A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Something WONDERFUL out of a HUGE disappointment...

A couple years ago, Paul and I had a Hawaii trip planned. Flights and hotels were booked. I had our entire 9 day itinerary (part 1) (part 2) on The Big Island planned. We were so excited.

Then we found out Paul needed another brain surgery and he would not be recovered in time to go on our trip.

It was a horrible feeling to need to cancel our trip for such a scary reason. We were so sad.

After everything was canceled, we found out his surgery wasn't needed just yet. Obviously we were relieved Paul wouldn't have to go through the surgery again, but we were upset that we had already ditched our Hawaii plans and lost money in the process. Since we weren't quite sure when the surgery would be needed, we were too scared to plan such a huge trip for fear we'd have to cancel it again.

But something absolutely WONDERFUL came out of this HUGE disappointment. 

That summer, instead of going to Hawaii, we planned a SUPER last minute trip (3 days notice!) to Colorado. We had never been to Colorado before, but we went on a whim.

And as you know... Colorado is our absolute favorite place to visit! We have had so many amazing experiences in Colorado. Those memories will last us our entire lives. 

I'll never forget the drive up Mt. Evans... 

Touring the Broncos Stadium...

Running up The Incline...

Taking the cog railway to the top of Pike's Peak...

Hiking to Emerald Lake in RMNP...

Walking in Garden of the Gods...

It is amazing how something so WONDERFUL came out of something so SHITTY! As horrible as canceling Hawaii felt, I am REALLY GLAD IT HAPPENED. I am sure we would have had fun in Hawaii, but would we have ever started our love affair with Colorado? I really don't know!

I'm sure we'll make it to Hawaii someday. But I hope we visit Colorado a couple more times, too!

Have you ever been to Colorado or Hawaii?
What is your dream vacation?
Is there a place you would like to keep going back to?

Monday, January 30, 2017

MGR's Weekend Wrap Up!

Happy Monday!

My weekend was okay. Friday was productive. Saturday and Sunday... I was just so tired! I spent a lot of time in my pjs on the couch.

My weekend started a little early because I took a sick day on Friday. I had a gyno appointment late morning, and it was scheduled at a weird time in which I couldn't take a half day.

After my appointment, I went for a neighborhood run. Then we took the cats to the vet, which is always an experience!

That evening, my parents came over for dinner. It was their Christmas present. Paul made pulled chicken sandwiches and sweet potato fries. I made corn muffins from a box and bought chips, cole slaw, and cheese cake.

I did not take one single picture!

I slept for 11 hours straight and didn't get out of bed until close to noon! It had been about two weeks since I didn't have to set my alarm, and boy did I make the most of it! Chrissy slept with me all night. He was tired from the vaccines the day before.

I ran 3 miles but stopped because my adductor muscle was hurting. I finished off my workout with some "light" weights- about 5lb lighter than I normally do.

I was just so tired today. I laid in bed and did some reading and some practicing my Spanish. Then we went to my bro and SIL's house to play some games. The introduced us to Blockus and Bananagrams. We laughed and laughed!

Again, I slept forever. What's wrong with me!? I lifted, studied my Spanish, started a puzzle, and watched CNN.

It was a blah day.
Tell me something fun you did this weekend!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

MGR's Weekly Workouts

I vowed to do more strength training this week than last. I definitely made that happen! What helped is that my legs felt all jacked up from power walking back to the bus when I was in DC on Saturday!

I only ran 18 miles. It was just one of those weeks!

Saturday- Women's March on Washington! I pretty much walked and stood around all day. My best estimate is 8 miles of walking? Who knows!? It was so exhausted.

Sunday- 6 miles. My whole lower body was tight from the march, particularly my hammies. I think the power walking is what made my hammies sore.

Monday- Lifting back/chest @ home. I did 5 unassisted pull ups! I am almost back to my PR- 7! Will I ever do 8? We shall see.

