The deets (details- sometimes I like saying "deets") on the birthday weekend have been delayed, because this girl is one busy lady! I wish you knew how much I hate it that I can only blog a couple of times per week now, but being an aspiring nutritionist is hard work. I am counting down the days until I finish summer school (16 days). I wish I could decrease the number of chemistry days even more.
Saturday, I started my morning with a 5-mile run that did not go very well. I ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill and then got so bored that I almost surrendered all together. I finally dragged myself outside to complete the 5 miles. Honestly, I'm not convinced that I'll be able to run 13 miles
by the middle of August. My cardiovascular endurance is poor at the moment, and my leg prickles when I run. I never feel outright pain, and I actually haven't been sore at all for the past few days. For an injury, that is fantastic! I still want to run the half marathon so badly, so I'm going to keep training for now. I only need one long run a week, so it's not going to interfere with my stressful workload.
After the annoying run, I packed an overnight bag and headed to the city. I left at 2:00, and I didn't arrive to my brother's apartment until 4! A highway sign fell down on the Dan Ryan Expressway, and it stopped traffic all over the place. I really really love Chicago, but the traffic drives me crazy at times. Really, it should not take me 2 hours to get downtown on a Saturday afternoon!
I told my friends to meet me at the bar at 4, so I was already running late. I dropped off my stuff at Jon's apartment and hung out with Libby while he took a quick shower. Then, we grabbed a cab to Cedar Hotel
in the Gold Coast area.
Libby with her pet frog
If you enjoy drinking cocktails outside on a nice day, then you must go to Cedar Hotel in Chicago during the summer. They have a gigantic patio, and it is always packed. It's a lively atmosphere. If you come with a few friends, you have to make sure that you get there early so that you can get a table.
Luckily, some of my friends arrived at 4 and got a table. Over the course of the evening, we were able to drag a few of them together.
A bunch of us got giant margaritas for $15. What a great summer drink!
Cedar Hotel also offers great views of the Gold Coast. I can see the Hancock Building!
Below is Meredith and my brother Jon. He was kind enough to enjoy a few drinks with us before meeting his friends for dinner.
Remember my friend Jessie?
She made me cupcakes from scratch! She bought some of the ingredients from her honeymoon in Tahiti. We devoured them.
For dinner, I ordered myself some chicken quesadillas with sour cream, salsa and pico de gallo. They weren't the best ones I've ever had in my life, but they satisfied me all the same. Plus, quesadillas pair beautifully with margaritas or beer!
After the margarita, I moved on to beer. Blue Moon
is one of my favorite beers in the world, so I got one of those. I love beers with fruity flavors!
We hung out for a few hours and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
Jessie was being silly!
We also shared a plate of nachos, but I guess I forgot to take a picture of them. They were good, but they had a mix of the liquid and shredded cheese. I despise liquid cheese. It's fake cheese!
By the time we left, it was getting dark outside. That would have to mean that it was almost 9 pm. I love how my birthday falls on one of the longest days of the year. Then again, I did celebrate my birthday in Australia one year. It got dark around 5. It's so strange to think that it's winter over there right now (HI WINTER FRIENDS!!!).
Somewhere in transit from Cedar Hotel to the next destination, I stopped off at my friend Nicole's apartment so that I could keep my presents there. I grabbed a Magic Hat Wacko from Nicole's refrigerator. I just navigated the website
and learned that Wacko is Magic Hat's summer beer. It's "a delicious summer beer with malty aroma, a subdued hop bite and a clean, slightly sweet finish." It's a very fun and creative website! I also liked the beer. Thanks for the Wacko, Nicole!
After the stop at Nicole's, we met up with everybody at Houndstooth Saloon
in Wrigleyville. We stayed there for the rest of the night.
Goda, Irene, me, Nicole
Dan, Kate, me
Meredith, me, Andi, Nicole
Kate, Irene, me
Nicole and Meredith
Never dis the straw-beer combination until you try it!
Dan and Irene
Andi, me, Dan
Nicole and Meredith
Andi being silly!
When the night came to a close, a few of us headed down the street to Ian's Pizza
. I find it almost impossible to go out in Wrigleyville without going to this place. I first discovered this joint when I visited friends at University of Wisconsin in Madison, and then it came to Chicago! They mostly serve pizza-by-the-slice, and their most popular pizza is the Mac N Cheese Pizza. It's mac and cheese on top of a pizza. Literally. It's also delicioso
after a night on the town! Sorry about the shadow on the pizza. I can't edit it out without making the whole photo too bright. I'm sure that there is a way to do it, but I just don't know it.
Time to hit the books! I'll recap the rest of my birthday in the next few days!
Friday was a much-needed day off. For the first time in five days, I didn't cry. I had a wonderful day.
I started out with a full-body workout. I did 2 Cindy Whitmarsh
workouts on Exercise TV: one for lower body and one for upper body. I was done in 30 minutes.
I did some homework after that, and then I got my hair colored and trimmed, since I am premature grayer. Hooray! I went to a new place, and my hair has never been so soft and de-frizzed in my entire life. I may have left with a bunch of new hair products....
After that, I quickly got ready for a dinner event at my dad's hospital. They just built some innovative new bed towers, and Friday night was the unveiling. I went as Patti's date, a coworker of my dad's, because her husband was out of town.
When we got there, we went on a tour of the new bed towers. They are unbelievable! They look more like hotel rooms than hospitals. Everybody kept saying that nobody will ever want to check out!
There were some very smart ideas that went into the new towers. This below, for example, is a new nurses' station. Instead of having all the nurses gathered together in the middle of the floor and making a lot of noise, one nurse now sits in between two patients' rooms. They have all of their information on their computer, and they can press a button on either side to check on the patients. The glass that looks opaque on either side becomes transparent, and the nurse can see into the room.
