May 31, 2023

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 105

I love the way these jeans turned out! I've been super into altering my jeans lately, customizing them exactly how I want them. These jeans are comfy and I wear them frequently, but I didn't like the straight leg cut.

Today, I added a very skinny triangular gusset to the side to give them a little room in the calves (my calves are huge and that's why I can't wear straight leg jeans). I have several pairs that I added a large gusset to, because I like a big flare (bell bottoms are the best!), but I really wanted to use the hem from another pair of jeans (and the hem is only so long). I cut off the bottom hem of these jeans I'm wearing, added the gusset to the side and then added the bottom three inches from the other pair of jeans.

Anyway, I didn't think much about my diet at all this week--not a good thing, but not necessarily a bad thing, either. As for the scale, there isn't much to tell:

I was at 141.2, which is the same as last week. I feel like I'm holding onto a ton of water weight. I drank a ridiculous amount of water yesterday and the day before, hoping to drop some of the water I'm holding onto, but it didn't help. I'm going to continue to pound the water and hope that I start feeling less puffy.

Something I've missed lately is experimenting with new ingredients and cooking new recipes. When Eli started baseball, I got out of that habit because I was going to baseball games several nights a week and I just started cooking familiar meals out of convenience. Now that we aren't doing baseball, I have time to cook dinner every day; I just need to pick some recipes and try them.

I had a pretty relaxing week, overall. I felt kind of guilty about this, but I spent a lot of time sewing; I really needed the mental break from everything. And now that we're down to three cars (indefinitely) and four drivers, I have to plan ahead of time when to run errands. I forgot how disappointing it is when you get all ready to go somewhere and then walk out to your car only to remember that you don't have one!

Speaking of, the insurance company said that since Michigan is a "no-fault accident" state, we aren't entitled to compensation for any damages (i.e. the totaled car) like I'd hoped. The accident was 100% the other driver's fault, but with Michigan's laws, our insurance pays for us and the other driver's pays for her--but since we only had liability insurance with Eli's car, we don't get anything for it. Our insurance will pay for the x-rays Eli got of his wrist and knee. Other than that, we don't get anything from the insurance. 

I feel like it's so unfair--someone with a suspended license causes a bad accident, totaling Eli's vehicle (as well as her own), but she doesn't have any responsibility to pay for the damages. (At least that's how we understood it.) We're not hoping to get a brand new car out of this--just something comparable to what we had. We can't just go buy another car (even a cheap used one) right now.

Anyway, I had an appointment with my psychiatrist this morning and regarding my anxiety, we talked about the book he recommended to me ("When Panic Attacks" by Dr. David Burns). I've had a hard time doing the exercises in the book because it's hard to think of specific scenarios that cause anxiety--I have anxiety 90% of my time spent awake! Haha. So he came up with some examples and I'm going to give the exercises a try. (It's basically a LOT of introspection and identifying cognitive distortions.)

We've had gorgeous weather for the past couple of weeks, so I think for next week, my main goal is going to be to go for a run at some point. I know that sounds like nothing--a single run in an entire week--but I really just need to get started. And if it's just once this week, maybe it'll be twice next week!

May 30, 2023

Deep Thoughts With Jerry #16

Today is Tuesday! You know what that means... you get me (Jerry). Usually I answer a bunch of icebreaker questions that I find online. Today, a change of pace. I figured I would write a list of some of my favorite things in random categories. Here we go...

Favorite movie:

I think I answered this a couple months back. It might come as a surprise for some that know me a little bit. It's not a comic book movie, it's not Ghostbusters, and it's not Star Wars. It's TOP GUN. Shocker, I know. I've seen this movie so many times and it dates back to my early childhood. I was a military brat, so to speak.

My dad served in the Air Force for a combine 30 years between active and reserve duty. Seeing the fighters and bombers in the air left me awestruck and of course I would gravitate to the closest thing I could get to getting into the cockpit.  A couple years ago I was able to visit my friend John in San Diego and was able to take a car ride out to Miramar, home to the real Top Gun until 1996. 

Favorite TV show: 

Friends. By far. It's my go-to show for background noise in the house when I'm doing any kind of housework. I've seen all the episodes so many times that I don't need to be 'watching' it to know what exactly is going on.

However, there is a small outlier to this question. I've been an avid professional wrestling fan since I was very young. I don't remember where my love for it originated but I've been watching every single Monday since 1993. It's the longest episodic show on television with over 1,500 episodes, and I've seen them all. But, still, it's gotta be Friends. 

Favorite band: 

Very debatable. But I think that Rage Against The Machine is my all time favorite. I say it's debatable because the music bands put out changes with the times. I was a big fan of the Smashing Pumpkins and after their album 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness' their sound went way downhill.

