29 April 2013

Music Monday: John Mayer

It's a bit "shocking" to me that Mayer's tune aren't featured more on the 'ole blog.

When I'm happy: I turn to his music.

What I'm sad: I turn to his music.

If it's a random Wednesday: I turn to his music.

It's pulled me through a lot of "hard time" but has also been the soundtrack for a lot of good times.

Right now, it's getting me through a battle of wills within myself (another post on that later). This song keeps popping into my head and I find myself asking "Am I living it right?" a lot these days.

28 April 2013

Sunday Confessions

Ubber Cranky: Do ya'll go through phases where everything, and I mean everything gets on your very last nerve? That's how the last couple of weeks have been going. Alright fine, the last month. It started while I was on vacation (which is also why I haven't done a whole "OMG....my vacation was awesome!" recap post because it wasn't) and I just haven't been able to kick it. *sigh* Needless to say, it's not been fun.

Running: As of Friday, I am still not allowed to run. I've been told "there shall be no running until I am able to engage in physical activity with zero pain". My physical therapist did not appreciate my "But if there is no pain, there is no gain!" joke. Anywho.....yesterday was the first time I've gone out to do any sort of exercise where there was zero pain and/or discomfort in my hip. Total win! Now, I just need that to happen for an entire week so I can get the ok to start easing back into my running routine. 

Nudge This: Why did the folks who came up with Words with Friends insist on there being a "nudge" option?! I do not need to be reminded I have friends waiting for me to make a move. In fact, if they use the "nudge" option, I purposely wait even longer to make a move. Unless it's Captain Random--then I'll immediately make a move. 

22 April 2013

Hooked: Bag Obsessesd

Confession: I. LOVE. BAGS.

Small bags. Big bags. Clutches. Messenger bags. Tote bags. Sling bags.

I love them all.

Except maybe backpacks. I am not a big fan of them.

Before going on vacation, I made myself a new beach bag to take with me for all my beach essentials. The bag was mostly a success. I loved the colors. It ended up being the perfect size to schlep all my stuff from the hotel room to the pool and/or beach. But.....and this is kind of a big but, the pattern I used made for a super "stretchy" bag, which I knew I just didn't think it would stretch that much. Plus, it was the first time I had made anything with straps and it was kind of a big time fail. By the end of vacation the damn thing stretched out way more than I had anticipated it would and hung down below my knees. Not cool bag. Not cool at all.

Needless to say, it was back to the drawing board for a new beach bag.

Thanks to the wonderful world of Pinterest, I came across a pattern for the London Crochet Bag over on Crochet Dynamite. I immediately swooned over the style/look of the bag and then nearly feel over when I read the pattern. It was absolutely something I could make.

I did deviate a bit from the original pattern. I knew since I'd be using it as a beach bag, it didn't need to be quite as big as the bag in the pattern. At most, it would be used to haul around a notebook, couple pens, Kindle and sunscreen. And maybe a bottle of water. I made it a few inches shorter than the pattern calls for and ended up changing the strap a bit.

I used Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn for the project, which I had picked up for super cheap--$1.00 per ball! Because I wanted something that screamed summer, I went with Hot Pink (not pictured), Hot Orange and White. I think I used two balls of pink, one full and a little bit of a second ball in the orange and less than one ball of white (the white was left over from another project).


I opted to use the pink and orange as my main colors and the white as the accent. I am planning on making another bag but reversing the colors: an all white bag with the orange as the accent color. 

For the handle of the bag, I followed the direction in the original pattern but then folded it in half, stitched the two edges together and pulled it inside out (to hide the seam) before attaching to the bag. I wanted to have a really sturdy strap and this seemed like the best way to accomplish that.

I really love the way this bag turned out. I think it is going to be the perfect size for summer excursions to the beach and our families cottage. Now we just need summer to actually get here so I can try it out!

Happy crocheting!