Another nice feature is that the chairs are attached to the desk. The nurses get very frustrated when people take their chairs away and don't put them back, so now that's not an issue. The chairs are also ergonomically designed so that they are comfortable to sit in for long periods of time.
I was also blown away by the artwork. The construction executives in the hospital went to many locations around the world to find artists.
We somehow lost our tour group, by my dad luckily knew a lot about the new towers. He showed me and my mom around for a bit longer. Here are some of the other unique features:
- The rooms and doors are designed so that you can never see a patient in their bed while you walk down the hallway. This ensures privacy for the patient.
- All rooms have couches that turn into foldout beds for family members
- Family members have their own TVs in their rooms
- Every floor has a different "theme" so that it's more difficult for people to confuse
- The nurses and doctors keep all of the patients' medicine in locked drawers by their bedside. The nurse only has to swipe his or her card to open it if the patient needs medicine instantly. It eliminates the need to run to another location on the floor.
- All walkers in the room are red so that they can't be confused with a patient's personal walker.
After the "tour", we went back to the lobby for passed hors d'oeuvres and drinks.
Here is my date Patti!
We all chitchatted for a while, and then we walked outside and into a gigantic tent in the parking lot. It was a very nice tent. Other than being a bit drafty, I felt like I was in any old building. The port a potties were also the nicest ones I have ever been in in my life. They looked like luxury bathrooms. They even had bathroom attendants! I was speechless.
The lighting was very, very bad. I still managed to take pictures of my food. We started out with an Heirloom Tomato Salad with buffalo mozzarella, mixed greens and balsamic reduction. We also had brioche, millet and caramelized onion dinner rolls at our table.
We got our balsamic reduction in a shot glass!
The centerpieces were very fitting. I wanted to steal one for myself, but then I learned that they are getting donated to disadvantaged children.
The dinner was astonishing. Unless people requested a vegetarian meal, everybody got beef tenderloin with potato croquette, a baby vegetable bundle and demi glace AND Chilean Sea Bass with Forbidden Black Rice, enoki mushrooms and semame soy. Everything was crazy good. I especially loved the Forbidden Black Rice.
After listening to a few speeches, we were allowed to access the dessert table! Patti and I waited in line for almost 15 minutes, but I think it was worth it. My mom tried to convince me to go to Dairy Queen with her instead, but I opted for this!
I got a mini banana cream pie, a chocolate blob (the cookie), Door County Cherry White Chocolate Chip Cookies and a chocolate cheesecake skillet.
I loved all the mini-ness. It's so much fun to eat cute little things.
I'm currently at my brother Jon's place in Chicago (WITH LIBBY) working away on my homework while Jon is enjoying beers at the pool. I know it's not fair, but I only have FIVE MORE WEEKS TO GO!!!
I also spent the day and night yesterday celebrating my birthday with my friends. Stay tuned for a recap!
Hi guys, sorry I haven't been around much this week. I have been busy. Busy stressing. Too stressed to eat. Too stressed to sleep soundly. Too stressed to stop myself from crying on a daily basis. Too stressed to blog. Too stressed to exercise.
While I can't make you feel my emotions physically, I can try to paint a picture of my typical day for you. Here is my schedule from Monday through Thursday.
5 am: Wake up, brush teeth, put on gym shoes
5:10: Go to basement to exercise
6:00: Go upstairs and shower
6:45-7:45: Morning commute to biology class
8:00 to 10:40 (and 11:00 twice a week): Biology class
11:00-11:40: Commute home from biology
11:40-1:15 pm: Lunch and study
1:15-1:45: Commute to chemistry
2:00-5:20: Chemistry class
5:20-5:50: Commute home from chemistry
6:00-11pm or later: Study
It seems like I have plenty of time to study at night, but night time is also for blogging. It can take me up to an hour or longer to load pictures and write a blog post. On top of that, the chemistry homework alone takes up to three hours per night. This is not an exaggeration. So far, I have not been able to go to bed earlier than 11 pm. I don't watch TV, I don't talk on the phone, and I don't take more than 10 minutes to eat dinner.
Also, keep in mind that I'm taking two full-semester classes compacted into 8 weeks. There is no time to pause and go over everything to make sure that the class understands. We just keep going...and going.
I was hanging along fine until Monday after chemistry. I went to the cafe of a Barnes and Noble near me, and I worked on my chemistry homework for three hours. Even then, I still hadn't finished my work. I had to leave because my eyes burned from concentrating so hard on the computer, and the problem-solving part of my brain was starting to shut down. It was 9 pm by this time, and I had a huge biology exam on Wednesday morning for which I barely starting studying. Based on my schedule, when was I going to have time to study? I knew that I would have a lot of chem homework on Tuesday night as well. I also knew that I had to sleep, because I still had three busy days ahead of me. I also had a lot of driving to do, and I didn't want to operate a car on a minimum night's rest. I thought I might possibly get out of this okay...and then I had a breakdown.
I started crying when I got home, and I couldn't stop. I was simultaneously typing up my study guide in my room and sobbing. I got up every few minutes to get new tissues and blow my nose. My throat was tight to the point where it was difficult to talk without coughing, and my stomach was in knots. I could not bring myself to eat dinner.
The tears brought me red and puffy eyes the next day, and my legs felt like they weighed a million pounds. I literally had a stress hangover. I put my body into such a state of shock that it turned me into a zombie. I couldn't concentrate in class.I could barely form coherent sentences. I came home on Tuesday night crying all over again. I only had so many hours to study for this exam, and I really believed that I could not learn the information. My parents, who are even cooler than I thought, made me bring my book and notes downstairs so that they could read through the material with me and drill me on it. Sure enough, I got an A the next day!
