Legend of the Triceratops

Hello, blogosphere.

I was thinking back to the days when I used to blog all the time and I realized what was different –

– I didn’t have *much* of a social life

– I went out and did things to pass the time (biking, exercising, sight-seeing in the city, drawing)

– I wrote about the mundane happenings in my life in a ‘dear diary’ format. (now I do that on Facebook)

The cool thing about those days is that I actually connected with people on a more personal level and made genuine friends writing about life.

The down side is that my family didn’t really appreciate me writing about *their* lives in *my* journal—they wanted their privacy, after all.

Now that I’m an adult, and I’ve had things about my life spread through the family grapevine without my permission in the past, I kinda *get* that feeling.  Don’t tell a story that’s not yours to tell.

Unfortunately, that leaves me in a little bit of a writing rut.  There’s not much that I *do* any more, not that I feel worthy of blogging about.

I suppose this is my attempt to change that.  I’m going to go back to the dear-diary format, except that I’m going to respect the wishes of my family and friends.  That means you’ll see mundane stuff here, but I’m also going to write about my experiences that might resonate with you.

Entry 1: Legend of the Triceratops

So getting back on the fitness bandwagon, I’ve been more active in the Nerd Fitness Academy Facebook community.  The women in that group are inspiring at every level of fitness and it really motivates me to keep up.  It’s not unusual to see someone’s progress pictures put up and then to see a whole slew of comments reflecting on where the changes are observable to the third party.  They’re all positive.

When someone asks ‘what is it about this community that makes us so judgment free and welcoming?’ the resounding reply is that people are still judgy, but they check their attitude at the proverbial door.  ‘Not here,’ is the general consensus. I think that’s great, because little by little, I think it helps the women in our group to become less judgmental overall.  If you have enough practice putting your snark in check, eventually it becomes second nature.

Well, then someone who didn’t get the memo to check the snark at the door decided to comment on someone else’s progress photos. They weren’t outright attacking the person, but they were not exactly appreciative of the person’s decision to post progress pics in their undies.  Such remarks were made as “women shouldn’t lift,” and “have some class.” It wasn’t fair, and I think it stung a fair few of us to read her scathing retort.  It blew up, not because those two comments are wholly against the NF way of life, but because this person only had something to say when a woman who was not already fit decided to share her progress.

Another Rebel stepped in, though, and delivered one of the best rebuttals I’d ever read.

“WOMEN should do whatever the [expletive removed] they want to do, be it body building, bikini competitions, ballet, yoga, or anything else they want.  WOMEN should be proud of the body they have regardless of if it “looks like a mans” or looks like a [expletive removed] triceratops.

…Here, we love.  Each other, ourselves, the good, the bad, the big, the little, the round, the sharp, the muscle, the fat… We don’t judge, we don’t criticize, even if we don’t understand or believe the same as someone else, there is nothing but love.  I will tolerate ABSOLUTELY nothing besides love and respect in this group.  Join us or leave us.” – Ginny Mason

Since that post, the women of the Academy have been sending “Rawrs” of appreciation to each other, buying merchandise to support the cause thanks to a little pop-up shop that another Rebel made, and generally making better decisions because we’re all thinking “what would a triceratops do?”

It’s even permeated my home life and ‘being a triceratops’ is what me and Jeff have been using as words of encouragement for each other.

Jeff: I’m not doing too well

Jeff: [Explanation]

Me: Can you be a Triceratops?

I mean, like, screw what other people think, because you’re freaking awesome.

I know [detailed related to explanation]

You’ve done great things with your life, and you’re doing so much more.  You need to tell yourself that you’re a [expletive] Triceratops and trample anyone who says otherwise.

Another time, we were supposed to go to the store, but I had been wearing shorts around the house, even though I hadn’t shaved in about a week or so :P I told him that I’d need to change first and he said “No you don’t! Triceratops don’t care what other people think!”

LOL

It was absurd but so encouraging anyway.  Under guise of being a Triceratops, I’ve avoided some sweets, gone on more walks, and made it down to the gym more often than I probably would’ve without that fire.

It seems to be tapering down a little bit in the Academy, but I’m going to make a post later today about how I’m a Triceratops for going to the gym when I *really* didn’t want to.  RAWR, they’ll all say, and I’ll puff up my chest and nod in agreement—RAWR indeed.

A little sunshine, a little fresh air, a lot of happiness

Sunshine and fresh air can’t fix everything, but it can sure recharge your store of feel-good chemicals and put a brighter spin on things.

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Things at work are getting better, in the sense that things have returned to the status quo, until more news comes out.

