Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Parable

I apologize for not blogging yesterday: it was an exhausting day - both physically and emotionally - and I just needed to crash.

Two friends and I left Des Moines at 7:00 a.m. to go to another friend's funeral.  Diane Ishmael, my practicum teacher in 2002 and my cooperating teacher in 2004, lost her battle with cancer.  During my 30-hour practicum with Diane, I immediately realized that she was a phenomenal teacher: she had hugely high expectations for her students, yet she had amazing relationships with them.  Despite her being a super strict teacher, all of her students loved and respected her.  When I received my student teaching placement in spring 2004, I was absolutely thrilled to discover that I'd be working with her in the fall.  That summer - and throughout the time I spent working with her - we developed a strong relationship, and I credit much of what I do today to how she taught me, influenced me, and supported me.

Throughout the last few months, Diane kept a Caring Bridge blog, and if you choose to read through it, you will see that she was the epitome of grace and poise while also proving to be a courageous, strong fighter.  I truly hope that when I am no longer needed on this earth that I can leave with as much bravery as she did.

Before I continue, let me offer you a piece of advice: always tell the people in your life how much they mean to you.  I was supposed to visit Diane on Saturday for her birthday party; we had communicated via Facebook in June that I was planning on attending, but since I received the actual invitation while I was in Denver and then got so busy afterward, I did not RSVP.  I let life get the best of me, and I did not talk to my friend before she left us.  And that devastates me.  Always, always, always tell your loved ones how much you care.

And after writing all of that, I am having a difficult time writing anything else.

So, I'll continue tomorrow.

Source: The Parable of Immortality

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Breather

Wow.

I think one of my goals for this summer was to blog at least once a day, preferably more.  Perhaps I should've made the goal to blog once a month since that's what appears to be happening.

You know, for this being the first summer I have not worked, it has been by far my busiest.

I spent the first two weeks of June writing a grant for school, and then I headed to a conference in Iowa City for three-and-a-half days.  It was really, really fun: the conference was great, and I loved Iowa City.

Immediately upon my return, a friend came to visit - a friend who has since become my boyfriend!

(Can you believe it?!  Me neither.  And I could not be more excited.)

Anyway, he was here for a full week, and then I left for my soon-to-be sister-in-law's bridal shower and bachelorette party in Chicago.  It was a wonderful five days spent with my mom, my sister, my aunts, and Aly and her family and friends.

As soon as I returned from Chicago, I came down really hard with bronchitis - and who knows what else on top of it.  I was seriously out of commission for weeks.

I went to a two-day concert with my besties, and then we all headed to the Florida Keys for a week.  It was such an amazing vacation with my absolute bestest friends in the universe.

I wasn't even home 24 hours before I headed back to the airport - where I flew to Denver for a week for another conference.  It was my first "real" trip to Denver (other than one night in college for a concert), and it was a great time.  Denver is a pretty cool city.

This week I'm heading to NE Iowa for a funeral (awful, horrible, sad) and St. Paul for a half-marathon with my students.  And then I have one week before I fly out again - but this time to pick up someone special!  :)

And then - right after we get back - school starts!

Whew.  I'm exhausted just typing all of that!

So, let's move on to the meat of this post.

My brother's wedding is in exactly one month.  After trying on my bridesmaid's dress for the 8,000th time, I realized that I need to get my butt in gear.  My body is telling me that three weeks of abusing it with too much good food and tasty beverages and not enough running (bronchitis + altitude + humidity = not ideal) is not good.

(Oh, and now I have TWO weddings to prep for - congrats to my sister and her FIANCE!  Eeeeee!  So excited!)

I obviously have some sort of a workout program in place for the half-marathon that is in less than a week and the full marathon that is just two months away, but I decided I needed to add a bit to that.  So, I worked up an abs workout reminiscent of Fab Abs February and Mad Abs March.  Today, I did 45 sit-ups, 15 crunches, 10 push-ups, a 35-second plank, and a 15-second side plank on each side.  It wasn't nearly as horrible as I was anticipating.

Yesterday, I mapped out my week's meal schedule and hit up the grocery store for the first time since before Florida.

For breakfast today I had my favorite Abs Diet smoothie: the Virgin Cabo Daiquiri:


The combination of mango, banana, and strawberries is oh-so-tasty.


Because the recipe makes two servings, I usually sip on it all morning and count the calories as those for breakfast and my morning "snack."

For lunch, I whipped up a recipe I found and adapted from Pinterest: Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad:


To adapt the recipe to make it healthier, I nixed the tortilla chips and the dressing and, to make it dressing-like, I added a couple spoonfuls of salsa.


It was a HUGE salad for only 440 calories.  In the future, I may only eat half a serving (I still have three servings in the fridge!) and accompany it with some bread.  For some reason - likely due to years of conditioning - my body just doesn't feel full unless it gets some solid carbs.  :)

To wash it all down, I had one of my new favorite drinks:


The Starbucks Refreshers are made with green coffee extract and offer a natural energy boost.  The Cool Lime Refresher that is made in the store is so, so, so delicious - it tastes just like a mojito!  But this Raspberry Pomegranate one is also super yummy.

For dinner, I whipped up a batch of another favorite Abs Diet meal: Chili Mac with Jack.


As usual, this was super good, and I now have three more servings to last my through the week.  I'm going to be eating this and salad all. week. long.  :)


Now, I'm watching the Olympics and relaxing a bit before (hopefully) turning in relatively early.  It's been so darn hot in Des Moines that I've been sleeping on my couch - closer to the air conditioner.  While my couch is ├╝ber comfortable, it still isn't the same as a bed - especially after a month.

Here's to cooler temperatures!

Peace out, yo.