Monthly Archives: September 2010

Mrs. Balloon hands

I may or may not have intentionally slept through my morning classes. The details just aren’t important…

What is important is that the little extra rest helped me feel a lotta’ extra rejuvenated.

My typical Wednesday morning routine consists of rolling out of bed, still tired from a late night of copy editing, and heading off to a few hours of school. However, because of the tests on Friday, I knew that nothing major was going to happen in the morning’s classes (and, based on the notes my friends took, I was correct).

Instead, when my alarm went off, I hit “off,” rolled over and went back to sleep. It was glorious.

A little while later, my fully rested body woke me up naturally. Knowing that I wasn’t going to make it to class, I decided to take advantage of extra time and go on a four-mile run.

Last year and all through the summer, I was in a great routine of working out first thing in the morning. Although I still don’t think those are my optimal workouts, I really appreciate getting it out-of-the-way. However, my schedule makes that just about impossible to do these days. And, frankly, I’ve missed it.

For that reason, it was really nice to go for an at-my-own-pace run before getting started with the day.

By the time I got back, it was much later than my standard breakfast hour. Since I didn’t need something to hold me over quite as long as usual, I went with my favorite non-filling breakfast…

Consumed: Lightly sweetened shredded wheats, 1/2 banana and unsweetened vanilla soy milk, all sprinkled with cinnamon.

After getting ready, I was still able make it to campus in time for my editing class. Really strange thing, though: About 20 minutes into my walk to class, my hands started tingling, itching and burning. I momentarily freaked out, wondering if I was having a heart attack (left arm tingling) or allergic reaction…

I was on pace with a professional speed walker in getting to class, hoping that I could figure out what was going on. One of my friends said it was probably a blood circulation problem (which is, really, much more rational than a 19-year-old having a heart attack).

Seriously swollen fingers!

My friend said that’s happened to him before while playing tennis, and that it helps to raise his hand above his head.

So, I spent the next half-hour sitting in class with my hand awkwardly raised above my head. And, yes, I had to explain to my teacher that I did not have a question.

Fortunately, after a while it did  the trick, and my hand shrunk back down to size.

Since I gave myself a bit of a break this morning, I really had to get down to business in the afternoon. That consisted of: Writing news scripts, talking with my faculty manager of The Kansan to figure out my life, spending some time in the library and plenty of reading and writing.

With a bit more business under my belt, I was more than happy to go along with some friends to the campus dining court for a lite bite.

Consumed: 3 pita wedges, hummus, tofu, broccoli and grapes. Paired with a non-fat Key lime yogurt.

It was just the right blend of a lunch and a snack to leave my stomach satisfied until dinner.

Even more importantly, it was nice to spend some time chatting with newsie friends away from the newsroom.

After wrapping up a bit more work, I went over to Dan’s place to study a bit more with the company of my favorite boy.

A few hours, a few to-do items checked off my list and a few study breaks later, it was time for dinner.

I love Dan, and I love spending time with him. However, eating dinner at his place usually means sacrificing a good vegetarian option. On tonight’s menu was meatloaf, which was unsurprisingly made of meat.

Usually, I have a good amount of luck with leftover, other vegetables or food in the pantry. But, things were running pretty sparse today. Therefore, I had to break one of my rules by eating the same thing (or things) twice in one day.

Consumed: Green beans, part of a cheese biscuit, MORE lightly sweetened shredded wheat and MORE yogurt.

Breaking that rule (or any rule, for that matter) would have been totally inconceivable to me last year. However, now I know that some days won’t be “ideal” eating scenarios, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to:

  1. Throw a fit
  2. Refuse to eat
  3. Go for an option I really don’t want

In today’s case that meant having the same foods twice. I did it, and I’m still alive.

After dinner, Dan suggested sitting outside and enjoying a cup of ice cream. I wasn’t about to refuse…

Consumed: Strawberry and chocolate ice cream.

