Wednesday, December 11, 2013

(Partly) Clean Hot Chocolate

After four or five nights of experimenting, I think I have formulated a pretty decent (and mostly clean) hot chocolate recipe.

When I want a clean version of something, I usually head straight to The Gracious Pantry. She is amazing and has easy recipes.

So I found a couple of recipes on her site. This is the one I have primarily leaned on in the last few days.

I have heated the milk and cocoa powder and added the sweetener after. I have heated all of it at the same time. I've put too much sweetener. I've heated it up with Peppermint Mocha creamer. I've tried lots of things, guys.

So I usually buy almond coconut milk from Blue Diamond. It lasts quite a while. I use it in place of cow's milk, for the most part.

Anyway, I ran out of milk the other night and ran to Wal-Mart last night. This was a mistake because I always buy my almond milk at Smith's. Wal-Mart was all out. So I had to resort to getting the more expensive, double-calorie Silk coconut milk. People, I cannot tell you how much I love this stuff. I bought it for quite some time before switching to almond coconut due to the cheaper price and lower sugar. Anyway, I bought the good, delicious, lovely stuff.

And here's what happened:

1 cup Silk coconut milk
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon powdered Stevia 

Combine all of these ingredients over medium heat, whisking constantly. 

It still had a somewhat bitter chocolate taste, which I like. But I needed a little more sweetness, so I fixed that by adding about 

1 tablespoon Peppermint Mocha creamer 

Perfection, folks. Perfection, I say!

So the cane sugar in the milk and the creamer may not be clean, but you can use a milk without sugar (like I normally would). And you can forego the creamer. Maybe try adding mint extract and a little more Stevia?

Or just stick with my recipe. It is yummy.

Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I Have a Problem...

Oh hey, guys! I'm back. And this blog post is going to rock your world. That's right. This one has been rolling around in my brain for a while. We'll see how it all works out.

See, I have this problem.

I can't seem to find a chap stick that I like. Once I do, I can't find it anywhere anymore.

After going through so many of these, I have managed to concoct a list of characteristics that I need to have a successful relationship with my chap stick. First, let me explain what has been wrong with each of these.

Ah, Burt's Bees. HONEY lip balm, no less. Everyone swears by this stuff. I thought for certain it had to be good. I haven't tried this in a very long time. I gave up on it after a few applications of it. From what I can recall, I don't like the way it goes on--kind of rough at first. And after using it, my lips felt dry. It created a need for more chap stick. That is not what I want. I don't want a product that makes me need it! Customer manipulation, people! There's also kind of a weird aftertaste to it. I do like that it has natural ingredients.

Next, Hawaiian Tropic Vanilla Mint. To be honest, I actually do like a few things about it. The flavor is good. It has SPF in it, which is great. But it also makes me want to save it for the summer. If I can recall from the last time I used it, I have to apply this one too frequently. I like the way it goes on--super smooth. It might also have made my lips feel dry after wearing off. Again, I can't handle the need to use more.

Hawaiian Tropic Aloe Vera. This one is a winner, all except for one thing: the flavor. Let me be clear when I say flavor. I don't mean I lick my chap stick off, OK? I mean when you put it on, or when you breathe in, or smack your lips, you get a hint of your lip flavor in your mouth. You know what I'm sayin'? So this one has SPF, goes on smooth, and makes my lips feel better. BUT I don't like how it tastes.

All three of these ChapSticks are going to go together, because the problem is the same in all of them: ChapStick makes me need more ChapStick. That is not OK. I love the flavor of the mint one, and the way it rolls on. I am not a fan of the cherry flavor. But about 30 minutes later, I need more ChapStick. Lose.

Yes to Carrots. I found this stuff at Wal-Mart on my way out. I thought I'd give it a try because A) it's mint, and B) they called it lip butter. But really, it's made for hippies like me with natural ingredients, paraben-free, and no petroleum. I like to try natural things. I used this one for a day, and never used it again. Last night, I pulled this one out of my purse on accident, thinking it was a different chap stick. I rolled it on, and soon realized something was wrong. It didn't feel right. An hour later, my skin felt like it was falling off my lips. Flaky and dry. I needed more chap stick. People, that ain't right. This stuff destroys my poor lip skin.

Eos mint. This one was recommended to me at the beginning of the year by a friend's date. He said he liked it. I like it too. But we have a few issues. One is the cost. This stuff is pricey for me. I'm cheap. Another problem is the size of it. I don't like how big it is, and how much room it takes up. I can't just slip it into my pocket. Another, and this sounds shallow, but the color of the case makes it prone to get dirty. I mean, just look at the hand dirt all over my chap stick! This one is flattened out and basically not usable now because of that. Since you're supposed to "pucker up" to apply it, it makes it useless toward the end.

Eos strawberry. I bought this because I liked the Eos mint enough, and thought I'd try another flavor. I love the flavor of this one. Strawberry has been my go-to lip flavor since I was an adolescent. But I used this before I went to bed one night (yeah, that's what I do), and woke up with dry lips the next day. So for whatever reason, the ingredients in the strawberry flavor don't match the ones in the mint, and this one makes me need more chap stick.

Nivea Kiss of Moisture. I don't know why I haven't tossed this yet. It's basically gone. I really like this chap stick. I feel it is worth the money (a little more than average price). It hydrates my lips, and I like the texture as I put it on. However, I don't like the flavor. It's not fruity. It's not medicated (which is good). It almost is like "unscented" lotion, how you feel like you want to put on a fragrance after using it. I want to have a flavor in my mouth after putting this one. So I love it, but haven't bought it in years because of the flavor.

