A whirlwind: literal and figurative

Stop. Just stop.

Stop. Just stop.

So this is still happening. When the “feels like” gets anywhere NEAR freezing again, I’m going streaking.

I hope you all stayed warm and managed to get into a little fun (and get up to no good 😉 ) this weekend. Going into Saturday, Sunday, yesterday, and today, I knew this was going to be a pretty nasty week. Between the weather and my schedule, it’s brutal around these parts.

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I rip through yellow legal pads like a madwoman.

Every day when I stumble into work, I make a list as soon as I have a free period– sometimes that’s right away, sometimes it’s second (or even third) period, but I find that I become far less overwhelmed when I know exactly what I need to accomplish on the daily. I also get some kind of rudimentary satisfaction out of crossing a task off of a list; it’s the simple things. I use this technique when things are out-of-control-crazy-busy in my life overall, too. When I studied abroad for a year, I had a pretty rough go of it for a few reasons, and found that ticking off each month a day at a time helped me to cope with the stress of life. That’s why I made a little checklist from last Wednesday to this Wednesday…between two track meets, double dorm duty, weekend duty, and a mess of apartment-related things to do (ya know, like needing clean socks and food, oh and WORK TOO), I’ve been able to tick off the days as they pass. On Wednesday, the dust settles (a little).

Let’s back up to Friday, because Rich knocked Valentine’s day out of the park.

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Sttoooooooooop.

On Friday night, after I sweated it out hard core for 30 minutes on the elliptical, I met him in Wayne, the cute little town outside of Philly where I used to work and Rich used to live. He rolled up with his window down and these roses sticking out of the car window (no cat, unfortunately) and handed me a huge bag of Reeses’ pb cup hearts. The way to THIS woman’s heart is certainly the latter of those two.

I was too in-the-moment at dinner to take pictures, but our dinners were AMAZING. When we saw that they had grilled Romaine salad on the menu (with delicious rye croutons), we instantly knew we were ordering that…I think it’ll always be a “special dish” for us, since we tried our first grilled salad on the night we got engaged. 🙂 For my entree, I ordered mushroom “steak,” prepared with a carrot confit. Dear Lord, this was good. I barely touched the steak fries which came with it, the veggies were so delicious. Note to self: learn how the heck to make a confit. Good wine, good company, and my forever valentine.

We skipped desert at the restaurant to hit an old haunt:

Chocolate chip cookie dough pretty much screams Valentine's day.

Chocolate chip cookie dough pretty much screams Valentine’s day, in my humble opinion.

logically, ice cream sounded perfect on a 15-degree night.

Saturday sort of stunk, since both Rich and I had to work all day.

Accio ALL the coffee.

Accio ALL the coffee. At least the day started out deliciously: 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup 2% milk, 1/3 cup water, 1 tsp chia seeds, and a spoonful of PB, half of a sliced banana, and shredded coconut for topping.

I taught class until 10 am, and then hopped on a bus to our last track meet of the season. We rocked it, and ordered pizza with the whole team when we returned to campus. Even though the weather stunk, Rich and I went to my parents’ house and lolled about on the couch with everyone (and watched Father of the Bride…#tingles #90s).

Sunday morning was a long run day, but when I woke up and checked my phone, I saw this happy sight…

Sarcasm.

Sarcasm.

which sent Rich and me straight to the treadmill. We did 40 minutes, which really stinks inside, but we both agreed it was better than nothing. Afterwards, we rushed to get changed and head to my first of two weekend duties (manning brunch for a bit). We high-tailed it to the grocery store for a super quick trip, since I was on duty again from 1:45-4. We really wanted to make it to the grocery store because these days, with my schedule spiraling out of control and Rich’s busy season– thanks, America (taxes)– we literally go from 7 am-midnight nonstop. What makes that even remotely bareable is knowing that we have good, whole foods, pre-prepped and ready to rock in the fridge and freezer.

I try to make a casserole-type meal (sometimes it’s chili, etc.) that we can pick at from Sunday-Wednesday, and then we typically have a “date night” during Rich’s busy season at work– Wednesdays or Thursdays this year– so we actually cook or meet somewhere for drinks and dinner on those nights. Otherwise, I’ll just grab a portion of pre-made dinner, heat it up, and throw a handful or two of raw veggies on the side. This week, we made a version of Healthy Tipping Point’s Santa Fe Casserole, but upped the veggie content a bit, as well as washed and chopped up lots of celery, carrots, and peppers to pick at as snacks.

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I don’t buy baby carrots anymore…just a big ol’ bag of organic carrots, which I wash, peel, and chop myself. Chunky cuts = more space for hummus.

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To Caitlin’s base of 1.5 cups brown rice, 3/4 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1.5 cups cheddar (I used a Trader Joe’s sharp Wisconsin cheddar), 1 can of black beans and 1 can kidney beans, I added: 2 whole bell peppers, about 1/2 cup chopped green onions, half of a sweet onion, and 3 cloves garlic. The actual recipe calls for red onion, but I just wasn’t feeling that this week (bat breath).

