This morning when I got out of the shower there was a note on my nightstand telling me to look outside!
Hey, if you’ve known me at all, you know I love snow. I’m an adult and it makes me feel like a giddy little kid. I may not love driving in it, but I have a job where if it’s unsafe I can stay home!


New Year’s Introspection & Resolutions

2015 In Review

2015 Bests
2015 Bests

How did I do on my resolutions to rehabilitate myself post-surgery?

  • Achieve a BMI of 20: NOPE. Not even close. This year’s low was a BMI of 24. I got it out of the overweight range and lost 20 lbs, though.  This is real and measurable progress, so partial win.
  • Run a 10-minute mile: Actually, according to my Band, my best split (mile) was 9:30 but I think that might have been a glitch. However, in Oct I clocked a 10:04 mile and a 10:05 mile so it’s possible!
  • Run the Santa Claus Shuffle 5k in less than 39:52 (that was my best time in 2012): This year’s time was officially 37:18, so WIN!

2016 Resolutions

I kind of liked having just one resolution last year with a few measurable outcomes.  I sort of kept that for this year.  This year, I resolved to work on my lifestyle: how I want my life to look and feel.  Part of this developed from the unreasonable stress I had at the end of this last semester and the fact that it’s simply untenable, so I need to work on better balance (doesn’t everyone?!).  So how do I organize those thoughts and make them measurable and attainable?


  • BMI of 22.5 is measurable. I’m enrolled in another DietBet Transformer. I should achieve this by the end of June. If I am happy, great; otherwise, progress to BMI of 20.
  • Yoga: I can start with Yoga Camp. This builds on the 30 Days of Yoga I did last year. Later, when $ permits, I can take a class. This is for mental health as well as flexibility.
  • Strength: there are plenty of options out there for free. For January, I’m going to do the Fit Girls Guide workouts (just not the meal plan, because I hate meal plans).       This year, I want to COMPLETE 10/12 monthly workout plans from whatever system(s) I choose or try!
  • Cardio: This year, I’m aiming for a 5k time of 36:00 or less. Jog 3x/week as training.
  • Continue the daily 10,000 steps or 5k/day (whichever comes last) for general fitness.
  • Do not skip two days in a row!


  • Complete the Apartment Therapy January Home Cure (again)
  • Continue the weekly/monthly/quarterly schedule.       It works!
  • Finish the Fall/Winter Closet Cure and do the Spring/Summer Cure. Stick to the one-in, one-out rule (if I buy something, some equivalent item must be donated or trashed).
  • Cooking: ENJOY my food this year! Attempt ZERO eating plans (seriously).
  • Personal care: create a beauty and lifestyle routine that works for me. This will require some experimentation.


Leave work at work. Maintain as close to a 9-5 as possible given the teaching schedule needs. Grading, planning, etc. all need to be accomplished at work. Do NOT add anything to your pile this year!

Social & Financial:

Redacted.  I have goals in these areas, but they’re not for public consumption.

Nutritional Showdown: Steel Cut Oats vs Rolled Oats

How many of you have seen, read, or heard that steel-cut oats are healthier for you than regular oatmeal?  I know I have.  I assumed that there must be some sort of nutritional difference between the two: more fiber perhaps, or just less processing.  Recently, as part of my weight-loss efforts, I tried a fridge oats recipe.  Since I didn’t have any regular (rolled) oatmeal on hand, I figured I’d be extra-healthy and substitute the steel-cut oats that I did have on hand! Yay me! Bonus healthy points!

After a week, I learned that I don’t love fridge oats.  I prefer my oatmeal warm.  The super-chewy texture of the steel-cut oats was also not so much awesome.  I wondered just how much of a difference there was. Observe:

Quaker Rolled Oats vs Kroger Steel-Cut Oats
Quaker Rolled Oats vs Kroger Steel-Cut Oats

Now, I understand that it’s very difficult to read those nutrition labels from the photos. Allow me to transcribe:

 Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats Steel-Cut Oats
 Serving Size 1/2 cup 1/4 cup
Calories 150 150
Total Fat 3 g 2.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g 1 g
 Cholesterol 0 mg 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg 0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 27 g 27 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g 4 g
Soluble Fiber 2 g 2 g
 Insoluble Fiber 2 g 2 g
Sugars 1 g 1 g
Protein 5 g 5 g

The only measurable difference is serving size.  The steel-cut oats have the same nutrition, just more densely packed.  My roommate commented “but steel-cut oats keep me fuller longer!” Yep–you’re eating twice as much food in the same volume!  Of course you’re fuller longer!

