Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sick Soup

I don't know of anyone who wasn't fed canned chicken noodle soup when they were sick as kids.  I distinctly remember not liking the stuff with the stars, believing the long noodles were far superior.  I can't, however, remember the last time I had soup from a can.
Getting sick sucks.  Getting sick when you have a four-year-old who doesn't appear to understand the phrase "Mommy isn't feeling well; you need to let her sleep" sucks even more.  I might be able to take a sick day from work, but there are no sick days in parenting.
You know what else sucks?  Not having a go-to "feel better" food, specifically a "feel better" soup when I get down with the sickness.  Ever since I was pregnant, I have shunned most poultry (even the thought of it makes me shudder), so chicken soup, even something homemade, makes me a little uncomfortable.  For a time, I tried ph, that wonderful Vietnamese street soup, and it was delicious, but it didn't make me feel rejuvenated in the way I was looking for.
Enter Cho Dang's Korean Tofu and BBQ.
The Chandler location for the California restaurant is mere minutes away from our house, and I can't remember how or when Husband stumbled across this beauty, but I'm so glad that he did.  Not only do the dumplings hit the spot whenever I need them, but I've discovered that their spicy pork tofu soup is The Most Perfect Thing to help make me feel better.

Lava so hot it makes me sweat...
The soups can be ordered at five levels of spiciness, from "white" (not spicy at all) to extra hot.
Usually I opt for the medium, which is nice and hot without making me want to either die or drink all the milk in the world.
Last week, I either became a wuss, or they added a little extra zing to the soup, because my mouth felt like it was melting off.  I started sweating when I was eating.  Yep, that's right.  I was A Sweater.  Right there at my kitchen table.  Yet I wasn't able to stop, and so I sat there, eating my soup and sweating like a whore on nickel night a sinner in church a racehorse until my belly couldn't take it anymore.
And then I did the same thing again at lunch the next day.
I'm not sure if this soup actually does anything like ridding my body of little cooties, especially this go round, which is a combination of the common cold, an ear infection, and strep throat (super fun times!!!!!!!), or if it's more of a placebo thing, but even Husband agrees that there's something "magical" about the soup, and you can be sure that the next time I'm feeling under the weather, I'll get more.
What is your go-to food (or drink) when you get a case of the sniffles and aches?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bloggers for Beka (Or, Kicking Crohn's to the Curb)

We all have those friends whom we can call at any time of the day if we're having a hard time; those friends will answer the phone and listen with a sympathetic ear.
Then there are those friends who will come over in the middle of the night to help you deal with an issue in person.
And then there are those friends, scarce in number, who will not only help you bury the body, but tell you the best spot to do so.
Sort of.
Beka and Megan are in that last, rare class of friends.  Two friends who are so close that I can't imagine anything that could cause one to waver in her support and love of the other, even in the case of hiding the body of someone who had the temerity to say that Chili's is the best restaurant in Seattle.
Maybe.  I wouldn't risk testing it.
Beka has Crohn's; she can tell you about it here, and I think it's best that the words come from her, so please click over to understand what it's like to have Crohn's once the poop jokes have worn off.  While I firmly believe that humor is an important aspect of dealing, coping, or persevering through difficult situations, it can only get you so far.
Friends can get you further.
Last year, if you recall, Megan hosted the first Bake Sale for Beka, which raised funds for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, a group for which Beka will be running her first half marathon later this year.  This is a group that is important to Beka, and by extension, to Megan.  But in the last year and a half, these two women have become cherished friends of mine, and as such, the Foundation is important to me.  
So I am only too happy to participate in this year's Bake Sale for Beka, hosted once again by Megan over at Wanna Be a Country Cleaver.  While last year's event was a success, the sheer quantity AND quality of goods and goodies is staggering, and you will not want to miss out on getting your mitts on some of the amazing items up for auction.

For a preview and to become familiar with the rules and procedures, you can check out this post that Megan posted the other day.  The auction is live from 7AM PDT on Saturday, June 22 until 8PM PDT on Sunday, June 23 (that's three hours behind anyone on the east coast).  You can go directly to the auction post by clicking here.
For my part, I have donated a pan of homemade marshmallows in one of the following flavors (winner's choice): piña colada, lemon, berry, chocolate, or original (these are so good that you really can't call them "plain").

Adorable child filching your marshmallows not included
This is an entire 9x13 pan full of mallow heaven.  Gigantic pillows of gooey, sugary delights that go SO WELL with graham crackers and chocolate.  Or by themselves over the sink so no one sees the powdered sugar evidence (pro tip: wipe off your face when you're done).  But my recommendation is to enjoy them with friends.  After all, friendship is what is getting you this pan of mallows in the first place.
Sure beats having to hide a body in the middle of the night.

