, cold, white, sterile room with a huge machine. Instead, it was small and intimate and I felt totally comfortable. The only other person in the room was the woman who'd given me the gown. I told her I was a blogger and asked if she minded if I took a picture--it's always a little awkward asking people that! But I like to have pictures in case other people wonder what it's like as well.

We chatted while she "arranged" my right boob on the machine (which was actually very comfortable--for some reason, I pictured it to be extremely uncomfortable and cold). 

My gown was wider than the machine, hahaha

Then as it pressed down for the images, it just felt a little like a blood pressure cuff when it tightens around your arm, only it didn't feel *as* tight as the arm cuff. It wasn't bad at all! She had me turn to the side for another image, and then we repeated the process with my left boob.

And that was it! It was so fast. Faster than getting x-rays, even. I went back in the changing room and was surprised to see that my chest was red above where it was squished a little; it didn't hurt, though.

I got dressed, and was back in the lobby by 1:57--three minutes before my actual appointment time! I couldn't believe what a fast and easy appointment it was. I told Jerry I'd rather do that again than any other doctors' appointments (especially the dentist--I despise going to the dentist!).

I won't have the results for a couple days, but I'm not worried about it. What I *am* worried about? I also have to have a colonoscopy this year! Most people don't have to have them until they are 50 (some say 45), but after my mom had a colonoscopy, she was told that she had something going on (I think polyps?) and that her children should start having the procedure at age 40.

Everything about it is scary to me, but especially the prep. I've heard and read that it's awful and you have to start a few days before the actual procedure--eating a low fiber diet for a few days (I have no idea what I'll eat, because as a vegan, I eat a ton of fiber); then nothing but clear liquids for a day before. And the worst part--drinking some awful liquid that basically makes you poop your brains out until there is nothing left. After reading about the procedure, I feel like I'll probably need to set up camp in the bathroom.

I haven't scheduled that appointment yet, but I am seeing my primary care doctor soon for a wellness visit, so I'll likely schedule it then. I'm definitely not looking forward to it! If you're not too embarrassed, please feel free to share your experiences ;)

September 23, 2022

Friday Night Photos

Gosh, I got so used to not writing a post all week that now it feels weird to actually find the time to write one! I just got home from our first cross country meet (well, it was our second, but the first one was canceled due to a thunderstorm just minutes before we were supposed to start).

It's now 8:30 and Jerry is making dinner so I can write this post. Oddly enough, I don't have a ton of photos this week (at least not very exciting ones). Most of the pictures on my camera are of measurements and pictures of electrical outlets and things like that--so boring!--because I sent them to my brother and/or brother-in-law to ask if I was doing things correctly in the bedroom and bathroom remodel.

Here are some photos, however...

I was SO COLD (I'm always cold) but I finally busted out my Detroit Lions onesie and even a winter hat to wear in bed, hahaha.


I have a Jeep Renegade, which is definitely not very big, but today I managed to fit a bifold door, 12 pieces of casing, 3 pieces of a door jamb, and a small bag of other stuff from Menards. I was pretty impressed with myself! Even more impressed that I carried the bifold door while pushing a cart full of the other stuff.

I made this General Tso's tofu a few days ago and I TOTALLY over-baked the tofu. I forgot about it in the oven until I smelled it--it was so overcooked that it had the texture of croutons. I tried to soften it with the sauce, but it tasted terrible and was still very crunchy. It looked great though! I'll try again another time and remember to set the oven timer.

I thought it would be fun to show this behind-the-scenes picture of my Wednesday Weigh-In selfie... since my room and bathroom are torn apart and there is stuff EVERYWHERE, I had to move this full length mirror someplace where it would be tall enough to see me, where the light wasn't causing a dark shadow, prop it up onto something so it was high enough, and put something behind it to keep it from falling over. This is what it looks like when it's not cropped! 

I went out to the garage to cut some drywall, and when I turned over a piece, I saw THIS ENORMOUS MONSTER on the drywall! We had our garage sprayed for spiders earlier this year, but I guess this one snuck in. I despise spiders and this gave me the heebie jeebies.

I was organizing some prizes for cross country and Chick decided that he could definitely fit inside this  box. (The buckwheat pillow in the box was not one of the prizes, hahaha--I got it for my dad for his birthday.)

I saw this on the wall in the garage and thought it was pretty--I couldn't figure out what was making it, though.

I saw this truck at Lowe's isn't it the coolest?! Even the color of it is perfect.

I wanted to burn the world when I heard CHRISTMAS music playing at Lowe's! And they were stocking the shelves with Christmas stuff. It's mid-September, people. Then I had Christmas music in my head all day.

Duck was "helping" me work on some cross country stuff. When I don't pay attention to him, he just lies on my binder so that I am forced to pay attention to him ;)

Duck doing his sploot. It never gets old!

My friend Jack, Jerry, and Noah all went disc golfing. I thought it was really cool that Jack and Jerry included Noah. He really likes playing.

I have no idea what I was thinking here, but clearly I was concentrating very hard. Or just looking at whatever it is I just messed up. I can't tell you how many swear words were uttered shouted while working on this bathroom. 

The baby squirrels that were born in the spring are getting so big! And very brave. They are coming closer and closer to the door for nuts now.

Jerry sent this picture to me--the bumper sticker is SO perfect for me! I really need it.

My parents' neighbors decided to cut down an enormous tree that was between their houses. It was pretty amazing! My dad was acting goofy here, like he pushed it over or something, haha.

These pictures kind of tell a story of how my sweet little Duckling is a genius cat...

It's 1:00 AM and I'm trying to sleep. I hear Duck playing with something in the bathroom, and since the bathroom has SO many tools and things in it right now, I got out of bed to investigate. Somehow, he found this string from a plumb bob that I'd put way in the corner of the counter (for the very purpose of keeping it away from the cats--we all know how much Duck loves to get into string). Well, that is what he was playing with--trying to get it out of the corner.

I put it in my tool box on the floor and tucked it underneath some stuff in there so that you couldn't see it. (no picture). Then I went back to bed. A couple of minutes later, I heard him in there again. I went in to see what he was doing, and he'd dug the plumb bob string out from underneath everything!

So, I tucked it back into the tool box and then put a hamper basket over the whole thing and went back to bed. Not even a few minutes later, I heard him again. Got out of bed AGAIN. Only to find this:

I swear, he is the smartest, most determined cat I've ever known. So, I just took the time in the middle of the night to take everything off the counter, put it in my closet, and shut the door.

Finally, this moment was a (small) "win" that I definitely needed this week. I hung two pieces of rectangular drywall, which was no big deal; but then I was trying to figure out how I was going to Tetris the heck out of the top part. 

I was thinking about how many pieces, where to cut, etc. Out of spontaneity, I figured, what the heck--I'll try to do the math and make the whole thing fit in one giant piece. It wasn't as simple as it sounds--the ceiling is angled, so I had to calculate the angle (4.4 degrees) and then cut out the shapes to fit the doorway.

I couldn't believe it when I saw it fit like a glove on the first try!

Clearly, I get very excited over the little things these days ;)  I've finished hanging all the drywall and now I'm working on taping and mudding.

And that's all I've got! I am going to eat some of the lo mein that Jerry made, get cozy in bed, and watch some Dexter. Tomorrow morning, my mom and I are headed to Eastern Market in Detroit (a farmer's market). We leave bright and early at 5:45 AM!

Have a great weekend! xo

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