The stress, however, did not end there. A big storm in the Chicago suburbs wiped out power all over the grid, and we went almost 24 hours without electricity. Not only could I not shower or use the toilets, but I could not use the internet (I cried). I spent Wednesday night at my family friends' home. I stayed up until midnight working on a biology assignment and poring over my chemistry work. Of course, I didn't come close to finishing my chemistry work.
Today, I spent the morning trying not to fall asleep in biology, and I cried in the bathroom after a chemistry quiz where I just could not figure out how to balance the damn equation. Then, my teacher asked me what the hell I was thinking when I planned my summer schedule. I kind of see what she is saying now...
Regardless of the gut-wrenching stress I experienced this week, I survived! While there may have been a few (or many times) that I wanted to jump out of a window, I got through it relatively unscathed. I still haven't worked out since Monday. I needed to sleep in an extra hour. Also, my diet has been terrible. I was so wrapped up in my work that I didn't make eating a priority. I probably lost weight this week, but this was not good weight loss. I would not recommend it for anybody. I would also not wish this stress on anybody. On the bright side, there are five more weeks to go. I also have this weekend to get ahead (and my birthday celebration!).
I hardly took any photos this week. As you can imagine, blogging had to take a backseat. So did my health. Ugh.
On Monday morning, I took a photo of our new coffee maker. I mix the coffee with soy milk and guzzle it down when I get to class. If I drink all of it in the car, I struggle to stay awake in class. I'm not sure why it makes a difference, but it does.
This was my breakfast on Monday. I had half of an onion bagel with chive cream cheese and leftover fruit from Sunday.
For my Last Meal before the Storm, I ate fruit with kugel and spinach cheese casserole for lunch.
Once the surge of emotions hit me, I didn't want to take any pictures. However, there was somebody in the house who made me very happy: Libby!
She stayed with us while Jon settled into his apartment. Whenever I came home from class during the week, Libby was on my bed.
I also took pictures of food when I was happy. I got a cheese potato with broccoli from Michael's Red Hots
after I got an A on my exam. I couldn't cook anything in the house without electricity, and I thought I deserved a cheese potato. My stomach was still knotty, though.
I spent some time with Libby, although I wish that we could have hung out more. I love that dog so much.
Well, that was a summary of the worst week ever. Even still, it had its redeeming qualities. I learned that my parents want me to succeed so badly that they gave up their free time to help me. I learned that there are good people who will take me into their home when I don't have indoor plumbing and internet (our power is now back, by the way). I learned that little furry friends always have a way of cheering me up. I also learned that I can't give up hope.
Finally, I learned that I really, really love blogging. I took a few days off, and I missed it. There will be days at a time where I just won't be able to do it, but hopefully not for too long!
If you made it this far, thank you for reading. It means everything to me.
I do not think that weekends bite. I think that weekends rule. My insanely hectic schedule during the week makes it difficult for me to welcome the start of the week again, but I don't have a choice. Only six more weeks to go!
I ate a lot this weekend, which is why I am calling this post "Weekend Bites".
I haven't dropped in and said hello since Wednesday night, so I'll catch ya up!
I also think it's ironic that I wrote a post on Wednesday about how I was addicted to blogging, and then I took three days off. Who am I?!?!
On Thursday, I had leftover pizza with baby carrots and grapes for lunch. I'm not sure why I need to include this photo, but I'm once again showing you my love of leftovers. And baby carrots and grapes.
I had dinner plans that night that fell through, so I decided to maximize my study time. I met Irene at Panera for dinner and homework. Irene is taking 4 summer school classes online, so she will be my occasional study buddy. I honestly don't know how she manages, since I get vomitously (that's not a real word) stressed from my two classes.
For dinner, I got half of a Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich (from the menu: Zesty Peppadew™ piquant peppers, feta cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cilantro jalapeno hummus on tomato basil bread) and a small Thai Chopped Chicken Salad (from the menu: antibiotic free chicken, romaine, wonton strips,a blend of fire-roasted edamame, red bell pepper and carrot tossed in a Thai chili vinaigrette. Topped with strips of seasoned grilled chicken, Thai cashews, fresh cilantro and peanut drizzle) .
For a side item, I had a choice of bread, a bag of chips or an apple. I chose an apple.
Everything tasted great!
Irene got a free bakery item since she had a Panera card, so she let me pick out an Oatmeal Raisin cookie. They have the best bakery goods. I ate the cookie while studying later on, and it was so soft that I could roll it into a ball. It was like eating cookie dough. It was amazing.
I studied with Irene for a while, but I knew it was time to go when everything started blurring together on my laptop. My schedule is making me exhausted! I was too tired to blog...for a few days.
I slept in until almost 9:30 on Friday (it's a big improvement from 5 am!) and then completed a full body workout with weights. I tried Giant Sets, which is where you do one set of 5 different routines without resting. Then you rest, and you complete it 2-3 more times. I'll probably try it again tomorrow, so I'll tell you about it in more detail. It's a good way to get in and out of your workout fast.
After that, my friend Ednalice stopped by my house. She was my best friend from my graduate school program, and we've stayed in touch. I haven't seen her in almost a year, so we had so much catching up to do. We don't stop talking when we get together, so I had a blast with her.
We went to Champps
by my house and sat outside in the beautiful weather. We started with a pitcher of Summer Sangria.
To eat, I got the chicken ranch wrap. I used to work there, and I can tell you that it is probably the most popular thing on their menu. It usually comes with tortilla chips, but I upgraded to fries. They have spectacular waffle fries.
Ednalice got the Bourbon Salmon, which came with grilled veggies and mashed potatoes. She was really craving mashed potatoes before, so she was thrilled with her dish.