But, you argue, Look at the fat!  There’s a half-gram difference in total fat! Why yes, that does appear to be true.  However, when you look at the distribution of those fats, they’re identical, and 2.5 rounds up to 3.  Thus, that difference is probably either a trace difference or rounding difference, therefore, nutritionally NULL.

Oh–one other important (to me) thing: regular rolled oats cook in about 1 minute in the microwave in the morning.  I do not have to soak them overnight to make them chewable.

I’m going back to my regular rolled oats.


I won my DietBet!

DB2015-BeforeAfterThis was one of the most difficult things I’ve undertaken–second only to quitting smoking. I don’t like sharing photos of myself really any time, but I’m choosing to share my before and after pictures this time because I’m proud of the progress I made. Real, measurable progress.

In this bet, I’ve learned a few things about what it takes for my body to lose weight, how fast, what’s acceptable, and what undoes my progress the worst. I learned that I do stress eat more than I thought. Or, at least, I tend to make significantly less healthy food choices. I learned that I still love cooking and I will never be able to follow a “meal plan” because it’s not me. If someone invents the “foodie’s diet” please let me know. I’m happy to save calories on breakfast and lunch in exchange for a delicious dinner (and maybe dessert).

I also made my 5k bet! My final time on my Santa Claus Shuffle was 37:18, which is WAYYY below the goal of beating 39:51 from 3 years ago. I can honestly say I’m in the best shape of my life.

One of the most important learnings wasn’t mine, this time. My boyfriend finally, FINALLY, has learned to become supportive. Instead of suggesting pizza, he bought me whole-wheat pita pockets. Instead of making fun of me and offering me a cracker for dinner, he came with me to my 5k races this year. That means so much to me. It might actually mean more to me than my own weight loss. I haven’t quite sorted out my feelings on any of this.

Right now, my feeling is seriously in the realm of WHERE DA FOOD?! It’s Christmas Day and I WON!

New Year’s Resolution Complete: Santa Claus Shuffle 5k!

Official Race Results.
Official Race Results.

I did it! I did it! I did it!  Not only did I beat my former best time of 39:52 on a 5k, I did so by about two and a half MINUTES.  I finished the 2015 Santa Claus Shuffle 5k in 37:18 (official time).  Thus, I completed one of my New Year’s Resolutions.

As usual, the Santa Claus Shuffle was held in early December in Portsmouth, VA.  Three years ago, my friend Carrie suggested we run it together–and we set our first pace and time.  The next year, we also ran–though not as well.  Last year we missed the race because I was recuperating from surgery.  This year, I expected to be running it alone–Carrie moved back in January–but much to my surprise, she was in town and met me at the race start!  We didn’t stick together during the race, but we both set new best paces and times.

Race tracking by Microsoft Band
Race tracking by Microsoft Band

Ric was there at the finish line. No video this time–he missed it because I was significantly earlier than expected (gee, darn)! I also don’t have any official race finish photos or anything else except my personal favorite: the post-race celebratory banana photo of Carrie & me.  Yes, that’s a snowman-Dalek.  I did NOT want to run in costume this year, so settled for the most Christmassy short-sleeved T-shirt I had!

Carrie & Me!
Carrie & Me!

I need a Healthy(er) Moment!

I know that title is grammatically incorrect.  Deal with it.  It’s for a theme.

I’m farther off base on my challenges than I’d like.  I’ve spent nearly 3 straight days doing nothing but grading, grading, grading.  I had NO idea it was so difficult to read a syllabus and find out when your final exam was, nor how difficult it was for students to submit a link to a web page via Blackboard.

I’ll stop ranting about that and commence whining now.

At the end of every semester, teachers get just as swamped as students. Students feel stressed because they have final exams in every class. Like, 5 of them!  Teachers feel stressed because our Universities often have ridiculous policies such as “thou shalt submit thy final grades within 24 (or 48) hours of the final exam.” Dear Mr. Dean/President/WHOEVER: I have 400 students.  My final exams have essay questions because it’s important.  I have hundreds of blankity-blank emails coming in.  That is NOT a reasonable timeframe for the faculty! We feel stressed, we feel pressured, we stay up all night and grade all day and all night in a desperate attempt to handle this mess.  We cry, have w(h)ine, cry some more, and secretly scream our frustrations.  Okay, in my case, not so secretly.

