Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weekly Reads, Vol. 33

Three weeks from today, I'm supposed to do a 70-mile bike ride with a group of people from my work. There will be lots of stops along the way for beer and bacon treats (bacon is the theme of the ride), so it should be fun. 

But ... I haven't been on my bike since last summer. 

So as soon as I hit publish on this post, I'm taking Lucy (my bike) out on the trails for a little while.  We'll see how it goes.

After that, I'm going to bottle the double IPA I made with friends in April. It's finally done fermenting! A month later. When it was only supposed to ferment for a week.  We tasted it last night, and it's actually pretty good.

And, of course, I'm working at the brewery tonight.  That's kind of a given these days, right?

So, while I'm out on my busy Saturday, here are a few posts for you to read.

My friend, Meg, at Miles from Ordinary is currently navigating the dating world.  Her latest post talks about the lessons she's learned. The last paragraph is the best ... and the thing we should all remember.

Taylor at The Daily Tay shared her thoughts on the recent Hollywood Reporter cover featuring six female comedians Her take on it was spot-on.  Yay for the hyper girls!

Lately, I've lost a lot of motivation for my workouts. Kelly at Knowing Kelly provided some great reminders of all the benefits of exercising. I feel like I should print these out and hang it up.

Brownies are my favorite, but when I make a pan ... I'll eat the whole pan.  So I really liked this brownies for two idea from Amber at Bluebonnet Baker.

Friday, May 29, 2015

May fitness recap

I know the journey to getting in better shape is a slow and steady one.  And little goals along the way will help me reach my overall goal.  So I have fitness benchmarks I want to reach each month -- the first two are static and the third will be alternating.  I'll also be sharing my progress in terms of pounds/inches lost and one non-scale victory.

Sixteen workouts a month.  Grade = A
As long as I work out Saturday AND Sunday, I'll hit it.

BodyPump once a week.  Grade = F
I didn't go once in May. I either need to drop this goal or modify it. The ultimate goal is really more strength training in, so maybe I need to just say two strength workouts per week. I'll change that for next month.

Track my food each day on my WW app.  Grade = C
I've been OK about tracking this month, but I can definitely do better.

Pounds lost = -0 lbs. (this month) / -2 lbs. (overall)
I'm holding steady from last month, so I suppose that's a good thing.

Inches lost = I forgot to measure this week. One of these days, I'll remember to measure.

Non-scale victory = I went back to one of my favorite Zumba classes the other night for the first time in months. After the class, the instructor said to me, "You picked it right up like you've been here every week."  It was nice to hear that!


Last week's workouts
Friday: Off
Saturday:  Trail run or bike ride Off
Sunday: BodyPump + 1 mile on the treadmill Off
Monday: 2 miles on the trail

Tuesday: FitFusion - I went to Zumba instead because I knew I couldn't make it to the FitFusion class in time.
Wednesday: 3 miles on the trail - Yoga at home
Thursday: Barre + 10 minutes on the treadmill - 2.5 miles on the trail

I may have to rethink this sharing the week ahead thing if I'm going to change my mind so often.  Ha!

This week's workouts
Friday: Off.
Saturday:  Bike ride
Sunday: BodyPump + 1-mile run
Monday: Spinning + Weights 

Tuesday: FitFusion (One of my favorite Zumba instructors has decided to go a different direction with more hip hop and pop. It's still really fun!)
Wednesday: Weights 
Thursday: Barre + 2-mile run

I know that's a pretty ambitious schedule, but I've gotten so far out of routine, that I feel like I need to hit it hard.  And they're all things I want to do, so I think I'll be fine.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving ...

... that the Rangers are on a seven-game winning streak right now. And that they're at .500.  They've been fun to watch lately.
... that one of my online Rangers friends has been nice enough to share his account with me so I can actually watch the games. I used to subscribe every year, but my schedule this year is a little crazy and I decided I couldn't justify the expense. Thank goodness for nice people.

... the good times I had with friends over the weekend. I spent time with people who truly seem to have my back and be my cheerleaders.  It was rejuvenating.

... coffee.  So simple, yet so wonderful.

... the new Matt Nathanson song released yesterday. It has an awesome 70s groove feel to it.

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I actually had a weekend!

I've had two jobs for a year and three jobs for just over three months.  As you might imagine, two consecutive days off (what most people call a weekend) doesn't happen very often.  So when it does, I feel like I need to take advantage of it.

Friday, I got to leave work around 1 p.m.  After a quick stop at the grocery store, I settled in on my balcony to read and enjoy a beer.  It was perfect.