21 April 2013

Sunday Confessions

Tumblr: I apparently need to be a little more discerning when it comes to which blogs I follow on Tumblr. At any given moment, my dashboard reads a little like this: pretty photograph, pretty photograph, porn, sketch, poem, pretty photograph. Ok....now everyone sing along, "One of these things is not like the others....". Seriously. The amount of porn gifs that has made its way there is astounding. 

Disconnected: About a week or so ago I ditched the the rss feed linking my blog posts to my personal Facebook page for friends and family to read. Despite what others may and have said about my blog, I have never posted something I wouldn't actually talk to someone about face-to-face, but it also doesn't mean they get to take what I post and become Judge Judy with it. So, no more! 

20 April 2013

(Not) Running with the Devil

My first week of physical therapy has come to a close and I have come to the following conclusion:

It's frustrating, ya'll!

In fact, I've made two lists (a pros list and a cons list) to remind myself why I am doing this:

Pros of Physical Therapy

  1. I'm learning a lot of information about the mechanics of running which will help me in the long run.
  2. I'm learning new stretches to help avoid further injury.
  3. Some of the new stretches are helping to get to the "deep space" of the muscle that I've previously never been able to sort out on my own.
  4. Per my psychical therapist, "By the time we are done with our last session, you will be on your way to being the ultimate cross-trainer". Hooray?!
  5. By the time I finish with physical therapy, my hip (in theory) will be pain-free!
  6. I get to have ultrasound treatments on my right hip which are brilliant--seriously, its like a mini massage multiple times a week. 
Cons of Physical Therapy
  1. No running.
  2. No running. 
  3. No running.

I know I shouldn't complain. It's only a month. And in the grand scheme of all things related to running this week, this is barely a blip on the "sucks list", but I just want to get back out there!

16 April 2013


I've gone back and forth with myself as to whether or no I should post the following--a lot of is feels like a bunch of incoherent rambling and to be honest, it feels a bit strange to be writing about something so far away and disconnected with.

Like a lot of people, I've had Boston on my mind all day, trying to make sense of a senseless act. While I don't know anyone directly involved in what happened, my heart still aches for the city and those effected in yesterdays events.

The Boston Marathon has always been this weird, intangible running goal. I know you aren't supposed to say "never", but its one of those things I know I will most likely never participate in but still something I have on my bucket list. The best I could ever hope for is to be there to watch as people run across the finish line.

I've followed the marathon from afar the last few years and had just sat down to do so yesterday when the first bomb exploded. I wanted desperately for it to be an accident--for it to be a mistake, but then the second bomb exploded and I knew it wasn't. As I watched the news reports come in it was hard to not be overwhelmed by the images of those wounded. But what struck me most were the images of those running towards the explosion area to help those who had been injured. In a time of chaos and destruction, compassion and strength came through.

It's been in the media a lot, but the post Patton Oswald but on his Facebook page yesterday said it perfectly:

Boston. Fucking horrible. 

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, "Well, I've had it with humanity."

But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths. 

But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness. 

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago. 

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."

No matter how traumatic or tragic or senseless an act is, the good will always overcome the bad, even if it seems to take twice as long.

Today I wore Boston Marathon colors to work today in honor of the victims of yesterdays tragedy. And when my doctor gives me the all-clear, I'll sign myself up for a race (or two maybe!) to run for Boston. It seems like a small thing, but the quote below puts in perspective (at least for me it does) what running can really be about--not just about an individual runner, but a whole community of runners.

"It's the only sport in the world where if a competitor falls, the others around will pick him or her up. It's the only sport in the world open to absolutely everyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or any other division you can think of. It's the only occasion when thousands of people assemble, often in a major city, for a reason that is totally peaceful, healthy and well-meaning. It's the only sport in the world where no one ever boos anybody."--Runners World on the sport of running.

15 April 2013

Music Monday: Freight Train

I heard this song the other day while catching up on episodes of Bone and haven't been able to get it out of my head. Absolutely beautiful.....

