Friday, April 11, 2014

A Big Question Mark

For the past few years, I have suffered from random muscle and joint pain.  I say "random," because the pain will hit somewhere (like my wrist) for a few weeks.  It will be terrible.  I can hardly type, lift things, or even open a water bottle.  No amount of Ibuprofen or Alleve can take the pain away.  

After a few weeks, the pain will subside, but will pop up somewhere else, like my neck, or my foot, or my shoulder, or my elbow...

After years of dealing with this "roving" pain, I finally made an appointment with a general practitioner.  Last week when my neck got so stiff that I could barely get out of bed or even drive, I knew it was time to stop putting off a trip to the doctor's office.

I made a list of all of the joints and muscles that had been affected recently.  The doctor listened intently--and asked me a series of questions.  He said that I am suffering from severe arthritis--cause unknown.  It could be simply arthritis, OR it could be arthritis being caused by a larger issue--That's the scary part.

Anyway, I am awaiting the results of blood work, and should know something in the next two weeks.  Fingers crossed.  I'm trying not to worry too much; and I have some steroids to lessen the pain while I wait. Staying positive.

On a happier note--> Most schools in our area had Spring Break WEEKS ago...but we're approaching ours  right now!  If I can get through today, then it's a week off with Geno and the pups!

Pope's ready!

I'm Ready!!!!

Today, I'm just relaxed and ready for the weekend and a fun week ahead.

 Remembering to always put my best foot forward...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Confessional Friday

Happy Friday, Everyone!  I cannot believe that this glorious day of the week is finally here!  I am linking up with Leslie at A Blonde Ambition for a few confessions:

1.  I have lost more weight through eating what I want in moderation than when I was counting calories and restricting myself (no fried foods, no baked goods, etc.)  Last Wednesday, I had some fried favorite food which I haven't had in more than 5 years.  It was a nicer restaurant, with smaller portions; so it worked out well.

This Wednesday, we went to my favorite pizza place, Lupi's--and Geno and I ordered salads and split a calzone.  It was delicious!!!

Right after Christmas, I was at 121.  Now, I'm down to my preferred 114.  Hooray for much more satisfying than restriction!!!

2.  I confess that I love my big, jacked up Jeep.  Nothing makes me happier than sunny days and Jeep ridin'.

3.  I confess that I am in desperate need of the weekend.  Work has been crazy--people calling in sick and no substitutes to cover their classes.  This means the people that DO show up get to keep all of the extra students (who don't have a teacher).  All of the lesson planning in the world goes out the window when there are A LOT of extra people in the multiple days in a row.  Tis the season for teachers calling in sick! One more week until Spring Break...I think I can...I think I can....

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Kind of a Big Deal.

When we got Pope, the worst thing about it, was that we went back to having two big crates in our living room.  Delta (Yellow Lab) has been out of the crate since late August.  While we are at work, she is free to roam around downstairs and/or go upstairs and look out the window at the top of the stairwell.  We've never had a single issue with her since she became what we jokingly call a "free range chicken."

Beulah (Chocolate Lab) on the other hand is a loose cannon.  She is just short of a year and a half old, and is full of zest for life.  As a puppy, she was housebroken easily, but was prone to chewing and other types of destruction.  We thought we would NEVER see the day that she wouldn't have to be in a crate when we were not at home.

About two weeks after getting Pope, we started giving Beulah a little more hour while we were gone running...two hours while we went to the grocery store...Last Monday, we decided to leave her out while we were at work--approximately 7.5 hours.

I worried all day long...not that she would have an accident; but that we might not have a house when we got home--or a couch--or that she and Delta might get into a knock down/drag out.

As I approached our house, I smiled at how peaceful it looked from the outside...and guess what?  It was just as peaceful on the inside!  I could not believe it....nothing out of place and everyone & everything was accounted for!

Today marks the day that sweet Beulah has been "free ranging" with Delta for one week!

We are so PROUD of her!!!!

Peanut Butter Kongs for Everyone!!!

On a side note, Sunday was just gorgeous.  I sat outside in my sportsbra and shorts, just soaking up the sun. 

Other than enjoying the beautiful weather, Geno and I are slowly getting back into running after taking several weeks off due to his hip/hamstring injury.  It feels really good to run again and unleash those endorphins.  As a bit of motivation, I entered the lottery for the 2014 Chicago Marathon.  The drawing is April 14th.  We shall see!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why Are You So Quiet?

Growing up, I was the quiet girl at school.  I had a small circle of friends that I would talk to at lunch and go to the movies with on the weekends; but in class, I was quiet.  My parents had instilled in me the importance of education, and that you went to school to learn, not to socialize.  We had rip-roaring good times at home--I was quite the prankster, comedian, show off, and entertainer--but not at school.  
In elementary school, everyone seemed equal.  We all followed along and did what the teacher said.  In Middle School, the more outgoing people stepped forward, and the quiet ones were kind of left to sit and watch.  At school, I was not a seeker of attention.  I was happy to sit back and watch others get in trouble, have their drama, etc.  Even though I didn't say much, I was taking it all in.
In high school, I continued to be a wallflower at school, while blossoming at home with my friends and family.  In school, labels are quickly handed out to everyone:  popular, sporty, trashy, fat, dumb, nerd...some positive and some negative.  My label was "Quiet."
I guess I am just amazed at how HARD it is to break out of one of these molds once you have been labeled.  People think that because you are quiet that you don't have anything to say--that you don't have an opinion.  Some people would just rather not hash out every. single. aspect. of their lives to others.  Some people think more than they talk.
Throughout my life, I've often thought of being quiet as a detriment--and as I've gotten older, I've found that it's easier to speak up for myself and not care as much about what other people might think about what I have to say.
So today when I read "The Quiet, Boring Girl in Class" on The Matt Walsh Blog , it just really got me to thinking.
Being "quiet" is not a detriment.  It is not something that you should fight to overcome.  It is who YOU are, and it is absolutely beautiful.
If you were the "Quiet" girl and want to read the article for yourself, you can find it HERE.  
If you don't have time to read it, here's my favorite part:
"Why are you so QUIET?”
Uh, maybe because I’d rather be stabbed in the ear with a rusty butter knife than be subjected to one more minute of this tedious talkfest."
Couldn't have (not) said it better myself!!!  :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

This is War!