I was a little tipsy after lunch due to the fact that Ednalice drove and couldn't have too much sangria, so I drank the majority of it. I accompanied my mom while she ran a few errands, and then I insisted (nicely) that she take me to Dairy Queen for soft serve. I got vanilla soft serve with strawberry and hot fudge sauce (I love them both) and rainbow sprinkles. I've been going there since I was little girl, and my order never changes.
After that, I fell asleep for an hour. I then woke up and did homework. It was a very uneventful Friday night, but at least I finished some work.
On Saturday, I was busy for a large portion of the afternoon with wedding stuff. During all of that, my brother and his girlfriend Nicole arrived in Chicago. I'm sure I mentioned this before, but my brother Jon is finally moving back to Chicago after spending five years in Houston doing his residency (and one year as Chief Resident- we were so proud). He got a fellowship position here, and he starts in a few weeks. In about 17 hours, they drove all the way here from Texas. That's very impressive!
To celebrate, we went to dinner at Cooper's Hawk
. I mentioned it before
when I went there a few months ago with my parents and Irene. They import their grapes and make their own wine. Don't let the imported grapes fool you; their wine is fabulous.
To get to the restaurant, you go through a wine shop/tasting room. There are so many cute things to buy, as well as wine.
My dad, the wine enthusiast, belongs to their wine club. He gets a bottle a month, so we drank our bottle during dinner. We had Pinot Noir and Sangiovese. Okay, so maybe we got one more bottle. I requested the Sangiovese, since it is my favorite!
In true Cooper's Hawk style, we dispensed our wine from a decanter.
We started out with Over the Border Egg Rolls for the table. We also had pretzel bread. I didn't take a picture, but you can see it in the post from last time.
From the menu: Southwest chicken, corn and black bean relish, cilantro and trio of cheeses all wrapped up in an egg roll and served with tomatillo salsa, cilantro ranch dressing, cashew dipping sauce and Asian slaw.
For my main course, I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tacos from the appetizer menu. They were certainly enough for a full meal for one person.
From the menu: mini crispy white corn tortillas filled with citrus slaw, Srirahca, ceam, pico de gallo and sliced blackened Ahi tuna. Garnished with avocado, cilantro, and wisabi cream.
Then, we came home. Do you see a new dog in the photo? It's confusing, because so many of my dogs are the same color.
It's my brother's dog Libby! She's the one on the right.
I am unhealthily obsessed with his dog. I haven't seen her since right before I moved to Australia, so it's been over two years! I think she remembers me.
Libby was not good about posing for the camera last night. My dad had to give her a hug to get her to stay in one place.
Like Mickey and Cody, she looks away when I point the camera at her!
Cody, while he usually doesn't pose, let me catch him cuddling with his toy. I think it was because he was sleeping.
Today is Father's Day. Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers out there!
We invited some family over for lunch. There were lox (smoked salmon).
We had homemade Asian Chicken Salad.
There was spinach cheese casserole.
Cody and Buffy.
That's all! I hope you enjoyed my weekend recap! I paid big time for skipping three days. It's always harder to catch up. Grrrr.
Happy (almost) Monday!
Between me and you, I have no idea why I am awake and blogging. It's 11 pm, all of my homework is done and I have to be awake in six hours. But if I go to sleep now, that means that I won't update my blog. That's just not acceptable to me! I guess I really have a thing for blogging.
Before my alarm went off this morning, I woke up to thunder and lightning. A few minutes later, Rigley started barking and crying outside my door. She wanted me to let her in, because she is terrified of thunder and rain. I don't get why she's afraid of rain, but she almost always take refuge in my room when it does.
It was still storming when it was time to get out of bed. She was so scared that she followed me into the bathroom. What a silly dog.
I won't share my workout with you today, because it was pretty much identical to Monday's workout.
I did a different shoulder move, but I'll show that to you another time.
Coloring? I Love Coloring
After my morning class, I started my biology homework. It involved coloring! Mickey certainly wasn't as excited about it as I was.
By the way, we don't lock Mickey up in the laundry room. He just likes sleeping in there. It's his favorite spot in the house during the day.
Back to coloring, I found a box of Crayola crayons in my desk drawer. I have no clue how old they are.
The box even has my name on it!
A lot of the crayons are in great shape, too.
I used the crayons to color pictures of different types of cells. I had to make a prokyaryotic cell:
An animal cell:
A plant cell:
You would think that a little kid drew the plant photo until you see my handwriting. It's a good thing that I never tried to pursue a career in art. I still had a blast making my pictures!
What I Ate (not including everything)
For lunch, I cooked a few Tyson Buffalo Chicken Strips in the toaster oven.
I was going to eat them by themselves, but then I realized that I should add more nutrients to my meal. I made a baby spinach and baby carrot salad with ranch Salad Spritzer
I wasn't expecting anything exciting for dinner until my dad walked in the house with pizza boxes while I was coloring my plant and animal cells. He picked up the pizzas from a take-away joint near his work. He couldn't remember the name of it, but I swear I will ask him to go there again. My parents and I loved it! I wish I had the name of the place so that I could tell you all to go there.
He got a thin crust pizza with cheese, onion and green pepper (capsicum).
I thought the second one was a deep dish pizza, but it turned out that it just had very thick crust. The middle part was thin.
Look at all of that cheese!
I got one of each, and they were absolutely spectacular. The bigger piece had the most delicious cheese on it, and the crust was perfect. It was crispy on the outside and warm and doughy on the inside. Oh my gosh, it was so good. The thin crust was as good as you can expect thin crust to be. Looking at the photos makes me want to break into the leftover in the fridge.
Now, I can go to sleep peacefully. I don't mind my classes, but I sure am excited that tomorrow is a Friday for me!