I colored this mermaid using the FreshPaint app in Windows 10. This is for both my #HealthyMoments challenge and the #28dayjumpstart #fitgirlsguide challenge (they're into mermaids & unicorns).
I colored this mermaid using the FreshPaint app in Windows 10. This is for both my #HealthyMoments challenge and the #28dayjumpstart #fitgirlsguide challenge (they’re into mermaids & unicorns).

My lifestyle for the last several days has been the antithesis of healthy.  What’s a vegetable?!  This exercise thing?  What’s that painfully bright thing in the sky?  Food has been what’s available: read as leftover Chinese delivery, cookies, microwave popcorn, anything I don’t have to cook because I don’t have time.  Add in the departmental and college parties that I don’t have time to attend because of the grading and I start feeling like I should ask Santa for a punching bag for Christmas.

I’m taking a few minutes to write because I desperately need a break today.  I’m feeling burned out and I’m not done.  I got in a 20 minute walk today and really truly did feel vaguely surprised by the SUN.  I’m going to try to fix a healthier dinner and do my planned workout.  During my Digital Imaging class I’m going to do my Healthy Moments coloring challenge for the day (see?!).

Sometimes, you have to manage life.  Sometimes all you can do is desperately hang on and try to survive.  I’m more in the survival camp right now.  Add on to this: experiments, textbook reviews, car needing repair, departmental evaluations and surveys, surveys, surveys, holiday parties… I’m an INTROVERT.  I want to crawl in a really dark hole and stay there.  Can I have that for Christmas?!

For those who need gift ideas for end-of-term faculty, I recommend the following:

  • punching bag (because we can’t vent our frustrations on our students/administrators)
  • wine (in which to drown our sorrows and with which we become slightly more generous graders)
  • red pens (because we’ve probably used up all the ink in our existing ones)
  • Xanax (see above reference for wine)
  • Dinner & laundry service (because we ain’t got time for dat right now)
  • a shoulder to cry on/someone to vent at (we don’t hate you, really we don’t)
  • chocolate
  • fuzzy socks
  • sympathy
  • Your complete understanding that we will, in fact, revert to being normal, sane humans a week or so after this ends.  It takes a bit to resolve the trauma and recuperate.
And this one is my unicorn, also colored in FreshPaint. Different tools, different paint effect. Also applicable for the #28dayjumpstart and #fitgirlsguide challenge.
And this one is my unicorn, also colored in FreshPaint. Different tools, different paint effect. Also applicable for the #28dayjumpstart and #fitgirlsguide challenge.

PS: Not sure if the coloring helped me relax or if it was the combination of beer, Xanax, and coloring. I am not visually artistically skilled and I haven’t colored in a long, long time. It’s also a tad harder to do it on the computer, even with a good N-Trig stylus on a Surface Pro 3.

Car Accident: not a Healthy Moment

Some days are not made of win. Today was one of those days. It was the last day of classes for the semester. I dressed up. I then proceeded to have a car accident in my parking lot. I’m fine, and the damage to my car should be all repairable, but that still causes me to feel stressed. I don’t like feeling like I did something wrong. I don’t like feeling like I wasn’t cautious enough.

I left my apartment this morning and as usual scanned the parking lot for others getting into their cars to leave.  It looked empty… or I was oblivious. I got in, started my car, checked my mirrors and over my shoulder, and started backing out. I checked the front to make sure I was clear of the neighboring cars to turn. And then… CRUNCH. Followed by that unexpected stopping and that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Just before the impact, I saw the other car traveling straight back in reverse.  I didn’t have time to react.  I don’t know how I didn’t see it, but my car is the size of a pregnant roller skate. Maybe the cars next to mine blocked my view just enough. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I thought I was. Maybe shit just happens.

Nobody was injured, but we called the police. It took 2.5 hours… which is very unusual. About 45 minutes after we reported the accident, a police car drove through the parking lot but didn’t notice us. We tried to flag it down to no avail. Apparently, though, there had been a separate accident at the same intersection where I live, and the dispatchers thought ours was a duplicate report.  Since the incident occurred on private property, there was no police report or assignation of fault. They provided us with copies of the information exchange forms for insurance purposes.

The first question GEICO asked was whether I was okay. Yes, I’m completely fine. Was I sure? Yes. Nobody else involved was injured.  Can I just say that my experience filing this claim was as painless as possible?! They asked a bunch of questions about what happened. I was totally honest. They decided it was my fault. I’m oddly okay with that, because the other person’s situation really was incredible: they were already driving  a rental because they’d had a recent accident and their car was in for repair. It would have been financially devastating for them to have to fight a claim with a rental company.  GEICO is handling everything.  Since this was my neighbor, I called them after I submitted photos of the damage and a copy of the police information exchange form; GEICO had already contacted them and told them they were covering the incident.  I’m very happy that my neighbor is relieved and will have less to worry about.

