Activity · Weekend Workings

Weekend Workings: The Fancy Dinner Kind

This weekend was one of those weekends that fell where Austin had duty one day, so I ended up being woken up at 5 AM when he rolled out of bed to go to work on Saturday.  I fell back asleep, but the cats had heard the siren call of Morning Feeding and didn’t let that last too long.  It was a good thing, though, because I got up and made it to my first ReFit class in a long time!

Tracy was teaching alone, which was part of why I decided that I would stay awake after feeding the cats, and make it to the 8:30 class. That and I just miss the class! My butt muscles are still super sore, and I’m planning on going to the class tomorrow, so we’ll see how I feel on Wednesday…

If you don’t take a sweatie selfie with the instructor after a workout, did you even actually go to the workout?

I ended up bonking after coming home and taking a shower, and napping with the cats. I think it’s time to get my bloodwork drawn to check my thyroid levels, because I’m running out of steam a lot faster that I used to. It’s check up time anyways, so might as well!  I eventually got up again, visited my grandma, and hung out doing laundry.  Because I napped, the universe decided to laugh at me and make it so that I couldn’t fall back asleep, and ended up being up until close to 2 AM Saturday night. Sigh.

Austin came home from work on Sunday morning, and we ventured out to go find breakfast at one of our favorite places, Metro Diner.  The line is always crazy on the weekends, but we usually sneak in and sit at the first-come-first-serve bar stools and watch the line cooks prep food.  It’s like breakfast and a show! We didn’t luck out on bar stools this time, but ended up getting seated pretty quickly anyway.

This is food photography at it’s finest, people. Nothing but the best.

Austin had the Fried Chicken Benedict Special, which was poached eggs on fried chicken tenders on half a belgian waffle with hollendaise sauce. It was seriously delicious, and the pile of hashbrowns weren’t bad either. My standard is the Bissell Breakfast with eggs, bacon, a biscuit, two pancakes and cheese grits. Despite my best intentions, I have never managed to finish one of these meals, so Austin helped by eating some of my pancakes.

Sunday night was a fancy dinner occasion with the volunteer banquet for my park. I used this as an excuse to put on a nice dress, which made my boyfriend feel that he should up the ante and put on his nice suit. We clean up pretty nice, yeah?

The dress I’m wearing is one of the ones that has been sitting in the back of my closet, waiting for me to get back down to a size when I could fit in it respectably. I tried it on last night on a whim, and it fit like a dream! I was exceedingly happy and felt like a million bucks in it.  I also played with using hot rollers to set my hair, and I’m hoping I can wrangle it into even better shape for the party we’re going to on Thursday for Austin’s ship.

Tonight I made a roast in the crock pot, with veggies and reduced the drippings into gravy… and forgot to take a picture. I plan on turning the leftovers into a beef stew of sorts tomorrow for dinner, because yum.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting? Do you have an item of clothing that is hiding in the back of your closet waiting for its moment to shine?

Rambles · Uncategorized

Reflections on a government shutdown

I’m a federal employee. My day job consists of putting on the National Park Service uniform and going to work in a fort and kind of having the best time ever.  I’m blessed that I really do love what I do. Austin is also a federal employee, but of a completely different sort – the sort that puts on a uniform and goes to work when no one else does, because he’s active duty military.

Of the two of us, I am the one who spent January 20-22 furloughed, unsure of when the government would reopen, what would happen to my job, my paycheck. His status was also uncertain, but he still had duty. He went to work. I sat at home, afraid to go to the store, afraid to get involved in a project, afraid to do anything but live stream C-SPAN occasionally on my phone to see what the status of the Senate was.

This isn’t to get political. I’m not taking sides, or pointing blame. I can’t. I don’t want to. I just want to reflect on the three days I spent wondering how things were going to turn out.

I know that the shutdown isn’t as stressful to all employees as it is to me. But talking to other employees around me, we all had similar stories. In 2013, the shutdown lasted 16 days, and threw off pay for at least two paychecks afterwards. I was working for a contractor, and was not paid for half of the shut down because the contractor wasn’t making any money with the park closed, so they let all of their employees go, and rehired them when the park reopened.  I was in my first semester of graduate school at the time, so staying home and studying Biology wasn’t a huge problem for me – I was already broke, and didn’t have anything to do and my Bio grade benefited from the intense study at the beginning of the semester. But my meager savings had to make up for the deficit in my pay, and I felt that lack for months afterwards.