One day, two quizzes! I started my day on the broken exercise bike in the basement while reading over my biology notes. I didn't break a sweat, but my studying paid off! My biology "quiz" (as I thought it was) was actually an exam with 50 questions and a scantron sheet (you know, the sheet with the circles that you fill in with a number 2 pencil?). We graded it in class, and I luckily did very well on it. I can't say the same about my chemistry exam. I haven't gotten my grade yet, but I already know that I messed up pretty badly on one of the problems. Whoops.
Luckily, my school in Chicago has stress-reducing food in a vending machine right by my classroom. I got one of my favorite snacking foods: Twizzlers! I craved these so many times when I was in Australia, but I've never been able to find the original ones there. I only found tropical-flavored ones. I got this big pack today for $1.50. It was very helpful during my chem cram session at lunch.
For lunch (besides the cherry licorice), I prepared Gardein
Seven Grain Crispy Tenders in the toaster oven. They look like chicken tenders, but they are meatless.
They look like the real deal, don't they?
Even the "meat" looks like chicken.
I enjoyed these guys, but you can tell for sure that they aren't chicken. If you like tofu "meats", then you will probably like this. It wasn't the best soy product I've ever had, but I also think that I would buy the product again. When I eat chicken, I always worry that I will bite into a piece of fat or cartilage, so it's great to not have to think about that. I think these tenders would be fantastic to throw on top of a salad or even put in a wrap or sandwich.
Speaking of salads, I had a big one for dinner. My mom likes to stop at the salad bar at Sunset Foods
(a small grocery store chain in our area) every Tuesday to get toppings for dinner. She cut up romaine lettuce tonight, and I went to town with the ingredients.
It included red and yellow peppers (capsicum in Australia), mushrooms, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, egg whites, olives, cherry tomatoes, peas and celery.
I ate more licorice after dinner. The bag will be empty by tomorrow.
Then, there was watermelon. We got two baby watermelons from Costco on Saturday. I've never seen baby watermelons in the flesh, but I assure you that they taste just the same as the big ones.
I wanted to show you what a baby watermelon looks like, so I thought I should demonstrate by putting it next to a dog's head to compare sizes. This is how it looks next to a Buffy head:
This is how it looks next to a Rigley head:
This is how it looks next to a Cody.
And finally, just for you, this is Rigley under the dining room table.
I hope I taught you a lot about baby watermelons!
Oh, what a shame to rise from bed at 5 am. Have I mentioned that I am only doing this four times a week?Workout
My workout this morning looked something like this:
3 sets of 15 alternating chest press and fly on bench (12 pounds)
3 sets of 15 standing row (12 pounds)
120 tricep dips (20 at a time in between sets, using body weight)
3 sets of 15 military shoulder presses (10 pounds)
3 sets of 15 bicep curls (8 pounds)
I don't switch up my bicep and shoulder exercises very much.
For the lower body, I did:
2 sets of 10 single-legged squats, holding onto a chair for balance
20 alternating walking lunges
20 regular squats
20 sumo squats
20 side lifts on floor on each leg
I didn't use weight on any of these lower body exercises, and I didn't want to work my legs too hard. Just as I was getting ready for bed last night, the pain set into my right leg from running. I didn't feel discomfort while running or after, which makes this whole situation even more frustrating. I'm not in a lot of pain, but it's still uncomfortable to do things like put on a pair of jeans or walk down stairs. The real no-no is lifting my knee up to my chest. My muscle fires up every time that I do it. It could be sore from the long run yesterday, but I know well enough that my leg still isn't healed.
The exercises I did today, like the single-legged squats and the forward lunges, are exercises that my mom's personal trainer told me to do in order to strengthen my sartorius muscle. When I did them this morning, it felt amazing. I felt like I was stretching the muscles and not irritating them. I also just started doing a new stretch that she told me to do a few months ago (but I of course ignored her advice). I'm also rolling on the Grid
two times a day on my outer and inner thigh. I'll start stretching twice a day as well as using heating at night and before long runs and ice after exercise. I just want this stupid leg to get better. Is that too much to ask?
For now, I am still running the half marathon. I'll probably see my mom's personal trainer a few times during my training. If she tells me not to run it, then I won't. She did fix my mom's bad IT band and hamstring while she was training for the Chicago Marathon, though, so I'm hoping she can help me.
Getting Ready for School
During my biology lecture last Friday, I was falling asleep. I find my class to be fascinating, and my teacher (who is an M.D.) is one of those smart people you can listen to for hours. I wasn't tired because I was bored; I was tired since I was up at 5 am. This morning, I had some extra time to make tea. I figured I could make a double black tea, and I would be wide awake during my lecture.
WRONG. I still almost nodded off. I tried to find coffee during my break, but no luck. I'm going to have to start brewing coffee every morning and bringing it in a big mug. I haven't done that in so long.
Now, going back to earlier this morning, making tea in my house is something that always makes me laugh. For one thing, we have never owned a kettle. I didn't understand the importance of one of those until I had roommates in college who loved tea. As a result of not having a kettle, I use the microwave to heat up my water. In addition to having to microwave our tea water, we don't drink tap water in our house. Most suburbs of Chicago have lake water, meaning that they have purified tap water from Lake Michigan running through their pipes. In my home growing up, I always drank straight from the taps. Then, we moved to a new suburb that uses well water. We have to use water softener, which removes the calcium and magnesium (which could clog the pipes and also may prevent soap from lathering with mixed with the water) through reverse osmosis. While the water is perfectly drinkable, it has a bitter taste to it. Therefore, we only drink bottled water. I hope you enjoyed that explanation :)
To make my tea, I open up a cold bottle of water, pour it into a mug and heat it for one minute in the microwave.
It's not any more work than using a kettle to boil water, but it's still funny that my process for making tea is so different.
I ate another wholegrain bagel with regular cream cheese while drinking my tea. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that bagels don't do anything to fill you up. I was hungry about an hour later.
