Friday, May 27, 2016

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! For those of us in the U.S., it's a holiday weekend as Monday is Memorial Day. We have a fun weekend ahead of us as we are going to a baseball game tonight to celebrate Phil's mom's birthday and then tomorrow we will head to the lake for the weekend. We'll be celebrating the birthdays of my sister and 2 of my nephews so it should be a fun, celebratory weekend!  Here's 5 things on my mind/going on in my life these days!

1.  Phil's house is in the same neighborhood as a college friend and when she learned I was moving in, she let me know that her husband was in charge of a community garden project and that there were still plots available. I really wanted to have a garden this year but knew we wouldn't have time to build raised beds at Phil's before surgery, so this was the perfect solution. A friend from run club has a plot in the community garden and she graciously offered to plant my garden for me. It was hard to accept that help but there was just no way I could do it on my own. We planted it on Wednesday! I planted tomatoes, red peppers, green beans, cucumbers, beets, and carrots. I also planted some basil and oregano in pots at our house. I can't wait to watch it all grow!

I still need to put some netting around the perimeter to keep the rabbits out!

I love that the labels for the herbs are shaped as the state of Minnesota!
2. I had my post-op doctor appointment on Monday and it went well. He was very pleased with my range of motion. It was nice to hear more about the procedure and what all was done. He said the tear was quite bad and required 3 anchors to repair. This may sound weird but I was actually glad to hear that the tear was bad as I wanted to make sure surgery was necessary. Not that they would have operated if it wasn't necessary but it was still good to hear that surgery was definitely needed to resolve the issues. My next appointment is on August 22nd and I can not run, jump or do anything high impact until then. That seems so far off, but next week I start the progression towards more cardio. I get to add resistance on the stationary bike next week, in week 6 I'll start using the elliptical, and in week 7 I can bike outdoors. I can't wait to be further along in recovery and able to be more active!

3. On the crutch front, I slooooowly transitioned to walking with crutches and should be able to drop down to one crutch for shorter distances by the weekend. Hopefully I am crutch free next week!

4. I'm excited to go up north this weekend but one thing I'm particularly excited about is all the good food we'll get to enjoy. My mom and I froze several meals before my surgery and we are still working our way through those meals. It's been AWESOME to not have to deal with meal prep on crutches but after eating the same 5 meals for the last 3 weeks, I'm ready to change things up!

5. I've had a charcoal grill for several years but haven't used it much as my patio space was so small and we didn't really 'hang out' on the patio all that much. Now that I have a backyard, I'm going to make an effort to use it more. Plus we are going to purchase a gas grill soon. I'm excited to eat more grilled food this summer! I think we'll host a BBQ once we are more settled and have completed a couple of projects!

What's on your mind today?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Shouldless Days: May

On Sunday, I had my 4th shouldless day of the year. I didn't take many photos of the things I did so a mostly wordy recap will have to suffice!  Here's how I spent my shouldless day!

- After waking up without an alarm, I had a leisurely breakfast of GF oatmeal + coffee while catching up on email/blog reading.

- I went to mass at the Catholic church by Phil's. I haven't become a member yet as I want to go for a couple of months to make sure it's a good fit but so far, I like what I see/hear. The music was so pretty on Sunday as the choir was accompanied by a piano and violinist. I love my church in my old neighborhood, but the choir was always accompanied by an organ and I STRONGLY dislike organ music. I know that is a strange thing to strongly dislike but I think the sound is so harsh whereas soft piano music is so much more pleasing to the ear - at least for me!

- After church I went to the gym for my 20 minutes of no-resistance biking time. My time on the bike was sandwiched by time on the arm bike. It felt good to work up a sweat on the arm bike.

- In the early afternoon, I relaxed on the deck and finished the book I was reading. It was a disappointing read - I only gave it 2 stars. It was still glorious to sit outside and read, though! I did the same thing on Saturday, too.

- In the late afternoon, I watched a couple of episodes of Gilmore Girls. I'm about 1/4 of the way through the final season. I don't like where the story lines are going, though! While I was being lazy on the couch, Oscar was having a lazy day, too. She barely moved from the chair all day.

- In the evening, I warmed up some leftovers and started reading "The Distant Hours" by Kate Morton. This is another book I have owned for several years. I'm really on a roll with reading books I've owned for awhile - this is the 3rd one I've read this month!

- Phil got home from his mom's around 8 that night so we ended the day by catching up on what the other person had been up to all day and talked about our plans for the week. Then it was up to bed for a bit more reading before turning out the lights.