Many of my favorites did that, but not Rage. They broke up before it happened to them. LOL. Nowadays, I focus more on the genre. And it also depends on my mood. Currently it's 4:30am and I'm listening to 'Rise and Grind' on Apple Music. It's a punk playlist that's updated weekly. Punk brings me into a good mood when I'm feeling down, which has been a lot lately. Music is a life saver. 

Favorite sport:

Baseball. Hands down. I'm not one of those stats guys who can tell you how the Atlanta Braves center fielder hits against right handed pitchers in open air stadiums. I just love watching the game. I can sit and watch the entire game, all 9 innings without even complaining about how long it is.

Obviously I am a fan of the Detroit Tigers, my hometown team. Across Lake Michigan is my adopted 2nd favorite, the Milwaukee Brewers. My friend Rik is a huge fan of the Brewers and we are determined to get to a game. I go out there once a year for the annual Milwaukee Brewfest and every single year the Brewers are on the road.

Favorite video game:

I've played so many video games over the years. So many. I'm a little particular when it comes to games. I was a Nintendo kid growing up, Katie was all about that SEGA. Mario was king for a very long time but my video gaming experience was turned upside down with the release of the Playstation, a disc based console.

With the Playstation came Final Fantasy 7, mind blowing. I spent so many hours in that world. When I finally beat the big bad boss at the end, Sephiroth, my console crashed and I never reached that point again. My disc was scratched so I was very lucky to make it to that point to begin with. So, to answer the question, Final Fantasy 7. The best. 

Favorite dinner:

I know I am eating plant based but I have to be honest about this... pork chops and rice. Hands down. I grew up with it and before I started eating plant based Katie used to make it, especially on my birthday. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

I don't know if there is a vegan option to replace the pork chop, cream of mushroom, and cream of celery... I should probably look into that. Katie has made a lot of delicious plant based dinners, and we are still finding really good recipes. 

Favorite snack:

This seems to change all the time. I love pretzels and potato chips, plain for both. 

Favorite beverage:

Just saying beer is too broad of a stroke. Even narrowing it down to a specific style is too broad. I love IPAs, a lot. My absolute favorite, and go-to, is Norm's Raggedy Ass IPA from Griffin Claw Brewing. As a matter of fact, I'm enjoying one as I'm writing this. 

Again, every year I go to the Milwaukee Brewfest. Breweries from all across the country come out to give out samplings of their new concoctions and their favorited brews. I experience all kinds of different flavors that weekend, but they never quite equal my Norms.  

Favorite chore:

LOL. Now I'm just adding shit to keep this post a little long! But, in all seriousness, I like cleaning up around the house. I can't explain it. Maybe Katie is just lucky, but I don't mind doing dishes or cleaning up anything. And I love vacuuming. There's something so satisfying about it.

My favorite:

[Katie here. Usually, I don't jump in on Jerry's posts even when I want to argue something or give my opinion ;) I wanted to just remove this "question" that he made up because of his response. Anyway, I swear on my life that I did not write this; nor did I prompt him to write it. Haha]

This is simple. My favorite (favorite=favorite out of anything) is my Punkin Pot Pie, Katie. She's my favorite everything. I love her sense of humor, her kindness, her compassion, and her squirrelliness. We have built quite the life together. A life that no one else will ever understand. A life of familiarity, compatibility, comfortability, love, and support. 

We have both been through a lot, her more than me. But through thick and thin and thick and then thin again we have persevered and beat the odds. I can't imagine my life being any other way and can't picture doing this with anyone else. She's 1/3 of my everything, but she's 100% my partner in this life. And, I'm so grateful.

May 29, 2023

Iron Deficiency (symptoms and an update)

I've written only a little about this because I never knew, until August, that I had an iron deficiency--for years. Because I've had symptoms of low iron (the most prevalent being ice chewing--I'm talking the equivalent of a gallon of water in ice EVERY DAY--my doctors would check iron levels, see that they were only borderline and tell me to consider taking a multivitamin with iron. (I could have sworn my symptoms were very noticeable at least a decade ago, but going through photos for this post, it looks like it wasn't until around 2016 that they got significantly worse.)

This lists a lot of the common (and less common) symptoms of low ferritin. (source)

My symptoms: There are a lot of symptoms that overlap with numerous other issues that could be causing the problem, so they aren't necessarily related to iron--things like fatigue, brain fog, and sleep problems. My "unusual" symptoms that made me stop and think a bit:  swallowing problems/lump in throat; shortness of breath; feeling cold (not just hands and feet); swooshing and pounding sounds in my ears--I can hear my heart beating and blood circulating a lot of the time and I always thought that was normal; restless legs--especially at night; brittle nails; sore tongue; (possible hair loss? I may have only imagined it after I realized how old I am getting, haha).

