When I told my mom I was reading this book, she assumed I had already read it. It isn’t a new novel by any means and I read most books my mom reads and she read it years ago. But nope, I hadn’t read it. Here is a description from Amazon: I absolutely loved the character development of Peekay. The story is told from the point of view of Peekay as he grows up and understands more and more of the world around him. The author does an amazing job of telling the story first from the head of a 5-year-old and later from the head of a young adult. The novel is also full of history about South Africa. I don’t know about you, but school sorta cheated me out of the history of South Africa. There were times in the novel that made me stop and think. I liked this page so much I took a picture of it. The other characters are so complex. Especially Doc. Read it. Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa This was another really good book. I was into from the beginning and flew through it. Here is a description from Amazon: First of all, I am so painfully ignorant about Palestine and Israel. Painfully ignorant. I try, try, try to keep up with everything (I’m a news and policy junkie) but the truth is that I have a hard time following the news because, like South Africa, my education cheated me out of history on the Middle East. Unlike the book above, I didn’t particularly love any of the characters or the development of the characters in general. What I did love about this book was that it questioned the sense of normalcy. It is amazing to me, someone who never has been anywhere near a bomb, what can become normal in life. For the characters in this book, bombs were normal. Death was normal. Life went on during destruction. Babies were born (and killed), people fell in love, formal education happened. I also love how the author defines (and questions) the concept of family and home. Also made me remember that no matter what happens I have book my wonderful childhood and my education. Two things that never can be taken away. Yup. Read this book too while you’re at it! Have you read either of these books? What good books are you reading? Are you painfully ignorant about Palestine and Israel? XoXo Emily
I have two books I recently read that I recommend. Oh and by the way I read over 100,000 pages of just fun books in 2012 aka not the school books I had to read. And that was since March. Thanks Goodreads for tracking such statistics. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Thought I would do a What I Ate Wednesday post today. Check out Peas and Crayons for more information! These are my eats from last Monday. Breakfast post elliptical and weight lifting fun: Greek Yogurt (a mix of non-fat and low-fat), peanut butter and cranberries spread on a whole-wheat English muffin. Snacks: Tea, apple (eaten mid morning) and banana (eaten a bit after lunch) Lunch: Broccoli Soup (left over from the previous night’s dinner), veggies, a WONDERFUL roll from Great Harvest in Minneapolis topped with hummus and avocado. The broccoli soup recipe can be found here. I spend the afternoon at the Art Institute Chicago. Chicago residents get in for free all month on week days FYI! Afternoon snack – This looks gross but it isn’t! I scrambled up an egg and added this oddly wonderful cheddar dark chocolate cheese from Trader Joe’s and ate it on some toast. With some Cuties on the side. Has anyone else read Wild? I am flying through it! Dinner: I’m not sure how I can explain this but it is a very common dinner. I took some broccoli slaw, pea pods, spinach, canned salmon (don’t hate), kasha (a new grain I’m playing with!) threw it in a pan with some coconut butter. I topped it with some pickled ginger and kimchi. One the side roasted parsnips, brussels sprouts, and butternut squash. And a cup of milk. Snack pre bed time: Several spoonfuls of peanut butter and a bowl of low-fat yogurt. Do you like kimchi? I LOVE it! Xoxo, Emily
A couple of weeks ago, I came across a holiday gift exchange hosted by Lee at Fit Food Finds. You can find info about the exchange here. I was paired with Amanda at msgiggles. She is from the Twin Cities (and still lives there) so we definitely have some stuff in common! She sent me a wonderful package that included dark chocolate sea salt, hazelnut butter and tea. I haven’t tried the hazelnut butter or the chocolate because I know once I open them, they will be gone in a matter of days. I had a cup of the tea last night and it is soooo good!!! Good Earth tea is my favorite brand of tea actually. Fun fact. Thank you Amanda!! I’ve been really loving chocolate lately. Well I have always loved chocolate but even more than usual! Have a great day! XOXO, Emily
Howdy. THANK YOU for your kind comments on my last post. So far 2013 has been pretty okay. I’m going to try to get back into regular blogging. We’ll see. First with a weekly workout recap. So I’m not running. That foot problem that dates way back to marathon training is back. And worse. I think it is extensor tendonitis. I can’t afford a doctor at the moment SO google MD is the best I can do. I am still paying off the bills from the last time I asked a real live doctor about this foot. I got an X-ray because the Dr. freaked out (those are pricy) and since there is nothing to show on an X-ray, the doctor tried to freak me out into an MRI. Nope. Useless since I’m almost certain it isn’t a stress fracture and those really cost money. MRIs are stupid. So are doctors that try to scare you into getting them. Extensor tendonitis seems like it fits my problems. Here is a summary from the link above: It is actually a good summary of the pain I’ve had for months. Pain on the top of the foot (yup!), swelling on the top of the foot (yup!) and pain