Friday, June 14, 2013


If you've been a regular reader to his little hobby I call a blog, you'll know that I don't run without Zooey, my intrepid coonhound.  She is my constant companion on the roads and trails, and I hate having to leave her at home when I take off for a race without her.
But her being by my side means that when it gets hot, she gets hot.  And it's gotten hot.  We've already had multiple 100°-plus days, and some of those days have topped out at 110°.
Yes, it's a dry heat.  You wanna know what else is a dry heat?  The inside of an oven, and no one decides to vacation there.
Annnnnnnnyway, in order to make sure that I can keep up the miles over the summer but also ensure Zooey's continued good health, I decided to start streaking.
No, I'm not running nekked - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (aka "the girls") would be all over the place, probably giving me two black eyes, if they didn't have support.  Plus we live down the street from the police station, so I'd probably have quite a bit of 'splainin' to do before I hit the first crosswalk (that would be quite the phone call home, hey?).  I'm just running every day - or nearly every day.  Think of it as a winning streak you can't lose.
Of course, I've decreased the miles on each run in order to make sure that I don't overdo it and end up with shin splints or tendinitis again.  I've been pretty careful, have added some new stretches, and just replaced my worn out shoes with my last two new pairs of my beloved Saucony ProGrid Guide 5s.  Aren't they purty????

I hope I love the Guide 6s as much as I love the 5s.
Some mornings are great.  I feel like I could run farther, even with the heat already starting to bear down at 5:00; we leave the house between 4:30 and 4:45, depending on how fast I get moving after my 4:15 and 4:15:01 alarms (the second one is Zooey making sure I'm up).  Some mornings, like yesterday, SUCK.  Zooey was restless until Husband got home, and he was at an event somewhat late, so she woke me up and then kept me awake with her pacing, whining, and having to go out to do absolutely nothing - twice - until he pulled into the driveway.  Holden decided he was going to sleep on my pillow, and while I normally love his purring, his subsequent decision to give himself a leisurely bath was, um... irritating.  HRH then got into the game by coming in around 2:30 needing a snuggle.  Normally I would love that, but I was already feeling so tired that I was dreading that alarm.
But I didn't turn it off, as sorely tempted as I was.  I got up, sucked it up, tied my laces up, and got out there.  Three miles later, I was ready to go back to bed, but I was glad I went.  Just like I always am.
The benefit of running every day is that I can be up, get my run in, and then have some quiet time to myself before everyone is up.  Or I can go back to bed for a nap, also before everyone is up.  The latter is generally my favorite this week.  But it's also allowed me to make time for some quick weight and resistance workouts for my legs and arms as well as ensure that I am continuing with my quest to do 100 pushups.  I kept on saying that I'd do yoga or other cross training on my rest days, but I found myself sleeping in instead; it seems so much easier for me to get up when I have to run (I only set my alarm on run days because Zooey has identified the alarm with "we're going running," and I don't want to have her howling at me to get her leash when I'm trying to do a set of skull crushers).  Now, I'm already up, so I have no excuse not to get that strength training in.
Thus far this month, I've skipped two days when Husband was out of town.  I suppose I could have run  when HRH was at school, but Zooey would have had to stay back, and once she realizes I'm putting on running gear, she works herself into a stage of excitement that Cesar Millan would probably tell me isn't healthy for her.  And we could perhaps have taken a quick mile around the neighborhood in the evening, but it stays hot well into the evening, and I didn't want to risk Zooey's paw pads getting burned on the asphalt.  And to be honest, it was only a week into the streak, and my body was grateful for the rest.  But by the time Husband got home and the weekend rolled around, I was anxious to hit the road again.
Yet another bonus - if I did my math correctly (always questionable), I should actually up my mileage from last month.  So if I can keep it up and bump up the daily miles just a little, I can make some good inroads in my goal to hit more miles this year than last, even with the injury breaks I had in the first quarter.  But let's not hold our breath.
For now, I'm hoping to be able to continue my streak until the end of the month, when Husband and I will be headed up north for a few days to celebrate our anniversary (we plan to do some hiking while we're up there, so maybe I'll count that).  After that, we'll have to see.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Three Things I Love Thursday - Favorite Apps

I make no secret of loving my iPhone.  It completes me.  It's the cheese to my macaroni.  We are basically soul mates.  And before you think that Husband needs to know about my overly abundant adoration toward my phone, please know that he has two of them.
My dad would have loved the iPhone and the technology behind all the apps that can be downloaded.  My phone has more memory than his last computer, and I take full advantage of it so I can spend my time checking Twitter all day playing My Little Pony with HRH creating interesting videos to send to my students and other important stuff.
While some of my apps are admittedly mindless fun (I'm looking at you, Bejeweled Plus), there are a few that I just cannot be without.  These three are my current favorite.