I opted for the best of both worlds by going with two flavors.

Dan stuck to strawberry, although he claims that vanilla is his real favorite flavor… To me, that is just so vanilla.

It’s alright. I like him anyway…

But, with a face like that, who wouldn’t?

Questions: What is wrong with my hand? Don’t know? How about, do you try to avoid eating the same thing twice during the day?

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To-do: Get life in order

Good intentions are one thing. Following those intentions through to completion is a whole ‘nother beast.

And, lately, that seems to be the story of my life.

Even with the aid of post-it notes, to-do lists and mental scolding, I just can’t seem to keep everything straight.

Take for example, that I actually wasted time looking up a “life organizing checklist” on the Internet, instead of actually getting my life in order.

I just tell myself that if I keep setting goals, then I’ll eventually get something done.

On a totally different, yet remarkably similar note (chew on that one for a minute)

All through yesterday, last night and this morning, I was convinced I was going to make oatmeal for breakfast. I even went so far as to scoop the oatmeal from the jar, before deciding that I actually wanted cereal.

Consumed: Lightly sweetened shredded wheat cereal with unsweetened vanilla soy milk. Side of a sliced up banana and sunflower seed butter.

Although I love cereal (a little excessively at times), it just doesn’t fill me up. In anticipation of that, I offset the weak shredded wheat with the satiating fat of sunflower seed butter.

By noon, when not even a bike ride to campus and great elliptical session had stirred up by appetite, I could tell that the healthy fat had done its job.

Regardless, I didn’t want to push my luck, so I broke into lunch around 12:30.

Consumed: Nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, Kashi dark chocolate and cherry bar and a delicious apple. Complemented with a tall glass of water.

When I fall into the doldrums of school, my lunches are the first thing to get boring. With my mid-day meal placed right between classes, working out and time at the newspaper, it always has to be prepared in advance. Therefore, I often resort to easy, portable items that still make up a well-wounded meal.

For example, today I tried to hit on fresh fruit, carbohydrates, protein and dairy. It seems that mono-taste-atic (not a technical term) meals of simply one or two food groups just don’t leave me as full or satisfied.

Since I was remarkably organized enough to fit in my workout during the day, I had time to make a fresh batch of pretzels for my copy editing potluck.

Whole-Wheat Pretzel Bites

(This was made vegan based on Alton Brown’s original recipe.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C warm water
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 package instant active yeast
  • 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C smart balance buttery spread, melted (can substitute butter)
  • 2/3 C baking soda

Directions:

  • Combine water, sugar and salt in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to rest five minutes, or until frothy.
  • In the meantime, combine flours and melted butter.
  • After the five minutes have elapsed, add half of the flour mixture to the large bowl with the yeast mixture. Combine and then add the remaining flour mixture. Knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl.
  • Set aside and allow to rise for at least an hour.
  • Separate dough into eight more manageable sections. Flour cutting board and hands (Note: The dough will be sticky).
  • Fill deep pot with four or five inches of water. Add baking soda, bring to a boil and then lower heat when it begins bubbling.
  • In the meantime, roll out individual sections until each is about eight inches long. It may help to wet hands, if the dough seems to be breaking. Then, cut each individual strand into eight smaller “bites.”
  • Drop four or five bites at a time into the simmering water. Allow to soak for about 30 seconds, or until dough rises to top. Remove with a slotted spoon, allow to drain and position on a well-greased baking sheet.
  • Repeat the process until all the bites have been boiled. Liberally sprinkle all the bites with sea salt.
  • Bake in 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

I actually liked these more with the added nuttiness of whole wheat-flour. I also appreciated that the bites were easier than the traditional knots, but didn’t sacrifice any taste.

As usual, multitasking was the name of the game this afternoon, as I spent time with Dan while whipping up my German-style storm in the kitchen. Don’t worry, he got to sample some of the fresh-from-the-oven pretzels…

Similar to most Tuesdays, this type of multitasking was particularly important, because I had to rush off to copy editing.