I also found Mickey hanging out in his typical spot in the laundry room. I wasn't surprised to find him there, but I was surprised to see that he was hoarding biscuits. He's such a funny dog. Unlike the other ones in the house, he doesn't like those biscuits that you see below. When any of us give him one, he'll take it in his mouth but not eat it. He walks away with it and keeps it near him so that none of the other dogs can take it. I'm not sure if he ends up eating them or not. I'm also not sure how he ended up with five of them this morning!
Lunch and Dinner
I love being able to come home for lunch, because I can whip up whatever I want. I also don't have to pack anything to take with me. For lunch today, I ate a Trader Joe's Southwest Salad. I love making my own salads, but pre-made salads can be a lot of fun.
This salad came with shredded cheddar cheese, onions, red peppers, cabbage, a corn salsa (with black beans) and some yummy dressing on the side.
I always prefer to dip my salad in dressing on the side rather than pour it on. As a result, I always lose things in my dressing! The salad didn't blow my socks off, but I really enjoyed the barbecue ranch dressing. It's hard to not enjoy it!
I still wanted to much on something before my second class, so I chopped up a Pink Lady apple. I discovered this kind of apple in Australia, and it's now my favorite. I was so happy when I found out that we have them here!
I made the sliced apple even more exciting with some almond butter. I've actually never had it before, and I am now shocked that I've been alive this long and never experienced it. It's amazing! It's so much better than peanut butter. I would have licked the whole jar clean, but then I remembered that it's smart to eat this stuff in moderation.
After a rather stressful day in chemistry, I came home to make myself even more stressed. I have quizzes in both of my classes tomorrow. I planned on studying over the weekend, but then I didn't do it. The stuff is pretty easy, but I'm still worried that I don't know the material well enough. I still have more homework due tomorrow, and I have to study for the quizzes. AND it's 10 pm! I'm supposed to be up in 7 hours. Strong coffee tomorrow morning, yes? So if I post something tomorrow night that seems completely incoherent, you will know why!
Dinner, like lunch, had a Southwestern theme. We made black bean quesadillas, which we make all the time in our house. My dad makes the filling by heating and mixing corn, tomatoes and black beans in a pan. We then make our own quesadillas.
I added shredded cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt. I've never added the Greek yogurt before, but I certainly will in the future. The quesadilla was delicious, despite the fact that it looks very boring on my plate.
Ok, well I am going to get ready for bed and then study until I cry or pass out. We'll have to see. Biology should be fine, but chemistry doesn't come very easily to me. I'll have to work extra hard if I want to get a good grade!
I already can't wait for my coffee tomorrow. Have a great night!
There are lots of announcements today. For one thing, I am very sad that it's Sunday. I enjoy sleeping later than 5 am. For another, I am so close to picking my wedding dress. My mom and I took my dad to Volle's Bridal
yesterday so that he could see my two favorite dresses. As it turns out, the one that I thought was THE ONE may not be the one after all. One of them makes me look very elegant (my first choice), and the other makes me look like a princess. When our consultant asked me how I imagined myself as a bride when I was younger, I said that I always wanted to look like a princess. That pretty much made up my mind for me. I may have to try them on one more time just to be sure.
For breakfast on Saturday, I ate a Panera whole wheat bagel with cream cheese. We were in a hurry to get to Volle's, so I had to eat it in the car. I took the plate to minimize crumbs.
I also did a workout before Volle's. It was something like this:
20 minute warm up on the elliptical
4 sets of 10 pushups (body weight, 20 on my toes, 20 on my knees)
3 sets of 15 alternating dumbbell rows (12 pounds)
30 tricep dips (body weight)
30 tricep dips (body weight plus 8-pound weight balanced on my hips)
3 sets of 15 military shoulder press (10 pounds)
3 sets of 15 bicep curls (8 pounds)
30 squats with 8-pound weights
30 plie squats with 8-pound weights
10 back lunges on each side
10 single leg squats on each side
10 single leg deadlifts on each side (8 pounds)
20 lying-down side leg raises on each side
5 minutes of abdominal work and stretching
I try not to do too many lunges, because they really irritate my right leg. Boo.
After Volle's, I went to Costco with my parents. Since it was a Saturday, I had my lunch there. There are samples everywhere you turn, so I had a blast.
I still wanted a snack later on, so I ate Chobani
Greek yogurt in the pomegranate flavor.
I think Chobani packaging is so pretty.
I was expecting a lot from it, but I honestly didn't like it as much as I like the other flavors. The yogurt tasted fine, but the pieces of pomegranate arils just didn't seem right on the taste buds. They seemed a bit stale. Who knows, it could have just been my batch.
My parents met friends for dinner, and I stayed home with the pups. Have I mentioned that I am nerd when it comes to studying? I'd go out up to five days a week when I was in college. When I started graduate school a few months after graduation, I didn't go out for months. That was certainly part of the reason that I was so unhappy in my psychology program. I was confined to my room all the time.
I'm very busy with this summer program, but at least I'll be able to get out more. I'll try to keep one night per weekend to study. I think it's equally important that I go out and see my friends. I seriously ran the risk of losing my friends the last time, and I don't want to do that again!
For dinner last night, I put leftover pizza from the night before in the toaster oven. I put it on top of foil so that I wouldn't have the same cheesy mess
that I had the last time I did this.
It was a big-ass piece of leftover pizza. My dad does make great pizza, though. This one had eggplant, grilled onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and some other goodies. I'm not sure what kind of cheese he used.
Today has been very eventful. Another reason I stayed home instead of being a social butterfly in the city was because I wanted to see my mom finish the North Shore Half Marathon
. My mom can run 13.1 miles on any good day, so it wasn't like I was worried about her finishing. I just wanted to see her do it.