Vaseline Lip Therapy. I used this because it came highly recommended by my lovely friend Whitney. Plus, what a cute little container, right? The tiniest little Vaseline you ever saw. I liked what this stuff did for my lips. I liked the smooth Vaseline texture. But then I had two problems. One was the flavor (yep, just like Nivea and Hawaiian Tropic), but the other is that after a couple of days using it, I started to break out around my mouth. Thus, I haven't used this one in a very long time.

Aromatic Spa. I got this for free at a hotel back in 2011. I love, love, love this chap stick. Here's the problem: I got it at a hotel back in 2011. I will not drive to Park City to buy this stuff. I won't do it. In desperation, I have used my nail to scrape the remnants out of this chap stick. Seriously. Look.

What? I wanted to make it last for as long as possible. Now, I will mention that the flavor of this was not great. It has a hint of peppermint, and is made with essential oils. I think the "therapy" aspect of it made it tolerable. I only used it before sleeping, and my lips always felt great the next morning.

Strawberry lip balm. I purchased a set of two lip balms out of desperation, hoping that these might work. I got them at the Dollar Tree. And if you know Dollar Tree, you know their stock is pretty inconsistent. So chances are, I will never be able to buy this stuff again. Too bad, because I really like it. It makes my lips feel better, and I don't need to use it. I have a small complaint about the almost too-natural strawberry scent of it. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's not bad enough for me to stop using, though. I will until it's gone. The size isn't pocket-worthy on this one either. Finally, I have to use my pinky nail to dig this stuff out. I prefer a stick that I can glide on. All of this can be overlooked due to its performance so far.

I purchased the Perfect Peppermint lip balm a few nights ago because it was included in a 5 for $5 special at Ulta. I like the flavor; mint is always good. It does have a strange aftertaste/aroma about it. It's kind of like some other scent, like a lotion fragrance. I like the application of it. It hasn't dried my lips out or made me need more of it. It isn't made primarily from natural ingredients, but so far, it's pretty good. It has a seasonal design, which isn't ideal. But I'll probably use it until it's gone.

After all of these strikeouts, you should probably be informed as to how I'm measuring these. This is my favorite chap stick in the entire world.

That's right. I picked this bad boy up at Big! Lots a few years ago (like, in 2010), for $1. I went back shortly thereafter and bought 2-3 more because I loved it so much. Naturally, it hasn't been back at the store since, and I have since used all of my beloved Maui Mike's Pina Colada lip balm. If I had known the repeated chap stick failures that lay before me at the time, I probably would've bought many more. I had no idea the journey to find a decent lip balm would be so treacherous. 

Since this one set the bar so high, let's make a list of its qualities: the qualities of a perfect lip balm. 

My perfect lip balm:

1. Glides on smooth
2. Has a good flavor, without an aftertaste
3. Has SPF
4. Can slip into my pocket; small in size
5. Moisturizes my lips as a permanent fix, without making me need more
6. Inexpensive
7. Natural ingredients like Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, and bees' wax
8. Stick form (not having to use finger or nail to get it out)

And this, my friends, is why I've put this obscure chap stick on my Amazon wish list. I am secretly hoping to get several of them for Christmas this year. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

So You Think You Can Dance

So I have this love in my life. It's called "So You Think You Can Dance." It's on Fox. It is my favorite. Seriously. I don't watch a lot of TV shows. I don't like feeling obligated to finish things. Because then I have to. And I don't like when enjoyable things turn into things I have to do. Which is what happens with TV shows for me.

Anyway, I had my cool friends Kristen and Julie record my show on their DVR this past season. I seriously feel like I cannot live without it. I look forward to it every year, and when it's on I look forward to it every week!

Kristen decided to text-message the surprise to me yesterday morning: she would be taking me to see the LIVE SHOW. Fortunately, I had no other obligations for Friday night. She already bought the tickets. And she said, "Happy early birthday!" Three months too early, but for real? No complaints when it comes to this.

My mom and grandma wondered what my #sytycd business was all about on Instagram. So in all my excitement, I decided that I would just show them why I love the show. No matter who I am talking to about the show, I can't seem to avoid showing them all my favorite dances. I did it to Kristen. I've probably done it to you, too, if you're reading this.

If not, I'm about to. Here are some of my favorite dances from the show.

1. Mia Michaels' Addiction Dance

This one is so emotional for me no matter how many times I watch it. Kupono plays the demon, or the addiction itself. You can see how he weaves his way into her life. She becomes dependent on him. And he wraps his darkness around her. It's just beautiful and emotional, and hits really close to home.

2. Twilex Get Outta Yo' Mind

This one is even more impressive knowing that Alex is a danseur who is impressively keeping up with a professional hip-hop dancer. For real? It is amazing.

3. Bleeding Love

I am pretty sure Nappytabs can do no wrong. This one is both fun to watch and also emotional at the same time. Lyrical hip-hop is great. End of story.

4. Mia Michaels' Mercy

This one is just really clever and entertaining. I never get tired of it.

5. Mia Michaels' Cancer Piece

I love that Mia isn't afraid to do personal pieces. She does such beautiful choreography.