Although my copy chief had organized a potluck, I was pretty sure the selection wasn’t going to be the most nutritious. I mean, when it comes down to fresh fruit of the $1 bag of chips, it’s a no-brainer for broke college students.

Therefore, I packed up my own fresh, green salad.

Consumed: Romaine lettuce, couscous, low-fat shredded cheese, hummus, onions, sweet cherry peppers and baby bella mushrooms. Dressed with some balsamic vinaigrette.

Even though I didn’t want to rely on the sure-to-be greasy, sugary potluck selection, I did have the intention to snack on a bit. Moderation is key…

After surveying the options, I picked a handful of unpictured tortilla chips and a slice of my friend’s cake.

I also brought along my pretzels, and something tells me that they went over well…

Empty box = happy stomaches.

After a little feasting, I continued on with my multitasking.

And, about that, I intended to do some homework. But, somewhere between studying western civilizations and editing stories, my attention turned to blog surfing.

Oh well, my intentions were worth something, right?

Questions: Are you a list maker? What steps to you take to “stay on track.”


Cultivating a dirty mind

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The only good thing about an empty jar of peanut butter is that I get to make oats in a jar.

Consumed: 1/3 C oats cooked in water. Sprinkled with cinnamon and vanilla. Allow to cool slightly in bowl, then poured into almost empty PB jar. Lid of jar was replaced to trap some of the heat, therefore melting the peanut buttery goodness! Topped with a drizzle of maple syrup and dark chocolate pumpkin granola.

Holy moley, deliciousness.

Truth be told, I’d been squirreling this jar away ever since last week in anticipation of a necessary Monday pick-me-up… It did the trick. And, for forewarning, I’ll shamelessly be breaking the “no chocolate breakfasts during the week” rule. That pumpkin granola is just irresistible.

As a flip-side to last week’s test-packed Friday, this Monday was relatively easy. If only I could get the post-test slacking off without the actual tests…

I’ve been on my iron supplements for about a month, so my doctor suggested I get my blood levels reevaluated. As a good patient, I listened and got my blood drawn.

Really, though, the results are sure to be a little anticlimactic… I already know my iron is up. I’ve been feeling stronger, staying awake better and generally feeling better. Score, score, score.

Regardless, I digress. After the blood work, I quickly went back up to the newsroom.

As one of my responsibilities, I write the daily news briefs. This basically means putting the headlines from the paper into TV-script format, without exactly repeating what was already reported. It’s kind of a fun challenge, because I try to avoid awkward transitions, such as the classic, “In other news…”

I managed to get all of the scripts (for noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m.) done in time to deliver my actual news brief. Afterward, it was definitely time to break into my lunch.

Consumed: Flat Out wrap with hummus, carrots, lettuce and baby bella mushrooms.

Something was definitely missing from this wrap. Cheese? Tofu? Flavor?

At least part #2 of my lunch made up for it…

Consumed: Nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt with some more dark chocolate pumpkin granola and shredded-wheat cereal.

In typical Monday (and Wednesday) style, I had to rush off to my editing class after lunch. Still, I somehow managed to get distracted on my way up the hill by some beautiful flowers.

Because what says “Kansas” better than a field of sunflowers?

Out of character, I ended up being a couple of minutes late for my class. But, pausing to smell photograph the flowers is definitely a trade-off I’m willing to take.

Even though I get a lot of editing just from my job on the newspaper, I still really enjoy the class. Who knew that grammar could be so entertaining?

After the class, I headed home with absolute intentions to workout on the elliptical. However, upon actually arriving home, I talked myself out of it.

No real big deal, though. This weekend was filled with some really good workout, including Friday’s bike ride, Saturday’s nine-mile run and Sunday’s easy four-miles. I rationed that a rest day would ultimately do me better than pushing myself too far.

So, in lieu of a workout, I relaxed with an unpictured handful of whole-wheat cereal, dark chocolate M&Ms and Chinese history homework. A reasonable trade-off, in my opinion.

A little while later, Dan came by to visit and I was more than willing to put aside my homework for a bit of relaxing with him.

Unfortunately, work/studying/hunger cut our time together short, as he headed home for dinner and I headed off to the newsroom on editing.

To offer a bit more background: Two nights a week, I have technical “editing” shifts, where I go over the stories as they come in, check the layout of the page and approve the final product.

I don’t mind this too much, because it generally offers some free time and I really enjoy the people I work with. Still, it certainly does a number on my sleep patterns, usually leaving me feeling something like…

In order to offset the effects of a strange schedule, I really make an effort to plan ahead. This includes packing my bag with homework, getting everything laid out for the next day of school (because I crash as soon as I get home) and packing a still nutritious dinner.

Although there are a lot of frozen food options that would be easy enough, I don’t like settling on something sub par. Instead, I reached a bit outside of the box and took advantage of the newsroom’s microwave.

Consumed: Green Giant barley, carrots and green beans, plus a lazy girl’s baked sweet potato.

Okay, I did contradict myself a little. But, from my experiences, Green Giant always does a good job with the microwave steamers. Plus, I offset the stigma of frozen food with the delicious baked sweet potato.

I simply took out some anger on it with a fork, bandaged it up in a paper towel and nuked it for four minutes. Then, I squeezed it, flipped it and microwaved it for another two minutes (the second time varies, depending on the size of the potato).

Backtracking a moment, before actually heading to the newsroom, I made a swing by the gas station for some non-“healthful” caffeine-free Diet Coke.

I’m unconcealed in my love for Diet Coke, something I attribute to my Dad and his addiction.

Still, I limit myself by only drinking it about two times a week in times of desperation. Sometimes water and iced tea just don’t cut it…

With my  non-caffeinated  drink in hand, my homework in my backpack and my dinner stowed away, I was ready to take on editing.

Which, conveniently, leads me to another point…

As part of copy editing, my professor encourages us to cultivate dirty minds. This isn’t for profanity’s sake, but rather to make us consider all the ways a word or phrase may be construed.

Generally, I do a good job of catching things in the stories I edit. But, my own taboos occasionally slip by. This has recently been brought to my attention because of the phrases “E.D.” and “nut butter.”

In regard to these, I am unapologetic.

The terms may have alternative definitions. However, they have very real, understandable and entirely pure meanings to me and — I believe — my readers.

Anyway, if I was to listen to “Urban Dictionary” about everything, then apparently any references to “oats” would also be off-limits. And, sorry folks, that simply isn’t going to fly on this blog.

Questions: What do object, other than food, do you like photographing? Do you proof-read your blogs?

I’ve always enjoyed taking portraits, and I even took some senior pictures for some friends. I also seem to be attracted to taking pictures of flowers. For editing, I try to do a good job of proof-reading, but sometimes I glaze over things. It’s always easier to edit another person’s writing than my own.


Exaggeration vs. no exaggeration

The funny thing about this blog is that even though I am sending my thoughts out into the depths of the Internet, sometimes I forget that not all my readers actually know me.

When this first started out, my audience was primarily, well, me. Then, it grew to some family and friends. Now, I’m at that interesting crossroads where my readers are part friends, part “strangers.”

In adjusting to this, occasionally I forget to explain a few things.

First of all, I am sarcastic. The way I write reflects the way I speak, but the way I write doesn’t always reflect the way I truly feel. For example, it may seem like I do a lot of groaning about my time in the newsroom. In reality, I love journalism. I love the people I work with. I love the experiences The Kansan gives me. Sure, I also love breaks every now and then, but I wouldn’t trade the opportunities I have for anything.