On top of those, I have the more common symptoms as well. I think the only thing on the list that I don't really relate to is the chest pain. Several of those are also symptoms of anxiety, so if the anxiety goes away, maybe those will clear up, too. But I can't ever picture my anxiety going away ;)

I've never been able to tolerate iron pills--even half of a multivitamin makes me SUPER nauseous for half a day. Since my iron was "borderline" through the years, I wasn't too concerned about it. I wasn't anemic--the blood tests showed that.

I wrapped myself up every evening like this inside of a sleeping bag because I was SO COLD all the time. A big symptom of iron deficiency.

However, I am severely lacking iron. I specifically asked for a ferritin test the last time I went to the doctor (August 2022) because my iron-deficiency symptoms were really bad. Ferritin is a good indicator of long-term iron levels rather than the shorter-term ones that the iron tests check, and is a better indicator for diagnosing iron deficiency. Nobody ever tested my ferritin until I asked!

Ideally, the ferritin number would be over 100. Mine? It was 9. NINE.

Over the next several months, I tried a lot of different iron supplements, trying to find one that didn't hurt my stomach (and was vegan). My sister suggested I join an iron-deficiency Facebook group (she has low ferritin as well) and someone in the group mentioned that she was having a really hard time finding a supplement that worked AND was gentle on her stomach. She said she finally found one called FERAPRO and she posted her updated iron bloodwork, showing normal levels--I was so interested because it just happened to be vegan as well. (The FAQ's from the FERAPRO site are helpful with a basic understanding of iron/ferritin and supplementing.)

(This is not a sponsored post, by the way. I'm not at all affiliated with the supplement or pharmacy.)

Unfortunately, it is only available in Canada--I had to order it from the website and it took a while to ship, but it eventually got here (and the price isn't bad at all--$65 for 100 days' worth. I think shipping was about $20, considering it's from Canada. I'm not sure if Canadian drug laws are similar to the U.S., but according to the pharmacy site this supplement is considered a schedule II drug and has to be obtained from a pharmacist, although you don't need a prescription. (You can get a telehealth consult with the pharmacist that you order from--here is the site that I ordered from.)

I am not at all affiliated with the company and I don't get anything for sharing this, but I am so excited because it seems to actually be working. My symptoms are continuing to get better. I've been religious about taking it the supplement--I take it every evening at dinnertime (I'm afraid to try it on an empty stomach). Because I have fortified cereal and soy milk every morning, I don't like to take the iron until later in the day. 

I haven't had another blood test (I think I'll ask for one when I finish this first bottle of iron). But I will be shocked if this is simply a placebo effect. The first change I noticed was that I stopped craving ice. Almost immediately! Over a period of a few days, I went from eating ice all day long to not craving it AT ALL. In 2017-ish, I remember Jerry would go out of his way after work to get 10-pound bags of ice from Sonic--almost daily. Then he and the kids gave me an ice maker for my birthday. Best gift ever, haha. 

The next thing I noticed is that I'm not freezing cold all the time. In the fall at cross country practice, I remember Renee gaping at me because I wearing long-sleeve thermal underclothes and jeans and a hoodie on top of it. And I was *still* cold, while everyone around me was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I wore hoodies all year long--literally. I even slept in hoodies and thermal pants! I would sleep inside of a sleeping bag under the covers on my bed--that's how cold I always was.

Jerry took this horribly unflattering photo of me when I was sleeping. My lower half was inside of the sleeping bag, topped with a comforter and duvet cover. I was wearing a hoodie--with a long sleeve shirt underneath. And those tumblers in the background? My chewing ice, of course!

After being on the iron supplements for a while (maybe a month?) I noticed that I wasn't getting cold at night. In the evenings, I was able to sit without a blanket--which is unheard of for me. I'm used to dressing extremely warm, so changing this habit hasn't been fun. I get super hot when I go places sometimes! When we were at Cedar Point last week, I wore a jacket on top of a t-shirt--even though I'd been warmer lately, I couldn't imagine the thought of not being freezing to death. However, I almost immediately regretted wearing it. The rest of the day, I kept wondering if I should just ditch it, because I was kind of hot wearing it. (The temp was mid-70s, I think... a few months ago, I would need a winter snow suit.)

Cedar Point in 2015

I'm back to sleeping in a t-shirt and no extra blankets. And I'm actually sleeping! I've mentioned having chronic insomnia for as long as I can remember; for the last month or so, I've actually been sleeping for 5-6 hours a night--*real* sleep, not the tossing and turning kind I'm used to.

I still have some symptoms, but those may or may not be caused from the low iron. It's hard to say whether "brain fog" or "fatigue" or symptoms like that could be caused from one particular reason--it's a symptom of numerous possible issues. I'm actually deficient in Vitamin D as well, and I'm not as good about taking that supplement (I can't take it together with the iron, and I tend to forget to take it).

