Magic Castle Fun (or Girls Night Out)

I’ve been fortunate to be able to go to Magic Castle twice in the past. It’s a really fun place to go to and since you need to be invited it’s not something that everyone gets to do. I don’t know members, so it’s not something that I can be invited to that often. But through a friend of a friend, I was able to get an invite to Magic Castle and I organized another girls night out there!

I had a great group of friends with me when we went this past week. In that group, I had my friend Shey (my Evil Twin), my workout buddy Dani, and my friend Camber who I met through my WIF mentoring group. Shey also invited her roommate and one of her roller derby friends to round out the group. I think it was a really great group and we were all so excited to be at Magic Castle.


The rules are that you cannot take photos beyond the lobby, but the entire place was decorated for Halloween and I totally loved that! The only photo of the decorations I could get was in the lobby, but you can see the fun stuff that they put out to celebrate.


We arrived at Magic Castle a bit before our dinner reservations, but they opened the dining area a bit earlier than expected so we were able to get in for dinner pretty quickly. And it turns out that our server was a friend of Shey, so that was fun! The dinner that they serve is pretty delicious and I was excited to have a nice splurge meal. I didn’t drink any alcohol (I wanted to save the money and calories for food), but I didn’t miss drinking at all. For my dinner, I had a steak (and it was cooked perfectly!) and I got some banana pie for dessert. It was a bit more food than I’m used to, but it was really good and I was glad that I didn’t try to restrict my food too much!

All of us had a great dinner and we enjoyed discussing tons of random stuff over dinner. Considering that most of the people in the group didn’t know each other before that night, it was awesome to see everyone get along so well. You never know when you create group outings like this if things will go well, so I’m so grateful that it turned out perfectly!

After dinner, it was time to see the main stage show (we get tickets to guarantee seats with our dinner). We got there a bit close to showtime, but we found 3 seats in one row and 3 seats right behind it toward the front of the room. We were off to the side, but we had a great view and the tricks that the magicians did were pretty incredible! I knew how a few of them were done because of a show I’ve seen on how to do magic, but there were so many tricks that I couldn’t figure out how they were done!

After the main stage show, our next stop was the close up magic room. We ended up being in the front row for the show so we were super close to everything happening. Usually the close up room is my favorite, but the magician that we watched seemed to be a bit nervous and their hands were shaking really hard. It started to make me nervous, but he was still able to do some great tricks and everything was impressive.

Our next stop was to try to see the last stage show at Magic Castle, but we missed the show we were hoping to see. We figured we’d wait an hour to see the next showtime and were trying to figure out what to do. All of a sudden, a man at the bar asked us what we were doing and we said we didn’t know. He responded that we were his audience for the show he was about to do. There was a card table near the bar where we all sat down and he did a bunch of different tricks.

He was so impressive! The fact that he didn’t have time to prepare since he just found us while he was eating at the bar was amazing. And the tricks blew all of our minds! We kept trying to figure out what was happening or how he could do it, but none of us could figure out anything! I’m so glad he was willing to put on a show for us because it ended up being the best show of the night!

We made it to the last stage show after our private show, and that was really fun too. There were some great rope magic tricks as well as some disappearing money ones. And the magician was very animated and kept everyone’s attention even though it was close to midnight on a weekday when we were at the show.

By then, we were all pretty tired (we had been there for over 6 hours) and most of us had to work the next morning. So it was time to say goodnight and for all of us to head home.

This was just a really great night out with my friends and I’m so lucky that I was able to get to Magic Castle again. I’m hoping that I might be able to get another pass at some point next year because there were a lot of friends who wanted to come but couldn’t due to scheduling. I’d love to have a chance to share this amazing place with more people soon!

An Overdue Friend Hangout (or A Medical Discussion Dinner)

There have been some friends that I haven’t gotten to see in a while. It’s a lot of issues with scheduling with all of our crazy schedules, but also time flies by and we forget how long it’s been. So when a friend of mine invited me to dinner recently and I realized it had been months since we had seen each other, I said yes right away!

This friend is someone who I used to see pretty much every week, but our schedules haven’t been matching up lately. She also had some medical things to deal with that prevented her from doing too much stuff. But we’ve stayed in touch through texting so when we got together, it felt like almost no time had passed!

We went out for Mexican food and I was a little nervous about it. I’ve been doing really well with my food lately and I didn’t want to eat too much or something that I shouldn’t (there was also another dinner coming up that I knew would be a splurge). Fortunately, neither of us cared to eat chips and salsa, so we didn’t get any for our table. Not having the chips in front of me made me feel a bit better about things since I didn’t have to stare at them or try to figure out if I should eat some. And I ordered fajitas, so I felt pretty confident that I made a good food choice and started to relax more.

Once we had ordered our food, our conversation became all about medical stuff. I was telling her about my MRI, and she shared all the stuff that she went through recently. She found out that she has the BRCA mutation (the breast cancer gene) and went through some stuff to make sure she stayed healthy. She had a double mastectomy and then reconstruction. I hadn’t seen her since her surgeries, and it was great to see her (also she looked amazing!). I’m not sharing her name because I don’t want to share her story for her, but she knows who she is and I’m so grateful that she is my friend.

She has been so open about everything that she has done so far and has always been more than happy to support me and share advice and tips. When I knew I’d be getting my MRI, she was one of the first people I contacted for advice and to find out anything I should be prepared for. She told me it wasn’t that big of a deal and let me know that I’d be fine. When she’s done additional genetic testing, she let me know so I could see if my mom did that testing. She’s not afraid to tell the truth about what she’s going through and I really appreciate that honesty.

I’m curious if anyone at the tables near us at dinner could hear our conversation. We were talking about a ton of medical stuff like surgeries, IV issues, scars, and other things that most people wouldn’t usually discuss. I’m totally used to it since growing up I heard lots of medical stuff over dinner when my parents were talking. I love that I have a friend who is able to be as chill about talking medical things over food as I am.

We did discuss other stuff besides cancer and medical stuff like my workouts at Orangetheory, other mutual friends of ours that neither of us have seen in a while, and random comments about the people watching we were doing from our table. It was a really nice dinner and it made me realize that I should do dinners with friends more often when I can.

While we had a pretty quick dinner, it was the perfect thing for me that night. I needed to have some positivity in my week, and my friend did just that for me. I have been very set in my ways with my food, and I needed the push to go outside what I’ve been feeling have been safe foods (even though I splurged a bit at dinner, my weight wasn’t affected the way I was scared it would be). And I got some great advice about the cancer screenings I’ve been doing lately and how normal they really are so I shouldn’t be too worried about them.

MRI Time (or Another Type Of Cancer Screening)

Because I’m considered high risk for getting breast cancer since my mom had it, I do cancer screenings a lot earlier than most people do them. For the past 2 years, I’ve done mammograms. They aren’t fun to do, but I know I need to do them. There is a chance that I might not be doing them every year for the next few years, but that’s not yet decided.

But because my mom’s type of breast cancer wasn’t caught on a mammogram, there was some discussion that I would need to get a breast MRI in the near future. I got a letter from my mom’s geneticist that explained that a baseline test for me would be a good idea, and my doctor sent that to a geneticist at my hospital. And after my last appointment with my doctor, it was decided that getting a baseline MRI would be my cancer screening this year (it was instead of getting another mammogram).

I’ve had a MRI before for my hip. That wasn’t a great experience for me because I didn’t realize how loud the machine would be and how long I would be stuck in there. I also went into that MRI knowing that if my pain went away or decreased after the solution they used was injected into my hip, that was a clear sign that my cartilage was damaged and I would need surgery (the MRI was before I had a full diagnosis or treatment plan). I was out of pain within minutes of the injection, so I spent the entire MRI knowing that I would need surgery and that freaked me out a bit.

This time, things were very different for me. First of all, this MRI couldn’t be done at my hospital. Because breast MRIs require special equipment and they aren’t done that often, there is an imagining center that my hospital outsources them to. I’ve never had to do any procedures or appointments outside of the hospital that I go to, but I tried to think about it as a new adventure. I was able to get a Saturday appointment, so I went right after work this past weekend.

When I got to my appointment, I had a dozen or so papers I had to fill out. Most of them were pretty basic, but there were a few things that I had to think about (such as the dates of my mammograms and the date of my previous MRI). I was trying not to be nervous while filling out the forms, but I’ll admit that I was a bit shaky as I was trying to write.

After my forms were filled out, I waited for a bit for my name to be called, and then the tech that I was going to be working with brought me back to the changing area. For my last MRI, I had to be naked under the gown (they needed full access to my hip for the injection) so I just assumed this would be the same. I didn’t realize that if I had worn pants with no metal I could have kept them on. I should have worn yoga pants so I could have done that, but I wore jeans so I had to just wear the gown. Not a big deal, but something to keep in mind if any of you are going to get a breast MRI.

Next, the tech took me into the MRI room. They were able to arrange for me to have an open MRI machine since I do have issues with claustrophobia and I was grateful for that. The tech had me lay down face up on the bed for the machine so she could put the IV in my hand. I’ve said how much I hate needles and IVs are the same problem. I told the tech my issues and she was seriously amazing! She asked me if I knew any good or bad veins, and I showed her the vein that was used for both surgeries I’ve had before. She was able to get the IV in with one stick, and then she got ready to prep me for everything else.

For most MRIs, you lay on your back on a table that slides into the machine. For breast MRIs, you lay on your stomach on a ledge that is on top of the table. There are holes in the ledge for your boobs to go into (they want to keep the tissue separate from your body) and you have your arms out in front of you. It took a few tries for me to lay properly so that everything lined up ok, but the tech was really great again and helped me get into the position that was going to get the best images in the machine.

Right before I went into the MRI machine, I got my earplugs (you totally need those for MRIs) and the tech hooked up my IV to a machine. For the first part of the MRI, there would be some saline going into the IV. But about 2/3rds of the way though, there would be contrast going through my IV to get a different type of images. I tried not to think about the IV too much and was slid into the machine.

While I was face down, my face was close to the front of the room so I could see light. And they had a fan at the front and the back of the machine so there was air always moving around me. Some of the images took 5 minutes and some were shorter. Each time, the tech warned me how long the session would be and I tried to stay distracted or count down the time. It’s extremely loud inside of the machine, and since my hip MRI had my head out of the machine I didn’t realize it would be quite as loud as it ended up being. It wasn’t too bad (the sound was very muffled with the ear plugs) and I tried to use the variety of noises to distract me.

Then it was time for the contrast to go into my IV. My mom had warned me that the contrast sometimes hurts, but it was more uncomfortable than I expected. The contrast is a thicker liquid than the saline so it feels weird. It wasn’t unbearable or anything, but I think the shock of the feeling made it feel worse to me than it really was. As soon as the contrast was all injected into my IV (it was done by a machine and not the tech), the tech ran into the room and disconnected my IV so that I didn’t get anything else into my vein. That made the discomfort go away almost right away.

After the contrast went in, there were only a few more minutes inside of the MRI machine. And before I knew it, it was all done and the tech was pulling the table out of the machine so I could get up. She first had to remove the IV from my hand and bandage it up, but I was able to sit up within a few minutes of being done. My body didn’t hurt too much, but my abs were a bit sore because I think I was tensing my body up from time to time and that gave my core a bit of a workout.

I didn’t get any pictures of the MRI process. I was so tempted to ask the tech to take one while I was in the machine, but I didn’t want to distract her from her work or make her run behind with other patients. But I did take a picture in the dressing room after everything was done.


I felt really great after the MRI was done. I was so nervous about the IV and I made it through that. I was nervous what the MRI would be like or if I would have any issues, and fortunately I didn’t really have any problems. I haven’t gotten my results back yet, but I’m not too worried. This is just a baseline MRI so that future MRIs can be compared to it. I also know that MRIs (just like being young and getting mammograms) can have false positive results, so if I do hear back that there was something suspicious I’m not super concerned. There is no reason for me to believe that there is anything wrong with me and that’s the mindset I’m sticking with.

I know that having cancer screenings can be scary. You are terrified that they will find something and that’s why many people don’t do them. I totally understand that feeling, but I also know how important it is for me to be on top of my health and this is just a part of life for me now. I don’t know if I will be doing any more cancer screenings before I’m 40 (that will be up to my doctor and the geneticist to decide), but whichever way it goes I trust my doctors and that they are looking out for me.

Extra Running Time (or Figuring Out What I Can Do)

This past week of workouts at Orangetheory were pretty great for me. I’ve been getting ready for Hell Week (I just booked all my Hell Week classes so I can get the shirt for completing it) and I’m starting to trust that my body can handle more than I think it can. My progress is still slower than I thought it would be, but I’m seeing improvements that keep me happy. I also think this past week of workouts went well because I only did 3 workouts (and skipped my run/walk training that I do on my own) so I had more energy. But just because I did fewer workouts doesn’t mean that I was slacking on things.

Monday was a power workout day. We had a bunch of really short blocks so we never were doing something for that long. Each block was only 4.5 minutes long and on the treadmill it was going by really quickly. I ended up running for 2 minutes at a time for each of the treadmill blocks that we had. 2 minutes still feels tough to me, but I’m able to do it more and more often on the treadmill so I’m feeling pretty great. I figure the more that I do 2 minute runs, the better the 1 minute ones will feel during my next race.

After doing about 20 minutes on the treadmill, we switched over to the floor where again we had super short blocks. We were only doing the sets for the same 4.5 minutes so I didn’t get too tired of any strength exercise. The focus was on arms but we also had a bunch of lunges to get through. And after that, we had about 10 minutes left in class so we did a quick partner workout.

It was basically a run/row where one partner was on the treadmill and the other was on the rower for 1.5 minutes. The treadmill was a push pace for a minute followed by a 30 second all out. I did run for the entire thing, but I wasn’t pushing my speed up too much for the all out time since I was pretty tired at the end of the workout. On the rower, we rowed for 1.5 minutes and we were supposed to not reset the rower between switching. But I think my partner kept resetting the rower because at the end of 4 blocks of this it showed we rowed 400 meters (which is what is usually done in about 1.5 minutes).

Wednesday was an endurance run/row day. I’m not a huge fan of endurance days, but I love run/row days so I was feeling pretty ok going into the workout. The run/row was one of the tougher ones I can remember. Each of the run segments was .5 miles. Since I do the run/walk instead of just running or just walking, I try to split the difference between the run distance and the walk distance (which is half of the run distance). So I settled on doing .37 miles for each of the treadmill segments.