6. Mia Michaels' Around You

I've loved this dance since the moment it happened. I think it is extremely emotional but also insanely sexy. I loved Lacey and Kameron's chemistry. The music is bomb, too. (Favorite moment at 1:30)

7. Mia Michaels' Hometown Glory

To be honest I had forgotten about this one until just now. But the assisted running at around 1:12 is AMAZING. Classic moment on the show.

8. Travis Wall's Wicked Game

This is from this season, where Travis Wall repeatedly ripped my heart into pieces. The man is brilliant, and this is beautiful.

9. Joshua and Katee Bollywood

First Bollywood routine on the show. Best Bollywood routine on the show ever, in all the seasons. So good.

10. Fik-Shun Solo

Not because this is one of my favorite dances, but because he's probably the one I am most excited to see tomorrow. This kid is so talented, and such a hard worker. Such a good attitude. You can't help but love him.

It's hard because I've been watching it for so long that I am sure there are SO many amazing dances that I was "wowed" by a long time ago but cannot remember now. I have loved so many dancers, and so much choreography. Some of my favorite choreographers are Sonya Tayeh, Napoleon and Tabitha, Mia Michaels (could you tell?), Mandy Moore, and Travis Wall. They've done so many pieces that have moved me in one way or another. This season didn't disappoint.

I am so excited to go tomorrow! Thanks, Kristen!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunshine Award

I have one of those chicken or the egg questions for you. Did I stop blogging because I thought no one read my blog? Or does no one read my blog because I never write on it? Really, I think about blogging all the time. I even have a notepad on my phone full of blog topics and ideas. I just never sit down and actually do it.

So you can only imagine my surprise when the awesome Danakin Skywalker nominated me for the Sunshine Award today. I read her blogs regularly, and was just going through her post this morning, and saw a link to my blog on her blog post. What the? I was so surprised and had to reread to figure out why I was being mentioned. So this was a day maker, ego boost, whatever you want to call it. Thanks, Danica!

This award is "to notice and encourage positivity and sunshine on the Internet." I never have considered myself to be an especially sunny person. Especially when one of my first thoughts on the road this morning was, "Wow. The only thing worse than a PT Cruiser is a PT Cruiser with flames painted on it." (No offense to any of you PT fans.) Nevertheless, I humbly accept the nomination as a reason for me to write a blog.

Here are The Rules:

1.  Include award logo in a post or on your blog.
2.  Link to the person who nominated you
3.  Answer 10 questions about yourself that the person who nominated you asks.
4.  Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award. (make sure to link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know you have nominated them)

So here are Danica's thought-provoking questions (including a Harry Potter one which excites me because look what I bought just barely):
  1. If you could only listen to one band/musical artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?
    Ah geez. I'm trying to think of someone who makes me happy no matter when or how often I hear them. I think Death Cab for Cutie is in the running. They make me feel so many feelings! Joshua Radin makes me happy. Ingrid Michaelson is good for singing along. Imogen Heap is so creative and unique. So there that is. I'll go with DCFC, Danica, but this question is just cruel. Thankfully, I'll never have to choose!
  2. Which Harry Potter character are you and why?
    I don't think it will surprise anyone when I say Hermione Granger. Stinky little know-it-all. I totally was like that in school. However, (don't mind if I pat myself on the back here) she is also incredibly thoughtful and cares deeply about her friends. She's very prepared, organized, and studious. I fancy myself a holder of these qualities.
  3. What winter fashion trend are you going to be trying this season?
    I'm trying infinity scarves. I bought one at Wal-Mart, and one at Payless Shoe Source in the past couple of weeks (don't judge me). I've never been into fashion like I wish I could be (I'll find my millionaire one day). But honestly, reading Danica's blog in the past year has inspired me to make more of an effort. So I've been stocking up on scarves. I bought my first boots and first skinny jeans last December and have loved wearing them. I feel much more attractive when I make an effort.
  4. Who was your best k-12 teacher? What made them great?
    Oh man, this one is hard. I had so many good teachers, and that's why I became one. I had Mrs. Whittington for 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade. Sadly, she passed on from cancer, but I loved her for how fair she was. She was good at acknowledging and praising my abilities without setting me apart (take note, Colonel Graff). Mr. Guggino was awesome for his passion about all things nerdy, especially Shakespeare. He had great rapport with us and was more like a friend. Mrs. Wilcox was a fantastic grammarian with amazing dry humor. Dr. Davis was my 5th grade teacher, and he pushed me harder than I ever wanted to be pushed. He gave me special permissions and had me do projects because I would get so far ahead of the other kids. He was hilarious and so fun. I could go on and on, but those four came first in my head.
  5. Favorite secret/unknown/under-the radar restaurant in Utah?
    I don't know how under-the-radar Red Ginger Bistro is. They have 1/2 off sushi all the time, and it is my fave. (Please note: don't expect awesome service at Red Ginger.) I also happen to love Johanna's in Sandy. Their scones? It's become a problem. I'll leave it at that.
  6. What awesome holiday tradition should I be starting with my fuzzy little family this year?
    My mom always buys our dogs bones for Christmas. We also open up a present on Christmas eve. I also do a lot of Christmas baking. Take your pick.
  7. Do you have an inspirational quote or saying you look to when things get tough? Share please.
    I love a lot of quotes.
    - When I feel like I am just bombing a workout, I like to tell myself, "You're lapping everyone on the couch."
    - When I'm feeling ugly or inadequate physically, "Love your body for what it can do instead of what it looks like."
    - When I'm feeling negative or like bad things are happening, "If it wasn't this, it would be something else."
    - I also like, "You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it."
    - And for my job, "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."
    For real, I could go on and on and on...
  8. What phrase should I be using to shut up the people asking me when I’m gonna “pop out a baby”?
    I'm sure any of your responses would be much cleverer than mine. Tell them, "When I grow a hole big enough to do so." That's bound to offend someone.
  9. What are you going to ask Santa for for Christmas?
    All I want is workout gear, seriously. Just workout clothes. New running shoes. OK, maybe a couple of movies. And some vinyl records. But I'd be happy with just workout clothes. Did everyone get that? Mom? Workout. clothes.
  10. What is something your readers don’t know about you?
    I'm in a long distance relationship. But it's soon to be short-distance! Yay! 