Tuesday- 6 miles. My ITB felt weak during most of the run. And then my left leg felt jacked up for the rest of the day. As the day went on, I realized it was the inside of my leg, up near my crotch that was tweaked. I think it's an adductor muscle strain.

Wednesday- Lifting chest @ home. I felt STRONG today. 

Thursday- Lifting back @ home. The inside of my leg felt a lot better but I made myself skip running today just to be sure. I really wanted to run. It was hard not to.

Friday- 6 miles!!! Around mile two I felt the inside of my leg. It got a little worse until mile three, and then it didn't get any worse after that. It definitely felt better than it did on Tuesday, but I am mad that I feel it at all! I will probably run tomorrow. I need to.
Does power walking affect hamstrings?
How were your workouts?
Anyone ever get pain in their adductor/groin region?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

I don't know what to do.

I know I'm supposed to post my workouts today. But with everything that has gone on this past week, it seems so silly. Who in the freaking world cares about my workouts? What is the point of posting this blog when so much horrible shit happens in the world?

Last night I was scrolling through Twitter and saw pictures of Syrian refugees. Babies with frostbite. Terrified people. HUMAN FUCKING BEINGS. And I just wept for a really long time.

It's not fair. It's not fair that some of us have so much and others have so little. It's not fair that I get to sit here in my warm house with a full belly while there are so many people that are literally fighting for their lives.

I just feel like I need to tell you... I know all this fluffy stuff I post is meaningless. When I think about all the struggles people face, writing a stupid blog seems so shallow. This isn't the first time I thought this, but I guess it's the first time I am straight up telling you my feelings.

I really just wanted to to know that. I know things aren't good. I know this blog is frivolous. And I know we all need frivolous things in our lives.

How lucky we are that we have time for frivolous things.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday 5 - Updates on life & such!

Hey all! I am linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 5 2.0!

Today I'm going to share 5 updates about what's going on in my life right now. I feel a little disconnected, and whenever I feel like that, and update is in order!

I will also tell you I am feeling very overwhelmed with just "general" life stuff right now. I feel like nothing in is order. My clothes aren't laid out for tomorrow, I need to run to the store, I have to shave my legs... OMG I need like 5 Ativan. AUGH! Okay, I hope I didn't stress you out!

1. Hablo un poco de espanol, pero quiero aprender mas!

One of my goals for this year is to learn Spanish. Thanks to an app called Duolingo, I have been slowly but surely learning to speak a second language. I spend at least 20 minutes a day studying, but sometimes I get addicted and do more.

But it's getting tricky! I am on the level where I learn past tense but I don't feel like I totally understand present tense yet!

I am also one of those people that ask WHY all the time. But in this app, you can't ask why. It's all in Spanish. You pretty much have to figure it out as you go along. But I will be honest, sometimes I Google my "WHY!?" questions.

All in all, I am really enjoying the learning process and I do feel like I am getting better. But I don't see myself being semi fluent for several years.

2. WOOT!

At the same time I started learning a new language, I started studying to become certified to teach PreK-4th grade. After lots of work, I am proud to tell you I have passed the three tests needed to become certified to teach in an elementary classroom!

So now this means I am certified to teach K-12 music as well as PreK-4th grade. I do not desire to teach in the regular ed classroom, but this second certification gives me job security. If music is ever cut from my school, I have something to fall back on.

3. Funny story!

As soon as I found out I passed my tests (which was RIGHT AWAY!), I felt like celebrating! What to do? The first thought that came to mind was to go to Giant and get one of their yummy rotisserie chickens. When I got home from my test, Paul and I jumped up and down and celebrated. Then he said, "You should do something to celebrate. What don't you go to Giant and get a rotisserie chicken?

BWAHAHAHA! How did he knows that's exactly what I was thinking!? (ps. Getting rotisierie chickens isn't our "go to" celebration meal. This was completely random!)

4. The cats go to the vet today. 

Paul had Stool Sample Duty. He sent me this picture and told me that one of the Tupperware containers contained poop. But which ones!?

5. This week's news has been enraging.

I am really struggling with staying engaged, because whenever I am engaged, I get enraged. It would be so easy to just turn everything off and not care. But... I can't do that. So how do I stay sane!? I keep seeing this meme on Facebook and am wondering how I can apply it to my own life...

What sorts of "flowers" are you planting for 2017?

Do you speak a second language?

What do you do to celebrate big accomplishments?

How do you deal with feeling overwhelmed? I have been feeling very overwhelmed just with "general" life stuff...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

ANSWERS! (2 Truths & 1 Lie)

Hey all! Today I am sharing the answers to my 2 Truths and 1 Lie post from yesterday! There were a lot of great guesses in the comments, and 2 of you got it correct! Great job A, you know me so well! And I am impressed at Meranda's answer too because she said #1, unless I was a sub (which I was), so then #3.

1. Before I got my job teaching elementary music, I taught 8th grade English.


I graduated college in December, 2004. In January, I started subbing at various school districts. In March, one of the districts I worked at was looking for a long term substitute for 8th grade English and they offered me the job! I had to get emergency certified in English so I was able to teach. I will be honest... I had no clue what I was doing. I don't even remember what I taught, other than the parts of speech (shouldn't they have known those already?) and Anne Frank.

2. My first sip of alcohol was on my 21st birthday, when I had a Mike's Hard Cranberry.


At the time, I was in the musical The Wizard of Oz. My cast mates and I went out to Red Robin after rehearsal to celebrate. I had a Mike's Hard Cranberry and something called a Fuzzy Nipple. Both were good! It was a very innocent night, as far as 21st birthdays are concerned.

3. One of my favorite musical performances was as a Kit Kat girl in Cabaret.


But this was actually almost the truth. I was a Kit Kat girl in Cabaret but I quit the show about two weeks before opening night. I know, that sounds very irresponsible of me but I had a huge problem with the way our cast was being treated and I took a stand.

Me, taking a stand!? Can you even believe it!? ;)

Well, I hope you learned something interesting about me!

Did you ever quit something without giving much notice?

When was the last time you TOOK A STAND?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2 Truths & 1 Lie

I am resurrecting a blog game I used to do back in the day! 2 Truths & 1 Lie is a fun way to share some stories with you. Thanks to past 2 Truths & 1 Lie posts, you have learned some interesting facts about me, such as... 

* I quit high school track after only five practices.
* I was an extra in the movie Girl, Interrupted.
* I once did a cartwheel while crossing the finish line at a trail race.

So here we go again! Two of the statements below are true and one is a lie. Can you guess the lie!?

1. Before I got my job teaching elementary music, I taught 8th grade English.

2. My first sip of alcohol was on my 21st birthday, when I had a Mike's Hard Cranberry at Red Robin.

3. One of my favorite musical performances was as a Kit Kat girl in Cabaret.

Ooh, this one is tricky! Leave your answer for the LIE in the comments! Good luck! Answers tomorrow...

Were you in track in high school?

When did you have your first sip of alcohol?

Do you like musicals? Performing? Watching?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Women's March on Washington

After experiencing events as meaningful as the Women's March on Washington, I often have a hard time adequately expressing how truly awesome the experience was. Yet I always try to convey it to you through a blog post the best that I can. So, here it goes... 

I will first just quickly give you the main details of the day, and then I will break down the rest of my recap into little categories. I know it's not as eloquent to do it this way, but it is the only way I can even attempt to organize all of my thoughts!

The quick(ish) story.

On Saturday morning at 6am, me, my mom, and my friend, Andrea, caught a coach bus (only about 5 minutes from my house!) and traveled to DC. When I got on the bus, I was immediately filled with emotion just to be in the presence of so many like minded people. I often feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone here in Central PA, and I was heartened to see so many people who held the same concerns as I and were alarmed enough with this past election that we felt the need to travel to DC and make our voices heard.

Due to some light traffic, we arrived in DC by 8:30. Parking was easy at RFK. Here's a pic of our bus crew and our AWESOME organizer, Kelly!

