Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Getting Old (Or, Just Like Dad)

I've noticed a few things this past year or so. I'm getting old.

So, I've had unofficial (i.e. undiagnosed) arthritis in my ribs since I was a teenager. In Junior High, I was having pain in my chest and it hurt to breathe. Mom and I wondered if I had asthma. She ran into my by-then-retired paediatrician and listed the symptoms for him. He suggested it could be tietze syndrome. I don't know if I have that, (you can google it to learn more) but I have noticed that my pain is linked to humid/rainy weather.

I didn't have much trouble when we lived in the dry climate of El Paso, but now that we're back in humidity, it's started again. My ribs, on one or both sides, get very tender. I sometimes can even notice them sticking out more. Swollen maybe? It's not as painful as it used to be, but it's still bothersome. It makes wearing a bra very uncomfortable, even if I have one of my wire-free ones one.

So I've dealt with that before, and I can deal with it in the future.

And now there are new pains.

(I'm not even talking about migraines.)

Lately, like in the last few months (i.e. winter), my left knee is getting, well, tight. My left leg is usually has tighter muscles after a good run, but now I can't keep it bent for too long. I'm notorious for curling up in a ball or sitting with legs all twisted. It used to lead my dad to say "ouch" when looking at me just sitting there.

Now, if I sit, for example, with my left ankle placed on my right thigh, I can't sit like that for too long. When I straighten my leg, I have to actually support it with my hands and the knee is very tight. And I remember all the times I've had to help my dad straighten his leg after sitting too long (like more than 10 minutes) with it bent.

I don't even know if this is arthritis. It doesn't hurt regularly, just gets tight and sore when I have to straighten it after having it bent for too long. It makes me feel old.

I have mentioned the essential oils I've been getting into and the muscle blend I love. My favourite oils, the muscle blend and frankincense, have been helping when those parts are sore.

Heck, just now I had to stretch out and pop my left ankle. It got stiff.

So, in a few weeks, I'm headed to Africa to climb a mountain. Yes, my HUGE news? I'm climbing Kilimanjaro!! It's not a technical climb, but takes a good week to do properly. Some parts are pretty steep. We've been training, of course, hiking as much as we can and trying to get as high (vertical) as we can. My knees and left ankle are usually sore after, but some deep blue and frankincense make me feel much better. The left achilles gets rather tight and makes ankle movement difficult.


I'm old.

At least I have some ways to help myself at home, and a great massage therapist to help me twice a month. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Stuff! And More Stuff!

I haven't posted in forever. I have not been writing. I haven't even been reading. What have I been doing?


And working some more.

Winter is the busy season at Outdoor Rec. We rent ski and snowboard equipment, as well as leading ski/snowboard trips every weekend. So it's "all hands on deck" some days of the week.

Three of my coworkers took vacation time over the holidays. At one point, that left 2 of us to work the front, 1 trip leader/maintenance guy/viking, and the managers. We had the boss's boss coming in to help out a few times.

My point in all this, is that this period just ended. The vacation period, anyway. Everyone is back to work, and after working 8 days in a row (some half days, but still), I finally got some time off. I've been having migraines, but I'm starting to think they are associated with work and the stress of this season. And the fluorescent lights. When I get a couple days off, I feel so much better.

What did I do with 2 days off in the middle of the week? Well, I had some important shopping to do, I vacuumed most of the house, did some mending, and some general cleaning up. Some time was spent relaxing and zoning out on Facebook. Lots of time was spent drinking hot beverages.

So in the time since I last posted...which I don't even remember...we celebrated our 1 year anniversary of living in Italy by working. Both of us that day.

We didn't go anywhere for Christmas or New Year's. We stayed home like old fuddy-duddies. But we didn't need to go anywhere over the holidays. We have a big vacation coming up.

Like, HUGE.

Like, 19,341 feet huge. Or 5,895 meters, however you want to look at it.

To prepare for this huge adventure, there is gear to be purchased, and trails to be trod. There is training to be done, and many other little things, including working on my health.

I mentioned migraines, which I think are associated with stress right now. Zomig is working most days, and fioricet helps when zomig doesn't, but the old head is still fighting me. I've been seeing a pretty good doc here that I will keep up with.

J and I get to the gym for strength training at least once a week, but usually 2. I can actually see a difference in my upper arms, and definitely in my legs.