Since the weather has improved so much, I’ve been making an effort to get outside and go for more walks.

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Winter in Minnesota is a time to hunker down and hibernate. The lack of Sun slows metabolism, increases melatonin, and generally causes the inhabitants to retreat into a quiet, somber ‘survival mode,’ until the sun decides to show itself again. 

As a sufferer of SAD I can honestly say that my mood has improved exponentially with the weather.

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Even the hubby notices.  I gravitate towards healthier foods–reveling in the fruits and vegetables of the season before I’m forced all too soon back to the dreary canned and frozen varieties of winter.

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This week we’ve been eating summer squash, zucchini, crimini mushrooms, and watermelon.  Today, I was able to have spinach and tomato diced into my omelet.

This afternoon, I was able to get out for a 1.34 mile walk in the sunshine (as tracked my Map My Fitness.

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I guess what this entire entry is trying to say is this: MegsFitness is back. Fresh food, fitness, motivation… It’s on, and it feels so good to be back!

Kick off to grilling season

When the in-laws were in town, one of the things we accomplished was to assemble the awesome grill that my parents had bought us as a house warming gift.  Kudos to Jeff and his dad for figuring THAT out!

Sunday had amazing weather. It was warm, sunny, and I guess the wind was a little strong, but alright!  Since the weather was what it was, we decided to break in the grill and cook some steaks!

Mother nature had other ideas and started spitting as soon as Jeff was back with the propane.  That’s okay, though! Mother Nature has got nothing on MY mom… So off to the garage we went.

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Mother Nature picked up the pace and brought roiling thunder and some lightening.  Jeff brought an umbrella and an extra place setting.

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Jeff manned the grill while I set up an impromptu dining room out of canvas chairs and a coffee table that I wanted to refinish.

When the steaks were done, the meal was served, and the thunder rolled.

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Consider grilling season officially started!

Pumpkin Pancakes

My in-laws are in town for Easter. They drive all the way down from Winnipeg, and I like to think it’s just for my pumpkin pancakes.

I’m allowing myself to call them “mine” because I make a couple tweaks to the original recipe. It’s actually a recipe from Diane Sanfilippo, from the book entitled Practical Paleo.

Since everyone was still sleeping, I had the entire first floor to myself. Step one: turn on some tunes.

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Now that you’re bopping around to some good tunes, you should realize that you’re starving.  Eat a can of pears while getting your ingredients together!

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As you’re getting your ingredients together, question the freshness of your eggs since you can’t remember when you bought them.  The Float Test works really well!  If you’re questioning your eggs, give it a try.

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Ruh roh… One of them is bad. Two are alright, and one is fresh.  Toss the baddie and swap in another fresh egg!

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All set? You should have 4 eggs, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 2* TBLS vanilla extract, 2 TBLS maple syrup, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and 2 TBLS coconut floor*.

*quantities or ingredients vary from original recipe.

All set?? K, let’s mix the wet ingredients first.

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Whip that up–I use an electric beater, but a whisk would work too.  Next, get together the dry ingredients. Make sure to get your cook book all messy… This is required. :-P

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K, mix the dry ingredients together so that we can sift them into the wet ingredients next.

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Mix these together, then set it aside for a moment. Now is going to be a great time to clean up your dishes and get the skillet or griddle pre-heated.

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That’s one of the things that I learned from my grandma.  If you clean as you go, the end clean up won’t be so bad.

Now, if you’re using a nonstick skillet, you shouldn’t need the coconut oil that’s called for in the original recipe. I normally prefer to leave it out, but I used a little this time just to stick a little closer to the original recipe.

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These cook up a little differently than normal pancakes. Depending on how hot your griddle is, these might cook up in a couple minutes, but it could take longer.  Our griddle is starting to lose heat in some areas, so I had a couple false starts.  You can watch for the bubbles to burst, but it could be a little while before you see that.

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Flip! These are a bit wet, even with the added coconut flour, so I like to press them after they’re flipped to get them to cook through. I also flip them again to make sure both sides of the batter that ooozes out (yummy!) is cooked.

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Slice up some fruit to have with your meal, and you’re all set. These pancakes are so flavorful that you won’t need butter or syrup to go with them.  By all means, feel free to dress them up!

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Enjoy!

Sketching, not sketchy; hotels

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I guess one good thing to come out of the last week is that my muse is back. I’ve been sketching and drawing…and realising just how out of practice I really am. I’ve been enjoying myself, though, and happily sharing my works with others.  Specifically one of my guildies who keeps me supplied with ample music to draw to…

I even brought my sketch book with me to South Dakota, where Jeff and I will be helping my sister’s family move into their new house.  I’d be drawing right now except for the fact that it’s the 5 o’clock hour and Jeff is asleep. The whole room is dark, and I’m writing this from my phone.

