Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hip Update

Happy Thursday, everyone! For me it's a Friday as we fly to San Francisco today for our quick weekend getaway.

Several of you have asked for updates on my hip so I thought I'd provide an update before leaving for vacation. I had my appointment with the surgeon yesterday and after discussing my MRI, x-rays and doing a physical examination of my range of motion and such, we decided that surgery is the best course of action for me. This surgeon is very well-known for doing arthroscopic hip surgeries. People travel to Minnesota to see him and he's done over 4,000 surgeries similar to what I need. I know I am in good hands, which is very reassuring. During the surgery, he will fix the labrel tear, shave the bone growth off the ball joint of my hip, and also shave some of the hip socket so the hip will move more smoothly. I'll be on crutches for 2-3 weeks and it'll take about 3 months for me to fully recover.

My surgery is scheduled for Monday, May 9th. It's sooner than I thought my surgery would be but it was the only opening in May so I'm making it work. I'm glad that I can get it over with soon so that it's not hanging over me and I can be on the path to recovery very soon. However, it's definitely going to make for a stressful couple of weeks. I was planning to move to Phil's on May 20th so have pushed my move date up to May 6th (2 weeks from tomorrow!!!!) so I can move and settle in before my surgery. 

The move is coinciding with a busy travel season for me, which makes things extra stressful. We leave today for San Francisco, then on Monday I fly from SF to New Jersey for a work trip and come home on Wednesday night. Then the following week I go back to New Jersey Tuesday-Thursday for work, get in late Thursday night, and move the following day.  This means I have 5 full days at home before my move! I have other things to do like get a CT scan (needed for the surgery), schedule a pre-op physical, and do a lot of move-related errands, so things are going to be a bit harried for me over the next several weeks. 

I had a feeling that a) I would need surgery and b) it would require changing my move date, which is why I've been aggressively moving things over to Phil's over the last week. That said, I feel a little bit frazzled and panicky about everything that needs to happen over the next several weeks but I guess that will distract me from worrying about the surgery.  And luckily I have Phil to lean on right now. I'm also reminding myself that this move will be different and I won't be 100% unpacked and settled right away because it's different when you are merging lives instead of moving into an empty space. It will take time to settle and make changes and that is OK. We are going to be in this house for a long time so there's no reason to rush the settlement period (even though it will drive me a little batty to have things disorganized!).   

In the midst of all of this, I am having some "why me?" questions and feelings, which is to be expected, I suppose. I'm also beyond tired of people making comments like, "maybe this wouldn't happen if you didn't run so much." Comments like that are very upsetting because I have been very smart about how much I run and the bone growth that caused the labrel tear is something that was completely out of my control. I did not do anything to cause or deserve this injury. I'm trying to remind myself that people often don't think before speaking or they do not consider the impact of their words. But it's still hard to deal with comments like that. 

Considering how busy I'll be over the next several weeks, I'm going to take a brief blogging break so I can focus on moving, settling into a new home and preparing for surgery!  I'm sure I'll check back in after my move and surgery is behind me! Send me good, healing thoughts on May 9th! Oh and if anyone reading this has had this surgery or knows of someone that had this surgery, drop me a note at lisasyarns at gmail - I'd love to hear any words of advice and/or encouragement, or more detail on what to expect!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Currently: April Edition

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Here's what's currently going on in my world these days!

Reading:  The Shining by Stephen King for the horror category of the read harder challenge. I don't do well with scary movies or books (I'm a wimp!) but I figured if I was going to read a book in the horror category, I might as well read one by the master of that category. It's definitely very creepy but Stephen King is a masterful writer. I'm also "reading" The Age of Miracles on audio book for the Read Harder Challenge. I don't listen to many audio books but I've enjoyed listening to this while doing things like cooking and packing.

Loving: the fresh strawberries that are in the grocery stores right now.  Yea for delicious produce!