Many people took the metro up to the march (2.5 miles away) but a lot of us walked. We passed a lot of police officers and National Guard members who were there to make sure we were all safe. Many of the National Guard members held pink beads in support. Some of them even hung the beads on the side mirror of their trucks. It was a lovely gesture of support.

As we got closer to the main stage (we were never even able to get closer than like 2 city blocks) it started to get really crowded. I feel silly telling you this, but I wasn't expecting it to be as crowded as it was! There were so many people! Due to the crowds, we were unable to hear the speakers and performers. But that doesn't mean we didn't feel inspired...

We ended up sitting on the steps that looked over the reflecting pool at The Capitol. Banners and other setup from the inauguration were still there from the day before. We sat and people watched as literally thousands of marchers descended down onto the National Mall. While there were lots of women, there were a lot of men, children, and families too. It was so fun to read the witty signs. People sang. People chanted. I will admit, I cried a couple times. This was democracy!

After a long wait for the port o johns, we ended up sitting in front of the National Gallery of Art. There were lots of people milling around and fun signs to read. Before we knew it (the day really did go fast!) it was 1:15 and time to march!
The thing was, there was just SO MANY PEOPLE that there was nowhere for us to go! We ended up marching to the march, which sounds silly, but that's what happened on a lot of side streets. Then they had to alter the march route because the crowds were so big that it was already filled up. So I guess what happened is there were just people marching everywhere! Our side street march met up with one of the "bigger" marches. When we got to that one, it was slow moving. It took us about 45 minutes to go 2 city blocks! But I will tell you, it was exciting THE WHOLE TIME we were marching!

In case you wondered what my pin said!



I guess having too many people rise up is a good thing and not a bad thing!

Photographers will do anything to get a shot!

Even though people were nowhere near done marching, at 2:45 we had to start finding our way back to the bus for our 4:00 departure. It was a long walk, made longer by the fact that people were marching everywhere! 

Finally, we made it out of the throngs, but there was no way we were going to be able to power walk back to the bus fast enough. Luckily, we were able to catch a taxi and made it back to the bus just before 4pm. We were EXHAUSTED!

I was worried traffic would be bad getting out of the city, but it wasn't worse than coming in. When we were about halfway home, we stopped at Wegman's for dinner and I had my first meal of the day. (I didn't eat or drink due to worrying about bathroom issues!) I was SO FREAKING HUNGRY. I hadn't eaten in 24 hours! What did I have? A piece of fried chicken, carrot flan, crab mac and cheese, and two mozzarella sticks!

Once we were all back on the bus, we munched on our food and passed around the microphone to share our experiences that day. We also shared ways we can continue to stay active. Marching was GREAT, but there is so much more to DO. We all vowed to stay connected on our private Facebook page so we can talk about what to do moving forward.

We got home by 8pm. I was so excited to shower and GO TO BED. WHAT A DAY! And the best part was... I got to share it with my MOMMA!

And now, please don't stop reading... I have so much more to say! The "real" stuff hasn't even been said yet! I broke it all into disjointed sections! Buckle up... or bookmark this for later! 

What's the point?

I hope we consider this march a first effort, something like a nationwide committee meeting to put the new administration on notice. We're watching. This is only a first step.

Michael Moore was one of the speakers at the march and he urged us to run for office. I am not sure I am up for that! It sounds so intimidating. One thing I can do is attend local meetings and have my voice heard. That's one thing I plan to do. In fact, I started writing down things I can do. Marching feels great. But I don't want to just go home, post memes on Facebook, and show up at the polls in 2018. I mean, we all have to show up at the polls, but we don't have to wait two years to do something. There is work to be done before that.

The signs/the issues!!!

Many marchers held signs that voiced their concerns. While there was a VAST majority of issues that concern all of us, the one thing I think we all agree on is that we are VERY CONCERNED about the new administration's agenda. Many of the signs focused on women's health issues, particularly a women's right to make decisions for her own body. There were concerns about climate change. Black Lives Matter. Immigration. Equal pay. Education. HEALTHCARE. And probably a lot of things I forget right now because my brain is just swirling.

