Hey Ma…

Happy weekend everyone!  Was it just me or was that one of the slowest work weeks of all time?

Either way, I’m excited to finally have some rest and relaxation.  And most importantly, get some quality time in with the parental unit who came up to visit while my cousin runs the Chicago Marathon:Hey ma!

As I was uploading this pic, I said, “hey mom, I like this picture.  It turned out well.”

She inspected it (after pulling out her glasses of course) and said, “eh.  I guess I look alright for an old lady.”

Psht.  Now I know where I get my critical eye from…

She and two of my aunts roadtripped their way up yesterday (living on almond joys and gossip- or so I’ve been told) and my mom was waiting for me at my place by the time I got home from work.  So then it came time for our turn at catching up until I finally said I’d need something to eat or an arm would go missing.

Originally we had planned to go out to eat somewhere that at least had real silverware, but I wasn’t in the mood for anything too heavy and she had eaten a later lunch.  Solution?

Why Jason’s Deli, of course. I was craving deli.  This has happened a lot as of late.  Not sure why.  My mom did soup and a salad, while I tried something new to me from the “Lighter Side” part of the menu:I had the turkey wrap- which was filled with turkey, sprouts and guacamole (yes!).  Sans tomato because I’m crazy and don’t like tomatoes in my sandwich.  Also, it came with chips and guac (double yes!) on the side.

Sadly, the Goose Island beer didn’t come with it.  I supplied that on my own.  This was my first time trying the Harvest Ale and I have to say it’s not my favorite.  I still like Goose Island’s Summertime much better.  Maybe it’s just because I prefer lighter beer and not so much the malts, or maybe it’s because that’s me being in denial that summer’s over.  Either/or.

Quick- name your favorite beer!  Or if you don’t like beer- your favorite beverage to relax with?

Anyhoo, this is a quick one because clearly us girls have shopping to do.  With very little time to do it before we travel downtown to meet up with the rest of the gene pool for an evening out. 

Have a great Saturday!  And for all you kids running, GOOD LUCK!  I’ll be in the crowd.  Most likely with a bright yellow scarf.  If I see you, don’t be surprised if I’m jumping up and down like a maniac.  It’s sorta what I do.

Lunch Excitement (it’s the little things in life)

So I was definitely bummed that my workout got pushed to after work.  Mostly because I planned my night around having that done already.  But I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in the occasional struggle with the alarm clock

The run still happened.  My favorite treadmill was wide open. Then again, most of the machines were.  It seems lots of people shy away from working out when the weather turns?  Other than Mon flying away on the elliptical and another guy aimlessly wandering around in the weights section, it was empty.  Sweet! 

The run started like any other run, but then I developed a stitch in my side by the end of the 2nd mile.  And it WOULD NOT go away.  So I had to stop.  But only for a minute and I was back up- just not going as quickly.  I still ran a full 4 miles.  But much slower than usual.  I don’t know exactly- maybe an 8:50 pace?

Eh.  At least I got it done- even after accidentally sleeping in.  ;)

Moving on…

Has anyone heard of Portillo’s?  They’re a Chicago fast food chain that specializes in things like italian beef and hot dogs and such.  As much as others rave about it, I’m not a huge fan.  I mostly blame this to the fact that they only have krinkle-cut fries.  For some reason, I’m just not down with the krinkle.  I’m more of a waffle or curly fry kind of gal.

Needless to say, I haven’t been there in a while.  But Mon occasionally goes there for lunch and brought this little gem to me this week:She swore it was “life changing”.  The salad dressing.  She hasn’t read the book yet.  (And yes, I’m so excited to FINALLY be getting to read Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang.)

I said “woah now- that’s a pretty bold statement, Mon.”

She said, “OH- just wait and see”.Even Chelsea was smiling at me in that pic.  She knew the Portillo’s house dressing would be A-mazing.  If I weren’t in public, I gaurantee I would have licked the container.  But that wouldn’t have been lady-like, so I didn’t (I promise, mom!). 

Mon says they sell the dressing by itself at the restaurant.  It’s a good thing I don’t frequent Portillo’s.  But I can promise you that next time I go there, I will be leaving with a bottle of it.

What’s your favorite type of dressing?  For salads, I generally go with some sort of balsamic variety.  And of course I’m not a stranger to ranch- but it usually is used as a condiment for other things like sandwiches or pizza… ;)

So do you realize how excited I am about this weekend?  Obviously people know about the marathon, but my MOM is coming to visit and watch with me!  :)  My cousin is pretty much super human and will be one of the thousands of runners out there- so a few of “the girls” (aka my mom and a couple aunts) will be roadtripping up to spend the weekend with their daughters.  Is the city ready for a surge of my family population within it’s limits?  We shall see…

Early Flight

Ok.  Who booked this flight?!?!  It surely wasn’t me.  Mom…. I know it was you…

Yes, it’s 4:15.  AM.  Yes, it’s vacation and I’m up way earlier than I would have been if I had been working today. I guess that’s just how it goes. 

A nap will be necessary.

But I digress…

Last night was packed.  (Get it??  One of the things I had to do was pack… no?  I’m going to pretend it’s just too early for you yet, because that’s funny!)  Anyways, I raced home and headed straight to my apartment’s workout room.  I didn’t know how long I was going to have the desire to workout, giving the tiny bit of lingering soreness, but wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to go as long as I please.  I ended up just sticking to 25 minutes on the elliptical followed by some free weights and abs.  It felt pretty good- so I’ll be back into full swing again soon!

Dinner was an egg and spinach scramble.Loaded with spinach.  Because my timing really sucked with grocery shopping last weekend and I didn’t want to the spinach to go to waste while I am gone.  Popeye would have been proud.  There was a ton of it.  Of course I had to have toast.  And maaaay have put almond butter on half for dessert.  :)

Packing is always a chore.  I’m awful at it because I’m the world’s worst overpacker.  The idea of only taking a carry-on for three days worth of stuff makes me want to hyperventilate.  A girl needs her shoes!  And I have this awful habit of overpacking stuff like underwear.  Seriously… what is that about?  Have I ever needed 3 or 4 pair for each night I’m staying somewhere?  No.  But I’ll pack it anyways.  Every time.  guaranteed.  How about you?  What do you always overpack?

On a happy note, the lovely ladies over at She’s a Fit Chick and RunRettaRun passed along the Versatile Blogger award to me!  Thanks girls!

To accept, you’re supposed to list off 7 random things about yourself.  I’ve done this a few times, and I’m really not that interesting, but here are a couple more for you to ponder for fun:

- I am one of over 30 cousins.  On one side of my family.  I really can’t give you the exact number without sitting and thinking about it because inevitably I’ll accidently skip someone.  My mom comes from a HUGE family of 13.  So I guess that many cousins is close to an appropriate average?  I’m somewhere in the upper middle of the group.  Family gatherings are full-blown ordeals.  And can be overwhelming if you’re unprepared.

- Of all the places I haven’t been and want to visit, I think I’d choose New York City.  The city fascinates me (as did Chicago before I visited it).  And if the exciting hustle and bustle isn’t enough to entice me, I want to see and experience the culture, history and landmarks, restaurants, bars, shopping… the list goes on.  Oh New York… one day!

- I enjoy romantic dinners and long walks on the beach…. oh wait… just kidding.  When it comes to dating, I’m not huge in the romance.  My ideal date would allow me to wear jeans, laugh over drinks and a casual dinner, and do something random (think bowling, sight seeing, hiking).  One time, a guy I dated insisted (after I protested) on a candle lit dinner and a carriage ride.  One time, I broke it off with a guy after the second date.  Shoulda listened.

So that’s all I have for now.  I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Socialization

I’ve spent a lot of weekends resting and staying in as of late.  I have no problems with that.  I actually enjoy it.  But not this weekend… this weekend I remembered what the concept of socialization was all about (although I may be a little rusty… ;)).