For both the body and the mind, I've been getting regular massages. My friend here is a licensed massage therapist, who does massages from her home to keep in practice, and just because she loves what she does. She is working with me to reduce the amount of knots I have. And I have plenty.

Katie, my masseuse, uses essential oils. She uses coconut oil while massaging, which is one of the preferred oils for diluting essential oils. It works perfectly together. She has this vision of people who use natural methods of stress reduction and health boosting in between sessions to improve their own lives. I volunteered to be one of her guinea pigs. I buy and use essential oils, and she gives me regular massages.

I had started getting into essential oils a few years ago. I make my own spray for bug bites. I made a spray to clean my yoga mat. I like the whole idea, so it wasn't too hard to sell me on it.

I'm not going to even tell you what brand of oils I'm buying, because I'm not trying to sell anything to you. I'm trying to keep a journal of what I'm doing and see if I can track improvement, or at least keep note of what works and what doesn't.

So far, there are some good oil blends for tension headaches, which helps me somewhat, and sore muscles. Oh, I love the muscle rub. I have it already mixed in a lotion. I keep it in my gym bag and rub some on my sore spots after a workout. I also found that frankincense oil works well if I have tight muscles. I still have other oils to try for other things. I need more time to read up on them all!

Of course, being who I am, I have already done research on essential oils, and how NOT to use them. I'm careful with my usage, so no one worry. However, if you know of a useful oil concoction, please share it with me!

So far, with the oils and massage, the tension I have ALWAYS carried in my neck and shoulders is easing. The shoulders don't have as many knots, and the neck doesn't always make Katie comment about whiplash (which I've never had). My legs have been pretty tight lately, which tells me I need to stretch more often. And now my forearms have been getting all knotted up. No idea on that one.

I'll keep up with it and see if we can note some more improvement.

I swear, some day, I will have an actual theme for this blog and not just my inane ramblings. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Stitch Fix - The Fifth (Falling For Red)

I needed autumn clothes. Sweaters, pants, long sleeves. I even subtly asked for a scarf. I blatantly asked for a henley I saw in another Stitch Fix.

I am once again, very much, not disappointed.

Sorry for the crappy pics.

Infinity scarf, black sweater, print pants. Scarf is heaven. Sweater is heaven. Pants are meh. The scarf is all acrylic, sweater is a cotton acrylic blend. Both awesome. Pants are printed, and while I like the print, the fit was off. Felt a little big, but not big enough to size down. And short. See how short they are? doesn't work with any of my shoes. The pants will go back. 

to see the sweater neckline

Same pants, red henley, cardigan. The stylist actually went to my fashion board on pinterest (which I started specifically for Stitch Fix), saw a few grey print cardigans, and sent me this one. It is so comfy. The red henley is soft and long, lower neck without showing any cleavage. It's not the same one I asked for, which she couldn't find, but it's similar. I love it. 

looks better with jeans

detail close-up
This box was awesome. Great pieces for winter and fall. And they go with the red sweater and burgundy and grey pants I bought on my own recently. OMG! I'm building a wardrobe! I can pretty much wear all of this at work, as well. 

Next time, I will wait for J to have time to take fashion shots for y'all. 

Side note!! We tried to find something similar for J. There are a few companies that do men's clothing, but they do not ship to APO addresses. BOO! But women who are interested can click my referral link:

fashion selfie - new red sweater, new scarf. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stitch Fix The Fourth - (Or, Independence Edition)

While I have other blog posts to write for you, this one is easy –

Stich Fix the 4th!

Just in time for the 4th of July! How about that?

This is my first Fix since moving to Italy. I am working (all the times) and haven’t had time to spend the money I’m making, so I ordered a Stitch Fix. I need new, nice summer clothes.

It took a little longer to get to me, being shipped overseas and all, but they ship to APO and FPO addresses, so I thought it was worth it. (I was right!) I have a few more summer pieces to add to the wardrobe, which I needed.

Like last time, the stylist got my style down to a T. Seriously; I love everything she sent me. I want the whole box. The only reason I’m not keeping the whole box is that a couple items didn’t quite fit right.

(Please excuse my crazy hair, the hubs didn’t warn me that parts were sticking out and I am late on a haircut)

First - The pants.

So versatile!

Olive green, a color I’ve been fond of off and on over the years. These pants are just what I need for the summer and work. They are Kut From Kloth brand (I have a pair of their jeans from a past Fix). A size 10 seems to fit everywhere but the waist. There’s just a little too much room. I went through my usual through process: Will they shrink in the wash? Can I take in the waist?