Another thing, I tend to exaggerate. For example, by reading my posts, it would seem as though I never sleep. Not true. I get a good bit of shut-eye every night. When I’m feeling crazy, I might even get 8 hours in. I know, I know…

Recently, I realized that I exaggerate my love for KU football. Sure, I like cheering on the Jayhawks and being surrounded by 50,071 of my closest friends.

I also like getting to spend more time with my favorite Jayhawk…

But, I don’t like standing through four soaking, wet quarters of melodrama.

Then again, there are a few other things that I don’t exaggerate. Such as, my love for pumpkin.

On Saturday, I thought I had the best breakfast ever with a pumpkin-loaded bowl of oats.

Consumed: 1/3 C oats cooked with 2/3 C water. Stirred with cottage cheese and pumpkin. Topped with maple syrup, crasin granola, Justin’s dark chocolate hazelnut butter and a few dark chocolate chips.

Notice that I said, “I thought I had the best breakfast ever.” I know this was false, because only a day later, I outdid myself with pumpkin overnight oats.

Consumed: 1 vanilla Greek yogurt mixed with 1/4 C uncooked oats, 1/4 C pumpkin and topped with maple syrup. Left in fridge overnight. Topped in morning with granola and a drizzle of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter.

Then, just when I thought the jar of pumpkin had run its course, I managed to salvage a little bit more for the sake of…

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Granola

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 C uncooked oats
  • 3/4 C chopped almonds
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 T pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 3 T honey
  • 2 T pumpkin
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, mix oats, almonds, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  • In small bowl, combine brown sugar, honey, pumpkin and extract.
  • Pour sugar mixture into oat mixture. Stir, evenly covering.
  • Spread it all out on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in 250 degree oven for 60 minutes, stirring a few times for even cooking.
  • Allow to cool almost entirely, then mix in the chocolate chips.

Use this granola for some texture with yogurt, for some crunch with oatmeal or for some sweetness with… well, anything.

Thanks to the pumpkin, not only is this lower on calories and fat than regular granola, but it’s higher on the taste. Hello, win-win!

As for a few other weekend highlights, I went out on my longest run to-date with nine miles.

The weather was cool, my legs felt good and Dan was along to keep me company. I even had a little extra motivation from my shirt…

Runs on plants? You betcha’!

After banging out the run first thing on Saturday morning, I got non-smelly to meet Dan and his family for lunch.

Dan’s mom and sister, Claire, came into town to shop for a dress for Claire’s upcoming homecoming. As a senior, she is nominated for homecoming queen. Totally deserving, in my opinion… (Vote Claire!)

Post-lunch, the sky had already begun spitting raindrops, but we decided to bear the storm for the sake of some 3 Spoons frozen yogurt.

If that’s not the face of frozen yogurt-inspired determination, then I don’t know what is!

That night was the aforementioned game. On the “bright side,” Kansas won.

On the even brighter side, after the game I checked soft-pretzels off my “baking wish list.”

In Germany this summer, I probably averaged a good pretzel or two a day. I just couldn’t get over how deliciously doughy they were, especially compared to the traditionally hard American variety.

When I got home, the pretzels just weren’t cutting it. But, for a while, I had been too intimidated to make any.

With Dan’s encouragement, I put that hesitation aside and turned to Alton Brown’s help for a take at homemade pretzels.

Mr. Brown certainly didn’t disappoint. Although the pretzels weren’t exactly “easy” and not exactly “pretty,” they were delicious. It was as though I was in Germany all over again! Wissen Sie?

Other than all that, my weekend was delightfully low-key. I even went “crazy” and got 8 hours of sleep on Saturday night…

Questions: What foods are you intimidated by? What former food fears have you overcome?

I’m still a little hesitant to make meringues. It’s something about getting stiff enough peaks that freaks me out. Other than the pretzels, it was also a big step for me to overcome my fear of tofu. Now, I realize how easy tofu really is!


Education indignation

Oh, pumpkin… The gift that just keeps giving.

