No April Fool’s Here! It’s A Review!

I’ve retired from April Fool’s Day because I know how to learn my lesson. A few year’s ago when my sister was living in Argentina, I decided it would be funny to email her that I was feeling too overwhelmed and would be dropping out of school. This would be ridiculous on many levels, but primarily because my parents never would have allowed it unless something was seriously wrong. Now, at the bottom of the post, I wrote APRIL FOOLS in huge font, and she should have been suspicious given my propensity for humor and past reputation, but she was thrown off I guess with the time change. Anyways, it happened to be a day she was traveling so I couldn’t even reach her to explain it was all a joke, she only realized when she looked down at her ticket and saw what the date was. I’m no longer allowed to prank…her at least.

As promised, I have a book review to share with you all. I took out Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker from the library and quickly became entranced by the topic. It’s a short book from the perspective of a pubescent teem girl who is battling the repercussions of growing older and the changes that come with it, along with a massive alternation in the way the world works.

It’s never explicitly explained exactly what has happened, how, and why, but time has slowed. Days grow longer, as do nights. Among the chaos, fear, and danger of this realization, species die, illnesses arise, and crops can no longer be grown naturally. Tensions rise between those who remain on “clock time” and the few, now ostracized, who prefer to live by the sun.

It’s interesting to read how people acclimate to even the most extreme changes. What once seems normal, is foreign. Things like pineapple-gasp!- are no longer. Grapes cost over 100/pound. The sun is to fierce to be outside and people work, go to school, and live their daily lives in the darkness. Personalities shift as well as some relationships crumble and others grow stronger. Despite this, many people adjust, though there are always those who don’t.

Among the changes to the earth’s rotation, life still progresses for this little girl. She still has those awkward moments puberty and being a middle schooler provide. She still has crushes on boys and complicated friendships. She comes to realize that her parents are human, susceptible to weaknesses and changes like everyone else. Loss and happiness are ever present and the daily ministrations of life still seem like the biggest things in the world, even with the larger things happening in the world that have nothing to do with her, because it’s her life and aren’t we all like this?

The perspective of the book seems old and wise, which makes sense because it’s the little girl looking back at this time of her life. Much of what she discusses is seeped in observations influenced by hindsight. Her reflections are beautiful and thoughtful. With the threat of Global Warming growing ever present and the changes in the atmosphere and weather far more severe, this topic is definitely something to consider. 

This weekend, I also finished watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The show is a Netflix original comedy created and produced by Tina Fey. The premise is about a young woman, played by Ellie Kemper who was Erin in The Office and was also in Bridesmaids, who was kidnapped as a young girl by a cult leader who tells four women that there has been an apocalypse and the bomb shelter he has them locked in is the only source protecting them. The first moments of the show reveals the “mole women” being rescued and then becoming viral sensations. On a publicity tour in New York, Kimmy Schmidt decides she wants to lead an adventurous life and chooses to stay in my New York rather than go back to Indiana. Now she is an almost thirty year old woman who has the cultural knowledge of a fifteen year old girl, who has been damaged by this heartbreaking incident, yet remains optimistic.

The show is quirky and weird. The premise alone as a comedy seems outrageous. My favorite part are the supporting characters, The sassy roommate, the jaded landlord, the wealthy and shallow boss, and so on. I also think Ellie Kemper does an excellent job, but it’s the cast of characters that make the show worthwhile. The episodes are about twenty minutes long, very weird, but full of smart jokes, and genius guest star appearances. I cannot ruin this because the shock value alone is so clever.

I’m sad that I’ve already finished the season, but it left off at a satisfying point. I’m still intrigued and want to know what happens next and I think that is a mark of any quality show. Thus far, the jokes are funny. The characters endearing, and the writing clever. For me, it’s not quite at the level of Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, or The Mindy Project, but it certainly has the makings and the potential to get there. But honestly, it’s not like Tina Fey can do bring anyways. Watch!

Breakfast was a little weird this morning. After the gym, I ate a hard-boiled egg, but we were having a bagel morning at work and so I figured one in like three years would not do harm. I chose a sesame one with a smear of cream cheese and it was quite good. No time for pictures though.

Lunch was a simple salad with some grilled salmon on top. Since I had a carb-heavy breakfast and ice cream cake to celebrate a birthday, I felt satisfied by just the salad until I got home from work and ate a pear. Thankfully, I still seem fine to eat them. Last week my eyes were red, raw, and sensitive, but I started to take an allergy pill before night and it cleared right up. I might even be brave and try an apple, but only when I’m home and Benadryl is accessible.

  

Dinner was simple and tasty. Grilled chicken paired with leftover brown rice, roasted brussel sprouts, and a dollop of leftover cauliflower gratin. Delicious! The trick to these sprouts are salt, pepper, and a mixture of olive oil and maple syrup.

 

 My workout this morning began with a body strength workout. I performed four sets of ten moves with step ups, squats, lunges, kickbacks, burpees, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, hip lifts, ankle grabs, v ups, and Russian twists. I did a few planks before jumping into the pool for my cardio. I switched things up just a little by doing three sets of sprints. Very tiring, but very refreshing. I’m just loving the effects of hemming on my body when mixed with running and strength training. I also went for a brisk walk when I got home from work because at 40*, it felt spectacularly warm!

Exercise and Health: Even More Benefits

After my spin class on Tuesday last week, I went through a body strength workout with slightly wobbly legs. I thought it had to do with being tired from spin, but now I’m not so sure. Later on that day, the sickness hit me, and I decided that I would definitely take my rest day on Wednesday.

It proved later on that I wasn’t ready for a workout on Thursday either because my body was still recovering and exhausted. It wasn’t even that big of a deal for most of it, but it shows how sensitive the body really can be. Even this little, brief bout of weakness tore me apart.