13 April 2013


Planning: A trip to the big D! My dad and I are heading to Detroit next month to see the Tigers play and I am very excited about going. The boys have been off to a pretty good start this season (minus the bullpen but it means they can only get better, right? Right.) so it should be a fun game.

Worrying: I had my first appointment with the physical therapist on Thursday and have my first official session on Monday. He is quite sure I was right in thinking it was a soft tissue issue, which is good. I'm just nervous about the whole thing. Thankfully though, he is really nice, digs baseball (which will give us something to talk about during the ultrasound treatments, which are my favorite!) and seems pretty confident that we'll be able to sort out whatever is wrong pretty quickly. But still no running. He made sure to tell me four times (I kept track) that I was to absolutely avoid running for at least the next four weeks.

Bending: Since I can't run, I've been doing a lot more yoga. I know it isn't the same in terms of physical activity, but it does have the same effect emotionally which has been good.

Reading: Nothing. Everything I've started I've put back down and walked away from it. I feel like I need something fun to read and nothing in my current "library" fits that description and I can't even buy anything new because of the moratorium I put on book purchases due to the overwhelm stacks (yes, STACKS) of books I have to read.

Hooking: Lots of projects on the hooks right now. Working on a couple of elephants, some headbands, a new beach/tote bag and my moms afghan.

Linking Up: Its time for my favorite blog hop! Every time this comes around, I find a whole new bunch of fun blogs to read/follow.

Chantillysongs Blog hop

11 April 2013

I've Been Benched

I don't know how that quote really applies to this post, but I liked it so I'm going with it.

JUST when I getting back into the swing of things with my running there is a monkey wrench thrown my way.

Earlier this week I finally, yes finally, saw my doctor about the nagging pain in my right hip. It was bothering me last fall (after I had a massage--go figure) which was one of the reasons (along with snow and ice) that I took the winter off from running. I figured avoiding it would help whatever was wrong get better.


After one of my runs last week, it was in fact worse than it had ever been. It hurt to walk. It hurt to sit and it even hurt to lay on my right side while sleeping. Some days it was even causing some numbness and tingling in the back of my right leg.

Thankfully my doctor is a pretty fantastic. He is extremely easy to talk to and didn't give me too much of a hard time for waiting so long to chat with him about my hip. After describing the symptoms to him he said it could be one of two things: it really could be my hip or an issue with my back. Hip issue I could deal with. Back issue, not so much. A few random tests and manipulations of my leg revealed that it was in fact a muscle strain/sprain of some fancy named muscle in my hip/upper leg.

The treatment: big time anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and absolutely no running for the next four weeks. *sigh* I may have shed a tear or two in his office.

My first pt appointment is this morning and I really, really hope it helps. I know I've not being doing it for a "long time" and that some may not consider me a "serious running", but I've really come to rely on running as a major stress reliever in my life. And I know I'm being a bit overdramitic, but I honestly don't know what I will do with myself if he tells me I need to give up running for good. But I'm thinking good thoughts. Am going to follow the crap out of the directions/exercises I receive from the physical therapist and will be counting down the days until I can get back out there and run to my little hearts content. 

10 April 2013

Weekly Reads: Shantaram & Starvation Lake

Admittedly, I did not read both of these books this week. I read Shantaram while on vacation and it has taken me this long to put my thoughts down on paper.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Every time I have tried to sit down and write my thoughts out about Shantaram I come up against a wall. The further away from having read the book, the more I seem to dislike the story even though as a whole, I enjoyed the book. Confused yet?

When the description of this books reads "So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay." they were not kidding. In all honesty I felt like this title was too long. At 900+ pages, there were times where I felt like I was reading on auto-pilot and didn't really retain much of what I had just read. Part of me feels like it would have been better served had it been broken up in to two books so we could really digest what we were reading.

To keep this review from following in the same footsteps of being epic, I'm going to stick with bullet points.