For each time I did the .37 miles, I ran for 2 minutes and then walked for 1 minute. I finished it with running for whatever distance I had left, which usually ended up being a little longer than 2 minutes. I probably could have increased my speed to that I could have gotten that done a bit faster, but since I’m focusing so much on running for 2 minutes at a time, I didn’t want to work on speed at the same time. It ended up being  pretty great pace for me and I was tired but feeling good after each treadmill part.

For the rower, we had a 600 meter row each time. The first time, it was just 600 meters straight and the second time it was split up a bit so we had a break on the rower in the middle. There were 4 rounds we were supposed to get through, but I had a bit of a delay on the rower because the foot straps weren’t working and I had to find a different rower to work on. So I made it to the 3 treadmill part and felt ok with that.

On the floor, we had 2 blocks. The first block was pretty normal where we had a set number of reps to do for each exercise and we did as many rounds as possible. But the second block was insane! We had exercised to do, but instead of having a set number of reps, we had to do each thing for 1 minute and was told when we could move on. It got tough because I didn’t always know how much longer was left in the minute and I didn’t want to burn myself out. We had 2 rounds of each exercise for that minute and with a lot of exercises being squats I was feeling it when we were done.

My last workout of the week was on Friday which was another power day. We didn’t switch between blocks and while it was a power day, it really felt more like an endurance day. Each of the treadmill blocks had the same format: a push pace, 1 minute at base pace, and a 30 second all out pace. After each block, we had a minute to walk and recover. But those push paces started out at 3 minutes and then they got shortened by 30 seconds each time. For the pushes from 3 minutes down to 2.5 minutes, I ran for 2 minutes of that time. And for all of the ones 2 minutes and under I ran for the entire thing. I did run my all outs at a pretty fast speed (the best one was 6.3 miles an hour), but that was because it was short and I had some base pace walking before it.

The floor work was split into 2 blocks. The first one had a pretty good variety of things we had to do. Some things were using the TRX straps like triceps work, some things were body weight like squats, and we got to use the ab dolly to do some knee tucks and push ups. It was one of my favorite floor blocks that we’ve had in a while since the variety was really great and the way it was set up I didn’t have any muscle group feeling too tired from exercise to exercise. The second floor block was a mix of squat work using the medicine ball and rowing and we were running between the floor and the rowers the entire time.

I’m shocked that I was able to do 2 minutes of running for each of my workouts this past week. I think that I’m finally in a better spot to keep working on my endurance in my running and might try to push things a bit more in the next few weeks. I still think that for my next race, doing 1 minute intervals will be the best option for me. But like I said, the better my running endurance is by race day the easier those intervals will feel for me. This week of workouts will be the last week before Hell Week (which will go through the last 2 weeks of this month) so I better make sure I’m ready!

Adventures In Banking (or More Customer Service Stories)

Since I work in customer service, I know that sometimes someone is having a good day and sometimes someone is having a bad day. As a customer service rep,  I can’t make every customer happy (I just got in trouble yesterday by a customer who called me rude to the owner of the company I work for because I refused to do things that I either have no authority or legal right to do). I’m aware that because of my job in customer service, I can be a tough customer from time to time. I do expect a lot out of customer service reps since that’s the standard that I have for myself, and I really hate when I have a bad experience.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of customer service people from banks lately. After setting up my DBA for work, I’ve had to do a couple of things and one of those things was getting a business bank account set up. My first stop was my current bank since it would be easiest to have everything in one place. Unfortunately, I would have to pay $15 a month to have a business bank account until I had a minimum balance in the account which was higher than I’m comfortable with.

Even though I couldn’t do the account at my bank, they were so nice to me there. They looked into some possible loopholes that might be able to get the fee waived for me, they tried to find other options, and they really did everything they could to try to find a solution that would make me happy. I’m sure that they also want to keep my business, but any bank should want my business whether or not I’m already a customer.

I ended up doing some searching online for business bank accounts with no monthly fee and found a bank that happens to be one block away from my current bank. My first attempt to go there to talk to someone was not a success because I forgot it was Columbus Day and the bank was closed (totally my fault for not looking into bank holidays). But I was able to go back the next day and that’s exactly what I did.

When I arrived nobody greeted me or asked me what I was at the bank to do (they do that at my current bank), so I waited in line to talk to a teller to find out what to do. They directed me over to some chairs and said there was one person ahead of me needing to discuss business accounts. I took a seat and got my book out to read.

The person ahead of me went back and before they did, a bank employee came to look to see if I had the paperwork I needed to open a business account. They quickly glanced at everything, said it was fine, and said they’d be back soon to help me. I ended up waiting almost 2 hours to be helped. By the time they got to me, the bank was closed. But since I had been waiting since before they closed, they weren’t going to send me away.

They started to look at my paperwork and process things and then told me that I needed $100 to open an account. I’m aware that this is my fault, but nobody told me how much I needed to open an account and I didn’t have $100 in cash (or a blank check) with me. I asked if there was any way I could run over to my bank and get cash from the ATM, but they said that since they were already closed that if I left to get money they couldn’t let me back in.

I left that bank feeling pretty annoyed. In the 2 hours I was sitting and waiting, I easily could have gone to my bank and had the cash that I needed. When they came to check my paperwork to see if I had what I needed, they could have told me that I needed $100 or they couldn’t open the account. But instead I wasted 2 hours sitting on my butt in a bank with nothing accomplished.

I put a bit of a rant up on Facebook that evening because I decided that even though they seemed to be the best option for a free business account, I didn’t want to give them my business. I deserved to be treated better than how they treated me. I never should have waited as long as I did because my time is valuable. And I wasn’t going to be devalued again.

A few of my friends recommended a credit union that they believed had free business accounts. So yesterday, I headed over to the credit union to talk to them. First, I have to say that doing business in a credit union that is housed in a building owned by a major studio is pretty fun. In the entryway there were a bunch of props and other things from movies the studio has done before. And in the credit union, they’ve got a lot of movie themed stuff (sorry that I didn’t get any pictures of it!).

I wasn’t able to get my account set up while I was there because I actually need some more paperwork that I will be getting from the LA County courts in the next few weeks. But once I can do that, I can set up the account (and while it’s not always free, there’s a low enough balance requirement that I can handle it).

Even though I couldn’t do the bank account at the moment and that was discovered within minutes of sitting down, I couldn’t have asked for a better customer service experience. The woman helping me was more than willing to answer all my questions that I’ve been coming up with. I’ve never opened a business bank account so this is all new and sometimes overwhelming to me. But she was patient and took her time making sure that when I left there that I had all the answers I needed and that I knew exactly what I needed to bring with me the next time I come in.

Hopefully my paperwork from the court will come soon so I can set everything up, but there is no question that I am going to go with the credit union (as long as everything works out for me) instead of the bank. I want my money to be a place where I feel comfortable going in to talk to a banker or where I know that they won’t waste my time. It’s important to feel good about where you are giving your business, and clearly the customer service experiences that I had influenced me.

Overwhelmed By The Election (or Politics Time)

I don’t usually post about politics on here. If you follow me on twitter, you probably have seen my tweets during the debates and other election coverage. I’m pretty open with the fact that I’m a Democrat, but that does not mean I don’t have friends on the other side of the political spectrum.

I have some friends and family members who are Republicans and while we do get into debates and heated discussions about things from time to time, it is always respectful and we both know that we will probably never change the other person’s opinion. That’s fine with me and having political discussions is one of the great things about this country. People can have differing opinions but still be friends. I like hearing why someone believes something that I disagree with and it really makes my view of the world more well-rounded.

I have not been a fan of some Republican politicians for a long time. A lot of the reasons have been because of their political viewpoints. And even though I am not a fan I always have respect for them. They are the elected officials chosen to represent us and I have to respect that fact. Just because I was not a part of the group that elected them doesn’t mean that they don’t represent me. So I listen to what they have to say, and if I feel my voice isn’t being heard I try to do what I can to make sure someone is listening.

But with all the recent developments with Trump lately, I can’t stay quiet. I’m aware that this may lose me readers, but please read this before you decide not to follow my blog anymore.

I’ve disagreed with a lot of Trump’s stuff since the beginning of this election cycle. I don’t believe that all Muslims are bad since I have several Muslim friends who are the most amazing people. I believe that if we are going to lump all Muslims with the few bad people who claim to follow that religion, then we have to lump all Christians with the few bad people who claim to be Christians and are evil people. I don’t know anyone who really wants to consider all Christians terrorists, so in the same idea I don’t believe in considering all Muslims terrorists either.

With the tape that was released last weekend, I cannot let that type of speech be considered “locker room talk”. Even if Trump never did what he was saying that he did (and there are stories claiming that his bragging is based on real events), that type of talk is not ok. Laughing and joking about sexual assault is part of the reason that rape culture is the way it is. When a rapist gets an extremely short sentence because they don’t want to ruin the rapist’s life because they only raped the victim for a few short minutes, that’s rape culture. When it is more important to the police to find out if a victim was drinking or what they were wearing instead of why criminal chose to rape someone, that’s rape culture. Laughing about grabbing women without permission and getting away with it because you are famous is rape culture. That’s not ok for anyone to talk like that but especially for someone who wants to be President.

And then yesterday, I read a story about how there was an article that compared how many electoral votes each candidate would get if only women voted or if only men voted. If you read the article, it’s pretty interesting in how the breakdown goes and how it compares the breakdown for the last election. It was a new take on how the gender split goes on this election and I found it something informative.

But of course some people had to take that article to a new level. Because Trump was predicted to win if only men could vote, there are people saying that the 19th Amendment (which gave women the right to vote) should be repealed. This is not funny to me at all. While now there are more tweets and articles making fun of the idea that some people think women should no longer be allowed to vote, the fact that many people thought it was a great idea to take away voting rights makes me ill.

People are claiming that women having the right to vote is ruining the country. They are claiming that women have no place in politics and should leave all decisions to men because only men know what is right. People say that feminists (and I consider myself to be a feminist) are trying to make the country only work for them and make all the men do “women work”. This is not ok at all.

There are young girls who are hearing this and may be thinking that they don’t have a right to speak their mind or should try to do new things. There are young boys who are hearing this who think that this is ok to say and that women are lesser than. The things that kids are hearing will be the things that they will be saying and believing as they grow up. Do you want the next generation of women to feel like they can’t speak up or do anything with politics? Do you want the next generation of boys to believe that they can get away with anything they want because they are a boy?

I don’t want to see this as our future. While I don’t have kids, I expect that I will have them in the future. This is not the future I want for them. I have friends with kids (and there are lots of kids I babysit) and I don’t want them to feel this way about their lives or others. We need to set an example for our generation and the next one, and I doubt that most of you want this to be the example we use.

If you want to vote for Trump, I am not going to try to convince you otherwise. My friends who are Trump supporters do not think that any of this is wrong and while I disagree, I have to respect that they think this is how the country should be. But if anything that has come out has upset you, you need to vote. I’m not telling you who to vote for because that is not my place or my business. But I do want to make sure everyone will be voting. The voter registration deadline has passed for some states, but it’s not too late for others. Please make sure that you are registered to vote before it’s too late.

Staying Healthy (or 2 Needles in 30 Minutes)

I’m usually pretty on top of my health. I have to be since I have some on-going medical issues, but it’s easy to let some of the regular stuff slide from time to time. Recently, I had my annual appointment with my doctor and she mentioned that it would be time for me to get blood work done again since it’s been a few years since everything has been checked. I know this is necessary, but I hate doing it.

And in the same conversation, she mentioned that flu shots were available and that I could get one while in the office that day. I turned down the flu shot then (I was still over getting sick and didn’t want to risk feeling off after the shot), but I promised her that I would be getting my flu shot soon. I don’t want to get the flu, but I do miss when they offered the nasal spray vaccine since I didn’t have to deal with a shot then.

While I wanted to put off the blood work and the shot, I had to get my blood work done sooner rather than later. I have to do a MRI cancer screening (more on that after I do it) and part of the stuff I had to do before the MRI was a blood test. So I had to get in and get it done so I went on my day off this week.

I was more than prepared to be at the hospital for a few hours. The blood work area can be super crowded and I’ve waited a while there before. And for my flu shot, I would have to go to urgent care because being a faint risk means I don’t want to sit in a chair for my shot (I’ve fallen out of chairs before and it’s not fun). So when I went to the hospital, I had my book and my phone to entertain me and I tried to keep my heart rate down and my breath steady.

I did the blood work first (that one is the worst one so I wanted to get it over with) and as expected the waiting area was really crowded. The way they do blood work at the hospital is that you grab a number, check in at the desk, and then you wait for your number to be called. I grabbed my number and waited to check in, and I noticed that they were on number 220 so I figured I had a while to wait.


To my surprise, as soon as I was checked in my number was called before I could even sit and relax. I have no idea why I was next when there were plenty of other people waiting before I got there, but I went back to get it done.

Fortunately, the woman taking my blood was very understanding and didn’t make me feel bad for shaking or crying (yes, I was crying as soon as I sat in the recliner where they take your blood). She was very calm and was telling me step by step what she was doing and warned me before she stuck me. I was grateful for that because some people try to surprise me thinking it will make it easier, but that’s when I usually faint.

It seemed like it took forever (they needed 5 vials of blood) and my vision was getting dark and blurry from time to time. But I never fully passed out and that is a big accomplishment to me! I still hated the process, but since my MRI will involve an IV I’m glad that this longish needle time went better than I expected.

As soon as the needle was out of my arm, I took some time to calm down and wipe my face (I’m so glad I don’t wear makeup when I go to do blood work) and then made my way over to urgent care for the second needle.

Again, I was expecting to wait a while. I’ve been to urgent care several times and usually there is at least a 30 minute wait. And when I was checking in, the person next to me asked the receptionist how long the wait was and she was told 90 minutes. So I figured it would have some time to calm down and read while waiting.

Nope! Within a few minutes a nurse called me back so I could get my flu shot on an exam table (this is not normal, but I’m glad they allowed me to do it). The nurse was very nice and he understood my issues with needles. And he also told me when he was going to give me the shot so I wasn’t surprised. I’m not sure if my body was still in shock from the blood draw, but I didn’t feel the needle and I didn’t feel like I was going to faint.

By the time I was walking back to my car, I realized that only 32 minutes had passed since getting the parking ticket for the parking lot. I survived 2 needle encounters within 30 minutes and there was no fainting! This was a victory in my mind, but I know I’m not totally over my needle issues yet. But hopefully this will be like the dentist where it gets easier each time I go in.

My arm still hurts from the flu shot and I have a pretty decent bruise from the blood draw, but I’m glad I decided to do both my needle things in one day and was able to get it over with quickly and without too much drama. And in case anyone is wondering, my blood work came back with everything looking good!