All in all, it was a pretty lazy and low key but enjoyable day. Hopefully I'll be able to include more activity in my next shouldless day, like a long walk which sounds so glorious right now. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Looking Forward

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. It was a gorgeous, summer-like weekend here so I soaked up as much fresh air and vitamin D as I could. I guess one upside to being laid up right now is that I did not feel guilty about sitting on the deck and reading because there really isn't anything I can be doing right now since I'm still on crutches.

Last week Caroline did a Looking Forward post and it reminded me that it has been awhile since I've done a looking forward post. Even though I'm close to being done with crutches, I'm sort of struggling a bit with not feeling defeated about the long road to my return to running/being more active so I figured that writing this post will be a good way to shift my focus to all the fun things I have to look forward to!

Today I am looking forward to going to my post-op appointment with the surgeon. I'm not looking forward to getting my stitches removed but I am looking forward to hearing more about the surgery and getting an explanation of the photos they took during surgery. The surgeon met with Phil after my surgery and tried to explain what these photos are but Phil couldn't really remember or explain to me what I am looking at so it will be nice to get an explanation from the doctor. The pictures look like they could be of the surface of the moon as I just have no idea what I'm looking at!

This weekend I am looking forward to going to a baseball game to celebrate Phil's mom's birthday. We didn't think about the fact that I'd still be on crutches when we bought the tickets so hopefully I can get to our seat ok...  I should be walking with crutches at that point, though, so hopefully I do ok. I'm also looking forward to spending the rest of the long weekend with my family at the lake! I hope the weather is decent so we can be outside.

In June I am looking forward to attending Phil's co-worker's wedding. The wedding it at a resort on an island of a lake in Wisconsin and the entire island is the resort. It sounds like there is lots to do so I am really hoping I'm mobile enough to take advantage of it. I really like Phil's co-workers as there are several that are around our age so it should be a fun little weekend getaway for us!

In July I am looking forward to spending time with my sister at the lake when they are home for a weekend. Abby and Ryan live in AZ so we don't get to see them very often which makes me treasure the times they are home even more!

In August I am looking forward to *hopefully* being cleared to return to running. I haven't ran since mid-February and miss it oh so much.

This year I am looking forward to making some changes at Phil's so it feels more like "our" place. We are planning to get some new furniture and we will paint one room. I'm anxious to get these changes done but my surgery is forcing me to be patient because now is not the time to shop for furniture/paint.

What are you looking forward to these days?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Currently: May Edition

Happy Friday!  My first week back at work went pretty well.  It was really great to be out of the house and doing something productive after a week of laying around and watching a whole lot of Gilmore Girls while recovering from surgery! Here's what's currently going on in my life these days.

Reading:  Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee. This is a book that I have owned for quite awhile and am finally getting around to reading. I just started it on Wednesday so haven't gotten very far but it's been interesting so far!

Loving: all the kitty snuggles from Oscar! I still can't believe how affectionate she is towards me. Before I moved in, she would usually sit on the dining room table and stare at us when I was over!  I think Phil is getting a little bit jealous, though!

Thinking: about how weird it is that this week marked 2 years since I moved back from Charlotte. It's kind of weird to think that I ever lived there as it seems like a distant memory! Time has certainly flown since I moved back and I'm oh so grateful to be living in Minneapolis!

Feeling:  kind of gross due to my inability to workout. My PT limited me to 20 minutes of biking per day until I'm further along in my recovery and the only other thing I can do at the gym is use the arm bike. It's better than nothing but FAR less activity than I was used to. I know I have to be patient while my body is healing but I miss sweating! Plus I have to be way more careful about what I am eating since I'm not burning many calories these days.

Anticipating: lots of fun things including grilling with friends on Saturday night, celebrating Phil's mom's birthday next week, spending Memorial Day Weekend at the lake with my family, and being done with crutches in late May/early June!

Watching: CNN's series, The Sixties and The Seventies on Netflix. I was familiar with some of the big news stories from the 60s and 70s but since this isn't an era that was covered in history class, my depth of knowledge was pretty shallow. Each episode is about 40 minutes long and they are so well done and interesting. Man a lot of crazy/bad stuff happened in the 60s and 70s! It makes me think that maybe things aren't so bad right now.  Well, besides the fact that Trump is going to be the Republican nominee. Last night after finishing an episode of The Seventies, I told Phil that someday our grandchildren are going to watch a documentary on the 2010s and be like - 'that guy was nominated to run for president? What were people thinking???'