Thinking: about how to make the most of the storage space in Phil's house. Believe it or not, my 860 sq. ft. condo has significantly more closet space than his 1,150 sq. ft. home does. That's because his house was built in 1915 and they had different standards for closet space back then! I've been spoiled and have had walk-in closets with so much shelving space that I haven't needed a dresser for the last 5+ years. He has a lot of storage space in the basement but that's not the kind of storage I need - I need linen closets and shelving in my bedroom closet! His closets are located along a slanted wall so there are no shelves as the bar for hanging clothes is right up against the slanted wall... I guess this means I'll have to make a trip to the container store which = my happy place!

Feeling: excited for our trip to San Francisco! We leave on Thursday afternoon and I just can't wait! I love San Francisco so much and can't wait to show Phil around and spend time with Kyria. She knows the city so well so is the best tour guide. We only have 3 full days in the area so we are going to have a jam-packed agenda, but it's going to be a blast. 

Anticipating:  my hip surgeon appointment on Wednesday. I'm so ready for it to be here as there was a month wait since this guy is THE BEST hip doctor in Minnesota and is known across the country. I don't do well with uncertainty so it's been hard to think about all the what ifs. If I need surgery, then so be it. I do better when I can actual deal with something rather than anticipate something that might happen but that I can't truly prepare for until it happens. At this point, I'm actually hoping I am a candidate for surgery as I'm so over being in pain.

Watching: Cooked on Netflix which is a 4 episode show based on Michael Pollan's newest book. It's really fascinating to watch and I really agree with Pollan's philosophy on eating. My book club is reading one of his books, "The Omnivore's Dilemma," for our May book club so I am looking forward to checking that out!

Working: on moving a lot of my belongings over to Phil's place, one card load at a time. I'm also working on getting rid of some of my furniture and other duplicate belongings, like my paper shredded, vacuum cleaner, etc. My goal is to have everything, with the exception of the furniture and essential kitchen items, moved out before my moving date so that we can move everything that is left within the 2 hour time frame that I'm allowed to reserve the elevator. I've made considerable progress! The living room area is empty as I got rid of my couch and coffee table (and my patio set so the balcony is mostly empty, too). The rug has been claimed by a friend in exchange for a couple of glasses of wine! I'm way ahead of schedule for the move but I'm traveling for the next 3 weeks - 1 trip for fun, 2 trips for work - so I needed to get ahead of schedule so I'd feel less stressed going into these trips, especially since I might have hip surgery in May.

Grateful: .that the weather is finally spring-like! The 2nd half of March and first part of April were honestly just awful.

Listening: to the sound of the Mississippi rushing through the St. Anthony Falls outside my condo. I'm so glad the weather is nice enough to open the patio door and window as that sound is so soothing. I'm soaking it up as much as I can before my move!

Wishing: that moving was less work! It does help that I can gradually move my belongings over between now and mid-May but it's still so much work to schlep all of your life belongings from one place to another. I sure am glad I did that big purge in February as it's making this move easier than it would have been otherwise.

What are you reading, watching, and grateful for these days?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Next Big (Exciting) Change

Back when I did my virtual coffee date post in early March, I alluded to the fact that the winds of change were going to be blowing through my life again soon. It feels like change has been a constant part of my life over the last 4 years, some positive and some not so positive. Luckily, this next change is very positive as I will be moving in with Phil in May when my lease is up!

As I've shared this news with family and friends, many have asked if I am ready to give up my downtown lifestyle. While I have adored living in this condo building, the answer is - yes, I am ready. I'll miss the view and the convenience of living just over a mile from work but I'm ready to move to a house.

Luckily Phil lives in an area that is close to downtown (~5 miles). I can still walk to a grocery store and Starbucks, and he's in a great area for running and biking as his house is only a half mile from a creek I run by often and a mile from the chain of lakes that I love to run around. He also lives really close our friends, Courtney and Luke, which is a couple we spend a lot of time with; I envision lots of weekend trips to the Farmer's Market with Courtney! I'll also be able to get to work easily as there is an express bus which stops right in front of his house (talk about convenient!) and gets us downtown in about 20 minutes, which is how long it takes me to walk to work. Phil and I work the same hours so we'll be bus buddies, which is pretty cute.

After 12 years (!!!!) of living alone, it will certainly be an adjustment to live together. I know there will be a period of adjustment but I have more feelings of excitement than anxiety. I'm excited about this move and I know that it's the right thing for us to do at this time of our lives.

More than anything, though, this change feels surreal. I spent years watching most of my friends get married and merge lives with their husbands, but after years of dead end relationships and frustrating dating experiences, deep down inside of me I had accepted that it probably would not happen for me, and I was pretty OK with that. But now, it is happening and we are taking a giant step towards permanently entwining our lives, which leaves me with lots of "is this really happening?" thoughts and feelings.

In the midst of those surreal/"somebody pinch me" feelings, I feel excited. Excited to come home to Phil every single day and spend more time together. Excited to be greeted by Oscar each day when we return home. Excited to not have to compare schedules and figure out whose place we'll be at when we spend time together. Excited to not have to pack up groceries and kitchen gadgets and such when I cook dinner at his house. Excited to make changes to his house (which I love, by the way) to make it feel like ours. Excited to take over a little corner of his yard so I can experiment with gardening. Excited to move to a place where I can feel a sense of permanence as we have no plans to sell and move anytime soon. Excited to build a life with a man that I love so very much and am so compatible with.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Thoughts from My Social Media Fast

My social media fast ended just over 2 weeks ago on Easter Sunday, and since then I've slowly returned to Facebook and Instagram. I haven't taken that long of a break from social media since I joined the sites long ago so I thought I'd share my thoughts on how it felt.

- I spent way less time on my phone. This was one of the biggest benefits of taking a break from social media. Before the fast I found myself mindlessly scrolling Facebook and Instagram. I think it's ok to do that occasionally but it can become a really big time suck, which was the case for me.

- It took away the comparison game. As I've mentioned before, I sometimes struggle with comparing my lives to others. Without social media, there was less temptation to compare my lives to others.

- Less exposure to all things political. I'm so over this year's election even though we aren't in the heart of the campaign season yet. I've pretty much completely disengaged myself from it because it only frustrates me to see a party that I typically would side with (Republicans) have such asinine people in the running for the candidacy (I'm looking at you, Trump and Cruz). It was easier to disengage without Facebook because I didn't have to see all the political articles and such that people share. I'm sure some will think it's awful that I've disengaged from the election process but it just frustrates me to follow the news. I'll still vote on election day but I will most likely not vote for a presidential candidate.

- I felt disconnected from far away friends. I do not enjoy talking on the phone so one of the primary ways I keep in touch with faraway friends is by social media. I missed being able to see what they were up to and seeing pictures of their kids or furr-babies.

Overall thoughts:
As you can see, I had 3 pros of staying away from social media and only one con, which is eye-opening. I am back on social media but my presence going forward will be different than it was before. The biggest change I am making is not adding Facebook back on my phone. I will look at my feed in the morning on my laptop when I am eating breakfast and maybe in the evening, but besides that I don't think I really need to be able to check it on a more regular basis. This way I'll still be able to connect with far away friends. This approach ties into my theme for 2016 being "the year of less" as I'll spend less time pouring over the latest news and status updates on Facebook and more time being in the moment in my very own life.

Have you ever taken a break from social media?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Whole30: Week 4 Review

Tomorrow is the last day of Whole30! Woo hoo!  It's definitely been a challenge to follow this program but I have actually enjoyed the process. That said, it will be nice to be less restricted. Although the program ends tomorrow, it's not like I go back to my normal eating habits on Wednesday as the next step of the program is the reintroduction phase which I'll describe more at the end of this post.

Since I am coming to the end of this program, I thought I'd skip the "what's  helping me succeed/what's been the hardest" section and focus on what I tried this week. 

New recipes I've tried:
- Moroccan Chicken Salad - I highly recommend this salad as it has so many great ingredients with different flavors and textures. Modifications included leaving out the avocado (felt there were enough ingredients without this) and making a white wine vinaigrette because I couldn't stomach buying another bottle of vinegar (I had to replace my red wine and balsamic vinegars since they had sulfites in them so I've purchased enough vinegar recently). 

- Banana Soft Serve - I needed a little treat after my RA injection last week, so I made some banana soft serve. You just put 1-2 chopped frozen bananas in the food processor or blender (let them soften a bit first) and add almond milk until it reaches the desired consistency. Then you can add a little cocoa powder at the end if you'd like (I did). This is borderline cheating as you aren't supposed to recreate treats with Whole30 ingredients, but oh well. I really need a pick-me-up after my injection because I still hate doing them, even though I've been giving them to myself for 2.5 years.

- Chicken Chowder - This is from the Whole30 cookbook but I couldn't find the recipe online. I know the green color is a bit off putting but it was actually very good! The green comes from the broccoli in the soup as you puree cooked broccoli with coconut milk and chicken broth. It also has jalapeno in it so it has a hint of spice. I'd definitely make this again!

- Crockpot Thai Beef Stew - This is probably the best recipe I've made during Whole30. The combination of flavors and spices is so delicious and the crunch from the jicama and carrots gives it great texture. This will definitely go in our regular meal rotation. We ate it over cauliflower rice. 

  What comes next:
- The reintroduction process starts on Wednesday. The way it works is I add back one food group for one day, starting with legumes, and have something from that food group with every meal. So on Wednesday I'll have black beans with my sweet potatoes and eggs for breakfast, an apple with peanut butter at lunch, and chickpea curry for dinner at our favorite Jamaican restaurant (but no rice). Then the next 2 days I go back to the Whole30 diet and assess how I feel. The order of reintroduction is legumes, non-gluten grains, and dairy.  I obviously won't be reintroducing gluten since I already know I have an intolerance to it but that would be the last thing non-gluten sensitive people would add back. 

- I'm curious to see how I feel after introducing things back. I am pretty sure I will not go back to eating dairy as I think that's the main stomach issues culprit. Also, in week 2 I ran out of the medication I take for my acne and decided to not refill it and see how I do. So far I haven't had any breakouts. I've eliminated dairy from my diet in the past to help with my complexion so I know there is a connection there. I haven't really missed dairy all that much during Whole30 so avoiding it in the future wouldn't be too hard. But we'll see how I feel when I add it back during the reintroduction phase.

Are there any foods that you have a sensitivity to or think you might have a sensitivity to? 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Shouldless Days: April (1 of 2)

Remember when I posted about my goals for 2016 and one of the goals was to have a shouldless day each month? I did so well in January and February but fell off the wagon in March as the month was just too busy to fit in a shouldless day. So I have some catching up to do in April and will *try* to squeeze in 2 shouldless days this month! My calendar is much less full and Whole30 ends soon so it should be easier to plan some unplanned days. And yes, I recognize the irony of having to plan to not make plans...

This past Sunday, I had my first shouldless day of April. Here's how I spent it!

I slept in on Sunday and woke up without an alarm which was blissful. While I ate breakfast (sweet potatoes + eggs and 2 mugs of pomegranate oolong tea), I watched an episode of Gilmore Girls. I'm about 1/4 of the way through season 5!

The rest of the morning was spent reading. I finished the book "Commencement" by J. Courtney Sullivan. I've really enjoyed the 2 books I've read by this author so I need to check out more of her books!

By the time I finished the book, it was time for lunch. After eating some leftovers for lunch, I talked on the phone to Mandy. We hadn't talked on the phone for months so were sooo overdue!

Sunday was a beautiful day, so I headed out for a long walk in my neighborhood. There were lots of people out running which made me especially sad that I'm not able to run right now but walking does allow me to take in more of the beauty of my neighborhood. Here are 2 pictures I snapped on my walk.
The Mississippi River + Minneapolis skyline is a beautiful combination
Crossing my favorite bridge in Minneapolis - my condo building is just on the other side of this bridge and I can see this bridge from my balcony
After my walk, Becky Facetimed me and we had a quick catch-up session. We text often, but I am pretty sure I haven't actually talked to her since we saw each other in November which is crazy!  It was fun to see her little guy, Parker, who just turned 11 months last week!

After our quick catch-up session, I headed to yoga sculpt for an intense, calorie-burning class. Sculpt is such a tough class for me but I always feel so good afterwards! I'm glad that I have one workout that doesn't bother my hip too much and is high-intensity.

That evening I started Tisha, which is a book I am reading for the postal book club that I am in. It's one of those books I wouldn't have chosen based on the cover (I'm kind of judgy about covers!) but I am really enjoying it.

