I seriously got the LASIK procedure done last Wednesday. I never thought that I would go through with it.
On Wednesday morning, I did a quick arm workout and then ate some cereal with bananas and almond milk. They told me to avoid caffeine and dairy that day in case it upset my stomach during the procedure. They also told me to eat a light snack before going over there. I chose to eat dry cereal in a bag in the passenger's seat of the car while my mom drove me. It was such a typical choice on my part.
Upon arrival at the surgical center, I signed some paperwork, produced a urine sample, had my blood pressure taken, and I ingested a Valium tablet. I don't know the exact dosage of this tablet, but I figured out about 20 minutes later that I was very grateful for it.
I sat next to my mom for a while in the waiting area as I anticipated somebody calling me back for the surgery. While I waited, I saw one young guy go back there and return 20 minutes later with his eyes looking bandaged up with sunglasses over them. I realized that he just had LASIK, and this would usually scare me. Instead of being frightened, though, I laughed at how ridiculous he looked (knowing perfectly well that I would soon look like that and have to be physically walked out by my mom while I stumbled to the car). I knew at this point that the drug was getting to my head and making me feel very relaxed.
My doctor finally came out to take me to the surgical room. He apologetically explained that they had to frantically look over paperwork since they thought they were about to do surgery on the wrong person. It turned out that I booked the procedure under my maiden name Cooke, but the paperwork that I signed about 30 minutes earlier was under my married name Martin. Whoops. You would think that after being married for almost a year, I would know better. I visited Wheaton Eye Clinic before I got married, and it never occurred to me that withholding my new name until the day of my surgery would lead to problems.
This is probably a good time to stop reading if you don't want to know details about the surgery. I figured I'd warn you. If you don't care, then read on.
Once that was settled. my doctor led me back to my surgical room with his assistant. He promptly removed my glasses (the last time I would ever wear them) and asked me to sit down in a chair that reminded me of a dentist's chair. He had me sit all the way back in it. Once I was properly positioned, he put five drops of numbing drops into my right eye. I knew that there was no going back at that point.
He then taped my right eyelids open (they only do one eye at a time) with what was probably some serious adhesive tape. Blinking was impossible. He also put some sort of a clamp on the outside of my eye to ensure that it stayed open. This was actually the only painful part of the procedure. It pushed against my orbit and stretched my skin. It was very uncomfortable. My doctor said that the pain wouldn't last for long, and he was right. Either that, or I was distracted by everything else that he was doing to my eye. He also covered up my left eye.
My doctor was very good about talking me through the procedure. He told me what he was going to do, and he told me what I had to do. I only had one task: stare at the red light blinking above me. If my eye strayed the slightest bit, he would tell me to move it back. The numbing drops kicked in very quickly, because I hardly felt any sensation. There were a few times when he had to use a small sponge to collect the moisture on my eyeball, and I could not feel it. It was bizarre. Then, he placed a suction cup on my cornea. I could only feel pressure. The suction cup was what created the flap on my cornea. This was the cutting part. The scariest part of this was the approximate 10 seconds (or maybe less- I don't know) where I couldn't see anything out of my right eye. I felt like I was blind. That darkness ended quickly, and I could slowly make out the red blinking light again.
The next step was the laser treatment. He moved the flap of my cornea aside (warning: you can see the doctor moving your flap), and the laser was activated. I felt a little bit of burning, but it was no worse of a sensation than getting soap in your eyes. The laser is the most important part of the procedure, and that's what makes the improvements in vision. It alters the shape of your cornea so that you can see better.
After the laser, he replaced the flap (I could see it) on my cornea. Corneal tissue sticks to itself, so no bandage or anything is needed. Thank you for sticking to yourself, eye tissue.
Once he was done with the right eye, he covered it and did the left eye. The procedure was exactly the same. It was all a little bit scary, and I would have vomited all over myself and possibly the machine (if it was a projectile vomit) if it had not been for the Valium. That stuff was gold. I could feel my heart in my chest during everything, but it would have been pounding so much harder otherwise. I may have even passed out. This may not come as a shock, but a laser in your eye is scary.