I woke up at 8:36 am, got ready, fed the dogs and ate breakfast. Our pantry is full of Kashi cereal right now, because I can't stop requesting it. It's so, so good. I was eating this Go Lean Crunch by the handful yesterday.
I took the two young and sprightly dogs, Mickey and Cody, with me. They were so happy to experience a change of scenery with new smells.
Cody could not wait to see Mom finish the half marathon.
Mickey tried to lift his leg and pee on everything.
My dogs made friends with that dog below.
I've never even seen a long race before in the flesh, so I had a great time watching people go over the finish line.
It fueled my desire even more to run a half marathon.
After standing there for about an hour with the pups, I got a call from my mom's cell phone. I was confused. Why would she call me while running? As it turned out, she was home already! My parents were looking so hard for me that they split up and started looking for me, the dogs or my car. I guess there was a terrible miscommunication when we talked about what time I should get there. She finished right before I even arrived. I was livid when I found out, but I was calm by the time that I got home. It wasn't anybody's fault. In the end, I just felt bad. She was so excited to see me and the dogs, and it didn't happen.
I still had a lot of fun there. I got emotional watching people finish. I cry at everything these days, so it doesn't surprise me. In marathons (and half marathons), there are so many people who run for causes. One of the biggest fundraisers, for example, is the American Cancer Society. You may want to run on their team if you lost a loved one to cancer and if you or someone you know survived it. It's those things especially that make me emotional. Then, I saw so many children greet their parents to walk over the finish line with them. Obviously, everybody put in a lot of effort to be able to to finish the face. You can see it on their faces when they cross the line. It just makes me tear up. I can't help it.
When I got home, I didn't eat a real lunch. I just snacked. I melted a piece of Finlandia Chipotle Jack Cheese onto a corn tortilla, for instance. My mom also made a smoothie, and I had some of that.
Later on, my dad made grilled corn on the cob, grilled turkey breast with mushroom sauce (thickened with black beans instead of flour) and a green bean salad with turkey sausage and porcini mushrooms. What a great summer meal!
Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon
A lot happened between lunch and dinner today. When I was eating the gigantic smoothie with my mom (I say "eating", because it was thick), we talked about the possibility of me running the Chicago Half Marathon
in August. My mom, my dad and my brother Jon are all signed up. My mom has been asking me for a while if I want to do it, but I keep telling her that I need more time to train. Also, I am very worried about my leg.
Well, something interesting happened. I went outside after lunch, and I ran at least 6 miles. I've been saying for months that I can't run more than 3, but I was somehow able to do this. A few hours later, I signed up for the race. If I do one long run per week for the next 8 weeks, I should be ready to run it. There is just one problem: the sartorius muscle on my right leg.
This muscle has been giving me hell for a year now. The pain comes mainly from running and lunges. I've rested it for up to six weeks at a time, but it still won't heal completely. I could even feel it flaring up today during my run, but it made such a difference when I turned my foot inward (I naturally run with my feet turned out, and that may be part of the reason that I get the inflammation).
The good news is that when I am on top of my stretching, icing and foam rolling, it makes a significant reduction to the discomfort. For the next two months, I will have to be extremely vigilant with that. Otherwise, I won't be able to run the 13.1 miles.
Of course, if my leg gets so bad that I can't walk, I won't run it. I'll have to rehab it until I am able to run another one. I've wanted to run a half marathon for so long, though. We'll just have to see how everything goes. Please feel free to send advice my way if you have had similar experiences or know about the issue.
P.S.- Flights are grounded
in Australia and New Zealand from the volcano eruption in Chile! I'm pretty sure that fights can't fly to/from Melbourne, Tasmania and New Zealand. That sucks! These tectonic plates have been getting very temperamental lately.
Okay, bed time at 9 pm! I'll tell you more about my training schedule later. Not much is going to change except for adding one day of interval training and one long run. Be good to me, leg!
Since today was a free day for me, I was able to do whatever I wanted. I started out by not setting my alarm the night before. I was sure that I wound't sleep too late, and I ended up sleeping until 10. It could have been worse. Back in the day, I could easily sleep past noon.
By the time I ate breakfast and drank a quarter of the mammoth cup of coffee my mom bought for me from McDonald's, it was time to go to another wedding dress appointment. I can't give details, but I can tell you that it was a lot of fun!
Since I went to Panera
for lunch after my first wedding dress appointment
, I craved it again. It was cool and rainy, so I wanted soup. Duh.
My mom got a whole grain bagel. We also got a free muffin. I can't remember why. For some reason, I was allowed to pick something from the bakery. I think it was because my mom bought a few bagels to take home (and then decided that it was a great idea to feed them to do the dogs when I would have been happy eating them myself since Panera makes fabulous bagels).
I got French onion soup in a bread bowl. For a side item, I had a choice of a bag of chips, an apple or a bread roll. Honestly, why would I want a bread roll when I already have all of this bread from my bread bowl? Am I loading up on carbs for a race? I don't think so! I decided to go with the apple, although it's still sitting in my kitchen downstairs.
As usual, I loved my soup in the bread bowl. Dipping bread in soup is always good fun, but there's something magical about bread bowls. The bread absorbs a lot of the liquid, so you can scrape your spoon along the inside and get a load of French-onion-infused carbs on your spoon. Really, it's amazing. When I really feel adventurous, I dip the lid of the bowl into the soup. If you look at my photos, you will see what I mean when I say "lid of bowl".
Below was all that remained. My mom ate it. She has a half marathon on Sunday morning, so she is carbo-loading. She could have gotten the bread bowl with bread on the side, and it probably would have been a great idea for her. Maybe they offer that extra bread option just in case marathon runners go there a few days before their race. Hey, it's possible.