After the three of us (my cousin, her friend, and I) getting our workouts in yesterday, we cleaned up as to look publicly acceptable, and headed down to the city to meet up with cousin #2 in Bucktown for a late brunch.  Really it was well past any hour that breakfast should be served in, but if there’s any cinnamon rolls involved, I still call it brunch.We ate at Blue Line Lounge and Grill- right under the Blue Line stop.  They had a little outside patio area that would have been so cute to sit in- had it not been SO COLD!  (Thank you Chicago weather and your mind games… I’m THIS CLOSE to needing therapy because of you.)  Niki got there right after we did, so as soon as she sat down, the family gossip came out again!  Don’t think we’re rude- there’s 35 cousins on that side of the family- there is a LOT of catching up to do on a regular basis.  Jeanna (my cousin Joanne’s friend) was very awesome about listening to all the tales of our childhood/family musings/where are they nows. 

The food came out and I had the California Stone Flat with sweet potato fries.  After that sandwich, I decided no sandwich is complete without avocado.  Mark my words…Such a sassy group of ladies we are…

After lunch, we all parted ways.  My coming home involved a nap in my favorite spot of my new couch (that would be the corner so I pretty much lay there in fetal position and bask in the glow of the sun shining through my sliding door- I’m a little baby like that.  Or a cat.).

I did, however, wake up and get moving again.  I had some energy stored up at that point and went down to hammer out another mile and a half on the treadmill.  Yes- I used the treadmill yesterday.  The dreaded thing.  The rain made me do it!

Later that night, I met up with my bestie Annie and we went to Rocks in Lincoln Park to celebrate her husband Steve’s birthday.  I really like that place because it’s a casual neighborhood bar.  I’m not so much a fan of the club scene and feel much more at home in a place like this.  Joanne was staying downtown this night and was cool enough to meet up with me again!  We decided this was probably the most bonding time we have had in years!I really want to make a trip to Ann Arbor to see her.  I’ve heard it’s a fun little town to run around in.  Plans must be made…

Anyhoo, because it was Steve’s birthday and Annie didn’t have time to bake anything, we brought a few of the cake bites I made to the bar to celebrate his birthday properly.  I like that Annie called them “cake bites”.  I have decided I’m not a huge fan of the word “balls” unless using it in a more negative tone.  Like, “he’s going to be late and we are gonna be so screwed!”  “Oh balls….”.  So yeah, we’re calling them cake bites now. Happy Birthday Steve!!!

People loved my cake bites.  And can we point out- this is where it sounds better.  Because you can’t say “people loved my balls”.  You just can’t use a phrase like that any more without thinking of Alec Baldwin’s schweddy balls skit.  Which is hilarious and all, but still somewhat awkward.  Nothing like a schweddy ball…

I’m running on little sleep today.  I blame myself.  Didn’t turn the heat up enough.  So I woke up freezing.  But too tired to actually get up and turn up the heat more or grab a cover.  So I laid there.  Frozen.  Looking back, that was a poor choice.

I have got to run.  Time to call my mom (Happy Mother’s Day, ya’ll).  And I have to clean before the peeps show up for a special suburb edition of Lunch Club. Have a wonderful Sunday!

I can’t stick to a schedule.

My cousin called while I was at work yesterday.  Her and another cousin of mine that lives downtown are meeting up for lunch today.  But her and her friend’s sleeping arrangements were disturbed last minute, so she called looking for shelter for one night.  And I was more than happy to oblige.  Quite frankly, I like being able to show off my new furniture.  :)

I told them they must have known I was baking.  While they hung out, we put on the Blackhawks game and I went to town in the kitchen.  I shaved off the tops of the cake to make it flat.  And saved it for later for some cake truffles that I “borrowed” from Bakerella.  Then made the fillings for the cake- marshmallow buttercream and chocolate ganache.