Case and point: I used up less than half a can of pumpkin in my muffins the other day. Since that time, I’ve been dreaming up other ways to add it to my meals. Although the options are nearly endless, my favorite practical pumpkin recipe is the ever-classic oats.

Pumpkin Pie Oats

Consumed: 1/3 C oats, cooked as normal. 1/4 C of pumpkin and 1/4 C cottage cheese stirred in. Sprinkled with a generous dash of pumpkin pie spice. Topped with crasins, crasin granola and maple syrup.

Aside from a great breakfast, my day also started off with a lovely session of in-home Pilates.

Now, tell me, how could anything go wrong with a day that started off so great?

Answer: Being late to school. So late, in fact, that I had to sacrifice my normal walk to school for the speedier drive to campus.

Ironically enough, my mood was brightened by the dark weather.

My fall wishin’ is finally coming to fruition! (Would you like some toast with that cheese?)

Sadly, I had to leave the delightfully breezy weather to sit through a few classes.

The thing is, I’ve always been a fan of school. I’ve embraced the title “teacher’s pet.” I’ve taken honors classes in subjects I don’t even have interest in, just to get the credit. I’ve worked hard… But, sometimes I wonder if I’ve sacrificed too much.

While my classmates relaxed, spent time with friends and had mindless fun (shudders) I stayed devoted to school. This only escalated when I lived in the honors dorm my freshman year. Last year, the only distraction from my eating disorder was burying myself in more work.

Not as though I’m not grateful for all that my studiousness has gotten me; Without good records, I wouldn’t have received scholarships that allowed me to afford out-of-state tuition.

Also, getting involved in the honors program was one of the best decisions I’ve made in college. This program allowed me to take smaller classes, learn from great professors and make friends with brilliant, ambitious students.

Still, this year, my motivation has significantly decreased. I’m not throwing in the towel. I’m not dropping out. I’m not even dipping below a 3.8 GPA.

But, I am relaxing, occasionally shutting the books and enjoying the other joys of life.

Whew. How about some more food?

Lunch was devoured (no exaggeration) at my desk.

Consumed: Flat Out wrap with tofu, sweet cherry peppers, romaine lettuce and feta. An apple and trail mix on the side.

After a few hours in the newsroom and my final class of the day, I moved on to those aforementioned “other joys of life.”

That most definitely refers to Dan. Not pool.

However, I have gradually gained an appreciation for the game… Something that I attribute to my fabulous coach.

(Mental note: New addition to the bucket list is to beat Dan at pool someday.)

After playing a few round of pool and suffering equally numerous losses, Dan and I relaxed for a little while. I must say that simply doing “nothing” is one of the greatest joys in life.

Unfortunately, my break came to an end when I was called to go back into the newsroom for a night of meeting and editing. Before that, though, I made a quick stop by the store to grab a delicious dinner, à la salad bar.

It wasn’t quite dinner time when I got back to the newsroom, but my stomach was grumbling, so I settled it with an updated classic: Banana and peanut chocolate hazelnut butter.

Consumed: 2 Wasa crackers, 1 banana and a perfectly portioned pouch of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter.

I still can’t get over how delicious Justin’s take on chocolate hazelnut butter is. After a summer of Nutella, I thought nothing could get better. But, (dare I say it?) Justin’s takes the title of top “dessert” nut butter.

Although both have the delicious chocolate and nutty flavors I love, Justin’s gets bonus points for the classic grittiness for my favorite nut butters.

The snack kept me satiated through my meetings and a few stories worth of copy editing.

Around 7 o’clock, I eagerly broke into my dinner, which, appropriately, was wrapped up like a Christmas morning present.

First, the anticipation…

… then my excitement builds…

… and voila! My box of colorful deliciousness.

Consumed: Everything. More specifically, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, beets, carrots, sugar snap peas, regular peas, feta cheese, onions, tomatoes, chickpeas and marinated mushrooms. All dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar.