I’ve reached a point where I’m telling myself that we have enough money, and I’m old enough, that I don’t need to spend money on clothes that don’t quite fit. I may as well try to make them at that point. I love these crops, seriously, but they are too big in the waist, and I see that as a good thing! I’ve been working out and trying to watch my portions, and this, to me, is proof that it’s working.

But they are awesome pants.

Second – The gray tank

It subtly shows off my tats!

Oh. Em. Gee. Gray tank with black lace? Hello! Where have you been my whole life?

Seriously, I’m in love. It’s comfortable, it fits, it’s gray! This shirt screams my name. For reals, yo.

Third – Striped Top

How awesome is this?

I’d asked for tops with sleeves that I can wear to work in the summer. The V neck is low enough for date night, but I have a couple under-layers that would work perfect with this. Enough to cover the cleavage and still look nice. The cap sleeves feel almost like no sleeve at all. The mitering is perfect (I sew, I notice these things).  It did funny things to the camera when we took the pictures. This top is awesome.

Fourth – Black Lace

From far away it looks fine...
...but up close you can see the strain

Even in the back, you can see the tight band where it is straining over my chest

I want this shirt. I want it so much it hurts. BUT – a big but – it doesn’t quite fit. It’s a little too tight across the bust, as evidenced by the extra fabric at the bottom of the lace.  It strains a little too much, and I told myself I wouldn’t settle for things that don’t fit, so back it goes. But dear mother of goats, I wanted this shirt to fit.

Fifth and Final – The Maxi

A maxi dress!! We all know Charla loves a maxi dress. I was wearing a maxi dress before trying these on. This dress is the shiz. So comfy, no cleavage worries, not show-through at all, my colors (navy blue!), and did I mention maxi dress? How could you go wrong? It’s awesome and I just might be wearing it tomorrow. Unless I wear the gray tank.

Want to try a Stitch Fix? Let me leave this handy referral link for you, right here:

And a few pics just for fun:

Because sometimes I'm still a little girl in a dress
Rem wanted in on this

He told me to give him attitude

*Photo credit to the great hubs. You can read his blog over at Pensive Perspiration

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Nose To The Grindstone (Or, Thoughts While Drinking A Beer)

I am working so much right now. Pretty much every day. My one day I have guaranteed off is spent catching up on errands and cleaning house. I see my friends off doing adventures and exploring and I feel jealous. 

But then I think of how guilty I often feel when I do those adventures, knowing that it’s not my own money I’m spending. 

Example - I need new summer clothes. Not only do I not have time and energy to go clothes shopping right now, but I feel bad spending our main income on clothes. But my money from my job is easier to spend on that stuff. So I ordered myself a Stitch Fix, and if I like the whole box, and it all fits, I can keep the whole box. No worries. 

I also need some new workout shoes. Although that does require time and energy to go find some shoes, or at least find shoes online that I know will fit, I feel better getting them when I know it’s my own money, from my job, that I’m spending on them. 

Am I a penny pincher? Yeah, probably. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I grew up with two working parents. I remember a time when the Union went on strike, so dad wasn’t working. He took some part time work to keep some money coming in, and things were tight for a while.  We all did without frivolous things. Eventually the strike ended and he went back to work. It wasn’t super long and drawn out or anything.

And I like my job. Which is interesting. It’s a very extroverted job for such an introverted person. But the people I work with are fun, and it involves outdoor sports and activities, which I love. It’s all about getting people to get out and learn about the area around them. I think that’s why I like it. It’s all about doing something I love to do – Explore.

The main part of my job is pretty customer service basic. I sign people up for trips and rent out equipment. I answer what questions I can about the area. But I also get to work in the background with building our catalog, organization, and some planning and ideas. Our Director values our input, and if he didn’t, I don’t think I would have taken the job. Or at least, I wouldn’t have lasted long at it.  Sure, there are some processes and areas that need work, but that goes for any job I’ve ever seen. I’ll do what I can to help improve those areas.

And in doing so, I’ll earn a paycheck. Maybe even go back to get a Master’s degree. Library Science? I’m thinking about it.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chicken Tikka Masala (Or, OMFG I’m Gonna Eat It All)

J recently bought a cookbook that focuses more on fuelling athletic performance. The authors cook for professional cycling teams, so they know about cooking on the fly, cooking for hungry guys, and cooking for maintaining athletic performance. The recipes in the book are some they have used on the road. They hope to give athletes the means to eat healthy on their own.