My mom said that I was back there for something like 25 minutes, but each eye only took something like 2-3 minutes. I only endured 4-8 minutes of something that I didn't like for a lifetime of damn good vision. I'll take it.
When my doctor and his assistant were done with me, he taped my nerdy eye mask onto my face (await photo) and put some awesome sunglasses over them. As I predicted, I looked just like that other guy in the waiting room. He gave me my medicated eye drops (cortisone and antibiotics) along with lubricating drops and walked me out to meet my mom. I made a comment about being able to see the TV without my glasses, and my doctor laughed. He must have been proud of his handy work. My mom then drove me home while I leaned my chair all the way back in the car and closed my eyes because they were tearing like crazy. They were very sensitive to sunlight, just like they had just been dilated (but worse). Now, I understand even more why you need somebody to drive you to and from the surgery. There is no way I could have competently been able to drive home. Driving with your eyes closed=not safe for anybody.
I was supposed to go home and sleep for two hours. Since nobody woke me up and I was drugged and tired, I slept for four hours. That night, I watched TV with my eye mask off and could see the TV perfectly. Other things were still a little blurry. The next day, nothing was blurry.
I went back for a check-up at Wheaton Eye Clinic the next morning. I learned that my eyes were 20/20 combined, and they would only get better. Not bad for something like 8 hours of work, right?
I had to sleep with my eye mask on for three nights so that I couldn't unconsciously rub my eyes. This is what it looked like:
They had to be taped onto my face individually. I wouldn't have minded them, except for they left insane marks on my face in the morning. The plastic (although not uncomfortable) dug into my face and left lines, and then the tape was so sticky that the adhesive stayed on my skin. It took about three minutes in the morning just to peel it off. I'm serious. My face looked red and blotchy and swollen. There are are worse misfortunes in life, so I didn't complain.
My doctor told me that I could start wearing makeup the next day if I wanted, but I waited a good four days before I tried anything. I've poked myself in the eye a good few times in the past with my mascara wand, so I didn't want to risk anything. I also have to be very careful removing makeup. I can't rub my eye over the iris (the colored part) for a good four weeks, so I have to push up my upper eyelids to safely remove it. It's doable, but it requires extra caution.
For up to two weeks after the procedure, swimming or playing contact sports are discouraged. I don't want an infection or anything at all that may displace the corneal flaps while they are healing.
Aside from some mild burning the first few days, my only complaint is dryness. The lubricating drops really help. My eyes are not sensitive in the sunlight, and I forget to look out for halos every time that I walk outside during the night. They must not be bad enough to distract me. I see them mildly when I look outside my window at night. The halos, like the dryness, should go away as my eyes heal and adjust to their new vision.
The only other issue is a bruise on my left eye that should go away in the next week. It was from the suction cup on my eye, and it is very common. If anything, it looks like I'm tired. It's not much of an inconvenience.
All in all, I am thrilled with my new vision. I keep reaching towards my face to adjust my glasses, and then I remember that they're not there. I can wear sunglasses again and apply makeup without having to hold a mirror to my face with one hand. I'm very happy.
We've had some good times, glasses, but I'm sorry to say that I have to put you away forever.
Tomorrow, I'm getting LASIK surgery.
You probably haven't noticed, but I've been wearing my glasses for the better part of a year.
Not those glasses, though.
I noticed in the fall of 2011 that I was blinking a lot more than usual with my contacts in my eyes. I had been wearing my contacts nearly every day since I was in eighth grade, and I never had a serious problem with them that lasted more than a day. I bought lubricating eye drops that fall that worked at first, but then my eyes got even worse in the spring. I had trouble wearing my contacts for more than a few hours at a time. I still wore them all day, but I was constantly putting drops in my eye. If I blinked too much, my eyes teared and my makeup smeared. It sounds superficial, but it sucked when I couldn't go out for a night with my friends without worrying about eyeliner and mascara running down my cheeks.