Here's a video that won't post. Click here! Inspiring!

There were funny signs, thoughtful signs, angry signs... all types. Here are some of the ones I saw and/or some funny ones I saw on the internet.

This guy was quick and to the point...

Not pictured is maybe my favorite sign I saw, which said, "Trump likes Nickelback". Come on. That is HYSTERICAL!

Since I have been studying Spanish, I was actual able to read some of the Spanish signs!

There was also some horse shit in the road and someone put a little sign on it that said, "Fox News Channel". How do people come up with this stuff?

I know this isn't technically a sign, but I saw a dude wearing a shirt that said, "I just look like a republican." When I marched by him, I laughed so hard. "You do," I told him. (He really did!) He laughed with me.

The MOOD of the march...

The mood of this march was one of peace and kindness. I was seriously so amazed at how KIND everyone was! I swear, we were the most polite protesters ever! So many, "excuse mes" and "pardon mes" going on. People were handing out free water. A woman had a sign that said, "I have diabetes. If you have low blood sugar, I have snacks." People handed out free water off trucks. During my entire day, I did not see anyone being rude or obnoxious to each other. Of course, this was just my experience.

I was lucky enough to be able to help out a little girl. I wasn't drinking water because I didn't want to have go to the bathroom, but I did have a bottle in my pocket (unopened) just in case. While I was marching, a little girl in front of me (maybe four years old?) started whining. Her dad asked her what was wrong and she said she was thirsty. "I don't have any water," the dad told his daughter.

I immediately offered him the unopened water I had in my pocket. He was incredibly grateful and I was happy I could help out the dad and the little girl.

There were so many other acts of kindness I saw that day. It really made me want to be a better human.

People Watching.

As you can imagine, this was a great place to people watch! Not only were the signs awesome, but some people dressed up especially for the occasion. There was a man in a unitard dressed as a cat. There were women dressed as the Statue of Liberty. It was just an abundance of EXPRESSION, which I loved.

People sang songs and played music. They chanted. There was an older gentleman pushing his wife in a wheelchair in front of the reflecting pool. He sang God Bless America to her. I cried, and we all clapped for him when he finished.

I joined in on an interesting rendition of This Land is Your Land. I love that song. I need to make sure I sing it with my students before the year is over.

There were also so many elderly women with walkers and wheelchairs. It brought tears to my eyes to see them so motivated to come out and make their voices heard. I hope they were inspired by all the young people marching alongside them. I know I was inspired by the elderly women who I am sure went through so much shit over the course of their lives. I was also inspired to see the teenagers actively involved as well.


I expressed to you that I was a little concerned about safety at the march. What if there was a bomb? What if a crazy dude with a gun came and started mowing us all down? I wasn't too concerned about rioters or destruction of property as I felt like I could move away from that and not be involved if something like that happened. It was the REALLY BIG things I was worried about. On the bus, I wrote down important phone numbers with a sharpie on my arm. I told my mom, "This way, as long as my arm isn't blown off, they will know who to contact." Yes people, this is how my brain works.

As we got off the buses at RFK Stadium and walked 2.5 miles to the march, there was a police presence. They were help directing traffic and getting marchers across the street. There were also members of the National Guard parked nearby, and of course we walked past their building on the way up to the march. This made me feel safe.

For the first part of the march, as the speakers were on the stage and we were milling around the mall (with thousands of other people) I did see some police with their cars, but not a ton. What my mom, Andrea, and I decided was that there were probably lots of police officers in plainclothes in the crowd.

As the day went on and the crowds started marching, there was more of a police presence, especially at intersections. As we were walking back to the stadium up Pennsylvania Avenue, there was just a MASSIVE amount of marchers so there were a lot  of police. We passed Trump Tower and the whole front of the building was lined with police as well.

"We will not go away, welcome to your first day!" they chanted past his hotel.