The marshmallow buttercream is like crack.  It’s addicting and will most likely make your teeth rot. Like I said- crack. And I can’t get enough.  Let’s all say it together- CRACK.  I am a firm believer marshmallow fluff was given to us from above- it’s like pieces of clouds from heaven all bottled up for us mere mortals to be teased with.  Did I mention I have issues with sugar…?Then the layering of the cakes happened.  This was not pretty and I seriously started to get nervous that the cake was going to turn out like poo.  But after I evened out the sides and promised myself it’d be ok after a layer of buttercream, I trudged on.

Until my handmixer called it quits.  Seriously- you can’t handle soft butter?  Don’t be such a girly mixer!!!  This was actually before my cousin and her friend showed up, so I threw on a jacket and ran out to Walmart to invest in a new Black and Decker.  Yeah, I was at Walmart at 9:00 on a Friday night.  Jealous?  You should be.  Who’s got a sassy-pants new mixer?  THIS GIRL.

I got home and then started working again.  I was finished with the dirty icing (it’s a real term- I didn’t make it up!) and had it ready for the next layer by the time they showed up.  I actually liked that they missed the earlier stages- my practice cake was looking ROUGH.

But it turned out ok!

TA-DA!  The “sand” is just graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar mixed together.  I’ve got a few more things I’m wanting to do for the final product, but hopefully the destination wedding/beach concept goes over well!  Jaime reads this blog, so let her know what you think… and be honest!  I still have two weeks to change it up a little…

Anyhoo, the three of us gossiped and chatted away all night and then figured we should call it quits and go to bed- the family gossip will definitely be continued at lunch today when Niki joins in on the fun.  Don’t want her to miss TOO much, right?

Oh and today I am working out.  Because of my little random change in plans, I didn’t last night.  I probably could of, but wanted to at least spend some time talking to Joanne and catching up- and not concentrating on the cake the entire time.  Totally worth it.  But I am working out today.  Like as in as soon as I get off of this computer.  My cousin and her friend are currently off running and I am heading out to do some weights and hit the elliptical for some serious WORK.  Like… right…. NOW.

Later!  Have a good weekend!

Holiday Hangover

Does anyone ever have a “holiday hangover”?  Usually my first day back to normalcy is a sluggish one.  I have a feeling today will be no different.  With good reason- yesterday was another long one. 

We started out with a casual Sunday Brunch:It was just the immediate fam and my aunt from my dad’s side of the family.  I like it this way.  :)  Mom made her awesome breakfast casserole and we had some leftovers from the day before.  I’m not a ham kind of gal, but hello breakfast casserole.  I love you.

After brunch, I packed up and pretty much was out the door a little after noon.  I didn’t make it to my extended family’s Easter gathering on my mom’s side- we have a HUGE family on that side.  I figured it would be too hard to do a “quick” stop through.  And it can always be somewhat overwhelming because there’s just soooo many people (my mom has 12 other brother and sisters- holy crap, right?).  So I just headed towards Chicago after I left my parent’s house.Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?  :) 

And in true St. Louis fashion, as I was going through, I heard J Kwon’s “Tipsy” AGAIN.  What is that about?!?! (Jill knows what I’m talking about!)  I thought it was funny the first time I went through, but I had no idea it was still in heavy rotation?  Or that was one hell of a coincidence!

Everybody in the club getting tipsy…. anyone?Ahhh… I’m baaaaacccccckkkkk!

The majority of the drive wasn’t too bad.  I made awesome time for most of the way.  And even was able to time it out so that I stopped at the same Panera on my way back- I think I found my default pit stop from now on.I approve of the clean bathroom vs. the gas stations I’ve been frequenting.  Clearly.  But the salmon club?  Not so much recommended… Plus it’s easier to eat the panini’s and drive. Not that I would eat and drive at the same time or anything…  And no I do not want to participate in your new promotion.  I’m aware that I bought a drink and entree and that qualifies me for a 99 cent pastry or cookie.  But I just ate my weight in chocolate Easter candy and you can ask 10 more times after the last 5 that you just did and I will still say no.  Thanks. Yes I’m sure.  No really, I’m totally aware it’s a really good deal.  NO I DON’T WANT IT, JUST BACK OFF. 

I still heart you Panera.  Promise.

I drove straight into a huge thunder and lightening storm.  I saw it coming about an hour away.  I think that may have been part of the reason I had to deal with serious traffic on the last leg of my trip.  Lame.  Nothing says welcome back home than getting completely soaked as I try to unload my car and drag my soaked luggage up three flights of stairs…

But all in all, it was a good weekend.  I like getting in quality time with the fam.  Especially at my parent’s house, since I don’t get to go back as often as I used to.  Just for kicks, here’s an oldie of me and my younger bro:Is that not the sweetest picture of all time?  We were pretty sassy looking kids.  That’s my brother- but he’s grown up a little since.  And I don’t really call him my “little” brother anymore:I like to think we’ve grown up nicely.  :)  And if you’re wondering, we were pretending to be the weather man (the forecast was up).  And I’m not sure how I can bend my leg that way… weird.  But yeah, that’s us.  I heart my little bro- he’s so grown up and became such a gentleman! 

I also just recently told him about the blog- so if you leave a comment, feel free to say hello!  :)

I’m doing yoga today.  And am running at some point this week to test out the leg.  Cross your fingers!  I’ve supposedly got that 5k next weekend with Annie and it’s time I figure out if I can feasibly do it or not.

Have a good Monday everyone!

Holiday Road

Yep… as you’re reading this, I’m doing one of two things…

Stuffing my face with these:Or I’m on the road again (cue “Holiday Road” from the National Lampoon’s theme).

I have to say I didn’t overindulge ALL weekend until the above pictured candy came along.  I can’t help it.  I can’t stop at just one… or five…  All I can say is that I’m happy my mom (for some reason still unknown to me) didn’t pick up the mini milk chocolate Cadburry eggs that I love.  Maybe because she knew I’d start inhaling them as I laughed manically, all balled up in the corner rocking back and forth? 

Well that’s probably a good reason now that I think about it.

Either way, good bye Easter candy- you were fun.  I’m going to probably have a sugar hangover this afternoon because of the little incident that just happened when I tried to pick up one piece of candy to tide me over until brunch… oops. 

Now all I have to get through is the little tiff with my mom about how much of the candy I should take back with me.  I always say none.  She always pulls out a gallon-sized ziploc bag for me.  Usually we compromise.  My only issue is I’m about to embark on an 8-hour drive.  That candy will be gone by the time I get home.  I know myself too well to have it any other way.

Anyways, all in all, it’s been a good weekend.  Yesterday there was more family time.  I also saw my two friends and their new (as in two week old) baby girl.  Honestly, I’m not around babies often.  So holding this newborn was pretty fascinating to me.  So small!  And cute!  And then I got the “poop face”.  So I handed her back over as to not get stuck with that whole situation…  And my brother and I visited with some peeps after church.  And then up at the local bar.  Needless to say, I got plenty of face time in.  And I always seem to have this conversation:

“So Amy, where are you these days?”

“Chicago.”

“Chicago?!?!  Whatcha doin’ up there?”

“Living the dream.”

“Too damn big if you ask me…. Chicago.  You a Cubs fan now?”

“No, I still like the Cards.”

“Well you better be.  Chicago… all those damn buildings…”

This was pretty much the conversation I had with someone last night.  And I’m positive I had a similar conversation with that same person before.  Twice…  Whatev.  I probably asked him the same questions last night as I did before… works both ways.

Anyhoo, I’m off to shower and such before brunch.  Otherwise, the lingering smell from the bar (which would be cigarettes and deep fry) would make me no fun to sit next to…

Enjoy the end of the weekend!  I’ll have more about the weekend later, but I have got to get moving.  I always miss my fam, but I’m looking forward to being back in my own space.

And seeing what the boy next door is up to… ha.

What is “that”?

Hello again from the farm!  I’m pulling the same stuff I do at my place and can’t sleep past 7:30… what is that about?  It’s almost embaressing.  My dad slept later than me.  What?!!?!!