OK, my 10 nominees are:

  1. Rachel, for her always amazing use of .gifs that will unquestionably make me laugh. 
  2. Camille, because she posts so regularly, and her energy is always through the roof. Her zest for life is awesome. 
  3. Whitney Wilson, because she cracks me up, but I also love how open she is about her life. 
  4. Bri, because her kids are so dang cute. That's the same thing as sunshine, right? 
  5. Ashlee, because she is so good about finding joy in the small things. Her insight to parenthood means the world to me. 
  6. Larissa, because she writes about a variety of topics in a way that's open and thoughtful and positive. 
  7. Aunt Lisa, because she seeks to provide encouragement and inspiration on her blog and off. 
  8. Eileen, because her cynicism and snark make me smile. 
  9. Whitney Ingram, because she is a real, funny, cool mom, and I like her blog. 
  10. Melea, not that I know her or think she'll do this blog post but because she posts deals and freebies every day, and deals and freebies make me super happy!

My 10 questions for you ladies are:
  1. What movie can you watch repeatedly and not get sick of?
  2. What shampoo and conditioner do you use?
  3. Name 3 pet peeves (make 'em good. What makes you want to say curse words?).
  4. What's your favorite way to stay fit or favorite type of exercise? 
  5. What personality trait do you wish you had (or had more of)?
  6. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
  7. What is your favorite food (one that you wish had no calories)? 
  8. What job would you love to do if you could? 
  9. What is your favorite instrument to listen to? 
  10. Tell me your favorite joke. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Encounter

I went to the Big Ass Show on Saturday with a couple of awesome friends (Eileen and Whitney).

We saw
- Dear Hunter
- Family of the Year
- Pepper
- Capital Cities
- Blue October
- The Airborne Toxic Event
- Panic! at the Disco

It was loads of fun. Pepper and Family of the Year were good to dance to. The Panic singer was both funny and horribly cocky and un-funny at the same time.

And while this day was great, this is all beside the point. Why? Because I was wearing this:

I figured we would be outside, in 90 plus degree weather. It's a concert. Why wouldn't I wear a tank and shorts? I normally try to strike a balance. For example, if I'm wearing pants, I am OK wearing a tank. If I'm wearing shorts, I try to have short sleeves at the very least. But today I made an exception.

After Whitney left, Eileen and her friend went to the meet and greet for Panic! While I sat and waited for them, a former student came walking up to me.

Student: Hello.
Me: WTF OMG oh no why are you saying hi to me please go away Hi. How are you?
Student: Good.
Me: I saw you on my roll this week, but you weren't in class, how come?
Student: I go to a different school now.
Me: Oh, well you should let Jefferson know so they can take you off their rolls. How was your summer?
Student: Good.
Me: This is the most ridiculous "conversation" ever. Why did you even come up to me? ...
Student: *walks away*
Me: Bye, (student).

Oh yeah. Remember that time I was wearing about half as much as I usually wear to work, and a former student came up to me and said hello at a concert? Why do these things happen? Why?

God further reinforced my punishment for dressing scandalously by blessing us with a vicious rainstorm.

Got it, Daddy-O. I won't wear a tank top and shorts in public anymore.

Friday, August 23, 2013



So last August, I had these pretty intense pains. They felt like gas pains. But it lasted for a long time, and it hurt to move my legs and to walk. It wasn’t enough for me to feel like I needed to do anything about it.

The same thing happened in October, much worse than in August. I was in the middle of a workout, doing sit-ups, actually, when I started hurting. It was bad, but I was determined to finish my workout. Then suddenly, the pain came in sharp spurts. It was excruciating. I cried mixed with quiet screams—the inhaling, confused, panicked kind. I didn’t know what was happening. I folded up into fetal position on my living room floor, unable to move because any small movement sent pains shooting through me.

A less extreme version happened in December.

Then it happened a few weeks later in January. In the shower, I was extremely light headed and felt those familiar gas pains. I knew something was wrong since I felt like I was going to pass out. I continued to get ready for work and again was struck with pains so bad that I dropped to the floor. I lay there, unable to move, for several minutes. I eventually crawled over to my then-roommate’s room and knocked on her door. She felt so bad. The worst of the pain passed, and I went to work.

After calling urgent care and talking with my parents, and after the pain hadn’t gone away the next day, I had my roommate take me to emergency. I packed a bag just in case.

They did an ultrasound (two, actually) and diagnosed me with at least two hemorrhagic ovarian cysts. They told me to follow up with an OB/GYN.