I remember having a horrible cold over the summer this year, being incredibly dizzy and miserable, and it just puts everything into perspective.

I say this because I talk a lot about working out and how I believe it should absolutely be a normal part of your routine. And on most days, if you have little aches and pains, are tired, have a sniffle, or feel normal, then you can hype yourself up and barrel through that workout. Sometimes you’re too tired to brush your teeth, but you still do it. Or you should…

But the same thing goes for when you aren’t feeling well. You don’t have to feel guilty about not exercising on a day or two of being sick, or a few days later. I didn’t make it back to the gym until Friday night, finding it was more important to sleep in and get that extra rest, but I took it slow.

I met my sister and we went through a body strength workout at a slower, less intense pace then I am usually up for. After, we headed over to the elliptical and did a half hour on there. As I said, at the very least, the workout put me back into my routine and awakened my appetite.

On Saturday, I wanted to fit in a run, but I knew my body was still in recovery mode. I ended up alternating between walking on an incline and running for a little over an hour. It was an excellent workout anyways, but because I took it slow, the exercise ended up motivating my recovery, rather than stifling it. Exercise should be viewed as a means to maintain a healthy, happy body. As much as it’s important to rest, it’s also important to allow it to improve your health.

Lauren and Nick met me on Sunday and I led them through two kettlebell circuits. Before they got there, I did about fifteen minutes on the elliptical to warm up. I’m happy to note that the fitbit counts steps on the elliptical. We finished the workout going between box jumps and jump roping before finishing with some planks.

It felt good and revitalizing to get my workouts flowing again.

I Never Actually Had A Cabbage Patch Doll

This week, oddly enough, I have been distracted from posting any blog updates because I have been in search of finding something to do. Let me explain…I have known for awhile now that I really need a hobby that does not simply pertain to writing (what I want to do with my life) and exercise (because dear Lord that gets tiring).

These past few months I have felt bland and dreary. There has been a haze following me that I haven’t quite been able to pull myself out of yet, and I feel like I am at a stalemate in my life. Of course, I have a general, though never fully planned (because that’s no fun) idea of what I want to do with the rest of my life, but I am currently in a state of transition where I must wait.

I am not a waiter. I am a planner and I like to do what it is I want to do. If you know me, you can see my problem. My dreams have to wait because I cannot fund them quite yet, but I can keep working at it and writing. Trouble is, my mind has become so befuddled, I have been struggling with a severe case of writer’s block! I get an idea in my mind that feels brilliant and I get all excited and write non-stop for anywhere between a half hour and an hour and then I don’t think it’s good enough to go back to. It’s frustrating and I’ve been miserable about it, but I know what I need to do now.

I need to do something. Anything, whatever it is I want to do or will enjoy doing, I need to just do it. For FUN. Wait what???

With writing, there is the obvious pressure of one day making money and having a career from it. My future and life depends on it. With exercise and my health, I think it goes unsaid that to lead a good life, one needs balance and health for life with lifelong habits. I have begun to achieve this, but only on one side– the physical.

My poor, depressed emotional side has been left behind and I’ve been neglecting the fun and relaxed state of mind. Well, hello, I am here to claim you again, mind! And I want to write about this because in some ways it adds a bit of pressure, but in a really really positive way, to not be lazy and actually do it. If I tell you, you can hold me accountable.

Here are my goals. Sorry I’m planning again, just bare with me:

• Pet my cat more. We used to have a really good meow, meow rapport, but the heat wave has been getting to both me and Bandit a bit and he just wants to stretch out on the fluffy pink pillow I laid out for him and I just walk around my house in dejected disarray.

• Finger paint. I know this is odd, but I’ve always had a secret passion for it. I suck at it, but I think that’s what makes it even better. Do you think I’m too old to have my mom pin it up above her desk? At least on the fridge? My own room?

• Knit. If someone out there knows how to knit, I would very much like to learn from you on the condition you are nice about it, patient, and don’t stab me with the knitting needles when I try to start over five times because the holes aren’t perfectly symmetrical. But this might be more of a winter activity. And this would mean cheaper Christmas gifts, holler!

• Improve my Spanish. And when I say improve, I mean over the eight years I have been learning it, I barely know how to say “my name is Caitlin,” which ironically enough, I don’t remember at the moment. Insert awkward transition here….

• Walk more. I don’t mean for exercise, though it wouldn’t hurt me, but just walk for walking’s sake. Everywhere, anywhere, slow, fast, with music, without, with the dog, without. Just to clear my mind and enjoy nature without trying to rush around looking like a cabbage patch doll on crack. I don’t know where that analogy came from, but it’s awesome.

• Frequent pedicures. When I say frequent, I mean as much as I can afford, probably once a month or every six weeks or so. Because you know what? I need to pull a Tom and Donna (cookies if you get the Parks and Rec reference!!) and TREAT MYSELF! I mean, my poor toes are tingling because they get so beat up all the time what with all the running and walking and just being attached in some ways, not directly, though I suppose I can’t say with definitive surety because I’m no anatomy expert, to my head. Long story short, my phalanges are tired and need care too!

I also joined a coed softball team where I know not one person and could be stuck with a bunch of forty year olds, but I don’t care because it’s just for fun and worse case, I’ll have some helluva experiences I can write about!! And I don’t need to have a crap ton of hobbies as long as I find the one or two or a hundred that I really enjoy and will keep me going and happy and busy.

My emotional side needs some love too and I’ve finally realized just what it is I need to do to get balanced. So if you see me walk into something or look a little crazyball-eyed, don’t panic. Just ask for one of my finger paintings because odds are, once I get going, a black market will arise of people trying to get rid of them, and I will be appreciative.

Bandit and pink fluffy pillow: