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Friday, September 16, 2016

Patio Project 2016


So, in my last post I told you we were building a patio but I wanted to expand a bit on that.

Ever since Steve and I moved into our house, we've always desired more outdoor space to enjoy.  The lot of our house was originally huge, a couple of owners before us sub-divided the lot and built a house on what used to be the backyard... and it's taken away any space that we would have had to enjoy our time outdoors.  We have a small cement slab of 'patio' between our house and garage, but it's very sheltered and not a desirable space.
So, with that background, we've always talked about putting a nice patio off our front door - we have a corner lot and a park across the street, so with our front door being right on that corner, it's the perfect place to have an outdoor space.
So this past Spring Steve says to me "let's build our patio this summer"... WHOA!  Okay!!  I always thought this was just a pipe dream and would never actually happen.

So... it's been a very LONG drawn out process and we've been doing ALL the work ourselves (with the exception of some stucco we needed patched up) mostly because we've learned that hiring the work out is a crock!  I can't even tell you how many days were wasted waiting to hear back from people on one job or another.  Seriously... PISSED!

Sometime in the last 5 years we discovered that the old cobblestone street pavers in Minneapolis had been salvaged and we're available for purchase, but they were pretty expensive.  Until one day we learned about a place that was selling these beautiful granite pavers for CHEAP!  So... these things are huge (like 5"x9" and 5" thick) and beautiful, around 20#-30# each, rose granite, gray granite, pink quartzite:

The catch is that you have to go this yard and pick them yourself from a pile as tall as a house.  Also, most of them are filthy and many have cement stuck to them.  So once you have the bricks you want, you have to spend the time using an air chisel to remove the cement and then power wash them all.

So let's count... So far we've lifted the 20# brick to load it, lifted the 20# brick to unload it, lifted the 20# brick to chip cement off it (the air chisel is no joke), and then lifted the 20# brick to move it to be power washed... AND THEN lifted the 20# brick after power washing.

Next you have to remove stairs from your house.. because they are heavy and causing the stucco to break open...
I tried to operate the jack hammer, but it was far too heavy for me, so I only got in about 45 seconds


and then you have the stucco people come and fill in the hole on your house (this process was painful, the communication of the company was lackluster, at best, and I almost didn't want to pay the final payment because of the length of time we had to wait):


The next step of this patio is to dig out the space, right?  So we rent this beast:
and while you won't find a photo of this, I promise (and I have witnesses to back me up), I operated that thing the entire weekend!!  It was a bucket list sort of things for me.



Then of course you lay a gravel base and tamp it


Next we had sand delivered and we are ready to start laying bricks!
laying the first brick



This is the point we are at right now:

It's a challenge for sure, laying these bricks in a pattern, they are different sizes and shapes... more of a puzzle than anything.  We're getting there... slow and steady wins the race, my friends!

We removed the stairs the last weekend of July and now here we are almost 7 weeks later (working mostly weekends only, and mostly just the 2 of us) and we probably have over half of our bricks laid.  Our goal is to have all the bricks in place by end of day Monday and cross our fingers for good weather next weekend for filling in the gaps with our bonding sand.

I will try to remember to come back in a few weeks and post the finished product!!  I'm really excited for the historic value this patio will provide, not to mention, FINALLY having a place to sit outside and enjoy a nice glass of wine!

~Cheers~
Ang

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Random Update v16.1


So it's been a hot minute since I've typed a random blog... I'm gonna try to do a random update of sorts.  Lots to be keeping track of in my life right now.  I'm seriously behind.