Now that I've gotten very consistent about taking the iron, and I've seen how effective it is, I'm going to try being just as consistent about taking the Vitamin D. I don't have any other deficiencies, so I'm curious if correcting my iron and Vitamin D will curb those symptoms.

Anyway, I just wanted to update in case anyone else is iron deficient and hasn't been diagnosed (by ferritin check) and/or you haven't had luck with other iron supplements. I can't say if it will work for everyone like it has worked for me, but I'm so relieved to have found a supplement that is clearing up my symptoms AND that my digestive system can tolerate. I'm grateful that someone else posted their experience with it; otherwise, I never would have heard of it or given it a chance.

And ferritin? I almost feel like it should be a regular annual blood screen, especially for higher-risk people. (Menstruating females are especially susceptible. As are pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with gastrointestinal diseases, people who have had bariatric surgery, even kids who drink a lot of cow's milk! Cow's milk doesn't contain much iron and it can decrease the absorption of iron. (source)

I never would have asked for my vitamin levels to be checked if I hadn't become vegan in 2021. I wanted to make sure I was covering all the bases with my diet. Being vegan didn't cause any deficiencies, but I never would have discovered the low iron if not for getting my ferritin checked. (The Vitamin D deficiency is super common and I've known about it for ages--I just never really took supplementing seriously.)

I had no idea that I'd ever feel "normal" again when it comes to my body temperature. And I always thought that even if my iron was totally normal, I'd still chew ice all day long because I love it. (Now, after only a few weeks or a month or so, the thought of chewing ice kind of hurts my teeth. Once in a while I grab some out of habit, but I can't really eat more than a few pieces. (Maybe that's why I've been snacking more--not having the ice to chew.)

It's so funny that the thought of wearing t-shirts this summer (or even long-sleeve but airy shirts) is thrilling to me!

May 26, 2023

Friday Night Photos #117

I know I say this pretty much every week, but holy smokes, this week flew by. It's Friday already?! It's been quite an eventful week, to say the least. We had a great weekend--Jerry and I went mini-golfing and to an escape room. Then on Monday, we let Eli play hooky from school so that we could all go to Cedar Point (Eli's girlfriend got the go-ahead as well). I took less than five pictures! As I get older, I take fewer pictures but at least try to taken in the moments as they are happening.

I lost (very badly) at mini golf. Why do I never get a hole-in-one?! Because I always hit it in the rocks somehow. Jerry was nervous about this shot because if I made it, he would owe me $1 million. (Clearly, I did not make it from the rocks into the hole.)

This picture is just of Noah and me as we were waiting for the others. They'd gone on a ride we didn't want to, so we went on a different roller coaster while we waited. (Noah and I like the very twisty-turny rides, but it's a big no to the big hills. I get vertigo going up and down the hills and it is a super uncomfortable feeling.)

The only photo of the four of us

I was pretty proud of myself for going on a new-to-me coaster called The Gatekeeper. I like rides that are familiar to me so that I know what to expect, and I was terrified to go on The Gatekeeper because I didn't know what it would be like. I always worry about 1) vertigo, and 2) will it mess up my back? Haha, I'm 100 years old. Some of the older rides are a bit rough, and I'm pretty sure I shrank a couple of inches when I went on the Mine Ride and the Blue Streak several years back.

On the way home, Eli and Ava fell asleep in the back seat. I feel like that's the normal teenager reaction after a day at Cedar Point. I remember how exhausting it felt! (Well, it's still exhausting; but every teen around here has a story of a super long, hot day waiting in lines at Cedar Point.) It's funny--considering how impatient teens are, they are all very patient and well-behaved while waiting 90 minutes in line for a 2-minute ride. Several times, I noted that Jerry and I were (literally) the oldest people we could see in line. I never really realized that Cedar Point is mostly crawling with teenagers.

After such a great day, it was more than a little upsetting to get a phone call from Eli just an hour or so later, saying he'd been in an accident.

A friend of mine sent me a picture of her toddler making a "Jerry face", so we took a picture to send back to him.

After the issues we had with the dishwasher, I noticed that the silverware was looking really dull. I've never polished silverware in my life--I've only ever washed it in the dishwasher (or by hand). So, I read online how to get silverware to be clean and shiny again. Basically, you line your sink with foil and mix baking soda, salt, and vinegar right on it. Spread the silverware on it. Then add boiling water to cover it all.

It worked pretty good. They definitely look much better than they did before.

Jerry surprised me with passion fruit yesterday!!! I adore passion fruit, but I haven't seen it anywhere since we were in Punta Cana in 2014. These ones that Jerry found are tiny and they don't feel ripe, so I have no idea if they will be any good, but I love that I get to try them!