Working: on a short article at work about European preferred securities. It's an area of the fixed income market that I don't know much about so it's been a good project for me to work on. I fully recognize that most likely no one that reads my blog has any idea what preferred securities are, though.  ;)  

Grateful: that I am living with Phil. I seriously don't know what I would have done without his help over the last 2 weeks. He's been an excellent caretaker. 

Listening: to podcasts less than I used to now that I don't have a walking commute and can't go for long walks. I've fallen way behind and have quite the queue but hopefully I'll get caught up when I am off crutches and back to spending more time doing meal prep. 

Wishing: we had another vacation planned but we are holding off on planning something until I am further along in my recovery. We don't take vacations in the summer since it's the best time of year in Minnesota so there's no rush to plan something...  but I like to have a trip to look forward to so hopefully we'll come up with a plan soon.

What are you watching, anticipating, and wishing for these days?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Liebster Award

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Yesterday was my first full day back at work and it went well!  Woo hoo!

In April, the lovely San of The In Between is Mine nominated me for the Liebster Award.  Liebster is German for "the loveliest" or "most favorite." Thanks for the award, San! The way it works is that I answer the 11 questions San came up with, write 11 of my own, and then tag anywhere from 2-11 people to answer the questions I came up with. Here are my answers to her questions:

1.  What is your favorite beauty product?
My favorite beauty product is the Arbonne RE9 Advanced line of skincare products. It's pricier than what you would buy at a drugstore or Target, but worth the money spent in my opinion as my skin looks and feels so great since I started using this skincare line years ago. And to be clear, I am not at all compensated to recommend this product, nor do I sell it!  But my friend Becky does, so reach out to her if you want to try a sample!

2. If you could pick any place/city to move to for a year, where would you want to go?
Domestically, I'd pick San Francisco or New York. There's just so much to do and see in these cities. San Francisco is close to so many great parks and trail systems, and New York obviously has tons to offer but is also close to a bunch of states in the northeast that I've never visit, so I'd have lots of exploring to do in either city.  Phil would pick San Francisco over New York (sorry Alli!). Internationally, I would pick Paris!!

3. What is one thing you like best about your home?
There are a lot of things I love about Phil's house (I guess I should be referring to it as "our" house now!!), but the top of the list is the location as he lives in a cute neighborhood in south Minneapolis. We both have agreed that we prefer to not live in the suburbs (no offense to those who have built their life there - it's just not the right fit for us) as we value being close to the city in a walkable neighborhood. I love that I can walk to a grocery store, Starbucks, a drug store, a Catholic church, and the library. Additionally, it's a short 20 minute bus ride away from work, and it's very close to a running/biking trail system that follows a creek in one direction and the chain of lakes in the other direction.

4. What are you favorite pair of shoes?
Gosh, I am so not a shoe person. Especially since getting diagnosed with RA as I have to be very kind to my feet. If I had to pick a favorite pair, I'd say a pair of black Cole Haan flats with Nike air technology. They were kind of expensive but worth the money as I've had them for 2.5 years and they still look and feel great!

5. What is your favorite travel destination?
Paris. That city has just totally captured my heart. 

6. If you could have one do-over, what would it be?
I wish I had never bought my suburban condo in 2005. Nearly 11 years later, it is still worth less than what I paid for it. I'm hoping that I'll be able to sell it and break even in a couple of years. It frustrates me because I felt like I was making a wise decision by buying a home but it turned out to be the worst decision I've made.

7. What is something you are currently struggling with?
No one will be surprised to hear that I'm struggling with the fact that I can't be active right now. I know I have to let my body heal but I sure do miss run club, vigorous workouts and getting my sweat on!  Or just being able to walk/do things for myself. I'm pretty helpless on crutches.

8. Breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Dinners on the weekend as that is the meal I devote the most time and attention to.

9. Who is your celebrity girl crush?
Zoe Deschanel. I think she is so adorable!

10.  Why did you start blogging?
I started my first blog to chronicle my first trip to France. I loved writing so much that I started this blog. I never could have imagined how much blogging would enrich my life and how many amazing friendships would be forged thanks to this little blog of mine.

11. Tell me about one of your plans for this summer.
In August, I'm renting a cabin on a lake in Minnesota with a small group of college friends. I can't believe that the 6 of us were able to find a weekend that we were all free! I'm really looking forward to a weekend of girl time. And it worked out perfectly as Phil has a guys golf weekend the same weekend so we'll both get some time away with our friends.

My questions!