I started wearing glasses more often last summer, and I visited 2 optometrists at Lenscrafters to try new contact lenses. I tried many different options, including daily lenses. The lenses that I wore at the time lasted up to two weeks, but everybody told me that daily lenses (the ones you throw out after wearing for only one day) may irritate my eyes less by being more oxygen-permeable. I tried them, along with every single sample of eye drops the optometrists could give me, but every trial was without success. I could not wear lenses for more than a few hours at at time without blinking and tearing.
The optometrists told me that there was nothing more that they could do to help me. The worst part of this was that my wedding was coming up in less than two months, and I did not fancy the idea of getting married with glasses. Furthermore, the only kinds of glasses that I wanted to wear on my honeymoon in Cabo were sun
The optometrists told me to see an ophthalmologist, so I did. I went to Wheaton Eye Clinic
and met with a doctor who took one look at my cornea under a concentrated light beam and informed me that my corneas are "vascularized". In other words, as a result of wearing my contacts too much for too many years, my eyes were starved for oxygen and therefore had to sprout little blood vessels into my cornea (which apparently is not normal) as a poor attempt to get some. Finally, the blinking and terrible sand-in-the-eye sensation made sense to me.
My doctor gave me more eye drops, told me to get a humidifier, and then she gave me the best news ever: I could wear my contacts for my wedding and my honeymoon without discomfort. In exchange for some serious $$, I got a small bottle of steroid eye drops to use three times per day (I think) for up to two weeks. Longer use than that put me at risk for some glaucoma and some cataracts, so I made sure to heed her warnings.
As you see in my wedding picture, I was not a four-eyed bride. I remember having minimal discomfort after getting my makeup done, but I forgot about it completely once the wedding festivities got rolling. By the end of my honeymoon, I was wearing my contacts without any eye drops at all or discomfort. Those steroids on my eyeballs worked wonders!
A few days after I got home, though, it was back to the same pain-in-the-butt eye problems. I wore my glasses during the day, and I wore my contacts if I was going out to do something social.
By the time the fall rolled around, I was wearing my glasses unless I was sleeping. There might be an occasional night out where I could go glasses-free, but they were few and far between. As far as my grad school friends know, I've always worn glasses.
Even now, I can only wear contacts for an hour or two without problems. I think that I look fine with glasses (as a matter of fact, aI am feeling nostalgic about them today!), but I would still rather not wear them.
This is why I am getting LASIK tomorrow. There is no medical reason to get it. Like most LASIK procedures, this is an elective procedure. My rationale is that the surgery will eventually pay for itself when I don't have to invest in new glasses, annual eye doctor visits, a year supply of contacts (which are pricey!), and contact lens solution as I need it.
I'm scared, but I will let you know how it goes! I know that I'm in good hands at Wheaton Eye Clinic. These docs definitely know what they're doing.
Hello again after many months! This has been the longest hiatus yet, and I blame it 100% on the fact that I can't balance my blogging and school life. I never had a problem with this when I worked full-time in Adelaide, but being a full-time student seems to swallow up the time that I have to write for fun. Instead, I spent hours memorizing notes and charts and writing papers for grades. I do love the things that I learn and am so much more knowledgeable in nutrition than I was a year ago, but TLJ is a passion project of mine that I miss when I spend too much time away from it. This summer, I want to focus on this and remind myself why I love writing so much in the first place.
I finished up my 21-hour semester on Thursday (May 9), and this is the first summer in two years that I'm not taking any classes. YIPPEE!! This summer, I plan to:
- walk dogs for money (I already do this for free, so I was pretty pleased when I started working for a dog-walking company this morning)
- read for fun
- read academic articles about nutrition so that I can talk about them here and to become a better-informed dietetics student
- laugh, spend time with friends, and get my husband all to myself
Here are some of the fun things that you have missed while I was in hibernation:
Since April 28, I have lived in this swanky new apartment with this view below.
Alastair is spending his time between Chicago and Napa since his job allows him to work from home, but there are periods of time when I am all alone. June 28 will be the magical day when he officially finishes up work in Napa and comes to Chicago permanently. It will be glorious, but it will be even better when he finds a job here.