  • Last October (2015) my (maternal) grandfather passed away. 
  • Last month (August 2016), his wife, my (maternal) Grandmother, passed away.
    • That means, in a span of 15 months, I lost 3 grandparents and a cat.  I'm ready for death to be done.
  • In June, I added a little tattoo to my growing collection, in honor of my little buddy (this is his actual print):

  • Somewhere around the end of July, we took a jack hammer to our front stairs and began building a patio all by ourselves.  I'll post another blog detailing this patio.. it's pretty cool actually.
    Here is what our house looked like when we moved in:

    Here is what our house looks like now (currently under construction still):
  • I have some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks:
    • I'm running a Vikings 5k on 10/1 and the finish line is at the 50 yard line of the new home to the Minnesota Vikings (U.S. Bank Stadium)
    • After that 5k, I will be boarding a plane with my mom and brother and heading to Portland, OR for a few days!
    • I'm going to see Sia on 10/13!!!
    • A week after Sia I will be boarding a plane with my favorite group of girls and heading to VEGAS!!
      • We also have ticket to see Britney Spears while in Vegas :)
I think that is probably about all I've got for now... I"ll put together something regarding the patio, with more detail real soon for your reading pleasure.

~Cheers~
Ang

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May is becoming my least favorite month... RIP Boomer


RIP Sweet Kitty
Back on May 3rd the hardest decision of my life was made.  Boomer was ready to leave my side and go play with the all the heavens have to offer.  All he can eat catnip, mice to chase, cheese and yogurt galore...

You don't need details... because simply, the details are not important.  His health was declining and rather than selfishly keeping him around and pumping him full of drugs and other crap, I decided it was time to move on.  The vet supported my decision and told me that cats don't show pain like people do and he was likely in pain.  Hard to hear, but a no-brainer as far as the decision.

He was my little buddy for 14 years.

It's been 3 weeks to the day and I'm still fucking distraught over it.  I went to the vet alone to talk it over, knowing the whole day it was coming... Steve came and I explained everything and we agreed.

It's so different losing a life that is part of your everyday.  You still look at the floor when you walk to give him a good pet or to make sure you're not going to step on him.  You still look at his food dish to make sure he's eating.  You still think to give him fresh water all the time.  You lay on the couch and wait for him to jump up and cuddle with you:



I've been in a downward spiral... drinking more than I should be, not working out, not having any real motivation for things in general.  I weighed myself this morning and I'm 0.8# away from hitting the next weight class {up} in weight... so hopefully I can go home and run tonight.  I can't cross back into that weight class.  I think that working out routinely will help boost my mood, as it has before, so I need to find the energy to try.  Even if it's just a short run, I need to do something.  I need out of this funk.


Last year on Mother's Day (May 10th), my Gma (and my best friend) passed.  3 years ago on May 22nd, 10 days before our wedding, Steve's mother passed.  Before I was born, on Mother's Day (May 12, 1972), my grandfather passed.  It just seems like May is quickly filling up with sad dates.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Isagenix 9 Day Deep Cleanse Review

So I clearly don't blog often anymore, but it's nice to still have it available when I need/want to document something.

I made this crazy decision to try out a cleanse.  I drink the Isagenix IsaLean Meal Replacement Shakes on a daily basis anyhow, so I decided that the Isagenix 9 Day Cleanse was probably the best option for me.

Here is a link to the Cleanse package so you can see what all is included in it.

I'm going to just keep track of my days here.. for fun and for those searching the inter-web for feedback on the cleanse.
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While this cleanse is technically a 9 day cleanse, they do advise a 2 day pre-cleanse to get your body ready for what it's going to go through.  I think this is most important for people who rely on fast foods, eat a lot of fried things, and drink a lot of coffee and/or soda... or at least that is what I assumed.

The 2 types of days are:
Shake Days - you replace 2 meals with a shake and eat one 400-600 calorie low-glycemic meal.  You are allowed to eat the Snacks! that come with the cleanse package as well as celery, carrots, an apple, 1 hard boiled egg a day, and other approved snacks to get you by between meals/shakes.

Cleanse Days - you drink Cleanse for Life 4 times a day and limit your snacking to the Snacks! wafers, celery, cucumbers, and lots and lots of water.
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Day 1 (Pre-Cleanse - Shake Day):
Initial weigh in this morning.
I didn't follow the rules specifically on today, but did somewhat.  I drank 1 cup of coffee in order to try and cut myself back.  I replaced breakfast and lunch with shakes and had healthy snacks between meals.  I also had a balanced meal for dinner following the suggested guidelines.  I did not take the Accelerator capsules today simply because I forgot to bring them to work with me.
I drank a ton of water today, and it was easy to do.
I felt fine today, by the time I was due for my 400-600 calorie meal at 5pm, I was famished and couldn't eat fast enough.
Day 1 survived.

Day 2 (Pre-Cleanse - Shake Day):
Weigh in - down 3 pounds
Today was a bit harder - but I followed it to a T.  I took the capsules, I replaced 2 meals with a shake and I ate a balanced 400-600 calorie meal for dinner.  I didn't feel any different today other than tired... I allowed myself to drink 1 cup of green tea in the late morning.
I drank a ton of water today and it was easy and helpful when I felt hunger pangs.  I decided to add lemon to my water to help with the boredom of a otherwise bland day of food.

These Pre-Cleanse days have not been that bad, I just watch what a eat a bit closer, but I'm still able to eat real food, so that's dope!

Day 3 (Cleanse Day):
Weigh in - down .8# from yesterday (3.8# down total)
I was scared to drink the Cleanse for Life.. thinking it would taste like cough syrup, but surprisingly it wasn't that bad.  I drank it straight and chased it with water.  I felt full until I was due for my first snack at 9am... I devoured that wafer, and it wasn't that bad.  I'm learning that if you let it sit and absorb some wetness from your mouth, it's less chalky to bite into.  That helps.  The morning is dragging on this day.. I keep checking the schedule to make sure I'm not missing some food milestone.
Several times I've told myself to just quit.  I want food.  My water is depressing, even with lemon in it.
I made it to 'lunch', which is just another 4oz of Cleanse for Life... yay.  Oddly, it does take away the hungry pangs, not sure if it's supposed to or if I'm just so desperate that I imagine that it is... maybe it's the wafer.
I took my lunch break and went for a walk at the park, even just a quick 10 minute walk in the sunshine was helpful.  I'd never want to do this cleanse in the winter when I can't be outside.

After work I came home and cleaned both bathrooms, keeping busy is helping.  Steve sat next to me and ate dinner while I watched.  That was hard.  In his defense, he did ask if he could eat at home or if I wanted him to leave.
It's Thursday night and football is on... I've never paid so much attention to pizza commercials.  Damn, that shit looks so good!

Today's lesson: celery tastes AWFUL without ranch, blue cheese, or PB.

I went to bed at 8:45pm (my normal goal bedtime is 9:00pm).

Day 4 (Cleanse Day):
Weigh in - down 1.8# from yesterday (5.6# down total)
I weigh in each morning and have to do a double take... I step on the scale over and over to be sure that it's not just messing with me.  Sure enough, each time it reads the same.  I'm fearful that whatever I lose will just hog-pile back on once I am back to a normal routine.  However, everything I've read and from what I've been told this cleanse is telling my body that it's okay to burn fat... so hopefully what I'm losing is all FAT!

On to the day... today is the second cleanse day and I woke up feeling pretty okay, I don't feel like I'm sleeping any better or worse.  I decided to not follow the timeline that I was given in the schedule, and by that I simply mean that I moved the times around.  I start work early and the timeline didn't give me my first intake until long after I woke up.  So it was helpful to do it on my own timeline.  I'll remember this for when I have my next 2 cleanse days next week.

It's Friday and I worked until 11:30am; I came up with this grand plan to come home and pre-make all my meals for the next 5 shake days.  So, I drove to the grocery store and purchased everything I needed to plan.  Surprisingly I wasn't tempted by ANYTHING at the store.  Hell, I even bought $15 worth of groceries for the food drive that was happening at the store (canned veggies and cereal, as requested on the list).  I came home and started cooking... normally on a Friday, I come home and nap.  Today... I was cooking and realized I felt amazing.  I felt energized.  I felt alive.  So I continued to cook.  I made a Southwest Turkey Meatball Skillet (meatballs from scratch) and a really yummy looking Quinoa with Feta and Tomatoes (I added Black Beans) and I also cooked up a few chicken breasts.  Enough for 5 meals plus some leftover for Steve to eat too.