I ended my night on a sweet note with some fresh fruit and chocolate whipped cream. It was pictured above, but I dug into it too hastily to snap another picture.

Copy editing wasn’t too bad or too long, although it did throw me off to work on a Thursday night. Fortunately, in between fact checking and correcting grammatical mistakes, I was able to squeeze in some studying for the two tests I have tomorrow.

Need to know anything about the first amendment? I’m your girl.

Protests and revolutions? I could overturn this government with the snap of my fingers.

What sleep feels like? Uhm, well, that is another story…

Questions: Do you like fall food or fall fashion more? What’s your favorite nut butter?

That’s a tough call… I love breaking out my boots, but I have to stay loyal to my foodie roots. Speaking of, my favorite nut butter is Maranatha’s Natural Chunky Peanut Butter.

Friday Fragments: This one’s a quickie, but I read an article from an online trashy tabloid (I usually avoid these. Obviously, I should continue to.) about what celebs do to get in shape before a big event. For the most part, the suggestions from the fitness trainers weren’t too objectionable. I mean, it does stand to reason that cardio and a healthy diet will help a person tone up.

However, I took issue with the fact that the article condoned simply getting in and out of shape, as though it’s the same as getting in and out of a pair of jeans.

Sorry, mortals, fitness should not — cannot — be viewed as a trend. Healthfulness is a lifestyle, whether it is awards season or not.

Agree or disagree?


Happiness beats skinniness

It was another day, another dollar (gone from my pocket) and another step closer to the weekend.

How’s that for a concise summary?

Don’t worry, though. I won’t totally deprive you of my random musings. So, gather ’round. It’s time for a story…

Back in the glory days of high school, I broke out my cross-country spikes every fall for weekly 4K races.

However, unlike the elite girls I competed with, long-distance stardom was never in my cards. I had the requisite height, but the “lean” part wasn’t part of my body-build.

But that was fine by me, because when springtime flowers began blooming, my real inner-athlete came out. On the lanes of the track and runways of jumping pits, I actually excelled.

I enjoyed the reward of helping my team, but my real draw to track was the boost it gave to my self-confidence.

Every time I bound down the runway or propelled over the hurdles, I felt as though my body was working at its finest.

My arms chugged in perfect rhythm, my lungs filled with the necessary air, my feet moved ahead with just enough speed… And, best of all, my muscular, powerful legs gave me the strength to move forward.

Unfortunately, somewhere between my last track meet and my sophomore year of college, I lost sight of how amazing my legs are.

I fixated not on my legs’ strength, but on their bulk. I envied the girls whose legs never rubbed uncomfortably together. I cursed the trend of skinny jeans. I basically filled my mind with all sorts of negative thoughts.

Ironically, it was only as my legs became thinner that my happiness became less. Sure, my legs didn’t touch, but neither did they give me power to run, jump and do the things I love.

Each day that my legs became thinner, my energy became less.

However, once I realized how negative my thinking was, I began getting healthier, stronger and happier.

Today, I wouldn’t trade my strong legs for anything in the world. After all, why would I need skinny jeans when I can have my happiness?

Questions: What’s your favorite part of your body? How often do you remember to appreciate your body?


Words in passing

Throughout the course of a day, I talk about so many things that it’s even hard for me to keep track.

Usually, the musings are for my own peace and calm. It’s as if when I can articulate my thoughts, then everything makes more sense.

So, it is one of the best feelings in the world to know that I maybe, actually made a little bit of a difference to someone else.

Where did all of this (randomness) come from?

Well, the answer is hardly worth the explanation (did I just contradict everything previously stated?). But, basically, today Dan recalled something small and seemingly mundane that I said in passing a few weeks ago.

I had forgotten all about the conversation Dan mentioned. However, clearly it had left an impression on him.

This incidents not only makes me love and appreciate Dan even more, but also reinforces my love of words, communication and human connection.