Now I am lucky that I am more financially stable, and that I could have lasted a longer government shutdown and the financial hit wouldn’t have been as severe. Not all of us are that lucky, and many of us are living paycheck to paycheck, and that creates it’s own stress, compounded when the status of the next check becomes uncertain.

When we went back to work, I was surprised to hear more than one visitor tell me “Welcome Back!” as I walked through the park on Tuesday. I replied, always, that I was glad to be back, and happy that they came to visit us. As I tell visitors every day “Thanks for visiting, if you didn’t, we wouldn’t be here!” The National Park Service is a very “customer service” oriented agency. I still want to cross stitch a phrase I heard from one of our regional employees when they visited after we were damaged in Hurricane Matthew “Service may be our last name, but it’s our first priority.” I think that’s why people get so upset when we are closed due to a government shutdown, because we are the visible element, the Good Face that people see and recognize.

The stress of the shutdown was physical – I ate a lot of ice cream. I broke out in acne that would have shamed my teenage years. Mentally, I was kind of in a fog. My antidepressants were working overtime to keep me on an even emotional keel, and that kind of ended up with… nothing. But my body was manifesting the symptoms of stress even if my brain wasn’t, and even a week later, my body is still showing signs of a thyroid flare with shedding hair, psoriasis patches, etc.  I keep reminding myself to give myself some slack, to be kind to my body. I’m not doing anyone any good if I ignore the signs and don’t let myself handle my problems.

The government is funded until February 8th. I may be stocking back up on Klondike Bars (mint chocolate chip or Reese’s, all the way) in preparation, just in case. If nothing happens, I don’t have to send another closure e-mail. I can ration out the ice cream over weeks and months, if Austin doesn’t find the Reese’s ones first and make them disappear. The cats will avoid having to look at me weird for being on the couch on a Monday afternoon.

And we can keep taking selfies in front of park signs whenever we travel, because we’re dorks.

I love my job. I love my agency. I love this country, and everything it stands for. I love the people in it – even the ones I disagree with. Part of loving them is knowing that you don’t have to like them very much.

Let’s just work through this together, and remember that it’s not the people on C-SPAN who are hurting, it’s the ones watching C-SPAN, worried about affording groceries.

Activity · Food Blog · Rambles

Back on the wagon, back to the routine

It’s been… a week, guys. Really. I have a whole post cooking on reflecting about the government shutdown and how I spent that time (spoiler: there was a lot of ice cream and worrying), so I’m not going to get into it now. I promise, it’s not anything political, as I’m not a really a political person, and sharing those views as a Federal employee just get awkward fast, so I don’t.

What I will do, is talk about some of the highlights of today:

After a few lazy days filled with ice cream, I decided today was a day to go all-in with healthy habits again. Drinking my water, walking in excess of my step goal, cooking dinner and not just looking for the fastest/easiest/laziest dinner I can. Mexican joints, man. They get you every time. Tacos make sadness better.

Austin and I are lucky to live in an apartment complex that is extremely walkable – the area outside of it has double wide sidewalks to walkers and bikers can live in harmony, as well as not being crowded off by a determined mom with a double wide stroller out for her evening run. We walked about a mile and a half, and part of it we ducked into one of the neighborhoods to house ogle, and came upon four houses in a row that had this situation going on:

 

It took a moment for us to remember that it’s a really new development, and therefore they still have show homes. That don’t necessarily need the full use of the garage, so having bushes in front of the garage door isn’t completely nuts! At least we got a laugh out of our confusion.

By the end of the walk, it was just chilly enough that I couldn’t feel my face and my legs were reminding me that really, we didn’t move much over the weekend. But my daily total was nice and beefy (for me, at least) so I’m not too mad.