Then I had dinner with my friend, Ashley.  We try to get together monthly (though June is looking bleak) to catch up and actually spend time together.  We didn't take a picture, but I promise dinner and good conversation was had.

Saturday, I slept in a bit and then met my friends, Kris and Alicen for lunch and more good conversation.  Then I stopped at the library where I work for a farewell tea for one of the employees before heading to the brewery for my evening shift.  We had a new beer -- a cucumber basil saison -- so of course I had to try it.  I mean, that's just professional development, right?

Sunday, I had full intentions of cleaning out a closet or two and getting in a workout.  But ... instead I binge watched season one of "Everwood."  I mean, come on.  It's Chris Pratt, Gregory Smith (I had a huge crush on his character), and Emily VanCamp in solid family drama. Sarah Drew and Scott Wolf join the cast in later seasons, which I definitely purchased.

I also did some laundry and editing on one of my writing projects, so I suppose it wasn't a completely lazy day.

Yesterday, I went for a quick two-mile run on the trails in the morning.  It was humid and gross, but I was glad to get it in.  Then, Alicen and Kris came to Des Moines for their first Iowa Cubs game.  The home team lost, but it was an enjoyable afternoon at the ballpark, followed by some Zombie Burger.

All in all, it was a great weekend, and being at the ballpark just made me hungry for more fun this summer.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Music Monday: Babyface - "The Soldier Song"

Every year, as the end of May approaches, I see people post about Memorial Day, expressing their joy for a three-day weekend and the unofficial start of summer.  Then there are others who post their thanks to all military service professionals, even though the day is really meant for those who gave their lives in the line of duty.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things.  I'm not here to shame anyone for how they commemorate Memorial Day.  There's no point to it. And honestly, I feel like the men and women who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice would want us to be joyful about life and time with friends and family.  I also don't think any day is a bad day to thank those who have served this country.

So whether you head to a Memorial Day service to salute the fallen in your community, hit up the lake with the crew, or find a seat in a ballpark (which is what I'll be doing), don't be ashamed. You're doing Memorial Day your way.

All that said.  As I was searching for a song to post today, this one really struck me.

In my past life as a newspaper editor, I helped cover the passing and funeral of a young man who died in service of our country, Lance Cpl. Joshua Davis.  He was only 19. You can read more about his character and the way he went out here. We passed the fifth anniversary of his death a few weeks ago, and I can't believe it's been that long.  His story has continued to stay with me, and I think of him often this time of year.  I also plan to find a way to honor him when I do the Remembrance Run in September.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Weekly Reads, Vol. 32

32.  That number holds such a mix of emotions for me right now. 

It was the number worn by Josh Hamilton during his last stint with the Rangers. Presumably, he'll wear it again when he returns to the team.  And it's looking like he'll be back this week.  You can read more about my feelings on that here.

It's also a number I associate with Fred Hoiberg, as it's the number he wore when he played for the Iowa State Cyclones.  He's now the coach ... though for how long, it's hard to tell.  Sounds like he may have an opportunity to coach the Chicago Bulls, and I wouldn't blame him for making that jump though I would be very sad not not have him in Ames next year.  

I was also 32 the year my life was turned upside down. I was let go from two jobs in the span of seven months, events that continue to affect my confidence and financial situation.  Sigh.

Wow ... this got a bit deep and sad for a Saturday morning. 

Maybe I need more coffee. 

Or ... let's just get to this week's posts.

I have had some pretty unsatisfactory runs lately, so a post from Monica at Run, Eat, Repeat is very timely.  She shares suggestions for working through bad runs WHILE they're happening.  I'll need to keep those in mind.  I like the reward one a lot.

Desiree at Simply Sun Signs is currently offering a discount on chart readings.  I've already purchased mine, and I'm looking forward to receiving it.  I'll be sure to share some thoughts when it arrives.

Kristin at Kristin's kNook shared a recipe for maple donut muffins that has my mouth watering.  I must make these soon.

I value my alone time and I have often worried I'll have to give it up if I'm ever in a relationship.  People have often told me that with the right person, I won't want alone time.  I don't really agree with that. I think I'll still want some space.  Jess at Chaotic & Collected talked about why it's key to find alone time even in a marriage.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Run With the Police 5K recap

I have yet to feel prepared for one of my races this year.  But I also have yet to be disappointed with my finish.  Maybe because my only goal is to finish each race.  Sure, I'd like to see my pace get faster and feel good the entire run, but ... that takes some prep work I haven't yet put in.  So I still consider each race a victory because I sign up and I show up.  That has to count for something.