My posse and I tried to thank all police officers we passed. Most of them smiled back and said "You're welcome," or "Have a great day, ladies!" We were so thankful to have them there to protect all of us.

It was so crowded... the police were there to ensure the safety of every one of us!

I was also heartened to hear from the DC Police Department that not a single person had been arrested at the Women's March in DC. It estimated that there were 500,000 people and not a single arrest. WOW. This isn't just a testament to the peacefulness of the protest, but the excellency displayed by the police department. I can't believe how overwhelming it felt to have so many people basically take over the city. How do you make sure everyone is safe? Well, I don't know how they did it, but they did it. Kudos to all who enabled the march to be peaceful.


I am sure you remember what our 45th president said about sexual assault, but in case you have forgotten...

Grab us by the pussy? Hell no. Pussy is grabbing back. A movement online called the Pussyhat Project started the knitting of pussy hats for marchers to wear. My mom made a bunch and so did Andrea. I wore a hot pink pussy hat Andrea made me and I LOVE IT. I am going to wear it all the time!

Most people at the march were wearing hats. Men were wearing them and so were children. I actually saw a baby wearing one! So cool!

I know, I know, pussy hats? Seriously? So silly. Sexual assault isn't silly. I get that. But it was a statement and I chose to join in. We're reclaiming the word PUSSY.

This guy was loving it.. (freaking video won't work, click HERE I promise you won't regret it.)

There was a man with a son (who looked to be about 8 years old) walking next to me when this guy was shouting "pussy" on his bull horn.

"What's pussy?" the son asked.

"Pussy means a women's vagina," the father said. "It means power to women."

Counter protests.

Out of the nearly 8 hours I was at the rally, I only saw four counter protests going on.

Counter protest #1: On the way to the march, there was a little truck driving up and down the street with pictures of fetuses on it. The crowd I was with just ignored it.

Counter protest #2: While we were sitting outside the art gallery, a truck with a bull horn pulled up with a megaphone and told us Jesus died for our sins and that we were all going to hell. The marchers started chanting "Love trumps hate", but I wish everyone just would have ignored the truck. All they wanted was attention, and it would be worse for them to not get any.

Counter protest #3: Along the march route, there was a group of women from an anti choice group wearing black shirts and holding anti choice signs. They also had a bull horn and one member of their group was telling us that abortion hurts women. As marchers went past this group we chanted, "My body, my choice." Neither the marching crowd nor the anti choice crowd was violent or combative. I actually soaked in the moment. This is AMERICA. This is CIVILITY. We could all protest and make our voices heard without being violent towards one another. It's a beautiful thing, don't you think?

Counter protest #4: While walking back to our bus, we saw a small stage set up for Bikers for Trump. When we walked past, it looked like there was maybe 25 people there. This stage was either off on it's own, or Women's March participants just chose to avoid it. I guess my point is that at the time we walked past, the Bikers for Trump were just kind of doing their own thing off on their own.

In conclusion...

The election of Trump is NOT NORMAL, and I refuse to normalize it. This march is not a "temper tantrum", as I have seen it described by some online. This is not "whining". These are ISSUES women and men are concerned about. We are not protesting the legitimacy of Trump's win. He won the electoral college... even though he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million (10 million if you count third party votes). But the popular vote ain't the rules of the game! 

But that doesn't negate the fact that MORE PEOPLE do not want his dangerous agenda. More people think he is dangerous and unfit. We will not sit down in regards to global warming. We will not sit down in regards to women's rights. We will not sit down in regards to education, immigration, Black Lives Matter, equal pay, HEALTHCARE...

Cher said it best: "Stand up and be counted or sit and be nothing."

The truth is, it doesn't matter who you voted for, Trump is going to let us down. We're in this together. We are all in the same ship called America. We are going to NEED each other these next 4 (hopefully) years. Let's work together. Let's KEEP GOING.

The march was Saturday. But let's go. What's next!?

This post took me over 5 hours to compose! I don't have enough energy to ask any questions! Just share your thoughts if you choose!