For dinner I did one of my “find a bunch of stuff that goes together and throw it in a pan” methods, and ended up with a pretty awesome breakfast hash.  There’s diced red potatoes, bacon, spinach, and cheddar topped with two fried eggs and a little salsa verde. Definitely a winner, and Austin declared it should be kept in rotation of our weeknight recipes.

Now I’m off to shower and put my feet up for a little bit before heading to bed. Part of adjusting to life with a chronic disease that makes you tired all the time is just giving in to the early bed time. My days of being a night owl and staying up until 2 AM, then getting up at 5 to do homework before going to work are long over.  Plus, I have cuddle cats who want to snuggle all the time, so I can’t complain about a reason to be in bed where they cuddle up (or in Moose’s case, cuddle adjacent to me).

Are you an early riser? Early to bed? Night owl? Both? I miss being productive at night, but I’m learning to shift my productivity to earlier in the day to free up my evening to be in bed by 10 at the latest.

Rambles

A bit of a dramatic change

I have a habit of doing vaguely dramatic things to my hair at random times, or at least what seems like random times to other people.

My hair hadn’t changed much since I had it done before Austin’s homecoming in August, and it had just progressed.. and grown… and well, you see.  My hair stylist is a magician and my favorite kind of mixologist, the kind that makes my hair color cover all my grays and freshen up my style.  She worked her magic, we joked about Harry Potter for most of the time, and now…

I love it! It’s a fresh new feel, and has a really lovely red tone in the sunlight. Now I’m enjoying my new secret alias as Dark Haired Alicia.

I even still managed to make my step goal yesterday, despite the evening processing under a hat of hair color.

Tonight Austin and I took an early walk before I made dinner (which really wasn’t anything special, and I barely ate any. Something was just off with the texture of the sauce I made for shrimp – Austin was more than happy for my portion!) and managed to finish before the temperature really started to drop.

Florida has been waffling between the low to mid-70’s and hard freezes. Tonight is another hard freeze, with a low of 29*.  I’m happy for things like my remote start for my car – it thaws the ice on the windshield and allows me to just hustle my butt downstairs without having to then freeze said butt in my car immediately. It’s not bad.

My WTForecast app isn’t kidding around when it comes to the temperature predictions for tonight..

At least I’ve got two furry cats who love to snuggle, and a boyfriend who is basically a furnace to get me through the long night!

Do you ever do something dramatic with you hair? How do you execute the urge to ‘make a change’?

Activity · Rambles · Weekend Workings

Weekend Workings

This past weekend wasn’t a particularly exciting one, but a busy one all the same.  On Friday, after work Austin and I ventured out for sushi, which was exceedingly tasty and indulgent. I didn’t make my step goal on Friday, but considering I had made it the previous four days, I wasn’t about to beat myself up for it.

 

Saturday I was determined to make up the difference between Friday and my step goal, on top of that day’s goal.  Austin and I made it a point to go to the gym on both Saturday and Sunday, so I had a pretty good base of steps going from the morning session on Saturday.  After going through Costco and Publix for grocery shopping, it was a small walk to the post office boxes and then I had hit 10,000 steps.

Sunday was a day of visiting friends, my grandma, and doing laundry and prepping food for the week. None of that really led to much as far as steps… so it was time for the second gym session of the weekend.

I love podcasts, and have a list that I use as my commute every day, so many that some weeks I just don’t have enough time in the car to listen to them all.  I didn’t want to add another one to the cycle, or to take away from my weekly supply… but the Atlanta Monster  podcast was calling my name. True crime? Podcast? Research? Oh man. I was doomed. So I told myself that I would subscribe, and only listen to it when I’m walking on the treadmill or for my step goal. It worked! The first episode was long enough to throw me over my goal for Sunday.

Today was a cold one, and a busy holiday at work. I was able to wander and keep busy talking to visitors and helping out colleagues, so my step goal was all but made by the time I got home.  I decided to go for a stretch goal and listen to some of Episode Two of Atlanta Monster and get some extra steps in. Real life, my face was COLD.                                                                              

Tonight Austin is on duty, so it’s me and the cats. I had chips and salsa, and a small bowl of ice cream for dinner… the bachelorette life is a glamorous one, guys!

Do you listen to any podcasts? Have any recommendations for ones to listen to while working out? Any favorite activities? 