Splurging On Technology (or I Guess I Had To Get A New Phone)

I’ve written recently about how my phone had been dying. When I wrote that post, my phone was lasting between 3-6 hours in a charge and I was finding tricks to make that ok with me. I had no plans on getting a new phone, mainly because I hate the new giant phones and I didn’t want something that wouldn’t be easy for me to use.

When I went to Tahoe, my phone got even worse. The battery was lasting maybe an hour if I was lucky. I was carrying 2 external batteries with me and I was charging my phone every chance I had (thankfully my mom has a charger in her car). Again, I was really not wanting to get a new phone, but I was starting to realize that I probably had to take some of my savings to invest in a new one.

I started to do some research on iPhones and discovered that there was a lower version of them called the SE. Basically, it is the same technical stuff as the 6S, but it is the small size like my 5S. It’s not the latest and greatest phone, but that was ok with me. Usually I only want to get the newest stuff since technology becomes outdated quickly, but I was willing to change it up for the phone. Plus, the lower version phone was half the cost of the new ones and that was worth it to me.

When I got home from Tahoe, I had a few more days before I had a free afternoon to get a new phone. My phone was getting worse and worse and by the time I was off to get my new phone, my old one could almost not hold a charge unless it was plugged in.

Getting the new phone was a bit of a bigger ordeal than I thought it would be. I really thought I would go to the Verizon store, get my phone, pay, and be done with it. But there were issues with my account that had to be figured out first. Then there was a lot of confusion about what I was paying for (they kept telling me the accessory bundle was included with my new phone, but to them included meant I pay for it with the phone). And after a few hours at the store, they finally said they didn’t have the phone I wanted there and sent me to another store to buy it (not sure why they didn’t do that sooner).

I drove over to the other store in rush hour traffic, but fortunately the other store had my new phone waiting for me. I stayed in the new store to make sure my backup from my old phone made it to my new phone and after several hours, I was finally on my way back home to play with my new phone.

Even though this was an expense I wasn’t really ready for, it ended up being worth it. I do a lot of day job work on my phone, so I need to have a working phone. And having a new phone is pretty nice. Things are working better and faster. And this new phone has significantly more storage on it so I’m not always deleting stuff to find room on my phone for what I need.

I’m still going to be waiting for the new MacBook Pro to be released before I make that splurge. My computer isn’t dying like how my phone was. If I had to make it another 6 months with my computer, I think it would be tough but doable. But at least now I know when I get the new computer that I have a phone that will be able to work very nicely with it.

Building My Endurance (or Lots Of Running)

I’ve been trying to focus my running at Orangetheory a bit more than I have before. When I started to run, I was just so excited that I could do it that I was going crazy with everything! I wanted to be able to run 5 minutes and I wanted to get faster and faster. I haven’t experienced burnout (thank goodness!), but I’ve been noticing my progress has been stagnant and I realized that my scattered focus could be part of the problem.

So for this past week of workouts, I really wanted to focus on my endurance. I know I need to build endurance in order to do my next 5K as a run/walk. I don’t necessarily need to be able to run for a long time in a single stretch, but doing longer stretches means the shorter ones I’ll be doing during the race will be easer. Building endurance isn’t easy, but I think I did a pretty great job this week working on it!

Monday’s workout was an endurance one that switched between blocks so I could push a bit harder with my running. We had some pretty long push paces and I decided to run a bit longer with them. When the push paces were 2 minutes or more, I ran for 2 minutes (double my usual 1 minute run time). It wasn’t easy to run for 2 minutes at a time a few times, but I’m glad I did it to prove that I could. The second treadmill block had shorter push paces, but since I had come from the floor I was a bit tired and I went with my usual 1 minute run time.

Usually switch days are easier on me since I get a break from the treadmill, but Monday wasn’t like that. The floor work was pretty tough on me and we had endurance rows to do. Both blocks had 800 meter rows and I’m happy that I could do them without stopping. But I know that pushing myself that much did affect how my second treadmill block and second floor block went. I wasn’t going as hard after the halfway mark, but since I was pushing myself in the beginning my second half was really just like a normal workout for me.

Wednesday was a strength day, so I wasn’t able to do as much running. I really am not really to work on hill running, and I have to be ok with that for now. Whenever we had flat road work, I did run to make up for it. We had a 1 minute push and a 2 minute push on a flat treadmill so I ran for those. And I decided to do the all out at 3% as a run which confirmed it for me that I’m not ready for hills as a runner yet. The floor work was a bit easier for me (I love strength days on the floor) and I was able to do some nice heavy weights. We also had a 2 minute sprint row which was nice compared to the endurance row from Monday.

Friday was a run/row day that had some hill work, but I decided to just go for the regular run/row format using my run/walk work. The run parts were a bit long, but I decided to go for 90 second runs and 1 minute walks which is a bit different compared to normal. It wasn’t easy to do it for the distances we had to go, but it proved to me that I could do it and I know that this will be helping my endurance so much. Because I was focused so much on the treadmill work and doing my distances, I didn’t make it that far down the run/row plan. But it felt so good doing a longer run segment that it didn’t bother me at all.