  • The style of writing was a bit "odd" in my book. Most of it felt like we were reading the heros journal, which would have been a brilliant way to tell this story but there were times where it felt like the author tried too hard to be lyrical (especially during the intimate scenes between the characters) and it just didn't flow.
  • The star of the book was India herself. The way the author wrote about the country and her cities made it feel like she was a living, breathing soul.
  • The characters of this book were just slightly eccentric enough to make you believe you were reading an autobiography. While the book was "based" on Roberts life, there were times it felt almost too real which for me is the sign of a great storyteller.
  • The number of characters was a little ridiculous. I just don't feel like we needed to be introduced to every single person he encountered, especially when they weren't all needed to work with the flow of the story. 
I think my biggest "issue" with this book was my own inflated expectation of what I would get from having read it. It had been on my "to read" list for a very long time and came highly recommended by a friend whose opinion on books I value immensely  I wanted to feel different for having read it. I wanted to feel changed. Neither of those things happened and it was obviously, disappointing. Plus, it is not a book I could recommend to just anyone to read. It got to be pretty heavy at time, tedious even, but worth the challenge if you are up to it.   

Two confessions about this book.....
1) The genre of "mystery" really isn't my thing. While I do like a good psychological thriller, a "who-done-it" caper doesn't really peak my interest, but after meeting the author at an even this fall, I just had to pick up a copy and give it a try.
2) I really wasn't sure I was going to finish this one. I started it in January and just finished it Monday....errr.....early Tuesday morning. 

This book started off really slowly. In fact it wasn't until page 189 (I made sure to make note of that) that things really started to get interesting. So much so, I couldn't put it down. I was absolutely hooked and just had to know what happened next.

The characters and small town in this book were really well written. Having grown up and currently living in a small town in northern Michigan, I can tell you both of these elements of this were spot on. Lots of quirky, eccentric characters. Small town gossip and secrets no one likes to talk about. And ridiculous moments from the past everyone likes to hold onto.

Overall I enjoyed reading Starvation Lake. Like I said, mystery generally isn't a genre I gravitate to but I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

08 April 2013

Music Monday: Motivation

Music Monday is typically my favorite post of the week because I get to share some of the tunes I have been obsessed with over the past week. This week I have been flip-flopping between two playlists: the list of sad songs which is matching my wounded heart and the list of bass thumping upbeat songs I've been running to.

Since I'm not quite ready to give my wounded heart a voice, I thought I'd share some of the songs on my running playlist. Sometimes I think these songs are the only things that I get me out of bed and into my running shoes in the morning.

Boom Boom by Sam & the Womp

Faster by Matt Nathanson

Who Did You Think I Was by John Mayer Trio

Till I Collapse by Eminem feat. Nate Dogg

What songs do you listen to when you run, workout or just need some plain 'ole motivation?

06 April 2013

Running with the Devil


How I love thee.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I started back at it and to be honest, I couldn't be more happy about it, even if it has been quite painful. I'll get to that in a moment.

I didn't realize how long it had been since I "logged" my last run until I looked at my Nike+ app on my iPhone. I had gone out a few times this winter, but since I knew it wasn't going to be a constant thing I didn't bother tracking them. Boy, do I wish I had though. It would have left me feeling like less of a slacker. Whoops!

Anyway, this week I was officially back at it and I was pretty surprised by how much I had missed it, especially the "runners high" everyone talks about. I usually "get there" about halfway through my runs, just about the time I'm ready to give up and it reminds me why I am out there doing it.

I am definitely in a better head-space this time around with my running. If you've read any of the previous posts in this series, you'll know that running brings up a whole bunch of funk that I've kept buried pretty deep. I typically end up finishing a few runs a week in tears, sobbing for whatever reason came to me that day while I was out and it usually revolved around the idea that I wasn't running fast enough or hard enough or long enough or whatever. This time though, I'm not paying attention to my mileage or pace, just the amount of time I am out there. I'm not keeping track of how many times I need to walk to catch my breath or if I have to add an extra minute to my warm-up or cool-down walk. I'm just out there to run because I know all that other stuff (a faster pace, an ability to run further) will take care of itself as long as I get out there and do what I can today and not worry about tomorrow.