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I definitely wasn’t going to make brown rice from scratch, so this Trader Joe’s pre-cooked organic was perfect. It only took 3 minutes to make, and comes with 3 packets…1 was perfect for the casserole.

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Kind of reminds me of a veggie version of skittles…

 

Voila! I love the colors. We’ve been eating with chopped veggies, tortilla chips, and salsa. It’s really hitting the spot with this nasty cold weather.

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On Sunday night, after finally cleaning up from dinner, I received about 4 calls that a pipe had burst right above my classroom, so I high-tailed it to my building and cleared all of my stuff out into a little library across the hall. Displaced all day = ^dark chocolate to the rescue…and a delicious chickpea burger for lunch.

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Dinner packed for dorm duty last night, scarfed after yoga.

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And some bluberries and Wegman’s organic semisweet chocolate chips for dessert. Looking forward to the whirlwind (weather and otherwise) coming to a close after an additional night of dorm duty tonight.

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Tell me: do yo have any favorite go-to casserole/”big batch” recipes? Feel free to comment or email me at battleofmarathonblog@gmail.com. I could really use some inspiration right now!

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Things Fall Apart (and learning to run: Week 3)

Being busier than ever this year has certainly taught me a lesson: sometimes, things fall apart, and that’s perfectly okay. It’s a matter of riding the wave and doing the best you can do in that present moment.

For example: I locked myself out of my apartment on Friday night; flirted with a stomach bug all weekend (I’m feeling much better now, thankfully); lost my school ID card so I couldn’t print a quiz for Saturday’s class (hello, handwritten copy) or anything else I had prepped, for that matter; started laundry and then decided in between clothes going from the washer to the dryer that I was over it; and graded through a fog all day on Sunday. At one point around three pm, I got into bed, searched Netflix for a total of 3 minutes for a movie, saw a stressful email from work, and instantly gave up on relaxing. This weekend, I had planned on cleaning my apartment, getting two great workouts in, prepping chili and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the week, doing laundry, and then heading into Philly with Rich to watch the Patriots game with friends on Sunday night, having happily checked all of those things off of my to-do list. In reality, I didn’t prep a thing, didn’t finish grading, and only finished that load of laundry early yesterday morning.

Obviously, none of this was even remotely terrible. Still, I felt unsettled all weekend, restless, and “off.” The best decision I made was to leave the piles of tests strewn on my kitchen table, pull on some jeans and a sweater, and hop in the car to join Rich on his trek through the ice to our friends’ apartment in the city on Sunday night. And you know what? Yesterday, between MLK Day sessions at school, I finished prepping and graded the rest of the tests. I cleaned my kitchen sink of the debris of a strange few days, cleared the table of red pens, and even made my beloved cookies.

If you’re like me and feel like you constantly need to be “on,” or that you’re wasting time if you’re not whirling around your town, city, office, gym, or what-have-you, know that it’s okay to relax. I have such a hard time with this (evidence: above), and constantly need to remind myself that some days, it’s okay to be a little behind. It’s okay to leave the dishes in the sink, to re-wear a pair of socks for a run because you’re out of clean ones, and that dinner can just be a box of Annie’s and frozen peas. Nobody is perfect, and nobody can be truly “on” all of the time. If we were, we’d go insane. It’s all about walking the line between having high expectations for ourselves and driving ourselves absolutely fucking nuts.

I saved myself from the need to cook last night, and just grabbed a to-go box from the dining hall. A homemade chickpea-couscous burger, hummus, and mango salsa with TJ's organic tortilla chips had me full and smiling.

I saved myself from the need to cook last night, and just grabbed a to-go box from the dining hall. A homemade chickpea-couscous burger, hummus, and mango salsa with TJ’s organic tortilla chips. Um, yum.

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So. Chocolately. I’ve decided that although I like the pb-semi sweet chip combo, there’s nothing like regular ol’ semi-sweet morsels.

So in honor of my need to relax, I went to Philly, drank beer, ate pizza, and picked up the pieces yesterday (all before dorm duty, booya).

If you’re stressed at work, at home, or just in general, make yourself a cup of tea and an actionable to-do list, and if it doesn’t all happen, the world isn’t going to shatter to pieces. And if you’re able to, or are committed to making the time for it, exercise works miracles to reduce stress. Lace up, and give week three a try:

Monday: 7-10 minute run

Tuesday: run 7 minutes, walk 3 minutes on/off for 30 mins.

Wednesday: 7-10 minute run

Thursday: run 7 minutes, walk 3 minutes on/off for 30 mins.

Friday: 7-10 minute run

If you’re just starting out and missed the first two posts, here  are the schedules for:

Week 1

Week 2.

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