I've been looking forward to this race since the day I signed up.  I liked the cause (proceeds went to the Special Olympics), and I was really excited about the theme.

With all the headlines about police lately, I was glad to be a part of a community event that rallies around the police.  My "brother"-in-law (husband of a friend who is like a sister to me) is a police officer, so I have a sense of the dedication and hours he puts into his work.  He is a good cop and a good person.  And there are a lot more like him than unlike him, in my estimation.  It's important to remember that amidst all the current media frenzy and turmoil.

Saturday mornings in Downtown Des Moines are crazy.  The Farmer's Market is a huge draw, which means parking is at a premium.  I took this into account as I headed to the race start, which was just east of where the Farmer's Market was happening.  Fortunately, I found a spot a few blocks away and was able to walk to the police station (where the race was starting) in about five minutes.

When they were organizing the race, the police had been told to expect, at best, 250 participants for their first year. More than 1,000 showed up.  Law enforcement professionals wore blue shirts, and civilians wore orange.  Naturally, there were a few people in non-race shirts.  And there were even a few in full-on jailbird costumes --- black and white stripes, carrying bags of "money."  It was a festive and fun atmosphere.

It was also very humid.  When the race started, I jogged out at a good pace for the first three-quarters of a mile.  But then it got harder to breathe and I slowed down considerably.  There were a few times, I thought about stopping to walk, but I didn't want to.  I knew I would have a hard time running again if I did that.  So I powered through.  I was dripping by the time I crossed the finish line, where a police officer and Special Olympic athlete put my medal on me.

All things considered, I enjoyed the race, and I'm definitely going to keep it on my radar for next year.

My finish time benchmarks:
Good - 36:00 or above
Great - 34:01-35:59
Awesome - 34:00 or faster

My Garmin-official time was 35:08!

I started out really strong, but the humidity wore me down in a hurry. It probably didn't help much that I slacked off on my workouts in the two weeks prior to the race.  All this considered, I'm happy with my time ... and determined to be more prepared for the next race.  I feel like I'm on the verge of hitting that "AWESOME" mark.

As a music lover, my running playlists are very thoughtfully made, so after each race, I share the song or songs that really got me moving.  

Here was my power song for the day:


Last week's workouts
Friday: Off
Saturday: Run With the Police 5K
Sunday: Off
Monday: 1.5 miles on the trail + core work
Tuesday: 2 miles on the treadmill
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Yoga at home

Last week, I asked for help getting motivated and Kristin suggested I share my workout schedule for the week ahead as well. Holly does this, so maybe it'll work for me.

Last week's workouts
Friday: Off.
Saturday:  Trail run or bike ride
Sunday: BodyPump + 1 mile on the treadmill
Monday: Trail run or bike ride if the weather cooperates or the gym if the weather doesn't cooperate

Tuesday: FitFusion
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Barre

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Stickers for adults

I saw (and reposted) this on Facebook yesterday.  After I stopped chuckling, of course.

Aren't those awesome?

Being an adult is hard.  And it's full of things we don't want to do ... but have no choice.  Maybe getting stickers once in a while would help.

In addition to the ones above, here are a few more I thought of:

Yeah, the designs could use some work.  But these are rough drafts that I threw together in about half an hour.

Which ones would you add?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Friendship struggles

One certainty of adult life seems to be the changing of friendships.

This is a hard issue for me because I tend to get attached to people.  I let them in my life and I envision them staying there forever.  Unfortunately, that's rarely the case.  Very few people are meant to be lifelong buddies. And I often let people too far in before I realize that.

Over the past few years, I've had a lot of people leave my life.  The most painful are obviously the most memorable.  You know, the ones with the explosive, fight-filled endings.  But it's equally as sad when someone just kind of drifts away.  Sometimes your lives just shift and change enough that they don't really fit together anymore. 

Recently, I've been evaluating some of my friendships -- ones that have ended and ones that have simply changed.  Even though I would very much like to always blame the other person, I know that's not fair. I have some ownership in the deterioration of some of these bonds, and I have to accept that whether I want to or not.

I can identify two things about myself that tend to affect my relationships.