Yesterday, I made a double batch of seitan patties (kind of like chicken breasts) to marinate and put in the freezer. I also made a quadruple batch of sesame sauce and put it in these 8-oz jars. I like having sauce in the freezer, so I can just pull it out and heat it up for a fast dinner--rice with tofu, veggies, and sesame sauce--so good!

If anyone is interested, this is my recipe (this one is doubled; I used two times this recipe for the jars above). One jar is a good size for a block of tofu (or equivalent volume). (You just shake everything in a mason jar, then pour into a pot and bring just to a boil, then lower heat until the sauce is thickened.)

1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt (hold off on this if you want to taste before salting)
1 Tbsp. corn starch
3 Tbsp. maple syrup (or brown sugar)
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I use about 3/4 tsp because we like it spicy)

I laughed when I saw this tweet... I definitely remember the owl pellets!

I absolutely love this pair of jeans, but the big hole in the knee was growing every time I stepped into the pants and caught my foot in the hole. Also, when I went to garage sales a few weeks ago with my parents, my knee bumped against the trailer hitch on my dad's truck--and left a big brown spot. It didn't come out in the wash, so I figured I'd just make the hole a little bigger and patch it. I just used dark denim on the inside and then, because I really didn't feel like getting out my sewing machine, I used embroidery thread to attach the patches.

I also took in the waist with darts (bottom right). It used to say "AMERICAN EAGLE", and now it just says AME. These are heavily altered, but I love these jeans! The button fly and mid rise make them perfect.

I fell down the denim embroidery rabbit hole on Pinterest yesterday--people do the coolest things with embroidery thread! I want to try something fun, but it's intimidating to even know where to start. I'll try practicing on a scrap piece of denim.

And finally... Jerry and I have been playing Trivia Crack again. Remember when this was popular several years ago? I have NOT ONCE beat Jerry! He's super good at trivia, and I am clearly not. I still have fun trying to answer the questions, though. And one of these days, maybe I'll get lucky and actually beat Jerry. (We also play Boggle, and he's never beat me at that! We each have our strengths and weakness.)

And that's all I've got. I am dog-sitting for Nathan this weekend; I'm going to bring Joey over there to hang out with his cousin ;)  Have a great weekend! xo

May 25, 2023

Three Things Thursday: Running Advice

This is kind of an unusual topic, considering I haven't been running (at least not regularly) for a while now. That's not to say that I don't think about or read about running, though! I still love the topic--I just don't love actually doing it right now, haha.

Anyway, I thought I would write the three best pieces of advice I've received in regards to running. They are invaluable to me!

1. If it feels too hard, slow down.

I used to think that there was no way I could run. I always skipped out of the mile in gym class and I didn't do sports in school. I didn't run a single step until I was in my late 20's.

When I first started running, I couldn't go far at all--which is to be expected, considering I'd never run before. It just felt SO HARD. I couldn't understand how anyone could run for three minutes, let alone MILES at a time. It seemed impossible.

When I told my brother about how hard it felt, he told me to slow down and he guaranteed that I would be able to run for at least twice as long. He said even if you're running so slowly that you could walk faster, it's totally fine--just go as far as you can and it will get easier. That sounded very far-fetched--twice the distance?

Well, lo and behold, it worked! I was able to run much farther and I wasn't miserable the whole time, either. I ran so slowly that I'm sure a turtle could beat me in a race, but I went the distance.

2010, before I discovered sweat-wicking clothing. I can remember exactly how a cotton shirt feels when it's plastered to your skin.

It got much easier after that. Now, as a certified running coach, I give this same advice--always. Especially with the kids on my cross country team! They come up with ten billion excuses about why they can't run, and I just tell them that cross country is all about running, so they have to run. If it feels too hard, though, then just slow down. No stopping. And *all* of the kids on the team were capable of running a mile without stopping--just by slowing down.

2. Run your easy runs EASY, and your hard runs HARD.

This advice is everywhere--look at any running website, magazine, book, etc., and you'll see that an "easy" run is meant to feel EASY. There are physiological and biological reasons for doing slow runs, which I won't get into, but the slow runs are super important to become the best runner you're capable of. And running slowly 80% of the time can make you a faster runner in general. It certainly worked for me. (A book that I found very informational about this is '80/20 Running' by Matt Fitzgerald.

One thing that I do slightly differently from a lot of running plans is that I suggest walking for recovery between interval speed work rather than a "light jog"--I find that when I walk, I'm able to recover much more quickly and then I'm able to run much harder on the speed interval. I put everything I have into sprint workouts--while walking the recovery periods--and I think it makes a big difference in training.