It’s actually a shame that I’m up, but it couldn’t be helped. It’s the 3rd or 4th time I’ve been up over the course of the night. This time my back and hips made it too insufferable to go back to sleep, so here I am.

The alarm is set for 6:30am… Then I’ll be able to be productive. Even then I won’t be breaking out the pencils and paper… Oh no.. then I’ll be breaking out the fit deck and getting some stretching in.  I’ll get plenty of exercise today, but I’m hoping I won’t be in pain for most of it.

After that, breakfast is in the 7 o’clock hour, then we’ll head over to my sister’s apartment to drink coffee and wake up with the rest of the crew.  See, we could’ve stayed at my sister’s house–it was an open invitation and they’d make room.. but see, with me in my condition and getting up all night long, I opted for the comfort factor of a hotel.

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I had searched on kayak and booking, as well as other discount sites, but it turned out to be cheaper to just call the hotel and ask for cheapest rates.  The hotel we originally wanted to stay at cost about $200/night…they had raised the prices for some reason compared to online.  Plus, they didn’t have anything smaller than a king suite and we really just wanted a place to rest our heads.  The reservation clerk actually referred me to a sister hotel. They had an efficiency suite, including breakfast, for less than $100/night.  I didn’t expect there to even be a refrigerator, let alone a stove!

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We likely won’t have a chance to use it on this trip, but it’s nice to have the option.

It’d be nice to have the option for a nap later, too, but I don’t see that happening… T^T at least if I get too zonked, we can retreat to the hotel instead of waiting for everyone else to wind down. There’s that, at least.

K. Time to wrap up before diving into the day. Be well!

Monday tacos

The way I see it, if Mother Nature can see fit to drop a bunch of snow on our heads, wreck the Monday commute, and interfere with what was becoming a very nice spring… Then I can make tacos on a Monday morning.

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We had a great weekend as we started to choose baby gear and consider lifestyle options:

– Yes, we should have a pro redo the newel post.
– No we don’t need a pro to install the banister.
– Yes we should get the structural issues in the basement repaired.
– No we shouldn’t take out a new loan to pay for the repairs.
– Yes, technically the car seat fits in the Audi, but no, it’s not practical to keep the car.

I swear we need a weekend to recover from our weekend.

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The next best thing I could do was to inject a little flavor into our Monday.  I browned ground beef, sauteed some yellow onion, added some orange peppers for color, seasoned with the home made taco seasoning blend (courtesy of Practical Paleo).  I served it all up on soft tortillas, topped with fresh avocado and salsa.

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I guess if I have to say one good thing about the snow, it’s that it makes great filtered lighting for taking pictures of food with my phone ;)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Microblogging wins again…

As the past couple of months have not been very exciting, I’ve taken to microblogging on Facebook and sharing my photos there.  And why shouldn’t I, after all, since most of my readers are my friends as well :)

Today is my brother’s 23rd birthday and he’s entering his new year as an engaged man! The woman that he loves has stolen the hearts of every member of my family and I am *so* looking forward to calling her sister-in-law.  The two of them together just embody hard work, determination, financial savvy, and a heavy dose of love, silliness, light-hearted fun, and generosity.

My sister and her husband recently acquired a dog, I swear that they couldn’t be happier.  Although Darwin gave me a taste of just how much work dogs can be, it seems like he’s actually a good boy and a great fit for the family.  They have news of their own, but it’s not ‘facebook official’ quite yet, so I won’t be sharing it here.  We have friends in common, after all.

Jeff and I went ‘facebook official’ with our own news last weekend.  Part of why things have been so mum around here is because I’ve been sitting on my hands lest I write something too telling* or let the secret out too soon. We started letting the news out with a trickle.. first Jeff’s brother, then my parents, his parents, my siblings, his best friend, then mine.. and now the floodgates are open and we made the scary, nerve wracking, world-shifting, exciting  announcement that we’re expecting again.  Our little rainbow-baby is due at the end of September.  We managed to wait ~13 weeks this time before spilling the news.  Now we’re giddy, anxious, and excited.

I think that one of the funnest things to come of this development is that Jeff has taken to practicing his dad jokes.  One of my favorites that he came up with has to do with who is the best at hiding, and the response (while pointing to himself) is disguise (pronounced: “this guy”).

There have been a lot of changes on the fitness front, as well, ones that I hope to catalogue as time goes on.  I am really interested in getting back into blogging, and so I will queue up the next post to talk about some of those changes.