As for the "painful" part of this little experiment  whatever issue I thought had cleared up with my hip did not in fact go away. And of course, when Googling my symptoms the internet and WebMD would have me believe that all signs lead to cancer or in my case a serious stress fracture, but regardless I am taking no chances.  I have an appointment on Monday with  my doctor to see whats going on and if he has any suggestions. In all honesty though, I'm fairly certain it's a soft tissue issue from sitting for too many hours at my desk at work and then at home and not stretching enough all of which I am already taken steps to "fix". Here's to hoping though that catching it "this early" will save me from either injuring myself even more or being told that I can't run at all.

03 April 2013

Weekly Reads: The Awakening

I am doing a little something different for this weeks post.

This week I participated in the Feminist Book Club hosted by Jennifer (Grits & Moxie) and Jennifer (Grimmricksen) and read The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

This book has been on my to-read list for quite a long time. It was originally recommended to me by my a college professor who thought I would benefit from reading. I'd pick it up a few times before, but had never been able to get through it.

My initial thoughts on the book left me a little disappointed. I wanted to feel like I learned something from the book. I wanted to be changed by what I had read. Instead, I was left feeling extremely frustrated especially with Edna, the main character in the book.

Like most "period" books, I have a very hard time setting aside my own feelings and beliefs to really embrace some of the female characters I come across in the books I read.  I am quite certain this is why I had such issues with Edna. She seems quite self centered and at time immature. Most of the time her behavior left me wondering how she found herself in the life she was living. Did she love her husband? Was she forced to marry? Did she even want to be a mother? So many things were left unanswered but I suppose that goes along with the time period this book was written in. Women weren't necessarily able to make decisions of the heart or of their own choosing.

I will say though that I can see why this book made such an impact when it was first published and why it ranks so high on the list of feminist titles, it's just that it seems a bit out of place/time now.

I am definitely looking forward Aprils selection The Whole Woman by Germaine Greer. I rarely read non-fiction so this will be a great change of pace.

02 April 2013

It's That Time of Year Again!

Even though Mother Nature seems to have missed the memo, spring has returned and brought with it two of my favorite things....

Baseball and running!

I'll spare you from a baseball related post for now, but trust me. It's coming.

I will gladly admit that I am a "fair weather" runner. I'll run in the wind and the rain, but I don't run in the winter thanks to a unnatural fear of skidding along on a patch of black ice and wrecking my ankle again. I just don't have time for that. And I hate the treadmill so unless there is an abnormally nice and clear-roads kind of day, you won't see me out there between December and March and I am ok with it.

BUT once April rolls around, all excuses are tucked away into the closet until the next winter rolls around and it's time to hit the road.

That is exactly what I did yesterday morning. I rolled my ass out of bed at 5:30am and by 6:00am I was well on my way to running my first 1.5 miles of the spring. It was fantastic being out there again. Sure the road was covered in snow (it was a light dusting which actually helped so I could see where I was running), it was really dark (I need to invest in a flashlight or something) and I was well under my average pace from fall, but I felt great! I had definitely forgotten how freeing and meditative running is for me.

My plan is to ease back into it over the next month. Nothing too crazy like last year. I'd like to avoid another stress fracture. The plan is to start slow--three times a week, 20-30 minutes each time before building up my number of days, time and distance. I'll still keep track, but I don't plan on paying too close of attention to my pace or mileage at this point. I did that last year and it didn't work. I ended up being too hard on myself--pushing myself too fast, too soon and as a result had a nagging injury that was really frustrating.

I do have one goal for myself this summer and it is to run a 5k. I don't really have any desire to run one other than to say that I ran one. It just kind of seems like the thing to do. There is a local one in July that I'll likely use as my "goal date" and work towards.

If you see some chick running in neon colors while singing and potentially throwing in a few days moves between strides, it's likely me doing what I do best while running, which is having as much fun as I can possible muster.

See you on the trails!

01 April 2013

Thanks for reading!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...