along the top of the foot which is worse during running (yes). I have no idea what it means to ‘passively stretch’ a tendon so I very when could have pain with that too. Basically I’m going to rest it and stop running for a while. Maybe some treadmill (even footing) running in a couple of days. Before the foot flare up, I did get in some decent workouts. Saturday: 8 miles. I think this is what set it off. I was running on compacted snow which is a different surface than usual. Bummer. Sunday: 1 hour elliptical and body pump. Later that night, I caught some ice while I was walking home from a fun running group holiday party (yah!) and although I didn’t biff it completely, I stressed my foot and I noticed some acute pain and swelling. Crap. Monday: 7 mile run. This was stupid. And denial at it’s best. Step one is always denial. My foot hurt (no surprise). I also did some upper body strength stuff and freaking out to my mom on the phone. It was NYE but since I am who I am, I did not have plans to wear high heals. Phew. Tuesday: 60 minute elliptical and swimming. My foot feels fine when I’m not running. And I actually really like the elliptical. And by really like I mean can tolerate. Wednesday: Spinning and abs. Thursday: 60 minute elliptical sesh. Arm strength and some hip strengthening stuff. Friday: Elliptical long enough to get sweaty, swimming and water jogging. I HATE BEING COLD and cannot convince myself to get into a pool unless I’m warm. Saturday: Long-run elliptical simulation. Let’s call this LRES. Sounds all futuristic and cool. And like a real thing that exists beyond the mind of Emily. I am technically registered for a half marathon at the end of January. I’m not totally convinced I can’t run it (step one is always denial…). Plus ellipticals ain’t that bad. Except that they require I go to my CRAZY busy gym on a Saturday morning. This is a terrifying experience all year round and a million times worse in January. 90 minutes elliptical and 30 minutes stretching. Sunday: 15 minutes stair climber and body pump. You’ll notice a pattern. Lots of elliptical. It doesn’t bother my foot at all or cause any pain elsewhere in my body. Ellipticals are what I used in the past when I can’t run but want to maintain fitness. Also, I’ll be swimming and water jogging. I’m also going to focus on building some strength, particularly in my lower back and hips. Oh and really focus on stretching and foam rolling. I would say I will do yoga but that would be a lie because I don’t like yoga and the yoga at my gym is 90 minutes which is freakishing long. Cue everyone telling me to do yoga. Tell me all you want. Yoga makes me incredibility anxious and bored. When I’m anxious and bored I like to eat or play the coulda-shoulda game about my life in my head. When I’m in a boring 90-FREAKING-minute yoga class all I think about is food or my inability to relax or all the things I should do differently. So I convince myself I am starving and a failure. This is a prime example of me being a nutcase. The trigger is yoga. No yoga = no anxiousness. I do like stretching. By myself for thirty freaking minutes. That is the plan, Sam. Any thoughts on my foot? No? Me either. Xoxo, Emily
Hello! It’s been awhile. I spent my Christmas at home in Minneapolis and it was lovely. I have been back in Chicago for a couple of days which is also lovely. Isn’t my family lovely. This might be the best picture we’ve taken in a couple years – fun fact. I wasn’t going to do a recap of 2012. Mostly because I am so happy to see it leave. 2012 was my hardest year. I lost several identities throughout the year. In February I no longer could call myself an early 20-something. Oddly in that same 24 hour period that I turned 26, my grandfather passed away. In March I found myself no longer a student when I finished my graduate degrees. Enter major identity crisis. It was in the spring that I also temporarily lost my runner identity (spoiler – I get that runner identity back in a BIG way in October.) April and May I spent looking for jobs and failing finding jobs. I struggled to see any positive in my everyday activities. Being in Seattle felt like I was really far away from my supportive family. There were a lot of tears out of frustration. I realized that my life was so out of my control – really for the first time. There were (are) no jobs. And little I could do about it. June was a big month. I walked at my graduation, accepted an un-paid internship that sounded like a perfect opportunity and said goodbye to Seattle. June was when I moved to Chicago. June was also the month that we put my dog Mac to sleep and my grandma spent a lot of time in the hospital recovering from scary health problems that prevented her from coming to Seattle for my graduation. Somewhere among the chaos I found my running identity and started training for the Chicago Marathon with a new running group. July – September I reconnected with some of my old friends from preschool, high school and college in Chicago. I also was invited to a wonderful book club with some fellow Chicago bloggers and began some wonderful friendships. I sweated a lot in my apartment with no air conditioning in the Chicago summer and FINALLY thawed out from my freezing three years in Seattle. I trained hard for the Chicago Marathon and fell in love with watching the sunrise as a trotted along Lake Michigan. I applied for hundreds of jobs as I held down my full-time internship. For the first time ever I had weekends free!!! No homework. And it was amazing. October brought the Chicago Marathon… I loved it. I missed my goal of sub 4 hours BUT I PRed. I never hit a wall and enjoyed every moment. I didn’t find myself just wanting to finish at mile 24. Instead, I found myself in the moment.