I did, and he put me on birth control. I hadn’t had another incident for 6 months.

So one day, those same “gas pains” started to come around again. The pains were not sharp, shooting, or incapacitating like a couple of the other incidences. I decided around 11 AM or so to go on a run. About a quarter mile in, I started to feel much worse. I couldn’t even run. I had to keep stopping to walk. Granted, it had been a little while since my last run, but I hadn’t completely fallen out of shape. I figured I would run through it and it would go away. No such luck.

I texted Kristen when I was about a mile away from home, telling her that I was in enough pain that if she were home, I’d ask her to come get me. She knew that was a bad sign, so she texted someone to come get me. By that time, I had already made it home.

That day I started to balloon up really huge. Four months pregnant huge. I took it easy on the couch because every little movement was hurting me. If I stayed still, I was fine. I made the mistake of texting pictures of my bloated belly to my mom. She freaked out and begged me to go to emergency.

I told her that I knew it was a cyst problem. I promised that if it wasn’t better in the morning, I’d go to emergency. I didn’t get much sleep on Saturday night because of my bloating. I was up at 6 AM on Sunday, July 7 and unable to go back to sleep. My roommate went with me to emergency.

They did another ultrasound and the doctor ordered a CT scan just to be certain because of where the pain was hitting when he pushed on areas of my belly.

Thousands of dollars later, they confirmed that I had an 8 cm cyst—“the size of an orange,” they told me. They couldn’t figure out which side it was on—the ultrasound technician was very confused.

I got a follow up appointment on Wednesday with my OB/GYN. I showed up with my mom and grandma only to find out that my doctor was out with family issues, and they scheduled my appointment for the PAST Wednesday. “Hi, can I have an appointment for three days ago? I have a time-traveling Delorean.” Idiots.

So I called a doctor that the emergency room physician recommended. Best thing that could have happened.

The doctor wanted to see me on Friday the 12th. She explained my options. She told me that the fact that I had gone five days with no pain or bloating was a good sign. I decided to wait three weeks and get an ultrasound to see if it had shrunk. If it hadn’t, we would operate before I went back to school. I felt good about this option.

Then two days later, I started feeling a lot of pain again. Throughout that week, it became painful to urinate. I had to lift up my belly to take pressure off my bladder. It was a stinging pain right at the start of my peeing that caused me to shout out, “(expletives removed for consideration of the audience)!” This happened repeatedly. I was very uncomfortable. It seemed to be lodged on the left side right by my hip. It hurt my back as well. I just was not in good shape. I had no appetite, and was having other bathroom issues. So I called on Thursday and received no call back until Friday. They said they would get me in on Monday the 22nd.

I went in first thing in the morning and had explained my discomfort during the previous week. The doctor said she usually does surgery on Thursday but didn’t want to make me wait, so she asked what I had eaten and when. She would operate that day.

I was not expecting that. I had eaten yogurt and berries.

I went downstairs and registered for surgery and got everything squared away. I went home and passed time without food OR WATER until 3 in the afternoon when I had to report back to the hospital. I didn’t pack anything because the procedure is only 30 minutes to 1 hour tops, and the doctor expected I would go home that night.

It ended up that they didn’t even take me back for surgery until around 7 PM. It also ended up that the surgery took over 2 hours for my doctor to complete.

She found endometriosis and removed as much as she could. She discovered that it was an endometrioma cyst. The fluid inside was thick and goopy, and the cyst had grown.

I couldn’t stand up, and I couldn’t go to the bathroom. It was a rough night. I wasn’t going to be discharged because I couldn’t do those basic things and was a serious mess.

The next few days were a whirlwind of no sleep and intense pain—worse pain than anyone had prepared me for. The gas they pump into the midsection during surgery was pressing on the phrenic nerve, causing intense pain in my shoulder. I managed to go pee twice that night, under threat of a catheter.

Guys, I can deal with a lot of pain. I refuse to take pain pills most of the time. The doctor was amazed that I could even pee, and she said anyone else in my situation wouldn’t have made it as long as I had tolerated it.

This shoulder pain was worse than anything I’ve ever experienced.

It made it so that I couldn’t recline even a little bit. I had to sleep sitting up. If I leaned back slightly, my shoulder killed.

Let me explain “killed.” It felt like somebody was stabbing my shoulder from the inside with a dagger. The pain would come so suddenly and so intensely that I involuntarily screamed—screamed like someone really was stabbing me. I don’t mean I cried quietly. I mean I screamed bloody murder. That was my body’s natural response; I had no choice. Then when I would tense up from the pain and crying, it made the pain worse, so I had to scream even more. I hadn’t anticipated pain and discomfort worse than my previous cyst ruptures, but this really was much worse than anything I’ve had since last August. I asked my home teachers to come give me a blessing, and they did.

The nurses said the only thing that gets the gas out of the diaphragm is to walk around. So I walked and I walked. Besides the gas in my diaphragm, another doctor said she didn’t want to release me until I passed gas. So I walked, and I walked. I was given stool softener. I drank prune juice. I tried everything. I tried yoga poses for gastrointestinal health. I didn't want to stay another stupid night in the hospital. I wanted to go home on Tuesday.