1. How old were you when you flew for the first time?
2. What is your favorite color?
3. What is your go-to book recommendation?
4. What store do you buy most of your clothes from?
5. Do you prefer that the toilet paper roll be "under" or "over"?
6. What are 3 words that describe you?
7.  Are there any movies you can watch over and over again without getting tired of them?
8. What is one thing you are looking forward to doing in 2016?
9. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
10. Where do you plan to go for your next vacation?
11. Do you prefer the mountains or the ocean?

Ok, I always feel bad nominating people as I don't want anyone to feel left out, so I'm making this a free-for-all! So answer some/all of the questions in the comments or do a post over on your blog (and tell me when you post it!).

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 1 Post-op: Small successes

Well I made it through the first week after surgery - not that there was ever any doubt that I wouldn't, of course. But sometimes making it through something is an accomplishment in and of itself. All in all the recovery process has gone pretty well. It's definitely been more painful than I thought it would be but it's always hard to imagine how your body is going to respond to something like surgery, especially since surgeries are so different from person to person.

Here are some of my small successes from the past week:
- Accepting and asking for help. This is tough for a fiercely independent person like myself. I felt really guilty about my mom driving down and back in the same day to take me to PT and help out while Phil was at work but I also knew that I needed to accept the help she was gladly offering (and really there was no way I was going to talk her out of coming!). Later in the week I had to ask a friend to rearrange her morning schedule so she could take me to PT as I wasn't able to drive yet and was nervous about getting in and out of the house by myself. And I've asked Phil to help with countless things, from doing my PT exercises with me to doing stuff around the house/being my personal pack mule.

- Warming up meals for myself and making simple things like oatmeal. Thanks to my ability to balance really well on my right leg and shimmy along the counter of the kitchen, I've gotten pretty good at making meals for myself. Plastic bags are my best friend right now as I used them to transport things to/from the fridge and to/from the couch where I eat my meals (obviously you can't hold anything in your hands while using crutches).

- Working my way up to biking for 30 minutes. By my second day of PT on Thursday, I was able to bike with my good leg with the surgical leg "along for the ride." I started off biking for 7 minutes that day and have progressed up to 30 minutes. It's far from what I'd consider a "workout" but I'll take what I can get right now!

- Making friends with Oscar. Up until my surgery, Oscar was always a little "standoffish" and made it very clear that she preferred Phil. But the flip really switched after my surgery as she has become the best little companion. It was such a comfort to have her around when I was at home by myself last week.

She hopped up on my legs when I was doing my PT tummy time.

Nap time!

All sprawled out for another nap!

... and another nap!
I'm so glad that I'm halfway through my 2 weeks of non-weight bearing crutch time. I have my post-op appointment next Monday and hopefully at that time I'll be cleared to walk with the aid of crutches. Being on crutches makes everything so much more difficult so I can't wait to ditch them in a couple of weeks!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Whole30 Findings

Oh, hey. Remember when I did Whole30 (which feels like a lifetime ago) and then my life blew up between the move and surgery? The whole point of doing that program was to learn about what foods do or don't agree with you and how you can shift your eating to feel better. So for those of you that are interested in my takeaways, here's what I learned through the process:

1. I have a sensitivity to dairy. I had a feeling I'd reach this conclusion after doing the program, but when I reintroduced dairy, it was VERY obvious that it does not agree with me. I felt sick to my stomach and bloated and the next morning I woke up congested and with a terrible headache. These are all signs I can't ignore so going forward I will try not to eat dairy. I will make exceptions occasionally, like when I eat a meal at someone's house or when I really want a treat like ice cream, but in general, dairy will not be part of my diet. I've gone dairy-free before so I know it's something I can stick with. 

2. Sugar really messes with your energy levels. After Whole30 ended, I let myself have some treats that following week and quickly noticed how much my energy level would tank after eating something with a lot of sugar in it. I also realized how sick to my stomach sugary foods make me feel. I don't bake very often but going forward, I'll try to use recipes that use ingredients with naturally occurring sugar, like honey, agave syrup or apple sauce. I'm not saying I'll never have sugar because that is not realistic but I will be careful about how much sugar I will consume going forward.

3. The cleaner you eat, the better you will feel. This is a pretty obvious conclusion to reach but something I definitely realized during the reintroduction phase. I found that I feel best when I am fueling my body with fruits, vegetables and meat. It's not realistic to exclusively eat those things as it requires so much grocery shopping and meal prep to eat that way, but I want to try to eat that way as much as possible.

Whole30 was definitely challenging, but I would be willing to do it again, especially in the summer when there is lots of fresh produce available. I can see myself doing a modified Whole30 later this summer; the modification I'd make is allowing myself to have legumes as I don't think I have an intolerance to them and they are so good for you and cheap to eat!