November and December blurred together with the holidays and job rejections. The end of the year was stressful and at times absolutely overwhelming due to my unemployability. Again, I have lost my runner identity BUT I have found that I enjoy classes at the gym (ballet burn – WHAT?) and I am optimistic that my legs will once again want to run as the spring comes. This seems like a downer recap. It was the toughest year I’ve ever had. However, when I think about how much I’ve grown in the last year all I can do is smile. 2012 was the year I lost control. I spent five months not knowing where I would be moving to and knowing I could be moving for a job at anytime. When no job came my way I moved to Chicago, a city I had only visited twice. At times I couldn’t convince my legs to run. I called my mom a lot in tears when the job search became too much. I watched some of my best friends get jobs, get engaged, get married and buy houses. Some very grown-up things that, guess what, I can’t control but make me feel like I am a child while my friends are adults. I spent the year in this limbo where I want to be grown up with a job and health insurance but I can’t control that. The part that makes me smile is how I handled the things in my control. I opened myself to new friendships and rekindled friendships with old friends. Both challenging for different reasons. I made a home in Chicago and this city feels more home like than Seattle ever did. I developed this independence while I let Chicago suck me in. I did all my long runs for the marathon with a group – something I didn’t do in previous training cycles. I read over 100,000 pages attending random book clubs along the way. I played in the kitchen and made a lot of wonderful things. Most importantly I woke up and realized how supportive the people around me are. My family is amazing and I honestly think it is only this year that I truly appreciated my parents. I am ashamed to admit this but it is part of the growing thing. My parents are awesome. I also realized that I am a work in process. I am too controlling, judgmental and rigid. But that is okay. Because it is something to work on. What do I have in mind for 2013? I don’t know. Hopefully fewer tears of frustration. But what I do know is that I will continue to grow. I am excited to end 2012. But even more excited to give 2013 a try. Xoxo, Emily
Since I have cut back on my running, I decided to try some new classes and workouts. There are some neat looking classes at my gym I want to try but when Kelsey mentioned joining her for a class at Yoga Loft I agreed. Actually, I first questioned this place that obviously is focused on yoga since it is called the Yoga Loft.
I openly admit that I don’t really like yoga. I like yoga when it is done but I don’t enjoy the whole yoga thing. And it is nearly impossible to get myself to go to a yoga class. I think yoga is a GREAT concept for MOST PEOPLE. I probably ‘need’ yoga more than anyone else in this world to decrease my stress and running aches and pains. Yoga stresses me out. I just can’t jump on the yoga train. Kelsey assured me this wasn’t yoga, it was a sculpt class. Specifically, this class: Once upon a time (like a couple months ago) I was a recent participant in the core class at my gym. I really liked it. Alas, my Thursdays got oddly booked. Anyway, I agreed. Another weird thing about me agreeing to this class is that it was at 5:45… as in evening. I think this is the first time I’ve done anything remotely sweaty (or physical activity at all, besides that core class at my gym and a yoga class once) after 10 am in well over a year. It’s either morning or nothing for this lady. It is what works for me. But yes, this is rather rigid. Working on it… Conclusion?!?! I LOVED it!!! It went by SO FAST!!! And it was quite the workout. Tim, the instructor was awesome! He incorporated some random stuff to keep our heart rates up (knee kicks, say what?) and was really encouraging. And guess what?!?! Very few crunches! Crunches are soooo boring and something I can do (and do) on my own. I was really sore the next day. Sore in a great way. Turns out I use my abs a lot. Like when I open my curtains and laugh. Conclusion – I loved this class and love Kelsey for opening my mind and pulling me out of my rigid non-evening workout ways. What other classes should I consider? Thinking about barre. XOXO, Emily
Happy Santa Lucia!! Most females of my age are familiar with this image:Turns out my Swedish grandma is waaaay hip and anticipated this American Girl Doll trend way earlier. Guess what! Santa Lucia is a real thing… in Sweden… Today! Yup. Santa Lucia is December 13th. I was talking to my grandma last night on the phone. They used real candles. This seems really, really scary. They also but real candles (and lit them) on their Christmas trees. And her parents would go down to the barn to do the farm chores and leave her and her two brother in the house with the candles lit on the tree. Funny how that would probably be a reason to get the Department of Human Services involved these days. Anyway…
When I studied abroad in Sweden, I got to experience Santa Lucia Day first hand. I was familiar with the traditions from my grandma and my obsession with all things American Girl. Traditionally it is the eldest daughter of a family that gets to wear the attire and serve the rolls and coffee. I totally held this against my sister because I am older than her. She never really cared. Totally made me waaaay cooler. When I was little I had a crown thing with candles for Santa Lucia day. I REALLY wanted to light it and wear it around the house. I think my mom hid it. Traditionally, people eat lussekatter on Santa Lucia Day. They are really delisious saffron buns with raisins. They are supposed to look like a cat. I mean, I guess? Swedes also eat a lot of pepparkakor, or gingersnaps!! I found the gingersnaps in Sweden (and my grandma’s house) are really thin and crisp. And because this got me thinking about my time in Sweden, here are some pictures. I think I will wonder up to Andersonville later today, the Swedish part of Chicago to see what I can find for my grandma for Christmas. Shall be an adventure!!! Did you know about Santa Lucia?!?! Xoxo, Emily