Now, I just want to multiply that ability to leave an impression times one million, and I’ll be pleased.

Anyway, moving on to the real matters of the day…

Last night, I weighed my options about overnight oats. Not making them meant that I got to go to sleep earlier, but also that I wouldn’t have a good-to-go breakfast in the morning…

Ultimately, I erred on the side of earlier sleep and decided to wing breakfast. Fortunately, I was able to put my thoughts well enough together at 7 o’clock this morning to make a still-tasty meal.

Consumed: Honey Greek yogurt parfait with banana and crasin granola.

Although the parfait looked delicious, I knew it wouldn’t be truly complete until it was topped with a spoonful of…

Peanut butter! Oh, my heart…

Upon stepping outside, I realized that yesterday’s celebration of the last day of summer was a little premature. It was already 80-ish degrees by 8 o’clock!

No real problem. It was just an excuse to wear another summer-appropriate ensemble, à la “mod.”

Unfortunately, half an hour of hiking walking across campus later and I wasn’t feeling too cute. As was my philosophy for the day, I just brushed that sweaty angst off my shoulders.

Besides, who do I really want to impress in my western civilization class?

After class, I went down to the newsroom. (Do I even have to say that, or is it an established fact by now?)

The good news: Today’s head story was about food and nutrition.

The bad news: Kansans really stink and getting adequate fruits and veggies.

Oh well. Remember that I’ll take any excuse I can to talk

Lunch was nearly identical to yesterday’s. Why mess with a good thing?

Consumed: Italian blend lettuce with feta, baby bella mushrooms, sweet cherry peppers and sunflower seeds. Dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. Another Kashi dark chocolate and cherry granola bar.

Since journalism is always all about telling the complete truth, (haha) I thought I’d give you a glimpse into what really goes on in the newsroom…

Make-up applications with the help of the Mac? I can’t even make fun. That’s kind of genius…

I didn’t think ahead to bring my own make-up to campus, so I went on with my day looking progressively blah-er.

By the time I had another hike walk home, I was cursing the heat for the 126 time this summer (rough approximation).

“Please, fall, please. I need you,” I plead. But, instead of crying empty appeals to Mother Nature, I decided to take this fall-business into my own hands.

And, in the blog world, what says “fall” better than…

Even though there’s been more buzz about pumpkin recipes lately than that generated from a swarm of angry bees, I intentionally held off from the fall-time staple until, well, fall.

Today, with no more cause for delay, I eagerly opened up a new can… Oh, it’s going to be a great few months.

As for the inaugural pumpkin recipe of the season, I went with a classic: Dark Chocolate Chip and Pumpkin Muffins.

It always takes a little while for me to get my ingredient swagger back, so I decided to rely on another recipe. However, I can’t wait to stain my hands orange in the coming weeks, baking up some of my own pumpkin treats!

I packed up the mini-muffins, grabbed a dinner-to-go and went back up to the newsroom for “Editathon,” or the day that was previously known as “Tuesday.”

My muffins went over well with my fellow editors… Then again, when will college students turn down baked goods?

I knew the compliments were really sincere, though, when one of my friends said, “I can’t even tell these are healthy.”

Oh, the sweetest things…

Unfortunately, my dinner wasn’t so sweet. Or even tasty for that matter.

How much can I really expect from frozen meals, though? That just goes to show how worth it is (both in money and quality) to prepare meals at home. Live and learn…

As for the best news of the day: We made deadline on the newspaper!

Never before would I have considered going home at 1 a.m. to be “early.” Newspaper certainly gives me an interesting perspective…

Questions: Are you a pumpkin fan? What are your favorite recipes? Are you a talker, listener or both?

For as much as I love pumpkin, I really despise pumpkin pie. Instead, I stick to breads and cookies. As mentioned, I enjoy talking, but I also love listening. Best of all is conversing with someone who can really return my type of banter!