First of all are my expectations. I see friendships depicted on TV, in movies, and even all over the internet. I find myself comparing my own friendships to those to see how they measure up.  Worst thing to do, right?  And pretty unfair to my friends. I may not have a Tyra Collette to my Julie Taylor ("Friday Night Lights" reference) or even a bond like Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe (I've been watching a lot of "Friends").  I touched on this a few weeks ago with this post.  I have some amazing people in my life and I need to stop trying to hold them to standards that aren't realistic.  All I really need in a friend is trust, support, dependability, and good communication. Simple things that can be accomplished many ways.

Secondly, I also know I'm a very emotional person. Passionate might be a nicer way to say it. I feel things strongly -- the good and the bad.  I've gotten a little better at tempering how I release those emotions, but it's a battle. I realize that can be a lot to deal with. And even more difficult to understand.  Honestly though, I don't need people who understand me one hundred percent of the time. I just need someone who wants to understand me. I need my feelings to be acknowledged without any judgement, condescension, or mockery.

Truly, the biggest key for holding up my end of the friendship bargain is just self-awareness, which is something I'm always trying to work on.

What are your struggles in friendships?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Music Monday: Tim Stop - "When I Look At You"

If you follow me on other forms of social media, you know I went to a pretty great show last Thursday night.  I saw Tim Stop with a full band for the first time in four years.  I was introduced to his music (in 2009) with a full band, but probably 18 of the 25 shows I've been to have been just Tim.  It was awesome to see him backed by a guitarist, bassist, and drummer again.  It really takes his music to a different level.

I wish I could have gone to more than one show on this spring tour.  You don't know how tempted I've been to buy a ticket to his show this Thursday.  It's only two hours away and he's opening for Chicago.  Alas, I should probably be responsible and stay put.

YouTube vids like this one will have to do for now.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weekly Reads, Vol. 31

I apologize that the Weekly Reads post is a day late. I had full intentions of getting this post put together on Saturday morning before my race, but I slept later than planned so that didn't happen.  And I was gone the rest of the day -- race, a Barley's Angels event, and a shift at the brewery.  I got home a little after midnight and pretty much went straight to bed. 

No worries, though, I brought the round-up today.  Enjoy these posts from the last week.

Monica at Run, Eat, Repeat has been a great motivator in my running. She's real and funny, and this post about "The Top 10 Reasons Why Runners are Lazy" pretty much captured everything I love about her blog.

Sometimes I fall into these weird funks. Occasionally they're triggered by something. Other times they come out of nowhere.  I've always had a hard time describing this feeling, but Melanie at Corner of Sass & Snark summed it up perfectly.  And suddenly I don't feel so alone or weird.

I also have (a lot of) moments of self-doubt and insecurity, so I related to Rena's post entitled, "When being DELIGHTFUL isn't enough."  She has some good advice for dealing with those times.

Kimiko at Slice of Heaven makes the round-up for the second straight week with a post about courage.  It's about asking for what you want, which is often hard for me.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Motivation = MIA

There was no Fitness Friday post last week.  And that was for two reasons.  The first was that I preferred to use my post that day to honor my mom.  But the second reason is that I've kind of fallen off the bandwagon in terms of working out.

It's no secret I've been in a bit of a funk the last few weeks.  I think Melanie described it best with her post the other day.  How I've been feeling isn't logical or easy to explain, but it's real nonetheless.  And I'm no longer the girl who tries to suppress her feelings because they make others uncomfortable.  Sure, I try to control how and when they come out, but I think it's important to allow myself to feel them and work through them on my own.  But that's another post altogether.

While I've been in this funk, I haven't had the motivation to work out.  This means I haven't had the endorphins from working out. 

I wonder which came first -- my funk or the lack of endorphins?  Is one making the other worse?

I'm going to try and get back on track next week by setting a plan and sticking with it as best I can.

Does anyone have advice for keeping on track with goals even when you're feeling low and/or in a bit of a fog?


Last week's workouts
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off
Monday: Yoga
Tuesday: 3 miles on the trail
Wednesday: Yoga
Thursday: Off

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Sorry, I couldn't resist the lame and suggestive title for this post.

I've seen these floating all over my blog reader and thought it looked like fun.  And Thursdays are all about fun, right?

1. Spike (My parents called me this when I was little, but no one does now.)
2. Cuh (The last syllable of my name.)
3. Meekah (Common mispronunciation of my name.)
4. Meeks (Shortened version of #3.)

1. My kindle
2. Wallet
3. My iPod
4. Seven different shades of lipstick/balm

1. "Pitch Perfect"
2.  "Good Will Hunting"
3.  "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"
4.  "The Sandlot"

1.  Dark roast coffee with a splash of cream and a little cinnamon
2.  Iced green tea
3.  Lemonade
4.  West O Smoked Red (You knew there'd be a beer on here! This is my all-time favorite.)