Here's another great event: the first of my friends had a baby. Jessie was one of my bridesmaids at my wedding. She was about two months pregnant there, and only she and her husband knew. They managed to keep it a secret from everybody, and nobody even noticed that Jessie wasn't pounding down wine like everybody else!
Kaylee Paige is one of the cutest babies I have ever seen! Like her mother, she was born with a full head of hair.
Two days after Kaylee was born, my friends Kate and Dan got engaged. He took her to dinner and then walked her across the street to the bar where we were all waiting. Before they walked into the bar (Kate had no idea that we were there), he took her over to the window right in front of us and proposed to her. We got so many good photos of it. Once the proposal was over, they met us in the bar where we celebrated late into the night.
One of the funniest parts was that I was with Kate for a few hours earlier in the day to meet Kaylee at the hospital, and she said that she thought Dan might propose that night. I asked her why, and she said it was because he was taking her out for a nice dinner. I brushed it off (I had known about it for a few weeks already, and I picked out both the bar and the restaurant for them) and changed the subject. She didn't mention it again, but she sent me a text when they finished dinner that night to tell me that he didn't pop the question. She obviously did not suspect that he was going to do it on the sidewalk across the street five minutes later. It was so sweet, and I'm thrilled that I got to be a part of it!
Fun upcoming events include me getting LASIK surgery in two days (unless I freak out last-minute and don't get it) and a week-long trip to Mexico for my cousin's wedding. I also need to get a couch since the only thing that I have to sit on is my bed or my desk chair. This may not come as a shock, but I am looking forward to Mexico the most and LASIK the least. I'm not really sure why I categorized it under "fun" events. I guess that as long as I don't lose my eyesight or have impaired vision as a complication from the procedure, I'll be happy in the long-term.
More on that later.
Now, it's time for bed!
I made the most outstanding tofu for two nights in a row, and I must share the recipe. It's very simple; you need to prepare a quick marinade, let the tofu soak in it, and then pop it in the oven (or you can cook it on the stove top). Easy, peasy.
I got the marinade recipe from The Vegan Foodie. You can view it on the website here
To make the marinade, you need the following ingredients:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T soy sauce
1/2-1 T agave nectar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic smashed (I used 2 T of minced garlic)
Any herbs that you want (or none at all)
You also need a block of firm tofu.
Add tofu, preheat oven to 350, then bake for 30 minutes. Flip the tofu after 15 minutes.
This recipe serves 2 people.
Here is the process in more detail:
I made the marinade in a large bowl (just pour all of the ingredients in there and mix with a spoon) and then cubed my tofu. I know people like to press their tofu with a paper towel to absorb some of the water, but I never bother with that. I drain the water from the package and then start chopping away at the block. If you want to, though, you can plop the wet block on a cutting board, place a paper towel on top, and apply pressure until your paper towel is soaked through (at least that's how I do it). You can also put something like a heavy book on top of the block for a few minutes or buy a legitimate tofu press. For me, though, it's not worth the trouble.
I almost always cube my tofu. I can sometimes find tofu that is already cubed. If not, I cut the tofu in half by separating the top and the bottom of the block. I then leave the halves on top of each other and cut both width-wise and length-wise until I have relatively equal-sized cubes. It doesn't matter how big your cubes are; the most important thing is to try to get them to be the same size!
I then throw the cubes into the marinade and let it sit covered for a few hours in the fridge (about 2 hours is enough for me, but you can do it for more or less time). Marinating in a bag is a probably a better idea, because there is always too much tofu in my bowl for all of it to be covered in the sauce. I usually take it out of the fridge a few times and stir the mixture so that all of the cubes get some flavor.
I preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put the cubes in a baking pan that is large enough to spread them out in a single layer. I use a big spoon with holes (what do you call that?) so that the liquid can drain back into the bowl. Whatever you do, try to keep as much of the marinade as you can. Put the tofu in the oven and cook for 30 minutes (flipping them halfway through).