So yesterday I realized I wasn’t completely alone when a few of you also said you were curious as to what Meatloaf meant by “that” in his song “Anything For Love”.  So being the google gal I am, I started.  Luckily, Wikipedia found it worthwhile to have an entire entry about it, so we’re just going to cross our fingers and hope it’s somewhat on point.  Because everything else I read was all over the place.

I guess none of us are really listening to the song as closely as we should (if you’re anything like me, you’re waiting to bust out your vocal range when he bursts out some energy when he sings about sex and drugs and rock and roll!).  Anyhoo, each verse says things he will do and one thing he won’t.  Apparently “that” is refering to the one thing mentioned earlier in the verse.  Although, the person who wrote the song knew well before it was released that the word “that” would probably lead to some mystery and confusion.  And he left it that way on purpose.  So really, it’s all up in the air and all this time spent on google wasn’t helpful at all.

Sorry kids.  I’m still sort of confused.

On a completely unrelated topic, one of the search terms to find my blog was “the absolutely best friggin’ time you’ve ever had”.  I wouldn’t make that up.  Awesome…

I couldn’t spend any more time on google because there was work to do.  My parents got a crazy late start planting their garden this year.  Part of that was my fault because they used a weekend to see me run the shuffle.  And the rest was the weather.  So they did the majority of it yesterday.  Conveniently while me and my brother were out.  My job for a while was helping with the potatoes.  I also did a lot of watching.  Or, as I would call it, “management”.  :)

We also found some teeny tiny baby rabbits!  There was a nest in the yard next to the garden, and my mom had almost ran over it with a lawnmower.  Apparently mama rabbit figured out whats up and it looked like she was in the process of moving them to safer grounds- smart move.

Soon enough it was time for me to bust out the dinner, courtesy of Trader Joe’s.  Here’s what I came up with:That is mushroom and spinach stuffed ravioli tossed in a light garlic sauce I made, along with baked cheesy tortellini with veggies, and asparagus.  I know it’s kind of strange to have two pastas.  But my reasoning was this.  My family is big into basic staples.  I was going to make the ravioli, but I really didn’t know how much faith I should put into everyone trying and liking it.  So I called in the cheesy tortellini for back up.  I didn’t expect people to have a little of both.  Either way- there were extra veggies in the tortellini dish, so I guess it worked out well.  I was a huge fan of the mushroom stuffed ravioli.  And will definitely be back for more when I get back home.  Loved it!

We completely took out all the asparagus.  And yes my urine smelled funny last night.  Thanks for asking.

I didn’t venture out to go “uptown” last night to see if people were out (fyi- “uptown” consists of the one block the one bar is on).  Maybe tonight because some of my friends from high school are supposed to be out.  So that’ll be fun!

Anyone have big Easter weekend plans?  I’m having a good time chillaxing with the ‘rents and family.  And like I said, am pretty excited to see a few of my good friends from high school!

I better get going- my aunt drove out for the weekend last night and we still haven’t gotten good ‘ol one on one time yet.  Signing out from Missouri…

All The Small Things…

I spent pretty much all day yesterday thinking it was Friday.  Yes, some of it had to do with I have today off, but I really think a lot of it had to do with the weather.  80′s?  And I’m leaving for the weekend?  I say that’s just crap. 

The day went pretty fast and I went to TJ’s over lunch after talking to my mom to see if it would be ok if I cooked dinner on Friday night.  I stocked up on the good stuff- including almond butter.  I used the almond butter in my oatmeal this morning.  My parents won’t even touch the jar.  Fail…

Anyways, because I had completely cleaned out my refrigerator at home in preparation for this trip, I didn’t have much of a selection and brought one of my Lean Cuisine standbys for lunch.  This was a new one I decided to try.  Roasted Garlic Chicken and spinach:I think when I eat them, my favorite Lean Cuisines are the pita wraps.  And butternut squash ravioli is pretty good- no lies.  But I saw this one with all of it’s 180 calories and said “hey, why not?”.  Well I’ll tell you why not.  I can’t tell if the 180 calories is the whole meal or what you think you’ll actually eat.  Or maybe there was a shortage of spinach and they dug into the baby food reserves to compensate?  Hey magic eight ball- should I eat this?  All signs point to “no”.