When we got home, I had a very special package waiting for me. I can't show you what it is, but I can tell you that I have my cake top for my wedding in 14 months.This clearly means that you need to keep reading my blog at least until early August 2012 so that you can see what it looks like. I'm sure that the suspense is going to drive you mad.
Now, I'm excited! Isn't that adorable that my box has a smiley face on it?
My mom has a subscription to Bark
magazine (makes me wonder if there is a Meow magazine), and they always have a section dedicated to smiling dog photos. How could I not share these with you?
Isn't it cute when dogs actually look like they are smiling? My brother Jon is moving back to Chicago from Houston next week, and he's bring his dog Libby with him. I talked about her here
. She always looks like she's smiling, even when she's asleep. It makes me smile. I haven't seen her in over two years, so the time will tick by very slowly until next weekend comes. Of course I'm excited to see Jon, but I very, very obsessed with his dog. I cried that last time I had to leave her. Seriously.
For the rest of today (or yesterday, since it is now a quarter past 12), I ate. I ate the free muffin. It was like a cinnamon bun with raisins and apples. It was both outstanding and messy.
After that, I ate a plain corn tortilla. After that, I picked up my friend Meredith (home from Kansas for the summer) and we met Irene at Sushi Kushi Too
in downtown Highland Park.
When I sat down and removed my coat, I looked down and realized that I was wearing my shirt INSIDE OUT and UPSIDE DOWN. After both laughing and watching Meredith laugh at me, I went to the bathroom to fix it.
Then, Irene showed up with a really expensive camera around her neck. She got it for her birthday, and I am very jealous of her. I would love a big expensive camera like that. I offered her $100 for it, but she turned me down. Anyway, I only mention this because she was taking pictures with me during dinner. It was nice to have a photographing partner and not have people looking at me like I'm crazy. This time, people thought BOTH of us were crazy.
At Sushi Kushi Too, they gave us the most spectacular green tea. It was boiled with rice, so the flavor was different from a typical green tea.
Irene and I split our sushi meal, so we shared the appetizer ginger salad. It was great. These salads are always great. Irene liked it so much that she actually drank the ginger dressing when we finished it.
We got the spicy sushi plate. It came with spicy tuna (left), crunchy eel and something else (top) and spicy scallop (right). All of it was good.
I could never get tired of spicy tuna rolls.
We had a great time catching up. Meredith is a teacher in Kansas, so I didn't get to see her when I was home for Jessie's wedding
in April. Luckily, we'll both be home all summer.
I hope you all are enjoying your weekends so far!
I hope what I talk about is remotely competent, because I am falling asleep right now! I think my body is just not used to waking up at 5 am two days in a row. Also, it's moving towards the 11:30 pm mark. The good news, though, is that I can sleep in tomorrow. I don't have class on Fridays, so my Thursdays are like the new Fridays!
I jumped out of bed bright and early this morning and completed my favorite (and only) elliptical interval workout
that I have ever done. I'm not sure what it is about the machine in my basement, but I swear it is harder than the ones I used to use at the gym in Adelaide. Either way, it was a great workout. After that, crunches, stretching and rolling on the foam roller, it was time to eat breakfast (overnight oats- no photo) and get ready for school.
It poured all night and all morning, and it felt freezing when I walked outside of my morning class. Chicago weather has multiple personalities (many of them angry) even without this El Nino/global warming/whatever stuff that's going on in the world. It has been nearly 100 degrees (37 degrees Celcius) over the past couple of days (first time in early June since the 1930's), and suddenly it feels so cold that I need to wear a jacket during the day.
Anyway, since it was so cold compared to the weather of late, I really wanted soup for lunch when I got home. I heated up a bowl of Amy's Organic Lentil Vegetable soup.
I also toasted whole wheat sandwich thins and spread Laughing Cow (herb flavor) cheese on them. It was a great combination. I dipped the bread into the soup. It was a must. I ate it in the kitchen standing up while talking to my mom. It's a habit.
Later on in the evening, after my second class, I met my friend Kate at Yard House
in Glenview. I've been going there since it opened years ago, and it's still one of my favorite restaurants.
For one thing, they have an astonishing beer selection. The two pictures below didn't come out well, but it should at least give you an idea of how many beers they have. Both pages are their beer menu. Wine and cocktails are on other pages.
I find comfort in knowing that I can get my favorite Belgian beer (Delirium Tremens)
, but I can also find a new exciting brew just by telling my server what I like. Tonight, for example, I told my server that I wanted something fruity. He pointed out a few different kinds (flavors including apricot and raspberry), but I got very excited when he recommended the Sea Dog Blue Paw Wild Blueberry beer. I mean, it has the word "dog" in it, and it's blueberry! As it turned out, it was amazing.
Kate said that it reminded her of blueberry pancakes. You could taste the blueberry, but it didn't overpower the taste of the beer. I would had consumed four glasses if I didn't have to drive home. Since it doesn't take much alcohol to affect me these days, I only drank about half of the glass.
I snacked on Mini Babybel Cheese
and cantaloupe before Yard House, but that didn't stop me from ordering my favorite salad. I always get the BBQ Chicken Salad when I go there. I just can't help myself.
From the menu: roasted pasilla, tomatoes, sweet corn, pinto beans, cheddar and jack, cilantro and corn tortilla strips tossed in chipotle ranch dressing and topped with avocado, fried lace onions and citrus bbq sauce
Same salad; different side.
I never tire of that salad. It's one of the enormous salads where after 20 minutes of eating it, you're still finding hidden goodies under all of that goodness. There are just so many wonderful flavors in there.
Kate had a small dinner before (it was her dad's birthday), but she still ordered the hummus plate. Pretty, yes?
That's all I got for today. My body really wants to sleep, so I will listen to it.