I hate giving up my naps, so I decided to try and sleep.  I was successful for about 30 minutes (which is short for me).

I'm still feeling pretty good.  The hunger pangs haven't been as bad today.  I'm honestly surprised by how much I feel that I CAN complete these 9 days.  It's a complete 180° from my mood and mindset yesterday.

Oddly, I like today.

Day 5 (Shake Day):
Weigh in - down 2.2# from yesterday (7.8# down total)
Sorry for the long ass post yesterday, I was riding a high, for sure.  I went to bed at like 10pm and woke up at like 9am today.  Not bad.
I feel good today, not hungry at all.  I thought for sure I'd wake up and crave that breakfast shake like it was the last meal I'd ever eat.  Not so, I woke up and made the shake and drank it like any other day I have a shake.  It didn't taste overly good to me, but it was welcome in my tummy.  I drank my daily cup of green tea this morning while Steve had delicious looking eggs, sausage and toast... not to mention coffee.  I'm definitely jealous of his being able to drink the joe... I love that stuff.
Dinner is right around the corner and I'm excited to eat, just to have some normal food and feel stuffed.
I don't have as much energy as yesterday, but I still feel good.  I thought about maybe trying to do some yoga, but ... I'm not sure I have it in me.  Not the energy, but the patience. Not a patient person and yoga is a patient practice.

Day 6 (Shake Day):
Weigh in - down 0# from yesterday (7.8# down total)
Today was hard, but mostly because I went to a Twins Baseball game... and it's hard to not drink beer and eat hot dogs.
I had my 1st shake for Breakfast and opted to eat my meal for lunch, thinking that if I went to the ballpark stuffed, it would be easier.  It was for the most part.
We went out to a bar afterwards (my own choice, I knew I could resist alcohol).. the only problem here was that we were there so long my dinner shake ended up being like 3 hours late, which... sucked.  Other than that it was a normal day.
Based on my weigh in of nothing up/nothing down in pounds this morning, I did decide to jump on my elliptical for a half hour this morning, so it felt good to do something (I'm nursing a foot injury, so it was a trial workout).

Day 7 (Shake Day):
Weigh in - up 0.8# from yesterday (7# down total)
AM Update: It was super frustrating to have worked out yesterday, restrain from eating garbage and drinking a bunch of beer only to be up in weight this morning.  I know it's only .8#, but I did NOTHING yesterday that should warrant being up.
It's Monday, so I'm back at work, I'd barely been here for 20 minutes and I'm getting emails and phone calls about shit, my boss called in sick (which means I have to cover)... I feel like I'm already crabby today.  Everything just isn't starting out on the right foot.
This cleanse is harder to do at work... I'm so easily distracted and it's so easy to want to snack and be bad.  We have candy everywhere.
The one thing that could be factoring into this is I think my lady time is due in a few days... which usually causes some flux in weight, typically up, never down.  Sometimes my mood is affected by it.
Early PM update: I still feel crabby today.  I, again, decided to eat my meal for lunch, I just think it's easier to feed myself mid day vs. waiting until the evening.  I'm convinced that it's not the cleanse making me crabby, but I guess you never know.
I feel tired today too... I stayed up late last night watching football.  I lost, or will lose, both of my fantasy match ups this week and I'm sure that's not helping the mood at all.
Blargh.  This is all I'm going to type today, no point in dwelling on it.

Day 8 (Shake Day):
Weigh in - 0# difference from yesterday (7# down total)
Tuesday today... nothing major to report from today other than I feel like my life is falling apart, but not because of the cleanse.  I have posterior tibial tendinitis from running and at my Doctor appt today, I was put in a walking boot.  neat.
This day is dumb.
Still on the cleanse, going fine, on the homestretch! (<-- there was no honest enthusiasm behind that exclamation point)