Finally, at 11 PM, I managed to do what the doctor demanded. I rejoiced. (Never has anyone been so excited to fart, I’m sure). But at that point, it was too late for me to want to go home. So we stayed a second night (mom stayed too) and went home on Wednesday morning—walked out just fine.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday night sitting up sleeping. Thursday was pretty bad for nausea, but I hadn’t taken many pain pills at all and was feeling good.

Friday I walked two miles on the treadmill and did a few minutes on the stationary bike. I slept a normal, horizontal night.

So that’s my story. Endometriosis and cysts are awful. Hopefully birth control prevents more ovarian cysts and keeps the endometriosis from getting worse. Besides absolutely shattering my fitness and endurance, I am feeling much better. One out of three incision scars looks bad, which I probably shouldn’t complain about. My doctor is amazing. I was so blessed to find her and to have been referred to her. I am grateful for my mom and grandma and amazing friends and home teachers for taking such good care of me.

I’m on the road back to cyst-free fitness. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

East Coast: Round 2

On July 31… 

-P picked me up at the Baltimore airport, and we went straight to breakfast.
-P had heard about this restaurant on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives that he wanted to try.
-So we went to Blue Moon Café. It was amazing.
-I had the country scramble (biscuit topped with eggs, bacon, cheese, and sausage gravy) with hash browns.
P had the Captain Crunch French toast. I had a few bites. It was basically like eating dessert for breakfast. He said it was “too much of a good thing" and got tired of it.

-We were able to check into the Best Western early and leave our stuff.
-We headed to Fort McHenry where we spent several hours walking through the museum, around the perimeter of the building, into the little underground areas, and through the barracks and other rooms. It was really interesting to learn about the huge flag (30’ x 42’) sewn by Mary Pickersgill.

-We drove to look around at some restaurants in an area. There was a little pub and also a Jimmy John’s, which P was surprised to see. Naturally, we ate at Jimmy John’s. This was my second time there. Still wasn’t amazed by it. I could make a better sandwich at home. Still... Full belly = happy Janae.
-We went into Harris Teeter, a grocery store, to get some snacks and water for the next day. We ended up with a bag of mini Snickers, a bag of kettle cooked BBQ chips, granola bars, Haribo gummy bears, and a huge case of water bottles. I also got a Coke Zero. Don’t judge us.
-We went to Edgar Allan Poe’s house, which isn’t open until October, and took a couple of pictures.

-We drove to Westminster Hall where Poe is buried, but it was closed.
-We drove back to the hotel and got changed into our bathing suits.
-We went to the Jacuzzi for about a half hour or more.
-We went back to the hotel room and stayed in just watching some videos and stuff.
-We woke up the next morning and had free breakfast at the hotel.
-We headed to the Metro station at Greenbelt and rode that into Washington, DC.

In DC on August 1… 

-We exited at the Archives. We walked through and looked at the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, along with the museums inside.
-We went to Ford’s Theater and then across the street to the house in which Lincoln died.

-We learned that none of the above is original.
-We took the Metro down to the Smithsonian stop and got tickets for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
-We walked back down to the Smithsonian Museum of American History and walked around for a little bit. It was neat. There was an old colonial house and some cool old objects, but the displays we really wanted to see were closed.
-We walked back down to the money-making place and took the tour at 5:30.
-We rested for a few minutes afterward because I was getting grouchy. P responded by getting me some Famous Amos cookies because I told him they are my favorite. He is the sweetest.
-We headed back to the Metro station and rode it to Arlington.
-We walked really fast to watch the changing of guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We were both very sweaty.
-We watched the ceremony, but it closed at 7, so we walked right back out.
-We went back to the Metro and rode a few different tracks back to Greenbelt.
-We got to the car around 8:15 or so and decided to eat at TGI Friday’s. It was crazy in there. It was packed. The bartender was yelling into a microphone, and there was music and dancing. Also, we were the minority. It was an interesting experience.
-It took an hour and 20 minutes to drive home, so we made it by 11:40 PM.

In Elkton on August 2…

-We slept in.
-P made breakfast—I only wanted eggs and toast.
-TV repair guys came.
-P got me hooked up with his wireless, showered, and left for work.
-I wrote 3 articles and uploaded pictures to Facebook.
-I got ready, and P came to pick me up after work.
-We went to Macaroni Grill.
-We saw The Way Way Back.
-We went to Rita’s for custard afterward.

In Elkton on August 3…

-I went with P to work, but I drove his car home so I could have it.
-I got some donuts from Dunkin Donuts.
-I wrote some articles.
-I exercised (two round of the 15 minute exercise I like to use).
-I made a list and went to the Dollar Tree where I got miscellaneous things including some round cake pans for P, per his request.
-I went to Wal-Mart. It was insane. I picked up things to make German chocolate cake from scratch, and dinner for Sunday.
-I wasted time on the computer.
-I went and picked P up from work.
-We went into Boston Market, but I didn’t want anything from there. They don’t have ham anymore. What the?
-We ate at Friendly’s instead, and we shared a sundae.

In Elkton on August 4… 

-We woke up pretty late because P has late church.
-We made three round German Chocolate cakes from scratch.
-We made the frosting.

-We went to church, and we left after Sunday School.
-P made dinner: smoked chicken with lemon and rosemary, roasted red potatoes, and broccoli. It was delicious.

-We went on a walk through his complex and down a road. The area is so beautiful with all the trees.
-We watched Before Sunset.