You can also sautee the tofu on the stove, but I find that the oven crisps it up
While the tofu is baking, I chop up a red onion (about 1/4 of a large onion; 1/2 of a small onion) and throw them into the leftover marinade to pick up extra flavor. When the tofu is finished, you can pour the marinade with the onions on top of it, and it's delicious. I also cut up a few slices of tomato to add and spread some goat cheese crumbles over everything. You can really garnish with anything- it's up to you.
My inspiration for this balsamic tofu came from a balsamic tofu wrap that I ate from Whole Foods
that was outstanding. I wanted to go home and make it myself. I still haven't eaten the tofu in a wrap, but I might try it next week. With some baby spinach, tomato, clinatro, and a whole grain wrap, I bet it would be a perfect lunch.
I hope you make this if you want a good vegetarian meal. It's so good!
I got home from California on Wednesday, and I hung around my parents' house for a couple of days before going back to the city. My mom started a vegan diet on January 1st, and she wanted me to make a vegan-friendly meal for Thursday night. She wanted spaghetti squash. Since I make it all the freaking time, though, I wanted to make another dish along with that yellow beast of a squash. I thought it would be fun to make quinoa burgers since I never had them or made them before, so I researched recipes and went grocery shopping.
They were a piece of cake to make. The longest part was preparing the quinoa. Once that was done, I threw a bunch of ingredients in a food processor, mixed everything together, formed patties, and cooked the burgers on the stove.
The mix that came out of the food processor was very tasty. That's one of the good thing about vegan food: you can sample the uncooked "burger batter".
I cooked the spaghetti squash in the oven and just made up a simple sauce by adding sauteed onions and mushrooms and spices to a store-bought (vegan) pasta sauce. It was just fine. It was even better when I added parmesan cheese. If I ever became a vegan, I would have such a hard time giving that stuff up.
The burgers were also fantastic. I got the recipe from sparkpeople.com. The link is here.
Here is the recipe for very easy and tasty vegan quinoa burgers (serves six people):
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds (I used pine nuts)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup raw, diced onion
1 cup cooked black beans
1 tsp salt (I omitted this)
3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry)
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
bread crumbs (you can use rice flour for a gluten-free alternative)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package. When finished, put all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender except for the quinoa and bread crumbs. Blend them until they have a mushy consistency (look at my after-blending photo) and then mix the "mush" with quinoa and bread crumbs in a bowl. The recipe says to roll the mixture in the bread crumbs before cooking, but I just mixed everything together. It turned out fine.
Roll the mixture into balls, flatten them out so that they look like burgers, and then throw them on a hot pan on the stove top to cook. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or flip when they look golden-brown. My pan was too hot, so I slightly burned the burgers (see photo). I'm learning things, one day at a time.
If you're going all vegan on these, do not omit the bread crumbs! Your burger will fall apart and will resemble quinoa hash more than anything.
What a great recipe! Even if you're not a vegan, these are worth making.
Have a great night, everybody!
Today was my first day back at school. While it's nice to be back and see friendly faces, I know that this is going to be some of the busiest 4 to 5-ish months of my life. I know that the week of Valentine's Day, for example, that I have at least four exams. It's to be expected when you're taking 21 hours, but I am already looking forward to the end of my first week of May.
I got back from California on Wednesday. It was a very relaxing week. I read 2.5 books, watched the first season of Downton Abbey, and spent some quality time with Al. We drove around Napa Valley on Saturday (I only half-jokingly told Alastair to keep his job in Napa while I stay in school so that I can move there after I graduate, because the scenery is so exquisitely beautiful), and then we ventured to San Francisco on Sunday. Our first stop (and the only place I really took pictures) was Alcatraz (I almost just wrote "Azkaban"- the Wizard prison from Harry Potter. Seriously.). Alcatraz was a maximum-security prison from the 1930's until the middle of the 60's. It's located on an island, and the only way to get there is by boat. As you can imagine, it can make for quite an eerie setting. I went there when I was 9, and I couldn't wait to see it again as an adult.
For an especially scenic drive, we entered the city via the Golden Gate Bridge.