Drink Right
Between living in Arizona and running, I need to stay hydrated.  I had thought that I was doing a pretty good job of it, having a full glass of water at my desk almost all the time.  But I saw this one day in Apps Gone Free and decided to see how well I was actually doing.  Friends, I was sorely underestimating how much water I drink in a given day.
The Drink Right app uses the "equation" that your daily water consumption should be your weight in ounces divided by two.  So, if someone weighed 150 pounds, he or she would need to drink 75 ounces of water each day.  Additionally, the app does not allow a person to chug 32 ounces of water twice a day to get to that total; it is meted out throughout the day to ensure that a person is consistently hydrated (and probably not sprinting to the toilet for a marathon pee session).
The notifications are easy to hear, even when I have my phone on vibrate.  Sometimes, if I forget, which I do, it gets a little bossy, even giving me exclamation points at the end of its warning sentence!  Harrumph!  But thus far I've been able to manage to get my allotted water plus more each day.
For my purposes, I don't count the water I drink while I'm out on a run.  I figure that the water I drink then is rehydrating, not just hydrating.  And when I run now, in the heat of summer (even at 4:30 in the morning), it really should be more than the original equation.
Since downloading this app, I've noticed that I am less thirsty while I run.  I subscribe to the rule of "drink when you're thirsty," and I find myself reaching for my bottle a little less.  Bonus - I can have beer in the evening and still run the next morning without feeling like I want to die!  Hooray beer - I mean water (which is in beer, so hooray beer)!

My one complaint for this is that I can't customize it per day for those mornings I wake up super early (4:15) and those days when I'm lucky enough to not wake up until 7:00 (a luxury when you have an early-rising child).  I've played around with the time settings, though, and I think I've found a happy medium that doesn't have me drinking the second I wake when I'm able to sleep in.

Charity Miles
This is a brilliant concept.  I started running to raise money for the Colon Cancer Alliance in memory of my dad.  It's really what every run is geared toward.  So when I learned about Charity Miles, I was on board.
The idea is this: turn on the app.  Pick a charity.  Go for a run (or walk or bike ride).  Log your miles.
The miles you go earns money for your selected charity.  Yesterday, I ran a mere two miles, I helped send 4 meals to those affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma.  And all I had to do was thank the current sponsor and send out a tweet to spread the word.
It's a wonderful way to help those who are sick, who are homeless, or who are otherwise unable to help themselves by just lacing up your shoes and heading out.  Even if you're not a charity runner, this is an app that you can have on during a run with literally zero additional effort.

The app is a little tough to read when the monthly sponsor's logo is in the background, and it's hard for me to go back to see the impact I have made each time I ran, but I am looking forward to helping make a difference for so many wonderful organizations.

Saucony is my current shoe of choice (my Guide 5 was recently discontinued, so I have two more pairs before I have to decide whether the Guide 6 works for me or if I have to move on).  While I love the way the shoes feel, I also love Saucony's sense of corporate responsibility.
Run4Good is another app that can enable you to have a major impact with no additional work, even if you don't wear Saucony gear.  Each month, if the goal miles - thus far 10,000 miles per month - are met by the collective runners who use the app, Saucony makes a donation to its chosen charity.  The charities that Saucony features are dedicated to ending childhood obesity in America.  This month's charity is Twin Cities in Motion.  The collective has run 1,739 miles this month, as of yesterday evening.

When I first downloaded this, I forgot that I had it on one day until like ten hours later, so by the time I stopped the run, I had gone something like 50 miles (I was in the car for a while - sorry, GPS).  But I was able to delete that run so as not to cheat, even though I want each charity to receive the donation every month.  At this point, I have a routine at the end of my runs that include the systematic closing out of each app (I run with both Charity Miles and Run4Good in the background while I log my "official" miles on my NikePlus app).

Whether you're a runner or not, we can all benefit from being properly hydrated.  And for those runner friends of mine, even if you don't run for charity like I do, you can make a huge difference in the lives of others when you download and use Charity Miles and Run4Good.

Are you drinking enough water?  What are your favorite apps lately?