On August 5… 

-We woke up at 5 AM to catch a bus to NYC.
-We found the parking lot by chance, thank goodness.
-We rode the 2.5 hours to NYC. I slept half of the way there.
-We ate at Panera for breakfast in NYC.
-We walked to the subway and took it downtown.
-We went through the 9/11 Memorial.

-We walked down to Battery Park.
-We went and got on the free ferry to Staten Island. We saw the Statue of Liberty on the ride.

-We walked around there a little bit.
-We got some delicious pastries from Au Bon Pain.
-We walked to the subway, found out we had to buy tickets at a different station, walked all the way back to the other one, then walked to the one we needed again.
-We rode the subway uptown to the Met.
-We walked around the Met for an hour and a half or so. It was awesome. We saw the Rome and Egypt exhibits, the arms and armor, some European art, Medieval art, and Byzantine art.
-We walked to the subway and got some pizza on our way there.
-We took the subway down to the place we thought the bus was going to pick us up. We should’ve checked our tickets because we went to the wrong stop, and had 5 minutes until the bus was supposed to arrive. We ended up having to run from 7th and 28th to 11th and 34th. Probably the worst 15 minutes of our lives. Turned out that our bus was late, so we ran and almost died for no reason. The bus arrived an hour and 20 minutes late. We could’ve seen more of the Met.
-We took the bus home, and we played Words With Friends on the whole drive. He won the first game, and we didn’t finish the second game till we got home. I won. That means we had to play a third game to get best out of three.
-Also P got us lost on the way home by taking a wrong turn. He wasn’t using Siri for directions. That’s what happens.
-P had a really bad heat rash on his legs, a horrible headache, sore shoulders, and was generally in a lot of pain. So he took a Lortab and some ibuprofen. He fell out of his bed. I died laughing. I’m still laughing today.

On August 6… 

-After spending the whole day walking, we were super sore and tired.
-We had cream of wheat for breakfast. I had berries and bananas and peanut butter in mine. P had brown sugar in his.
-We got ready and drove to the movie theater. We paid $19 for two matinee movie tickets! $19!!!! Ugh. And $7.50 for a bucket of popcorn. Concession prices are outrageous.
-We saw Wolverine. It was all kinds of fun. Still thinking about Hugh Jackman’s veins…
-We drove home. P had a bowl of cereal, and like 30 minutes later I decided I was hungry.
-So we had leftover smoked chicken, made some pasta and pesto sauce, and a spinach salad.
-Then we went to Wawa gas station where I got a chocolate caramel frozen drink, and we both got some snacks.
-We came back home and watched random videos on YouTube.
-Then we watched The Raven on Netflix. We also started to watch Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, but P fell asleep. I had already seen it anyway.

On August 7… 

-I made us some cinnamon apple oatmeal. It was a total disaster. Don’t use green apples to make cinnamon apples. Seriously. Gross stuff.
-We drove to Philadelphia. It was awesome. I love that city.
-We ate Chinese food.
-The Graff House was closed :(
-We went to the Christ Church Burial Ground where Ben Franklin is buried along with four other signers of the Declaration.
-We saw Independence Hall again.
-We went through Congress Hall.
-We saw Carpenters’ Hall.
-We saw some old houses: The Todd house, the Powel house, the Bishop White House, and the Physick House. They were all closed. No tours for us. :(
-We went to the Vietnam Memorial and walked around the port near the water.
-We tried to see Franklin Court where his house once stood, but it was closed. I guess they’re renovating it or something.
-We went into the print shop which was pretty neat.
-We went into the post office too.
-I got some soft serve at Dairy Queen. P got a blizzard. We had to use the restroom, so we needed to be customers. It was really too bad because we all know how much I hate ice cream. ;)
-We walked back to the car and drove home.
-We cleaned up a little bit.
-We went to Cracker Barrel for dinner.

On August 8…

-We slept in. I packed up and finished some laundry.
-We both showered and got ready.
-We had a small bowl of cereal and half a banana.
-We drove to Baltimore to eat at Blue Moon Café again. I had a BLT, and P had red velvet pancakes.
-We drove to the cemetery where Poe is buried. There were some creepy things there. Poor sunken, tilted, faded headstones.

-I got approximately 11 bites on my legs thanks to the swampy nature of the graveyard.
-From there, we drove to the airport and said goodbye.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Things That...

Things that make me say the F word...

Utah drivers...

Extreme weather...

And seeing this in my bathroom at 2:30 in the morning...

Things that make me want a husband... 

Hanging up light fixtures

Hanging up mirrors (perfectly level on BOTH of these jobs, by the way)


Killing spiders at 2:30 AM.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DC, Philly, NYC, and Olive Juice

Well we all know that I function by lists, and this is the best way I could recount everything.