The big thing that bugged me on Friday (and I’m aware this is stupid) is that I wore new pants to the workout. They are the same pants that I usually buy, but I think they changed how they are stitched or the fabric because they felt way too tight. A lot of the work on the floor was abs that day, and wearing tight pants didn’t help at all. I was struggling and my form was looking sloppy. I hate to blame the pants, but I know that they caused that problem.

And I finally did a 4th workout in the week! I made it to a Saturday workout for the first time in a while! I knew I needed to do this and I’m so glad that I did. And this workout ended up being the perfect way for me to end my workout week. It was another endurance day, and this time we had distance challenges in it. All of the blocks were 10.5 minutes long and we had 2 treadmill blocks back to back (so no switching).

The first treadmill block was supposed to be 3 minutes at a push pace followed by 1 minute of walking. I didn’t want to run for 3 minutes (nor do I think I can do that more than once or twice), so I did the 90 seconds of running followed by 1 minute of walking for the entire block. In the end, I did a little less running so I could end with the all out as a run (I needed a walking break before the all out). At the end of the block, I noticed I was close to .75 miles and I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to it.

Fortunately, the second treadmill block was a distance challenge for 10.5 minutes! So I did the same pattern as I did before, but I bumped up my speed for my running segments. Going faster was pretty tough since I was tired and I’ve been doing almost all my running lately at 4.5 miles an hour, but in the end it totally paid off.


I’m pretty proud of myself for what I was able to do and I felt amazing after not only reaching a goal that I set for myself but passed it!

After all that awesome running, I wasn’t going to let the floor work get me down. We had endurance rows (1,000 and 500 meters) and I managed to do both of them without stopping and being under the time that I wanted to be done in. Most of the rest of the work that day was lower body stuff like squats and calf raises, but there was also some ab work so I got a bit of a rest on the floor.

Considering it’s been a while since I’ve had a 4 workout week, I’m so happy with how well this past week went for me. It wasn’t easy, but I made it through. My race is coming up soon and I’ve been a bit concerned on how my progress has been going. But this past week proved to me that I’m doing better than I believed I was doing!

Still Figuring Out Meal Planning (or Will Food Ever Be Easy For Me?)

I’ve been doing pretty well lately with food stuff. It’s not something that I don’t have to think about any more, but I’m definitely spending less time every day thinking about what I want to eat or what I should eat than I used to. It’s nice not to have my thoughts always consumed by food (no pun intended), but I’m still figuring out what is right and best for me.

I know that I can cook and that I can use pretty much all fresh ingredients, but that’s not always easy for me. There are plenty of times that I realize it is dinner time and I don’t have something that I can make easily. I don’t want to risk going to the store because then I will grab everything that looks good to me at the time. So it’s important to me to have prepared meals in my house that are easy for lunches and dinners.

I’m still really loving the salads I can get from Trader Joe’s and I eat those pretty regularly for lunch (it’s easy to talk to customers and eat a salad). But I do need variety from time to time and some of my old standbys (like peanut butter and jelly) just aren’t doing it for me anymore. So I have to find other easy things to make and a lot of those things end up being frozen meals.

When I was younger, I did eat the frozen diet meals on a semi-regular basis. But honestly those meals aren’t that tasty, they have a lot of chemicals to cover up for things that are missing, they are expensive, and they aren’t a lot of food. So I’ve been exploring more frozen food options including ones that I used to consider not healthy options in the past.

I’ve been working on tracking my foods carefully and I can find ways to make the higher calorie meals work into my day. And I’m discovering that it isn’t as hard as I thought in the past. I’m not eating that high of calorie counts for my breakfasts and lunches, and if I’m not having a binge episode I do have lots of calories left for my dinner. So making stuff that I used to consider off-limits are now perfectly fine for me.

Taking away the stigma of bad foods and good foods has been really good for me. I’m exploring more food options that I never thought I could enjoy (like frozen tempura shrimp) and I’m really liking it. I’m getting more variety in my meals and that is helping to keep things from getting too boring too quickly. There are still some things that I’m trying that I know can’t be a regular part of my diet, but it’s ok to find things that are good splurge meals from time to time.

I’m eating more frozen foods than I would like, but considering the alternative for me I think this is ok. I still want to find a good balance between prepared and frozen foods and cooking from scratch and that just isn’t coming easily to me. I still get annoyed that my food issues aren’t going away as quickly as I would have liked them to, but I’m seeing progress and trying to give myself credit for it.

The baby steps of progress aren’t always easy to notice on my own, but when I reflect back on my meals for the past month or so and realize that my days under my calorie goal are outweighing the days over the calorie goal, I realize that I’ve been making progress without thinking about it or noticing. I’m still not ordering delivery food and that’s something I’m proud about as well.

Hopefully more baby steps happen to me this way and that recovery is in my future soon. It will be nice to spend even less time focusing on food when that happens and I’m excited to see what the next baby step I make will be.