I ate the chicken.  I think it was about the same as eating one and half chicken tenders.  Bullshit.  I’m sticking to the pita wraps from now on…  had to dig into the snack drawer for some pretzels and a Clif Z Bar.  My boss felt sorry for me.  He tried bringing up some chocolate from the cafeteria, but had decided to sit outside for awhile and enjoy the sun- so the chocolate melted in his pocket.  So nice that he tried, though… 

I was out of that office and changing into “driving gear” at 4:30 on the dot.  Hooray for hitting the road!  So excited to go… so excited to go… so excited to SIT IN TRAFFIC.  I knew that traffic report earlier in the morning was only reporting badness.  But once I got about an hour or so out, traffic was moving pretty steadily and my view turned to this:So I’m not sure which is actually worse- the traffic or the nothingness?  Did I mention I dislike this drive?  At this point I was tired of the rush hour music (I like Lady GaGa, but after the 10th playing of “Telephone”, I’m kind of over it).  After a couple of you mentioned throwback music, I decided to try and find some.  Which was a task because the middle of Illinois seems to enjoy country music.  Blah…  But I did!

Meatloaf told me he would do anything for love.  But he won’t do THAT.  Now all I can think about what “that” really could be.  Does anyone know?  I’m a fan of the song- but know absolutely no history behind it.  So maybe I’m just a poser… I really need to read up on my Meatloaf history.

Then I found a station that played some Sophie B. Hawkins.  And was singing “damn… I wish I was your lover”.  I was getting really vocal, too.  Then decided to lower the voice a little bit because I was on a stop for food and people were starting to stare.I won’t lie- I wondered a little off the beaten path for this one.  The entire week I had pretty much just figured I’d have Subway and call it a day.  Subway is seriously ok and I still eat it, but I’m still a little shaken up by that “something crunchy that shouldn’t be in my chicken” from one of my drives out during the Christmas holidays.  Because really, it’s not like Panera is the uber healthy option (I’m sure my Sierra Turkey had just as many if not more calories than the option at Subway I would have gone with).  But when it comes to quality of some of the food, I like to think it wins out.  And I’m pretty sure my panini I had was THE BOMB.  So I’m totally happy with my choice to drive an extra mile or two off the highway into unknown territory for it. This stop is about three hours into the trip.  Still a bit of daylight.  Still smiling- even though my makeup had melted off because the air was kind of thick and humid and gross but I still wanted to keep the windows down because it was obviously that instead of 20 degrees (which I am thankful for every day until November).  See the problem in this picture, though?  It would be the obnoxiously large iced tea I have in my hands.  What was I thinking???

Into about the third chorus of “na na na na na na na na na na na na na” from Blink 182′s “All the Small Things” is when I crossed the state line into Missouri.  It was lovely seeing St. Louis- I was so over those cornfields… and I had to pee and was not about to stop on one of the smaller exits outside of STL.  Last time I did that late at night, there was only one teeny tiny gas station and two farmers in overalls with no teeth stared unapologetically at me the entire time.  Deliverance, anyone?  (cue creepy background music)

As I was pulling into the gas station in St. Charles, MO, I stumbled onto a junior high dance favorite- KC and JoJo.  You know the song- sing it with me “I will never find another lover sweeter than you, sweeter than you…”  To this day I remember how intense it would get at the dance as soon as a slow song came on.  You were one nervous little child until you saw a boy walking your way…  I still have issues.  Thanks 8th grade.

I put a little more gas in the tank and bought some ice for the cooler of TJ’s wonderfulness:Are you curious as to what I’m making tonight yet?  Hmmm… nothing too fancy, but I’m still very excited.  :) 

I also picked up some coffee.  Yes, it was pretty late, but I had reached six hours of traveling and needed a pick me up.And in St. Louis style, I found a station that was playing some J Kwon.  Deja vu to freshman year in the dorms… One, here comes to two to the three to the four…

Once I got off the actual interstate and hit the “backroads” all the way home, fatigue starting setting in.  I rolled up to my parent’s house around 1:00.  Said hello.  Passed out.  And here I am.This is part of the back yard.  I’m waiting for the sun to come out to play.  Until then, I’ll be catching up on my google reader.  Which will take longer than usual because this internet connection blows.  And surfing for a new pasta sauce recipe.  Anyone got anything kind of light?  No creamy stuff preferably- I got kind of turned off by the cheese sauce I made last week…

Enjoy the rest of the day!  And drive safe if you’re traveling!  I’m off the road, so overall safety of the roads just improved.  You’re welcome.

I won’t be your friend. But I appreciate you.

I’m talking about yoga.  Yes I hated you.  But I get it.  I know now that you help me.  You help make my core stronger.  You help my flexibility.  You help me cross-train and become a better runner.  So thank you.  But I still don’t like you.

I went back and forth for a while when trying to decide if I should break out the yoga.  The leg is hanging in there.  I’m feeling pretty good about it.  Not good enough to run- I’ve become way too over-cautious to do that.  But good enough to do yoga.  So I turned on Exercise TV again and hit up the Fitness Fusion.  My only worry was the warrior series, but the leg hung in there and didn’t complain!  Progress…

Although it had been a little longer than I’d like to admit the last time I actually did it.  I’m sorry yoga, I know I started to ignore you when running came back into my life.  But you have to understand- running and I go way back.  And we’re in love.  No hard feelings… k? 

It’s not cardio- but I’ll happily take it!

So I made sure to have a good breakfast for LOTS of energy today.First of all because I’m somewhat short on sleep (I swear the full moon brings weird dreams- what is that about?!?!).  Secondly, because I have a super long road trip to Mid-MO to spend Easter weekend with the fam.  And the discussions of new construction on the news in the background of that picture will most likely screw me over in some way or another… blah. 

Before I continue, can I just say that now every time I have oats in a jar, I think about this cartoon my friend Ashlee sent me?  She seriously did crack up at my nut butter addiction…So basically, I’m stirring it in the jar going “megggggaaaaaa butttteeeeerrrrrr!!!!!!” in an unnatural sounding voice (high or low pitch, whichever works for you).  Yep.  It’s the little things, kids.  Just remember that…

Oh how I enjoy this trip.  Not.  Interstate 55 is the highway to nothingness.  At least last time I had some of my fav boys to keep me amused on the way to Mardi Gras in St. Louis.  I’m doing this one alone- and traveling about two hours longer… Ugh! 

But it’s aight.  I usually do ok on keeping myself entertained- the playlist has been updated.  There are people to call and catch up with.  I should be good!  But am always open for suggestions if you have ways of making long trips seem shorter (that are not drug induced anyways…)?  Originial plans were to leave after work and stop for the night in St. Louis.  But one of my fav girls, Laura, has to work pretty early on Friday.  So I think I’m just going to try to speed through StL, give a shout out to Busch Stadium on my way through (a little over 3 days until opening day, kids!), and be on my merry way into more highway and hills.  And not much else.  Peaceful… Almost too peaceful… ha ha

So there you have it!  Maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll have some sweet stories of random occurences that happened in the middle of Illinois.  Don’t hold your breath, but there’s always hope…  And cross your fingers that there’s no Children of the Corn incident that goes down if my car breaks down.  It’s a reoccurring concern of mine.

Have a good Thursday!  :)  I’m excited because I found an excuse to get a Trader Joe’s trip in today over lunch- figured I’d pick up some wine and a few unique TJ items as a nice thing to bring home tonight since my fam doesn’t really get exposure to a store around them.  Not that they really care so much about that, but I still like bringing home fun things.  :) Can we make nut butter an Easter tradition?  Let’s try it…

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