1.  The sale of my house. It's the source of most of my anxiety and stress right now.
2.  How I need to get back into a good workout routine again.
3.  How I'm going to spend Memorial Day weekend.
4.  Whether or not to cut a bunch of my hair off tomorrow.

1.  Washington, DC
2.  Los Angeles, CA
3.  New Orleans, LA
4.  Isle of Palms, SC

1.  Garden City, IA (hometown ... population 100-ish)
2.  Corsicana & Ennis, TX (putting them both in this spot because it was only four years total)
3.  Perry, IA
4.  Windsor Heights, IA

1.  "Nashville"
2.  "Grey's Anatomy"
3.  "Scandal"
4.  "Teen Mom OG" (judge away!)

1.  Seeing a Texas Rangers game in person for the first time since 2012.
2.  All the concerts I have on the slate for the summer -- Ed Sheeran, Eric Hutchinson, Meghan Trainor, The Fray, & Andy Grammer.
3.  Completing my goal of 10 races.
4.  Finishing and self-publishing another book. (I hope!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm in a funk this week and I'm really not fit to be around people, so I've been hiding out as much as I can while still fulfilling my work obligations.  I have some social stuff later this week too, and I'm hoping this mood passes by then.  Otherwise, well ... I guess I'll just have to fake it.

Maybe this link-up will help cheer me up a little?

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving ...

... that my friend, Kam, is back from an eight-week work-related stint in Dallas.  I feel like I haven't seen her in forever.
Kam, Jaci, (Martha photobomb), and me at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent last August.

... that I had a better time than anticipated with co-workers at the Kenny Chesney concert last week.

... that I get to see Tim Stop tomorrow night.  With a full band.  He's actually out on his little spring tour.  If he comes near you, please go see him. Remember, he's the reason for my latest tattoo, so he's definitely awesome. (P.S.  If you have XM Radio, you might have heard his cover.  A few people have texted or messaged me to let me know when they heard it.)

... that I have a ticket for this movie Friday night.  I rarely go to the theater, so obviously this is a huge deal.

... that I will actually have two consecutive days of no work during Memorial Day weekend.  At least, that's how it looks so far.  I don't have my brewery schedule yet, so that could change. (And I can't resist sharing this old school MMC music video. Tony Lucca was gorgeous even then.)

What are you loving?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Long hair and bad dating advice

My hair is currently the longest it's ever been in my life.

If I let it hang down my back, it nearly reaches my bra strap.  If I straightened it out, it would definitely reach the strap.

Naturally, I'm thinking about cutting it.  I want a change.  Feel like I need a change.

As I started looking at photos of different curly hair styles, I remembered the last time I cut my hair short several years ago.  Someone told me I'd never get a date again because men don't like short hair.

Ha.  That really didn't stop me.  And it wasn't true.  I went on more dates when my hair was short than I have with my long hair.  Seriously.  Theory debunked.

So that got me thinking about some of the other bad dating advice I've received ...

- Don't let him know how much you know about baseball. It's too intimidating.
- You should always show lots of cleavage or leg on the first date.
- If you don't sleep with him by the third date, he won't stick around.

Those are just some of the highlights.  The list is much longer, but generally focuses on the same theme -- don't be yourself or hold onto any of your standards or you'll always be single.

I thought I'd reach out to the interwebs to find out if any of my friends received poor dating advice.  I'm sharing their tales here but retracting names to protect the innocent.

Snagged from someone else's post about the same subject.

Friend A:  "My mother said, 'You better break it off with her to focus on your studies.' 'Her' is now my wife."
Friend B: "My husband's father said to my husband when he was in college, 'Son, if you want to find a girl you are going to have to lower your standards.'  Glad he didn't."

Friend C: "Tone down the sports stuff."

Friend D: "Someone told me, 'Keep your crazy under the rug until you've been together a while.' I'm not saying you should vomit neuroses on someone on your first date, but why would you want to date someone who doesn't know who you actually are? To quote a cheesy (but true) dating line - Falling for someone's flaws is just as necessary as falling for their strengths."

Friend E: "I was told I shouldn't be honest with my significant other about how I felt about his family and should instead wait until we were married."

Friend F:  "I think the worst is any advice that compares me to a dairy cow and sex to milk."

Wow.  Those are some gems.  At least I'm not the only one getting bad dating advice.

Share with me ... what's the worst relationship advice you've been given?

Also, should I cut my hair or not?  

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