Day 9 (Shake Day):
Weigh in - down 0.4# from yesterday (7.4# down total)
Morning Update: First full day in a walking boot.  Turns out this blog isn't so much about my cleanse, but my actual life - sorry to anyone coming here just looking for cleanse facts.
Today is my last shake day, after today I get to cleanse for 2 days and then I'm done and can eat whatever the hell I want.  I'm so excited to not have to think so hard about meals and to not have to worry about is it 'time' for my shake/meal yet, I'll just be able to be a normal person in a walking boot.
While my gut (no pun intended) wants me to eat chicken wings and huge breakfast feasts... I don't think I'll be up for it when the time comes.
However, I do want sushi... and I want it first thing Saturday Morning - breakfast sushi anyone?
Afternoon Update: I'm crabby.  I seriously cannot wait for this crabbiness to go away.  PMS?  maybe.  Cleanse?  possibly.  Walking Boot?  Absolutely.

Day 10 (Cleanse Day):
Weigh in - up 0.2# from yesterday (7.2# down total)
My spirits are much improved today.  Again, not sure if it was the cleanse or my monthly visitor being around the corner or my foot thing.  All combined, I'm sure.
Whatever - that was the past.
Today is a new day... this cleanse day hasn't been as bad as last Thursday.  Tomorrow is another cleanse day, and even if it's the worst day of my life, I know that I'm not going to quit.  So I've pretty much already beat this thing... (can I have some pie now?)

Day 11 (Cleanse Day - FINAL DAY!!):
Weigh in - down 1.2# from yesterday (8.4# down total)
I had a dream last night about food.  I could finally eat again, and the first place I go is McDonalds... and I order Chicken Nuggets and French Fries.  oy vey.
I've decided the thing I'm most excited for is coffee.  I haven't had coffee in 10 days.  It's not a huge deal, I've been fine without it (I gave up coffee for 11 months about 2 years ago), but I LOVE it so much that I simply can't wait to take a sip.  Just one itty bitty sip will make my life complete.
So it's early when I'm typing this, but I feel really good today.  My mood is still way better than earlier this week, I don't feel hungry, the boot is becoming more... livable.
Today is my last day, so I know I've got this... but I'm REALLY excited to just be a normal meal eater again.  I'm not gonna splurge, just gonna eat.
I'll do one more check in with totals.

Day 12 (FINAL NUMBERS):
Weigh in - down 2# from yesterday (10.4# down total)
Measurements:
down .5" in the neck
down 1.5" in the bust
down 1.5" in the waist
down .5" in the abdomen
down 1" in the hips/buttocks

My arm and leg measurements didn't change enough, up or down, to note, so I'll save you the reading.

Overall, I'm glad I did this cleanse, if for no other reason than to show myself I can do it and can be disciplined.  Being down 10# is huge, for anyone, but I'm not getting my hopes up yet, until I see if any comes back on from normal eating.

I will say that as a rule, I don't eat a lot of fast food and over the last year of trying to lose weight I've cut back a lot on how much fried foods I eat.  I've also been getting in more activity on a regular basis, so I think my results on this cleanse are probably different than someone who eats fast food and never gets exercise as part of their regular life.  Meaning, I already had my metabolism kicked up, so this just gave it the extra boost.

I'm happy to answer any question that people may have, so please, feel free to ask!  

Thanks for reading, and sorry for the super long post!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

So ... here's me:


Over the summer I've taken up running... I ran a couple 5k's:


I've continued to run and have 2 more 5k's coming up (Halloween and Thanksgiving).

In the process of this I obviously go for runs... well, one run was just too much.
Afterwards I was in quite a bit of pain... in my left heel area.  I automatically assume Planters Fasciitis and think great... all this training and commitment and this is what I get.  To be honest I worry about getting PF quite often, my mom and my brother both have it and it seems to be the common ailment for people these days.

I decide to wait a week and see if the pain goes away on it's own.  It doesn't.  Steve told me I need to go in.
I couldn't even walk up or down the stairs like a normal person.

So I go in.

I'm diagnosed with Posterior Tibial Tendonitis - yay.
There are 2 ways of dealing with this:
1. Custom Orthotic Inserts (longer healing time)
2. Walking boot (faster healing time)

I'm leaving for NYC in like a week... I opt for the boot.  Essentially it immobilizes the tendon so it doesn't move at all, allowing it to heal.  I have the orthotics on order anyhow, as the doc suggested wearing them when I run, and I will likely take them to NYC with me.  But until the morning I leave to get on that plane... I'm in a boot!