I love how strong and determined I look in this picture--that look was totally fake! Inside, I was thinking, "Don't blink, just stare ahead. Hurry up and take the goddamn picture already! Don't blink... and go ahead and exhale." (In just about every race photo I have, my eyes are closed, so I was determined to keep them open for this one.)

A "middle ground" type workout would be a threshold (or tempo) run, which is run hard (but not an all out sprint). Basically, when doing speed work I run as hard as I can WHILE STILL BEING ABLE TO FINISH at the same/similar pace. So if I start sprinting for 60 seconds but I can only make it 30 seconds before I feel like I'm going to die (and then my pace drops off), that's too fast. I want to be able to run for the full 60 seconds as fast as I can without slowing down. It takes a few intervals to really get the feel for the correct pace (almost always, my first interval is too fast).

3. Every little bit "counts".

My running has evolved over the years (from existent to non-existent--hahaha!) but something I remember in the beginning was that I believed my run didn't "count" if I stopped to pet a dog or say hello to a neighbor or chat with my parents while running by their house, etc. I didn't stop for *anything* because I thought it wouldn't count as a run.

A spectator offered Jerry and I a shot of bourbon during the Detroit Half-Marathon in 2015. Our run still counted!

Later, I also didn't really "count" a run if it was less than three miles--I have no idea where that number came from or why I chose it, but the thought of going for a two-mile run (well, there was no thought of it because it didn't exist in my mind at the time).

For a long time, I believed that run-walking didn't "count". When I was injured and was run-walking frequently, I realized that it's not necessarily easier than straight-up running. Regardless of how hard it feels, though, I think run-walking totally counts! (Jerry and I ran/walked the race in the photo above)

These days, I think it all counts. A short jog around the block that includes a walking break and stopping to tie your shoe? Totally counts. Stopping midway through an out-and-back run for a Slurpee before turning around and running home? Absolutely counts. Running with a friend whose pace is much slower? Still counts.

Stopping to dig your purple thong out of an icy sidewalk, then having to collect your own unwanted underclothes all along your route? Definitely counts.

Also, and this should probably be its own category, *nobody cares what your pace and/or race times are*--so don't compare your running to someone else's. It took me a LONG time to stop caring about my pace, but running was so much more enjoyable when I was doing it slowly!

And there we go... three pieces of running advice, passed along, that helped in my own running journey. I think I'm finally starting to feel some running inspiration... 

May 24, 2023

Wednesday Weigh-In: Year 2! (Week 104)

Until today, I completely forgot that I had planned to do a post about it being two years since I started losing the weight I'd gained. A LOT has happened in the last two years--the first year actually felt pretty easy, especially once I became vegan.

The second year has not been kind, unfortunately. My weight went up and down based on how overwhelmed and/or stressed I was. When I feel stressed, I eat. When I feel overwhelmed, I completely lose my appetite. (I think of "stress" as being a harried "to do" list in this situation, and "overwhelmed", to me, is calm but just way too much information being thrown at me.) And I went between both of those more times than I can count (together and separately).

Anyway, when I think back to two years ago, I am in a MUCH better place as far as my diet goes. I started eating a ton of fiber. And then I became vegan with literally no notice, so I started focusing on getting the most nutrition I could. I learned that sugar/sweets just make me crave more sugar/sweets for DAYS--even if I have just one small cookie, I have to be prepared for cravings. A lot of times, I don't think it's worth eating.

Here is a comparison of Day 1 versus today:

Here are some things I've noted--the positives and negatives of my diet change/weight loss over the last two years:


I feel a million times more in control.
I eat a ton of fiber--it brought on the biggest change in my appetite and cravings.
I feel healthier than ever. My chronic pain was gone after only 1-2 months of eating a vegan diet.
I learned of a long-term iron deficiency, and after supplementing, my symptoms are clearing up.
I eat a lot more vegetables now.
I discovered a million new-to-me ingredients and learned to love cooking again.

Negatives (things to work on)

I eat for emotional reasons (stress is a big one).
I still don't sleep well.
I stopped running and I want to get back to it (I'm lacking the push I need).
I don't drink nearly enough water.

One thing that I really wanted from these weekly weigh-ins was the accountability. To challenge myself to post it every Wednesday, even if I gain weight for weeks and weeks and in a row. I wanted to just stay honest with myself. And aside from probably about four Wednesdays in two years, I've done a Wednesday Weigh-In every week.

I don't really have a "goal weight" anymore. I really like to be around 130 pounds--that's when I feel most comfortable--so I set a goal range on my Happy Scale app for 125-135. I've never maintained the 120s for very long when I've gotten there, so I'll adjust as needed.

Here is a graph of the last two years of weigh-ins:

The green and red indicate where my weight was at in relation to the previous 90 days.