We parked over by Fisherman's Wharf, grabbed an early lunch at Pier 39
, and then we waited in line for the ferry to take us over to Alcatraz. The quick ferry ride was very visually-appealing, including views of the harbor, the city skyline, and some bridges and little islands that I can't name. I wondered if I would enjoy a commute like this every day. I don't mean that I would want to go to a prison every day, but just a ferry commute in general. It seems so much more relaxing than a train, a car, or a bus.
Before long, we were free to explore the island.
Just like the last time I went, we did the audio tour of the prison house. The tour was exactly the same, and it was great. It's very informative, and it doesn't supply you with superfluous information that results in boredom. The headphones and cassette player are also free. The only Alcatraz fare that we paid was for the ferry.
As to be expected, we saw a lot of tiny jail cells.
The inmates had a somewhat large recreation area. They could complain about their jail cells until the cows come home, but they couldn't complain about their views from the recreation yard. I'm sure the outdoor time was the best time of the day for many of the inmates.
Once we finished the tour, we got the next ferry back to the city.
We got back in the car and drove around Golden Gate Park, which is located on the northwest side of the city. When we got through to the other side, we saw the ocean. We parked the car and walked north to a lookout point at the Cliff House
, which is a famous restaurant with uninterrupted ocean views. We could not believe how pretty it was. San Francisco is a stunning city.
We then went to my cousin's apartment and grabbed dinner with him and his fiance. They are getting married in June in Mexico, and I am already ready to go there!
The rest of my trip revolved around being lazy while Al was at work. Now that I'm back, I'm glad that I lounged around and took some time for myself. I needed some calm before the chaos.
Even if I can't do long posts, I am going to try my best to post some short recipes. I won't have much time to cook, so my weekly meals will be easy and healthy. I'm not going to resort to microwave and take-out meals. Otherwise, I have no right to lecture busy people on healthy eating!
Happy 2013 from Napa, California! I haven't made a New Years resolution in a long time, but this year, I want to blog more. I used to do it every day, and now I do it more like one time per month. It will be hard once I start classes again for the new semester, because my schedule is CRAZY! Regardless, it shouldn't be too hard for me to update recipes, exercises, and fun happenings with friends and family.
I was supposed to post this below in November when I had dinner with a small group of friends from school at Demera in Chicago, but I failed miserably. As I said before, being a student makes me a much less reliable blogger. Don't let my low-blogging frequency put a damper post, though, because this place was awesome!
I have heard stories about Ethiopian food, and it never sounded that great to me. I thought it consisted of eating paste with your hands. It seemed more or less fun (if you can handle meals sans silverware), but not delicious. Once I immersed myself into the world of food, culture, and nutrition though, I learned that people I know actually like Ethiopian cuisine. Perhaps I could like it too.
With some research, I learned that Ethiopian food is not necessarily eating paste with your hands. It usually consists (most popularly) of a flavorful thick stew called wat
and bread called injera
that you use to mop up the wat. The injera is a thin, iron-rich bread with a spongy consistency that is made from fermented teff flour (source)
. Don't let the spongy consistency fool you; injera is very filling.
The top picture shows assorted types of wat on top of one large piece of injera. I was in charge of ordering, so I made sure to get one large platter that included beef, lamb, chicken, seafood, and plenty of veggie wat options. This met all of our dietary requirements. For a group of five of us, this was plenty. We could not even finish everything.
The next picture shows the injera that they gave us on the side. They are large, rolled up pieces that somehow resemble building insulation to me (but they tasted much better than I think building insulation would taste).
To eat everything together, we ripped off pieces of the injera and used them to pick up pieces of wat on the shared platter. We also used our hands to rip apart the injera underneath the wat. After a while, the bread soaked up all of the flavor and it was delicious. Overall, our group had a lot of fun. We preferred this over ordering individual plates, because the food became the central part of our conversation. It was a great way to bring us together and discuss the food that we were eating.
If you have any interest in trying Ethiopian food in Chicago, give Demera a try or look at other Ethiopian restaurants around the Edgewater area (near Broadway and Montrose). Along with African food, Edgewater is an outstanding hub for authentic international cuisine.