That's all.  Just wanted to share.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Thoughts for Tuesday...

For some reason I got to thinking about my past relationships last night in the shower... maybe it's because I was texting with an ex.

For the most part I've managed to end most of my relationships on good terms; no bad blood, no dirty laundry, and able to truly remain friends; we just understand that it's time for the relationship to be over on that level.  I have a few exes that I've remained in contact with and there are certain things I miss about the relationship, sure, but it's never enough for me to desire having that relationship back.

The reason I'm writing this is I got to thinking about my very last relationship before Steve... it would have been happening during my years of blogging... I don't think I wrote much about it or about the guy, but he entered my mind last night and I realized that I miss nothing about him or that relationship.  It dawned on me that it probably wasn't the best relationship to begin with if I didn't grieve over losing him .. I think I was sad for like a week, if even.  I think there are several factors that play into that; he lived in a different state being number one.  I was used to not having him around, so what's the difference now?  We just don't talk on the phone or email anymore.

It wasn't an abusive relationship, but I think him being older than me made him want to change me into someone sophisticated enough to be with him.  That isn't how I roll.  At the time, I thought I was in love, and maybe I was, so I went along with it and wore the clothes he wanted when we were together, or acted a certain way in a certain setting... overall, everything about that was not me.  I've never been one to confirm to anything .. for anyone!

Needless to say, I'm very happy that relationship has ended and he and I have exchanged hello's a few times over the years and he seems to be happy in his life, I'm very happy that he is.. what person doesn't deserve happiness, right?  It's probably the easiest end to a relationship I've ever been a part of... it's always sad to part ways, but when it's truly not meant to be, it's so much easier.

Anyhow... I'm not sure I have a point here, it's just something that felt good to acknowledge to myself and thought it was worth documenting.  It's hard to know it at the time, but usually things that come to an end do so for a valid reason.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Feel Stuck

I know that some people are still subscribed to my blog, but not nearly as many people are reading it as what used to.  I'm so okay with this.  I like the idea of having my blog back to the simple days.  I like being able to write and not have a ton of people reading or feeling like I have to produce some epic post to get blog hits.

Somewhere along the line I lost my blog to my readers.

I'll be honest, I don't read any blogs anymore - I may happen across one or two from time to time and scroll a page or two in, but I just don't have the desire for the 'community' aspect of it anymore.

This, however, is not what I wished to write about when I first opened this new post.

_____________________________________________

I feel stuck in a rut.  I get in these from time to time and I always get out... but I feel like it's been a LONG time since I've been here.

I've been trying to lose weight for a few months and I was doing a good job for the most part - not dropping too much, but enough to notice a difference.  I've been counting my calories and trying to workout more.
I feel like I've been doing some serious emotional eating the past 1-2 weeks and, while I've tried to make good decisions of what I put in my body, I'm eating more calories than I should be.
I might chalk some of this up to my monthly visitor, but overall, I know what I'm doing is within my own power to stop.

The other thing is that I'm not sleeping well as of late.  It's been a pretty emotional couple of weeks for me with my Gma's passing... for some reason I just can't get to bed at a decent time and when I do, I simply don't sleep well.  Today at work, before I even had my first cup of coffee, someone said to me "You look tired today"... real nice.  I've felt tired all week and it's just made me super crabby.  I feel like I have no real interest in seeing or spending time with people... I don't want to be crabby towards others.  I just want to be a hermit... curled up in a ball in the corner somewhere.  Sadly, every day this week I've thought long and hard about having a cigarette; I haven't smoked since 2009.

To top it all off I can't wrap my head around the fact that my gma is gone.  Some moments I want to bawl, other moments I want to be around as many people as possible, and sometimes I just want to run away and be alone.  More than anything I just want to cry... but I don't because I feel like I need to be strong.

Maybe this is grieving?


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