As you can see, other than November 2022 through January of 2023, my weight went down gradually, but relatively steadily. Here it's broken into year (2021, 2022, and 2023). I like that it shows my stats relative to the previous year.

My weight today:

I was at 141.2, so I'm up this week from 140.4 last week. I had a good week other than snacking at night. And it usually happens when I skip a meal during the day--I definitely make up for it with snacks. Jerry found a cashew-based "Hatch Queso" dip at Kroger--it was SO AMAZING and I ate way too much of that. (The dip was actually healthier than the chips I ate it with!)

Well, I know this is nothing super profound; it's a super short summary of the last two years of losing the weight I'd gained. I'm very happy with where my progress is now. I'm not yet in my "happy range", and I can feel it in my clothes. But I'm getting there!

I was going to try to put these photos in a time-lapse video, but since I put this post off until today, I'll just have to settle for a collage. These are my Wednesday Weigh-In Photos (mirror selfies) from the last two years. The first couple of rows were for a DietBet; I didn't start doing the mirror selfies for "real" until Week 10. Then I just turned it into a weekly thing for my Wednesday Weigh-Ins.

The collage goes from left to right, row by row. The first picture is Day 1 and the last picture is from today.

The differences are so subtle from week to week that it's hardly noticeable. But when I look at some of the photos, especially noting the clothes I'm wearing, I can definitely see a difference. Here is the two-year comparison:

I still have no idea how long I plan to continue the weekly accountability weigh-ins, but for now, it's helping--so I'll continue to do it. Let's hope my weight goes back in the right direction this week!

May 23, 2023

A Parent's Biggest Fear v. 2.0

(I feel like this is very similar to my post in November 2021, called "A Parent's Biggest Fear", which is why I titled this the way I did.)

I've written way too many times about the series of "misfortunes" we've had over the last year--things just seem to be going wrong, and just when I think our luck must be turning around, something else happens. When we got home from Cedar Point yesterday evening, Jerry and I were working on cooking dinner. Eli had gone fishing with a couple of friends and Noah was in his room.

(Someone commented that I may want to remove some details from this just in case lawyers should happen to get involved. So I'm going to remove some of it--hopefully it will still make sense.)

I got a phone call from Eli and he was really upset. I couldn't get much info from him because I could hear a woman in the background yelling at him. From what I could gather, they had gotten in a car accident and she was yelling at him. I tried to calm him down, but the woman was still yelling and I told him to call the police and not talk to the woman at all (meanwhile, Jerry and Noah ran out the door to head to the accident scene).

I had no idea it would be as bad as it was. (Thankfully, it was not Eli's fault, which I'll explain)

Most importantly, Eli has only minor injuries. Physically, the seatbelt actually tightened so hard that it rubbed his skin away enough to cause it to bleed across his lap; his nose hurts pretty badly because of the airbag hitting his glasses; his wrist and knee are also injured (minor, but not cool for someone who loves to lift weights and play baseball). Mentally, he's very shaken up. He said he keeps hearing the noise of the accident replaying in his head and he's afraid to drive or even be in a car.

Eli's car after the accident

As far as the accident... what happened is that Eli was driving home from fishing when someone pulled out in front of him (when he had the right of way). He had no time to react before crashing into the other car. 

Eli said he saw her pull out and heard the crash practically simultaneously and then the next thing he knew, his ears were ringing really badly and he felt some pain here and there. He got out of the car and ran to check on the other driver. She was okay; but she got out of the car and started yelling at him. Eli didn't know what to do and he called me.

The police arrived to write the accident report and said that it was immediately clear what had happened (based on the position of the cars, there was no question that she'd pulled out in front of Eli--she was 100% at fault). It turned out that she shouldn't have even been driving--her license was suspended. So, she was driving with a suspended license when she pulled out in front of MY KID causing a serious car accident--he could have been killed!

I am SO GRATEFUL that Eli is okay and I'm also grateful that the woman is uninjured. (If she had gotten hurt, Eli would have felt bad, even knowing that it wasn't his fault.) The Jeep (Patriot) is completely totaled, as is the woman's car.

I'm just stunned. Yesterday, I was just kind of taking it one beat at a time, trying to think calmly about the situation. Today, it really hit me--Eli could easily have been seriously injured or even killed last night. And the woman who caused it was screaming at him, trying to make him feel like he was to blame for the whole thing.

I'm not sure what's going to happen next. Jerry called the insurance company today, and they are supposed to contact us about an agent coming out to look at the damage to the car. Eli feels terrible about the car being totaled (we've never had a problem with that Jeep and it had a lot of good miles left on it). We don't have full coverage on it (just the necessary liability insurance), so I'm not sure how the law works as far as any compensation for the damages. I imagine we'll learn that from the insurance agency.