I hope that everybody had a wonderful holiday. I'm escaping the crazy cold and wind in Chicago for Napa to spend time with Al before I have to get back to the grind of my 21-hour semester schedule. Happy Friday, everyone!
Happy Almost-Thanksgiving, American friends! As soon as the clock hits noon tomorrow, I am free for the rest of the week to eat, drink, and worry about nothing other than spending time with my friends and family. As with every year, I have friends coming into Chicago from all over the place, and (unique to this year) I have a husband coming in from California. I repeat
, I have a husband coming in from California!
As of one week ago, Alastair has been living in Napa. The American headquarters of the international company that he works for is there, and they transferred him there without any problems. In about six months, he will make his way to Chicago to live. This means that we can actually live together as husband and wife. I don't even know what that feels like, because I have never had the chance to experience it.
While I could join him in Napa, I am very invested in my program and am going to finish it here no matter what it takes. We also need an urban environment at this time in our lives, so Chicago will be the best place for us.
Speaking of Chicago, I MOVED to Chicago! My friend Goda (who I have mentioned many times on this blog) just bought a 2-bedroom/bathroom condo on the north side of the city, and I'm living there with her until Al and I get our own place next year. I am deliriously happy living there, because it's such a fun and vibrant area. I have my car here, but I never need to drive anywhere since there are buses and trains at my disposal. Gosh, Chicago is such a wonderful city.
Since Goda just bought her place, she had a "condowarming" wine and cheese party. Do you remember her wine and cheese party earlier this year
She had the same creative wine glass labels.
She worked all day on preparing the food, too. One culinary hit was the pineapple cheese ball with ham.
There were multi-colored corn chips, guacamole, and chocolate-covered blueberries (those balls were my contribution!).
As expected, there was also cheese all around us.
Of course, I made sure to sample everything.
I think that the Toscano cheese sprinkled with cinnamon was my favorite cheese of the night. It was sweet and tangy and gave a very unexpected but surprisingly delicious touch with the cinnamon topping.
My other favorite was the Mediterranean bruschetta that had chopped tomatoes, cucumber, olive oil, and feta cheese. This, spooned onto bread, was heavenly.
We also ate cheese and spinach quiches. Yum!
As always, Goda's wine and cheese party was a success. I didn't go out afterwards like I did last time (I had to study all of the next day for my nutrition science class), but I did wake up well-rested and ready to learn the following day.
One of the best parts about living with Goda is that I get to sample the left-over cheese from the fridge. Oh man. I really love my life right now. Let's just get my husband to Chicago!
I hope that everybody has a wonderful and safe holiday!
We all have something that motivates us to do something crazy, like doing 100 push-ups. For me, the desire to do this insane achievement came the day that I tried on my wedding dress for the first time. It was about a month before the nuptials, and I noticed immediately that I was dissatisfied with the under-armpit skin hanging over my strapless dress. I had been doing a lot of strength training up to that day, and I didn't understand why my body didn't look perfect in my perfect dress to me. My mom said that she didn't notice anything, but I ignored her while I pouted in the car and thought about how that skin would ruin all of my wedding pictures. Yes, I was a little crazy.
I decided that next day that I could only lose that unwanted excess skin under my arms if I did 100 push-ups and 100 triceps dips every day. Up until that point, I could do something like 30 push-ups. I was that lazy kid once-upon-a-time who did .5 of them in gym class before I got too tired to do any more, but that changed as I got older. I worked at it, and soon I could do 5 on my toes. Then, I made it up to 10. Then 20. When I did P90X
last year, I could do up to 30 push-ups without stopping. That was a gigantic accomplishment for me.
The day after I decided to do my 100 push-ups, I did 100 of them. I did 20 push-ups, and then I flipped over and did 20 triceps dips. Then, I flipped back over and did 20 push-ups. I got tired quickly, but I took breaks and did them. I stuck with my goal, and I did this every day for a few weeks. Soon enough, I could divide my push-ups into 4 sets of 25. I did this all on my toes. I never dropped down to my knees.