After that, it was bedtime!

Have you had a shouldless or commitment-free day recently? If so, what did you do?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Scenes from Life

I thought I'd change things up today and do a less wordy and more picture-focused post!

First off, here are some pictures of our furr-baby, Oscar. She will turn one this month!  She still REALLY prefers Phil. Most of the time when I'm at Phil's house, she sits on his dining room table and stares at us...  I guess she sees me as competition for his attention! But a couple of Fridays ago I got her to sit on my lap! I think the combination of being able to watch me knit + the heated blanket on my lap helped!

I love watching her stretch. This is her favorite spot as it's the sunniest spot in Phil's house (side note: I know that is the ugliest chair. Phil and I have different standards when it comes to furniture...). 

We spent Easter with Phil's mom and Oscar came along. The Easter bunny came for everyone - even Oscar.

The Easter bunny brought me a tea pot! This was the perfect gift since I switched to drinking tea on day 2 of Whole30. I love brewing tea in this pot on the weekends!

You can see these flowers peaking through in the photo above, but here is a better photo of them. I treated myself to some tulips last week to brighten my day as I was feeling very cranky about the cold weather we've been having lately. I need to buy fresh flowers for myself more often!

I arranged these using something called a "frog" which Phil's mom gave me last year. It's a metal thing with spikes that you insert the stems into. I'd never heard of it but she uses them all the time so said I had to have one! Later in the week I moved the tulips into a vase when they started to droop a bit.
Lastly, I captured this beautiful sunrise photo from the balcony of my apartment. I love my view!

What images have you recently captured on your camera or phone?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Whole30 Week 3 Review

3 weeks down, 1 week + 2 days to go!  I can see the finish line!

Last several people asked about Whole30's recommendation to not snack, so I thought I'd follow up with their brief explanation for this. First off, though, this is not a program rule; instead, it is a recommendation. The rules (i.e. no sugar, dairy, alcohol, legumes, etc) are not optional. However, the recommendations are ideal, but you can still stay true to Whole30 and not follow the recommendations. Here's an article that explain the rules and the recommendations, which includes a brief explanation of the no snacking rule.

Now back to my weekly review! My grocery shopping haul was much smaller since I had made and froze my evening meal of sweet potato chili the previous week.

As usual, lots of vegetables, some meat, and eggs
What's helping me succeed:
- Reminding myself this is Whole30 not WholeForever.  There is a reason that this program only last 30 days. For me, it's not a sustainable lifestyle but it's not meant to be a sustainable lifestyle since they only have you do the program for 30 days. So when I find myself getting frustrated, I remind myself that it's temporary.

What's been the hardest:
- There is sugar in waaaaay too many things. One thing Whole30 has done is open my eyes to how many foods have sugar in it.  WHY must there be sugar in sooooo many things. It's incredibly frustrating, especially when you plan to make a recipe where you think all of the ingredients will be fine until you get to the last thing on your grocery list (chipotle peppers in adobo sauce this past week) and realize you can't get them because they have freaking sugar in them.

New recipes I've tried:
- Paleo Pad Thai - A coworker recommended this to me after she found out I was doing Whole30 as this recipe is Whole30 compliant. Phil said I should make it again so it was definitely a hit. I skipped the egg step at the recommendation of my coworker, added shredded carrots, and served it with zucchini noodles instead of spaghetti squash. Next time I make it I'll add thinly sliced red peppers. Also, just a heads up in case anyone is curious, the recipe does call for snap peas, which are technically a legume. However, Whole30 allows you to eat them because the peas are so small compared to the pod they are in. The same goes for snow peas.

I topped mine with cilantro and chopped cashews
- Crockpot Barbacoa - This is a chimichanga recipe but I obviously only made the meat part of the recipe. I'm all about crockpot recipes these days since they are easy peasy. I had to made a couple of modifications to this recipe - I substituted coconut oil since vegetable oil isn't a Whole30 compliance fat and I had to leave out the chipotle in adobo since all three brands of that ingredient at my grocery store had sugar in it.  Bleh. But even without the chipotles, it was still very good and is something I'd make again.