Thursday afternoon when I got home from work, I was so ready to sit outside in the warm sunshine!  So were Beulah and Delta....Delta (the Yellow Lab) has SO much personality.  That girl loves the SUN!

I tried as hard as I could to get a decent shot of the three of them...but this was the best I could do:

Little Pope is fitting right into the family.  He loves to snooze on all three beds...

And he falls right in line when it's time for an after dinner peanut butter kong!

Friday morning, while Geno was getting a haircut, I stepped outside and took this "selfie." I couldn't resist, because the brick wall matched the stripes on my shirt.  :)

I didn't realize how much those sunglasses were helping me, until I took this picture Saturday afternoon (without glasses):

Thanks to the help of the Snapseed app on my Iphone, I was able to mask some of those "fine lines" and crows feet around my eyes.  In reality (without the snowy glow of photo editing), those wrinkles were HARSH.  I almost started crying when I went back and looked at the pictures.

I have never been one to worry about getting older...probably because I wasn't aware of how getting older feels.  When you're young, you don't worry about it!!!

Photos don't lie.  I quickly tweeted about how these wrinkles were affecting me, and one of my Twitter friends told me about ROC Retinol Serum.  I am one of those soap and water type of girls, so spending $20 on a tiny tube of serum was something new for me.

Wrinkles be gone!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Off and On

Tomorrow Geno and I are taking OFF of work!  After a whirlwind couple of weeks with a new puppy and track season starting, we need a day to just be together!  I am SO excited.

We have been OFF of running for the last 19 out of 25 days.  As I told ya'll last week, Geno won't be running Boston.  His training was cut short by a pulled muscle under a rib and a recurring hip injury that started to flare up at the worst possible time.

Although we've been sidelined for quite awhile, we are starting back (slowly) tomorrow morning.  Running is ON!  I am so ready to hear the crunch of gravel under my feet and to let those sweet endorphins take away the stresses of the workweek!

One of my favorite things about taking OFF a day is running and then having breakfast with Geno.  We're planning on Belgian waffles and sausage.  Yeah...we get so excited about breakfast that we plan it way ahead of time.  We're kinda crazy like that.

Another thing that has been OFF is our sleep!  Life with two dogs and a new puppy is wild.  Everyone sleeps peacefully on their beds until around 11PM when Beulah needs out for a bathroom break.  I take Pope as well, because he's just beginning to get the slightest idea about "house breaking."  When we all get back to the bedroom, Pope and Beulah are ready to play!  Before you know it, the bedroom is rockin' and rollin'.  At this point, I usually put Pope into bed with us.  It's not ideal, but it's the only way any of us will get any sleep.  Hopefully as Beulah gets more used to him (and isn't quite as jealous), we can all catch a few more ZZZZ's!

One last random note, is I finally found a pair of sandals that I've been searching for online and off for the last two years.  I saw them in Oxford on the Ole Miss campus, but had no idea what brand they were. I couldn't find them anywhere in Chattanooga until last Sunday...Jack Rogers in gold...snapped them right up, and can't wait to wear them!

Sundresses and Sunshine...BRING IT!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Less is More

The older I get, the more I realize that less is more.  I'm finding it to be true in every aspect of life.

1-Yesterday, I cleaned up my blog reader (Bloglovin').  I went from following 1,491 blogs down to 48 blogs.  Over the past year, I had been entering every giveaway that would come up.  I was "following" blogs left and right to gain more entries for each giveaway.  I started by unfollowing all of them on Twitter & Facebook, then cleared Bloglovin' out yesterday.  Man, was it freeing.

I was so tired of seeing my reader with 400+ posts everyday.  I was sifting through them all to find the blogs that I really wanted to read.  It was a monotonous time waster.  I felt so relieved this morning, when I opened up my reader and saw that there were 10 posts that I really wanted to read, instead of 400+ posts that I had no interest in whatsoever.

2-Another thing that I've let go is acrylic nails.  I felt like I was tied down to one Saturday a month spending an hour at the nail salon.  I calculated the cost, and it came out to over $700 a year.  The nails were pretty, but not worth the pain of removing them every few weeks, the damage that was being done to my real nails, and not worth $700 a year.

3-Less is more when it comes to mileage as well.  To coin a phrase from one of my favorite bloggers, Jane, I had become a "mileage junky."  I didn't care how much my legs hurt or what type of pain I was in, as long as I was able to write down miles in my training log.  Recently, I've begun to listen to my body.  If it doesn't feel right; I don't run.  I ride my bike, do some weight training, and try to get in core work every day.  My legs are feeling fresh, and I absolutely love it when I do get to run.  Quality over quantity from here on out!

Finally--a moment of silence for Geno, who is having to sit out of Boston this year.  Entry was confirmed.  Reservations were made.  Then--a torso muscle injury, a hip injury, and two stress fractures in the lower back.  It was not meant to be this year.  Geno is taking it well--I'm probably more disappointed than he is.  I hate to see someone work so hard and then not get to enjoy the results.

His bib number is 368.  Yes, 368.  Elite Master's.  My heart breaks. It's not the end of the world.  The Marathon will always be there.  But still.....