When I put on my dress for the final time before my wedding (I had three dress fittings), that unwanted skin was gone. It vanished. My arms looked more toned to me than they ever did before, and I was so proud of my hard work.
Dancing with my dad at my wedding
No loose skin!
Since I was so happy with the results for the wedding, I've been continuing with the push-ups. I don't do the triceps dips anymore (although I do do assorted triceps exercises 3 times per week), but I work on my push-ups 2-3 times per week. I made it up to 50 push-ups without stopping, and I did 60 today for the first time. What an accomplishment! I never thought I'd be able to do even 20 of them on my toes.
I don't consider myself to be an athletic person, but I am a good example of the fact that a little work goes a long way. Even if you can barely do a full push-up right now, I am living proof that you can do 100. Just take baby steps, and you will do it!
I swear I didn't quit TLJ, I swear! I've just been a really bad blogger. I've been a bad blogger ever since I started school. There's something about knowing that there's always something that I have to get done when I'm a student, and that always gets in the way of blogging. It was never this bad when I was working full-time. I really admire people who go to school full-time and blog every day. Maybe I should just think of TLJ as a class, and I lose a letter grade every week that I don't post anything. Does that sound fair?
Anyway, the blog has missed out on a lot of things. The blog missed out on Rosh Hashanah
, for one. Just like last year and every year, we had apples and honey.
We had gefilte fish with horseradish. We had to fight my mom about the horseradish being served with the fish, because you are technically only supposed to eat sweet things on Rosh Hashanah. We really wanted the horseradish, though. The fish isn't the same without it.
My dinner plate included the usual goodies such as spinach cheese casserole (also not sweet), sliced fruit, chicken with mushrooms (also not sweet), brown-sugared carrots, kugel, and jello. I guess the horseradish was not the only odd man in the mix.
By the way, I think you should know that I wrote a paper on kugel for my final assignment for my Foods class
that I took over the summer. It was a blast. I now know more about kugel that I ever imagined. You get to do a lot of research on food when you are studying to be a registered dietitian!
We also had lots of sweet desserts. They were sweet because of the holiday theme that most of the foods met, and they were sweet because most desserts are sweet.
What else has happened?
I watch the Grand Final
with my friends Courtney and Andi. I was able to recruit one more friend this year. Let's see how many I'll get next year!
I didn't have an overwhelming preference as to which team won, but I decided that I liked the Sydney Swans since they knocked Collingwood out of the final. I'm so mature. They did end up winning, so I was happy about that.
I also watched my mom run her third Chicago marathon since finishing her cancer treatment.
I volunteered as a cheer captain for Mile 25 with the American Cancer Society
. I loved it especially because it was so close to the end of everybody finishing the 26.2 miles. It was also great to see the elite runners who won the whole thing!
These guys literally looked like graceful gazelles while they ran. It didn't look they were struggling at all, even though they were running obscenely fast.
I spent a good few hours there. We rang our blue cowbells until our wrists ached and screamed encouraging things to the runners the whole time. It's always fun when runners write their names on their shirts, because you can shout something like "GO SUZY!" while somebody named Suzy is running past you. I know it means a lot to them, and it just encourages them to keep going. I've worried before that name-yelling (or yelling in general) is annoying, but I've heard from many runners that it keeps their adrenalin pumping and overall makes the whole experience better.
I saw a few of my friends over the couple of hours that I was there. My brother Jon and my dad met me just as my mom was about to run by Mile 25. We were all so happy to see each other!
It's a 4/5 family photo!
My brother and my dad went with her to as close as they could get to the finish line, but I hung back in hopes that I could see my friend Nicole run by me. I ended up walking through crazy masses of people back to Grant Park and met my family there. Then, we walked about 2 miles to the car. I was exhausted just from standing on my feet all that time, so I don't know how my mom walked all of that way!
She ended up having an amazing run, and she wasn't even sore the next day. She's incredible!
There are lots of exciting things happening, guys! I promise I will keep you updated. 'Till next time, my friends!