So I went to Maryland to visit an amazing guy who shall henceforward be known as He, Him, His, or whatever other male pronouns or terms of affection seem fitting. (*Editor's note: I had to remove all pictures of him as well. Sorry to disappoint.) This list will give a brief overview of (almost) everything we did together because let's be honest, you probably don't want to know everything

Thursday 6/13
·         I got picked up at Philadelphia airport with an awkward side hug
·         Drove home arm in arm
·         Stopped at TGI Friday’s where I had chicken fingers and he had chicken and shrimp with Jack Daniel’s sauce
·         Took a nap
·         Went grocery shopping

Friday 6/14
·         Woke up late
·         Went to see Man of Steel
·         We visited the indoor farmers’ market
·         He made dinner of chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and rice
·         We went to Bruster’s ice cream

Saturday 6/15
·         He went to work
·         I slept in
·         I did laundry, made his bed, did dishes, and cleaned his stove
·         I had an OK workout of running 1 mile and three rounds of an at-home workout I like to use
·         He came home, packed, and we left for Washington DC with snacks in tow
·         We got to the hotel
·         I researched places to eat
·         He ironed
·         We went walking around the city thinking we’d easily find restaurants. We didn’t.
·         We finally ended up at a sushi place
·         We walked home but stopped at CVS for dessert and sunblock
·         We changed clothes
·         We left the hotel around 10:30 PM to see the monuments at night
·         We saw the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, the Abraham Lincoln memorial, and some others

Sunday 6/16
·         We woke up
·         We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant
·         We drove to the Holocaust Memorial Museum to see where it was
·         We drove to church
·         We drove back from church to get tickets for the Museum later
·         We drove back to church and sat through sacrament. The talks were about personal worthiness. They were awesome.
·         We returned to DC and had a hard time finding parking. He got mad and stressed. I shut down because I felt like it was my fault.
·         We missed our window for the Museum, but they let us in anyway.
·         We took our time through the museum.
·         We wandered around DC trying to decide if there was anything else we wanted to see.
·         We ate from a hot dog stand. He also got a pretzel.
·         We made mac and cheese and watched Before Sunrise

Monday 6/17
·         We woke up late, starting the day slowly
·         We at lunch at Friendly’s. He built a burger. I got a club sandwich. 
·         We got to Philadelphia around 3 or 3:30
·         We saw cool things like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, various libraries, an old bank, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, this really cute alley, and more
·         We left around 7 PM
·         We stopped and got Indian food

Tuesday 6/18
·         We woke up really, really early but left a little late
·         We left late because his right eyelid started to freak out and get swollen
·         We drove to Wilmington and parked
·         We got on a really tardy Chinese bus to New York City
·         We got to NYC around 10:30 AM.
·         We got Dunkin’ Donuts
·         We saw cool things like the New York Public Library, Bryant Park, Rockfeller Plaza where we had an interesting encounter with an older gentleman, several cathedrals, Central Park where we watched a very entertaining group perform and ate hot dogs from a stand again, saw Strawberry Fields (John Lennon memorial), went to the Late Show with David Letterman, got a shake at Steak ‘N Shake, saw Grand Central Station, the Empire State building and Times Square. We also ate pizza at a casual little place. And got dessert at another place.
·         We got on the bus around 10 PM and got back to Wilmington at 12:30 AM

Wednesday 6/19
·         We discovered that my flights were canceled and had to buy another flight
·         We went to Wal-Mart for groceries and beach towels
·         I made him a sandwich, and he had to go to work
·         I did laundry and wrote 4 articles
·         I went on a walk and bought junk food
·         I went on a 4 mile run
·         I made a German chocolate cake
·         I watched Arrested Development
·         I wrote him a letter for when he got home from work
·         I went to bed

Thursday 6/20
·         I woke up late
·         I wrote an article while he slept
·         We wasted time watching videos and such
·         I had a brief workout (Jillian Michaels, after running a mile)
·         He made us German pancakes for breakfast with buttermilk syrup
·         We went to the pool for a while
·         We took pictures on my laptop on PhotoBooth
·         He wrote an important letter
·         We ate a quick salad while he stressed about a dental bill
·         We saw Star Trek Into Darkness in Wilmington
·         We had a hard time choosing a restaurant and navigating, and we had some miscommunications and came home without eating dinner
·         We came home in silence
·         I made him an egg salad sandwich for work the next day
·         We talked everything out and were OK again
·         We ate cake for dinner

Friday 6/21
·         He had to work early that morning
·         His training was canceled so he came home early
·         We saw a matinee of World War Z
·         We ate at Red Robin after
·         We wasted time together and watched Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
·         We went to Friendly’s for dessert
·         We came home, and I packed
·         We went to sleep

Saturday 6/22
·         We got up really early and drove to the Baltimore airport
·         I landed in Phoenix and ate breakfast there
·         I landed at 12:40 PM.
·         Kristen picked me up.
·         I did various things around the apartment and wrote 5 articles.
·         I went grocery shopping
·         I went solo to see 42 at the dollar theater
·         The moon was awesome

So that was my vacation. Here's a list of what I've been doing the past few days, besides missing him.

Sunday 6/23
·         I wrote an email to him
·         I got ready for church and went to church
·         I went to the mingle after church
·         I came home and wasted lots of time doing I don’t know what

Monday 6/24
·         Common Core training
·         Gym
·         Write 2 articles
·         Eat and shower
·         Go to FHE with Kristen
·         Visit teach Terra and Brandy

Tuesday 6/25
·         Common Core training
·         Gym
·         Write 1 article
·         Shower
·         Visit teach Kelsey
·         Come home and search for good recipes for dinner
·         Realize Dr. Pepper leaked all over the fridge and take out all the shelves to clean them off
·         Ate chicken
·         Wrote another article
·         I ate brown rice and spinach
·         I read through and compiled texts for my class tomorrow

Wednesday 6/26
·         Common Core Training
·         Gym
·         Wrote 2 articles
·         Writing this blog
·         Going to eat dinner and shower
·         Going to catch up on So You Think You Can Dance, hopefully