I’m building myself back up by walking, but I want to get back to going to ReFit soon.  My butt needs to dance and the cardio is cathartic. Tomorrow night I have an appointment to get my hair done thanks to a gift certificate gift from my dad, so I’m excited!

Now I’m tempted to buy this mug…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

oday, so it’s me and the cats

Rambles

Rainy Day Distractions

Hi friends.

Today was just kind of… crappy weather. First, it was raining, then it was misting, then it was half sunny, then the sun went away and a fog rolled in. And out. Then back in. Then out again. Then blew through like a wispy wind.

Then I got home after driving through patches of fog and rain and decided tonight was a Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese kind of night. Best kind of night. Especially when I get to pat myself on the back for NOT burning the grilled cheese and remembering that TWO KINDS of cheese are better than one, and to pick up a small bag of Goldfish to swim in the soup.

Generally, cheese makes everything better.

I did make step goal today! Austin and I went for a walk after dinner (as in he hadn’t really, truly, formally left the house in about two days and I didn’t want to go to the gym and walking outside in the dark is better with a friend) and hit the step goal, plus petted some puppies around the complex. Puppies also make things better.

 

Then we found that Minion had stolen the loaf of bread off the counter, chewed a hole in the bag, and eaten half of a slice of bread. Good LORD cat, do we really not feed you enough?

Now I think I’m going to take a shower, put on some comfy clothes, drink a giant mug of tea, and pass out.

Activity · Rambles

Day One – Here we go again

So.. hi, guys.

I know that essentially, I’m shouting into the void, after over six months of no posts, and generally just.. ignoring the fact that I have a blog. I’m bad at the whole thing of actually participating in things like social media, other than occasionally sending out funny tweets to my favorite internet personalities and sharing cat videos with friends.

But I have been doing a lot of things outside of that. Losing weight, as one. Since my diagnosis with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in August of 2016, I’ve lost about 50 pounds. Which isn’t a small amount! I’m not going to downplay the fact that this past weekend, I went and bought size 16 jeans to replace the size 20 jeans I had bought the previous January for a trip to Kentucky.  Honestly, I’m proud of that weight lost.

I dabbled in doing Keto for over 40 days – and lost ~15 pounds? But I felt like I was sliding into Super Restrictive Mindset when it comes to food.. and that’s not my jam. I’d rather eat well, and just… eat less. Which is kind of how I lost most of the weight anyways. Especially since most of that weight came back after I decided Christmas, then New Years, then Tuesdays were just bad days to be on low carb diets.

That brings us to… yesterday.  Austin and I went to Universal Studios to explore, as I had taken a few days off to be with him while he is on holiday leave and they offer pretty awesome Military Appreciation tickets (and hey, I’m all for that perk). We didn’t even go hog wild in the parks, but we still clocked over 13,000 steps as we walked through, around, etc.

 

And it KILLED me. One of the things I’ve let slide in the past two months is working on my fitness levels, or at least making sure I was moving more. I did a couple of StepBets, and won, and liked how they made me move to keep from losing my $40.  Yes, a lot of that was walking around the parking lot of my gated apartment complex in the dark as a desperate attempt to get last minute steps in, BUT STILL.

My legs were killing me by the end of the day, and I just… I can’t do that. I can’t be worn out by a day, not even a DAY, less than 6 hours walking around a theme park!

Today I took it upon myself to get to the gym at my apartment after work and at least make my step goal for the day. My very sore calves are proud to say we managed it.

Then I came home and ate a big dinner which probably undid all of that work. But there’s balance in everything.

For 2018, I have three goals:
1) Find balance in my eating habits where I feel good, and not deprived

2) Find balance in my moving habits where I feel good, and not pained

3) Find balance in my financial habits where I can save (feel good!) and spend (still good!) without hurting either

Oh, and, to, you know. Blog about it. I need a creative outlet other than cross stitching, and typing is less of a strain on my eyes.

I know it’s kinda late, but here’s the Christmas card I sent out this year (including out newest furkid, Minion!):

 

Do you set goals for the year? Do you make resolutions? If so, what are some of them that you have for 2018?