As angry as I am, I just can't say enough how glad I am that Eli is okay. We had a fun day at Cedar Point and it changed so quickly in an instant. It's scary to even think about what could have happened!

May 22, 2023

Funday Monday

We had a very last-minute idea to go to Cedar Point today! Cedar Point is a big theme park in Ohio, and we hadn't been there in years. We've had gorgeous weather lately and it's usually a million degrees when we go to Cedar Point (not ideal when waiting in lines for roller coasters), so it was a perfect day to go.

However, it's been a super long day and I'm exhausted, so I'll just post the only family photo I got while we were there. Where on earth did the weekend go?!

May 19, 2023

Friday Night Photos #116

This week has flown by! Since Eli hasn't been playing baseball, I've been doing extra little things around the house--essentially just "spring cleaning", but finding myself coming across little projects that need doing (like the bathroom door and the dishwasher that I wrote about a few days ago).

Yesterday, Eli asked me if I could go to the baseball game and take pictures; he goes to the games to support his team, despite not being able to play. (He gets another x-ray next week, but it's still very unlikely he'll be able to play another game this season.) He said that his teammates were asking if I would go take pictures--that made me feel good! So, of course I went. And I took over 300 pictures for them, hahaha.

Anyway, I have a variety of photos from my camera roll this week...

Yesterday, I wrote about how, until our wedding, Jerry and I used to celebrate our anniversary on May 19th. When we were dating, Jerry used to buy me a Cherry 7-Up (my favorite) once in a while and put it in my car for me to find when I got off work. It's not easy to find Cherry 7-Up around here, but I found this in the fridge for me with a note:

I don't really like pop, but I can still go for a Cherry 7-Up once in a while! This is a picture of one of our early anniversaries--maybe two years?

The baby squirrels have been out playing and they are SO CUTE! This one is next to mama, so you can see the size difference:

They look so young. I love seeing the babies in the spring. They're super nervous/jumpy, but they watch the older squirrels come get nuts from the deck. Next year, they'll probably start coming up, too.

This one is a blur, but it's hard to capture a picture of three baby squirrels wrestling with each other on a branch!

This poor little guy broke my heart! He was watching the older squirrels grab nuts and run off with them, but he was too scared to come get one. Instead, he found this rock on the ground, sniffed it, and ran off with it in his mouth. I immediately grabbed some nuts and threw them by the base of the tree, hoping he'd come back and find one. So sad but cute, haha.

I guess I have a lot of animal photos this week! Jerry sent me this picture of a bird that he rescued at work. Sometimes birds get trapped in the plant, so when he finds them, he tries to grab them and let them go outside.

The cats LOVE these chairs that I bought at a garage sale last weekend. And the way Estelle perches on them cracks me up. This is how she sits most of the day:

I was writing a shopping list yesterday morning, and Duck was SO comfy on my lap. He almost made me wish I was a cat--I don't know if I've ever been as comfortable as he looked.

I laughed at him later because he (naturally) climbed in this box the moment it was opened... but then he fell asleep with his mouth open and just sat like that. Noah and I were cracking up.

Eli's nightstand really needed a makeover. I didn't think to take a photo of it before I finished it yesterday, but on the far left is what it looked like when Jerry and I bought it in 2003. I refinished it several years ago (middle photo). After that, I wanted to update the bottom of it--not only did I not like how it looked, it was bulky and took up more space than necessary. So, I cut off the bottom but never finished working on it.

Fast forward about two years, and I finally finished it yesterday (far right). I cut a couple of legs from the dining room tables I've used for wood for various projects; I had saved the legs from the tables, unsure of what to do with them, but they came in handy for this project. I painted it a cream-color and Eli is thrilled--he couldn't care less how it looks, but he wanted it back in his room after it had been in the garage for a few days, haha.

For Mother's Day, I made each of the kids a photo album with pictures of us together throughout the years. I wrote this note to go inside the cover, explaining why they were getting a gift on Mother's Day (I could have sworn the apostrophe came after "Mothers", but I guess I was wrong):

And I really love how they turned out:

I wrote little notes throughout the book, reminding them of what we were doing/where we were in the photos. The kids really liked the books--Noah actually teared up and said he'd forgotten about a lot of the things we'd done, so he loved the memories. I'm usually the one taking photos, so I have a million of Jerry and the kids--I wanted to remind them that I was there a lot, too ;)

And finally, here is a picture of Riley that Becky sent me. She looks ADORABLE, doesn't she?! She doesn't wear glasses, but she was playing school and of course, the teacher needs to wear glasses. I miss the kiddos! They are coming out to Michigan for Memorial Day, so I'm hoping to see them then.

And that's all I've got. Have a great weekend! xo

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