- Ratatouille Zucchini Boats - When my friend Erin shared this recipe with me last month, I immediately added it to my meal plan for Whole30. I love ratatouille and I love zucchini boats so it was like this recipe was made for me! Of course to make it Whole30 you need to skip the cheese but they were still great without it! I served them with the barbacoa.

How I feel:
- I'm still having weird dreams about food. For example:  one night last week I dream that I was at a mall (which never happens, I hate malls!) and I took a sample of sunbutter that someone was handing out, which makes no sense because who hands out samples of nut butters? After eating it I freaked out because I didn't ask to see the list of ingredients and there was likely sugar in it. I guess I am super paranoid about making a mistake and eating something forbidden by the program!

- My stomach still feels better than it would normally, but I honestly do not feel the "boundless energy" that others have described. It probably does not help that it's been rainy/cold for the last week or so. A friend of mine who did the program in January speculated that I don't feel as much of a change in energy since I ate so healthy in the first place. I certainly don't feel less energy so I'm not concerned and I recognize that everyone will react differently to the program.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Podcasts, Books, Workouts, and Looks of March

Happy Friday! Once again, I'm making a slight shift to my monthly recap. Normally I'd share miles, for the time being I'll share workouts because no miles are being ran. Womp womp.


Milk Wanted by Reply All - This podcast is all about breast milk. Namely, it's about how hard and expensive it is to acquire if you are unable to produce any/enough for your child. Even though I don't have kids, I still found this episode really interesting!

Brilliant vs. Boring by Planet Money - Ok, this is financy, but I work in finance so had to share something that I found interesting. This episode is about Warren Buffett's bet that a passively managed strategy (i.e. an index fund that tracks the performance of the S&P 500) would outperform a group of hedge funds over a 10 year period. The bet started in 2006 so is in it's final year. The premise of the episode is whether it's better to use passively managed strategies or actively managed.  Or in other words, can a portfolio manager consistently outperform an index like the S&P 500? The implications of where you stand on this should impact how you invest money in your 401(k) and other investment accounts. I recognize this is a super nerdy/financy conversation but I think improving financial knowledge is so important, especially for those in my age bucket as social security will likely be a thing of the past by the time we retire!

The No-Tipping Point by Freakonomics - This podcast talks about a restaurant owner in NYC that is experimenting with eliminating tipping by adjusting the prices of the menu so that hospitality is included (i.e. no tipping). As a result, they will be able to pay their chefs more and reduce the disparity between what the front of the house (servers) and the kitchen staff makes. This was a very fascinating podcast to listen to. I was shocked to hear how little chefs are paid and how low the profit margins of restaurants are (around 7%!!!). 


This wasn't my best month of reading as my general thought about the books I read this month was "meh" with the exception of the last book I read which was really great.  Also I read 30% of 2 books and then abandoned them because I couldn't get into either book. I guess there are months where you just aren't connecting with what you are reading. Here's hoping April is better. As usual, the starred books counted toward the Read Harder Challenge.

It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig - 3 stars
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson* - 3 stars
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - 3 stars
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend - 2 stars
Speaking of Faith by Krista Tippett - 3 stars
Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson - 4 stars


Despite the hip issues I've been having, I managed to workout 27 times, and 15 of those workouts were yoga with the remainder being mostly long walks and some elliptical or stationary bike workouts. I have a hard time considering "long walks" a workout but such is the state of my life these days. At least I'm getting some high intensity workouts in when I go to yoga sculpt!


The weather was so weird in March. I went from winter clothes to spring clothes and then back to winter clothes again. Towards the end of the month I decided to wear springy clothing, even if it was wintery out. I just needed a pop of color to brighten my mood! My apologies for the crappy bathroom photos!

In outfit #1, I'm wearing a border-line obnoxiously bright pink silk top from Banana Republic that I purchased last summer with my favorite navy pants that I got at a Cabi party last summer. I wish they made these pants in more colors because they are soooo comfortable.

Outfit #2 is another pink Banana Republic top that I purchased recently with a 50% off coupon. I'm really trying to limit my clothes purchases but decided to buy a couple of light-weight sweaters for the spring/summer season as I need long sleeves tops for work (my office is freezing!). And once again I am wearing my favorite navy Cabi pants.