“But you’re not supposed to admit fault!” Yes, I was taught this. I’m not positive that there was fault or that I did something wrong, but my car (thus me) hit the other car. That’s why I have insurance. My car will be repaired, also on my insurance, and the world won’t end.

I’m still upset and stressed. This was my first new car. But it’s minor damage (my tail lights still work and everything).  Having to cancel my classes for the day wasn’t the end of the earth.

So today I drowned my sorrows in National Cookie Day comfort and an Espresso Martini (guest post coming soon!). I skipped my workout and napped with a fuzzy, comforting kitten. I did NOT make a workout jar. Otherwise, though, I stayed on my diet plan and called today a wash.  Here’s to imperfection!

Jolie kept me company after my accident.  Note the happy kitty grin.  She doesn't curl up with me often!
Jolie kept me company after my accident. Note the happy kitty grin. She doesn’t curl up with me often!

Healthy Moments Challenge Day 3

Today’s challenge was deceptively simple: eat veggies at every meal.  I interpret that as meaning at least one serving of veggies (not just a garnish).  In this case, the two health challenges I’m doing directly conflicted with one another!  The planned breakfast for the FitGirlsGuide 28-day jumpstart has cherries, but no vegetables.  I expect that’s going to happen occasionally.

Embracing the “progress, not perfection” mantra, I grabbed a handful of baby carrots with my breakfast and skipped my snack during the day.  Normally, I’m quite happy to incorporate vegetables into my eggs.  Especially onions or shallots.  Also tomatoes.  And maybe spinach sometimes.  I like the combination of tomatoes and eggs–especially something like salsa!

For lunch, veggies were already included: 1 cup of roasted vegetables.  Mine was  a mix of roasted pumpkin, carrots, and onions (because that’s what I had on hand when I started the challenge).  There’s also a handful of steamed kale in there.

Dinner also already had vegetables included: the pita pizza party called for mushrooms, bell pepper, and spinach in addition to the marinara sauce.  I found that I really missed onions on my pizza.  I also think that next time I try that recipe, I might put the toppings IN the pita pocket since mine slid off and made  a horrible mess… but still a fairly tasty mess.  If it had been photo-worthy, I’d’ve taken a picture for this post, but nooooo….

Fuyu persimmons, one of several varieties and definitely NOT a vegetable.

Special bonus round: tonight’s meal was also to be accompanied by a half cup of fruit.  I had a persimmon.  If you’ve never had a persimmon, they taste like jam and they’re heavenly.  My spousal substitute just had a bite and I swear I think his eyes rolled back in his head–and he’s a carnivore.  You can learn more about one of my favorite seasonal treats over at the Botanist in the Kitchen!

Healthy Moments Challenge Day 2

Today’s calendar item on the Healthy Moments Challenge was to try a new workout.  My very first thought this morning was

…does surviving a migraine count as a workout?! Today is gonna be a loooong day….  🙁


Some days I wake up with migraines.  Sometimes they tend to cluster, and I get one every week, a week apart.  I’ve never figured out what causes them.  I was able to get through my day thanks to Excedrin, but the pain hasn’t really gone away.

Despite that, I did my workout–and I love it when I can have something serve dual functions.  Today’s abs workout was simple.  I even had a helper.

Every single time I tried to lean back (to get a better picture) my kitten crawled up further.  This also complicated accomplishing pretty much all of the abs workout.

This is supposed to be about my experience with this, so today’s experience was a combination of brain-pain and “obviously the human isn’t busy enough if they’re exercising.  It must be pet-me time.”


What I really want to know at this point--does your pet "help" you with your workout(s)?

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Healthy Moments Challenge Day 1

Today’s challenge was to take a picture of yourself from the front, back, and sides.  Semi-fortunately, I actually had to do this for another challenge as well (waste not, want not).

I realize these aren’t the most attractive pictures of me.  They’re not intended to be.  They’re documentation only; yes, I’m just wearing a sports bra and shorts.  No, I’m not good at taking photos of myself on a wobbly tripod with a remote trigger for my phone.  On the very good side, though, this is me, already down 20 lbs from where I started this year, and definitely seeing PROGRESS!