I actually sat down and read through the introduction and explanation sections before delving into the recipes. The book? The Feed Zone Cookbook, by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim.

J had found one recipe online to try, a simple chicken fried rice. We modified it a bit (something they encourage) by using brown rice instead of white, and adding carrots to the mixed veggies, instead of just corn and peas. It’s delicious. I love it.

This week, J is gone for work and I have cleaned up the leftovers from the fridge. With meals running low, I flipped through the cookbook and found one of my favorite Indian dishes, Tikka Masala. It’s very basic, so you can modify it as you want from there.

The recipe calls for:

2 pounds of chicken
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt

For starters, we had some frozen chicken tenderloins, so I thawed them out, not a full 2 pounds. I rounded that out with a green bell pepper cut in strips and a small zucchini cut into half circles.

I used a can of tomato sauce and greek yogurt, since that’s what I keep around. Also used up all my curry powder. Guess I’ll be buying more of that!

After chopping everything, I just mixed together the tomato sauce, yogurt, and curry.

I poured that over the chicken and veggies.

Then I put it in the fridge to marinate. I was a little slow getting the oven preheated, so it sat for about an hour and a half in the fridge, then I just popped my glass dish in the oven and set a timer for an hour.

I started some brown rice to serve with it and sat down to start writing this. Wait, what? Never you mind.

So, here’s a lesson for you. Read your recipe. Then read it again. And again, as you do it. And again, and again.

I forgot to cover the dish with foil.

Alas! All is not lost! Although it was not as soupy as it should have been, it was still very delicious. The sauce cooked down to a thick tomato paste and I enjoyed every bite.

I will make this again and remember the foil. Or you can cook it on the stove, just simmer for 30 minutes. You can also add some fresh ginger or chiles, which I hope to try next time as well. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pulire - To Clean (Or, OMG! A Post From Italy!)

A long time ago, in a land far, far away…..

I created a cleaningschedule. Seriously. Me. I made a little monthly calendar and had household chores for me to do each weekday. I put that little calendar in a plastic sheet protector on my fridge and marked off the chores as I did them. It actually helped me keep my house a little neater than it was.

Then I moved, and moved, and moved again. I need to do that all over. I don’t seem to have saved a copy of that cleaning schedule, but guess what? I blogged it!! So I can take the old schedule, tweak it to fit the needs of my new house and home, and get organized. (ha! Me? Organized?) I gotta make this happen.

I will be working here. OH hey! Guess what! I got a job! I haven’t blogged. I know, bad blogger. I am only working part time, which means keeping my house clean shouldn’t be a struggle, right? I mean really, how much mess can 2 people make?

I suppose, since it’s been so long since I posted, I owe you all an update. J and I love our little townhome. The animals love the spring weather we are having. I’m making friends and J is getting settled in to work. I got a part time job on post that should be starting soon and I’m taking a twice a week beginner Italian class.

J and I work out together in the mornings. I’m actually building some upper body strength for the first time in my life! So yes, life is good and things are going well. Now I just need to get organized.

One thing I know I’m bad at is dealing with stuff right away. I like to set it down and tell myself I’ll deal with it later. I’m a master procrastinator.  How do I get over this? I have to start making myself put things away instead of just setting them down. Or if I really don’t have time “right now” to handle it, set a time to handle it later. And I have to stick to that.

I also realized that I made a mistake in setting up our house. I was going to use my craft room as my place to let my stacking habit loose, but that won’t work if my craft room is also the guest room. Will it? I mean, I guess it could, and I could just clean it up when we have guests. But I’m thinking of swapping the office and craft rooms. So the guest room will be combined with the office, and I will borrow the guest bed when I’m sandwiching a quilt. Then I can always just shut the door on my messy craftiness. J and I had agreed that I could have a space to be messy in, so it makes more sense for that space to not be the guest room.

I really just use my blog to write out my thoughts, don’t I? Oh well. I think it will work. I’m going to make some changes. But first, I’m going to make that cleaning schedule. And buy a 220v vacuum so I can just plug it into the wall and not have to drag the giant extension cord with me to vacuum up dog hair. I think I want a steam mop, too. Maybe with my first pay check?